America Must Stop Trusting China to Contain North Korea

China has long dreamed of being the global power that dominates the Asia-Pacific realm. For decades, the Communist regime has worked to ramp-up defense spending, secure supply chains of natural resources from Africa and South America, and build man-made islands in the South China Sea. All of these efforts have been in the pursuit of one primary goal: to supplant the United States as the leading power in the Pacific. This reality is now the backdrop of China’s desire to be the diplomatic “go-between” between the United States and North Korea.

Presidential Administrations since Richard Nixon’s have looked to China to act as a check on the North Korean regime. Since Nixon’s famous 1972 visit to Chairman Mao Zedong, the Communist Chinese government has used North Korea as a geopolitical chess piece that keeps it relevant in global affairs. Since the Kim dictatorship began with Kim Il-Sung in North Korea following the end of WWII, with communist backing, the government of China has been the lifeblood of the regime.

China has kept the Kim dictatorship in power for over 70 years. Over 80% of North Korea’s food and foreign aide comes from China, which has staved-off a coup against the Kims. At the same time, China has assured America, and the rest of the world, that they are worried about the actions of the madman in Pyongyang. They try and have it both ways; China’s communist government enables North Korea’s recklessness, and then steps-in to tamp it down when it is politically advantageous.

This trend has been on full display in this latest round of North Korean aggression. As Kim Jong-Un has been test-firing missiles and threatening the United States, China has reprised its role as the power broker. It’s a tired theme that is becoming unbelievable. If China is serious about containing the threat of North Korea, they should cut off foreign aid until Kim agrees to abandon his nuclear weapons program. China will never actually hold North Korea accountable, however, because it serves a vital national interest to China: preventing the unification of the Korean Peninsula.

South Korea is an American ally. A thriving country committed to democratic ideals, free-market principles, and religious liberty, South Korea is a threat to Chinese dominance of the region. If the North Korean dictatorship collapses, and Korea unites under a free government, China’s influence will be checked. As such, China will never seriously pressure North Korea to end its recklessness so long as it acts as a check against China’s fear of a United Korea.

American policy must reflect this reality if we are ever going to actually neutralize the threat of North Korea. We should stop seeking Chinese intervention as the primary check on North Korea and, instead, pressure them directly by economic and military might. In order to check the Chinese communist party’s propping-up of this tin-horned dictator, America should reaffirm our commitment to Taiwan (also known as free China) as a check on communist attempts to unify China under communist rule. This will make the Chinese government rethink its dangerous triangulation game involving North Korea.

President Trump’s decision to send an “armada” to the North Korean coast is a strong and welcome step. This resolve must now lead to a renewed U.S. Naval presence in the Asia-Pacific realm along with renewed American economic leadership in the region. By reaffirming America’s resolve in Southeast Asia, while strengthening our alliances with democratic countries like South Korea, we can neutralize the threat of North Korea without playing into China’s plan for superpower status.

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Washington Hates the White House Budget Director, Which is Why I Love Him

White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney has the hardest job in Washington: he’s the guy whose trying to keep America from going over the fiscal cliff, and it seems that almost everyone is fighting him. The shrieks are the loudest in the Capital City, where last week Washingtonian Magazine ran a headline criticizing Mulvaney’s proposals that read “Proposed Budget Would Leave D.C. Area ‘Pretty Screwed.’” That’s a bit ironic given that most of the budgets coming out of Washington usually lead to the rest of America being screwed. Turnabout is fair play as the expression goes, Washington has lived-large off of everyone else’s money, and now the sky is falling when the White House actually cares about Americans living outside the beltway.

The sentiment expressed in the Washingtonian is one of the symptoms of what is known as “Potomac Fever.” Potomac Fever is something that infects most political insiders who spend too much time inside the D.C. Beltway. The disease gives its victims an unshakable belief that the capital is the center of the universe, and that government spending drives the economy. Government spending is the lifeblood of Washington, and it has made it near recession-proof for decades. Even after the financial crisis of 2008-2009, the Washington metro area continued to grow and thrive off of stimulus spending.

