When you are the Director of National Intelligence, it is generally presumed that you know things--particularly about foreign affairs and matters of national security. Hence the general dismay last week when DNI Gen. James Clapper showed up to World News Tonight and appeared to know absolutely nothing about 12 arrests of suspected terrorists in London--reported hours earlier on multiple cable news shows.
As Michael Shear put it for The New York Times, Clapper "is the person charged with coordinating what the nation knows about terrorism and national security." Shouldn't we be concerned if he seems to know "less than even the casual television viewer"? Janet Napolitano, Secretary of Homeland Security, says no. On CNN this Sunday, she did damage control. The moment was embarrassing, she says, but Clapper came to the show directly from work on the New START treaty. Napolitano and others knew about the U.K. arrests (which were not tied to any threats over here), but Clapper hadn't yet been briefed. Watch her explanation, below: