The website Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS) publishes firsthand accounts of the war crimes of ISIS in often horrific detail. City of Ghosts, a new documentary by Oscar-nominated director Matthew Heineman, tells the story of the citizen journalists who risk their lives to tell the world about the atrocities committed by the Islamic State.
“After ISIS took over the city there really was not any information going in or any information going out,” explains Heineman. “There were no western journalists there. They would be killed instantly. So this group really provided a service to the world to help understand the atrocities that were being committed in their hometown, which just happened to be the capital of the Islamic State.”
Heineman and RBSS Co-founder Abdalaziz “Aziz” Alhamza sat down with Reason to discuss how these citizen journalists are risking their lives to counter ISIS propaganda. Read the rest of this entry »
A court in Austria has heard that nine Iraqi immigrants gang raped a teacher during New Year’s Eve celebrations in Vienna.
The woman, 28, said she was drinking in a bar with a female friend but was apparently “taken away” by four men and led to an apartment where five more men were waiting to begin the “humiliating and agonizing” attack, which lasted for two hours.
The defendants in the case are aged 22 to 45 and are all related to each other. At the time of the alleged attack, which is said to have taken place on January 1, 2016, five of the men had refugee status while the asylum applications of the other four were pending.
After the alleged incident, one of the men led the woman – who is German – to a bathroom in the apartment and with his phone took a photo featuring both of them. She was later taken to a tram stop in central Vienna and subsequently hospitalized.
One defendant has pleaded guilty to rape. The others deny assaulting the woman. The court was told they feel “no guilt” despite the existence of DNA evidence. One claimed the woman had been “offered” to them by relatives while another said she was willing.
At about 3am the woman and her friend were drinking in a bar called Cactus when the victim disappeared. A witness in the bar reportedly said some men she had been talking with had “taken her away”. Read the rest of this entry »
Terrorism doesn’t go away if you ignore it, it expands.
Katie Pavlich reports: Speaking from Bangladesh Tuesday morning, Secretary of State John Kerry suggested members of the media stop covering (Islamic) terrorism so people won’t “know what’s going on.” Kerry attempted to preempt his statement by implying media coverage creates copy cats and promotes more terrorism.
“If you decide one day you’re going to be a terrorist and you’re willing to kill yourself, you can go out and kill some people. You can make some noise…perhaps the media would do us all a service if they didn’t cover it quite as much. People wouldn’t know what’s going on.”
While the copy cat, attention seeker argument may be true in a handful of cases, the media ignoring terrorism as the Obama administration has arguably chosen to do for nearly a decade, isn’t going to make terrorism go away.
For example, the administration downplayed the ISIS threat by claiming they were “jayvee” and demanded intelligence reports be altered to paint a better picture of the increasingly dangerous situation around the world and in the United States. Read the rest of this entry »
Mohamed Amin Ahmed, an activist living among the Somali-American population in Minneapolis, creates online cartoon videos for young Muslims to warn them of Islamic State recruitment. Photo: Sarah Stacke for The Wall Street Journal
That revelation comes amidst a national debate about the use of undercover officers and human sources in terrorism cases. Undercover sources are used in more than half of ISIS-related terror cases, according to statistics kept by the George Washington University Program on Extremism, and civil liberties advocates say some of those charged might not have escalated their behavior without those interventions.
“The affidavit raises a lot more questions than it answers, and I would hope that overseers within congress and the Justice Department would want to take a hard look at the scope of this investigation.”
“It would certainly be inappropriate for an FBI undercover agent or cooperating witness to provoke or inspire or urge a person to commit an act of violence,” Michael German, a former FBI agent now at the Brennan Center for Justice, told The Daily Beast. “I could imagine an undercover agent thinking it was just the hyperbolic rhetoric they are participating in, and it wasn’t an intent to go to texas and do harm.”
“The affidavit raises a lot more questions than it answers, and I would hope that overseers within congress and the Justice Department would want to take a hard look at the scope of this investigation,” he added.
The texts were included in the indictment, released Thursday of Erick Jamal Hendricks of Charlotte, North Carolina. He was charged with conspiring to provide material support to ISIS. The 35-year-old tried to recruit other Americans to form an ISIS cell on secret compounds and introduced an undercover agent to one of the Draw Muhammad attackers, according to the FBI.
But Hendricks did more than make a connection. According to the court papers, he asked the undercover officer about the Draw Muhammad event’s security, size, and police presence, during the event, according to an affidavit filed in court.
So far, his story is shaping up as the now-customary list of jihadist clichés.
America just suffered our worst terrorist attack since 9/11. We need to start talking honestly about the enemy that keeps butchering Americans.
John R. Schindler writes: Tonight we burn illusions. A terrorist attack on a popular gay club in Orlando, Florida in the middle of the night ended before the dawn with the violent deaths of at least 50 innocents and the maiming of 53 more. This was the bloodiest terrorist attack on America since 9/11. The Pulse nightclub, something of an icon in Florida LGBT circles, was transformed into a charnel house.
“While all Islamists view gays and lesbians with a distaste that veers easily into violence, ISIS kills them so routinely – pushing them off buildings before the cameras, for instance – that it scarcely attracts attention any longer. Nobody should be shocked that a murderer swearing allegiance to ISIS makes gays his target – particularly during Ramadan, when the group has exhorted its followers to make war on infidels with enhanced intensity.”
The United States had been lucky, having avoided truly mass casualty terrorist incidents since that awful day 15 years ago, through a combination of luck, inept enemies, and excellent intelligence work. But the Orlando horror demonstrates that attacks on soft targets in public places can cause huge numbers of casualties, here as well as in Europe, like last November’s assaults on Paris that killed 130 people, 89 of them at the Bataclan theater, where a hostage situation resulted in a bloodbath. Something similar has just happened in Florida.
His statement that his son was triggered by seeing two men kissing in public seems unlikely to endear the family to the American public.
“Within hours of the massacre, progressives and jihad apologists were insisting that the Orlando attack was ‘really’ about guns – and certainly not about Islamism or jihadism. The Pulse massacre was about guns the way that the 9/11 attacks were ‘really’ about box cutters and the 2013 Boston bombing was ‘really’ about pressure cookers.”
