National Security

Iranian student whose deportation spurred Dem outcry has family ties to IRGC, Hezbollah: DHS official

An Iranian student who was denied entry to the United States on arrival and deported this week, amid objections from top Democrats and left-wing activists, has family ties to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps and Lebanon-based terror group Hezbollah, a Department of Homeland Security official said. Mohammad Shahab Dehghani Hossein was denied entry to the U.S. and detained on Sunday when he arrived on a student visa at Boston Logan International Airport. His detention sparked outrage from activists, who flooded the airport demanding his release. It also drew objections from Northeastern University, where Dehghani was due to be enrolled, and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). “Shahab Dehghani is an Iranian student with a valid F1 visa, returning to finish his education. CBP already held him overnight,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. tweeted. “His deportation must be halted, and we must fight the Trump administration’s xenophobic policies.” A Massachusetts district court judge granted Dehghani a stay from deportation, but Customs and Border Protection (CBP) deported him minutes later — a DHS official told Fox News Wednesday that he had already been put on the plane when the stay was issued. In a statement Tuesday, CBP said that “the issuance of a visa … does not guarantee entry to the United States” and said that Dehghani had been “deemed inadmissible and processed for expedited removal and return to his place of departure. “During today’s hearing, the court ruled that the matter is now moot as the subject was never admitted into the United States, the subject is no longer in custody, and the court does not have jurisdiction to order his return,” the statement said. A CBP spokesperson said that the agency was not at liberty to discuss an individual’s case due to the Privacy Act, but noted that “CBP officers are charged with enforcing not only immigration and customs laws, but they also enforce over 400 laws for 40 other agencies and have stopped thousands of violators of U.S. law. “

You know its an election year when someone like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) whines and grandstands about something like this.  This kid has ties to Hamas and the IRGC.  CBP was well within its right to deport this guy.  So, kudos to them for doing their job protecting us.  Shame on Lizzy for her self-righteous bs.  She couldn’t care less about our safety.  She just trying to play to her very small base by taking a silly pot shot at Trump over this.  Typical..  For more, click on the text above.

