As President George W. Bush's top speechwriter, Marc Thiessen was provided unique access to the CIA program used in interrogating top Al Qaeda terrorists, including the mastermind of the 9/11 attack, Khalid Sheikh Mohammad (KSM). Now, in his riveting new book, "Courting Disaster, How the CIA Kept America Safe and How Barack Obama Is Inviting the Next Attack" (Regnery), Thiessen reveals how, as the result of waterboarding and other enhanced interrogation techniques that were used on a very selective basis, the CIA obtained a huge quantity of information. The information obtained Thiessen explains, prevented numerous terrorist assaults on the U.S. and catastrophic damage to America and its allies. In dismantling this program, shutting down the strategic interrogation center at Guantanamo and cloaking KSM and fellow terrorists with the constitutional rights of an average U.S. citizen, Barack Obama, according to the author, is courting another 9/11. Here is an excerpt from Courting Disaster:
Just before dawn on March 1, 2003, two dozen heavily armed Pakistani tactical assault forces move in and surround a safe house in Rawalpindi. A few hours earlier they had received a text message from an informant inside the house. It read: “I am with KSM.”
Bursting in, they find the disheveled mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, in his bedroom. He is taken into custody. In the safe house, they find a treasure trove of computers, documents, cell phones, and other valuable “pocket litter.”
It becomes clear he will not reveal the information using traditional interrogation techniques. So he undergoes a series of “enhanced interrogation techniques” approved for use only on the most high-value detainees. The techniques include waterboarding.
His resistance is described by one senior American official as “superhuman.” Eventually, however, the techniques work, and KSM becomes cooperative—for reasons that will be described later in this book.
He begins telling his CIA de-briefers about active al Qaeda plots to launch attacks against the United States and other Western targets He holds classes for CIA officials, using a chalkboard to draw a picture of al Qaeda’s operating structure, financing, communications, and logistics. He identifies al Qaeda travel routes and safe havens, and helps intelligence officers make sense of documents and computer records seized in terrorist raids. He identifies voices in intercepted telephone calls, and helps officials understand the meaning of coded terrorist communications. He provides information that helps our intelligence community capture other high-ranking terrorists,
KSM’s questioning, and that of other captured terrorists, produces more than 6,000 intelligence reports, which are shared across the intelligence community, as well as with our allies across the world.
In one of these reports, KSM describes in detail the revisions he made to his failed 1994-1995 plan known as the “Bojinka plot” to blow up a dozen airplanes carrying some 4,000 passengers over the Pacific Ocean.
Years later, an observant CIA officer notices that the activities of a cell being followed by British authorities appear to match KSM’s description of his plans for a Bojinka-style attack.
In an operation that involves unprecedented intelligence cooperation between our countries, British officials proceed to unravel the plot. On the night of Aug.9, 2006 they launch a series of raids in a northeast London suburb that lead to the arrest of two dozen al Qaeda terrorist suspects. They find a USB thumb-drive in the pocket of one of the men with security details for Heathrow airport, and information on seven trans-Atlantic flights that were scheduled to take off within hours of each other:
They seize bomb-making equipment and hydrogen peroxide to make liquid explosives. And they find the chilling martyrdom videos the suicide bombers had prepared.
Today, if you asked an average person on the street what they know about the 2006 airlines plot, most would not be able to tell you much. Few Americans are aware of the fact that al Qaeda had planned to mark the fifth anniversary of 9/11 with an attack of similar scope and magnitude.
And still fewer realize that the terrorists’ true intentions in this plot were uncovered thanks to critical information obtained through the interrogation of the man who conceived it: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
This is only one of the many attacks stopped with the help of the CIA interrogation program established by the Bush Administration in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
Former CIA Director George Tenet has declared: “I know that this program has saved lives. I know we’ve disrupted plots. I know this program alone is worth more than what the FBI, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Agency put together have been able to tell us.”
Former CIA Director Mike Hayden has said: “The facts of the case are that the use of these techniques against these terrorists made us safer. It really did work.”
Even Barack Obama’s Director of National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, has acknowledged: “High-value information came from interrogations in which those methods were used and provided a deeper understanding of the al Qaeda organization that was attacking this country.”
Leon Panetta, Obama’s CIA Director, has said: “Important information was gathered from these detainees. It provided information that was acted upon.”
