Documentary: Obama Admin ‘Warned by Everybody’ about Islamic State but ‘Did Almost Nothing’

BY:
October 29, 2014 

On Tuesday evening, PBS’s Frontline aired the new documentary “The Rise of ISIS”, which detailed its investigation into the “miscalculations and mistakes behind the brutal rise of ISIS”.

The documentary included interviews with key Obama administration officials and experts.

Frontline’s Ken Pollak interviewed the Former American Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey who revealed, “The administration not only was warned by everybody back in January, it actually announced that it was going to intensify its support against ISIS with the Iraqi armed forces. And it did almost nothing.”

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The Rise of ISIS – FRONTLINE – PBS (internationalterrorismstudyproject.com)

An Islamic State (ISIS) black flag flies near the Syrian town of Kobani, as seen from the Turkish-Syrian border. (Kutluhan Cucel / Getty Images)

On October 28th, 2014 PBS aired “The Rise of ISIS” as the latest installment of their award winning FRONTLINE television program.  Martin Smith reporting, walks us through the how and why of the current state of the Middle East under the influence of ISIS.

Vivid and sometimes violent imagery is the backdrop as several reporters, analysts, and American officials are interviewed, giving the viewer an excellent background of ISIS and how they have quickly risen to power.  They point out that unlike many other terrorist organizations, ISIS does not attack and flee.  They attack, seize assets and hold territory as they please.  FRONTLINE acknowledges ISIS is in part, a byproduct of past United States policies. Notably, only Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security advisor speaks in defense of the current US administration.  Many ousted political figures are also interviewed during this hour long program however ex Iraqi PM Maliki is not among them.  Below is the link for the PBS’s webpage for this program.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/rise-of-isis/

Team of Bumblers? Are Susan Rice and Chuck Hagel equal to today’s new national-security challenges?

141026_hirsh_hagel_rice_apBy Michael Hirsh:

When President Obama, after months of equivocation over how to respond to the takeover of parts of Iraq and Syria by radical militants, announced in September that the United States would “lead a broad coalition to roll back this terrorist threat,” the White House swung quickly into action, sending proposed legislation to train and equip Syrian rebels to Capitol Hill that same day.

Unfortunately, the White House failed to consult with the Pentagon—which would be doing most of the rolling back—on the timing or details of the announcement.

According to multiple sources, behind the scenes a few things went badly awry in the launch of Obama’s new policy. First, the Pentagon was surprised by the president’s timing, according to a senior defense official. “We didn’t know it was going to be in the speech,” he said, referring to Obama’s Sept. 10 address to the nation. Second, the White House neglected to give Pentagon lawyers a chance to revise and approve the proposed legislative language before it went to the Hill, which is considered standard practice. Staffers working for Rep. Buck McKeon, the Republican chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said they were appalled by what they saw: language so sloppy that it failed to mention adequate protections against so-called “green-on-blue” attacks by trainees on American troops, and effectively left the Defense Department liable for funding the mission against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)—even though the president was telling members of Congress he didn’t need money for this new mission, since the Saudis were putting it up. “What came over would have not have been a mission the DoD could have executed,” says a senior Republican committee staffer.

The Armed Services Committee later went directly to the Pentagon and worked out new language, the White House approved it, and Obama signed the legislation as part of a new Continuing Resolution on Sept. 19. But that was hardly the first instance in recent months when the White House failed to consult with the Pentagon. The office of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was taken by surprise as well last July, when national security adviser Susan Rice sent a letter to House Speaker John Boehner requesting a withdrawal of the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed in 2002 to enable U.S. military action in Iraq. This letter came after Mosul, a key northern Iraqi city, had already fallen to ISIL and the scale of the threat was becoming clear. The letter was never acted on, and in fact the AUMF that Rice wanted withdrawn is now part of the very authority the administration says it is operating under, along with the 2001 AUMF against al Qaeda. The Pentagon was not given a heads-up about that letter either, according to multiple sources. “We didn’t know it was going over there, and there were significant concerns about it,” said the senior defense official. “We had these authorities to go into Iraq under the 2002 AUMF, which is what she wanted repealed. We believed the authorities were still needed.”
National Security Council spokesman Patrick Ventrell said the Pentagon was informed of the new plan against ISIL before it went to Congress, and that in fact Hagel and Dempsey were with the president the morning of the speech. Although he indicated it was not clear exactly what details of the new strategy were shared with the Pentagon and when, Ventrell said that coordination between the NSC and other agencies is ongoing and extensive, that Rice regularly hosts lunches with Hagel and Secretary of State John Kerry. They “have a good, solid working relationship,” Ventrell said.

But it’s clear the finger-pointing between the White House and Pentagon reflects no mere technicality. Both examples cited to me by well-placed sources close to the Defense Department offer new evidence of a criticism that has dogged this administration for most of its six and a half years: that Barack Obama’s White House is so insular and tightly controlled it often avoids “outside” consultation—including with its own cabinet secretaries and agencies. That’s especially true when the issue is one of this president’s least favorite things: opening up new hostilities in foreign lands. To his critics—and I spoke with several for this article inside Obama’s administration as well as recent veterans of it—it’s all a reflection of the slapdash way a president so vested in “ending wars” has embraced his new one.

Indeed, the Syrian-rebel incident recalled a more famous instance of White House surprise tactics a year earlier, when after a stroll on the White House lawn with chief of staff Denis McDonough, Obama embarrassed Kerry by abruptly deciding to ask for congressional approval for bombing the regime of Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad—only hours after Kerry had publicly declared that Assad was facing imminent action. (Ironically, after Congress quickly balked at approval, humiliating Obama, it was Kerry who rescued the president by securing an agreement with Russian help to force Assad to dismantle the chemical weapons that had prompted the threatened U.S. strike in the first place.)

In their recent memoirs, former defense secretaries Robert Gates and Leon Panetta also have described the White House-centric foreign policy of the Obama administration—in Panetta’s case, a White House that he said was so “eager to rid itself of Iraq” it rejected Pentagon advice about the need for residual troops in Iraq after 2011, opening the way for ISIL. Gates was even more pointed, writing that “suspicion and distrust of senior military officers by senior White House officials—including the president and vice president—became a big problem for me.”

Read more at Politico

No Place for Iran in ISIS Plans

3184128428Center For Security Policy, by Fred Fleitz:

Secretary of State John Kerry’s awkward denial that the United States has not proposed “coordinating with Iran” against ISIS suggests the Obama administration did indeed propose this and is engaged in damage control after its efforts were revealed by Iranian officials.

I wrote in a Sept. 3 Newsmax article that while the U.S. should attack ISIS — also known as ISIL and the Islamic State — in Syria even though this will help keep Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in power, the United States must resist the temptation to draw Iran further into the crises in Iraq and Syria. I believe this because Iran bears significant responsibility for the outbreak of sectarian tensions in Iraq since 2011 due to its strong support for the Nouri al-Maliki government and by its training of Shiite militias that have massacred Iraqi Sunnis.

An increased Iranian presence in Iraq would alienate Iraqi Sunnis and make it more difficult to bring them back into the political process.

I believe the Obama administration has been unable to resist the temptation of trying to bring Iran into the battle against ISIS. According to The New York Times, Iranian officials claim they have rejected multiple invitations by the United States to join a coalition against ISIS.

According to the Iranian state news agency — IRNA — Iran’s President Khamenei recently said, “The American ambassador in Iraq asked our ambassador [in Iraq] for a session to discuss coordinating a fight against Daesh [ISIS].”

Khamenei said the Iranian government rejected this request.

Kerry’s denial of Khamenei’s claim was tortuous and hard to believe. Kerry said today that he is not going to get into a “back and forth” with Iran over whether his diplomats suggested that the U.S. and Iran join forces against ISIS. Kerry also said, “I have no idea of what interpretation they drew from any discussion that may or may not have taken place. We are not coordinating with Iran. Period.”

The Los Angeles Times reported today that the U.S. has been discussing ISIS with Iran. According to a Sept. 14 LA Times article, “The U.S., for its part, says it is not coordinating military efforts against Islamic State with Iran, though it has repeatedly discussed the issue with Iranian officials.”

Despite holding behind the scenes discussions with Iran about Iraq, Syria and ISIS, the United States vetoed Iran’s participation in an international conference that opened today in Paris on the ISIS threat. While I agree this was the right move, the Obama administration’s decision to publicly block Iran from the Paris ISIS conference while it conducts secret talks with Tehran on the same issues this conference will be addressing suggests Obama officials are trying to conceal what they are discussing with Iran from the American people and Congress.

So when do U.S. talks with Iran about ISIS become cooperation? More importantly, why is the United States using nuclear talks with Iran — which are going very badly — to discuss Iraq and Syria? What purpose could this achieve other than getting Iran more involved in these two countries.

It is fortunate that Iran revealed the overtures by Obama officials to coordinate on the ISIS threat since Congress can now demand answers from the administration about this latest foreign policy blunder and hopefully force the president to halt any efforts by his diplomats to draw Iran further into the crises in Iraq and Syria.

Al Qaeda Wasn’t ‘on the Run’

WELL.v20-01.2014-09-15.Hayes_BY STEPHEN F. HAYES:

In the early morning hours of May 2, 2011, an elite team of 25 American military and intelligence professionals landed inside the walls of a compound just outside the Pakistani city of Abbottabad. CIA analysts had painstakingly tracked a courier to the compound and spent months monitoring the activity inside the walls. They’d concluded, with varying levels of confidence, that the expansive white building at the center of the lot was the hideout of Osama bin Laden.

They were correct. And minutes after the team landed, the search for bin Laden ended with a shot to his head.

The primary objective of Operation Neptune Spear was to capture or kill the leader of al Qaeda. But a handful of those on the ground that night were part of a “Sensitive Site Exploitation” team that had a secondary mission: to gather as much intelligence from the compound as they could.

With bin Laden dead and the building secure, they got to work. Moving quickly—as locals began to gather outside the compound and before the Pakistani military, which had not been notified of the raid in advance, could scramble its response—they shoved armload after armload of bin Laden’s belongings into large canvas bags. The entire operation took less than 40 minutes.

The intelligence trove was immense. At a Pentagon briefing one day after the raid, a senior official described the haul as a “robust collection of materials.” It included 10 hard drives, nearly 100 thumb drives, and a dozen cell phones—along with data cards, DVDs, audiotapes, magazines, newspapers, paper files. In an interview on Meet the Press just days after the raid, Barack Obama’s national security adviser, Thomas Donilon, told David Gregory that the material could fill “a small college library.” A senior military intelligence official who briefed reporters at the Pentagon on May 7 said: “As a result of the raid, we’ve acquired the single largest collection of senior terrorist materials ever.”

In all, the U.S. government would have access to more than a million documents detailing al Qaeda’s funding, training, personnel, and future plans. The raid promised to be a turning point in America’s war on terror, not only because it eliminated al Qaeda’s leader, but also because the materials taken from his compound had great intelligence value. Analysts and policymakers would no longer need to depend on the inherently incomplete picture that had emerged from the piecing together of disparate threads of intelligence—collected via methods with varying records of success and from sources of uneven reliability. The bin Laden documents were primary source material, providing unmediated access to the thinking of al Qaeda leaders expressed in their own words.

A comprehensive and systematic examination of those documents could give U.S. intelligence officials—and eventually the American public—a better understanding of al Qaeda’s leadership, its affiliates, its recruitment efforts, its methods of communication; a better understanding, that is, of the enemy America has fought for over a decade now, at a cost of trillions of dollars and thousands of American lives.

Incredibly, such a comprehensive study—a thorough “document exploitation,” in the parlance of the intelligence community—never took place. The Weekly Standard has spoken to more than two dozen individuals with knowledge of the U.S. government’s handling of the bin Laden documents. And on that, there is widespread agreement.

“They haven’t done anything close to a full exploitation,” says Derek Harvey, a former senior intelligence analyst with the Defense Intelligence Agency and ex-director of the Afghanistan-Pakistan Center of Excellence at U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM).

“A full exploitation? No,” he says. “Not even close. Maybe 10 percent.”

More disturbing, many of the analysts and military experts with access to the documents were struck by a glaring contradiction: As President Obama and his team campaigned on the coming demise of al Qaeda in the runup to the 2012 election, the documents told a very different story.

In the days immediately following the bin Laden raid, the document haul was taken to a triage center where a CIA-led interagency team of analysts and subject-matter experts began to comb through it for perishable intelligence. It was, by all accounts, a fruitful effort.

***

The CTC report was released on May 3 under the title “Letters from Abbottabad: Bin Laden Sidelined?” The authors were careful to note that they were given just a fraction of the document collection and that researchers there had “no part in the selection of documents.” The conclusions of the study were consistent with the administration’s line: Al Qaeda had been badly weakened, and in the months before his death Osama bin Laden had been marginalized.

As the public heard this carefully managed story about al Qaeda, analysts at CENTCOM were poring over documents that showed something close to the opposite.

The broader collection of documents paints a far more complicated picture of al Qaeda. There are documents laying out al Qaeda’s relationships with terror-sponsoring states, including Iran and Pakistan. There are documents that provide a close look at bin Laden’s careful cultivation of a vast array of increasingly deadly affiliates, including the one we now know as ISIS. Other documents provide a window into the complex and highly secretive system of communications between al Qaeda leaders and operatives plotting attacks. Still others offer a glimpse of relations between bin Laden, Ayman al Zawahiri, and the others who run the global terror syndicate.

One document laid bare bin Laden’s relationship with Hafiz Saeed, the leader of Lashkar-e-Taiba, and suggested that the al Qaeda leader helped plan the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai that killed 150 people and injured more than 600. “The documents and files found in Abbottabad showed a close connection between bin Laden and Saeed, right up to May 2011,” former Obama adviser Bruce Riedel told the Hindustan Times. The documents “suggested a much larger direct al Qaeda role in the planning of the Mumbai attacks than many had assumed.”

The CENTCOM team reviewed documents detailing the complicated and dangerous relationship between al Qaeda and Tehran and found evidence that senior Iranian officials facilitated the travel and safe haven of top al Qaeda operatives both before and after the 9/11 attacks. Other documents suggest that the relationship between Pakistan’s intelligence service and al Qaeda leaders was even stronger than many intelligence officials had understood.

The exploitation by the CENTCOM team, though far from comprehensive, generated “hundreds of additional reports” on al Qaeda that were distributed throughout the intelligence community, according to congressional testimony from Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, then director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. The findings were briefed to senior intelligence and military officials, including Robert Cardillo, deputy director of national intelligence, and Admiral Michael Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Several members of Congress were briefed as well on the findings.

Derek Harvey, who supervised the DIA/CENTCOM team and conducted some of the briefings, has considerable credibility on these issues. He was one of the first intelligence analysts to warn of the growing insurgency in Iraq—just months after the invasion—challenging the happy talk from some members of the Bush administration. Later, Harvey worked closely with Sunni tribes in Iraq to lay the groundwork for the Iraq surge in 2007—work that was highlighted in The War Within, Bob Woodward’s account of the Bush administration’s attempt to save Iraq between 2006 and 2008. When David Petraeus went to CENTCOM, he took Harvey with him to the Tampa headquarters to create and run the Afghanistan-Pakistan Center of Excellence.

Harvey would not discuss the contents of the documents. But he acknowledges that the DIA/CENTCOM conclusions contradicted the story the administration was telling the American people. “They were saying al Qaeda was on the run,” he recalls. “We were telling them al Qaeda was expanding and growing stronger.”

