In years past I have conducted an annual review of ongoing catastrophic failure that is Barack Hussein Obama in all things related to terrorism and national security (see my previous year-end reviews for 2011, 2010 and 2009). But with America just hours away from deciding its next president for the next four years, I thought it timely for a pre-election review of Obama’s national security ‘Not Top 10′ for 2012.
These are listed in chronological order, not order of importance.
1) Dept. of Homeland Security Lexicon Brands Libertarians and Conservatives as ‘Militia Extremists’ in violation of its own policies (Feb. 2012)
Straight out of the gate in 2012, the Obama administration continued its branding of conservative ideas as extreme and threats to the nation. In February I reported on a new Department of Homeland Security (DHS) lexicon that linked ‘militia extremists’ with “the belief that the government is deliberately stripping Americans of their freedom” and opposing “many federal and state authorities’ laws and regulations (particularly those related to firearms ownership)”. Added to that, Homeland Security observed that such extremists “often belong to armed paramilitary groups”, meaning that you don’t even have to belong to a militia to be a ‘militia extremist’. One wonders if they have the NRA in mind when mentioning “armed paramilitary groups”?
Two days after my report appeared the U.K. based Reuters rolled out an article that breathlessly reported, “Anti-government extremists opposed to taxes and regulations pose a growing threat to local law enforcement officers in the United States, the FBI warned”, basically reinforcing the narrative expounded in the DHS lexicon.
Curiously, the words “Islamic”, “Muslim” and “jihad” were all missing from the DHS lexicon. Not only that, but branding those with mainstream political ideas as ‘extremists’ ran afoul ofrules promulgated by DHS in October 2011 that warned, “Training should be sensitive to constitutional values” and “Don’t use training that equates religious expression, protests, or other constitutionally protected activity with criminal activity.”
Then in June I reported that another DHS-funded study produced by the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) at the University of Maryland was caught editing out well-documented acts of Islamic terrorism inside the U.S., such as the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, from its terrorism database.
The codebook underlying the START study, also funded by DHS, branded popular “tea party” views as ‘right-wing extremism”, claiming that such ‘extremism’ “may also be fiercely nationalistic (as opposed to universal and international in orientation), anti-global, suspicious of centralized federal authority, reverent of individual liberty, and believe in conspiracy theories that involve grave threat to national sovereignty and/or personal liberty.”
As I noted at the time, START was basically saying that if you’re fiercely nationalistic (pro-American), anti-global (anti-UN), suspicious of centralized federal authority (like the Framers), reverent of individual liberty (like Patrick Henry), and believe in “conspiracy” theories (like the federal government allowing the sale of assault weapons to Mexican drug cartels to justify limiting American’s rights under the Second Amendment, a la Fast and Furious), then you too are on the “extreme right-wing.” All on the taxpayer dime.
2) FBI Directive OKs U.S. Government Outreach to Members of Terrorist Groups, Supporters (March 2012)
As part of a widespread Obama administration ‘Islamophobia’ witch hunt in U.S. government agencies, Matt Vadum at Breitbart News reported that the FBI had produced a document it called “Guiding Principles: Touchstone Document on Training” to justify an ongoing purge of its trainers and training material. Among the provisions of this “Touchstone Document” is the statement that “mere association with organizations that demonstrate both legitimate (advocacy) and illicit (violent extremism) objectives should not automatically result in a determination that the associated individual is acting in furtherance of the organization’s illicit objective(s).”
The net effect of this new FBI policy is that membership in a terrorist organization, or support for “legitimate” goals of terrorist organizations, does not hinder your relationship with the FBI for ‘outreach’ purposes nor make you a suspect for any investigation.
The motive for this new policy was the problematic issue that virtually all of the U.S. government’s Muslim outreach partners have been identified by the FBI and/or the Department of Justice (DOJ) in federal court as fronts for terrorist organizations or havedirectly supported terrorist organizations. The problem is that the U.S. Supreme Court found otherwise in Humanitarian Law Project v. Holder (2010), where the court upheld provisions of the PATRIOT Act that makes even support for “legitimate” objectives of a terrorist organization a violation of federal law.
The FBI’s “Touchstone” policy of ignoring support for terrorist organizations in its ‘outreach’ to the Muslim community is part of a larger trend during the Obama administration of rolling out the red carpet for Islamic extremists. At the same time that the FBI was announcing its new policy, as Michelle Malkin recently reported, Hisham al-Talib, who has been identified by the U.S. government as being a senior U.S. Muslim Brotherhood leader involved in organizations supporting terrorism, being invited to the White House in March to help assist the administration in its reception of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood leaders several weeks later. A more recent report by the Investigative Project on Terrorism found a whole string of Islamic extremists regularly visiting and consulting with the White House.
This explains the admission of a senior White House outreach official back in June to Neil Munro of the Daily Caller that the Obama administration has conducted “hundreds” of meetings with terrorist front group CAIR in violation of a longstanding ban by the FBI with the group for its terror support (a ban that would run afoul of the FBI’s new ‘Touchstone’ policy). And as reported on Friday, it also explains the DCCC fundraiser featuring House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi in Washington D.C. attended by many U.S. Muslim Brotherhood figures, including CAIR co-founder Nihad Awad.
One corrosive effect of this outreach was noted by Kerry Picket at the Washington Times, who reported that these same organizations now deemed ‘moderate’ by the Obama administration has helped shape our national security policy. That might explain the complete meltdown in our Middle East foreign policy.
3) Top State Dept. Official States Violence by Nigerian Islamic Terrorist Group ‘Is Not Religiously Driven’ One Day After Church Bombing on Easter Sunday (April 2012)
Just one day after the Islamic terrorist group Boko Haram (meaning, “Western education is forbidden”) bombed an Easter day service in Kaduna, Nigeria, killing 39 Christian worshippers, the State Department’s top official for Africa, Assistant Secretary of State Jonnie Carson, gave a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) where he said, “I want to take this opportunity to stress one key point and that is that religion is not driving extremist violence either in Jos or northern Nigeria.” Carson made the same claim in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on March 27th, while noting that the State Department has a $700,000 program to “strengthen the conflict prevention capacity of religious leaders.”
This was patently absurd as Boko Haram itself, who has conducted bombings and killings targeting Christians in Northern Nigeria virtually every week, says that their violence is in furtherance of establishing an Islamic state and implementing Islamic law. But if Boko Haram’s terrorism is not religiously driven, then whey does the State Department have a $700,000 program targeting religious leaders?
In July, Carson was up on Capitol Hill again, defending the State Department’s decision to not name Boko Haram as a designated terrorist organization after so designating three of its top leaders just a few weeks before. Even more embarrassing for Carson, as he was defending not designating them a terrorist group, he was identifying Boko Haram as a terrorist group while being questioned by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), chairman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on Africa.
Questioning the State Department’s decision not to designate Boko Haram, Eli Lake of theDaily Beast quoted one official who explained that the Obama administration’s refusal to act against Boko Haram was based on political and policy considerations, not whether they were in fact a terrorist organization engaging in terrorist acts of violence.
4) Obama Admin Flies Member of Designated Terrorist Group to Washington D.C. for Meeting with President’s National Security Staff in White House, Vows to Admit More Terrorist Members to U.S. (May 2012)
Another bombshell article from Eli Lake reported that Hani Noor Eldin, a member of the Egyptian terrorist group Gamaa Islamiya, was issued a visa in violation of federal law and flown in May to the U.S. by our government as part of an official delegation from Egypt. The State Department’s website identifies Gamaa Islamiya as a specially designated terrorist organization, and as Lake noted in his report, Eldin readily acknowledges his membership in the group, which recently announced that they were prepared to fight to install Islamic law in Egypt, even using violence.
Jennifer Rubin at the Washington Post also reported that among Eldin’s tour stops in Washington D.C. was the White House, where he met with members of Obama’s senior National Security team. During that meeting, Eldin reportedly pressed the Obama administration for the release the ‘Blind Sheikh’ Omar Abdel Rahman, the leader of his terrorist group who is currently serving a life sentence in U.S. federal prison for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the planned follow on ‘Day of Terror’ attacks. (More on the Blind Sheikh later.)
Incensed members of Congress demanded answers from the Obama administration, but received none. In fact, when DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano was asked about Eldin’s visa and the violations of federal law to grant it by House Homeland Security Committee chairman Rep. Peter King (R-NY), Napolitano doubled down on the administration’s positionand vowed that more members of designated terrorist groups would be allowed to enter the U.S.
