AP: CIA given stand-down order in Europe

renderHot Air, by Ed Morrissey, Sep.19,2014:

At first blush, this report looks like common sense. After all, the Edward Snowden cache’s exposure of espionage and surveillance on our allies in Europe created no small amount of humiliation for all sides, and at least publicly, impacted our diplomatic and security relationships. A pause to determine the legitimate intelligence needs of the US, as opposed to a desire to just grab everything possible, makes sense under the circumstances — assuming it doesn’t blind us altogether to the issues in Europe.

That, however, might have been the result, at least according to Associated Press sources:

Under the stand-down order, case officers in Europe largely have been forbidden from undertaking “unilateral operations” such as meeting with sources they have recruited within allied governments. Such clandestine meetings are the bedrock of spying.

CIA officers are still allowed to meet with their counterparts in the host country’s intelligence service, conduct joint operations with host country services and conduct operations with the approval of the host government. Recently, unilateral operations targeting third country nationals — Russians in France, for example — were restarted. But most meetings with sources who are host nationals remain on hold, as do new recruitments.

The CIA declined to comment.

James Clapper, the U.S. director of national intelligence, said during a public event Thursday that the U.S. is assuming more risk because it has stopped spying on “specific targets,” though he didn’t spell out details.

Spying stand-downs are common after an operation is compromised, but “never this long or this deep,” said a former CIA official, who, like others interviewed for this story, spoke on condition of anonymity because it’s illegal to discuss classified material or activities. The pause, which has been in effect for about two months, was ordered by senior CIA officials through secret cables.

Needless to say, this is an odd time to go dark, and not just because of Russia and their own operations in Europe. The US needs to keep a close eye on the impact of ISIS in Europe, both in terms of recruitment to the battlegrounds of Syria and Iraq but also penetration into the governments of our allies. Assuming that ISIS isn’t attempting that kind of penetration may work out well in the short run while they’re desperate for fighters (and young women), but it won’t be long before the terrorists realize the value in having sympathizers burrow into the bureaucracies of the West, especially in national-security organizations.

The timing of this revelation is rather curious, too. James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, revealed earlier this week that the CIA missed significant signals in the rise of ISIS and in the collapse of Iraq’s military. In both cases, Clapper admitted, the CIA didn’t calculate the will to fight on either side properly:

The United States has made the same mistake in evaluating fighters from the Islamic State that it did in Vietnam — underestimating the enemy’s will, according to James Clapper, the director of national intelligence.

Clapper’s comments came in a telephone interview Wednesday, in which he summarized the elements of a new National Intelligence Strategyreleased this week. Clapper also answered some broader questions about intelligence issues confronting the country. …

“What we didn’t do was predict the will to fight. That’s always a problem. We didn’t do it in Vietnam. We underestimated the Viet Cong and the North Vietnamese and overestimated the will of the South Vietnamese. In this case, we underestimated ISIL [the Islamic State] and overestimated the fighting capability of the Iraqi army. . . . I didn’t see the collapse of the Iraqi security force in the north coming. I didn’t see that. It boils down to predicting the will to fight, which is an imponderable.”

It’s not that imponderable. Plenty of people warned over the last several years that an American withdrawal from Iraq would have a negative impact on Iraqi military morale. The abandonment of Sunni tribal leaders to the Shi’ite-dominant government of Nouri al-Maliki was also eminently “ponderable,” even while Barack Obama insisted that the Iraq we left behind was stable and secure. Maliki’s purge of Sunni military and political leaders wasn’t much of a secret, or at least shouldn’t have been to the CIA. The question is less of “imponderables” than of a determination to see the situation in Iraq only through the context of an Obama policy success, at least at the policy-developing levels of the intel community and the White House.

Given that DNI Clapper is now offering mea culpas about being blindsided on the capabilities of both friend and foe, this seems like a very odd — and bad — time to have the CIA closing its eyes even more.

U.S. Tracks Threats Against West by Al Qaeda Affiliate in Syria

In addition to Islamic State, groups in Syria that pose a threat to the U.S. include Nusra Front, shown above in Damascus in July. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

In addition to Islamic State, groups in Syria that pose a threat to the U.S. include Nusra Front, shown above in Damascus in July. Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

By SIOBHAN GORMAN and JULIAN E. BARNES:

WASHINGTON—The U.S. is tracking multiple terror plots based out of Syria that target the West—threats that current and former intelligence officials say have been traced to al Qaeda’s Syrian affiliate and not to Islamic State, the extremist group that has seized the world’s attention.

Disclosures about the plots, which include bombings, are raising new questions about whether U.S. military strategy focusing on Islamic State militants could end up missing part of the threat Western countries face from Syria.

The U.S.-driven focus on Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, already has prompted questions from some senior military and intelligence officials as well as independent experts and analysts.

“Does ISIS represent a threat to the U.S.? Yes, of course, but it isn’t the only issue,” said John Cohen, who recently left his post as the top counterterrorism official at the Homeland Security Department to teach at Rutgers University in New Jersey. “The threats emanating from Syria go beyond the threat posed by ISIS.”

At the White House, National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said the threat posed by Islamic State militants is different from that posed by other extremist groups in Syria and “if left unchecked” could present a risk to the U.S. domestically.

“ISIL is not the only group we focus on in the region. The actions we take—not all of which are public—are tailored appropriately to the threats we face,” she said.

Islamic State extremists, who have seized control of territory and towns across Iraq and Syria, represent a serious danger to U.S. and Western interests, mainly in the region, said the officials. But so do groups more tightly affiliated with the Pakistan-based leadership of al Qaeda.

Two such groups are the Nusra Front, al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, and a cell of al Qaeda leaders now in Syria that works closely with Nusra Front known as Khorasan.

U.S. officials say Khorasan is a growing hazard, particularly to the U.S., because its members are focused on violence toward the West and have been eyeing attacks on American airliners.

On Thursday, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said Khorasan may pose as much of a danger as Islamic State “in terms of threat to the homeland.” It was the first time a U.S. official has acknowledged the group’s existence.

The groups have shown an affinity for bomb plots. Officials say they have grown alarmed that terrorists could attempt some attacks soon, such as a number targeting European countries from operatives based in Syria and Turkey.

The plots emanating from Syria likely have been under development for months, but the groups are vying for prominence with Islamic State, which has catapulted to the top of the U.S. target list in the region, the current and former officials said.

In Australia on Thursday, police carried out early morning raids in Sydney and another major city aimed at disrupting what they said were plans by local Islamic State supporters to behead members of the public. That plot represents a new nightmare scenario for U.S. officials, in which the brutal tactics of Islamic State militants are adopted more broadly by sympathetic extremists.

Officials wouldn’t describe in any detail the nature, location or timing of the plots. Together, Nusra Front and Khorasan are suspected to have multiple plots in the works targeting countries in Europe as well as the U.S.

Read more at WSJ

National Intel Misled Congress About Brotherhood Contacts

Claptrap

The members of Congress – and the American people – have a right to know the truth: The Office of the Director of National Intelligence does have a relationship with domestic organizations linked to the Muslim Brotherhood – and, it is a truth that needs a formal evaluation and investigation.

By Ryan Mauro:

Newly declassified documents obtained by the Clarion Project show that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) misled members of Congress in 2012 about its involvement with Muslim Brotherhood-linked entities.

Further, the documents show that there were even a number of internal communications within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence expressing concerns about the Brotherhood links of these entities.

The story of the deception began when the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper testified to Congress on February 10, 2011 saying that the Muslim Brotherhood is “a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has described Al-Qaeda as a perversion of Islam.”

In the same hearing, Clapper was asked by Rep. Jeff Miller (R-FL) about the administration’s relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood. He answered, “There have been outreaches to the Muslim community in general, but I guess we’re not aware of any direct outreach to these particular organizations. That is, if you’re speaking domestically.”

FBI Director Mueller then chimed in, saying there is “no relationship with the Brotherhood. Period.” The CIA Director Leon Panetta then agreed, dismissively laughing in the process.

Clapper’s office later issued a clarification, backtracking on his inaccurate statement that the Brotherhood is “secular.”

Just four months later, on June 12, 2012, a 90-minute “Roundtable Discussion” took place at National Intelligence’s headquarters in McLean, Virginia. At the meeting, Clapper met in person with a representative of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA). Also present were National Counter-Terrorism Center Director Matthew Olson and Alexander Joel, ODNI Civil Liberties Protection Officer.

The email invitation ISNA received to participate in a "Round-Table" discussion

The email invitation ISNA received to participate in a “Round-Table” discussion

In 2007, the Justice Department listed ISNA as a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity and designated them as an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism-financing trial of the history of the U.S. In that trial, the Holy Land Foundation, a Muslim Brotherhood front, was found guilty of funding Hamas.

Yet in 2012, the president of ISNA, Imam Mohamed Magid, was invited to meet with the Director of National Intelligence. Unable to attend, he sent a substitute in his place.

The email that went out inviting ISNA’s president (among others) stated that he was chosen because, “We believe you have important insights to share with the Intelligence Community (IC) about how the IC pursues its mandate of providing the most insightful intelligence possible, while simultaneously safeguarding civil liberties and privacy.”

Magid’s replacement was ISNA’s Director of Community Outreach, Mohamed Elsanousi.

Read more at Clarion Project

Iran can now build and deliver nukes, US intel reports

An Iranian worker at the Uranium Conversion Facility at Isfahan, 410 kilometers, south of Tehran. The conversion facility in Isfahan reprocesses uranium ore concentrate, known as yellowcake, into uranium hexaflouride gas. The gas is then taken to Natanz and fed into the centrifuges for enrichment. (photo credit: AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

An Iranian worker at the Uranium Conversion Facility at Isfahan, 410 kilometers, south of Tehran. The conversion facility in Isfahan reprocesses uranium ore concentrate, known as yellowcake, into uranium hexaflouride gas. The gas is then taken to Natanz and fed into the centrifuges for enrichment. (photo credit: AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

BY MARISSA NEWMAN:

Iran now has all the technical infrastructure to produce nuclear weapons should it make the political decision to do, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper wrote in a report to a Senate intelligence committee published Wednesday. However, he added, it could not break out to the bomb without being detected.

In the “US Intelligence Worldwide Threat Assessment,” delivered to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, Clapper reported that Tehran has made significant advances recently in its nuclear program to the point where it could produce and deliver nuclear bombs should it be so inclined.

“Tehran has made technical progress in a number of areas — including uranium enrichment, nuclear reactors, and ballistic missiles — from which it could draw if it decided to build missile-deliverable nuclear weapons,” Clapper wrote. “These technical advancements strengthen our assessment that Iran has the scientific, technical, and industrial capacity to eventually produce nuclear weapons. This makes the central issue its political will to do so.”

In the past year alone, the report states, Iran has enhanced its centrifuge designs, increased the number of centrifuges, and amassed a larger quantity of low-enriched uranium hexafluoride. These advancements have placed Iran in a better position to produce weapons-grade uranium.

“Despite this progress, we assess that Iran would not be able to divert safeguarded material and produce enough WGU [weapons grade uranium] for a weapon before such activity would be discovered,” he wrote.

Director of National Intelligence (DNI), James Clapper (photo credit: AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Director of National Intelligence (DNI), James Clapper (photo credit: AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

He said the increased supervision and other “transparency” to which Iran has agreed under the new interim deal, reached with the world powers in Geneva in November and finalized last week, could offer earlier warning of a breakout to the bomb. Should Iran cooperate with the interim deal, halt enrichment, and “provide transparency,” then “This transparency would provide earlier warning of a breakout using these facilities.”

Clapper told the Senate committee that the interim deal will have an impact on Iran’s nuclear weapons program’s progress and “gets at the key thing we’re interested in and most concerned about,” namely, Iran’s 20 percent enriched uranium.

Iran had also worked hard to advance its program at the Arak heavy water facility, wrote Clapper. Its ballistic missiles, he noted, of which it has “the largest inventory in the Middle East,” are “inherently capable of delivering WMD.” And its space program gives it the means to develop longer-range missiles, including intercontinental ballistic missiles.

“We do not know if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons,” Clapper wrote. But he noted that Iran’s overarching “strategic goals” were leading it to pursue the capability to do so.

The national intelligence director reiterated that imposing additional sanctions against Iran would be “counterproductive” and would “jeopardize the [interim] agreement.” He advised that additional sanctions against the Islamic Republic should only be kept “in reserve.”

The report was released a day after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the interim nuclear agreement only set back the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program by six weeks.

“This agreement merely set Iran back six weeks — no more — according to our assessments, in relation to its previous position, so that the test, as to denying Iran the ability to manufacture nuclear weapons, has been and remains the permanent agreement, if such [a deal] can indeed be achieved,” Netanyahu said at a conference of the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv.

Last Wednesday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accused the Obama administration of mischaracterizing the terms of an interim nuclear deal. “We did not agree to dismantle anything,” Zarif told CNN.

Zarif repeated that “we are not dismantling any centrifuges, we’re not dismantling any equipment, we’re simply not producing, not enriching [uranium] over 5%.”

Read more at The Times of Israel

See also:

Al-Qaida faction in Syria contemplating US attack, intelligence officials warn

From left: National Counterterrorism Center director Matthew Olsen, director of national intelligence James Clapper, and CIA director John Brennan. Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images

From left: National Counterterrorism Center director Matthew Olsen, director of national intelligence James Clapper, and CIA director John Brennan. Photograph: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Guardian, by :

Intelligence officials have claimed that a faction linked to al-Qaida in Syria has a desire to launch a domestic attack on the US, an assertion that underscored the growing importance of the Syrian civil war to global terrorism.

The Nusra Front, one of the jihadist factions in Syria that aligns itself with al-Qaida, “does have aspirations for attacks on the homeland”, James Clapper, the US director of national intelligence, told the Senate intelligence committee on Wednesday.

Clapper pointed to the deterioration of Syria during three years of violence – a situation he compared to the federally administered tribal areas (FATA) in Pakistan that became a haven after the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan for the core leadership of al-Qaida.

“What’s going on there, may be in some respects a new FATA force … and the attraction of these foreign fighters is very, very worrisome,” Clapper said.

Clapper did not discuss the capabilities of the Nusra Front, which pledged loyalty to al-Qaida in April, nor another al-Qaida-centric organization in Syria, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which has recently emerged as a rival to Nusra. Neither faction has yet shown interest in attacks on the US, focusing their violence on the Bashar al-Assad regime, rival Syrian rebels, and neighboring Lebanon and Iraq.

But Clapper estimated there were more than 7,000 foreigners fighting in the Syrian carnage, coming from 50 countries, “many of them from Europe and the Mideast”. Clapper stopped short of warning that Americans were a significant component of Syrian jihadist groups, the subject of considerable speculation as Syria’s civil war has dragged on.

Clapper said approximately 26,000 Syrian combatants could be classified as “extremists”, out of an estimated 75,000 to 110,000 armed opponents of Assad. An anonymous Israeli intelligence officer recently estimated to the Associated Press that al-Qaida’s allies in Syria topped 30,000.

US intelligence had picked up indications of “training complexes” within Syria, Clapper said, “to train people to go back to their countries and conduct terrorist acts, so this is a huge concern”.

Yet Clapper, in his prepared testimony for the committee, listed cyber threats and counter-intelligence before focusing on terrorism. Among those threats were leaks from “trusted insiders with the intent to do harm”, an apparent reference to former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, whom Clapper excoriated during the hearing.

Al-Qaida’s “locus for operational planning” has dispersed around the world, Clapper said, with “some five different franchises at least in 12 countries” of particular concern, including in Yemen, Somalia, North Africa and Syria.

That dispersal is in keeping with a years-long trend in al-Qaida toward decentralization. An academic debate exists among counter-terrorism analysts concerning the control and relevance of the “core al-Qaida”, based in Pakistan, which Clapper called the “ideological center” of the terrorist organization.

Despite the focus on Syria, Clapper said al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the Yemen-based affiliate that twice attempted unsuccessfully to bomb US aircraft in 2009 and 2010, remains the franchise with the strongest interest in attacking the US, with many of the others principally interested in more localized assaults and contests for power.

“Of all the franchises, that’s the one that poses the most immediate threat for a potential attack on the homeland,” Clapper said. “The probability of an attack now, compared to 2001 is, at least to me, is a very hard question to answer, principally because this very dispersion and diffusion of threat.”

Matthew Olsen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said it was difficult for the US intelligence agencies – which had a 2013 budget of $67.6bn after congressionally imposed restrictions, according to officially declassified figures – to provide tactical warning of a terrorist attack domestically.

“The nature of the threat has become significantly more geographically spread out, and that challenges the community in collecting the kinds of information that would provide that kind of tactical warning,” Olsen said.

Attacks like the September assault on Nairobi’s Westgate Mall “using small arms, a small number of individuals, puts a great deal of pressure on us to provide the kind of tactical warning that would save lives under those circumstances”, Olsen said.

 

See also:

Truth leaking out? Nerve gas points to rebels

130907syriarebels-340x170By F. Michael Maloof:

Former U.S. intelligence analysts claim current intelligence analysts have told them Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was not responsible for the Aug. 21 poison gas attack on the outskirts of Damascus, Syria, which killed 1,429 people, of whom more than 400 where children.

They claim the “growing body of evidence” reveals the incident was a pre-planned provocation by the Syrian opposition and its Saudi and Turkish supporters.

“The aim is reported to have been to create the kind of incident that would bring the United States into the war,” one former U.S. intelligence analysts said.

The analysts referred to a meeting a week before the Aug. 21 incident in which opposition military commanders ordered preparations for an “imminent escalation” due to a “war-changing development” that would be followed by the “U.S.-led bombing of Syria.”

In addition, the former U.S. analysts said that Israel welcomed limited U.S. military action but not so much that it would strengthen rebel groups, which are “increasingly dominated by Sunni jihadis.”

In an open memorandum to U.S. President Barack Obama, who is contemplating a strike on Syria’s military in response to this incident, members of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, or VIPS, said that even British officials are aware that it wasn’t al-Assad who committed the atrocity.

The British Parliament recently voted not to engage British military forces, even though British Prime Minister David Cameron sought such an endorsement in support of the Obama administration.

Following the vote, Cameron said there would be no British participation in any military action against the Syrian government.

The veteran former U.S. intelligence analysts who remain in contact with current U.S. intelligence officials said they believe Obama wasn’t informed in order to preserve “plausible denial.”

Formed in January 2003, VIPS is a group of current and former U.S. intelligence community officials. Members include analysts from CIA, the State Department’s Intelligence Bureau, or INR, and the Defense Intelligence Agency.

Those signing the memorandum were Thomas Drake, former senior executive of the National Security Agency; Philip Giraldi, retired Central Intelligence Agency officer; Matthew Hoh, former Marine Corps captain with experience in Iraq and Afghanistan; Larry Johnson, retired CIA and State Department official; W. Patrick Lang, former senior executive and Defense Intelligence Officer; David MacMichael, who was on the National Intelligence Council; and Ray McGovern, former U.S. Army infantry intelligence office and CIA analyst.

Other signers of the memo were Elizabeth Murray, former deputy national intelligence officer; Todd Pierce, former U.S. Army judge advocate; Sam Provance, former sergeant, U.S. Army in Iraq; Coleen Rowley, former Division Council and FBI special agent; and Ann Write, retired U.S. Army colonel and foreign service officer.

The memorandum, with a subject line titled “Is Syria a Trap?” pointed out that the weight of the Obama’s evidence is reminiscent of intelligence used by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell in a Feb. 5, 2003, speech before the United Nations, in which he “peddled fraudulent intelligence” – according to the memo – to support the March 18, 2003, U.S. military attack on Iraq for its weapons of mass destruction.

“Then, also, we chose to give President (George W.) Bush the benefit of the doubt, thinking he was being misled – or, at the least, very poorly advised,” the analysts said.

“Our sources confirm that a chemical incident of some sort did cause fatalities and injuries on Aug. 21 in a suburb of Damascus,” the analysts said, suggesting that they maintain contact with current U.S. intelligence community analysts. “They insist, however, that the incident was not the result of an attack by the Syrian Army using military-grade chemical weapons from its arsenal.”

In an apparent direct attack on CIA Director John Brennan, the former high-ranking analysts said that he was “perpetrating a pre-Iraq-War-type fraud on members of Congress, the media, the public – and perhaps even you,” referring to Obama.

“We have observed John Brennan closely over recent years, and, sadly, we find what our former colleagues are now telling us easy to believe,” the memo said.

“Sadder still,” it said, “this goes in spades for those of us who have worked with him personally; we give him zero credence. And that goes, as well, for his titular boss, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who has admitted he gave ‘clearly erroneous’ sworn testimony to Congress denying NSA eavesdropping on Americans.”

In claiming that the Aug. 21 chemical weapons incident was a provocation of the Syrian opposition, the former U.S. analysts said that the growing body of evidence came mostly from sources affiliated with the Syrian opposition and its supporters.

They said that these reports revealed that canisters containing chemical agents were brought into a suburb of Damascus, where they were then opened.

“We are unaware of any reliable evidence that a Syrian military rocket capable of carrying a chemical agent was fired into the area,” the analysts said. “In fact, we are aware of no reliable physical evidence to support the claim that this was a result of a strike by a Syrian military unit with expertise in chemical weapons.

Read more at WND

Related articles:

 

Cables Show State Department Disregarded Muslim Brotherhood Threat

by John Rossomando

Benghazi Burns and Petraeus Goes to Princeton?

David Petraeus accepting the James Madison Medal at Princeton, 2010

by: Diana West

Two weeks ago, I wondered whether CIA Director Petraeus was politicizing the intelligence after a source told Fox News  on September 27 that three days after the Benghazi assault, Petraeus briefed the House Intelligence Committee that “Benghazi was an out-of-control demonstration prompted by the YouTube video. According to the source, this was `shocking’ to some members who were present and saw the same intelligence pointing toward a terrorist attack.”

Knowing Petraeus’ sensitivities to the faux-stimulus of what he has called in Senate testimony “Arab anger,”  such politicization, or, perhaps better, such Arabizing of the intelligence would likely come naturally to him. No stranger to politicking, Petraeus as CENTCOM commander engaged in what was described as an “unprecedented” political push in early 2010 on behalf of Islam’s Israel-centered demonology in order to enhance Americas’s military standing in Iraq and Afghanistan. This dovetailed neatly with his perhaps surprising take on Gitmo — close it, its “existence has been used by the enemy against us” –  and his really shocking take on Hezbollah: “Hezbollah’s justifications for existence will become void,” Petraeus told the Al Hayat as reported in the Lebanese Daily Star, “if the Palestinian cause is resolved.” Given this Arabist sensibility (and don’t forget one of his thesis directors at Princeton was Stephen Walt of Walt & Mearsheimer), it’s no stretch to imagine the man taking up cry of Islamic video-rage as well.

Now, with so many of the adminstration’s bald lies about Benghazi being exposed, PJ Tatler’s Bryan Preston is asking not whether Petraeus was politicizing the intell, but whether he is “among the sources of the Benghazi deception.”

In a post called “You Know Who Still Hasn’t Called Benghazi a Terrorist Attack?” Preston reprises some of Petraeus’ appeasement of Koran Rage back in Afghanistan. Preston also notes that several senators sent a letter on October 9 to Petraeus, DNI Clapper and White House CT advisor John Brennan asking for a specific timeline on the Benghazi intelligence They haven’t received an answer.

Read more

Iran Has Sleeper Cells in U.S. Ready to Attack

by Reza Kahlili at Stop Radical Islam:

Iran has sleeper cells throughout the United States and the West that will unleash suicide bombings should Iranian nuclear facilities be attacked.

The leaders of the Islamic regime have long prepared for a confrontation with the United States. Now, with tensions over Iran’s nuclear program, U.S. Navy assets taking position in the Persian Gulf, Israel threatening strikes against Iranian nuclear sites and the decision by the regime in Tehran to pursue its goal of obtaining nuclear weapons, the Iranians are making it clear to America that U.S. military bases around the world and sites inside the U.S. will be attacked if Iranian nuclear facilities are attacked.

In a recent Friday prayers sermon in Tehran, the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, promised that if America attacked Iran, Iran would respond by causing 10 times as much destruction to America as it had caused to Iran. Others in the regime have been more specific.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper recently told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence about his concerns of Iran’s willingness to attack the United States in response to any confrontation.

As I reported last June, Brig. Gen. Mohammad-Reza Naghdi, during a gathering of high-ranking members of the Revolutionary Guards command and the Basij militia, announced that Iranian assets have successfully infiltrated deep within the West, from Europe to New York.

Another commander of the Guards, Hussein Babai, revealed that Hezbollah terrorist cells, under the direction of Iran, began forming after the 2006 war between Israel and the Lebanese Hezbollah. With the current Arab Spring, they have expanded their operations. Their mission, Babai said, is to help create an Islam-dominated world.

With my background as a CIA spy in the Revolutionary Guards, I can attest to how the Guards successfully use mosques, Islamic cultural centers, Islamic student associations, alliances with other Islamic groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, and Muslims from Afghani and Pakistani groups to infiltrate the West and infect its society.

The Iranian Quds Forces along with Hezbollah cells have a large presence in Latin America, especially in Venezuela, and through collaboration with drug cartels, they get into Mexico and from there into the United States.

In order to understand their motives, one must understand their ideology, which is best described in articles by Alireza Forghani, the former governor of Kish Province and an analyst and a strategy specialist in Khamenei’s camp. I recently exposed one piece, carried on every major Iranian media outlet and within the Revolutionary Guards, that detailed Iran’s religious duty to destroy Israel and kill all Jews. Forghani now promises an Iranian response to any attack by America on the world stage.

His latest piece, entitled “We Welcome War,” warns America that within 48 hours of any attack on Iran, all U.S. military installations around the world will be attacked by martyrdom-seeking Muslims.

He then quotes the Quran (Al-Anfal 60): “Prepare with all your armaments and force in your possession to confront the enemy so that your enemies and enemies of Allah will become fearful.”

With my background as a CIA spy in the Revolutionary Guards, I can attest to how the Guards successfully use mosques, Islamic cultural centers, Islamic student associations, alliances with other Islamic groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, and Muslims from Afghani and Pakistani groups to infiltrate the West and infect its society.

In Islam, he says, war is a duty and Allah will resent any Muslim who backs down from it.

“America should know that while they have been preparing for war, we  have been ready for the re-appearance of the Imam Mahdi, Shiites’ 12th Imam, and ready for war and jihad,” he says. “America should know that while it pays its soldiers to fight, the Islamic fighters wage jihad in war with pride, as dying otherwise is too shameful for them.”

Then Forghani makes the clearest threat by stating that America should know there are many young people of Hezbollah who are placed outside Iran and that they will carry out attacks and martyrdom operations on every American military base in 112 countries around the world in less than 48 hours after any aggression by America.

He concludes that “America needs to know that while the American youth shout the slogan ‘Stop the war,’ for fear of dying, the children of Ruhollah [Khomeini], founder of the Islamic regime, never flee from war and always pray to Allah for the chance of martyrdom.”

Renowned Iranian ideologue Hassan Rahim Poor Azgadi, in a speech titled ”A Model for Tomorrow,” which recently aired on Iran’s state-owned TV, called for jihad in Europe and America. He said that Iran’s forces must get ready for a global operation.

He says that the Islamic revolution in Iran, as promised, has now been exported and warned that “our fellow fighters” are present in all five continents of the world in the fight against imperialism and in preparation for the coming of Mahdi. Shiites believe the 13th-century imam demands world chaos and destruction — Armageddon — before he will return.

An international jihad must be provoked, Azgadi said, and there must be no fear of anyone. Citing Khomeini’s dictate that “We must destroy Israel and free Jerusalem,” Azgadi concludes that “We will do this.”

Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and the author of the award-winning book, A Time to Betray. He is a senior fellow with EMPact America and teaches at the U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy (JCITA).

 

James Clapper Cites Brotherhood as Defense against Al-Qaeda

In his statement for the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, U.S. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper appears to endorse the concept Muslim Brotherhood involvement in the Mideast political process will serve as some kind of bulwark against Al-Qaeda and other such groups. He writes:
 
If, over the longer term, governments take real steps to address public demands for political participation and democratic institutions—and remain committed to CT efforts—we judge that core al-Qaeda and the global jihadist movement will experience a strategic setback. Al Qaeda probably will find it difficult to compete for local support with groups like the Muslim Brotherhood that participate in the political process, provide social services, and advocate religious values. Nonviolent, pro-democracy demonstrations challenge al Qaeda’s violent jihadist ideology and might yield increased political power for secular or moderate Islamist parties.
 
In February 2011, author and former Wall Street Journal reporter Ian Johnson published an article titled “Washington’s Secret History with the Muslim Brotherhood” in which he reviews the history of the US relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood and should serve as a cautionary note regarding the policies implied above. The piece begins:
 
As US-backed strongmen around North Africa and the Middle East are being toppled or shaken by popular protests, Washington is grappling with a crucial foreign-policy issue: how to deal with the powerful but opaque Muslim Brotherhood. In Egypt, the Brotherhood has taken an increasingly forceful part in the protests, issuing a statement Thursday calling for Mubarak’s immediate resignation. And though it is far from clear what role the Brotherhood would have should Mubarak step down, the Egyptian president has been claiming it will take over. In any case, the movement is likely to be a major player in any transitional government.Journalists and pundits are already weighing in with advice on the strengths and dangers of this 83-year-old Islamist movement, whose various national branches are the most potent opposition force in virtually all of these countries. Some wonder how the Brotherhood will treat Israel, or if it really has renounced violence. Most—including the Obama administration —seem to think that it is a movement the West can do business with, even if the White House denies formal contacts.If this discussion evokes a sense of déjà vu, this is because over the past sixty years we have had it many times before, with almost identical outcomes. Since the 1950s, the United States has secretly struck up alliances with the Brotherhood or its offshoots on issues as diverse as fighting communism and calming tensions among European Muslims. And if we look to history, we can see a familiar pattern: each time, US leaders have decided that the Brotherhood could be useful and tried to bend it to America’s goals, and each time, maybe not surprisingly, the only party that clearly has benefited has been the Brotherhood.
 
