Sunday, 26 April 2009

PORTER GOSS ON WHO WAS BRIEFED ABOUT INTERROGATIONS

Ken Berwitz

Porter Goss is a former Republican congressperson, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee for 7 years and head of the CIA.  I think it would be fair to assume he knows something about who was briefed on interrogation techniques and what they were told.

Here are excerpts from his his guest commentary in yesterday's Washington Post.   See if it squares with what Nancy Pelosi and her fellow Democrats are claiming.  Please pay special attention to the section I've put in bold print:

Security Before Politics

By Porter J. Goss
Saturday, April 25, 2009

Since leaving my post as CIA director almost three years ago, I have remained largely silent on the public stage. I am speaking out now because I feel our government has crossed the red line between properly protecting our national security and trying to gain partisan political advantage. We can't have a secret intelligence service if we keep giving away all the secrets. Americans have to decide now.

A disturbing epidemic of amnesia seems to be plaguing my former colleagues on Capitol Hill. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, members of the committees charged with overseeing our nation's intelligence services had no higher priority than stopping al-Qaeda. In the fall of 2002, while I was chairman of the House intelligence committee, senior members of Congress were briefed on the CIA's "High Value Terrorist Program," including the development of "enhanced interrogation techniques" and what those techniques were. This was not a one-time briefing but an ongoing subject with lots of back and forth between those members and the briefers.

Today, I am slack-jawed to read that members claim to have not understood that the techniques on which they were briefed were to actually be employed; or that specific techniques such as "waterboarding" were never mentioned. It must be hard for most Americans of common sense to imagine how a member of Congress can forget being told about the interrogations of Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed. In that case, though, perhaps it is not amnesia but political expedience.

Let me be clear. It is my recollection that:

-- The chairs and the ranking minority members of the House and Senate intelligence committees, known as the Gang of Four, were briefed that the CIA was holding and interrogating high-value terrorists.

-- We understood what the CIA was doing.

-- We gave the CIA our bipartisan support.

-- We gave the CIA funding to carry out its activities.

-- On a bipartisan basis, we asked if the CIA needed more support from Congress to carry out its mission against al-Qaeda.

I do not recall a single objection from my colleagues. They did not vote to stop authorizing CIA funding. And for those who now reveal filed "memorandums for the record" suggesting concern, real concern should have been expressed immediately -- to the committee chairs, the briefers, the House speaker or minority leader, the CIA director or the president's national security adviser -- and not quietly filed away in case the day came when the political winds shifted. And shifted they have.

Unfortunately, much of the damage to our capabilities has already been done. It is certainly not trust that is fostered when intelligence officers are told one day "I have your back" only to learn a day later that a knife is being held to it. After the events of this week, morale at the CIA has been shaken to its foundation.

We must not forget: Our intelligence allies overseas view our inability to maintain secrecy as a reason to question our worthiness as a partner. These allies have been vital in almost every capture of a terrorist.

The suggestion that we are safer now because information about interrogation techniques is in the public domain conjures up images of unicorns and fairy dust. We have given our enemy invaluable information about the rules by which we operate. The terrorists captured by the CIA perfected the act of beheading innocents using dull knives. Khalid Sheik Mohammed boasted of the tactic of placing explosives high enough in a building to ensure that innocents trapped above would die if they tried to escape through windows. There is simply no comparison between our professionalism and their brutality.

The days of fortress America are gone. We are the world's superpower. We can sit on our hands or we can become engaged to improve global human conditions. The bottom line is that we cannot succeed unless we have good intelligence. Trading security for partisan political popularity will ensure that our secrets are not secret and that our intelligence is destined to fail us.

Who do you think is more credible here?  Mr. Goss or the people who attended the briefings but now claim they didn't know what was discussed in them.  Heck, they barely are able to spell "waterboarding".  Just ask them.

What liars.  What frauds.  And what damage releasing those documents has done to our national security.


JANET NAPOLITANO'S "APOLOGY"

Ken Berwitz

In my previous blog I commented that President Obama has put together the most incompetent, unworthy cabinet I've seen in my lifetime. 

Here is another example.

Janet Napolitano, the ignoramus who President Obama appointed to head our Homeland Security Department, has now "apologized" for releasing a report that tried to scare this country into believing that the terrorist threat we have to worry about is a combination of people who are politically to the right and returning military veterans.

Except she didn't apologize at all.  In reality, she shunted the blame to someone else in her department - just like a weasel would do. 

Read about it in these excerpts from an Associated Press article.  The examples of ignorance and stupidity are Ms. Napolitano's - the bold print is mine:

Homeland secretary apologizes to veterans group

Apr 24, 9:42 PM (ET)

By EILEEN SULLIVAN

WASHINGTON (AP) - Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano met with the American Legion on Friday to apologize for a right-wing extremism report written by her agency, and the veterans group walked away from the meeting mollified.

Napolitano blamed one of her agency's analysts for prematurely sending out the intelligence assessment to law enforcement, according to Craig Roberts, an American Legion member who attended the meeting. The report says veterans returning from Iraq or Afghanistan could be susceptible to right-wing recruiters or commit lone acts of violence.

"She essentially admitted fault within her office," Roberts said.

The report, one of Homeland Security's periodic assessments, warned that right-wing extremists could use the bad state of the U.S. economy and the election of the country's first black president to recruit members. The analysis said veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars could be targeted by the groups.

It drew angry reactions from Rehbein, conservative bloggers and Republican members of Congress who took to the House floor this week to criticize Napolitano, confirmed to her Cabinet position less than 100 days ago.

"Has this Homeland Security secretary gone absolutely stark raving mad?" Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn, said Wednesday.

"I think the appropriate thing for her to do would be to step down," Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, told Fox News on Thursday.

"Janet Napolitano should resign or be fired," Rep. John Carter, R-Texas, said on Wednesday.

The veterans issue wasn't the only flap. Earlier this week, Napolitano drew criticism for flubbing an explanation of federal law prohibiting people without proper documents from crossing U.S. borders into the country.

In an interview with CNN, Napolitano, whose career has included stints as a U.S. attorney and attorney general and governor of Arizona, said: "Crossing the border is not a crime per se. It is civil."

While crossing the border illegally is a crime, most illegal immigrants caught in the United States face only civil penalties and deportation.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., characterized Napolitano's statements as one of the most "baffling" he has ever heard from a senior government official.

"It is breathtaking that a Cabinet secretary, bestowed by the public with the responsibility to protect our nation's borders, could be ignorant of the indisputable fact that it is a violation of the criminal code to enter our country illegally," Sessions said.

Napolitano spokesman Sean Smith said: "She may be new to Washington, but she has been around politics for a long time, and she knows political theater when she sees it."

Smith said Napolitano spent 16 years enforcing the law on the Southwest border. "Americans can rest assured that she understands what the law is along the border," he said.

She also has drawn criticism for claiming in an interview that the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists entered the U.S. across the Canadian border. The Sept. 11 commission found that none came through Canada. But others have, such as the would-be millennium bomber Ahmed Ressam.

Discussing security along the U.S. border on Canada's CBC News on Monday, Napolitano said, "To the extent that terrorists have come into our country or suspected or known terrorists have entered our country across a border, it's been across the Canadian border. There are real issues there."

When asked whether she was talking about the 9/11 terrorists, Napolitano said: "Not just those, but others as well."

Smith on Thursday said Napolitano acknowledged she misspoke and had been thinking of the millennium bomber.

When you combine a small knowledge of facts with a large mouth, this is what you get:  and it is a virtual definition of Janet Napolitano.

If there were any two-party balance in congress right now, the pressure would be enormous to remove Napolitano before that combination goes beyond just being an embarrassment and contributes to a terrorist disaster --- whoops, excuse me, a "man-made" disaster, since, in another display of stupidity, she declines to use the word "terrorist".  

The sooner we are a two party country again, the better.  Until then I can only hope that our enemies don't test Janet Napolitano's competence.  It's not a fair fight.

Stephen May KenBz just wondering what ever happened to you! Hal3. (04/29/09)

Daniel Newby Napolitano has simply feigned a weak apology to the loudest complainers: military veterans. She remains unapologetic toward the rest of the people who take offense. This report didn't just slip through a couple of dozing final proof editors. The FBI admittedly coordinated on this report, and Napolitano was admittedly briefed on it prior to its release. This was premeditated and represents a pervasive attitude. Our liberties to think and freely express ourselves are in jeopardy. When it comes to a free society, we either stand together or hang separately. I recommend the action items highlighted in the article, "I Am Spartacus! Standing Up to Homeland Insecurity," by helmsmansociety.com. Let's make this DHS report as meaningless as our local phone directory! (04/29/09)


RACIAL SPOILS IN NEW HAVEN, CT.

Ken Berwitz

George Will has written an absolutely excellent analysis of the Supreme Court case in which a group of 18 firefighters claim to have been racially discriminated against by the New Haven, CT fire department.

But before making any assumptions about which race is which, you better read on:

The Wreck of the Racial Spoils System
by George Will
 

WASHINGTON -- Wednesday morning, a lawyer defending in the Supreme Court what the city of New Haven, Conn., did to Frank Ricci and 17 other white firemen (including one Hispanic) was not 20 seconds into his argument when Chief Justice John Roberts interrupted to ask: Would it have been lawful if the city had decided to disregard the results of the exam to select firemen for promotion because it selected too many black and too few white candidates?

In 2003, the city gave promotion exams -- prepared by a firm specializing in employment tests, and approved, as federal law requires, by independent experts -- to 118 candidates, 27 of them black. None of the blacks did well enough to qualify for the 15 immediately available promotions. After a rabble-rousing minister with close ties to the mayor disrupted meetings and warned of dire political consequences if the city promoted persons from the list generated by the exams, the city said: No one will be promoted.

The city called this a "race-neutral" outcome because no group was disadvantaged more than any other. So, New Haven's idea of equal treatment is to equally deny promotions to those who did not earn them and those, including Ricci, who did.

Ricci may be the rock upon which America's racial spoils system finally founders. He prepared for the 2003 exams by quitting his second job, buying the more than $1,000 worth of books the city recommended, paying to have them read onto audiotapes (he is dyslexic), taking practice tests and practice interviews. His studying -- sometimes 13 hours a day -- earned him the sixth-highest score on the exam. He and others denied promotions sued, charging violations of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Constitution's guarantee of equal protection of the law.

The city claims that the 1964 act (BEG ITAL)compelled(END ITAL) it to disregard the exam results. The act makes it unlawful for employers to discriminate against an individual regarding the "terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of such individual's race." And two Senate supporters of the 1964 act, both of them leading liberals (Pennsylvania Democrat Joseph Clark and New Jersey Republican Clifford Case), insisted that it would not require "that employers abandon bona fide qualification tests where, because of differences in background and educations, members of some groups are able to perform better on these tests than members of other groups."

In a 1971 case, however, the Supreme Court sowed confusion by holding that the 1964 act proscribes not only overt discrimination but also "practices that are fair in form, but discriminatory in operation." But what New Haven ignored is that the court, while proscribing tests that were "discriminatory" in having a "disparate impact" on certain preferred minorities, has held that a disparate impact is unlawful only if there is, and the employer refuses to adopt, an equally valid measurement of competence that would have less disparate impact, or if the measurement is not relevant to "business necessity." One of the city's flimsy excuses for disregarding its exam results was that someone from a rival exam-writing firm said that although he had not read the exam the city used, his company could write a better one.

New Haven has not defended its implicit quota system as a remedy for previous discrimination, and has not justified it as a way of achieving "diversity," which can be a permissible objective for schools' admissions policies, but not in employment decisions. Rather, the city says it was justified in ignoring the exam results because otherwise it might have faced a "disparate impact" lawsuit.

So, to avoid defending the defensible in court, it did the indefensible. It used anxiety about a potential challenge under a statute to justify its violation of the Constitution. And it got sued.

Racial spoils systems must involve incessant mischief because they require a rhetorical fog of euphemisms and blurry categories (e.g., "race-conscious" measures that somehow do not constitute racial discrimination) to obscure stark facts, such as: If Ricci and half a dozen others who earned high scores were not white, the city would have proceeded with the promotions.

Some supporters of New Haven, perhaps recognizing intellectual bankruptcy when defending it, propose a squishy fudge: Return the case to the trial court to clarify the city's motivation. But the motivation is obvious: to profit politically from what Roberts has called the "sordid business" of "divvying us up by race."

