US police train in counterterrorism in Israel, attend 9/11 memorial

By Daniel K. Eisenbud
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“In our communities, for a lot of police officers, it’s a job, and I think that it’s more than a job for a lot of the officers in Israel because they are protecting their homeland.”

For the second consecutive year, the Police Unity Tour, a delegation of 52 American law-enforcement officers from 12 states, arrived in Israel to train in counterterrorism techniques and attend an annual 9/11 memorial service outside Jerusalem.

According to the delegation’s leader, Michael Safris, chief of the Essex County’s Sheriff’s Office Deputy Division, the Police Unity Tour was established in 1997 to honor officers killed in the line of duty.

“We are here to honor fallen police officers from the US and Israel,” he said on Monday.

“The motto of the Police Unity Tour is ‘We ride for those who died,’ and last year when we came here we did a one-day bike tour with Israeli officers, and in May we had 12 Israeli officers ride with us from New Jersey to our police memorial in Washington, DC, to participate in a candle-lighting vigil for fallen US officers,” Safris said.

During their stay, the US delegation will be based at the Beit Shemesh police academy, where they will participate in multiple counterterrorism training exercises, meet with elite units, and be briefed by Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich.

The delegation will conclude following a September 11 memorial service held at the 9/11 Living Memorial Plaza in the Arazim Valley.

Safris, 72, who is Jewish and has hosted Israeli police delegations in the US for the past 10 years, said he has visited Israel 40 times.

“From all my trips, I know the delegation forms an important relationship, and if something happens in the US or something happens here, we stay in touch and honor each country’s fallen officers,” he said. “The relationship and comradery developed over the last two years is one of the reasons we keep coming.”

In terms of heightened antisemitism in the US – recently manifested by violent white supremacists who chanted “Jew will not replace us!” while marching in Charlottesville, Virginia – Safris said the country is indeed becoming alarmingly polarized.

“There is definitely a big divide, and I think people feel more emboldened by some of the things that President Trump said, or didn’t say,” he said. “There is a definite uptick [in antisemitism].”

Asked if security for Jewish people and organizations has been heightened in the US, Safris responded “100 percent.”

“Jewish communities have hired security directors and people now have to sign in at synagogues and community centers,” he said. “It’s a lot different than it was over the last year.”

Safris said what distinguishes the Israeli police internationally is their commitment not only to law enforcement, but to Israel’s existential struggle.

“In our communities, for a lot of police officers, it’s a job, and I think that it’s more than a job for a lot of the officers in Israel because they are protecting their homeland,” he said.

“We have a lot of discussions about this when we are here,” Safris said. “It’s not just about keeping Israel going, but keeping it strong. You know, you can’t put down your weapons; you gotta be strong and act quickly, otherwise it’s going to be a lot worse.”

“They are protecting a way of life here,” he added.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, who met with the American delegation, said Israel’s ongoing security threats and the police’s efficient handling of them makes it an ideal arena for officers from across the globe to train.

“In terms of counterterrorism tactics that have been used and implemented at numerous scenes across the country, where unfortunately terrorist attacks have taken place, the Israeli police have used those tactics to minimize injuries, as well as find rapid solutions,” he said.

“Over the next few days, the Police Unity Tour will learn and see a number of these tactics across the country,” Rosenfeld added.

 Source : Jerusalem Post
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US: Trump Threatening to Expel ‘Dreamers’

Repealing DACA Would Harm Thousands With Close US Ties

201708us_daca_presserA woman carries a sign supporting immigrants during a rally demanding the Trump administration protect the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program in Washington, U.S., August 15, 2017

© 2017 Reuters

(Washington, DC) – US President Donald Trump’s threatened repeal of a program protecting from deportation immigrants who arrived in the United States as children would harm hundreds of thousands of people with strong ties to the US, Human Rights Watch said today. Based on media reports, Trump would protect the “Dreamers,” those protected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, in exchange for congressional support for the RAISE Act, which would drastically reduce legal immigration to the US, as well as increased funding for the border wall and detention centers.

“Trump’s repeal of DACA would expose hundreds of thousands of people to deportation by a cruel and unjust immigration system that fails to take into account their deep ties to the US,” said Jasmine L. Tyler, US advocacy director at Human Rights Watch. “Using the ‘Dreamers’ as political pawns for drastic cuts in legal immigration and increased detention undercuts Trump’s promise to treat them ‘with heart.’”

