News/Campaigns/Homeland Security

News/Campaigns/Homeland Security

Guantanamo video game canceled

The developers of a controversial video game about Guantanamo Bay have pulled the plug on the project after complaints from veterans group.

The game, called "Rendition: Guantanamo," would have simulated a detainee escaping the facility by fighting his way through mercenary guards. Moazzam Begg, a former Guantanamo prisoner, was helping the company reconstruct the prison for a virtual environment.

Vets for Freedom, a group lobbying against the game, complained that Begg was a terrorist who was released for bureaucratic reasons.

More from the Washington Times:
A statement released after T-Enterprise killed the game Wednesday, said "first and foremost, the main character was NOT Moazzam Begg," which contradicts what the BBC News reported in May after an interview with Zarrar Chishti, the director of T-Enterprise.

In the BBC report, Mr. Chishti said Mr. Begg was not only going to help with the design of the prison for the game, but also that "Moazzam will do three days of sound with us then we will 3D-render him into the game."

Mr. Hegseth said he is proud of his organization's efforts to stop "Rendition: Guantanamo," but he thinks there is a continuing "problem of perception" regarding Gitmo.

"We need to keep on guys like Moazzam Begg and what they are trying to do in rewriting history at Guantanamo: That our troops are oppressors and that the detainees are all victims," he said.

Napolitano faces lawsuit over 'right wing extremism' memo

A conservative legal group has filed suit against Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano and Attorney General Eric Holder over the DHS memo warning of the threat from "right wing extremists."

The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Thomas More Law Center said the policy reported this week targets certain individuals and groups for disfavored treatment based on their opinions on political issues.

The suit, filed on behalf of radio talk show host Michael Savage and the anti-abortion group Center for Bio-Ethical Reform, seeks a permanent injunction against the policies outlined in the memo, as well as attorneys' fees.

"The [policy] is a governmental attack on the reputations of Plaintiffs that is designed to marginalize them and their opposition to the policies and the practices of the federal government, particularly including their opposition to the policies and practices of the Obama administration," attorneys wrote in the filing.

The suit, seen here, was filed in southeast Michigan's federal court.

VIDEO: King: Obama gets 'a pass' on DHS memos

House Homeland Security Committee Ranking Member Peter King (R-N.Y.) is giving President Obama "a pass" for the memo circulated by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) warning of the risks posed by "right-wing extremists."

"I'm giving President Obama a pass on this for now," King said Thursday morning on MSNBC, adding that he's asked Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) to investigate the origins of the memo.

King suggested that the authors of the memo might come from the "liberal" and "biased" wing of the Democratic Party, and encouraged the administration to reject such figures.

Still, King largely made nice with the administration, encouraging Republicans to avoid demonizing the president. The cooperative talk could signal a precursor to a rumored Senate run in blue state New York by King.

"We've had now 17 years of this stuff just trying to tear down the president and demonizing," King said, praising Obama's decisions on Iraq and Afghanistan. "There was no reason to demonize Bill Clinton, no reason to demonize George Bush. And we should not be demonizing Barack Obama."

Watch a video of the interview below:


Napolitano: DHS memo based on past experience

Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Janet Napolitano apologized to veterans and other groups who read a DHS memo characterizing them as a possible domestic security risk, but said the memo's contents drew on past experience.

Republicans have taken aim at the memo, which warns of risks from "right-wing extremists," as being a politically motivated emination from the agency.

"They're not accusations. They are assessments based on what's happened in the past," she said during an appearance on CBS. "The contents of that report are not anything that's inconsistent with what we have seen in the past."

"There are a number of things that are part of the environment that law enforcement deals with on just the situational nature," Napolitano said Thursday morning during an appearance on Fox News. "That was something we were alerting people to."

Napolitano said that she had been briefed on the memo before it was sent out to local law enforcement, and said she most regretted a footnote that characterized Americans focused on a single issue like abortion or immigration as a potential risk.

"If there's one part of that report I would rewrite, in the word-smithing, Washington-ese that goes on after the fact, it would be that footnote," she said.

Administration launches response to Mexican drug war

The Obama administration laid out its priorities to securing the Southwest U.S. border amidst a drug war in Mexico, committing to send some additional forces to the border.

Led by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano -- former governor of border state Arizona -- the U.S. government will spend $700 million to work with Mexican law enforcement to stem the drug war, and will invest in reducing the demand for drugs in the U.S. that is fueling the war in Mexico.

"The President is concerned by the increased level of violence, particularly in Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana, and the impact that it is having on the communities on both sides of the border," the White House said in a statement announcing the policy. "He believes that the United States must continue to monitor the situation and guard against spillover into the United States."

And, touching on the hot-button issue of illegal immigration, the White House was sure to note that the president is "firmly committed" to secure borders and reducing the flows of illegal immigration.

Feds Investigating 'Potential Threat' to Inauguration

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said Tuesday morning it is investigating information it had recently received regarding a threat to the inaugural ceremonies.

"The FBI, the Department of Homeland Security (including the [United States Secret Service]) and the intelligence community are coordinating with other law enforcement authorities to investigate and analyze recently received information about a potential threat on Inauguration Day," a Department of Homeland Security spokesman said. "This information is of limited specificity and uncertain credibility.

DHS said that President-elect Obama's transition team had been briefed about the nature of the threat, and had been "fully integrated into the process."

While DHS encouraged citizens attending the inauguration to go about their normal plans, they also asked those who came to be patient and vigilant.

DHS also said there was an "unprecedented level of security" at the inauguration, and said it was constantly reviewing its security measures as they receive additional information about threats.

