Archive for the ‘Homeland Security’ Category

Newt Gingrich isn’t staying silent about the media’s crucifixion of Michele Bachmann, Louie Gohmert, Tom Rooney, Trent Franks and Lynn Westmoreland, aka the National Five. Gingrich used this Politico op-ed to ridicule the Washington elites from both parties:

The recent assault on the National Security Five is only the most recent example of the fear our elites have about discussing and understanding radical Islamists.

When an orchestrated assault is launched on the right to ask questions in an effort to stop members of Congress from even inquiring about a topic, you know the fix is in.

The intensity of the attack on Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) as well as Republican Reps. Trent Franks of Arizona, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Tom Rooney of Florida and Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia is a reminder of how desperate our elites are to avoid this discussion. Yet consider this rush to silence questions in light of our history of unpleasant surprises during the Cold War.

It’s shameful that political opportunists like Jim Graves and go-along-to-get-along types like Speaker Boehner and Sen. McCain have taken shots at Michele. I can partially excuse Graves because I don’t expect much from DFL candidates. I won’t excuse Boehner’s and McCain’s behavior because they should know that the National Security Five asked totally legitimate questions.

We have replaced tough mindedness about national security with a refusal to think seriously and substituted political correctness and a “solid” assurance that people must be OK because they are “nice” and “hard working” for the systematic, intense investigations of the past.

That’s the case the media and the left have made on Huma Abedin’s behalf. I’ve said throughout that I won’t accuse her of being a terrorist plant. There’s simply no evidence of that. I’ve been just as consistent in insisting that it’s perfectly legitimate for legislators to question the procedure by which she received a security clearance.

How bad is this denial? Here’s how bad it iss:

After Maj. Nidal Hasan shouted, “Allahu Akbar” (“God is great”) in Fort Hood, Texas, and killed 12 soldiers and one Army civilian while wounding 29 others, there was pressure to avoid confronting his acts as inspired by his support for radical Islamism.

An American of Palestinian descent, Hasan had been in touch with a radical American cleric in Yemen, Anwar al-Awlaki. He declared Hasan a hero. Al-Awlaki was himself declared a “specially designated global terrorist” and, with presidential approval, was killed by a predator missile.

Yet, despite the evidence, Wikipedia reports, “One year after the Fort Hood shooting, the motivations of the perpetrator were not yet established.”

It did offer suggestions about motivation, however. For example, “A review of Hasan’s computer and his multiple email accounts has revealed visits to websites espousing radical Islamist ideas.” Talking about Islam, he said, “Nonbelievers would be sent to Hell, decapitated, set on fire and have burning oil poured down their throats.”

A rational person would have some hints about what motivated a terrorist killing spree.

If even Wikipedia could reach some conclusion about motivation, you would think the national security system could do the same. Not so.

I wish I could say I’m surprised but I’m not. This administration say that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan weren’t wars but instead called “overseas contingency operations” and that terrorist attacks would be called “man-caused disasters.” Why should we be surprised that this administration won’t officially declare Maj. Hassan’s killing spree a terrorist attack?

Speaker Gingrich is a serious man when it comes to national and homeland security issues. It’s anything but surprising that he’s defending Michele and the National Security Five for asking unpopular but important questions.

If a few feathers get ruffled by asking the difficult questions, that’s the price that must be paid to do the right thing.

Mr. Graves’ cheapshot was a futile exercise in political opportunism. It wasn’t an act of bringing people together. It revealed his lack of foreign policy gravitas. It showed Graves’ willingness to play political games on important issues. Far from being the witch hunt that Graves calls it, it’s really a congresswoman taking national security seriously.

The reaction to the National Security Five and their request for investigations by the inspectors general must be seen in this context of willful avoidance and denial.

In fact, there is a good deal in the Obama administration’s national security and foreign policy to ask about. One theme of the inspectors general letters is the administration’s courting of individuals viewed as leaders by the U.S.-based Muslim Brotherhood. A recent terrorist finance trial produced 80 boxes of evidence related to the activities of the Muslim Brotherhood network in North America over the past 40 years.

Apparently, it isn’t PC to think that the Muslim Brotherhood wants to influence U.S. foreign policy just because there’s boxes of documentation showing the Muslim Brotherhood’s attempts to influence U.S. foreign policy.

