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Tom Fitton's Judicial Watch Weekly Update

Another Obama National Security Failure?

May 7, 2010

From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:

Another Obama National Security Failure?

Last Saturday, Faisal Shahzad drove a bomb-laden SUV into Times Square with the intent to murder as many Americans as he possibly could. Thankfully the car bomb malfunctioned and Shahzad was apprehended as he was about to take off on a plane to Dubai.

But this was no Homeland Security victory.

The day after the failed terrorist attack, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano quickly dismissed the attempted car bombing as a “one-off” event, implying that Shahzad acted alone. You may notice that the Obama administration uses this “lone wolf” theory to deflect criticism. How can we be expected to stop every “lone wolf” terrorist, the Obama administration asks?

For starters, how about looking at your own watch lists? According to CBS News, the Pakistan-born naturalized citizen has been on a Department of Homeland Security travel watch list since 1999.

Now, of course, the evidence is mounting that Napolitano’s knee-jerk reaction was dead wrong. Turns out Shahzad trained in Pakistan. And the Taliban is claiming credit for the attempted terrorist attack (with an assist from al-Qaida some authorities are suggesting).

Judith Miller published a list of ten questions emerging from this latest terrorist plot on Fox News. Here’s one I found most interesting: “Why did members of President Obama’s national security team — Napolitano, Holder, and Robert Gibbs (who as press secretary seems to be an insider even on national security issues and operating way beyond his pay grade) go out of their way to avoid using the term ‘terrorism’ to describe the failed attack until the obvious could no longer be denied? And why, to this day, has the term ‘Islamic’ never been linked with Shahzad or his plot?”

Here’s one thought. The Obama administration doesn’t want to use the word “terrorism” because they’d rather treat these incidents as criminal acts, not acts of war. Take note that Shahzad wasn’t turned over to the U.S. military or intelligence for questioning. He was arrested, questioned for a few hours, and read his Miranda rights like a common criminal.

This is par for the course for the Obama administration. The President still entertains the ridiculous notion of holding the Khalid Sheikh Mohammed trial in New York City. Hopefully this latest attack will put an end to this dangerous idea once and for all.

Of course, some on the Left shamelessly used this attempted terrorist attack to take a shot at their new favorite whipping boy, the Tea Party.

Check this gem out from the liberal The Nation: “It may be that the Pakistan-based Taliban, the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), has quietly established a Connecticut franchise while we weren’t looking. That’s possible. But it seems far more likely to me that the perpetrator of the bungled Times Square bomb plot was either a lone nut job or a member of some squirrely branch of the Tea Party, anti-government far right. Which actually exists in Connecticut, where, it seems, the car’s license plates were stolen.”

And even New York Mayor Bloomberg maliciously speculated that the bomber was someone opposed to Obamacare.

The mendaciousness of the Left often knows no bounds.

There is a saying that it is better to be lucky than good. When it comes to fighting terrorism, we better be both. We lucked out this time. Just like we lucked out on Christmas Day, when alert passengers stopped a would-be terrorist from detonating a bomb on an airplane.

But sometimes we’re not so lucky. Remember the Fort Hood massacre? There again we were told there was no Islamic connection, despite the radical rantings and connections of Nidal Malik Hasan, another of the Obama administration’s lone wolves.

It turns out that Hasan and the Times Square terrorist are linked to the same radical cleric, Anwar Al-Awaki.

Law enforcement deserves credit for finding the terrorist in this case so quickly. But our national security apparatus, with its kinder, gentler approach to terrorism or “man-made disasters,” needs to answer why this terrorist was able to travel back and forth to Pakistan, consort with terrorists, plant a bomb in the heart of New York, and then nearly escape to Dubai as everybody in federal law enforcement was looking for him.

Obama’s Double-Speak on National Security

While the Obama administration clearly makes the world less safe with its approach to the threat of terrorism (and illegal immigration), Obama claims he is trying to make the world a safer place by reducing nuclear weapon stockpiles.

Toward that end, the Obama administration told the world a state secret this week that had been kept for decades: The total size of the United States nuclear stockpile.

According to The Washington Post:

Shattering a taboo dating from the Cold War, the Obama administration revealed Monday the size of the American nuclear arsenal — 5,113 weapons — as it embarked on a campaign for tougher measures against countries with hidden nuclear programs.

