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How will al-Qaeda mark the 10th anniversary of 9/11?

Posted on September 14, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

We are less than a year away from the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. As that milestone approaches, a dangerous view is taking hold in Washington that al-Qaeda no longer has the intent or capability to repeat the devastation of that terrible day. In February, Vice President Joe Biden announced that "the idea of there being a massive attack in the United States like 9/11 is unlikely, in my view" and that we need only worry about "small bore" attacks.

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Safer than We Think? Would Be a Pity to Be Wrong

Posted on September 13, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

In today’s Washington Post, my friend and colleague Fareed Zakaria writes that our response to 9/11 has gone too far and that we are really “safer than we think”:

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Another Victim of ObamaCare: Sheriff Andy

Posted on September 09, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

Another public figure has taken a plunge in the polls thanks to his vocal support for ObamaCare. North Carolina’s very own Andy Griffith recently cut this TV ad promoting President Obama’s healthcare plan:

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Obama Joins the Tea Party

Posted on September 09, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

During his speech in Cleveland, President Obama made it official: He is joining the Tea Party. Or, at least, he’s aping the Tea Party’s rhetoric—hoping to convince Americans that after a 20-month miasma of spending, the Democrats are concerned about fiscal responsibility, spending, deficits, and debt too.

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A speech from the Far Side: What our enemies heard

Posted on September 07, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

Years ago, Gary Larson published a Far Side cartoon called "what dogs hear." Two identical panels, side-by-side, showed a man speaking to his dog, Ginger. In the first, the man tells the dog: "Okay, Ginger! I've had it! You stay out of the garbage! Understand, Ginger?" In the second, we see what the dog actually hears: "Blah, blah, GINGER." For the terrorists, President Obama's Oval Office address last week came across much the same way. While the president made some obligatory references to our responsibilities in the war on terror, what our enemies heard were his declarations that America is withdrawing and refocusing on domestic priorities.

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‘You Got Belgians Running Europe?’

Posted on September 02, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s memoir A Journey: My Political Life hits bookstores today, and Blair has a big profile in today’s Style section of the Washington Post. The book includes many fascinating anecdotes about former President George W. Bush, but one stands out. The scene is Bush’s first G-8 meeting in Genoa in 2001, where he has just been lectured by the prime minister of Belgium, Guy Verhofstadt, on America’s responsibilities to combat global warming:

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Democrats and the 'evil eye'

Posted on August 23, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

Much attention has been paid in recent days to a poll by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life showing that 18 percent of Americans incorrectly believe that President Obama is a Muslim. But the results of another Pew poll on religion released last December were far more shocking. It turns out that 36 percent of Democrats claim to have communed with the dead, and that 19 percent believe in casting a curse on someone using the "evil eye." Think about that: According Pew, more Democrats believe in the "evil eye" than Americans believe Obama is a Muslim.

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Democrats and the 'evil eye'

Posted on August 23, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

Much attention has been paid in recent days to a poll by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life showing that 18 percent of Americans incorrectly believe that President Obama is a Muslim. But the results of another Pew poll on religion released last December were far more shocking. It turns out that 36 percent of Democrats claim to have communed with the dead, and that 19 percent believe in casting a curse on someone using the "evil eye." Think about that: According Pew, more Democrats believe in the "evil eye" than Americans believe Obama is a Muslim.

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Mark Kirk, the lame-duck killer

Posted on August 17, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

Last week, House Republicans took a united stand against the Democrats' plans to push through the most unpopular elements of their agenda in a lame-duck session after Election Day. Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) introduced a resolution barring Congress from convening between November and January, except in case of a national emergency. Every Republican save one supported the ban.

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Time for Obama to shut down WikiLeaks' Assange

Posted on August 13, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

Yesterday, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange announced in London that he is preparing to release the remaining 15,000 classified documents he possesses, in defiance of the Pentagon’s demands that he return and delete all copies of the classified materials he illegally possesses. Asked point blank if he plans to publish the remaining documents, Assange replied: “Absolutely.”

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Squandering the Success of the Surge in Iraq?

