Sunday, December 29, 2013

'Completely false': Sources on ground in Benghazi challenge NYT report

'Completely false': Sources on ground in Benghazi challenge NYT report


Fifteen months after the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi which killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, the narrative of the attack continues to be shaped, and reshaped, by politicians and the press.
But a New York Times report published over the weekend has angered sources who were on the ground that night. Those sources, who continue to face threats of losing their jobs, sharply challenged the Times’ findings that there was no involvement from Al Qaeda or any other international terror group and that an anti-Islam film played a role in inciting the initial wave of attacks.
“It was a coordinated attack. It is completely false to say anything else. … It is completely a lie,” one witness to the attack told Fox News.
The controversial Times report has stirred a community that normally remains out of sight and wrestles with how to reveal the truth, without revealing classified information.
Fox News has learned that the attack on the consulate started with fighters assembling to conduct an assault.
"Guys were coming into the compound, moving left, moving right…and using IMT (individual movement techniques). … That’s not a spontaneous attack,” one special operator said.
"One guy was shooting, one guy was running. There are guys watching the gates. … The bosses on the ground were pointing, commanding and coordinating -- that is a direct action planned attack."
The community of operators in Libya that night and since includes the CIA, FBI, U.S. military, U.S. State Department and contractors working for the United States in a number of capacities. According to multiple sources on the ground that night, all the intelligence personnel in Benghazi before the attack and there now understand Al Qaeda is a significant threat in Libya.
Recent reports also suggest that Libyan militia leader Ahmad Abu Khattallah is the mastermind of the attack and had no real connections to Al Qaeda or terrorist organizations.
Multiple sources, though, challenged that claim. They insist that while Khattallah was found responsible for the actions at the actual consulate and was essentially the ground force commander that night, he is also clearly tied to Ansar al-Sharia and to the broader terrorist network.
“There is direct evidence linking him before the attack and after the attack to terrorist groups. An opportunity came, and Khattallah conducted an assault on the consulate. To say that it wasn’t tied to Al Qaeda is completely false. There is literal evidence in many forms and shapes, directly linking him,” one source said.
Khattallah is also a member of the militia group the Libyan Shield, which was formed to protect Benghazi and is operating separate from Tripoli.
Other militias are not inclined to turn Khattallah in, because they are also tied to Ansar al-Sharia. Commanders from some of these militias thought to be friendly to the United States and who have worked with American special forces, the CIA and State Department personnel have flipped sides and affiliated with Ansar al-Sharia. Sources say the terrorist group is saturating the whole region of eastern Libya with money, training and personnel. "They are now the biggest organization in town,” one said.
Sources also tell Fox News that while Khattallah is responsible for the ground actions that night, he also reports to other commanders in Ansar al-Sharia. He is seen as a relatively small piece of the terror puzzle in the region, which includes Al Qaeda ambassadors. Some in the intelligence community call these terrorist ambassadors “Amirs,” and there has been one stationed in Libya for some time, as they are the liaison for intelligence and direction for operations.  Libyan Shield, which has different offshoots in different locations, also has members directly affiliated with terrorist organizations and Al Qaeda. Bomb-making materials have been found with some of these groups as well.
Fox News has also learned there was a week of briefings by the head of counterintelligence in the entire region that identified Al Qaeda as the largest and most significant element infiltrating Libya, with the final briefing on Sept. 10.
Adam Housley joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in 2001 and currently serves as a Los Angeles-based correspondent.

H.Res.36 - Establishing a select committee to investigate and report on the attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, Libya.113th Congress (2013-2014)

H.Res.36 - Establishing a select committee to investigate and report on the attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, Libya.113th Congress (2013-2014)

Resolution

Sponsor: Rep. Wolf, Frank R. [R-VA-10] (Introduced 01/18/2013)
Cosponsors:179
Latest Action:01/23/2013 Sponsor introductory remarks on measure.
Major Recorded Votes:There are no Roll Call votes for this bill.

Tracker:

This bill has the status Introduced
Here are the steps for Status of Legislation:
  1. Introduced
  2. Passed House

Primary Subject:

Text: H.Res.36 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)

There is one version of the bill.

Bill text available as:

Shown Here:
Introduced in House (01/18/2013)

[Congressional Bills 113th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H. Res. 36 Introduced in House (IH)]

113th CONGRESS
  1st Session
H. RES. 36

Establishing a select committee to investigate and report on the attack 
           on the United States consulate in Benghazi, Libya.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                            January 18, 2013

   Mr. Wolf (for himself, Mr. Barletta, Mr. Aderholt, Mr. Franks of 
  Arizona, Mr. Weber of Texas, Mr. Posey, Mr. Wittman, Mr. Griffin of 
Arkansas, Mr. Schock, Mr. Meehan, Mr. King of Iowa, Mr. Duncan of South 
Carolina, Mr. Olson, Mr. Johnson of Ohio, Mr. Wilson of South Carolina, 
 Mr. Brooks of Alabama, Mr. Gerlach, Mr. Brady of Texas, Mr. McKinley, 
 Mr. Jordan, and Mr. Flores) submitted the following resolution; which 
                 was referred to the Committee on Rules

_______________________________________________________________________

                               RESOLUTION


 
Establishing a select committee to investigate and report on the attack 
           on the United States consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

    Resolved, That

SECTION 1. ESTABLISHMENT.

    There is hereby established a select Committee to investigate and 
report on the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya 
(hereinafter referred to as the ``select committee'').

SEC. 2. COMPOSITION.

    (a) The select committee shall be composed of 19 members as 
follows:
            (1) The chair and ranking member of the Committee on Armed 
        Services (or a designee from among the members of that 
        committee).
            (2) The chair and ranking member of the Committee on 
        Foreign Affairs (or a designee from among the members of that 
        committee).
            (3) The chair and ranking member of the Committee on 
        Homeland Security (or a designee from among the members of that 
        committee).
            (4) The chair and ranking member of the Committee on 
        Intelligence (or a designee from among the members of that 
        committee).
            (5) The chair and ranking member of the Committee on the 
        Judiciary (or a designee from among the members of that 
        committee).
            (6) The chair and ranking member of the Committee on 
        Oversight and Government Reform (or a designee from among the 
        members of that committee).
            (7) Five members appointed by the Speaker.
            (8) Two members appointed by the Speaker after consultation 
        with the minority leader.
If the chair or ranking member of any such committee declines to serve 
on the select committee, then the Speaker in the case of a chair, or 
the Speaker after consultation with the minority leader in the case of 
a ranking member, shall designate the member or members from that 
committee to serve on the select committee.
    (b) The Speaker shall designate one member as chairman and the 
minority leader shall designate one member as the ranking minority 
member of the select committee.

