Trump Admin Inherits Continued Insecurity, Corruption in Afghanistan

Afghan security personnel inspect at the site of roadside bomb blast in Kabul, Afghanistan, Dec. 28, 2016 / AP

Afghan security personnel inspect at the site of roadside bomb blast in Kabul, Afghanistan, Dec. 28, 2016 / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Morgan Chalfant,January 12, 2017:

Donald Trump will need to confront the continued instability and corruption in Afghanistan as well as a resilient Taliban insurgency that continues to challenge Afghan military and police forces, according to the special inspector for Afghanistan reconstruction.

John Sopko, the U.S. government’s special inspector for Afghanistan reconstruction, offered a bleak assessment of the security situation and rebuilding efforts in the war-torn country on Wednesday during remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, admitting that little has improved in Afghanistan over the past two years despite billions of dollars in investments from the United States.

The special inspector general unveiled a list of high-risk challenges facing the new administration in Afghanistan, including the capacity and capabilities of Afghan security forces, corruption, sustainability, on-budget assistance, counter-narcotics, contract management, general oversight, and planning and strategy.

Failure in any one of these eight areas, Sopko said Wednesday, could “fatally undermine the reconstruction mission in Afghanistan.”

The special inspector general identified corruption and poor leadership of the Afghan military and police forces as the root cause of the persisting insecurity in Afghanistan. He pointed to the tens of thousands of U.S. taxpayer-funded “ghost soldiers,” as well as evidence of Afghan forces selling U.S.-bought weapons and fuel for profit.

“Afghan commanders often pocket the paychecks of ghost soldiers for whom the U.S. is paying the salary,” Sopko said. “The number of ghost soldiers is not insignificant. It likely reaches into the tens of thousands of soldiers and police.”

“[Corruption] is so bad that there is evidence that the Taliban have instructed their field commanders to simply purchase U.S.-supplied weapons, fuel, and ammunition from the Afghan government because it is both easier and less expensive for the insurgents to do so,” he continued.

“There are reports that when fuel finally reaches the frontlines in Afghanistan, that some Afghan commanders refuse to use it, refuse to go on patrols, so they can save the fuel which they then can sell on the open market,” Sopko said.

The special inspector general has said as much as 50 percent of U.S.-purchased fuel is siphoned off and sold for profits.

“Our new administration and Congress should ask: Is it finally time to stop talking about combatting corruption and time for the Afghan government to start prosecuting senior officials who are either corrupt or feel they are above the law?” Sopko said.

The Taliban has continued to launch attacks and seize territory in Afghanistan, as U.S. and allied forces have withdrawn troops from the country. President Obama last year decelerated his planned drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, leaving some 8,400 service members in the country through the end of his term. Gens. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and John Nicholson, commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, have both characterized the security situation as a “stalemate.”

The Taliban on Tuesday set off two large bombs near a government compound in Kabul, killing at least 38 people and injuring dozens. The attack was among 56 security incidents that occurred over the last two days in 22 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, according to the special inspector general.

The Pentagon’s latest assessment of the Afghan military and police forces evaluated them as effective in repelling insurgents in key population areas and retaking territory seized by the Taliban. But Sopko on Wednesday offered a negative take on the assessment, saying that the Afghan forces are “basically playing whack-a-mole, following the Taliban around Afghanistan and retaking territory that was lost.”

“The DoD report reiterates this point by noting that the vast majority of the Afghan national army has little offensive capability,” the special inspector general said. “So, the best spin the Afghan security forces can put on their activities in 2016 is that they were able to retake strategic areas that had temporarily been lost to the Taliban. So, we’re defining success as the absence of failure. At a minimum, they are playing defense and are not taking the fight to the Taliban.”

The United States announced this week that it will send 300 Marines to Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province, in order to train, advise, and assist Afghan government forces fighting Taliban insurgents. Obama marked the end of combat in Afghanistan in December 2014.

