Ben Weingarten

Reader. Writer. Thinker. Commentator. Truth Seeker.

Tag: Benghazi

Disturbing Admission of Former CIA Director Inadvertently Illustrates Disastrous Politicization

Gen. Michael Hayden, the former NSA and CIA director, has inadvertently revealed the ultimate subtext for the political establishment’s antagonism towards President Trump.

He writes in a recent New York Times editorial:

When asked for counsel these days by officers who are already in government, especially more junior ones, I remind them of their duty to help the president succeed. But then I add: ‘Protect yourself. Take notes and save them. And above all, protect the institution. America still needs it. [Emphasis mine]

This is the buried lede in an essay adapted from Gen. Hayden’s forthcoming book The Assault on Intelligence: American National Security in an Age of Lies.

The focus of his piece is that we are moving into a new “post-truth era,” making it impossible for intelligence agencies to do their job.

But as I show in a new piece at The Federalist, this premise masks the true animating factor behind the words and deeds of the national security and foreign policy establishment in relation to President Trump from the 2016 campaign on.

The establishment has served under presidents before who have not been, to put it politely, paragons of truth and virtue — sometimes to the great detriment of our national security.

What really differentiates the current president from his predecessors is his willingness to speak one major inconvenient truth: The world has gotten progressively more dangerous and chaotic under establishment leadership in the post-Cold War era, in particular under the Obama-Clinton administration.

Calling out this failure, and challenging the worldview that has led to the actions that caused it, is what these individuals cannot abide because it represents an attack on their power, influence and credibility.

“[A]bove all, protect[ing the institution” is a sentiment that would suggest those in our bureaucracies would condone all manner of actions that undermine our constitutional order.

And what have we seen over the last two years in the national security and foreign policy establishment, as well as our justice system?

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Guest-Hosting Newsmax TV’s ‘DML Unfiltered:’ Willful Blindness Towards Jihadism in American National Security, Benghazi, Turkey, War on Cops and More

Last night I had the great opportunity to guest host Newsmax TV‘s “DML Unfiltered.”

Check out the five segments below:

Senator Ted Cruz-Led Willful Blindness Hearing Panelist Chris Allen Gaubatz on Hamas-Linked CAIR’s Damage to National Security, Federal Government’s See-No-Jihad Policy

House Benghazi Committee Findings, Gunrunning to Jihadists, and the Disaster of Hillary Clinton’s Libyan Intervention with Former CIA Agent Clare Lopez

Manhattan Institute’s Heather Mac Donald on The War on Cops, “Ferguson Effect” and More

Ex-CIA Agent Mike Baker and Green Beret Jason Beardsley on the Istanbul Airport Attack, Our Strategic Interest in Turkey, Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) vs. Counterjihadism

The State of the Presidential Election: Analyzing Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton’s Unpopularity, Strengths and Weaknesses

Featured Image Source: Newsmax TV.

The Unredacted Huma Abedin-Hillary Clinton Email on Libya, Weapons and Former Rep. Mike Rogers

In working through some of the 7,000 Hillary Clinton emails released by the State Department yesterday, I came across one curious one sent from aide Huma Abedin to the then-Secretary of State regarding a Koran-burning in the U.S.

Here is another intriguing email:

It is noteworthy that this message on a sensitive subject — presumably about a meeting between then-Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) and Sec. of State Clinton on weapons collections in Libya — would be left unredacted, while many other emails in the Clinton trove are redacted in toto.

This may be because news reports around the September 10, 2011 email date indicate that Rep. Rogers, former Chair of the House Intelligence Committee, was concerned that weapons including anti-aircraft missiles could get into the “hands of bad actors” in the wake of the fall of former Prime Minister Muammar Gaddafi.

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Why Did Huma Abedin Feel the Need to Bring the Desecration of a Koran to Sec of State Clinton’s Attention?

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was understandably kept abreast of all manner of news from all over the world during her tenure as Secretary of State.

But buried amidst the thousands of emails recently released by the State Department is one news report of particular interest sent from top Clinton aide Huma Abedin.

Here is Abedin’s note:

Unclassified email from Huma Abedin to Hillary Clinton dated September 12, 2010 and released August 31, 2015. Doc No. C05772407.

Unclassified email from Huma Abedin to Hillary Clinton dated September 12, 2010 and released August 31, 2015. Doc No. C05772407.