SEC. 3. INVESTIGATION AND REPORT ON THE ATTACK ON THE UNITED STATES 
              CONSULATE IN BENGHAZI, LIBYA.

    Not later than 90 days after the initial meeting of the select 
committee, the select committee shall conduct an investigation of and 
submit to the House a report on--
            (1) any intelligence known to the United States relating to 
        the attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, Libya, 
        on September 11, 2012;
            (2) any requests for additional security, or actions taken 
        by Federal agencies to improve security at the consulate before 
        the attack;
            (3) a definitive timeline of the attack;
            (4) how the relevant agencies and the executive branch 
        responded to the attack and whether appropriate congressional 
        notifications were made;
            (5) any improper conduct by officials relating to the 
        attack;
            (6) recommendations on what steps Congress and the 
        President should take to prevent future attack; and
            (7) any other relevant issues relating to the attack or the 
        response to the attack.

SEC. 4. PROCEDURES OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE.

    Rule XI of the Rules of the House of Representatives, including 
clause 2(j)(1) (guaranteeing the minority additional witnesses) and 
clause 2(m)(3) (providing for the authority to subpoena witnesses and 
documents), shall apply to the select committee.

SEC. 5. JOINT OPERATIONS.

    The chair of the select committee, in conducting the investigation 
described in section 3, may consult with the chair of any Senate 
committee conducting a parallel investigation regarding meeting jointly 
to receive testimony, the scheduling of hearings or issuance of 
subpoenas, and joint staff interviews of key witnesses.

SEC. 6. STAFF; FUNDING.

    (a)(1) To the extent practicable, the select committee shall 
utilize the services of staff of employing entities of the House. At 
the request of the chair in consultation with the ranking minority 
member, staff of employing entities of the House may be detailed to the 
select committee to carry out this resolution and shall be deemed to be 
staff of the select committee.
    (2) The chair, upon consultation with the ranking minority member, 
may employ and fix the compensation of such staff as the chair 
considers necessary to carry out this resolution.
    (b) There are authorized to be appropriated from the applicable 
accounts of the House such sums as may be necessary to carry out this 
resolution. Payments for the expenses of the select committee shall be 
made on vouchers signed by the chairman and approved in the manner 
directed by the Committee on House Administration. Amounts made 
available under this subsection shall be expended in accordance with 
regulations prescribed by the Committee on House Administration.

SEC. 7. DISSOLUTION AND DISPOSITION OF RECORDS.

    (a) The select committee shall cease to exist 30 days after filing 
the report required under section 3.
    (b) Upon dissolution of the select committee, the records of the 
select committee shall become the records of any committee designated 
by the Speaker.
                                 




NY Times scrubs Benghazi narrative for the White House

NY Times scrubs Benghazi narrative for the White House

Rick Moran
The New York Times picked the week between Christmas and New Years to help the White House scrub up the narrative on the Benghazi attack of September 11, 2012.

It wasn't exactly a spontaneous attack - but it sort of was. The anti-Muslim video played no role - except when it did. And there wasn't much planning involved in the attack - except when there was.

Yes. That should just about cover it.

The New York Times ties itself in knots in order to validate part of the administration's narrative.

Are they serious?

The investigation by The Times shows that the reality in Benghazi was different, and murkier, than either of those story lines suggests. Benghazi was not infiltrated by Al Qaeda, but nonetheless contained grave local threats to American interests. The attack does not appear to have been meticulously planned, but neither was it spontaneous or without warning signs.
Mr. Abu Khattala had become well known in Benghazi for his role in the killing of a rebel general, and then for declaring that his fellow Islamists were insufficiently committed to theocracy. He made no secret of his readiness to use violence against Western interests. One of his allies, the leader of Benghazi's most overtly anti-Western militia, Ansar al-Shariah, boasted a few months before the attack that his fighters could "flatten" the American Mission. Surveillance of the American compound appears to have been underway at least 12 hours before the assault started.
The violence, though, also had spontaneous elements. Anger at the video motivated the initial attack. Dozens of people joined in, some of them provoked by the video and others responding to fast-spreading false rumors that guards inside the American compound had shot Libyan protesters. Looters and arsonists, without any sign of a plan, were the ones who ravaged the compound after the initial attack, according to more than a dozen Libyan witnesses as well as many American officials who have viewed the footage from security cameras.

Perspective is vital in this case, and the obvious perspective of the Times is to totally trash the GOP version of the narrative while carefully upholding some parts of the administration's story. Somewhere in that mess of illogic and confusion is a germ of truth.
I have problems with parts of the GOP narrative but it's a darn sight more accurate than what the White House or New York Times have come up with. The resurrection of the video as motivation for some of the attackers is outrageous. Who cares if a bunch of fanatics were demonstrating in front of the mission? They certainly werent' the ones who killed Ambassador Stevens or were firing .50 cal machine guns and other automatic weapons at our diplmomats. It may also seem a little strange that none of the demonstrators were apparently hit by fire from the attackers. I don't care how fanatical you are, you don't stand in front of a building and scream "Death to America" in the middle of a firefight. How "spontaneous" were the demonstrators if they didn't feel it necessary to take cover during the attack?
The White House owes a debt of gratitude to the Times for trying to rescue their original narrative about the attack in Benghazi.

Fifty seven and a half percent of Americans are terrorists

 
Picture
So here we meet again, thank you for that. Before I begin please look left <<< You see I claim not to have all the answers, in fact none of my points may be valid at all. I am only one man, with one set of circumstances, simple education and very few years of being awake and active, you may find me offensive an ignorant at times.
    OK now that I have negated the need to take any responsibility for my statements, lets prove the headline. We could debate the official date of the start of this nation, some see July 4, 1776 as the start of the nation although this was only our "Declaration of Independence" Some will argue that the beginning was the end of the "Revolutionary war" in 1783. I could care less actually! The first date that I want you to remember and the "First Strike" in my thesis, is 1873. The "Panic of 1873" was a financial crisis that triggered a depression in Europe and the United States that lasted from 1873 until 1879. This is the first collapse of 3 during the system that currently exists. Hopefully your following me, the "Second Strike" should not confuse any of you, some may remember it well. My, and your second strike is "The Great Depression" of the 1930's. Same system, second failure. Now here we are, ,just one strike away from out. Our third strike is now, current day, yesterday as well! Again same system, same complete failure. I say its a failure knowing that they haven't said it on the television so you have not considered it as fact, let me show that is. As I am writing this post, according to the U.S. Debt Clock , every citizen owes $189,714, that my friend is undeniably a failed system and our final strike.
                     And so here we are to connect what you just learned to the title of this post. The system has clearly failed three times, we will never vote our way out of this, the system needs to be replaced. The amount of death that occurs because of this failed system is equal to terrorism. Taking part in another election is to take part in terrorism. According to Wikipedia the voter turn out in U.S. elections for 2012 was 57 1/2% now you see my point I hope.

