Archive for the ‘Military’ Category
While the Department of Homeland Security downplays possible U.S. threats from the Islamic State, Army intelligence has issued its own warning to military personnel about the possibility of an attack against them on U.S. soil.
The Army Threat Integration Center (ARTIC) issued a special assessment warning on Islamic State threats against the homeland that was more foreboding than recent comments from Homeland Security officials, even while acknowledging the intelligence community has no specific intelligence of a plot on the American soil.
“Given the continued rhetoric being issued by ISIL’s media services and supporters through various social media platforms the ARTIC is concerned of the possibility of an attack. Soldiers, Government Civilians and Family Members are reminded to be vigilant of their surroundings and report suspicious activities to their respective military or local law enforcement,” the declassified assessment says, using an acronym for the Islamic State.
A new Government Accountability Institute (GAI) report reveals that President Barack Obama has attended only 42.1% of his daily intelligence briefings (known officially as the Presidential Daily Brief, or PDB) in the 2,079 days of his presidency through September 29, 2014.
The GAI report also included a breakdown of Obama’s PDB attendance record between terms; he attended 42.4% of his PDBs in his first term and 41.3% in his second.
The GAI’s alarming findings come on the heels of Obama’s 60 Minutes comments on Sunday, wherein the president laid the blame for the Islamic State’s (ISIS) rapid rise squarely at the feet of his Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.
“I think our head of the intelligence community, Jim Clapper, has acknowledged that I think they underestimated what had been taking place in Syria,” said Obama.
According to Daily Beast reporter Eli Lake, members of the Defense establishment were “flabbergasted” by Obama’s attempt to shift blame.
“Either the president doesn’t read the intelligence he’s getting or he’s bullshitting,” a former senior Pentagon official “who worked closely on the threat posed by Sunni jihadists in Syria and Iraq” told the Daily Beast.
On Monday, others in the intelligence community similarly blasted Obama and said he’s shown longstanding disinterest in receiving live, in-person PDBs that allow the Commander-in-Chief the chance for critical followup, feedback, questions, and the challenging of flawed intelligence assumptions.
“It’s pretty well-known that the president hasn’t taken in-person intelligence briefings with any regularity since the early days of 2009,” an Obama national security staffer told the Daily Mail on Monday. “He gets them in writing.”
The Obama security staffer said the president’s PDBs have contained detailed threat warnings about the Islamic State dating back to before the 2012 presidential election.
Late last week, House Speaker John Boehner endorsed the idea of holding a Congressional vote to authorize the President’s war against the Islamic State, but said that he preferred waiting until the new Congress takes office in January to do so:
With American airstrikes in Syria continuing, Speaker John A. Boehner is increasingly convinced that Congress must hold a full debate on granting President Obama the authority to use military force against terrorists.
“I have made it clear that I think the House and the Congress itself should speak,” the speaker said in an exclusive, wide-ranging interview with First Draft.
But Mr. Boehner believes a post-election, lame-duck session is the wrong time for such a weighty decision.
There’s just one problem with Speaker Boehner’s position, and it has to do with the fact that he could have scheduled a vote before the midterm elections, or even reconvened Congress before Labor Day to give members time to adequately debate this issue, if he wanted to.
So, in some sense, Boehner is right that it should be the 114th Congress that decides this issue at this point, but because of his own failure to bring this matter before Congress sooner that debate will be essentially meaningless anyway.
We’re being had. Again.
For six years, President Obama has endeavored to will the country into accepting two pillars of his alternative national-security reality. First, he claims to have dealt decisively with the terrorist threat, rendering it a disparate series of ragtag jayvees. Second, he asserts that the threat is unrelated to Islam, which is innately peaceful, moderate, and opposed to the wanton “violent extremists” who purport to act in its name.
Now, the president has been compelled to act against a jihad that has neither ended nor been “decimated.” The jihad, in fact, has inevitably intensified under his counterfactual worldview, which holds that empowering Islamic supremacists is the path to security and stability. Yet even as war intensifies in Iraq and Syria — even as jihadists continue advancing, continue killing and capturing hapless opposition forces on the ground despite Obama’s futile air raids — the president won’t let go of the charade.
Hence, Obama gives us the Khorosan Group.
There is a reason that no one had heard of such a group until a nanosecond ago, when the “Khorosan Group” suddenly went from anonymity to the “imminent threat” that became the rationale for an emergency air war there was supposedly no time to ask Congress to authorize.
The “Khorosan Group” is al-Qaeda. It is simply a faction within the global terror network’s Syrian franchise, “Jabhat al-Nusra.”
As these columns have long contended, Obama has not quelled our enemies; he has miniaturized them. The jihad and the sharia supremacism that fuels it form the glue that unites the parts into a whole — a worldwide, ideologically connected movement rooted in Islamic scripture that can project power on the scale of a nation-state and that seeks to conquer the West. The president does not want us to see the threat this way.
On the day Attorney General Eric Holder announced his resignation, President Barack Obama enacted an executive action on Thursday to allow certain DREAMers to serve in the military and be put on an expedited path to citizenship.
Obama vowed to hold off on broad executive amnesty that would also potentially grant temporary work permits to millions of illegal immigrants until after the midterm elections to help Senate Democrats retain the Senate. According to the Military Times, this executive action will expand MAVNI (Military Accessions in the National Interest) “to target foreign nationals with high-demand skills, mostly rare foreign language expertise, or specialized health care training.”
The program, which admits foreigners with specialized medical or language skills, will now be “open to immigrants without a proper visa if they came to the U.S. with their parents before age 16″ and have been approved for Obama’s 2012 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.
The MAVNI program “is capped at 1,500 recruits per year,” and Obama’s executive action “may be the first phase of a broader government-wide effort to ease pressure on immigrants and create new paths to citizenship,” according to the Times, because “after entering military service, foreigners are eligible for expedited U.S. citizenship.” The Times noted that “since 2001, more than 92,000 foreign-born service members have become citizens while serving in uniform.”
A U.S. Marine who vanished from his unit in Iraq will be tried on desertion charges, the U.S. military announced Friday.
Cpl. Wassef Hassoun, 34, was in Lebanon for eight years after disappearing from his Fallujah, Iraq, unit in 2004. Roughly a week after his disappearance, a photo of Hassoun with a sword above his head was allegedly released by rebels. Hassoun, a U.S. citizen who grew up in Lebanon, told the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon that he was kidnapped by extremists, but the military doubted his story, The Associated Press reports.
Maj. Gen. William D. Beydler referred Hassoun to a general court-martial, and Hassoun faces charges of desertion, larceny, and destruction of government property, according to a Marine statement. Defense attorney Haytham Faraj told AP that Lebanese authorities kept Hassoun from leaving the country. Faraj argued that the desertion charges against Hassoun are baseless, because he did not exhibit an intent not to return to the Marines.
Hassoun’s trial will be held at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, where he is being held. The date of his trial has not yet been announced.
U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), who holds a coveted seat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has skipped out on nearly half of the public hearings held by the committee over the last two years, including one where counterterrorism officials warned of the emerging ISIS danger, documents show.
Shaheen missed an April 11, 2013, hearing on U.S. policy toward Syria in which a top U.S. Treasury official in charge of terrorist financing told Senate committee members that a new terrorist group, ISIS, had sprung up, “underscoring the danger this group poses for Syria and the world.”
Shaheen was not listed as being present at the hearing in a Foreign Relations Committee report.
Records also show Shaheen didn’t show up for full committee hearings on counterterrorism policies, U.S. policy toward Iran and a host of others involving security and foreign policy.
The threat of terrorism and ISIS has become a major flashpoint in Shaheen’s tough re-election battle in the Granite State against former U.S. Sen. Scott Brown. The ex-Massachusetts Republican has accused Shaheen of not making a statement about ISIS until last month and being too late to react to the jihadists’ bloody campaign.
Shaheen has defended her record, saying she has “been talking about this and the threat of a civil war in Syria” for years.
But apparently not much from her seat on the Foreign Relations committee.
