Tag Archives: security

Obama Outsmarts the Terrorists

Posted by: BetsM

President Obama isn’t nearly as scared of the terrorists as Bush was—and that’s precisely why al Qaeda is falling apart

Peter Beinart

Peter Beinart

The Daily Beast/Peter Beinart~Republicans think about terrorism the way Democrats think about poverty. Democrats know their anti-poverty policies don’t always work. But they tell themselves that at least their hearts are in the right place, at least they care about the problem.

That’s the way Republicans think about terrorism. In unguarded moments, honest Republicans will admit that not all of the Bush administration’s anti-terror policies worked. But they tell themselves that at least they know America is at war; at least they know the terrorists are evil; at least they really care about the problem.

In a sense, the Republicans are right: they do worry more about terrorism than Democrats. You can see it in the polls. Democrats–especially liberal Democrats—focus part of their foreign policy anxiety on things like climate change, global pandemics and financial collapse. For many Republicans, by contrast, the terrorists are today’s equivalent of the Nazis and the communists: they’re the only threat that really matters. Everything else is an afterthought.

But as conservatives used to say during the poverty debates of the 1960s and 1970s, intentions and outcomes are not the same thing. Sometimes, ironically enough, not worrying quite so much can produce better results.

Which brings us to Barack Obama’s “war on terror.” Conservatives keep saying that Obama doesn’t really believe we’re at war; that he sees terrorists as mere criminals, not the epic evil-doers that they really are. But here’s the irony: It’s precisely because he doesn’t see the terrorist threat as quite so epic that al Qaeda is falling apart.

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The Daily Show w/Jon Stewart: Fright Club

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Terror 2.0: Stewart Rips Security Failure, GOP Response

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President Obama on Aviation Security at Press Conference 01/05/10

In the aftermath of the Dec. 25 attempted airline bombing, President Obama met with 20 national security officials to review security lapses that led up to the incident. The President said the meeting included an examination of terrorist watch lists, intelligence gathering and aviation security.

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Breaking News: 2 Federal Agents Shot in Las Vegas Courthouse

Posted by Audiegrl


***UPDATE Sources say the gunman is 66-year-old Johnny Lee Wicks. He was apparently angry about a reduction in his social security benefits when he stormed into the Lloyd George Federal Courthouse and opened fire.

Read the Lawsuit filed by Johnny Wicks

Sixty-five-year-old Stanley Cooper, a court security officer, and an unnamed 48-year-old deputy U.S. Marshal were gunned down when Wicks opened fire in the lobby of the federal building in downtown Las Vegas around 8 a.m. Cooper is a retired Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department sergeant. A motorcade made up of dozens of police officers escorted his body from University Medical Center to the Clark County Coroner’s Office.

FBI Special Agent Joseph Dickey said the shooting started in the main foyer and continued outside. The gunman was killed across the street from the federal building, which is located on Las Vegas Blvd. between Bridger and Bonneville Avenues. Seven U.S. Marshals and security officers were involved in the gunfire. Some witnesses say they heard between 50 to 100 shots fired.

Wicks filed a lawsuit against the Social Security Administration in early 2008. In a handwritten complaint, he said discrimination had followed him from California to Nevada. Wicks wrote this about one California agent, “Doesn’t try to hide the way he feels about black people so he reduced my benefits.”

Wicks explained he suffered a stroke some years back. He claimed his benefits dropped from $886 to $445 a month and then to $128 a month.

U.S. Magistrate Judge George Foley reviewed the case and determined Wicks’ payments were reduced because Nevada, unlike California, does not provide a state supplement. When Wicks moved to Nevada he was no longer eligible for the supplement.

The case was ultimately dismissed in September of 2009.

Prior to Wicks’ arrival at the courthouse, investigators suspect he set his home on fire. He lived at Sunrise Senior Village on 30th Street in Las Vegas.


***UPDATE Marshals say they don’t know motive for shooting

***UPDATE U.S. Marshals Service Director John F. Clark said in a statement, “I can receive no news more grim or sobering than word of a line-of-duty death or injury to our U.S. Marshals personnel. … Rest assured, the brave and immediate actions of these two individuals saved lives by stopping the threat of a reckless and callous gunman who had no regard for who or how many victims were struck down by his senseless actions. They are heroes.”

