Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Can the Democrats be trusted to protect our national security?

A Washington Post editorial by three Republican senators highlights a persistent problem.

Excerpt:

Espionage is a dangerous business often seen only through a Hollywood lens. Yet the real-world operations, and lives, that inspire such thrillers are highly perishable. They depend on hundreds of hours of painstaking work and the ability to get foreigners to trust our government.

Sitting in a prison cell in Pakistan is one of those foreigners who trusted us. Shakil Afridi served as a key informant to the United States in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. This brave physician put his life on the line to assist U.S. efforts to track down the most-wanted terrorist in the world, yet our government left him vulnerable to the Pakistani tribal justice system, which sentenced him to 33 years for treason. The imprisonment and possible torture of this courageous man — for aiding the United States in one of the most important intelligence operations of our time — coincides with a deeply damaging leak in another case.

The world learned a few weeks ago that U.S. intelligence agencies and partners had disrupted an al-Qaeda plot to blow up a civilian aircraft using an explosive device designed by an affiliate in Yemen. This disclosure revealed sources and methods that could make future successes more difficult to achieve. The public release of information surrounding such operations also risks the lives of informants and makes it more difficult to maintain productive partnerships with other intelligence agencies. These incidents paint a disappointing picture of this administration’s judgment when it comes to national security.

[...]The problem stems in part from the media’s insatiable desire for real-world information that makes intelligence operations look like those of filmmakers’ imaginations. That is understandable, but this hunger is fed by inexcusable contributions from current and former U.S. officials.

For example, why did the Obama administration hold a conference call May 7 with a collection of former government officials, some of whom work as TV contributors and analysts, to discuss the foiled bomb threat? In doing so, the White House failed to safeguard sensitive intelligence information that gave us an advantage over an adversary. Broadcasting highly classified information notifies every enemy of our tactics and every current and future partner of our inability to provide them the secrecy that often is the difference between life and death.

[...]When they leave Capitol Hill, former members of Congress and their staff are, by law, prohibited from petitioning their former congressional colleagues for up to two years. Yet nothing restricts former security officials from using their government contacts and experience to provide live commentary on breaking news stories.

Furthermore, nothing limits current officials from using their media contacts to control a story — or to even promote a big-budget movie. We were shocked to learn that the White House has also leaked classified details of the bin Laden raid to Hollywood filmmakers, including the confidential identities of elite U.S. military personnel.

The authors:

Dan Coats, Richard Burr and Marco Rubio, all Republicans, represent Indiana, North Carolina and Florida, respectively, in the U.S. Senate and are members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Here’s my take: Democrats want to equalize influence between our country and countries like Iran, China and North Korea. One way they can do this is by undermining our ability to defend our interests abroad. It’s all part of the leftist dream of making everyone “equal” so that there are no disagreements. In a very real sense, leftists are responsible for enabling the human rights abuses and purges that go on in countries like Iran, China and North Korea. They don’t really think that things like shooting pro-Democracy protestors (Iran), coerced abortion (China) and executing Christians for distributing Bibles (North Korea), etc. should be opposed with American influence.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Obama administration leaked name of British agent who stopped Al Qaeda attack

From Investors Business Daily.

Excerpt:

Here’s a disturbing update to last week’s amazing story about the U.S. mole who infiltrated al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and thwarted an airliner attack with a more sophisticated underwear bomb.

Someone in Washington whose boss stood to gain from an election year story about alert intelligence operatives successfully protecting American voters at great personal risk leaked the heroic story to the Associated Press. The AP held the story until Obama administration sources said the CIA operative was safe.

But, it turns out, the mole was not a CIA operative. The Obama administration had nothing to do with the operation and, in fact, didn’t even know about it until recently. Somehow such details got lost in all the excited espionage news coverage about the bomb that didn’t go off.

The sting was, in reality, an operation by Britain’s MI6 intelligence service (see photo above of its unassuming headquarters tucked away in an obscure corner of London). It used a Yemeni native with dual British and Saudi citizenship with the cooperation of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence service.

And the folks overseas who actually conceived and executed the risky work are none too happy about their loose-lipped American cousins trying to bolster someone’s domestic political standing by leaking the story prematurely, destroying the agent’s cover and future usefulness. And possibly betraying that agent’s contacts within Yemen.

[...]Without the excited U.S. news coverage, the agent, who reportedly did escape safely once word was flashed about the impending AP leak story, could have still been providing further intelligence on the location of al Qaeda leaders in Yemen, which resulted in only one successful drone strike before word got out, resulting in the explosive demise of senior leader Fahd al-Quso.

According to Britain’s Guardian, CIA professionals are furious at Obama administration officials for leaking the information for obvious political gain.

The newspaper reported: “Mike Scheur, the former head of the CIA’s Bin Laden unit, said the leaking about the nuts and bolts of British involvement was despicable and would make a repeat of the operation difficult. ‘MI6 should be as angry as hell. This is something that the prime minister should raise with the president.'”

Shashank Joshi, a British researcher, wrote in the Telegraph: “These unthinking leaks are reckless and irresponsible acts of posturing that could have far-reaching implications for counterterrorism operations in the future.”

This isn’t the first time,or even the second time, or even the third time, that we have seen these foreign policy blunders. Foreign policy and national security just are not their thing – just like economic policy isn’t their thing.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ex-CIA chief Jose Rodriguez says Nancy Pelosi lied about waterboarding

Story from the Daily Beast.

Excerpt:

The CIA’s former top spook, unable for years to respond publicly to criticism of his role in waterboarding terrorist suspects after 9/11, is finally getting the chance to answer his critics. And to launch a counterattack.

In a memoir being published Monday and obtained by The Daily Beast, the former CIA official Jose Rodriguez defends the waterboarding program and says he was right in 2005 to order the destruction of videotapes of the harsh interrogation sessions, in which suspected Al Qaeda terrorists were held down and subjected to a simulated drowning.

In his book, Hard Measures: How Aggressive CIA Actions after 9/11 Saved American Lives, Rodriguez, a career undercover CIA officer who headed the agency’s clandestine services from 2004 until his retirement in 2007, tries to turn the table on his critics, identifying many people—in and out of the United States government—who, he says, have hindered the fight against Al Qaeda and other international terrorist networks.

According to Rodriguez, Nancy Pelosi lied when she claimed she was not informed about the use of waterboarding:

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi and other CIA critics in Congress. Rodriguez challenges Pelosi’s assertion that, while a ranking member of the House intelligence committee after 9/11, she was not informed in detail about the use of waterboarding.

“Pelosi said that we only briefly mentioned waterboarding and left the impression that it had not been used,” Rodriguez writes, insisting that the California Democrat was fully briefed—by Rodriguez himself—about waterboarding and its use. “ He says that Pelosi was explicitly briefed on waterboarding and posed no objection to the technique. “I know she got it.”

“There is no doubt in my mind that she, like almost all Americans less than a year after, wanted us to be aggressive to make sure that Al Qaeda wasn’t able to replicate their attack.” He writes that “Pelosi was another member of Congress reinventing the truth.”

And he takes a shot at the Obama administration:

The Obama administration. Rodriguez says President Obama has abandoned interrogation techniques—including waterboarding—that allowed the CIA to prevent terrorist attacks after 9/11. He said the administration has become too reliant instead of the use of missile-armed drones in Pakistan and elsewhere to kill, instead of to capture, terrorists.

“Drones can be a highly effective way of dealing with high-priority targets,” Rodriguez writes. “But they should not become the drug of choice for an administration that is afraid to use successful, legal and safe tactics of the past.” He adds, “Needless to say, there is no opportunity to interrogate or learn anything from a suspect who is vaporized by a missile launched by a keystroke executed thousands of miles away.”