So is this passage of his speech: ” … the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam. Islam teaches peace. Muslims the world over aspire to live with dignity and a sense of justice. And when it comes to America and Islam, there is no us and them, there is only us.”
But Islam and the holy Koran on which Muslim militant groups like al Qaeda and the Islamic State base their actions do call for the extermination of all who do not follow Islam, do demand that followers kill anyone who leaves the religion, do subjugate women. For the record, the Koran contains more than 100 verses that call Muslims to war with nonbelievers.
Mr. Obama said in his speech that “all people of faith have a responsibility to lift up the value at the heart of all great religions: Do unto thy neighbor as you would do — you would have done unto yourself.” But that is not a cornerstone of Islam. Militant Muslims have a very different belief: “Fight in the name of your religion with those who disagree with you.” And that edict comes straight from their holiest book.
To the president, that ideology “will wilt and die if it is consistently exposed and confronted and refuted in the light of day.” Again, the callowness is astounding. While he urged the world, “especially Muslim communities,” to reject the ideology that underlies al Qaeda and the Islamic State, nothing will change the fact that cold-blooded killers are determined to destroy the West, wipe all infidels from the face of the earth and build a new caliphate based on strict adherence to Shariah law (which leans heavily toward beheadings, lashings, stonings).
ISIS is calling for radicalized “lone wolves” in the United States to go to the homes of U.S. soldiers and “slaughter” military personnel.
This is part of what is expected to be “a continued call” for American military personnel to be targeted within the United States.
According to Fox News, one British jihadist “encouraged radicals still living in the West to use Facebook and Linkedln to find and target soldiers.” The jihadist tweeted: “You could literally search for soldiers, find their town, photos of them, look for addresses in Yellowbook or something. Then show up and slaughter them.”
Militants in Syria have also been using Twitter to “[encourage] Muslims in the West to target soldiers with spontaneous attacks using [knives and guns],” the report continued.
On September 16, NBC News reported on a Rochester, New York man, Mafid A. Elfgeeh, who was charged for “trying to recruit people to join…ISIS…and shoot people in the United States.” Elfgeeh is a naturalized U.S. citizen from Yemen. The targets Elfgeeh allegedly had in mind were “American military personnel returning from the Middle East.”
The Obama administration continues to claim the Islamic State poses no immediate threat to the homeland, but the threats against our soldiers on our soil, not just serving abroad, appear quite immediate.
When we engage in military action, we ask service members to risk their lives and their health, physical and mental. Even those who come home physically safe may see or do things in war that will affect them for the rest of their lives. Asking Congress to debate and vote on this issue is a small sacrifice in comparison.
Mr. Obama began airstrikes against ISIS (also known as ISIL) in August — during a congressional recess — to protect American lives in Iraq and avoid humanitarian catastrophe. But when the president decided last week to “go on offense” against the group, the need for congressional approval was plain. I and other senators have repeatedly called for Mr. Obama to submit this important mission to Congress, and for Congress to grapple with it in the manner required by Article I of the Constitution. The announcement last week by the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Robert Menendez, Democrat of New Jersey, that the committee would craft authorizing language is a positive step.
We in Congress must also heed the painful lessons from the language of the authorization of the use of military force that was enacted days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks at the request of President George W. Bush. In just 60 words, Congress authorized the president to take action against the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks, but imposed no temporal or geographic limitations on the effort. Subsequent interpretations expanded the scope of action to include the broadly defined universe of “associated forces.” At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in May 2013, representatives of the Obama administration blithely opined that the 2001 authorization could allow for war to be carried out for another 25 years, an astonishing claim that surely went beyond what Congress intended 13 years ago.
We should not be stretching the open-ended 9/11 authorization even further to cover action against ISIS, an organization that didn’t even exist until years after the 9/11 attacks and is in open conflict with Al Qaeda. Instead, we should be drafting a specific, narrow authorization for limited military action as described by Mr. Obama last week: airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, the training and equipping of forces in the region to fight ISIS, and counterterrorism operations to eliminate the organization’s leadership. And we should put an appropriate expiration date on this authority, so that the president and Congress can assess progress and decide whether to continue the mission.