4:46 PM, Aug 27, 2014 • By WHITNEY BLAKE
With lawmakers ratcheting up pressure on Obama to take action in Syria, few in the administration have been paying close attention to Libya, apparently. As Fox News's Jennifer Griffin reported last night on Special Report with Bret Baier, the United States was baffled for days as to who conducted airstrikes in Libya.
At the end of her package, she notes:
Qatar's support for Libya's Islamist factions forced Egypt and the United Arab Emirates to go it alone twice in the past week, carrying out air strikes against Libyan factions, surprising U.S. officials.
Rear Admiral John Kirby, Pentagon Press Secretary: "We do believe there were airstrikes undertaken in recent days by the UAE and Egypt inside Libya."
It took several days for U.S. intelligence analysts to figure out who carried out the airstrikes in Libya.
This is troubling in several ways:
1). The U.S. is not monitoring the area that closely, and if we are, we're not doing a good job of it. While most people think the government is an omniscient, omnipresent entity that knows our every move, our intelligence capabilities aren't as great as most people probably thought they were.
While we're deploying drones in Syria, as Jennifer Griffin also noted yesterday in a separate report, there "aren't enough to go around" to cover key areas. (Meanwhile, Griffin pointed out that ISIS fighters took over a Syrian military air base on Monday, while Obama has pledged $500 million for Syrian friendly forces in next year's budget.)
2). Perhaps even more disconcerting, Egypt and the UAE, supposedly among our strongest allies in the Middle East, didn't trust us enough to even give us a courteous heads up -- either before or even after the fact -- let alone coordinate with us on any level. They left us completely in the dark.
As the New York Times reported:
The United States, the officials said, was caught by surprise: Egypt and the Emirates, both close allies and military partners, acted without informing Washington or seeking its consent, leaving the Obama administration on the sidelines. Egyptian officials explicitly denied the operation to U.S. diplomats, the officials said.
3). Our allies in the Middle East have no confidence in our ability to lead or to have their backs.
In an article titled "Libya air strikes show UAE willing to 'go it alone,'" the AFP described the feeling of abandonment our allies have:
The air strikes underscored how Washington's old allies are willing to act without backing from the Americans.
Saudi and UAE leaders in particular have expressed concern that Washington can no longer be counted on, citing US diplomatic overtures to Iran and a cautious approach to the Syrian conflict.
"The lesson of Syria still resonates... that you cannot depend on America or the West... America is no longer reliable," says Abdulla.
Wehrey agreed: "The sense in the Gulf is that the Gulf states need to take matters into their own hands."
4). The United States, the world's lone superpower, has removed itself from the world stage via Obama's foreign policy "doctrine," and the rest of the world knows it.
The American Thinker points out that regardless of whether he's prepared, Obama may never get that 2 a.m. phone call:
1:22 PM, Aug 11, 2014 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
As the world watches the strengthening of global jihadist movements – from ISIS to al Qaeda to dozens of affiliated and like-minded groups – one of those inside the U.S. government who was most vocal about the growing threats is leaving his position. General Michael Flynn served as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency from July 2012 until last week. Throughout his tenure he challenged the Obama administration’s hopeful and inaccurate narrative about the war against al Qaeda and jihadists – pushback that doubtless contributed to his early departure from the agency.
How the CIA’s No. 2 misled CongressMar 3, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 24 • By STEPHEN F. HAYES
Two leading Republicans on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence say that Michael Morell, then acting director of the Central Intelligence Agency, gave an account of his role on Benghazi that was often misleading and sometimes deliberately false.
Feb 3, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 20 • By GARY SCHMITT
In the wake of all the “leaks” by Edward Snowden of the National Security Agency’s collection programs and the resulting debate over those programs, one constantly hears from elected officials and the commentariat about the need to strike the right balance between privacy and security. More often than not, this is followed by a suggestion that, as a country, since 9/11, we haven’t.
5:36 PM, Jan 17, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Florida senator Marco Rubio says that "some" of President Obama's proposed changes to the way the NSA collects date "go too far."
“Our intelligence collection programs are vital tools used by the government to defend the security of the U.S. homeland. I am concerned that some of President Obama’s suggestions today go too far and may make it more difficult for the government to carry out its constitutional responsibility to keep Americans safe," reads a statement released by Rubio's Senate office.
2:01 PM, Jan 17, 2014 • By GARY SCHMITT
Thankfully, President Obama is not a doctor. If he was and you happened to visit him in his office and mentioned that you were worried about the potential for lung cancer, he’d immediately put you under, open you up, and pull out a lung—or, at least, that’s the logic that seems to be guiding his decisions on NSA’s collection programs. Yes, no one has found any evidence that NSA has broken the law, invaded constitutionally-protected privacy rights, or is about to. But never mind, it’s the very possibility that someday, somehow, NSA will jump the tracks that requires the president now to unduly complicate the use of what he admits has been an important counterterrorism tool.
Writes 'Isreal.'9:12 AM, Jan 15, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The office of the Director of National Intelligence released its interactive 2014 Counterterrorism Calendar this week on the website of the National Counterterrorism Center. The map provided with the calendar contains an embarrassing error, misspelling the name of the U.S.'s closest ally in the Middle East, Israel, as "Isreal." The error can be seen by hovering over the tiny country with a computer mouse:
2:22 PM, Jan 9, 2014 • By GARY SCHMITT
For all those civil libertarians of both the left and the right who think we ought to thank Edward Snowden for his actions in revealing NSA’s secret metadata collection program—or, at a minimum, believe the U.S. government should show leniency toward him should he ever come back to these shores—they might want to just stop for a moment and consider what else Mr. Snowden has revealed.
3:01 PM, Dec 21, 2013 • By GARY SCHMITT
When the “President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology” issued its report (Liberty and Security in a Changing World) this past week, an honest and objective newspaper headline the next day would have read: “Rogue Panel Reports on Non-Rogue NSA Program.”
The NSA in Europe. Nov 11, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 09 • By REUEL MARC GERECHT
It is often remarked that espionage is the second-oldest profession. Written records from Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Iran suggest that spying and civilization sprang up together. In antiquity, spies could be the hidden bureaucrats of tyranny or good governance (a ruler needed to know whether a satrap was cheating the crown and its subjects) or, less often, camouflaged itinerants writing home about the machinations of rival city-states, empires, or barbarian tribes. In modern times, espionage went Orwellian, becoming primarily a tool to buttress police states.
It takes a certain intelligence to comprehend the CIA. Nov 4, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 08 • By REUEL MARC GERECHT
There is probably no harder beat in Washington than intelligence.
Forget chess, Turkey is failing at geopolitical checkers. Nov 4, 2013, Vol. 19, No. 08 • By LEE SMITH
A recent spate of newspaper articles suggests a concerted media campaign targeting Turkey’s foreign intelligence service, the MIT, its director, Hakan Fidan, and almost surely his boss as well, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. In a piece published by the Wall Street Journal and another by the Washington Times, Fidan is said to be supporting al Qaeda affiliates in Syria fighting against forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad.
7:43 AM, Aug 30, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
Steve Hayes, with Mara Liasson and Charles Krauthammer, last night on Fox News: