Tag Archives: Leon Panetta

Former Ron Paul campaign official explains Ron Paul’s views on foreign policy

From Right Wing News, an exclusive interview with a Ron Paul insider who was working for Ron Paul from 1987-2003.

Excerpt:

Ron Paul was opposed to the War in Afghanistan, and to any military reaction to the attacks of 9/11.

He did not want to vote for the resolution. He immediately stated to us staffers, me in particular, that Bush/Cheney were going to use the attacks as a precursor for “invading” Iraq. He engaged in conspiracy theories including perhaps the attacks were coordinated with the CIA, and that the Bush administration might have known about the attacks ahead of time. He expressed no sympathies whatsoever for those who died on 9/11, and pretty much forbade us staffers from engaging in any sort of memorial expressions, or openly asserting pro-military statements in support of the Bush administration.

On the eve of the vote, Ron Paul was still telling us staffers that he was planning to vote “No,” on the resolution, and to be prepared for a seriously negative reaction in the District. Jackie Gloor and I, along with quiet nods of agreement from the other staffers in the District, declared our intentions to Tom Lizardo, our Chief of Staff, and to each other, that if Ron voted No, we would immediately resign.

Ron was “under the spell” of left-anarchist and Lew Rockwell associate Joe Becker at the time, who was our legislative director. Norm Singleton, another Lew Rockwell fanatic agreed with Joe. All other staffers were against Ron, Joe and Norm on this, including Lizardo. At the very last minute Ron switched his stance and voted “Yay,” much to the great relief of Jackie and I. He never explained why, but I strongly suspected that he realized it would have been political suicide; that staunchly conservative Victoria would revolt, and the Republicans there would ensure that he would not receive the nomination for the seat in 2002. Also, as much as I like to think that it was my yelling and screaming at Ron, that I would publicly resign if he voted “No,” I suspect it had a lot more to do with Jackie’s threat, for she WAS Victoria. And if Jackie bolted, all of the Victoria conservatives would immediately turn on Ron, and it wouldn’t be pretty.

If you take anything from this lengthy statement, I would hope that it is this final story about the Afghanistan vote, that the liberal media chooses to completely ignore, because it doesn’t fit their template, is what you will report.

If Ron Paul should be slammed for anything, it’s not some silly remarks he’s made in the past in his Newsletters. It’s over his simply outrageously horrendous views on foreign policy, Israel, and national security for the United States. His near No vote on Afghanistan. That is the big scandal. And that is what should be given 100 times more attention from the liberal media, than this Newsletter deal.

I think Paul’s comments on World War 2, which I didn’t excerpt here, are pretty disturbing as well. I guess I just don’t believe that he knows enough about national security and counter-terrorism to be President. If I asked him questions like “who is FARC?” or “who is the Quds force?” or “How is Iran working with the Mexican drug cartels?” or “How is Iran working with Hugo Chavez?” then all I’ll get in response is Libertarian rhetoric.

Ron Paul doesn’t know a thing about national security or Islamic terrorism, he can’t quote any specifics at all about who terrorists are, what they’ve done, what they want to do, etc.. It’s like asking a witch doctor to explain modern medicine. You’ll only get conspiracy theories and unverifiable assertions – never any details. Everything Ron Paul asserts about how unilateral disarming would do this, or unilateral withdrawal would do that is really nothing more than his uninformed personal ideology. If you asked him to prove out any of his views on foreign policy, you would just get more excitable old crank rhetoric – devoid of data and history.

The best way to engage a libertarian who thinks that Ron Paul conspiracy theory diplomacy would work is to bring up a specific example when actual counter-terrorism produced results. For example, when KSM was waterboarded and gave up intelligence on the 9/11-style attack on Los Angeles, or when enhanced interrogation techniques led to the location of Osama Bin Laden. You can also point out how Clinton’s policies of appeasement emboldened terrorists to commit actual terrorist attacks against American assets. And how Bush’s invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan did actually dissuade terrorist attacks from occurring. And how large-scale attacks resumed under Obama, e.g. – the NYC subway bomb, the NYC Times Square bomb, the attempted assassination of the Saudi ambassador in New York, etc., to name a few. This is kryptonite to a fever-swamp libertarian who forms his foreign policy reading dead economists from the 1800s – prior to the invention of nuclear weapons.