This email begs the question: Why did Huma Abedin feel the need to bring the desecration of a Koran in East Lansing, MI to the attention of the Secretary of State?

Did Abedin feel that Clinton might be concerned about the news “inciting” attacks in America or abroad?

Might she have felt that such a story could be leveraged politically?

Was it just something Abedin as a Muslim found personally reprehensible, that she felt her confidant ought to be made aware of?

Actions like Koran-burning presumably would have been important to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, given her stated support for suppressing such activity.

As I noted elsewhere:

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Hillary Clinton’s Hypocritical and Totalitarian War on Free Speech

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has suggested that a key litmus test in evaluating prospective Supreme Court appointees would be their willingness to challenge “the right of billionaires to buy elections.”

Presumably, a suitable judge would indicate a desire to overturn the Citizens United decision that struck down a ban on political expenditures by corporations and unions ruled to violate the First Amendment protection of free speech – a case coincidentally centered on Citizen United’s attempt to advertise for and air a film critical of none other than Clinton.

Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to the reporters at United Nations headquarters, Tuesday, March 10, 2015. Clinton conceded that she should have used a government email to conduct business as secretary of state, saying her decision was simply a matter of "convenience." (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks to the reporters at United Nations headquarters, Tuesday, March 10, 2015. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

In light of recent allegations swirling around the presidential favorite, Clinton’s support of such a position is highly ironic.

For while the former secretary of State may oppose the rights of the wealthy to spend money on politics, she seems to have no such concern with the wealthy spending money on the Clinton Foundation and her husband Bill – all while Hillary served in the Obama administration.

Would Clinton seek a Supreme Court justice who would protect the rights of the likes of Carlos Slim and James Murdoch to contribute to the favored cause of a politician and shower the politician’s spouse with millions for speaking engagements?

If so, this apparent hypocrisy can be read in one of two ways:

  1. Clinton believes that money does not have a corrupting influence so long as it is funneled through “indirect” channels
  2. Clinton believes that the wealthy and powerful ought to bypass funding elections and simply pay politicians outright.

Appearances of impropriety aside, there are a few substantive questions around political speech that Clinton should be required to address.

Why does Clinton believe that the government has a compelling interest in stifling the political speech of any American, rich or poor?

How does Clinton square her supposed advocacy of human rights with her belief in inhibiting the right to free speech — which facilitates the robust and vigorous debate essential to a liberal society?

More generally, given a system in which millions of dollars are spent on losing causes each election cycle on both the left and right, what have Americans to fear about spending so long as laws are enforced equally and impartially regarding “pay-to-play” schemes and other politically corrupt activity?

Continue reading at TheBlaze…

20 Foreign Policy Questions For the 2016 Republican Presidential Field

With the race for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination officially under way, I thought it apt to share a set of questions on foreign policy — an area in which it is vital that each candidate distinguish himself given the size and scope of the threats we face.

Below are 20 questions the next commander-in-chief will likely be grappling with, and should be able to answer cogently, consistently and comprehensively.

The responses to these queries would serve to elucidate the first principles of each of the potential nominees, and create a clear contrast in terms of their goals, strategies and tactics with respect to protecting and furthering America’s interests both at home and abroad.

1) Define your general foreign policy doctrine, and explain how it will differ from that of President George W. Bush.

2) How should America respond to the metastasization of Sunni and Shiite jihadists in the Middle East?

3) What do you believe would be the consequences of a hegemonic Iran in the region, and what steps might you take to counter her?

4) In the event of a nuclear arms race triggered by Iran, what if anything would you do as president?

5) Will you stand in the way if Israel acts unilaterally to destroy Iran’s nuclear facilities?

6) What is in America’s national interest with respect to Syria, and how do you intend to achieve it?

7) Do you believe it a sound policy to arm Muslim groups in the Middle East given the historically negative consequences for the West?

8) What is/are the key lesson(s) of the Iraq War?

9) What is/are the key lesson(s) of Libya?

10) Do you believe the Muslim Brotherhood and its violent and non-violent proxies both in the Middle East and the West pose a direct threat to the United States and her interests, and how will you counter the group’s growing influence?

Continue reading at TheBlaze…

An interview with Ben Shapiro on his criminal case against the Obama administration: ‘The People vs. Barack Obama’

Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro, author most recently of books including “Bullies” and “Primetime Propaganda” has a new book out this week titled “The People Vs. Barack Obama: The Criminal Case Against the Obama Administration.”

