Editor’s Note – Obama is making good on his promises from 2008 to close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility in furious fashion. With the loss of power in Congress, this may be one of many executive actions we will see take place as Obama’s second term enters the last two years.
Once again, as Senator Kelly Ayotte R-NH said: “The safety of Americans, not the fulfillment of a misguided campaign promise, should guide national security decisions.” Obama is placing America’s needs behind his own as we now see was always his driving motivation.
Similar to what he did with the ‘Taliban5,’ Congress again was ignored:
Despite fierce opposition in Congress to closing the detention facility, however, there is little that lawmakers can actually do to stop the president from continuing to release detainees.
On paper, Congress requires the administration to give 30 days’ advance notice before any transfer, but that was flouted in the case of the Taliban prisoners who were swapped for Bergdahl.
Despite the fact that 56% of Americans want the facility to stay open and the detainees to remain in custody, Obama is moving in ‘Overdrive.’.
President Obama’s push to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp is going into overdrive, with more detainee transfers in the last two months of 2014 than in the previous three years combined.
Since the Nov. 4 elections, Obama has released 22 detainees, in sharp contrast to the period from 2011 to 2013 inclusive, when only 19 were released.
In the first six months of 2014, he had released only six detainees from the facility in Cuba — including the five members of the Taliban who were swapped for prisoner of war Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl.
With less than two years left in office, the president appears to be going full throttle, promising in a December interview on CNN “to do everything” he can to fulfill his 2008 campaign promise of shutting down Guantanamo, despite congressional opposition.
He released 44 people from the prison camp during his first full year in office in 2009, and 24 in 2010, but transfers then slowed to a trickle, largely due to opposition on Capitol Hill.
In 2011, there were only three transfers; in 2012, five; and in 2013, 11.
So far, Obama has released a total of 111 detainees while in office, according to a Defense official.
In total, of the 780 people detained at the facility, 643 have been transferred, and nine have died while in custody, according to analyses from TheNew York Times and NPR.
After the administration announced five more transfers on Wednesday, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) said she was “deeply troubled by the administration’s continued transfer of dangerous terrorists from Guantanamo.”
“The United States must take every possible measure to prevent former detainees from returning to the battlefield,” she said in a statement Wednesday. “The safety of Americans, not the fulfillment of a misguided campaign promise, should guide national security decisions.”
Ayotte said that almost 30 percent of former Guantanamo detainees have reengaged or are suspected of reengaging in terrorism.
Those concerns are supported by some veterans of the Bush administration.
“The further you go into the pile of Gitmo detainees that are there now, the more dangerous they are,” said retired Navy Cmdr. J.D. Gordon, a former Pentagon spokesman during the Bush administration.
Gordon pointed to the Obama administration recently offering a reward for information on a detainee released from Guantanamo in 2006, who now allegedly serves as a top leader with Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
“They just put out a $5 million dollar bounty. So that shows the folly of releasing guys that we were reasonably sure, or we think, may return to terrorism,” said Gordon, who is a senior fellow at the Center for a Secure Free Society.
Despite fierce opposition in Congress to closing the detention facility, however, there is little that lawmakers can actually do to stop the president from continuing to release detainees.
On paper, Congress requires the administration to give 30 days’ advance notice before any transfer, but that was flouted in the case of the Taliban prisoners who were swapped for Bergdahl.
Lawmakers have also included restrictions in their annual defense policy and spending bills. For example, the $1.1 trillion funding bill passed by Congress in December bars the transfer or release of those held in Guantanamo to prisons in the United States.
The president has said that under certain circumstances those restrictions could violate the “constitutional separation of powers” between the legislative and executive branches.
However, lawmakers who oppose closing the facility can lean on public support for their cause.
A Fox News poll released earlier this month found that a majority of Americans, 56 percent, want to keep Guantanamo open, compared to fewer than a third, 32 percent, who would prefer it to be closed, and its prisoners be transferred to U.S. facilities.
As part of the administration’s strategy to close the prison camp, officials have begun arguing that housing detainees at Guantanamo is too costly, and that they should instead be held at super-maximum-security prisons within the United States.
“The American people should not be spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year on a facility that harms our standing in the world, damages our relationships with key allies, and emboldens violent extremists. Closing the facility remains a top priority for the president,” said National Security Council spokesman Patrick Ventrell on Wednesday.
