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Thread: Barack Obama's 75 Days Of Danger

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2005

    Barack Obama's 75 Days Of Danger

    Barack Obama's 75 days of danger

    By Bob Roberts Political Editor 7/11/2008

    America faces a heightened terror threat in the 75 days until Barack Obama takes office, US spy chiefs warned yesterday.

    The CIA and other intelligence agencies gave him his first security briefing - and told him fanatics may try to exploit the period before he enters the White House to attack America.

    Their concern was echoed by George Bush, who said outside the White House: "We are facing a struggle against violent extremists determined to attack us.

    "They would like nothing more than to exploit this period of change to harm the American people."

    Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff added: "Any time there is transition, there is a danger or risk that vulnerability will increase because people become distracted."

    Mr Chertoff said security agencies were now on heightened alert as he warned of the grave threat of a terror atrocity against the US.

    He said: "We have put into effect some additional measures. We are looking very carefully at anything that might be a vulnerability, recognising that we can't guarantee against bad things happening.

    "We need to take special pains to make sure that we are very focused on the security of this country."

    The security supremo warned that the increased state of danger could continue for up to six months after Mr Obama's January 20 inauguration.

    Meanwhile, Iran, which will have featured highly in spy chiefs' dossiers, congratulated him yesterday.

    It is the country's first such goodwill message to a new American president since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

    President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad hailed the incoming American leader for "attracting the majority of voters in the election".

    And he urged him to "use the opportunity to serve the American people and leave a good name for history". Mr Ahmadinejad said world hoped the new administration would improve America's image.

    And he continued: "Other nations expect war-oriented policies, occupation, bullying, contempt of nations and imposing discriminatory policies on them to be replaced by advocating justice, respect for human rights, friendship and non-interference in other countries' internal affairs." Relations between the two countries have been fraught since the Shah was ousted in 1979 and have grown worse recently over Iran's nuclear programme.

    But Mr Obama has made clear he is open to direct talks with the Middle-East state.

    He got a taste of the security blanket that will now surround him as he headed for his daily gym workout in Chicago yesterday with a small army of armed agents.

    Mr Obama is due to to meet President Bush early next week to discuss issues such as the global financial crisis and the war in Iraq.

    The new man has also begun to assemble his team, making tough Rahm Emanuel, 48, his White House chief of staff.

    Gen Colin Powell is being tipped for Education Secretary while John Kerry, beaten by Mr Bush in the 2004 election, could become Secretary of State.

    Bill Clinton's former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, New York bank chief Timothy Geithner and former Federal Reserve boss Paul Volcker are in the running to be made new Treasury Secretary.

    Two members of the Kennedy clan - Robert F Kennedy Jnr and his cousin Caroline - could also be handed posts.

    However, Business Secretary Peter Mandelson fired an early warning about Mr Obama's economic policies putting the US on a collision course with Britain.

    There are concerns Mr Obama may bow to pressure from senior Democrats and impose tariffs on overseas goods.

    But Lord Mandelson said: "We want America to seize the opportunity of the Obama victory to reclaim its leadership role in the world.

    "But Mr Obama will never succeed if Congress forces the new President into isolationism and protectionism, which forces America to turn in on itself.

    "The only way forward for the US and for the world is if America thinks globally. Yet more trade barriers are not the answer.

    And Britain needed to work with Mr Obama to "defeat those forces inside America that will try to hold him back", he added.

    "No guarantee that bad things won't happen..."
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Rapid CIA briefing starts crash course in presidency

    Suzanne Goldenberg in Washington
    Friday November 7 2008

    Barack Obama received his first classified intelligence briefing from the CIA yesterday, lesson one in a 75-day crash course in how to be a US president.

    Such sessions, which typically last 45 minutes to an hour, are among the most visible parts of the transition from victorious candidate to president, along with an increased secret service detail.

    Other aspects of the autumn ritual of presidential transitions, such as the requisite meeting between the president-elect and the outgoing leader, are also under way. George Bush has invited Obama to the White House next Monday. Protocol dictates that Laura Bush and Michelle Obama will retire to the living quarters for a White House tour.

    But the biggest challenge in the transition will be deciding how he wants to run his administration, and what items to put at the top of his agenda from his long list of campaign promises.

    This is decision time for Obama: does he, like Bill Clinton, want a freewheeling White House with young aides ordering pizza at all hours of the day and night? Or does he want to live life in 15-minute increments like the rigidly scheduled White House of George Bush?

    "Presidential decision-making is not a bunch of guys sitting around a table. It's much more complex than that," said John P Burke, a politics professor at the University of Vermont, who specialises in presidential transitions. "There has to be an awareness of the importance of an effective decision-making process that precedes the policy choices that the president himself will have to make."

    Early indications are that Obama wants a more disciplined and buttoned down White House than Clinton. The last Democratic president, overly focused on his cabinet appointments, did not get around to choosing a White House chief of staff until December.

    "They are probably going to be off to a faster start than just about any transition team in memory," said Roy Neel, who was involved in the Clinton transition and headed Al Gore's transition team. "They have done an awful lot of pre-election work."

    Such decisions are more than a matter of style. Unlike cabinet appointments, White House staff do not need to undergo Senate confirmation hearings. Confirmation proceedings for cabinet posts will get under way in January. The business of confirming about 500 sub-cabinet posts is far more laborious.

    It is probable that Obama will not get all of his people in place until September 2009, and the process is likely to take even longer for political jobs further down the list such as ambassadorships and board appointments.

    Meanwhile, there is a huge personnel exercise to get to work on: staffing the 500 or so political posts in the White House and executive office. About 1,000 other people, employed full time at the White House, are professional staff and will stay on after Bush.

    The next big task awaiting Obama is to decide which among his many campaign promises will be top of the agenda in his administration. Part of that decision will be made in the next round of meetings he faces.

    On the ceremonial side, there will be phone calls and visits with foreign leaders.

    Obama will also hold separate meetings with the Democratic and Republican leaderships in the Senate. "Those are not necessarily courtesies. The meetings with congressional leader will be nuts and bolts - working sessions as well as ceremonial," said Neel.

    "They will talk about how they will work, what president-elect Obama wants to do and what the Democratic leadership in Congress wants to do to establish a productive working relationship so that they can get all these things done very quickly."

    All presidents are under pressure to use the coming 74 days to hit the ground running. For Obama, though, who came to power promising hope and change, establishing his priorities and putting together an effective team are even more critical.

    "The bottom line is that presidents need to prioritise, but this president is really going to have to prioritise," said Burke.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

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