Call To Jihad: Terror Recruiting in Laguna and The Southern Philippines

A cartoon from the Editorial of the Philippine Star on ISIS threat in Philippines. http://directory.ucanews.com/news/isis-ideology-has-reached-southern-philippines-pime-missionary/1641

A cartoon from the Editorial of the Philippine Star on ISIS threat in Philippines.
http://directory.ucanews.com/news/isis-ideology-has-reached-southern-philippines-pime-missionary/1641

December 17, 2014 /

The Aquino administration and his most senior members in the Armed Forces of the Philippines(AFP) are trumpeting the UN report that came out a few days ago by saying, “we told you so.” We responded with an article titled “UN Claims No ISIS Presence in the Philippines – They’re Wrong,” where we laid out the ties between some of the most prominent Islamic State (IS) facilitators and the jihadist groups operating in the Philippines. In this follow up piece we’re going to kick things up a notch with an even deeper look into one of the support nodes we’ve mentioned: The Call and Guidance of Cabuyao Laguna (CGCL) and the individuals connected to it. Now, we can forgive AFP spokesman COL Restituto Padilla for not having all the facts since none of the organizations in the Philippine Security Forces (PSF) like to play nice with one another (sometimes to the point where people are killed due to holding onto information just because an organization can). However, the contents of this article are widely known to all of the senior officials of the Aquino administration. Keep this in the back of your mind as you read this piece. The following is from months of collaboration and research from our Asia Analytical Cell and network of sources in the Philippines – some of which are members of the PSF themselves.

UN Claims No ISIS Presence in The Philippines – They’re Wrong

President Aquino: The Barack Obama of Southeast Asia

ISIS Study Group claims terrorists’ presence in the Philippines
http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2014/12/16/1403309/isis-study-group-claims-terrorists-presence-philippines

AFP spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla Jr.: UN reports proves our point. InterAksyon.com File

AFP spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla Jr.: UN reports proves our point. InterAksyon.com File

WE TOLD YOU SO | AFP says UN report of ‘No ISIS in PH’ boosts its claim ever since
http://www.interaksyon.com/article/101156/we-told-you-so–afp-says-un-report-of-no-isis-in-ph-boosts-its-claim-ever-since

Khalil Pareja Source: Rappler

Khalil Pareja
Source: Rappler

The CGCL was established in 2010 by Andrew “Mansur” Gutierrez and Brandon “Khalid” Gorospe. At the time Rajah Suleiman Movement (RSM) Ahmed Santos was 5 yrs removed from his arrest and subsequent move to SICA and Sheik Omar Lavilla had been detained in Bahrain while trying to wire money to his jihadist brethren and extradited to the Philippines 2 yrs prior. This was a period where

Pareja singing the praises of IS when it was still known as “al-Qaida in Iraq” – and before it was “cool” Source: Rappler

Pareja singing the praises of IS when it was still known as “al-Qaida in Iraq” – and before it was “cool”
Source: Rappler

many members of the RSM were laying low and contemplating their next move. The man who took over as the operational leader was Dino Amor Rosalejos Pareja aka “Khalil Pareja.” He reflagged RSM into “Jaysh at-Tauhid” (JTD) but in actuality this was still RSM with all the same personalities involved. Before he also found himself detained (again) in 2012, he had launched an initiative to establish alternative venues for bringing in financial and material support were established in anticipation of Lavilla and Santos’ eventual release from prison.

Mansur Gutierrez Source: The ISIS Study Group

Mansur Gutierrez
Source: The ISIS Study Group

The point man for this endeavor was Gutierrez, who served as the manager of Santos’ legal defense fund and would travel back and forth from Saudi Arabia under the status of an Overseas Foreign Worker (OFW) employed as an Operations Analyst for Advanced Electronics Company Limited. While in Saudi Arabia he collects money and will send it back to the Philippines via Western Union or through trusted associates rotating home. The individuals usually receiving the western union money are two of Santos’ wives, Fatima and Nurain. Our sources in the Philippine National Police – Intelligence Group (PNP-IG) reported to us their suspicions that Nurain is passing

Musa Cerantonio: Always had a soft spot for the Southern Philippines Source: One of his Twitter accounts

Musa Cerantonio: Always had a soft spot for the Southern Philippines
Source: One of his Twitter accounts

messages to Santos when she visits him in SICA. They also stated women typically aren’t searched and if they are its without the same level of scrutiny as a man would receive. This is likely how last summer’s prison video showing the inmates in Santos’ cellblock pledging allegiance to IS that was later promoted by Robert “Musa” Cerantonio (variant-Ceratonio). Nurain will also pass the money Gutierrez sent to other members of the network, even traveling to the Southern Philippines as she’s done on occasion. Gutierrez’s wife is also a key facilitator in the sense that she would often serve as a caretaker for Santos’ Fi Sabilillah Da’wah Media Foundation (FSDMF) when Fatima and Nurain were running errands or out of town on other business. She would also operate as a handler of money passing funds off from one individual to the next.

Gutierrez and Khalid Gorospe established the CGCL to better facilitate the flow of cash coming into the country from their Middle Eastern benefactors and began using the school for recruiting new members to replenish their ranks. Both Gutierrez and Gorospe would return to the Middle East to serve as OFWs tasked with collecting funds and targeting the OFW population for recruitment. How this works is they would identify the most vulnerable: young men who are alone. In this particular culture family is very important, and as an OFW you’re living thousands of miles away from your loved ones in an alien environment that is increasingly hostile to anyone who isn’t an Arab or Sunni Muslim for that matter. Individuals such as Gutierrez and Gorospe prey on these individuals by offering them the following:

1. RESPECT. This is very important due to how poorly Saudis are known to treat Filipinos – especially Christians.

2. A new, extend “family” of their Muslim brothers. This goes a long way towards feeling a new level of acceptance.

3. Promise of enhanced job prospects in the Middle East and when they return home to the Philippines. Gutierrez and Gorospe have used their links to major financiers and facilitators to get select Balik Reverts jobs.

4. A wife. Yes, there have been several cases where a Balik Revert will be matched up with a woman for marriage (this is how Khalil Pareja got married in case you were wondering).

The most promising recruits (after they’ve been indoctrinated into the militant ideology of the Black Flag movement that is) are identified while studying at one of the affiliated institutions – such as the CGCL – and sent to training camps in the Southern Philippines run by a joint-instructor cadre consisting of Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF), Khalifah Islamiyah Mindanao (KIM), Bangsamoro Justice Movement (BJM)/BIFF-SOG and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).