***UPDATE 8 News Now has learned that the Deputy U.S. Marshal suffered buckshot wounds to his head and hand. At least five federal agents shot the gunman killing him. The gunman’s body is outside of the federal building. The court security officer is identified as being 65-year-old retired Metro Sgt.

***UPDATE (AP)~~Hospital official says a court officer in Las Vegas federal building shooting has died.

Suspected gunman is shot dead, FBI says

The Lloyd George Federal Building in Las Vegas

MSNBC—Two federal agents were shot Monday when a gunman opened fire in the lobby of a federal building in downtown Las Vegas, and the gunman was shot and killed, the FBI said.

We have two marshals down,” Chief Deputy U.S. Marshal Roxanna Lea Irwin said after the shooting ended at about 8 a.m. local time.

The condition of the federal agents was not immediately known.

Police and other federal agents swarmed the multi-story building, and paramedics wheeled at least two people out and down a ramp to ambulances. There was no immediate word on the identity of the shooter.

Las Vegas police spokeswoman Barbara Morgan said the gunman had been shot in the head.

It looks like he went in there and just started unloading,” Morgan said.

The multi-story building houses federal courts and offices for federal officials including U.S. Sens. Harry Reid and John Ensign.

Irwin said she saw shotgun casings on the floor of the lobby.

Two Shot at Las Vegas Courthouse

Police block off the area around the federal courthouse in Las Vegas on Monday.

CNN—Two people were shot Monday in the lobby of a federal courthouse in Las Vegas, Nevada, police said.

The shooting suspect was shot and killed, FBI Special Agent Joseph Dickey said.

The incident occurred about 8 a.m., said Barbara Morgan, spokeswoman for Las Vegas Metropolitan Police.

The two victims were a deputy U.S. marshal and a court security officer, according to U.S. Marshals spokesman Jeff Carter.

Authorities were in the process of evacuating the building, Dickey said.

One person was dead at the scene, and two others were transported to University Medical Center in unknown condition, according to Tim Szymanski, spokesman for the Las Vegas Fire Department.

No one else was in the lobby at the time of the incident, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police spokeswoman Barbara Morgan said.

This report will be updated as information becomes available.

On YouTube, a man who claimed to have a jury summons captured audio of the shots (contains graphic language):
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Special agent Joseph Dickey confirms that two federal agents were shot in Las Vegas Monday. One suspect was shot and killed, according to Dickey.

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President Obama Launches Major Veterans Employment Initiative

Initiative Will Transform Federal Government into Model of Veterans Employment

President Obama Launches Major Veterans Employment Initiative

WhiteHouse.gov—Monday, the White House announced the launch of an initiative that is designed to transform the federal government into the model employer of America’s veterans. This evening, President Obama will be joined by Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano and Office of Personnel Management Director John Berry to sign an Executive Order on the Employment of Veterans in the federal government, which establishes the Veterans Employment Initiative for the Executive Branch. The Initiative underscores to federal agencies the importance of recruiting and training veterans, aims to increase the employment of veterans within the Executive Branch, and helps recently hired veterans adjust to service in a civilian capacity.

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis

Honoring our sacred trust with America’s veterans means doing all we can to help them find work when they come home so they never feel as if the American Dream they fought to defend is out of reach for them and their families,” said President Obama. “But this initiative is about more than repaying our debt for their courageous service and selfless sacrifice. It’s also about continuing to fill the ranks of federal employees with men and women who possess the skills, dedication, and sense of duty that Americans deserve from their public servants. And few embody those qualities like our nation’s veterans.”

The Executive Order creates an interagency Council on Veterans Employment that will advise the President and the Director of the Office of Personnel Management on the veterans’ employment initiative. The Council will be chaired by Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis and Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki. OPM Director John Berry will serve as the Vice Chair and Chief Operating Officer of the Council.

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki

Veterans have shown unmatched dedication to public service,” said Secretary Shinseki. “They offer leadership and technical skills that are in high demand, whether in the public or private workforce. Not only does this initiative present an opportunity for Veterans to serve their Nation once again, the Nation will benefit from the education and training Veterans received in the Armed Forces. I am looking forward to working with Secretary Solis and Director Berry to achieve the objectives of this initiative across the federal government.”

Veterans are an important part of our nation’s past, present and future. They deserve our full support as they reintegrate into the civilian workforce,” said Secretary Solis, “In signing this Executive Order, President Obama underscores his Administration’s commitment to our military men and women, and keeps us squarely on the path to achieving the goal of good jobs for everyone.”

OPM Director John Berry

OPM Director John Berry

President Obama strongly believes in honoring the service of our veterans and he sees this initiative as an opportunity to put some real muscle behind that promise,” said Director Berry. “The strong sense of patriotism and public service held by members of our armed forces doesn’t leave them when they exit from active duty. It benefits our government to seize this opportunity to utilize their skills and dedication to service. The Veterans Employment Initiative will help our federal agencies identify qualified veterans, clarify the hiring process for veterans seeking employment with the federal government, and help our veterans adjust to civilian life once they are hired.”

The Order also establishes a Veterans Employment Program office within most federal agencies. These offices will be responsible for helping veterans identify employment opportunities within those federal agencies, providing feedback to veterans about their employment application status, and helping veterans recently employed by these agencies adjust to civilian life and a workplace culture often different than military service.

In addition, the Office of Personnel Management will issue a government-wide strategic plan that will focus on creating leadership commitment and an infrastructure in each agency to promote continued skills development and employment success for veterans. The strategic plan will also include marketing strategies aimed at agency hiring managers as well as veterans and transitioning service members.

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano

This Executive Order reflects the shared commitment across the Obama administration to hiring American veterans,” said Secretary Napolitano. “Veterans play a vital role in the Department of Homeland Security’s mission to protect the nation, which is why we have pledged to grow our veteran workforce to more than 50,000 Department-wide by 2012.”

At the end of Fiscal Year 2008, there were approximately 480,000 veterans working within the federal government.

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Afghan Scandal: 8 Guards Fired, 2 Resigned

Posted by Audiegrl
This is the story that MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show has been covering all week. The photos she showed pretty much speak for themselves. Although, I can’t say that I understand the ‘drinking vodka from someone’s butt’ part. I must have missed that lesson in Partying 101.

Another part of the bigger picture is that this embassy is probably the most important to be protected outside of the U.S. Also troubling is the fact that we have more contractors in Afghanistan than we do U.S. soldiers.

So let me get this straight. Republicans are willing to pay for wars and this type of frat house garbage, but when we want to use money to insure our citizens, then all they want to talk about the huge deficit, and how we are making enormous debts to be left to our children and grandchildren.

It is staggering when you think of all the money and lives that have been spent and lost with a war that was unnecessary in the first place. If all of the people who are protesting for or against health care reform (both Repubs and Dems) would have shown that type of commitment and outrage seven years ago….just think what we could have accomplished and how many of our troops would still be alive today.

185 of our brave soldiers returned home today, after finishing their task of building roads and schools in Iraq. Just think of all the work that could have been done with our own crumbling infrastructure during that same amount of time….

Kay Johnson/Huffington Post—Eight security guards at the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan were fired and two resigned following allegations of lewd behavior and sexual misconduct at their living quarters.

The Kabul senior management team of ArmorGroup North America, the private contractor that provides guards for the State Department, was also “being replaced immediately,” an embassy statement said Friday.

The terminated guards, who left Afghanistan on Friday, all appeared in photographs depicting guards and supervisors in various stages of nudity at parties flowing with alcohol, the embassy said. Their names and nationalities were not released.

The scandal surfaced this week when an independent watchdog said the embassy guards were subjected to abuse and hazing by supervisors. The Project on Government Oversight contended the situation had led to a breakdown in morale and leadership that compromised security at the embassy in Kabul, where nearly 1,000 U.S. diplomats, staff and Afghan nationals work.

Cont’d

***UPDATE: Hat tip and thanks go to blogger conflictingreports

Embassy Nude-Photo Company Hit With $30 Million Lawsuit By Two US Marines – Former Employees: “ArmorGroup Lied To State Department To Secure Embassy Contract”

DailyKos diary by actuality: Embassy Nude-Photo Company Hit With $30 Million Lawsuit By Two US Marines

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