      Well OK Mr. Statistics whats your answer

Picture
These are my 3 sons who I raise solo. I work close to full time and spend 60 hours or more per week in my activism. If you can help support/expand my efforts just click the photo.


Before I tell you what I think please refer back to the beginning of the post..........OK your back and you know that I don't claim to know crap. My thesis is simple, we are individual states with diverse needs and opinions, as well as equal rights to govern ourselves. I believe we must, as states come together on issues that effect us all, my question is how would one man ever be able to fathom the needs of all? I firmly believe that the governors should run this country as well as their own states. My reasoning is that if anything needed be ruled on that would effect all of us, the governors should be the deciding vote.
This would, in my opinion, do 3 things: FIRST power would be restored to the people who would vote for their governor and have power to impeach if the elected governor were voting against the will of the home state on federal issues. SECOND: to ever pass a law that effected a whole nation you would need 50 people to agree,. Getting 50 people to agree would always take awhile allowing time for action if foul play were suspected. THIRD: Because of each governors need to be in his or her home state and because of the internet, we would not need Washington DC. I know a lot of revenue would be generated if DC were a museum and I also know the savings by not paying the terrorist there now.
         I very much hope you will consider what i have presented and be bold in the coming days. I encourage all to petition their governors if you agree with my thesis. If you would like to network on this issue please CONTACT ME

Picture In closing I want you to consider one more very important but hidden issue, our standing among the nations. We have become a bloodthirsty, glutinous whore of a nation and many despise us for the actions of our leaders. With the information age we know of the atrocities here and abroad, if we do nothing, we are guilty of many crimes. We as a nation of people from all nations must make a clear statement to the world that we will manage our country and not tolerate terrorist regimes to kill our brothers and sisters for the resources they have. I love you all, please help me make a change by sharing this post.

Nigerian Islamic extremist leader: “Allah says we must behead and mutilate, but no cannibalism” (WARNING: Graphic Images)

Nigerian Islamic extremist leader: “Allah says we must behead and mutilate, but no cannibalism” (WARNING: Graphic Images)

An Islamic extremist leader in northeastern Nigeria says the bloody insurgency will continue because Allah says they must decapitate and mutilate, but eating the body parts is a ‘no no.’ PHEW!

image

CTV News/AP  In a video newly released Saturday, Abubakar Shekau claims responsibility for the Dec. 20 attack on a tank battalion barracks and says his men would have eaten their enemies, but Allah forbids cannibalism. Witnesses said insurgents put soldiers to flight and set the complex ablaze before they were driven off by a jetfighter.

Shekau warns Christians not to go to churches in this holy month, though Christmas passed in Nigeria with none of the feared terrorist attacks. Five churches were bombed Christmas Day 2011 and dozens of people died.

al-qaeda-how-to-behead-revised
57629035b06e000bb5c570959d65004c
Gowrac
NU6bKJEN42ae-2At33PEj4XXXL4j3HpexhjNOf_P3YmryPKwJ94QGRtDb3Sbc6KY
beheaded-child-resized

Egyptian AG charges Hillary Clinton for conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood

Egyptian AG charges Hillary Clinton for conspiring with the Muslim Brotherhood

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies before the House Foreign Affairs Committee

See also

There's new details emerging about a possible threat to Hillary Clinton's presidential run in 2016. The Egyptian Attorney General, Hisham Barakat, alleges that Clinton collaborated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
World Net Daily (WND) reports that Clinton has been named in a criminal complaint with Naglaa Mahmoud, the wife of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, to incite domestic insurrections in Egypt.
The charges say that Clinton and Mahmoud conspired to topple Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. He's the Egyptian general who has been commander in chief of the Egyptian armed forces, and the minister of defense, since Aug. 12, 2012.
Researcher Walid Shoebat reported on his blog that criminal charges have indeed been filed against Clinton and Morsi's wife. Shoebat speaks fluent Arabic and is a former Palestinian Liberation Organization operative. He says the news of the charges were reported in Arabic, by credible sources, which he translated.
WND says, "Shoebat translated the transcript from an Egyptian Mehwar TV channel news video in which television reporter Nasr Qaffas explains on camera details of an interview Turkey’s Anatolia news agency conducted with Naglaa Mahmoud."
The transcripts from the Mehwar TV news video is said to include comments by Naglaa Mahmoud which implicate Huma Abedin, the wife of former Democratic Congressman Anthony Weiner. She was also the former Hillary Clinton chief of staff. According to WND, Abedin has close ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.
According to Anatolia Press, Mahmoud said,
I have between my fingers, a treasure trove of secrets from the White House and Mrs. Clinton fears my wrath. I will not speak about Huma Abedin.
Mahmoud claims that she and her husband became friends with the Clintons in the 1980s and were recruited by them. (She didn't clarify what work she and her husband were recruited to do.) According to her Clinton had official and unofficial dealings with Mahmoud. She also said that Hillary sought out the help of the Muslim Sisterhood "in dealing with problems in the Middle East.
Naglaa Mahmoud also claimed Hillary Clinton "is looking for the support of Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood," when she runs for president in 2016. Mahmoud also stated that “Hillary depends on us tremendously to help her succeed in the coming presidential elections, just as we helped Barack Obama win twice.”
According to the WND report, a key revelation in this report is the friendship between the Clintons, Morsi and his wife. Mahmoud is one of 63 leaders of the Muslim Sisterhood and is said to be a colleague of Saleha Abedin, the mother of Huma.
We previously reported on Nov. President Obama had criminal terrorism charges filed against him and his brother Malik. The trial of the Muslim Brotherhood is set to begin in Jan. 2014.
Obama is likely to be a subject in Morsi's criminal trial. The report alleges that Obama "provided direct financial support to MB political operatives, through the U.S. Embassy, with the full knowledge and complicity of the Morsi government."
Clinton makes the second highest ranking U.S. official to be indicted for criminal activities involving the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
Christianity Examiner Commentary
It would appear in today's world most of our government leaders are corrupt and dishonest. The government is rife with immorality and people who lack character in their words, actions and deeds. A person in authority has rules to follow and limits, yet this administration seems to break Constitutional law at almost every turn.
We must realize that a person quits being a a "ruler" once they break off from following the rules of law. This causes them to degenerate into tyrants because they don't recognize the boundaries within the laws. They are always seeking to exploit the law, to see how far they can push the envelope. They do this in order to satisfy their carnal lusts and greed.
In 1643, Pastor Samuel Rutherford wrote Lex, Rex, or the Law and the Prince. In it he commented about the king’s limited power, he said, "God hath given no absolute and unlimited power to a king above the law [of God].
When the magistrate doth anything by violence, and without law, in so far doing against his office he is not a magistrate. Then, say I, that power by which he doth, is not of God. None doth, then, resist the ordinance of God who resist the king in tyrannous acts.
Therefore an unjust king, as unjust, is not that genuine ordinance of God. So we may resist the injustice of the king, and not resist the king. If, then, any castoff the nature of a king, and become habitually a tyrant, in so far he is not from God…. If the office of a tyrant … be contrary to a king’s office, it is not from God, and so neither is the power from God."
English philosopher John Locke also wrote regarding limited authority: "Wheresoever the authority ceases, the king ceases too, and becomes like other men who have no authority."
If you would like to receive an email when new articles are published please consider subscribing by clicking the blue subscribe link located under the photo that accompanies this article. If you would like to read more articles by the Christianity Examiner, you can go here.

Was NY Times Benghazi Report Meant To ‘Clear The Deck’ For Hillary?


Was NY Times Benghazi Report Meant To ‘Clear The Deck’ For Hillary?


On 'Fox News Sunday', Congressman Mike Rogers, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee denounced today’s report in the New York Times arguing that there is no evidence of Al Qaeda involvement in the 2012 Benghazi attack.
Rogers: “There was some level of preplanning, we know that." “There was aspiration to conduct an attack by al Qaeda and their affiliates in Libya, we know that. The individuals on the ground talked about a planned tactical improvement on the compound. All of that would directly contradict what the New York Times says was an exhaustive investigation. That tells me they didn’t talk to the people on the ground who were doing the fighting and shooting and intelligence gathering. When you put that volume of information, I think it proves that story is just not accurate.”
Wallace asked if Rogers thought the report was a politically-motivated attempt to “clear the deck” for Hillary Clinton.
Rogers: “I find the timing odd.  I don’t want to speculate on why they might do it.”

(Full transcript of Chris Wallace's interview with Congressmen Rogers and Schiff)
Joining me now are two key members of the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff of California, and here in D.C., committee chair, Mike Rogers of Michigan.
Congressmen, welcome back to FOX NEWS SUNDAY.
ROGERS: Thanks, Mr. Wallace.
SCHIFF: Thanks so much.
WALLACE: Before we get to the NSA, "The New York Times" has an extensive investigation this morning into the Benghazi attack on its front page. It reports, quote, "No evidence that al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault." It goes on, "And contrary to claims by some members of Congress, it was fueled in large part by anger at, yes, an American made video denigrating Islam."
Congressman Rogers, I think it's fair to say that "The Times" report directly contradicts what you've been saying.
ROGERS: Yes, I don't know it was an exhaustive investigation. We have gone through some 4,000 different classified cables leading up to the event, talk to people on the ground during the event, done the postmortem on the event through the committee investigation.
WALLACE: What did they get wrong?
ROGERS: That al Qaeda was not involved. There was some level of preplanning, we know that. There was aspiration to conduct an attack by al Qaeda and their affiliates in Libya. We know that.
The individuals on the ground talked about a planned tactical movement on the compound even -- this is the compound before they went to the annex. All of that would directly contradict what the "New York Times" definitively says was an exhaustive investigation, tells me they didn't talk to the people on the ground who were doing the fighting, the shooting and the intelligence gathering.
When you put that volume of information, I think it proves that story is just not accurate.
WALLACE: Well, let me ask you one specific thing. There was one group that everybody says was involved, Ansar al-Sharia. They say it's really an independent radical Islamic group, but it doesn't have links to al Qaeda.
ROGERS: I dispute that, and I think the intelligence to a large volume disputes that al-Sharia.
Now, did they have differences of opinion with al Qaeda core? Yes. Do they have affiliations with al Qaeda core? Definitely.
WALLACE: Do you think there is a political motivation to this "Times" report? Some people have suggested, well, this is trying to clear the deck for Hillary Clinton in 2016.
ROGERS: Yes. I don't know, but I found it was interesting that there's this rollout of stories, including Susan Rice, would go on TV and have a direct discussion, when we still have ongoing investigation in the House Intelligence Committee.
WALLACE: But, again, do you think that's a different tactic?
ROGERS: I find the timing odd. I don't want to speculate on why they might do it. But I can tell you that the information that's being presented in a way that we've heard before and through the investigation have been able to determine is not accurate in its portrayal.
WALLACE: Congressman Schiff, does "The Times" report in your opinion exonerate the Obama administration from the president, to Susan Rice, to Hillary Clinton?
SCHIFF: Well, I don't think "The New York Times" report is designed to exonerate the security lapses within the State Department that left our people vulnerable. I do think it adds some valuable insights. I agree with Mike that, however, the intelligence indicates that al Qaeda was involved, but there were also plenty of people and militias that were unaffiliated with al Qaeda that were involved.
I think the intelligence paints a portrait that some came to murder, some people came to destroy property, some merely came to loot, and some came in part motivated by those videos. So it is a complex picture. There was some planning, as Mike points out, but it was not extensive. I don't think it's either accurate to characterize this as a long-term preplanned core al Qaeda operation or something completely unaffiliated.
And I think, Chris, where the New York Times report both adds value and also is deficient is they didn't have the same access to people who were not aware that they were being listened to. They were heavily reliant, obviously, on people that they interviewed who had a reason to provide the story that they did.
Sometimes, though, the intelligence which has the advantage of hearing what people say when they don't know they are being listened to, that could be misleading as well when people make claims, they boast of things that they were not involved in for various purposes.
So I think it adds some insights, but I don't think it's complete. And I don't think either paradigm is really accurate here.
WALLACE: All right.
Let's move to the NSA, because leaker Edward Snowden has been on something of a big public relations offensive this past week. He gave an interview to the Washington Post in which he said this, "for me, in terms of personal satisfaction, the mission is already accomplished. I already won. And he had a Christmas message, yes, a Christmas message for the people of Britain."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EDWARD SNOWDEN, NSA LEAKER: Together, we can find a better balance, end mass surveillance, and remind the government that if it really wants to know how we feel, asking is always cheaper than spying.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: Congressman Schiff, are you moved by the Edward Snowden Christmas message? And has he performed a public service as he seems to think?
SCHIFF: I'm not moved by the message at all. And I think there is a real irony here that he is giving this message from one of the foremost Big Brother states in the world where he is living without any privacy because there is no right or expectation of privacy in Russia whatsoever. So I'm not moved by this at all.
You know, he has kindled an important public debate, but frankly I think it came from a mixture of motivations on his part. And I think he should have stayed in the United States and been willing to stand up for his beliefs if that's what motivated him. I think that would have demonstrated the courage of his convictions. So, I don't find his message particularly moving or appealing.
WALLACE: Congressman Rogers, in The Washington Post interview, Snowden he asks and answers the question who elected him to reveal all of these government secrets. And his answer is that he says that it was the overseers of those programs let's put up specifically what he says.
"Dianne Feinstein elected me when she asked softball questions in committee hearings," he said. "Mike Rogers elected me when he kept these programs secret." He says he is doing the job that you failed to do.
ROGERS: Yeah, well, you have to remember this is somebody who had a troubled employment history, who ran to China and Russia. He stole American classified documents, that because of their release jeopardizes our troops in the field in places like Afghanistan and has allowed nation states, Russia, China and others to have valuable insight in the way our intelligence services operate to collect information to keep America safe.
That's who the messenger is, number one.
Number two, the most recent court case, this happened just a few days ago by Judge Pauley, laid out very succinctly the oversight of the NSA program. And I think there's a big confusion about that this is Obama's program that he instituted when he was in office, this is a program that was initiated after 9/11, because we missed a big piece of information.
So both of the chairs of these committees, all of them members of these committees, are fully briefed on all of these actions. It is our job to make sure that they comport with the law. We do that. We take that very seriously.
I think all of that happened. And I think this most recent judicial ruling is important for one reason: it reinstituted faith in the institution of judicial oversight, congressional oversight and the checks and balances within the executive branch.
WALLACE: I want to talk to you about this, because you can -- depending on your opinion, you can just wait for a judicial ruling and you can find some back and forth. Because let's talk about the mass NSA collection, metadata collection, of billions of American phone records, who they called, and how long the call lasted, not the content. We want to emphasize that.
Now, in terms of rulings, in just 11 days we have one federal judge who called that practice of metadata collection almost Orwellian and likely unconstitutional. And then on Friday we had another federal judge call it lawful and the government's counterpunch to al Qaeda.
Congressman Schiff, do you agree with the congressional panel, because they came out with their 46 recommendations along with the two judges who say rather than have the government hold on these billions of records of metadata, that it would be better for a phone companies or some another private entity hold on to that information?
SCHIFF: Chris, I do. I strongly agree with that conclusion. And, you know, some have diminished the report by saying it's just the work of a bunch of professors. We have to remember, you know, Mike Morell was the acting director of the CIA. Richard Clarke, long experienced in counterterrorism, transcending administrations of both parties.
Interesting that the two judges that you mentioned both appointed by presidents of different parties, and contrary to what people might expect, the Clinton appointee upheld the program, and the bush appointee said it was unconstitutional. I actually find confidence that in those rulings in the sense that those judges didn't feel bound by the party of the presidents who appointed them...
WALLACE: Let me, if -- congressman, if I can bring in Congressman Rogers, though, on the specific issue of who should hold on to these records, because there seems to be a general agreement that they need to be held on to by somebody. The haystack -- real quickly.
SCHIFF: If I could just address that very quickly. The reason I think the program ought to be restructured is that we can get the same national security information that we need without the government obtaining millions and millions of records it doesn't need to hold. The phone companies already hold these records for a period of time. We can go to them as necessary as the task force found. We can have an exigent circumstances exception where we can get those records immediately, otherwise we can go to the FISA court in advance.
So we can both protect the country and protect the expectation of privacy. And that's the course that we ought to take. And that's how we ought to restructure the program.
WALLACE: We're running out of time, sir. So let me bring in Congressman Rogers, the interesting thing is since that recommendation came out, both the intel community and some privacy advocates say, we're not crazy about the government holding it, but we think the idea of some private entity holding it would be even worse.
ROGERS: Yeah, it opens it up to privacy concerns across the board. And so there are -- there is no such oversight.
And, again, the reason that Pauley decision was important, it went beyond -- it looked at all of the oversight issues in ruling and in the judge's opinion. Very important.
WALLACE: Another ruling that directly disagrees.
ROGERS: If you ruling, it wasn't based -- it was not a substantive ruling is why he staid his own ruling. He said this is probably going to get overturned -- why? 15 judges, 36 rulings, all of them upheld that this program is lawful and meets the Fourth Amendment test.
And then you have hundreds of appellate decisions over -- since Maryland v. Smith that uphold the underpinnings that these are business records, non-content, no names, no addresses. That, I think, is an important distinction.
So, I think the foundation of the legal argument is there. And what we have here is you're going to take away the safety of what is well overseen, locked away in a vault, very, very strict oversight on who gets access to even check a foreign number coming into the United States.
And this is what's important, after 9/11, we missed a foreign call coming into the United States. They said how do we fix that? This is the way they decided to fix it. And you have all the levels of oversight to make sure it's safe.
It goes to the private companies, you are going to have a government mandated scheme, no such oversight the way we have it at the federal government.
WALLACE: Well, this is going to be continued, as we should point out, the president on his Hawaiian vacation is studying I'm sure the court decisions, the varying court decisions as well as his independent panel's rulings -- or recommendations. And he is going to come out in January with a new set of guidelines.
Congressman Rogers, Congress Schiff, thank you both so much for joining us. And we'll stay on top of this surveillance debate. Thank you, gentleman.

Cruz: It Was A Mistake For Obama And Reid To Force A Government Shutdown

Cruz: It Was A Mistake For Obama And Reid To Force A Government Shutdown

JON KARL: But the year also ended with Ted Cruz as the most high- profile Tea Party consecutive in congress. Again at Tortilla Coast, Cruz reflected on all of that.

When you think about the tradition of first-year senators, they tend to be seen but not heard, you have had, you said, a whirlwind for a first year as a U.S. senator, does that surprise you? I mean, you're on TIME magazine's list as the runner-up to the pope for person of the year.

SEN. TED CRUZ: That was a very strange thing.

This is a city where it's all politics all the time. And I'm trying to do my best not to pay attention to the politics, to focus on fixing the problems.

KARL: Really?

CRUZ: I know that's hard to believe, but because no one in this town does that. This is a time for people to step up and do the right thing and that's what I'm trying to do.

KARL: You have had a couple of months to think about this whole government shutdown strategy. Now that it's over in hindsight, are you prepared to say that it was a mistake, it wasn't the right tactic?

CRUZ: I think it was absolutely a mistake for President Obama and Harry Reid to force a government shutdown.

KARL: Now you know even John Boehner has said this was a Republican shutdown.

CRUZ: Look, I can't help what other people say.

And Jon, I understand that in the media, every day the media reported the Republicans shut the government down...

KARL: No, I mean, but come on. I mean we're a couple months away from this, the only reason why this happened is because you insisted, Republicans insisted that Obamacare be defunded as a condition of funding the government. If you didn't -- if you took away that insistence, there would be no shutdown. I mean, really.

