Gorka: Bureaucrats, Policymakers Opposing Trump Agenda

Sebastian Gorka / Getty Images

Washington Free Beacon, by Bill Gertz, Aug. 30, 2017:

President Trump’s agenda has been stymied by government bureaucrats and some of his political appointees opposed to tougher policies on terrorism and new approaches to countering Chinese economic warfare, former White House adviser Sebastian Gorka says.

Gorka, until recently deputy assistant to the president and a counterterrorism expert, resigned on Monday following the departure of several senior national security officials who were forced out or sidelined as part of an effort to purge the White House of conservative hardliners.

The most significant departure was the resignation of chief White House strategist Steve Bannon who Gorka directly worked for.

“Why did I resign? Very simply, I came on board because I believed in the president’s Make America Great Again agenda, and part of that was a very clear national security stance on the threat of radical Islamic terrorism to this nation,” Gorka told the Washington Free Beacon.

“And the real believers, the real ‘MAGA’ fighters inside the building were being progressively boxed out, or fired from the [National Security Council] which was even more disturbing.”

The catalyst for leaving was the president’s Aug. 21 speech on Afghanistan. Until the speech, the president frequently railed against radical Islamic terrorism. But all references to Islamic terror were scrubbed from the speech.

“When you have a speech, a very significant national security speech on the longest war America has been engaged against jihadism, against al Qaeda, ISIS and the Taliban and there is not one mention of radical Islam or radical Islamic terrorism, we have a serious problem,” Gorka said. “And that’s when I realized that I can do a lot more for the president on the outside of the building than I can on the inside of the building.”

Gorka declined to name names of those in the White House and government opposing the president’s agenda.

But he outlined several key policies that were hampered by opposition from what he termed the “permanent state” of establishment bureaucrats and policymakers.

Gorka for eight months in office was the target of unprecedented media and congressional attacks from critics who sought to portray the counterterrorism specialist as a right wing extremist who lacked credentials. Supporters dubbed the attacks a “political lynching.”

“Having been the target of so much palace intrigue and attacks in the last eight months, I’m not interested in fueling the palace intrigue stories any further so I’m not going to talk about individuals,” he said.

Gorka’s main takeaway from working in the White House: The president is not being supported in pursuing his agenda.

“If you ask me kind of what the big take home is from working at that kind of level inside the government, the most disturbing thing I found is not just the lack of commitment to the president’s vision from political appointees that came in to serve the president as commissioned officers or as cabinet members,” he said.

“The real moment when the scales fell from my eyes is when after I’d been to numerous National Security Council meetings—I wasn’t a member of the NSC but I was invited to various key meetings—and you sit there for an hour, or an hour and half listening as you go around to the various outstations, State, CIA, DIA, the Pentagon, all the arms of the interagency.

“And you listen for an hour, or an hour and half, and nobody, not one participant would mention the president, or what the president said, or what the president’s mission was.”

Gorka said he made sure to remind all the meeting participants at each session about what Trump had said in his speech in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, or Warsaw, Poland, or to Congress that all were there to serve the chief executive.

Government officials are not paid to “represent your own ideological desires,” or because they think they know more than the person ultimately responsibility for the federal government, he said.

“I can’t tell you how many meetings I went to where I would have to remind everybody participating: This is what the president wants and this is the mission we’re here to serve,” Gorka said.

“I don’t like the phrase Deep State, but there is definitely a permanent state that in far too many instances believes that they represent the American people when they were never elected to office and when they actually serve the White House and not the other way around.”

Gorka worked on several security issues at the White House. Much of his focus, however, was on decertifying the Obama administration’s questionable nuclear deal with Iran; designating the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group, as several Arab sates have done; dealing with Arab world pressure on Qatar for its sponsorship of extremism; and seeking to counter China’s massive theft of intellectual property from U.S. companies.

“We have some very distinct policy divergences inside the building,” Gorka said.

Key among them is opposition from administration policymakers who have diluted Trump’s stance on the threat posed by Islamic jihadism while seeking to reinforce President Barack Obama’s policies that dealt with Islamic terror as unrelated to ideology and motivated by other factors.

On Iran, Gorka said he took part in one heated debate in the Oval Office against Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin who supported having the administration recertify that Tehran was complying with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

“It was only Steve Bannon and me—and the president—who were saying this a bad deal and we should not recertify,” Gorka said.

The State Department made the certification of Iranian compliance in July.

“The threat to America doesn’t just come from Sunni jihadism,” Gorka. “The threat from a nuclear Iran and the Shia jihadism is a very clear and present danger.”

Gorka vowed to continue fighting against the Iran deal from outside government “because that deal must not be recertified.”

“It is incredibly detrimental to the safety of America and to our allies in the region,” he said.

On China, Gorka said he is more optimistic about future administration policies but said there is widespread opposition from within government and the business community to pressuring China on its illicit trade practices. China trade policy remains on a “relatively sure footing,” he said.

On Aug. 18, he noted, the U.S. Trade Representative formally launched an investigation into China’s theft of intellectual property. China has said the probe could trigger a trade war.

Gorka said despite the purge of conservatives, three senior officials in the White House remain “who have their heads screwed on right when it comes to the massive effort on the economic warfare we are currently being subjected to by Beijing.”

“At the moment they’re winning,” he said. “It is trench warfare on that issue inside the establishment because the Silicon Valley business interests have all but capitulated to Chinese hegemonic interests, economically.”

On Qatar, Gorka praised the president for pressuring Arab leaders during his speech in Saudi Arabia urging them to do more to help the United States counter terrorism.

“In front of the arrayed heads of state of the Muslim Arab world, he literally said you must drive the Muslim extremists from your houses of worship and your communities,” Gorka said. “So he gave those nations tough love.”

In June, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the UAE cut ties to Doha government accusing Qatar of backing terrorists and supporting Iran. Regional allies backed the action.

But in Washington, Trump administration officials tried to undermine the pressure that Trump had started on Qatar, Gorka said.

“I kept hearing this in the meetings, at the [Policy Coordination Committee] and the NSC … everybody having conniptions about, ‘we can’t escalate, you’ve got to de-escalate, you’ve got to deescalate.’ Wrong. The president, the president, said this is the time to maintain or even increase pressure so that we finally see a significant change to the policies toward funding and the providing of succor to extremist elements in the Middle East,” Gorka said.

Gorka said the political battle over designating the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist group was fierce and eventually was stifled by bureaucrats and political pressure from Brotherhood supporters in government agencies, Congress, and the news media.

“Pulling out of the Paris climate accord was child’s play by comparison to designating the grandfather of all jihadi groups,” Gorka said of that debate.

“You know moving the [U.S.] embassy to Jerusalem and designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization—as several Arab state already have done—are the two heaviest lifts that we encountered inside the building and it’s really quite stunning,” he said.

The Egyptian-origin Muslim Brotherhood is an international organization that advocates anti-democratic Islamic law supremacy. Analysts say the group is the ideological forebear of all the major terrorist groups including the Islamic State and al Qaeda.

In the United States, the group is largely covert and has operated through front organizations that seek to exploit American concepts of religious liberty to advance the Islamist political agenda.

“In the beginning, the key question was do we designate individual chapters, or go for an en bloc designation,” Gorka said. “That’s what we spent many, many months discussing. And then we just had bureaucratic inertia, and those sympathetic to the Brotherhood and its offshoots within the belly of the beast that constantly pushed back.”

Gorka vowed to work outside the administration to seek the designation of the Brotherhood as a terrorist group, working with the White House, State Department, and Congress, as well as seeking to educate the general public on the threat posed by the group. “So the game’s not over,” he said.

Gorka denied he was fired, as several news outlets reported after his resignation was announced. He blamed the false reports on a low-level White House communications office staff member who falsely put out word that he did not leave voluntarily.

“I emailed Chief of Staff [John] Kelly after the Afghan speech the president gave last week,” Gorka said. “I requested a meeting with him for this Monday to tender my resignation. On Friday afternoon I spoke to him on the phone and told him I had resigned as of that day, as of last Friday, and I reinforced that to him an email afterward. So those are the facts of the matter.”

Trump telephoned him the day after the resignation to say he was very grateful for Gorka’s support and the work he had done. The president also promised to “stick to his agenda,” Gorka said.

Gorka said he told Trump he would continue to back the president. “I said in response to him that I will be supporting him on the outside.”

One news report said Gorka resigned after Kelly informed him his interim security clearance would not be finalized.

Critics have said several key players in the White House were forced out by politically motivated security officials who used the security clearance system to prevent certain officials from receiving Top-Secret security clearances, a requirement for White House policy work.

***

Dr. Gorka has been giving many interviews since he left the White House. Here is the latest with Breitbart.

Gorka: ‘We’re Starting MAGA Phase Two’ and Working from Outside to Support President Trump

Gorka: Trump Has Best Instincts, but Obama Holdovers Are ‘Massive Problem’

Gorka: China Is ‘Executing Economic Warfare Against Us Right Now’

Vehicular Jihad Comes to Barcelona

Meanwhile, on CNN, the denial and willful ignorance continue.

Front Page Magazine, by Robert Spencer, Aug. 18, 2017:

In Spain Thursday, a man drove a truck into a crowd at Barcelona’s popular Costa Dorada area, killing at least 13 and injuring 100. On CNN, Wolf Blitzer asked, “There will be questions about copycats. Questions, if what happened in Barcelona, was at all, at all, a copycat version of what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia.”

No, Wolf, it was a phenomenon with which you and your CNN colleagues have only a glancing familiarity: Islamic jihad. Of course Wolf Blitzer immediately reached for a connection with Charlottesville, because he most likely doesn’t believe that there are Islamic jihadis at all, just mentally ill lone wolves driven to violence by “Islamophobia.” Jihad doesn’t fit his network’s narrative. And vehicular jihad? Wolf has never heard of such a thing.

Last June, the Islamic State published a poster depicting an SUV driving over a heap of skulls and bearing the legend “Run Over Them Without Mercy.”

And the Islamic State issued this call in September 2014:

So O muwahhid, do not let this battle pass you by wherever you may be. You must strike the soldiers, patrons, and troops of the tawaghit. Strike their police, security, and intelligence members, as well as their treacherous agents. Destroy their beds. Embitter their lives for them and busy them with themselves. If you can kill a disbelieving American or European — especially the spiteful and filthy French — or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be….If you are not able to find an IED or a bullet, then single out the disbelieving American, Frenchman, or any of their allies. Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him….

Many Muslims in the West have heeded this call. The man who rented the van used in the Barcelona attack was a Muslim from Morocco named Driss Oukabier, who was arrested, while one of his apparent accomplices was killed in a gun battle with police. This could have been just one part of a much larger jihad plot, as Spanish police now believe that a massive explosion in a house in Alcanar, 120 miles south of Barcelona, was also linked to the Barcelona jihad plotters.

There have been many other vehicular jihad attacks. Just last week in France, a Muslim named Hamou Bachirhit six French soldiers with his car in Levallois-Perret, where the headquarters of the DGSI (General Directorate for Internal Security), the country’s primary counter-terrorism intelligence agency, are located. In June, a Muslim drove his car into a crowd on the London Bridge and then jumped out and started stabbing people. We have seen several other vehicular jihadis get out of the car after they plowed into pedestrians, and start stabbing people. In June 2015, a Muslim in Austria drove his car into a crowd, killing three, and then got out and stabbed passersby. Then in November 2016, a Muslim student at Ohio State University named Abdul Razak Ali Artan drove his car into a crowd, then got out and stabbed several others.

There have been many others in 2016 and this year: in Nice, in Berlin, in Jerusalem, in Paris, and elsewhere. Yet on CNN and elsewhere in the establishment media, no analysts have connected the dots between these jihad attacks, which have an obvious connection with one another in sharing the same motivating ideology and the same goal. But Wolf Blitzer readily sees a wholly imaginary connection between Charlottesville (in which a neo-Nazi was imitating jihadis, not the other way around) and Barcelona, because he wishes to exaggerate the importance and influence of white supremacists, while minimizing the magnitude of the jihad threat.

And so it goes in the daily news of the contemporary West: another jihad massacre, and another reason to turn off CNN.

