14 Obama Holdovers Still at the Pentagon

Drew Angerer – Pool/Getty Images

Breitbart, by Kristina Wong, March 16, 2016:

WASHINGTON – There are 14 Obama holdovers still at the Pentagon, two months into the Trump administration.

Currently, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is the only presidentially-appointed, Senate-confirmed appointee at the Pentagon, out of 53 such positions.

Obama holdovers are filling four of those positions: Deputy Defense Secretary Bob Work remains in his position; Robert Speer is serving as Acting Army Secretary; Sean Stackley is serving as Acting Navy Secretary; and Lisa Disbrow as Acting Air Force Secretary.

The Pentagon said there are 10 other Obama holdovers still serving, but has declined to name who they are or what positions they are filling.

Trump has filled an additional 32 slots for non-Senate confirmed positions, for a total of 33 hires, including Mattis. That number is less than a fourth of the 163 political appointees at the Pentagon on election day.

The White House was expected to announce a handful of names for top political positions at the Pentagon as soon as this week, a defense official told Breitbart News. The White House declined to give a time frame for the announcement.

Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis on Monday brushed off suggestions it was taking longer than usual to get appointees in:

“You have to remember, eight years ago, we kept our secretary — Secretary [Robert] Gates at the time, so a lot of people stayed on with him, and you didn’t have as abrupt of a transition. For those of us who were around 16 years ago, it was pretty abrupt and we saw positions that went unfilled for many months. It takes time to interview, to find the most qualified candidates, to vet them, to get agreement on them, to send them to the Senate for confirmation.”

Trump has also named picks for Pentagon general counsel and Air Force Secretary, but the Senate has not yet confirmed them.

“There will be more to come. It’s a process,” Davis said.  He said Mattis has “put a lot of names forward that are currently going through the final stages of vetting. We think that there will be multiple announcements coming very soon.”

Civil servants and former defense officials say the lack of political appointees has had an effect on Pentagon’s operations.

One civil servant complained privately that the Joint Staff — military staff who support a body of senior military leaders who advise the president — is running “roughshod” over the Office of Secretary of Defense, according to a former defense official.

The former official said civil servants who are filling leadership roles temporarily don’t want to formulate new policies that get ahead of Trump appointees who may change or disagree with them, and either sit silent in meetings or advocate for previous policies.

It’s not clear how that might be affecting several reviews the Pentagon is currently undergoing, including on the strategy to destroy the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), on how to rebuild readiness of the armed forces, and on its nuclear missile defense posture.

Former Obama administration defense official Loren DeJonge Schulman said without a trusted agent from the Trump political team in the building to lead those reviews, it may be a more military-led process.

“There are fewer politicals, there are civilians who are not in power, and President Trump trusts the military more…the [elements] are there to have a more military-led process,” said Schulman, currently deputy director of studies and the Leon E. Panetta Senior Fellow at the Center for a New American Security.

“It’s hard to run a strategy review when you don’t have your political leader in place,” she said.

Another official at the Pentagon said it is possible the military is having more influence in policy discussions, but pointed out that at the end of the day, policy decisions go to Mattis, who despite being a retired-four star Marine general, is a civilian.

A spokesman from the Joint Staff said in an email to Breitbart News: “From our perspective, the Joint Staff is being participating, contributing and working collaboratively with OSD fully when, where and how asked,” he said.

Schulman, who first served as a special assistant to former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, said that what is more worrisome is that the lack of appointees is preventing important work from being done, particularly with foreign partners.

She said, for example,  the prime minister of a small country who is visiting the U.S. may not meet with the president but will often meet with senior defense officials instead.

Now, she said, there is rarely anyone to meet with. Some defense officials have gone overseas to meet with foreign counterparts, but could only sit and listen, not participate or negotiate since they lack policy guidance, she said.

“Any meeting they go to which requires them to have a position or be a part of a negotiation, it either requires them to stay silent, or to rely on the old administration’s policy, or to have to go to Mattis and say, ‘Hey what’s our position on X, Y, and Z,’ and that’s simply not possible for him to weigh in on everything DOD does. That’s why we have political appointees,” said Schulman.

There has also been grumbling from Capitol Hill, with lawmakers complaining there is no one to talk to at the Department.

Schulman said it has always taken awhile for administration to get top appointees in place, such as under secretaries. However, she said under the Obama administration, deputy assistant secretaries put almost immediately in place in priority areas, she said.

“We’re not seeing that here,” she said.

Also see:

Islam’s Anti-Prophet: Geert Wilders Confronts a Political Faith

wildersAustria-300x225Religious Freedom Coalition, By Andrew Harrod, PhD, May 6th, 2015:

“I founded my party only to fight Islam,” stated Dutch parliamentarian and Party for Freedom (Partij voor de Vrijheid or PVV) founder Geert Wilders during an April 29 Capitol Hill interview. Wilders’ interview comments and subsequent presentation before about 40 at the Rayburn House Office Building (as well as a press conference the next day) showed once again this legislator’s forthrightness concerning Islam’s dangers to freedom.

“Islam looks like a religion, but in reality it is a dangerous totalitarian ideology,” stated Wilders, the author of Marked for Death: Islam’s War against the West and Me; the “less Islam, the better. It is as simple as that.” In the past he has publicly called for banning in Holland the Quran alongside Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf that Dutch law allows only for academic use, an appeal made to reveal “double standards,” he said in his interview. “If you are consistent,” he said to leftwing parliamentarians, “then here we have another book which is even worse, it has more anti-Semitism, there is more violence, there is more everything.” His well-known arguments met with strong applause from many similarly minded audience members, including Andrew Bostom, Frank Gaffney, Matthew Vadum, Deborah Weiss, Diana West, and Representatives Louie Gohmert and Steve King.

Wilders’ presentation listed several negative impacts of Islamic influence upon Holland. While the “police goes everywhere” in Holland, people face harassment for not following Islamic law or sharia norms in “Little Morocco” or “Little Saudi Arabia” Dutch neighborhoods. Individuals in Holland and elsewhere in Europe committed to jihad or Islamic holy war presented “walking time bombs.” For Wilders, who now lives with constant death threats and police protection, getting lost without his security detail that day on Capitol Hill gave him the “first 20 minutes of freedom in the last ten years.”

marked for deathWarning that the “whole free Western world is under attack,” Wilders earlier in the day had described the “Islamization process” in his home country to congressmen from the Conservative Opportunity Society (COS). Holland has gone in 50 years from one thousand to one million Islamic immigrants, or 6% of the Dutch population, despite the “vast majority” of Europeans disapproving of current immigration policies. Holland “failed to demand that immigrants adopt our Judeo-Christian values and assimilate.” These immigrants have “little loyalty to our home countries” as one poll showed that 73% of Holland’s Muslims consider Dutch Muslims who fight in Syria heroes. Islamic State sympathizers also paraded recently with swastikas and black jihad flags while shouting “Death to the Jews” in Wilders native city of The Hague.

“I repeat it wherever I go,” Wilders assured COS, “I have nothing against…many moderate Muslims who do not live according to the violent commands of the Koran….But there is no moderate Islam.” The Dutch, he said in his interview, “have nothing against” Muslim individuals but “feel that something wrong is happening” in their country. Even if a reformed Islam were possible as suggested by his colleague Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Wilders argued that “we cannot afford to wait for it” in a process that “will take centuries.”

Wilders’ answer was “stop the immigration from Islamic countries…full, stop,” a policy opposed particularly by leftist parties. These “parties invented the mass immigration from Islamic countries” as well as the “big fat welfare state.” Such policies give Muslim immigrants, disproportionately dependent upon social services, politically “their oxygen.”

Wilders applied his beliefs to not just domestic, but foreign policy as well. “It’s not too popular” in Europe, he stated in his interview, “to be a friend of Israel, but I don’t care.” “Israel is fighting our fight…If Jerusalem falls, Rome and New York and Amsterdam will be next.” Anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) measures are therefore “total crazy,” a “travesty.” The recent nonproliferation “deal with this criminal country called Iran” is similarly the “most stupid thing you can do.”

Wilders’ presentation denounced that “liberal-leftist elites adhere to the stupid political correct view that all cultures are equal. That’s why we are such a big mess today.” This “disease called cultural relativism” notwithstanding, Western “Judeo-Christian culture is far superior to Islam” and forms the “best civilization on Earth.” He elaborated in his interview that “I am not for monoculture,” but he also does not support a position of “hold hands and sing kumbaya and dance around the table all day long.” “There is nothing wrong with that….You are not talking about people, you are talking about the culture.” Judeo-Christians roots underlie Western identity, such that “even if you are not a Christian, you often subscribe to the values that are peaceful and belong to Christianity and Judaism.”

Wilders’ presentation noted from personal experience that not just Muslim death threats, but also legal speech restrictions made it “really risky to tell the truth about Islam” in Holland. He expressed to his American listeners being “envious of your wonderful country” where free speech under “your First Amendment really is the cornerstone of all your liberties.” Post-World War II European hate speech laws sought to prevent another Holocaust, but now, “used in a totally different way by totally other groups,” target “people who want to prevent anti-Semitism because of the growing Islamization.” If various political forces “cannot win the hearts of the people, they try to do it by law.”

Wilders’ speech itself received condemnation from an April 23 letter from Congress’ two Muslim members, André Carson and Keith Ellison. The pair called upon the State Department to deny Wilders entry into America due to his “Islamaphobia” [sic] and “hate speech.” “Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia are sweeping through Europe,” the congressmen wrote, apparently not considering Wilders’ Islam-Jew-hatred link. He dismissed the letter as “a lot of nonsense…really crazy stuff.”

“Most Western leaders are very weak,” assessed Wilders’ before his audience, but the “people are not stupid….More people than ever say ‘enough is enough.’” “We must repeat the truth about Islam over and over again” and make politicians listen; “no death threats, no court cases will stop us.” The “optimist” Wilders concluded, “we are the future; we are the forces of liberation.”

Also see:

Videos: Clare Lopez and John Guandolo sounding the alarm on USCMO influence operation

uscmo2014HEY, US CONGRESS – “THROW THE TERRORISTS OUT!”

By Tom Trento of The United West:

On Monday April 13 and Tuesday 14 Muslim Terrorists walking around the United States Congress will demand that our elected Representatives change federal law thereby making it harder to investigate Muslim terrorists. I know, crazy stuff, but it is happening right in broad daylight! THANK Allah that we at The United West are experts at investigating Muslim Brotherhood terrorists and exposing their influence operations for all Americans to understand and properly respond. To accomplish this we are launching a five-part investigative series entitled: “Muslim Terrorists Lobby 114th Congress.” Our show today focuses on what the Members of the 114th Congress should do when the terrorists ENTER their offices. And what is that? THROW THEM OUT THE DOOR! Why in the world should an elected Member of Congress give any time to KNOWN terrorists who have a written agenda that includes destroying the essence of the Capitol building in which they are meeting! Watch this show as it is FULL of critically important information to help all Americans properly, professionally and legally DEFEAT this Muslim Brotherhood political influence operation.

***

Newsmax: Ex-FBI Agent: DC’s National Muslim Day Pushes Radical Islam

National Muslim Advocacy Day, being held Monday on Capitol Hill, is a cunning bid by radical Islam to gain political power in the U.S., counterterrorism expert John Guandolo tells Newsmax TV.

“This kind of event has several key elements to it. The first is they’re trying to declare the U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations is a Muslim political party in the U.S. and candidates are going to have to be vetted by them,” Guandolo, a former FBI agent, said on “The Steve Malzberg Show.”

It’s also a demonstration to the Muslim community in the U.S. and outside the U.S. that they have a very heavy hand inside our leadership realm and inside Washington, D.C.

“Because here are open Hamas organizations — the American Muslims for Palestine, the Council on American Islamic Relations — and they’re just wandering freely around the D.C. area.”

The U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations describes itself as “a coalition of leading national and local American Muslim organizations.”

The event is expected to draw Muslim delegates from across the nation and will “connect national, regional and state Muslim organizations, community members with more than one-third of the U.S. House of Representatives and a half of the Senate,” the group said in a statement.

But Guandolo — author of “Raising a Jihadi Generation: Understanding the Muslim Brotherhood Movement in America,” published by Guandolo Associates LLC — said the event is a “smaller piece in the larger civilization jihad.”

“[That] is the term the Muslim Brotherhood’s strategic memorandum says that they are doing. So this political warfare, subversion, and propaganda … fulfills a part of that,” he said.

“No. 1, they have a political presence. [And] It’s political warfare in the sense they’re establishing a much louder voice, at least in their opinion, up on Capitol Hill.

“And [there’s] the idea that, ‘Hey, members of Congress, if you don’t accept us, then you obviously are racists, bigots, and Islamophobes.”’

Guandolo said he was surprised some participants would even be allowed on Capitol Hill “without the FBI, DHS, and Capitol police arresting them — because these guys are leaders of Hamas in North America.”

Iranian Negotiator: Tehran Will Not Give Up Right to Enrich Uranium

SWITZERLAND IRAN NUCLEAR TALKS

  • Western sources suggest that a nuclear deal could be reached as early as Friday
  • U.S. lawmakers and the Israelis argue that Iran will continue its nuclear weapons work
  • Skeptics on Capitol Hill are already declaring the deal a mistake for the United States

BY: :

Iran will not agree to halt its nuclear enrichment rights under any deal with the West, according to the country’s lead negotiator, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran makes no deal over its right,” Zarif told reporters after daylong negotiations with the West in Geneva over Iran’s disputed nuclear program, according to Iran’s state-run Fars News Agency.

Zarif’s insistence on Iran’s right to enrich uranium, the key component in a nuclear bomb, comes as Western sources suggest that a nuclear deal could be reached as early as Friday.

The debate over Iran’s enrichment rights has been a key sticking point for negotiators on both sides.

U.S. lawmakers and the Israelis argue that Iran will continue its nuclear weapons work if it retains the right to enrich uranium. The Iranians say they will not give ground on the issue.

Zarif’s remarks indicate that Iran could be getting most of what it wants in the deal. He and other officials have praised the talks and the progress each side is making.

Iranian negotiator Seyed Abbas Araqchi revealed on Thursday that the West had accepted Tehran’s proposed framework for a nuclear deal.

Read more at Free Beacon

 

PM Netanyahu’s Statement Prior to Meeting with US Sec of State John Kerry – 8/11/2013:

 

PM Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement following his meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry:

 

 

Congressional Delegation Declares Solidarity with Egypt Against Terrorism

1240239_10201825408419897_1709016101_nWASHINGTON, Sept. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Coptic Solidarity and its Egyptian secular allies and friends, are pleased to inform the public of the success of a visit by a bipartisan Congressional delegation to Egypt to strengthen the relationship between the American People and Egypt and to deepen the US-Egyptian alliance against terrorism and extremism. The delegation included Republican and Democratic Representatives Dana Rohrabacher, Michele Bachmann, Louie Golmert, Dana Edward, Steve King, Steve Stockman, Robert Pittenger, and Louis Franklin.

The delegation met with Interim President Mansour, minister of Defense General al-Sisi, and members of the cabinet, and visited the Pope Tadraous, spiritual leader of the Coptic Church. They had excellent meetings and assured Egypt’s leaders that a majority in the US Congress stands firmly with Egyptians against terrorism and extremism and reject the violence and radical ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The delegation visited burned churches and expressed its horror at the damages and victims at the hands of Muslim Brotherhood militias and Jihadi Terrorists. Pope Tawadros told the delegation that “the community paid a dear price, dozens of churches were burned down, but if these sacrifices help in bringing freedom to Egypt, we consent.” The delegation assured the Pope that Congress would do all it can to support the Egyptian people, the Coptic community and to all civil society moderates in Egypt.

Three leaders from the delegation, Representatives Michele Bachmann, Louie Gohmert and Steve King held a joint Press briefer at the Egyptian American Chamber and declared their “full support to Egypt’s people, Government and revolution, in confronting the terror and oppression of the Muslim Brotherhood.” Congresswoman Michele Bachmann said “we are with you people of Egyptagainst the common threat, the Muslim Brotherhood. We have diversity of opinion in Washington, but be sure the people of Egyptare standing with Egypt against the Brotherhood terror.” Congressman Gohmert said “we were opposed to send military assistance to the Muslim Brotherhood regime before your revolution, but now we will work on getting all military assistance needed to fight the Jihadists and the Terrorists.” Congressman King said “we will work on an economic partnership between the US and Egypt and make sure you move forward to a stage of democracy and economic success.” The press briefer can be viewed here:

In Washington, Dr Walid Phares, Co-Secretary General of the Transatlantic Parliamentary Group and advisor to members of the US Congress and the European Parliament on Middle East affairs said “this delegation brought hope to Egyptians that the American public stands firmly with the democratic revolution, support the aspirations of the 30 million Egyptians who marched for freedom and is a partner in the struggle against Terrorism.” Phares said, “Egyptian Americans have worked hard to insure the success of a Congressional initiative to Egypt. The Coptic Solidarity Conference held in June on Capitol Hill was supported by many members of Congress, some of whom in fact were part of the delegation to Egypt. That Conference triggered several meetings and initiatives that inspired the formation of this delegation. The presence of Egyptian secular leaders at the Coptic Solidarity Conference inWashington also helped convincing Congressional leaders that what later happened in Egypt wasn’t a coup, but a real popular revolution.”

Coptic Solidarity will continue to help building positive relationships between the US Congress and Egypt as well as between European legislatures and the Egyptian people.

Coptic Solidarity is non-profit organization dedicated to leading efforts to achieve equal citizenship for the Copts in Egypt. For more information, contact Hal Meawad 240-644-5153, or info@copticsolidarity.org

Letter: More than 70 Senators to Push Obama on Preventing Nuclear Iran

Iran President Hassan Rowhani / AP

Iran President Hassan Rowhani / AP

BY: :

More than 70 senators are gearing up to urge President Obama to “reinforce the credibility of our own option to use military force” against Iran if it does not immediately cease its nuclear enrichment activities, according toa letter circulating on Capitol Hill.

“Iran needs to understand that the time for diplomacy is nearing its end,” the lawmakers write, in a letter that has been circulating through the Senate since Tuesday and is scheduled to be sent later today. “We implore you to demand immediate, serious moves on Iran’s part.”

The letter, which is being spearheaded by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.) and Robert Menendez (D., N.J.), urges Obama to make “a convincing threat of the use of force that Iran will believe.”

“We must be prepared to act, and Iran must see that we are prepared,” the lawmakers write, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Free Beacon.

The senators also adopt a skeptical view of newly installed Iranian President Hassan Rowhani, a so-called moderate who came under fire Friday for calling Israel a “wound” in the Middle East.

“Until we see a significant slowdown of Iran’s nuclear activities, we believe our nation must toughen sanctions and reinforce the credibility of our own option to use military force at the same time as we fully explore a diplomatic solution to our dispute with Iran,” the letter reads.

Iran is teetering on the edge of nuclear capabilities, according to the senators.

Read more at Free Beacon

 

Sebastian Gorka: Counterterrorism and Threat Denial

AmericasIslamistThreat-viDr. Sebastian Gorka (Military Affairs Fellow and Director, National Security Fellows Program, Foundation for Defense of Democracies) addressed the Canter for Security Policy’s Stanton Group on Capitol Hill. The topic of his briefing was “Counterterrorism and Counterintelligence in the Second Obama Administration: Persistence of Threat Denial?”