While the Paris attacks were the work of nine terrorists, plus several others providing logistical support, so far only one killer has been identified in the Orlando atrocity. While there are reports of other shooters, these remain unconfirmed, and the sole terrorist definitely involved was Omar Mateen, born in this country in 1986 to immigrant parents from Afghanistan. He was killed by police at the end of the nightmare he inflicted on Orlando.
So far, his story is shaping up as the now-customary list of jihadist clichés. The 29-year-old went from a relatively normal American life towards extremism, winding up on the radar of the FBI more than once for his aggressive beliefs. A brief marriage failed, in part because he frequently beat his wife, she claims, asserting that Mateen “was not a stable person.” A trauma like divorce leading to an embrace of jihadism is as common as can be in extremist circles.
The killer’s family has claimed that their son’s terrible act had “nothing to do with religion” – again, following the script we have come to expect whenever a young person, usually male, brutally murders strangers in the name of Islam. While Omar Mateen’s father claims to be utterly mystified by his son’s actions, that assertion should be examined closely, since Seddique Mateen has publicly praised the Taliban in his home country – the very people the American military has been fighting since late 2001. In a truly bizarre twist, Mateen Senior claims to be the real president of Afghanistan. His statement that his son was triggered by seeing two men kissing in public seems unlikely to endear the family to the American public.
Wasting no time, the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack on the Pulse nightclub. This should not surprise, since Mr. Mateen is reported to have declared allegiance to ISIS just before starting his rampage, and that group boasts of its pathological hatred of homosexuals. While all Islamists view gays and lesbians with a distaste that veers easily into violence, ISIS kills them so routinely – pushing them off buildings before the cameras, for instance – that it scarcely attracts attention any longer. Nobody should be shocked that a murderer swearing allegiance to ISIS makes gays his target – particularly during Ramadan, when the group has exhorted its followers to make war on infidels with enhanced intensity.
“There’s also a disturbing question about how Mr. Mateen managed to keep working as a security guard despite having been twice investigated by the FBI.”
Whether Mr. Mateen had any bona fide contacts with the Islamic State is another question, one that investigators will want to answer properly. Since he was known to the FBI, it seems likely that U.S. intelligence had questions about that too. Regardless, since the Islamic State has commanded jihadist wannabes worldwide to take action by themselves, without any direct orders from the group, it’s quite possible that this killer was simply doing what he thought ISIS would want him to do in their name. Read the rest of this entry »
Sean Davis reports: President Barack Obama and French President Francois Hollande met in Washington on Thursday to discuss ways for the two countries to work together to defeat terrorism. But the White House apparently had zero appetite for Hollande’s mention of Islamist terrorism, since it censored the phrase from the official White House video of the meeting posted on the White House website.
[Watch and listen to the video below, which is available on YouTube through the White House’s official account, and you can hear the audio cut out right before Hollande says “Islamist terrorism”]
[You can read the full transcript of the event here or watch the full video here]
Media Research Center, a non-profit media watchdog, was the first to report the White House censorship.
While the official transcript available on the White House web page includes Hollande’s use of the phrase “Islamist terrorism,” the White House video of the remarks muted the audio during that portion of Hollande’s remarks. The audio of the French-to-English interpreter stops right before Hollande characterizes “Islamist terrorism” as the root of terrorism in Syria and Iraq…(read more)
Here is the transcript of what Hollande said, with strikethrough notation to show what the White House censored in its video of the exchange between the two presidents:
Europe has been hit more, given that it is also the target of the terrorists and ISIS. We’ve seen it in Paris last year, as well as in Brussels. And together with President Obama, we worked on coordinating further our commitments, our organizations, our services when it comes to fighting against these terrorists. Read the rest of this entry »
The video is titled “A message to the Western Kafir [Disbelievers] from the Supporters of the Caliphate.” It’s narrated in English and subtitled in Arabic, and was posted on YouTube and other file-sharing sites.
Iraq is searching for ‘highly dangerous’ radioactive material stolen last year, according to an environment ministry document and seven security, environmental and provincial officials who fear it could be used as a weapon if acquired by Islamic State.
The material, stored in a protective case the size of a laptop computer, went missing in November from a storage facility near the southern city of Basra belonging to U.S. oilfield services company Weatherford WFT.N, the document seen by Reuters showed and officials confirmed.
A spokesman for Iraq’s environment ministry said he could not discuss the issue, citing national security concerns.
“They’ve been looking for it ever since. Whether it was just misplaced, or actually stolen, isn’t clear.”
— Official who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter
Weatherford said in a statement that it was not responsible or liable for the theft. “We do not own, operate or control sources or the bunker where the sources are stored,” it said.
The material, which uses gamma rays to test flaws in materials used for oil and gas pipelines in a process called industrial gamma radiography, is owned by Istanbul-based SGS Turkey, according to the document and officials.
An SGS official in Iraq declined to comment and referred Reuters to its Turkish headquarters, which did not respond to phone calls and emails.
The U.S. State Department said it was aware of the reports but has seen no sign that Islamic State or other militant groups have acquired it.
A U.S. official said separately that Iraq had reported a missing specialized camera containing highly radioactive Iridium-192 to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Vienna-based U.N. nuclear watchdog, in November.
“They’ve been looking for it ever since. Whether it was just misplaced, or actually stolen, isn’t clear,” said the official, who requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter.
The environment ministry document, dated Nov. 30 and addressed to the ministry’s Centre for Prevention of Radiation, describes “the theft of a highly dangerous radioactive source of Ir-192 with highly radioactive activity belonging to SGS from a depot belonging to Weatherford in the Rafidhia area of Basra province”.
A senior environment ministry official based in Basra, who declined to be named as he is not authorised to speak publicly, told Reuters the device contained up to 10 grams (0.35 ounces) of Ir-192 “capsules”, a radioactive isotope of iridium also used to treat cancer.
The material is classed as a Category 2 radioactive source by the IAEA, meaning that if not managed properly it could cause permanent injury to a person in close proximity to it for minutes or hours, and could be fatal to someone exposed for a period of hours to days. Read the rest of this entry »
Federal prosecutors say Saddam Hussein’s intelligence agency secretly financed a trip to Iraq for three U.S. lawmakers during the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion.
An indictment in Detroit accuses Muthanna Al-Hanooti of arranging for three members of Congress to travel to Iraq in October 2002 at the behest of Saddam’s regime. Prosecutors say Iraqi intelligence officials paid for the trip through an intermediary.
Joseph J. Kolb reports: A proposal to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees to the United States has ignited a bitter debate in Washington, but more than 10 times that number of people from the embattled country have quietly come to America since 2012, according to figures obtained by FoxNews.com.
“All civil order has collapsed, and meaningful background checks are impossible. Instead, we rely on cross-checking databases. However, many people with ties to terrorist groups are not in any databases, which means there is no way we can identify them before they arrive here.”
— Ira Mehlman, of the Federation for American Immigration Reform
Some 102,313 Syrians were granted admission to the U.S. as legal permanent residents or through programs including work, study and tourist visas from 2012 through August of this year, a period which roughly coincides with the devastating civil war that still engulfs the Middle Eastern country. Experts say any fears that terrorists might infiltrate the proposed wave of refugees from United Nations-run camps should be dwarfed by the potential danger already here.
“The sheer number of people arriving on all kinds of visas and with green cards, and possibly U.S. citizenship, makes it impossible for our counterterrorism authorities to keep track of them all, much less prevent them from carrying out attacks or belatedly try to deport them,” said Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies.
“I think it’s reasonable to assume that the U.S. Government ran the minimum intelligence traces required at the time of entry.”
– Fred Burton, Stratfor
Numbers obtained from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection show 60,010 Syrian visa holders have entered the U.S. since 2012, including 16,245 this year through August. Additional numbers provided by a Congressional source showed another 42,303 Syrians were granted citizenship or green cards during the same period.
“It is highly unlikely that the 102,313 Syrians who were admitted over the past three years were effectively vetted,” said spokesman Ira Mehlman, of the Federation for American Immigration Reform. “Even in countries where we have a strong diplomatic presence, the sheer volume of background checks being carried out precludes the kind of thorough vetting that is necessary.”
The Syrians being admitted are coming directly from their homeland, usually through the U.S. visa program, as opposed to the refugees President Obama is seeking to take in through U.N.-run refugee camps. Most have secured legal entry before they arrive.
“Refugees are part of the admitted category,” said Jaime Ruiz, spokesman for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. “Their cases are approved prior to arriving into the U.S.”
Those who escaped Syria’s grinding civil war, which has killed an estimated 300,000, and made it to the U.S. are more likely to be those with the money and means to access the U.S. immigration bureaucracy, say experts. But even that system is susceptible to fraud. Read the rest of this entry »
FBI Director James Comey appeared to refute a report that said that Tashfeen Malik had pledged her support for Islamic jihad on Facebook messages and saying she hoped to join the fight one day.
At a press conference in New York on Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey said that no evidence had been found to indicate that the couple who massacred 14 people in San Bernardino, California, on December 2 were members of a terrorist cell or had any contact with overseas militant groups. Most notably, he said that Syed Rizwan Farook, 28, and his 29-year-old wife, Tashfeen Malik, had expressed support for “jihad and martyrdom” in private communications but never did so on social media.
“We have found no evidence of a posting on social media by either of them at that period of time or thereafter reflecting their commitment to jihad or to martyrdom. I’ve seen some reporting on that. That’s a garble. Alright?”
The statement appeared to contradict a report that appeared in the Los Angeles Times citing two unnamed federal law enforcement officials who said that Malik “sent at least two private messages on Facebook to a small group of Pakistani friends in 2012 and 2014, pledging her support for Islamic jihad and saying she hoped to join the fight one day.” The messages were reportedly written in Urudu, a common language in Pakistan. One of the officials was quoted as saying the messages were “her private communications.”
“The investigation continues, but we have not found that kind of thing. These communications are private, direct messages, not social media messages.”
— FBI Director James Comey
“We have found no evidence of a posting on social media by either of them at that period of time or thereafter reflecting their commitment to jihad or to martyrdom,” Comey said. “I’ve seen some reporting on that. That’s a garble. Alright? The investigation continues, but we have not found that kind of thing. These communications are private, direct messages, not social media messages.”
It remains unclear whether Malik had declared loyalty to the Islamic State on Facebook on the morning that she and Farook killed 14 people who were attending an employee holiday party at a state-run facility for individuals with developmental disabilities.
A report first appeared on CNN and later circulated elsewhere citing unnamed US officials who said that Malik had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State using a Facebook account that was registered under a different name. The sources did not say how they knew for certain that Malik made the post. Read the rest of this entry »
Within minutes of the news of the bomb scare in LA, ISIS supporters created a web forum titled ‘Panic in the American Los Angeles.’
James King and Gilad Shiloach report: ISIS supporters took to social media to gloat about the disruption caused by “credible” bomb threats made against the Los Angeles school system on Tuesday. The threats closed more than 900 schools across the city, abruptly sending hundreds of thousands of students home and throwing the city into disarray.
“Allah Akbar, closure of all the school in Los Angeles because of threats. 640,000 returned to their homes, Oh God, increase their panic!!”
Within minutes of news of the closure, ISIS loyalists created a thread on an online forum with the title “Panic in the American Los Angeles,” Vocativ’s deep web analysis found. Islamic State adherents are using the thread to gloat about the panicked response—though none so far have taken credit for the attack.
“Thanks God, they are panicked of everything. The soldiers of the Caliphate will look after you until the world will be under the rule of Allah,” wrote one supporter. Another responded with, “Oh God, never make them safe. Put panic in their hearts.”
Another ISIS supporter took to Twitter to comment on the school closings in Los Angeles. “The city of Los Angeles is closing schools and vital areas because of the security threat. Oh God, destroy the worshipers of the cross,” the tweet, written by someone who identifies himself as Ali al-Baghdadi, reads. On another ISIS-friendly Twitter feed that is regarded as an unofficial arm of the ISIS propaganda machine, an ISIS supporter celebrated the fact that nearly 650,000 kids were sent home from school. Read the rest of this entry »
Noah Rothman writes: In just over a year, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has graduated from taking and holding territory inside its nascent “caliphate” to exporting terrorism around the globe. From Sydney to Ottawa, from Copenhagen to San Bernardino, this terrorist organization is directing or inspiring jihadists to conduct heinous acts of mass-casualty terrorism.
“The strategy here is clear, and it is one that this president has used to great effect in the past: Project to like minds in media that concerns over terrorism are a preoccupation of the intellectually sequestered right.”
