FBI Pulled Official to Prevent Testimony at Key Anti-Terror Hearing

AP

AP

Washington Free Beacon, By Adam Kredo, Dec.5, 2014:

The FBI refused to appear before Congress earlier this week to testify on the threats posed to American citizens by foreign fighters and other extremists who have traveled from Western countries to fight alongside the Islamic State (IS), according to multiple congressional sources familiar with the situation.

The FBI initially agreed to provide a witness for Tuesday’s House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing regarding the threats posed to the U.S. homeland by extremists affiliated with IS (also known as ISIL or ISIS), according to those apprised of the situation.

However, the law agency changed its mind just a few days before the hearing and decided to block any official from testifying. The last minute decision was made amid reports that the FBI and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had begun warning U.S. troops that IS fighters could be monitoring their social media accounts.

Officials from both the State Department and DHS agreed to appear at the hearing.

The FBI’s decision to stonewall Congress caused anger behind the scenes on Capitol Hill and led some to accuse it of evading its responsibility to inform American citizens about the dangers these terrorists pose.

“For the FBI to confirm its witness and then pull out only a few days before the hearing and not offer a replacement doesn’t exactly show a good faith effort on their part and it took away a lot from what we were trying to accomplish,” said one congressional source familiar with what took place behind-the-scenes.

“We are repeatedly being told that there is no credible threat to the U.S. homeland, but just a few days ago the FBI issued a warning to U.S. military members that ISIL is calling for attacks against them and it is seeking individuals in America that are sympathetic to its cause to carry out these attacks,” the source said. “So I think there is a very clear disconnect there.”

The FBI’s decision to back out had “real implications” on the hearing and the American public’s right to know about the threats posed by foreign fighters associated with IS.

“We do our hearings in an open setting so that the American public can stay informed with regard to the threats to our national security, and more importantly, what the administration is doing to counter or defend against those threats,” the source explained.

Another congressional source with knowledge of what took place said that the FBI told members and committee staff that “they had nothing to say in an unclassified setting.”

The source went on to describe this excuse as “pretty ridiculous.”

Multiple requests for comment and explanation from the FBI were not returned.

Lawmakers had prepared to ask FBI officials about an intelligence bulletin jointly issued by the FBI and DHS warning U.S.-based military personnel about potential threats from IS, which is believed to be monitoring their social media accounts.

The FBI’s absence was noticed several times at the hearing when lawmakers posed several questions that could not be answered by those officials in attendance.

When asked to explain the law enforcement mechanisms preventing jihadists with American passports from returning stateside, a DHS official referred questions to the FBI.

“If someone shows up at the U.S. and there’s indications that person has been a foreign fighter in Syria it would be referred to the FBI and then it would be a matter for the FBI,” Tom Warrick, a deputy assistant secretary for counterterrorism policy at DHS, told lawmakers during the hearing.

Lawmakers could not pose further questions on this topic and others due to the issues falling under the purview of the FBI.

After it was revealed that not a single American passport has been canceled since news that more than 100 citizens have joined IS, lawmakers had a tough time learning why.

Robert Bradtke, the State Department’s senior adviser for partner engagement on Syria foreign fighters, said that while the secretary of state has the power to cancel a person’s passport, he would only do so if asked by law enforcement.

“We would only do it in consultations with law enforcement authorities and we’ve not yet had any requests from law enforcement authorities to cancel the passports of ISIS or foreign fighters,” Bradtke said.

Without a FBI official in the hearing room, it could not be discerned why no requests had been made.

When asked about pro-IS graffiti that has been spotted in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere over the past several months, Warrick again deferred to the FBI.

“Is the graffiti we’ve seen in D.C. and other cities legitimate, or do you think it’s not?” asked Rep. Ileana Ros Lehtinen (R., Fla.).

“That would actually be a question that I think would be better addressed by the FBI or domestic law enforcement. They’d be able to help you with that,” Warrick responded.

While it is acceptable to keep sensitive details secret, organizations such as the FBI have a responsibility to be upfront with the American people, said one congressional source.

“Obviously a lot of what it is doing may be classified and we want to be mindful of those sensitivities because we don’t want to lead on to the bad guys what we know,” the source said. “However, we believe that the American people deserve to know what is being done to protect them.”

Obama Administration Releases Illegal Aliens with Terror Ties, Blames It on a ‘Judge’

Homeland security secretary Jeh Johnson on Capitol Hill. (Alex Wong/Getty)

Homeland security secretary Jeh Johnson on Capitol Hill. (Alex Wong/Getty)

By Andrew C. McCarthy:

Congress Takes Important First Step Towards Securing The Grid

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Center for Security Policy:

Last night, the House of Representatives approved unanimously H.R. 3410, the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act (CIPA). This legislation marks a breakthrough: For the first time in four years, Congress has acted to begin to protect the nation’s most critical of critical infrastructures: the U.S. electrical grid. It now falls to the Senate and to President Obama to ensure that the House-passed bill becomes the law of the land.

CIPA’s lead sponsors were Reps. Trent Franks (R-AZ), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee and co-chairman of the Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Caucus, and Pete Sessions (R-TX), the chairman of the powerful House Rules Committee. The measure enjoyed strong bipartisan support including from the House Homeland Security Committee’s Chairman Michael McCaul (R-TX), and the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Committee’s Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies, Reps. Patrick Meehan (R-PA) and Yvette Clark (D-NY).

The CIPA legislation requires the Department of Homeland Security to:

  1. include in national planning scenarios the threat of electromagnetic pulse (EMP) which would entail the education of the owners and operators of critical infrastructure, as well as emergency planners and emergency responders at all levels of government of the threat of EMP events;
  2. engage in research and development aimed at mitigating the consequences of naturally occurring or man-caused EMP events; and
  3. produce a comprehensive plan to protect and prepare the critical infrastructure of the American homeland against EMP events.

Representative Franks observed:

The U.S. electric grid is fundamental to our continued way of life and practical steps must be taken to protect those critical elements that serve the United States from all threats.  The negative impacts on U.S. financial, agricultural, medical and other critical societal infrastructure are potentially catastrophic in a severe electromagnetic pulse (EMP) or severe space weather event.

By some estimates, nine out of ten Americans would perish if the power were to go off and remain off for a year’s time.

The Secure the Grid Coalition is committed to ensuring that does not happen. The Coalition is a group of national leaders in matters of defense, homeland security, solar weather, infrastructure protection and other experts who have joined forces for the purpose of achieving urgently the protection of power grid upon which the nation, its people, economy and the Department of Defense depend.

Under the honorary co-chairmanship of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Clinton Director of Central Intelligence R. James Woolsey, the Secure the Grid Coalition has been active in educating lawmakers and their constituents about the nature of the various threats to the nation’s bulk power distribution system, including but not limited to EMP. Among other efforts in that regard was influential testimony provided before the House Homeland Security Committee earlier this year by two members of the Coalition: Dr. Peter Vincent Pry, of the Congressional Task Force on National and Homeland Security, and Dr. Chris Beck, Vice President of the Electric Infrastructure Protection Council.

The Center for Security Policy sponsors the Secure the Grid and its President, Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. applauded the passage of H.R. 3410 last night, saying:

Yesterday, the House of Representatives took an important first step towards protecting America’s electrical grid – and millions of its people whose lives critically depend upon it – from attack or naturally induced destruction. That planning will hopefully make clear the necessity of taking steps to secure the grid before these things happen, rather than try to cope with the consequences afterwards.

Secure the Grid Coalition members are available for comment on the passage of the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act in the House of Representatives and about the considerable work still to be done to harden the electrical grid against all hazards. More information can be found at www.securethegrid.com.

4 Turkish terrorists caught in Texas after being smuggled across border

nov13_chopperBy Stephen Dinan:

Four men flew from Istanbul through Paris to Mexico City in late August, where they were met by a Turkish-speaking man who stashed them in a safe house until their Sept. 3 attempt to cross into the U.S. over the border with Mexico.

Their capture by the Border Patrol in Texas set off a fierce debate over the men’s intentions, with some members of Congress saying they were terrorist fighters. Homeland Security officials, including Secretary Jeh Johnson, countered that they were part of the Kurdish resistance which, like the U.S., is fighting the Islamic State’s advance in Iraq.

But whether the men are linked to anti-U.S. jihadists or not, they admitted to being part of a U.S.-designated terrorist group, and their ability to get into the U.S. through the southern border — they paid $8,000 each to be smuggled into Texas — details the existence of a network capable of bringing terrorists across the border.

The four men’s story, as discerned from internal September and October documents reviewed by The Washington Times, also seems to contrast with what Mr. Johnson told Congress in September, when he assured lawmakers that the four men were not considered terrorist threats to the U.S., even as behind the scenes his department proposed the four be put on terrorist watch lists.

Homeland Security spokeswoman Marsha Catron said the individuals weren’t associated with the Islamic State, which is also known by the acronyms ISIL and ISIS.

“The suggestion that individuals who have ties to ISIL have been apprehended at the southwest border is categorically false, and not supported by any credible intelligence or the facts on the ground,” Ms. Catron said. “DHS continues to have no credible intelligence to suggest terrorist organizations are actively plotting to cross the southwest border.”

She did not reply to questions about the status of the four men or why her department proposed they be put on terrorist watch lists.

As of a month ago they were being held at the South Texas Detention Facility in Pearsall, Texas.

The men initially claimed to be members of the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front, known by the acronym DHKP/C. The group is a Marxist insurgency that claimed credit for a 2013 suicide bomb attack on the U.S. embassy in Ankara, Turkey’s capital, last year.

But U.S. counterterrorism officials said the men were more likely members of the PKK, or Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which has been battling for Kurdish rights within Turkey for decades, though recently PKK and Turkish leaders have tried to broker a political agreement.

Both the PKK and DHKP/C are listed by the State Department as terrorist groups.
Jessica Vaughan, policy studies director at the Center for Immigration Studies, said the fact that avowed members of terrorist groups got into the U.S. shows it’s possible to sneak across a porous border.

“This incident proves what enforcement experts have always known, and that is there are existing networks in Mexico and Central America that have been set up and cultivated by a variety of terrorist organizations to enable them to move people into the United States illegally,” Ms. Vaughan said.

It’s unclear what the men were trying to do. None of them admitted to being part of a plot against the U.S., and several told investigators they were hoping to seek asylum, saying they believed they were being targeted back home by police in Turkey.

Read more at Washington Times

Also see:

DHS Announces ‘Enhanced Presence’ At All Federal Buildings

dhs (2)Truth Revolt, by  Caleb Howe:

On Tuesday, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a press release announcing heightened security and an “enhanced presence”at all federal buildings in the United States, following the attack at the Parliament building in Canada last week. DHS stressed to employees that this was not in response to any “specific” threat on American federal buildings or employees.

“The reasons for this action are self-evident,” said DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson. “The continued public calls by terrorist organizations for attacks on the homeland and elsewhere.”

A DHS official tells the Washington Post that “this is a precautionary step to safeguard U.S. government personnel and facilities, and the visitors to those facilities.” However, Fox News’ Megyn Kelley reported Tuesday evening that sources told Fox News the action was prompted by “increased chatter” that began several weeks ago ahead of the Canadian attack.