And John Brennan, Obama’s Homeland Security Advisor, when asked in an interview if enhanced-interrogation techniques were necessary to keep America safe, replied :“Would the U.S. be handicapped if the CIA was not, in fact, able to carry out these types of detention and debriefing activities? I would say yes.”
And in his first 48 hours in office, President Barack Obama shut the program down.
On Jan. 22, 2009, President Obama issued Executive Order 13491, closing the CIA program and directing that, henceforth, all interrogations by U.S personnel must follow the techniques contained in the Army Field Manual.
The morning of the announcement, Mike Hayden was still in his post as CIA Director, He called White House Counsel Greg Craig and told him bluntly: “You didn’t ask, but this is the CIA officially nonconcurring. The president went ahead anyway, overruling the objections of the agency.
A few months later, on April 16, 2009, President Obama ordered the release of four Justice Department memos that described in detail the techniques used to interrogate KSM and other high-value terrorists. This time, not just Hayden (who was now retired) but five CIA directors -- including Obama’s own director, Leon Panetta -- objected. George Tenet called to urge against the memos’ release. So did Porter Goss. So did John Deutch. Hayden says: “You had CIA directors in a continuous unbroken stream to 1995 calling saying, ‘Don’t do this.’”
In addition to objections from the men who led the agency for a collective 14 years, the President also heard objections from the agency’s covert field operatives. A few weeks earlier, Panetta had arranged for the eight top officials of the Clandestine Service to meet with the President. It was highly unusual for these clandestine officers to visit the Oval Office, and they used the opportunity to warn the President that releasing the memos would put agency operatives at risk. The President reportedly listened respectfully -- and then ignored their advice.
With these actions, Barack Obama arguably did more damage to America’s national security in his first 100 days of office than any President in American history.
Biology measures us up whether we like it or not
George W. Bush joked with Oprah Winfrey recently about not being “dragged back into the swamp”—resisting the television host’s political questions. Theodore Roosevelt tried that for a while—a good while, actually—but eventually he entered the arena again. He was to politics at that time what a guy named Jim Jeffries was to boxing—someone who just couldn’t pull off the comeback.
And speaking of the arena—it is TR who made the political metaphor an enduring one with his famous quote about “The Man in the Arena”. It was part of a major address he delivered at The University of Paris (The Sorbonne) on April 23, 1910. While recently reading about the event in Edmund Morris’ new book, Colonel Roosevelt, I was struck by something else Teddy said that day.
Hiding in the shadows of his “in the arena” address was a rhetorical warning that has great relevance to all citizens of all true republics in our day and age:
Finally, even more important than ability to work, even more important than ability to fight at need, is it to remember that chief of blessings for any nations is that it shall leave its seed to inherit the land. It was the crown of blessings in Biblical times and it is the crown of blessings now. The greatest of all curses is the curse of sterility, and the severest of all condemnations should be that visited upon willful sterility.
The first essential in any civilization is that the man and women shall be father and mother of healthy children so that the [human] race shall increase and not decrease. If that is not so, if through no fault of the society there is failure to increase, it is a great misfortune. If the failure is due to the deliberate and willful fault, then it is not merely a misfortune, it is one of those crimes of ease and self-indulgence, of shrinking from pain and effort and risk, which in the long run Nature punishes more heavily than any other.
If we of the great republics, if we, the free people who claim to have emancipated ourselves from the thralldom of wrong and error, bring down on our heads the curse that comes upon the willfully barren, then it will be an idle waste of breath to prattle of our achievements, to boast of all that we have done.”
That’s right. Theodore Roosevelt told the French that they needed to keep having babies. If only they had listened.
At the time of Roosevelt’s speech, France was a major world power. Today—not so much. There is enough blame for such decline in global influence to go around, but the increased secularism of Europe, with its penchant for socialized everything, has certainly played a role. The nation was decaying from within long before Paris was declared an open city as the Nazis approached in 1940.
Now 70 years later, there is an even greater threat to their cherished way of life. If only the French today would rediscover Teddy’s advice and reverse the birthrate trend—they might have a fighting chance. But such is the mindset of secularism, it is all about self and “fulfillment.” Issues of family, not to mention progeny are secondary, if thought about at all. Marriage is deferred—even eschewed. Children are planned—or better, planned around. And over time the birth rate in Europe has fallen far short of what is needed to keep up with the various demands of the future.
In other words, the nations are aging. There are fewer children, yet more grandparents—a trend that will continue and accelerate. It takes a fertility rate of 2.1 births per woman to keep a nation’s population stable. The United States is right about there, give or take. Canada has a rate of 1.48 and Europe as a whole weighs in at 1.38. What this means is that there is a Bernie Madoff moment coming for these nations (we’re seeing some of it now, with the riots, etc.). The money will run out, with not enough wage-earners at the bottom to support an older generation’s “entitlements.”
But even beyond that, the situation in France also reminds us of the opportunistic threat of Islamism. It’s just a matter of time and math before critical mass is reached and formerly great bastions of democratic republicanism morph into caliphates. The Times of London reported a year and a half ago that its nation’s Muslim population had grown from 500,000 to 2.4 million in just 4 years, “rising 10 times faster” than the rest of society. It’s the same in France, though raw numbers are harder to come by.
A while back, it came out that France’s fertility rate had risen slightly. Calling it a “robust reproduction rate”—one that is “bucking the trend”—the reasons for it were variously described as having to do with things like government programs for maternity leave, pre-school, stipends for in-home nannies, and similar government largesse. But another factor, hiding in plain sight, has to do with the fertility rate of the resident Muslim population.
In fact, all across Western Europe it’s the same. The cities of Amsterdam and Rotterdam are on track to have Muslim majority populations within this decade. Bruce Bawer has written in his book, While Europe Slept—How Radical Islam Is Destroying The West From Within, “A T-shirt popular among young Muslims in Stockholm reads: ‘2030—then we take over.’”
I like what Britain’s chief Rabbi said last year. Lord Sacks decried Europe’s falling birthrate, blaming it on “a culture of consumerism and instant gratification.” “Europe is dying,” he said, “we are undergoing the moral equivalent of climate change and no-one is talking about it.”
Shock Therapy for Jobs
Fear and uncertainty about Federal government moves is causing employers to do more with the employees they already have
Unemployment jumped to 9.8 percent in a very disappointing November jobs report. Nonfarm payrolls increased by only 39,000 and private jobs expanded by just 50,000. This is way below what the economy needs. Most discouraging, the smaller-business household employment number fell for the second time in a row, down 173,000 in November after a 330,000 drop in October. This is the nineteenth straight month with unemployment above 9 percent.
Now, after the severe financial panic of two years ago, it seems clear that too many tax and regulatory obstacles are blocking satisfactory job creation. And it also seems clear that a number of fresh new incentives will be necessary to spur the kind of prosperity that Americans desire. Following the deep recession, we need shock-therapy, pro-growth, tax-cut and deregulatory incentives.
Perhaps the only saving grace from the poor jobs report is that it will spur a quick resolution to extend all the Bush tax cuts.
Democrats keep shilly-shallying with all these silly class-warfare amendments, like a $250,000 limit, or a $1 million limit. This has everything to do with left-wing redistributionist social policy and nothing to do with economic growth. The fact is, passing the bill to freeze the tax rates will help business confidence. Why don’t Democrats understand this?
But there’s more. Large and small companies remain worried about the high regulatory and tax costs of Obamacare, which is the number-one jobs-stopper. How expensive will it be over the next five to ten years for the new hire? Companies also have to deal with a crazy quilt of new financial regulations that may block access to new bank loans when private credit demand kicks up.
Lowering the top personal and corporate tax rates will increase after-tax returns for work and investment. That’s the kind of strong new incentive that will be necessary to ignite rapid economic growth in the post-meltdown period. Broaden the tax base and lower marginal rates across-the-board.
And full-throated spending reduction will be necessary to drive deficits lower, and reduce the threat that future taxes may have to go up if the bond vigilantes come after the U.S. Treasury market the way they have attacked various countries in Europe.
Meanwhile, the Fed can produce money, but we are learning again that it cannot produce jobs. It also can produce inflation and a devalued dollar.
In other words, the basic building blocks for growth must be restored: limited government, lower tax rates, and a steady currency.
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The Big Lie of the late 20th century was that Nazism was Rightist. It was in fact typical of the Leftism of its day. It was only to the Right of Stalin's Communism. The very word "Nazi" is a German abbreviation for "National Socialist" (Nationalsozialist) and the full name of Hitler's political party (translated) was "The National Socialist German Workers' Party" (In German: Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei)