Debra Burlingame

Debra Burlingame on Obama saying Islamic State is ‘not Islamic’: I think he knows better

On September 11, 2014, Debra Burlingame spoke with Ginni Thomas (hat tip to the Daily Caller) about President Obama’s claim that the ideology driving the Islamic State (“ISIL”) is “not Islamic.”

“I can’t really enter the mind of Barack Obama or George Bush to know what they really know and what they really believe. I only know what the facts are. I only know that in fact just because they’re violent doesn’t mean they are not a religion. And in fact there are some fifty different descriptions of violent jihad in the Koran.

“Not only that, the Koran goes into gross detail on how to dispatch an infidel, striking at the throat, cutting off the hands and the feet. And remember this isn’t something we interpret — some people say the bible is an allegory — these are the perfect words of Allah that transcend all time and space, and in fact to say Allah didn’t actually mean what he said through the prophet Mohammed in that moment is blasphemy under Islam.

“To say its not a religion, I think [Obama] knows better. I can’t possibly know that. I know that he has invited the Muslim Brotherhood into his administration and consults with them regularly. Well, the Muslim Brotherhood is the political wing of violent Islamist Islam. The Muslim Brotherhood absolutely believes in a global caliphate.”

Watch the interview here.

Updated March 15, 2018.

Debra Burlingame on Benghazi, War on Terror, and Obamacare, guest hosting for Tammy Bruce

Debra Burlingame filled in yesterday for the vacationing Tammy Bruce and interviewed a great lineup of guests. After first providing her perspective of the War on Terror since 9/11, Debra spoke with John Rosenthal, author of The Jihadist Plot: The Untold Story of Al-Qaeda and the Libyan Rebellion. Why did Benghazi happen? In Libya, President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton switched sides:

Bill Roggio, Managing Editor of the Long War Journal, joined Debra to talk about the current state of the war. Is al Qaeda on the run? No, but that does not fit the Obama administration’s narrative:

Betsy McCaughey, former Lieutenant Governor of New York and the author of Beating Obamacare; Your Handbook for the New Healthcare Law, was next up. Repealing or modifying Obamacare will take an act of Congress and the President’s signature. What do you need to do to survive until (if ever) that happens?

Diana West, syndicated columnist and the author of American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character, talked about the past 80 years of betrayal by our government. We won World II and the Cold War? Listen, read Diana’s book, and think again:

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Debra Burlingame: The 9/11 Memorial Museum Held Hostage

This is my op-ed as it appeared today in the Wall Street Journal, with additional photos and links added.

Debra Burlingame: The 9/11 Memorial Museum Held Hostage
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey demands more money from a charitable foundation before it will finish construction.
By DEBRA BURLINGAME

Wednesday, May 30 marks 10 years since the recovery operation at the World Trade Center site officially ended. On that day, the “Last Column,” a 37-foot, 58-ton section of structural steel, was draped with an American flag and escorted from the site by an honor guard in a solemn ceremony that left grown men weeping.

The beam had become a sacred totem after the remains of three New York City firefighters from Squad 41 were found near its base. Recovery workers covered it with memorials to the dead: photographs, decals and hand-scrawled tributes: “FDNY 343,” “PAPD 37,” “NYPD 23,” the numbers of those killed from the city’s first responder departments.

During the recovery operation, ironworkers, heavy-equipment operators and others in the construction trades removed 1.8 million tons of twisted steel and concrete, heaped seven stories high; the Last Column’s silent, enduring presence was a solemn tribute to the best of humanity. It was brought back to the World Trade Center site in August 2009, where it will be viewed by millions when the National September 11 Memorial Museum opens.


The ‘Last Column’ is removed from Ground Zero in a ceremony on May 2002. AP/Navy photo

Yet the museum opening, which was on track for Sept. 11, 2012, has now been delayed indefinitely. The final phase of construction ground to a halt last year in a public dispute over funding between the builder, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, and the nonprofit foundation that raised the money for the project. Lamentably, the two governors involved in this drama, New Jersey’s Chris Christie and New York’s Andrew Cuomo, have done nothing to stop the Port Authority’s shameless gambit to squeeze more money out of a charity to which 900,000 mostly small donors have contributed.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey is the bi-state agency that owns the land and lobbied heavily for the federally funded, multibillion-dollar job of rebuilding the 16-acre site. It claims that the National September 11 Memorial & Museum Foundation owes the agency $157 million more than the $530 million cost cap the agency itself agreed to in 2006. The Port Authority has not publicly stated any basis as to why it is owed additional money.

The Port Authority, run by a powerful group of politically connected bureaucrats, has long been accused of cronyism, mismanagement and waste. Last December, Gov. Christie announced that he was initiating a $2 million independent audit of the agency’s accounting. This came in the wake of a public outcry over the PA’s unilateral decision in August 2011 to raise bridge and tunnel tolls by 50%.

As Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D., N.J.) said, “There is something wrong when it costs $12 to cross a bridge in America.” He has joined Rep. Michael Grimm (R., N.Y.) in calling for federal oversight of the Authority “to make sure toll revenue is being used appropriately, and not going to fund excessive salaries or political patronage jobs.”

There are grounds for the charge. In November 2011, the Record newspaper in Bergen County, N.J., reported on the basis of public records that the Port Authority was giving 100 of its highest-paid employees secret bonuses totaling $2 million a year, beginning in 2008, at the height of the recession.

And in July, New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli issued a scathing report revealing that the Port Authority paid $85 million in overtime costs to 5,360 of its 6,900 employees in 2010. Three hundred and forty-seven employees received more than 50% of their base salary in overtime. According to the report, in 2009 the agency spent $52 million on overtime, and the basis for the top overtime earners could not be supported with written records.

Mr. DiNapoli also noted that the Port Authority authorized $4.38 billion in service contracts from 2006 to 2009. In a random sample of 75 of those contracts valued at $1.3 billion, according to the report, the agency lacked written support for 57 of them, valued at $1.18 billion. The Port Authority’s in-your-face response to Mr. DiNapoli’s report was that the overtime business model works just fine.

Perhaps the most trenchant description of the Port Authority’s method of doing business was outlined in an Oct. 19, 2011, op-ed in the New York Post by the PA’s former executive director (1995-97), George J. Marlin. In an open letter of advice to Gov. Cuomo’s newly appointed executive director, Patrick Foye, Mr. Marlin urged Mr. Foye to reject Port Authority bureaucrats’ cost estimates and construction timetables on new projects. He said they are deliberately lowballed to get approval.

Once construction starts and millions are spent, Mr. Marlin said, subsequent cost “overruns” are the norm. He called the PATH train terminal at Ground Zero a “perfect example of PA staff conniving.” Originally estimated to cost $1.8 billion in federal money, the 800,000 square foot terminal has ballooned to an astronomical $3.4 billion and rising.

In January of this year, Gov. Cuomo raised the specter of a lawsuit by the Port Authority against the Memorial & Museum Foundation regarding its $157 million claim. The governor surely knows that litigating the dispute in court could entail years of delay, jacking up construction costs in excess of the amount that the agency is demanding.

In the meantime, millions of Americans would have to wait while a government agency pursued its extortionate demand through the courts. And this from the same governor who issued a commemorative “We Remember” flag to be flown statewide for the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

Yet this is the Port Authority way: Abrogate the contract, shut down work, then make an offer the other side can’t refuse. The foundation’s CEO, Joe Daniels, wants to resolve the dispute in a manner that moves the project forward. The 2006 contract provides for fast-track mediation. But Mr. Daniels told me that a Port Authority board member warned him in a heated telephone conversation last October, “Go ahead and do it [request mediation] that way and we’ll see how long it takes to get your museum built.”

The Port Authority should be reminded that this isn’t Mr. Daniels’s museum. It belongs to the public, funded in part by federal tax dollars appropriated by Congress to show the world that America isn’t beaten. It belongs to private donors who have supported the project because they believe that future generations should be taught about this attack on the country, and how it changed the world.

Govs. Christie and Cuomo have made significant strides confronting fiscal challenges in their respective states. It is time for them to exert leadership and direct their political appointees to fulfill the PA’s contractual obligations, restore the public trust and complete the construction of this vital national treasure.

Ms. Burlingame is a member of the board of directors of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum Foundation. Her brother, Charles F. Burlingame III, was the pilot of American Airlines flight 77, which was hijacked and crashed at the Pentagon on 9/11.

Debra Burlingame: The TSA is inept; We Must Assure Our Skies Are Both Safe and Friendly

This was first published on April 20, 2012 as my Letter to the Editor of the Wall Street Journal.

Kip Hawley, the Transportation Security Administration’s former administrator, fails to acknowledge a November 2011 congressional report documenting that the TSA has become a bloated, 65,000-person bureaucracy larger than the departments of Labor, Energy, Education, Housing and Urban Development, and State, combined (“Why Airport Security Is Broken—And How to Fix It,” Review, April 14). It has spent $57 billion since 2002, $2.7 billion of which was spent on training. Yet half of the people it has hired and trained have left the agency. With the highest attrition rate among the federal work force, the TSA has resorted to placing employment ads in the Washington, D.C., area on pizza boxes and over the pumps at discount gas stations.

