Islam

President Trump Arrives In Saudi Arabia — Videos

Posted on May 20, 2017. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Communications, Education, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Freedom, Friends, government spending, history, Islam, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Middle East, Money, National Security Agency (NSA), National Security Agency (NSA_, Newspapers, People, Philosophy, Photos, Police, Radio, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Religion, Religious, Religious, Security, Speech, Spying, Strategy, Success, Sunni, Talk Radio, Television, Terrorism, Video, Wahhabism, War, Wealth, Weapons, Weather, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , |

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President Trump Lands in Saudi Arabia And Meets King Salman (FULL)

TRUMP ARRIVES TO ROYALTY IN SAUDI ARABIA

Trump arrives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, for his first foreign trip as president

President Donald Trump Welcome Ceremony in Saudi Arabia at Al Yamamh Palace #2

President Trump Welcome Reception Ceremony in Saudi Arabia with King Salman

President Trump and Melania in Saudi Arabia Meet King Salman

President Trump & King Salman Dancing During Ceremony in Saudi Arabia (FULL)

President Trump Welcome Reception Ceremony in Saudi Arabia with King Salman

President Trump and Cabinet At meeting in Saudi Arabia

What a difference an election can make for the respect American leaders have for our country.

There were two very different outcomes when two American presidents greeted the king of Saudi Arabia.

All eyes were on President Trump today as he arrived in the country for his first foreign trip.

Video shows the president stepping off the plane and greeting King Salman:

Trump stood up straight as Salman appeared to bow slightly.

Trump’s posture stands in stark difference to President Obama’s in the early days of his presidency.

Cameras captured Obama bowing to King Abdullah, contorting nearly to a 90-degree angle in what many called a moment of American weakness:

Trump’s behavior was refreshingly noticeable, as several Twitter users contrasted the two reactions.

View image on Twitter

LOOK CAREFULLY at these two photos. The one on the RIGHT is a lesson in American exceptionalism: @FLOTUS no hijab, @POTUS no kowtow. 🇺🇸❤️-VJ

“Look carefully at these two photos,” recording artist Vinnie James wrote. “The one on the RIGHT is a lesson in American exceptionalism: @FLOTUS no hijab, @POTUS no kowtow.”

http://www.theamericanmirror.com/great-unlike-obama-trump-doesnt-bow-saudi-king/

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David Stockman — Right On The Money, Economy, Trump and The Warfare and Welfare State — You Have Been Warned — Videos

Posted on April 30, 2017. Filed under: American History, Banking, Blogroll, Books, British History, Business, Communications, Congress, conservatives, Constitution, Corruption, Crisis, Cult, Culture, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, European History, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, government spending, history, History of Economic Thought, Illegal, Immigration, Inflation, Investments, Islam, Law, liberty, Life, Links, Macroeconomics, media, Microeconomics, Middle East, Monetary Policy, Money, Money, Non-Fiction, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Speech, Strategy, Talk Radio, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Video, Wahhabism, War, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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World’s Greatest Memory and Trump’s La la Land | David Stockman’s Warning

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Stockman: Market Will Not Be Pretty Under Trump

[Ed. Note: To see exactly what this former Reagan insider has to say about Trump and specifically what he believes must be done to drain the swamp, David Stockman is sending out a copy of his book Trumped! A Nation on the Brink of Ruin… And How to Bring It Back out to any American willing to listen. To learn how to get your free copy CLICK HERE.]

As bonds break a three day win streak and the U.S market hitting new record highs with a trifecta of records, CNBC was roaring about what to expect going forward. The Daily Reckoning contributor David Stockman joined Courtney Reagan to discuss what to expect going forward.

After the CNBC host positioned the critiques offered by David Stockman of the Trump administration she asked whether that would continue given the state of the market. Stockman did not mix words beginning the conversation with, “What’s going on today is complete insanity. The market is apparently pricing in a huge Trump stimulus package, when if you just look at the real world out there the only thing that is going to happen is a fiscal bloodbath and a White House train wreck like never before in U.S history.

How much more evidence do these so called traders need? Trump is lost in Twitter-land and he is out of control. He is turning out to be a complete jackass in the Oval Office. Co-President Bannon is off the deep end on terrorism, travel bans, Mexican walls, immigrant bashing and protectionism.”

David Stockman is a former Reagan Administration official who was the Office of Management and Budget Director. He also served as a two-term Congressman from the great state of Michigan. His latest book, Trumped! A Nation on the Brink of Ruin… And How to Bring It Back is out now. It offers his insight and exclusive analysis on exactly what the newly elected president must do in order to succeed in the White House. To get your own FREE copy, CLICK HERE to learn how.

“[They are] having nothing to do with the economic agenda and Trump has got an empty economic bench. He’s got no Secretary of the Treasury, no Office of Management and Budget, no Council of Economic Advisor Chairman. By this time, when I was there with the Reagan Administration, the plan was ready to go and he was going to Congress within a couple of days into February. We have a debt ceiling freight train coming down the road which will hit March 15 and then the cash will start running out and the system will be on edge. All of the continuing resolutions expire in April.”

“They are going to spend the year trying to repeal and replace Obamacare and it will be a fiasco. Nothing is going to happen this year. I don’t even think they can pass the budget resolution. There is going to be no tax action this year. If there is any bill next year it is going to be deficit neutral. Which means it is not going to add $15 to earnings like these crazy people expect.”

“Why would you be trading in this market, with this kind of chaos emerging everywhere at twenty six times trailing earnings? That’s where we are. It is completely crazy and it is only a question of how many more days or weeks that this kind of fantasy land can last.”

David Stockman Market In Text 2

Courtney Reagan then pressed back asking, “At what point do you give in and admit that [Trump] is atypical but maybe he could get things done? I mean, look at all of the CEO’s that Trump has met with.” The former Reagan insider remarked that, “CEO’s come and go with every president. They came in with Reagan, they tell a president what they want to hear. These guys are just selling the song and dance about how many jobs they’re going to create in the next five years. They have no clue.”

“If we have a recession in the next five years, which surely we will, because recessions have not been outlawed and we haven’t had one for ten years. None of this stuff is going to happen. This is meaningless. What is meaningful is that Trump is out of control. This tweeting and getting off track on all of this terrorism stuff. This is a sign that there is going to be no governing coalition and that all of this fiscal stimulus expected by Wall Street is a complete fantasy. It can’t happen.”

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When CNBC then turned over the camera to a day trader who asked about the positive sentiment that exists within the market regarding Trump and his plan to deregulate Stockman stayed true to message. “Trump is just putting out press releases and the guise of Executive Orders. All of this stuff is going to get litigated, it goes through a rulemaking process, that takes years. So the relief on regulation will be important, but it way down the road and it won’t be that impactful.”

“The second thing, is we’re at 92 months in this expansion already. It is running out of gas. You can’t expect it to run forever. That is seemingly what is priced in by the market.”

“The third thing is, we have a giant debt and deficit problem. The debt ceiling is coming back into play it will be 20 trillion when it freezes in on March 15th. I’ll tell you this, people aren’t paying attention to the fact that Trump will never get a debt ceiling increase through the Congress without a government shutdown. When that happens it is, “bar the doors” because nobody is expecting it. We need to look at the facts, not the hopes.”

As the CNBC affirmed, it is not clear that the market is just going to drop tomorrow and history will repeat itself, Stockman repositioned. “The market it clearly factoring in a big Trump stimulus and I think anybody down there would admit if it doesn’t happen, if we get zero tax cuts, if we get a fiscal bloodbath in the Washington I am describing – the market is not going to stay where it is today at these absurd multiples of earnings.”

“This is all based on the idea that there is going to be a surge of economic growth and that profits are going to come back from about $89 a share by basis, where they were during the last twelve months, to a potential $110 or $130. My argument is there is not going to be any economic rebound. There is not going to be any profit surge. Therefore the market will be repricing dramatically downward once it is clear.”

Another CNBC analysis asked why – with the positive trends in jobless claims, manufacturing increasing, interest rates at near record lows – would the market not close out the year near record levels? “The market is assuming that profits are going to rebound. That we are not going to have any market dislocation and that nobody is going to be pushing back on Trump. It is hard to understand how people watching the day-to-day action down there could believe that.”

“Everybody is pushing back on Trump, he can’t even get his cabinet approved. He’s going to be bogged down in a Supreme Court fight, he’s going to be bogged down in a fight over a ridiculous travel ban. The idea that there is not going to be pushback is naive. What there is going to be is a train wreck. It is already clear that the people in the White House have no idea what they’re doing and it is only a matter of time before this honeymoon goodwill evaporates and the politicians get down to doing what they do best. Which is to undermine and obstruct anything that might be positive.”

When finally asked whether there is anything positive that would make him turn bullish in the near future he responded affirmably, “No, because Trump is inheriting thirty years of a disaster created by his predecessors. We have to take this $20 trillion of debt seriously. There is $10 trillion more built in under current policy, and that is without a dime of Trump tax cuts, infrastructure or stimulus. There is going to be a tremendous fiscal crisis in the years ahead which will prevent any of the kind of action that the “stimulus junkies” are looking for.

To catch the full interview with David Stockman on CNBC click here. If you would like to claim your own free copy of David Stockman’s bestseller Trumped! Click here to learn how.

Thanks for reading,

Craig Wilson, @craig_wilson7
for the Daily Reckoning

https://dailyreckoning.com/stockman-market-under-trump/

David Stockman

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
David Stockman
David Stockman by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Director of the Office of Management and Budget
In office
January 21, 1981 – August 1, 1985
President Ronald Reagan
Preceded by Jim McIntyre
Succeeded by Jim Miller
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan‘s 4th district
In office
January 3, 1977 – January 21, 1981
Preceded by Edward Hutchinson
Succeeded by Mark Siljander
Personal details
Born David Alan Stockman
November 10, 1946 (age 70)
Fort Hood, Texas, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Jennifer Blei (1983–present)[1]
Education Michigan State University (BA)
Harvard University
Website Official website

David Alan Stockman (born November 10, 1946) is a former businessman and U.S. politician who served as a Republican U.S. Representative from the state of Michigan (1977–1981) and as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (1981–1985) under President Ronald Reagan.

Early life and education

Stockman was born in Fort Hood, Texas, the son of Allen Stockman, a fruit farmer, and Carol (née Bartz).[2] He is of German descent, and his family’s surname was originally “Stockmann”.[3] He was raised in a conservative family, and his maternal grandfather, William Bartz, was a Republican county treasurer for 30 years.[4][5] Stockman was educated at public schools in Stevensville, Michigan. He graduated from Lakeshore High School in 1964[6] and received a B.A. in History from Michigan State University in 1968. He was a graduate student at Harvard University, 1968–1970 studying theology

Political career

Stockman’s Congressional portrait

He served as special assistant to United States Representative and 1980 U.S. presidential candidate John Anderson of Illinois, 1970–1972, and was executive director, United States House of Representatives Republican Conference, 1972–1975.

Congress

Stockman was elected to the United States House of Representatives for the 95th Congress and was reelected in two subsequent elections, serving from January 3, 1977, until his resignation January 21, 1981, to accept appointment as Director of the Office of Management and Budget for U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

Office of Management and Budget

Stockman was one of the most controversial OMB directors ever appointed, also known as the “Father of Reaganomics.” He resigned in August 1985. Committed to the doctrine of supply-side economics, he assisted in the passing of the “Reagan Budget” (the Gramm-Latta Budget), which Stockman hoped would curtail the “welfare state“. He thus gained a reputation as a tough negotiator with House Speaker Tip O’Neill‘s Democratic-controlled House of Representatives and Majority Leader Howard Baker‘s Republican-controlled Senate. During this period, Stockman became well known to the public during the contentious political wrangling concerning the role of the federal government in American society.

Stockman’s influence within the Reagan Administration was weakened after the Atlantic Monthly magazine published the infamous 18,246 word article, “The Education of David Stockman”,[7] in its December 1981 issue, based on lengthy interviews Stockman gave to reporter William Greider.

Stockman was quoted as referring to Reagan’s tax act in these terms: “I mean, Kemp-Roth [Reagan’s 1981 tax cut] was always a Trojan horse to bring down the top rate…. It’s kind of hard to sell ‘trickle down.’ So the supply-side formula was the only way to get a tax policy that was really ‘trickle down.’ Supply-side is ‘trickle-down’ theory.”[7] Of the budget process during his first year on the job, Stockman was quoted as saying, “None of us really understands what’s going on with all these numbers,” which was used as the subtitle of the article.[7]

After “being taken to the woodshed by the president” because of his candor with Greider, Stockman became concerned with the projected trend of increasingly large federal deficits and the rapidly expanding national debt. On 1 August 1985, he resigned from OMB and later wrote a memoir of his experience in the Reagan Administration titled The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed in which he specifically criticized the failure of congressional Republicans to endorse a reduction of government spending to offset large tax decreases to avoid the creation of large deficits and an increasing national debt.

Fiscal legacy

President Jimmy Carter’s last fiscal year budget ended with a $79.0 billion budget deficit (and a national debt of $907,701,000,000 [8] as of September 30, 1980), ending during the period of David Stockman’s and Ronald Reagan’s first year in office, on October 1, 1981.[9] The gross federal national debt had just increased to $1.0 trillion during October 1981 ($998 billion on 30 September 1981, up from $907.7 billion during the last full fiscal year of the Carter administration[8]).

By 30 September 1985, four and a half years into the Reagan administration and shortly after Stockman’s resignation from the OMB during August 1985, the gross federal debt was $1.8 trillion.[8] Stockman’s OMB work within the administration during 1981 until August 1985 was dedicated to negotiating with the Senate and House about the next fiscal year’s budget, executed later during the autumn of 1985, which resulted in the national debt becoming $2.1 trillion at fiscal year end 30 September 1986.[8] Reaganomics had just begun.

In 1981, Stockman received the Samuel S. Beard Award for Greatest Public Service by an Individual 35 Years or Under, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.[10]

Business career

After leaving government, Stockman joined the Wall St. investment bank Salomon Brothers and later became a partner of the New York–based private equity company, the Blackstone Group.[11]:125–127 His record was mixed at Blackstone, with some very good investments, such as American Axle, but also failures, including Haynes International and Republic Technologies.[11]:144–147 During 1999, after Blackstone CEO Stephen A. Schwarzman curtailed Stockman’s role in managing the investments he had developed,[11]:146 Stockman resigned from Blackstone to start his own private equity fund company, Heartland Industrial Partners, L.P., based in Greenwich, Connecticut.[12]

On the strength of his investment record at Blackstone, Stockman and his partners raised $1.3 billion of equity from institutional and other investors. With Stockman’s guidance, Heartland used a contrarian investment strategy, buying controlling interests in companies operating in sectors of the U.S. economy that were attracting the least amount of new equity: auto parts and textiles. With the help of about $9 billion in Wall Street debt financing, Heartland completed more than 20 transactions in less than 2 years to create four portfolio companies: Springs Industries, Metaldyne, Collins & Aikman, and TriMas. Several major investments performed very poorly, however. Collins & Aikman filed for bankruptcy during 2005 and when Heartland sold Metaldyne to Asahi Tec Corp. during 2006, Heartland lost most of the $340 million of equity it had invested in the business.[13]

Collins & Aikman Corp.

During August 2003, Stockman became CEO of Collins & Aikman Corporation, a Detroit-based manufacturer of automotive interior components. He was ousted from that job days before Collins & Aikman filed for bankruptcy under Chapter 11 on May 17, 2005.

Criminal and civil charges

On March 26, 2007, federal prosecutors in Manhattan indicted Stockman in “a scheme… to defraud [Collins & Aikman]’s investors, banks and creditors by manipulating C&A’s reported revenues and earnings.” The United States Securities and Exchange Commission also brought civil charges against Stockman related to actions that he performed while CEO of Collins & Aikman.[14] Stockman suffered a personal financial loss, over $13 million, along with losses suffered by as many as 15,000 Collins & Aikman employees worldwide.

Stockman said in a statement posted on his law firm’s website that the company’s end was the consequence of an industry decline, not due to fraud.[15] On January 9, 2009, the US Attorney’s Office announced that it did not intend to prosecute Stockman for this case.[16]

Web site

In March 2014 Stockman launched a web based daily periodical, David Stockman’s Contra Corner featuring both his own articles and those from leading contrarian thinkers on geopolitics, economics, and finance.

Personal life

Stockman lives in the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City.[12] He is married to Jennifer Blei Stockman and is the father of two children, Rachel and Victoria. Jennifer Blei Stockman is a chairwoman emerita of the Republican Majority for Choice,[17] and President of the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation Board of Trustees.[18] In 2013, Stockman signed an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in favor of same-sex marriage.[19]

Quotes

  • “[Social Security] has to be means-tested. And Medicare needs to be means-tested […] Let the Bush tax cuts expire. Let the capital gains go back to the same rate as ordinary income.”[20]
  • “The Republican Party has totally abdicated its job in our democracy, which is to act as the guardian of fiscal discipline and responsibility. They’re on an anti-tax jihad — one that benefits the prosperous classes.”[21]
  • “I invest in anything that Bernanke can’t destroy, including gold, canned beans, bottled water and flashlight batteries.”[22]
  • “Ninety-two percent of the wealth is owned by five percent of the people.” (Bloomberg TV 2013)
  • “[T]he Republican Party was hijacked by modern imperialists during the Reagan era. As a consequence, the conservative party cannot perform its natural function as watchdog of the public purse because it is constantly seeking legislative action to provision a vast war machine of invasion and occupation.” [23]

Bibliography

  • The Reagan Economic Plan, 1981
  • The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed, Harper & Row, 1986, ISBN 9780060155605
  • The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America, PublicAffairs, 2013, ISBN 9781586489120
  • Trumped!: A Nation on the Brink of Ruin, and How to Bring it Back, 2016

References

  1. Jump up^ “LOSING THE BATTLES AND WINNING THE WAR”. Lexington Herald-Leader. April 7, 1985.
  2. Jump up^ Hunter, Marjorie (December 12, 1980). “Office of Management and Budget David Alan Stockman; Strong Support From Kemp Chosen by House Republicans Views on Economy”. The New York Times.
  3. Jump up^ “News65”. 19 June 1998.
  4. Jump up^ “The Tuscaloosa News – Google News Archive Search”.
  5. Jump up^ “The Montreal Gazette – Google News Archive Search”.
  6. Jump up^ Heibutzki, Ralph (2012-06-04). “Stockman Surprise Speaker at Lakeshore’s Graduation”. The Herald-Palladium. Retrieved 2012-06-04.
  7. ^ Jump up to:a b c William Greider (December 1981). “The Education of David Stockman”. The Atlantic Online.
  8. ^ Jump up to:a b c d Treasury Department’s Historical Debt Outstanding – Annual 1950 – 1999
  9. Jump up^ Office of Management and Budget Historical Tablessee Table 1.1 (Excel Spreadsheet)
  10. Jump up^ “Jefferson Awards”. Jefferson Awards.
  11. ^ Jump up to:a b c David Carey & John E. Morris (2001). King of Capital: The Remarkable Rise, Fall and Rise Again of Steve Schwarzman and Blackstone. Crown.
  12. ^ Jump up to:a b “Collins & Aikman seeks to emerge from bankruptcy,” Bloomberg News article by Jeff Bennett, published in the newspaper The Advocate of Stamford and (identical version, perhaps with changes by the local editor in the common business section for both newspapers) in the Greenwich Time on September 5, 2006, page A7, The Advocate
  13. Jump up^ David Carey and Lou Whiteman, “PE firms find buyer for Metaldyne,” The Deal, Sept. 1, 2006.
  14. Jump up^ Levin, Doris (29 March 2007). “Stockman Outsmarts Self in Detroit”. Bloomberg. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
  15. Jump up^ “Ex-Collins Chief David Stockman Charged With Fraud (Update10)”. Bloomberg. March 26, 2007. Retrieved 2010-08-02.
  16. Jump up^ “Fraud charges dropped against ex-Reagan aide David Stockman”. Chicago Tribune. 10 January 2009. Retrieved 19 September 2014.
  17. Jump up^ About Us Republican Majority for Choice
  18. Jump up^ Trustees, Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation
  19. Jump up^ [1]
  20. Jump up^ “Why David Stockman Isn’t buying it”. CBS News. March 2, 2012.
  21. Jump up^ Dickinson, Tim (Nov 9, 2011). “How the GOP Became the Party of the Rich”. Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2011-11-10.
  22. Jump up^ David Stockman: I Invest In Anything Bernanke Can’t Destroy, John Carney, CNBC, October 6, 2010
  23. Jump up^ Stockman, David (2013). The Great Deformation — the corruption of capitalism in America. PublicAffairs. p. 688. ISBN 978-1586489120.

External links

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Edward Hutchinson
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Michigan’s 4th congressional district

1977–1981
Succeeded by
Mark Siljander
Political offices
Preceded by
Jim McIntyre
Director of the Office of Management and Budget
1981–1985
Succeeded by
Jim Miller
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National Security Agency Is Spying On All American Who Use The Internet and Telephone System and They Collect and Store All Your Communications — Includes Trump and Associates — No Warrant Required If President Obama Designates You A Target — Congress Is Enabling The Turnkey Two Party Tyranny — Warrentless Searches — Congress Does Nothing To Stop It! — Videos

Posted on March 17, 2017. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, Books, British History, Business, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Communications, Computers, Computers, Congress, conservatives, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Crisis, Data, Data Storage, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Demographics, Documentary, European History, External Hard Drives, External Hard Drives, Faith, Family, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Communications Commission, Federal Government, Friends, government spending, Heroes, history, Illegal, Immigration, Internal Revenue Service (IRS), IRS, Islam, Islam, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Middle East, National Security Agency (NSA), National Security Agency (NSA_, Non-Fiction, People, Philosophy, Photos, Police, Politics, Press, Programming, Psychology, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulations, Religion, Security, Sociology, Space, Spying, Strategy, Supreme Court, Systems, Talk Radio, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Television, Terrorism, Video, Wahhabism, War, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Does the NSA Record Phone Calls? Glenn Greenwald on Warrentless Domestic Surveillance (2007)

Published on Jul 8, 2013

The NSA warrantless surveillance controversy (AKA “Warrantless Wiretapping”) concerns surveillance of persons within the United States during the collection of foreign intelligence by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) as part of the war on terror. Under this program, referred to by the Bush administration as the “terrorist surveillance program”, part of the broader President’s Surveillance Program, the NSA was authorized by executive order to monitor, without search warrants, the phone calls, Internet activity (Web, e-mail, etc.), text messaging, and other communication involving any party believed by the NSA to be outside the U.S., even if the other end of the communication lies within the U.S. Critics, however, claimed that it was in an effort to attempt to silence critics of the Bush Administration and their handling of several hot button issues during its tenure. Under public pressure, the Bush administration ceased the warrantless wiretapping program in January 2007 and returned review of surveillance to the FISA court. Subsequently, in 2008 Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which relaxed some of the original FISA court requirements.

During the Obama Administration, the NSA has officially continued operating under the new FISA guidelines. However, in April 2009 officials at the United States Department of Justice acknowledged that the NSA had engaged in “overcollection” of domestic communications in excess of the FISA court’s authority, but claimed that the acts were unintentional and had since been rectified.

All wiretapping of American citizens by the National Security Agency requires a warrant from a three-judge court set up under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. After the 9/11 attacks, Congress passed the Patriot Act, which granted the President broad powers to fight a war against terrorism. The George W. Bush administration used these powers to bypass the FISA court and directed the NSA to spy directly on al Qaeda in a new NSA electronic surveillance program. Reports at the time indicate that an “apparently accidental” “glitch” resulted in the interception of communications that were purely domestic in nature.[5] This action was challenged by a number of groups, including Congress, as unconstitutional.

The exact scope of the program is not known, but the NSA is or was provided total, unsupervised access to all fiber-optic communications going between some of the nation’s largest telecommunication companies’ major interconnected locations, including phone conversations, email, web browsing, and corporate private network traffic.[6] Critics said that such “domestic” intercepts required FISC authorization under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.[7] The Bush administration maintained that the authorized intercepts are not domestic but rather foreign intelligence integral to the conduct of war and that the warrant requirements of FISA were implicitly superseded by the subsequent passage of the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF).[8] FISA makes it illegal to intentionally engage in electronic surveillance under appearance of an official act or to disclose or use information obtained by electronic surveillance under appearance of an official act knowing that it was not authorized by statute; this is punishable with a fine of up to $10,000 or up to five years in prison, or both.[9] In addition, the Wiretap Act prohibits any person from illegally intercepting, disclosing, using or divulging phone calls or electronic communications; this is punishable with a fine or up to five years in prison, or both.[10]

After an article about the program, (which had been code-named Stellar Wind), was published in The New York Times on December 16, 2005, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales confirmed its existence.[11][12][13] The Times had posted the exclusive story on their website the night before, after learning that the Bush administration was considering seeking a Pentagon-Papers-style court injunction to block its publication.[14] Critics of The Times have alleged that executive editor Bill Keller had withheld the story from publication since before the 2004 Presidential election, and that the story that was ultimately published by The Times was essentially the same as reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau had submitted in 2004.[15] In a December 2008 interview with Newsweek, former Justice Department employee Thomas Tamm revealed himself to be the initial whistle-blower to The Times. The FBI began investigating leaks about the program in 2005, with 25 agents and 5 prosecutors on the case.

FBI’s Patriot Act Abuse of National Security Letters and illegal NSA spying

If you think you can handle the truth, well here it is folks

National Security Agency

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
“NSA” redirects here. For other uses, see NSA (disambiguation) and National Security Agency (disambiguation).
Not to be confused with NASA or National Security Council.
National Security Agency
Seal of the U.S. National Security Agency.svg

Seal of the National Security Agency
Flag of the U.S. National Security Agency.svg

Flag of the National Security Agency
National Security Agency headquarters, Fort Meade, Maryland.jpg
NSA Headquarters, Fort Meade, Maryland
Agency overview
Formed November 4, 1952; 64 years ago[1]
Preceding agency
  • Armed Forces Security Agency
Headquarters Fort Meade, Maryland, U.S.
39°6′32″N 76°46′17″WCoordinates: 39°6′32″N 76°46′17″W
Motto “Defending Our Nation. Securing The Future.”
Employees Classified (30,000–40,000 estimate)[2][3][4][5]
Annual budget Classified (estimated $10.8 billion, 2013)[6][7]
Agency executives
Parent agency United States Department of Defense
Website www.nsa.gov

The National Security Agency (NSA) is an intelligence organization of the United States federal government responsible for global monitoring, collection, and processing of information and data for foreign intelligence and counterintelligence purposes, a discipline known as signals intelligence (SIGINT). NSA is concurrently charged with protection of U.S. government communications and information systems against penetration and network warfare.[8][9] Although many of NSA’s programs rely on “passive” electronic collection, the agency is authorized to accomplish its mission through active clandestine means,[10] among which are physically bugging electronic systems[11] and allegedly engaging in sabotage through subversive software.[12][13] Moreover, NSA maintains physical presence in a large number of countries across the globe, where its Special Collection Service (SCS) inserts eavesdropping devices in difficult-to-reach places. SCS collection tactics allegedly encompass “close surveillance, burglary, wiretapping, breaking and entering”.[14][15]

Unlike the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), both of which specialize primarily in foreign human espionage, NSA does not unilaterally conduct human-source intelligence gathering, despite often being portrayed so in popular culture. Instead, NSA is entrusted with assistance to and coordination of SIGINT elements at other government organizations, which are prevented by law from engaging in such activities without the approval of the NSA via the Defense Secretary.[16] As part of these streamlining responsibilities, the agency has a co-located organization called the Central Security Service (CSS), which was created to facilitate cooperation between NSA and other U.S. military cryptanalysis components. Additionally, the NSA Director simultaneously serves as the Commander of the United States Cyber Command and as Chief of the Central Security Service.

Originating as a unit to decipher coded communications in World War II, it was officially formed as the NSA by President Harry S. Truman in 1952. Since then, it has become one of the largest U.S. intelligence organizations in terms of personnel and budget,[6][17] operating as part of the Department of Defense and simultaneously reporting to the Director of National Intelligence.

NSA surveillance has been a matter of political controversy on several occasions, such as its spying on anti-Vietnam-war leaders or economic espionage. In 2013, the extent of some of the NSA’s secret surveillance programs was revealed to the public by Edward Snowden. According to the leaked documents, the NSA intercepts the communications of over a billion people worldwide, many of whom are United States citizens, and tracks the movement of hundreds of millions of people using cellphones. Internationally, research has pointed to the NSA’s ability to surveil the domestic Internet traffic of foreign countries through “boomerang routing”.[18]

Contents

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History

Army predecessor

The origins of the National Security Agency can be traced back to April 28, 1917, three weeks after the U.S. Congress declared war on Germany in World War I. A code and cipher decryption unit was established as the Cable and Telegraph Section which was also known as the Cipher Bureau. It was headquartered in Washington, D.C. and was part of the war effort under the executive branch without direct Congressional authorization. During the course of the war it was relocated in the army’s organizational chart several times. On July 5, 1917, Herbert O. Yardley was assigned to head the unit. At that point, the unit consisted of Yardley and two civilian clerks. It absorbed the navy’s cryptoanalysis functions in July 1918. World War I ended on November 11, 1918, and MI-8 moved to New York City on May 20, 1919, where it continued intelligence activities as the Code Compilation Company under the direction of Yardley.[19][20]

Black Chamber

Western Union allowed MI-8 to monitor telegraphic communications passing through the company’s wires until 1929.[21]

MI-8 also operated the so-called “Black Chamber“.[22] The Black Chamber was located on East 37th Street in Manhattan. Its purpose was to crack the communications codes of foreign governments. Jointly supported by the State Department and the War Department, the chamber persuaded Western Union, the largest U.S. telegram company, to allow government officials to monitor private communications passing through the company’s wires.[23]

Other “Black Chambers” were also found in Europe. They were established by the French and British governments to read the letters of targeted individuals, employing a variety of techniques to surreptitiously open, copy, and reseal correspondence before forwarding it to unsuspecting recipients.[24]

Despite the American Black Chamber’s initial successes, it was shut down in 1929 by U.S. Secretary of State Henry L. Stimson, who defended his decision by stating: “Gentlemen do not read each other’s mail”.[21]

World War II and its aftermath

During World War II, the Signal Security Agency (SSA) was created to intercept and decipher the communications of the Axis powers.[25] When the war ended, the SSA was reorganized as the Army Security Agency (ASA), and it was placed under the leadership of the Director of Military Intelligence.[25]

On May 20, 1949, all cryptologic activities were centralized under a national organization called the Armed Forces Security Agency (AFSA).[25]This organization was originally established within the U.S. Department of Defense under the command of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.[26] The AFSA was tasked to direct Department of Defense communications and electronic intelligence activities, except those of U.S. military intelligence units.[26] However, the AFSA was unable to centralize communications intelligence and failed to coordinate with civilian agencies that shared its interests such as the Department of State, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).[26] In December 1951, President Harry S. Truman ordered a panel to investigate how AFSA had failed to achieve its goals. The results of the investigation led to improvements and its redesignation as the National Security Agency.[27]

The agency was formally established by Truman in a memorandum of October 24, 1952, that revised National Security Council Intelligence Directive (NSCID) 9.[28] Since President Truman’s memo was a classified document,[28] the existence of the NSA was not known to the public at that time. Due to its ultra-secrecy the U.S. intelligence community referred to the NSA as “No Such Agency”.[29]

Vietnam War

In the 1960s, the NSA played a key role in expanding America’s commitment to the Vietnam War by providing evidence of a North Vietnamese attack on the American destroyer USS Maddox during the Gulf of Tonkin incident.[30]

A secret operation, code-named “MINARET“, was set up by the NSA to monitor the phone communications of Senators Frank Church and Howard Baker, as well as major civil rights leaders, including Martin Luther King, Jr., and prominent U.S. journalists and athletes who criticized the Vietnam War.[31] However, the project turned out to be controversial, and an internal review by the NSA concluded that its Minaret program was “disreputable if not outright illegal”.[31]

The NSA mounted a major effort to secure tactical communications among U.S. forces during the war with mixed success. The NESTOR family of compatible secure voice systems it developed was widely deployed during the Vietnam War, with about 30,000 NESTOR sets produced. However a variety of technical and operational problems limited their use, allowing the North Vietnamese to exploit intercepted U.S. communications.[32]:Vol I, p.79

Church Committee hearings

Further information: Watergate scandal and Church Committee

In the aftermath of the Watergate scandal, a congressional hearing in 1975 led by Sen. Frank Church[33] revealed that the NSA, in collaboration with Britain’s SIGINT intelligence agency Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), had routinely intercepted the international communications of prominent anti-Vietnam war leaders such as Jane Fonda and Dr. Benjamin Spock.[34] Following the resignation of President Richard Nixon, there were several investigations of suspected misuse of FBI, CIA and NSA facilities.[35] Senator Frank Church uncovered previously unknown activity,[35]such as a CIA plot (ordered by the administration of President John F. Kennedy) to assassinate Fidel Castro.[36] The investigation also uncovered NSA’s wiretaps on targeted American citizens.[37]

After the Church Committee hearings, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 was passed into law. This was designed to limit the practice of mass surveillance in the United States.[35]

From 1980s to 1990s

In 1986, the NSA intercepted the communications of the Libyan government during the immediate aftermath of the Berlin discotheque bombing. The White House asserted that the NSA interception had provided “irrefutable” evidence that Libya was behind the bombing, which U.S. President Ronald Reagan cited as a justification for the 1986 United States bombing of Libya.[38][39]

In 1999, a multi-year investigation by the European Parliament highlighted the NSA’s role in economic espionage in a report entitled ‘Development of Surveillance Technology and Risk of Abuse of Economic Information’.[40] That year, the NSA founded the NSA Hall of Honor, a memorial at the National Cryptologic Museum in Fort Meade, Maryland.[41] The memorial is a, “tribute to the pioneers and heroes who have made significant and long-lasting contributions to American cryptology”.[41] NSA employees must be retired for more than fifteen years to qualify for the memorial.[41]

NSA’s infrastructure deteriorated in the 1990s as defense budget cuts resulted in maintenance deferrals. On January 24, 2000, NSA headquarters suffered a total network outage for three days caused by an overloaded network. Incoming traffic was successfully stored on agency servers, but it could not be directed and processed. The agency carried out emergency repairs at a cost of $3 million to get the system running again. (Some incoming traffic was also directed instead to Britain’s GCHQ for the time being.) Director Michael Hayden called the outage a “wake-up call” for the need to invest in the agency’s infrastructure.[42]

War on Terror

After Osama bin Laden moved to Afghanistan in the 1980s, the NSA recorded all of his phone calls via satellite, logging over 2,000 minutes of conversation[43]

In the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the NSA created new IT systems to deal with the flood of information from new technologies like the Internet and cellphones. ThinThread contained advanced data mining capabilities. It also had a “privacy mechanism”; surveillance was stored encrypted; decryption required a warrant. The research done under this program may have contributed to the technology used in later systems. ThinThread was cancelled when Michael Hayden chose Trailblazer, which did not include ThinThread’s privacy system.[44]

Trailblazer Project ramped up in 2002. SAIC, Boeing, CSC, IBM, and Litton worked on it. Some NSA whistleblowers complained internally about major problems surrounding Trailblazer. This led to investigations by Congress and the NSA and DoD Inspectors General. The project was cancelled in early 2004. Several whistleblowers were later arrested and charged with violating federal espionage laws.

Turbulence started in 2005. It was developed in small, inexpensive “test” pieces, rather than one grand plan like Trailblazer. It also included offensive cyber-warfare capabilities, like injecting malware into remote computers. Congress criticized Turbulence in 2007 for having similar bureaucratic problems as Trailblazer.[45] It was to be a realization of information processing at higher speeds in cyberspace.[46]

Global surveillance disclosures

The massive extent of the NSA’s spying, both foreign and domestic, was revealed to the public in a series of detailed disclosures of internal NSA documents beginning in June 2013. Most of the disclosures were leaked by former NSA contractor, Edward Snowden.

Scope of surveillance

It was revealed that the NSA intercepts telephone and Internet communications of over a billion people worldwide, seeking information on terrorism as well as foreign politics, economics[47] and “commercial secrets”.[48] In a declassified document it was revealed that 17,835 phone lines were on an improperly permitted “alert list” from 2006 to 2009 in breach of compliance, which tagged these phone lines for daily monitoring.[49][50][51] Eleven percent of these monitored phone lines met the agency’s legal standard for “reasonably articulable suspicion” (RAS).[49][52]

A dedicated unit of the NSA locates targets for the CIA for extrajudicial assassination in the Middle East.[53] The NSA has also spied extensively on the European Union, the United Nations and numerous governments including allies and trading partners in Europe, South America and Asia.[54][55]

The NSA tracks the locations of hundreds of millions of cellphones per day, allowing it to map people’s movements and relationships in detail.[56]It reportedly has access to all communications made via Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Yahoo, YouTube, AOL, Skype, Apple and Paltalk,[57] and collects hundreds of millions of contact lists from personal email and instant messaging accounts each year.[58] It has also managed to weaken much of the encryption used on the Internet (by collaborating with, coercing or otherwise infiltrating numerous technology companies), so that the majority of Internet privacy is now vulnerable to the NSA and other attackers.[59][60]

Domestically, the NSA collects and stores metadata records of phone calls,[61] including over 120 million US Verizon subscribers,[62] as well as Internet communications,[57] relying on a secret interpretation of the Patriot Act whereby the entirety of US communications may be considered “relevant” to a terrorism investigation if it is expected that even a tiny minority may relate to terrorism.[63] The NSA supplies foreign intercepts to the DEA, IRS and other law enforcement agencies, who use these to initiate criminal investigations. Federal agents are then instructed to “recreate” the investigative trail via parallel construction.[64]

The NSA also spies on influential Muslims to obtain information that could be used to discredit them, such as their use of pornography. The targets, both domestic and abroad, are not suspected of any crime but hold religious or political views deemed “radical” by the NSA.[65]

Although NSA’s surveillance activities are controversial, government agencies and private enterprises have common needs, and sometimes cooperate at subtle and complex technical levels. Big data is becoming more advantageous, justifying the cost of required computer hardware, and social media lead the trend. The interests of NSA and Silicon Valley began to converge as advances in computer storage technology drastically reduced the costs of storing enormous amounts of data and at the same time the value of the data for use in consumer marketing began to rise. On the other hand, social media sites are growing as voluntary data mining operations on a scale that rivals or exceeds anything the government could attempt on its own.[66]

According to a report in The Washington Post in July 2014, relying on information provided by Snowden, 90% of those placed under surveillance in the U.S. are ordinary Americans, and are not the intended targets. The newspaper said it had examined documents including emails, text messages, and online accounts that support the claim.[67]

Legal accountability

Despite President Obama’s claims that these programs have congressional oversight, members of Congress were unaware of the existence of these NSA programs or the secret interpretation of the Patriot Act, and have consistently been denied access to basic information about them.[68] Obama has also claimed that there are legal checks in place to prevent inappropriate access of data and that there have been no examples of abuse;[69] however, the secret FISC court charged with regulating the NSA’s activities is, according to its chief judge, incapable of investigating or verifying how often the NSA breaks even its own secret rules.[70] It has since been reported that the NSA violated its own rules on data access thousands of times a year, many of these violations involving large-scale data interceptions;[71] and that NSA officers have even used data intercepts to spy on love interests.[72] The NSA has “generally disregarded the special rules for disseminating United States person information” by illegally sharing its intercepts with other law enforcement agencies.[73] A March 2009 opinion of the FISC court, released by court order, states that protocols restricting data queries had been “so frequently and systemically violated that it can be fairly said that this critical element of the overall … regime has never functioned effectively.”[74][75] In 2011 the same court noted that the “volume and nature” of the NSA’s bulk foreign Internet intercepts was “fundamentally different from what the court had been led to believe”.[73] Email contact lists (including those of US citizens) are collected at numerous foreign locations to work around the illegality of doing so on US soil.[58]

Legal opinions on the NSA’s bulk collection program have differed. In mid-December 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon ruled that the “almost-Orwellian” program likely violates the Constitution, and wrote, “I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval. Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the Founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment. Indeed, I have little doubt that the author of our Constitution, James Madison, who cautioned us to beware ‘the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power,’ would be aghast.”[76]

Later that month, U.S. District Judge William Pauley ruled that the NSA’s collection of telephone records is legal and valuable in the fight against terrorism. In his opinion, he wrote, “a bulk telephony metadata collection program [is] a wide net that could find and isolate gossamer contacts among suspected terrorists in an ocean of seemingly disconnected data” and noted that a similar collection of data prior to 9/11 might have prevented the attack.[77]

An October 2014 United Nations report condemned mass surveillance by the United States and other countries as violating multiple international treaties and conventions that guarantee core privacy rights.[78]

Official responses

On March 20, 2013 the Director of National Intelligence, Lieutenant General James Clapper, testified before Congress that the NSA does not wittingly collect any kind of data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans, but he retracted this in June after details of the PRISM program were published, and stated instead that meta-data of phone and Internet traffic are collected, but no actual message contents.[79] This was corroborated by the NSA Director, General Keith Alexander, before it was revealed that the XKeyscore program collects the contents of millions of emails from US citizens without warrant, as well as “nearly everything a user does on the Internet”. Alexander later admitted that “content” is collected, but stated that it is simply stored and never analyzed or searched unless there is “a nexus to al-Qaida or other terrorist groups”.[69]

Regarding the necessity of these NSA programs, Alexander stated on June 27 that the NSA’s bulk phone and Internet intercepts had been instrumental in preventing 54 terrorist “events”, including 13 in the US, and in all but one of these cases had provided the initial tip to “unravel the threat stream”.[80] On July 31 NSA Deputy Director John Inglis conceded to the Senate that these intercepts had not been vital in stopping any terrorist attacks, but were “close” to vital in identifying and convicting four San Diego men for sending US$8,930 to Al-Shabaab, a militia that conducts terrorism in Somalia.[81][82][83]

The U.S. government has aggressively sought to dismiss and challenge Fourth Amendment cases raised against it, and has granted retroactive immunity to ISPs and telecoms participating in domestic surveillance.[84][85] The U.S. military has acknowledged blocking access to parts of The Guardian website for thousands of defense personnel across the country,[86][87] and blocking the entire Guardian website for personnel stationed throughout Afghanistan, the Middle East, and South Asia.[88]

Organizational structure

Michael S. Rogers, the director of the NSA.

The NSA is led by the Director of the National Security Agency (DIRNSA), who also serves as Chief of the Central Security Service (CHCSS) and Commander of the United States Cyber Command (USCYBERCOM) and is the highest-ranking military official of these organizations. He is assisted by a Deputy Director, who is the highest-ranking civilian within the NSA/CSS.

NSA also has an Inspector General, head of the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), a General Counsel, head of the Office of the General Counsel (OGC) and a Director of Compliance, who is head of the Office of the Director of Compliance (ODOC).[89]

Unlike other intelligence organizations such as CIA or DIA, NSA has always been particularly reticent concerning its internal organizational structure.

As of the mid-1990s, the National Security Agency was organized into five Directorates:

  • The Operations Directorate, which was responsible for SIGINT collection and processing.
  • The Technology and Systems Directorate, which develops new technologies for SIGINT collection and processing.
  • The Information Systems Security Directorate, which was responsible for NSA’s communications and information security missions.
  • The Plans, Policy and Programs Directorate, which provided staff support and general direction for the Agency.
  • The Support Services Directorate, which provided logistical and administrative support activities.[90]

Each of these directorates consisted of several groups or elements, designated by a letter. There were for example the A Group, which was responsible for all SIGINT operations against the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and G Group, which was responsible for SIGINT related to all non-communist countries. These groups were divided in units designated by an additional number, like unit A5 for breaking Soviet codes, and G6, being the office for the Middle East, North Africa, Cuba, Central and South America.[91][92]

Structure

As of 2013, NSA has about a dozen directorates, which are designated by a letter, although not all of them are publicly known. The directorates are divided in divisions and units starting with the letter of the parent directorate, followed by a number for the division, the sub-unit or a sub-sub-unit.

The main elements of the organizational structure of the NSA are:[93]

  • F – Directorate only known from unit F6, the Special Collection Service (SCS), which is a joint program created by CIA and NSA in 1978 to facilitate clandestine activities such as bugging computers throughout the world, using the expertise of both agencies.[94]
  • G – Directorate only known from unit G112, the office that manages the Senior Span platform, attached to the U2 spy planes.[95]
  • I – Information Assurance Directorate (IAD), which ensures availability, integrity, authentication, confidentiality, and non-repudiation of national security and telecommunications and information systems (national security systems).
  • J – Directorate only known from unit J2, the Cryptologic Intelligence Unit
  • L – Installation and Logistics
  • M – Human Resources
  • Q – Security and Counterintelligence
  • R – Research Directorate, which conducts research on signals intelligence and on information assurance for the U.S. Government.[96]
  • S – Signals Intelligence Directorate (SID), which is responsible for the collection, analysis, production and dissemination of signals intelligence. This directorate is led by a director and a deputy director. The SID consists of the following divisions:
    • S1 – Customer Relations
    • S2 – Analysis and Production Centers, with the following so-called Product Lines:
      • S2A: South Asia, S2B: China and Korea, S2C: International Security, S2E: Middle East/Asia, S2F: International Crime, S2G: Counter-proliferation, S2H: Russia, S2I: Counter-terrorism, S2J: Weapons and Space, S2T: Current Threats
    • S3 – Data Acquisition, with these divisions for the main collection programs:
      • S31 – Cryptanalysis and Exploitation Services (CES)
      • S32 – Tailored Access Operations (TAO), which hacks into foreign computers to conduct cyber-espionage and reportedly is “the largest and arguably the most important component of the NSA’s huge Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) Directorate, consisting of over 1,000 military and civilian computer hackers, intelligence analysts, targeting specialists, computer hardware and software designers, and electrical engineers.”[97]
      • S33 – Global Access Operations (GAO), which is responsible for intercepts from satellites and other international SIGINT platforms.[98] A tool which details and maps the information collected by this unit is code-named Boundless Informant.
      • S34 – Collections Strategies and Requirements Center
      • S35 – Special Source Operations (SSO), which is responsible for domestic and compartmented collection programs, like for example the PRISM program.[98] Special Source Operations is also mentioned in connection to the FAIRVIEW collection program.[99]
  • T – Technical Directorate (TD)
  • Directorate for Education and Training
  • Directorate for Corporate Leadership
  • Foreign Affairs Directorate, which acts as liaison with foreign intelligence services, counter-intelligence centers and the UKUSA-partners.
  • Acquisitions and Procurement Directorate
  • Information Sharing Services (ISS), led by a chief and a deputy chief.[100]

In the year 2000, a leadership team was formed, consisting of the Director, the Deputy Director and the Directors of the Signals Intelligence (SID), the Information Assurance (IAD) and the Technical Directorate (TD). The chiefs of other main NSA divisions became associate directors of the senior leadership team.[101]

After president George W. Bush initiated the President’s Surveillance Program (PSP) in 2001, the NSA created a 24-hour Metadata Analysis Center (MAC), followed in 2004 by the Advanced Analysis Division (AAD), with the mission of analyzing content, Internet metadata and telephone metadata. Both units were part of the Signals Intelligence Directorate.[102]

A 2016 proposal would combine the Signals Intelligence Directorate with the Information Assurance Directorate into a Directorate of Operations.[103]

Watch centers

The NSA maintains at least two watch centers:

  • National Security Operations Center (NSOC), which is the NSA’s current operations center and focal point for time-sensitive SIGINT reporting for the United States SIGINT System (USSS). This center was established in 1968 as the National SIGINT Watch Center (NSWC) and renamed into National SIGINT Operations Center (NSOC) in 1973. This “nerve center of the NSA” got its current name in 1996.[104]
  • NSA/CSS Threat Operations Center (NTOC), which is the primary NSA/CSS partner for Department of Homeland Security response to cyber incidents. The NTOC establishes real-time network awareness and threat characterization capabilities to forecast, alert, and attribute malicious activity and enable the coordination of Computer Network Operations. The NTOC was established in 2004 as a joint Information Assurance and Signals Intelligence project.[105]

Employees

The number of NSA employees is officially classified[4] but there are several sources providing estimates. In 1961, NSA had 59,000 military and civilian employees, which grew to 93,067 in 1969, of which 19,300 worked at the headquarters at Fort Meade. In the early 1980s NSA had roughly 50,000 military and civilian personnel. By 1989 this number had grown again to 75,000, of which 25,000 worked at the NSA headquarters. Between 1990 and 1995 the NSA’s budget and workforce were cut by one third, which led to a substantial loss of experience.[106]

In 2012, the NSA said more than 30,000 employees worked at Fort Meade and other facilities.[2] In 2012, John C. Inglis, the deputy director, said that the total number of NSA employees is “somewhere between 37,000 and one billion” as a joke,[4] and stated that the agency is “probably the biggest employer of introverts.”[4] In 2013 Der Spiegel stated that the NSA had 40,000 employees.[5] More widely, it has been described as the world’s largest single employer of mathematicians.[107] Some NSA employees form part of the workforce of the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), the agency that provides the NSA with satellite signals intelligence.

As of 2013 about 1,000 system administrators work for the NSA.[108]

Security issues

The NSA received criticism early on in 1960 after two agents had defected to the Soviet Union. Investigations by the House Un-American Activities Committee and a special subcommittee of the United States House Committee on Armed Services revealed severe cases of ignorance in personnel security regulations, prompting the former personnel director and the director of security to step down and leading to the adoption of stricter security practices.[109] Nonetheless, security breaches reoccurred only a year later when in an issue of Izvestia of July 23, 1963, a former NSA employee published several cryptologic secrets.

The very same day, an NSA clerk-messenger committed suicide as ongoing investigations disclosed that he had sold secret information to the Soviets on a regular basis. The reluctance of Congressional houses to look into these affairs had prompted a journalist to write, “If a similar series of tragic blunders occurred in any ordinary agency of Government an aroused public would insist that those responsible be officially censured, demoted, or fired.” David Kahn criticized the NSA’s tactics of concealing its doings as smug and the Congress’ blind faith in the agency’s right-doing as shortsighted, and pointed out the necessity of surveillance by the Congress to prevent abuse of power.[109]

Edward Snowden‘s leaking of the existence of PRISM in 2013 caused the NSA to institute a “two-man rule“, where two system administrators are required to be present when one accesses certain sensitive information.[108] Snowden claims he suggested such a rule in 2009.[110]

Polygraphin

Defense Security Service (DSS) polygraph brochure given to NSA applicants

The NSA conducts polygraph tests of employees. For new employees, the tests are meant to discover enemy spies who are applying to the NSA and to uncover any information that could make an applicant pliant to coercion.[111] As part of the latter, historically EPQs or “embarrassing personal questions” about sexual behavior had been included in the NSA polygraph.[111] The NSA also conducts five-year periodic reinvestigation polygraphs of employees, focusing on counterintelligence programs. In addition the NSA conducts periodic polygraph investigations in order to find spies and leakers; those who refuse to take them may receive “termination of employment”, according to a 1982 memorandum from the director of the NSA.[112]

File:NSApolygraphvideo.webm

NSA-produced video on the polygraph process

There are also “special access examination” polygraphs for employees who wish to work in highly sensitive areas, and those polygraphs cover counterintelligence questions and some questions about behavior.[112] NSA’s brochure states that the average test length is between two and four hours.[113] A 1983 report of the Office of Technology Assessment stated that “It appears that the NSA [National Security Agency] (and possibly CIA) use the polygraph not to determine deception or truthfulness per se, but as a technique of interrogation to encourage admissions.”[114]Sometimes applicants in the polygraph process confess to committing felonies such as murder, rape, and selling of illegal drugs. Between 1974 and 1979, of the 20,511 job applicants who took polygraph tests, 695 (3.4%) confessed to previous felony crimes; almost all of those crimes had been undetected.[111]

In 2010 the NSA produced a video explaining its polygraph process.[115] The video, ten minutes long, is titled “The Truth About the Polygraph” and was posted to the Web site of the Defense Security Service. Jeff Stein of The Washington Post said that the video portrays “various applicants, or actors playing them — it’s not clear — describing everything bad they had heard about the test, the implication being that none of it is true.”[116] AntiPolygraph.org argues that the NSA-produced video omits some information about the polygraph process; it produced a video responding to the NSA video.[115] George Maschke, the founder of the Web site, accused the NSA polygraph video of being “Orwellian“.[116]

After Edward Snowden revealed his identity in 2013, the NSA began requiring polygraphing of employees once per quarter.[117]

Arbitrary firing

The number of exemptions from legal requirements has been criticized. When in 1964 the Congress was hearing a bill giving the director of the NSA the power to fire at will any employee,The Washington Post wrote: “This is the very definition of arbitrariness. It means that an employee could be discharged and disgraced on the basis of anonymous allegations without the slightest opportunity to defend himself.” Yet, the bill was accepted by an overwhelming majority.[109]

Insignia and memorials

Seal of the U.S. National Security Agency.svg

The heraldic insignia of NSA consists of an eagle inside a circle, grasping a key in its talons.[118] The eagle represents the agency’s national mission.[118] Its breast features a shield with bands of red and white, taken from the Great Seal of the United States and representing Congress.[118] The key is taken from the emblem of Saint Peter and represents security.[118]

When the NSA was created, the agency had no emblem and used that of the Department of Defense.[119] The agency adopted its first of two emblems in 1963.[119] The current NSA insignia has been in use since 1965, when then-Director, LTG Marshall S. Carter (USA) ordered the creation of a device to represent the agency.[120]

The NSA’s flag consists of the agency’s seal on a light blue background.

National Cryptologic Memorial

Crews associated with NSA missions have been involved in a number of dangerous and deadly situations.[121] The USS Liberty incident in 1967 and USS Pueblo incident in 1968 are examples of the losses endured during the Cold War.[121]

The National Security Agency/Central Security Service Cryptologic Memorial honors and remembers the fallen personnel, both military and civilian, of these intelligence missions.[122] It is made of black granite, and has 171 names carved into it, as of 2013 .[122] It is located at NSA headquarters. A tradition of declassifying the stories of the fallen was begun in 2001.[122]

NSANet (NSA’s intranet)

Behind the Green Door – Secure communications room with separate computer terminals for access to SIPRNET, GWAN, NSANET, and JWICS

NSANet stands for National Security Agency Network and is the official NSA intranet.[123] It is a classified network,[124] for information up to the level of TS/SCI[125] to support the use and sharing of intelligence data between NSA and the signals intelligence agencies of the four other nations of the Five Eyes partnership. The management of NSANet has been delegated to the Central Security Service Texas (CSSTEXAS).[126]

NSANet is a highly secured computer network consisting of fiber-optic and satellite communication channels which are almost completely separated from the public Internet. The network allows NSA personnel and civilian and military intelligence analysts anywhere in the world to have access to the agency’s systems and databases. This access is tightly controlled and monitored. For example, every keystroke is logged, activities are audited at random and downloading and printing of documents from NSANet are recorded.[127]

In 1998, NSANet, along with NIPRNET and SIPRNET, had “significant problems with poor search capabilities, unorganized data and old information”.[128] In 2004, the network was reported to have used over twenty commercial off-the-shelf operating systems.[129] Some universities that do highly sensitive research are allowed to connect to it.[130]

The thousands of Top Secret internal NSA documents that were taken by Edward Snowden in 2013 were stored in “a file-sharing location on the NSA’s intranet site” so they could easily be read online by NSA personnel. Everyone with a TS/SCI-clearance had access to these documents and as a system administrator, Snowden was responsible for moving accidentally misplaced highly sensitive documents to more secure storage locations.[131]

National Computer Security Center

The DoD Computer Security Center was founded in 1981 and renamed the National Computer Security Center (NCSC) in 1985. NCSC was responsible for computer security throughout the federal government.[132] NCSC was part of NSA,[133] and during the late 1980s and the 1990s, NSA and NCSC published Trusted Computer System Evaluation Criteria in a six-foot high Rainbow Series of books that detailed trusted computing and network platform specifications.[134] The Rainbow books were replaced by the Common Criteria, however, in the early 2000s.[134]

Facilities

Headquarters

National Security Agency headquarters in Fort Meade, 2013

Headquarters for the National Security Agency is located at 39°6′32″N 76°46′17″W in Fort George G. Meade, Maryland, although it is separate from other compounds and agencies that are based within this same military installation. Ft. Meade is about 20 mi (32 km) southwest of Baltimore,[135] and 25 mi (40 km) northeast of Washington, DC.[136] The NSA has its own exit off Maryland Route 295 South labeled “NSA Employees Only”.[137][138] The exit may only be used by people with the proper clearances, and security vehicles parked along the road guard the entrance.[139]

NSA is the largest employer in the U.S. state of Maryland, and two-thirds of its personnel work at Ft. Meade.[140] Built on 350 acres (140 ha; 0.55 sq mi)[141] of Ft. Meade’s 5,000 acres (2,000 ha; 7.8 sq mi),[142] the site has 1,300 buildings and an estimated 18,000 parking spaces.[136][143]

NSA headquarters building in Fort Meade (left), NSOC (right)

The main NSA headquarters and operations building is what James Bamford, author of Body of Secrets, describes as “a modern boxy structure” that appears similar to “any stylish office building.”[144] The building is covered with one-way dark glass, which is lined with copper shielding in order to prevent espionage by trapping in signals and sounds.[144] It contains 3,000,000 square feet (280,000 m2), or more than 68 acres (28 ha), of floor space; Bamford said that the U.S. Capitol “could easily fit inside it four times over.”[144]

The facility has over 100 watchposts,[145] one of them being the visitor control center, a two-story area that serves as the entrance.[144] At the entrance, a white pentagonal structure,[146] visitor badges are issued to visitors and security clearances of employees are checked.[147] The visitor center includes a painting of the NSA seal.[146]

The OPS2A building, the tallest building in the NSA complex and the location of much of the agency’s operations directorate, is accessible from the visitor center. Bamford described it as a “dark glass Rubik’s Cube“.[148] The facility’s “red corridor” houses non-security operations such as concessions and the drug store. The name refers to the “red badge” which is worn by someone without a security clearance. The NSA headquarters includes a cafeteria, a credit union, ticket counters for airlines and entertainment, a barbershop, and a bank.[146] NSA headquarters has its own post office, fire department, and police force.[149][150][151]

The employees at the NSA headquarters reside in various places in the Baltimore-Washington area, including Annapolis, Baltimore, and Columbia in Maryland and the District of Columbia, including the Georgetown community.[152]

Power consumption

Due to massive amounts of data processing, NSA is the largest electricity consumer in Maryland.[140]

Following a major power outage in 2000, in 2003 and in follow-ups through 2007, The Baltimore Sun reported that the NSA was at risk of electrical overload because of insufficient internal electrical infrastructure at Fort Meade to support the amount of equipment being installed. This problem was apparently recognized in the 1990s but not made a priority, and “now the agency’s ability to keep its operations going is threatened.”[153]