Posted on August 11, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

The Guardian newspaper reports that al Qaeda is aggressively wooing the Sunni fighters who joined forces with America in 2006 during the surge. The Awakening Council, or Sons of Iraq, helped turn the tide of the war. And as part of the U.S. drawdown in Iraq, responsibility for the Awakening Council was handed over to the Iraqi government. Since then, the government has reportedly alienated many Awakening Council members by failing to pay salaries and failing to protect Awakening leaders who have been targeted for assassination. Now, with the end of U.S. combat operations, al Qaeda is taking advantage of the transition to reach out to Awakening members—using both threats and financial enticements to get them to rejoin the insurgency.

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Serve His Sentence at Guantanamo?

Posted on August 10, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

When I visited Guantanamo Bay last September, President Obama’s order to close the facility by January 2010 was prominently displayed in the detainee recreation area for all to see. No word as to whether the order is still posted, but apparently neither the terrorists nor Obama administration officials believe that the facility is going to close anytime soon—at least if you are following the military commissions convening this week on the island.

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WikiLeaks' blow to the surge

Posted on August 09, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has made clear that his objective in releasing tens of thousands of classified documents was to "end the war in Afghanistan" and "oppose an unjust [war] plan before it reaches implementation." He may well achieve his goal. Assange's illegal disclosures are helping the Taliban to undermine Gen. David Petraeus's counterinsurgency strategy before it has a chance to work.

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A final warning to WikiLeaks?

Posted on August 05, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

The Hill is reporting that the Pentagon has demanded WikiLeaks immediately hand over all the classified documents it illegally possesses, including those it has not yet published, and that the website delete those records from its computers. Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell made clear this was not a “request”:

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WikiLeaks must be stopped

Posted on August 03, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

Let's be clear: WikiLeaks is not a news organization; it is a criminal enterprise. Its reason for existence is to obtain classified national security information and disseminate it as widely as possible -- including to the United States' enemies. These actions are likely a violation of the Espionage Act, and they arguably constitute material support for terrorism. The Web site must be shut down and prevented from releasing more documents -- and its leadership brought to justice. WikiLeaks' founder, Julian Assange, proudly claims to have exposed more classified information than all the rest of the world press combined. He recently told the New Yorker he understands that innocent people may be hurt by his disclosures ("collateral damage" he called them) and that WikiLeaks might get "blood on our hands."

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No, I'm not suggesting drone strikes on WikiLeaks

Posted on August 02, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

My colleague Eva Rodriguez notes that I state in my column today that because WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is a non-U.S. person operating outside the United States, the government “can employ not only law enforcement, but also intelligence and military assets, to bring Assange to justice and put his criminal syndicate out of business.” She asks: Am I suggesting a drone strike or special ops raid?

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Shut Down WikiLeaks’ Icelandic Safe Haven

Posted on August 02, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

In the Washington Post today, I write that the Obama administration has an obligation to stop WikiLeaks from releasing any more classified information that can endanger the lives of American troops and our allies. One important way to do so is to eliminate the legal protections foreign governments provide to WikiLeaks.

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The threat from East Africa

Posted on July 26, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

The recent terrorist attacks in Kampala, Uganda, and the court hearing Monday of an American charged with trying to join the jihad in Somalia, are worrisome signs that a new transnational terrorist network is taking shape in East Africa -- one that may have its sights set on the United States. That's the bad news. The worse news is that President Obama ordered the killing of the man who could have helped us to disrupt and destroy this network.

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The GOP's counterinsurgency by spenders

Posted on July 20, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

The Republican establishment in Washington is bracing itself for an influx of fiscally conservative insurgents this fall, as Tea Party candidates from Utah, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Wisconsin, Nevada and other states have either secured their party's Senate nominations or are running strong. Bemoaning the earthquake their arrival on Capitol Hill portends, former Senate majority leader Trent Lott (R-Miss.) told The Post this past weekend, "We don't need a lot of Jim DeMint disciples" in the Senate, adding "as soon as they get here, we need to co-opt them."

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The fading embers of Obama's coalition

Posted on July 13, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

With midterm elections less than four months away, Republicans are fired up and ready to go. But they are not the only ones upset with Barack Obama. The president has also angered many of the key Democratic constituencies he needs to keep control of the House and Senate, and now Democrats are blowing furiously on the fading embers of their electoral coalition, hoping to stave off disaster this November. In the process they are abdicating their responsibilities to govern -- failing to pass a budget or any of their annual spending bills, while using their executive and legislative powers to appease their special interests instead. It is a far cry from the hope and change they promised two years ago.

