10:09 GMT +318 July 2018
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    FBI Whistleblower Coleen Rowley on Visa Program Failure, Guns, War and More

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    Brad Friedman
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    Veteran FBI Special Agent on the program that remains a far greater threat to the U.S. than Syrian refugees; How we're 'making it harder to find terrorists'; And how 'there is no way to bomb your way to peace'...

    How the NRA and GOP are working together to make sure guns remain freely available to terrorists and how the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) poses a far greater threat to national security than Syrian refugees hoping to escape war and terror by resettling in the U.S.

    First up today, as the FBI announces the San Bernardino massacre will be investigated "as an act of terror", the Republican Congress continues to do the NRA's terror-loving business by refusing to tighten up gaping holes in our gun safety laws, allowing even those on the Terror Watch List to buy weapons, often even without a background check. We detail how al-Qaeda itself has, for years, been calling on jihadists — very specifically — to exploit these loopholes in the U.S. and how the GOP and NRA fight to assure that they can.

    Then, FBI veteran, 9/11 whistleblower and 2002 TIME Magazine Person of the Year Coleen Rowley joins us to discuss the gaping security holes in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program (VWP), as she detailed this week at Huffington Post.

    Before we get into details, Rowley recounts how her FBI field office in Minnesota had attempted to warn intelligence officials in D.C. about Zacarias Moussaoui's pre-9/11 flight lessons and how then CIA Director George Tenet later admitted receiving those warnings but failed to take action (before being given the Congressional Medal of Freedom by George W. Bush.)

    Rowley then goes on to explain how the VWP, which allows millions of foreigners into the U.S. with minimal scrutiny, presents a far easier way for potential terrorists to threaten the U.S. without the much more rigorous scrutiny — including nearly two years of personal interviews and bio-metric cross-checking — than Syrian refugees must contend with.

    She tells me how the over-collection of data actually makes it harder for intelligence officials to track information that matters. "The problem now is there's a glut of info, almost all non-relevant, and they can't make sense of it," says Rowley. "After 9/11 they thought, 'Collect it all! Turn on massive warrantless monitoring. Collect all this meta-data showing everybody's contacts.' But if you collect everything, you know nothing. It's making the job harder. If we add hay to the haystack, we're making it harder to find the terrorists."

    Rowley also notes how even those here via the VWP are allowed to purchase assault weapons, thanks to lack of Congressional action. "Not only can they come in, but they are free then to buy guns," she tells me. "Obama cannot stop that without Congressional legislation, and then he runs into the NRA and all the people that are for more free gun sales."

    "Why in the heck would it not be common sense to at least limit gun sales to people who are only supposed to be here, by the way, for 90 days? Would it be that important that they have to go pheasant hunting in South Dakota in those 90 days that they have to buy their own gun? They couldn't borrow one?"

    Finally, during our in-depth (must-listen, in my opinion) interview, Rowley speaks to what should be done about the threat of ISIL. "We're creating more people who hate and more potential attackers than we can possibly kill," she warns. "And it's not just Islamic extremism. We're also seeing the same thing with the domestic terrorists who watch American Sniper and this culture that emphasizes that getting a gun and shooting people is the answer to your problems."

    "There is a connection here, because we are inspiring. It's the same connection of inspiring people by killing them," Rowley argues. "There is no way to bomb your way to peace. Increasing the size and the scope of the war zone, as the United States has done — from one or two countries now to half a dozen countries to the entire Middle East and now stretching even into Ukraine and elsewhere in revamping up the Cold War — this is a recipe for complete disaster."

    "If we're creating more could-be would-be terrorists, we have got to find a way to reduce that number. And I think the only answer is to say war is not the answer. War is hurting us. It's creating this."

    You can find Brad’s previous editions here.

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    Tags:
    War on Terror, national security, 9/11, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), GOP, NRA
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