Negotiating With Terrorists, We’ve Already Lost


A 2008 Presidential candidate quote stated President Bush

didn’t use the full force of American power to hunt down and destroy Osama bin Laden, al-Queda, the Taliban, and all of the terrorists responsible for 9/11. Hmmm.

Another quote by Defense Secretary Chuck Bagel during his Senate confirmations..

We didn’t negotiate with terrorists

This past Monday White House Press Secretary would not call the Taliban a terrorist organization, but only

an enemy combatant


I think our military, our allies, and Afghanistan may disagree. They went on to belabor the point that we have always negotiated in times of war… ( forgetting our long standing US position of not negotiating with terrorists)

While I am not upset that Sgt Bergdahl is coming home, I am surprised at how it happened and how words are being twisted to make it sound less harmful than it probably is. I will save the debate on if he was a deserter or AWOL as that will soon come to light.  What is interesting is press reports from Dianne Feinstein, Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman who says that when the idea was brought up in 2011 as an idea for a trade it was almost unanimously rejected. Hmm again.

What changed? Did the President know more? Did he need a boost in the polls., I would think that would not be his reasoning, did he know more than the military – outlasting his CENTCOM CDRs?

Did President Obama inform the Congress 30 days prior to releasing prisoners from GitMo as required by law? No.

Did the President perhaps consult our Afghanistan or Pakistan allies on releasing 5 Taliban members (4 of which are senior leaders) for their opinion on this proposal? I think not since the Afghan govt seems to be upset.

Did the President look at some of our past Gitmo releases to see if they returned to combat? I don’t know but apparently it was not a deciding factor as many have been seen in Yemen, Afg, Iraq, and Syria among others according to press reports.  A few have ever been taken out by our drones.  Most recently, 3 Gitmo detainees that were returned to Morocco 10 years ago, and despite assurances that they would be monitored,  left Morocco and were the founding members of the AQ rebel group in Syria. Hmm.

Now we are told by the White House that the emir of Qatar has personally guaranteed that these 5 members will be fully monitored and will not be allowed to leave that country for a year. Sounds to me like a good amount of time to recover, raise funds, re-engage AQ via the internet, and return to fighting in AFG or elsewhere in a year.  In fact the news is reporting Gulf sources saying the 5 Taliban members are

with family, can travel anywhere in Qatar for a year, and can go anywhere including Afghanistan after a year.


{Update June 6, One of the Taliban Cdrs in Qatar has already vowed to return to AFG and kill Americans there. }

So it brings the question

What are we assured of by the emir?

So when these terrorist..err enemy combatants kill US soldiers and or citizens in a year or two, who will tell the families that this trade was worth it? Who will tell the parents of the next US citizen or soldier who is kidnapped by AQ or the Taliban? Who will tell the government of Afghanistan when they return to the Taliban as


Coincidentally, these fabulous 5 from Gitmo could be returning to Afghanistan as we pull out almost completely next fall of 2015.  I’m sure they will live peacefully, love the AFG government, and won’t harbor any ill will against the US citizens still there in the embassy or the hundreds of charitable organizations throughout the country.

But I guess that hardship and realization will happen in the next administration after this President is gone from Washington and only those of us who appreciate history will remember.

I wish I knew what changed..

I apologize for any formatting errors. The android WordPress app is not as easy as typing on the computer for WYSIWYG.


Security Clearances… Cleared for What?

Let me first say, I am retired, have no access to any data on current events or specific recent events in DC or intelligence leaks.  With that said I can comment on generic things I have seen dealing with government clearances.

Typically, the lowest level of security clearance is good for 10 years following a rudimentary background check.  This includes a credit check and felony/arrest check. Higher level clearances have a more thorough check and are only good for 5 years.

As you’ve seen in recent articles, these clearances can be reactivated by an employer after a service member or govt worker leaves government service for the remainder of the clearance time.  After the 5/10 year time frame expires, the employer or employee would have to pay for a new background check.

While I never did background checks themselves, it appears from the media reports, and from what I saw on active duty, there are not any annual recheck to make sure a member has changed since the background check was accomplished.  I only saw members lose their clearance when they applied for an extension, and most commonly they lost it for being behind on car payments or credit cards.

Now we have our Washington Navy Yard shooter (former Navy Reservist) who never went higher than E-4.  From 2004 to 2010, which includes time before and during his 4 year tour, he was arrested 3 times in three states – 2 of which were for gun discharges, and ultimately received his SECRET clearance for 10 years in 2008.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered “top to bottom reviews” of the Security clearance System and procedures for gaining access to facilities..  I’ll save him some time and money and propose a few here for clearances:

1. SECRET Clearances good for only 5 years to match TS and higher guidelines.

2. Full background checks for all levels of security clearances (Make SECRET match TS level background checks) No way you should miss an arrest on a background check.

3. Annual computer database checks on members with clearances on Terrorist and Criminal databases.

4. Annual Credit Checks to maintain clearance.

5. Mental Heath checks for members with clearances.  Yes if you hear voices you should not have a weapon or a clearance.

5. If a member leaves the service/govt, a background check must be completed before reactivating a contractors previous clearance.

6. Increase checks on contractors performing background checks. Any violations of policy should lead to termination of their contract.  (Contractor who did Edward Snowden’s background check also failed with the Washington Navy Yard shooter background check.)

7. Review background checks completed by the contractor in number 6 above for errors or incomplete checks.  Suspend any clearances needing a complete check.

8. Review the number of clearances granted to contractors.  As the military downsizes this number seems to grow in proportion, raising our risk.

While these are only a few changes, perhaps they might have helped in the Edward Snowden case and the Washington Navy Yard.  Current clearance procedures are a failure.  With all of the instant computer data available these days, it could be relatively easy to maintain in a Security office.

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