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Op-Ed: Trump needs to beware of inheriting Obama’s intelligence on Israel, Iran and the Middle East

Author Stephen Hughes states that President-elect Donald Trump should be very cautious about accepting the intelligence provided to him by President Barack Obama and his administration. Mainly concerned with the intelligence related to Israel, Iran and the Middle East, Hughes suggests that Trump consult outside sources because he is “inheriting a Washington and Pentagon razed to the ground, rebuilt contorted into the religious dogma political ideology of President Obama.”
Trump and Obama Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

President-elect Donald Trump is now receiving the same classified daily intelligence briefing as President Obama, known as “the book.” Obama directed that Trump has access to the Presidential Daily Briefing materials, a particular intelligence document with details of covert operations and other national-security information. White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said “the book” is being made available to Trump, Vice President-elect Mike Pence “and a couple of designated members of his team.”

The Obama’s White House stated his administration is hosting two interagency exercises to “inform and familiarize the incoming Trump’s administration on domestic incident management practices used currently by his White House Office.”

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“These exercises are designed to provide a high-level perspective on a series of challenges that the next administration may confront and to introduce the key authorities, policies, capabilities, and structures that are currently in place to respond to major domestic incidents,” the White House said.

The problem is that Obama has forced US intelligence agencies to conform to his distorted perception of Israel, Iran, and the Middle East. Those who did not mirror Obama’s monstrosity contorted perceptions of world affairs were removed, gutted and thrown into the whitewashing garbage pile of his minions.

In 2015, some 50 CENTCOM (The United States Central Command) intelligence analysts, including Defense Intelligence Agency analysts, formally complained that senior officials had changed their assessments on the Islamic State and the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda. Surprisingly, the liberal Obama supporting The New York Times in 2015 also raised the issue to national attention and former Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn observed that politicization is “here” and “it’s dangerous.”

The fact so many people complained substantiates there are deep-rooted, systemic problems in how Obama's U.S. military command charged with the war against Islamic State & terrorism assesses intelligence. The complaints spurred the Pentagon’s inspector general to open an investigation into the manipulation of intelligence. “The cancer was within the senior level of the intelligence command,” one defense official said.

Secretary of State John Kerry often used isolated statistics to show progress in the war against ISIS, but those figures often did not stand up to scrutiny. Then General John Allen, who resigned as the president’s envoy to the collation against the Islamic State, used to say that half of the group’s leaders in Iraq had been killed. This was  a proven exaggeration.

And it gets worse, in 2016, Judicial Watch announced it obtained 183 pages of documents from the Department of Homeland Security revealing that the Obama administration scrubbed the law enforcement agency’s “Terrorist Screening Database” in order to protect Obama considered the civil rights of suspected Islamic terrorist groups.  The documents appear to confirm charges that Obama administration changes created a massive “hands off” list. Removed data from the terrorist watch list could have helped prevent the San Bernardino terrorist attack.

Philip B. Haney is a recently retired Customs & Border Protection (CBP) agent. He was named a Founding Member of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) at its inception on March 01, 2003, and is the author of See Something, Say Nothing: A Homeland Security Officer Exposes the Government’s Submission to Jihad (2016). 

Haney revealed the DHS had purged training materials that cast Islam in a negative light. Worse, in 2009, Haney’s superiors ordered him to remove critical linking information from more than 800 records he had created on individuals associated with Muslim Brotherhood front groups in America. Three years later, the higher-ups deleted all 67 records Haney had created on individuals associated with a worldwide Islamic group called Tablighi Jamaat. Congress members took Haney’s concerns public, warning of evidence the Muslim Brotherhood had infiltrated the top levels of U.S. government.

Former FBI agent and counterterrorism expert John Guandolo estimates that upward of 80 percent of Islamic centers and mosques in the US are controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood. The major American Muslim groups, including CAIR, ISNA and the Islamic Circle of North America, are tied to the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood in turn supports Iran.

And there is more, the Islamic Republic of Iran has its own man in the White House Trita Parsi.

In 2009, Obama turned over virtually all responsibility and authority for foreign policy negotiations with Iran to Trita Parsi and his National Iranian American Council (NIAC). He has called America and Israel a Treacherous Alliance and openly proclaims Israel is the reason there is chaos in the Middle East. 

A ruling handed down on September 13th, 2012 by the D.C. District Federal Court has finally made clear what many have known for years, that the Obama Administration’s Iran policy was initiated and advanced by a group with illicit, hidden ties to the Iranian Regime. The U.S. district court ruling lent credence to the charge that Parsi is an agent of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Much of NIAC’s less known work has come to light through e-mails, documents, the board of directors meeting minutes and strategy memos that were made public as part of the discovery process during a current defamation lawsuit against a critic of the group.

Law enforcement experts who reviewed some of the documents, which were made by the defendant in the suit, say e-mails between Mr. Parsi and Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations at the time, Javad Zarif, and an internal review of the Lobbying Disclosure Act offer evidence that the group has operated as an undeclared lobby. The NIAC has been at the forefront of lobbying against continued congressional funding of the Voice of America Persia service, Radio Farad, and grants for Iranian civil society. To top it off, the NIAC has reportedly received funding from anti-Israel advocate George Soros, who at the very least was an honored guest and speaker at one of its symposiums. (He called for a more equitable Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and advocated for America to renounce regime-change as a goal). 

Parsi has been called to the White House, lectured at the CIA and visited Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Today, he is considered the White House top expert on Iran. He has become one of the interviewed and sited authority concerning the Islamic Republic of Iran. He is also a key player Task Force Iran. Since its launch in February 2010, the Task Force has hosted 25 events addressing key issues, including briefings with experts, and has released six issue briefs on key topics related to Iran.

An annual report delivered recently to the US Senate by James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, removed Iran and Hezbollah from its list of terrorism threats, after years in which they featured in similar reports. 

Over the last few years, House and Senate members have complained of inadequate classified briefings by the intelligence community, particularly on Iran and Syria. Several of the members suggested that the paucity of information reflected the policy of President Barack Obama to reconcile with Iran, deemed a leading WMD supplier to Damascus.

Congress determined the US open-source intelligence on weapons of mass destruction programs dropped sharply. The Congressional Research Service asserted that the U.S. intelligence community significantly reduced information on WMD programs, particularly in such countries as Iran and Syria. CRS suggested that the decline in open-source data was ordered by the White House.

President Elect Donald Trump is inheriting a Washington and Pentagon razed to the ground, rebuilt contorted into the religious dogma political ideology of President Obama. In Obama’s eight year reign he gutted, removed more than 200 top military officers, and ravaged the citadels of the US intelligence agencies. How can President Elect Donald Trump trust any intelligence briefings? How can he even begin to shape viable foreign policies with the burnt out ruins left to him by Obama? Also, Trump has to work with a hostile US Congress and even resentment from top Republican politicians to former US Presidents. In reality, Trump is going to have to reach out to outside sources and think tanks. If he is wise, he will consult Israel, who has some of the finest minds of the world. 

Allan Lichtman, a political historian who teaches at the American University in Washington and the man dubbed "Prediction Professor" for accurately calling almost every presidential election since 1984, now forecasts the President-elect Donald Trump presidency will only last little more than a year. Unless President Elect Donald Trump works outside of the box, it will become all too true.

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JOL Blogger | Stephen Hughes

Stephen E Hughes spent 13 years with the U.S. Army. Half of Hughes’ time in the military was spent overseas. Hughes is currently the Association of Geo-Strategic Analysis CEO and the author of several books concerning Iran and the Middle East.


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