CRUZ: You've got conservatives who stood strong and said let's stop the train wreck that is Obamacare, and you've got Democrats in the middle of the shutdown, President Obama called every Senate Republican to the White House, sat us in a room and said I called you to tell you, we're not going to negotiate, we're not going to compromise on anything.

Repeatedly Republicans were compromising, trying to find a middle ground. And repeatedly Democrats said, no compromise, shut it down.
Posted By Ian Schwartz Email Comments

Franklin Graham: Pope Francis ‘Is Not the Judge’ on Homosexuality

Franklin Graham: Pope Francis ‘Is Not the Judge’ on Homosexuality

VIDEO
On Meet the Press Sunday morning, Franklin Graham, son and heir apparent of longtime evangelical preacher Billy Graham, clearly differentiated his views on homosexuality from those of Pope Francis, who made headlines this summer when he presented a more accepting view of gays.
“If a person is gay and seeks god and has goodwill, who am I to judge them?” the Pontiff said earlier this year.
“I want to warn people: I think the Pope is right when he says he’s not the judge,” Graham said. “He’s not the judge. God is the judge.”
RELATED: Pope Francis Tells Church to Stop ‘Obsessing’ Over Gay Marriage, Abortion
When asked if his views on homosexuality would ever shift, Graham replied, “God would have to shift, and god doesn’t. God’s word is the same yesterday, today, and a million years from now. It’s a sin. To wink at sin, to tell somebody that it’s okay? I know the consequences of what will happen one day when they have to stand before god.”
Watch the full clip below, via NBC News:
[h/t POLITICO]
[Image via screengrab]
——
>> Follow Evan McMurry (@evanmcmurry) on Twitter

Turkish Official Says Officers Could Be Retried


Turkish Official Says Officers Could Be Retried

A senior ruling party official says Turkey's government could change laws to allow the re-trial of hundreds of military officers who were convicted of plotting to overthrow the government.
Mustafa Elitas' comments, published in Hurriyet newspaper Sunday, came after Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's political adviser suggested this week that the convicted officers had been framed by groups within the judiciary who are now allegedly orchestrating a widespread corruption probe against Erdogan's allies.
Many believe the groups in the judiciary are followers of Pennsylvania-based spiritual leader Fethullah Gulen, a moderate preacher whose Muslim believers command a global empire of business, media and education interests.
The convicted officers have long claimed the evidence against them was fabricated, and the corruption probe could create an uneasy alliance between the government and military.

Saudi to give Lebanon $3B to strengthen army

Saudi to give Lebanon $3B to strengthen army

(AP) Saudi to give Lebanon $3B to strengthen army
By RYAN LUCAS
Associated Press
BEIRUT
Saudi Arabia has pledged $3 billion to Lebanon to help strengthen the country's armed forces and purchase weapons from France, Lebanon's president said Sunday, calling it the biggest grant ever for the nation's military.

Michel Sleiman, who made the surprise announcement in a televised national address, did not provide any further details, but said French President Francois Hollande was to discuss the matter during his visit Sunday to Saudi Arabia. The Lebanese army has struggled to contain a rising tide of violence linked to the civil war in neighboring Syria, a conflict that has deepened the sectarian divide in Lebanon and threatened the country's stability.

"The Saudi king decided to give a generous, well-appreciated grant to Lebanon amounting to $3 billion for the Lebanese army, which will allow it to buy new and modern weapons," Sleiman said. "The king pointed out that the weapons will be bought from France quickly, considering the historical relations that tie it to Lebanon and the military cooperation between the two countries."

He said that he hopes Paris will quickly meet the initiative, and help the Lebanese army with arms, training and maintenance.

Fabrice Hermel, a spokesman for the French president, said he did not yet have details.

Fragile in the best of times, Lebanon is struggling to cope with the fallout from Syria's civil war. That conflict has deeply divided Lebanon along confessional lines, and paralyzed the country's ramshackle political system to the point that it has been stuck with a weak and ineffectual caretaker government since April.

It has also seen a wave of deadly bombings and shootings that have fueled fears that Lebanon, which suffered a brutal 15-year civil war of its own that only ended in 1990, could be slowly slipping back toward full-blown sectarian conflict.

In a nod to those concerns, Sleiman said in his address that "Lebanon is threatened by sectarian conflict and extremism," and said that strengthening the army is a popular demand.

The Lebanese army is generally seen as a unifying force in the country, and draws its ranks from all of Lebanon's sects. But it has struggled to contain the escalating violence in the country since the outbreak of the Syrian conflict. It is also widely considered much weaker than the Shiite Hezbollah militant group, which is armed and funded by regional Shiite-power and Saudi-rival Iran.

The Saudi pledge appeared aimed, at least in part, at countering Hezbollah's superior firepower.

Historically, the Lebanese army has been equipped by the United States and France.

Washington has provided hundreds of millions of dollars of military aid in recent years to Lebanon that has included armored vehicles, heavy weapons and training for the Lebanese army. The U.S. says the program aims to strengthen Lebanese government institutions.

Lebanon's tenuous grip on stability was made clear Friday, when a car bomb killed senior Sunni politician Mohammed Chatah, who had been critical of Syria and Hezbollah.

On Sunday, hundreds of mourners packed into a landmark mosque in downtown Beirut to bid farewell to Chatah, a former finance minister and top aide to ex-Prime Minister Saad Hariri.

Chatah, a Sunni, was affiliated with Hariri's Western-backed coalition, which has been locked in a bitter feud with a rival camp led Hezbollah. Hariri, whose own father was killed by a massive car bomb in 2005, has indirectly blamed Hezbollah for Chatah's assassination.

After a somber funeral service inside Beirut's blue-domed Mohammed al-Amin Mosque, pallbearers carried Chatah's casket to the adjacent funeral tent where he was buried next to Hariri's father, Rafik. At several points during the ceremony, some in the crowd broke into chants of "a terrorist, a terrorist, Hezbollah is a terrorist!"

Speaking later, Fouad Siniora, an ally of Chatah, praised his late colleague as a voice of moderation, and promised those in the crowd that such political killings will not knock the Lebanese off their course.

"We will not surrender. We will not back down. We are not afraid of terrorists and murderers. It is they who should be afraid. They kill to govern. While we reiterate our commitment to Lebanon of coexistence and civil peace," he said.

Siniora, who is a former prime minister, also took a swipe at Hezbollah, saying "we have decided to liberate Lebanon from the occupation of illegitimate weapons." Hezbollah's critics accuse the group of being a veritable state-within-a-state because it has maintained its own militia.