Breakdown of the radicalization process
Source: The ISIS Study Group

Phillipines chart

One of his other tasks is to serve as the mouthpiece for the Santos Network to major terror financiers such as former Islamic Studies Call and Guidance (ISCAG) Director Sheik Hamoud Muhammad abd-al Aziz al-Lahim and Saleh Muhammad al-Sanaa. These connections play a big role in Gutierrez’s ability to secure jobs for new recruits. When he’s back in the Philippines, Gutierrez will often make his rounds by visiting ISCAG and the al-Marrif Educational Center (AMEC) to coordinate the distribution of funds to the CGCL and other affiliated schools in the country – all under the guise of “Islamic Dawah Activities.” This money is for proselytizing efforts, facilitating the travel of personnel to Syria and Iraq, even purchasing weapons and IED-making material for their jihadist colleagues in the Southern Philippines. These contacts will even send trusted associates representing their interests in the country to these institutions to pass along funds and guidance – Gutierrez reportedly plays an important role in making the arrangements for these meetings.

***

We decided to begin putting out more detailed pieces to drive home to the US government and good people of the Philippines that the IS presence in the country is very real, both the US and Aquino administration are both aware of it, but isn’t taking the threat seriously. The Filipino members of our network have expressed a genuine fear of the coming storm, and rightfully so. The Black Flag affiliates in the country aren’t just a threat to Filipino Christians and westerners, they’re also a threat to the average Filipino Muslim who oppose the ideology of death that Baghdadi and his followers practice. PNoy, his cabinet and the senior members of his security forces have been very much aware of everything we covered in this article for quite some time. The million dollar question is why haven’t the PNP conducted a security sweep to detain the key members of the Santos Network who are present in the country after the arrests of Ricardo Ayeras and Andy Valdez? We know this much, the PNP has been watching this network but don’t have the appetite to detain them despite the danger they pose to the civilian population. Unfortunately, they’re only going to be motivated to do something if the leadership is motivated to take action. It all starts at the top – starting with PNoy.

Much more at The ISIS Study Group

Man Who Interrogated Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Speaks Out

mitchellimg

Watch Megyn Kelly’s 12/15 interview James Mitchell. The interview will be continued on tonight’s Kelly File.

The CIA interrogation ‘architect’ reacts to interrogation report (part 1)

 

The CIA interrogation ‘architect’ reacts to interrogation report (part 2)

 

The CIA interrogation ‘architect’ reacts to interrogation report (part 3)

 

Day 2 Of Megyn Kelly Interviews James Mitchell Who Interrogated KSM

 

Also see:

No Tears For Terrorists

CIA (1)By Justin O. Smith:

The recently released Senate Intelligence report on the CIA detention and interrogation program, created after 9/11, is a poorly done partisan attack on the Agency, and it is marred by errors of fact and questionable motives, as Americans note that this story moved Dr. Gruber, ACA architect, and his “Americans are too stupid to understand Obamacare” remark from the front page of the New York Times to page twenty; however, since the Democrats have mischaracterized the effectiveness of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program and alleged that Islamic terrorists/ “enemy combatants” captured on foreign battlefields were “tortured” through waterboarding and Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EIT), let’s put this topic to rest, as we also note that waterboarding was prohibited seven years ago.

Many progressive Democrats have conflated the issue by stating that Japanese soldiers were hung in 1947 for “waterboarding” U.S. soldiers, when what they actually did is more accurately described as “water-torture”, forcing water into the stomachs of prisoners, our U.S. soldiers, until osmosis ruptured their blood-cells, ending in death. This is not in any manner similar to the minor dunkings that Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists received at the hands of CIA interrogators, which merely gave the subject the illusion of drowning.

At the cost of $40 million, the Senate intelligence report, a 524 page declassified executive summary of the 6300 page classified report, accuses the CIA of torture, however, the CIA repeatedly consulted the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel about methods it intended to use. Legal opinions __ later discredited and withdrawn due to political pressure from the Obama administration __ assured the Agency that ALL of its Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (EIT) were lawful and did not constitute torture.

It is worth noting here that tens of thousands of U.S. Armed Forces members, Rangers, Special Forces, SEALs, Pathfinders and Recon have voluntarily subjected themselves to waterboarding in the Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) classes. All intelligence and military personnel exposed to a high risk of capture take SERE training.

Now, the very same Democrats, who once fully supported the EIT program, clearly didn’t include any information that did not fit their predetermined conclusions, and these same Democrats charged the CIA with immoral ineffectiveness, after they cherry-picked their way through six million pages of documents in the program that they in fact enabled; in their questionable endeavor, they ignored credible evidence that information gathered in this program led to Osama bin Laden.

In a joint response, former CIA Directors George Tenet, Porter Goss and Michael Hayden and former CIA Deputy Directors John McLaughlin, Albert Calland and Stephen Kappes rebut the Senate Intelligence report in a December 10th Wall Street Journal editorial that states: “The (EIT) program in its totality formed an essential part of the foundation from which the CIA and the U.S. military mounted the bin Laden operation. For instance, the CIA never would have focused on the individual who turned out to be bin Laden’s personal courier without the detention and interrogation program.”

Senator Saxby Chambliss, the ranking Republican on the Intelligence Committee, and five other Republicans wrote a 100 page dissent of the report, which was written solely by Democratic committee staff members. Chambliss, in a later statement, contradicted the principal findings of the Democrats, calling them “erroneous and inflammatory.”

Senator Chambliss also presented 766 known cases that represented “sole sourced” intelligence extracted through EIT, which gave advanced warning of terrorist attacks on Heathrow airport and London’s Canary Wharf. Chambliss stated, “There is no telling how many lives this program saved.”

Jose Rodriguez Jr., a former CIA official, rejects the Senate Intelligence report’s conclusions that EITs weren’t useful in saving American lives, and he stated: “… that the interrogation program brought no intelligence is an egregious falsehood; it’s a dishonest attempt to rewrite history … I’m bemused that the Senate could devote so many resources to studying the interrogation program and yet never once speak to any of the key people involved in it, including the guy who ran it, that would be me.”

One report from the twelve month period in 2004 showed a 92% success rate when EITs were used at GITMO, and even the Senate Intelligence report had to admit that some intelligence was gathered from 82% of detainees subjected to EITs, while in CIA custody. The effectiveness was shown to be only 57.5% with detainees when soft-sell techniques (polygraphs) were used.

Since the creation of the detention and interrogation program, the CIA has reported any allegation of abuse to the Justice Dept. Twenty cases have been forwarded to Justice in all these years, with only one meriting prosecution.

On December 11th, CIA Director John Brennan put this topic in its proper context as he stated: “The events of 9/11 will be forever seared into the memory of Americans … those 77 minutes in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, Our Nation ached … It prayed. In Our pain, We pledged to come together … We vowed, NEVER AGAIN.”