Like this:

How to defeat Ron Paul in 2012
How to defeat Ron Paul in 2012

We can’t put someone like Ron Paul in charge of national security. It would be like putting a witch doctor in as the Surgeon General. Conspiracy theories are not good foreign policy. The antidote is to talk about the way things work in the real world.

Libertarian: a person who thinks waterboarding a terrorist to prevent a 9/11 attack is “cruel”, but who thinks aborting 50 million unborn babies since 1973 is “just”. Just understand what libertarianism is, and the scope in which it is useful, and don’t apply it to areas where it doesn’t apply.

CIA Director Leon Panetta confirms that waterboarding led to Osama Bin Laden

CIA Director Leon Panetta confirms that waterboarding / enhanced interrogation techniques led to Osama Bin Laden, in this MSNBC interview by Brian Williams.

Excerpt:

Brian Williams: I’d like to ask you about the sourcing on the intel that ultimately led to this successful attack. Can you confirm that it was as a result of waterboarding that we learned what we needed to learn to go after Bin Laden?

Leon Panetta: You know, Brian, in the intelligence business you work from a lot of sources of information, and that was true here. We had a multiple series of sources that provided information with regards to this situation. Clearly, some of it came from detainees and the interrogation of detainees, but we also had information from other sources as well. So it’s a little difficult to say it was due just to one source of information that we got.

Williams: Turned around the other way, are you denying that waterboarding was in part among the tactics used to extract the intelligence that led to this successful mission?

Panetta: No, I think some of the detainees clearly were — you know, they used these enhanced interrogation techniques against some of these detainees. But I’m also saying that the debate about whether we would have gotten the same information through other approaches I think is always going to be an open question.

Williams: So, final point, one final time: enhanced interrogation techniques, which has always been kind of a handy euphemism in these post-9/11 years, that includes waterboarding.

Panetta: That’s correct.

This is the waterboarding that Obama opposed. Obama opposed enhanced interrogations. Obama opposed military tribunals. Obama opposed CIA prisons. Obama opposed Guantanamo Bay. Obama opposes counter-terrorism in general.

And don’t forget how waterboarding prevented a similar 9/11-style attack on Los Angeles.

Excerpt:

The Central Intelligence Agency told CNSNews.com today that it stands by the assertion made in a May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that the use of “enhanced techniques” of interrogation on al Qaeda leader Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM) — including the use of waterboarding — caused KSM to reveal information that allowed the U.S. government to thwart a planned attack on Los Angeles.

Before he was waterboarded, when KSM was asked about planned attacks on the United States, he ominously told his CIA interrogators, “Soon, you will know.”

According to the previously classified May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that was released by President Barack Obama last week, the thwarted attack — which KSM called the “Second Wave”– planned “ ‘to use East Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner into’ a building in Los Angeles.”

KSM was the mastermind of the first “hijacked-airliner” attacks on the United States, which struck the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Northern Virginia on Sept. 11, 2001.

After KSM was captured by the United States, he was not initially cooperative with CIA interrogators.  Nor was another top al Qaeda leader named Zubaydah.  KSM, Zubaydah, and a third terrorist named Nashiri were the only three persons ever subjected to waterboarding by the CIA.

Waterboarding works. It is not torture. We waterboard all our our naval aviators as part of their SERE training.

But do you know what is torture? Partial-birth abortion. We don’t partial-birth abort our naval aviators as part of their SERE training – yet the same people who oppose waterboarding support partial-birth abortion.

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Obama’s decision to retreat in Iraq is a disaster for American foreign policy

Let’s see what everyone thinks about Obama’s decision withdraw 40,000 troops from Iraq, effectively handing control of much of the Middle East to Iran.

Disregards the advice of his own generals

From the Wall Street Journal.

