Supreme Court upholds Trump travel ban on some Muslim-majority nations

Fox News, By Bill Mears, June 26, 2018:

The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld President Trump’s controversial travel ban affecting several mostly Muslim countries, offering a limited endorsement of the president’s executive authority on immigration in one of the hardest-fought battles of this term.

The 5-4 ruling marks the first major high court decision on a Trump administration policy. It upholds the selective travel restrictions, which critics called a discriminatory “Muslim ban” but the administration argued was needed for security reasons.

Trump, reacting to the decision on Twitter, wrote: “SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS TRUMP TRAVEL BAN. Wow!”

At issue was whether the third and latest version of the administration’s policies affecting visitors from five majority Muslim nations – known as travel ban 3.0 – discriminates on the basis of nationality and religion, in the government’s issuance of immigrant visas.

CLICK TO READ THE DECISION

Chief Justice John Roberts, who authored the conservative majority opinion, wrote that the order was “squarely within the scope of presidential authority” under federal law.

“The sole prerequisite set forth in [federal law] is that the president find that the entry of the covered aliens would be detrimental to the interests of the United States. The president has undoubtedly fulfilled that requirement here,” he wrote.

Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor was among the court’s four liberals that wrote a dissent.

“This repackaging does little to cleanse [the policy] of the appearance of discrimination that the president’s words have created,” she said. “Based on the evidence in the record, a reasonable observer would conclude that the proclamation was motivated by anti-Muslim animus.”

She and Justice Stephen Breyer took the unusual step of reading their dissents from the bench.

While the policy was upheld, the case was sent back to the lower courts, which were told to rely on the Supreme Court’s interpretation of executive authority.

It was the first significant legal test so far of Trump’s policies and power and could lead to a precedent-setting expansion on the limits of presidential power, especially within the immigration context.

Federal appeals courts in Virginia and California in recent months had ruled against the administration. The San Francisco-based 9th Circuit Court last December concluded Trump’s proclamation, like the two previous executive orders, overstepped his powers to regulate the entry of immigrants and visitors.

But the justices had allowed the current restrictions to be enforced at the Justice Department’s request, at least until the case was fully litigated.

The Trump administration also seemed to enjoy a favorable reception before the court during arguments in April. Associate Justice Samuel Alito, during those April arguments, noted that of the 50 or so mostly Muslim majority countries, only five were on the current banned list.

The White House had framed the issue as a temporary move involving national security.

A coalition of groups in opposition called the order blatant religious discrimination, since the countries involved have mostly Muslim populations: Iran, Libya, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Chad was recently removed from the list after the administration said that country had beefed up its information-sharing.

A major sticking point for the justices was navigating how much discretion the president really has over immigration. Courts have historically been deferential in this area, and recent presidents from Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama have used it to deny entry to certain refugees and diplomats, including nations such as Iran, Cuba and North Korea.

A 1952 federal law — the Immigration and Nationality Act, passed in the midst of a Cold War fear over Communist influence — historically gives the chief executive broad authority.

It reads in part: “Whenever the president finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may, may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate.”

The administration strongly denies this is a “Muslim ban,” but federal judges across the country cited statements by then-presidential candidate Trump and his advisers, including a December 2015 campaign press release calling for such restrictions and citing “hatred” by “large segments of the Muslim population.”

The high court’s majority downplayed Trump’s campaign statements as a major factor in its decision.

“The issue before us is not whether to denounce the statements,” wrote Roberts. “It is instead the significance of those statements in reviewing a Presidential directive, neutral on its face, addressing a matter within the core of executive responsibility. In doing so, we must consider not only the statements of a particular President, but also the authority of the Presidency itself.”

Sixteen state leaders led by Texas were among a number of coalitions backing the Trump administration. But Hawaii officials, who filed the appeal contesting all of the president’s orders, said the president’s policies violate the Constitution’s guarantee of religious freedom:

“Any reasonable observer who heard the president’s campaign promises, read his thinly justified orders banning overwhelmingly Muslim populations, and observed his administration’s persistent statements linking the two, would view the order and each of its precursors as the fulfillment of the president’s promise to prohibit Muslim immigration to the United States.”

Trump’s first executive order was issued just a week after he took office, and was aimed at seven countries. It triggered chaos and protests across the U.S., as some travelers were stopped from boarding international flights and others detained at airports for hours. Trump modified the order after a federal appeals court refused to allow the ban to be enforced.

“This is not about religion– this is about terror and keeping our country safe,” the president said on Jan. 29, 2017.