Americans are now being forced by this report to reflect and ask themselves, “Was America wrong to use these Enhanced Interrogation Techniques?”

The Taliban, Al Qaeda and the Islamofascist groups that now comprise the Islamic State have routinely tortured, maimed and murdered their prisoners over the last several decades, just as America witnessed nineteen U.S. soldiers dismembered in Somalia and hung from utility poles in 1993 and, more recently, four young Christian children beheaded in Iraq for refusing to convert to Islam. And during this time, they have consistently and routinely worked towards successfully striking America in the most destructive and lethal fashion; the bomb plots, the biological and chemical attack plans and their search for nuclear weapons have all increased, and all of this was in the making long before the EIT program, as illustrated by the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Americans reflect on what has brought us to this discussion, and we remember ___ We remember Islamic terrorists followed the Koran’s mandate to murder non-believers, the infidels, in order to purify the world ___ taking the lives of 3000 innocent Americans. This is their life’s calling, and America reacted by making it our mission to capture or kill every Islamofascist meaning to bring Her harm, a mission we took seriously; if an Islamic terror suspect or known terrorist gets slapped a few times or has a little water poured over his face, I’ll not be shedding any tears.

CIA saved lives

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The Feinstein Report Is Going to Cost Us

pic_giant_121314_SM_Dianne_FeinsteinNational Review, By Andrew C. McCarthy, DECEMBER 13, 2014:

Jihadists are still waging their war against the civilized world. Check that: Jihadists are currently winning their war against the civilized world. Thank Barack Obama, who fails to grasp the difference between being “the president who ends wars” and the president who retreats from wars, and thus surrenders while the enemy is on the rise.

What is the response of Senate sages to this predicament? Dianne Feinstein and her fellow Democrats saw it as the perfect time to savage the CIA, further burn America’s bridges with anti-terrorism allies, and hand jihadists a huge propaganda victory.

The Islamic State had a response, too: They beheaded four Christian children for refusing to renounce Jesus Christ.

You see where this is going, no?

The Democrats’ “torture” report is a gratuitous hit job — brought to you by the same party that, out of political calculation, aggressively undermined the American war effort in Iraq — only after voting to send our men and women into grave danger there, also out of political calculation.

To be sure, the report is a highly disturbing document. It graphically illustrates the severity of enhanced interrogation tactics used against a small group of top-tier terrorists — terrorists who were responsible for brutally murdering thousands of Americans and who, at the time of their capture, were actively plotting to kill thousands more.

Still, notwithstanding the revelation of a few new gory details, this is old news and its disclosure serves no useful purpose — it is just a settling of scores.

“Old news” is not used here in the familiar Clinton/Obama sense of acknowledging a few embarrassing scandal details on Friday night to pave the way for dismissing scandal coverage as stale by Monday morning. The CIA’s interrogation program happened over a decade ago. It was investigated by Justice Department prosecutors for years — and not once but twice. The second time, even Eric Holder, the hyper-politicized, hard-Left attorney general who had promised Obama’s base a “reckoning,” could not help but concede that the case against our intelligence agents should be dropped because the evidence was insufficient to warrant torture prosecutions.

As I have frequently argued here over the years, there is a world of difference between what is couched in political rhetoric as “torture,” a conversation stopper that the Left cavalierly applies to every instance of prisoner abuse, and the federal crime of torture, which has a strict legal definition and is a difficult offense to prove, precisely to ensure that torture is not trivialized. Not surprisingly, then, the fact that the interrogations investigation was terminated has never been regarded as a clean bill of health.

To the contrary, disclosure was made to the public, through congressional investigations as well as through the criminal probe, that the tactics used were troubling. The treatment of a bare fraction of the tens of thousands of detainees held for a time raised concerns about abuse — far less than the norm in previous wars. The abuses that did occur, however, became notorious. And they were not trivial. Indeed, two detainees died: one under suspicious circumstances in Iraq, another of hypothermia in Afghanistan.

But we’ve known this for years. In conjunction with the Left’s shameful “Bush lied, people died” Iraq war meme — along with the Bush administration’s peculiar decision not to defend itself from scurrilous allegations — the “torture” narrative helped propel Democrats to decisive victories in the 2006 and 2008 elections.

Feinstein’s report similarly serves no useful purpose when it comes to the ostensible rationale for its release, namely: the quest to corroborate the strictly ideological — and demonstrably false — claim that coercive interrogation does not yield vital intelligence.

On this score, it is almost not worth pointing to the averments of current and former CIA directors and operatives that the techniques employed produced essential wartime intelligence. It is even tempting to omit mention of the fact that the 9/11 Commission Report — lauded by members of both parties as the definitive account of the 9/11 attacks and the foundation of American counterterrorism policy — is largely the product of intelligence culled from top terrorists subjected to waterboarding and other indignities.

These are time-wasting exercises because the Feinstein report, as a piece of government investigative work, is laughably incompetent — at least as much as a taxpayer can laugh at a $50 million political stunt. An investigation that, as Rich Lowry notes, neglects to interview a single participant in the relevant events is a fraud. There is no other word for it.

This one will cost us dearly — and I’m not just talking about the $50 mil. The allies we need to prosecute a global anti-terror campaign — the ones from whom Obama’s election was supposed to win us renewed respect and affection — despise us for what Senate Democrats have done. As someone who has been around the block as many times as Feinstein must be aware, the report embarrasses governments that cooperate with the United States and raises their vulnerability as terror targets.

And just as our allies are reminded that America is an unfaithful friend, so, too, have American national-security officials, intelligence agents, and warriors been given a cautionary lesson: If you take actions to protect the American people — in wartime, in the heat of the moment amid a palpably justified fear of mass-murder attacks after nearly 3,000 of your fellow citizens have been slaughtered — better prepare to be hounded as a war criminal for the succeeding decade or more.

Jihadists, meanwhile, will go on beheading teenagers and planning massive attacks.

It has been one thing to tell our ascendant enemies — in actions and omissions that speak louder than words — that we have no stomach to fight them where they must be fought: on the ground where, we know, given time and space, they plot to kill Americans. It is quite another thing to buoy them with the assurance that a major party in this country has a bottomless appetite to fight Americans whose major allegiance is to America.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a policy fellow at the National Review Institute. His latest book is Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment.

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CIA saved lives

Former CIA Officer Gary Berntsen talks reactions to the Agency’s report

Published on Dec 11, 2014 by CCTV America

CCTV America interviewed Gary Berntsen for an inside perspective on the report. Berntsen is a former CIA Senior Operations Officer.

