Homeland Security

Beyond Boston: Global security and intelligence

Who would of thought to see the Russian ambassador sitting between two of America’s intelligence anchors to discuss cooperation and collaboration?

On May 28, just after Memorial Day, the Institute for Education (IFE) hosted three esteemed members of Washington’s brain trust at the Federal City Council to discuss how the U.S. national security landscape has changed in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing in April. As part of IFE’s INFO Global Connections Series Roundtable, His Excellency Sergey Kislyak, Russian ambassador to the U.S.; Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA and National Security Agency; and Ambassador John Negroponte, former director of National Intelligence, shared their thoughts, in particular, on the balance Americans have struck between security and freedom.

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Not ready to fight

The language of the daily newspaper, at least the doorway to what is behind in mind and soul, and initial-response headlines this morning suggest we are not yet fully ready to defend ourselves.

A Drudge Report headline, for example, tells that Fox (correctly) pulls an episode of the (loathsome) "Family Guy" show with a joke about people being killed during a Boston Marathon.

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Benghazi, Boston, Bill Ayers all terrorism

Glad I can clear that up for you Mr. President, David Axelrod and Chris Matthews.

President Obama's consistent reluctance to call violent acts of terrorism "terrorism" is becoming increasingly more disturbing, with him taking a full day to refer to the Boston bombing as an "act of terror."

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Can the Republican Party recover from Iraq? Can America?

Ten years after the invasion of Iraq, the only prominent loyalists are the Weekly Standard’s William Kristol and his neocon posse. Interestingly, all the prominent papers and media like The Washington Post and "The Newshour with Jim Lehrer," which followed like a flock of pigeons, have 10 years later demurred. They should clear the decks now and retreat in infamy.

Peggy Noonan asks today in The Wall Street Journal if the Republican Party can recover from Iraq. Partially. We start again with the Pauls. The better question is can America recover. Yes, but a new America – Rand Paul’s, Judge Andrew Napolitano’s and even Sarah Palin’s has already emerged. And at CPAC 2013 this month it established dominance.

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Juan Williams wrong to criticize Rand Paul's drone filibuster

While I often agree with Juan Williams and stand second to none in my opposition to abusive filibusters, I strongly disagree with his criticism of Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) in his column regarding Paul's talking filibuster last week.

I supported Paul's action and urged other progressives to support it so long as the purpose was not to deny John Brennan's confirmation as CIA director but to elevate important issues that should be unacceptable in our country: whether American citizens can be killed on American soil by the American government using drones, and the government justifying this practice with secret legal opinions.

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Rand Paul is right about drones and liberals should join him

Even two broken clocks agree with each other at some point. I believe Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has performed a service with his talking filibuster against current U.S. drone policy, so long as John Brennan is promptly confirmed now that the point has been made. In my view, if the U.S. can target a known terrorist in a nation such as Yemen, kill him. However, when drones are used obsessively and more civilians are inadvertently killed, this is bad. When the claim is made that drones can be used on American soil against American citizens under secret legal authorization that neither Congress nor the American people know about, this is flat-out wrong.

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Leaving innovation in the dark

China and Russia are gnawing at the bit to access our “secured” online universe, and Congress appears content to shut the power off on ourselves, leaving innovation in the dark. While there is no part of the left’s manifesto that encourages collaboration with America’s businesses, it needs to happen. Cooperation between the private and public sectors is essential to beat the opposition. Current measures in this Congress would instead force the U.S. to watch as foreign cyber-platoons advance in front of us.

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Islamic terrorists remain a serious threat

Have we become complacent to the continuous threat posed by Islamic extremists? I fear that we have been so conditioned not to disparage the practices of other cultures that we continue to ignore this evil microbe among us. We have been so brainwashed about what's politically correct that we forget about what's morally correct. We forget that thousands of Muslim women are being enslaved by archaic religious practices. We forget that Muslim children are being taught to blame all the problems of their lives on Western culture. We even forget about the men who are being told to strap bombs onto their bodies and detonate themselves in public squares and unsuspecting places.

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The smoking memo

I’ve commented before (4/27/09, 5/8/09, 11/24/09 and 5/16/11) on the Bush post-9/11 policies about torture and the specious legal rationales for it.

Today, a report in Salon disclosed that a former State Department counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Philip Zelikow, wrote an official memo critical of the proposed “enhanced interrogation techniques,” a charming phrase giving cover to what is really torture. According to the Zelikow report, the CIA’s use of “waterboarding, walling, dousing, stress positions and cramped confinement” was unprecedented in our prior wars and should be deemed unconstitutional (cruel and unusual punishment) and illegal. It “shocks the conscience,” a term the U.S. Supreme Court once coined to describe government behavior that should not be protected, no matter what the provocation.

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Revisiting 9/11 from foreign soil

This week from my hotel room in Lagos, Nigeria, for the first time in almost 10 years, I watched the towers fall. I listened to the tales of widows, friends and comrades as they recounted that day. I saw footage I’d never seen of firefighters running into the towers as others staggered out, and once again remembered the virtues of courage, sacrifice and what it truly means to be a hero. And I was overwhelmed with emotion. Just as hard a time as I had that day, maybe even more so because of what we’ve been through and where we are as a nation 10 years later.

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