Op/Ed: “Is Our Intelligence Community … Intelligent?”

By Diana West

Kifah Mustapha is a known Hamas operative and an unindicted co-conspirator in the landmark Holy Land Foundation terror financing trial, the most successful such prosecution of terrorism financing -- in this case of Hamas -- in U.S. history.

So how could U.S. officials, charged with securing the nation against the very terrorism Mustapha's activities supported (as laid out in court documents filed by federal investigators), have possibly invited him into the top-secret National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) and the FBI's training center at Quantico during a six-week "Citizen's Academy" in 2010?

"The plugs had to be pulled on our (watch) system" just to get Mustapha in the NCTC door, Patrick Poole wrote online at Big Peace, quoting a Department of Homeland Security official. After all, "the NCTC has Kifah Mustapha on the highest watch list we have."

Unbelievable.

So who pulled those plugs? Wouldn't it be great to get a bunch of national security pooh-bahs into one room to try to find out?

It would be -- and so it was. In September 2010, at a conference in Washington on domestic intelligence, I took the opportunity to ask as many of them as possible this very question.

First up was James Clapper, director of National Intelligence. During a question-and-answer session, I asked him about FBI "outreach" to Mustapha.

"I think the FBI will be here later," Clapper boldly punted (laughter in the room). Meanwhile, he continued, there is "great merit in outreach, to engage as much as possible with the Muslim community." Subtext: It's no big deal.

When later asked about the government policy of eliminating the terminology of Islamic jihad from intelligence analysis and collection, Clapper affirmed it to "acknowledge sensitivities" -- a process begun under George W. Bush and recently extended by Obama Homeland Security adviser John Brennan. "There's plenty of terminology out there (to convey) the meaning and the message that we need to."

The director of national intelligence's tag of choice: "homegrown violent extremism."

Between panels, I spoke to panelist Sean Joyce of the FBI. What did the FBI executive assistant director for national security think about the Mustapha incident?

"We don't comment on individuals," he told me.

OK. How about commenting on a blanket policy regarding FBI secret tours for unindicted co-conspirators and terrorist group operatives?

"Again, we don't comment on individuals."

It's not every day a former director of Central Intelligence Agency is standing by, so I asked Michael Hayden for his opinion of the speak-no-Islam issue. "People I trust" -- uh-oh -- "say to be careful not to use the term `jihadist' because it does have a broader use across the Islamic world," he said.

So what? That doesn't affect its accuracy as a description of the enemy! However, he continued, not using the word ‘Islamic’ "obfuscates the issue (and) neuters our understanding" of Islamic terrorism -- "however perverted it might be." Hayden added: "This is in no way a comment on the Islamic faith."

But it is in some way a comment on American intelligence. “Political correctness” stymies it.

Of course, NCTC Director Michael Leiter was quick to insist "there was no PC-ness" on his watch. "If someone is inspired by Islamic ideology" he began, then stopped. "Let me rephrase that: al-Qaida ideology ..."

Poor baby.

Later, I had an opportunity to ask Leiter what he thought about the FBI bringing Mustapha into NCTC.

"Ask the FBI," he suggested, helpfully. But isn't NCTC your shop? I asked.

"Actually," he explained, "the building isn't owned by us. Three organizations have offices there. ..."

When I pulled myself up off the floor, he was still talking: "It's more complicated -- talk to the FBI. They've got a lot more information than I do."

The FBI better be good, right? After all, on taking my Mustapha question, FBI Director Robert Mueller, the conference's final speaker, said he'd been briefed to expect it. "I'm not sure I agree with the predicate of your question," he said, "and we're not going to debate it here."

He continued, discussing the Citizen's Academy program, which he described as "exposing the FBI to a variety of communities."

"Exposing" is right.

He, too, said he wouldn't discuss individuals, but added, meaningfully: "We do look into the individuals that we invite into the Citizen's Academies."

I think the man who pulled the plugs had spoken.

Diana West, is featured in the upcoming GBTV documentary Rumors of War: Target U.S. She is a Universal Uclick syndicated columnist and the author of The Death of the Grown-Up: How America’s Arrested Development Is Bringing Down Western Civilization, and the forthcoming book American Betrayal, both published by St. Martin’s Press. Learn more at www.dianawest.net

 

President Donald Trump has done a remarkable job of keeping his campaign promises so far. From pulling the US from the Iran Deal and Paris Climate Accord to moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem, the president has followed through on his campaign trail vows.

