Last week an air-born threat approached the White House. Specifically, an airplane penetrated the restricted airspace over Washington DC, all the way to the White House. Fighter jets and Blackhawk helicopters were scrambled even, to ward off this "threat". Both the White House and the Capitol building were evacuated.
Fortunately President Bush was not in the area.
Fortunately the airplane turned out to be a Cessna flown by a couple private pilots who accidentally strayed over Washington DC while on their way to a fishing trip or something like that. No real danger ...
But, still ... here's the interesting thing.
More on Bush's bike ride (11:44 EDT, May 13, 2005 SALON.COM)
This salon.com blog entry says that President Bush was not notified of the incident until well after it was all over.
So, hey, what's up with that? A major security incident, that caused an evacuation to begin in downtown Washington DC, and the President wasn't notified?
See, he was riding his bicycle in Maryland. I suppose that was more important than being notified of a major security incident.
... Leon Panetta, chief of staff to president Clinton, said there is no reason to leave a president out of the loop, no matter how short-lived the situation. "I don't think there is a legitimate excuse for not telling the president of the United States about that kind of potential emergency," he said. "It was serious that it happened and it could have been even more serious…. That is something that just simply cannot happen again."
We're to believe from the blog entry that the defense thrown up by the administration is that the system is on automatic pilot. That the threat was automatically handled by the defense team in place, and that the system doesn't need the President's intervention for it to work.
Hmmm....???? Clearly judging by results, the incident was handled very well without the President's intervention.
But, this recalls to mind the 1/2 hour or so the President spent sitting in front of a classroom listening to children read a story about a Pet Goat, while at the same time the country is under attack in the worst incident in decades. I guess this is a President who is comfortable being out of the loop, and that's scary.
Why scary? Well, because if the President is out of the loop, then what are the people actually doing with their authority? Are they doing things in integrity? Or are they abusing their power? The President's job includes overseeing the operation of the country and ensuring that what happens is the best for the people, and that must include overseeing the beaurocracy and administration to ensure the people in positions of power aren't abusing the power.