Category Archives: national security

Some thoughts on refugees

Libertarians and liberals are up in arms. Rand Paul – yes, that Rand Paul – a bunch of Republicans, and half the nation’s governors have said “NO!” to having Syrian refugees relocate to our country. After last week’s Paris attacks, and after at least one of the terrorists likely sneaked into France with a wave of Syrian refugees, some GOP leaders decided that maybe – JUST MAYBE – allowing a bunch of unvetted people into this country isn’t such a great idea.

The screeching in response is epic. Dave Bier at the Niskanen Center has published an article giving us six reasons to welcome Syrian refugees after Paris. The first reason is that apparently the Paris terrorists weren’t refugees.

Assuming that the user of a fake Syrian passport found near the body of an attacker belonged to the attacker, which isn’t clear, it appears that he may have exploited the flow of people into Europe, but he was not a refugee. He did not receive refugee designation from the United Nations or vetting from intelligence agencies. He was never approved for refugee status in any country.

What I emphasized in the quote is precisely the point! There are thousands of refugees flowing into Europe. Vetting them all properly is nearly impossible, and certainly smaller EU nations don’t have the resources or assets to do so! Ultimately the problem may not even be legitimate refugees, but those hiding in their midst. This is the problem. No, we haven’t had an issue with refugees launching attacks on the United States. That’s always been a concern, but we’ve been lucky. That said, considering Da’esh has already threatened the United States, is it so unreasonable to assess that they could integrate themselves into the ranks of the refugees being allowed into this country?

To become a refugee in the United States, you undergo a multi-stage vetting process and only after receiving U.N. designation by trained officers in the field. The U.S. can vet refugees prior to admission, which means we can weed out terrorists and those most likely to become involved in terrorism, accepting only the most vulnerable. Europe cannot do the same. What happened in Paris is not applicable to the U.S. refugee process.

And guess what, that “multi-stage vetting process” is pretty much worthless if we don’t have assets in Syria to run checks on those who want to enter this country. U.S. counterterrorism officials have expressed concerns that they don’t have the resources in Syria to vet them effectively. There’s a civil war there. You think there are computer systems there that contain background information on those seeking asylum? Are there intelligence officers on the ground to collect intel? Are there U.S. forces on the ground to examine fingerprints and other biometric data? Just what is it that these people think we can do to properly vet them? The Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Nicholas Rasmussen, told the House Homeland Security Committee that this was definitely a concern. An FBI official agreed:

FBI official also questioned whether the U.S. intelligence community – with few assets on the ground in Syria and little insight into the country from elsewhere – can provide authorities with the information they need to properly determine whether any refugee could pose a threat.

“You have to have information to vet,” said FBI Assistant Director Michael Steinbach, who heads the bureau’s counterterrorism division. “Databases don’t [have] the information on those individuals, and that’s the concern.”

To be sure, this has nothing to do with racism, or a dislike for refugees, or anything else. The first responsibility of a government is to protect its citizens, and anyone who claims that this is not a legitimate national security concern, simply doesn’t understand national security!

U.S. refugees don’t become terrorists: The history of the U.S. refugee program demonstrates that the lengthy and extensive vetting that all refugees must undergo is an effective deterrent for terrorists. Since 1980, the U.S. has invited in millions of refugees, including hundreds of thousands from the Middle East. Not one has committed an act of terrorism in the U.S. (update for those unwilling to read the source, the Boston bombers were not refugees). Traditional law enforcement and security screening processes have a proven record of handling the threat from terrorist posing as refugees.

Oh, don’t they?

In a House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence Chairman hearing, Patrick Mehan in 2012 contradicted that claim.

While the motivation behind creating these special immigrant categories were well-intentioned, the fact remains that in May 2011 two Iraqi nationals who were given refugee status and resettled in the United States were arrested and accused by the FBI of plotting to send weapons and money to al-Qaeda in Iraq. One of the men arrested had openly discussed his prior experience as an insurgent until Iraq and the IED attacks he participated in against U.S. troops. The fingerprints of the other Iraqi refugee who was charged were traced by the FBI to a component of an unexploded IED that was recovered by U.S. forces in northern Iraq.

Not one has committed an act of terrorism, because they were caught, thankfully before it was too late! And even in the case above, we had experts and assets, as well as personnel in Iraq that caught the scumbags who were given refugee status in 2011.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper just this past September warned of the U.S. intelligence community’s “huge concern” that Da’esh may attempt to infiltrate Syrian refugees to enter Europe and possibly the United States.

And guess what! One of the Paris terrorists did, apparently infiltrate the flood of Syrian refugees and proceeded to participate in the carnage!

This isn’t “fearmongering.” This isn’t racism. This isn’t a hatred for refugees. This isn’t demagoguery. These are legitimate national security concerns that need to be addressed if we are to keep our population safe from attacks.

Does it suck for the legitimate refugees seeking asylum in the United States? Surely. I’m sure the vast majority are looking for a new, safer life. I get that. I’ve been there. That said, however, the U.S. intelligence community and law enforcement had more information on my family when we were coming to the United States in 1980 – FROM THE U.S.S.R. – than they do about any of the people seeking asylum from Syria today, and had information been as scarce about us back then, I would have advocated barring us from entry!

As I said previously, it is quite likely that the vast majority of the refugees seeking entry into the United States today are peaceable people. But how many does it take to launch an attack on a major city and paralyze it like the handful of terrorists did in Paris last week? It was a handful, and as far as we know today, only one came in with the wave of Syrian refugees under a false passport. One. It took a handful of terrorists to intimidate an entire country into a horrified, stunned stupor by attacking one city. A handful hiding in the thousands the current Administration is allowing into tSyrian refugees strike in front of  Budapest Keleti railway station. Refugee crisis. Budapest, Hungary, Central Europe, 3 September 2015.his country could wreak a similar havoc.

So don’t sit there and try to justify this inexcusable neglect for our national security with pictures of wide-eyed children whose families just want to seek protection within our shores. Even the United Nations admits that the majority of those seeking to come here are military-aged men.

Don’t accuse those opposing this neglect of racism and fearmongering. Don’t try to play politics with our national security.

The concerns are real. If you can’t see that, I can’t help you.

I should really post more

I know it’s been weeks since I’ve written anything. I needed a break. I haven’t really been in the mood to write. First, there was the snow, which prompted me to sit around in bed all day in my pajamas drinking hot tea and watching Law & Order reruns.

And now… I’m off on temporary duty to Miami.

I know… HARDSHIP! But you’d be surprised how crappy it feels to go from a foot of snow in DC to 85-degree heat with 10000 percent humidity down in southern Florida! So if you have a snarky comment about how you feel oh-so-sorry for me being down here, keep it to yourself, punkin, because all you’ll get from me is a one-fingered salute.

As for what I’ve been up to?


For those of you who don’t know, I’ve been a regular part of the GunBlog Variety Cast along with some awesome folks, including Sean Sorrentino and Erin Palette. I’ve been doing this for a while now, but I’ve been an abject FAIL at blogging about it, because I’m lazy. So go over there and listen. Surprisingly enough, I don’t bloviate about guns on this one, but rather foreign policy. Erin talks about prepping, Sean and Adam talk about… stuff, and other incredible, talented, and intelligent folks talk about guns and tech. It’s fun. You should check it out, if you want to find out what I sound like on the air (shout out to my broadcaster background!).

And no, I don’t curse.

So what’s been going on?

Well, for one, we kicked Maduro and his band of Venezuelan thugs in the nuts with some sanctions last week. And if you hear them whining that this means the United States is about to launch into some kind of military action against them, you can laugh a little, because they’re either ignorant, or just want to raise the level of whining. Fact is that they were sanctioned under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act (IEEPA), which authorizes the President to regulate commerce after declaring a “national emergency” in response to any unusual or extraordinary foreign threat. It certainly doesn’t authorize any kind of military action.

Specifically, the E.O. targets those determined by the Department of the Treasury, in consultation with the Department of State, to be involved in:

  • actions or policies that undermine democratic processes or institutions;
  • significant acts of violence or conduct that constitutes a serious abuse or violation of human rights, including against persons involved in antigovernment protests in Venezuela in or since February 2014;
  • actions that prohibit, limit, or penalize the exercise of freedom of expression or peaceful assembly; or
  • public corruption by senior officials within the Government of Venezuela.

The E.O. also authorizes the Department of the Treasury, in consultation with the Department of State, to target any person determined:

  • to be a current or former leader of an entity that has, or whose members have, engaged in any activity described in the E.O. or of an entity whose property and interests in property are blocked or frozen pursuant to the E.O.; or
  • to be a current or former official of the Government of Venezuela;

What does this all mean? It means we don’t like corrupt thugs who steal money from their own people while undermining their basic rights using the U.S. financial system. So we cut off their access to it.

What else has been going on?

The Justice Department determined there was no basis for continued legal action against Darren Wilson, who last year shot Michael Brown in an action which was determined to be justified. Of course, Holder and the DOJ can’t leave well enough alone, so even though the shoot was good, they put out a report citing racism in the Ferguson PD writ large in an obvious attempt to mollify the screeching race hustlers. It is interesting to note that the report cites revenue generation being emphasized in the PD’s approach to law enforcement.

Patrol assignments and schedules are geared toward aggressive enforcement of Ferguson’s municipal code, with insufficient thought given to whether enforcement strategies promote public safety or unnecessarily undermine community trust and cooperation. Officer evaluations and promotions depend to an inordinate degree on “productivity,” meaning the number of citations issued. Partly as a consequence of City and FPD priorities, many officers appear to see some residents, especially those who live in Ferguson’s predominantly African-American neighborhoods, less as constituents to be protected than as potential offenders and sources of revenue.

This is a problem that’s not just limited to Ferguson. Nothing new and different there, and I’ve often been appalled at the outrageous fees and penalties imposed on citizens for engaging in a simple mistake or minor traffic violation. So I get it. It sucks.

But in the same breath, the DOJ’s report claims that “The harms of Ferguson’s police and court practices are borne disproportionately by African Americans, and there is evidence that this is due in part to intentional discrimination on the basis of race.”

Lemme ask ya something. If it is obvious that the city’s focus is on revenue generation, rather than public safety, and therefore, it views the PREDOMINANTLY AFRICAN-AMERICAN city as a source of revenue generation, wouldn’t it stand to reason that in a predominantly black city, the brunt of those revenue generation policies would be… um… black, and that the reason Ferguson’s law enforcement practices and policies overwhelmingly impact African-Americans is because THAT’S WHO PREDOMINANTLY LIVES IN THE FRIGGIN’ CITY?

But hey, some of us don’t go looking for racism under every bed and around every corner.

In response to said report, Ferguson’s city manager has resigned and a state judge will be in charge of all Ferguson cases. Every town needs scapegoats, I suppose. That, of course, didn’t mollify the stampeding hordes, and just this past weekend, two police officers were shot after working crowd control in Ferguson. Police charged Jeffrey Williams with the shooting. The suspect admits he fired the weapon, but claims he was aiming at someone else in the crowd.

I’m trying to wrap my head at the amount of fucking stupid it takes to make such an admission. Stupid #1) You fire your weapon into a crowd of fucking people. Stupid #2) You admit to doing so, but hey… you weren’t aiming at police, and I guess you were expecting to hit your mark dead on. In a crowd. You dimwitted, miserable FAIL of a fucktard. Stupid #2) The only two people you conveniently hit are two cops. How propitious, considering the demonstrations were all about supposed police “racism.”

And, of course, Holder has been sniveling about how much acts of violence against law enforcement are not to be tolerated. Never mind he and his DOJ are the ones fomenting said unrest!

OK, enough about that.

There was supposedly a ceasefire agreement reached in Ukraine. Well, it was reached, but if you’re thinking that it’s somehow been effective, you’d be wrong. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg says the ceasefire is “fragile.” I think while violence has been reduced some, he’s the master of the understatement. If you want a boots on the ground (so to speak) glimpse into what’s going on, you should follow U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt on Twitter. The Russians will tell you it’s not their fault – that it’s the separatists failing to abide by the ceasefire – that they have no control over said militants. Um… yeah… right. If you think that Moscow isn’t behind the continuous arming of separatists in the region, I have this bridge…

Yes, I know I should keep up with my blogging, but even I need a break sometimes, so if I’m not around, it’s because I’m busy having a life.

Manning Not Guilty of Aiding the Enemy

I guess we don’t consider Osama bin Ladin our enemy any longer, since we won the war on terror… or something. But apparently, the hundreds of thousands of reports that whining little shitbag Bradley “Call me Breanna” Manning released being found in bin Ladin’s compound doesn’t qualify as “aiding the enemy,” because a military judge acquitted that piece of crap of that charge.

A military judge on Tuesday found Pfc. Bradley Manning not guilty of “aiding the enemy” for his release of hundreds of thousands of military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks. But she convicted him of multiple counts of violating the Espionage Act, stealing government property and other charges that could result in a maximum sentence of 136 years.

In delivering the mixed verdict, the judge, Col. Denise Lind, pulled back from the government’s effort to create a precedent that press freedom specialists had warned could have broad consequences for the future of investigative journalism about national security in the Internet era.

Never mind that the documents Manning released were found in Osama bin Ladin’s compound.

Never mind that thanks to Manning and his buddy Assmange, scores of innocent Afghans were threatened by the Taliban and several were kidnapped in retaliation for cooperating with coalition forces.

Never mind that this sniveling, simpering, blubbering douche canoe revealed a list of critical infrastructure – both America’s and our allies’ – to our enemies.

No…. he’s not guilty of aiding the enemy!

Just what is it that will make Manning guilty of aiding the enemy? Does it involve a tonguebath of Ahmadinejad’s taint? Does it involve a pair of knee pads and some chapstick as he slurps up every drop of Kim Jong Un’s tiny little schlong?

Just what is it that will make Manning’s arbitrary and intentional release of sensitive information that wound up in bin Ladin’s murderous paws be considered aiding the enemy?

This is not about investigative journalism. Nothing that Manning stole or Assmange released could be considered journalism. They released the names of sources, information about special forces, a list of critical infrastructure entrusted to us by our allies, descriptions of those who cooperated with coalition forces in Afghanistan and a bunch of personal communications between State Department employees that were no one’s business but theirs.

Manning didn’t do this out of any sense of honor. He did it, because he didn’t feel important and thought he’d show the Army just how important he could be. He did it because he was a little drug addicted asshole.

(1:39:03 PM) Manning: i cant believe what im confessing to you😥
(1:40:20 PM) Manning: ive been so isolated so long… i just wanted to be nice, and live a normal life… but events kept forcing me to figure out ways to survive… smart enough to know whats going on, but helpless to do anything… no-one took any notice of me


(1:43:59 PM) Manning: im self medicating like crazy when im not toiling in the supply office (my new location, since im being discharged, im not offically intel anymore)


(02:40:26 PM) Manning: i mean, i was never noticed
(02:41:10 PM) Manning: regularly ignored… except when i had something essential… then it was back to “bring me coffee, then sweep the floor”
(02:42:24 PM) Manning: i never quite understood that
(02:42:44 PM) Manning: felt like i was an abused work horse…

He did it because he is a whining shitwad, who was apparently too good for the military, because they didn’t give him the respect to which he felt he was entitled.

Shove the self-important shitstick into a dank cell and let him stay there for a long time.

Diminutive Violin for Snowden

I haven’t blogged about Edward Snowden in a while. The former NSA contractor admitted to having released classified documents that detail the agency’s activities and spying against… well… everyone, and now he’s stuck in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo Airport, looking for asylum wherever possible.

First he ran away to Hong Kong and released the information to world media. Then he hopped a plane to Moscow, hoping to keep running to whatever nation will have him. Now, he’s upset and is accusing the United States, and particularly Barack Obama, of making him a “stateless person.”

Snowden’s requests for asylum have been outright rejected by several nations, while others hemmed and hawed that he’d have to get there first to fill out the proper paperwork. Russian President Vladimir Putin said Russia was willing to offer Snowden asylum, but that he’d have to quit disclosing US classified information (and probably hand over any other intel to the FSB).  Snowden wasn’t happy with that deal, so he withdrew his asylum request, and is currently festering at Sheremetyevo with nowhere to go.

I have a few thoughts here.

Snowden obviously did what he thought was right. I’m not a fan of my government spying on me either, and I’m disturbed by these revelations.  People deserve to know that their own government is spying on them.

That said… Snowden has repeatedly attempted to paint himself as bigger and more important than he was.  He claimed to have been a highly-paid government contractor with the authorization and ability to access anyone’s phone conversations and read anyone’s emails. Fact of the matter is he was a low-level contractor, making $122,000  per year. I seriously doubt he was “authorized” to do anything of the sort.

As for authorization to access people’s communications? No low-level contractor with a few months on the job has that authorization.

Any analyst at any time can target anyone…. Where those communications will be picked up depends on the range of the sensor networks and the authorities that that analyst is empowered with. Not all analysts have the ability to target everything. But I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the authorities to wiretap anyone: From you or your accountant, to a federal judge, to even the president if I had a personal email.

