DHS ammo buys, say agency using 1,000 more rounds per person than Army

Reps challenge DHS ammo buys, say agency using 1,000 more rounds per person than Army

Published April 25, 2013

FoxNews.com

  • bullets_hollowpoint.jpg

    Shown here are Federal Premium hollow point bullets. (AP)

Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz said Thursday that the Department of Homeland Security is using roughly 1,000 rounds of ammunition more per person than the U.S. Army, as he and other lawmakers sharply questioned DHS officials on their “massive” bullet buys.

“It is entirely … inexplicable why the Department of Homeland Security needs so much ammunition,” Chaffetz, R-Utah, said at a hearing.

The hearing itself was unusual, as questions about the department’s ammunition purchases until recently had bubbled largely under the radar — on blogs and in the occasional news article. But as the Department of Homeland Security found itself publicly defending the purchases, lawmakers gradually showed more interest in the issue.

Democratic Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass., at the opening of the hearing, ridiculed the concerns as “conspiracy theories” which have “no place” in the committee room.

But Republicans said the purchases raise “serious” questions about waste and accountability.

Chaffetz, who chairs one of the House oversight subcommittees holding the hearing Thursday, revealed that the department currently has more than 260 million rounds in stock. He said the department bought more than 103 million rounds in 2012 and used 116 million that same year — among roughly 70,000 agents.

Comparing that with the small-arms purchases procured by the U.S. Army, he said the DHS is churning through between 1,300 and 1,600 rounds per officer, while the U.S. Army goes through roughly 350 rounds per soldier.

He noted that is “roughly 1,000 rounds more per person.”

“Their officers use what seems to be an exorbitant amount of ammunition,” he said.

Nick Nayak, chief procurement officer for the Department of Homeland Security, did not challenge Chaffetz’s numbers.

However, Nayak sought to counter what he described as several misconceptions about the bullet buys.

Despite reports that the department was trying to buy up to 1.6 billion rounds over five years, he said that is not true. He later clarified that the number is closer to 750 million.

He said the department, on average, buys roughly 100 million rounds per year.

He also said claims that the department is stockpiling ammo are “simply not true.” Further, he countered claims that the purchases are helping create broader ammunition shortages in the U.S.

The department has long said it needs the bullets for agents in training and on duty, and buys in bulk to save money.

While Democrats likened concerns about the purchases to conspiracy theories, Republicans raised concern about the sheer cost of the ammunition.

“This is not about conspiracy theories, this is about good government,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said.

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who chairs the full Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said he suspects rounds are being stockpiled, and then either “disposed of,” passed to non-federal agencies, or shot “indiscriminately.”

If that is the case, he said, “then shame on you.”

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/04/25/reps-challenge-dhs-ammo-buys-say-agency-using-1000-more-rounds-per-person-than/#ixzz2RWxPV6TD

Key facts on Benghazi attack omitted to avert criticism

GOP report: Key facts on Benghazi attack omitted to avert criticism

By Hannah Allam

McClatchy Newspapers
Published: April 24, 2013
benghazi consulate

The U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, burns following a militant attack on Sept. 11, 2012.
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WASHINGTON — The State Department requested that key information be deleted from controversial talking points about the deadly Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on U.S. outposts in eastern Libya, not because of concern about revealing intelligence secrets but because the information revealed that the State Department had not responded properly to a growing extremist threat, Republican lawmakers have charged in a report released Tuesday.

Citing a review of emails by its investigators, the House Republican Conference said the White House agreed to the deletions in an effort that was “focused more on protecting the reputation and credibility of the State Department than on explaining to the American people the facts” of the attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and nearby CIA annex.

The White House has said that the changes were to protect classified information, but the Republican report said email messages investigators reviewed found no such discussion. Instead, according to the report, emails showed that State Department officials had “serious concerns” about the original talking points, leaving the administration vulnerable to criticism for “not paying attention to Agency warnings” about the growing threat in eastern Libya.

The report did not provide copies of the original email traffic, making it difficult to assess its accuracy.

Democrats call the continued Republican preoccupation with Benghazi political grandstanding.

An independent review board already had found serious flaws in the way the State Department operated in the high-risk environment of Benghazi, but Republican members of Congress were angry that the panel didn’t assign blame all the way up to the then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. They dubbed Tuesday’s report an “interim progress report,” and included a laundry list of other areas of investigation they’ll tackle next, signaling that they intend to keep pushing the matter.

“This progress report reveals a fundamental lack of understanding at the highest levels of the State Department as to the dangers presented in Benghazi, Libya, as well as a concerted attempt to insulate the Department of State from blame following the terrorist attacks,” the report said.