Trump has not yet outlined a strategy for Afghanistan, which after 15 years has stretched to America’s longest war, but has pledged to end “nation building” by the United States. Under the new administration, the Pentagon will likely be led by retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, who faces a confirmation hearing to become defense secretary this week.

The United States has spent $115 billion on reconstruction in Afghanistan and is expected to contribute between $5 and $6 billion annually through 2020.

Sopko, who was appointed to the inspector general post in 2012 by President Obama, urged the incoming administration to “conduct a thorough assessment of resources and personnel to ensure they are sufficient to meet our military, law enforcement, and civilian objectives in Afghanistan.” He also recommended the new government work with Afghan and coalition allies to develop a “new and better strategy” in Afghanistan that avoids failures revealed by his office and other oversight investigations.

“Fifteen years in, there is no reason we should be seeing the problems we continue to witness and document in the nearly 250 reports my little office has released,” Sopko said. “My hope, and the hope of my staff, is that the high-risk report we are issuing today and the examples it provides will help guide Congress and the Trump administration as we move into 2017 to ensure a strong, better, and more effective reconstruction effort in what has become America’s longest war.”

‘This was all planned’: Former IG says Hillary, State Dept. are lying

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2010 Photo: Getty Images

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2010
Photo: Getty Images

New York Post, by Paul Sperry, Jan. 31, 2016:

The State Department is lying when it says it didn’t know until it was too late that Hillary Clinton was improperly using personal e-mails and a private server to conduct official business — because it never set up an agency e-mail address for her in the first place, the department’s former top watchdog says.

“This was all planned in advance” to skirt rules governing federal records management, said Howard J. Krongard, who served as the agency’s inspector general from 2005 to 2008.

The Harvard-educated lawyer points out that, from Day One, Clinton was never assigned and never used a state.gov e-mail address like previous secretaries.

“That’s a change in the standard. It tells me that this was premeditated. And this eliminates claims by the State Department that they were unaware of her private e-mail server until later,” Krongard said in an exclusive interview. “How else was she supposed to do business without e-mail?”

He also points to the unusual absence of a permanent inspector general during Clinton’s entire 2009-2013 term at the department. He said the 5¹/₂-year vacancy was unprecedented.

“This is a major gap. In fact, it’s without precedent,” he said. “It’s the longest period any department has gone without an IG.”

Inspectors general serve an essential and unique role in the federal government by independently investigating agency waste, fraud and abuse. Their oversight also covers violations of communications security procedures.

“It’s clear she did not want to be subject to internal investigations,” Krongard said. An e-mail audit would have easily uncovered the secret information flowing from classified government networks to the private unprotected system she set up in her New York home.

He says “the key” to the FBI’s investigation of Emailgate is determining how highly sensitive state secrets in the classified network, known as SIPRNet, ended up in Clinton’s personal e-mails.

“The starting point of the investigation is the material going through SIPRNet. She couldn’t function without the information coming over SIPRNet,” Krongard said. “How did she get it on her home server? It can’t just jump from one system to the other. Someone had to move it, copy it. The question is who did that?”

As The Post first reported, the FBI is investigating whether Clinton’s deputies copied top-secret information from the department’s classified network to its unclassified network where it was sent to Hillary’s unsecured, unencrypted e-mail account.

FBI agents are focusing on three of Clinton’s top department aides. Most of the 1,340 Clinton e-mails deemed classified by intelligence agency reviewers were sent to her by her chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, or her deputy chiefs, Huma Abedin and Jake Sullivan, who now hold high positions in Clinton’s presidential campaign.

“They are facing significant scrutiny now,” Krongard said, and are under “enormous pressure to cooperate” with investigators.

He says staffers who had access to secret material more than likely summarized it for Clinton in the e-mails they sent to her; but he doesn’t rule out the use of thumb drives to transfer classified information from one system to the other, which would be a serious security breach. Some of the classified computers at Foggy Bottom have ports for memory sticks.

Either way, there would be an audit trail for investigators to follow. The SIPRNet system maintains the identity of all users and their log-on and log-off times, among other activities.

