McCain vs. Obama’s ‘Left-wing crusade’

McCain vs. Obama’s ‘Left-wing crusade’

 

by Mark Silva

John McCain has run against Barack Obama before.

He’s running against him again.

With campaign radio ads billing the five-term Republican senator as “Arizona’s last line of defense,” the GOP’s nominee for president in 2008 is attempting to bolster his 2010 campaign for reelection to the Senate with a slam at the president.

“President Obama is leading an extreme left-wing crusade to bankrupt America,” McCain says in one of the radio ads his campaign is airing.

McCain after meeting with Obama.jpg

“I stand in his way every day,” McCain says. “If I get a bruise or two knocking some sense into heads in Washington, so be it.”

McCain got his own head-knocking in the 2008 presidential election, and now he could be facing a party primary contest from a former Republican congressman, J.D. Hayworth, who is an outspoken critic of immigration reform — an issue which McCain has championed in the Senate, and an issue on which McCain, Obama and some of the Senate’s leading Democrats happen to agree. They support a path to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants.

But on the radio, McCain and Obama could not be further apart.

“He’s lived through a battle or two, vanquished many a foe,” a narrator says of the retired Navy pilot and admiral’s son who spent five and a half years as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. “But perhaps no battle in our lifetime is more vital than the one John McCain fights now… a battle to save America, save our jobs…

“John McCain leads the charge to slash government spending, bloated bureaucracies and ridiculously unaffordable ideas like government run health care.”

In another ad playing on a battle-tested McCain campaign tactic of invoking his days as a POW – reminding voters in Arizona that he could have come home to the U.S. earlier from that prison camp than he did (though Arizona was not home at the time) – the narrator says:

“John McCain is leading the fight against President Obama every day.”

It could get interesting when they get to that immigration bill.

(Sen. John McCain is pictured above after a meeting between President Barack Obama and the Democratic Caucus to push the health care reform plan at the Capitol in December, in a photo by Nicholas Kamm / AFP / Getty Images. And McCain is pictured above with President Barack Obama, meeting with members of Congress to discuss immigration in June at the White House in a photo by Haraz N. Ghanbari / AP)

Posted by Mark Silva on January 7, 2010 3:00 PM

Advertisements

If Yemen Can Handle Al-Qaeda Without Us, Why Haven’t They Yet?

If Yemen Can Handle Al-Qaeda Without Us, Why Haven’t They Yet?

January 6th, 2010 Posted By Erik Wong.

yemeni-army

SAN’A, Yemen (AP) – Yemen’s foreign minister said Wednesday that his country opposes any direct intervention by U.S. or other foreign troops in the fight against al-Qaida.

Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi told The Associated Press in an interview that “there is a lot of sensitivity about foreign troops coming to Yemeni territory.”

His comments came as Yemeni security forces launched a manhunt for the suspected leader of an al-Qaida cell believed to be behind a threatened attack that forced the closure this week of the U.S. and British embassies in San’a.

Security forces swept into several areas where the militant, Mohammed Ahmed al-Hanaq, was believed to be hiding in the mountainous region of Arhab, northeast of the capital, but have not located him, security officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the press.

Officials negotiating with tribal sheiks in Arhab are demanding that they surrender al-Hanaq and another al-Qaida suspect related to him, Nazeeh al-Hanaq, tribal leaders told AP, also speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks.

The U.S. says the Arhab cell was behind a plot to send al-Qaida fighters into San’a to carry out attacks, possibly against foreign embassies. The U.S. and British embassies closed down Sunday and Monday, and other Western missions limited or stopped their access to the public.

Security forces on Monday tried to capture al-Hanaq as he was moving through the Arhab region, prompting heavy clashes. Mohammed Ahmed and Nazeeh al-Hanaq both escaped, but two fighters with them were killed. The U.S. and British embassies reopened the following day, saying the clashes had largely resolved the threat.

On Tuesday, security forces arrested three other fighters who were wounded in the clashes as they were being treated in a hospital in a nearby town. Four others who took them to the hospital were also arrested, the Interior Ministry said Wednesday.

The United States has ramped up its counterterrorism aid to Yemen in an intensified campaign to uproot al-Qaida’s offshoot here, which Washington warns has become a “global” threat. U.S. military personnel have already been on the ground training Yemeni security forces in the fight, and intelligence cooperation has increased.

Al-Qirbi said Yemen’s government would welcome more military trainers, “but not in any other capacity.”

“There is a lot of debate among them about how far they should get involved in Yemen,” al-Qirbi said, referring to the United States and its allies. “I’m sure that their experiences in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan will be very useful to learn from—that direct intervention complicates things.”

So far the U.S. has indicated it is not aiming to deploy ground forces in Yemen. President Barack Obama’s top counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, said earlier in the week, “We’re not talking about that at this point at all.”

But al-Qirbi’s comments underscored how Washington must tread carefully as it strengthens its partnership with Yemen’s fragile government, which has little control over large parts of the country outside the capital and rules over a population where Islamic conservatism and mistrust of the Unites States is widespread.

There have been media reports that U.S. cruise missiles or warplanes were involved in strikes carried out last month against several al-Qaida strongholds, which Yemen says killed at least 30 militants. U.S. officials have not confirmed the reports. Yemen says its air force—which has Russian-made MiG warplanes—carried out the strikes with U.S. intelligence help.

Earlier this week, al-Qirbi insisted there is no agreement between Yemen and the United States allowing the American military to use cruise missiles, drones or warplanes in strikes on Yemeni territory, “and there is no proposal for such an agreement.”

The issue is highly sensitive for the Yemenis. In 2002, the government was infuriated when U.S. officials made public that U.S. cruise missiles were used in a strike that killed a top al-Qaida figure, Abu Ali al-Harithi—believed to be the mastermind of the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole off Yemen. San’a complained that the exposure embarrassed it before the Yemeni public.

Complicating the situation, a number of women, children and other civilians were killed in one of the recent strikes, a Dec. 17 attack on a suspected al-Qaida training camp in southeastern Yemen. The deaths raised an outcry among Yemenis—and San’a is deeply wary of the possibility strikes could turn the population against it and the fight on al-Qaida.

Yemen has intensified its campaign against the hundreds of al-Qaida militants that have built up strongholds in lawless regions of the impoverished mountainous nation.

Al-Qirbi told AP that Yemen seeks Western help in “establishing more counterterrorism units, training them, equipping them and providing them with logistical support.” He ruled out the possibility of any joint command for those forces between Yemen and the United States.

He also called for greater economic aid to Yemen, the poorest nation in the Arab world, to prevent “radicalization, extremism and terrorism.”

Obama has vowed a close partnership with San’a against al-Qaida, but there are also deep concerns over the stability of the Yemeni government, which is burdened with crises. Heavily armed tribes dominate large parts of the country, where the military and civilian administration have almost no authority.

Many of the tribes resent the central government, saying it neglects development in their areas, and some tribes have given refuge to al-Qaida fighters.

Moreover, President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s government is fighting a war with Shiite rebels in the north and contending with separatist unrest in the south, which was once independent. Corruption is rampant, and Saleh has to balance among the unruly factions that keep him in power—including influential Islamic fundamentalists who many worry will resist close cooperation with Washington against al-Qaida.

The Islamic Roots of Abdulmutallab’s Suicidal Odyssey

The Islamic Roots of Abdulmutallab’s Suicidal Odyssey

Posted By Jamie Glazov On January 7, 2010 @ 12:00 am In . Column2 02, . Positioning, Homeland Security, Middle East, Politics, Religion, US News, World News | 2 Comments

The liberal milieu and mainstream media are baffled: What could have possibly led the 23-year-old Nigerian boy Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab [1] to attempt jihadi suicide on a passenger plane? How could such a nice, educated Islamic boy, who grew up in a rich and prosperous family, have come under the “radical” and “extreme” influences that set him on his violent course? It’s just all so mysterious.

It’s so mysterious that the news anchors on CNN continue to incredulously ask each other and their guests these questions — back and forth, over and over again, in a cyclical circus that has no end and that never produces the most obvious answer staring any sensible person right in the face. In the liberal imagination, there is just this “extremist ideology” out there somewhere and somehow this unfortunate Muslim boy fell under its spell, but no one can be exactly sure how or why it happened. All one can be sure of is that an adversarial culture or ideology must not be blamed and that America, somewhere, somehow, must definitely be at fault.

And so, when it comes to the liberal left trying to digest Abdulmutallab and his suicidal quest, perplexed dismay becomes a much safer hiding place than honesty, because the basic truth threatens the very survival of the liberal faith. For the liberal to accept the evident reason why Abdulmutallab set off on his suicide odyssey would necessitate him having to completely shed himself of his entire worldview and personal identity [2]. The much easier route, therefore, is to keep oneself confused and to stay focused on how American capitalism and imperialism must have surely had something to do with it — even though, as is the case with the cause of Islamic terror itself [3], these factors are so obviously not involved in Abdulmutallab’s suicidal and murderous yearnings (i.e., Abdulmutallab comes from a privileged, wealthy, and educated life, etc.).

What the lib-left milieu simply can’t digest is what Islamic terrorists like Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab themselves insist motivated them. And these are things like, you know, reading certain religious texts and following a certain religion’s teachings. They are things, sort of like, well, following Islam and reading the Koran and stuff like that.

When all is said and done, the true reasons why Abdulmutallab embarked on his murderous mission of suicide are completely understandable — and only to be expected — in the context of his Islamic odyssey. And Abdulmutallab himself clearly points to the influence of his religion in his own personal writings on the internet.

In his 300 postings [4] under the name “farouk1986” in an online forum, Abdulmutallab sheds light on how the Islamic theology that he follows marginalized him from human life and led him on his hateful and suicidal road. One of the main themes in his postings, for instance, is a recurring complaint about his loneliness and how he has “never found a true Muslim friend.” While liberals will expectedly blame capitalism for Abdulmutallab’s estrangement, a certain question has to be asked, a question that will never be asked, or answered, on CNN or in the Nation magazine:

From where, oh where, did Abdulmutallab get the self-ostracizing and hateful idea that only Muslims could be his friends?

Indeed, from where did this young man absorb an ideology that eliminated billions of people on the planet from the pool in which he could make friendships and nurture human connection? Hmmm, could it possibly be that the self-marginalization he inflicted on himself had something to do with his religion’s instruction that he not only never make friends with infidels (Koran 5:51), but also wage war on them? (Koran 9:5, 9:29, etc.).

Abdulmutallab also agonizes about his behavior when he does manage, on the rare occasion, to join the human race. He admits that when he socializes he does “laugh and joke” but he stresses, in self-defense, that he does not do this “excessively.” Pray, do tell, from where the need to make confessions and self-justifications about such beautiful elements of life? What could this possibly be about? Could it be that it has nothing to do with American capitalism and imperialism at all, but maybe with the life-hating teaching of a religion that demonizes earthly happiness, joy, and pleasure [5]? Could it be somehow connected to a certain religion’s hatred of music [6], frivolity [6], and, above all, a woman’s laughter [5]? Could this all have something to do with why Ayatollah Khomeini insisted that “there is no fun in Islam [5]”?

In his posting for December 2005, Abdulmutallab shares a monumental crisis he is facing: While victims of poverty are starving throughout the world, the young Muslim boy is faced with a doomsday scenario: his wealthy family will be visiting him in London and he might have to join them and eat meat. Abdulmutallab is full of panic, sharing that “I am of the view meat not slaughtered by Muslims … is haram [forbidden] for consumption unless necessary.” He thus disagrees with his parents’ view that “as foreigners, we are allowed to … eat any meat” and worries that if he doesn’t eat it this “might cause division and other complicated family problems.”

Abdulmutallab reveals the crucial inspiration to his murderous and suicidal yearnings when he agonizes about his inner struggle between being a devout Muslim and a member of a society infected by Western values. He writes of his “dilemma between liberalism and extremism” and, as a Muslim, he strives to live his life “according to the Koran and Sunnah to the best of my ability. I do almost everything, sports, TV, books … (of course trying not to cross the limits in the deen).” The deen is the dutiful way of life demanded by Islam.

In these circumstances, the most obvious torment that arises in the life of a young devout Muslim like Abdulmutallab is what he himself honestly describes: the tension between sexual desires and the Islamic mandate of, as he writes, “lowering the gaze” in the presence of women. “The Prophet (S) advised young men to fast if they can’t get married,” he agonizes, “but it has not been helping me much and I seriously don’t want to wait for years before I get married.”

It is precisely in this context that we see the origins of the Muslim suicide bomber’s journey into the heart of jihadi darkness.

