Ex-CIA Chief Hayden Says Obama Followed Bush Lead on War on Terror, But With More Killing

Bush’s former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Security Agency says that President Barack Obama has closely followed the policy of his predecessor, President George W. Bush, when it comes to fighting the “war on terror” — from rendition, targeted killings, state secrets, Guantanamo Bay to domestic spying.

Hayden, who oversaw the CIA’s use of torture techniques against detainees and the expansion of the NSA to illegally spy on American citizens said he was initially skeptical of Obama. He also publicly criticized the administration for making the Bush-era legal memos that attempted to re-define torture as “enhanced interrogation techniques” available to the public.

In a nearly 80-minute lecture posted on C-Span, Hayden said Obama embraced Bush’s positions that the country was at war, the enemy was al-Qaida, the war was global in nature, and the United States would take the fight to the enemy, wherever it may be.

“And yet, you’ve had two presidents, the American Congress, and the American court system, in essence, sign up to all four of those sentences,” Hayden said.

Moments later, Hayden added:

“And so, we’ve seen all of these continuities between two very different human beings, President Bush and President Obama. We are at war, targeted killings have continued, in fact, if you look at the statistics, targeted killings have increased under Obama.”

A major difference though between Obama and Bush is that in 2009 Obama closed CIA “black sites” and ratcheted down on torturing detainees, but instead of capturing so-called “enemy combatants,” President Obama kills them.

Obama’s kill list has even included American citizens.

Hayden noted Obama campaigned on promises to close the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, and to bring more transparency to government, but has failed to close Gitmo and has continued to use the “state secrets” defense in court cases challenging the government’s policies on the war on terror.

“Despite a campaign that was based on a very powerful promise of transparency, President Obama, and again in my view quite correctly, has used the state secrets argument in a variety of courts, as much as President Bush,” Hayden said. He added that he appreciated Obama’s invocation of the state secrets privilege, as Hayden himself was named as a defendant in some of the cases.

Hayden also pointed out that in 08 as a State Senator, Obama voted to legalize President Bush’s once-secret warrantless spying program. The law authorizes the government to electronically eavesdrop on Americans’ phone calls and e-mail without a probable-cause warrant so long as one of the parties to the communication is believed to be outside the United States. It also granted America’s telecoms immunity from lawsuits for their complicity in the spy program.

“The FISA Act not only legitimated almost every thing president Bush had told me to do under his Article II authorities as commander in chief, but in fact gave the National Security Agency a great deal more authority to do these kind of things,” Hayden said.

The law, now known as the FISA Amendments Act, expires at year’s end. The Obama administration said congressional reauthorization was the administration’s “top intelligence priority,” despite 2008 campaign promises to make the act more privacy-friendly.

Hayden, who said he was an adviser to the Romney presidential campaign, said Romney would largely follow Obama’s same path, too, if Romney was elected.

“If we’re looking forward,” Hayden said, “I actually suspect there is going to be some continuity between a President Romney and and his predecessor, too, if that came to pass.”

Former Senator Says Classified Documents Contradict FBI on Post-9/11 Probe of Saudis

Former Florida Senator and co-chair of Congress’s Joint Inquiry into the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Sen. Bob Graham, says he has seen two classified FBI documents that contradict the bureau’s public statement that there was no connection between the hijackers and Saudis living in Sarasota, Fla, at the time. 

“There are significant inconsistencies between the public statements of the FBI in September and what I read in the classified documents,” Graham said.

“One document adds to the evidence that the investigation was not the robust inquiry claimed by the FBI,” he added. “An important investigative lead was not pursued and unsubstantiated statements were accepted as truth.”

One unanswered question surrounding the 9/11 attacks is whether the hijackers had support within the U.S. The final 28 pages of Congress’s bipartisan inquiry released in July 2003 regarding possible foreign support for the terrorists, were censored in it’s entirety, on President George W. Bush’s instructions.

Graham said the two classified FBI documents that he saw, dated 2002 and 2003, were prepared by an agent who participated in the Sarasota investigation. He said the agent suggested that another federal agency be asked to join the investigation, but that the idea was “rejected.”

Graham attempted in recent weeks to contact the agent, he said, but the agent had been instructed by his superiors not to talk.

The FBI investigated Abdulaziz al-Hijji and his wife, Anoud a decade ago. They moved out of their home in the upscale, gated community of Prestancia, near Sarasota, and left the country weeks before 9/11. The couple left numerous personal belongings, such as furnishings, clothes, medicine, food and cars according to law enforcement records. After the 9/11 attacks, a concerned neighbor contacted the FBI. 

Prestancia gatehouse visitor logs and photographs of license tags show that several of the 9/11 hijackers visited the al-Hijji home, according to a counterterrorism officer and former Prestancia administrator Larry Berberich.

Al-Hijji, who now lives in London, recently called 9/11 “a crime against the USA and all humankind” and said he was “saddened and oppressed by these false allegations.” He also said it was “not true” that Mohamed Atta and other 9/11 hijackers visited him at his Sarasota home.

The FBI, after initially declining to comment, confirmed that it did investigate but found nothing sinister. Agents, however, have refused to answer reporters’ specific questions about its investigation or its findings about the Prestancia gate records.

The FBI reiterated its position in a Feb. 7 letter that denied a Freedom of Information Act request seeking records from its Sarasota probe. The denial said their release “could constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.”

“At no time during the course of its investigation of the attacks, known as the PENTTBOM investigation, did the FBI develop credible evidence that connected the address at 4224 Escondito Circle, Sarasota, Florida, to any of the 9/11 hijackers,” wrote records section chief David M. Hardy.

According to newly released Florida law enforcement documents an informant told the FBI in 2004 that al-Hijji considered Osama bin Laden a “hero” and may have known some of the hijackers. The informant, Wissam Hammoud, also said al-Hijji introduced him to Adnan El Shukrijumah, an ex-Broward County resident and suspected al-Qaida operative.

Last September, FBI spokesmen also disputed Graham’s assertion that Congress was never told about the Sarasota investigation.

Graham asked the FBI for assistance in locating the Sarasota related files in National Archives that were allegedly turned over to Congress. He says there were two months in which the FBI was “either unwilling or unable” to help find the records, than the bureau turned over two documents to the Senate Intelligence Committee, which Graham once headed and where he still has access. It is those documents that Graham has said are inconsistent with the FBI denials.

Graham shared this development with the Obama White House, and a meeting between Graham and FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce was arraigned.

In December, Graham said, the scheduled meeting was abruptly canceled and he was told he would be allowed no further access to FBI information about Sarasota.

Graham says the information emerging about Sarasota is ominously similar to discoveries his inquiry made in California. Leads there indicated that the first two hijackers to reach the U.S., Saudis Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, received help first from a diplomat at the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles and then from two other Saudis, one of whom helped al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi find a place to live.

Multiple sources told investigators they believed both the latter Saudis had been Saudi government agents.

In late December, the U.S. announced a new $30 billion defense deal with the Saudis.

Graham said he was taken aback by that announcement.

“I think that in the period immediately after 9/11 the FBI was under instructions from the Bush White House not to discuss anything that could be embarrassing to the Saudis,” he said. “It is more inexplicable why the Obama administration has been reticent to pursue the question of Saudi involvement. For both administrations, there was and continues to be an obligation to inform the American people through truthful information.”

Hermain Cain thinks Social Security is as bad as slavery…

From 2005 to 2010, presidential candidate Herman Cain wrote weekly commentary for his company The New Voice, Inc. He dedicated a few of his columns to letting be known his support for then President George W. Bush’s idea to privatize Social Security. According to Cain Social Security is “immoral” and “oppressive,”. He also went after Democrats for supporting “involuntary servitude” of African Americans through the Social Security and payroll tax system. From one column entitled, “Ownerships: An Unalienable Right” he wrote:

The 70-year-old Social Security structure and the 92-year-old income tax code thwart the natural, individual motivation of citizens to use their God-given talents to pursue happiness and their respective dreams. Any program that undermines an individual’s liberty to create ownership is, then, by its very nature, immoral. It took our nation nearly 250 years to end slavery and live up to the self-evident truth that all men are created equal. It should not take us another 250 years to cease the involuntary negative return most working people receive from Social Security, or the involuntary servitude imposed by the oppressive income tax code.

In another column entitled “Separate Water Fountains,” Cain said the Social Security system “by its very nature discriminates against black men and women.” With their “unconscionable” refusal to implement private accounts, Democratic “so-called black leaders” want to see “the next generation of Blacks remain in economic slavery on the Democratic plantation“:

It is now evident that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did not apply to the Social Security system. Due to the rising retirement age, differences in life expectancy between Blacks and Whites, and mandatory payroll tax deductions, the system by its very nature discriminates against black men and women.[…]

Perhaps most unconscionable is the opposition to personal retirement accounts by the NAACP, the Congressional Black Caucus, and many of our nation’s so-called black leaders. Personal retirement accounts would provide future generations of Blacks the retirement security their parents and grandparents never had.

Instead, black Democratic leaders are willing to see the next generation of Blacks remain in economic slavery on the Democratic plantation, so long as they can deny any Republican a perceived political victory.

 

Well said Mr. Cain. Spoken like the true Koch brothers backed, former Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City chairman, pizza slinging far right neoCONservative you are.