Pentagon seeks to increase translators from "Special Interest Countries" in spite of national security concerns

Hi Gang:
Last week I wrote about the arrest of Wissam Allouche by the FBI for allegedly lying on his application for United States citizenship, concealing allegedly in response to two questions.  He is accused of claiming that he was still married at the time he naturalized and he allegedly concealed his previous membership in Hezbollah, a terrorist organization that is largely sponsored and funded by Iran.
His situation came to light when he applied for a security clearance to work at the Department of Defense.  According to publicly available information, he had previously worked as a translator for a private company subcontracted by the United States Army in Iraq.
Kimbery Dvorak is a journalist who has been covering the immigration beat and issues relating to Homeland Security for many years.  She wrote an article for The Examiner that reported on the Allouche case and tied it to the fact that the Pentagon is seeking to greatly increase the number of citizens of so called, “Special Interest Countries” that are directly or indirectly involved with terrorism.
Her article serves as the predication for my commentary today:
Certainly a person’s religion should not prevent a person from naturalizing or obtaining a security clearance, however, all foreign nationals who apply for immigration benefits must undergo a meaningful vetting process.  Yet this process is as dysfunctional as are the other components of the immigration system even when the alien in question is a citizen of a “Special Interest Country.”
On April 28, 2013 CAPS (Californians for Population Stabilization) posted my commentary about the slipshod manner in which applications for various immigration benefits are processed:
Clearly the vetting process by which Mr. Allouche and the terrorists who have been arrested in the United States is fatally flawed.  Yet while we hear the flowery speeches from the likes of Senator Rubio who insist on providing unknown millions of aliens with lawful status and hence official identity documents.  It must be remembered that millions of these aliens have no reliable documentation to attest to their true identities (this is what “undocumented” means).  Aliens who evade the inspections process obviously have something to hide.  It may be that they simply want to work illegally- a problem in an of itself, but it also may be that they have far more serious issues in their past.  As the saying goes, “You don’t know what you don’t know.”
Clearly what we don’t know can have catastrophic results.  For the President, the “Gang of Eight” and other proponents of Comprehensive Immigration Reform such concerns obviously don’t matter.
They are so intent on ramming Comprehensive Immigration Reform through the process and down the throats of every American.
The majority of reporters and those who favor the implementation of Comprehensive Immigration Reform often accuse opponents of Comprehensive Immigration Reform of being many things.  At the very least we are portrayed as being “Ultra Conservative.”  All too often other words of hatred are leveled on us including racists, nativists and xenophobes.
I was called to testify before the United States Senate Judiciary Committee on July 12, 2006 on the topic:
I was taken aback when the late Senator Arlen Spector referred to those who opposed Comprehensive Immigration Reform as being “X-O-Phobes!”  At least that was how he initially pronounced the term “xenophobes!”  He quickly corrected himself but only after he realized his blunder.  It took a bit of self control on my part to not burst out laughing- I have a somewhat twisted sense of humor that 30 years of law enforcement can create and I thought that perhaps Spector thought we were afraid of the letter X!
What is so remarkable is that I have been a registered Democrat ever since I cast my first ballot more than four decades ago.  Of course I never vote a “party line” I believe that both political parties are a part of the problem.  I always vote for individuals candidates not for the parties that they may or may not belong to.  Both parties share responsibilities for the mess we are in today.  
The Illinois Conservative Examiner posted an interesting article on its website on June 8, 2013:
I was gratified that I was quoted in the article and it included a link to a recent a special report  I wrote for AIM (Accuracy IMedia) in which I suggested that Comprehensive Immigration Reform be re-named the “Terrorist Assistance and Facilitation Act!”
Whether or not members of Congress agree with implementing the provisions of S. 744, they should first look at just how inept and incompetent USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services) is.  The Allouche affair is hardly the first example of a major screw up and is likely to not be the last.  Just two months ago the Tsarnaev brothers launched a lethal terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon.  They and their parents had been granted political asylum years earlier.  In order to qualify for asylum they had to claim “credible fear” that if they were forced to return to their native Russia that they would face persecution and worse because of their race, religion, ethnicity or political beliefs.  Out of compassion by our government, they were granted asylum and ultimately granted lawful immigrant status.  The younger brother actually became a naturalized citizen.  Yet, shortly after they were granted asylum they returned to Russia.  The obvious question is how credible was their credible fear that they had to have claimed in order to be granted political asylum.
On May 2, 2013 I was interviewed by Megyn Kelly at Fox News on the immigration components of the Boston terror bombing.  Their website posted my interview under the heading:
A number of terrorists who have attacked our nation had committed immigration fraud in order to enter the United States and embed themselves in the United States.
There is nothing in Comprehensive Immigration Reform that would address the utter lack of integrity to the process by which applications would be adjudicated.
I guess the motto of those who are pushing Comprehensive Immigration Reform should be “Don’t confuse me with the facts!”
Here is an important fact:

The lack of integrity in the adjudications process was the focus of clear concerns of the 9/11 Commission, and the 9/11 Commission staff noted it in their report, 

9/11 AND TERRORIST TRAVEL: Staff Report of the National Commission onTerrorist Attacks Upon the United States.

This paragraph is found on page 98 under the title “Immigration Benefits:”

Terrorists in the 1990s, as well as the September 11 hijackers, needed to find a way to stay in or embed themselves in the United States if their operational plans were to come to fruition. As already discussed, this could be accomplished legally by marrying an American citizen, achieving temporary worker status, or applying for asylum after entering. In many cases, the act of filing for an immigration benefit sufficed to permit the alien to remain in the country until the petition was adjudicated. Terrorists were free to conduct surveillance, coordinate operations, obtain and receive funding, go to school and learn English, make contacts in the United States, acquire necessary materials, and execute an attack.


George Orwell had three quotes that seem particularly apt today:

“In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act!”    

“We have now sunk to a depth at which restatement of the obvious is the first duty of intelligent men.”

“Political language…it is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”
To quote an even greater influential authority in my personal life, my dad:
“Fool me once, shame on you- fool me twice, shame on me!”
He also told me that “In life, there are no mistakes, only lessons- provided that we learn from our mistakes and don’t repeat them!”
For him repeating a mistake was unforgivable!
Immigration is not a single issue but a singular issue that impacts nearly every challenge and threat confronting the United States today!  

Our armed forces are charged with securing America’s borders externally while the DHS is supposed to secure those same borders from within.  The failures of the DHS to live up to its half of the equation are undermining the efforts, valor and incredible sacrifices of Americas men and women who serve in our military!The immigration laws are supposed to achieve two primary goals- to protect American lives and protect Americans’ jobs. 

Our nation is greatly benefited by the rich diversity of our people which is why I could never imagine living anywhere except New York City, arguably the most diverse city in our nation if not, in fact, the world.  However, my idea of diversity most certainly does not include members of MS-13, the Mexican drug cartels or members of other transnational gangs or members of al-Qaeda or other terrorist organizations!

It is also vital that American workers never be made to compete with foreign workers for their jobs!  (This requirement is a component of the Immigration Laws that are not being enforced today!)

If our government’s failures to secure our nation’s borders and effectively enforce our immigration laws that are intended to protect our nation and our citizens concerns you or especially if it angers you, I ask you to call your Senators and Congressional “Representative. This is not only your right- it is your obligation! 

I also ask that you pass this e-mail along to your friends and neighbors- I am attempting to create a “Bucket Brigade of Truth!”

We the People must make it clear to our politicians that we are not as dumb as they hope we are!

We live in a perilous world and in a perilous era. The survival of our nation and the lives of our citizens hang in the balance.

This is neither a Conservative issue, nor is it a Liberal issue- simply stated, this is most certainly an AMERICAN issue!