For a pious Muslim who is attempting to obey the pleasure-denying mandates of his religion, the totalitarian and often sole choice available to him becomes purifying himself by extinguishing his own earthly sinful existence.

 

Thus, despite liberal fantasies, it is not Muslims’ lack of access to Western prosperity that spawns their terror, but exactly the opposite: it is Muslims’ contact with and ability to reap the benefits of Western values that end up serving as key inspirations for jihad.

Indeed, there is a morbid dilemma for the devout Muslim who has experienced and come into contact with the temptations of Western freedom. These Muslims end up feeling infected and fault America and the West for the excruciating guilt they feel over the desires that freedom plants within their hearts. To disinfect themselves, they end up lashing out violently at the tempter — and then ultimately at themselves for the impurity and desires that the tempter instilled. In this light, Theodore Dalrymple brilliantly analyzes the impulses and motivations of the young suicide bombers who struck in London in July 2005. He demonstrates [7] how they saw no way out of their confrontation with freedom and modernity except through death:

Muslims who reject the West are therefore engaged in a losing and impossible inner jihad, or struggle, to expunge everything that is not Muslim from their breasts. It can’t be done: for their technological and scientific dependence is necessarily also a cultural one. You can’t believe in a return to seventh-century Arabia as being all-sufficient for human requirements, and at the same time drive around in a brand-new red Mercedes, as one of the London bombers did shortly before his murderous suicide. An awareness of the contradiction must gnaw in even the dullest fundamentalist brain.

 

Furthermore, fundamentalists must be sufficiently self-aware to know that they will never be willing to forgo the appurtenances of Western life: the taste for them is too deeply implanted in their souls, too deeply a part of what they are as human beings, ever to be eradicated. It is possible to reject isolated aspects of modernity but not modernity itself. Whether they like it or not, Muslim fundamentalists are modern men — modern men trying, impossibly, to be something else. … How to persuade themselves and others that their lack of faith, their vacillation, is really the strongest possible faith? What more convincing evidence of faith could there be than to die for its sake? How can a person be really attached or attracted to rap music and cricket and Mercedes cars if he is prepared to blow himself up as a means of destroying the society that produces them? Death will be the end of the illicit attachment that he cannot entirely eliminate from his heart. … By means of suicide bombing, the bombers overcome moral impurities and religious doubts within themselves and, supposedly, strike an external blow for the propagation of the faith.

It is no coincidence, therefore, that in the Islamic paradigm, the pleasures denied on earth are exactly the pleasures offered in heaven. For a typical Muslim male like Abdulmutallab who desperately yearns for sex but does not want to offend Allah, the only escape route becomes to die — and kill — for Islam.

Pierre Rehov, the French filmmaker of the documentary Suicide Killers [8], spent hours speaking with would-be martyrs in Israeli jails and with their families. He noted that they not only spoke about the obvious Islamic instruction to kill Jews and Christians, but also articulated a consistent theme of not being allowed to do anything pleasurable on earth; and so they sought death in order to do it in heaven. Rehov writes [9]:

Imagine a world where separation between men and women is virtually absolute. Where not only sex is a taboo, but where a woman’s body is considered to be so impure that it must be hidden at all times. … In this chauvinistic land, a 16-or 18-year-old boy has a 99% chance of having never touched the hand of a girl or having spoken to one, except for his sister. At this age where libido is at its peak, a young male is in need of these beautiful and forbidden sensations. He needs to prove to himself that he is a man, a future man. But, in this arena, there is no hope — only frustration. Dating and flirting are forbidden. Marriage is the only tolerated path to sex in the Muslim world. But without money there is no wife. Ironically, while women are the object of the highest contempt, while the temporal existence of flesh is considered despicable (“seek for death, and eternal life will be given to you” — Prophet Muhammad), the promise of eternal life surrounded by 72 virgins is popularized daily through every arm of the Muslim media. The misguided kids I interviewed while shooting Suicide Killers spoke of the 72 virgins with total conviction. “No one knows how much Allah would have given me in heaven if I had succeeded,” said one of them, who described his ideal target as a mall, a school, or a hospital in Netanya.