Excerpt:

No doubt this will be politically popular—at least in the short-term. Mr. Obama can say he honored a campaign pledge, Congress will move to spend the money on domestic programs, and a war-weary American public will be relieved to carry fewer overseas burdens. Or at least Americans will feel such relief as long as this total withdrawal doesn’t cost the hard-fought political and strategic gains that our intervention has won.

There are serious risks in this complete withdrawal. Iraq has made great progress in providing its own security, with some 600,000 Iraqi troops gradually taking the handoff from U.S. forces. But the Iraqis still lack vital military assets in intelligence and logistics, not to mention naval and air power. Mr. Obama said the U.S. will continue to discuss “how we might help Iraq train and equip its forces,” but this is no substitute for a more robust, long-term presence of the kind we retain in South Korea and Japan 60 years after the end of the Korean War.

The U.S. commander in Iraq, General Lloyd Austin, had requested between 15,000 and 18,000 troops, before reducing it to 10,000 under pressure. Such a U.S. presence would reassure Iraq and its neighbors of our continuing commitment to the region. It would help play the role of honest broker among Iraq’s ethnic factions as it continues to build a more durable political system.

And above all it would reduce Iran’s ability to meddle in Iraq, building local militias on the Hezbollah model with a goal of making its neighbor a Shiite vassal state. Iran’s Quds force—the same outfit that wanted to assassinate a Saudi ambassador on U.S. soil—is the biggest winner from Mr. Obama’s pullout.

Bungled negotiations

From Foreign Policy magazine. (H/T The Washington Post)

Excerpt:

“Iraq is not a normal country, the security environment is not normal, the embassy is not a normal embassy,” said Marisa Cochrane Sullivan, managing director at the Institute for the Study of War, who traveled to Iraq this summer and has been sounding the alarm about what she saw as the mishandling of the negotiations ever since.

For more evidence that the administration actually wanted to extend the troop presence in Iraq, despite today’s words by Obama and McDonough, one only has to look at the statements of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta.

In July, Panetta urged Iraqi leaders to, “Dammit, make a decision” about the U.S. troop extension. In August, he told reporters that, “My view is that they finally did say, ‘Yes.'” On Oct. 17, he was still pushing for the extension and said, “At the present time I’m not discouraged because we’re still in negotiations with the Iraqis.”

Sullivan was one of 40 conservative foreign policy professionals who wrote to Obama in September to warn that even a residual force of 4,000 troops would “leave the country more vulnerable to internal and external threats, thus imperiling the hard-fought gains in security and governance made in recent years at significant cost to the United States.”

She said that the administration’s negotiating strategy was flawed for a number of reasons: it failed to take into account Iraqi politics, failed to reach out to a broad enough group of Iraqi political leaders, and sent contradictory messages on the troop extension throughout the process.

“From the beginning, the talks unfolded in a way where they largely driven by domestic political concerns, both in Washington and Baghdad. Both sides let politics drive the process, rather than security concerns,” said Sullivan.

Emboldens Syria and their puppet-master, Iran

From National Review.

Excerpt:

The announcement of our total withdrawal comes just weeks after the revelation of an Iranian plot to execute the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. on our soil. It comes as Iran’s key Arab ally, the Assad regime in Syria, is rocked by a revolt. Just as Tehran’s dangerousness is put in stark relief and as events in Syria threaten to deal it a strategic setback, it gets this windfall.

[…][Obama’s] commanders on the ground wanted to keep more than 20,000 troops in Iraq (the administration had bid this number down to several thousand, perhaps convincing Iraqi political players that cutting a painful deal on immunity wouldn’t have enough of a corresponding upside). Such a force would have enhanced our political leverage in Baghdad, checked Iran’s already considerable influence, ensured against a return of al-Qaeda, and helped keep a lid on Arab–Kurdish tensions in the north. Now, we’ll simply have to hope for the best. Deputy National Security Advisor Dennis McDonough said Iraq is “secure, stable, and self-reliant.” It is none of these things. Its government is still inchoate and it is not capable of defending itself from Iran in the air or on the ground.

