National Security

“Homegrown terrorists” and what to do about them

Featured image Andy McCarthy has written two good posts taking on the concept of “homegrown terrorism.” Andy argues that “what grows a terrorist in Paris – or New York, London, Madrid, Hamburg, etc. – is not his environs; it is Islamic supremacist ideology” which is decidedly non-Western. Moreover, to suggest that terrorists residing in the West are homegrown is to imply that “it is something innate in America (and the West) that »

Four observations prompted by the Paris attack

Featured image 1. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn used to make fun of American journalists — so “courageous” when operating under protection in the U.S.; so cowed when working in the Soviet Union. The same tendency is evident these days. News organizations “heroically” attack American politicians they dislike and expose secret efforts to curb terrorism, safe in the knowledge that the U.S. government will leave them be. But when it comes to the cartoons over »

Sen. Cotton to serve on intelligence committee

Featured image In my post last night listing Tom Cotton’s committee assignments, I failed to include the Select Committee on Intelligence. Arguably, this is the Senator’s must important assignment. We live in a time when defense budgets are being slashed and the U.S. president is largely unwilling to put American boots on the ground, even to fight bloody thirsty terrorists with designs on attacking America. In this environment, our intelligence professionals are »

The Cuba appeasement and the latest detainee release — is there a connection?

Featured image Our restoration of diplomatic relations with Cuba and the accompanying swap of prisoners have overshadowed the release of six terrorists detained at Guantanamo Bay, after the government of Uruguay agreed to accept the six. On the face of things, the two stories seem unrelated. But if we are to believe the president of Uruguay, there is a connection. And the common thread may be President Obama’s laxity (to put it »

On the Sony hack, a CTO speaks

Featured image Reader Jonathan F. writes in response to John’s post on our pathetic response to the Sony hack. Having worked in IT since 1996, Jonathan is the Chief Technology Officer at his company. He has been involved in the security side of IT at least part time since 2000. He is a Certified Information Systems Security Professional, the certification bestowed by (ISC)2. He also has a CompTia Security+ certification. His corporate »

So Far, Response to Sony Hack Is Pathetic

Featured image North Korea, we are told, hacked into Sony Pictures’ computer system. The hackers made off with a vast number of emails, brought film production to a halt by disrupting Sony’s ability to pay bills, and stole passcodes governing entry into the studio’s headquarters so that employees had to line up to gain admission, one by one. The hackers then caused two movies to be withdrawn from circulation by threatening terrorist »

James Risen would prefer not to; Eric Holder must decide what he prefers

Featured image James Risen is the New York Times reporter who, on several occasions, has materially harmed the United States with his reporting on top secret affairs. As Scott Johnson has written, “If you are a disgruntled intelligence officer or official and want to preserve your anonymity while undermining a top secret program or aiding the enemies of the United States, Risen is your go-to guy.” Scott went on to document this »

Feinstein’s war on the CIA — what purpose does it serve?

Featured image The Obama administration has instituted special security measures to protect U.S. facilities around the world in the event of attacks prompted by the release of Dianne Feinstein’s “torture” report. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said that “there are some indications. . .that the release of the report could lead to a greater risk that is posed to U.S. facilities and individuals all around the world.” John Kerry was concerned enough »

Who would be Obama’s Secretary of Defense?

Featured image Not Michèle Flournoy. She has ruled herself out. Reportedly, her goal is to be Hillary Clinton’s Defense Secretary. In theory, holding the position under President Obama doesn’t preclude holding it under Clinton. Moreover, it is far from certain that Clinton will ever be in a position to offer Flournoy the job. But she must believes that running Obama’s Pentagon is a toxic gig. Not Sen. Jack Reed, another frequently mentioned »

Chuck Hagel — not a war time consigliere [With Comments by John]

Featured image Good news. Chuck Hagel is out as Secretary of Defense, or will be as soon as a successor is nominated and confirmed. Let’s hope that any effort by the Republican Senate to block the confirmation of Obama administration appointees will exempt the Secretary of Defense position for national security reasons. The reason for Hagel’s ouster (let’s not take seriously the claim that he wanted out) is said to be that »

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 »