The report notes that 25,000 security breaches have taken place at U.S. airports since 9/11. According to the Government Accountability Office, 17 known terrorists have flown on U.S. carriers on 24 occasions, including traveling through eight airports where behavior-detection officers are deployed—a program that has spent $800 million since 2007 and will cost $1.2 billion more over the next five years. While not one terrorist has been spotted, the TSA has justified the expense by citing the discovery of passengers involved in common crimes, such as credit-card fraud or drug smuggling, resulting in mission creep and the pervasive sense that anyone who approaches the check point is a potential suspect.

After the Christmas Day bombing attempt in 2009, the take-away lesson for the TSA wasn’t that it should be looking for dangerous people instead of dangerous objects. Instead, the agency doubled down, ordering up more invasive body scanners whose manufacturers have reluctantly admitted can’t detect low-density powder hidden behind male genitals. The virtual strip-search photos put out by the TSA depict captured images of hard metal objects, guns and knives, not explosives.

For me, the sad reality is that the TSA has succeeded in accomplishing what Osama bin Laden couldn’t. I now dread the airport. I view the TSA as an inept government agency, which makes complicity in my own humiliation the price I must pay to fly.

Debra Burlingame
New York

Ms. Burlingame is a co-founder of 9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America and the sister of Capt. Charles F. Burlingame, III, pilot of American Airlines Flight 77.

9/11 Families, First Responders to Join with Muslim Coalition in Support of NYPD

Friends:

Recently, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and the NYPD have come under fire for their just pursuit of those who would carry out terrorist attacks in New York City. Among those who are calling for Commissioner Kelly’s resignation is the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a radical organization which counsel’s Muslims not to co-operate with the FBI and advocates the implementation of Sharia law here in America. We believe that CAIR and those who are criticizing the NYPD are engaging in a strategic campaign, under the banner of political correctness, to intimidate others into the silent relinquishment of our right to security.

This coming Monday, March 5th, members of the 9/11 community will stand in solidarity with the American-Islamic Leadership Coalition (AILC) at a press conference at 1 Police Plaza in NYC as they voice their support for Commissioner Kelly and the NYPD. The AILC is a diverse group of more than 20 Muslim leaders and organizations from all over North America who believe in secular government, religious pluralism and freedom of speech. They are standing up for America’s way of life under the U.S Constitution. AILC’s leader, our friend, Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, is a practicing physician who served in the U.S. Navy as a lieutenant commander. The son of Syrian immigrants, Dr. Jasser is a tireless advocate for the American ideal of freedom of conscience and rule of law under the U.S. Constitution.

Please join us at 1 Police Plaza Monday morning at 10am to show your support for the NYPD and to stand with the American-Islamic Leadership Coalition. (see their media advisory below/attached)

Debra Burlingame
Tim Sumner
Co-founders, 9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America
www.911familiesforamerica.org

MEDIA ADVISORY
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MEDIA CONTACT: Gregg Edgar Gordon C. James Public Relations gedgar@gcjpr.com 602-690-7977
American Muslims show support for NYPD counterterrorism programs

American Islamic Leadership Coalition gathers to stand with NYPD in their efforts to counter Muslim radicalization

WHO: American Muslims under the leadership of the The American Islamic Leadership Coalition (AILC), representing over 20 North American Muslim organizations and activists will come together in New York City to demonstrate their support of the New York City Police Department (NYPD). The event will feature remarks from Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, President of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy; Tarek Fatah, Founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress; Manda Zand Ervin, Founder of the Alliance for Iranian Women; C. Holland Taylor, Chairman and CEO of the LibForAll Foundation; and Congressman Peter King (R-NY), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security.

WHAT: A press conference by a diverse, broad based group of American Muslim leaders who have come together to address recent controversies surrounding the counterterrorism programs of the NYPD. The public discourse concerning Muslims and NYPD has been dominated by a perception that American Muslims feel targeted. This press conference will give voice to a large coalition of American Muslims who feel otherwise and reject Islamist representation of their voices. AILC stands with the NYPD in its belief that the best way to fight terror is to identify its roots causes and address them head on.

WHEN:

Monday, March 5, 2012
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.

WHERE:

1 Police Plaza
New York City, NY

MEDIA: Open Press

ABOUT AILC: The American Islamic Leadership Coalition (AILC) is a diverse coalition of liberty-minded, North American Muslim leaders and organizations. AILC’s mission advocates for defending the US Constitution, upholding religious pluralism, protecting American security and cherishing genuine diversity in the faith and practice of Islam. AILC provides a stark alternative to the Islamist organizations that claim to speak for what are diverse American Muslim communities. For more information on AILC, please visit our website at AmericanIslamicLeadership.org

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