The total cost of detention operations at Guantanamo for fiscal 2014 was $397.4 million, according to Defense statistics. That would bring the average cost per detainee in 2014 to $2.8 million.
According to Politifact, costs at a high-security federal prison as of 2012 are about $34,000 per year per inmate.
Of the remaining 127 detainees left at Guantanamo Bay, 59 have been deemed eligible for transfer after a lengthy interagency review process. Fifty-two of those eligible for release are from Yemen.
However, their potential release is complicated by serious political instability in Yemen. The Yemeni government may not be able to ensure that those released will not return to the fight
Another 10 detainees are currently undergoing prosecution via military tribunal at Guantanamo.
Of the remaining 58, at least 23 are designated for prosecution. Six have been re-designated for transfer, but the other 29 either await a periodic review board or are ineligible for transfer.
The president is hoping to bring those prisoners to a super-maximum-security prison within the United States.
“It does not make sense for us to spend millions of dollars per individual, when we have a way of solving this problem that’s more consistent with our values,” Obama said on CNN.
Many documents produced by the U.S. government are confidential and not released to the public for legitimate reasons of national security. Others, however, are kept secret for more questionable reasons.
The fact that presidents and other government officials have the power to deem materials classified provides them with an opportunity to use national security as an excuse to suppress documents and reports that would reveal embarrassing or illegal activities.
I’ve been collecting the stories of unreleased documents for several years. Now I have chosen 11 examples that were created—and buried—by both Democratic and Republican administrations and which cover assassinations, spying, torture, 50-year-old historical events, presidential directives with classified titles and…trade negotiations.
1. Obama Memo Allowing the Assassination of U.S. Citizens
When the administration of George W. Bush was confronted with cases of Americans fighting against their own country, it responded in a variety of ways. John Walker Lindh, captured while fighting with the Taliban in December 2001, was indicted by a federal grand jury and sentenced to 20 years in prison. José Padilla was arrested in Chicago in May 2002 and held as an “enemy combatant” until 2006 when he was transferred to civilian authority and, in August 2007, sentenced to 17 years in prison for conspiring to support terrorism. Adam Gadahn, who has made propaganda videos for al-Qaeda, was indicted for treason in 2006 and remains at large.
After he took over the presidency, Barack Obama did away with such traditional legal niceties and decided to just kill some Americans who would previously have been accused of treason or terrorism. His victims have included three American citizens killed in Yemen in 2011 by missiles fired from drones: U.S.-born anti-American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, Samir Khan, an al-Qaeda propagandist from North Carolina, and Awlaki’s 16-year-old son, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki.
Obama justified his breach of U.S. and international law with a 50-page memorandum prepared by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. Attorney General Eric Holder argued that the killing of Awlaki was legal because he was a wartime enemy and he could not be captured, but the legal justification for this argument is impossible to confirm because the Obama administration has refused to release the memo.
2. The Obama Interpretation of Section 215 of the Patriot Act
Section 215 of the Patriot Act allows the FBI, in pursuit of spies and terrorists, to order any person or entity to turn over “any tangible things” without having to justify its demands by demonstrating probable cause. For example, a library can be forced to reveal who borrowed a book or visited a web site. According to Section 215, the library is prohibited from telling anyone what it has turned over to the FBI.
The Obama administration has created a secret interpretation of Section 215 that goes beyond the direct wording of the law to include other information that can be collected. Democratic Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, who, as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was briefed about this secret interpretation, urged the president to make it public. “I want to deliver a warning this afternoon,” he said. “When the American people find out how their government has secretly interpreted the Patriot Act, they will be stunned and they will be angry.”
Wyden and Sen. Mark Udall of Colorado, also a Democrat, have implied that the Obama administration has expanded the use of Section 215 to activities other than espionage and terrorism. In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Wyden and Udall wrote that “there is now a significant gap between what most Americans think the law allows and what the government secretly claims the law allows. This is a problem, because it is impossible to have an informed public debate about what the law should say when the public doesn’t know what its government thinks the law says.”
3. 30-page Summary of 9/11 Commission Interview with Bush and Cheney
You would have thought that, in the interests of the nation, the Bush administration would have demanded a thorough investigation of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the deadliest assault ever on U.S. soil. Instead, they fought tooth and nail against an independent investigation. Public pressure finally forced President George W. Bush to appoint a bipartisan commission that came to be known as the 9/11 Commission. It was eventually given a budget of $15 million…compared to the $39 million spent on the Monica Lewinsky/Bill Clinton investigation. When the commission completed its work in August 2004, the commissioners turned over all their records to the National Archives with the stipulation that the material was to be released to the public starting on January 2, 2009. However, most of the material remains classified. Among the more tantalizing still-secret documents are daily briefings given to President Bush that reportedly described increasingly worried warnings of a possible attack by operatives of Osama bin Laden.
Another secret document that the American people deserve to see is the 30-page summary of the interview of President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney conducted by all ten commissioners on April 29, 2004. Bush and Cheney refused to be interviewed unless they were together. They would not testify under oath and they refused to allow the interview to be recorded or transcribed. Instead the commission was allowed to bring with them a note taker. It is the summary based on this person’s notes that remains sealed.
4. Memos from President George W. Bush to the CIA Authorizing Waterboarding and other Torture Techniques
Four days after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, President George W. Bush signed a “memorandum of notification” (still secret) that authorized the CIA to do what it needed to fight al-Qaeda. However the memo did not address what interrogation and torture techniques could be used on captured suspects. By June 2003, Director George Tenet and others at the CIA were becoming worried that if their seemingly illegal tactics became known to the public, the White House would deny responsibility and hang the CIA out to dry. After much discussion, Bush’s executive office handed over two memos, one in 2003 and another in 2004, confirming White House approval of the CIA interrogation methods, thus giving the CIA “top cover.” It is not known if President Bush himself signed the memos.
5. 1,171 CIA Documents Related to the Assassination of President Kennedy
It’s been 49 years since President John F. Kennedy was shot to death in Dallas, yet the National Archives and Records Administration(NARA) insists that more than one thousand documents relating to the case should not be released to the public until NARA is legally required to do so in 2017…unless the president at that time decides to extend the ban. It would appear that some of the blocked material deals with the late CIA agent David Phillips, who is thought to have dealt with Lee Harvey Oswald in Mexico City six weeks before the assassination.
6. Volume 5 of the CIA’s History of the Bay of Pigs Fiasco
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, CIA historian Dr. Jack B. Pfeiffer compiled a multi-volume history of the failed US attempt to invade Cuba in April 1961. In August 2005, the National Security Archive at George Washington University, citing the Freedom of Information Act, requested access to this history. The CIA finally released the information almost six years later, in July 2011. However it refused to release Volume V, which is titled “CIA’s Internal Investigation of the Bay of Pigs Operations.” Although more than 50 years have passed since the invasion, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that Volume V is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act because it “is covered by the deliberative process privilege” which “covers documents reflecting advisory opinions, recommendations and deliberations comprising part of a process by which governmental decisions and policies are formulated.”
7. National Security Decision Directives with Classified Titles
The day before he left the White House on January 20, 1993, President George H. W. Bush issued National Security Directive (NSD) #79, a document so secret that even its title remains classified almost 20 years later. The same goes for National Security Directive #77, issued a few days earlier, as well as four others issued in 1989 (#11, 13a, 19a and 25a). If the “a”s are any indication of the subjects, it is worth noting that NSD 13 dealt with countering cocaine trafficking in Peru; NSD 19 dealt with Libya and NSD 25 with an election in Nicaragua.
President Ronald Reagan also issued six NSDs with classified titles, and President Bill Clinton issued 29. President George W. Bush issued two such NSDs, presumably shortly after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. President Barack Obama has issued at least seven Presidential Policy Directives with classified titles.
8. Major General Douglas Stone’s 700-Page Report on Prisoners Held in Afghanistan
Marine Corps General Douglas Stone earned positive reviews for his revamping of detention operations in Iraq, where he determined that most of the prisoners held by the United States were not actually militants and could be taught trades and rehabilitated. Based on his success in Iraq, Stone was given the task of making an evaluation of detainee facilities in Afghanistan. His findings, conclusions and recommendations were included in a 700-page report that he submitted to the U.S. Central Command in August 2009. According to some accounts of the report, Stone determined that two-thirds of the Afghan prisoners were not a threat and should be released. However, three years after he completed it, Stone’s report remains classified.
9. Detainee Assessment Briefs for Abdullah Tabarak and Abdurahman Khadr
In 2011, WikiLeaks released U.S. military files known as Detainee Assessment Briefs (DABs), which describe the cases of 765 prisoners held at Guantánamo Bay. However, there were actually 779 prisoners. So what happened to the files for the other fourteen? Andy Worthington, author of The Guantanamo Files, has noted that two of the fourteen missing stories are especially suspicious: those of Abdullah Tabarak and Abdurahman Khadr.
Tabarak, a Moroccan, was allegedly one of Osama bin Laden’s long-time bodyguards, and took over bin Laden’s satellite phone in order to draw U.S. fire to himself instead of to bin Laden when U.S. forces were chasing the al-Qaeda leader in the Tora Bora mountains in December 2001. Captured and sent to Guantánamo, Tabarak was mysteriously released, sent back to Morocco in July 2003, and set free shortly thereafter.
Abdurahman Khadr, the self-described “black sheep” of a militant family from Canada, was 20 years old when he was captured in Afghanistan and turned over to American forces. He has said that he was recruited by the CIA to become an informant at Guantánamo and then in Bosnia. When the CIA tried to send him to Iraq, he refused and returned to Canada. His younger brother, Omar, was 15 years old when he was captured in Afghanistan and accused of killing an American soldier, Sergeant First Class Christopher Speer, during a firefight. He was incarcerated at Guantánamo for almost ten years until he was finally released to Canadian custody on September 29, 2012.
10. FBI Guidelines for Using GPS Devices to Track Suspects
On January 23, 2012, in the case of United States v. Jones, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that attaching a GPS device to a car to track its movements constitutes a “search” and is thus covered by the Fourth Amendment protecting Americans against “unreasonable searches and seizures.” But it did not address the question of whether the FBI and other law enforcement agencies must obtain a warrant to attach a GPS device or whether it is enough for an agent to believe that such a search would turn up evidence of wrongdoing.
A month later, at a symposium at the University of San Francisco, FBI lawyer Andrew Weissman announced that the FBI was issuing two memoranda to its agents to clarify how the agency would interpret the Supreme Court decision. One memo dealt with the use of GPS devices, including whether they could be attached to boats and airplanes and used at international borders. The second addressed how the ruling applied to non-GPS techniques used by the FBI.
The ACLU, citing the Freedom of Information Act, has requested publication of the two memos because they “will shape not only the conduct of its own agents but also the policies, practices and procedures of other law enforcement agencies—and, consequently, the privacy rights of Americans.”
11. U.S. Paper on Negotiating Position on the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas
The subject of international trade negotiations is one that makes most people’s eyes glaze over. So why is the Obama administration fighting so hard to keep secret a one-page document that relates to early negotiations regarding the Free Trade Agreement of the Americas (FTAA), an accord that was proposed 18 years ago and about which public negotiations ended in 2005? All we know is that the document “sets forth the United States’ initial proposed position on the meaning of the phrase ‘in like circumstances.’” This phrase “helps clarify when a country must treat foreign investors as favorably as local or other foreign investors.”
Responding to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by The Center for International Environmental Law, DC District Judge Richard W. Roberts ordered the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) to release the document, but the Obama administration has refused, claiming that disclosure “reasonably could be expected to result in damage to the national security” because all the nations involved in the failed negotiations agreed to keep all documents secret until December 31, 2013…“unless a country were to object to the release of one of its own documents at that time.” Judge Roberts ruled that the USTR has failed to present any evidence that release of the document would damage national security.
Most likely, the Obama administration is afraid that release of the document would set a precedent that could impede another secret trade negotiation, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), also known as the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement, which seeks to establish a free trade zone among the U.S., New Zealand, Chile, Singapore, Brunei, Australia, Peru, Vietnam, Malaysia and possibly Canada, Mexico and Japan.
Editor’s Note – Despite the recidivism rate among Guantanamo detainees, and the fact that the Libyan attack at Benghazi involved Sufyan Ben Qumu, a former detainee, why is it important now to release one-third of the remaining detainees at Guantanamo?
In a summary report, the office of the Director of National Intelligence said that 27.9 percent of the 599 former detainees released from Guantanamo were either confirmed or suspected of later engaging in militant activity.
The figures represent a 2.9 percent rise over a 25 percent aggregate recidivism rate reported by the intelligence czar’s office in December 2010. (Read the rest here.)
Again, a simple why? Is this a final try at living up to one of his famous campaign promises to quell his base and energize them to get out the vote? While American flags are supplanted by the black al-Qaeda flag across the globe, and his own lame campaign flag appears that looks like it was made by a set of bloody fingers and had the stars replaced by his logo, along with the death of Ambassador Stevens and three others, why are we releasing known enemies now?
Here is an example of one of these detainees, click here.
President Barack Obama is about to release or transfer 55 Gitmo prisoners, despite reports that the Libyan believed to be behind the killing of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens was a former Guantanamo inmate transferred to Libyan custody.
The large percentage of those scheduled to be released are Yemeni, according to a list made public by the Obama administration.
Obama stopped the release or transfer of Yemeni inmates in 2010, because the conditions in the country were viewed as too “unsettled” at the time.
A release or transfer of 55 inmates means Obama is moving out one third of the prisoners at Guantanamo. And while it doesn’t represent a shutdown of the facility, it’s certainly indicative of a move toward that end.
Could it be that Obama is trying to set himself up to campaign as the man who is taking steps to finally close Gitmo, just as he recently reversed the Afghanistan surge in order to campaign as the man who’s winding down the war in the Afghanistan?
The ACLU has praised the releases as “a partial victory for transparency.”
SUA Staff – While America is focused on Republican candidates, debates, primaries, and caucuses, the Fast and Furious Scandal, much higher gas prices then ever before, and the conflicts in Syria, we are being distracted from what Eric Holder and his associates are really spending their time on.
Rather than producing documents pertaining to the Fast and Furious scandal, the Solyndra debacle, the sentencing of the Holyland trial convictions, or prosecuting the New Black Panther polling place thugs, he is an integral part of the Obama re-election team. The team leader in achieving Obama promises concerning the Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo) detention center.
As part of that campaign, it seems they are working quietly to empty Gitmo; a ploy that will shore up their base and create a great set of campaign ‘talking points’. This all despite the fact that the Obama administration has continued the Bush era wire-tap policies. A fact that will be easily hidden behind Gitmo moves.
Meanwhile, Obama is under fire for secret detentions of Somali terror suspects, a subject the left railed about during the Bush years that are still in force:
The Obama administration approved the secret detention of a Somali terror suspect on board a US navy ship, where for two months he was subjected to military interrogation in the absence of a lawyer and without charge.
The capture and treatment of Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame has rekindled the debate within the US about the appropriate handling of terror suspects. Republicans in Congress have objected to Warsame being brought to New York this week to be tried in a criminal court – an attempt by the Obama administration to avoid sending the prisoner to Guantánamo Bay, which it has promised to close.
Soon, probably close to voting day in November, we will find that Gitmo is empty. Holder is feverishly working on a deal to transfer five of the top leaders of the Taliban now, trying to send them to a new home in Qatar, where a new Taliban headquarters has been erected paid for by your tax dollars. Five of the worst of the worst.
We all remember the release of Uighur detainees who were sent to live the life on the wonderful islands of Palau.
Of these detainees slated for transfer, Majid Khan, has a very nasty history and has even nastier lawyers that come from the Center for Constitutional Rights. (Videos available here.) These friends and associates act as Eric Holder’s silent law partners from both his time at Covington & Burling and now at the Department of Justice. Majid has three lawyers, Gitanjali Gutierrez, Wells Dixon, and Shayana Kadidal. Another of these worst of the worst is Ammar al Baluchi.
But what about the true picture of what Gitmo really is, ask the Belgians:
Inmates at Guantanamo Bay prison are treated better than in Belgian jails, an expert for Europe’s biggest security organization said on Monday after a visit to the controversial U.S. detention center. [snip]Grignard told a news conference that prisoners’ right to practice their religion, food, clothes and medical care were better than in Belgian prisons.
“I know no Belgian prison where each inmate receives its Muslim kit,” Grignard said.
This is certainly not the impression we get from any media accounts of Gitmo. On FridayTime Magazine made national headlines with the story that Mohammad al-Qahtani, the so-called “20th hijacker,” was recanting all of his previous testimony, claiming he made everything up because he was being tortured.
Lost amid the sensational headlines is that Qahtani’s reversal came after two recent visits with a newly appointed lawyer, Gitanjali S. Gutierrez, from the ultra-liberal Center For Constitutional Rights. Gutierrez is part of CCR’s “Guantánamo Global Justice Initiative” designed to “expand CCR’s defense of human rights and the rule of law to combat abuses of Executive power by the U.S. throughout the world.”
I sifted through the log of Qahtani’s interrogation that accompanied Time’s report and from what I read it seems as if he was treated perfectly within bounds. The full interrogation log (pdf) is here, so go read it and decide for yourself whether Qahtani was tortured or not.
Also last Friday the BBC ran a story headlined, “Guantanamo man tells of ‘torture’.” Here is an excerpt from the BBC’s interview with Fawzi al-Odah, a Kuwaiti citizen currently being held at Gitmo:
Through his lawyer, Mr Odah described his treatment during his hunger strike.”First they took my comfort items away from me. You know, my blanket, my towel, my long pants, then my shoes. I was put in isolation for 10 days.
“They came in and read out an order. It said if you refuse to eat, we will put you on the chair [for force feeding].”
Remember, these people are trying to starve themselves to death. Imagine the reaction of human rights organizations if the United States military stood by and allowed two dozen or more prisoners to die of starvation.
The idea that force feeding prisoners to keep them alive constitutes “torture” borders on the insane. These men are are being offered food and adequate care, but they are refusing. As a result the United States military is put in an impossible situation; force them to eat or let them die. The goal of critics, of course, is to make either of these choices such a public relations nightmare for the United States that the Pentagon is forced to go with the only other option: close Gitmo down altogether.
Also, watch this video about Obama’s continued use of Bush policies here:
The 2012 Defense Authorization Bill 1867 (See summary here) just passed by the Senate was burdened with oodles of appropriations including one very important section that will keep the Guantanamo Detention Center open indefinitely. However, this is in complete conflict with the White House and the Department of Justice, and virtually nullifies the Executive Order to close it signed by Obama soon after his inauguration. Though, it is curious that despite that E.O., Guantanamo is still intact. The veto pen is coming.
In addition to the Guantanamo issue, other sections are argued to be turning the Constitution on its ear. With the mere push of a voting button in the House and Senate, and the possible signature of the President it is argued that many civil liberties will be lost. Foremost among these is the interpretation that American citizens could be held without trial if they are deemed to be of material aid to terrorist organizations by the military. No lawyers, judges, or grand juries, just indefinite incarceration at Guantanamo.
Political action organizations across the political spectrum are in a complete dither over this bill because it contains so much gray area language or to some, lacks the proper language to define certain aspects. Although absence of evidence is not evidence of absence, legal wranglers are claiming that Congress is deferring to the bench on too many issues.
Portions of this legislation of most concern for anyone paying attention are where it addresses the act of giving material or financial support to terror organizations and members. In recent years, there have in fact been several cases where American citizens were clearly guilty of these charges including John Walker Lindh, Anwar Al Walaki, Adam Gadahn, and Najibulla Zazi among many, many others.
Consider for a moment the double edged sword this pending law represents with its many sections in question. It can on one hand be construed to be an extremely good tool for securing our nation, but at what sacrifice? Interestingly though, it may also become a very friendly legal tool to employ in a political fashion; one where certain actions recently taken by the administration could place them in legal jeopardy, and become a bludgeon to nail corrupt lawmakers and government employees in Washington DC.
Like most pieces of legislation, many lawmakers had not read the complete final version of the bills prior to voting and possibly would not have voted in the affirmative if they did. But all too often, naked ambition and/or political cowardice may have bred unintended consequences and this Defense Authorization Bill may just be a real blatant example. Those unintended and intended consequences may include the ability to take much stronger action on certain current administration personnel. To elaborate, let us begin with Eric Holder, Attorney General for the United States Justice Department.
Holder has a long history, along with many legal colleagues, where they have have provided counsel to terrorists around the world and those detained at Guantanamo, free to the inmate. Payment for counsel comes from donations or was provided pro-bono.
