February 4th, 2010
04:45 PM ET
4 years ago

White House, Republican clash on terror briefings

Sen. Kit Bond wrote President Obama a letter Thursday expressing concern over the handling of sensitive information.
Sen. Kit Bond wrote President Obama a letter Thursday expressing concern over the handling of sensitive information.

Washington (CNN) - White House press secretary Robert Gibbs pushed back Thursday against claims made by Sen. Kit Bond, R-Missouri, that the Obama administration mishandled critical security information in the case of Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouq Abdulmutallab.

"I am deeply disturbed with the official handling of vital national security information regarding the recent cooperation by the Christmas Day bomber Umar Farouq Abdulmutallab," Bond wrote in a letter sent Thursday to President Obama.

Bond, the senior Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in his letter that he was briefed Monday about Abdulmutallab's cooperation with authorities.

Bond wrote that within 24 hours of the FBI briefing Congress, the White House had informed reporters of Abdulmutallab's cooperation, a move Bond charged that "has no doubt been helpful to his terrorist cohorts around the world."

During Thursday's White House briefing, Gibbs said no classified information was disseminated to reporters. "Having read the letter, no briefing was done here or anywhere in this administration where classified information is used in a place it shouldn't be."

Gibbs went a step further, calling on Bond to apologize, "He owes an apology to professionals in the law enforcement community and those that work in this building."

Bond fired back in a statement to CNN. "After telling me to keep my mouth shut, the White House discloses sensitive information in an effort to defend a dangerous and unpopular decision to Mirandize Abdulmutallab and I'm supposed to apologize?" Bond said.


Filed under: Kit Bond • Robert Gibbs
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Moderate Sean

    Another old, mean spirited, and defunct ideologue...when will the games stop?

    February 4, 2010 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  2. Ryan

    Why does Bond, Kit Bond think that a terrorist organization would get any sort of advantage from knowing that one of its operatives is cooperating with the U.S. intelligence community? If he was disposable enough to be sent on a suicide bombing mission, he doesn't likely have a great deal of insight into the workings of Al-Qaeda and if he did have any secrets, his organization would have to assume them compromised the moment he survived the attacks. Hell, there were reports that he was cooperative within DAYS of the original attack. Its scary that the senior Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee thinks that a well organized terrorist organizations would be so reactive as to sit and wait for the news to tell them that their operative has been compromised.

    February 4, 2010 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  3. Jenn, Philadelphia

    The fact that he's cooperating is "sensitive" information. What else should his terrorist friends think he's sharing with the FBI except information about them? In an effort to cover their buts for how badly they handled it at first, this administration just continues show how naive and unready they were for this job.

    February 4, 2010 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  4. Darko

    Obama and Holder politicizing national security... seems to be a common theme lately.

    February 4, 2010 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  5. Jimmy Sanborn

    Yes you should appologize for being a Republican

    February 4, 2010 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  6. ib

    This president has put this country at greater risk for an attack on our home soil and the liberals are to blind to see that. I guess they will blame Bush when and if it happens.

    February 4, 2010 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  7. Stephanie - Maryland

    Yes, he need to apologize. He claims sensitive infomation to whom? GOP's are a bunch of Whinners. It does'nt matter what Pres. Obama & Justice Eric Holder decide to do for this country they represent will NEVER be ACCEPTED by gop's/some sorry democrats. I believe in my heart GOP's are still in the STATE of Shock after Pres.Obama's election. Can't seem to get their GRIP on how in the world this educate, well-spoken, witty, humorous, & a Kenyan/ Caucasian who was born in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii – became President of the U.S.A. It is meant to be. FATHER GOD Is SOVEREIGN & FAITHFUL over all things.

    February 4, 2010 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  8. Tim

    Why do people like Bond have to wet their pants every time the President mentions security? They are sounding more and more like the party of cowards. 'Oh, mommy, I'm so afraid!'

    Is this a policy of trickle-down fear that starts with Dick Cheney? He's afraid of everything it seems, and the fearleader who hid in his secret bunker during 9/11 and for days afterward. He had 'better things to do' than fight in Vietnam. He probably had to quake in his shoes worrying about the draft.

    Since when is a good result is something to worry about, and somehow aiding the enemy? The word starts with bull....

    February 4, 2010 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  9. Pragmatic

    Do you remember that the Bush administration prosecuted shoe bomber Richard Reid in Federal Court for attempting to down a transatlantic flight using the same type of explosives found on Mr. Abdulmutallab.?

    No one then questioned the Bush-Cheney administration's judgment.

    The same noisy rabble who are complaining that about Obama's 3-day response time and Miranda rights for alleged terrorists were strangely silent when their little "war president" took over 6 days to respond to the shoe bomber!

    February 4, 2010 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  10. Larry Blom

    The opposition (I don't think we should call them republicans any more) doesn't seem to have a qualm about playing politics with national defense policy: ho-hum, yet another Washington electioneering game. Is "playing politics" somehow now the norm? And if that's indeed the case what possible use do we-the-people have for political parties?
    I for one am gut sick of watching the ineffectual battle the intransigent every day in congress; this is the best we can do?

    February 4, 2010 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  11. ForThePeople

    Gibbs is the first person who should be apologizing for his daily lying to the American people. Any briefings involving the FBI, CIA, or national security in general should be kept confidential. Even with the 1.5 million of us in the military today, we are not always privy to certain levels of intelligence or information due the level of security classification we possess. Why should civilians in our government think they can just talk about any vital information that is revealed just because they are part of the administration or political scene. Senator Bond is correct in his analysis of the handling of the information and it is also reflective of the lack of competence with terrorism and national security regarding the current administration.

    February 4, 2010 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  12. A keen observer

    Kit Bond should remember the old addage 'it is better to remain silent and thought a fool than to speak up and remove all doubt.

    February 4, 2010 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  13. billy123

    Big surprise here according the GOP they are the only ones who can handle this stuff. It was also the GOP who spent billions and billions of dollars in Iraq. By the way Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 and therefore we should not be in Iraq.

    February 4, 2010 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  14. Death Assurance Companies

    Kit, like Limbaugh, come from the" Show Me State"where they seem to grow morons like sheep.

    February 4, 2010 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  15. Scott, Tucson

    Gibbs...now there's a joke of a WH press secretary, and he's suppose to be as smart as Joe Biden?

    February 4, 2010 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  16. happylady2 Missouri

    Bond is and always has been a pompous ass! He's retiring after this term

    February 4, 2010 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  17. Marty, Grand Rapids MI

    We had no choice but to "Mirandize" the guy, it's part of the bill of rights, of which Abdulmutallab is protected. This is the same reason Bush had to "Mirandize" the shoe bomber. He had no choice.

    Secondly, this is an attempt, by Kit Bond, to create a bigger government by giving it more power then it should have. I would expect teabaggers to be all over this since the constitution is their baby (well, maybe only when it's convenient for them).

    February 4, 2010 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  18. Gene in San Diego

    He may be the senior Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee but he doesn't show much intelligence. If he received a classified briefing then he knows that there wasn't any classified info released . He also knows that releasing facts such as the cooperation is often a strategic move.

    He also knows full well that the Bush admin Mirandized ALL of the terrorists that it captured in the US. Where was he? He is just playing dangerous politics with national security.

    Bond doesn't owe the White House an apology; he owes the country an apology for giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

    February 4, 2010 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  19. John

    Can ya feel it?

    Republicans here and everywhere are eager for another deadly terrorist attack on the US so they can blame it on Obama. Its easy to see they want it to happen.

    February 4, 2010 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  20. seanm

    Who would name their kid Kit?

    February 4, 2010 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
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