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Brennan Disappoints Again

2866529523CSP, by Fred Fleitz:

CIA Director John Brennan did some good in his unprecedented CIA press conference on the report released this week by Democratic members of the Senate Intelligence Committee on the enhanced interrogation program. He defended the Agency and its employees from unfair attacks on its efforts to stop further terrorist attacks after 9/11. He disputed claims in the report that the CIA lied to Congress about the enhanced interrogation program. He noted that the Agency stayed in regular contact with Congress and the Justice Department about this program and self-reported when things went wrong. He stressed how unfair it was that the investigation failed to interview any CIA officials. Brennan also decried the investigation’s failure to consider that the enhanced interrogation program was initiated in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks when U.S. officials were fearful of further al-Qaeda terrorist attacks.

I was glad to hear Brennan say these things. However, he undermined his message by also straddling the fence on the value of the enhanced interrogation program in an attempt to win political support from congressional Democrats when he said that that although detainees subjected to enhanced interrogation produced “useful information,” he claimed the cause and effect relationship between the interrogations and obtaining useful information “is unknowable.” Senator Feinstein quickly praised these statements but added that she disagreed “that it is ‘unknowable’ whether information needed to stop terrorist attacks could be obtained from other sources.”

Last August I called for John Brennan to resign after he mishandled an incident when Democratic Senate staff improperly removed classified documents from a CIA facility during the enhanced interrogation investigation. Senator Feinstein misrepresented the CIA’s actions as spying on Congress. I suspect Brennan is trying to win back the support of Feinstein and other Senate Democrats after this incident by his comments that hedged on the value of the enhanced interrogation program.

Brennan could have served the interests of the CIA and U.S. national security better by firmly standing behind this program like former CIA Directors Goss, Tenet, and Hayden did and not engaging in a strange epistemological argument on what is “knowable.”   Goss, Tenet, and Hayden, who worked more closely on this program than Brennan, believe it is “knowable” that the enhanced interrogation program produced unique, time-sensitive intelligence on terrorism threats that could not have been obtained through other means.

This also used to be Brennan’s position. According to the Wall Street Journal, a March 2009 memo to the Senate Intelligence Committee signed by Brennan said: “CIA assesses that most, if not all, of the timely intelligence acquired from detainees in this program would not have been discovered or reported by any other means.” Brennan also didn’t make this “unknowable” argument when he presented the CIA’s rebuttal to the Senate report last year.

Brennan’s hedging on the enhanced interrogation program’s reflects an unfortunate trend toward watered-down analysis and risk aversion by CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies due to the firestorm of criticism it faced in the 2000s after intelligence failures related to the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Saddam Hussein’s WMD programs. To avoid being wrong or alienating anyone in Congress, intelligence analysis since the mid -2000s on controversial issues such as Iran’s nuclear program became increasingly bland and consensus-based.   Pressure has been put on intelligence analysts and agencies to support a consensus corporate line in their analysis to avoid being wrong and attracting congressional criticism.

Intelligence officials have tried to discredit any agencies or analysts who break from the corporate line on analysis. This happened in April 2013 when Congressman Doug Lamborn (R-CO) inadvertently revealed a classified finding from a Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) report that he said “assesses with moderate confidence the North currently has nuclear weapons capable of delivery by ballistic missiles, however the reliability will be low.” Senior U.S. intelligence officials immediately dismissed the DIA report cited by Lamborn as an outlier as did the Obama administration. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper read a statement that said the DIA report “is not [his emphasis] an Intelligence Community assessment.”

U.S. intelligence analysis should be written the way Director William Casey insisted it be written: analysts must provide their best assessment and dare to be wrong. Intelligence analysts shouldn’t be pulling their punches because of how their work might be received by the White House or Congress. Brennan’s hedging on the value of the enhanced interrogation program is the latest indication that American intelligence analysis is being driven by political considerations and has a long way to go to return to the high standard demanded by Director Casey so it produces the incisive and bold assessments needed to protect our country in a dangerous world.

Brennan: Claim That Detainees Didn’t Provide Valuable Intel After EITs ‘Lacks Any Foundation at All’

 

PJ Media, By Bridget Johnson, December 11, 2014:

WASHINGTON — CIA Director John Brennan stepped to the podium at Langley today for a rare press conference to respond to a report accusing the agency of torture, launching into a passionate defense of the men and women who work there.

Brennan began by walking everyone back to the dark days of 9/11, and reminded all that the first combat death in Afghanistan — Johnny “Mike” Spann, killed on Nov. 25, 2001 — was CIA. Since then, he said, 20 more CIA officers “have lost their lives around the world at the hands of terrorists.”

But he also stressed that the Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats’ report, which said enhanced interrogation techniques were not effective in gleaning useful intelligence, ”lacks any foundation at all” in its conclusion.

After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, Brennan said, “Our government and our citizens recognized the urgency of the task to find and stop al-Qaeda before it could shed the blood of more innocent men, women and children, be it in America or be it in any other corner of the world.”

The EIT program was “uncharted territory for the CIA and we were not prepared,” he added. “We had little experience housing detainees and precious few of our officers were trained interrogators… As concerns about Al Qaeda’s terrorist plans endured, a variety of these techniques were employed by CIA officers on several dozen detainees over the course of five years before they ended in December of 2007.”

“The previous administration faced agonizing choices about how to pursue al-Qaeda and prevent additional terrorist attacks against our country while facing fears of further attacks and carrying out the responsibility to prevent more catastrophic loss of life. There were no easy answers. And whatever your views are on EITs, our nation and, in particular this agency, did a lot of things right during this difficult time to keep this country strong and secure.”

Brennan said the CIA views Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) report as “flawed” in its execution, noting that CIA officers were not interviewed by committee investigators.

“In a limited number of cases, agency officers used interrogation techniques that had not been authorized, were abhorrent, and rightly should be repudiated by all. And we fell short when it came to holding some officers accountable for their mistakes,” he said. “It is vitally important to recognize, however, that the overwhelming majority of officers involved in the program at CIA carried out their responsibilities faithfully and in accordance with the legal and policy guidance they were provided. They did what they were asked to do in the service of our nation.”

Brennan stressed that detainees who were subjected to EITs did yield valuable intelligence, including in finding Osama bin Laden, but he cannot say whether it was the EITs that led the detainees to talk.

“The cause and effect relationship between the use of EITs and useful information subsequently provided by the detainee is, in my view, unknowable,” he said.

He added that the record “simply does not support the study’s inference that the agency repeatedly, systematically and intentionally misled others on the effectiveness of the program.”

“Primarily, however, the study’s contention that we repeatedly and intentionally misled the public and the rest of the U.S. government rests on the committee’s view that detainees subjected to EITs did not produce useful intelligence, a point on which we still fundamentally disagree.”

