Obama uses na­tional se­cu­rity speech to hit Trump views.

Says U.S. must em­brace mus­lims

The Washington Times Daily - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAVE BOYER

In a clear warn­ing shot at Pres­i­dent-elect Don­ald Trump, Pres­i­dent Obama said Tues­day the U.S. can only pro­tect the home­land against ter­ror­ism by em­brac­ing Mus­lims and en­cour­ag­ing a so­ci­ety “that can crit­i­cize a pres­i­dent with­out ret­ri­bu­tion.”

Speak­ing to spe­cial op­er­a­tions troops at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida, Mr. Obama de­liv­ered his fi­nal speech on the war on ter­ror­ism as a thinly veiled re­minder for Mr. Trump about “what we’re fight­ing for.”

“The United States of Amer­ica is not a coun­try that im­poses re­li­gious tests as a price for free­dom,” Mr. Obama said in a ref­er­ence to Mr. Trump’s pro­posal to tem­po­rar­ily ban Mus­lim im­mi­grants. “The United States of Amer­ica is not a place where some ci­ti­zens have to with­stand greater scru­tiny or carry a spe­cial ID card or prove that they’re not an en­emy from within.”

The pres­i­dent said the U.S. must re­main true to its val­ues that “each of us has a re­spon­si­bil­ity to sus­tain the univer­sal right to speak your mind and protest against author­ity, to live in a so­ci­ety that’s open and free, that can crit­i­cize a pres­i­dent with­out ret­ri­bu­tion.”

Ahead of his speech, Mr. Obama is­sued a set of legal guide­lines for us­ing mil­i­tary force in coun­tert­er­ror­ism op­er­a­tions. The 61-page doc­u­ment also seemed to be aimed at Mr. Trump, who has said he’ll al­low the use of tor­ture against ter­ror­ism sus­pects and has sug­gested killing family mem­bers of ter­ror­ists.

Gen. James Mat­tis, Mr. Trump’s nom­i­nee for de­fense sec­re­tary, has ad­vised him against the use of tor­ture.

Mr. Obama de­fended his de­ci­sion to elim­i­nate what the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion called “en­hanced in­ter­ro­ga­tion” and what he called “tor­ture.”

“Over these last eight years, we have demon­strated that stay­ing true to our tra­di­tion as a na­tion of laws ad­vances our se­cu­rity as well as our val­ues,” Mr. Obama said. “We pro­hib­ited tor­ture ev­ery­where at all times, and that in­cludes tac­tics like wa­ter­board­ing. And at no time has any­body who has worked with me told me that do­ing so has cost us good in­tel­li­gence. We can get these ter­ror­ists and stay true to who we are.”

Mr. Trump also has pledged to send more ter­ror­ist de­tainees to the Guan­tanamo Bay prison, a fa­cil­ity that Mr. Obama has tried to close re­peat­edly and is de­pop­u­lat­ing re­gard­less. Mr. Obama said the U.S. is “wast­ing hun­dreds of mil­lions” of dol­lars on Gitmo.

Nau­reen Shah, di­rec­tor of Amnesty In­ter­na­tional USA’s Se­cu­rity with Hu­man Rights pro­gram, said Mr. Obama “made the case for a na­tional se­cu­rity pol­icy that re­spects hu­man dig­nity and hu­man rights.”

“With a pres­i­dent-elect who has en­thu­si­as­ti­cally em­braced wa­ter­board­ing, a spe­cial reg­istry for Mus­lims and ex­pan­sion of in­def­i­nite de­ten­tion at Guan­tanamo, it can­not be over­stated that these legal bound­aries must be drawn — re­peat­edly,” she said.

Mr. Trump and many Repub­li­cans in Con­gress have ac­cused Mr. Obama of tak­ing too soft of an ap­proach to the war on ter­ror, in­clud­ing his re­fusal to ut­ter the phrase “rad­i­cal Is­lamist ex­trem­ism.” Home­land Se­cu­rity Com­mit­tee Chair­man Michael McCaul, Texas Repub­li­can, said Tues­day that the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion “took the pres­sure off” Is­lamist ter­ror­ists.

“For eight years, the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion re­luc­tantly played global whack-a-mole with ter­ror­ists rather than lean­ing into the fight with de­ci­sive lead­er­ship,” Mr. McCaul said. “Be­cause of this, the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion will in­herit a gen­er­a­tional strug­gle that has only got­ten longer.”

Mr. McCaul added that last week’s at­tack by a Mus­lim stu­dent at Ohio State Univer­sity “is fur­ther proof that our home­land re­mains in the crosshairs of Is­lamist ter­ror­ists.”

“Groups like ISIS are rad­i­cal­iz­ing new op­er­a­tives from within our bor­ders, and just this week their new spokesman called for more in­spired at­tacks by sup­port­ers ‘all over the world,’” Mr. McCaul said. “Make no mistake: we face a dead­lier threat than ever be­fore not only be­cause our en­e­mies have got­ten savvier, but be­cause we took the pres­sure off them.”

In his monthly “ter­ror threat snap­shot,” Mr. McCaul said the U.S. has seen a “surge” of homegrown ji­hadi cases, with 115 such at­tacks in 2015 and 2016. Since Sept. 11, 2001, there have been a to­tal of 227 homegrown ter­ror­ist at­tacks, he said.

The Is­lamic State has con­ducted 62 at­tacks this year around the globe, killing 215 and wound­ing 732 from the U.S. to France to Bel­gium, the re­port said. Mr. McCaul said the threat to the U.S. and Europe “will per­sist in 2017, par­tic­u­larly as ji­hadists flee from Mo­sul and Raqqa,” their bases in Iraq and Syria where U.S.-led coali­tion forces are wag­ing mil­i­tary cam­paigns against them.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Pres­i­dent Obama gave the fi­nal ter­ror­ism speech of his pres­i­dency at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida on Tues­day.

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