Fifteen years ago today, 19 al-Qaeda terrorists hijacked four American planes, used them as guided missiles, brought down the World Trade Towers, severely damaged the Pentagon, and four terrorists were overpowered by Americans over a field in Pennsylvania. The suicide terrorist attacks killed 2,996, caused more than $100 billion in damages and stole America’s innocence.
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According to a new Pew Research Center poll, the 9/11 attacks continue to be a powerful memory for Americans: 91 percent of adults remember exactly where they were or what they were doing when they heard about the terrorist attacks.
So how has the 15–year “war on terror” changed America? Looking back and forward, can Americans really believe they are safer?
First a bit of history, the “war on terror” rightly started in the tribal nation of Afghanistan. Brand-new President George W. Bush summoned his top advisors to the Oval Office and chose Cofer Black, former CIA whiz, to implement a devastating retaliation for the nearly three thousand deaths. Black offered no mercy and told the rookie president that this effort required a few hundred specially trained military forces, 110 CIA officers, direct firepower, a bunch of money and his plan would end with what Black called – using an old Angola War expression – “when this is all over, the bad guys are going to have flies walking across their eyeballs.”
After 10 weeks, Black and his stealth-fighting machine proclaimed victory. All the Taliban cities, as well as their government, had been toppled.
In a 2013 Men’s Journal interview Black was asked if he briefed the Russians about the impending attack and how the Ruskies responded to his plan. They said, “You’re really going to get the hell kicked out of you.” Black replied, “We’re going to kill them – we’re going to put their heads on sticks… and you know what, the Russians loved it! After the meeting was over, two senior Russian officials, whom I will not name, said to me, ‘Mr. Black, finally America is acting like a superpower!’”
The follow through earned Black and the US the respect that had been sorely lacking.
The success should have ended there. But as we know, it didn’t. Bush ensnared the country into an ill-defined and ill-conceived “war on terror” that continues today.
Whether you agree with the “war on terror” or not, the consequences are very real and very alarming. With the advent of comprehensive counterinsurgency, COIN or nation-building, thanks General Petraeus, the taxpayers have spent trillions of dollars in a region made up of tribal nations.
Case in point, in a recent interview, Commander of Afghanistan US and NATO Forces, General John Nicholson told PBS the war’s progress is tedious. “We’re trying to build an airplane while in flight, OK? So they’re fighting a war while we’re trying to build an army. This is very hard,” he explained.
It must be said that the “war on terror” falls under the asymmetrical category. The sneaky “stateless” armies must be defeated with clear goals and end-state solutions. It’s here where the most powerful armed forces on the planet have stumbled.
In his book the Field of Fight, retired Army three-star General Mike Flynn describes the best way to defeat marauding radical Islamic terrorists. Flynn says to win the battle against radical Islam we must destroy the jihadi armies, kill or capture their leaders, discredit their ideology, create a 21st-century alliance and must hold countries, like Saudi Arabia, accountable for supporting terrorism.
“The best plan gives you the most options at the last possible minute. Right now we don’t have the best plan. A real strategic discussion about what it is that we are trying to achieve. Is it the defeat of radical Islam? It has to be beyond that and that’s where an alliance of nations has to get it together,” Flynn said.
It cost Osama bin-Laden roughly $500,000 to bring down the Twin Towers and Pentagon. In return, the US has suffered tens of thousands of casualties and flushed away trillions of dollars into the Middle East black hole. Plus, hundreds of thousands of Middle Easterners have died and more than 12 million of refugees are now stateless. Newt Gingrich said this week the US has failed so badly in the Middle East that we are giving the number one state sponsor of terrorism, Iran, $1.7 billion in cash, just like a drug cartel.
“So 15 years after 9/11, we’re not winning. We’re not winning in Afghanistan. We’re not winning in Iraq. We’re not winning in Syria. We’re not winning in Libya. We’re not winning in Yemen,” Gingrich emphasized (mimicking Donald Trump). He’s right.
One reason for the protracted war may be the US Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program. American arms and technology companies export, firearms, fighter jets, tanks, as well as Patriot Missile batteries.
The big winner in the Department of State’s 2017 budget includes $5.7 billion for Foreign Military Financing. The main recipients of the proposed budget will be Israel ($3.1 billion), Egypt ($1.3 billion), Jordan ($350 million), Pakistan ($265 million), and Iraq ($150 million).
While the Middle East tops the list, funding for Africa in 2017 will double from last year. Due to ISIS’ expansion into Africa, countries like Mali, Somalia, and Nigeria will see an influx of American weaponry. But why do American leaders want to militarize the African continent? Of course, the prominent argument is; “if the US doesn’t do something then other countries will do it.” However, no other country on the planet finances military sales like the US.
The US and its band of misfit coalition partners have implemented a massive military build-up on the Arabian Peninsula and Israel. Let’s take a look at the military arsenal provided to a few coalition partners, most of which are also classified as human rights violators according to the State Department (link to other FMS article).
For the last three years, the US has provided tens of billions of dollars in military weaponry through Foreign Military Sales (FMS) to the United Arab Emirates (UAE); population 5.6 million, Qatar; population 2.1 million, Kuwait; population 2.7 million and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA); population 27.3 million.
The US has also provided both offensive and defensive weapon systems – some are designed to protect against airborne missile retaliation and air attacks. For example, the US supplied Qatar ($9.9B), Kuwait ($4.2 billion), and UAE ($1.1B) with Patriot anti-missile systems and UAE also acquired a $6.5B theater anti-air defense (THAAD) system. This type of weaponry typically protects against missile attacks from such weapons as SCUDs and the MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket Systems) like the 880 launchers the Islamic Republic of Iran operates. The MLRS has a range of approximately 300 kilometers, making it easily capable of reaching any of the Gulf States of Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, and even KSA.
America also sold KSA $6.7 billion worth of KC-130 aerial refueling tankers, the UAE $4 billion and KSA $6.8 billion of munitions including “bunker buster bombs,” (typically used to attack harden targets like nuclear facilities); Qatar a $1.2 billion early warning radar suite; KSA $1.3 billion for 30 patrol boats for use in the Gulf of Hormuz; KSA $4 billion to upgrade its national guard; Qatar spent $3 billion on Apache Longbow attack helicopters used for special operations insertions. The list also includes the Globemaster long-range air transport planes, Javelin missiles, F-18’s and F-16’s, and Sidewinder anti-air missiles.
Also for last few years, the US has been quietly aiding the rebel insurgency in Syria trying to overthrow the Iranian-backed government of Bashir al-Assad. There have been multiple news reports, (including this report) that the US provided weapons collected from deposed Libyan Dictator Qaddafi and moved them through its CIA clearinghouse in Turkey to supply al-Qaeda-linked extremist groups opposing the Assad regime. It’s worth pointing out that both Qatar and KSA have been major supporters of the anti-Assad insurgency that evolved from a national rebellion and morphed into a major jihadi operation.
Details of this massive military build-up can be found on the Department of State (DoS) website. The DoS oversees Government-to-Government defense transfers through the Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program and is implemented through DoD’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
Interestingly, “(I)n addition to FMS, the Department of State also issues export licenses to US companies providing defense articles and services through our Direct Commercial Sales (DCS) efforts, usually after an intensive interagency review to ensure that exports further US foreign policy and national security interests,” a State Department official said. However, “Export license information is not disclosed by the Department due to restrictions under the Arms Export Control Act and International Traffic in Arms Regulations, but general information is released from DCS.”
According to the State Department, in the case of either FMS or DCS, the United States takes into account political, military, economic, arms control, and human rights conditions in making decisions on the provision of military equipment and the licensing of direct commercial sales to any country, in accordance with the Conventional Arms Transfer Policy, the Arms Export Control Act, and relevant international agreements
“Review and monitoring are an integral component of the process for US- origin defense articles delivered to any recipient nation. This is to make sure that those articles are being used in the manner intended and are consistent with our legal obligations, foreign policy goals, and values,” a Senior State Department official said.
And both State and Defense argue that Middle Eastern countries have agreed to work toward US security interests and abide by President Obama’s foreign policy doctrine.
However, looking at the current Middle East conflicts finds every country focused on sectarian protectionism, especially since the Obama administration has seemingly checked out. It is essential that this high-tech arsenal provided to foreign nations by US defense contractors be carefully monitored. The consequences of equipment falling into the wrong hands can be deadly, as it was for flight MH17 in Ukraine.
As the impact of ISIS’ offensive continues to sink in, US intelligence officials contend ISIS did not just randomly explode on the scene in 2014, they claim to have been reporting to high-level government officials the rise as well as the expansion of ISIS since 2012. This murderous organization is largely fueled by Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Brett McGurk testified before a Committee claiming, “The ISIS’ operations are calculated, coordinated and part of a strategic campaign led by its Syria-based leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.”
“This was a very clear case in which the US knew what was going on but followed a policy of deliberate neglect,” said Vali Nasr, the Dean of Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies and a former State Department adviser for the Middle East. During its assault in the region, ISIS received protection from KSA and Qatar. Both nations warned the US not to interfere with ISIS’s march to conquer northwestern Iraq and its turn west toward Syria and Jordan. America obeyed and ISIS gobbled up the region and spoils of war that included American tanks, helicopters, and artillery.
Many military experts said the opportunity to strike ISIS came and went when the 7,500-man Islamic Army crossed the wide-open Damascus-Baghdad Highway.
Military generals said the terror group was vulnerable to air attack with minimal collateral damage concerns. In the end, ISIS got its free passage from Mosul to eastern Syria with US inaction, which was tantamount to acquiescence.
“We oppose all foreign intervention and interference. There must be no meddling in Iraq’s internal affairs, not by us or by the US, the UK or by any other government. This is Iraq’s problem and they must sort it out themselves,” Saudi Prince Mohammed told the UK Telegraph. Just in case that bad intel was on the horizon, the Saudis immediately moved 30,000 combat troops to protect its border with Iraq.
Many Middle East policy experts say the Sunni’s view of ISIS as an Iraqi Sunni revolution against their Shiite oppressors is myopic and portends a broader Islamic war between Sunnis and Shiites.
From the US perspective, the ISIS campaign presents a myriad of conflicts. Qatar and KSA are major recipients of billions of dollars worth of US weapons through FMS, yet their direct support of ISIS, a terrorist group, means Qatar and KSA meet the definition of state sponsors of terrorism and should be banned from participation in the military program. Nevertheless, the end user certificates and export licenses are routinely approved by the State and Defense Departments, including an $11 billion sale to Qatar. (The Pentagon has refused multiple efforts to release the end-user agreements to this reporter as requested under FOIA.)
Furthermore, Qatar, KSA, and Kuwait are listed as Tier 2WL (Watch List) and Tier 3 under U.S. anti-trafficking in humans reports, which require a waiver by President Obama stating the sale is in national security interests. To the outside world, the US ostensibly appears to be violating its own anti-terrorism and anti-trafficking laws to provide sophisticated weapons systems to these human rights violators.
The infusion of military-grade weapons in the region only portends much more war. The war between the Sunnis and Shiites has grown more contentious due to the dysfunction of the Sykes-Picot Agreement of May 1916. Essentially the Agreement drew a twentieth-century map that granted control of Syria, Lebanon and Turkish Cilicia to the French and Palestine, Jordan and areas around the Persian Gulf, Baghdad to the British. That was followed by the 1919 Paris Peace Conference that outlined a “Kurdistan” as an entity by Şerif Pasha, who represented the Society for the Ascension of Kurdistan (Kürdistan Teali Cemiyeti). That promise was never kept and it’s doubtful the Kurds, who are Caucasian or Indo-European and not Arab, will wait another 100 years to establish their own country, one that will control its destiny through its own oil and revenues from oil pipelines from the Caspian Sea.
The complexity of the middle east today reflects Winston Churchill’s description of Russia in October 1939: “I cannot forecast to you the action of Russia. It is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Russian national interest.” Perhaps Russia is the key to the Middle East today.
Neither agreement ever took into account the tribal nature of the region that will continue to dog the Middle East until new maps emerge, or complete Armageddon is achieved. Until that day, America will continue to find itself under the threat of attack from a region that really doesn’t offer the US much. So are we safer after 15 years of war? Stay tuned!
© Copyright 2016 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved
Former FBI agent and current San Diego Sheriff, Bill Gore is looking for a highly-skilled terrorism analyst to join the Department’s highly coveted Fusion Center. The job requires candidates to obtain top-security clearances, experience with terrorism activities and the ability to work with other federal agencies like the CIA.
Due to San Diego’s proximity to the southwest border, its ties to the 9/11 suicide terrorist attack (two terrorists lived in San Diego when Gore was with the FBI) and his prior work as a G-man, the Sheriff Department participates in the Regional Terrorism Threat Assessment Center (RTTAC) multi-agency task force.
The task force focuses on terrorism-specific intelligence and information gathering in an effort to prevent future attacks inside U.S. borders.
According to the Sheriff Department website, participating agencies include the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), California Department of Justice, California Highway Patrol, Federal Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and Governor’s Office of Homeland Security. The RTTAC is co-located with the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force and a Criminal Intelligence component and together comprise the Law Enforcement Coordination Center (LECC), San Diego’s Intelligence “Fusion Center.”
