The CIA Needs an Iran ‘Team B’

Many of CIA Director John Brennan’s gaffes over the years have raised eyebrows, but none has suggested the need for a legislative remedy—until the one he launched at Harvard last week.

His past indiscretions have included, in 2010 when he was a counterterrorism adviser at the White House, referring to Jerusalem by its Arabic name, “al Quds”; referring to the “moderate” elements in Hezbollah, the Iran surrogate in Lebanon and a group the U.S. designates a terrorist organization; and insisting that our enemies should not be called “jihadists” because jihad is “a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam.”

There was also the time in 2010 when he derided the notion of a war on terrorism or terror because “terrorism is but a tactic” and “terror is a state of mind.” Given that evidence, one might have had a general concern about his competence to lead a U.S. intelligence organization, but not a focused concern about the damage any one statement could cause.

But then, in an interview last week at Harvard’s Institute for Politics, Mr. Brennan said that anyone who both knew the facts surrounding the Obama administration’s “framework” agreement regarding the Iranian nuclear program, and said that it “provides a pathway for Iran to a bomb,” was being “wholly disingenuous.” That was foolish, insofar as it applied to many serious-minded people in and out of government, but it was also dangerous.

Picture CIA analysts and other officers charged with weighing and interpreting Iran’s nuclear program in relation to the recently concluded negotiations in Lausanne, Switzerland; that is, CIA analysts who have families and mortgages. Their solemn charge is to report and analyze facts straight-on—the good, the bad and the ugly.

Evidence of cheating by Iran necessarily would be fragmentary—dual-use technology paid for through opaque transactions; unexplained flight patterns and port calls by aircraft and vessels of dubious registration; intercepted conversations using possibly coded terms; a smattering of human intelligence from sources with questionable access and their own mixed motivations and vulnerabilities.

But the boss has already said that purported concerns about Iran obtaining a nuclear weapon are dishonest. Human nature being what it is at Langley as elsewhere, how likely is it that an evaluation suggesting that Iran is up to something would make it beyond operational channels, through reports officers, analysts and CIA managers, up to policy makers?

Not very, unless Congress acts promptly to put in place an alternative team of analysts, much as George H.W. Bush did when he was CIA director in 1976 under President Ford. That was an election year, and détente with the Soviet Union was the overriding administration policy.

During the campaign, the question of whether our military power was falling behind Moscow’s was a charged issue. Mr. Bush commissioned a team of independent experts known as “Team B” to provide analysis of the Soviets’ capabilities and intentions that competed with the CIA’s own internal evaluation. Team B highlighted dangers posed by the U.S.S.R.’s growing strategic nuclear forces, informing President Reagan’s later determination to counteract those capabilities.

Why is a Team B needed today? Even standing alone, the taint of Mr. Brennan’s statement at Harvard would infect all future CIA evaluations of the Iranian nuclear program. But it doesn’t stand alone. It stands alongside the remainder of the Obama administration’s record in intelligence matters, including false statements about the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi; misleading the public about the military record of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl; concealment of documents seized from Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan that reportedly portray al Qaeda’s durable relationships with Iran and Pakistan; minimizing terrorist threats that were inconsistent with the 2012 presidential-campaign theme of terrorism defeated; and mistaken portrayals of the rise of Islamic State and al Qaeda affiliates in Yemen and Africa.

Mr. Brennan’s statement also stands alongside President Obama’s and Secretary of State John Kerry’s eagerness for a deal with Iran that Ben Rhodes, one of the president’s closest foreign-policy advisers, lauded as “the Obamacare of our second term.”

All this is in addition to the president’s own apparent inability to admit the motivation of Islamist terrorists. Recall his memorable description of the murder in Paris of Jews shopping for kosher food earlier this year as the “random” shooting of “a bunch of folks in a deli in Paris.”

Given these facts, House and Senate leaders of both parties should ask former senior national-security officials to study raw intelligence-reporting on Iran, and direct the administration legislatively if necessary to give them the data needed to make an informed judgment.

This “Team B” should then report its findings periodically not only to the administration, but also to congressional leaders and the presidential nominees of both parties once they are chosen. That way, Americans can be assured that all agencies of government are fully informed—and that the vital issues facing the country are being weighed in the forthright way essential to the nation’s security.

Mr. Mukasey served as U.S. attorney general (2007-09) and as a judge for the Southern District of New York (1988-2006). Mr. Carroll served as senior counsel to the House Homeland Security Committee (2011-13) and before that as a CIA case officer.

Obama’s Militarization of CIA

cia (2)By John R. Schindler, April 3, 2015:

One of the standard tropes about the Central Intelligence Agency, and the whole Intelligence Community, in recent years is that CIA has become excessively militarized since 9/11. To meet the needs of the War on Terror, the story goes, Langley ditched conventional espionage and analysis in favor of drones and paramilitary operations that pleased the White House — especially when George W. Bush lived there — at the expense of traditional CIA missions.

Like all enduring myths, there’s more than a little truth to all this. There’s no doubt that, in response to 9/11, CIA’s counterterrorism mission, which was awfully important before the Twin Towers fell (few remember that then-Director George Tenet told the Agency it was “at war” with Bin Laden after Al-Qaida’s 1998 East African embassy bombings), became even more so mid-morning on September 11, 2001. CIA got into the killing business in a serious way, in many places, developing a close-to-seamless relationship between itself, NSA, and the military’s spooky Joint Special Operations Command to hunt down terrorists worldwide.

This represents the most impressive secret killing machine in military history, with lethal snake-eaters guided by real-time, precise intelligence, and one which President Obama especially has not been squeamish about using. This militarization of CIA has led to criticism of the Agency from outsiders, many of whom didn’t like CIA anyway and really don’t like it when it has its own drones and special operators. They have some valid points to make, not least that years of prioritizing the counterterrorism mission has cost the Agency some capabilities in more traditional espionage and analysis, particularly because Langley’s best and brightest, as always, wanted to be where the action is — that’s the path to promotion and secret fame — and eschewed “legacy” missions in favor of killing bad guys in tandem with JSOC. Rising stars have flocked to the Agency’s Counterterrorism Center — led since 2006 by “Roger,” a convert to Islam (he has a prayer rug in his office), who looks like an undertaker but whose dedication to the mission is legendary — since that’s CIA’s pointy spear. Needless missteps that have gotten CIA officers killed thanks to sloppy tradecraft are grist to the mill of “too-much-CT” criticism.

However, it’s easy to overstate all this. CIA has kept on doing all its traditional missions since 9/11. Spies and analysts have been rolling along, doing what they’ve done since the Agency was established in 1947. Outside critics often miss the big picture, as I’ve noted before, and few journalists and academics have much “feel” for how CIA and the whole IC actually operate. It all looks rather different when you’re inside the bubble.

It’s disappointing that hardly any commentators have noted that CIA is currently being taken down a path of real militarization. The major reformsrecently proposed by Director John Brennan are causing serious bureaucratic churn out at Langley. Brennan, using the highly successful Counterterrorism Center (CTC) as a model of how to fully integrate case officers and desk-bound analysts, wants to fundamentally transform CIA by creating a series of mission centers that will bring the spooks and geeks together in one big happy intelligence family.

There are many reasons to be skeptical. First, Brennan, a skilled politician who has Obama’s ear, adheres to the view that what ails CIA are “stovepipes” — what cynics term “cylinders of excellence” — that separate the spooks (the Directorate of Operations or DO) and the geeks (the Directorate of Intelligence or DI). Breaking the 1947-era china, then, will fix all this, or so the theory goes. This seems unlikely, given the IC’s spotty history of reorganizations. Moreover, the differences between the DO and the DI, which can create friction, are mainly due to the very different personality types that occupy them. Besides, few care to note that the CTC, Brennan’s model for CIA integration, actually belongs to the DO.

Brennan’s reorganization plan recasts the Agency along the lines of the U.S. military, where the armed services are the force providers but operations are placed in the hands of the joint Combatant Commands. In this concept, for instance, the DO will train up case officers, then send them to mission centers to do their job. This model, which copies how the Pentagon does business, represents a far greater militarization of CIA than anything else since 9/11, or in the Agency’s entire history. Yet hardly any outsiders have noticed this, much less commented on it.

Many spooks are none too happy about Brennan’s reorganization since they believe it will reduce the DO’s ability to control espionage operations, which seems to be a safe assumption, and what the director actually intends. As a sop, the DO got its old name back — it was rebranded as the National Clandestine Service in the post-9/11 reforms, for no particular reason — while the DI will berenamed the Directorate of Analysis. However, the discomfort in spook circles was serious enough that the Deputy Director for Operations, the mighty DDO,announced his retirement rather than preside over changes that many think equal disbanding the DO, de facto.

The outgoing DDO, Frank Archibald — Langley never admitted his true name but it was outed in the media years ago — was a career case officer and a former Marine with extensive experience in covert action and tours with the Special Activities Division, the CIA’s in-house snake-eaters. The paramilitary SAD, which has expanded enormously since 9/11, has been a focus of criticism by outsiders as its relationship with JSOC has grown exceptionally close.

It’s perhaps surprising, then, that Archibald’s replacement as DDO is “Mike” — another former Marine and veteran paramilitary operator whose last job was the chief of SAD. Brennan leapfrogged over several more senior DO officers to elevate “Mike” to the top spy job, so the intent is clear, as the new DDO is known to be a “team player” regarding the nascent reorganization of the Agency.

Recasting CIA along Pentagon lines and putting a hardcore snake-eater in charge of remaking the DO sends a strong message that Brennan, and therefore Obama, think a more military-like Agency is what the country needs. This, to be charitable, is a debatable point, not to mention something that Congress should be discussing.

It doesn’t help that the media is silent about the implications of all this. Like so many things, the voices that waxed hysterically when Bush was said to be militarizing CIA are quieter when Obama does that, and more. This follows the usual pattern in Washington, DC. CIA involvement in extraordinary renditions — the bureaucratic term for kidnapping terrorists abroad — generated massive media attention during Bush’s second term, yet not much since, while hardly anybody cares to note that the policy actually commenced in 1995, under President Clinton, with the abducted terrorist being executed. Like so many things, it seems to be different when Democrats do it.

Based on the IC’s history, it feels safe to predict that Brennan’s far-reaching reorganization will cause years of churn out at Langley, and eventually there will be a re-reorg to undo these deep organizational changes when they turn out to have created more problems than they solved. That do-over will be the task of the next director, and will be handled tactfully, once Brennan has gotten his Medal of Freedom and his book deal. In the meantime, CIA personnel will do their best to complete their mission, as they have done every day for nearly seven decades.

al Shabaab Assassinates Ugandan Prosecutor of 2010 World Cup Bombing Case

Part-PAR-Par8135717-1-1-0CSP, by Nicholas Hanlon, April 1, 2015:

Ugandan prosecutor Joan Kagezi was in her car with her children when men tailing her by motorcycle drove by and shot her twice.  She was the chief prosecutor in the al Shabaab case involving 13 men connected to the 2010 suicide bombing that killed 76 people who were watching the World Cup.  One American was killed by the al Shabaab attack.  The U.S. has recently shared intelligence with officials in Kampala about fears of an attack.  Security precautions are being taken for the coming Easter holiday.  Citizens are being warned to be vigilant and avoid large crowds.

It is important to understand that al Shabaab is almost always identified in media as ‘al Qaeda linked’ because of training by al Qaeda veterans who fought in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as formal allegiance.  Al Shabaab represents the same threat as al Qaeda but more importantly, they are significant players in the global jihad movement for several reasons.  First, al Shabaab is wired in to al Qaeda’s networks across Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and Central Asia.  Second, al Shabaab has been highly successful in recruiting from the United States and has threatened the U.S.  That means they have trained fighters with U.S. passports that can travel internationally.  Third, their North American training capability is useful to IS as well.  Finally, al Shabaab was the first group to receive and train the Boko Haram faction Ansaru which connects them to the most deadly jihadist sub-group in the world.

In a recent interview, CIA director, John Brennan, committed to the narrative created during the 2012 presidential campaign that this is the season of al Qaeda’s demise.  The interviewer, Chris Wallace pushed director Brennan on the question citing that groups like IS are symptoms of al Qaeda.  Wallace suggested that groups like IS are merely offshoots with different names and to pretend that tactical victories against ‘al Qaeda central’ meant an end to the threat of militant Islamists was misleading.   Further it ignores the connections, relationships, goals, and ideals that al Shabaab, IS, AQIM, AQAP, Boko Haram, and the Taliban all share with al Qaeda. Brennan did not use the opportunity to correct the record.

To downplay the threat of al Qaeda ‘central’ as being largely defeated is no comfort to the family of prosecutor Joan Kagezi.  Mrs. Kagezi fought terrorism as the head of Uganda’s directorate of public prosecution’s anti-terrorism and war crimes division.  The battle space in combating terrorism in East Africa is unique because of this specific type of attack.  Global jihadist groups hold territory nearby, recruit in, and conduct small attacks and assassinations within civil Western societies fighting to build judiciaries with rule of law to uphold Western values.  How would the U.S. administration understand and characterize Islamist jihadi threats if American prosecutors faced the same risks as our partners in Uganda and Kenya?

Also see:

FNC’s Wallace Grills CIA Chief for Falsely Claiming Al Qaeda Was on the Run

cia-420x315Breitbart, by Pam Key, March 22, 2015:

On this weekend’s “Fox News Sunday,” host Chris Wallace quizzed CIA Director John Brennan over his 2012 claim al Qaeda was on the run during the 2012 presidential election.

After Wallace ran a clip of Brennan in 2012 saying this will be the decade al Qaeda’s demise he asked, “Director Brennan, weren’t you just flat wrong about that?”

Brennan shot back “No. When we look at al Qaeda and look what has happened to al Qaeda as the core of al Qaeda that was in the area of Afghanistan and Pakistan, they have taken some really big hits.”

Wallace continued, “But respectfully, sir, when you were saying this is the decade of al Qaeda’s demise, I don’t think most people thought there will be an offshoot called ISIS which spreads across the Middle East.”

Brennan countered by saying, “This phenomenon that Dash represents right now is a new one. It is one that has grown up in the past two years.”

Wallace inserted, “But it’s an offshoot against al Qaeda.”

Brennan continued, “We have pushed al Qaeda back and prevent their attacks, but there are these offshoots, as you say. This is a phenomenon that we have to deal with and I do think over the next decade this will be a long, hard fight.

Wallace asked, “I guess what I’m asking is didn’t you give the American people and the president give the American people a false sense of confidence back in 2012 about our fight against Islamic terrorists at a time perhaps not so coincidentally when the president was running for re-election.?”

Brennan concluded, “We said al Qaeda was on the run. We said that al Qaeda was really bloodied. It was not the same organization that it was at 9/11 as well as in the years after that. There was no sense that I think either I or the president or others gave to the American people that terrorism was going away. But we’ve made great progress against a lot of these groups that had plans in place to carry out attacks.”

TRANSCRIPT

Also see:

Think Not, Look Away

pic-2By JOHN BUNDOCKMarch 18, 2015: (h/t @michaeldweiss)

From John Brennan’s hopes of reaching out to “moderates” among Hezbollah to the Countering Violent Extremism conference, the Obama administration has made counter-information campaigns a central part of its foreign policy. This is particularly the case on the “cyber front;” whether through hashtag campaigns or YouTube back-and-forths.

In the war to counter online jihadist recruitment, the Department of State’s Think Again Turn Away Twitter account (@ThinkAgain_DOS) is exemplary of this trend. Many of the statements put out by the account are indeed admirable, whether in exposing the Islamic State’s (ISIS) atrocities or celebrating the unity of Syrian rebels and Kurdish nationalists in Kobane. However, the account’s rapid retweet-and-forget strategy, coupled with the administration’s selective concern for extremism, has proven not merely counter-intuitive to meaningful dissuasion, but has also serviced the interests of the jihadist propagandists themselves.

The account’s most intrinsic flaws are reflective of the problems besetting the overall messaging campaign of the State Department and Inherent Resolve. In championing any and all who oppose ISIS, the organization has endorsed the accounts of various apologists for the Iran-led Shiite militias.