Read the rest here.
 
Previous posts discussed Mr. Johnson’s book on the history of the Munich mosque and his paper for the Hudson Institute titled “The Brotherhood’s Westward Expansion” which traces the connections between the Muslim Brotherhood as it developed in Europe and the United States.

Muslim Brotherhood Realities New and Old

“The United States has now become a de facto enabler of a militant ideology that ultimately seeks the destruction of our own way of life”

by Steven Emerson at IPT:

The votes still aren’t fully counted in Egypt, but the Obama administration has seen enough to reverse long-standing and well-rooted policies to shun the theocratic, global Caliphate-minded Muslim Brotherhood, whose philosophy spawned terrorist movements from Hamas to al-Qaida.

High level meetings between American and Brotherhood officials reflect a “new political reality here [in Egypt], and indeed around the region,” the New York Times reported in a front-page article Wednesday, “as Islamist groups come to power.”

What is astounding and dangerous about the new U.S. recognition is the fact that Brotherhood leaders became more openly radical and militant once Mubarak was thrown out, issuing incendiary speeches calling for “martyrdom” operations against Israel and aligning with Hamas and other terrorist groups. Yet as the New York Times wrote, the Obama administration accepts as truthful “the Brotherhood’s repeated assurances that its lawmakers want to build a modern democracy that will respect individual freedoms, free markets and international commitments, including Egypt’s treaty with Israel,” the Times reported.

But there’s another reality that seems overlooked. And that’s the Brotherhood’s history of deception and duplicity, policies that reflect its modus operandi in gaining legitimacy in Egypt and around the world but still promoting a militant agenda. While some MB officials may tell American officials they will respect individual liberties and honor Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel, it’s not hard to find massive evidence that paints a different and more disturbing picture.

As we reported last week, the Brotherhood is poised to dominate the next Egyptian government after vowing last spring that it sought no such power. The group’s deputy chief says the Brotherhood “will not recognize Israel under any circumstances” and may place the peace treaty before voters in a referendum.

Earlier this year, it tried to hide its bylaws and their calls for “need to work on establishing the Islamic State” from English-reading audiences, striking them from its website. Last week, however, Supreme Guide Mohammed Badie gave an address reminding followers of the agenda laid out by Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna. “It begins with the reform of the individual and then to start building the family and society, then the government; then the rightly guided caliphate, then instructing the world; instructing guidance, wisdom, truth and justice.”

Brotherhood members must see their electoral success as a huge step in the direction of creating “the rightly guided caliphate.” The United States would be foolish to differ.

It also would be foolish to overlook the Brotherhood’s record.

After American commandos killed Osama bin Laden, the Brotherhood told English language audiences “one of the reasons for which violence has been practised in the world has been removed,” Reuters reported. In Arabic, however, they referred to the mass-murdering al-Qaida founder with the honorary term of Sheikh and called him a shaheed, or martyr. The statement also criticized the American attack as an assassination.

Despite their reputations among some in the West as supposed moderates, Brotherhood officials routinely endorse terrorism. Hamas, the Palestinian terrorist group in control of Gaza, declares itself to be the Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch. Its peaceful intent includes recent reiterations of its commitment to violent jihad and its vow never to accept the state of Israel’s right to exist.

“Our presence with the Brotherhood threatens the Israeli entity,” Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said last month.

For all the talk of the Brotherhood renouncing violence, the Associated Press noted that “it supports Hamas in its ‘resistance’ against Israel.”

But the Brotherhood’s threat of violence is not limited to actions against Israel. Influential Brotherhood theologian Yusuf al-Qaradawi endorsed kidnapping and killing American civilians in Iraq in 2004 as an “obligation so as to cause them to leave Iraq immediately.”

More recently, Qaradawi has called on Muslims to acquire nuclear weapons “to terrorize their enemies” and sanctioned killing Israeli women because they serve in the army. He has prayed to be martyred while killing a Jew.

Incredibly, there has been no American confirmation or denial of an Indian newspaper report last week which indicated Qaradawi is helping broker peace talks between the United States and the Taliban, which itself is scandalous.

But this is the same administration whose Director of National Intelligence called the Brotherhood “a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence,” during a February congressional hearing. James Clapper tried to walk this back in subsequent statements, but his assessment flew in the face of all the Brotherhood has said about itself since its founding in 1928, beginning with its motto:

“God is our goal, the Quran is our Constitution, the Prophet is our leader, jihad is our way, and death in the service of God is the loftiest of our wishes.”

There are good reasons why the United States does not deal with Iran or recognize Hamas government in Gaza: Granting unilateral recognition to totalitarian political movements or governments only emboldens their terrorist ideologies. Shunning, boycotting and ostracizing totalitarian movements and regimes that still promote violent ideologies and policies is the only proven way of undermining their legitimacy and containing them, short of military action. The Brotherhood, which supports the terrorist Hamas, can mouth to the West all the platitudes about peace it can muster. But the record of its actions and its statements in Arabic shows the emptiness of such words.

Here is Badie, the supreme guide, in October, following Israel’s decision to release more than 1,000 prisoners, many of them Hamas killers, in exchange for kidnapped soldier Gilad Schalit: “The deal also proved that Israel only understands the language of force and resistance. This language is able, with God’s permission, to liberate the Palestinian people suffering under the captivity of the Zionists.”

Deception is part of the Brotherhood’s modus operandi in America as well. Evidence in the largest terror-financing trial in U.S. history shows the Muslim Brotherhood created a network of Hamas-support organizations here, operating as the “Palestine Committee.”

One exhibit, a 1991 “Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America,” described the Brotherhood’s work in the United States as a “kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all religions.”

Court records provided “ample evidence” placing the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and its founders in the Palestine Committee, but CAIR refuses to acknowledge those connections. The evidence prompted the FBI to cut off communication with CAIR, but plenty of U.S. politicians and policymakers continue to engage the group.

Even if U.S. government officials accept the premise that the Brotherhood is a new reality in international relations, it is profoundly troubling that the U.S. would unilaterally grant new-found legitimacy without extracting demonstrable concessions that the Brotherhood has truly changed its policies. We still carry great leverage, supporting Egypt with $1.3 billion in military aid each year and through economic support from the U.S. Agency for International Development. Beyond the leverage of financial support, there are many options for the U.S. to pursue, as it did through an international boycott organized against South Africa when it existed as an apartheid state.

In legitimizing the Muslim Brotherhood more than any other previous administration, the U.S. undermines genuine secular and pluralist parties, admittedly in the minority in Egypt, but which hold out the only hope for alternatives to the empowerment of authoritarian policies of Islamist regimes. In the entire history of Islamist regimes taking over or winning by elections, there has never been an Islamist regime that has ever given up power peacefully.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration’s embrace of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt parallels its embrace of Muslim Brotherhood American branches and front groups whose officials say nice things on American television, yet continue to covertly spread the ideology of, and in many cases funded, Islamic militancy and terrorism. Throughout its history, Brotherhood groups and leaders around the world starting with al-Banna, its founder, in Egypt, have spread the incendiary conspiratorial doctrine that the West, Christians, Jews and infidels have secretly conspired to suppress Islam since 1095, the year of the first Crusade. And in the age of instant worldwide communications, this delusional paranoia that non-Muslims – especially the West, Jews and Christians are waging a war against Islam – has become the No. 1 factor in motivating Islamic terrorists to carry out their attacks. In Egypt as in the United States and Europe, Brotherhood leaders blamed Israel, Jews and the United States for the 9/11 attacks. Nearly every Islamic terrorist arrest in the United States has been described by Islamist leaders as evidence of a “war against Islam.”

