Archive for National Security

Critics pounce after Obama talks Crusades, slavery at prayer breakfast – The Washington Post

Who's side is he on?

Who’s side is he on?

President Obama has never been one to go easy on America.

As a new president, he dismissed the idea of American exceptionalism, noting that Greeks think their country is special, too. He labeled the Bush-era interrogation practices, euphemistically called “harsh” for years, as torture. America, he has suggested, has much to answer given its history in Latin America and the Middle East.

His latest challenge came Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast. At a time of global anxiety over Islamist terrorism, Obama noted pointedly that his fellow Christians, who make up a vast majority of Americans, should perhaps not be the ones who cast the first stone.

“Humanity has been grappling with these questions throughout human history,” he told the group, speaking of the tension between the compassionate and murderous acts religion can inspire. “And lest we get on our high horse and think this is unique to some other place, remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ. In our home country, slavery and Jim Crow all too often was justified in the name of Christ.”

Some Republicans were outraged. “The president’s comments this morning at the prayer breakfast are the most offensive I’ve ever heard a president make in my lifetime,” said former Virginia governor Jim Gilmore (R). “He has offended every believing Christian in the United States. This goes further to the point that Mr. Obama does not believe in America or the values we all share.”

Obama’s remarks spoke to his unsparing, sometimes controversial, view of the United States — where triumphalism is often overshadowed by a harsh assessment of where Americans must try harder to live up to their own self-image. Only by admitting these shortcomings, he has argued, can we fix problems and move beyond them.

“There is a tendency in us, a sinful tendency, that can pervert and distort our faith,” he said at the breakfast.

But many critics believe that the president needs to focus more on enemies of the United States.

Read complete article via Critics pounce after Obama talks Crusades, slavery at prayer breakfast – The Washington Post.

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Obama: Afghanistan won’t be ‘source of terrorist attacks again’ | Fox News

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President Obama pledged that Afghanistan will no longer “be a source of terrorist attacks again,” a week before the U.S. is set to end its combat mission in the Middle Eastern nation.

“We’ve been in continuous war now for over 13 years. Next week we will be ending our combat mission in Afghanistan,” Obama told troops in Hawaii late Thursday, celebrating Christmas.

“Because of the extraordinary service of the men and women in the armed forces, Afghanistan has a chance to rebuild its own country,” he said. “We are safer. It’s not going to be a source of terrorist attacks again.”

Though the American combat mission in Afghanistan is nearly completed, at least some troops are scheduled to stay in the nation until the end of 2016.

via Obama: Afghanistan won’t be ‘source of terrorist attacks again’ | Fox News.

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Govt: China could take down U.S. power grid – CNN.com

powergrid

Washington (CNN) — China and “probably one or two other” countries have the capacity to shut down the nation’s power grid and other critical infrastructure through a cyber attack, the head of the National Security Agency told a Congressional panel Thursday.

Admiral Michael Rogers, who also serves the dual role as head of U.S. Cyber Command, said the United States has detected malware from China and elsewhere on U.S. computers systems that affect the daily lives of every American.

“It enables you to shut down very segmented, very tailored parts of our infrastructure that forestall the ability to provide that service to us as citizens,” Rogers said in testimony before the House Intelligence Committee.

Rogers said such attacks are part of the “coming trends” he sees based on “reconnaissance” currently taking place that nation-states, or other actors may use to exploit vulnerabilities in U.S. cyber systems.

A recent report by Mandiant, a cyber-security firm, found that hackers working on behalf of the Chinese government were able to penetrate American public utility systems that service everything from power generation, to the movement of water and fuel across the country.

Read complete article via Govt: China could take down U.S. power grid – CNN.com.

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Working for ICE ‘is Hell right now,’ as Obama plans amnesty for illegals | WashingtonExaminer.com

illegalimmigrants_taunt

Morale among officers at Immigration and Customs Enforcement, already low, has reached a new bottom as illegal immigrants expecting amnesty from President Obama taunt and ridicule the overworked officers, according to a new report.

“Yes,” said one, “working for this agency is Hell right now.”

That was the latest message to immigration policy critic Jessica M. Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies. She has charted the woes of the officers who carry out the president’s orders.

In a new paper, she wrote:

“The president’s gradual, calculated dismantling of our immigration system has caused morale to plummet in the agencies of the Department of Homeland Security. Career immigration officials have courageously objected in public, and sometimes resorted to lawsuits to draw attention to the administration’s subversion of the law. In denial about their principled objections to his scheme, now the president is hoping to stifle their voices by offering them a pay increase as part of this outrageous plan. His assumption that they are motivated by money shows just how little respect he has for the men and women who have devoted their careers to public service in immigration.”

Vaughan told Secrets that she has been concerned about morale in ICE and raised the issue with Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson.