There is nothing wrong with any city or state being prosperous; we should want every area of our country to thrive and succeed. The problem with Washington is that it is too dependent on government largess for its stability. Too many members of Congress, and other government officials, who spend too much time in Washington start to lose perspective. They make the mistake of assuming that the prosperity of D.C. is a proxy for the rest of the country.

The Washingtonian piece, directed to members of a Congress, states that “President Trump’s ideal budget would have him overseeing the biggest reduction in the size of the federal workforce in more than 70 years. And cutting $58 billion from non-defense discretionary spending will likely have debilitating impacts on the Washington area.” This is a tacit admission that Washington’s spending addiction is driven by bloated domestic spending programs that are driving the country deeper into debt. The primary function of the federal government is to defend the homeland and provide for our national defense. Spending on art projects and cell phones aren’t critical to the country’s commerce.

Director Mulvaney is right to propose large reductions in non-defense discretionary spending. While we hear liberals hand-wringing about the loss of government jobs, where is their concern for men and women across the country who have been unable to find good Manufacturing jobs, or other jobs in the private sector? Where are their tears for families who are fighting to keep food on the table because government regulations and programs have put their businesses or their employer’s businesses out-of-business? Our national economy can not be propped-up by federal spending, and no longer can Washington’s.

The right pro-growth policies, which include eliminating Obamacare, repealing Dodd-Frank, cutting taxes across the board, and de-regulation will help all areas of America to thrive. Mick Mulvaney and the budget team at the White House are doing the right thing by thinking of the whole country. A Washington-centric domestic policy agenda over the last 8 years led D.C. to unparalleled levels of prosperity, while the rest of the country fought to keep its head above water.

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Why BRICS Are Bad for America: Inside the Effort to Undermine U.S. Predominance

When most of us see the word BRICS, we simply assume that it is a misspelling of the word for building materials. Few of us think of it as an acronym for an emerging alliance of nations seeking to subvert U.S. influence, challenge NATO, and prop-up organized crime syndicates. Nevertheless, the so-called Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South African Alliance has emerged as a significant geopolitical threat to the United States and our allies. BRICS is a Chinese-Russian led coalition that is quickly seeking to serve as an authoritarian counterbalance to Western Democracy.

Many market analysts have described the member nations of BRICS as an emerging economic block ripe with profitable opportunities. For those of us who study foreign policy, however, the actions of the BRICS alliance are alarming. Whereas member states of NATO, led by the United States, cherish the rule of law, democratic governance, and individual rights, the nations comprising BRICS are largely led by authoritarian and / or communist regimes that limit individual rights, stifle democracy, and do not adhere to free-enterprise ideals. In fact, many of the member nations of BRICS have economies in which a disturbingly high level of economic activity is derived from illegal activities ranging from money laundering to human trafficking. All the while, leaders like China’s Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin turn a blind eye to corruption and illicit activity taking place in their emerging economic block.

The United States must continue to strengthen its global leadership and economic predominance to check the emerging economic and military threat posed by BRICS. While America has been focused, rightly so, on dealing with the threat of radical Islamic terrorism in the Middle East over the past two decades, the Russians and the Chinese have appeased them and sought to enhance their power while America has been preoccupied. It is now time for the United States to rebuild our military predominance and reaffirm our leadership of the NATO Alliance, while enhancing our bilateral relations with nations like Israel, Great Britain, and Jordan. Counterbalancing the growing authoritarian BRICS alliance is in the economic and national security interests of the United States.

