Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Now An Anti-Terrorist






On Tuesday, reports Politico, Governor Chris Christie

suggested that Hillary Clinton suspend her campaign, saying that the Democratic front-runner needs to go to Paris and repeat her line that the U.S. is "finally ... where we need to be" in the fight against Islamic State.

Appearing on "Fox and Friends" from his campaign bus in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Christie again touted his experience as a federal prosecutor of convicted terrorists and his ability to strike the right chord of seriousness in light of the recent attacks in both Paris and San Bernardino, California.

The testosterone-induced challenge would be more credible if Hillary Clinton actually had made that remark. Instead, she had commented

I think it’s fair to say, Assad has killed, by last count, about 250,000 Syrians. The reason we are in the mess we’re in, that ISIS has the territory it has, is because of Assad. I advocated arming the moderate opposition back in the day when I was still secretary of state, because I worried we would end up exactly where we are now.

And so, when we look at these complex problems, I wish it could be either/or. I wish we could say yes, let’s go destroy ISIS and let’s let Assad continue to destroy Syria, which creates more terrorists, more extremists by the minute. No. We now finally are where we need to be. We have a strategy and a commitment to go after ISIS, which is a danger to us as well as the region.

Interrupted momentarily, the former Secretary of State continued "And we finally have a U.N. Security Council resolution bringing the world together to go after a political transition in Syria."

Notwithstanding Christie's radical reinterpretation of her remarks, Clinton clearly was referring to the strategy and commitment the USA now has to challenge ISIL.

Making things up about terrorism is a habit with Christie. In the last GOP presidential debate, he brought out one of his favorite tactics, leaving the impression that he was a U.S. prosecutor when the Twin Towers fell.  He claimed "on September 10th, 2001, I was named chief federal prosecutor in New Jersey."  However, that day he was merely told (by President Bush's counsel) that he would be appointed U.S. Attorney. The decision was publicly announced December 7 and Christie was confirmed December 20, 2001.

"And for seven years," the candidate contended, "I spent my life protecting our country against another one of those attacks" of "radical Islamic jihadism."  At best, he spent seven years, hardly his "life." Moreover, he didn't do even that. The Daily Beast's Olivia Nuzzi notes that when the U.S. Attorney announced his candidacy for governor

A 30-second campaign ad touting his record as U.S. Attorney focused only on the corruption cases he’d brought, boasting that Christie had “led the war” on crooked public officials. In another commercial, Christie bragged about how he “put corrupt politicians in jail” and “took on polluters” as the U.S. Attorney. He never mentioned terrorism.

At an event in Ocean County during that campaign, he described himself as a “former federal corruption prosecutor.”

Christie (on Russia, video below) at the debate further embellished his anti-terrorism record when he maintained

We prosecuted two of the biggest terrorism cases in the world and stopped Fort Dix from being attacked by six American radicalized Muslims from a Mosque in New Jersey because we worked with the Muslim American community to get intelligence and we used the Patriot Act to get other intelligence to make sure we did those cases.

"Two of the biggest terrorismcases in the world' involved, as Nuzzi explains

Hemant Lakhani in 2005, a 71-year-old (now-deceased) British citizen who had been recorded saying he “was willing to broker the sale of shoulder-fired missiles to shoot down American passenger jets” and the “Fort Dix Six” in 2007, when five Islamic men and their gun dealer were arrested for allegedly plotting to kill U.S. soldiers “at various installations, including the Fort Dix Army a base in New Jersey.”

In both cases, FBI informants played central roles in nailing the suspects, leading some critics to suggest the charges were the results of entrapment.

The Lakhani case was the subject of a 2009 This American Life installment, which painted the portrait of Lakhani as a hapless charlatan who had stumbled into the FBI’s trap despite possessing no ability to broker missiles of any kind. The Fort Dix case was torn apart and dissected by The Intercept in 2015, where reporters Murtaza Hussain and Razan Ghalayini made the case that the FBI worked overtime to convince the accused men to agree to commit terrorist attacks that Christie and his office then “thwarted.”

A Republican consultant in New Jersey (albeit one not supportive of the  governor), Rick Shaftan has stated "Christie's just like, whatever's gonna work this week. Terrorism wasn't an issue when he was running (for governor), now it's an issue, so he's pivoting."

It's all about branding. Responding to the recent Miss Universe dust-up, the ever-opportunistic Donald Trump said "I would recommend that they go have a beautiful ceremony, which is good for the brand and good for Miss Universe, and do a co-winner." That's a sentiment Chris Christie can really appreciate.














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