RELATED: Obama immigration plan keeps up to 5 million from deportation

She said that officers are concerned that illegals with criminal records are being released under Obama’s policies, and that some immigrants taunt the officers, believing that the policies protect them.

“Some have told me that illegal alien criminals they have arrested have even taunted them, saying they know the ICE officers can’t do anything to them because of Obama administration policies,” Vaughan told Secrets.

The officers have raised the issues at “town hall” meetings with their superiors.

Read complete article via Working for ICE ‘is Hell right now,’ as Obama plans amnesty for illegals | WashingtonExaminer.com.

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‘Trojan Horse’ Bug Lurking in Vital US Computers Since 2011 – ABC News

russianhacker

National Security sources told ABC News there is evidence that the malware was inserted by hackers believed to be sponsored by the Russian government, and is a very serious threat.

The hacked software is used to control complex industrial operations like oil and gas pipelines, power transmission grids, water distribution and filtration systems, wind turbines and even some nuclear plants. Shutting down or damaging any of these vital public utilities could severely impact hundreds of thousands of Americans.

Hackers Breach White House’s Unclassified Computer Network

DHS said in a bulletin that the hacking campaign has been ongoing since 2011, but no attempt has been made to activate the malware to “damage, modify, or otherwise disrupt” the industrial control process. So while U.S. officials recently became aware the penetration, they don’t know where or when it may be unleashed.

DHS sources told ABC News they think this is no random attack and they fear that the Russians have torn a page from the old, Cold War playbook, and have placed the malware in key U.S. systems as a threat, and/or as a deterrent to a U.S. cyber-attack on Russian systems – mutually assured destruction.

Read complete article via ‘Trojan Horse’ Bug Lurking in Vital US Computers Since 2011 – ABC News.

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Putting the ‘O’ in EbOla | National Review Online

o_ebola

Dear Reader (especially self-monitoring readers overjoyed that Ronald Klain has been named Supreme Allied Commander in the War on Ebola. What could go wrong?),

This will be the single greatest “news”letter of all time. It will make you laugh. It will make you cry. Pathos, logos, and ethos will leap into the San Diego Zoo bear pit of your mind and shout “Bear Fight!” When it is over, you will feel like you kissed your long-lost love both goodbye and hello at a Paris train station. You’ll be rested, as if you just woke from a nap by a waterfall using a panda bear’s belly as a pillow. While it’s not true we only use 10 percent of our brains, you will feel like that had been the case up until now. You’ll be able to cook twelve-minute brownies in seven minutes. You will never have to eat kale again. This will make total sense to you. Suddenly, whether asked to train cats to use a human toilet or use a semicolon correctly, you’ll say, “Of course, a child could do it.”

Now, even grading on my own curve, this was a remarkably stupid paragraph to write. The first rule of writing is “Sacrifice a bull to Crom before you start typing” (“Is that what we’re calling it now?” — The Couch). No, the first rule of writing is that there is no first rule, save perhaps “Always write in the language of your intended reader.”

(I mean, if I wrote this in Esperanto or Iroquois I’d lose a lot of you pretty quickly. But I believe good writing — like good jokes and good food — is whatever works. But some kinds of writing are riskier than others, which is why my Epic Poem (So epic I needlessly capitalized both “Epic” and “Poem”!) about the cancellation of Firefly molders in my desk drawer).

In fact, the reason that first paragraph was so dumb is that it violated a rule that transcends even the obscure-rightwing-free-“news”letter industry. No, really.

That rule is: Never overpromise. The common phrasing is “never overpromise and under-deliver,” but under-delivering is almost inherent in the word “overpromise.” It’s not an overpromise if you fulfill expectations. In other words, managing expectations is really important.

Read complete article via Putting the ‘O’ in EbOla | National Review Online.

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The Khorosan Group Does Not Exist | National Review Online

This guy has no shame.

This guy has no shame.

We’re being had. Again.

For six years, President Obama has endeavored to will the country into accepting two pillars of his alternative national-security reality. First, he claims to have dealt decisively with the terrorist threat, rendering it a disparate series of ragtag jayvees. Second, he asserts that the threat is unrelated to Islam, which is innately peaceful, moderate, and opposed to the wanton “violent extremists” who purport to act in its name.

Now, the president has been compelled to act against a jihad that has neither ended nor been “decimated.” The jihad, in fact, has inevitably intensified under his counterfactual worldview, which holds that empowering Islamic supremacists is the path to security and stability. Yet even as war intensifies in Iraq and Syria — even as jihadists continue advancing, continue killing and capturing hapless opposition forces on the ground despite Obama’s futile air raids — the president won’t let go of the charade.

Hence, Obama gives us the Khorosan Group.

The who?