The new Terrorism Liaison Officer will work with other San Diego first responders to “outsmart” potential terrorists by strategically formulating a possible threat and create contingency plans to prevent a terrorist incident.
“The concept is simple: Prior to terrorists flying jet liners into buildings, there are certain planning actions they must do to prepare for such an attack. These actions are often accompanied by indicators/warnings (“clues”) that an attack is being planned. By providing an awareness of these indicators, the goal is to encourage reporting of suspicious circumstances/incidents, thus preventing an attack,” according to the Sheriff Department.
Some of the job duties Sheriff Gore requires from potential candidates include: Evaluating data from a variety of law enforcement sources, conduct extensive research, and prepare intelligence products for dissemination by other agencies familiar with terrorism threats.
Specifically the top-secret position also requires past intelligence analyst experience pertaining to counter-terrorism, international terrorism, critical infrastructure knowledge and the ability to work with other federal agencies.
The intelligence analysts should have analytical work experience on the southwest border and work experience involving products developed from High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) initiatives.
The Sheriff Department directs those wishing to be considered to register with Morgan Franklin Clearance Jobs.
For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/kimberly-dvorak
© Copyright 2012 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.
Continue reading on Examiner.com SD Sheriff Gore seeks top-secret spy to join its Fusion Center – San Diego County Political Buzz | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/article/sd-sheriff-gore-seeks-top-secret-spy-to-join-its-fusion-center#ixzz1t5O4nfL2
A new Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) report examined the consequences of America’s liberal birthright (anchor baby) policy and found that the program may have national security implications.
The study Entitled “’Birthright Citizenship for the Children of Visitors: A National Security Problem in the Making?,’ provides original estimates on the number of annual births to temporary visitors, whether birth tourists, students, guest workers, or Mexican citizens with border-crossing privileges. The report suggests that this policy is a national security vulnerability and discusses how U.S.-born, but raised-abroad terrorists can (and have) used their citizenship against us.”
The Center for Immigration Studies key findings included;
* Nearly 200,000 children are estimated to have been born to women lawfully admitted as temporary visitors from all over the world in 2009. By comparison, according to other studies, more than 300,000 children are born each year to illegal aliens.
* Short-term visitors, including women who come as birth tourists expressly for the purpose of having a U.S.-citizen child, account for about 20 percent of these births (39,000). While most foreign tourists stay for two weeks or less, according to DHS statistics a large number of people who are admitted as tourists stay for periods of three months or more, including an estimated 780,000 women of child-bearing age.
* Another 20,000 annual births are estimated to young foreign women who are admitted as short-term residents, such as students, guest workers, exchange visitors, investors, and other categories that allow for multiple years of U.S. residence.
* The cohort that accounts for the largest number of births to foreign visitors is Mexican women who hold Border Crossing Cards (BCCs). An estimated 130,000 births are estimated from this group of women, who have virtually unrestricted access to U.S. cities and towns in the southwest border region. Because the identities of BCC holders are not checked upon entry and the exits are not tracked, the cards frequently are used fraudulently by imposters seeking illegal entry.
The report also concluded that these birth tourist children have become some of America’s biggest adversaries.
The high-profile children include Anwar al Awlaki, a U.S.-born cleric who is now residing in Yemen and directing home-grown terrorist attacks against America; and Yaser Esam Hamdi, a U.S.-born enemy combatant captured in Afghanistan and released from Guantanamo to Saudi Arabia in 2004.
CIS points out the common denominator with Al Awlaki and Hamdi is the fact they were both born in the United States to parents admitted as temporary residents on non-immigrant visas.
These two men, however, were raised and radicalized in the Middle East.
The birthright or anchor baby issue should weigh heavily on lawmakers who are trying to reform America’s immigration laws- failure to do so will only result in more home-grown terror attacks.
© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.
Continue reading on Examiner.com: Immigration think tank sees birthright citizenship as threat to U.S. security – San Diego County Political Buzz | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/immigration-think-tank-sees-birthright-citizenship-as-threat-to-u-s-security#ixzz1GhHS90yC
In the heart of California’s uber-conservative country, the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) held its second annual fundraiser to raise $150,000 for Muslim families in need.
The 300 ICNA attendees were met by hundreds of protesters waving American flags and chanting “No Sharia Law.”
The controversial fundraiser had many in Orange County on edge as word began to build that the power vacuum left by Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak will likely be filled by the Muslim Brotherhood, a radical Muslim organization that gave birth to many al Qaeda leaders.
The ruckus crowd surrounded the Yorba Linda Community Center, shouting “go home” to the mostly Muslim attendees. Inside the facility the ICNA Assistant General Secretary, Syed Waqas apologized to his guests for the melee that awaited them as they entered the fundraiser.
“It is unfortunate that this crowd is uneducated as to what we really do.”
However, those in attendance weren’t so concerned about the Muslim faith, but the radical keynote speakers with ties to terrorism.
The ICNA booked Muslim Brotherhood supporter and anti-American radical Islamic speakers, Siraj Wahhaj and Anur-Abel Malik-Ali. Amir-Abdel Malik-Ali is on record saying, “The Israelis were in control of 9-11, which was staged to give an excuse to wage war against Muslims around the world. Stay conscious and ask Allah to raise the Muslims and give us victory over the disbeliever. When it’s all over, the only one standing is going be us [Muslims].”
To hear this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J8OJvR7hAT8&feature=related
The other Imam is said to have ties to the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993. Siraj Wahhaj is directly linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and is nicknamed “American Imam.”
According to the protest organizers Wahhaj was named as an unindicted co-conspirator in 1993 World Trade Center Bombings investigation.
“He believes in converting gang members to Islam for the day America will crumble. Wahhaj says for the faithful to go into the hood and prisons and convert disenfranchised minorities, and then arm and train them to carry out an Uzi jihad in the inner cities. You know what this country (USA) is? It’s a garbage can… He prays it (USA) crumbles and is replaced by Islam,” according to event organizers.
In fact many protesters said they would not be protesting if the alleged radical Imams were not speaking at the fundraiser.
“It really concerns me that I have to defend my community from radical Muslim types,” said Maggie Johnston of Yorba Linda. “I literally live walking distance to the Community Center and can’t believe our City Council is allowing people who want the destruction on our way of life speaking and raising money so freely.”
Other protesters echoed similar sentiments while they waved their American and Israeli flags. However, signs and flags were not the only items brought to the protest, mini horses and dogs decorated in red, white and blue roamed throughout the crowds.
As the protesters were vehemently expressing their disgust with the Muslim fundraiser, event organizers explained it was the protesters ignorance that this group is trying to overcome.
