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Bush Helping Obama Team Prepare For Attack

This post was written by CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller:

The Bush Administration is planning "table-top exercises" of terror attack scenarios for the Obama Transition Team next month.

Briefing reporters at the White House, Ken Wainstein, assistant to the president for homeland security and counter-terrorism, expects a couple of such exercises to be run next month – no dates yet set.

(AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)
Wainstein, left, thinks all the members of the Obama Cabinet would take part – to get a feel for how each should respond and what each would do in the event of a terror attack on the U.S.

Asked if it wouldn't be worthwhile for Mr. Obama himself to take part, Wainstein hesitated and then said Mr. Obama is getting a series of briefings on these scenarios.

Wainstein says the exercises are just one piece of a "broad effort" to prepare the Obama Team for what it will face on January 20th.

Other interesting points from Wainstein:

  • He senses the Obama team takes the terror threat just as seriously as the Bush Administration
  • Thirty to forty percent of his time is spent briefing the Obama team on homeland security and counter-terrorism issues.
  • He says this is "a period of perceived heightened vulnerability" to a terror attack, but he says there is no chatter or intelligence to back that up.

Wainstein spoke to reporters in advance of a speech President Bush is making today that trumpets the policies that have kept America safe from a second terror attack since 9/11.

Despite all the actions the administration has taken – of which he feels the Patriot Act tops the list - Wainstein concedes that "luck is always a factor" in these matters.

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