UPDATE: Death toll is at 50 now. Nauseating.
There was a mass shooting in Orlando, Florida early this morning/late last night. Details are a bit sketchy, because it’s still early, but the suspect walked into a gay nightclub and killed at least 20 people before being ventilated by law enforcement.
This is awful. Yet again an extremist psycho wielding a rifle and a handgun walked into an establishment filled with innocent victims and proceeded to murder them in cold blood!
My thoughts are with the victims and their families today.
How many of you thought “Oh! Some Christian anti-gay gun nut on a rampage”?
The FBI is looking at the perp’s Islamic extremist leanings.
When asked if the FBI suspected the gunman might have had inclinations toward militant Islam, including a possible sympathy with Islamic State, Ronald Hopper, an assistant FBI agent in charge, told reporters: “We do have suggestions that the individual may have leanings toward that particular ideology. But right now we can’t say definitively.”
Someone at Weasel Zippers also pulled voter data.
Omar Mateen was a registered Democrat.
The usual slew of suspects immediately started screaming about gun control. Actress Kirstie Alley immediately took to Twitter to advocate for a ban of “automatic assault rifles,” and then was gently corrected by myself and a number of others after admitting she “misspoke.”
But damn the NRA, and damn those Christian, gun-clinging Tea Party Republicans!
A few days after the deadly Islamic terrorist attacks in Paris, the Obama Administration vigorously defended its refugee screening process as “rigorous and safe.”
Nothing like this could happen here in the United States, right?
Until it did.
Not even a month later, two terrorists went on a shooting spree in San Bernardino. At the time (and now as well) we blogged that the attack was likely a case of premature detonation – that a bigger attack was planned, and that the two Islamists went on an early shooting spree after the male lost his temper at an office party.
Ultimately, it doesn’t matter if a bigger attack was planned, although if we were correct, we were lucky in that we avoided a lot more carnage, because Syed Farook couldn’t keep his temper in check. But what does matter is that the Administration’s assertions about its refugee screening process being “rigorous and safe” is apparently nonsense.
On December 16 – a couple of weeks after the San Bernardino attack – the Hill ran a column by a retired Department of Homeland Security explained how that same screening process failed the San Bernardino victims and failed America.
Philip Haney was a targeter at DHS who worked to identify terrorist networks and “connect the dots” between lesser known groups and individuals moving about and operating freely in the United States. He and his colleagues focused on individuals, mosques, Islamic Centers and schools involved in radicalization efforts – mosques such as the Dar Al Uloom Al Islamiyah Mosque in San Bernardino where Farook worshiped and was well-known to the congregation and leadership. And probably mosques such as the infamous Dar Al-Hijrah Islamic Center, located just a couple of miles from my house, where the thankfully droned into oblivion Anwar al-Awlaki spewed his poison.
Haney had these types of groups in his sights, including the Islamist group al-Huda.
Another focus of my investigation was the Pakistani women’s Islamist group al-Huda, which counted Farook’s wife, Tashfeen Malik, as a student. While the al-Huda International Welfare Foundation distanced themselves from the actions of their former pupil, Malik’s classmates told the Daily Mail she changed significantly while studying at al-Huda, gradually becoming “more serious and strict.” More ominously, the group’s presence in the U.S. and Canada is not without its other ties to ISIS and terrorism. In 2014, three recent former students at al-Huda’s affiliate school in Canada, aged 15 to 18, left their homes to join the Islamic State in Syria.
Haney says between Farook’s involvement with the Dar Al Uloom Al Islamiyah Mosque in San Bernardino and Malik’s involvement with al-Huda, the dots would have been connected, and additional scrutiny would have at the very least been indicated; maybe it would have led to a denial of Malik’s K-1 visa, or even gotten Farook placed on the No Fly list, perhaps in time to stop the attack, but that was not to be.
DHS shut down the investigation at the request of the Department of State and DHS’ own Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Division. They claimed that since the Islamist groups in question were not Specially Designated Terrorist Organizations (SDTOs) tracking individuals related to these groups was a violation of the travelers’ civil liberties.
Islamist groups, who need to be thoroughly investigated before being placed on the list, were barred from investigation because they’re not on the list. Well, that makes all the sense in the world.
Do you feel safe yet?
Worse yet, DHS went back and deleted all the records of Haney’s investigation, and after the latter brought his concern to the Inspector General, as well as several members of Congress, he was subjected to adverse actions and investigations, even though his work was exemplary, as detailed in this letter of commendation he received in June 2012. Thankfully, none of retaliatory investigations found any wrongdoing, and Haney was allowed to honorably retire from government service.
But the story doesn’t end there. Or rather, it doesn’t start there.
Remember the Crotch Bomber? Right before the unhinged jihadist tried to blow up a plane with an explosive packed in his panties, but instead set his own genitals on fire prior to being captured, DHS went on a record and research scrubbing spree.