“They are simply uninformed. We are trying to raise money to provide Muslim refugees with food and shelter in these trying economic times,” Waqas said.
While that may be true the protesters were not buying it because the keynote speakers were controversial. Waqas refused to address the controversial Imam speakers, but did go on the record and denounce terrorism and violence. “We are against all terrorism,” Waqas stated.
This did little to quell the demonstrators who argued it was highly unlikely the Imam’s would change their stance on Christian America.
Orange County coordinator for the Tea Party Patriots Marc Harris didn’t buy the ICNA’s motives regarding the fundraiser and provided local officials with background information on the groups’ ideology.
These speakers seek “the elimination of the nation of Israel and the death of all Jews. The ICNA’s goal is the Islamization of all societies, especially the U.S., with a primary focus on youth and disenfranchised blacks as well as other ethnicities. There is a strong push now to indoctrinate students with Islam in the public schools,” the lengthy statement read.
Harris contends this Muslim group would like to implement their “dictatorial Sharia Law for all Americans. Sharia law openly teaches: Death by stoning for those caught in adultery, death to those who “dishonor” the family (honor killings) and death to those who refuse to convert to Islam.”
© Copyright 2011 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.
Continue reading on Examiner.com: Hundreds protest Muslim Brotherhood fundraiser in Southern California – San Diego County Political Buzz | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/county-political-buzz-in-san-diego/hundreds-protest-muslim-brotherhood-fundraiser-southern-california#ixzz1DxWPCzsm
Three San Diego men who were accused of funneling money to a Somalia-based terrorist organization will remain behind bars after a detention hearing.
The men said they considered themselves “to be part of the fight” in the African nation even though they lived in California, a federal prosecutors said.
During the afternoon detention hearing 54-year-old defendant, Issa Doreh, used his former position at work to send money to al-Shabaab Somalia terrorist group in 2007 and 2008, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Carolina Pineda Han.
Doreh told the court he explained to the other two defendants, Mohamed Mohamed Mohamud, 38, and Basaaly Saeed Moalin, 33, that the money they raised was “specifically needed for fighting,” Han said.
Han also informed the court that Doreh was recorded in a 2008 conference call asking what he could do to help the terrorist organization and used several phrases from the defendants that made it appear the group of three wanted to be part of the fight even though they lived in San Diego.
The suspected men have been charged with conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists, conspiracy to provide material support to foreign terrorist organizations, conspiracy to kill in a foreign country and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments.
The court handed out an indictment on Oct. 22 that alleges a top military leader of the Somalian terrorist organization asked for monetary support from Moalin, who allegedly coordinated fund-raising efforts and arranged financial transfers with the two other co defendants. According to the indictment, money was sent to the organization even after the Somalia terrorist leader died.
Moalin also allegedly arranged for a house in Somalia for al-Shabaab, knowing it could be used to plan and carry out terrorist killings.
While the men have African ties, at least one is a naturalized citizen.
Doreh, is a naturalized U.S. citizen who moved to San Diego as a refugee in 1990 and was working on his doctorate in information technology at the University of the Pacific, according to his attorney, Kenneth Troiano. Doreh also has two bachelor degrees one from San Diego State University and the other from a college in Somalia.
The defense attorney explained the defendants who were heard on the wiretapped telephone conversation were merely expressing opinions about the strife in their war torn country. “At most, they provided a meager amount of support to a particular organization,” said Troiano.
The indictment was unsealed last week and it showed, prosecutors have charged that an al-Shabaab military leader requested Moalin raise a several thousand dollars for the fighting in Somalia in 2007. It was Moalin who then began fundraising and making money transfers with Mohamud and Doreh. Han explained the money was sent via wire transfers in January, February, April, July and August 2008.
Once the hearing was under way there was plenty of complaining from all the defendants.
Mohamud’s lawyer, Mahir Tewfik Sherif, made it clear to the court that all defendants were being held in isolation in the downtown Metropolitan Correctional Center and felt it was over the top punishment especially since there is no evidence of any of the accused being violent. “The isolation seems to be an exceptional effort to break them down,” Sherif said.
The other defendant, Dareh, complained that the air-conditioning system was too strong and the food service was service was erratic. “This jail is torturing us,” he said.
However, the judge told the defendants that he might not have authority over their housing, but the lawyers can always file motions to have a hearing on the housing and food subjects.
While the indictment describes al-Shabaab terrorist organization as a group that uses assassinations, improvised explosives devices, rockets, mortars, automatic weapons, suicide bombings and other tactics of intimidation and violence to undermine Somalia’s government and its supporters, attorneys said the defendants have no record of violence.
This particular Somalian terrorist group recently made worldwide news when its members executed two teenage girls by firing squad in a central Somali town after they were accused of spying for the United States. The townspeople were forced to watch the shooting, according to news outlets.
The al-Shabaab terrorist group is based in southern Somalia and the U.S. government said it imposes Taliban-style religious order in villages under its control. It’s been reported that many of its fighters have trained in Afghanistan and they are linked to al-Qaeda, according to the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC).
According to NCTC, most of al-Shabaab’s attacks are against aid workers and other African Union
As for the two co-defendants Mohamed Mohamud and Moalin, they waived their rights to the hearing. However, Moalin will face an additional count of providing material support to terrorists overseas.
In the end, U.S. Magistrate Judge William Gallo ordered Doreh to remain in federal custody without bail ending the hearing for the day.
All of the defendants were ordered to return to court on Dec. 3 for more motions and to set up a trial hearing.
After the court hearing was over, Mahir Sherif the lawyer for Mohamud said the conditions the defendants continue to face in jail are designed to “break them down.”
Late last week Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) demanded the Department of Homeland Security cough up the immigration and naturalization records of Washington D.C. Metrorail suspected terrorist bomber Farooque Ahmed.
In an effort to determine the best method to protect Americans from illegal aliens who have nefarious intentions toward U.S. citizens, Grassley sought the immigration process used by Ahmed from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), but he was refused the records and told he needed a privacy release form from the suspected terrorist.
Grassley’s letter highlighted a clear conflict provided by USCIS and showed that the language contained in the Privacy Act details an exemption for members of Congress. Grassley said it, “is unacceptable as a matter of accountability,” for the American people.
Senator Grassley outlined his concern in a letter to the Department of Homeland Security. “It’s about the suspected terrorist from media reports, including accounts that the would-be bomber hoped to harm as many Americans as possible on the metro system.” In addition to seeking the suspected terrorist’s immigration history, Grassley also asked for the legal background for the excuse the USCIS used to disregard a provision of law designed to ensure checks and balances by giving Congress access to this kind of information.”
The senator pointed out several media reports that concerned him regarding the process used by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) and other agencies to arrest Ahmed.
“According to news reports, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) conducted an undercover sting operation, and exposed Mr. Ahmed of plotting terrorist attacks against Americans,” he said in a letter to Janet Napolitano, Secretary of DHS. “Some reports indicate that earlier this year, Mr. Ahmed ‘conducted surveillance and reconnaissance and suggested ways to generate the most causality’s on the DC metro. He reportedly wanted to battle U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Pakistan and trained himself in martial arts, use of firearms, and knife and gun tactics. Mr. Ahmed informed those whom he believed to be his co-conspirators that he also planned to wage jihad overseas.”
Various news reports cite that Ahmed obtained a degree in Computer Science from the College of Staten Island, which is a part of the City University of New York. Later Ahmed work in the telecommunications industry in Northern Virginia. It is also alleged that in order to keep his legal status, Ahmed began pursuing an online graduate degree in risk management and data security from Aspen University.
Senator Grassley’s concerns about Ahmed’s visa status draws attention to the process by which potential immigrants enter the country and what kind of background checks are required to ensure the legitimacy of prospective students who seek higher education in the U.S.
“I would like to know how Mr. Ahmed entered the United States and through which immigration channels he was able to remain here,” said Grassley who is also a senior member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and a member of the Subcommittee on Immigration, Refugees, and Border Security. “I therefore request that you provide me with copies of all documents and reports relating to the issuance of student visa(s), any adjustment of status and subsequent visas, and naturalization for Mr. Ahmed including, but not limited to the following:
a. All immigrant and non-immigrant visa applications filed by Mr. Ahmed;
b. All certificates of eligibility for immigrant and non-immigrant visas provided by Mr. Ahmed in support of his application(s) for legal status in the United States;
c. All law enforcement reports that contained information on Mr. Ahmed’s associations with al-Qaeda and which were available to homeland security official(s) who approved his visa application(s) and naturalization application.
e. Any records on Mr. Ahmed included in the student tracking system, SEVIS, including but not limited to his degree program and classes taken at City University of New York and Aspen University.
f. All documents related to the naturalization process for Mr. Ahmed.
While these documents are a start for Senator Grassley’s office, others are now questioning the effectiveness the H-1B visas and the need to update the provisions to better fight terrorism in a post 9/11 world.
The main pathway for H-1B Visa holders is to obtain a degree from a U.S. college or university on a F-1 Visa, and perhaps extend it with OPT (Optional Professional Training) for up to 29 months and then obtain a H-1B Visa for employment of 6 or more years.
One factor of particular concern for Americans is the easy process for foreigners to obtain an H-1B visa. “These visas are discouraging young Americans from entering technology fields,” according to Gene Nelson, Ph.D. who is an expert in immigration policy. “Why should American students complete the expensive and challenging training to become a scientist or engineer if prospective employers will hire essentially unlimited numbers of (inexpensive) technical professionals from India or Communist China to quickly displace the young Americans from technology fields?”
Nelson believes the second effect of this immigration visa is just as significant, but more difficult to quantify.
“The lack of vetting of imported technical professionals under work visa programs such as H-1B is causing national security harms. I have discussed this problem in testimony delivered in the U.S. House of Representatives and the National Academy of Sciences since 1996,” Nelson explains. “The long-term negative externalities of such immigrant avidity include the prospect of large-scale nuclear terrorism or bioterrorism in the U.S., likely in cities such as Washington, DC or New York City.”
The H-1B Visa holder is a de-facto indentured servant, according to Nelson. He also points out their visa is conditioned on being continuously employed and employers are able to hold out the “carrot” of the eventual green card sponsorship.
Ferreting information about students can be as easy as looking to social networking sites. For example, Ahmed’s LinkedIn profile showed that he was enrolled in a master’s computer engineering program at CUNY’s College of Staten Island. It went on to explain that he did not get his degree because of a “political issue between computer science and engineering department.”
Nelson explains that an employer-sponsored H-1B visa requires practically no vetting of applicants and allows foreign students to remain in the U.S. for at least six years. Plus, foreign students or employees are often granted automatic extensions while they are waiting for a green card. Once a green card is in hand, foreigners are well on their way to completing the U.S. naturalization process.
As far as employers ensuring that no one in America is qualified for the high-tech job, U.S. employers are required to make a “good faith” attempt to hire an American first before they grant an H-1B visa to a foreigner. However, experts contend that few employers do this because they know foreigners are willing to work for less money and longer hours.
According to the Labor Department’s 2006-2011 Strategic Plan notes; “H-1B workers may be hired even when a qualified U.S. worker wants the job, and a U.S. worker can be displaced from the job in favor of the foreign worker.”
This should be very concerning to Americans. Many of the H-1B visa jobs involve national security inside the telecommunication industry.
In Ahmed’s case he worked for three telecommunication companies since 2000 and according to the Labor Department each of these companies applied for hundreds of H-1B visas; Ericsson which has applied for 446 H-1B visas, Glotel who has applied for 143 H-1B visas and Sprint who has applied for a staggering 857 H-1B visas.
Once Nelson navigated through the Sprint VA H-1B visa spreadsheet he found some disturbing details. He pointed to an incorrect work city shown for Sprint “network” positions that begin in July, 2006, which matched his LinkedIn profile. “Also there is only one Sprint LCA for the state of Illinois, but it is not for Ahmed’s job title. This suggests to me that Sprint failed to follow the (loophole-laden) rules, as a LCA is for a specific job title in a specific city and state,” Nelson points out. (Here is the link to Sprint info; http://www.flcdatacenter.com/CaseH1B.aspx)
One thing is certain, a rash of terror plots continues to be uncovered across the country and there seems to be no end to the profound hatred these terrorists have towards America. The underlying terror threats will require the country’s national security agencies to continually evolve and grow if they are to be successful in preventing the next 9/11 attack.
In light of the murder of Arizona rancher Robert Krentz by an illegal alien, the question of secure borders has once again been brought to the attention of the American people. Unfortunately, many in Congress didn’t get the memo and have failed to act on the recent violence those who reside on the border face.
When one thinks about the invasion of illegal aliens along the southern borders many believe these folks are just coming to get a job and establish a better life for their family from Central and Southern America, however, there are many Middle Eastern and Muslim men crossing the border who have something else on their mind – terrorism.
Reports from rank and file Border Patrol Agents confirm the uptick of men entering into the country who are not of Hispanic origin. These men are crossing illegally into America because it is easy and there is no record of their being present. Officials say these men are often part of sleeper cells. Law enforcement estimates there are thousands of sleeper cells strategically placed across America right now.
Recent reports of terrorist activity in Mexico should concern many in the U.S. Case in point; Mexico ‘mistakenly’ released 23 Somalis with possible terrorist ties on January 21, 2010 from jail.
According to Diggers Realm, an immigration watchdog group, the release of these suspects by Mexico was found in a confidential report. The document contained information that suggests the Somalis were on their way to America when Mexican officers intercepted the group.
In light of the uptick in violence along the southern border it remains imperative our country provides secure boundaries and clearly identifies all who enter the country.
The report also suggests that law enforcement agents should use every precaution when approaching suspects, including long arms and body armor because armed confrontations are on the rise.
According to a new article by Sara A. Carter of the Washington Examiner, there is further proof Americans need to pay more attention to the porous borders.
Included in the group of men released from Mexican prison is “Mohamed Osman Noor, 35, of Somalia, who U.S. officials suspect has strong ties to Al-Shabaab Mujahideen, an Islamist insurgency group in the ongoing war in Somalia with ties to al Qaeda. “
Carter also reports that, “Five of the subjects are possibly heading towards the Reynosa, Matamoros and Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas areas. … The Laredo Sector should be cognizant of the high possibility that Noor and the other subjects may attempt to enter illegally into the United States through the Laredo Sector area of responsibility.”
This is just the latest evidence that the nation’s borders are not secure and any talk regarding amnesty or illegal immigration is premature at best.
Last week U.S. national security stood front and center with a stunning acknowledgment Americans can expect another terrorist attempt on the homeland in the next three to six months. That prediction sparked countrywide debate ending with a five-page letter from Attorney General Eric Holder lashing out at Republicans and letting the country know he will run the Department of Justice his way.
Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) took the brunt of Holder’s anger as the five-page letter was addressed to the Kentucky Senate Minority leader. The lesson in terrorist treatment of the most recent American terrorist attempt on Christmas Day began this way;
“The decision to charge Mr. Abdulmutallab in federal court, and the methods used to interrogate him, are fully consistent with the long-established and publicly known policies and practices of the Department of Justice, the FBI, and the United States Government as a whole, as implemented for many years by Administrations of both parties. Those policies and practices, which were not criticized when employed by previous Administrations, have been and remain extremely effective in protecting national security. They are among the many powerful weapons this country can and should use to win the war against al-Qaeda,” said Holder. (click link to read letter; http://www.scribd.com/doc/26325635/Eric-Holder-letter-to-Mitch-McConnell-2-3-2010)
This statement suggests the U.S. government must use all tools in the toolbox to combat the fight against terror. However, just as there are many tools in the toolbox, it can be said there are many forms of terrorism the country faces.
Case in point when it comes to the country’s southwest borders the Mexican drug cartels pose just as much of a threat to American sovereignty. In fact the cartels have no allegiance to America and will use terrorists as a means to their ends – get drugs to the hungry U.S. customer.
There are some curious points contained in Holder’s letter to Senate Republicans.
“In contrast to the government’s recent self-serving letter by AG Holder to a number of U.S. Senators concerned with the handling of the attempted bombing of Northwest Airlines flight 253 last December 25th, the mishandling of House of Death informant Guillermo Eduardo Ramirez Peyro or ‘Lalo’ along with the related cover up of alleged U.S. involvement in over a dozen murders, is a national disgrace for which both the Bush and Obama administrations should be held accountable by the U.S. Congress,” explains Sandalio Gonzalez retired DEA agent who blew the whistle on the infamous House of Death case.
“The complete lack of integrity, rampant hypocrisy, and reckless disregard for the rule of law exhibited by the U.S. government in every aspect of this case (House of Death) is nothing short of reprehensible,” Gonzalez says. “To this day it continues to be an ongoing insult to the nation and all its law enforcement officers and law abiding citizens. Every government official with knowledge of this tragic affair, from all branches of government, who have stood silent and allowed the cover up to continue, are themselves part of the conspiracy and should hang their heads in shame,” he finishes.
For those unfamiliar with the House of Death, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) participated in an undercover operation to infiltrate one of the Juarez drug cartels. The informant they chose, Lalo, had a prior relationship with a ranking Juarez cartel lieutenant, Heriberto Santillan Tabares and Lalo would rely on his relationship with his boss to collect intelligence for the U.S. government.
Mexican drug cartels have evolved over the years and the ruthless, gruesome killing methods associated with the drug trade placed Lalo in the middle of a high-stakes, take no prisoners game. One wrong move and Lalo would be on the receiving end of death.
“My job was very dangerous,” says Lalo. “I explained this to my ICE handler, Raul Bencomo. They (ICE) knew I was giving good information and they wanted me to keep going even after the first murder.” Yes, the U.S. government wanted a civilian-informant to continue recording information about the cartel business even if it happened to be murder. “They wanted me to try and not record anymore murders, but I told them I couldn’t promise that because the ‘death house’ was very dangerous,” Lalo said.
With the promise of a new life in America and plenty of start-up money, Lalo continued to place his life on the line for ICE agents. “He was the best informant we had,” Bencomo said about his reliable informant Lalo. However, it would take a dozen murders and the breach of safety of DEA agents living in Juarez, Mexico to end Lalo’s run as informant.
Despite the emergency evacuation of DEA personnel from the world’s most violent city, Lalo would undertake one last job for ICE – lure cartel leader, Santillan to the United States so ICE could arrest him.
“Not only did I get Santillan to come to El Paso I drove him around and got him to talk about the past murders. Santillan started talking about the last days’ actions,” Lalo explains. It would be here the wanted cartel leader would talk about another murder at the “little house.”
Once the dark story was complete, Lalo would be pulled over in his own vehicle by a controlled traffic stop. The “House of Death” saga would end quietly with the arrest of Santillan. Law enforcement would tell the Juarez cartel leader he was under arrest and the last thing Lalo overheard from his boss was fact he had a warrant for his arrest, “I don’t have two hours in this country, how do I get a warrant?”
With Lalo’s mission complete, he is released from fake custody and Bencomo thanked him for a job well done.
In a strange twist, Santillan would admit to drug charges and get 25 years in U.S. prison and U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton would drop the murder charges in order to avoid a messy trial.
However in an unexpected turn of events Lalo would find himself in custody. Lalo explained that DHS was scrambling to pin a murder on him and when that didn’t work they wanted him to say his ICE handler, Bencomo was corrupt and when that didn’t work they threatened to deport his common-law wife and children back to Mexico.
“That was blackmail because if they sent my family back to Mexico the cartels would kill them immediately. Juanita Fielden, Assistant U.S. Attorney in El Paso, promised me many things, and once I signed the paper to remain in custody, I never heard from her again,” Lalo said.
