By Lauri B. Regan
President Obama began releasing illegal aliens with criminal records from the early days of his presidency and well before the
sequester that he used as an excuse for doing so. Despite Obama’s misrepresentation to the American people that these criminals were not dangerous, tens of thousands of illegal immigrants, many with violent criminal records, have been released from jail including illegals “charged with kidnapping, sexual assault, drug trafficking and homicide.” A House Judiciary Committee report revealed that between 2009-2011, the Obama administration released criminal illegal aliens who were later charged with 19 murders, three attempted murders and 142 sex crimes. Kathryn Steinle’s murder last summer by an illegal alien with seven prior felony convictions was inevitable.
The administration often justifies its actions by claiming it is required to do so by law. However, given Obama’s penchant for unconstitutionally seizing legislative authority, he could easily have issued an executive order preventing the release of these violent criminals into the population-at-large. Instead, his power grabs are reserved for granting illegal immigrants amnesty and limiting law-abiding Americans’ ability to purchase guns -- while ignoring the welfare of the citizenry.
Coming from the man who has admitted Muslim immigrants by the hundreds of thousands annually and who is obsessed with increasing those already staggering numbers with tens of thousands of Syrian refugees (despite terrorists hiding among them), these policies are not surprising. But, they are no less scary and this past week the administration hit a new low.
First recall the Beau Bergdahl fiasco. Obsessed with closing Guantanamo Bay, Obama began releasing dangerous detainees almost immediately upon entering office. Ignoring the threat that these terrorists pose, Obama jumped at the opportunity to trade the Taliban Five for traitor Beau Bergdahl. Deceiving the American people, Obama used Bergdahl’s parents as props in his Rose Garden victory speech ignoring the minor detail that Bergdahl was a deserter who placed his entire platoon in jeopardy. Just like his announcements that Benghazi was caused by a video and the Iran nuclear deal will prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, Obama lied to Americans understanding the complicit media would fail to vet his actions. He shipped the Taliban Five to Qatar for one year of “supervision” before allowing them to reunite with their murdering colleagues and resume their terrorist activities – as they are now doing.
Fast forward to last month when Obama renewed efforts to close Gitmo and announced the upcoming release of 17 detainees. In a must read Wall Street Journal column, Stephen F. Hayes and Thomas Joscelyn explained the dangers of releasing Gitmo detainees, 75% of whom are deemed “high risk” (“likely to pose a threat to the US, its interests and allies”) and why Obama’s faux claims that Gitmo serves as a recruitment tool are simply false
Nearly 200 former detainees have returned to jihad or are suspected of having done so, and they include senior leaders of al Qaeda and the Taliban.
In a quest to burnish his record by fulfilling a campaign promise to close Guantanamo, President Obama is courting a dangerous legacy.
Not wanting the Iranians to feel left out that al Qaeda and the Taliban are getting their murderers back (whom our brave military personnel risked their lives to capture), Obama just released Iranian prisoners as part of a cynical deal to bring home Americans that Iran has been holding for years. This was not a “prisoner swap” -- the Americans had not broken any laws -- they were hostages. And despite administration claims that the timing was purely coincidental, it was anything but, with one journalist proclaiming, “the administration pulled an ace from its sleeve.”
Aaron David Miller observed
I disagree with Miller’s conclusion. This episode shows the cynicism of the Obama administration believing that by orchestrating this exchange, Americans won’t notice the $150 billion released that will help Iran rebuild its military, expand its regional hegemon and global terrorism, and wreak havoc far and wide. Obama knew the media would cover the release rather than Iran’s continued support of Assad and Hezb’allah, ballistic missile tests, firing rockets at a U.S. aircraft carrier, and kidnapping and humiliation of U.S. sailors.
Obama knowingly used American hostages as pawns in a dangerous game. The timing of the exchange was planned in order to direct attention away from the horrific terms of the deal and portray Obama as some sort of diplomatic Svengali outmaneuvering the Mullahs. It was wholly predictable and I suggested as much over the summer.
While we celebrate the return of American citizens, we cannot ignore the fact that seven dangerous Iranians were released and the arrest warrants of 14 others were rescinded. Of the 21 Iranian criminals, two are heads of the IRGC air force used to supply Assad and Hezb’allah. According to Democrat Brad Sherman, “The seven people being released from American custody will provide Iran with significant expertise in how to evade missile and nuclear control sanctions and how not to get caught next time.”
Furthermore, Obama sent a message to the world that the U.S. will negotiate with terrorists and pay for the release of hostages (in addition to the $150 billion, Oman paid Iran $500,000 for each of the Americans and, in a sudden settlement of a decades-old claim, Obama paid Iran an additional $1.7 billion). That message was received loud and clear by Iran, the regime with a thirty- year record of taking American hostages. The day after the “prisoner swap,” three Americans were kidnapped in Baghdad presumably by Shiite militias with ties to Iran.
Obama’s disdain for the world’s Jewish population was also on full display this week. The one Iranian hostage who was not released was Robert Levinson, an American Jew working for the CIA who has been missing for eight years. Josef Olmert observed:
Obama also pressured Interpol to end the prosecution of 14 Iranian terrorists accused in the 1994 bombing of the Argentine Jewish Center in Buenos Aires. In Obama’s eyes, Jewish lives don’t matter.
So implementation day has come and gone and what does America get in return for providing Iran $150 billion, freed criminals, a strengthened economy, and a clear path to a nuclear weapon? We get a heightened risk of terror at home and abroad and national security risks for years to come. And according to the Foundation of Defense of Democracies’ Mark Dubowitz, we will get war:
negotiations, and negotiated in secret, developed positively as the nuclear talks progressed and ultimately overshadowed implementation of the controversial accord. The episode shows the difficulty of separating the deal on Iran’s nuclear program from its other activities.