National Security

Congress begins to understand the extent of Snowden’s treachery

Featured image If I were to defend John’s view that “our civilization is in a state of deep decline, from which it probably cannot recover,” I would be tempted to cite the large number of people, including many conservatives, who view Edward Snowden as other than a traitor. But that argument might be unfair because the public has no idea of the threat posed to the U.S. by Snowden’s theft, and presumed »

Obama’s “stop America before my successors sin again” imperative

Featured image As Scott points out below, Chuck Hagel announced yesterday that the Obama administration plans to shrink the Army to its lowest troop levels since before World War II. What are we to make of this? Peter Wehner provides the correct answer in the title of a post called “Obama Consciously Engineering America’s Decline.” As Wehner explains: [Obama] views the weakening of American power as a downright positive thing, as a »

Jeh Johnson gets a few things right

Featured image Jeh Johnson, who recently became Homeland Security Secretary, has delivered his first policy address. He devoted part of his speech, delivered at the Woodrow Wilson Center, to pushing for immigration reform, including a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants. The fact that the implementation of immigration reform legislation would, in no small measure, be in the hands of a left-liberal partisan like Johnson provides additional reason, if any were needed, »

Obama ties military’s hands by reading al Qaeda out of Benghazi

Featured image Katherine Zimmerman of AEI, whose work we have highlighted before, wrote an op-ed in Sunday’s Washington Post about the need to formulate a reasonable definition of al Qaeda. The whole column is worth reading, but I was struck most by her explanation of why the military won’t take action against the perpetrators of the Benghazi attack: Here’s the problem: According to recently declassified testimony of Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of »

Don’t shoot the messenger

Featured image Walter Pincus, the Washington Post’s long-time voice of conventional liberal thinking on national defense issues, is unhappy with Robert Gates’ new book. He complains that, although Gates devotes nearly half of the book to his two years at the Pentagon under President Bush, he provides “no embarrassing anecdotes or acidic comments.” No doubt, there were embarrassing moments at the Pentagon while Gates was serving Bush there. But Gates’ high-profile revelations »

Of jayvee terrorists. . . and presidents [UPDATED]

Featured image In his recent interview with The New Yorker, President Obama referred to today’s al-Qaeda fighters as the “jayvee” team. Obama stated: The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant. It’s not surprising that Obama takes this position. As Steve Bucci of the Heritage Foundation reminds us, before Benghazi, Obama claimed that »

Is Obama’s NSA plan a non-starter?

Featured image President Obama’s idea of ending the government’s role in gathering the phone records of Americans is probably unworkable according to various U.S. officials contacted by the Washington Post. Obama’s idea is to transfer control of the NSA’s massive database of phone records to telephone companies or some kind of independent board. But the phone companies do not want this responsibility and, according to the Post, no one has come up »

On the NSA, the Real Problem Is That Obama Can’t Be Trusted

Featured image President Obama’s speech today on the NSA’s data collection programs satisfied hardly anyone. Few of his proposals will actually take effect any time soon, if at all, and his supposed safeguard against misuse of telephone metadata–it will still be collected and stored, just not by the NSA–is likely to make the situation worse, not better. Substantively, the most significant change is that the NSA will be required to obtain a »

Federal judge upholds NSA phone records collection policy

Featured image A federal judge in New York City, not far from where the Twin Towers stood, ruled today that the National Security Agency’s bulk collection of millions of Americans’ telephone records is legal. William Pauley, a Clinton appointee, found that the NSA’s program is a valuable part of the nation’s arsenal to counter the threat of terrorism and “only works because it collects everything.” Judge Pauley’s ruling makes far more sense »

Obama’s national security cop-out

Featured image A reader with first-hand knowledge about national security and intelligence issues, as well as the Obama administration’s policies relating thereto, has written to me about my two recent posts on NSA surveillance. The essence of my posts is that the Obama administration hand-picked a left-leaning panel to report on surveillance policy because it wanted a highly critical report to use as the basis for cutting back substantially on electronic surveillance. »

Rigged report on NSA paves way for Obama to take a powder

Featured image Yesterday, I suggested that the report on NSA surveillance by the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies delivered just what President Obama hoped and expected it would — a document that would pull the rug out from under his own surveillance policies. You don’t appoint a strongly left-leaning panel unless you want such a document. The president’s conduct at his press conference today tends to confirm my assessment. »

Left-wing panel delivers largely worthless report on NSA surveillance

Featured image The President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies has released a report (available via link here), which calls for a significant scaling back of NSA surveillance activity. The report is basically what you would expect from a panel whose five members include two left-wing law professors (Cass Sunstein and Geoffrey Stone), a grossly dishonest former bureaucrat (Richard Clarke), the man who helped scrub the Benghazi points to eliminate references »

Conservatism’s increasingly uneasy relationship with “corporate America”

Featured image I wrote below about yesterday’s meeting at which leaders of the technology industry urged President Obama to alter America’s electronic surveillance policy in order to advance their business interests. The meeting brought to mind Lenin’s alleged statement that “the capitalists will sell us the rope with which to hang them.” The meeting also brought to mind an excellent article by John Fonte about the relationship between big business and the »

Frightened capitalists attempt to change national security policy

Featured image Lenin supposedly said “the capitalists will sell us the rope with which to hang them.” I thought of that quotation when I read about yesterday’s meeting between President Obama and leaders of America’s major technology firms. The company leaders reportedly warned Obama that NSA spying programs are damaging their reputations and could harm the broader economy. Shareholders are unhappy and foreign customers supposedly are backing away from American branded technology. »

NSA data collection: What, me worry?

Featured image Yesterday’s panel on NSA data collection featuring former Attorney General Michael Mukasey and George Mason University Law Professor Jeremy Rabkin was one of the highlights of this year’s National Lawyers Convention. After the introductions by moderator and former Acting Attorney George Terwilliger, Mr. Mukasey opens the discussion. Professor Rabkin provides a contrasting attitude and rollicking black humor. The program winds up with good questions from the audience. The whole program »

The spying on Europeans farce

Featured image I love this headline on the front page of today’s Washington Post (print edition): “Officials: Obama unaware U.S. spied on allied leaders.” The locution is, I think, the Post’s way of signaling that it doesn’t really believe what the “officials” are saying. Nor should we. As John Yoo argues, spying on European leaders is something the U.S. has long done and should do, and this is common knowledge: Of course »

Jeh Johnson to head Department of Homeland Security

Featured image President Obama reportedly will select Jeh Johnson to succeed Janet Napolitano as Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. Johnson is a New York lawyer. He served as General Counsel of the Defense Department during Obama’s first term. I’m not a fan of Johnson, with whom I had some slight, peripheral contact when I practiced law. I criticized his manipulative role in ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” here. I expected »