Also see:

Washington Post Reporter Smears Iraq War Vets as Potential Extremists After Shilling for Hezbollah Terrorists

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, Aug.16, 2017:

As the media cartel has been pushing the narrative over the last few days glorifying violent antifa thugs and comparing them to the Americans who landed at Omaha and Utah beaches in Normandy on D-Day, at least one senior media official was smearing Iraq War veterans as extremists on Twitter last night.

Washington Post’s Beirut-based Middle East bureau chief Liz Sly took to Twitter to warn, “a whole generation of Americans was potentially radicalized in Iraq.”

She deleted the tweet several hours later.

Remarkably, Sly co-authored an oped at the Washington Post just a few weeks ago rehabilitating Hezbollah terrorists after the group took her on a press junket around Lebanon.

Sly’s rant last night began with her now-deleted tweet:

After taking heat for her sweeping generalization, she delivered a “sorry, not sorry” apology for the tweet but continued to push the “veterans are potential extremists” narrative:

This seems to be a bit of a hobbyhorse for Sly, such as when she raised the issue last year after Black Lives Matter support Micah Xavier Johnson, who served in Afghanistan, shot and killed five Dallas Police officers while a BLM march was ongoing, describing the attack as “blowback.”

Of course, it would be highly unfair for anyone to use incidents of Islamic extremism and terrorism by U.S. Muslim service members, such as Major Nidal Hasan, Sgt. Hasan Akbar, or Pvt. Nasser Abdo, to cast blanket suspicion on all Muslim service members by saying that there has been “a whole generation of Muslim Americans potentially radicalized by service in the U.S. armed forces.”

Read more

Media Cartel Feigns Outrage After Trump Tweets on Cancelling CIA’s Syria Program

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, July 25, 2017:

In an attempt to lower the bar on fake news, the media cartel merchants last night and earlier today attacked Trump for tweeting about a “classified” CIA Syria rebel support program that has been the worst-kept secret in the Middle East for the past five years:

This is the same “classified” program that the Washington PostNew York Times, and many other outlets reported on Trump cancelling just last week:

Anyone else find it weird that both WaPo and NYT had exactly the same take?

The head of Special Operations Command, Gen. Tony Thomas, confirmed the closure of the rebel support program last Friday at the Aspen Security Forum, a comment that many media outlets reported on:

You can even find a Reuters report on Gen. Thomas’ statements at the New York Times:

Even worse, the former vice chair of the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, spoke about the same “classified” CIA program on Tucker Carlson’s showLAST NIGHT, but without the media outrage:

All that notwithstanding, the media cartel went into anti-Trump berserker mode:

Now remember, these are some of the exact same outlets that reported on the cancellation of the CIA program LAST WEEK.

Obama officials and Obama himself have talked to the press about the CIA program publicly and on background since the program was announced FIVE YEARS AGO:

[…]

Who do they think they’re fooling?

The non-stop manufactured outrage directed at Trump by the same media cartel that was AWOL on Obama DOJ gun-running to Mexican cartels, Benghazi, Hillary’s illegal mail server, and pallets of cash flown to the largest state sponsor of terrorism is one of the factors that contributed to his election in the first place.

It’s not only exhausting, it’s hypocritical.

Even more remarkable is that as newsrooms are laying off hundreds, this behavior is not even in their own self-interest.

America is long over the pretense that the news media are trying to be objective. Many Americans, myself included, are just tired of the mendacity, duplicity, and hypocrisy of the hyper-partisan media cartel.

Read more

Media Gaslights Congressional Assassination Attempt After Gaslighting Orlando Terror Attack Days Earlier

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, June  15, 2017:

Last night, I was speaking with my former boss and friend of 20-plus years, Rep. Gary Palmer, who was just feet away from Rep. Steve Scalise on the Alexandria baseball field yesterday when he was shot, about running for his life towards the only open gate on the field while under fire. We were standing behind the crime scene tape where the shooting occurred just hours earlier.

“He was there to kill us,” Palmer told me.

But the official media narrative that has emerged over the past 24 hours on the attempted and deliberate assassination attempt of Republican members of Congress is a journalistic Rorschach test of deflection, double standards, non sequiturs, hot takes, fake news, and revisionist history.

The media gaslighting of this incident follows just days after the same media gaslighted last year’s Orlando Pulse nightclub attack, which I wrote about here at PJ Media on Monday:

Read more

***

Also see:

The left has whipped up an angry mob and promised them that if they scream and shout enough, President Trump will be forced out of office. They manufactured a crisis and now it’s exploding on them. If they can’t deliver a coup, there will be more shootings like this one.

The Democrats are sleepwalking into a civil war. They want power, but like leftists from Russia to Cuba, they haven’t seriously contemplated the price that will have to paid for their bloody utopia.

In her “Resistance” video, former Attorney General Lynch spoke of blood, marching and dying. At Eugene Simpson Stadium Park, the 10-year-old son of Congressman Barton huddled under a bench. Congressman Wenstrup, an Iraq War veteran, struggled to provide aid to the wounded Scalise.

That’s what Lynch’s bleeding and dying looks like. This is what the left’s Resistance really looks like. Democrats, liberals and even leftists ought to take a good look to see if that’s what they really want.

Gaffney defiant in the face of mainstream media attacks

Center for Security Policy, by Frank Gaffney, March 21, 2017:

Extract from Secure Freedom Radio, 20 March 2017:

Podcast: Play in new window | Download

I want to take a few minutes for what is known in government as a “point of personal privilege.” It’s what you do when someone attacks you and you need to set the record straight.

In my case, reporters for prominent national publications have gone after me as a way of attacking Donald Trump and his senior subordinates. Matthew Rosenberg of the New York Times, Eli Lake of Bloomberg, Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post and most recently Peter Beinart of the Atlantic have largely ignored the substance of lengthy interviews I have given them, in order to vilify me and the work we do at the Center for Security Policy.

In each case, it’s clear these journalists don’t approve of our research and the fact that first Candidate Trump and President Trump have arrived at similar conclusions.

As I told each of these reporters, that research has demonstrated several realities:

  • The authorities of Islam contend that the practice of their faith requires abject adherence to a political, legal and military doctrine they call Sharia.
  • It has a veneer of religiosity to it – by some estimates ten percent is concerned with pietistic practices like how often Muslims are supposed to pray, what they can eat, and the like.
  • But at the end of the day, Sharia is about power, not faith.
  • Sharia has been defined for some 1300 years by a rendering of it known as The Reliance of the Traveler.
  • This massive book makes clear that the faithful Muslim is entitled, for example, to brutalize women and otherwise treat them as property, murder homosexuals and kill Jews, apostates, females accused of adultery and anyone who “defames” Islam.
  • I impressed upon each of these journalists – as I do with audiences I address across the country – thankfully, all Muslims do not practice their faith according to Sharia.
  • That is particularly true in the United States to which many of them came from Sharia-compliant countries to escape its horrors.
  • They neither want to live under Sharia nor impose it on others.
  • That said, there is no getting around the fact that Sharia is a supremacist ideology that commands its adherents, not only to practice it unquestioningly themselves, but to compel everyone else – Muslim and non-Muslim, alike – to submit to it worldwide.
  • Sharia dictates that the faithful must engage in jihad in one form or another – violent jihad, demographic jihad, financial jihad or the subversive, stealthy kind the Muslim Brotherhood calls “civilization jihad.”
  • To the extent that Muslims conform to Sharia as the authorities of Islam and Reliance of the Traveler demand, they must reject such American principles and values as democratic self-governance, man-made laws, the freedoms guaranteed by our Constitution, respect for human rights, etc.
  • Instead, it is their duty to supplant those principles and values with Sharia.
  • For example, according to the Cairo Declaration on Human Rights in Islam adopted by 56 Muslim nations in 1990, Muslims can enjoy freedoms only to the extent allowed by Sharia.

These are statements of fact.