Our pullout is a bonanza for Tehran. Its militias were already active in Iraq. Now, it can use Iraq for bases for its proxy forces to spread its tentacles in the rest of the Persian Gulf. Independent ayotollahs in Iraq will have an incentive to keep their heads down. Political decisions of the Iranian-influenced Shiite bloc running the country are sure to begin to tilt more and more Iran’s way. Our diplomatic leverage will diminish, even as maintain our largest embassy in the world in Baghdad. The Iranians will crow in Iraq and throughout the region that they were right that the Americans would eventually leave.

We expended a great deal of blood and treasure to topple Saddam Hussein, and then to establish enough order so that George W. Bush’s successor would only have to consolidate our gains. President Obama is careless enough to risk throwing it all away, and shameless enough to call it success.

For those who are not aware of the looming storm in the Middle East, you should read in full this article from the Washington Times. It is authored by Frank Gaffney, the President of the Center for Security Policy. He covers several troubling data points in Libya, Egypt, Afghanistan, Iraq, China, Russia and Mexico. As if that were not bad enough, it looks as if the debt limit super-committee is now deadlocked in negotiations, which will trigger automatic cuts to our defense budget, at the worst possible moment.

Obama vows to continue prosecuting counter-terrorism experts

Consider this Wall Street Journal article by former Attorney General Michael Mukasey.

Excerpt:

Consider how the intelligence that led to bin Laden came to hand. It began with a disclosure from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), who broke like a dam under the pressure of harsh interrogation techniques that included waterboarding. He loosed a torrent of information — including eventually the nickname of a trusted courier of bin Laden. That regimen of harsh interrogation was used on KSM after another detainee, Abu Zubaydeh, was subjected to the same techniques. When he broke, he said that he and other members of al-Qaeda were obligated to resist only until they could no longer do so, at which point it became permissible for them to yield. “Do this for all the brothers,” he advised his interrogators. . . .

The harsh techniques themselves were used selectively against only a small number of hard-core prisoners who successfully resisted other forms of interrogation, and then only with the explicit authorization of the director of the CIA. Of the thousands of unlawful combatants captured by the U.S., fewer than 100 were detained and questioned in the CIA program. Of those, fewer than one-third were subjected to any of these techniques.

[…]President Obama ran for election on the promise to do away with these techniques even before he became aware, if he ever did, of what they were. Days after taking office, he directed that the CIA interrogation program be done away with entirely and that interrogation be limited to the techniques set forth in the Army Field Manual, a document designed for use by even the least experienced troops. It’s available on the Internet and used by terrorists as a training manual for resisting interrogation.

Jennifer Rubin, writing in the left-wing Washington Post comments on the Mukasey column.

Excerpt:

In addition to eliminating the very techniques that allowed us to track down and kill bin Laden, Obama has permitted the Justice Department to reopen investigation of previously cleared CIA operatives. Mukasey explains: “ I say ‘reopening’ advisedly because those investigations had all been formally closed by the end of 2007, with detailed memoranda prepared by career Justice Department prosecutors explaining why no charges were warranted. Attorney General Eric Holder conceded that he had ordered the investigations reopened in September 2009 without reading those memoranda. The investigations have now dragged on for years with prosecutors chasing allegations down rabbit holes, with the CIA along with the rest of the intelligence community left demoralized.

That’s right – Barack Obama has intimidated the entire intelligence community with his prosecution of CIA operatives who were judged innocent. Does his decision to prosecute CIA counter-terrorism experts make us safer from terrorist attacks?

And just look at how he treated the 9/11 widow Debra Burlingame. He literally turned his back on her just because she asked him why he is continuing to prosecute the CIA interrogators for doing their jobs. That’s the real Barack Obama. He can’t take a question, he can’t handle criticism. He has no civility for people who disagree with him.

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CIA Director Leon Panetta confirms that waterboarding led to Osama Bin Laden

CIA Director Leon Panetta confirms that waterboarding / enhanced interrogation techniques led to Osama Bin Laden, in this MSNBC interview by Brian Williams.

Excerpt:

Brian Williams: I’d like to ask you about the sourcing on the intel that ultimately led to this successful attack. Can you confirm that it was as a result of waterboarding that we learned what we needed to learn to go after Bin Laden?