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Soccer and Socialism: English Soccer Star Says I’m Right

Posted on July 13, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

My recent post explaining why soccer is a socialist sport has come under rabid attack from soccer aficionados, defending the capitalist dignity of their beloved game.  (Apparently some didn’t get that it was a joke).  So imagine my surprise driving home the other night as I listened to this hilarious story on Public Radio International’s “The World” in which an English soccer star says I’m right.

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Tea Party time across the pond

Posted on July 06, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

This past weekend Americans celebrated a revolution that began with a tea party in Boston Harbor -- and today's Tea Party movement takes its inspiration from those early protests against the economic despotism of George III. So it is ironic that the first Tea Party government seems to have been formed in, of all places, London -- and it is a Tory-led government no less.

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Politicizing Justice, Obama-Style

Posted on July 06, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

Remember the days when the Left constantly accused the Bush administration of politicizing the Justice Department? Well on Sunday, we got a taste of politicizing Justice Obama-style.

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President Obama's detrimental deadlines

Posted on June 29, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

What is it with President Obama and artificial deadlines? First he set a deadline for shutting down Guantanamo by January 2010 -- yet the detention center remains open and the New York Times reports that the White House has given up on closing it before Obama's term ends. Instead of learning from that experience, Obama set another misguided deadline -- this time to begin an American withdrawal from Afghanistan by July 2011. Whether the president realizes it or not, he is going to have to abandon that deadline as well -- and the sooner he does so the better. The Guantanamo deadline only cost him some momentary embarrassment; the Afghanistan deadline could cost us a war.

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Thirty Valedictorians? Seriously?

Posted on June 28, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

Recently, I wrote here about a report in the New York Times on the latest egalitarian trend in schools across America: breaking up best friends. Students, it seems, are no longer allowed to develop any special relationships, but instead are expected to be friends with everybody. Now, on its front page this Sunday, the Times reports on yet another frightening egalitarian trend in American education: everybody gets to be a valedictorian.

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New levels of presidential disrespect?

Posted on June 23, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

In his column today, my Post colleague Dana Milbank tries to link Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s comments about President Obama to recent Republican criticism of the president, declaring “Republicans… have reached new levels of presidential disrespect.” His evidence? Comments Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) made defending BP, which were roundly criticized by his GOP colleagues, and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) criticizing Obama at a political rally “over comments he says (and the White House denies) the president made in a private meeting.”

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Will Charlie Crist be Florida's Arlen Specter?

Posted on June 22, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

Can Charlie Crist accomplish in Florida what Arlen Specter failed to do in Pennsylvania -- woo Democrats to his cause after bolting the GOP to avoid a tough primary?

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Wonder Why the Surge Is Failing?

Posted on June 21, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

If you have wondered why the Iraqi surge succeeded but the Afghan surge is struggling, you need only look at yesterday’s interview with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on “Fox News Sunday.” Gates was asked by Chris Wallace about Vice President Joe Biden’s recent comment that “a whole lot” of American troops will be leaving Afghanistan one year from now, when the deadline to start the withdrawal arrives in July 2011. “Who’s speaking for the administration, you or the vice president?” Wallace asked. Gates told him, “That absolutely has not been decided.” He tried to walk back Biden’s statement, telling Wallace, “I also haven’t heard Vice President Biden say that, so I’m not accepting at face value that he said those words.” But Gates acknowledged that “we clearly understand that in July of 2011 we begin to draw down our forces.” The pace of that withdrawal, however, “is going to be conditions-based.”

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Harry Reid's strategy, and Sharron Angle's path to victory

Posted on June 15, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

Last week, Internet ads started appearing on conservative Web sites attacking Nevada GOP Senate candidate Sharron Angle. A group calling itself the "Patriot Majority" -- replete with a logo of a Minuteman holding a musket -- declared Angle "Nevada's WORST legislator!" and a "professional politician" who is in the pocket of Wall Street. An attack from Tea Party detractors on the right? Quite the opposite. The Patriot Majority was formed by a former spokesman for Sen. Harry Reid and is funded by organized labor. Why would Reid supporters use a faux Tea Party group to attack his opponent? It gets to the heart of Reid's reelection strategy. To win, he must divide the Republican nominee from her electoral base.

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In CIA's drone mission, who will protect the CIA?

Posted on June 08, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

CIA Director Leon Panetta made an unusual visit to the agency's Counterterrorism Center last year to buck up his troops. Morale had been devastated by the release of highly classified details of the CIA's interrogation program and the growing calls for prosecution of those involved. According to one top intelligence official, a senior officer involved in targeting terrorists asked Panetta what would happen to him in five years when the political winds shifted. Would he be hung out to dry like those in the interrogation program? Panetta said he could not promise the officer would not be hung out to dry -- only that it would not happen while President Obama was in office.

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Wolves Circle the CIA’s Predator Program

Posted on June 07, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

In today’s Washington Post, I discuss how the political winds are already shifting when it comes to the CIA’s Predator program. Having brought down the agency’s high-value interrogation program, the Left has now begun agitating to stop the drone attacks that are taking out high-ranking al Qaeda leaders, and to lay the groundwork to prosecute those authorizing and conducting them.

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Where are the Gitmo goatherds?

Posted on May 31, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

For years the left has spun the myth that hundreds of Guantanamo detainees are really innocent goatherds and dirt farmers wrongly swept up in the war on terror. In an interview last year, Admiral A.T. Church III -- the former Navy inspector general who investigated detainee treatment Guantanamo -- told me this charge was "bull crap." As Church put it, "There may have been a couple of those, but most of these guys would slit your throat in a second. Most of them are very dangerous guys."

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The GOP: The Appropriations Party?

Posted on May 24, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

The rise of the Tea Party movement, the defeat of Bob Bennett, the victory of Rand Paul -- all these have all been driven by a popular backlash against runaway spending in Washington. The Republican Party's hopes of retaking Congress rest on its ability to convince conservative and independent voters that the GOP will restore fiscal discipline if trusted with power this fall.

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David Cameron's declaration of independence

Posted on May 17, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

After watching ties between Britain and the United States deteriorate over the past 17 months, many Americans are hoping for a turnabout under David Cameron. A speech the conservative leader gave four years ago suggests they will be sorely disappointed. Cameron and Obama share much in common -- and that means the special relationship is in deep trouble.

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U.S. may be passing up chances to stop terrorist plots

Posted on May 11, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

Did a captured Taliban leader know about the Times Square plot and withhold this information from his interrogators?

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Has the Times Square Terrorist Been Read His Miranda Rights?

Posted on May 04, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

According to CNN, the man arrested in connection with the failed car-bomb attack in Times Square, Faisal Shahzad, “will appear in a Manhattan federal courtroom Tuesday to face formal charges in the case.” While Attorney General Eric Holder did not address the question in his statement to the press last night, this would seem to indicate that Shahzad has been read his Miranda rights and given a lawyer.

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Why Haven’t There Been more Car Bombings?

Posted on May 03, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

It is still unclear who is responsible for the attempted car bombing in Times Square, but the attack raises an interesting question: Why has al Qaeda failed to carry out scores of car bombings, assassinations, and other smaller-scale attacks in the United States in the years since 9/11?

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Leading the charge for GOP insurgents

Posted on May 03, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

Santa Barbara is about as far from Greenville, S.C., as you can get in the continental United States, but Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) cares more about principle than geography. He is leading a conservative insurgency across America. Speaking at the David Horowitz Freedom Center's annual retreat here late last month, DeMint told the faithful that if they want to return to the principles of limited government, they need to elect people who believe in limited government: "I came into the Senate with 55 Republicans, George W. Bush in the White House and large majorities of Republicans in the House, and we didn't do what we promised," he said. "We're not going to change the Senate until we change the people who are there."

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Chris Christie for president?

Posted on April 26, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

Many years ago, New York Times columnist Russell Baker invented the oracle known as the "Great Mentioner" -- who makes politicians presidential contenders simply by mentioning their names. William Safire later took up Baker's mantle, channeling the Great Mentioner throughout his illustrious career.

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Bringing humanity back to the abortion debate

Posted on April 19, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

Can an unborn child feel pain?

That question will dominate the abortion debate in America for the next several years thanks to Gov. Dave Heineman of Nebraska. Last week, Heineman signed the Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act into law, banning abortions in Nebraska at and after 20 weeks based on growing scientific evidence that an unborn child at that age can feel pain.