The Obama administration created the DACA program in 2012, in response to repeated failures by Congress to create a permanent path to legal status for people who came to the US as children. Many have lived in the US almost their entire lives, have gone to school here, and have US citizen spouses and children. Typically, the US is the only country they consider home. Over 750,000 have received DACA status and an estimated 1.1 million are eligible. Continue reading…….

 

No Way to Treat Children Fleeing Danger

Published in Harvard International Review

Michael Garcia Bochenek

Senior Counsel, Children’s Rights Division

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Refugee children take part in a protest in March 2015 against their resettlement on Nauru and living conditions on the island.

© 2016 Private

Migrant children might soon be separated from their parents as a matter of course when families enter the United States irregularly, Homeland Security  Secretary John Kelly told CNN in early March. Under the proposal, which another Homeland Security official described as among the options the department is considering to discourage(others)from even beginning the journey”,separated parents would be detained in jail-like facilities while children would be placed in foster homes or shelters for children. Read more……

Democrats Protest Senate Republican Health Care Secrecy

They called for open committee hearings and more time to consider the bill before a Senate vote.

U.S. President Trump turns to Speaker Ryan as he gathers with Republican House members after healthcare bill vote at the White House in Washington
U.S. Democrats took to the Senate floor on Monday to throw a spotlight on behind-the-scenes efforts by the Republican majority to repeal former President Barack Obama’s healthcare law, known as Obamacare. Continue reading  @ HUFF POST

Ebola to Piracy: Sustaining U.S.-China Work in Africa

By: Jennifer Staats

U.S. and Chinese leaders have worked with counterparts across Africa to combat a range of security threats on the continent, from Ebola to piracy to instability in Sudan and South Sudan. A recent United Nations Security Council Resolution condemning terrorist attacks and violence in the Lake Chad Basin illustrates that more joint efforts are needed to support Africa’s stability and development. Unfortunately, distrust and skepticism between the United States and China are getting in the way of further progress. But there may be a way to prevent backsliding.

US and Chines Military MIO Exercise

U.S.-China counter piracy exercise. Photo Courtesy of U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Gary M. Keen/Released
Initial trilateral efforts in Africa have revealed three key lessons for effective cooperation, according to experts in a recent discussion at USIP.  First, successful efforts must be African-led and should work through existing African institutions. Second, leadership matters, and the U.S. and Chinese ambassadors in Africa play a critical role in making collaboration possible. Third, engagement must be sustained, holistic, and long-term, rather than ad hoc.

Although both the United States and China want to see an economically prosperous and secure Africa, there are many barriers to closer cooperation. They include competition, lack of transparency, different definitions of “stability,” and bureaucratic stovepipes.

Three ambassadors and an associate director at the Carter Center in Atlanta considered ways to overcome these hurdles in a March 2017 article in Foreign Affairs.

“The goal should be to transform occasional moments of cooperation—such as the shared efforts of China, the United States, and African governments during the Ebola crisis—into what China expert Kurt Campbell has called “habits of cooperation” on those areas where all parties largely agree.”

Campbell and the four authors addressed the point at the USIP event on April 11, held to discuss progress in a three-year project between the institute and the Carter Center, called the Africa-China-U.S. Consultation for Peace. The program is being conducted in coordination with the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel.

In addition to the authors’ recommendations, experts identified other opportunities for collaboration:

  • Coordinate humanitarian assistance to the Lake Chad Basin to avoid duplication and gaps.
  • Conduct joint research on maritime security in the Gulf of Guinea, including piracy as well as illegal and unreported fishing.
  • Strengthen maritime security structures in West Africa, particularly the Interregional Coordination Center in Yaoundé, Cameroon.
  • Develop African merchant marines to facilitate trade.
  • Address threats to food security and public health.
  • Build the capacity of African peacekeepers and establish a reliable source of funding for African Union peace operations.
  • Invest in civilian security, governance, economic rehabilitation, effective community-police relations, and the judicial and security architecture in the Lake Chad Basin.
  • Align development assistance, infrastructure projects, and economic investment with conflict prevention efforts.

The need for three-way cooperation in Africa remains high.  Where direct collaboration is not possible, one alternative might be to pursue complementary policies that still would allow parties to work in parallel toward the same goals, as long as they maintain some openness and transparency.

The United States and China should commit to adding these issues to the new U.S.-China Consultative Dialogue, to ensure these opportunities get the attention they deserve. The challenges facing Africa cannot be ignored just because leaders in Washington and Beijing cannot overcome their mistrust. Instead, the three parties must find creative ways to pursue complementary efforts that will help everyone realize their shared interests.

Source : United States Institute of Peace

Cleveland Facebook Killer Steve Stephens Tortured Pets as a Teen, Neighbor Says

The self-described ‘monster’ was ‘not normal’ even as a child, according to someone who grew up around him. Across town, a family heard the shot that rang across social media.

DANIEL MCGRAW

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CLEVELAND—Soon after he shot 74-year-old Robert Godwin—who was walking down the street and picking up cans after eating Easter Sunday dinner with his family— Steve Stepehens posted video to facebook of the murder that he just committed.

Then he kept posting his personal reasoning for his deranged behavior, explanations showed that there was a deep anger within this man that suddenly snapped.

“I fucked up,” he said, with little emotion on his face. “I’m at the point where I snapped… I got a lot of built up anger and frustration.”

“All my life,” Stephens continued, “I’ve been a monster.”

That line by the man now known as the “Facebook Killer” was shocking to many who heard him say it on social media, but not so much so for Tony Henderson. He lived across the street from Stephens for decades—that line that this man was a “monster” didn’t seem that crazy. The kid always seemed somewhat “out there,” Henderson said.

“I never quite understood that kid through his entire life, because on some days he would talk to you, and then on others he would be mean and staring at you and very quiet,” Henderson said. “It’s not like he was running around the street scaring old people when he was a teenager, but what he did on Easter Sunday doesn’t surprise me.”

On the Monday after the shooting that was getting worldwide attention, Henderson was cleaning up the vacant property next to his house, which is directly across the street from Stephens’s mother’s home. Police in two cars were staked out on the street to keep media and angry residents from causing trouble for the killer’s family. But for Henderson, 55, what he saw on television shows and online media reporting over the past day made more sense to him than most anyone.

“How can I put this?” he said, as he paused. “That kid was not normal as we as normal people know it from the beginning. He was in his early teens when the family moved in there, and I was in my late twenties, but I could see something wasn’t right. He was smart, but some days he seemed OK with talking to people on the street, but on other days he was staring off into space with a blank face. He was very up and down.”

Then Henderson told a somewhat disturbing story.

“He asked me to come in and see his pet bird, so I went in their house. He had a parakeet and he had that bird crawl from the cage and on to his finger. Then he slapped the bird as hard as he could with his other hand, and the bird was lying on the floor. The bird looked dead to me. I looked at him and he was smiling and laughing as he looked at me and that bird.”

“Hey, animals don’t make you weird like that,” Henderson said. “He was that way before he got that bird. Heard he used to torture other pets he had. He was like that from the time I first met him.”

An aggravated murder warrant has been issued, and police said early Monday that Stephens may have fled Ohio. Police warned residents of Pennsylvania, New York, Indiana, and Michigan to be on the lookout. The FBI is providing assistance to the Cleveland police and taking over the national manhunt. A $50,000 reward has been offered for information leading to his whereabouts.

Stephens has a valid concealed-carry gun permit, Cleveland police said at a news conference Monday morning. Police Chief Calvin Williams said guns were seized from a home in the city of Twinsburg, a suburb of Cleveland, that is listed in court records as the home occupied by Stephens and his girlfriend at the time, Joy Lane. Williams said he was unsure how many guns were seized and whether they were registered to Stephens.

Though Stephens also said on Facebook postings that his need to kill people came because of a breakup with Lane (who treats youths with various mental disorders for a company different from the one Stephens works for), it appears he might have been having more problems with his fiancée. The Cleveland Plain-Dealer  reported  that Stephens had been evicted from his suburban apartment this past January for failure to pay rent. Five months before that, he had been evicted from another suburban apartment complex, and the property-management company successfully sued him and began garnishing wages from his paycheck.