In the book, Shapiro makes the case that the Obama administration has effectively acted as a criminal cabal, necessitating criminal prosecution by individual Americans in lieu of impeachment.

We spoke with the combative author yesterday to discuss the prospect of criminal prosecution against the president, the IRS scandal including its personal impact on Shapiro, President Obama’s illegal arming of terrorists, the prospect of the president granting in effect mass amnesty to illegal immigrants and much more.

Below is our interview, conducted via phone, and edited for clarity and links.

Why should Blaze readers pick up this book?

Shapiro: Because this is a book that not only details all of the problems and scandals inside the Obama administration, but makes the charge that these are criminal problems, not merely political ones, and explains how we can remedy these issues without resorting to impeachment which is an insufficient remedy.

To that end, you are likely familiar with Andy McCarthy’s new book, in which he makes the case for impeachment. One question related to that is, why criminal prosecution over the impeachment route?

Shapiro: Two points: First is, it’s important to start seeing the Obama administration as a criminal enterprise. It’s really the only way to understand what it is that they’re doing. What  impeachment says this is a political problem. This is not a political problem, this is a criminal problem. And detailing it in those terms, in terms of what laws have been broken, is important to understanding exactly who these folks are, and what they’re doing, and exploiting their power. That’s number one. Number two: even Andy makes the case for impeachment but then he doesn’t actually call for impeachment. In the book he says, “Sure we should go ahead and, you know, theoretically the president is guilty of all these crimes and he should be impeached, but then he doesn’t say, “Well, okay so let’s go ahead with impeachment,” because everybody understands, including Andy, that impeachment comes with certain political costs that people are simply not willing to undertake. Impeachment is “pie in the sky.”

In the entire history of the United States we’ve impeached a grand total of 19 people in the House, and we’ve convicted a grand total of eight people in the Senate. And the country has been around for nearly 240 years. You’re talking approximately basically one actual impeachment every thirty years. And this particular solution is supposed to remedy all of the problems with the Obama administration? And even if you were to impeach President Obama, how does that change the honeycombed criminality of the entire administration? Joe Biden takes over and it’s the exact same thing. The whole point here is to change the system of government under which we live. It’s not enough to simply impeach individual officers, it’s not simply enough to impeach one person every thirty years. This requires a broad change in how we view government, and how we treat government when it acts criminally because if the only solution is impeachment, they’re going to get away with an awful lot of criminal activity.

How practically would this work? Typically, I would assume that American citizens wouldn’t have standing to bring a case against the president. Lay out the mechanics for us.

Shapiro: Well actually under RICO [Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act] standing is significantly less of a problem. So you just have to find somebody who is damaged by the criminal conspiracy. So for example, let’s take a couple very practical examples. Can the family of Brian Terry sue the Obama administration for Brian Terry’s death in Fast and Furious? Right now, the answer is basically no, because suing the executive branch is considered unpalatable, and under RICO law it’s questionable as to how high up the chain you can sue. What I propose is changing the RICO law so that you could sue the President of the United States, the Attorney General of the United States and you wouldn’t have to have direct – what RICO requires is criminal enterprise – meaning everybody has to have the same goal, and everybody has to have participated in the creation of this enterprise towards that goal. That’s a very different standard from, “There has to be a direct piece of paper from President Obama to Eric Holder, and one from Eric Holder to the folks pushing Fast and Furious saying, “You will smuggle these weapons across the border in violation of American law.”

So RICO is significantly broader. It was designed to go after the Mafia, specifically in cases where the Mafia did have plausible deniability. So in that case, clearly Brian Terry’s family has standing, they would be able to sue in what I propose in a RICO case against the Obama administration, and they would be able to win damages against individual officers of the United States.

Same thing would happen with regard to the four folks who died in Benghazi. Their families could sue the Obama administration for negligent homicide for example if RICO was broadened to include negligent homicide which it should be…or violations of the Arms Export Control Act, which is what I have suggested also happened in Benghazi.

The finding of standing is actually not that difficult in most scandals because most scandals actually damage somebody. So my friend Jeremy Boering from Friends of Abe should be able to sue the Obama administration under RICO for violations of IRS law. That’s what I’m proposing.

