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Congress Uses Budget To Secretly Defund Plan For Military Takeover Of CIA Drone Program

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So, while defunding Obamacare is some kind of gross abuse of authority, defunding the Obama Administration’s plans to move the drone program from the CIA to the military is just fine for liberals. They can micromanage the executive branch through legislation and funding.
The Washington Post reports:

Congress has moved to block President Obama’s plan to shift control of the U.S. drone campaign from the CIA to the Defense Department, inserting a secret provision in the massive government spending bill introduced this week that would preserve the spy agency’s role in lethal counterterrorism operations, U.S. officials said.

The measure, included in a classified annex to the $1.1 trillion federal budget plan, would restrict the use of any funding to transfer unmanned aircraft or the authority to carry out drone strikes from the CIA to the Pentagon, officials said.

The provision represents an unusually direct intervention by lawmakers into the way covert operations are run, impeding an administration plan aimed at returning the CIA’s focus to traditional intelligence gathering and possibly bringing more transparency to drone strikes.

The move also reflects some lawmakers’ lingering doubts about the U.S. military’s ability to conduct strikes against al-Qaeda and its regional affiliates without hitting the wrong targets and killing civilians.

I have a really difficult time believing that this was about reducing the number of civilians and bystanders killed. It is much easier to believe that some in Congress feared that a move to the military would mean more public records.
In general, it seems that Congress is just find with the way the CIA has changed, even though some want it to return to its former job of actually gathering intelligence.

Also at issue is the fundamental mission of the CIA, which during the past decade has morphed into a paramilitary force. Senior officials, including CIA Director John O. Brennan, have warned that the agency’s emphasis on lethal operations deviates from its traditional mission and could impair its ability to focus on gathering intelligence.

This has been a longstanding critique of the CIA from many people all over the political spectrum—that the CIA’s “black ops” distract it from the job it is actually supposed to do, keep the President informed about the world. That is even the point of its name: “central intelligence.”
So why do people in Congress want to keep the situation from changing?
Obviously, to enact such an “unusually direct intervention” indicates that some people in Congress, or who lobby Congress, feel very strongly about this issue. It would be nice for journalists to figure out why.

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Military

North Carolinians on High Alert as ‘Unconventional’ Military Drills Set to Begin

The exercises may seem very real, but authorities insist that there will be no danger to residents.

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One of the most pointed lessons of the Founding Fathers was to never fully trust your government.

These were the first Americans.  The ones who saw the tyranny of the British for what it was, and decided that despite what punishment was sure to come, they’d be making tea in the Boston Harbor.

The founders, after beating back the most advanced army in the world at the time, then bestowed upon the people of this new nation a glut of freedom the likes of which the world had never seen.  The hope was that our liberty would allow us to remain free through freely speaking our minds, electing our own government officials, and, if all else failed, throwing some more figurative tea out to sea.

So when the federal government starts conducting strange military drills in populated areas of the east coast, it is well within our rights as Americans to be concerned.

Fort Bragg is warning the public that suspicious looking military activity could erupt on private land across multiple North Carolina counties next month as part of a cryptic Special Forces training exercise.

This could include hearing explosions and seeing soldiers acting as ”guerrilla freedom fighters,” according to a release from the U.S. Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School at Fort Bragg.

Exact times, locations and exercise specifics are not being publicized, officials said in the release.

Things could get heavy as well.

“Residents may hear blank gunfire and see occasional flares … No real bombs will be used, but people in nearby areas may hear loud bangs that replicate the idea of a bomb,” officials told McClatchy News.

Conspiracy theorists on social media have expressed concern regarding the drills, pointing to a number of purported real-world tragedies that happened to occur while a military “drill” was suspiciously scheduled at a similar date and place.

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Military

West Point Forces Cadets to Undergo ‘Gender Diversity’ Training, Says Men are ‘Toxic’

America’s premiere military school, West Point, is now forcing cadets to learn about “gender norms,” “diversity,” and “inclusion.”

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America’s premiere military school, West Point, is now forcing cadets to learn about “gender norms,” “diversity,” and “inclusion,” instead of teaching cadets in training useful leadership skills.

The absurd PCing of the school is so bad that one cadet was heard grousing that they are teaching him “how NOT to be a man.”

Last week the military school held what it called its “Honorably Living Day,” an event described as promoting “diversity, inclusion and acceptance of people from differing backgrounds, races and genders.”

West Point Superintendent Lt. Gen. Darryl A. Williams laughably insisted that the politically correct indoctrination would further “combat readiness.”

According to Breitbart News, cadets were forced to watch several documentaries that celebrate transgenderism and the gay lifestyle.

