Awesome: persons from ebola-outbreak countries among illegal border crossers

August 4, 2014
Ebola virus

Ebola virus

I’m telling ya, this is how Act One of a bad science fiction movie would run. A report leaked to Breitbart Texas from the Customs and Border Patrol service (CBP) discusses how people from all over the globe are trying to exploit our porous southern border to get into the United States. People from more than 75 different countries have been apprehended. That’s frustrating enough. But what is truly scary is where some of them are coming from:

Among the significant revelations are that individuals from nations currently suffering from the world’s largest Ebola outbreak have been caught attempting to sneak across the porous U.S. border into the interior of the United States. At least 71 individuals from the three nations affected by the current Ebola outbreak have either turned themselves in or been caught attempting to illegally enter the U.S. by U.S. authorities between January 2014 and July 2014.

None of those people it seems were carrying ebola, for we’d surely know by now. But what if someone carrying the virus made it across the Rio Grande and successfully hid themselves in our inner cities, not knowing the danger he or she posed as a “Trojan horse?” By the time this person showed symptoms and was discovered, the virus might already have spread into the larger population. Even if safely contained, the news would spread like wildfire.

Can you say “mass public panic?”

Securing the border is looking better and better all the time.

via Rick Moran

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Three C’s of U.S. Espionage in Germany

July 14, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

This is a very interesting discussion of why we might want to conduct intelligence operations inside the territory of our ally.

Originally posted on The XX Committee:

New details continue to emerge about the brewing SpyWar between Berlin and Washington, DC, over alleged U.S. espionage directed at the German government. While significant questions remain, it’s becoming clear that Markus R., the thirty-one year-old employee of the Federal Intelligence Service (Bundesnachrichtendienst — BND) who was spying for the CIA, fell well short of James Bond, having been caught by German counterintelligence when trying to sell classified materials to the Russians too. The second espionage suspect, a Defense Ministry official, although under suspicion, remains free, and that case may be misunderstood: time will tell.

What’s not in doubt is that Germany is a full-fledged panic about American spying that has already resulted in the departure of the CIA’s station chief in Berlin and will surely bring extra scrutiny to a lot of U.S. activities in Central Europe. Coming on top of the Snowden Operation, with its…

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Exploring Al-Qa’ida’s Russian Connection

June 11, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

Honestly, I had never considered this possibility, given Moscow’s well-known problems with its own jihadists. But, on reading this essay, one has to wonder if there isn’t some sort of “understanding” between Zawahiri and and Russian intelligence. Very interesting speculation, here.

Originally posted on The XX Committee:

[Note: This is an unusually controversial piece, even for my blog, for reasons that will quickly become obvious. Linkages between Al-Qa'ida and Russian intelligence have been discussed in hushed tones among spies in many countries, for years, and this matter has been a "hobby file" of mine for some time. Here is a think-piece on it, in the hope of spurring additional discussion and research into this important yet murky matter. This is particularly necessary given rising tensions between Moscow and the West at present. Considering the subject, I have eschewed my usual hyperlinks in favor of proper end-notes.]

There are two histories: The official history, mendacious, which is given to us; and the secret history, where you find the real causes of events, a shameful history.”

– Honoré de Balzac

The history of al-Qa’ida has been extensively documented in many languages. Since the 9/11 attacks on the…

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The Snowden Operation Falls Apart

June 5, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

20 Committee asks a damned fine question: If Snowden really is a “whistleblower,” why doesn’t he produce the letters of complaint to superiors he surely has? If he’s telling the truth, that is.

Originally posted on The XX Committee:

Edward Snowden had his Big Interview on NBC this week, and it was something of a pace-setter for poor TV journalism, since Brian Williams (who was previously denounced by Glenn Greenwald for being a servile boot-licker of the surveillance state), decided to soft-ball the questions and not follow up many weird, disingenuous statements by Ed. His almost-year in Russia under FSB care has not promoted clear thinking, while Ed’s body language indicated serious deception to the trained eye. NSA’s IT contractor on permanent vacation in Russia gave his usual platitudes about how he’s really a patriot and “had” to steal all those classified IC and DoD documents. He’s almost thirty-one years old but apparently he had no agency in any of this. We’ve heard it all before.

But The Narrative has begun to fall apart in a manner not even the MSM can avoid noticing (though the failure…

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Asking for trouble: the Obama-Hagel defense budget

February 25, 2014
U.S. Navy, post-Obama

U.S. Navy, post-Obama

Long ago, the Roman writer Vegetius wrote perhaps the wisest thing anyone has ever written regarding war and peace:

“If you want peace, prepare for war.”

In other words, if your potential foes know you are strong, that you are willing to use force to defend your interests, and that they are not likely to win, then they will not pick a fight with you.

President Obama and his dullard Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, have evidently never read Vegetius:

Stating that a postwar environment was the time to do some shrinking, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel unveiled a budget proposal Monday that reduces the Army to pre-World War II levels despite “a world that is growing more volatile, more unpredictable, and in some instances more threatening to the United States.”

“Our force structure and modernization recommendations are rooted in three realities: first, after Iraq and Afghanistan, we are no longer sizing the military to conduct long and large stability operations; second, we must maintain our technological edge over potential adversaries; and, third, the military must be ready and capable to respond quickly to all contingencies and decisively defeat any opponent should deterrence fail,” Hagel told reporters at the Pentagon today.

You can read the details in Bridget Johnson’s article, but, quickly, the Army would be reduced to 450,000 soldiers, the Marine Corps to 182,000, the Navy would be kept at 11 carrier battle groups (unless further cuts are needed), and, among other cuts, the Air Force would eliminate its entire force of A-10 “warthog” ground-support aircraft. I’m sure infantrymen everywhere are thrilled with that one.

Hagel’s opening statement is nonsensical: in one breath he proposes devastating cuts to our military capabilities, while, in the other, he claims (rightly) that the world is growing “more volatile, more unpredictable,” and “more threatening.” When he claims this configuration will allow us to defend ourselves from foes by relying on high tech, he ignores his own assertion that the world is unpredictable. Who knew on September 10th, 2001, in the wake of the Clinton-era defense cuts, that we would find ourselves in a war that required liberating and occupying two nations? While we are leaving Afghanistan and have left Iraq (God help them), we are still at war with a transnational terror group waging holy war against us. What if they should take over another country as a base (Syria? Mali? Iraq, again?)?  Do we then shrug our shoulders and say “No can do?” What if North Korea decides to invade the South, again? Those A-10s will be sorely missed, I guarantee it.

Those are just two among the myriad possible threats we face as dictators grow emboldened by our feckless leadership. When Ronald Reagan launched our military buildup in the 1980s, it wasn’t just to have plenty of ships and tanks on hand, it was to demonstrate a will to resist the world’s tyrants, so that they would make no miscalculation. The Obama-Hagel defense cuts, on the other hand send just the opposite message, one of weakness and a lack of confidence, of opportunity for the enemy because this administration is renouncing our traditional role as guarantor of a liberal world order.

And it’s deliberate. In an essay that now seems truly prescient, Charles Krauthammer made it plain that, for an ideology that sees American power as a problem, not a solution, for the world’s challenges, decline is a choice, one made in sacrifice to the desire to turn the US into a gelded European social democracy:

This is not the place to debate the intrinsic merits of the social democratic versus the Anglo-Saxon model of capitalism. There’s much to be said for the decency and relative equity of social democracy. But it comes at a cost: diminished social mobility, higher unemployment, less innovation, less dynamism and creative destruction, less overall economic growth.

This affects the ability to project power. Growth provides the sinews of dominance–the ability to maintain a large military establishment capable of projecting power to all corners of the earth. The Europeans, rich and developed, have almost no such capacity. They made the choice long ago to devote their resources to a vast welfare state. Their expenditures on defense are minimal, as are their consequent military capacities. They rely on the U.S. Navy for open seas and on the U.S. Air Force for airlift. It’s the U.S. Marines who go ashore, not just in battle, but for such global social services as tsunami relief. The United States can do all of this because we spend infinitely more on defense–more than the next nine countries combined.

Those are the conditions today. But they are not static or permanent. They require constant renewal. The express agenda of the New Liberalism is a vast expansion of social services–massive intervention and expenditures in energy, health care, and education–that will necessarily, as in Europe, take away from defense spending.

This shift in resources is not hypothetical. It has already begun. At a time when hundreds of billions of dollars are being lavished on stimulus and other appropriations in an endless array of domestic programs, the defense budget is practically frozen. Almost every other department is expanding, and the Defense Department is singled out for making “hard choices”–forced to look everywhere for cuts, to abandon highly advanced weapons systems, to choose between readiness and research, between today’s urgencies and tomorrow’s looming threats.

That was in 2009, and now we’re seeing the inevitable product of that vast expansion of the welfare state. And the world is going to become much more dangerous because of it.

