They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. It’s a lesson the U.S. government has learned the hard way in Pakistan.
Fortunately, the Trump administration’s recent decision to suspend $255 million in aid to Islamabad serves as a welcome injection of sanity into the deeply dysfunctional U.S.-Pakistan relationship.
“The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies and deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools,” President Donald Trump declared in a Jan. 1 tweet. “They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!”
The United States has foolishly given Pakistan more than 33 billion dollars in aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies & deceit, thinking of our leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help. No more!
The anger and frustration expressed by the president is not only justified, it’s long overdue. Through its support to the Taliban, the Haqqani network, and their militant allies, Pakistan has for over a decade consistently and critically undermined the U.S.-led effort to bring peace and stability to Afghanistan.
In efforts to persuade Islamabad to abandon this nefarious “double game,” the U.S. government has deployed a constant stream of diplomatic and economic carrots—including $33 billion in aid and “reimbursements” since 2002—but virtually no sticks.
Predictably, each attempt has failed. It turns out it’s quite difficult to change a country’s cost-benefit calculation when you’re unwilling to impose any costs.
Pakistan’s double game, on the other hand, has brought it tangible benefits.
Islamabad has clear and consistent objectives in Afghanistan: It seeks a government in Kabul that is pliable, submissive, and hostile to India. Since the Afghan people—who are now deeply, understandably hostile to Pakistan and favorable toward India—will never vote such a government into power, the next best outcome for Pakistan is to ensure the government and the country are divided and unstable.
Not only has their quest for instability in Afghanistan been wildly successful, they’ve convinced America to foot much of the bill.
After being subjected to this double game for more than a decade, the patience and generosity of the American people has reached its limit.
Frustration has been building on Capitol Hill for years, reflected in a steady decline of U.S. aid to Pakistan. From $2.60 billion in 2013 to $1.60 billion in 2015, the request for aid appropriations and military reimbursements in 2018 fell to just $350 million.
The Trump administration is rightly signaling to Islamabad that “business as usual” has come to an end.
Pakistan can’t say it wasn’t warned. “We can no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organizations,” Trump declared in August. “We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting. That will have to change and that will change immediately.”
Similarly, the Trump administration’s December 2017 national security strategy insisted: “[N]o partnership can survive a country’s support for militants and terrorists who target a partner’s own service members and officials.”
On the ground, the Trump administration has authorized the U.S. military to launch more—and more potent—drone strikes targeting militants operating along Pakistan’s western border after they were curtailed during the Obama administration’s second term.
This week, the administration also placed Pakistan on a special watch list for religious freedom violations.
At least one influential Pakistani politician seems to be taking the Trump administration seriously.
On Jan. 3, Nawaz Sharif, who resigned as prime minister in July, implored Pakistanis to “appraise our actions” and “break this spell of self-deception.” He said the time had come to put Pakistan’s “house in order” and “reflect on why the world holds negative opinions about us.”
Unfortunately, Pakistan’s all-powerful military appears unable to escape a prison of perpetual denial. “We have defeated extremism. … Now the terrorists come from Afghanistan,” Pakistan’s chief of air staff declared in November.
When U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley accused Pakistan of “harbor[ing] the terrorists that attack our troops in Afghanistan,” a Pakistani military spokesman noted that Haley is of Indian origin and that the “current misunderstanding between Pakistan and the U.S. is created by India.”
That’s simply not going to cut it anymore. The status quo, long viewed by Washington as lamentable but tolerable, will no longer be a costless affair for Pakistan. Whether this leads our two countries toward a vicious cycle of hostility and recrimination is entirely dependent on Pakistan’s behavior.
As always, the path to stability, prosperity, and a true strategic partnership with America is clear: Abandon your support for Islamist extremists, end your paranoid infatuation with India, make peace with your Afghan neighbors, and respect freedom and religious liberty at home.
Iran has been rocked by a wave of protests against the Islamist regime since Dec. 28. Popular demonstrations ignited by smoldering resentment about Iran’s mismanaged economy quickly escalated to political denunciations of Tehran’s rulers.
President Donald Trump was quick to offer support to the protesters in a series of tweets. At 7:44 a.m. New Year’s Day, he tweeted:
Iran is failing at every level despite the terrible deal made with them by the Obama Administration. The great Iranian people have been repressed for many years. They are hungry for food & for freedom. Along with human rights, the wealth of Iran is being looted. TIME FOR CHANGE!
Early chants about price hikes have given way to increasingly bold criticisms of what the protesters see as a corrupt and repressive government that fails to meet their needs. Their demands varied.
Early chants about price hikes have given way to increasingly bold criticisms of what the protesters see as a corrupt and repressive government that fails to meet their needs. Their demands have varied.
Some chanted, “We don’t want an Islamic Republic” and “Death to the dictator,” the latter being a reference to supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Economic Resentments Amplify Political Revulsion
The protests apparently were triggered by a surge in prices of basic food supplies, which also had contributed to early Arab Spring protests six years ago. Protests spread quickly, sparked by social-media posts, as state-controlled media blocked press coverage.
These are the largest protests since millions of Iranians flooded the streets in 2009 to protest against then-President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s rigged re-election. But the regime crushed those protests in a brutal crackdown in which at least 30 people were killed and thousands were arrested, tortured, and imprisoned.
So far, the ongoing protests have not reached the size of the 2009 Green Movement demonstrations, when millions of Iranians took to the streets in protest. Twelve people have been killed in demonstrations, with 10 of the deaths inflicted amid intensifying clashes on Sunday night.
Some of the early protests in Mashhad reportedly were organized by ultra-hard-line regime supporters opposed to Rouhani, and may have been designed to undermine his authority.
Pro-regime demonstrations denouncing the 2009 Green Movement leaders also may have provoked a political backlash.
Unemployment remains high at more than 12 percent, and inflation has resurged to 10 percent. A recent increase in egg and poultry prices by as much as 40 percent, which a government spokesman blamed on a cull over avian-flu fears, appears to have been the spark for the economic protests.
Hundreds of students and others joined a new economic protest at Tehran University, a hotbed of prior student protests against the regime. Iranian students historically have played a leading role in several revolutionary movements, including the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
The tense situation at Tehran University will be a litmus test for the strength of the protest movement and of the regime’s ability to contain, suffocate, or crush the protests.
The Revolutionary Guards, which crushed protests in 2009 and take the lead in exporting Iran’s Islamic revolution and terrorism, remain a strong repressive force that is likely to crush the student rebellion if the local police prove to be inadequate.
Trump’s Rapid Response
Trump tweeted out his support for the protests Saturday morning:
Many reports of peaceful protests by Iranian citizens fed up with regime’s corruption & its squandering of the nation’s wealth to fund terrorism abroad. Iranian govt should respect their people’s rights, including right to express themselves. The world is watching! #IranProtests
Trump is right that simmering resentment over the costs of Iran’s aggressive foreign policy have led protesters to call for more spending at home and less on support of radical groups abroad.
Some of the new protests have specifically denounced the regime’s extensive corruption and its costly involvement in regional conflicts, such as those in Syria and Iraq.
In Mashhad, some chanted, “Not Gaza, not Lebanon, my life for Iran,” a reference to what protesters say is the regime’s focus on exporting the revolution, rather than responding to domestic needs.
They also denounced Iran’s theocratic leaders: “The people are begging; the clerics act like God.”
Washington must continue to drive up the long-term political, economic, and military costs of Iran’s military interventions in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. It should underscore that the regime’s economic mismanagement, corruption, and support for terrorism and Islamic revolution, which provoked sanctions, have exacerbated Iran’s economic problems.
U.S. policy should also highlight and denounce the regime’s repression and human rights abuses. But the protests might soon be quelled, dissolve into competing camps led by rival leaders, or be hijacked by hostile anti-Western forces, as many of the Arab Spring revolts were hijacked.
Washington should support the right of Iranians to challenge the heavy-handed repression and corruption of a tyrannical regime, but it should hold off on endorsing specific opposition leaders or movements until their character and goals are assessed.
Until then, the Trump administration should do its best to publicize and promote the legitimate political and economic grievances of frustrated Iranians and support their efforts to recover freedom from an Islamist dictatorship that depends on thugs to suppress its own people.
Section 702 has been described as the “crown jewel” of U.S. intelligence for its intelligence gathering on foreign actors, most notably terrorists. In a recent Washington Post op-ed, Rachel Brand, the no. 3 official in the Trump Justice Department (and a member of President Barack Obama’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board), argues that 702 “has prevented multiple terrorist attacks, including an al-Qaeda plot to detonate explosives in the New York subway.” Indeed, the National Security Agency has identified over a dozen instances where 702 was essential to foiling terrorist plots and conspiracies.
Section 702 is not a bulk collection of data, or a way for the government to spy on Americans Before any data can be a collected, a specific target that meets specific national security criteria is required. Furthermore, that target must be located outside the U.S. and there must be a reasonable expectation that the target is not a U.S. person. If an American emails with the foreign target, the government can collect those emails but can go no further into Americans’ emails.
So after collecting this foreign intelligence, of course the U.S. government uses it to keep Americans safe. One way the information is used is by sharing information from these foreign targets with the FBI when the intelligence relates to a domestic security investigation. While the FBI has historically ended up making queries of 702 collected information from fewer than 5 percent of all 702 targets, this information is essential to keeping the U.S. homeland safe.
Unfortunately some in Congress are considering changes that would rebuild the walls between our intelligence agencies that existed before and were to blame for 9/11. These proposals would limit the FBI’s ability to use foreign intelligence in their investigations. Intelligence officials have warned that these new limits, such as requiring a warrant before the FBI can query 702 data, would prevent different parts of the intelligence community from sharing with others.
As just described, this is intelligence lawfully gathered from foreign intelligence targets. The American judiciary has repeatedly agreed that 702 collected information is legally collected and retained. There is no reason to add a warrant requirement or other barriers. We don’t make the FBI get a warrant just to access the information that it already has on hand in other cases. Of course we should allow the FBI to query this information to help put together the dots of a domestic terror plot.
Section 702 is not only effective and legal, but it is also subject to rigorous oversight by all branches of government. There is the FISA court, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, the Congressional intelligence committees, and the intelligence organizations themselves that all play a role in ensuring these programs are operated correctly.
We must not return to a pre-9/11 mindset where we hide information from ourselves. Congress should reauthorize 702 in its current form.
President Donald Trump is defeating terrorism by allowing the military to do its job and by combating extremist ideology, a former adviser to the president said Friday.
“Our troops have been unleashed,” Sebastian Gorka, former deputy assistant to President Donald Trump and counterterrorism adviser, said Friday at The Heritage Foundation.
“I had a tier one operator, meaning a top of the top special operations guy on detail from the National Security Council … come up to me in maybe week five of the administration and say, ‘Sir, you have no idea, no idea how the morale amongst our forces have skyrocketed because we are no longer micromanaged…and we are allowed to do our job, and it is clear the president trusts us,” he said.
The contrast in strategy has made all the difference, Gorka said.
“We have been told by the last administration that ISIS is a generational threat …[that] our children, our grandchildren will be fighting ISIS jihadis decades from now,” Gorka said. “Well I guess the Trump administration has defined generations to last just a few months.”
While President Barack Obama called ISIS a “J.V. team” in a January 2014 interview in theNew Yorker, Gorka said Trump and his administration did what the Obama administration said would take years.
“There is no ISIS caliphate any longer,” Gorka said. “We have liberated Mosul, we have have taken back Raqqa, the operational headquarters of ISIS, and just three weeks ago, the last ISIS stronghold in Syria has fallen as well.”
Trump has been successful, Gorka said, by evaluating threats and responding to threats strategically.
Trump “looked at the threat we faced clearly as a war, not as some problem to be managed, but as a war, and not only that, he wants to win that war, and that is exactly what we have been doing as a nation,” Gorka said.
U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis has also been key in Trump’s successes in defeating terrorism.
“We have gone under Secretary Mattis from a strategy of attrition, he has said this openly, a strategy of attrition to a strategy of annihilation,” Gorka said.
Trump has also made gains on winning the war on terrorism by acknowledging that there is an ideology behind it.
“Instead of looking at the religious ideology of groups like al-Qaeda and ISIS, the last administration was driven by very, very flawed concepts from social science, specifically social movement theory … [which] would have you believe that all violence of an organized nature is the result of physical and economic issues,” the former presidential adviser said.
An example of this approach can be seen, Gorka said, in the comment made by Obama’s State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf that providing terrorists with jobs is a solution to defeating ISIS.
‘We can help them build their economies so they can have job opportunities for these people,” Harf said in 2015.
This type of approach is not part of Trump’s strategy to end terrorism, Gorka said.
“The political correctness from day one is gone,” Gorka said. “Why, look at the Riyadh speech … He went to the heart of the Muslim world, the area where Islam was founded, and …what did he say, he said, sort out your societies, he actually said rid your places of worship of the extremists, rid your societies of the terrorists,” Gorka said.
His approach is even being accepted by unlikely recipients, according to Gorka.
“As an Arab woman told me two weeks later, that is the speech we have been waiting for for 16 years,” Gorka said. “No brushing the issues under the carpet, [but] calling out our Muslim friends to start by cleaning out their own front doors, their own backyards.”
Combating terrorist ideology will remain a priority for Trump in the future, according to Gorka.
“Killing terrorists is great, but it is not a metric of victory, because when you have enemies who have a massive recruiting pool, you can kill a jihadi with a drone strike and 20 guys tomorrow will volunteer to replace him,” Gorka said, adding:
Just like during the cold war, we must defeat the ideology. As St. John Paul and the great Margaret Thatcher and the great Ronald Reagan who delegitimatized the ideology of communism, we must do the same with the ideology of global jihadism.
In the Obama White House, the mantra of “leading from behind” was so deeply embedded that America’s allies were often left confused and disoriented when it came to U.S. foreign policy.
President Barack Obama’s 2015 National Security Strategy was a curious mishmash of lofty idealism and outreach to dictatorial regimes such as Iran and Cuba, combined with a refusal to even acknowledge that an ideological war existed against Islamists.
Obama’s National Security Strategy listed climate change as a “top strategic risk to our interests” alongside use of weapons of mass destruction, while the threat posed by ISIS and al-Qaeda was simply dubbed “violent extremism.” Just as Obama himself began his two term presidency with an apology tour across the world, his strategy warned that America’s own values had been under threat in the post 9/11 era in the war on terror.
The new National Security Strategy released early Monday by President Donald Trump’s White House sets a very different, distinctly unapologetic tone. It takes a clear-cut view of the immense challenges faced by the United States from an array of actors, from Russia, China, and North Korea to transnational, largely Islamist terror networks. In addition, the strategy emphatically rules out the idea of extending the hand of friendship to rogue regimes such as Iran.
The projection of American leadership is front and center in the new strategy. The document contains a strong rejection of the idea that the United States should share global leadership with Moscow and Beijng in a supposedly multipolar world:
The United States will respond to the growing political, economic, and military competitions we face around the world. China and Russia challenge American power, influence, and interests, attempting to erode American security and prosperity. They are determined to make economies less free and less fair, to grow their militaries, and to control information and data to repress their societies and expand their influence.
These competitions require the United States to rethink the policies of the past two decades—policies based on the assumption that engagement with rivals and their inclusion in international institutions and global commerce would turn them into benign actors and trustworthy partners. For the most part, this premise turned outlateral to be false.
Trump’s National Security Strategy, which runs to 70 pages (in contrast to 2015’s 29 pages), outlines four pillars for advancing and defending America’s interests on the world stage: protecting the American people, the homeland, and the American way of life; promoting American prosperity; preserving peace through strength; and advancing American influence.
At the core of the new strategy is an emphasis on controlling America’s borders, rebuilding America’s military, and competing and leading in international organizations, including NATO and the United Nations, while pressing to make them more accountable and effective.
As the new strategy makes clear, America’s enemies should be under no illusions regarding U.S. resolve:
We must convince adversaries that we can and will defeat them—not just punish them if they attack the United States. We must ensure the ability to deter potential enemies by denial—convincing them that they cannot accomplish objectives through the use of force or other forms of aggression. We need our allies to do the same.
The document is a bold reassertion of American leadership and a refusal to bow to the siren calls of isolationism. It is a robust defense of the principles of national sovereignty and self-determination, as well as a recognition that the United States can best lead on the world stage by upholding its own sovereignty and that of its allies.
The document also includes powerful support for religious freedom, an important message to send both at home and abroad, as well as a welcome call to rethink foreign aid, by basing foreign assistance on free market principles and private investment.
The 2017 National Security Strategy should reassure America’s friends and allies that the United States is firmly committed to leading the free world. At the same time, it should serve as a stark warning to America’s adversaries and strategic competitors that the U.S. will renew its military might, reject failed strategies of engagement, and use its resources to challenge and where necessary defeat those who threaten the security of the American people.
Editor’s note: Response to former Trump aide Sebastian Gorka’s on-camera interview with Rob Bluey, The Daily Signal’s editor-in-chief, was overwhelmingly positive from our audience. Here’s a generous sampling. Remember to write us at email@example.com.—Ken McIntyre
In the commentaries and interviews I have seen in The Daily Signal, I have never thought that there was any kind of trap-setting. And the answers are nontargeted because the questions are nontargeted. Opinions are expressed as such and are not taken as a “source” for phony or adjusted fact.
I love Mr. Gorka and his dry wit. It is uplifting for me to see the dialogues without the defensive/offensive attacks.—Karin Callaway
Sebastian Gorka’s intelligent observations speak to his qualifications and perspective. Men of like minds can help make America great again.
President Trump should end all benefits for Congress, from Obamacare exemption to military transportation, to reserved parking at airports. That would give him good headlines or popularity with the people, and he would never run out of wrongs to right. He could make government transparent by requiring public access to department spreadsheets of all spending.
Congress and the deep state and the lobbyists all function on honor among thieves. Besides building the wall, nothing more than taking on congressional corruption would assure re-election.—Michael Watson
As a dedicated American, it was with a happy heart that I was able to catch Rob Bluey’s interview with Sebastian Gorka. Finally, I have all the reason to go on believing in America’s principles set down by our forefathers.
This interview made that possible, and I want to thank Mr. Bluey and Mr. Gorka. I will be making a copy of the transcript and keeping it with me to refer to for a long time to come. Godspeed.—Sylvia Rachel Quinn, Kihei, Maui, Hawaii
Thanks for keeping us informed with the interview with Sebastian Gorka. I was disappointed when I learned about his having to leave the White House, and then started to see shady (to me) new appointees.
I hope to read more of Rob Bluey’s work. Lucid and with a good number of questions providing the reader wonderful insight into the subject. Merry Christmas!—Tessie Pasa
Thank you to Rob Bluey for his to-the-point questions to Sebastian Gorka. I thoroughly enjoyed the questions and answers.
All pertinent and relevant to President Trump and national concerns. Gorka’s answers regarding threats were a beautiful example of his ability to explain complex issues in tight, concise language.—Norma Berrios
Excellent piece, with well-thought-out questions. And naturally, Dr. Gorka’s responses were very insightful, introspective, and reassuring. Thank you to Rob Bluey and all his colleagues at The Daily Signal for being the medium of truth, justice, and the American way.—Sanford P. England, Indian Land, S.C.
What a great interview. Gorka’s views on foreign affairs were insightful. Thank you for the transcript. I did not vote for Trump, as I did not feel his conservative track record was all that steady. But from everything he has done so far, I am warming up to voting for him in 2020, if he runs.—Joseph Vander Jagt
Legal immigrants appreciate this country more than Americans sometimes, because they know what it is like to live under oppressive governments without the freedoms we enjoy here.
Our public school system is indoctrinating students with progressive nonsense rather than teaching students to be critical thinkers and teaching them the truth about socialism and communism.—Marilyn Regan
The Daily Signal has a great opportunity to educate us to deal with the left’s Marxist “talking points.” I would like to see a list of Gorka’s statements that make evident the distortions of the left’s lie-laden propaganda.
It’s difficult to respond to the craft of lie-making of the left because the way they form their statements can be difficult to entangle. I know something is twisted in what they say, but can’t always find a way to cut through the fog. Apparently Gorka has that ability. There are others.
The Daily Signal should give us these educational points with the people with whom you come in contact. Help us to clarify the lies with reality and their illusion of relativity (including moral relativity).—Mark Bigley, Luling, Texas
All you have to do is take the oath to protect this country against enemies both foreign and domestic, and the “clear responsibility” to preserve human rights and equality becomes paramount in your thinking.
Gorka experienced this through schlepping into the White House daily, and I’m glad it provided him the feeling that many of us whom have sworn the oath have realized since 1776.—Drew Molina
Rob Bluey, editor-in-chief of The Daily Signal, poses questions to Sebastian Gorka, a national security and intelligence expert and former deputy assistant to President Donald Trump. (Photo: Ginny Montalbano/The Daily Signal)
A recurring trope of the right-wing media is that “the mainstream media is unfair, dishonest, and controlled by liberals to promote their agenda.” But it is a false trope.
Gorka’s story in this interview of one journalist, whether true or not, can’t be reasonably extrapolated to tarnish all members of the “mainstream” media. Further, Gorka doesn’t identify this journalist, nor does he even describe the person as “mainstream,” whatever that means.
The right wing has made a major effort to undermine trust in our republic’s basic institutions, including the media, federal courts, scientists and academic institutions, public schools, elections, and on and on.
The damage to our nation’s credibility, psyche, unity, and strength is as palpable as it is repugnant. But these attacks depend on honest people and patriots remaining passive. We won’t.—John Levin
It is a breath of fresh air having a president who actually wants to solve problems instead of simply talking them to death or kicking the can down the road for someone else to deal with. The left has won virtually all of the arguments because we have not had a leader since Reagan who would debate them.
That’s one reason Reagan was so despised by the left: He made them look stupid and sought the support from the people via periodic TV broadcasts. Trump is doing the same thing, except he uses Twitter and is far more aggressive than Reagan. However, this is justified because the left is far more aggressive today, even though they were not exactly meek back then.
I for one have had enough of milquetoast politicians. I respect people who proudly state their beliefs even if I might disagree. At least I know where they stand. Also, actions speak far louder than words. It’s called character and integrity, which have been scarce over the past eight years.—Randy Leyendecker
Sebastian Gorka is a foreigner, as am I. Both of us committed to becoming United States citizens, unlike those who acquired their citizenship merely by being born here and didn’t have to give anything up to do so.
So, effectively, most who become naturalized are more patriotic and refuse to cede our rights to the left for perceived safety. We know what it is like not to have the freedoms everyone here takes for granted.—Marine Lt. Col.Klaus von Faustheim (retired)
Rob Bluey conducted an insightful interview with Sebastian Gorka on how he sees today’s world. The nuances about the Middle East threats, as well as China’s 2049 ambition, are corroborated by the widespread terrorist incidents that happen on a weekly basis, and by China’s intrusion into Africa and South America for natural resources and to buy influence and enterprises.