The next version, unveiled weeks later, dropped Iraq from the list of covered countries and made it clear the 90-day ban covering Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen didn’t apply to those travelers who already had valid visas. It also got rid of language that would give priority to religious minorities. Critics said the changes did not erase the legal problems with the ban.

When that second temporary travel ban expired in Sept. 24, it was replaced with Proclamation 9645 — what the administration said was a country-by-country assessment of security and cooperation with the U.S.

From 9/11 to Spygate: The National Security Deep State

Front Page Magazine, by Daniel Greenfield, June 14, 2018:

On September 4, 2001, Robert Mueller took over the FBI. At his confirmation hearings, fraud had overshadowed discussions of terrorism. And as FBI Director, Mueller quickly diverged from the common understanding that the attacks that killed 3,000 people had been an act of war rather than a crime.

In 2008, Abdullah Saleh al-Ajmi, who had been unleashed from Guantanamo Bay, carried out a suicide bombing in Iraq. Al-Ajmi had been represented by Thomas Wilner who was being paid by the Kuwaiti government.

Wilner was a pal of Robert Mueller. And when the families were having dinner together, Mueller got up and said, “I want to toast Tom Wilner. He’s doing just what an American lawyer should do.”

“I don’t know what he was doing from inside the government. I’d like to find out,” Wilner mused.

We know some of what Mueller was doing. The same official who paved the way for raiding the president’s lawyer, who illegally seized material from the Trump transition team and whose case is based in no small part on illegal eavesdropping, fought alongside Comey against surveilling terrorists. Materials involving the Muslim Brotherhood were purged. Toward the dawn of the second Obama term, Mueller met with CAIR and other Islamist groups and a green curtain fell over national security.

But the surveillance wasn’t going anywhere. Instead it was being redirected to new targets.

Those targets were not, despite the wave of hysterical conspiracy theories convulsing the media, the Russians. Mueller’s boss was still quite fond of them. Barack Obama did have foreign enemies that he wanted to spy on. And there were plenty of domestic enemies who could be caught up in that trap.

By his second term, the amateur was coming to understand the incredible surveillance powers at his disposal and how they could be used to spy on Americans under the pretext of fighting foreign threats.

Two birds. One stone.

While the Mueller purge was going on, Obama was pushing talks with Iran. There was one obstacle and it wasn’t Russia. The Russians were eager to play Obama with a fake nuke deal. It was the Israelis who were the problem. And it was the Israelis who were being spied on by Obama’s surveillance regime.

But it wasn’t just the Israelis.

Iran was Obama’s big shot at a foreign policy legacy. As the year dragged on, it was becoming clear that the Arab Spring wouldn’t be anything he would want to be remembered for. By the time Benghazi went from a humanitarian rescue operation to one of the worst disasters of the term, it was clearly over.

Obama was worried that the Israelis would launch a strike against Iran’s nuclear program. And the surveillance and media leaks were meant to dissuade the Israelis from scuttling his legacy. But he was also worried about Netanyahu’s ability to persuade American Jews and members of Congress to oppose his nuclear sellout. And that was where the surveillance leapfrogged from foreign to domestic.

The NSA intercepted communications between Israelis and Americans, including members of Congress, and then passed the material along to the White House. Despite worries by some officials that “that the executive branch would be accused of spying on Congress”, the White House “believed the intercepted information could be valuable to counter Mr. Netanyahu’s campaign.”

The precedent was even more troubling than it seemed.

Obama Inc. had defined its position in an unresolved political debate between the White House and Congress as the national interest. And had winkingly authorized surveillance on Congress to protect this policy in a domestic political debate. That precedent would then be used to spy on members of the Trump transition team and to force out Trump’s national security adviser.

National security had become indistinguishable from the agenda of the administration. And that agenda, like the rest of Obama’s unilateral policies, was enshrined as permanent. Instead of President Trump gaining the same powers, his opposition to that agenda was treated as a national security threat.

And once Obama was out of office, Comey and other Obama appointees would protect that agenda.

We still don’t know the full scope of Spygate. But media reports have suggested that Obama officials targeted countries opposed to the Iran sellout, most prominently Israel and the UAE, and then eavesdropped on meetings between them and between figures on the Trump team.

Obama had begun his initial spying as a way of gaining inside information on Netanyahu’s campaign against the Iran deal. But the close election and its aftermath significantly escalated what had been a mere Watergate into an active effort to not only spy, but pursue criminal charges against the political opposition. The surveillance state had inevitably moved on to the next stage, the police state with its informants, dossiers, pre-dawn raids, state’s witnesses, entrapments and still more surveillance.