The first instance, a tweet mourning a regime soldier who had evidently fallen in battle with jihadists was written off as a mistake that was deleted. However, a pattern has emerged recently of retweetingpartisans of groups like Asaib Ahl al-Haq (or “special groupies”). Initially these “special groupies” seem innocent enough, engaging in mass information distribution (or “Info dumps,”) and being generally amicable to watchers of the region. They soon become regarded as “reliable” even as their sectarian agenda becomes evident. What’s more worrisome is how this sets a norm for other observers of the region: if the Department of State believes these agents, so might members of prominent think tanks. This is particularly problematic given these accounts’ willingness to actively spread disinformation or harass genuine experts on militant groups.

A case in point was the distribution of the @SunniTribes “sockpuppet” account. In January, a Shiite militia source tweeted out celebrations of ISIS fighters purportedly being beheaded at the hands of the allied al-Jaghaifa tribe. When the atrocity was called out, a “@SunniTribes” account spontaneously merged to blame the atrocities on the Albu Mahal tribe in Ramadi. Haidar Sumeri then used this fake account as “proof” that the Albu Mahal tribe was responsible. Furthermore, from the original account blaming the Jaghaifa tribe, only the heads are shown; no Jaghaifa flag is present. Instead, there were images of the Ubaidi tribal militia Fursan Emarat al-Ubaid carrying heads. A brief perusal of the militia’s YouTube account indicates its proud affiliation with Sadrists. While members of the Jaghaifa tribe certainly “were” in al-Khafsa village and had worked alongside the Ubaidis in another village, uncertainty remains as to whether they actually committed the war crime in question. The Jaghaifa tribe may well have been guilty, as asserted by the original militia source, but the reliability is called into question given the propaganda tactics these “special groupies” deploy. Relying on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) militants and their apologists for public information opens up the possibility of being the stenographers for the jihadists you so condemn.

On March 12, Think Again retweeted Hala Jaber’s, journalist for The Sunday Times, tweets about an ISIS suicide bomber. Considering that Jaber has at times served as a kind of stenographer-propagandist for the Assad regime and Hezbollah, Syrian rebels can be forgiven for thinking this was a foreshadowing of Kerry’s rapprochement with the IRGC satrap himself.

With these facts in mind, perhaps the gaffes are not so much flaws as they are features. As the Obama administration stated its willingness to negotiate with Assad and his Shiite jihadist backers to end the conflict, it should not be surprising about what has happened to “countering violent extremism:” they have simply decided that some extremists are better than others. Barack Obama once advocated “we don’t look away” in the face of mass atrocities, and hypocritically proved otherwise. In keeping with this about-face, maybe @ThinkAgain_DOS should change its name to “Think Not, Look Away.”

John Bundock is a recent graduate from Fordham University who writes on Middle Eastern politics.

CIA Chief John Brennan: Deceptions About Islam

John_Brennan-450x253Frontpage, March 17, 2015 by Raymond Ibrahim:

By constantly projecting Western standards on Islamic jihadis, CIA head John Brennan has come to epitomize the U.S. intelligence community’s intellectual failures concerning the true sources of the jihad.

Last Friday, March 13, Brennan insisted that Islamic State (IS) members are not Islamic. Instead, “They are terrorists, they’re criminals. Most—many—of them are psychopathic thugs, murderers who use a religious concept and masquerade and mask themselves in that religious construct.”

Note his usage of terms familiar to Western people (“terrorists,” “criminals,” etc.). Islamic State jihadis may be all those things—including “psychopathic thugs”—from a Western paradigm, but the fact left out by Brennan is that, according to Islamic law and history, savage and psychopathic behavior is permissible, especially in the context of the jihad.

But perhaps Brennan knows all this and is simply being “strategic”? After all, the CIA head also “warned against ascribing ‘Islamic legitimacy’ to the overseas terrorist group, saying that allowing them to identify themselves with Islam does a disservice to Muslims around the world.”

Brennan of course is following Barack Obama’s lead; a month earlier the president said:

We must never accept the premise that they [Islamic State] put forward, because it is a lie, nor should we grant these terrorists the religious legitimacy that they seek. They are not religious leaders, they are terrorists. And we are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.

The problem is that, according to Western norms—built as they are atop Judeo-Christian principles—Islam has been “perverted” from day one. As far back as the 8th century, mere generations after Islam was born, Byzantine chronicler Theophanes wrote in his Chrongraphia:

He [Islamic prophet Muhammad] taught those who gave ear to him that the one slaying the enemy—or being slain by the enemy—entered into paradise [e.g., Koran 9:111]. And he said paradise was carnal and sensual—orgies of eating, drinking, and women. Also, there was a river of wine … and the woman were of another sort, and the duration of sex greatly prolonged and its pleasure long-enduring [e.g., Koran 56: 7-40, 78:31, 55:70-77]. And all sorts of other nonsense.

More to the point, every atrocity IS has committed—beheading, crucifying, raping, enslaving, or burning people alive—is legitimate according to Islamic lawand the teachings and deeds of Muhammad, that most “perfect” and “moral” man (Koran 33:21, 68:4), as documented here.

Based on Islamic historical texts, Muhammad sent assassins to slaughter his critics—including poets and one old woman whose body was dismembered by her Muslim assailants; he had an “infidel” tortured to death with fire in order to reveal his tribe’s hidden treasure; he “married” that same man’s wife hours later (the woman, Safiya, later confessed that “Of all men, I hated the prophet the most—for he killed my husband, my brother, and my father”); and he reportedly used to visit and have sex with his nine wives in a single hour. (For more, read “The Perverse Sexual Habits of the Prophet.”)

Again, all this information is based on Islamic texts deemed reliable and regularly quoted by Muslim scholars and theologians—not fabrications by “Islamophobes.”

Even so, the point here is that, whatever the “truth” about Islam, its origins and founder, the premise that Brennan, Obama, etc., constantly put forth—that it would be counterproductive for “us” to confer any Islamic “legitimacy” on groups like the Islamic State—is fatuous at best. As I explained in a 2009 article titled “Words Matter in the War on Terror”:

Muslims are not waiting around for Americans or their government — that is, the misguided, the deluded, in a word, the infidel — to define Islam for them; much less will subtle word games and euphemisms emanating from the West manage to confer or take away Islamic legitimacy on the Islamists of the world. For Muslims, only Islamic law, the antithesis of international law, decides what is or is not legitimate, or in legal terminology, what is mubah or mahrum.

Furthermore, the U.S. government would do well to worry less about which words appease Muslims … and worry more about providing its own citizenry with accurate and meaningful terminology.

Words matter. Whom those words are directed at matters even more. The world’s Muslims aren’t holding their breath to hear what sort of Islamic legitimacy the U.S. government is about to confer on any given Islamist group, since it is not for non-Muslims — the despised infidels — to decide what is and is not Islamic in the first place. Americans, on the other hand, who still wonder “why they hate us,” are in desperate need of understanding. Using accurate terminology is the first step.

Indeed, for all of U.S. leadership’s fear that we “infidels” not “legitimize” the Islamic State, Al Azhar—perhaps the most “legitimate” of all Islamic institutions—refuses to delegitimize the jihadi terrorists. And little wonder, since Al Azhar’s curriculum teaches everything that IS is doing—including burning people alive.

Meanwhile, Brennan whitewashes and praises the jihad. Speaking back in 2010, the politically correct CIA chief said:

Nor do we describe our enemy as “jihadists” or “Islamists” because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community, and there is nothing holy or legitimate or Islamic about murdering innocent men, women and children.

Inasmuch as he is correct that “jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam, meaning to purify oneself or one’s community”—he greatly errs by again projecting Judeo-Christian notions of what constitutes “holy,” “legitimate,” and “innocent” onto Islam.

Jihad is nothing less than offensive warfare to spread Islamic rule, a cause seen as both “legitimate” and “holy” in Islam. (Read this “moderate” Muslim scholar’s “logic” on the (invisible) differences between jihad and terrorism.) Moreover, jihadis regularly seek to “purify” their communities by purging them of “infidels” and their influences.  As for “innocence,” by simply being a non-Muslim, one is already guilty in Islam.  And when Muhammad’s disciples warned him about attacking non-Muslim tribes in the night, since women and children might get killed accidentally, the prophet replied, “They are from among them” and proceeded with the raid.

All this leads to the following question: If the Islamic State and other jihadi organizations are not animated by Islam, then what, according to the CIA chief, is really fueling their jihad? Brennan spelled this out very clearly back in 2010 when he described Islamic terrorists as victims of “political, economic and social forces.”

In other words, the way to defeat the Islamic State is by offering its members better “job opportunities”—as so eloquently expressed by the State Department recently in the person of Mary Harf.

Ironically enough, Brennan’s invocation of “political, economic and social forces” brings to mind the fact that I warned against precisely these three pretexts, and in the same order, in the opening paragraph of my written testimony submitted to the US House of Representatives on February 12, 2009—since removed from their website—a year before Brennan invoked “political, economic and social forces” as the true sources of Islamic jihad.

I close with that opening paragraph as it appears more relevant now than it was over six years ago when I wrote it:

The greatest hurdle Americans need to get over in order to properly respond to the growing threat of radical Islam is purely intellectual in nature; specifically, it is epistemological, and revolves around the abstract realm of ‘knowledge.’ Before attempting to formulate a long-term strategy to counter radical Islam, Americans must first and foremost understand Islam, particularly its laws and doctrines, the same way Muslims understand it—without giving it undue Western (liberal) interpretations. This is apparently not as simple as expected: all peoples of whatever civilizations and religions tend to assume that other peoples more or less share in their worldview, which they assume is objective, including notions of right and wrong, good and bad. …. [T]he secular, Western experience has been such that people respond with violence primarily when they feel they are politically, economically, or socially oppressed. While true that many non-Western peoples may fit into this paradigm, the fact is, the ideologies of radical Islam have the intrinsic capacity to prompt Muslims to violence and intolerance vis-à-vis the ‘other,’ irrespective of grievances…. Being able to understand all this, being able to appreciate it without any conceptual or intellectual constraints is paramount for Americans to truly understand the nature of the enemy and his ultimate goals.

***

Here is the entire interview with Charlie Rose where John Brennan made those comments during the question and answer period. (Go here for the transcript)

CIA’s Global Mission: Countering Shared Threats

QUESTION: Thank you. Chris Isham with CBS. Could you explain a little bit about the ideological dimension of the war on terrorism. You mentioned ideology fuels many of the organizations we see today. But this administration continues to be very reluctant to identify Islamic extremism as that fuel. I wonder, do you think that’s a good idea to continue to resist that?

BRENNAN: Well, quite frankly, I’m amused at, you know, the debate that goes on about, boy, you know, unless you call it by what it is you don’t know what you’re fighting. And let’s make it very clear that the people who carry out acts of terrorism, whether it be al-Qaeda or the Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant, are doing it because they believe that it is consistent with what their view of Islam is.

It is totally inconsistent with what the overwhelming majority of Muslims throughout the world. And so by ascribing it as, you know, Muslim terrorism or Islamic extremism, I think it really does give them the type of Islamic legitimacy that they are so desperately seeking, but which they don’t deserve at all.