Since October of last year, three such attacks have taken place in the United States; one of those being the worst act of radical Islamic terror in America since September 11, 2001. Subsequently, Americans now rate terrorism as their number one concern. They feel unsafe and insecure. They are justifiably afraid of the threat that might be just around the next corner. Americans are lunging for the shotgun and barricading the door. And what do they get from their leaders? Reassurance? Understanding? Resolve to defeat terrorism abroad before it comes home? No, they get a lecture on their latent hostility toward the Islamic faith and practicing Muslims. Stranger still, now that it has become inescapably clear that the fear of terrorism is broad-based, the left’s mission to convince itself that these concerns are isolated to the fever swamps has become even more urgent.
“To lend any credence to that notion would be to align yourself with that brutish, unthinking element in flyover country, and you wouldn’t want to be thought of by your peers in that way, would you?”
For Democrats, particularly those who must defend President Barack Obama’s record on foreign affairs and terrorism, there is no good news. According to the latest New York Times/CBS News survey, seven in 10 Americans now describe ISIS as a major threat to national security. Another 44 percent of respondents believe another attack inside the United States at some point in the next few months is “very” likely, greater than at any point since October 2001. 57 percent of those polled disapprove of Obama’s handling of the issue of terrorism. According to Gallup, 67 percent believe future “acts of terrorism” inside the United States are either somewhat or very likely. Gallup further revealed that confidence in the government’s ability to keep its citizens safe is lower than it has ever been since the 9/11 attacks. Simultaneously, a majority of Americans fear they will be the next victims of that forthcoming attack for the first time since 2001.
John Broman writes: Eyad Ismoil is one of the half-dozen men convicted for carrying out the World Trade Center bombings in 1993. Born in Kuwait to a Palestinian father and Jordanian mother, he was sentenced to 240 years in prison for driving a rental van packed with a bomb into a garage, killing six and injuring about 1000 more. (During his trial, he maintained that he was innocent and did not know what was inside the truck.) But 20 years after his arrest and burial deep inside the dungeons of the ADX Super Max facility in Colorado, Ismoil was moved to the general population here in West Virginia at USP Hazelton, the high-security federal prison where I reside.
Ismoil is my coworker in one of the resource centers on the compound that gives inmates an opportunity to break free from the gambling, drugs, and violence that makes up a monotonous prison life. I find him to be an extremely intelligent and humble man; for someone who’s supposed to “hate the infidels,” he shows no signs of loathing towards the many prisoners and staff who openly despise him.
Still, Ismoil’s ethnicity and the nature of his crime make him a target. Every horrific event that pops up on the news increases the disdain for him even more, but after talking with the guy, I found myself less than shocked at the eruption of radical Islamic terrorism over the past two decades. Indeed, when I first asked Ismoil about ISIS after the Paris attacks, he asked me one question back: “Why do you think they did it?”
I responded with the only thing I knew: “They hate us.”
He smiled and rolled his eyes, as if to say I knew nothing. So it was that an unlikely acquaintanceship between a hippie bank robber from Pittsburgh and a convicted terrorist from the Middle East was born.
Recently I sat down at a table with the thin, bearded 44-year-old Muslim, to get his views on the Islamic State, the mass shooting in San Bernardino, and other tragedies like the Planned Parenthood attack in Colorado. He said that to resolve the conflicts between extremists in the Middle East and the West, it was important to talk “human to human,” but he also made it clear that he empathizes at least somewhat with the Islamic State. Unsurprisingly, many of his views would be considered appalling to the vast majority of Americans, but our conversation gave me a window into the worldview of people who think the US is to blame for terrorism.
VICE: As an Islamic terrorist from an earlier generation, what’s your sense of who the Islamic State’s members are and where they came from?
Eyad Ismoil: ISIS is not jihadists recruited from all over to fight. They are the Sunni Muslims that have lived through 25 years of wars, torture, and rapes. They are the Iraqi and Syrian people that have suffered from unjust wars started by the US government. And when the US government [mostly pulled out of] Iraq in 2010, the Shia and Maliki government started killing the Sunni day and night under the watch of the Americans.
The US response was, “This is an internal problem. We don’t want to interfere with their business.” The show Rise of ISIS showed this, even though they tried to spin it like ISIS are aliens from another planet trying to take advantage of the massacres that the Shia—the government of Iraq—is doing to the Sunni and to get people to pledge.
But the fact that every Arab and Muslim knows is [that] ISIS is the native people of Iraq and Syria. That’s why the head of ISIS is Abu Bakr Baghdadi. He was a prisoner in an American prison in Iraq during the occupation for about four years and is known to be a scholar from the prophet’s family. They are a very big family in Iraq. That’s why [many] of the Sunni pledge to him.
You don’t have to recruit people for ISIS. They’re Muslims from all over the world that have seen an injustice after 25 years and want to help their brothers. What you have to understand is the Iraqi people are the most stubborn of the Muslim world. They won’t accept occupation or humiliation.
Day after day, all these things add up ’til the volcano erupts, and that is what’s happening in Iraq and Syria under the name ISIS.
Were you surprised by the Islamic State attack in Paris?
People over in America ask why ISIS did this. [But] people in the Middle East ask, “Why is the US doing this to us?” Put yourself in their shoes—France is dropping bombs for a year in Iraq and [more recently] Syria, destroying everything, women, children, buildings… A bomb doesn’t discriminate between ISIS or women and children—it just destroys.Read the rest of this entry »
ISIS using children human shields in Iraq and Syria as US and others increase airstrikes.
WASHINGTON — The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is increasingly using human shields — particularly children — to prevent the U.S.-led coalition from carrying out airstrikes in key areas such as Ramadi, according to a senior Obama administration official who briefed reporters at the White House.
“Fighters are even using children as escorts while maneuvering in the street in order to exploit U.S. rules of engagement, which are intended to avoid collateral damage.”
Despite that the U.S. is able to kill a mid-to-high level ISIS leader “every two days or so,” but the ISIS shield tactic complicates a U.S. military operation that the Pentagon likes to call “the most precise air campaign in the history of war.”
CBS News senior national security correspondent David Martin has reported that while there is no hard and fast rule governing permissible civilian casualties in U.S. airstrikes and each strike is evaluated individually, he is not aware of any case when a bombing was authorized with knowledge that more than five innocent people were present.
Cazeneuve told reporters it was the first time mosques are being closed in France “on grounds of radicalization.”
One of the mosques, 35 kilometers (22 miles) east of Paris in Lagny-sur-Marne, was targeted by raids early Wednesday, with police seizing a 9mm revolver, a computer hard disc and jihadist propaganda. Cazeneuve said the mosque also had a non-authorized Quranic school….(read more)
The Islamic State created a horrifying hashtag ‘#America_Burning’, praising the mass shooting.
James King and Adi Cohen report: ISIS extremists began celebrating the mass shooting in San Bernardino hours after the massacre, creating the hashtag #America_Burning as police hunted for as many as three shooters, Vocativ discovered. The Islamic State, however, did not take credit for the shootings in the ghoulish postings.
Vocativ deep web analysts discovered the ISIS posts on web forums where the extremists frequently share information….(read more)
This is a scandal. And those involved believe that it reaches into the White House.
Stephen F. Hayes writes: Barack Obama says he wants the truth. On November 21, the New York Times reported allegations that military intelligence officials provided the president with skewed assessments that minimized the threat from ISIS and overstated the success of U.S. efforts against the group. The Times story was an update of reporting from theDaily Beast earlier this fall. “More than 50 intelligence analysts working out of the U.S. military’s Central Command have formally complained that their reports on ISIS and al Qaeda’s branch in Syria were being inappropriately altered by senior officials,” the Beast reported in September. These analysts say their superiors regularly massaged pessimistic assessments to make them more upbeat before sending them up the chain of command. The analysts registered their grievances with the inspector general at the Pentagon, who is investigating their claims.
Obama was asked about this investigation at a press conference on November 22. The president said he doesn’t know the details of the allegations. But he added: “What I do know is my expectation, which is the highest fidelity to facts, data—the truth.”
“We were certainly blocked from seeing all the documents, and we were given limited time and resources to exploit the ones we had.”
— Michael Pregent, a DIA analyst on the CENTCOM team
The allegations are serious. We’re told by sources with knowledge of the investigation that the analysts who made them knew well in advance they’d be filing an official complaint. So they were ready when they did, providing the IG with extensive documentation—going back more than a year—to support their claims.
In this May 19, 2007, file photo, a portion of the new U.S. embassy under construction is seen from across the Tigris river in Baghdad. In 2014, by contrast, CIA officers have been largely hunkered down in their heavily fortified Baghdad compound since U.S. troops left the country in 2011, current and former officials say, allowing a once-rich network of intelligence sources to wither. (AP Photo)
Why were they so well prepared?
Among other reasons: They’d seen such pressures before, up close. And they understood that by formalizing their complaints they would be challenging not their immediate superiors alone but in some important respects an entire system that had encouraged analysts and other national security officials to downplay the jihadist threat.
“The obvious question: Why would the president’s National Security Council intervene to block access to the bin Laden documents for analysts from the DIA and CENTCOM—analysts who are providing intelligence to those on the frontlines of America’s battle with jihadists?”
The current storm over ISIS intelligence is not a new controversy, though most of the media are treating it as such. It’s better understood as an installment in a long-running scandal that extends beyond CENTCOM in Tampa, into the upper reaches of the U.S. intelligence community and perhaps into the White House.
James Clapper, director of national intelligence
“After a bitter interagency dispute, James Clapper, director of national intelligence, allowed analysts from CENTCOM and the Defense Intelligence Agency to have time-limited, read-only access to the documents. What they found was fascinating and alarming.”
Readers of this magazine are familiar with the story of the documents obtained in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. The Sensitive Site Exploitation team on the raid collected more than a million documents—papers, computer hard drives, audio and video recordings. Top Obama administration officials at first touted the cache as the greatest collection of terrorist materials ever captured in a single raid and boasted that the contents would fill a “small college library.”
An interagency intelligence team, led by the CIA, conducted the initial triage—including keyword searches of the collection for actionable intelligence. And then, according to senior U.S. intelligence officials with firsthand knowledge of the controversy, the documents sat largely untouched for as long as a year. The CIA retained “executive authority” over the documents, and when analysts from other agencies requested access to them, the CIA denied it—repeatedly.
The house where Osama bin Laden was finally hunted down. SAEED SHAH — MCT
“What they found was fascinating and alarming. Much of what these analysts were seeing—directly from Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders—contradicted what the president and top administration officials were saying publicly.”
After a bitter interagency dispute, James Clapper, director of national intelligence, allowed analysts from CENTCOM and the Defense Intelligence Agency to have time-limited, read-only access to the documents. What they found was fascinating and alarming. Much of what these analysts were seeing—directly from Osama bin Laden and other al Qaeda leaders—contradicted what the president and top administration officials were saying publicly. While drone strikes had killed some senior al Qaeda leaders, the organization had anticipated the U.S. decapitation strategy and was flourishing in spite of it; bin Laden remained intimately involved in al Qaeda decision-making and operational planning; the relationship between al Qaeda and the Afghan Taliban remained strong despite the Obama administration’s attempts to weaken it by negotiating with Taliban leaders; al Qaeda’s relationship with Iran, while uneven and fraught with mutual distrust, was far deeper and more significant than U.S. intelligence assessments had suggested. Read the rest of this entry »
Islamic State’s slaying of Fan Jinghui, right, who was executed along with a Norwegian hostage, left, has put pressure on Beijing to step up protections for Chinese citizens abroad. Photo: Associated Press
Deaths, image of bloodied hostage speed up calls for Chinese intervention in world’s trouble spots.
Andrew Browne reports: A self-described drifter and thrill-seeker, Fan Jinghui didn’t fit the typical profile of Chinese victims of terrorism overseas.
“To an extraordinary degree, China’s international security policy in recent years has been driven by the political imperative to be seen doing everything it can to protect an estimated five million Chinese nationals living and working outside the country.”
Among the scores of Chinese expatriates who have met violent deaths in the past decade at the hands of extremists, most have been workers in state companies drilling for oil, operating mines or building highways, hospitals and other infrastructure in unstable parts of Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia.
“In response to Mr. Fan’s execution, don’t expect Chinese fighter jets to join bombing runs against Islamic State; China lacks the ability to project force in that way, even if it wanted to. It has no overseas military bases, and shuns military alliances.”
“Beyond that, what else can it do?” scoffed one Internet user.
Police escort a Chinese hostage in Bamako, Mali, where three Chinese rail executives were killed during a hotel siege. Photo: Panoramic/Zuma Press
“But it’s only a matter of time, say security analysts, before China sends in special forces to free hostages or rescue Chinese civilians trapped in a crisis.”
Any accusation of impotence abroad, when Chinese lives are at stake, stings Beijing’s leadership. Almost certainly, Mr. Fan’s brutal slaying, together with the deaths of three Chinese rail executives gunned down in the Mali hotel siege, is likely to accelerate a trend for Beijing to intervene in lawless areas of the globe to protect its own nationals and massive investments.
President Xi Jinping vowed to strengthen collaboration with the world community “to resolutely fight violent terrorist activities that hurt innocent lives.” A foreign ministry spokesman said Monday, “In light of new circumstances, we will come up with new proposals to ensure the security of Chinese citizens and institutions overseas.”
To an extraordinary degree, China’s international security policy in recent years has been driven by the political imperative to be seen doing everything it can to protect an estimated five million Chinese nationals living and working outside the country.
‘We can’t get clearance even when we have a clear target in front of us’
Adam Kredo reports: U.S. military pilots who have returned from the fight against the Islamic State in Iraq are confirming that they were blocked from dropping 75 percent of their ordnance on terror targets because they could not get clearance to launch a strike, according to a leading member of Congress.
“When we agreed we were going to do airpower and the military said, this is how it would work, he said, ‘No, I do not want any civilian casualties. And the response was, ‘But there’s always some civilian casualties. We have the best capability in the world to protect from civilians casualties.’”
Strikes against the Islamic State (also known as ISIS or ISIL) targets are often blocked due to an Obama administration policy to prevent civilian deaths and collateral damage, according to Rep. Ed Royce (R., Calif.), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“Obama’s response was, ‘No, you don’t understand. I want no civilian casualties. Zero.’ So that has driven our so-called rules of engagement to a degree we have never had in any previous air campaign from desert storm to the present.”
The policy is being blamed for allowing Islamic State militants to gain strength across Iraq and continue waging terrorist strikes throughout the region and beyond, according to Royce and former military leaders who spoke Wednesday about flaws in the U.S. campaign to combat the Islamic State.
“Believe me, the French are in there not using the restrictions we have imposed on our pilots.”
“You went 12 full months while ISIS was on the march without the U.S. using that air power and now as the pilots come back to talk to us they say three-quarters of our ordnance we can’t drop, we can’t get clearance even when we have a clear target in front of us,” Royce said. “I don’t understand this strategy at all because this is what has allowed ISIS the advantage and ability to recruit.”
“This has been an absurdity from the beginning. The president personally made a statement that has driven air power from the inception.”
When asked to address Royce’s statement, a Pentagon official defended the Obama administration’s policy and said that the military is furiously working to prevent civilian casualties.
“The bottom line is that we will not stoop to the level of our enemy and put civilians more in harm’s way than absolutely necessary,” the official told the Washington Free Beacon, explaining that the military often conducts flights “and don’t strike anything.” Read the rest of this entry »
He could have acknowledged people’s qualms as legitimate and argued at greater length…But that would have meant not taking cheap shots against the political opposition at home — the people who really make him angry.
Michael Barone writes: Three days after the Islamic State terrorist attacks in Paris, Americans were primed to hear their president express heartfelt anger, which he did in his press conference in Antalya, Turkey, at the end of the G-20 Conference. And they did hear him describe the Islamic State as “this barbaric terrorist organization” and acknowledge that “the terrible events in Paris were a terrible and sickening setback.”
“What really got him angry, as the transcript and videotape make clear, were reporters’ repeated questions about the minimal success of his strategy against the Islamic State and Republicans’ proposals for more active engagement in Syria and Iraq.”
But what really got him angry, as the transcript and videotape make clear, were reporters’ repeated questions about the minimal success of his strategy against the Islamic State and Republicans’ proposals for more active engagement in Syria and Iraq. As well as critics of his decision to allow 10,000 Syrians into the United States.
“The reporters did not seem this time to be absorbing his patient instruction.”
The reporters did not seem this time to be absorbing his patient instruction. The Islamic State “controls less territory than it did before,” he stated — but not much less, and is still holding Iraq’s second largest city and a huge swath of Iraqi and Syrian desert. Our bombs did pulverize the British-born Islamic State beheader. “We’ve been coordinating internationally to reduce their financing capabilities.
“Most Americans want people who behead Americans destroyed considerably sooner than that. They wonder why the world’s greatest military can’t do that.”
Our military could dislodge them, he admitted, but explained that then we’d have to occupy and administer the places we capture. In other words, we’d be facing the kind of messy situations we faced, until the surge strategy he opposed, in Iraq.
But in his self-described goal, “to degrade and ultimately destroy,” the word “ultimately” looms uncomfortable large. Most Americans want people who behead Americans destroyed considerably sooner than that. They wonder why the world’s greatest military can’t do that.
Such action, Obama suggested, might be bad public relations. The Islamic State has “a twisted ideology,” and we play into its “narrative” by treating it as a state and using “routine military tactics.” Read the rest of this entry »
MARSEILLES – A teacher at a Jewish school in the southern French city of Marseilles was stabbed on Wednesday by three people professing support for Islamic State, but his life was not in danger, prosecutors said.
The three men who assailed the teacher uttered anti-Semitic remarks during the incident, AFP reported…(read more)
More than 100 police and soldiers stormed an apartment building in the suburb of Saint-Denis during a seven-hour siege that left two dead, including the suspected overseer of the Paris bloodshed, Abdelhamid Abaaoud.
PARIS —Anthony Faiola, Missy Ryan and Souad Mekhennet report: French police commandos killed the suspected ringleader of the Paris attacks in a massive predawn raid Wednesday, two senior European intelligence officials said, after investigators followed leads that the fugitive militant was holed up north of the French capital and could be plotting another wave of violence.
“Paris prosecutor François Molins, speaking to reporters hours after the siege, said a discarded cellphone helped identify a series of safe houses used by attackers to plan Friday’s coordinated assaults, which killed 129 people and wounded more than 350 across Paris.”
More than 100 police and soldiers stormed an apartment building in the suburb of Saint-Denis during a seven-hour siege that left two dead, including the suspected overseer of the Paris bloodshed, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, a Belgian extremist who had once boasted he could slip easily between Europe and the Islamic State strongholds in Syria.
TARGET: This guy, Abdel-Hamid Abu Oud: alleged mastermind of Paris attacks
“Two senior European officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, confirmed that Abaaoud was killed in the raid.”
After the raid, forsenics experts combed through the aftermath — blown-out windows, floors collapsed by explosions — presumably seeking DNA and other evidence. The intelligence officials spoke on condition of anonymity before announcements from authorities.
“The death of Abaaoud closes one major dragnet in the international search for suspects from Friday’s carnage.”
Paris prosecutor François Molins, speaking to reporters hours after the siege, said a discarded cellphone helped identify a series of safe houses used by attackers to plan Friday’s coordinated assaults, which killed 129 people and wounded more than 350 across Paris.
“But it raised other worrisome questions, including the apparent ability of Abaaoud to evade intelligence agencies while traveling through Europe and whether other possible Islamic State cells could be seeking to strike again.”
Molins said police launched the raid because they believed that Abaaoud may have been “entrenched” on the third floor of the apartment building. He said he could not yet provide the identities of the two people who died at the scene, but he added that neither Abaaoud nor another wanted suspect, Salah Abdeslam, was among a total of eight people who were arrested at the apartment and other locations Wednesday. Three people were arrested in the raid on the apartment, he said, one of whom had a gunshot wound in the arm.
“The raid on an apartment building in the Saint-Denis suburb appeared to be linked in part to plans to stage a follow-up terrorist attack in the La Defense business district, about 10 miles away, two police officials and an investigator close to the investigation said.”
Two senior European officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters, confirmed that Abaaoud was killed in the raid.
MOSCOW – The Kremlin said for the first time on Tuesday that a bomb had ripped apart a Russian passenger jet over Egypt last month and promised to hunt down those responsible and intensify its air strikes on Islamist militants in Syria in response.
“According to an analysis by our specialists, a homemade bomb containing up to 1 kilogram of TNT detonated during the flight, causing the plane to break up in mid air, which explains why parts of the fuselage were spread over such a large distance.”
Until Tuesday, Russia had played down assertions from Western countries that the crash, in which 224 people were killed on Oct. 31, was a terrorist incident, saying it was important to let the official investigation run its course.
But in a late night Kremlin meeting on Monday three days after Islamist gunmen and bombers killed 129 people in Paris, Alexander Bortnikov, the head of Russia’s FSB security service, told a meeting chaired by President Vladimir Putin that traces of foreign-made explosive had been found on fragments of the downed plane and on passengers’ personal belongings.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (Reuters)
“We will search for them everywhere wherever they are hiding. We will find them anywhere on the planet and punish them.”
— Vladimir Putin
“According to an analysis by our specialists, a homemade bomb containing up to 1 kilogram of TNT detonated during the flight, causing the plane to break up in mid air, which explains why parts of the fuselage were spread over such a large distance,” said Bortnikov. Read the rest of this entry »
An Islamic State operative suspected of helping plan the Paris attacks had been monitored in Syria by Western allies seeking to kill him in an airstrike, but they couldn’t locate him in the weeks before the plot was carried out, two Western security officials said.
“A year ago, video emerged of him in Syria, smiling as he drove a truck dragging the dead bodies of Islamic State’s opponents tied to the bumper.”
The operative, a Belgian citizen named Abdelhamid Abaaoud, was convicted in abstentia in Brussels earlier this year of recruiting jihadists, was suspected of masterminding a foiled plot to behead police officers, escaped to Syria and was profiled in Islamic State’s online magazine mocking European authorities for their failure to catch him. A year ago, video emerged of him in Syria, smiling as he drove a truck dragging the dead bodies of Islamic State’s opponents tied to the bumper.
Mr. Abaaoud is one of two people who have emerged at the center of a probe into the attacks that killed 129 people on Friday. Both are at large. French and Belgian authorities are also searching for a 26-year-old petty criminal named Salah Abdeslam, who they say rented a car used in the attacks on Friday and is suspected of driving some of the suicide bombers through Paris.
On Monday, dozens of masked Belgian police stormed a house in a predominantly Muslim district in Brussels in their hunt for Mr. Abdeslam….(read more)
Watch How Seemingly Annoyed Obama Reacts to CNN Reporter’s Tough Islamic State Question at G-20 Summit
Jason Howerton reports: President Barack Obama appeared visibly annoyed following a reporter’s tough question on his administration’s strategy to combat the Islamic State following the deadly terror attacks in Paris.
“Why can’t we take out these bastards?”
— CNN’s Jim Acosta
After noting that Obama once called the terrorist group the “jayvee team” and claimed to have them “contained,” CNN’s Jim Acosta asked bluntly, “Why can’t we take out these bastards?”
“I just spent the last three questions answering that very question. I don’t know what more you want me to add. I think I’ve described very specifically what our strategy is, and I’ve described why we do not pursue some of the other strategies that have been suggested.”
Obama also said the Islamic State is not a “traditional military opponent.”
Watch his remarks below:
“We can retake territory. And as long as we leave our troops there, we can hold it. But that does not solve the underlying problem of eliminating the dynamics that are producing the kind of violent extremist groups.”
Rather than casting about for a new strategy, Obama said U.S. would intensify its current campaign of airstrikes and arming and training moderate forces. And he called on other nations to step up their involvement in the fight against the extremists. Read the rest of this entry »
Rubio said that the safe havens of ISIS must be targeted, namely in Syria.
Republican presidential candidate Sen. Marco Rubio said the terror attacks in Paris are part of “a civilizational conflict,” and that Islamic terror needs to be confronted as that.
“I believe we need to subject ISIS to high profile humiliating defeat, meaning Special Operations attacks that are filmed, basically, so we can show the world that these are not invincible people.”
The Florida senator said Islamic terrorists think that “the entire world needs to believe in what they believe in, or you die.”
“This president has chosen not to pursue that because he thinks politically for him it’s admitting that we’re re-engaged in another hostility in the Middle East. So he’s trying to do the bare minimum he can without losing the political narrative that he he got us out of the Middle East and out of conflict.”
Screening outposts to be set up in Iraq, Lebanon as U.S. urges Arab nations to do more.
The Obama administration is moving to increase and accelerate the number of Syrian refugees who might be admitted into the United States by opening new screening outposts in Iraq and Lebanon, administration officials told Reuters on Friday.
The move comes after President Barack Obama pledged in September to admit an additional 10,000 Syrian refugees in 2016, torn by four years of civil war and disorder.
