Exclusive: Obama Administration Knowingly Funded a Designated Al-Qaeda Affiliate

President Barack Obama participates in a news conference at the White House, November 14, 2016. (Jonathan Ernst

The group had been on a list of terrorist funders for a decade when a government agency specifically approved funding for it.

National Review, by Sam Westrop, July 25, 2018:

The Middle East Forum has discovered that the Obama administration approved a grant of $200,000 of taxpayer money to an al-Qaeda affiliate in Sudan — a decade after the U.S. Treasury designated it as a terrorist-financing organization. More stunningly, government officials specifically authorized the release of at least $115,000 of this grant even after learning that it was a designated terror organization.

The story began in October 2004, when the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated the Khartoum-based Islamic Relief Agency (ISRA), also known as the Islamic African Relief Agency (IARA), as a terror-financing organization. It did so because of ISRA’s links to Osama bin Laden and his organization Maktab al-Khidamat (MK), the precursor of al-Qaeda.

According to the U.S. Treasury, in 1997 ISRA established formal cooperation with MK. By 2000, ISRA had raised $5 million for bin Laden’s group. The Treasury Department notes that ISRA officials even sought to help “relocate [bin Laden] to secure safe harbor for him.” It further reports that ISRA raised funds in 2003 in Western Europe specifically earmarked for Hamas suicide bombings.

The 2004 designation included all of ISRA’s branches, including a U.S. office called the Islamic American Relief Agency (IARA-USA). Eventually it became known that this American branch had illegally transferred over $1.2 million to Iraqi insurgents and other terror groups, including, reportedly, the Afghan terrorist Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. In 2010, the executive director of IARA-USA and a board member pled guilty to money-laundering, theft of public funds, conspiracy, and several other charges.

ISRA’s influence also spread to Washington. Former U.S. congressman Mark Siljander (R., Mich.) pled guilty in 2010 to obstruction of justice and acting as an unregistered foreign agent after prosecutors found that IARA-USA had paid him $75,000 — using misappropriated USAID grant money — to lobby the government, in an attempt to remove the charity from the government’s terror list.

Despite this well-documented history, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in July 2014 awarded $723,405 to World Vision Inc., an international evangelical charity, to “improve water, sanitation and hygiene and to increase food security in Sudan’s Blue Nile state.” Of these funds, $200,000 was to be directed to a sub-grantee: ISRA.

Responding to a Middle East Forum (MEF) inquiry, a USAID official explains that World Vision had alerted it in November 2014 to the likelihood of ISRA being on the terror list. USAID instructed World Vision to “suspend all activities with ISRA” and informed the State Department, OFAC, and USAID’s Office of the Inspector General. USAID and World Vision then waited for OFAC to confirm whether ISRA was designated or not.

USAID emails obtained by the Middle East Forum reveal that in January 2015, World Vision was growing unhappy while waiting for OFAC’s assessment. Mark Smith, World Vision’s senior director of humanitarian and emergency affairs, wrote to USAID, stating that the Islamic Relief Agency “had performed excellent work” for World Vision in the past, and that “putting contractual relationships in limbo for such a long period is putting a significant strain” on World Vision’s relationship with the Sudanese regime. Smith also revealed that World Vision had submitted a notice to OFAC indicating its “intention to restart work with [ISRA] and to transact with [ISRA]” if OFAC did not respond within a week.

World Vision’s statement stunned USAID officials, who complained that World Vision’s behavior “doesn’t make sense.” USAID official Daniel Holmberg emailed a colleague: “If they actually said that they wanted to resume work with ISRA, while knowing that it was 99% likely that ISRA was on the list then I am concerned about our partnership with them, and whether it should continue.”

On January 23, OFAC confirmed that ISRA was a sanctioned entity and denied World Vision “a license to engage in transactions with [ISRA].” Mark Smith and World Vision’s country program director in Sudan expressed their disappointment, stating that they were in discussions with ISRA as well as the Sudanese regime’s Humanitarian Aid Commission, which regulates the activities of international charities in Sudan.

Despite OFAC’s ruling, in February, World Vision wrote to OFAC and Obama-administration official Jeremy Konyndyk (who then served as director of USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance) to apply to OFAC for a new license from USAID to pay ISRA “monies owed for work performed.” According to Larry Meserve, USAID’s mission director for Sudan, World Vision argued that if they did not pay ISRA, “their whole program will be jeopardized.”

While World Vision waited for a decision, on February 22, a pro-regime Sudanese newspaper, Intibaha, reported that the Sudanese political leaders had requested that World Vision be expelled from Sudan’s Blue Nile state. USAID disaster operations specialist Joseph Wilkes and World Vision’s Mark Smith speculated that this was “punishment” for the cancellation of the grant with ISRA, which a USAID official noted is “well connected with the [Sudanese] government.”

Then, incredibly, on May 7, 2015 — after “close collaboration and consultations with the Department of State” — OFAC issued a license to a World Vision affiliate, World Vision International, authorizing “a one-time transfer of approximately $125,000 to ISRA,” of which “$115,000 was for services performed under the sub-award with USAID” and $10,000 was “for an unrelated funding arrangement between Irish Aid and World Vision.”

An unnamed World Vision official described the decision as a “great relief as ISRA had become restive and had threatened legal action, which would have damaged our reputation and standing in Sudan.” Senior USAID official Charles Wanjue wrote to colleagues: “Good news and a great relief, really!” In August 2015, USAID official Daniel Holmberg even told a State Department official that he had been approached by the executive director of ISRA, and requested guidance on helping ISRA remove itself from the U.S. government’s terror list.

Obama-administration officials knowingly approved the transfer of taxpayer dollars to an al-Qaeda affiliate, and not an obscure one but an enormous international network that was often in the headlines.

How was this prominent terror funder initially approved to receive American taxpayer funds ten years after it had been placed on the “Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons” terror list?

Existing measures to prevent the payment of government monies to designated terrorist organizations include: first, a requirement that all grantees and sub-grantees of U.S.-government grants register for a Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number; and second, a requirement that all government vendors register with the government’s System for Award Management (SAM) database. A designated organization should not be able to acquire a DUNS number, and any designation is explicitly recorded in the SAM database with a note that the designated organization is excluded from government grants.

However, ISRA was in fact assigned a DUNS number — as recorded at the government’s USAspending.gov website — which matched no organization in the government’s SAM database. The only listings for “Islamic Relief Agency” or “ISRA” in the SAM database are the designated Sudanese al-Qaeda affiliate and its branches.

Whoever approved this grant to ISRA either failed to check the government’s database of designated groups or did so and then chose to disregard it. Both explanations are alarming. And neither answer explains how ISRA acquired a DUNS number.

Most important: Now we know that the government deliberately chose to transfer at least $115,000 to ISRA after confirming that it was on the terror-designation list. In other words, an al-Qaeda front received taxpayers’ money with the apparent complicity of public officials.

It is no secret that the Obama administration sought to downplay the threat of Islamism, and even to coopt some Islamist movements to promote its agenda. In its foreign policy, the administration expressed support for Mohamed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt, while domestically, the White House invited Islamists to design the government’s Countering Violent Extremism program. It is difficult to argue that these efforts were the product of anything but great naïveté and political dogma. Is it possible that this combination extended to deliberately funding an al-Qaeda affiliate?

Congress must investigate this question and, more broadly, where USAID is sending taxpayers’ money, for ISRA might not be the only example. The House’s Foreign Affairs, Oversight, and Financial Services Committees, along with the Senate Finance Committee, must examine how a designated group came to qualify for government monies, why OFAC and the State Department authorized the transfer of funds after learning of ISRA’s terror ties, and which bureaucrat or political appointee was responsible for this mess.

Asked to comment, current State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert told National Review: “As this occurred under the prior Administration, the current Secretary of the State, Secretary of Treasury, and USAID Administrator had no involvement in decisions surrounding this award or subsequent license.”

The American people need to know how their dollars funded an al-Qaeda affiliate. They need to know how deep this problem runs.

SAM WESTROP — Sam Westrop is the director of ISLAMIST WATCH, a project of the MIDDLE EAST FORUM.

The myth of Obama’s ‘disappearance’

Former President Barack Obama may be out of the spotlight, but he’s organizing resistance behind the scenes. AP

New York Post, by Paul Sperry, June  30, 2018:

If you believe recent media accounts, the former Democratic president has suddenly transcended the political fray. It’s as if a newly “Zen-like” Barack Obama is content to just write his memoir and let Donald Trump and Republicans write the next chapter of history.

In a cover story asking “Where is Barack Obama?” for example, New York magazine concluded that the 44th president has “virtually disappeared” from the political scene and is sitting idly by as his legacy is dismantled piece by piece. From an exclusive interview, the periodical concluded Obama was “modeling his political engagement out of office after George W. Bush’s” — that is, staying out of the rough-and-tumble of politics, maintaining distance from his former office and resigning himself to be an elder statesman fading into the sunset.

Don’t buy it.

Obama is doing far more to shape the political landscape than is visible. In fact, for an ex-prez, he’s taking an unusually active role in politics, including helping radical protest groups fight Trump and his policies and devising a scheme to flip the GOP majority in the House and permanently turn red seats blue.

From his sprawling DC office not far from the White House, where he oversees a full-time staff of 20, Obama has held regular meetings with Democratic lawmakers, as well as DNC chief Tom Perez, whom he personally helped install to run the Democratic Party. Obama has also met with his attorney general, Eric Holder, to craft a strategy to redraw congressional district maps in Democrats’ favor, according to Politico. Holder now runs the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, which Obama helped his old friend launch.

Obama, who maintains a home in Chicago, originally said he only planned to stay in Washington temporarily, until his youngest daughter, Sasha, now 17, finished high school there. But the family is clearly putting down deeper roots. They recently bought their DC rental home and erected a massive security wall around the property, which includes offices, and are installing a swimming pool.

While it may be true Obama does not want to engage directly in Washington politics, including personally protesting Trump’s policies, he is using a political-organizing group he founded to do that for him.

That nonprofit — Organizing for Action — is not exactly a household name. But it is no less than the organizing and training hub of the anti-Trump resistance.

Most recently, OFA helped stage rallies across the country against the administration’s border policies, which it has decried as “cruel and inhumane.” OFA describes itself as a “nonpartisan grass-roots-driven organization,” but it clearly has a pro-Obama agenda. In fact, it’s run almost entirely by alums from Obama’s campaign and White House, including Jon Carson and Jim Messina, who co-chair the group, and Katie Hogan, who serves as its executive director, according to recent tax filings by the nonprofit.

Though Obama has no official or legal role in OFA, he features the group along with his foundation on his post-presidency Web site and rallies its foot soldiers, who wear blue T-shirts with big white “OFA” letters, in conference calls. After Trump won, for example, he phoned to “fire up” Carson and his team and told them not to worry, that they would “cook up all kinds” of strategies to reclaim the agenda, according to a Nov. 14, 2016, White House transcript of his OFA conference call. More recently, Obama sent an e-mail to “OFA supporters” urging them to “keep going in 2018,” because “there’s simply too much at stake this year.” Obama has tweeted from OFA’s account before and after leaving the White House, and while he was in the White House, he let OFA control his Twitter account, according to The Atlantic.

Earlier this year, moreover, he met with Hogan to discuss how the group can flex its muscles during the midterm campaign to help Democrats recapture the House, according to The New York Times. To that end, OFA plans to train and deploy organizers in 27 Republican-held congressional districts, many with heavy Latino populations, that could be key to a Democratic takeover of the House. With offices in DC and Chicago, OFA has already trained more than 40,000 leftist agitators in person or by webinar, according to tax records.

“We’ve seen grassroots organizing make a big difference this past year, it will again in November,” Hogan recently tweeted.

Meanwhile, OFA has formally partnered with one of the angriest resistance groups, Indivisible Project, which has been criticized for using overly aggressive protest tactics against Republicans at town-hall meetings. Indivisible plans to deploy OFA-trained agitators to storm Republican districts during the Fourth of July recess, starting this weekend, to shout down “Trump’s racist policies,” according to its Web site.

OFA brings in between $6 million and $14 million in donations a year, and is funded in part by Democracy Alliance, which is connected to the radical group that dispatched agitators to march outside Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen’s Virginia town house, blaring an audiotape of crying immigrant children and chanting “No justice, no sleep!” The group, CREDO Action, also held signs calling Nielsen a “child snatcher” and shouted, “You’re a modern-day Nazi!’

With the help of 40 full-time staffers, OFA trains volunteers in the hard-core tactics popularized by the late Chicago radical Saul Alinsky, including smearing and intimidating opponents and mobilizing angry mobs to convey the appearance of a mass movement that enjoys a good deal of public support.

Alinsky trainers schooled Obama in these same tactics when he was an organizer in South Side Chicago.

Meanwhile, Hogan and OFA have partnered with Obama and Holder’s gerrymandering project to manufacture future Democrat victories.

Republicans are so alarmed by Obama’s permanent presence and political interference they are raising money from donors based on these fears, warning in a recent fund-raising newsletter about “his scheme to interfere in the 2018 midterms,” according to a June 22 e-mail from House Majority Whip Steve Scalise.

In public, Obama has skillfully kept his distance from recent anti-Trump protests and politicking. But behind the scenes, he really may be coordinating the resistance — and acting as its organizer in chief.

Paul Sperry is a former Hoover Institution media fellow and author of the bestseller “Infiltration.”

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This is an  interview Paul Sperry did a while back with Lou Dobbs on the subject:

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Also see:

Why Obama Wanted the Russians to Hack the Election

Front Page Magazine, by Daniel Greenfield, June 25, 2018:

“Why the hell are we standing down?”

That was the question that the White House’s cybersecurity coordinator was asked after Susan Rice, Obama’s national security adviser, issued a stand down order on Russia.

Testimony at the Senate Intelligence Committee hearings on Russian interference in the election once again raised the central paradox of the Russia conspiracy theory. If Russian interference in the election represented the crisis that we are told it did, why did Obama fail to take any meaningful action?

The White House’s own cybersecurity people wanted an aggressive response before being told to stand down. Obama issued a bloodless warning to Russia while his people deliberately crippled our offense.

Democrats and the media blamed the Russian hacking on Trump. But it was Susan Rice who had told the cybersecurity team to “knock it off” and Obama’s people who hadn’t wanted him to be “boxed in” and forced to respond to Russian actions. Was this just the usual appeasement or was there more to it?

Why didn’t Obama and his team want to stop Russian hacking? Because they needed the Russians.

The 2016 election is really the story of two deep state intelligence operations that dovetailed neatly with each other. One was an ongoing Russian operation that took advantage of a weak president to sow chaos in America and Europe. The other was a domestic political operation utilizing counterintelligence resources in the United States and Europe to spy on, undermine and try to bring down Trump.

Contrary to claims made by Obama operatives, the Russian operation was not new. Russian hackers and spies had done enormous damage to America’s intelligence community. But they had succeeded so well because the mission of the intelligence community had shifted from deterring foreign adversaries to suppressing domestic political opponents. And this new mission made the Russians attacks irrelevant.

The Russian attacks on the formerly formidable NSA were so easy to accomplish because it was no longer countering the Russians. Instead Obama viewed it as a police state tool for spying on pro-Israel activists, members of Congress and Trump campaign officials. The NSA’s opposite numbers in Russia, posing as rogue hackers, were no longer hammering rivals, but a twisted and crippled organization.

Obama didn’t want to fight the Russians, but the Russian attacks were very useful because they justified the NSA’s powers, which he was abusing not to go after the Russians, but after American political rivals. And the Russian election hacks played perfectly into his hands by justifying the counterintelligence investigations supposedly aimed at the Russians, but really aimed at domestic political opponents.

The Mueller investigation is only the latest of these disguised counterintelligence police state gimmicks.

Without the Russians, Obama’s people would have just been nakedly abusing their powers to spy on Americans. But as long as the Russians were active, his deep state had the excuse that it needed.

The two intelligence operations, the Russian one and the Obama one, were interdependent. Their deep state symbiosis was possible only because neither side threatened the core interests of the other.

The Russians were a national security threat, but Obama’s people didn’t care about national security. And Obama’s counterintelligence operation was aimed at domestic political opponents rather than the Russians. It’s still unknown if the Russians and Obama’s people actively colluded in these operations, but it’s likely that seasoned professionals on both sides had a quiet understanding of their respective roles.

The Russians had not set out to alter the outcome of the election. Nor did they have that capability. Their attacks followed the pattern of the Dulles Plan, a fictional piece of Soviet propaganda which attributed any anti-Soviet activity to an American conspiracy to undermine Communism. The KGB veterans running Russia as an actual deep state sought to undermine the American political system by feeding extremism, creating panic and discrediting elections. And that also fit the Obama agenda.

Obama’s people had spent eight years dismantling political norms and undermining America. The KGB deep state conspirators in Russia and their leftist counterparts in Washington D.C. had emerged from the same ideological school. Their aims and allegiances had diverged, but the ex-Communists in Moscow and Adams Morgan Socialists in Washington D.C. shared a common hatred for America and its values.

There was no reason to interfere with the Russian interference. Obama and his people did not believe that the Russians would significantly affect the election. But if his efforts to eavesdrop on Trump officials came to light, the Russians had provided him with an alibi. Susan Rice, as national security adviser, was at the center of the eavesdropping effort and had every reason to protect the Russian operation.

Protecting the Russians also protected the Obamas.

Nor did the Obama deep state have any particular allegiance to Hillary Clinton’s campaign. The Obamas and the Clintons loathed each other. Though both factions were leftists, their approaches were as much at variance as Bolsheviks and Trotskyists. Obama had been forced to make a deal with the Clintons to secure his hold on the Democrat operation. But his support for Hillary Clinton was only an endorsement of the lesser evil. Her defeat left him and his political allies in total control of the Democrat operation.

And the chaos and violence of his anti-Trump resistance achieved his goal of radicalizing the Democrats.

The Russians didn’t hack the election. That conspiracy theory remains wishful thinking. But the allegation proved very useful in enabling everything from the pre-election eavesdropping on political opponents to the post-election sabotage of the Trump administration to the move away from electronic voting to paper ballots which enable the old-fashioned kind of Democrat ballot stuffing.

But like an iceberg, the most troubling development of the Russian conspiracy is mostly underwater.

After 9/11, the intelligence community was revived with a new purpose. That purpose was fighting Islamic terrorism. During Obama’s two terms, the intelligence community was compromised, crippled and transformed into a domestic deep state aimed at suppressing the political opposition. Tragically, it came to resemble the KGB, with its domestic surveillance and investigation of political opponents.

This transformation of law enforcement and intelligence agencies did not emerge out of thin air.

The Founders were rightly cautious of the power of a strong central government. And a national law enforcement and intelligence infrastructure was always ripe for the worst big government abuses.

The FBI’s record of political tampering under Hoover was no secret. And it didn’t end there. Everything in Washington D.C. is political. Especially the apolitical. Its engine of careerism runs on networking and connections. The apolitical bureaucracy is a buzzing hive of ambition and backstabbing. Every agency has its own Machiavellian subcultures with courtiers, saboteurs, spies and manipulators. And every agency culture has a leftist ideological component, among its other agendas, some more than others.

The Obama years politicized everything from the food you ate to the clothes you wore. Certainly no arm of government survived those terrible two terms without being substantially transformed.

As the cold winter sun set on another year in Washington D.C., the deep state was reborn.

The Democrats have spent two years accusing Republicans of colluding with Russia. But as usual they were accusing their political opponents of their own crime. Republicans had not undermined national security. The Democrats did. A Republican president hadn’t sat across from Putin’s agent and assured him that he would have more flexibility to make deals after the election. A Republican president hadn’t let the Russians hack our national security secrets to provide a casus belli for targeting his opponents.

That was all Obama.

Barack Obama and Susan Rice sabotaged efforts to stop the Russians because their deep state domestic spying program depended on Russian collusion, both the reality and the allegation. Everything from the original allegation, Clinton campaign opposition research which drew on claims by a Russian intelligence operative, to the Mueller counterintelligence investigation, which has done nothing to actually stop the Russians, but has gone after Republican campaign pros, needed the Russians as its stalking horse.

Russian hacking didn’t change the election. But Obama’s exploitation of Russian hacking nearly did. We still don’t know what materials were gathered by the eavesdropping operation. Or who saw them. Information is the ultimate weapon in national security and election campaigns. Obama used the former to tamper with the latter. And all these years later, we still don’t know what damage was done.

While Mueller prowls around pursuing Hillary Clinton’s conspiracy theories, those crimes remain unexplored. But we do know that the Russians didn’t do anything that Obama didn’t allow them to do.

Any serious effort to investigate Russian election hacks must begin with the man who let them to do it.

Also see:

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.

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Obama’s Treason: Even Worse Than We Thought

But Leftist Privilege will prevent him from ever being held accountable.

Front Page Magazine, June 7, 2018:

The Washington Free Beacon reported Wednesday that “the Obama administration skirted key U.S. sanctions to grant Iran access to billions in hard currency despite public assurances the administration was engaged in no such action, according to a new congressional investigation.”

And it gets even worse: “The investigation, published Wednesday by the House Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, further discloses secret efforts by top Obama administration officials to assure European countries they would receive a pass from U.S. sanctions if they engaged in business with Iran.”

This revelation comes after the news that came to light in February, that, according to Bill Gertz in the Washington Times, “the U.S. government has traced some of the $1.7 billion released to Iran by the Obama administration to Iranian-backed terrorists in the two years since the cash was transferred.”

There is a law that applies to this situation. U.S. Code 2381 says: “Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.”

In a sane political environment, Barack Obama would be tried for treason.

