Wednesday, October 22, 2014

GOP Senate Candidate's Ad On ISIS Uses Footage From ISIS Propaganda Film

The Tom Cotton about national security and ISIS uses some footage from a 55-minute, graphic propaganda film the militant group put out in September.

An ad from Republican Arkansas Senate candidate Tom Cotton about his military experience and national security issues uses footage from an ISIS propaganda video as B-roll.

Cotton's ad, "Decisions," which came out on Oct. 13, highlights the "tough decisions" Cotton would have to make as a senator about ISIS, the militant group that controls parts of Syria and Iraq, and cites Cotton's work as an Army Ranger.

The ad about ISIS uses footage directly from the group — a 55-minute long ISIS video, "Flames of War," which was professionally made and features graphic content that includes a mass execution of a group of men who fall into a ditch.

"In the Middle East, radical terrorists are on the march, destabilizing our allies, beheading Americans, and crucifying Christians," says Cotton in the ad. "President Obama admits he underestimated them. We need a senator who will hold the president accountable and make America safer. I made tough decisions as an Army Ranger in Iraq. I'll make them again as your senator."

Cotton's campaign hasn't responded to request for comment.

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U.S. Government Watching Ottawa Developments, Not Increasing Threat Level

President Obama has been briefed, but the threat level across most of the federal government has not been changed.

Armed RCMP officers approach Parliament Hilll following a shooting incident in Ottawa October 22, 2014.

Chris Wattie / Reuters

WASHINGTON — United States officials are monitoring the situation following the shootings at a Canadian parliament building in Ottawa Wednesday.

Early reports that various parts of the federal government are stepping up their security posture appeared to be either overstated or were not able to be confirmed.

President Obama was briefed by one of his top national security aides, Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco, on the situation, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters. Earnest said he was not aware of any government agency increasing its security posture amid the news from Ottawa.

President Obama on the phone with Prime Minister Stephen Harper and "condemned these outrageous attacks, and reaffirmed the close friendship and alliance between our people," according to a statement from the White House. "The President offered any assistance Canada needed in responding to these attacks. Prime Minister Harper thanked the President and the two leaders discussed the assault and agreed to continue coordination between our governments moving forward."

The Secret Service did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the security posture at the White House, but other government agencies indicated the Canadian shootings had not led to an increase in security on the American side of the border.

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John McCain: Pentagon Spokesman Admiral Kirby An "Idiot"

“This idiot Admiral Kirby was asked, I think yesterday, that said, ‘John McCain says that we are losing, what do you say?’ The guy, you gotta run it, you gotta run it. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. I mean, it’s amazing.”

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Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain does not have a high opinion of Pentagon press secretary Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby. Speaking with North Carolina conservative talk radio last week, McCain said Kirby was an "idiot."

"It's the most amazing thing. It's the most amazing thing," McCain said on the Tyler Cralle Show on 980 WAAV-AM last week. "The spin and the lies out of this White House. I mean, it's unbelievable."

"This idiot Admiral Kirby was asked, I think yesterday, that said, 'John McCain says that we are losing, what do you say?' The guy, you gotta run it, you gotta run it. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. Blah. I mean, it's amazing."

Here's the transcript of the exchange with Admiral Kirby at a Pentagon press conference McCain was responding to:

Q: What would you say about Sen. McCain's assessment that IS, the Islamic State, is winning and that the U.S.-led coalition is not?

REAR ADM. KIRBY: Well, I'm not going to -- I would just tell you that we believe that -- let me put it this way. It's going to be a long fight. It's going to be difficult. There's going to be setbacks. There's going to be wins, and there's going to be losses.

The -- we're mindful of the complicated nature of this. And we're also very mindful of the fact that -- and I've said it before -- military power, military action is not going to be decisive in and of itself. It's just not going to work that way.

But the situation changes every day. And so I'm not going to qualify who's winning or who's losing today. This is -- this -- the strategy is still sound, but you don't judge the success of a strategy based on a day or a week or even several weeks.

We are -- we believe -- and we've said it before -- that we're in this -- we all need to be in this for a matter of years. And for us after just a couple of months going at it, we've only been doing airstrikes since August 8th, to -- to make a decisive, you know, statement that we're winning or losing -- well, I can tell you is that there are -- there are areas where we are having success. We have definitely made it harder for ISIL to sustain itself and to operate. They are continuing to feel the pressure, which is one of the reasons why we think they're going after Kobani so badly.

I mean, I think part of it is they really want a win, because they're not getting a win everywhere. They are getting pressured inside Iraq. The Iraqi security forces are stiffening themselves around Baghdad, and Baghdad remains secure.

So it's a mixed picture, Phil. I mean, I don't mean to ramble, but it's a mixed picture. And I don't think it's -- I don't think it's militarily -- because I can't speak for, you know, other elements of the government, but, I mean, I'd say, from a military perspective, it does no one any service to try to, you know, make a call on any given day.

We know we're having some success. We know we're making progress. But it's going to take a long time. And just as readily, I'll say there's going to be days, there's going to be moments where we're set back, and not just -- and when I say we, I mean the big we, and not just the United States, but our coalition partners and -- and that includes Iraqi security forces.

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