Just before that Christmas Day attack, in early November 2009, I was ordered by my superiors at the Department of Homeland Security to delete or modify several hundred records of individuals tied to designated Islamist terror groups like Hamas from the important federal database, the Treasury Enforcement Communications System (TECS). These types of records are the basis for any ability to “connect dots.” Every day, DHS Customs and Border Protection officers watch entering and exiting many individuals associated with known terrorist affiliations, then look for patterns. Enforcing a political scrubbing of records of Muslims greatly affected our ability to do that. Even worse, going forward, my colleagues and I were prohibited from entering pertinent information into the database.
A few weeks later, in my office at the Port of Atlanta, the television hummed with the inevitable Congressional hearings that follow any terrorist attack. While members of Congress grilled Obama administration officials, demanding why their subordinates were still failing to understand the intelligence they had gathered, I was being forced to delete and scrub the records. And I was well aware that, as a result, it was going to be vastly more difficult to “connect the dots” in the future—especially before an attack occurs.
Who knows how many attacks could have been prevented had the DHS been allowed to continue its work?
No one does, because political considerations apparently trump national security in our country.
Look, there’s a very fine line between invasion of privacy and infringements on individual rights. The U.S. national security apparatus and the dedicated, committed people who work in our intelligence community and law enforcement walk that line carefully and diligently every day. An untold amount of work is done by the inter-agency before any individual or entity is sanctioned as a terrorist, or gets placed on the Specially Designated Nationals list. Legal review, leadership review, coordination with other agencies in the government. Placing an individual or entity on the SDN list is no joke, unlike some… other lists we’ve seen.
Intelligence professionals have to go through massive amounts of training. They have to learn how to safeguard personal information, whom they are allowed to collect on, what to report and how to report violations, and other agency-specific training to ensure that the rights of the people are balanced with the need to protect our nation. Their analyses are constantly challenged. Did you consider alternatives? Was your assessment based on a variety of corroborative sources? Were these sources credible? Given the fiasco that ensued after the now infamous Iraq WMD National Intelligence Estimate was published in 2002, and the subsequent Iraq invasion, it is no surprise that the Intelligence Community is much more cautious about its tradecraft.
This is all necessary, there’s no doubt. The rights of the people have to be protected.
But at the same time, ordering law enforcement and the intelligence community to scrub years of investigative research into violent extremists with obvious links to savage jihadists whose goal is to launch attacks against the United States, because they might somehow disturb a political narrative or result in some nebulous alleged “violations” of someone’s rights, is a dangerous policy. Fact is that researching a mosque’s, a group’s, or an individual’s links to terrorist organizations violates no one’s rights. If law enforcement is not allowed to do said research, or if said research is nixed due to political considerations, this nation is in danger.
After the September 11, 2001 attacks, a rigorous review by the 9-11 commission revealed that lack of information sharing was partially responsible for our failure to prevent the attacks, as was not watchlisting future hijackers and not trailing them after they traveled to Bangkok, and not informing the FBI about one future hijacker’s U.S. visa.
But that’s not all the report revealed. The commission’s findings also said we did not discover fraudulent statements made on visa applications and failed to detect fake passports.
The work Haney and his colleagues were doing would likely have been helpful in identifying terrorist links, and if shared with other agencies, would have probably helped prevent future attacks. But instead DHS was ordered by the Administration to toss out its research. It will not be shared with anyone, and that could result in disaster.
Apparently, this administration has learned nothing.
Do you feel safe yet?
Originally posted at The Bull Elephant.
Since 2013, the mainstream media has been beating the drum for Saadiq Long – the Air Force officer who was barred from traveling to Qatar to visit his supposedly ailing mother. Glenn Greenwald of the Guardian, who just a couple of years ago irresponsibly elevated lying, irresponsible, traitorous piece of shit Edward Snowden to the level of hero for a number of clueless, paranoid conspiritards, championed Long’s plight, and CAIR and MSNBC which see the “Islamophobia” boogieman under every bed, sniffled about Long’s placement on the no-fly list.
Now, I’m no fan of barring people from travel without due process. I’m no fan of no-fly lists. But I also know enough about the way information is collected to understand that sometimes, that info is dead on.
In the case of Saadiq Long, that intelligence was proven accurate, because guess who was recently arrested in Turkey for trying to join ISIS!
A man, who just two years ago was the poster boy for the far-Left media’s attacks against the U.S. government’s no-fly list for “unfairly” targeting Muslims, finds himself and several family members sitting in a Turkish prison — arrested earlier this month near the Turkey-Syria border as members of an ISIS cell.
U.S. and Turkish officials confirmed Long’s arrest to PJ Media, saying that he was arrested along with eight others operating along the Turkish-Syrian border. So far, no U.S. media outlet has reported on his arrest.
