National Security

Ted Cruz votes to hamper U.S. anti-terrorism intelligence gathering

Featured image The Senate has failed to pass the “USA Freedom Act,” which would have hobbled our government’s efforts to conduct electronic surveillance of terrorists. Good. As Mitch McConnell argued, with ISIS and other blood thirsty terrorist groups on the rise, this is “the worst possible time to be tying our hands behind our back.” Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey and former NSA and CIA director Michael Hayden have described the “USA »

Is James Risen a law unto himself?

Featured image Writing in an adjacent post about New York Times reporter James Risen and last night’s 60 Minutes segment on him, I link to a January 2006 column that I wrote for the Weekly Standard on Risen’s first big story blowing a critical national security program during the Bush administration. The Standard headlined the column “Exposure and it is still accessible online, but errors crept into the formatting when the Standard »

The Risen Heist

Featured image Last night CBS’s 60 Minutes broadcast a segment presenting New York Times reporter James Risen as a martyr and a hero. Lesley Stahl’s report on Risen is posted here.. The video is below. Should journalists be free to choose which laws they are required to observe and which ones they can break at will? That, essentially, is what Risen is demanding as the trial of alleged CIA leaker Jeffrey Sterling »

Obama’s ISIS half-heartedness quantified

Featured image Several days ago, I noted the half-heartedness of President Obama’s air campaign against ISIS. I suggested that ISIS’s march towards Kobani presented a golden opportunity to degrade that outfit, inasmuch as it was traveling in large numbers through mostly open terrain. Instead, our air sorties appear to have been intermittent and limited. Max Boot quantifies the half-heartedness of Obama’s air campaign against ISIS in both Iraq and Syria. He does »

Biden misses the significance of Panetta’s criticism

Featured image Joe Biden took a shot at Leon Panetta for criticizing the Obama administration in his forthcoming book, Worthy Fights. The Vice President complained: I’m finding that former administration officials, as soon as they leave, write books, which I think is inappropriate. But any rate; no, I’m serious. I do think it’s inappropriate. At least give the guy a chance to get out of office. Biden’s statement is self-serving — unlike »

Should the U.S. abandon the visa waiver program?

Featured image The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens of participating foreign countries to enter the U.S. without a visa for 90 days. In exchange for this benefit, participating countries agree to information-sharing and security cooperation with the U.S., along with reciprocal travel privileges for U.S. citizens. The rise of ISIS has created a heightened threat of foreign terrorists entering the U.S. from European countries that participate in the Visa Waiver Program. »

As our military commitments expand, the military shrinks

Featured image President Obama has found uses for the U.S. military in spite of himself. Max Boot points out that he has just sent 3,000 troops to Liberia to “fight” Ebola; 1,500–and counting–to Iraq to counter ISIS; and hundreds, possibly thousands, more to Eastern Europe to deter Russia. In addition, Obama sent more than 150 troops to Africa to fight Joseph Kony. And he keeps sending troops to carry out various Special »

Our military leaders’ frustration with Obama boils over

Featured image It’s become so obvious that the Washington Post feels compelled to report it — “Rift widens between Obama, U.S. military over strategy to fight Islamic State,” says the Post headline. The main rift is over President Obama’s insistence that he will not use ground troops to fight the “Islamic State.” As the Post notes, “Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, took the rare step of »

Ebola crisis provides warning to unprepared America

Featured image I don’t think we have written about the spread of Ebola in West Africa, and I confess that I haven’t even thought much about this tragedy, other than to find it odd that President Obama is sending in troops to help deal with the matter. Fortunately, our friend Tevi Troy (along with Scott Gottlieb) has written an excellent piece for the Wall Street Journal about the inadequacy of the response »

Islamist sympathizing advisor finally gets the boot from DHS

Featured image In 2010, the Obama administration appointed Mohamed Elibiary to DHS’ Homeland Security Advisory Council (HSAC). It reappointed him in 2013 with the upgraded title of senior fellow. Last week, however, DHS let Elibiary go. Given Elibiary’s record, I would like to think that his sacking was over-determined. But given the Obama administration’s affinity for Elibiary’s bizarre views about Islamic radicals, we’re probably lucky that Elibiary won’t be staying on. The »

Is ISIS really a threat to U.S. security?

Featured image Two articles in the Washington Post raise a question worth considering: how much of a threat does ISIS actually pose to the U.S.? The question has two components. First, how threatening is ISIS by virtue of what it can do in the Middle East; second, how much of a threat is ISIS by virtue of what it can do within the U.S. homeland? As to the first question, Ramzy Mardini »

Meet the Huffington Post’s new security “fellow”

Featured image He’s Donté Stallworth, a former NFL wide-receiver. Stallworth had a few productive years in professional football, but missed all of the 2009 season due to a suspension resulting from pleading guilty to DUI manslaughter, a felony. Stallworth killed a 59 year-old Florida man while driving drunk. Ryan Grim, the Huffington Post’s Washington Bureau Chief, gushed that Stallworth “has a quick mind, an insatiable curiosity and a passion for politics — »

Risen rules

Featured image In an email message over the weekend, Gabriel Schoenfeld writes to raise a question close to my heart: Should journalists be free to choose which laws they are required to observe and which ones they can break at will? That, essentially, is what James Risen, Pulitzer-prize winning reporter at the New York Times, is demanding as the trial of alleged CIA leaker Jeffrey Sterling draws near. Is the Justice Department »

Leading ISIS fighters were former terrorist detainees

Featured image Today’s column by David Ignatius contains this line: “Most of al Qaeda in Iraq’s leading fighters were imprisoned by U.S. occupation troops, but incarceration was a school for jihad, and they emerged tougher, better connected and more dedicated.” Al Qaeda in Iraq is the original name for ISIS. I’m not sure what Ignatius’ point, if any, is. My point would be that the “incarceration as a school for jihad” theory »

Will ISIS be defeated in Iraq and will it attack the U.S.?

Featured image Yesterday, I attended a conference at the Heritage Foundation. The topic was Iraq and Obama’s approach to dealing with the current crisis. The panel consisted of Steven Hadley (formerly, President Bush’s National Security Adviser), Mary Habeck (of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies), and Steven Bucci (of Heritage and a retired Special Forces Colonel). The panel quickly agreed on two things. First, President Obama will not commit a »

The limits of air strikes in Iraq

Featured image Robert Scales, a retired Army major general and former commandant of the U.S. Army War College, argues that an air campaign against ISIS is destined to fail. At first, it will probably set ISIS back, but before long the fighters will adapt. They will make targets more difficult to locate from the air and hide them (and themselves) in populated areas. Scales concludes: As the enemy grows more skilled, we »

Hagel sends 130 advisers to deal with “the most brutal, barbaric forces we’ve ever seen”

Featured image In his address to Marines in San Diego, Chuck Hagel described the threat posed by ISIS this way: The Iraqi people, the government of Iraq, country of Iraq is now under threat from some of the most brutal, barbaric forces we’ve ever seen in the world today, and a force, [ISIS], and others that is an ideology that’s connected to an army and it’s a force and a dimension that »