National Security

Illegal immigrant families break record

Illegal immigration across the southwest border surged last month as President Trump’s zero tolerance effort crumbled and smugglers and migrant families rushed to take advantage of renewed “catch-and-release” loopholes. Border officials acknowledged a “crisis” as the number of families reached record levels, topping even the worst days of the Obama administration. With a month still to go in this fiscal year the Border Patrol has already caught more than 90,000 “family units” of parents and children traveling together, higher than the approximately 77,700 nabbed in 2016. Border officials expressed frustration at their lack of power to stem the flow, saying that until Congress or the courts impose serious penalties such as detention and swift deportation, the families and children are going to keep coming. It’s so bad that caravans of families like the one that drew headlines this summer have become commonplace. Authorities reported groups of 65, 65, 66, 96 and 163 illegal immigrants caught so far in September — some of them with children as young as four months, carried through the hot deserts of northern Mexico and southern Arizona. Kevin McAleenan, commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said the numbers were “expected,” and blamed both loopholes in the law, and the highlighting of those loopholes over the last few months, when immigrant-rights activists and members of Congress from both parties defeated the president’s zero tolerance policy. “That’s a result of the continued loophole we have with the inability to detain family units … and frankly the highlighting of that loophole over the summer,” the commissioner said. The raw numbers show the Border Patrol caught 37,544 illegal immigrants in August, tracking what the government says are normal seasonal patterns. But the real stunners came in the arrest of 12,774 “family units” of parents and children — up 38 percent compared to July — and another 4,396 Unaccompanied Alien Children, or children traveling without parents, which was an 11.6 percent increase. At the ports of entry, meanwhile, officers encountered 9,016 unauthorized migrants, including 3,181 family members units and 376 UAC. Officials believe that the number of people caught trying to sneak in is a rough yardstick for the overall flow, so a rise in apprehensions signals a rise in overall illegal immigration.

It is utter chaos on our southern border!  That is why, as we’ve been saying for 4.5 years to BOTH administrations…  BUILD THE WALL NOW!!!!…and put U.S. Army National Guard troops physically ON the border with Mexico to prevent would-be crossers from stepping one foot on U.S. soil.  After all, once they do, they’re entitled (and that’s the key word) to all sorts of freebies that we, the actual citizens end up paying for.   Then, those Army Guard troops need to stay there ON the border until that wall/fence is finally built above and below (to prevent tunneling) ground…however long it takes.  Simultaneously, we need to be deporting illegal aliens already here by the hundreds of thousands (and yes, you read that correctly)…paying particular attention to known gang members (i.e. MS-13, etc.), convicted criminal aliens, and those already determined by an immigration judge to be deported…regardless of age, gender, OR family status.  And, that’s just the bare minimum, folks!  To do anything less is NOT in our country’s national security, or economic, interests.  It’s clear, that despite President Trump’s efforts, we are nowhere near getting control of the invasion coming across our southern border by these illegal aliens.  If we experienced this kind of surge across our borders by China, Russia, Iran, or N. Korea, we’d call it an act of war.  It’s time we treated this problem accordingly and gave it the attention it deserves.  Securing our southern border needs to be our federal government’s #1 domestic national security priority.  Period!!  If the GOP want to maintain control of the House after the midterm elections which are less than 2 months away, then they need to get off their collective butts and authorize funding for the wall immediately.  Call or email your member of Congress and BOTH of your U.S. Senators and demand that they vote to fund the building of the wall!

Air Force preps for massive cyberattacks on large weapons systems

The Air Force is massively revving up efforts to defend stealth fighters, nuclear-armed missiles, air-launched weapons and crucial combat networks from crippling wartime cyber attacks by taking new steps with a special unit put together to find and fix vulnerabilities. The service has now solidified key weapons development procedures for its Cyber Resilience Office for Weapons Systems, or CROWS. The concept for the office, established by Air Force Materiel Command, is grounded upon the realization that more and more weapons systems are increasingly cyber-reliant. “CROWS has completed an acquisition language guidebook to support program offices in development of contracting documents ensuring cyber resiliency is baked into acquisition efforts,” Capt. Hope Cronin, Air Force spokeswoman, told Warrior Maven. This phenomenon, wherein cybersecurity threats continue to rapidly expand well beyond IT and data systems to reach more platforms and weapons systems, is often discussed in terms of a two-fold trajectory. While advanced computer processing, sophisticated algorithms and better networked weapons and fire control bring unprecedented combat advantages, increased cyber-reliance can also increase risk in some key respects. For instance, successful hacking or cyber intrusions could disrupt vital targeting and guidance systems needed for precision weapons, derail computer enabled aircraft navigation and targeting, or even seek to change the flight path of a drone or ICBM. CROWS is also designed to harvest the best thinking when it comes to anticipating potential enemy cyberattacks. By working to “think like and enemy,” CROWS experts work with weapons developers to find vulnerabilities and areas of potential attack. As part of this, the rationale for the effort is to therefore “bake in” cyber protections early in the acquisition process so as to engineer long-term cyber resilience. “CROWS efforts have been successful in identifying the highest risk cyber vulnerabilities and then working with the program offices to develop mitigation solutions to reduce those risks,” Cronin said. The CROWS has also developed multiple cyber training courses and published a cyber assessment methodology to be used in support of testing processes, Cronin added.

Iran says it has full control of Gulf and U.S. navy does not belong there

Iran has full control of the Gulf, and the U.S. Navy does not belong there, the head of the navy of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, General Alireza Tangsiri, said on Monday, according to the Tasnim news agency. The remarks come at a time when Tehran has suggested that it could take military action in the Gulf to block oil exports of other regional countries in retaliation for U.S. sanctions intended to halt its oil sales. Washington maintains a fleet in the Gulf which protects oil shipping routes. Tangsiri said Iran had full control of both the Gulf itself and the Strait of Hormuz that leads into it. Closing off the strait would be the most direct way of blocking shipping. “We can ensure the security of the Persian Gulf and there is no need for the presence of aliens like the U.S. and the countries whose home is not in here,” he said in the quote, which appeared in English translation on Tasnim. Tension between Iran and the United States has escalated since President Donald Trump pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers in May and reimposed sanctions. Senior U.S. officials have said they aim to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the most senior authority in the Islamic Republic, said last month that he supports the idea that if Iran is not allowed to export oil then no country should export oil from the Gulf.

Oh well!  Good luck with that..  The U.S. Navy should put an enhanced Carrier Strike Group (CSG) in the Persian Gulf, and up its presence in the Strait of Hormuz.  Islamic wakos like this ayatollah from Iran need to be sent the clear message that we will not be bullied, or have commerce threatened in those waterways.