The scandal isn’t that the National Security Five asked important questions. It’s that the media, Washington DC and political candidates turned this into a circus this easily. In that sense, it’s really an indictment of DC, the media and Jim Graves.

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Sunday St. Cloud Times includes an Our View editorial that demands Michele Bachmann prove a connection exists between the Muslim Brotherhood and Keith Ellison. The reality is that Michele Bachmann could provide boxes of documentation proving that connection and the Times wouldn’t believe it.

It isn’t that the evidence doesn’t exist. In fact, this Strib article ties Rep. Ellison to the Muslim Brotherhood:

Tax records show the group that paid Ellison’s expenses, the Muslim American Society of Minnesota, received nearly $900,000 in taxpayer money in 2006 and 2007 from a rental arrangement for Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy (TiZA), an Inver Grove Heights charter school.

MAS is the Muslim Brotherhood:

In May 2005, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross reported in The Weekly Standard that MAS is a U.S. front group for the Muslim Brotherhood, a claim supported by a September 19, 2004 Chicago Tribune story that stated: “In recent years, the U.S. Brotherhood operated under the name Muslim American Society, according to documents and interviews. One of the nation’s major Islamic groups, it was incorporated in Illinois in 1993 after a contentious debate among Brotherhood members.”

It took me less than 5 minutes to find that information. You can’t get more convincing than official documents filed with the State of Illinois saying that MAS is the Muslim Brotherhood.

Rep. Ellison argued that his trip was paid for by this charter school. He can’t hide behind that because they’re inextricably linked to the Muslim Brotherhood.

What’s more is that Rep. Ellison is the subject of an ethics investigation as a direct result of that trip. Isn’t it amazing that Mr. Krebs trusts someone who’s the subject of an ethics investigation? The only thing more amazing is that Mr. Krebs doesn’t trust Rep. Bachmann even after terrorism experts like Andrew McCarthy and Walid Shoebat said Rep. Bachmann was justified in asking tough questions?

That’s just the beginning of Rep. Ellison’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Over the Memorial Day weekend of 2007, Keith Ellison delivered the keynote speech at a MAS-Minnesota event. At the time of Ellison’s speech, MAS-MN’s website was littered with this anti-semitic filth:

  • “The Holy Prophet (and through him the Muslims) has been reassured that he should not mind the enmity, the evil designs and the machinations of the Jews, but continue exerting his utmost to establish the Right Way in accordance with the Guidance of the Quran.”
  • “In view of the degenerate moral condition of the Jews and the Christians, the Believers have been warned not to make them their friends and confidants.”
  • “If you gain victory over the men of Jews, kill them.”
  • “The Hour will not be established until you fight with the Jews, and the stone behind which a Jew will be hiding will say, ‘O Muslim! There is a Jew hiding behind me, so kill him.’”
  • “May Allah destroy the Jews, because they used the graves of their prophets as places of worship.”

It’s sickening to think that Rep. Ellison didn’t criticize MAS-Minnesota’s anti-semitic bigotry. Why does Mr. Krebs ignore this information about Rep. Ellison? Rep. Ellison didn’t speak out against this vile bigotry. What does that say about Rep. Ellison’s lack of character?

Shouldn’t Mr. Krebs and the Times’ insist that Rep. Ellison distance himself from this anti-semitic organization? They won’t insist on that because it isn’t the PC thing to do. Krebs and the Times will ignore Rep. Ellison’s questionable connections. We know this because they’re ignoring Rep. Ellison’s questionable connections.

Instead of questioning Rep. Ellison, they’re insisting that Rep. Bachmann is conducting a witch hunt based on conspiracy theories. It’s sad that their ideological blinders prevent them from recognizing how biased they are.

This week, I attempted to submit an LTE defending Michele Bachmann. I tried highlighting the fact that the questions Michele Bachmann, Louie Gohmert, Trent Franks, Lynn Westmoreland and Tom Rooney asked were both legitimate and substantive. I used information from Andrew McCarthy’s article to show that Huma Abedin’s parents had significant ties to radical Islam, including to the Wahhabist movement that produced 15 of the 19 9/11 terrorists.

Despite quoting Mr. McCarthy’s impeccable documentation for the LTE, Mr. Krebs told me that they wouldn’t publish an LTE based on “unsubstantiated allegations.” It’s insulting that Mr. Krebs would argue about “unsubstantiated allegations,” especially considering this research by Walid Shoebat. Shoebat’s research is detailed, on topic and damning. Mr. Shoebat was a “radicalized Muslim willing to die for the cause of Jihad” until his conversion to Christianity. Here’s what he said about the Muslim Brotherhood:

We focus on Al-Qaeda, yet the danger is not only from Al-Qaeda but also other Islamic terror groups. Our administration, however, focuses on a narrow tunnel. Let’s look at some examples: Abu Mezer, during 2007, intended to blow up a subway system. He was a member of Hamas, not Al-Qaeda. Najibullah Zazi was a member of Al-Qaeda, Shahzad belonged to the Taliban and Abu-Mezer was a member of Hamas; which one is a greater threat? All of these terrorists were influenced in one way or another by the Muslim Brotherhood, the cartel and mother umbrella of all terror organizations.

That isn’t the only thing Mr. Shoebat said that people need to hear. Here’s the other thing he said that people should know:

It is understandable that many want to get to the bottom of this story regarding Huma herself. Many even demanded that Bachmann offer a public apology to Huma Abedin. Others watch the media and listen to politicians that provide short, nondescript arguments. 

An apology by Bachmann in this case is unnecessary since we have established what is probably the most extensive research done to date on the matter; the readers can decide for themselves by examining the overwhelming evidence to see that, in reality, that it is Bachmann who is owed an apology and has a valid point to demand the vetting of Huma Abedin, the aid to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Bachmann’s focus was hardly on Huma Abedin, but the infiltration of extremist Muslims into government. An issue that was completely ignored is the level of importance that should be given to vetting government employees.

Walid Shoebat didn’t mince words in saying that Rep. Bachmann asked legitimate questions. Likewise, he didn’t mince words in saying that Republicans like Sen. McCain and Speaker Boehner spoke out against Michele and her colleagues because they wanted the media’s adoration more than they worried about doing the right thing.

Mr. Krebs admitted that Rep. Bachmann “literally does not accuse her of being a terrorist. But using her as an example has the same effect.” That’s a first. Mr. Krebs is accusing Rep. Bachmann of speaking in code. That’s a joke.

Michele Bachmann says what she means and means what she says. There’s no pussyfooting around with Michele. It’s what endears her to voters. It’s what gets her in trouble from time to time, too.

The St. Cloud Times’ credibility has been hurt. It’ll take time to regain their credibility. It’ll take a change in their practices, too, starting with eliminating Mr. Krebs’ bias.

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This video will infuriate law-abiding citizens:

Kerry Picket’s article includes the videotaped statements from Border Patrol agent George McCubbin III and ICE agent Chris Crane. McCubbin is the president of the National Border Patrol Council. Crane is president of the National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council.

This is part of Crane’s statement:

As another example, the incident in El Paso released publicly last week, ICE manager were provided with the following details. One, an alien was arrested by local police and placed in jail on two charges. Charge one-assault with bodily injury to a family member and charge two-interfering with that person’s attempts to call emergency assistance.”

“When ICE arrested the individual for immigration violations, he attempted to escape, another criminal offense, one agent was injured in the incident claiming the injuries were intentionally inflicted by the escapee, another criminal offense, of course assault of a federal agent, so in this case we have four possible criminal charges-two involving violence, one injured family member and one injured officer. Without any questioning—without any investigation, the alien was released as a dreamer. No criminal charges, no immigration charges, no nothing.”

“‘He’s a dreamer. Release him.’ Incidents like this happening around the nation lead us to believe that the new policies will be ineffective in terms of providing for public safety.”

Secretary Napolitano should resign ASAP. This is a major scandal. According to Picket’s article, Napolitano testified at a House Homeland Security Committee hearing. Based on Crane’s and McCubbin’s statements, it’s pretty apparent that she isn’t interested in enforcing the border. She’s interested in spinning her department’s policies:

Napolitano testified earlier in the week before the House Judiciary Committee and defended President Obama’s immigration directive saying, “Our nation’s immigration laws must be enforced in a strong and sensible manner,” She added, “But they are not designed to be blindly enforced without consideration given to the individual circumstances of each case.”

It’s more accurate to say that this administration doesn’t believe in enforcing this nation’s immigration laws.

There have been only 4 secretaries of DHS. Ms. Napolitano is the worst by far. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if she’d still be considered the worst a generation from now.

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First, I’ve met Jim Graves. He’s friendly enough but he isn’t the substantive candidate that’s needed to defeat Michele Bachmann. His latest statement on Michele’s Muslim Brotherhood flap isn’t substantive or accurate. Here’s the text of his statement:

Michele Bachmann just won’t stop.

Even after fellow Republicans have condemned her ruthless attacks, accurately comparing her to Sen. Joe McCarthy, she’s taking her dangerous witch-hunt to a new level.

She outrageously insists that people like Huma Abedin and Rep. Keith Ellison are part of a scheme to overthrow the government and institute Sharia law.

The evidence? Sixteen pages of Rep. Bachmann’s conjectures and wild conspiracy theories.

This isn’t the first time Rep. Bachmann has used these vicious and intolerant tactics to build her celebrity by appealing to the radical fringe. But let’s make it the last.

Sign up here to demand that Michele Bachmann end her McCarthy-style attacks and wild conspiracies.

First, Graves crossed the line when he said that Michele thinks “Huma Abedin and Rep. Keith Ellison are part of a scheme to overthrow the government and institute Sharia law.” That’s an outright lie. She’s never made that type of statement.

What Michele did, along with Reps. Tom Rooney, Lynn Westmoreland, Trent Franks and Louie Gohmert, was send “letters to the Inspectors General of the State Department, the Department of Justice, Homeland Security, Department of Defense and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence asking for investigations into the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood in these agencies.”

Since sending out those letters, Michele’s said on radio that she’s worried about the influence the Muslim Brotherhood might have on US foreign policy. In this Examiner article, I quoted Andrew McCarthy’s article to show how substantive and accurate Michele’s information is. Here’s one of the things Mr. McCarthy said:

Ms. Abedin’s father, the late Syed Z. Abedin, was an Indian-born Islamic academic who founded the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs in Saudi Arabia. That institute was backed by the Muslim World League. As the Hudson Institute’s Zeyno Baran relates, the MWL was started by the Saudi government in 1962 “with Brotherhood members in key leadership positions.” It has served as the principal vehicle for the propagation of Islamic supremacism by the Saudis and the Brotherhood.

That’s significant because of MWL’s connections with terrorist families:

MWL promotes Wahhabism, the extremist form of Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia. In the 1980s, the League’s Pakistan office was run by Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood and brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden.

Is Mr. Graves suggesting that we shouldn’t investigate a person whose father had ties to bin Laden’s family? I wouldn’t presume that this automatically proves that Ms. Abedin is a Muslim Brotherhood plant but I’d expect the government to investigate Ms. Abedin thoroughly. In fact, according to Mr. McCarthy, that connection alone might disqualify Ms. Abedin from getting a security clearance:

No criminal behavior need be shown to deny a security clearance; access to classified information is not a right, and reasonable fear of “divided loyalties” is more than sufficient for a clearance to be denied.

That’s been the policy for security clearances for at least 25 years.

Mr. Graves titled this statement “Witch Hunt”, supposedly to add dramatic effect where it doesn’t exist. Mr. Graves, if Michele is on a witch hunt, how is it that there’s this much substance to her claims? It isn’t just Ms. Abedin’s late father who had ties to radical Islam:

Dr. Abedin has led the International Islamic Committee for Woman and Child (IICWC), an Islamist organization that hews to the positions of Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, the Brotherhood’s leading sharia jurist. Like Brotherhood entities, the IICWC defends such practices as female genital mutilation and child marriage, which find support in Islamic law and scripture.

Huma Abedin’s father had connections with the bin Laden family. Her mother is a important part of an organization whose ideology would fit right in with the pre-9/11 Taliban in Afghanistan. Why would anyone think that she’d be worth investigating before giving a security clearance?

Seriously, if this is the witch hunt that Mr. Graves argues it is, why is Michele finding so many disturbing facts about a woman with a high level security clearance?

If this is the best attack Mr. Graves can muster against Michele, he’d best start writing his concession speech because that statement is crap that a lowly blogger like myself will blast to smithereens.

One last thing that’s worth noting. Andrew McCarthy isn’t some wet-behind-the-ears apprentice when it comes to terrorism. Mr. McCarthy was the lead prosecutor who convicted the Blind Sheikh of masterminding the first attack on the World Trade Center.

If Mr. Graves wants to attack Michele, he’ll have to prove Mr. McCarthy wrong. Frankly, I don’t see that happening.

The Sixth District needs a representative who isn’t an apprentice, someone who won’t need on-the-job-training in national security matters. That disqualifies Mr. Graves.

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As usually happens when Michele Bachmann speaks uncomfortable truths, the DC pantywaits can’t wait to criticize her. That was certainly the case when Michele joined with other conservatives in calling for an investigation into Huma Abedin’s ties to the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organization.

Thankfully, Andrew McCarthy, the man who led the prosecution of the Blind Sheikh, has written this brilliant article highlighting the connections between Huma Abedin’s family and the radical elements of the Muslim Brotherhood:

Ms. Abedin’s father, the late Syed Z. Abedin, was an Indian-born Islamic academic who founded the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs in Saudi Arabia. That institute was backed by the Muslim World League. As the Hudson Institute’s Zeyno Baran relates, the MWL was started by the Saudi government in 1962 “with Brotherhood members in key leadership positions.”

It has served as the principal vehicle for the propagation of Islamic supremacism by the Saudis and the Brotherhood. That ideology fuels the “Islamic extremism” that, only a year ago, had McCain so worried that he thought allowing the Brotherhood into the Egyptian-government mix “would be a mistake of historic proportions.”

Considering this administration’s drift from ally to Israel to meeting with the Muslim Brotherhood, it’s perfectly justified to ask what, if any, influence Ms. Abedin has had. It’s certainly worth noting this information:

MWL promotes Wahhabism, the extremist form of Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia. In the 1980s, the League’s Pakistan office was run by Mohammed Jamal Khalifa, a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood and brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden. Khalifa was the co-founder of the Benevolence International Foundation and he helped to finance Operation Bojinka, a foiled 1995 plot that would have simultaneously detonated bombs aboard eleven U.S.-bound airliners, blowing them up in mid-flight over the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea.

It’s impossible to think that the Muslim World League, which promotes Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia and helped finance Operation Bojinka, is anything but a terrorist organization.

At minimum, there’s justification to look into Ms. Abedin’s connection to the Muslim Brotherhood, which is what Michele Bachmann, Lynn Westmoreland, Louie Gohmert, Trent Franks and Tom Rooney asked the IG to do:

McCain blasted Representative Bachmann and the others, falsely accusing them of doing to his friend Huma what he had actually done to ElBaradei, namely, implicating her as “part of a nefarious conspiracy.”

To the contrary, the House members have drawn no such conclusions. Instead, they have pointed out the State Department’s dramatic, Brotherhood-friendly policy shifts during Ms. Abedin’s tenure as a top adviser to the State Department’s boss.

Sen. McCain’s temper might’ve clouded his judgment. That wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened. There’s much more to Ms. Abedin’s family:

And it is here that we get to Huma Abedin’s mother, the Pakistani-born academic Dr. Saleha Abedin.

Dr. Abedin, too, has been a member of the Muslim Sisterhood, “which is essentially nothing more than the female version of the Brotherhood,” according to Walid Shoebat, a former Brotherhood member who has renounced the organization.

One thing is inescapable: Michele Bachmann had more than ample justification for calling on the IGs to study these connections. While it’s true that she ruffled some feathers in saying what she said, it’s equally true that she said what the PC Establishment didn’t have the cajones to say.

Here’s a glimpse into what Dr. Abedin’s organization believes:

D / Sheikh Abdul Fattah

Confirmed that he personally rejected these amendments fully, especially the item on the rhythm of punishment including his daughter circumcised, either the father or the mother or the doctor; may not be criminalized or prohibition of origin is permissible in Islam.

International Islamic Committee for Women and Children

The criminalization of female genital mutilation (FGM), clashed and completely incompatible with Islamic law, which did not provide for the prohibition, as Dr. Yusuf al-Qaradawi is one of the drafters of the Charter, where he says:

“Juristic evidence and consensus on the inevitability of medical male circumcision only, while scholars differed in the female genital mutilation did not collect the mustahabb but they differed between being a duty or honor or desirable)

Apparently, Huma Abedin’s mother approves of practices associated with neanderthal living during the Stone Age. These aren’t the beliefs of people living in the 21st Century.

Rep. Bachmann’s statements have a substantive basis. The group’s request that the five departments’ IGs look into their request is more than reasonable. Meanwhile, Sen. McCain’s diatribe seems like one of his infamous temper tantrums, not the statement of an elder statesman.

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Despite Chip Cravaack’s fight to keep airplanes safe, President Obama intends to cut funding for the Federal Flight Deck Operations, aka the FFDO:

The Obama administration’s hatred for the Second Amendment has reached new heights. After nearly a decade of safe operation, the White House is looking to reduce the number of pilots who provide an extra layer of security against airborne terror by packing a pistol in the cockpit. This plan shouldn’t fly.

The federal flight-deck officer program was put in place as a direct response to the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists barged into the cockpits and seized control of airliners. The initiative provides $25.5 million for weapons training for pilots, including for cargo carriers and private charters. President Obama’s budget would slash the amount in half.

Uncle Sam spends about $4,800 per pilot for the training administered by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), but aside from that, it doesn’t suffer from the usual bureaucratic bloat. Participants must pay their own travel, lodging and meal expenses. About 10,000 pilots have been certified, but the Obama administration’s goal is to see the number of armed aviators dwindle.

God forbid that President Obama let a successful, well-run program continue. Chip Cravaack has the facts on his side. He used those facts to grill DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano:

Chip Cravaack took the training. He flew these flights. He’s an expert on this issue. Instead of listening to an experienced expert, President Obama and the most incompetent DHS secretary in US history essentially said “we know better.”

With all due respect, they don’t know better. If this decision is a matter of who’s best equipped to make this decision, then it should be Chip Cravaack, not a pair of ideologues who don’t have the first clue about this program.

This fits the pattern. President Obama’s ego won’t let him admit that he should listen to the experts. Secretary Napolitano’s incompetence won’t let her admit that she should let experts make the important decisions.

The reality is that this administration, especially Secretary Napolitano’s part of it, is exceptionally incompetent. When this administration’s epitaph is written, the word incompetent will have a prominent place in that epitaph.

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According to this report, Chip Cravaack’s latest bill would restore a little common sense to the TSA’s routines:

Battle-weary members of the military who have completed tours of duty in Iraq or Afghanistan would face one less hassle on the trip home if legislation passes the House today rewriting the rules for airport security screening of the armed forces.

“Our soldiers who are putting their lives on the line in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere should be afforded extra respect when returning home to their loved ones and shouldn’t be viewed as potential terrorists in our airports,” said Rep. Chip Cravaack (R.-Minn.), the bill’s sponsor.

“This legislation would require TSA [the Transportation Security Administration?] to develop a separate screening process for military personnel flying on civilian aircraft—it is past due for so many of our nation’s heroes serving our great country,” Cravaack said.

The legislation requires the TSA to create an expedited new system within six months for all members of the U.S. armed forces as well as their families traveling on official orders.

The new protocols include screening guidelines for military uniforms and combat boots, with the goal to reduce wait times and other inconveniences.

In April of 2009, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that vets returning from Iraq and Afghanistan would be considered as terrorist threats:

Right-wing extremists in the United States are using economic worries and the election of the first black US president as recruiting tools, the US government warns in a new report.

Fears of possible new restrictions on firearms, as well as troubled veterans returning from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, “could lead to the potential emergence of terrorist groups or lone wolf extremists capable of carrying out violence attacks,” warned the US Department of Homeland Security.

Thanks to Rep. Cravaack’s legislation, TSA will have to apply common sense when dealing with military heroes returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Why this wasn’t done before is a testament to the TSA’s foolishness.

