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Louie G.
Republican TX 1

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  • Terror Watch List Issues

    by Representative Louie Gohmert

    Posted on 2015-12-09

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    GOHMERT. Mr. Speaker, I always appreciate my friend from Georgia's thoughts and observations.

    Mr. Speaker, it is really intriguing that our friends across the aisle have been joining with the President in demanding that we in Congress give this administration, with its abuses and unaccountability of the IRS, using it as a political weapon to help win an election, that used the ATF to sell weapons, 2,000 or so, to get them in the hands of criminals, and then tried to use that violence that came from the weapons they forced into the hands of people that shouldn't have had them as a reason to try to take away Second Amendment rights of law-abiding Americans.

    This administration is one of the most arbitrary and capricious administrations in history. Executive orders have been used for things that, from the top to the bottom of this administration, they have said they could not use executive orders for, including forms of amnesty. I think, over 20 times, the President himself said he did not have authority to just grant amnesty, and yet he turned around and did it anyway.

    This administration, with that kind of history over the last 7 years, of being so arbitrary and in some cases being very intentional in going after enemies, far beyond anything Nixon might have ever dreamed he might be able to do, the thought of giving this administration the power to just make a list of all the people that you don't want to ever fly or have a gun, just make a list, we don't know exactly how you are making this list. There is no due process in creating the no-fly list. There is no due process in getting oneself off the no-fly list once the name is on the no-fly list.

    Katie Pavlich with townhall.com, talking of the President's speech, said: ``President Obama called on Congress to pass legislation stripping anyone, including American citizens, on the terrorism no-fly list of the ability to purchase a firearm in the United States. Sounds pretty reasonable, right? Nobody wants terrorists to have easy access to guns, and it certainly sounds bad when the argument is made that those currently on the terror watch list have the ability to do so. But here's the problem: The terror no-fly list is a mangled, bureaucratic mess of over 700,000 names. Yes, there are names on the list that are connected to terrorism, but nearly half of those names belong to people who have zero links'' to terrorism.

    Further down she said: ``That list, which contained 47,000 names at the end of George W. Bush's [[Page H9202]] presidency, has grown to nearly 700,000 people on President Obama's watch. The fact that they are names, not identities, has led to misidentifications and confusion, ensnaring many innocent people. But surely those names are there for good reason, right? ``Not really. According to the technology website TechDirt.com, 40 percent of those on the FBI's watch list--280,000 people--are considered to have no affiliation with recognized terrorist groups. All it takes is for the government to declare it has `reasonable suspicion' that someone could be a terrorist. There is no hard evidence required, and the standard is notoriously vague and elastic.

    ``So who ends up on the list who shouldn't and why? Take for example Weekly Standard Senior Writer and Fox News Contributor Steve Hayes, who was put on the no-fly list after a cruise.

    ``Stephen Hayes, a senior writer at The Weekly Standard . . . was informed Tuesday that he had been placed on the Department of Homeland Security's Terrorist Watchlist.

    ``Hayes, who spoke to POLITICO by phone on Tuesday, suspects that the decision stems from U.S. concerns over Syria. Hayes and his wife recently booked a one-way trip to Istanbul for a cruise, and returned to the U.S., a few weeks later, via Athens.'' But the trouble is, nobody can say for sure why they are on the list, why they are not on the list, why they should not be on the list, the article says, but travel to certain regions isn't the only way you can get put on the list without due process.

    ``The Intercept published a 166-page document outlining the government's guidelines for placing people on an expansive network of terror watch lists.'' I just can't help but say, Mr. Speaker, it is hard to fathom that, once the wonderful American people think about what the President is proposing, they are going to realize you can't trust this administration with your health care, you can't trust this administration to keep their promises that if you like your health insurance policy you can keep it, because those promises from this administration weren't true. The promise: If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor wasn't true. It turns out people in the administration knew all along that it wasn't true, yet they promised people those things anyway.

    So there are issues of trust. We know, even when we are not talking about issues of intentional misrepresentation but just mismanagement and terrible policies, look at the rules of engagement of our military. Under President Bush, there were just over 500 precious American lives that were lost in the war in Afghanistan over 7\1/4\ years' time. Though the war had wound down, we were told by the President, basically, one, things were contained in Afghanistan.

