Obama waives ban on arming terrorists to allow aid to Syrian opposition

606x404-a8feaaa3e9b3a000524c8466ad705950The Washington Examiner, BY JOEL GEHRKE:

President Obama waived a provision of federal law designed to prevent the supply of arms to terrorist groups to clear the way for the U.S. to provide military assistance to “vetted” opposition groups fighting Syrian dictatorBashar Assad.

Some elements of the Syrian opposition are associated with radical Islamic terrorist groups, including al Qaeda, which was responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Shanksville, Pa., in 2001. Assad’s regime is backed by Iran and Hezbollah.

The president, citing his authority under the Arms Export Control Act, announced today that he would “waive the prohibitions in sections 40 and 40A of the AECA related to such a transaction.”

Those two sections prohibit sending weaponry to countries described in section 40(d): “The prohibitions contained in this section apply with respect to a country if the Secretary of State determines that the government of that country has repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism,” Congress stated in the Arms Control Export Act.

“For purposes of this subsection, such acts shall include all activities that the Secretary determines willfully aid or abet the international proliferation of nuclear explosive devices to individuals or groups or willfully aid or abet an individual or groups in acquiring unsafeguarded special nuclear material,” the law continues.

The law allows the president to waive those prohibitions if he “determines that the transaction is essential to the national security interests of the United States.”

Under section 40(g) of the AECA, the Obama team must also provide Congress — at least 15 days before turning over the weapons — “the name of any country involved in the proposed transaction, the identity of any recipient of the items to be provided pursuant to the proposed transaction, and the anticipated use of those items,” along with a list of the weaponry to be provided, when they will be delivered, and why the transfer is key to American security interests.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., endorsed providing military assistance to the Syrian opposition during an appearance on CBS’ “Face the Nation” Sunday.

“Our intelligence agencies, I think, have a very good handle on who to support and who not to support,” Corker said. “And there’s going to be mistakes. We understand some people are going to get arms that should not be getting arms. But we still should be doing everything we can to support the free Syrian opposition.”

The Senate’s serial contempt

600x300x1403649799.jpg.pagespeed.ic.3n5w0HA2iDBy Frank Gaffney:

Contempt of Congress used to be a serious offense.  Those who were accused of it faced prosecution, fines and perhaps worse.

These days, we are being subjected to contempt by Congress – more specifically, by the U.S. Senate.  As it prepares to ram down our throats a seriously defective “comprehensive immigration reform” bill thrown together by the so-called “Gang of Eight” led by Sen. Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York, and several fellow travelers (notably, Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Republican Senators Bob Corker of Tennessee and John Hoeven of North Dakota), that contempt is palpable.  Let us count the ways:

O         Contempt for the national security: To be sure, what amounts to a Schumer-Corker-Hoevel amendment is ostensibly meant to fix our present border insecurity. A clue about its true purpose and character is that it has been put forward with the blessing of the Gang of Eight (rightly dubbed “the Gangsters) in the wake of their assiduous, and to date successful, efforts to prevent real fixes when they were offered in previous amendments.

In fact, as one of the most effective opponents of this legislation, rising Republican rock-star Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, noted at Red State on June 24th (http://www.redstate.com/ted_cruz/2013/06/23/latest-deal-from-the-senate-pass-amnesty-first-read-the-bill-later/), the “national security” amendment the Gangsters now profess to favor actually weakens existing border and interior security laws in a number of ways.   It also will, as a practical matter, end arrests and deportations necessary to enforce statutes relevant to illegal immigration.

At a minimum, the amendment persists in the fatal flaw inherent in the Gangsters’ initiative from the get-go:  It provides amnesty first, in the form of legal status as Registered Provisional Immigrants (RPIs), and national security second.  And there is no reason to believe that promises broken again and again in the past on the latter score will be honored this time.

O         Contempt for the Senate itself:  The order of the day is to jam through this legislation with limited opportunity to read the Gangsters’ bill, let alone seriously debate its contents.  The Schumer-Corker-Hoeven version is nearly 1200-pages long. And it amends the underlying Gang of Eight bill in myriad ways besides purportedly bracing up its now-acknowledged shortcomings on securing the border.