The Muslim Brotherhood, where ever it is around the world, from Cairo to Chicago, seeks to gain legitimacy thru a campaign of deception and penetration of western regimes and institutions. It defies common sense to grant unilateral legitimacy to the Brotherhood without demanding concrete actions to openly disavow its support for Islamic terrorist groups or stopping the spread of its mass incendiary message that there is a war against Islam.

Wittingly or unwittingly, the United States has now become a de facto enabler of a militant ideology that ultimately seeks the destruction of our own way of life.

The Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) is a non-profit research group founded by Steven Emerson in 1995. It is recognized as the world’s most comprehensive data center on radical Islamic terrorist groups. For more than a decade, the IPT has investigated the operations, funding, activities and front groups of Islamic terrorist and extremist groups in the United States and around the world. It has become a principal source of critical evidence to a wide variety of government offices and law enforcement agencies, as well as the U.S. Congress and numerous public policy forums. Research carried out by the IPT team has formed the basis for thousands of articles and television specials on the subject of radical Islamic involvement in terrorism, and has even led to successful government action against terrorists and financiers based in the United States.

 


 

Obama’s National Security ‘Not Top 10′ of 2011

Patrick Poole reviews Obama’s top ten national security failures of 2011 at PJM:

Here you go, in chronological order:

1) President Obama claims Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood lacks major support (February 6)

During Obama’s Super Bowl interview with Bill O’Reilly, Egypt was in the midst of a revolution that eventually led to the ouster of longtime Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Obama was asked about whether the Muslim Brotherhood was a threat. He responded:

I think they’re one faction in Egypt. They don’t have majority support in Egypt. But they’re well organized. There are strains of their ideology that are anti-U.S. There’s no doubt about it.

He went on to claim that there are many secularists and liberals in Egypt that wanted representative government. The rest of the administration followed suit, with Daniel Shapiro of the National Security Council assuring Jewish groups on a conference call that the Muslim Brotherhood would “be a minor player in Egyptian politics.” New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof also pointed to questionable polls claiming that the Muslim Brotherhood only received 15 percent support.

As we’ve seen in recent weeks, the president was completely wrong in his assessment (as were the administration flacks and media lapdogs who parroted the president’s claims). In the first two rounds of elections, the Muslim Brotherhood has come out on top, and with their Salafist Al-Nour allies, they aim to control the Egyptian parliament with a significant legislative majority — possibly enough to rewrite the country’s constitution. In the first round, they secured 37 percent of the seats; in the second round, they won 47 percent of the seats up for grabs.

Now, the Obama administration’s think-tank allies are spinning the Muslim Brotherhood’s electoral success by assuring the Beltway’s “smart set” that the group is savvy and politically flexible, meaning there’s nothing for us to fear.

How did Obama miscalculate so poorly on the Muslim Brotherhood’s support in Egypt? Well, that brings us to …

2) Director of National Intelligence James Clapper tells Congress that the Muslim Brotherhood is a “largely secular” group (February 10)

Just a few days after Obama claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood lacked major support in Egypt, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper went before the House Intelligence Committee and was asked by Rep. Sue Myrick about the organization. He gave this response:

The term “Muslim Brotherhood” … is an umbrella term for a variety of movements, in the case of Egypt, a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence and has decried al-Qaeda as a perversion of Islam. … They have pursued social ends, a betterment of the political order in Egypt, et cetera. … In other countries, there are also chapters or franchises of the Muslim Brotherhood, but there is no overarching agenda, particularly in pursuit of violence, at least internationally.

 

 

Catcalls poured in from all quarters. Richard Engel on MSNBC called Clapper’s comments “a wild misreading of the organization.” Sen. Mark Kirk expressed his concern about Clapper’s remarks and the Obama administration’s position with respect to the Muslim Brotherhood. ABC News noted that the State Department’s own background note on Egypt described the Brotherhood as a “potent political and religious force.” Even FBI Director Robert Mueller, who was testifying with Clapper, had to add: “Obviously, elements of the Muslim Brotherhood here and overseas have supported terrorism.” This put the lie to Clapper’s claims that they had “eshewed violence” (e.g., Hamas).

It wasn’t even the close of business that day when Clapper’s spokesman issued a “clarification” of the director’s remarks.

What is important about this episode is that Clapper was not speaking off-the-cuff, but was reading verbatim from a set of written briefing notes that had been prepared by the top intelligence analysts in the intelligence community. They had apparently ignored (unlike PJ Media’s Barry Rubin) that the supreme guide of the Muslim Brotherhood had declared war on the U.S. just a few months before, just as the Clinton administration ignored al-Qaeda’s declaration of war in 1998.

As we continue to see the Middle East devolve into fundamentalist Islamic totalitarianism over the next year — perhaps the worst foreign policy disaster in the past century — we can be reminded that the U.S. intelligence community not only didn’t see it coming but actively aided in the collapse by blinding policy makers to the reality of the Muslim Brotherhood’s agenda.

3) Osama bin Laden buried by U.S. military in accordance with Islamic traditions (May 2)

The Obama administration eviscerated a decade’s worth of (admittedly misguided) U.S. strategic communications that said Osama bin Laden had hijacked Islam by burying him in accordance with Islamic law.

After the deed had been done, Obama’s national security adviser John Brennan gave a briefing to the White House press corps where he claimed: “The disposal of — the burial of bin Laden’s remains was done in strict conformance with Islamic precepts and practices. It was prepared in accordance with the Islamic requirements.” Brennan explained that bin Laden’s funeral had been conducted by a U.S. military Muslim chaplain (no word if the Muslim chaplain involved was one of those hand-picked by al-Qaeda financier Abdurahman Alamoudi on behalf of the Defense Department, or one trained by al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki). The Navy’s service for Islamic burial also includes a petition that Allah forgive the sins of the deceased, and provide a nice house and a better wife.

But that didn’t assuage prominent Islamic scholars from around the world, who complained that bin Laden’s burial at sea did violate Islamic law. In response, the Islamic scholars at the White House doubled-down, insisting that he had been buried according to Islamic tradition.

There was hardly any public discussion about the ramifications to the years of strategic communication by both the Bush and Obama administrations that insisted that Osama bin Laden had “hijacked Islam” and operated outside bounds of Islamic teaching. In one simple act the Obama administration confirmed what the U.S. government had repeatedly denied for almost a decade.

4) Pentagon overrules field commanders, grants Private Naser Jason Abdo conscientious objector status just weeks before his arrest for planning terror attack on fellow soldiers (May)

When Naser Abdo was arrested in Killeen, Texas, on July 27 just outside the gates of Fort Hood — the location of Major Nidal Hasan’s massacre two years before — it should have set off alarm bells at the Pentagon. The deputy assistant secretary of the Army had overruled Abdo’s field commanders, including the commander of the 101st Airborne, in granting conscientious objector status to Abdo just a few weeks before. Abdo would have received an honorable discharge, had it not been for an outstanding child porn charge that he was facing a court martial hearing on.

Abdo went AWOL from Fort Campbell on the July 4 weekend, only to reappear planning his terror attack at Fort Hood a few weeks later. In a recent jailhouse interview with a Nashville TV station, Abdo admitted that he had initially planned on abducting, torturing, and killing on camera one of his superiors at Fort Campbell, but when he was questioned about his visits to a local gun store by Army investigators, he went AWOL and redirected his terror attack plans.

The Pentagon had plenty of warning that Abdo was trouble. After his arrest, a member of his basic training platoon, Sgt. Michael Payton, appeared on Fox News and described the anti-American and anti-Semitic statements Abdo would make. He added that Abdo would harass a Jewish soldier in the platoon. Abdo was later kicked out of a Pashto language school.

As I noted here at PJ Media just days after he had been granted conscientious objector status, many of the statements he had publicly made parroted those made by Major Hasan. Other groups were aware of his extremist views and refused to support his conscientious objector claims, and his case was opposed by at least one Islamic organization.

That didn’t stop Abdo from being the darling of the establishment media, with his plight given coverage by CNN, Al-Jazeera, ABC News, and the New York Times (the Times story has apparently been removed from their website). His cause was also championed by Iraq Veterans Against the War and the Muslim American Society.

After his arrest, several anti-war organizations attempted to scrub their association with Abdo from their respective websites. Unfortunately for the Pentagon, their ruling in his favor as a conscientious objector will be harder to scrub away.

5) Prominent Muslim-American lobbyist Syed Ghulam Nabi Fai arrested as Pakistani intelligence agent (July 20)

The political establishment was shaken by the arrest in July of Syed Shulam Nabi Fai, the longtime leader of the Kashmiri-American Council, who was indicted on charges he had operated as an agent of the Pakistani intelligence service since 1985. One reason that this news concerned political leaders was Fai being a regular fixture of the Washington, D.C. political scene, handing out political donations to Democrats and Republicans alike. One of the largest recipients of Fai’s campaign cash was Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN), the third-highest ranking member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. After Fai’s arrest, Burton posted a response on his official congressional website.

Not only was Fai involved in the political scene, he was active with many of the prominent Islamic organizations that the U.S. government routinely engages in “outreach,” including the terror-tied Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and the Muslim Student Association (MSA). Fai served as MSA national president for four years (1985-1989) while he was serving his Pakistani ISI masters (I’ve written previously about the MSA’s terror problems here at PJ Media). A number of Islamic organization jumped to Fai’s defense and his Kashmiri-American Council continued to defend their leader. In an interview with Al-Jazeera, former head of CIA counterterrorism and former Pakistani CIA station chief Robert Grenier claimed the charges against Fai were politically motivated.

But earlier this month, Fai pleaded guilty to the charges against him, admitting he in fact had been a Pakistani intelligence spy and had concealed his ties to the ISI.

A 26-page Statement of Facts was signed by Fai admitting his crimes and his lies to FBI agents denying his work on behalf of Pakistan. In all, Fai admitted to taking more than $3.5 million to influence American policy. No word explaining how they could be duped has been forthcoming from his political pals and defenders.

6) Obama backs overthrow of Gaddafi, installs al-Qaeda-friendly, Shariah-compliant regime in Libya (March-present)

When U.S. missiles began striking targets in Tripoli in March in support of NATO operations aimed at ousting Libyan strong-man Muammar Gaddafi, the lobbying effort targeting the Libyan dictator was being led by Obama’s war hawks in the State Department: namely Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice, and Samantha Power. The targeting of Gaddafi began in February, when Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yousef al-Qaradawi issued a fatwa on Al-Jazeera permitting Gaddafi’s assassination.

It soon became clear the U.S. was supporting bad actors.

One of the first indications was the presence of known Libyan al-Qaeda leaders appearing at the head of the anti-Gaddafi militias, including Abdelhakim Belhaj, one of the founders of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG). This was designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. government in 2004 after their reported involvement in the Madrid terror attacks and the 2003 suicide bombing in Casablanca. (As of Sept. 15, 2011, LIFG was still listed as a terrorist organization on the State Department’s website).

Belhaj is currently suing the UK government for their alleged role, in cooperation with U.S. authorities, in renditioning him to Libya in 2004.

So one of the top Libyan rebel commander allies had been renditioned by the U.S. for his terrorist involvement just a few years before. Other Libyan militia leaders had led terror cells in Iraq, who were responsible for killing U.S. troops in support of al-Qaeda.

After the dictator’s fall, signs immediately appeared that the new transitional government supported by the Obama administration could end up being worse than Gaddafi. Hundreds of militants tied to al-Qaeda were released from Libyan jails. Looted arms from Gaddafi’s stockpiles began showing up across the Middle East, including in Hamas-controlled Gaza. Statements on al-Qaeda affiliated websites said that captured arms were in the hands of the militants. And as soon as NATO operations were concluded, al-Qaeda flags began to appear above Libyan government buildings — including the Benghazi courthouse — prompting some in Congress to question the administration’s actions.

Even before elections could be held, the head of the National Transition Council Mustafa Abdel Jalil pledged to implement Islamic law in Libya, which apparently surprised some Western leaders and media figures. Jalil overturned Gaddafi’s ban on polygamy and vowed to allow Sharia-compliant loans in the oil-rich country.

7) Hillary Clinton backs plan by Islamic countries to criminalize “defamation of Islam” (July-present)

Fulfilling the decade-long wishes of the 57 countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Obama administration has backed an international OIC effort to criminalize “defamation of religion,” namely Islam, in the name of religious tolerance over the expressed objections of human rights, religious freedom, and free speech advocates.

The first step was taken with the passage of UN Human Rights Council Resolution 16/18 back in April. Among the members of the UNHRC are some of the worst human rights abusers in the world, including Libya, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, China, and Cuba.

The next stop was a meeting with the OIC and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton back in July as part of the “Istanbul Process,” where Clinton vowed “to use some old-fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming so that people don’t feel that they have the support to do what we abhor.” Clinton failed to explain where the State Department, or any arm of the U.S. government, derives its power to “name and shame” any U.S. citizen. Clinton and OIC Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu issued a joint statement promising U.S. cooperation in implementing Resolution 16/18.

Earlier this month, OIC officials and Hillary Clinton met in a closed-door three-day meeting in Washington, D.C. Rather than gathering to discuss the stated topics of intolerance and violence, the official OIC media center characterized the meeting as an effort to enact its “defamation of religion” agenda spelled out in the OIC’s annual Islamophobia Observatory. Just this week, Ihsanoglu told Turkish reporters that these efforts are intended to “refrain from exploiting freedoms” and that similar meetings between the OIC and EU bureaucrats, similar to those conducted with Hillary Clinton, are planned in the near future.

Eager to capitalize on the Obama administration’s joint efforts with the OIC, leaders of several prominent U.S. Islamic organizations met with Justice Department officials in October to push to redefine discrimination laws to include criticism of Islam. During the meeting one of the most vocal advocates for the change in definitions was Muslim lawyer and Huffington Post columnist Sahar Aziz. Mohamed Magid, one of the Obama administration’s closest Muslim allies and president of the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), said that “teaching people that all Muslims are a threat to the country … is against the law and the Constitution.” Not coincidentally, I’m sure, when Obama hosted the annual White House Iftar dinner, the official guest list omitted Magid’s name as one of the attendees. The relationship is so close, though, that Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough was dispatched to give a speech at Magid’s mosque back in March.

8) White House blocks appointment of moderate Muslim leader Zuhdi Jasser to State Department post (October)

When Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, held hearings back in March on the radicalization threat in the Muslim community, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser was one of the called witnesses. Jasser — a retired decorated Naval officer and president of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy — was called an “Uncle Tom” by prominent Muslim leaders and denounced by far-left outfits including The Nation magazine and the Center for American Progress. They attacked Jasser as “a leading light of the Islamophobia network” (the hypocrisy of denouncing a Muslim as an “Islamophobe” was apparently lost on the Democratic think tank).

But even before Jasser’s appearance before the Homeland Security Committee, he had been nominated by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to a post on the State Department’s U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, which is tasked with “appraising U.S. Government activities intended to understand, inform, and influence foreign publics.”

As former CIA Director Jim Woolsey and author Seth Leibsohn reported in October, after 15 months of vetting and receiving a top-secret security clearance, Jasser was informed that his name had been “removed from consideration” without any explanation. Senator Jon Kyl commented on the affair by saying that “the Obama administration has chosen to sideline Dr. Jasser.”

After years of lecturing about empowering moderate Muslims through “outreach,” including the White House’s own Strategic Plan for Preventing Violent Extremism published earlier this month, time and again administrations of both parties have been bound and determined to reach out exclusively to Muslim Brotherhood front groups. These groups actively promote the very extremism the government “outreach” is intended to remedy. By bowing to pressure from these same organizations to block Zuhdi Jasser’s appointment, not only has the Obama administration blinded policy makers to threats like the Muslim Brotherhood, but it has ensured that the radicalization and marginalization of the Muslim community continues unabated.

9) DOD official refuses to acknowledge the threat of radical Islam during hearing on terror threats to the U.S. military (December 10)

In one of the most comical, and equally tragic, interchanges in recent congressional history, during a joint Senate/House Homeland Security hearing on “Homegrown Terrorism: The Threat to Military Communities Inside the United States,” Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Americas’ Security Affairs Paul Stockton was asked by Rep. Dan Lungren (R-CA), former attorney general of the state of California, on the source of the threat to America and its troops. The exchange proceeded as follows:

REPRESENTATIVE DANIEL LUNGREN (R-CA): Secretary Stockton, are we at war with violent Islamist extremism?

MR. STOCKTON: No, sir. We are at war with al-Qaeda, its affiliates –

REP. LUNGREN: OK, I understand that. My question is, is violent Islamist extremism at war with us?

MR. STOCKTON: No, sir. We are being attacked by al-Qaeda and its allies.

REP. LUNGREN: Is al-Qaeda — can it be described as being an exponent of violent Islamist extremism?

MR. STOCKTON: They — al-Qaeda are murderers with an ideological agenda –

REP. LUNGREN: No, I — that’s not my question. That wasn’t my question. My question was, is al-Qaeda acting out violent Islamist extremism?

MR. STOCKTON: Al-Qaeda is a violent organization dedicated to overthrowing the values that we intend to advance –

REP. LUNGREN: So is it yes or no?

MR. STOCKTON: Can I hear the question again? I’ll make it as clear as I can. We are not at war with Islam. And it is not –

REP. LUNGREN: I didn’t ask that — I did not ask that, sir. I asked whether we’re at war with violent Islamist extremism. That’s my question.

MR. STOCKTON: No, we’re at war with al-Qaeda and its affiliates.

It gets worse from there, as you can see in the video of the full exchange:

 

Predictably, Time magazine blogger Mark Thompson faulted Lungren for the surreal exchange, likening it to “Anti-Islamic Hyperventilation.” Mind you, this is after:

  • Sgt. Hasan Karim Akbar killed two fellow soldiers and wounded 14 more in an ambush at an Army camp in Kuwait just days before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003;
  • Four Muslim converts were arrested for planning an attack on a California National Guard armory in August 2005;
  • Six Muslim men were caught planning and training for an attack on troops at Fort Dix in May 2007;
  • Four Muslim converts from New York were arrested while executing a terror plot that included bringing down military airplanes at Stewart Air National Guard Base in May 2009;
  • A Muslim convert and self-described jihadist, Carlos Bledsoe (aka Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad) gunned down Army Pvt. William Long and wounded Pvt. Quinton Ezeagwula as the pair stood in front of an Army recruiting center in Little Rock in June 2009;
  • Seven Muslim men from North Carolina were arrested for plotting an attack on the Marine base at Quantico;
  • Major Nidal Hasan killed 13 and wounds 29 in a terror attack at Fort Hood in November 2009 after the Army had been warned about Hasan’s contact with Al-Qaeda cleric Anwar al-Awlaki;
  • A Muslim immigrant, Arif Uka, opened fire on a bus carrying U.S. soldiers at the Frankfurt, Germany airport in March 2011, killing two soldiers;
  • Two Muslim converts were arrested for planning an attack on a Seattle-area military processing center in June 2011;
  • Pvt. Naser Jason Abdo was arrested and charged in July 2011 with planning a terror attack and compiling components for a bomb targeting Fort Hood just weeks after he had been granted conscientious objector status by the Army.

But to mention the painfully obvious connection between all these incidents is considered Islamophobic. As my colleague and former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy described the Stockton/Lungren exchange:

This is criminal recklessness. It is idiocy beyond description, so I should just stop trying to describe it. Watch it in all its jaw-dropping ignominy. Three and a half minutes — although it will take you longer than that because you’ll need to watch it a few times in order to come to grips with the fact that it’s not a parody but the real thinking of top officials in the Defense Department and throughout the administration.

10) Vice President Joe Biden says Taliban is not our enemy just days before Taliban take credit for killing four U.S. soldiers (December 18)

In a wide-ranging interview with Newsweek last week, Joe Biden said that the “the Taliban per se is not our enemy,” which launched a firestorm of criticism, including from the White House press corps. Internationally, U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker was tasked with “clarifying” Biden’s statement.

But Biden’s comments came just a few days before the Taliban took credit for killing four U.S. soldiers with an IED. This year saw the second-highest number of U.S. soldiers killed in Afghanistan by the Taliban and its al-Qaeda allies. Included in that total are the 31 U.S. service members who were killed in the Taliban downing of a Chinook helicopter in August — the largest number of casualties in Afghanistan in a single incident — and the October suicide bombing of a bus carrying troops between bases, killing 13 Americans.

The vice president’s statement is no doubt reflective of the Obama administration’s ongoing negotiations with the Taliban, which have reportedly reached a critical stage. The discussions began earlier this year at the insistence of the late Richard Holbrooke, Obama’s special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan. By June, administration officials were claiming success in the negotiations.

But two stories this week demonstrate the high cost, beyond the lost American lives, that such negotiations with the Taliban entail. This week it was reported that the mediator chosen by the U.S. government is Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yousef al-Qaradawi, the first major Sunni Islamic cleric to endorse the use of suicide bombings. He issued a fatwa in February 2003 permitting attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq, and even the abduction and killing of American civilians working in Iraq. The Anti-Defamation League describes Qaradawi as the “Theologian of Terror” for his justification of violence and rhetoric of hate. Yet this week we hear a report that “Egyptian-born Mr. al-Qaradawi is seen by both the United States and the Taliban traditionalists as an ally in the battle against the growing influence of this new generation of [hardline Taliban] commanders.”

Another cost of negotiating with the Taliban is the pending release of high-risk Guantanamo detainee and senior Taliban commander Mohammed Fazl, who has been in U.S. custody since 2002. Fazl is accused of killing thousands of Shiite Muslims from 1998 to 2001. The U.S. has also agreed to the opening of a Taliban office in U.S.-ally Qatar.

* * *

As I was preparing this “Not Top 10″ list, I remembered the foreign policy catastrophe that was Jimmy Carter and 1979 (yes, I’m old enough to remember). But this sampling of Obama’s “Not Top 10″ — taken from a list of more than three dozen items — bodes ill for the Obama administration’s actions in 2012. We may long for the heady days of Carter.

Patrick Poole is a national security and terrorism correspondent for PJMedia.