    Nonetheless, during this wound-down war of the last less than 7 years, this President's rules of engagement have contributed, not intentionally, but the mismanagement has helped create an environment for our military members, men and women, where we have lost three to four times more lives under Commander Obama than were lost under Commander Bush, and more time that Commander Bush was over the operation.

    This is not the administration you want to trust to say: You just make out a list, even though the standards are vague; we don't know how somebody gets on; it is kind of up to you, judgment call on your part; and there is not a clear way to get off.

    I read an article where somebody had been trying for 8 years to get off of that list. Nonetheless, you just go ahead, Obama administration, bureaucrats in cubicles, people like Lois Lerner that hate conservatives, you just make out your list of people you don't want to ever be able to defend themselves or their homes or their loved ones with a weapon. You make out the list, and we will keep them from flying, and we won't let them have a gun.

    That would be a disaster, because when most Americans realized what the President was asking for, just carte blanche to put anybody he wanted to on the list and they could never get a gun, the American people are fair. The majority pull for an underdog, and they are not going to pull for an overly abusive, bureaucratic, Kafkaesque administration to take out its revenge on someone it doesn't like and prevent them from being able to defend themselves and their loved ones.

    Of course, The New York Times, never an organization to let hypocrisy get in the way of being hypocritical, this article from Breitbart by AWR Hawkins points out: ``On April 18, 2014, The New York Times published a scathing editorial on the no-fly list, describing it as `a violation of basic rights,' and a list unsuitable for a `democratic society premised on due process.' ``Moreover, The New York Times addressed the imprecision of the list by explaining that a 2007 audit showed that half the names on the list `were wrongly included.' Adding insult to injury, there were `71,000 names' on the list in 2007, which means 35,500 people were facing a denial of their constitutional rights for being on a list due to oversight or some similar mistake.'' That seems to be pretty clear. The New York Times got it right in 2014, got it wrong now. But it is interesting. I reflect on what my friend, former Member of Congress Barney Frank told me one day when we were on the same side of an issue. He shrugged and said: Well, even a broken clock is right twice a day. I know my friend Barney Frank could prove that.

    There was an article entitled, ``FBI Investigates If Terror Group Arranged California Killers' Marriage.'' It is by Marisa Schultz and Yaron Steinbuch, dated December 9, 2015. It pointed out: ``The FBI is investigating whether the online courtship of the future San Bernardino mass murderers was a match made in hell by a terror group--to set in motion the radicalized duo's evil plan, Director James Comey said on Wednesday.

    ``Comey told a Senate Judiciary Committee that investigators do not yet know if a group like ISIS hatched the love-and-hate match between jihadists Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik.'' Further down it says: ``The top G-man also said that Farook, 28, and Malik, 29, were radicalized at least 2 years ago and planned their evil martyrdom scheme long before they were engaged and before she applied for her visa.

    ``The couple--who lived in a two-bedroom townhouse with their 6- month-old daughter and Farook's mother--killed 14 people and wounded 21 during a holiday party December 2 at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino. They were killed about 4 hours later in a shootout with police . . . `Our investigation to date shows that they were radicalized before they started courting or dating each other online, and as early as the end of 2013, were talking to each other about jihad and martyrdom before they became engaged and married and were living in the U.S.'. . . A U.S. Government source familiar with the shooting probe said Farook may have been plotting an attack in the U.S. as early as 2011.'' That is hard to believe, Mr. Speaker, because this administration was doing all these things, reaching out, not helping Christians who were being persecuted in greater numbers than ever in the history of the world. No, not reaching out to specifically help Christians and Jews, who were the primary targets of these radical Islamists, these people who perpetrate hate crimes that this administration won't even call hate crimes. This is the administration that, every time it seems that they reach out overseas or even, for heaven's sake, with our NASA space program, the President is directing that we have got to protect Muslims above all other things.

    {time} 2015 This is the same administration who appointed an Attorney General who, after this mass murder spree in San Bernardino, came out--while others like local police and other good, clear-thinking people are saying, ``If you see something, say something,'' after knowing that neighbors saw suspicious activity by what they knew to be Muslims, apparently, in the garage, but they were afraid of saying something because it was politically incorrect, and now, Mr. Speaker, it has been made clear by the Attorney General that, if you are a neighbor in a position like those of Farook and Malik and you see something you think is suspicious that someone with an Islamic background is doing and you call that in, [[Page H9203]] our Attorney General just may, according to what she said, decide not to go after the Islamist terrorists, but to come after you for being a bigot and for showing bias or prejudice.

