by Natalie Johnson • Washington Free Beacon
Europe serves as a “launching pad” for ISIS jihadists to initiate attacks against the United States due to the absence of a cohesive information-sharing strategy among Western nations, former acting CIA director John McLaughlin said Wednesday.
McLaughlin, a 30-year CIA employee who served as acting director under the George W. Bush administration, warned that the absence of effective coordination between European intelligence agencies exposes the United States to greater risk of attack.
Testifying before the House Armed Services Committee, McLaughlin said the Trump administration must work with European allies to establish an intelligence-sharing platform that coordinates Europe’s extensive network of security services. Continue reading
by Morgan Chalfant • Washington Free Beacon
Criminal and terrorist networks are evolving “out of view” of U.S. intelligence and increasingly cooperating to achieve their goals, according to a new document from the U.S. military that calls for a better coordinated effort between the Pentagon and other government agencies to counter threat networks.
It is becoming increasingly difficult for the United States to deter threats from transnational networks such as terrorist organizations and groups trafficking illicit goods, according to the document from the Joint Chiefs of Staff published in late December.
The Joint Publication 3-25, which was recently highlighted by the Federation of American Scientists, evaluated the United States’ efforts to counter networks threatening U.S. interests at home and abroad, calling for more interagency work and partnerships with international organizations and allies to deter them. Continue reading
A rise in terrorist attacks is further evidence that the global appeal of ISIS-inspired jihad is not dwindling.
By M.G. Oprea • The Federalist
It seems every couple of days we hear about another ISIS-linked terrorist attack. The global appeal of the radical Islamist group is on the ascendant as it is continually able to inspire young Muslim men to wreak havoc in its name, from Orlando to Istanbul. Rather than a sign of the success of the U.S.-led assault on ISIS’ territorial claims, the growing frequency of terrorist attacks are, in part, a product of our own negligence.
Last Tuesday, three gunmen wearing suicide vests attacked the international terminal at Turkey’s Atatürk airport in Istanbul, killing 45 and injuring more than 200. Although ISIS hasn’t yet claimed responsibility, Turkish officials told the United States the organizer of the attack was a former commander of an Islamic State battalion in Syria.
On Sunday, Iraq suffered its deadliest attack since 2003, when ISIS attacked a busy neighborhood of Baghdad with a truck bomb that caused a massive fire, killing more than 215 people. On Friday, five gunmen killed 22 hostages in an attack on a café in an affluent neighborhood in Dhaka, Bangladesh, for which ISIS claimed responsibility. Continue reading
Dozens of alleged refugees have entered Germany on fake Syrian passports, which were produced using technology similar to that used to forge documents for some of the perpetrators of the Paris attacks, the German Bild newspaper reported Tuesday, citing government sources.
Last week, two French citizens posing as refugees were arrested in Austria on suspicion of having links to the November 13 Paris terror attacks. The suspects, of Algerian and Pakistani descent, were allegedly using fake Syrian passports and are believed to have entered Austria with some of the Paris attackers in October. Individuals posing as refugees entered Germany using passports made by the same means as those found on the suspects arrested in Austria.
“They contain the same features of forgery,” one of the sources told the German media outlet.
Stolen genuine documents were so intricately altered by counterfeiters that the forgery was not detected immediately, meaning those who entered the country on fake passports have not yet been found, according to the newspaper. Continue reading
By Eli Lake & Josh Rogin • BloombergView
When the administration presented the agreement to Congress, lawmakers were told that new sanctions on Iran would violate the deal. Now the administration is trying to sidestep a recently passed provision to tighten rules on visas for those who have visited Iran.
Since the accord was struck last summer, the U.S. emphasis on complying with its end of the deal has publicly eclipsed its efforts to pressure Iran. In that time, Iranian authorities have detained two American dual nationals and sentenced a third on what most observers say are trumped up espionage charges. Iran’s military has conducted two missile tests, one of which the U.N. said violated sanctions, and engaged in a new offensive with Russia in Syria to shore up the country’s dictator, Bashar al-Assad. Continue reading
Obama admin promises new laws will not violate nuke deal
by Adam Kredo • Washington Free Beacon
Secretary of State John Kerry is working to reassure Iranian leaders that recent congressional efforts to tighten counter-terrorism measures will not harm Iranian interests, according to a letter sent by Kerry to Iran’s foreign minister.
The assurances come following efforts by Congress to tighten restrictions in the visa waiver program, which they claim has gaping loopholes that may enable suspected terrorists to legally enter the United States with few background checks.
Iranian leaders expressed anger over the move in recent days, prompting senior Obama administration officials to convey their own concerns to lawmakers. Continue reading
The Obama administration cannot be sure of the whereabouts of thousands of foreigners in the U.S. who had their visas revoked over terror concerns and other reasons, a State Department official acknowledged Thursday.
The admission, made at a House oversight hearing examining immigrant vetting in the wake of major terror attacks, drew a sharp rebuke from the committee chairman.
“You don’t have a clue do you?” Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, told Michele Thoren Bond, assistant secretary for the Bureau of Consular Affairs. Continue reading
by John Nolte • Breitbart
Once again, reality has intruded on President Obama’s divisive, his anti-science talking points. Just hours after the president used the term “widows and orphans” to taunt the GOP over their opposition to flooding America with Syrian refugees ISIS has promised to seed with terrorists, a female suicide bomber in Paris blew herself up as police closed in.
While overseas, no less, and as Democrat senators Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), and Chris Coons, all signaled a desire to pause the Syrian refuges process, Obama again proved that the only people he sees as America’s real enemies are members of the Republican Party:
“Apparently they are scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America,” Obama said of the GOP. “At first, they were too scared of the press being too tough on them in the debates. Now they are scared of three year old orphans. That doesn’t seem so tough to me.”
