The Al Qaeda threat that prompted the State Department to issue a worldwide travel alert and close down 21 embassies and consulates for the weekend is serious and 'very specific,' Rep. Peter King, chairman of the Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, said Friday.
“We’re not certain exactly where something might happen but it’s very specific as to when and it’s also very specific as to the fact that it is going to happen, so we have to be on alert everywhere,” the New York Republican told WINS-AM.
The travel alert was the first of its kind since an announcement preceding the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. It came as Washington prepared to close its embassies and consulates throughout the Muslim world this Sunday over security concerns.
"There is a significant threat stream and we're reacting to it," said Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He told ABC News in an interview to be aired Sunday that the threat was "more specific" than previous ones and the "intent is to attack Western, not just U.S. interests."
Al Qaeda re-emerged as a top global security threat after suspected plots by an affiliate of the terror group led the State Department to issue a world-wide travel alert for the entire month of August.
Senior U.S. officials said they were particularly focused on Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, saying the affiliate was plotting attacks that Washington feared could be executed in the Middle East, Africa or beyond.
These officials cited increased communications, or "chatter," between terrorist operatives in the field as the primary reason behind the State Department's alert. The Obama administration said on Thursday that it would close most of its embassies in the Middle East on Sunday because of the threat.
The plot U.S. intelligence officials are tracking is an "active" al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula plot said one former U.S. official. U.S. officials grew more concerned recently when they started to intercept communications in which the wording suggested an imminent attack, the former official added.
The next Israeli-Palestinian peace talks session will be held in Israel in the second week of August and a first group of Palestinian prisoners will be freed by then, Israel's chief negotiator said on Friday.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni told Israel's Channel 10 television that the parties had agreed on alternating venues for talks in initial meetings with the first to be held in Israel.
"We and the Palestinians both determined that the first meetings would be held once in Israel and once in the Palestinian Authority ... we want to do it directly (and close to home). The next meeting will be in the second week of August in Israel," she said in a broadcast interview.
Syrian rebels captured an arms depot near Damascus Saturday, seizing anti-tank weapons, ground-to-ground Grad missiles, and a variety of other ammunition, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights quoted by AFP.
The monitoring watchdog said several groups, including the al-Qaeda-linked Jabhat al-Nusra, were behind the capture.
On Thursday, rebels sent a wave of rockets slamming into regime strongholds in the central city of Homs on Thursday, triggering a succession of massive explosions in a weapons depot that killed at least 40 people and wounded dozens, an opposition group and residents said.
The attack — one of the most potent against pro-government districts in the area — overshadowed a rare trip by President Bashar Assad to a former opposition bastion outside the capital, Damascus, during which he defiantly vowed in front of troops to defeat the rebels fighting to topple him.
United Nations experts are investigating allegations that rebels killed dozens of Syrian soldiers in a village near Aleppo after they captured it from government troops, an incident that could amount to a war crime, the world body’s human rights chief said Friday.
Navi Pillay said in a statement that a U.N team in the region is looking into reports about killings that followed the battle in Khan al-Assal in July. Pillay said the team has examined activists’ videos and collected accounts from people in Aleppo on an incident that she called “deeply shocking.”
In a statement issued in Geneva on Friday, Pillay said two of the videos the U.N. team reviewed apparently show government soldiers being ordered to lie on the ground, while another shows several bodies scattered along a wall and a number of bodies at an adjacent site.
Preliminary findings of the U.N. probe also suggests that armed opposition groups, in one incident documented by video, executed at least 30 individuals, the majority of whom appeared to be soldiers, Pillay said.
“These images, if verified, suggest that executions were committed in Khan Al-Assal,” Pillay said. She called for a “thorough independent investigation to establish whether war crimes have been committed.”
She also warned that opposition forces “should not think they are immune from prosecution.”
Every recent poll agrees, Americans see their quality of life deteriorating – perhaps for the first time in the history of the country.
I’ve lived nearly 60 years in this country and have seen many changes – most of them bad.
An acquaintance who has lived half of the last 30 years outside the U.S. suggests his perspective on what’s happened in that time period affords more clarity.
“When things change for the worse gradually every day, the sneak-up-on-you effect comes into play,” he says. “But when one is away for five or six years at a time, the cumulative impact hits one right in the face.”
One question seldom asked by pollsters or pundits is: Who’s responsible for ruining America?
Education: Ask yourself if the schools are better or worse now than they were 30 or 40 years ago. Is there any doubt in anyone’s mind that they are worse – perhaps even nearing a crisis point in terms of discipline, instilling basic learning skills, teaching the rudiments of reading, writing and math and even just keeping kids safe? Who did this to our kids? Has the intrusion of the federal government into what had been essentially local education before 1979 been a positive factor or negative? Has any good come from it at all?
