‘Dragon’s Egg’: Marines who guarded Saddam’s mysterious bunker fear weapons unleashed

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The U.S. Marines who guarded the sprawling complex in northwest Iraq where Saddam Hussein’s 1980s war machine churned out some of the most deadly chemical and biological weapons known to man had a name for one especially mysterious bunker: The Dragon’s Egg.

Although the Americans assigned to the Al Muthanna facility until 2008 were forbidden by superiors from peering inside the bunker, they knew the larger complex’s history. From 1983 to 1990, the brutal dictator’s scientists worked there, developing mustard, sarin, VX and Tabun gases for use on Iranian soldiers and Iraqi Kurds. And although it was under the control of U.S. and Iraqi military forces for most of the last decade, the entire facility – and whatever it held - is now firmly in the grasp of the Islamic State, the terrorist army that has claimed a vast swath of Iraq and Syria and allegedly used chemical weapons against Kurds this summer.

The X-shaped bunker, encased in cement and shrouded in mystery, was one of two that were handled differently from the many other bunkers that made up the facility, according to Lt. Joshua Hartley, who was stationed there in 2008. It was off-limits.

“We were made aware of a particular bunker on the north side [of Al Muthanna] which we were informed was sealed and remotely monitored,” Hartley, who served in the weapons company of the 1st Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, told FoxNews.com. “We were not to approach, and definitely not to attempt to enter.”

An Iraqi Army outpost was positioned immediately next to the Dragon’s Egg bunker, which was under constant observation. It was an open secret that the bunker contained vast amounts of Hussein’s most dangerous nerve agents, according to Hartley.

“We were not to approach, and definitely not to attempt to enter.”- Joshua Hartley, retired U.S. Marine lieutenant

“We became aware that there were two particular bunkers – one of which had reportedly been sealed up some time before – that held potentially devastating contents,” said Hartley, who went on to serve in Afghanistan and achieved the rank of captain before being discharged from the military. The Georgia native now lives in New York.

On Nov. 2, 2008, the Iraqi troops guarding the Dragon’s Egg were suddenly pulled from the outpost. Hartley’s platoon was ordered to clear the compound and members found 40 shells simply lying around outside of the bunker. They alerted superiors, but as they waited for specialized chemical weapons disposal units to arrive, Hartley recalled, one Marine “picked [a shell] up and could literally hear the liquid sloshing around inside of it.”

Marine Lance Cpl. Kevin Fanning, who served in Hartley’s platoon and corroborated the account, described other ominous discoveries made by the Marines as they cleared the area around the top-secret bunker.

“When we began searching, we discovered a huge stockpile of 105-millimeter artillery shells that were filled with mustard gas,” Fanning told FoxNews.com. “I have always wondered why it never became big news, as well as other incidents. I never doubted the existence of chemical and biological weapons in Iraq.”

 

 

Their account was similar to a separate one reported by The New York Times earlier this week, in which U.S. service members guarding Al Muthanna said a toxic agent used in mustard gas leaked out of a shell when a soldier picked it up. According to the Times, more than a dozen U.S. soldiers were injured by chemical weapons but the incidents were not made public.

Gen. Jack Kean, chairman of the Institute for the Study of War, former Army vice-chief of staff and a Fox News contributor, told Fox News’ ‘The Kelly File’ on Wednesday that it was known in high military circles that Hussein’s old weaponry was still around, although it was believed to be in poor condition.

“It was common knowledge in the chain of command that these storage sites existed and occasionally our soldiers would ‘bang into these things,’” Kean said.

Al Muthanna was known to be the nerve center of Hussein’s chemical weapons program, which was reportedly aided by western nations long before Operation Desert Storm. An October, 2000, report by the Federation of American Scientists identified it as a testing ground for Anthrax and Ricin. Although the chaos following the fall of Hussein in 2003 would seem to have made it essential that the secret bunker known as Dragon’s Egg be de-commissioned by specially-trained chemical weapons experts, it wasn’t until much later that international leaders took up the issue, according to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW). Discussions were held in November 2011, hosted by the U.S. in Aberdeen, Maryland, with 38 experts from around the world.

“All experts present during the roundtable agreed that bunker 13 at Al Muthanna represents a special case and that an entry into the bunker would expose personnel to explosive, chemical, and physical hazards,” the OPCW reported. “The potential for an explosion occurring is the most serious factor due to the presence of scattered fuses and warhead components.”

It is believed that the “bunker 13” referenced at the meeting is the one Hartley and his men called Dragon’s Egg.

A U.S. State Department report last February indicated that administration officials were fully aware of the potentially huge dangers the bunker and another one like it at Al Muthanna presented.

“The [Chemical Weapons] destruction plan is dependent on the assessment of the contents of the [Chemical Weapons Storage Facilities], bunkers 13 and 41 at Al Muthanna,” the State Department reported. But efforts to neutralize the bunkers appear not to have been carried out, and now Kean and Hartley fear it could be too late. Al Muthanna was overrun by Islamic State militants in July.

“Frankly, the weapons could be used by ISIS,” Kean said. “Our troops’ mission was not to clean this up; that was something the Iraqis were supposed to do, and obviously they didn’t do a very good job of it,” the general added. “I know from talking to people who were involved, that the Sunni insurgents used some of these weapons as IED’s against us.”

With reports that Islamic State fighters may have used chemical weapons to attack the Syrian city of Kobani earlier this summer, Hartley also wonders if the contents of the mysterious bunker known as Dragon’s Egg have been unleashed.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/world/2014/10/19/dragon-egg-marines-who-guarded-saddam-mysterious-bunker-fear-weapons-unleashed/

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ISIS Jihadists Line Streets of Kobane with ‘Hundreds’ of Severed Heads, Gouged Eyes

Editors Note: Kobane is a humanitarian crisis that is unfolding before the eyes of the world and NO ONE is doing anything to stop it. Obama is allowing very limited US air strikes that ALL of Americas Generals have been saying are both to few and are ineffective to thwart the advance if ISIS. The Kurds defending Kobane have been literally begging for heavier weapons to combat tanks and heavy artillery and vehicles that ISIS have captured from the fleeing Iraqi military. Obama and his obsession against putting American military special forces in Kobane or sufficient ground forces in both Iraq and Syria is allowing ISIS to gain control of strategic areas in both countries. To Obama his legacy of bringing all American troops home has totally clouded his mentality when it comes to being Commander in Chief. He is flaunting this great coalition of Arab states and some European countries is merely a sham because they are except for a couple countries who are flying insignificant air strikes non involved except for lip service.

Turkey is constantly mentioned as a partner in the fight against ISIS but Turkey has no plans to join a fight that will help either the Kurds which they hate along with Bashar al-Assad. Tutkey has had military forces within a few hundred yards of  Kobane and refused to cross their border and drive ISIS out. Turkey will only get into the fight after the Kurds have been defeated if then.

Obama will sit by and let hundreds if not thousands be slaughtered by ISIS because he refuses to send the weapons aid the Kurds so desperately need. The atrocities that will result from his inaction will be totally at his feet and no one else. Obama is to preoccupied with fundraisers and golf to be bothered by the plight of those being massacred by ISIS. He won’t even say that ISIS is comprised of Islamic Terrrorists  preferring to say they are NOT part of Islam.

ISIS is a disaster that could have been prevented had he heeded the advice of his military commanders. He has allowed America to be put as serious risk by not controlling Americas southern border that terrorists have already been proven to have crossed. The world is on fire and Obama is nowhere to be found doing his job as Commander in Chief and President of the strongest country in the world. ISIS is running unchecked and slaughtering thousands of people and Obama is obsessing over Climate Change. Never in the history of America has there been such a failure in the Oval Office and America and the world is paying the price.

 

The reports from inside Kobane, the Syrian border town considered a potential watershed capture for the terrorist group the Islamic State, are ever more dire as American-led airstrikes appear to do little to stop the massacre of Kurds in a gateway town to Turkey.

In an exclusive report, the Daily Mail cites the testimony of multiple witnesses, now Kurdish refugees who managed to escape the wrath of Islamic State terrorists. “Headless corpses litter the streets of the besieged Syrian border town, they say, and some of the mainly Kurdish townsfolk have had their eyes gouged out,” writes author Sam Greenhill, adding severed limbs, cut-out tongues, and a diverse array of torturous behavior carried out on Kurdish bodies.

One man repeated that his children say all the violence he, too, had witnessed, as they escaped Kobane. “I have seen tens, maybe hundreds, of bodies with their heads cut off,” said the man, ” “Others with just their hands or legs missing. I have seen faces with their eyes or tongues cut out – I can never forget it for as long as I live. They put the heads on display to scare us all.”

Others told stories of those who were beheaded in their presence, or where friends and relatives caught in the siege. One 13-year-old boy Greenhill refers to as “Dillyar” told the Daily Mail his 20-year-old cousin was beheaded in front of him. Another witness alleged that his neighbor, a Muslim, “was beheaded because they said he was ‘delivering vegetables to the kaffir.’”

The government of Turkey has warned that, without a ground operation to supplement the work of Kurdish fighters, it is unlikely that the town will be able to fight off the threat of the Islamic State. President Tayyip Erdogan has nonetheless done nothing to contribute to the fight against the Islamic State in the town, instead bombing Kurdish PKK forces. Meanwhile, the American government is insisting that the long-term efforts to fight the Islamic State will diminish the importance of a potential collapse of Kobane’s Syrian government. “Kobani is one community, and it’s a tragedy what is happening there,” said Secretary of State John Kerry, “…[b]ut we have said from day one it is going to take a period of time to bring the coalition thoroughly to the table.”

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the Islamic State has increased its use of suicide bombings in Kobane in the past week, and fighting has moved into the streets of the city rather than the outskirts. Kurdish fighters continue to call for increased help from the international community to ward off the terrorist group, who would have nearly unlimited use of the Turkish-Syrian border should they capture Kobane.

Source: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Peace/2014/10/14/ISIS-Jihadists-Line-Streets-of-Kobane-with-Hundreds-Severed-Heads-Gauged-Eyes

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Dems returned $20G check to father of White House aide linked to prostitution scandal

The father of a White House advance team member connected to the Secret Service prostitution scandal was refunded a hefty Obama campaign donation, records show, around the same time additional details about that possible link were made public.

The $20,000 donation was made by Leslie Dach — whose son Jonathan has been linked to the scandal — on Sept. 19, 2012, to the Obama Victory Fund.

One day later, Leslie Dach had a meeting at the White House with a top presidential economic adviser, according to White House visitor logs. One day after that, the lead federal investigator into the Colombia prostitution scandal said for the first time that White House personnel may have been involved in the incident.

On Sept. 24, 2012, campaign finance records show, the Obama Victory Fund returned the $20,000 donation to Leslie Dach.

The chain of events might be coincidental, but nevertheless raises questions about Dach’s interactions with both the Obama administration and Democratic campaign officials.

The Federal Election Commission filing that listed the refund to Dach did not give a reason. But his attorney Richard Sauber told FoxNews.com in an email that the money was returned because Dach did not attend a fundraising event as planned — and “so the check (he thought) was either returned or not cashed.”

Sauber said Dach could not recall the details of the event. It was a high time for fundraisers, less than two months before the presidential election. On the day the donation was dated, a star-studded Obama Victory Fund fundraiser – attended by Gwyneth Paltrow and other celebrities — was held in London which guests paid $15,000 to attend, according to press reports at the time. It’s unclear if this is the event Dach’s lawyer says he missed.

Sauber also said the Sept. 20 meeting with Eugene Sperling, then director of the National Economic Council, was “unrelated” to the campaign contribution. At the time, Dach was working as lobbyist for Wal-Mart.

Dach has been a major donor to Democratic candidates since the 1990’s. He gave $28,500 in 2008 to Obama and the Democratic Party to shore up Obama’s election bid.

Records also show he gave $2,300 to Hillary Clinton before she lost the Democratic nomination to Obama and $1,000 for her New York Senate race in 2000. Other prominent Democratic recipients include: Bill Clinton ($1,000); Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy ($2,250); and former Arkansas Sen. Blanche Lincoln ($3,800).

The Dach family has been in the spotlight after The Washington Post reported late Wednesday that on the trip where Secret Service agents were caught with prostitutes, a woman was registered to Jonathan Dach’s hotel room shortly after midnight one night. Dach was a member of the White House advance team on the trip, reportedly as a volunteer.

