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A Failure To Grasp The Threat

- December 6, 2015

Clinton And Obama's Response To The Growing Terrorist Threat Shows They Haven't Understood The Danger For Years


TOP TAKEAWAYS

  • Tonight, Obama will address the nation after his strategy to address or confront the growing ISIS threat has largely failed, a strategy strongly backed by Hillary Clinton.
  • Clinton and Obama have long underestimated the threat of ISIS.
  • Following the deadly terror attack on U.S. soil, Clinton and Obama instead attempted to further their political agenda by making the conversation one about gun control .
  • After weeks of vicious charges against Republicans over terror and refugees, Clinton conceded the fears and concerns are “legitimate."

Tonight, Obama Will Address The Nation About His Strategy To Confront ISIS. "On Sunday, December 6, at 8:00 pm ET, President Obama will address the nation from the Oval Office about the steps our government is taking to fulfill his highest priority: Keeping the American people safe. He will provide an update on the ongoing investigation into the tragic attack in San Bernardino. He will also discuss the broader threat of terrorism -- including the nature of the threat, how it has evolved, and how we will defeat it. He will reiterate his firm conviction that ISIL will be destroyed and that the United States must draw upon our values -- our unwavering commitment to justice, equality, and freedom -- to prevail over terrorist groups that use violence to advance a destructive ideology." (Tanya Somanader, "President Obama Addresses The Nation On Keeping The American People Safe," The White House, 12/6/15)

FOLLOWING THE TERROR ATTACK IN SAN BERNARDINO, CLINTON AND OBAMA RUSHED TO PROMOTE GUN CONTROL BEFORE LEARNING THE FACTS

Last Week, The FBI Announced That It Is Investigating The San Bernardino Attack As An Act Of Terror. "The FBI announced Friday that it is now investigating Wednesday's massacre in San Bernardino, California, that killed 14 and wounded 21 as a terrorist attack, citing evidence that showed extensive planning and explosives. 'We are now investigating these horrific acts as an act of terrorism,' said David Bowdich, the assistant director in charge for the FBI's Los Angeles field office, at a news conference in San Bernardino." (Nick Gass, "FBI Investigates Shooting As Act Of Terrorism," Politico, 12/4/15)

  • One Of The Attackers Pledged Allegiance To The Head Of ISIS. "The female shooter is believed to have pledged allegiance to the head of the Islamic State on social media, it emerged Friday. Malik posted a message on Facebook supporting ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi as the attack began, a person familiar with the investigation confirmed to POLITICO. CNN first reported on the posting." (Nick Gass, "FBI Investigates Shooting As Act Of Terrorism," Politico, 12/4/15)

In Response To The News Of The Attack In San Bernardino, Clinton Immediately Politicized The Tragedy To Promote More Gun Control. (Hillary Clinton, Twitter Feed, 12/2/15)

Clinton Has "Forcefully Defended" Her Decision To Discuss Gun Control After The Terror Attack In California. "Hillary Clinton forcefully defended herself Friday from Republican criticism about her push for comprehensive gun control legislation shortly after the deaths of 14 people in San Bernardino, given that investigators are now labeling the shooting a terrorist attack." (Dan Merica, "Clinton Defends Pushing Gun Control Amid San Bernardino Terror Probe," CNN, 12/5/15)

  • CNN Headline: "Clinton Defends Pushing Gun Control Amid San Bernardino Terror Probe" (Dan Merica, "Clinton Defends Pushing Gun Control Amid San Bernardino Terror Probe," CNN, 12/5/15)

While Many Details Remained Unknown, Obama Chose To Discussed Gun Control In The Wake Of The Attack. "Much remains unknown about the San Bernardino attackers, President Barack Obama said Thursday. But he said one characteristic of the shooters is incontrovertible: It was too easy for them to acquire guns. … Without a clear rationale for the attacks, Obama was constrained in what he could say. But in comments over the first 24 hours after a county civil servant and his wife conducted the second-worst mass killing since he took office, Obama's first move was to point to access to guns as the culprit." (Sarah Wheaton, "Obama: Still 'Too Easy' To Buy Guns In America," Politico, 12/3/15)

  • Time Headline: "Obama Calls For Tougher Gun Laws After San Bernardino Shooting" (Charlotte Alter, "Obama Calls For Tougher Gun Laws After San Bernardino Shooting," Time, 12/5/15)

