President George W. Bush’s administration said Wednesday it will brief president-elect Barack Obama and his team on contingency plans in case of an international crisis after his inauguration.
“This is the first time there’s been a transfer of power during a war in a long time,” Bush told Fox News in an interview according to a transcript released by the network.
“And, therefore, it’s incumbent that we make the transition as smooth as possible, that there be good, solid communications, that there be exercises in place so that people (in the incoming Obama administration) are more able to do their job.
“This may come as a shock to people, but I really want president-elect Obama to succeed. I want him to be able to say that we prevented further attacks.”
White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe described the plans to be presented to the Obama team as “a menu of contingencies and possible options.
“It is not exhaustive, it’s not exclusive, and it’s not prescriptive,” he said.
Johndroe confirmed a report in The New York Times that memoranda to Obama will cover several crisis scenarios including a North Korean nuclear explosion, a cyberattack on US computer systems, a terrorist strike on a US site overseas, or instability in the Middle East.
Each contingency plan outlines options Obama can consider.
Johndroe also said the administration is working to “make sure career officials are in place and ready to respond to a crisis should one occur early on in the next administration before appointees are in place.”
The plans were recommended by the commission that investigated the September 11, 2001 attacks.
The commission noted problems during the handover from former president Bill Clinton to Bush, and in its report on the attacks called for a better handover process.