5) Hillary Clinton Excludes Israel from International Counter-terrorism Forum (June 2012)
When Hillary Clinton opened the Global Counterterrorism Forum in its inaugural meeting in Istanbul in June, there was one country curiously absent from the convocation – America’s closest Middle East ally, Israel. That country’s absence, and apparently Hillary’s deliberate decision to exclude them, is made all the more curious since not only has Israel had the most experience dealing with terrorism, but is frequently the target of it. However, two of the world’s most active supporters of terrorism, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, were founding members of the forum.
Israel’s exclusion from the proceedings was questioned by Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and Sen. Mark Kirk (R-IL), who sent a letter to Hillary protesting her decision.
Obama administration and congressional sources confirmed to Adam Kredo of theWashington Free Beacon that Israel was deliberately excluded from the forum founded by the U.S. in order to appease Arab countries that are openly hostile to Israel’s very existence. Kredo quoted Democratic strategist Josh Block, who questioned the Obama administration’s position, saying, “How Israel could be excluded from another meeting of an anti-terror forum that we chair is beyond comprehension, especially one that focuses on victims of terrorism.”
6) SECDEF Panetta Declares Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood President Morsi ‘His Own Man’ (July 2012)
As I reported here at PJ Media back in August, the willful blindness of the Obama administration to the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s duplicity was on full display when Defense Secretary Leon Panetta traveled to Egypt and met with newly-elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, who ran as a candidate for the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party. In a press conference during his trip, Panetta declared that Morsi was “his own man” and dismissed concerns that Morsi’s past history with the Muslim Brotherhood (including his calling in 2010 for the expulsion of all U.S. ambassadors from the Middle East as Muslim Brotherhood spokesman) would influence his decision-making in his new office.
In the weeks that followed, Morsi demonstrated how clueless Panetta was by selecting members of the Muslim Brotherhood to top positions and appointed even more hardline Salafists to high placed government positions, while excluding women, Christians and secularists.
Two weeks after Panetta’s comments, Morsi selected a known Islamist and Muslim Brotherhood supporter as his vice president. Islamists also represented the bulk of Morsi’spresidential team and governors.
Meanwhile, it seems that despite the removal of longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak, the first 100 days of Morsi’s administration sees him continuing Mubarak’s brutality, with 88 citizens tortured and 34 killed by his Islamist-led government during that period.
But at least Morsi is his own man, if Panetta were to be believed.
7) Hillary Clinton Apologizes to Pakistan for Their Border Attack on U.S. Troops,Pakistan Bills U.S. Taxpayers for War on Terror (July 2012)
Also in July, Hillary Clinton formally apologized to Pakistan for an incident in November 2011, in which ISAF troops conducting operations near the Afghanistan/Pakistan border werefired upon by Pakistani troops, which prompted a NATO airstrike that killed several Pakistani soldiers. Yes, you read that correctly – our government apologized for Pakistan attacking our own troops. Joint Chiefs Chairman Dempsey had earlier refused to apologize for the incident. The apology was widely seen as a resolution to reopen shipping routes through Pakistan for U.S. troops in Afghanistan that had been closed since the U.S. attack that killed Osama bin Laden in May 2011.
A few weeks later, Pakistan sent the U.S. a bill for $500-$600 million for its claimed expenditures in fighting terrorism. And yet not even a year prior the former Joint Chiefs Chairman Mullen had testified before Congress citing Pakistan’s direct involvement with terrorist groups in Afghanistan that were targeting and killing U.S. soldiers. No question was ever publicly raised about Pakistan’s complicity in sheltering bin Laden for nearly a decade, or for the arrest and 33 year prison sentence imposed on the Pakistani doctor that had assisted the CIA in identifying bin Laden’s compound down the road from Pakistan’s military academy in Abbottabad. Nor has the Obama administration addressedPakistan’s support for terrorist organizations, including Lashkar-e-Taiba that conducted the November 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, India.
The Obama administration notified Congress that Pakistan may submit as much as $1.1 billion in back expeditures for repayment by U.S. taxpayers. Perhaps those taxpayers should be asking why Pakistan is getting anything at all?
Obama Administration Ignores Danger Signs Prior to Benghazi Attack, Begins Cover-up Following (Sept. 2012-Present)
The attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya is the subject of much discussion in the past two months, and it may prove to be the defining moment of the Obama administration as a lasting testament to his catastrophic national security and foreign policies. While the establishment media for the most part have ignored the tough questions about the terror attack, the reporting by Catherine Herridge and Jennifer Griffinat Fox News, Eli Lake at the Daily Beast/Newsweek, and Sharyl Attkisson at CBS News, among others, have been outstanding, making a review of the events in Benghazi here unnecessary.
