This Jan. 31, 2010 file photo shows an unmanned U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field, southern Afghanistan, on a moon-lit night. After a decade of costly conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, the American way of war is evolving toward less brawn, more guile. Drone aircraft spy on and attack terrorists with no pilot in harm‚Äôs way. Small teams of special operations troops quietly train and advise foreign forces. Viruses sent from computers to foreign networks strike silently, with no American fingerprint. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth, File)(AP) ‚ÄĒ After a decade of costly conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, the American way of war is evolving toward less brawn, more guile.Drone aircraft spy on and attack terrorists with no pilot in harm‚Äôs way. Small teams of special operations troops quietly train and advise foreign forces. Viruses sent from computers to foreign networks strike silently, with no American fingerprint.It‚Äôs war in the shadows, with the U.S. public largely in the dark.In Pakistan, armed drones, not U.S. ground troops or B-52 bombers, are hunting down al-Qaida terrorists, and a CIA-run raid of Osama bin Laden‚Äôs hide-out was executed by a stealthy team of Navy SEALs. In Yemen, drones and several dozen U.S. military advisers are trying to help the government tip the balance against an al-Qaida offshoot that harbors hopes of one day attacking the U.S. homeland.In Somalia, the Horn of Africa country that has not had a fully functioning government since 1991, President Barack Obama secretly has authorized two drone strikes and two commando raids against terrorists.
In Iran, surveillance drones have kept an eye on nuclear activities while a computer attack reportedly has infected its nuclear enrichment facilities with a virus, possibly delaying the day when the U.S. or Israel might feel compelled to drop real bombs on Iran and risk a wider war in the Middle East.The high-tech warfare allows Obama to target what the administration sees as the greatest threats to U.S. security, without the cost and liabilities of sending a swarm of ground troops to capture territory; some of them almost certainly would come home maimed or dead.
The key military role played by the over 7,500 drones used by the Pentagon is well-known. But until recently, the deployment of drones by the government inside U.S. borders has attracted little attention or critical oversight.
Now a new internal audit from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has raised concerns about the utility of those drones, focusing on their high costs and how they have been managed.
DHS has spent more than $250 million on its program in the past six years, and currently has nine Predator drones on call. While each drone is purchased at a cost of around $18 million each, the GAO estimated that the hourly charge is $3,234 ‚ÄĒ or almost $65,000 per 20-hour mission. The majority of the drones are based on the U.S./Mexico border, where a growing drug war has slowly seeped into parts of California and Texas. But drones also scout the border with Canada. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano testified last month that UAVs were patrolling from North Dakota to eastern Washington State.
The program has had a series of operational troubles, the IG report reveals.
Documents released by the US government under the freedom of information act disclosed that the agency‚Äôs prostitution scandal in Colombia earlier this year followed a string of related accusations.
The documents disclose that an on-duty officer was arrested in a Washington prostitution sting in 2008. The officer, who was driving a marked Secret Service vehicle at the time, was eventually fired.
Meanwhile an employee was reported to his bosses in Washington after being arrested for soliciting in a park in 2005, and an anonymous tipster in 2003 reported that an agent ‚Äúmay have been involved with a prostitution ring‚ÄĚ and that his name had turned up in an FBI investigation.
Four years ago, hedge fund manager Ken Griffin was impressed enough with Barack Obama that he invited him to speak to his employees and helped raise $50,000 to $100,000 for his presidential run. Griffin also hedged his bets by raising a similar amount for Republican John McCain.
But this year, Griffin ‚ÄĒ ranked by Forbes as Chicago‚Äôs fifth-richest man ‚ÄĒ and his wife Anne, a French-born hedge fund manager herself, are all in with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, telling friends and interviewers they think Romney will better manage the economy.
They co-sponsored a $3.3 million fund-raiser on Obama‚Äôs home turf at the Pump Room Thursday night and have emerged as among the nation‚Äôs most generous donors to pro-Romney or anti-Obama SuperPACs.
‚ÄúThere are a number of Barack Obama fund-raiser types from four years ago that have come over now to help with Mitt Romney,‚ÄĚ Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford said outside the Pump Room fund-raiser for Romney Thursday. ‚ÄúWe‚Äôve had time to see what an Obama White House would be, and it‚Äôs not quite what some people thought it would be. People see Romney and say, ‚ÄėHere‚Äôs a businessman who‚Äôs got experience‚Äô ‚Ä¶ I think we‚Äôre finding a number of people willing to pony up.
Does ‘Audacity of Hope’ Mean Unchecked Presidential Power?
Faced with a Republican Congress that seems stubborn to a fault and content to see Obama fail, America‚Äôs chief executive has decided to grab what some are calling an unprecedented rein on executive prerogative in order to move his political objectives down the field.
His supporters say it‚Äôs part of the President‚Äôs ‚Äúaudacity of hope‚ÄĚ campaign message, exemplified by Friday‚Äôs decision to relax immigration rules for young illegal immigrants ‚Äď a necessary antidote, supporters contend, to political polarization, stalemate, and gridlock in Washington.
As with other Obama decisions to ignore parts of the Defense of Marriage Act, not prosecute medical marijuana, and allow some states to opt out of No Child Left Behind provisions, the immigration order became perhaps the boldest decision yet by a president seeking reelection, critics say, to ignore laws passed by Congress in order to achieve a political objective, setting a troubling precedent for the power of the presidency.
Are We in Revolutionary Times?
Legally, President Obama has reiterated the principle that he can pick and choose which U.S. laws he wishes to enforce (see his decision to reverse the order of the Chrysler creditors, his decision not to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, and his administration‚Äôs contempt for national-security confidentiality and Senate and House subpoenas to the attorney general). If one individual can decide to exempt nearly a million residents from the law ‚ÄĒ when he most certainly could not get the law amended or repealed through proper legislative or judicial action ‚ÄĒ then what can he not do? Obama is turning out to be the most subversive chief executive in terms of eroding U.S. law since Richard Nixon.
(Reuters) ‚ÄĒ With President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney delivering dueling visions for the U.S. economy in speeches on Thursday, a majority of independents said that Obama‚Äôs policies have made it harder for Americans to gain employment, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Friday.
Fifty-two percent of independents said they agreed with the idea that the president has not helped create more jobs in America, an argument central to Romney‚Äôs campaign.
Obama appears to have trouble convincing some members of his own party that his administration has been good for jobs: 29 percent of Democrats said they agreed with the claim that he has not been a job creator.
With the unemployment rate at 8.1 percent, the Obama campaign maintains that 4.2 million private-sector jobs have been created since he entered office in January 2009, although roughly as many have been lost.
‚ÄúI think the thing that Obama‚Äôs team is going to be worried about is the number of independents who agree that the policies the president has put in place make it harder to create jobs,‚ÄĚ said Ipsos pollster Chris Jackson. ‚ÄúThe key conversation is convincing them that the things he has done have helped the economy or not certainly made things worse.‚ÄĚ
Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, argues that the Obama administration‚Äôs healthcare reform has been bad for the economy, a view that now resonates with a majority of people.
Among registered voters, 57 percent said that they believe the healthcare overhaul has damaged the economy while 43 percent said the 2010 legislation has been good for the economy.
At the same time, Obama‚Äôs call for an economy that gives everyone a ‚Äúfair shot,‚ÄĚ a message he delivered in an address in Ohio on Thursday, received wide support. Among Democrats, 84 percent agreed with the pledge and 66 percent of Republicans supported it as well.
‚ÄúThe language Obama is using is much more unifying, something that more people agree with,‚ÄĚ Jackson said. ‚ÄúAmericans on both side on the aisle think that fairness is something important.‚ÄĚ
(Security Clearance) ‚ÄĒ For the first time, the Obama administration has publicly stated that U.S. military forces are engaged in direct action against suspected terrorists in Yemen and Somalia.
In a letter to Congress on Friday, President Barack Obama informed lawmakers of U.S. military actions in the two nations that have seen significant terrorist activity and civil unrest.
On Somalia, the president stated, ‚ÄúIn a limited number of cases, the U.S. military has taken direct action in Somalia against members of al Qaeda, including those who are also members of al-Shabaab, who are engaged in efforts to carry out terrorist attacks against the United States and our interests.‚ÄĚ
Obama noted that U.S. forces have been working with Yemen to dismantle al Qaeda‚Äôs powerful affiliate there.
‚ÄúOur joint efforts have resulted in direct action against a limited number of AQAP (al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula) operatives and senior leaders in that country who posed a terrorist threat to the United States and our interests,‚ÄĚ Obama wrote.
The War Powers Resolution of 1973 requires the White House to periodically inform Congress about American military forces who are deployed overseas for possible combat.
The disclosure comes at a time when the administration is fighting off accusations that it deliberately leaked classified information about its national security efforts for political gain. Recent reports revealed the administration‚Äôs decision-making process in targeting terrorists for missile strikes, a U.S. cyber attack against an Iranian nuclear facility, and a mole inside al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula who helped thwart a bomb plot intended to strike an airliner headed for the United States.
Sam Donaldson made his career out of interrupting Reagan ‚ÄĒ anytime, any place. Obama urinates on the Constitution in the Rose Garden and people wax shocked when a reporter exercises his guaranteed right, as well as his responsibility, according to the First Amendment.
Washington ‚ÄĒ In hawkish remarks that drew cheers from an audience of religious conservatives, Mitt Romney accused President Obama on Saturday of being more afraid that Israel might attack Iran than that Iran will develop a nuclear weapon.
The Republican presidential candidate, who frequently attacks the administration for failing to back Israel‚Äôs government more aggressively, ratcheted up his criticism a notch. He responded with ridicule when asked what he would do, if elected, to strengthen U.S. relations with the Jewish state.
‚ÄúI think, by and large, you can just look at the things the president has done and do the opposite,‚ÄĚ Romney said, to laughter and applause from members of the Faith and Freedom Coalition, an evangelical Christian political organization.
‚ÄúYou look at his policies with regards to Iran,‚ÄĚ Romney continued. ‚ÄúHe‚Äôs almost sounded like he‚Äôs more frightened that Israel might take military action than he‚Äôs concerned that Iran might become nuclear.‚ÄĚ
Those words prompted prolonged applause and cheering from an audience of 250 in the ballroom of a Washington hotel. Romney addressed the group via video hookup from an outdoor site in Pennsylvania, his customized campaign bus parked prominently in the background, during the second day of a six-state swing.
Romney said that, as president, he would ‚Äúforge a strong working relationship with the leadership in Israel. I would make it very clear that for us, as well as for them, it is unacceptable for Iran to become a nuclear nation and that we‚Äôre prepared to take any and all action to keep that from happening,‚ÄĚ applause drowning out his next line.
Michelle Obama is part white¬† Story is very interesting!