The car bombing that killed Chatah was reminiscent of a string of assassinations of around a dozen members of the anti-Syrian Hariri camp between 2004 and 2008, the biggest of which was the powerful blast that killed Hariri's father, Rafik, who also was a former prime minister.

___

Associated Press writers Sarah Di Lorenzo in Paris and Yasmine Saker contributed to this report.

Coming soon: America's own Islamic 'no-go' zones/ GOOD PUT ALL THE OBAMA SUPPORTERS IN THEM

Coming soon: America's own Islamic 'no-go' zones

Expert on terror training camps says expansion plans in works

  • Text smaller
  • Text bigger
Coming soon to dozens of locations across the United States: America’s own “no-go” zones where Muslims install their own courts, government, justice and punishment, much like the zones that already exist across the European Union.
That’s according to Martin Mawyer of the Christian Action Network.
His organization has been so strong in its opposition to radical Muslim expansion in the U.S., he’s been targeted in a $30 million defamation lawsuit by a group called Muslims of the Americas, founded by Pakistan Sheik Mubarak Ali Gilani.
The claims are that Muslims of the Americas was damaged by CAN’s publication of the book “Twilight in America: The Untold Story of Islamist Terrorist Training Camps Inside America.”
The book accuses Muslims of the Americas of “acting as a front for the radical Islamist group Jamaat al-Fuqra.”
CAN leaders Tuesday told WND the case is at the stage of exchanging documents in preparation for further discovery.
Mawyer recently told Fox News that the leaders of the Muslim organization “feel they have to defend themselves to their own members,” because he would have expected the case to be dropped. It is based on the claims of a former New York informant who posed as a member of the Muslims group and alleged it was involved in “street crimes, drugs, brothels, unemployment fraud and other offenses.”
There is no question that terror training camps exist across the U.S. According to a documentary,  “Homegrown Jihad: The Terrorist Camps Around the U.S.,” there are nearly three dozen Islamist terrorist training compounds operating under the name Muslims of the Americas.
The documentary states: “Under the leadership of a radical Pakistani cleric, Sheik Mubarak Gilani, Muslims of the Americas has thousands of devoted followers who are being groomed for homegrown jihad.”
Get your own copy of “Homegrown Jihad: The Terrorist Camps Around the U.S.” now.
The project by CAN “exposes these dangerous terrorist compounds and reveals for the first time a secret training tape in which American Muslims are recruited to join one of the most advanced training courses in Islamic military warfare … right here in America.”
Training includes instructions in “explosives, kidnapping, murder, firing weapons and guerrilla warfare,” the documentary explains.
See a trailer here:
Mawyer told WND he now has learned that the Muslim organization is attempting to model the previously secretive training camps after the European “no-go” zones.
Across the EU, there are enclaves where Muslims make up almost 100 percent of the population. They have been known to set up Shariah religious-law courts alongside secular court systems. They exert control over every facet of life, up to and including applying Islamic limits to what people do, say, wear and believe.
“What they’re trying to do is step up from the training camp, the secretive, plotting location … and become their own state within a state,” he told WND.
Law enforcement often even is afraid to enter such zones, he noted.
Then, he said, they want to “connect the dots” and link all of the “no-go” zones together.
The concept is shocking to Western civilization, where for generations the rule of law has prevailed, he said.
“We are so used to in the past hearing about [Islam's plan], now there’s a whole strategy change, to infiltrate and immigrate, and set up societies within societies,” he said.
Dearborn, Mich., where hundreds of thousands of Muslims have settled, is an example, he said. There, city and police officials have been sued in many cases that allege discrimination against Christians effectively by applying Shariah law.
He said the new idea  of “no-go” zones is significant.
“They provide weapons and guards, and government officials in their own societies. They build what they want on their compounds, they bury their own people, [their] kids do not go to public schools,” he said.
The concerns about Islamist compounds continue to rise. Only a few weeks ago, according to WTOV-TV in West Virginia, Brooke County Sheriff Chuck Jackson tried to assure residents that there is no terror cell active in his region.
He told the station he would reviewed the claims. He investigated the purported site as recently as this year.
“Myself and the chief deputy talked to the farmers in the area over there. We went over to the property in question. It’s primarily a hunting camp. There’s some guys out there. They do some target practice and they’re all local guys. It is not a terrorist training camp, I assure you,” he said.
But the West Virginia Intelligence Fusion Center said it’s actively investigating information that suggests terrorists are within the borders of the state, the report said.
WND’s own reporting on the issue has revealed some surprising elements in America.
The report said Jamaat ul-Fuqra, known in the U.S. as Muslims of the Americas, owns or is leasing hundreds of acres of property from New York to California in which the leader boasts of conducting “the most advanced training courses in Islamic military warfare.”
In a captured recruitment video he states in English: “We are fighting to destroy the enemy.
The recruitment video shows American converts to Islam being instructed in the operation of AK-47 rifles, rocket launchers and machine guns and C4 explosives. It provides instruction in how to kidnap Americans, kill them and how to conduct sabotage and subversive operations.
Jamaat ul-Fuqra’s attacks on American soil range from bombings to murder to plots to blow up U.S. landmarks. A 2006 Department of Justice report states Jamaat ul-Fuqra “has more than 35 suspected communes and more than 3,000 members spread across the United States, all in support of one goal: the purification of Islam through violence.” In 2005, the Department of Homeland Security predicted the group would continue to carry out attacks in the U.S.
Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was attempting to interview Jamaat ul-Fuqra’s leader, Gilani, in 2002 when he was kidnapped and later beheaded. One year later, Iyman Faris, member of both Jamaat ul-Fuqra and al-Qaida, pleaded guilty in federal court to a plot to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge.
“What we are witnessing here is kind of a brand-new form of terrorism,” says FBI Special Agent Jody Weis in the documentary. “These home-grown terrorists can prove to be as dangerous as any known group, if not more so.”
  • Text smaller
  • Text bigger
×
Click a star to rate this.
Very LowLowAverageHighVery High (11 ratings)

Was Mysterious Attack on Calif. Power Station a ‘Dress Rehearsal’ for Much Larger Assault on U.S. Electrical Grid?

Was Mysterious Attack on Calif. Power Station a ‘Dress Rehearsal’ for Much Larger Assault on U.S. Electrical Grid?