Two things seem to be operating behind these changes: 1) creating a false impression of that shortfalls in the underlying bill’s border and interior security provisions are being meaningfully addressed; and 2) buying swing senators’ votes by including a number of their favorite hobby-horses.

O         Contempt for the rule of law:  This legislation will reward with amnesty people who have, as their first act in the United States, broken the law to get here.  The Gang of Eight bill not only responds to such felonious conduct by giving individuals who may include terrorists, drug-dealers, human-traffickers, etc. the right to become U.S. citizens.  It also relieves them of any responsibility for having done what many did once they got here, namely broken a host of other laws, as well.

The end result will be not only to make citizens out of people we definitely do not want here.  The effect will also be to destroy the cardinal principle of equal justice under the law and, with it, our existing citizens’ confidence in their government.

O         Contempt for Republicans:  A number of GOP senators are evidently prepared to vote for this monstrosity on the grounds that, if they don’t, alienated Hispanic voters will condemn them permanently to the minority.  Actually, that will certainly be their fate if they do vote for it.

There is no persuasive evidence that Hispanic immigrants from cultures where government-dependency is the norm will align with a party that professes to revere individual responsibility and seeks to shrink the welfare state. Republicans simply can’t out-pander the Democrats in appealing to such a constituency.  What is evident, though, is that large numbers of conservatives and Republicans won’t vote for those who inflict this travesty upon our country.

O         Contempt for the American people:  The sponsors of the latest amendment clearly believe the public, their constituents included, are no wiser to the ways of Washington than when Obamacare was foisted upon us.  They contemptuously think we are too stupid to notice that once again we are being force-fed an obscenely voluminous bill, conjured up behind closed doors, with limited opportunities to read its contents before critical votes are taken and the promise that we’ll know what’s in it once it’s passed.

In his first Senate race in 1994, then-Rep. Jim Inhofe was running against a Democratic colleague, Rep. Dave McCurdy.  The latter made the strategic error of showing contempt for his constituents at some hoity-toity public event “back east,” declaring that folks in Oklahoma’s idea of quality entertainment is “sitting in a backyard with a six-pack of beer and a bug-zapper.”  In the hands of the brilliant political strategist Fred Davis, a devastating ad’s tag line ran:  “If that’s what Dave McCurdy thinks of Oklahoma, let’s show Dave what we think of him.”  In short order, the Democrat’s contemptuousness became the end of his political career.

Every Senator who votes for the Schumer-Corker-Hoeven amendment and, thereby, helps to enact what can only be correctly described as immigration deform, is on notice:  Later if not sooner, the American people will show them what we think of their serial contempt for all of us.

 

ICE AGENTS URGE SENATORS TO VOTE ‘NO’ ON IMMIGRATION BILL

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by MATTHEW BOYLE:

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) National Council president Chris Crane, an ICE agent and former marine, urged U.S. Senators on Monday morning to vote “no” on the repackaged version of the Senate “Gang of Eight” immigration bill.

In a statement provided to Breitbart News, Crane said the bill in its current form would allow criminal aliens and gang members to get amnesty and put the safety the United States at risk.

“Senator Corker–a lead sponsor of the 1,200 page amendment being voted on today–has admitted that needed interior enforcement provisions are absent,” Crane said, specifically referring to how Corker admitted–as Breitbart News detailed–that this amendment he is cosponsoring does not help fix the problems. “Senator Rubio, who promised ICE officers and Sheriffs that he would take steps to repair the bill’s provisions that gut interior enforcement, has abandoned that commitment. He directly misled law enforcement officers.”

Crane added that Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Gang of Eight, admitted to ICE officers in private meetings that certain provisions in the bill would be bad for the country, but Rubio left those provisions in the version of the bill being voted on in the Senate on Monday.

“Senator Rubio left unchanged legislative provisions that he himself admitted to us in private were detrimental, flawed and must be changed,” Crane said. “Legislation written behind closed doors by handpicked special interest groups which put their political agendas and financial gains before sound and effective law and the welfare and safety of the American public. As a result, the 1,200 page substitute bill before the Senate will provide instant legalization and a path to citizenship to gang members and other dangerous criminal aliens, and handcuff ICE officers from enforcing immigration laws in the future. It provides no means of effectively enforcing visa overstays which account for almost half of the nation’s illegal immigration crisis.”

