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Former Obama Aide Ben Rhodes Now a Person of Interest in House Intelligence Committee Unmasking Investigation

Sara A. Carter reports: Former Obama White House National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes is now an emerging as a person of interest in the House Intelligence Committee’s unmasking investigation, according to a letter sent Tuesday by the committee to the National Security Agency (NSA). This adds Rhodes to the growing list of top Obama government officials who may have improperly unmasked Americans in communications intercepted overseas by the NSA, Circa has confirmed.

The House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-CA, sent the letter to the National Security Agency requesting the number of unmaskings made by Rhodes from Jan. 1, 2016 to Jan. 20, 2017, according to congressional sources who spoke with Circa. Rhodes, who worked closely with former National Security Adviser Susan Rice and was a former deputy national security adviser for strategic communications for President Obama, became a focus of the committee during its review of classified information to assess whether laws were broken regarding NSA intercepted communications of President Trump, members of his administration and other Americans before and after the election, according to congressional officials. The committee is requesting that the NSA deliver the information on Rhodes by August, 21.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP FILE - In this Feb. 16, 2016 file photo Deputy National Security Adviser For Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes speaks in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP –  In this Feb. 16, 2016 file photo Deputy National Security Adviser For Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes speaks in the Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)

Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, Rice and former CIA Director John Brennan have all been named in the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the unmasking of Americans. A letter sent last week from Nunes to Dan Coats, the director of National Intelligence, suggested that top Obama aides made hundreds of unmasking requests during the 2016 presidential elections. The story, which was first reported by The Hill last week, stated that the requests were made without specific justifications as to why the unmasking was necessary. Rice and Brennan have confirmed they sought the unredacted names of Americans in NSA-sourced intelligence reports but insisted their requests were routine parts of their work and had no nefarious intentions. Power also has legal authority to unmask officials, though the practice has not reportedly been common for someone in her position. Rhodes also had legal authority to unmask Americans in NSA-source intelligence reports. But intelligence and congressional sources question the extent of the unmasking.

[Read the full story here, at circa.com]

Nunes told Coats in a letter last week that the committee has “found evidence that current and former government officials had easy access to U.S. person information and that it is possible that they used this information to achieve partisan political purposes, including the selective, anonymous leaking of such information.”

Multiple federal law enforcement and intelligence officials told Circa, that requesting an unmasking for intelligence and analytical purposes is something that is done only when the information is absolutely necessary to analyze a specific threat or for other national security purposes. An intelligence source, with direct knowledge of the type of requests made by the Obama aides, said “it’s like hell and high water to fill out and gain approval for these types of unmaskings. It’s something analysts take seriously and could entail filling out 80 pages of paperwork to prove there is a need to unmask. If top officials were unmasking without oversight it’s something everyone should be concerned about and it puts our intelligence community in a very bad place.” Read the rest of this entry »

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This is Where the Government Will Hide During a Nuclear War 

Maybe Doomsday preppers aren’t so crazy after all.

Journalist Garrett Graff takes readers through the 60-year history of the government’s secret Doomsday plans to survive nuclear war in his painstakingly researched book Raven Rock: The Story of the U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself–While the Rest of Us Die (Simon & Schuster), out now.

[Order the book Raven Rock:Story of the U.S. Government’s Secret Plan to Save Itself–While the Rest of Us Die from Amazon.com]

He focuses on the Cold War-era government bunkers across the country that were built to house the President and various Washington elites — members of a so-called “shadow government” in the worst nuclear Armageddon scenario.

Since September 11, 2001, Congress has intensified their interest in and funding of top secret “Continuity of Government” (COG) in ways not seen since the Cold War. With hundreds of newly declassified documents, the book, currently in development with NBC as a TV show, includes never-before-heard intel on the country’s top secret bunkers — mythical places like Raven Rock and Mount Weather.

Here’s the low down on some of these bunkers down below…

Raven Rock

Lillington, NC • For military
Built near Camp David to house the military, as a backup for the Pentagon — and perhaps even the President — during an emergency, Raven Rock has retained an air of secrecy ever since construction started in 1948.

Not that it could remain completely clandestine, given the 300-person team (including miners poached from theLincoln Tunnel dig) who carved a 3,100-foot tunnel out of granite in Raven Rock Mountain near Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania.

“There were very few engineers with the expertise to hollow out a mountain and build, in essence, a free-standing city inside of it. The US government turned to the construction firm Parsons Brinckerhoff, which had developed unique tunneling expertise working on the New York City subway,” Graff told The Post.

Locals caught on and word spread to the media, who dubbed the project “Harry’s Hole,” after President Truman who greenlit the project.

Opened in 1953 and designed “to be the centerpiece of a large military emergency hub,” Raven Rock provided 100,000 feet of office space (not counting, Graff writes, “the corridors, bathrooms, dining facility, infirmary or communications and utilities areas”) that could hold about 1,400 people comfortably. Two sets of 34-ton blast doors and curved 1,000-foot-long tunnels reduce the impact of a bomb blast. The compound has undergone several rounds of upgrades — new buildings were added as well as updated technology and air filtration systems. Read the rest of this entry »


CIA Plane Lands at Wellington Airport Ahead of Five Eyes Meeting 

Chloe Winters reports: Secret agents from one of the most powerful spy agencies in the world may have just touched down in the capital.

What looks to be just another private jet parked at Wellington Airport may in fact be carrying a plane-load of spies who are said to be in the country for a secret meeting in Queenstown.

The tail number – five small, black digits on the back of the plane – reveals the private jet belongs to none other than the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency, also known as the CIA.

SCOTT HAMMOND/FAIRFAX NZ

SCOTT HAMMOND/FAIRFAX NZ

The aircraft’s arrival ties in with a top-secret meeting of the Five Eyes nations in Queenstown.

The plane, with the registration number 10030, was spotted at Wellington Airport on Saturday morning, NewsHub reports. Read the rest of this entry »


TOP FIVE Infuriatingly Ignorant Socialist Quotes From Elizabeth Warren

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Intellectuals and socialism have a long, sordid history

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is a smart cookie, no doubt about it. In fact, she used to vote Republican, so it appears at once she might have had a tiny soft spot for the free market… not that Republicans really believe in a free market either but… forget them, this is about Warren.

Intellectuals and socialism have a long, sordid history. Academics are generally thought to be highly intelligent, so since so many university professors tend to lean left, wouldn’t that mean that socialism is good because smart people back it?

Not so fast.

In “The Intellectuals and Socialism” by F.A. Hayek, the Austrian economist argued that we may be suffering from what’s known as “sample selection bias,” meaning that there are lots of intelligent people who don’t favor socialism, but these people are more likely to find a productive job in the marketplace, rather than join the academy and teach. In other words… in the famous words of polemicist H.L. Mencken: “Those who can, do. Those who can’t, teach.” And don’t forget that “intellect is not wisdom,” from Thomas Sowell.

Let’s see if Liz Warren has any wisdom to offer in accordance with her intellect.

1. “No one in this country should work full time and still live in poverty.”

Poverty is about more than just how many hours you work. It’s about the decisions you make with the money you earn. Poverty isn’t always a choice, but it isn’t always mandatory either. The US federal government uses poverty thresholds to determine which and how many households have pre-tax income which they claim is insufficient to meet minimal food and basic needs. Really it’s about determining who should receive government assistance, but if you only look at these dollar amounts in American figures, you’re not getting a very good picture of what true poverty is on a global scale. You don’t want to be poor in Europe, trust us.

[Read the full story here, at  thelibertarianrepublic.com]

And it’s a complete fallacy that the poor are getting poorer in America. The bottom fifth of U.S. households in 1975 earned $28,000 more in 1991. Not only that, but the poor’s purchasing power has increased. Here in the good old US of A, even poor people have microwaves, smart phones, and a vehicle or two parked in the old dirt road. Some people are poor and happy. Some people aren’t, but here in America, at least poor can be a choice rather than a mandate.

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2. “The federal government will make $ 51 billion in profits off student loans. That’s more than wrong. It’s obscene.”

There’s that old bugaboo word there “profit” again. As if making a profit was a bad thing. Libertarians don’t think the government should be in the student loan business at all. Read the rest of this entry »


The Jacksonian Revolt 

American Populism and the Liberal Order

Walter Russell Mead writes: For the first time in 70 years, the American people have elected a president who disparages the policies, ideas, and institutions at the heart of postwar U.S. foreign policy. No one knows how the foreign policy of the Trump administration will take shape, or how the new president’s priorities and preferences will shift as he encounters the torrent of events and crises ahead. But not since Franklin Roosevelt’s administration has U.S. foreign policy witnessed debates this fundamental.

Since World War II, U.S. grand strategy has been shaped by two major schools of thought, both focused on achieving a stable international system with the United States at the center. Hamiltonians believed that it was in the American interest for the United States to replace the United Kingdom as “the gyroscope of world order,” in the words of President Woodrow Wilson’s adviser Edward House during World War I, putting the financial and security architecture in place for a reviving global economy after World War II—something that would both contain the Soviet Union and advance U.S. interests. When the Soviet Union fell, Hamiltonians responded by doubling down on the creation of a global liberal order, understood primarily in economic terms.