If the U.S. does not place its fiscal house in order, China has a strong probability of achieving its objective of replacing the U.S. as the world’s ultimate superpower.—F.G. Voltz, Carson City, Nev.
Great job, Rob Bluey. I love this guy as a true-blue conservative and Trumpist.—B.D. Cook
Compliments to Bluey for a great interview with Gorka.—Neil Goodman
Sebastian Gorka is 100 percent right. President Trump is a fighter, and he wins. All the losers like Romney, McCain, and Bush can’t stand him. Trump shed light on the corrupt American government. He could become the greatest president in U.S. history.—Thomas Mathew
I love The Daily Signal. Thanks for the terrific Q&A with Gorka. He is brilliant. Hope guys like Rob Bluey and Ben Shapiro become major forces in the media. Keep up the great work.—David Nicholas
Excellent interview. I learned a lot about Gorka through it. Job well done.—Nancy Culkin
Thank you so much for this article. Bluey is a great writer and Gorka is a great man.—Claude and Linda McLean
I have listened to Gorka on Fox News Channel a few times and know of his eloquence. Now I know the depth of his awareness.
I find that so many people do not read beyond the headlines and never reach the depths of thought I am alluding to. But, you must keep trying. It is our lot in life.—Air Force Lt. Col. Michael Fitzgerald (retired)
I found Rob Bluey’s interview with Sebastian Gorka exceptionally encouraging. Thanks for asking super questions and providing Gorka’s superb responses. Very enlightening.—Peter Jensen
Thank you for The Daily Signal as an instrument of truth for the American people. I especially liked Rob Bluey’s interview with Sebastian Gorka. Inspiring and so hopeful for our country. With prayers for massive circulation for The Daily Signal.—Sr. Grace Anne Wills, TOR, Toronto, Ohio
I certainly appreciate Gorka’s candor. He is a great American.—Miguel (Mike) Escobar
Thanks for putting the interview with Gorka online. It was an excellent interview and really caused me to respect Gorka even more.—Robert Brenner
Appreciate the insightful Q&A. Really needed to hear what Gorka said.—Nancy Gaenssley
Great questions and great article about someone who brings clarity to the insanity. I absolutely loved it.—Richard Kelsheimer, Grand Prairie, Texas
Thanks for cutting to the truth. A very good interview. Sending to friends. God bless you.—Gary and Linda Witt, Buhler, Kansas
The FBI had plenty of evidence to prosecute this case in 2009. This was a Justice Department cover-up perpetrated by Eric Holder, Robert Mueller, Rod Rosenstein, Andrew McCabe and others. How do you keep something hush-hush? You have an ongoing FBI investigation. Sorry, can’t talk about that!
When the case was closed, where was all the handshaking and backslapping followed by the “Aren’t we great” press conference? The FBI busts an international (Russian) racketeering scheme—money laundering, kickbacks, and extortion—involving uranium in the U.S., and they’re not going to take a victory lap?
Think about this as well: The FBI announced the closing of the investigation after dinner on Friday. We all know why this sort of thing happens. Sssshhhh!—Danny Lee Cosat
Aren’t most all of these so-called government officials basically just puppets answering to the puppet masters? In that case, this entire event is a show, meant to keep the masses in a tangled maze, thus creating more confusion followed by apathy. It’s the divide and conquer game. We’re all screwed.—Tom Varano
Will they get away with it? Sadly, yes. Back in the day, the exposure of wrongdoing was enough to bring down the wrongdoer. Bill Clinton changed all that; now we willingly accept wrongdoing, as long as the state propagandists (media) give their blessing.
Clearly, we are living in an age when despite truckloads of evidence against the Clintons, Eric Holder, Barack Obama, Loretta Lynch, James Comey, Robert Mueller, and others, the coup against President Trump must continue no matter what.
We thought we would have a true champion in Attorney General Jeff Sessions, but tragically, he’s turned out to be an unwitting dupe of the deep state.—Vicky Kay
This proves how corrupt the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton are. Our FBI and Justice Department have been so politicized they are incapable of investigating anything. We need to clean house and drain the swamp and prosecute all of them.—Lisa Chaumont
It is becoming clear that cronyism has been resident in the Justice Department and FBI for years, even decades. Recent revelations threaten to kill the trust of the public in government, law enforcement, and more.
Those in power within public service, the Congress, the courts, and the presidency, are playing with the existence of the country. The honor and trust of the nation, and our system of government, is on the docket. “Have they no shame?”—Jaime Manzano
My questions have been these: Did the FBI, Justice Department, Homeland Security, and others know about this? If not, why not? If they did, did they investigate? If not, why not?
If they did investigate, did they inform Congress and/or any of the agencies tasked with approving the sale of those uranium assets in a timely manner? If not, why not?—John Besharian
I’m praying the truth will be exposed very soon. The corruption dating back decades needs to be rooted out. America can take the blow as long as truth is the outcome. Examples need to be made in many areas of government, past and present.—B. Younger
Thanks for clarifying that there is no there there.—Warren Coats, Bethesda, Md.
Great article, based on fact and not sweeping, smearing generalizations. Like other readers, I am most interested in where the trail of facts ultimately leads.—Mike Lee
This Mississippi boys school is working to heal the racial divide.
Here's how they're bridging the gap between black and white—despite a culture that seems to be working against them.
Dear Daily Signal: Kelsey Harkness should lengthen her 6-minute video report on Delta Street Academy (“Through God, This Mississippi Boys School Is Working to Heal the Racial Divide”) to encourage teachers to concentrate on keeping frustration and anger out of the classroom and put the emphasis on helping students to be peaceful, good citizens. Teachers should teach kindness and tolerance, not hatred and racism.
I taught for two years in the Greenwood, Mississippi, schools. They are indeed failing, not only because the students have given up but because the teachers have. The teachers are as poorly trained as the students.
Of course, I generalize. I had AmeriCorps teachers tell me the schools were the worst they ever served in. I agreed, and after two years went back to college, got my master’s, and remained teaching at a college. I have since retired and moved back to Greenwood. The school are worse yet.
I helped a teacher at Delta Street Academy by giving him my curriculum, books, and PowerPoints. Our local library is very close to this academy, and the students visit often. One librarian said the academy students say that academy teachers “listen to them and encourage them to succeed, while they are shouted at and put down in local public schools.” I know this to be true from when I was in the system.
Black teachers put their frustration and hate with their situation onto the students. This does not create good citizens. I applaud Delta Street Academy for listening and being kind to these abused students. They are helping to heal the racial divide.—Persistent Professor
Kelsey Harkness has done it again, producing another blue-ribbon piece full of joy, hope, optimism, and true life characters who personify courage, resilience, hard work, perseverance, humility, Christian charity, grace, and virtue. Why can’t all the news be like hers? —Jeffrey L. Gainey
Without access to the quality of information referred to in your article, my objection was based on the fact that the data being used was literally garbage, unreliable and frequently skewed intentionally. My other objection was that, even with manipulated data, the result never matched the claims. Thank you for a knowledgeable approach to this issue.—Lloyd Wentworth
Keep it up and repeat often. Because I live on the coast in Savannah, Georgia, we are inundated with front page articles about doomsday. I even have requested that the editors of our newspaper at least do point-counterpoint, to no avail.
Snowbirds continue to move south and bring their need for big government with them, which means they’re never going to be happy until we look like what they left.—Brannen Edwards
Rob Bluey’s reporting on the findings of the Axios-Survey Monkey poll about government’s role really shows the true nature of the people of America (“Growing Number of Americans Oppose Government Regulation of Social Media”). The government should never regulate any business entity or media outlet, except in cases such as mergers of companies of like kind that will, in the end, cause a definite monopoly on a particular item or service.
Way back, the government “broke up” some businesses because they got too big to allow competition (AT&T, or “Ma Bell”). Now businesses have gotten smarter by not staying within their own venues and instead gaining ownership of various other entities with a possible competing service (AOL/Time-Warner).
As an ultraconservative, Constitution-loving, flag-waving, Republican, Christian woman, I am appalled at the way government has been taken over by certain beliefs, that the seated representatives think they know more of what people should have, rather than keeping America and its people safe.—Karin Callaway
Nolan Peterson’s article on Ukraine and U.S. coal is a bit of an eye opener (“Ukraine Turns to American Coal to Defend Itself Against Russia”). Now I think I understand why the dark state communist and radical Muslim sympathizers have fought so hard to curtail American coal and oil companies from expanding into a state of global energy independence.
American energy independence and worldwide energy abundance directly undermine the economies and influence of all the Middle Eastern nations and Russia. This also explains the Russians’ trying to infiltrate North American uranium resources.
The only problem with capitalism is it has been intentionally mismanaged and obstructed by the “progressives” working to subvert it. Otherwise, it works everywhere it’s tried.—John Emmi
As members of the President’s Club at The Heritage Foundation for 25 years, we love referring to The Daily Signal as The Daily Truth. Can’t thank its presence enough.—Bryon and Sandra Odhner
I am grateful for accurate news such as the reports by Fred Lucas. I no longer can trust the major media or TV news. As a retired geologist and combat veteran pilot in Vietnam, I am extremely disappointed in our Congress and in our judicial system. Trump is doing the best he can to drain the swamp.—Fred Hankinson
Many thanks for The Daily Signal. I just read my first Morning Bell. I make my donations to The Heritage Foundation the old-fashioned way, by paper check.—Walter Ling
I urge Fred Lucas and The Daily Signal to help expose the corruption of “the swamp.” Be cooperative and innovative in telling the voters what’s going on in your neck of the woods regarding improprieties.—Craig Schwartz
While the device did not succeed in causing the destruction that Ullah wished, the U.S. must redouble its commitment to stopping terrorists before they strike.
Ullah came to the U.S. from Bangladesh in 2011 on a family-based green card. According to authorities, he began radicalizing in 2014 and began researching bomb making in the past year. Ullah watched various pro-ISIS materials during this time.
Before the attack, he made several social media posts, including the statement, “Trump you failed to protect your nation,” and another indicating the attack was in the name of ISIS.
Ullah attached his homemade pipe bomb to his person and entered the New York Port Authority Bus Terminal on Monday morning and exploded the device. Thankfully, it did not cause serious injury to commuters. Ullah was then taken to the hospital with burn injuries around his abdomen.
When interviewed, Ullah claimed that he “did it for the Islamic State” and that he had attacked the terminal on a weekday to maximize casualties and terror.
This is attack is the 23rd Islamist plot or attack since 9/11 to target New York City, the most targeted city by far. It is also the 12th attack or plot targeting mass transit systems. While it thankfully was not deadly, it is the 17th Islamist attack to be completed out of 101 plots. It is the 6th plot of 2017.
This plot also continues the trend of terror plots that are homegrown–that is, carried out by terrorists who radicalized in the U.S. This attack is the 89th plot or attack that was entirely or largely homegrown in nature. It speaks to the importance of assimilating immigrants into American society once they arrive here.
The government should not be dividing Americans into various identity groups, but should instead seek to affirm the “e pluribus unum” character of the nation.
This case also calls for continued improvements to our intelligence programs and agencies. The FBI must continue to improve the way it shares information with state and local partners, especially given the growth of terror investigations during the past several years.
Policymakers must also ensure that intelligence and law enforcement agencies have access to the intelligence they need to foil terror plots.
This includes reauthorizing the FISA 701 program in its entirety. Putting up walls between various agencies such as by adding additional warrant requirements for information that has already been lawfully collected will weaken the United States’ ability to find and stop terrorists.
The attack on the New York Port Authority terminal is a reminder that while ISIS is being driven from its strongholds in the Middle East, its followers and sympathizers, and those of other Islamist terror groups, remain dedicated to striking the U.S homeland. The United States must remain vigilant.
Capitol Hill’s national security priorities are screwier than a Six Flags roller coaster.
Instead of immediately shutting down one of America’s stupidest visa programs, which helped bring us yet another murder-minded jihadist this week, bipartisan Beltway politicians are pushing to preserve and expand the illegal immigration pipeline.
Republicans and Democrats in Congress want a “fix” for the Obama administration’s executive amnesty covering nearly 700,000 illegal immigrants—and they want it pronto.
Translation: Protecting border-hopping “Dreamers” is a more important priority in Washington than protecting Americans from infiltrators exploiting the Diversity Visa Lottery.
You remember the hew and cry over the Diversity Visa Lottery, right? It was just seven short weeks ago when America discovered that New York City truck jihadist Sayfullo Saipov, who ruthlessly mowed down eight people on a bike path, had entered our country from Uzbekistan in 2010 by pure, random luck through the Diversity Visa Lottery Program.
President Donald Trump called on Congress to end it.
Saipov followed in the footsteps of Hesham Hadayet, the Egyptian-born LAX jihadist who gunned down two people at Israel’s El Al airlines counter in 2002 and gained entry through his lottery-winning wife; Imran Mandhai, the Pakistan-born jihadist who plotted National Guard armory bombings in Florida and gained entry through his parents’ lottery luck; Abdurasul Hasanovich Juraboev, another Uzbek jihadist and lottery winner convicted of supporting terrorism; Syed Ahmed, a Pakistan-born jihadist and diversity visa recipient convicted of terrorism-related activities in the U.S. and abroad in 2009; and Mousa Mohammed Abu Marzook, a Hamas leader deported for terrorism activities in 1997 who had snagged a green card thanks to the Diversity Visa Lottery Program’s original iteration.
Up to 55,000 lucky winners a year have secured permanent residency visas (green cards) through the Diversity Visa Lottery since 1990, which put them on the path to American citizenship ahead of millions of other foreigners patiently waiting to come to this country.
The green card lotto winners’ spouses and unmarried children under 21 all get lottery passes into the country, too, no matter where they were born. Chain migration extends the families’ winnings. And so on, and so on, and so on.
As I’ve reported tirelessly since 9/11, when counterterrorism experts and immigration watchdogs united against the fraud-riddled, ill-conceived Diversity Visa Lottery, applicants don’t even need a high school education.
No outstanding abilities, training, or job skills are necessary. Illegal aliens are eligible if a legal family member wins the jackpot. Tens of thousands are pouring in from terrorism breeding grounds through the lottery unvetted, unmonitored, and unassimilated.
Justice Department investigators recently discovered one Somali woman who won the Diversity Visa Lottery and subsequently recruited an entire fake family, including a phony husband and two fictitious adult children, all of whom came to the United States and later gained U.S. citizenship based on their false claims.
A U.N. probe found human traffickers forcing dozens of Diversity Visa Lottery winners into listing young female sex slaves as their “family members” to gain entry in the U.S.
And a State Department official testified in 2011 that in Bangladesh, “one agent is reported to have enrolled an entire phone book so that he could then either extort money from winning applicants who had never entered the program to begin with or sell their winning slots to others.”
As usual, however, Congress has done precisely nothing to stop the ruinous racket created by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass., and signed off by President George H.W. Bush as a social engineering experiment to admit more “underrepresented” immigrant minorities into the U.S.
The latest bill containing an end to the Diversity Visa Lottery Program, the RAISE Act, sponsored by Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and David Perdue, R-Ga., is gathering dust. Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley’s latest call to the State Department for a “full-scale” review has yielded no movement.
And now, here we are, with yet another Diversity Visa Lottery beneficiary in custody for yet another jihad attack. Bangladeshi Akayed Ullah arrived here with a golden ticket obtained through a relative who won the visa lottery.
Before strapping on his failed suicide vest on Monday in an attempt to inflict “maximum destruction” on commuters at the New York Port Authority Bus Terminal, Ullah was the minor child of a sibling of the original ticket holder, who became a naturalized U.S. citizen.
Seven weeks ago, Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., smugly tweeted to the president that the Diversity Visa Lottery Program would have been killed if only the Gang of Eight illegal alien amnesty had been signed into law.
In D.C., you see, stupid government programs will only die if hitched to even bigger, more reckless legislative abominations. Washington priorities at work.
America is rightly proud of the incredibly capable and effective special operations forces that serve as the literal point of our military spear. The Army Rangers, Army Special Forces (Green Berets), Navy SEALs, Special Operations Aviation, and other elements are the best in the world.
No mission is too tough for these spectacular men and women, it seems. The question today is, do we love them too much?
Special operations forces, known in the military as SOF, led the way into Afghanistan and Iraq, and continue to play a leading role in both those theaters of conflict. They also fought a shadow war around the world in chasing down high-value terrorist targets outside the main areas of war.
As large-scale operations wound down, these forces returned to other tasks, at which they also excel.
They scattered around the world in over 80 countries (most of which are not terribly glamorous or safe) to train allied and partner militaries. The goal: giving those nations their own capabilities to fight the ever-metastasizing threats from al Qaeda, the Islamic State or ISIS, and other adversaries.
The 2011 strike in Pakistan to kill Osama bin Laden and the recent loss of four of these brave warriors in Niger are stark reminders of the dangers of all these missions.