For months, Republicans have focused on the talking points, which were the basis for television appearances by U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice four days after the Benghazi attacks. In her appearances, Rice said that the attacks were an outgrowth of a demonstration protesting an Internet video that maligned the Prophet Muhammad — a version of events that subsequently proved untrue.

The report said that investigators pored through email traffic and found that the drafting of the talking points was a joint effort involving the White House, the State Department and intelligence agencies.

According to the sequence presented in the report:

The CIA drafted the initial version of the unclassified talking points and floated it for clearance with the White House. That draft included references to al-Qaida-related extremists operating in the area and noted that foreign targets had been attacked in Benghazi five times since April 2012. At that stage, State Department officials asked to alter the language but weren’t satisfied with some minor tweaks, with one unidentified official emailing that the edits didn’t “resolve all my issues or those of my building leadership.”

That day, Sept. 14, White House officials replied to the email thread, stating that State’s concerns must be taken into account and that the matter would be discussed again at a meeting the next day. At the subsequent meeting, a small group of State Department and CIA officials modified the talking points; the actual edits were made by what the report calls “a current high-ranking CIA official.”

Finally, the report states, the FBI approved a version of the talking points that added back in some information on the attacks and threats in the area.

Rice used the modified talking points when she appeared on five Sunday talk shows after the attacks, “thereby perpetuating the deliberately misleading and incomplete narrative that the attacks evolved from a demonstration caused by a YouTube video,” the report said.

At a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing last week, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., made it clear that Republicans would continue their probe of Benghazi even though Clinton is now gone. Rohrabacher repeated the allegations of “a cover-up of some kind of wrongdoing” and asked Clinton’s successor, Secretary of State John Kerry, to commit to helping investigators find out who was evacuated from the scene in Benghazi and what they knew about the sequence of events.

A visibly exasperated Kerry agreed to appoint a State Department employee to work directly with House Republicans to address their questions.

Kerry, however, denied that the State Department had been uncooperative.

“The administration had testified eight times, has briefed 20 times, Secretary Clinton spent five hours answering questions before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, 25,000 documents have already been turned over, video of the actual event has been made available for members to see,” he said.

“I don’t think anybody lied to anybody,” Kerry told the committee. “And let’s find out exactly, together, what happened, because we need — we got a lot more important things to move on to and get done.”

IRAN’s military takes over, No respect or fear of Obama. Respected Bush.

Who’s the Boss?

Expert: Iran’s military has trumped its religious apparatus
 

IRGC forces in 2007

IRGC forces in 2007

BY: 
April 23, 2013 5:47 pm

Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei “has become a hostage” of an elite branch of Iran’s army that has quietly consolidated its economic and political power, a top analyst said Tuesday.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) appears to have supplanted Khamenei and other top clerics in a significant power shift that has left Iran a “military dictatorship,” according to Ali Alfoneh, who has spent years investigating the IRGC.

Khamenei “has become a hostage in the hands of his own praetorian guard,” Alfoneh said Tuesday during a discussion hosted by the American Enterprise Institute.

Thirty-four years since the Iranian revolution installed an extremist Islamic leader, the country has “degenerated into a military dictatorship which is disguising itself. … They want to preserve the illusion the regime” is still in power, he said.

The IRGC, Iran’s principal fighting force in its 1980 war with Iraq, has quietly seized control of Iran’s economy and political bodies and controls around $80 billion in private economic assets, according to Alfoneh.

The IRGC paid $9 billion in cash to purchase the Telecommunication Company of Iran, Alfoneh said. Most of the IRGC’s private holdings are owned via front groups that are controlled by its members.

This combination of wealth and military prowess has permitted the IRGC to position itself an Iran’s true power broker.

While religious ideology was once Iran’s main political criteria, now “the single factor which qualifies Iranian leaders to join public life is not just being a war vet … but being a member of the IRGC,” he said.

Outgoing Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the country’s first military veteran to hold this post, initiated most of the privatization efforts that allowed the IRGC to gain its economic foothold.

The IRGC is a “vengeful” group of militants who are out to impose their will on all Iranians, Alfoneh said.

The militant group is perhaps “most vengeful against the clerical class because they feel the clerical class betrayed them” and didn’t sacrifice during the Iran-Iraq war, he added.

“They talk about the rich clerics who managed to amass great wealth during the war at the same time these people were making the sacrifice,” Alfoneh said.

As the Western world tries to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, the IRGC is doing its best to ensure the opposite outcome.

“This generation of revolutionary guards has very little respect for the U.S., particularly this president and this administration,” Alfoneh said. “Even worse, they misunderstand the signals President [Barack] Obama is sending to them.”

The IRGC views Obama’s public overtures as a sign of weakness, Alfoneh explained.

“President [George W.] Bush, he was a much better communicator” because he was firm and consistent, Alfoneh said. “In Washington, you do not understand the value of someone like President Bush.”