Wilsonians, meanwhile, also believed that the creation of a global liberal order was a vital U.S. interest, but they conceived of it in terms of values rather than economics. Seeing corrupt and authoritarian regimes abroad as a leading cause of conflict and violence, Wilsonians sought peace through the promotion of human rights, democratic governance, and the rule of law. In the later stages of the Cold War, one branch of this camp, liberal institutionalists, focused on the promotion of international institutions and ever-closer global integration, while another branch, neoconservatives, believed that a liberal agenda could best be advanced through Washington’s unilateral efforts (or in voluntary conjunction with like-minded partners).

The disputes between and among these factions were intense and consequential, but they took place within a common commitment to a common project of global order. As that project came under increasing strain in recent decades, however, the unquestioned grip of the globalists on U.S. foreign policy thinking began to loosen. More nationalist, less globally minded voices began to be heard, and a public increasingly disenchanted with what it saw as the costly failures the global order-building project began to challenge what the foreign policy establishment was preaching. The Jeffersonian and Jacksonian schools of thought, prominent before World War II but out of favor during the heyday of the liberal order, have come back with a vengeance.

[Read the full story here, at Foreign Affairs]

Jeffersonians, including today’s so-called realists, argue that reducing the United States’ global profile would reduce the costs and risks of foreign policy. They seek to define U.S. interests narrowly and advance them in the safest and most economical ways. Libertarians take this proposition to its limits and find allies among many on the left who oppose interventionism, want to cut military spending, and favor redeploying the government’s efforts and resources at home. Both Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas seemed to think that they could surf the rising tide of Jeffersonian thinking during the Republican presidential primary. But Donald Trump sensed something that his political rivals failed to grasp: that the truly surging force in American politics wasn’t Jeffersonian minimalism. It was Jacksonian populist nationalism.

The distinctively American populism Trump espouses is rooted in the thought and culture of the country’s first populist president, Andrew Jackson. For Jacksonians—who formed the core of Trump’s passionately supportive base—the United States is not a political entity created and defined by a set of intellectual propositions rooted in the Enlightenment and oriented toward the fulfillment of a universal mission. Rather, it is the nation-state of the American people, and its chief business lies at home. Jacksonians see American exceptionalism not as a function of the universal appeal of American ideas, or even as a function of a unique American vocation to transform the world, but rather as rooted in the country’s singular commitment to the equality and dignity of individual American citizens. The role of the U.S. government, Jacksonians believe, is to fulfill the country’s destiny by looking after the physical security and economic well-being of the American people in their national home—and to do that while interfering as little as possible with the individual freedom that makes the country unique. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Iranian Jet Picking Up Obama Administration’s Prisoner Release Ransom Payment of $400 Million in Swiss Francs

A video from Jan. 17, 2016, shows an Iranian government jet as it departs Geneva, Switzerland, with $400 million in Swiss francs from the Obama administration. It was the same day four American prisoners were released from Iran.


Department of Homeland Security Overwhelmed by Green Card Catastrophe 

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American Green Card - United States Permanent Residency Card Closeup.

USCIS, which handles immigration cases and the distribution of green cards, was found to have produced at least 19,000 green cards during the past three years that were duplicates or contained incorrect information, according to a new report by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general. Read the rest of this entry »


Debt Under Obama Up $9,000,000,000,000

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As of the close of business, on Wednesday, Oct. 5—the latest day for which the Treasury has reported—the total federal debt was $19,663,411,497,797.40. That means that so far in Obama’s presidency, the federal debt has increased $9,036,534,448,884.32.

Terence P. Jeffrey reports: The federal government passed a fiscal milestone on the first business day of fiscal 2017—which was Monday, Oct. 3—when the total federal debt accumulated during the presidency of Barack Obama topped $9,000,000,000,000 for the first time.

On Jan. 20, 2009, when Obama was inaugurated, the total debt of the federal government was $10,626,877,048,913.08, according to data published by the U.S. Treasury.

As of the close of business on Friday, Sept, 30, the last day of fiscal 2016, the total federal debt was $19,573,444,713,936.79. At that point, the total federal debt had increased under Obama by $8,946,567,665,023.71.

On Monday, Oct. 3, the first business day of fiscal 2017, the total federal debt closed at $19,642,949,742,561.51. At that point, the debt had increased under Obama by $9,016,072,693,648.43 from the $10,626,877,048,913.08 it stood at on the day of Obama’s inauguration.

[Read the full story here, at cnsnews.com]

As of the close of business, on Wednesday, Oct. 5—the latest day for which the Treasury has reported—the total federal debt was $19,663,411,497,797.40. That means that so far in Obama’s presidency, the federal debt has increased $9,036,534,448,884.32. Read the rest of this entry »


Debt Under Obama Up $9,000,000,000,000

Sparkly-Obama-Unicorn-Gold-Coins

The $9,036,534,448,884.32 increase in the federal debt under Obama so far equals approximately $76,442 per household.

(CNSNews.com) – Terence P. Jeffrey reports: The federal government passed a fiscal milestone on the first business day of fiscal 2017—which was Monday, Oct. 3—when the total federal debt accumulated during the presidency of Barack Obama topped $9,000,000,000,000 for the first time.

On Jan. 20, 2009, when Obama was inaugurated, the total debt of the federal government was $10,626,877,048,913.08, according to data published by the U.S. Treasury.

As of the close of business on Friday, Sept, 30, the last day of fiscal 2016, the total federal debt was $19,573,444,713,936.79. At that point, the total federal debt had increased under Obama by $8,946,567,665,023.71.

[Read the full story here, at cnsnews.com]

On Monday, Oct. 3, the first business day of fiscal 2017, the total federal debt closed at $19,642,949,742,561.51. At that point, the debt had increased under Obama by $9,016,072,693,648.43 from the $10,626,877,048,913.08 it stood at on the day of Obama’s inauguration.

As of the close of business, on Wednesday, Oct. 5—the latest day for which the Treasury has reported—the total federal debt was $19,663,411,497,797.40. That means that so far in Obama’s presidency, the federal debt has increased $9,036,534,448,884.32.

Given that there were 118,215,000 households in the United States in June (the latest estimate from the Census Bureau), the $9,036,534,448,884.32 increase in the federal debt under Obama so far equals approximately $76,442 per household. Read the rest of this entry »


Cascade Mall Suspect IS a U.S. Citizen

oops

A federal official told KING that further investigation revealed that Cetin is a naturalized U.S. citizen. That means he was legally registered to vote.

UPDATE: KING 5 learned Thursday that Arcan Cetin, the 20-year-old who killed five people at Cascade Mall on Sept. 23, is in fact a U.S. citizen.

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[Original Post: Cascade Mall Shooting Suspect Arcan Cetin Not a U.S Citizen, Voted in 3 Elections Anywayliberal-huh

For days after the shooting, Cetin was described by local and federal law enforcement as being a permanent U.S. resident. He immigrated to the U.S. from Turkey when he was a child, after his mother married an American citizen.

On Thursday, a federal official told KING that further investigation revealed that Cetin is a naturalized U.S. citizen. That means he was legally registered to vote.

KING’s initial story on Sept. 28 questioned state officials about how Cetin could register and vote without being a citizen.

ORIGINAL STORY FROM SEPT. 28 IS BELOW:

The Cascade Mall shooting suspect, Arcan Cetin, may face an additional investigation related to his voting record and citizenship status.

Federal sources confirm to KING 5 that Cetin was not a U.S. citizen, meaning legally he cannot vote. However, state records show Cetin registered to vote in 2014 and participated in three election cycles, including the May presidential primary….(read more) Read the rest of this entry »


From Hiroko to Susie: The Untold Stories of Japanese War Brides

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Who are these women and what do we, their children, know about them?

Kathryn Tolbert writes: I thought she was beautiful, although I never understood why she plucked her eyebrows off and penciled them on every morning an inch higher. She had been captain of her high school basketball team in Japan, and she ran circles around us kids on a dirt court in our small town in Upstate New York. I can still see this Japanese woman dribbling madly about, yelling “Kyash! Kyash!” That’s how she said Kath, or Kathy.

[Above: Hiroko and Bill with Kathy, left, Sam and Susan. The video is the trailer to a short documentary film, “Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight: The Japanese War Brides,” which features Hiroko and two other war brides.]

She married my American GI father barely knowing him. She moved from Tokyo to a small poultry farm just outside Elmira, N.Y., and from there she delivered eggs all over the county and into Pennsylvania. My sister describes her as having a “core of steel.” She raised us as determinedly as any mother could, and yet, looking back, I barely knew her.

Some people think the film I co-directed, “Fall Seven Times, Get Up Eight: The Japanese War Brides,” is a paean to loving Japanese mothers. When one interviewer suggested as much to me and fellow director Karen Kasmauski, we exchanged a look that said, “Shall we tell him the truth?” The film, titled after a Japanese proverb, is about strong women, for sure. Warm and loving mothers? No.

So who are these women and what do we, their children, know about them?

They are sisters and daughters of the ferocious enemy that attacked Pearl Harbor in the “day of infamy,” an enemy that surrendered four years later after waves of firebombing on Japanese cities and the dropping of atomic bombs. They married men who occupied their country and came to the United States. And then? They disappeared into America. There were tens of thousands of them, yet they vanished from public awareness — Japanese women who were barely a blip in immigration history, who married into families of North Dakota farmers, Wisconsin loggers, Rhode Island general store owners.

[Read the full story here, at The Washington Post]

They either tried, or were pressured, to give up their Japanese identities to become more fully American. A first step was often adopting the American nicknames given them when their Japanese names were deemed too hard to pronounce or remember. Chikako became Peggy; Kiyoko became Barbara. Not too much thought went into those choices, names sometimes imposed in an instant by a U.S. officer organizing his pool of typists. My mother, Hiroko Furukawa, became Susie.

How did it feel to be renamed for someone in the man’s past, a distant relative or former girlfriend? My mother said she didn’t mind, and others said it made their lives easier to have an American name.

The brides, as many as 45,000, landed in the home towns of their husbands, places where Japanese people had been visible only on World War II propaganda posters. Was their skin really yellow? One war bride in South Carolina was asked to pull up her sleeve since no yellow was visible on her hands and wrists.

Hiroko Furukawa Tolbert, 85, mother of Kathryn Tolbert, arrived in Elmira, N.Y., in 1952. Her in-laws called her Susie. (Karen Kasmauski for The Washington Post)

My mother, once a daughter of privilege, came to her in-laws’ chicken farm. She has lived in the same two square miles of countryside ever since. It has been 64 years.

[Read the full text here, at The Washington Post]

I read and reread the transcripts from interviews I had recorded with my mother when I was pregnant with my own daughter more than 20 years ago, when I realized I didn’t have even a timeline of her life. Six hours of tapes and they didn’t tell me what I now wanted to know. So I went back to her recently to try to understand what she could possibly have been thinking when she made the choice to marry an American soldier she barely knew. “I wasn’t thinking. I just had to get out,” was one of her succinct responses.

I didn’t know other women like her, although I had two journalist friends who were also daughters of Japanese war brides. When they proposed making a film about our mothers, I readily agreed because I had always wanted to tell her story. And she’s such an excellent raconteur that, sitting beside her in the film as her interviewer, I’m almost an unnecessary prop.

Read the rest of this entry »


Changing Who Controls ICANN Jeopardizes Our Presidential Election

It matters to all of us whether we live in the United States or not, if a hostile country can undermine our democratic process.

There is even more alarming evidence this is happening during this election cycle.

Theresa Payton reports: Changing who controls the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) so close to our presidential election will jeopardize the results of how you vote on Nov. 8 unless Congress stops this changeover. When the calendar hits Sept. 30, a mere 6 weeks before our election, the United States cannot be assured that if any web site is hacked, the responsible party will be held accountable. We cannot be sure if a web site is a valid. We cannot be sure if one country is being favored over another. These are all the things ICANN is responsible for and has worked perfectly since the Internet was created. Why change it now and so close to the election? Why does that matter to you as a voter?

Take a look at recent cyber activity as it relates to the election. The Democratic National Convention was breached comprising the entire party’s strategy, donor base, and indeed, national convention. Everything the DNC had done to prepare for a moment four years in the making (if not longer) was undermined by a hacker who had been in their system for some time but waited for the optimal moment to spring it on the DNC – opening day of the convention. The FBI and other U.S. agencies, as the headlines blare, suspect Russia is responsible for the hack. Recently, Vladimir Putin went so far as to say, “Does it matter who broke in? Surely what’s important is the content of what was released to the public.”

It matters to all of us whether we live in the United States or not, if a hostile country can undermine our democratic process. There is even more alarming evidence this is happening during this election cycle. Russian hackers are suspected of breaching voter registration systems in Illinois and Arizona. Arizona went so far as to shut down the state’s voter registration system for a week. No data was stolen but it was downloaded. As for Illinois, some voter data was stolen!

Read the rest of this entry »


BREAKING: Obama Administration ‘Laundered’ U.S. Cash to Iran Via New York Federal Reserve, European Banks

These disclosures shine new light on how the Obama administration moved millions of dollars from U.S. accounts to European banks in order to facilitate three separate cash payments to Iran totaling $1.7 billion.

  reports: A member of the House Intelligence Committee is accusing the Obama administration of laundering some $1.7 billion in U.S. taxpayer dollars to Iran through a complicated network that included the New York Federal Reserve and several European banks, according to conversations with sources and new information obtained by the lawmaker and viewed by the Washington Free Beacon.

New disclosures made by the Treasury Department to Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.), a House Intelligence Committee member, show that an initial $400 million cash payment to Iran was wired to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) and then converted from U.S. dollars into Swiss francs and moved to an account at the Swiss National Bank, according to a copy of communication obtained exclusively by the Free Beacon.

“By withholding critical details and stonewalling congressional inquiries, President Obama seems to be hiding whether or not he and others broke U.S. law by sending $1.7 billion in cash to Iran. But Americans can plainly see that the Obama administration laundered this money in order to circumvent U.S. law and appease the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Once the money was transferred to the Swiss Bank, the “FRBNY withdrew the funds from its account as Swiss franc banknotes and the U.S. Government physically transported them to Geneva” before personally overseeing the handover to an agent of Iran’s central bank, according to the documents.

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“Think about this timeline: the U.S. withdraws $400 million in cash from the Swiss National Bank and then physically transports it to another city to hand-off to Iranian officials—three days before Iran releases four American hostages. But it gets worse: less than a week after this, the U.S. again sends hordes of cash to Iran.  As we speak, Iran is still holding three more Americans hostage and I fear what precedent this administration has set.”

These disclosures shine new light on how the Obama administration moved millions of dollars from U.S. accounts to European banks in order to facilitate three separate cash payments to Iran totaling $1.7 billion.

“For the first settlement payment in January, Treasury assisted the Defense Finance and Accounting Services (DFAS) in crafting a wire instruction to transfer the $400 million in principal from the Iran FMS [Foreign Military Sales program] account on January 14, 2016.”

— Rep. Mike Pompeo

The latest information is adding fuel to accusations the Obama administration arranged the payment in this fashion to skirt U.S. sanctions laws and give Iran the money for the release of U.S. hostages, in what many have called a ransom.

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Congress has been investigating the circumstances surrounding the payment for months and said the administration is blocking certain requests for more detailed information about the cash transaction with Iran.

“By withholding critical details and stonewalling congressional inquiries, President Obama seems to be hiding whether or not he and others broke U.S. law by sending $1.7 billion in cash to Iran,” Pompeo told the Free Beacon. “But Americans can plainly see that the Obama administration laundered this money in order to circumvent U.S. law and appease the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

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As new details emerge, congressional critics such as Pompeo and Sen. Ted Cruz (R., Texas) are beginning to suspect the U.S. government laundered the money in order to provide Tehran with immediate access. Read the rest of this entry »


Should the U.S. Keep Control of Group that Handles Internet Domain Names?

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‘Under the guardianship of the United States and the First Amendment the internet has become truly an oasis of freedom, but that could soon change.’

During an often-contentious hearing Wednesday, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, took on the Obama administration for what has become his latest signature issue: internet oversight.

“It is not a democratic body.”

— Senator Ted Cruz

The Obama administration is due to relinquish U.S. control Oct. 1 over a private-sector, nonprofit organization that administers internet domain names and designations. Cruz warned that the Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers will not on its own honor U.S. protections of free speech, and he is leading an effort to delay or stop the transfer.

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“A number of significant questions related to the transition remain unanswered, including whether the transition will yield an unconstitutional transfer of United States government property, how the transfer will affect human rights and free speech issues, if U.S.-controlled top-level domains such as .gov and .mil could be compromised or if ICANN will be subject to increased antitrust scrutiny.”

“Under the guardianship of the United States and the First Amendment the internet has become truly an oasis of freedom, but that could soon change,” Cruz said at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts, which he chairs.

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“It is not a democratic body,” Cruz said of the organization, which includes such internet stakeholders as Google and Facebook and is based in Los Angeles. And he warned that authoritarian countries such as China, Russia and Iran could exert control over the organization and censor internet use in their countries.

[Read the full story here, at McClatchy DC]

We are a nonpolitical technical entity. Göran Marby, CEO and president, Internet Corp. for Assigned Names and Numbers

The Obama administration maintains that the transfer involves technical matters that do not affect the substance of websites or the flow of information. Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., the ranking member on the subcommittee, said the transition was really a “clerical process.” “The United States does not own the internet,” he said.

Internet addiction is worrying China. Boot camp-style correctional facilities hope to deprogram those who live in online worlds. Source: Supplied

Cruz is poised to add an amendment to a temporary government funding bill to block the transfer – the same tactic he used in 2013 to stop funding the federal health care law, which led to a partial federal government shutdown. However, this time, Cruz has mainstream support from powerful Republicans.

[Read the full text here, at McClatchy DC]

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, who is the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, attended the subcommittee hearing and was supportive of putting off the transfer. Read the rest of this entry »


INSIDE JOB: John Kerry’s State Department Sent MILLIONS To Daughter’s Group

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The Department of State funded a Peace Corps program created by Dr. Vanessa Kerry and officials from both agencies, records show. The Peace Corps then awarded the money without competition to a nonprofit Kerry created for the program.