    I can't imagine a more ridiculous thing to say after radical jihadists kill Christians and Jews. Yes, apparently, there was at least one Muslim shot, but the killing occurred because of the hate for Christians and Jews and the desire to create terror in the hearts of infidels. So no Muslims were actually targeted by these radical Islamists. They were collateral damage. They should never have been shot.

    Anybody that had anything to do with the shooting of a Muslim, Christian, Jew, atheist, Buddhist, or anything else, should be brought not just to justice. But when it is an act of war like this, they ought to be taken out.

    The Attorney General, on the other hand, in the immediate aftermath of this bloody massacre--tragic--at a Christmas party--threatens American citizens that, if you become--in effect, what she is saying-- not the words, but, in effect, she is saying, if you become suspicious of people who are acting in the same way that you have seen on television or in the news, acting as radical Islamists, and you report that, we will come after you because you are showing bigotry and prejudice.

    So, on the one hand, if you see something, say something, but if it is about a Muslim, then there is a good chance we will come after you, not the Islamists.

    There is a report from CNN's Zachary Cohen: ``Amnesty report: ISIS armed with U.S. weapons.'' This is dated today.

    ``A new report from a prominent human rights group has found that ISIS has built a substantial arsenal, including U.S.-made weapons obtained from the Iraqi army and Syrian opposition groups.

    ``Amnesty International's 44-page report, released late Monday, found that much of ISIS' equipment and munitions comes from stockpiles captured from the U.S.-allied Iraqi military and Syrian rebels.'' Further down: ``After analyzing thousands of videos and images taken in Iraq and Syria, Amnesty determined that a large proportion of ISIS' current military arsenal is made up of `weapons and equipment looted, captured or illicitly traded from poorly secured Iraqi military stocks.''' We saw over and over, Mr. Speaker, that this administration had this ridiculous idea--way too late after there were vetted moderate Syrian rebels that we could have helped--to get involved.

    Over and over they sent heavy equipment, heavy weapons, to these so- called vetted moderate Syrian rebels who said they feel a lot closer to those members of ISIS than they do the United States. And, lo and behold, those heavy weapons that are being used to kill the courageous Kurds that are fighting them are United States military weapons.

    To this administration's credit--I have got to give it to them--there was a period of about 4 or 5 months where, because the weapons they kept sending to the Syrians kept ending up in ISIS' hands, they decided to hold up shipping them more weapons because we just were equipping ISIS. But for some ridiculous, unknown reason--it has to be ridiculous--this administration began sending weapons back again. As far as I know, they are still doing so.

    I also think it is important to note that this administration has pointed to George W. Bush originally saying that this was not Islamic, and this administration has blamed the Bush administration--normally, it is quite unfairly--for every problem that has arisen.

    In fact, I believe it was in Iowa where someone told me that they understood that the President wanted to have the San Andreas Fault renamed for President George W. Bush so that it would be known as Bush's fault.

    That is what this administration has done. Yet, they try to blame him for them saying that ISIS--which wasn't around when President Bush was President. It was only created when this President created a vacuum in the Middle East--that these people who claim to be Islamic are not Islamic.

    I keep going back to the fact that one of the most internationally recognized experts on Islam, Islamic law, Islamic studies, and on the Koran, got his degrees, including a Ph.D., I read, from the University of Baghdad in Islamic studies. His name is al-Baghdadi. He is the head of ISIS. As head of ISIS, he claims that ISIS is indeed Islam.

    The President doesn't have any degrees in Islamic studies, although he did apparently study Islam quite clearly as a young child in Indonesia. Nonetheless, I think al-Baghdadi's credentials on what is Islam and what is not are superior to those of anybody in the White House.

    Caroline Glick, a writer for the Jerusalem Post, makes a great point in one of her articles from November 24, 2015. She says: ``An attempt is being made to assert that there is no pluralism in Islam. It is either entirely good or entirely evil.'' She is making a great point about pluralism because, as she says, ``This absolutist position is counterproductive for two reasons. First, it gets you nowhere good in the war against radical Islam. The fact is that Islam, per se, is none of the United States President's business. His business is to defeat those who attack the U.S. and to stand with America's allies against their common foes.

    ``Radical Islam may be a small component of Islam or a large one, but it certainly is a component of Islam. Its adherents believe they are good Muslims and they base their actions on their Islamic beliefs.

    ``American politicians, warfighters, and policymakers need to identify that form of Islam, study it, and base their strategies for fighting the radical Islamic forces on its teachings.'' That is why my friends like Muslims Massoud and Dostam and others who fought and initially defeated the Taliban within about 5 months in Afghanistan--courageous--don't want radical Islamists governing Afghanistan.

    In Egypt, a very fine, courageous man, President el-Sisi, stood up to imams and pointed out that you must take back Islam and denounce the radical Islamists that are destroying our religion. They recognize this is Islamic. They are claiming to be Islamic. And we have got to clean up our own religion.

    Judicial Watch released information today: ``ODNI Confirms Terrorists Tried to Enter U.S. As Syrian Refugees.'' They point out that, ``FBI Assistant Director Michael Steinbach has also conceded that the U.S. Government has no system to properly screen Syrian refugees. `The concern in Syria is that we don't have systems in place on the ground to collect information to vet. That would be the concern, is we would be vetting--databases don't hold the information on those individuals. You're talking about a country that is a failed state, that is, does not have any infrastructure, so to speak. So all of the data sets--the police, the intel services--that normally you would go to seek information don't exist.'' That is very important.

    Now I know that some people are trying to say that Donald Trump--and I did not endorse him. I endorsed Ted Cruz for President--but they are trying to vilify Trump because he perhaps overstated it, but he has made clear that we need to pause until we figure out our policy.

    Yet, Huma Abedin, wife of Anthony Weiner, our former colleague here, denounced Trump. She says Trump wants to literally write racism into our law books, his homophobia doesn't reflect our Nation's values, it goes far enough to damage our country's reputation, and could even threaten our national security.

    Mr. Speaker, I pointed out yesterday the information that we obtained after letters were sent to departments and just mentioning a couple of facts about her family. And then we find out that she has these direct ties to Abdullah Omar Naseef, who had ties to Osama bin Laden, and really serious issues not just through her mother, who started the Muslim Sisterhood, but her late father, deceased for many years now, but who is a prominent member of the Muslim Brotherhood and a brother who had ties--but she had ties herself--to Naseef and others.

    When you find out the contacts and close personal ties she herself had, you wonder how in the world a person like this could be attached to, at the time, [[Page H9204]] First Lady Hillary Clinton in the Clinton years in the Clinton White House. How could that happen? Of course, over the years, she has become ingratiated to Hillary Clinton. She has been her closest confidante. Not much of anything happens, as we found from the emails, without Huma Abedin Weiner being in the middle of it. Wow.

    I just want to point out something else that has come out in recent years. I will just read this. I don't espouse that Wikipedia is all that reliable, but here is what they say about Abdul Rahman al-Amoudi: He is an American former Muslim activist known for founding the American Muslim Council. He was born in Eritrea, raised in Yemen, emigrated to the U.S. He formed the Council, whose aim was to inform and influence both Republicans and Democrats.

    In 1998, al-Amoudi was involved with the selection of Muslim chaplains for the U.S. military, and acted as a consultant to the Pentagon for over a decade.

    {time} 2030 During this time, al-Amoudi served as an Islamic adviser to President Bill Clinton and a fundraiser for both the Republican and Democratic parties.

    More recently, al-Amoudi worked with leading conservatives such as Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform.

    Al-Amoudi became a U.S. citizen in 1996. Al-Amoudi and other Muslim leaders met with the then-presidential candidate George W. Bush in Austin in July 2000, offering to support his bid for the White House in exchange for Bush's commitment to repeal antiterrorist laws. He even spoke at a service for the victims of 9/11.

    He is now doing 23 years in prison for supporting terrorism. He was helping the Clinton administration find people for different jobs. I am trying to find out, Mr. Speaker, could he have had anything to do, before he went to prison, with placing Huma Abedin as an intern with Hillary Clinton. Mr. Speaker, I can't get an answer.

    I yield back the balance of my time.


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