Baltimore Gas & Electric (BGE, now Constellation Energy) provided NSA with 65 to 75 megawatts at Ft. Meade in 2007, and expected that an increase of 10 to 15 megawatts would be needed later that year.[154] In 2011, NSA at Ft. Meade was Maryland’s largest consumer of power.[140] In 2007, as BGE’s largest customer, NSA bought as much electricity as Annapolis, the capital city of Maryland.[153]

One estimate put the potential for power consumption by the new Utah Data Center at US$40 million per year.[155]

History of headquarters

Headquarters at Fort Meade circa 1950s

When the agency was established, its headquarters and cryptographic center were in the Naval Security Station in Washington, D.C. The COMINT functions were located in Arlington Hall in Northern Virginia, which served as the headquarters of the U.S. Army‘s cryptographic operations.[156]Because the Soviet Union had detonated a nuclear bomb and because the facilities were crowded, the federal government wanted to move several agencies, including the AFSA/NSA. A planning committee considered Fort Knox, but Fort Meade, Maryland, was ultimately chosen as NSA headquarters because it was far enough away from Washington, D.C. in case of a nuclear strike and was close enough so its employees would not have to move their families.[157]

Construction of additional buildings began after the agency occupied buildings at Ft. Meade in the late 1950s, which they soon outgrew.[157] In 1963 the new headquarters building, nine stories tall, opened. NSA workers referred to the building as the “Headquarters Building” and since the NSA management occupied the top floor, workers used “Ninth Floor” to refer to their leaders.[158] COMSEC remained in Washington, D.C., until its new building was completed in 1968.[157] In September 1986, the Operations 2A and 2B buildings, both copper-shielded to prevent eavesdropping, opened with a dedication by President Ronald Reagan.[159] The four NSA buildings became known as the “Big Four.”[159] The NSA director moved to 2B when it opened.[159]

Fort Meade shooting[edit]

On March 30, 2015, shortly before 9 am, a stolen sports utility vehicle approached an NSA police vehicle blocking the road near the gate of Fort Meade, after it was told to leave the area. NSA officers fired on the SUV, killing the 27-year-old driver, Ricky Hall (a transgender person also known as Mya), and seriously injuring his 20-year-old male passenger. An NSA officer’s arm was injured when Hall subsequently crashed into his vehicle.[160][161]

The two, dressed in women’s clothing after a night of partying at a motel with the man they’d stolen the SUV from that morning, “attempted to drive a vehicle into the National Security Agency portion of the installation without authorization”, according to an NSA statement.[162] FBI spokeswoman Amy Thoreson said the incident is not believed to be related to terrorism.[163]In June 2015 the FBI closed its investigation into the incident and federal prosecutors have declined to bring charges against anyone involved.[164]

An anonymous police official told The Washington Post, “This was not a deliberate attempt to breach the security of NSA. This was not a planned attack.” The two are believed to have made a wrong turn off the highway, while fleeing from the motel after stealing the vehicle. A small amount of cocaine was found in the SUV. A local CBS reporter initially said a gun was found,[165]but her later revision does not.[166] Dozens of journalists were corralled into a parking lot blocks away from the scene, and were barred from photographing the area.[167]

Computing[edit]

In 1995, The Baltimore Sun reported that the NSA is the owner of the single largest group of supercomputers.[168]

NSA held a groundbreaking ceremony at Ft. Meade in May 2013 for its High Performance Computing Center 2, expected to open in 2016.[169] Called Site M, the center has a 150 megawatt power substation, 14 administrative buildings and 10 parking garages.[149] It cost $3.2 billion and covers 227 acres (92 ha; 0.355 sq mi).[149] The center is 1,800,000 square feet (17 ha; 0.065 sq mi)[149] and initially uses 60 megawatts of electricity.[170]

Increments II and III are expected to be completed by 2030, and would quadruple the space, covering 5,800,000 square feet (54 ha; 0.21 sq mi) with 60 buildings and 40 parking garages.[149] Defense contractors are also establishing or expanding cybersecurity facilities near the NSA and around the Washington metropolitan area.[149]

Other U.S. facilities

Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado

Utah Data Center

As of 2012, NSA collected intelligence from four geostationary satellites.[155] Satellite receivers were at Roaring Creek Station in Catawissa, Pennsylvania and Salt Creek Station in Arbuckle, California.[155] It operated ten to twenty taps on U.S. telecom switches. NSA had installations in several U.S. states and from them observed intercepts from Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, Latin America, and Asia.[155]

NSA had facilities at Friendship Annex (FANX) in Linthicum, Maryland, which is a 20 to 25-minute drive from Ft. Meade;[171] the Aerospace Data Facility at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora outside Denver, Colorado; NSA Texas in the Texas Cryptology Center at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas; NSA Georgia at Fort Gordon in Augusta, Georgia; NSA Hawaii in Honolulu; the Multiprogram Research Facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and elsewhere.[152][155]

On January 6, 2011 a groundbreaking ceremony was held to begin construction on NSA’s first Comprehensive National Cyber-security Initiative (CNCI) Data Center, known as the “Utah Data Center” for short. The $1.5B data center is being built at Camp Williams, Utah, located 25 miles (40 km) south of Salt Lake City, and will help support the agency’s National Cyber-security Initiative.[172] It is expected to be operational by September 2013.[155]

In 2009, to protect its assets and to access more electricity, NSA sought to decentralize and expand its existing facilities in Ft. Meade and Menwith Hill,[173] the latter expansion expected to be completed by 2015.[174]

The Yakima Herald-Republic cited Bamford, saying that many of NSA’s bases for its Echelon program were a legacy system, using outdated, 1990s technology.[175] In 2004, NSA closed its operations at Bad Aibling Station (Field Station 81) in Bad Aibling, Germany.[176] In 2012, NSA began to move some of its operations at Yakima Research Station, Yakima Training Center, in Washington state to Colorado, planning to leave Yakima closed.[177] As of 2013, NSA also intended to close operations at Sugar Grove, West Virginia.[175]

International stations

RAF Menwith Hill has the largest NSA presence in the United Kingdom.[174]

Following the signing in 1946–1956[178] of the UKUSA Agreement between the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, who then cooperated on signals intelligence and ECHELON,[179] NSA stations were built at GCHQ Bude in Morwenstow, United Kingdom; Geraldton, Pine Gap and Shoal Bay, Australia; Leitrim and Ottawa, Canada; Misawa, Japan; and Waihopai and Tangimoana,[180] New Zealand.[181]

NSA operates RAF Menwith Hill in North Yorkshire, United Kingdom, which was, according to BBC News in 2007, the largest electronic monitoring station in the world.[182] Planned in 1954, and opened in 1960, the base covered 562 acres (227 ha; 0.878 sq mi) in 1999.[183]

The agency’s European Cryptologic Center (ECC), with 240 employees in 2011, is headquartered at a US military compound in Griesheim, near Frankfurt in Germany. A 2011 NSA report indicates that the ECC is responsible for the “largest analysis and productivity in Europe” and focusses on various priorities, including Africa, Europe, the Middle East and counterterrorism operations.[184]

In 2013, a new Consolidated Intelligence Center, also to be used by NSA, is being built at the headquarters of the United States Army Europe in Wiesbaden, Germany.[185] NSA’s partnership with Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), the German foreign intelligence service, was confirmed by BND president Gerhard Schindler.[185]

Thailand

Thailand is a “3rd party partner” of the NSA along with nine other nations.[186] These are non-English-speaking countries that have made security agreements for the exchange of SIGINT raw material and end product reports.

Thailand is the site of at least two US SIGINT collection stations. One is at the US Embassy in Bangkok, a joint NSA-CIA Special Collection Service (SCS) unit. It presumably eavesdrops on foreign embassies, governmental communications, and other targets of opportunity.[187]

The second installation is a FORNSAT (foreign satellite interception) station in the Thai city of Khon Kaen. It is codenamed INDRA, but has also been referred to as LEMONWOOD.[187] The station is approximately 40 ha (100 acres) in size and consists of a large 3,700–4,600 m2 (40,000–50,000 ft2) operations building on the west side of the ops compound and four radome-enclosed parabolic antennas. Possibly two of the radome-enclosed antennas are used for SATCOM intercept and two antennas used for relaying the intercepted material back to NSA. There is also a PUSHER-type circularly-disposed antenna array (CDAA) array just north of the ops compound.[188][189]

NSA activated Khon Kaen in October 1979. Its mission was to eavesdrop on the radio traffic of Chinese army and air force units in southern China, especially in and around the city of Kunming in Yunnan Province. Back in the late 1970s the base consisted only of a small CDAA antenna array that was remote-controlled via satellite from the NSA listening post at Kunia, Hawaii, and a small force of civilian contractors from Bendix Field Engineering Corp. whose job it was to keep the antenna array and satellite relay facilities up and running 24/7.[188]

According to the papers of the late General William Odom, the INDRA facility was upgraded in 1986 with a new British-made PUSHER CDAA antenna as part of an overall upgrade of NSA and Thai SIGINT facilities whose objective was to spy on the neighboring communist nations of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.[188]

The base apparently fell into disrepair in the 1990s as China and Vietnam became more friendly towards the US, and by 2002 archived satellite imagery showed that the PUSHER CDAA antenna had been torn down, perhaps indicating that the base had been closed. At some point in the period since 9/11, the Khon Kaen base was reactivated and expanded to include a sizeable SATCOM intercept mission. It is likely that the NSA presence at Khon Kaen is relatively small, and that most of the work is done by civilian contractors.[188]

Mission

NSA’s eavesdropping mission includes radio broadcasting, both from various organizations and individuals, the Internet, telephone calls, and other intercepted forms of communication. Its secure communications mission includes military, diplomatic, and all other sensitive, confidential or secret government communications.[190]

According to the Washington Post, “[e]very day, collection systems at the National Security Agency intercept and store 1.7 billion e-mails, phone calls and other types of communications. The NSA sorts a fraction of those into 70 separate databases.”[191]

Because of its listening task, NSA/CSS has been heavily involved in cryptanalytic research, continuing the work of predecessor agencies which had broken many World War II codes and ciphers (see, for instance, Purple, Venona project, and JN-25).

In 2004, NSA Central Security Service and the National Cyber Security Division of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agreed to expand NSA Centers of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance Education Program.[192]

As part of the National Security Presidential Directive 54/Homeland Security Presidential Directive 23 (NSPD 54), signed on January 8, 2008 by President Bush, the NSA became the lead agency to monitor and protect all of the federal government’s computer networks from cyber-terrorism.[9]

Operations

Operations by the National Security Agency can be divided in three types:

  • Collection overseas, which falls under the responsibility of the Global Access Operations (GAO) division.
  • Domestic collection, which falls under the responsibility of the Special Source Operations (SSO) division.
  • Hacking operations, which falls under the responsibility of the Tailored Access Operations (TAO) division.

Collection overseas

Echelon

Main article: ECHELON

Echelon was created in the incubator of the Cold War.[193] Today it is a legacy system, and several NSA stations are closing.[175]

NSA/CSS, in combination with the equivalent agencies in the United Kingdom (Government Communications Headquarters), Canada (Communications Security Establishment), Australia (Defence Signals Directorate), and New Zealand (Government Communications Security Bureau), otherwise known as the UKUSA group,[194] was reported to be in command of the operation of the so-called ECHELON system. Its capabilities were suspected to include the ability to monitor a large proportion of the world’s transmitted civilian telephone, fax and data traffic.[195]

During the early 1970s, the first of what became more than eight large satellite communications dishes were installed at Menwith Hill.[196] Investigative journalist Duncan Campbell reported in 1988 on the ECHELON surveillance program, an extension of the UKUSA Agreement on global signals intelligence SIGINT, and detailed how the eavesdropping operations worked.[197] In November 3, 1999 the BBC reported that they had confirmation from the Australian Government of the existence of a powerful “global spying network” code-named Echelon, that could “eavesdrop on every single phone call, fax or e-mail, anywhere on the planet” with Britain and the United States as the chief protagonists. They confirmed that Menwith Hill was “linked directly to the headquarters of the US National Security Agency (NSA) at Fort Meade in Maryland”.[198]

NSA’s United States Signals Intelligence Directive 18 (USSID 18) strictly prohibited the interception or collection of information about “… U.S. persons, entities, corporations or organizations….” without explicit written legal permission from the United States Attorney General when the subject is located abroad, or the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court when within U.S. borders. Alleged Echelon-related activities, including its use for motives other than national security, including political and industrial espionage, received criticism from countries outside the UKUSA alliance.[199][200]

Protesters against NSA data mining in Berlin wearing Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden masks.

Other SIGINT operations overseas

The NSA is also involved in planning to blackmail people with “SEXINT“, intelligence gained about a potential target’s sexual activity and preferences. Those targeted had not committed any apparent crime nor were charged with one.[201]

In order to support its facial recognition program, the NSA is intercepting “millions of images per day”.[202]

The Real Time Regional Gateway is a data collection program introduced in 2005 in Iraq by NSA during the Iraq War that consisted of gathering all electronic communication, storing it, then searching and otherwise analyzing it. It was effective in providing information about Iraqi insurgents who had eluded less comprehensive techniques.[203] This “collect it all” strategy introduced by NSA director, Keith B. Alexander, is believed by Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian to be the model for the comprehensive worldwide mass archiving of communications which NSA is engaged in as of 2013.[204]

BoundlessInformant

Edward Snowden revealed in June 2013 that between February 8 and March 8, 2013, the NSA collected about 124.8 billion telephone data items and 97.1 billion computer data items throughout the world, as was displayed in charts from an internal NSA tool codenamed Boundless Informant. It was reported that some of these data reflected eavesdropping on citizens in countries like Germany, Spain and France.[205]

BoundlessInformant employs big data databases, cloud computing technology, and Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) to analyze data collected worldwide by the NSA.[206]

Bypassing encryption

In 2013, reporters uncovered a secret memo that claims the NSA created and pushed for the adoption of the Dual_EC_DRBG encryption standard that contained built-in vulnerabilities in 2006 to the United States National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and the International Organization for Standardization (aka ISO).[207][208] This memo appears to give credence to previous speculation by cryptographers at Microsoft Research.[209] Edward Snowden claims that the NSA often bypasses encryption altogether by lifting information before it is encrypted or after it is decrypted.[208]

XKeyscore rules (as specified in a file xkeyscorerules100.txt, sourced by German TV stations NDR and WDR, who claim to have excerpts from its source code) reveal that the NSA tracks users of privacy-enhancing software tools, including Tor; an anonymous email service provided by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) in Cambridge, Massachusetts; and readers of the Linux Journal.[210][211]

Domestic activity

NSA’s mission, as set forth in Executive Order 12333 in 1981, is to collect information that constitutes “foreign intelligence or counterintelligence” while not “acquiring information concerning the domestic activities of United States persons”. NSA has declared that it relies on the FBI to collect information on foreign intelligence activities within the borders of the United States, while confining its own activities within the United States to the embassies and missions of foreign nations.[212] The appearance of a ‘Domestic Surveillance Directorate’ of the NSA was soon exposed as a hoax in 2013.[213][214]

NSA’s domestic surveillance activities are limited by the requirements imposed by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court for example held in October 2011, citing multiple Supreme Court precedents, that the Fourth Amendment prohibitions against unreasonable searches and seizures applies to the contents of all communications, whatever the means, because “a person’s private communications are akin to personal papers.”[215] However, these protections do not apply to non-U.S. persons located outside of U.S. borders, so the NSA’s foreign surveillance efforts are subject to far fewer limitations under U.S. law.[216] The specific requirements for domestic surveillance operations are contained in the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA), which does not extend protection to non-U.S. citizens located outside of U.S. territory.[216]

George W. Bush administration

George W. Bush, president during the 9/11 terrorist attacks, approved the Patriot Act shortly after the attacks to take anti-terrorist security measures. Title 1, 2, and 9 specifically authorized measures that would be taken by the NSA. These titles granted enhanced domestic security against terrorism, surveillance procedures, and improved intelligence, respectively. On March 10, 2004, there was a debate between President Bush and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, Attorney General John Ashcroft, and Acting Attorney General James Comey. The Attorney Generals were unsure if the NSA’s programs could be considered constitutional. They threatened to resign over the matter, but ultimately the NSA’s programs continued.[217] On March 11, 2004, President Bush signed a new authorization for mass surveillance of Internet records, in addition to the surveillance of phone records.This allowed the president to be able to override laws such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which protected civilians from mass surveillance. In addition to this, President Bush also signed that the measures of mass surveillance were also retroactively in place.[218]

Warrantless wiretaps

On December 16, 2005, The New York Times reported that, under White House pressure and with an executive order from President George W. Bush, the National Security Agency, in an attempt to thwart terrorism, had been tapping phone calls made to persons outside the country, without obtaining warrants from the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, a secret court created for that purpose under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).[219]

One such surveillance program, authorized by the U.S. Signals Intelligence Directive 18 of President George Bush, was the Highlander Project undertaken for the National Security Agency by the U.S. Army 513th Military Intelligence Brigade. NSA relayed telephone (including cell phone) conversations obtained from ground, airborne, and satellite monitoring stations to various U.S. Army Signal Intelligence Officers, including the 201st Military Intelligence Battalion. Conversations of citizens of the U.S. were intercepted, along with those of other nations.[220]

Proponents of the surveillance program claim that the President has executive authority to order such action, arguing that laws such as FISA are overridden by the President’s Constitutional powers. In addition, some argued that FISA was implicitly overridden by a subsequent statute, the Authorization for Use of Military Force, although the Supreme Court’s ruling in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld deprecates this view. In the August 2006 case ACLU v. NSA, U.S. District Court Judge Anna Diggs Taylor concluded that NSA’s warrantless surveillance program was both illegal and unconstitutional. On July 6, 2007 the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals vacated the decision on the grounds that the ACLU lacked standing to bring the suit.[221]

On January 17, 2006, the Center for Constitutional Rights filed a lawsuit, CCR v. Bush, against the George W. Bush Presidency. The lawsuit challenged the National Security Agency’s (NSA’s) surveillance of people within the U.S., including the interception of CCR emails without securing a warrant first.[222][223]

In September 2008, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed a class action lawsuit against the NSA and several high-ranking officials of the Bush administration,[224] charging an “illegal and unconstitutional program of dragnet communications surveillance,”[225] based on documentation provided by former AT&T technician Mark Klein.[226]

As a result of the USA Freedom Act passed by Congress in June 2015, the NSA had to shut down its bulk phone surveillance program on November 29 of the same year. The USA Freedom Act forbids the NSA to collect metadata and content of phone calls unless it has a warrant for terrorism investigation. In that case the agency has to ask the telecom companies for the record, which will only be kept for six months.

AT&T Internet monitoring

In May 2006, Mark Klein, a former AT&T employee, alleged that his company had cooperated with NSA in installing Narus hardware to replace the FBI Carnivore program, to monitor network communications including traffic between American citizens.[227]

Data mining

NSA was reported in 2008 to use its computing capability to analyze “transactional” data that it regularly acquires from other government agencies, which gather it under their own jurisdictional authorities. As part of this effort, NSA now monitors huge volumes of records of domestic email data, web addresses from Internet searches, bank transfers, credit-card transactions, travel records, and telephone data, according to current and former intelligence officials interviewed by The Wall Street Journal. The sender, recipient, and subject line of emails can be included, but the content of the messages or of phone calls are not.[228]

A 2013 advisory group for the Obama administration, seeking to reform NSA spying programs following the revelations of documents released by Edward J. Snowden.[229] mentioned in ‘Recommendation 30’ on page 37, “…that the National Security Council staff should manage an interagency process to review on a regular basis the activities of the US Government regarding attacks that exploit a previously unknown vulnerability in a computer application.” Retired cyber security expert Richard A. Clarke was a group member and stated on April 11 that NSA had no advance knowledge of Heartbleed.[230]

Illegally obtained evidence

In August 2013 it was revealed that a 2005 IRS training document showed that NSA intelligence intercepts and wiretaps, both foreign and domestic, were being supplied to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and were illegally used to launch criminal investigations of US citizens. Law enforcement agents were directed to conceal how the investigations began and recreate an apparently legal investigative trail by re-obtaining the same evidence by other means.[231][232]

Barack Obama administration

In the months leading to April 2009, the NSA intercepted the communications of American citizens, including a Congressman, although the Justice Department believed that the interception was unintentional. The Justice Department then took action to correct the issues and bring the program into compliance with existing laws.[233] United States Attorney General Eric Holder resumed the program according to his understanding of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act amendment of 2008, without explaining what had occurred.[234]

Polls conducted in June 2013 found divided results among Americans regarding NSA’s secret data collection.[235] Rasmussen Reports found that 59% of Americans disapprove,[236] Gallup found that 53% disapprove,[237] and Pew found that 56% are in favor of NSA data collection.[238]

Section 215 metadata collection

On April 25, 2013, the NSA obtained a court order requiring Verizon‘s Business Network Services to provide metadata on all calls in its system to the NSA “on an ongoing daily basis” for a three-month period, as reported by The Guardian on June 6, 2013. This information includes “the numbers of both parties on a call … location data, call duration, unique identifiers, and the time and duration of all calls” but not “[t]he contents of the conversation itself”. The order relies on the so-called “business records” provision of the Patriot Act.[239][240]

In August 2013, following the Snowden leaks, new details about the NSA’s data mining activity were revealed. Reportedly, the majority of emails into or out of the United States are captured at “selected communications links” and automatically analyzed for keywords or other “selectors”. Emails that do not match are deleted.[241]

The utility of such a massive metadata collection in preventing terrorist attacks is disputed. Many studies reveal the dragnet like system to be ineffective. One such report, released by the New America Foundation concluded that after an analysis of 225 terrorism cases, the NSA “had no discernible impact on preventing acts of terrorism.”[242]

Defenders of the program say that while metadata alone can’t provide all the information necessary to prevent an attack, it assures the ability to “connect the dots”[243] between suspect foreign numbers and domestic numbers with a speed only the NSA’s software is capable of. One benefit of this is quickly being able to determine the difference between suspicious activity and real threats.[citation needed] As an example, NSA director General Keith Alexander mentioned at the annual Cybersecurity Summit in 2013, that metadata analysis of domestic phone call records after the Boston Marathon bombing helped determine that[clarification needed] another attack in New York was baseless.[243]

In addition to doubts about its effectiveness, many people argue that the collection of metadata is an unconstitutional invasion of privacy. As of 2015, the collection process remains legal and grounded in the ruling from Smith v. Maryland (1979). A prominent opponent of the data collection and its legality is U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon, who issued a report in 2013[244] in which he stated: “I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary invasion’ than this systematic and high tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval…Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment”.

The PRISM program[edit]

PRISM: a clandestine surveillance program under which the NSA collects user data from companies like Microsoft and Facebook.

Under the PRISM program, which started in 2007,[245][246] NSA gathers Internet communications from foreign targets from nine major U.S. Internet-based communication service providers: Microsoft,[247] Yahoo, Google, Facebook, PalTalk, AOL, Skype, YouTube and Apple. Data gathered include email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, VoIP chats such as Skype, and file transfers.

June 2015 – WikiLeaks: Industrial espionage

In June 2015, Wikileaks published documents, which showed that NSA spied on French companies.[248]

July 2015 – WikiLeaks: Espionage against German federal ministries[edit]

In July 2015, WikiLeaks published documents, which showed that NSA spied on federal German ministries since 1990s.[249][250] Even Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel‘s cellphones and phone of her predecessors had been intercepted.[251]

Claims of prevented terrorist attacks

Former NSA director General Keith Alexander claimed that in September 2009 the NSA prevented Najibullah Zazi and his friends from carrying out a terrorist attack.[252] However, this claim has been debunked and no evidence has been presented demonstrating that the NSA has ever been instrumental in preventing a terrorist attack.[253][254][255][256]

Hacking operations

Besides the more traditional ways of eavesdropping in order to collect signals intelligence, NSA is also engaged in hacking computers, smartphones and their networks. These operations are conducted by the Tailored Access Operations (TAO) division.

NSA’s China hacking group

According to the Foreign Policy magazine, “… the Office of Tailored Access Operations, or TAO, has successfully penetrated Chinese computer and telecommunications systems for almost 15 years, generating some of the best and most reliable intelligence information about what is going on inside the People’s Republic of China.”[257][258]

Syrian internet blackout

In an interview with Wired magazine, Edward Snowden said the Tailored Access Operations division accidentally caused Syria‘s internet blackout in 2012.[259]

Suspected responsibility for hacking operations by the Equation Group[edit]

The espionage group named the Equation Group, described by discoverers Kaspersky Labs as one of the most advanced (if not the most advanced) in the world as of 2015,[260]:31 and connected to over 500 malware infections in at least 42 countries over many years, is suspected of being a part of NSA.[261][262] The group’s known espionage methods have been documented to include interdiction (interception of legitimate CDs sent by a scientific conference organizer by mail),[260]:15 and the “unprecedented” ability to infect and be transmitted through the hard drive firmware of several of the major hard drive manufacturers, and create and use hidden disk areas and virtual disk systems for its purposes, a feat demanding access to the manufacturer’s source code of each to achieve.[260]:16–18 The methods used to deploy the tools demonstrated “surgical precision”, going so far as to exclude specific countries by IP and allow targeting of specific usernames on discussion forums.[260]:23–26 The techniques and knowledge used by the Equation Group are considered in summary to be “out of the reach of most advanced threat groups in the world except [this group].[260]:31

Software backdoors

Linux kerne

Linus Torvalds, the founder of Linux kernel, joked during a LinuxCon keynote on September 18, 2013 that the NSA, who are the founder of SELinux, wanted a backdoor in the kernel.[263]However, later, Linus’ father, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP), revealed that the NSA actually did this.[264]

When my oldest son [Linus Torvalds] was asked the same question: “Has he been approached by the NSA about backdoors?” he said “No”, but at the same time he nodded. Then he was sort of in the legal free. He had given the right answer, [but] everybody understood that the NSA had approached him.

— Nils Torvalds, LIBE Committee Inquiry on Electronic Mass Surveillance of EU Citizens – 11th Hearing, 11 November 2013[265]
Microsoft Windows
Main article: _NSAKEY

_NSAKEY was a variable name discovered in Microsoft‘s Windows NT 4 Service Pack 5 (which had been released unstripped of its symbolic debugging data) in August 1999 by Andrew D. Fernandes of Cryptonym Corporation. That variable contained a 1024-bit public key.

IBM Notes

IBM Notes was the first widely adopted software product to use public key cryptography for client–server and server–server authentication and for encryption of data. Until US laws regulating encryption were changed in 2000, IBM and Lotus were prohibited from exporting versions of Notes that supported symmetric encryption keys that were longer than 40 bits. In 1997, Lotus negotiated an agreement with the NSA that allowed export of a version that supported stronger keys with 64 bits, but 24 of the bits were encrypted with a special key and included in the message to provide a “workload reduction factor” for the NSA. This strengthened the protection for users of Notes outside the US against private-sector industrial espionage, but not against spying by the US government.[266][267]

Boomerang routing

While it is assumed that foreign transmissions terminating in the U.S. (such as a non-U.S. citizen accessing a U.S. website) subject non-U.S. citizens to NSA surveillance, recent research into boomerang routing has raised new concerns about the NSA’s ability to surveil the domestic Internet traffic of foreign countries.[18] Boomerang routing occurs when an Internet transmission that originates and terminates in a single country transits another. Research at the University of Toronto has suggested that approximately 25% of Canadian domestic traffic may be subject to NSA surveillance activities as a result of the boomerang routing of Canadian Internet service providers.[18]

Hardware implanting

Intercepted packages are opened carefully by NSA employees
A “load station” implanting a beacon

A document included in NSA files released with Glenn Greenwald‘s book No Place to Hide details how the agency’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) and other NSA units gain access to hardware. They intercept routers, servers and other network hardware being shipped to organizations targeted for surveillance and install covert implant firmware onto them before they are delivered. This was described by an NSA manager as “some of the most productive operations in TAO because they preposition access points into hard target networks around the world.”[268]

Computers seized by the NSA due to interdiction are often modified with a physical device known as Cottonmouth.[269]Cottonmouth is a device that can be inserted in the USB port of a computer in order to establish remote access to the targeted machine. According to NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) group implant catalog, after implanting Cottonmouth, the NSA can establish Bridging (networking) “that allows the NSA to load exploit software onto modified computers as well as allowing the NSA to relay commands and data between hardware and software implants.”[270]

Role in scientific research and development[

NSA has been involved in debates about public policy, both indirectly as a behind-the-scenes adviser to other departments, and directly during and after Vice Admiral Bobby Ray Inman‘s directorship. NSA was a major player in the debates of the 1990s regarding the export of cryptography in the United States. Restrictions on export were reduced but not eliminated in 1996.

Its secure government communications work has involved the NSA in numerous technology areas, including the design of specialized communications hardware and software, production of dedicated semiconductors (at the Ft. Meade chip fabrication plant), and advanced cryptography research. For 50 years, NSA designed and built most of its computer equipment in-house, but from the 1990s until about 2003 (when the U.S. Congress curtailed the practice), the agency contracted with the private sector in the fields of research and equipment.[271]

Data Encryption Standard

FROSTBURG was the NSA’s first supercomputer, used from 1991 to 1997

NSA was embroiled in some minor controversy concerning its involvement in the creation of the Data Encryption Standard (DES), a standard and public block cipher algorithm used by the U.S. government and banking community. During the development of DES by IBM in the 1970s, NSA recommended changes to some details of the design. There was suspicion that these changes had weakened the algorithm sufficiently to enable the agency to eavesdrop if required, including speculation that a critical component—the so-called S-boxes—had been altered to insert a “backdoor” and that the reduction in key length might have made it feasible for NSA to discover DES keys using massive computing power. It has since been observed that the S-boxes in DES are particularly resilient against differential cryptanalysis, a technique which was not publicly discovered until the late 1980s, but which was known to the IBM DES team.