The U.S. State Department confirmed the plans to open a refugee settlement processing centre in Erbil, Iraq, before the end of 2015, and to resume refugee processing in Lebanon in early 2016, said spokeswoman Danna Van Brandt.
The White House would not say how many additional refugees it may take in beyond the 10,000, but two senior administration officials said they are seeking ways to increase the number.
Refugees and migrants arrive from the island of Lesbos to the port of Piraeus on Friday. About 25,000 refugees and other migrants are heading to the Greek mainland from the eastern Aegean islands after the country’s seamen’s union called off ferry strikes. (Thanassis Stavrakis/Associated Press)
“We want to be in a place where we can push out really ambitious goals,” said one of the officials, who spoke to Reuters on the condition of anonymity.
The State Department runs nine screening centres worldwide that serve as meeting points for refugees and U.S. Department of Homeland Security employees who have to decide who is suitable for resettlement in the United States.
Friday on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” President Barack Obama seemingly downplayed the threat of ISIS in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos that aired on Friday’s broadcast of “Good Morning America.”
“I don’t think they’re gaining strength. What is true is that from the start, our goal has been first to contain and we have contained them. They have not gained ground in Iraq, and in Syria they’ll come in, they’ll leave, but you don’t see this systemic march by ISIL across the terrain.”
Stephanopoulos asked Obama if ISIS was gaining in strength, to which Obama denied they were.
“I don’t think they’re gaining strength,” Obama responded. “What is true is that from the start, our goal has been first to contain and we have contained them. They have not gained ground in Iraq, and in Syria they’ll come in, they’ll leave, but you don’t see this systemic march by ISIL across the terrain.”…(read more)
(CNN) The only reasonable explanation for the crash of a Russian passenger jet in Egypt is “an external influence,” an executive from the airline that operated the flight said Monday, stressing that planes don’t just break apart in midair.
“There was nothing abnormal before the plane crash. It suddenly disappeared from the radar.”
The executive was not specific about what he meant by an external influence. Experts say it is too early to know for certain what caused the plane to break up at the start of what could be a lengthy investigation.
“It is completely premature to speak about the reasons of this, as there are not grounds. And I’d like to call on the aviation community to refrain from any premature conclusions,” it quoted Alexander Neradko, the agency chief, as telling the station.
CNN aviation correspondent Richard Quest suggested that the Kogalymavia official could have meant something abnormal and out of the ordinary had occurred.
“We exclude technical problems and reject human error,” the Kogalymavia airline official, Alexander Smirnov, said at a Moscow news conference as he discussed possible causes of the crash.
He added that the crew did not issue any warnings or communications during the final moments, indicating that the flight crew must have been disabled and not able to radio out.
However, Smirnov said that while the plane’s flight and voice data recorders had been recovered, they had not been read or decoded.
Officials have played down an apparent claim by Islamic militants in Sinai that they brought down the Airbus A321-200, saying technical failure is the most likely reason for the crash.
Here’s where things stand:
Flight 9268 was on its way from the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg early Saturday when it dropped off radar about 23 minutes into the flight, Egyptian officials say.
Air traffic controllers apparently didn’t receive any distress calls from the pilots. “There was nothing abnormal before the plane crash,” Egyptian Civil Aviation Minister Hossam Kamel said Saturday. “It suddenly disappeared from the radar.”
CNN’s Richard Quest said it was “unusual” for an aircraft to go down roughly 20 minutes into a flight.
Hillary Clinton may not see the point, but her testimony may tell us much about her ability to lead.
John Bolton writes: Only in Perry Mason stories does the real culprit break down in open court. After Hillary Clinton’s now-immortal Capitol Hill outburst about investigations into the deadly 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya—“What difference, at this point, does it make?”—the former secretary of state and Democratic candidate for president is unlikely to offer any such spontaneity when she testifies Thursday before the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
“As the crisis unfolded that day in Benghazi, with violence also erupting in Tunis, Cairo and potentially elsewhere, Mrs. Clinton disappeared. Instead of staying at her desk, ‘on the bridge’ of the State Department’s seventh floor, Mrs. Clinton literally left the building. Why?”
Nonetheless, the committee’s work is utterly serious, its preparations extensive (and extensively stonewalled by Mrs. Clinton’s team) and its mission vital to our fight against still-metastasizing Islamist terrorism. Much is at stake. The hearing’s focus must be on the key policy and leadership implications of the mistakes made before, during and after the murders of Amb. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans on Sept. 11 three years ago.
“Imagine the effect on morale when, with colleagues in Libya in mortal peril, State Department personnel learned that their leader had gone home for the evening. There is no evidence that Mrs. Clinton or President Obama did anything other than passively monitor events.”
Before the attack, there was ample warning that the U.S. consulate in Benghazi wasn’t secure, with terrorist threats in the area multiplying. Even the International Red Cross had pulled out of Benghazi. After a string of requests from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli for more security, in mid-August came a joint Embassy-CIA recommendation to move the State Department’s people into the CIA’s Benghazi compound. The State Department in Washington was invariably unresponsive, even though, as Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey later testified, the rising terrorist threat in Libya was well known.
Given her self-proclaimed central role in deposing dictator Moammar Gadhafi, why was Mrs. Clinton so detached from the deteriorating situation in Libya? She has so far dodged the issue, pawning off such “technical” matters on her subordinates. Working in the State Department in 1990 when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait, I saw firsthand how Secretary of State James Baker dived into every detail of safeguarding U.S. diplomats stranded in Kuwait City. If earlier secretaries of state have been perfectly prepared to get their fingernails dirty in operational details when those under their responsibility were threatened, why wasn’t Mrs. Clinton?
Libya was no backwater for Mrs. Clinton. It was one of President Obama’s highest foreign-policy priorities, touted by the administration as evidence of successfully “leading from behind,” averting a Gadhafi bloodbath through “humanitarian intervention,” and with democracy and stability to follow. So acknowledging that precisely the opposite was happening, and appropriately increasing security in Libya, would demonstrate failure. That was politically unacceptable.
As the crisis unfolded that day in Benghazi, with violence also erupting in Tunis, Cairo and potentially elsewhere, Mrs. Clinton disappeared. Instead of staying at her desk, “on the bridge” of the State Department’s seventh floor, Mrs. Clinton literally left the building. Why? Read the rest of this entry »