  • Recounting them is not “Islamophobia,” hate-mongering, racism or bigotry.
  • Rather, it is essential to an accurate understanding of the threat Sharia poses to this country and to Western civilization more generally.
  • And such an understanding is essential if we are to defend our constitutional republic from those who believe it’s Allah’s will for them to destroy it through whatever means is practicable.
  • Yet, Messrs. Rosenberg, Lake, Jaffe and Beinart promote in their respective publications and to varying degrees the false meme that pointing out such facts is evidence of hostility to all It’s said to reflect a desire to deny those in this country their constitutionally protected freedoms and keep those outside our borders from coming in.
  • They are not alone in promoting this phony narrative, of course.
  • According to documents from George Soros’ foundation released last fall by Wikileaks, “marginalizing” me and others who speak such truths has been a project for his philanthropy.
  • And Muslim Brotherhood fronts like the Council on American Islamic Relations, which was founded by Hamas in 1993, the leftist Center for American Progress and the discredited Southern Poverty Law Center have been among those determined to silence national security professionals and others who are effective in challenging Sharia-supremacism in this country and elsewhere.

Let’s be clear, by falsely accusing me and my colleagues of such views, these journalists are not just discounting the salience of our warnings. They are helping Soros and his minions suppress our freedom of expression and reinforcing what amounts to hate-mongering against us.

More importantly, to the extent that such reporters are promoting the fraudulent meme that Donald Trump and his subordinates are being unduly influenced by me or others – and are, therefore, also Islamophobes, racists, etc. – they are seeking to suppress them, too.

Indeed, that’s the transparent object of the exercise. Reporters and media outlets are making common cause with what’s been called the “Red-Green axis” for the purpose of neutralizing – if not actually removing from office – the President and his most principled and capable subordinates, such as Steve Bannon, Jeff Sessions, Kellyanne Conway, Sebastian Gorka and Steven Miller.

Time won’t permit at this juncture a point-by-point rebuttal of the various, spurious charges made against me and others by the aforementioned reporters and their ilk.

Let me take a moment, though, to address a new one leveled by Peter Beinart in his hit piece in The Atlantic concerning the so-called “denationalization” of Muslims in this country.

I had never heard this term before and certainly have never used it myself. Neither have I ever advocated what it evidently describes – seeking to strip all American Muslims of either their nationality or their rights and shutting down all mosques in this country.

Here’s what I do believe: The Sharia-supremacist infrastructure built here over the past fifty years by the Muslim Brotherhood and its fronts –in the form of mosques, Islamic societies, cultural centers and organizations targeting our government, media, churches and synagogues, schools, businesses, etc. – is an incubator for jihad. We continue to ignore it and the stated purposes of those Brotherhood operatives and their Shiite counterparts at our extreme peril.

The first order of business must be to be clear about the threat posed to our Constitution and freedoms by Sharia-supremacism. In his August 15th speech in Youngstown, Ohio, Candidate Donald Trump made clear that he gets that.

Second, we must stop importing more Sharia-supremacists. That is a purpose President Trump’s immigration pause could helpfully advance.

Third, the Trump administration must officially designate the Muslim Brotherhood as the terrorist organization it is. That would create a basis for countering those mosques and front groups it owns and/or operates in this country.

Finally, if the foregoing steps are taken, we have an opportunity to encourage the Muslim-American community to eschew the Sharia-supremacists and their efforts to promote the real denationalization agenda – namely, the Brotherhood’s practice of demanding non-assimilation in and hostility toward the United States, its culture and laws.

These are the sorts of recommendations warranted by the facts, appropriate to the challenges of our time and necessary to protect Western civilization. I am proud to espouse them and refuse to be intimidated or silenced by the relentless vilification to which I am subjected.

I am gratified that people who have arrived at a similar understanding of the facts are now in a position to ensure that those facts receive the necessary policy analysis and debate – instead of being officially suppressed in the name of “political correctness,” “multiculturalism” and “diversity sensitivity.” Whatever we call such behavior, our Sharia-adherent enemies regard it as evidence of our submission, which only emboldens them to secure that condition irreversibly through ever-more-aggressive acts of jihad.

The time has come for action in countering the jihad. Despite all the vilification, intimidation and coercive pressure aimed at silencing those of us at the Center for Security Policy, we will continue to speak the truth about Sharia-supremacism and help those in power act decisively to defeat it.