By creating a stronger pro-growth economic environment here at home, the United States can reaffirm its position as the leading world economic power. By rebuilding our military capabilities, particularly the U.S. Navy, we can continue to protect our trade routes and affirm our status as the world’s sole remaining superpower. If America is not strong, then the cause of freedom will not be championed. If America is not strong, then authoritarianism and economic collectivism will continue to make gains on the global stage. While I support keeping our country from becoming bogged-down in decades-long ground wars and constant military engagements, I do oppose isolationism that will allow our enemies to undermine our influence. Only through American economic and military leadership on the world stage can we continue to protect our homeland, ensure our economic vitality, and champion human freedom.

I pray that President Trump will “Make America Great Again,” and will use our power to protect our own vital national security interests by defending our deeply held values on the global stage.

 

 

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SC-5 Special Election Will Shape the Future of the Conservative Movement

We are at a crossroads of the conservative movement, and the path we choose from here will have profound consequences for the future of our country. The modern conservative movement has been defined by a coalition brought together by Ronald Reagan consisting of fiscal, social, and national security conservatives. This is the winning coalition for conservatives, and is the philosophy to which I personally subscribe. The Republican Congress will govern best when it adheres to this agenda that has endured for over three decades.

For this reason, I am closely watching a special election for the 5th Congressional District here in my home state of South Carolina. The vacancy created by Mick Mulvaney’s appointment to White House Budget Director has set-off a wild, eight-way primary fight for the GOP nomination. The SC-5 special election has become a test of the continued power of the conservative coalition, as the candidates run the philosophical spectrum. One candidate, Tom Mulliken is, in spite of Rick Santorum’s endorsement, an Al Gore Democrat who recently donated to Democratic U.S. Senator Kay Hagan. Two of the others are veteran members of the SC House of Representatives, both of whom are moderates critical of the House Freedom Caucus. Only one serious candidate in the race represents a consistent conservative: Chad Connelly.

Connelly is the former Chairman of the SCGOP, who recently served as the first-ever Faith Outreach Director of the RNC. He is a consistent, Reagan conservative who cares about fiscal, social, and national security issues, all of which recently earned him the endorsement of conservative champion Congressman Jeff Duncan. If Connelly prevails in his bid to become Mulvaney’s successor in Congress, I will feel good about the state of conservatism in South Carolina and the country. We cannot keep the conservative movement together if we do not equally continue to adhere to the three columns of conservative conviction.

As goes SC-5, so goes the conservative movement, and as goes the conservative movement, so goes the country. In order to preserve American culture, defend the free market, rebuild our military, revive our economy, and defend religious liberty, we need candidates like Chad Connelly not only to run, but to win. In the fight for the future of our country, there is no substitute for conservative victory.

If Republicans cannot deliver conservative reform with control of the House, the Senate, and the White House, then the future is bleak. The American People voted for less government and more freedom, and that is what Republicans must deliver. If 2018 comes around with Obamacare still in place, the deficit still sky-high, and taxes left untouched, then Nancy Pelosi will have her best shot in nearly a decade to reclaim the Speaker’s gavel. If a conservative warrior like Chad Connelly is elected to Congress, however, her chances will dim considerably. I pray the voters of South Carolina’s Fifth District do Freedom a favor by sending my friend Chad Connelly to Capitol Hill.

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Unmasking Intelligence Abuse: Did President Trump Have a Point?

Until last week, most Americans assumed that “unmasking” only applied at Halloween parties or spa facials. Few of us have ever thought that unmasking would apply to the way in which one presidential administration would abuse the intelligence community to surveil their political opponents. Nevertheless, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the Obama Administration did, in fact, surveil Trump transition officials last fall. It seems that intelligence officials under President Obama targeted foreign persons for surveillance who had regular contact with Trump officials as a way of tangentially surveilling those close to the incoming president.

American Intelligence gathering is highly regulated, and it is a crime for the CIA or NSA to directly target U.S. Persons for surveillance; however, if U.S. persons are in contact with a foreign surveillance target their communications with said foreign targets can legally be obtained. Normally, these incidental gatherings of intelligence on U.S. persons are not widely disclosed and the identities of said persons are not revealed or “unmasked.” What is clear thus far in this investigation is that a senior Obama intelligence officials did authorize intelligence gathering against certain foreign persons largely based on their proximity to Trump officials for the purpose of finding a back-door way to gather intel on the Trump team.

