Sep 15

PDD 62: Counterterrorism Policy Prior to 9/11 -

"According to a newly declassified White House policy directive, counterterrorism policy has yielded “an increased rate of renditions, apprehensions, and convictions of terrorists,” as well as “a significant expansion of counterterrorism legislative authorities” and “a large increase in counterterrorism funding.”

But that White House directive — Presidential Policy Directive 62, Protection Against Unconventional Threats to the Homeland and Americans Overseas — was issued by President Bill Clinton, and dates from May 22, 1998.

Even the title of the directive, with its early use of the oddly dissonant term “homeland” to refer to the United States, suggests a greater continuity of government policy before and after 9/11 than may be generally recognized.”

Private Lawsuit Jeopardizes State Secrets, US Says -

Private Lawsuit Jeopardizes State Secrets, US Says

“Posted on Sep.15, 2014 in state secrets privilege by Steven Aftergood
The U.S. Government asserted the state secrets privilege last week in a private lawsuit to which the government is not a party and moved for dismissal of the case.

Greek businessman Victor Restis had filed a lawsuit last year against the private advocacy group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), alleging that the group had falsely and maliciously accused Restis of engaging in illict commerce with Iran. UANI, whose advisory board includes numerous former government officials, said the Restis complaint was “meritless.””

Holder Says Private Suit Risks State Secrets - -

"The group is not affiliated with the government, and lists no government contracts on its tax forms. The government has cited no precedent for using the so-called state-secrets privilege to quash a private lawsuit that does not focus on government activity."

Are We at War in Iraq and Syria? -

Let’s follow the Constitution. This is what it was written for. - David C. Unger

Onlookers Salute 'Old Glory' at Fort McHenry -

200 years later, bombs still bursting in air. They are not on autopilot. We are still a democracy. We get to decide. Not just presidents and their pollsters. Oh say, why can’t we see. - David C. Unger

U.S. intelligence agencies remain uncertain about danger posed by Islamic State - The Washington Post -

We’ve heard this :what if?” line before. Last time it was Bush-C. Rice on Saddam’s WMDs and Rumsfeld’s “unknown unknowns.” Spend your energy and capital on hypothetical threats and you miss the real ones. - David C. Unger

"In his speech, Obama laid out a rationale that leaned heavily on what-ifs. The United States has “not yet detected specific plotting against our homeland,” Obama said. But Islamic State leaders “have threatened America and our allies,” he said, and are on a path to deliver on those threats “if left unchecked.”"

Sep 14

A Risky Bet on Syrian Rebels - -

"America’s success at training security forces in other countries is mixed at best. Billions of dollars have been spent building up the Iraqi army, only to have key units collapse in the face of the ISIS invasion of Mosul. Unless the Obama administration can do better with the Syrian rebels, there is no chance the fight against ISIS can be successful."

“In taking this step, Mr. Obama is not only betraying the electoral majorities who twice voted him into office on his promise to end Bush-era abuses of executive authority. He is also betraying the Constitution he swore to uphold.” — Obama’s Betrayal of the Constitution (via azspot)

(via newsandtrade)

Sep 13

Government Push for Yahoo’s User Data Set Stage for Broad Surveillance - -

We are all the frog in the boiling water here. The new normal is what would have been totally unacceptable 20 years ago. This is how our constitutional protections disappear, with court approval - David C. Unger

"It’s hard to fathom after a year of revelations about widespread government surveillance of Internet users, but in 2007, the government’s authority to demand such data from technology companies without a search warrant was very much in doubt."

Sep 12

Legal Authority for Fighting ISIS - -

"Mr. Obama, who has spent much of his presidency seeking to wean the United States off a perpetual state of war, is now putting forward unjustifiable interpretations of the executive branch’s authority to use military force without explicit approval from Congress.

In May 2013, Mr. Obama argued in a speech that the 2001 law passed after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to wage war against Al Qaeda had become obsolete and ought to be repealed.

“Unless we discipline our thinking, our definitions, our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don’t need to fight, or continue to grant presidents unbound powers more suited for traditional armed conflicts between nation states,” Mr. Obama said at the National Defense University.

Now the White House is repudiating that thinking and making the perplexing argument that the 2001 law authorizing the use of force in Afghanistan and the 2002 law authorizing force in Iraq give Mr. Obama the power to battle the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, known as ISIS and ISIL, indefinitely and anywhere in the world. They most certainly don’t.”