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Posts tagged ‘Assault with a deadly weapon’

Rep. Trey Gowdy: NY Times Report on Benghazi Protects Hillary.


Image: Rep. Trey Gowdy: NY Times Report on Benghazi Protects Hillary

By Greg Richter

 

Rep. Trey Gowdy says a New York Times article that concluded al-Qaida was not involved in last year’s Benghazi attacks never mentioned then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but Gowdy had no problem quoting her to make a point of his own.

“First of all, I want to congratulate The New York Times. It only took 15 months for them to figure out how to spell Benghazi,” Gowdy, R-S.C., said Monday on Fox News Channel’s “On the Record With Greta Van Susteren.” 

“So, in another 15 months, maybe their reporting will actually catch up with the truth,” Gowdy said.

The Times concluded there was no evidence that al-Qaida was involved in the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on the U.S diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. It also said the attacks were not meticulously planned, as House Intelligence Committee members have said, but was a reaction to an anti-Muslim video produced in the United States.

“Whether it was al-Qaida or a subsidiary or a holding company or a limited partnership, to quote Hillary Clinton, ‘What difference does it make?'” Gowdy told Fox News. “Who cares whether it was al-Qaida proper or a subsidiary? Four Americans are dead, and it wasn’t a spontaneous reaction to a video. It was planned.”

Intelligence Committee members Reps. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., and Adam Schiff, D-Calif., both agreed on “Fox News Sunday” that al-Qaida was in some way involved and that there was planning.

People should believe Rogers, who is a former FBI agent, and Schiff, who is a former federal prosecutor, over The New York Times, Gowdy told guest host Dana Perino. Both men have dedicated their professional lives to following evidence wherever it leads, he said.

Gowdy also took issue with the assertion that the anti-Muslim video caused the attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. The video in question was translated into Arabic in early September 2012, Gowdy said, just days before the fatal attack.

That couldn’t explain a prior attack on the U.S. consulate or the attempted assassination of the British ambassador or attacks on the International Red Cross in Benghazi, he said.

“I thought we had no business being in Benghazi. We were the last flag flying in Benghazi,” Gowdy said. “But that begs a bigger question: Why were we there? Why was Chris Stevens in Benghazi that night?”

Gowdy didn’t explain whether he had any suspicions, but Sen. Rand Paul and others have suggested Stevens was in Libya because the CIA was using the area to run guns to Syrian rebels.

Gowdy did make clear that he suspects The Times published the article to bolster the expected presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton in 2016. Clinton, as secretary of state, came under fire after Benghazi for reportedly ignoring requests from Stevens for additional security.

“I’ve read this New York Times article, Dana, six times,” Gowdy told Perino. “I want you to read it six times and tell me if you can tell who the secretary of state was when Benghazi happened.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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Ex-NSA Director Hayden: Report Shows Spying Keeps US Safe.


Image: Ex-NSA Director Hayden: Report Shows Spying Keeps US Safe

By Greg Richter

Former NSA and CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden says he is surprised people are surprised at the detailed spying the National Security Agency is able to do.

German magazine Der Spiegel published a story on Sunday that laid out the NSA’s ability to hack into the computer systems and phones of its targets, and even to stop computer equipment mid-shipping to install spyware.

The article says current NSA director Gen. Keith Alexander and his crew are “pretty good at this. And that’s good news for the American people,” Hayden said Monday on Fox News Channel’s “Special Report.” 

Traditional signals intelligence used to be passive and “midpoint,” Hayden explained. If someone being targeted decided to send a message, spy agencies tried to get between points A and B and intercept the communication.

With the digital age, he said, spies have gone to “active” signals intelligence. They don’t just intercept at the midpoint, but go to the endpoint, he said.

“Go to a point where sometimes they have not even yet decided to transmit,” he said.

Hayden called the new collection methods “a good thing for American security and American liberty.”

Der Spiegel’s article no doubt damaged the NSA’s abilities, Hayden said. Now, legitimate foreign intelligence targets will read such reports and begin to take action to get around the methods, and that will make the United States less safe, he said.

Hayden told Fox News he read the article in Der Spiegel with his “antennae up” to see whether there was anything that should concern the U.S. public, but said he couldn’t find it.

The targets discussed were legitimate foreign intelligence targets, he said.

Hayden also said he was pleased that U.S. companies are surprised their products were  hacked by the NSA. They should be surprised, Hayden said, because they had nothing to do with it; it was all the NSA.

Turning to the New York Times story on Saturday that said al-Qaida was not involved in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, Hayden compared the argument to medieval theological discussions about how many angels could dance on the head of a pin.

Hayden said it was reminiscent of President Bill Clinton’s parsing the meaning of the word “is.”

Whether the terrorist group behind the 9/11 attacks was also linked to the Benghazi attacks “depends on your meaning of the word ‘al-Qaida’,” he said.

There are three levels to the group, he explained: “al-Qaida prime, al-Qaida-affiliated, and groups who are like-minded.” Within days of the attacks, he said, he termed them “either high-end like-minded or low-end affiliated.”

So, while al-Qaida probably did not directly order the attacks, they were carried out by people under its influence, he said.

“No one has suggested that somebody with a Motorola Push to Talk in the Hindu Kush was sending detailed instructions to somebody in Benghazi,” he said.

Republican lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee have called the Times report “misleading.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Rep. Grimm: New York Times Wrong, Benghazi Attacks Were Terrorism.


Image: Rep. Grimm: New York Times Wrong, Benghazi Attacks Were Terrorism

By Greg Richter

Rep. Michael Grimm, R-N.Y.,  is among the lawmakers who don’t buy a New York Times report over the weekend that the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, was a spontaneous act fueled by anger over an anti-Muslim YouTube video.

The former Marine and FBI agent says the attack that left U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead was without a doubt a military operation, and anyone with a military background could recognize it as such.

“This was a methodical, military attack. This was not some group of individuals that was upset,” Grimm said Monday on CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”“These were trained individuals. This was a military op.”

The attackers were weaponized, trained, and methodical, Grimm told CNN. If a YouTube video had gotten ordinary citizens upset, they might have thrown Molotov cocktails or rocks, he said. Someone might have even had a firearm or an AK-47, he said, but there would not have been the same amount of weaponry as the attackers had.

The Times story also concluded that al-Qaida, the terrorist group responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, was not involved in the Benghazi attack, which occurred on Sept. 11, 2012, the 11th anniversary.

“The New York Times is wrong,” Grimm said. “And I would not say that’s a Republican point of view. For me, this is apolitical.”

Both Republicans and Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee who have been briefed on Benghazi have “tangible evidence, empirical data” that show the attacks had al-Qaida ties, he said.

“If al-Qaida is funding an offshoot, an affiliate, to carry out a terrorist act, then they’re a terror proxy for al-Qaida” even if they call themselves by another name, Grimm said.

Al-Qaida, he said, has “morphed” since the 9/11 attacks and now funds other groups that can act in its stead. He said he has seen secret intelligence documents that tie al-Qaida to the attacks, even if somewhat tenuously, but said he cannot divulge publicly what those documents say.

Grimm said the Times report may spur further investigation, especially because the United States should get to the bottom of how security was handled in Benghazi. Unless such threats are recognized, he said, the lives of innocent Americans are placed at risk and the country appears weaker in the eyes of terrorists.

He said the United States was right to offer security help to Russia in light of two  bombings linked to the coming Winter Olympics in Sochi.

But the United States could lack authority on the world stage, he said, unless it can honestly discuss its own security breaches in places such as Benghazi.

“For Russia to be able to rely on us and to work with us, there has to be an underlying understanding that we come to the table openly and honestly about security,” he said.

Still, the United States should not have second thoughts about attending the games, Grimm said.

“When we stop doing things like the Olympics, then they’ve won. We can’t allow that to happen,” Grimm told CNN. “We can’t live in a state of terror or panic. But you do have to take the appropriate precautions.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Cruz Takes Action to Renounce Canadian Citizenship.


Image: Cruz Takes Action to Renounce Canadian Citizenship

By Greg Richter

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has hired lawyers to officially renounce his Canadian citizenship and expects the process to be completed in 2014, The Dallas Morning News reports.

Cruz says he was not aware of his dual citizenship until it was brought to his attentionby the newspaper earlier this year.

Cruz’s parents were living in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, when he was born on Dec. 22, 1970. Though his mother was an American citizen and his father a Cuban citizen at the time, Cruz became an automatic Canadian citizen just by being born in that country. The United States has the same policy.

But Cruz was also born an American citizen since at least one of his parents, in this case his mother, was an American citizen. Cruz’s father has since become a naturalized American. The Cruz family moved to the United States when Ted was 4 years old.

The dual citizenship doesn’t disqualify Cruz for elected office, including the presidency, but many think his circumstances could recall the “birther” movement, in which some conservative foes of President Barack Obama challenged his qualifications because they believe he was not born in the United States.

Like Cruz’s situation, Obama’s father was not a U.S. citizen, but his mother was. That aside, Hawaiian officials have produced a birth certificate showing he was born in the state of Hawaii on Aug. 4, 1961.

Though Cruz is just finishing up his freshman year in the U.S. Senate he already is being talked about as a possible GOP frontrunner in the 2016 presidential primaries.

Cruz told The Dallas Morning News he has not attempted to renounce his citizenship previously because he wasn’t even aware he had it. His mother had told him he would have had to make an affirmative act to have claimed it.

Further, he said, “There was no reason to retain counsel to analyze Canadian law, because it wasn’t relevant to anything I was doing.”

Now, serving as a U.S. Senator, he says, he believes it is improper to be a citizen of another country. He does not, however, have any ill will toward America’s northern neighbor, he said.

As for a presidential bid, Cruz gave the same line he always does when asked about any political plans: “My political perspective is focused on representing the state of Texas.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Ted Cruz: No Surprise Washington Establishment Pushed Back Against Me.


Image: Ted Cruz: No Surprise Washington Establishment Pushed Back Against Me

By Greg Richter

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, spent his first year in Washington making a name for himself and making enemies in both parties.

The tea party favorite told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday he isn’t surprised at the negative reception he received for his efforts.

“Nobody should be surprised if you’re trying to change Washington that the Washington establishment pushes back,” Cruz told reporter Jonathan Karl.

Cruz told Karl it wasn’t him personally who had such influence, but the tea party movement he represents. Cruz was called a “wacko bird” by fellow GOP Sen. John McCain n the spring, and by fall was leading Republicans in both houses of Congress to reject a budget deal that led to a partial government shutdown.

The shutdown hurt Republicans politically, but Cruz doesn’t think his party is to blame.

“I think it was absolutely a mistake for President [Barack] Obama and [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid to force a government shutdown,” he told “This Week.”

Karl noted that Republican House Speaker John Boehner was critical of Cruz and outside conservative groups over the shutdown.

“I can’t help what other people say,” Cruz replied.

He called being a runner up to the pope for Time magazine’s “Man of the Year” as a “very strange thing,” but also admitted being the subject of a best-selling coloring book was also “a sign that the world is a crazy place.”

The book, not authorized by Cruz, says that millions of Americans see Obamacare, the president’s signature healthcare law, as being more dangerous than any war.

Questioned by Karl whether he agreed with that statement, Cruz answered, “No, of course not.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Mike Rogers: Snowden ‘Ran to Russia,’ Deserves No Amnesty.


Image: Mike Rogers: Snowden 'Ran to Russia,' Deserves No Amnesty

By Greg Richter

Two members of the House Intelligence Committee from opposing parties agreed Sunday that NSA leaker Edward Snowden should have stayed in the United States rather than fleeing to Russia.

Snowden addressed the British public via television on Christmas Day and talked to The Washington Post on Dec. 23. He said he is doing the work the government has failed to do.

“I’m not moved by the message at all,” Schiff said on “Fox News Sunday.”

“And I think there’s a real irony here that he’s giving this message from one of the foremost Big Brother states in the world, where he is living without any privacy, because there is no right or expectation of privacy in Russia whatsoever,” he said.

Schiff admitted that Snowden “has kindled an important public debate,” but he said it came from a “mixture of motivations.” Snowden should have stayed in the United States and been willing to stand up for his beliefs, he said.

Likewise, Rogers, appearing on “Fox News Sunday,” said Snowden “is somebody who had a troubled employment history, who ran to China and Russia.”

Snowden himself swiped at both parties in his Washington Post interview, in which he said he was “elected” to his post to “improve” the National Security Agency by Sen. Dianne Feinstein “when she asked softball questions” in committee hearings and by Rogers “when he kept these programs secret.”

Rogers argued that the programs that keep metadata on Americans’ phone and email communications were instituted after 9/11 because it was found that they could have prevented the worst act of terrorism on American soil. Members of relevant committees are briefed on everything, he argued.

Information is “well-overseen, locked away in a vault,” Rogers said, and there is oversight over who gets access.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Susan Rice: Snowden Doesn’t Deserve Amnesty.


Image: Susan Rice: Snowden Doesn't Deserve Amnesty

By Greg Richter

National Security Adviser Susan Rice kept her cards close when asked Sunday on “60 Minutes” whether the United States would consider granting secrets leaker Edward Snowden amnesty if he promised to stop revealing classified information.

But she didn’t sound very open to the idea.

“We don’t think that Snowden deserves amnesty. We believe he should come back, he should be sent back, and he should have his day in court,” Rice told CBS’s Lesley Stahl.

Snowden is believed to still have 1.5 million classified documents he has yet to share.

Snowden, who’s living in Russia under temporary asylum, said he stole and leaked the documents to let Americans know that their personal phone calls and emails were being collected and stored as part of the National Security Agency’s fight against terrorism.

Stahl asked Rice if it wasn’t worth giving Snowden something to prevent the release of more documents.

“Lesley, you know I’m not going to get into a negotiation with you on camera about something that sensitive,” Rice answered, adding that she is not aware of any proposed arrangement for amnesty from Snowden.

Pressed by Stahl about the fact that members of the intelligence community have been untruthful to the public both in congressional hearings and in the secret FISA court, Rice responded that in some cases false statements have been made inadvertently, but were corrected once the errors were discovered.

Rice was United States ambassador to the United Nations on Sept. 11, 2012, when the U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya, were attacked, leaving Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead.

It was Rice who was given the task of appearing on all five Sunday morning talk shows todefend the administration’s position that the attacks were the result of spontaneous riots sparked by an anti-Muslim video.

The talking points from which Rice spoke, reportedly written by the CIA, were wrong. President Barack Obama intended to name her secretary of state to replace Hillary Clinton, but her role in the Benghazi scandal squelched that. Instead, she was named national security adviser, and works from Henry Kissinger’s old office just up the hall from the Oval Office.

Rice told “60 Minutes” she agreed to step in for Clinton on the talk shows because the secretary had just gone through a stressful week.

“Secretary Clinton, as our chief diplomat, had to reach out to the families, had to greet the bodies upon their arrival at Andrews Air Force Base,” Rice said.

Rice also defends the administration’s controversial deal to ease sanctions against Iran in exchange for the country cutting back on its nuclear capabilities. Critics have said the deal allows Iran to remain near nuclear status.

“Let’s be clear,” Rice said. “There’s no trust. There’s no naivety. The question is if a policy designed to put maximum economic pressure on them actually has come to the point where they are choking.”

Iran’s currency and oil revenues are down 50 percent, Rice said, and inflation is up

“They’re hurting,” Rice said, “And the question is are they hurting enough so that they are going to be willing to make some very difficult decisions that they’ve resisted making thus far and give up in a verifiable way this nuclear program? The answer is we don’t know. But the other half of the answer is we have every interest in testing that proposition.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

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