The statement from Secretary Johnson reads:

Today I am announcing that I have directed the Federal Protective Service to enhance its presence and security at various U.S. Government buildings in Washington DC and other major cities and locations around the country. The precise actions we are taking and the precise locations at which we will enhance security is law-enforcement sensitive, will vary and shift from location to location, and will be continually re-evaluated.

The Federal Protective Service is responsible for the protection of over 9500 federal facilities owned or leased by the General Services Administration, through which 1.4 million visitors and occupants pass daily.

We are taking this action as a precautionary step, to safeguard U.S. government personnel and facilities, and the visitors to those facilities. The reasons for this action are self-evident: the continued public calls by terrorist organizations for attacks on the homeland and elsewhere, including against law enforcement and other government officials, and the acts of violence targeted at government personnel and installations in Canada and elsewhere recently. Given world events, prudence dictates a heightened vigilance in the protection of U.S. government installations and our personnel.

As we have stated in prior advisories, we urge state and local governments and their law enforcement personnel, along with critical infrastructure owners and operators, to be equally vigilant, particularly in guarding against potential small-scale attacks by a lone offender or a small group of individuals. Likewise, we continually urge the public at large to be vigilant and report any suspicious activities to appropriate authorities.

Also on Fox News, Chief White House correspondent Ed Henry questions the timing of the increased security, pointing out that the threat to Americans from ISIS has been persistent and “immediate” for some time now. The White House downplayed the threat on American soil at several press briefings in the events leading up to American action against ISIS.

One “senior administration official” told Henry that the announcement was made a week before the election in case something were to happen before election day.

Also see:

American suicide bomber’s travels in U.S., Middle East went unmonitored

article-2707022-20055C2200000578-457_634x434By Adam Goldman and Greg Miller:

There were no U.S. air marshals watching the newly clean-shaven passenger on the transatlantic­ flight, no FBI agents waiting for him as he landed in Newark in May 2013 after returning from Syria’s civil war.

As the 22-year-old Florida native made his way through a U.S. border inspection, officers pulled him aside for additional screening and searched his belongings. They called his mother in Vero Beach to check on his claim that he had merely been visiting relatives in the Middle East. But when she vouched for him, U.S. officials said, Moner Mohammad Abusalha was waved through without any further scrutiny or perceived need to notify the FBI that he was back in the United States.

Earlier this year, after returning to Syria, Abusalha became the first American to carry out a suicide attack in that country, blowing up a restaurant frequented by Syrian soldiers on behalf of an al-Qaeda affiliate. His death May 25 was accompanied by the release of a menacing video. “You think you are safe where you are in America,” he said, threatening his own country and a half-dozen others. “You are not safe.”

It was a warning from someone who had been in position to deliver on that threat. By then, Abusalha­ had made two trips to a conflict zone seen as the largest incubator of Islamist radicalism since Afghanistan in the 1980s. Between those visits he wandered inside the United States for more than six months, U.S. officials said, attracting no attention from authorities after their brief telephone conversation with his mother.

His movements went unmonitored despite a major push by U.S. security and intelligence agencies over the past two years to track the flow of foreign fighters into and out of Syria. At the center of that effort is a task force established by the FBI at a classified complex in Virginia that also involves the CIA and the National Counterterrorism Center.

Despite that expanding surveillance net and more than a dozen prosecutions in the United States, the outcome for Abusalha depended more on the priorities of his al-Qaeda handlers than U.S. defenses. FBI officials involved in the case said it exposed vulnerabilities that can be reduced but not eliminated.

“It is extremely difficult for the FBI to identify individuals in the U.S. who have this kind of goal,” said George Piro, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Miami field office, which led the Abusalha investigation. “It requires a loved one or really close friend to note the changes. . . . The family has to intervene.”

Abusalha is counted among the 100 or so Americans who have traveled to Syria or attempted to do so, a figure cited repeatedly by senior U.S. officials in ways that suggest there is precision in their understanding of who and where those people are.

In reality, officials said, the total has risen to 130 or more, and it includes individuals about whom only fragments of information are known. The clearest cases­ involve U.S. citizens arrested by the FBI before they depart. But other cases are incomplete, based on false names or partial identities assembled from references on social media or U.S. intelligence sources.

Even the estimate of 130 is low, according to U.S. officials who said there are undoubtedly Americans in Syria and Iraq who have not surfaced. Abusalha was part of that invisible category until shortly before he recorded his farewell videos and stepped into the cab of an armored dump truck packed with explosives.

FBI Director James B. Comey recently warned of such blind spots. “Given the nature of the traveler threat, I don’t sit with high confidence that I have complete visibility,” Comey said in a briefing at FBI headquarters. “Who are we missing who went and came back? And, obviously, who are we missing who is in the midst of trying to go?”

Read more at Washington Post

TO BETTER PROTECT MUSLIMS, AG HOLDER SET TO BAN ‘RELIGIOUS PROFILING’

eric-holder-teal-painting-apBreitbart, by HOMAS ROSE, Sep. 30, 2014:

If one is looking for reasons why Washington has become so caustic, divisive and bitter, look no further than retiring Attorney General Eric Holder. If reportsfirst published by the Los Angeles Times are correct, the always controversial Holder, aged 63, will soon announce a new and permanent ban on so-called ‘religious profiling’ designed to better protect those suspected of jihadist or Islamist activities from federal surveillance.

At the very moment the American state, local and federal law enforcement are trying to get a handle on a spate of Islamist-inspired beheadings and the discovery that Islamic State terror cells are active in at least three major US cities (LA, Boston, and Minneapolis), the US attorney general seems prepared to make it even harder for US law enforcement to crack down against jihadist recruiters and terrorist plots.

Despite the rise of the Islamic State’s terrorist army that proudly boasts of its US citizen-fighters, as well as growing evidence that domestic jihadist extremism is far more prevalent inside the United States than previously thought, the always controversial Holder appears undeterred in his quest to ban federal agents from trying to prevent domestic Islamist terrorism by investigating hubs of suspected jihadist activities. If the ban on ‘religious profiling’ is enforced, federal agents will no longer be able to conduct surveillance inside even the most radical of US mosques, where nearly all recent US based jihadists have been recruited, trained and dispatched.

The LA Times even reports that Holder’s ban will no longer even include “an exemption for national security investigations.” Without pre-existing, admissible evidence that ongoing criminal activity is occurring, federal agents will no longer be permitted to conduct any undercover surveillance in any clearly identified Islamic institution. If enacted, such a policy would represent the starkest reversal yet to bi-partisan post 9/11 changes that permitted law enforcement agencies like the FBI greater ability to monitor suspected Islamist outfits, including mosques.

The FBI claims that those standards have enabled them to disrupt or scuttle at least 42 planned Islamist attacks against the US homeland adopted since 2001.

How extending greater legal protections to those suspected of jihadist plots against US citizens will help protect law abiding citizens from those plots remains to be seen. The connections between Islamic State operatives, recent domestic terrorist acts, and several radical US mosques are undeniable. The recent Muslim convert in Oklahoma who murdered and decapitated a 54-year-old grandmother was radicalized in a mosque run by the very same people who run a Boston mosque that served as headquarters for ISIS’s US social media campaign.

Terrorism authority Steve Emerson told IBD this could be just the tip of the ISIS-ice berg. “There are tens of thousands of others like him lurking in the United States who haven’t done this but are jihadists just waiting to do it,” Emerson, who runs the New York-basedInvestigative Project for Terrorism, says the Islamic State is actually pre-selecting new US based recruits based upon their state willingness to conduct suicide/terrorist operations against innocents inside the US.

Of course, since Attorney General Holder had previously ordered the Justice Department and the FBI to scrub all its training manuals and support documentation to insure words like “jihad” and “Islamic terrorism” do not appear, it is difficult to predict how such directives will even be adequately conveyed to US law enforcement personnel.

Had such prohibitions against even considering the religious beliefs or associations of suspected jihadist elements been in effect, many recent Federal indictments of terrorists could never have been obtained, since nearly ever single one of them contained evidence demonstrating their connections with and radicalizations inside US mosques. Nearly every single defendant so indicted has confessed that their motivations were religiously based upon their interpretation of Islam and its commands to attack non-believers.

The same Eric Holder now considering increased protections for those suspected of jihadist activities authorized domestic illegal surveillance actions, including wiretapping, against reporters at the Associated Press and sought to prosecute Fox News’ James Rosen under, of all things, the Espionage Act.

As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the United Nations General Assembly yesterday, “You know the famous American saying that all politics is local? Well, for militant Islamists, all politics is global, because their ultimate goal is to dominate the world.” If Holder has his way and can prohibit US law enforcement from investigating domestic militants Islamists in places where militants Islamists plot and plan, American jihadists will be able to pursue that ultimate goal of global dominance with greater freedom and security than ever before.

Justice Department Announces New Program to Counter ‘Violent Extremism’ — but Website Excludes References to Islam, Muslims

The Blaze, By Elizabeth Kreft, Sep. 25, 2014:

With Islamic State threats mounting and at least 100 Americans known to have traveled overseas to train or fight with the brutal terror group, Attorney General Eric Holder this month announced a new program designed to identify and root out sources of “violent extremism” across the nation.

The problem? It isn’t a new idea. National security experts say the concept has already proven to be “a complete failure.” And lacking from a description of the program is any reference to radical Islam.

In this July 16, 2014 photo, Minneapolis police officer Mike Kirchen talks with Mohamed Salat, left, and Abdi Ali at a community center where members of the Somali community gather in Minneapolis. Attorney General Eric Holder announced the Justice Department’s pilot program will help detect American extremists looking to join terror organizations, but some experts say efforts like these have already failed across the nation (AP Photo/The Star Tribune, Jim Gehrz, File)

In this July 16, 2014 photo, Minneapolis police officer Mike Kirchen talks with Mohamed Salat, left, and Abdi Ali at a community center where members of the Somali community gather in Minneapolis. Attorney General Eric Holder announced the Justice Department’s pilot program will help detect American extremists looking to join terror organizations, but some experts say efforts like these have already failed across the nation (AP Photo/The Star Tribune, Jim Gehrz, File)

“These programs will bring together community representatives, public safety officials, religious leaders, and United States attorneys to improve local engagement; to counter violent extremism; and – ultimately – to build a broad network of community partnerships to keep our nation safe,” Holder said.

On the surface, it sounds reasonable. Shouldn’t we embrace every effort to combat homegrown terror? Jonathan Gilliam, a former Navy SEAL and former FBI special agent said yes. But, he told TheBlaze, programs like these get muddled because the politicians at the top of the food chain stop listening to the operators on the ground.

“How can you target something without a scope, without proper sights?” he said. The former special operator finds it especially frustrating that the Justice Department refuses to allow monitoring of mosques where known terrorists gather.

“When political correctness becomes your scope you probably aren’t aimed at the right target anymore,” Gilliam told TheBlaze.

Without offering details about which cities would host the pilot program, the Justice Department announced that the new concept would “complement the Obama administration’s ongoing work to protect the American people from a range of evolving national security threats,” and right in line with the White House’s 2011 move to strip counterterrorism training documents of specific references to Islam or Muslims, Holder’s description of the program gives a rather cloudy explanation for which groups it could cover.