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Jane Mayer’s Disaster

Posted on April 14, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

A dishonest, error-filled review provides a textbook case of how the Left smears the CIA and its defenders.

With her recent review of my book, Courting Disaster, Jane Mayer may have done a service to future generations of public servants. The week her article appeared in The New Yorker, former CIA director Mike Hayden handed it out in his class at George Mason University’s School of Public Policy as an example of all that is wrong with intelligence journalism today.

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Are Republicans losing their nerve on repeal?

Posted on April 12, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

Almost immediately after Democrats rammed Obamacare through Congress, Republicans began promising to fight for its repeal. Reps. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota and Steve King of Iowa introduced repeal legislation in the House and Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina and 15 co-sponsors followed suit with similar legislation in the Senate. House Minority Leader John Boehner declared: "This government takeover of health care is not what Americans asked for. . . .That is why Republicans are fighting to repeal it and start over with common-sense reforms." The Club for Growth launched a repeal pledge that has so far been signed by 67 lawmakers and 288 candidates. And the Weekly Standard ran a cover that screamed in bright red letters "REPEAL" and vowed the "Overthrow of Obamacare."

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The Katyn Tragedy

Posted on April 12, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

For anyone associated with AEI, the first reaction on learning that the Polish presidential aircraft had crashed came instantly: Was Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski on the plane? Relief at learning he was not quickly turned to shock at the scope of the tragedy. The jet lost in the fog of Western Russia was carrying not only the president of Poland, but also many historical figures in the Polish struggle for liberty: Anna Walentynowicz, the Gdansk shipyard worker whose firing sparked the Solidarity trade movement and ultimately the collapse of communism, and Ryszard Kaczorowski, the 90-year-old former president of the Polish government in exile, who resigned his office only when Lech Walesa became Poland’s first democratically elected postwar president.

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Bush's conservative legacy

Posted on April 08, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

Craig Shirley and Don Devine use Karl Rove’s new memoir to argue that George W. Bush was no conservative. I am admirer of both men (and particularly Shirley’s outstanding histories of Reagan’s presidential campaigns), but I respectfully disagree. (Full disclosure, for those who don't know, I was a speechwriter in the Bush administration.)

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Taxes too low? Write a check to the feds.

Posted on April 07, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

Today, Dana Milbank reports on a different kind of tax protest -- one by wealthy liberals who think their taxes are too low:

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Pope Benedict is not like Nixon

Posted on April 06, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

In his op-ed yesterday, Timothy Shriver writes:

The scandal facing Catholics today looks a lot like the Watergate scandal that engulfed the United States in the early 1970s. Then, what started as a crime committed by a few burglars slowly escalated to reveal corruption at the highest levels of authority. The White House counsel, senior advisers and others were punished for their roles. In the end, the president of the United States was implicated and forced to resign. Is the Catholic Church on a similar pathway to the resignation of a pope?

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For old-school GOP, a hard lesson on fiscal issues

Posted on April 05, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

For years, establishment Republicans have urged the party's conservative wing to get over its obsession with social issues and focus on fiscal issues. Well, in 2010 they are getting their wish. The nation is experiencing a popular backlash against the expansion of government and runaway federal spending, and across the country fiscally conservative candidates are taking advantage of this popular groundswell -- in some cases to the detriment of establishment Republican candidates.

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Will a Tea Partier save Harry Reid's job?

Posted on March 30, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

This past weekend, the Tea Party rallies moved from the steps of the U.S. Capitol to Searchlight, Nev., home of the man activists hold responsible for passage of Obamacare: Senate majority leader Harry Reid. On Saturday, traffic into the tiny mining town where Reid grew up (population 700) was backed up for miles, as 7,000 people gathered for the Tea Party Express "Showdown in Searchlight." Activists carried signs that read, "Harry: Searchlight Needs You, America Doesn't." And Sarah Palin drew raucous cheers when she told Reid, "You're fired."

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The Dean of the Gitmo Bar

Posted on March 22, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

Meet Michael Ratner, lead terrorist defender.

In recent weeks, controversy has erupted over demands that the Obama administration release the names of lawyers working in the Justice Department who once represented or advocated for captured al Qaeda terrorists. But amid the debate, one name has thus far mostly escaped mention: Michael Ratner. Don’t know him? You should. Ratner is the president of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), the organization that is leading the legal crusade on behalf of the al Qaeda detainees.

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Breaking the earmark addiction

Posted on March 22, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

With Sunday night's vote ramming through health-care legislation opposed by most Americans, the prospect of a Republican Congress is increasingly realistic. But have Republicans on Capitol Hill spent enough time in the political wilderness to deserve a return to power? Are they ready to give up the free-spending ways that cost them control of Congress and show voters that they can be trusted with their tax dollars? A vote last week suggests that, for the Senate at least, the answer is "no."

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The "al-Qaeda seven" aren't like John Adams

Posted on March 11, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

Defenders of the habeas lawyers representing al-Qaeda terrorists have invoked the iconic name of John Adams to justify their actions, claiming these lawyers are only doing the same thing Adams did when he defended British soldiers accused in the Boston Massacre. The analogy is clever, but wholly inaccurate.

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The 'al-Qaeda seven' and selective McCarthyism

Posted on March 08, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

Would most Americans want to know if the Justice Department had hired a bunch of mob lawyers and put them in charge of mob cases? Or a group of drug cartel lawyers and put them in charge of drug cases? Would they want their elected representatives to find out who these lawyers were, which mob bosses and drug lords they had worked for, and what roles they were now playing at the Justice Department? Of course they would -- and rightly so.

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Good for Obama, bad for congressional Democrats

Posted on March 01, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

Death panels are back. No, they are not part of the health-care legislation President Obama is proposing. But if Democratic leaders try to ram through an unpopular health-care bill along strict party lines, as they seem poised to do, they could condemn many congressional careers -- and quite possibly their majority -- in this year's midterm elections. That would be bad for Democrats in Congress -- but good for President Obama.

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Hoekstra Turns Back Effort to Target CIA Interrogators

Posted on February 26, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

While most eyes in Washington were focused yesterday on the White House healthcare summit, congressional Democrats tried to use the opportunity to slip an amendment past their colleagues into the House intelligence authorization bill, providing for the criminal prosecution of intelligence officers who employ certain specified interrogation techniques.

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Bipartisanship breaks out in Washington

Posted on February 26, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

Yesterday saw a remarkable display of bipartisan cooperation break out in Washington – but it wasn’t at the Blair House health-care summit.

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A Middle Ground for Interrogations

Posted on February 22, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

The CIA has been unsatisfied with the cooperation of Mullah Baradar, the Taliban military commander being interrogated in Pakistani custody, and has pushed for his transfer to an American-run prison in Afghanistan, the Los Angeles Times reported this past weekend. But even should that transfer occur, the United States may not have any greater success eliciting information from him -- because President Obama eliminated the CIA's enhanced interrogation program.

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Outsourcing the war on terror

Posted on February 18, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

The capture of the Taliban's second in command, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, in a joint operation with Pakistan appears to be a major success in the war on terror. The Obama administration deserves credit for bringing him in alive.

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Former CIA Director Hayden: Thiessen’s ‘Courting Disaster’ a must-read

Posted on February 15, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

Marc Thiessen begins his new book, “Courting Disaster,” with something of a disclaimer: For reasons of security and classification, he says, he should not have been able to write it. He’s right. He shouldn’t have been able to write it. But I’m glad he did.

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Dead Terrorists Tell No Tales

Posted on February 09, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

The CIA reportedly succeeded in killing the head of the Pakistani Taliban -- the most recent in a flurry of drone attacks the agency has launched in South Asia and the Middle East. Another strike in Pakistan reportedly took out one of the FBI's most wanted terrorists; another in Pakistan took out a master bomb-maker for the al Qaeda affiliate in the Philippines, Abu Sayyaf; and a strike in Yemen targeted a senior military leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the group behind the Christmas Day attack (his fate has yet to be determined).

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The Christmas bomber speaks … finally

Posted on February 04, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

After five weeks of exercising his “right to remain silent,” the Christmas bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab has finally begun cooperating, and according to The Washington Post is now “providing FBI interrogators with useful intelligence about his training and contacts.”

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A Tale of Two Terrorists

Posted on February 01, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

The Obama administration's decision to read the Christmas Day bomber his Miranda rights has rightly come under withering criticism. Instead of a lengthy interrogation by officials with al Qaeda expertise, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was questioned for 50 minutes by local FBI agents and then later advised of his "right to remain silent."

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Pelosi stopped one CIA operation. So why not waterboarding?

Posted on January 29, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

In mid-2004, then-House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi learned something from a CIA briefing that made her blood boil. Pelosi reportedly "came unglued" at the revelation and had "strong words" with national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, demanding that the CIA abandon its plans. As a result, a top-secret finding that President George W. Bush signed to authorize the CIA's activities was revised. Pelosi succeeded in stopping the agency from moving forward with the controversial operation.

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Obama's first State of the Union Address

Posted on January 28, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

Listening to President Obama's speech, I could not help wondering how different this night would have been had Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's bomb not malfunctioned. Four weeks ago our country was the target of a catastrophic terrorist attack.

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Amanpour’s Viewership Soars -- on Fox News!

Posted on January 27, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

CNN spiked a hot story on Sunday.  But if their plan was to keep a lid on a heated and unflattering Christiane Amanpour interview, it didn’t quite work out.

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SOTU must address public discontent

Posted on January 27, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

If our practice in the Bush administration is any guide, President Barack Obama and his speechwriters sat down in the Oval Office soon after Thanksgiving to map out the broad themes of his first State of the Union address.

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High Value

Posted on January 25, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

In congressional hearings last week, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair said that the Obama administration’s High-Value Detainee Interrogation Group (HIG), not law-enforcement officers, should have been used to interrogate the Christmas Day bomber. Blair said the HIG “was created exactly for this purpose,” adding, “We did not invoke the HIG in this case; we should have.” He even used the word “duh” to emphasize his point.

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Exclusive excerpt from ‘Courting Disaster’ by Marc Thiessen: ‘Sheikh Osama warned you’

Posted on January 25, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

It is the morning of September 11, 2006. President Bush wakes up at 5:00 a.m., and after breakfast with the First Lady, he walks down the colonnade past the Rose Garden to the Oval Office. There, he receives his morning briefing from the Director of National Intelligence, and then calls in his speechwriters to make final edits on his televised address that night marking the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

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Terror Interrogations & the MA Senate Race

Posted on January 19, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

Next to health care, the issue that has dominated the debate in the Massachusetts Senate race is terrorism. Scott Brown, the Republican running ahead in the race for Ted Kennedy's Senate seat today, has campaigned as an unabashed supporter of enhanced interrogation. Brown - who serves as a JAG lawyer in the Army National Guard - has argued that the Christmas Day bomber should be interrogated as an enemy combatant, not given the right to remain silent. And he has said of waterboarding, "I do not believe it is torture. America does not torture ... we used aggressive, enhanced interrogation techniques."

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Meet the Real Jack Bauers

Posted on January 18, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

This week saw the premiere of a new season of 24, with CTU agent Jack Bauer preparing to leave the world of counterterrorism for a quiet life as a grandfather in Los Angeles. But he is pulled back into the fight to stop the attempted assassination of a Middle Eastern leader in New York. As he questions an informant, he thrusts a gun into the man's neck but then pulls back, telling him, "You're lucky I'm retired." In another time, the man would have suffered far worse.

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Stop Blaming the CIA

Posted on January 14, 2010 by Marc Thiessen

The president is wrong to scapegoat the intelligence agency for failing to connect the dots on the Christmas bomber. Former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen on why Obama’s early moves tied our hands in the war on terror.

The report released by the White House Thursday into the failure to stop al Qaeda’s attempt to blow up a passenger plane over Detroit found a number of mistakes were made—including the misspelling of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s name and the failure to put him on the no-fly list. But the ultimate failure was much larger. According to the New York Times, “The report concluded that the government’s counterterrorism operations had been caught off guard by the sophistication and strength of a Qaeda cell in Yemen, where officials say the plot against the United States originated.”

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My USA Today Column on Gitmo Connection to Northwest Airlines

Posted on December 28, 2009 by Marc Thiessen

What we don’t know may kill us.

The Christmas Day terrorist attempt should make us think twice about how we’re fighting — or not fighting — the war on terror. The plot to blow up Northwest Airlines flight 253 on Christmas Day was, according to multiple news accounts, organized and launched by al-Qaeda leaders in Yemen. ABC News has reported that the Nigerian man who attempted to blow up a plane over Detroit, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, spent a month at an al-Qaeda compound north of Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, where he completed training alongside a Saudi al-Qaeda bomb-maker.

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USA Today Op-ed on KSM Prosecution: "Years of Delay" Saved Lives

Posted on November 24, 2009 by Marc Thiessen

'Years of delay' saved lives

Did the Bush administration purposely hold off on prosecuting KSM, as Attorney General Eric Holder suggests? Of course. And the fact that Holder sees this as a mistake exposes the dangerous thinking of this administration.

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National Review: No Cause for Shame

Posted on August 28, 2009 by Marc Thiessen

The release this week of the CIA inspector general’s report makes clear that the CIA interrogation program was both lawful and effective in stopping new attacks. But was it moral? I believe that Americans can be comfortable not only with the efficacy but also with the morality of this effort. Here is why.

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The Wall Street Journal : Obama Versus the CIA

Posted on August 26, 2009 by Marc Thiessen

On Monday the Obama administration released a 2004 CIA inspector general's report on the agency's detention and interrogation program. Yesterday, the New York Times reported some gruesome abuses on its front page, above the fold: "Excessive physical force was routinely used, resulting in broken bones, shattered teeth, concussions, and dozens of other serious injuries over a period of less than two years, a federal investigation has found. . . . [D]espite rules allowing force only as a last resort. 'Staff at the facilities routinely used uncontrolled, unsafe applications of force, departing from generally accepted standards,' said the report."

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Washington Post "Topic A": To Prosecute or Not To Prosecute?

Posted on August 24, 2009 by Marc Thiessen

Since taking office, the Obama administration has prosecuted the CIA in the court of public opinion. Now it is taking its campaign into the court of law. The allegations in the CIA inspector general's report were reviewed five years ago -- not by Bush appointees, but by career prosecutors. Those career prosecutors decided not to pursue criminal charges (except in one case where a CIA contractor was convicted of assault). Now political appointees in the Obama administration are reversing those decisions, and Attorney General Eric Holder is appointing a special prosecutor who -- he promises -- will investigate only a small number of officials. But once a special prosecutor is appointed, there is no controlling where the investigation may lead. Such prosecutions will harm our national security -- putting the agency on the defensive at a time when we need the CIA to be on the offensive against the terrorists.

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USA Today: Kids With Autism Deserve Better

Posted on August 19, 2009 by Marc Thiessen

Vouchers could free special needs students from a public education system that is ill-equipped or unwilling to serve them. And health reform must ensure that insurance will cover these well-documented

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New Essay in World Affairs: "Obama's Inheritance: Al-Qaeda in Retreat"

Posted on July 10, 2009 by Marc Thiessen

In a widely noted speech at the National Archives in May, President Barack Obama said of George W. Bush’s national security policies: “We are cleaning up something that is quite simply a mess.” The president is wrong.

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What They're Saying

An important book Rquotest
Senator John Cornyn
Absolutely superb! Rquotest
Former Attorney General Michael Mukasey
One of the most important books of the year. Courting Disaster is a must-must-read. Rquotest
Michelle Malkin (michellemalkin.com)
A terrific and important book Rquotest
Debra Burlingame, (sister of AA Flight 77 pilot Charles Burlingame)
[Thiessen is] the most forceful, serious and articulate new spokesman for hardliners around – one who can back up his opinions with facts that can influence the debate. Rquotest
William Safire
In Courting Disaster, Marc Thiessen sets the record straight. Rquotest
Donald Rumsfeld
You Must Read Courting Disaster. Rquotest
Former CIA Director Mike Hayden
If you want to know what really happened … at the CIA interrogation sites or at Guantanamo Bay, you simply must read this book Rquotest
Dick Cheney

Twitter

RT @JedediahBila: Lamb has as much trouble using the word "terrorists" as Obama does. rquo
Posted on Twitter about 5 years ago
RT @michellemalkin: MT @dangerroom: State Department: We Monitored Libya Attack 'In Almost Real-Time' (So why'd they blame protesters?) ... rquo
Posted on Twitter about 5 years ago
RT @RedState: Donald Rumsfeld: Obama’s Handling Of Libya “Embarrassing” http://t.co/Vtbkf26e #TCOT #RS rquo
Posted on Twitter about 5 years ago

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