As the bulk of the large, conventional parts of the military have returned home, the contribution of special operations forces actually has expanded. The Obama administration was a huge advocate of these forces. Their effectiveness and low profile/low cost operations made them the forces of choice.
The problem now is that the same personnel who have been “running hard” since Sept. 12, 2001, are still running. Some members of special operations forces have 10, 12, or more deployments under their belts since the war on terror began. They are tired, and their families are on a razor’s edge.
The leaders of the military services and U.S. Special Operations Command have been sounding the cry for relief for quite a while. Despite that, the missions keep coming.
Remember, you can’t just expand special operations forces. It takes years to develop troops of the quality and character needed. The only answer is backing off the operational tempo.
The military is trying. Leadership has made numerous efforts to spread the burden of the continuous requirements.
Creation of U.S. Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command allowed more high quality troops to be utilized. The Army recently set up a Security Force Assistance Brigade designed to take up some overseas training missions normally done by Green Berets. These are excellent if controversial innovations, but they are not enough.
One of U.S. Special Operations Command’s “SOF Truths” is that you cannot create special operations forces after the crisis begins. More care has to be given to the specific missions we task them with. Those of the highest priority should be filled, others may have to wait or go to other types of units.
Everyone wants the best troops to do their task. But some of these will have to be addressed by elements that are still qualified and capable, though not at the top tier of the special operations forces structure.
A note here is warranted. In a tragedy that played out in June in the West African country of Mali, two members of SEAL Team 6 are suspected of killing a Green Beret sergeant because he had discovered they were stealing cash from their operational budget and would not “join in.”
If accurate, this was not an artifact of overwork; it was a failure of character. If these allegations are true, no one should brush off this horrendous act and give the perpetrators any sort of pass.
The bottom line is this: We are at a point where the very best we have will begin to die, to break down psychologically, or to have their families implode at rates higher than occur already. It is not acceptable for our leaders to allow that to happen.
These “rough men [and women] who are willing to do violence on our behalf” have given their all for the American people, and still are. The very least their leaders at the Defense Department, at the White House, and in Congress must do is to ensure their skills and experience are deployed only when the mission is truly critical.
The current mission load of our special operations forces should be reviewed and scrubbed to remove all tasks that are not essential to the vital national interests of America. The time of looking the other way is over.
What a toxic mix of historical amnesia and political opportunism is being heaped upon Gavin Williamson.
The defense secretary noted that, in the war with Iraq and Syria, the British military may end up killing the enemy—including British ISIS fighters. Apparently, we are to consider that commonsense observation to be outrageous.
“Call for troops to kill U.K. ISIS fighters is illegal and immoral, say critics.” That headline in The Guardian topped a story filled with quotes from human rights lawyers, NGOs, and opposition members of Parliament.
Lord Ken MacDonald called Williamson “juvenile,” and even one of Williamson’s government colleagues just told The Times that the Defense Secretary’s approach was “childish.”
Never mind that International Development Minister Rory Stewart said virtually the same thing in October. Never mind that the British government killed two of its own citizens who were fighting alongside ISIS just two years ago, when Reyaad Khan and Ruhul Amin were targeted in a drone strike in Raqqa.
Let us instead focus on the quality of our other main options for ISIS’ British fighters.
Many still seem not to understand that the United Kingdom’s [U.K.] ability to arrest ISIS fighters abroad is close to zero. The London Metropolitan Police are not going to nip into ISIS-held territory in Syria with a search warrant, handcuffs, and a truncheon and then inform hundreds of terrorist-trained ISIS Brits of their right to remain silent.
Still, any public misunderstanding on this is understandable, as it remains out of the grasp of the leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition.
If the request is that we commit British Army forces into Syria in order to capture these fighters and then house them abroad—possibly in a warzone—until the end of hostilities, that is a reasonable position.
Yet politicians and human rights groups should be explicit that this is their preference and argue that we should be back in the business of wartime detention of the enemy (as we were in Iraq).
Of course, there is no political appetite for taking that course of action.
Still, the reality is that many British citizens fighting for ISIS will make their way back to the U.K. from the battlefields of the Middle East. Unless they are dual nationals, it would be illegal to strip them of their citizenship and make them stateless.
This leaves prosecution as the preferred option—and that presents a very significant challenge.
No Brit who fought alongside Islamists in Bosnia, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Somalia, or Yemen was ever prosecuted in a U.K. court. Even now, actualexamples from Iraq or Syria are very thin.
We may think the stories of men like Shabazz Suleman—who says he often spent his time with ISIS “playing PlayStation or going around on bike rides”—are ludicrous. But if Suleman returns to the U.K., it would be very difficult to prove that he committed an act of terrorism that would lead to him being locked him up for any serious length of time.
Other countries face the same problem. A returnee called Harry Sarfo was seemingly filmed gunning people down on the streets of Palmyra and still managed to avoid prosecution back in Germany.
The reality is that many ISIS returnees will go onto the pile with the 23,000 other terror suspects already residing in the U.K. We just hope that MI5 are tracking the most dangerous ones.
If ever a year demonstrated that they cannot get it right the whole time, it would be this one.
Yet, for the time being, many of the U.K.’s opinion leaders seem to have adopted the unusual position that letting ISIS’ army into the U.K. and hoping for the best is the intellectually acceptable option and killing our enemy the juvenile one.
Perhaps this view will last. Perhaps not. After all, if the French or Belgian governments had displayed some of Williamson’s “childish” preferences to their citizens who had traveled to Syria, Abdelhamid Abaaoud might well be dead and 130 people unfortunate enough to be in Paris on Nov. 13, 2015 might be alive.
Still, I hope a sneer and a couple of days’ worth of headlines was worth it for Williamson’s critics. Because the next time body parts are scattered over the tube or concert venues, and families are trying to rebuild their shattered lives after the loss of loved ones, the headlines may not be quite as favorable.