Meanwhile, the internal squabbling continued. The CIA, now under the direction of John Brennan, who had moved back to the agency from the White House, sought once again to limit DIA/CENTCOM’s access to the documents. And some analysts at the CTC were becoming increasingly uncomfortable with the analysis in “Letters from Abbottabad.” According to three sources with knowledge of the handling of the documents, at least one CTC analyst drafted a memo—sometimes referred to as an “affidavit”—describing how the conclusions of the study would have been different had analysts been provided access to the full range of documents. The Weekly Standard asked CTC director Liam Collins about the memo in April. He responded: “I’m not tracking you on that.” Collins denied that anyone at CTC had written or distributed such a memo, and he reiterated his denial this month.

But one U.S. intelligence official, told of Collins’s claim, scoffed, “It exists. Period.”

In July, Lieutenant General Flynn left his post as director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, a year earlier than scheduled. Many intelligence professionals believe he was forced out, in part because he—and many who worked for him—aggressively challenged the administration’s view that al Qaeda was dying. Flynn’s views were shaped by the intelligence in the bin Laden documents.

Read more at Weekly Standard

ISIS is the President’s Intelligence Failure

383580128 (1)Center For Security Policy, By Fred Fleitz:

Obama officials made some dubious claims over the summer that the White House was caught off guard by the rise of the terrorist army of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) because U.S. intelligence agencies underestimated the ISIS threat.  Many have disputed this, including Congressman Mike Rogers (R-MI), the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, who said in June that the Iraq crisis is a policy and not an intelligence failure.  Others pointed out there has been press on ISIS activities for almost a year and that Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, testified to the Senate Armed Services Committee last February that ISIS “will attempt to take territory in Iraq and Syria to exhibit its strength in 2014, as demonstrated recently in Ramadi and Fallujah, and the group’s ability to concurrently maintain multiple safe havens in Syria.”

It now looks like the real intelligence failure has been President Obama’s decision to ignore critical U.S. intelligence analysis and warnings.

Fox News correspondent Catherine Herridge reported today that according to a former Pentagon official, “detailed and specific intelligence about the rise of ISIS was included in the PDB, or the President’s Daily Brief, for at least a year before the group took large swaths of territory beginning in June.”  The source also described this intelligence as “strong” and “granular” in detail.

The PDB is a highly classified daily intelligence report prepared for the President and a handful of other high level officials by U.S. intelligence agencies.  The former Pentagon official told Herridge that unlike his predecessors, President Obama reads the PDB and does not receive a PDB briefing.  The source also said U.S. intelligence agencies rarely receive follow-up questions from Mr. Obama on the PDB.

Herridge’s story tracks with a September 12, 2012 Washington Post op-ed by Marc Thiessen that despite White House bragging about President Obama receiving a daily PDB briefing, Thiessen found the president had skipped more than half of them.

The president’s supporters in the news media went after Thiessen over this op-ed.  For example, in a September 24, 2012 column, The bogus claim that Obama ‘skips’ his intelligence briefings, Washington Post reporter Glenn Kessler gave Thiessen’s piece three “Pinocchios” for being inaccurate and said in an update it may have deserved a fourth.  According to Kessler, Presidents Nixon, Carter, Reagan and Clinton also did not receive daily PDB briefings.

While Kessler is right that presidents have had different styles in dealing with intelligence and the PDB, the real issue is whether the information in the PDB reaches the president.  President Carter and both Presidents Bush often sent comments and feedback after reading the PDB.  Presidents Ford and Reagan sent also sent feedback but less than these presidents.  (Kessler also claimed President Reagan almost never wrote questions or comments about the PDB.  I dispute this since I once received a comment from President Reagan written on a PDB I authored when I was a CIA analyst.  Several of my CIA colleagues occasionally received comments and questions on the PDB from President Reagan.)

President Bill Clinton had a very different approach to the PDB and his morning intelligence.  It was well known at CIA that Clinton rarely read the PDB.  Clinton skipped so many PDB briefings that CIA management stopped sending daily read-outs of them to analysts after someone at CIA leaked word about Clinton’s skipped PDB briefings to the press.  I believe Clinton’s ignorance of U.S. intelligence analysis contributed to his underestimation of the threat from al-Qaeda and his timid responses to the al-Qaeda terrorist attacks which occurred on his watch.

Some will interpret Herridge’s report as an explanation for President Obama’s claims that he did not know about the ISIS threat as well as the much-criticized comment he made last week that his administration has “no strategy yet” to deal with ISIS.

I don’t buy such an explanation.  Consider that National Security Adviser Rice, Vice President Biden, Secretary of State Kerry and Secretary of Defense Hagel also are PDB recipients.  I’m sure most if not all of them receive daily PDB briefings and read the PDB.  If this is the case, why didn’t any of them tell the president about the growing ISIS threat that U.S. intelligence agencies reportedly were warning about?

The answer is that the president did know about these warnings and was told about them by his senior officials but chose to ignore this information because he is still in denial about the threat from radical Islam.  This was obvious by the way Obama officials misled the American people about the 2012 terrorist attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.   It is now clear Mr Obama did not learn from this mistake.