To paraphrase Vegetius, “If you want war, pretend your enemy wants peace.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


What happens when you see American power as a problem?

October 22, 2013
"You're not welcome."

This is a problem?

Simple: You do whatever you can to make sure it won’t be a problem much longer.

While the president of the United States pitched his crumbling healthcare program like a late-night infomercial barker, the Army’s chief of staff made a shocking admission about national defense.

Gen. Ray Odierno told a Washington conference Monday that the U.S. Army had not conducted any training in the last six months of the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.

And, he said, there currently are only two Army brigades rated combat-ready. That’s a total of between 7,000 to 10,000 troops and less than one-third what the combat veteran regards as necessary for proper national security.

“Right now,” Odierno said, “we have in the Army two brigades that are trained. That’s it. Two.”

Odierno also revealed that troops shipping out to Afghanistan now are prepared only to train and assist Afghan troops, not to conduct combat operations themselves. But, of course, there’s no guarantee the Americans won’t find themselves in combat while accompanying Afghan soldiers.

All this to obey Obama administration orders to drastically cut the Army and military spending and meet cuts under sequestration. Since the Obama Pentagon began the troop draw-down two years ago under the president’s orders, more than 33,000 active duty soldiers have been cut.

Current plans call for additional reductions of 42,000 soldiers in the next 23 months to a total of 490,000, down from 570,000. Those cuts have been accelerated by two years under Pentagon orders and will involve involuntary separations of thousands.

Read the rest for Andrew’s take on what looks like a purge of the generals. Funny how it’s only the military that’s being held accountable…

There was a time, from FDR through LBJ, when American liberals saw American power as a good thing for the world. No more. Since the takeover of the Democratic Party by the New Left, beginning in the 1960s, progressives and their allies to their Left have seen American power as a source of the world’s problems, not a cure or a preventative. For the new liberal internationalists, decline is a choice.

We’re now seeing the results of that choice, and the world is being made more dangerous because of it.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Snowden Scandal: Blazing Incompetence

October 11, 2013
Obama foreign policy advisers

Our national security watchdogs

This reminds me frighteningly of the communications breakdowns that enabled the 9/11 attacks. Has no one learned anything?

Apparently not:

Just as Edward J. Snowden was preparing to leave Geneva and a job as a C.I.A. technician in 2009, his supervisor wrote a derogatory report in his personnel file, noting a distinct change in the young man’s behavior and work habits, as well as a troubling suspicion.

The C.I.A. suspected that Mr. Snowden was trying to break into classified computer files to which he was not authorized to have access, and decided to send him home, according to two senior American officials.

But the red flags went unheeded. Mr. Snowden left the C.I.A. to become a contractor for the National Security Agency, and four years later he leaked thousands of classified documents. The supervisor’s cautionary note and the C.I.A.’s suspicions apparently were not forwarded to the N.S.A. or its contractors, and surfaced only after federal investigators began scrutinizing Mr. Snowden’s record once the documents began spilling out, intelligence and law enforcement officials said.

“It slipped through the cracks,” one veteran law enforcement official said of the report.

No sh… er… kidding, genius.

Forget firings. Someone needs to be shot over this. And I don’t mean just Mr. Snowden.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) You really ought to go home

September 27, 2013

An interesting edition of Afterburner. Bill Whittle talks about a recent incident in which an American F-22 suggested that the pilot of an Iranian fighter “ought to go home” and then ties it to two well-known politicians who, themselves, should to do the same:

That Obama canceled the F-22 should surprise no one; cutting military spending regardless of strategic needs is par for the course for someone of his political stripe, someone who believes that American power causes problems in the world. It’s who he is.

But John McCain? It’s sad to say about someone whose service to his country was genuinely admirable, but, as also demonstrated by his uncritical enthusiasm for intervening in Libya and Syria, his reasons for ending the F-22 program show that whatever judgment he may have possessed is gone, and he himself has descended into a vain, old fool.

You really ought to go home, Senator.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


“Heroic” Edward Snowden applies for membership in KGB veterans group

July 24, 2013

This just gets better and better:

Renegade National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden has applied to join a group of former Russian intelligence and security officials, according to the group’s director.

Participation in a union of former KGB security, intelligence, and police officials, would likely change Snowden’s status from that of a whistleblower seeking to expose wrongdoing, to an intelligence defector who has changed sides.

