A leftist State Department official is publicly attacking President Trump on social media

Kambiz Hosseini | Wikimedia Commons

Conservative Review, by Jordan Schachtel, March 20, 2017:

Alan Eyre, a high-ranking State Department official known for his pro-Tehran, anti-Israel biases — and a key component of the Iran nuclear deal’s negotiating team— has been using his verified Twitter account to repost articles attacking President Trump, the man who he ultimately answers to.

The postings, shared below, are only a small snapshot of what Eyre has tweeted out over the past month and shared with his 100,000-plus followers. Some mock the president and question his intelligence and integrity (again, Eyre’s boss). Another post calls President Trump’s decisions “senseless” and “heartless.”

Eyre now works at the State Department’s Bureau of Energy Resources, within its Middle East/Asia department, according to his bio.

Under the Obama administration, Alan Eyre served as the State Department’s Persian language spokesperson. According to reports, he played a critical role in advancing the Iran nuclear deal, which resulted in a cash windfall for the terrorist regime in Tehran.

This is not the first time Eyre has been noticed engaging in controversial social media activities. In 2015, the Washington Free Beacon exposed that he had been promoting anti-Israel conspiracy theories.

From his personal Facebook page, Eyre published stories by anti-Semitic authors and fringe websites that “demonize American Jewish groups and Israel,” the report said. But that was at least from his personal page. His current stream of anti-Trump postings are being distributed from his verified public Twitter account.

As an Obama official, Eyre twice keynoted the annual conference of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), a group that many Iranian dissidents and freedom fighters consider to be a front for the regime in Tehran. NIAC is led by Trita Parsi, an Iranian-Swedish national who reportedly acts as a the point of contact for top officials in Iran.

NIAC became very cozy with the Obama administration (Parsi visited the White House 33 times), and coordinated with it to sell Iran deal lies to the American people. In its hell-bent quest to push the deal, NIAC painted opponents of the agreement as “warmongers” and challenged the loyalties of American Jews to the country and president.

Eyre is not the only State Department official who has pushed for policies that directly contradict President Trump’s platform.

Chris Backemeyer currently serves as deputy assistant secretary for Iranian affairs under Secretary Rex Tillerson. He was intimately involved in pushing for the Iran deal and misled the American people about where billions of dollars for the Tehran regime had gone.

Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, an essential advocate for Obama’s Iran deal, is currently in charge of Iran and the Persian Gulf on Secretary Tillerson’s policy planning staff.

And Michael Ratney, who oversaw a group that campaigned to oust Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, was one of John Kerry’s closest confidants. He’s now in charge of the Israeli-Palestinian portfolio at the Department of State.

Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for CR. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel. 

Mattis seeks out Soros-funded think tanker for top Pentagon post

Ralph Alswang | Flickr

Conservative Review, by Jordan Schachtel, March 22, 2017:

Defense Secretary Gen. James Mattis wants to nominate a senior fellow at a Soros-funded think tank as undersecretary at the Pentagon, as the embattled Cabinet official continues to clash with the White House over prospective nominees.

Politico reports that Mattis wants Rudy deLeon — a senior fellow at the far-left Center for American Progress (CAP) — to come on board as undersecretary for personnel and readiness.

DeLeon previously served in the Clinton administration as deputy secretary of defense. During that time, Gen. Mattis served as his senior military assistant.

DeLeon worked for Boeing as senior vice president from 2001 to 2006 and currently serves on the board of major defense company General Dynamics.

This appears to be a peculiar choice for an undersecretary, given that deLeon recently endorsed a letter opposing the president’s immigration moratorium from six terror-linked countries. The letter calls Trump’s national security order “beneath the dignity of our great nation” and advised government workers to apply “discretion,” in an attempt to essentially undermine the president’s initiative.

As a CAP official, he has engaged in campaigns to advance “progressive values.” deLeon advocates for government to take “steps that will be a lasting legacy to the progressive societies for decades to come.” He is also a proponent of President Obama’s Iran nuclear deal with the terror state in Tehran.

DeLeon’s employer is funded by fringe leftist billionaire George Soros. It was co-founded and run by John Podesta, a longtime Obama and Clinton operative. Moreover, CAP is currently funding a “Resist” campaign to undermine the president’s agenda.

Why Sec. Mattis continues to vouch for Obama- and Clinton-era officials to run the Pentagon remains a controversial topic in D.C. Several Republicans are said to be growing frustrated with the retired general’s unwillingness to promote ideological allies of conservatives to top Pentagon posts.

Mattis has attempted to nominate Anne Patterson — the former ambassador to Egypt who became cozy with the Muslim Brotherhood — as one of his deputies, until the White House quashed the idea. Mattis also intended to hire Michele Flournoy, an Obama Pentagon official who co-founded the left-leaning Center for a New American Security, as a top official at the Defense Department.

Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for CR. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel

Obama Admin Loyalists, Government Insiders Sabotage Trump White House

Former admin planted series of landmines to subvert Trump team

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam  Kredo, March 22, 2017:

The Obama administration worked in its final weeks in office to undermine the incoming Trump White and continues to do so, according to multiple sources both in and out of the White House.

Behind the effort, these sources say, are senior government officials who previously worked under President Obama and remain loyal to his agenda. These individuals leak negative information about the Trump White House and its senior staff to a network of former Obama administration officials who then plant this information in key media outlets including the Washington Post and New York Times.

Meanwhile, holdovers from the Obama administration are working to undermine the Trump administration’s agenda through efforts to alter official communications, a number of administration officials confirmed in conversations with the Washington Free Beacon.

Multiple sources expressed concern over what they described as an unprecedented effort by the former administration to subvert President Donald Trump’s team. These sources would only speak on background because they were not officially authorized to publicly discuss the situation, which is said to have fostered a level of discomfort and distrust in the West Wing.

The Free Beacon first reported on several portions of this effort earlier this year, including separate campaigns to undermine current CIA Director Mike Pompeo and former national security adviser Michael Flynn, both of whom were subjected to leaks aimed at undermining their credibility.

“We have members of the former administration at the highest levels who through their actions after January 20 have demonstrated their refusal to recognize the results of the general election,” one senior administration official told the Free Beacon. “They have pursued, organized, and managed a comprehensive subversion of the new administration.”

In one instance, Trump administration officials found evidence that the administration’s executive order banning travel from certain Muslim-majority nations had been selectively altered to bring it more in line with Obama-era talking points.

Several hours before the orders were set to be signed by Trump, officials noticed that language concerning “radical Islamic terrorism” had been stripped from the order and replaced with Obama-era language about countering violent extremism.

West Wing staffers quickly scrambled to rewrite the order to bring it back in line with Trump’s rhetoric, sources told the Free Beacon. The alteration of these directives is said to have spooked some senior officials working on the issue.

A series of targeted leaks also has fostered concerns that Obama administration holdovers are seeking to handicap the new administration.

Several weeks before his resignation, former national security adviser Flynn requested staff assemble an in-house phonebook that included contact information for senior White House staff. Before Flynn signed off on the effort, the phonebook was leaked to the press.

Additionally, the previous administration permitted staff to accrue substantial amounts of vacation time in its last year in office. As soon as team Trump entered the White House, it was obligated to pay out all of these hours. White House sources say the cost was in the millions of dollars.

The payout prevented the Trump White House from hiring key staff in its opening days due to insufficient funds, according to those familiar with the situation. Flynn, for instance, was able to hire only 22 people to work on the White House National Security Council, which topped around 420 staffers under Obama.

“They put landmines everywhere,” according to one senior administration official.

Outside of the White House, meanwhile, a team of former Obama administration officials is working to subvert Trump’s agenda.

Former Obama administration officials such as Ben Rhodes, the architect of Obama’s pro-Iran press operation, and Colin Kahl, a senior national security adviser to former Vice President Joe Biden, have engaged in public efforts to “purge” the current White House of officials they disagree with.

Earlier this month, Kahl admitted on Twitter that he is seeking to provoke the firings of Trump’s handpicked team “in the West Wing,” including senior advisers Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, and Sebastian Gorka, and NSC leaders Michael Anton and KT McFarland.

As part of this effort, Kahl, Rhodes, and others have leaked damaging stories about these officials to allies in the media.

The latest target, Gorka, has been falsely accused of being a Nazi sympathizer and an Islamophobe. The campaign against Flynn unfolded in a similar manner and sources who spoke to the Free Beacon about the matter speculated that these leaks will continue.

“They have a network of journalists for whom they have served as sources and they have fed stuff to these journalists,” one senior U.S. official told the Free Beacon. “That’s what pretty obviously is going on. I’ve never seen this happen before. I’ve never heard of it happening throughout history.”

Putting the current White House in a permanent state of defense is a key objective of this strategy, according to one senior Republican foreign policy operative who is close to the White House.

“Part of this campaign, of course, was the media operation of selective leaks, many of which were illegal and directly targeted the staff and officials of the incoming Trump administration,” the source said.

This targeted media campaign is similar to the method used by Rhodes and others to push the Iran nuclear deal.

“You can tell what’s clearly going on because many of the same media outlets who formed crucial parts of Ben Rhodes’ Iran Deal ‘echo chamber’ are springing to launch coordinated attacks on Sebastian Gorka today,” said one longtime political consultant who is close to the White House NSC. “The way it works is, one highly partisan journalist goes out on a limb in dishonestly characterizing the target. That dishonest story is used to build on the next, in which the original lie is taken as fact, and then repeated in an echo chamber until it becomes conventional wisdom.”

GOP Senator Praises Dina Powell’s Promotion to Deputy National Security Adviser

Dina Powell / Getty Images

Washington Free Beacon, by Natalie Johnson, March 16, 2017:

Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) on Thursday lauded the promotion of President Donald Trump’s senior counselor for economic initiatives, Dina Habib Powell, to deputy national security adviser for strategy.

Cotton, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Powell is an “outstanding choice” for the post, noting her 15-year service in government that included a role in the second Bush White House.

“She has years of experience working both in the business world and at many different levels of government, including Congress, the White House, and the State Department,” Cotton told the Washington Free Beacon in an emailed statement. “In that time, she has earned the deep respect of her colleagues for her unique ability to not only take the long view but also to coordinate the many moving parts of an administration.”

Powell was appointed to the position by Trump’s newly minted national security adviser, Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster. She will assist McMaster in devising the administration’s national security strategy and will help lead an interagency policy process involving Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

Her appointment to the National Security Council expanded the senior team. K.T. McFarland will continue to serve as another deputy national security adviser, a senior administration official told the Washington Post.

Before joining the White House in January, Powell was president of the Goldman Sachs Foundation, where she worked closely with former Goldman Sachs President Gary Cohn, who is now Trump’s senior economic policy adviser. She is expected to continue her role advising Ivanka Trump on economic policies that benefit women. She also will work with Ivanka’s husband and senior adviser to the president, Jared Kushner, on the U.S.-Saudi Arabia relationship.

Powell, who was born in Egypt, speaks fluent Arabic and served as an assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs during the Bush administration under former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. Her ability to work across government agencies has been widely lauded by her former colleagues in Washington.

Powell has taken a more prominent role in foreign affairs in recent weeks. She has been working alongside Tillerson, and participated Tuesday in a meeting between Trump and Mohammad bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s defense minister and deputy crown prince.

Sen. Bob Corker (R., Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told Politico late Wednesday that he believed Powell could forge consensus across national security agencies.

Also see:

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:

Major warning signs for conservatives about Trump’s Mideast policy

num_skyman | Shutterstock

Conservative Review, by Daniel Horowitz, March 15, 2017:

As conservatives fight the efforts of their own party and president to promote Obamacare 2.0 here at home, there are some major problems with the direction in foreign policy of this Trump administration. We can dismiss all reports of liberal policies and leftist personnel emanating from this administration as “fake news” — or we can demand a course correction before this becomes the third term of Obama’s State Department. The choice is ours.

The final dramatic act of the Obama administration was to instigate a public feud between former Secretary of State John Kerry and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over where Jews can live in their own homeland. As conservatives, we swore to ourselves that once Trump assumed power we’d be done with the illogical and immoral Oslo Accords, along with its maniacal idea of creating a new Arab terror state.

Trump himself also promised a new direction:

The reason this issue is important is not just because of our relationship with Israel ; it’s that the obsession with a Palestinian state and the recognition of the Palestinian Liberation Organization terrorists has served as the fulcrum of our entire Middle East policy for 24 years, preventing us from acting in our own self-interests.

The failure to understand the danger of the PLO is not just bad for Israel. It’s also dangerous for America because it demonstrates that our political elites don’t understand the Islamic threat and will continue the past mistakes of both the Clinton/Obama leftists and the establishment neo-conservatives who support the nation building agenda in the Arab world.

Well, that nightmare is now upon us.

During Trump’s second week in office, I took a lot of flak for criticizing the White House’s statement on Israel’s construction in the so-called settlements. Some conservatives felt that Trump’s statement was a breath of fresh air because, while he did rebuke the construction, he implied that building within the “settlement blocks” is OK.

Obviously, as I noted at the time, this statement is nonsense. Why are we getting involved in any of this Kerry-style dictating of terms? Weren’t we supposed to break from the entire Oslo Accords? Why should we legitimize any notion of a Palestinian state and how does that put America’s interests first? Weren’t we done with nation building in terror states among existing nations, much less trying to create a new one? I warned that absent a course correction, this policy would grow legs and irrevocably suck the president into the globalist swamp of the PLO cause.

