Although this week’s report about the Chinese military hacking into U.S. government and business websites and last Sunday’s appearance of Senator Rand Paul on FOX News — calling for President Obama to acknowledge he cannot kill a U.S. citizen in the United States with a drone — seem unrelated to the issue of borders, they are really quite pertinent to that topic.
Watching the members of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) question John Brennan — President Obama’s nominee for CIA director — drove home the utter unwillingness of so many elected and appointed senior federal officials to defend the United States. For the most part, each senator used his/her allotted time to pose irrelevant questions to man whose answers in many cases were deceptive and evasive, when they were not outright lies. One senator hit a bull’s eye when he called Brennan to task for publicly divulging a human operation that had penetrated Al-Qaeda-on-the-Arabian Peninsula but then did not follow up when Brennan took offense at the question. Had any intelligence officer except a senior one like Brennan exposed and thereby destroyed a sensitive ongoing operation — as Brennan clearly did — he would be joining the former CIA officer who recently went to prison for disclosing the name of a colleague.
France’s recent interventions in Mali and Somalia underscore the accelerating ability of Al-Qaeda-in-the-Islamic-Mahgreb (AQIM) and its Africa-based allies to threaten the continent’s nation-states, as well as access to natural resources — oil, strategic minerals, and uranium — that are essential to the French, U.S., and other Western economies. The growing power and geographical reach of AQIM mirrors the growth of all components of Al-Qaeda and other Islamist groups, save possibly the central component in Afghanistan-Pakistan. The bottom line here is that sixteen years after Al-Qaeda and its allies began their religious war, the United States and the West confront an Islamist enemy that is larger, better armed, smarter, and far more geographically dispersed than ever before.