Cadets were obligated to view Miss Representation and The Mask You Live In, two documentary films produced by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, first lady of California and wife of Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA).

Miss Representation features commentary from assorted left-wing and partisan Democrat figures, including Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Gov. Gavin Newsom (D-CA), Katie Couric, Rosario Dawson, Jane Fonda, Rachel Maddow, Rosie O’Donnell, and Gloria Steinem.

Miss Representation for instance passes off the claim that America is sexist and hates women.

“If people knew that Cuba, China, Iraq, and Afghanistan have more women in government than the United States of America, that would get some people upset,” leftist Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom says in the film. He added, “One of the first things I did when I became mayor of San Francisco is that I appointed a female police chief, and then a female fire chief. … People thought I was trying to make some grand statement, when in fact I was actually just hiring the most qualified two candidates.”

The film also tells viewers that America is not a “legitimate” democracy because the country hates women.

For its part, The Mask You Live In claims that being a male is “toxic” and that men have to stop being men to “fix” American society. The film also pushes transgenderism and a tearing down of “gender norms.”

“Be a man,’ that’s one of the most destructive phrases in this culture,” one person in the film says.

So, there you have it, America. Our top military school is preparing our soldiers for transgender awareness, are being told men are dangerous monsters, and are being told that the very country they may end up fighting for is intrinsically evil.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on facebook.com/Warner.Todd.Huston.

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Downed US Aircraft in Taliban Territory Still a Mystery

If true, this could spell big trouble for the Taliban.

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While Iran may be fresh on the minds of those concerned about rising tensions in the Middle East, the Taliban are certainly making the case that they, too, are to be feared.

Iran’s recent aggression toward the United States has been startling.  Not only did they back a militia that attempted to ransack the US Embassy in Baghdad, but then launched 15 ballistic missiles in the direction of US troops stationed in Iraq as retaliation for the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani – which itself was a retaliation for the aforementioned embassy siege.

Now, only three weeks removed from those skirmishes, the Taliban is throwing their hat into the ring of anti-American fervor in the region, claiming to have shot down a US Air Force plane carrying members of the CIA.

A U.S. military aircraft crashed in eastern Afghanistan on Monday, a Taliban spokesman and Afghan journalist affiliated with the militant group said.

A U.S. Army spokeswoman declined to comment on the Taliban claim, but video from the crash site circulating on social media appeared to suggest the aircraft was a U.S. Air Force electronic surveillance plane.

Tariq Ghazniwal, a journalist in the area, said that he saw the burning aircraft. In an exchange on Twitter, he told The Associated Press that he saw two bodies and the front of the aircraft was badly burned. He added that the aircraft’s body and tail were hardly damaged. His information could not be independently verified.

Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said the U.S. Air Force plane crashed in the Ghazni province.

If the story is true as told, then the Taliban may have very well put a target on their backs, as US President Donald Trump seems unflinching in willingness to respond to such actions with force as of late.

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Military

American and Russian Troops Face Off in Surprise Middle Eastern Melee

While this particular incident ended peacefully, it serves as yet another reminder that no all is well between the White House and the Kremlin. 

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It would be foolish to deny that the United States and Russia are engaged in some form of New Cold War, yet still, some turn a blind eye to the geopolitical nightmare unfolding before our eyes.

No matter how you feel about the outcome of the 2016 election, the attempts of the Russian government to meddle in American democracy are undeniable.  Vladimir Putin wants only two things in this life – power and chaos – and he believes that one can manifest the other.

Now, with a strange story developing in Ukraine, Russia stands to insert themselves even further into the American political psyche.

This is why today’s news out of the Middle East is so alarming.

U.S. troops last weekend reportedly found themselves in a standoff with Russian forces trying to gain access to key oil fields in northeastern Syria.

The Saturday standoff — first reported by Turkish media outlets, citing unnamed local officials in the Turkey-Syria border region — seems to have ended without any shots being fired or any real risk of violence between the two sides. American military personnel reportedly stopped a Russian convoy near the town of Rmelan, and the Russian forces then apparently turned back and returned to their home base.

Still, the near-clash serves as a reminder of the high stakes in Syria, where the U.S. military’s mission involves guarding oil fields and preventing them from falling into the hands of the Islamic State, Russian forces and other actors.

While this particular incident ended peacefully, it serves as yet another reminder that no all is well between the White House and the Kremlin.

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Military

Iran Protesters Met with Live Gunfire, Tear Gas as Regime Begins Crackdown

Irans’ accidental downing of a Ukrainian airliner sparked the unrest.

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The nation of Iran has found themselves in quite the pickle as of late, with pressure mounting on the nation’s leadership from both foreign and domestic sources.