The most worrisome conclusion I draw from Herridge’s report is not that President Obama ignored or played down information about the ISIS threat and radical Islam.  I’m more concerned that Mr Obama’s reported refusal to do PDB briefings or send feedback on the PDB suggests he may be ignoring intelligence across the board just like President Clinton did.  This raises the question whether there are other urgent threat warnings by American intelligence agencies that Mr Obama is aware of but has chosen to ignore.

ISIS Shifting Tactics In Face of U.S. Air-Strike Campaign

Published on Aug 13, 2014 by Steven Laboe

“Our blood and treasure is in their sand” says Jessie Jane Duff, Gunnery Sergeant USMC (Ret) to FNC’s Bill Hemmer as she shares her position on the Middle East crisis.

ISIS so extreme, even al-Qaida worried it would “damage its reputation”

brutal-300x180By Allen West:

I am pleased to know the Obama administration has decided to provide weapons support to the Kurdish Peshmerga Army and bypass the Iraqi government — which under al-Maliki is in shambles. Our goal should be to assist in establishing an independent Kurdistan where Kurds, Christians and other religious minorities can live and thrive in peace. And a strategic part of that objective should be to destroy ISIS and deter the rising Islamist government in Turkey. After all, Southern Sudan was established based on religious persecution from the same folks: Islamists versus Christians.

And never forget that the Kurds are the words largest ethnic group without a homeland — the “Palestinians” are just hell-raising Arabs who were kicked out of Jordan.

But the purpose of this missive is to ask a question: How did ISIS kinda sneak up on the Obama administration? Do we have a failure in our intelligence gathering apparatus — or is this just an example of abject incompetence or worse, willful negligence?

Why do I ask this question?

Well, based on a report from the UK Daily Mail, ISIS was already ringing alarm bells on the radar screen of some major players a few years ago, and it might surprise you whose radar was twitching.

According to the report, “Lying among a pile of papers at the hideout in Pakistan where Osama Bin Laden was shot dead was a carefully worded 21-page letter. It warned of the rise of a new and ruthless group of Islamic extremists capable of such extreme brutality that al-Qaida should sever all links with them. In fact, it claimed the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (or ISIS) had such complete disregard for civilian life that it could damage the reputation of al-Qaida – if such a thing were possible for an organization that has long traded in murderous terrorism.”

Here’s a particularly brutal video you may or may not want to watch on the Daily Mail’s website.

So let me get this right, Osama bin Laden was aware of ISIS back in 2011 and was concerned about ISIS damaging al-Qaida’s reputation? And how was it that President Obama referred to them as a “JV” team? Obama was beside himself with glee to lay claim to “killing” Osama bin Laden, but neglected to mention there was an even bigger threat looming.
Read more at http://allenbwest.com/2014/08/isis-extreme-even-al-qaida-worried-damage-reputation-video/#9mFe9PVgmJ2hwUzT.99

Read more at Allen West’s blog

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

Obama Lifts Ban on Libyans Attending U.S. Flight Schools, Training In Nuke Science

Libyan militias parade through Tripoli / AP

Libyan militias parade through Tripoli / AP

By Adam Kredo:

The Obama administration has lifted longtime restrictions on Libyans attending flight schools in the United States and training here in nuclear science, according to a final amendment of the ban recently approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).

Less than two years after the deadly terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is poised to sign off on an amendment reversing the ban, which was enacted following a wave or terrorist attacks in 1980s and prevents Libyans from studying these sensitive trades in the United States.

The original law effectively disqualified all Libyan nationals and those “acting on behalf of Libyan entities” from training in “aviation maintenance, flight operations, or nuclear-related fields,” according to the ban.

DHS said the prohibition is irrelevant now since the United States and Libya have worked to “normalize their relationship,” according to the directive approved by the OMB.

“The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is amending its regulations by rescinding the regulatory provisions promulgated in 1983 that terminated the nonimmigrant status and barred the granting of certain immigration benefits to Libyan nationals and foreign nationals acting on behalf of Libyan entities who are engaging in or seeking to obtain studies or training in,” the amendment states.

“The United States Government and the Government of Libya have normalized their relationship and most of the restrictions and sanctions imposed by the United States and the United Nations toward Libya have been lifted,” it says. “Therefore, DHS, after consultation with the Department of State and the Department of Defense, is considering rescinding the restrictions that deny nonimmigrant status and benefits to a specific group of Libyan nationals.”

Members of the House Judiciary Committee expressed outrage on Monday about the rollback in the law, maintaining that Libyans continue to pose a security risk to the United States, particularly if they are given access to train in the aviation and nuclear fields.

The terror threat continues and numerous news reports document recent terror-related activities coming from Libya,” the Judiciary Committee said in a statement. “Recently, the employees at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli were evacuated due to violence between rival militias near the facility.”

“Since then, many foreign governments have closed their embassies in Libya and evacuated staff as the violence has spread throughout the country,” the statement said.

Read more at Washington Free Beacon

White House Can’t Explain Iraq Objectives to Congress

President Barack Obama talks with National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice following foreign leader phone calls, from Chilmark, Mass., August 11, 2014 / White House Flic

President Barack Obama talks with National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice following foreign leader phone calls, from Chilmark, Mass., August 11, 2014 / White House Flic

By Adam Kredo:

Just two weeks after the Obama administration asked Congress to repeal the Iraq war authorization, the White House is failing to adequately explain to lawmakers the legal justification and concrete objectives for its airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), according to congressional insiders apprised of off-the-record briefings on the matter.

Questions are now being raised on Capitol Hill about how the White House intends to legally justify its military campaign, particularly in light of its efforts to repeal the Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq (AUMF).

Obama administration officials waited to brief senators late last week after isolated airstrikes had been launched on multiple ISIL targets, according to Senate sources who provided the Free Beacon with a readout of the call, which was described as “pointless.”

The administration’s decision to bypass Congress before taking military action is reminiscent of its behavior in Libya, where air strikes also were authorized without congressional approval.

“They didn’t provide any firm answers or decisions,” said one senior Senate source apprised of the briefing. “The administration is saying that they’re going to authorize air strikes if ISIS gets close to U.S. personal or stationed personal, which in [our] mind, if there is a threat in the region you get your people out unless they’re military.”

This rationale from the White House is leading some to speculate that U.S. personnel in the region are being left in harms way “as collateral” because the Obama administration “can’t get his party and donor base to support further action in Iraq,” according to the source.

“That’s where a lot of the confusion is coming from” on Capitol Hill, the source added. “When there’s an imminent threat you get your civilian employees out of the region.”

The decision to take action against ISIL was made just weeks after White House national security adviser Susan Rice petitioned Congress to repeal the Iraq AUMF, a move that one Congressional insider described as “tone deaf” and “bad optics on the administration’s part.”

Read more at Free Beacon

Experts: American Adversaries Work Together Despite Differences

Fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) / Reuters

Fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) / Reuters

BY: :

American adversaries in the Middle East continue to work together across sectarian and religious divides to harm U.S. interests and security, requiring a more nuanced response from U.S. officials to address the turmoil in the region, experts say.

The Obama administration has claimed in recent weeks that the United States and Iran—a traditional U.S. enemy since its Islamic revolution 35 years ago—have a shared interest in pushing back the advances of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL or ISIS), an al Qaeda offshoot, in Iraq. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said last month that the United States and Iran have “some history here of sharing common interests,” citing early cooperation on the Afghanistan war against al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Iran, led by a Shiite government, is typically viewed as opposing hardline Sunni groups such as the Taliban and al Qaeda as part of an intra-religious dispute among Muslims.

However, Iran has a long history of harboring and supporting al Qaeda. European intelligence reports indicate that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, founder of the group al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) that eventually morphed into ISIL, operated from Iran after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. Zarqawi used protection from the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to rebuild the terrorist group’s network and prepare for its expansion into Iraq.

The U.S. Treasury Department has called Iran “a critical transit point for funding to support al Qaeda’s activities in Afghanistan and Pakistan.” The department in February sanctioned three IRGC officers for allegedly providing support to the Taliban as well as to a senior member of al Qaeda who allegedly used Iran to move Sunni fighters into Syria.

“Iran has a long history of fomenting violent conflict and inflaming sectarian divides throughout the Middle East including in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq,” said the group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) in recent press release.

“Depictions of Iran as a source of stability are therefore erroneous and short-sighted, as are assertions that increased Iranian involvement in Iraq will serve American and Iraqi interests,” UANI added.

Michael Rubin, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and a former Pentagon adviser on Iran and Iraq for the George W. Bush administration, said in an email that U.S. diplomats often only view the Middle East through “a sectarian lens.”

“Sunnis and Shi’ites show no compunction working together to screw over America, which their respective extremists consider a bigger threat,” he said. “Heck, sometimes it seems that the State Department never bothered to read the 9/11 report which suggested that the attacks might not have happened had Iran not facilitated the travel to training camps of the 9/11 hijackers.”

“Sure, at first glance, Secretary of State John Kerry may believe that the U.S. and Iran share an interest in Iraq,” he added. “But just because firefighters and arsonists share an interest in fire doesn’t mean they are on the same side.”

In Iraq, ISIL partnered last month with former Baathist generals under Saddam Hussein’s regime to seize the key northern city of Mosul. Religious extremist groups such as al Qaeda have traditionally sought to overthrow secular Middle East regimes such as Hussein’s Baathists.

Top U.S. officials have recently expressed grave concerns about the potential for foreign fighters in ISIL to commit terrorist attacks in the United States.

The secular-religious rift in the Middle East also did not stop Hussein from supporting jihadist groups when it suited the former Iraqi dictator’s interests. Hussein reportedly provided safe haven, training, and arms to these groups as long as they agreed to attack countries he wanted to pressure.

Hundreds of thousands of documents obtained in Iraq since 2003, compiled in a report by the Institute for Defense Analyses, further confirmed Hussein’s links to terrorist groups.

Read more at Free Beacon

U.S. Fostering Closer Iran-Saudi Ties

iuby Joseph Puder:

According to Arab News, (June 2, 2014) a high official in the Obama administration is “encouraging Riyadh and Tehran to end their dispute.” This was quoted in Kuwait’s Al-Rai Arabic daily in an interview with an unnamed U.S. diplomat. Meanwhile, the Kuwaiti Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Sabah ended his visit to Tehran.

Last month, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel visited Saudi Arabia’s capital Riyadh in a quest to establish a détente between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Hagel got his cue from earlier remarks made by Iran’s President Rouhani, suggesting that Iran would like to improve its ties with Saudi Arabia.

It seems that the Obama administration is now serving as an agent for Iran. The Islamic Republic that has encouraged street demonstrations calling for “death to America,” is the same regime that has been working hard to remove U.S. influence in the region. Iran is an oppressive and radical Islamic state backing the Assad regime in Syria which murdered over 200,000 of its own people, and used chemical agents to poison thousands of innocent civilians. The Obama administration has hitherto not been able to stop the Tehran regime from producing advanced centrifuges. Iran has continued its quest for nuclear weapons, despite its ongoing nuclear talks with the P5+1 (U.S. China, Russia, Britain, France, and Germany).

Saudi-Iranian reconciliation talks are scheduled to take place in the middle of June, and the Obama administration hopes for a new era in the relationship between the two Gulf powers. The Saudis are less than thrilled about the impending talks. Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi political analyst, is skeptical about the talks, pointing out that “Iran has occupied Syria,” and is backing the Assad regime. He added that, the “Iranians want to drag us into an extended dialogue and divert attention from the core issue of Syria.”

Iran’s mouthpiece, Press TV reported (April 27, 2014) that Saudi Foreign Minister, Saud al-Faisal will be removed from his post in a second phase of changes in the ruling family’s key positions. It also revealed that on April 15, 2014, Saudi King Abdullah has replaced Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi intelligence chief with Youssef al-Idrisi. Press TV added that Bandar, the former Saudi ambassador to the U.S., is known to have had close ties with former U.S. President George W. Bush, and that he was an advocate of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The Iranian interpretation that is apparently stemming from Press TV is that President Obama, in seeking to reverse his predecessor’s (G.W. Bush) foreign policy, has persuaded the Saudis to get rid of the anti-Iranian elements among the Kingdom’s leadership. Apparently, this has resulted in the removal of Prince Bandar, and the impending retirement of Saud al-Faisal.

Read more at Front Page

Obama to free Gitmo terrorist ‘because he took up yoga’

Detainees in orange jumpsuits sit in a holding area under the eyes of military police during in-processing to the temporary detention facility at Camp X-Ray of the naval base at Guantanamo Bay. Photo: Reuters

Detainees in orange jumpsuits sit in a holding area under the eyes of military police during in-processing to the temporary detention facility at Camp X-Ray of the naval base at Guantanamo Bay.
Photo: Reuters

If you thought President Obama’s release of five top Taliban commanders in exchange for POW Bowe Bergdahl was bad, wait until you see what his Gitmo parole board plans.

Desperate to empty the Guantanamo Bay prison by the end of his term, Obama quietly is giving “get out of jail free” cards for the flimsiest of excuses.

One al Qaeda suspect captured in Afghanistan is considered reformed because he took up yoga and read a biography of the Dalai Lama. Another is eligible for release because of his “positive attitude.”

And one longtime detainee, a former bodyguard for Osama bin Laden, is now harmless because he’s going to start a “milk and honey farm.”

The Periodic Review Board already helped clear 78 of the remaining 149 prisoners for release, documents show, and has scheduled more hearings for this summer.

Many of these men were dubbed “forever prisoners” because of the threat they posed to the US — with intelligence officials warning that, if free, they would return to the jihad to kill Americans.

Based on past cases, that’s a good bet.

In a report on detainee recidivism, Obama’s own director of national intelligence this year documented that 178, or 29 percent, of the 614 prisoners already transferred from the prison have been confirmed to have, or are suspected of having, re-engaged in terrorism.

That means for every three freed from Gitmo, one has rejoined the war against us. Intelligence analysts admit their ability to track all former detainees is limited, so the recidivism rate may, in fact, be much higher.

One notorious recidivist, Abdullah Gulam Rasoul, became the Taliban’s operations commander in southern Afghanistan soon after his 2007 release from Gitmo. He was blamed for masterminding a surge in roadside attacks against American troops and organizing assaults on US aircraft in Afghanistan.

Another repeat terrorist is Said Ali al-Shihri, who after his 2007 release ran al Qaeda’s Yemeni branch and helped plan the deadly bombing of the US Embassy there.

Already, one of the five Taliban leaders freed last week in exchange for Bergdahl — Mullah Noorullah Noori — has pledged to return to fight Americans in Afghanistan.

Obama’s terrorist parole board was established in 2011. He appoints its members — officials from the Justice Department, Pentagon, State Department and Homeland Security — without a congressional confirmation process. It is secretive and lacking in accountability.

In setting up the Periodic Review Board, meanwhile, Obama prohibited members from relying on information that has been obtained as a result of “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment (in order) to support a determination that continued law of war detention is warranted for a detainee.”

The bias against interrogation evidence potentially opens up the release of some of Gitmo’s hardest cases, including al Qaeda leader Abu Zubaydah, 2002 Bali bombing mastermind “Hambali,” and Mohammed al-Qahtani, the suspected 20th hijacker of the 9/11 attacks.

But these releases won’t cause the same outcry, because it’s being done in virtual secrecy. Already, more than 600 prisoners have been transferred out of Gitmo with little fanfare. Two hundred of them were sent back to Afghanistan.