The United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence reviewed NSA’s involvement, and concluded that while the agency had provided some assistance, it had not tampered with the design.[272][273] In late 2009 NSA declassified information stating that “NSA worked closely with IBM to strengthen the algorithm against all except brute force attacks and to strengthen substitution tables, called S-boxes. Conversely, NSA tried to convince IBM to reduce the length of the key from 64 to 48 bits. Ultimately they compromised on a 56-bit key.”[274][275]

Advanced Encryption Standard

The involvement of NSA in the selection of a successor to Data Encryption Standard (DES), the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), was limited to hardware performance testing (see AES competition).[276] NSA has subsequently certified AES for protection of classified information (for at most two levels, e.g. SECRET information in an unclassified environment[clarification needed]) when used in NSA-approved systems.[277]

NSA encryption systems

STU-III secure telephones on display at the National Cryptologic Museum

The NSA is responsible for the encryption-related components in these legacy systems:

  • FNBDT Future Narrow Band Digital Terminal[278]
  • KL-7 ADONIS off-line rotor encryption machine (post-WWII – 1980s)[279][280]
  • KW-26 ROMULUS electronic in-line teletypewriter encryptor (1960s–1980s)[281]
  • KW-37 JASON fleet broadcast encryptor (1960s–1990s)[280]
  • KY-57 VINSON tactical radio voice encryptor[281]
  • KG-84 Dedicated Data Encryption/Decryption[281]
  • STU-III secure telephone unit,[281] phased out by the STE[282]

The NSA oversees encryption in following systems which are in use today:

The NSA has specified Suite A and Suite B cryptographic algorithm suites to be used in U.S. government systems; the Suite B algorithms are a subset of those previously specified by NIST and are expected to serve for most information protection purposes, while the Suite A algorithms are secret and are intended for especially high levels of protection.[277]

SHA

The widely used SHA-1 and SHA-2 hash functions were designed by NSA. SHA-1 is a slight modification of the weaker SHA-0 algorithm, also designed by NSA in 1993. This small modification was suggested by NSA two years later, with no justification other than the fact that it provides additional security. An attack for SHA-0 that does not apply to the revised algorithm was indeed found between 1998 and 2005 by academic cryptographers. Because of weaknesses and key length restrictions in SHA-1, NIST deprecates its use for digital signatures, and approves only the newer SHA-2 algorithms for such applications from 2013 on.[287]

A new hash standard, SHA-3, has recently been selected through the competition concluded October 2, 2012 with the selection of Keccak as the algorithm. The process to select SHA-3 was similar to the one held in choosing the AES, but some doubts have been cast over it,[288][289] since fundamental modifications have been made to Keccak in order to turn it into a standard.[290] These changes potentially undermine the cryptanalysis performed during the competition and reduce the security levels of the algorithm.[288]

Dual_EC_DRBG random number generator

Main article: Dual_EC_DRBG

NSA promoted the inclusion of a random number generator called Dual_EC_DRBG in the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology‘s 2007 guidelines. This led to speculation of a backdoor which would allow NSA access to data encrypted by systems using that pseudo random number generator.[291]

This is now deemed to be plausible based on the fact that the output of the next iterations of the PRNG can provably be determined if the relation between two internal elliptic curve points is known.[292][293] Both NIST and RSA are now officially recommending against the use of this PRNG.[294][295]

Clipper chip

Main article: Clipper chip

Because of concerns that widespread use of strong cryptography would hamper government use of wiretaps, NSA proposed the concept of key escrow in 1993 and introduced the Clipper chip that would offer stronger protection than DES but would allow access to encrypted data by authorized law enforcement officials.[296] The proposal was strongly opposed and key escrow requirements ultimately went nowhere.[297] However, NSA’s Fortezza hardware-based encryption cards, created for the Clipper project, are still used within government, and NSA ultimately declassified and published the design of the Skipjack cipher used on the cards.[298][299]

Perfect Citizen

Main article: Perfect Citizen

Perfect Citizen is a program to perform vulnerability assessment by the NSA on U.S. critical infrastructure.[300][301] It was originally reported to be a program to develop a system of sensors to detect cyber attacks on critical infrastructure computer networks in both the private and public sector through a network monitoring system named Einstein.[302][303] It is funded by the Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative and thus far Raytheon has received a contract for up to $100 million for the initial stage.

Academic research

NSA has invested many millions of dollars in academic research under grant code prefix MDA904, resulting in over 3,000 papers (as of 2007-10-11). NSA/CSS has, at times, attempted to restrict the publication of academic research into cryptography; for example, the Khufu and Khafre block ciphers were voluntarily withheld in response to an NSA request to do so. In response to a FOIA lawsuit, in 2013 the NSA released the 643-page research paper titled, “Untangling the Web: A Guide to Internet Research,[304] ” written and compiled by NSA employees to assist other NSA workers in searching for information of interest to the agency on the public Internet.[305]

Patents

NSA has the ability to file for a patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office under gag order. Unlike normal patents, these are not revealed to the public and do not expire. However, if the Patent Office receives an application for an identical patent from a third party, they will reveal NSA’s patent and officially grant it to NSA for the full term on that date.[306]

One of NSA’s published patents describes a method of geographically locating an individual computer site in an Internet-like network, based on the latency of multiple network connections.[307] Although no public patent exists, NSA is reported to have used a similar locating technology called trilateralization that allows real-time tracking of an individual’s location, including altitude from ground level, using data obtained from cellphone towers.[308]

Legality

File:Ron Wyden and James Clapper - 12 March 2013.webm

Excerpt of James Clapper‘s false testimony to Congress on NSA surveillance programs

In the United States, at least since 2001,[309] there has been legal controversy over what signal intelligence can be used for and how much freedom the National Security Agency has to use signal intelligence.[310] The government has made, in 2015, slight changes in how it uses and collects certain types of data,[311] specifically phone records. President Barack Obama has asked lawyers and his national security team to look at the tactics that are being used by the NSA. President Obama made a speech on January 17, 2014 where he defended the national security measures, including the NSA, and their intentions for keeping the country safe through surveillance. He said that it is difficult to determine where the line should be drawn between what is too much surveillance and how much is needed for national security because technology is ever changing and evolving. Therefore, the laws cannot keep up with the rapid advancements.

President Obama did make some changes to national security regulations and how much data can be collected and surveyed.[citation needed] The first thing he added, was more presidential directive and oversight so that privacy and basic rights are not violated. The president would look over requests on behalf of American citizens to make sure that their personal privacy is not violated by the data that is being requested. Secondly, surveillance tactics and procedures are becoming more public, including over 40 rulings of the FISC that have been declassified.[citation needed] Thirdly, further protections are being placed on activities that are justified under Section 702, such as the ability to retain, search and use data collected in investigations, which allows the NSA to monitor and intercept interaction of targets overseas. Finally, national security letters, which are secret requests for information that the FBI uses in their investigations, are becoming less secretive. The secrecy of the information requested will not be indefinite and will terminate after a set time if future secrecy is not required.[citation needed] Concerning the bulk surveillance of American’s phone records, President Obama also ordered a transition from bulk surveillance under Section 215 to a new policy that will eliminate unnecessary bulk collection of metadata.

As of May 7, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that the interpretation of Section 215 of the Patriot Act was wrong and that the NSA program that has been collecting Americans’ phone records in bulk is illegal.[312] It stated that Section 215 cannot be clearly interpreted to allow government to collect national phone data and, as a result, expired on June 1, 2015. This ruling “is the first time a higher-level court in the regular judicial system has reviewed the N.S.A. phone records program.” [313] The new bill getting passed later in May taking its place is known as the U.S.A. Freedom Act, which will enable the NSA to continue hunting for terrorists by analyzing telephone links between callers but “keep the bulk phone records in the hands of phone companies.”[313] This would give phone companies the freedom to dispose the records in an 18-month period. The White House argued that this new ruling validated President Obama’s support of the government being extracted from bulk data collection and giving power to the telecommunications companies.

Previously, the NSA paid billions of dollars to telecommunications companies in order to collect data from them.[314] While companies such as Google and Yahoo! claim that they do not provide “direct access” from their servers to the NSA unless under a court order,[315] the NSA had access to emails, phone calls and cellular data users.[316] With this new ruling, telecommunications companies would not provide the NSA with bulk information. The companies would allow the disposal of data in every 18 months,[313] which is arguably putting the telecommunications companies at a higher advantage.

This ruling made the collecting of phone records illegal, but it did not rule on Section 215’s constitutionality. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has already put forth a new bill to re-authorize the Patriot Act.[317] Defenders of this surveillance program are claiming that judges who sit on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) had ruled 37 times that this kind of collection of data is, in fact, lawful.[317] The FISC is the court specifically mandated to grant surveillance orders in the name of foreign intelligence. The new ruling made by the Second District Court of Appeals now retroactively dismisses the findings of the FISC on this program.

See also

Notes

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Security_Agency

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Dore Gold — Hatred’s Kingdom: How Saudi Arabia Supports the New Global Terrorism — Videos

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Book | Hatred’s Kingdom: How Saudi Arabia Supports the New Global Terrorism

Wahhabism

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Wahhabism (Arabic: الوهابية‎‎, al-Wahhābiya(h)) or Wahhabi mission[1] (/wəˈhɑːbi, wɑː/;[2] Arabic: الدعوة الوهابية‎‎, ad-Da’wa al-Wahhābiya(h) ) is a sect,[3][4][5][6] religious movement or branch of Islam.[7][8][9][10] It has been variously described as “ultraconservative”,[11] “austere”,[7] “fundamentalist”,[12] or “puritan(ical)”[13][14] and as an Islamic “reform movement” to restore “pure monotheistic worship” (tawhid) by devotees,[15] and as a “deviant sectarian movement”,[15] “vile sect”[16] and a distortion of Islam by its opponents.[7][17] The term Wahhabi(ism) is often used polemically and adherents commonly reject its use, preferring to be called Salafi or muwahhid.[18][19][20] The movement emphasises the principle oftawhid[21] (the “uniqueness” and “unity” of God).[22] It claims its principal influences to be Ahmad ibn Hanbal (780–855) and Ibn Taymiyyah (1263–1328), both belonging to the Hanbalischool,[23] although the extent of their actual influence upon the tenets of the movement has been contested.[24][25]

Wahhabism is named after an eighteenth-century preacher and activist, Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703–1792).[26] He started a reform movement in the remote, sparsely populated region of Najd,[27] advocating a purging of such widespread Sunni practices as the intercession of saints, and the visitation to their tombs, both of which were practiced all over the Islamic world, but which he considered idolatry (shirk), impurities and innovations in Islam (Bid’ah).[9][22] Eventually he formed a pact with a local leader Muhammad bin Saudoffering political obedience and promising that protection and propagation of the Wahhabi movement mean “power and glory” and rule of “lands and men.”[28]

The alliance between followers of ibn Abd al-Wahhab and Muhammad bin Saud’s successors (the House of Saud) proved to be a durable one. The House of Saud continued to maintain its politico-religious alliance with the Wahhabi sect through the waxing and waning of its own political fortunes over the next 150 years, through to its eventual proclamation of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1932, and then afterwards, on into modern times. Today Ibn Abd Al-Wahhab’s teachings are the official, state-sponsored form of Sunni Islam[7][29] in Saudi Arabia.[30] With the help of funding from Saudi petroleum exports[31] (and other factors[32]), the movement underwent “explosive growth” beginning in the 1970s and now has worldwide influence.[7] The US State Department has estimated that over the past four decades Riyadh has invested more than $10bn (£6bn) into charitable foundations in an attempt to replace mainstream Sunni Islam with the harsh intolerance of its Wahhabism.[33]

The “boundaries” of Wahhabism have been called “difficult to pinpoint”,[34] but in contemporary usage, the terms Wahhabi and Salafi are often used interchangeably, and they are considered to be movements with different roots that have merged since the 1960s.[35][36][37] However, Wahhabism has also been called “a particular orientation within Salafism”,[38] or an ultra-conservative, Saudi brand of Salafism.[39][40] Estimates of the number of adherents to Wahhabism vary, with one source (Mehrdad Izady) giving a figure of fewer than 5 million Wahhabis in the Persian Gulf region (compared to 28.5 million Sunnis and 89 million Shia).[30][41]

The majority of mainstream Sunni and Shia Muslims worldwide strongly disagree with the interpretation of Wahhabism and consider it a “vile sect”.[16] Islamic scholars, including those from the Al-Azhar University, regularly denounce Wahhabism with terms such as “Satanic faith”.[16] Wahhabism has been accused of being “a source of global terrorism”,[42][43]inspiring the ideology of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL),[44] and for causing disunity in Muslim communities by labelling Muslims who disagreed with the Wahhabi definition of monotheism as apostates[45] (takfir) and justifying their killing.[46][47][48] It has also been criticized for the destruction of historic shrines of saints, mausoleums, and other Muslim and non-Muslim buildings and artifacts.[49][50][51]

Definitions and etymology

Definitions

Some definitions or uses of the term Wahhabi Islam include:

  • “a corpus of doctrines”, and “a set of attitudes and behavior, derived from the teachings of a particularly severe religious reformist who lived in central Arabia in the mid-eighteenth century” (Gilles Kepel)[52]
  • “pure Islam” (David Commins, paraphrasing supporters’ definition),[17] that does not deviate from Sharia law in any way and should be called Islam and not Wahhabism. (King Salman bin Abdul Aziz, the King of the Saudi Arabia)[53]
  • “a misguided creed that fosters intolerance, promotes simplistic theology, and restricts Islam’s capacity for adaption to diverse and shifting circumstances” (David Commins, paraphrasing opponents’ definition)[17]
  • “a conservative reform movement … the creed upon which the kingdom of Saudi Arabia was founded, and [which] has influenced Islamic movements worldwide” (Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim world)[54]
  • “a sect dominant in Saudi Arabia and Qatar” with footholds in “India, Africa, and elsewhere”, with a “steadfastly fundamentalist interpretation of Islam in the tradition of Ibn Hanbal” (Cyril Glasse)[21]
  • an “eighteenth-century reformist/revivalist movement for sociomoral reconstruction of society”, “founded by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab” (Oxford Dictionary of Islam).[55]
  • originally a “literal revivification” of Islamic principles that ignored the spiritual side of Islam, that “rose on the wings of enthusiasm апd longing and then sank down into the lowlands of pharisaic self-righteousness” after gaining power and losing its “longing and humility” (Muhammad Asad)[56]
  • “a political trend” within Islam that “has been adopted for power-sharing purposes”, but cannot be called a sect because “It has no special practices, nor special rites, and no special interpretation of religion that differ from the main body of Sunni Islam” (Abdallah Al Obeid, the former dean of the Islamic University of Medina and member of the Saudi Consultative Council)[34]
  • “the true salafist movement”. Starting out as a theological reform movement, it had “the goal of calling (da’wa) people to restore the ‘real’ meaning of tawhid (oneness of God or monotheism) and to disregard and deconstruct ‘traditional’ disciplines and practices that evolved in Islamic history such as theology and jurisprudence and the traditions of visiting tombs and shrines of venerated individuals.” (Ahmad Moussalli)[57]
  • a term used by opponents of Salafism in hopes of besmirching that movement by suggesting foreign influence and “conjuring up images of Saudi Arabia”. The term is “most frequently used in countries where Salafis are a small minority” of the Muslim community but “have made recent inroads” in “converting” the local population to Salafism. (Quintan Wiktorowicz)[18]
  • a blanket term used inaccurately to refer to “any Islamic movement that has an apparent tendency toward misogyny, militantism, extremism, or strict and literal interpretation of the Quran and hadith” (Natana J. DeLong-Bas)[58]

Etymology

According to Saudi writer Abdul Aziz Qassim and others, it was the Ottomans who “first labelled Abdul Wahhab’s school of Islam in Saudi Arabia as Wahhabism”. The British also adopted it and expanded its use in the Middle East.[59]

Naming controversy: Wahhabis, Muwahhidun, and Salafis

Wahhabis do not like – or at least did not like – the term. Ibn Abd-Al-Wahhab was averse to the elevation of scholars and other individuals, including using a person’s name to label an Islamic school.[18][46][60]

According to Robert Lacey “the Wahhabis have always disliked the name customarily given to them” and preferred to be called Muwahhidun (Unitarians).[61] Another preferred term was simply “Muslims” since their creed is “pure Islam”.[62] However, critics complain these terms imply non-Wahhabis are not monotheists or Muslims,[62][63] and the English translation of that term causes confusion with the Christian denomination (Unitarian Universalism).

Other terms Wahhabis have been said to use and/or prefer include ahl al-hadith (“people of hadith”), Salafi Da’wa or al-da’wa ila al-tawhid[64] (“Salafi preaching” or “preaching of monotheism”, for the school rather than the adherents) or Ahl ul-Sunna wal Jama’a (“people of the tradition of Muhammad and the consensus of the Ummah”),[38] Ahl al-Sunnah (“People of the Sunna”),[65] or “the reform or Salafi movement of the Sheikh” (the sheikh being ibn Abdul-Wahhab).[66] Early Salafis referred to themselves simply as “Muslims”, believing the neighboring Ottoman Caliphate was al-dawlah al-kufriyya (a heretical nation) and its self-professed Muslim inhabitants actually non-Muslim.[45][67][68][69] The prominent 20th-century Muslim scholar Nasiruddin Albani, who considered himself “of the Salaf,” referred to Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab‘s activities as “Najdi da’wah.”[70]

Many, such as writer Quinton Wiktorowicz, urge use of the term Salafi, maintaining that “one would be hard pressed to find individuals who refer to themselves as Wahhabis or organizations that use ‘Wahhabi’ in their title, or refer to their ideology in this manner (unless they are speaking to a Western audience that is unfamiliar with Islamic terminology, and even then usage is limited and often appears as ‘Salafi/Wahhabi’).”[18] A New York Timesjournalist writes that Saudis “abhor” the term Wahhabism, “feeling it sets them apart and contradicts the notion that Islam is a monolithic faith.”[71] Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud for example has attacked the term as “a doctrine that doesn’t exist here (Saudi Arabia)” and challenged users of the term to locate any “deviance of the form of Islam practiced in Saudi Arabia from the teachings of the Quran and Prophetic Hadiths“.[72][73] Ingrid Mattsonargues that, “‘Wahhbism’ is not a sect. It is a social movement that began 200 years ago to rid Islam of rigid cultural practices that had (been) acquired over the centuries.”[74]

On the other hand, according to authors at Global Security and Library of Congress the term is now commonplace and used even by Wahhabi scholars in the Najd,[9][75] a region often called the “heartland” of Wahhabism.[76]Journalist Karen House calls Salafi, “a more politically correct term” for Wahhabi.[77]

In any case, according to Lacey, none of the other terms have caught on, and so like the Christian Quakers, Wahhabis have “remained known by the name first assigned to them by their detractors.”[61]

Wahhabis and Salafis

Many scholars and critics distinguish between Wahhabi and Salafi. According to American scholar Christopher M. Blanchard,[78] Wahhabism refers to “a conservative Islamic creed centered in and emanating from Saudi Arabia,” while Salafiyya is “a more general puritanical Islamic movement that has developed independently at various times and in various places in the Islamic world.”[46]

However, many call Wahhabism a more strict, Saudi form of Salafi.[79][80] Wahhabism is the Saudi version of Salafism, according to Mark Durie, who states Saudi leaders “are active and diligent” using their considerable financial resources “in funding and promoting Salafism all around the world.”[81] Ahmad Moussalli tends to agree Wahhabism is a subset of Salafism, saying “As a rule, all Wahhabis are salafists, but not all salafists are Wahhabis”.[57]

Hamid Algar lists three “elements” Wahhabism and Salafism had in common.

  1. above all disdain for all developments subsequent to al-Salaf al-Salih (the first two or three generations of Islam),
  2. the rejection of Sufism, and
  3. the abandonment of consistent adherence to one of the four or five Sunni Madhhabs (schools of fiqh).

And “two important and interrelated features” that distinguished Salafis from the Wahhabis:

  1. a reliance on attempts at persuasion rather than coercion in order to rally other Muslims to their cause; and
  2. an informed awareness of the political and socio-economic crises confronting the Muslim world.[82]

Hamid Algar and another critic, Khaled Abou El Fadl, argue Saudi oil-export funding “co-opted” the “symbolism and language of Salafism”, during the 1960s and 70s, making them practically indistinguishable by the 1970s,[83]and now the two ideologies have “melded”. Abou El Fadl believes Wahhabism rebranded itself as Salafism knowing it could not “spread in the modern Muslim world” as Wahhabism.[35]

History

The Wahhabi mission started as a revivalist movement in the remote, arid region of Najd. With the collapse of the Ottoman Empire after World War I, the Al Saud dynasty, and with it Wahhabism, spread to the holy cities of Meccaand Medina. After the discovery of petroleum near the Persian Gulf in 1939, it had access to oil export revenues, revenue that grew to billions of dollars. This money – spent on books, media, schools, universities, mosques, scholarships, fellowships, lucrative jobs for journalists, academics and Islamic scholars – gave Wahhabism a “preeminent position of strength” in Islam around the world.[84]

In the country of Wahhabism’s founding – and by far the largest and most powerful country where it is the state religion – Wahhabi ulama gained control over education, law, public morality and religious institutions in the 20th century, while permitting as a “trade-off” doctrinally objectionable actions such as the import of modern technology and communications, and dealings with non-Muslims, for the sake of the consolidation of the power of its political guardian, the Al Saud dynasty.[85]

However, in the last couple of decades of the twentieth century several crises worked to erode Wahhabi “credibility” in Saudi Arabia and the rest of the Muslim world – the November 1979 seizure of the Grand Mosque by militants; the deployment of US troops in Saudi during the 1991 Gulf War against Iraq; and the 9/11 2001 al-Qaeda attacks on New York and Washington.[86]

In each case the Wahhabi establishment was called on to support the dynasty’s efforts to suppress religious dissent – and in each case it did[86] – exposing its dependence on the Saudi dynasty and its often unpopular policies.[87][88]

In the West, the end of the Cold War and the anti-communist alliance with conservative, religious Saudi Arabia, and the 9/11 attacks created enormous distrust towards the kingdom and especially its official religion.[89]

Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab

The founder of Wahhabism, Mohammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab, was born around 1702-03 in the small oasis town of ‘Uyayna in the Najd region, in what is now central Saudi Arabia.[90] He studied in Basra,[91] in what is now Iraq, and possibly Mecca and Medina while there to perform Hajj, before returning to his home town of ‘Uyayna in 1740. There he worked to spread the call (da’wa) for what he believed was a restoration of true monotheistic worship (Tawhid).[92]

The “pivotal idea” of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s teaching was that people who called themselves Muslims but who participated in alleged innovations were not just misguided or committing a sin, but were “outside the pale of Islam altogether,” as were Muslims who disagreed with his definition. [93]

This included not just lax, unlettered, nomadic Bedu, but Shia, Sunnis such as the Ottomans.[94] Such infidels were not to be killed outright, but to be given a chance to repent first.[95] With the support of the ruler of the town – Uthman ibn Mu’ammar – he carried out some of his religious reforms in ‘Uyayna, including the demolition of the tomb of Zayd ibn al-Khattab, one of the Sahaba (companions) of the prophet Muhammad, and the stoning to death of an adulterous woman. However, a more powerful chief (Sulaiman ibn Muhammad ibn Ghurayr) pressured Uthman ibn Mu’ammar to expel him from ‘Uyayna.[citation needed]

Alliance with the House of Saud

Further information:

1744–1818

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia after unification in 1932

The ruler of nearby town, Muhammad ibn Saud, invited ibn ‘Abd al-Wahhab to join him, and in 1744 a pact was made between the two. [96] Ibn Saud would protect and propagate the doctrines of the Wahhabi mission, while ibn Abdul Wahhab “would support the ruler, supplying him with ‘glory and power.'” Whoever championed his message, ibn Abdul Wahhab promised, “will, by means of it, rule the lands and men.” [28] Ibn Saud would abandon un-Sharia taxation of local harvests, and in return God might compensate him with booty from conquest and sharia compliant taxes that would exceed what he gave up.[97] The alliance between the Wahhabi mission and Al Saud family has “endured for more than two and half centuries,” surviving defeat and collapse.[96][98] The two families have intermarried multiple times over the years and in today’s Saudi Arabia, the minister of religion is always a member of the Al ash-Sheikh family, i.e., a descendent of Ibn Abdul Wahhab.[99]

According to most sources, Ibn Abd al-Wahhab declared jihad against neighboring tribes, whose practices of praying to saints, making pilgrimages to tombs and special mosques, he believed to be the work of idolaters/unbelievers.[47][63][95][100]

One academic disputes this. According to Natana DeLong-Bas, Ibn Abd al-Wahhab was restrained in urging fighting with perceived unbelievers, preferring to preach and persuade rather than attack.[101] [102][103] It was only after the death of Muhammad bin Saud in 1765 that, according to DeLong-Bas, Muhammad bin Saud’s son and successor, Abdul-Aziz bin Muhammad, used a “convert or die” approach to expand his domain,[104] and when Wahhabis adopted the takfir ideas of Ibn Taymiyya.[105]

However, various scholars, including Simon Ross Valentine, have strongly rejected such a view of Wahhab, arguing that “the image of Abd’al-Wahhab presented by DeLong-Bas is to be seen for what it is, namely a re-writing of history that flies in the face of historical fact”.[106] Conquest expanded through the Arabian Peninsula until it conquered Mecca and Medina the early 19th century.[107][108] It was at this time, according to DeLong-Bas, that Wahhabis embraced the ideas of Ibn Taymiyya, which allow self-professed Muslim who do not follow Islamic law to be declared non-Muslims – to justify their warring and conquering the Muslim Sharifs of Hijaz.[105]

One of their most noteworthy and controversial attacks was on Karbala in 1802. There, according to a Wahhabi chronicler `Uthman b. `Abdullah b. Bishr: “The Muslims” – as the Wahhabis referred to themselves, not feeling the need to distinguish themselves from other Muslims, since they did not believe them to be Muslims –

scaled the walls, entered the city … and killed the majority of its people in the markets and in their homes. [They] destroyed the dome placed over the grave of al-Husayn [and took] whatever they found inside the dome and its surroundings … the grille surrounding the tomb which was encrusted with emeralds, rubies, and other jewels … different types of property, weapons, clothing, carpets, gold, silver, precious copies of the Qur’an.”[109][110]

Wahhabis also massacred the male population and enslaved the women and children of the city of Ta’if in Hejaz in 1803.[111]

Saud bin Abdul-Aziz bin Muhammad bin Saud managed to establish his rule over southeastern Syria between 1803 and 1812. However, Egyptian forces acting under the Ottoman Empire and led by Ibrahim Pasha, were eventually successful in counterattacking in a campaign starting from 1811.[112] In 1818 they defeated Al-Saud, leveling the capital Diriyah, executing the Al-Saud emir, exiling the emirate’s political and religious leadership,[98][113] and otherwise unsuccessfully attempted to stamp out not just the House of Saud but the Wahhabi mission as well.[114] A second, smaller Saudi state (Emirate of Nejd) lasted from 1819–1891. Its borders being within Najd, Wahhabism was protected from further Ottoman or Egyptian campaigns by the Najd’s isolation, lack of valuable resources, and that era’s limited communication and transportation.[115]

By the 1880s, at least among townsmen if not Bedouin, Wahhabi strict monotheistic doctrine had become the native religious culture of the Najd.[116]

Abdul-Aziz Ibn Saud

Ibn Saud, the first king of Saudi Arabia

Further information: History of Saudi Arabia

In 1901, Abdul-Aziz Ibn Saud, a fifth generation descendent of Muhammad ibn Saud,[117] began a military campaign that led to the conquest of much of the Arabian peninsula and the founding of present-day Saudi Arabia, after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.[118] The result that safeguarded the vision of Islam-based on the tenets of Islam as preached by Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhabwas not bloodless, as 40,000 public executions and 350,000 amputations were carried out during its course, according to some estimates.[119][120][121][122]

Under the reign of Abdul-Aziz, “political considerations trumped religious idealism” favored by pious Wahhabis. His political and military success gave the Wahhabi ulama control over religious institutions with jurisdiction over considerable territory, and in later years Wahhabi ideas formed the basis of the rules and laws concerning social affairs, and shaped the kingdom’s judicial and educational policies.[123] But protests from Wahhabi ulama were overridden when it came to consolidating power in Hijaz and al-Hasa, avoiding clashes with the great power of the region (Britain), adopting modern technology, establishing a simple governmental administrative framework, or signing an oil concession with the U.S. [124] The Wahhabi ulama also issued a fatwa affirming that “only the ruler could declare a jihad”[125] (a violation of Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s teaching according to DeLong-Bas.[102])

As the realm of Wahhabism expanded under Ibn Saud into areas of Shiite (Al-Hasa, conquered in 1913) and pluralistic Muslim tradition (Hejaz, conquered in 1924–25), Wahhabis pressed for forced conversion of Shia and an eradication of (what they saw as) idolatry. Ibn Saud sought “a more relaxed approach”.[126]