The Iranian military, in lashing out against the United States for the assassination of General Qasem Soleimani, launched 15 ballistic missiles in the direction of Iraqi bases where sleeping American troops were stationed.  Thankfully, none of these projectiles claimed any lives, sparing Iran from the full and unrepentant wrath of the American military.

During the kerfuffle, however, a Ukrainian civilian airliner was shot down “unintentionally” after taking off from the Tehran airport.  Military leaders in Iran said that their heightened state of awareness contributed to the accidental downing of the plane and the untimely deaths of all 176 onboard.

The Iranian people themselves are furious over the mishap, and are largely blaming the regime in Tehran for the reckless mistake.  As they began to protest, Tehran cracked down hard, firing live rounds into the crowds after tear gas field to disperse them.

Iranian authorities fired live ammunition to disperse protesters in Tehran on Sunday night, wounding several people, according to witness accounts provided to the Guardian and footage circulating on social media.

Hundreds of protesters had defied a heavy security presence in the Iranian capital to hold vigils and demonstrations after the government belatedly admitted its own forces had shot down a Ukraine International Airlines passenger jet last Wednesday, killing all 176 people on board.

There were fresh protests on Monday in at least two universities in the country. Though campus protests are not unusual in Iran, they come during a period of extraordinary tumult in the Islamic Republic, with an economy suffocated by US sanctions, the largest protests in the regime’s history crushed by violent force in November, and popular revulsion that the country’s armed forces shot down a jet loaded with Iranian citizens – then denied doing so.

President Trump has tweeted his support for the Iranian people in both English and Farsi, encouraging them to topple their heavy-handed clerical regime.

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Pompeo Under Fire After Failing to Identify ‘Imminent’ Threats from Soleimani

Pompeo’s Soleimani story is being torn to shreds in the media, but is there a reason for his reticence?

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Iran’s General Qasem Soleimani was an objectively bad hombre – No one in their right mind is going to deny that.  His reign of terror was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans, with hundreds more certainly in his crosshairs at the time of his death by US drone strike.

But the question that many are asking is why now?  What was the reason for the urgent and seemingly retaliatory strike against a man who many radicals in Iran would see as a martyr?

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has attempted to answer that question on several occasions, but none of his responses seem to satisfy lawmakers.

Secretary of StateMike Pompeo told Laura Ingraham in a sit-down interview Thursday night that while the U.S. did not know where or when Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani was planning to attack, it was a “real” threat to U.S. assets in the Middle East. 

The U.S. killed Soleimani in a drone strike last week ordered by President Trump that has further inflamed U.S.-Iran tensions.

“There is no doubt that there were a series of imminent attacks being plotted by Qassem Soleimani,” Pompeo told the Fox News host. “We don’t know precisely when and we don’t know precisely where, but it was real.”

The same vague “imminence” was on display during a Friday press conference featuring Pompeo, in which the head of the State Department again failed to illuminate the press on the specifics of these threats.

It is unclear as to why Pompeo hasn’t been able to answer these questions, with the possibilities ranging from the need for operational security to the outlandish theory that Soleimani’s assassination came on whim.

 

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Polling Shows That Americans Feel ‘Less Safe’ After Soleimani Strike

Iran is cementing their status as America’s current boogeyman.

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There has been a great deal of consternation in our nation’s capital this week over the assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani.

It’s not that there are many politicians or pundits defending Soleimani.  The man was a butcher by all measures, and he certainly won’t be missed by anyone in the United States.  Predictably, what is of concern is just how the President came to that decision, whether or not the timing was appropriate, and if the ends will justify the means.

For many Americans, the death of Soleimani at the hands of a US drone strike is a bit unnerving.

Though President Donald Trump and his advisers have contended taking out Iran’s top general made the US more safe, a majority of Americans do not feel that way, according to a USA Today/Ipsos poll released on Thursday.

The poll found 55% of Americans believe the US drone strike that killed Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani has made the US less safe — this included nearly a third of Republicans. Only 24% of Americans believe the strike made the country more safe, the poll said, and a majority of Americans (52%) also said Trump’s behavior with Iran was “reckless.”

The poll also found that 52% of Americans believe the attack would make Iran more likely to develop nuclear weapons, 69% said Iran would be more likely to attack US interests in the Middle East, while 63% said there would be terrorist attacks on the American homeland, and 62% said the US and Iran would go to war.

In the immediate aftermath of Soleimani’s death, Iran launched approximately 15 ballistic missiles into Iraq, roughly aimed at two military bases populated by both Iraqi and American troops.

Given Iran’s long history of employing terrorism, several US cities have ramped up their efforts to prevent a possible attack in behalf of the Persian nation.

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