Whoops! Would-Be ISIS Suicide Bomber Prematurely Blows Up As His Colleagues Wish Him Good Luck

We’ve heard so much of the horror of Islamic terror – especially from ISIS – so much over the last few years that it’s easy to assume that they can’t get any more barbaric or cruel. Even they way the celebrate a suicide bomber is beyond the pale.

Apparently, ISIS gives their suicide bombers what they call a “blood party,” a sort of send off where they wish their colleague good luck in committing another bloodbath.

Well, sometimes the horrendous tactics of terrorists can come back to haunt them. The suicide vest of one would-be ISIS suicide bomber prematurely went off during a blood party in Diyala, Iraq, killing the would-be suicide bomber and 11 of his fellow terrorists as they wished him well.

This party foul of epic proportions came a day after another bomber accidentally detonated a vest during a meeting, killing several ISIS leaders near Mosul.

The double botched bombings came as Islamic State lost more ground in their last major stronghold in Iraq with the terror group’s numbers depleted and confined to an area of about a square kilometre in the Old City.

Lieutenant Colonel Salam al-Obeidi said that he believes only ‘a few hundred Daesh fighters’, an Arabic acronym for Islamic State group jihadists, are left in the Old City.

Three years after overrunning Mosul and making it the de facto Iraqi capital of the ‘caliphate’ they proclaimed, the jihadists now only control about a square kilometre in the city, commanders said.

Needless to say, the latest news out of Mosul is good news. The Iraqi police force is also launching new offensives against the other areas of the country where the terrorist group still holds territory. Between the gains being made to contain ISIS and their blowing themselves up, here’s hoping that Iraq can rebuild.

President Trump and ISIS Have Entered An Unlikely Alliance

It is pretty clear ISIS is trying to affect the British elections in favor of Jeremy Corbyn. They know he is both weak on crime and weak on immigration. Despite Corbyn’s rhetoric, the moment he becomes Prime Minister, Britain will surrender to ISIS and Corbyn will probably lead a good faith effort to veil the Queen.

Though accidentally, it appears Donald Trump has joined ISIS in their effort to elect Jeremy Corbyn. Trump’s self-centered dumbassery on Twitter has started a state crisis in Britain. His attacks on London’s Mayor have allowed Labour in Britain to demand a withdrawal of Trump’s state visit. Trump’s unpopularity coupled with the invitation by Theresa May has put May in a very difficult position right before an election that should have given the Tories a clear majority.

Donald Trump and ISIS are working in concert, though not coordinated, to get Jeremy Corbyn elected. ISIS is doing so intentionally. President Trump is just a dumbass with a Twitter account who cannot help himself.

Manchester Bombing Shows Danger of Homegrown Radicals

The terrorist bombing of the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester has intruded on the discussion of walls and travel bans in the United States. The unpleasant truth about terrorists is that it is too late to keep them out. They are already here.

The Manchester bomber was reported to be Salman Abedi, 22. According to The Telegraph, Abedi was born in Manchester to parents who immigrated from Libya. He was a British citizen who was educated locally in British schools and had only become radicalized recently.

The problem is the same in the United States. Many of the terrorist attacks carried out against Americans over the past few years were committed by American citizens. One of the first instances of homegrown terrorism was the 2009 Fort Hood massacre in which Army psychiatrist Maj. Nidal Hasan, a native of Virginia, murdered 13 people and wounded 32 others. Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the San Bernadino terrorists, was a natural born US citizen. His wife was a Pakistani national who had entered the country legally. Omar Mateen, the terrorist who attacked Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, was born in California. Many other terrorist attacks were also carried out by self-radicalized Muslims who were native-born US citizens.

A common denominator in many attacks is that the terrorist was the son of immigrant parents, but this is not true in all cases. For example, Abdulhakim Mujahid Muhammad, who shot up a army recruiting office in Little Rock in 2009, was born Carlos Bledsoe to a family of Tennessee Baptists. Likewise, Zale Thompson, who attacked NYPD officers with a hatchet in 2014, was a convert to Islam.

Building a border wall or enforcing a travel ban will not protect Americans from terrorists who are also Americans. In the age of the internet, sermons of radical clerics like Anwar al-Awlaki and terrorist propaganda from groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda are easily accessible online. Potential terrorists can become indoctrinated and plan attacks from the comfort of their own homes without training or direction from group leaders in the Middle East.

If citizenship is an “unreliable” indicator of terrorism, as a Department of Homeland Security report said last February, how can authorities identify and stop terrorists without simply waiting for them to strike? Security forces have several good options at their disposal to find and stop terrorists before they have a chance to kill.

First, jihadi websites provide a means for radical preachers and recruiters to cross borders easily. They should be monitored and/or shut down. Terrorist websites that attempt to incite terrorism or show propaganda videos of terrorist killings should be fair game for cyberattacks to take them offline. When jihadi websites are up and running, valuable intelligence might be gained if counterterrorism officials can determine who they are talking to. When prospective terrorists in the United States can be identified, they can be singled out for additional scrutiny.

There are valid civil liberty concerns about government surveillance, but constitutional freedoms don’t apply to foreign nationals broadcasting messages from outside the United States. Freedom of religion and freedom of speech don’t include the right to incite violence.

