The Obama administration’s Nixonian sins

MAY 14, 2013, 1:27 PM 

The Obama administration’s Nixonian sins

  • BY President Obama is failing miserably on his 2008 campaign pledge to have the most transparent administration ever.

    The Benghazi embassy attack remains an issue because the administration initially gave bogus info that the attack took place as the result of a protest related to an anti-Islam trailer made in America. The public now knows that no such protest took place.

    Another hot topic is that IRS officials say they were involved in the political targeting of conservative groups. President Obama calls the targeting “outrageous.” But the IRS targeting was known since last year, and yet his administration did not find it outrageous enough to investigate prior to the election.

    The latest fiasco was reported yesterday. The Associated Press’s phone records were being monitored by the Department of Justice (DOJ). The White House claims that it had “no knowledge” of the DOJ’s snooping. Moreover, the DOJ has a general defense for its actions, saying that “all applicable laws, federal regulations and Department of Justice policies when issuing subpoenas for records of media organizations” were followed.

    Attorney General Eric Holder will face questioning about this misuse of power when he appears tomorrow at a previously-scheduled hearing in front of the House Judiciary Committee. The Senate Judiciary Committee should subpoena him to testify about this misconduct, which flies in the face of the 1st Amendment’s protect of Freedom of the press and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    The irony of the IRS targeting conservative groups and DOJ monitoring of the AP is that these are the same behaviors that the Obama administration has accuse the Iranian and Venezuelan governments of doing. His administration has said that those two regimes targeted opposition groups and chilled freedom of the press through monitoring the journalists and bloggers.

    Are not conservatives a type of opposition group in a sense? And doesn’t monitoring one of the country’s most prolific news agencies have the possible effect of chilling reporters and editors? You betcha.

    The Obama presidency is perhaps the least transparent since President Nixon’s, and Attorney General Holder is acting like J. Edgar Hoover, the former FBI director who spied on journalists during the McCarthyism and Counter Intelligence Program (COINTELPRO) eras.

    Whether progressives or conservatives, we should jointly demand that the Executive Branch be honest with the people and that it stays far away from politically-motivated targeting of activists and journalists. We must hold the current administration responsible for their violations.

Traveler from Saudi Arabia arrested at Detroit Metro with pressure cooker

Video of me discussing this issue on FOX 2 Detroit.

May 13, 2013

Traveler from Saudi Arabia arrested at Detroit Metro with pressure cooker

  • By Robert Snell
  • The Detroit News

Detroit — Federal agents have arrested a Saudi Arabian traveler who arrived at Detroit Metropolitan Airport with a pressure cooker, a key component used in the Boston Marathon bombings last month.

Hussain Al Khawahir appeared for a brief hearing at 1 p.m. in federal court on charges he allegedly used an altered passport and lied to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agent about the pressure cooker.

It was unclear Monday whether his arrest is terrorism related or a misunderstanding. But the prosecutor handling the case is Assistant U.S. Attorney Jonathan Tukel, who prosecuted the terror case against underwear bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab.

“I am in the dark, too,” said Rita Chastang, his court-appointed lawyer.

U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade declined comment on the particulars of the case or whether there are any links to terrorism.

“We never want to jump to conclusions and read more into a situation than is there, but we want to make sure all cases are fully investigated to protect the public,” McQuade said.

The slight-built, goateed Al Khawahir, 33, was dressed in a green Wayne County Jail uniform Monday and wearing ankle chains.

Flanked by an Arabic translator, he said nothing as Tukel asked to reschedule a detention hearing to 1 p.m. Tuesday.

That’s when a federal magistrate judge will decide whether Al Khawahir will be released on bond.

Al Khawahir arrived at the airport Saturday from Saudi Arabia, via Amsterdam, according to a criminal complaint filed Monday in federal court.

Al Khawahir was traveling with a B1/B2 visa, which lets him travel to the U.S. temporarily for business or tourism.

He told agents he was visiting his nephew, who attends the University of Toledo. During baggage inspection, officers noticed a page missing from Al Khawahir’s passport.

Al Khawahir told officers he did not know how the page was removed from the passport.

During the baggage exam, officers found a pressure cooker.

Al Khawahir said he brought the pressure cooker for his nephew because the devices are not sold in the United States, according to the complaint.

Later, he changed his story and admitted that his nephew had purchased a pressure cooker in the U.S. but it was cheap and broken.

His nephew says the case is a misunderstanding, and that his uncle was bringing him the pressure cooker so he could make lamb.

Nasser Almarzooq told the Associated Press on Monday that he’d asked his uncle to bring him the cooker.

Almarzooq says he’s concerned about his uncle and hasn’t been told anything since his Saturday arrest. Almarzooq goes to the University of Toledo and says his uncle was coming to visit him for a couple weeks.

Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council of American-Islamic Relations, urged caution.

“I hope that our government is not criminalizing people if they travel and have cooking items just because they are Muslim or come from the Muslim world,” Walid said. “I don’t think someone flying with an empty pressure cooker elevates to a level of terrorism unless the government has some other sound information.”