He continues to fight deportation to this day even after favorable rulings by immigration judges. Yet he and has spent more than six years in jail, most of it in solitary confinement. While enemy combatants have access to other prisoners, TV, computers and attorneys Lalo does not. “I think they (America) want to keep me by myself and break me, hoping I will just accept deportation.”
The fact remains, Lalo, who was paid approximately $250,000 to be an ICE informant, was stabbed in the back by a corrupt U.S. government who continues to cover its tracks and push for Lalo to be deported where he will surely face death at the hands of the very people he successfully collected evidence against.
What effect will this have on future informants the U.S. depends on to fight the drug cartels or other criminal enterprises remains to be seen, but the fallout is surely devastating for future undercover operations.
“The implications are significant for such behavior on the part of the government quickly becomes known in the “underworld” so to speak, as in Lalo’s case. As a result, potential “walk in” sources of information that the government has no hammer on, as opposed to defendant/informants (the ones that “flip” to get their sentences reduced), simply will not come forward to cooperate,” explains retired DEA Agent Gonzalez “There’s also a strong possibility that agents with a conscience will simply not recruit such sources because they know that people above them in the pecking order will leave them hanging. Every time an informant is burned the word gets out, and it becomes increasingly difficult to convince other individuals to cooperate.”
Former NYPD officer Charles Houser had this to say about the treatment of informants.
“Burning informants is a very bad and seriously unintelligent maneuver. It’s very difficult to cultivate a productive informant from a law enforcement perspective. Informants are sometimes the only vehicle available to bringing bad guys to justice. Burning an informant only serves as a warning to other potential informants who may consider cooperating with law enforcement authorities, of the hazards of such a relationship.”
Houser explains that NYPD back in the day, “we had enough of a problem just getting witnesses to a felony, even homicides, to make a statement. I can’t imagine any scenario short of an emergency where the public safety was a priority and necessary to sacrificing informant. The betrayal of trust would be enough to send potential informants running.
It is truly the height of hypocrisy that the government provides rights to terrorists, while government informants are held without charges pressed against them in violation of due process, according to Andy Ramirez of Law Enforcement Officers Advocates Council.
“It is important to define such labels as Congress has not declared war on Afghanistan or any other nation. Operations are being conducted against terrorist outfits that could consist of a number of cells with any number of persons, or made up of a sole individual, of which there is no way to know specifics. As such, one must question Constitutional protections provided beyond human rights.”
“Of course the irony is that these basic rights, given to terrorists, have not been provided to ‘Lalo’ the ICE informant in the House of Death case. He continues to be held illegally by ICE (and DHS), while justice continues to be obstructed by the government. Of course the reason is very simple as Lalo is ‘the material witness’ in the House of Death case and can implicate wrongdoing by many officials. Documentation shows that the cover-up of this case involved many of the highest- ranking Bush Administration officials. By continuing to try to deport Lalo to Mexico knowing he will be murdered by the cartels, and violating his rights, this is no longer just a Bush case as it continues to be obstructed by the Obama Administration.”
Given the tenor and tone of this letter from AG Holder to Senate Minority Leader McConnell, it’s what I would have expected of former AG Gonzales. Yet, it is what it is given the refusal by the Congress to hold the Justice Department and Homeland Security accountable for outright lying repeatedly in testimony as well as to the American people. “Both are known for rampant abuse, retaliations against whistleblowers, and bad terminations and prosecutions in what I’ve coined the ‘War on Law Enforcement,’” Ramirez states.
“The only way this nonsense will ever cease is for Congress to realize that the Executive Branch is out of control, as well as their partner in collusion, that being the courts, and rein the other two branches back in for that is their role, to maintain accountability under checks and balances. The other two branches have crossed the so-called separation of powers line repeatedly and that must stop by auditing funding, filing contempt of Congress citations and articles of impeachment, issuing subpoenas, conducting real hearings under oath, and appointing independent special prosecutors to get to the bottom of things,” Ramirez finishes.
When comparing Lalo’s House of Death case to the terrorists in U.S. custody Gonzalez calls it like he sees it.
“It’s simple, while the government is willing to prosecute alleged terrorists, it is not yet, nor will it be anytime soon, willing to prosecute former and present high-level government officials on murder-related charges. That would be quite the embarrassing situation to say the least. Lalo would be key for such a prosecution, which is why he’s being held as some sort of nuclear inter-galactic combatant because if he were a mere enemy combatant he would have some rights. Apparently the laws of this planet don’t apply to him,” he says.
“By the way, let’s not forget that the government was fully willing to take action against only one low level official; Agent Bencomo, a Hispanic, was fired by ICE. Coincidence?” This is Gonzalez’ explanation of the House of Death fiasco where an ICE informant who is not wanted for any crime anywhere in the world remains in jail, fighting for his life because the government he worked for wants him deported to Mexico – a death sentence.
In frustration Lalo sums up his experience as an informant for America, “it’s been my American nightmare and I can no longer trust anything the government says. I don’t even want to be in the witness protection program because I don’t believe they will protect me. It’s ridiculous how they are treating someone who did nothing but help DHS put dangerous cartel members in jail.”
Why does a “standard operating procedure” apply to suspected terrorists eliciting a detailed response by Holder, but yet the government continues to hold Lalo in prison, in violation of his rights – both human and constitutional? It certainly appears that the U.S. government is only interested in protecting terrorists who wish to harm American citizens, while the Departments of Homeland Security and “Justice” are interested in protecting their employees from the legal consequences of reprehensible actions they participated in.
For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/x-10317-San-Diego-County-Political-Buzz-Examiner
In a yearly threat briefing to Congress, five senior intelligence community figures responded to tough questions in light of the increased terror plots Americans faced last year. Senator Diane Feinstein (D-CA) directly asked each intelligence member the likelihood of another terrorist attack on U.S. soil. Each agreed there would “certainly” be another attempt in the next three to six months.
“An attempted attack, the priority is certain, I would say,” said Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence. The other members appearing in front of Congress included, FBI Director Robert Mueller, CIA Director Leon Panetta, John Dinger, acting assistant secretary of state for intelligence and research and Ronald Burgess Jr. the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency.
Blair outlined the possible terrorist threats the United States may face; computer networks and infrastructure attacks, Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan and the instability in nuclear-power Pakistan, China’s military buildup, Iranian and North Korean nuclear ambitions as well as Venezuela’s flirtation with communist countries.
“In our judgment al Qaeda also retains the capability to recruit, train and deploy operatives to mount some kind of an attack against the homeland,” Blair testified. He goes on to explain favorite al Qaeda targets remain on a watch list of sorts and include, airplanes, financial institutions in New York City and the Washington Metro system.