Barack Hussein Obama has planted seeds that will be bearing bitter fruit for years, and probably decades, to come. He is, without any doubt, the worst President in American history. Fillmore, Pierce, Buchanan? Yes, the doughface Presidents made the Civil War inevitable, but worse came later. Grant? Blind to corruption and out of his depth, but there have been worse than he as well. Wilson? That black-hearted Presbyterian bigot arguably gave the world Hitler and World War II, so he is definitely in the Final Four. Harding? Nah: his tax cuts and return to “normalcy” got the American economy, and the Twenties, roaring. FDR and LBJ gave us the modern welfare state and dependent classes automatically voting Democrat; the full bill on the damage they did hasn’t yet been presented. Nixon? A crook and an economic Leftist, who betrayed Taiwan for the People’s Republic; his record certainly isn’t good. Carter? Nothing good can be said about his four years of sanctimony and incompetence.

But there is one thing Barack Obama has on all competitors: treason.

He showered hundreds of billions of dollars on the Islamic Republic of Iran. There are those who say, “It was their money. It belonged to the Iranian government but was frozen and not paid since 1979.” Indeed, and there was a reason for that: not even Jimmy Carter, who made the Islamic Republic of Iran possible, thought that money, which had been paid by the Shah’s government in a canceled arms deal, belonged to the mullahs who overthrew the Shah. Likewise Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Clinton, and George W. Bush all thought that the Islamic Republic was not due money that was owed to the Shah.

Only Barack Obama did.

The definition of treason is giving aid and comfort to the enemy. The leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran order their people to chant “Death to America” in mosques every Friday, and repeatedly vow that they will ultimately destroy the United States of America and the state of Israel. How was giving them billions and helping them skirt sanctions applied by the U.S. government not treason?

Other Presidents have been incompetent, corrupt, dishonest, but which has committed treason on a scale to rival the treason of Barack Obama?

The Iranians also operate a global network of jihad terror organizations, one of which, Hizballah, is quite active in Mexico now, with the obvious ultimate intention of crossing the border and committing jihad massacres of Americans. Obama has given a tremendous boost to these initiatives, as well as to Iran’s nuclear program, with his nuclear deal that has given the Iranians hundreds of billions of dollars and essentially a green light to manufacture nuclear weapons, in exchange for absolutely nothing.

There is no telling when the worst consequences of Obama’s aid and comfort to the Islamic Republic of Iran will be felt. But they likely will be felt in one way or another. Even as President Trump moves swiftly to restore sanctions and put Iran on notice that its nuclear activity and global adventurism will not be tolerated, those billions cannot be recovered, and the Iranians have already spent a great deal for their jihad cause.

However this catastrophe plays out, there is one man who will suffer no consequences whatsoever: Barack Obama. That’s Leftist Privilege. It’s good to be a powerful Leftist in Washington nowadays. Laws? Pah! Laws are for conservatives.

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Agents of Influence: Obama and his advisers, now seeking to shape his legacy, say they are proud they ditched the ‘Washington playbook’ and decided to stay out of the Sunni-Shia conflict in the Middle East. Only they didn’t. They intervened on behalf of Iran.

The Iran Deal Wasn’t An ‘Alternative To War,’ It Was A Continuation Of War

The Federalist, by Ben Weingarten, My 16, 2018:

The central narrative of the Iran Deal echo chamber run by former President Barack Obama — that it was absolutely necessary to avoid war — is plainly wrong. The Iran Deal was not the “alternative to war.” It was part of the war Iran has been waging against the West and all who refuse to submit to its Khomeinist rule since 1979.

The Khamenei-Rouhani regime merely took advantage of an Obama administration willing to appease at all costs to make Iran the “strong horse” in the Middle East, along with European partners both greedy and fearful, in order to recapitalize and rapidly expand its operations under the veneer of a Swiss cheese “verification regime.”

All that this regime verified was how deluded the progressive Western national security foreign policy establishment was with respect to Tehran’s tyranny. It showed that the establishment was willing not only to legitimize Iran’s totalitarian mullocracy, but also to commit to protecting its nuclear infrastructure and even to subject itself to speech-stifling measures barring Western leaders from speaking out against the deal.

The Iran Deal was the poisonous fertilizer from which sprung an Iran confident enough to launch an armed drone over Israeli airspace, and for the first time to directly attackIsrael with a barrage of missiles from Syria.

The defensive actions that Israel is presently taking — striking at strategically significant Iranian military sites in Syria in response to Iranian aggression, presumably preparing to grapple with Iran proxy Hezbollah and the 150,000-plus missiles pointed at it from Lebanon, and if necessary striking Iran — reflect the cost of the world’s Chamberlainian bargain that enabled this dire reality.

The godsend of the Iran Deal for the Islamic revolutionary regime made it a question of when, not if Israeli military strikes would begin, because it made Iran’s existential threat to the Jewish state infinitely more acute. Our ally’s movements, and America’s potential comprehensive efforts to counter Iran’s malign influence are the natural defensive response to the jihadist regime’s unabated advance over the Obama years.