By using foreign intelligence techniques, the Obama Administration found a legal loophole to conduct said surveillance without technically breaking the law. That does not make what they did any less disturbing or any less wrong. Such abuse of our intelligence services by political appointees is appalling and unacceptable. Once the House and Senate Intelligence Committees have concluded their investigations, the Congress should move to amend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to prevent such abuse in the future.

The only people left to “unmask” in this abuse of our nation’s intelligence capabilities are the people who authorized such surveillance against the incoming administration. The respective intelligence committees should seek to learn how high-up the chain of command in the last Administration knowledge of this operation went last fall. The likelihood of criminal prosecution is not high, given that these were legal loopholes that seem to have been exploited, but the perpetrators should not be able to hide behind anonymity. They should be revealed for the political hacks they are, and never allowed back in the intelligence community ever again.

Gathering of foreign intelligence is a critical tool in America’s toolbox in the fight against terror and other national threats. The solution here is not to demonize the intelligence community, but to expose those who abused it for political purposes. Congress must strengthen FISA laws to outlaw the gathering of information on U.S. persons not under investigation, and to prevent their identities from being revealed. Confidence in our intelligence community is critical to our national security, but the actions of a few Obama political appointees have undermined its credibility. Congress must seek to restore confidence in our intelligence services before it is too late.

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An Ultimatum of Doom: Failure is Not an Option on Obamacare Repeal

On Thursday evening, facing mounting conservative opposition to a watered-down Obamacare replacement bill, President Trump let loose an ultimatum on Twitter. The frustrated 45th President told House Republicans via Twitter that they should “pass the bill today or keep Obamacare in place.” While I understand that this ultimatum was intended to push fence-sitters toward voting for the Ryan-backed American Health Care Act (ACHA), it is not an ultimatum the President can afford to keep. If the Republican Congress cannot come to consensus and repeal Obamacare completely, and replace it with a free-market cure in the short-term, Republican dominance of Washington will be a thing of the past come next November.

For seven years, congressional Republicans have campaigned on ending Obamacare and replacing it with a conservative reform package that would lower costs and increase access to care through the free-market system. That they are now scrambling at crunch-time to come-up with a replacement bill is appalling; they have had seven years to prepare for this moment and, yet, they have fumbled at the one yard line. President Trump has said that he is ready to move-on to tax and immigration reform in the absence of a “yes” vote on the AHCA. This would be a disastrous move for his presidency.

President Trump’s reform agenda is endangered by the failure to repeal and replace Obamacare. Speaker Ryan’s effort to pass a watered-down bill through Congress alienated the House Freedom Caucus, an organization founded with the help of now- White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, and led to the bill being twice pulled from the floor. Instead of writing the bill with the input of House Freedom Caucus members, Speaker Ryan set himself up for failure by excluding them from its formulation. There should have been inclusion of the Freedom Caucus on the front-end, not panicked outreach and threats once the bill was introduced.

President Trump was not well served by the Republican House leadership this week, and, yet, he went to the mat to defend a bill that was doomed from the start. Tweaking Obamacare is not what got Republicans elected; they promised a full repeal and replacement of Obamacare once and for all. The President cannot now pivot onto other issues until an Obamacare repeal is passed. Conservative voters are fed-up, and the Republican base will not tolerate leaving Obamacare in place one minute longer than necessary. The President and the Speaker of the House need to reconvene the entire House Republican Caucus and rewrite legislation that will have near-unanimous GOP support so that the House can pass a bill and send it to the Senate.

The American Healthcare Act is certainly better than Obamacare, but it needs to be better to keep Congress’s and the President’s promise to the American people. By ending the Obamacare “death spiral,” fully repealing Obamacare’s mandates, and providing for health insurance competition across state lines, the House Republican Leadership would make significant progress toward putting forth a passable bill. I understand President Trump’s frustration with this week’s failure of healthcare reform legislation, but walking away is not an option at this point. If Obamacare stays in place, tax and immigration reforms will not pass, and Nancy Pelosi will have a realistic shot at the Speaker’s gavel again in 2018. These are costs Americans cannot afford to pay.

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We Need “Peace Through Strength” Now More Than Ever

Since the end of World War II the United States of America has remained the most powerful nation on Earth. A force for good, America has advanced the cause of freedom around the world, which has made our nation wealthier and more prosperous in the process. After the Marshall Plan rebuilt Western Europe and Japan after the bloodiest war in the 20th century, America became the economic and military leader of the world. The Pax Americana, or “American Peace,” like the Pax Romana in antiquity, has led to a safer and more prosperous world for everyone on the planet.

If America ceases to be the world’s leading military and economic power, the world will be less safe and less prosperous. Under the Obama Administration, the United States relinquished its leadership role in the world and allowed our military to atrophy. As a result, smelling weakness, our enemies have become emboldened and our allies have distanced themselves from us out of fear that we don’t have their backs.

Russia and China are both now seeking to challenge U.S. Military superiority. Over the past ten years, while the United States has been embroiled in overseas conflict while gutting its military under the Obama Administration, China has made astonishing gains in its naval and missile capacities. The Communist regime is now able to project force on a near-global scale, with a true “blue water” navy that could challenge U.S. shipping and trade routes, and put pressure on nations in the Asia-Pacific realm to distance themselves from the United States. This would have major implications for our national security and economy.

While China is modernizing its naval capacity, Russian President Vladimir Putin has aggressively sought to modernize his country’s tank technology and its nuclear arsenal. Putin recently bragged about Russian missiles being able to penetrate missile defense shield technology, an obviously antagonistic statement toward the United States. This comes at a time that Russia has continued to ally itself with Iran, which is seeking nuclear weapons of its own. A Russia-Iran alliance is a threat not only to the United States but our great ally, Israel.

President Trump is right to increase our military spending by 10% over the next 18 months, provided that this increase is offset by budget cuts elsewhere. By limiting our ongoing Overseas Contingency Operations, while increasing core military funding, we can rebuild our military edge. Maintaining American military predominance is the best way to deter future conflicts before they occur. As Ronald Reagan understood, we can have “peace through strength,” which will deter challenges instead of allowing military weakness to encourage them.

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Real Tax Reform: Special Treatment for All, Exclusive Favors for None

We are two months into the total Republican government of President Donald Trump and the GOP House and Senate, yet little legislative progress has been made. Competing interest groups are attempting to steer their preferred versions of GOP reform, and the result has been a stalemate. Nowhere, save healthcare reform, has this been more evident than in the area of tax policy. Every industry has its preference on how tax reform should be accomplished, based on its particular needs. The retail industry has its version of tax reform, the manufacturing industry has its version, and the realtors association has its own idea as well. Pleasing all constituencies seems near-impossible, which makes the most likely result that little reform will actually ever happen absent a significant breakthrough.

Is it possible to pass a tax reform package that modernizes America’s tax code, while strengthening American manufacturing, protecting American consumers, and defending American workers? I believe so. Instead of tweaking the tax code to protect one sector of the economy at the expense of another, we need to totally overhaul the tax code to stimulate our entire economy. Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) recently proposed a reform package which I wholeheartedly support. Lee recommends that we eliminate corporate income taxes altogether, and then offset the cut through increases in capital gains and dividend taxes.

Eliminating corporate taxes will lead to a surge of investment into the American economy, from both foreign and domestic sources, which will stimulate widespread economic activity. Eliminating the federal income tax will equally benefit all businesses, meaning that it will strengthen American manufacturing, hold-down costs for consumers (which is good for retailers), while also protecting American workers. The primary driver of offshoring manufacturing and importing domestic goods is our nation’s highest-in-the-industrialized-world corporate income tax. Eliminating corporate income taxes will help America retain manufacturing jobs, while becoming less-dependent on imports for lower cost goods.