AFTER WEEKS OF ACCUSING REPUBLICANS OF HATRED AND DEMAGOGUERY, CLINTON NOW CONCEDES THE FEARS AND CONCERNS ABOUT THE VETTING OF REFUGEES ARE "LEGITIMATE"

Last Week, Clinton Admitted There Are "Legitimate Fears And Concerns" Over Refugees. CLINTON: "So, there are a number of steps we have to take. And we're going to have to be really focused on going after anybody who poses a threat to us, no matter how they get here. And I know there's a big argument going on in the country about refugees. Look we have to be careful, I understand the legitmiate fears and concerns people have. We have to have the toughest possible vetting that our defense department, our intelligence community, homeland security, the state department-everybody has to be as careful as we can. And it does take up to two years." (Hillary Cliton, Remarks, Sioux City, IA, 12/4/15)

Click To Watch

Since The Terror Attack In Paris, Clinton And Obama Have Mocked Concerns Over The Vetting Of Refugees And Dismissed Them As "Inflammatory"

Clinton: "I Have Heard All This Loose Inflammatory Talk About Refugees… I Don't Think That Does Us Any Good At All." "'I have heard all this loose inflammatory talk about refugees,' she told the Colorado audience. 'I don't think that does us any good at all,' in defeating the Islamic State. 'We must be willing to continue to take refugees into our country,' Clinton said." (Anne Gearan, "Clinton Says Trump Is 'Dealing In Prejudice And Paranoia," The Washington Post , 11/24/15)

  • Clinton: "This Is Not A Time For Scoring Political Points." "And we can get this right. America's open, free, tolerant society is described by some as a vulnerability in the struggle against terrorism, but I actually believe it's one of our strengths. It reduces the appeal of radicalism and enhances the richness and resilience of our communities. This is not a time for scoring political points." (Hillary Clinton, Remarks, New York, NY, 11/19/15)

Obama Accused Opponents Of Syrian Refugees Of Being "Scared Of Widows And Orphans Coming Into The United States Of America." "President Obama is lashing out at Republican politicians who oppose allowing Syrian refugees into the U.S., accusing them of being 'scared of widows and orphans.' …'Apparently they are scared of widows and orphans coming into the United States of America,' Obama said of Republicans. 'At first, they were too scared of the press being too tough on them in the debates. Now they are scared of three year old orphans. That doesn't seem so tough to me.'" (Jordan Fabian, "Obama: GOP Refugee Opponents 'Scared Of Widows And Orphans,'" The Hill, 11/17/15)

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz Compared The Concerns Over Refugees To The Holocaust

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz Compared GOP Concerns Over Syrian Refugees To The Holocaust. ""This quickly translated into the most shameful part of the GOP's response to the Paris attacks: the scapegoating and turning away refugees fleeing this same terror in their own countries. We have seen this movie before. In May 1939, the SS St. Louis left Hamburg, Germany carrying more than 900 passengers, nearly all of them Jewish and seeking refuge in the United States. Our country turned them away, and many who were sent back to mainland Europe were killed in the Holocaust. Instead of learning from that mistake - Republican candidates and politicians were eager to repeat it." (Debbie Wasserman Schultz, " Excerpts From DNC Press Conference Call On GOP Candidates Out-Of-Touch With Jewish Community ," 12/3/15)

CLINTON AND OBAMA HAVE LONG UNDERESTIMATED THE THREAT OF ISIS

Obama Initially Dismissed ISIS As A "Jayvee Team"

Obama On ISIS, January 2014: "The Analogy We Use Around Here Sometimes, And I Think Is Accurate, Is If A Jayvee Team Puts On Lakers Uniforms That Doesn't Make Them Kobe Bryant." "In the 2012 campaign, Obama spoke not only of killing Osama bin Laden; he also said that Al Qaeda had been 'decimated.' I pointed out that the flag of Al Qaeda is now flying in Falluja, in Iraq, and among various rebel factions in Syria; Al Qaeda has asserted a presence in parts of Africa, too. 'The analogy we use around here sometimes, and I think is accurate, is if a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms that doesn't make them Kobe Bryant,' Obama said, resorting to an uncharacteristically flip analogy." (David Remnick, "Going The Distance," The New Yorker, 1/27/14)

Obama's Former DIA Chief Says The Administration Dismissed Early Warnings Of ISIS Because It Did Not Fit Their Reelection "Narrative"