Read more at TheBlaze…

An interview with the man who literally wrote the book on impeaching President Obama, former fed prosecutor Andrew McCarthy

We conducted an interview with former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy, author of the new book, “Faithless Execution: Building the Political Case for Obama’s Impeachment,” in which we covered a number of controversial issues, including the case for impeaching President Obama, the Bowe Bergdahl terrorist exchange, Benghazi and Hillary Clinton, and the government’s efforts to chill free speech.

The below reflects a transcript of the interview, conducted via phone, which is slightly modified for clarity and links.

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Who is “Faithless Execution” intended for, and why should both President Obama’s critics and proponents pick it up?

McCarthy: The book is intended for the public broadly, because I really thought and continue to think that there is a lot of misinformation and misunderstanding generally about what the standards are for removal of a president from power, what the wages are of having a lawless president, and what the arsenal is that Congress has to respond to it. It seems that there’s a lot of frustration on the part of people with the fact that the president doesn’t seem to be bound by the law, or certainly doesn’t take himself to be bound by the law, and people seem very frustrated that there doesn’t seem to be much that can be done about it. And point of fact, there’s a lot that can be done about it, but there is a lot of ignorance and misinformation out there about what the remedies are. So, what I hope the book will be is a corrective for people in general about what ways presidential lawlessness threatens the Republic, and what responses the Framers put in place that we could use to combat it.

The central point of your book hinges on the notion that impeachment is both a legal but more importantly political remedy. Thus, despite the merits of the case against President Obama, all is moot without their being broad political support for such proceedings. Can you expand on the thesis, explain why impeachment is primarily a political remedy, and provide a little bit of the history behind impeachment itself? 

McCarthy: Impeachment has two components. There’s a legal component to it in the sense that the Constitution has a threshold or a standard that applies to presidential malfeasance or maladministration – I guess maladministration is a better term because the Framers weren’t just concerned about corrupt behavior – they were concerned about a president who was in over his head so gross ineptitude even if it was well-meaning was something they were very concerned about simply because the presidency that they created was so powerful, and had so much potential to harm the republic that they were concerned about having someone who was unsuited in that position – whether it was unsuited because of corruption or simply because of reasons of incompetence. They had a straightforward legal test for what would be required to remove a president. Treason and bribery are straightforward enough – they’re actual crimes that have a lot of history and people understand them. The thing that people generally have some confusion about are high crimes and misdemeanors, and maybe it’s because of the phrase itself because it mentions “crimes and misdemeanors,” so people naturally think of penal statutes where Congress has enacted laws that qualify as felony criminal offenses or misdemeanor offenses. And that’s not what high crimes and misdemeanors is really about at all.

What the framers discussed when they adopted this standard — and it was very much on their mind because they were all men of the world, they were all men who followed current events, many of them were steeped in British law — at the time the Constitution was being debated in the Convention in Philadelphia in 1787, the impeachment trial of Warren Hastings was ongoing in England, where Edmund Burke had led the effort in Parliament to have him impeached on the basis of high crimes and misdemeanors, so it was a phrase, and a term that was very well known to the Framers. And what it really means is, as Hamilton put it, political wrongs, or the offenses of public officials in whom high public trust is vested. So, it doesn’t have to be statutory offenses, and in many ways it’s easier to understand it in terms of the military justice system rather than the civilian penal justice system because it embraces concepts like dereliction of duty, conduct unbecoming of an officer, and the like. It really is about a breach of trust and there is no more trust in our system than what’s reposed in the president, who by the way is the only one in the government who constitutionally is required to take an oath of office of the kind that’s spelled out in the constitution, which requires him to swear to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution. The failure to do that, more than any statutory offense, was something the Framers were much more concerned about.

So the legal test of high crimes and misdemeanors is pretty straightforward. If you have situations where the president violates the trust of the American people by undermining our system and its checks and balances, those would qualify as high crimes and misdemeanors. A president who is dishonest with the public or dishonest in reporting important matters of foreign affairs to Congress and the like would be guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors. A president who is derelict in his duties as commander-in-chief is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors even though there is no penal offense in the federal code that would match up with that. But the Framers were also very concerned that impeachment not be the result of partisan hackery, trivial offenses, or matters of factions (so the president’s part of one faction, Congress is controlled by another, and they can impeach him just for those political and power reasons).

Read more at TheBlaze…

 

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