Former CIA director James Woolsey blasted Barack Obama for using “straw man” arguments to criticize increased policing of Muslim neighborhoods in order to prevent Islamic terrorism.
Appearing on CNN’s “Legal View with Ashleigh Banfield” on Wednesday, Woolsey said, “I think [Obama] somehow seems to have forgotten that in the days after 9/11, Mayor Giuliani and then after him, Mayor Bloomberg and Ray Kelly put together a system for operating the NYPD and they were helped by some retirees from the CIA who understood these issues, too. They put together a very effective system of surveillance and yes, it looked more at Muslim neighborhoods than at some others just as if the FBI was going after certain types of organized crime.”
To fight organized crime, Woolsey argued that the FBI “would go to more Sicilian and Italian neighborhoods rather than than, say, Irish. It’s just an understanding of the way things work.”
Woolsey, who was Director of the CIA under Bill Clinton, said that Obama “was saying two things. The first three quarters of what the President said I thought was fine, articulate, talking about dealing with ISIS being the number one priority. That we had to use force in the Middle East effectively. All of that was fine.”
However, at the end of his remarks, Obama made what is “common sense in surveillance” sound like something that is “hideous and awful.”
“I find [it] really strange. It’s a straw man. And I think it undercut the very fine first three quarters of his remarks,” Woolsey said.