Posted tagged ‘national security’

CAIR: Refusing Refugee Admissions Is Equivalent To Slavery

January 26, 2017

CAIR: Refusing Refugee Admissions Is Equivalent To Slavery, Daily Caller, Alex Pfeiffer, January 25, 2017

(President Trump is unlikely to defer to CAIR on this or anything else. — DM)

WASHINGTON — The executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said Wednesday that refusing to accept Muslim refugees is the moral equivalent of slavery.

CAIR held a press conference in anticipation of executive orders from President Donald Trump to limit refugee entry from several Muslim-majority countries, block federal funds from sanctuary cities and start construction of a wall on America’s southern border.

Nihad Awad, CAIR’s national executive director, called the proposed border wall a “multi-billion dollar monument to racism.” Awad went on to say that President Trump’s proposal has nothing to do with national security and is strictly an “Islamophobic” proposal.

A rabbi at the press conference, Joseph Berman, was on the verge of tears and said that the proposal to bar the entry of refugees from several terrorist hotbeds such as Syria and Somalia is an “affront to God.”

The Daily Caller asked Awad if refugees have a right to come to the United States, and CAIR’s communications director Ibrahim Hooper claimed that under international law refugees have “rights beyond what normal immigrants have.” Awad added that the issue isn’t one “of legality,” but of “morality.”

The CAIR executive director then equated refusing refugee entry to former American policies of slavery and women not being able to vote. He said those actions were legal but “wrong.”

 

Obama Allies Working to Undermine Trump’s National Security Team

January 21, 2017

Obama Allies Working to Undermine Trump’s National Security Team, Washington Free Beacon, , January 21, 2017

CIA Director-designate Rep. Michael Pompeo, R-Kan. is sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 1, 2017, prior to testifying at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

CIA Director-designate Rep. Michael Pompeo, R-Kan. is sworn in on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Jan. 1, 2017, prior to testifying at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee. (AP

Democrats loyal to former President Barack Obama are waging a behind-the-scenes effort to undermine President Donald Trump’s national security team by blocking key appointees, according to multiple sources familiar with the outgoing administration’s efforts.

The centerpiece of this obstruction is the recent refusal by Senate Democrats to quickly confirm incoming CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

Democratic leaders—including Sens. Chuck Schumer (N.Y.), Ron Wyden (Ore.), and Patrick Leahy (Vt.)—postponed Pompeo’s confirmation, claiming they need more time to debate the pick, which is widely supported by a majority of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle.

The decision to stall Pompeo’s vote, a move that will leave the critical post of CIA director vacant as Trump takes office, is part of a wider effort by the outgoing administration and its allies to hamstring Trump on the national security front, according to multiple sources, including those close to the Trump administration.

Gen. Michael Hayden, a former CIA director who served under former Presidents George W. Bush and Obama, told the Washington Free Beacon that he is “puzzled by the objections recently raised” by Senate Democrats.

“It’s hell being the political football,” Hayden said Saturday afternoon, ahead of a visit by both Trump and Pompeo to the CIA headquarters in Langley, Va.

Democrats cited Hayden’s role under Bush and Obama as a precedent for Pompeo’s holdup.

“Just as Director Hayden served as a bridge between the Bush and Obama presidencies eight years ago, Director [John] Brennan could play the same role for the incoming and outgoing administrations, if the President is willing to keep him on,” Matt House, a Schumer spokesman, said in a recent press statement.

Democrats opposing Pompeo have expressed concerns about his desire to combat terrorism by boosting the collection of personal data in the United States. They also have raised concerns about Pompeo’s stance on enhanced interrogation techniques.

Hayden dismissed these concerns, saying Democratic talking points on the matter are unconvincing.

“With regard to interrogations and surveillance, Congressman Pompeo said that he would follow the law. If his intelligence professionals advised him that current law denied him intelligence opportunities that would be otherwise available, he would so advise the Congress so that they could discuss and debate whether changes in the law might be indicated,” Hayden said. “That is the essence of a professional carrying out his duty within the American political context.”

There is nothing abnormal about Pompeo’s desire to potentially strengthen the interrogation techniques available to the U.S. military, Hayden said.

