The first refuge of weak leaders is blaming mistakes on subordinates. It's unacceptable in the military, in corporate hierarchies, and in other settings where the responsibilities and authorities of leadership are understood and practiced. Harry Truman enshrined the concept with the famous maxim, "The buck stops here." The principle is that a leader is responsible for everything his or her organization does or fails to do. When a U.S. Navy ship runs aground, the captain of the ship isn't going to point to a junior officer who was serving as OOD (officer of the deck) and say, "It's not my fault; it's his fault!"
President Obama obviously doesn't understand this basic concept of leadership. When he finally got around to responding publicly to the incident of the Christmas underwear bomber, he tried to lay blame on the intelligence community. Not my fault, he was saying — they screwed up. What he doesn't understand is that they work for him, and he's responsible for what they do.
The President also doesn't understand another important principle of leadership. Good leaders give credit for success to their subordinates and take the blame for failures. Does anyone doubt that he would have made liberal use of the vertical pronoun in taking credit for a first year in office with no serious terrorism attempts?
It's also evident that Obama doesn't know much about intelligence. In that sense, he's no different from most politicians. They seem to think that providing enough dollars to the various intelligence agencies of the U.S. government will ensure that surprises never happen and threats never go undetected. The truth is that intelligence will always be imperfect because it deals with one huge uncertainty — what our enemies intend to do. In the wake of 9/11 the politicians decided to reorganize because they didn't understand why the attacks weren't anticipated and prevented. They added new layers of bureaucracy and management, but in the end, predictably, the system still misses small indicators out of the millions they have to deal with all the time.
If the President were a good leader, he would have taken responsibility for the failure of his government to identify and act on this threat. Then he would have worked internally to fix any weaknesses in the intelligence system and possibly fire anyone who was clearly responsible for failure at critical points. He may still do some of this, but we'll be able to judge how serious (and competent) he is by whether he forms a committee or commission to publicly find fault and recommend solutions. That's the politician's way, and it's intended primarily to deflect responsibility and present the image of action.