There is a reason that no one had heard of such a group until a nanosecond ago, when the “Khorosan Group” suddenly went from anonymity to the “imminent threat” that became the rationale for an emergency air war there was supposedly no time to ask Congress to authorize.

You haven’t heard of the Khorosan Group because there isn’t one. It is a name the administration came up with, calculating that Khorosan — the –Iranian–?Afghan border region — had sufficient connection to jihadist lore that no one would call the president on it.

The “Khorosan Group” is al-Qaeda. It is simply a faction within the global terror network’s Syrian franchise, “Jabhat al-Nusra.” Its leader, Mushin al-Fadhli (believed to have been killed in this week’s U.S.-led air strikes), was an intimate of Ayman al-Zawahiri, the emir of al-Qaeda who dispatched him to the jihad in Syria. Except that if you listen to administration officials long enough, you come away thinking that Zawahiri is not really al-Qaeda, either. Instead, he’s something the administration is at pains to call “core al-Qaeda.”

“Core al-Qaeda,” you are to understand, is different from “Jabhat al-Nusra,” which in turn is distinct from “al-Qaeda in Iraq” (formerly “al-Qaeda in Mesopotamia,” now the “Islamic State” al-Qaeda spin-off that is, itself, formerly “al-Qaeda in Iraq and al-Sham” or “al-Qaeda in Iraq and the Levant”). That al-Qaeda, don’t you know, is a different outfit from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula . . . which, of course, should never be mistaken for “al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb,” “Boko Haram,” “Ansar al-Sharia,” or the latest entry, “al-Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent.”

Read complete article via The Khorosan Group Does Not Exist | National Review Online.

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Benghazi anniversary: Two years later America still waiting to learn real story | Fox News

benghazi

It was a searing moment in American history that showed us at our very best — and, sadly, our worst.

It was an event that will be remembered for the courageous heroism of some, and the feckless self-centeredness of others.

September 11, 2014 marks the second anniversary of the deadly attacks on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, that killed U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service information management officer Sean Smith and two of their would-be rescuers, Glen Doherty and Tyrone S. Woods.

Two years later, like the rest of us in the nation, Patricia Smith is still waiting to learn the real story of what happened that night in the North African desert.

Two years later, I still cannot get the words of Smith’s mother out of my mind.

“Every time I see this on TV,” she told the House Oversight Committee, “I see these bloody fingerprints crawling down a wall of that Benghazi place and I ask everybody, ‘do those belong to my son?‘ and nobody has told me anything.”

“It’s been pure hell living through all this and not getting any answers.”

“I was told a few things,” she corrected herself, holding back tears. “They were all lies.”

“Obama and Hillary and Panetta and Biden and [United Nations Ambassador] Susan [Rice] all came up to me at the casket ceremony and gave me a big hug, and every one of them said it was ‘the video,’ but even then, they knew it wasn’t,” she said. “They lied to me.”

“I don’t count, the people of America don’t count,” she bemoaned, the frustration visible on her face.   “The only thing that counts is themselves and their jobs.  I want to know what happened to my son!  Why can’t these people tell us this?”

Two years later, like the rest of us in the nation, Patricia Smith is still waiting to learn the real story of what happened that night in the North African desert.

A decorated Navy SEAL, Woods served multiple tours in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Middle East and Central America.  A certified paramedic and registered nurse, he retired from the military in 2010 to care for his former comrades at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego before returning overseas — this time protecting American diplomats in Central America and, fatefully, the Middle East.

From details Congressional investigators pieced together, we know that Woods along with Doherty who rushed in from Tripoli with American reinforcements hours after the initial assault fought to protect those remaining at the compound.

Immediately encountering heavy fire from extraordinarily well-equipped attackers, Doherty and Woods took up defensive positions on the roof of the compound, each only to be killed by separate mortar attacks. Flying shrapnel from the mortars also injured a 31-year old diplomatic special agent, David Ubben.

The courage and selfless patriotism that was shown that night in Libya will forever stand in stark contrast to the 24 months of cowering, cover-ups and political posterior-covering half a world away in Washington.

What is blazingly apparent in its aftermath is that the president and his team feared the truth: a resurgent Al Qaeda had waged a protracted and well-equipped assault on a poorly defended diplomatic outpost that had killed four Americans, including the first U.S. ambassador to die in the course of duty in more than 30 years.

Had the real facts of the Benghazi assault become known at the time, it would have given lie to the administration’s false narrative of a decapitated al Qaeda and a pacified Libya. With eyes sharply focused on the Presidential election just weeks away, Obama, Hillary Clinton and their team began a campaign to dissemble.

Those who died that night on our behalf deserved better from the government they served. Two years later, so do we.

via Benghazi anniversary: Two years later America still waiting to learn real story | Fox News.

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