Leon Panetta: You know, Brian, in the intelligence business you work from a lot of sources of information, and that was true here. We had a multiple series of sources that provided information with regards to this situation. Clearly, some of it came from detainees and the interrogation of detainees, but we also had information from other sources as well. So it’s a little difficult to say it was due just to one source of information that we got.

Williams: Turned around the other way, are you denying that waterboarding was in part among the tactics used to extract the intelligence that led to this successful mission?

Panetta: No, I think some of the detainees clearly were — you know, they used these enhanced interrogation techniques against some of these detainees. But I’m also saying that the debate about whether we would have gotten the same information through other approaches I think is always going to be an open question.

Williams: So, final point, one final time: enhanced interrogation techniques, which has always been kind of a handy euphemism in these post-9/11 years, that includes waterboarding.

Panetta: That’s correct.

This is the waterboarding that Obama opposed. Obama opposed enhanced interrogations. Obama opposed military tribunals. Obama opposed CIA prisons. Obama opposed Guantanamo Bay. Obama opposed counter-terrorism. I would not be surprised if the decision to kill Bin Laden was made in order to keep Obama from reading him his rights, giving him a civilian trial, bowing to him, etc.

Notice that the left-wing New York Times is in denial about the facts.

And don’t forget how waterboarding prevented a similar 9/11-style attack on Los Angeles.

Excerpt:

The Central Intelligence Agency told CNSNews.com today that it stands by the assertion made in a May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that the use of “enhanced techniques” of interrogation on al Qaeda leader Khalid Sheik Mohammed (KSM) — including the use of waterboarding — caused KSM to reveal information that allowed the U.S. government to thwart a planned attack on Los Angeles.

Before he was waterboarded, when KSM was asked about planned attacks on the United States, he ominously told his CIA interrogators, “Soon, you will know.”

According to the previously classified May 30, 2005 Justice Department memo that was released by President Barack Obama last week, the thwarted attack — which KSM called the “Second Wave”– planned “ ‘to use East Asian operatives to crash a hijacked airliner into’ a building in Los Angeles.”

KSM was the mastermind of the first “hijacked-airliner” attacks on the United States, which struck the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Northern Virginia on Sept. 11, 2001.

After KSM was captured by the United States, he was not initially cooperative with CIA interrogators.  Nor was another top al Qaeda leader named Zubaydah.  KSM, Zubaydah, and a third terrorist named Nashiri were the only three persons ever subjected to waterboarding by the CIA.

I actually asked one person who thought waterboarding was “torture” who KSM was. She didn’t know! But this is like asking “who is buried in Grant’s tomb?” when it comes to intelligence matters. You can’t decide what to believe based on your feelings or the need to please others or to strike a pose with your peers to earn their approval. You have to have access to the facts, or you get taken in by conspiracy theories and sloganeering. You have to understand WHY Americans will use an Apache helicopter to attack a force of infantry armed with RPGs when a convoy of Hummers comes into their line of fire. It does no good to try to participate in debates on national security and foreign policy without knowing the facts. Feelings of envy and hatred for the United States are not arguments.

Let me be very very clear. To oppose the waterboarding of a terrorist like KSM is to favor the deaths of thousands of innocent Americans, thousands of innocent civilians in wars, and millions or even billions of dollars of financial losses. That is the “moral superiority” of the left. They would rather protect a guilty terrorist from a little discomfort than save huge numbers of innocent lives and protect the assets of huge numbers of innocent people. And they expect you to hold them in high regard for protecting evil, and punishing good. Apparently, this is considered as being the height of morality on the secular left, as Evan Sayet has pointed out. Despite what leftists believe, it is morally good for American soldiers kill a terrorist who has harmed innocent people or who is plotting an attack that will kill innocent people.

Thank you, President George W. Bush, for having a clear moral vision, and for making the hard, unpopular decisions that kept us safe.

Thank you, Central Intelligence Agency, for doing hard, unpopular things in order to protect us from terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

Thank you, United States Armed Forces, for taking on the thankless task of protecting the people of the United States.

GOD BLESS AMERICA!

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