Some may object to this plan because of the increase in taxation on capital gains and dividends as an offset to the corporate tax cut. They will likely claim that this will reduce incentives for investors to invest. This will be an unfounded fear in a zero income tax environment. By eliminating corporate taxes, investment income will skyrocket for investors in spite of any increase in taxes on gains and dividends. Even if investment income taxes rose as high as 30%-35%, investors would still be better-off because corporate income, which generates capital gains and dividends, would be tax-exempt. Investors and American workers would both be better-off, and the class warfare rhetoric of liberals would fall on deaf ears.

Eliminating America’s corporate income tax while increasing capital gains and dividend taxes is the best tax proposal Republicans can possibly adopt; it is truly a win-win-win proposition. This proposal will protect American workers, defend American manufacturing, keep costs down for consumers, and improve the overall standard of living for the American people. Republicans in Congress should stop listening to special interest groups and look-out for the interests of all Americans. This proposal is the best way to protect the American economy and ensure our nation’s global economic predominance for decades to come.

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What Scandal at the DOJ?

In March, 1993, Attorney General Janet Reno summarily dismissed 93 out of 94 U.S. Attorneys as the Justice Department was being remade into the image of the Clinton Administration. The media treated this replacement as routine. In 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder bluntly told the media, while replacing U.S. Attorneys appointed by President George W. Bush, that “Elections matter. It is our intention to have the U.S. Attorneys that are selected by President Obama in place as quickly as we can.” Again, the media treated the replacement as routine. In fact, the replacement of U.S. Attorneys by a new administration is routine, regardless of which party holds the White House. Traditionally, all current U.S. Attorneys submit a letter of resignation at the beginning of a new presidential administration. Eventually, most of these resignation letters are accepted by the new Administration, particularly if the new Administration is of the opposite political party of the outgoing president.

The fact that U.S. Attorneys are political appointees who serve “at the pleasure of the President” underscores the reality that Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ dismissal of the remaining 46 of President Obama’s U.S. Attorneys is not unusual. The media has made a mountain out of this molehill, and have accused President Trump and Attorney General Sessions of politicizing the Department of Justice. In case the media missed it, the Department of Justice was politicized long before the Trump Inaugural. Where were these “watchdogs of democracy” when Attorney General Holder fired Bush’s appointees, or lied to Congress about Fast and Furious, or refused to prosecute anyone at the IRS for targeting conservative groups? It seems that the media only wants to make a story about the politicization of the Justice Department when a Republican wants to replace Democratic U.S. Attorneys.

This non-scandal has garnered even more attention after Preet Bharara, U.S. Attorney for the District of Manhattan, refused to resign and was fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions last week. This is not the first time Bharara has made headlines as a U.S. Attorney. In 2014, Bharara’s office went after conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza after he made several movies outlining Barack Obama’s political history and philosophy. Bharara trumped-up charges against D’Souza for violating campaign finance laws in the aftermath of D’Souza’s films critical of the Obama Administration, which led to D’Souza serving time behind bars. Bharara’s office and the Obama Administration continually refused to hand-over case files to a congressional oversight committee in the aftermath of D’Souza’s conviction and sentence, further fueling speculation that the case against the filmmaker was politically motivated. For Bharara to now act like he is the victim of a politicized process at the Department of Justice is more than just a tad bit ironic.

This entire episode surrounding the dismissal of U.S. Attorney’s by Jeff Sessions just underscores the liberal vitriol directed at this Administration. Bharara has become a showman for the liberal resistance and has become a media darling in the process. The former Deputy National Security Advisor under President Barack Obama, Ben Rhodes, tweeted over the weekend that “In democracies the rule of law is not supposed to be partisan. In what way was Preet Bharara not good at his job?” For starters, Ben, America is a republic, not a democracy, and we could ask you the same question. In what way was Dinesh D’Souza not good at his job? Or was he too good at his job and that provoked the Obama Administration to target him with criminal prosecution? Isn’t prosecuting a political adversary the very essence of the rule of law being partisan?
Attorney General Jeff Sessions has done nothing extraordinary in asking U.S. Attorneys to resign who were appointed by President Barack Obama. Every modern president has asked for the resignation of most, if not all, of the U.S. Attorneys appointed by their predecessors at the outset of a new administration. For the media to make a big deal over Jeff Sessions doing something that Eric Holder gleefully did in 2009 is ridiculous. The only politicization of the Department of Justice taking place in this case is the double standard applied to the replacement of U.S. Attorneys by the liberal media.

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Conservatives Should Not Consider the CIA the Enemy of the American People

When I was in college “24” was all the rage, and any red-blooded patriot cheered when Jack Bauer did what was necessary to catch a terrorist before he could inflict harm to the homeland. For those of us who remember where we were when the World Trade Center collapsed on September 11th, 2001, homeland security means something. The sense of fear and rage that permeated the American landscape in the aftermath of that day of fire gave all of us a sense of urgency about protecting America, and we honored the men and women on the front lines fighting for our freedom. The Central Intelligence Agency, the NSA, and the FBI all constitute front-line agencies in the ongoing war on radical Islamic terrorism, and they should be afforded our respect. Instead of siding with Julian Assange and Wikileaks, American leaders ought to denounce the actions of this man who is waging cyber-war on America.

Media personalities like Sean Hannity ought to be ashamed at their role in bolstering the reputation of Assange, effectively turning him into a conservative hero during the 2016 presidential election. While I am glad that Hillary Clinton is not president, and am dismayed at the horrible things she and her staff said about everyday Americans, the idea that Julian Assange sought to help Republicans is ludicrous. For people like Hannity to say that he “believes everything he [Assange] says” is absurd. Julian Assange has consistently targeted American intelligence services and dumped damaging dossiers that undermine our national security. Interestingly, Assange has never sought to target Russian or Chinese intelligence services, which betrays his anti-American agenda.

President Trump was right this week to denounce Wikileaks’ release of classified CIA information regarding its intelligence gathering techniques. Praising a non-state actor that is jeopardizing our nation’s ability to gather vital intelligence necessary to protect the homeland is unconscionable. The CIA is not the enemy of the American people; those they are trying to stop are the enemies of our country. When Wikileaks released information about the CIA’s ability to turn smart phones and tablets into listening devices even while those devices are off, they tipped-off the terrorists to these tactics used to stop their attacks. Wikileaks, of course, made it seem that these surveillance programs were being used to target innocent civilians, but no such evidence has been produced.

There is nothing wrong with America’s intelligence community having state-of-the-art tools to target enemies of human freedom. There is nothing wrong with CIA analysts turning smart phones and tablets into surveillance tools when the target is a non-U.S. person under suspicion of the United States. Abuse of these programs should be what concerns the American people, not their mere existence. The men and women of America’s intelligence community are not monsters hell-bent on spying on their fellow Americans; they are dedicated patriots who are seeking to secure our way of life.

The actions of political appointees in the intelligence community have undermined Americans’ confidence in the institutions themselves, but it should not be this way. While we witnessed officials in the Obama Administration use the IRS to target conservative groups, and the Holder Justice Department cover-up everything from Fast and Furious to Benghazi, we should not allow the actions of a few to undermine our confidence in the many. Most employees of the CIA, NSA, and FBI are “lifers” who serve under both Republican and Democratic Administrations. While the directors of these agencies may be political appointees, most of the men and women actually carrying-out operations are seasoned professionals who would not jeopardize their careers or freedom to abuse their surveillance powers.

The men and women of America’s intelligence services are the real heroes for defending our civil liberties, not Julian Assange and the crew at Wikileaks.

 

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