[VIDEO] The FBI Won’t Accept Your Emailed Freedom of Information Act Requests Anymore

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has stopped accepting Freedom of Information Act requests by email. The agency wants requesters to use fax, standard mail, or the agency’s online portal to make things on their end more efficient. But, FOIA advocates say this puts a lot of burden on the requester.

Hey millennial FOIA nuts: Time to familiarize yourselves with the concept of a paper jam.

“The goal seems to be ‘creating a lot of extra burden. Everyone is used to emails. It creates a permanent record. It has a time-stamp on it. Everyone knows how to use it’.”

— Adam Marshall, an attorney with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has stopped accepting Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests by email. The agency wants requesters to use fax, standard mail, or the agency’s online portal, FBI eFOIPA.

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The goal seems to be “creating a lot of extra burden,” says Adam Marshall, an attorney with the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. “Everyone is used to emails. It creates a permanent record. It has a time-stamp on it. Everyone knows how to use it.”

The FBI says the move will help the agency expedite its backlog, which was estimated at 2,614 requests in 2015. Agency spokesperson Jillian Stickels told the Daily Caller that using an online portal will automate the processing of requests and “increase efficiency.”

But does the FBI really want to make the process more efficient? And its decision to continue accepting faxes and standard mail seems to only create headaches for requesters, who might run out of toner or have their transmission signal interrupted when someone picks up the line.

“Most mail that goes to a federal agency has to go through a screening process,” says Marshall. “Sometimes they irradiate it to make sure that there isn’t anthrax or other things in it […] So, it can take a long time for your mail to get from you to the FOIA officer who’s going to open it up and read it.” Yet the law says that the agency is required to provide a response to a FOIA request within 20 business days.

A beta version of the online portal required users to provide personal information about themselves and limited requests to one per day. The FBI backed away from these rules in response to public pressure from Muckrock and Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), but the system still imposes a 3,000-character restriction. Also, the FBI says that not all types of requests can be fulfilled through the portal, though which types the agency won’t say.

There are other bureaucratic hurdles: The FBI has multiple computerized filing systems for documents. Typically, if a requester doesn’t specify which records system to search, the Bureau only queries its Central Records System (CRS) and then might fail to locate a document that it actually has on file. Marshall finds these multiple record systems “incredibly confusing” even though understanding them, he says, is part of his job. Read the rest of this entry »


Paul ‘Black Helicopters’ Krugman Speculates on an FBI Virtual ‘Alliance with Putin’

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 reports: Paul Krugman, the Nobel-winning economist and New York Times columnist, suggested Thursday that an “alliance” between a faction of the FBI and Russian President Vladimir Putin swung last week’s election in favor of Donald Trump.

“So it looks more and more as if we had an election swung, in effect, by a faction of our own security sector in alliance with Putin.”

— Paul Krugman, during a psychotic break, on Twitter

Krugman said that given the small margin in swing states that decided the election, the FBI’s reactivation of its investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server was just enough to change the minds of some voters.

“The economist has frequently taken to Twitter in the days after the election to bemoan the outcome and to draw concern over early policies of Trump.”

FBI Director James Comey announced the discovery of new emails “pertinent” to the case on October 28 — 11 days before the election — before clearing her again a week later.

[Read the actual news item here, at Business Insider]

“As evidence accumulates that Trump benefited from a lot of late deciders breaking his way, the case that it was Comey gets stronger,” Krugman wrote in a tweet.

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The US intelligence community publicly accused the Russian government of being behind the hacks of emails of members of Democratic Party organizations and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta, whose electronic communications were released in droves by WikiLeaks during the final weeks of the campaign. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Krauthammer: ‘Hard to Deny That There Is a Quid Pro Quo’ between the FBI and State Department 

Charles Krauthammer said that newly released documents show that the FBI’s coordination with the State Department on the Hillary Clinton case indicates corruption.

“There are so many ironies here. The first is that this is probably normal procedure inside any administration, inside a bureaucracy: trading off favors, trading off probably shady maneuvers. But the problem is this — the charge that Republicans, Trump in particular, are making against Hillary Clinton is precisely that she represents business as usual. You can defend Clinton and say saying ‘Oh, this goes on all the time,’ but that’s the point. They are trying to wipe away this sort of culture of corruption. It is hard to deny that there is a quid pro quo, or at least one was proposed, when the phrase ‘quid pro quo’ is used to describe the transaction in the documents.”

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Barack Obama

“This is the ‘camera and sausage’ factor. I don’t think that we should be shocked that this happens in any bureaucracy, but once you see it in black in white, and you hear the charge that Clinton represents business as usual — and corrupt business as usual — that, I think, accentuates the charge, and makes it a very serious one.”

Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Trey Gowdy to FBI Director Comey: ‘What more would Hillary Clinton have had to do to get you to prosecute her?’ 

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Allapundit writes:

…Gowdy’s point is the same now as it was then. Isn’t destroying evidence and then lying about it the best evidence of criminal intent insofar as it reveals a guilty mind? Because that’s what we have here — deleted emails, wiped servers, and then a series of public lies by Hillary about whether she’d ever dealt with classified information on her private system. What more would you need to have seen from her by way of suspicious behavior, he asks Comey, to conclude that she really did know all along that she was mishandling classified information and therefore is guilty even under Comey’s own standard of intent? Comey … has no good answer. Yes, he says, it’s true that concealing evidence is a strong indicator of bad intent, but we need to look at what the suspect has said, too. Which is Gowdy’s point: The false exculpatory statements Clinton has made publicly are further proof that she’s concealing the truth. We also need to look at whether anyone’s been prosecuted for this particular crime before, notes Comey.

That’s all that seems left of his decision not to charge her now. He’s not forcefully disputing Gowdy’s claim that Hillary knowingly, not just negligently, mishandled classified information. All he’s saying when you boil it down is that if no one’s gone to prison for this before, it’d be unfair to send Clinton to prison for it now. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Comey’s Agents Were Forgiving About Some Incriminating Evidence’

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The FBI’s Blind Clinton Trust.

The closer we look at the FBI’s investigative file on Hillary Clinton’s emails, the more we wonder if Director James Comey always intended to let her off the hook. The calculated release before the long Labor Day weekend suggests political favoritism, and the report shows the FBI didn’t pursue evidence of potential false statements, obstruction of justice and destruction of evidence.

“The notes also show the G-men never did grill Mrs. Clinton on her “intent” in setting up her server. Instead they bought her explanation that it was for personal convenience. This helped Mr. Comey avoid concluding that her purpose was to evade statutes like the Federal Records Act. Mr. Comey also told Congress that indicting her without criminal intent would pose a constitutional problem.”

Mr. Comey’s concessions start with his decision not to interview Mrs. Clinton until the end of his investigation, a mere three days before he announced his conclusions. Regular FBI practice is to get a subject on the record early then see if his story meshes with what agents find. In this case they accepted Mrs. Clinton’s I-don’t-recall defenses after the fact.

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“Ms. Mills has a particular reason for denying early knowledge of the server: She became Mrs. Clinton’s personal lawyer after they both left State. If Ms. Mills knew about the server while at State, she’d be subject to questions about the server. But if she didn’t know about the server until leaving State, she can argue that conversations with Mrs. Clinton are protected by attorney-client privilege. The FBI ignored all this, and it even allowed Ms. Mills to accompany Mrs. Clinton to her FBI interview as Mrs. Clinton’s lawyer.”

The notes also show the G-men never did grill Mrs. Clinton on her “intent” in setting up her server. Instead they bought her explanation that it was for personal convenience. This helped Mr. Comey avoid concluding that her purpose was to evade statutes like the Federal Records Act. Mr. Comey also told Congress that indicting her without criminal intent would pose a constitutional problem. But Congress has written many laws that don’t require criminal intent, and negligent homicide (for example) has never been unconstitutional.

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The FBI notes also blow past evidence that Clinton advisers may have engaged in a cover-up. Consider page 10 of the FBI report: “Clinton’s immediate aides, to include [Huma] Abedin, [Cheryl] Mills, Jacob Sullivan, and [redacted] told the FBI they were unaware of the existence of the private server until after Clinton’s tenure at State or when it became public knowledge.”

[Read the full story here, at WSJ]

That’s amazing given that Ms. Abedin had her own email account on the private server. It is also contradicted by page 3: “At the recommendation of Huma Abedin, Clinton’s long-time aide and later Deputy Chief of Staff at State, in or around fall 2008, [ Bill Clinton aide Justin] Cooper contacted Bryan Pagliano . . . to build the new server system and to assist Cooper with the administration of the new server system.”

The FBI must also have ignored two emails referred to by the State Inspector General showing Ms. Mills and Ms. Abedin discussing the server while they worked at State: “hrc email coming back—is server okay?” Ms. Mills asked Ms. Abedin and Mr. Cooper in a Feb. 27, 2010 email. Read the rest of this entry »


Andrew McCarthy: What Was Cheryl Mills Doing There?

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Andrew C. McCarthy writes:

…Among the most eye-popping claims Clinton made to the FBI was that she was unfamiliar with the markings on classified documents. