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WH Prepares Crisis Briefings For Obama

From a gobsmacked New York Times:

Bush Prepares Crisis Briefings to Aid Obama

By PETER BAKER
Published: December 16, 2008

WASHINGTON — The White House has prepared more than a dozen contingency plans to help guide President-elect Barack Obama if an international crisis erupts in the opening days of his administration, part of an elaborate operation devised to smooth the first transition of power since Sept. 11, 2001.

The memorandums envision a variety of volatile possibilities, like a North Korean nuclear explosion, a cyberattack on American computer systems, a terrorist strike on United States facilities overseas or a fresh outbreak of instability in the Middle East, according to people briefed on them. Each then outlines options for Mr. Obama to consider.

The contingency planning goes beyond what other administrations have done, with President Bush and Mr. Obama vowing to work in tandem to ensure a more efficient transition in a time of war and terrorist threat. The commission that investigated the Sept. 11 attacks, noting problems during the handover from President Bill Clinton to Mr. Bush, called for a better process “since a catastrophic attack could occur with little or no notice,” as its report put it.

“This is very unusual,” said Roger Cressey, a former Clinton White House counterterrorism official who was held over under Mr. Bush. “We certainly did not do that. When the transition happened from Clinton to Bush, remember it was a totally different world. You had some documents given that gave them a flavor of where things were at. But now you’ve got two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and a hot war against Al Qaeda.”

In addition to the White House contingency memorandums, the Department of Homeland Security said it had given crisis training to nearly 100 career officials who may fill in while Mr. Obama’s appointees await Senate confirmation. Starting before the election, those career workers have conducted exercises alongside departing political appointees to test their responses.

The administration has invited members of the Obama agency review teams to observe some of those so-called tabletop exercises between now and the inauguration, on Jan. 20. The Bush team has also invited Obama transition officials to attend a “national level exercise” set for Jan. 12 and 13 that may play out what would happen if the top leadership of the nation were wiped out in a single stroke, officials said.

At the same time, senior counterterrorism officials plan to hold personal briefings for their counterparts on the biggest threats they see. And the White House has drafted as many as three dozen other long-term policy memorandums outlining various pressing issues that will confront the new team and how Mr. Bush’s aides see the status of each of these issues as his presidency comes to a close…

Mr. Bush said Tuesday that a top priority in his final days in office is to help Mr. Obama get ready to govern. “We care about him,” he said in an interview with CNN. “We want him to be successful, and we want the transition to work.”

A spokeswoman for Mr. Obama’s office said she had no comment. But other Democrats working with the transition said they appreciated the Bush team’s efforts. “This doesn’t absolve the Bush administration of some of their judgments they’ve made over the years, but this is the right thing to do,” said a Democrat close to the transition who did not want to be named to avoid alienating the team. “This is when enlightened self-interest works.”

Mr. Cressey, who has been a critic of Mr. Bush’s national security policy, said: “I give them a lot of points for doing this. There could be zero down time for the new team coming in.” …

Beyond terrorism, Mr. Obama could face an early unexpected international test on any number of fronts, as his running mate, Joseph R. Biden Jr., predicted on the campaign trail. During the transition between the administrations of the first President Bush and Mr. Clinton, a humanitarian crisis in Somalia prompted Mr. Bush to send United States troops to intervene.

While Mr. Obama’s national security résumé is relatively thin, many members of his national security team come with deep experience…

What a change in tone (and sense of responsibility) from Mr. Bush compared to Mr. Clinton:

“This is very unusual,” said Roger Cressey, a former Clinton White House counterterrorism official who was held over under Mr. Bush. “We certainly did not do that…”

Yeah, no kidding.

“This doesn’t absolve the Bush administration of some of their judgments they’ve made over the years, but this is the right thing to do,” said a Democrat close to the transition…

But you see Mr. Bush is the hateful partisan.

Still, it must be hard for the current administration to get through to a Obama transition team who past experience has mostly been shaking down kickbacks for no-show jobs.

This article was posted by Steve on Wednesday, December 17th, 2008. Comments are currently closed.

4 Responses to “WH Prepares Crisis Briefings For Obama”

  1. Chinnubie says:

    This is like informing a 1st grader to get ready to run an elementary school; what are the chances the 5th graders are going to listen much less follow any rules set up by the 1st grader in charge.

    Artboy should do a colorful skit about the transition from responsible to absolute retardation. Obamy saying, “yah, yah, yah, I got it George, now give me the keys and get the F*#@ Out!!!!”

  2. proreason says:

    But Obamy has already told us he doesn’t even need foreign policy advisors.

    After all, he lived in Indonesia until he was about 4, and took a trip to Pakistan once.

    With a background in international affairs like that, he is obviously more than capable of handling any international crisis that comes along.

  3. heather08 says:

    Left unsaid is the fact that the Clinton administration’s refusal to cooperate with Bush probably led in part to 9/11.

    • 1sttofight says:

      Also left unsaid is the sabitoge to the WH by the Clinton Thugs on their way out the door, ie, wrecked offices, broken computers, vulgar grafitie on the walls, etc.


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