From THE WALL STREET JOURNAL:
The relatively quick arrest in the botched May 1 Times Square bombing temporarily quieted the political sparring over national security policies.
But the cease-fire has now ended. Missouri Sen. Kit Bond, the top Republican on the Senate Intelligence Committee, says he doesn’t yet buy the Obama administration’s claim that the alleged bomber, Faisal Shahzad, was trained, directed and likely financed by Pakistani Taliban militants.
Attorney General Eric Holder, said in televised interviews Sunday that Shahzad, a 30-year-old Pakistani-born American, was working at the direction of the group known as Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan.
Bond emerged Tuesday from a briefing arranged by the Justice Department for members of the intelligence panel and said he’s “not convinced by the information I’ve seen so far that there was adequate confirmable intelligence” to make the Pakistani Taliban connection.
One person who was in the room for Tuesday’s intelligence briefing said Bond appeared to fall asleep for 10 to 15 minutes, but that he and other senators had spirited exchanges with the briefers. Among those there to answer questions were top officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Justice Department and the National Counterterrorism Center.
A Bond spokeswoman, referring to the claim Bond had fallen asleep during the Tuesday meeting, said: “Resorting to baseless personal attacks clearly shows Senator Bond touched a nerve and raised questions someone doesn’t want asked.”
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R., Utah) also weighed in, saying he sat beside Bond during the briefing, and “I can tell you he was awake.” Hatch said that sometimes the lights in the room are so bright “you have to rest your eyes for a bit; you get light burn.”
California Democrat Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, differed in her assessment of the briefing, saying she saw “high likelihood” of interactions between Shahzad and the Pakistani group.
Bond isn’t backing down. In an interview Wednesday on MSNBC, he compared Holder’s comments on the Times Square-Pakistan link to the Bush administration’s use of inaccurate intelligence about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction to make the case for the 2003 Iraq invasion.