Category Archives: “Intelligence”

Um. Ok…

Obama Refers To Some Illegal Immigrants As ‘Gang Bangers’

During a town hall style event in Nashville to discuss Obamacare, President Obama referred to some illegal immigrants as “gang-bangers,” adding they should be deported.

Obama made his remarks after he was asked if he would expand Obamacare benefits to illegal immigrants.

“We should not be encouraging illegal immigration,” he remarked to the group. “What we should be doing is setting up a smart legal immigration system that doesn’t separate families but does focus on making sure that people who are dangerous, people who are, you know, gang-bangers, who are criminals that we’re deporting as quickly as possible.”

Obama boasted that “we’ve made improvements on all those fronts,” but blamed House Republicans for failing to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

During his conversation, he pointed out that some illegal immigrants are contributing to society and families need a pathway to legalization.

He referred to his executive actions on immigration reform as one way he was handling the issue in the meantime while he’s waiting for Congress to act.

“I suspect this will be a topic of conversation during the upcoming presidential campaign,” he said.

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You Can’t Compromise with Culture Warriors

JonahGoldberg

I loved reading the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie books to my daughter.

The somewhat Aesopian theme is that if you give the mouse what it wants – a cookie – it will just want more: a glass of milk, a straw, etc.

The story came to mind last week, a week that began with many vowing to inter the Confederate flag and that ended with the Supreme Court mandating that there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage. As far as culture-war victories go, the flag news was big, but the marriage ruling was tantamount to VE Day.

It might be too much to think that progressive activists and intellectuals would demobilize after such a “Mission Accomplished” moment. But a reasonable person might expect social-justice warriors to at least take the weekend off to celebrate.

But no. Even when the cookie is this big, the mice want something more. The call went out that there were new citadels to conquer. Within hours of the decision, Politico ran a call to arms titled “It’s Time to Legalize Polygamy: Why Group Marriage Is the Next Horizon of Social Liberalism.” On Sunday, Time magazine had Mark Oppenheimer’s “Now’s the Time to End Tax Exemptions for Religious Institutions.”

I very much doubt we’ll get a constitutional right for teams of people to get “married,” but I have every confidence the drumbeat will grow louder. Social justice – forever ill-defined so as to maximize the power of its champions – has become not just an industry but also a permanent psychological orientation among journalists, lawyers, educators, and other members of the new class of eternal reformers.

By no means are social-justice warriors always wrong. But they are untrustworthy, because they aren’t driven by a philosophy so much as an insatiable appetite that cannot take yes for an answer. No cookie will ever satisfy them. Our politics will only get uglier, as those who resist this agenda realize that compromise is just another word for appeasement.

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Ending Washington’s mandate on Common Core

WashingtonTimes

The United States Senate will soon begin debate on a bill to get the federal government out of our local classrooms by permanently ending Washington’s mandate on Common Core.

Common Core started out as a state-led effort to create high standards that states would voluntarily adopt, but the Obama administration had different ideas. It disrupted that process by forcing states to adopt the standards, first through Race to the Top grants, and next through waivers. Waivers from onerous provisions of No Child Left Behind are granted only to states that agree to implement the White House’s preferred education policies — Common Core.

It says a lot when even The New York Times refers to the waiver process as “the most sweeping use of executive authority to rewrite federal education law since Washington expanded its involvement in education in the 1960s.”

The Senate’s bill, the Every Child Achieves Act, would reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. Language I fought to include in this bill will, once and for all, end the Obama administration’s use of waivers to force or incentivize states to adopt Common Core standards.

And it will end the Obama administration’s — and, for that matter, any future administration’s — ability to use any tool of coercion to force states to adopt Common Core — or any set of standards at all, whether it’s Common Core by another name or some new set of standards. Period.

That’s one reason why in April the Every Child Achieves Act passed out of the Senate education committee on a unanimous vote. Republicans and Democrats alike voted to give control of academic standards back to states. The bill restores that responsibility to states, local school districts, teachers and parents.

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Oh, Goody…

Confident Obama not satisfied with his ‘best week ever’

President Obama said Tuesday he is not letting his foot off the gas pedal following a string of victories some are calling his “best week ever.”

Obama said he plans to harness momentum from wins at the Supreme Court and in Congress to complete the unfinished business left on his agenda.

“The list is long,” Obama said during a press conference with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. “We are going to squeeze every last ounce of progress that we can make as long as I have the privilege of holding this office.”

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The Wildfire Burns

RedState

For those of us of faith, it appears society has collectively lost its mind. Madness has set in. Yes, in fact, we see what Paul warns of in Romans 1. The people have been handed over to themselves and we are caught in the middle. It is a wildfire of the mind and society.

A lot of you want to check out of it. You want to take refuge, hide, and protect your families. You want to go for the Benedictine Model that Rod Dreher hints at — take shelter in the monastery and wait for the fire to burn itself out.

I actually think the Supreme Court’s decision on Friday hurts the Republicans in 2016. I think a lot of people whose votes they need will throw up their hands and walk away. They see a lot of Republican politicians declaring it time to move on. They see 300 Republicans, a lot of them from George W. Bush’s administration, supporting the decision. These cultural conservatives think it is time to get out of Dodge while the getting is good.

The 300 Republicans who wanted this case to go away as a political issue, might find that the base they have relied on goes away with it. They will not expand their base with black and hispanic voters as small government, cultural liberals. They will lose more of their base as they move away from cultural conservatism altogether.

Here is what I would say, though, to the conservatives thinking of departing for broad fields, no neighbors, and a life of small town values. The wildfire is burning. But, whether you think it nature or God, nature has a way of exerting itself and wildfires eventually run out of fuel or get rained on.

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Why We Lost; What We Lost

Ricochet

Yesterday’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges represents the culmination of a perfectly executed public relations campaign.

In a purely pragmatic sense, it’s difficult not to be impressed by what this activist-driven effort accomplished—I mean in real terms, not the unserious victory slogans of the campaign itself.

In no particular order, it:

1. Successfully and fundamentally transformed the definition of “marriage,” and did so in a way that portrayed efforts to preserve traditional marriage as the novelty, rather than the millennia-old status quo.

2. Successfully convinced a critical mass of the public that there is only one side in this debate, despite the fact that the side claiming the monopoly had only existed in any meaningful form for perhaps 20 years.

3. Successfully convinced a critical mass of the public that race and sexual orientation are directly analogous.

4. Successfully convinced a critical mass of the public (and jurists) that there is no possible argument against gay marriage—to the point where federal judges found that not permitting same-sex marriage is definitionally irrational, and had prominent left-leaning outlets calling yesterday’s dissents simply “crazy.”

5. Successfully branded opponents as simple “bigots” for daring to hold a different view on a live political issue, going so far as to take punitive action against those who did not adopt the “correct” viewpoint.

6. Successfully portrayed the battle as, literally, love versus hate.

7. Successfully accomplished all of the above in about a decade.

My God, the magnitude of it is staggering.

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Walker calls for constitutional amendment to let states define marriage

TheHill

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) is calling for a Constitutional amendment to allow states to define marriage and strip the Supreme Court of its authority over the issue after the justices legalized same-sex marriage nationwide.

“As a result of this decision, the only alternative left for the American people is to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to reaffirm the ability of the states to continue to define marriage,” Walker, a likely 2016 contender, said in a statement.

The Supreme Court ruled Friday that every state must recognize same-sex marriage under the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause.

Most of the Republican presidential candidates responded by blasting the court’s decision as overreach on a matter they say should be settled on a state-by-state basis. Walker, however, is the only contender to call for an amendment to the Constitution to enshrine into law a state’s right to determine whether gay marriage should be legal.

“The states are the proper place for these decisions to be made,” Walker said. “As we have seen repeatedly over the last few days, we will need a conservative president who will appoint men and women to the Court who will faithfully interpret the Constitution and laws of our land without injecting their own political agendas.”

Walker on Friday highlighted a vote he cast in 2006 to amend the Wisconsin constitution to “protect the institution of marriage from exactly this type of judicial activism.”

He said he recognized how difficult a process it is to amend the U.S. Constitution but that it should be encouraging to conservatives that the first time it ever happened was to protect the free exercise of religion.

“The First Amendment does not simply protect a narrow ‘right to worship,’ but provides broad protection to individuals and institutions to worship and act in accordance with their religious beliefs,” Walker said.

“I call on the president and all governors to join me in reassuring millions of Americans that the government will not force them to participate in activities that violate their deeply held religious beliefs,” he continued.

“No one wants to live in a country where the government coerces people to act in opposition to their conscience. We will continue to fight for the freedoms of all Americans.”

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Extortion bonanza: OPM hack exposed “intimate details” of cleared personnel

HotAir

The hack exposed the “adjudication information” from security clearance investigations — the raw data on embarrassing personal details that goes way beyond the SF-86s already known to have been exposed:

A senior U.S. official has confirmed that foreign hackers compromised the intimate personal details of an untold number of government workers. Likely included in the hackers’ haul: information about workers’ sexual partners, drug and alcohol abuse, debts, gambling compulsions, marital troubles, and any criminal activity.

Those details, which are now presumed to be in the hands of Chinese spies, are found in the so-called “adjudication information” that U.S. investigators compile on government employees and contractors who are applying for security clearances. The exposure suggests that the massive computer breach at the Office of Personnel Management is more significant and potentially damaging to national security than officials have previously said.

Three former U.S. intelligence officials told The Daily Beast that the adjudication information would effectively provide dossiers on current and former government employees, as well as contractors. It gives foreign intelligence agencies a roadmap for finding people with access to the government’s most highly classified secrets.

Obama administration officials had previously acknowledged the breach of information that applicants voluntarily disclose on a routine questionnaire, called Standard Form 86, but the theft of the more detailed and wide-ranging adjudication information appears to have gone overlooked.

This information didn’t come out initially, which is why it got “overlooked.” The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday afternoon that the lack of transparency on the hack resulted from a deliberate policy of obfuscation. The Obama administration decided to play this as two distinct hacks rather than one overall effort, a strategy that allowed the White House to hide the worst aspects of the stunning defeat:

The Obama administration for more than a week avoided disclosing the severity of an intrusion into federal computers by defining it as two breaches but divulging just one, said people familiar with the matter.

That approach has frustrated lawmakers as they probe the administration’s handling of one of the biggest-ever thefts of government records.

Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation suspect China was behind the hack of Office of Personnel Management databases discovered in April, and that those hackers accessed not only personnel files but security-clearance forms, current and former U.S. officials said. Such forms contain information that foreign intelligence agencies could use to target espionage operations. Chinese officials have said they weren’t involved.

The administration on June 4 disclosed the breach of personnel files—but not the security-clearance theft. That theft was disclosed a week later, even though investigators knew about it much earlier, people familiar with the situation said.

The WSJ report notes that 18 million Social Security numbers may be at risk for identity theft now, a number that has consistently escalated from the original OPM claim of under 2 million. Jason Chaffetz thinks it may be worse than that. Noting OPM’s latest budget rationale, Chaffetz says it looks like the number may be closer to 32 million — or 10% of the US population:

Data breaches at the Office of Personnel Management may have affected 32 million current, former and prospective federal employees, Rep. Jason Chaffetz said Wednesday.

That number could include potential military enlistees, as well, he told a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which he chairs.

That number comes from the agency’s fiscal 2016 budget proposal, in which it notes that OPM stores more personally identifiable information than any other agency.

That includes “banking information for more than 2 million annuitants and background investigations for more than 30 million people,” the budget document states.

In a hearing yesterday on the OPM hack, Chaffetz strongly suggested that OPM chief Katherine Archuleta consider another line of work:

For Archuleta, it was the latest appearance before angry lawmakers demanding answers about the personal information, including information used for background investigations for those seeking a security clearance. Some lawmakers have urged the White House to fire her.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican, said Wednesday he had no confidence in Archuleta.

“I think you are part of the problem,” Chaffetz said. “That hurricane has come and blown this building down, and I don’t want to hear about putting boards up on windows (now). It’s time for you to go.”

How could anyone have confidence in Archuleta at this point? The White House says that Barack Obama still does, but why is anyone’s guess. With up to 10% of the population now at risk for identity theft thanks to Archuleta’s ineptitude and the lack of disclosure from a poorly attempted strategy of misdirection, confidence in Obama – already getting lower — will dive as long as he keeps himself tied to Archuleta. A competent administration would have fired her weeks ago … but then again, a competent administration would have hired someone more capable in the first place.

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Reminds me of the Taliban destroying ancient artifacts…

The Democrats Get Their Crazy On

battle-flag-2aThe floodgates are open, and craziness is pouring out. The Democrats’ Confederate flag victory has them lusting for more. Hillary Clinton says South Carolina is only the beginning:

“It shouldn’t fly there. It shouldn’t fly anywhere,” Mrs. Clinton said of South Carolina….

In her discussion Tuesday with community leaders at Christ the King United Church of Christ in Florissant, Mo., Mrs. Clinton said the flag’s removal would be “just the beginning of what we have to do” to combat racism.

Of course it is. Everywhere, people preemptively abandoned the Stars and Bars. Alabama’s governor directed that it be taken down from that states’s capitol grounds. Amazon, Walmart, eBay and Sears all dropped the flag like a hot potato. Flag manufacturers terminated their Stars and Bars products. One leftist wrote Pope Francis to request that he denounce the use of St. Andrew’s Cross on the Confederate flag:

Doesn’t the fact that Saint Andrew’s cross appears on this evil symbol serve as an insult to the Catholic church which you lead?

But of course, it’s not just the flag. Shouldn’t every reminder of the Confederacy be eradicated? The New York Times headlines: “Calls to Drop Confederate Emblems Spread Nationwide.”

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OPM chief fights to save her job

Good luck with that…

The director of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is coming under heavy fire on Capitol Hill, with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle demanding that she step down for what could be the most devastating data breach in American history.

Director Katherine Archuleta has taken a beating in a series of tense congressional hearings. Lawmakers have accused her of shifting blame for the hack and moving too slowly to correct persistent security problems that were apparently exploited by China in a breathtaking siege of U.S. networks.

“The hurricane has come and gone and just now OPM is wanting to board up the windows,” said House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), during a four-hour hearing Wednesday.

“Personal accountability is paramount,” added Chaffetz, who is leading a growing congressional chorus calling for Archuleta to be fired.

Archuleta at one point sparred with Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) over who is at fault for the hack that has shaken the government.

“You also testified that no one is to blame, is that right?” Lynch asked.

“I believe the breach was caused by a very dedicated, a very focused actor who has spent much funds to get into our system,” Archuleta replied.

“I have worked since day one to improve …” she added before Lynch cut her off.

“Yeah I understand that,” he said. “You’re blaming the perpetrators.”

On the other side of the Capitol, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) took to the Senate floor Wednesday to berate the agency head, though he stopped short of calling for her removal.

“Let’s be honest, this appears primarily to be a management problem,” he said, describing Archuleta’s testimony thus far as “world-class buck passing.”

For two weeks, OPM and Congress have clashed over the extent of the breach.

When officials first announced the OPM intrusion, they said 4.2 million federal workers had been affected.

But just over a week later, the agency officials said they had uncovered a second breach of a separate system that housed background check information for security clearances — the basis for limiting access to some of the nation’s most closely guarded secrets.

The second intrusion laid bare data on millions of military and intelligence community personnel and, potentially, people outside the government, such as friends and family members who were named in background investigations.

The second hack could have affected up to 18 million people, according to reports.

While the government will not say so publicly, it’s widely believed that Chinese hackers pilfered the data from both systems as part of a broader scheme to build a comprehensive database on U.S. government workers. The sensitive data accessed could be used to imitate officials, stage future cyberattacks, or even recruit informants or blackmail administrators.

Despite repeated inquiries during hearings and classified briefings for the House and Senate, lawmakers had complained that OPM was refusing to provide a specific number for the second breach, let alone provide details about exactly who was affected.

That started to change on Wednesday, with alarming results.

“It is my understanding that the 18 million refers to a preliminary, unverified and approximate number of unique Social Security numbers in the background investigation data,” Archuleta said before the Oversight Committee.

The estimate of 18 million people does not include friends and family members named in background checks, Archuleta cautioned, meaning the total could grow if the agency decides those people “should be considered individuals affected by this incident.”

Eighteen million “is a number I am not comfortable with at this time because it does not represent the total number of affected individuals,” she said.

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