Administration Weakens Security in 2009
Vows to Close Guantanamo: In his first days in office, President Obama recklessly ordered the state-of-the-art, multimillion dollar Guantanamo Bay detention facility to be closed. The decision to close the prison has not stopped al Qaeda from plotting attacks on Americans. Prioritizing international public relations does not make America safer.
Bans Interrogation Practices: President Obama banned certain interrogation practices utilized by the Bush Administration in January 2009, hamstringing the intelligence community. His order bars the CIA from using enhanced interrogation methods beyond those permitted by the U.S. military. Senior U.S. intelligence officials have said the intelligence community needs the flexibility to use a variety of interrogation methods.
Importing Terrorists to the U.S.: The Obama Administration plans to transfer detainees from Guantanamo Bay to a prison in Thomson, Illinois, and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to New York City for trial before a federal judge. If terrorists are brought to U.S. soil, they will seek to manipulate the rights provided by the very Constitution that they sought to destroy. Bringing dangerous terrorists to U.S. soil will not make our country safer. These actions are taking us back to a pre-9/11 mentality when acts of terrorism were treated as a law enforcement issue, and as a result, failed to prevent an attack.
Sending Guantanamo Detainee Overseas: In 2009, the Obama Administration transferred detainees to countries such as Yemen, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. The rate by which detainees are released from Guantanamo and return to terrorism or to the battlefield in order to kill Americans or its allies is alarming. According to the Pentagon, one in five detainees released return to terrorism. Jihadist "rehabilitation" programs, such those of Saudi Arabia, have failed to prevent former detainees from returning to the fight.
Releases Interrogation Memos: In April 2009, the Obama Administration released previously undisclosed interrogation tactics to the public. The memos describe in detail practices intended to get prisoners to share intelligence about past and future attacks. Releasing this information broadcast U.S. government techniques to the enemy.
TSA Security Breach: In December 2009, the Transportation Security Agency (TSA) inadvertently posted online its airport screening procedures manual, including some of its most closely guarded special rules for diplomats and CIA and law enforcement officers.
Major Terror Attempts in 2009
December 25, 2009: Abdul Farouk Umar Abdulmutallab, a 23-year old Nigerian, attempted to detonate an improvised explosive device (IED) he smuggled onboard a flight from Amsterdam to Detroit. Abdulmutallab has admitted to the FBI that he trained in a terrorist training camp in Yemen operated by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
November 5, 2009: Nidal Malech Hasan, a U.S. Army major, shot and killed 13 military personnel at Fort Hood, Texas. Many more were injured. One of the victims was pregnant at the time of her death, raising the casualty total to 14. Hasan, a devout Muslim, was linked to a radical cleric in Yemen.
October 21, 2009: Boston resident Tarek Mehanna was charged with conspiracy to kill two U.S. politicians, U.S. troops in Iraq, and civilians in local shopping malls.
September 24, 2009: Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, 19, a Jordanian living in Texas, was arrested on suspicion of planning a bombing in Dallas.
September 24, 2009: Michael Finton, 29, was arrested on charges of plotting to blow up a federal building in Springfield, Illinois. Finton had converted to Islam while in prison from 2001 to 2006, serving a sentence for aggravated robbery and aggravated battery.
September 19, 2009: Najibullah Zazi, 24, an Afghanistan-born airport shuttle driver, was arrested in Colorado on charges of lying in a matter involving terrorism. Authorities believe that Zazi was planning an attack using either a truck filled with explosives, or back-pack bombs.
May 2009: Four men were arrested in a plot to bomb two synagogues in the Bronx, New York, and shoot down military planes at an Air National Guard base in Newburgh, NY. The men were arrested in a sting operation after planting what they believed to be bombs in cars outside a Reform synagogue and a nearby Orthodox synagogue. They then planned to drive to the National Guard base to shoot down military aircraft with a Stinger surface-to-air missile while detonating the bombs with a remote device. The would-be terrorists were all Muslim, and three were American.