In al-Hasa, efforts to stop the observance of Shia religious holidays and replace teaching and preaching duties of Shia clerics with Wahhabi, lasted only a year.[127]

In Mecca and Jeddah (in Hejaz) prohibition of tobacco, alcohol, playing cards and listening to music on the phonograph was looser than in Najd. Over the objections of Wahhabi ulama, Ibn Saud permitted both the driving of automobiles and the attendance of Shia at hajj.[128]

Enforcement of the commanding right and forbidding wrong, such as enforcing prayer observance and separation of the sexes, developed a prominent place during the second Saudi emirate, and in 1926 a formal committee for enforcement was founded in Mecca.[21][129] [130]

While Wahhabi warriors swore loyalty to monarchs of Al Saud, there was one major rebellion. King Abdul-Aziz put down rebelling Ikhwan – nomadic tribesmen turned Wahhabi warriors who opposed his “introducing such innovations as telephones, automobiles, and the telegraph” and his “sending his son to a country of unbelievers (Egypt)”. [131] Britain had aided Abdul-Aziz, and when the Ikhwan attacked the British protectorates of Transjordan,Iraq and Kuwait, as a continuation of jihad to expand the Wahhabist realm, Abdul-Aziz struck, killing hundreds before the rebels surrendered in 1929.[132]

Connection with the outside

Before Abdul-Aziz, during most of the second half of the 19th century, there was a strong aversion in Wahhabi lands to mixing with “idolaters” (which included most of the Muslim world). Voluntary contact was considered by Wahhabi clerics to be at least a sin, and if one enjoyed the company of idolaters, and “approved of their religion”, an act of unbelief.[133] Travel outside the pale of Najd to the Ottoman lands “was tightly controlled, if not prohibited altogether”.[134]

Over the course of its history, however, Wahhabism has become more accommodating towards the outside world.[135] In the late 1800s, Wahhabis found Muslims with at least similar beliefs – first with Ahl-i Hadith in India,[136]and later with Islamic revivalists in Arab states (one being Mahmud Sahiri al-Alusi in Baghdad).[137] The revivalists and Wahhabis shared a common interest in Ibn Taymiyya‘s thought, the permissibility of ijtihad, and the need to purify worship practices of innovation.[138] In the 1920s, Rashid Rida, a pioneer Salafist whose periodical al-Manar was widely read in the Muslim world, published an “anthology of Wahhabi treatises,” and a work praising the Ibn Saud as “the savior of the Haramayn [the two holy cities] and a practitioner of authentic Islamic rule”.[139][140]

In a bid “to join the Muslim mainstream and to erase the reputation of extreme sectarianism associated with the Ikhwan,” in 1926 Ibn Saud convened a Muslim congress of representatives of Muslim governments and popular associations.[141] By the early 1950s, the “pressures” on Ibn Saud of controlling the regions of Hejaz and al-Hasa – “outside the Wahhabi heartland” – and of “navigating the currents of regional politics” “punctured the seal” between the Wahhabi heartland and the “land of idolatry” outside.[142][143]

A major current in regional politics at that time was secular nationalism, which, with Gamal Abdul Nasser, was sweeping the Arab world. To combat it, Wahhabi missionary outreach worked closely with Saudi foreign policy initiatives. In May 1962, a conference in Mecca organized by Saudis discussed ways to combat secularism and socialism. In its wake, the World Muslim League was established.[144] To propagate Islam and “repel inimical trends and dogmas”, the League opened branch offices around the globe.[145] It developed closer association between Wahhabis and leading Salafis, and made common cause with the Islamic revivalist Muslim Brotherhood, Ahl-i Hadith and the Jamaat-i Islami, combating Sufism and “innovative” popular religious practices[144] and rejecting the West and Western “ways which were so deleterious of Muslim piety and values.”[146] Missionaries were sent to West Africa, where the League funded schools, distributed religious literature, and gave scholarships to attend Saudi religious universities. One result was the Izala Society which fought Sufism in Nigeria, Chad, Niger, and Cameroon.[147]

An event that had a great effect on Wahhabism in Saudi Arabia[148] was the “infiltration of the transnationalist revival movement” in the form of thousands of pious, Islamist Arab Muslim Brotherhood refugees from Egypt following Nasser’s clampdown on the brotherhood[149] (and also from similar nationalist clampdowns in Iraq[150] and Syria[151]), to help staff the new school system of (the largely illiterate) Kingdom.[152]

The Brotherhood’s Islamist ideology differed from the more conservative Wahhabism which preached loyal obedience to the king. The Brotherhood dealt in what one author (Robert Lacey) called “change-promoting concepts” like social justice, and anticolonialism, and gave “a radical, but still apparently safe, religious twist” to the Wahhabi values Saudi students “had absorbed in childhood”. With the Brotherhood’s “hands-on, radical Islam”, jihad became a “practical possibility today”, not just part of history.[153]

The Brethren were ordered by the Saudi clergy and government not to attempt to proselytize or otherwise get involved in religious doctrinal matters within the Kingdom, but nonetheless “took control” of Saudi Arabia’s intellectual life” by publishing books and participating in discussion circles and salons held by princes.[154] In time they took leading roles in key governmental ministries,[155] and had influence on education curriculum.[156] An Islamic university in Medina created in 1961 to train – mostly non-Saudi – proselytizers to Wahhabism,[157] became “a haven” for Muslim Brother refugees from Egypt.[158] The Brothers’ ideas eventually spread throughout the kingdom and had great effect on Wahhabism – although observers differ as to whether this was by “undermining” it[148][159] or “blending” with it.[160][161]

Growth

In the 1950s and 60s within Saudi Arabia, the Wahhabi ulama maintained their hold on religious law courts, and presided over the creation of Islamic universities and a public school system which gave students “a heavy dose of religious instruction”.[162] Outside of Saudi the Wahhabi ulama became “less combative” toward the rest of the Muslim world. In confronting the challenge of the West, Wahhabi doctrine “served well” for many Muslims as a “platform” and “gained converts beyond the peninsula.”[162][163]

A number of reasons have been given for this success. The growth in popularity and strength of both Arab nationalism (although Wahhabis opposed any form of nationalism as an ideology, Saudis were Arabs, and their enemy the Ottoman caliphate was ethnically Turkish),[32] and Islamic reform (specifically reform by following the example of those first three generations of Muslims known as the Salaf);[32] the destruction of the Ottoman Empire which sponsored their most effective critics;[164] the destruction of another rival, the Khilafa in Hejaz, in 1925.[32]

Not least in importance was the money Saudi Arabia earned from exporting oil.[84]

Petroleum export era

See also: Petro-Islam

The pumping and export of oil from Saudi Arabia started during World War II, and its earnings helped fund religious activities in the 1950s and 60s. But it was the 1973 oil crisis and quadrupling in the price of oil that both increased the kingdom’s wealth astronomically and enhanced its prestige by demonstrating its international power as a leader of OPEC. By 1980, Saudi Arabia was earning every three days the income from oil it had taken a year to earn before the embargo.[165] Tens of billions of US dollars of this money were spent on books, media, schools, scholarships for students (from primary to post-graduate), fellowships and subsidies to reward journalists, academics and Islamic scholars, the building of hundreds of Islamic centers and universities, and over one thousand schools and one thousand mosques.[166][167] [168] During this time, Wahhabism attained what Gilles Kepel called a “preeminent position of strength in the global expression of Islam.”[84]

Afghanistan jihad

The “apex of cooperation” between Wahhabis and Muslim revivalist groups was the Afghan jihad.[169]

In December 1979, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. Shortly thereafter, Abdullah Yusuf Azzam, a Muslim Brother cleric with ties to Saudi religious institutions,[170] issued a fatwa[171] declaring defensive jihad in Afghanistan against the atheist Soviet Union, “fard ayn”, a personal (or individual) obligation for all Muslims. The edict was supported by Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti (highest religious scholar), Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz, among others.[172][173]

Between 1982 and 1992 an estimated 35,000 individual Muslim volunteers went to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets and their Afghan regime. Thousands more attended frontier schools teeming with former and future fighters. Somewhere between 12,000 and 25,000 of these volunteers came from Saudi Arabia.[174] Saudi Arabia and the other conservative Gulf monarchies also provided considerable financial support to the jihad — $600 million a year by 1982.[175]

By 1989, Soviet troops had withdrawn and within a few years the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul had collapsed.[citation needed]

This Saudi/Wahhabi religious triumph further stood out in the Muslim world because many Muslim-majority states (and the PLO) were allied with the Soviet Union and did not support the Afghan jihad.[176] But many jihad volunteers (most famously Osama bin Laden) returning home to Saudi and elsewhere were often radicalized by Islamic militants who were “much more extreme than their Saudi sponsors.”[176]

“Erosion” of Wahhabism

Grand Mosque seizure

Main article: Grand Mosque Seizure

In 1979, 400–500 Islamist insurgents, using smuggled weapons and supplies, took over the Grand mosque in Mecca, called for an overthrow of the monarchy, denounced the Wahhabi ulama as royal puppets, and announced the arrival of the Mahdi of “end time“. The insurgents deviated from Wahhabi doctrine in significant details,[177] but were also associated with leading Wahhabi ulama (Abd al-Aziz ibn Baz knew the insurgent’s leader, Juhayman al-Otaybi).[178] Their seizure of Islam‘s holiest site, the taking hostage of hundreds of hajj pilgrims, and the deaths of hundreds of militants, security forces and hostages caught in crossfire during the two-week-long retaking of the mosque, all shocked the Islamic world[179] and did not enhance the prestige of Al Saud as “custodians” of the mosque.

The incident also damaged all the prestige of the Wahhabi establishment. Saudi leadership sought and received Wahhabi fatawa to approve the military removal of the insurgents and after that to execute them.[180] But Wahhabi clerics also fell under suspicion for involvement with the insurgents.[181] In part as a consequence, Sahwa clerics influenced by Brethren’s ideas were given freer rein. Their ideology was also thought more likely to compete with the recent Islamic revolutionism/third-worldism of the Iranian Revolution.[181]

Although the insurgents were motivated by religious puritanism, the incident was not followed by a crackdown on other religious purists, but by giving greater power to the ulama and religious conservatives to more strictly enforce Islamic codes in myriad ways[182] – from the banning of women’s images in the media to adding even more hours of Islamic studies in school and giving more power and money to the religious police to enforce conservative rules of behaviour.[183][184][185]

1990 Gulf War

In August 1990 Iraq invaded and annexed Kuwait. Concerned that Saddam Hussein might push south and seize its own oil fields, Saudis requested military support from the US and allowed tens of thousands of US troops to be based in the Kingdom to fight Iraq.[186]

But what “amounted to seeking infidels’ assistance against a Muslim power” was difficult to justify in terms of Wahhabi doctrine.[187][188]

Again Saudi authorities sought and received a fatwa from leading Wahhabi ulama supporting their action. The fatwa failed to persuade many conservative Muslims and ulama who strongly opposed US presence, including the Muslim Brotherhood-supported the Sahwah “Awakening” movement that began pushing for political change in the Kingdom.[189] Outside the kingdom, Islamist/Islamic revival groups that had long received aid from Saudi and had ties with Wahhabis (Arab jihadists, Pakistani and Afghan Islamists) supported Iraq, not Saudi.[190]

During this time and later, many in the Wahhabi/Salafi movement (such as Osama bin Laden) not only no longer looked to the Saudi monarch as an emir of Islam, but supported his overthrow, focusing on jihad (Salafist jihadists) against the US and (what they believe are) other enemies of Islam.[191][192] (This movement is sometimes called neo-Wahhabi or neo-salafi.[57][193])

After 9/11

The 2001 9/11 attacks on Saudi’s putative ally, the US, that killed almost 3,000 people and caused at least $10 billion in property and infrastructure damage[194] were assumed by many, at least outside the kingdom, to be “an expression of Wahhabism”, since the Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and most of the 9/11 hijackers were Saudi nationals.[195] A backlash in the formerly hospitable US against the kingdom focused on its official religion that came to be considered by “some … a doctrine of terrorism and hate.”[89]

Inside the kingdom, Crown Prince Abdullah addressed the country’s religious, tribal, business and media leadership following the attacks in a series of televised gatherings calling for a strategy to correct what has gone wrong. According to author Robert Lacey, the gatherings and later articles and replies by a top cleric, Abdullah Turki, and two top Al Saud princes, Prince Turki Al-Faisal, Prince Talal bin Abdul Aziz, served as an occasion to sort out who had the ultimate power in the kingdom – the Al Saud dynasty and not the ulema. It was declared that it has always been the role of executive rulers in Islamic history to exercise power and the job of the religious scholars to advise, never to govern.[196]

In 2003–04, Saudi Arabia saw a wave of Al-Qaeda-related suicide bombings, attacks on Non-Muslim foreigners (about 80% of those employed in the Saudi private sector are foreign workers[197] and constitute about 30% of the country’s population[198]) and gun battles between Saudi security forces and militants. One reaction to the attacks was a trimming back of the Wahhabi establishment’s domination of religion and society. “National Dialogues” were held that “included Shiites, Sufis, liberal reformers, and professional women.”[199] In 2009, as part of what some called an effort to “take on the ulema and reform the clerical establishment”, King Abdullah issued a decree that only “officially approved” religious scholars would be allowed to issue fatwas in Saudi Arabia. The king also expanded the Council of Senior Scholars (containing officially approved religious scholars) to include scholars fromSunni schools of Islamic jurisprudence other than the Hanbali madhabShafi’i, Hanafi and Maliki schools.[200]

Relations with the Muslim Brotherhood have deteriorated steadily. After 9/11, the then interior minister Prince Nayef, blamed the Brotherhood for extremism in the kingdom,[201] and he declared it guilty of “betrayal of pledges and ingratitude” and “the source of all problems in the Islamic world”, after it was elected to power in Egypt.[202] In March 2014 the Saudi government declared the Brotherhood a “terrorist organization”.[186]

In April 2016, Saudi Arabia has stripped its religious police, who enforce Islamic law on the society and known as the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice), from their power to follow, chase, stop, question, verify identification, or arrest any suspected persons when carrying out duties. They are asked to only report suspicious behaviour to regular police and anti-drug units, who will decide whether to take the matter further.[203][204]

Memoirs of Mr. Hempher

A widely circulated but discredited apocryphal description of the founding of Wahhabism[205][206] known as Memoirs of Mr. Hempher, The British Spy to the Middle East (other titles have been used),[207] alleges that a British agent named Hempher was responsible for creation of Wahhabism. In the “memoir”, Hempher corrupts Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, manipulating him[208] to preach his new interpretation of Islam for the purpose of sowing dissension and disunity among Muslims so that “We, the English people, … may live in welfare and luxury.”[207]

Practices

As a religious revivalist movement that works to bring Muslims back from what it believes are foreign accretions that have corrupted Islam,[209] and believes that Islam is a complete way of life and so has prescriptions for all aspects of life, Wahhabism is quite strict in what it considers Islamic behavior. As a result, it has been described as the “strictest form of Sunni Islam”.[210]

This does not mean however, that all adherents agree on what is required or forbidden, or that rules have not varied by area or changed over time. In Saudi Arabia the strict religious atmosphere of Wahhabi doctrine is visible in the conformity in dress, public deportment, and public prayer,[211] and makes its presence felt by the wide freedom of action of the “religious police“, clerics in mosques, teachers in schools, and judges (who are religious legal scholars) in Saudi courts.[212]

Commanding right and forbidding wrong

Wahhabism is noted for its policy of “compelling its own followers and other Muslims strictly to observe the religious duties of Islam, such as the five prayers”, and for “enforcement of public morals to a degree not found elsewhere”.[213]

While other Muslims might urge abstention from alcohol, modest dress, and salat prayer, for Wahhabis prayer “that is punctual, ritually correct, and communally performed not only is urged but publicly required of men.” Not only is wine forbidden, but so are “all intoxicating drinks and other stimulants, including tobacco.” Not only is modest dress prescribed, but the type of clothing that should be worn, especially by women (a black abaya, covering all but the eyes and hands) is specified.[75]

Following the preaching and practice of Abdul Wahhab that coercion should be used to enforce following of sharia, an official committee has been empowered to “Command the Good and Forbid the Evil” (the so-called “religious police”)[213][214] in Saudi Arabia – the one country founded with the help of Wahhabi warriors and whose scholars and pious[citation needed] dominate many aspects of the Kingdom’s life. Committee “field officers” enforce strict closing of shops at prayer time, segregation of the sexes, prohibition of the sale and consumption of alcohol, driving of motor vehicles by women, and other social restrictions.[215]

A large number of practices have been reported forbidden by Saudi Wahhabi officials, preachers or religious police. Practices that have been forbidden as Bida’a (innovation) or shirk and sometimes “punished by flogging” during Wahhabi history include performing or listening to music, dancing, fortune telling, amulets, television programs (unless religious), smoking, playing backgammon, chess, or cards, drawing human or animal figures, acting in a play or writing fiction (both are considered forms of lying), dissecting cadavers (even in criminal investigations and for the purposes of medical research), recorded music played over telephones on hold or the sending of flowers to friends or relatives who are in the hospital.[121][216][217][218][219][220] Common Muslim practices Wahhabis believe are contrary to Islam include listening to music in praise of Muhammad, praying to God while visiting tombs (including the tomb of Muhammad), celebrating mawlid (birthday of the Prophet),[221] the use of ornamentation on or in mosques.[222] The driving of motor vehicles by women is allowed in every country but Wahhabi-dominated Saudi Arabia[223] and the famously strict Taliban practiced dream interpretation is discouraged by Wahhabis.[224]

Wahhabism emphasizes “Thaqafah Islamiyyah” or Islamic culture and the importance of avoiding non-Islamic cultural practices and non-Muslim friendship no matter how innocent these may appear,[225][226] on the grounds that the Sunna forbids imitating non-Muslims.[227] Foreign practices sometimes punished and sometimes simply condemned by Wahhabi preachers as unIslamic, include celebrating foreign days (such as Valentine’s Day[228] orMothers Day[225][227]) shaving, cutting or trimming of beards,[229] giving of flowers,[230] standing up in honor of someone, celebrating birthdays (including the Prophet’s), keeping or petting dogs.[219] Wahhabi scholars have warned against taking non-Muslims as friends, smiling at or wishing them well on their holidays.[71]

Wahhabis are not in unanimous agreement on what is forbidden as sin. Some Wahhabi preachers or activists go further than the official Saudi Arabian Council of Senior Scholars in forbidding (what they believe to be) sin. Several wahhabis have declared football forbidden for a variety of reasons including it is a non-Muslim, foreign practice, because of the revealing uniforms and because of the foreign non-Muslim language used in matches.[231][232] The Saudi Grand Mufti, on the other hand has declared football permissible (halal). [233]

Senior Wahhabi leaders in Saudi Arabia have determined that Islam forbids the traveling or working outside the home by a woman without their husband’s permission – permission which may be revoked at any time – on the grounds that the different physiological structures and biological functions of the different genders mean that each sex is assigned a different role to play in the family.[234] As mentioned before, Wahhabism also forbids the driving of motor vehicles by women. Sexual intercourse out of wedlock may be punished with beheading[235] although sex out of wedlock is permissible with a slave women (Prince Bandar bin Sultan was the product of “a brief encounter” between his father Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz – the Saudi defense minister for many years – and “his slave, a black servingwoman”),[236] or was before slavery was banned in Saudi Arabia in 1962.[237]

Despite this strictness, senior Wahhabi scholars of Islam in the Saudi kingdom have made exceptions in ruling on what is haram. Foreign non-Muslim troops are forbidden in Arabia, except when the king needed them to confront Saddam Hussein in 1990; gender mixing of men and women is forbidden, and fraternization with non-Muslims is discouraged, but not at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). Movie theaters and driving by women are forbidden, except at the ARAMCO compound in eastern Saudi, populated by workers for the company that provides almost all the government’s revenue. The exceptions made at KAUST are also in effect at ARAMCO.[238]

More general rules of what is permissible have changed over time. Abdul-Aziz Ibn Saud imposed Wahhabi doctrines and practices “in a progressively gentler form” as his early 20th-century conquests expanded his state into urban areas, especially the Hejab.[239] After vigorous debate Wahhabi religious authorities in Saudi Arabia allowed the use of paper money (in 1951), the abolition of slavery (in 1962), education of females (1964), and use of television (1965).[237] Music, the sound of which once might have led to summary execution, is now commonly heard on Saudi radios. [239] Minarets for mosques and use of funeral markers, which were once forbidden, are now allowed. Prayer attendance which was once enforced by flogging, is no longer.[240]

Appearance

The uniformity of dress among men and women in Saudi Arabia (compared to other Muslim countries in the Middle East) has been called a “striking example of Wahhabism’s outward influence on Saudi society”, and an example of the Wahhabi belief that “outward appearances and expressions are directly connected to one’s inward state.”[222] The “long, white flowing thobe” worn by men of Saudi Arabia has been called the “Wahhabi national dress”.[241]Red-and-white checkered or white head scarves known as Ghutrah are worn. In public women are required to wear a black abaya or other black clothing that covers every part of their body other than hands and eyes.

A “badge” of a particularly pious Salafi or Wahhabi man is a robe too short to cover the ankle, an untrimmed beard,[242] and no cord (Agal) to hold the head scarf in place.[243] The warriors of the Ikhwan Wahhabi religious militia wore a white turban in place of an agal.[244]

Wahhabiyya mission

Wahhabi mission, or Dawah Wahhabiyya, is to spread purified Islam through the world, both Muslim and non-Muslim. [245] Tens of billions of dollars have been spent by the Saudi government and charities on mosques, schools, education materials, scholarships, throughout the world to promote Islam and the Wahhabi interpretation of it. Tens of thousands of volunteers[174] and several billion dollars also went in support of the jihad against the atheist communist regime governing Muslim Afghanistan.[175]

Regions

Wahhabism originated in the Najd region, and its conservative practices have stronger support there than in regions in the kingdom to the east or west of it.[246][247][248] Glasse credits the softening of some Wahhabi doctrines and practices on the conquest of the Hejaz region “with its more cosmopolitan traditions and the traffic of pilgrims which the new rulers could not afford to alienate”.[239]

The only other country “whose native population is Wahhabi and that adheres to the Wahhabi creed”, is the small gulf monarchy of Qatar,[249][250] whose version of Wahhabism is notably less strict. Unlike Saudi Arabia, Qatar made significant changes in the 1990s. Women are now allowed to drive and travel independently; non-Muslims are permitted to consume alcohol and pork. The country sponsors a film festival, has “world-class art museums”, hosts Al Jazeera news service, will hold the 2022 football World Cup, and has no religious force that polices public morality. Qatari’s attribute its different interpretation of Islam to the absence of an indigenous clerical class and autonomous bureaucracy (religious affairs authority, endowments, Grand Mufti), the fact that Qatari rulers do not derive their legitimacy from such a class.[250][251]

Views

Adherents to the Wahhabi movement identify as Sunni Muslims.[252] The primary Wahhabi doctrine is affirmation of the uniqueness and unity of God (Tawhid),[22][253] and opposition toshirk (violation of tawhid – “the one unforgivable sin”, according to Ibn Abd Al-Wahhab).[254] They call for adherence to the beliefs and practices of the salaf (exemplary early Muslims). They strongly oppose what they consider to be heteredox doctrines, particularly those held by the vast majority of Sunnis and Shiites,[255] and practices such as the veneration of Prophets and saints in the Islamic tradition. They emphasize reliance on the literal meaning of the Quran and hadith, rejecting rationalistic theology (kalam). Wahhabism has been associated with the practice of takfir (labeling Muslims who disagree with their doctrines as apostates). Adherents of Wahhabism are favourable to derivation of new legal rulings (ijtihad) so long as it is true to the essence of the Quran, Sunnah and understanding of the salaf.[256]

Theology

In theology Wahhabism is closely aligned with the Athari (traditionalist) school, which represents the prevalent theological position of the Hanbali school of law.[257][258] Athari theology is characterized by reliance on the zahir (apparent or literal) meaning of the Quran and hadith, and opposition to the rational argumentation in matters of belief favored by Ash’ari andMaturidi theology.[259][260] However, Wahhabism diverges in some points of theology from other Athari movements.[261] These include a zealous tendency toward takfir, which bears a resemblance to the Kharijites.[261][262] Another distinctive feature is a strong opposition to mysticism.[261] Although it is typically attributed to the influence of Ibn Taymiyyah, Jeffry Halverson argues that Ibn Taymiyyah only opposed what he saw as Sufi excesses and never mysticism in itself, being himself a member of the Qadiriyyah Sufi order.[261] DeLong-Bas writes that Ibn Abd al-Wahhab did not denounce Sufism or Sufis as a group, but rather attacked specific practices which he saw as inconsistent with the Quran and hadith.[263]

Ibn Abd al-Wahhab considered some beliefs and practices of the Shia to violate the doctrine of monotheism.[264] According to DeLong-Bas, in his polemic against the “extremistRafidah sect of Shiis”, he criticized them for assigning greater authority to their current leaders than to Muhammad in interpreting the Quran and sharia, and for denying the validity of the consensus of the early Muslim community.[264] He also believed that the Shia doctrine of infallibility of the imams constituted associationism with God.[264]

David Commins describes the “pivotal idea” in Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s teaching as being that “Muslims who disagreed with his definition of monotheism were not … misguided Muslims, but outside the pale of Islam altogether.” This put Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s teaching at odds with that of most Muslims through history who believed that the “shahada” profession of faith (“There is no god but God, Muhammad is his messenger”) made one a Muslim, and that shortcomings in that person’s behavior and performance of other obligatory rituals rendered them “a sinner”, but “not an unbeliever.”

Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab did not accept that view. He argued that the criterion for one’s standing as either a Muslim or an unbeliever was correct worship as an expression of belief in one God. … any act or statement that indicates devotion to a being other than God is to associate another creature with God’s power, and that is tantamount to idolatry (shirk). Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab included in the category of such acts popular religious practices that made holy men into intercessors with God. That was the core of the controversy between him and his adversaries, including his own brother.[265]

In Ibn Abd al-Wahhab‘s major work, a small book called Kitab al-Tawhid, he states that worship in Islam is limited to conventional acts of worship such as the five daily prayers (salat); fasting for Ramadan (Sawm); Dua(supplication); Istia’dha (seeking protection or refuge); Ist’ana (seeking help), and Istigatha to Allah (seeking benefits and calling upon Allah alone). Worship beyond this – making du’a or tawassul – are acts of shirk and in violation of the tenets of Tawhid (montheism).[266][page needed][267]

Ibn Abd al-Wahahb’s justification for considering majority of Muslims of Arabia to be unbelievers, and for waging war on them, can be summed up as his belief that the original pagans the prophet Muhammad fought “affirmed that God is the creator, the sustainer and the master of all affairs; they gave alms, they performed pilgrimage and they avoided forbidden things from fear of God”. What made them pagans whose blood could be shed and wealth plundered was that “they sacrificed animals to other beings; they sought the help of other beings; they swore vows by other beings.” Someone who does such things even if their lives are otherwise exemplary is not a Muslim but an unbeliever (as Ibn Abd al-Wahahb believed). Once such people have received the call to “true Islam”, understood it and then rejected it, their blood and treasure are forfeit.[268][269]

This disagreement between Wahhabis and non-Wahhabi Muslims over the definition of worship and monotheism has remained much the same since 1740, according to David Commins,[265] although, according to Saudi writer and religious television show host Abdul Aziz Qassim, as of 2014, “there are changes happening within the [Wahhabi] doctrine and among its followers.”[53]

According to another source, defining aspects of Wahhabism include a very literal interpretation of the Quran and Sunnah and a tendency to reinforce local practices of the Najd.[270]

Whether the teachings of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab included the need for social renewal and “plans for socio-religious reform of society” in the Arabian Peninsula, rather than simply a return to “ritual correctness and moral purity”, is disputed.[271][272]

Jurisprudence (fiqh)

Of the four major sources in Sunni fiqh – the Quran, the Sunna, consensus (ijma), and analogical reasoning (qiyas) – Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s writings emphasized the Quran and Sunna. He used ijma only “in conjunction with its corroboration of the Quran and hadith”[273] (and giving preference to the ijma of Muhammad’s companions rather than the ijma of legal specialists after his time), and qiyas only in cases of extreme necessity.[274] He rejected deference to past juridical opinion (taqlid) in favor of independent reasoning (ijtihad), and opposed using local customs.[275] He urged his followers to “return to the primary sources” of Islam in order “to determine how the Quran and Muhammad dealt with specific situations”,[276] when using ijtihad. According to Edward Mortimer, it was imitation of past juridical opinion in the face of clear contradictory evidence from hadith or Qur’anic text that Ibn Abd al-Wahhab condemned.[277] Natana DeLong-Bas writes that the Wahhabi tendency to consider failure to abide by Islamic law as equivalent to apostasy was based on the ideology of Ibn Taymiyya rather than Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s preaching and emerged after the latter’s death.[278]

According to an expert on law in Saudi Arabia (Frank Vogel), Ibn Abd al-Wahhab himself “produced no unprecedented opinions”. The “Wahhabis’ bitter differences with other Muslims were not over fiqh rules at all, but over aqida, or theological positions”.[279] Scholar David Cummings also states that early disputes with other Muslims did not center on fiqh, and that the belief that the distinctive character of Wahhabism stems from Hanbali legal thought is a “myth”.[280]

Some scholars are ambivalent as to whether Wahhabis belong to the Hanbali legal school. The Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World maintains Wahhabis “rejected all jurisprudence that in their opinion did not adhere strictly to the letter of the Qur’an and the hadith”.[281] Cyril Glasse’s New Encyclopedia of Islam states that “strictly speaking”, Wahhabis “do not see themselves as belonging to any school,”[282] and that in doing so they correspond to the ideal aimed at by Ibn Hanbal, and thus they can be said to be of his ‘school’.[283] [284] According to DeLong-Bas, Ibn Abd al-Wahhab never directly claimed to be a Hanbali jurist, warned his followers about the dangers of adhering unquestionably to fiqh, and did not consider “the opinion of any law school to be binding.”[285] He did, however, follow the Hanbali methodology of judging everything not explicitly forbidden to be permissible, avoiding the use of analogical reasoning, and taking public interest and justice into consideration.[285]

Loyalty and disassociation

According to various sources—scholars,[47][286][287] [288] [289][290] former Saudi students, [291] Arabic-speaking/reading teachers who have had access to Saudi text books, [292] and journalists[293] – Ibn `Abd al Wahhab and his successors preach that theirs is the one true form of Islam. According to a doctrine known as al-wala` wa al-bara` (literally, “loyalty and disassociation”), Abd al-Wahhab argued that it was “imperative for Muslims not to befriend, ally themselves with, or imitate non-Muslims or heretical Muslims”, and that this “enmity and hostility of Muslims toward non-Muslims and heretical had to be visible and unequivocal”.[294][295] Even as late as 2003, entire pages in Saudi textbooks were devoted to explaining to undergraduates that all forms of Islam except Wahhabism were deviation,[292] although, according to one source (Hamid Algar) Wahhabis have “discreetly concealed” this view from other Muslims outside Saudi Arabia “over the years”.[287][296]

In reply, the Saudi Arabian government “has strenuously denied the above allegations”, including that “their government exports religious or cultural extremism or supports extremist religious education.”[297]

Politics

According to ibn Abdal-Wahhab there are three objectives for Islamic government and society: “to believe in Allah, enjoin good behavior, and forbid wrongdoing.” This doctrine has been sustained in missionary literature, sermons, fatwa rulings, and explications of religious doctrine by Wahhabis since the death of ibn Abdal-Wahhab.[75] Ibn Abd al-Wahhab saw a role for the imam, “responsible for religious matters”, and the amir, “in charge of political and military issues”.[298] (In Saudi history the imam has not been a religious preacher or scholar, but Muhammad ibn Saud[299] and subsequent Saudi rulers.[64][300])

He also taught that the Muslim ruler is owed unquestioned allegiance as a religious obligation from his people so long as he leads the community according to the laws of God. A Muslim must present a bayah, or oath of allegiance, to a Muslim ruler during his lifetime to ensure his redemption after death.[75][301] Any counsel given to a ruler from community leaders or ulama should be private, not through public acts such as petitions, demonstrations, etc. [302] [303] (This strict obedience can become problematic if a dynastic dispute arises and someone rebelling against the ruler succeeds and becomes the ruler, as happened in the late 19th century at the end of the second al-Saud state.[304] Is the successful rebel a ruler to be obeyed, or a usurper?[305])

While this gives the king wide power, respecting shari’a does impose limits, such as giving qadi (Islamic judges) independence. This means not interfering in their deliberations, but also not codifying laws, following precedents or establishing a uniform system of law courts – both of which violate the qadi’s independence.[306]

Wahhabis have traditionally given their allegiance to the House of Saud, but a movement of “Salafi jihadis” has developed among those who believe Al Saud has abandoned the laws of God.[191][192] According to Zubair Qamar, while the “standard view” is that “Wahhabis are apolitical and do not oppose the State”, there is/was another “strain” of Wahhabism that “found prominence among a group of Wahhabis after the fall of the second Saudi State in the 1800s”, and post 9/11 is associated with Jordanian/Palestinian scholar Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi and “Wahhabi scholars of the ‘Shu’aybi‘ school”.[307]

Wahhabis share the belief of Islamists such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Islamic dominion over politics and government and the importance of dawah (proselytizing or preaching of Islam) not just towards non-Muslims but towards erroring Muslims. However Wahhabi preachers are conservative and do not deal with concepts such as social justice, anticolonialism, or economic equality, expounded upon by Islamist Muslims.[308] Ibn Abdul Wahhab’s original pact promised whoever championed his message, ‘will, by means of it, rule and lands and men.'”[28]

Population

One of the more detailed estimates of religious population in the Arabic Gulf is by Mehrdad Izady who estimates, “using cultural and not confessional criteria”, only 4.56 million Wahhabis in the Persian Gulf region, about 4 million from Saudi Arabia, (mostly the Najd), and the rest coming overwhelmingly from the Emirates and Qatar.[30] Most Sunni Qataris are Wahhabis (46.9% of all Qataris)[30] and 44.8% of Emiratis are Wahhabis,[30] 5.7% of Bahrainisare Wahhabis, and 2.2% of Kuwaitis are Wahhabis.[30] They account for roughly 0.5% of the world’s Muslim population.[309]

Notable leaders

There has traditionally been a recognized head of the Wahhabi “religious estate”, often a member of Al ash-Sheikh (a descendant of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab) or related to another religious head. For example, Abd al-Latif was the son of Abd al-Rahman ibn Hasan.

  • Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1703–1792) was the founder of the Wahhabi movement.[310][311]
  • Abd Allah ibn Muhammad ibn Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab (1752–1826) was the head of Wahhabism after his father retired from public life in 1773. After the fall of the first Saudi emirate, Abd Allah went into exile in Cairo where he died.[310]
  • Sulayman ibn Abd Allah (1780–1818) was a grandson of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab and author of an influential treatise that restricted travel to and residing in land of idolaters (i.e. land outside of the Wahhabi area).[310]
  • Abd al-Rahman ibn Hasan (1780–1869) was head of the religious estate in the second Saudi emirate.[310]
  • Abd al-Latif ibn Abd al-Rahman (1810–1876) Head of religious estate in 1860 and early 1870s.[310]
  • Abd Allah ibn Abd al-Latif Al ash-Sheikh (1848–1921) was the head of religious estate during period of Rashidi rule and the early years of King Abd al-Aziz ibn Saud.[310]
  • Muhammad ibn Ibrahim Al ash-Sheikh (1893–1969) was the head of Wahhabism in mid twentieth century. He has been said to have “dominated the Wahhabi religious estate and enjoyed unrivaled religious authority.”[312]
  • Ghaliyya al-Wahhabiyya was a female military leader who defended Mecca against recapture by Ottoman forces.

In more recent times, a couple of Wahhabi clerics have risen to prominence that have no relation to ibn Abd al-Wahhab.

  • Abdul Aziz Bin Baz (1910–1999), has been called “the most prominent proponent” of Wahhabism during his time.[313]
  • Muhammad ibn al-Uthaymeen (1925–2001), another “giant”. According to David Dean Commins, no one “has emerged” with the same “degree of authority in the Saudi religious establishment” since their deaths.[313]

International influence and propagation

Explanation for influence

Khaled Abou El Fadl attributed the appeal of Wahhabism to some Muslims as stemming from

  • Arab nationalism, which followed the Wahhabi attack on the Ottoman Empire
  • Reformism, which followed a return to Salaf (as-Salaf aṣ-Ṣāliḥ);
  • Destruction of the Hejaz Khilafa in 1925;
  • Control of Mecca and Medina, which gave Wahhabis great influence on Muslim culture and thinking;
  • Oil, which after 1975 allowed Wahhabis to promote their interpretations of Islam using billions from oil export revenue.[314]

Scholar Gilles Kepel, agrees that the tripling in the price of oil in the mid-1970s and the progressive takeover of Saudi Aramco in the 1974–1980 period, provided the source of much influence of Wahhabism in the Islamic World.

… the financial clout of Saudi Arabia had been amply demonstrated during the oil embargo against the United States, following the Arab-Israeli war of 1973. This show of international power, along with the nation’s astronomical increase in wealth, allowed Saudi Arabia’s puritanical, conservative Wahhabite faction to attain a preeminent position of strength in the global expression of Islam. Saudi Arabia’s impact on Muslims throughout the world was less visible than that of Khomeini]s Iran, but the effect was deeper and more enduring. …. it reorganized the religious landscape by promoting those associations and ulemas who followed its lead, and then, by injecting substantial amounts of money into Islamic interests of all sorts, it won over many more converts. Above all, the Saudis raised a new standard – the virtuous Islamic civilization – as foil for the corrupting influence of the West.[84]

Funding factor

Estimates of Saudi spending on religious causes abroad include “upward of $100 billion”;[315] between $2 and 3 billion per year since 1975 (compared to the annual Soviet propaganda budget of $1 billion/year);[316] and “at least $87 billion” from 1987–2007.[317]

Its largesse funded an estimated “90% of the expenses of the entire faith”, throughout the Muslim World, according to journalist Dawood al-Shirian.[318] It extended to young and old, from children’s madrasas to high-level scholarship.[319] “Books, scholarships, fellowships, mosques” (for example, “more than 1,500 mosques were built from Saudi public funds over the last 50 years”) were paid for.[320] It rewarded journalists and academics, who followed it and built satellite campuses around Egypt for Al Azhar, the oldest and most influential Islamic university.[167] Yahya Birt counts spending on “1,500 mosques, 210 Islamic centres and dozens of Muslim academies and schools”.[316][321]

This financial aid has done much to overwhelm less strict local interpretations of Islam, according to observers like Dawood al-Shirian and Lee Kuan Yew,[318] and has caused the Saudi interpretation (sometimes called “petro-Islam”[322]) to be perceived as the correct interpretation—or the “gold standard” of Islam—in many Muslims’ minds.[323][324]

Militant and political Islam

According to counter-terrorism scholar Thomas F. Lynch III, Sunni extremists perpetrated about 700 terror attacks killing roughly 7,000 people from 1981–2006.[325] What connection, if any, there is between Wahhabism and theJihadi Salafis such as Al-Qaeda who carried out these attacks, is disputed.

Natana De Long-Bas, senior research assistant at the Prince Alwaleed Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, argues:

The militant Islam of Osama bin Laden did not have its origins in the teachings of Ibn Abd-al-Wahhab and was not representative of Wahhabi Islam as it is practiced in contemporary Saudi Arabia, yet for the media it came to define Wahhabi Islam during the later years of bin Laden’s lifetime. However “unrepresentative” bin Laden’s global jihad was of Islam in general and Wahhabi Islam in particular, its prominence in headline news took Wahhabi Islam across the spectrum from revival and reform to global jihad.[326]

Noah Feldman distinguishes between what he calls the “deeply conservative” Wahhabis and what he calls the “followers of political Islam in the 1980s and 1990s,” such as Egyptian Islamic Jihad and later Al-Qaeda leaderAyman al-Zawahiri. While Saudi Wahhabis were “the largest funders of local Muslim Brotherhood chapters and other hard-line Islamists” during this time, they opposed jihadi resistance to Muslim governments and assassination of Muslim leaders because of their belief that “the decision to wage jihad lay with the ruler, not the individual believer”.[327]

Karen Armstrong states that Osama bin Laden, like most extremists, followed the ideology of Sayyid Qutb, not “Wahhabism”.[328]

More recently the self-declared “Islamic State” in Iraq and Syria headed by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has been described as both more violent than al-Qaeda and more closely aligned with Wahhabism.

For their guiding principles, the leaders of the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, are open and clear about their almost exclusive commitment to the Wahhabi movement of Sunni Islam. The group circulates images of Wahhabi religious textbooks from Saudi Arabia in the schools it controls. Videos from the group’s territory have shown Wahhabi texts plastered on the sides of an official missionary van.[329]

According to scholar Bernard Haykel, “for Al Qaeda, violence is a means to an ends; for ISIS, it is an end in itself.” Wahhabism is the Islamic State’s “closest religious cognate.”[329]

The Sunni militant groups worldwide that are associated with the Wahhabi ideology include: Al-Shabaab, Ansar Dine, Al-Qaeda, Boko Haram, and ISIS.[citation needed]

Criticism and controversy

Criticism by other Muslims

Among the criticism, or comments made by critics, of the Wahhabi movement are:

  • That it is not so much strict and uncompromising as aberrant,[330] going beyond the bounds of Islam in its restricted definition of tawhid (monotheism), and much too willing to commit takfir (declare non-Muslim and subject to execution) Muslims it found in violation of Islam[331] (in the second Wahhabi-Saudi jihad/conquest of the Arabian peninsula, an estimated 400,000 were killed or wounded according to some estimates[119][120][121][122]);
  • That bin Saud’s agreement to wage jihad to spread Ibn Abdul Wahhab’s teachings had more to do with traditional Najd practice of raiding – “instinctive fight for survival and appetite for lucre” – than with religion;[332]
  • That it has no connection to other Islamic revival movements;[333]
  • That unlike other revivalists, its founder Abd ul-Wahhab showed little scholarship – writing little and making even less commentary;[334]
  • That its rejection of the “orthodox” belief in saints, which had become a cardinal doctrine in Sunni Islam very early on,[335][336][337] represents a departure from something which has been an “integral part of Islam … for over a millennium.”[338][339] In this connection, mainstream Sunni scholars also critique the Wahhabi citing of Ibn Taymiyyah as an authority when Ibn Taymiyyah himself adhered to the belief in the existence of saints;[340]
  • That its contention towards visiting the tombs and shrines of prophets and saints and the seeking of their intercession, violate tauhid al-‘ibada (directing all worship to God alone) has no basis in tradition, in consensus or inhadith, and that even if it did, it would not be grounds for excluding practitioners of ziyara and tawassul from Islam;[331]
  • That its use of Ibn Hanbal, Ibn al-Qayyim, and even Ibn Taymiyyah‘s name to support its stance is inappropriate, as it is historically known that all three of these men revered many aspects of Sufism, save that the latter two critiqued certain practices among the Sufis of their time. Those who criticize this aspect of Wahhabism often refer to the group’s use of Ibn Hanbal’s name to be a particularly egregious error, arguing that the jurist’s love for the relics of Muhammad, for the intercession of the Prophet, and for the Sufis of his time is well established in Islamic tradition;[341]
  • That historically Wahhabis have had a suspicious willingness to ally itself with non-Muslim powers (specifically America and Britain), and in particular to ignore the encroachments into Muslim territory of a non-Muslim imperial power (the British) while waging jihad and weakening the Muslim Caliphate of the Ottomans;[342][343] and
  • That Wahhabi strictness in matters of hijab and separation of the sexes has led not to a more pious and virtuous Saudi Arabia, but to a society showing a very un-Islamic lack of respect towards women.

Initial opposition

The first people to oppose Muhammad Ibn Abd al-Wahhab were his father Abd al-Wahhab and his brother Salman Ibn Abd al-Wahhab who was an Islamic scholar and qadi. Ibn Abd al-Wahhab’s brother wrote a book in refutation of his brother’s new teachings, called: “The Final Word from the Qur’an, the Hadith, and the Sayings of the Scholars Concerning the School of Ibn `Abd al-Wahhab”, also known as: “Al-Sawa`iq al-Ilahiyya fi Madhhab al-Wahhabiyya” (“The Divine Thunderbolts Concerning the Wahhabi School”).[344]

In “The Refutation of Wahhabism in Arabic Sources, 1745–1932”,[344] Hamadi Redissi provides original references to the description of Wahhabis as a divisive sect (firqa) and outliers (Kharijites) in communications between Ottomans and Egyptian Khedive Muhammad Ali. Redissi details refutations of Wahhabis by scholars (muftis); among them Ahmed Barakat Tandatawin, who in 1743 describes Wahhabism as ignorance (Jahala).

Shi’a opposition

Al-Baqi’ mausoleum reportedly contained the bodies of Hasan ibn Ali (a grandson ofMuhammad) and Fatimah (the daughter of Muhammad).

In 1801 and 1802, the Saudi Wahhabis under Abdul Aziz ibn Muhammad ibn Saud attacked and captured the holy Shia cities of Karbala and Najaf in Iraq and destroyed the tombs ofHusayn ibn Ali who is the grandson of Muhammad, and Ali (Ali bin Abu Talib), the son-in-law of Muhammad (see: Saudi sponsorship mentioned previously). In 1803 and 1804 the Saudis captured Mecca and Madinah and demolished various tombs of Ahl al-Bayt and Sahabah, ancient monuments, ruins according to Wahhabis, they “removed a number of what were seen as sources or possible gateways to polytheism or shirk” – such as the tomb of Fatimah, the daughter of Muhammad. In 1998 the Saudis bulldozed and poured gasoline over the grave of Aminah bint Wahb, the mother of Muhammad, causing resentment throughout the Muslim World.[345][346][347]

Shi’a Muslims complain that Wahhabis and their teachings are a driving force behind sectarian violence and anti-Shia targeted killings in many countries such as Iraq, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Yemen. Worldwide Saudi run, sponsored mosques and Islamic schools teach Wahhabi version of the Sunni Islam that labels Shia Muslims, Sufis, Christians, Jews and others as either apostates or infidels, thus paving a way for armed jihad against them by any means necessary till their death or submission to the Wahhabi doctrine. Wahhabis consider Shi’ites to be the archenemies of Islam.[348][349]

Wahhabism is a major factor behind the rise of such groups as al-Qaeda, ISIS, and Boko Haram, while also inspiring movements such as the Taliban.[350][351][352]

Sunni opposition

The historical Ajyad Fortress of the Ottoman Empire above was razed in 2002 to in order to permit the construction of the Abraj Al Bait hotel complex in Mecca below.

One early rebuttal of Wahhabism, (by Sunni jurist Ibn Jirjis) argued that “Whoever declares that there is no god but God and prays toward Mecca is a believer”, supplicating the dead is permitted because it is not a form of worship but merely calling out to them, and that worship at graves is not idolatry unless the supplicant believes that buried saints have the power to determine the course of events. These arguments were specifically rejected as heretical by the Wahhabi leader at the time. [353]

The Syrian professor and scholar Dr. Muhammad Sa’id Ramadan al-Buti criticises the Salafi movement in a few of his works.[354]

Malaysia’s largest Islamic body, the National Fatwa Council, has described Wahhabism as being against Sunni teachings, Dr Abdul Shukor Husin, chairman of the National Fatwa Council, said Wahhabi followers were fond of declaring Muslims of other schools as apostates merely on the grounds that they did not conform to Wahhabi teachings.[355]

Among Sunni Muslims, the groups and organizations worldwide that oppose the Wahhabi ideology include: Al Ahbash, Al-Azhar, Ahlu Sunna Waljama’a, Barelvi, Nahdlatul Ulama,Gülen movement, and Ansar dine.[citation needed]

The Sufi Islamic Supreme Council of America founded by the Naqshbandi Sufi Shaykh Hisham Kabbani classify Wahhabism as being extremist and heretical based on Wahhabism’s role as a terrorist ideology and labelling of other Muslims, especially Sufis as polytheists, a practice known as Takfir.[356][357][358][359]

Non-religious motivations

According to at least one critic, the 1744–1745 alliance between Ibn Abdul Wahhab and the tribal chief Muhammad bin Saud to wage jihad on neighboring allegedly false-Muslims, was a “consecration” by Ibn Abdul Wahhab of bin Saud tribe’s long standing raids on neighboring oases by “renaming those raids jihad.” Part of the Najd’s “Hobbesian state of perpetual war pitted Bedouin tribes against one another for control of the scarce resources that could stave off starvation.” And a case of substituting fath, “the ‘opening’ or conquest of a vast territory through religious zeal”, for the “instinctive fight for survival and appetite for lucre.” [332]

Wahhabism in the United States

A study conducted by the NGO Freedom House found Wahhabi publications in mosques in the United States. These publications included statements that Muslims should not only “always oppose” infidels “in every way”, but “hate them for their religion … for Allah’s sake”, that democracy “is responsible for all the horrible wars… the number of wars it started in the 20th century alone is more than 130 wars,” and that Shia and certain Sunni Muslims were infidels.[360][361] In a response to the report, the Saudi government stated, “[It has] worked diligently during the last five years to overhaul its education system” but “[o]verhauling an educational system is a massive undertaking.”[362]

A review of the study by the Muslim Brotherhood affiliated[363] Institute for Social Policy and Understanding (ISPU) complained the study cited documents from only a few mosques, arguing most mosques in the U.S. are not under Wahhabi influence.[364] ISPU comments on the study were not entirely negative however, and concluded:

American-Muslim leaders must thoroughly scrutinize this study. Despite its limitations, the study highlights an ugly undercurrent in modern Islamic discourse that American-Muslims must openly confront. However, in the vigor to expose strains of extremism, we must not forget that open discussion is the best tool to debunk the extremist literature rather than a suppression of First Amendment rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.[364]

Concern has been expressed over the fact that U.S. university branches, like the Georgetown School of Foreign Service and the Northwestern school of Journalism, housed in the wahabbi country of Qatar, are exposed to the extremist propaganda espoused by wahabist imams who preach at the Qatar Foundation mosque in Education City. Education City, a large campus where U.S. and European universities reside, hosted a series of religious prayers and lectures as part of a month-long annual Ramadan program in 2015. The prayers and lectures were held at the new lavish mosque in Doha’s Education City, which shares the same campus as prestigious schools in the U.S. like Texas A&M and Carnegie Mellon. Among those who attended the lectures was a Saudi preacher who has described the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris as “the sequel to the comedy film of 9/11 “and another cleric who says, “Jews and their helpers must be destroyed.”[365] The mosque in education city has also been known to host extremist anti-semetic wahabbi preachers who speak against “Zionist aggressors” in their sermons and called upon Allah “to count them in number and kill them completely, do not spare a [single] one of them.”[365] There are further allegations which suggest that Qatar sent professors back to America for being Jewish[366] and that students attending American Universities in Qatar are required to dress in a manner that is respectful to Wahhabism.[367]

European expansion

There has been much concern, expressed in both American and European media and scholarship, over the fact that Wahhabi countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been financing mosques and buying up land all over Europe. Belgium, Ireland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and Italy have all noted the growing influence that these Wahhabi countries have over territory and religion in Europe.[368]

The concern resonates at a local level in Europe as well. In 2016, the citizens of Brussels, Belgium overturned a 2015 decision to build a 600-person mosque next to the Qatari embassy. Fear largely emanates from the fact that Belgian citizens see the mosque as an opportunity for a Wahhabi country to exert control over Muslims in Europe, thus spreading the more extreme sect of Islam.[368]

Several articles have been written that list the Cork Islamic Cultural Center as an example of one of many properties throughout Europe, paid for by the Qatari government, in an effort to spread an extreme and intolerant form of Islam known as Wahhabism.[369][370]

The Assalam Mosque is located in Nantes, France was also a source on some controversy. Construction on the mosque began in 2009 and was completed in 2012. It is the largest mosque in its region in France. The mosque is frequently listed among examples of Qatar’s efforts to export Wahhabism, their extreme and often intolerant version of Islam, throughout Europe.[368][369]

Some of the initiatives of the Cultural Islamic Center Sesto San Giovanni in Italy, funded by Qatar Charity, have also raised concerns due to its ties to Wahhabbism. The Consortium Against Terrorist Finance (CATF) said that the mosque has a history of affiliation and cooperation with extremists and terrorists.[371] CATF notes that Qatar Charity “was named as a major financial conduit for al-Qaeda in judicial proceedings following the attacks on the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania”, supported al-Qaeda operatives in Northern Mali, and was “heavily involved in Syria.”[371]

Munich Forum for Islam (MFI), also known as the Center for Islam in Europe-Munich (ZIEM), was another controversial initiative largely financed by the Wahhabi Gulf country of Qatar.[368] In 2013 German activists filed a lawsuit in opposition to the construction of the mosque. These activists expressed fear that the Qatari government aimed to build Mosques all over Europe to spread Wahhabism. But the government squashed the lawsuit. In addition to this 2014 ruling, another court ordered an anti-mosque protester to pay a fine for defaming Islam when the protester claimed that Wahhabi Islam is incompatible with democracy.[372]

The Islamic Cultural Center in Luxembourg was also funded by Qatar in what some note is an attempt by Qatar to spread Wahhabism in Europe.[373]

Destruction of Islam’s early historical sites

The Wahhabi teachings disapprove of “veneration of the historical sites associated with early Islam”, on the grounds that “only God should be worshiped” and “that veneration of sites associated with mortals leads to idolatry“.[374]However, critics point out that no Muslims venerate buildings or tombs as it is a shirk. Muslims visiting the resting places of Ahl al-Bayt or Sahabah still pray to Allah alone while remembering the Prophet’s companions and family members. Many buildings associated with early Islam, including mazaar, mausoleums and other artifacts have been destroyed in Saudi Arabia by Wahhabis from the early 19th century through the present day.[49][50] This practice has proved controversial and has received considerable criticism from Sufi and Shia Muslims and in the non-Muslim world.

Ironically, despite Wahhabi destruction of many Islamic, non-Islamic, and historical sites associated with the first Muslims, Prophet’s family, his companions and a strict prohibition of visiting such (including mosques), Saudis renovated the tomb of Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab, turning his birthplace into a major tourist attraction and an important place of visitation within the kingdom’s modern borders.[375]

See also

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wahhabism

Dore Gold

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Dore Gold
דורי גולד
Dgold-05-master.jpg
11th Israel Ambassador to the United Nations
In office
1997–1999
Preceded by Gad Yaacobi
Succeeded by Yehuda Lancry
Personal details
Born 1953 (age 63–64)
Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.

Dore Gold (Hebrew: דורי גולד‎‎, born 1953) is an Israeli diplomat who has served in various positions under several Israeli governments. He is the current President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. He was also an advisor to the former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his first term in office. In May 2015, Netanyahu named him Director-General of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Early life

Dore Gold was born in 1953 in Hartford, Connecticut, in the United States, and was raised in a Conservative Jewish home. His primary education was spent at the Orthodox Yeshiva of Hartford.[1] In the 1970s, Gold attended Northfield Mount Hermon School (Class of 1971) and then enrolled in Columbia University. There Gold earned BA and MA in Political Science, and then a PhD in Political Science and Middle Eastern Studies.[2]

He studied literary Arabic and specialized in International Law, and his doctoral dissertation was about Saudi Arabia. This research later formed the foundation for his 2003 New York Times bestseller, Hatred’s Kingdom: How Saudi Arabia Supports the New Global Terrorism. In the book, Gold argues that Saudi Arabia actively funds terrorism by supporting the enemies of the U.S. and attacking its allies.[3][4] Today, Gold lives in Jerusalem with his wife, Ofra, and his two children, Yael and Ariel.

Career

Dore Gold’s political career began in 1985 when Gold served as senior research associate at Tel Aviv University‘s Moshe Dayan Centre for Near East Studies. Later, he was appointed Director of the U.S. Foreign and Defense Policy Project at the Jaffee Centre for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University and held this position from 1985 to 1996.[5]

Peace Negotiations

In 1991 Gold was an advisor to the Israeli delegation at the Madrid Peace Conference. From June 1996 to June 1997 he served as Foreign Policy Adviser to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.[6] During the period in which Benjamin Netanyahu served as the head of the Israeli opposition, Gold was instrumental in forging the relationship between the Likud Party leadership and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan in response to the strategic ties that were growing between Israel’s Labor government and the PLO under Yasser Arafat. Gold accompanied Netanyahu to meetings with the Jordanian leadership in 1994 and 1995 in London, Amman and in Aqaba. As the Foreign Policy Adviser under Netanyahu after the 1996 elections, Gold worked with the Palestinian Authority, Egypt, Jordan and others in the Arab world. He was also involved in negotiations leading up to the Hebron Agreementand the Note for the Record.

East Jerusalem and the Oslo Accords

Gold himself has not written about the period in which he served as an envoy to the Palestinians and the rest of the Arab world; nonetheless, a number of revelations have been disclosed by other authors. According to Barry Rubin and Judith Colp Rubin, Gold and Netanyahu advisor Yitzhak Molcho were the first envoys of the newly elected Likud government to meet with Yasser Arafat in the Gaza Strip on June 27, 1996.[7] Dennis Ross relates to the “Abu-Mazen-Dore Gold” talks that ensued afterwards as a result of which the Palestinians closed down offices in East Jerusalem that Israel had argued were a violation of the Oslo Accords.[8] This was the price that Arafat had to pay for his first meeting with Netanyahu. It was a hard concession for the Palestinians, according to Ross, for it was viewed by them as a “symbolic retreat on East Jerusalem.”

Syria and the Golan Heights

On the Syrian negotiating track, former Israeli ambassador to the US, Itamar Rabinovich, describes how he concluded with Gold an understanding over the Monitoring Group for Southern Lebanon, which was followed by a direct discussion between Gold and the Syrian ambassador to the US, Walid Muallam.[9] According to the French journalist, Charles Enderline, Gold secured a commitment from Secretary of State Warren Christopher that the Rabin“deposit” on the future of the Golan Heights did not bind the State of Israel. This effort also included obtaining a new US commitment from the Clinton administration to the September 1975 Ford letter, in which it was stated that the US would give great weight to Israel remaining on the Golan Heights.[10] According to the Israeli Hebrew daily, Maariv, Christopher wrote this renewed commitment in a formal letter of assurances to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on September 19, 1996.[11]

Ambassador to the United Nations

From 1997 to 1999 Gold was the Israeli ambassador to the United Nations. In 1998 Gold served as a member of the Israeli delegation at the Wye River negotiations between Israel, the PLO, and then U.S. President Bill Clintonat the Wye River Plantation in Maryland.

President of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

From 2000 to the present, Gold has been the president of the JCPA. Gold has much experience in US–Israel policy. His articles and books cover a wide variety of Israeli diplomacy such as: Jerusalem, the United Nations and its implications for Israel, nuclear Iran, and the United States’ relationship with Israel. One of the projects Gold has led at the JCPA is the concept of Defensible Borders for Israel.

Later life

Since 2000 Gold has served as president of the non-profit institute, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs. From 2001 to 2003, Gold served as an advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, most notably at the Aqaba Summit with President George W. Bush. During this period, Gold regularly appeared on US network television programs on behalf of the Sharon government, including Meet the Press, The Today Show, CNN’s Late Edition, as well as onFox and Friends. In July 2003, Gold testified as an expert before the U.S. Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs on Saudi Arabia‘s alleged role in providing ideological and financial support for international terrorism.

Measures against Ahmadinejad

Since 2006 Gold led an international effort by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs to advocate that UN member states take legal measures against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran on grounds that he violated the anti-incitement clauses of the 1948 Genocide Convention, with his repeated statements about “wiping Israel off the map.” Gold led a delegation to a conference held jointly with the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations at the New York County Bar Association on December 14, 2006. Speakers included former Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler, Prof. Alan Dershowitz of Harvard Law School, and the US ambassador to the UN John Bolton. Senator Hillary Clinton sent a letter of support to the conference.

Gold led an Israeli delegation to a second conference at the British House of Commons on January 25, 2007 which was chaired by Lord David Trimble and supported by members of the British Labour Party and the Conservative Party. Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joined the Israeli team. As a result of this effort, over 60 members of the House of Commons called for the indictment of Ahmadinejad. A third event organized by Gold and the International Association of Genocide Scholars was held on September 23, 2008 in Washington D.C. Speaking at the third conference was Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, former US ambassador to the UN, as well asSalih Mahmoud Osman, a member of the Sudanese Parliament and advocate for human rights in Darfur.[12]

The Doha Debates

In April 2009 Gold participated in the Doha Debates at Georgetown University in Washington DC, where he debated against the motion “this house believes that it is time for the USA to get tough on Israel” with fellow speakerHarvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz. Speakers for the motion were Avraham Burg, former Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel and former Speaker of the Knesset and Michael Scheuer, former Chief of the CIA Bin Laden Issue Station. Gold and Dershowitz lost the debate, with 63% of the audience voting for the motion.[13]

Debate with Justice Richard Goldstone

Brandeis University invited Gold to debate Justice Richard Goldstone on November 5, 2009. The subject was the U.N. Gaza Report. Jeff Jacoby wrote in an opinion piece in the Boston Globe on November 7: “Dore Gold, Israel’s former ambassador to the U.N. brought facts and figures, maps and photographs, audio and video in English, Arabic, and Hebrew. Last night’s encounter marked the first time Goldstone publicly debated the report’s merits with a leading Israeli figure. It would not surprise me that he is in no hurry for a second.”[14]

Appearing at the International Criminal Court in the Hague

Ambassador Gold was invited to attend a roundtable meeting at the office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in the Hague, held on October 20, 2010. A total of eight specialists appeared and submitted papers. They discussed the Palestinian Authority’s declaration on January 22, 2009 recognizing the jurisdiction of the ICC, in accordance with an article in the Rome Statute, normally reserved for states. The PA was seeking the implicit recognition of the ICC Prosecutor that it already was a state.

Re-joining Netanyahu

It was announced in December 2013 that Gold would once again advise Benjamin Netanyahu. His purview will not include negotiations with the Palestinians, but will cover Israel’s relations with the U.S. and United Nations, as well as Iran policy.[15]

Director-General of the Foreign Ministry

On May 25, 2015, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who was also serving as Minister of Foreign Affairs, announced Gold’s appointment as Director-General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, subject to the cabinet’s approval. On October 13, 2016, Gold resigned from the Director-General’s position for personal reasons.[16]

Positions held

  • 1985–1996 – Senior research associate, Dayan Centre for Near East Studies. Director, US Foreign and Defense Policy Project at the Jaffee Centre for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University.
  • 1991 – Advisor, Madrid Peace Conference.
  • 1996–1997 – Foreign policy advisor, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
  • 1997–1999 – Israeli ambassador, United Nations
  • 1998 – Israeli delegation, Wye River negotiations
  • 2000–Present – President, Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • 2002–2004 – Advisor, Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon

Publications

Books

  • The Rise of Nuclear Iran: How Tehran Defies the West (Regnery, 2009). ISBN 1-59698-571-2
  • The Fight for Jerusalem: Radical Islam, the West, and the Future of the Holy City (ISBN 0786147849 / Publisher: Regnery, Blackstone Audiobooks / Date: Jan 2007)
  • Tower of Babble: How the United Nations Has Fueled Global Chaos (Crown Forum, November, 2004). ISBN 1-4000-5475-3
  • Hatred’s Kingdom: How Saudi Arabia Supports the New Global Terrorism (Regnery, 2003). ISBN 0-89526-135-9
  • American Military Strategy in the Middle East: The Implications of the US Regional Command Structure (CENTCOM) For Israel (Tel Aviv: Ministry of Defense Publications), 1993.
  • Israel as an American Non-NATO Ally: Parameters of Defense and Industrial Cooperation (Boulder: Westview Press), 1992.

Selected articles

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dore_Gold

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Chris Heffelfinger — Radical Islam in America: Salafism’s Journey from Arabia to the West — Videos

Posted on February 7, 2017. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Books, Catholic Church, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Documentary, Employment, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Foreign Policy, Freedom, government spending, history, Illegal, Immigration, Islam, Islam, Language, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Middle East, National Security Agency (NSA_, Non-Fiction, People, Philosophy, Photos, Police, Politics, Rants, Raves, Religion, Religious, Shite, Speech, Sunni, Talk Radio, Taxation, Taxes, Video, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Image result for book cover radical islam in america

The True Origins of Isis Ideology (Wahhabism/Salafism)

The birth of Wahhabism and the house of Saud

What is a Wahhabi and What is Wahhabism?

Wahhabism Explained

Wahhabism: The School of Ibn Taymiyyah – The Root of Terrorism?

Who Are The Salafis and Wahhabies Yusuf Estes Islam

100% Video Proof of Radical Muslim Terrorist Training Camps in America – Bill O’Reilly

Seymour Hersh’s Latest Bombshell: U.S. Military Undermined Obama on Syria with Tacit Help to Assad

Published on Dec 22, 2015

A new report by the Pulitzer-winning veteran journalist Seymour Hersh says the Joints Chiefs of Staff has indirectly supported Bashar al-Assad in an effort to help him defeat jihadist groups. Hersh reports the Joint Chiefs sent intelligence via Russia, Germany and Israel on the understanding it would be transmitted to help Assad push back Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State. Hersh also claims the military even undermined a U.S. effort to arm Syrian rebels in a bid to prove it was serious about helping Assad fight their common enemies. Hersh says the Joints Chiefs’ maneuvering was rooted in several concerns, including the U.S. arming of unvetted Syrian rebels with jihadist ties, a belief the administration was overly focused on confronting Assad’s ally in Moscow, and anger the White House was unwilling to challenge Turkey and Saudi Arabia over their support of extremist groups in Syria. Hersh joins us to detail his claims and respond to his critics.

British Empire Created Radical Islam

Published on Mar 29, 2016

The Salafist and jihadist ideology behind terror attacks in Brussels, Paris and San Bernardino is a product of Wahhabism, an offshoot of Sunni Islam and the official religion of Saudi Arabia.

Prior to the 9/11 attacks Wahhabism had at best a marginal footprint in the United States. “80 percent of the 1,200 mosques operating in the US were constructed after 2001, more often than not with Saudi financing,” notes World Affairs. “As a result, Wahhabi influence over Islamic institutions in the US was considerable by 2003, according to testimony before the US Senate. Hundreds of publications, published by the Saudi government and its affiliates, and filled with intolerance toward Christians, Jews, and other Americans, had been disseminated across the country by 2006.”

The Saudis have spent billions to propagate the intolerant and hateful ideology of Wahhabism. “Between 1975 and 1987, the Saudis admit to having spent $48 billion or $4 billion per year on ‘overseas development aid,’ a figure which by the end of 2002 grew to over $70 billion (281 billion Saudi rials). These sums are reported to be Saudi state aid and almost certainly do not include private donations which are also distributed by state-controlled charities. Such staggering amounts contrast starkly with the $5 million in terrorist accounts the Saudis claim to have frozen since 9/11,” writes Alex Alexiev.

The US government has encouraged the spread of radical Wahhabism by coddling the Saudi Arabian government and insisting America shares a “special relationship” with the kingdom. The blind eye turned toward Saudi Arabia and its deplorable record in human rights was demonstrated when it was elected to the UN Human Rights Council (in fairness, the vote is primarily the fault of the UK—the British government also shares a “special relationship” with the medieval kings of Saudi Arabia and has allowed the virus of Wahhabism to spread in Britain, hence the term “Londonistan”).
http://www.infowars.com/ted-cruz-igno…

How Did Radical Islam Get Spread Throughout the World?

The Third Jihad – Radical Islam’s Vision for America – (A Clarion Project Film)

Muslims Establishing No-Go Zones in America • 1/14/15 •

Police protected USA Islam Sharia Law Cities Christians arrested End Times News Update

Who Are The Salafis and Wahhabies Yusuf Estes Islam

Radical Islam: The Most Dangerous Ideology

Why Do People Become Islamic Extremists?

Ben Shapiro: The Myth of the Tiny Radical Muslim Minority

David Horowitz – Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left

Robert Spencer: The Theological Aspects of Islam That Lead to Jihad

My Jihad blah, blah, blah. what`s yours?

The Leftist / Islamic Alliance

David Horowitz – Progressive Racism

Sharia Law in TEXAS | State votes to secure American Law

Shariah Law? Not in Texas, says Irving Mayor

‘Hannity’ Investigation: Do Muslims Believe Sharia Law Supersedes the U.S. Constitution?

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David Horowitz — Radicals: Portraits of A Destructive Passion — Videos

Posted on January 22, 2017. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, Books, Business, Communications, Congress, Constitution, Corruption, Crisis, Culture, Diasters, Documentary, Economics, Education, Employment, Environment, Faith, Family, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, Genocide, government, government spending, history, Illegal, Immigration, Islam, Language, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Non-Fiction, People, Philosophy, Photos, Police, Political Correctness, Press, Psychology, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Religious, Religious, Speech, Strategy, Success, Talk Radio, Taxation, Taxes, Technology, Terrorism, Unemployment, Video, War, Water | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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David Horowitz: Democratic Party is marching off the cliff

David Horowitz – Left Illusions: An Intellectual Odyssey

David Horowitz – The Left in Power: Clinton to Obama

Published on Jan 1, 2017

December 14, 2016 – David Horowitz’s speaks about his new book, The Left in Power: Clinton to Obama, which is volume 7 of The Black Book of the American Left, a multi-volume collection of his conservative writings that will, when completed, be the most ambitious effort ever undertaken to define the Left and its agenda.

Horowitz on Hillary Clinton and Saul Alinsky

In Depth with David Horowitz

David Horowitz discusses Radicals and who has influence over the media

David Horowitz – Unholy Alliance: Radical Islam and the American Left

A Most Excellent Explanation of the Left’s Takeover of America

David Horowitz – What The Left Believes

David Horowitz – Take No Prisoners: The Battle Plan for Defeating the Left

Rules for Radicals: What Constitutional Conservatives Should Know About Saul Alinsky

David Horowitz – The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America

David Horowitz interview on Charlie Rose (1997)

David Horowitz – Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey (Part 1)

David Horowitz – Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey (Part 2)

The Black Book of the American Left: The Collected Conservative Writings of David Horowitz

Published on Nov 13, 2013

David Horowitz spent the first part of his life in the world of the Communist-progressive left, a politics he inherited from his mother and father, and later in the New Left as one of its founders. When the wreckage he and his comrades had created became clear to him in the mid-1970s, he left. Three decades of second thoughts then made him this movement’s principal intellectual antagonist. “For better or worse,” as Horowitz writes in the preface to this, the first volume of his collected conservative writings, “I have been condemned to spend the rest of my days attempting to understand how the left pursues the agendas from which I have separated myself, and why.”

David Horowitz – Progressive Racism

David Horowitz

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For other people named David Horowitz, see David Horowitz (disambiguation).
David Horowitz
David Horowitz by Gage Skidmore.jpg

Horowitz in February 2011
Born David Joel Horowitz
January 10, 1939 (age 78)
Forest Hills, Queens, New York, U.S.
Occupation Conservative activist, writer
Nationality United States
Education MA, University of California at Berkeley
BA, Columbia University
Spouse Elissa Krauthamer (1959–19??; 4 children); Sam Moorman (divorced); Shay Marlowe (1990–?; divorced); April Mullvain Horowitz (current)
Children Jonathan Daniel
Ben Horowitz
Anne Pilat
Sarah Rose Horowitz (deceased)[1]

David Joel Horowitz (born January 10, 1939) is an American conservative writer. He is a founder and current president of the think tank the David Horowitz Freedom Center; editor of the Center’s publication, FrontPage Magazine; and director of Discover the Networks, a website that tracks individuals and groups on the political left. Horowitz founded the organization Students for Academic Freedom to oppose what he believed to be political correctness and leftist orientation in academia.[2]

He has written several books with author Peter Collier, including four on prominent 20th-century American political families that had members elected to the presidency. He and Collier have collaborated on books about current cultural criticism. Horowitz has also worked as a columnist for Salon; its then-editor Joan Walsh described him as a “conservative provocateur.”[3]

Horowitz was raised by parents who were members of the Communist Party USA during the Great Depression; they gave up their membership in 1956 after learning of Joseph Stalin‘s purges and abuses. From 1956–75, Horowitz was an outspoken adherent of the New Left. He later rejected leftism completely and has since become a leading proponent of conservatism. Horowitz has recounted his ideological journey in a series of retrospective books, culminating with his 1996 memoir Radical Son: A Generational Odyssey.

Family background

Horowitz is the son of Phil and Blanche Horowitz, who were high school teachers. His father taught English and his mother taught stenography.[4] During years of labor organizing and the Great Depression, Phil and Blanche Horowitz were long-standing members of the American Communist Party and strong supporters of Joseph Stalin. They left the party after Khrushchev published his report in 1956 about Stalin’s excesses and terrorism of the Soviet populations.[5][6]

According to Horowitz:

Underneath the ordinary surfaces of their lives, my parents and their friends thought of themselves as secret agents. The mission they had undertaken, and about which they could not speak freely except with each other, was not just an idea to them. It was more important to their sense of themselves than anything else they did. Nor were its tasks of a kind they could attend or ignore, depending on their moods. They were more like the obligations of a religious faith. Except that their faith was secular, and the millennium they awaited was being instituted, at that moment, in the very country that had become America’s enemy. It was this fact that made their ordinary lives precarious and their secrecy necessary. If they lived under a cloud of suspicion, it was the result of more than just their political passions. The dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima had created a terror in the minds of ordinary people. Newspapers reported on American spy rings working to steal atomic secrets for the Soviet state. When people read these stories, they inevitably thought of progressives like us. And so did we ourselves. Even if we never encountered a Soviet agent or engaged in a single illegal act, each of us knew that our commitment to socialism implied the obligation to commit treason, too.[7]

After the death of Stalin in 1953, his father Phil Horowitz, commenting on how Stalin’s numerous official titles had to be divided among his successors, told his son, “You see what a genius Stalin was. It took five men to replace him.”[8] According to Horowitz:

The publication of the Khrushchev Report was probably the greatest blow struck against the Soviet Empire during the Cold War. When my parents and their friends opened the morning Times and read its text, their world collapsed—and along with it their will to struggle. If the document was true, almost everything they had said and believed was false. Their secret mission had led them into waters so deep that its tide had overwhelmed them, taking with it the very meaning of their lives.[6]

Horowitz received a BA from Columbia University in 1959, majoring in English, and a master’s degree in English literature at University of California, Berkeley.[citation needed]

Career with the New Left

After completing his graduate degree in the late 1960s, Horowitz lived in London and worked for the Bertrand Russell Peace Foundation.[9][10] He identified as a serious Marxist intellectual.

In 1966, Ralph Schoenman persuaded Bertrand Russell to convene a war crimes tribunal to judge United States involvement in the Vietnam War.[11] Horowitz would write three decades later that he had political reservations about the tribunal and did not take part. He described the tribunal’s judges as formidable, world-famous and radical, including Isaac Deutscher, Jean-Paul Sartre, Stokely Carmichael, Simone de Beauvoir, James Baldwin, and Vladimir Dedijer.[12]

While in London, Horowitz became a close friend of Deutscher, and wrote a biography of him which was published in 1971.[13][14] Horowitz wrote The Free World Colossus: A Critique of American Foreign Policy in the Cold War. In January 1968, Horowitz returned to the United States, where he became co-editor of the New Left magazine Ramparts, based in northern California.[10]

During the early 1970s, Horowitz developed a close friendship with Huey P. Newton, founder of the Black Panther Party. Horowitz later portrayed Newton as equal parts gangster, terrorist, intellectual, and media celebrity.[10] As part of their work together, Horowitz helped raise money for, and assisted the Panthers with, the running of a school for poor children in Oakland. He recommended that Newton hire Betty Van Patter as bookkeeper; she was then working for Ramparts. In December 1974, Van Patter’s body was found floating in San Francisco Harbor; she had been murdered. Horowitz has said he believes the Panthers were behind the killing.[10][15]

In 1976, Horowitz was a “founding sponsor” of James Weinstein‘s magazine In These Times.[16]

Writing on the Right

Following this period, Horowitz rejected Marx and socialism, but kept quiet about his changing politics for nearly a decade. In the spring of 1985, Horowitz and longtime collaborator Peter Collier, who had also become conservative, wrote an article for The Washington Post Magazine entitled “Lefties for Reagan“, later retitled as “Goodbye to All That”. The article explained their change of views and recent decision to vote for a second term for Republican President Ronald Reagan.[17][18][19] In 1986, Horowitz published “Why I Am No Longer a Leftist” in The Village Voice.[20]

In 1987, Horowitz co-hosted a “Second Thoughts Conference” in Washington, D.C., described by Sidney Blumenthal in The Washington Post as his “coming out” as a conservative. According to attendee Alexander Cockburn, Horowitz related how his Stalinist parents had not permitted him or his sister to watch the popular Doris Day and Rock Hudson movies of his youth. Instead, they watched propaganda films from the Soviet Union.[21]

In May 1989, Horowitz, Ronald Radosh, and Peter Collier travelled to Poland for a conference in Kraków calling for the end of Communism.[22] After marching with Polish dissidents in an anti-regime protest, Horowitz spoke about his changing thoughts and why he believed that socialism could not create their future. He said his dream was for the people of Poland to be free.[23]

In 1992, Horowitz and Collier founded Heterodoxy, a monthly magazine focused on exposing what it described as excessive political correctness on United States college and university campuses. It was “meant to have the feel of a samizdat publication inside the gulag of the PC [politically correct] university.” The tabloid was directed at university students, whom Horowitz viewed as being indoctrinated by the entrenched Left in American academia.[24] He has maintained his assault on the political left to the present day. Horowitz wrote in his memoir Radical Son that he thought universities were no longer effective in presenting both sides of political arguments. He thought “left-wing professors” had created a kind of “political terror” on campuses.[25]

In a column in Salon magazine, where he is regularly published,[3] Horowitz described his opposition to reparations for slavery. He believed that it represented racism against blacks, as it defined them only in terms of having descended from slaves. He argues that applying labels like “descendants of slaves” to blacks was damaging and would serve to segregate them from mainstream society.[26]

In keeping with his provocateur position, in 2001 during Black History Month Horowitz purchased, or attempted to purchase, advertising space in several student American university publications to express his opposition to reparations for slavery.[3] Many student papers refused to sell him ad space; at some schools, papers which carried his ads were stolen or destroyed.[3][26] Editor Joan Walsh of Salon wrote that the furor had given Horowitz an overwhelming amount of free publicity.[3][27]

Horowitz supported the interventionist foreign policy associated with the Bush Doctrine. But he wrote against US intervention in the Kosovo War, arguing that it was unnecessary and harmful to U.S. interests.[28][29]

In the early 21st century, he has written critically of libertarian anti-war views.[30][31]

In 2004, Horowitz launched Discover the Networks, a conservative watchdog project that monitors funding for, and various ties among, leftists and progressive causes.[2]

In two books, Horowitz accused Dana L. Cloud, associate professor of communication studies at the University of Texas at Austin, as an “anti-American radical” who “routinely repeats the propaganda of the Saddam regime.”[citation needed] Horowitz accused her and 99 other professors listed in his book, The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America, of the “explicit introduction of political agendas into the classroom.”[32]

Cloud replied in Inside Higher Ed that her experience demonstrates that Horowitz damages professors’ lives by his accusations and that he needs to be viewed as more than a political opponent.

Horowitz’s attacks have been significant. People who read the book or his Web site regularly send letters to university officials asking for her to be fired. Personally, she has received—mostly via e-mail—”physical threats, threats of removing my daughter from my custody, threats of sexual assaults, horrible disgusting gendered things,” she said. That Horowitz doesn’t send these isn’t the point, she said. “He builds a climate and culture that emboldens people,” and as a result, shouldn’t be seen as a defender of academic freedom, but as its enemy.[33]

After discussion, the National Communication Association decided against granting Horowitz a spot as a panelist at its national conference in 2008. He had offered to forego the $7,000 speaking fee originally requested. He wrote in Inside Higher Ed, “The fact that no academic group has had the balls to invite me says a lot about the ability of academic associations to discuss important issues if a political minority wants to censor them.”[33] An association official said the decision was based in part on Horowitz’s request to be provided with a stipend for $500 to hire a personal bodyguard. Association officials decided that having a bodyguard present “communicates the expectation of confrontation and violence.”[33]

Horowitz appeared in Occupy Unmasked, a 2012 documentary portraying the Occupy Wall Street movement as a sinister organization formed to violently destroy the American government.[34]

Academic Bill of Rights

In the early 21st century, Horowitz has concentrated on issues of academic freedom, wanting to protect conservative viewpoints. He, Eli Lehrer, and Andrew Jones published a pamphlet, “Political Bias in the Administrations and Faculties of 32 Elite Colleges and Universities” (2004), in which they find the ratio of Democrats to Republicans at 32 schools to be more than 10 to 1.[35]

Horowitz’s book, The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America (2006), criticizes individual professors for, as he alleges, engaging in indoctrination rather than a disinterested pursuit of knowledge. He says his campaign for academic freedom is ideologically neutral.[36] He published an Academic Bill of Rights (ABR), which he proposes to eliminate political bias in university hiring and grading. Horowitz says that conservatives, and particularly Republican Party members, are systematically excluded from faculties, citing statistical studies on faculty party affiliation.[37] Critics such as academic Stanley Fish have argued that “academic diversity”, as Horowitz defines it, is not a legitimate academic value, and that no endorsement of “diversity” can be absolute.[38]

In 2004 the Georgia General Assembly passed a resolution on a 41–5 vote to adopt a version of the ABR for state educational institutions.[39]

In Pennsylvania, the House of Representatives created a special legislative committee to investigate issues of academic freedom, including whether students who hold unpopular views need more protection. In November 2006 it reported that it had not found evidence of problems [clarification needed] with students’ rights.[40][41][42][43][44][45]

Family

Horowitz has been married four times. He married Elissa Krauthamer, in a Yonkers, New York synagogue on June 14, 1959.[46] They had four children together: Jonathan Daniel, Ben, Sarah Rose (deceased), and Mrs. Anne Pilat. Their daughter Sarah Rose Horowitz died in March 2008 at age 44 from Turner syndrome-related heart complications. She had been a teacher, writer and human rights activist.[1][47] She is the subject of Horowitz’s 2009 book, A Cracking of the Heart.[47]

As an activist, she had cooked meals for the homeless, stood vigil at San Quentin on nights when the state of California executed prisoners, worked with autistic children in public schools and, with the American Jewish World Service, helped rebuild homes in El Salvador after a hurricane, and traveled to India to oppose child labor.[48] In a review of Horowitz’s book, FrontPage magazine associate editor David Swindle wrote that she fused “the painful lessons of her father’s life with a mystical Judaism to complete the task he never could: showing how the Left could save itself from self-destruction.”[49]

Horowitz’s son Ben Horowitz is a technology entrepreneur, investor, and co-founder, along with Marc Andreessen, of the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz.[50][51]

Horowitz’s second marriage, to Sam Moorman, ended in divorce. On June 24, 1990, Horowitz married Shay Marlowe in an Orthodox Jewish ceremony conducted at the Pacific Jewish Center by Rabbi Daniel Lapin.[52]They divorced. Horowitz’s fourth and present marriage is to April Mullvain.[53]

Horowitz now describes himself as an agnostic.[54]

Funding

Politico claims that Horowitz’s activities, like the David Horowitz Freedom Center are funded in part by Aubrey & Joyce Chernick and The Bradley Foundation. Politico claimed that during 2008-2010, “the lion’s share of the $920,000 it [David Horowitz Freedom Center] provided over the past three years to Jihad Watch came from Chernick”.[55]

Controversy and criticism

Academia

Some of Horowitz’s accounts of U.S. colleges and universities as bastions of liberal indoctrination have been disputed.[56] For example, Horowitz alleged that a University of Northern Colorado student received a failing grade on a final exam for refusing to write an essay arguing that George W. Bush is a war criminal.[57][58] A spokeswoman for the university said that the test question was not as described by Horowitz and that there were nonpolitical reasons for the grade, which was not an F.[59]

Horowitz identified the professor[60] as Robert Dunkley, an assistant professor of criminal justice at Northern Colorado. Dunkley said Horowitz made him an example of “liberal bias” in academia and yet, “Dunkley said that he comes from a Republican family, is a registered Republican and considers himself politically independent, taking pride in never having voted a straight party ticket,” according to Inside Higher Ed magazine.[60]In another instance, Horowitz said that a Pennsylvania State University biology professor showed his students the film Fahrenheit 9/11 just before the 2004 election in an attempt to influence their votes.[61][62] Pressed by Inside Higher Ed, Horowitz later retracted this claim.[63]

Horowitz has been criticized for material in his books, particularly The Professors: The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America, by noted scholars such as Columbia University professor Todd Gitlin.[64] The group Free Exchange on Campus issued a 50-page report in May 2006 in which they take issue with many of Horowitz’s assertions in the book: they identify specific factual errors, unsubstantiated assertions, and quotations which appear to be either misquoted or taken out of context.[65][66]

Allegations of racism

Chip Berlet, writing for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), identified Horowitz’s Center for the Study of Popular Culture as one of 17 “right-wing foundations and think tanks support[ing] efforts to make bigoted and discredited ideas respectable.”[67] Berlet accused Horowitz of blaming slavery on “black Africans … abetted by dark-skinned Arabs” and of “attack[ing] minority ‘demands for special treatment’ as ‘only necessary because some blacks can’t seem to locate the ladder of opportunity within reach of others,’ rejecting the idea that they could be the victims of lingering racism.”[67][not in citation given]

Horowitz published an open letter to Morris Dees, president of the SPLC, saying that “[this reminder] that the slaves transported to America were bought from African and Arab slavers” was a response to demands that only whites pay reparations to blacks. He said he never held Africans and Arabs solely responsible for slavery. He said that Berlet’s accusation of racism was a “calculated lie” and asked that the report be removed.[68] The SPLC refused Horowitz’s request.[69] Horowitz has criticized Berlet and the SPLC on his website and personal blog.[70][71]

In 2008, while speaking at University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), he criticized Arab culture, saying it was rife with antisemitism.[72][73] He referred to the Palestinian keffiyeh, a traditional Arab head covering that became associated with PLO leader Yasser Arafat, as a symbol of terrorism. In response, UCSB professor Walid Afifi said that Horowitz was “preaching hate” and smearing Arab culture.[73]

Criticizing Islamic organizations

Horowitz has used university student publications and lectures at universities as venues for publishing provocative advertisements or lecturing on issues related to Islamic student and other organizations. In April 2008, his ‘David Horowitz Freedom Center’ advertised in the Daily Nexus, the University of California Santa Barbara school newspaper, saying that the Muslim Students’ Association (MSA) had links with the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda, and Hamas.[74]

In May 2008, Horowitz, speaking at UCSB, said that the Muslim Students’ Association supports “a second Holocaust of the Jews”.[73] The MSA said they were a peaceful organization and not a political group.[74] The MSA’s faculty adviser said the group had “been involved in interfaith activities with Jewish student groups, and they’ve been involved in charity work for national disaster relief.”[73] Horowitz ran the ad in The GW Hatchet, the student newspaper of George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Jake Sherman, the newspaper’s editor-in-chief, said claims the MSA was radical were “ludicrous”. He vowed to review his newspaper’s editorial and advertising policies.[75]

Horowitz published a 2007 piece in the Columbia University student newspaper, saying that, according to [unnamed and undocumented] public opinion polls, “between 150 million and 750 million Muslims support a holy war against Christians, Jews and other Muslims.”[76] Speaking at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in February 2010, Horowitz compared Islamists to Nazis, saying: “Islamists are worse than the Nazis, because even the Nazis did not tell the world that they want to exterminate the Jews.”[77]

Horowitz created a campaign for what he called “Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week” in parody of multicultural awareness activities. He helped arrange for leading critics of radical Islam to speak at more than a hundred college campuses in October 2007.[78] As a speaker he has met with intense hostility.[79][80][81]

In a 2011 review of anti-Islamic activists in the US, the Southern Poverty Law Center identified Horowitz as one of 10 people in the United States’ “Anti-Muslim Inner Circle”.[82]

Conservatism

Horowitz’s Frontpage Magazine published Ron Radosh‘s critical review of Diana West‘s book American Betrayal. Conservatives John Earl Haynes and Harvey Klehr, scholars of Soviet espionage, defended Horowitz for publishing the review and Radosh for writing it.[83] Vladimir Bukovsky, a Soviet dissident, rejected Radosh’s criticisms and said it was an attempt to portray West as a historically inept conspiracy-monger.[84]Horowitz defended the review in an article on Breitbart’s Big Government website.[85]

Other

In 2007, Lawrence Auster (January 26, 1949 – March 29, 2013) stated that Horowitz had rejected him from publishing in Frontpage Magazine for making racist statements.[86][87]

Books and other publications

Histories

(all co-authored with Peter Collier)

  • The Rockefellers: An American Dynasty (New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1976) ISBN 0-03-008371-0
  • The Kennedys: An American Drama (New York: Summit Books/Simon & Schuster, 1985) ISBN 0-671-44793-9
  • The Fords: An American Epic (New York: Summit Books/Simon & Schuster, 1987) ISBN 0-671-66951-6
  • The Roosevelts: An American Saga (1994)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Horowitz

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Master of Disaster President Obama — Legacy of Failure: Domestically and Abroad — One Success: Destroyed Democratic Party! — Videos

Posted on December 30, 2016. Filed under: American History, Articles, Blogroll, British History, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), College, Communications, Congress, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Crisis, Dirty Bomb, Documentary, Drones, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, Energy, European History, Faith, Family, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Federal Government Budget, Fiscal Policy, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, Genocide, government, government spending, history, Homicide, Illegal, Immigration, Islam, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Macroeconomics, media, Middle East, Monetary Policy, Money, Money, National Security Agency (NSA), National Security Agency (NSA_, Natural Gas, Natural Gas, Newspapers, Nuclear, Nuclear Power, Nuclear Proliferation, Oil, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Radio, Rants, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Resources, Security, Strategy, Tax Policy, Taxation, Taxes, Television, Trade Policiy, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Welfare, Wisdom, Work, Writing | Tags: |

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Obama’s Legacy of Failures – 30 documented examples

Report: ‘Obamanomics’ to Blame for Worst Economic Recovery Since 1930s

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MSNBC: JOE SCARBOROUGH ‘RATING OBAMA LEGACY” – ‘OBAMA’S GREATEST FAILURES “

Top 10 Worst American Presidents

 

Obama unleashes 3,853 regs, 18 for every law, record 97,110 pages of red tape

President Obama‘s lame duck administration poured on thousands more new regulations in 2016 at a rate of 18 for every new law passed, according to a Friday analysis of his team’s expansion of federal authority.

While Congress passed just 211 laws, Obama’s team issued an accompanying 3,852 new federal regulations, some costing billions of dollars.

The 2016 total was the highest annual number of regulations under Obama. Former President Bush issued more in the wake of 9/11.

The proof that it was an overwhelming year for rules and regulations is in the Federal Register, which ended the year Friday by printing a record-setting 97,110 pages, according to the analysis from the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

The annual “Unconstitutional Index” from Clyde Wayne Crews, CEI’s vice president for policy, said that it was much higher under Obama than under former President George W. Bush.

“The multiple did tend to be higher during Obama administration. Bush’s eight years averaged 20, while Obama’s almost-eight have averaged 29,” said his report, first provided to Secrets.

His index is meant to show that it is the federal bureaucracy, not Congress, that levies the most rules. “There’s no pattern to any of this, since the numerators and denominators can vary widely; there had been 114 laws in 2015, and a multiple of 39. The multiple can be higher with fewer laws, or with more regulations, holding the other constant. The point is that agencies do the bulk of lawmaking, no matter the party in power,” he wrote.

President-elect Trump has promised to slash federal regulations, even pledging to cut two current rules for every one he imposes. Congressional leaders have also promised to slash rules and regulations that have escalated under Obama.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/obama-unleashes-3853-regs-18-for-every-law-record-97110-pages-of-red-tape/article/2610592#!

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First The CIA Director Now The State Department Contradict Obama’s Islamic State, Syria and Iraq Policies — The Hillary Clinton Support Network Of Lying Lunatic Leftists Throws Obama Under The Bus — Work Place Violence — Hate Crime — Terrorist Act — Radical Islam — Radical Islamic Terrorist — Radical Islamic Terrorist Jihadists — Face Reality and Stopping Lying Obama — Radical Islamists Are A Majority of The World’s 1,600+ Million Muslims And Want Sharia Law — Ban All Radical Islamists From United States Permanently — Videos

Posted on July 2, 2016. Filed under: American History, Ammunition, Articles, Blogroll, Books, British History, Business, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), College, Communications, Computers, Congress, Constitution, Corruption, Crime, Crisis, Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), Demographics, Diasters, Documentary, Drones, Drug Cartels, Economics, Education, Elections, Employment, European History, External Hard Drives, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, government, history, Homicide, Illegal, Immigration, Islam, Islam, Language, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, media, Middle East, Missiles, National Security Agency (NSA), National Security Agency (NSA_, Newspapers, Nuclear Proliferation, People, Philosophy, Photos, Pistols, Police, Political Correctness, Politics, Presidential Candidates, Press, Radio, Radio, Raves, Raymond Thomas Pronk, Regulations, Religion, Religious, Religious, Resources, Rifles, Security, Shite, Speech, Spying, Strategy, Sunni, Talk Radio, Television, Trade, Unemployment, Union, Unions, Video, War, Wealth, Weapons, Welfare, Wisdom, Work, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 701: June 17, 2016

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Pronk Pops Show 655: April 11, 2016

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Pronk Pops Show 640: March 10, 2016

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Pronk Pops Show 633: March 1, 2016

Story 1: First The CIA Director Now The State Department Contradict Obama’s Islamic State, Syria and Iraq Policies — The Hillary Clinton Support Network Of Lying Lunatic Leftists Throws Obama Under The Bus — Work Place Violence — Hate Crime — Terrorist Act — Radical Islam — Radical Islamic Terrorist — Radical Islamic Terrorist Jihadists — Face Reality and Stopping Lying Obama — Radical Islamists Are A Majority of The World’s 1,600+ Million Muslims And Want Sharia Law — Ban All Radical Islamists From United States Permanently — Videos

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An ’embarrassing’ break: Dozens of State Department officials just revolted against Obama’s Syria policy

 

At least 51 “mid-to-high-level State Department officials” have signed a dissent channel cable breaking with President Barack Obama’s policy on Syria and calling for US airstrikes on the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The cable was provided to several news outlets on Thursday, including The New York Timesand The Wall Street Journal.

“Failure to stem Assad’s flagrant abuses will only bolster the ideological appeal of groups such as Daesh, even as they endure tactical setbacks on the battlefield,” the cable reads, according to The Journal.

Daesh is an alternate name for ISIS, aka the Islamic State or ISIL.

“We are aware of a dissent channel cable written by a group of State Department employees regarding the situation in Syria,” State Department spokesman John Kirby told The Wall Street Journal.

“We are reviewing the cable now, which came up very recently, and I am not going to comment on the contents,” he said.

The officials who signed the document “range from a Syria desk officer in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs to a former deputy to the American ambassador in Damascus,” and have all been involved in formulating or carrying out the administration’s Syria policy.

That policy has largely emphasized defeating the Islamic State over bolstering Syria’s anti-Assad rebel groups.

According to the American Foreign Service Association, the dissent channel is “a serious policy channel reserved only for consideration of responsible dissenting and alternative views on substantive foreign policy issues that cannot be communicated in a full and timely manner through regular operating channels and procedures.”

It is available to all “regular or re-employed annuitant employees” of the State Department and the US Agency for International Development.

The number of officials – at least 50 – who have signed the internal document calling for military action against Assad is unusual, a former State Department official who worked on Middle East policy told The Journal.

“It’s embarrassing for the administration to have so many rank-and-file members break on Syria,” they said.

Fighters of the Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) sit in a look out position in the western rural area of Manbij, in Aleppo Governorate, Syria, June 13, 2016. REUTERS/Rodi SaidFighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces sit in a lookout position in the western rural area of Manbij. Thomson Reuters

The cable calls for the Obama administration to place more emphasis on defeating Assad – whose brutality is seen by many experts as the driver of Syria’s jihadist problem – by arming and regaining the trust of Syria’s moderate opposition.

That, in turn, will “turn the tide of the conflict against the regime [to] increase the chances for peace by sending a clear signal to the regime and its backers that there will be no military solution to the conflict,” the cable reportedly says.

The CIA-backed factions of the Free Syrian Army – the majority of which are Arab and battling forces loyal to Assad – have at times clashed with Pentagon-trained fighters associated with the Syrian Democratic Forces, who are predominantly Kurdish and focused on defeating the Islamic State.

Their divergent military objectives and ethnicities have bred mistrust and fighting that is ultimately counterproductive to the cause of the revolution.

Several high-ranking government officials, moreover – including Robert S. Ford, a former ambassador to Syria, and Obama’s former defense secretary, Chuck Hagel – have left their positions over Obama’s failure to act decisively against Assad, whose brutality continues to fuel a bloody revolution that has left over 400,000 people dead and millions displaced.

“Many people working on Syria for the State Department have long urged a tougher policy with the Assad government as a means of facilitating arrival at a negotiated political deal to set up a new Syrian government,” Ford told The New York Times on Thursday.

Free Syrian Army IdlibProtesters carry Free Syrian Army flags and chant slogans during an antigovernment protest in the town of Marat Numan in Idlib Province, Syria, on March 4. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi

“The moral rationale for taking steps to end the deaths and suffering in Syria, after five years of brutal war, is evident and unquestionable,” the cable said. ” The status quo in Syria will continue to present increasingly dire, if not disastrous, humanitarian, diplomatic and terrorism-related challenges.”

Assad crossed Obama’s now infamous “red line” for airstrikes in 2013, when he used chemical weapons to kill more than 1,000 people in the eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta. Obama backed away from that red line when Assad agreed to a Russia-brokered deal to destroy his chemical-weapons stockpile.

Some experts say, however, that the entire stockpile has not been destroyed as promised.

The administration insists that it has maintained throughout the nearly five-year civil war that Assad “must go.” But that stance has been muddled as the administration continues to soften its position on Assad’s future.

“The US’ Syria policy has always been in the head of one man, and one man only: Barack Obama. No one else has ever really had a say in what happens in Syria,” Tony Badran, a Middle East expert and researcher at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told Business Insiderin a previous interview.

“Obama has owned it since day one – and from day one, he never intended to remove Assad,” he said.

The cable addresses Russia’s bombing campaign in Syria as well, asserting that Moscow and Assad have not taken past ceasefires and “consequential negotiations” seriously.

Russia entered the war in late September 2015 on behalf of Assad under the guise of fighting ISIS. Russian warplanes have primarily targeted non-jihadist, anti-Assad rebel groups, however, many of which are backed by the US, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia.

Government warplanes bombarded the besieged Syrian town of Darayya with barrel bombs last weekend, shortly after food aid was delivered to the town for the first time in nearly four years.

http://www.businessinsider.com/state-department-officials-call-for-airstrikes-on-assad-2016-6

Chart: Obama Admin. On Pace to Issue One Million Green Cards to Migrants from Majority-Muslim Countries

The Obama Administration is on pace to issue more than a million green cards to migrants from majority-Muslim countries, according to an analysis of Department of Homeland Security data.

A chart released by the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest Friday details the surge in immigration to the U.S. from majority-Muslim countries since President Barack Obama took office in 2009.

Specifically, in the first six fiscal years of Obama’s presidency (FY2009 – FY2014), his administration issued 832,014 green cards to migrants majority-Muslim countries, the most of which were issued to migrants from Pakistan (102,000), Iraq (102,000), Bangladesh (90,000), Iran (85,000), Egypt (56,000), and Somalia (37,000).

The total 832,014 new permanent residents do not include migrants on temporary, nonimmigrant visas — which allow foreign nationals to come to the U.S. temporarily for work, study, tourism and the like. As the subcommittee notes, the number also does not include those migrants who overstayed the terms of their visas.

Obama Admin On Track To Issue 1M GCs (1)

Regardless, as the subcommittee explained in its analysis, the U.S. is playing host to immigrants from majority Muslim countries at an increasing pace.

Between FY 2013 and FY 2014, the number of green cards issued to migrants from Muslim-majority countries increased dramatically – from 117,423 in FY 2013, to 148,810 in FY 2014, a nearly 27 percent increase. Throughout the Obama Administration’s tenure, the United States has issued green cards to an average of 138,669 migrants from Muslim-majority countries per year, meaning that it is nearly certain the United States will have issued green cards to at least 1.1 million migrants from Muslim-majority countries on the President’s watch. It has also been reported that migration from Muslim-majority countries represents the fastest growing class of migrants.

Green cards, or Lawful Permanent Residency, puts immigrants on the path to citizenship and allows for lifetime residency, federal benefits, and work authorization. Included in the totals are refugees, who are required to apply for a green card after one year of residency in the U.S. Unlike other types of immigrants, refugees are immediately eligible for welfare benefits including Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), food stamps, and Medicaid.

A report from the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) indicated that in FY 2013, 91.4 percent of Middle Eastern refugees (accepted to the U.S. between 2008-2013) received food stamps, 73.1 percent were on Medicaid or Refugee Medical Assistance and 68.3 percent were on cash welfare.

Green Card Totals, FY09-FY14:

Pakistan (102K), Iraq (102K), Bangladesh (90K), Iran (85K), Egypt (56K), Somalia (37K), Uzbekistan (30K), Turkey (26K), Morocco (25K), Jordan (25K), Albania (24K), Afghanistan (21K), Lebanon (20K), Yemen (20K), Syria (18K), Indonesia (17K), Sudan (15K), Sierra Leone (12K), Guinea (9K), Senegal (8K), Saudi Arabia (9K), Algeria (8K), Kazakhstan (8K), Kuwait (6K), Gambia (6K), United Arab Emirates (5K), Azerbaijan (4K), Mali (4K), Burkina Faso (3K), Kyrgyzstan (3K), Kosovo (3K), Mauritania (3K), Tunisia (2K), Tajikistan (2K), Libya (2K), Turkmenistan (1K), Qatar (1K), Chad (1K)

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2016/06/17/obama-admin-pace-issue-one-million-green-cards-migrants-majority-muslim-countries/

51% of U.S. Muslims want Sharia; 60% of young Muslims more loyal to Islam than to U.S.

Really, what did you expect? A considerable portion of U.S. domestic and foreign policy is based on the assumption that Islam in the U.S. will be different: that Muslims here believe differently from those elsewhere, and do not accept the doctrines of violence against and subjugation of unbelievers that have characterized Islam throughout its history. But on what is that assumption based? Nothing but wishful thinking. And future generations of non-Muslims will pay the price.

Muslims_Pray_Capitol

“Meanwhile, An Islamic Fifth Column Builds Inside America,” by Paul Sperry, IBD, October 1, 2015 (thanks to Pamela Geller)

In berating GOP presidential hopeful Ben Carson for suggesting a loyalty test for Muslims seeking high office, CNN host Jake Tapper maintained that he doesn’t know a single observant Muslim-American who wants to Islamize America.

“I just don’t know any Muslim-Americans — and I know plenty — who feel that way, even if they are observant Muslims,” he scowled.

Tapper doesn’t get out much. If he did, chances are he’d run into some of the 51% of Muslims living in the U.S. who just this June told Polling Co. they preferred having “the choice of being governed according to Shariah,” or Islamic law. Or the 60% of Muslim-Americans under 30 who told Pew Research they’re more loyal to Islam than America.

Maybe they’re all heretics, so let’s see what the enlightened Muslims think.

If Tapper did a little independent research he’d quickly find that America’s most respected Islamic leaders and scholars also want theocracy, not democracy, and even advocate trading the Constitution for the Quran.

These aren’t fringe players. These are the top officials representing the Muslim establishment in America today.

Hopefully none of them ever runs for president, because here’s what he’d have to say about the U.S. system of government:

• Muzammil Siddiqi, chairman of both the Fiqh Council of North America, which dispenses Islamic rulings, and the North American Islamic Trust, which owns most of the mosques in the U.S.: “As Muslims, we should participate in the system to safeguard our interests and try to bring gradual change, (but) we must not forget that Allah’s rules have to be established in all lands, and all our efforts should lead to that direction.”

• Omar Ahmad, co-founder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the top Muslim lobby group in Washington: “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant. The Quran should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth.”

• CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper: “I wouldn’t want to create the impression that I wouldn’t like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future.”

• Imam Siraj Wahhaj, director of the Muslim Alliance in North America: “In time, this so-called democracy will crumble, and there will be nothing. And the only thing that will remain will be Islam.”

• Imam Zaid Shakir, co-founder of Zaytuna College in Berkeley, Calif.: “If we put a nationwide infrastructure in place and marshaled our resources, we’d take over this country in a very short time. . . . What a great victory it will be for Islam to have this country in the fold and ranks of the Muslims.”…

https://www.jihadwatch.org/2015/10/51-of-u-s-muslims-want-sharia-60-of-young-muslims-more-loyal-to-islam-than-to-u-s

John O. Brennan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
John O. Brennan
John Brennan CIA official portrait.jpg
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
Assumed office
March 8, 2013
President Barack Obama
Deputy David Cohen
Preceded by Michael Morell(Acting)
5th United States Homeland Security Advisor
In office
January 20, 2009 – March 8, 2013
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Ken Wainstein
Succeeded by Lisa Monaco
Director of the National Counterterrorism Center
Acting
In office
August 27, 2004 – August 1, 2005
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by John Redd
Personal details
Born John Owen Brennan
September 22, 1955 (age 60)
Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
Spouse(s) Kathy Pokluda
Alma mater Fordham University
University of Texas, Austin

John Owen Brennan (born September 22, 1955)[1][2] is an American government official who is the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He has served as chief counterterrorism advisor to U.S. President Barack Obama; his title was Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, and Assistant to the President.[1][3][4] His responsibilities included overseeing plans to protect the country from terrorism and respond to natural disasters, and he met with the President daily.[5][6]Previously, he advised President Obama on foreign policy and intelligence issues during the 2008 presidential campaign and transition.[7] Brennan withdrew his name from consideration for Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the first Obama administration over concerns about his support for transferring terror suspects to countries where they may be tortured while serving under President George W. Bush.[3][5] Instead, Brennan was appointed Deputy National Security Advisor, a position which did not require Senate confirmation.[3][5][8]

Brennan’s 25 years with the CIA included work as a Near East and South Asia analyst, as station chief in Saudi Arabia, and as director of the National Counterterrorism Center.[3][5][9]After leaving government service in 2005, Brennan became CEO of The Analysis Corporation, a security consulting business, and served as chairman of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, an association of intelligence professionals.[10]

President Barack Obama nominated Brennan as his next director of the CIA on January 7, 2013.[11][12][13] The ACLU called for the Senate not to proceed with the appointment until it confirms that “all of his conduct was within the law” at the CIA and White House.[14] John Brennan was approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee on March 5, 2013 to succeedDavid Petraeus as the Director of the CIA by a vote of 12 to 3.[15]

His term as CIA Director coincided with revelations that the U.S. government conducted massive levels of global surveillance, that the CIA had hacked into the computers of U.S. Senate employees, and the release of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture.

Early life and education

Brennan, the son of Irish immigrants from Roscommon, was raised in North Bergen, New Jersey.[9] He attended the Immaculate Heart of Mary Elementary School, and graduated from Saint Joseph of the Palisades High School in West New York, New Jersey before enrolling at Fordham University in New York City.[5]

While riding a bus to class at Fordham, he saw an ad in The New York Times that said the CIA was recruiting, and he felt a CIA career would be a good match for his “wanderlust” and his desire to do public service.[5] He received a B.A. in political science from Fordham in 1977.[3] His studies included a junior year abroad learning Arabic and taking Middle Eastern studies courses at the American University in Cairo.[3][5] He also received a Master of Arts in government with a concentration in Middle Eastern studies from the University of Texas at Austin in 1980.[5] He speaks Arabic fluently.[9]

Brennan is married to Kathy Pokluda Brennan, with whom he has had one son and two daughters.[2][3][16]

Career highlights

Brennan with Kathleen Sebeliusand Rahm Emanuel, White House, April 2009

Brennan began his CIA career as an analyst, presumably in the Washington D.C. area, and spent 25 years with the agency.[1][5][17] At one point in his career, he was a daily intelligence briefer for President Bill Clinton.[5] In 1996 he was CIA station chief in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia when the Khobar Towers bombing killed 19 U.S. servicemen.[5] In 1999 he was appointed chief of staff to George Tenet, then-Director of the CIA.[3][5] Brennan became deputy executive director of the CIA in March 2001.[3] He was director of the newly created Terrorist Threat Integration Center from 2003 to 2004, an office that sifted through and compiled information for President Bush’s daily top secret intelligence briefings and employed the services of analysts from a dozen U.S. agencies and entities.[18] One of the controversies in his career involves the distribution of intelligence to the Bush White House that helped lead to an “Orange Terror Alert“, over Christmas 2003. The intelligence, which purported to list terror targets, was highly controversial within the CIA and was later discredited. An Obama administration official does not dispute that Brennan distributed the intelligence during the Bush era but said Brennan passed it along because that was his job.[19] His last post within the Intelligence Community was as director of the National Counterterrorism Center in 2004 and 2005, which incorporated information on terrorist activities across U.S. agencies.[3][20]

Brennan then left government service for a few years, becoming Chairman of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance (INSA) and the CEO of The Analysis Corporation (TAC). He continued to lead TAC after its acquisition by Global Strategies Group in 2007 and its growth as the Global Intelligence Solutions division of Global’s North American technology business GTEC, before returning to government service with the Obama administration as Homeland Security Advisor on January 20, 2009.[10]

On January 7, 2013, Brennan was nominated by President Barack Obama to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency.[21]

Counterterrorism advisor to President Obama

In late 2008 Brennan was the reported choice for Director of the CIA in the incoming Obama administration. Brennan withdrew his name from consideration because of opposition to his CIA service under President George W. Bush and past public statements he had made in support of enhanced interrogation and the transfer of terrorism suspects to countries where they might be tortured (extraordinary rendition).[3][5][22] President Obama then appointed him to be his chief counterterrorism advisor, a position that did not require Senate confirmation.[3][5][8]

Brennan and President Barack Obama at a meeting of the Homeland Security Council, May 2009

In August 2009, Brennan criticized some Bush-administration anti-terror policies, saying that waterboarding had threatened national security by increasing the recruitment of terrorists and decreasing the willingness of other nations to cooperate with the U.S.[23] He also described the Obama administration’s focus as being on “extremists” and not “jihadists“. He said that using the second term, which means one who is struggling for a holy goal, gives “these murderers the religious legitimacy they desperately seek” and suggests the US is at war with the religion of Islam.[23]

In an early December 2009 interview with the Bergen Record Brennan remarked, “the U.S. intelligence and law enforcement communities have to bat 1.000 every day. The terrorists are trying to be successful just once”.[5] At a press conferences days after the failed Christmas Day bomb attack on Northwest Airlines Flight 253 by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, Brennan said U.S. intelligence agencies did not miss any signs that could have prevented the attempt but later said he had let the President down by underestimating a small group of Yemeni terrorists and not connecting them to the attempted bomber.[1][24] Within two weeks after the incident, however, he produced a report highly critical of the performance of U.S. intelligence agencies, concluding that their focus on terrorist attempts aimed at U.S. soil was inadequate.[17] In February 2010, he claimed on Meet the Press that he was tired of Republican lawmakers using national security issues as political footballs, and making allegations where they did not know the facts.[25]

Drone program

In April 2012 Brennan was the first Obama administration official to publicly acknowledge CIA drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. In his speech he argued for the legality, morality, and effectiveness of the program.[26][27][28] The ACLU and other organizations disagreed. In 2011/2012 he also helped reorganize the process, under the aegis of the Disposition Matrix database, by which people outside of war zones were put on the list of drone targets. According to an Associated Press story, the reorganization helped “concentrate power” over the process inside the White House administration.[29][30][31]

In June 2011, Brennan claimed that US counter-terrorism operations had not resulted in “a single collateral death” in the past year because of the “precision of the capabilities that we’ve been able to develop.”[32][33] Nine months later, Brennan claimed he had said “we had no information” about any civilian, noncombatant deaths during the timeframe in question.[33][34] The Bureau of Investigative Journalism disagreed with Brennan, citing their own research[35] that initially led them to believe that 45 to 56 civilians, including six children, had been killed by ten US drone strikes during the year-long period in question.[33] Additional research led the Bureau to raise their estimate to 76 deaths, including eight children and two women.[33] According to the Bureau, Brennan’s claims “do not appear to bear scrutiny.”[33]The Atlantic has been harsher in its criticism, saying that “Brennan has been willing to lie about those drone strikes to hide ugly realities.”[36]

According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, Brennan’s comments about collateral death are perhaps explained by a counting method that treats all military-aged males in a strike zone as combatants unless there is explicit information to prove them innocent.[33][37]

CIA Director (2013–present)

Nomination

Brennan being sworn in as CIA Director, March 8, 2013

United States PresidentBarack Obama twice nominated Brennan to serve as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.[11][12]

Morris Davis, a former Chief Prosecutor for the Guantanamo Military Commissions compared Brennan to Canadian Omar Khadr, who was convicted of “committing murder in violation of the law of war”.[38] He suggested that Brennan’s role in targeting individuals for CIA missile strikes was no more authorized than the throwing of the grenade Khadr was accused of.

On February 27, 2013, the Senate Intelligence Committee postponed a vote, expected to be taken the next day on the confirmation of Brennan until the following week. On March 5, the Intelligence Committee approved the nomination 12–3. The Senate was set to vote on Brennan’s nomination on March 6, 2013. However, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul began a talking Senate filibuster of the vote, citing President Barack Obama and his administration’s use of combat drones, stating “No one politician should be allowed to judge the guilt, to charge an individual, to judge the guilt of an individual and to execute an individual. It goes against everything that we fundamentally believe in our country.”[39][40] Paul’s filibuster continued for 13 hours, after which Brennan was confirmed by a vote of 63–34.

Brennan was sworn into the office of CIA Director on March 8, 2013.[41]

See also

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_O._Brennan

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Trump Targets Terrorist Control vs. Clinton and Obama Talk Gun Control — Lying Lunatic Left Losers — Americans Armed Against Gun Grabbing Government Tyrants — Defend The Second Amendment — Videos

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Story 1: Trump Targets Terrorist Control vs. Clinton and Obama Talk Gun Control — Lying Lunatic Left Losers — Americans Armed Against Gun Grabbing Government Tyrants — Defend The Second Amendment — Videos

Oath of office of the President of the United States

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”[1]

ARTICLE II, SECTION 3, United States Constitution

[The President] shall take Care that the Laws be faithfully executed….

http://www.heritage.org/constitution/#!/articles/2/essays/98/take-care-clause

gun-control1clarity-dictators-like-gun-control Gun-control-dictatorsgun-control_dictators stalin mao hitler  guns-1935-hitler-on-gun-control obama guncontrol

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CIA chief: IS working to send operatives to the West

CIA Director John Brennan will tell Congress on Thursday that Islamic State militants are training and attempting to deploy operatives for further attacks on the West and will rely more on guerrilla-style tactics to compensate for their territorial losses.

CIA Director John Brennan will tell Congress on Thursday that Islamic State militants are training and attempting to deploy operatives for further attacks on the West and will rely more on guerrilla-style tactics to compensate for their territorial losses.

In remarks prepared for the Senate Intelligence Committee, Brennan says IS has been working to build an apparatus to direct and inspire attacks against its foreign enemies, as in the recent attacks in Paris and Brussels — ones the CIA believes were directed by IS leaders.

“ISIL has a large cadre of Western fighters who could potentially serve as operatives for attacks in the West,” Brennan said, using another acronym for the group. He said IS probably is working to smuggle them into countries, perhaps among refugee flows or through legitimate means of travel.

Brennan also noted the group’s call for followers to conduct so-called lone-wolf attacks in their home countries. He called last week’s attack in Orlando a “heinous act of wanton violence” and an “assault on the values of openness and tolerance” that define the United States as a nation.

He said IS is gradually cultivating its various branches into an interconnected network. The branch in Libya is likely the most advanced and most dangerous, but IS is trying to increase its influence in Africa, he said. The IS branch in the Sinai has become the “most active and capable terrorist group in Egypt,” attacking the Egyptian military and government targets in addition to foreigners and tourists, such as the downing of a Russian passenger jet last October.

Other branches have struggled to gain traction, he says. “The Yemen branch, for instance, has been riven with factionalism. And the Afghanistan-Pakistan branch has struggled to maintain its cohesion, in part because of competition with the Taliban.”

He called IS a “formidable adversary,” but said the U.S.-led coalition has made progress combatting the group, which has had to surrender large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria and has lost some of its leaders in airstrikes. IS has struggled to replenish its ranks of fighters, Brennan said, because fewer of them are traveling to Syria and others have defected.

“The group appears to be a long way from realizing the vision that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi laid out when he declared the caliphate two years ago in Mosul,” Iraq, Brennan said.

He said the group’s ability to raise money has also been curtailed, although the group still continues to generate at least tens of millions of dollars in revenue each month, mostly from taxation and from sales of crude oil.

“Unfortunately, despite all our progress against ISIL on the battlefield and in the financial realm, our efforts have not reduced the group’s terrorism capability and global reach,” he said.

“In fact, as the pressure mounts on ISIL, we judge that it will intensify its global terror campaign to maintain its dominance of the global terrorism agenda.”

 

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