After the elections this coming Tuesday, attention about what happened leading up to the attack and the Obama administration’s apparent cover-up will continue to warrant attention. Despite some initial investigations by Congress, there remain a number of outstanding questions:
What were the reasons behind the rejected requests for additional security?
Why did the State Department ignoring the warning signs of past incidents in Benghazi?
On what basis was it decided to use the Martyrs of the Feb. 17th Revolution Brigade as local security?
Why did the system fail to recognize and respond to the signs of surveillanceand an impending assault the day of the attack?
Who denied the CIA requests for help during attack and why?
Why was a key White House counterterrorism task force not convenedduring attack?
Why did it take a week for anyone in the Obama administration to admit this was a terrorist attack?
What can be attributed to the failure of the FBI to get to the the scene for 24 days, and then only stay for 24 hours?
What was Amb. Stevens was doing in Benghazi and what was the ultimate purpose of the U.S. mission there?
Why have U.S. authorities been unable to question a suspect in Tunisia?
Why did the administration falsely blame an American filmmaker for inciting the attack when they knew 2 hours after the incident it was a planned and coordinated terrorist attack?
That last question leads to the following…
9) Obama Joins with Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to Push Defamation of Islam Prohibition at United Nations (Sept. 2012)
The initial response to the Benghazi terror attack by the Obama administration was to blame the violence on the 14 minute “Innocence of Muslims” film trailer that had been posted on Youtube. They even pushed U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice out to the Sunday morning talk shows the following weekend to push that false narrative.
On Sept. 11th, even before the attack in Benghazi, crowds began to attack the U.S. embassy in Cairo. That prompted the embassy to take to its Twitter account to attack the free speech of American citizens, denouncing the “Innocence of Muslims” film trailer, saying “We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.” The White House was compelled to disavow the Cairo embassy tweet, and it was eventually deleted.
Yet two days later, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave a speech where she again attacked the film trailer as “disgusting and reprehensible”, inciting others to attack the free speech rights of U.S. citizens, and prompting Islamic groups here and abroad to rail against the First Amendment protections and call for criminalizing ‘defamation of religions’. The reckless comments by the Obama administration also gave license to attack our embassiesall across the Middle East.
But in fact, this agenda was something the Obama administration had signed onto long before the Benghazi attack. In July 2011, Hillary Clinton partnered with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to advance the international criminalization of blasphemy of Islam, a task this administration has taken seriously as seen in a review of their actions in accordance with the OIC’s stated agenda:
Dec 2005: Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) establishes 10 year plan of action that includes international criminalization of ‘Islamophobia’ thru U.N.
July 2011: State Dept and OIC meetings on “Istanbul Process”, Sec. Clinton tells OIC that U.S. government will use “old fashioned techniques of peer pressure and shaming” against ‘Islamophobia’
Sep 2011: WIRED’s Spencer Ackerman begins series of articles attacking individuals within US government for ‘Islamophobia’
Oct 2011: 57 Muslim groups send a letter to White House demanding “purge” of all counterterrorism training materials and “reeduction” of all FBI agents exposed to ‘Islamophobic’ training
Nov 2011: White House responds to Muslim groups “purge” demand letter,agrees to set up inter-agency task force, including extremist Muslim groups, to oversee FBI counterterrorism training development
Dec 2011: Hillary Clinton holds closed door meeting with OIC to advance ‘Istanbul Process’
Feb 2012: Islamic groups meet with FBI to ensure compliance with demanded ‘Islamophobia’ purge
Jun 2012: Five members of Congress (“National Security 5″) send letters to Inspectors General at five U.S. government departments and agencies asking for investigations into influence of Muslim Brotherhood on U.S. policy
July 2012: Media and political officials launch campaign against Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) for raising influence of individuals and groups named by DOJ as Muslim Brotherhood in federal court
July 2012: Top DOJ Civil Rights official refuses to vow to Congress not to push blasphemy laws
Sep 2012: Obama admin blames attacks on US embassies on movie trailer
Sep 2012: In U.N. General Assembly speech, Obama says ”the future does not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam”
It is hard to imagine that given the considerable time and effort this administration has devoted to pushing the criminalization of blasphemy, particularly that of Islam, that they would relent in their attacks on the First Amendment in another four-year term.
10) Obama Considers Transfer of ‘Blind Shiekh’ Omar Abdel Rahman to Egypt(Sept. 2012)
As the Obama administration was trying to get its story straight on what exactly happened in Benghazi, Glenn Beck reported exclusively at The Blaze on Sept. 17th the shocking news based on a tip from inside the State Deparement that that Obama was considering a request from the Egyptian government to transfer the ‘Blind Sheikh’ Omar Abdel Rahman, who is serving a life sentence in federal prison after his conviction for sedition for authorizing attacks against the U.S., including the 1993 World Trade Center attacks.
The continued imprisonment of the Blind Sheikh was one of the grievances listed byOsama bin Laden’s 1996 fatwa against America, and Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi promised in a rally prior to his election that he would secure the release of the Blind Sheikh. As reported here at PJ Media on Sept. 10th by Raymond Ibrahim – one day prior to the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo – that Egyptian media was reporting that terrorist groups had threatened to burn down the embassy to pressure the U.S. for the Blind Sheikh’s release. In July, the Blind Shiekh’s son had threatened the employees of the U.S. Embassy calling for his father’s release.
Following Beck’s report, the administration offered highly parsed denials. The New York Post confirmed with an Obama administration official that the Egyptian government had made the request and House Homeland Security Committee chairman Rep. Peter King (R-NY) confirmed that such a transfer was actively being considered. In response, eight prominent GOP House committee chairmen sent a letter to Hillary Clinton and Attorney General Eric Holder strenuously opposing any such considerations.
It was only after former Attorney General Mike Mukasey, who as a federal judge had presided over the Blind Sheikh’s trial, blasted the administration in an editorial published in the Wall Street Journal that the White House finally said unequivocally that the Blind Sheikh would stay in prison in the U.S.
Egyptian President Morsi apparently wasn’t convinced of the White House’s stated position, since the following day he stated that he would work for the transfer of the Blind Sheikh back to Egypt - the very thing the Obama administration had just denied they were contemplating. And Middle East media reports indicated that the transfer of the Blind Sheikh had already been considered by the White House earlier this year in the negotiations over the release of American NGO workers imprisoned there, including the son of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.
In the event of Obama’s electoral defeat on Tuesday, might he consider such a release as a lame duck? Might another conveniently timed terror attack convince Obama that a deal might be worth doing? If so, with Constitutional powers of pardon and commutation there would probably be nothing that Congress could do to stop him.
Four More Years?
At the end of 2011 I predicted that if Obama’s record in his first three years were any indication, his first term may rival the catastrophe of the Carter administration. One year later, I suspect that Barack Obama’s epic of failure over the past four years may go down as one of the worst national security disasters in American history. And there is now considerable evidence to support that view. My prediction for 2013 is that the illicit assistance that the U.S. has provided to Syrian rebels (a story I recently reported on), much as it did in Libya, and the subsequent blowback will be one of the biggest national security stories of the year.
There are many other stories I could have included in this list, such as the declaration by the Obama administration back in April that the “War on Terror is over”, or the selection by the State Department last month of an Islamic extremist that had previously had hisappointment to a national terrorism commission withdrawn over his support for terrorist groups to represent the U.S. at the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) human rights conference in Vienna.
What might we see if Obama is reelected this week? I predict not only more of the same, but an unleashing of this administration – free from the worries of future reelection – that would further imperil America’s national security.
If he is defeated, there is much to be concerned about with a lame duck Obama presidency, as his administration tries to ‘lock-in’ much the institutionalization of his policies as possible. I expect we’ll see even more shocking details emerge concerning the Benghazi attack directly implicating the White House in a cover-up and possibly even more (such as the possible Fast & Furious Libyan arms running connection to Syria). If Obama wins, the likelihood that the insider leaking continues will diminish as insiders will run for cover in self-protection. As Kerry Picket at the Washington Times reported last week, the Obama administration has gone after whistleblowers unlike any of its predecessors.
On Tuesday, much will be decided. In terms of national security the question the American voting public will have to answer is whether we can afford four more years of Barack Obama in the White House?
Patrick Poole is a national security and terrorism correspondent for PJMedia. Follow me on Twitter.