“No one could reasonably argue that the current army field manual exhausts all legally available interrogation techniques,” he explained. “If director Pompeo and his professionals judged that America was measurably less safe because of the current limitations, their duty would be to inform the president and the Congress of that judgment. They of course would live with the decision of their political and policy masters.  What could possibly be controversial about that?”

The campaign to delay Pompeo’s confirmation appears to be just one piece of a larger effort aimed at undermining Trump’s national security team, multiple sources told the Free Beacon.

There is evidence Obama’s outgoing administration took steps to complicate and delay the building of Trump’s new team, according to one veteran foreign policy insider who has been in close contact with Trumps’ national security transition team.

“Something strange is going on,” the source, who is not authorized to speak on the record, said. “The Trump folks keep loading up accounts and looking at specific jobs, and they’re not finding anything like what should be there. It’s like the Obama national security team went out of their way to cripple the transition on the way out.”

A senior congressional aide familiar with the efforts to hold up Pompeo’s confirmation vote told the Free Beacon that Democrats are playing politics with America’s national security.

“This is nothing more than an exercise in partisan showmanship,” the source said. “Senate Democrats know Pompeo is wholly qualified for this job and that he’ll eventually be confirmed.”

“Playing politics with this confirmation only jeopardizes our national security at a time when the United States faces a multitude of security challenges,” added the congressional source, who asked not to be named so he could speak freely. “They should drop this charade and confirm him.”

Defending national security, when convenient

January 12, 2017

Defending national security, when convenient, Washington TimesTammy Bruce, January 11, 2017

russia_putin_63076-jpg-b0497_c0-0-3201-1866_s885x516Russian President Vladimir Putin meets with Moscow State University rector Viktor Sadovnichy in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017. (Alexei Druzhinin/Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP) 
 
A main refrain from Democrats these days (and the scraggly band of Never Trumpers, apparently now led by Sen. John McCain) remains how the Russians “hacked the election.” Observers understand this is meant to delegitimize the election of Donald Trump, but what it also exposes is the rank hypocrisy of crusty and desperate political operatives and federal bureaucrats.

After all, under President Obama the United States has not only been interfering in other countries’ elections, the State Department has used taxpayer dollars to do so, as Mr. Obama has gone to one nation to personally harass and threaten voters in a country not his own.

Having the pleasure of being on CBS News’ “Face the Nation” last Sunday, the first question I was asked by host John Dickerson was about the Russians “hacked our election” narrative. My response was a reminder: The Russians didn’t hack into the election, they appear to have hacked into the Democratic National Committee.

That’s a big difference, as all investigations agree upon one thing: No one accessed or manipulated the actual voting process or the machines. The scandal surrounds the argument that the Russians meddled by releasing damaging information about Hillary Clinton, unleashing a social media troll army to disparage her, and the use of media to cast doubt on the election itself.

Pretty much what the Democrats are doing to Donald Trump since he won the election.

While all of us are appalled at the idea that any foreign nation would interfere in our election, one of the great questions among both Republicans and Democrats has been, why didn’t Mr. Obama act at the time on signs that Russia was active in trying to influence voters?

Two electoral news items broke in July 2016: On July 12, a Washington Post headline read, “NGO connected to Obama’s 2008 campaign used U.S. tax dollars trying to oust Netanyahu.” Their story detailed the findings of a Senate subcommittee investigation that confirmed “allegations that an NGO with connections to President Obama’s 2008 campaign used U.S. taxpayer dollars attempting to oust Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2015.”

The story was lost in the middle of presidential primary season, but then a mere 10 days later on July 22, WikiLeaks published a trove of emails from the hacked Democratic National Committee — emails which exposed, among other things, the DNC favoring Mrs. Clinton over her opponent Sen. Bernie Sanders, as well as the sycophantic relationship the Democrats enjoyed with mainstream media.

Apparent Russian involvement in the hacking of the DNC and attempt to influence voters has driven calls for the U.S. to retaliate and, in fact, Mr. Obama has issued sanctions against various Russian officials as a result.

Yet, in its July article, The Washington Post reported Mr. Obama’s administration had used $350,000 U.S. taxpayer dollars to interfere beyond basic media propaganda in Israel’s national election.

