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Bond flunks Obama on 100-day security record

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, April 29, 2009 - While President Barack Obama was at Fox High School garnering accolades for his first 100 days in office, U.S. Sen. Christopher "Kit" Bond, R-Mo., was on the Senate floor giving the president "a failing grade in national security policy..."

"While the Obama Administration is busy trying to decide who from the previous administration they should prosecute, they don’t understand that as far as the American people are concerned they are the ones on trial now," said Bond. "The President and his team have to answer how they are going to protect the American people."

Bond did praise Obama for "accepting national security realities in some important areas, including Iraq, the new strategy in the Afghanistan and Pakistan region, and preparing for a North Korean missile launch."

However, the senator said those actions aren't enough to counter what he sees as poor decisions by Obama, especially on two key matters:

-- The president's decision "to close our terrorist detainee facility at Guantanamo Bay – or GTMO – despite confirmation from the Pentagon that GTMO detainees have gone back to the battlefield to kill Americans..."

Bond also faulted the lack of an administration plan "for what to do with the terrorists currently detained at GTMO or new terrorists captured on the battlefield..."

-- "The White House’s decision to release memos on the CIA’s terrorist interrogation program,'' which Bond called "a serious blow to our terror-fighters and even worse, to their ability to obtain the intelligence we need to prevent another 9-11...."

Bond called the release "a retreat to the pre-9-11 mentality that led to the tragic intelligence failures that ultimately cost the lives of more than 3000 innocent Americans..."

The senator also took a jab at the controversial incident earlier this week when "the White House decided to update their photos of Air Force One at the Statue of Liberty with a fighter jet escort but neglected to tell New Yorkers of the event. As a result, all across downtown Manhattan, New Yorkers were panicking and thousands fled the City’s skyscrapers"

"After living through the horrors of the September 11th attacks, New Yorkers would of course fear that another attack was happening. 9-11 was fresh in their memory," said Bond. "While the Obama Administration tried to shrug this incident off – I think it’s telling. This stunt is a symbol of how far from their minds the attacks of 9-11 are."

Still, Bond said that "while their national security grade at Day 100 is bad, the final grade isn’t in yet and the president can choose national security over politics..."

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.

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