Although the fact that the still-unsolved attack on a power station near San Jose occurred just a handful of hours after the Boston Marathon bombing — and apparently raised a few eyebrows initially — its ride in the public eye has been decidedly under the radar to date.
But that may be changing.
Now that the ranking member of the House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce Committee is decrying the incident as possibly indicative of a wider security issue, the brazen attack is getting a bit more attention, noted Foreign Policy.
“It is clear that the electric grid is not adequately protected from physical or cyber attacks,” said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) at a hearing on regulatory issues earlier this month, Foreign Policy noted.
Is Mysterious Attack on San Jose, Calif. Power Station a Dress Rehearsal for Taking Out Electrical Grid?
Image source: Surveillance video of substation attack
Here’s what went down: Around 1 a.m. on April 16, two manholes were entered and fiber cables cut around the PG&E Metcalf substation, which killed some local 911 services, landline service to the substation, and cell phone service in the area, a senior U.S. intelligence official told Foreign Policy.
More from Foreign Policy:
The intruder(s) then fired more than 100 rounds from what two officials described as a high-powered rifle at several transformers in the facility. Ten transformers were damaged in one area of the facility, and three transformer banks — or groups of transformers — were hit in another, according to a PG&E spokesman.
Cooling oil then leaked from a transformer bank, causing the transformers to overheat and shut down. State regulators urged customers in the area to conserve energy over the following days, but there was no long-term damage reported at the facility and there were no major power outages. There were no injuries reported.
Waxman called the incident “an unprecedented and sophisticated attack on an electric grid substation with military-style weapons” and that “under slightly different conditions, there could have been serious power outages or worse.”
“Initially, the attack was being treated as vandalism and handled by local law enforcement,” the senior intelligence official told Foreign Policy. “However, investigators have been quoted in the press expressing opinions that there are indications that the timing of the attacks and target selection indicate a higher level of planning and sophistication.”
The FBI is on the case but has no evidence that the attack was related to terrorism and seems to believe at this point that it’s an isolated incident, Peter Lee, a spokesman for the FBI field office in San Francisco, which is leading the investigation, told Foreign Policy. The intel official added that there’s also no known motive, and no one has claimed credit; the FBI said there have been no tips from the public.
“These were not amateurs taking potshots,” Mark Johnson, a former vice president for transmission operations at PG&E, said last month at a conference on grid security held in Philadelphia, Foreign Policy noted. “My personal view is that this was a dress rehearsal” for future attacks.
More from Foreign Policy:
At least one senior official thinks the government is focusing too heavily on cyber attacks. Jon Wellinghoff, the chairman of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, said last month that an attack by intruders with guns and rifles could be just as devastating as a cyber attack.
A shooter “could get 200 yards away with a .22 rifle and take the whole thing out,” Wellinghoff said last month at a conference sponsored by Bloomberg. His proposed defense: A metal sheet that would block the transformer from view. “If you can’t see through the fence, you can’t figure out where to shoot anymore,” Wellinghoff said. Price tag? A “couple hundred bucks.” A lot cheaper than the billions the administration has spent in the past four years beefing up cyber security of critical infrastructure in the United States and on government computer networks.
“There are ways that a very few number of actors with very rudimentary equipment could take down large portions of our grid,” Wellinghoff told Foreign Policy. “I don’t think we have the level of physical security we need.”
Here’s the surveillance video:

Other Must-Read Stories:

Obama putting squeeze on Temple Mount

Obama putting squeeze on Temple Mount

Seeks Palestinian rule over Judaism's most sacred site

  • Text smaller
  • Text bigger
TEL AVIV – The reports of stepped-up activism to ensure non-Muslim prayer on the Temple Mount comes as the Obama administrations continues to quietly push a plan in which the Palestinian Authority and Jordan will receive sovereignty over the holy site.
On Tuesday, the Washington Post reported on what it described as a “small but growing movement by Jewish activists” demanding the right to pray on the mount.
Currently, all non-Muslims are barred from praying at the site. While Muslims can access the Temple Mount 24-hours a day, Jews and Christians may only ascend during certain hours, and not on any Christian, Jewish or Muslim holidays or other days considered “sensitive” by the Waqf, the Islamic custodians of the mount.
Jews and Christians who ascend the mount during the limited hours usually do so through organized tours and only if they conform to a strict set of guidelines, which include demands that they not pray or bring any “holy objects” to the site.
Visitors are banned from entering any of the mosques without direct Waqf permission. Rules are enforced by Waqf agents, who watch tours closely and alert nearby Israeli police to any breaking of their guidelines.
“Impeachable Offenses: The Case to Remove Barack Obama from Office” is available, autographed, at WND’s Superstore
The Post reported proposals for non-Muslims to pray on the mount are now being debated in Israel’s Knesset and accepted by numerous politicians within Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s coalition government.
As WND was first to report, the Obama administration is pressing Israel to completely relinquish the Temple Mount, while the Jewish state would retain the land below the Western Wall, according to a senior PA negotiator speaking to WND.
The Temple Mount is the holiest site in Judaism.
The proposed plan is part of the basis for U.S.-brokered talks pushed by Secretary of State John Kerry.
Israel has not agreed to the U.S. plan over the Temple Mount, with details still open for discussion, stated the PA negotiator.
The negotiator, who is one of the main Palestinian figures leading the Arab side of the talks, further divulged Kerry’s proposed outline for a Palestinian state as presented orally to Israel and the PA.
He said Jordan has been invited to play a key role in the discussions surrounding both the Temple Mount and Jerusalem while it will be the PA, with some Jordanian assistance, that would ultimately receive control of some of those areas.
WND was first to report in 2007 that Jordan had been quietly purchasing real estate surrounding the Temple Mount in Jerusalem hoping to gain more control over the area accessing the holy site, according to Palestinian and Israeli officials.
Meanwhile, regarding the rest of Jerusalem, Kerry’s plan is to rehash what is known as the Clinton parameters. The formula, pushed by President Bill Clinton during the Camp David talks in 2000, called for Jewish areas of Jerusalem to remain Israeli while the Palestinians would get sovereignty over neighborhoods that are largely Arab. Most Arab sections are located in eastern Jerusalem.
WND reported the Palestinians are building illegally in Jewish-owned areas of Jerusalem, resulting in Arab majorities in some neighborhoods.
For the strategic Jordan Valley, Obama’s proposal calls for international forces to maintain security control along with unarmed Palestinian police forces, the PA negotiator said. Israel will retain security posts in some strategic areas of the Jordan Valley, according to the leaked plan.
When it comes to the West Bank, which borders Jerusalem and is within rocket range of Israel’s main population centers, Israel is expected to evacuate about 90 percent of its Jewish communities currently located in the territory, as outlined in Kerry’s plan.
Israel would retain strategic security posts along with the West Bank’s main blocs, Maale Adumin, Ariel and Gush Etzion. In return, Obama is calling for an exchange of territory with the Palestinians in other locations inside Israel, with discussion being open for the Palestinians to possibly receive land in the Israeli Negev in the country’s south.
The PA negotiator further said Israel rejected a Palestinian request that Netanyahu agree not to place the final peace plan up for referendum in the Knesset.