Sunday, December 27, 2015

Christie, Who Unsuccessfully Prosecuted Middle-East Students Cheating On An Exam, Tries Re-Writing History To Make Himself Sound Like An Anti-Terrorist Warrior


Although Christie's term as a Bush-era prosecutor was primarily about prosecuting corrupt Democrats-- except for his uber-corrupt pals from the Norcross Machine-- suddenly he's trying to lay claim to the mantle of hero in the war against terrorism. Ted Cruz's campaign laughed in the Jersey slob's jowly face. During the last GOP debate in Vegas he boasted "I’m a former federal prosecutor. I’ve fought terrorists... for 7 years, I spent my life protecting our country against another one of those attacks." Christie's claim to terrorism-fighter fame is, at best, hugely inflated for obvious reasons. His endlessly repeated bragging about how he cracked "two of the biggest terrorism cases in the world" is just silly, as you can see from the This American Life episode on one of them below.

Yesterday, Alexander Burns and Charlie Savage. writing for the NY Times reminisced about Christie's days as a federal prosecutor in a a piece whose very headline laughs at it as a mere sales pitch. Christie's actual record, they wrote, "shows that he has, at times, overstated the significance of the terrorism prosecutions he oversaw-- he has called them 'two of the biggest terrorism cases in the world'-- and appears to have exaggerated his personal role in obtaining court permission for surveillance of terrorism suspects." He was clearly trying to mislead the audience when he bragged that "I'm the only person on this stage who’s actually filed applications under the Patriot Act, who has gone before the Foreign Intelligence Service Court. Neither pig-man nor anyone from his office went before the FISA court, something "[o]nly the Office of Intelligence at the Justice Department’s headquarters drafts and submits applications for surveillance and then litigates them before the court," despite the load of horseshit on Christie's campaign website that assigns the credit to him.
Christie’s campaign website credits his office with obtaining an indictment against the kidnapper of the Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who was abducted and killed in Pakistan, and notes that the defendant, Ahmed Omar Sheikh, was “sentenced to death.” It does not mention a key fact: The trial took place in Pakistan. Mr. Christie’s office had no role in it.

...Christie has described his experience handling terrorism in vivid terms, returning to the theme during debates, and mocking his rivals for what he has said was their comparatively frivolous national security experience.

The most recent debate, in Las Vegas, gave Mr. Christie even more maneuvering room; the theme of the evening, after the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., focused on national security. Mr. Christie seized every opportunity, saying that “New Jersey was threatened like no other region in this country” and branding several candidates who serve in the Senate as “people who’ve never had to make a consequential decision in an executive position.”

Mr. Christie has also repeatedly described himself as having been “named”-- and at least once as having been “appointed”-- United States attorney on the portentous date of Sept. 10, 2001. In fact, that was the date the Bush administration informed him he would be nominated for the job if he passed a background check; President Bush nominated him three months later, and he took office in January 2002.

...In 2005, [Christie's office] convicted an Indian-born British businessman, Hemant Lakhani, of trying to broker the sale of an anti-plane missile from a purported Russian military officer to a purported terrorist. And in 2008, it won the convictions of several Muslim-American men charged with plotting a mass shooting of people at Fort Dix, N.J.

Both cases were so-called stings by the F.B.I., which used confidential informants to create the situations in which the defendants implicated themselves. In the Lakhani case, both the purported seller and buyer of the missile were government agents. In the Fort Dix case, the suspects were under surveillance for over a year after an informant alerted law enforcement authorities to a possible threat.

Critics of such tactics portray them as entrapment, while proponents say they remove potential terrorists from the street before they can kill.

Either way, neither of the two New Jersey prosecutions involved actual attacks, such as the 1998 United States Embassy bombings in East Africa, the Sept. 11 attacks and the 2013 bombing of the Boston Marathon. They also did not involve plots that almost reached fruition without law enforcement knowledge, like the attempted bombing of planes with bombs concealed in an attacker’s shoes in 2002, and in underwear in 2009; a barely thwarted 2009 attack on New York City subways; and a 2010 bombing attempt in Times Square.

Mr. Christie defended his portrayal of the importance of the missile and Fort Dix cases, saying they exemplified the philosophy of averting threats before any attack.

“It is no longer enough to wait until the crime occurs,” Mr. Christie said. He argued: “The Boston bombing is a failure. It’s a failure of intelligence and a failure of law enforcement.”

Mr. Christie’s campaign website also gives the governor credit for what became known as Operation Arabian Knight, a prosecution of two men who wanted to travel to Somalia and join the Shabab, an Islamist group. They were arrested in 2010, after Mr. Christie was no longer the United States attorney, but had been under investigation since 2006.

The website does not mention one other case that brought Mr. Christie national media attention under a counterterrorism banner: In May 2002, he announced the arrest of 56 foreign college students, mostly from the Middle East, who were accused of cheating on English proficiency exams.

At the time, he told reporters the sweep was part of a strategy meant to arrest potential terrorists before they could strike, saying: “In light of what we saw on September 11, we all have an obligation to prevent domestic terrorism.”

None were convicted of anything related to terrorism.

Mr. Christie said he did not know why that case was not mentioned on his website, and that he did not review all of its content.
A proven serial liar, Christie gets very aggressive with anyone who points out he had virtually nothing to do with the war on terror. But it didn't work when Wisconsin asshat Scott Walker tried it and it's not likely to work for Christie, who is best known for physically confronting women school teachers and screaming at them. Ed Kilgore: "In the end, Christie, just like Walker, is relying on his image as a tough guy to buttress this new idea that he's a brilliant terrorist-hunter who can make Americans feel all warm and secure. Unfortunately, beating up on public employees may serve as soft porn for conservative voters in the heartland who view coastal blue states like New Jersey as enemy territory, but it doesn't make you a national-security asset."

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