RELATED: The media's derangement over Trump has me wearing a new hat and predicting THIS for 2020

“It's quite remarkable. I don't know if anybody remembers, but I was the guy who was saying he's not gonna do any of those things," joked Glenn on “The News and Why it Matters," adding, “He has taken massive steps, massive movement or completed each of those promises … I am blown away."

Watch the video above to hear Glenn Beck, Sara Gonzales, Doc Thompson, Stu Burguiere and Pat Gray discuss the story.

Rapper Kendrick Lamar brings white fan onstage to sing with him, but here’s the catch

Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for American Express

Rapper Kendrick Lamar asked a fan to come onstage and sing with him, only to condemn her when she failed to censor all of the song's frequent mentions of the “n-word" while singing along.

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“I am so sorry," she apologized when Lamar pointed out that she needed to “bleep" that word. “I'm used to singing it like you wrote it." She was booed at by the crowd of people, many screaming “f*** you" after her mistake.

On Tuesday's show, Pat and Jeffy watched the clip and talked about some of the Twitter reactions.

“This is ridiculous," Pat said. “The situation with this word has become so ludicrous."

What happened?

MSNBC's Katy Tur didn't bother to hide her pro-gun control bias in an interview with Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton in the wake of the Santa Fe High School killings.

RELATED: Media Are Pushing Inflated '18 School Shootings' Statistic. Here Are the Facts.

What did she ask?

As Pat pointed out while sitting in for Glenn on today's show, Tur tried to “badger" Paxton into vowing that he would push for a magical fix that will make schools “100 percent safe." She found it “just wild" that the Texas attorney general couldn't promise that schools will ever be completely, totally safe.

“Can you promise kids in Texas today that they're safe to go to school?" Tur pressured Paxton.

“I don't think there's any way to say that we're ever 100 percent safe," the attorney general responded.

What solutions did the AG offer?

“We've got a long way to go," Paxton said. He listed potential solutions to improve school safety, including installing security officers and training administrators and teachers to carry a gun.

Pat's take:

“Unbelievable," Pat said on today's show. “Nobody can promise [100 percent safety]."

Every president from George Washington to Donald Trump has issued at least one executive order (with the exception of William Harrison who died just 31 days into his presidency) and yet the U.S. Constitution doesn't even mention executive orders. So how did the use of this legislative loophole become such an accepted part of the job? Well, we can thank Franklin Roosevelt for that.

Back at the chalkboard, Glenn Beck broke down the progression of the executive order over the years and discussed which US Presidents have been the “worst offenders."

RELATED: POWER GRAB: Here's how US presidents use 'moments of crisis' to override Constitutional law

“It's hard to judge our worst presidential overreachers on sheer numbers alone," said Glenn. “However, it's not a shock that FDR issued by far the most of any president."

Our first 15 presidents issued a combined total of 143. By comparison, Franklin D. Roosevelt issued 3721, more than twice the next runner up, Woodrow Wilson, at 1803.

“Next to FDR, no other president in our history attempted to reshape so much of American life by decree, until we get to this guy: President Obama," Glenn explained. “He didn't issue 3000, or even 1800; he did 276 executive orders, but it was the power of those orders. He instituted 560 major regulations classified by the Congressional Budget Office as having 'significant economic or social impacts.' That's 50 percent more regulations than George W. Bush's presidency — and remember, everybody thought he was a fascist."

President Obama blamed an obstructionist Congress for forcing him to bypass the legislative process. By executive order, President Obama decreed the U.S. join the Paris Climate Accord, DACA, the Clean Power Plan and transgender restrooms. He also authorized spying in US citizens through section 702 of FISA, used the IRS to target political opponents and ordered military action in Libya without Congressional permission.

All of these changes were accepted by the very people who now condemn President Trump for his use of executive orders — many of which were issued to annul President Obama's executive orders, just as President Obama annulled President Bush's executive orders when he took office … and therein lies the rub with executive orders.

“That's not the way it's supposed to work, nor would we ever want it to be," said Glenn. “We have to have the Constitution and laws need to originate in Congress."

Watch the video above to find out more.