The longtime CIA veteran — who joined in 1980 and was deputy executive director when al-Qaeda struck the homeland on 9/11 – said one of the “most frustrating aspects” of the study is that it “conveys a broader view of the CIA and its officers as untrustworthy, that the institution and the workforce were willing to forego their integrity in order to preserve a program they were invested in and supposedly believed to be right.”

“This in no way comports with my experience in the CIA. While the agency has a traditional bias for action and a determined focus on achieving our mission, we take exceptional pride in providing truth to power, whether that power likes or agrees with what we believe and what we say or not and regardless of whether that power is affiliated with any particular political party.”

Feinstein was live-tweeting Brennan’s speech, responding to his statements with the hashtag #ReadTheReport.

The senator said in a statement after the speech that Brennan’s uncertainty of which techniques led to actionable intelligence substantiated her report’s claims. “This is a welcome change from the CIA’s position in the past that information was obtained as a direct result of EITs,” Feinstein said.

Yet Brennan also said: “But for someone to say that there was no intelligence of value of use that came from those detainees once they were subjected to EITs, I think that is — lacks any foundation at all.”

Feinstein disagreed that it’s “unknowable” whether the EITs led to the intelligence.

“The report shows that such information in fact was obtained through other means, both traditional CIA human intelligence and from other agencies,” she said. “…The president, Congress and other policymakers must get the facts and intelligence assessments without them being colored by policy views or an effort to hide embarrassing facts.”

“As one who received CIA briefings in 2006 and 2007 about the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques, I know that the CIA did not ‘speak truth to power,’ and that the descriptions of interrogations that were finally provided to the committee did not accurately reflect reality.”

President Obama refused to talk about Brennan today when asked at an Export Council meeting.

White House press secretary Josh Earnest told reporters that Obama still has confidence in his CIA director.

“The president is pleased to have — to count him as one of the people who has been a senior member of his national security team since the very beginning of his tenure in office, and the president continues to rely on his advice to this day,” he said.

Earnest said Brennan was at the White House this morning only to participate in the president’s daily briefing. “It’s not particularly unusual for him to do that,” he added.

When asked at the CIA press conference about whether reporters will be back in the same room in several years, faced with a similarly damning report about the Obama administration’s use of drones and civilian deaths, Brennan said he couldn’t talk about current operations.

“I will tell you, though, that during my tenure at the White House, as the president’s assistant for counterterrorism, that the use of these unmanned aerial vehicles that you refer to as drones in the counterterrorism effort has done tremendous work to keep this country safe,” he said. “The ability to use these platforms and advanced technologies, it has advanced the counterterrorism mission and the U.S. military has done some wonderful things with these platforms.”

“And in terms of precision of effort, accuracy and making sure that this country, this country’s military does everything possible to minimize to the great extent possible the loss of life of noncombatants, I think there’s a lot for this country and this White House and the military to be proud of.”

VICE News Exclusive: The Architect of the CIA’s Enhanced Interrogation Program

 

Published on Dec 10, 2014 by VICE News

The Senate Intelligence Committee has released a blistering, 500-page report on the CIA’s controversial detention and interrogation program, a document that committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein said represents the most significant oversight effort in the history of the US Senate.

The $40 million, five-year study concluded that CIA officials exaggerated the value of the intelligence they gleaned from dozens of “high-value detainees” held at black site prisons, where they were subjected to so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” such as sleep deprivation and waterboarding.

The committee reviewed more than 6 million pages of top-secret CIA documents and found that the architect of the interrogation program was a retired Air Force psychologist named James Mitchell, an agency contractor who — according to news reports — personally waterboarded alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The Senate report does not identify Mitchell by name.

Mitchell has a signed a non-disclosure agreement with the CIA and was unable to discuss his alleged role in the agency’s enhanced interrogation program, but VICE News met up with him in suburban Florida to discuss the Senate’s report and one of the darkest chapters of the war on terror. This is the first time Mitchell has ever appeared on camera.

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A Professional Opinion on Torture: What the CIA Report Ignores About Interrogation

CIA (1)Breitbart, by DR. SEBASTIAN GORKA, Dec. 10, 2014:
Just a day after the Democrat-driven release of the report on the CIA’s “Enhanced Interrogations,” the news cycle is once again being driven by the issue of state-sanctioned torture, despite the program the report covers having ended many years ago. The story is clearly just as much a political one as national security one.

“Americans should be ashamed!” “The Democrats are endangering our servicemen and our allies!” Such is the extreme spread of opinion and reaction to the release yesterday of a 522-page report from the Democrat-led Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. Standard narratives oscillate between condemning any use by America of tactics such as waterboarding, to those who see the release as a potential trigger for attacks against US interests around the world.

But what are the facts? In my career, I have trained US federal law enforcement agents in the principals of how to effectively interview Jihadist suspects. Before, that I was involved in the training of British special forces (SAS), in helping them resist interrogation by the enemy. Here is what I know:

  • Professionals do not use violence when interrogating “bad guys.” Even the most heinous terrorists. Why? Because most humans do not like pain and you never know if your prisoner actually has the information you need. As a result, when they “break,” you have no idea if they are inventing information just to make you stop hurting them. Subsequently, you may take that fabricated information and plan future operations around them, thus endangering the lives of your own people because the information was false.
  • Torturing people, or even “just” waterboarding them– a procedure which makes the subject feel as if they are drowning– may break a subject, but it will most often engender even greater hatred. That hatred cannot be controlled, especially if you are in an extra-judicial situation, or in a battlefield environment, which may lead at some point to the release of your prisoner. As a result, you may take a lowly foot-soldier who was just fighting you to feed his family and turn them into a person totally committed to the destruction of the United States. Remember the head of ISIS/The Islamic State, Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, was once our prisoner.
  • The “ticking time-bomb” scenario is a powerful argument, but by its nature should not be used as a justification for standing policies.  The idea that the interrogator can “step over the line” when the threat is dire and imminent is sympathetic to many reasonable people. However, there is no way to codify dire and imminent in an operationally useful fashion. A nuclear bomb timed to explode in New York tomorrow? Sure. But what about a car bomb in a “major” US city by April? Can I torture then? (One approach has been suggested by a kidnap case in Europe in which the victim was expected to die imminently and the perpetrator was in custody. The officer in charge, using the ticking time bomb analogy, decided to use violence. But first he told all his colleagues to leave the room and formally accepted all the legal ramifications of hurting the prisoner. And he was in fact prosecuted for his actions although he made the suspect talk. Note: his  actions were never used as an argument for a permanent change in policy. The individual knew that what he was doing was wrong and he was prepared for the consequences).
  • The argument that we did “bad” things as a nation for the greater good in the past is not sound either. Yes, we interned Japanese Americans, and our allies, the British, tortured SS officers. So what? Do we really think that American citizens should have been treated differently because of their skin color or where they grandparents came from? And yes, the Nazis were incarnate evil, and the SS the worst of all, but does that really mean ALL options are open? Can I parade the prisoner’s children into the cell and proceed to threaten their lives, or physically hurt them to get him to talk? Surely, if the war against Global Jihadism has any meaning, it is because we posit ourselves as morally good and the enemy as evil. Does that distinction end when the door to the cell is slammed shut?
Torture is simply un-American and is also not good professional practice.
However, there are broader issues. This document is so voluminous that, despite redaction, several mainstream media news sources have already pieced together conclusions, as have the countries which assisted in the program. We can rest assured that ISIS, Al Qaeda, and even Tehran and Russia will be poring over the 500-plus pages too.
Secondly, the idea that one administration can provide the legal standing for the use of a technique – even if it is unwise, or wrong – and then the officials who followed those orders can be prosecuted years later because the administration has changed, will have an effect on our capacity as a nation to protect ourselves. Our people need to know the politicians won’t betray them.
Lastly, the whole unseemly sight of a Congressional body rushing to release such sensitive information simply because their leadership’s party lost the last election is not how we deal with matters of national security. Preventing another 9/11 is not a partisan issue.
Dr. Sebastian Gorka is the Major General Matthew C. Horner Distinguished Chair of Military Theory at the Marine Corps University, and the National Security and Foreign Affairs editor for Breitbart.com . You can follow him at @SebGorka.
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New U.S. embassy warnings posted after release of CIA interrogation report

A police officer patrols outside the U.S. embassy in London Dec. 9, 2014. The Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the CIA’s anti-terrorism tactics on Tuesday and U.S. officials moved to shore up security at American facilities around the world as a precaution. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

A police officer patrols outside the U.S. embassy in London Dec. 9, 2014. The Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the CIA’s anti-terrorism tactics on Tuesday and U.S. officials moved to shore up security at American facilities around the world as a precaution. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor

Washington Post, By Dan Lamothe, Dec. 9. 2014:

The State Department released new security warnings Tuesday following the Senate Intelligence Committee’s release of a controversial report on CIA interrogation techniques, saying Americans should avoid crowds and watch out for unrest.

Emergency messages issued in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Thailand all cited the Senate report’s release as a cause for concern. State Department officials suggested monitoring developments through local media and U.S. embassy websites.

U.S. citizens “should be aware that the release of declassified versions of the executive summary, findings, and conclusions of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence’s study on the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation program could prompt anti-U.S. protests and violence against U.S. interests, including private U.S. citizens,” the warnings said. “U.S. citizens should pay attention to their surroundings and take appropriate safety precautions, including avoiding demonstrations or confrontational situations.”

The new warnings come after defense officials confirmed Monday that had put a number of military units on a heightened state of alert in anticipation of unrest because of the report’s release. The units involved include a crisis-response unit that has Marines in Sigonella, Italy, and Morón, Spain, a second crisis-response unit with troops in Kuwait and Iraq, and 50-man teams of fleet anti-terrorism security team (FAST) Marines who are typically called upon to reinforce U.S. embassies.

Afghanistan and Pakistan have been sites of unrest perpetually since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on Washington and New York. Thailand was the home of a “black site” prison in which interrogations occurred, including some on Abu Zabaida, who is accused by the U.S. of being involved in al-Qaeda operations. He lost an eye at the site after undergoing interrogation that included waterboarding, according to the report.

The Senate report does not identify the location of the black sites, but includes a color-coded system that calls the one in Thailand “Detention Site Green.” The Washington Post determined which one was which using other details in the report.

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Senate Dems Politicize Intelligence Oversight

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CSP, by Fred Fleitz, December 9, 2014:

Aided by numerous leaks by Democratic members and staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee, mainstream media are planning a nostalgic trip back to the Bush-bashing days of the 2000s with today’s release of declassified parts of a Senate report on the Bush-era enhanced-interrogation program, a CIA counterterrorism initiative that its critics claim included torture.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has released a 499-page declassified executive summary of the still-classified 6,700-page report. Declassified versions of a CIA rebuttal and additional Democratic and Republican views reportedly also will be released today.

This investigation marks a new low for congressional oversight of intelligence because of its naked partisanship and refusal to consider all relevant evidence. The report was written entirely by the committee’s Democratic staff. The investigation included no interviews — it is based only on a review of documents. Because the report lacks Republican co-authors or interviews of people who ran the enhanced-interrogation program, it has no credibility and amounts to a five-year, $50 million Democrat cherry-picking exercise to investigate the Bush administration.

This didn’t have to happen. There are congressional Republicans who have problems with the enhanced-interrogation program and wanted an honest, bipartisan assessment of it. This is why all but one Republican member of the Senate Intelligence Committee voted to approve the probe in March 2009. However, all of the committee’s GOP members withdrew their support six months later when it became clear that this inquiry would be a witch hunt against the Bush administration and the CIA and not a balanced, bipartisan investigation.

And what will this report tell us that we don’t already know? New details about enhanced-interrogation techniques and Democratic objections to them won’t be news. According to press leaks about the report, it will claim the program was poorly run and that CIA personnel exceeded their legal authority in running the program and lied about it to Congress and the White House. Such charges are hard to take seriously, because CIA officers accused in the report of improper and illegal activities were not interviewed by the committee’s staff investigators. Most of them were not even allowed to read the report — that privilege was limited to former CIA directors and deputy directors, and they were forced to sign non-disclosure agreements by the committee before they were given access to it.

The report will dispute that the enhanced-interrogation program produced useful intelligence. However, such a finding isn’t credible, since it is written by Democratic staff and reflects a partisan position long held by Democrats.

There are many former Bush-administration and CIA officials who claim that the enhanced-interrogation program was effective, provided crucial counterterrorism intelligence, and was conducted entirely within the law. These officials also claim that Democratic members of the House and Senate intelligence committees were fully briefed on the program and supported it until it became politically useful to condemn it. Former CIA official Jose Rodriguez, who ran the enhanced-interrogation program, recently wrote a compelling Washington Post op-ed explaining these points.

Do these officials, including the CIA officers who ran the enhanced-interrogation program — former CIA director Michael Hayden, former deputy CIA director John McLaughlin, former CIA director George Tenet, former CIA general counsel John Rizzo, and others — have so little credibility that it was not worth interviewing them? How could a fair and thorough investigation of such a controversial intelligence program possibly be conducted without interviewing the key people who worked on or oversaw it?

While the decision by the Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats to ignore the views of CIA officials who knew the enhanced-interrogation program best and to refuse to interview them as part of the inquiry may seem odd, this makes perfect sense for an investigation that was only looking for information that fit its predetermined conclusions. They did not want to spoil their pre-cooked report with unpleasant facts and dissenting views from CIA officials.