Ethan Barton reports: More than $9 million of Department of State money has been funneled through the Peace Corps to a nonprofit foundation started and run by Secretary of State John Kerry’s daughter, documents obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation show.

The Department of State funded a Peace Corps program created by Dr. Vanessa Kerry and officials from both agencies, records show. The Peace Corps then awarded the money without competition to a nonprofit Kerry created for the program.

Initially, the Peace Corps awarded Kerry’s group — now called Seed Global Health — with a three-year contract worth $2 million of State Department money on Sept. 10, 2012, documents show. Her father was then the chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, which oversees both the Department of State and the Peace Corps. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] More Leaked DNC Data Coming 

Congressional Democrats are scrambling to assess the scope of an unprecedented leak that revealed the personal data of nearly 200 current and former House Democrats, and they are bracing for more leaked data. Iconic Security CEO Adam Ghetti joins Lunch Break and explains how the FBI deals with data breaches.

pelosi-incandescentspy-data-nsa-gop-nro Read the rest of this entry »


Dismissing Concerns About Syrian Surge into US; Obama Doubles Down; Opens Doors Wider

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State Department reports show that 2,340 Syrian refugees arrived last month in the United States. That’s more than what occurred during the entire seven months after President Obama directed his team to prepare for 10,000 admissions from the war-torn country.

The pace of Syrian refugees entering the U.S. has surged in recent weeks, government figures show, putting the Obama administration on track to meet its target of admitting 10,000 Syrian refugees before the end of September -– and reviving Republican concerns about the security implications.

State Department reports show that 2,340 Syrian refugees arrived last month in the United States.

That’s more than what occurred during the entire seven months after President Obama directed his team to prepare for 10,000 admissions from the war-torn country. Total admissions for the current budget year, which ends Sept. 30, now come to about 7,900, and the vast majority of them are Sunni Muslims, records show.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said earlier this week the U.S. is on track to meet the 10,000-refugee goal.

If the pace from June and July continues this month, the target should be reached with a couple of weeks to spare, before Obama heads to the United Nations to urge world leaders to admit more refugees and increase funding for relief organizations.

But amid new predictions from FBI Director James Comey of a “terrorist diaspora out of Syria,” some Republicans are ramping up warnings that the flow of refugees poses a threat to America and Western Europe. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Jake Tapper Exposes State Department’s Video Deletion Deception

 reports: CNN host Jake Tapper used the “buried lead” of his show Thursday to blast the State Department for its deception surrounding an intentional video deletion from a December 2013 briefing, saying it should “outrage every American.”

“It’s literally someone at the State Department trying to bury something, hiding it from you. In this case, it was an acknowledgment by the Obama administration of having lied to reporters, a scrubbing of the public record, and it should outrage every American.”

State Department spokesman John Kirby admitted Wednesday that a staffer deliberately edited out video from the briefing of an unflattering exchange regarding Obama administration talks with Iran.

[Read the full story here, at freebeacon.com]

“It’s literally someone at the State Department trying to bury something, hiding it from you,” Tapper said. “In this case, it was an acknowledgment by the Obama administration of having lied to reporters, a scrubbing of the public record, and it should outrage every American.”

“We learned that there was a deliberate request, that this wasn’t a technical glitch. This was a deliberate request to excise video.”

— State Department spokesman John Kirby

In step-by-step fashion, Tapper laid out to viewers three different lies told by members of the agency. It started when former spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told Fox News reporter James Rosen in February 2013 that there had been no direct talks between Iran and the United States, when they in fact had been going on for months.

In December of 2013, Rosen pointed out to new spokeswoman Jen Psaki that the U.S. had engaged in bilateral talks with Iran earlier in the administration, as acknowledged by Psaki herself.

“The State Department had lied to him and to you,” Tapper said. Read the rest of this entry »


So What? Assign the Blame, Take the Dump

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Saudi Arabia Warns of Economic Fallout if Congress Passes 9/11 Bill

Mark Mazzetti reports: Saudi Arabia has told the Obama administration and members of Congress that it will sell off hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of American assets held by the kingdom if Congress passes a bill that would allow the Saudi government to be held responsible in American courts for any role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

“Suspicions have lingered, partly because of the conclusions of a 2002 congressional inquiry into the attacks that cited some evidence that Saudi officials living in the United States at the time had a hand in the plot. Those conclusions, contained in 28 pages of the report, still have not been released publicly.”

The Obama administration has lobbied Congress to block the bill’s passage, according to administration officials and congressional aides from both parties, and the Saudi threats have been the subject of intense discussions in recent weeks between lawmakers and officials from the State Department and the Pentagon. The officials have warned senators of diplomatic and economic fallout from the legislation.

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“It’s stunning to think that our government would back the Saudis over its own citizens.”

— Mindy Kleinberg, whose husband died in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11

Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, delivered the kingdom’s message personally last month during a trip to Washington, telling lawmakers that Saudi Arabia would be forced to sell up to $750 billion in treasury securities and other assets in the United States before they could be in danger of being frozen by American courts.

Several outside economists are skeptical that the Saudis will follow through, saying that such a sell-off would be difficult to execute and would end up crippling the kingdom’s economy. But the threat is another sign of the escalating tensions between Saudi Arabia and the United States.

[Read the full story here at The New York Times]

The administration, which argues that the legislation would put Americans at legal risk overseas, has been lobbying so intently against the bill that some lawmakers and families of Sept. 11 victims are infuriated. In their view, the Obama administration has consistently sided with the kingdom and has thwarted their efforts to learn what they believe to be the truth about the role some Saudi officials played in the terrorist plot.

Rows of same flags are placed on the Memorial section of the South Tower at the 9/11 Memorial during ceremonies marking the 12th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York, September 11, 2013 UPI/Chris Pedota /POOL

“It’s stunning to think that our government would back the Saudis over its own citizens,” said Mindy Kleinberg, whose husband died in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 and who is part of a group of victims’ family members pushing for the legislation.

President Obama will arrive in Riyadh on Wednesday for meetings with King Salman and other Saudi officials. It is unclear whether the dispute over the Sept. 11 legislation will be on the agenda for the talks.

A spokesman for the Saudi Embassy did not respond to a message seeking comment.Saudi officials have long denied that the kingdom had any role in the Sept. 11 plot, and the 9/11 Commission found “no evidence that the Saudi government as an institution or senior Saudi officials individually funded the organization.” But critics have noted that the commission’s narrow wording left open the possibility that less senior officials or parts of the Saudi government could have played a role. Suspicions have lingered, partly because of the conclusions of a 2002 congressional inquiry into the attacks that cited some evidence that Saudi officials living in the United States at the time had a hand in the plot. Those conclusions, contained in 28 pages of the report, still have not been released publicly. Read the rest of this entry »


THE PANTSUIT REPORT: Clinton Email Probe Going Nowhere Because ‘Legal Experts Agree’ Clinton Did Nothing Illegal

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Del Quentin Wilber writes: Federal prosecutors investigating the possible mishandling of classified materials on Hillary Clinton’s private email server have begun the process of setting up formal interviews with some of her longtime and closest aides, according to two people familiar with the probe, an indication that the inquiry is moving into its final phases.

“Legally it doesn’t matter if the emails were marked as classified or not, since government officials are obligated to recognize sensitive material and guard against its release. But legal experts noted that such labels would be helpful to prosecutors seeking to prove she knew the information was classified, a key element of the law.”

Those interviews and the final review of the case, however, could still take many weeks, all but guaranteeing that the investigation will continue to dog Clinton’s presidential campaign through most, if not all, of the remaining presidential primaries.

No dates have been set for questioning the advisors, but a federal prosecutor in recent weeks has called their lawyers to alert them that he would soon be doing so, the sources said. Prosecutors also are expected to seek an interview with Clinton herself, though the timing remains unclear.

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The interviews by FBI agents and prosecutors will play a significant role in helping them better understand whether Clinton or her aides knowingly or negligently discussed classified government secrets over a non-secure email system when she served as secretary of State.

“This is clearly disruptive to the campaign. It will take her off message and coverage about important aides being questioned is not coverage you’d like to have. However, this issue is largely dismissed by Democratic primary voters and baked into the cake for the general electorate.”

— Mark Mellman, a Democratic pollster.

The meetings also are an indication that much of the investigators’ background work – recovering deleted emails, understanding how the server operated and determining whether it was breached – is nearing completion.

“The interviews are critical to understand the volume of information they have accumulated,” said James McJunkin, former head of the FBI’s Washington field office.  “They are likely nearing the end of the investigation and the agents need to interview these people to put the information in context. They will then spend time aligning these statements with other information, emails, classified documents, etc., to determine whether there is a prosecutable case.”

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“The facts of the case do not fit the law. Reasonable folks may think that federal law ought to prohibit what Hillary did, but it’s just not clear to me that it currently does.”

— Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at American University

Many legal experts believe that Clinton faces little risk of being prosecuted for using the private email system to conduct official business when she served as secretary of State, though that decision has raised questions among some about her judgment. They noted that using a private email system was not banned at the time, and others in government had used personal email to transact official business.

The bigger question is whether she or her aides distributed classified material in email systems that fell outside of the department’s secure classified system. But even if prosecutors determine that she did, chances she will be found criminally liable are low. U.S. law makes it a crime for someone to knowingly or willfully retain classified information, handle it in a grossly negligent manner or to pass it to someone not entitled to see it. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Chilling Effect’ of Mass Surveillance Is Silencing Dissent Online, Study Says 

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A new study shows people may be censoring themselves without realizing it.

Nafeez Ahmed reports: Thanks largely to whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations in 2013, most Americans now realize that the intelligence community monitors and archives all sorts of online behaviors of both foreign nationals and US citizens.

But did you know that the very fact that you know this could have subliminally censored-hand-overstopped you from speaking out online on issues you care about?

“What this research shows is that in the presence of surveillance, our country’s most vulnerable voices are unwilling to express their beliefs online.”

Now research suggests that widespread awareness of such mass surveillance could undermine democracy by making citizens fearful of voicing dissenting opinions in public.

paper published last week in Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly, the flagship peer-reviewed journal of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC), found that “the government’s online surveillance programs may threaten the disclosure of minority views and contribute to the reinforcement of majority opinion.”

The NSA’s “ability to surreptitiously monitor the online activities of US citizens may make online opinion climates especially chilly” and “can contribute to the silencing of minority views that provide the bedrock of democratic discourse,” the researcher found.

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The paper is based on responses to an online questionnaire from a random sample of 255 people, selected to mimic basic demographic distributions across the US population.

[Read the full story here, at Motherboard]

Participants were asked to answer questions relating to media use, political attitudes, and personality traits. Different subsets of the sample were exposed to different messaging on US government surveillance to test their responses to the same fictional Facebook post about the US decision to continue airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

They were then asked about their willingness to express their opinions about this publicly—including how they would respond on Facebook to the post; how strongly they personally supported or opposed continued airstrikes; their perceptions of the views of other Americans; and whether they supported or opposed online surveillance. Read the rest of this entry »


FBI San Bernardino iPhone Case: Apple Officially Responds to Court Order to Comply

Apple has officially filed its mandatory response to the court following an order to comply with the FBI and unlock an iPhone used by the San Bernardino shooter from December. Unsurprisingly, Apple has filed a motion to vacate the order which would force it to comply, telling the court that it shouldn’t have to unlock the iPhone using a modified and insecure software version.

[Also see: Report: Google & Facebook to file court motions officially supporting Apple in FBI fight]

In the response, Apple has referred to the version of iOS that it would need to create to allow the FBI to unlock the iPhone in question using brute force as a Government Operating System, specifically GovtOS.

[Read the full story here, at 9to5Mac]

In the document, Apple maintains its position that the request to unlock this specific iPhone isn’t actually about just one iPhone and would set a dangerous precedent that could be used by governments around the world.

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Apple’s position has also been to explain that creating this insecure version of iOS to be used in this case would be all customers at risk assuming the operating system fell into the wrong hands and was passed off as the real thing. Read the rest of this entry »


Reality Check: Americans Say Big Government Is The Biggest Threat To America’s Future 

Obama Big brother

Fear of Terrorism? Nope. A New Survey Phows 69 percent of Americans Listed “Big Government” as the Biggest Threat the Future of the United States.

According to a Gallup poll released Tuesday, 88 percent of Republicans listed the issue followed by 67 percent of independents and 53 percent of Democrats.

Gallup poll.

The number is slightly lower than the 2013 results, the last time the question was posed, which stood at 72 percent, but the polling company said the numbers were significantly lower before 1990.

bigbroposters

“The large increase in the percentage naming big government as the biggest threat in 2013 may have resulted from the rollout of the Affordable Care Act and Edward Snowden’s revelations about government monitoring of communications.” the poll said in its findings. Read the rest of this entry »


As Lawmakers Clash Over Refugees, Syrian Immigration Quietly Tops 100,000 Since 2012 

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Joseph J. Kolb reports: A proposal to admit 10,000 Syrian refugees to the United States has ignited a bitter debate in Washington, but more than 10 times that number of people from the embattled country have quietly come to America since 2012, according to figures obtained by FoxNews.com.

“All civil order has collapsed, and meaningful background checks are impossible. Instead, we rely on cross-checking databases. However, many people with ties to terrorist groups are not in any databases, which means there is no way we can identify them before they arrive here.”

— Ira Mehlman, of the Federation for American Immigration Reform

Some 102,313 Syrians were granted admission to the U.S. as legal permanent residents or through programs including work, study and tourist visas from 2012 through August of this year, a period which roughly coincides with the devastating civil war that still engulfs the Middle Eastern country. Experts say any fears that terrorists might infiltrate the proposed wave of refugees from United Nations-run camps should be dwarfed by the potential danger already here.

“The sheer number of people arriving on all kinds of visas and with green cards, and possibly U.S. citizenship, makes it impossible for our counterterrorism authorities to keep track of them all, much less prevent them from carrying out attacks or belatedly try to deport them,” said Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies.

“I think it’s reasonable to assume that the U.S. Government ran the minimum intelligence traces required at the time of entry.”

– Fred Burton, Stratfor

Numbers obtained from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection show 60,010 Syrian visa holders have entered the U.S. since 2012, including 16,245 this year through August. Additional numbers provided by a Congressional source showed another 42,303 Syrians were granted citizenship or green cards during the same period.

“It is highly unlikely that the 102,313 Syrians who were admitted over the past three years were effectively vetted,” said spokesman Ira Mehlman, of the Federation for American Immigration Reform. “Even in countries where we have a strong diplomatic presence, the sheer volume of background checks being carried out precludes the kind of thorough vetting that is necessary.”

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The Syrians being admitted are coming directly from their homeland, usually through the U.S. visa program, as opposed to the refugees President Obama is seeking to take in through U.N.-run refugee camps. Most have secured legal entry before they arrive.

[Read the full story here, at Fox News]

“Refugees are part of the admitted category,” said Jaime Ruiz, spokesman for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. “Their cases are approved prior to arriving into the U.S.”

Those who escaped Syria’s grinding civil war, which has killed an estimated 300,000, and made it to the U.S. are more likely to be those with the money and means to access the U.S. immigration bureaucracy, say experts. But even that system is susceptible to fraud. Read the rest of this entry »


Why Syrian Refugee Vetting Will Be Indisputably Fallible 

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October 16, 2015, Dan Cadman writes: My colleague Nayla Rush has written a posting about the recent testimony of government witnesses at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the administration’s intent to admit at least 10,000 Syrian refugees fleeing the dissolution of their country.

What is happening in Syria is heart-rending, but the key question posed at the hearing was: How safe can Americans feel about the vetting processes in place to screen applicants? The question is sobering, given the Islamist extremism that predominates in Syria, where the United States futilely spent half of a billion dollars trying to find enough “moderate” fighters to combat the Assad regime, only to give up in disgust when the last batch surrendered their weapons, munitions, and equipment to the al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front in order to buy their way out of a jam.

The government witnesses (more like sacrificial lambs; none of them sit at the highest levels of agency or cabinet departments involved) did their best, obliged as they were to toe the White House party line on the issue, but frankly were unpersuasive and the assurances they gave rang hollow, as Rush has pointed out.

There are three critical ways in which our vetting procedures make us vulnerable:

“Flying under the radar”. As I have noted before, our vetting is heavily oriented toward electronic systems — databases with biographical information about known or suspected terrorists, sometimes with biometrics (fingerprints or photos). But what do you do if they aren’t known and have no fingerprints of record in any U.S. system? Why, then you look at the documents they present to you for clues.

[Read the full text here, at Center for Immigration Studies]

What happens if they don’t have any documents to present? Media stories about the “migrant flood” are replete with articles about the hundreds of identity and travel documents discarded on the pathways these aliens are using in their trek toward Europe. The answer is that they will assume whatever identity and nationality they choose to provide to the refugee resettlement agencies responsible for developing, under UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) supervision, the queues of applicants our officers will be asked to vet.

Using bogus documents is easy and no disqualifier. Then there is the ease with which fraudulent documents are being procured throughout the migrant pathways into the heart of Europe right now — some of them legitimate, but altered to accommodate the new bearers; others excellent counterfeits. According to BBC News, they are being used with remarkable success to pass through border and airport checkpoints and are readily available, as one of their own undercover investigations revealed.

Although there is certainly some chance that such documents would be discovered by U.S. officers who have available to them an outstanding Forensic Document Laboratory (FDL), it may surprise readers that use of phony documents doesn’t make you ineligible for refugee or asylum status. This is something government officials don’t like to discuss in public forums such as the Judiciary Committee hearing, where they would have us think of the screening process as an impenetrable iron wall to national security threats.

The principle behind overlooking use of fake documents is firmly embedded in both international and domestic law, for the most noble of reasons. Think of Raoul Wallenberg, who saved many Jews in Nazi-occupied Europe by providing them Swedish passports without regard to their real nationality. Even so, the stakes for the American people are extraordinarily high if the individuals using those fake documents aren’t in fact refugees in distress, particularly since, according to the UNHCR, 68 percent of the nearly 600,000 who’ve made the journey as of October 2015 are adult males. Read the rest of this entry »


Obama Administration Promotes Fast Lanes to Accelerate Processing of Incoming Syrians

obama-blindfolded

Screening outposts to be set up in Iraq, Lebanon as U.S. urges Arab nations to do more.

The Obama administration is moving to increase and accelerate the number of Syrian refugees who might be admitted into the United States by opening new screening outposts in Iraq and Lebanon, administration officials told Reuters on Friday.

The move comes after President Barack Obama pledged in September to admit an additional 10,000 Syrian refugees in 2016, torn by four years of civil war and disorder.

The U.S. State Department confirmed the plans to open a refugee settlement processing centre in Erbil, Iraq, before the end of 2015, and to resume refugee processing in Lebanon in early 2016, said spokeswoman Danna Van Brandt.

The White House would not say how many additional refugees it may take in beyond the 10,000, but two senior administration officials said they are seeking ways to increase the number.

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Refugees and migrants arrive from the island of Lesbos to the port of Piraeus on Friday. About 25,000 refugees and other migrants are heading to the Greek mainland from the eastern Aegean islands after the country’s seamen’s union called off ferry strikes. (Thanassis Stavrakis/Associated Press)

“We want to be in a place where we can push out really ambitious goals,” said one of the officials, who spoke to Reuters on the condition of anonymity.

The State Department runs nine screening centres worldwide that serve as meeting points for refugees and U.S. Department of Homeland Security employees who have to decide who is suitable for resettlement in the United States.

The additional centres will double the number available to refugees in the Middle East. Read the rest of this entry »


Poll: More Concealed Carry Equals Less Crime

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A Gallup poll released on October 20 shows that a majority of Americans believe more concealed carry equals less crime.

AWR Hawkins reports: According to Gallup, 56 percent of Americans answered in the affirmative when asked if the U.S. would be safer if “more Americans were allowed to carry concealed weapons if they More-guns-less-crimepassed a criminal background check and training course.” 41 percent of respondents said more concealed carry would make the country less safe.

[Order John R. Lott’s More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws at Amazon]

In a pattern that has become very familiar, support for more concealed carry was driven by Republicans and independents. Eighty-two percent of Republicans believe more concealed carry would make the U.S. safer and 56 percent of independents agree. But the majority of Democrats—67 percent—believe more concealed carry would make the U.S. less safe.

On October 21, Breitbart News reported a very similar breakdown by party in a CNN/ORC that looked at Americans’ overarching position on gun control. In that poll, 52 percent of Americans opposed more gun control, while 46 percent support the passage of more gun laws….(read more)

Source: Breitbart

Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter: @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly awrhawkins@breitbart.com.


BREAKING: House Freedom Caucus Will Not Endorse Ryan 

Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, following meetings with House Republican leaders and the Freedom Caucus members. Ryan seeking unity in a place it's rarely found, is telling House Republicans he will serve as their speaker only if they embrace him by week's end as their consensus candidate. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

Elaina Plott reports: House Freedom Caucus members confirmed that they were not able to reach the 80% threshold required to endorse Paul Ryan for Speaker.

“Paul is a policy entrepreneur who has developed conservative reforms dealing with a wide variety of subjects, and he has promised to be an ideas-focused speaker who will advance limited-government principles and devolve power to the membership.”

— the caucus said in its statement

Representative Raul Labrador called it a “supermajority support” for Ryan. “We were not able to reach a consensus” on an official endorsement, he told reporters, but added that “two thirds of the caucus will be voting” for a Ryan speakership….(read more)

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, left, and Freedom Caucus members Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., center, and Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, walk on Wednesday from the U.S. Capitol to the Longworth House Office Building in Washington. (Carolyn Kaster/AP)

Chair of the Freedom Caucus Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, left, walks with fellow Freedom Caucus members, Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., center, and Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho, fright, from the Capitol to the Longworth House Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015. Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., seeking unity in a place it’s rarely found, is telling House Republicans he will serve as their speaker only if they embrace him by week’s end as their consensus candidate. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

‘Supermajority’ of House Freedom Caucus to back Paul Ryan’s speaker bid

Mike DeBonis and Robert Costa report:

...The Freedom Caucus met with Ryan for an hour in the Capitol earlier in the day. Many of its members had balked at the conditions Ryan attached to his decision to serve as speaker, and the meeting represented their first chance to question him directly on his intentions.

The meeting broke up without resolution, setting up a high-stakes decision for a group that played a key role in easing the current speaker, John A. Boehner, into retirement and blocking Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s bid to succeed him….(read more)

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Rep. Paul Ryan, center, arrives for a House GOP conference meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday. PHOTO: EVAN VUCCI/ASSOCIATED PRESS

House Freedom Caucus Offers Support But Not Endorsement for Paul Ryan

The Wall Street Journal reports:

…Members of the Freedom Caucus said their offer of support—less-resounding than what Mr. Ryan had sought—thrusts the decision back on Mr. Ryan, who has been publicly reluctant to take the job.

“Paul Ryan needs to decide now what he’s going to do,” Mr. Labrador said. “He’s got to decide whether that’s sufficient for him.”

Mr. Labrador also noted that the caucus had not agreed to a series of conditions Mr. Ryan had set, but declined to say which of the Wisconsin Republican’s demands had triggered the most concern. 

In a statement released Wednesday night, the group praised Mr. Ryan, who met with them earlier Wednesday. Read the rest of this entry »


Bret Stephens: A Letter to President Xi

America for One Day

Dear President Xi,

Welcome back! The last time you were stateside—at the Sunnylands estate in California a couple of years ago—you seemed to be at the top of your game. China’s GDP was about to overtake America’s. You were cracking down on corruption, liberalizing markets, setting the pace for what you called “the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.” Upper East Siders competed to place their toddlers in Mandarin immersion programs. Newspaper columnists fantasized about the U.S. becoming “China for one day.”

Now your stock market has fizzled, your economy is sinking under the weight of unsustainable debts and zombie companies, your neighbors despise you, and every affluent Chinese is getting a second passport and snapping up a foreign home. Even in Beijing, word is out that behind that enigmatic smile you’re a man overmatched by your job. And out of your depth.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

Maybe you’re even thinking: Wouldn’t it be nice to be America for one day?

Yes, America, perhaps the only country on earth that can be serially led by second- or third-rate presidents—and somehow always manage to come up trumps (so to speak). America, where half of the college-age population can’t find New York state on a map—even as those same young Americans lead the world in innovation. America, where Cornel West is celebrated as an intellectual, Miley Cyrus as an artist, Jonathan Franzen as a novelist and Kim Kardashian as a beauty—and yet remains the cultural dynamo of the world.

America, in short, which defies every ethic of excellence—all the discipline and cunning and delicacy and Confucian wisdom that are the ways by which status and power are gained in China—yet manages to produce excellence the way a salmon spawns eggs. Naturally. By way of a deeper form of knowing. Read the rest of this entry »


Intrigue: MI6 Spy Found Naked and Dead in Bag in Bath Had Hacked Clinton Data

The MI6 spy who was found dead inside a holdall bag in his bathtub in London hacked into secret data held on former U.S. President Bill Clinton, The Sun newspaper has sensationally claimed today.

Breitbart London reports: Gareth Williams was 31 years old when he was found naked, dead in his own bathtub in Pimlico, just a few minutes walk away from Britain’s Houses of Parliament.

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“The Clinton diary hack came at a time when Williams’s work with America was of the most sensitive nature.”

Speculation has been rife ever since his death in September 2010 about the circumstances surrounding his death. A Metropolitan Police investigation revealed predictably, though suspiciously, that Mr Williams’ death was “probably an accident”. This was despite an initial inquest concluding that his death was “unnatural and likely to have been criminally mediated.”

Bill-Clinton-Hillary-Clinton-Getty-Images

Since then the unexplained death has been the subject of investigation by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The BBC reported as early as December 2010 that Mr Williams had been on secondment from Britain’s signals intelligence operation GCHQ to MI6, and then subsequently to the United States’ National Security Agency.

[Read the full text here, at Breitbart London]

The Sun reports that Williams had “dug out the guestlist for an event the former American president was going to as a favour for a pal.”

Peter Faulding (main) tries to climb inside a holdall police said Williams (inset) locked himself in

Peter Faulding (main) tries to climb inside a holdall police said Williams (inset) locked himself in

[Also see – MI6 spy Gareth Williams found dead in a bag WAS murdered – express.co.uk]

…Mr Faulding, whose expertise is finding bodies or people stuck in confined places, made several other disturbing points which raise serious questions about the Yard’s new perception on the mystery.

When Mr Williams’s body was found on August 23, 2010, in his central London flat the door to the bathroom was shut and the light was off, making the room pitch black.

The shower screen was in place, making the space he had to move around very tight if he were to put the bag in the bath and then step into it. There were no palm prints on the bath, which meant Mr Williams, who was single and a maths genius, would have had to stand up in the bag first and then get into it. Mr Faulding said: “Entry into the bag needs to be shoulder first and then pulling the bag under the bottom, this would leave footprints at the end of the bath above the taps but there were none.

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“The shower screen was closed. If he was practising getting into the bag this would have been wide open as it creates a barrier. No finger, foot, palm prints or DNA belonging to Gareth Williams were present on the rim of the bath, padlock or zipper. He was not wearing any gloves.” Mr Faulding added: “If he was practising or dabbling in escapology he would have carried a knife in the bag to release himself, he was an intelligent individual and not a chancer….(read more at express.co.uk)

Continuing from Breitbart London:

The Murdoch-owned paper reports:

The Sun on Sunday can reveal that voicemail messages Mr Williams left for family and pals were deleted in the days after his death. And a rival agent may also have broken into the flat to destroy or remove evidence.
Read the rest of this entry »


Federal Government Fails At So Much, So Often

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Most Americans think that the federal government is incompetent and wasteful. What causes all the failures? A new study from Cato scholar Chris Edwards examines views on government failure, and outlines five key sources of federal failure. Edwards concludes that the only way to substantially reduce failure is to downsize the federal government: “Political and bureaucratic incentives and the huge size of the federal government are causing endemic failure. The causes of federal failure are deeply structural, and they will not be solved by appointing more competent officials or putting a different party in charge.”

Why the Federal Government Fails,” by Chris Edwards


NSA Chief: ‘More Cyberattacks Likely’ in Wake of Office of Personnel Management Hack

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The U.S. should brace itself for more attacks like one on the U.S. Office of Personnel Management—in which millions of sensitive government records were stolen, the director of the National Security Agency warned on Wednesday. As WSJ’s Robert Wall and Alexis Flynn report:

The U.S. government last week said that two cyberattacks on the agency compromised more than 21 million Social Security numbers, 1.1 million fingerprint records, and 19.7 million forms with data that could include a person’s mental-health history.

“I don’t expect this to be a one-off,” said Navy Adm. Mike Rogers,who heads the NSA and the U.S. military’s Cyber Command. Read the rest of this entry »


Blowhard Theater: House Bill Would Force the Supreme Court to Enroll in ObamaCare

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Mark Hensch reports: A House Republican on Thursday proposed forcing the Supreme Court justices and their staff to enroll in ObamaCare.

Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) said that his SCOTUScare Act would make all nine justices and their employees join the national healthcare law’s exchanges.

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“As the Supreme Court continues to ignore the letter of the law, it’s important that these six individuals understand the full impact of their decisions on the American people. That’s why I introduced the SCOTUScare Act to require the Supreme Court and all of its employees to sign up for ObamaCare.”

— Rep. Brian Babin

“As the Supreme Court continues to ignore the letter of the law, it’s important that these six individuals understand the full impact of their decisions on the American people,” he said.

“That’s why I introduced the SCOTUScare Act to require the Supreme Court and all of its employees to sign up for ObamaCare,” Babin said.

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“They deserve an Olympic medal for the legal gymnastics.”

— Rep. Joe Pitts

Babin’s potential legislation would only let the federal government provide healthcare to the Supreme Court and itsnon-stop-panic-4 staff via ObamaCare exchanges.

Also see – Supreme Court Resigns Duties, Tortures English Language to Save Obamacare]

[More – Scalia: ‘Words No Longer Have Meaning if an Exchange That is Not Established by a State is ‘Established by the State’]

“By eliminating their exemption from ObamaCare, they will see firsthand what the American people are forced to live with,” he added.

His move follows the Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday morning that upheld the subsidies under ObamaCare that are provided by the government to offset the cost of buying insurance. Read the rest of this entry »


How the White House Abandoned American Hostages

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I was an advisor to the families of U.S. hostages held by the Islamic State. And the Obama administration failed them, repeatedly

Barak Barfi writes: In the last 10 months, the Islamic State has brutally executed four American hostages. As Americans died, their government was powerless to stop the slaying. For while European governments tirelessly toiled to secure the release of European hostages, President Barack Obama’s administration’s passive approach doomed their Barak-BarfiAmerican cellmates.

“But more egregious was this administration’s failure. The White House did not do enough to rescue the four Americans. During Steve’s imprisonment, it rarely worked with the hostages’ families, kept them in the dark, and was essentially passive, rather than discussing ways to secure their release.”

I had a connection to three of the four hostages and their families. The parents of aid worker Kayla Mueller, who died in an airstrike in February, frequently consulted with me. Peter Kassig, another aid worker who was beheaded last November, slept on my couch two weeks before his abduction. And journalist Steve Sotloff was my best friend. I spoke to him moments before his abduction after he entered Syria. In letters smuggled out of captivity, Steve wrote that he was counting on me to get him out. I failed him.

Peter Kassig,

Peter Kassig,

“The State Department was no better. When the mother of one of the hostages requested a senior point of contact at the White House, a State Department official rebuked her for going over her head.”

But more egregious was this administration’s failure. The White House did not do enough to rescue the four Americans. During Steve’s imprisonment, it rarely worked with the hostages’ families, kept them in the dark, and was essentially passive, rather than discussing ways to secure their release. And though the White House finally authorized an extraction attempt in late June 2014, it waited far too long to do so.

“Our lead agent misled me on several occasions, employing convoluted legalisms that would have impressed the greatest Talmudic scholars. His tactics so frustrated the Sotloffs that they finally asked him to address all queries to me.”

It was left to civilians like me to gather information and debrief the released European hostages. Because of my experience in the Middle East, I became the principal advisor to Steve’s family, directly handling their communication with the Islamic State.

[Read the full text here, at Foreign Policy]

The U.S. government’s principal channels with the four families largely consisted of mid-level officials from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs. The FBI was useless. Its tasks were alternately to extract information and to comfort the family. It never shared intelligence. One European hostage, who was incarcerated with the Americans and subsequently released, told me he was shocked that the FBI seemed more interested in gathering evidence to prosecute the hostage-takers than it was in locating the Americans. Our lead agent misled me on several occasions, employing convoluted legalisms that would have impressed the greatest Talmudic scholars. His tactics so frustrated the Sotloffs that they finally asked him to address all queries to me. Though Steve is dead, our nightmare with the FBI continues. The bureau still refuses to give the Sotloffs the original letters he smuggled out of prison, claiming it is studying them for clues. Read the rest of this entry »


Military Clearance OPM Data Breach ‘Absolute Calamity’

Government-Hacking-Smal

The SF-86, a 127-page document, asks government employees to disclose information about family members, friends and past employment as well as details on alcohol and drug use, mental illness, credit ratings, bankruptcies, arrest records and court actions

David Larter and Andrew Tilghman report: Anxiety is spreading among defense officials and the military community that the recent theft of federal government data linked to China may affect hundreds of thousands of service members.

“They had access on everyone who has applied for a security clearance: families, residences and job assignments, bank records. If that’s not an absolute calamity, I don’t know what is.”

Compounding those concerns is the limited information made public by the Office of Personnel Management.

“They got everyone’s SF-86.”

Some military officials believe the recent hack targeting the civilian-run OPM seized information from tens of thousands of Standard Form 86s, which are required for all service members and civilians seeking a security clearance. That includes service members of all ranks, officers and enlisted, in a wide range of job specialties and assignments.

“This is a surreal new world and they are not being truthful. The way this works now is that they tell you a little bit of the truth, and then they obfuscate.”

“They got everyone’s SF-86,” one Pentagon official familiar with the investigation told Military Times.

The SF-86, a 127-page document, asks government employees to disclose information about family members, friends and past employment as well as details on alcohol and drug use, mental illness, credit ratings, bankruptcies, arrest records and court actions.

Given the scale of the breach as publicly disclosed by the Obama administration and OPM, it’s likely that the hackers obtained the SF-86 data of every military member who filled out the form on a computer, something that has been standard practice in Defense Department for well over a decade, said a retired senior intelligence community official who writes a blog under the pen name Victor Socotra.

The services began to make the digital SF-86 form mandatory in 2007, but service members used the digital form for years before that. Read the rest of this entry »


OPM IT Outsourced to Foreigner Contractors, with Root Access, Working from their Home Country. In this Case, Oh Yeah, China

opm-it

Encryption ‘would not have helped’ at OPM, says DHS official: Attackers had valid user credentials and run of network, bypassing security

 reports: During testimony today in a grueling two-hour hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Director Katherine Archuleta claimed that she had recognized huge problems with the agency’s computer security when she assumed her post 18 months ago. But when pressed on why systems had not been protected with encryption prior to the recent discovery of an intrusion that gave attackers access to sensitive data on millions of government employees and government contractorsNON-STOP-PANIC-EX, she said, “It is not feasible to implement on networks that are too old.” She added that the agency is now working to encrypt data within its networks.

But even if the systems had been encrypted, it likely wouldn’t have mattered. Department of Homeland Security Assistant Secretary for Cybersecurity Dr. Andy Ozment testified that encryption would “not have helped in this case” because the attackers had gained valid user credentials to the systems that they attacked—likely through social engineering. And because of the lack of multifactor authentication on these systems, the attackers would have been able to use those credentials at will to access systems from within and potentially even from outside the network.

House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) told Archuleta and OPM Chief Information Officer Donna Seymour, “You failed utterly and totally.” He referred to OPM’s own inspector general reports and hammered Seymour in particular for the 11 major systems out of 47 that had not been properly certified as secure—which were not contractor systems but systems operated by OPM’s own IT department. “They were in your office, which is a horrible example to be setting,” Chaffetz told Seymour. In total, 65 percent of OPM’s data was stored on those uncertified systems.

chinese hackers

Chaffetz pointed out in his opening statement that for the past eight years, according to OPM’s own Inspector General reports, “OPM’s data security posture was akin to leaving all your doors and windows unlocked and hoping nobody would walk in and take the information.”

[Read the full text here, at Ars Technica]

When Chaffetz asked Archuleta directly about the number of people who had been affected by the breach of OPM’s systems panic-manand whether it included contractor information as well as that of federal employees, Archuleta replied repeatedly, “I would be glad to discuss that in a classified setting.” That was Archuleta’s response to nearly all of the committee members’ questions over the course of the hearing this morning.

At least we found it

Archuleta told the committee that the breach was found only because she had been pushing forward with an aggressive plan to update OPM’s security, centralizing the oversight of IT security under the chief information officer and implementing “numerous tools and capabilities.” She claimed that it was during the process of updating tools that the breach was discovered. “But for the fact that OPM implemented new, more stringent security tools in its environment, we would have never known that malicious activity had previously existed on the network and would not have been able to share that information for the protection of the rest of the federal government,” she read from her prepared statement. Read the rest of this entry »


You’ve Got Mail: OPM Sends Data Breach Notifications to Millions of Employees

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WASHINGTON — Millions of federal workers are starting to receive notices from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management that their identity may be compromised following the recent data breach.

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WNEW has obtained a copy of the letter [click to enlarge]

Read the rest of this entry »


Ellen Nakashima: With a Series of Major Hacks, China Builds a Database on Americans

DigitalDC

China hacked into the federal government’s network, compromising four million current and former employees

Ellen Nakashima reports: China is building massive databases of Americans’ personal information by hacking government agencies and U.S. health-care companies, using a high-tech tactic to achieve an age-old goal of espionage: recruiting spies or gaining more information on an adversary, U.S. officials and analysts say.

“This is part of their strategic goal — to increase their intelligence collection via big data theft and big data aggregation. It’s part of a strategic plan.”

— U.S. government official, on condition of anonymity

Groups of hackers working for the Chinese government have compromised the networks of the Office of Personnel Management, which holds data on millions of current and former federal employees, as well as the health insurance giant Anthem, among other targets, the officials and researchers said.

Hong-Lei

“We wish the United States would not be full of suspicions, catching wind and shadows, but rather have a larger measure of trust and cooperation.”

— Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei

“They’re definitely going after quite a bit of personnel information,” said Rich Barger, chief intelligence officer of ThreatConnect, a Northern Virginia cybersecurity firm. “We suspect they’re using it to understand more about who to target [for espionage], whether electronically or via human ­recruitment.”

The targeting of large-scale data­bases is a relatively new tactic and is used by the Chinese government to further its intelligence-gathering, the officials and analysts say. It is government espionage, not commercial espionage, they say.

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“They would leverage this data to get to diplomatic, political, military and economic intelligence that they typically target.”

“This is part of their strategic goal — to increase their intelligence collection via big data theft and big data aggregation,” said a U.S. government official, who, like others, spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive topic. “It’s part of a strategic plan.”

One hack of the OPM, which was disclosed by the government Thursday, dates at least to December, officials said. Earlier last year, the OPM discovered a separate intrusion into a highly sensitive database that contains information on employees seeking or renewing security clearances and on their background investigations.

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“So now the Chinese counterintelligence authorities know which American officials are meeting with which Chinese.”

Once harvested, the data can be used to glean details about key government personnel and potential spy recruits, or to gain information useful for counter­intelligence. Records in OPM’s database of background investigations, for instance, could contain a complete history of where an individual has lived and all of his or her foreign contacts in, say, China. “So now the Chinese counterintelligence authorities know which American officials are meeting with which Chinese,” a China cyber and intelligence expert said.

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“For bigger data storage, for bigger data theft. And when you can gain it in bulk, you take it in bulk.”

— China cyber and intelligence expert

The data could help Chinese analysts do more effective targeting of individuals, said a former National Security Agency official. “They can find specific individuals they want to go after, family members,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »


OH YES THEY DID: Clinton Foundation Hit with Racketeering Lawsuit

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Klayman said a major reason for his lawsuit involves the fact that Cheryl Mills, then-chief of staff to Hillary Clinton, and the secretary of state herself ‘lied to the lower court’ in by claiming there were no documents related to a pair of Freedom of Information Act requests he filed in 2012 while knowing those records actually did exist on the private server.

Sarah Westwood reports: Bill and Hillary Clinton and the Clinton Foundation have been hit with a racketeering lawsuit in Florida court.PANTSUIT-REPORT

The lawsuit, filed by Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch, includes a legal request to have the Florida judge seize the private server on which Hillary Clinton and her aides hosted their emails while she served as secretary of state.

Klayman has filed dozens of lawsuits against the Clintons and other prominent politicians.

The racketeering, influenced and corrupt organizations, or RICO, case alleges the former first couple and their family philanthropy traded political favors for donations or generous speaking fees for Bill Clinton while his wife was the nation’s chief diplomat.

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“Hillary Clinton deleted 32,000 email messages from her email server that included her communications arranging, negotiating, and agreeing upon speaking engagements by Bill Clinton in return for large speaking fees and donations to The Clinton Foundation.”

“Negotiations by email about influencing U.S. foreign policy or U.S. Government actions to benefit donors to … Featured Image -- 73495The Clinton Foundation or sponsors of speaking engagements would not be captured on a U.S. Government email account because her emails would not be with a U.S. Government official,” Klayman said in court documents obtained by the Washington Examiner.

[Read the full text here, at WashingtonExaminer.com]

“Hillary Clinton deleted 32,000 email messages from her email server that included her communications arranging, negotiating, and agreeing upon speaking engagements by Bill Clinton in return for large speaking fees and donations to The Clinton Foundation,” the documents, dated May 20, said.

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“It’s a perfect RICO case, it fits completely. Our Congress doesn’t even have the guts to subpoena her documents. They’d rather get on Fox News. So we felt had to bring that case. Somebody’s got to do it.”

— Larry Klayman of Freedom Watch

Klayman pushed the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida to order a “neutral forensic expert … to take custody and control of the private email server and reconstruct and preserve the official U.S. Government records relating to the conduct of U.S. foreign policy during Defendant Secretary Clinton’s term as Secretary of State.” Read the rest of this entry »


DECLASSIFIED: U.S. Releases Motherlode of Books, Letters Seized in Bin Laden Raid

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WASHINGTON — Damian Paletta reports: The Obama administration on Wednesday released details on more than 400 letters, books, news articles, research reports and even software manuals it seized during the 2011 raid that killed Osama bin Laden at his secret compound in Pakistan, offering a fresh view into the interests and correspondence of the former head of al Qaeda.

The intelligence agency declassified the names of 39 English-language books seized at bin Laden’s compound. These included books about the Central Intelligence Agency; Christianity and Islam in Spain from 756 until 1031; and Bob Woodward’s 2010 book, ‘Obama’s Wars.'”

The declassified material, which the Office of the Director of National Intelligence labeled “Bin Laden’s Bookshelf,” shows a number of interests—ranging from a Noam Chomsky book on “thought control” to things that could be seen, such as how-to books on terrorist attacks.

“It included, for example, a 2001 document from the U.S. military on ‘instruction on aircraft piracy and destruction of derelict airborne objects’ and numerous records about how to obtain a U.S. passport.”

It included, for example, a 2001 document from the U.S. military on “instruction on aircraft piracy and destruction of derelict airborne objects” and numerous records about how to obtain a U.S. passport. The compound also contained numerous world maps.

The house where Osama bin Laden was finally hunted down. SAEED SHAH — MCT Read more here: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2013/12/20/212378/zero-dark-thirty-leak-investigators.html#storylink=cpy

The house where Osama bin Laden was finally hunted down. SAEED SHAH — MCT

“These are gigantic events that will eventually engulf most of the Muslim world, will free the Muslim land from American hegemony, and is troubling America whose secretary of state declared that they are worried about the armed Muslims controlling the Muslim region.”

Rep. Devin Nunes (R., Calif.), chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said “it is in the interest of the American public for citizens, academics, journalists, and historians to have the opportunity to read and understand bin Laden’s documents.”

“All of this indicates that the Western countries are weak and their international role is regressing.”

— Osama bin Laden, in a letter recovered in the raid

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which released the records, said analysts were still reviewing more information seized during the raid and that “hundreds more” records could be declassified in the future.

[Read the full text here, at WSJ]

The intelligence agency declassified the names of 39 English-language books seized at bin Laden’s compound. These included books about the Central Intelligence Agency; Christianity and Islam in Spain from 756 until 1031; and Bob Woodward’s 2010 book, “Obama’s Wars.”

In addition to the books, the documents seized at bin Laden’s compound included 35 items published by other extremist groups, most of which came from Khalifah Publications. Read the rest of this entry »