The White House has denied that any member of their team was involved in inappropriate behavior and said previously that the volunteer was wrongly implicated based on inaccurate hotel records. The White House on Thursday stood by those claims. Sauber also said the allegations in the Post were “utterly and completely false.”

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/10/11/dems-returned-20g-check-to-father-white-house-aide-linked-to-prostitution/

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US Airstrikes Fail; UN Warns of Civilian Massacre in Kobani

Image: UN: Hundreds of Civilians Will Be 'Massacred' If ISIS Takes Kobani

At least 500 civilians who remain trapped in the Syrian Kurdish border town of Kobani are likely to be “massacred” if it falls to the Islamic State group, the U.N. envoy to Syria warned Friday, calling on the world to help avert a catastrophe as the extremists pushed deeper into the embattled town.

Staffan de Mistura raised the specter of some of the worst genocides of the 20th century during a news conference in Geneva, where he held up a map of the town along the Syria-Turkey border and said a U.N. analysis shows only a small corridor remains open for people to enter or flee Kobani.

The dramatic warning came as the Islamic State group pushed into Kobani from the south and east, taking over most of the so-called “Kurdish security quarter” — an area where Kurdish militiamen who are struggling to defend the town maintain security buildings and where the police station, the municipality and other local government offices are located.

The onslaught by the Islamic State group on Kobani, which began in mid-September, has forced more than 200,000 to flee across the border into Turkey. Activists say the fighting has already killed more than 500 people.

“The city is in danger,” said Farhad Shami, a Kurdish activist in Kobani reached by phone from Beirut. He reported heavy fighting on the town’s southern and eastern sides and said the Islamic State group was bringing in more reinforcements.

U.S.-led airstrikes against the extremists appear to have failed to blunt their push on Kobani. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that with the new advances, the Islamic State group was now in control of 40 percent of the town.

The Observatory, which collects its information from a network of activists on the ground in Syria, said a suicide bomber from the Islamic State group blew his car up near the Grand Mosque just west of the security quarter, but there was no immediate word of casualties.

The U.S. Central Command said in a statement that the U.S.-led coalition conducted nine airstrikes in Syria on Thursday and Friday. It said strikes near Kobani destroyed two Islamic State training facilities, as well as vehicles and tanks. Another strike in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour — controlled by the extremists — destroyed an Islamic State armored vehicle staging facility, it said.

On Friday, the militants shelled Kobani’s single border crossing with Turkey in an effort to capture it and seal off the town, a local Kurdish official and Syrian activists said.

The official, Idriss Nassan, said Islamic State fighters aim to seize the crossing in order to close the noose around the town’s Kurdish defenders and prevent anyone from entering or leaving Kobani.

By midmorning Friday, occasional gunfire and explosions that appeared to be rocket-propelled grenades and mortar shells could be heard from across the border in Turkey, and plumes of smoke were seen rising in the distance. The Observatory said the militants shelled several areas in Kobani, including the border crossing.

“Daesh is doing all it can to take the border crossing point through the farmlands east of the city,” Nassan said, using an Arabic acronym to refer to the Islamic State group. “They think there might be help (for the Kurdish militia) coming through the crossing so they want to control the border.”

In Geneva, de Mistura said that a U.N. analysis of the situation on the ground shows that only a small portion of the town remains open for people to enter or flee. He said there were 500 to 700 elderly people and other civilians still trapped there while 10,000 to 13,000 remain stuck in an area nearby, close to the border.

De Mistura invoked the genocides in Rwanda in 1994 and in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica in July 1995 as he appealed to the world to prevent another catastrophe.

If the town falls to the Islamic State fighters, “we know what they are capable of doing,” said the Italian-Swedish diplomat, who was appointed to the U.N. post in July.

The civilians of Kobani “will be most likely massacred,” de Mistura said. “When there is an imminent threat to civilians, we cannot, we should not be silent.”

“You remember Srebrenica? We do. We never forgot. And probably we never forgave ourselves for that,” he said. In both Rwanda and Srebrenica, the U.N. had troops on the ground but they failed to save the lives of the civilians they were mandated to protect.

There are no U.N. troops in Syria. Turkey has deployed troops and tanks across the border, but despite U.S. pressure, Ankara has said it will not join the fight unless the U.S.-led coalition also goes after the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

De Mistura appealed to Turkish authorities to allow volunteers and equipment to flow into Kobani and help its Syrian Kurdish defenders.

Without more such help, he added, Kobani is “likely to fall.”

The fight over Kobani has eclipsed the larger Syrian civil war, where Assad’s forces continue to fight rebels seeking to topple him in many parts of the country.

On Friday, activists said at least nine civilians were killed in a government airstrike that targeted the village of Harra in the southern province of Daraa. More than 20 people were also killed a day earlier in government airstrikes in Damascus suburbs, they said.

The Syrian National Coalition, Syria’s Western-backed main opposition group, accused Assad of “openly exploiting” the coalition’s war against the Islamic State group to continue killing Syrians.

Source: http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/Syria-un-massacre-kobani/2014/10/10/id/599933/

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Missing NKorea’s Kim May Have Been Toppled in Coup

Missing NKorea's Kim May Have Been Toppled in Coup

North Korea leader Kim Jong Un, who has not been seen in public for a month, is at the center of growing speculation that he’s been deposed.

And the rumors may be fueled on Friday when Kim would be expected to be on the reviewing stand for the celebrations centered on the founding of the country’s Workers’ Party.

“Until then, we can say there are signs that Kim Jong Un has lost substantial power and will soon become, if he is not already, a figurehead,” writes Gordon Chang of The Daily Beast.

The mystery surrounding Kim’s whereabouts gathered momentum over the weekend after the communist regime’s second in command, Hwang Pyong So, suddenly traveled to South Korea for peace talks with the North’s longtime enemy, the Beast reports.

Hwang was given the title of vice chairman of the National Defense Commission during a recent meeting of the Supreme People’s Assembly in addition to his recent promotion to director of the General Political Bureau of the Korean People’s Army, making him the top political officer in the military.

In a country where there’s not supposed to be an official number two position, Hwang is being called the second-most powerful person, according to  the Beast.

On 24 hours’ notice, Hwang led Pyongyang’s most senior delegation ever to Incheon near the South Korea capital of Seoul in talks at aimed resuming relations between the two republics.

His surprise trip with an 11-member delegation from Pyongyang came as a report surfaced saying that Kim has been deposed in a possible coup.

Jang Jin Sung, a former North Korean propaganda official, has claimed that the Organization and Guidance Department of the Korean Workers’ Party, which has control over major positions in the North’s leadership, has taken over the country, while Kim is now just a “puppet,” according to Vice News.

Kim, 31, who is frequently the centerpiece of the isolated country’s propaganda, has not been photographed by state media since appearing at a concert alongside wife Ri Sol Ju on Sept. 3.

The eccentric leader had been seen walking with a limp, reportedly due to gout, in a pre-recorded documentary broadcast by state media in late September.

But during the weekend delegation to South Korea, a senior official of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party, told the South’s Unification Minister Ryoo Kihl-jae that there was no problem with Kim’s health.

However, the Beast’s Chang wrote, “Indeed, there are signs that not only has Hwang risen, but also that Kim has fallen. The young ruler did not preside over last’s month meeting of the Supreme People’s Assembly, the first time that has happened since he took power after his father’s death in December 2011.”

“Yes, he may have been ill, but if he was politically healthy, the meeting would have been postponed until he was able to appear.”

Source: http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/NKorea-Kim-coup/2014/10/06/id/598851/

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House Oversight Committee Pursues New Contempt Charges, Fines, And Possibly Jail Time For Holder

The House Oversight Committee is pursuing another contempt of court charge, and possibly a daily monetary fine,  and jail time for outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder unless he complies with a court order to release certain Fast and Furious documents.

Via The Washington Times:  

Members of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee requested U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson to fine Mr. Holder if he doesn’t comply with her own order issued back in August — the one where she said he couldn’t claim executive privilege to keep private certain documents related to the federal gun-running program, “Operation Fast and Furious,” Politico reported.

 

Judge Berman Jackson ordered the DOJ to produce the “Vaughn list” back in July in response to a Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuit.  A month later, the DOJ was ordered to turn over “a privilege log of withheld documents to the House Oversight Committee.” Both requests were supposed to be completed by October 1, but were not. Instead, the Attorney General announced his resignation.

According to the Washington Times, lawyers for Republican congressman are saying “the time has come when the judge should consider imposing fines on Mr. Holder, or even throwing him in jail.”

 

“Should the Court determine that the Attorney General has violated that Order, the Court should impose on the Attorney General an appropriate penalty to coerce his compliance with the August 20 Order, including an escalating daily monetary fine against Eric H. Holder Jr., to be paid by Mr. Holder out of his personal assets, converting to incarceration if the payment of daily monetary fines does not produce compliance within a reasonable period of time,” House Counsel Kerry Kircher and other lawyers wrote in the filing, Politico reported.

A Justice Department spokesman seemed to characterize the October 1 deadline as a “stunt.”

Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon said Thursday evening: “We’re at a loss to understand this latest stunt since the committee itself did not object to November as an appropriate timeline for the production of any documents. The Department will respond to the motion in due course.”

In a statement issued on Friday, Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) disputed Fallon’s claim that his committee agreed to an extension.

“Contrary to the counterfactual claims of the Justice Department, the House did not agree to any deadline extension absent a ruling from the judge and in fact has asked the judge to enforce her order,” the chairman said. “The American people can only continue to guess at what the attorney general and his department are hiding.”

Issa also slammed Holder for failing to comply with “a binding federal court order.”

“The attorney general and his department are acting as if the judge in the case has an obligation to modify her rulings with which they disagree, rather than they having the obligation to comply with those rulings. That is the arrogance that landed this case in court in the first place.”

That same arrogance has led to rank lawlessness throughout the Holder Justice Department for the past five and a half years and counting.

The time has come for a reckoning.

Source: http://www.breitbart.com/InstaBlog/2014/10/04/House-Oversight-Committee-Pursues-New-Contempt-Charges-Fines-And-Possibly-Jail-Time-For-Holder

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Obama’s Ex-CIA Chief Slams White House for ‘Hesitation and Half Steps’

In a forthcoming book, obtained by The Daily Beast, former spy director and Pentagon leader Leon Panetta blames the White House for screwups from Syria to Afghanistan.
The president’s White House staff was controlling, insular, and often ignored the advice of its senior national security officials, former Defense Secretary and CIA Director Leon Panetta charges in his yet-to-be-released memoir. The result, Panetta says: botched U.S. policies from Syria to Iraq to Afghanistan.

Panetta—whose new book, Worthy Fights, is set to be released Oct. 7—is particularly tough on his former boss on the issue of Syria. (A copy of the book was obtained by The Daily Beast.) President Obama had called the use of chemical weapons there a “red line.” So when the Syrian military used chemical weapons in August 2013 to kill an estimated 1,400 people, Obama decided to strike. But then the president abruptly reversed himself—without consulting his national security Cabinet members.

The U.S. eventually secured an agreement to hold off on any attacks in exchange for Assad handing over his chemical weapons. But that deal was a mistake, according to Panetta.

“The result, I felt, was a blow to American credibility. When the president as commander in chief draws a red line, it is critical that he act if the line is crossed. The power of the United States rests on its word,” he wrote. “Assad’s action clearly defied President Obama’s warning; by failing to respond, it sent the wrong message to the world.”

Panetta also noted that Obama overruled him and then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when the president decided not to arm the Syrian rebels—an admittedly risky proposition—in 2012. The current ghastly situation in Syria shows the results of the White House’s policy, he wrote.

“Hesitation and half steps have consequences as well—and those remain to be determined,” Panetta said.

Throughout the book, Panetta repeats that senior White House staffers, such as National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, then-Counterterrorism Advisor John Brennan, and Deputy National Security Advisor Dennis McDonough (who later became Chief of Staff) had more influence and control over national security policy than senior officials such as him and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

“The result, I felt, was a blow to American credibility. When the president as commander in chief draws a red line, it is critical that he act if the line is crossed. The power of the United States rests on its word.”

“There was nothing wrong with that, but that did have the effect of reducing the importance of the Cabinet members who actually oversaw their agencies,” Panetta stated. “Those agency heads were rarely encouraged to take their own initiative or lobby for priorities.”

When Panetta was the CIA director, the White House discouraged him from dealing directly with lawmakers or giving public speeches or interviews at all. “In fact, several times when I reached out to Congress or the press without prior White House approval, I was chastised for it,” he said.

Multiple times in his memoir, Panetta compares the ineffectiveness of the Obama White House to the relative competence of the Clinton White House, in which he served as OMB Director and then Chief of Staff. For example, the White House left him alone in 2011 to fight against over half a trillion dollars in cuts to the defense budget, known as sequestration.

“To my amazement, the rest of the Cabinet, including the members responsible for those parts of the budget, largely stayed out of the debate. That left me to argue for all of us, which I tried to do, even when I found myself frustratingly alone,” Panetta wrote. “In some way that was symptomatic of what I regarded as a problem with President Obama’s use of his Cabinet. Far more than in previous administrations that I’d witnessed—certainly more than in Clinton’s when I’d been near the center of the action—President Obama’s decision-making apparatus was centralized in the White House.”

The White House senior staffers clashed with Panetta and Hillary Clinton once again in 2012 when the Taliban offered to release the only American soldier in their custody, Bowe Bergdahl, in exchange for five senior Taliban commanders being held at the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

“I opposed the swap for several reasons. First, I did not believe the Taliban were sincere in their efforts to reconcile with the Afghan government; they were, after all, attacking our forces on the field of battle. Second, I did not believe it was fair to trade five for one,” Panetta wrote. “Secretary Clinton and I—and others—did not think we could proceed, and as much as we wanted to bring Sergeant Bergdahl home and reunite him with his family, the deal evaporated.”

The 2012 deal fell apart, but the White House led a new negotiation that resulted in a deal in the summer of 2014. The trade was still five for one, but this time it was not linked to a broader plan for Afghan reconciliation, as it had been the first time around. Panetta noted that American law had to be changed to weaken the assurances given by the Qatari government that the Taliban would be kept out of the fight going forward.

“The bigger issue is: Is this a good deal for the security interests of the United States? That depends entirely on the assurance that we received and whether in fact these five very bad men are prevented from returning to the fight,” he wrote.

The President and top national security aides learned early on not to trust those who were brought into the leadership from outside Obama’s tight inner circle, Panetta said. The two military leaders he took risks on to be his first National Security Advisor and Director of National Intelligence, Gen. Jim Jones and Adm. Dennis Blair, were a bust. Panetta was no fan of Blair, whom he called his “notional boss” inside the intelligence community.

“Obama did something I’m sure he came to regret. Instead of relying on close advisors for his top national security positions, he reached for two seasoned military men he did not know well, Jim Jones and Dennis Blair,” Panetta wrote. “In time, Obama would undo both of these personnel moves.”

In 2009, the uniformed military tried to box Obama into surging more troops into Afghanistan than he wanted but presented him with two extreme, unworkable options and only one semi-plausible option, the addition of 40,000 new troops. The president decided to commit 30,000 new troops to Afghanistan, but vowed to never again let himself get out-maneuvered by the military.

As recounted in a book excerpt in Time, Panetta believed the White House didn’t want to keep troops in Iraq after 2011 and didn’t support Pentagon and State Department efforts to negotiate a follow-up Status of Forces Agreement with the Iraqi government.

“I privately and publicly advocated for a residual force that could provide training and security for Iraq’s military,” Panetta wrote. “But the President’s team at the White House pushed back, and the differences occasionally became heated. [Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Michelle] Flournoy argued our case, and those on our side viewed the White House as so eager to rid itself of Iraq that it was willing to withdraw rather than lock in arrangements that would preserve our influence and interests.”

Panetta leavens his critiques of Obama with kind words for the president. In the book, Panetta praises for Obama as a leader who turned around a deep recession, ended Bush-era interrogation policies, enabled gays to serve openly in the military, and used American military power to pursue terrorists around the world. He portrays Obama as a deliberate and careful decision maker who is somewhat confounded by circumstances inside Washington and around the world he can’t control.

“President Obama revamped a nearly broken economy, waged an aggressive campaign against terrorism, extricated the United States from two wars, and refocused the mission of our military; the result is a safer nation and a more prosperous one,” Panetta writes.

Overall, the Panetta book has few new revelations. The long-serving public official traces his life from his childhood, growing up the son of two Italian immigrant restaurant owners in Monterey, California, to his time as a congressman, Clinton administration official, and then top Obama administration Cabinet member. Panetta defends the CIA and its use of drones abroad. He decries the dysfunction of modern Washington and Congress’ abdication of its responsibilities. He lays out in detail what’s known about the search for and mission to kill Osama bin Laden.

In one previously unreported anecdote, Panetta had prepared to tell a joke at the Gridiron Club comparing the Obama administration’s killing of bin Laden to Dick Cheney’s accidental shooting of his friend, but scratched it because Cheney was in poor health at the time.

“Looking back on my career, I’ve been a Republican, a congressman, and White House chief of staff, and a defense secretary,” Panetta had prepared to say. “Come to think of it, I’ve done everything that Dick Cheney has done. Except the guy I made sure got shot in the face was Osama bin Laden.”

Source: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/10/02/panetta-slams-obama-for-hesitation-and-half-steps-on-syria.html

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Report: Obama to Take Unilateral Action on Immigration One Week After Midterm Elections?

We’ve been talking about this inevitability for weeks now, so the only ‘newsy’ item in this Buzzfeed story is the alleged timeline, which the White House is disputing.  President Obama has every intention of expanding his DREAM Act-style power grab to millions of adults who entered the country illegally — he just knows that doing so before voters go to the polls would further endanger a bunch of Democrats up for re-election.  Solution: Don’t rethink the unpopular idea; delay it until the opportunity for an electoral backlash passes.  That political Rubicon looms in 34 days.  If reporter Adrian Carrasquillo’s sources are correct, Obama will drop his decision on the country less than a week later:

A source tells BuzzFeed News a much-anticipated speech at the Congressional Hispanic Institute Gala by the president will tell Latinos to wait 40 more days until after the election on long-awaited executive actions on immigration.  President Obama will reaffirm his promise of administrative actions to slow record deportations before the end of the year during a high-profile speech to Latinos and Hispanic officials on Thursday, BuzzFeed News has learned. His speech at the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute (CHCI) gala — his first there since 2011 — comes as activists have expressed anger and frustration over repeated delays on executive actions. Obama will tell Latinos in attendance that he understands their frustration but will also call on them to stick with him and wait 40 more days, until after the election, according to a source who viewed the president’s prepared remarks.

In an update to the story, “a White House official told BuzzFeed News that the president’s remarks do not include a reference to waiting ’40 days.’”  So the precise time frame remains hazy, even if the president’s cynical game is crystal clear. Obama’s wink-and-nod act won’t stop a group of ‘amnesty now’ protesters from picketing the event, but Congressional Democrats must be awfully grateful for the temporary reprieve.  The president’s explanation for the postponement is insulting:  “What I’m saying is that I’m going to act because it’s the right thing for the country. But it’s going to be more sustainable and more effective if the public understands what the facts are on immigration,” he said in early September, abandoning a previous pledge to pull the trigger by summer’s end.  The idea that the American people will ‘get the facts’ during a noisy election season is laughable.  Obama’s fig leaf is transparent.  In reality, the White House ran a cost-benefit analysis through its overworked political calculation machine and determined that far fewer votes would be jeopardized by aggravating a handful of lefty activists than by announcing Obama’s policy weeks before a national election.  So a key element of the base will have to wait.  They’ll get their way, of course, just not immediately.  There are ordinary Americans to fool in the interim, and that takes priority.

Meanwhile, the unaccompanied minor border crisis stands unresolved.  Though the flow of children across the southern border has abated somewhat, tens of thousands of these kids remain in temporary housing.  The House of Representatives passed legislation to deal with the complex problem; Harry Reid’s Senate has failed to act.  It is an objective fact that Obama’s 2012 pre-election ‘amnesty’ gambit for a subset of illegal immigrants brought into the country as children (which was much more politically palatable) contributed heavily to the subsequent crisis.  Causes, effects, etc.  What is likely to happen if the ‘temporary deportation relief’ regime is extended to an untold number of illegal immigrant adults?  A bigger, more powerful magnet.  The Washington Post reported in July that the administration was made aware of the growing border issues two years ago, but dismissed it as a “local issue.”  The American people strongly oppose Obama’s plan, with fewer than one-quarter of respondents to a September IBD/TIPP poll endorsing the president “sidestep[ping] Congress and act[ing] on his own using executive orders”  Hence the delay.  I’m on the record as a supporter of immigration reform, but the White House’s calculated maneuvering is disgraceful.  This is terrible, harmful policy, deliberately detonated after Americans have their say in early November.  Oh, and enacting it by executive fiat is beyond Barack Obama’s legitimate Constitutional authority, according to…Barack Obama:

Obama may have undermined his case because he has insisted time and again that he’s the president, not the king, and “can’t just make the laws up by myself.” In a 2012 interview with Telemundo, Obama defended his decision to defer deportations for children but said he couldn’t go any bigger. “If we start broadening that, then essentially I would be ignoring the law in a way that I think would be very difficult to defend legally. So that’s not an option,” he said then.

But wait, he placed similar constraints on himself vis-a-vis the DREAM action, then shed those shackles when he decided it was within his political interests to do so.  Royal prerogatives, and such. It’s good to be King.  I’ll leave you with this:

An official with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement revealed that about 70 percent of immigrant families the Obama administration had released into the U.S. never showed up weeks later for follow up appointments. The ICE official made the disclosure in a confidential meeting at its Washington headquarters with immigration advocates participating in a federal working group on detention and enforcement policies. The Associated Press obtained an audio recording of Wednesday’s meeting and separately interviewed participants.

As Allahpundit noted last week, the administration has been withholding this relevant information from the public for months now.  Instead, they’re leaking it to activists behind closed doors – assuring them that the federal government isn’t really taking the whole “enforcement” thing terribly seriously while spinning the opposite tale to the public at large.  These people are the veritable definition of bad faith actors, which is why I’m increasingly sympathetic to conservatives who refuse to give one inch on this issue, certainly at this juncture.  This administration simply cannot be trusted.

Source: http://townhall.com/tipsheet/guybenson/2014/10/02/report-obama-to-take-unilateral-action-on-immigration-one-week-after-midterm-elections-n1899585

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Obama Sits Down With 60 Minutes, Blames Everyone But Self For Burning World

Last night President Obama sat down for an interview on 60 Minutes where he discussed everything from ISIS to the economy.

On ISIS: 

President Obama shifted blame for the failure to combat ISIS sooner to the intelligence community, saying agencies tasked with threat assessment dropped the ball. Blaming the broad “intelligence community” is one of President Obama’s go-to tactics for evading responsibility on foreign policy disasters. He took no responsibility for the rise of ISIS as a result of his own decisions solely based on the political promises he made to pull all U.S. troops from Iraq and blamed former Prime Minister Nouri-Al Maliki for the failure to uphold the new democracy. Further, President Obama stressed that the current war against ISIS isn’t about the United States, but the international community as a whole.

“This is not America against ISIL. This is America leading the international community to assist a country with whom we have a security partnership,” Obama said.

On the economy:

President Obama argued that the country is much better off economically, but people just don’t realize it because wages “aren’t going up.”  (Seriously?) [TS]

“We’ve had the longest run of uninterrupted private sector job growth in our history. We have seen deficits cut by more than half,” (If you count low paying part time jobs) [TS] Obama said, adding the question “Ronald Reagan used to ask the question ‘Are you better off than you were four years ago?’ In this case, are you better off than you were six and the answer is the country is definitely better off than we were when I came into office.” (Unless you count a record and growing National Debt~Real unemployment close to 12%~Millions of Americans losing their Health Care~Russia~China~Iraq~Syria and of course ISIS) [TS]

“Do you think people feel it?” Steve Kroft asked.

“They don’t feel it and the reason they don’t feel it is because incomes and wages are not going up. There’s solutions to that. If we raise the minimum wage, if we make sure women are getting paid the same as men for doing the same work, if we are rebuilding our infrastructure, if we’re doing more to invest in job training so people are able to get the jobs that are out there right now.” (If If If If, If he would do his job as President and Commander in Chief AND follow the Constitution America would not be where we are today. Its always easier to blame someone else for his failures than accept responsibility for his poor judgement.) [TS]

Yes, raising the minimum wage will solve all of our problems and by the way, the White House is still paying women less than men. Further, Obama somehow hasn’t realized yet that job training programs are worthless if there aren’t jobs available to people being trained. Obama’s statement about private sector job growth just isn’t true. Job growth isn’t keeping up with population growth and millions of people have completely dropped out of the labor force.

Source: http://townhall.com/tipsheet/katiepavlich/2014/09/29/obama-sits-down-with-60-minutes-blames-everyone-but-self-for-buring-world-n1898063

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Cruz wins Values Voter straw poll again, Biden finishes ahead of Christie

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Sen. Ted Cruz has for the second straight year won the Family Research Council Action’s 2014 Values Voter Summit Straw Poll.

The first-term senator on Saturday received 25 percent of the votes, ahead of Dr. Ben Carson (20 percent) and former Arkansas GOP Gov. Mike Huckabee (12 percent.)

“I’m optimistic because I’m convinced God isn’t done with America yet,” Cruz, R-Texas, said during a speech Friday at the summit.

Former Pennsylvania GOP Sen. Rick Santorum finished fourth. And Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Republicans, tied for fifth.

Carson, an Independent, won the vice presidential straw poll with 22 percent of the vote. Cruz, a Tea Party favorite, finished second with nearly 14 percent of the vote, and Jindal came in third with roughly 11 percent.

“Values Voter straw poll reveals that the path forward for the GOP to engage Republican-leaning voters is to put forward true conservative candidates” said Tony Perkins, president of the 31-year-old conservative Christian and lobbying group.

Only those who attended the summit in Washington were eligible to vote. And roughly 2,000 people had registered to attend the event, the group said.

Florida GOP. Sen. Marco Rubio finished 6th, 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney finished 8th, Democratic Vice President Biden finished 18th, New Jersey GOP Gov. Chris Christie finished No. 19 and presumptive 2016 Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton finished No. 23 out of 25, according to the group.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/09/28/cruz-wins-values-voter-straw-poll-again-biden-finishes-ahead-christie/

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Ted Cruz: Morning in America Awaits if Republicans Don’t Abandon Conservative Values

At the Values Voter Summit on Friday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), a potential 2016 presidential candidate, emphatically told conservatives that they will only reverse the damage that radical Democrats have done to the country if they do not run away from their values in a country that is still right of center.

Cruz believes morning in America will await if Republicans unashamedly embrace their values. He has said that when Republicans like Ronald Reagan do, they win. And when Republicans try to be softer versions of Democrats, they lose, because values voters stay home.

“There are people in Washington who say Republicans have to abandon values,” he said of liberal Republicans who want to appeal to the mainstream press. “Our values are who we are. Our values are why we’re here. Our values are fundamentally American.”

Chief among those values, according to Cruz, is religious liberty. He said “America begins with the fundamental premise of religious liberty” as the rights of citizens “come from mighty God” and not from government, so they cannot be taken away. He spoke about the “victory for religious liberty” in the Hobby Lobby case and said America “remains a center-right country built on Judeo-Christian values” that values and cherishes its Constitutional liberties.

“And anyone who tells you differently is lying to you,” he said.

Cruz depicted how the left has moved more away from the American mainstream, saying “the modern Democrat Party has become an extreme, radical party.” Cruz denounced the federal government for “suing the Little Sisters of the Poor to force Catholic nuns to pay for abortion-inducing drugs” and said, “we ought to invite Hillary Clinton to spend a day debating the Little Sisters of the Poor” on the side of the federal government.

“As for me, I’ll stand with the nuns,” Cruz said. “If you’re suing nuns, you’ve done something really wrong.”

He mentioned that when Democrats introduced legislation in the Senate to repeal the protections of religious liberty in the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, not one Democrat stood for religious freedom. He said even though the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) stood against a Constitutional amendment to repeal the free speech protections in the First Amendment, zero Democrats stood with the late Kennedy this year in Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) Senate. He joked that when his father turned on C-SPAN and saw him making a speech on the Senate floor with a picture of Kennedy, he thought Cruz had gone “native” in D.C.

“If you want to defend the First Amendment, our free speech, our religious liberty, vote Harry Reid out,” Cruz said to a rousing standing ovation.”

In contrast, Cruz said that what conservatives stand for are more mainstream in these “dangerous, extreme, radical times” in which Americans are more pessimistic about the future. Cruz said that it is un-American for so many Americans to think their children will not do better than they have.

“We offer a choice, not an echo,” Cruz said, echoing Reagan, of how to appeal to more Americans.

In order to win, Cruz said that conservatives must paint in ‘bold colors” and not “pale pastels.” 

“We stand for life. We stand for marriage. We stand for Israel,” he continued. “We bring back jobs and opportunities and unleash small businesses to make it easier for people to achieve the American dream.”

And when conservatives win, Cruz said conservatives should not relent.

“In 2017, with a Republican president in the White House, we’re going to sign legislation repealing every word of Obamacare,” he said.

That’s not all Cruz wanted to get rid of.

“Abolish the IRS,” he thunderously said. “Repeal Common Core.” 

Cruz also revealed a story about his parents that highlighted the importance faith has had in his life.

“Neither of my parents were people of faith. Neither of them had a relationship with Christ. Both of my parents drank far too much. Both of them had serious problems with alcohol,” Cruz said. “And when I was three-years old, my father decided he didn’t want to be married anymore. And he didn’t want a three-year-old son. So he got on a plane and left Calgary and flew back to Texas. And he left us.”

Cruz said his father’s colleague asked his father to attend a Baptist Church, and his father accepted the invitation and “gave his life to Jesus.” He soon “bought an airplane ticket and flew back to Calgary to rejoin my mother and to rejoin his son.”

“So when anyone asks is faith real, is a relationship with Jesus real, I can tell you if it were not for my father giving his life to Christ, I would have been raised by a single mother without having my dad in the home, Cruz said, saying that in “utter darkness hope remains.” 

He also discussed Saeed Abedini, the jailed pastor who has been converting Iranian prison guards to Christianity. He spoke at length about Mariam Ibrahim, who refused to renounce Jesus Christ even though she was sentenced to death for marrying a Christian man; Andrew Tahmooressi, the American marine jailed in Mexico; Leopoldo Lopez in Venezuela; Kenneth Bae in North Korea; and Alan Gross in Cuba.

Cruz pivoted to American exceptionalism and how precious the country’s freedoms and liberties, especially religious liberty, are in a more dangerous world. He said from the Revolutionary War to the Cold War, in which America prevailed without firing a bullet, Americans have experienced God’s providential blessings, and that is why he is still optimistic about America’s future.

“I’m convinced God isn’t done with America yet,” Cruz said. “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.”

Source: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/09/27/Ted-Cruz-Morning-in-America-Awaits-if-Republicans-Don-t-Abandon-Values

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FBI probing suspect’s recent conversion to Islam in Oklahoma beheading

Editors Note: And so it begins, radicalized Muslim pursuing Jihad in America by be-heading a former female employee. This is just the start of similar atrocities unless an example is made of this animal. If Obama’s brand of justice is employed all it will do is embolden other radicals to do the same thing. Eric Holder can’t be replaced soon enough with his overtly racist beliefs hopefully with someone who would treat the office with the dignity it deserves. Knowing Obama it is expected he will try appointing another racist to continue to divide America along racial lines. 2016 can’t come soon enough to rid the country of the worst President in American history. [TS]

FBI officials are investigating a beheading at an Oklahoma food distribution center after co-workers said the suspect tried to convert them to Islam after his own recent conversion.

The suspect, Alton Nolen, 30, was recently fired from Vaughan Foods in Moore prior to Thursday’s attack. Moore Police Department Sgt. Jeremy Lewis told KFOR that Nolen drove to the front of the business and struck a vehicle before walking inside. He then attacked Colleen Hufford, 54, stabbing her several times before severing her head. He also stabbed another woman, 43-year-old Traci Johnson, at the plant.

Lewis said Mark Vaughan, the company’s chief operating officer and a reserve county deputy, shot Nolen as he was stabbing Johnson, who remains hospitalized in stable condition Friday.

“He’s a hero in this situation,” Lewis told the station. “It could have gotten a lot worse.”

Nolen was apparently attacking employees at random, authorities said. The motive for the attack is unclear, but FBI officials confirmed to Fox News that they were assisting the Moore Police Department in investigating Nolen’s background and whether his recent conversion to Islam was somehow linked to the crime.

The police department issued a statement saying, “After conducting interviews with Nolen’s co-workers, information was obtained that he recently started trying to convert several employees to the Muslim religion. Due to the manner of death and the initial statements of co-workers and other initial information, the Moore Police Department requested the assistance of the FBI in conducting a background investigation on Nolan.”

Nolen, according to state corrections records, was convicted in January 2011 of multiple felony drug offenses, assault and battery on a police officer and escape from detention. He was released from prison in March 2013.

Saad Mohammad, a spokesman for the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, told NewsOK.com that leaders of the society’s mosque are taking security precautions to protect Muslims who gather there from any potential retaliatory violence.

Mohammad said any anti-Muslim sentiments local residents might have could be heightened due to the beheadings and violence overseas by Islamic State militants.

“They have this ISIS thing on their minds and now this guy has brought it to America,” Mohammad told the website.

Lewis said he does not yet know what charges will be filed against Nolen, adding that police are waiting until he’s conscious to arrest him. Authorities said he had no prior connection to either woman.

Moore Police Department officials have released 911 calls from the incident, OKCFox.com reports. During the recording, a caller tells an operator that a person is attacking someone in the building. Several gunshots can be heard in the background at the end of the call.

A Vaughan spokeswoman said the company was “shocked and deeply saddened” by the attack.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/09/26/woman-beheaded-at-oklahoma-food-distribution-center-police-say/

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Back to War: ‘Sustained’ ISIS fight stirs questions over US commitment

Editors Note: Obama committed Americas military not for crippling or destroying ISIS but because of Americas top generals coming out and saying his strategy was wrong and would fail. With an approval rating of his handling ISIS in Syria at a miserable 27% Obama was compelled to do something. The 5 Arab nations that helped in the air strikes played a very limited roll and only in the 3rd phase of the strikes. By doing so they have declared open war against their Sunni brothers that will now turn ISIS and the other terrorist organizations against them and have invited attacks in their own country. What their actions will be after Obama abandons them is hard to say but being left holding the bag after Obama stops the air strikes will cost them dearly. The only real concern Obama has for anyone or anything is his legacy and he will do whatever it takes to save it. The hornets nest has been stirred and unless Obama follows through with destroying every last one of them the world in now in greater danger than before the air strikes began. [TS]

The launch of U.S. airstrikes in Syria marks the beginning of what military officials are calling a “sustained campaign” against the Islamic State — a new war in the Middle East that immediately poses complex challenges for the Obama administration and Congress.

Some already see the war against the Islamic State, or ISIS, as an engagement that could last years, and could fall to President Obama’s successor to finish.

“The fact is, Islamic terrorism is out to destroy us … and the war is only going to end when they are defeated,” Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., told Fox News, suggesting the “war” was never over in the first place. “And this may well go on for a number of years. In fact, in many ways it’s been going on for 20 years.” 

In Capitol Hill hearings and press briefings last week, in advance of the Syria strikes, the American public got their first full glimpse of the questions raised by the expanded intervention.

Among them:

How much will it cost?

How will ground troops be used, and how many will be required?

Does Congress need to formally approve the expanded mission?

The latter question is resurfacing in the wake of Monday’s airstrikes. While some influential lawmakers have backed the administration’s claim that it does not need congressional approval, a mix of Democrats and Republicans say otherwise.

Critics say the administration is relying in part on a faulty argument that the 2001 authorization to use military force still applies. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., on Tuesday called for House Speaker John Boehner to bring members back to debate and vote on a new authorization.

On Twitter, he cautioned against “Iraq War 2.0.” 

Van Hollen said in a statement that Congress should “revise” that measure to support the “targeted actions underway” while including provisions to prevent “the deployment of American ground forces that would drag us into another Iraq War.” 

Despite concerns about the possibility of “mission creep” in Iraq and Syria, so far, the president appears to have a majority of Congress on his side. Congressional leaders voiced support following the military operation in Syria, which involved five Arab allies. And before Congress recessed last week, it approved a measure authorizing a mission to train and equip moderate Syrian rebels.

But Congress has the power of the purse strings and, if public opinion turns, could use its leverage as the cost of the mission rises.

So far, the White House has not provided an estimate of what the war could ultimately cost.

One budget expert told Roll Call the cost of the operation could hit $1.5 billion a month.

A Pentagon spokesman recently estimated that Iraq operations alone were costing about $7.5 million per day.

The costs, though, depend not only on the scope of airstrikes but also ground operations.

The Army’s top officer warned last week that it will become increasingly difficult to launch precision airstrikes against Islamic State militants hiding among the population in Iraq.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said that in order for the U.S. to maintain the precision of the strikes, Iraqi or other ground troops may be needed to better direct the strikes.

Odierno said the U.S. will determine over time whether any additional ground support is needed. U.S. leaders have ruled out fighting a ground war in Iraq, but they’ve left the door open for specialized troops to embed with and advise Iraqi units.

Asked if the current total of about 1,600 troops will be the maximum, Odierno said he thought that number was a good start.

“I don’t think there’s a rush to have lots of people in there right now,” he said. But he added that since the fight could go on for several years, adjustments to the numbers would be made if needed.

It’s also unclear how planning for the anti-ISIS operation intersects with planning for the drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

President-elect of Afghanistan, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai, says he’ll sign a bilateral security agreement that sets the parameters for 9,800 U.S. troops to stay in Afghanistan after the NATO combat mission ends Dec. 31.

The mission in Iraq and Syria, though, could put pressure on the U.S. military to focus on that fight. Hawkish lawmakers have renewed concerns that budget tightening is putting additional strain on the Armed Forces at a critical time – some are even discussing rolling back the so-called sequester cuts.

The Army is meanwhile in the process of cutting down its active-duty force strength by tens of thousands of soldiers.

Asked whether those targets might be reconsidered in light of the developments in the Middle East, an Army spokesman told FoxNews.com it was still bound to levels set by Congress, which have not changed.

“The Army must meet its mission requirements with the number of personnel that Congress authorizes for the Army,” the spokesman said.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/09/23/sustained-campaign-against-isis-poses-complex-challenges-for-military-congress/

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The Hillary Letters: Clinton, Saul Alinsky correspondence revealed

Lee Balterman / The LIFE Picture Collection / Getty Images

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Previously unpublished correspondence between Hillary Clinton and the late left-wing organizer Saul Alinsky reveals new details about her relationship with the controversial Chicago activist and shed light on her early ideological development.

Clinton met with Alinsky several times in 1968 while writing a Wellesley college thesis about his theory of community organizing.

Clinton’s relationship with Alinsky, and her support for his philosophy, continued for several years after she entered Yale law school in 1969, two letters obtained by the Washington Free Beacon show.

The letters obtained by the Free Beacon are part of the archives for the Industrial Areas Foundation, a training center for community organizers founded by Alinsky, which are housed at the University of Texas at Austin.

The letters also suggest that Alinsky, who died in 1972, had a deeper influence on Clinton’s early political views than previously known.

A 23-year-old Hillary Clinton was living in Berkeley, California, in the summer of 1971. She was interning at the left-wing law firm Treuhaft, Walker and Burnstein, known for its radical politics and a client roster that included Black Panthers and other militants.

On July 8, 1971, Clinton reached out to Alinsky, then 62, in a letter sent via airmail, paid for with stamps featuring Franklin Delano Roosevelt, and marked “Personal.”

“Dear Saul,” she began. “When is that new book [Rules for Radicals] coming out—or has it come and I somehow missed the fulfillment of Revelation?”

“I have just had my one-thousandth conversation about Reveille [for Radicals] and need some new material to throw at people,” she added, a reference to Alinsky’s 1946 book on his theories of community organizing.

Clinton devoted just one paragraph in her memoir Living History to Alinsky, writing that she rejected a job offer from him in 1969 in favor of going to law school. She wrote that she wanted to follow a more conventional path.

However, in the 1971 letter, Clinton assured Alinsky that she had “survived law school, slightly bruised, with my belief in and zest for organizing intact.”

“The more I’ve seen of places like Yale Law School and the people who haunt them, the more convinced I am that we have the serious business and joy of much work ahead—if the commitment to a free and open society is ever going to mean more than eloquence and frustration,” wrote Clinton.

According to the letter, Clinton and Alinsky had kept in touch since she entered Yale. The 62-year-old radical had reached out to give her advice on campus activism.

“If I never thanked you for the encouraging words of last spring in the midst of the Yale-Cambodia madness, I do so now,” wrote Clinton, who had moderated a campus election to join an anti-war student strike.

She added that she missed their regular conversations, and asked if Alinsky would be able to meet her the next time he was in California.

“I am living in Berkeley and working in Oakland for the summer and would love to see you,” Clinton wrote. “Let me know if there is any chance of our getting together.”

Clinton’s letter reached Alinsky’s office while he was on an extended trip to Southeast Asia, where he was helping train community organizers in the Philippines.

But a response letter from Alinsky’s secretary suggests that the radical organizer had a deep fondness for Clinton as well.

“Since I know [Alinsky’s] feelings about you I took the liberty of opening your letter because I didn’t want something urgent to wait for two weeks,” Alinsky’s long-time secretary, Georgia Harper, wrote to Clinton in a July 13, 1971 letter. “And I’m glad I did.”

Harper told Clinton that Alinksy’s book Rules for Radicals had been released. She enclosed several reviews of the book.

“Mr. Alinsky will be in San Francisco, staying at the Hilton Inn at the airport on Monday and Tuesday, July 26 and 27,” Harper added. “I know he would like to have you call him so that if there is a chance in his schedule maybe you can get together.”

It is unclear whether the meeting occurred.

A self-proclaimed radical, Alinsky advocated guerilla tactics and civil disobedience to correct what he saw as an institutionalized power gap in poor communities. His philosophy divided the world into “haves”—middle class and wealthy people —and “have nots”—the poor. He took an ends-justify-the-means approach to power and wealth redistribution, and developed the theoretical basis of “community organizing.”

“The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power,” wrote Alinsky in his 1971 book. “Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away.”

Clinton’s connection to Alinsky has been the subject of speculation for decades. It became controversial when Wellsley College, by request of the Clinton White House, sealed her 1968 thesis from the public for years. Conservative lawyer Barbara Olson said Clinton had asked for the thesis to be sealed because it showed “the extent to which she internalized and assimilated the beliefs and methods of Saul Alinsky.” Clinton opponent turned Clinton defender David Brock referred to her as “Alinsky’s daughter” in 1996′s The Seduction of Hillary Rodham.

The paper was opened to the public in 2001. While the thesis is largely sympathetic to Alinsky, it is also critical of some of his tactics.

Clinton described the organizer as “a man of exceptional charm,” but also objected to some of the conflicts he provoked as “unrealistic,” noting that his model could be difficult for others to replicate.

“Many of the Alinsky-inspired poverty warriors could not (discounting political reasons) move beyond the cathartic first step of organizing groups ‘to oppose, complain, demonstrate, and boycott’ to developing and running a program,” she wrote.

The letters obtained by the Free Beacon suggest that Clinton experimented more with radical politics during her law school years than she has publicly acknowledged.

In Living History, she describes her views during that time as far more pragmatic than leftwing.

She “agreed with some of Alinsky’s ideas,” Clinton wrote in her first memoir, but the two had a “fundamental disagreement” over his anti-establishment tactics.

She described how this disagreement led to her parting ways with Alinsky in the summer before law school in 1969.

“He offered me the chance to work with him when I graduated from college, and he was disappointed that I decided instead to go to law school,” she wrote.

“Alinsky said I would be wasting my time, but my decision was an expression of my belief that the system could be changed from within.”

A request for comment from the Clinton team was not returned.

Source: http://freebeacon.com/politics/the-hillary-letters/

 

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‘Snowball’s Chance In Hell Of Succeeding’

Retired Head Of Marine Corps: Obama’s ISIS Strategy Doesn’t Have ‘A Snowball’s Chance In Hell Of Succeeding’

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks with Commandant of the Marine Corps General James T. Conway at the Marines Corps Evening Parade at the Marine Barracks in Washington

Editors Note: From the beginning Obama has ignored the advise from his top military officials. On every occasion that he has been given a strategy he has doe the opposite or reduced and requests personnel or material. General after General have come out against the actions Obama has stated he will employ. It is a failed strategy before it was ever announced. Telling the enemy what you won’t do is inviting that enemy to exploit it. A coalition of Nations is hardy possible when the heads of those Nations do not trust Obama to carry through his promises. The threat of  ISIS engaging in a terrorist attack in America is magnified with the situation on Americas southern border with Mexico that Obama refuses to address. Retired Lt. Col Ralph Peters nailed it when he said ” Obama is  Terrified Little Man in a Great Big Job He Can’t Do. [TS]

The man who was the top Marine general from 2006 until his retirement in 2010 says President Barack Obama’s strategy to defeat the terrorist group the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is doomed to fail.

I don’t think the president’s plan has a snowball’s chance in hell of succeeding,” retired Marine General James Conway, who served as the 34th Commandant of the Marine Corps during the end of the Bush administration and the beginning of the Obama administration, said at the Maverick PAC Conference in Washington, D.C. Friday, according to a source in attendance. 

Maverick PAC has described itself as a super PAC ”dedicated to inspiring the next-generation of conservatives, electing a new generation of conservative leaders, and sharing common goals and interests that will help shape the future of America.”

The source said Conway’s major concern was that the U.S. did not have a force on the ground in Syria it could rely on, like the Kurdish Peshmerga in Iraq. Though the Obama administration believes it can support what it says are moderate rebel forces in Syria to aid in the fight against ISIS, many critics warn that there may be no truly moderate force in the country of any significant strength. (RELATED: Expert Who Traveled With Syrian Rebels Says So-Called “Moderates” Are Muslim Brotherhood-Style Islamists)

The Commandant of the Marine Corps also serves as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. During the 2003 Iraq War, Conway led the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.

Obama’s strategy to degrade and destroy ISIS has come under fire in recent days for other reasons as well, especially for preemptively taking off the table the possibility of using American combat troops to achieve the mission.

“You just don’t take anything off the table up front, which it appears the administration has tried to do,” retired Gen. James Mattis, who served as head of Central Command from 2010 until his retirement in 2013, told the House Intelligence Committee on Thursday.

“Specifically, if this threat to our nation is determined to be as significant as I believe it is, we may not wish to reassure our enemies in advance that they will not see American ‘boots on the ground,’” he added. “If a brigade of our paratroopers or a battalion landing team of our Marines would strengthen our allies at a key juncture and create havoc/humiliation for our adversaries, then we should do what is necessary with our forces that exist for that very purpose.”

Source: http://dailycaller.com/2014/09/19/retired-head-of-marine-corps-obamas-isis-strategy-doesnt-have-a-snowballs-chance-in-hell-of-succeeding/

 

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Military Leaders Increasingly at Odds With Obama Over ISIS Strategy

Obama’s strategy on how to combat ISIS is confusing at best, but one thing is clear: the battle brewing between Obama and America’s top generals about how to move forward against the terror army.

Earlier this week during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Dempsey said there is potential he will recommend ground troops should the coalition with Arab countries against ISIS fail.

“My view at this point is that this coalition is the appropriate way forward. I believe that will prove true but if it fails to be true and if there are threats to the United States then I of course would go back to the President and make a recommendation that we include the use of U.S. military ground forces. To be clear, if we reach the point where I believe our advisers should accompany Iraqi troops on attacks against specific ISIL targets, I will recommend that to the president,” Dempsey said.

The next day, President Obama gave a speech in Florida at U.S. Central Command and stressed, “I will not commit you, and the rest of our armed forces, to fighting another ground war in Iraq.” Obama has repeatedly insisted ground troops will not be used against ISIS.

Regardless, the line of generals and other high ranking military officials expressing skepticism over President Obama’s plan and strategy is quickly getting longer.

Retired Marine Gen. James Mattis:

“Half‐hearted or tentative efforts, or air strikes alone, can backfire on us and actually strengthen our foe’s credibility, reinforcing his recruiting efforts which are already strong. I do not necessarily advocate American ground forces at this point, but we should never reassure our enemy that our commander‐in‐chief would not commit them at the time and place of his choosing. When we act it should be unequivocal, designed to end the fight as swiftly as possible. While no one is more reluctant to see us again in combat than those of us who have signed letters to the next of kin of our fallen, if something is worth fighting for we must bring full strength to bear.”

General Loyd Austin:

President Obama had been given advice on how to handle the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant but did not act on it, according to a new report from Real Clear Defense.Obama was preparing his strategy when he rejected the “best military advice” of Gen. Lloyd Austin, commander of U.S. Central Command.

General Ray Odierno:

Airstrikes have halted the advance of the Islamic State, also known by the acronyms ISIS or ISIL, General Odierno, now the Army chief of staff, told journalists from four news organizations, including The New York Times, in what aides said were his first public comments on the current situation in Iraq. Ultimately, though, “you’ve got to have ground forces that are capable of going in and rooting them out,” he said, referring to the Islamic extremists.

The airstrikes “will not be the end all and be all solution in Iraq,” he said. Similarly, he added, the jihadis cannot be allowed to have a safe haven across the border in Syria.

Lt. Col. Oliver North:

“In my military mind what you have is Operation Enduring Confusion. You have a President who cannot make up his mind about what he wants.” 

“I’ve spent my whole life hanging around the U.S. military. I’ve been on plenty of times with you from Iraq and other places. I’ve spent my life with these young guys. I’m waiting for the general or admiral who will stand up on his hind feet and say this is mission impossible. Given the constraints that you’ve [Obama] given we cannot accomplish the objective you have set. It is impossible to do.”

“Somebody has to tell the truth…Some general or admiral at the Pentagon or somewhere else in Central Command has got to stand up and say, ‘The mission we’ve been given we can do but we can’t with the constraints you’ve places upon us.’”

 

And then there’s this:

 

The current situation in Iraq is a direct result of President Obama choosing politics over the advice of his generals. Even with the threat of ISIS, things haven’t changed.

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‘Incredibly serious’: Cover-up claims in spotlight ahead of Benghazi hearing

Allegations that Hillary Clinton allies may have tried to shield the former secretary of State in the wake of the Benghazi terror attack are coming to the forefront ahead of the first public hearing of the special congressional committee probing the attack and its aftermath.

Speaking with Fox News, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., chairman of the select committee, on Tuesday made clear he eventually plans to call former acting CIA director Mike Morell to testify – alleging the former boss “intentionally scrubbed” the so-called talking points that were the basis for the administration’s flawed public narrative about the attack.

Gowdy made clear he would question Morell on why he allegedly removed information damaging to Clinton’s State Department. (Morell now works for Clinton’s former spokesman, Philippe Reines.)

Gowdy also responded to new and separate allegations from a former State Department official that Clinton confidants hid politically damaging files from the supposedly independent board probing the attack. Gowdy called the allegations “incredibly serious,” but stressed that they are only allegations at this stage.

It is unclear how deeply the hearing on Wednesday might delve into the actions of any of these officials. The topic for the hearing, set for 10 a.m. ET, is the implementation of the recommendations from the independent board, known as the Accountability Review Board.

Among those set to testify are Greg Starr, the department’s assistant secretary for Diplomatic Security, and Mark Sullivan and Todd Keil, members of the Independent Panel on Best Practices, created to review the accountability board’s efforts.Morell is not part of Wednesday’s hearing.

But the hearing, following weeks of private interviews and investigation, marks the first public airing of the committee’s work.

Gowdy, speaking with Fox News on Tuesday, continued to raise questions about the administration’s claims that murky intelligence initially led them to conclude, wrongly, the attack grew out of a demonstration on the ground over an anti-Islam film. Gowdy said there is “overwhelming” evidence of pre-meditation and “overwhelming” evidence of pre-planning in the 2012 attack, in which four Americans were killed.

Morell was involved in editing the so-called talking points on the attack, and Republicans have long questioned his role. But Morell said in a statement to Fox News earlier this year that “neither the Agency, the analysts, nor I cooked the books in any way.”

A CIA spokesman also told Fox News earlier this year that the talking points were originally written for Congress’ purposes and were never meant to be “definitive.”

Gowdy also hinted Tuesday that he will call National Security Adviser Susan Rice and any others with direct knowledge of the administration’s initial statements about the attack.

Meanwhile, Gowdy did not comment in detail on the allegations that Clinton confidants hid politically damaging documents from the ARB.

The account from Raymond Maxwell, former head of the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA),was first published in The Daily Signal. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, confirmed to FoxNews.com on Monday that Maxwell told him and other lawmakers the same story when they privately interviewed him last year about the attacks and their aftermath.

Chaffetz said that Maxwell claimed Clinton’s chief of staff and deputy chief of staff were overseeing the document operation, which allegedly took place on a weekend in a basement office of the State Department.

“What they were looking for is anything that made them look bad. That’s the way it was described to us,” Chaffetz said.

According to Chaffetz’ account of his interview with Maxwell, as well as the Daily Signal report, Maxwell said those scrubbing the documents were looking for information that would cast Clinton and senior leaders in a “bad light.”

Chaffetz said such documents were said to be removed, so that Congress and the Accountability Review Board would not see them.

State Department spokesman Alec Gerlach denied the allegations in a written statement.

“That allegation is totally without merit. It doesn’t remotely reflect the way the ARB actually obtained information,” he said in an email. He explained that an “all-points bulletin”-type request went out department-wide instructing “full and prompt cooperation” for anyone contacted by the ARB, and urging anyone with “relevant information” to contact the board.

“The range of sources that the ARB’s investigation drew on would have made it impossible for anyone outside of the ARB to control its access to information,” he said.

On Tuesday, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., top Democrat on the House oversight committee, said Maxwell was interviewed by their committee and never talked about this.

Maxwell was one of four State Department officials disciplined in the wake of the 2012 Benghazi attack. He was put on administrative leave, and has spoken out before about how he felt he was scapegoated.

Maxwell was eventually cleared, but retired last year.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/09/16/incredibly-serious-cover-up-claims-in-spotlight-ahead-benghazi-hearing/

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Benghazi Whistleblower: We Were Ordered to Withhold Documents from Review Board

Ahead of the House Select Committee on Benghazi’s first public hearing tomorrow, former CBS News correspondent Sharyl Attkisson is out with a significant new report centered around new claims from a former State Department official. Raymond Maxwell — whom you may recall as one of the lower-level employees disciplined, then reinstated, in the wake of the Benghazi firestorm — says he was ordered to cull damaging documents from a file of evidence being handed over to the State Department’s ‘independent’ Accountability Review Board (ARB):

A former State Department diplomat is coming forward with a startling allegation: Hillary Clinton confidants were part of an operation to “separate” damaging documents before they were turned over to the Accountability Review Board investigating security lapses surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya…According to former Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell, the after-hours session took place over a weekend in a basement operations-type center at State Department headquarters in Washington, D.C….Maxwell says the weekend document session was held in the basement of the State Department’s Foggy Bottom headquarters in a room underneath the “jogger’s entrance.” … When he arrived, Maxwell says he observed boxes and stacks of documents. He says a State Department office director, whom Maxwell described as close to Clinton’s top advisers, was there. Though the office director technically worked for him, Maxwell says he wasn’t consulted about her weekend assignment. “She told me, ‘Ray, we are to go through these stacks and pull out anything that might put anybody in the [Near Eastern Affairs] front office or the seventh floor in a bad light,’” says Maxwell. He says “seventh floor” was State Department shorthand for then-Secretary of State Clinton and her principal advisers. “I asked her, ‘But isn’t that unethical?’ She responded, ‘Ray, those are our orders.’ ” A few minutes after he arrived, Maxwell says, in walked two high-ranking State Department officials.

According to Congressman Jason Chaffetz, who interviewed Maxwell for the Select Committee, one of those “high-ranking State Department officials” was Cheryl Mills — Hillary Clinton’s Chief of Staff:

Mills famously castigated Gregory Hicks, murdered Ambassador Chris Stevens’ second in command in Libya, for cooperating with Congressional investigators.  The ARB supposedly undertook a “fiercely independent” investigation with “unfettered access” into the facts surrounding the Benghazi massacre.  Based on Maxwell’s accusation of explicit whitewashing and meddling, the ARB’s inquiry would appear to be anything but “unfettered.”  The panel has faced challenges to its credibility in the past, including questions over whether it was stacked by the probe’s subjects, and the admission of a lead investigator that he’d engaged in some behind-the-scenes collusion with Mills:

The House Oversight Committee report suggests there may be a conflict of interest in having the ARB rely so heavily on the State Department that it’s investigating for staff and resources. For example, Under Secretary Kennedy supervised the selection of the Benghazi ARB staff; and the State Department appointed four of the five members of the Board. Further, Mullen acknowledged giving Cheryl Mills, Secretary Clinton’s Chief of Staff, “a head’s up” prior to her interview with deputy assistant secretary for international programs Charlene Lamb. Mullen said: “I thought [Lamb's] appearance could be a very difficult appearance for the State Department.”

That would be the same Under Secretary [Patrick Kennedy] who has been identified as one of the officials directly responsible for denying requests for an increased on-the-ground security presence in Libya leading up to the deadly terrorist raid. Secretary Clinton, for her part, was never interviewed by the ARB.  A subsequent Senate report on Benghazi was much more critical of the State Department’s role in the ‘preventable’ attacks, and scolded Sec. Clinton’s department for “unnecessarily hamper[ing] the committee’s review.”  Internal email exchanges have also revealed private efforts by top-level State Department officials to scrub relevant details from Susan Rice’s inaccurate talking points, very clearly for the purposes of political damage control.  Additional emails that were initially withheld from investigators directly contradicted previous administration assertions, producing frantic, risible spin from the White House.  Mr. Maxwell’s allegations add a new layer to the emerging picture of a Benghazi cover up.  If and when he offers public testimony, Democrats will almost certainly accuse Maxwell of being a liar with an axe to grind.  What they can’t accuse him of is Republican partisanship:

Maxwell, 58, strongly supported President Barack Obama and personally contributed to his presidential campaign. But post-Benghazi, he has soured on both Obama and Clinton, saying he had nothing to do with security and was sacrificed as a scapegoat while higher-up officials directly responsible escaped discipline.

Insinuating that an African-American Obama donor was somehow part of some GOP conspiracy will be a tough sell. Then again, I must say that this quote from Maxwell rings a bit too ‘perfect:’

Several weeks after he was placed on leave with no formal accusations, Maxwell made an appointment to address his status with a State Department ombudsman. “She told me, ‘You are taking this all too personally, Raymond. It is not about you,’ ” Maxwell recalls. “I told her that ‘My name is on TV and I’m on administrative leave, it seems like it’s about me.’ Then she said, ‘You’re not harmed, you’re still getting paid. Don’t watch TV. Take your wife on a cruise. It’s not about you; it’s about Hillary and 2016.’

Was the 2016 bit his inference, or is he claiming that this woman spelled out a cartoonishly political calculus to a furious employee who felt he was being unfairly scapegoated? C’mon. We’ll know soon enough: “I’m 100 percent confident the Benghazi Select Committee is going to dive deep on that issue,” Chaffetz says.  Stay tuned.

Source: http://townhall.com/tipsheet/guybenson/2014/09/16/benghazi-whistleblower-we-withheld-damaging-documents-from-review-board-n1891929

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Ex-official claims Clinton allies scrubbed Benghazi documents in secret session

A former State Department official has told lawmakers that Hillary Clinton allies privately removed politically damaging documents before turning over files to the supposedly independent board investigating the Benghazi terror attack.

The account from Raymond Maxwell, former head of the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA), was first published in The Daily Signal. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, confirmed to FoxNews.com on Monday that Maxwell told him and other lawmakers the same story when they privately interviewed him last year about the attacks and their aftermath.

Chaffetz said that Maxwell claimed Clinton’s chief of staff and deputy chief of staff were overseeing the document operation, which allegedly took place on a weekend in a basement office of the State Department.

“What they were looking for is anything that made them look bad. That’s the way it was described to us,” Chaffetz said.

According to Chaffetz’ account of his interview with Maxwell, as well as the Daily Signal report by Sharyl Attkisson, Maxwell said those scrubbing the documents were looking for information that would cast Clinton and senior leaders in a “bad light.” 

Chaffetz said such documents were said to be removed, so that Congress and the Accountability Review Board — the board probing security lapses as well as the attack’s aftermath — would not see them.

Chaffetz described Maxwell’s account as “consistent” all this time. The congressman said he is speaking publicly about Maxwell’s allegations because Maxwell himself has gone public with them.

State Department spokesman Alec Gerlach denied the allegations in a statement to FoxNews.com.

“That allegation is totally without merit. It doesn’t remotely reflect the way the ARB actually obtained information,” he said in an email. He explained that an “all-points bulletin”-type request went out department-wide instructing “full and prompt cooperation” for anyone contacted by the ARB, and urging anyone with “relevant information” to contact the board.

“So individuals with information were reaching out proactively to the Board. And, the ARB was also directly engaged with individuals and the Department’s bureaus and offices to request information and pull on whichever threads it chose to. The range of sources that the ARB’s investigation drew on would have made it impossible for anyone outside of the ARB to control its access to information,” Gerlach said. He further noted that the leaders of the ARB have claimed they had unfettered access to information and people.

Maxwell was one of four State Department officials disciplined in the wake of the 2012 Benghazi attack, in which four Americans were killed. He was put on administrative leave, and has spoken out before about how he felt he was scapegoated.

Maxwell was eventually cleared, but retired last year.

According to The Daily Signal report, Maxwell walked in on the weekend session on a Sunday afternoon after hearing about it. He reportedly claims he saw stacks of documents when he arrived as well as an office director who worked for him — but who hadn’t told him about the assignment.

Maxwell reportedly claimed she told him they were instructed to go through the stacks and pull out items that could put anybody in the NEA “front office” or seventh floor — where the secretary’s office is — in a “bad light.” 

Maxwell said he “didn’t feel good about it” and left a short time later.

Chaffetz said that he was told then-Clinton Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills and Deputy Chief of Staff Jake Sullivan were there and overseeing the operation.

“For Hillary Clinton’s personal chief of staff and deputy chief of staff to be making a concerted effort to hide documents, make sure that the Accountability Review Board and Congress did not see those documents is unbelievable and absolutely wrong,” Chaffetz said.

Requests for comment to representatives for Clinton, Sullivan and Mills have not yet been returned.

The new allegations have surfaced as the House select committee on Benghazi prepares to hold its first open hearing on Wednesday.

Scheduled to testify are Greg Starr, the department’s assistant secretary for Diplomatic Security, and Mark Sullivan and Todd Keil, members of the Independent Panel on Best Practices, created to review the accountability board’s efforts.

The board was led by former Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Adm. Michael Mullen, who have already testified before Congress and are expected to be called before the select committee.

Maxwell told Attkisson that the ARB probe was “at best, a shoddily executed attempt at damage control.” 

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/09/15/damage-control-ex-official-claims-clinton-allies-scrubbed-benghazi-documents-in/

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The Sentinel of Liberty……ISIS or ISIL

The Sentinel of Liberty

old north church

                     The Voice of Freedom and Warning
                                                       ISIS or ISIL
What is the difference and why does Obama now use ISIL instead of ISIS
ISIS is the term the terrorists originally used to describe the area in Syria and Iraq that they have taken over by force, they have now also adopted the name Islamic State to use in referring to their newly conquered land. Those two terms were universally used around the world and by Obama himself until he changed and started referring to them as ISIL. Who you may wonder is it of any real importance what they are called? After reading this explanation you may change your mind. ISIS stands for Islamic State in Iraq and Syria where as ISIL stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant. The key difference between the two is the substitution of the word Syria with the word Levant and why this change is so important. A study of the word Levant and its meaning to Muslims will help clear up any confusion.

Levant is a word to describe a land bridge between the countries of Turkey and Egypt as shown in the map below.

levant

It includes part of Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Egypt and ISRAEL and is part of the larger and more ancient Fertile Cresent. Modern Islamists wish to restore this ancient land bridge with one important caveat; Israel is not part of it. By using the work Levant instead of Syria, Obama is sending a signal to all Muslims that he doesn’t think Israel has a legitimate claim to the land. It is a subtle inference that most non Muslims simply overlook but Muslims worldwide recognize this subtlety or nuance as Obama’s and therefore Americas belief that Israel does not have the legitimate right to the land they now occupy. Recent events between Israel and Palestine especially in reference to Hamas have shown that Obama has favored both the Palestinians and Hamas over Israel. Obama has also been a big supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood with 6 of his appointees being tied to the Muslim Brotherhood,
Arif Alikhan – Assistant Secretary for Policy Development for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Mohammed Elibiary – Homeland Security Adviser.
Rashad Hussain – Special Envoy to the (OIC) Organization of the Islamic Conference.
Salam al-Marayati – Obama Adviser, founder of Muslim Public Affairs Council and its current executive director.
Imam Mohamed Magid – Obama’s Sharia Czar, Islamic Society of North America.
Eboo Patel – Advisory Council on Faith-Based Neighborhood Partnerships.
Obama also supported the ouster of Egypt’s former President Hosni Mubarak who had a Treaty Agreement with Israel and replacing him with Mohamed Morsi who was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. He also supported the ouster of Libya’s Muammar Gadffi who was hostile to the Muslim Brotherhood. It can clearly be seen that two items are important to Obama and those are his support for the Muslim Brotherhood and his hatred of Israel.

Obama’s new usage of ISIL has serious connotations for the Muslims of the world and is a veiled signal to them that he is sympathetic to their cause. You may disagree with these observations but the facts are clear if you look for them. With the open threats against America by ISIS and the sadistic beheading of (2) American journalists it is also clear that ISIS must be totally destroyed but where is the Commander in Chief. He has stated he has no Strategy when it comes to attacking ISIS’s base of operations in Syria and has only allowed air strikes against ISIS because of intense political pressure from both the republicans and the democrats. Democrats seem to support a stronger response mainly because of the upcoming November midterm elections.

With the anniversary of 9-11-01 rapidly approaching and ISIS being allowed to run rampant throughout both Syria and Iraq coupled with the southern border debacle America has entered into a very dangerous time. Will Obama’s open support of the Muslim Brotherhood and inaction concerning ISIS and our southern border controversy allow for a terrorist attack to take place on the 9-11-01 anniversary is an open question at this point but we will all know that answer soon. Is the use of ISIL instead of ISIS a signal to the terrorists or is it just a harmless change of terminology, you be the judge.

Watch for the next Sentinel Alert coming soon.
TopShot

 

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PROPHETIC WORDS: Bush predicted terror, death and chaos of Iraq pullout

Bush in 2007 delivered eerily accurate warning about Iraq unrest

Editors Note: America is facing the greatest Terrorist threat in history because of Obama’s failed Foreign Policy and his utter incompetence and complete failure as Commander in Chief. President Bush’s warnings have been born out in their entirety. Obama’s address last night was nothing but his attempt to obfusate Americas position and response to the ISIS threat. In essence his “Strategy” is to tread water and leave the mess he has created to the next President to clean up. The legacy he has been so worried about will now be that of a totally failed Presidency and deservedly so. [TS]

A prophetic warning from then-President George W. Bush before he left office about what would happen if the U.S. withdrew troops from Iraq too soon is getting new attention in light of the Islamic State’s gains, as each of his predictions appears to be coming true.

Bush, as discussed on “The Kelly File,” made the remarks in the White House briefing room on July 12, 2007, as he argued against those who sought an immediate troop withdrawal.

“To begin withdrawing before our commanders tell us we are ready would be dangerous for Iraq, for the region and for the United States,” Bush cautioned.

He then ticked off a string of predictions about what would happen if the U.S. left too early.

“It would mean surrendering the future of Iraq to Al Qaeda.

“It would mean that we’d be risking mass killings on a horrific scale.

“It would mean we allow the terrorists to establish a safe haven in Iraq to replace the one they lost in Afghanistan.

“It would mean we’d be increasing the probability that American troops would have to return at some later date to confront an enemy that is even more dangerous.”

Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen says all these predictions have come true.

“Every single thing that President Bush said there in that statement is happening today,” he told Fox News.

To Bush’s first warning, the Islamic State terror group is effectively the successor to Al Qaeda in Iraq – and they’ve overrun several major cities in Iraq’s north while claiming broad swaths of territory in Syria. Further, the group has been behind mass killings of Iraqi civilians as well as the recent execution by beheading of two American journalists.

The Obama administration has warned that the group’s violence threatens to approach genocide levels.

Though President Obama says combat troops will not be returning to fight in Iraq, American troops are nevertheless returning in some capacity. The president on Wednesday announced an expanded airstrike campaign against the group in Iraq and Syria, and is sending hundreds more U.S. military personnel into Iraq.

Some lawmakers and analysts say this could have been avoided if the Obama administration had left a residual force in Iraq, or at least had responded sooner to ISIS’ gains in northern Iraq over the past year.

Bush, before he left office, signed an agreement setting the stage for U.S. troops to withdraw by December 2011.

Obama, though, was urged by military advisers to keep thousands of service members after that deadline to help the shaky Iraqi government. But when Washington and Baghdad were unable to reach a renewed agreement governing the presence of U.S. forces in the country, the Obama administration withdrew virtually all troops at the end of 2011.

“We needed to leave a stabilizing force behind, and we didn’t.  And of course, we know the rest is history,” Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told Fox News.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/09/11/bush-in-2007-delivered-eerily-accurate-warning-about-iraq-unrest/

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Officials: ISIS Terrorists Talked of Infiltrating US Via Mexico

Islamic State Terrorists Talked of Entering US Via Mexico

Islamic State extremists have discussed infiltrating the U.S. through its southern border with Mexico, a U.S. official said.

Francis Taylor, under secretary for intelligence and analysis at the Department of Homeland Security, told a Senate committee today that the Sunni militants have been tracked discussing the idea on social-media sites such as Twitter Inc.

“There have been Twitter and social-media exchanges among ISIL adherents across the globe speaking about that as a possibility,” Taylor said in response to a question from Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican. Islamic State is also known by the acronyms ISIL and ISIS.

Referring to the 1,933-mile (3,110-kilometer) boundary with Mexico, Taylor said he was “satisfied that we have the intelligence and the capability at our border that would prevent that activity.”

Taylor’s comments before the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee came hours before President Barack Obama was to outline in a speech plans to expand the U.S. offensive against Islamic State. Steps under consideration include blocking foreign fighters from entering Syria and Iraq, delivering more aid to moderate factions among Syrian rebels, and expanding air strikes to Islamic State targets in Syria.

Mexican Cartels

Taylor said the security of the U.S.’s southwest border remains a high concern for his department, and that Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has ordered “a comprehensive southern border security strategy that will include national security risks.”

U.S. intelligence officials said they are skeptical that Mexican drug cartels would let jihadists use their turf or delivery routes to attack the U.S. The cartels know that terrorist attackers coming through areas they control would almost certainly bring massive retaliation and a militarized border that would threaten their lucrative narcotics-smuggling operations, said two officials, who requested anonymity to discuss classified intelligence assessments.

Officials testifying before the committee said that Islamic State currently poses the greatest threat to U.S. interests in Iraq and within the region. At the moment, the group’s ability to develop significant, large-scale attacks diminishes with distance from Syria and Iraq, said Nicholas Rasmussen, deputy director of the National Counterterrorism Center.

Not Immediate

“We do not assess right now they have the capability to mount an effective large-scale attack on the United States,” Rasmussen said.

Islamic State’s sweep across Iraq and a campaign of terror that has included the beheading of two U.S. journalists have galvanized fears among Americans of a rising terrorist threat and stirred demands from lawmakers that Obama articulate a plan for dealing with the issue.

Sixty-five percent of Americans back bombing strikes against the extremists in Syria, more than double the level of support from a year ago, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll released yesterday.

Islamic State members have surfaced in Europe — specifically in a shooting that killed four people at a Jewish museum in Brussels and through arrests in Paris — “a clear indication of ISIL’s ambition to operate outside the Middle East,” Rasmussen said. If the group is left to grow, that threat will only increase, he said.

‘Apostate’ Governments

“Left unchecked, ISIL poses a threat to all governments it considers apostate,” Rasmussen said, adding that the group’s targets would include governments in Europe, the U.S., Africa and the Middle East.

Lawmakers concentrated on the threat posed by foreign fighters who join Islamic State, either Americans or Europeans who wouldn’t need a visa to enter the United States.

Johnson, speaking in New York today, said that about 12,000 foreigners are estimated to have traveled to Syria to fight over the past three years. The FBI has arrested some people who have tried to travel from the U.S. to Syria to join the fight.

In response to threats from overseas, Johnson said the U.S. has increased aviation security in 25 airports abroad since early July, adding screening of both passengers and carry-on luggage.

Rasmussen estimated that “over 100 persons from a wide variety of backgrounds have attempted to travel to the region” from the U.S. to fight alongside extremist groups active in Iraq and Syria.

‘Looking to Join’

Many go “simply looking to join the fight” and engage with extremist elements, not necessarily searching to join Islamic State in particular, Rasmussen said. “Where they end up actually affiliating plays out over time,” he said.

Rasmussen said the estimate of 100 people included individuals who show intent to travel but haven’t left the U.S. as well as those who remain there, those who have been killed and those who have returned.

One wild card will be U.S. citizens who may be radicalized through the Internet and decide to take up arms here, Rasmussen said.

“We can’t account for homegrown terrorists,” Rasmussen said, “people who might self-affiliate.”