It is also necessary to develop a network of friendly Muslims to report radicals who use American mosques as recruiting centers. Some radical mosques have been hotbeds of terrorism in both Europe and the United States. For example, Fort Hood terrorist, Nidal Hasan had attended the same mosque in Falls Church, Va. as two of the September 11 hijackers. The imam was Anwar al-Awlaki, a New Mexico-born al Qaeda spokesman, who was killed by a drone strike in Yemen in 2011. Religious freedom should be respected, but a balance needs to be struck between tolerance for Muslims and disregarding dangerous and violent teachings.

Rather than a travel ban, authorities should closely monitor people who travel to terrorist hotspots. For example, the Tsarnaev brothers, the Boston Marathon bombers, traveled to Dagestan, a Russian republic riddled with Islamic terrorism, but the FBI and counterterror agents never pieced together the available information to identify the men as a threat. Dagestan, formerly called Chechnya, is not on the list of countries subject to the travel ban. As American citizens, the Tsarnaevs would not have been prevented from reentering the US even if it had been.

An additional method for preventing terrorism is the use of sting operations. FBI stings, in which agents play the role of terror group handlers for prospective terrorists, have led to numerous arrests in recent years. The targets of the stings are often homegrown, lone wolf radicals whose posts on social media have caused concern. Some critics argue that the stings are entrapment, but the tactic is an important one for rooting out radicals who might otherwise be invisible until too late.

Finally, the immigration system should be reformed to tackle the problem of people who enter the country legally and then overstay their visa. Far more illegal immigrants overstay their visas than cross the Mexican border. According to the Department of Homeland Security, hundreds of thousands of visitors to the US stay illegally and there is currently no effective system to track and deport them. No one knows how many might be radicals.

The face of Islamic terrorism has changed since September 11. Attacks by foreign operatives who infiltrate into a country to carry out hijackings or bombings is increasingly rare due to heightened security at airports and borders. The next step is to address the threat of US citizens who have joined the radicals. Finding and stopping homegrown radicals is difficult, but it isn’t impossible.

Trump is Right: Terrorists Are Evil Losers Who Worship Death

Another day. Another vicious terrorist attack. On the evening of Monday May 22nd, what is now presumed to be a suicide bomber blew himself up at an Ariana Grande concert in Britain, killing over twenty people and wounding many dozens more. BBC reported how the horror unfolded:

 

“The explosion happened in the foyer of Manchester Arena on Monday night, as crowds began leaving the concert. Witnesses – many of them teenage girls – said they heard a huge bang coming from outside the auditorium. Some mistook the bang of the bomb for exploding balloons, which had been released at the end of the concert. Parents waiting to pick up their families in the foyer said the noise of the explosion was followed by a flash of fire. Metal nuts and bolts were strewn around the floor among bodies and the smell of explosives was in the air, witnesses said. They also spoke about the fear and confusion that gripped the concert-goers, as they rushed for the exits. Police were called at 22:33 BST and streets surrounding the arena and Victoria station were sealed off. Twenty-two people were killed in the explosion, including an eight-year-old girl. A further 59 people, including 12 under the age of 16, were injured and taken to hospital.”

 

Prime Minister Theresa May would respond forcefully: “All acts of terrorism are cowardly attacks on innocent people but this attack stands out for its appalling, sickening cowardice, deliberately targeting innocent, defenceless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives.” A fun concert full of dancing and music ripped apart in an instant by a man bent on destruction. The victims mostly young kids. Terrified children fleeing. Parents desperately trying to find their kids while fervently praying that they might be safe – with some of those prayers sadly going unanswered. An evening of joy turned in an instant into a night of terror. Among the victims were eight-year-old Saffie Roussos and eighteen-year-old Georgina Callander (with many many more victims to be identified). And ISIS gleefully claimed credit. Can anyone doubt that evil is real?

President Trump’s remarks in the wake of this horrific attack would state, in part, that: “I extend my deepest condolences to those so terribly injured in this terrorist attack and to the many killed and the families, so many families, of the victims. We stand in absolute solidarity with the people of the United Kingdom … So many young beautiful innocent people living and enjoying their lives murdered by evil losers in life. I won’t call them monsters because they would like that term. They would think that’s a great name. I will call them from now on losers because that’s what they are.”

Trump is right about this. What else could you call someone who deliberately targets young innocent concertgoers? These acts are brazen, cowardly, and pathetic. “Evil losers” might seem simple or direct, but it is also exactly what they are.

Remember also what the President said in his speech in Saudi Arabia on Sunday May 21st, where he attempted to draw a clear line between right and wrong, between good and evil, and between the civilized world and barbarism: “The true toll of ISIS, AL-Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, and so many others, must be counted not only in the number of dead. It must also be counted in generations of vanished dreams … But this untapped potential, this tremendous cause for optimism, is held at bay by bloodshed and terror. There can be no coexistence with this violence. There can be no tolerating it, no accepting it, no excusing it, and no ignoring it. Every time a terrorist murders an innocent person, and falsely invokes the name of God, it should be an insult to every person of faith. Terrorists do not worship God, they worship death.”