It has. Consider the following troubling observations:

  • This week, Trump dispatched Jason Greenblatt, his top lawyer and envoy to the Middle East, to pressure Netanyahu into halting construction, even for a city designed to house displaced Israelis who were uprooted by a very painful evacuation. As the Times of Israel is reporting, Greenblatt is now obsessing over every last neighborhood with the maniacal precision of John Kerry to prevent Israel from building even within existing “settlements.” The pressure is reportedly so strong that Netanyahu has now held off on his plans to fully annex Ma’ale Adumim, the largest suburb of Jerusalem, which has always been a “consensus” area (even to those who buy into the premise of a Palestinian state). Greenblatt later met with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (whose term of office expired eight years ago!) and treated him like a peace partner.
  • The inimitable Caroline Glick gives a riveting account of the sharp turn of the White House on Israel — embracing the PLO, inviting Abbas to the White House, and taking an active (almost obsessive) role in promoting a Palestinian state. It’s almost as if Trump has made it his life’s mission (or, son-in-law Jared Kushner’s mission) to ram through the “peace process” even more than Obama.
  • My colleague, Jordan Schachtel has already reported that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson appointed a Kerry acolyte as the Israel-Palestinian policy official in the State Department. Michael Ratney was Obama’s consul to Jerusalem who “oversaw grants to OneVoice, a leftist non-profit that President Obama allegedly used to try to unseat Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel’s 2015 election.” Ratney oversaw a program the Times of Israel said was “in effect setting up an armed Palestinian militia in the consulate.” Martin Indyk — Obama’s anti-Israel apologist — praised the appointment, tweeting that Ratney was a “valued member of Kerry’s peace team.”
  • Trump decided to keep Obama’s National Security Council Adviser, Yael Lempert, for Israel policy. She accompanied Greenblatt on his trip to Israel, where he graciously met with Abbas and pressured Netanyahu on settlements. Lempert was literally Obama’s point person in the White House orchestrating his war against Israel. This decision is Orwellian.
  • Talk about the fox guarding the hen house? Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, the Iran director for Obama’s National Security Council, has been given the portfolio over the Persian Gulf region on the policy planning staff at the State Department. This individual was an essential figure in pushing through the Iran deal and has ties to Tehran.
  • Defense Secretary James Mattis wanted to appoint Anne Patterson to the No. 3 position in the Pentagon. Patterson was Obama’s ambassador to Egypt, who had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and embodied John Kerry’s foreign policy. Although conservatives successfully prevented that from happening, Mattis’ motivations, along with a number of troubling statements on policy, reveal that he fundamentally doesn’t share a conservative worldview.

Folks, this is not “deep state” sabotage of Pres. Trump’s agenda. This is Trump sabotaging himself by allowing Jared in the White House and top officials in State to promote the very worst elements of the Clinton/Bush/Obama foreign policy. And it’s not just about Israel. Anyone who believes in creating a new terror state and partnering with PLO terrorists clearly does not understand the broader Islamic threat. This could lead us into nation-building in Syria and other insufferable Arab countries, a notion Trump explicitly rejected with his popular denunciation of the Iraq war.

There is nothing to “negotiate” and nobody with which we can “cut deals.” This is not a matter of convincing Carrier to keep its plant in Indiana. Some things don’t work with negotiations; Islamo-fascists elements are one good example.

What is so disappointing is that foreign policy is the one area where the president has wide latitude to change course without the cumbersome legislative process. Almost 60 days into the new administration, there is no major accomplishment that has gotten past Congress, including the much-promised FULL repeal of Obamacare. Again, foreign policy is the one area where Donald Trump can unilaterally make his mark.

However, absent a dramatic change of course, the pink unicorn of the PLO “peace process” will ensnare President Trump into untenable diplomatic quicksand. As Caroline Glick warns, “The PLO is the Siren that drowns U.S. administrations.” Trump must understand that if he is “serious about embracing the PLO and intends to have his top advisers devote themselves to Abbas and his henchmen,” he is setting himself up “to fail and be humiliated.”

Make no mistake: The “two-state solution” is the Obamacare of foreign policy. Failure to repeal it will be as catastrophic for foreign policy as Obamacare is for domestic policy. Except this time, we won’t be able to blame a parliamentarian.

Iran deal architect is now running Tehran policy at the State Department

Conservative Review, by Jordan Schachtel, March 14, 2017:

A trusted Obama aide who once worked for an alleged Iranian regime lobbying group is one of the individuals in charge of Iran policy planning at the State Department under Secretary Rex Tillerson.

Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, the Iran director for former President Obama’s National Security Council (NSC), has burrowed into the government under President Trump. She’s now in charge of Iran and the Persian Gulf region on the policy planning staff at the State Department.

To make matters worse, Nowrouzzadeh is a former employee of the National Iranian-American Council (NIAC), a non-profit that is accused of being a lobbying group for the Iranian regime. NIAC’s current president, Trita Parsi, has long held close relationships with top officials in the Tehran dictatorship. In February, a group of over 100 prominent Iranian dissidents called for Congress to investigate NIAC’s ties to the Iranian regime.

One of Nowrouzzadeh’s primary duties under President Obama was to promote initiatives that pushed the Iran deal. As President Obama’s NSC director for Iran, Nowrouzzadeh sat in on high-level briefings along with President Obama, former VP Joe Biden, and former Secretary of State John Kerry, as top White House staff crafted false narratives on the Iran deal to sell to the American public.

According to the head of a state-run Iranian newspaper, Nowrouzzadeh was an essential element to pushing through the Iran deal. Editor-in-Chief Emad Abshenass said that she opened up a direct line of communication with the Iranian president’s brother. “She helped clear a number of contradictions and allowed the entire endeavor to succeed,” Abshenass said of her efforts.

Nowrouzzadeh’s advocacy for President Obama’s directives resulted in an agreement that has done enormous damage to the security interests of the United States and its allies. Iran, the world’s top sponsor of international terrorism, was gifted $150 billion dollars for agreeing to the deal. The deal will not restrict Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. In fact, the regime in Tehran may now have the operational capacity to deploy nuclear warheads within the next decade, according to expert estimates.

Towards the end of President Obama’s tenure, Nowrouzzadeh was embedded into the State Department and for a brief time served as its Persian language spokesperson.

In addition to Nowrouzzadeh, several other prominent Obama officials currently serve under Sec Tillerson at the State Department. A former John Kerry apprentice, Michael Ratney, occupies the Israeli-Palestinian portfolio there. Another trusted Obama aide, Yael Lempert, also serves under Tillerson on the same platform.

Why Secretary Tillerson has decided to keep on a chief Obama policy official remains unclear. The State Department did not return multiple requests for comment seeking additional information on Nowrouzzadeh’s role at the government agency.

