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Sen. Cruz: We Must Address Our National Security Threats With Sobriety and Urgency

Discusses danger posed by the Muslim Brotherhood, IRGC, and a nuclear North Korea at ACT for America briefing; receives the 2017 National Security Eagle Award

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) today delivered remarks at the ACT for America National Security Legislative Briefing, where he accepted the 2017 National Security Eagle Award. There, Sen. Cruz discussed various national security threats facing the United States including the Muslim Brotherhood, the IRGC, and a nuclear North Korea.

“You know, it is a sad statement that the process of speaking the truth is deemed a radical act,” Sen. Cruz said. “The process of calling a terrorist a terrorist is somehow radical and extreme. I live in a very simple world, where truth, is truth, is truth. I commend the men and women here for a dedication to truth, to defending our nation and to seeing clear-eyed the enemies that would do us harm.”

A complete transcript of Sen. Cruz’s remarks are below, and a video of his remarks may be viewed here.

“Good morning. Thank you very much for the wonderful reception. Thank you for the great work y’all do each and every day. I understand that this conference has generated a little bit of controversy and you have attracted the attention of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Given the sorry record of that Leftist institution of targeting groups that have the temerity not to be bound by political correctness and to speak out the truth despite PC orthodoxy, let me commend you - if they’re coming after you, you’re probably doing something right.

“You know, it is a sad statement that the process of speaking the truth is deemed a radical act. The process of calling a terrorist a terrorist is somehow radical and extreme. I live in a very simple world, where truth, is truth, is truth. And I commend the men and women here for a dedication to truth, to defending our nation and to seeing clear eyed the enemies that would do us harm.

“I want to talk about three different groups that pose significant threats to the United States of America. The first is the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood should be marginalized not legitimized. One critical source of inspiration for radical Islamic terrorism is the Muslim Brotherhood, whose ultimate mission is the spread of Islamic law and governance, and govern with Sharia Law by force if need be, to all corners of the earth. The Brotherhood’s influence is far-reaching, stretching all the way into the United States. The Brotherhood is not some “moderate group” that the U.S. should welcome with open arms, but it is an organization firmly committed to violent jihad as explained explicitly in its charter.

“It is reflected not only in the fact that the Palestinian terrorist organization, Hamas, is formally affiliated with the Brotherhood. It is also reflected in the Brotherhood’s motto, which includes the exhortation that “jihad is our way” and “dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.” This is how they are self identifying. This is what they are telling us they want to do.

“The U.S. has officially listed individual members, branches, and charities of the Muslim Brotherhood as terrorists, including Hamas, al Qaeda, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, but it has not designated the organization as a whole. The intent of the Brotherhood is stated quite candidly within its “Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Brotherhood in North America.” It reads as follows, “The process of settlement is a Civilization-Jihad process…The Ikhwan, Muslim Brotherhood, must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and ‘sabotaging’ its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believer.” That is from a document entitled “ The Explanatory Memorandum on their Strategic Goal of North America.”

“Now, if I were a member of the Obama Administration I might say, “Well who could know what their strategic goal in North America is? We can’t possibly know, how can we judge?” So they very conveniently wrote it down for us. If you are too dimwitted to figure out that giving money to a bunch of lunatics that want to kill is a pretty strong sign of not having kind intentions, they wrote it down for us. As a general principle, when people come and say their objective is to “eliminate and destroy your civilization from within and sabotage your miserable house,” these ain’t your buddies. What does it say about Washington D.C. that anything but blazingly obvious.

“It’s why I have introduced legislation that calls on the State Department to formally designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a foreign terrorist organization. It’s important to recognize that the Muslim Brotherhood, despite their claims, does not represent the entire Muslim community, indeed they antagonize and threaten it. And I would encourage non-profit organizations and others that are focused on enhancing dialog with Muslims, to explicitly denounce the Muslim Brotherhood and their expressed campaign and jihad against the United States of America. 

“A second terrorist organization is the IRGC. The Islamic Republic of Iran is one of the world’s leading state sponsors of terror. And the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the IRGC, serves as both a military and economic stronghold for Iran. The IRGC is responsible for exporting Iran’s radical ideology and subsidizing terror across the globe.