“The recent successful and attempted attacks represent an evolving threat in which it is even more difficult to identify and track small numbers of terrorists recently recruited and trained and short-term plots than to find and follow terrorist cells engaged in plots that have been ongoing for years,” Blair explained.
While the National Security Congressional briefings proved eye-opening and may have caught many Americans off guard those who work the front lines are privy to the inner workings of our ports of entry and say the daily break downs could be fixed.
It was reported several weeks ago that NYC Customs and Border Protection employees point to the “flying Jihad” flights arriving weekly at JFK. “Looking back to the Christmas Day bomber, we now know he trained in an al Qaeda training camps in Yemen, even with this knowledge we continue to allow hundreds of Yemenis per week to enter the U.S. via terminal one, on a Saudi Arabian flight, many of the passengers are Yemenis in violation of their green card status,” a veteran CBP Inspector said.
The full-body scanners to be placed at airports (in which former DHS Secretary Chertoff is a part owner) will not help solve the problem created and continuously perpetuated by the country’s top officials. Many experts agree that the controversial full-body scanners would not have detected the chemicals in the Nigerian underpants bomber.
“I think the message from the Intel community was ominous and accurate, but Washington has still not addressed the potential for attacks on the homeland by terrorist green card holders, instead Washington continues to recklessly place Americans in harms’ way. Actually failing to protect Americans when Intel exists and points to potential terrorist who is in violation of visa misuse,” CBP Agents said.
It has been said Washington is putting on a “Dog and Pony Show” for the American public. “Just as the memo written by A FBI agent detailing an imminent attack using commercial aircraft loaded with passengers and fuel, was ignored by the Washington Elite and bureaucrats before 9/11. It appears the warning that terror cells are already here in the US, aided by U.S. officials ‘look the other way’ policies when it comes to enforcing LPR ‘green card’ regulations and the U.S. Department of State’s liberal immigrant and visitor visa policy,” said another CBP Inspector who spoke in anonymity for fear of work place retaliation.
“U.S. officials who could work to secure our nation are busy playing lip service to the media and their constituents while taking no action to ensure America’s safety. The American public should hold Washington responsible for any future attack(s), because these are the very people who have failed to do their jobs- not TSA Agents, Border Patrol Agents or CBP Officers on the front lines.”
Just as alarming is the fact that the Agency responsible for protecting U.S. borders, CBP, still has no leadership in place to orchestrate an intelligent program necessary to protect the country. “The three ‘acting’ Assistant Commissioners running CBP operations now are like having Larry, Moe and Curly in charge. It’s time for Washington insiders and bureaucrats to put away their theater make up and work, and do the job the American public pays them top dollars to do,” a CBP Agent explained. “If they can’t then it’s time for them to retire and let responsible leaders step up.”
One thing is certain when it comes to national security – nothing is secure. When good rank-and-file agents on the front line are pointing out obvious flaws at the ports of entry, Americas’ front door, citizens expect management to take notice and think outside the box. If this fails to happen al Qaeda will be claiming responsibility for another American tragedy.
For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/x-10317-San-Diego-County-Political-Buzz-Examiner
Each year in the United States the immigration department holds a lottery where 50,000 immigrants who seek to reside in America can win the golden ticket and gain legal entry into the country. The popular program is only available for those countries that do not send a large number of immigrants to the U.S.
In an effort to remove any possible security risks, Congressmen Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) have asked Chairman of the Judiciary committee, John Conyers (D-MI) urging the committee to consider eliminating the annual visa lottery. (Note: state sponsors of terrorism are not excluded from the lottery.)
The Congressmen pointed out countries that are eligible for the visa lottery include; Iran, Sudan, Cuba as well as 13 of the 14 nations the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) crack down on airport security, including Nigeria home country of the Christmas Day terrorist incident.
“The visa lottery program poses a national security threat. Under the program, each successful applicant is chosen at random and given the status of permanent resident based on pure luck,” Rep. Goodlatte explained. “Usually, immigrant visas are issued to foreign nationals who have an existing connection with a family member lawfully residing in the United States or with a U.S. employer. These types of relationships help to ensure that immigrants entering the country have a stake in our nation’s continued success, and have needed skills to contribute to our nation’s economy. However, under the visa lottery program, visas are awarded to immigrants at random without meeting such criteria.”
Congressman Smith continued to say the visa lottery is a dangerous game with our national security. “America already has the most generous immigration policy in the world, admitting over one million legal immigrants each year. But under the current lottery system, up to 50,000 randomly selected alien applicants win visas each year, many from countries with a significant terrorist presence.”
In 2007, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report stating the visa lottery system “is vulnerable to fraudulent activity committed by and against applicants…” The report continued to say “widespread use of fake documents, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates and passports, presented challenges in the government’s ability to verify the identities of applicants and dependents.”
In addition to this report, at the 109th Congress, the State Department Inspector General testified before Congress that the visa lottery “contains significant risks to national security from hostile intelligence officers, criminals and terrorists attempting to use the program for entry into the U.S. as permanent residents.” Unfortunately, Smith pointed out that the House Committee on the Judiciary has not held hearings on this subject since Democrats took control of Congress in 2006.
“The nature of the lottery is such that we have no control over who applies for admission to our nation,” Goodlatte said. “This flawed policy is just foolish in the age in which we live. Those in the world who wish us harm can easily engage in this statistical gamble with nothing to lose.”
Congressman Goodlatte also introduced the Visa Lottery Elimination Act on May 7, 2009 and the legislation currently resides within the House Judiciary Committee. Perhaps now the Democratic leadership within the committee will put this bill at the top of their “to do list.”
Of coarse there are many ways to combat terrorism and good ideas are sorely needed, but for our country’s security officials to fail the American people and allow a terrorist to board a flight paying cash, checking in no luggage and having his father’s statement to U.S. State officials regarding the radicalization of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab by Yemeni al-Qaeda leaders go unchecked- proves the system failed.
“The best way to prevent a terrorist attack on U.S. soil is to stop terrorists before they reach the U.S. Even the President said that airport screening measures are not foolproof. The first line of defense against foreign terrorists is our visa process—which clearly broke down in the Christmas Day plot and almost cost the lives of 290 innocent individuals,” Rep. Smith pointed out. “But the Christmas Day attack is not the first time terrorists have obtained U.S. visas. Several of the 9/11 hijackers did so as well. The Christmas Day terrorist attack is a grim reminder that the terrorist threat is alive and well and that our work is not yet done.”
With the White House in full scramble mode regarding the latest terrorist attack aboard an American airliner, it is up to Congress to act upon the failed policies put in place and make every effort to prevent all Americans from another devastating 9/11-style attack.
For more stories; http://www.examiner.com/x-10317-San-Diego-County-Political-Buzz-Examiner