Within the confines of this Islamic concentration camp, the young tormented Abdulmutallab desperately sought to purify himself. With his religion informing him of his sinful, despicable, Allah-negating, unwanted physical self, the only way out became to rid himself of his earthly flesh, ideally by taking some infidels along with him. Abdulmutallab hoped to annihilate all that was impure in his earthly existence — and to gain in Islamic paradise everything that he had denied himself, ever so mercilessly, on earth.

Obama OKs taxing high-end health plans

Obama OKs taxing high-end health plans

January 6th, 2010

By ERICA WERNER, Associated Press

 Obama will tax health plans

President Barack Obama signaled to House Democratic leaders Wednesday that they’ll have to drop their opposition to taxing high-end health insurance plans to pay for health coverage for millions of uninsured Americans.

In a meeting at the White House, Obama expressed his preference for the insurance tax contained in the Senate’s health overhaul bill, but largely opposed by House Democrats and organized labor, Democratic aides said. The aides spoke on condition of anonymity because the meeting was private.

House Democrats want to raise income taxes on high-income individuals instead and are reluctant to abandon that approach, while recognizing that they will have to bend on that and other issues so that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., can maintain his fragile 60-vote majority support for the bill.

Pelosi and four committee chairmen met with the president Wednesday as they scrambled to resolve differences between sweeping bills passed by the House and Senate. The aim is to finalize legislation revamping the nation’s health care system in time for Obama’s State of the Union address early last month.

Despite the dispute over the payment approach, Pelosi, D-Calif., emerged from the meeting expressing optimism.

Read More:

