The Supreme Court Has Already Ruled on Homosexual Marriage

 

The Supreme Court Has Already Ruled on Homosexual Marriage

March 26, 2013 –

 
 

In the nineteenth century, the courts agreed that it was necessary for the State to acknowledge the biblical requirement of monogamy over against polygamy (many wives). Marriage is by definition a union of one man and one woman.

In the nineteenth century, the courts agreed that it was necessary for the State to acknowledge the biblical requirement of monogamy over against polygamy (many wives). Marriage is by definition a union of one man and one woman.

The courts justified their rulings because of moral absolutes found in the Christian religion. What was true of polygamy was equally true of homosexuality since homosexuality was illegal in all the states, including the Mormon-populated state of Utah. The arguments against polygamy applied to homosexuality with little or no debate.

In The Late Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints v. United States (1890), the court determined that “[t]he organization of a community for the spread and practice of polygamy is, in a measure, a return to barbarism. It is contrary to the spirit of Christianity and of the civilization which Christianity had produced in the Western world.”

If the Supreme Court rules to strike down the decision of the voters of California to prohibit homosexual marriage, there won’t be anything standing in the way of people who want to have multiple husbands and wives.

In his dissent in the Romer v. Evans (1996) decision, Justice Antonin Scalia wrote the following:

“Has the Court concluded that the perceived social harm of polygamy is a ‘legitimate concern of government,’ and the perceived social harm of homosexuality is not?”

In Davis v. Beason (1890) the Supreme Court came to a similar conclusion using a religious argument:

“Bigamy and polygamy are crimes by the laws of all civilized and Christian countries. They are crimes by the laws of the United States, and they are crimes by the laws of Idaho. They tend to destroy the purity of the marriage relation, to disturb the peace of families, to degrade woman, and to debase man. Few crimes are more pernicious to the best interests of society, and receive more general or more deserved punishment. To extend exemption from punishment for such crimes would be to shock the moral judgment of the community. To call their advocacy a tenet of religion is to offend the common sense of mankind.”

Without any way to account for making laws other than judicial or legislative fiat, anything goes if there is no outside reference point for judgment. What’s legal today could, on the judgment of five of nine justices, be illegal tomorrow.

There has been an almost universal prohibition of homosexuality, condemned by both church and State for thousands of years. “When the first great book on the English Legal system was written — [William] Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England — its author referred to sodomy as ‘the infamous crime against nature, committed either with man or beast . . . the very mention of which is a disgrace to human nature.’”[1]

As in England and the rest of Europe, sodomy was illegal in the thirteen American colonies. Nothing changed with the drafting of the Constitution in 1787. No supposed “right to privacy” was put in the Constitution that legalized the practice. These early Christian politicians, lawyers, and statesmen saw no problem in mixing religion with politics in the case of sodomy.

A ruling by the Supreme Court to legalize homosexual marriage will place a moral burden on 97 percent of the population that does not engage in homosexuality. Once homosexual marriage is legalized, every American citizen and business will have to submit to the ruling. And I can assure you that any resistance will be met with severe retribution by lawyers representing the powerful homosexual lobby.

 
The courts justified their rulings because of moral absolutes found in the Christian religion. What was true of polygamy was equally true of homosexuality since homosexuality was illegal in all the states, including the Mormon-populated state of Utah. The arguments against polygamy applied to homosexuality with little or no debate…
 

InThe Late Corporation of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Sa… (1890), the court determined that “[t]he organization of a community for the spread and practice of polygamy is, in a measure, a return to barbarism. It is contrary to the spirit of Christianity and of the civilization which Christianity had produced in the Western world.”…

In Davis v. Beason (1890) the Supreme Court came to a similar conclusion using a religious argument:

“Bigamy and polygamy are crimes by the laws of all civilized and Christian countries. They are crimes by the laws of the United States, and they are crimes by the laws of Idaho. They tend to destroy the purity of the marriage relation, to disturb the peace of families, to degrade woman, and to debase man. Few crimes are more pernicious to the best interests of society, and receive more general or more deserved punishment. To extend exemption from punishment for such crimes would be to shock the moral judgment of the community. To call their advocacy a tenet of religion is to offend the common sense of mankind.”

…There has been an almost universal prohibition of homosexuality, condemned by both church and State for thousands of years. “When the first great book on the English Legal system was written — [William] Blackstone’s Commentaries on the Laws of England — its author referred to sodomy as ‘the infamous crime against nature, committed either with man or beast . . . the very mention of which is a disgrace to human nature.’”[1]…
 
 
The legal door will be open for the next minority group to argue for their marriage rights. Don’t be surprised if NAMBLA (The North American Man/Boy Love Association) becomes more public with its claim that sex with children is just as valid as same-sex sex and multiple marriage partners.
 
 
What Did America’s Founding Fathers Think, Say and DO regarding Sodomy/Homosexuality/Lesbianism?
 
 
 
George Washington-
 
 
 
 
While the issue of homosexuals in the military has only recently become a point of great public controversy, it is not a new issue; it derives its roots from the time of the military’s inception. George Washington, the nation’s first Commander-in-Chief, held a strong opinion on this subject and gave a clear statement of his views on it in his general orders for March 14, 1778:

 

 

At a General Court Martial whereof Colo. Tupper was President (10th March 1778), Lieutt. Enslin of Colo. Malcom’s Regiment [was] tried for attempting to commit sodomy, with John Monhort a soldier; Secondly, For Perjury in swearing to false accounts, [he was] found guilty of the charges exhibited against him, being breaches of 5th. Article 18th. Section of the Articles of War and [we] do sentence him to be dismiss’d [from] the service with infamy. His Excellency the Commander in Chief approves the sentence and with abhorrence and detestation of such infamous crimes orders Lieutt. Enslin to be drummed out of camp tomorrow morning by all the drummers and fifers in the Army never to return; The drummers and fifers [are] to attend on the Grand Parade at Guard mounting for that Purpose. 1

 

General Washington held a clear understanding of the rules for order and discipline, and as the original Commander-in-Chief, he was the first not only to forbid, but even to punish, homosexuals in the military.

 

The Continental Congress and Noah Webster added-

 

 

 

An edict issued by the Continental Congress communicates the moral tone which lay at the base of Washington’s actions:

 

 

 

The Commanders of . . . the thirteen United Colonies are strictly required to show in themselves a good example of honor and virtue to their officers and men and to be very vigilant in inspecting the behavior of all such as are under them, and to discountenance and suppress all dissolute, immoral, and disorderly practices, and also such as are contrary to the rules of discipline and obedience, and to correct those who are guilty of the same. 2

 

Noah Webster–a soldier during the Revolution and the author of the first American dictionary –defined the terms “dissolute” and “immoral” used by Congress:

 

 

 

Dissolute: Loose in behavior and morals; given to vice and dissipation; wanton; lewd; debauched; not under the restraints of law; as a dissolute man: dissolute company.
Immoral: Inconsistent with moral rectitude; contrary to the moral or Divine law. . . . Every action is immoral which contravenes any Divine precept or which is contrary to the duties which men owe to each other. 3

 

Thomas Jefferson and the Several States-
 
 

 

Because of the nature of the crime, the penalties for the act of sodomy were often severe. For example, Thomas Jefferson indicated that in his home state of Virginia, “dismemberment” of the offensive organ was the penalty for sodomy. 7In fact, Jefferson himself authored a bill penalizing sodomy by castration. 8 The laws of the other states showed similar or even more severe penalties:

 

That the detestable and abominable vice of buggery [sodomy] . . . shall be from henceforth adjudged felony . . . and that every person being thereof convicted by verdict, confession, or outlawry [unlawful flight to avoid prosecution], shall be hanged by the neck until he or she shall be dead. 9 NEW YORK

That if any man shall lie with mankind as he lieth with womankind, both of them have committed abomination; they both shall be put to death.10 CONNECTICUT

 

Sodomy . . . shall be punished by imprisonment at hard labour in the penitentiary during the natural life or lives of the person or persons convicted of th[is] detestable crime.11 GEORGIA

 

That if any man shall commit the crime against nature with a man or male child . . . every such offender, being duly convicted thereof in the Supreme Judicial Court, shall be punished by solitary imprisonment for such term not exceeding one year and by confinement afterwards to hard labor for such term not exceeding ten years. 12 MAINE

 

That if any person or persons shall commit sodomy . . . he or they so offending or committing any of the said crimes within this province, their counsellors, aiders, comforters, and abettors, being convicted thereof as above said, shall suffer as felons. 13 [And] shall forfeit to the Commonwealth all and singular the lands and tenements, goods and chattels, whereof he or she was seized or possessed at the time . . . at the discretion of the court passing the sentence, not exceeding ten years, in the public gaol or house of correction of the county or city in which the offence shall have been committed and be kept at such labor. 14 PENNSYLVANIA

 

[T]he detestable and abominable vice of buggery [sodomy] . . . be from henceforth adjudged felony . . . and that the offenders being hereof convicted by verdict, confession, or outlawry [unlawful flight to avoid prosecution], shall suffer such pains of death and losses and penalties of their goods. 15 SOUTH CAROLINA

 

That if any man lieth with mankind as he lieth with a woman, they both shall suffer death. 16 VERMONT

Sourcing-http://www.wallbuilders.com/libissuesarticles.asp?id=101

Bengazi – Unanswered Questions or Obama Cover-up?

Bengazi – Unanswered Questions or Obama Cover-up?

    Yesterday, President Obama nominated a new ambassador to Libya to succeed Christopher Stevens, who was killed in the terrorist attack in Benghazi last September 11. Six months after that attack—and two federal investigations later—we still have an alarmingly small amount of information about it.

    The Obama Administration made quite a mess in the media with its conflicting accounts of the attack, originally blaming a controversial YouTube video for sparking protests abroad.

Watch our video about the Obama Administration’s conflicting accounts of the Benghazi attack

    After it came out that it was, in fact, a terrorist attack with ties to al-Qaeda, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shocked Americans with her statement, What difference, at this point, does it make? As Heritage expert James Phillips said, Clinton’s brush-off “indicates that the Administration misunderstands the nature and scope of the Islamist terrorist threat.”

    With a new Secretary of State and a new Libya team on the way, Benghazi can’t just be swept under the rug—because the safety of all of our diplomats is at stake. Both the State Department and the Senate have tried to figure out what went wrong in hopes of ensuring that such a tragedy would not happen again. So far, they have failed.

    Heritage experts note in a detailed new paper that “Fully understanding the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the U.S. facility in Benghazi is vital to preparing for future security threats to American embassies, consulates, and diplomatic missions.” Lives depend on what the government learns from this attack.

    Scott G. Erickson, Jessica Zuckerman, and Steven P. Bucci explain that four key questions remain unanswered:

  1. Which counterterrorism and early-warning measures were in place to address security threats?
  2. Which risk assessments were performed and which risk-mitigation measures were adopted before the attack?
  3. What kind of contingency planning was undertaken and exercised to respond to armed assaults against U.S. facilities in Benghazi?
  4. How was the interagency response to the incident organized and managed?

    These are fundamental questions—questions that should have been answered by now. And as the authors note, the conflicting accounts produced by the Obama Administration have made this inquiry unsettling from the start:

Given the conflicting narrative produced by the Obama Administration, there are two possible explanations. One possibility is that officials within the White House were uninformed, meaning communication with the State Department was woefully lacking. The other is that individuals within the White House consciously and deliberately promoted a public explanation of the Benghazi attack that was at odds with reality.

    Our experts recommend that Congress establish a Congressional Select Committee to find answers. This type of committee steps in when there are sensitive issues relating to security—Select Committees investigated both Watergate and the Iran-Contra affair.

    When dealing with the lives of American personnel abroad, it is not enough to issue a committee report. The State Department needs thorough answers, and then it needs to put the recommendations into action.

    The life of the new ambassador to Libya may depend on it.

Bengazi – Unanswered Questions

Lessons from Benghazi: Investigation Leaves Important Questions Unanswered

By Scott G Erickson, Jessica Zuckerman and
March 12, 2013
 
Abstract

    The September 11, 2012, attack on the Special Mission compound and annex in Benghazi, Libya, not only resulted in the tragic death of America’s first Ambassador killed abroad since 1988, it served as a stark reminder of the myriad dangers facing the nation’s diplomatic presence overseas. Following this deadly attack, an Accountability Review Board (ARB) was convened by the U.S. State Department with the task of investigating and reporting on the incident. The ARB’s findings, along with other investigations, serve as an indictment of the State Department’s unpreparedness before the Benghazi attack, and suggest a need for greater communication and transparency in preparing for, and anticipating, future dangers. Key questions remain and necessitate answers in order to better protect U.S. diplomatic facilities, and the people who serve in them, in the future.

    When armed terrorists stormed the United States Special Mission compound in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, killing Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, it was not the first such breach of a U.S. diplomatic installation. In fact, it was one of four such attacks that occurred over the course of the week in Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, and Libya.

    This recent spate of violence underscored the often tenuous relationship that exists between evolving power structures in the Middle East, as exemplified by the Arab Spring and subsequent regime changes in Egypt and Libya, as well as the sometimes precarious security of America’s diplomatic presence abroad. This phenomenon, however, is nothing new; nor is it relegated to the Middle East. Several significant acts of terror have occurred over the past 50 years, which have resulted in the deaths of American citizens deployed abroad.

    Given this history of violence, questions arise about whether lessons should have been learned that could have led to more appropriate action prior to the Benghazi attack. Questions also arise about the scope and nature of the information received by the State Department and White House before the onset of violence in Benghazi, and to what extent that information should have inspired a different course of action. Despite Congress’s efforts to investigate the events surrounding the attack, these and other key concerns remain unanswered. Fully understanding what and who was behind the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack on the U.S. facility in Benghazi is vital to preparing for future security threats to American embassies, consulates, and diplomatic missions.

    To ensure that the remaining questions are answered, Congress should establish a select committee, preferably bicameral, to examine the details of the attack and determine how to improve U.S. diplomatic security. At the same time, in order to address future diplomatic security, Congress and the Administration should:

  • Recognize the true nature and scope of the Islamist terrorist threat,
  • Conduct frequent and extensive threat assessments for diplomatic facilities abroad,
  • Combat stove piping in addressing diplomatic security and ensure a comprehensive government response, and
  • Require that the investigations result in meaningful legislative and executive branch follow-up.

History of Violence Toward U.S. Diplomatic Facilities

    During the second half of the 20th century, there were at least 40 major security breaches and attacks against U.S. diplomatic installations throughout the world.[1] In 1968, Viet Cong fighters stormed the U.S. embassy in Vietnam and engaged in a firefight with U.S. Marines. After nearly nine hours of fighting the embassy was secured; however, the attack unnerved the United States, whose presence in the region had begun only two years earlier.[2]

    More infamously, the Iranian Hostage Crisis commenced on November 4, 1979, setting off a diplomatic and national security stalemate that lasted for 444 days. In the wake of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, hundreds of students stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran, took over 50 Americans as hostages and effectively severed U.S. and Iranian diplomatic relations. The hostage crisis came to an end only on January 20, 1981, following the inauguration of President Ronald Reagan.[3]

    More recently, in 1998, the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed in near-simultaneous attacks that resulted in 223 deaths and over 4,000 injuries. The attacks were led by al-Qaeda, introducing the terror organization and its leader Osama bin Laden into the American lexicon.[4]

    On the same day as the attack in Libya, September 11, 2012, an angry mob in Egypt climbed onto the U.S. embassy compound in Cairo and tore down the American flag, resulting in a confrontation with security personnel in which 13 people were injured.[5] Less than two days later, hundreds of demonstrators also stormed the gates of the U.S. embassy in Yemen, smashing windows of the embassy building and burning cars. Fifteen people were injured before security personnel were able to contain the situation.[6]

    As violence erupted in Egypt, Libya, and Yemen, similar uprisings began to foment throughout the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. In Kuwait, nearly 200 demonstrators gathered outside the U.S. embassy chanting anti-American slogans.[7] Protests formed around the U.S. diplomatic presence in Tunisia, Morocco, and Sudan; protestors in Bangladesh and Iran took to the streets in similar fashion. Even more recently, and unrelated to the pattern of violence last fall, a suicide bomber at the U.S. embassy in Turkey left one dead and one wounded when he detonated his bomb at the security checkpoint.[8]

    Unfortunately these incidents represent only a fraction of the nearly four dozen known and significant acts of violence and aggression that have been directed toward U.S. embassies, consulates, and consular personnel over the past 50 years.

Libya, Pre-Attack

    In late 2010, popular uprisings across North Africa emerged in protest to the region’s oppressive autocrats. By February 2011, the Arab Spring reached Libya where the opposition sought the removal of dictator Muammar Qadhafi, who had ruled for over 40 years. With support from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the Gulf States, the opposition advanced from Benghazi toward the capital city, Tripoli. On October 20, 2011, rebels captured and killed Qadhafi outside his hometown of Siirte.

    Since the regime fell, Libya has struggled to restore stability. It took nine months after Qadhafi’s death for the opposition’s political body, the National Transitional Council (NTC), to hold elections. Despite electing a national congress and a president, the government has failed to unify the country. Armed militias have rebuffed attempts by the government to integrate them with the Libyan military, and extremist groups are active throughout the country. In particular, the report by the Accountability Review Board, convened by the Department of State, details incidents demonstrating the dangerous circumstances in which American diplomats were operating in Benghazi and elsewhere in Libya. These include armed robberies, attacks on U.S. and international diplomatic personnel as well as on nongovernmental organizations, including the International Committee of the Red Cross.[9]

    Furthermore, during the civil war, the regime’s arms warehouses were bombed and looted and their contents proliferated throughout the region. Tanks, machine guns, mortars, and rocket-propelled grenades are just a few of the thousands of weapons that authorities have reclaimed. While the United States, NATO allies, and Libyan authorities have had a degree of success in tracking down some munitions, large numbers are still missing. These include thousands of man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS), demonstrated to be capable of downing commercial jetliners.[10]

    Fallout has not been limited to Libya. Immediately after Qadhafi’s death, well-armed Tuareg fighters, once loyal to the regime, returned to their homeland in Niger and Mali. Those that returned to Mali joined the ranks of the separatist National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), which was already engaged in fighting the Malian army. This set off a chain of events that contributed to a military coup and the occupation of northern Mali by a coalition of Islamist terrorist groups [11]

    Ultimately, the inability of Libya’s fledgling government to implement law and order has contributed to insecurity throughout the region. Considering the violent conditions on the ground, it is evident that there was a clear and present security threat against U.S. interests in Benghazi, although no specific threat of attack on the Special Mission had been cited by U.S. intelligence. Nevertheless, despite the lack of intelligence on September 11, 2012, this threat quickly became reality when armed terrorists descended on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. In doing so, the attackers perpetrated an act of terror that claimed the life of the first American Ambassador murdered since 1988.

The Benghazi Attack

    Early in the evening of September 11, 2012, Ambassador Christopher Stevens ended a meeting with the Turkish consul general and concluded his workday. Shortly thereafter, just before 9:45 p.m., a mob descended upon the Special Mission compound.[12] The consulate building, surrounded on three sides by orchards and a soccer field, was quickly overwhelmed.[13]

    The compound was guarded by four unarmed members of the local guard group, the Blue Mountain Libya (BML); three armed members of the local militia, the February 17 Martyrs Brigade; and five U.S. diplomatic security (DS) officers. When the attack began, the February 17 Brigade members and the BML guards fled without raising the alarm. The DS officers, on the other hand, immediately raised the alarm, alerted the nearby CIA annex and the embassy in Tripoli, and went into action, trying to get the Ambassador and other personnel to safety.[14]

    By 10 p.m. the compound building was engulfed in flames. One DS officer was with Ambassador Stevens and foreign service officer Sean Smith in the “safe area” within the compound. When the smoke became overwhelming, the DS officer attempted to lead them out of the building through a window, but was separated from them in the smoke and chaos. Later, the other DS officers and the annex security team located Smith’s body. All attempts to locate the Ambassador were unsuccessful. All other American personnel retreated to the nearby annex.[15]

    At approximately 11:15 p.m. an unmanned aerial surveillance vehicle, diverted from another mission by the Department of Defense, reached the facility in Benghazi. After midnight, looters pulled the unresponsive body of Ambassador Stevens from the burning Special Mission building. The Ambassador’s body was brought to the nearby Benghazi Medical Center where he was attended to as an unidentified patient. He was declared dead at approximately 2:00 a.m.[16]

    Around 5:00 a.m. intense fighting again resumed, now at the nearby CIA annex where diplomatic personnel had holed up. American security forces, joined by recently arrived personnel from the embassy in Tripoli, engaged the terrorists in a ferocious firefight that claimed the lives of DS officers Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, both former Navy SEALs.[17]

    Fighting continued for several more hours before the first flight carrying American consular personnel left Benghazi between 7:00 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. Around 8:30 a.m., Ambassador Stevens’s body was brought from the hospital to the airport via ambulance. One of the DS officers that had been at the compound positively identified the body. By 10:00 a.m. the final flight carrying the last remaining Americans, including Ambassador Stevens’s body, left Benghazi, drawing the evening to its tragic conclusion.[18]

The Investigation

    On September 20, 2012, less than 10 days after the deadly Benghazi attack, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton convened an Accountability Review Board (ARB) to investigate and report on the attack in Benghazi. Clinton’s authority to convene such an inquiry stemmed from the Omnibus Diplomatic Security and Antiterrorism Act of 1986.[19]

    The omnibus bill, itself an outgrowth of a myriad of diplomatic security breaches and embassy attacks, stipulated that “[a] Board shall consist of five members, 4 appointed by the Secretary of State, 1 appointed by the Director of Central Intelligence.”[20] Such a board would be charged with responsibility for examining the “facts and circumstances surrounding the serious injury, loss of life, or significant destruction of property at or related to a United States Government mission abroad.”[21]

    Similarly, the Senate’s Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee (HSGAC) produced a report analyzing the conditions and actions that precipitated the Benghazi attack on September 11. Nearly three months after both investigations were initiated, the ARB and HSGAC issued their public findings, on December 18, 2012, and December 31, 2012, respectively.[22]

    The ARB, chaired by former Ambassador Thomas Pickering and retired Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen, as well as the HSGAC, issued a number of critical findings. These include:

Security Gaps.     Per international standards, a host nation is generally recognized to be responsible for helping to maintain the security of other nations’ diplomatic facilities within its borders. In Libya, however, the turmoil that followed the fall of the Qadhafi regime left the country without a strong central authority. More than a year later, Libya’s National Transitional Council is still struggling to restore stability. According to the HSGAC report, the State Department failed to augment the compound with additional security staff, despite being fully aware of the Libyan government’s inability to adequately provide security for the Mission in Benghazi. It was within the context of a recognizably deficient Libyan government support system that the United States relied heavily on local, indigenous security, namely the February 17 Brigade and Blue Mountain Libya.

    The reliance of the State Department on such local security groups, however, remains unnerving given their lack of skill, obstinacy, and near-abdication of duties following a dispute over salaries and working conditions prior to the September 11, 2012, attacks. According to the ARB:

    Although the February 17 militia had proven effective in responding to improvised explosive device (IED) attacks on the Special Mission in April and June 2012, there were some troubling indicators of its reliability in the months and weeks preceding the September attacks…. At the time of Ambassador Stevens’ visit, February 17 militia members had stopped accompanying Special Mission vehicle movements in protest [over salary and working hours]. The Blue Mountain Libya (BML) unarmed guards, whose primary responsibilities were to provide early warning and control access to the SMC, were also poorly skilled.[23]

    Indeed, the ARB indicated that it found little evidence that the February 17 Brigade and BML provided meaningful assistance in securing the facility in Benghazi during the attack.

    Also complicating security efforts in Benghazi was the fact that the Special Mission remained a temporary facility, the impact of which is twofold. First, personnel were stationed at the Special Mission for short periods of time. This made it difficult to develop consistent security protocols, and it also meant that no personnel were there long enough to become experienced in their roles. Second, there was a great deal of ambiguity surrounding security funding and resource decisions. Indeed, according to the HSGAC report, “Because the Benghazi facility was temporary, no security standards applied to it.”[24] This included the provision of physical security measures and barriers at the facility.

Leadership Failures.    Ultimately, the ARB found that responsibility for the gaps in security in Benghazi rested in part on “[s]ystemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department.”[25] The lack of preparation and adequate staffing likely resulted from an inchoate sense of where ultimate authority rested in making final decisions related to security staffing needs. The ARB concluded that among Washington, Tripoli, and Benghazi, “[t]here appeared to be very real confusion over who, ultimately, was responsible and empowered to make decisions based on both policy and security considerations.”[26]

    At the same time, security decisions appear to have been stovepiped, rather than being viewed as a “shared responsibility” among the appropriate actors in Washington. [27] Greater cooperation appears to be needed between the intelligence community, the Department of State, and the Department of Defense to protect American diplomatic facilities in the future. Indeed, in Benghazi, Defense Department–support decisions may have been hindered by the lack of shared information and operational awareness between the Defense and State Departments. The Defense Department’s Africa Command (AFRICOM) was responsible for working with the State Department in developing security assessments and evacuation plans. However, it appears that the State Department did not know how long it would take the Defense Department to respond in the event of a crisis, nor did the Defense Department seem to know how many individuals were present at the Benghazi facility—which is important to know in the event of an evacuation.[28]

Intelligence Deficiencies.    Addressing the intelligence gaps that preceded the attack, the Accountability Review Board found a discontinuity in the understanding, and anticipation, of terrorist activity at or near the Special Mission compound in Benghazi. “Known gaps existed in the intelligence community’s understanding of extremist militias in Libya and the potential threat they posed to U.S. interests, although some threats were known to exist,” the ARB concluded.

    Similarly, the HSGAC report concluded that the lack of specific intelligence warnings may have partially stemmed from the narrow focus of the intelligence community in Libya on al-Qaeda and its known affiliates: “[T]he activities of local terrorist and Islamist extremist groups in Libya may have received insufficient attention from the IC [intelligence community] prior to the attack, partially because some of the groups possessed ambiguous operational ties to core al-Qaeda and its primary affiliates.”[29] This finding seems particularly relevant given that the local extremist group that has claimed responsibility for the attacks, Ansar al-Sharia Libya, is neither directly tied to al-Qaeda nor a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization.

    Ultimately, both the ARB and HSGAC cautioned against an over-reliance on “warning intelligence” in preparation for the onset of violence at high-risk, high-threat diplomatic missions. [30] Instead, the State Department should increase its awareness of the wide array of other factors that could alert it to any rapid or ongoing deterioration of regions in which a mission is operating. Indeed, a wealth of information existed prior to the attack indicating that the security situation in Benghazi was deteriorating. This information could have been used by State Department officials to inform security needs at the Special Mission facility. Unfortunately, this reactionary mentality seems to be par for the course, as the Administration continues to broadly treat terrorism under a law enforcement paradigm that focuses on response-oriented policies and prosecuting terrorists. This approach takes the place of proactive efforts to enhance intelligence tools and thwart terrorist attacks long before the public is in danger. [31]

Secretary Clinton’s Testimony

    On January 23, 2013, after the release of each report’s respective findings, Secretary Clinton testified before Congress. [32] Her testimony offered few answers to the questions that remained. Clinton attempted to place the Benghazi attack within the historical context of violence against diplomatic missions and seemed to convey a sense of incredulity at the public nature of Congress’s inquiry. “This committee never had a public hearing about the 17 other ARBs because they’re classified,” Clinton stated. [33] Of the 19 ARBs convened since 1988, only two unclassified versions have been released. [34]

    The now former Secretary of State, while openly taking responsibility for the September 11, 2012, attack, downplayed the extent to which she was personally aware of the deteriorating security situation in Benghazi as well as the formal requests for additional security. Clinton testified that those security requests were handled by security professionals and did not reach her desk. Unfortunately, this equivocation does not indicate that Clinton’s office fully acknowledged its own failures in understanding and reacting to the evolving threat situation in Benghazi.

    In one of the most contentious moments of her testimony, Secretary Clinton reacted angrily to questions posed by Senator Ron Johnson (R–WI) concerning the nature and origins of the Benghazi attacks by declaring:

With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans. Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night, [who] decided to go kill some Americans? What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, Senator. [35]

    The differences, of course, between a coordinated terrorist attack, a planned protest, or an impromptu event spurred by “guys out for a walk” are manifold. Secretary Clinton’s argument lacked resonance because the advent of a coordinated terrorist attack could have been prevented through improved intelligence-gathering mechanisms and concurrent increases in security, a scenario far less conceivable in the face of a spontaneous riot.

Unanswered Questions Remain

    The ARB and HSGAC report articulated several areas where the State Department failed to properly anticipate and implement adequate security measures to protect diplomatic personnel in Libya. However, there remained glaring omissions within the reports. Many had hoped that Secretary Clinton’s testimony would shed greater light on the circumstances surrounding the Benghazi attack before its culmination and address many of these omissions. Yet, several key questions remain unanswered, including:

  1. Which counterterrorism and early-warning measures were in place to address security threats? To learn how to prevent future attacks against U.S. overseas facilities, it is necessary to know what counterterrorism efforts, if any, were in place to reduce the threat of an attack in the first place. Open-source documents reveal that eastern Libya has long been a hotbed of instability and that U.S. facilities in Libya were operating under high-risk conditions. More analysis and information is needed to determine which procedures were followed to identify and disrupt terrorist operations aimed at diplomatic personnel and facilities.
  2. Which risk assessments were performed and which risk-mitigation measures were adopted before the attack? Since the fall of Muammar Qadhafi’s regime, Libya’s fledgling government has been unable to stem the influence of extremist entities. The instability on the ground therefore created an apparent risk to U.S. personnel. Risk assessments that evaluate threats, criticality, and vulnerability are needed. Then, the most prudent combination of risk-mitigation measures can be adopted. Together, these methods are a proven strategy for enhancing physical security.
  3. What kind of contingency planning was undertaken and exercised to respond to armed assaults against U.S. facilities in Benghazi? Early-warning planning and risk assessments are essential to countering threats against U.S. personnel and facilities, but they have their limits. Incomplete data and inaccurate judgments are challenges that could result in unforeseen consequences. Contingency planning must be flexible and adaptable in order to ensure an adequate response to security threats. To fully assess the Administration’s response to the Benghazi attack, any future investigating committee would need to know which contingency plans were in place, how developed they were, and to what extent they were implemented.
  4. How was the interagency response to the incident organized and managed? When a crisis puts the lives of U.S. personnel and U.S. interests at risk, the whole of government should respond with all reasonably available resources. Future investigations should address the command, control, and coordination of efforts to organize and integrate interagency responses after a threat becomes evident.

    Clinton’s testimony aside, understanding the level of requests for additional security, or warnings of worsening conditions on the ground, that reached within the State Department, is crucial. This understanding naturally leads to questions regarding how deeply the State Department and White House have communicated on this issue.

    In the immediate aftermath and weeks following the Benghazi attacks, the White House promoted a narrative centered on the notion that an impromptu demonstration against a crudely made YouTube video insulting the prophet Mohammed unraveled into the chaos and violence that engulfed the mission in Benghazi. Although the investigation is still ongoing, evidence suggests that officials at the State Department and White House believed within hours of the Benghazi incident that this was not the case. Instead, they believed it was an attack coordinated by al-Qaeda and the Libyan group Ansar al-Sharia.

    Given the conflicting narrative produced by the Obama Administration, there are two possible explanations. One possibility is that officials within the White House were uninformed, meaning communication with the State Department was woefully lacking. The other is that individuals within the White House consciously and deliberately promoted a public explanation of the Benghazi attack that was at odds with reality.

Vulnerabilities Found by Government Investigators

    Long before the Benghazi attack, in November 2009, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released a report detailing U.S. diplomatic security challenges. The report found three specific areas of concern: (1) a greater number of missions in dangerous locations; (2) insufficient and inexperienced staffing and inadequate building security, and (3) a lack of strategic planning in diplomatic security.