The figure was in line with previous estimates by arms-control groups. But Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton emphasized that it was the very disclosure of the long-held secret that was important.

“We think it is in our national security interest to be as transparent as we can about the nuclear program of the United States,” she told reporters at a high-level nuclear conference in New York, where she announced the change in policy. “We think that builds confidence.”

I cannot resist pointing out the irony.

The Obama administration claims releasing secret information on the country’s nuclear arsenal will enhance the nation’s national security, while at the same time arguing in court that merely releasing names of White House visitors will result in a national security crisis? (As you may recall, the Obama administration is fighting tooth and nail in a Judicial Watch lawsuit to avoid disclosing White House visitors by playing the “national security card.”)

In fact, my colleagues and I were told by Obama White House officials in person that they were concerned that releasing seeming innocuous visitor names and other details would allow foreign intelligence to reverse engineer this informaton to find classified sources, methods, personnel, and other details we don’t want the other side getting. This, of course, has nothing to do with whether such records are subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), which provides for the withholding of national security information.

Yet the Obama team released explicit details of our nuclear arsenal. Using the method of national security analysis presented to us by the Obama White House, I suspect that foreign interests will now be able to glean information from this we don’t want them to have — such as the types of specific nuclear weapons, their locations, their support personel and infrastructure, and other classified data that you and I can’t even fathom.

And it isn’t only Judicial Watch that is raising the question as to whether the President’s loose lips on American nukes may have just put the country in jeopardy. The Associated Press notes there was a “furious” debate within the Obama administration on the President’s decision to release the data. Intelligence officials are concerned that doling out information on the stockpiles will provide key information to would-be bombmakers about how much plutonium is needed to build a bomb.

The Obama administration is transparent only when it serves its political interests:

  • Release nuclear secrets? The administration explains that they are trying to build an international reputation as the world’s peacemaker. (And scoring points with the radical Left at the same time.)
  • What about the White House visitor logs? The administration tells Judicial Watch and a federal court there will be dire national security consequences in making White House visitor logs subject to disclosure under FOIA.
  • Treasury documents on the financial crisis? No.
  • Information on the Obama administration’s secret health care meetings? No dice.

In a recent blog for The Hill newspaper, I argued that the Obama administration has made the nation less safe. And that was before the recent attempted New York terrorist attack and the President’s decision to disclose national security secrets. The situation is getting worse, not better.

National security is a political game for this White House.

Is Obamacare Constitutional?

That’s the question we will ask at our next educational panel, to be held next Tuesday, May 11, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC (12:00 pm — 1:30 pm). I’ll be moderating the panel, which will include confirmed guests Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) Ranking Minority Member of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Civil Liberties and Randy E. Bartnett, who is a Carmack Waterhouse Professor of Legal Theory at the Georgetown University Law Center at the Georgetown University Law Center.

If you’re in the DC area on May 11, please feel free to drop by the National Press Club to participate in the panel. If you can’t make it in person, we will also broadcast the panel live on the Internet at

As I pointed out when President Obama signed his health care “reform” legislation into law, the battle to roll back Obama’s hostile government takeover of the health care system has just begun. At least nineteen states have filed lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of the President’s health care overhaul.

Here are just a couple of the issues we will cover.

Does Obamacare violate federalism provisions in our constitution that respect the sovereignity of the states?

Can the federal government force individual citizens to purchase health insurance under penalty by the Internal Revenue Service? As Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who is challenging Obamacare in court, points out: “There has never been a point in our history where the federal government has been given the authority to require citizens to buy goods or services.”

In addition to sponsoring this important panel, your Judicial Watch is actively battling and exposing Obamacare. Our investigators have filed more than 20 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests on the issue and are already in court seeking key documents.

For example, we recently filed a FOIA lawsuit against Health and Human Services (HHS) to uncover documents related to the secret, closed-door meetings on health care that the President held with Vice President Biden, HHS Secretary Sebelius, Speaker Pelosi, Majority Leader Reid, Obama health care czar Nancy-Ann DeParle and union officials.

I’m hoping you will participate in our event this coming Tuesday.

Until next week…

Tom Fitton

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