We in the West by dint of the Iran Deal helped subsidize — as even Iran colluder, Logan Act violator, and lobbyist-in-chief John Kerry admitted — the exportation of Iran’s bloody jihad, to the tune of billions of dollars. By facilitating trade through sanctions relief consistent with Iran’s constitution, which states that its “economy is a means that is not expected to do anything except better facilitate reaching the goal [of furthering and exporting Iran’s Islamic revolution],” we have underwritten the economy-controlling Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

But it’s worse than that.

In service of the Iran Deal, we not only allegedly spiked the Project Cassandra cars-for-cocaine terror financing scheme, enabled Iran’s gas-for-gold sanctions evasion operation, and paid Iransom, but also permitted the mushrooming of a broad array of additional malign activities in our own hemisphere. Seemingly unchecked by Western law enforcement and intelligence, we allowed Iran’s proxy forces in cahoots with other criminal networks to engage in widespread drug dealing, arms smuggling, money laundering and other illicit activities generating big money for the Khomeinist regime, while posing a clear and present danger to the U.S. homeland.

To channel former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, the known unknowns and unknown unknowns of what the West was willing to sacrifice so as not to scuttle its Iran Deal appeasement are likely incalculably large. Meanwhile, we encouraged the growth of a Shia Crescent and commanded Israel to lay off, putting the Jewish nation’s existence at risk. This was the worst trade in history — Israel for Iran.

In short: The Iran Deal provided the Khomeinist crocodiles with a cover of peaceful engagement for gullible useful idiots and cowardly but avaricious trading partners, while it expanded its power globally. The Obama administration ceded the Middle East to Iran and its partner Russia, and sought to elevate its Sunni jihadist counterparts, whose goals often overlap with those of the Shia, while berating our Israeli ally and subordinating the Sunni monarchies.

The Iran Deal, and the concessions made in its run-up, was not the cessation of war. It was part of Iran’s war.

The pushback we are beginning to see from the Israelis, and perhaps by the U.S. government, is merely a necessary response to Iran’s ongoing attack. This is not as the Left and Islamic supremacists will argue “neocons” (often a thinly-veiled dog whistle for Jews) rushing to war, but rather the rational reaction to Iran’s accelerating march.

Iran is not Iraq or Afghanistan. It’s a formerly pro-Western, relatively liberal, relatively secular, modern nation. There is no need for invasion, occupation and re-casting of a Sharia dictatorship as a Jeffersonian democracy. Rather what is needed is a concerted set of actions to bring down the jihadist regime through means peaceful and militant, overt and covert, enabling the Iranian people to thwart the Islamic revolution.

The Iran Deal was not even a pause to war, it was the means to a far more deadly one — or from the mullah’s perspective to strengthening to such an extent that the West would not have the will to engage them, lest we open ourselves up to massive bloodshed and destruction.

Jettisoning it, snapping back sanctions, imposing far harsher ones and using every element of national power to collapse the mullocracy is the only way to reverse the gains of the jihadist march the West bankrolled.

Ben Weingarten is a senior contributor at The Federalist and senior fellow at the London Center for Policy Research. He is the founder and CEO of ChangeUp Media, a media consulting and production company dedicated to advancing conservative principles. You can find his work at benweingarten.com, and follow him on Twitter @bhweingarten.

Assad’s Horror, and Those Who Enable It

hoto credit: Muhammed es Sami/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.
Demonstrators draw picture on a wall to describe the poisonous gas attack and protest against the Assad regime’s alleged gas attack on Douma in Syria on April 08, 2018

Russia, Iran, and North Korea all play a role in the Syrian regime’s chemical attacks on its own people.

The Weekly Standard, by Thomas Joscelyn, April 8, 2018:

Horrific images from the aftermath of a suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria are once again circulating online. The scene of this gassing is the eastern Ghouta suburb of Damascus. Both the location and the timing of this apparent war crime are symbolically important. And while the immediate focus will be on Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and his willingness to gas his own people, any long-term solution will require understanding the role of the rogue states that enable and support him.

It was one year ago, on the morning of April 7, 2017, that the Trump administration launched punitive airstrikes against Assad’s regime at the Shayrat Airfield in response to a Sarin gas attack days earlier. Those targeted bombings were intended to send a message to Assad: Stop using banned weapons of war against your own people. Assad was undeterred.

He had failed to adhere to a previous deal, negotiated by the Obama administration and Russia, that was intended to end his chemical weapons capability. The concord was struck in the aftermath of the August 21, 2013, nerve agent attack on eastern Ghouta–the same suburb hit in the last 24 hours. The U.S. government determined that the Assad regime was responsible and “that 1,429 people were killed … including at least 426 children.”

Just a few weeks later, in September 2013, the U.S. and Russia agreed to “special procedures” for the “expeditious destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons program and stringent verification thereof.” Secretary of State John Kerry claimed in 2014 that the agreement had worked, saying “we got 100 percent of the chemical weapons out” of Syria. That obviously wasn’t true, or at least highly misleading, as Assad retained the capability to regenerate and use certain weapons.

And now—one year after the U.S. attempted to punish Assad with airstrikes, and in the same neighborhood that was terrorized in 2013— the Syrian regime has seemingly struck again.

Many details concerning this most recent attack remain to be confirmed. But the world has already learned some valuable lessons regarding the behavior of rogue actors when it comes their pursuit and use of banned weapons.

There is no real question that Assad has continued to use chemical weapons even after he agreed to give them up. As the State Department was quick to note yesterday, the U.S. has concluded that he was responsible for the April 4, 2017, Sarin gas attack in Khan Sheikhoun—the same incident which prompted the Trump administration’s bombing. And both the U.S. government and the UN have found that Assad’s goons used other chemical weapons, namely crude chlorine bombs, more than once. While some of these bombs struck areas held by jihadi rebels, they have also indiscriminately killed civilians.

Assad’s principal international backer, Vladimir Putin, hasn’t stopped him from using of them. Nor has Iran, which is deeply embedded in Syria alongside Assad’s forces. In fact, the Assad-Putin-Khamenei axis has a legion of online apologists who argue that the high-profile chemical weapons assaults aren’t really the work of the Syrian “president” at all. This noxious advocacy on behalf of mass murderers is readily available on social media.

It gets even worse, as another rogue state has reportedly facilitated Assad’s acquisition of chemical weapons: North Korea. This facilitation is especially worrisome in light of the two nations’ previous cooperation on a nuclear reactor that was destroyed by the Israelis in 2007.

In March, the U.N. issued a report on North Korea’s active “prohibited military cooperation projects…stretching from Africa to the Asia-Pacific region, including ongoing ballistic missile cooperation with the Syrian Arab Republic and Myanmar, widespread conventional arms deals and cyberoperations to steal military secrets.”

The U.N. traced a number of visits by North Korean officials to Syrian soil, finding that “multiple groups of ballistic missile technicians” have been inside Syria. Citing intelligence received from a “Member State,” the U.N. explained that these “technicians … continued to operate at chemical weapons and missile facilities at Barzah, Adra and Hama.” The Assad regime tried to deflect this accusation by claiming the North Koreans were in town simply for “training athletics and gymnastics.”

But the U.N. documented additional suspicious details, including previously unknown illicit shipments and transfers. The U.N. investigative body’s “investigations into several cases of hitherto unreported arms shipments and cooperation with front companies of designated entities between 2010 and 2017 showed further evidence of arms embargo and other violations, including through the transfer of items with utility in ballistic missile and chemical weapons” programs.

In one such transfer, the North Koreans provided the Assad regime with “special resistance valves and thermometers known for use in chemical weapons” programs. U.N. member states also interdicted suspicious shipments, including bricks and tiles that may be used as part of a chemical weapons program. Although the U.N. found these specific materials weren’t banned, a member state noted that they “can be used to build bricks for the interior walls of [a] chemical factory.”

The U.N. found it especially suspicious that North Korean front companies were doing business with the Syrian government’s Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC), which oversees Assad’s chemical weapons development.

The U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned 271 SSRC staffers in the aftermath of the April 2017 Sarin gas attack in Khan Sheikhoun. Treasury explained that the SSRC is “the Syrian government agency responsible for developing and producing non-conventional weapons and the means to deliver them.” And the sanctioned SSRC employees “have expertise in chemistry and related disciplines and/or have worked in support of SSRC’s chemical weapons program since at least 2012.”

Therefore, the U.N.’s conclusion that North Korea has been working with the SSRC is especially noteworthy.

The U.S. and its allies will continue to face daunting challenges when it comes to restraining rogue nations and their pursuit of banned weapons. As Syria’s ongoing work on chemical weapons shows, such proliferation concerns often involve multiple rogue states. Assad’s chemical weapons attacks inside Syria are principally his own doing, but not solely. He has friends outside of Syria who are willing to help.

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