As defense lawyer David Remes explained to Al Jazeera news network, “The Periodic Review Board is likely to be predisposed to approval to transfer because the idea here is to close down Guantanamo.”

The inmates slated for release include:

GHALEB NASSER AL-BIHANI, 34

“He loves yoga”

What he did: Classified as an “indefinite detainee” in 2010 because of the danger he posed to the US. The Yemeni national was captured in 2001 fighting in Afghanistan. The military said he was a troublemaker while in custody, even inciting riots. He was uncooperative in interviews, showing “ill intentions toward the US.” One of his brothers in Yemen is a leader in al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the terror group’s most lethal branch.

What they say now: His government-appointed lawyer argued he was merely an assistant cook for an unspecified military group. “He has asked for yoga magazines and self-help books,” lawyer Pardiss Kebriaei told the parole board in April, noting he practices yoga in his cellblock and has read biographies of the Dalai Lama and Martin Luther King Jr.

In his own plea to the board, Bihani suggested his hostility comes from losing his parents as a boy, saying, “It was hard growing up without a mother or father.” He promised to start a family and live a peaceful life if freed. “I look forward to the day when I can hold my baby in my hands,” he said. Last month, the board said it found his story “credible” and declared Bihani “no longer … a threat to the security of the United States.”

MAHMUD ABD AL AZIZ AL MUJAHID, 33

“Wants a milk & honey farm”

What he did: Served as Osama bin Laden’s bodyguard and was captured after 9/11. The military warns that, if freed, he would likely hook up in Yemen with his brother, “another former bin Laden bodyguard.”

Without explanation, the board blacked out a large section of Mujahid’s testimony dealing with al Qaeda.

What they say now: “Mujahid is a peacemaker,” his lawyer David Remes insisted, adding he “requires no rehabilitation when he returns.”

Mujahid called a character witness — another detainee — who testified that Mujahid had told him he wants to start a “milk and honey farm” in Yemen.

In November, the board cleared Mujahid for release, reasoning he would maintain his good behavior through “extensive family support in Yemen.” Panelists were impressed with his personal statement that, while growing up, “in our household, we were taught politeness, decency and human being [sic].”

ALI AHMAD MOHAMED AL-RAZIHI, 33

“Has a positive attitude”

What he did: Served as an Osama bin Laden bodyguard. There’s evidence he wrote to his family boasting of his commitment to jihad. The military cautioned officials against believing that “his stated intentions are genuine.”

Curiously, the board withheld Razihi’s written testimony and hearing transcript.

What they say now: In taking him off the threat list, the board cited his “positive attitude.” His personal representative convinced board members that Razihi “has keen business acumen” and seeks to take over the family’s “fruit and vegetable business” in Yemen.

Added the unnamed government advocate: “He’s ready to live out the rest of his days as a peaceful man, a family man and an entrepreneur, and no longer should be considered a continued significant threat to the United States.”

Prisoners in Gitmo at height in 2003: 684

Prisoners left: 149

Cleared for transfer but not yet released: 78

Prisoners, including 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed, who are considered “high-value detainees” charged with war crimes: 16

Recidivism rate for released prisoners: 29%

Paul Sperry is a Hoover Institution media fellow and author of “Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington.”

 

Report: Obama Admin Never Defined Al Qaeda

Al-Qaida-linked fighters in Fallujah, Iraq / AP

Al-Qaida-linked fighters in Fallujah, Iraq / AP

By Daniel Wiser:

The Obama administration never actually defined what the al Qaeda terrorist group is before declaring that it was on the path to defeat, according to a new report that says the group now has its largest-ever global presence.

The report from Mary Habeck, a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and author of numerous books on al Qaeda, argues that the administration’s vague definition of the terrorist group has hampered America’s response to its global threat.

President Barack Obama’s “National Strategy for Counterterrorism,” released in June 2011, divided al Qaeda into three parts: its “core leadership in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” its “affiliates,” and its “adherents.” While never fully explaining what it meant by “core,” the strategy stated in a footnote that affiliates included groups and individuals whom the United States is not authorized to use force against.

Adherents included individuals who engage in violence to further the goals of al Qaeda, “regardless of whether such violence is targeted at the United States, its citizens, or its interests.”

Habeck said the administration’s strategy implied such a narrow view of al Qaeda that it only permitted attacks against groups and individuals who planned, committed, or aided the Sep. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. That policy is virtually the same as the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF).

However, many of those originally tied to the attacks have been killed through military engagement or drone strikes. “People have not been added to this list,” Habeck said at an AEI event, adding that al Qaeda has since replaced its leaders and expanded its affiliates.

Al Qaeda now has active insurgencies in nine countries compared to just three in 2011, according to the report, with the latest arising in Syria and Iraq. Affiliates that do not directly interact with al Qaeda’s core leadership still endorse its goals and threaten U.S. interests, Habeck said.

“It doesn’t matter whether you have command and control behind these groups with this specific ideology, because they’re committed to the same objectives,” she said. “It will cause precisely the same amount of damage whether or not there’s command and control from the core.”

Al Qaeda’s stated goals often do not mention the United States, she said. While the group and its affiliates aim to expel all U.S. forces from the Middle East, they also seek to impose an extremist vision of sharia law on unwilling Muslims, overthrow secular leaders, and establish a new caliphate.

Read more at Free Beacon

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