The Obama administration and congressional Republicans have raised concerns that the report being pushed by Democratic committee members will damage U.S. national security and could endanger American lives.

Revealing more details about the program will hurt American relations with key allies and could discourage them from sharing intelligence with the United States or cooperating with us on risky intelligence or military operations in the future.

Fear that the report also could lead to violence against Americans or to terrorist attacks led Secretary of State John Kerry to request that its release be delayed. American military personnel overseas and U.S. embassies and consulates have been warned to be on guard for “potential violence” because of the release of the report. House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers (R., Mich.) warned on Sunday that the report would be used as a propaganda tool by terrorist groups to incite anti-American unrest and would lead to “violence and deaths.”

So given all these issues with the report, why did Democrat on the committee push it? Why is Senator Feinstein determined to issue it before she loses her Intelligence Committee chairmanship next month?

While Feinstein has long been a supporter of the report, it was actually driven by the committee’s three far-left members: Senators Ron Wyden (D., Ore.), Tom Udall (D., Col.), and Mark Heinrich (D., N.M.). Not surprisingly, these three senators are also the only ones on the committee who have aggressively criticized NSA in the light of Edward Snowden’s leaks and tried to shut down crucial NSA collection programs. There have been calls by left-wing groups for Udall, who was defeated in his reelection bid, to leak information about NSA programs and the entire text of the enhanced-interrogations report before he leaves office, using his Senate immunity under the speech and debate clause.

Feinstein appears to have gone along with efforts by these three senators to radicalize the enhanced-interrogation investigation. She probably decided to release it because of pressure from liberal groups and Democratic contributors. Feinstein knows that if the declassified portion of the report had not been released this month, it never would have been released.

By issuing such a blatantly partisan report on events that took place ten years ago or more, the enhanced-interrogation report will seriously damage the credibility of congressional oversight of intelligence and the credibility of Senate Democrats — especially Feinstein — on national security. The myth that the Senate Intelligence Committee’s oversight of intelligence is non-political has been decisively disproved. It will be a long time before Senate Democrats and the Senate intelligence committee will regain the trust of U.S. intelligence officers and the American people on intelligence matters, owing to the politicized Democratic report on the enhanced-interrogation program.

Originally published at National Review Online

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Clinton State Department’s “Lady Taliban” Under Active FBI Investigation

Robin L. Raphel testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in 2004. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Robin L. Raphel testifies during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in 2004. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

PJ Media, By Patrick Poole On November 6, 2014

Stunning news related to a top Clinton State Department diplomat, former Assistant Secretary of State Robin Raphel, that the Washington Post is reporting tonight is subject to an active FBI counter-intelligence investigation:

A veteran State Department diplomat and longtime Pakistan expert is under federal investigation as part of a counterintelligence probe and has had her security clearances withdrawn, according to U.S. officials.

The FBI searched the Northwest Washington home of Robin L. Raphel last month, and her State Department office was also examined and sealed, officials said. Raphel, a fixture in Washington’s diplomatic and think-tank circles, was placed on administrative leave last month, and her contract with the State Department was allowed to expire this week.

Two U.S. officials described the investigation as a counterintelligence matter, which typically involves allegations of spying on behalf of foreign governments. The exact nature of the investigation involving Raphel remains unclear. She has not been charged.

She was the first official to hold the position of Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, appointed to that position by President Bill Clinton, and later served as US Ambassador to Tunisia and Senior Vice President of the National Defense University.

In August 2009, she was appointed as deputy for US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke, where she was responsible for disbursing non-military aid to Pakistan.

This appointment was controversial because Raphel had been a registered agent for the Government of Pakistan just days before her new position was announced, and because of her close association with the Taliban during the Clinton Administration, earning Raphel the moniker, “Lady Taliban.”

According to one 2009 report:

Robin Raphel, 67, who has the dubious distinction of being a lobbyist for the former military regime of General Pervez Musharraf and who also has close ties with the Taliban as part of her lobbying for UNOCAL, will be the main person overlooking the $1.5 billion aid package to Pakistan, giving rise to concerns the U.S. taxpayers monies would go down the Pakistan drain.

Raphel is widow of former US Ambassador to Pakistan Arnold Raphel who had perished in the mysterious aircrash that killed Pakistan military dictator General Ziaul Haq and top brass of his military on August 17, 1988.

Raphel was appointed last month as deputy to Mr. Richard Holbrooke, the US. Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan…

He said another reason to doubt Secretary Clinton’s assertion of accountability is in the naming of Robin Raphel as a deputy to U.S. Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakstan, Richard Holbrooke.

“She had been a Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs beginning in 1993 and on her watch, the madrassas bloomed. Robin Raphel is the person who, during the Clinton presidency, squired Taliban officials around Washington as the next best hope for Afghan leadership,” Dienstag recalled.

Raphel was lobbying for the ill-fated UNOCAL pipe line project at the time.

Raphel eventually became a lobbyist at Cassidy & Associates for the military administration of General Pervez Musharraf. “She was responsible for the lobbying for Pakistan in the State Department as a registered foreign agent of Pakistan and the firm had a $1.2 million contract with the Govt of Pakistan. At this time Jezail sees this as a highly dubious appointment of a well known revolving door retread to a sensitive position,” Dienstag said.

Details of the current FBI investigation haven’t been released, but it is expected that her ties to Pakistan are likely to be focus of the matter.

Emerson on Fox News America’s Newsroom – Open Societies and Stopping Terrorism

 

Bill Hemmer: Police in Canada now say the gunman in the attack acted alone. Serious questions that remain about whether or not this was yet another instance of a so-called lone wolf attack. Steve Emerson, executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, with me now. Steve, how are you? And good morning to you. You have some sources up on Ottawa. What are you picking up now that we have not yet learned?

Steve Emerson: Canada is no different than the United States. For the last few years, last decade or so, they have experienced at least a dozen major aborted plots to attack major targets [in Canada] including government facilities as well as [other] facilities in [Canada and] the United States. All of them have been stopped with the assistance of either Canadian intelligence or US intelligence. The sound bite you played by Walid Phares was right on, was spot on. The issue is if the government can get inside our minds then they could stop acts of terrorism. But the issue is the point of activization. You can be radical but not cross the line; you are believing in a radical theology. Once you cross that line into carrying out a criminal predicate, then it’s illegal, then the government has the right to stop you. So taking away your passport isn’t going to stop you from carrying out an act of violence.

Hemmer: Yeah you’re precisely right about that. Just so our viewers know, this man’s passport was confiscated. So too are the passports of 90 other suspected Islamic radicals that the Canadians are watching right now. You mentioned Walid Phares. To our viewers who did not hear that, here’s what he said on the record last night.