Finally.

Assuming that there isn't a "Sharon Taxman"*** ending to this case (i.e. the race hustlers pull back out of fear that they will lose and be exposed for what they are), chances are excellent that the Supreme Court will rule in favor of Frank Ricci - as it certainly should.

It has been my experience that a great many people understand what being anti-Black is, but do not understand at all what being a racist is.  They think racism begins and ends with discrimination against Black people.  But they are wrong.

It is racism any time a race of people is either given preference, or discriminated against.  REGARDLESS of which race it is. 

While it is true (to me, anyway) that racism most often works in favor of Whites and against Blacks, there are also times when it works in favor of Blacks and against Whites.  Both are instances of racism.  Neither is acceptable. 

And while we're on the subject, there is no such thing as "reverse racism" - a term sometimes used to describe racism that favors Blacks over Whites.  It isn't "reverse" racism at all;  it is racism. No more or less than racism that favors Whites.  Both are against entire races, therefore both are racist.  Period.  End of story.

Thanks, again, to George Will for presenting this so well.  I hope it wakes some folks up.

-----------------------------------------------------

***I can't say I'm a big fan of wikipedia, but in this case they've laid out the facts very well, so I'm using it as a reference.


HILLARY CLINTION: SECRETARY OF STATE AND PROPAGANDIST FOR OUR ENEMIES

Ken Berwitz

Please read this incredibly stupid, damaging comment from Hillary Clinton, our incredibly stupid, incompetent Secretary of State, which  I picked up at www.sweetness-light.com.  Then tell me what purpose she had for barfing it out to the world other than to score some cheap political points at the expense of her country:

Hillary: US Is Responsible For The Taliban

April 25th, 2009

From Irans Press TV:

US responsible for Taliban existence

Sat, 25 Apr 2009

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has acknowledged that the United States had a share in creating terrorist groups such as the Taliban.

Clinton in a congressional hearing explained how the militancy in Pakistan was linked to the US-backed proxy war against the Soviets in Afghanistan, Dawn reported on Saturday.

"Lets remember here the people we are fighting today we funded them twenty years ago and we did it because we were locked in a struggle with the Soviet Union," she said.

The US along with Saudi Arabia, UAE and Pakistans Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) created the Taliban in 1980s to counter then Soviets influence in the volatile region.

"And great, let them come from Saudi Arabia and other countries, importing their Wahabi brand of Islam so that we can go beat the Soviet Union," Clinton said.

" and it was President Reagan in partnership with Congress led by Democrats who said you know what it sounds like a pretty good idea lets deal with the ISI and the Pakistan military and lets go recruit these mujahideen," she added.

Moderate Sunni and Shia Muslims believe that the Wahabi order has nothing to do with Islam and was created by the global powers to fuel extremism

Mrs. Clinton is almost as good as Mr. Obama at blaming the United States and giving our nations enemies propaganda points.

No wonder she almost got the Democrat nomination.

Mind you, Mrs. Clinton is the same ignoramus who is such a fan of Ms. Benazir Bhutto, who really did help create the Taliban.

If Ms.Clinton's point is that there are times and circumstances when we are forced to align with bad people, I congratulate her.  This proves her knowledge of how the world works is at least equivalent to what students learn in a typical 7th grade history class.

But Ms. Clinton is not in a 7th grade history class. She is the Secretary of State.  What she said is a cornucopia of propaganda material for our most dangerous enemies, the people who want to destroy our country.

Did she explain that this is a region of the world where there are no good guys at all?  A region in which establishing any diplomatic or strategic footing inherently requires relationships with bad people?  Nope.   Her comments read as if we were some kind of great taliban benefactors, and didn't care at all about who and what they are.  Does Clinton believe that?  Can she possibly believe that?

Also, do you notice that the presidential references ended at Ronald Reagan?  In reality, we had at least some relationship with the taliban right into her husband's presidency. 

In other words, Hillary Clinton's statement about the taliban, like everything else that ever comes out of that mouth, is 100% political.  And if it damages our standing in the world and encourages our enemies?  Who cares.  Score one for the Clinton machine.

I do not recall a more incompetent, unworthy presidential cabinet in my lifetime.  And Hillary Clinton is a major reason for this assessment.


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