Right Scoop posted an interview with Jose Rodriguez, in which he explains that he personally briefed Pelosi on the waterboarding.

Filed under: Polemics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Former Ron Paul campaign official explains Ron Paul’s views on foreign policy

From Right Wing News, an exclusive interview with a Ron Paul insider who was working for Ron Paul from 1987-2003.

Excerpt:

Ron Paul was opposed to the War in Afghanistan, and to any military reaction to the attacks of 9/11.

He did not want to vote for the resolution. He immediately stated to us staffers, me in particular, that Bush/Cheney were going to use the attacks as a precursor for “invading” Iraq. He engaged in conspiracy theories including perhaps the attacks were coordinated with the CIA, and that the Bush administration might have known about the attacks ahead of time. He expressed no sympathies whatsoever for those who died on 9/11, and pretty much forbade us staffers from engaging in any sort of memorial expressions, or openly asserting pro-military statements in support of the Bush administration.

On the eve of the vote, Ron Paul was still telling us staffers that he was planning to vote “No,” on the resolution, and to be prepared for a seriously negative reaction in the District. Jackie Gloor and I, along with quiet nods of agreement from the other staffers in the District, declared our intentions to Tom Lizardo, our Chief of Staff, and to each other, that if Ron voted No, we would immediately resign.

Ron was “under the spell” of left-anarchist and Lew Rockwell associate Joe Becker at the time, who was our legislative director. Norm Singleton, another Lew Rockwell fanatic agreed with Joe. All other staffers were against Ron, Joe and Norm on this, including Lizardo. At the very last minute Ron switched his stance and voted “Yay,” much to the great relief of Jackie and I. He never explained why, but I strongly suspected that he realized it would have been political suicide; that staunchly conservative Victoria would revolt, and the Republicans there would ensure that he would not receive the nomination for the seat in 2002. Also, as much as I like to think that it was my yelling and screaming at Ron, that I would publicly resign if he voted “No,” I suspect it had a lot more to do with Jackie’s threat, for she WAS Victoria. And if Jackie bolted, all of the Victoria conservatives would immediately turn on Ron, and it wouldn’t be pretty.

If you take anything from this lengthy statement, I would hope that it is this final story about the Afghanistan vote, that the liberal media chooses to completely ignore, because it doesn’t fit their template, is what you will report.

If Ron Paul should be slammed for anything, it’s not some silly remarks he’s made in the past in his Newsletters. It’s over his simply outrageously horrendous views on foreign policy, Israel, and national security for the United States. His near No vote on Afghanistan. That is the big scandal. And that is what should be given 100 times more attention from the liberal media, than this Newsletter deal.

I think Paul’s comments on World War 2, which I didn’t excerpt here, are pretty disturbing as well. I guess I just don’t believe that he knows enough about national security and counter-terrorism to be President. If I asked him questions like “who is FARC?” or “who is the Quds force?” or “How is Iran working with the Mexican drug cartels?” or “How is Iran working with Hugo Chavez?” then all I’ll get in response is Libertarian rhetoric.

Ron Paul doesn’t know a thing about national security or Islamic terrorism, he can’t quote any specifics at all about who terrorists are, what they’ve done, what they want to do, etc.. It’s like asking a witch doctor to explain modern medicine. You’ll only get conspiracy theories and unverifiable assertions – never any details. Everything Ron Paul asserts about how unilateral disarming would do this, or unilateral withdrawal would do that is really nothing more than his uninformed personal ideology. If you asked him to prove out any of his views on foreign policy, you would just get more excitable old crank rhetoric – devoid of data and history.