And the police state requires cops. Someone had to do the dirty work for Susan Rice.

Comey, Mueller and the other cops had likely been complicit in the administration’s abuses. Somewhere along the way, they had become the guys watching over the Watergate burglars. Spying on the political opposition is, short of spying for the enemy, the most serious crime that such men can commit.

Why then was it committed?

To understand that, we have to go back to 9/11. Those days may seem distant now, but the attacks offered a crossroads. One road led to a war against our enemies. The other to minimizing the conflict.

President George W. Bush tried to fight that war, but he was undermined by men like Mueller and Comey. Their view of the war was the same as that of their future boss, not their current one, certainly not the view as the man currently sitting in the White House whom they have tried to destroy.

Every lie has some truth in it. Comey’s book, A Higher Loyalty, his frequent claims of allegiance to American ideals, are true, as he sees it, if not as he tells it. Men like Comey and Mueller believed that the real threat came not from Islamic terrorists, but from our overreaction to them. They believed that Bush was a threat. And Trump was the worst threat imaginable who had to be stopped by any means.

What Comey and Mueller are loyal to is the established way of doing things. And they conflate that with our national ideals, as establishment thugs usually do. Neither of them are unique. Washington D.C. is filled with men and women who are registered Republicans, who believe in lowering taxes, who frown at the extremities of identity politics, but whose true faith is in the natural order of government.

Mueller and Comey represent a class. And Obama and Clinton were easily able to corrupt and seduce that class into abandoning its duties and oaths, into serving as its deep state against domestic foes.

Quis custodiet ipsos custodies? It’s the old question of who watches the watchmen that no society has found a good answer to. And the answer is inevitably that the watchers, watch themselves and everyone else. What began as national security measures against Islamic terrorism was twisted by Obama and his deep state allies into the surveillance of the very people fighting Islamic terrorism.

Spygate was the warped afterbirth of our failure to meaningfully confront Islamic terrorism. Instead, the political allies of the terrorists and the failed watchmen who allowed them to strike so many times, got together to shoot the messengers warning about the terror threat. The problem had never been the lack of power, but the lack of will and the lack of integrity in an establishment unwilling to do its job.

After 9/11, extraordinary national security powers were brought into being to fight Islamic terror. Instead those powers were used to suppress those who told the truth about Islamic terrorism.

***

Andrew C. McCarthy: Lessons from the Blind Sheikh Terror Trial, What Animates Jihadists, Why U.S. Middle East Policy Fails, Collapsing Iran’s Regime (Part I)

BIG IDEAS WITH BEN WEINGARTEN PODCAST, By Ben Weingarten, June 6,2018:

READ THE FULL TRANSCRIPT

My Guest

Andrew C. McCarthy (@AndrewCMcCarthy) is senior fellow at the National Review Institute, contributing editor of National Review and author most recently of essential books on the threat of Islamic supremacism including Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the JihadThe Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America and Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy.

In addition to being one of the nation’s foremost national security analysts and legal experts — formerly serving as Assistant U.S. Attorney in the vaunted Southern District of New York — he is one of the most humble, insightful and devoted patriots I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.

In Part I of my in-depth interview with Andy McCarthy, we discussed his experience prosecuting the jihadist mastermind of the first World Trade Center attack and what it taught him about the Islamic supremacist threat America faces, the primacy of religion for Muslims in the Middle East and in the West, why Islamic supremacists choose jihadist savagery over assimilation, willful blindness in American national security and foreign policy regarding the nature of the jihadist threat, folly in American foreign affairs from Syria to Libya, and the imperative to collapse the Khomeinist Iranian regime.

What We Discussed

  • How McCarthy, an Irish Catholic kid from the Bronx became one of the nation’s foremost legal experts on jihad and Sharia law
  • The prosecution of the Blind Sheikh and his terrorist cell over the first World Trade Center attack and plots to destroy other New York City landmarks
  • McCarthy’s impressions having sat face-to-face with some of the world’s most evil jihadists, and why their portrayal as genocidal maniacs is wholly inaccurate
  • The strength of religion over other animating factors when it comes to jihad, and the West’s projection and mirror-imaging
  • Why Islamic supremacists do not want to assimilate into Western culture or adopt Western principles such as freedom of religion and individual liberty
  • The willful blindness and arrogance of America’s national security and foreign policy establishment over Islamic supremacism and the Middle East
  • Whether America is better off in homeland security and foreign affairs almost 17 years after 9/11
  • McCarthy’s belief in the Bush Doctrine
  • What America’s national interest is in Syria
  • McCarthy’s fear that America will be unwilling to engage in future wars of necessity given the expense in blood and treasure of the last two decades
  • What McCarthy would do if he were counterjihadist czar
  • The West’s disastrous record of colluding with the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots
  • The disaster of Iran Deal and the imperative to collapse Iran’s Khomeinist regime

In Support of Fred Fleitz and the Real Target (Frank Gaffney)

Written by Diana West at her blog on June 3, 2018:

 

To understand the campaign of slander and smear against Fred Fleitz, late of the Center for Security Policy, now chief of staff in the National Security Council under John Bolton, it is important to understand that in the concentric circles that array themselves around Washingon’s power centers there are to be found National Security Hawks and National Security Subversives. Until November 8, 2016, the National Security Subversives ranged closest to and inside the hubs of power; after November 8, 2016, National Security Hawks began to trickle into that most powerful hub, the Trump White House.

This terrifies the Subversives. To understand why, let me explain why I call them “Subversives.” It is because their policies, their programs, are subversive of the Constitution of the United States; the sovereignty of the United States; which naturally means the continued existence of the United States as a nation-state with controlled borders (including an immigration policy designed to improve the nation-state), overriding interests, and a dedication to the primacy of its own citiizens. Hewing to Marx, not our Founding Fathers, Foreign Policy Subversives are best understood as globalists who see the United States as an integral and also subordinate part of an international political system to be run, not governed, by elites like themselves. In their eyes, We, the People, are just subjects, not citizens, members of contending “identity”-groups to which they will redistriibute benefits, or not.

Quite unexpectedly, the Trump Counter-Revolution of 2016 gave the National Security Hawks in Washington new hope. By “National Security Hawks,” I don’t mean to specify “neocons” or interventionists, which is how we have come to understand this term. Indeed, most neocons and interventionists have worked hand in glove with National Security Subversives. In the context of the campaign of slander and smear against Fred Fleitz, I am thinking of National Security Hawks as those who hold a variety of opposing, even clashing, foreign policy viewpoints; however, as a group, loosely confederated or not, we all seek to defend and protect America first.

Yes, it’s the old struggle — patriots vs. globalists, nation-staters vs. Marxists, anti-communists vs. communists — over our nation’s character. Will our nation re-discover itself as a republic under the US Constitution after all (the National Security Subversive nightmare) or will it further integrate (disappear) into the socialist suprastate run, not governed, by unaccountable legions of  bureacrats guided by global, not national, interests?

As vanquished as the globalists believed the nation-staters to be — I think they forgot about us after winning the ideological war in the Cold War at home  — they were pitched into disarray as this struggle entered a new phase in 2016.

Their tactics to regroup unmask them as Subversives as much as anything else. That is, these are not regular, old “liberals” putting forth their competing set of ideas to win elections next time. As Subversives, President Trump’s main opposition sows chaos, disrupts, “resists,” and tries to sabotage the president and harm those associated with him: Witness the ruinous, punitive campaigns of personal and financial destruction masquerading as a legal process operated by the Special Counsel and glossed by his Special Media. They attempt to commandeer the “information battlespace,” not debate in the public square, with a form of propaganda the historical record shows us originated in the Kremlin to be disseminated by Marxist agents. I refer especially to the communist practice of branding all anti-communists, especially the patriot who loves his country, as “fascists” and “Nazis.” Just check back issues of Pravda and the Daily Worker. Or check the Washington Monthly.

Which takes us to the campaign against Fred Fleitz. As soon as Fleitz’s new job was announced, the story went out that an “anti-Muslim” “Islamophobe” “conspiracy theorist” was going to work in the White House. But maybe nearly 17 years after 9/11, this tired invective just wasn’t bad enough anymore. Or maybe it was just time to hit new gutter-levels of calumny. Whatever the cause, in the pages of the Washington Monthly, in a hit and run piece of claptrap by Martin Longman with a headline on top, the anti-Fleitz campaign went full “Neo-Nazi”: “Bolton Taps Neo-Nazi as National Security Council Chief of Staff.” To put a point on the mainstreaming of such a spurious attack, Google, meanwhile, was simultaneously defining the ideology of the California Republican Party first as “Nazism.”

This is information-warfare against conservatives going nuclear.

Moments ago, the Washington Monthly changed its egregious headline as noted in the correction pasted at the top of this post — six days after the piece appeared. Better late than never is the adage, however, numerous follow-up pieces have appeared in the interim, referencing and knocking down the smear, which tell us the damage was done. (Example: “Fred Fleitz Is Not a Neo-Nazi” by Rich Lowry.) The lasting harm, I suspect, is to the Washington Monthly. Note that the text of Longman’s piece is unchanged and its central spurious claim — that “there are links between the Center for Security Policy and neo-Nazi origanizations in Europe” — is, if anything, underscored by the “correction.” What a disgrace.

Then again, the Washington Monthly is just a tiny publication. Still, it lays claim to the beating heart of mainstream liberal journalism and letters, as the magazine’s roster of contributing editors shows.

Are they all satisfied now that their publication’s Pravda-style headline is just a Wayback.org memory? Or will any of them do the right thing and apologize to Fred Fleitz for this unjustified, injurious blow struck by the journal that their own reputations anchor?

In the article that counts for Martin Longman’s admittedly dodgy research (“I cannot endorse everything” but …), I, too, am slimed (along with Frank Gaffney and other leading lights such as Geert Wilders, Lars Hedegaard, Rachel Ehrendfeld, David Yerushalmi, and more) as a racist, and, referencing the disinformation campaign against American Betrayal launched by David Horowitz and Ron Radosh, I am also tagged “`McCarthy’s heiress’ for selling `yellow journalism conspiracies’ about the secret Soviet occupation of America.” (NB: Being named “McCarthy’s heiress” is a great honor, and I humbly accept; however, Horowitz and Radosh meant it to do as much harm as possible.)

Here is the main and unchanged thrust of Longman’s scurrilous attack:

To get a sense of what it means that Fred Fleitz has been chosen as the National Security Council’s chief of staff, you need to understand both the role of Frank Gaffney and his Center for Security Policy in the international neo-Nazi movement and the way that movement is seamlessly connected to and promoted by Vladimir Putin.

“…the role of Frank Gaffney and his Center for Security Policy in the international neo-Nazi movement”

I have to say I’ve never read anything more insane in my life.

Longman has a caveat:

While I cannot endorse everything Mr. Ahmed alleges and recommend double checking his sources and how he treats them, I do think his A Fourth Reich is rising across Europe — with ties to Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin is an excellent place to start your journey. It connects a lot of dots that need connecting, and it contains a lot of documentation that you can assess for yourself.

In other words, “It’s trash, but I like trash.” As for providing “a lot of documentation that you can assess for yourself,” “Mr. Ahmed” somehow forgot to include a link to my column “whose views on black people,” Ahmed wrote, “`gave new meaning to the word racism’” (here’s the link).

In short, Longman’s nasty little item is no better than bathroom grafitti; however, it should not to be quickly dismissed. In its crude slashings there are indicators of a strategy that has been coming into focus, a strategy to engineer and/or use the Russian beguilement and/or infiltration of elements of the European right as a mechanism to “dirty-up” the genuinely patriotic people and parties coalescing around nation-state and sovereignty issues in the wider West. Such attempted inroads are openly attributed to the Kremlin. It seems unlikely that it is just a coincidence that we have been seeing similar patterns in the revelations around the Great “Russian” Frame-Up of the Trump campaign — a process of beguilement and/or infiltration of the Trump campaign to “dirty-up” members with Russian connections, too. Perhaps one day we will be able to attribute this similar operation to the Kremlin, also.

Not Longman. He’s off again, puring hot tar on anti-communists such as Gaffney (and me, I can assume) by aligning them with “Putin’s foreign policy objectives.”

But it’s the way this movement has melded with Putin’s foreign policy objectives that is most urgent, and it’s admittedly confusing because Gaffney built his reputation in the 1980s as an anti-Soviet, anti-Russia hawk. Even today, he is not known for speaking favorably of Russia or Vladimir Putin, which is why it’s essential to explore the absolute confluence of interests that have developed between Gaffney’s promotion of the European far right and Putin’s promotion of the same neo-Nazi parties and politicians.

More slander and disinformation about Frank Gaffney, a courageous patriot whose fidelity to this nation is unparalleled. If Putin is engaging in a “scissors strategy” — the traditional Kremlin m.o. of infiltrating both sides (or more) in a conflict — Gaffney’s so-called “promotion of the European far right” has nothing, nada, zero to do with any neo-Nazi parties or politicians. On the contrary, his “promotion” constitutes a principled and robust defense of free speech in Europe and the US against the incursions of both Islamic and Marxist censorship into Western society.

Not that Longman dares explain or even understands such things. By his own admission, he is irresponsible (and so is Washington Monthly) for promoting a source (“Mr. Ahmed”) he does not trust; also for substituting his own vicious biases for journalistic judgement, without concern for, or, worse, relishing the consequences to Fred Fleitz and anyone else associated with CSP and its mission to support free speech against sharia speech codes, and to alert Americans to the dangers to free speech that accompany Islam wherever it establishes its totalitarian legal, political and individual control-system known as sharia.

Longman says he’s confused.

If so, I bet whoever put him up to this piece is not.

***

Diana West gave an interview with Stefan Molyneux on June 4, 2018:

***

Also with Vlad Tepes May 24, 2018:

Attacks On National Security Council’s Fred Fleitz Whitewash Islamists To Smear A Conservative

Photo Gage Skidmore/Flickr

The attack on Fred Fleitz is yet another example of the Left’s inverted moral confusion, where it is seen as the height of virtue to defend the indefensible, even if it means smearing a good man.

The Federalist, by Kyle Shideler, June 5, 2018:

The rhetorical attacks on incoming National Security Council Executive Secretary Fred Fleitz (the author’s former colleague) have been shrill and ineffective. Conservatives have rallied to Fleitz’ defense, bolstered in part by Fleitz’s long history of work as a Central Intelligence Agency analyst, State Department official, and House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence staffer, along with his solid reputation working on Iran and nonproliferation-related issues.

According to Trump administration insiders, the White House blames Obama allies and Iran deal advocates for ginning up the non-controversy, and there’s no indication of a willingness to surrender the scalp of a long-time national security professional whose views align with the president’s.

Having met resistance in their initial effort to keep John Bolton allies out of the NSC, the Left’s smear merchants may be shifting to defense, trying to undermine expected policy objectives of a Bolton-led NSC. That’s the main takeaway from a recent column by The Atlantic’s Peter Beinart.

Beinart naturally repeats slurs against Fleitz that the discredited Southern Poverty Law Center has published. He goes on to warn that a likely policy objective for the National Security Council is designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. Beinart blames Fleitz’s former employer, The Center for Security Policy, for promoting this policy.

Yet in truth, Fleitz’s new boss, National Security Advisor John Bolton, has long been on the record supporting a designation for entire Muslim Brotherhood or key branches, a position that terrifies the Brotherhood and many of its defenders on the Left. So in addition to trying to dirty up Fleitz, Beinart undertakes to whitewash the record and nature of the Muslim Brotherhood and its U.S.-based front organizations by obfuscating the evidence that Brotherhood critics cite in their case for designation.

It’s a Conspiracy Theory Substantiated by the FBI?

Beinart labels as a conspiracy theory the notion that notable organizations including the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), and the North American Islamic Trust (NAIT) are Muslim Brotherhood groups. He provides no evidence for this position.

Evidence to the contrary was supplied not by Fleitz, Bolton, or the Center for Security Policy, but by the FBI and the Department of Justice during the successful terrorism finance prosecution of what was at the time the country’s largest Islamic charity, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF).

The federal judge who oversaw the trial, Judge Jorge Solis, noted in a memorandum opinion order that the U.S. government “produced ample evidence to establish the associations of CAIR, ISNA, and NAIT with HLF, The Islamic Association of Palestine, and with Hamas.” The judge went on to cite trial testimony and government exhibits to make the case in detail that the Muslim Brotherhood operated in the United States and created organizations, including CAIR, ISNA, and NAIT, for the purpose of supporting terrorism.

Beinart has argued—as he does in an article he links to in his current screed—that this evidence is insufficient because it comes from a trial now more than a decade old. Beinart quoted an “expert on Islamic extremism” who called the links between these organizations and the Muslim Brotherhood “ancient history.” That must have come as a surprise to the leaders of these organizations, many of whom remain the very same people who founded them and led them during the government’s investigation.

Meet the New Ringleaders, Same as the Old Ringleaders

Examples includes CAIR founder Nihad Awad, who has been the organization’s leader since it was created in 1994. Awad participated in a Muslim Brotherhood meeting in Philadelphia in 1993 where the FBI recorded explicit calls to support Hamas. ISNA’s board of directors (which underwent a recent shake-up) still includes ISNA Vice President for Canada Pervaz Nasim, who has been with the organization since the beginning, and Iqbal Unus, who helped found ISNA and was an early secretary general of the organization.

Included on the Board of Trustees of NAIT is Gadoor Saidi, whose name appears in a phone directory of U.S. Muslim Brotherhood leaders submitted as evidence by the federal government during the Holy Land Foundation trial. Saidi is listed as a member of the group’s Shura Council and a member of its Executive Office. Also a long time NAIT board member, and listed in the same 1992 phone directory, is Bassam Osman, also a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood Shura Council member.

There is plenty of room for a substantive discussion on the policy merits of designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. It is reasonable to discuss how it might be legally accomplished, or how best to address Islamists who act as pressure groups and supporters of terrorist groups. Yet the Left is largely uninterested in substantive discussion.

Instead, when defending the Muslim Brotherhood and similar Islamist groups the Left attempts, much as they did in the MS-13 “animals” debacle, to portray critics of a particular, dangerous group as criticizing and condemning all members of a protected class. The attack on Fleitz is yet another example of the Left’s inverted moral confusion, where it is seen as the height of virtue to defend the indefensible, even if it means smearing a good man.

To the extent the Trump administration is going to be successful in furthering its policies, it will be by ignoring the screeching of the outraged Left, and moving forward with the policies it was elected to accomplish. In national security and counterterrorism matters, Fleitz is positioned to help them do exactly that.

Kyle Shideler is the director of the Threat Information Office at the Center for Security Policy. Kyle has worked for several organizations involved with Middle East and terrorism policy since 2006. He is a contributing author to “Saudi Arabia and the Global Islamic Terrorist Network: America and the West’s Fatal Embrace,” and has written for numerous publications and briefed legislative aides, intelligence, and law enforcement officials and the general public on national security issues.
Also see:

The spy who came in to be told

George Papadopoulos (image via LinkedIn)

Powerline Blog, by Scott Johnson, June 4, 2018:

Mark Levin hosted Andrew McCarthy and David Limbaugh on FOX News’ Life, Liberty and Levin last night. The first segment took up the question of the “confidential human source” or “spy” detailed by the FBI to probe the Trump campaign. We know the FBI was probing the Trump campaign thanks to the sworn testimony of former FBI Director James Comey before Congress last year, cited by McCarthy in the interview and in his May 30 NR column “Yes, the FBI Was Investigating the Trump Campaign When It Spied.”

This is a fact that Meet the Press anchor Chuck Todd needs to absorb. It is not, as Todd insists, “a b.s. story that is going to go away in five days.” This is something new under the sun. Attention must be paid. Todd’s distaste for Trump to the contrary notwithstanding, the story will linger.

McCarthy explains why in the opening of last night’s show with Levin (video below). McCarthy put it this way: “The back and forth about whether it was a spy or an informant is beside the point….They’re government-controlled covert operatives who you send in to get information regardless of what you call them and the important thing always is why you sent them in, not what you call them…”

Note to Chuck Todd and others: Andrew McCarthy knows what he is talking about. McCarthy continues with this thought: “With all due respect to Congressman Gowdy, I don’t think the American people would be happy with the idea that the norm we’ve had in this country, I think from the beginning of this country but certainly in the modern era since Watergate, that the incumbent administration does not use the awesome counterterrorism and law enforcement powers that it has to monitor the opposition party in an electoral campaign is a norm the American people would like to keep in place.”

Key point for slow learners (emphasis in McCarthy’s remarks): “And Gowdy is simply wrong when he says that the object here was to monitor the activities of a few tangential that had kind of tenuous connections to the Trump campaign. It was said explicitly in congressional testimony a number of times by former Director Comey that the FBI was conducting was conducting an investigation of the Trump campaign for coordinating in Russia’s cyberespionage operation…”

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Also by Scott Johnson:

WAITING FOR THE DOCUMENTS OR SOMETHING LIKE THEM

I declare Maria Bartiromo’s Sunday Morning Futures on the FOX News Channel the best of the weekly gabfests by far. Perhaps it is just the frequent appearance of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes on the show that pumps it up in my estimation. In the segment disseminated via Twitter below, Rep. Nunes reports that he is still waiting for release of the subpoenaed documents related to the opening of the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign. Two years into the investigation, secrecy abides. President Trump, tear down this wall!

Quotable quote: “For almost a year now, we’ve been waiting for documents from the deputy attorney general. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein could provide all the documents, all the information we need this week, and we could write a report by Friday.”

Via Tim Hains/RealClearPoltics.

Also see:

Fleitz Appointment a Savvy Move by Trump, Bolton

CSP, BY Tom Anderson, June 4, 2018:

Originally posted on Newsmax

I was elated to hear Fred Fleitz just accepted the position of National Security Council chief-of-staff and executive secretary under White House National Security Advisor John Bolton. Americans should be grateful. The appointment is a huge score for enhancing our national security.

We’re all benefactors from President Trump’s and Mr. Bolton’s wisdom. Hosting a news radio show in Alaska can be intriguing, and also challenging at times, securing thoughtful guests that actually understand our northern issues and the nexus with the country as a whole.

Our state’s Arctic policy, military, and resource development issues affect the entire nation, not just the Last Frontier. It was through this venue I connected with Fred Fleitz, who became a regular and appreciated guest.

I’ve interviewed national leaders and pundits from across the spectrum. They can be engaging whether an Ann Coulter, Pat Buchanan, Dr. Sebastian Gorka, or former Gov. Sarah Palin. Of all my guests, Fleitz has been one of the most effective in educating and explaining to listeners his rational on foreign relations and security policy.

I’ve interviewed him over 20 times. As a result, many listeners have come to appreciate government, policy development, and the evolution of sound national-security policy that may have otherwise seemed esoteric.

Fleitz hasn’t forgotten Alaska, or its defensive and resource-rich value to the United States. His analysis and ability to tether military operations, or communications and transportation, to operational logistics involving North Korea and the Middle East has helped shed light on President Obama’s obfuscated policies.

Fleitz has taken a balanced approach on U.S. State Department issues, drawing from his experience with the Central Intelligence Agency as a senior analyst, at the State Department as Bolton’s former chief-of-staff, and with the House Intelligence Committee. The Fleitz appointment feels like a commercial plane ride with a seasoned pilot, or surgery with a reliable veteran surgeon, where you’re relieved from anxiety because of the expertise at the helm. America is in good hands.

When it comes to federal bureaucracy, I can attest to the perception from the public. For many of my listeners in Alaska, there is a deep, growing lack of trust. There is also disappointment.

Morale and inspiration have waned under past presidential administrations that elevated ego and power above service to Americans. From Obamacare to Middle East and European obligations, my listeners consistently convey a feeling of abandonment by national leaders.

Enter selfless advocates like Fred Fleitz and John Bolton, and suddenly a smidgen of hope is sprinkled on disillusionment. These guys have a backbone. Fleitz has taken a principled position on the Iran Nuclear program, siding with Bolton against the majority of the U.S. foreign policy establishment, arguing that the U.S. had to pull out of the fraudulent deal.

Fleitz took this stance even when other conservative advocacies knee-buckled and said stay in the horrific deal. He has been consistent on pulling out of the deal because it literally affords advancement of Iran’s nuclear program.

North Korea is no different. When our president, vice president, and foreign relations envoys are continuously disrespected by a communist regime in dire straits, it’s time to end negotiations until respect is shown. Fleitz is on board with a thoughtful, yet hardline approach to national security. It’s about time.

Here’s another reason why the Fleitz appointment is important: He was made for the job. The chief-of-staff and executive secretary position to the National Security Council is critically important because that appointee helps Mr. Bolton present the President with a full scope of well-argued policy options, which is something President Trump was not receiving under H.R. McMaster.

Cogent, researched national-security policy options are what the president expects from his management team — without success until now, under John Bolton’s leadership.

A president must know the risks, rewards, and resources to make the right decisions. A former CIA senior analyst of Fleitz’s pedigree is appropriate and sensible to promote our best interests.

Based on President Trump’s recent exemplary appointments like Secretary of State Pompeo and Mr. Bolton — and assuming the president and Bolton want the same for the National Security Council management — Fred Fleitz is the best choice.

His expertise, coupled with a history of bucking conventional wisdom when it is antithetical to American interests, falls in line with candidate Trump’s promise and commitment to his constituency.

What I’ve seen and heard in Fleitz is a professional who isn’t afraid of countering the swamp and the foreign policy establishment. If ever that matters, considering our interests being threatened abroad from Europe to Asia to the Middle East, it’s now.

Tom Anderson is a radio talk show host in Alaska and a former state representative.

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Also see:

Dave Bailey comments in his newsletter today:

The appointment of another anti-jihadist to a top White House post is even bigger news than it sounds at first…

Fleitz’s position prior to the White House was as a VP in Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy…

This is the very organization that blew the lid off of Gulftainer’s terrorist and Russian connections…

…when Gulftainer got a 35-year lease for Port Canaveral during the Obama maladministration…

Fleitz is sure to know all about Gulftainer…

…which significantly improves the likelihood that its Port of Wilmington deal will be rejected by the feds…

Keep your fingers crossed…   Dave