Dude, come on. Really? Is anyone really stupid enough to believe that with all the safeguards and bureaucratic snags in place at any government agency, a low-level contractor with nothing but a GED would have the authorization to access the President’s email? Good luck with that. If you believe that, I have this bridge to sell you…

Not only that, but a diplomatic cover overseas with the CIA? For a high school drop out with not even an Associate’s degree? You’ve GOT to be friggin’ kidding me!

And there’s this little matter of the Army Special Forces, covered by the guys at This Ain’t Hell.

He claims to be 29 now, so, in 2003 when he says he went through SF training, he was 19. He also didn’t have a high school diploma – so those two things disqualified him right there. He says that he “began a training program to join the Special Forces” which could mean anything really – since his training would have begun at BCT (Basic Combat Training), just the wording of that statement makes me think that he didn’t get anywhere near Camp Mackall. Looking at his picture, I don’t think I can imagine him on the 5 mile airport run at Mackall with a ruck packed with bricks.

Then he goes to tell how he thought he would be helping people, but the Army seemed more interested in killing Arabs. That makes me think that he was headed to a civil affairs job and he’s calling it “Special Forces” as we’ve seen phonies do in our pages. And yeah, in basic training they kinda teach new soldiers how to kill people who are intent on killing the new soldiers – hence the name “basic combat training”.

Overall, my impression of Snowden is that he’s one of those fringe freaks, who blindly takes anything out of the mouth of Ron Paul as gospel. He figured that since Ron Paul and his acolytes claim that everyone hates America and our imperialist tendencies, that he would be welcomed as a hero who fought for liberty in many countries – especially ones who are adversarial toward the United States.

But it didn’t work out that way. Like Ron Paul, Snowden appears to be woefully ignorant of political, diplomatic and foreign policy realities, and trying to kiss up to nations that don’t like the US wouldn’t quite work out the way he planned.

Obama didn’t make Edward Snowden stateless. The only person who made Edward Snowden stateless was Edward Snowden.  He made a decision to release classified information, and expected to be welcomed anywhere in the world with open arms, because the US (according to Paulian rhetoric) is so reviled by everyone because of our foreign policy.

As far as I’m concerned, Snowden needs to take some responsibility for the decision he made. If he truly believed it was correct to release classified information to the world, he needs to understand that decision comes with consequences. And he needs to be able to accept those consequences, which he doesn’t appear to be willing to do, preferring to snuggle up to our adversaries in hopes that the enemy of his enemy will be his friend.

As far as I’m concerned, if he’s proud of what he did, then he needs the conviction to stand up proudly in the United States and answer the charges against him.

That’s what I call real courage.


So Let’s Say It Was a Mistake…

Let’s say that the government accidentally and mistakenly mined data on millions of Americans. Let’s say they meant to focus on some suspects in foreign intelligence cases but wound up targeting innocent citizens suspected of nothing and accessing their telephone and email communications. That’s exactly what officials are claiming transpired when NSA “mistakenly” intercepted communications of innocent Americans.

Ret. Adm. Dennis Blair, who served as President Obama’s DNI in 2009 and 2010, told NBC News that, in one instance in 2009, analysts entered a phone number into agency computers and “put one digit wrong,” and mined a large volume of information about Americans with no connection to terror. The matter was reported to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, whose judges required that all the data be destroyed, he said.

Another former senior official, who asked not to be identified, confirmed Blair’s recollection and said the incident created serious problems for the Justice Department, which represents the NSA before the federal judges on the secret court.

This is one of the problems of allowing the government to snoop as they do.

Let’s assume that this time it was a mistake. Thousands of people have had their privacy compromised, and we knew nothing about it until this fiasco was made public by the Guardian a few days ago.

Let’s assume the government’s intentions were nothing but pure – to protect this nation from another devastating terrorist attack by using the best tools at its disposal.

The problem is it happened, and it can happen again.

It can happen by mistake – through a mistyped digit – allowing government to snoop on innocent people.

It can happen intentionally – through one bureaucrat’s desire to snoop on a paramour who hasn’t paid enough attention to him – allowing government to snoop on an innocent person and find out with whom he or she may be involved, in order to allow one bureaucrat access to the object of his or her “affection.”

It can happen intentionally – through a directive from Washington, as a way to target political opponents or groups – allowing government to snoop on an innocent person or group, allowing politicians to gather data on adversaries and shut them up.

Do you see the common thread here?

Allowing the government such power endangers all of our rights – whether through an inadvertent mistake or intentional abuse – allows the potential for serious compromises and violations of our rights and freedoms as Americans.

And that is distinctly UNAmerican.

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