Covington and Burling is the law firm where Holder was a partner, and by giving that kind of aid, to non-citizen enemies of the USA, these new provisions could be construed to render future work in this regard as illegal. Holder’s old firm is a worldwide law firm, and works in partnership with many other law firms as well as the Center for Constitutional Rights, Sullivan & Cromwell, Manatt Phelps, American Constitution Society, Holland and Hurt among others. Are these firms now in jeopardy as well?
What is “material aid and support” as the letter of the law dictates?
(1) the term “material support or resources” means any property, tangible or intangible, or service, including currency or monetary instruments or financial securities, financial services, lodging, training, expert advice or assistance, safehouses, false documentation or identification, communications equipment, facilities, weapons, lethal substances, explosives, personnel (1 or more individuals who may be or include oneself), and transportation, except medicine or religious materials;
Then there are the narco-terrorism networks that are proven to be cavorting with Hezbollah, but are not formally listed on terror lists, yet Holder allowed arms to be sold and moved through the FBI and the DEA to members of these drug cartels. Many think Holder already broke existing laws and should already be out of office, and/or in prison over the Fast and Furious scandal. That operation was a boondoggle to say the least, and if this Bill is signed, activity that allows weapons to fall into the hands of these ‘terrorists’ in the future will arguably land many agents and administrators in jail.
Other actions, by other departments are similarly situated and acted in very questionable ways as well. Recently, key government officials gave aid and comfort to the enemy through the actions of their office. This includes people like our Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.
There is now ample evidence that she has spread money and support to the enemy, most notably to rebel Libyans who fought our troops in other lands under the al-Qaeda flag. Some may think that is a stretch, but it is definite aid and comfort to the enemy, regardless of political purpose according to the letter of the law, and certainly would be if this bill is signed. This is especially true since it did not have the blessing and approval of Congress or the White House.
The Taliban cannot be excluded either when it comes to the nefarious monetary policy of Hillary Clinton.
In the Middle East, the same quest and generosity is also applicable as Hillary Clinton giving money to the Palestinian Authority prisoners.
Moving to another facet of giving aid and comfort, we have the case of Timothy Geithner, Secretary of the United States Treasury. The Department of the Treasury in partnership with the State Department publishes the terror list and enforces or often chooses not to enforce the money transfers and global account restrictions through the Federal Reserve banks in coordination with the Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. Allowing domestic organizations and companies to wire money to foreign terror networks through any of the Federal Reserve banks occurs constantly and both Geithner and Bernanke are at the throttle controls by pacing, approving, and tracking these monies.
It should also be no surprise that the government runs a program called the Black Budget, which of course allocated money and spends it on missions and for causes that no one is supposed to know about. Congress allegedly does not have a hand in this cash cache but the dollars still move and countless agencies move it without full disclosure. In addition, any member of the House or the Senate that is assigned to committees that have some oversight of government dollars in the aspect of foreign policy and national security vote to allocate and spend money as well, and often that lands in the hands of terror networks and members.
In summary, countless members of the United States government have a role in money distribution either by committee, by vote, and/or allocations that do not exempt them from the new concerns of this pending law under the 2012 Defense Authorization Act. Only the President and the Vice President can invoke Executive Privilege and in recent history it has been applied to those working at the White House, yet it has not been challenged that they get exemption from prosecution in regard to Border Agents or aiding and abetting known terror cells and members. If lawmakers want to play the game, it takes two to dance, and lawyers are available on both sides. We can use the same laws and rules to play as they use them as well.
Given the polar division of this country, embracing and using the U.S. Constitution to carry out laws and agendas, this pending law could and should work in our favor to force the will of the people upon the government as intended. We are in the vortex of being victims of local and federal law being applied unlawfully against law-abiding citizens. The Defense Authorization Act clearly appears to have text that ups the ante once again on citizens.
We cannot forget that Federal employees are also citizens and should the un-intended consequences apply, and in fact are intended as a quiet mission, we may have yet a major lawful tool that could implicate Obama, Clinton, Holder, Geithner, and more by applying this law. Legal scholars and courts may argue these aspects for a long time to come, but the very threat of their actions in financially supporting terrorists and networks, intentionally or otherwise may be a springboard to get their attention.