Cheney Calls Rockefeller Wiretap Objection A 'CYA'

Vice President Dick Cheney suggested that Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) only penned a letter to the Bush administration objecting to its domestic warrantless wiretapping program to give himself cover, not because he really opposed it.

Cheney, on CBS's "Face the Nation," said that congressional leaders, including Rockefeller, didn't object to the government program to wiretap phone conversations without warrants when Cheney first told them about it in 2003. Rockefeller, then the ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committeee, later wrote a letter voicing his concerns about the program.

Cheney said Sunday he didn't know why Rockefeller wrote the letter.

"I always felt it was a bit of a CYA letter, that, in those crucial meetings, when we sat down to debate the program and tell them about it, in fact, everybody in the room signed up to it," Cheney said. "Nobody objected."

"CYA" is slang for "cover your a--."

Read below Cheney's full exchange with CBS's Bob Schieffer about Rockefeller and the wiretapping program.
SCHIEFFER: And we're back again with the vice president.

Mr. Vice President, in an interview last month with Chris Wallace over at Fox, you said that starting in 2001, the administration and in many cases you personally kept congressional leaders fully briefed on the program to monitor America's international phone calls without a warrant. You said that the Republican and Democratic leaders were unanimous when you briefed them that the programs were essential and did not require further congressional action. But the New York Times has noted that Senator Rockefeller wrote you a letter in 2003, reiterating concerns that he said he had expressed at those meetings that the programs raised profound issues and created concern regarding the direction the administration was taking.

SCHIEFFER: So were congressional leaders kept fully informed or were they not?

CHENEY: They were kept fully informed.

SCHIEFFER: Well, why would he have written that letter?

CHENEY: I have no idea. I know when -- what happened was the -- everybody who was in the room that day, for example, when I got the leadership down, the chairman and ranking member of the intelligence committees, including Senator Rockefeller, and asked them if we thought they should continue -- if they thought we should continue the program. They said yes. Do we need to come to Congress to get authorization for it? And they said no.

And he was there. He never objected or posed that in any way.

Later on, when this became public, when the New York Times broke the story, which, frankly, I think was an outrageous decision on their part -- they were asked by the president of the United States not to, on the grounds it would damage national security -- then Senator Rockefeller decided he wanted to hark back to this letter.

But the fact was he couldn't even find it. He had to call my office for a copy of the letter that he allegedly had written, some years before, raising some questions that he had about the program, but...

SCHIEFFER: Well, i mean, do you...

CHENEY: I always felt it was a bit of a CYA letter, that, in those crucial meetings, when we sat down to debate the program and tell them about it, in fact, everybody in the room signed up to it. Nobody objected.

SCHIEFFER: Do you feel you went too far, Mr. Vice President, in -- in your surveillance?

CHENEY: Absolutely not. I think what we did was one of the great success stories of the intelligence business in the last century. I think what the National Security Agency did under General Mike Hayden, working with the CIA, at the direction of the president, was masterfully done. I think it provided crucial intelligence for us.

It's one of the main reasons we've been successful in defending the country against further attacks. And I don't believe we violated anybody's civil liberties.

This was all done in accordance with the president's constitutional authority, under Article II of the Constitution, as commander in chief, with the resolution that was passed by the Congress immediately after 9/11. And subsequently, we have gotten the legislative authority, signed up to last year, when we passed and modify the FISA statute.

Rice on 9/11: I Take Responsibility, But System Failed

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice accepted some responsibility for 2001 terror attacks that happened under her watch, but she added that both the Clinton and Bush administrations failed to see them coming.

Rice, in an interview on CNN, acknowledged that the worst national security breach occurred when she was President Bush's national security adviser in September 2001.

"I do take responsibility," she said. "But this was a systemic failure. The United States of America had experienced terrorist attacks in 1993, in 1998, in our embassies abroad, in 2000 against the Cole, and then, finally, in September of 2001.

"But the fact of the matter is that we had not thought of this. We, the administrations before us, had not thought of this as a war against the terrorists that we were going to have to wage."

Rice didn't answer whether she considered resigning her post after the 9/11 attacks.

Rice also wouldn't say whether she voted for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) or Barack Obama in this year's presidential election.

"I know you're dying to know. But the fact is that I didn't get involved in partisan politics," Rice said. "I think I've made clear that I thought that both Sen. McCain -- John McCain and Barack Obama, the now president-elect, conducted themselves in a way that made the country proud. It's why people, I think, abroad were so focused on this election. That's true."

Biden: U.S. Falls Short on WMD Attacks

Vice President-elect Joe Biden said the United States is not doing all it should to prevent terrorists from gaining access to weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) after being briefed on a new report on WMDs released this week.


Pa. Gov. Rendell Accused of Sexism Over Comments

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell (D) said it is "perfect" Homeland Security Secretary-designate Janet Napolitano has no husband or children, drawing scrutiny from one TV personality who alleged sexism by Rendell.

"Janet's perfect for that job," Rendell was caught saying on an open microphone at yesterday's National Governors Conference. "Because for that job, you have to have no life. Janet has no family. Perfect."

Rendell added that the job may require as much as 19 to 20 hours a day in devotion, implying that the lack of a family would make her more able to engage the job.

One TV anchor, CNN's Campbell Brown, said the comments were a marker of sexism, and "perpetuate stereotypes that put us in boxes, both mothers and single women."

Napolitano's Bush administration predecessors, Secretaries Tom Ridge and Michael Chertoff, are both married with children