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Big League National Security

Sen. Ted Cruz headlines 2017 Western Hemisphere Security Forum

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A top national security expert told Big League Politics the 2017 Western Hemisphere Security Forum, held Thursday at the Reserve Officers Association building on Capitol Hill, is titled: “Countering Transnational Threats in Our Neighborhood.”

“The purpose is to bring to together opinion leaders from throughout the hemisphere to talk about the security and economic challenges that we face together,” said J.D. Gordon, a national security advisor to President Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign and a former Pentagon spokesman.

The planned program includes a keynote address by Sen. R. Edward “Ted” Cruz  (R.-Texas), who finished second behind President Donald J. Trump in the race for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination, he said. The forum is presented by the Center for a Secure Free Society and the Daniel Morgan Graduate School.

“Senator Cruz has always shown leadership on Latin American issues and we are delighted that he could be part of our Western Hemisphere Security Forum,” said Gordon, who facilitates the forum’s morning program.

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Retiring Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R.-Fla.) is slated to receive the Max Manwaring Freedom Award for her defense of liberty in the Western Hemisphere. Max Manwaring is a retired Army colonel and Army War College professor, who has written several books and policy papers on countering insurgencies, with a particular focus on Central America in the 1980s.

Other speakers include former Bolivian President Jorge “Tuto” Quiroga.

Marine Corps Cpl Blaho with 4th Platoon, Company C, 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 1st Marine Division instructs his squad on where to cross a river during jungle warfare training with Columbian Marines in Columbia on Aug. 1, 2010. The unit was deployed in support of operation Partnership of the Americas/Southern Exchange, a combined amphibious exercise designed to enhance cooperative partnerships with maritime forces from nine other nations. (Marine Photo photo by Cpl Brian J. Slaght)

Gordon said there is more to dealing with Latin American and Canada than immigration.

“There are a lot of foreign actors in Latin America doing nefarious things, such as Iran,” he said.

“We’re trying to bring attention to the fact that Latin America has been used as a platform for America’s enemies for a century-plus,” he said

“During WWI, Germany used Latin America as a staging ground against the United States,” he said. “During the Cold War, the Soviet Union did the same thing–and right now, we’re seeing Iran involved in places like Venezuela to threaten the United States, as well.”

Gordon said Cuba is another actor involved in Venezuela, looking to undermine American security and national security goals.

Members of the Brazilian Marine Corps conduct an amphibious landing exercise during UNITAS Amphibious 2015 at Ilha de Marambaia, Brazil, Nov. 20, 2015. UNITAS Amphibious is a multi-nation exercise designed to increase interoperability in Amphibious Operations between participating countries. (Marine photo by Lance Cpl. Issac Velasquez)

In Venezuela, the Cubans are also trying to destabilize that country’s institutions, in order to usher in a permanent socialist regime there, he said.

“The Chinese and the Russians are providing financial assistance to prop up hostile regimes in Latin America–and a lot of people don’t understand that, they don’t know it well, if they know it at all, so we are trying to bring attention to that,” he said.

[Editor’s note: This article has been updated to reflect changes in the speaker lineup.]

 

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Big League National Security

Senator Rand Paul To Ask POTUS To Revoke John Brennan’s Security Clearance

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In a set of tweets posted by Senator Rand Paul on Monday morning, the Kentucky Republican says he will be meeting with President Donald Trump to ask that CIA director John Brennan’s security clearance be revoked.

“Is John Brennan monetizing his security clearance? Is John Brennan making millions of dollars divulging secrets to the mainstream media with his attacks on @realDonaldTrump,” Paul tweeted Monday morning. “Today I will meet with the President and I will ask him to revoke John Brennan’s security clearance.”

This request by Senator Rand Paul comes on the heels of Tucker Carlson mentioning last week that Brennan still had a security clearance, despite no longer working for the federal government.

The Fox News host called Brennan an “out-of-the-closet extremist”, and further called for Brennan’s security clearance to be removed.

WATCH Sen. Rand Paul on the Tucker Carlson show here:

CIA directors typically hold on to their clearance for several years after they’ve left office, mainly so they are able to share insights with current directors.

Just last week Brennan used the words “nothing short of treasonous” to describe Trump’s meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, and claimed that it showed President Trump was “wholly in the pocket of Putin.”

Brennan, who served under former President Barack Obama, has been accused of political bias by several House Republicans suggesting that his bias may have prevented him from being impartial in 2016. On Sunday, House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte said the committee is planning on calling in Brennan to testify.

During an interview with Maria Bartiromo on “Sunday Morning Futures”, Goodlatte said, “We have lots of questions for John Brennan and he will definitely be sought by the committees for an interview. The chairman continued,”This is an extremely disturbing thing to see both he and (former FBI Director) James Comey, supposedly impartial government officials carrying out their jobs in very important areas in intelligence gathering and law enforcement, express the kind of extreme bias that they’ve shown now,” Goodlatte, a Virginia Republican, said on Fox News. “which I think reflects quite accurately what they were doing back in 2016.”

Senator Rand Paul just blocked a resolution last week from Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) that would support the U.S. intelligence community’s assessment of Russian election interference, and that demanded the president speak with special counsel Robert Mueller, calling it “crazy hatred” and the resolution was just another sign of “Trump Derangement Syndrome”.

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla) called ex-CIA chief Brennan a “disaster” while accusing him of being a member of the Communist Party during the Cold War. Brennan has admitted that he did indeed vote for the Communist Party’s presidential candidate in 1976, Gus Hall, claiming it was just his way of “signaling my unhappiness with the system, and the need for change.”

“John Brennan was a disaster as CIA director. He was a disaster as the counter-terrorism official. He was a member of the Communist Party during the Cold War,” DeSantis said on Fox News.

Should someone who has called the president “treasonous” have top secret clearance?

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