Also see:

AP ‘Fact Check’ FAIL: Trump Claim on Terrorism and Immigration Correlates with Justice Dept. Data

trump-sotu-terrorism-immigration-sized-770x415xtPJ MEDIA, BY PATRICK POOLE, FEBRUARY 28, 2017:

During his Tuesday address to a joint session of Congress, President Trump cited Justice Department terrorism figures:

According to data provided by the Department of Justice, the vast majority of individuals convicted for terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country. We have seen the attacks at home — from Boston to San Bernardino to the Pentagon and yes, even the World Trade Center.

We have seen the attacks in France, in Belgium, in Germany and all over the world.

It is not compassionate, but reckless, to allow uncontrolled entry from places where proper vetting cannot occur. Those given the high honor of admission to the United States should support this country and love its people and its values.

We cannot allow a beachhead of terrorism to form inside America — we cannot allow our Nation to become a sanctuary for extremists.

That is why my Administration has been working on improved vetting procedures, and we will shortly take new steps to keep our Nation safe — and to keep out those who would do us harm.

The Associated Press “fact check” on this claim pretends that Trump pulls this number out of thin air:

From the AP:

TRUMP: “According to data provided by the Department of Justice, the vast majority of individuals convicted for terrorism-related offenses since 9/11 came here from outside of our country. We have seen the attacks at home — from Boston to San Bernardino to the Pentagon and yes, even the World Trade Center.”

THE FACTS: It’s unclear what Justice Department data he’s citing, but the most recent government information that has come out doesn’t back up his claim. Just over half the people Trump talks about were actually born in the United States, according to research from the Department of Homeland Security revealed last week. That report said of 82 people the government determined were inspired by a foreign terrorist group to attempt or carry out an attack in the U.S., just over half were native-born citizens.

This terrorism data identifying 280 terrorism cases from 9/11/2001-12/31/2014 come from a Justice Department letter (dated January 13, 2016) sent to Senator Ted Cruz and then-Senator (now Attorney General) Jeff Sessions. This letter is provided below.

When the staff of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest examined the open-source data for the 580 cases, this is what they found:

Based on open-source research conducted on a list provided by the Department of Justice, the Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest has determined that at least 380 of the 580 individuals convicted of terrorism or terrorism-related offenses between September 11, 2001 and December 31, 2014, were born abroad.  

On August 12, 2015, December 3, 2015, and January 11, 2016, letters were sent to the Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and State, requesting the immigration histories of individuals implicated in terrorism since early 2014. For over 10 months, the Obama Administration has refused to provide this crucial and easily accessible information. Since sending the last letter on January 11, however, the Subcommittee has identified 18 additional individuals implicated in terrorism since early 2014 – bringing the total to 131, of whom at least 16 were initially admitted to the United States as refugees, and at least 17 of whom are the natural-born citizen children of immigrants.

However, the Department of Justice (DOJ) did provide the Subcommittee with a list it maintains of 580 individuals not only implicated, but convicted, of terrorism or terrorism-related offenses between September 11, 2001 and December 31, 2014. DOJ has deferred to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide immigration background information regarding these individuals, but to this day, DHS has not done so – despite having the information on the foreign-born easily accessible in its records and databases.

Using this list, the Subcommittee conducted open-source research and determined that at least 380 of the 580 were foreign-born (71 were confirmed natural-born, and the remaining 129 are not known).  Of the 380 foreign-born, at least 24 were initially admitted to the United States as refugees, and at least 33 had overstayed their visas. Additionally, of those born abroad, at least 62 were from Pakistan, 28 were from Lebanon, 22 were Palestinian, 21 were from Somalia, 20 were from Yemen, 19 were from Iraq, 16 were from Jordan, 17 were from Egypt, and 10 were from Afghanistan.

So Trump is correct: 380 of 580 (65.5%, or just under 2/3) were in fact foreign born.

It is no mystery, contra the Associated Press, where this data came from. And as you can note, all of these cases involved Category I, II, and III terrorism offenses.

That notwithstanding, some in the media and terrorism industry began throwing out other terrorism numbers from a number of difference sources with no reference to the Justice Department data cited by President Trump: