During a speech delivered to celebrate the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s tenth anniversary on Friday, President Obama lauded the nation’s intelligence community for its efforts to prevent terrorism in all corners of the world.
But the presidential speech comes only a day after the White House was caught in a diplomatic scandal due to a U.S. military drone which killed two civilians who were held hostage by the al-Qaida.
The President, however, pledged that a federal review would prevent future mistakes.
Obama also acknowledged that the whole nation bled when an American lost their life, or that entire America grieved when an innocent life was taken. But he was also aware that intelligence agencies did not take their work lightly, although they had been severely criticized over the past several years.
“You do an outstanding job,”
Obama told the intelligence officials attending his speech for their efforts to make America secure.
The President went on and told officers that people who criticize them do not see the life they save, the attacks or the threats they prevent. He mentioned Osama bin Laden’s and other terrorist leaders’ capture, the disclosure that Syria held chemical weapons, the revelations over Russia’s aggressive diplomacy in Ukraine and its nuclear negotiations with Middle East countries.
Obama concluded that the past decade has been challenging for an agency that contributed a lot to American people’s sense of safety.
On Thursday, a federal agency disclosed that a counter-terrorism attack against an al-Qaida facility led to the deaths of two hostages – an American (Warren Weinstein) and an Italian (Giovanni Lo Porto) this January.
The President said Thursday that the U.S. didn’t know that the compound hosted the two civilians, although the targeted location had been under military surveillance for hundreds of hours.
According to the agency, during the counterattack two al-Qaida leaders were also killed, although the U.S. officials weren’t aware that the two were present in the compound. But killing an American with an U.S. military drone is expected to trigger a more extensive review on the situation.
On Friday, Obama promised that the review was on its way so that the U.S. could identify what went wrong and what lessons should be learned before implementing the necessary changes. He also expressed his confidence that the officials in the audience would do everything they could to prevent future loss of innocent lives.
The chief executive also said that the willingness for self-examination and correction of mistakes to get things done even better was a distinctive feature of the American people, which set this nation apart from other nations.
Obama also described the U.S. intelligence community as the most cutting-edge, most capable, and most willing to adopt professional standards on the world. He also added that the U.S. is continuously sharing intelligence with other nations while also gathering new intelligence from enhanced satellites and innovative technologies.
According to Obama’s administration, his ODNI speech was planned long before any drone-related scandal. The ODNI was created shortly after the 9/11 attacks as a convergence point where all data on terrorism is coordinated.
Image Source: Voice of America