Alexei Lobarev, chairman of the group called “Veterans of the Siloviki”—literally “men of power”—told a Russian news outlet on Monday that Snowden, who has been staying in a Moscow airport transit lounge for a month, applied for membership in the group.

(…)

Ariel Cohen, a Russia specialist with the Heritage Foundation, said joining the former KGB officers’ group would be a significant development in the Snowden affair.

“It could be a spoof or a deliberate attempt to tarry the former NSA contractor,” Cohen said in an email. “However, if proven true, this puts Snowden squarely into the defector category. Whatever the whistleblower rhetoric—if indeed it is Snowden—the man is seeking to join a group whose livelihood was to spy on and harm, the United States. There is hardly a more anti-American group in Russia than ex-security officials. They would want nothing more than to coddle Snowden.”

Other experts think Snowden is being played by the Russians, rather than being a “traitor aforethought.” And there could be another reason for this farce. Who knows? What we do know is that he’s done tremendous damage to our national interests, the Obama administration looks like fools, and Putin is laughing his head off at us.

Great work by the man some call a hero, no?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


North Korea caught smuggling missiles though Panama Canal?

July 16, 2013
"I've got some bad news, boss..."

“I’ve got some bad news, boss…”

Couldn’t be. I’m sure there’s an innocent explanation:

A mystery with potential international ramifications is unfolding in Panama, where authorities discovered military equipment hidden inside a North Korean-flagged ship that originated in Cuba.

Cuba has long been at odds with the United States, and North Korea is banned by the United Nations from importing and exporting most weapons because of its nuclear ambitions. Suspicions were further raised when the ship’s captain suffered an apparent heart attack, and then tried to commit suicide, Panama’s president said.

These facts were sufficiently intriguing for President Ricardo Martinelli to travel to the port and examine the ship himself.

The president tweeted a photo of what he saw — a green octagon-shaped tube with a cone at its end and another similar-looking piece of equipment behind it.

Is it a missile, a reported asked?

“Maybe,” Martinelli said. “I am not familiar with that, but it would be good if such things didn’t pass through Panama, which is a country that loves peace and not war.”

The Panamanians originally became suspicious when they heard there was a load illegal drugs on the ship (North Korea regularly raises money through the drug trade). Boarding the ship, instead of heroin under all those bags of brown sugar, they found something a lot more worrisome. President Martinelli has asked the UN to examine the cargo to determine what it really is (I suppose they could be massive cigar humidors), but you can bet the CIA will be all over it, too, working quietly in the background. Don’t be surprised of this cargo spends a long time in a Panamanian warehouse because of “customs irregularities”  –long enough for us to dismantle and examine the missiles– before the rest of the cargo and the ship are released back to North Korea. This happens whenever the weapons of one power fall into the hands of another.

(And can you imagine what will happen to that crew when they do get back to North Korea? Consider this guy’s fate.)

Aside from the likely intelligence boon for us, though, this discovery raises several questions: Where were the missiles headed? North Korea? Iran? What was Cuba’s role: a transit point, or are they cooperating with the Norks on missile development, something that would concern us greatly? How long has this been going on, and is anyone else, such as Cuba’s client Venezuela, in on the operation?

This incident has given us a brief glimpse of the deadly-serious game being played behind the scenes between the United States and its adversaries, something we don’t often see because the MSM is covering what’s truly important, such as Kim Kardashian’s baby and Wendy Davis’ shoes. It’s a game the other side is playing for keeps.

Which makes it a good thing we have President Lead-From-Behind in charge.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Forest Jihad: Islamic terror group claims responsibility for Arizona fires

July 9, 2013
"...can prevent forest jihad."

“…can prevent forest jihad.”

A while back, when it seemed like all Colorado was afire, I wrote about the possibility of “forest jihad,” a form of war against the West advocated by al Qaeda as part of a death by a thousand cuts strategy — destroying resources, morale, etc. And while acts of forest jihad were suspected in Europe, Israel, and Australia, there were no claims of responsibility for wildfires in the Great Satan, that is, us.

Until now:

A Palestinian jihadist group known as Masada al-Mujahideen took credit for the [Arizona] fires in a statement that was obtained and translated by Search for International Terrorist Entities (SITE) Intelligence Group, according to the Clarion Project.

The terror group claims that the fires are a reprisal for Israel’s “occupation” of what they say are Palestinian lands.

Nineteen firefighters have been killed while fighting the blaze.

“We had previously announced an unconventional war against the occupation state of Israel, and then we escalated this war to reach its main supporter, America, so that it receives a major share of it, which will destroy their flora and fauna, with permission from Allah and then with our hands,” the group said, according to Clarion and SITE.

Masada al-Mujahideen is apparently a legitimate jihadist group, not a cut-out for another organization. The Long War Journal has this to say about them:

Masada al Mujahideen announced its formation in April 2008 and said its leader is Abu Omar al Ansari, according to SITE. The terror group has claimed numerous attacks against Israel, including rocket and mortar attacks. The group has also claimed credit for setting numerous fires inside Israel, and even an arson attack in Nevada.

Masada al Mujahideen also eulogized Osama bin Laden immediately after he was killed by US Navy SEALs in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in May 2011. “Although Sheikh Osama has been killed, his creed will not be killed, and the whole Ummah, Allah willing, is Osama bin Laden. We do not say that as hyperbole, for you see with your own eyes and acknowledge with your own mouths that most of the jihadi groups in the world have come to follow his example, method and creed,” the group said in a statement that was translated by SITE.

Masada al Mujahideen also eulogized Atiyah Abd al Rahman, a top al Qaeda leader who was killed in a US drone strike in North Waziristan, Pakistan, in August 2011. “He was truly one of the well-known people of jihad and a bright star in the sky of knowledge,” the group said in a statement translated by SITE.

It’s possible, of course, that these holy warriors refugees from a medieval insane asylum are lying about Arizona and are just claiming credit to up their standing in the world of brave knights of Islam medieval psychos. America seems a long way to come for a small terrorist outfit, when Israel is right next door.

But when you read the United Nations report on the porous US-Mexican border, “A Global Pathway to the USA;” when you recall that Hizbullah, Hamas, and al Qaeda are all trying to set up operations in the Western hemisphere; and when you keep in mind geography

Well, the possibility that Masada al Mujahideen really did set the fires that killed 19 American firefighters and destroyed dozens of homes and businesses doesn’t seem so inconceivable after all, does it?

If we can establish to our satisfaction they did do this, then we should hunt them down and kill them all. This isn’t a criminal matter; by their own declaration, this is jihad fi sabil allah, “holy war.” And in that case, we should show them exactly how real war is fought.

Meanwhile, this news demonstrates again why border security is more than just an immigration issue — it’s a matter of national security.

UPDATE: Reader Crosspatch reports that the cause of the Arizona fire was described as lightning.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Inevitable: criminal defendant wants access to NSA records

June 24, 2013

I had a feeling this was going to happen when it was revealed that the government was collecting metadata on everyone’s phones, including cell phones:

One South Florida man accused in a series of bank robbery attempts is hoping the recent revelation that the federal government is secretly keeping millions of U.S. phone records could help his defense.

Terrance Brown, 40, is one of five men on trial in federal court in Fort Lauderdale on charges they conspired to hold up armored trucks making cash deliveries to banks in Miramar and Lighthouse Point in 2010. They have all pleaded not guilty.

Another man, alleged co-conspirator Nathaniel Moss, 34, is serving life in federal prison after admitting he shot and killed Brink’s truck guard Alejandro Nodarse Arencibia, 48, during the final heist on Oct. 1, 2010, outside the Bank of America branch at 7950 Miramar Parkway.

The FBI and federal prosecutors are using cellphone records in court to try to prove that the five accused men were all nearby when the robbery attempts and planning occurred, as Moss, who is cooperating with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, testified.

The prosecution had told defense attorneys that they were unable to obtain Brown’s cellphone records from the period before September 2010 because his carrier, MetroPCS, had not held on to them.

Not so fast, Brown’s attorney Marshall Dore Louis argued in court documents filed in Fort Lauderdale days after the National Security Agency surveillance program was revealed last week.

Brown’s lawyer contends that cell phone location records may show his client in innocent and that the government should be required to produce them. Now, let’s stipulate for the sake of argument that Mr. Brown was not keeping the best of company and may well himself be a less-than-upstanding citizen. The prosecutors are, of course, fighting this, but it’s hard to see how the court can deny this request and yet plausibly maintain that it is protecting the rights of all parties in the case. Former federal prosecutor Andy McCarthy agrees:

I don’t see how the government avoids disclosing the NSA’s records to the defendant. The fact that it’s a national security program should be irrelevant. I’d also note that, in connection with the related PRISM program, in which the content of conversations is seized, the national intelligence director says the government reserves the right to make use of an American citizen’s intercepted communications if, among other things, they are “evidence of a crime.” We can argue whether that is good policy in connection with this kind of surveillance (which is outside the criminal law’s normal wiretap process), but I don’t see how the government can take the position that we’ll reveal information when it helps our prosecutions but not when it undermines them.

Presumably, the defense just wants the information in the records; there should be no need to get into how the government came to be in possession of the records, how the records are stored, or what the government needs to do to cull Brown’s records out of the databank. But if the information in the government’s possession is exculpatory, the government must comply with a disclosure demand. There are special procedures for doing this when the information at issue is classified. Bottom line, though, is that whether the government turns over the actual records sought, discloses the information in the records without giving up the records themselves, or enters a stipulation conceding facts the defense would use the information to prove, the law requires that the defendant be in no worse position than he would be in if the information were not classified and if he had obtained it through the regular discorvery [sic] process.

As McCarthy observes, not only is the prosecutor annoyed that he has to go through hoops he’s never heard of before to get this information, but there are undoubtedly people at the NSA quaking in their cubicles at the possibility that this may well be just the first drop in a coming downpour of disclosure demands, not just from current defendants, but almost every convict sent to jail in the last ten years. And why not? It’s in their interest to find out if the government has anything that can prove their innocence, or at least raise enough doubt for a new trial.

We’re going to be paying a price for Mr. Snowden’s actions –right or wrong– for years to come.

via Mark Steyn

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#NSA Quote of the Day: Andrew McCarthy edition

June 10, 2013

Quotes, actually, as there are two from his latest post at NRO’s The Corner blog. Both, I think, reflect the way I’m leaning in the uproar over the NSA’s telephone record and Internet data collection program:

How are Americans supposed to rely on congressional oversight to keep the administration in check if the administration misleads Congress about what it is doing?

Which is a huge part of the problem the administration has defending these programs: having been shown repeatedly to be idiots at best and bald-faced liars at worst in scandal after scandal, how are Congress and the general public supposed to trust them now, even though they might actually be telling the truth about how the data is collected and used?

The fable of the boy who cried wolf endures for a reason, you know.

And then…

If politics were logical, we would say: “It is necessary to have awesome national security powers but they can only be trusted in the hands of honorable officials; since the officials we have cannot be trusted, we need to get new officials.” But politics is not logical: It is a lot easier to slash the powers we need than the officials we don’t. That is where this is headed, and I fear we’ll regret it. 

As I’ve been saying, “baby, bathwater.” This is my fear, too.

PS: McCarthy is a writer you should must have in your news reader. Even if you disagree with him, his arguments are always edifying and thought-provoking.


Quote of the Day: Mark Steyn edition

June 10, 2013

After observing that the US government issues so many security clearances that it couldn’t possibly properly vet them all:

One reason for the citizenry not to entrust its personal information to the government is that the big, bloated, blundering government is stupid enough to entrust it to Edward Snowden, as it was previously stupid enough to entrust it to Bradley Manning (the Wikileaks leaker). It’s only a matter of time before the halfwit leviathan entrusts it to a Major Hasan or a Tamerlan Tsarnaev. 

Quite.

(Do read the rest. Steyn is quotable in almost every paragraph he writes.)


Paging John LeCarre! #NSA leaker a Chinese agent?

June 10, 2013
"Would you believe..."

“Would you believe…?”

This is getting weirder and weirder, but, at the same time, tantalizingly plausible:

Former CIA case officer Bob Baer revealed on CNN Sunday evening that intelligence officials were possibly considering Edward Snowden’s case as Chinese espionage, after Snowden came forward this afternoon from an undisclosed Hong Kong location.

“Hong Kong is controlled by Chinese intelligence,” Baer said. “It’s not an independent part of China at all. I’ve talked to a bunch of people in Washington today, in official positions, and they are looking at this as a potential Chinese espionage case.”

“On the face of it, it looks like it is under some sort of Chinese control, especially with the president meeting the premier today,” Baer said. “You have to ask what’s going on. China is not a friendly country and every aspect of that country is controlled. So why Hong Kong? Why didn’t he go to Sweden? Or, if he really wanted to make a statement, he should have done it on Capitol Hill.”

When you think about it, the possibility of Snowden being used by Chinese intelligence is not at all unreasonable: the US news had been filled for months with items about Chinese hacker attacks and complaints about stolen data, and Obama was expected to bring this up at their summit here in California. Could he have been used by a Chinese “handler” to release this information when it would be both embarrassing to Obama and useful to China by cutting O’s legs out from under him at the summit? “Shut up, you guys are spying, too?” I’ve got no firm opinion about Snowden, himself, though, from what I’ve read, he does strike me as a immature narcissist who could be played by skilled operators. And what free-speech and civil liberties advocate who donates to Ron Paul would take refuge in China, of all places? (1)

There’s something really, really odd about this.

via Legal Insurrection

PS: I haven’t written much about these NSA revelations, the phone metadata collection and the information culling from Internet providers (PRISM), because there is so much to absorb and it has such profound implications for a free society that I think silence, on my part and for now, is better. I’ve seen too many outraged knees jerking, too much heat and not enough light, too much reaction and not enough reading; it makes me worry that, traumatized as we are by the IRS and Rosen scandals, etc., we may throw the “national security baby” out with the bathwater. For now, though, let me leave you with an article by Jonah Goldberg that best captures my thinking at the moment: healthy skepticism.

Footnote:
(1) Yeah, I know he is/was in Hong Kong, which is very free market and capitalist, but if you don’t believe Beijing pulls the strings of what goes on there, especially in an intelligence matter, I have a bridge for you.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


History lesson: The crucial differences between Bush and Obama’s NSA phone surveillance programs

June 6, 2013

Excellent column by Michelle Malkin on the differences between the Bush-era warrantless wiretap program and the Obama administration’s tracking of *all* domestic calls on the Verizon network. This should be read by everyone, especially knee-jerk civil liberties absolutists on the Left and reactionary Libertarians on the Right. I only differ with her in being a little more open to the idea that the Obama effort *may* be legal/justified/needed, etc., but we need much more information in order to judge. Also, she makes an excellent point about the administration’s loss of credibility with the public on national security and constitutional issues, compared to the wide public support for the Bush-era program.


(Video) The President on the North Korean threat

April 11, 2013

The Virtual President, that is. “President” Bill Whittle holds a press conference to explain American policy (and opinion of) North Korea in no uncertain terms:

Honest, direct, and no diplomatic weasel words such as “unacceptable,” “world opinion,” or my favorite, “the international community.” (1)

Neither bellicose nor warmongering; no chest-thumping to be seen. Just a clear, confident statement of the problem and the actions the president will take in defense of American national interest, American lives, and American allies. It’s like Walter Brennan used to say in “The Guns of Will Sonnett”No brag, just fact.

Isn’t that how an American president should be?

Footnote:
(1) Imagine me pausing for a moment to gag. Actually, no. You’re not imagining it at all.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Border control: This reassures me. Not. Update: Napolitano 2016?

February 4, 2013

At the moment I consider myself agnostic about the latest immigration proposal, this time from a bipartisan group of senators including Marco Rubio (R-FL). We all know the 1986 Simpson-Mazzoli plan was a bust, because the promised border security arrangements were never implemented. And there are serious questions in this latest proposal: J. Christian Adams raises a few good ones. On the other hand, Rubio has promised to withdraw his support for the bill, should the border security provisions not be adequate.

One good sign they won’t be is just who gets to determine when and if the border is secure: Janet Napolitano.

Under a bipartisan Senate framework, Democrats say, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano would have final say over whether the border is secure enough to put 11 million illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship.

If Napolitano does not provide the green light for putting illegal immigrants on a pathway to citizenship, the responsibility for judging whether the metrics for border security have been met will be given to her successor.

This is the same idiot who declared, after the attempted Christmas Day bombing of Northwest Flight 253 over Detroit was stopped by an alert passenger at the last minute, that “the system worked.” And she’s to be put in charge of determining when the border is secure? What’s her criteria, tea-leaf readings?

And, to be blunt, I wouldn’t trust any politically appointed official in the Obama administration to make an objective call; the self-interest of the president’s party means that they have an interest in granting citizenship as soon as possible and as fast as possible to as many Latin American immigrants as possible, because they are more likely to vote Democratic. The pressure on Napolitano to declare the border secure ASAP would be tremendous. (Not that it would take much, as Janet has shown herself to be a willing tool.)

If this provision stays in the bill, I’d advise Senator Rubio to have a press release handy announcing his opposition.

via Bryan Preston

UPDATE: Janet Napolitano is thinking of running for president in 2016? Seriously??

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


DHS: “We can buy assault weapons to protect ourselves; you can’t. Hah-hah!”

January 28, 2013

Since the Newtown school massacre, there have been renewed calls for bans on so-called “assault rifles.” There was a march in D.C. this last weekend, and Senator Diane Feinstein (D-Nannystate) introduced legislation to ban all sorts of weapons, mostly based on cosmetic factors that scare lefties, but make no difference in the weapon’s lethality. One of the most common arguments made is that you “just don’t need” such a weapon to defend yourself. (1)

But those are the rules for peasants such you and me. If you work for the Department of Homeland Security, well, that’s different:

The Department of Homeland Security is seeking to acquire 7,000 5.56x45mm NATO “personal defense weapons” (PDW) — also known as “assault weapons” when owned by civilians. The solicitation, originally posted on June 7, 2012, comes to light as the Obama administration is calling for a ban on semi-automatic rifles and high capacity magazines.

Citing a General Service Administration (GSA) request for proposal (RFP), Steve McGough of RadioViceOnline.com reports that DHS is asking for the 7,000 “select-fire” firearms because they are “suitable for personal defense use in close quarters.” The term select-fire means the weapon can be both semi-automatic and automatic. Civilians are prohibited from obtaining these kinds of weapons.

The RFP describes the firearm as “Personal Defense Weapon (PDW) – 5.56x45mm NATO, select-fire firearm suitable for personal defense use in close quarters and/or when maximum concealment is required.” Additionally, DHS is asking for 30 round magazines that “have a capacity to hold thirty (30) 5.56x45mm NATO rounds.”

Republican New York state Sen. Greg Ball also issued a press release this week bringing attention to the weapons purchase request.

Calls made to DHS seeking information regarding whether or not the RFP was accepted and fulfilled were not immediately returned on Saturday.

Let’s keep this straight, shall we? When you want an AR-15 for home defense, you’re a dangerous, mouth-breathing, knuckle-dragging, Bible and Constitution (and wife) beating radical who finds his manhood enhanced by getting your hands on an “assault weapon.” And should you want a magazine that holds ten or more rounds… You’re just fantasizing about shooting up a mall, aren’t you?

But, when the DHS wants its agents to have similar weapons… Those aren’t “assault weapons,” silly! Those are for “personal defense!” And, unlike you, they really do need high-capacity magazines! Ten rounds? Bah! Let’s go for 30! And the option for full auto-fire!

Why? Well… because, it’s not the same thing, you bitter-clinger!

In all seriousness, I have no problem with DHS buying weapons for its agents’ personal defense; they do dangerous work in the service of the nation. But shouldn’t ordinary, law-abiding Americans have the right to make the same choices for themselves and their families?

Scratch that. It’s not “have the right,” which implies a debatable question or request. No, Americans have that right as an inalienable natural right that preexists government, and the Second Amendment is a recognition of that right, not a grant.

So, if the managers of DHS can decide that they and their people need these weapons for their personal defense, shouldn’t the government acknowledge that individuals have that same right?

via John Kass

Footnote:
(1) With the usually unspoken corollary: “And you don’t get to make that choice for yourself, either.”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Mexico arrests two in Arizona Border Patrol killing

October 4, 2012

No word on whether any weapons were recovered or, if there were, if they’ve been tied to Fast and Furious, but it’s nice to see some suspects brought in quickly:

Mexican troops have arrested two suspects in the killing of a U.S. Border Patrol agent and the wounding of a second officer in Arizona, Mexican security officials said on Wednesday. [T]he two suspects were detained in a Mexican military operation in the city of Agua Prieta, in Mexico’s northern Sonora state, a few miles from the spot where Nicholas Ivie was shot dead early on Tuesday while responding to a tripped ground sensor, a Mexican Army officer, who declined to be named.

Ivie was among three agents who were patrolling on foot about five miles north of the international border when gunfire erupted. A second agent was also wounded while the third, a woman, was unharmed.  

The agents had been patrolling in an area near the border town of Naco, well-known as a corridor for smuggling, and the Cochise County Sheriff’s department has said that tracks were found heading south after the shooting.

Ivie was a 30-year-old father of two, he had been an agent for four years.

A Mexican police official in Naco, across the border from the Arizona town of the same name, confirmed the arrests, which occurred in the early hours of Wednesday.

(Link added)

US officials have had no comment on the arrests. If I were a cynic, I might think that’s because they’re desperately looking for an OF&F connection they can bury.

But we all know I’m not a cynic, right?

Meanwhile, thanks and congratulations to the Mexican Army for quick work. It will be interesting to see what stories these suspects have to tell.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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