There are thousands of people on the watchlist, and supposedly, more than 40 percent of them aren’t affiliated with any terrorist group at all. The other 60 percent appear to be individuals affiliated with groups such as al-Q’aida, Hizballah, Hamas, Taliban, and others. This isn’t Islamophobia. These are designated terrorist groups. That said, the majority of individuals on the watchlist have committed no crime, and from what I’m reading the Terrorist Screening Center accepts almost 99 percent of nominations to its list. That doesn’t sound too discriminatory, and it certainly doesn’t sound like they’re targeting Muslims.
Perhaps before screeching from the rooftops about Islamophobia in a case of someone who was placed on a terrorist watchlist, the media and CAIR should check to ensure that their cause celebre isn’t an actual… you know… terrorist.
Remember Ahmed Mohamed? I had some sympathy for the kid when his story initially broke. He made a dumb looking clock inside a pencil case, and his idiot teacher decided to call the police, because it looked like a “hoax bomb.” The kid was subsequently arrested, questioned about the “hoax bomb,” and then released to his parents. I also didn’t think the incident had anything to do with “islamophobia,” but rather the idiotic “zero tolerance” policies that around the country led to a kid being booted from school for chewing a breakfast pastry into the shape of a “gun,” an honor student getting in trouble for bringing a butter knife to school with her lunch, a kid getting in trouble for pretending a chicken nugget was a gun, and a first-grader being suspended for bringing a Cub Scout utensil to school that happened to contain a knife.
But there was always something unsettling about the whole thing. Instead of condemning the reactionary “zero
tolerance sense” policies that landed his kid in hot water, the kid’s father began to immediately screech about “Islamophobia” and racial profiling. “Zero tolerance” policies are idiotic, nonsensical tripe that allow school administrators to lazily toss kids out of class for “safety” reasons, without using a shred of thought and logic to examine each individual situation. These policies have threatened the futures of hundreds of kids, without regard for race. I would submit that a Pop-Tart chewed into something ambiguously resembling a gun is much more innocuous than the “clock/bomb” Mohamed brought to school that day. So why is it that Mohamed’s father decided to use his child to paint American society around him as bigoted?
The smear effort made Ahmed the target of anti-Muslim conspiracy theorists and caused his family to flee the country for their own safety, the family’s lawyer claimed Monday in letters addressed to City Hall and Irving ISD—demanding apologies and a total of $15 million to stave off a civil rights suit.
Never mind that the incident resulted in the kid getting an invite to the White House, got a hug from the President of the United States – an African American man who was elected to the highest office in the land… twice (Quite the racist country we are, right?), visited Google, Mecca, met with the Queen of Jordan, and had a very creepy audience with the genocidal maniac president of Sudan.
That doesn’t matter. He was apparently oh-so-scarred by his experience, that the family decided to move to Qatar and leave this horrible, racist country that allowed him to become a national hero, meet the President and even a former NASA astronaut after bringing something to school that, let’s face it, looked like a bomb.
And the only thing that will mitigate the trauma? You guessed it! Money – $15 million to be exact.
Any sympathy I had for this kid is gone. This is no longer a “stupid school administrators overreact yet again to a harmless object” story that I’ve written about over and over again on this site. It is now an “opportunistic pig tries to extort money from taxpayer, because ISLAMOPHOBIA, and… SHUT UP, RACIST!”
I don’t see the President inviting a little deaf boy named Hunter Spanjer to the White House, because idiot school officials attempted to prevent him from using sign language to say his name, because it violated their “zero tolerance” for weapons policy.
I don’t see public apologies, meetings with dignitaries, invites to the White House, or trips to the DYI Network for the Chicago teacher who was suspended from his job for showing hand tools to his second grade students as part of a math lesson. Screw drivers! Pliers! Wrenches! A box cutter! OH THE HORROR!
I didn’t see a whirlwind tour of Chef Geoff’s restaurants, a hug from the President, or meetings with the Prime Minister of France for Da’von Shaw, a Bedford, Ohio high school student, who brought apples and craisins to school for a “healthy eating” presentation he was giving to his speech class, took out a knife to cut the apple, and wound up suspended for five days for bringing a “weapon” to school.
None of them sued the idiot school districts for millions of dollars. None of them tried to extort money from the taxpayers for some alleged “bigotry.” None of them became grievance merchants, even though they were treated with much less deference and respect. They weren’t covered by the mass media. There was no mass outrage.
Ahmed Mohamed got all that and more, and yet, his father chose to make a spectacle out of the incident, snottily move his family to Qatar, because it’s oh-so-hard to grow up in America, and then attempt to extort millions of dollars from Americans!
This isn’t about racism. It’s about greed, plain and simple. The bastard wants money, and he’s using his kid to coerce that money from the taxpayers.
Because getting scratch from the Qatar Foundation that’s been accused of being linked to Hamas is apparently just not enough.