Crane said this legislation hurts law enforcement officers’ ability to enforce the laws of the country, and “empowers political appointees to further violate the law and unilaterally stop enforcement.”

“This at a time like no other in our nation’s history, in which political appointees throughout the federal government have proven to Congress their propensity for the lawless abuse of authority,” Crane said. “There is no doubt that, if passed, public safety will be endangered and massive amounts of future illegal immigration–especially visa overstays–is ensured.”

Read more at Breitbart

Beyond Benghazi: questions for Clinton

Clinton: Responsible for broad policy failures in the entire region.

Clinton: Responsible for broad policy failures in the entire region.

By John Bolton at the New York Post:

The State Department’s Accountability Review Board last week issued a devastating report on the events leading up to the Sept. 11 assassination of four Americans at our Benghazi consulate. Unfortunately, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has still not faced questioning by Congress or the media more than three months after the tragedy.

A series of excuses has conveniently allowed her to escape cross examination until after the ARB report was released. Clinton sails right along, now preparing the first steps for what is widely expected to be her 2016 presidential campaign.

Last week, however, Sen. Bob Corker asserted that no new secretary of state be confirmed until Clinton testifies. Corker, ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee starting in January, was joined by Sen. Lindsey Graham. Their idea provides a strong incentive to committee Chairman John Kerry, now tapped as Clinton’s successor, to schedule her testimony.

The starting point for questioning Clinton is realizing that the Benghazi debacle embodies both policy and management failures. The administration’s utterly wrong-headed view of the Middle East created an atmosphere that fostered tragically erroneous management decisions. Clinton’s blithe disregard of the actual political reality in Libya and four years of not attending to seemingly mundane management issues represented a palpable failure of leadership directly contributing to the Benghazi tragedy.

The ARB did not blame specific individuals, citing instead “systemic” failures. Clinton’s deputies, testifying in her absence on Dec. 20, conceded that State had not “connected the dots” as security deteriorated in Libya and the Middle East generally.

But in any organization, there is only one “first chair,” and Clinton must answer why she (and President Obama) was so convinced that the war on terror was over and al Qaeda defeated; that “leading from behind” in overthrowing Khadafy had succeeded, and that the Arab Spring was bringing stability and democracy to Libya and the region more broadly.

The Benghazi tragedy disproved all these assertions, and Clinton is accountable for the broad policy failures, not just the deadly specifics. Congressional hearings should go well beyond the ARB report. The basic questions Clinton now must answer are straightforward: What did she know; when did she know it — and what did she do about it, before, during and after the Sept. 11 attacks? Here are some elaborations:

* Before the attack, was Clinton aware of the security threats to our consulate and other international presences in Benghazi? Did she know about repeated Tripoli embassy requests for enhanced security? If not, why not?

Libya was a centerpiece of supposed success in Obama’s foreign policy, not some country of small significance and low threat levels. It is important to establish not only the actual paper trail in this case, but even more importantly why, on such a critical foreign-policy issue, it did not automatically come to Clinton’s seventh-floor office.

* On Sept. 11, what were Clinton and Obama doing? We need a minute-by-minute chronology. When was she first told of the attack, and what was said? When and how many times did she speak with the president? What help did she ask for? Was it denied, and by whom? When did she retire for the evening?

* And in the tragedy’s aftermath, Clinton must explain how the administration came up with its story that the Benghazi attack grew out of a demonstration against the now-famous Mohammed video trailer. Clinton herself referred to the video at the Sept. 14 ceremony when the remains of the four murdered Americans returned home. On this point, the ARB was crystal clear that “no protest took place” before the attacks.

Obama will hold office for four more years, and Clinton apparently aspires to succeed him. Their worldview and its policy consequences must not be allowed to escape scrutiny as they did in the just-concluded presidential campaign. Most of the media have certainly shown little interest in exposing administration failures. Clinton’s testimony may be the last chance to do so for a long time.