“Among the [Senate] report’s most damning findings, evidence was found that the “durable campaign resources” built during the grant with taxpayer dollars included “a larger voter contact database, a professionally trained network of grass-roots activists across the country, and an enhanced social media presence on Facebook and Twitter. [Grant recipient] OneVoice was even permitted to use State Department funds to hire an American political consulting firm called 270 Strategies — run by Obama 2008 campaign veterans — to train its activists in how to execute a ‘grass-roots mobilization’ campaign,” The Post explained.

Moreover, Free Beacon reported at the time equally disturbing behavior: “The [Senate] investigation determined that OneVoice redirected State Department funds to anti-Netanyahu efforts and that U.S. officials subsequently erased emails containing information about the administration’s relationship with the nonprofit group.”

And then there’s Brexit, also in summer 2016. Mr. Obama personally traveled to London in an effort to influence the vote to “stay or leave” the European Union. At a public appearance, the president of the United States threatened British voters, “The U.K. is going to be in the back of the queue,” for trade deals with the U.S. if they dared to vote “leave,” The Hill reported.

Beyond the fact that the Obama administration itself was engaging in foreign election interference, there were other reasons why our government did nothing to address the meddling.

In December, CNN reported its investigation found a variety of reasons why the Obama administration allowed the Russian “hacking” to go unanswered, including fear of wider Russian cyber-retaliation to “vulnerable” U.S. infrastructure systems and concern about impacting negotiations with Russia over Syria.

Ultimately, CNN reported, “Administration officials were sure Trump would lose in November and they were worried about giving him any reason to question the election results.”

In other words, the Obama administration’s situational ethics amounts to a transactional relationship with the United States itself: Our national security would only be defended if it was politically convenient.

So as the legacy media, Democratic Party operatives and establishment bureaucrats continue to decry Russian meddling during an election (as we all do) one might argue that the Russians were inspired by Mr. Obama himself, providing another highlight of our feckless president’s propensity to screw things up and make things worse for us.

Humor | Intelligence community publishes all classified material online to stop leakers

January 11, 2017

Intelligence community publishes all classified material online to stop leakers, Duffel Blog, January 11, 2017

obamaintelligence

All national intelligence is now being published at nomoresnowdens.gov.

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WASHINGTON — In an unprecedented attempt to prevent the further unauthorized disclosure of classified information, the Director of National Intelligence has released all of the nation’s secrets onto the Internet, Duffel Blog has learned.

President Obama approved the move by signing an executive order between the ninth and tenth holes at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda, Md.

Previously held under strict security standards established by over 200 years of experience, America’s most precious information is now available to anyone with a web browser. People around the world can view classified material ranging from the current status of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program to real-time signals intelligence collected by the National Security Agency. They can also learn than 9/11 was an inside job.

“The Intelligence Community (IC) has suffered too long from egregious cases of unauthorized disclosure,” said Aldrich Pollard, spokesman for DNI Chief James Clapper. “From Montes and Walker to Hanssen and Snowden, leaks have gravely impacted our nation’s security.”

Pollard spoke while handing reporters copies of a previously-undisclosed gun-sharing agreement between the Department of Justice and Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel.

“These arcane security rules also did tremendous damage to the morale of our faithful ‘silent warrior’ analysts who work day and night to produce intelligence that protects the nation, right before they leak it to the nation,” Pollard added.

Before deciding to release everything, the DNI tallied metrics associated with unauthorized disclosure, the trillions spent over decades collecting information on America’s enemies, the damage done by leakers like Army Specialist Chelsea Manning, and the damage done by non-transgender leakers like Army Specialist Bradley Manning.

It concluded that releasing top secret intelligence ahead of leaks would mitigate damage by reducing the number of unauthorized disclosures to exactly zero. And zero disclosures is the ultimate metric for the nation’s senior intelligence officers, who both deeply desire to protect the country and get year-end bonuses.

While the current classification markings will remain — unclassified, confidential, secret and top secret — the DNI has directed that there will be only one administrative handling caveat from now on.

The updated guidelines with markings such as NOFORN, ORCON and CLINTON have been changed to REL//DGAF.

Intelligence analysts were generally supportive.

“I hated the classification guideline,” said one FBI intelligence specialist who asked not to be identified because, to his embarrassment, he was dumped by a Russian supermodel right after the new caveat was announced. “The guideline was complex and made me fall asleep, so I classified everything as SECRET//NOFORN even if I ripped it from InfoWars.”

All national intelligence is now being published at nomoresnowdens.gov.

 

Hmmm: FBI, CIA never examined DNC servers?

January 5, 2017

Hmmm: FBI, CIA never examined DNC servers?, Hot Air, Ed Morrissey, January 5, 2017

Never? Not once? The FBI has consistently asserted that the hack of the Democratic National Committee was an operation linked to the Russian government, even if they were less convinced that the Russians wanted to elect Donald Trump as a result. Last night, however, BuzzFeed’s Ali Watkins reported that the DNC has told her that the FBI never requested access to their servers, nor has any other government agency. Instead, they relied on a report from a private vendor:

The FBI did not examine the servers of the Democratic National Committee before issuing a report attributing the sweeping cyberintrusion to Russia-backed hackers, BuzzFeed News has learned.

Six months after the FBI first said it was investigating the hack of the Democratic National Committee’s computer network, the bureau has still not requested access to the hacked servers, a DNC spokesman said. No US government entity has run an independent forensic analysis on the system, one US intelligence official told BuzzFeed News.

“The DNC had several meetings with representatives of the FBI’s Cyber Division and its Washington (DC) Field Office, the Department of Justice’s National Security Division, and U.S. Attorney’s Offices, and it responded to a variety of requests for cooperation, but the FBI never requested access to the DNC’s computer servers,” Eric Walker, the DNC’s deputy communications director, told BuzzFeed News in an email.

So who did check out the hacked servers? The DNC brought in a well-respected outfit called Crowdstrike to check out their systems, and it was Crowdstrike that concluded that the DNC was the victim of a Russian-government hack. “Crowdstrike is pretty good,” Watkins’ intel-community source told her, adding that they had no reason to believe that Crowdstrike got it wrong.

As pretty good as Crowdstrike might be, cyberattacks are federal crimes. Add to that the espionage implications involved with a hostile government intrusion, and this story doesn’t add up at all. This kind of crime should have had the FBI seizing the evidence and creating a chain of evidence in order to build a case should the opportunity for prosecution arise. The CIA and/or the NSA should have conducted their own probe of the servers to check for potential means to track back the attacks. Those are fairly obvious first steps to take under any circumstances, let alone the highly public circumstances of these hacks both then and over the last several weeks.

One could assert that political organizations might not be too comfortable having law-enforcement and intelligence agencies delving into their communications, and for good reason. However, the communications got released to the public anyway, so that’s a bit like locking the barn door after the horse has bolted. Certainly the DNC should have gotten over that last shred of modesty by then, and the FBI and intelligence community should have been eager to get their hands on the hardware. And yet, they still haven’t done so to this day, according to BuzzFeed. Hmmmmm.

It’s curious, and this report from Reuters is even more curious:

U.S. intelligence agencies obtained what they considered to be conclusive evidence after the November election that Russia provided hacked material from the Democratic National Committee to WikiLeaks through a third party, three U.S. officials said on Wednesday.

U.S. officials had concluded months earlier that Russian intelligence agencies had directed the hacking, but had been less certain that they could prove Russia also had controlled the release of information damaging to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

The timing of the additional intelligence is important because U.S. President Barack Obama has faced criticism from his own party over why it took his administration months to respond to the cyber attack. U.S. Senate and House leaders, including prominent Republicans, have also called for an inquiry.

Well, isn’t that convenient timing. Put these two stories together, and it appears that the intelligence and law-enforcement communities didn’t take a very strong interest in chasing down evidence until after the election, too. That doesn’t mean the Russians weren’t behind it all — that still seems more likely than not — but it sure makes it look like the Obama administration, FBI, and the intelligence community didn’t care about it enough to act until the results of the election embarrassed the White House.

Obama Inc. Didn’t Do Anything About Russian Hacks B/C/ They Thought Hillary Would win

December 18, 2016

Obama Inc. Didn’t Do Anything About Russian Hacks B/C/ They Thought Hillary Would win, Front Page Magazine (The Point), Daniel Greenfield, December 17, 2016

(Please see also Obama to Putin: Cut It Out! — DM)

lovers

If the Dems are endangered, then they might contemplate taking action. If the country is endangered, they don’t care.