This “lone-wolf” phenomenon “is the hardest terrorist threat to detect, and the one I worry about the most,” he said, citing the Boston Marathon bombers.

‘Aggressive’ Sharing

If there is any good news, Rasmussen said, it is the “aggressive information-sharing with all of our partners who have the same problem.” This has given the U.S. and Europe “a significant leg up” in attempts “to disrupt travel when these individuals attempt to leave Iraq,” he said.

Gathering data on Islamic State and other extremists groups has become more difficult since disclosures by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, Rasmussen said, as intelligence agencies have seen terrorists change their methods and means of communication to avoid detection.

Those changes “frustrate our counterterrorism efforts,” he said. “We cannot connect the dots if we cannot collect the dots.”

Source: http://www.newsmax.com/Newsfront/AME-AMERICAME-ANON-ATTACHMENT/2014/09/10/id/593898/

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Top CIA officer in Benghazi delayed response to terrorist attack, US security team members claim

 

Editors Note: The Fox News interview by Bret Baier with 3 of the operators who were on the ground and involved in the attack in Benghazi was riveting in its revelations of what actually happened the night of the attack. A huge cover up had been underway by the White House and the State Department since the attack happened. All the official denials of the “Stand Down Order” have been totally shattered and such an order started higher than the CIA station chief in Tripoli. President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have colluded to cover up the facts of that night and the failure of Obama’s administration to properly provide the needed support and back up that was so desperately needed that night. Both are guilty of at the least dereliction of duty but specifically lying to Congress and the American people. Help was intentionally and officially denied for reasons yet made clear but the investigation continues, could it be that Ambassador Stevens was ordered to funnel arms to terrorists front groups as has been suggested? It is very possible that this revelation by these 3 hero’s is the “Smoking Gun” that we have been waiting for and Obama’s house of cards will start to now collapse. Justice is long over do for those brave men who died and were wounded, may it come quickly. [TS]

A U.S. security team in Benghazi was held back from immediately responding to the attack on the American diplomatic mission on orders of the top CIA officer there, three of those involved told Fox News’ Bret Baier.

Their account gives a dramatic new turn to what the Obama administration and its allies would like to dismiss as an “old story” – the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attacks that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

Speaking out publicly for the first time, the three were security operators at the secret CIA annex in Benghazi – in effect, the first-responders to any attack on the diplomatic compound. Their first-hand account will be told in a Fox News special, airing Friday night at 10 p.m. (EDT).

Based on the new book “13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi” by Mitchell Zuckoff with the Annex Security Team, the special sets aside the political spin that has freighted the Benghazi issue for the last two years, presenting a vivid, compelling narrative of events from the perspective of the men who wore the “boots on the ground.” 

The security contractors — Kris (“Tanto”) Paronto,  Mark (“Oz”) Geist, and John (“Tig”) Tiegen — spoke exclusively, and at length, to Fox News about what they saw and did that night. Baier, Fox News’ Chief Political Anchor, asked them about one of the most controversial questions arising from the events in Benghazi: Was help delayed?

Word of the attack on the diplomatic compound reached the CIA annex just after 9:30 p.m. Within five minutes, the security team at the annex was geared up for battle, and ready to move to the compound, a mile away.

“Five minutes, we’re ready,” said Paronto, a former Army Ranger. “It was thumbs up, thumbs up, we’re ready to go.”

But the team was held back. According to the security operators, they were delayed from responding to the attack by the top CIA officer in Benghazi, whom they refer to only as “Bob.”

“It had probably been 15 minutes I think, and … I just said, ‘Hey, you know, we gotta– we need to get over there, we’re losing the initiative,’” said Tiegen. “And Bob just looks straight at me and said, ‘Stand down, you need to wait.’”

“We’re starting to get calls from the State Department guys saying, ‘Hey, we’re taking fire, we need you guys here, we need help,’” said Paronto.

After a delay of nearly 30 minutes, the security team headed to the besieged consulate without orders. They asked their CIA superiors to call for armed air support, which never came.

Now, looking back, the security team said they believed that if they had not been delayed for nearly half an hour, or if the air support had come, things might have turned out differently.

“Ambassador Stevens and Sean [Smith], yeah, they would still be alive, my gut is yes,” Paronto said. Tiegen concurred.

“I strongly believe if we’d left immediately, they’d still be alive today,” he added.

In a statement to Fox News, a senior intelligence official insisted that,  “There were no orders to anybody to stand down in providing support.”

Baier put that assertion directly to the operators.

“You use the words ‘stand down,’” Baier noted. “A number of people now, including the House Intelligence Committee  insist no one was hindered from responding to the situation at the compound…so what do you say to that?”

“No, it happened,” said Tiegen.

“It happened on the ground– all I can talk about is what happened on that ground that night,” added Paronto. “To us. To myself, twice, and to– to Tig, once. It happened that night. We were told to wait, stand– and stand down.  We were delayed three times.”

In a statement to Fox News, a senior intelligence official did allow that the security team was delayed from responding while the CIA’s top officer in Benghazi tried to rally local support.

In the special, Baier also asks about the infamous YouTube video that was blamed for the violence in Benghazi.

Paronto laughed at the suggestion that the video played any role in the events of that night, saying he did not even know of the video until he was out of Libya and on his way home. “I didn’t know about the video ‘till I got to Germany,” he said. “(I had) no idea about any video, no. No, sir.”

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/09/06/top-cia-official-in-benghazi-delayed-response-to-terrorist-attack-us-security/

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Frank Wolf to Introduce Bill Authorizing Military Action Against ISIS

Though President Barack Obama hasn’t consulted America’s legislative branch on what to do about the ISIS threat, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA)—a national security hawk from Virginia—is stepping forward himself to introduce legislation that would congressionally authorize military action against ISIS and other terror threats in the region.

 

 

“It isn’t enough for the Congress to just say the administration isn’t doing enough then not participate,” Wolf told Breitbart News in a phone interview. He continued:

The Congress has the ability to declare war under the Constitution. I think the Congress has to be involved in this. I think you also almost have to do what President [George H.W.] Bush did with regard to Desert Storm. If you put together a coalition of regional powers—they had the Saudis, even Syria was involved. You had all the countries out in the region involved. You had all of NATO involved—Americans cannot do this alone. We need to bring in all of this regional power.

 

 

Wolf’s bill, which he will introduce when Congress returns from recess next week, would—according to Wolf’s office—authorize U.S. military force against “Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and al Qaeda and its affiliates, like al Nusra, Ansar al Sharia, al Shabaab and Boko Haram, while encouraging close coordination with NATO and regional allies on any action.”

 

 

Wolf, in his interview with Breitbart News about the forthcoming bill, said he’s puzzled that the president at first did not have any strategy yet to deal with ISIS, and that now the president thinks ISIS can be a “manageable problem.”

 

 

“I don’t know what the word ‘manageable’ means,” Wolf said. “I saw the comment. How do you ‘manage’ it? They have spread now from Syria to the suburbs of Baghdad. They have Mosul. You have 140 Americans, at least, with American passports who have gone over there to fight with them. We have never had this happen before. 9/11 were mainly Saudis and some other nations.”

 

 

Wolf said the threat to the United States is “very, very big.”

 

 

“Keep in mind, 170 people from my district died in the attack on the Pentagon, and there were early warnings before 9/11, but people did not take them seriously,” Wolf said, mentioning the Bremer Commission, which legislation he sponsored created. That commission produced a report in 2000 that warned of a looming al Qaeda threat—but Wolf said that “nobody paid any attention to it.” A year later, of course, terrorists hijacked four planes, crashing two into the Twin Towers in New York City, one into the Pentagon, and the other crashed in a Pennsylvania field.

 

 

ISIS, Wolf said, is more organized and powerful than even al Qaeda was. He went on:

 

 

These guys have American passports and the ability to fly back in the country just like you or me. Also, the British are there—500 or more British citizens.There are French citizens there, citizens from Scandinavia there. Also you have the weakened southern border. Why would you think they would not try to break the southern border? The Congress has to participate in this—and they have to stop people from this country from going over there, and when they come back they have to prosecute them. There was that guy who was from Vero Beach who went over there, came back here, and then went back and was involved in a suicide bombing.

 

 

The weaponry that ISIS has is very sophisticated, too, Wolf said, adding:

 

 

I saw reports that they actually have Blackhawk helicopters—I don’t know if they can fly them but they have them. said. They have weapons, Humvees, armored personnel carriers that they all took when the Iraqi military fled. They are well-armed, well-trained. They have a lot of money, are well-committed—and are a direct threat to the nation, so we have to act before something bad happens. I don’t want to be in a predicting mood, but we have to act before something bad happens.

 

Ultimately, no matter what the Obama administration does—if it does, indeed, act—Wolf said that “it’s important for the Congress to the debate it and it’s important for the Congress to vote.” That said, there has been no effort by the administration to reach out to him, and he’s unaware if the administration has even reached out to any members of Congress over the ISIS threat.

 

 

“They may have reached out to other members, but they haven’t reached out to me,” Wolf said. “I can’t speak for the administration.”

Source: http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/09/03/Frank-Wolf-To-Introduce-Bill-Calling-For-Congressional-Authorization-For-Military-Action-Against-ISIS

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Lawmakers tell Obama ‘we must go after ISIS’ after new video surfaces

Congressional lawmakers urged the Obama administration to crank up the offensive against the Islamic State after another video surfaced purporting to show the graphic execution of an American journalist.

Two weeks after American James Foley was beheaded by his Islamic State captors, a video emerged Tuesday afternoon claiming to show freelance journalist Steven Sotloff being executed in the same way.

The White House and State Department said intelligence officials are working quickly to determine the video’s authenticity. If it is genuine, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said, “We are sickened by this brutal act.”

But U.S. lawmakers on both sides of the aisle urged tough and swift action in response.

“Let there be no doubt, we must go after ISIS right away because the U.S. is the only one that can put together a coalition to stop this group that’s intent on barbaric cruelty,” Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., said in a statement.

Nelson added that he plans on filing legislation next week that would give President Obama authority to order airstrikes against ISIS in Syria.

Sotloff had been held since last year by Islamic State militants. As before, the executioner in the video claimed the act was a message to the United States in response to airstrikes.

“I am back Obama, and I am back because of your arrogant foreign policy towards the Islamic State,” the person in the video said.

The administration, while launching another humanitarian mission in northern Iraq in recent days and sustaining a campaign of airstrikes around the Mosul Dam and elsewhere, continues to deliberate over the next steps – and whether to expand airstrikes across the border into Syria, where the Islamic State has a stronghold.

The president, drawing criticism from some GOP lawmakers, acknowledged last week that his team does not have a strategy yet for confronting ISIS in Syria.

With the president en route to Europe for meetings with allies and a NATO summit, it’s unclear whether the latest video might change, or accelerate, the administration’s planning.

Without commenting specifically on whether the U.S. military should go into Syria, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce, R-Calif., said Tuesday that the U.S. needs to be “acting urgently” to arm the Kurds in northern Iraq and target the Islamic State with drone strikes.

“Sadly, ISIS is bringing this barbarity across the region – beheading and crucifying those who don’t share their dark ideology,” he said. “The threat from this group seems to grow by the day.”

Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., a member of the House intelligence committee, also said in a statement that “we cannot afford to allow these terrorists to continue their march.”

Asked Tuesday about the terror group, Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said the U.S. “absolutely” has a strategy for the Middle East and a “clear” mission in Iraq.

“We are there to support Iraqi and Kurdish forces as they take the fight to ISIL.  We are there to provide humanitarian assistance where and when we can,” he said.

Psaki said the U.S. wants to see the group “destroyed” but it won’t be “an overnight effort.”

Analysts and others, though, said some elements of the approach will have to change.

Former U.N. ambassador Bill Richardson, speaking with Fox News, called for a “kitchen sink approach” and – like in Iraq years ago – a “coalition of the willing” to increase training, military aid and airstrikes.

Michael O’Hanlon, with the Brookings Institution, said the Obama administration made the right decision to launch airstrikes in northern Iraq, but said more might be needed.

He urged the government to consider sending up to several thousand special forces and “mentor teams” into Iraq to help the Iraqi army in its fight against the Islamic State.

And he suggested the latest brutal act might spur more countries in the region to align with Baghdad and Washington.

“I think this will shake some sense into countries that wanted to have it both ways up until now,” he told Fox News.

Source: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/09/02/lawmakers-tell-obama-must-go-after-isis-after-new-video-surfaces/

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