Michael Cutler: Connecting the Dots: Iran, Immigration & National Security

his past week John Kerry, bargaining from a self-imposed position of weakness, continued to negotiate with Iran, the world’s most pernicious state sponsor of international terrorism, even after America’s allies walked away. It might be said that Kerry agreed to take “no” for an answer.

Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu left no doubt about his grave concerns about the wisdom of the agreement being hammered out at the behest of the Obama administration that legitimizes Iran’s nuclear program and therefore poses an existential threat to Israel.

Mr. Obama has said that a deal with Iran would be “historic.”

My concern is that Obama’s statement will be prophetic. History records as many tragedies as successes. The Hindenburg explosion was certainly historic. So was the loss of the Titanic and two of our space shuttles.

In point of fact, every major war has been historic as has been the Holocaust.

Many of the events recorded in history books were written with blood- rivers and, indeed, oceans of blood.

The news media has reported on Netanyahu’s concerns and noted how a nuclear Iran would, indeed, pose a threat to Israel’s survival. What has not been considered is that a nuclear Iran would pose no less a threat to America.

There is a saying that when confronting several adversaries in a dark alley you should not go after the smallest adversary but the largest. The reasoning is that if you beat up the smallest guy first, you will then have to fight your way up until you wind up fighting the largest adversary last. By then your strength and ability would have been largely depleted.

On the other hand, if you successfully take on the biggest adversary first, the other guys will run away and you will prevail.

Undoubtedly when Iran looks at Israel and the United States, the United States is that largest adversary.

Iran is operating in the Western Hemisphere as has been for many years. Their presence in our hemisphere and indeed our country, leaves us vulnerable to a devastating attack.

On April 21, 2010 the Washington Times published a report entitled,“Iran boosts Qods shock troops in Venezuela.”

On February 3, 2012 ABC News which posted an article, “Exclusive: Israel Warns US Jews: Iran Could Strike Here,” that had a clear and unambiguous title.

On March 21, 2012, the Huffington Post published an extremely disturbing article that was entitled: “Peter King: Iran May Have ‘Hundreds’ Of Hezbollah Agents In U.S.”

The basis for the Huffington Post article was a hearing that was conducted that day by the House Committee on Homeland Security that is chaired by Congressman Peter King of New York, the topic of the hearing was, “Iran, Hezbollah, and the Threat to the Homeland.”

Here is how the Huffington Post article began:

WASHINGTON — Iranian-backed Hezbollah agents, not al Qaeda operatives, may pose the greatest threat on U.S. soil as tensions over Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program ratchet up, according to the Republican chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.

“As Iran moves closer to nuclear weapons and there is increasing concern over war between Iran and Israel, we must also focus on Iran’s secret operatives and their number one terrorist proxy force, Hezbollah, which we know is in America,” said New York Rep. Peter King at a Wednesday hearing of his committee.

The hearing, which featured former government officials and the director of intelligence analysis for the New York Police Department, follows a foiled plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington, D.C., and testimony by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper in late January that Iran’s leaders are “more willing to conduct an attack inside the United States in response to real or perceived U.S. actions that threaten the regime.”

Opening the hearing, King said, “We have a duty to prepare for the worst,” warning there may be hundreds of Hezbollah operatives in the United States, including 84 Iranian diplomats at the United Nations and in Washington who, “it must be presumed, are intelligence officers.”

Congressman Peter King focused primarily on the threats posed by Iranian diplomats and, indeed, these diplomats should be of great concern to us. However, these diplomats are readily identifiable. We know their identities and the fact that they are officially connected to the Iranian government. There are other Iranians who are present in the United States whose relationship with the Iranian government and its goals of destroying the United States are not so readily identifiable.

On Friday, May 24, 2013 the newspapers, “The Blaze” and “My San Antonio” reported on the arrest of Wissam Allouche by the FBI and members of the JTTF (Joint Terrorism Task Force) in San Antonio, Texas, for lying on his application for naturalization to acquire United States citizenship. The article published by “My San Antonio” was entitled: “Alleged member of Hezbollah arrested here” while the article in “The Blaze” was entitled: “Infiltration? The Alarming Details Surrounding Alleged Hezbollah Member’s Arrest in Texas.”

Here is an important excerpt from “The Blaze” article:

The federal indictment revealed Allouche had married a U.S. citizen and was going through the naturalization process when he was arrested. When asked by officials if he had ever been associated with a terrorist organization, he replied no. That apparently turned out to be a lie.

According to the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force, he was a militant with the Amal militia in Lebanon in the early to mid-1980s. He was reportedly captured as a Israeli prisoner of war, but was later released to become a commander of the Amal militia.

News reports at the time said Hezbollah was formed by religious members of the Amal movement.”

In addition to lying about his terror ties, Allouche is also accused of lying about his relationship with his ex-wife. He falsely claimed on his application forms in 2009 that he and his wife were married and living together for the past three years. In reality, they had no lived together since May 2007 and they filed for divorce in December of 2007.

While Allouche’s allegedly committed fraud in filing his application for naturalization, it must be noted that if the allegations are accurate, that he also gamed the the process by which he had been granted lawful immigrant status years earlier. He had a Green Card (Alien Registration Receipt Card) for at least three years before he applied for United States citizenship. The 9/11 Commission identified such fraud as being an integral part of the strategy terrorists have used to enter the United States and embed themselves.

At the time of his arrest Allouche, was applying for a security clearance in order to work for the Department of Defense and had also applied for naturalization. Allegedly he lied by claiming to have never been a member of a terrorist organization when in fact, according to the FBI, he had not just been a member of Hezbollah, but had been a commander of that terrorist organization.

On May 29, 2013 both of those newspapers published follow-up reports in conjunction with disclosures made by prosecutors during the bail hearing.

The title of the Blaze article was, “God of Death Bombshell Revelations About Alleged Hezbollah Commander Arrested In Texas.”

The article published in My San Antonio, “Accused Ex-Hezbollah Member Referred to as God” included the following excerpt:

Allouche was arrested by the FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force here last week after being indicted on charges of not disclosing, during his quest to obtain his U.S. citizenship, his membership in the Amal militia and Hezbollah in Lebanon in the 1980s.

He’s also charged with not disclosing his prior membership in those groups when he applied for a security clearance with the Defense Department as he sought a contracting job.

Before 2009, Allouche worked for L-3 Communications, which provides linguistic services for the U.S. military, and he was deployed for several months to Iraq. He has lived in the U.S. since about 2002, and once owned Windcrest Mobil, a gas station at Walzem Road and Interstate 35, his lawyer said.

In view of the charges lodged against Allouche, it would be important to know what the vetting process was that enabled him to be put in a position of trust. He was deployed with American troops in Iraq as a translator. This means that he may have assisted in the questioning and vetting of suspected terrorists and with those applying to work with our military. This raises some obvious and important questions.

What classified documents or people did he have had access to? Did he come to meet with covert officers whose identities must be preserved? Did he meet with suspected terrorists and, perhaps, have the capability to alter what the record reflects that they did or did not say? Might he have learned the identities of foreign nationals who for whatever reason decided to become cooperators? Has this endangered their lives and the operations that they were providing information for? Might he mistranslated statements made by terrorists seeking to gain entry to military bases to subsequently kill American soldiers?

The Allouche case is hardly an isolated one. Furthermore, the threat of terrorism is not just limited to Iranian citizens but may involve terrorists from other countries that are funded and otherwise supported by Iran.

Let us now consider yet another example of ineptitude that is beyond description or comprehension.

The Inspector General that has responsibility for the Witness Protection Program, conducted an audit of that program and found gaping holes in the system. While it is important for the government to protect witnesses whose testimony and information is vital to conducting successful investigations and prosecutions of criminals and terrorists, it must also be remembered that witnesses can themselves, pose a threat to public safety. The Witness Protection Program is commonly known by an acronym, WITSEC that stands for “Witness Security.”

Perhaps the important WITSEC program should henceforth be referred to as “WITLESS Security!”

Here is the headline from a May 16, 2013 article that was published by The Atlantic Wire, “How Did U.S. Marshalls Lose Suspected Terrorists in Witness Protection?”

Here is an excerpt from this article:

This is not the good news Attorney General Eric Holder was likely hoping for. A public memorandum issued on Thursday by the Department of Justice’s Inspector General indicates that in July 2012 the U.S. Marshal Service, the federal law enforcement agency of the DoJ of Tommy Lee Jones notoriety, was unable to locate two “known or suspected terrorists” participating in the Witness Security Program, the well-known protection program (of Goodfellas fame) administered by the Marshal Service. “Through its investigative efforts,” the Inspector General writes, the agency “concluded that one individual was and the other individual was believed to be residing outside the United States.”

The mishap was apparently one of many incidents where the agency inadvertently allowed protected witnesses, who were also identified as “known or suspected terrorists,” to travel freely out of and within the United States. Indeed, the agency is only beginning to track how many witnesses have been tagged as such. From the inspector’s report:

We found that the Department did not definitively know how many known or suspected terrorists were admitted into the [Witness Security Program]. The Department has idenitifed a small but significant number of USMS WITSEC Program participants as known or suspected terrorists. As of March 2013, the Deparment is continuing to review its more than 18,000 WITSEC case files to determine whether additional known or suspected terrorists have been admitted into the program.

The 18-page report goes on to list a number of problems (described as “significant issues concerning national security”) with the way the U.S. Marshal Service deals with suspected terrorists, such as neglecting to share valuable case information with other agencies like the F.B.I.

The Atlantic Wire article provided a link to a CNN report which contained even more details: First on CNN: Witness Protection Program lost two ‘known or suspected terrorists.’

Here is a truly disconcerting paragraph from the CNN report:

The IG summary said that although the Marshals Service was giving known or suspected terrorists who participated in the WITSEC program and their dependents new names and identity documentation, the Justice Department “was not authorizing the disclosure to the Terrorist Screening Center,” which operates the terrorist watch list that helps provide information to the Transportation Security Administration’s No-Fly and Selectee lists. “Therefore it was possible for known or suspected terrorists to fly on commercial airplanes in or over the United States and evade one of the government’s primary means of identifying and tracking terrorists’ movements and actions,” the summary said.

Think about that paragraph the next time you wait to be screen by the TSA before you board an airliner.

On December 1, 2013 the Huffington Post ran a worrying report, “America Is ‘Less Safe’ Than 2 Years Ago, Intelligence Committee Chairs Say.”

The report focused on statements made by Senator Dianne Feinstein, who, at the time, chaired the Senate’s Intelligence Committee, when she was interviewed for CNN’s program, “State of the Union.”

Here is how the report began:

Interviewed on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said she believed that there are now more terrorists with the technological means to carry out a bombing in the U.S.

Here is an additional important excerpt from the Huffington Post article:

“I think terror is up worldwide,” said Feinstein, who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee. “There are new bombs, very big bombs, trucks being reinforced for those bombs. There are bombs that go through magnetometers. The bomb-maker is still alive. There are more groups than ever. And there is huge malevolence out there.”

Feinstein added that there was “a real displaced aggression in this very fundamentalist jihadist Islamic community, and that is that the West is responsible for everything that goes wrong and that the only thing that’s going to solve this is Islamic Sharia law.”

On the same day, December 1, 2013 Newsmax posted the report that provided an even more dire warning, “Sen. Feinstein, Rep. Rogers: Terror Threat Greater Than Before Sept 11.”

This report began with this unambiguous assessment:

The U.S. is in greater danger of a terrorist attack than it was prior to September 11 and has less ability to prevent such aggression by Islamist radicals, key congressional intelligence leaders said Sunday.

On September 20, 2013 CAPS (Californians for Population Stabilization) posted my article about the failures of the vetting process for alien applicants who apply for immigration benefits, “Comprehensive Immigration Reform: Background Checks Require a Reality Check.” The focus of my commentary was that simply running the unverifiable name an applicant provides in an application for an immigration benefit leaves the proverbial door wide open to aliens to use false aliases- especially when we are discussing aliens who have evaded the inspections process designed, in part, to prevent terrorists, criminals and fugitives from entering the United States.

In the parlance of the open borders / immigration anarchists, these aliens are “undocumented.” Such aliens have no official, reliable identity documents to verify their true identities including their names, dates of birth or even countries of birth.

There is no way to readily determine when, where or how such aliens actually entered the United States .

Running their fingerprints may well not yield any meaningful results. Many times the fingerprints from aliens from Third World countries or countries that do not have good relations with the United States will simply come back as a “no hit.”

On July 30, 2012 CAPS (Californians for Population Stabilization) posted my commentary: “Fraud: The Immigration Vulnerability That Undermines the Immigration System and National Security.”

On November 20, 2013 ABC News reported, “Exclusive: US May Have Let ‘Dozens’ of Terrorists Into Country As Refugees.”

This is not a new problem, on July 13, 2011 the Washington Times published a truly disturbing article, “Visas reviewed to find those who overstayed / Aim is to find any would-be terrorists.”

The next time you hear some politician talk about “First securing the U.S./Mexican border” I want you to consider what the 9/11 Commission had to say about the way to counter terror threats-

Approximately a decade ago, on March 10, 2005 I testified before a hearing conducted by the House Judiciary Committee, Subcommittee on Immigration, Border Security and Claims on the topic, “INTERIOR IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT RESOURCES.”

My prepared testimony at that hearing included a quote from the 9/11 Commission Staff Report on Terrorist Travel. Here is an excerpt from my testimony that included that quote:

The 9/11 Commission ultimately came to recognize the critical nature of immigration law enforcement where the War on Terror is concerned. In fact, page 49 of the report entitled, 9/11 and Terrorist Travel, A Staff Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States contains a sentence that reads, Thus abuse of the immigration system and a lack of interior immigration enforcement were unwittingly working together to support terrorist activity. This page incidentally is contained in the chapter entitled, Terrorist Travel and Embedding Tactics.

The issue of the interior enforcement of our immigration laws is a critical- indeed, key component of national security and today, under the wrong-headed policies of the administration- there is no meaningful enforcement of our immigration laws from within the interior of the United States. This encourages still more illegal immigration. To paraphrase my testimony at subsequent hearing conducted by the Senate Immigration Subcommittee approximately two years ago- the failures of the immigration system and statements made by political leaders about the “solution” to millions of illegal aliens who evaded the vital inspections process amount to firing the starter’s pistol for aspiring illegal aliens from around the world. The message is clear- if you can ultimately enter the United States, no matter how you manage to do this, you will ultimately be given lawful status.

It is dishonest and misleading for our leaders to state that in order to gain control of our immigration system we must “First secure the (U.S./Mexican border).” On February 5, 2015 FrontPage Magazine posted my article, “The ‘Secure Our Border First Act’ Deception” that exposed this supposed “solution” to America’s immigration crisis. Although that bill failed to pass, it provided evidence that members of Congress of both political parties are as much a part of the problem as the administration.

The administration should be given the MVP award by international terrorist and criminal organizations, providing millions of illegal aliens with lawful status and admitting tens of thousands of refugees who are not being vetted.

On February 28th I was a guest on Fox & Friends and interviewed by Anna Kooiman on the broad issue of the risks to America’s national security that are created by our dysfunctional immigration system, especially where the political asylum program is concerned. We also narrowed our focus to the situation that now exists in Minneapolis, MN where a community of 30,000 Somali refugees was established.

Fox News posted the video of the interview under the title, “Somali refugees in Minnesota raise terror fears.”

On February 24, 2015 Progressives For Immigration Reform posted my commentary, “The Immigration Factor Naturalized U.S. Citizen Added to FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists List.”. about a naturalized United States citizen who was born in Somalia and has been placed on the FBI’s “Most Wanted Terrorists List.” The FBI press release actually expressed extreme concern that because this individual who is now believed fighting on the side of ISIS overseas had been a taxi driver in Washington, DC and therefore has an intimate familiarity with the infrastructure of our nation’s Capitol that could help him or his confederates to launch a debilitating attack in Washington.

On December 19, 2014 Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) posted my extensive article,

“Obama’s ‘Gift’ to International Terrorists: Immigration Executive Action.”

On the local level so-called “Sanctuary Cities” and even “Sanctuary States” are provided outrageous opportunities for sleepers to embed themselves in their jurisdictions. On January 23, 2015 FrontPage Magazine published my article,“Sleeper Cells: The Immigration Component of the Threat” which focused on how terrorists are able to hide in plain sight.

The lunacy must stop before, God forbid, the next terror attack(s). Our borders and our immigration laws are our first line of defense and last line of defense against those who would kill us.

Someone needs to send Mr. Obama the memo: “Our president is supposed to defend and protect our citizens and our allies and frighten our enemies.” Somehow it would seem he got that memo’s message reversed!