Archive for May, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 111, May 31, 2013: Segment 1: Inching Towards World War III Starting in Syria — All In Means War — All Out Means Peace — Videos

Posted on May 31, 2013. Filed under: American History, Budgetary Policy, Business, Communications, Economics, Energy, Federal Government, Fiscal Policy, Government, History, Natural Gas, Oil, Philosophy, Politics, Polls, Public Sector Unions, Tax Policy, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Unions, Videos, Violence, War, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Pronk Pops Show 111: May 31, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 110: May 24, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 109: May 17, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 108: May 10, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 107: May 3, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 106: April 26, 2013

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Pronk Pops Show 104: April 12, 2013

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Segment 1: Inching Towards World War III Starting in Syria — All In Means War — All Out Means Peace — Videos

Who is Obama Arming In Syria – TheBlazeTV – The Glenn Beck Radio Program – 2013.05.17

 TheBlazeTV – The Glenn Beck Program – Libya–The Real Story

U.S. & Russia One Step Closer To War

Glenn Beck The Fundamental Transformation of the United States

Benghazi-Gate: Connection between CIA and al-Qaeda in Libya and Syria, with Turkey’s Help

Ron Paul speech on Syria June 19th, 2012.

General Wesley Clark: Wars Were Planned – Seven Countries In Five Years

Congressman Ron Paul, MD – We’ve Been NeoConned

Syrian Civil War & Chinese Cyber Spying Challenging Obama’s Foreign Policy

Syria gets first batch of Russian S-300 missiles – reports

Syria has received its first batch of Russian anti-aircraft missiles – that’s what President Assad reportedly told a Hezbollah television network. The statement’s adding fuel to the tensions over the S-300 air defence system, with the U.S. slamming Russia’s actions and Israel signaling it would prevent it from becoming operational. RT’s Paula Slier is following international escalation over Syria

Iran Syria Expert Analyst Majid Rafizadeh on BBC World News: Iran Syria Relations, US Foreign Policy

Former State Dept. Official Offers Foreign Policy Critiques

Margaret Warner gets a behind-the-scenes look at the making of U.S. foreign policy from former State Department official Vali Nasr. His new book, “The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in Retreat,” critiques the Obama administration’s handling of Pakistan, Afghanistan and the Middle East.

Vali Nasr on Syria

On this edition of the program, a wide-ranging newsmaker interview with Vali Nasr, dean of the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), former senior advisor to Richard Holbrooke (former Obama administration special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan). Nasr speaks with host Carol Castiel about his new book, “The Dispensable Nation: American Foreign Policy in Retreat,” as well as current U.S. foreign policy toward Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran and Syria.

WORLD WAR 3 Syria v US

‘Non-Syrian foreign-backed opposition illegitimate’

Assad has upper hand in Syria talks

New York Times Reporter Anthony Shadid Dies in Syria watch

Fight for Oil: 100 Years in the Middle East (1/3)

Fight for Oil: 100 Years in the Middle East (2/3)

Fight for Oil: 100 Years in the Middle East (3/3)

Background Articles and Videos

New York Times Reporter Anthony Shadid Comments on Rebellions in Libya and the Middle East. 2 of 2

New York Times Reporter Anthony Shadid Comments on Rebellions in Libya and the Middle East. 1 of 2

Related Posts On Pronk Pops

Pronk Pops Show 111, May 31, 2013: Segment 0: The Dirty Dozen aka Soros, Obama, Jarrett, Shulman, Kelley, Hall, Lerner, Paz, Thomas, Seok, IRS Agents: White House–IRS Collectivist Conspiracy Targets Pro Israel, Pro Life, Tea Party and Conservative Movement Groups To Suppress Voter Turnout! — Civil Rights Violations — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 111, May 31, 2013: Segment 0: The Dirty Dozen aka Soros, Obama, Jarrett, Shulman, Kelley, Hall, Lerner, Paz, Thomas, Seok, IRS Agents: White House–IRS Collectivist Conspiracy Targets Pro Israel, Pro Life, Tea Party and Conservative Movement Groups To Suppress Voter Turnout! — Civil Rights Violations — Videos

Posted on May 30, 2013. Filed under: Business, Communications, Economics, Federal Government, Government, Law, Media, Philosophy, Public Sector Unions, Radio, Taxes, Unions, Videos, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Pronk Pops Show 111: May 31, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 110: May 24, 2013

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Pronk Pops Show 108: May 10, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 107: May 3, 2013

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Pronk Pops Show 105: April 19, 2013

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Segment 0: The Dirty Dozen aka Soros, Obama, Jarrett, Shulman, Kelley, Hall, Lerner, Paz, Thomas, Seck, IRS Agents: White House–IRS Collectivist Conspiracy Targets Pro Israel, Pro Life, Tea Party and Conservative Movement Groups To Suppress Voter Turnout! — Videos

George-Soros

902px-Barack_Obama_and_Valerie_Jarrett_in_the_West_Wing_corridor_cropped

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shulman_lerner

colleen_Kelley_NTEU

Sarah-Hall-Ingram-IRS

Lois_Lerner

IRS Subject Matter Expert
Holly Paz Holly Paz
Manager
Exempt Organizations Guidance

Holly is a manager in Exempt Organizations’ Guidance office, which is responsible for drafting notices, announcements, revenue procedures, and other guidance on exempt organization matters. Holly’s work often involves coordination with the Office of Chief Counsel and the Treasury Department on legislative and technical issues, as well as providing information to the tax writing committees of Congress.

Before coming to Exempt Organizations, Holly served as an attorney-advisor in the Taxpayer Advocate Service, an independent organization within the Internal Revenue Service that helps taxpayers resolve problems with the IRS. She also worked for eight years as an attorney in private practice focusing on exempt organizations issues. She earned her juris doctor from the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

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IRS-org_chartIRS_Scandal_names

ObmaCare-IRS

The Dirty Dozen Movie Trailer

Dirty Dozen (1967) – General Inspection

Movie of the Week: Dirty Dozen – Lee Marvin Review by Best Movies By Farr

cartoon

Glenn Beck » IRS, ObamaCare, And The White House

 George Soros Exposed – Puppet master Glenn Beck

George Soros and the economy – GBTV

The Shadow Party – GBTV

Obama Admin Evolution Of A Scandal – IRS Enemies List – Hannity

Reality Check: IRS Scandal Exclusive

Heads are starting to roll at the IRS. Ben is following a story that is going in many directions. With many who are distancing themselves. In fact, He first told

you on March 1, 2012 that Tea Party and Liberty Groups in seven states claimed they were being targeted by the IRS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Sit-….

In this Reality Check compilation, Ben goes in-depth on the IRS vs. Tea Party, Liberty groups, and religious organizations.

The IRS apologized. The white House decries the unacceptable actions and any connection to the current administration.

Ben has tracked the chain of command through the Cincinnati office and is going to show you how this situation transitions into the Washington D.C. office, and possibly beyond.

Obama Admin IRS Scandal & Congress Dealing With Scandals – Krauthammer On O’Reilly

IRS Worker At Center Of Targeting Scandal Gets Promoted -RPT – Cavuto – Wake Up America

Goldberg on IRS Scandal on IRS

Stein on IRS Scandal

IRS – May 6th Letter To Conservative Group Suggest Targeting Is Not Over Cavuto

Tea Party Groups Protests The IRS

The Blaze TV “The IRS Tax Scandal” Matt Kibbe & Adam Brandon 5/29/13

Part II – The Blaze TV “The IRS Tax Scandal” Matt Kibbe & Adam Brandon 5/29/13

Tea Party Groups To Sue IRS Over Targeting Of Conservatives – Megyn Kelly -Wake Up America

Katie Pavlich on Shulman’s 159 Visits to WH – IRS Scandal with Neil Cavuto – Fox Business – 5-30-13

IRS Scandal, How High Does It Go? Catastrophic Failure! – Greta On The Record

FreedomWorks VP: IRS Scandal Just Beginning [The Christian Broadcasting Network]

IRS Scandal – New Information On IRS Chain Of Command – Missing Link Cindy Thomas? – Megyn Kelly

IRS Targeting Scandal Sarah Hall Inram Now Running Obamacare Office & Benghazi Update

Glenn Beck » IRS, ObamaCare, And The White House

You are a conspiracy theorist if you blame Obama

Peakaboo Politics: The IRS Scandal — A Timeline of Confusing Statements

IRS Lois Lerner Pleads The Fifth, Dismissed From Scandal Hearing

IRS 5-22-2013 House Oversight Committee 4

TRIFECTA — Targeting Tea: Obama’s IRS Singles Out Conservative Groups

Mark Levin on Hannity: Obama Said Only Learned About IRS Story on Friday

The IRS and Sarah Hall Ingram

The IRS And ObamaCare

Former IRS Commish Shulman cites Easter Egg Roll for visiting White House 118 times

U.S. Treasury Knew About I.R.S. Partisanship

Why IRS Scandal Could Haunt Obama

FTN: NTEU urges political contributions

Why I Serve: Colleen Kelley, National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU)

Myth About Federal Workers

2013 NTEU Legislative Conference – Press Conference

Glenn Beck – IRS targeted conservatives

Obama to “rule” as president

Who is Valerie Jarret?

Fall of America: G. Edward Griffin on Conspiracy Theories

G. Edward Griffin – The Collectivist Conspiracy

PJTV: Obama IRS Scandal Uncovers the Ugly Side of Income Taxes

IRS scandal: GOP looks to seize election opportunity, CBS News Video 5-30-2013

FreedomWorks On Tap “The IRS Tax Terror” 5-16-13

Obama’s Big Oil Scandal with Socialism, Soros and Organized Crime Part 1

“Obama administrations corruption is taking America into socialism just as FDR did. George Soros has had direct financial ties to the gulf oil disaster and media matters in owned by George Soros defending his corrupt socialist agenda. Obama’s Crime Inc is now a network of thieves and it can be traced. To get in office, Socialist Progressives who control and run the Democrat party, always say one thing about being for average person to get elected without any specifics, then once in power, they increase the size of government to create a class system and network where their rich and powerful supporters are given special favors for supporting a socialist regime in America with TAXPAYER DOLLARS. Socialist Progressives are the ones who create the winners and loser in our American economy and have always made it their priority to collapse the US Economy while taking away every American citizens freedoms, except any freedom that in lockstep with destroying the American Culture, the American traditional family, the next generation, and keeping the American people utterly clueless and apathetic. George Soros is to Darth Sidious as Barack Obama is to Darth Vader over our hijacked Democratic Republic called America.”

Obama’s Big Oil Scandal with Socialism, Soros and Organized Crime Part 2

Obama’s Big Oil Scandal with Socialism, Soros and Organized Crime Part 3

Former IRS Chief’s Wife Works for Leftist Campaign Finance Reform Group

On Friday, reports broke that Former IRS chief Doug Shulman’s wife works with a liberal lobbying group, Public Campaign, where she is the senior program advisor. Public Campaign is an “organization dedicated to sweeping campaign reform that aims to dramatically reduce the role of big special interest money in American politics.”

The goal of Public Campaign is to target political groups like the conservative non-profits at issue in the IRS scandal. The Campaign says it “is laying the foundation for reform by working with a broad range of organizations, including local community groups, around the country that are fighting for change and national organizations whose members are not fairly represented under the current campaign finance system.”

CEO of Public Campaign Nick Nyhart has offered words of support for the IRS’ targeting: “There are legitimate questions to be asked about political groups that are hiding behind a 501(c)4 status. It’s unfortunate a few bad apples at the IRS will make it harder for those questions to be asked without claims of bias.”

Public Campaign gets its cash from labor unions like AFL-CIO, AFSCME, SEIU, and Move On.

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/05/31/former-IRS-chief-Public-Campiagn

George Soros Gives $1 Million To Barack Obama Super PAC

The Huffington Post | By Paul Blumenthal

The Democrats heavy-hitters are finally coming out of the dugout to play ball in the brave new world of unlimited contributions and super PACs.

A spokesperson for Priorities USA Action, the super PAC backing President Barack Obama’s reelection, confirmed to The Huffington Post Thursday that billionaire investor George Soros has committed $1 million to the PAC. A spokesman for House Majority PAC also confirmed to HuffPost that Soros had given a combined $500,000 to House Majority PAC and the Senate Majority PAC in September.

The New York Times’ Nick Confessore was first to publish the news about the Soros donations. According to Confessore, Soros’ political adviser Michael Vachon announced the contributions at a meeting of the liberal donor group, Democracy Alliance where former President Bill Clinton, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) were urging donors — most of whom have refused until now — to give to super PACs. Aside from the Soros donations, another $10 million was promised by donors attending the meeting.

Confessore writes that Soros, who did not attend the meeting, sent an email to Democracy Alliance members explaining his contributions:

“I fully support the re-election of President Obama,” Mr. Soros said in the email. He had not contributed until now, he wrote, because he opposed the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010, which paved the way for super PACs and unlimited money in politics. But since then, Mr. Soros wrote, he had become “appalled by the Romney campaign which is openly soliciting the money of the rich to starve the state of the money it needs to provide social services.”

It’s a sharp contrast to where Soros stood shortly after the 2010 midterm elections, when he expressed criticism of the Obama administration before a group of donors at a private meeting and suggested they pledge their money elsewhere.

Soros already has given $1.275 million to super PACs, the majority of which went to the Democratic opposition research hub American Bridge. His announced contributions this election still come nowhere near the amount that he gave to try to unseat President George W. Bush in 2004. Soros donated more than $30 million in that election — a record sum until international casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson dropped more than $70 million this year into a host of super PACs and non-disclosing non-profits.

George Soros: His Influence on the Media and the IRS Scandal

Soros’ Hand in the IRS Scandal

By Russ Jones

New details regarding the IRS scandal that found the nation’s top tax office intentionally targeting conservative groups are surfacing. Like, for example, the fact that George Soros-funded organizations sent letters encouraging the IRS to investigate conservative organizations.

According to findings reported by the Media Research Center (MRC), Soros gave $6.1 million to liberal groups who urged the Internal Revenue Service to investigate conservative non-profit organizations, including various tea party and Christian groups.

Dan Gainor, vice president of business and culture for MRC, says the scandal could be traced to a series of letters that two liberal groups — Campaign Legal Center (CLC) and Democracy 21 — sent to the IRS in 2010 and 2011 asking for an “investigation” of political consultant Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS.

“What they need to focus on is this timeline,” Gainor suggests. “We actually carry the timeline here, and the timeline is when these lefty operations sent their letters to the IRS and what the IRS did soon after.”

Pro Publica, The Huffington Post and Mother Jones were just a few of the accomplices that helped instigate IRS investigations. But as of 2010, Pro Publica received a two-year contribution of $125,000 each year from George Soros’ Open Society Foundations.

“It is a who’s who of far-left organizations,” the MRC spokesman offers. “Remember — this is George Soros, who has given $8.5 billion to charity. Of that … that we could track, $550 million has gone to liberal operations here in the United States.”

Applications of nine organizations applying for tax-exempt status that had yet to be approved were sent to Pro Publica. Unapproved applications are not supposed to be made public.

SOURCE: http://www.onenewsnow.com/politics-govt/2013/05/20/soros-hand-in-the-irs-scandal

Soros Gave $6.1 Million to Groups Linked to Pressure on IRS to Target Conservative Nonprofits

By Mike Ciandella (CNS News), May 15, 2013 •

As IRS efforts targeting politically-conservative groups gained momentum, George Soros-funded liberal groups repeatedly called on the IRS to investigate conservative nonprofit organizations.

While the first reported instances of extra IRS scrutiny for conservative groups began in Cincinnati in March of 2010, the attacks began to pick up steam on a national level soon after Soros-funded groups began firing off letters to the IRS in October of that year – following the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling.

The talking points of these groups then bounced around a carefully created progressive “echo chamber,” until they eventually made their way into established media outlets. Key IRS policy changes about how it investigated conservative groups took place soon after it received three separate letters sent by Soros-funded liberal organizations.

Several Soros-funded groups including the Campaign Legal Center, Democracy 21, the Center for Public Integrity, Mother Jones and Alternet have worked to pressure the IRS to target conservative nonprofit groups. The subsequent IRS investigation flagged more than 100 tea party-related applications for higher scrutiny, including applications that included the words “Tea Party” and “patriot.”

The IRS scandal can be traced back to a series of letters that the liberal groups Campaign Legal Center (CLC) and Democracy 21 sent to the IRS back in 2010 and 2011. Both groups were funded by George’s Soros’s Open Society Foundations. The CLC received $677,000 and Democracy 21 got $365,000 from the Soros-backed foundation, according to the Foundation’s 990 tax forms.

The letters specifically targeted conservative Super PACs like Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, asking the IRS to scrutinize them more thoroughly to determine whether or not they should retain their tax-exempt status.

On Oct. 5, 2010, when the first letter was sent to the IRS, calling specifically for the agency to “investigate” Crossroads GPS. The letter claimed Crossroads was “impermissibly using its tax status to spend tens of millions of dollars in the 2010 congressional races while hiding the donors funding these expenditures from the American people.” Democracy 21 President Fred Wertheimer wrote a blog post for the liberal Huffington Post to promote it, and the effort to get the media to notice the anti-conservative campaign began.

On June 27, 2011, a second letter by the CLC and Democracy 21 complained about enforcement of 501(c)(4) tax regulations, asking “that the IRS issue new regulations that better enforce the law.” Two days later, an IRS senior agency official was briefed on a new policy targeting groups which “criticize how the country is being run,” according to a Washington Post story. According to the Post, this policy was later revised.

A third letter by the CLC and Democracy 21, on Sept 28, 2011, got media traction. The letter showed the escalation of the left’s complaint about 501(c)(4) groups. It challenged “the eligibility of four organizations engaged in campaign activity to be treated as 501(c)(4) tax exempt organizations.” The four organizations included Crossroads GPS, Priorities USA, American Action Network and Americans Elect.

The Soros-funded Center for Public Integrity ($2,716,328) published a “study” on 501(c)(4) groups, on October 31, which drew heavily from, and referenced, the CLC and Democracy 21. The Center for Public Integrity has strong media connections and boasts an advisory board that includes Ben Sherwood, president of ABC News, and Michele Norris, an NPR host, as well as a board of directors with such prominent names as Huffington Post CEO Arianna Huffington, Steve Kroft of CBS News’s 60 Minutes and Craig Newmark (founder of Craigslist).

This study then led to a Mother Jones article about a month later, on November 18, which was reposted on the left-wing blog Alternet on November 21. By December of 2011, the topic had been picked up in a New York Times editorial, and then began receiving other media coverage. That editorial called for “the Internal Revenue Service to crack down on the secret political money already flooding the 2012 campaign from partisan operatives ludicrously claiming to be ‘social welfare’ activists.”

On Jan. 15, 2012, the IRS targeted groups focused on limiting government or educating people about the Constitution and Bill of Rights

Alternet and Mother Jones are both members of The Media Consortium, which is designed to do exactly what happened here. The Media Consortium was created to be a progressive “echo chamber,” where 63 separate left-wing media outlets can network and share ideas, as well as cross-promote stories. Other members of the Consortium include such liberal outlets as The Nation, Democracy Now! and The American Prospect. The consortium has also received $675,000 in Soros funds since 2000. Alternet ($285,000) and Mother Jones ($485,000) have both also received individual funding from Soros’s Open Society Foundations.

This isn’t the only time the IRS has targeted conservative groups recently, nor is it the only connection between the IRS and Soros-funded groups. The IRS gave the left-wing journalism site ProPublica the applications for nine conservative groups pending tax-exempt status.

The IRS also released the confidential donor lists of the National Organization for Marriage to the liberal Human Rights Campaign. Both the Human Rights Campaign ($2,716,328) and ProPublica ($300,000) are also Soros-funded. Despite its blatant liberal leanings, ProPublica boasts a staff of well-known journalists, including veterans of The New York Times and The Wall Street journal, as well as of liberal operations like the Center for American Progress and The Nation, and has even won two Pulitzer Prizes.

Timeline Shows Influence of Soros-Funded Groups:

March 1-17, 2010: First ten reported cases of targeting by the IRS against groups that had ties to the “tea party or similar organizations.”

Sept. 16, 2010: TIME article “The New GOP Money Stampede” quotes Wertheimer;

Sept. 23, 2010: DISCLOSE act, a campaign finance disclosure act specifically targeting a Tea Party group, in the writing of which the CLC participated, fails in the Senate;

Sept. 28, 2010: Democrat Senator Max Baucus writes a letter to the IRS, citing the TIME article;

Oct. 5, 2010: Democracy 21 and Campaign Legal Center petition IRS, Wertheimer writes HuffPo article;

Oct. 7, 2010: Legal brief from HoltzmanVogel PLLC against the Democracy 21 petition;

Oct. 14, 2010: Dick Durbin asks IRS to investigate American Crossroads, HuffPo coverage;

June 27, 2011: Second petition to the IRS by CLC and Democracy 21;

June 29, 2011: IRS senior agency official Lois Lerner briefed on efforts to target groups which “criticize how the country is being run”;

Sept. 28, 2011: CLC and Democracy 21 petition IRS again, this time about four conservative groups;

Oct. 31, 2011: CPI “investigation”;

Nov. 18, 2011: Mother Jones article;

Nov. 21, 2011: Alternet repost of Mother Jones Article;

Dec. 29, 2011: New York Times oped;

Jan. 15, 2012: IRS targeted groups focusing on limiting government or educating on the Constitution and Bill of Rights;

February 2012: First articles promoting this issue appear in New York Times, Washington Post and LA Times.

$6.1 Million in Soros Funding Since 2000

  • Center for Public Integrity: $2,716,328
  • Campaign Legal Center: $677,000
  • Media Consortium: $675,000
  • Mother Jones: $485,000
  • Democracy 21: $365,000
  • ProPublica: $300,000
  • Alternet: $285,000
  • Human Rights Campaign: $600,000

SOURCE: http://cnsnews.com/blog/mike-ciandella/soros-gave-61-million-groups-linked-pressure-irs-target-conservative-nonprofits

IRS Chain of Command Suggests Scandal Not Limited to ‘Low-Level Employees’

By MARK HEMINGWAY

After the IRS revealed it had wrongly targeted hundreds of conservative and Tea Party groups, the agency claimed that the misconduct was limited to “low-level employees” in its Cincinnati office. Yesterday, the attorney for Lois Lerner, the head of the IRS’s tax-exempt organizations division, told the House Oversight Committee she would invoke her Fifth Amendment rights, making that explanation much less credible.

Now the local Cincinnati Fox affiliate, FOX19, has done some digging and uncovered information suggesting that top officials at the IRS weren’t too far removed from the six low-level employees identified as making unjustified inquiries. Fox19 has not only identified all six IRS agents in question, it turns out that they all have only one supervisor in common:

When an application for tax exempt status comes into the IRS, agents have 270 days to work through that application. If the application is not processed within those 270 days it automatically triggers flags in the system. When that happens, individual agents are required to input a status update on that individual case once a month, every month until the case is resolved. …

So who in the chain of command would have received all these flags? The answer, according to the IRS directory, one woman in Cincinnati, Cindy Thomas, the Program Manager of the Tax Exempt Division. Because all six of our IRS workers have different individual and territory managers, Cindy Thomas is one manager they all have common.

Cindy Thomas’s name is significant, because Thomas is the woman who leaked nine tax documents to the journalism outlet ProPublica last year. The leaking of pending tax documents is a clear violation of the law. After having uncovered the nature of Thomas’s involvement, FOX19 looks at her place in the IRS chain of command:

Former Acting IRS Commissioner Steven Miller… retires

Joseph Grant, Commissioner of Tax Exempt and Government Entities… retires.

Lois Lerner, Head of Exempt Organization…says she will invoke her 5th amendment right to not incriminate herself when called before Congress on Wednesday.

Holly Paz, Director of Exempt Organizations, subpoenaed to Washington to be interviewed by members of Congress.

All of this IRS leadership, in Washington D.C.

Then one level down is Cindy Thomas, the highest ranking employee in Cincinnati in this Tax Exempt and Government Entities Department that no one in Congress is talking to… yet.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/irs-chain-command-suggests-scandal-not-limited-low-level-employees_728777.html

Cracks Widen In The IRS Scandal Stonewall

Scandal Watch: New evidence makes it clear that the Internal Revenue Service campaign against conservatives wasn’t the result of two “rogue” agents, but was directed from higher up. The question is, how high up?

The claim that a couple of workers in the bowels of an IRS office in Cincinnati managed to block tax-exempt applications from conservative groups for more than two years, while subjecting them to outrageous, intrusive and improper requests for information, started falling apart days ago.

Last weekend, the Washington Post quoted a staffer saying that “everything comes from the top” at the IRS.

As Colleen Kelley, president of the union that represents IRS agents, told the Associated Press, “No processes or procedures or anything like that would ever be done just by frontline employees without any management involvement.”

And the New York Times reported that IRS accountants got a “directive from their manager” in early 2010 to “be on the lookout” for Tea Party-type groups.

This week, NBC News quoted a former manager of that Cincinnati office who explained how various internal checks and balances would have prevented workers from carrying out such a scheme on their own.

And Cincinnati’s Fox 19 News, which has done more solid reporting on this story than most of the major news outlets, looks to have put the final nail in the “rogue agent” story.

The local news station found that there were six agents — not two as former IRS head Steven Miller insisted just last week — who worked on these tax-exempt applications. These agents, Fox 19 learned, all had different direct managers, who in turn had different territory managers.

That means any directive applying to all these workers would had to have come from at least three levels up the management chain.

That manager turns out to be Cindy Thomas — who the IRS says oversees “exempt organization determinations” nationwide. She also happens to be the same person who ProPublica said signed off on releasing nine confidential tax-exempt applications from conservative groups to that liberal-leaning news website.

So if Thomas ordered the targeting, why? And if someone told her to get it done, who was that?

Fox 19 also learned all these managers would have known that Tea Party applications were being blocked long ago. IRS agents must handle tax-exempt applications within 270 days, after which the system automatically sends out an alert, making the agent provide a status update each month until the case is resolved.

Since the IRS started blocking Tea Party-type applications in April 2010 and didn’t approve a single one for more than two years, “thousands of red flags would have been generated.” Given the 270-day schedule, the first alerts would have hit back in December 2010.

Given all this, it’s not surprising that one top IRS official is now pleading the Fifth, and that the IRS is stonewalling congressional requests for communications relating to the targeting, including crucial emails.

Every new tidbit of information only makes the scandal look worse.

IRS Union Chief Stonewalls

By Jeffrey Lord

Yesterday I asked in this space, among other questions about the IRS scandal, this:

What was the subject of the Obama-Kelley March 31, 2010 meeting?

I received the following response to my question from the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) — the union for IRS employees headed by ex-14 year agent Colleen Kelley. The response came from union spokesperson Dina Long. It reads, in its entirety, this:

Statement of NTEU

On March 31, 2010, NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley attended the White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility at the Old Executive Office Building. The forum was attended by approximately 200 attendees including business leaders, workers, policy experts and labor representatives discussing telework and worklife balance issues. Attendees were broken into five groups to discuss workplace issues. The president made opening remarks. President Kelley did not have any direct contact with the president or the first lady. President Kelley has never discussed the tea party with the president.

Below is a description of the March 2010 forum from the White House web site:

On March 31, 2010, President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and the White House Council on Women and Girls hosted the White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility. The Forum brought together small business owners, corporate leaders, workers, policy experts, and labor leaders to explore the importance of creating workplace practices that allow America’s working men and women to meet the demands of their jobs without sacrificing the needs of their families. Building on the momentum coming out of that forum, the Administration is hosting follow-up forums around the country and encourages others to convene events in their communities to engage in dialogue and take action on this important issue.”

Sounds reasonable, yes?

Read again. Let’s see how the Washington game is played.

Over here, in a story by the Daily Caller’s Caroline May, the NTEU responded to Ms. May with the exact same statement that was sent to me.

With one difference. This interesting sentence:

President Kelley has never discussed the tea party with the president.

The folks over at the Daily Caller, Tucker Carlson’s site, are no dummies. If that sentence had been included in the otherwise identical response they received from the NTEU, they would have reported it.

So why was that one particular sentence tacked on to the otherwise identical statement from the NTEU? In a response to me?

Because in fact it is an answer — a disturbingly partial answer — to but one question of eight questions that I asked of Ms. Kelley. Let me share with you the exact email I sent to the NTEU for Colleen Kelley:

Hi…

This is Jeff Lord from the American Spectator.

I am the author of today’s article Obama and the IRS: The Smoking Gun? http://spectator.org/archives/2013/05/20/obama-and-the-irs-the-smoking which mentions NTEU president Colleen Kelley.

US News reports today the March 31, 2010 meeting mentioned in the article was a ” ‘Workplace Flexibility Forum,’ a March 2010 event that was about the state of flexible work arrangements.” I realize there are a number of questions here, but under the circumstances of this IRS controversy I want to make sure that Ms. Kelley has the opportunity to answer. I will be happy to publish her answers verbatim in The American Spectator.

Thanks,
Jeff Lord
The American Spectator

US News mentions that it has received no comment from Ms. Kelley. I would like to get a response from Ms. Kelley to the following questions:

• Did the President himself ever, at any time, discuss the Tea Party with Ms. Kelley?

• Did the President ever communicate his thoughts on the Tea Party to Kelley – in any fashion other than a face-to-face conversation such as e-mail, text or by phone?

• Was the Tea Party or any other group opposing the President’s agenda discussed at the March 31st meeting, or before or after that meeting?

• Will Ms. Kelley be asking the White House to release any e-mails, text or phone records that detail Kelley’s contacts with not only Mr. Obama but his staff? Will Ms. Kelley release any of these communications that are in the files of NTEU?

• Will Ms. Kelley ask the IRS to release all e-mail, text or phone records between Kelley or any other leader of the NTEU with IRS employees? With the Oversight Board? IRS employees are federal employees paid with taxpayer dollars.

• Has Ms. Kelley ever been given access to IRS records of Tea Party cases? Has she ever discussed the Tea Party or any conservative organization with IRS employees at any level?

• What did Ms. Kelley discuss with the President or any White House or government official at the December 3, 2009 White House Christmas Party that she attended?

• What role did Executive Order 13522 play in the IRS investigations of the Tea Party and all these other conservative groups?

That would be eight questions for “President Kelley,” as she was called in the NTEU response.

The very first question was:

Did the President himself ever, at any time, discuss the Tea Party with Ms. Kelley?

To which the NTEU responded by simply tacking on the following single sentence to their boilerplate reply to the media:

President Kelley has never discussed the tea party with the president.

But the rest of it? The answers to questions two through eight?

Silence.

Silence from the official NTEU spokesperson Dina Long. Silence from Colleen Kelley herself.

There was no “I’ll get back to you further.” There was no “Give us some time, what’s your deadline?” There was just….silence.

Note as well that when contacted by the Washington Post last week, the NTEU’s Kelley was, in the words of the Post headline, “mum.” Wrote the Post:

So far, the National Treasury Employees Union, which generally is not shy with public comment, has next to nothing to say about that or anything else.

NTEU is working to get the facts but does not have any specifics at this time. Moreover, IRS employees are not permitted to discuss taxpayer cases. We cannot comment further at this time,” NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley said via e-mail.

A call to the NTEU office in Cincinnati resulted in a similar response: “We’ve been directed by national office. We have no comment.”

So what do we have here?

This.

A powerful labor union — the union that represents IRS employees — is displaying a pattern of refusing to answer questions. Other than the solitary statement to The American Spectator that “President Kelley has never discussed the tea party with the president.”

Beyond a generic, boilerplate answer to media inquiries, there is silence.

No answers about releasing union e-mails or phone records to or from the White House, the IRS or the IRS Oversight Board (on which board sits a former NTEU president) and no answers on all the rest.

But over here at the Washington Post, we have, buried in a story about the Cincinnati office of the IRS, this key phrase:

“Everything comes from the top. We don’t have any authority to make those decisions without someone signing off on them. There has to be a directive.”

Got that?

“Everything comes from the top.”

The top is where Colleen Kelley, the head of all those unionized IRS workers in Cincinnati, operates.

The top is the White House, the IRS offices in Washington, D.C., and the IRS Oversight Board.

The top is what makes it possible for the IRS union to have the run of the IRS, to get an Executive Order (# 13522) from the President to “allow employee and unions to have pre-decisional involvement in all workplace matters….”

The top is where Colleen Kelley goes to a White House Christmas party as the guest of President and Mrs. Obama — six days before that Executive Order 13522 is issued.

The top is where Colleen Kelley can be the head of the IRS union that gets its dues, its very survival money, from employees being paid by taxpayer dollars — and not have to answer questions about the details of her “collaboration” with the White House, the Obama-run IRS and the IRS Oversight Board.

And being at the top is what gives Ms. Kelley the belief that she can head an IRS public employees union — and do the old Nixon stonewall.

She isn’t the only one at the top busy stonewalling right now.

And as with Watergate, the place to get to the bottom of the top is Congress.

Where a new version of an old question should be asked:

What did the IRS union president know — and when did she know it?

http://spectator.org/archives/2013/05/21/irs-union-chief-stonewalls/

The Liberal Union Behind the IRSBy Jeffrey Lord

“My question is who is going to jail?”
House Speaker John Boehner on the IRS Scandal

The President couldn’t even bring himself to breathe a word of the truth.

He could fire some hapless Acting Commissioner, but last night Mr. Obama never came close to discussing that which must never be discussed.

The IRS?

It’s about a union: the National Treasury Employees Union. The NTEU. A left-wing union representing 150,000 employees in 31 separate government agencies, including the IRS. A union that not only endorsed President Obama for election and re-election, but a union whose current president, Colleen Kelly, was a 14-year IRS agent and now is both union president and Obama administration appointee (of which more in a moment).

It’s about 94% of NTEU union contributions going to Democrats in the Senate and House in 2012 — candidates who campaigned as vociferous opponents of the Tea Party.

And the recently released report from the Treasury Inspector General? You will not find a single reference to the NTEU. Whose members are both player and referee in the exploding controversy over the IRS targeting of conservative groups.

Which raises the obvious question: how many NTEU members were involved in the writing of the Inspector General’s report?

Even more to the point, what contact — what coordination — has the Obama White House had with their allies in the NTEU leadership as both the White House and the NTEU race to get on top of a scandal that is rapidly engulfing both?

Did I mention that the NTEU has no comment on all of this? And that when President Obama went in front of cameras to make his statement on the IRS scandal — he never once mentioned his very powerful union buddies that have the run of the IRS? Right down to the control of who gets a Blackberry? Literally.

Let’s first see how the IRS/NTEU game with the Tea Party and conservatives is played, shall we?

In the 2012 election cycle, the IRS union gave its money this way:

For the U.S. Senate:
Total to Democrats: $156,750
Total to Republicans: $1,000

For the U.S. House:
Total to Democrats: $391,062
Total to Republicans: $23,000

And the candidates on the receiving end of those IRS employee dollars? Yes indeed. They were candidates who were running flat out against the Tea Party, depicting Tea Party-supported candidates as dangerous, extremists, and crazies. Exhibiting exactly the anti-Tea Party antipathy on the campaign trail that has been revealed to be permeating the IRS.

No wonder. These Senate and House races were fueled in part by money donated by IRS employees.

Let’s take a look at specific races where the IRS employee money was involved.

Wisconsin: One of those IRS employee-backed Senate candidates was Democrat Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, who in fact won her Senate race over ex-Republican Governor Tommy Thompson.

The NTEU, the union representing IRS employees, gave Baldwin $8,500. And what was Baldwin’s view of the Tea Party? If you check over here at the Midwest Values PAC, a left-wing political action committee set up by liberal Senator Al Franken of Minnesota, you will find this headline:

National Memo: Tammy Baldwin Runs Straight At The Tea Party

The story begins this way, and I have put the key sentence in bold print:

Wisconsin Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin wants to be the first openly gay candidate elected to the United States Senate. In an exclusive interview with The National Memo over the weekend, she made clear how she means to go about doing it: running straight at the Tea Party.

Indiana: In the Indiana Senate race, the Democrats’ candidate was Joe Donnelly, who used his $5,000 contribution to run a winning anti-Tea Party race against Republican Richard Mourdock. Donnelly’s campaign website, presumably financed in part with the money contributed by IRS employees, has this headline attacking the Tea Party:

FACT CHECK: Mourdock Trying to Change Subject from Extreme TEA Party Views

The text of the Donnelly press release begins this way, with a direct attack on the Tea Party:

Indianapolis, Ind.—Today, Joe Donnelly’s campaign responded to Richard Mourdock’s latest ad trying to change the subject from his pattern of extreme TEA Party views.

“Hoosier voters are rejecting Richard Mourdock’s pattern of TEA Party extreme positions, so he is desperate to change the subject,” said Paul Tencher, campaign manager. “In fact, Indiana voters are responding to Joe’s message of working with both parties to get things done for middle class families. The only person playing politics in this race is Mr. Mourdock, as he tries to distract voters from his extreme views that are out of the mainstream.”

Missouri: Over in the Missouri Senate race between Democrat Claire McCaskill and Republican Todd Akin, the IRS employee money — in the form of a $10,000 contribution to McCaskill — was used by the McCaskill campaign to help send this e-mail to supporters that bluntly attacked the Tea Party as “dangerous”:

Akin’s Rap Sheet Makes It Clear: Tea Party Congressman’s Outside Of The Mainstream Views, Dangerous Policies Are Wrong for Missouri, From his record to his rhetoric, everything about Todd Akin’s Tea Party policies are outside of the mainstream and dangerous for Missouri families.

When Missouri Republicans nominated him last night, they pinned their Senate hopes on a far right, Tea Party Congressman whose candidacy diminishes the party’s prospects for November.

And over in House races? At the very top of the high dollar list were two vividly anti-Tea Party candidates who each received a $10,000 contribution of IRS employee dollars.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi: Pelosi’s strategy was made plain in this interview with liberal columnist Eleanor Clift of the Daily Beast:

Stung by the debt-deal loss, the minority leader plans to get Democrats back on their jobs message and hammer Tea Party lawmakers as extremists who want to destroy government.

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer: Hoyer famously attacked the Tea Party this way, as seen with this headline:

Hoyer: Tea Party People Come From Unhappy Families

There are a whole lot of people in the Tea Party that I see in these polls who don’t want any compromise. My presumption is they have unhappy families.

Understanding all of this — that IRS employees themselves are paying, through their union the NTEU, for the election of anti-Tea Party candidates — the absence of any mention whatsoever of the connection between the IRS and the NTEU puts the IG report in a very different light.

For example.

The IG report says — and I will bold print the key phrases — the following:

The IRS used inappropriate criteria that identified for review Tea Party and other organizations applying for tax-exempt status based upon their names or policy positions instead of indications of potential political campaign intervention. Ineffective management: 1) allowed inappropriate criteria to be developed and stay in place for more than 18 months, 2) resulted in substantial delays in processing certain applications, and 3) allowed unnecessary potentially involving information requests to be issued.

Although the processing of some applications with potential significant political campaign

intervention was started soon after receipt, no work was completed on the majority of these

applications for 13 months. This was due to delays in receiving assistance from the Exempt Organizations function Headquarters office. For the 296 total political campaign intervention applications TIGTA reviewed as of December 17, 2012, 108 had been approved, 28 were withdrawn by the applicant, none had been denied, and 160 were open from 206 to1,138 calendar days (some for more than three years and crossing two election cycles).

More than 20 months after the initial case was identified, processing the cases began in earnest. ….IRS officials stated that any donor information received in response to a request from its Determinations Unit was later destroyed.

Just in these opening statements of the IG report there is one very significant and glaring omission.

Where is the NTEU?

Note the phrases in bold print:

“The IRS”
“identified for review Tea Party and other organizations”
“Ineffective management”
“the processing”
“delays in receiving assistance from”
“approved”
“IRS officials stated”
“request from its Determinations Unit”

In each and every case these phrases identify actions taken by people — by IRS employees. IRS employees are members of the NTEU. The NTEU that is using money from these very same IRS employees to fund the campaigns of anti-Tea Party candidates like Baldwin, Donnelly, McCaskill, Pelosi and Hoyer. Not to mention all the rest of the Democrats who got a piece of the IRS employee money action.

As one would suspect, given the enormous clout of the liberal IRS union, it’s all about the politics. Liberal politics and the financing of the liberal welfare state. A federal version, if you will, of the recent famous struggle between Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and state employee unions.

How powerful is the NTEU within the IRS?

Look no further than this IG report from back in January of this year that discusses the role the union has inside the IRS bureaucracy in the minutia of which IRS employees get to carry a Blackberry. The report notes:

In June 2010, the IRS and the NTEU signed an agreement to standardize IRS policy regarding which IRS employees would be allowed (referred to as a “profiled” position in the agreement) to receive certain information technology equipment, including aircards and BlackBerry® smartphones.

Notice: the NTEU, which gave 94% of its campaign money to anti-Tea Party candidates, has the clout within the IRS to demand a say in who can and cannot carry a Blackberry and receive other high tech communications equipment. The report goes on to say:

Initially, IRS policy limited the assignment of BlackBerry® smartphones to executives and senior/departmental managers. However, the agreement between the IRS and the NTEU expanded availability to employees below the executive and senior/departmental level.

This doesn’t even mention the power the NTEU has inside the IRS to decide everything from promotion rules to size of employee workspaces and on and on.

So the obvious.

If you are working in the IRS, and you are an NTEU member, and you know your union leadership is funneling your union dues to anti-Tea Party candidates, and your union has so much raw power within the IRS that they even control whether you, an IRS employee, can get even such mundane tech gear as a Blackberry — what attitude are you going to display as you review Tea Party applications that must, by law, come in to the IRS for approval?

You already know what to do. And inside the IRS, that’s exactly what was done. The Tea Party, in the vernacular, was screwed. By IRS bureaucrats whose union money is being used to attack the Tea Party. Of course these IRS employees know what to do — most probably without even being asked. There is no need to ask. And if they don’t follow the union program — and want a Blackberry — tough luck.

And what of the NTEU president, Ms. Kelly? The one-time IRS agent also doubles as an Obama appointee (announced here by the Obama White House) to the Federal Salary Council. Identified in the Washington Post as:

…a panel obscure to most Washingtonians but one that performs a vital role in recommending raises for most federal employees.

Got that? The President of the NTEU — a union that has gone out of its way to use IRS employee money to defeat the Tea Party — has a “vital role in recommending raises for most federal employees” — which includes, of course, IRS employees.

As if IRS employees don’t have enough incentive to go after the Tea Party, their anti-Tea Party president has a say in whether they get not just a Blackberry but a raise as well.

Can you say: “conflict of interest”?

Let’s stop here and take a look at a famous incident with the IRS that has made news in the last few days: the Articles of Impeachment filed against President Richard Nixon.

By now, all manner of people have been reminded that President Nixon’s resignation was prompted by the House Judiciary Committee passing Articles of Impeachment, with Article 2, Section One specifically saying:

He has, acting personally and through his subordinates and agents, endeavored to obtain from the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, confidential information contained in income tax returns for purposed not authorized by law, and to cause, in violation of the constitutional rights of citizens, income tax audits or other income tax investigations to be initiated or conducted in a discriminatory manner.

But there’s something missing in this recall of the tale of Nixon and the IRS.

In the early 1970s, President Nixon bypassed Congress and postponed salary increases for General Schedule federal employees. This included, of course, the IRS. The NTEU was furious with Nixon and took the President to court in a case called NTEU v. Nixon. The union won, and the federal government was forced to pay $533 million in back pay to federal employees.

So far, so normal in the world of Washington and relationships between a president and federal employees. Right?

Wrong.

Two years later, in 1974, the year the Watergate scandal reached high tide and Nixon was forced to resign, his abuse of the IRS cited in Article 2 as one of the reasons, there was another story out there involving the IRS and Richard Nixon.

As the liberal drive to get Nixon increased to the force of a political hurricane, reporter Jack White of Rhode Island’s Providence Journal-Evening Bulletin received an illegal leak — from the IRS. Specifically, an illegal leak from someone inside the IRS — an IRS employee — that leaked Richard Nixon’s 1970 and 1971 taxes. There was an immediate uproar — not about the leak or the identity of the leaker — but over the accusation that Nixon had underpaid his taxes. The House Judiciary Committee took the information and ran with it, opening an entire line of inquiry about Nixon’s tax deductions. So public was this it resulted in Nixon famously answering a question at a press conference this way:

People have got to know whether or not their President is a crook. Well, I’m not a crook. I’ve earned everything I’ve got.

And while people are remembering Nixon in the current furor over the IRS because of his own abuse of the IRS and Article 2, there was another Article —Article 4 — that was based on the leaked information from the still-unknown IRS employee to reporter Jack White. Read Article 4:

He knowingly and fraudulently failed to report certain income and claimed deductions in the year 1969, 1970, 1971, and 1972 on his Federal income tax returns which were not authorized by law, including deductions for a gift of papers to the United States valued at approximately $576,000.

Nixon vigorously disputed this, of course. But it didn’t matter. He was out the door, forced to resign. A leak from the IRS to the media about Nixon’s taxes one big no-never-mind.

And what happened to reporter Jack White? The man who received the illegal leak of Nixon’s tax returns — a violation of law — and published them?

Jack White was rewarded by his liberal media peers with the 1974 Pulitzer Prize in Journalism for National Reporting.

So.

What’s really going on with the IRS?

The Internal Revenue Service , with all of its mighty taxing and police powers, is in the hands of anti-Tea Party, anti-conservative, political activists. Liberal political activists from the NTEU masquerading as neutral career bureaucrats. The money of IRS employees used to fuel the National Treasury Employees Union’s open and expensive assault on the Tea Party and conservatives.

And comment on all this from the NTEU? Here’s this from the Washington Post:

So far, the National Treasury Employees Union, which generally is not shy with public comment, has next to nothing to say about that or anything else.

“NTEU is working to get the facts but does not have any specifics at this time. Moreover, IRS employees are not permitted to discuss taxpayer cases. We cannot comment further at this time,” NTEU President Colleen M. Kelley said via e-mail.

A call to the NTEU office in Cincinnati resulted in a similar response: “We’ve been directed by national office. We have no comment.”

No comment? No wonder.

IRS employees are not permitted to discuss taxpayer cases”??!! What a joke.

Here in the Wall Street Journal is author James Bovard with a short history of the political manipulation of the IRS by various presidents, and Bovard notes that: “With the current IRS scandal, we may have seen only the tip of the iceberg.”

Aside from Nixon they include FDR, JFK, and Bill Clinton. The difference is the latter three weren’t forced to resign because of it — and Clinton’s abuse of the IRS was not include in the Articles of Impeachment that focused on his lying to a grand jury over that liberal favorite — sexual harassment.

The real question now?

With the IRS assuming serious police powers of Obamacare, in effect the members of one left-wing labor union will have access to the private health care records of every single American.

And notes the Wall Street Journal, again the bold print for emphasis:

This March the IRS Inspector General reiterated that ObamaCare’s 47 major changes to the revenue code “represent the largest set of tax law changes the IRS has had to implement in more than 20 years.” Thus the IRS is playing Thelma to the Health and Human Service Department’s Louise. The tax agency has requested funding for 1,954 full-time equivalent employees for its Affordable Care Act office in 2014.

Got that? The real meaning here is that the NTEU is asking for 1,954 more union members whose union dues will be put to use to “hammer the Tea Party” in the words of Nancy Pelosi.

As James Taranto also noted over in the Wall Street Journal yesterday:

The Internal Revenue Service last year supplied a left-leaning nonprofit charity with confidential information about conservative organizations, which the charity disseminated to the public, ProPublica reported yesterday.

Once again, IRS employees — they of the anti-Tea Party union NTEU — were caught leaking private information.

Did I mention they were targeting Billy Graham — 95 year old Billy Graham??!!! Why? Because the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association was urging “voters to back ‘candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles….’”

You know what terrifies every liberal in America right now? You want to know the real reason President Obama abruptly felt the need to go on national television last night and fire the Acting Commissioner of the IRS last night as Americans were having their dinner?

The distinct possibility that the IRS and the whole confection of Big Government liberalism built around the federal taxing power is about to implode in scandal.

Big scandal. The kind of scandal that will make Watergate look like a piker.

And the irony?

That in seeking to destroy the credibility of the Tea Party, the Obama administration and its allies have destroyed not just the credibility of the IRS and one very seriously powerful union.

They have destroyed their own credibility.

http://spectator.org/archives/2013/05/16/the-liberal-union-behind-the-i

IRS’s Shulman had more public White House visits than any Cabinet member

Publicly released records show that embattled former IRS Commissioner Douglas Shulman visited the White House at least 157 times during the Obama administration, more recorded visits than even the most trusted members of the president’s Cabinet.

Obama-admin-visitors

Obama officials who’ve visited the White House (As prepared by The Daily Caller)

Shulman’s extensive access to the White House first came to light during his testimony last week before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Shulman gave assorted answers when asked why he had visited the White House 118 times during the period that the IRS was targeting tea party and conservative nonprofits for extra scrutiny and delays on their tax-exempt applications.

By contrast, Shulman’s predecessor Mark Everson only visited the White House once during four years of service in the George W. Bush administration and compared the IRS’s remoteness from the president to “Siberia.” But the scope of Shulman’s White House visits — which strongly suggests coordination by White House officials in the campaign against the president’s political opponents — is even more striking in comparison to the publicly recorded access of Cabinet members.

An analysis by The Daily Caller of the White House’s public “visitor access records” showed that every current and former member of President Obama’s Cabinet would have had to rack up at least 60 more public visits to the president’s home to catch up with “Douglas Shulman.”

The visitor logs do not give a complete picture of White House access. Some high-level officials get cleared for access and do not have to sign in during visits. A Washington Post database of visitor log records cautions, “The log may include some scheduled visits that did not take place and exclude visits by members of Congress, top officials and others who are not required to sign in at security gates.”

The White House press office declined to comment on which visits by high-ranking officials do and do not get recorded in the visitor log, but it is probable that the vast majority of visits by major Cabinet members do not end up in the public record.

Nevertheless, many visits by current and former Cabinet members are in the logs, and the record depicts an IRS chief uniquely at home in the White House.

Attorney General Eric Holder, President Obama’s friend and loyal lieutenant, logged 62 publicly known White House visits, not even half as many as Shulman’s 157.

Former Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, to whom Shulman reported, clocked in at just 48 publicly known visits.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earned a cool 43 public visits, and current Secretary of State John Kerry logged 49 known White House visits in the same timeframe, when he was still a U.S. senator.

Shulman has more recorded visits to the White House than HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (48), DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano (34), Education Secretary Arne Duncan (31), former Energy Secretary Steven Chu (22) and former Defense Secretary Robert Gates (17) combined.

The Daily Caller’s analysis includes current, former and presently-nominated members of Obama’s Cabinet.

After Shulman, Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank (86), Asst. Attorney General Thomas Perez (83) and Penny Pritzker (76) — Obama’s nominee for Commerce Secretary — have the most publicly known White House visits.

IRS Crosses Green Line

Pro-Israel groups felt wrath of Obama IRS, WFB investigation reveals

BY: Alana Goodman

A Washington Free Beacon investigation has identified at least five pro-Israel organizations that have been audited by the IRS in the wake of a coordinated campaign by White House-allied activist groups in 2009 and 2010.

These organizations, some of which are too afraid of government reprisals to speak publicly, say in interviews with the Free Beacon that they now believe the IRS actions may have been coordinated by the Obama administration.

Many of the charities openly clashed with the Obama administration’s policy of opposing Israeli settlement construction over the so-called “Green Line,” which marks the pre-1967 boundary between Israel and the West Bank and West and East Jerusalem.

After the Obama administration took up the Israeli-Palestinian peace process as one of its most prominent foreign policy priorities in early 2009, and made a cessation of Israeli settlement construction the cornerstone of its approach, the nonprofits were subjected to a string of unflattering media reports.

White House-allied lobbying groups joined the media criticism by challenged the nonprofits’ tax-exempt status, arguing that they undercut President Barack Obama’s Middle East policies.

“Our concern at that time was that these articles weren’t just appearing by happenstance, but may have reflected an evolving policy shift in the Obama administration to scrutinize charitable giving by organizations on behalf of Jewish communities and institutions over the Green Line,” said Jerusalem-based attorney Marc Zell, who convened a private meeting of pro-Israel groups in August 2009 to discuss these concerns.

Tax-exempt charities that support Israeli settlements have been the subject of controversy for years. But the issue came to a head after Obama made opposition to settlement construction a focus of his Middle East policy in 2009 and demanded Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu halt all construction beyond the Green Line, including in the Israeli capital of Jerusalem.

While it is not illegal for these charities to contribute to groups and individuals across the Green Line, critics say that they should not receive tax-exempt status because they support communities the administration views as antagonistic to administration policy.

The media scrutiny began as early as March 26, 2009, when the Washington Post’s David Ignatius published a column questioning the groups’ tax-exempt status.

The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) announced the next day that it would begin a campaign of filing legal complaints with the IRS and the Treasury Department to investigate groups “allegedly raising funds for the development of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.”

ADC is closely tied to the Obama White House. The president recorded a video greeting to the group’s annual conference and sent two senior administration officials to attend.

The ADC announced in October 2009 that it had expanded its legal campaign against pro-Israel charities and was “working with a number of coalition partners, both nationally and internationally, in conducting this ongoing campaign.”

The chief negotiator for the Palestinian Authority raised the issue two days later during a meeting with U.S. Consul General Daniel Rubenstein, according to a State Department cable revealed by Wikileaks.

“[Palestinian negotiator Ahmad Quraya] gave the Consul General a copy of an article by Uri Blau and Nir Hasson, published in Israeli daily Haaretz newspaper on August 17, entitled ‘American Non-profit Organization Raises Funds for Settlement,’ and asked the USG to review the situation with an eye toward eliminating organizations’ tax exempt status if they are funding settlement activity,” said the cable.

On July 5, 2010, the New York Times published its 5,000-word cover story on the groups, following up with a Room for Debate series two days later. The article quoted an unnamed senior State Department administration official calling such groups “a problem” and “unhelpful to the efforts that we’re trying to make.”
The story also quoted a senior Obama Middle East adviser, Daniel Kurtzer, saying the groups “drove us crazy.”

J Street, a pro-Palestinian lobbying group that was closely aligned with the White House in 2009 and 2010, called the following week for an investigation into U.S. charities that contribute to settlements.

One pro-Israel targets was HaYovel, which was featured prominently in the New York Times article. Six months after the article was published, the IRS audited the Nashville-based charity, which sends volunteers to work in vineyards across the Green Line.

“We bookend that [New York Times] story. We were the first [group mentioned]. They really kind of focused on us,” said HaYovel’s founder Tommy Waller. “Then six months later we had an audit.”

Shari Waller, who cofounded HaYovel with her husband, said the couple received a phone call from the IRS in December 2010. She said she was not aware of anything in their tax documents that may have prompted the audit, and added that the additional scrutiny came during the group’s first five years of existence when audits tend to be rare.

“They contacted us the week of Christmas and told us they wanted to audit us, right now,” she said. “The most unusual thing to me was they contacted us at a time [that] for most people is a very hectic time, and we had just returned from Israel. To think about taking calls for an audit on the telephone—official business is usually conducted through the mail.”

Tommy Waller said he found the timing of the audit “suspicious” and believes it may have been politically motivated.

“We 100-percent support Judea and Samaria, and Jewish sovereignty in that area, and the current administration is 100 percent opposed to Jewish sovereignty in that area of Israel,” he said. “That’s why we suspected that we would have to deal with [an audit].”

Two other organizations—the American arm of an educational institution that operates across the Green Line and the American arm of a well-known Israeli charity that was mentioned in the New York Times article—say they were also audited.

Another organization that was criticized in multiple articles during 2009 and 2010 was audited last year. The organization, like many of the groups with whom the Free Beacon spoke, asked to remain anonymous out of fear of political retaliation and concern that exposure would harm fundraising efforts.

“The IRS carried out an examination of our organization, reviewing all of our accounting records, tax returns, bylaws, bank records, grant awards, etc, for the relevant period,” said a senior official of this organization.

“There was no vindictiveness in the audit itself and it was completed within a matter of months. Our feeling at the time was that this order must have come from above. The IRS seemed to be responding to a request or a complaint from higher up.”

Concerns that the IRS was targeting pro-Israel groups were first raised publicly by Z Street, a pro-Israel organization run by Lori Lowenthal Marcus.

Z Street filed a lawsuit against the IRS in 2010, alleging its application for tax-exempt status was delayed because it disagreed with the Obama administration’s Israel policy.

According to the suit, Marcus’s attorney was informed by IRS official Diane Gentry that Z Street’s “application for tax-exempt status has been at least delayed, and may be denied because of a special IRS policy in place regarding organizations in any way connected with Israel, and further that the applications of many such Israel-related organizations have been assigned to “a special unit in the D.C. office.”

Neither the IRS nor Gentry responded to a request for comment.

Marcus said Z Street has not funded anyone or any groups in the settlements. But, she added, the problems her organization faced could be related to the administration’s concerns over settlement-supporting groups.

Z Street’s application for tax-exempt status first ran into trouble with the IRS on July 19, 2010, two weeks after the lengthy New York Times article was published.

“Even if that is the case, that’s an explanation, but it’s not an answer. It’s not an adequate reason,” said Marcus. “It’s totally inappropriate.”

Zell told the Free Beacon he has not personally witnessed a shift in IRS policy since the 2009 meeting suggesting settlement-supporting nonprofits have been targeted.

However, he said it is a “yellow flag” that at least five of these organizations have been audited since 2009, considering the recent finding by the IRS inspector general that the agency targeted conservative groups.

“Now with the revelations of the IRS abuses vis-a-vis U.S. right-wing organizations, that have been published of late, there is renewed concerned that these kinds of policies, same kinds of policies and procedures, may have been targeted at these organizations [that support settlements],” he said.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop

Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett

Valerie B. Jarrett is a Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama. She oversees the Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs and chairs the White House Council on Women and Girls.

Prior to joining the Obama Administration, she was the Chief Executive Officer of The Habitat Company. She also served as Co-Chair of the Obama-Biden Presidential Transition Team, and Senior Advisor to Obama’s presidential campaign.

Ms. Jarrett has held positions in both the public and private sector, including the Chairman of the Chicago Transit Board, the Commissioner of Planning and Development for the City of Chicago, and Deputy Chief of Staff for Mayor Richard M. Daley. She also practiced law with two private law firms.

Jarrett also served as a director of corporate and not for profit boards, including Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Stock Exchange, Director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and Chairman of the University of Chicago Medical Center Board of Trustees.

Jarrett received her B.A. from Stanford University in 1978 and her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1981.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/staff/valerie-jarrett

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Posted on May 23, 2013. Filed under: American History, Business, College, Consitutional Law, Economics, Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Government, Government Spending, History, Law, Media, Philosophy, Politics, Regulation, Resources, Videos, Violence, War, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Pronk Pops Show 110: May 24, 2013

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Segment 2: Tyrant Rex Obama Assaults Freedom of The Press and Targets — AP — Fox News Reporters Rosen and Others — Videos

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House Republicans assail Eric Holder on leak testimony

By Lawrence Hurley and David Ingram

wo Republican lawmakers asked U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Wednesday to clarify testimony he gave Congress this month about his role in the targeting of journalists in a leak probe.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia and colleague James Sensenbrenner of Wisconsin sent a letter to Holder saying recent media reports “appear to be at odds with your sworn testimony.”

At the May 15 hearing, Holder said he had never been involved in any decision to pursue a criminal investigation of a journalist and said it would not be “wise policy” to do so.

Last week, news outlets reported that Holder had approved a decision to seek a search warrant for Fox News email records as part of a leak investigation. Reuters later reported Holder signed off on a subpoena for telephone records as well.

The Fox News reporter involved, James Rosen, was described as a “co-conspirator” by investigators, but was not charged.

A Justice Department official said the department had received the Republicans’ letter and planned to show that Holder’s testimony was consistent with the facts.

In a defense of Holder, White House spokesman Jay Carney said that Holder had testified truthfully. Carney told reporters at a briefing on Wednesday there was an “extremely large distinction” between describing a reporter as a co-conspirator and charging him with a crime.

Carney said there are no plans to prosecute Rosen.

President Barack Obama “absolutely” has confidence in Holder to continue as the chief U.S. law enforcement officer, he said.

Concern from journalists and free speech advocates last week prompted Obama to order a review of Justice Department procedures governing investigations that involve reporters. Many of those procedures predate email.

On Thursday, as part of the review, Holder was scheduled to begin a series of meetings with Washington news bureau chiefs to allow them to air concerns and exchange ideas. Later meetings were being planned for news executives and lawyers, and for government intelligence and law enforcement officials, according to a Justice Department statement.

‘FULL AND ACCURATE ACCOUNT’

The letter on Wednesday from House Republicans focused not on the wider review but on the searches of Rosen’s materials. It asked Holder for a “full and accurate account of your involvement in and approval of these search warrants.”

Rosen reported in 2009 that U.S. intelligence officials believed North Korea would conduct more nuclear tests in response to U.N. sanctions. Stephen Kim, a former State Department analyst suspected of being Rosen’s source, faces trial on charges he violated an anti-espionage law.

The Republicans’ letter asks Holder to give a detailed account of his role and to respond to eight questions, including whether the Justice Department ever intended to prosecute Rosen.

U.S. Representative John Conyers, the ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, said in a statement that Holder had been “forthright and did not mislead the committee.”

http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/29/us-usa-justice-holder-idUSBRE94S12I20130529

Obama DOJ formally accuses journalist in leak case of committing crimes

Yet another serious escalation of the Obama administration’s attacks on press freedoms emerges

Glenn Greenwald

It is now well known that the Obama justice department has prosecuted more government leakers under the 1917 Espionage Act than all prior administrations combined – in fact, double the number of all such prior prosecutions. But as last week’s controversy over the DOJ’s pursuit of the phone records of AP reporters illustrated, this obsessive fixation in defense of secrecy also targets, and severely damages, journalists specifically and the newsgathering process in general.

New revelations emerged yesterday in the Washington Post that are perhaps the most extreme yet when it comes to the DOJ’s attacks on press freedoms. It involves the prosecution of State Department adviser Stephen Kim, a naturalized citizen from South Korea who was indicted in 2009 for allegedly telling Fox News’ chief Washington correspondent, James Rosen, that US intelligence believed North Korea would respond to additional UN sanctions with more nuclear tests – something Rosen then reported. Kim did not obtain unauthorized access to classified information, nor steal documents, nor sell secrets, nor pass them to an enemy of the US. Instead, the DOJ alleges that he merely communicated this innocuous information to a journalist – something done every day in Washington – and, for that, this arms expert and long-time government employee faces more than a decade in prison for “espionage”.

The focus of the Post’s report yesterday is that the DOJ’s surveillance of Rosen, the reporter, extended far beyond even what they did to AP reporters. The FBI tracked Rosen’s movements in and out of the State Department, traced the timing of his calls, and – most amazingly – obtained a search warrant to read two days worth of his emails, as well as all of his emails with Kim. In this case, said the Post, “investigators did more than obtain telephone records of a working journalist suspected of receiving the secret material.” It added that “court documents in the Kim case reveal how deeply investigators explored the private communications of a working journalist”.

But what makes this revelation particularly disturbing is that the DOJ, in order to get this search warrant, insisted that not only Kim, but also Rosen – the journalist – committed serious crimes. The DOJ specifically argued that by encouraging his source to disclose classified information – something investigative journalists do every day – Rosen himself broke the law. Describing an affidavit from FBI agent Reginald Reyes filed by the DOJ, the Post reports [emphasis added]:

“Reyes wrote that there was evidence Rosen had broken the law, ‘at the very least, either as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator’. That fact distinguishes his case from the probe of the AP, in which the news organization is not the likely target. Using italics for emphasis, Reyes explained how Rosen allegedly used a ‘covert communications plan’ and quoted from an e-mail exchange between Rosen and Kim that seems to describe a secret system for passing along information. . . . However, it remains an open question whether it’s ever illegal, given the First Amendment’s protection of press freedom, for a reporter to solicit information. No reporter, including Rosen, has been prosecuted for doing so.”

Under US law, it is not illegal to publish classified information. That fact, along with the First Amendment’s guarantee of press freedoms, is what has prevented the US government from ever prosecuting journalists for reporting on what the US government does in secret. This newfound theory of the Obama DOJ – that a journalist can be guilty of crimes for “soliciting” the disclosure of classified information – is a means for circumventing those safeguards and criminalizing the act of investigative journalism itself. These latest revelations show that this is not just a theory but one put into practice, as the Obama DOJ submitted court documents accusing a journalist of committing crimes by doing this.

That same “solicitation” theory, as the New York Times reported back in 2011, is the one the Obama DOJ has been using to justify its ongoing criminal investigation of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange: that because Assange solicited or encouraged Manning to leak classified information, the US government can “charge [Assange] as a conspirator in the leak, not just as a passive recipient of the documents who then published them.” When that theory was first disclosed, I wrote that it would enable the criminalization of investigative journalism generally:

“Very rarely do investigative journalists merely act as passive recipients of classified information; secret government programs aren’t typically reported because leaks just suddenly show up one day in the email box of a passive reporter. Journalists virtually always take affirmative steps to encourage its dissemination. They try to cajole leakers to turn over documents to verify their claims and consent to their publication. They call other sources to obtain confirmation and elaboration in the form of further leaks and documents. Jim Risen and Eric Lichtblau described how they granted anonymity to ‘nearly a dozen current and former officials’ to induce them to reveal information about Bush’s NSA eavesdropping program. Dana Priest contacted numerous ‘U.S. and foreign officials’ to reveal the details of the CIA’s ‘black site’ program. Both stories won Pulitzer Prizes and entailed numerous, active steps to cajole sources to reveal classified information for publication.

“In sum, investigative journalists routinely — really, by definition — do exactly that which the DOJ’s new theory would seek to prove WikiLeaks did. To indict someone as a criminal ‘conspirator’ in a leak on the ground that they took steps to encourage the disclosures would be to criminalize investigative journalism every bit as much as charging Assange with ‘espionage’ for publishing classified information.”

That’s what always made the establishment media’s silence (or even support) in the face of the criminal investigation of WikiLeaks so remarkable: it was so obvious from the start that the theories used there could easily be exploited to criminalize the acts of mainstream journalists. That’s why James Goodale, the New York Times’ general counsel during the paper’s historic press freedom fights with the Nixon administration, has been warning that “the biggest challenge to the press today is the threatened prosecution of WikiLeaks, and it’s absolutely frightening.”

Indeed, as Harvard Law Professor Yochai Benkler noted recently in the New Republic, when the judge presiding over Manning’s prosecution asked military lawyers if they would “have pressed the same charges if Manning had given the documents not to WikiLeaks but directly to the New York Times?”, the prosecutor answered simply: “Yes, ma’am”. It has long been clear that this WikiLeaks-as-criminals theory could and would be used to criminalize establishment media outlets which reported on that which the US government wanted concealed.

Now we know that the DOJ is doing exactly that: applying this theory to criminalize the acts of journalists who report on what the US government does in secret, even though there is no law that makes such reporting illegal and the First Amendment protects such conduct. Essentially accusing James Rosen of being an unindicted co-conspriator in these alleged crimes is a major escalation of the Obama DOJ’s already dangerous attacks on press freedom.

It is virtually impossible at this point to overstate the threat posed by the Obama DOJ to press freedoms. Back in 2006, Bush Attorney General Alberto Gonzales triggered a major controversy when he said that the New York Times could be prosecuted for having revealed the Top Secret information that the NSA was eavesdropping on the communications of Americans without warrants. That was at the same time that right-wing demagogues such Bill Bennett were calling for the prosecution of the NYT reporters who reported on the NSA program, as well as the Washington Post’s Dana Priest for having exposed the CIA black site network.

But despite those public threats, the Bush DOJ never went so far as to formally accuse journalists in court filings of committing crimes for reporting on classified information. Now the Obama DOJ has.

This week, the New Republic’s Molly Redden describes what I’ve heard many times over the past several years: national security reporters have had their ability to engage in journalism severely impeded by the Obama DOJ’s unprecedented attacks, and are operating in a climate of fear for both their sources and themselves. Redden quotes one of the nation’s best reporters, the New Yorker’s Jane Mayer, this way:

It’s a huge impediment to reporting, and so chilling isn’t quite strong enough, it’s more like freezing the whole process into a standstill.”

Redden says that “the DOJ’s seizure of AP records will probably only exacerbate these problems.” That’s certainly true: as surveillance expert Julian Sanchez wrote in Mother Jones this week, there is ample evidence that the Obama DOJ’s seizure of the phone records of journalists extends far beyond the AP case. Recall, as well, that the New York Times’ Jim Risen is currently being pursued by the Obama DOJ, and conceivably faces prison if he refuses to reveal his source for a story he wrote about CIA incompetence in Iran. Said Risen:

I believe that the efforts to target me have continued under the Obama Administration, which has been aggressively investigating whistleblowers and reporters in a way that will have a chilling effect on the freedom of the press in the United States.”

If even the most protected journalists – those who work for the largest media outlets – are being targeted in this way, and are saying over and over that the Obama DOJ is preventing basic news gathering from taking place without fear, imagine the effect this all has on independent journalists who are much more vulnerable.

There is simply no defense for this behavior. Obama defenders such as Andrew Sullivan claim that this is all more complicated than media outrage suggests because of a necessary “trade-off” between press freedoms and security. So do Obama defenders believe that George Bush and Richard Nixon – who never prosecuted leakers like this or formally accused journalists of being criminals for reporting classified information – were excessively protective of press freedoms and insufficiently devoted to safeguarding secrecy? To ask that question is to mock it. Obama has gone so far beyond what every recent prior president has done in bolstering secrecy and criminalizing whistleblowing and leaks.

Goodale, the New York Times’ former general counsel, was interviewed by Democracy Now last week and said this:

AMY GOODMAN: “You say that President Obama is worse than President Nixon.

JAMES GOODALE
: “Well, more precisely, I say that if in fact he goes ahead and prosecutes Julian Assange, he will pass Nixon. He’s close to Nixon now. The AP example is a good example of something that Obama has done but Nixon never did. So I have him presently in second place, behind Nixon and ahead of Bush II. And he’s moving up fast. . . .

“Obama has classified, I think, seven million — in one year, classified seven million documents. Everything is classified. So that would give the government the ability to control all its information on the theory that it’s classified. And if anybody asks for it and gets it, they’re complicit, and they’re going to go to jail. So that criminalizes the process, and it means that the dissemination of information, which is inevitable, out of the classified sources of that information will be stopped.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: “What about the—

JAMES GOODALE: “It’s very dangerous. That’s why I’m — I get excited when I talk about it.”

That was before it was known that the Obama DOJ read James Rosen’s emails by formally labeling him in court an unindicted co-conspirator for the “crime” of reporting on classified information. This all just got a lot more dangerous.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/20/obama-doj-james-rosen-criminality

Report: DOJ seized multiple White House, Fox News records in Rosen ‘investigation’

Over the weekend, the Washington Post reported that the Justice Department’s secretive and sketchy gathering of two months’ worth of Associated Press editors and journalists’ phone records is unfortunately a far cry from a the only freedom-of-the-press-stifling incident coming out of this administration. In 2010, the DOJ also spied on Fox News’ Washington correspondent James Rosen as a supposed co-conspirator in an espionage case for the oh-so-heinous crime of cultivating a State Department source — a.k.a., doing what D.C. journalists regularly and rightly do.

A new report from the New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza, however, reveals more details on the case, and it appears that their specific targeting of James Rosen does not quite cover the extent of the DOJ’s lack of scrupulousness:

The Obama Justice Department has seized the phone records of numbers that are associated with White House staffers and, apparently, with Fox News reporters, according to a document filed on October 13, 2011, in the case of Stephen Jin-Woo Kim, a former State Department contractor accused of violating the Espionage Act for allegedly leaking classified information to James Rosen, a Fox News reporter. Ronald C. Machen, Jr., the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, who is prosecuting the case, has seized records associated with two phone numbers at the White House, at least five numbers associated with Fox News, and one that has the same area code and exchange as Rosen’s personal-cell-phone number (the last four numbers are redacted).

In all, Ronald C. Machen, Jr., the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, has seized records associated with over thirty different phone numbers. In the filing that included the new information, the last four digits of each telephone line targeted by the Obama Administration are redacted. Two of the numbers begin with area code 202 and the exchange 456, which, according to current and former Administration officials, are used exclusively by the White House. (The phone number for the White House switchboard is (202) 456-1414.)

At least five other numbers targeted by the government include the area code 202 and the exchange 824. The phone number for the Fox News Washington bureau, which is publicly available, is (202) 824-0001. Rosen’s work phone number at Fox News begins with the same area code and exchange.

So, it looks like the DOJ had not ‘merely’ been sticking their big, fat nose into Rosen’s personal and professional e-mails/calls/comings and goings, but just higgledy-piggledy been nabbing up records that may-or-may-not have been associated with the ‘case’ — including five separate Fox News phone numbers — all in the attempt to somehow involve investigative reporting in a probe of potentially criminal behavior? Wow, guys. Really crack team you got there. Bang-up job on protecting and respecting the First Amendment, and all that.

The White House Correspondents’ Association, as you might imagine, is getting somewhat concerned about all of the targeting of the press coming out of this administration, because this is quickly turning into a dangerous-looking pattern:

The White House Correspondents’ Association said Tuesday that two recent cases in which the Obama administration went after reporters’ phone and email records show the government may be getting “far too aggressive” in tracking journalists. …

Though no charges were brought against Rosen, the White House Correspondents’ Association said no journalist should even face that threat for doing their jobs.

“Reporters should never be threatened with prosecution for the simple act of doing their jobs,” the WHCA said in a statement Tuesday. “The problem is that in two recent cases, one involving Fox News’ James Rosen and the other focused on the Associated Press, serious questions have been raised about whether our government has gotten far too aggressive in its monitoring of reporters’ movements, phone records, and even personal email.”

http://hotair.com/archives/2013/05/21/report-doj-seized-multiple-white-house-fox-news-records-in-rosen-investigation/

Washington Times Writer: Fox News Scandal Goes ‘Much Deeper,’ W.H. Sitting on Something Top Obama Aides ‘Terrified’ About

Jason Howerton

Washington Times columnist and Drudge Report editor Joseph Curl on Monday said the Obama administration’s developing scandal involving the monitoring of Fox News reporter James Rosen’s email accounts goes “much deeper.”

Citing a “CIA source,” Curl claimed via his official Twitter account that the Fox News scandal was the “4th Shoe” and the White House is sitting on “something” that has top White House aides “terrified.”

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Posted on May 23, 2013. Filed under: American History, College, Communications, Consitutional Law, Crime, Economics, Employment, Foreign Policy, Genocide, Government, Government Spending, History, Law, Philosophy, Politics, Radio, Regulation, Security, Taxes, Technology, Terror, Terrorism, Videos, War, Weapons, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Segment 1: Obama On War, Peace and Drones To Kill Radical Islamic Jihad Terrorists — National Defense University Speech, May 23, 2013  —  Videos

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‘There is no justification to Gitmo’: Barack Obama’s speech on counter-terrorism

President Barack Obama has given a speech – justifying and outlining changes to the national defence policies of the United States. The address is seen as an opening up of America’s security policies. Obama has discussed the legality of drone strikes and the future of the Guantanamo prison.

In Speech, President Obama Talks Drone War Policy

President Obama defends drone strikes

Killing Americans: Jeremy Scahill on Obama Admin’s Admission 4 U.S. Citizens Died in Drone Strikes

The Obama administration has admitted for the first time to killing four U.S. citizens in drone strikes overseas. Three died in Yemen: the Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, his 16-year-old son Abdulrahman al-Awlaki and Samir Khan. A fourth, Jude Kenan Mohammed — whose death was not previously reported — was killed in Pakistan. In a letter to Congress, Attorney General Eric Holder suggested that all but the attack on the elder al-Awlaki were accidental, saying the other three “were not specifically targeted.” The admission came on the eve of a major address in which President Obama is expected to defend the secret targeted killing program and announce modified guidelines for carrying it out. We’re joined by Jeremy Scahill, author of the new book, “Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield,” and co-producer of the upcoming documentary film by the same name.

Obama has declared the world a battlefield

Rachel Maddow Jeremy Scahill: Obama On Precarious Legal Ground In American Deaths By Drone Strikes

The World Is A Battlefield: Jeremy Scahill on “Dirty Wars” and Obama’s Expanding Drone Attacks

As the Senate holds its first ever public hearing on drones and targeted killings, we turn the second part of our interview with Jeremy Scahill, author of the new book, “Dirty Wars: The World Is A Battlefield.” Scahill charts the expanding covert wars operated by the CIA and JSOC, the Joint Special Operations Command, in countries from Somalia to Pakistan. “I called it ‘Dirty Wars’ because, particularly in the Obama administration, a lot of people are being led to believe that there is such a thing as a clean war,” Scahill says. He goes on to discuss secret operations in Africa, the targeting of U.S. citizens in Yemen and the key role WikiLeaks played in researching the book. He also reveals imprisoned whistleblower Bradley Manning once tipped him off to a story about the private security company Blackwater. Scahill is the national security correspondent for The Nation magazine and longtime Democracy Now! correspondent. For the past several years, Scahill has been working on the “Dirty Wars” film and book project, which was published on Tuesday. The film, directed by Rick Rowley, will be released in theaters in June.

Jeremy Scahill Exposes How the CIA Offered a $5 Million Bounty for U.S. Citizen Anwar al-Awlaki

Jeremy Scahill Takes Down MSNBC Panel On Obama Foreign Policy

Jeremy Scahill: Killing Anwar al-Awlaki

Anwar Al Awlaki’s Posthumous Call to Jihad (Part 1)

Anwar Al Awlaki’s Posthumous Call to Jihad (Part 2)

Dirty Wars: Terror Begets Terror | Jeremy Scahill Breaks the Set

Dirty Wars: Jeremy Scahill & Rick Rowley’s New Film Exposes Hidden Truths of Covert U.S. Warfare 1/2

Truth of Islam- Three Stages of Jihad – MUST WATCH!!!

Islam for Leftists – Robert Spencer

Document: Text of Obama speech on counterterrorism, May 23, 2013

President Barack Obama’s speech on the fight against terrorism at the National Defense University, as provided by the White House:

It’s an honor to return to the National Defense University. Here, at Fort McNair, Americans have served in uniform since 1791– standing guard in the early days of the Republic, and contemplating the future of warfare here in the 21st century.

For over two centuries, the United States has been bound together by founding documents that defined who we are as Americans, and served as our compass through every type of change. Matters of war and peace are no different. Americans are deeply ambivalent about war, but having fought for our independence, we know that a price must be paid for freedom. From the Civil War, to our struggle against fascism, and through the long, twilight struggle of the Cold War, battlefields have changed, and technology has evolved. But our commitment to constitutional principles has weathered every war, and every war has come to an end.

With the collapse of the Berlin Wall, a new dawn of democracy took hold abroad, and a decade of peace and prosperity arrived at home. For a moment, it seemed the 21st century would be a tranquil time. Then, on September 11th, 2001, we were shaken out of complacency. Thousands were taken from us, as clouds of fire, metal and ash descended upon a sun-filled morning. This was a different kind of war. No armies came to our hores, and our military was not the principal target. Instead, a group of terrorists came to kill as many civilians as they could.

And so our nation went to war. We have now been at war for well over a decade. I won’t review the full history. What’s clear is that we quickly drove al-Qaida out of Afghanistan, but then shifted our focus and began a new war in Iraq. This carried grave consequences for our fight against al-Qaida, our standing in the world, and — to this day — our interests in a vital region.

Meanwhile, we strengthened our defenses — hardening targets, tightening transportation security, and giving law enforcement new tools to prevent terror. Most of these changes were sound. Some caused inconvenience. But some, like expanded surveillance, raised difficult questions about the balance we strike between our interests in security and our values of privacy. And in some cases, I believe we compromised our basic values — by using torture to interrogate our enemies, and detaining individuals in a way that ran counter to the rule of law.

After I took office, we stepped up the war against al-Qaida, but also sought to change its course. We relentlessly targeted al-Qaida’s leadership. We ended the war in Iraq, and brought nearly 150,000 troops home. We pursued a new strategy in Afghanistan, and increased our training of Afghan forces. We unequivocally banned torture, affirmed our commitment to civilian courts, worked to align our policies with the rule of law, and expanded our consultations with Congress.

Today, Osama bin Laden is dead, and so are most of his top lieutenants. There have been no large-scale attacks on the United States, and our homeland is more secure. Fewer of our troops are in harm’s way, and over the next 19 months they will continue to come home. Our alliances are strong, and so is our standing in the world. In sum, we are safer because of our efforts.

Now make no mistake: our nation is still threatened by terrorists. From Benghazi to Boston, we have been tragically reminded of that truth. We must recognize, however, that the threat has shifted and evolved from the one that came to our shores on 9/11. With a decade of experience to draw from, now is the time to ask ourselves hard questions — about the nature of today’s threats, and how we should confront them.

These questions matter to every American. For over the last decade, our nation has spent well over a trillion dollars on war, exploding our deficits and constraining our ability to nation build here at home. Our service-members and their families have sacrificed far more on our behalf. Nearly 7,000 Americans have made the ultimate sacrifice. Many more have left a part of themselves on the battlefield, or brought the shadows of battle back home. From our use of drones to the detention of terrorist suspects, the decisions we are making will define the type of nation — and world — that we leave to our children.

So America is at a crossroads. We must define the nature and scope of this struggle, or else it will define us, mindful of James Madison’s warning that “No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” Neither I, nor any president, can promise the total defeat of terror. We will never erase the evil that lies in the hearts of some human beings, nor stamp out every danger to our open society. What we can do — what we must do — is dismantle networks that pose a direct danger, and make it less likely for new groups to gain a foothold, all while maintaining the freedoms and ideals that we defend. To define that strategy, we must make decisions based not on fear, but hard-earned wisdom. And that begins with understanding the threat we face.

Today, the core of al-Qaida in Afghanistan and Pakistan is on a path to defeat. Their remaining operatives spend more time thinking about their own safety than plotting against us. They did not direct the attacks in Benghazi or Boston. They have not carried out a successful attack on our homeland since 9/11. Instead, what we’ve seen is the emergence of various al-Qaida affiliates. From Yemen to Iraq, from Somalia to North Africa, the threat today is more diffuse, with al-Qaida’s affiliate in the Arabian Peninsula — AQAP — the most active in plotting against our homeland. While none of AQAP’s efforts approach the scale of 9/11 they have continued to plot acts of terror, like the attempt to blow up an airplane on Christmas Day in 2009.

Unrest in the Arab World has also allowed extremists to gain a foothold in countries like Libya and Syria. Here, too, there are differences from 9/11. In some cases, we confront state-sponsored networks like Hezbollah that engage in acts of terror to achieve political goals. Others are simply collections of local militias or extremists interested in seizing territory. While we are vigilant for signs that these groups may pose a transnational threat, most are focused on operating in the countries and regions where they are based. That means we will face more localized threats like those we saw in Benghazi, or at the BP oil facility in Algeria, in which local operatives — in loose affiliation with regional networks — launch periodic attacks against Western diplomats, companies, and other soft targets, or resort to kidnapping and other criminal enterprises to fund their operations.

Finally, we face a real threat from radicalized individuals here in the United States. Whether it’s a shooter at a Sikh Temple in Wisconsin; a plane flying into a building in Texas; or the extremists who killed 168 people at the Federal Building in Oklahoma City — America has confronted many forms of violent extremism in our time. Deranged or alienated individuals — often U.S. citizens or legal residents – can do enormous damage, particularly when inspired by larger notions of violent jihad. That pull towards extremism appears to have led to the shooting at Fort Hood, and the bombing of the Boston Marathon.

Lethal yet less capable al-Qaida affiliates. Threats to diplomatic facilities and businesses abroad. Homegrown extremists. This is the future of terrorism. We must take these threats seriously, and do all that we can to confront them. But as we shape our response, we have to recognize that the scale of this threat closely resembles the types of attacks we faced before 9/11. In the 1980s, we lost Americans to terrorism at our Embassy in Beirut; at our Marine Barracks in Lebanon; on a cruise ship at sea; at a disco in Berlin; and on Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie. In the 1990s, we lost Americans to terrorism at the World Trade Center; at our military facilities in Saudi Arabia; and at our Embassy in Kenya. These attacks were all deadly, and we learned that left unchecked, these threats can grow. But if dealt with smartly and proportionally, these threats need not rise to the level that we saw on the eve of 9/11.

Moreover, we must recognize that these threats don’t arise in a vacuum. Most, though not all, of the terrorism we face is fueled by a common ideology — a belief by some extremists that Islam is in conflict with the United States and the West, and that violence against Western targets, including civilians, is justified in pursuit of a larger cause. Of course, this ideology is based on a lie, for the United States is not at war with Islam; and this ideology is rejected by the vast majority of Muslims, who are the most frequent victims of terrorist acts.

Nevertheless, this ideology persists, and in an age in which ideas and images can travel the globe in an instant, our response to terrorism cannot depend on military or law enforcement alone. We need all elements of national power to win a battle of wills and ideas. So let me discuss the components of such a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy.

First, we must finish the work of defeating al-Qaida and its associated forces.

In Afghanistan, we will complete our transition to Afghan responsibility for security. Our troops will come home. Our combat mission will come to an end. And we will work with the Afghan government to train security forces, and sustain a counter-terrorism force which ensures that al-Qaida can never again establish a safe-haven to launch attacks against us or our allies.

Beyond Afghanistan, we must define our effort not as a boundless ‘global war on terror’ — but rather as a series of persistent, targeted efforts to dismantle specific networks of violent extremists that threaten America. In many cases, this will involve partnerships with other countries. Thousands of Pakistani soldiers have lost their lives fighting extremists. In Yemen, we are supporting security forces that have reclaimed territory from AQAP. In Somalia, we helped a coalition of African nations push al Shabaab out of its strongholds. In Mali, we are providing military aid to a French-led intervention to push back al-Qaida in the Maghreb, and help the people of Mali reclaim their future.

Much of our best counter-terrorism cooperation results in the gathering and sharing of intelligence; the arrest and prosecution of terrorists. That’s how a Somali terrorist apprehended off the coast of Yemen is now in prison in New York. That’s how we worked with European allies to disrupt plots from Denmark to Germany to the United Kingdom. That’s how intelligence collected with Saudi Arabia helped us stop a cargo plane from being blown up over the Atlantic.

But despite our strong preference for the detention and prosecution of terrorists, sometimes this approach is foreclosed. Al-Qaida and its affiliates try to gain a foothold in some of the most distant and unforgiving places on earth. They take refuge in remote tribal regions. They hide in caves and walled compounds. They train in empty deserts and rugged mountains.

In some of these places — such as parts of Somalia and Yemen — the state has only the most tenuous reach into the territory. In other cases, the state lacks the capacity or will to take action. It is also not possible for America to simply deploy a team of Special Forces to capture every terrorist. And even when such an approach may be possible, there are places where it would pose profound risks to our troops and local civilians– where a terrorist compound cannot be breached without triggering a firefight with surrounding tribal communities that pose no threat to us, or when putting U.S. boots on the ground may trigger a major international crisis.

To put it another way, our operation in Pakistan against Osama bin Laden cannot be the norm. The risks in that case were immense; the likelihood of capture, although our preference, was remote given the certainty of resistance; the fact that we did not find ourselves confronted with civilian casualties, or embroiled in an extended firefight, was a testament to the meticulous planning and professionalism of our Special Forces — but also depended on some luck. And even then, the cost to our relationship with Pakistan — and the backlash among the Pakistani public over encroachment on their territory — was so severe that we are just now beginning to rebuild this important partnership.

It is in this context that the United States has taken lethal, targeted action against al-Qaida and its associated forces, including with remotely piloted aircraft commonly referred to as drones. As was true in previous armed conflicts, this new technology raises profound questions — about who is targeted, and why; about civilian casualties, and the risk of creating new enemies; about the legality of such strikes under U.S. and international law; about accountability and morality.

Let me address these questions. To begin with, our actions are effective. Don’t take my word for it. In the intelligence gathered at bin Laden’s compound, we found that he wrote, “we could lose the reserves to the enemy’s air strikes. We cannot fight air strikes with explosives.” Other communications from al-Qaida operatives confirm this as well. Dozens of highly skilled al-Qaida commanders, trainers, bomb makers, and operatives have been taken off the battlefield. Plots have been disrupted that would have targeted international aviation, U.S. transit systems, European cities and our troops in Afghanistan. Simply put, these strikes have saved lives.

Moreover, America’s actions are legal. We were attacked on 9/11. Within a week, Congress overwhelmingly authorized the use of force. Under domestic law, and international law, the United States is at war with al-Qaida, the Taliban, and their associated forces. We are at war with an organization that right now would kill as many Americans as they could if we did not stop them first. So this is a just war — a war waged proportionally, in last resort, and in self-defense.

And yet as our fight enters a new phase, America’s legitimate claim of self-defense cannot be the end of the discussion. To say a military tactic is legal, or even effective, is not to say it is wise or moral in every instance. For the same human progress that gives us the technology to strike half a world away also demands the discipline to constrain that power — or risk abusing it. That’s why, over the last four years, my administration has worked vigorously to establish a framework that governs our use of force against terrorists — insisting upon clear guidelines, oversight and accountability that is now codified in Presidential Policy Guidance that I signed yesterday.

In the Afghan war theater, we must support our troops until the transition is complete at the end of 2014. That means we will continue to take strikes against high value al-Qaida targets, but also against forces that are massing to support attacks on coalition forces. However, by the end of 2014, we will no longer have the same need for force protection, and the progress we have made against core al-Qaida will reduce the need for unmanned strikes.

Beyond the Afghan theater, we only target al-Qaida and its associated forces. Even then, the use of drones is heavily constrained. America does not take strikes when we have the ability to capture individual terrorists — our preference is always to detain, interrogate, and prosecute them. America cannot take strikes wherever we choose — our actions are bound by consultations with partners, and respect for state sovereignty. America does not take strikes to punish individuals — we act against terrorists who pose a continuing and imminent threat to the American people, and when there are no other governments capable of effectively addressing the threat. And before any strike is taken, there must be near-certainty that no civilians will be killed or injured — the highest standard we can set.

This last point is critical, because much of the criticism about drone strikes — at home and abroad — understandably centers on reports of civilian casualties. There is a wide gap between U.S. assessments of such casualties, and non-governmental reports. Nevertheless, it is a hard fact that U.S. strikes have resulted in civilian casualties, a risk that exists in all wars. For the families of those civilians, no words or legal construct can justify their loss. For me, and those in my chain of command, these deaths will haunt us as long as we live, just as we are haunted by the civilian casualties that have occurred through conventional fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.

But as Commander-in-Chief, I must weigh these heartbreaking tragedies against the alternatives. To do nothing in the face of terrorist networks would invite far more civilian casualties — not just in our cities at home and facilities abroad, but also in the very places — like Sana’a and Kabul and Mogadishu — where terrorists seek a foothold. Let us remember that the terrorists we are after target civilians, and the death toll from their acts of terrorism against Muslims dwarfs any estimate of civilian casualties from drone strikes.

Where foreign governments cannot or will not effectively stop terrorism in their territory, the primary alternative to targeted, lethal action is the use of conventional military options. As I’ve said, even small Special Operations carry enormous risks. Conventional airpower or missiles are far less precise than drones, and likely to cause more civilian casualties and local outrage. And invasions of these territories lead us to be viewed as occupying armies; unleash a torrent of unintended consequences; are difficult to contain; and ultimately empower those who thrive on violent conflict. So it is false to assert that putting boots on the ground is less likely to result in civilian deaths, or to create enemies in the Muslim world. The result would be more U.S. deaths, more Blackhawks down, more confrontations with local populations, and an inevitable mission creep in support of such raids that could easily escalate into new wars.

So yes, the conflict with al-Qaida, like all armed conflict, invites tragedy. But by narrowly targeting our action against those who want to kill us, and not the people they hide among, we are choosing the course of action least likely to result in the loss of innocent life. Indeed, our efforts must also be measured against the history of putting American troops in distant lands among hostile populations. In Vietnam, hundreds of thousands of civilians died in a war where the boundaries of battle were blurred. In Iraq and Afghanistan, despite the courage and discipline of our troops, thousands of civilians have been killed. So neither conventional military action, nor waiting for attacks to occur, offers moral safe-harbor. Neither does a sole reliance on law enforcement in territories that have no functioning police or security services — and indeed, have no functioning law.

This is not to say that the risks are not real. Any U.S. military action in foreign lands risks creating more enemies, and impacts public opinion overseas. Our laws constrain the power of the president, even during wartime, and I have taken an oath to defend the Constitution of the United States. The very precision of drones strikes, and the necessary secrecy involved in such actions can end up shielding our government from the public scrutiny that a troop deployment invites. It can also lead a president and his team to view drone strikes as a cure-all for terrorism.

For this reason, I’ve insisted on strong oversight of all lethal action. After I took office, my administration began briefing all strikes outside of Iraq and Afghanistan to the appropriate committees of Congress. Let me repeat that — not only did Congress authorize the use of force, it is briefed on every strike that America takes. That includes the one instance when we targeted an American citizen: Anwar Awlaki, the chief of external operations for AQAP.

This week, I authorized the declassification of this action, and the deaths of three other Americans in drone strikes, to facilitate transparency and debate on this issue, and to dismiss some of the more outlandish claims. For the record, I do not believe it would be constitutional for the government to target and kill any U.S. citizen — with a drone, or a shotgun — without due process. Nor should any president deploy armed drones over U.S. soil.

But when a U.S. citizen goes abroad to wage war against America — and is actively plotting to kill U.S. citizens; and when neither the United States, nor our partners are in a position to capture him before he carries out a plot — his citizenship should no more serve as a shield than a sniper shooting down on an innocent crowd should be protected from a swat team

That’s who Anwar Awlaki was — he was continuously trying to kill people. He helped oversee the 2010 plot to detonate explosive devices on two U.S. bound cargo planes. He was involved in planning to blow up an airliner in 2009. When Farouk Abdulmutallab — the Christmas Day bomber — went to Yemen in 2009, Awlaki hosted him, approved his suicide operation, and helped him tape a martyrdom video to be shown after the attack. His last instructions were to blow up the airplane when it was over American soil. I would have detained and prosecuted Awlaki if we captured him before he carried out a plot. But we couldn’t. And as President, I would have been derelict in my duty had I not authorized the strike that took out Awlaki.

Of course, the targeting of any Americans raises constitutional issues that are not present in other strikes — which is why my Administration submitted information about Awlaki to the Department of Justice months before Awlaki was killed, and briefed the Congress before this strike as well. But the high threshold that we have set for taking lethal action applies to all potential terrorist targets, regardless of whether or not they are American citizens. This threshold respects the inherent dignity of every human life. Alongside the decision to put our men and women in uniform in harm’s way, the decision to use force against individuals or groups — even against a sworn enemy of the United States — is the hardest thing I do as president. But these decisions must be made, given my responsibility to protect the American people.

Going forward, I have asked my administration to review proposals to extend oversight of lethal actions outside of warzones that go beyond our reporting to Congress. Each option has virtues in theory, but poses difficulties in practice. For example, the establishment of a special court to evaluate and authorize lethal action has the benefit of bringing a third branch of government into the process, but raises serious constitutional issues about presidential and judicial authority. Another idea that’s been suggested — the establishment of an independent oversight board in the executive branch — avoids those problems, but may introduce a layer of bureaucracy into national-security decision-making, without inspiring additional public confidence in the process. Despite these challenges, I look forward to actively engaging Congress to explore these — and other — options for increased oversight.

I believe, however, that the use of force must be seen as part of a larger discussion about a comprehensive counter-terrorism strategy. Because for all the focus on the use of force, force alone cannot make us safe. We cannot use force everywhere that a radical ideology takes root; and in the absence of a strategy that reduces the well-spring of extremism, a perpetual war — through drones or Special Forces or troop deployments — will prove self-defeating, and alter our country in troubling ways.

So the next element of our strategy involves addressing the underlying grievances and conflicts that feed extremism, from North Africa to South Asia. As we’ve learned this past decade, this is a vast and complex undertaking. We must be humble in our expectation that we can quickly resolve deep rooted problems like poverty and sectarian hatred. Moreover, no two countries are alike, and some will undergo chaotic change before things get better. But our security and values demand that we make the effort.

This means patiently supporting transitions to democracy in places like Egypt, Tunisia and Libya — because the peaceful realization of individual aspirations will serve as a rebuke to violent extremists. We must strengthen the opposition in Syria, while isolating extremist elements — because the end of a tyrant must not give way to the tyranny of terrorism. We are working to promote peace between Israelis and Palestinians – because it is right, and because such a peace could help reshape attitudes in the region. And we must help countries modernize economies, upgrade education, and encourage entrepreneurship — because American leadership has always been elevated by our ability to connect with peoples’ hopes, and not simply their fears.

Success on these fronts requires sustained engagement, but it will also require resources. I know that foreign aid is one of the least popular expenditures — even though it amounts to less than one percent of the federal budget. But foreign assistance cannot be viewed as charity. It is fundamental to our national security, and any sensible long-term strategy to battle extremism. Moreover, foreign assistance is a tiny fraction of what we spend fighting wars that our assistance might ultimately prevent. For what we spent in a month in Iraq at the height of the war, we could be training security forces in Libya, maintaining peace agreements between Israel and its neighbors, feeding the hungry in Yemen, building schools in Pakistan, and creating reservoirs of goodwill that marginalize extremists.

America cannot carry out this work if we do not have diplomats serving in dangerous places. Over the past decade, we have strengthened security at our Embassies, and I am implementing every recommendation of the Accountability Review Board which found unacceptable failures in Benghazi. I have called on Congress to fully fund these efforts to bolster security, harden facilities, improve intelligence, and facilitate a quicker response time from our military if a crisis emerges.

But even after we take these steps, some irreducible risks to our diplomats will remain. This is the price of being the world’s most powerful nation, particularly as a wave of change washes over the Arab World. And in balancing the trade-offs between security and active diplomacy, I firmly believe that any retreat from challenging regions will only increase the dangers we face in the long run.

Targeted action against terrorists. Effective partnerships. Diplomatic engagement and assistance. Through such a comprehensive strategy we can significantly reduce the chances of large scale attacks on the homeland and mitigate threats to Americans overseas. As we guard against dangers from abroad, however, we cannot neglect the daunting challenge of terrorism from within our borders.

As I said earlier, this threat is not new. But technology and the Internet increase its frequency and lethality. Today, a person can consume hateful propaganda, commit themselves to a violent agenda, and learn how to kill without leaving their home. To address this threat, two years ago my administration did a comprehensive review, and engaged with law enforcement. The best way to prevent violent extremism is to work with the Muslim American community — which has consistently rejected terrorism — to identify signs of radicalization, and partner with law enforcement when an individual is drifting towards violence. And these partnerships can only work when we recognize that Muslims are a fundamental part of the American family. Indeed, the success of American Muslims, and our determination to guard against any encroachments on their civil liberties, is the ultimate rebuke to those who say we are at war with Islam.

Indeed, thwarting homegrown plots presents particular challenges in part because of our proud commitment to civil liberties for all who call America home. That’s why, in the years to come, we will have to keep working hard to strike the appropriate balance between our need for security and preserving those freedoms that make us who we are. That means reviewing the authorities of law enforcement, so we can intercept new types of communication, and build in privacy protections to prevent abuse. That means that — even after Boston — we do not deport someone or throw someone in prison in the absence of evidence. That means putting careful constraints on the tools the government uses to protect sensitive information, such as the State Secrets doctrine. And that means finally having a strong Privacy and Civil Liberties Board to review those issues where our counter-terrorism efforts and our values may come into tension.

The Justice Department’s investigation of national security leaks offers a recent example of the challenges involved in striking the right balance between our security and our open society. As Commander-in Chief, I believe we must keep information secret that protects our operations and our people in the field. To do so, we must enforce consequences for those who break the law and breach their commitment to protect classified information. But a free press is also essential for our democracy. I am troubled by the possibility that leak investigations may chill the investigative journalism that holds government accountable.

Journalists should not be at legal risk for doing their jobs. Our focus must be on those who break the law. That is why I have called on Congress to pass a media shield law to guard against government over-reach. I have raised these issues with the Attorney General, who shares my concern. So he has agreed to review existing Department of Justice guidelines governing investigations that involve reporters, and will convene a group of media organizations to hear their concerns as part of that review. And I have directed the Attorney General to report back to me by July 12th.

All these issues remind us that the choices we make about war can impact — in sometimes unintended ways — the openness and freedom on which our way of life depends. And that is why I intend to engage Congress about the existing Authorization to Use Military Force, or AUMF, to determine how we can continue to fight terrorists without keeping America on a perpetual war-time footing.

The AUMF is now nearly twelve years old. The Afghan War is coming to an end. Core al-Qaida is a shell of its former self. Groups like AQAP must be dealt with, but in the years to come, not every collection of thugs that labels themselves al-Qaida will pose a credible threat to the United States. Unless we discipline our thinking and our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don’t need to fight, or continue to grant presidents unbound powers more suited for traditional armed conflicts between nation states. So I look forward to engaging Congress and the American people in efforts to refine, and ultimately repeal, the AUMF’s mandate. And I will not sign laws designed to expand this mandate further. Our systematic effort to dismantle terrorist organizations must continue. But this war, like all wars, must end. That’s what history advises. That’s what our democracy demands.

And that brings me to my final topic: the detention of terrorist suspects.

To repeat, as a matter of policy, the preference of the United States is to capture terrorist suspects. When we do detain a suspect, we interrogate them. And if the suspect can be prosecuted, we decide whether to try him in a civilian court or a Military Commission. During the past decade, the vast majority of those detained by our military were captured on the battlefield. In Iraq, we turned over thousands of prisoners as we ended the war. In Afghanistan, we have transitioned detention facilities to the Afghans, as part of the process of restoring Afghan sovereignty. So we bring law of war detention to an end, and we are committed to prosecuting terrorists whenever we can.

The glaring exception to this time-tested approach is the detention center at Guantanamo Bay. The original premise for opening GTMO — that detainees would not be able to challenge their detention — was found unconstitutional five years ago. In the meantime, GTMO has become a symbol around the world for an America that flouts the rule of law. Our allies won’t cooperate with us if they think a terrorist will end up at GTMO. During a time of budget cuts, we spend $150 million each year to imprison 166 people — almost $1 million per prisoner. And the Department of Defense estimates that we must spend another $200 million to keep GTMO open at a time when we are cutting investments in education and research here at home.

As president, I have tried to close GTMO. I transferred 67 detainees to other countries before Congress imposed restrictions to effectively prevent us from either transferring detainees to other countries, or imprisoning them in the United States. These restrictions make no sense. After all, under President Bush, some 530 detainees were transferred from GTMO with Congress’s support. When I ran for president the first time, John McCain supported closing GTMO. No person has ever escaped from one of our super-max or military prisons in the United States. Our courts have convicted hundreds of people for terrorism-related offenses, including some who are more dangerous than most GTMO detainees. Given my administration’s relentless pursuit of al-Qaida’s leadership, there is no justification beyond politics for Congress to prevent us from closing a facility that should never have been opened.

Today, I once again call on Congress to lift the restrictions on detainee transfers from GTMO. I have asked the Department of Defense to designate a site in the United States where we can hold military commissions. I am appointing a new, senior envoy at the State Department and Defense Department whose sole responsibility will be to achieve the transfer of detainees to third countries. I am lifting the moratorium on detainee transfers to Yemen, so we can review them on a case by case basis. To the greatest extent possible, we will transfer detainees who have been cleared to go to other countries. Where appropriate, we will bring terrorists to justice in our courts and military justice system. And we will insist that judicial review be available for every detainee.

Even after we take these steps, one issue will remain: how to deal with those GTMO detainees who we know have participated in dangerous plots or attacks, but who cannot be prosecuted — for example because the evidence against them has been compromised or is inadmissible in a court of law. But once we commit to a process of closing GTMO, I am confident that this legacy problem can be resolved, consistent with our commitment to the rule of law.

I know the politics are hard. But history will cast a harsh judgment on this aspect of our fight against terrorism, and those of us who fail to end it. Imagine a future — 10 years from now, or 20 years from now — when the United States of America is still holding people who have been charged with no crime on a piece of land that is not a part of our country. Look at the current situation, where we are force-feeding detainees who are holding a hunger strike. Is that who we are? Is that something that our Founders foresaw? Is that the America we want to leave to our children?

Our sense of justice is stronger than that. We have prosecuted scores of terrorists in our courts. That includes Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to blow up an airplane over Detroit; and Faisal Shahzad, who put a car bomb in Times Square. It is in a court of law that we will try Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is accused of bombing the Boston Marathon. Richard Reid, the shoe bomber, is as we speak serving a life sentence in a maximum security prison here, in the United States. In sentencing Reid, Judge William Young told him, “the way we treat you.is the measure of our own liberties.” He went on to point to the American flag that flew in the courtroom — “That flag,” he said, “will fly there long after this is all forgotten. That flag still stands for freedom.”

America, we have faced down dangers far greater than al-Qaida. By staying true to the values of our founding, and by using our constitutional compass, we have overcome slavery and Civil War; fascism and communism. In just these last few years as president, I have watched the American people bounce back from painful recession, mass shootings, and natural disasters like the recent tornados that devastated Oklahoma. These events were heartbreaking; they shook our communities to the core. But because of the resilience of the American people, these events could not come close to breaking us.

I think of Lauren Manning, the 9/11 survivor who had severe burns over 80 percent of her body, who said, “That’s my reality. I put a Band-Aid on it, literally, and I move on.”

I think of the New Yorkers who filled Times Square the day after an attempted car bomb as if nothing had happened.

I think of the proud Pakistani parents who, after their daughter was invited to the White House, wrote to us, “we have raised an American Muslim daughter to dream big and never give up because it does pay off.”

I think of the wounded warriors rebuilding their lives, and helping other vets to find jobs.

I think of the runner planning to do the 2014 Boston Marathon, who said, “Next year, you are going to have more people than ever. Determination is not something to be messed with.”

That’s who the American people are. Determined, and not to be messed with.

Now, we need a strategy — and a politics — that reflects this resilient spirit. Our victory against terrorism won’t be measured in a surrender ceremony on a battleship, or a statue being pulled to the ground. Victory will be measured in parents taking their kids to school; immigrants coming to our shores; fans taking in a ballgame; a veteran starting a business; a bustling city street. The quiet determination; that strength of character and bond of fellowship; that refutation of fear — that is both our sword and our shield. And long after the current messengers of hate have faded from the world’s memory, alongside the brutal despots, deranged madmen, and ruthless demagogues who litter history — the flag of the United States will still wave from small-town cemeteries, to national monuments, to distant outposts abroad. And that flag will still stand for freedom.

Thank you. God Bless you. And may God bless the United States of America.

Obama reframes counterterrorism policy with new rules on drones

By Tom Curry, National Affairs Writer, NBC News

In a major address Thursday President Barack Obama sought to reframe the nation’s counterterrorism strategy, saying, “Our systematic effort to dismantle terrorist organizations must continue. But this war, like all wars, must end. That’s what history advises. That’s what our democracy demands.”

He said in a speech at the National Defense University in Washington, “America is at a crossroads. We must define our effort not as a boundless ‘global war on terror’ – but rather as a series of persistent, targeted efforts to dismantle specific networks of violent extremists that threaten America.”

In an attempt to define a new post-Sept. 11 era, Obama outlined new guidelines for the use of drones to kill terrorists overseas and pledged a renewed effort to close the military detention center in Guantanamo Bay. In the speech, Obama argued that, “In the years to come, not every collection of thugs that labels themselves al Qaeda will pose a credible threat to the United States.” He warned that “unless we discipline our thinking and our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don’t need to fight.”

With efforts under way in Congress to redefine the 2001 authorization to use military force (AUMF) against al Qaida, Obama said he would work with Congress “in efforts to refine, and ultimately repeal, the AUMF’s mandate. And I will not sign laws designed to expand this mandate further.”

Toward the end of Obama’s address as he discussed the Guantanamo detainees, he was repeatedly interrupted by heckling from Medea Benjamin, founder of the antiwar Code Pink, whose members have frequently been arrested for disrupting hearings on Capitol Hill – but Obama patiently said that Benjamin’s concerns are “something to be passionate about.”

“We must define the nature and scope of this struggle, or else it will define us, mindful of James Madison’s warning that ‘No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.’ Neither I, nor any president, can promise the total defeat of terror,” he declared.

As part of his redefinition of counterterrorism, the president announced several initiatives:

  • Setting narrower parameters for the use of remotely piloted aircraft, or drones, to kill terrorists overseas and to limit collateral casualties;
  • Renewing efforts to persuade Congress to agree to close the Guantanamo detention site in Cuba where 110 terrorist suspects are being held;
  • Appointing a new envoy at the State Department and an official at the Defense Department who will attempt to negotiate transfers of Guantanamo detainees to other countries.
  • Lifting the moratorium he imposed in 2010 on transferring some detainees at Guantanamo to Yemen. Obama imposed that moratorium after it was revealed that Detroit “underwear bomber” Umar Farouq Abdulmuttalab was trained in Yemen.

Obama argued that when compared to the Sept. 11, 2001 attackers, “the threat today is more diffuse, with Al Qaeda’s affiliates in the

Arabian Peninsula – AQAP – the most active in plotting against our homeland. While none of AQAP’s efforts approach the scale of 9/11 they have continued to plot acts of terror, like the attempt to blow up an airplane on Christmas Day in 2009.”

So he said, “As we shape our response, we have to recognize that the scale of this threat closely resembles the types of attacks we faced before 9/11.”

He said that the current threat is often from “deranged or alienated individuals – often U.S. citizens or legal residents – (who) can do enormous damage, particularly when inspired by larger notions of violent jihad. That pull towards extremism appears to have led to the shooting at Fort Hood, and the bombing of the Boston Marathon.”

In discussing his drone strategy he indicated his remorse over the innocent people who had been killed: “it is a hard fact that U.S. strikes have resulted in civilian casualties, a risk that exists in all wars. For the families of those civilians, no words or legal construct can justify their loss. For me, and those in my chain of command, these deaths will haunt us as long as we live, just as we are haunted by the civilian casualties that have occurred through conventional fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

There remains considerable doubt about Obama’s ability to persuade a majority in Congress to change the current law on releasing detainees held there.

The defense spending bill which Obama signed into law last year prohibits any transfers to the United States of any detainee at Guantanamo who was held there on or before Jan. 20, 2009, the day Obama became president.

And the law sets a very high legal bar for Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to transfer a detainee to his country of origin, or to any other foreign country.

Hagel would need to certify to Congress that the detainee will not be transferred to a country that is a designated state sponsor of terrorism. The country must have agreed to take steps to ensure that the detainee cannot take action to threaten the United States, U.S. citizens, or its allies in the future.

The law allows Hagel to use waivers in some cases to transfer detainees.

Speaking a day before Obama’s speech, Ben Wittes, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and co-founder of the Lawfare blog which covers detainee news, said, “I don’t see any significant change in congressional sentiment right now” on closing the Guantanamo site.

“He’s got a lot of domestic pressure from his base to be seen to be doing something and he’s also got a hunger strike there (at Guantanamo) — and I think there’s a lot of genuine sentiment in the administration that they want to do something (about Guantanamo) so they’re committed to another push and trying again – but the question of what they actually could get done is a difficult question. There’s very limited latitude.”

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Pronk Pops Show 110, May 24, 2013, Segment 0: Radical Islamic Jihadist Terrorists Kill British Soldier In “Gun Free” United Kingdom — Police With Guns Take 14 Plus Minutes Plus To Respond — Photos and Videos

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Segment 0: Radical Islamic Jihadist Terrorists Kill British Soldier In “Gun Free” United Kingdom — Police With Guns Take 14 Plus Minutes Plus To Respond — Photos and Videos

MUSLIMS MURDER UK SOLDIER IN LONDON- Woolwich Attack, 22/May/2013

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Betrayal of a hero father: How MI5 spent EIGHT YEARS watching violent ex-prisoner who preached outside Poundland just yards from murder scene only days before soldier was hacked to death

  • MI5 had been monitoring two fanatics responsible for SE London killing
  • One fanatic was photographed behind hate preacher Anjem Choudary
  • Michael Adebolajo, 28, was also a member of a banned terrorist group
  • He was said to have preached jihad in Woolwich just earlier this week
  • Close to where married father Lee Rigby was beheaded on Wednesday
  • Second suspect named last night in reports as Michael Adebowale, 22

By Chris Greenwood and James Slack

MI5 had been monitoring the two fanatics responsible for the slaughter of a young soldier near Woolwich barracks for eight years.

The Security Service is facing an inquiry by MPs amid a raft of devastating revelations about the killers’ known links to Islamist extremism.

One of the pair – Michael Adebolajo – was so high profile he was photographed outside Paddington Green police station six years ago behind notorious hate preacher Anjem Choudary.

He was even intercepted by officials as he attempted to travel to Somalia to fight alongside Islamist terrorists last year.

It also emerged that Adebolajo was a violent ex-prisoner who was a member of a banned terrorist group.

Incredibly, he was said to have been preaching jihad on the streets of Woolwich earlier this week, only a few hundred yards from where 25-year-old Army Drummer Lee Rigby – a married father – was beheaded.

As MI5 faced accusations that they let the men slip through the net, David Cameron ordered a full intelligence review by a Westminster committee.

On a dramatic day:

  • Sources confirmed that 28-year-old Adebolajo once served a jail sentence for violence;
  • Tory minister Baroness Warsi attacked broadcasters who give airtime to ‘extremist voices – idiots and nutters’ after Choudary gave interviews on BBC TV and Channel 4 News;
  • It was revealed Adebolajo was once intercepted by police as he attempted to travel to Somalia to fight alongside Al-Shabaab;
  • The Conservative MP Bob Stewart demanded foreign-born preachers of hate should be ‘put on a plane out’ of Britain;
  • Heavily-armed Scotland Yard officers made dawn raids at six homes across London and in Lincoln;
  • A man and a woman, both aged 29, were arrested on suspicion of joining the murderous conspiracy.

Police chiefs described the counter terrorism investigation, one of the largest in recent history, as ‘complex and fast-moving’.

Adeolajo, 28, and his friend remained under armed guard in separate hospitals being treated for gunshot wounds. They are expected to recover fully.

POLICE HIT BACK AT CLAIMS THEY TOOK 20 MINS TO REACH SCENE

Police today defended their response to the killing after eyewitnesses claimed they took up to 20 minutes to arrive at the scene.

Assistant Commissioner Simon Byrne, said: ‘One point I would like to address is around some of the speculation as to how long it took the Met to respond yesterday as this incident started to unfold.

‘We first received a 999 call from the public at 2.20pm stating a man was being attacked, further 999 calls stated that the attackers were in possession of a gun.

‘We had officers at the scene within nine minutes of receiving that first 999 call.

‘Once that information about a gun or guns being present was known firearms officers were assigned at 2.24pm.

‘Firearms officers were there and dealing with the incident 10 minutes after they were assigned, 14 minutes after the first call to the Met.’

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2329458/The-Angels-Woolwich-Three-womens-outstanding-courage-confront-killers-pray-slaughtered-soldier.html#ixzz2U8zxz44p
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You and your children will be next’: Islamic fanatics wielding meat cleavers butcher and try to behead a British soldier, taking their war on the West to a new level of horror

  • One of the men arrested is believed to be Michael Adebolajo
  • Two men repeatedly stab and tried to behead off-duty soldier in SE London
  • They shouted ‘Allah Akbar’ attack and told witnesses to film them
  • Charged at police officers with rusty revolver, knives and meat cleavers
  • Killing took place 200 yards from barracks and close to primary school
  • Both men placed under arrest after being treated for gunshot wounds
  • PM: Killing is ‘sickening’ and Britain will ‘never buckle’ in face of terror

Clutching a bloodied meat cleaver, the man suspected of executing a soldier on a crowded street declared: ‘you and your kids will be next’.

In a chilling rant captured on camera, the knife-wielding man declared: ‘The only reason we have killed this man today is because Muslims are dying daily by British soldiers.’

The man who launched the terrifying diatribe in Woolwich, south-east London, is believed to be Michael Adebolajo, who has been identified on Twitter and web forums as one of the two people arrested.

In the video obtained by ITV News he added: ‘Remove your governments – they don’t care about you. You think David Cameron is going to get caught in the street when we start bursting our guns? You think politicians are going to die?

‘No, it’s going to be the average guy, like you, and your children. So get rid of them – tell them to bring our troops back so we can… so you can all live in peace.’

Police are today believed to be searching addresses that Adebolajo, known by the Muslim name Mujahid, is linked to in Romford, Essex.

They also carried out raids in Lincolnshire and Greenwich, south east London.

Yesterday the serviceman, wearing a Help for Heroes top, was run down by a car before being brutally attacked in Woolwich, just 200 yards from the barracks.

In broad daylight, an attacker and an accomplice repeatedly stabbed and tried to behead the man in front of dozens of passers-by.

After the attack, speaking in a clear south London accent, the man named as Adebolajo said: ‘You people will never be safe. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.’

Throughout the frenzied attack the two killers shouted ‘Allah Akbar’ – Arabic for ‘God is great’ – then demanded horrified witnesses film them as they ranted over the crumpled body.

The two black men in their 20s, waited calmly for armed police to arrive before charging at officers brandishing a rusty revolver, knives and meat cleavers.

When the old pistol was shot towards police it backfired and blew the thumb off one of the men.

Moments later they were cut down in a hail of bullets believed to be fired by a woman marksman. Last night both men were being treated in hospital for their wounds and will face questioning.

Mother-of-two Ingrid Loyau-Kennett bravely remonstrated with one of the killers in the aftermath of the terror attack.

After pleading with them to hand her the weapons, one told her: ‘We want to start a war in London tonight’.

She replied: ‘Right now it is only you versus many people, you are going to lose’.

Ms Loyau-Kennett said she was not trained in any way to deal with the situation – she used to be a teacher.

Yesterday’s slaughter took place close to a primary school at 2.20pm. Witnesses told how the men drove a dark blue Vauxhall Tigra on to the pavement.

The soldier was wearing a t-shirt with the army charity Help for Heroes logo on it and was carrying a military issue rucksack. The men then leapt out of their car and ‘hacked and chopped’ at their victim before dragging his bloodied body into the middle of the road.

Last night both men were placed under arrest after being treated for gunshot wounds under armed guard in separate hospitals.

Today Prime Minister David Cameron said the murder of a ‘brave soldier’ on the streets of London will bring the UK together and ‘make us stronger’.

Speaking outside Downing Street after chairing a meeting of the Government’s emergency Cobra committee, the Prime Minister said the attack ‘sickens us all’ and was a ‘betrayal of Islam’.

‘The people who did this were trying to divide us. They should know something like this will only bring us together and make us stronger,’ he said.

‘This country will be absolutely resolute in its stand against violent extremism and terror. We will never give in to terror or terrorism in any of its forms.

‘This view is shared by every community in our country. This was not just an attack on Britain and on the British way of life; it was also a betrayal of Islam and of the Muslim communities who give so much to our country.’

Last night Mr Cameron cut short his trip to Paris and described the assassination as ‘absolutely sickening’, insisting Britain will ‘never buckle’ in the face of terrorist attacks.

Security was tightened at dozens of other Army barracks across the country amid fears of copycat attacks and Home Secretary Theresa May called a meeting of Cobra, Whitehall’s emergency committee, after being briefed by MI5 and counter-terrorism police.

Experts believe the pair were using Muslim names and could be of Somali or Nigerian heritage.

It is thought the two fundamentalists had spent weeks watching the barracks, which the Queen is due to visit next week, prior to the attack.

The ambush and stabbing of a soldier close to an army barracks is an unprecedented Islamic attack on mainland Britain.

A group of military wives who laid flowers today said they were ‘numb’.

One of the women, in her 20s, who did not want to be named, said: ‘We are all just very numb at the moment – shaken up and very shocked. It could have been any one of our husbands.

‘He was a young guy who cared very much about his job, like they all do. I think he was in training.’

The killing immediately prompted widespread revulsion. David Cameron said Britain ‘will not be cowed, will never buckle’ in the face of terrorism last night as he urged people to go about their lives as normal in defiance of the ‘absolutely sickening’ killing in London.

London Mayor Mr Johnson said: ‘Londoners from all communities, from across this city have been here before.

I know that this is a city of incredible resilience and courage and we have to protect ourselves with the best security services, the most professional police service, in the world.’

Relations between British Muslims in the armed forces and their colleagues will not be strained following the murder of a British soldier in Woolwich, a retired army captain has said.

Captain Afzal Amin, former chairman of the Armed Forces Muslim Association, said: ‘I send my condolences to the poor victim, not just as a former army officer but as a British Muslim.

‘We’re not accustomed to this kind of completely inexplicable attack.’

‘There are a wide range of racial backgrounds in the armed forces which have formed a good, solid integrated body. I’m sure relations are already well established.’

‘Remember the context of all of this,’ he added. ‘This was an attack on an innocent soldier, an abhorrent crime in a normally cohesive society.’

Last night the Muslim Council of Britain said it was a ‘truly barbaric act that has no basis in Islam’. ‘We condemn this unreservedly,’ a spokesman said. ‘Our thoughts are with the victim and his family.

‘We understand the victim is a serving member of the Armed Forces. Muslims have long served in this country’s Armed Forces, proudly and with honour.

‘This attack on a member of the Armed Forces is dishonourable and no cause justifies this murder. This action will no doubt heighten tensions on the streets of the United Kingdom.’

Woolwich attack: terrorist proclaimed ‘an eye for an eye’ after attack

A British soldier has been butchered on a busy London street by two Islamist terrorists, one of whom proclaimed afterwards: “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.”

In the first terrorist murder on the British mainland since the 7/7 suicide bombings of 2005, the men attempted to behead the soldier, hacking at him like a “piece of meat” in front of dozens of witnesses, before both were shot by police who took around 20 minutes to arrive.

After the killing, one of the men, believed to be a British-born Muslim convert, spoke calmly into a witness’s video phone.

Speaking with a London accent, holding a knife and a meat cleaver and with his hands dripping with blood, he said: “We swear by almighty Allah we will never stop fighting you until you leave us alone. Your people will never be safe. The only reason we have done this is because Muslims are dying by British soldiers every day.

“We must fight them as they fight us. An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. I apologise that women had to witness this today but in our lands our women have to see the same. You people will never be safe. Remove your government, they don’t care about you. Do you think David Cameron is going to get caught in the street when we start busting our guns? Do you think your politicians are going to die?

“No, it’s going to be the average guy like you, and your children. So get rid of them. Tell them to bring our troops back so we, so you can all live in peace.”

Witnesses said that the men used a car to run over the soldier just yards from the Royal Artillery Barracks in Woolwich, south-east London, before setting about him with knives and a meat cleaver as if they were “trying to remove organs”. One unconfirmed report suggested that he had been beheaded.

Passers-by said they thought at first that the attackers were trying to help the man, who was wearing a Help for Heroes T-shirt, and only realised they were killing him when they got closer.

As they attacked the soldier, one of the men shouted “Allahu akbar”, or God is Great, according to the BBC, while another witness said they appeared to pray next to the body as if the solder was a “sacrifice”.

Their victim, thought to be aged around 20, had reportedly been on duty at an Army recruitment office in central London and was on his way back to the barracks when he was murdered at 2.20pm.

It emerged that passers-by went to the soldier’s aid. One of the killers ordered that only women could tend to the body, not men.

There were also questions over why it took around 20 minutes for armed police to arrive on the scene, during which time the killers calmly walked up and down the road, carrying their bloodied knives and a pistol, while members of the public confronted them.

When police did arrive, both gunmen tried to rush at the police and were shot, reportedly by a female officer.

On Wednesday night they were under armed guard in separate hospitals. Their British accents suggested that they were “home-grown” terrorists and security sources said they did not believe anyone else was involved in the incident.

David Cameron described the attack, which had chilling echoes of a plot to behead a soldier foiled in Birmingham in 2007, as “absolutely sickening”, but said that Britain will “never buckle” in the face of terrorism. This morning he will chair a meeting of the Government’s Cobra emergency briefing committee to be updated on developments.

Speaking in Paris, where he had been meeting François Hollande, the French president, he said: “We have suffered these attacks before. We have always beat them back. We have done that through a combination of vigilance, of security, of security information, good policing.

“But above all, the way we have beaten them back is showing an absolutely indomitable British spirit that we will not be cowed, we will never buckle under these attacks. The terrorists will never win because they can never beat the values we hold dear, the belief in freedom, in democracy, in free speech, in our British values, Western values. They are never going to defeat those. That is how we will stand up to these people, whoever they are, however many there are of them, and that is how we will win.”

He added that “every aspect” of security would be reviewed. After a Cobra meeting last night, chaired by Theresa May, the Home Secretary, security was tightened at all London barracks.

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London who attended the meeting, said: “I know that Londoners have been through terrorism before and this city has huge resilience.

“What we also have is the best, the most professional security services and the best police in the world to protect us and they are now going to get to the bottom of exactly what’s happened.”

The Queen announced that she would go ahead with a planned visit to the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery at Woolwich Barracks next week.

The murder appeared to have been planned to ensure maximum publicity, with the killers urging witnesses to take their picture “as if they wanted to be on TV”. One witness, identified only as James, said he and his partner watched in horror as they realised what they were seeing. He shouted at the men to stop, only for one of them to pull out a gun and threaten to shoot him.

After driving his car further up the road, he stopped and called the police, telling them to bring armed units.

He said: “These two guys are chopping this guy to pieces, literally hacking at something like it’s a bit of meat. These two guys were crazed, they were just animals. They then dragged the poor guy from the pavement and dumped his body in the middle of the road.

“They were standing there with the knives in their hand, waving the gun about. There were police at the end of the road but there were no police in the vicinity of the attackers. I think they were proud of what they were doing.”

Footage of the incident obtained by ITV News showed one woman crouched over the body of the dead soldier in an attempt to shield it from further attack. Three other women stood between the body and the killers.

Joe Tallant, a van loader who lives near the scene, said: “My friend and her mum were walking up the hill and the mum came straight to the victim.

“She asked the black guys, ‘Can I help him?’ And one of them said he was already dead but she could have a go. Then one of them said, ‘No man is coming near this body, only women.’

“She was so brave, she didn’t care what happened to her; she knelt down by his side and comforted him. She held his hand and put her other hand on his chest.”

Mulgrave Primary School, just yards from the scene of the killing, went into “lockdown”. However, parents said some of the children had witnessed the attack.

The Muslim Council of Britain condemned the killing as a “truly barbaric” act with “no basis in Islam”.

A spokesman said: “We call on all our communities, Muslim and non-Muslim, to come together in solidarity to ensure the forces of hatred do not prevail.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/terrorism-in-the-uk/10073910/Woolwich-attack-terrorist-proclaimed-an-eye-for-an-eye-after-attack.html

The Angels of Woolwich: How three extraordinarily brave women confronted the Islamic fanatics who butchered and tried to behead a soldier on London street – and prayed next to his mutilated body

  • ‘Religious’ woman in her 50s ‘walked straight up to suspects with no fear’
  • Sat next to victim in middle of the road and put her hands on his chest
  • Witness: ‘She saw everything and wanted to comfort him. The poor man’s head was beside her’
  • Second woman talks to one killer as he wandered around with bloodied weapons and hands
  • Female Cub Scout leader tells other attacker: ‘Right now, it is only you versus many people. You are going to lose’
  • David Cameron praises her bravery, saying: ‘She speaks for us all’

By Richard Hartley-parkinson and Simon Tomlinson

In the aftermath of the brutal murder of a soldier, the remarkable courage of three women stands out.

They selflessly confronted the two killers and went to the aid of the victim, praying for him and preventing further carnage.

The first heroine, described as a religious woman in her 50s, bravely approaches the attackers as they roam the streets covered in blood and demands they let her sit next to the dead man.

As she comforts him in the middle of the road, a second woman stands over her and appears to talk to one of the killers in an apparent attempt to placate him.

Meanwhile, a third lady, a Cub Scout leader, remonstrates with the other alleged murderer who rants at her: ‘We want to start a war in London tonight’.

Standing firm, mother-of-two Ingrid Loyau-Kennett replies: ‘Right now it is only you versus many people. You are going to lose’.

Describing the scene, a witness said he saw the first woman approach the men and ask to go to the soldier’s side moments after the horrific attack in which they nearly behead the soldier.

Joe Tallant told the Daily Mirror: ‘She is a very religious woman. She saw everything and wanted to comfort the man. She just walked straight up to them with no fear.

‘She put her hands on his chest and I think she prayed for him. The poor man’s head was beside her.’

Footage from ITV News shows the woman sat on the road next to the soldier’s body while another image shows her putting her hand on his back as she prays.

A second woman stands over her and appears to talk to one of the killers as he wanders around with bloodied weapons and hands.

Meanwhile, Ms Loyau-Kennett, 48, jumped off her bus when she saw the soldier’s body lying in the south-east London street, checked his pulse and then tried to talk to the men who hacked him to death.

One told her: ‘We want to start a war in London tonight’.

e added: ‘We will defeat violent extremism by standing together, by backing our police and security services and, above all, by challenging the poisonous narrative of extremism on which this violence feeds.’

Mr Cameron refused to say if the suspected killers were known to police and security services but said it was something the Independent Police Complaints Commission and intelligence committees would look into.

‘She put her hands on his chest and I think she prayed for him. The poor man’s head was beside her.’
Witness, Joe Talllant

After the attack, one of the alleged killers was filmed launching into a diatribe as he pledged the fight would go on.

Speaking in a clear south London accent, he said: ‘You people will never be safe. An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.’

The two suspects apparently shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’, which means ‘God is great’ in Arabic as they hacked the soldier to death.

They waited calmly for the police to arrive before charging at officers brandishing a rusty revolver, knives and meat cleavers.

They were then shot by armed officers, and both suspects are under guard in separate hospitals today.

But it was a brave female Cub Scout leader who confronted the armed men.

‘I saw a man on the road, obviously injured and a car badly crashed I assumed it was a road accident, although the car was funny on the pavement, it was not coming on the road,’ she told ITV’s Daybreak.

‘When I approached the body there was a lady cradling him and then the guy, the most excited one of the two said, don’t go too close to the body.

‘I could see a butcher’s knife and you know these axes butchers have to cut -that’s what he had and blood all over him. I thought what the heck happened here?

‘Okay I thought obviously he was a bit excited, so I thought the thing was just to talk to him.

Ms Loyau-Kennett said she was not trained in any way to deal with the situation – she used to be a teacher.

‘I know it’s big today, for me he was just a regular guy, just a bit upset. He was not on drugs, he was not drunk.’

She said the man told her ‘Don’t touch, I killed him.’

When she questioned him, he said ‘He is a British soldier, he killed people, he killed Muslim people, in Muslim countries. ‘

Mrs Loyau-Kennett explained the man holding the knife told her it was for ‘all the bomb droppings and killings, blindly, women.’

When asked if she feared for her life she replied: ‘Better me than the children.

‘There were mothers with children. It was important.’

Mrs Loyau-Kennett’s son said her bravery was motivated by her ‘incredible maternal instinct’.

The 48-year-old was in London celebrating her son Basil Baradaran’s 23rd birthday when she came across the horrific scene.

Basil, an animation graduate who lives close to the murder scene with sister Pawony, 24, said: ‘Mum came up to visit for my birthday and we’d had a lovely celebration.

‘I was meeting her at the train station when she walked up and started telling me had happened.

‘My first thought was for her safety but I could see she was completely intact. I couldn’t believe what she was telling me.

‘I don’t know what was going through her mind or how she found the strength to do what she did but I’m totally awestruck. I’m about as proud as a son could be.’

Mrs Loyau-Kennett, who is half-French, brought up her two children alone after their father returned to France when they were very young.

She lives in Helston, Cornwall, works as a language teacher and translator, and has recently completed a further qualification with the Open University.

She previously lived in Ipswich and New Zealand, where she worked with cubs, scouts, beavers and brownies.

Background Articles and Videos

Robert Spencer: Stealth Jihad (1 of 6)

Robert Spencer: Stealth Jihad (2 of 6)

Robert Spencer: Stealth Jihad (3 of 6)

Robert Spencer: Stealth Jihad (4 of 6)

Robert Spencer: Stealth Jihad (5 of 6)

Robert Spencer: Stealth Jihad (6 of 6)

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Pronk Pops Show 110, May 24, 2013, Segment 1: Obama On War, Peace and Drones To Kill Radical Islamic Jihad Terrorists — National Defense University Speech, May 23, 2013  —  Videos

Pronk Pops Show 110, May 23, 2013, Segment 2: Tyrant Rex Obama Assaults Freedom of The Press and Targets — AP — Fox News Reporters Rosen and Others — Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 109, May 17, 2013, Segment 4: Sarah Hall Ingram Deputy Commissioner of the Tax Exempt/Government Entities Division (TE/GE) Targeted Tea Party — Now In Charge of IRS Health Care Office — Mission Accomplished Got $100,000 bonuses between 2009 and 2012 — Got Obama Elected President! — Videos

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Segment 4: Sarah Hall Ingram Deputy Commissioner of the Tax Exempt/Government Entities Division (TE/GE) Targeted Tea Party — Now In Charge of IRS Health Care Office — Mission Accomplished Got $100,000 bonuses between 2009 and 2012 — Got Obama Elected President! — Videos

sarah_hall_ingram

NAACP’s Leader Calls The Tea Party The Taliban Wing Of American Politics

Rand Paul Discusses IRS Scandal & Enemies List on Hannity – 5/13/13

The I.R.S. Takes Aim at the Tea Party (David Keating)

The I.R.S. Abusing Americans Is Nothing New

The I.R.S. targeting of tea party groups in the United States is par for the course. It’s not the first time the agency has been used for partisan political ends. Whether or not the targeting was undertaken as a directive from the White House, the agency’s broad latitude in determining what constitutes partisan political activity is very problematic. The solutions offered by campaign finance reformers would unfortunately only give the agency more power.

Scarborough, Willie Geist Tear Into Obama Admin Over IRS Scandal ‘This Is Tyranny…’

Jon Stewart Destroys Obama Over IRS Scandal & Lack Of ‘Managerial Competence’

IRS chief: Disclosure of targeting was intentional

Lois Lerner, IRS Official: I’m Not Good At Math

IRS Scandal: Lois Lerner In her own words

Who knew what and when at the IRS?

Obama’s Enemies List 2.0

PAUL RYAN Destroys IRS Commissioner Steven Miller at House Hearing

IRS Official in Charge During Tea Party Targeting Now Runs Health Care Office

By John Parkinson and Steven Portnoy

The Internal Revenue Service official in charge of the tax-exempt organizations at the time when the unit targeted tea party groups now runs the IRS office responsible for the health care legislation.

Sarah Hall Ingram served as commissioner of the office responsible for tax-exempt organizations between 2009 and 2012. But Ingram has since left that part of the IRS and is now the director of the IRS’ Affordable Care Act office, the IRS confirmed to ABC News today.

Her successor, Joseph Grant, is taking the fall for misdeeds at the scandal-plagued unit between 2010 and 2012. During at least part of that time, Grant served as deputy commissioner of the tax-exempt unit.

Grant announced today that he would retire June 3, despite being appointed as commissioner of the tax-exempt office May 8, a week ago.

As the House voted to fully repeal the Affordable Care Act Thursday evening, House Speaker John Boehner expressed “serious concerns” that the IRS is empowered as the law’s chief enforcer.

“Fully repealing ObamaCare will help us build a stronger, healthier economy, and will clear the way for patient-centered reforms that lower health care costs and protect jobs,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said.

“Obamacare empowers the agency that just violated the public’s trust by secretly targeting conservative groups,” Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., added. “Even by Washington’s standards, that’s unacceptable.”

Sen. John Cornyn even introduced a bill, the “Keep the IRS Off Your Health Care Act of 2013,” which would prohibit the Secretary of the Treasury, or any delegate, including the IRS, from enforcing the Affordable Care Act.

“Now more than ever, we need to prevent the IRS from having any role in Americans’ health care,” Cornyn, R-Texas, stated. “I do not support Obamacare, and after the events of last week, I cannot support giving the IRS any more responsibility or taxpayer dollars to implement a broken law.”

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also reacted to the revelation late Thursday, stating the news was “stunning, just stunning.”

ABC News’ Abby D. Phillip contributed to this report.

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/05/irs-official-in-charge-during-tea-party-targeting-now-runs-health-care-office/

Who Is Sarah Hall Ingram?

IRS Commissioner Ingram on Nonprofit Governance

June, 2009 –Sarah Hall Ingram, the new commissioner of the IRS TE/GE (Tax-exempt and Government Entities) division of the IRS, spoke on June 23 at Georgetown’s Continuing Legal Education program about the IRS role in nonprofit governance. In the speech, Ingram identified four general principles that she believes are essential to good nonprofit governance:

A foundational principle is that the organization should clearly understand and publicly express its mission. This helps assure that the organization provides a public benefit and does not drift away from a charitable purpose. It helps an organization avoid practices that are inconsistent with tax-exempt status.
Equally important is the principle that the organization’s board should be engaged, informed and independent. The board should have real responsibility and authority. It must, for example, be able to implement, in the life of the organization, the rules against inurement and self-dealing.
Another set of key good governance principles are those relating to the proper use and safeguarding of assets. These principles are supported by policies and practices that address executive compensation, that protect against conflicts of interest, and that support independent financial reviews.
Transparency is another key principle. I believe that board decisions should be reflected in minutes, that records supporting decisions should be retained for reasonable periods, that whistleblowers should be protected, and that each year’s Form 990 should be complete, accurate and prepared in good faith.

Ingram insisted that the IRS would not create a “one size fits all” definition of governance, but strongly reaffirmed the IRS’s role in governance issues: “Another principle I will follow is that the IRS has a clear, unambiguous role to play in governance.” While I have some doubts about the extent to which the IRS should be active in governance matters, it is hard to argue with Ingram’s view that certain core exemption issues (executive pay, other private inurement, political activity, etc.) do involve governance processes. It will be interesting to see how the IRS’s role in governance evolves under Ingram’s leadership.

To read Commissioner Ingram’s full address go to http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-tege/ingram__gtown__governance_062309.pdf

http://www.mapfornonprofits.org/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC={136E71A8-5197-4841-B935-541944239E23}

IRS Announces Appointment of Sarah Hall Ingram as Chief, Appeals

IR-2006-59, April 11, 2006

WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today announced that Sarah Hall Ingram has been appointed to the position of Chief, Appeals. Ingram will replace David Robison, effective May 7.

As the head of the agency’s Appeals division, Ingram will be responsible for overseeing the operations of an administrative forum for taxpayers contesting an IRS compliance action. The Appeals mission is to resolve tax disputes without litigation; it provides an independent administrative appeal process for all taxpayers.

“I’m pleased Sarah Hall Ingram will be stepping into the position of Chief, Appeals,” said IRS Commissioner Mark W. Everson. “Her broad legal and technical experience will serve the IRS well as she assumes this important post.”

Since July 2004, Ingram has been serving as Deputy Commissioner of the Tax Exempt/Government Entities Division (TE/GE). Ingram began her career with the IRS in the former Tax Litigation Division in 1982. She became Employee Plans Litigation Counsel in 1987, providing litigation coordination nationwide for employee benefit cases. In 1992, Ingram became Deputy Associate Chief Counsel, Employee Benefits and Exempt Organizations (EBEO), where she served until her 1994 appointment as Associate Chief Counsel, EBEO. As part of the IRS Modernization program, Ingram was appointed in 1999 to the new position of Division Counsel/Associate Chief Counsel, TE/GE, where she was responsible for providing legal services to the TE/GE Division and its customers as well as other parts of the IRS.

Ingram received her Bachelor of Arts from Yale University in 1979 and her J.D. in 1982 from Georgetown University Law School. She is a member of the District of Columbia Bar.

Everson also expressed his thanks to Robison, who will retire May 6, after serving 35 years with the IRS.

“David’s service as the Chief, Appeals, for the past four years has been exemplary,” Everson said. “We wish him well in his future endeavors.”

Previously, Robison served in numerous positions involving corporate and international taxation. Last year Robison was selected by Everson to coordinate IRS support for President Bush’s Tax Reform Panel.

http://www.irs.gov/uac/IRS-Announces-Appointment-of-Sarah-Hall-Ingram-as-Chief,-Appeals

IRS targets conservative groups

By Dan Keating and Darla Cameron, Published: May 15, 2013

The IRS grants tax-exempt status to 40,000 nonprofit groups per year. When the IRS began targeting conservative groups’ applications in 2011, nonprofit approvals for groups with tea party or 9-12 in their name stopped entirely. Five groups with those names had been approved in 2009 and 2010, but zero were approved in 2011. After policy reconsideration in 2012, the backlog was broken and 27 groups were approved, mostly in the second half of the year.

The slowdown was evident with other conservative-sounding groups, as well. Thirty-seven groups with the words patriot or constitution had been approved in 2009 and 2010, but only 10 were approved in 2011. Once again, the backlog was relieved in 2012 with 29 approvals.

On the other hand, groups with the word progressive in their names suffered no similar slowdown pattern. The number of approvals increased each year from 17 in 2009 to 20 in 2012. Read related article.

Republicans Expand I.R.S. Inquiry, With Eye on White House

Congressional Republicans, not resting with the Internal Revenue Service scandal, are moving to broaden the matter to an array of tax malfeasances and “intimidation tactics” they hope will ensnare the White House.

Republican charges range from clearly questionable actions to seemingly specious allegations, and they grow by the day. On Friday, lawmakers sought to tie the I.R.S. matter to the carrying out of President Obama’s health care law, which will rely heavily on the agency. Whether they succeed holds significant ramifications for Mr. Obama, who will soon know if he is dealing with a late spring thunderstorm that may soon blow over or a consuming squall that will leave lasting damage.

Representative Dave Camp, Republican of Michigan, the usually mild-mannered chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, set the tone Friday at Congress’s first hearing on the targeting of conservative groups by the I.R.S., laying out details, from the alleged threatening of donors to conservative nonprofit groups to the leaking of confidential I.R.S. documents.

In that context, he said, the screening of Tea Party groups for special scrutiny was not the scandal itself but “just the latest example of a culture of cover-ups — and political intimidation — in this administration.”

“It seems like the truth is hidden from the American people just long enough to make it through an election,” Mr. Camp said.

Taken aback, the ranking Democrat on the committee, Representative Sander M. Levin of Michigan, modified his prepared remarks to warn, “If this hearing becomes essentially a bootstrap to continue the campaign of 2012 and to prepare for 2014, we will be making a very, very serious mistake.”

Republicans raised a long list of issues. Mr. Camp contended, for instance, that a White House official’s divulging of a private company’s tax status constituted “a clear intimidation tactic.” The 2010 incident involved an offhand comment by the White House economist Austan Goolsbee that Koch Industries had not paid corporate income taxes because it pays taxes through the personal income tax code. As it turned out, that was not true, but the assertion was made in a discussion of tax reform ideas, not politics.

The Republicans also criticized the publication of donors to the National Organization for Marriage, a group opposed to same-sex marriage. That donors list surfaced mysteriously in March 2012 from a whistle-blower whose identity is still unknown. The whistle-blower apparently obtained it by simply requesting it from the I.R.S.

Linkage to the health care law came through Sarah Hall Ingram, a longtime I.R.S. official who has headed the agency’s program to carry out the Affordable Care Act since December 2010. Before that, she led the I.R.S.’s tax-exempt and government-entities division, which contained the political targeting effort.

“This is an audit, and it’s helpful,” Representative Tim Griffin, Republican of Arkansas, said of the investigation of I.R.S. targeting by the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, “but it’s the tip of the iceberg.”

But the inspector general made clear that effort did not reach the attention of high-level I.R.S. officials until 2011 at the earliest.

The inspector general gave Republicans some fodder Friday when he divulged that he informed the Treasury’s general counsel he was auditing the I.R.S.’s screening of politically active groups seeking tax exemptions on June 4, 2012. He told Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin “shortly after,” he said. That meant Obama administration officials were aware of the matter during the presidential campaign year.

The disclosure last summer came as part of a routine briefing of the investigations that the inspector general would be conducting in the coming year, and he did not tell the officials of his conclusions that the targeting had been improper, he said.

Treasury officials stressed they did not know the results until March 2013, when the inspector presented a draft.

“Treasury strongly supports the independent oversight of its three inspectors general, and it does not interfere in ongoing I.G. audits,” the department said in a statement Friday evening.

Still, Inspector General J. Russell George’s testimony fueled efforts by Congressional Republicans to ensnare Mr. Obama in the scandals suddenly swirling over the White House. Representative Paul D. Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican who joined the national ticket as the vice-presidential nominee last year, said of the revelation, “That raises a big question.”

Republicans hit hard on the divulging of confidential tax information, hinting of intimidation not only by the I.R.S. but also by the White House.

In March 2012, the Human Rights Campaign and The Huffington Post made public confidential tax documents from the National Organization for Marriage. The Human Rights Campaign said it obtained the documents from a “whistle-blower” who mailed them to the gay rights group’s Washington headquarters.

In a similar incident, ProPublica, an investigative journalism Web site, asked the I.R.S.’s Cincinnati office for the applications of 67 nonprofits, both liberal and conservative. When the I.R.S. responded, it inadvertently included applications for nine conservative groups that had not yet been granted tax-exempt status, a violation of confidentiality law.

When ProPublica realized what it had — including the application from Crossroads GPS, the conservative group founded by Karl Rove and other Republican strategists — it alerted the I.R.S., which warned the journalists that “publishing unauthorized returns or return information was a felony” punishable by up to five years in prison. ProPublica ProPublica redacted certain details and published the documents anyway.

Representative Peter Roskam, Republican of Illinois, hit on a different explanation. “On the one hand, you’re arguing today that the I.R.S. is not corrupt, but the subtext of that is you’re saying, ‘Look, we’re just incompetent,’ ” Mr. Roskam said. “It is a perilous pathway to go down.”

One release that turned out to be advertent was last Friday’s disclosure of the agency’s conservative targeting. Steven Miller, the ousted acting commissioner of the I.R.S., confessed that the agency’s apology was prompted by a question planted by the agency at an American Bar Association meeting. At that meeting, Lois Lerner, the head of the I.R.S.’s division overseeing tax-exempt organizations, was asked about an inquiry into the targeting issue, eliciting an apology that quickly leaked out of the closed-door session. The I.R.S. then scrambled to issue a formal release on the issue.

Mr. Miller divulged that the exchange was not an impromptu apology but a planned exchange between Ms. Lerner and Celia Roady, a tax lawyer at the Washington office of the Morgan Lewis law firm. That revelation only underscored the ham-handed way the scandal has burst into view.

Under fire, Mr. Miller called the agency’s targeting of conservative groups “obnoxious,” but he told the House Ways and Means Committee it was not motivated by partisanship. And in testy exchanges, he said he had not misled Congress, even though he did not divulge the targeting efforts of a Cincinnati unit examining 70,000 applications for tax exemption.

He called the group’s centralization of applications from groups with names that included the words “Tea Party” or “patriots” simply “foolish mistakes” that “were made by people trying to be more efficient in their workload selection.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/18/us/politics/irs-scandal-congressional-hearings.html?pagewanted=2&_r=3&hp

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Pronk Pops Show 109, May 17, 2013, Segment 3: ProPublica — IRS Scandal — Targeted Enemies List Includes Tea Party, Patriots, Religious and Conservative Groups — Obama’s Tyranny –Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 104: April 12, 2013

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Segment 3: ProPublica — IRS Scandal — Targeted Enemies List Includes Tea Party, Patriots, Religious and Conservative Groups  — Obama’s Tyranny –Videos

propublica

paul_steigerobama-white-house

irs_treasury_department

tea-target

tyranny_obama_irs

irs_tea_partyirs_target_tea_party

Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration

http://online.wsj.com/public/resources/documents/TIGTA-201310053fr-revised-redacted-1.pdf

Krauthammer: If White House Had Any Connection To IRS Scandal, It Will Be ‘Fatal Problem’ For Obama

Glenn Beck » IRS And Intimidation

Glenn Beck Ties Together Benghazi, IRS, & AP Scandals ‘Fundamental Transformation’

Glenn Beck – IRS targeted conservatives

IRS Admits Targeting Conservatives – TheBlazeTV – The Glenn Beck Radio Program – 2013.05.10

Lou Dobbs Rips ‘Nixonian’ Obama For Lying ‘Through His Teeth’ About IRS ‘President Who Has Lost His

PAUL RYAN Destroys IRS Commissioner Steven Miller at House Hearing

Paul Steiger: The ProPublica Story

ProPublica founder and CEO, Paul Steiger, on the creation of this foundation-funded investigative newsroom, the challenges they faced and their plans for the future. ProPublica is the first online-only organization to win a Pulitzer Prize.

Paul Steiger: The ProPublica Story part 2

Paul Steiger: The ProPublica Story part 3

Paul Steiger: The ProPublica Story part 4 Q&A

Paul Steiger: The ProPublica Story part 5 Q&A

Jon Stewart Totally DESTROYS Obama Administration Over IRS Scandal | A MUST WATCH

IRS scandal widens

Ex-commissioner on tea party scandal: IRS did “the wrong thing”

Tea Party IRS Investigations Not Politically Motivated? ‘How Stupid Do They Think We Are’

IRS in the spotlight: What’s a 501(c)(4)? By Martina Stewart, CNN

Deceptive Dollars Tied To 501(c)(4) Groups

Mark Levin Dissects Obama, The IRS & The Republican Party in Scandal – Sean Hannity – 5-13-13

Mark Levin Attacks Obama & ‘Impotent’ House GOP Over IRS Scandal ‘Absolutely Unacceptable’

Glenn Beck: Failure to Impeach Over IRS Scandal Means America ‘Already Operating Under Tyranny’

CU President David Bossie on Fox News (02/19/2013)

President Obama Calls IRS Targeting of Conservative, Tea Party Groups ‘Outrageous’

Obama Administration – The I.R.S. Targets Teaparty and Patriot Groups for Review

IRS Gave Higher Scruity to Tea Party, Conservatives According to Document Draft

Political Firestorm Erupts in IRS ‘Tea Party’ Scandal

Tea Party Patriots Jenny Beth Martin Talks ‘IRS Scandal’ with Lou Dobbs – 5-13-13

IRS Caught in the Act – Jenny Beth Martin CBS This Morning 051113

Senator Rand Paul Discusses IRS Scandal & Enemies List with Sean Hannity – 5-13-13

IRS Issues Apology For Targeting Tea Party & PATRIOT Groups! “Definitely 1st Amendment Concerns Here

IRS Targets Tea Party Groups During 2012 Election

Rep. Issa Rips Obama Over IRS Scandal: ‘How Dare The Admin Imply’ They’ll ‘Get To The Bottom Of It’

Progressive Group: IRS Gave Us Conservative Groups’ Confidential Docs

by Wynton Hall

The progressive-leaning investigative journalism group ProPublica says the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) office that targeted and harassed conservative tax-exempt groups during the 2012 election cycle gave the progressive group nine confidential applications of conservative groups whose tax-exempt status was pending.

The commendable admission lends further evidence to the lengths the IRS went during an election cycle to silence tea party and limited government voices.

ProPublica says the documents the IRS gave them were “not supposed to be made public”:

The same IRS office that deliberately targeted conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status in the run-up to the 2012 election released nine pending confidential applications of conservative groups to ProPublica late last year… In response to a request for the applications for 67 different nonprofits last November, the Cincinnati office of the IRS sent ProPublica applications or documentation for 31 groups. Nine of those applications had not yet been approved—meaning they were not supposed to be made public. (We made six of those public, after redacting their financial information, deeming that they were newsworthy.)

The group says that “no unapproved applications from liberal groups were sent to ProPublica.”

According to Media Research Center Vice President for Business and Culture Dan Gainor, ProPublica’s financial backers include top progressive donors:

ProPublica, which recently won its second Pulitzer Prize, initially was given millions of dollars from the Sandler Foundation to “strengthen the progressive infrastructure”–“progressive” being the code word for very liberal. In 2010, it also received a two-year contribution of $125,000 each year from the Open Society Foundations. In case you wonder where that money comes from, the OSF website is http://www.soros.org. It is a network of more than 30 international foundations, mostly funded by Soros, who has contributed more than $8 billion to those efforts.

On Friday, the House Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to hold a formal hearing on the IRS conservative targeting scandal. IRS Commissioner Steve Miller and Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration J. Russell George are slated to testify.

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/05/14/Progressive-Group-Says-IRS-Gave-Them-Confidential-Docs-On-Conservative-Groups

IRS Also Leaked Info About Conservative Groups

Targeting scandal widens

By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff

More trouble for the IRS: The same office that singled out conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status also leaked confidential information about conservative groups last year, ProPublica reports. How does ProPublica know? Well, because the nine pending applications were leaked to ProPublica in the first place. The investigative site had asked to see the applications for 67 nonprofits and the IRS’ Cincinnati office sent over 31, nine of which had not been approved yet, meaning they were supposed to be confidential.

ProPublica was interested in the applications because it was revealing how social-welfare nonprofits, which don’t have to identify their donors and can spend money on elections as long as social welfare is their primary goal, misled the IRS when applying for tax-exempt status. Among the applications released to ProPublica: Karl Rove’s Crossroads group, which had promised to spend only “limited” money on 2012 elections and ended up spending more than $70 million. Also included were five other groups that all claimed they would not spend any money to sway the elections and spent more than $5 million. ProPublica reported on all six (here and here). Interestingly, the New York Times reported today that Crossroads and other larger groups were not subjected to the same intense scrutiny the IRS applied to small Tea Party groups; click for more on that.

http://www.newser.com/story/167882/irs-also-leaked-info-about-conservative-groups.html

ProPublica

ProPublica is a non-profit corporation based in New York City. It describes itself as an independent non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest.[2] In 2010 it became the first online news source to win a Pulitzer Prize, for a piece[3] written by one of its journalists[4][5] and published in The New York Times Magazine[6] as well as on ProPublica.org.[7] ProPublica’s investigations are conducted by its staff of full-time investigative reporters and the resulting stories are given away to news ‘partners’ for publication or broadcast. In some cases, reporters from both ProPublica and the news partners work together on a story. ProPublica has partnered with more than 90 different news organizations, including 60 Minutes, ABC World News, Business Week, CNN, Frontline, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Newsweek, USA Today, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, MSN Money, MSNBC.com, Politico, Reader’s Digest, Salon.com, Slate, This American Life, and NPR, among many others.

History

ProPublica is the brainchild of Herbert and Marion Sandler, the former chief executives of the Golden West Financial Corporation, who have committed $10 million a year to the project.[8] The Sandlers hired Paul Steiger, former managing editor of the Wall Street Journal, to create and run the organization as editor in chief. At the time ProPublica was set up, Steiger responded to concerns about the role of the Sandlers’ political views, saying on The Newshour with Jim Lehrer:

Coming into this, when I talked to Herb and Marion Sandler, one of my concerns was precisely this question of independence and nonpartisanship… My history has been doing ‘down the middle’ reporting. And so when I talked to Herb and Marion I said ‘are you comfortable with that?’ They said ‘absolutely’. I said ‘well suppose we did an expose of some of the left leaning organizations that you have supported or that are friendly to what you’ve supported in the past’. They said ‘no problem’. And when we set up our organizational structure, the board of directors, on which I sit and which Herb is the chairman, does not know in advance what we’re going to report on.[9]

ProPublica had an initial news staff of 28 reporters and editors, including Pulitzer Prize winners, Charles Ornstein, Tracy Weber, Jeff Gerth, and Marcus Stern, but has since grown to 34 full-time working journalists. Steiger claimed that he received as many as 850 applications upon ProPublica’s start. The organization also appointed a 12-member journalism advisory board consisting of professional journalists.

The newsgroup shares its work under the Creative Commons no-derivative, non-commercial license.

Funding

While the Sandler Foundation provided ProPublica with significant financial support, it has also received funding from the Knight Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, Ford Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation and others. ProPublica and the Knight Foundation have various connections. For example, Paul Steiger, President of ProPublica, is a trustee of the Knight Foundation.[10] In like manner, Alberto Ibarguen, the President and CEO of the Knight Foundation is on the board of ProPublica.[11] In 2010, it received a two-year contribution of $125,000 each year from George SorosOpen Society Foundations.

ProPublica has attracted attention for the salaries it pays its top executives.[12][13] The head of ProPublica, Paul Steiger, was paid $571,687 in 2008, according to the company’s tax filings.[14] The managing editor, Stephen Engelberg, was paid $343,463.[15][16] The large salaries have been widely criticized by other journalists and even some in the non-profit world as excessive.[17][17][18] Steiger is the former managing editor at the Wall Street Journal. Engelberg is a former New York Times editor who co-wrote the non-fiction book Germs: Biological Weapons and America’s Secret War, with Times reporter Judith Miller. He was recently elected to the Pulitzer Prize Board.

Awards

In 2010, ProPublica jointly won the Pulitzer Prize for Investigative Reporting (it was also awarded to another new organization for a different story), for “a story that chronicles the urgent life-and-death decisions made by one hospital’s exhausted doctors when they were cut off by the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina.”[19] It was written by ProPublica’s Sheri Fink and published in the New York Times Magazine[6] as well as on ProPublica.org.[7] This was the first Pulitzer awarded to an online news source.[4][5] That investigation also won a National Magazine Award for reporting.

In 2011, ProPublica won its second Pulitzer Prize.[20] Reporters Jesse Eisinger and Jake Bernstein won the Pulitzer for National Reporting for their series, The Wall Street Money Machine. This was the first time a Pulitzer was awarded to a group of stories not published in print.

ProPublica’s reporters have also received the Selden Ring, George Polk, National Magazine, Society of Professional Journalists, James Aronson, ABA Silver Gavel, Overseas Press Club, Online Journalism, Investigative Editors and Reporters, Society of News Design, Society of American Business Editors and Writers, and Dart Center awards (among others) for their work.

Reception

Praise

ProPublica is also renowned for conducting a large-scale, circumscribed investigation on Psychiatric Solutions, a company based in Tennessee that buys failing hospitals, cuts staff, and accumulates profit.[21] The report covered patient deaths at numerous Psychiatric Solutions facilities, the failing physical plant at many of their facilities, and covered the State of Florida‘s first closure of Manatee Palms Youth Services, which has since been shut down[22] by Florida officials once again.[23] Their report was published in conjunction with The Los Angeles Times.

Criticism

Dave Kopel, a policy analyst for the libertarian Cato Institute and a former columnist for the now-defunct Rocky Mountain News, criticized a ProPublica report on hydraulic fracturing as a “one-sided series of facts arrayed to support a point of view”. He argued that a common theme in ProPublica’s work is that “the government is not doing a good enough job in controlling things, particularly things involving big business”.[24] ProPublica later responded to his article, countering those claims and saying quote, “using carefully culled quotations and selected statistics, Kopel asserts ‘indisputably false facts’ in ProPublica’s reporting.” [25]

After fallout from the IRS publicly admitting to targeting conservative tax exempt groups for added scrutiny, ProPublica broke the news that it had requested and received confidential pending applications for groups requesting tax exempt status.

Board members

Investigations

References

This article uses bare URLs for citations. Please consider adding full citations so that the article remains verifiable. Several templates and the Reflinks tool are available to assist in formatting. (Reflinks documentation) (December 2011)
  1. ^ “ProPublicaSite Info”. Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2012-09-01.
  2. ^ “About Us”. Retrieved 2009-01-11. ProPublica is a Dog Latin term literally meaning “for the public woman”; cf. publica.
  3. ^ “a story that chronicles the urgent life-and-death decisions made by one hospital’s exhausted doctors when they were cut off by the floodwaters of Hurricane Katrina.” – Pulitzer.org The 2010 Pulitzer Prize Winners: Investigative Reporting, accessed 13 April 2010
  4. ^ a b The Guardian, 13 April 2010, Pulitzer progress for non-profit news
  5. ^ a b ProPublica, Pulitzer Prize in Investigative Reporting: Deadly Choices at Memorial
  6. ^ a b Sheri Fink, New York Times Magazine, 25 August 2009, THE DEADLY CHOICES AT MEMORIAL
  7. ^ a b ProPublica, 27 August 2009, The Deadly Choices at Memorial
  8. ^ Pérez-Peña, Richard (2007-10-15). “Group Plans to Provide Investigative Journalism”. New York Times. Retrieved 2007-10-15.
  9. ^ PBS Newshour, 24 June 2008, “Financing Independent Journalism”
  10. ^ Board of Trustees, Knight Foundation
  11. ^ Alberto Ibargüen, President and CEO, Knight Foundation
  12. ^ Turner, Zeke. “Shelling Out the Big Bucks at ProPublica | The New York Observer”. Observer.com. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
  13. ^ Taylor, Mike (2010-08-10). “ProPublica’s Top-Paid Employees All Made Six Figures in 2009 – FishbowlNY”. Mediabistro.com. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
  14. ^ Salmon, Felix Philanthrocrat of the day, ProPublica edition, Reuters Blogs, Sept. 30, 2009
  15. ^ Turner, Zeke. “Shelling Out the Big Bucks at ProPublica”. Observer. Retrieved 2013-01-04.
  16. ^ “ProPublica’s Top-Paid Employees All Made Six Figures in 2009 – FishbowlNY”. Mediabistro.com. 2010-08-10. Retrieved 2013-01-04.
  17. ^ a b “Philanthrocrat of the day, ProPublica edition”. Reuters. 30 September 2009.
  18. ^ “Diamonds in the Rough”. CJR. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
  19. ^ Pulitzer.org The 2010 Pulitzer Prize Winners: Investigative Reporting, accessed 13 April 2010
  20. ^ “A Note on ProPublica’s Second Pulitzer Prize”. ProPublica. 2011-04-18. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
  21. ^ LA Times – November 2008- Psychiatric care’s perils and profits
  22. ^ Bradenton Herald – May 2010 – Manatee Palms hospital Slammed
  23. ^ “MANATEE PALMS YOUTH SERVICES Facility Profile”. FloridaHealthFinder.gov. Retrieved 2012-02-23.
  24. ^ Kopel, Dave (2008-12-27). “Opinion pays its own way”. Rocky Mountain News. Unknown parameter |curly= ignored (help)
  25. ^ response

Claim: Obama Campaign Co-Chair Attacked Romney with Leaked IRS Docs

One of President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign co-chairmen used a leaked document from the IRS to attack GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney during the 2012 election, according to the National Organization for Marriage (NOM).

NOM, a pro-traditional marriage organization, claims the IRS leaked their 2008 confidential financial documents to the rival Human Rights Campaign. Those NOM documents were published on the Huffington Post on March 30, 2012. At that time, Joe Solmonese, a left-wing activist and Huffington Post contributor, was the president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). Solmonese was also a 2012 Obama campaign co-chairman.

Both the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein and HRC described the leak as coming from a “whistleblower.” The Huffington Post used the document to write a story questioning former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s support for traditional marriage. The document showed Romney donated $10,000 to NOM. HRC went a step further than the Huffington Post in its criticism of Romney and accused him of using “racially divisive tactics” in a press release.

Solmonese, then still the HRC’s president, said in the release he felt Romney’s “funding of a hate-filled campaign designed to drive a wedge between Americans is beyond despicable.”

“Not only has Romney signed NOM’s radical marriage pledge, now we know he’s one of the donors that NOM has been so desperate to keep secret all these years,” Solmonese added.

Solmonese resigned his position at HRC the next day and took up a position as an Obama campaign co-chair. He had announced the then-pending resignation from HRC the previous autumn.

NOM announced Tuesday that it will sue the IRS for this alleged leak. Under immense political pressure, Attorney General Eric Holder launched a criminal investigation into the IRS’s actions. Congress will conduct ts own investigation.

In early April 2012, NOM published documents which it said showed this leaked confidential information did not come from a “whistleblower” but “came directly from the Internal Revenue Service and was provided to NOM’s political opponents, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).”

NOM discovered that when HRC published its confidential financial documents, it failed to conceal the source of the documents. “After software removed the layers obscuring the document, it is shown that the document came from the Internal Revenue Service,” NOM asserted in its April 2012 release.

“The top of each page says, ‘THIS IS A COPY OF A LIVE RETURN FROM SMIPS. OFFICIAL USE ONLY,’” the statement continues. “On each page of the return is stamped a document ID of ‘100560209.’ Only the IRS would have the Form 990 with ‘Official Use’ information.”

NOM president Brian Brown argued in that April 2012 release that the leak was made to benefit President Obama’s re-election campaign against Romney, his GOP challenger. “The American people are entitled to know how a confidential tax return containing private donor information filed exclusively with the Internal Revenue Service has been given to our political opponents whose leader also happens to be co-chairing President Obama’s reelection committee,” Brown said.

“It is shocking that a political ally of President Obama’s would come to possess and then publicly release a confidential tax return that came directly from the Internal Revenue Service,” he declared. “We demand to know who is responsible for this criminal act and what the Administration is going to do to get to the bottom of it.”

http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2013/05/14/Obama-campaign-co-chair-attacked-Romney-conservative-group-in-2012-with-leaked-IRS-scandal-documents

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Posted on May 17, 2013. Filed under: American History, Budgetary Policy, Business, Communications, Consitutional Law, Economics, Fiscal Policy, Health Care, History, Law, Media, Philosophy, Politics, Radio, Regulation, Tax Policy, Taxes, Videos, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Pronk Pops Show 104: April 12, 2013

Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 108-109 

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 94-97

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Segment 2: Obama Fires Acting IRS Commissioner — Obama The Liar — When Will Congress Impeach Obama? — Videos

Obama liar message_n

President Obama Announces Resignation of Acting IRS Commissioner: I Am Angry About It

Obama the Liar

Glenn Beck Ties Together Benghazi, IRS, & AP Scandals ‘Fundamental Transformation’

MUST SEE VIDEO!!! Who is the REAL Barack Obama – The Liar Deceiver Puppet Satan

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Pronk Pops Show 109: May 17, 2013 

Pronk Pops Show 108: May 10, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 107: May 3, 2013

Pronk Pops Show 106: April 26, 2013

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 108-109 

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Listen To Pronk Pops Podcast or Download Shows 104-105

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(2/2) Glenn Beck – Muslim Brotherhood

Glenn Beck: Shariah, the Muslim Brotherhood & the Threat to America

Frank Gaffney and Gen. Jerry Boykin join Erick Stakelbeck and Glenn Beck on GBTV to discuss the rise of the new caliphate and creeping shariah. Boykin and Gaffney are authors of Shariah: The Threat to America, available here: http://www.amazon.com/Shariah-America…

Barack Obama and the Muslim Brotherhood

Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front Now Dominant Partner in “Free Syrian Army”

Al Qaeda’s Nusra Front Now Dominant Partner in “Free Syrian Army”; Kerry Sends Death Squad Expert Ambassador Ford to Support Gen. Idriss, CIA’s New Golden Boy

The Middle East ‘CIA death squads behind Syria bloodbath’

SYRIAN CRISIS: 95% of REBEL fighters NOT Syrian! FM accuses WEST of supporting TERRORISM! [WW3]

SYRIAN WAR OUTCOME [CrossTalk]

BBC HARDtalk – Joseph Nye – Former US Assistant Secretary of Defense (13/5/13)

Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands, With Aid From C.I.A.

By C. J. CHIVERS and ERIC SCHMITT

With help from the C.I.A., Arab governments and Turkey have sharply increased their military aid to Syria’s opposition fighters in recent months, expanding a secret airlift of arms and equipment for the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad, according to air traffic data, interviews with officials in several countries and the accounts of rebel commanders.

The airlift, which began on a small scale in early 2012 and continued intermittently through last fall, expanded into a steady and much heavier flow late last year, the data shows. It has grown to include more than 160 military cargo flights by Jordanian, Saudi and Qatari military-style cargo planes landing at Esenboga Airport near Ankara, and, to a lesser degree, at other Turkish and Jordanian airports.

As it evolved, the airlift correlated with shifts in the war within Syria, as rebels drove Syria’s army from territory by the middle of last year. And even as the Obama administration has publicly refused to give more than “nonlethal” aid to the rebels, the involvement of the C.I.A. in the arms shipments — albeit mostly in a consultative role, American officials say — has shown that the United States is more willing to help its Arab allies support the lethal side of the civil war.

From offices at secret locations, American intelligence officers have helped the Arab governments shop for weapons, including a large procurement from Croatia, and have vetted rebel commanders and groups to determine who should receive the weapons as they arrive, according to American officials speaking on the condition of anonymity. The C.I.A. declined to comment on the shipments or its role in them.

The shipments also highlight the competition for Syria’s future between Sunni Muslim states and Iran, the Shiite theocracy that remains Mr. Assad’s main ally. Secretary of State John Kerry pressed Iraq on Sunday to do more to halt Iranian arms shipments through its airspace; he did so even as the most recent military cargo flight from Qatar for the rebels landed at Esenboga early Sunday night.

Syrian opposition figures and some American lawmakers and officials have argued that Russian and Iranian arms shipments to support Mr. Assad’s government have made arming the rebels more necessary.

Most of the cargo flights have occurred since November, after the presidential election in the United States and as the Turkish and Arab governments grew more frustrated by the rebels’ slow progress against Mr. Assad’s well-equipped military. The flights also became more frequent as the humanitarian crisis inside Syria deepened in the winter and cascades of refugees crossed into neighboring countries.

The Turkish government has had oversight over much of the program, down to affixing transponders to trucks ferrying the military goods through Turkey so it might monitor shipments as they move by land into Syria, officials said. The scale of shipments was very large, according to officials familiar with the pipeline and to an arms-trafficking investigator who assembled data on the cargo planes involved.

“A conservative estimate of the payload of these flights would be 3,500 tons of military equipment,” said Hugh Griffiths, of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, who monitors illicit arms transfers.

“The intensity and frequency of these flights,” he added, are “suggestive of a well-planned and coordinated clandestine military logistics operation.”

Although rebel commanders and the data indicate that Qatar and Saudi Arabia had been shipping military materials via Turkey to the opposition since early and late 2012, respectively, a major hurdle was removed late last fall after the Turkish government agreed to allow the pace of air shipments to accelerate, officials said.

Simultaneously, arms and equipment were being purchased by Saudi Arabia in Croatia and flown to Jordan on Jordanian cargo planes for rebels working in southern Syria and for retransfer to Turkey for rebels groups operating from there, several officials said.

These multiple logistics streams throughout the winter formed what one former American official who was briefed on the program called “a cataract of weaponry.”

American officials, rebel commanders and a Turkish opposition politician have described the Arab roles as an open secret, but have also said the program is freighted with risk, including the possibility of drawing Turkey or Jordan actively into the war and of provoking military action by Iran.

Still, rebel commanders have criticized the shipments as insufficient, saying the quantities of weapons they receive are too small and the types too light to fight Mr. Assad’s military effectively. They also accused those distributing the weapons of being parsimonious or corrupt.

“The outside countries give us weapons and bullets little by little,” said Abdel Rahman Ayachi, a commander in Soquor al-Sham, an Islamist fighting group in northern Syria.

He made a gesture as if switching on and off a tap. “They open and they close the way to the bullets like water,” he said.

Two other commanders, Hassan Aboud of Soquor al-Sham and Abu Ayman of Ahrar al-Sham, another Islamist group, said that whoever was vetting which groups receive the weapons was doing an inadequate job.

“There are fake Free Syrian Army brigades claiming to be revolutionaries, and when they get the weapons they sell them in trade,” Mr. Aboud said.

The former American official noted that the size of the shipments and the degree of distributions are voluminous.

“People hear the amounts flowing in, and it is huge,” he said. “But they burn through a million rounds of ammo in two weeks.”

A Tentative Start

The airlift to Syrian rebels began slowly. On Jan. 3, 2012, months after the crackdown by the Alawite-led government against antigovernment demonstrators had morphed into a military campaign, a pair of Qatar Emiri Air Force C-130 transport aircraft touched down in Istanbul, according to air traffic data.

They were a vanguard.

Weeks later, the Syrian Army besieged Homs, Syria’s third largest city. Artillery and tanks pounded neighborhoods. Ground forces moved in.

Across the country, the army and loyalist militias were trying to stamp out the rebellion with force — further infuriating Syria’s Sunni Arab majority, which was severely outgunned. The rebels called for international help, and more weapons.

By late midspring the first stream of cargo flights from an Arab state began, according to air traffic data and information from plane spotters.

On a string of nights from April 26 through May 4, a Qatari Air Force C-17 — a huge American-made cargo plane — made six landings in Turkey, at Esenboga Airport. By Aug. 8 the Qataris had made 14 more cargo flights. All came from Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar, a hub for American military logistics in the Middle East.

Qatar has denied providing any arms to the rebels. A Qatari official, who requested anonymity, said Qatar has shipped in only what he called nonlethal aid. He declined to answer further questions. It is not clear whether Qatar has purchased and supplied the arms alone or is also providing air transportation service for other donors. But American and other Western officials, and rebel commanders, have said Qatar has been an active arms supplier — so much so that the United States became concerned about some of the Islamist groups that Qatar has armed.

The Qatari flights aligned with the tide-turning military campaign by rebel forces in the northern province of Idlib, as their campaign of ambushes, roadside bombs and attacks on isolated outposts began driving Mr. Assad’s military and supporting militias from parts of the countryside.

As flights continued into the summer, the rebels also opened an offensive in that city — a battle that soon bogged down.

The former American official said David H. Petraeus, the C.I.A. director until November, had been instrumental in helping to get this aviation network moving and had prodded various countries to work together on it. Mr. Petraeus did not return multiple e-mails asking for comment.

The American government became involved, the former American official said, in part because there was a sense that other states would arm the rebels anyhow. The C.I.A. role in facilitating the shipments, he said, gave the United States a degree of influence over the process, including trying to steer weapons away from Islamist groups and persuading donors to withhold portable antiaircraft missiles that might be used in future terrorist attacks on civilian aircraft.

American officials have confirmed that senior White House officials were regularly briefed on the shipments. “These countries were going to do it one way or another,” the former official said. “They weren’t asking for a ‘Mother, may I?’ from us. But if we could help them in certain ways, they’d appreciate that.”

Through the fall, the Qatari Air Force cargo fleet became even more busy, running flights almost every other day in October. But the rebels were clamoring for even more weapons, continuing to assert that they lacked the firepower to fight a military armed with tanks, artillery, multiple rocket launchers and aircraft.

Many were also complaining, saying they were hearing from arms donors that the Obama administration was limiting their supplies and blocking the distribution of the antiaircraft and anti-armor weapons they most sought. These complaints continue.

“Arming or not arming, lethal or nonlethal — it all depends on what America says,” said Mohammed Abu Ahmed, who leads a band of anti-Assad fighters in Idlib Province.

The Breakout

Soon, other players joined the airlift: In November, three Royal Jordanian Air Force C-130s landed in Esenboga, in a hint at what would become a stepped-up Jordanian and Saudi role.

Within three weeks, two other Jordanian cargo planes began making a round-trip run between Amman, the capital of Jordan, and Zagreb, the capital of Croatia, where, officials from several countries said, the aircraft were picking up a large Saudi purchase of infantry arms from a Croatian-controlled stockpile.

The first flight returned to Amman on Dec. 15, according to intercepts of a transponder from one of the aircraft recorded by a plane spotter in Cyprus and air traffic control data from an aviation official in the region.

In all, records show that two Jordanian Ilyushins bearing the logo of the Jordanian International Air Cargo firm but flying under Jordanian military call signs made a combined 36 round-trip flights between Amman and Croatia from December through February. The same two planes made five flights between Amman and Turkey this January.

As the Jordanian flights were under way, the Qatari flights continued and the Royal Saudi Air Force began a busy schedule, too — making at least 30 C-130 flights into Esenboga from mid-February to early March this year, according to flight data provided by a regional air traffic control official.

Several of the Saudi flights were spotted coming and going at Ankara by civilians, who alerted opposition politicians in Turkey.

“The use of Turkish airspace at such a critical time, with the conflict in Syria across our borders, and by foreign planes from countries that are known to be central to the conflict, defines Turkey as a party in the conflict,” said Attilla Kart, a member of the Turkish Parliament from the C.H.P. opposition party, who confirmed details about several Saudi shipments. “The government has the responsibility to respond to these claims.”

Turkish and Saudi Arabian officials declined to discuss the flights or any arms transfers. The Turkish government has not officially approved military aid to Syrian rebels.

Croatia and Jordan both denied any role in moving arms to the Syrian rebels. Jordanian aviation officials went so far as to insist that no cargo flights occurred.

The director of cargo for Jordanian International Air Cargo, Muhammad Jubour, insisted on March 7 that his firm had no knowledge of any flights to or from Croatia.

“This is all lies,” he said. “We never did any such thing.”

A regional air traffic official who has been researching the flights confirmed the flight data, and offered an explanation. “Jordanian International Air Cargo,” the official said, “is a front company for Jordan’s air force.”

After being informed of the air-traffic control and transponder data that showed the plane’s routes, Mr. Jubour, from the cargo company, claimed that his firm did not own any Ilyushin cargo planes.

Asked why his employer’s Web site still displayed images of two Ilyushin-76MFs and text claiming they were part of the company fleet, Mr. Jubour had no immediate reply. That night the company’s Web site was taken down.

Reporting was contributed by Robert F. Worth from Washington and Istanbul; Dan Bilefsky from Paris; and Sebnem Arsu from Istanbul and Ankara, Turkey.

A version of this article appeared in print on March 25, 2013, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: Airlift To Rebels In Syria Expands With C.I.A.’S Help.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/25/world/middleeast/arms-airlift-to-syrian-rebels-expands-with-cia-aid.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

Muslim Brotherhood

The Society of the Muslim Brothers (Arabic: جماعة الإخوان المسلمين‎, often simply: الإخوان المسلمون, the Muslim Brotherhood, transliterated: al-ʾIkḫwān al-Muslimūn) is the Arab world’s most influential and one of the largest Islamic movements, and is the largest political opposition organization in many Arab states.[1][2] Founded in Egypt in 1928[3] as a Pan-Islamic, religious, political, and social movement by the Islamic scholar and schoolteacher Hassan al-Banna,[4][5][6][7] by the end of World War II the Muslim Brotherhood had an estimated two million members.[8] Its ideas had gained supporters throughout the Arab world and influenced other Islamist groups with its “model of political activism combined with Islamic charity work”.[9]

The Brotherhood’s stated goal is to instill the Qur’an and Sunnah as the “sole reference point for …ordering the life of the Muslim family, individual, community … and state.” The organization seeks to make Muslim countries become Islamic caliphates and to isolate women and non-Muslims from public life.[10] The movement is also known for engaging in political violence. They were responsible for creating Hamas, a U.S. designated terrorist organization, who grew to infamy for its suicide bombings of Israelis during the first and second intifada.[10] Muslim brotherhood members are suspected to have assasinated political opponents like Egyptian Prime Minister Mahmoud an-Nukrashi Pasha.[9][10][11]

The Muslim Brotherhood started as a religious social organization; preaching Islam, teaching the illiterate, setting up hospitals and even launching commercial enterprises. As it continued to rise in influence, starting in 1936, it began to oppose British rule in Egypt.[12] Many Egyptian nationalists accuse the Muslim Brotherhood of violent killings during this period.[13] After the Arab defeat in the First Arab-Israeli war, the Egyptian government dissolved the organisation and arrested its members.[12] It supported the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, but after an attempted assassination of Egypt’s president it was once again banned and repressed.[14] The Muslim Brotherhood has been suppressed in other countries as well, most notably in Syria in 1982 during the Hama massacre.[15]

The Muslim Brotherhood is financed by contributions from its members, who are required to allocate a portion of their income to the movement. Some of these contributions are from members who work in Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich countries.[16]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muslim_brotherhood

Al-Qaeda

Al-Qaeda (pron.: /ælˈkaɪdə/ al-KY-də; Arabic: القاعدة‎ al-qāʿidah, Arabic: [ælqɑːʕɪdɐ], translation: “The Base” and alternatively spelled al-Qaida and sometimes al-Qa’ida) is a global militant Islamist organization founded by Osama bin Laden at some point between August 1988[21] and late 1989,[22] with its origins being traceable to the Soviet War in Afghanistan.[23] It operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army[24] and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad and a strict interpretation of sharia law. It has been designated as a terrorist organization by the United Nations Security Council, NATO, the European Union, the United Kingdom, the United States, and various other countries (see below). Al-Qaeda has carried out several attacks on non-Muslims,[25][26] and other targets it considers kafir.[27]

Al-Qaeda has attacked civilian and military targets in various countries, including the September 11 attacks, 1998 U.S. embassy bombings and the 2002 Bali bombings. The U.S. government responded to the September 11 attacks by launching the War on Terror. With the loss of key leaders, culminating in the death of Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda’s operations have devolved from actions that were controlled from the top-down, to actions by franchise associated groups, to actions of lone wolf operators.

Characteristic techniques employed by al-Qaeda include suicide attacks and simultaneous bombings of different targets.[28] Activities ascribed to it may involve members of the movement, who have taken a pledge of loyalty to Osama bin Laden, or the much more numerous “al-Qaeda-linked” individuals who have undergone training in one of its camps in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq or Sudan, but who have not taken any pledge.[29] Al-Qaeda ideologues envision a complete break from all foreign influences in Muslim countries, and the creation of a new world-wide Islamic caliphate.[3][30][31] Among the beliefs ascribed to Al-Qaeda members is the conviction that a Christian–Jewish alliance is conspiring to destroy Islam.[32] As Salafist jihadists, they believe that the killing of civilians is religiously sanctioned, and they ignore any aspect of religious scripture which might be interpreted as forbidding the murder of civilians and internecine fighting.[9][33] Al-Qaeda also opposes man-made laws, and wants to replace them with a strict form of sharia law.[34]

Al-Qaeda is also responsible for instigating sectarian violence among Muslims.[35] Al-Qaeda is intolerant of non-Sunni branches of Islam and denounces them by means of excommunications called “takfir”. Al-Qaeda leaders regard liberal Muslims, Shias, Sufis and other sects as heretics and have attacked their mosques and gatherings.[36] Examples of sectarian attacks include the Yazidi community bombings, the Sadr City bombings, the Ashoura Massacre and the April 2007 Baghdad bombings.[37]

Alawites

The Alawites, also known as Alawis, Nusayris and Ansaris (ʿAlawīyyah (Arabic: علوية‎), Nuṣayrī (Arabic: نصيريون‎), and al-Anṣāriyyah) are a prominent mystical[8] religious group centred in Syria who follow a branch of the Twelver school of Shia Islam.[9][10][11] They were long persecuted for their beliefs by the various rulers of Syria, until Hafez al-Assad took power there in 1970.

Today they represent 12% of the Syrian population and for the past 50 years the political system has been dominated by an elite led by the Alawite Assad family. During the Syrian civil war, this rule has come under significant pressure.

Etymology

The Alawites take their name from Ali ibn Abi Talib, cousin of Muḥammad,[12] who was considered the first Shi’a Imam and the fourth “Rightly Guided Caliph” of Sunni Islam.

Until fairly recently, Alawites were referred to as “Nusairis”, after Abu Shu’ayb Muhammad ibn Nusayr (d. ca 270 h, 863 AD) who is reported to have attended the circles of the last three Imams of the prophet Muhammad’s line. This name is considered offensive, and they refer to themselves as Alawites.[page needed][13] They have allegedly “generally preferred” to be called Alawites, because of the association of the name with Ali ibn Abi Talib, rather than commemorating Abu Shu’ayb Muhammad Ibn Nusayr. In September 1920 French occupational forces instituted the policy of referring to them by the term Alaouites.

In official sources they are often referred to as Ansaris, as this is how they referred to themselves, according to the Reverend Samuel Lyde, who lived among Alawites in the mid-19th century. Other sources state that “Ansari”, as referring to Alawites, is simply a Western mis-transliteration of “Nosairi”.[page needed][14][15]

Alawites are separate from the Alevi religious sect in Turkey, but the terms share similar etymologies, and are often confused by outsiders.[16][17]

History

he origin of the Alawites is disputed. The Alawites themselves trace their origins to the followers of the eleventh Imām, Hassan al-‘Askarī (d. 873), and his pupil ibn Nuṣayr (d. 868).[18] The sect seems to have been organised by a follower of Muḥammad ibn Nuṣayr known as al-Khasibi, who died in Aleppo about 969. In 1032 Al-Khaṣībī’s grandson and pupil al-Tabarani moved to Latakia, which was then controlled by the Byzantine Empire. Al-Tabarani became the perfector of the Alawite faith through his numerous writings. He and his pupils converted the rural population of the Syrian Coastal Mountain Range to the Alawite faith.[19]

In the 19th century and early 20th century, some Western scholars believed Alawites to be descended from ancient Middle Eastern peoples such as Canaanites and Hittites.[page needed][20][21]

Under the Ottoman Empire

Under the Ottoman Empire they were often ill treated,[22] and they resisted an attempt to convert them to Sunni Islam.[23] The Alawites were traditionally good fighters, revolted against the Ottomans on several occasions, and maintained virtual autonomy in their mountains.[24] In his book Seven Pillars of Wisdom, T. E. Lawrence wrote:

“The sect, vital in itself, was clannish in feeling and politics. One Nosairi would not betray another, and would hardly not betray an unbeliever. Their villages lay in patches down the main hills to the Tripoli gap. They spoke Arabic, but had lived there since the beginning of Greek letters in Syria. Usually they stood aside from affairs, and left the Turkish Government alone in hope of reciprocity.”[25]

On the other hand, throughout the 18th century a number of Alawite notables were engaged as local Ottoman tax farmers (multazim). In the 19th century, some Alawites also supported the Ottomans against the Egyptian occupation (1831–1840),[26] while individual Alawites made careers in the Ottoman army or as Ottoman governors.[27] In the early part of the 20th century, the mainly Sunni notables sat on wealth and dominated politics, while Alawites lived as poor peasants.[28][29] Alawites were not allowed to testify in court until after World War I.[30]

French Mandate period

After the fall of the Ottoman Empire, Syria and Lebanon came under a French mandate. On December 15, 1918, prominent Alawite leader Saleh al-Ali called for a meeting of Alawite notables in the town of Sheikh Badr, and urged them to revolt and expel the French from Syria. When the French authorities heard of the meeting, they sent a force in order to arrest Saleh al-Ali. Al-Ali and his men ambushed them, and the French forces were defeated and suffered more than 35 casualties.[31] After the initial victory, al-Ali started to organize his Alawite rebels into a disciplined force, with its own general command and military ranks, which resulted in the Syrian Revolt of 1919.[31][32]

In 1919, Al-Ali retaliated to French attacks against rebel positions by attacking and occupying al-Qadmus, from which the French conducted their military operations against him.[31] In November, General Henri Gouraud mounted a full-fledged campaign against Saleh al-Ali’s forces in the An-Nusayriyah Mountains. They entered al-Ali’s village of al-Shaykh Badr and arrested many Alawi notables. Al-Ali fled to the north, but a large French force overran his positions and al-Ali went underground.[31]

Alawite State

When the French finally occupied Syria in 1920, they recognized the term Alaouites, i.e. “Alawites”, gave autonomy to them and other minority groups, and accepted them into their colonial troops.[33] On 2 September 1920 an Alawite State was created in the coastal and mountain country comprising Alawite villages; the French justified this separation with the “backwardness” of the mountain-dwelling people, religiously distinct from the surrounding Sunni population. It was a division meant to protect the Alawite people from more powerful majorities.[34] Under the mandate, many Alawite chieftains supported the notion of a separate Alawite nation and tried to convert their autonomy into independence. The French encouraged Alawites to join their military force, in part to provide a counterweight to the Sunni majority, which was more hostile to their rule. According to a 1935 letter by the French minister of war, the French considered the Alawites, along with the Druze, as the only “warlike races” in the mandate territories, as excellent soldiers, and the communities from where they could recruit their best troops.[35]

The region was both coastal and mountainous, and home to a mostly rural, highly heterogeneous population. During the French Mandate period, society was divided by religion and geography: the landowning families of the port city of Latakia, and 80% of the population of the city, were Sunni Muslim. However, more than 90% of the population of the province was rural, 62% being Alawite peasantry.[36] In May 1930, the Alawite State was renamed “the Government of Latakia”, the only concession the French made to Arab nationalists until 1936.[36] There was a great deal of Alawite separatist sentiment in the region,[36] as evidenced by a letter dating to 1936 and signed by 80 Alawi notables and was addressed to the French Prime Minister stating that “Alawite people rejected attachment to Syria and wished to stay under French protection.” Among the signatories was Sulayman Ali al-Assad, the father of Hafez al-Assad who would later become president of the country, and grandfather of Bashar al-Assad, the current president.[37] However, these political views could not be coordinated into a unified voice. This was attributed to the majority of Alawites being peasants “exploited by a predominantly Sunni landowning class resident in Latakia and Hama”.[36] Nevertheless, on 3 December 1936 (effective in 1937), the Alawite State was re-incorporated into Syria as a concession by the French to the Nationalist Bloc, the party in power of the semi-autonomous Syrian government.[38]

In 1939 a portion of northwest Syria, the Sanjak of Alexandretta, now Hatay, that contained a large number of Alawites, was given to Turkey by the French following a plebiscite carried out in the province under the guidance of League of Nations which favored joining Turkey. However, this development greatly angered the Alawite community and Syrians in general. In 1938, the Turkish military had gone into Alexandretta and expelled most of its Arab and Armenian inhabitants.[39] Before this, Alawite Arabs and Armenians were the majority of the province’s population.[39] Zaki al-Arsuzi, the young Alawite leader from Iskandarun province in the Sanjak of Alexandretta, who led the resistance to the annexation of his province to the Turks, later became a co-founder of the Ba’ath Party along with the Eastern Orthodox Christian schoolteacher Michel Aflaq and Sunni politician Salah al-Din al-Bitar when his Arab Ba’ath merged with their Arab Ba’ath Movement . After World War II, Salman Al Murshid played a major role in uniting the Alawite province with Syria. He was executed by the newly independent Syrian government in Damascus on December 12, 1946 only three days after a hasty political trial.

After Syrian independence

Syria became independent on April 17, 1946. In 1949, following the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Syria endured a succession of military coups and the rise of the Ba’ath Party. In 1958, Syria and Egypt were united through a political agreement into the United Arab Republic. The UAR lasted for three years. In 1961, it broke apart when a group of army officers seized power and declared Syria independent anew.

A further succession of coups ensued until, in 1963, a secretive military committee, which included a number of disgruntled Alawite officers, including Hafez al-Assad and Salah Jadid, helped the Ba’ath Party seize power. In 1966, Alawite-affiliated military officers successfully rebelled and expelled the old Ba’ath that had looked to the founders of the Ba’ath Party, the Greek Orthodox Christian Michel Aflaq and the Sunni Muslim Salah al-Din al-Bitar, for leadership. They promoted Zaki al-Arsuzi as the “Socrates” of their reconstituted Ba’ath Party.

The al-Assad family

In 1970, then Air Force General, Hafez al-Assad, an Alawite, took power and instigated a “Correctionist Movement” in the Ba’ath Party. The coup of 1970 ended the political instability that had lasted since the arrival of independence.[40] Robert D. Kaplan has compared Hafez al-Assad’s coming to power to “an untouchable becoming maharajah in India or a Jew becoming tsar in Russia—an unprecedented development shocking to the Sunni majority population which had monopolized power for so many centuries.”[33] In 1971, al-Assad declared himself president of Syria, a position the constitution at the time allowed only for Sunni Muslims to hold. In 1973, a new constitution was adopted that omitted the old requirement that the religion of the state be Islam and replaced it with the statement that the religion of the republic’s president is Islam. Protests erupted when this was known.[41] In 1974, in order to satisfy this constitutional requirement, Musa Sadr, a leader of the Twelvers of Lebanon and founder of the Amal Movement who had earlier sought to unite Lebanese Alawites and Shi’ites under the Supreme Islamic Shi’ite Council without success,[42] issued a fatwa stating that Alawites were a community of Twelver Shi’ite Muslims.[43][44] Under the authoritarian but secular Assad government, religious minorities were tolerated more than before, but political dissidents were not. In 1982 when the Muslim Brotherhood mounted an anti-government Islamist insurgency, Hafez Assad staged a military offensive against them which has since been referred to as the Hama massacre.

Beliefs

Alawites celebrating a festival in Banyas, Syria, during World War II

The Alawites derive their beliefs from the Prophets of Islam, from the Quran, and from the books of the Imams from the Ahlulbayt such as the Nahj al-Balagha by Ali ibn Abu Talib. Alawites are self-described Shi’ite Muslims, and have been recognised as such by Shi’ite authorities such as Ayatollah Khomeini and the influential Lebanese Shi’ite cleric Musa al-Sadr of Lebanon.[43][45] The prominent Sunni Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Mohammad Amin al-Husayni also issued a fatwah recognizing them as part of the Muslim community in the interest of Arab nationalism.[46][47] Some Sunni scholars such as Ibn Kathir, on the other hand, have categorized Alawites as pagans in their religious works[48] and documents.[22] At least one source has compared them to Baha’is, Babis, Bektashis, Ahmadis, and “similar groups that have arisen within the Muslim community”.[49]

Heterodox

Alawite man in Latakia, early 20th century

Some tenets of the faith may be secret and known only to a select few Alawis. [22][50] Alawis may have integrated doctrines from other religions (syncretism), in particular from Ismaili Islam and Christianity.[8][22][44] Alawis are reported to celebrate certain Christian festivals, “in their own way”,[44] including Christmas, Easter, and Palm Sunday.[33] The claim that Alawis believe Ali is a deity has been contested by scholars.[51] By some accounts, Alawis believe in reincarnation.[52]

Orthodox

Alawi women in Syria, early 20th century

Some sources have suggested that the non-Muslim nature of some of the historical Alawite beliefs, notwithstanding, Alawite beliefs may have changed in recent decades. In the early 1970s a booklet entitled “al-`Alawiyyun Shi’atu Ahl al-Bait” (“The Alawites are Followers of the Household of the Prophet”), was issued in which doctrines of the Imami Shi’ah were described as Alawite, and which was “signed by numerous `Alawi` men of religion”.[53]

A scholar suggests that factors such as the high profile of Alawites in Syria, the strong aversion of the Muslim majority to apostasy, and the relative lack of importance of religious doctrine to Alawite identity may have induced Syrian leader Hafez al-Assad and his successor son to press their fellow Alawites “to behave like ‘regular Muslims’, shedding or at least concealing their distinctive aspects”.[54]

Alawites have their own scholars, referred to as shaikhs, although more recently there has been a movement to bring Alawism and the other branches of Twelver Islam together through educational exchange programs in Syria and Qom.[55]

Some sources have talked about “Sunnification” of Alawites under Baathist Syrian leader and Alawite Hafiz al-Assad.[56] Joshua Landis, Director of the Center for Middle East Studies, writes that Hafiz al-Assad “tried to turn Alawites into ‘good’ (read Sunnified) Muslims in exchange for preserving a modicum of secularism and tolerance in society.” On the other hand Al-Assad “declared the Alawites to be nothing but Twelver Shiites”.[56] In a paper on “Islamic Education in Syria”, Landis wrote that “no mention” is made in Syrian textbooks controlled by the Al-Assad regime, of Alawites, Druze, and Ismailis or even Shi`a Islam. Islam was presented as a monolithic religion.[57] Ali Sulayman al-Ahmad, chief judge of the Baathist Syrian state, has stated: “We are Alawi Muslims. Our book is the Quran. Our prophet is Muhammad. The Ka`ba is our qibla, and our religion is Islam.”[58]

Population

Map showing the current distribution of Alawites in the Levant

Syria

Traditionally Alawites have lived in the Alawite Mountains along the Mediterranean coast of Syria. Latakia and Tartous are the region’s principal cities. Today Alawites are also concentrated in the plains around Hama and Homs. Alawites also live in all major cities of Syria. They have been estimated to constitute about 12% of Syria’s population[59][60][61]—2.6 million people of Syria’s 22 million population.[2]

There are four Alawite confederations—Kalbiyya, Khaiyatin, Haddadin, and Matawirah—each divided into tribes.[22] Alawites are concentrated in the Latakia region of Syria, extending north to Antioch (Antakya), Turkey, and in and around Homs and Hama.[62]

Before 1953, Alawites held specifically reserved seats in the Syrian Parliament like all other religious communities. After that, including for the 1960 census, there were only general Muslim and Christian categories, without mention of subgroups in order to reduce “communalism” (taïfiyya).

Lebanon

There are an estimated 100,000 to 120,000[4][63] Alawites in Lebanon, where they have lived since at least the 16th century.[64] They are recognized as one of the 18 official Lebanese sects, and due to the efforts of their leader Ali Eid, the Taif Agreement of 1989 gave them two reserved seats in the Parliament. Lebanese Alawites live mostly in the Jabal Mohsen neighbourhood of Tripoli, where they number 40,000–60,000, and in 15 villages in the Akkar region, and are mainly represented by the Arab Democratic Party.[65][66][67] Their Mufti is Sheikh Assad Assi.[68] The Bab al-Tabbaneh, Jabal Mohsen clashes between pro-Syrian Alawites and anti-Syrian Sunnis have haunted Tripoli for decades.[69]

There are also about 2000 Alawites living in the village of Ghajar, split between Lebanon and the Golan Heights.[70] In 1932, the residents of Ghajar were given the option of choosing their nationality and overwhelmingly chose to be a part of Syria, which has a sizable Alawite minority.[71] Prior to the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, the residents of Ghajar were counted in the 1960 Syrian census.[72] When Israel captured the Golan Heights from Syria in 1967, Ghajar remained a no-man’s land for two and a half months.

Turkey

In order to avoid confusion with Alevis, Alawites prefer the self-appellation Arap Alevileri (“Arab Alevis”) in Turkish. The term Nusayrī, which used to exist in (often polemical) theological texts is also revived in recent studies. In Çukurova, they are named as Fellah and Arabuşağı, the latter considered highly offensive by Alawites, by the Sunni population. A quasi-official name used particularly in 1930s by Turkish authorities was Eti Türkleri (“Hittite Turks”), in order to conceal their Arab origins. Today, this term is almost obsolete but it is still used by some people of older generations as a euphemism.

The exact number of Alawites in Turkey is unknown, but there were 185,000 in 1970[73] (this number suggests circa 400,000 in 2009). As Muslims, they are not recorded separately from Sunnis in ID registration. In the 1965 census (the last Turkish census where informants were asked their mother tongue), 180,000 people in the three provinces declared their mother tongue as Arabic. However, Arabic-speaking Sunni and Christian people are also included in this figure. Alawites traditionally speak the same dialect of Levantine Arabic with Syrian Alawites. Arabic is best preserved in rural communities and Samandağ. Younger people in Çukurova cities and (to a lesser extent) in İskenderun tend to speak Turkish. Turkish spoken by Alawites is distinguished by Alawites and non-Alawites alike by its particular accents and vocabulary. Knowledge of the Arabic alphabet is confined to religious leaders and men who have worked or studied in Arab countries.

Alawites show a considerable pattern of social mobility. Until 1960s, they used to work bound to Sunni aghas around Antakya and were among the poorest folk in Çukurova. Today, Alawites are prominent in economic sectors such as transportation and commerce. A large professional middle-class had also emerged. In recent years, there has been a tendency of exogamy, particularly among males who had attended universities and/or had lived in other parts of Turkey. These marriages are highly tolerated but exogamy of women, as in other patrilineal groups, is usually disfavoured.

Alawites, like Alevis, mainly have strong leftist political preferences. However, some people in rural areas (usually members of notable Alawite families) may be found supporting secularist conservative parties such as True Path Party. Most Alawites feel discriminated by the policies of the Presidency of Religious Affairs in Turkey (Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı).[74][75]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alawite

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Segment 0: Fast and Syrious: Obama’s Gun-Running Benghazi CIA “Title 50” Covert Action Operation With Syrian Rebels Strawmen for Al-Qaeda — Videos

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CIA Special Operator

Covert Action

“The term “covert action” means an activity or activities of the United States Government to influence political, economic, or military conditions abroad, where it is intended that the role of the United States Government will not be apparent or acknowledged publicly, but does not include . . . (2) traditional . . . military activities or routine support to such activities.

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Retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin suspects US Was Running Guns To Syrian Rebels Via Benghazi

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English News Today – CIA: from intelligence agency to killing machine

English News Today – ‘CIA-armed Syria militants will turn against US’

The United States government assists militants across the world, only to one day fight against them, a prominent political activist tells Press TV. In the background to this, Syria has been experiencing unrest since mid-March 2011, with the Syrian government and experts saying an anti-Syria plot was hatched by the US, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Press TV has conducted an interview with Sara Flounders, co-director of the International Action Center, from New York, to further discuss the issue. Flounders is joined by Scott Rickard, a former US intelligence linguist from Florida, and George Lambraski, a former US diplomat, from London.

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Presidential Finding

A presidential finding is an executive directive issued by the head of the executive branch of a government, similar to the more well-known executive order. The term is mostly used by the United States Government, and in other countries may be identified by different terms. Such findings and other executive decrees are usually protocols which have evolved through the course of government and not typically established by law.

Use and history in the United States

“US President Barack Obama has signed a secret order allowing the CIA and other American agencies to support rebels seeking to overthrow the Assad regime, a US government source told Reuters. Obama reportedly gave the order, known as an intelligence “finding”, earlier this year. The presidential finding also provides for US collaboration with a secret command center operated by Turkey and its allies. The full extent of the assistance the “finding” allows the CIA to give the Syrian rebels is unclear. It is also unknown precisely when Obama signed the order.” The report of Obama’s authorization for covert rebel support comes amidst continued fighting between Syrian government troops and rebels over control of Aleppo, the country’s economic capital. Thousands of people have fled the city, while the government and rebels continue to release conflicting reports on the extent of their control over the city. Asia Times Online correspondent Pepe Escobar told RT that the leak’s timing was intended to distort the true nature of Washington’s covert operations on the ground in Syria.

“This intelligence finding signed by Obama – that’s the code for a secret order – this was signed six months ago. So the fact that Reuters has only been allowed now to report about it proves that there have been high deliberations in Washington: ‘should we let people know about what they already know?’”

“In fact, the Washington Post two weeks ago had already reported about it, and when the CIA wants to leak something in the US, they usually go to the Washington Post. The CIA and Mossad, on the ground [in Syria], side by side working with the Qataris, the Turks, the Saudis and a swarm of jihadis coming from everywhere, but especially from across the border in Iraq,” he argues.

Escobar says the leak was intended to make it look as though Washington was leading the Syrian campaign from behind the scenes, when in fact the US is “leading from the front lines alongside al-Qaeda-style Jihadists, Qatari intelligence, and Turkish logistics.” [1]

The first specific use of presidential findings was precipitated by the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954, in which the findings indicated that certain conditions of that act had be satisfied and, therefore, sales of agricultural commodities could proceed. In their use under this act, such findings were published in the Federal Register and the CFR Title 3 compilations. In contrast, presidential findings in their modern use are not published in these or other governmental publications.

Current use of the presidential finding stems from the so-called Hughes-Ryan amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1974, which prohibited the expenditure of appropriated funds by or on behalf of the Central Intelligence Agency for intelligence activities “unless and until the President finds that each such operation is important to the national security of the United States and reports, in a timely fashion, a description and scope of such operation to the appropriate committees of Congress” (section 662). This was intended to ensure that clear responsibility for such action was attributable to the President and that Congress was always made aware of such activities. Due to the sensitivity of their content, presidential findings are almost always classified.

The most recent change to exercise of findings occurred in the Intelligence Authorization Act of 1991, which introduced increased flexibility in the reporting requirement: findings are to be “reported to the intelligence committees as soon as possible” after being approved “and before the initiation of the covert action authorized by the finding.” As such, presidential findings are one of the primary means through which the intelligence committees exercise their oversight of the government’s intelligence operations.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Presidential_finding

Covert Action: Title 10, Title 50, and the Chain of Command

By Joseph B. Berger III

Abstract

America champions the rule of law and must maintain that moral stance in its international dealings and retain the clarity of an unambiguous chain of command. The Abbottabad raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound highlighted the dangers and vagaries of departing from the traditional military chain of command. The Secretary of Defense was taken out of the chain and the CID Director was inserted. In contrast, the rescue of a U.S. citizen in Somalia was carried out secretively but not covertly by joint forces under military command, maintaining individual Servicemember protections that may be forfeit in the gray zone of questionable legality. National authorities should reconsider the rejection of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that DOD be responsible for paramilitary covert actions, and when DOD acts in that capacity, the operation should be carried out as a traditional military operation with a military chain of command.

Recent media reports have Pentagon officials considering “putting elite special operations troops under CIA [Central Intelligence Agency] control in Afghanistan after 2014, just as they were during last year’s raid on [Osama bin Laden’s] compound.”1 This shell game would allow Afghan and U.S. officials to deny the presence of American troops in Afghanistan because once “assigned to CIA control, even temporarily, they become spies.”2 Nearly simultaneously, Department of Defense (DOD) leaders were warned to “be vigilant in ensuring military personnel are not inappropriately utilized” in performing “new, expanding, or existing missions,” ensuring the force is aligned against strategic choices “supported by rigorous analysis.”3 Placing Servicemembers—uniformed members of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force—under CIA control demands such rigorous analysis. The raid on bin Laden’s compound provides a framework.

n his May 1, 2011, televised address, President Barack Obama reported “to the American people and to the world that the United States ha[d] conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden.”4 President Obama initially detailed little beyond noting that he had directed “the[n] Director of the CIA [Leon Panetta], to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda” and that the operation, carried out by a “small team of Americans” was done “at [his] direction [as President].” In the following days, senior executive branch officials garrulously provided explicit details, from the now-iconic White House Situation Room photograph to intricate diagrams of the Abbottabad compound and the assault force’s composition. Most noteworthy was Panetta’s unequivocal assertion the raid was a covert action:

Since this was what’s called a “Title 50” operation, which is a covert operation, and it comes directly from the president of the United States who made the decision to conduct this operation in a covert way, that direction goes to me. And then, I am, you know, the person who then commands the mission. But having said that, I have to tell you that the real commander was Admiral [William] McRaven because he was on site, and he was actually in charge of the military operation that went in and got bin Laden.5

Despite his self-effacing trumpeting of Vice Admiral McRaven’s role, Panetta’s comment highlights that critical confusion exists among even the most senior U.S. leaders about the chain of command and the appropriate classification of such operations.

Openly describing the raid as both a “covert operation” and “military operation,” Panetta asserted he was the “commander,” describing a chain of “command” that went from the President to Panetta to McRaven. Panetta’s public comments are problematic, as is describing a chain of command that excludes the Secretary of Defense and purports to route command authority through the CIA director. Title 50 is clear:

The term “covert action” means an activity or activities of the United States Government to influence political, economic, or military conditions abroad, where it is intended that the role of the United States Government will not be apparent or acknowledged publicly, but does not include . . . (2) traditional . . . military activities or routine support to such activities.6

The administration did the opposite, making patently clear the raid’s nature and, in exhaustive detail, the precise role of the United States. Instead of categorizing it as a covert action under the director’s “command,” the President could have conducted the raid as a covert action under the Secretary of Defense instead of the CIA director, or under his own constitutional authority as Commander in Chief and the Secretary’s statutory authorities, classifying it as a traditional military activity and excepting it from the statute’s coverage. As a traditional military activity, there would have been no legal limits on subsequent public discussion. Alternatively, conducting the raid as a covert action within a military chain of command removes the issues the director raised in asserting command authority over Servicemembers. The decisionmaking process remains shrouded, but conducting a raid into a sovereign country targeting a nonstate actor using military personnel and equipment under the “command” of the CIA director and classifying it as a covert action raises significant legal and policy questions. Such decisions threaten the legitimacy and moral authority of future U.S. actions and demand a rigorous examination of those associated risks.

The Abbottabad raid illustrates the post-9/11 security environment convergence of DOD military and CIA intelligence operations.7 While dead terrorists attest to this arrangement’s efficacy, many directly challenge the legal and policy framework behind current DOD-CIA cooperation. The discourse focuses largely on distinctions between Title 10 and Title 50 and the legal basis for conducting apparently overlapping military and intelligence operations beyond the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. Notwithstanding the potentially misleadingly simple labels of Title 10 and Title 50, these complex issues lack clear answers. Many argue the legacy structure ill equips the President to effectively combat the threat. But tweaking that structure carries risk. Thus, correctly classifying and structuring our actions within that framework are critical. The law of war is designed to protect our nation’s military forces when they are engaged in traditional military activities under a military chain of command; spies conducting intelligence activities under executive authority have no such protections. This distinction rests on a constitutional, statutory, treaty, and doctrinal framework underpinning the military concept of command authority.

U.S. power relies on moral and legal legitimacy. Exclusive state control over the legitimate use of armed force remains viable domestically and internationally only where exercised within an accepted framework. Thus, employing DOD forces in a nontraditional manner entails significant risk. The policy implications of classification and structure are neither semantic nor inconsequential, and must be understood by senior decisionmakers; likewise, individual Servicemembers must understand the practical effects. A rigorous risk analysis should therefore inform any deviation, however permissible under domestic law.

This article focuses on the risks associated with both using military personnel to conduct kinetic covert action and using them without a military chain of command. Those risks inform the recommendation to change practice, but not the law. Specifically, the author rejects melding distinct operational military (Title 10) and intelligence (Title 50) authorities into the often mentioned Title 60. Properly classifying actions—either under the statute as a covert action or exempted from the statute as a traditional military activity—ensures the correct command structure is in place.8 Ultimately, the analysis argues for revisiting the previously rejected 9/11 Commission recommendation to place paramilitary covert action under DOD control.9

This article first outlines current and likely future threats and then explains the critical terms of art related to covert action and, against that lingua franca, examines why kinetic military operations should be either classified as traditional military activities or kept under a military chain of command. Analyzing the relevant constitutional, statutory, treaty, and doctrinal elements of command, this article illustrates that a raid conducted like the Abbottabad raid, while legally permissible, is best conducted as a traditional military activity.

Changed Character of the Battlefield and Enemy

In the decade since 9/11, DOD and CIA elements have become “operationally synthesi[zed].”10 A senior intelligence official recently noted that “the two proud groups of American secret warriors had been ‘deconflicted and basically integrated’—finally—10 years after 9/11.”11 The direct outgrowth is the increased reliance on special operations forces (SOF) to achieve national objectives against a “nimble and determined” enemy who “cannot be underestimated.”12 While the United States fought wars on geographically defined battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan and beyond, the underlying legal structure remained constant. In the wars’ background, leaders, advisors, academics, and others argued about the structure of the appropriate legal and policy framework. Post-Iraq and post-Afghanistan, the United States must still address other threats, including those that al Qaeda and their associated forces present.

The threats have migrated beyond a battlefield defined by sovereign nations’ borders. When asked recently in “how many countries we are currently engaged in a shooting war,” Secretary of Defense Panetta laughed, responding, “That’s a good question. I have to stop and think about that . . . we’re going after al Qaeda wherever they’re at. . . clearly, we’re confronting al Qaeda in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, [and] North Africa.”13 The unresolved legal and policy challenges will likely increase in complexity on this geographically unconstrained battlefield. Remaining rooted in enduring principles is critical. DOD conduct of kinetic operations beyond traditionally recognized battlefields raises significant legal and policy concerns, especially where the U.S. Government conducts them without knowledge or consent of the host nation, as apparently happened with the Abbottabad operation.14 Properly categorizing and structuring these operations, while vexing for policymakers and their lawyers, carries much greater stakes for the Servicemembers executing them.

The Need for a Lingua Franca

Colloquial usage refers to DOD authorities as Title 10, and the CIA’s as Title 50. That is technically inaccurate and misleading since DOD routinely operates under both Titles 10 and 50.15 Instead of Title 10, this article uses the term military operations; instead of Title 50, it uses CIA operations or the more specific covert action. All three terms require clarification.

CIA operations are all CIA activities except covert action. Covert action is the narrow, statutory subset of Presidentially approved, CIA-led activities.16 Unfortunately, colloquially, covert action “is frequently used to describe any activity the government wants concealed from the public.”17 That common usage ignores the fact that a traditional military activity, notwithstanding how “secretly” it is executed, is by statute not a covert action. DOD defines a covert operation as one “planned and executed as to conceal the identity of or permit plausible denial by the sponsor,” where “emphasis is placed on concealment of the identity of the sponsor rather than on concealment of the operation.”18 While not in conflict with the statutory definition, the DOD definition is incomplete; it fails to recognize the President’s role and ignores the exception of traditional military activities.19 Practitioners should use the statutory definition.

The concept of clandestine operations further blurs colloquial and doctrinal imprecision.20 DOD activities “may be both covert and clandestine . . . focus[ing] equally on operational considerations and intelligencerelated activities.”21 Appropriately, DOD officials assert that, absent a Presidential covert action finding, they “conduct only ‘clandestine activities.’” 22 They characterize clandestine activities as those “conducted in secret but which constitute ‘passive’ intelligence information gathering.”23 Interchanging the terms and mixing them with intelligence functions is inaccurate and dangerous; practitioners must draw clear distinctions. The sponsorship of a covert action is hidden, not the act itself. The specific acts of the U.S. Government in influencing a foreign election (for example, posters, marches, election results, and so forth) would be visible, but not the covert sponsorship of those acts. For clandestine acts, the act itself (for example, intercepting a phone call) must remain hidden. The CIA and DOD can conduct clandestine operations without Presidential approval, whereas covert action triggers statutory requirements for a Presidential finding and congressional notification. Some have argued DOD’s “activities should be limited to clandestine” activities, as this would ensure military personnel are protected by the law of war,24 a critical point examined in detail later.

Military operations are DOD activities conducted under Title 10, including activities intended or likely to involve kinetic action. Pursuant to an order issued by the Secretary of Defense, they are conducted by military personnel under DOD command and in accordance with the law of war. They specifically exclude DOD’s intelligence activities (for example, the Joint Military Intelligence Program); like the CIA’s, those intelligence activities are conducted pursuant to Title 50.

Statutorily assigned responsibility helps distinguish between CIA operations and military operations. Although the President can designate which department, agency, or entity of the U.S. Government will participate in the covert action, the statute implicitly tasks the CIA as the default lead agency: “Any employee . . . of the [U.S.] Government other than the [CIA] directed to participate in any way in a covert action shall be subject either to the policies and regulations of the [CIA], or to written policies or regulations adopted . . . to govern such participation.25

Executive order 12333 (EO 12333) makes that default tasking explicit:

The Director of the [CIA] shall . . . conduct covert action activities approved by the President. No agency except the [CIA] (or the Armed Forces of the United States in time of war declared by the Congress or during any period covered by a report from the President to the Congress consistent with the War Powers Resolution. . . .) may conduct any covert action activity unless the President determines that another agency is more likely to achieve a particular objective.26

The statute, coupled with EO 12333, unequivocally places all covert action squarely under the CIA’s control; the narrow exception for DOD is currently inapplicable. While the Executive order expressly tasks
the director with conducting covert action, it does not task the Secretary of Defense.27
Default CIA primacy and the absence of statutory specificity in defining traditional military activities create risk when DOD conducts kinetic covert action.

The Unique Nature of Traditional Military Activities

One practitioner described traditional military activities’ exclusion from covert action’s definition as “the exception that swallows the rule.”28 But while DOD-CIA operational convergence blurs the issue, the exception need not swallow the rule. Functionally, anything done by a uniformed member of a nation’s armed forces is a “military” activity; the nuanced requirement is to understand which are traditional military activities. That definition can be consequential, functional, or historical—or a combination of some or all three approaches. The statute’s legislative history provides the best clarification, noting the conferees intended that:

“Traditional military activities” include activities by military personnel under the direction and control of a United States military commander (whether or not the U.S. sponsorship of such activities is apparent or later to be acknowledged) . . . where the fact of the U.S. role in the overall operation is apparent or to be acknowledged publicly.

In this regard, the conferees intend to draw a line between activities that are and are not under the direction and control of the military commander. Activities that are not under the direction and control of a military commander should not be considered as “traditional military activities.”29

That nonstatutory definition frames the follow-on analysis. That functional and historical definition turns on who is in charge.

Activities under the “direction and control of a military commander” meet the requirement to be excepted from the statute; those with a different command and control arrangement are not traditional military activities. “Command” is unique to the military and the definition appears to draw a bright line rule; but the CIA director blurred the line by asserting “command” over a DOD element.30 The confusion questions the necessary nature and scope of leadership by a “military commander.” What level or rank of command is required? Must the chain of command from that military commander run directly back to the Commander in Chief solely through military channels? Must it run through the Secretary of Defense? Can it run through the director if there is a military commander below him? Given Goldwater-Nichols,31 what about the geographic combatant commander? In short, what does the wiring diagram look like? These questions highlight three baseline possibilities as depicted in the figure below.

Chain of Command Possibilities

chani_of_command_possibilites

Part 1A of the figure reflects DOD’s Title 10 chain of command, illustrating the broadest historical, functional, and consequential definition of traditional military activity. The clear chain is rooted in the uniquely military concept of command and the President’s constitutionally defined role as Commander in Chief. It clarifies congressional oversight responsibility, results in unquestioned jurisdiction, and forms the basis of the strongest legal argument for combatant immunity. Part 1B represents the President as chief executive, exercising oversight and control of the CIA under Title 50. This hierarchy lacks the legal command authority exercised over military personnel in 1A. Finally, part 1C represents the paradox created by the covert action statute’s attempts to overlap the parallel structures of 1A and 1B; it is often described as Title 60.

The current Congressional Authorization for the Use of Military Force allows the President to “use all necessary and appropriate force” to prevent “future acts of international terrorism against the United States.”32 This statutory grant of power creates the paradox: here, where the Senate vote was 98 to 0 and the House vote was 420 to 1, the President’s executive authority (as Commander in Chief and chief executive) is greatest,33 the exercise of those powers blurs the clear lines of parts 1A and 1B of the illustration. Merging the two, although permissible under the covert action statute, creates risk.

Consequently, questions about the nature and structure of the chain of command demand rigorous scrutiny and cannot be left to ad hoc arrangements. Defining military command determines whether or not the activity is a traditional military activity and therefore not under the ambit of the statute. The criticality of this categorization is twofold: it is the core of the state’s monopoly on the legitimate use of force and cloaks Servicemembers in the legal armor of combatant immunity.

Chain of Command, or Control?

Since George Washington’s Presidency, the Secretary of War (later Defense) has served without interruption as a Cabinet member. The President’s role, enshrined in the Constitution, is clear: “The President shall be Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States.”34 With the Secretary of Defense, this embodies the Founders’ vision of civilian control of the military. The Secretary of Defense’s appointment requires the “Advice and Consent of the Senate.”35 While the President can relieve him and replace him with an inferior officer (that is, the Deputy Secretary of Defense), Senateconfirmed executive branch officials are not fungible. He cannot interchange officials individually confirmed to fulfill separate and unique duties—something James Madison warned about in Federalist 51.36

Longstanding U.S. practice is an unbroken chain of command from the President, through his Secretary of Defense, to a subordinate uniformed commander. Even GoldwaterNichols’s37 streamlining the military warfighting chain of command to run from the President through the Secretary and directly to the unified combatant commanders did not alter that fundamental practice.38 Combatant commanders simply replace Service chiefs. The civilian leader between the Commander in Chief and his senior uniformed commander remains unchanged—a specific individual confirmed by the Senate to execute statutory duties. The inviolate concept of civilian control of the military and the Senate’s Advice and Consent requirement make assertion of any executive authority to “trade out” duties between Cabinet officials implausible. The President can place military personnel under CIA control, but control is not command.

Command is the inherently military “privilege” that is “exercised by virtue of office and the special assignment of members of the US Armed Forces holding military grade.”39 In fact, under the Army regulation, “A civilian, other than the President as Commander-in-Chief . . . may not exercise command.”40 Goldwater-Nichols allows the President to exercise command through his Secretary of Defense. Command rests on constitutional and statutory authority (including the Uniform Code of Military Justice) and the customs and practices of the Service. Removing military personnel from that hierarchy— illustrated in part 1C of the figure—changes their fundamental nature. This is Panetta’s assertion: he was in “command” 41 of the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound.

itles 10 and 50 define the specific duties of the Secretary of Defense42 and Title 50 the CIA director’s.43 The duties are neither identical nor interchangeable. In Title 50, Congress explicitly states that DOD shall function “under the direction, authority, and control of the Secretary of Defense” in order to “provide for their unified direction under civilian control.”44 Placing the Services under the Secretary of Defense is necessary to “provide for the establishment of [a] clear and direct line of command.”45 Congress is equally clear in Title 10, granting the Secretary complete authority over DOD: “there shall be a Secretary of Defense, who is the head of the [Department], appointed . . . by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.”46 The statute allows the Secretary to “perform any of his functions or duties, or [to] exercise any of his powers through” other persons, but only persons from within DOD.47

Two caveats exist to the Secretary of Defense’s “authority, direction, and control”: the Secretary’s authority is “subject to the direction of the President” and the 1947 National Security Act.48 The latter covers DOD personnel within the National Foreign Intelligence Program (NFIP). The former appears to be an exception that swallows the rule. But even in empowering the President to limit his Secretary’s authority, Congress did not specifically authorize any change to the fundamental command of military forces. Likewise, in defining the director’s limited authorities over military personnel, Congress maintained the military command structure over military operations.