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Set aside everything else about this entire contentious debate and can this be viewed as anything other than an admission of politically motivated treason.

The Obama administration didn’t respond more forcefully to Russian hacking before the presidential election because they didn’t want to appear to be interfering in the election and they thought that Hillary Clinton was going to win and a potential cyber war with Russia wasn’t worth it, multiple high-level government officials told NBC News.

“They thought she was going to win, so they were willing to kick the can down the road,” said one U.S official familiar with the level of Russian hacking.

Again, let’s set aside everything else.

We have admissions by top government officials that they didn’t do anything about the hacking because they thought Hillary would win. If they thought Hillary would lose, as she did, they would have done something.

Their basis for responding to a threat isn’t national interest, but party interest.

This is a point that I made back in October.

Obama shrugged at Snowden. His former DOJ stooge, Eric Holder, claimed that the enemy traitor had performed a public service. But that was back when Russia was merely compromising national security secrets. And endangering national security meets with a shrug and a yawn from Obama.

If not, as from Eric Holder, with outright praise.

But suddenly it wasn’t our defense secrets that were being spilled. It was the Democratic Party’s dirty dealings. And all the outrage and anger that had lain slumbering while our national defense secrets were being plundered by the enemy was suddenly roused to a boiling pitch.

Obama has gone to the featherbed mattresses. This means war.

Reports claim that the CIA is “is contemplating an unprecedented cyber covert action against Russia in retaliation for alleged Russian interference in the American presidential election”.

The right time to launch such an “action” would have been after Snowden or after the theft of top national security secrets by China. The OPM database hack should have merited such a response. Instead the corrupt left-wing elites running this country only respond to threats to their political power.

The CIA wasn’t allowed to strike back when its operatives were endangered. But humiliating Hillary Clinton and John Podesta must not be allowed. National security is disposable. Dem security isn’t.

What’s being communicated here is that Dem officials function like a state within a state. Their concern isn’t for the country, it’s purely for the party.

If the Dems are endangered, then they might contemplate taking action. If the country is endangered, they don’t care.

Unsolicited Advice for the Trump Transition Team on National Security Intelligence

November 10, 2016

Unsolicited Advice for the Trump Transition Team on National Security Intelligence, PJ Media, Andrew C. McCarthy, November 10, 2016

isis

It was encouraging Wednesday to hear that President Obama intends to emulate President Bush, who generously provided Obama with a highly informative and smooth transition process.

Running the Executive Branch is a daunting task, so there is no aspect of the transition to a new administration that is unimportant. But obviously, the most crucial focus for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who is heading up President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team, must be national security.

That transition is going to be more complicated than it should be, but there are things Gov. Christie can do – better to say, people he ought to consult — to make sure his team is getting accurate information.

The Bush National Security Council was very good about putting together briefing books so their successors could hit the ground running. The problem now, however, is the trustworthiness of what is in those books.

As PJ Media has reported, a highly disturbing report by a congressional task force this summer found that the Obama administration had politicized its intelligence product.

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), who has been stellar on national security issues and was among the leaders of the task force (comprised of the Intelligence, Armed Services, and Appropriations Committees), put it this way when the report was issued:

After months of investigation, this much is very clear: from the middle of 2014 to the middle of 2015, the United States Central Command’s most senior intelligence leaders manipulated the command’s intelligence products to downplay the threat from ISIS in Iraq.The result: consumers of those intelligence products were provided a consistently “rosy” view of U.S. operational success against ISIS. That may well have resulted in putting American troops at risk as policymakers relied on this intelligence when formulating policy and allocating resources for the fight.

The intelligence manipulation became a controversy in 2015, when 50 intelligence-community whistleblowers complained that their reports on the Islamic State and al-Qaeda terror networks were being altered.

The manipulation, driven by Obama’s Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and carried out in the Defense Department by senior Central Command (CENTCOM) officers, aimed to downplay the jihadist threat.

This is a reckless practice I have written about several times over the last eight years (see, e.g., here). The Obama administration has made a concerted effort to miniaturize the terrorist threat in order to project a mirage of policy success.

Intelligence has routinely been distorted — portraying the networks as atomized, largely detached cells that are not unified by any overarching ideology — in an attempt to make them appear smaller and less threatening. Basically, a nuisance to be managed rather than an enemy to be defeated.

Even when the terrorists are on the march, the administration claims they are in retreat. Indeed, less than 24 hours after four Americans, including our ambassador to Libya, were killed by al-Qaeda-affiliated jihadists in the 2012 siege of Benghazi, President Obama stated this in a political fundraising speech:

A day after 9/11, we are reminded that a new tower rises above the New York skyline, but al-Qaeda is on the path to defeat and bin Laden is dead.

Intel manipulation ran rampant after Obama fired Marine General James Mattis, CENTCOM’s commander, in 2013. General Mattis had the irksome habits of demanding clear-eyed assessments of America’s enemies and forcing administration policymakers to confront the potential consequences of their ludicrously optimistic assumptions, particularly regarding Iran’s behavior. Obama officials replaced him with Army General Lloyd Austin.

Meanwhile, it was made clear to the Pentagon that because the president made campaign commitments to end the U.S. mission in Iraq, he did not want to hear information contradictory to his narrative that withdrawing our forces was the right thing to do. After retiring, Army General Anthony Tata confirmed that an ODNI official instructed the Defense Department not to put in writing assessments that portrayed al-Qaeda and ISIS as fortified and threatening.

The result, of course, was that the president was told what wanted to hear.

This eventually led to Obama’s infamous assertion that ISIS was merely a “JV” terrorist team. Naturally, when the JV team rampaging through Iraq and Syria rendered that judgment embarrassing, the White House shifted the blame to General Austin, pushing him out the CENTCOM door.

The administration has done more to sculpt the narrative than quell the enemy. So Gov. Christie and his team will need to regard with skepticism any briefing books Obama’s transition coordinators supply.

Of course, Team Trump already has a tremendous resource to rely on: retired Army General Michael Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (and the author, along with PJ Media columnist Michael Ledeen, of The Field of Fight, which pleads for a desperately needed strategy for fighting the global war against jihadists and their allies). Like General Mattis, General Flynn (in 2014) was pushed out of his job because he rejected the politicization of our intelligence product for purposes of low-balling the terrorist threat. He knows his stuff, knows what we are up against, and will be a major asset not only to the transition, but to the Trump administration.

I would also respectfully suggest that Gov. Christie consult with General Mattis and General Jack Keane: smart, experienced former commanders who have given a great deal of thought to, and sound advice to Congress regarding, the current administration’s strategic and intelligence voids.

In understanding global jihadist networks — who the players are, how the organizations collude and compete — Tom Joscelyn, editor of The Long War Journal, is the best expert in the United States, bar none. While his value would be limitless, Tom is especially knowledgeable about the jihadists released from Guantanamo Bay, many of whom have gone back to the jihad.

Yet again, this is a context in which briefings from the Obama administration would be suspect. The president adheres to another narrative driven by foolish campaign promises, namely: the cost of Gitmo as a “recruiting tool” for the enemy outweighs the benefit of detaining committed, capable, anti-American jihadists. To justify both this absurd premise and the release of the terrorists, the administration watered down intelligence that supported holding the terrorists as enemy combatants who posed continuing danger to the United States.

The new administration needs accurate information for purposes of grasping the threat and formulating sound detention policy.

Finally, it is vital to understand “Countering Violent Extremism,” the Obama administration’s strategic guidance — their playbook for military, intelligence, and law-enforcement officials on how to approach and respond to terrorism. CVE is where the dereliction that I have labeled “willful blindness” has devolved into compulsory blindness.

Under CVE guidelines, the fact that Islamic-supremacist ideology spurs the jihadist threat and knits together terrorists and their sponsors is no longer just consciously avoided; taking notice of it is verboten.

The most thoroughgoing critique of this lunacy is Catastrophic Failure: Blindfolding America in the Face of Jihad. Its author is Stephen Coughlin, a trained military intelligence officer and an attorney who has made a point of learning how Islamic law principles inform the goals and tactics of our enemies. Steve is extraordinarily informed about the administration’s wayward assumptions. If the Trump transition team wants to check the premises on which their work is based, he’s the guy.

Let’s welcome President Obama’s assurances of a seamless transition to the Trump administration. But my best unsolicited advice to Gov. Christie: When it comes to briefing books, don’t believe everything you read.