“In Tehran, the revolutionary officers began saying ‘Oh, he’s even more crazy than we are.’ That served the interest of the U.S.,” Alfoneh explained. “They fundamentally believed President Bush was completely unpredictable and capable of doing anything against them. The liberal class in this country does not understand” the value of this perception.

Military strategist Fred Kagan agreed the IRGC has expanded its reach significantly in Iran.

“It’s all of the same network” in many different sectors of Iranian society, “and has spread its tentacles through all of the security services,” as well as “the Iranian economy,” Kagan said.

This raises questions about what would happen should Khamenei and the IRGC find themselves at odds with one another.

“We’ve now reached the point where sanctions are hurting the IRGC and even the smugglers are hurting from the sanctions to a greater extent,” Kagan said. “What would happen if any significant power bloc in the Islamic republic of Iran decided it wanted to cash in the nuke program or some part of it in exchange for easing of sanctions? … We’ve allowed ourselves to see simplicity where this is in fact a lot of complexity.”

Napalitano ” We get to choose which laws to ignore.”

BIG SIS: OBAMA ADMIN CAN PICK WHICH LAWS TO ENFORCE

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During her testimony on the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano declared that she, President Barack Obama and other political officials at the top of this administration have the authority to decide which laws to enforce, and which ones to ignore.

Napolitano made the declaration in an exchange with Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) when he was questioning her on how Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have alleged that political officials in the Obama administration, including her, have blocked them from enforcing the law.

Sessions noted that ICE agents’ union president Chris Crane had testified on Monday “that agents are prohibited from enforcing the law and, indeed, the ICE officers have filed a lawsuit [to that effect].”

“I started out as a federal prosecutor in the Department of Justice in 1975,” Sessions said. “I have never heard of a situation in which a group of law officers sued their supervisor and you for blocking them from following the law. They weren’t complaining about pay, benefits, working conditions. They were saying their very oath they took, to enforce the law, is being blocked by rules and regulations and policies established from on high and that this is undermining their ability to do what they’re sworn to do.”

In her response to those remarks from Sessions, Napolitano said she believes she and other political officials have the authority to tell law enforcement agents which laws to enforce and which ones to ignore.

“There are tensions with union leadership, unfortunately, but here’s what I expect as a former federal prosecutor and attorney general, and that is that law enforcement agents will enforce the law in accord with the guidance they’re given from their superiors,” Napolitano said. “That’s what we ask of ICE, that’s what we ask of Border Patrol, that’s what we ask throughout the Department and I believe that would be consistent with all law enforcement. Agents don’t set the enforcement priorities. Those are set by their superiors and they are asked then to obey that guidance in accord with the law.”

Sessions was not pleased with Napolitano’s response, so he followed up by asking: ““Well, what Mr. Crane testified to was that there are law provisions that say an agent shall do this, that and the other, and that the policies set by their political supervisors refuse to allow them to do what the law plainly requires. You are not entitled to set policies, are you, that violate the mandates of congressional law?”

Napolitano answered that question by saying she “disagree[s] with almost everything” Sessions has said, “but we’ll just have to respectfully disagree with each other.”

“But, I think it does point to why this bill needs to be passed, because what we want our officers doing is focusing on narco-traffickers and human smugglers and money launderers and others who misuse our border and our immigration system,” Napolitano said. “By having a process by which those in the country illegally can pay a fine, pay fees, register so we know who they are, by dealing with the employer demand for illegal labor, by opening up the visa system, that will have the effect, basically, of confirming the focus of resources where they need to be.”

Despite Napolitano’s and the administration’s belief that they can tell law enforcement agents which laws to enforce and which ones to ignore, the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill cedes even more authority away from Congress and gives it to the administration.

In their lines of questioning with Napolitano during Tuesday’s hearing, Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Mike Lee (R-UT) focused on how the bill cedes authority. In a statement he issued after the hearing indicating he is not satisfied with the bill’s so-called “border security triggers” that are supposedly meant to ensure the border actually gets secured, Cruz said he does not trust the bill will actually secure the border.

“As it stands, the border security component – which numbers only 58 pages of the 844-page bill – largely cedes authority to the Department of Homeland Security to determine when and how the border would be secure,” Cruz said. “However, today’s hearing revealed that the last clear metric for border security – ‘operational control’ – reflected that in 2010, DHS had secured 873 miles of the more than 2,000 mile border. When that metric did not demonstrate success, DHS decided to simply abandon the metric. In order for a metric to be real, it must be meaningful. Currently, there are no objective metrics in place to ensure any triggers in this bill will be meaningful, all while the pathway to citizenship component remains contingent on this undefined border security.”

Lee similarly questioned why the Gang of Eight bill gives Napolitano and the administration so much authority. “Some of the questions that I have as I’ve read through this bill over the last few days relate to the amount of discretion you are given, you and your successors will be given over time, should this become law,” Lee opened his line of questioning with Napolitano on Tuesday.

Even Gang of Eight member Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) admits the amount of authority the bill would cede to the administration is controversial. “Biggest challenge on #immigrationreform has been well founded lack of trust that Obama administration will enforce the law,” Rubio Tweeted on Tuesday. “Its [sic] a big problem”

House Report on Benghazi Attack: An Administration That Failed to Act

House Report on Benghazi Attack: An Administration That Failed to Act

House Report on Benghazi Attack: An Administration That Failed to Act

A report on the deadly September 11th, 2012 attack at a diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya has been released and it is a thorough condemnation of the administration for its failure to adequately respond.

The results of an investigation into the events prior, during and after the terrorist attack was released by five representatives, all Republicans:  Howard McKeon, Ed Royce, Bob Goodlatte, Darrell Issa, and Mike Rogers. The following are the key findings, simplified in bullet-point form:

Prior to the Benghazi attack:

  • After the United States backed a revolution in Libya that toppled the Gadhafi regime, security personnel deployed to protect U.S. assets were insufficient.
  • Security personnel were removed from the region, despite awareness that the threat level remained high.
  • “Repeated requests for additional security were denied at the highest levels of the State Department.” In April of 2012, Hillary Clinton acknowledged then-Ambassador Cretz’s formal request for additional security, but continued removing security assets anyway.
  • “The attacks were not the result of a failure by the Intelligence Community (IC) to recognize or communicate the threat.”
  • “The President, as Commander-in-Chief, failed to proactively anticipate the significance of September 11 and provide the Department of Defense with the authority to launch offensive operations beyond self-defense.” DOD assets were available to be deployed and would have reached Benghazi within hours; but there was no heightened level of readiness, and no military support was not dispatched during the nearly 13-hour attack.

During the attack:

  • “U.S. security teams on the ground in Benghazi exhibited extreme bravery” fighting al-Qa’ida-affiliated groups attacking the diplomatic compound.
  • “Department of Defense officials and military personnel reacted quickly to the attacks in Benghazi.” Simply put, the key problems relate to force posture and readiness, and not the capability of the military troops.

After the attacks:

  • “The Administration willfully perpetuated a deliberately misleading and incomplete narrative that the attacks evolved from a political demonstration caused by a YouTube video.” There were no protests at Benghazi prior to the terrorist attack and the administration tried to quell talk that al-Qaeda may have been involved.
  • “Administration officials crafted and continued to rely on incomplete and misleading talking points.” Key information was removed from reports to shelter the administration from criticism during the election season.
  • “Evidence rebuts Administration claims that the talking points were modified to protect classified information or to protect an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).” The redacted information does not appear to relate to credible national security concerns.
  • “The Administration deflected responsibility by blaming the IC for the information it communicated to the public in both the talking points and the subsequent narrative it perpetuated.” The White House blamed our intelligence and military community, rather than taking true responsibility.
  • “The Administration’s decision to respond to the Benghazi attacks with an FBI investigation, rather than military or other intelligence resources, contributed to the government’s lack of candor about the nature of the attack.”
  • “Responding to the attacks with an FBI investigation significantly delayed U.S. access to key witnesses and evidence and undermined the government’s ability to bring those responsible for the attacks to justice in a timely manner.”

It is particularly sad that Democrats did not feel the need to add their input into the investigation, because national security matters entailing the death of an ambassador, a diplomat and two security personnel should not be a partisan matter.

GOP tells Obama to release Clinton cable on Benghazi – Washington Times

House Republicans on Wednesday asked President Obama to release to the public a State Department cable the GOP says would show former Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton approved cutting security at the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, ahead of last year’s deadly attack.

“An April 19, 2012, cable bearing Secretary Clinton’s signature acknowledged requests for additional security, but nevertheless ordered the withdrawal of security assets to proceed as planned,” the chairmen of five House committees wrote in a letter to Mr. Obama.

SPECIAL COVERAGE: Benghazi Attack Under Microscope

“Given the gravity of this issue, we request that you immediately make the April 19, 2012, State Department cable public.”

On Tuesday the five chairmen, who oversee the House investigations, armed services, intelligence, judiciary and foreign affairs committees, released an interim report that cleared both the Pentagon and intelligence community of any culpability in last year’s attack.

Instead, the chairmen blamed the State Department, and Mrs. Clinton in particular, for rejecting requests for more security, and blamed the White House for failing to give the Defense Department the authority to respond to this type of attack.

The White House said the report was a rehash of what was already known about the attack, which left four Americans dead, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.

via GOP tells Obama to release Clinton cable on Benghazi – Washington Times.