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Articles | | Appointments & Policymakers, Congress Watch, Foreign Policy, Homeland Security, Iran Nuclear Deal, Las Vegas Shooting, Middle East

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Andy McCarthy is a contributing Editor of National Review, Senior Fellow at National Review Institute, and former Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York:

FRANK GAFFNEY:

Welcome to Secure Freedom Radio, this is Frank Gaffney, your host and guide for what I think of as an intelligence briefing on the war for the free world. There is really practically no one whose intelligence I admire more, and whose ability to help the rest of us as a result of it understand what on earth is going on particularly in respect to the nexus between national security and the law then our first guest he is Andy McCarthy. A former federal prosecutor, these days he is a columnist with National Review online and with PJ Media and when he’s not doing that tirelessly, he is cranking out bestselling books including The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America. Andy McCarthy, welcome back it is so good for having you. Thanks for joining us.

ANDY MCCARTHY:

Frank, great to be with you.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

You had a terrific piece today, I believe at National Review, about the Iran decision now awaiting the President’s final determination. It involves certifying whether the Iranians are in compliance or not. Tell us a little bit about your thoughts as to how President Trump should come down on that decision and where we go from here.

ANDY MCCARTHY:

Well Frank, I think he should come down on where he should have come down in the first place. This is his third 90-day review, which is what the governing statute requires, every 90 days the President has to certify the deal and what that entails really comes down to two findings. One, that Iran is in compliance as you mentioned, and the other is that the deal is in the vital national security interests of the United States. I really don’t see how conceivably either of these two findings could ever have been made. Iran has never been in compliance and the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency, which is responsible for monitoring this deal…

FRANK GAFFNEY:

The most intrusive inspection regime of all time as I recall.

ANDY MCCARTHY:

Exactly! Except they can’t inspect in the places where if there is nuclear work going on, where it is happening. Namely the military sights, so Iran has never been in compliance, it’s never been possible to say they’re in compliance and the deal obviously isn’t in American national interests when you are basically funding America’s enemies in order to conduct anti-American activities.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

Yeah, and Andy the amazing thing is that he not only certified to each of those points, he certified to both of them twice. I gather he wasn’t very happy about having to do it. I’m told that the President’s options may still be limited to the point where he will not be given one that says, “Let’s walk away from the whole thing,” which is what you’ve recommended. John Bolton, who we will be talking with shortly, Fred Fleitz, I and other have all said this is really the way to go here. Why is that and what are the consequences of buying into what I think is kind of a bait and switch here that you certify they aren’t in compliance but you nonetheless stay in the treaty which I guess means effectively you are saying it is in our national interest.

ANDY MCCARTHY:

Frank, it’s strange, you know the day I was in school for Constitutional law, they actually taught you that the President ran the State Department and the National Security Council, not the other way around. So, when I hear people say the President hasn’t been given x-number of options, you know that the President was unhappy about having to make a certification that he found unsavory, I can only shake my head. He is the President, whatever options they give him which are unsatisfactory that he is not happy with maybe the answer to that is to get new advisors because he’s still the President. It’s not the National Security Council or the State Department ultimately that are making these certifications, it’s the President. So, he should do what he thinks is right and the only right thing to do here is to walk away. You know the geniuses at Foggy Bottom have decided that the way to fix this is to say it’s not in our interests but to preserve it and stay in it, but that supposedly is going to give us that position we need to improve it. You can’t improve this thing because as its written, even if Iran didn’t cheat, we don’t prevent them from getting a nuke, we delay them a little bit. So why you would want to preserve an arrangement like that is beyond me.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

And in a way the bigger problem Andy, is that in the process you are still legitimating this regime, which is fundamentally I think the conceit of this whole enterprise that you can do deals with them.

ANDY MCCARTHY:

Yeah that’s exactly right Frank. And, in fact, it’s not only theoretically true what you just said, also by the terms of the deal, as long as we are in it we are obliged to help them and be supportive of them. So let’s say Trump should do what he talked about in The Art of the Deal, before he was a politician, which is, if you want to get a good deal, you have to know when to push away from the table and this is the time to do that, so if he wants to make a deal we do have leverage points and we should be squeezing this regime, not resuscitating it.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

Andy, let me switch gears on this other matter that is very much on our minds of course. You have spent time in the business of law enforcement and prosecuting criminals, I know you’ve got personal, first hand, insights on this but I’m puzzled I must say, that in the instance of this attack in Las Vegas most recently, but now really serially just about always, in fact, we are told immediately after the incident, by the relevant authorities either local or federal or both, that we don’t know the motivations, but we know it’s not terrorism. Would you just walk me through how it can be both of these things?

ANDY MCCARTHY:

You know look, it seems so odd Frank to be in a situation where we actually don’t know the motive. Usually, I don’t mean to laugh, it’s an ironic laugh at the way things have been covered for these years but when they tell us in the past, especially if it’s in the context of jihadist terror, that we don’t know the motive and we may never know the motive, that always signals to me that we know exactly what the motive is. And in this instance, we are actually dealing with a situation which very, very strangely, you mentioned my law enforcement experience, I’ve never seen anything quite like this, a mass murder attack where within a very short period of time you can’t figure out why it was done. Here that is the situation that we are in. What I’ve pointed out is that even if this, let’s assume for a moment that this guy is, because we don’t know that even, but assuming he can form criminal intent, it probably is terrorism under Nevada law rather than under federal. Under federal you really have to commit terrorism for a purpose, it’s basically to coerce a government of a civilian population to adopt whatever line you want adopted. Under Nevada law, which I got a look at for the first time in the aftermath of this shooting they really concentrate more on the act than the purpose behind the act. So, if you have an intention of intimidating a civilian population, that’s good enough for terrorism in Nevada, notwithstanding whether it’s for a purpose or not.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

Yeah well, this certainly would qualify for that it would sound. Andy, very quickly, you were one of the co-signers for an amicus brief before the Supreme Court for which I’m very grateful. It basically urged the court when they take up this so-called travel ban of the President’s, to countenance the idea of what’s needed here, really, is an ideological filter. Would you just talk a little bit about that and, very quickly, where you think the courts going at the moment on this set of executive orders of the President.

ANDY MCCARTHY:

Well yes Frank, I think that much more important than the travel ban itself, which is directed at countries, what we need to have is something that allows us to screen out Sharia supremacists from the rest of the Muslim population. I mean that is really where the threat is. And as I’ve said before in our prior discussions, while I think it’s very important to worry about trained terrorists sneaking into the country with these refugee populations, let’s say, I think the long-term threat to us is the development of enclaves in the U.S. that become the support system for jihadism like they have been in Europe. So, we’re more worried I think about the 11, 12, 13 year-old kid today who is five years from now a terrorist and that really is the long-term problem. Where we are at, I think, is a place where the court, the Supreme Court that is, really doesn’t want to deal with this issue and kind of set the table on this so that by the time they return for work this week, the old travel order, which was the litigation we are talking about is about, would be basically moot and we would have a new one. So, I think now we are kind of starting again from ground zero on the new guidance that just came out.

FRANK GAFFNEY:

A do over as they say. Andy, thank you so much this is really helpful on so many different counts. We appreciate our visits with you, hope we can do it again very soon. In the meantime, stay well my friend and keep up of course the terrific work you do at National Review online and PJ Media among other places. Next up, we will speak a little bit more about this Iran deal from and with our colleague Fred Fleitz, career intelligence professional, an expert on Iran and what it’s up to on its nuclear program, right after this.

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