Clip of Walid Phares: The pool of individuals who are like Rouleau and Bibeau, both in the United States and in Canada, is pretty big. How are we going to be able to determine which one is going to act is the real problem of counterintelligence services.

Hemmer: How we are able to determine which one will act is the real problem of counterintelligence. How do you address that Steve?

Emerson: That is the quintessential problem because when the government becomes too intrusive, when it starts listening to conversations, taking down your phone numbers, looking at the books that you read at the library, the public gets outraged, that’s invading your privacy. Yet those are all indicators, potential indicators of whether you are potentially going to carry out an act of terrorism or whether you’re interested in carrying out an act of terrorism. And yet the problem is that if you are not interested and yet the government does intrude on your privacy, everyone yells, well this is an invasion of your civil liberties. In a free society there’s always going to be this tension here. After 9/11 there was no controversy at all about passing the Patriot Act. I think it passed 99-1. Today if you had a vote in the Congress about the Patriot Act, I’m not so sure it would pass. Maybe it would pass today, but maybe it wouldn’t have passed last week.

Hemmer: It just has a way of rubbing off and the intensity we give the topic rubs off after time. We were speaking last hour with a great guest who was telling us that you need to raise the terror alert just to make sure the thing still work. They did this in Canada, I don’t know if that is something you would support here. Is that even necessary in our country?

Emerson: Well you remember we went through the color alerts. The issue of the alerts is a psychological thing; the purpose is to raise the public awareness. But the reality is, Bill, that the public awareness is raised really only through one thing – through fear. And that fear is engendered ironically through the success of attacks like the ones that were carried out in Canada over the last three days. When the FBI is successful in stopping attacks, the public doesn’t realize the magnitude of damage and death that could occur. So they’re almost victims of their own success. That’s the real irony in stopping attacks.

Hemmer: Steve, it is good to get your analysis here. Thanks for coming back with us today. Steve Emerson out of Washington, DC.

****

See videos with transcripts of all of Steve Emerson’s appearances here.

Have We Reached Peak ISISmania Yet?

ISIS3-550x282PJ Media, By Patrick Poole:

A few thoughts on the current bout of ISISmania and the systemic problems it exposes:

1) ISISmania has created a financial/legal incentive for sources (most of them “shady” to begin with) used by law enforcement and intelligence agencies to manufacture info whole-cloth.

This is nothing new. Think “prison snitches.” Various foreign actors are passing along disinformation to us as well, so mountains of BS are being fed into the system from the get-go.

Imagine, for a purely hypothetical example, a member of Congress getting an authentic report from a senior agency official, but the report is later found to have originated with a non-credible source. So the member of Congress who repeated the report was actually correct that the intel had been shared with them — but the information itself wasn’t reliable.

It never should have been shared in the first place, but it’s the member of Congress who ends up with egg on their face when the agency issues its denial. No one, whether politicians or agency officials, wants to later admit they were duped, so erroneous info never gets corrected.

2) There are considerable problems on the collection and analysis sides of intel in both the intelligence community and law enforcement. In fact, very few know how to do collection — and good analysis is basically prohibited these days.

So the BS and disinfo never gets sifted out. It then gets passed on to elected officials, which is some of what we’re seeing. Then you have agencies and the administration selectively manipulate and leak according to their own respective agendas. This is how the sausage is being made in DC these days.

3) There is only so much media space, and politicians compete with each other for that space.

So they need to come up with more outlandish claims to get a bigger share of that media space. That creates a disincentive to vet the info they get and publicly talk about. No one gets on Greta by saying: “We need to keep a cool head about this stuff.”

4) Because of that, the game of “I got a secret” is more prevalent than ever before.

Those secrets might be complete equine feces, but the desire to be “in the know,” whether they actually are or not, and the temptation to show that you’re “in the know,” is strong.

5) Congress has no mechanism to vet what the agencies and administration tells them.

 

Back in the 1990s there wase a House Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare that gave Congress direct access to the intelligence and SPECOPS worlds to be able to know if what the admin at the time — regardless of party — was saying was true or not.

That’s gone. Congress itself has no internal vetting system to speak of. They are at the mercy of the Executive Branch.

6) The threats are escalating so rapidly, no one in D.C. wants to be holding the bag when something actually happens.

They’ve learned from 9/11 that they don’t want to be the one saying: “Yeah, I knew about it but never said anything publicly.” Everyone wants a chair when the music stops, so they are all trying to lay down their markers now to show they were trying to do something about it beforehand — whether they actually were or not.

Understand, much of this has nothing to do with actually preventing terrorism, but with political posturing.

7) Don’t even get me going about people in the D.C. media/foreign policy establishment — e.g., the think tanks.

There are some solid policy analysts out there doing very good work, but much of it goes unrecognized or never gets considered. That said, the vast majority of these analysts won’t do anything that gets them disinvited to a D.C. cocktail party or criticized by the cool kids on Twitter.

An M.A. in International Relations from Johns Hopkins/Georgetown/Harvard doesn’t mean that you have the slightest idea of what you’re talking about. Analysis takes years of study and practice — but try telling that to your average 25-year-old policy wonk. And yet these are the characters that drive much the narrative, increasingly so as social media favored by the younger crowd drives much of the news cycle these days.

8) Because so much BS is being slung about, it is actually crowding out good intel.

There are actual border threats from various terrorist groups and actors currently being investigated. But none of that info will ever see the light of day because people inside the system know it will get lumped in with all the disinformation grabbing the headlines right now.

9) Because this administration seeks to maintain an iron grip over the flow of information, virtually any leak is subject to some variety of mole hunt.

It may not lead to official discipline, but perhaps to the imposition of other unofficial forms of discipline, like getting cut out of the loop, which is the kiss of death. That said, I personally know of whistleblowers getting hammered right now by their agencies for calling attention to these kinds of threats, or for trying to get information to Congress.

And Congress has still not created substantive legal protections for whistleblowers, so that creates a severe disincentive for accurate info making its way out.

(Note that the Democrats control the gavel in the Senate, and the impotent and incompetent GOP leadership that governs the House consistently refuses to exercise their oversight powers (particularly committee chairmen). That’s why it is taking YEARS for info related to the litany of Obama administration scandals from coming to light. And when the info becomes public, it is frequently due to groups outside the political establishment. Judicial Watch has done the yeomans work in this regard — not Congress — on the IRS, Fast and Furious, et al.)

10) Elections in four weeks increase all of these by an order of magnitude. So I’m not sure we’ve reached peak ISISmania yet.

There are actual threats to the homeland out there, including ISIS, but virtually all that we’re seeing in the media at the moment is political theater and the accumulation of serious systemic problems within the intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

And much of this nonsense is going to get more Americans killed.

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