Congress neither allows the director command nor control of DOD operational assets, nor did it grant the President a caveat like that with the Secretary of Defense’s authority.49 Although the director’s duties include the transfer of “personnel within the NFIP,” which includes DOD personnel, such transfers are limited to personnel within DOD’s Joint Military Intelligence Program (JMIP).50 SOF are not part of the JMIP. When DOD does transfer any JMIP personnel to the CIA, the director must “promptly” report that transfer to both the intelligence oversight and Armed Services Committees of both houses.51 Transfers between other executive branch elements trigger no such requirements. Congress only intended CIA control over DOD intelligence assets and was clearly concerned about even that. Goldwater-Nichols reinforces this analysis.

Goldwater-Nichols codifies geographic combatant commanders’ nearly inviolable command authority: “all forces operating within the geographic area assigned to a unified combatant command shall be assigned to, and under” his command.52 Two exceptions supplant that authority. Servicemembers assigned to U.S. Embassies (for example, the Defense Attaché) are under the Ambassador’s control and the Defense Intelligence Agency’s command. For those Servicemembers, diplomatic protections have replaced law of war protections, but the Secretary of Defense remains in the chain of command. The second exception, carved from GoldwaterNichols’s “unless otherwise directed by the President” language, covers DOD participation in covert action.53 Goldwater-Nichols’s silence on the Secretary of Defense remaining in the chain of command indicates Congress did not intend to change the default hierarchy. DOD recognized that point by defining combatant command as being “under a single commander” and running “through the Secretary of Defense.”54 All these say nothing about covert action.

The statute and EO 12333 put the director “in charge” of the conduct of covert actions.55 CIA “ownership” means any non-CIA employee supporting a covert action “belongs” to the CIA. However, the CIA lacks DOD’s legal command structure and no CIA official possesses the command authority inherent in an officer’s commission.56 The CIA can only be in charge, not in command. The director cannot give a lawful order that would be legally binding on Servicemembers. The Constitution unequivocally grants Congress the authority to “make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces.”57 Those rules, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, never contemplated CIA personnel exercising command authority over Servicemembers. The CIA’s ownership of covert action is limited. Exclusive CIA control fails elsewhere; the statute authorizes the President to task “departments, agencies, or entities”58 to conduct covert action. The implication is that DOD can conduct a covert action exclusively. EO 12333 specifically envisions that.59 Placing DOD elements under CIA control to conduct a kinetic operation is arguably unnecessary.

This chain of command is constitutionally enshrined, codified, and ratified through longstanding practice; even if Congress had explicitly authorized the President to reroute it, doing so creates risk. First, it removes the law of war’s protections upon which Servicemembers conducting kinetic operations rely. In such an event, Servicemembers must be made aware they are no longer protected. Second, as a state practice, realigning military personnel under a nonmilitary framework to conduct kinetic activities creates precedential risk for U.S. allies. Such a decision must be fully informed at all levels.

Chain of Command: International Law Context

National armies engaged against each other have, throughout modern history, been cloaked in the law of war’s combatant
immunity. Absent that immunity, a captured individual is subject to criminal prosecution for his wartime conduct. His deliberately targeting and killing others become nonmilitary and therefore criminal. In World War II’s aftermath, widespread acceptance of what constituted an “army” rendered a definition unnecessary: “Individuals composing the national forces” automatically enjoyed combatant immunity.60 However, for those outside their nation’s military hierarchy, specificity was necessary. The Third Geneva Convention grants prisoner of war status—which confers combatant immunity—to those who are subordinate to a responsible commander, wear a fixed, distinctive insignia recognizable at a distance, carry their arms openly, and conduct their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.61

The command requirement stems from the “dual principle of responsible command and its corollary command responsibility.”62 The Hague Convention required that a commander be “responsible for his subordinates.”63 The Geneva Convention recognized “no part of [an] army . . . is not subordinated to a military commander,” applying this “from the Commander-in-Chief down to the common soldier.”64 The later protocols “could not conceive” of a hierarchy “without the persons who make up the command structure being familiar with the law applicable in armed conflict.”65 This is DOD’s unchallenged area of expertise.66 Like Congress’s definition of traditional military activity,67 the commentary’s definition, when coupled with the requirements for those not considered part of the Nation’s army, is the parallel to Servicemembers conducting kinetic covert action under CIA control. Combatant immunity necessitates prisoner of war status; for those not acting as part of the army, that status requires a military chain of command. Replacing the Secretary of Defense with the CIA director eviscerates this.

U.S. history records a fundamental belief in the rules for combatant immunity.68 First, to codify these requirements, the 1863 Lieber Code defined prisoner of war as including “all soldiers.”69 The code noted noncompliance with the rules meant no combatant immunity: spies were “punishable with death by hanging by the neck.”70 “Armed prowlers . . . who steal within the lines of the hostile army for the purpose of . . . killing . . . are not entitled to the privileges of the prisoner of war.”71 The code’s noteworthy purpose was not to regulate conduct between nations, but for application in a non-international armed conflict and maintaining the moral high ground necessary to facilitate reconciliation with and reintegration of the confederate states.

The law of war’s efficacy rests on the principle of reciprocity. One party provides the protections to its prisoners believing and hoping its enemies will respond in kind. Commendable German and U.S. treatment of each other’s prisoners during World War II exemplifies this principle; Japanese treatment of U.S prisoners at Bataan proves its imperfections. Regardless, maintaining the moral high ground is critical. Had Abbottabad gone poorly, the United States would have asserted that U.S. personnel in Pakistani custody were entitled to the high standards of prisoner of war treatment. That would have required those Soldiers and Sailors to be in compliance with the law of war. The nonmilitary chain of command may have been problematic in making that assertion.

Conclusion

“From its inception . . . America has venerated the rule of law.”72 Traditional military activities occur against a rich fabric of domestic and international law. Covert action, while uniquely codified, presents multiple dilemmas. Although permissible under U.S. domestic law, covert action is generally illegal in the target country.73 Again, maintaining the moral high ground is critical.

Although inimical to covert action’s fundamental premise, overt executive branch commentary following the Abbottabad raid highlighted the legal risk associated with policy decisions. Placing Servicemembers under CIA command threatens to undermine the protections they rely on when conducting kinetic military operations, especially where the activity is more accurately classified as a traditional military activity.

The risk can—and should—be mitigated by first properly classifying the activity. Classifying a traditional military activity as anything else undermines the very categorization and its inherent law of war protections. DOD can undoubtedly conduct secretive (that is, clandestine and/or unacknowledged) actions as traditional military activities and enjoy the full body of the law of war’s protections. The current framework neither envisions nor facilitates placing Servicemembers under CIA control and preserving the command relationships necessary to cloak them in combatant immunity. The Abbottabad raid utilized this risk-laden approach.

This is not to assert that conducting the raid as a covert action was illegal. There were three likely outcomes: success, failure,
or something in between (that is, aborting the mission). Neither success nor failure required covert action’s plausible deniability. The United States immediately publicly acknowledged killing of “public enemy number one”; regardless, the crashed helicopter disclosed the U.S. role. A noncatastrophic driven decision to abort (for example, Pakistani detection of violation of their sovereign airspace) provides the sole outcome where the United States would likely have hidden behind the statute’s shield, disavowing all. The covert action classification provided an insurance policy, yet the cost of allowing that policy to “lapse” through post-success disclosures undermines the plausibility of such “insurance” in the future.

Compare the Abbottabad covert action with the recent rescue of a U.S. citizen in Somalia, conducted secretively, but not covertly, by “a small number of joint combatequipped U.S. forces.”74 This comparison illustrates that such activities can be conducted as traditional military activities, maintaining secrecy and preserving individual Servicemember protections. The need for continued distinction between covert action and traditional military activities and, where covert, the need for DOD-conducted operations to maintain a military chain of command, drive these recommendations. The United States should revisit the rejection of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that DOD assume responsibility for paramilitary covert operations.75

Where DOD participation is necessary and primary, the operation should be conducted as an unacknowledged traditional military activity. If the risk analysis drives a decision to conduct the operation as a covert action, the President should maintain the military chain of command. This ensures Servicemembers going in harm’s way have every protection the Nation they serve can provide them—or a clearer understanding of the additional risks they are assuming on behalf
of their Nation. JFQ

http://www.ndu.edu/press/covert-action.html

The Largest Covert Operation in CIA History
By Chalmers Johnson
The History News Network

Monday 09 June 2003

The Central Intelligence Agency has an almost unblemished record of screwing up every “secret” armed intervention it ever undertook. From the overthrow of the Iranian government in 1953 through the Bay of Pigs, the failed attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro of Cuba and Patrice Lumumba of the Republic of Congo, the Phoenix Program in Vietnam, the “secret war” in Laos, aid to the Greek colonels who seized power in 1967, the 1973 killing of Salvador Allende in Chile and Ronald Reagan’s Iran-contra war against Nicaragua, there is not a single instance in which the agency’s activities did not prove acutely embarrassing to the United States. The CIA continues to get away with this primarily because its budget and operations have always been secret and Congress is normally too indifferent to its constitutional functions to rein in a rogue bureaucracy. Therefore the tale of a purported CIA success story should be of some interest.

According to the author of the newly released Charlie Wilson’s War, the exception to CIA incompetence was the arming between 1979 and 1988 of thousands of Afghan moujahedeen (“freedom fighters”). The agency flooded Afghanistan with an astonishing array of extremely dangerous weapons and “unapologetically mov[ed] to equip and train cadres of high tech holy warriors in the art of waging a war of urban terror against a modern superpower,” in this case, the USSR.

The author of this glowing account, George Crile, is a veteran producer for the CBS television news show “60 Minutes” and an exuberant Tom Clancy-type enthusiast for the Afghan caper. He argues that the U.S. clandestine involvement in Afghanistan was “the largest and most successful CIA operation in history” and “the one morally unambiguous crusade of our time.” He adds that “there was nothing so romantic and exciting as this war against the Evil Empire.” Crile’s sole measure of success is the number of Soviet soldiers killed (about 15,000), which undermined Soviet morale and contributed to the disintegration of the Soviet Union in the period from 1989 to 1991. That’s the successful part.

However, he never mentions that the “tens of thousands of fanatical Muslim fundamentalists” the CIA armed are some of the same people who in 1996 killed 19 American airmen at Dhahran, Saudi Arabia; bombed our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998; blew a hole in the side of the U.S. destroyer Cole in Aden harbor in 2000; and on Sept. 11, 2001, flew hijacked airliners into New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Today, the world awaits what is almost certain to happen soon at some airport — a terrorist firing a U.S. Stinger low-level surface-to-air missile (manufactured at one time by General Dynamics in Rancho Cucamonga) into an American jumbo jet. The CIA supplied thousands of them to the moujahedeen and trained them to be experts in their use. If the CIA’s activities in Afghanistan are a “success story,” then Enron should be considered a model of corporate behavior.

Nonetheless, Crile’s account is important, if appalling, precisely because it details how a ruthless ignoramus congressman and a high-ranking CIA thug managed to hijack American foreign policy. From 1973 to 1996, Charlie Wilson represented the 2nd District of Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives. His constituency was in the heart of the East Texas Bible Belt and was the long-held fiefdom of his fellow Democrat, Martin Dies, the first chairman of the House Un-American Affairs Committee. Wilson is 6 feet, 4 inches tall and “handsome, with one of those classic outdoor faces that tobacco companies bet millions on.” He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1956, eighth from the bottom of his class and with more demerits than any other cadet in Annapolis history.

After serving in the Texas Legislature, he arrived in Washington in 1973 and quickly became known as “Good Time Charlie,” “the biggest playboy in Congress.” He hired only good-looking women for his staff and escorted “a parade of beauty queens to White House parties.” Even Crile, who featured Wilson many times on “60 Minutes” and obviously admires him, describes him as “a seemingly corrupt, cocaine snorting, scandal prone womanizer who the CIA was convinced could only get the Agency into terrible trouble if it permitted him to become involved in any way in its operations.”

Wilson’s partner in getting the CIA to arm the moujahedeen was Gust Avrakotos, the son of working-class Greek immigrants from the steel workers’ town of Aliquippa, Pa. Only in 1960 did the CIA begin to recruit officers for the Directorate of Operations from among what it called “new Americans,” meaning such ethnic groups as Chinese, Japanese, Latinos and Greek Americans. Until then, it had followed its British model and taken only Ivy League sons of the Eastern Establishment. Avrakotos joined the CIA in 1961 and came to nurture a hatred of the bluebloods, or “cake eaters,” as he called them, who discriminated against him. After “spook school” at Camp Peary, next door to Jamestown, Va., he was posted to Athens, where, as a Greek speaker, he remained until 1978.

During Avrakotos’s time in Greece, the CIA was instrumental in destroying Greek freedom and helping to turn the country into probably the single most anti-American democracy on Earth today. Incredibly, Crile describes this as follows: “On April 21, 1967, he [Avrakotos] got one of those breaks that can make a career. A military junta seized power in Athens that day and suspended democratic and constitutional government.” Avrakotos became the CIA’s chief liaison with the Greek colonels. After the fall of the colonels’ brutally fascist regime, the 17 November terrorist organization assassinated the CIA’s Athens station chief, Richard Welch, on Dec. 23, 1975, and “Gust came to be vilified in the Greek radical press as the sinister force responsible for most of the country’s many ills.” He left the country in 1978 but could not get another decent assignment — he tried for Helsinki — because the head of the European Division regarded him as simply too uncouth to send to any of its capitals. He sat around Langley for several years without work until he was recruited by John McGaffin, head of the Afghan program. “If it’s really true that you have nothing to do,” McGaffin said, “why not come upstairs? We’re killing Russians.”

Wilson was the moneybags and sparkplug of this pair; Avrakotos was a street fighter who relished giving Kalashnikovs and Stingers to the tribesmen in Afghanistan. Wilson was the more complex of the two, and Crile argues that his “Good Time Charlie” image was actually a cover for a Barry Goldwater kind of hyper-patriotism. But Wilson was also a liberal on the proposed Equal Rights Amendment and a close friend of the late Congresswoman Barbara Jordan (D-Texas), and his sister Sharon became chairwoman of the board of Planned Parenthood.

As a boy, Wilson was fascinated by World War II and developed an almost childlike belief that he possessed a “special destiny” to “kill bad guys” and help underdogs prevail over their enemies. When he entered Congress, just at the time of the Yom Kippur War, he became a passionate supporter of Israel. After he traveled to Israel, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee began to steer large amounts of money from all over the country to him and to cultivate him as “one of Israel’s most important Congressional champions: a non-Jew with no Jewish constituents.” Jewish members of Congress also rallied to put Wilson on the all-powerful Appropriations Committee in order to guarantee Israel’s annual $3-billion subsidy. His own Texas delegation opposed his appointment.

Wilson was not discriminating in his largess. He also became a supporter of Anastasio “Tacho” Somoza, the West Point graduate and dictator of Nicaragua who in 1979 was swept away by popular fury. Before that happened, President Carter tried to cut the $3.1-million annual U.S. aid package to Nicaragua, but Wilson, declaring Somoza to be “America’s oldest anti-Communist ally in Central America,” opposed the president and prevailed.
During Wilson’s long tenure on the House Appropriations Committee, one of its subcommittee chairmen, Clarence D. “Doc” Long, used to have a sign mounted over his desk: “Them that has the gold makes the rules.” Wilson advanced rapidly on this most powerful of congressional committees. He was first appointed to the foreign operations subcommittee, which doles out foreign aid. He then did a big favor for then-Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill Jr. (D-Mass.). The chairman of the Defense Appropriations subcommittee at the time, Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), had been caught in the FBI’s ABSCAM sting operation in which an agent disguised as a Saudi sheik offered members of Congress large cash bribes. O’Neill put Wilson on the Ethics Committee to save Murtha, which he did. In return, O’Neill assigned Wilson to the defense appropriations subcommittee and made him a life member of the governing board of the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center, where he delighted in taking his young dates. Wilson soon discovered that all of the CIA’s budget and 40 percent of the Pentagon’s budget is “black,” hidden from the public and even from Congress. As a member of the defense subcommittee, he could arrange to have virtually any amount of money added to whatever black project he supported. So long as Wilson did favors for other members on the subcommittee, such as supporting defense projects in their districts, they would never object to his private obsessions.

About this time, Wilson came under the influence of a remarkable, rabidly conservative Houston woman in her mid-40s, Joanne Herring. They later fell in love, although they never married. She had a reputation among the rich of the River Oaks section of Houston as a collector of powerful men, a social lioness and hostess to her fellow members of the John Birch Society. She counted among her friends Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, dictator and first lady of the Philippines, and Yaqub Khan, Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington, D.C., who got Herring named as Pakistan’s honorary consul for Houston.

In July 1977, the head of Pakistan’s army, Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq, seized power and declared martial law, and in 1979, he hanged Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the president who had promoted him. In retaliation, Carter cut off U.S. aid to Pakistan. In 1980, Herring went to Islamabad and was so entranced by Zia and his support for the Afghan freedom fighters that on her return to the United States, she encouraged Wilson to go to Pakistan. There he met Zia, learned about the Afghan moujahedeen and became a convert to the cause. Once Reagan replaced Carter, Wilson was able to restore Zia’s aid money and added several millions to the CIA’s funds for secretly arming the Afghan guerrillas, each dollar of which the Saudi government secretly matched.

Although Wilson romanticized the mountain warriors of Afghanistan, the struggle was never as uneven as it seemed. Pakistan provided the fighters with sanctuary, training and arms and even sent its own officers into Afghanistan as advisors on military operations. Saudi Arabia served as the fighters’ banker, providing hundred of millions with no strings attached. Several governments, including those of Egypt, China and Israel, secretly supplied arms. And the insurgency enjoyed the backing of the United States through the CIA.

Wilson’s and the CIA’s greatest preoccupation was supplying the Afghans with something effective against the Soviets’ most feared weapon, the Mi-24 Hind helicopter gunship. The Red Army used it to slaughter innumerable moujahedeen as well as to shoot up Afghan villages. Wilson favored the Oerlikon antiaircraft gun made in Switzerland (it was later charged that he was on the take from the Zurich-based arms manufacturer). Avrakotos opposed it because it was too heavy for guerrillas to move easily, but he could not openly stand in Wilson’s way. After months of controversy, the Joint Chiefs of Staff finally dropped their objections to supplying the American Stinger, President Reagan signed off on it, and the “silver bullet” was on its way. The Stinger had never before been used in combat. It proved to be murderous against the Hinds, and Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev decided to cut his losses and get out altogether. In Wilson’s postwar tour of Afghanistan, moujahedeen fighters surrounded him and triumphantly fired their missiles for his benefit. They also gave him as a souvenir the stock from the first Stinger to shoot down a Hind gunship.

The CIA “bluebloods” fired Avrakotos in the summer of 1986, and he retired to Rome. Wilson became chairman of the Intelligence Oversight Committee, at which time he wrote to his CIA friends, “Well, gentlemen, the fox is in the hen house. Do whatever you like.” After retiring from Congress in 1996, he became a lobbyist for Pakistan under a contract that paid him $30,000 a month. Meanwhile, the United States lost interest in Afghanistan, which descended into a civil war that the Taliban ultimately won. In the autumn of 2001, the United States returned in force after Al Qaeda retaliated against its former weapon supplier by attacking New York and Washington. The president of the United States went around asking, “Why do they hate us?”

Crile knows a lot about these matters and presents them in a dramatic manner. There are, however, one or two items that he appears unaware of or is suppressing. For the CIA legally to carry out a covert action, the president must authorize a document called a finding. Crile repeatedly says that Carter signed such a finding ordering the CIA to provide covert backing to the moujahedeen after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan on Dec. 24, 1979. The truth of the matter is that Carter signed the finding on July 3, 1979, six months before the Soviet invasion, and he did so on the advice of his national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, in order to try to provoke a Russian incursion. Brzezinski has confirmed this sequence of events in an interview with a French newspaper, and former CIA Director Robert M. Gates says so explicitly in his 1996 memoirs. It may surprise Charlie Wilson to learn that his heroic moujahedeen were manipulated by Washington like so much cannon fodder in order to give the USSR its own Vietnam. The moujahedeen did the job, but as subsequent events have made clear, they may not be grateful to the United States.

Mr. Johnson is the author of Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire and The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy and the End of the Republic, to be published in January by Metropolitan Books.

http://archive.truthout.org/article/the-largest-covert-operation-cia-history

Background Articles and Videos

Covert Action – Operation Field Goal

A CIA special operations officer pursues a tip from an intercepted al-Qaeda transmission and ventures alone into enemy territory – where he’ll need all his training to survive.

CIA Covert Operations and U.S. Interventions Since World War II Full documentary

Col. L Fletcher Prouty: Secret Team – The Formation & Purpose of The NSC – PT 1 of 4

Col. L Fletcher Prouty: The Secret Team – The CIA’s Origins Of Covert Operations – PT 2 of 4

Col. L Fletcher Prouty: The Secret Team – Covert Operations & Their Consequences – PT 3 of 4

Col. L Fletcher Prouty: Secret Team – Conclusion – PT 4 of 4

Muslim Brotherhood Subversion: 12 Key Players in Obama/Bush Administrations

C.I.A. Agents in Libya Aid Airstrikes and Meet Rebels

By MARK MAZZETTI and ERIC SCHMITT

WASHINGTON — The Central Intelligence Agency has inserted clandestine operatives into Libya to gather intelligence for military airstrikes and to contact and vet the beleaguered rebels battling Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces, according to American officials.

While President Obama has insisted that no American military ground troops participate in the Libyan campaign, small groups of C.I.A. operatives have been working in Libya for several weeks as part of a shadow force of Westerners that the Obama administration hopes can help bleed Colonel Qaddafi’s military, the officials said.

In addition to the C.I.A. presence, composed of an unknown number of Americans who had worked at the spy agency’s station in Tripoli and others who arrived more recently, current and former British officials said that dozens of British special forces and MI6 intelligence officers are working inside Libya. The British operatives have been directing airstrikes from British jets and gathering intelligence about the whereabouts of Libyan government tank columns, artillery pieces and missile installations, the officials said.

American officials hope that similar information gathered by American intelligence officers — including the location of Colonel Qaddafi’s munitions depots and the clusters of government troops inside towns — might help weaken Libya’s military enough to encourage defections within its ranks.

In addition, the American spies are meeting with rebels to try to fill in gaps in understanding who their leaders are and the allegiances of the groups opposed to Colonel Qaddafi, said United States government officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the classified nature of the activities. American officials cautioned, though, that the Western operatives were not directing the actions of rebel forces.

A C.I.A. spokesman declined to comment.

The United States and its allies have been scrambling to gather detailed information on the location and abilities of Libyan infantry and armored forces that normally takes months of painstaking analysis.

“We didn’t have great data,” Gen. Carter F. Ham, who handed over control of the Libya mission to NATO on Wednesday, said in an e-mail last week. “Libya hasn’t been a country we focused on a lot over past few years.”

Several weeks ago, President Obama signed a secret finding authorizing the C.I.A. to provide arms and other support to Libyan rebels, American officials said Wednesday. But weapons have not yet been shipped into Libya, as Obama administration officials debate the effects of giving them to the rebel groups. The presidential finding was first reported by Reuters.

In a statement released Wednesday evening, Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, declined to comment “on intelligence matters,” but he said that no decision had yet been made to provide arms to the rebels.

Representative Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican who leads the House Intelligence Committee, said Wednesday that he opposed arming the rebels. “We need to understand more about the opposition before I would support passing out guns and advanced weapons to them,” Mr. Rogers said in a statement.

Because the publicly stated goal of the Libyan campaign is not explicitly to overthrow Colonel Qaddafi’s government, the clandestine war now going on is significantly different from the Afghan campaign to drive the Taliban from power in 2001. Back then, American C.I.A. and Special Forces troops worked alongside Afghan militias, armed them and called in airstrikes that paved the rebel advances on strategically important cities like Kabul and Kandahar.

In recent weeks, the American military has been monitoring Libyan troops with U-2 spy planes and a high-altitude Global Hawk drone, as well as a special aircraft, JSTARS, that tracks the movements of large groups of troops. Military officials said that the Air Force also has Predator drones, similar to those now operating in Afghanistan, in reserve.

Air Force RC-135 Rivet Joint eavesdropping planes intercept communications from Libyan commanders and troops and relay that information to the Global Hawk, which zooms in on the location of armored forces and determines rough coordinates. The Global Hawk sends the coordinates to analysts at a ground station, who pass the information to command centers for targeting. The command center beams the coordinates to an E-3 Sentry Awacs command-and-control plane, which in turn directs warplanes to their targets.

Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, who recently retired as the Air Force’s top intelligence official, said that Libya’s flat desert terrain and clear weather have allowed warplanes with advanced sensors to hunt Libyan armored columns with relative ease, day or night, without the need for extensive direction from American troops on the ground.

But if government troops advance into or near cities in along the country’s eastern coast, which so far have been off-limits to coalition aircraft for fear of causing civilian casualties, General Deptula said that ground operatives would be particularly helpful in providing target coordinates or pointing them out to pilots with hand-held laser designators.

The C.I.A. and British intelligence services were intensely focused on Libya eight years ago, before and during the successful effort to get Colonel Qaddafi to give up his nuclear weapons program. He agreed to do so in the fall of 2003, and allowed C.I.A. and other American nuclear experts into the country to assess Libya’s equipment and bomb designs and to arrange for their transfer out of the country.

Once the weapons program was eliminated, a former American official said, intelligence agencies shifted their focus away from Libya. But as Colonel Qaddafi began his recent crackdown on the rebel groups, the American spy agencies have worked to rekindle ties to Libyan informants and to learn more about the country’s military leaders.

A former British government official who is briefed on current operations confirmed media reports that dozens of British Special Forces soldiers, from the elite Special Air Service and Special Boat Service units, are on the ground across Libya. The British soldiers have been particularly focused on finding the locations of Colonel Qaddafi’s Russian-made surface-to-air missiles.

A spokesman for Britain’s Ministry of Defense declined to comment, citing a policy not to discuss the operations of British Special Forces.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/31/world/africa/31intel.html?_r=3&hp&

Military, CIA shun 9/11 panel on covert operations

Special-ops lead urged in report

By Bill Gertz The Washington Times

The U.S. military and the CIA failed to agree on implementing a key recommendation of the commission that investigated the 9/11 terrorist attacks: Give special-operations commandos the lead for all covert military action.

The 9/11 Commission ordered the shift in response to concerns that CIA covert action — a mainstay of the agency’s World War II predecessor, the Office of Strategic Services — had “atrophied.” The agency also had a “risk averse” approach to spying and semisecret military activities.

Former Navy Secretary John F. Lehman, a member of the panel, said a report card made public last week by the Bipartisan Policy Center didn’t address the failure to implement the covert action change because of the secrecy surrounding the issue.

“The situation has evolved far beyond where it was at the time of our report,” Mr. Lehman said, adding that the raid to kill Osama bin Laden “shows that they are now doing something right.”

Retired Army Lt. Gen. William “Gerry” Boykin, a former Delta Force commando and Pentagon intelligence policymaker during the George W. Bush administration, said that after the commission issued its recommendation in 2004, disagreements arose over bureaucratic turf, and the CIA and the U.S. Special Operations Command (SoCom) could not agree on how to implement it.

The military has expanded special operations forces in recent years. But critics complain that the Pentagon official in charge of the policies for their use is Michael G. Vickers, a former CIA official who comes from the agency’s risk-averse, anti-covert-action culture.

Military covert action involves training and equipping foreign military or paramilitary forces in semisecret activities where the U.S. role is hidden. Past programs included arming Cuban rebels for the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion, deploying direct-action hit teams in Vietnam, and the arming and training of anti-communist rebels in Latin America and anti-Soviet rebels in Afghanistan.

Since 2004, the CIA’s most successful covert military operation was the hunt for bin Laden and the raid to kill him in Pakistan on May 2 with Navy SEALs.

The CIA’s other successful covert military action is the war against al Qaeda and other terrorist groups using drone missile strikes in the Middle East and South Asia.

One setback was the suicide bombing by a double agent in December 2009 at a CIA covert base in Khost, Afghanistan, that killed seven agency officers.

The military’s most secret units and those involved in covert warfare are the Army’s Delta Force and the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, formerly SEAL Team 6.

CIA spokeswoman Marie Harf said the agency and the Pentagon have worked closely in the fight against al Qaeda, notably in the Abbottabad, Pakistan, operation against bin Laden.

“Our capabilities are complementary, not duplicative, and the success of those capabilities should speak for itself,” she said.

Gen. Boykin said a task force was set up to study the 9/11 recommendation, but it failed to define paramilitary covert action. “This was a fundamental question that no one could answer,” Gen. Boykin said.

If the commission meant training, SoCom already had the mission of working with surrogates. But “paramilitary” operations — activities that are militarylike but carried out by groups other than the military — automatically would become military if the function is passed to the Pentagon.

Gen. Boykin said that if the commission wanted to give responsibility for covert action to the Pentagon, the CIA was opposed, arguing that the change would hinder intelligence collection. The agency said its facilities and equipment were “dual-use” — for spying and paramilitary — and could not be transferred.

Gen. Boykin said the command was against duplicating the CIA’s training facilities, methods and equipment, because of high costs needed to “age” equipment and weapons for operations.

“Working from the assumption that the commission was not really sure what they were recommending, the study group determined that the capabilities already in SoCom were competent to train indigenous forces including using clandestine methodology,” he said.

“The agreement was that the CIA would support [special operations] as needed with facilities and other resources.”

Bureaucratic turf also played a role.

CIA did not want to lose anything since that would result in a reduction of resources as well as a loss of authority,” Gen. Boykin said.

However, special operations forces also “did not want the covert action mission because they saw it as something that would absorb huge amounts of time and resources and would be a distraction,” he said.

Former CIA officer Robert Baer, who was investigated by the Clinton administration during a covert action in northern Iraq, said he favors giving the mission to the military. “No matter what the bosses say, the CIA hates covert and paramilitary operations,” he said.

“The place is managed by liberal-arts majors who do a lot better operating on intuition and big-horizon stuff — like whether we’re winning or losing in Afghanistan,” Mr. Baer said. “But never ask it to run a bunch of Hmong tribesmen or disaffected Pashtuns and ever hope to win a war with them.”

Mr. Baer said the Pentagon is better tactically at making things work and has a larger pool of recruits with foreign-language skills.

“The problem is that presidents always reach for the CIA when they think they need a ‘silver bullet,’ like the Bay of Pigs,” he said. “The CIA inevitably fails, and then it gets blamed for the mess.”

Every covert action requires a presidential directive stating that the proposed action is in the country’s national interest. The procedure is often cumbersome and prone to public disclosure. Supporters of the change say military-led covert action would be more flexible and easier to approve.

Hiring former special operations forces at the CIA will not help the agency’s covert military capabilities, Mr. Baer said. “Outside military discipline, they just don’t perform up to their capabilities,” he said.

Mr. Baer said the covert program to supply Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to Afghan rebels in the 1980s was less a covert action success than a “logistics” plan to ship arms to the fighters in the field. “It was not a proper paramilitary campaign,” he said.

A Harvard University study several years ago quoted anti-covert-action officials at the CIA as opposing the Stinger operation because of fears it would trigger a war with the Soviet Union.

The 9/11 Commission report describes the CIA in 2001 as “institutionally averse to risk, with its capacity for covert action atrophied.”

It also says the CIA did not invest in developing “robust” paramilitary operations with U.S. personnel but instead relied on proxies trained and organized by CIA officers without military experience. “The results were unsatisfactory,” it says.

The 9/11 Commission said the CIA could continue clandestine and nonmilitary covert action, including propaganda and nonmilitary disruption.

“We believe, however, that one important area of responsibility should change,” the commission’s report says. “Lead responsibility for directing and executing paramilitary operations, whether clandestine or covert, should shift to the Defense Department.”

There, covert military action programs should be consolidated and placed under Special Operations Command, it says.

“Whether the price is measured in either money or people, the United States cannot afford to build two separate capabilities for carrying out secret military operations, secretly operating standoff missiles, and secretly training foreign military or paramilitary forces,” the report says.

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