"There Were, In Fact, More Than Hints Of [ISIS'] Plans And Potential." "And there were, in fact, more than hints of the group's plans and potential. A 2012 report by the United States Defense Intelligence Agency was direct: The growing chaos in Syria's civil war was giving Islamic militants there and in Iraq the space to spread and flourish. The group, it said, could 'declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria.' 'This particular report, this was one of those nobody wanted to see,' said Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, who ran the defense agency at the time. 'It was disregarded by the White House,' he said. 'It was disregarded by other elements in the intelligence community as a one-off report. Frankly, at the White House, it didn't meet the narrative.'" (Ian Fisher, "In Rise Of ISIS, No Single Missed Key But Many Strands Of Blame," The New York Times , 11/18/15)

"A 2012 Report By The United States Defense Intelligence Agency Was Direct: The Growing Chaos In Syria's Civil War Was Giving Islamic Militants There And In Iraq The Space To Spread And Flourish." "And there were, in fact, more than hints of the group's plans and potential. A 2012 report by the United States Defense Intelligence Agency was direct: The growing chaos in Syria's civil war was giving Islamic militants there and in Iraq the space to spread and flourish. The group, it said, could 'declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria.' 'This particular report, this was one of those nobody wanted to see,' said Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, who ran the defense agency at the time. 'It was disregarded by the White House,' he said. 'It was disregarded by other elements in the intelligence community as a one-off report. Frankly, at the White House, it didn't meet the narrative.'" (Ian Fisher, "In Rise Of ISIS, No Single Missed Key But Many Strands Of Blame," The New York Times , 11/18/15)

  • "The Group, It Said, Could 'Declare An Islamic State Through Its Union With Other Terrorist Organizations In Iraq And Syria.'" (Ian Fisher, "In Rise Of ISIS, No Single Missed Key But Many Strands Of Blame," The New York Times , 11/18/15)

Gen. Michael Flynn, Obama's Former Defense Intelligence Agency Chief: The White House Dismissed Early ISIS Warnings Over Reelection "Narrative." TAPPER: "It was not long after you issued that report that President Obama referred to ISIS as the jayvee team. Do you feel your warnings were ignored?" FLYNN: "You know, I think they did not meet a particular narrative that the White House needed, and I'll be very candid with you. I have said, and I believe, that people that were around the president, his sort of inner circle that were advising him, I think advised him incorrectly." TAPPER: "What was the narrative?" FLYNN: "I think the narrative was that al Qaeda was on the run, and bin Laden was dead and he was --" TAPPER: "The election narrative." (CNN's "The Lead With Jake Tapper," 12/1/15)

Click To Watch

National Security Advisor Susan Rice Admitted The Administration Has Only Been "On Top" Of The ISIS Threat When It Took Over Major Iraqi Cities In 2014

National Security Rice Susan Rice Conceded That The Obama Administration Has Only Been "On Top" Of The ISIS Threat Since 2014. ZAKARIA: "Is it fair to say that the President and you, the administration, underestimated ISIS when calling it a Jayvee team?" RICE: "Fareed, I think, look, we have been on top of the threat since the summer of 2014 when ISIL made a significant move to take territory in Iraq. And from that point on, we have acted militarily, but not just militarily, we built diplomatically a coalition of 65 countries."(CNN's " Fareed Zakaria GPS," 12/6/15)

Click To Watch

All The While, Clinton Has Repeatedly Stood By The Failed ISIS Strategy

Earlier Today, Clinton Refused To Say We Need A New Strategy Against ISIS. STEPHANOPOULOS: "If you were in the Oval Office tonight, would you be announcing a new strategy?" CLINTON: "Well, I think that's what we'll hear from the President, an intensification of the existing strategy." (ABC's "The Week," 12/6/15)

Click To Watch

In November, Clinton Reiterated Her "Support" For The Obama Administration's Strategy To Combat ISIS. CLINTON: "So here is where I think the United States is right now and what I support and what I would do in addition. Defense Secretary Carter said the other day that our new strategy is what he called the 'three r's:' Raqqa, Ramadi and raids. Raqqa is the city they operate out of in Northern Syria, Ramadi is the Iraqi city that they captured, which is a center of northern central Iraq, a Sunni city. And raids is what the president has decided we are going to do more of by committing special ops forces. But there is no military solution to ISIS unless we get a better coordinated effort from an Iraqi army that will fight, from the Kurds who will be able to focus on ISIS and not be constantly having to fight rear guard actions against the Turks and others who are worried about their ability to establish some territorial holds, with the Russians now with the latest information about their plane being perhaps bombed, having to decide are they really most focused on Assad's enemies or on their own because ISIS did take credit although it's not yet been totally concluded that's what happened. So we've got to do intensive diplomacy to get everyone on the same page." (Hillary Clinton, Remarks, Windham, NH, 11/9/15)

