In an interview “Starting Point” anchor Soledad O’Brien this morning, former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty rejected President Barack Obama’s public announcement of a specific timetable for the drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan. “What we don’t like is the President putting these arbitrary deadlines rather than conditions on ground,” he said.
During an unannounced trip to Afghanistan Tuesday, Obama said he remains committed to pulling 23,000 troops out of the country by the end of summer and sticking to a 2014 deadline to turn security fully over to the Afghan government.
“Let’s not announce it ahead of time for those who don’t have America’s interest at heart can plan around it,” Pawlenty, who has endorsed Gov. Mitt Romney and Romney campaign surrogate, said of the timetable. “Governor Romney would have taken a different approach and planned and executed those plans in private.”
Pawlenty also spoke about Obama’s handling of the economy, calling the president a “disaster,” and his health care plan. “He’s been somebody who has disappointed us with all of these broken promises,” Pawlenty said.
Airports across the world are stepping up security on the first anniversary of the death of Osama bin Laden as new intelligence hints at future al Qaeda threats and authorities tell ABC News they fear the group may soon try to explode U.S.-bound aircraft with explosives hidden inside the bodies of terrorists.
“Al Qaeda and the terrorist threat is very much alive,” New York City Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly tells "Starting Point" anchor Soledad O’Brien this morning.
Al Qaeda’s future plans detailed in documents German officials discovered encoded on a memory disk belonging to a suspected al Qaeda operative arrested in Berlin last year include hijacking a cruise ship, dressing the passengers in orange jump suits – to mimic Guantanamo Bay prisoners – and posting the "executions" on an al Qaeda web site.
The intelligence community in New York has also been looking into the idea of implanted body bombs that could possible escape airport-scanner detection for a while, Kelly said. “Obviously we have to be concerned about it.”
Kelly says anti-terrorism efforts in New York are focused closely on nuclear threats. “A nuclear event is the thing that concerns us the most.”
Watch Kelly talk to Soledad about New York’s One World Trade Center and the fight to prevent terrorism in the city he calls “the number one target in the United States.”