Analysis: Enemy Combatant Terror Commanders Are Fair Game

Last week, Iranian General Qasem Soleimani was killed in a targeted strike by U.S. forces authorized by President Trump. This preemptive attack has spawned a curious debate over whether Soleimani posed an imminent threat at the time he was taken out. The suggestion, mainly by partisan Democrats, is that it was illegitimate for the president to use lethal force without congressional authorization absent proof that Soleimani was on the cusp of killing Americans — or, better, killing even more Americans. The debate puts me in mind of the early-to-mid 1990s, when our counterterrorism laws were dangerously flawed. Back then, sensible Democrats — as most of them were — knew that these defects had to be addressed. Rather than sound like apologists for anti-American jihadists, they took admirably expeditious action. The problem emerged in the investigation of the proto-Qaeda terror network guided by the so-called Blind Sheikh, Omar Abdel Rahman. I was then a federal prosecutor and took over that investigation in Spring 1993. At the time, having just bombed the World Trade Center, the jihadists were actively plotting something even more monstrous: simultaneous attacks on the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels and the United Nations complex on Manhattan’s east side. The jihadists were also scouting additional landmarks in the city, including U.S. military facilities and the FBI’s downtown headquarters. We knew about the plot — and were in a position to thwart it — because we had a confidential informant. (Back then, neither he nor anyone else got the sniffles over the media’s labeling him a “spy.”) Emad Salem, a former Egyptian military officer, had infiltrated the cell and covertly recorded discussions with the Blind Sheikh about the desirability of bombing U.S. armed forces. Like the Shiite Iranian regime (longtime supporters of Sunni al-Qaeda and Hamas, as well as Shiite Hezbollah), Abdel Rahman, a renowned Sunni sharia scholar, recommended that Muslims put aside their internecine conflicts when it came to fighting America, “the Great Satan.” In the early-to-mid 90s, the United States thankfully did not have extensive experience with international terrorist attacks on the homeland, certainly not the systematic use of mass-murder attacks as a method of prosecuting war that we’ve seen in the last quarter-century. This meant that our legal architecture was sorely lacking. That was a significant defect, given that the government was determined to treat this national-security challenge as if it were a mere crime problem. There were anomalies. If, for example, terrorists successfully detonated an explosive, as they did in the 1993 WTC attack (killing six, including a woman about to give birth, injuring hundreds, and causing massive property damage), we had a bombing statute that prescribed an appropriately severe penalty: life imprisonment. But there was no federal bombing-conspiracy statute. Consequently, any bombing plot had to be charged under the catch-all federal conspiracy statute. Generally applicable to less serious offenses, it makes sundry conspiracies punishable by no more than five years, and as little as no imprisonment. In other words, if jihadists killed a few people, you could put them away forever; but if they were stopped while plotting to kill 10,000 people, the penalty was illusory. In effect, our investigators were penalized for doing their jobs well. There was something of a fall-back position, though it further illuminated the flaws in our criminal code — and, analogously, the foolishness of today’s debate over whether a suspected attack is sufficiently imminent to warrant responding with force. Terrorists who’d been stopped could be charged with attempted bombing, which carried a possible penalty of up to ten years’ imprisonment — still inadequate, but better than zero to five years. Yet there was a catch. Court decisions, even in the bombing context, made proving the crime of attempt much harder than it should have been. Evidence was deemed insufficient unless prosecutors could establish that the suspects had taken enough actions in furtherance of a bombing to meet the legal threshold of a “substantial step.” So . . . what was a substantial step? Was discussing a bombing enough? How about conducting surveillance of a target? Purchasing bomb components? Did it matter whether the plotters had done bombings in the past? No one could really be sure. In effect, the question became: Did it seem, under the circumstances, that the bombing was imminent? On this calculus, even evidence of implacable terrorist hostility and a commitment to use force would not be sufficient to prove an attempted bombing. Investigators would need, in addition, evidence that the plotters were so far along in their planning that we could conclude an attack would have happened if the police had not interrupted it. Consider the perverse incentive this legal framework created. If investigators were fortunate enough to be in a position to stop a mass-murder attack and round up the jihadists, the law nevertheless encouraged them to let the plot continue, right up to the moment before detonation if possible, to ensure that a “substantial step” had been proved. Of course, even if they have an inside cooperator, investigators are never in complete control of a criminal enterprise. The last stage of a plot is the time when plotters may speed up matters to avoid getting caught in possession of incriminating evidence. The higher-ups are apt to flee before the strike, so they’ll be beyond capture when the lower-ranking plotters set off the explosion. The chance that a bombing will happen increases immensely if investigators are discouraged from taking decisive preemptive action that a court may later second-guess as premature. This is one reason (of many) that international terrorism is best regarded as a military threat rather than a criminal prosecution issue. It is one thing to agitate about whether the proof of an attempt is good enough when, if the agents lose control of the situation, the only danger is that a few victims will be defrauded or robbed. It is quite another thing when jihadists are projecting power on the scale of a national military force. That risk is unacceptable. It is interesting to contrast the mid Nineties to today. Back then, most Democrats were committed to the law-enforcement approach to counterterrorism. While you can debate the wisdom of that, those Democrats were at least serious about making sure that court prosecution was as effective as it could possibly be. In the 1996 overhaul of counterterrorism law, the Clinton White House and Justice Department worked closely with a Republican-controlled Congress. They not only addressed the flaws that made uncompleted bombing plots so challenging to prosecute. They also defined new crimes tailored to how modern international terrorism actually works. These improvements enabled investigators to thwart plots in their infancy; we were also empowered to starve jihadist organizations of funding, personnel, and materiel. The bipartisan message was loud and clear: We want terrorists aggressively prosecuted but, even more, we want our agents to have the tools to prevent plots and attacks from taking shape in the first place. Where is that message today? In neutralizing terrorists and their state sponsors, the venerable law of war is, to my mind, a necessary complement, if not a preferable alternative, to the criminal law. One of many reasons is that, when an enemy is making war on the United States, there is no need to wait for an attack to be imminent in order to justify a defensive, preemptive strike. General Soleimani was an enemy combatant commander for the Iranian regime and the jihadist terror networks it uses in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and elsewhere. For more than 40 years, Iran has unabashedly pronounced itself as at war with the United States. It has conducted major attacks that have killed hundreds of Americans. In just the past few weeks, Iran’s jihadist militias attacked American bases in and around Baghdad eleven times. Reports of intelligence indicating that Soleimani was planning more attacks in the near term are surely credible. Legally, though, they are beside the point. Soleimani was a proper target regardless of the evidence that any new attack was imminent. The real question is: Why is imminence even an issue? This is not a close call. We are talking about one of the most notorious mass-murderers of Americans on the planet, the top combatant commander of the regime that proudly tells the world its motto is “Death to America.” Why would we want to raise an abstruse question that would make eliminating such a monster more difficult? In the Obama years, Democrats were happy to line up in support of unprovoked U.S. attacks on Libya. The use of lethal force was not authorized by Congress, and Americans were not being threatened. Now, because the president at the helm is Donald Trump, they want to quibble over whether the latest Iranian atrocities and U.S. intelligence were a sufficiently flashing neon sign that more atrocities were imminent? That is irresponsible. In the 1990s, Democrats understood that we needed to fix our laws to make it easier to eliminate threats to attack the United States, regardless of whether they were about to occur or hadn’t even gotten beyond the recruitment-and-training phase. Maybe those Democrats make themselves heard only when one of their own is in the White House. Right now, though, we need to pull together as a united front against an Iranian enemy that could not be clearer about its murderous intentions. Yes, we’re in a period of extreme partisanship. That is no excuse for playing politics with our security.

Agreed!!  And well said, Andrew.  Attorney and former federal prosecutor Andrew C. McCarthy is the author of that well thought out, and at times tedious, legal analysis.  Bottom line…  President Trump had every legal authority to take out Soleimani.  So, don’t believe a single thing you hear to the contrary by posturing Democrats and the hypocritical anti-Trump idiots suffering from non-stop Trump Derangement Syndrome over at CNN and MSNBC.  Had Obama ordered that strike they would have said it was “bold;” not reckless, etc.  Anyway, we also posted another legal article by attorney Gregg Jarrett.  Scroll down about 13 articles or so for that one to get his input as well.  Thanks Andrew!!    🙂

On short notice, Army’s 82nd Airborne Division’s “Immediate Response Force” flies to Mideast

Being a U.S. soldier in a fast-response force sometimes means being sent halfway across the world within a day, leaving no time to say goodbye to those staying behind. That’s what happened to April Shumard when her husband, a member of the 82 Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, NC got the call. He was at home, minding the couple’s five children while Shumard was at work at Healing Hands day spa, when he sent her a text. He had to rush to base. He wasn’t sure if it was a drill or a deployment. Then she got another text: “We’re leaving tomorrow.” She said her husband has been in the military since 2010 and has already deployed twice to Afghanistan. But with those prior instances, the family had much more time to prepare and say goodbye. “The kids kept going, ‘When’s Dad going to be home?’” said Shumard, 42. Her husband was among hundreds of U.S. soldiers deployed Saturday from Fort Bragg, North Carolina, to Kuwait to serve as reinforcements in the Middle East amid rising tensions following the U.S. killing of a top Iranian general. Lt. Col. Mike Burns, a spokesman for the 82nd Airborne Division, told The Associated Press 3,500 members of the division’s quick-deployment brigade, known officially as its Immediate Response Force, will have deployed within a few days. The most recent group of service members to deploy will join about 700 who left earlier in the week, Burns said. A loading ramp at Fort Bragg was filled Saturday morning with combat gear and restless soldiers. Some tried to grab a last-minute nap on wooden benches. Reporters saw others filing onto buses. The additional troop deployments reflect concerns about potential Iranian retaliatory action in the volatile aftermath of Friday’s drone strike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force who has been blamed for attacks on U.S. troops and American allies going back decades. President Donald Trump ordered the airstrike near Baghdad’s international airport. Iran has vowed retribution, raising fears of an all-out war, but it’s unclear how or when a response might come. Reporters weren’t able to interview the soldiers leaving Fort Bragg on Saturday, but an airman loading one of the cargo planes told an Army cameraman he was making New Year’s plans when he got a call to help load up the soldiers, according to video footage released by the military. “We’re responsible for loading the cargo. Almost our whole squadron got alerted. Like a bunch of planes are coming over here,” the unnamed airman said. “I was getting ready to go out for New Year’s when they called me.” In the gray early morning light Saturday, Army video showed soldiers dressed in camouflage fatigues filing into planes, carrying rucksacks and rifles. Humvees were rolled onto another cargo plane and chained in place for the flight to the Middle East. Burns said the soldiers within the Immediate Response Force train constantly to be ready to respond quickly to crises abroad. When called by their superiors, they have two hours to get to base with their gear and must maintain a state of readiness so that they can be in the air headed to their next location within 18 hours. “So whether they were on leave, whether they were home drinking a beer, whether they were, you know, hanging out, throwing the kids up in the yard, you get the call and it’s time to go,” he said. He said that soldiers typically keep individual “go-bags” of their personal gear with them at their living quarters. Shumard said Fayetteville is a tight-knit community, and she expects people to work together to support families who are suddenly missing a parent. “This was so last-minute,” she said, urging people to reach out to 82nd Airborne families. “Just try to help out whoever you know who might need some babysitting or help or just get some groceries and bring it to their house.” Similarly, Bri’anna Ferry’s husband got the call on New Year’s Eve, and she said he was on a plane to the Middle East within hours. “This isn’t how military life goes, normally you have advanced notice about what’s happening,” she said. She fears he could miss milestones with their baby daughter, including her first birthday, but also wants him to focus on his mission. “I told him, don’t worry about us. We’ll be fine,” she said. “Focus on your mission.”

Trump gives Congress justification for strike, shields document from public

President Trump officially notified Congress on Saturday of the drone missile strike that killed a top Iranian general in Iraq, in a move that checks off a key legal box but left Democrats with even more questions about the president’s motives. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the notification is classified, so the details can’t be made public. She called that a “highly unusual” move that shields an important conversation from public view. “This document prompts serious and urgent questions about the timing, manner and justification of the Administration’s decision to engage in hostilities against Iran,” the California Democrat said. The missile strike assassinated Qassem Soleimani, who as head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is blamed for orchestrating terrorist attacks and insurgencies that have cost American lives. Few Americans defend the general. But Mrs. Pelosi called killing him “provocative, escalatory and disproportionate.” “This initiation of hostilities was taken without an Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) against Iran, without the consultation of the Congress and without the articulation of a clear and legitimate strategy to either the Congress or the public,” she said. The administration says it had the power to conduct the strikes under the 2002 AUMF approved by Congress to permit then-President George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq. White House and Defense Department officials say Soleimani was actively plotting more attacks that could have killed Americans. No specifics have been revealed. Saturday’s notification came under the War Powers Resolution, a 1970s-era law that governs how presidents are to conduct military operations short of a declaration of war by the Congress.

Opinion/Analysis: In ordering Soleimani killing, Trump acting correctly, decisively and constitutionally