“The U.S. Treasury Department has designated the IRGC-Quds Force for its involvement in terrorism, but the State Department has yet to take action.

“As a result of the foolhardy and dangerous Obama-Iran nuclear deal, IRGC-owned and affiliated companies have greater access to the global financial system, which in turn lends increased economic support to IRGC’s terrorist activities. In fact, Iran has quadrupled its financial support to Hezbollah to $800 million a year. Aren’t we glad we flew a billion and a half dollars in cash, in unmarked bills, in cargo planes, in the middle of the night?

“By the way, let’s go back to the blazingly obvious. Imagine you are selling your house. You’re selling your house, the buyer comes and says alright I’m going to buy your house but I’m not going to get a mortgage and I am not even going to pay in checks. I’ve got a couple of duffle bags out in the trunk of $20’s, rolled up with rubber bands. Do you mind if I pay for your house with these duffle bags full of cash? Now let me ask you, just using the ordinary human safety alert - would that set off some bells? Listen here Tony Montana - a couple of Scarface fans here - okay in this analogy the Obama Administration is the drug dealer.

“The only way to mitigate the damage that Iran and IRGC is doing is to place the IRGC as a whole on the Foreign Terrorist Organization list, which will signal to the U.S. and foreign financial institutions and companies that if you do business with the IRGC, you will be held liable. Any effort that allows financing to flow to the IRGC is an effort that is directly financing terror.

“I am grateful the initiative that I introduced was included in a comprehensive sanctions package passed earlier this year, the Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act, which recognizes the IRGC as independent of the Quds Force, and requires the President to impose sanctions on the IRGC and its affiliates. And we need to pressure our allies to adopt the same strategy and hold the regime accountable.

“Both of these bills that I have introduced would greatly advance the cause of defending this nation against radical Islamic terrorism. This potent threat to our civilization has intensified over the past decade, due to the willful blindness of the Obama Administration. The politically correct policies that hamper our safety and security.

“Indeed, in the previous Congress I chaired a hearing on the willful blindness of the Obama Administration to the threat of radical Islam. We heard testimony from a number of witnesses including a whistleblower at the Department of Homeland Security who described how over 800 documents at DHS had been either deleted or altered to remove reference to Muslim Brotherhood, to Islam, to jihad. And that they did so at the explicit request of the Obama White House that demanded that they “purge.” And purge was the word the White House used, purge their records of those references.

“You know we all remember the terror attack in Orlando. The horrific terror attack in Orlando where that terrorist called 911 and pledged his allegiance to ISIS, pledged his allegiance to al Baghdadi. Got it on tape on 911. You want to know what willful blindness is? The Department of Justice released that tape and excised that portion, edited it out. Just never mind, nothing to see here. And then the then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch had the audacity to say, ‘We may never know why he committed this terrorist attack.” It’s not like he picked up the phone, called 911 and told us in a recording, “I am doing this because I am pledging allegiance to ISIS.” Willful blindness is dangerous.

“Lastly, yet another terrorist threat we face apart from that of radical Islam, is the threat of a nuclear North Korea and the danger posed by that rogue nation. In 28 days, the Department of State faces a critical decision that will significantly impact our relations with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. The Iran-Russia-North Korea sanctions bill enacted in August included within it legislation that I introduced, requiring the Secretary of State to decide whether to once again list North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. I hope that the State Department will once and for all take this critical step.

“Given North Korea's unspeakable treatment of Otto Warmbier, its assassination of Kim Jong-nam with chemical weapons on foreign soil, its collusion with Iran to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, its targeting of American movie companies for cyberattacks and threatening businesses with “9/11-like attacks,” its support of Syria's chemical weapons program, its arms sales to Hezbollah and Hamas, and its numerous attempts to assassinate Korean dissidents in exile, this decision should be an easy one. In fact, most Americans could be forgiven for wondering, “How the heck is North Korea not already designated as a state sponsor of terror?”

“And the answer is revealed. The truth is they used to be. The story behind our decision to remove that designation nearly ten years ago is the key to understanding not only why the United States needs to relist Pyongyang immediately, but also the mindset we need to adopt if we are to achieve our longstanding aspiration to denuclearize North Korea and to see regime change of Kim Jong-un losing power. 

“On February 13, 2007, the same year that Israel destroyed a plutonium reactor in Syria built with Pyongyang’s assistance - that would be another hint as to what they’re doing - the State Department inked a deal with North Korea in pursuit of a grand bargain. In exchange for Pyongyang's promise of eventual denuclearization, Washington would initiate steps toward establishing full diplomatic recognition of the North Korean regime. Standing in the way of completing this deal, however, was a decision Ronald Reagan made nearly twenty years prior. In response to North Korean agents hijacking a plane and killing 115 passengers and crewmembers in 1987, the Reagan administration designated North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism. Aside from many stringent limitations, this imposes on any state - restricted export licenses, freezing loans to the central government, and strict regulation of financial transactions - the label serves as a formal indication from the United States that any positive development of the nuclear relations is contingent on the regime stopping financing and supporting terror. Moreover, it sends a message to any nation working with a designated state that America is closely watching their actions as well. 

“All this was understood at the time, the State Department elected to delist North Korea in 2008 in hopes of achieving a negotiated settlement. In doing so, the United States fell back yet again to an ineffective pattern of failing to deal with rogue regimes.

“When North Korea reneged on its promise to forego nuclear weapons earlier - in the early 1990s, Bill Clinton authored the "Agreed Framework" that paved Pyongyang's path to the bomb. When Kim Jong-Il revealed North Korea's nuclear pursuit and withdrew from the Non Proliferation Treaty in 2003, President Bush pushed for the China-led Six Party Talks to bring North Korea back to the table. When North Korea tested its second nuclear weapon in 2009, President Obama opted for "strategic patience" which is foggy bottom speak for “not doing a damn thing,” to see if time would ameliorate the hermit kingdom's atomic ambitions. Three subsequent nuclear tests under his tenure encapsulate the misguided legacy of our longstanding pursuit of a bargain with Pyongyang.

“It is time to admit the uncomfortable truth that North Korea is never going to be interested in negotiating away its nuclear deterrent. Of course, we should continue to leave the door open for discussions if the situation changes - if a safe happens to fall on Kim Jong-un - but the United States government does our citizens – and the world – a disservice if it continually discounts the centrality of nuclear weapons to the Kim regime.

“They are not to North Korea a mere insurance policy for survival. They are a means to a more sweeping end: a reunification of the peninsula on Pyongyang's terms, under the dark cloak of Communist oppression. And to achieve this, we must seriously consider the possibility that Kim Jong-un is preparing to use nuclear weapons to drive American forces out of South Korea and politically coerce Seoul – even at the risk of fighting a limited nuclear war. 

“The United States must approach the North Korean crisis with sobriety and urgency. The Trump administration has the opportunity to join both houses of Congress in acknowledging the truth about North Korea and using it to open new opportunities to maximize pressure. 

“Among North Korea’s many significant forms of illicit financing are foreign slave labor and money laundering with its embassies as fronts. By exporting its own citizens to work abroad in life-threatening conditions with no protection or care, North Korea reaps, by some estimates, billions of dollars a year. Even its global embassy network, is used by Pyongyang to commit white-collar crime to evade sanctions. In nations ranging from Africa to Europe, North Korean diplomats exploit their consular posts to launder money for their Party overlords at the expense of international communities.

“By relisting North Korea, these nations would now face a significant decision: is continuing diplomatic and economic relations with a state that uses diplomacy and finance to export and foment terror in their national interests?

“We must tell the truth about the dangerous ambitions of North Korea and once again list that nation as a state sponsor of terror, a move that only strengthens our hand and weakens that of Kim Jong-un. Now is the time to act, on our terms, before Kim Jong-un forces us to act on his. I strongly urge the State Department to seize this opportunity and to follow the legislation that Congress has passed, and list North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism.

“And I commend the men and women gathered here for having the courage to simply speak the truth. In a time of darkness, light is powerful. In a time of lies, truth is powerful. And the truth, I believe, will set us free.”