Thursday, October 9, 2014

Former AG: Obama cares more about politics than security

Former AG: Obama cares more about politics than security:


NEW YORK – The former attorney general under President George W. Bush who as a federal judge presided over the terrorism trial of “Blind Sheik” Omar Abel Rahman charges the Obama administration has persistently misrepresented the Islamic threats in the Middle East, putting politics ahead of protecting American lives.

“The Obama administration says the leadership of al-Qaida has been decimated,” noted Michael Mukasey, speaking Monday at the Metropolitan Club in New York City for an event sponsored by Frank Gaffney and the Center for Security Policy.

“We have supposedly the most brilliant man ever to occupy the White House, yet he seems either not to know what the word ‘decimated’ means or else he hopes his audience doesn’t know,” he said.

“What the word literally means is that one in 10 has been eliminated. So the other 90 percent are very vigorous. But President Obama continues to use the word ‘decimated’ as a synonym for ‘destroyed.’”

Mukasey said Obama has tried to communicate that since Osama Bin Laden was killed at his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in 2011, the leadership of al-Qaida has been eliminated.

“The problem is it’s simply not true,” he said.

Inventing a terrorist group

Mukasey drew a parallel to Obama’s recent assertion that an Islamic jihadist organization called the Khorasan Group has developed from various elements of al-Qaida veterans.

He charged Obama has simply invented a new terrorist group so it can take credit for eliminating it.

“Khorasan is an area of Syria, and the group is made up of senior al-Qaida leadership aligned with the al-Nursa front in Syria and does not call itself by that name,” he continued. “Since the group does not use that name, if we were to call them the ‘Khorasan Group,’ the group would have to be rechristened, as it were.”

From there, Mukasey drew a parallel to how the Obama administration has portrayed ISIS.

“ISIS is the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or if you prefer ‘ISIL,’ a designation that refers to the Islamic State in the Levant, a term that can be interpreted to deny the legitimacy of the state of Israel,” he pointed out.

“How did ISIS go from being what President Obama characterized as the ‘junior varsity’ to being in the prominence today in Iraq and Syria? Is this something that happened overnight?”

Mukasey explained that rather than arising overnight, ISIS has been present in Obama’s daily intelligence briefing for well over a year.

“The growth and the recent attraction of ISIS is attributable not only to good planning but what I consider brilliant marketing,” he argued.

“Al-Qaida has pursued a goal of driving the United States out of the Middle East, as well as the elimination of insufficiently Islamicist governments in the Middle East, with the accomplishment of an Islamic caliphate in the distant future. In contrast, ISIS has adopted a ‘Field of Dreams’ approach grabbing territory and proclaiming it as an Islamic caliphate today, with the expectation followers will come. And they have come, in the thousands.”

‘Moderate rebels’

He criticized the Obama administration for arguing U.S. foreign policy can rely on “moderate rebels” in Syria to oppose ISIS when the reality is that all the rebels in Syria are Sunnis that have joined with ISIS in opposition to the Assad regime.

“The moderate rebels in Syria the Obama administration are looking to arm to oppose Assad are paradoxically the same groups President Obama referred to as ‘pharmacists and opticians,’ that now the Obama administration believes will fight Assad if we train them long enough, along with the Iraqi army that so far has proved most adept at laying down its weapons when the enemy approaches.”

Mukasey castigated the Obama administration for ignoring available intelligence on ISIS for more than a year, during which time Obama did everything possible to minimize the risk represented by the group.

“Remember President Obama going on television after the 2011 raid on Abbottabad, telling the world, including the al-Qaida forces aligned with Osama bin Laden, that we had gathered a trove of intelligence in that raid?” he asked.

“Of course, this broadcast tipped off anybody that had been in touch with Osama bin Laden in the previous few months to change their method of operation. Well, it turns out, that out of that ‘trove of thousands and thousands of intelligence documents’ gathered in the Abbottabad raid, only 17 documents have been made public, and only 10 percent have been translated.”

Mukasey’s explanation was that the Obama administration has been more interested in maintaining its narrative that al-Qaida has been destroyed than in taking effective military action in the Middle East to accomplish that goal.

“The Obama administration is more willing to put American lives at risk in the Middle East than to look at intelligence documents that might contradict the administration narrative that al-Qaida has been destroyed,” he charged.

Obama can’t handle the truth

Mukasey emphasized ISIS “is not a new phenomenon.”

“We have been dealing with this in the United States since 1990 when an Islamic terrorist assassinated rabbi Meir David Kahane in a Manhattan hotel,” he said. “Since then we have seen the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, a series of terrorist acts here and around the world, culminating but not ending with the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.”

Mukasey said the Obama administration refuses to see a consistent theme of radical Islamic terrorism in the various threats.

“That’s why the Obama administration insists on characterizing as an incident of ‘workplace violence’ the mass murder committed at Fort Hood in 2009 by Major Nidal Malik Hassan, even though Hassan in contact with the American-born Anwar al Awlaki, who merited being taken out by a U.S. missile in Yemen,” he noted.

“Even though we have troops present today in Iraq, and probably even in Syria today, in an advisory capacity, the Obama administration insists there are ‘no boots on the ground.’ How far today may an Army interrogator go with a suspected terrorist to get information that might save American lives? The limit is specified in the Army Field Manual, a volume enemy terrorists are now using to train Islamic radicals how to resist U.S. interrogation if captured.”

Mukasey referred to the capture of Ahmed Abu Khattala, a commander of the Ansar al-Sharia militia in Libya who was suspected of masterminding the attack on Benghazi that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens, and the capture in Libya of Abu Anas al Libi, who took part in the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and in Nairobi, Kenya. He criticized the Obama administration for limiting interrogation in both instances.

“Both were questioned for a limited period of time aboard a Navy vessel and then brought to the United States to stand trial in a civilian court,” he said.

“Our intelligence gathering agencies, particularly the CIA, have now available no protocol for interrogating captured terrorists who may have valuable information and no place to take them, other than to the mainland of the United States, because the Obama administration refuses to bring any additional prisoners to Guantanamo, which it has pledged to close down.”

Not serious about daily briefings

Finally, Mukasey referenced the recent news that Obama attends in person only about 40 percent of his daily intelligence briefings.

“We’re told President Obama prefers to read the information on his iPad,” Mukasey said.

“Let me tell you something about the president’s daily briefings that I had some acquaintance with when I served in the Bush administration as attorney general. This is not simply a matter of different styles of getting information, as the Obama White House would have us believe. While my principal responsibility was not national security, my day started with an envelope I found on the seat of the vehicle that picked me up in the morning. The document was some 10 to 20 pages of information I was expected to master by the time I got to FBI headquarters for a briefing going over current threats that lasted about an hour.”

He explained that at the briefing were the director of the FBI, the deputy attorney general, who was the chief operating officer of the Justice Department, various staff members and a briefer from the CIA.

Once a week, on what came to be known as “Terror Tuesdays,” Mukasey’s daily briefing adjourned to continue over at the White House, where Mukasey joined President Bush and Vice President Cheney for another 45 minutes to an hour. Other attendees were the director of the FBI, director of DHS, the director of National Intelligence, a member of the CIA, the president’s chief of staff and top national security adviser.

“That was the level with which national security was dealt when I served,” he said.

“So, the question becomes why this has changed under President Obama. Is it that the national security news has become so much better that President Obama can pay attention in person attending the briefings 40 percent of the time?

“I would suggest to you that this is explained by the mindset with which President Obama took office, believing the principal threat in this world is the United States. President Obama entered office believing the only way he could deal with this threat is to deny, diminish and avoid any confrontation with militant Islam.”

In introducing Mukasey to the luncheon, Andrew McCarthy, the former federal prosecutor who brought before Judge Mukasey’s court in New York the evidence that convicted the Blind Sheik and other Islamic radicals responsible for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, stressed the importance of a “reality-based” foreign policy.

“The only way we get to have the world as we want it to be is if we deal first with the world as it is,” McCarthy said.

“No matter how politically correct the government may be, in the four corners of a trial, people want proof crimes were committed. They also want to know why that happened. For a quarter of a century, the government has suppressed honest speech about the true goals of our radical Islamic terrorist enemies. Unfortunately, that is more powerful today under the Obama administration than it ever was.”