The Intellectual Dishonesty of the Democrats

The Intellectual Dishonesty of the Democrats

By Lauri B. Regan

This past week, I was having lunch at a restaurant in midtown Manhattan when my colleague noticed Al and Tipper Gore dining across the room with another couple. It was a frigid day, with record-breaking temperatures keeping most people indoors, and we were the last two tables in the restaurant.
As the Gore party started walking out of the room, my colleague called out, “Hey, Al, how’s all that global warming working out for you?” Gore turned around and stared at us with a completely dumbfounded look on his face. He was speechless. With a smile, my colleague repeated the question, again to a hapless look of dismay.
Finally, Gore mumbled under his breath, “Wow, you sound awfully angry.” I responded with a thank you, explaining to him that we were actually extremely amused. The encounter concluded with Gore’s friend mouthing a very animated “f— you” at us, and they skulked away. My only regret is that no one at the table asked Gore, “What’s the matter? The polar bear’s got your tongue?”
What struck me the most about this meeting was Gore’s complete inability to utter a sentence addressing his life’s work. The former Vice President, Nobel Prize laureate, and Academy Award-winning producer standing before us was a moron, unable to articulate a simple comeback to address all that he has stood for since leaving office. He could have simply ignored us and kept walking, as he does with reporters, but by stopping and standing there dumbstruck, he looked like a fool.
That night, I was watching Bill O’Reilly’s show, and in his Reality Check segment, he featured Rebecca Mead, a writer for The New Yorker magazine, who appeared on CBS’s “Sunday Morning” talk show lambasting Bush and praising Obama as a “certified intellectual.” Upon what does she base this claim?
All we know about Obama is that he graduated from Columbia University, was an Alinskyite community organizer, went to Harvard Law School, and worked as a law school lecturer before running for public office. He has received the author’s credit for two books, though it is an open question how much he relied on ghostwriters. We have not seen his school transcripts, and he wrote not one single signed article while acting as president of the Harvard Law Review or as a law school instructor. We have no idea what Obama’s intellectual aptitude is, and to claim that he is a “certified intellectual” is absurd.
This is a man who certainly did not deserve to be elected president of the United States, having accomplished little in his first 46 years of life, other than creating a faux persona and developing strong oratory skills. He too is unable to think on his feet and without a teleprompter; he too sounds like a buffoon as he claims to have visited all 57 of the United States and that he understands the Austrian language.
When Sarah Palin was asked to be McCain’s vice president, the left went berserk and attacked her on all fronts, including her lack of an “adequate” education. A close friend e-mailed me, specifically mentioning Palin’s college as one reason why she was not qualified for the job. When I pointed out that Harry Truman did not even graduate from college, there was no response.
And we could not escape the left’s attacks on every Bush gaffe, the whole of which became the subject of books, late-night television humor, and even decks of cards. To this day, the left is completely incapable of appreciating the acts of the Bush years, which will go down in history as based on intellectual honesty and moral character — two characteristics wholly lacking in any agenda emanating from the Democrats controlling our government.
There is no better example of intellectual dishonesty than Climategate. After Al Gore left the restaurant, the waiter walked over to our table laughing. But when we raised the Climategate fiasco, the waiter had no idea what we were talking about. The fraud pervasive in the scientific community is just as rampant in the mainstream media that is failing to adequately investigate and report on this extremely important story.
I went to see the Sherlock Holmes movie with my family this past weekend. As every fan of the Sherlock Holmes stories is aware, the key lesson is that you must gather all of the facts before forming a theory. An individual who first forms a theory and then gathers facts to support it will wind up ignoring the facts which run contra to it and ultimately err in her conclusion.
How is it, then, that a vast majority of the scientific community charged with investigating changes in the world’s climate — “certified intellectuals,” as it were — have done exactly that, and with the unfettered support of the Democratic Party and the left-wing media?
This simple, commonsense approach to a criminal investigation should be the basis of scientific endeavors from the beginning to the end of time. It should permeate business decisions, economic policy, and certainly a government’s rules and regulations. It is otherwise known as common sense — something completely lacking in today’s politicians. Ideology has taken its place. For the Democrats, it is all about ideology.
It does not matter that universal health care has failed the world over. It will pass here and be forced upon the populace, the majority of which has no desire to suffer under its failures just to enable the Democrats to retain long-term power and control over individuals.
The war on terror? There is none. A few “man-caused disasters,” perhaps, but releasing the Gitmo detainees to Yemen — despite our knowledge that it is a breeding ground for terrorism and an al-Qaeda stronghold — makes sense to those coming to office with left-wing ideological beliefs. And what could possibly be wrong with giving up our nuclear weapons and defense systems when the rest of the world’s dictators and rogue nations are manufacturing them as quickly as possible?
The problem with all of these nonsensical ideological policies is that they do not simply have short-term effects on the country and its citizens. The Democrats are consciously and successfully altering the economy, the health care system, our national defense, and the stature of the United States at breathtaking speed, while those of us with common sense and intellectual honesty watch in dismay and horror.
A friend recently told me a wonderful story about his encounter with Albert Einstein as an eight-year-old boy. My friend’s father was a brilliant and well-known author at the time, and he was asked to meet one afternoon with Einstein. As my friend walked for several hours in the woods, accompanying the two men, he struggled for just the right question to ask of the world’s most brilliant man.
Finally, as the meeting was coming to an end, my friend saw a leaf floating down from a tree in a peculiar swirling pattern. He then asked, “Dr. Einstein, why is the leaf falling from the tree like that rather than straight down?” Einstein replied with a smile, “I don’t know.”
As my colleague asked Al Gore, “How’s that global warming working out for you,” it would have been nice to hear Gore respond, “I don’t know.” But there is no money for politicians — or con-artists — who admit that they just don’t know. There are no earmarks and windfalls being sent to the intellectually honest people with the moral character to admit that they don’t have all of the answers, but that they are going to gather all the facts first before drawing conclusions which will affect generations of individuals, vast portions of the economy, and individual rights previously safeguarded in a Constitution being usurped before our eyes.
The Einsteins of the world are too smart to venture into politics. But we can still make sure that in the future, we elect individuals of moral character who are intellectually honest with both themselves and the American citizens. Without them, our Constitution is reduced to meaningless words, and Al Gore, one of the real “fat cats,” will continue to dine at our expense.

Page Printed from: http://www.americanthinker.com/2010/01/the_intellectual_dishonesty_of.html at January 07, 2010 – 07:58:48 AM CST

NCTC director Michael Leiter remained on ski slopes after Christmas Day airline bombing attempt

NCTC director Michael Leiter remained on ski slopes after Christmas Day airline bombing attempt

BY James Gordon Meek
DAILY NEWS WASHINGTON BUREAU

Thursday, January 7th 2010, 4:00 AM

Michael Leiter, head of the NCTC, set up after 9/11 to battle terror attacks, could be in hot water after remaining on ski slopes following Christmas Day jetliner bombing try.

Somodevilla/Getty

Michael Leiter, head of the NCTC, set up after 9/11 to battle terror attacks, could be in hot water after remaining on ski slopes following Christmas Day jetliner bombing try.

Take our Poll

Leiter’s ski pass

Do you believe NCTC director Michael Leiter should be fired?

Yes.
No.

WASHINGTON – The top official in charge of analyzing terror threats did not cut short his ski vacation after the underwear bomber nearly blew up an airliner on Christmas Day, the Daily News has learned.

Michael Leiter, director of the National Counterterrorism Center since 2007, decided not to return to his agency’s “bat cave” nerve center in McLean, Va., until several days after Christmas, two U.S. officials said.

“People have been grumbling that he didn’t let a little terrorism interrupt his vacation,” said one of the sources.

The NCTC, the post-9/11 clearinghouse for intelligence to detect terror plots against the U.S., is under intense scrutiny for failing to “connect the dots” on Nigerian bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

Leiter’s spokesman declined to say when the terror-center chief returned to Washington and fully retook the helm of his analysis agency, which is near CIA headquarters just outside the nation’s capital.

“It is our policy to not make our director’s schedule available to the public,” center spokesman Carl Kropf said in an e-mail.

Leiter has long been well-regarded, and he was not the only official in the homeland security orbit to skip town for vacation during the holidays. President Obama himself stayed in Hawaii until Jan. 4.

But Leiter’s decision to stay close to the ski slopes instead of his headquarters – ground zero for defending the nation against terror – has raised eyebrows among intelligence officials, who have been scrambling since Dec. 25 to figure out what went wrong and plug the holes.

Leiter – appointed by President George W. Bush – already ranked high in the buzz over whose heads could eventually end up on Obama’s chopping block.

Without mentioning Leiter or the NCTC by name, Obama made it plain in a Tuesday speech that there was intelligence in the center’s hands that should have been “fully analyzed and fully leveraged” to stop Abdulmutallab from boarding Northwest Flight 253.

Abdulmutallab, badly burned by his device after it failed to fully detonate, was indicted Wednesday on six counts of terrorism and is expected in federal court in Detroit tomorrow for his arraignment.

Obama also dropped the bombshell Tuesday that U.S. spooks knew the previously locally focused Al Qaeda branch in Yemen aspired to attack the U.S. homeland. The intelligence community “failed to connect those dots,” he said.

“The information was there,” Obama said. “Agencies and analysts who needed it had access to it.”

Officials throughout the government recognized the terror center was the target of Obama’s wrath, since it was the agency set up on the recommendation of the 9/11 Commission in 2004 to analyze terror-threat intelligence.

An affable ex-Navy pilot, Leiter – like Obama – was editor of the Harvard Law Review. He clerked for liberal Supreme Court Associate Justice Stephen Breyer and was a career Justice Department prosecutor before Bush appointed him NCTC director.

But Leiter has been indiscreet too. He once blabbed in a bar that Washington Mayor Adrian Fenty was “the dumbest public official I’ve ever met.”

On Jan. 2, Leiter surprised many Obama administration officials with his first statement on the Detroit bombing attempt – eight days after it happened.

Leiter said the plot was typical of “insidious terrorist threats we face,” and said Al Qaeda continues “to refine their methods to test our defenses and pursue an attack on the homeland.”

That same day, National Public Radio had aired an interview – taped before Christmas – in which Leiter said it is “harder and harder for us to detect” Al Qaeda’s improved capabilities.

“We’re not going to stop every attack,” he predicted, ominously. “Americans have to very much understand that it is impossible to stop every terrorist event. But we have to do our best.”

Meanwhile, a newspaper reported that border security agents were waiting to grill Abdulmutallab when he landed in Detroit after they learned of his extremist links.

If the intelligence had been discovered sooner, border agents said it could have led to questioning and search a of Abdulmutallab before he boarded the Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight with a one-way ticket.

“The people in Detroit were prepared to look at him in secondary inspection,” a senior law enforcement official who requested anonymity told the Los Angeles Times.

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano was bashed for saying 48 hours after the near-miss attack that “the system worked,” but her predecessor said she’s doing a heckuva job.

“Although that initial statement was obviously a misstep, I think she has recovered from that. I think she has actually done a good job,” ex-Secretary Michael Chertoff told “Fox & Friends” Wednesday.

jmeek@nydailynews.com