More Evidence That McMaster Shares Obama’s Views on Islam and Terror

President Donald Trump, right, shakes hands with Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, left, at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Fla., Monday, Feb. 20, 2017, where he announced that McMaster will be the new national security adviser. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

PJ Media, by Raymond Ibrahim, March 14, 2017:

Donald Trump’s new national security advisor, Lt. General H.R. McMaster, has made troubling remarks — such as “the Islamic State is not Islamic” — that one expects from the D.C. establishment. However a hearty endorsement that he gave to a 2010 book points to the totality of McMaster’s views on security issues as being worse than simply his parroting politically correct memes on Islam.

The book in question is Militant Islamist IdeologyUnderstanding the Global Threat. Written by CDR Youssef Aboul-Enein, it was published by the Naval Institute Press in 2010. I read and reviewed it back in 2012 and found its claims — many of which the Obama administration followed to disastrous results — to be incorrect and problematic.

For starters, Aboul-Enein asserts that only “militant Islamists” — ISIS types who behead, crucify, massacre, and burn people alive — are the enemy. “Non-militant Islamists,” however, are not:

It is the Militant Islamists who are our adversary. They represent an immediate threat to the national security of the United States. They must not be confused with Islamists.

This theme, which the author expresses in convoluted language — at one point he urges the reader to appreciate the “the divisions between Militant Islamists and between Militant Islamists and Islamists” (p.176) — permeates the book. In reality, all Islamists share the same ultimate goal of global Islamic hegemony. They differ in methodology — but not in their view of us as the enemy to be crushed.

“Non-militant Islamists,” chief among them the Muslim Brotherhood, see incremental infiltration and subtle subversion of infidel Western states as more effective than outright terrorism, as one notorious Brotherhood memo clearly states.[1]

We’ve already seen the outcome of cooperating with “Non-militant Islamists” during the Arab Spring. The Obama administration cast aside decades of U.S. policy and support for secular Arab autocrats and made cozy with the Muslim Brotherhood. What followed is well-known: the Arab Spring quickly turned into the “Islamic Winter.” This culminated with the rise of the Islamic State, in large part due to Obama’s policies, both active (aiding Islamic terrorists by portraying them as “freedom fighters,” in Libya and Syria) and inactive (pulling all U.S. forces out of Iraq despite the warnings, and disposing of a 30-year ally of the U.S., the secularist Mubarak, for the Brotherhood in Egypt).

Aboul-Enein further recommends American forces adopt a Sharia-compliant respect for Islam and Muslims.

For example, he suggests that if an American soldier ever desecrates a Koran, U.S. leadership must not merely relieve him of duty, but offer “unconditional apologies,” and emulate the words of Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Hammond, which Aboul-Enein quotes as exemplary: “I come before you [Muslims] seeking your forgiveness, in the most humble manner I look in your eyes today, and say please forgive me and my soldiers,” followed by kissing a new Koran and “ceremoniously” presenting it to Muslims.

Not only is such a double-standard un-American — would a serviceman be punished for the “desecration” of any other religious book? — but the very idea that supremacist Muslims can be won over through servile and fawning appeasement is antithetical to reality, if not human nature. Abject behavior breeds contempt and encourages more Muslim aggression and demands.

Here are a few more examples of Aboul-Enein’s false claims, distortions, and general oddities, though one could go on and on:

  • He writes (p.142) that “when Muslims are a persecuted minority Jihad becomes a fard kifaya (an optional obligation), in which the imam authorizes annual expeditions into Dar el Harb (the Abode of War), lands considered not under Muslim dominance.” This is wrong on several levels.
    • fard kifaya is not an “optional obligation” — an oxymoron if ever there was one — but rather a “communal obligation.” Moreover, he is clearly describing Offensive Jihad, which is designed to subjugate non-Muslims and is obligatory to wage whenever Muslims are capable, not “when Muslims are a persecuted minority,” which in Islamic jurisprudence is a Defensive Jihad and fard ‘ain (i.e., individual obligation).
  • He says (p.75) that the Arabic word for “terrorist” (irhabi) is nowhere to be found in the Koran or Hadith. He does not mention that the verb form of that word (tirhibun), “terrorize,” abounds in Islamic scriptures (e.g., Allah himself calls on Muslims to “terrorize”  Islam’s opponents in Koran 8:60).
  • He asserts (p.65) that “militant Islamists dismiss ijmaa [consensus] and qiyas [analogical reasoning].” This is simply false. Groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS regularly invoke ijmaa (for instance, the consensus that jihad becomes a personal duty — fard ‘ain — when infidels invade the Islamic world) and justify suicide attacks precisely through qiyas (see The Al Qaeda Reader, p.138).
  • After rightfully admonishing readers not to rely on skewed or biased accounts of Islam, he repeatedly recommends (e.g., pgs. 20, 213, 216) the writings of Muslim apologist extraordinaire Karen Armstrong, whose whitewashing of all things Islamic is notorious.

Such are the claims, distortions, and recommendations of a book that McMaster wholeheartedly endorsed in 2010 as “excellent” and “deserv[ing] a wide readership,” a book that claims “[t]errorist organizations use a narrow and irreligious ideology to recruit undereducated and disenfranchised people to their cause.” This is yet another tired apologia that has been repeatedly debunked. [2]

Over a year ago I closed an article for Hoover Institution’s Strategika with the following sentence:

Time will tell whether the next [American presidential] administration will remain willfully ignorant of the nature of its jihadi enemy — which is fatal in war according to Sun Tzu’s ancient dictum, ‘know your enemy’ — or whether reality will trump political correctness.

The pun remains truer than ever: If the recommendations of Militant Islamist Ideology reflect McMaster’s views on U.S. security and Islam — especially this notion of cooperating with “Nonmilitant Islamists” — then it seems we are going right back to being “willfully ignorant” of reality.

———————————

[1] Excerpt followsUnderstanding the role of the Muslim Brother in North America

“The process of settlement is a “Civilization-Jihadist Process” with all the word means. The Ikhwan [meaning Muslim Brotherhood] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.”

“Without this level of understanding, we are not up to this challenge and have not prepared ourselves for Jihad yet. It is a Muslim’s destiny to perform Jihad and work wherever he is and wherever he lands until the final hour comes, and there is no escape from that destiny except for those who chose to slack.”

[2] Here is McMaster’s entire endorsement, as it appears on the back of the book’s jacket cover:

“Terrorist organizations use a narrow and irreligious ideology to recruit undereducated and disenfranchised people to their cause. Understanding terrorist ideology is the first and may also be the most important step in ensuring national and international security against the threat that these organizations pose.

Youssef Aboul-Enein’s book is an excellent starting point in that connection. Militant Islamist Ideology deserves a wide readership among all those concerned with the problem of transnational terrorism, their ideology, and our efforts to combat those organizations that pose a serious threat to current and future generations of Muslims and non-Muslims alike.”

Opposition Builds Against Mattis Pick Who Met With Muslim Brotherhood

Anne Patterson / Getty Images

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, March 13, 2017:

Opposition is mounting on Capitol Hill and in conservative foreign policy circles over Defense Secretary James Mattis’s efforts to hire a former Obama administration official who lobbied in favor of engagement with the Muslim Brotherhood and spearheaded efforts to criticize Israeli counter-terrorism efforts, according to multiple sources close to the Trump administration.

Mattis is lobbying to hire former diplomat Anne Patterson as undersecretary of defense for policy, according to multiple reports, a position that would make her the third most powerful voice at the Defense Department.

Multiple sources on Capitol Hill and those close to the Trump foreign policy teams are voicing concerns about the pick, warning that Patterson would seek to continue some of the former Obama administration’s most controversial foreign policies, such as conducting outreach to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Patterson, who served as U.S. ambassador to Egypt when the Muslim Brotherhood rose to power, advocated in favor of negotiating with the terror group. Her efforts drew outrage in the Egyptian reformist community, which still views Patterson as working to legitimize the Muslim Brotherhood.

As assistant secretary of state for near east affairs in the Obama administration, Patterson also led efforts to criticize Israeli authorities after they killed a Palestinian-American terrorist who was attempting to stab civilians.

Patterson’s record under the Obama administration has raised concerns on Capitol Hill, where she would require Senate confirmation in order to assume the Defense Department post.

Multiple sources who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon about the matter expressed opposition to the pick and outlined larger concerns about efforts by Mattis to hire former Obama administration officials who conservatives view as responsible for multiple failures in U.S. foreign policy.

These sources also expressed concern about the Trump administration’s failure to remove former Obama officials from the administration, citing the efforts by some to kneecap President Donald Trump’s foreign policy team and preserve Obama-era policies.

“This would be a disastrous choice,” one senior congressional aide tracking the matter told the Free Beacon. “Patterson has a well-documented track record of sticking up for extremist groups at every turn. Her selection would mean elevating someone whose views not only run counter to the president’s, but U.S. national security as well. The administration should seriously reconsider.”

A second senior Republican Senate aide expressed similar concerns. Patterson’s views run counter to the foreign policy outlook expressed by Trump on the campaign trail, the source noted.

There is mounting concern over the promotion of Patterson to such a senior role, according to the source, who said this would “would send the wrong message given her background in Egypt, in particular her sympathies to the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Insiders close to Trump’s national security team described mounting concern over Mattis’s efforts to hire Patterson.

“People concerned about the U.S.-Egypt relationship don’t know what to make of Mattis’s support for Anne Patterson,” said one source, who explained that Patterson’s record on Egypt is vastly different that Mattis’ own comments about recalibrating relations with the country.

“Egyptians I have spoken to, both in and outside government, are extremely worried right now,” the source added. “First, they can’t believe they might have to contend with Patterson’s pro-Brotherhood polices; and second, it’s causing them to re-evaluate who they thought Secretary Mattis is.”

As the Trump administration looks to reset years of strained relations with Cairo, the selection of Patterson could draw outrage from secular leaders who are still angered by her engagement with the Muslim Brotherhood, sources explained.

One Egyptian opposition leader who spoke to the Free Beacon during the 2013 revolution in Egypt described Patterson as “the first enemy of the revolution,” claiming “she is hated even more than [former Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed] Morsi.”

Patterson met in 2012 with Brotherhood leader Mohammed Badie, who has been extremely critical of the United States.

Patterson still has strained relations with current Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Reports in Middle Eastern publications indicated that Patterson pressured al-Sisi to release imprisoned Muslim Brotherhood members and later threatened him when he refused to do so.

Sources also raised questions about Patterson’s commitment to Trump’s foreign policy, which seeks to isolate fanatical religious organizations such as the Brotherhood and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC.

Patterson cast doubt during a 2015 Senate hearing on efforts to designate the IRGC as a terrorist group, efforts that are likely to be revisited by Trump’s team.

One senior Republican foreign policy adviser who has close ties to the White House told the Free Beacon that Patterson would represent a continuation of the Obama administration’s failed engagement in the Middle East.

“Anne Patterson is the embodiment of the Obama administration’s failed approach to the Middle East, which focused on crowding out our traditional Arab allies with radical Islamists from Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood,” said the source, who requested anonymity to speak freely about the administration.

“As the post-Kerry State Department becomes less and less relevant, and the White House and Defense Department take over foreign policy strategy, it’s beyond irresponsible to put her in charge of the Pentagon’s policy apparatus,” the source said.

***

There is a lot of conflicting information floating around that just doesn’t add up. Mattis is not a fan of the Muslim Brotherhood. Listen to his own words:

The Swamp Takes Aim at Seb Gorka

Sebastian Gorka (Photo: Seventh Army Training Command)

Sebastian Gorka (Photo: Seventh Army Training Command)

A series of hit pieces is part of an effort to take down the White House counterterrorism adviser.

National Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy — March 1, 2017

They’ve taken down General Michael Flynn. The former Trump national-security adviser resigned under fire when a false narrative — his purported collusion with election-hacking Russians — was inflamed by criminal intelligence leaks, exacerbated by his poor judgment (or, at the least, poor execution of his duty to brief senior administration officials). Now, the swamp is after its next scalp, Sebastian Gorka, a White House counterterrorism adviser. If the White House is wise, they won’t get it.

Seb is a friend of mine. He is also an accomplished scholar of jihadist ideology and methodology. A series of transparently coordinated hit pieces against him has issued from the usual mainstream-media sources. They have been ably rebutted, among other places, here at National Review Online, in a column by Colin Dueck, and at the Washington Free Beacon, in reports by Bill Gertz and Adam Kredo. The notion that he is racist, “Islamophobic” (as opposed to anti-jihadist), or uninformed is absurd. I wish only to add a couple of observations to the mix.

First, Washington’s government-centric clerisy has forged its own counterterrorism industry over the years, consisting of former investigators and intel analysts, along with the academics who collaborate with them. Much of the work they have done is very solid. But some of it has been highly politicized — in the Bush years, when the powers that be took umbrage at any suggestion that Islamic culture and some mainstream currents of Islamic thought are inherently resistant to Western democracy; and in the Obama years, when any whisper of the nexus between classical, scripture-based Islamic doctrine and terrorism committed by Muslims was a firing offense.

Gorka, an American citizen who grew up in London and holds a doctorate in political science from the Budapest University of Economic Sciences and Public Administration, is an outside-the-Beltway academic. His clear-eyed understanding of totalitarian ideology, as we shall see, is largely based on having experienced its wages. In short, he is a gate-crasher who does not share the industry’s presumptions. Worse, from the industry’s perspective, he is an extraordinarily effective speaker and writer, who connects well in the classroom, on the page, in the council hall, and at the television studio. He is anathema to an expert class that has spent years willingly putting itself in the service of such farce as “countering violent extremism,” “workplace violence,” “Arab Spring,” “religion of peace,” and other manifestations of willful blindness.

There is thus a target on his back. The Trump administration’s quick cashiering of General Flynn has convinced establishment Washington that it may not take much character assassination for the next guy to be thrown under the proverbial bus.

Second, Flynn was replaced as national-security adviser by General H. R. McMaster, a commendable warrior but one lodged firmly in the Bush/Obama see-no-Islam mindset, which is at odds with Trump’s oft-stated determination to recognize the connection between Islam and terrorism. General McMaster evidently objects to Trump’s naming of “radical Islamic terrorism” as the enemy. As I’ve contended, naming the enemy is necessary but not nearly sufficient; it is but a first step toward the real necessity of understanding the enemy. I have expressed my own reservations about the term “radical Islamic terrorism,” so I can hardly fault McMaster on that score. I can quarrel, though, with his reportedly Obama-esque position that the Islamic State is not Islamic. That is no more sensible than saying that the Islamic State is perfectly representative of Islam.

There is wide diversity in the observance of Islam, and significant diversity — though less of it — in Islamic doctrine. If that were not the case, there would be no Muslim reformers, since there would be nothing objectionable to reform. I’ve argued that there is enough internecine conflict among Muslims to call into question whether there actually is a “true Islam”; and that it has thus been a waste of precious national-security energy to debate for nearly the last 40 years whether jihadists — who are practicing a scripturally endorsed form of warfare — are “un-Islamic.” From the perspective of Americans concerned about security and liberty, what matters is that (a) a sizable plurality of the world’s 1.5 billion-plus Muslims believes classical sharia — which fundamentally contravenes our Constitution — is the required framework for governing society, and (b) some percentage of that plurality is active in the pursuit of that belief, including a small but not insubstantial subset of violent jihadists. Whether these sharia-supremacist Muslims are faithful or heretical is not something non-Muslims are going to decide for Muslims, nor are Muslims much interested in our meanderings on the subject.

There is not only diversity in Islam, there are salient contextual differences in how we must deal with this diversity. There are places in the world where American interests are at stake and where Islamists are the only game in town — such that alliances with unsavory elements are unavoidable if worse elements are to be quelled. Warriors like General McMaster were thrust into such situations and could not have carried out their missions otherwise. Understandably, they have a perspective on the prudence of going the extra mile not to give offense to Muslims that is apt to be different from, say, a federal prosecutor whose case hinges on a jury’s understanding of the nexus between the defendants’ fundamentalist Islamic doctrine and their terrorist actions. It ought, moreover, to be common sense that how we should deal with Islamists on their turf when our security requires it may be markedly different from how we should deal with them on our turf when they are making demands that run counter to our principles and culture.

What these and other permutations ought to tell us is that group-think burdened by political correctness is the enemy of security. If an administration is going to meet our challenges effectively, it needs General McMaster and Dr. Gorka. It needs patriotic experts whose goal is the same — to protect the United States — but whose well-grounded views and experiences of what that requires may be very different. To untold millions of Muslims, jihadist terror is an abomination. But if the president is hearing only that terrorism is “un-Islamic,” he is missing a big part of the picture, and he can never “know thine enemy.”

Seb Gorka is far from an extremist. His short, accessible, best-selling book Defeating Jihad is a good, macro-level primer on the Islamic doctrinal and scholarly roots of jihadist terror. He is quite clear in it, as he has been in his public presentations, that Muslims are, by far, the most numerous victims of jihadism. Indeed, while I see the focal point of the threat as adherence to classical sharia, Seb emphasizes takfiri jihad, which targets Muslims who do not adhere to the brutal al-Qaeda and ISIS construction of Islam.

There are three major takeaways from the book, all rooted in Seb’s argument that the threat against us is ideologically-based. First, the ideological challenge is as much within Islam as about Islam, so it is critical that we empower our Muslim allies. Second, it is an ideological challenge of a nature we have successfully dealt with before (the book seeks a modern analogue to the Cold War containment doctrine championed by George Kennan and Paul Nitze). Third, it is an ideological challenge rooted in totalitarianism, a subject Seb grasps with particular clarity. The most riveting part of the book is the prologue, in which he relates the story of his own father, an operative in Hungary’s anti-Soviet resistance, who was detained for years and tortured after being double-crossed by Britain’s traitorous Philby spy ring. The elder Gorka made his way to the West, and to freedom, in the chaos of the 1956 uprising, even as the Kremlin crushed it.

Seb Gorka has valuable insight about the need for clarity and resolve in confronting a determined, remorseless enemy. He is a resource the Trump national-security team is fortunate to have. They’d be well advised to keep him, regardless of the Swamp’s preferences.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

Also see:

Attacks on Top Trump Adviser Gorka a Product of Obama Admin Holdovers, Targeted Leaks

Images via AP and Flickr user Ariel Dovas

Images via AP and Flickr user Ariel Dovas

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, Feb. 27, 2017:

Obama administration holdovers and loyalists are waging a leak-driven media campaign against a senior counter-terrorism adviser hand-picked by President Donald Trump, with the aim of undermining the Trump administration’s national security apparatus, according to multiple senior White House officials and sources close to the administration.

Sebastian Gorka, a longtime national security expert profiled by senior editor Bill Gertz in today’s Free Beacon, has been the subject of multiple leaks and negative stories portraying him as a bigot as part of a campaign similar to the one that brought down former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

Senior White House officials dismissed the media narratives and said Gorka is well liked and respected by Trump’s innermost crowd. Several of these sources would only speak on background because they were not authorized to discuss internal White House workings. They also expressed growing concern about leaks from within the administration that are aimed at undermining Trump’s senior advisers.

The media’s focus on Gorka comes on the heels of a similar situation in which Obama administration holdovers and loyalists targeted Flynn by planting selective leaks of classified information in newspapers across the country. The Free Beacon first disclosed this effort a day after Flynn was forced to resign.

The most recent campaign against Gorka is being fueled by career staffers and anti-Trump insiders who fear being exiled by the current administration, according to senior White House officials familiar with the situation.

“Those who are brought in [to the White House], whether they’re detailed or direct hires, but who are there because they support Trump and the Trump agenda, those people like him,” one senior White House official told the Free Beacon. The official said the attacks were from Obama holdovers who would “have a problem with anybody who departs from their worldview. Seb is just a lightning rod.”

Senior White House staff has not lost faith in Gorka, the official said.

“They just don’t like anyone else in the White House weighing in on foreign policy,” the official added, referring to career National Security Council, executive branch, and State Department officials, many of whom remained in government after Trump’s election.

“The unhinged attacks on Seb Gorka are shameful but unsurprising, as they’re coming from the architects of and cheerleaders for nearly a decade of failed Obama counterterror policy,” said one source who is close to both the White House and Gorka.

Rep. Mike Gallagher (R., Wis.), a member of the House Armed Services and Homeland Security Committees, described Gorka as “very insightful and highly professional.”

“You may disagree with some of his arguments, but his patriotism is beyond question,” Gallagher told the Free Beacon. “And the fact that some of the architects of our failed foreign policy of the last eight years—which has allowed a terrorist state to emerge in the heart of the Middle East and triggered a rise in global salafi jihadism—are now trying to smear and discredit Seb is ironic and irresponsible. The counterterrorism field is highly politicized, and I fear the personal attacks on him are politically motivated.”

As part of the effort to undermine Gorka, multiple publications, including those in the Jewish world, have sought to tie him to anti-Semitic movements and leaders. While multiple insiders dismissed the claims as nonsense, they admitted that the headlines have had an impact.

The attacks on Gorka are partly aimed at muddying the Obama administration’s history of anti-Israel diplomacy, these sources said.

“This has nothing to do with Gorka and everything to do with protecting Obama’s legacy on Israel,” said one source. “Gorka understands that America and Israel face the same threats, and that many of our enemies target Israel specifically because it’s the Jewish state. The Obama administration attacked Israel and downplayed anti-Semitism, but they never admitted it, and the policies Gorka is pushing would make the gap obvious.”

David Reaboi, a national security consultant who has known Gorka and his wife personally and professionally for nearly a decade, told the Free Beacon that the most recent claims about Gorka are false.

“I’ve known Seb for nearly a decade,” Reaboi said. “In addition to our Hungarian backgrounds and our families’ struggles against communism in Eastern Europe, we share an interest in defeating the global jihadist movement. He is a good friend, a bright and penetrating analyst, a brilliant communicator, and a passionate defender of liberty and American values.”

***

Attack dog Michael S. Smith II apparently may go head to head with Tucker. That would be fun to watch!

***

Also see:

Klein: New York Times Lobbies for Muslim Brotherhood

Daniel Berehulak/Getty

Daniel Berehulak/Getty

Breitbart, by Aaron Klein, February 10, 2017:

TEL AVIV – The New York Times in recent days has run numerous articles and opinion pieces advocating against designating the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization amid reports the Trump administration is debating doing just that.

The Muslim Brotherhood openly seeks to establish a worldwide Islamic caliphate based on Sharia law. While many Brotherhood wings reject the use of violence as a strategic tactic, preferring instead a sophisticated gradualist strategy to achieve their aims, the Brotherhood has spawned terrorist organizations – most notably Hamas – that adhere to its philosophy of a world order based on Islam. The Brotherhood was also a central player in the so-called Arab Spring, revolutions punctuated by violence across the Arab world.

Designating the Brotherhood a terrorist organization would add the U.S. to the growing list of nations to do so, including Muslim countries like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

The Times’ propagation of the Brotherhood culminated in an editorial board piece published Thursday titled, “All of Islam Isn’t the Enemy.”

In the editorial, the newspaper warned designating the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization “would be seen by many Muslims as another attempt to vilify adherents of Islam.”  The paper claimed that the possible designation “appears to be part of a mission by the president and his closest advisers to heighten fears by promoting a dangerously exaggerated vision of an America under siege by what they call radical Islam.”

The Times’ advocacy for the Brotherhood is particularly noteworthy since it separately posted a full Arabic document from 1991 in which an Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood member set forth a strategy for “eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within,” with emphasis on operations inside the U.S.

In Thursday’s editorial, the newspaper laid out its case for the Brotherhood:

There are good reasons that the Brotherhood, with millions of members, doesn’t merit the terrorist designation. Rather than a single organization, it is a collection of groups and movements that can vary widely from country to country. While the Brotherhood calls for a society governed by Islamic law, it renounced violence decades ago, has supported elections and has become a political and social organization. Its branches often have tenuous connections to the original movement founded in Egypt in 1928.

Addressing the Brotherhood’s support for the electoral process and purportedly becoming a political organization, an extensive report on the Brotherhood by the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at Israel’s Center for Special Studies explained the group’s use of some tools of democracy to advance the aim of achieving a world ruled by Sharia law, which is by definition anti-democratic.

Drawing from founding Brotherhood documents and original literature by Brotherhood leaders, the Center explained:

Unlike the militant factions of other Islamist movements, which completely rule out democracy on the basis of it being a Western, pagan, and ignorant idea, the Muslim Brotherhood does use the term “democracy.” In its view, however, it has two main connotations: a tactical, instrumental means of taking over countries through the use of the democratic process, and an “Islamic democracy” based on Sharia law (i.e., Islamic religious law) and a model of internal consultation within the leadership

[Brotherhood Founder Sheikh Hassan] Al-Banna listed seven stages to achieve these objectives, each to be carried out in a gradual fashion. The stages are divided into social and political: the first three are based on educating the individual, the family, and the entire society of the Muslim world to implement Sharia laws in every aspect of daily life. The next four stages are political in nature, and include assuming power through elections, shaping a Sharia state, liberating Islamic countries from the burden of (physical and ideological) foreign occupation, uniting them into one Islamic entity (“new caliphate”), and spreading Islamic values throughout the world.

Sharia law is explicitly anti-democratic. For example, under Sharia, non-Muslims cannot rule over Muslims; a Caliph can come to rule through force and seizure of power; a woman inherits half that of a man and non-Muslims cannot inherit from Muslims.

In the Times editorial, meanwhile, the newspaper claimed that those “advising Mr. Trump seem unwilling to draw distinctions” between the Brotherhood and its violent adherents.

The paper continued:

Stephen Bannon, the chief White House strategist, once called the Brotherhood “the foundation of modern terrorism.” And Frank Gaffney Jr., an anti-Muslim analyst who heads a small think tank, recently told the Times that the Brotherhood’s goals are “exactly the same” as those of the Islamic State and Al Qaeda.

Both of these statements are true. The Brotherhood’s historic ideological principles of establishing a worldwide Caliphate are indeed shared by the Islamic State and al-Qaeda, although their tactics greatly differ. And Brotherhood ideology has served as the foundation for groups like al-Qaeda.

The defining works of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leader, ideologue and theorist Sayyid Qutb, considered the Brotherhood’s intellectual godfather, greatly influenced Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda doctrine.

An extensive March 23, 2003, article in the New York Times magazine by Paul Berman dissected Qutb’s writings as they relate to terrorist ideology.

In the article titled “The Philosopher of Islamic Terror,” Berman documented the centrality of Qutb’s influence on al-Qaeda:

The organization (al-Qaeda) was created in the late 1980’s by an affiliation of three armed factions – bin Laden’s circle of ”Afghan” Arabs, together with two factions from Egypt, the Islamic Group and Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the latter led by Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al Qaeda’s top theoretician. The Egyptian factions emerged from an older current, a school of thought from within Egypt’s fundamentalist movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, in the 1950’s and 60’s. And at the heart of that single school of thought stood, until his execution in 1966, a philosopher named Sayyid Qutb – the intellectual hero of every one of the groups that eventually went into Al Qaeda, their Karl Marx (to put it that way), their guide.

In recent days, the Times has featured numerous other articles arguing against branding the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization.

An article on Tuesday warned, “Officially designating the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization would roil American relations in the Middle East. The leaders of some American allies — like Egypt, where the military forced the Brotherhood from power in 2013, and the United Arab Emirates — have pressed Mr. Trump to do so to quash internal enemies, but the group remains a pillar of society in parts of the region.”

“Critics said they feared that Mr. Trump’s team wanted to create a legal justification to crack down on Muslim charities, mosques and other groups in the United States,” added the Times. “A terrorist designation would freeze assets, block visas and ban financial interactions.”

A Times article on February 1 was titled, “Trump Pushes Dark View of Islam to Center of U.S. Policy-Making.”

The article lamented a worldview that “conflates terrorist groups like Al Qaeda and the Islamic State with largely nonviolent groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots and, at times, with the 1.7 billion Muslims around the world.”

A January 26 editorial titled “‘I Think Islam Hates Us’” informed readers the Trump administration “reportedly is considering designating the Muslim Brotherhood, which is involved in Muslim politics in a number of countries, as a terrorist organization. Some experts see the move as a chance for the Trump administration to limit Muslim political activity in the United States.”

 Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.

Sebastian Gorka Defends Trump’s National Security Actions

Sebastian Gorka, a deputy assistant to President Donald Trump, defended the president’s national security decisions Wednesday on CNN.

Host Jake Tapper asked Gorka what to make of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s statement earlier in the day to Iran that the country is being “put on notice.”

“Well, it’s a very simple signal: there’s a new sheriff in town,” Gorka said. “His name is Donald J. Trump, and we are not going to follow the policies of the prior administration, which really facilitated Iran in terms of getting more muscular, releasing those billions of dollars, and also bringing the JCPOA agreement, which also was disastrous in terms of our allies and security of the region.”

“So it’s sending a very simple message: this is a new dawn, a new day for relations with Iran.”

Tapper tried to ask Gorka if Iran would be emboldened to go ahead and produce nuclear weapons if Trump withdraws from the Iran nuclear deal.

“This is the great irony that people talk about how an action here in America in the White House or in the Congress will suddenly change the aggressive nature of Iran,” Gorka said. “This is a nation that is already going up to our naval vessels, is harassing our naval vessels, our friends’ vessels in the Red Sea, is firing upon Saudi ships.”

When Tapper asked Gorka if the immigration ban by Trump was going to help the Islamic State, Gorka lambasted the assertion.

“I would say that any document signed or executed in the United States makes no difference to ISIS. ISIS believes you are an infidel, Jake, and you should be beheaded or convert to Islam,” Gorka responded. “Whether or not a president signs something or not is utterly irrelevant to that attitude.”

“The idea that what we do here, that they’re suddenly going to surrender or give up or recruit less is absurd,” Gorka continued. “They wish to have a global caliphate, Jake. That’s all that they wish to do.”

***

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.”

Gertz: ‘America Is Extremely Vulnerable’ to Cyber Threats

iwarBY: Washington Free Beacon Staff
January 3, 2017

Washington Free Beacon senior editor Bill Gertz said that the United States is “extremely vulnerable” to cyber attacks during a radio interview with Sean Hannity on Tuesday evening. Gertz appeared on Hannity’s radio show to discuss his newly released book, iWar: War and Peace in the Information Age.

To begin the interview, Hannity asked Gertz what he thought of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s assertion that he did not receive hacked emails of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s campaign from Russian sources.

“We’re going to have to wait to see what the [Obama] administration’s investigation of the Russian influence operation is,” Gertz responded.

Hannity then referenced his previous interview with Assange in which the WikiLeaks founder claimed to have hacked into NASA at the age of sixteen, prompting Gertz to explain how vulnerable the U.S. is to what he described as information attacks.

“America is extremely vulnerable, and I think that’s the bottom line of this book, iWar. We’re getting killed in the information space,” Gertz said.

Gertz defined the information space as twofold: one part encompasses the use of cyber and technical attacks and the other involves information and content.

In the second chapter of his book, Gertz details the sophistication of North Korean cyber attacks, including the 2014 Sony breach after the entertainment company released a comedic movie that made fun of the North Korean regime. Gertz described an interview with a North Korean defector who “issued a dire warning” that the American government needs to do something to “counterattack North Korean information warfare operations.”

Continuing on this point, Gertz asserted that the CIA needs “dire reform.” Under the leadership of current CIA Director John Brennan, the organization, Gertz noted, has focused too heavily on drone strikes instead of clandestine information operations.

Hannity then played a brief snippet of his interview with Assange in which he repeatedly denied that the Russian government was behind the leaked Clinton and DNC emails during the 2016 election. Hannity asked Gertz what he thought of Assange’s adamant denials of receiving the hacked emails from Russian sources.

“On Assange I think it’s clear until he reveals where he obtained the information that he leaked, then I think the onus is going to be on him,” Gertz said. “And if he doesn’t reveal it, that’s going to be a problem.”

Later discussing America’s relationship with Russia and the country’s president, Vladimir Putin, Gertz declared that “we are definitely entering a new Cold War.” Gertz explained that in his new book he lays out Putin’s strategy to “reestablish the Soviet Union without communism.”

Hannity then asked Gertz what the new Trump administration can do to confront Iran after what he described as President Obama’s capitulation to Tehran with the Iran nuclear deal and the $1.7 billion payment early last year to the Iranian regime to free American hostages.

“We’ve got to use an information warfare campaign against Iran,” Gertz said, adding that the Obama administration missed a golden opportunity to do so during the Green Revolution in Iran in 2009.

Gertz suggested that the American government could establish a new institution to combat foreign enemies and administrations by using information and political warfare to spread American messages of freedom and democracy.

iWar can be purchased today in print or as an e-book from Amazon and a variety of other booksellers. It can be downloaded as an audiobook through iTunes and Audible.

Gertz is the author of seven books, including the New York Times best-selling Betrayal: How the Clinton Administration Undermined American Security.

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Bill Gertz’s ‘iWar’ Now Available as Audio Book

The new book by Free Beacon Senior Editor Bill Gertz, iWar: War and Peace in the Information Age, is now available in print and as an audio book.

Gertz is a long-time national security correspondent and columnist for the Free Beacon and Washington Times. He is the author of seven books, including the New York Times best-selling Betrayal: How the Clinton Administration Undermined American Security.

Gertz published iWar to explain the digital battle being waged between the United States and foreign adversaries like Russia, China, North Korea, and Iran.

A five-minute excerpt of the audio book is embedded below.

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The following is an excerpt from the book

Chinese Information Warfare: The Panda That Eats, Shoots, and Leaves