Chad’s Morning Brief: Cornyn Says the U.S. Should Help Mexico With Their Southern Border, Benghazi Phones Calls, and Other Top Stories
Here is your Morning Brief for the morning of June 12, 2014. Give me your feedback below and tune in to The Chad Hasty Show for these and many more topics from 8:30 to 11am. Remember, you can listen online at KFYO.com or on your iPhone/Android with the radioPup App.
Important Election Dates:
Early Voting for the District 3 Runoff Election: June 9-17
Election Day for Lubbock City Council District 3 Runoff: June 21
Cornyn Wants to Help Mexico
The United States can't even seal our own border but that hasn't stopped Senator John Cornyn from wanting to offer help to Mexico to seal theirs. According to the Texas Tribune, Cornyn said the U.S. should provide aid to Mexico to help with their border problems.
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, on Wednesday said U.S. aid that has helped return Mexican cities like Ciudad Juárez to normalcy after years of violence should also be used to help Mexico secure its border with Central America and stem the growing tide of undocumented immigrants arriving in Texas.
In recent weeks, the Rio Grande Valley sector of the U.S. Border Patrol has been overwhelmed by a surge of unaccompanied minors from Central America breaching the Texas-Mexico border. About 47,000 have been apprehended along the entire southwest border so far this fiscal year, Cornyn said, and the the final count could be more than 60,000 by the end of the fiscal year in September.
“That 500-mile border between Guatemala and Mexico is a sieve,” Cornyn said during a conference call with reporters. “Once these unaccompanied minors or other adults get in to the hands of the gangs that smuggle them through areas controlled by the Zetas or other cartels, this is not a benign situation. This is a dangerous and deadly … journey.”
The U.S. aid package known as the Merida Initiative, which was passed in 2008 under the administration of President George W. Bush, earmarked more than $1.4 billion for training and equipment for the governments of Mexico and Central America, though most of that has gone to Mexico. Cornyn said that U.S. officials are already helping Mexico undertake the task of securing its border, but it is obvious that authorities there are overwhelmed.
“I am sure there is a lot that we can do and that we need to do, but perhaps because the majority of these unaccompanied minors and other migrants come from Central America, one thing we could do is help Mexico secure its own borders,” he said.
Cornyn said he was encouraged that U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told senators during a committee hearing on Wednesday that the agency had “all hands on deck” to deal with the humanitarian crisis. But Cornyn also blamed the Obama administration’s policies for the surge. The perception south of the border, he said, is that “the administration simply will not enforce current immigration laws.”
U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said during the committee hearing that the administration’s deferred action for childhood arrivals, or DACA, was to blame for the spike. The program was initiated two years ago, and it allows qualified applicants who arrived in the U.S. as minors to obtain a work permit and a two-year reprieve from deportation proceedings.
“You can see sometime after [DACA], the numbers spike dramatically,” Cruz told Johnson during the committee hearing. “Is it really your testimony that granting amnesty to some 800,000 people who came here illegally as children had no effect in causing a dramatic increase of children being handed over to international drug cartels to be smuggled in here illegally?” (The administration’s count of DACA recipients is approximately 560,000.)
Johnson said that unaccompanied minors arriving today would not qualify for DACA and that the violence in Central America was the main motivator for the mass exodus. Deferred action applies only to people who came to the United States prior to June 2007, he added.
Cruz called the argument a red herring, and said while violence might explain the increase in Central American immigration overall, it does not explain the unaccompanied minors.
According to an April 2014 report by the United Nations, Honduras has the world's highest rate of homicide, while the Central American countries of Belize, El Salvador and Nicaragua ranked third, fourth and fifth, respectively.
Benghazi Terror Phone Calls
A new report from FOX News sheds more light on the Benghazi Terror Attacks. According to FOX, U.S. spy agencies were able to intercept phone calls from the terrorists to their leaders to report on the operation.
The terrorists who attacked the U.S. consulate and CIA annex in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 used cell phones, seized from State Department personnel during the attacks, and U.S. spy agencies overheard them contacting more senior terrorist leaders to report on the success of the operation, multiple sources confirmed to Fox News.
The disclosure is important because it adds to the body of evidence establishing that senior U.S. officials in the Obama administration knew early on that Benghazi was a terrorist attack, and not a spontaneous protest over an anti-Islam video that had gone awry, as the administration claimed for several weeks after the attacks.
Eric Stahl, who recently retired as a major in the U.S. Air Force, served as commander and pilot of the C-17 aircraft that was used to transport the corpses of the four casualties from the Benghazi attacks – then-U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, information officer Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods – as well as the assault’s survivors from Tripoli to the safety of an American military base in Ramstein, Germany.
In an exclusive interview on Fox News’ “Special Report,” Stahl said members of a CIA-trained Global Response Staff who raced to the scene of the attacks were “confused” by the administration’s repeated implication of the video as a trigger for the attacks, because “they knew during the attack…who was doing the attacking.” Asked how, Stahl told anchor Bret Baier: “Right after they left the consulate in Benghazi and went to the [CIA] safehouse, they were getting reports that cell phones, consulate cell phones, were being used to make calls to the attackers' higher ups.”
A separate U.S. official, one with intimate details of the bloody events of that night, confirmed the major’s assertion. The second source, who requested anonymity to discuss classified data, told Fox News he had personally read the intelligence reports at the time that contained references to calls by terrorists – using State Department cell phones captured at the consulate during the battle – to their terrorist leaders. The second source also confirmed that the security teams on the ground received this intelligence in real time.
Major Stahl was never interviewed by the Accountability Review Board, the investigative panel convened, pursuant to statute, by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as the official body reviewing all the circumstances surrounding the attacks and their aftermath. Many lawmakers and independent experts have criticized the thoroughness of the ARB, which also never interviewed Clinton nor the under secretary of State for management, Patrick Kennedy, a key figure in the decisions about security at the consulate in the period preceding the attack there.
In his interview on “Special Report,” Stahl made still other disclosures that add to the vast body of literature on Benghazi – sure to grow in the months ahead, as a select House committee prepares for a comprehensive probe of the affair, complete with subpoena power. Stahl said that when he deposited the traumatized passengers at Ramstein, the first individual to question the CIA security officers was not an FBI officer but by the senior State Department diplomat on the ground.
“They were taken away from the airplane,” Stahl said. “The U.S. ambassador to Germany [Philip D. Murphy] met us when we landed and he took them away because he wanted to debfrief them that night.” Murphy stepped down as ambassador last year. A message left with Sky Blue FC, a private company in New Jersey with which Murphy is listed online as an executive officer, was not immediately returned.
Stahl also contended that given his crew’s alert status and location, they could have reached Benghazi in time to have played a role in rescuing the victims of the assault, and ferrying them to safety in Germany, had they been asked to do so. “We were on a 45-day deployment to Ramstein air base,” he told Fox News. “And we were there basically to pick up priority missions, last-minute missions that needed to be accomplished.”
“You would've thought that we would have had a little bit more of an alert posture on 9/11,” Stahl added. “A hurried-up timeline probably would take us [an] hour-and-a-half to get off the ground and three hours and fifteen minutes to get down there. So we could've gone down there and gotten them easily.”
Other Top Stories:
These and many more topics coming up on today’s edition of The Chad Hasty Show. Tune in mornings 8:30-11am on News/Talk 790 KFYO, streaming online at kfyo.com, and now on your iPhone and Android device with the radioPup App. All guest interviews can be heard online in our podcast section after the show at kfyo.com.