  • In February 2015, Clinton Said Obama Is Making "The Right Moves" In The Effort Against ISIS. "On the effort against ISIL, Clinton suggested during the Q&A with journalist Kara Swisher that there was little use in inserting U.S. combat troops into the fight and essentially backed the president's strategy so far. 'It's a very hard challenge, because you can't very well put American or Western troops in to fight this organism,' she said, in her clearest statement yet on the topic. 'You have to use, not only air force but also army soldiers from the region and particularly from Iraq. … A lot of the right moves are being made, but this is a really complicated and long-term problem.'" (Gabriel Debenedetti, "Hillary Clinton Tackles ISIL, Previews Economic Message," Politico, 2/25/15)
  • In June 2014, Clinton Supported Obama's Handling Of The Ongoing Crisis In Iraq, Saying, "I Would Have Advised Him To Do Exactly As I Believe He Is Now Doing." QUESTION: "If you were in the administration today, what would you have advised President Obama to do in Iraq?" CLINTON: "I would have advised him to do exactly as I believe he is now doing. To tell Maliki there will not be any American involvement whatsoever unless you take the following steps, and that we would begin, through our channels, to reach out to the Sunni tribal chiefs that we had worked with to turn back Al-Qaeda in Iraq. And I don't have the kind of access to the top-secret negotiations any longer, but that's what I believe is happening. Because when you think about how we were able to stop the spread of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, it was by partnering Shiite with Sunni with American support. I think that's the only way you're going to be able to get rid of this so-called ISIS group too. So, that's what I would be looking for and I believe that's probably what the President has put under his list of things that have to be accomplished." ( Interview With Hillary Clinton , NDTV, 6/21/14)

Even Today, Clinton And Administration Officials Have Made Comments Indicating They Underestimate The Threat

At Democrat Primary Debate, Clinton Said The Fight Against ISIS "Cannot Be An American Fight." CLINTON: "But it cannot be an American fight. And I think what the president has consistently said-- which I agree with-- is that we will support those who take the fight to ISIS. That is why we have troops in Iraq that are helping to train and build back up the Iraqi military, why we have special operators in Syria working with the Kurds and Arabs so that we can be supportive. But this cannot be an American fight, although American leadership is essential." (Hillary Clinton, Democrat Primary Debate, Des Moines, IA, 11/14/15)

In An Interview Airing The Day After The Attack In San Bernardino, Obama Said A Paris-Style Attack Could Not Happen In The U.S. "President Barack Obama said in an interview that aired Thursday that he is confident the U.S. is safe from a Paris-style attack from ISIS and that American law enforcement is well equipped to protect the nation during the holidays. 'ISIL will not pose an existential threat to us. They are a dangerous organization like al Qaeda was, but we have hardened our defenses,' Obama told CBS. 'The American people should feel confident that, you know, we are going to be able to defend ourselves and make sure that, you know, we have a good holiday and go about our lives.'" (Tom Lobianco, "Obama: U.S. Safe Against ISIS Attack," CNN, 12/4/15)

In An Interview Airing The Day Of The Paris Attacks, Obama Downplayed The ISIS Threat, Saying He Doesn't Believe They Are Getting Stronger And That They Are "Contained ." STEPHANOPOULOS: "But ISIS is gaining strength, aren't they?" OBAMA: "Well, I don't think they're gaining strength. What is true is that from the start our goal has been first to contain and we have contained them. They have not gained ground in Iraq and in Syria, they'll come in, they'll leave. But you don't see the systematic march by ISIL across the terrain." (ABC's " Good Morning America," 11/13/15)

Click To Watch

One Day Before Al Qaeda's Attack In Mali, Secretary Of State John Kerry Claimed That We Were Able To "Neutralize" Al Qaeda As An "Effective Force." KERRY: "We began our fight against al Qaeda in 2001 and it took us quite a few years before we were able to eliminate Osama bin Laden and the top leadership and neutralize them as an effective force. We hope to do Daesh much faster than that and we think we have an ability to do that. So, that's the effort and we're going to continue." (John Kerry, Remarks, Washington, D.C., 11/20/15)

Click To Watch


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