You are either part of the solution or you are a part of the problem!

Democracy is not a spectator sport!

Lead, follow or get out of the way!


-michael cutler- 

Please check out my website:

http://www.michaelcutler.net/

       


On Friday evenings from 7:00 PM until 8:00 PM Eastern Time, I host my show, “The Michael Cutler Hour” on the USA Talk Radio Network on Blog Talk Radio.

Call in and join the conversation!  The phone number is 310-982-4145

I hope you will be listening!  (Please tell your friends and neighbors!)

Here is a link to the program:

http://www.usaradionetwork.com/cutler.htm




Pentagon aims to increase Islamic interpreters in US despite known risks


Afghanistan President Hamid Karzi meeting with Obama

Credits: 

File


In an effort to fast track more foreign interpreters, Senate staffers have confirmed the Defense Department has been lobbying the Senate to pass comprehensive immigration reform Bill S744 (skip to p. 845 for actual Bill).

Related topics

Despite numerous cases of interpreters turning against coalition troops and contractors, including the high profile incident last year where a translator working for the British military attempted to crash Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s plane during its landing in Afghanistan. Officials in the Senate say the Pentagon would like to double the number of Special Interest Visas (SIVs) America approves each year.

A US embassy official in Afghanistan told Stars and Stripes, “Visa applications are processed in the order they are received. The staff has been working every day to chisel away at the backlog, sometimes cramming as many as 70 interviews into a day.” The sheer number of visas being processed in a third world nation has many Americans concerned about homeland security.

The petition process for Special Immigrant Visas is relatively simple. An Iraqi or Afghan national who worked with the U.S. Armed Forces or under Chief of Mission authority, as an interpreter, must meet the following requirements: must be an Iraqi or Afghan national; must have worked directly with the U.S. Armed Forces or under COM (Chief of Mission) authority as a translator or interpreter for a period of at least 12 months; and must obtain a favorable written recommendation from a General or Flag Officer that supported the translator or interpreter, and/or a recommendation from the COM from the embassy where the interpreter worked.

“The total number of SIVs issued has risen dramatically this year, to 1,393 cases representing 3,302 individuals so far—perhaps a result of heightened media scrutiny brought on in large part by The List, a documentary about Iraqi interpreters. But the Afghan nationals who have served with U.S. and coalition forces have received less attention, possibly owing to blue on green attacks, with Afghans representing just 3 percent of this year’s figures: 109 Afghans have arrived under the program in 2012—50 translators, along with 59 of their family members,” The Daily Beast reported. “In 2010 one interpreter killed two soldiers on a base and wounded another. And a recent series of insider attacks have undermined trust in the Afghan army and policemen who we once trusted as allies.”

Enter Lebanese Hezbollah Commander, Wissam Allouche

Wissam Allouche arrived in America sometime in 2002. He married an American citizen and settled in Texas where he successfully navigated the Department of Homeland Security background check and eventually became a U.S. citizen.

However, his story falls apart once the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force looked into his life when he applied for a DoD job requiring security clearances. A number of red flags prompted the FBI to perform a more in-depth investigation.

In 2011 the FBI raided his home and found documents that suggest he fabricated security clearances, a membership in U.S. Special Forces as well as Defense Department intelligence units. Once this was discovered, Allouche was charged with non-disclosure of his prior Hezbollah membership when he sought a security clearance with the Defense Department.

During the three-year investigation, that included recorded undercover personal conversations, “he (Allouche) admitted on tape that he was a member of Amal and that he was a commander of Hezbollah,” Texas prosecutor Mark Roomberg told the court.

Army Criminal Investigations, Special Agent, Jeff Cram testified that his investigation revealed Allouche’s ties. He further attested to Allouche being seen by multiple people at San Antonio’s Fort Sam Houston dressed in a U.S. military uniform displaying Special Forces insignias. Many of those witnesses included women.

“So being flirtatious would give him access to sensitive information? Roomberg asked Mr. Cram. “Yes, sir.” Cram also testified that he discovered eight Hezbollah photos of Allouche.

“He was given at least three aliases,” Cram testified. One meant “god of death,” Cram said, adding that Allouche was also known for “acting crazy or acting dangerously.”

Allouche entered a not guilty plea to all the charges according to the indictment, and his attorney, Cynthia Orr, challenged the government’s portrayal of her client. “The evidence comes from his disgruntled ex-wife and his disgruntled ex-father-in-law.”

If convicted, Allouche faces 10 years in prison, and his citizenship would be revoked. He also faces an additional five years for lying on security-clearance forms. The judge agreed to keep Allouche behind bars pending trial.

How could this happen?

How exactly did an alleged terrorist successfully gain US citizenship by entering America’s front door? Former U.S. Attorney Pete Nunez said the U.S. has been sacrificing national security for political expediency for decades and that the so-called background checks provide minimal details for those seeking to call the U.S. home. “You could subject everybody to a thorough background check but the cost and time would be overwhelming. It would not be acceptable for the political class.”

He continues to explain that; “Millions apply for visas each year and they must rely on host nations for information which is nearly impossible to verify.”

Thirty-year INS agent Mike Cutler concurs and suggests that it is vitally important to fully vet foreign nationals that work for the U.S. government where they may have access to classified information. “You need to talk to family members, friends and neighbors in the home countries. You have to see where they are traveling and whom they are associating with. It’s critically important.”

This sensitive information can also put undercover agents, informants and special operation plans at risk, not to mention the trust involved when using an interpreter, Cutler explains. “You have an allegation that a terrorist was working as a translator for the U.S. Army and if that isn’t scary enough, how many more are here to do us harm?”

Most national security experts agree that full background investigations would swamp the Department of Homeland Security, but Cutler points out the obvious; “What did 9/11 cost us?”

The National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers say “recent events in the United States provide clear and convincing proof that the failure of the Government to effectively enforce our immigration laws as written has already created a level of pervasive lawlessness within the U.S. that has dramatically reduced national security and public safety and facilitated more tragic events and outcomes, such as the 2001 Trade Center and 2013 Boston Marathon Bombings,” said Zack Taylor, Chairman of National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers. “In the light of the current situation within the United States the latest proposal for Comprehensive Immigration Reform S744 would serve to create unrest and invite further attacks on America. The plan benefits the illegal alien, transnational criminals within our midst and those elements that intend to do us further harm. There is no practical way to ascertain the true identity, date of border crossing or purpose of entry of the more than 11 million aliens who are within our country in violation of immigration laws.”

Taylor provides another example of the porous southern border. On June 4, 2013, a DHS Predator drone tracked a group of illegal aliens 15 miles north of the Mexican border near Patagonia, AZ.

Taylor said just before sunrise, the Predator operator could be heard on audio saying:

“…Uh…. be advised…. uh … replay the tape shows…. uh…. about sun-up, there was some kneeling going on…” After that, no further transmissions from Omaha 25 or any other transmissions concerning this incident were discerned. Taylor confirms another fact that more Muslims are crossing illegally into America from Mexico. (Link to the Secure Border Intel audio is found here: http://www.secureborderintel.org/BorderBlotter/Kneeling_060413_0200-0700.wav).

Link to San Diego 6 News Story by Kimberly Dvorak:http://www.sandiego6.com/story/Allouche_Arrested-20130609

For more stories: http://www.examiner.com/homeland-security-in-national/kimberly-dvorak

© Copyright 2013 Kimberly Dvorak All Rights Reserved.

Homeland Security Examiner

Kimberly Dvorak is a freelance National Security investigative journalist based in San Diego. For more than 18 years she has focused on homeland security issues including foreign policy, Mexico drug cartels and border security.



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