President Obama’s Secret ISIS Letter.

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Washington, D.C. ­– U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC)  released the following statement on reports that President Obama sent a secret letter to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei urging him to join the fight against ISIS:

“It is outrageous that, while the cries of moderate Syrian forces for greater U.S. assistance fall on deaf ears in the White House, President Obama is apparently urging Ayatollah Khamenei to join the fight against ISIS. This is the same Iranian regime that has been complicit in the rise of ISIS by pushing a violent sectarian agenda throughout the Middle East — backing radical Shia militias and politicians in Iraq, doing everything in its power to aid the killing machine of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, arming Hamas terrorists with advanced rockets in Gaza, and orchestrating Hezbollah’s dispatch of thousands of fighters from Lebanon into Syria.

“The Administration needs to understand that this Iranian regime cares more about trying to weaken America and push us out of the Middle East than cooperating with us. Until we recognize that reality, and formulate a regional strategy to counter the Iranian regime’s malign influence, we will continue to harm U.S. national security interests, as well as our relationships with our closest regional allies and partners, in pursuit of the illusory goal of rapprochement with the current Iranian leadership. The consequences of this ill-conceived bargain would destroy the Syrians’ last best chance to live in freedom from the brutal Assad regime.”

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NFL Drags Feet on Random Drug Testing of Players.

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Washington, D.C. ­– With the NFL season set to kick off  soon, U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today sent a letter to National Football League (NFL) Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL Players Association (NFLPA) Executive Director DeMaurice Smith expressing disappointment with the league’s failure to implement random testing for use of human growth hormone (hGH), despite their commitment to do so three years ago.

“With the new National Football League (NFL) season set to kick off tomorrow night, I write to express profound disappointment that random testing for human growth hormone (hGH) has still not been implemented in the NFL despite all sides committing to it more than three years ago in the 2011 collective bargaining agreement,” writes Senator McCain. “This inexplicable failure should be embarrassing to both owners and players, as it erodes fans’ confidence in the integrity of a great American sport, and sends a dangerous message to young athletes that there are no consequences for hGH use by the NFL players they admire and seek to emulate. Adding to the urgency of this situation is a new national study published in July by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids finding that experimentation with hGH among American teenagers has doubled in the last year. … This study should serve as a wake-up call to the entire NFL community, that it must fulfill its responsibilities to set the standard for clean competition and serve as a positive, healthy example to young athletes across the country and the world.”

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The Horror Hidden on our Southern Border: The Continuing Tragedy of Illegal Child Immigrants.

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Washington, D.C. ­– U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) today sent a letter to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske demanding the reversal of its restrictions on Members of Congress and media from obtaining information about the conditions under which tens of thousands of unaccompanied children are being held at federal facilities in Arizona and other border states, and the circumstances of how they arrived in the United States.

“It is clearly in the public’s interest to know, and Congress’ responsibility to ascertain, exactly how this Administration is addressing the humanitarian crisis that is happening in Arizona and other southern border states,” writes Senator McCain. “The American people have a right to know the conditions under which unaccompanied minors at those facilities in their respective states are being detained and how they arrived in the United States. And, it is my responsibility as an elected representative from Arizona – and the responsibility of the elected officials of every state affected by this unprecedented crisis – to get the truth about how the Administration is addressing it.”

Senators McCain and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) last month demanded that the CBP permit media access to the Nogales Processing Center to document conditions.

Surprise! Air Force Squanders $1 Billion of Taxpayer Money and No One Goes to Jail.

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Carl Levin (D-MI), Ranking Member and Chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI), have released a bipartisan report on the Air Force’s Expeditionary Combat Support System (ECSS) program that squandered over $1 billion in taxpayer funds on ECSS over eight years.

“The Air Force’s billion dollar ECSS failure is the most egregious example of mismanagement at the Department of Defense in recent memory,” said Senator McCain. “The Air Force did not have a clear idea of what it wanted ECSS to accomplish, and the lack of strong leadership, coupled with the Air Force’s cultural resistance to change, only exacerbated the program’s problems. Moving forward, we must apply the lessons learned from this debacle so that the Department of Defense’s current and future efforts to modernize those large business information technology systems that are vital to its strategy to becoming auditable and improving how it ‘does business’ do not face the same disastrous fate as ECSS.”

“The Air Force has acknowledged the poor decisions and unsound management practices that led to the waste of taxpayer money in the ECSS program,” said Senator Levin. “We must do all we can to make sure that these mistakes are not repeated in future programs.”

A summary of the report is below.

ECSS Report Summary 

–          The Air Force squandered over $1 billion in taxpayer funds on ECSS from 2004 to 2012 with no capability to show for it.

–          The DOD’s strong cultural resistance to change hinders the effective implementation of business process reengineering (BPR), which is vital to ensuring that enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems can be effectively integrated into relevant business units within the Department to achieve desired efficiencies.

–          The Air Force admitted that it did not understand what it needed to do to implement ECSS, which directly contradicts Congressional mandates. To help alleviate this issue, Senator McCain offered (and the Senate Armed Services Committee passed) in the fiscal year 2015 defense authorization bill an amendment that would require an understanding of the existing legacy systems before the DOD can procure any large new business system.

–          In the eight years ECSS was active, the Air Force transitioned six program managers (PMs) and five program executive officers (PEOs) leaving no one accountable for ECSS’s failure. To help alleviate this issue, an amendment was offered (and the Senate Armed Services Committee passed) in the FY15 NDAA markup to improve program management accountability by aligning their tenure with key decision points throughout the defense acquisition system.

ECSS Report Recommendations

–          Improve ERP systems outcomes by initiating BPR assessments earlier in the acquisition process.

–          Improve oversight to ensure DOD has a sufficient understanding of the existing business processes to be changed.

–          Ensure sound budget decision making by integrating the Investment Review Boards (IRB) at the beginning of the budget process.

–          Reduce duplicative reporting requirements by utilizing a single governance structure for the acquisition of ERP systems.

–          Improve accountability of personnel by aligning the tenure of program executives with key acquisition decision points.

–          Better resource verifications of self-reporting BPR certification from program offices.

 

 

Iran Fiddles, While Washington Burns.

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has released the following statement on Iran’s involvement in Iraq:

“It would be the height of folly to believe that the Iranian regime can be our partner in managing the deteriorating security situation in Iraq. This is the same Iranian regime that has trained and armed the most dangerous Shia militant groups, that has consistently urged Prime Minister Maliki to pursue a narrow sectarian agenda at the expense of national reconciliation, that supplies the rockets that have been fired at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, that has sponsored acts of terrorism throughout the Middle East and the world, and that continues to use Iraq’s territory and airspace to send weapons and fighters to prop up Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

“The reality is, U.S. and Iranian interests and goals do not align in Iraq, and greater Iranian intervention would only make the situation dramatically worse. It would inflame sectarian tensions, strengthen the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), drive more Sunnis into ISIS’s ranks, empower the most radical Shia militants, deepen the Iraqi government’s dependence on Iran, alienate U.S. allies and partners in the region, and set back the prospects of national reconciliation.

“For all of these reasons, and more, the United States should be seeking to minimize greater Iranian involvement in Iraq right now, not encouraging it. That means rapid, decisive U.S. action to degrade ISIS and halt their offensive in Iraq. And it means dramatically increasing U.S. military assistance and support to moderate opposition forces in Syria that are fighting both ISIS and the Assad regime. The longer we wait to act, the more our Iraqi partners grow dependent on the Iranian regime. That is neither in our interest nor consistent with the values for which we stand.”

Congress Wants US Troops to Stay in Iraq.

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Washington, D.C. ­– U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) issued the following statement on the Al-Qaeda splinter group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant seizing control of the Iraqi city of Mosul:

“Our worst fears about Iraq are being realized today. The black flags of Al-Qaeda are flying over Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, just as they do over Fallujah. Al-Qaeda affiliated militants are now pressing their offensive into other parts of western Iraq and possibly beyond. This growing threat to our national security interests is the cost of President Obama’s decision to withdraw all of our troops from Iraq in 2011, against the advice of our commanders and regardless of conditions on the ground.

“Unfortunately, the President is now making the same disastrous mistake in Afghanistan, increasing the risk that Al-Qaeda and its terrorist allies will return there just as they are in Iraq. It is not too late for the president to reverse this catastrophic decision and instead make any withdrawal of U.S. forces after this year contingent on conditions on the ground. At the same time, we call on the president to explain to Congress and the American people how he plans to address the growing threat to our homeland and our national security interests posed by the rapidly expanding Al-Qaeda safe haven in Iraq and Syria.”

Do Foreign Criminals Find Safe Haven in the United States?

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Washington, D.C. ­– U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Carl Levin (D-MI) this week sent a letter to Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson seeking information on recent media reports that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) encountered and released 68,000 illegal aliens with criminal convictions in 2013.

The letter is attached and below.

April 3, 2014

 

 The Honorable Jeh Johnson

Secretary of Homeland Security

U. S. Department of Homeland Security

Nebraska Avenue Complex

3801 Nebraska Avenue, N.W.

Washington, D.C.   20528

 

Dear Secretary Johnson:

According to recent media reports, the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) encountered and released 68,000 aliens with criminal convictions in 2013. We were surprised to learn this information, particularly in light of two letters we sent to your department on the issue of criminal detainee releases in connection with sequestration.

Last year, we wrote to Secretary Napolitano requesting information on the release of illegal aliens with criminal records detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”).  Through that request, we learned that many of the 622 detainees released from ICE custody in February 2013 had significant criminal records.  ICE provided information about the criminal records, without names, of 32 detainees with multiple felony convictions (Level One offenders), 24 of whom were subsequently redetained, and at least 80 detainees with criminal backgrounds amounting to level two offenses.  Earlier this month, we wrote additionally to seek information on last year’s detainee release and inquire whether ICE or DHS has taken any actions to ensure accountability for what occurred. We have yet to receive a response to this bipartisan request.

It appears that those 622 released detainees represent a mere tip of the iceberg, in comparison to the figures cited in recent media reports. In 2013, ICE reportedly encountered and released 68,000 aliens with criminal convictions. ICE documents apparently indicated that in Phoenix, Arizona, 42 percent of criminal aliens encountered – most of whom had been incarcerated after being arrested by local authorities – were released in 2013.

The Congressional Research Service (“CRS”) issued a report in July 2012 that found that between 2008 and 2011 over 26,000 illegal aliens with criminal records were released instead of deported and that these former detainees went on to commit nearly 58,000 crimes soon after their release. These additional crimes were found to include 59 murders, 21 attempted murders, more than 4,000 major felonies and 1,000 other violent crimes.

Due to the importance of these findings, please provide answers to the following questions:

1.         Media reports indicate that the number of aliens with a criminal conviction encountered and released by ICE added up to nearly 68,000.  That figure was reportedly based on ICE’s Weekly Departures and Detention Report from October 2013.  Can you confirm whether this number is accurate?  Please provide a copy of each Weekly Departures and Detention Report for the year 2013. 

2.         Regarding the reported 68,000 aliens with criminal convictions who ICE encountered and released:

a.         Please provide a breakdown on the nature of ICE’s encounter with the aliens in question. 

b.         How many “encounters” resulted from an arrest by local or federal law enforcement? 

c.         How many were detained by ICE?

3.         How many of the 68,000 aliens with criminal records who were released were level one offenders?  Please provide a breakdown of level one offenses that these aliens committed.

4.         What criteria are you using when determining whether to release illegal detainees with criminal records?

5.         Do you draw any distinction between criminal offenses when deciding whom to release?

6.         Who makes the decision to release an illegal detainee who has been found to have a criminal record?

7.         Do you agree or disagree with the findings from the CRS report from July 2012? If you agree, how will you remedy the deficiencies identified? If not, which part do you disagree with? Please be specific.

8.         Please explain why the number of criminal alien encounters and releases jumped from 26,000 over a three-year period, 2008-2011, to 68,000 over a one-year period in 2013.

9.         Given the materiality of these revelations to the issues raised in the two prior letters, why did your department not previously disclose to the Subcommittee any information about those releases?

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.  If you have any questions or concerns, please have your staff contact Jack Thorlin (Senator McCain) at 202/224-XXXX or Dan Goshorn (Senator Levin) at 202/224-XXXX.

 

Sincerely,

 

John McCain                                                              

Ranking Minority Member                                        

Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations              

 

Carl Levin

Chairman

Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations

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