“Under President Obama’s leadership, along with our interagency affiliates, we will work closely with community representatives to develop comprehensive local strategies, to raise awareness about important issues, to share information on best practices, and to expand and improve training in every area of the country,” Holder said.

The Department of Homeland Security’s website echoes the bland description of “violent extremism” described by the Justice Department: “The threat posed by violent extremism is neither constrained by international borders nor limited to any single ideology. Groups and individuals inspired by a range of religious, political, or other ideological beliefs have promoted and used violence against the homeland.”

Gilliam said these political trends make no sense.

“How do you know someone is a ‘violent extremist’? They aren’t going to walk out into the street and tell you. They are going to patiently wait for instructions at their mosque and coordinate with the network overseas,” he said. “To try and say we don’t know which neighborhoods or which mosques are active with this kind of activity is a joke.”

In the pitch video for the program, Holder explains that since 2012, U.S. attorneys “have held or attended more than 1,700 engagement-related events or meetings to enhance trust and facilitate communication in their neighborhoods and districts,” and that the initiative will “build on that important work.”

But Patrick Poole, a national security and terrorism expert, said that explains exactly why more of the same won’t solve the problem.

“We’ve already had 100 Americans go overseas to fight for the terrorists … we’ve had people conducted suicide attacks for Jabhat al-Nusra, and we have at least two known fighters from Minneapolis and San Diego who died in fighting with ISIS in Syria. I’m not sure more of the same is going to do anything but delay the problem,” Poole said.

Poole pointed out the FBI was previously actively conducting outreach missions much like the Justice Department is proposing at the very mosque where the Boston Marathon bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev attended services.

“So the Boston example is a snapshot of how this kind of outreach program has catastrophically failed,” Poole told TheBlaze. “What more needs to happen? Foreign intelligence identifies the guy, he’s causing trouble at the mosque, and yet no one at the mosque during this outreach effort said anything.”

Poole said it seems the Department of Justice is doubling down on a failed concept, but they continue to fail because program coordinators, especially at the top levels, are listening to the wrong people.

“This is the administration’s entire plan, this isn’t something they are doing in conjunction with something else, this is it, and some groups like the Muslim Public Affairs Council say that de-radicalization has to be left entirely to the Muslim community. But I have to ask, what proof is there that this actually works?” he said.

“I’m just not sure how much more this program could fail. It hasn’t been successful anywhere, identifiably,” Poole said.

Attorney General Eric Holder listens during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014, where he announced the Justice Department’s civil rights division will launch a broad civil rights investigation in the Ferguson, Mo., Police Department. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Attorney General Eric Holder listens during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014, where he announced the Justice Department’s civil rights division will launch a broad civil rights investigation in the Ferguson, Mo., Police Department. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Gilliam said the program will never work so long as the federal agencies feel hamstrung by political correctness.

“They’ll send 40 investigators to Ferguson, Missouri, to investigate one death, but they’ll only send one or two people to question suspicious actors at a mosque known to house terrorist activity? It’s crazy.”

“They are trying to respond to terrorists with ‘culturally diversified speakers,’ and that’s why it isn’t working.” Gilliam said community outreach programs could work, but only if there is a real promise of firm justice to back it up.

“If a terrorist is found at a mosque, the only thing that would work is to send 50 investigators in, question everyone, put the Imam away, lock the place down and never open it again,” he said.

“You do that, and you go over to their homelands and you lay waste,” he added.  ”That is what works.”

The Department of Justice didn’t respond to TheBlaze’s request for comment on the new pilot program, or whether it had heard any chatter regarding the potential for an increased level of retaliatory attacks now that the U.S. military has begun strikes on Islamic State targets.

TheBlaze TV’s For the Record examined the underlying ideology that fuels the Islamic State and the homegrown terrorists it hopes to influence in the United States. The episode, “Total Confrontation,” aired Wednesday; catch part of it below:

‘Sanctuary Cities’ or ‘Safe Havens’ for Terrorists?

sanctuaryby Michael Cutler:

Since the deadly terror attacks of 1993 at the CIA and the World Trade Center, there have been a series of terror attacks attempted inside the United States by radical Islamists.

On September 11, 2001 our nation suffered the worst terror attacks ever carried out within the borders of our country.

Every one of these attacks had something in common: The perpetrators were all aliens who had managed to gain entry into the United States and managed to hide in plain sight, or in the jargon of the 9/11 Commission, they embedded themselves in our country as they went about their deadly preparations.

Our borders and our immigration laws are our first line of defense and last line of defense against international terrorists who seek to attack America and Americans. Yet this essential fact is blithely ignored by the president, members of his administration, members of Congress who seek to implement a variant of “comprehensive immigration reform” and local and state politicians who proudly proclaim that they have created “sanctuaries” for aliens who have run our borders or violated the terms of their admission into the United States and have violated those critical immigration laws.

On Friday, September 19th, I was a guest on “America’s Forum” on Newsmax TV hosted by former Congressional Representative JD Hayworth. NewsMax posted a video of my segment with a synopsis of our discussion. The title of this article was: “Michael Cutler: Sanctuary Cities Are Safe Havens for Terrorists.”

The starting point for my interview was an important news report that contained a video clip of an interview that Rep. Jason Chaffetz participated in with Fox News’ Megyn Kelly. The title of the report was: “BREAKING: Four Terrorists Captured on US Border on September 10 – Day Before 9-11.”

The video clip of the Chaffetz interview on Kelly’s program also contained a brief video of an exchange between Congressman Chaffetz and Jeh Johnson, the Secretary of Homeland Security at a hearing conducted earlier that day. The exchange was infuriating. At first Johnson stated that he was not aware of terrorists running our borders. Rep. Chaffetz then confronted Secretary Johnson, saying that there was information that four terrorists had been apprehended attempting to run our borders at two locations along the U.S./Mexican border. Johnson became extremely uncomfortable and started rubbing his face and all but twitching in his seat. He then claimed that he had heard about it but that they were trying to confirm the information. Next Chaffetz asked Johnson about what level of “operational control” DHS has over the U.S./Mexican border. Johnson said he did not know, whereupon Chaffetz stated that he had information that at present there is 6% operation control.

Secretary Johnson simply stared blankly at Representative Chaffetz.

If DHS has just 6% of “operational control” then we must presume that conversely we have a 94% free-for-all along that critical border. Indeed, the fact that our nation is currently suffering from a flood of heroin that is so severe that police departments around the United States are issuing the antidote to heroin overdoses to their officers and other first responders, would certainly coincide with such a lack of border security. This is why I have come to refer to the DHS as the Department of Homeland Surrender.

During my discussion with JD on his program, I also referenced an exchange between Congressman Lou Barletta and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson about whether or not criminals who are known to be criminals in the United States would come forward to participate in an amnesty program. Johnson conceded that they would not. This was covered in a Breitbart News report that was published on September 17, 2014: “DHS Chief Concedes Background Checks for Amnesty Would Not Catch Criminals”

During my interview with JD on his program I also raised the issue of “sanctuary cities” and the impact such policies have on national security. I referenced the fact that New York City’s mayor Bill de Blasio had decided, with utter impunity, to provide illegal aliens with identity documents that, as an added “bonus,” would enable illegal aliens to whom those cards are issued to gain entrance into museums and other cultural landmarks in New York City.

While some news programs debated this outrageous program, the focus, for the most part, was the economic cost of providing illegal aliens with the municipal IDs that can be used as a free pass to so many major attractions that would cost thousands of dollars per alien. No one mentioned the cost to national security and public safety under de Blasio’s ill-conceived program by providing illegal aliens with identity documents that could easily enable criminals and terrorists to acquire official identity documents in false names. This violates the findings and recommendations of the 9/11 Commission and also violates the REAL ID Act that was enacted as a result of the 9/11 Commission report.

The article that chronicled my interview on NewsMax-TV included this excerpt:

“When we hear sanctuary city, we should think about the word haven, as when the president the night before the 13th anniversary of 9/11 said, ‘we need to deprive the terrorists’ safe haven,’” Cutler explained.

“Sanctuary cities is doing precisely that — providing safe haven, right here in cities across the United States, aided and abetted by this administration that refuses to enforce the laws, and has provided hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens with identity documents,” he said.

“What could possibly go wrong?” Cutler asked.

What, indeed, could possibly go wrong?

 

On September 17, 2014, Homeland Security News Wire published a report with the title: “NYC mayor de Blasio facing criticism for curbing counterterrorism programs.”

Read more at Front Page

Michael Cutler is a retired Senior Special Agent of the former INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service) whose career spanned some 30 years. He served as an Immigration Inspector, Immigration Adjudications Officer and spent 26 years as an agent who rotated through all of the squads within the Investigations Branch. For half of his career he was assigned to the Drug Task Force. He has testified before well over a dozen congressional hearings, provided testimony to the 9/11 Commission as well as state legislative hearings around the United States and at trials where immigration is at issue. He hosts his radio show, “The Michael Cutler Hour,” on Friday evenings on BlogTalk Radio. His personal website is http://michaelcutler.net/.

Terrorists at the Border

border-450x300by Matthew Vadum:

A Democratic congressman tried to use the might of the federal government to crush an investigation into reports that an Islamic terrorist group is using the Mexican border town of Ciudad Juarez as a base for launching an attack on the U.S. using car bombs or other vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs).

The Islamofascist group in question is the extraordinarily brutal Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) that has been conquering swathes of the Middle East with the long-term goal of establishing an Islamic Caliphate. (ISIS is also known as the Islamic State group and by the Obama-preferred acronym ISIL, which stands for Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.)

U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke of El Paso, Texas, contacted the local offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) “in an effort to identify—and evidently intimidate—sources that may have been used by” Judicial Watch, federal law enforcement sources told the  nonprofit good-government group.

Judicial Watch, which has been legally recognized by the courts as a media outlet, reported on the terrorist conspiracy on August 29. Citing high-level federal law enforcement, intelligence, and other sources, the group reported that the federal government was bracing for an imminent terrorist attack on the southern U.S. border.

Agents in the departments of Homeland Security, Defense, and Justice are all reportedly on alert and have been directed “to aggressively work all possible leads and sources concerning this imminent terrorist threat,” Judicial Watch reports.

O’Rourke’s office denies wrongdoing, but according to Judicial Watch the congressman’s telephone calls were followed by “a memo that came down through the chain of command threatening to terminate or criminally charge any agent who speaks to media of any kind.”

According to the Obama administration, Islamic terrorists are not operating in Ciudad Juarez. But the administration isn’t known for truth-telling. The White House has long downplayed the wave of violent crime, much of it committed by drug cartels, that rages along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The U.S. Border Patrol instructed its officers to steer clear of the most crime-infested portions of the border because they’re “too dangerous” and patrolling them could lead to an “international incident” involving a cross-border shooting, Judicial Watch previously reported.