Stephens had also declared personal bankruptcy in January 2015, according to the report, and at that time, Stephens said he had worked for Beech Brook, a suburban-based social-services agency for six years. He declared his annual salary to be about $28,800, but his wages were also facing garnishment then as well, for unpaid credit-card debt that he had been sued over in court for.

In another Sunday Facebook posting, Stephens talked of his financial issues, blaming some of it on Cleveland’s Jack Casino, Ohio’s first casino, which opened in 2012.

“The past year’s been really [expletive] up for me,” Stephens said. “You know, being with [his ex-girlfriend] drove me crazy, started making me gamble. I lost everything. I lost everything I have. I don’t have shit. I’m out of options.”

Besides the craziness of this murder—an employed man shooting an elderly man randomly and then posting it for all to see on social media—is how this murder does not fit in with all the other murders in Cleveland in recent years. There were 136 murders in the Cleveland in 2016, the highest number in 10 years. This high number of murders, despite the fact that Cleveland lost about 10 percent of its population (about 43,000) during those 10 years, has been linked to the city’s high poverty rate. Based upon 2016 figures, Cleveland’s poverty rate of 34.7 percent is the 11th highest in the country among cities of at least 65,000 people.

Many of the murders in Cleveland are driven by gangs, which themselves are partly blamed on high inner-city unemployment. One of the most violent and powerful gangs has the ironic name “Heartless Felons.” In some of these killings, children lost their lives because they were playing in a park or on a front lawn when the killers drove by.

The street on which Godwin was killed ends at Interstate 90 about five miles east of downtown. It is an odd place to do a killing, given it’s off-the-beaten path and abutting a crowded highway. “I don’t think there is any rhyme or reason for this happening,” Cleveland’s police chief said at the press conference Monday.

For those living on that street, the killing was not only horrific to see, but so bizarre that many are still shaking their heads. Thea, a 25-year-old who lives directly across the street from where Godwin died, said her family had about 20 people coming over for East Sunday dinner. The killing, which happened at about 2 p.m. Sunday, occurred about a half hour before people started to arrive.

“This is a quiet street,” said Thea, who didn’t want her last name used. “It ends at the freeway. So no one usually drives their cars down here because it is hard to turn around and get out.”

“But it was so weird,” she continued. “My mom was outside talking to our neighbor, and they were just doing what moms do, talking about the recipes they had cooked, and then both went back in their houses. About one minute after she came in, we heard a gun pop and went outside and saw that old man lying dead on the sidewalk right across the street from our house.”

“What would have happened if they were out there one minute later?” Thea asked. “He might have just shot that man and my mom and the neighbor, too. That’s all I’ve been thinking about. How my mom might have been killed, too.”

Second suspect in custody after Facebook Live sexual assault

By John Keilman and  Heather Schroering

Chicago Tribune

A second teen has been taken into custody in connection with the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl that was recorded on Facebook, police said.

The suspect, a 15-year-old boy, was taken into custody “accompanied by a parent,” Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in an emailed statement Monday afternoon.

A second teen has been taken into custody in connection with the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl that was recorded on Facebook, police said.

The suspect, a 15-year-old boy, was taken into custody “accompanied by a parent,” Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in an emailed statement Monday afternoon.

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The news came a day after police announced charges against a 14-year-old boy.

The 14-year-old, who was charged April 1, was expected to face a hearing in juvenile court Monday, but Cook County Associate Judge Patricia Mendoza waived his appearance until April 28. The boy is in custody in a detention center, according to an assistant state’s attorney.

Police are also trying to identify others who took part in the assault, officials said, but the investigation has been slowed by the trauma experienced by the girl.

“She’s just having such a difficult time even communicating what occurred to her,” Cmdr. Brendan Deenihan said at a Sunday news conference at Chicago police headquarters. “We obviously have a video of the incident, so we have verifiable objective evidence of what occurred to this young lady, but she’s just having a very difficult time.

“On top of it, there’s constant social media … bullying (of the girl), making fun of what occurred. This is just a very traumatic incident.”

The girl had stayed over with family the evening of March 18 and gone to church with them the next day, then was dropped off near home before disappearing.

Deenihan said the girl was “lured” to a residence by one of the attackers, who did not allow her to leave. As many as six males took part in the assault, police have said. She was found two days later walking down the street near her home.

The 14-year-old boy was charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault, manufacture of child pornography and dissemination of child pornography, all of which are felonies, police said.

One of the suspects broadcast the assault on Facebook Live, and authorities have said that as many as 40 people saw it. None called police, an abstention that enraged police Superintendent Eddie Johnson.

“We’ve seen a couple acts in this city now in the last few months involving social media, and it just disgusts me that people could look at those videos and not pick up the phone and dial 911,” he said at the news conference. “It makes you wonder where are we going, what are we doing as a society?”

Reginald King, a relative of the girl, said a teen alerted him to the assault on Facebook. Chicago activist Andrew Holmes got the video to police, and the girl’s mother was shown screen shots and was able to identify her daughter.

After the girl was found, she was reunited with her mother and taken to a hospital, where she was examined for injuries, a family member later told the Tribune.

As news of the attack spread, people began ringing the family’s doorbell and coming around the house in a menacing way, the girl’s mother has told the Tribune, and police described a campaign of social media bullying against her. The taunts prompted authorities to relocate her family to another home, which police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi described as “a safe place.”

The girl’s mother did not return messages seeking comment on the arrest.

Deenihan said that authorities have looked into possible charges against those who watched the video and bullied the girl, but said that making charges stick appears to be a complicated task.

Guglielmi said Facebook has told authorities it’s not possible to identify who is watching a video on the platform. And Deenihan said the bullying hasn’t risen to the level of criminal conduct.

“We’re going to vet all that out to see if there is a specific possible charge, but right now there isn’t a specific threat made to the victim or her family, nothing anybody could be charged with,” he said.

The attack was at least the fourth Chicago crime caught on Facebook Live since the end of October.

After one of the previous attacks, in which a mentally disabled man was tormented and tortured by a group of people, the company said it does not allow people “to celebrate or glorify crimes” on its network. Facebook took down the video of the girl’s assault after being notified by police.

Johnson said that although the girl was having a difficult time talking to investigators about the assault, he was impressed by her courage.

“While I know the emotional wounds caused by this savagery will take long to heal, I am hoping that her story can be an inspiration to other young women who are victimized by bullying and sexual assault,” he said.

“The young men responsible, they should be ashamed of themselves. They humiliated themselves, they’ve humiliated their families, and now they’re going to be held accountable for what they did.”

Chicago Tribune’s Kim Geiger contributed.

Source : Chicago Tribune

Secretary Kelly: Undocumented Children and Mothers May Be Separated at Border

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DHS Secretary John Kelly said Monday that his department is considering separating children from their mothers if they are caught crossing the border illegally.

Homeland Security Sec. John Kelly confirmed today that he is considering separating the children of undocumented immigrants  from their parents if they are apprehended while illegally crossing the border.

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“Yes, I am considering, in order to deter more movement along this terribly dangerous network, I am considering exactly that,” Kelly told CNN host Wolf Blitzer. “They will be well cared for as we deal with their parents.”

Kelly said he thought the change might deter mothers and children from making the dangerous journey from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador  to the United States.

“You understand how that looks to the average person who is, you know…” Blitzer replied.

“It’s more important to me, Wolf, to try to keep people off of this awful network,” Kelly said.

Currently, mothers and children who cross the border together—and it’s virtually always mothers and children, rather than fathers—stay together. In many cases, they’re put in family detention centers, though they are frequently released quickly while they await asylum hearings. Reuters reported  on March 4 that the Department of Homeland Security was considering separating mothers from their children when it apprehended them. Mothers would be put in detention centers, while their children would be in the custody of the Department of Health and Human Services, according to the report.

The smuggling networks Kelly referenced move people from incredibly violent Central American countries to the United States often exploit them along the way, and women are frequently sexually assaulted on the journey. In many cases, migrants take great risks because they fear death in their home countries—as was the case forSara Beltran Hernandez , an undocumented woman from El Salvador who entered the U.S. in November of 2015 and was recently released from ICE detention to get better medical care for a brain tumor.

Kelly’s confirmation that he is considering separating children from their parents shocked children’s advocates.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Matthew Kolken, an immigration attorney from Buffalo, N.Y. who frequently represents undocumented children.

“He’s going to be traumatizing young children even more than they are by pulling them from their mother’s arms,” he said.

“Who knows what they’re going to do with them?” he added.

Source : The Daily Beast

Mexico opens legal aid centres to fight US deportations

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Mexico has opened legal aid centres at consulates in 50 US cities, in a move designed to protect its citizens from tougher immigration enforcement.

Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray reaffirmed concerns about the human rights of Mexicans in the US.

But migrant defence centres would not “promote illegality,” he said.

Mexico is worried about the impact that guidelines issued last month by President Donald Trump will have on the lives of its citizens.

Mr Trump ordered federal agents to join local police and immigration officers to enforce deportation procedures.

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Millions of Mexicans who have lived in the US for many years are suddenly facing the prospect of fighting a lengthy and costly legal battle against deportation.

The new defence centres will provide free legal assistance for Mexican citizens who feel that their rights in the US are being threatened.

‘Concern and irritation’

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Bilateral relations have reached its lowest point in decades.

A week after being sworn in January, Mr Trump reaffirmed his intention to build a wall along his country’s southern border, which extends for 3,200km (2,000 miles).

He insisted that Mexico would have to bear the cost of the proposed wall.

The remarks prompted President Enrique Pena Nieto to cancel a visit to Washington on 31 January and to announce extra funding to protect the rights of Mexican citizens in the US.

During a visit to Mexico by last month by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Chief John Kelly, Mr Videgaray said President Trump’s policies towards Mexico were a source of “concern and irritation”.

There are an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the US. Six million of them are reportedly Mexican citizens.

Source : EIN News

Generals May Launch New ISIS Raids Without Trump’s OK

The commander in chief is taking heat—and hearing cheers—for a raid in Yemen that killed a SEAL. But for the next mission, Trump may take himself out of the loop altogether.

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Kimberly Dozier

The White House is considering delegating more authority to the Pentagon to greenlight anti-terrorist operations like the SEAL Team 6 raid in Yemen that cost the life of a Navy SEAL, multiple U.S. officials tell The Daily Beast. It’s part of an effort to step up the war on the so-called Islamic State.

President Donald Trump has signaled that he wants his defense secretary, retired Marine Gen. Jim Mattis, to have a freer hand to launch time-sensitive missions quickly, ending what U.S. officials say could be a long approval process under President Barack Obama  that critics claimed stalled some missions by hours or days.

In declared war zones, U.S. commanders have the authority to make such calls, but outside such war zones, in ungoverned or unstable places like Somalia, Libya, or Yemen, it can take permissions all the way up to the Oval Office to launch a drone strike or a special-operations team.

Trump’s subsequent defense of the Yemen raid, and discussion of accelerating other counterterrorist operations, shows his White House will be less risk averse to the possibility of U.S.—or civilian—casualties, unlike the Obama White House, which military officials say was extremely cautious to the point of frustrating some military commanders and counterterrorist operators.

Yet that added authority might give Mattis and senior military officers pause, after Trump blamed military leaders Tuesday for the loss of Navy Seal Senior Chief Petty Officer William”Ryan” Owens  during the fraught Jan. 28th raid against al Qaeda in Yemen, instead of accepting responsibility for the raid’s outcome as commander in chief.

“This was a mission that was started before I got here,” Trump said Tuesday during a Fox News interview. “They explained what they wanted to do—the generals—who are very respected, my generals are the most respected that we’ve had in many decades, I believe. And they lost Ryan.”

Owens’s father told Miami Herald  he believes the raid was rushed and unnecessary, and refused to meet Trump at Dover Air Force Base when his son was returned home.

“I can understand people saying that. I’d feel—What’s worse? There’s nothing worse,” Trump said of the father’s reaction. “This was something that they were looking at for a long time… and according to Mattis it was a very successful mission. They got tremendous amounts of information.”

In Trump’s first address to Congress, he saluted Owens’s widow, Carryn, who was there as a guest. Tears streamed down her face as the president hailed the fallen Navy SEAL as “a warrior, and a hero.”

He added that he’d just “reconfirmed” with Mattis that the raid was “highly successful” and “generated large amounts of vital intelligence that will lead to many more victories in the future against our enemies.” The amount of information gathered is still a matter of debate, however, NBC News reported Monday that after a month of examining what was captured on the scene, the raid has yielded little intelligence. The White House subsequently disputed that report.

“Missions of this type provide insights into AQAP’s disposition, capability, and intentions—information we otherwise do not have access to,” said Central Command spokesman Maj. Josh T. Jacques on Wednesday.

Despite the controversy, Trump has signaled that he wants to operate more like the CEO he was in the private sector in such matters, and delegate even more power to Mattis, which may mean rewriting one of President Barack Obama’s classified Presidential Policy Directives on potentially lethal operations in countries where the U.S. is not officially involved in combat.

The National Security Council spokesman was not immediately able to comment.

Former Obama administration officials tell The Daily Beast they’d already streamlined the approvals process for counterterrorism raids, following the failed 2014 mission to rescue U.S. hostages James Foley, Steven Sotloff, and Kayla Mueller, who were being held by ISIS in Syria. The hostages were moved shortly before U.S. special operators arrived on the scene.

“Obama gave a lot of leash to commanders in the field—but not on everything,” said one former senior Obama administration official. “It’s all about controlling escalation. Do I want to give someone else the authority to get me deeper into a war?”

The official explained that in some cases, Obama deemed it necessary to push authority down to his commanders, as when he gave the Navy SEALs the green light to shoot their way out of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound, though firing on Pakistani troops might have triggered armed conflict with Islamabad.

Obama used to give Mattis pre-delegation authority to act when he was head of Central Command on some issues, but not others, the official said. “Will you delegate authority if an Iranian boat gets close, I can take it out? Most presidents will think carefully about that,” he said. “There’s usually a healthy back-and-forth to come up with the right balance.” The official spoke anonymously to discuss the sensitive discussions on approving raids.

Trump officials believe loosening the permissions process can help turn up the heat against ISIS—and counterterrorist-focused agencies like the military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) are lining up new targets in anticipation of more numerous and more rapid approvals.

One model being considered is pre-delegating authority to Mattis on extremely sensitive operations like hostage rescues; for raids or drone strikes against pre-approved targets, that authority could be pushed much further down the chain of command—all the way down to the three-star general who runs JSOC. If his teams spot a target that’s already on the White House approved high-value target list, the elite force will be able to move into action, informing the national-security apparatus of the operation but not having to wait for permission.

Word of discussions about loosening permissions to strike comes despite criticism that the Jan. 28 raid in central Yemen against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula was approved so quickly that it was launched without proper planning, and botched when al Qaeda fighters heard the SEALs approaching, kicking off a deadly firefight.

SEAL Owens was killed and six U.S. troops were wounded during the fighting, and the “hard landing” of the would-be medical-evacuation aircraft.

Owens’s father wants the decision process investigated. There are already three Pentagon investigations underway, according to Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis: the pro-forma investigation into the combat death; another into the loss of an Osprey rescue helicopter that was so damaged that it had to be left behind and destroyed; and another investigation into the allegations of civilian casualties from the raid.

Yemeni officials reported several women and children were killed. That included the 8-year-old daughter of former AQAP cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, according to the girl’s grandfather in comments to the AP.(Former AOAP cleric Awlaki, a U.S citizen, helped inspire followers with his online sermons until he was killed by a U.S drone strike in 2011.)

The Yemeni government reacted to the raid with a statement, reiterating “its firm position that any counterterrorism operations carried out in Yemen should continue to be in consultation” with Yemen’s civil-war-embattled government, and include “precautionary measures to prevent civilian casualties.”

Special Operations Commander Gen. Tony Thomas pushed back on the notion that the raid was poorly or hastily planned. He told reporters in Washington, D.C., recently that the raid preparation was “absolutely not” rushed or in any way disorganized.

And the SEAL raiders never lost the element of surprise, two U.S. officials said. But the raiders “didn’t expect the whole town to come out armed and fighting,” said one. Pentagon spokesman Davis said women fighters came out firing from several locations as the SEAL team hit its target, contributing to casualties on both sides.

One U.S. official told The Daily Beast that the raid garnered possibly “the most intelligence ever netted” on al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, including information that will help U.S. intelligence map the network of AQAP followers and how they operate. Central Command stumbled when trying to prove that, however, by releasing an al Qaeda training video captured by the SEAL task force during the raid—but didn’t realize it had been disseminated by AQAP nine years earlier.

This story was updated to add comment from Central Command.

Source : The Daily Beast