“This totally eliminates the false premise that she got nothing marked classified,” Krongard said. “She’s hiding behind this defense. But they [e-mails] had to be classified, because otherwise [the information in them] wouldn’t be on the SIPRNet.”

Added Krongard: “She’s trying to distance herself from the conversion from SIPRNet to [the nonsecure] NIPRNet and to her server, but she’s throwing her staffers under the bus.”

Still, “It will never get to an indictment,” Krongard said.

For one, he says, any criminal referral to the Justice Department from the FBI “will have to go through four loyal Democrat women” — Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell, who heads the department’s criminal division; Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates; Attorney General Loretta Lynch; and top White House adviser Valerie Jarrett.

Even if they accept the referral, he says, the case quickly and quietly will be plea-bargained down to misdemeanors punishable by fines in a deal similar to the one Clinton’s lawyer, David Kendall, secured for Gen. David Petraeus. In other words, a big slap on the wrist.

“He knows the drill,” Krongard said of Kendall.

Paul Sperry, a visiting media fellow at the Hoover Institution, is author of “Infiltration.”

New Justice Dept. Report Criticizes FBI for Ties With CAIR

doj cair

DOJ: FBI failed to refrain from unnecessary contact with CAIR, to ensure FBI isn’t supporting extremist or terrorist ideologies.

by Ryan Mauro

The U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General released a new report about its investigation into prohibited FBI contact with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity. The report criticizes the FBI for failing to ensure compliance with the policy.

In 2008, the FBI officially ended its use of CAIR as a Muslim outreach partner after the organization was labeled an unindicted co-conspirator in the trial of the Holy Land Foundation, CAIR’s fellow U.S. Muslim Brotherhood entity, for financing Hamas. CAIR was listed by federal prosecutors as an entity of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee, a secret body it set up to advance the Hamas and overall Islamist agenda.

In April 2009, the FBI Office of Congressional Affairs said that “until we can resolve whether there continues to be a relationship between CAIR or its executives with Hamas, the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner.”

The Justice Department report also quotes the FBI as saying the policy was enacted to “ensure that the FBI is not supporting individuals who support extremist or terrorist ideologies.” It also mentions that evidence presented during the Holy Land trial linked two CAIR-National leaders to Hamas.

According to the report, in July 2008, field offices were instructed to follow guidelines that included “refraining from participating in any CAIR-sponsored events, avoiding being photographed with leaders of CAIR, and not engaging with CAIR in events such as fundraisers.”

The FBI acknowledged that there were “many close relationships between various FBI field divisions and local CAIR chapters.”

Although the agency does not consider all CAIR chapters to be “affiliated with terrorist organizations,” it said, “in order to stop CAIR senior leadership from exploiting any contact with the FBI, it is critical to control and limit any contact…”

FBI field offices were told that if CAIR is their main primary point of contact with the local Muslim community, they must find another liaison.

Inspector General Michael Horowitz began the review in March 2010 and focused on five engagements between the FBI and CAIR from 2010 to 2012.

Read more at The Clarion Project

Related articles

Wolf Demands FBI Punish Agents For CAIR Contact

IPT News:

Bloomberg vs. CAIR’s Interfaith Friends

bloomberg-nypdBy Ryan Mauro:

The Shoulder-to-Shoulder Campaign, an interfaith coalition allied with the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), is praising the passage of two bills by the New York City Council aimed at stopping the alleged abuses of the NYPD. Mayor Bloomberg says he will veto the bills, even though they passed with enough support to override it.

The passed bills, the End Discriminatory Profiling Bill and NYPD Oversight Bill, outraged Mayor Bloomberg and NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly. The latter bill requires the overseeing of the NYPD by an independent Inspector-General. The former opens the door for the NYPD to be sued in state court for policies that disproportionately affect certain ages, genders, sexual orientations or housing statuses.

Mayor Bloomberg considers the bills to be a matter of “life and death” vows to “not give up for one minute.”

“The bill would allow virtually everyone in New York City to sue the Police Department and individual police officers over the entire range of law enforcement functions they perform,” Kelly explained.

He said the result will be skyrocketing liability costs, the unnecessary use of resources and an overall decrease in effectiveness.

When asked about the so-called problem of NYPD racial profiling, Bloomberg dismissively said, “Nobody racially profiles.” He made perhaps the most politically-incorrect statement of his career in defense of the NYPD:

“…They just keep saying, ‘Oh it’s a disproportionate percentage of a particular ethnic group.’ That may be, but it’s not a disproportionate percentage of those who witnesses and victims describe as committing the murder. In that case, incidentally, I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little.”

Bloomberg refuses to apologize. “The numbers clearly show that the stops are generally proportionate with suspect’s descriptions,” he said.

The bills were aggressively supported by the New York chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), joined by the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU has often allied itself with the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood network that CAIR and ISNA belong to.

Read more at Front Page

Inspector General Probing FBI/CAIR Interactions

Screen-shot-2012-06-12-at-12_57_13-PM-e1339520428720by IPT News 

Support Members of Congress Calling for Muslim Brotherhood Investigation!

IMPORTANT AND TIME-SENSITIVE
LEGISLATIVE ACTION ALERT!

VOICE YOUR SUPPORT FOR REP. MICHELE BACHMANN AND OTHER MEMBERS OF CONGRESS CALLING FOR AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD’S POSSIBLE INFILTRATION OF OUR FEDERAL AGENCIES!


As you may be aware, recently Representative Michele Bachmann, along with Representatives Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Thomas Rooney, and Lynn Westmoreland, sent letters to the Inspectors General (IGs) of the Departments of State; Justice; Homeland Security; Defense and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. In those letters they asked for investigations into the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood within these agencies.
See the letters they sent to the IGs by CLICKING HERE.
It is unfortunate that, as usual, politics has gotten in the way of our national security.
Shortly after the letters were sent, Representative Keith Ellison fired off a letter of his own to the Members of Congress, demanding explanations.
See Mr. Ellison’s letter by CLICKING HERE.
And then something unusual happened—at least unusual as far as how prepared most Members of Congress are to defend their actions when it comes to protecting our nation against the threat of radical Islam. Representative Bachmann politely replied to Congressman Ellison’s letter in her own 16 page—multi-footnoted—correspondence offering detail after detail about why the letters to the IGs were necessary.
See Representative Bachmann’s response to Representative Ellison by CLICKING HERE.
As usual, many in the mainstream media are attacking Representative Bachmann and her colleagues. They are doing so by working to shift the focus from the issue at hand—examining whether the Muslim Brotherhood has infiltrated specific federal agencies—to a tangential issue.
We cannot let that happen. We must send a strong message of support for the calls for investigations by the Inspectors General. That is the issue at hand, and that must be our continued focus.
While this issue is receiving much attention by both the media and up on Capitol Hill, the U.S. Congress is watching and listening. What will they hear from the people back home?
***Action Item***
Please click HERE to be taken to the Contact Congress page of our website. Click on the Alert in the red box entitled: Support Members of Congress Calling for Muslim Brotherhood Investigation. From there, follow the easy directions and send your e-mails to those who represent you in the House and Senate. It should take no more than 5 minutes of your time.
Note: As you follow the directions to send your e-mail, you will see that we have provided a sample letter addressing this matter. We encourage you to modify the letter as you see fit to personalize it. AS ALWAYS, PLEASE BE RESPECTFUL AND PROFESSIONAL. OTHERWISE, THIS EFFORT WILL NOT BE EFFECTIVE!
Finally, please forward this Alert to everyone you know who shares our concerns about the Muslim Brotherhood and how the U.S. Government is addressing this threat. Through our online system, writing your e-mail will take only a matter of minutes to make your voice heard. And if we ALL act together, it will be a powerful and effective voice that every Member of the U.S. Congress will hear.
Please act NOW!
Thank you for all that you do.

REMEMBER, YOUR VOICE COUNTS! IF EACH OF US DOES JUST A LITTLE, TOGETHER WE CAN ACCOMPLISH A LOT!