The best way to engage a libertarian who thinks that Ron Paul conspiracy theory diplomacy would work is to bring up a specific example when actual counter-terrorism produced results. For example, when KSM was waterboarded and gave up intelligence on the 9/11-style attack on Los Angeles, or when enhanced interrogation techniques led to the location of Osama Bin Laden. You can also point out how Clinton’s policies of appeasement emboldened terrorists to commit actual terrorist attacks against American assets. And how Bush’s invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan did actually dissuade terrorist attacks from occurring. And how large-scale attacks resumed under Obama, e.g. – the NYC subway bomb, the NYC Times Square bomb, the attempted assassination of the Saudi ambassador in New York, etc., to name a few. This is kryptonite to a fever-swamp libertarian who forms his foreign policy reading dead economists from the 1800s – prior to the invention of nuclear weapons.

Like this:

How to defeat Ron Paul in 2012

How to defeat Ron Paul in 2012

We can’t put someone like Ron Paul in charge of national security. It would be like putting a witch doctor in as the Surgeon General. Conspiracy theories are not good foreign policy. The antidote is to talk about the way things work in the real world.

Libertarian: a person who thinks waterboarding a terrorist to prevent a 9/11 attack is “cruel”, but who thinks aborting 50 million unborn babies since 1973 is “just”. Just understand what libertarianism is, and the scope in which it is useful, and don’t apply it to areas where it doesn’t apply.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

CIA Director Leon Panetta confirms that waterboarding led to Osama Bin Laden

CIA Director Leon Panetta confirms that waterboarding / enhanced interrogation techniques led to Osama Bin Laden, in this MSNBC interview by Brian Williams.

Excerpt:

Brian Williams: I’d like to ask you about the sourcing on the intel that ultimately led to this successful attack. Can you confirm that it was as a result of waterboarding that we learned what we needed to learn to go after Bin Laden?

Leon Panetta: You know, Brian, in the intelligence business you work from a lot of sources of information, and that was true here. We had a multiple series of sources that provided information with regards to this situation. Clearly, some of it came from detainees and the interrogation of detainees, but we also had information from other sources as well. So it’s a little difficult to say it was due just to one source of information that we got.

Williams: Turned around the other way, are you denying that waterboarding was in part among the tactics used to extract the intelligence that led to this successful mission?

Panetta: No, I think some of the detainees clearly were — you know, they used these enhanced interrogation techniques against some of these detainees. But I’m also saying that the debate about whether we would have gotten the same information through other approaches I think is always going to be an open question.

Williams: So, final point, one final time: enhanced interrogation techniques, which has always been kind of a handy euphemism in these post-9/11 years, that includes waterboarding.

Panetta: That’s correct.

This is the waterboarding that Obama opposed. Obama opposed enhanced interrogations. Obama opposed military tribunals. Obama opposed CIA prisons. Obama opposed Guantanamo Bay. Obama opposes counter-terrorism in general.

And don’t forget how waterboarding prevented a similar 9/11-style attack on Los Angeles.

Excerpt:

The Central Intelligence Agency told CNSNews.com today that it stands by the assertion made in a May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that the use of “enhanced techniques” of interrogation on al Qaeda leader Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM) — including the use of waterboarding — caused KSM to reveal information that allowed the U.S. government to thwart a planned attack on Los Angeles.

Before he was waterboarded, when KSM was asked about planned attacks on the United States, he ominously told his CIA interrogators, “Soon, you will know.”

According to the previously classified May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that was released by President Barack Obama last week, the thwarted attack — which KSM called the “Second Wave”– planned “ ‘to use East Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner into’ a building in Los Angeles.”

KSM was the mastermind of the first “hijacked-airliner” attacks on the United States, which struck the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Northern Virginia on Sept. 11, 2001.

After KSM was captured by the United States, he was not initially cooperative with CIA interrogators.  Nor was another top al Qaeda leader named Zubaydah.  KSM, Zubaydah, and a third terrorist named Nashiri were the only three persons ever subjected to waterboarding by the CIA.

Waterboarding works. It is not torture. We waterboard all our our naval aviators as part of their SERE training.

But do you know what is torture? Partial-birth abortion. We don’t partial-birth abort our naval aviators as part of their SERE training – yet the same people who oppose waterboarding support partial-birth abortion.

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