Rep. Cravaack has done a fantastic job thus far. In addition to this common sense legislation, he’s helped push the EPA and the MPCA in getting the permits approved for PolyMet. He’s brough sanity to a federal system that’s been out of control for far too long.

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In an incredible interrogation, Rep. Jason Chaffetz utterly demolishes DHS Secretary Napolitano. Here’s the video of Rep. Chaffetz’ interrogation of Secretary Napolitano:

What’s stunning is the long list of “I don’t know” replies from Secretary Napolitano. The other thing that’s stunning, though predictable, is Napolitano’s response to Rep. Chaffetz’ question on what percentage of the border is secure:

NAPOLITANO: Oh, I think that having lived near…
CHAFFETZ: I have to go pretty quick here. I’m just looking for a number.
NAPOLITANO: Having lived and worked on that border most of my life, I’d say that it’s as safe as it’s ever been…
CHAFFETZ: But you don’t have a percentage?
NAPOLITANO: It’s an ongoing project.

She then admits that she’s never spoken to Eric Holder about Operation Fast and Furious. What follows from there borders on the surreal. Finally, towards the end of the interrogation, Rep. Chaffetz demolishes Secretary Napolitano:

CHAFFETZ: How is it that you can make the claim that the border is more secure now than it’s ever been and yes, the Obama administration purposely allows 2,000 guns to be released knowing that they’re going to go to Mexico with hundreds of people getting killed by those weapons? Two dead US agents and yet you don’t even know if we’ve even detected 1 of those guns.

In fact, on Jan. 14, in fact, you did detect someone in New Mexico. There were 8 guns found. They didn’t even run a trace on them and you let those guns go into Mexico. I find that absolutely stunning and for you to have two dead agents and to have never had a conversation with Eric Holder about Fast and Furious and about this is totally unacceptable.

It’s difficult, if not impossible, to believe that Napolitano is that stupid and that incompetent. It’s infinitely easier to believe that Napolitano was covering for the administration, being the faithful trooper who took one for the team.

Napolitano didn’t know how many agents had been killed along the border. Napolitano didn’t talk with Holder about Operation Fast and Furious. Napolitano wouldn’t admit that she knew about the flood of weapons pouring into Mexico, a claim I can’t believe. For Napolitano to then say that the border is more secure than it’s ever been is close to perjury.

We didn’t have a dozen border patrol agents killed during the Reagan administration, the Bush 41 administration, the Clinton administration and the most recent Bush administration. COMBINED.

We certainly didn’t have weapons pouring into Mexico at the stunning rates that they’re pouring into Mexico now. By every imaginable metric or statistic, the border has never been this dangerous. The cartels never posed this threat to Americans. The drug trafficking has never been worse than it is today.

I appreciate the fact that Rep. Chaffetz didn’t try keeping his cool in this situation. A dozen people dying as a result of this administration’s incompetence is something worth getting hot under the collar about. The DHS secretary not knowing anything on a wide range of issues is, likewise, something worth getting hot under the collar about.

For Secretary Napolitano to repeatedly state that the border is secure, everything is fine, etc., when American guns are flowing into Mexico and when Mexican drug cartels are killing Americans is infuriating.

That this administration hasn’t fired both Napolitano and Holder speaks, nay screams, to this administration’s incompetence and corruption. They’ve got to go. Next November can’t come soon enough.

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President George W. Bush weighed in with this statement after being told of bin Laden’s death by President Obama:

Earlier this evening, President Obama called to inform me that American forces killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of the al-Qaida network that attacked America on September 11, 2001. I congratulated him and the men and women of our military and intelligence communities who devoted their lives to this mission. They have our everlasting gratitude.

This momentous achievement marks a victory for America, for people who seek peace around the world, and for all those who lost loved ones on September 11, 2001. The fight against terror goes on, but tonight America has sent an unmistakable message: No matter how long it takes, justice will be done.

President Bush’s gracious congratulations to President Obama and to the American forces that ended UBL’s reign of terrorism is typical of him and his family. It’s also welcomed.

It’s also time for people from across the political spectrum to thank President Bush for his commitment to protecting America while preventing another terrorist attack after 9-1-1. By no means does President Obama have it easy protecting this nation. Still, he’s better off because many of the policies and procedures that President Bush put in place have made President Obama’s job easier.

After 9/11, President Bush was operating in uncharted territory against an enemy unlike any other we’d dealt with before. An enemy that wasn’t restricted by national boundaries. An enemy that didn’t hesitate in using children in destroying innocent human lives. An enemy so technically well-trained that they carried out attacks with deadly precision.

President Obama deserves the praise tonight for acting on the intelligence the CIA had put together. President Bush deserves praise for keeping this nation safe for 7+ years while navigating totally uncharted waters.

Most importantly, our intelligence community and our military deserve credit for gathering the intel and for killing OBL respectively. Without them at the tip of the spear, OBL would still be alive.

Tonight, there’s plenty of praise to be spread around. Let’s momentarily enjoy the moment. Then let’s return to vigilence.

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Jeremy Hahn spoke at last night’s session during the open forum time. Here’s a transcript of Mr. Hahn’s statement:

Hahn: I am a student at St. Cloud State. I’m the vice president of the St. Cloud State Aero Club and I’m an aviation student. I would like to speak on behalf of the Aviation Department and try and clarify some things that have been overlooked for the closure of the department.

First, I’d like to speak on the department. The aviation department is one of two 4-year bachelor programs in the state and is the only one accredited by the ABBI and with Congress trying to institute a 1,500 hour rule for pilot training, you need 1,500 hours to qualify for commercial airlines employment. The ABBI accreditation allows for students graduating from the program to be exempt from that. Closing the program would hurt central Minnesota’s and Minnesota’s ability to answer the demand for airline pilots in the industry.

As for enrollment at the Aviation Department, the Aviation industry parallels the economy. With the downfall of the economy, in fact the Congress raised the retirement age for pilots from 60 to 65. That was in December, 2007. There will be a demand increase in 2012 for pilots and without the St. Cloud State program, we will not be able to provide pilots for the industry.

As I spoke, I am a member of the Aero Club and it has been presented that the Aviation Department cannot afford to upgrade and operate a fleet of aircraft. The Aero Club is a nonprofit, incorporated association that owns its own aircraft and we receive no funding from the University and we have a contract with Wright Arrow, which is the flight training facility at the Airport. They also own their own aircraft and students from St. Cloud University do their training in these aircraft, which are not owned by the Aviation Department.

Therefore, no liability for upgrading the fleet is assumed by the department. It is for the Aero Club and Right Arrow to provide. ABBI does not require aircraft to have new avionics packages. However, the department did acquire this past year new equipment that will provide updated training for graduates.

After Hahn spoke, a Japanese aviation student spoke. I won’t attempt to spell his name because I’m certain I’m butcher it. The first point he made after saying he’s lived in St. Cloud the past 4 years is because St. Cloud State’s Aviation program is very affordable. He expressed concern “not only about the program and the economy but also the effect it will have on diversity.” He said that “hopefully, in the future, this city will be more global.”

I found these students’ arguments to be compelling. The fact that the Arrow Club and Wright Arrow maintain their own fleet of aircraft is compelling by itself. The federal government’s implementation of regulations that hamper pilot training right just prior to a foreseeable pilot shortage is bad policy. Keeping St. Cloud State’s Aviation Department open would supply pilots quickly at a time when there’s a shortage.

The fact that St. Cloud State’s Aviation Department’s prices are more affordable than others tells me that this is a department that’s being run right.

After these students’ presentations, Mayor Kleis spoke of the Aviation Department’s importance, saying that it’s an issue of economic development and important to St. Cloud’s economic viability.

Councilman Jeff Johnson, a faculty member of the Aviation Department, spoke briefly about Congresswoman Michele Bachmann’s and Congressman Chip Cravaack’s interest in this issue, both from a homeland security issue and from the standpoint of training young people to meet the expected pilot shortage.

Later, upon Mayor Dave Kleis’s recommendation, the city council voted on a resolution that a formal letter be sent to the St. Cloud State administration stating their support for keeping the Aviation Department open as well as expressing the economic importance of the St. Cloud Airport to St. Cloud’s economy.

The motion was made by Councilman Gerger and seconded by Councilman Hontos. Councilman Johnson recused himself from the vote, stating conflict-of-interest issues. The resolution passed with unanimous support save for Councilman Johnson’s abstention.

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