Pentagon: China ‘Likely’ Training Bomber Pilots to Hit American Targets

The Pentagon’s annual report on Chinese military and security developments warns this week that China is building up a fleet of long-range nuclear-capable bombers and is “likely” training its pilots to attack American targets. The relevant section of the report concerns China’s “overwater bomber operations,” which have rapidly expanded over the past three years. The Pentagon sees Chinese pilots “gaining experience in critical maritime regions and likely training for strikes against U.S. and allied targets.” The People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) is currently the largest air force in Asia, and the third-largest in the world. Since 2017, new commander Lt. Gen. Ding Laihang has focused on developing a capacity for projecting long-range air power comparable to the U.S. Air Force. “The PLAAF continues to modernize and is closing the gap with the U.S. Air Force across a broad spectrum of capabilities, gradually eroding the United States’ longstanding significant technical advantage,” the Pentagon report cautioned. U.S. analysts are particularly concerned about the latest evolution of China’s H-6 “Badger” bomber, the H-6K, which is capable of launching from Chinese airbases and hitting Guam with standoff precision weapons. The PLAAF is also working on midair refueling techniques and might be able to field nuclear-capable stealth bombers as early as 2025. China’s use of militarized islands in the South China Sea as bases for long-range bomber activity is noted as an area of particular concern. “H-6s could, if deployed to airfields in the Spratly Islands, extend their range through the Balabac Strait into the Celebes Sea or through the Sunda or Malacca Strait to fly into the Indian Ocean,” the report stated. To secure their claims in disputed waters, the Chinese employ a unique naval command that has been given little attention until now, the People’s Armed Forces Maritime Militia (PAFMM). The Pentagon judged the PAFMM to be the “only government-sanctioned maritime militia in the world.” The militia plays a “major role in coercive activities to achieve China’s political goals without fighting.” In other words, the maritime militia intimidates civilian vessels from other nations that attempt to access waters claimed by Beijing, with just enough operational separation from the regular military to give the Chinese government political cover. China portrays its militia vessels as fishing boats that just happen to have armored hulls and ammunition storage bays. U.S. defense analysts are concerned that China will not only militarize the South China Sea, but nuclearize it.

Nice..  For more, click on the text above.

Trump Move to Loosen U.S. Use of Cyberweapons Prompts Intrigue

The Trump administration’s move to loosen rules of engagement for U.S. cyberattacks has prompted questions about how the military will carry out offensive digital strikes, and whether hostilities with foreign adversaries will rapidly escalate. Cybersecurity experts and former officials said it was impossible to determine whether President Trump’s move was a step in the right direction or a mistake because the details of such policies are classified. “The devil is in the details,” said Tom Bossert, who as Mr. Trump’s homeland security adviser counseled him on cybersecurity, until he was forced out of his job in April by John Bolton, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser. Mr. Trump on Wednesday reversed an Obama-era set of classified rules dictating an elaborate interagency process that must be followed before cyberweapons can be deployed. The change was described to The Wall Street Journal as an “offensive step forward” by an administration official briefed on the decision. But few specific details have been divulged about what process Mr. Trump is adopting in place of the previous rules, known as Presidential Policy Directive 20. Former President Barack Obama’s rules, adopted in 2012, also were classified but leaked in 2013 by former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden. Mr. Obama’s rules prompted debate, with many former officials from different federal agencies saying the process often produced lengthy interagency discussions about the legal, policy, and diplomatic implications of even modest cyber operations. Other former officials said that cyberweapons were rarely deployed not because of bureaucratic red tape because they were in many cases not ready for real-world deployment. Mr. Bossert said in an interview that he began reviewing the Obama directive and considering ways it could be changed before he left the Trump administration. But he declined to speculate on what was in new rules adopted by the administration. “The content is classified. I have no insight into the details of that content,” he said. Some officials offered tentative optimism about steps to unshackle the process for using cyberweapons, a frequent topic in Congress for lawmakers of both parties who have faulted the past three administrations for failing to develop a coherent cybersecurity strategy. Lawmakers have sought to expand their oversight of cybersecurity matters in recent legislation. “One thing is clear—what we have been doing so far hasn’t worked, and our adversaries believe that they can attack us without any consequences,” said Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee…

Fair enough…  For more, click on the text above.

Thiessen: Democrats have their own foreign espionage problem

Imagine if it emerged that the Republican chairman of the House or Senate intelligence committee had a Russian spy working on their senate staff. Think it would cause a political firestorm? Well, this week we learned that Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., had a Chinese spy on her staff who worked for her for 20 years, who was listed as an “office director” on payroll records and served as her driver when she was in San Francisco, all while reporting to China’s Ministry of State Security through China’s San Francisco Consulate. The reaction of the mainstream media? Barely a peep. Feinstein acknowledged the infiltration, but downplayed its significance. “Five years ago the FBI informed me it had concerns that an administrative member of my California staff was potentially being sought out by the Chinese government to provide information” Feinstein said in statement — which means the breach took place while Feinstein was heading the intelligence committee. But, Feinstein insisted, “he never had access to classified or sensitive information or legislative matters” and was immediately fired. In other words: junior staffer, no policy role, no access to secrets, quickly fired — no big deal. But it is a big deal. I asked several former senior intelligence and law enforcement officials how serious this breach might have been. “It’s plenty serious,” one former top Justice Department official told me. “Focusing on his driver function alone, in Mafia families, the boss’s driver was among the most trusted men in the crew, because among other things he heard everything that was discussed in the car.” A former top CIA clandestine officer explained to me what the agency would do if they had recruited the driver of a senior official like Feinstein. “We would have the driver record on his phone all conversations that Feinstein would have with passengers and phone calls in her car. If she left her phone, iPad or laptop in the car while she went to meetings, social events, dinners, etc., we would have the driver download all her devices. If the driver drove for her for 20 years he would probably would have had access to her office and homes. We would have had the source put down an audio device in her office or homes if the opportunity presented itself. Depending on the take from all of what the source reported, we would use the info to target others that were close to her and exhibited some type of vulnerability.” “In short,” this officer says, “we would have had a field day.” It seems improbable that Feinstein never once discussed anything sensitive in her car over a period of years. But let’s assume that Feinstein was extraordinarily careful and never discussed any classified information in front of her driver or on any devices to which he had access. Even so, one former top intelligence official told me, “someone in that position could give an adversary a whole bunch on atmospherics and trends and attitudes which are from time to time far more important than the things we call secrets.” He added “It’s like [having access to her] unclassified emails.” (And we all know no one ever exposes classified information on unclassified emails). Washington is understandably focused on the threat from Russia. But according to FBI director Chris Wray, “China from a counterintelligence perspective represents the broadest, most pervasive, most threatening challenge we face as a country.” It was China, after all, which hacked the Office of Personnel Management in 2015, stealing the SF-86 security clearance forms of many thousands of executive branch employees in the most devastating cyberattack in the history of our country. Beijing has successfully recruited FBI agents and State Department employees as spies, and has used information from U.S. informants to kill dozens of CIA sources inside the regime. And now, we know they recruited a high value senate staffer who worked in immediate proximity to the head of the senate intelligence committee. Feinstein owes the country a detailed explanation of how she let a Chinese spy into her inner sanctum. And the media should give this security breach the same attention they would if it involved Russia and the Republicans.

Agreed!!  And well said, Marc!  AEI fellow Marc Thiessen is the author of that spot-on op/ed.  The next time you hear that hypocritical blow-heard, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) spout off about so-called “Russian collusion” with the Trump administration or some other such as yet unsubstantiated nonsense, remember this story that CNN and MSNBC haven’t even covered yet!!  Total hypocrisy!!

Winning: Study Shows Worldwide Terror Attacks Falling Under Trump

U.S. President Donald Trump presided over a decline of nearly 25 percent in the number of terrorist attacks and their lethality across the globe last year compared to 2016, a feat likely made possible by the ongoing demise of the Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL), a U.S. government-linked study shows. Although ISIS remains the most prolific and deadly jihadi group in the world, followed by the Afghan Taliban and al-Qaeda’s Somalia-based al-Shabaab, the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) noted a decline in ISIS attacks in a report released on August 1: The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) was responsible for the most terrorist attacks (1,321) and deaths (7,120) in 2017, though were responsible for 10 percent fewer attacks and 40 percent fewer deaths than in 2016. The Taliban and al-Shabaab were the next most active with 907 attacks (4,925 deaths) and 573 attacks (1894 deaths) respectively. Established as a Center for Excellence by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Science and Technology Directorate, the University of Maryland issues various START studies every year. The consortium catalogs attacks across the world by terrorists of all stripes, from ISIS to members of the Communist Party of India-Maoist. Click here for more.