President Trump ordered an airstrike that killed the notorious Iranian terrorist, Qassem Soleimani, who murdered hundreds of Americans. The President was constitutionally empowered to do so. Democrats, of course, reflexively whined that Trump abused his powers. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s predictable, Pavlovian response was to complain that the president acted without authorization from Congress. He did, indeed, because he needs no such authorization. Article II of the Constitution vests “executive power” in the president of the United States. As commander in chief of our armed forces, the president is granted broad and substantive authority to deploy military forces overseas to ensure U.S. national security and protect American lives. This is implicit within the vesting clause of the Constitution. On the president’s orders and without congressional permission, our military can engage hostile forces for these purposes. Exigent circumstances often demand immediate action. The delay caused by protracted congressional approval is both unworkable and dangerous. Express consent from Congress is required only “to declare war.” This is derived from Article I of the Constitution – which, unlike presidential powers, confines legislative powers to those “herein granted.” It serves as the basic framework that has enabled all past presidents to act unilaterally and swiftly when serious threats arise, but where a formal declaration of war is not merited. Trump’s action was entirely consistent with decisions made by his predecessors. Presidents have a fundamental duty to act quickly in the face of foreign aggression that jeopardizes both lives and U.S. national security interests. Until his hand was forced, Trump showed remarkable restraint. He did not retaliate with military action months ago when Iran shot down a U.S. drone or attacked oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman or fired rockets into an installation housing American military personnel. One can argue that his forbearance only emboldened Iran’s belligerence. The equation changed when Soleimani directed his terrorist militias to lay siege to the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, threatening American lives. This was preceded by a militia attack on a military base that wounded U.S. troops and killed an American contractor – again, orchestrated by the terror leader. Soleimani, who was there in Baghdad commanding these terror operations, was poised to murder more. According to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Trump’s decision to take out the terror leader disrupted another “imminent attack” and “saved American lives.” Soleimani “was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq,” the Pentagon revealed. The risk of doing nothing was enormous, Pompeo added. Ordering a military attack without congressional permission is not without considerable historical precedent. President Ronald Reagan launched air strikes against Libya in 1986, as did President Barack Obama in 2011. President Bill Clinton undertook a bombing campaign in Yugoslavia in 1999. In each of these actions, the War Powers Act of 1973 was disregarded or otherwise violated. Meant as a congressional check on the president’s military authority by imposing some restrictions, its constitutionality remains unresolved and it has never been consistently enforced. More relevant, however, is the Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) passed by Congress in 2001. It gave then-President George W. Bush expansive authority to wage military campaigns against enemies connected to the 9/11 attacks. The opaque language of the AUMF has empowered every president since then to continue the war against terrorists in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. Given that Soleimani was head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force that was designated by the U.S. in 2007 as a foreign terrorist organization, and given that he was operating in Iraq directing terror attacks against Americans, President Trump would be on firm legal ground to assert justification for his killing under the AUMF. Democrats like Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut are stricken with a combination of schizophrenia and hysteria. While admitting Soleimani “was an enemy of the United States,” Murphy suggested Trump was “knowingly setting off a potential massive regional war.” Murphy’s dire prediction (or pessimism) is far from certain. Does Murphy prefer that the terrorist leader, who is estimated by the Pentagon to have killed 608 American troops, remain at large to continue his murder spree? Does the senator have no confidence that American military might is capable of deterring any retaliatory aggression by Iran and defending against future attacks? Apparently not. He fails to comprehend that Tehran will continue its reign of terror until a strong leader and nation stands up to the malignant regime. Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., who served combat tours in both Afghanistan and Iraq, knows better. He adopted a more sensible view when he observed that Soleimani “got what he richly deserved, and all those American soldiers who died by his hand also got what they deserved – justice.” President Trump should be commended for acting correctly, decisively and well within his constitutional authority.

Agreed!!  And well said, Gregg.  Attorney and legal scholar Gregg Jarrett is the author of that spot-on legal op-ed.  Gregg is now a Fox News legal analyst and commentator, and formerly worked as a defense attorney and adjunct law professor. He is the author of the No. 1 New York Times best-selling book “The Russia Hoax: The Illicit Scheme to Clear Hillary Clinton and Frame Donald Trump.” His latest book is the New York Times bestseller “Witch Hunt: The Story of the Greatest Mass Delusion in American Political History”   Outstanding!!    🙂

Analysis: Iranian Analytics

For all the current furor over the death of Qasem Soleimani, it is Iran, not the U.S. and the Trump administration, that is in a dilemma. Given the death and destruction wrought by Soleimani, and his agendas to come, he will not be missed. Tehran has misjudged the U.S. administration’s doctrine of strategic realism rather than vice versa. The theocracy apparently calculated that prior U.S. patience and restraint in the face of its aggression was proof of an unwillingness or inability to respond. More likely, the administration was earlier prepping for a possible more dramatic, deadly, and politically justifiable response when and if Iran soon overreached. To retain domestic and foreign credibility, Iran would now like to escalate in hopes of creating some sort of U.S. quagmire comparable to Afghanistan, or, more germanely, to a long Serbian-like bombing campaign mess, or the ennui that eventually overtook the endless no-fly zones over Iraq, or the creepy misadventure in Libya, or even something like an enervating 1979-80 hostage situation. The history of the strategies of our Middle East opponents has always been to lure us into situations that have no strategic endgame, do not play to U.S. strengths in firepower, are costly without a time limit, and create Vietnam War–like tensions at home. But those wished-for landscapes are not what Iranian has got itself into. Trump, after showing patience and restraint to prior Iranian escalations, can respond to Iranian tit-for-tat without getting near Iran, without commitments to any formal campaign, and without seeming to be a provocateur itching for war, but in theory doing a lot more damage to an already damaged Iranian economy either through drones, missiles, and bombing, or even more sanctions and boycotts to come. If Iran turns to terrorism and cyber-attacks, it would likely only lose more political support and risk airborne responses to its infrastructure at home. Iran deeply erred in thinking that Trump’s restraint was permanent, that his impeachment meant he had lost political viability, that he would go dormant in an election year, that the stature of his left-wing opponents would surge in such tensions, and that his base would abandon him if he dared to use military force. There are several Iranian choices, but they are apparently deemed unattractive by the regime. In a logical world, Iran could agree to revisit non-proliferation talks. But that for now would be too humiliating for the regime, a huge letdown after its prior bonanza of the Iran Deal. Any future negotiations would require snap inspections over the entire country, 100 percent transparency, and provisions about missiles and terrorism that would not lead to a deliverable Iranian bomb and therefore would seem an intolerable regression after the American giveaway of 2015. Iran might go quiet for a while, and then revert to its past less dramatic provocations. But the clock was already ticking from the sanctions. Tehran at least felt that the status quo was synonymous with its eventual disintegration and so in desperation hoped to trigger something or other that could lead to Trump’s political emasculation and a political reprieve. We are now in an election year. Iran yearns for a return of the U.S. foreign policy of John Kerry, Ben Rhodes, Susan Rice, and Samantha Power, the naïveté that had proved so lucrative and advantageous to Iran prior to 2017. Yet it is hard to see how Trump, if he is careful and selective in his responses to future Iranian escalations, will be damaged politically.

Thanks to historian Dr. Victor Davis Hanson for that spot-on analysis.  For more, click on the text above.  Excellent!!     😉

 

US to send 1,800 troops, dozens of fighter jets to Saudi Arabia amid Iran tensions

Roughly 1,800 U.S. service members, as well as several dozen fighter jets and other air defense implements, will be sent to Saudi Arabia to help protect the Kingdom amid heightened tensions with Iran, the Pentagon announced Friday. Officials said the U.S. is set to ship two F-15 squadrons, two Patriot missile batteries, one anti-missile defense system known as THADD and other planes. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said he informed Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman earlier Friday about the additional troops “to ensure and enhance the defense of Saudi Arabia.” “Saudi Arabia is a longstanding security partner in the Middle East and has asked for additional support to supplement their own defense and defend the international rules-based order,” Esper told reporters at the Pentagon. The Pentagon’s announcement came just hours after Iranian officials said two missiles from an undetermined source hit one of its oil tankers that was traveling through the Red Sea about 60 miles off the coast of Saudi Arabia. The explosions from the missiles damaged two storerooms aboard the oil tanker – identified as the Sibiti – and caused a brief oil leak into the Red Sea. The leak was later plugged, Iranian state television reported. Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi described the incident as an “attack” carried out by those committing “dangerous adventurism.” He said the incident was under investigation. There has been no word from Saudi Arabia regarding the reported missile strikes. That incident comes amid fraught tensions and charges by the U.S. that Iran has attacked oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, at the mouth of the Persian Gulf — something denied by Tehran. Right now, there are roughly 250 U.S. troops deployed to Saudi Arabia and more than 60,000 U.S. troops deployed throughout the Middle East, both within various countries and aboard warships. This recent deployment is part of the response to the suspected Iranian missile and drone attack on Saudi oil facilities on Sept. 14.