Again, Trump is right about this. The terrorist group Hamas has itself admitted that they love death, saying: “We are truly a people who love death as much as our enemies love life.” This love for death is the unifying core of the jihadist organizations operating both near and in the far-flung corners of the world. As I have written previously: “ISIS has carried out spectacular terrorist attacks around the world, including the Pulse nightclub shooting, the San Bernardino massacre, the attacks in Nice, the Paris attacks, the Charlie Hebdo attack, the Brussels bombings, the Istanbul attack, the Westminster attack, the Stockholm truck attack, and the recent bombings of Coptic Christian churches in Egypt on Palm Sunday.” This is the worship of death. And let’s not forget about al-Qaeda’s brazen killing of innocent people over the years as well: the attack on Khobar Towers, the African Embassy bombings, the USS Cole bombing, the Madrid train bombings, the London train bombings, the Bali nightclub attack, its attacks on our service members in Iraq and Afghanistan and Syria and Somalia and Yemen and elsewhere, and of course the attacks of 9/11 that took 3,000 innocent lives. And the list goes on. Indeed, what else can you conclude when any territory controlled by these terrorist groups is marked by nothing but oppression, subjugation, slavery, crucifixion, torture, beheadings, and genocide? This, again, is the worship of death.

 

This murderous terrorism in Manchester was not nearly the first such attack and, sadly, it will not be the last. There are lots of these evil losers who worship death scattered amongst us and throughout the world, and, because of them, more innocent people will die. But here’s the good news: There is no sign that the United Kingdom, the United States, or our allies will somehow back down in the face of evil – indeed, our resolve grows only stronger. We have goodness, we have truth, we have righteousness, and we have the finest fighting force in the history of the world all on our side. Here’s the thing about worshiping death – life is more powerful and, if you’re Christian, you know that life has actually already conquered death. And the thing about evil is this – good is simply more powerful (always has been and always will be). And, finally, the thing about losers is this – in the end, well, they lose.

Manchester Update: New Details, Trump Responds, ISIS Claims Responsibility

Details continue to emerge about the horrific bombing at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, U.K. yesterday. Here’s the latest updates.

  • The death toll now stands at 22 people, including children.
  • The bomber, as yet unidentified, was killed in the blast, and used an “improvised explosive device.”

“We now know that a single terrorist detonated his improvized explosive device near one of the exits of the venue, deliberately choosing the time and place to cause maximum carnage and to kill and injure indiscriminately,” Prime Minister Theresa May said in a televised statement. (Source)

  • May called the attack “appalling, sickening cowardice, deliberately targeting innocent, defenseless children and young people who should have been enjoying one of the most memorable nights of their lives.”
  • President Trump, in his remarks with Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas, condemned the attack, and called the perpetrators “evil losers.” (Source)

Mr. Trump said that he would not call people like the assailant “monsters” because they would “think that’s a great name.” Instead, he said that people who conducted attacks like the one at the concert were “evil losers.”

“I will call them from now on losers, because that’s what they are,” Mr. Trump said. “They’re losers. And we’ll have more of them. But they’re losers. Just remember that.”

 

  • This was the worst attack on British soil since 2005, when 52 people perished in the London Underground bombings. It’s the worst attack in northern England’s history.
  • British police tweeted that have arrested a 23-year-old man in South Manchester in connection with the attack.

  • ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack. (Source)

In a statement translated from Arabic, ISIS said that a soldier of the caliphate placed explosives among a gathering of crusaders — meaning Christians — at the Manchester Arena. The statement said about 30 were killed and about 70 were wounded.

  • For the survivors, what should have been a memorable night out has become a nightmare. Teenagers are stricken with grief and shock. Families are worried, and terror has briefly taken hold in the numbness following such an evil and heartless act.

https://twitter.com/AmadingAlec/status/866989618620755969

https://twitter.com/lnandelrey/status/866989042876985344

 

https://twitter.com/lnandelrey/status/866803039126114305

 

This is personal

My own personal reaction initially was anger. That has turned to intense anger. This morning I told my 6- and 7-year-old kids about the bombing. The 7-year-old asked why? I told him they are evil. President Bush called terrorists who target innocents like this “evildoers.” Trump called them “evil losers.”

I don’t think either of them cover the enormity of this. They are evil-hearted people, whose souls and ability to care about a single life other than their own twisted lie of paradise, have been hopelessly seared. They find their places in hell for eternity.

Justice will prevail, but nothing can restore the lost relationships, the lost futures, and the lost love of children who will never grace this earth because of evil. C.S. Lewis said God uses suffering as his megaphone. Those who would applaud the deaths of children deserve to be hunted like animals, without remorse.

Let this event not be lost in the news cycles or politics of the day. Let this be the galvanizing cry to eliminate ISIS, as Trump said, “DRIVE THEM OUT OF THIS EARTH.”

BREAKING: In Meeting With Russian Diplomats, Trump Revealed Highly Classified Intel

This story from the Washington Post is absolutely unbelievable, and all the more reason that grudge voting should be a punishable offense.

After firing FBI Director James Comey last week, President Trump held a closed meeting with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the Oval Office.

Apparently, it wasn’t the kind of meeting where they simply talked about mutual goals and strengthening bonds.

According to Washington officials, President Trump drifted off script and revealed highly classified information received from a partner concerning the Islamic State (ISIS) and a threat that involved laptops on airplanes.

“The president and the foreign minister reviewed common threats from terrorist organizations to include threats to aviation,” said H.R. McMaster, the national security adviser, who participated in the meeting. “At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed, and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly.”

The CIA declined to comment, and the NSA did not respond to requests for comment.

But officials expressed concern about Trump’s handling of sensitive information as well as his grasp of the potential consequences. Exposure of an intelligence stream that has provided critical insight into the Islamic State, they said, could hinder the United States’ and its allies’ ability to detect future threats.

As president, Trump has the authority to declassify information, so what would be highly illegal, had anyone else revealed it to a hostile nation such as Russia, won’t be enough, alone, to bring charges against him.

Where are we as a nation now, that this is the best we could do for president?

In his meeting with Lavrov, Trump seemed to be boasting about his inside knowledge of the looming threat. “I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day,” the president said, according to an official with knowledge of the exchange.

Trump went on to discuss aspects of the threat that the United States learned only through the espionage capabilities of a key partner. He did not reveal the specific intelligence-gathering method, but he described how the Islamic State was pursuing elements of a specific plot and how much harm such an attack could cause under varying circumstances. Most alarmingly, officials said, Trump revealed the city in the Islamic State’s territory where the U.S. intelligence partner detected the threat.

How likely are those key partners in the fight against a deadly threat to now consider pulling away from the U.S.?

Can they still trust us to hold up our end of this fight?

“Everyone knows this stream is very sensitive, and the idea of sharing it at this level of granularity with the Russians is troubling,” said a former senior U.S. counterterrorism official who also worked closely with members of the Trump national security team. He and others spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the subject.

The identification of the location was seen as particularly problematic, officials said, because Russia could use that detail to help identify the U.S. ally or intelligence capability involved. Officials said the capability could be useful for other purposes, possibly providing intelligence on Russia’s presence in Syria. Moscow would be keenly interested in identifying that source and perhaps disrupting it.

I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again: Russia is NOT our friend!

While Russia and the United States are on the same side, as far as how ISIS is regarded, the agendas of the two nations in Syria clash.

If you’ll recall, after the tomahawk missile strike in Syria several months ago, the relationship between the U.S. and Russia became strained. With that in mind, the way to repair the breach is not to reveal information that endangers our partners in fighting ISIS.

“Russia could identify our sources or techniques,” the senior U.S. official said.

A former intelligence official who handled high-level intelligence on Russia said that given the clues Trump provided, “I don’t think that it would be that hard [for Russian spy services] to figure this out.”

At a more fundamental level, the information wasn’t the United States’ to provide to others. Under the rules of espionage, governments — and even individual agencies — are given significant control over whether and how the information they gather is disseminated, even after it has been shared. Violating that practice undercuts trust considered essential to sharing secrets.

So what else did Trump reveal?

Trump also described measures that the United States has taken or is contemplating to counter the threat, including military operations in Iraq and Syria, as well as other steps to tighten security, officials said.

Does anybody else get the feeling that all Lavrov and Kislyak had to do to suss out this treasure trove of classified intel from Trump was to compliment him on his tie?

Trump’s ego-driven disregard for the grave responsibilities of his title are greatly undermining the security of our nation.

Senior White House officials appeared to recognize quickly that Trump had overstepped and moved to contain the potential fallout.

Thomas P. Bossert, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, placed calls to the directors of the CIA and the NSA, the services most directly involved in the intelligence-sharing arrangement with the partner.

One of Bossert’s subordinates also called for the problematic portion of Trump’s discussion to be stricken from internal memos and for the full transcript to be limited to a small circle of recipients, efforts to prevent sensitive details from being disseminated further or leaked.

Yet, the information was already in the hands of Russian diplomats.

What do you think they chose to do with it?

U.S. officials said that the National Security Council continues to prepare multi-page briefings for Trump to guide him through conversations with foreign leaders, but that he has insisted that the guidance be distilled to a single page of bullet points — and often ignores those.

“He seems to get in the room or on the phone and just goes with it, and that has big downsides,” the second former official said. “Does he understand what’s classified and what’s not? That’s what worries me.”

It should worry us all.

Worse Than Bergdahl? An FBI Translator Married the ISIS Terrorist She Was Investigating. And The Government Hid It From The American People.

Credit where credit is due: CNN just broke a massive national security scandal wide open. There’s just no other way of putting it. An FBI translator working on ISIS cases at the Bureau ended up fleeing the United States to marry a member of the very terrorist group she was supposed to be investigating — a vicious terrorist group that has carried out countless bombings, advertised beheadings, resurrected crucifixions, enslaved women, attempted genocide, established a would-be caliphate, and killed Americans. Backed up by unsealed court records, this doesn’t look like “Fake News” but rather like a fairly damning story of deceit, intrigue, and perhaps even downright treachery by a member of our intelligence community with top secret security clearance. In a post-9/11 world, the egregiousness of a member of the intelligence community joining the jihad cannot be ignored. And it’s a scandal that was hidden from the American people by the Obama administration for years.

Strange Bedfellows: The Basics of the Case

The short story is this: the Czech-born, Germany-raised, American-military-wife-turned-FBI-linguist Daniela Greene was in secret contact with ISIS terrorists, passed along classified information to the terrorist group, traveled to ISIS-controlled Syria, married a notorious butcher terrorist named Abu Talha al-Almani, apparently got cold feet, fled Syria, and made her way back to the United States.  Her only punishment was a slap on the wrist and a sentence of less than two years. Again, it bears repeating – she was given only a two-year absurdly lenient sentence for going over to the side of the Islamic State, becoming a terrorist’s bride, and participating in a bit of regrettable treachery that seems to go beyond what even deserter Bowe Bergdahl did (who is currently awaiting trial on charges that could give him life in prison for wandering off base and into the hands of the Taliban). And the seeming cover-up by those involved in the Obama administration’s Justice Department is itself staggering, involving concealing this information from the public and possibly even leaking false stories to create a misleading narrative. All of that will be explained. A summary of the excellent CNN piece is excerpted below:

“An FBI translator with a top-secret security clearance traveled to Syria in 2014 and married a key ISIS operative she had been assigned to investigate, CNN has learned. The rogue employee, Daniela Greene, lied to the FBI about where she was going and warned her new husband he was under investigation, according to federal court records. Greene’s saga, which has never been publicized, exposes an embarrassing breach of national security at the FBI – an agency that has made its mission rooting out ISIS sympathizers across the country. It also raises questions about whether Greene received favorable treatment from Justice Department prosecutors who charged her with a relatively minor offense, then asked a judge to give her a reduced sentence in exchange for her cooperation, the details of which remain shrouded in court-ordered secrecy. The man Greene married was no ordinary terrorist. He was Denis Cuspert, a German rapper turned ISIS pitchman, whose growing influence as an online recruiter for violent jihadists had put him on the radar of counter-terrorism authorities on two continents. In Germany, Cuspert went by the rap name Deso Dogg. In Syria, he was known as Abu Talha al-Almani. He praised Osama bin Laden in a song, threatened former President Barack Obama with a throat-cutting gesture and appeared in propaganda videos, including one in which he was holding a freshly severed human head. Within weeks of marrying Cuspert, Greene, 38, seemed to realize she had made a terrible mistake. She fled back to the US, where she was immediately arrested and agreed to cooperate with authorities. She pleaded guilty to making false statements involving international terrorism and was sentenced to two years in federal prison. She was released last summer.”

So What Makes Abu Talha al-Almani So Bad, Anyway?

Before he was ever Abu Talha al-Almani he was rapper Deso Dogg, and before he was rapper Deso Dogg he was just plain Denis Cuspert. Born in Germany, his Ghanian father would abandon his German mother, and his younger years would be marked by hardship and crime. He’d eventually transform from Denis Cuspert to aspiring rapper Deso Dogg, and he would have a bit of success in that realm, even touring with DMX back in 2006. But he’d eventually convert to Islam, abandon his Berlin rap career, and join the Islamic State as it attempted to build its caliphate in Iraq and Syria, adopting the name Abu Talha al-Almani. The Middle East Media Research Institute would put together a very detailed article on Abu Talha back in 2015, dubbing him “ISIS’s Celebrity Cheerleader” and explaining his integral role in helping promote ISIS’s brutal crimes through social media (again, read the whole thing, but a very relevant excerpt is below):

“Talha now embarked on an odd trajectory, seemingly as a jihadi ‘everyman,’ appearing in or near every ISIS battlefield in Syria. A July 2014 video July 2014 showed glimpses of him in the bloody aftermath of the ISIS takeover of the Al-Sha’er gas fields in Homs. In a field covered with dead bodies, Abu Talha is seen for several seconds beating a corpse with a sandal. Still another video, released in November 2014, dates from the savage ISIS suppression of the Sunni Arab Shaitat tribe in August 2014 in Deir Al-Zor. While Abu Talha is not actually seen killing anyone, he is deep in the gore of freshly spilled human blood, and holding up a just-severed human head. In yet another, short video, he is shown discussing loot taken from Kurds and Yazidis near the town of Kobane … Despite his extensive extolling of his thirst for martyrdom in December 2013, Abu Talha must either live a charmed battlefield life or, more likely, is considered too valuable as a poster child for German jihadi or mixed-race Europeans, or as a media advisor and morale booster. As such, he is likely to continue for a while as a high-profile, if marginal, visual presence. Leaving aside the special case of ISIS’s ‘West African Province’ (Boko Haram), Abu Talha is the most prominent person of color within the ranks of ISIS in Syria and Iraq.”

The Al Hayat Media Center was ISIS’s innovative propaganda arm, formed around 2014 during the height of the now-crumbling caliphate’s power. According to a Vice News article, “In addition to being one of the most brutal militant groups currently fighting in the Middle East, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) might also have the most elaborate public relations strategy.” This extremist outreach effort consisted of slick videos, social media engagement, online English-language magazines named Dabiq & Rumiyah (The Clarion Project has some examples here), and period reports called “Insight into the Islamic State” (MEMRI has some examples here). The goal for all of these varied efforts was to shape false narratives, to recruit new members, and to spread jihad – and by most accounts they were very successful. Indeed, according to one study out of Northwestern University & Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the number of foreign ISIS recruits numbered in the many tens of thousands from all over the globe: “About 30,000 fighters from at least 85 countries have joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) as of December 2015. Although the great majority of ISIS recruits come from the Middle East and the Arab world, many foreign fighters also come from Western nations, including most members of the European Union, as well as the United States, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Thousands of fighters from Russia and hundreds from Indonesia and Tajikistan have also joined ISIS. The recruitment of foreign fighters to join ISIS is a global phenomenon.” (And these stats are backed up by The Soufan Group & other expert groups as well). So, who was the mastermind behind much of the work of the Al Hayat Media Center, this online cesspool of well-crafted terrorist propaganda, this ISIS effort at the center of their recruitment efforts? None other than rapper-turned-terrorist Abu Talha al-Almani — butcher, jihadist, propagandist, and soon-to-be husband. His recruitment skills wouldn’t be limited just to winning over young frustrated Muslim men yearning to join the battlefield, though, because he’d apparently also manage to sway a 38-year-old already-married American FBI linguist over to his side too.

Timeline of the Scandal, Concealment, & Possible Cover-Up

Borrowing some from the CNN article and from numerous other researched sources that are available on the web, a rough timeline of the incredibly strange string of events can now be patched together, all seeming to lead towards suggestions of a woefully lenient sentence for Daniela Greene as well as a possible cover-up (or at the very least a willful concealment) involving the intelligence community and the Department of Justice:

2011: Daniela Greene becomes a translator with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

January 2014: Daniela Greene begins investigating ISIS with a specific focus on Abu Talha himself because of her knowledge of the German language.

Between January 2014 & June 2014: Daniela Greene and Abu Talha begin communicating via a secret Skype connection and work out a plan for her to come to Syria.

June 2014: Daniela Greene deceives the FBI by telling them that she is going to visit family overseas, makes her way into Syria via Turkey, reveals key classified information to members of ISIS about the FBI’s ongoing investigations, and marries terrorist Abu Talha.

August 2014: Daniela Greene gets cold feet, escapes from Syria (somehow), makes her way back to America, and is arrested by the authorities. The arrest is not publicized whatsoever and the American people are not informed that an American intelligence officer that had gone over to the side of the Islamic State has been recovered.

December 2014: Daniela Greene pleads guilty to terrorism-related charges and goes to prison after cooperating with investigators and providing them with relevant information. She will be locked up for just two years. The conviction & sentencing are not publicized whatsoever, the court records are sealed, and the American people are not informed that an American intelligence officer who had gone over to the side of the Islamic State will only be serving out a puny sentence.

January 9, 2015: Secretary of State John Kerry enters the following official statement into the Federal Register: “I hereby determine that the individual known as Denis Cuspert, also known as Denis Mamadou Cuspert … also known as Abu Taha al Almani, committed, or poses a significant risk of committing, acts of terrorism that threaten the security of U.S. nationals or the national security, foreign policy, or economy of the United States.” [Nothing in the statement mentions anything about a possible American traitor, of course.]

February 9, 2015: The State Department designates Denis Cuspert a.k.a. Abu Talha as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist, stating, in part: “As a result of the designation … U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in transactions with him or to his benefit. Denis Cuspert is a foreign terrorist fighter and operative for ISIL, a designated foreign terrorist organization. Cuspert joined ISIL in 2012 and has appeared in numerous videos on its behalf, the most recent dating from early November, in which he appears holding a severed head he claims belongs to a man executed for opposing ISIL … Now calling himself Abu Talha al-Almani, Cuspert has pledged an oath of loyalty to ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and appears to serve as an ISIL recruiter with special emphasis on recruiting German speakers to ISIL. Cuspert is emblematic of the type of foreign recruit ISIL seeks for its ranks … Cuspert has been a willing pitchman for ISIL atrocities. Cuspert is also wanted by the German government on suspicion of involvement in terrorist activities in his home country.” [Nothing in the statement mentions anything about a possible American traitor, of course.]

February 9, 2015 to February 15, 2015: According to at least one newspaper, US intelligence officials apparently begin leaking the false claim that Abu Talha had married an American spy unbeknownst to him, rather than the exact opposite story (and actually true story) of her running over to the side of ISIS. [Nothing in the leaks mentions anything about a possible American traitor, of course.]

February 15, 2015: The German newspaper Bild publishes the (presumably unbeknownst to them) false story that Abu Talha had himself been duped by U.S. intelligence into marrying a woman that he didn’t know was a spy. Bild cites numerous intelligence officials and provides fairly breathless coverage of the (falsely reported) salacious incident. The original CNN article did not include any link to the original false story (or even provide the name of the German paper where the story first appeared) but I was able to track it down. The original German version is here, a rough English translation can be found here, and some key roughly translated excerpts are as follows (grammatical mistakes are included from the translation):

“What the ex-rapper with the battle name ‘Abu Talha al-Almani’ does not suspect: He is tapped into a love trap of the US federal police FBI! The spectacular secret service operation, confirmed by the German and American security circles against BILD am SONNTAG, sounds like the screenplay to an espionage thriller. The FBI hired an undercover agent into the Islamic terror scene in Syria. Their mission is to build a close relationship with an ISIS leader, and thus provide important information about the terrestrial group … The agent met Denis Cuspert and made him a target … The “Romeo and Juliet Action” was successful: the German ISIS terrorist fell in love with the US agent. He married her according to the Islamic rite. The honey trap snapped: The top spy, who had been prepared for the delicate operation every month, learned more and more from the inner life of ISIS. On secret channels the agent reported regularly during her undercover assignment with her US leadership officers. But suddenly the contact with her broke. The operation and especially the life of the FBI woman seemed to be in danger. This concern was justified: for the agent seemed to be afraid. A ‘concrete threat situation’ is mentioned. ISIS is immediately killed by traitors. While it is speculated in German intelligence circles that the woman actually fell in love with the ex-rapper, the Americans point this back … The agent succeeds in escaping from the ISIS camp. She crosses the border into Turkey. There she is arrested by the Turkish police, the FBI is informed immediately. The US federal police bring the woman to safety, she flies into the home. There, she reports in detail about all that she has experienced and experienced in the months before. It is important information about the organization and communication of ISIS terrorists – and, of course, about Denis Cuspert. To the native of Berlin the Americans have so much incriminating material that they could now put it on their international terrorist list.”

Based on the court records that have been revealed and based on the story broken by CNN, the German story is entirely false, appearing to be a fabricated account planted by American intelligence (if the paper is to be believed on its sourcing). It’s worth noting that the German intelligence officials cited in the article claim that they are (rightly) suspicious that the female spy might’ve actually been the one who had fallen in love with the terrorist, but those reservations are pushed aside by the American intelligence sources that are quoted. A number of other German newspapers like Sächsische Zeitung (English version here & German version here) also run the story (dropping any reference to the doubts that German intelligence has) and then it starts to spread internationally.

February 16, 2015 and onward: A bunch of major news sites worldwide (including Fox News, the Daily Mail, the Express Tribune, and Al-Arabiya) all fall for the narrative provided by Bild and run stories reporting the false allegations of the original German newspaper, such that it becomes the accepted narrative. Of the major outlets that I could find, all of them also stunningly drop the warning from the original story in Bild about the doubts that German intelligence had about the narrative that was being pushed.

October 30, 2015: Pentagon spokeswoman Elissa Smith states that the United States has killed Abu Talha, saying, ““I can confirm that an Oct. 16 airstrike near Raqqah killed Denis Cuspert … [He] was a foreign terrorist fighter and operative for ISIL who used social media to take advantage of disaffected youth and potential Western recruits … [He]  threatened the president of the United States and German citizens … His death contributes to our efforts to stop foreign fighter recruitment.”

August 3, 2016: The Pentagon reveals that Denis Cuspert a.k.a. Abu Talha was not killed after all.

August 4, 2016: Daniela Greene is released after serving just two years in prison.

So What Does All Of This Mean?

If CNN’s reporting is accurate and if the German newspaper Bild‘s reporting was a factual representation of what American & German intelligence sources were telling them, then the following can be deduced. FBI linguist Daniela Greene betrayed her oath of office as a member of the FBI, joining the terrorist group that she had been tasked with investigating and marrying Abu Talha one of its top propagandists. At some point while in Syria she decided that it was a terrible place to be (shocking) and she somehow made her escape out of the country. Once back in the United States, Daniela Greene would be arrested on terrorism-related charges to absolute no fanfare whatsoever and would serve just two years in prison, a drastically shorter period of time than in typical terrorism-related cases, especially ones where charges could’ve credibly included collusion with the enemy and treason. Secretary John Kerry and the State Department would then label Abu Talha as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. Some members of the American intelligence community would then soon leak a false narrative to the aforementioned German newspaper, Bild, claiming that Abu Talha had actually been conned by Daniela Greene rather than the true story about an FBI translator joining up with ISIS. German intelligence officials would cast doubts on that when speaking with Bild themselves, informing the paper that they actually thought that the American spy was the one who’d fallen in love with the terrorist (the truth) instead of the other way around. The story would then jump around in German newspapers before going worldwide in very short order. And in a stunning example of shoddy journalism, almost all (if not all) other news outlets around the world would drop the doubts that German intelligence had from their stories when reporting it (possibly because that got in the way of the straightforward narrative). The Pentagon would incorrectly report that Abu Talha was killed, would be forced to retract the statement roughly a year later, and perhaps just by terrible coincidence Daniela Greene would be released from prison just one day later. All of this done secretly. All of this done without informing the American public of the threats being posed by ISIS’s propaganda machine. All of this done without informing the American public of the vulnerabilities inside its own trusted intelligence agencies. And all of this done with a dose of misdirection (like the apparent misleading leaks that would help shape a #FakeNews narrative worldwide).

The following questions now need to be answered for the American people:

What steps has the intelligence community taken to ensure this never happens again?

Did the American intelligence community purposefully leak false information regarding this case?

And, if they did willfully leak misleading information, on whose orders was it done?

How can something as insignificant as a two-year lenient sentence be justified in a case such as this?

Were larger terrorism charges or charges approaching treason ever considered by DOJ? If not, why not?

If there was purposeful concealment, who in the Obama administration knew about it & who ordered it?

What was the motivation for keeping all of this secret from the American public?

Was the motivation just the utter embarrassment over an FBI translator get beguiled by an ISIS terrorist?

Or was the motivation a desire to hide the fact that the “JV Team” was flipping U.S. agents on their watch?

Few Lasting Achievements From Trump’s First 100 Days

As the Trump Administration passes its 100-day mark, the most striking thing is how ineffective the new president has been thus far. In spite of a plethora of Executive Orders that undoubtedly please most on the right, President Trump has put few lasting marks on the country at this early point in his presidency.

Even though President Trump has signed many bills in his tenure as president, most have not been laws that have lasting significance. For conservatives, passing laws is not an end unto itself. Laws should roll back government and make it smaller and less intrusive on the American people. Politifact notes that several of the bills that Trump has signed are business-as-usual type laws that designate memorials and name buildings, for example.

Not all of Trump’s new laws have been trivial, however. About half of the 28 bills signed by Trump so far were passed under the Congressional Review Act. This law allows Congress to review and rescind last-minute Obama-era rules by federal agencies. The law provides for a 60-day window to review bureaucratic rules that begins when Congress is notified that a rule has been finalized. The Daily Signal has a list of Obama-era rules that run the gamut from gun control to environment to education that have been rescinded by President Trump and the new Congress. Nevertheless, the laws merely preserve the status quo and do not break new ground in shrinking government or rolling back Obama’s legislation. Additionally, the window is now closed to rescind other rules from the Obama Administration.

The most notable legislative story of Trump’s 100 days is the failure to advance a bill repealing or reforming Obamacare. For seven years, Republicans have railed against President Obama’s trademark health entitlement yet, under President Trump’s leadership, Republicans in Congress have failed to advance even a watered-down version of bill reforming Obamacare.

President Trump’s answer was to pivot from health care to tax reform, but he is likely to have the same result and for the same reasons. The Trump coattails left Republicans with tiny majorities in both houses of Congress. The Republican Senate majority cannot defeat a Democrat filibuster and the House Republicans are too divided between Tuesday Group moderates and Freedom Caucus conservatives to pass a health reform bill. Tax reform is likely to be no different.

In order to avert a government shutdown, President Trump even had to give in and omit funding for construction of his wall and crackdown on sanctuary cities from the spending bill that will carry the government through the end of the fiscal year in September. Trump said repeatedly that Mexico would pay for the wall before asking for taxpayer funds.

Trump has done better with Executive Orders. The president has issued many orders that will slow the growth of government and streamline government regulations. An early Trump Executive Order reinstated President Reagan’s Mexico City policy that banned federal funds from international groups that promote abortion. President Obama had rescinded the policy in 2009. Other Executive Orders, such as the travel ban, seem poorly conceived from the beginning.

Good or bad, Executive Orders are limited. The president cannot legislate from the Oval Office with an Executive Order in place of Congress. Executive Orders may also last only as long as the president who signed them. An incoming president could sign Executive Orders rescinding Trump’s orders as easily as Trump reversed Obama’s.

On foreign policy, President Trump, whose views in the campaign ranged from promising a plan to destroy ISIS within his first month to neo-isolationism in other regions, launched what is largely considered to be an ineffective attack on a Syrian airbase in response to a chemical weapons attack before turning his attention to North Korea.

For several weeks, Trump suggested that he would make trade concessions to China in exchange for help in dealing with North Korea. As recently as April 30, Trump suggested on CBS News that he was open to dealing with China on trade, saying, “Trade is very important. But massive warfare with millions, potentially millions of people being killed? That, as we would say, trumps trade.”

Today that has changed. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross seemed to walk back weeks of diplomatic overtures in an interview with CBS, saying, “I don’t think he [Trump] meant to indicate at all that he intends to trade away American jobs just for help on North Korea.”

One hundred days into Trump’s presidency, there is also still no detailed plan to defeat ISIS.

To date, the Trump presidency can be described as lurching from one crisis to another. Some of these crises have been self-inflicted, such as the president’s tweets about wiretapping by the Obama Administration. Others, such as North Korean missile tests and Syrian chemical warfare, have been outside the president’s control. Still others, such as the division among congressional Republicans, reflect a lack of leadership from President Trump.

The one unqualified success that President Trump has had is with the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Gorsuch seems to be as solid a conservative jurist as anyone could possibly have picked. Nevertheless, the confirmation came at the cost of the filibuster. This was necessary due to unreasonable Democratic obstructionism, but may haunt Republicans in the future.

To have a lasting and positive impact, President Trump is going to have to develop a cogent and consistent worldview on both domestic and foreign policy. So far, the president has been inconsistent on numerous issues in both realms. He needs to make up his mind as to what his goals are and concentrate on those items.

The president also needs to learn to work with Congress. Donald Trump was elected partly on claims that he is a world-class dealmaker. His deal-making skills are sorely needed in hammering out compromises on Obamacare and tax reform, but so far President Trump seems to have little interest in the details of policymaking. The president should realize that the qualities that made him the Republican nominee and that enabled him to win the election don’t necessarily make him a natural leader and statesman.

None of this means that he will have a failed presidency, however. President Trump has assembled a very qualified and capable team. With a few exceptions, the Trump cabinet can truly be called a “conservative dream team.” President Trump should listen to their advice and consider it carefully.

As someone who was a Never Trump conservative and a third-party voter during the election, I must admit that Trump, with all his foibles, has not been the worst-case scenario that I feared. So far, he has undoubtedly been better than President Hillary (shudder) would have been. Neither has he been a valiant, steely-eyed, conservative leader. The truth is somewhere in the middle.

So far President Trump has been erratic and ineffective, but he has trended toward the right. In some cases, such as backing away from his plans to terminate NAFTA, his flip-flops have even be reassuring. In other cases, such as his saber-rattling against North Korea, his actions are downright scary.

After 100 days, the jury is still out.