Just a few hours later in Paris:
A female terrorist wearing a suicide vest has blown herself up and another jihadi was killed by a grenade during a six-hour siege on a flat where police believe the Paris massacres mastermind and six other ISIS terrorists were hiding.
ISIS is Obama’s legacy.
Paris is Obama’s legacy.
Obama lost a won war in Iraq by abandoning that hard-won country, and ISIS fill the vacuum.
Obama pretended to be using “intelligent patience” as ISIS established and extended its caliphate state into Syria, which included the control and command and training centers that were likely behind the Paris operation.
And now Obama believes that screeching emotional blackmail in the form of suicidal political correctness is his real job.
The DC Media obviously got the White House talking points today, orders that demanded Republicans be accused of “playing into the hands of ISIS’ with their caution over these Syrian refugees.
Such good dogs.
By Nayla Rush • Center for Immigration Studies
I attended USCIS’s Asylum Division Quarterly Stakeholder Meeting last week. It was led by John Lafferty, chief of the Asylum Division. Those present were, for the most part, USCIS staff and immigration lawyers in charge of representing asylum seekers and refugees.
Here are a few things I learned:
The Asylum Division suffers from a high staff turnover. Loss of trained staff means recruiting and training others to do the job. It is also understaffed. Officers have a hard time meeting quotas set by the president.
In 2000, there were only 5,000 asylum cases and no backlog. There are now 120,000 cases, hence the backlog. Continue reading
The unemployment rate is down, gas prices and inflation are low, and the president notched some major accomplishments. But Obama remains a polarizing figure, and Americans are feeling insecure.
by George E. Condon Jr. • NationalJournal
By almost all traditional metrics, the White House should be celebrating his 2015 instead of offering the subdued and measured defense seen from President Obama at his end-of-the-year press conference. After all, the usual numbers are good—unemployment rate down, job creation up, inflation low, GDP up, gas prices declining. Only the stock market, which will end the year slightly down, is in negative territory.
To add to a bullish appraisal for the president’s agenda, the year saw him prevail on some of his top priorities—protecting Obamacare, achieving a nuclear deal with Iran, reaching an international climate agreement, and pushing through his rapprochement with Cuba. The president can also point to the lowest “Misery Index”—adding unemployment with inflation—since Harry Truman was president. The current 5.3 Misery Index would normally guarantee high approval. Continue reading
Says he toppled Gaddafi to avert a humanitarian crisis, but failed to do the same in Syria
by Daniel Wiser • Washington Free Beacon
Recent remarks by President Obama highlight his conflicting approach to dictators in the Middle East, critics say, opening him to charges of an inconsistent and contradictory strategy toward regimes and humanitarian crises in the region.
In his final press conference of the year Friday, Obama defended his efforts to topple former Libyan autocrat Muammar Gaddafi in 2011 as part of an international coalition. Gaddafi was “a dictator who was threatening and was in a position to carry out the wholesale slaughter of large numbers of people,” he said. He added that the United States and allied nations worked “to avert a big humanitarian catastrophe that would not have been good for us.”
“Those who now argue, in retrospect, we should have left Gaddafi in there seem to forget that he had already lost legitimacy and control of his country, and we could have—instead of what we have in Libya now, we could have had another Syria in Libya now,” he said. Continue reading
By Eliza Collins • Washington Free Beacon
A boastful recap of the State Department’s accomplishments, written by spokesman John Kirby, includes the bold subheadline of “Bringing Peace, Security to Syria” above a more modest entry talking about U.S. aid for those affected by the country’s turmoil and the U.S. push for a political transition from President Bashar Assad.
While Secretary of State John Kerry has played an integral role in the Syrian peace talks, the country remains embroiled in a nasty civil war and terrorized by the Islamic State.
“The United States and many members of the international community have stepped up to aid the Syrian people during their time of need — the United States has led the world in humanitarian aid contributions since the crisis began in 2011,” Kirby said. Continue reading
In an interview taped Friday and relesased this weekend with NPR’s Steve Inskeep, President Obama says “the approach we are taking” to defeat The Islamic State “is one that is based on the best council, the best advice of our top military, top diplomatic teams.”
“Those who are critics of our administration’s response,” he continued, “in the debates that are taking place between the Republican candidates,” “when you ask them, what would you do instead? They don’t have an answer.” Continue reading
The largest percentage of Americans ever say the terrorists have the upper hand in the war on terror. Additionally, three-in-four Americans say they’re unhappy with the way the war on terror is going. The poll also showed a 14 percent spike in those who said they had zero confidence in the Obama administration’s handling of terror.
By Nikki Schwab • Daily Mail
Americans believe more than ever that the terrorists are winning the war on terror.
In a new CNN/ORC poll, just 18 percent of Americans surveyed said the U.S. and its allies were ahead in the terror fight, with 40 percent now saying the terrorists have the upper hand.
The numbers are almost completely flopped from when the question was first asked, just one month after the 9/11 terror attacks.
Then, 42 percent said the U.S. was winning the war on terror, while 11 percent said the terrorists were dominating the fight. Continue reading
by David Crary • AP|The Big Story
The far-flung attacks claimed by Islamic State militants and the intensifying global effort to crush them added up to a grim, gripping yearlong saga that was voted the top news story of 2015, according to The Associated Press’ annual poll of U.S. editors and news directors.
The No. 2 story was the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that led to legalization of same-sex marriage in all 50 states. But several of the other stories among the Top 10 reflected the impact of the Islamic State, while another group of major stories related to the series of mass shootings in the United States.
Among the 100 voters casting ballots, first-place votes were spread among 17 different stories. The Islamic State entry received 37 first-place votes and same-sex marriage 13. The No. 3 story — the deadly attacks in Paris in January and November — received 14 first-place votes. Continue reading