Those who hoped for the first White House wedding since Richard Nixon’s daughter Tricia got married can forget it.
Jenna Bush and Henry Hager, who recently announced their engagement, are tentatively planning a May wedding at President Bush’s Crawford, Tex., ranch, NewsMax has learned.
Henry, a student at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business, has a Republican pedigree. His father, John, is a former lieutenant governor of Virginia and heads the state’s Republican Party. Henry met the blonde first twin when he worked on the president’s 2004 reelection campaign. Jenna and Hager have been dating ever since.
Hager has been a frequent guest at the White House residence. As related in my book "Laura Bush: An Intimate Portrait of the First Lady," after one dinner at the residence, Hager wanted everyone to watch a parody of Bush by comedian Dave Chappelle. So the president, Laura, the two Bush daughters, and their guests hovered over Barbara’s laptop and watched how Bush would act if he were black.
Announcing the engagement last week, the White House confirmed that Henry, 29, proposed to Jenna in Maine and presented the 25-year-old teacher with a ring. At the time, Sally McDonough, press secretary for the first lady, said that no wedding date had been set. The question of where and when the wedding will take place touched off endless speculation in the media and retrospective stories about Tricia Nixon’s White House wedding in 1971. McDonough had no immediate comment on plans for a May wedding in Crawford.
As for Jenna’a parents, they invited only 75 guests to their wedding on Nov. 5, 1977, a day after Laura’s 31st birthday. They married at First United Methodist Church in Midland, Tex., where both grew up. They had met just three months earlier. Bush friends are betting that Jenna, who has always had a serious boyfriend, is savvy enough about men to have chosen the right one.
CIA Criticism Should Start With Clinton Era
If there were an award for the most nonsensical criticism of the government’s actions before 9/11, it would have to be given to CIA Inspector General John L. Helgerson. In a review of the CIA’s actions, Helgerson concluded that while the CIA worked hard against the al-Qaida threat, George Tenet, the director of Central Intelligence, did not have a comprehensive plan for dealing with it and was unwilling or unable to marshal the intelligence community’s full resources to go after the terrorist group.
The fact is that among government officials, Tenet was alone in sounding a warning about bin Laden. In a Dec. 4, 1998 memo to his deputies, Tenet declared, “We must now enter a new phase in our effort against bin Laden.” He said, “We are at war . . . I want no resources spared in this effort, either inside the CIA or the community.”
When he took over at the CIA, Tenet immediately began restoring the agency’s human spy capabilities after the Clinton administration had brought the agency to its knees by imposing budget cuts of 20 percent and instilling a culture of risk aversion. Tenet developed the plan that helped wipe out the Taliban, which was harboring Osama bin Laden, immediately after 9/11.
While the CIA made mistakes, it was far ahead of Louis Freeh’s FBI in tackling al-Qaida. In fact, three weeks before 9/11, the same Inspector General Helgerson issued a report saying that the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center (CTC) was a “well-managed component that successfully carries out the agency’s responsibilities to collect and analyze intelligence on international terrorism and to undermine the capabilities of terrorist groups.”
The report noted that the CTC’s resources “have steadily increased over the last five years, with personnel growing by 74 percent during that period and the budget more than doubling.”
Media Just Don't Get What Terrorist Screening Is
“Terror Suspect List Yields Few Arrests,” the lead story in the Washington Post said.
“The government’s terrorist screening database flagged Americans and foreigners as suspected terrorists almost 20,000 times last year,” the story said breathlessly. “But only a small fraction were arrested or denied entry into the United States, raising concerns among critics about privacy and the lists’s effectiveness.”
Besides having incomplete figures, the story ignored the fact that the purpose of the database is not necessarily to make arrests, but rather to enable the FBI and other agencies to track people with suspicious connections and backgrounds so they can try to determine if they might, in fact, be terrorists.
Counterterrorism operatives can’t win: If they don’t arrest people, the civil libertarians and media are outraged. If they do arrest them, they are equally outraged.
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of NewsMax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via e-mail. Go here now.
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