    According to the GAO report, maintaining missions in increasingly dangerous locations had stretched the State Department’s ability to provide adequate security. The GAO found that the State Department was maintaining missions where it previously would have evacuated personnel or closed the post. Missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other unstable nations required “unprecedented amounts of security resources.”[36] For example, diplomatic security agents in Afghanistan and Iraq reported that safely transporting diplomatic officials was their greatest challenge due to the assets required. These include armored vehicles, contractors to maintain equipment in rough terrain, and in some cases an air wing for transportation, surveillance, and search and rescue operations.[37]

    The GAO also found serious challenges with security staffing and maintaining adequate building security. In 2008, around one-third of the State Department’s domestic security offices operated with a vacancy rate of 25 percent or higher, with some offices operating at as low as 35 percent capacity.[38] When GAO staffers visited three posts overseas, for example, they found that the Regional Security Office in Abuja, Nigeria, had only one of four assigned security staff members while the office in New Delhi “had only two of its seven allocated special agents until fall of 2008.”

    While the State Department tried to hire more special agents, it takes three or more years to train these agents, even after the State Department condensed agent training. Unfortunately, the pressing need for agents ultimately led to 34 percent of security positions being “filled with officer below the positions grade,” with such experience gaps threatening to compromise diplomatic security.[39] The GAO also found that “many buildings and their occupants may remain vulnerable to attack” due to a failure to meet embassy security standards.[40]

    Lastly, diplomatic security growth has been reactive, not strategic. While security will always be partially reactive, planning ahead is critical to ensure that staffing and resource priorities are met. The GAO found:

    Past efforts to further plan Diplomatic Security resources have gone unheeded. Diplomatic Security’s bureau strategic plan for fiscal year 2006 (written in 2005) identified a need to (1) develop a workforce strategy to recruit and sustain a diverse and highly skilled security personnel base and (2) to establish a training float to address recurring staffing problems. As of September 2009, Diplomatic Security had not addressed either of those needs.[41]

    Many of these gaps still remain today.

    In a hearing on November 15, 2012, the GAO stated that it had found that the State Department still “needs to take action in order to strategically assess the competing demands on Diplomatic Security and the resulting mission implications.”[42] Failure to remedy these concerns led to serious diplomatic security vulnerabilities at posts throughout the world, and will continue to do so unless they are addressed.

The Future of Diplomatic Security

    The attack in Benghazi and the most recent attack in Turkey on February 1 represent only the latest incidents in which the security of U.S. diplomatic missions was breached. The tragic loss of life that resulted from these incidents should not serve simply as a reminder of the many dangers facing U.S. diplomatic personnel abroad. They should also act as a clarion call for improving the standards by which diplomatic security is assessed and implemented.

    The U.S. State Department currently manages more than 200 posts throughout the world.[43] Most of these diplomatic installations require unremarkable security needs. However, many of the United States’ most sensitive diplomatic missions operate in tenuous security environments. It is in these areas that one most often finds the need for enhanced security measures.

    The findings from the ARB and HSGAC reports, and the fact that many of the most important questions failed to receive adequate scrutiny, should motivate action. Congress and the Administration should take the following steps to anticipate and mitigate the omnipresent threats facing the nation’s diplomatic facilities and personnel abroad:

  • Establish a Congressional Select Committee to find answers to remaining questions. Questions still remain after the release of the ARB and HSGAC reports, along with the related committee hearings, briefings, and letters to Administration officials. These various investigations have not only failed to provide complete answers to some of the crucial questions on embassy security and the events of September 11, 2012, but have at times resulted in contrasting and confusing accounts. There is historical precedent for the formation of congressional select committees in the aftermath of similar security crises—such as the Senate’s Select Committee on Presidential Campaign Activities in response to the Watergate scandal, and the joint congressional committee that was established to investigate the Iran–Contra affair. Such a committee would not only help to provide answers to the remaining questions surrounding the attack, but would enable the relevant congressional committees to work together to ensure the future safety of U.S. diplomatic facilities abroad.
  • Recognize the true nature and scope of the Islamist terrorist threat. Time and time again the Administration has failed to recognize the true threat posed by Islamist extremism. In the days immediately following the attack in Benghazi, the Administration failed to identify the assault as an act of terrorism, instead publicly subscribing to the belief that the attacks were born of a spontaneous riot. Not only does this show that the Administration may have failed to appropriately connect the dots following the attack, but also that it is continues to fail to grasp the ideological motivations of Islamist terrorists. So, too, it appears that the intelligence community may have failed to identify warnings of the attack due to its narrow focus largely on al-Qaeda and its affiliates, excluding groups not directly affiliated with al-Qaeda. In order to better protect U.S. interests in the future, both the Administration and the intelligence community must recognize that while Osama Bin Laden is dead, al-Qaeda, its affiliates, and other Islamist extremists continue to actively plot to harm the United States, its interests, and its citizens.
  • Conduct frequent and extensive threat assessments for diplomatic facilities. Such assessments should be made for any and all potential dangers, both anticipated and unanticipated, that could confront any diplomatic mission—especially those operating in high-threat environments. These threat assessments should include input from numerous agencies, including the FBI, the CIA, the Defense Department, and the State Department itself. The assessments should also include regular briefings reaching the highest levels of both Congress and the White House. As the ARB report highlighted, simply relying on “warning intelligence” is not enough. Risk assessments that evaluate threats, criticality, and vulnerability, along with a frank assessment of mission priorities, risks, and costs, should be conducted on a regular basis and used to inform security decisions and resource allocations.
  • Combat stovepiping in addressing diplomatic security and ensure whole of government response. As previously stated, when a crisis puts the lives of U.S. personnel and U.S. interests at risk, the whole of government should respond with all reasonably available resources. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has testified that there was not enough time to get armed assets to Benghazi to aid in fending off the attack. Nevertheless, investigations have also indicated that coordination between the Defense and State Departments on matters of security were lacking. Similarly, while enough evidence existed to suggest that the security situation in Benghazi was deteriorating, it was not used to inform strategic decisions. This also suggests a serious failure in communication and coordination. As the ARB report asserted, security in Benghazi was not recognized as a “shared responsibility” across the whole of government. This must change. Greater effort is needed to combat such stove-piping in addressing diplomatic security and ensure a government response to not only ensure that other nation’s diplomatic facilities are secure, but also to allow a swift response in the face of threats.
  • Assign a permanent Marine Expeditionary Unit to the Mediterranean. As Libya and many other Northern African nations remain politically unstable, it is necessary for the U.S. to deploy more robust, mobile, and flexible security forces in the region. The U.S. Marine Corps should therefore permanently assign a Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) to the Mediterranean to provide this capability. An MEU consists of roughly 2,200 Marines, three Navy amphibious assault vessels, a rapidly deployable infantry battalion, and various aviation assets. Because an MEU operates from Navy vessels, it can deploy relatively large forces to a point of conflict rapidly, while not having the diplomatic concerns of establishing a temporary base on foreign soil. A permanent MEU presence in the Mediterranean will also enable a robust force to evacuate U.S. officials and citizens from an area of tumult quickly and with reduced risk of harm.
  • Require that the investigations result in meaningful legislative and executive branch follow-up. Too often, security breakdowns are reported and recorded, and the recommendations are never implemented. Congress should enact legislation that requires the State Department to submit a follow-up report on Benghazi within a year specifically addressing the progress made on implementing the recommendations. It should also press the State Department to implement the recommendations issued by the GAO.

Ensuring that Lessons Are Learned

    The tragedy that took place in Benghazi on September 11, 2012, shocked and saddened the United States. Both the State Department and the Senate tried to figure out what went wrong, in hopes of ensuring that such a tragedy would not happen again. The State Department’s Accountability Review Board and the Senate’s Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee released unclassified versions of their findings. While many important issues were addressed, there remain glaring omissions that still need to be addressed. In order to better protect U.S. diplomatic facilities, these questions must be answered and a more focused and effective holistic government approach created from the lessons demonstrated by this possibly avoidable disaster.

Scott G. Erickson is a police officer in California; his focus is on identifying terrorist organizations. Jessica Zuckerman is a Research Associate in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, a division of the Kathryn and Shelby Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, and Steven P. Bucci, PhD, is Director of the Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, at The Heritage Foundation. The authors wish to thank Allison Center intern Sarah Friesen for her help in preparing this paper.

 
References
 
[1] U.S. Government Accountability Office, “State Department: Diplomatic Security’s Recent Growth Warrants Strategic Review,” GAO-10-156, November 2009, p. 11, http://www.gao.gov/new.items/d10156.pdf (accessed February 27, 2013).

[2] Maya Shwayder, “US Embassy Attacks and Bombings: A Recent History,” International Business Times, September 11, 2012, http://www.ibtimes.com/us-embassy-attacks-and-bombings-recent-history-782665 (accessed February 22, 2013).

[3] U.S. Department of State, Office of the Historian, “A Short History of the Department of State: The Iranian Hostage Crisis,” http://history.state.gov/departmenthistory/short-history/iraniancrises (accessed February 22, 2013).

[4] U.S. Department of State, “Report of the Accountability Review Boards: Bombings of the US Embassies in Nairobi, Kenya and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on August 7, 1998,” (accessed February 22, 2013).

[5] Mohammed Ghobari and Edmund Blair, “U.S. Embassies Attacked in Yemen, Egypt after Libya Envoy Killed,” Reuters, September 13, 2012, http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/13/us-protests-idUSBRE88C0J320120913 (accessed February 22, 2013).

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ivan Watson and Greg Botelho, “Guard Killed, Journalist Hurt in Suicide Bombing at U.S. Embassy in Turkey,” CNN, February 2, 2013, http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/01/world/europe/turkey-embassy-explosion (accessed February 22, 2013).

[9] U.S. Department of State, “Report on the Attacks in Benghazi by the Accountability Review Board,” December 2012, p. 15, http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/202446.pdf (accessed February 22, 2013).

[10] Morgan Lorraine Roach and Jessica Zuckerman, “MANPADS on the Loose: Countering Weapons Proliferation in North Africa and the Sahel,” Heritage Foundation Issue Brief No. 3763, November 5, 2012, http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/11/manpads-countering-weapons-proliferation-in-north-africa-and-the-sahel.

[11] Morgan Lorraine Roach, “Fixing Mali: Stabilized Governance Should Be the Priority,” Heritage Foundation Issue Brief No. 3757, October 16, 2012, http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2012/10/fixing-mali-stabilized-governance-should-be-the-priority.

[12] All times stated in the description of events are local times.

[13] U.S. Department of State, “Report on the Attacks in Benghazi by the Accountability Review Board,” and Joseph I. Lieberman and Susan M. Collins, “Flashing Red: A Special Report on the Terrorist Attack at Benghazi,” Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate, December 30, 2012, (accessed February 22, 2013).

[14] Ibid.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid.

[19] Omnibus Diplomatic and Antiterrorism Act of 1986, 22 U.S.C. § 4831.

[20] 22 U.S. Code § 4832 (a), http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/22/4832 (accessed February 22, 2013).

[21] 22 U.S. Code § 4834 (a)(5), http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCODE-2010-title22/html/USCODE-2010-title22-chap58-subchapIII.htm (accessed February 22, 2013).

[22] U.S. Department of State, “Report on the Attacks in Benghazi by the Accountability Review Board,” and Lieberman and Collins, “Flashing Red: A Special Report on the Terrorist Attack at Benghazi.”

[23] U.S. Department of State, “Report on the Attacks in Benghazi by the Accountability Review Board,” pp. 32–33.

[24] Lieberman and Collins, “Flashing Red: A Special Report on the Terrorist Attack at Benghazi,” p. 15.

[25] U.S. Department of State, “Report on the Attacks in Benghazi by the Accountability Review Board,” p. 4.

[26] Ibid., p. 6.

[27] Ibid., p. 29.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Lieberman and Collins, “Flashing Red: A Special Report on the Terrorist Attack at Benghazi,” p. 8.

[30] U.S. Department of State, “Report on the Attacks in Benghazi by the Accountability Review Board,” and Lieberman and Collins, “Flashing Red: A Special Report on the Terrorist Attack at Benghazi.”

[31] Ibid.

[32] Hearing, “Benghazi: The Attacks and the Lessons Learned,” U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 113th Congress, 1st Session, January 23, 2013, (accessed February 22, 2013), and Hearing, “Terrorist Attack in Benghazi: The Secretary of State’s View,” Committee on Foreign Affairs, U.S. House of Representatives, 113th Congress, 1st Session, January 23, 2013, (accessed February 22, 2013).

[33] Tom McCarthy, “Hillary Clinton Testifies Before House Committee on Benghazi–Live,” The Guardian, January 23, 2013, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jan/23/clinton-testifies-congress-benghazi-live (accessed February 22, 2013).

[34] Ibid.

[35] “GOP, Clinton Wrestle on Libya,” UPI, January 23, 2013, http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2013/01/23/GOP-Clinton-wrestle-on-Libya/UPI-20741358928000/ (accessed February 22, 2013).

[36] U.S. Government Accountability Office, “State Department: Diplomatic Security’s Recent Growth Warrants Strategic Review,” p. 23.

[37] Ibid., pp. 24–25.

[38] Ibid., p. 30.

[39] Ibid., p. 34.

[40] Ibid., p. 33.

[41] Ibid., p. 37.

[42] U.S. Government Accountability Office, “State Department: Diplomatic Security Challenges,” GAO-13-191T, November 15, 2012, p. 7, http://www.gao.gov/assets/660/650053.pdf (accessed February 27, 2013).

[43] Alex Tiersky and Susan B. Epstein, “Securing U.S. Diplomatic Facilities and Personnel Abroad: Background and Policy Issues,” Congressional Research Service Report for Congress, November 26, 2012, http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/row/R42834.pdf (accessed February 22, 2013).

Why Is Obama’s Growing DHS Army Buying Armored Vehicles and 7000 AR-15s?

Why Is Obama’s Growing DHS Army Buying Armored Vehicles and 7000 AR-15s?

Security: In addition to stockpiling over a billion bullets and thousands of semiautomatic weapons the feds would deny U.S. citizens, the vehicle of choice for fighting the counterinsurgency war in Iraq is appearing on U.S. streets.

    The sequestration question du jour is why the Department of Homeland Security, busy releasing hundreds, if not thousands, of deportable and detained illegal aliens due to budget constraints, is buying several thousand Mine Resistant Armored Protection (MRAP) vehicles?

    And just who are they intended to be used against?

    This acquisition comes on top of the recent news of the stockpiling by DHS of more than 1.6 billion (with a ‘b’) bullets of various calibers, enough by one calculation to fight the equivalent of a 24-year Iraq War, and the ordering of some 7,000 5.56x45mm NATO “personal defense weapons” (PDW) — also known as “assault weapons” when owned by civilians.

     Additionally, DHS is asking for 30 round magazines that “have a capacity to hold thirty (30) 5.56x45mm NATO rounds.”

     The Department of Homeland Security (through the U.S. Army Forces Command) recently retrofitted 2,717 of these MRAP vehicles for service on the streets of the U.S. They were formerly used for counterinsurgency in Iraq.

These vehicles are specifically designed to resist mines and ambush attacks. They use bulletproof windows and are designed to withstand small-arms fire, including smaller-caliber rifles such as a .223 Remington. Does DHS expect a counterinsurgency here?

    After IEDs began to take a toll on U.S. military forces in Iraq, the Pentagon ordered a large supply of MRAPs.

     “They’ve taken hits, many, many hits that would have killed soldiers and marines in unarmored Humvees,” Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a recent interview.

     A DHS officer, Robert Whitaker, stationed in El Paso, Texas, recently proudly described the agency’s new armored toy as “Mine-resistant … we use to deliver our team to high-risk warrant services … (with) gun ports so we can actually shoot from within the vehicle; you may think it’s pretty loud but actually it’s not too bad … we have gun ports there in the back and two on the sides as well. They are designed for .50-caliber weapons.”

    This is needed to serve warrants? Perhaps it might have been useful at Waco.

     So the question is what does DHS need 1.6 billion bullets, 7,000 AR-15s and 2,700 armored vehicles for?

    What are they anticipating or planning for, and why are few in the media and Congress asking about it, particularly in the light of daily apocalyptic bleats from the administration about sequestration cuts?

 

Obama Administration Buries Good News on Keystone Pipeline

Did the Obama Administration Bury Good News on Keystone Pipeline?

    In Washington, a presidential Administration releases news it doesn’t like at 5 p.m. on Fridays. So it pays to pay attention when everyone is leaving work for the weekend.

    Late last Friday, the State Department released a positive environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline. President Obama has been delaying this pipeline—which would carry oil from Canada to refineries in Texas—for more than three years.

    The delay has meant that America is still waiting on an additional 700,000 to 830,000 barrels of oil per day from a close ally, not to mention 179,000 American jobs.

    Why has this taken so long, when all environmental reports thus far have been positive? Heritage’s Nicolas Loris, the Herbert and Joyce Morgan Fellow, explains:

Given the need for jobs and more oil on the global market to offset high prices, the permit application had been moving along positively with bipartisan support without much attention until environmental activists made blocking the Keystone XL pipeline their issue to rally around for 2011. Although President Obama and the Department of State (DOS) said they’d make a decision at the end of 2011, they ultimately catered to a narrow set of special interests, punting the decision until after the 2012 elections.

    The State Department, which is overseeing the pipeline because it crosses a U.S. border, has “already conducted a thorough, three-year environmental review with multiple comment periods,” Loris reported last year.

    The review has been comprehensive:

DOS studied and addressed risk to soil, wetlands, water resources, vegetation, fish, wildlife, and endangered species. They concluded that the construction of the pipeline would pose minimal environmental risk. Keystone XL also met 57 specific pipeline safety standard requirements created by DOS and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

    Canada has oil to sell, and it isn’t likely to wait forever. Forbes writer Brigham McCown said that “Delays in approving the upper portion of the pipeline have bewildered many Canadians who see the U.S. as their closest ally and trading partner.”

    McCown pointed out that “Even without the pipeline, Canada will continue to extract the oil which would be most likely transported by pipeline and rail to Canada’s coast for shipment to Asian markets.”

    Because the State Department is overseeing the application, the new Secretary of State, John Kerry, will be giving his recommendation on the pipeline. Ultimately, the decision rests with President Obama. But Heritage’s David Kreutzer says Congress can, and should, step in if the President continues to block it:

Should the President reject Keystone again, Congress should wield its power to regulate commerce with foreign nations and approve the pipeline’s construction once the State Department again finishes its review of the rerouted project.

    These delays are pointless. The Keystone pipeline has passed its environmental reviews, and the Obama Administration is only hurting America by holding it up.

 
 

Where Is Congress? – What Oath of Office?

Why Is Obama’s Growing DHS Army Buying Armored Vehicles and 7000 AR-15s?

Security: In addition to stockpiling over a billion bullets and thousands of semiautomatic weapons the feds would deny U.S. citizens, the vehicle of choice for fighting the counterinsurgency war in Iraq is appearing on U.S. streets.

    The sequestration question du jour is why the Department of Homeland Security, busy releasing hundreds, if not thousands, of deportable and detained illegal aliens due to budget constraints, is buying several thousand Mine Resistant Armored Protection (MRAP) vehicles?

    And just who are they intended to be used against?

    This acquisition comes on top of the recent news of the stockpiling by DHS of more than 1.6 billion (with a ‘b’) bullets of various calibers, enough by one calculation to fight the equivalent of a 24-year Iraq War, and the ordering of some 7,000 5.56x45mm NATO “personal defense weapons” (PDW) — also known as “assault weapons” when owned by civilians.

    Additionally, DHS is asking for 30 round magazines that “have a capacity to hold thirty (30) 5.56x45mm NATO rounds.”

    The Department of Homeland Security (through the U.S. Army Forces Command) recently retrofitted 2,717 of these MRAP vehicles for service on the streets of the U.S. They were formerly used for counterinsurgency in Iraq.

   These vehicles are specifically designed to resist mines and ambush attacks. They use bulletproof windows and are designed to withstand small-arms fire, including smaller-caliber rifles such as a .223 Remington. Does DHS expect a counterinsurgency here?

   After IEDs began to take a toll on U.S. military forces in Iraq, the Pentagon ordered a large supply of MRAPs.

   “They’ve taken hits, many, many hits that would have killed soldiers and marines in unarmored Humvees,” Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in a recent interview. 

    A DHS officer, Robert Whitaker, stationed in El Paso, Texas, recently proudly described the agency’s new armored toy as “Mine-resistant … we use to deliver our team to high-risk warrant services … (with) gun ports so we can actually shoot from within the vehicle; you may think it’s pretty loud but actually it’s not too bad … we have gun ports there in the back and two on the sides as well. They are designed for .50-caliber weapons.”

    This is needed to serve warrants? Perhaps it might have been useful at Waco.

    So the question is what does DHS need 1.6 billion bullets, 7,000 AR-15s and 2,700 armored vehicles for?

    What are they anticipating or planning for, and why are few in the media and Congress asking about it, particularly in the light of daily apocalyptic bleats from the administration about sequestration cuts?

DHS Supplier Provides Shooting Targets of American Gun Owners

Company produces cardboard cut-outs of “non-traditional threats”: Pregnant women, elderly & children

Paul Joseph Watson
February 19, 2013

 
A provider of “realistic” shooting targets to the Department of Homeland Security and other federal agencies has created a line of “non-traditional threat” targets that include pregnant women, mothers in playgrounds and elderly American gun owners.
 
DHS_target1 DHS_target2  DHS_target3  DHS_target4

 

DHS_target5  DHS_target6  DHS_target7

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Law Enforcement Targets, Inc. is a 21-year designer and full service provider of training targets for the DHS, the Justice Department and thousands of law enforcement agencies throughout the country.

The company’s website offers a line of “No More Hesitation” targets ”designed to give officers the experience of dealing with deadly force shooting scenarios with subjects that are not the norm during training.” The targets are, “meant to help the transition for officers who are faced with these highly unusual targets for the first time.”

The targets include “pregnant woman threat,” “older man with shotgun,” “older man in home with shotgun,” “older woman with gun,” “young school aged girl,” “young mother on playground,” and “little boy with real gun.”

Why are top training target suppliers for the government supplying the likes of the DHS with “non-traditional threat” targets of children, pregnant women, mothers in playgrounds, and elderly American gun owners unless there is a demand for such items?

This is particularly alarming given the fact that the Department of Homeland Security has purchased roughly 2 billion rounds of ammunition over the course of the last year, enough to wage a near 30 year war.

In comparison, during the height of active battle operations in Iraq, US soldiers used 5.5 million rounds of ammunition a month.

The DHS also purchased no less than 7,000 fully automatic assault rifles last September, labeling them “Personal Defense Weapons.”

The fact that targets of armed pregnant women, children, mothers in playgrounds, and American gun owners in general are being represented as “non traditional threats” “for the first time” is deeply concerning given the admitted preparations for civil unrest undertaken by Homeland Security as well as other federal agencies.

A leaked US Army Military Police training manual for “Civil Disturbance Operations” also outlines how military assets are to be used domestically to quell riots, confiscate firearms and even kill Americans on U.S. soil during mass civil unrest.

This also dovetails with the continuing characterization of Americans who are “suspicious of centralized federal authority,” and “reverent of individual liberty” as “extreme right-wing” terrorists by DHS-funded studies.

The US military trained last year to take on another “unusual target” – zombies – which some fear is just a ruse to get troops used to engaging crowds of people with deadly force. As Alex Jones documented in his film Police State 2000, numerous “urban warfare” training drills stretching back well over a decade have revolved around incarcerating and battling the American people on domestic soil.

Note: The website containing these targets has crashed since this article was published, but this graphic shows a screenshot of the page with the URL visible.

Paul Joseph Watson is the editor and writer for Infowars.com and Prison Planet.com. He is the author of Order Out Of Chaos. Watson is also a host for Infowars Nightly News.

 

 

While America Burns, Washington Plays – Wake up America. You’ve been had!

While America Burns, Washington Plays
 
    Most informed Americans have read about Obama’s outlandish spending of taxpayer money while trying to place the blame for the America’s economic disaster on other than himself and Congress. While ignoring the lavish unnecessary spending on his and his wife’s travel, the golf outing in Florida with Tiger Woods, and the extravagant parties wooing the liberal rich and elite, the liberal media instead disseminates the lies and deceptions of those seeking to destroy the America envisioned in 1787. America is under attack from enemies, foreign and domestic.
 
    This Committee for the Constitution highly recommends two books, one addressing the attack on America, and the second discussing why all true science and history are ignored as we tolerate and elect those who rob us of our freedoms and deny us justice all in violation of the original intention of the Constitution. The first edition of The Attack on America was written before 9/11 and the revised second edition after the attack. The second book, Beyond Reason by the author of both editions of The Attack on America, is from a scientist, a 30+ year military veteran with a full experience and awareness of the  corrupted broken political/judicial arena. More than just looking at causes, problems, and faults, Beyond Reason offers insights, answers, and solutions.
 
    Congress has the power and authority to repeal any section of Obamacare, to repeal any part of the sequestration legislation, to remove judges who violate the original intention of the Constitution, to defund Obama’s and Biden’s egregious spending, and on and on. Wake up America. You’ve been had!
 

 

Firm details cyberattacks link to Chinese military

Unit 61398-PLA(China)     ( Associated Press ) – The building housing “Unit 61398” of the People’s Liberation Army is seen in the outskirts of Shanghai, Tuesday Feb. 19, 2013. Cyberattacks that stole information from 141 targets in the U.S. and other countries have been traced to the Chinese military unit in the building, a U.S. security firm alleged Tuesday. According to the report by the Virginia-based Mandiant Corp., it has traced the massive amount of hacking back to the 12-story office building run by “Unit 61398”, and that the attacks targeted key industries including military contractors and companies that control

energy grids. China dismissed the report as “groundless.”

By Associated Press, Feb 20, 2013 12:02 AM EST

AP Published: February 19

WASHINGTON —  Public evidence mounts that the Chinese military is responsible for stealing massive amounts of U.S. government data and corporate trade secrets.

A Virginia-based cybersecurity firm released a torrent of details Monday that tied a secret Chinese military unit in Shanghai to years of cyberattacks against U.S. companies. After analyzing breaches that compromised more than 140 companies, Mandiant has concluded that they can be linked to the People’s Liberation Army’s Unit 61398.

Military experts believe the unit is part of the People’s Liberation Army’s cyber-command, which is under the direct authority of the General Staff Department, China’s version of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. As such, its activities would be likely to be authorized at the highest levels of China’s military.

The release of Mandiant’s report, complete with details on three of the alleged hackers and photographs of one of the military unit’s buildings in Shanghai, makes public what U.S. authorities have said less publicly for years. But it also increases the pressure on the U.S. to take more forceful action against the Chinese for what experts say has been years of systematic espionage.

“If the Chinese government flew planes into our airspace, our planes would escort them away. If it happened two, three or four times, the president would be on the phone and there would be threats of retaliation,” said former FBI executive assistant director Shawn Henry. “This is happening thousands of times a day. There needs to be some definition of where the red line is and what the repercussions would be.”

Henry, now president of the security firm CrowdStrike, said that rather than tell companies to increase their cybersecurity the government needs to focus more on how to deter the hackers and the nations that are backing them.

James Lewis, a cybersecurity expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said that in the past year the White House has been taking a serious look at responding to China, adding that “this will be the year they will put more pressure on, even while realizing it will be hard for the Chinese to change. There’s not an on-off switch.”

The Chinese government, meanwhile, has denied involvement in the cyber-attacks tracked by Mandiant. Instead, the Foreign Ministry said that China, too, is a victim of hacking, some of it traced to the U.S. Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei cited a report by an agency under the Ministry of Information Technology and Industry that said in 2012 alone that foreign hackers used viruses and other malicious software to seize control of 1,400 computers in China and 38,000 websites.

Biden Spends $1 Million Annually for Weekend Trips

Monday, 04 Jun 2012 05:04 PM

By Ronald Kessler

 

Ronald Kessler reporting from Washington, D.C.

          Last June, President Obama appointed Vice President Joe Biden to root out wasteful government spending. But behind the scenes, it’s a different matter.

          Every Friday, Biden takes a helicopter designated as Marine Two from the vice president’s residence to Joint Base Andrews in Maryland and then hops on Air Force Two to fly back to his home in Delaware. At the end of the weekend, he returns on Air Force Two, usually a Boeing C-32.

          The cost of flying Air Force Two is $22,000 an hour, so each half-hour trip to or from Delaware costs about $10,000. Each golf game costs taxpayers $20,000. At that rate, the annual cost to taxpayers of Biden’s weekend trips is well over $1 million.

          In addition, the Secret Service rents more than 20 condominiums in the Wilmington, Del. area for agents who must accompany Biden when he returns to his home state.

          Biden’s press office had no immediate comment.

          “Biden leaves every Friday from Joint Base Andrews, so he gets lifts from the observatory via Marine Two to Andrews Air Force Base, takes off via Air Force Two, lands in Delaware, and stays the weekend and then comes back on Sunday nights,” says a Secret Service agent familiar with the trips.

 

          “Every three or four weeks when it’s warm, he gets up there on Saturday and then will fly back on Air Force Two,” the agent says. “While Air Force Two is sitting on the tarmac at Andrews, he goes and plays golf with the president at Andrews Air Force Base, gets back on the plane, and flies back to Delaware. Let me tell you something, that is egregious.”

          Besides that, “The Secret Service rents condos in Wilmington because his schedule is so fluid and never concrete enough to properly prepare for his visits to Delaware,” the agent says. “So they keep a fully staffed Secret Service advance team in Delaware in condominiums that we lease so that when he does these things back and forth to D.C., they’re up there ready for him to arrive.”

          The Boeing C-32 that usually flies as Air Force Two is a specially configured Boeing 757-200 commercial jet which typically requires a crew of 18.

          As a U.S. senator, Biden was proud of the fact that he commuted daily by train from his home in Delaware to Washington during the week. Amtrak named the newly renovated Wilmington station the Joseph R. Biden, Jr. Railroad Station. But after taking office as vice president, a Secret Service agent says Biden began the pattern of commuting on Air Force Two on weekends, costing taxpayers close to $4 million so far.

          As recently as May 12, Biden flew back to Andrews to play golf with Obama and with Biden’s second son Hunter and White House trip director Marvin Nicholson. They played 18 holes of golf for four and a half hours.

          Biden also plays golf at a country club he belongs to in the Wilmington area. The Secret Service agent says that since Air Force Two parks at Andrews, Obama is obviously aware that Biden is running up a huge government tab for each game of golf he plays with him.

          Asked if President Obama thinks these costs are appropriate, why he has not questioned Biden flying to play golf with him at a cost of $20,000 per game, and in view of these costs of $1 million a year for weekend trips, whether the vice president should no longer be in charge of cutting government waste, the president’s press office had no immediate comment.

          In addition to his salary as vice president of $230,700, Biden has free use of the vice president’s residence at the Naval Observatory. The vice president’s residence is a handsome 9,150-square-foot, three-story mansion overlooking Massachusetts Avenue NW in Washington.

          Complete with pool, pool house, and indoor gym, the white brick house was built in 1893 as the home of the superintendent of the U.S. Naval Observatory. Congress turned it into the official residence of the vice president in 1974 and gave it the address One Observatory Circle.

          During the day, at least five Navy stewards attend to every personal need of the second family, including cleaning, cooking, shopping for food, and doing the laundry.

          Biden has portrayed himself as a regular Joe, a product of a working class family who takes on millionaires and Republicans who are said to be out of touch with middle-class Americans. 

          Last June 13, Obama placed Biden in charge of a Campaign to Cut Waste, which will “hunt down and eliminate misspent tax dollars in every agency and department across the federal government,” according to the White House website.

          In an email, Biden told supporters that he was the “new sheriff in town.” He said that “particularly at a time when we’re facing tough decisions about reducing our deficit, it’s a no-brainer to stop spending taxpayer dollars on things that benefit nobody.”

Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. He is the New York Times bestselling author of books on the Secret Service, FBI, and CIA.