They are terrorists, they’re criminals, many of them are psychopathic thugs, murderers, who use a religious concept and masquerade and mask themselves in that religious construct—and I do think it does injustice to the tenets of religion when we attach a religious moniker to them.

The Muslims I know and people I have worked with throughout the Middle East throughout most of my career find it just disgraceful that these individuals present themselves as Muslims.

So I think we have to be very careful also in the characterization, because the words that we use can have resonance. And so if things that we talk about publicly, you know, this is, you know, Islamic extremist, a lot of these individuals are proud of being referred to as Islamic extremists. We don’t want to give them, again, any type of religious legitimacy because what they do has no basis in any upstanding religion.

CIA’s Brennan: Islamic State not Islamic — they’re “psychopathic thugs”

brennan_blindJihad Watch, by Robert Spencer, March 13, 2015:

“CIA Director John Brennan at an event Friday warned against ascribing “Islamic legitimacy” to the overseas terrorist group, saying that allowing them to identify themselves with Islam does a disservice to Muslims around the world.” The fallacious assumption here is that Muslims around the world are looking to non-Muslims in the West to show them what is legitimately Islamic and what isn’t. That is simply not the case. The “best of people” (Qur’an 3:110) don’t derive their legitimacy from the opinions of the “most vile of created beings” (Qur’an 98:6).

“CIA director on ISIS: They aren’t Muslims – they’re ‘psychopathic thugs,’” by Reena Flores, CBS News, March 13, 2015:

Call them “psychopathic thugs” or “murderers,” but don’t call the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) Muslims.

CIA Director John Brennan at an event Friday warned against ascribing “Islamic legitimacy” to the overseas terrorist group, saying that allowing them to identify themselves with Islam does a disservice to Muslims around the world.

“They are terrorists, they’re criminals,” Brennan asserted during the audience Q&A portion of an interview at the Council on Foreign Relations. “Most–many–of them are psychopathic thugs, murderers who use a religious concept and masquerade and mask themselves in that religious construct.”

“Let’s make it very clear that the people who carry out acts of terrorism – whether it be al-Qaeda or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – are doing it because they believe it is consistent with what their view of Islam is,” the intelligence agency director continued. “It is totally inconsistent with what the overwhelming majority of Muslims throughout the world.”…

The real question is, is it consistent with the Qur’an and Sunnah, or mainstream views thereof?

***

Speaking to the ACT for America chapter in Mission Viejo, California on March 9, 2015  – Robert Spencer on Why ISIS is Islamic

 

Brennan Disappoints Again

2866529523CSP, by Fred Fleitz:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JIHADIS AND FELLOW TRAVELERS WANT A USG RE-EDUCATION PROGRAM

muslimgroupcoalitionBreitbart, by CLARE M. LOPEZ:

In a chilling 14 August 2014 letter to Lisa O. Monaco, Homeland Security and Counterterrorism advisor at the National Security Council (NSC), reminiscent of the Red Chinese and Soviet gulags, a group of 75 signatories urged the Obama administration to “implement a mandatory retraining program for all federal, state, and local law enforcement officers” who have been exposed to “anti-Muslim” training.

Former FBI counter-terrorism Special Agent, former head of the FBI SWAT team and former combat Marine John Guandolo– a member of the Center for Security Policy (CSP) Team B IIand Founder of Understanding the Threat— was singled out for particular criticism, as was FBI analyst William Gawthrop.

Among the signatories to the letter are CAIR (Council on American-Islamic Relations, the U.S. HAMAS wing), the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago (CIOGC), which includes Helping Hand for Relief & Development USA, the charitable wing of Muslim Brotherhood front group, Islamic Circle of North America), the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC), and the Muslim Alliance in North America (MANA), whose Executive Committee includes the likes of Siraj Wahhaj (named an unindicted co-conspirator in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing) and Ihsan Bagby (member of several U.S. Muslim Brotherhood organizations including the Fiqh Council of North America, the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)). To round out the Islamic representation, there are two Shi’ite affiliates, the Imam Hussain Islamic Center and Universal Muslim Association of America (UMAA, which seems to have only a Facebook presence online).

Joining them in signing the letter was a gaggle of fellow travelers drawn from across a span of leftist organizations. Perhaps it’s all the ghastly publicity from the Middle East that’s been drawing attention to how Islamic Law (shariah) really looks when it’s implemented in all its barbaric fulsomeness. Or maybe the signatories just decided it was time for the old Red-Green alliance to reprise the glory days of its original efforts to remove training about how Islamic terrorism takes its inspiration from Islamic doctrine, when a 19 October 2011 letter to Monaco’s predecessor, John Brennan, succeeded in launching a U.S. government-wide purge of such curriculum. Then again, it’s possible somebody pulled out a dog-eared copy of Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals” to review some tips on how to neutralize Guandolo’s stunningly effective law enforcement training about Islam, shariah, and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Red-Green coalition obviously has realized (likely with dawning horror) that even if Guandolo weren’t still out there reaching sheriffs’ departments across the country, the residual effects of earlier pre-purge training still inform countless law enforcement counterterrorism programs. And the thought that such training lately must only be reinforced by the never-ending stream of atrocities out of the Middle East may have been just enough to tip the group over into serious panic. Hence the letter to Ms. Monaco to urge a little brainwashing, just to make sure nobody somehow connects any of those awful beheadings and crucifixions with Islam (see Qur’anic verses 8:12 and 5:32-33 for details).

First came the physical purge of the training materials. Now must follow the psychological purge of all those minds that absorbed that training. Stalin and Mao—never mind Qutb and Khomeini—would be so proud.

Clare M. Lopez is the Vice President for Research & Analysis at the Center for Security Policy.

Also see:

FLASHBACK: Obama Administration Says Islamic Caliphate is “Feckless Delusion” That is “Never Going to Happen”

2014-07-23T200304Z_1_LYNXMPEA6M0WW_RTROPTP_3_IRAQ-SECURITY-BAGHDADIBy Katie Pavlich:

The brutal terrorist organization known as ISIS or ISIL, made up of former al Qaeda fighters, has renamed itself the Islamic State. The name “Islamic State” is self-explanatory and was chosen based on the group’s goal of establishing a caliphate by conquering as much land in the middle east and around the world as possible, beheading and killing anyone standing in their way.

Regardless of the terrorist group’s own classification and stated goals to implement and maintain an Islamist caliphate going back years, the Obama administration wasn’t worried about the “absurd” concept and had no plans to stop it from happening according to then White House Counter-Terrorism Advisor and current CIA Secretary John Brennen. From 2011:

“Our strategy is also shaped by deeper understanding of al Qaeda’s goals, strategy, and tactics over the past decade. I’m not talking about al Qaeda’s grandiose vision of global domination through a violent Islamic caliphate. That vision is absurd, and we are not going to organize our counter-terrorism policies against a feckless delusion that is never going to happen. We are not going to elevate these thugs and their murderous aspirations into something larger than they are,” Brennen said.

Watch here (15:38 to 16:07):

 

Sounds a lot like the administration treated these guys like a junior varsity team

Brennen argued the administration’s goal was to have “a deeper understanding of al Qaeda’s goals,” yet ignored the greatest goal of all: an Islamic caliphate. We’re seeing the caliphate happen now. In fact, ISIS just started issuing caliphate/Islamic State passports.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has reportedly issued Islamic State passports as the group expressed desire to expand its territory in Middle East, parts of Asia and Europe.

The group has also threatened to to raise the jihadist flag over Downing Street and the White House.

The introduction of passports by ISIS is believed to be part of the group’s ongoing campaign of psychological warfare, with experts saying that the passports are little more than a symbolic gesture.

Photos of the passports based on the black jihadist flag flown by ISIS terrorists with inscription “State of the Islamic Caliphate” at the top of the passport, were circulated on social media websites.

As another reminder, this is the same administration that argued al Qaeda was “on the run” in 2012 while it was actually spreading. These are dangerous times and the administration has done very little to show Americans they take the threats and goals of al Qaeda/ISIS/ISIL/Islamic State terrorists seriously.

Read more at Town Hall

CIA Director Brennan Should Resign

612197811By Fred Fleitz:

CIA director John Brennan did the right thing Thursday in apologizing to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) for CIA monitoring of computers being used by the committee’s staff for an investigation of the Bush-era enhanced-interrogation program. Nevertheless, heads must roll at the CIA over this scandal, including Brennan’s.

While what the CIA did was not illegal, its actions were the result of reckless decisions by agency officials in response to misconduct by SSCI staff members. The CIA should have handled this matter by raising it quietly with SSCI chairwoman Dianne Feinstein. The agency didn’t need another scandal at a time when all U.S. intelligence agencies were under fire in the aftermath of the Snowden leaks.

Brennan’s apology has been seized upon by members of Congress to make hysterical claims that the CIA spied on U.S. senators and is out of control. News reports of this controversy have been wildly inaccurate and have accused the CIA of spying on the Senate Intelligence Committee because the agency was opposed to the SSCI’s enhanced-interrogation investigation.

Unfortunately, this scandal is distracting attention from a more serious issue: how the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2014 was still working on a partisan $50 million probe of the Bush administration. The news media and Congress should be focused on the fact that this is a pointless and wasteful investigation and not on a scandal that the CIA inflicted on itself.

Contrary to media reports that Brennan apologized for CIA spying on “the Hill” or U.S. senators, this controversy concerns CIA personnel monitoring CIA computers in a CIA building that were being used by Senate staff members. The CIA did not spy on Senate-owned computers, Senate offices, or members of the Senate. The computers were made available by the CIA for the SSCI staff to review millions of classified documents related to the enhanced-interrogation program.

CIA officials decided to audit the computers being used by the SSCI staff after the agency determined that staff members violated an agreement on access to the computers by obtaining documents they were not supposed to have and removing them from a CIA facility without authorization. The CIA also made a referral to the Justice Department over the staff’s actions.

The CIA’s relations with Congress sank to their lowest level in many years after this story broke. Feinstein said in a speech on the Senate floor that the agency’s actions may have violated the separation-of-powers clause of the Constitution and the Fourth Amendment. Senator Rand Paul (R., Ky.) said after the incident: “I think I perceive fear of an intelligence community drunk with power, unrepentant and uninclined to relinquish power.” Representative Darryl Issa (R., Calif.) accused the CIA of possible treason.

Read more at Center for Security Policy

Boko Haram’s Bin Laden Connection

Getty Images

Getty Images

By Eli Lake:

In 2002, Osama bin Laden dispatched an aide to Nigeria to hand out $3 million in local currency to a wide array of Salafist political organizations there that shared al Qaeda’s goal of imposing Islamic rule.

According to an overlooked report from a well-respected international watchdog, one of those organizations was Boko Haram, the terrorist outfit that’s become globally infamous for its threat to sell girls into slavery. In other words, bin Laden helped provide Boko Haram’s seed money, this report maintains.

Officially, the U.S. intelligence community assesses that the group has only tangential links to al Qaeda’s north African affiliate, and that reports of bin Laden backing the Nigerian outfit are off-base. But inside the secret state, many analysts believe that the ties between Boko Haram and al Qaeda global leadership go much deeper—and are about more than a little seed money.

“There were channels between bin laden and Boko Haram leadership,” one senior U.S. intelligence offical told The Daily Beast. “He gave some strategic direction at times.”

At issue are still secret documents captured from Osama bin Laden’s lair in Pakistan in 2011. According to two senior U.S. intelligence officials, the trove of documents includes correspondence between leaders of Boko Haram and al Qaeda’s central leadership, including Osama bin Laden. Other U.S. intelligence officials who spoke to The Daily Beast have stressed that the documents only include letters from Boko Haram to bin Laden—the terror leader never replied back.

The dispute inside the intelligence community falls along familiar lines about al Qaeda. The White House has emphasized the distinctions between al Qaeda’s core and its affiliates and other aspiring jihadists, who the White House sees as operating almost entirely independent of the central group.

However, another faction inside the U.S. intelligence community—one that comprises the current leadership of the Defense Intelligence Agency and others working in the military—see al Qaeda as a flatter organization that coordinates between nodes and operates through consensus in the model of an Islamic Shura council.

In the case of the Boko Haram debate, this latter group inside the intelligence community have pointed to documentation and raw intelligence that suggested the Nigerian group had evolved over time—particularly after 2010—into something that resembles an unofficial al Qaeda affiliate and a threat to the west.

That debate was one factor that delayed the official branding of Boko Haram as a terrorist group until November, despite the fact that many U.S. agencies like the FBI pressed the State Department to list the group as a foreign terrorist organization far earlier, according to two senior U.S. intelligence officials.

One senior intelligence official said that by 2012, White House officials like then-counterterrorism coordinator John Brennan downplayed these documents, saying that they only represented the vague aspirations of al Qaeda’s central leadership and Boko Haram’s chiefs to work together. Another U.S. intelligence official said, “Boko Haram is really on the periphery of the al Qaeda universe.”

Read more at The Daily Beast

One Year Anniversary of Boston Bombing: A Lesson in FBI Failure

la-afp-getty-us-attacks-russia-chechnya-jpg-20130427-450x337by :

With the first anniversary of the Boston Marathon jihad bombings approaching, the New York Times made yet another attempt to exonerate the Obama Administration of responsibility for one of its manifest failures, claiming that an inspector general’s report on the bombings was an “exoneration of the F.B.I.,” as it showed that “the Russian government declined to provide the F.B.I. with information about one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects that would most likely have led to more extensive scrutiny of him at least two years before the attack.”

See? The bombing was all the fault of that scoundrel Putin. It had nothing to do with the FBI, because of fecklessness and political correctness, failing to act properly on information the Russians gave them.

Full disclosure: I used to give FBI agents and other law enforcement and military personnel training on the teachings of Islam about jihad warfare against and subjugation of non-Muslims, so that they would understand the motives and goals of those who have vowed to destroy the United States as a free society, and be better equipped to counter them. I provided this training free of charge, out of a sense of patriotic duty, and it was well received: I received certificates of appreciation from the United States Central Command and the Army’s Asymmetric Warfare Group.

But as I explain in detail in my book Arab Winter Comes to America, all that ended on October 19, 2011, when Islamic supremacist advocacy groups, many with ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, demanded that FBI counter-terror trainers (including me) and training materials that referred to Islam and jihad in connection with terrorism be discarded, and agents educated by them be retrained. John Brennan, then the U.S. Homeland Security Advisor and now the director of the CIA, readily agreed in a response that was written on White House stationery – thereby emphasizing how seriously the Obama Administration took this demand.

Subsequently, as I detail in the book, politically correct willful ignorance then took hold in our intelligence and law enforcement agencies – to the extent that after the Boston Marathon bombing, then-FBI director Robert Mueller admitted that the bureau had not investigated the Islamic Society of Boston, where the Tsarnaev brothers attended mosque, and had not even visited it except as part of an “outreach” program – despite the fact that it was founded by Abdurrahman Alamoudi, who is currently in prison for financing al Qaeda, and was attended by convicted jihad terrorists such as Tarek Mehanna and Aafia Siddiqui.

Read more at Front Page

Holder confirms Petraeus probe still open, amid questions over whether case used as leverage

petrausBy :

Two years after the FBI first began investigating former CIA director David Petraeus, Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed to lawmakers that the case remains open — amid allegations it is being used as leverage to keep the former general quiet.

“All I can say is that this is an ongoing investigation,” Holder testified Tuesday, in response to a series of questions from Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who wrote to the Justice Department last month about the matter. “I’m really not in a position to say much more about it than that.”

Fox News was told there may be friction between the FBI — whose investigators are on the Petraeus case — and the Justice Department over how to proceed, though Holder dismissed that claim.

“I’ve been briefed on this matter, and I did not detect any friction in what is an ongoing investigation,” he said.

In March, Chaffetz wrote to Holder, asking why the probe remained open 16 months after Petraeus resigned as CIA director following an affair with his biographer. At the time, Chaffetz suggested it was kept open to keep Petraeus quiet on controversies like the Benghazi terror attack, telling Fox News: “If there is something serious and sinister, then let Congress know. If not, give this man’s reputation back. But I worry that the White House is just holding this over his head to keep him quiet.”

In a series of questions before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Holder could not remember when he first learned about the FBI investigation or when the president was notified. He also could not recall when then-White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan (who is now the CIA director) learned, or when former CIA deputy director Mike Morell, who offered conflicting testimony on the question to the House Intelligence Committee last week, learned.

Read more at Fox News