Yet a parade of Democratic politicians including Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano have declared the southern border to be secure despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

Read more at Frontpage

Also see:

Dem Rep: 40 American ISIL Fighters Have Already Returned to the United States

Mideast Syria Lines in Sand Analysis

These individuals under surveillance, ‘being tracked’ by the FBI

Washington Free Beacon, By Adam Kredo, September 19, 2014:

Rep. Tim Bishop (D., N.Y.) warned during a recent speech that up to 40 radicalized U.S. citizens who have fought alongside the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL or ISIS) have already returned to the United States, where they could pose a terrorist threat.

Bishop claims that of the 100 or so Americans who have traveled to the Middle East to join ISIL’s ranks, some 40 have returned and are currently being surveilled by the FBI, according to his remarks, which were filmed and uploaded to YouTube last week.

“One of the concerns is the number of U.S. citizens who have left our country to go join up with ISIS,” Bishop said during the speech. “It is believed there have been some number up to 100 that have done that.”

“It is also believed that some 40 of those who left this country to join up with ISIS have now returned to our country,” Bishop said, eliciting shocked responses from some in the crowd.

These 40 individuals, Bishop said, “are under FBI attention and surveillance. So they are known and being tracked by the FBI.”

Lawmakers have warned that radicalized ISIL fighters could clandestinely enter the United States through the porous southern border.

U.S. officials with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other security agencies have said that while the southern border poses a risk, they are more concerned about lone wolf attacks in which an isolated radicalized individual with sympathy to ISIL carries out a solo terror attack.

Bishop said that while ISIL poses and extreme threat, it is not yet capable of attacking the United States, though that could change as the group grows in strength and resources.

“It is a very, very complex and very, very dangerous threat and I think the plan that the president outlined the other night [in his national speech] is a good plan,” Bishop maintained.

President Obama “is correct to recognize the threat, and it clearly is a threat to the stability of the Middle East, a region that is already remarkably unstable,” Bishop said.

“It is not yet a threat to the homeland, but there is a concern that it could metastasize in such a way that it could become a threat to the homeland,” Bishop said, echoing concerns expressed by lawmakers on both sides of the isle.

“But at the present time, the intelligence is ISIS does not present a threat to the homeland, although that is not something that will remain static going out into the future,” Bishop said, describing the regional upheaval as “more of a political conflict in the Arab world then a sectarian conflict” between Muslims.

DHS has said that while there is no evidence of a direct threat by ISIL to the United States, it is aware that the group’s affiliates have been discussing the possibility of crossing the southern border.

“There have been Twitter, social media exchanges among ISIL adherents across the globe speaking about that as a possibility,” Francis Taylor, under secretary for intelligence and analysis at DHS, told senators during a recent hearing.

Other U.S. officials also have discussed the possibility of an ISIL adherent carrying out an attack on the United States.

“We remain mindful of the possibility that an ISIL-sympathizer—perhaps motivated by online propaganda—could conduct a limited, self-directed attack here at home with no warning,” Matthew Olsen, director of the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center, said in a speech earlier this month.

“We have seen ISIL use a range of media to tout its military capabilities, executions of captured soldiers, and consecutive battlefield victories,” Olsen said. “More recently, the group’s supporters have sustained this momentum on social media by encouraging attacks in the U.S. and against U.S. interests in retaliation for our airstrikes. ISIL has used this propaganda campaign to draw foreign fighters to the group, including many from Western countries.”

Also see:

Chaffetz: Four Individuals With Terrorist Ties Captured Crossing the Border

Breitbart:

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Security, reported that four individuals with ties to terrorist organizations were captured after crossing the southern border on September 10 of this year on the Fox News Channel’s “The Kelly File” on Wednesday.

“We captured, there are 466,000 people that have been captured crossing our borders over the last 351 days, yet by Homeland Security’s own numbers, 157,000 people got away, and the people we did capture, they come from 143 different countries. 13 were from Syria, six were from Iraq, four were from Iran. We had four people with known ties from a Middle Eastern country captured having already crossed the border, our southern border in Texas, four people captured from a Middle Eastern country with known ties to a terrorist country and he [Secretary of Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson] doesn’t know the answer to that question”  he said.

Chaffetz also stated that Johnson did not know what the operational control on the southern border is, “I asked him ‘what is the operational control right now on the border? What is the operational control?’ And he said ‘I don’t know.’ How could he not know? He’s the Homeland Security secretary.”

He further declared, “We have a porous border. We are worried about, every story on the news tonight is about ISIS. I’m worried about them actually coming to the United States and crossing that porous border, and getting into the homeland.”

ISIS Militants Eye Attacks on US Via Mexican Border

Inside a tunnel under the U.S.-Mexican border

Inside a tunnel under the U.S.-Mexican border

BY RYAN MAURO:

The Department of Homeland Security has confirmed reports that Islamic State (commonly known as ISIS) social media accounts are talking about infiltrating the U.S. through the Mexican border, but says it has no intelligence about a specific plot.

In late August, it was reported that a warning bulletin had been issued to security personnel near the U.S.-Mexico border about an impending attack by the Islamic State using car bombs. The report stated that the Islamic State had established a presence in Juarez, Mexico, a city near Texas devastated by drug cartels.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reacted by denying the report, with a spokesperson saying, “We are aware of absolutely nothing credible to substantiate this claim.”

However, a Texas Department of Public Safety bulletin dated August 28 was then leaked that stated that the Islamic State’s social media accounts were discussing entering the U.S. through Mexico in order to carry out an attack.

“Social media account holders believed to be ISIS militants and propagandists have called for unspecified border operations, or they have sought to raise awareness that illegal entry through Mexico is a viable option,” it states.

It says that 32 Islamic State accounts on Twitter and Facebook discussed a possible attack via Mexico in a one-week period. One of those is an account operated by an Islamic State supporter in Mosul, Iraq.

Read more at Clarion Project

Americans Fighting for ISIS: Keeping Them Out vs. Luring Them In

1408801449089_wps_3_isis_tweets_us_comp_jpgCenter for Security Policy, by Ben Lerner, Sep.11,2014:

As several Members of Congress have begun calling for the revocation of passports of US citizens fighting for ISIS in order to keep American jihadists who have trained overseas from returning to the United States and carrying out attacks here, Washington Free Beacon reports that American intelligence is cautious about a similar proposal being offered with respect to  British citizens by Prime Minister David Cameron of the United Kingdom:

While such [passport revocation] measures serve as an appropriate response to the alarming trend of Western recruits joining terror groups such as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant and al Qaeda, members of the American intelligence community have warned that the policy could result in an overall loss of valuable intelligence.

The U.S. counterterrorism strategy has been to “lure in” militants returning from Iraq or Syria with the hopes of extracting detailed information about ground operations, recruitment, and designs for attacks on the homeland. Cameron’s strategy, on the other hand, imposes strict no-fly restrictions on travelers returning from Iraq and Syria with the goal of ‘excluding’ British citizens from the U.K.

Although it is unclear which “members of the American intelligence community” are expressing these concerns, and whether they are outliers or are representing a consensus view, there are two problems with the “lure in” objection to passport revocation with respect to US citizens:

1)  The fact that they’re here doesn’t mean we’ll be able to track them.  Recent revelations that the Department of Homeland Security has lost contact with 58,000 expired student visa holders – 6,000 of which are subjects “heightened concern” that may pose threats to national security – do not inspire confidence that our resource-constrained intelligence bureaucracy will be able to successfully track jihadist operatives that we’ve “lured in”.

Such an approach would seem especially risky when the subjects are themselves the would-be attackers, as opposed to support components like recruiters or financiers.  We may indeed (on a case-by-case basis) want to lure in the latter to uncover terrorist plots, but when the individual in question is himself the plot — the trigger-puller, the bomb-detonator, the virus-carrier – preventing entry ought to be the priority.  If these guys disappear into the crowd, it could be too late to prevent anything.

2)  Even if we can track them, that doesn’t mean we’ll be able to extract intelligence from them.  The Obama administration has shown that it’s more inclined to let jihadists on US soil lawyer up and remain silent, such as in the case of the Christmas Day underwear bomber of 2009 and the Boston Marathon bomber of 2013.  The military might have success in “extracting detailed information” from such individuals if allowed to detain them as enemy combatants before turning them over to law enforcement (even if as US citizens they are ineligible for trial by military commissions), but that appears unlikely under this administration.

U.S. Confirms ISIL Planning Infiltration of U.S. Southern Border

Militants from the al Qaeda-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) removing part of the soil barrier on the Iraq-Syria borders and moving through it / AP

Militants from the al Qaeda-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) removing part of the soil barrier on the Iraq-Syria borders and moving through it / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, Sep. 10, 2014:

A senior Homeland Security (DHS) official confirmed to Congress on Wednesday that militants associated with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS) are planning to enter the United States via the porous southern border.

Francis Taylor, under secretary for intelligence and analysis at DHS, told senators during a hearing that ISIL supporters are known to be plotting ways to infiltrate the United States through the border.

“There have been Twitter, social media exchanges among ISIL adherents across the globe speaking about that as a possibility,” Taylor told Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) in response to a question about “recent reports on Twitter and Facebook of messages that would urge infiltration into the U.S. across our southwestern border.”

“Certainly any infiltration across our border would be a threat,” Taylor said, explaining that border security agents are working to tighten measures that would prevent this from taking place.

“I’m satisfied we have the intelligence and the capability on our border that would prevent that activity,” Taylor said.

However, McCain was dubious, referring to recent videos released by activist James O’Keefe showing him crossing the border while wearing an Osama bin Laden mask.

Asked by McCain why agents did not stop O’Keefe, Taylor could not provide an answer.

“You can’t answer it because they weren’t there to stop him,” McCain responded.

“The fact is there are thousands of people who are coming across our border who are undetected and not identified, and for you to sit there and tell me that we have the capability or now have the proper protections of our southwest border, particularly in light of the urgings over Facebook and Twitter [by ISIL] for people to come across our southwestern border, is a great concern to the citizens of my state.”

Taylor admitted that more must be done to shore up border security in light of ongoing threats.

“The security at the southwestern border is of great concern to the department and I certainly understand the concerns of the citizens of your state,” he told McCain. “If I gave you the impression I thought the border security was what it needed to be to protect against all the risks coming across the state that’s not what I meant to say.”

There is little evidence to prove that ISIL militants or other terror actors would be stopped if they attempt to cross the border, McCain said.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt, I don’t see when you look at ISIS and the growth and influence of ISIS that it would be logical [to claim they would be stopped], as they’re saying on Facebook and Twitter, to come across our southwest border because they can get across,” he said.

Other U.S. officials have warned ahead of President Obama’s speech this evening that ISIL is growing in strength and seeking the capability to attack America directly.

“We remain mindful of the possibility that an ISIL-sympathizer—perhaps motivated by online propaganda—could conduct a limited, self-directed attack here at home with no warning,” Matthew Olsen, director of the U.S. National Counterterrorism Center, said in a recent speech.

“We have seen ISIL use a range of media to tout its military capabilities, executions of captured soldiers, and consecutive battlefield victories,” Olsen said. “More recently, the group’s supporters have sustained this momentum on social media by encouraging attacks in the U.S. and against U.S. interests in retaliation for our airstrikes. ISIL has used this propaganda campaign to draw foreign fighters to the group, including many from Western countries.”