There are actually many destructive forces in American education – but government is the biggest. The near monopoly it holds on shaping the hearts and minds of future generations is downright scary. The symbiotic relationship government maintains with the teachers union is corrosive to the core. Test scores keep dropping, along with standards. America is producing more functional illiterates than at any time in its history.
Media: Do you remember what television was like 50 years ago? It was entertainment geared to the entire family. You never had to blush or put your hand over your child’s eyes even through the 1960s and early 1970s. As one who worked in the press in the 1970s through the 1990s, I can tell you that, despite deep institutional problems that were emerging in the news media back then, the standards of professionalism were much higher than they are now. That is to say there were some standards. No longer. Watch MSNBC for 20 minutes and compare it in your own memory to Huntley-Brinkley. Who ruined the media.
Economy: Do you know what a gallon of gasoline cost in 1965? If you don’t remember, you had better sit down: 31 cents. Do you know what it cost to heat a home or fire up an electrical plant back then? A lot less. Do you really have to ask yourself where America’s manufacturing base has gone? Do you really not understand where the jobs have gone? What good is a minimum wage law if you can’t get a job? And why are progressives in government always fixated on equalizing wages rather than maximizing them and rewarding hard work and entrepreneurship? You know who destroyed the economy. The government-progressive complex.a? The government-progressive complex.
I could go on and on if I had the time and space. But you get the idea. Every aspect of American society is worse off today than 30, 40 or 50 years ago because of the government-progressive complex.
So-called “progressives” see and use government as their vehicle for promoting and enforcing change in America – change from old standards, change from ways that were tried and true, change from things that worked, change from virtuous and good. Why? Because they believe in government as their one true god. Because they believe that people need to be herded like sheep. Because they believe they can bring about utopia if only people like them are in power. And, as a result, government grows and grows and grows over time to take on more of a god-like omnipotence every day.
So who killed the American Dream? You can’t blame conservatives. You can’t blame libertarians. You can’t blame decent, hard-working Americans who have remained true to our national character. You can’t blame constitutionalists. You can’t blame religious people. If you are thoughtful and sincere, you can only blame the government-progressive complex.
Now that you know it, watch for it in action. The only way to stop this monster is by recognizing it by name.
As Congress investigates the Internal Revenue Service for targeting and badgering conservative groups seeking tax-status designations, and even attacking conservative groups that already had their status letters, Americans can be confident such activity has halted, right?
Explained the legal team, “These new cases also illustrate that harassment has been continuing through the present date. The Society is even now responding to IRS inquiries addressed to its client, Emerald Coast Coalition for Life, which go far beyond the IRS’ purview, and which have delayed issuance of its tax exemption.”
Evidence already has documented that the IRS has inquired of some conservative and Christian organizations about the content of their prayers, and has tried to extract promises regarding support for abortion.
The organization said it has produced more than 250 pages of documentation showing that the federal government still interrogates pro-life groups “beyond the scope of its legal authority, infringing upon these organizations’ First Amendment rights of assembly, free speech and religious liberty.”
“Despite claims to the contrary, the IRS continues to target and harass pro-life and conservative charities, illegally questioning their religious activities and withholding their tax exemptions,” said Peter Breen, vice president and senior counsel of the Thomas More Society. “We have now produced irrefutable evidence of six clients whose First Amendment rights were trampled upon by the IRS because of their position upholding the sanctity of life. Even after public disclosure of this wrongdoing, the Obama administration’s IRS has refused to cease its illegal activity. We will continue to aid Congress in its investigation until those responsible are brought to justice and the IRS is made to respect every American’s constitutional rights.”
Trey Gowdy: Feds Are Changing The Names Of Benghazi Survivors And Dispersing Them Throughout The Country
[This would even make the old Soviet Union authorities blush]
An essential follow-up to yesterday’s CNN bombshell. Skip to 2:30 if you don’t have time for it all. The implication, very clearly, is that this is being done not to protect intelligence assets from terrorist retribution but to “protect” them from Republicans asking inconvenient questions. Which isn’t the first time the GOP’s had trouble talking to relevant personnel: Marine Col. George Bristol was somehow indisposed for months, with the Pentagon unwilling to reveal his whereabouts to investigators, before the House Armed Services Committee finally landed him for a classified briefing this past week.
Fox News has learned that at least five CIA employees were forced to sign additional nondisclosure agreements this past spring in the wake of the Benghazi attack. These employees had already signed such agreements before the attack but were made to sign new agreements aimed at discouraging survivors from leaking their stories to the media or anyone else…
Lawmakers penned a letter earlier this week to newly confirmed FBI Director James Comey urging him to aggressively identify and pursue the [Benghazi] suspects.
“It has been more than 10 months since the attacks. We appear to be no closer to knowing who was responsible today than we were in the early weeks following the attack,” they wrote. “This is simply unacceptable.”
Just a touch of sarcasm on this next article: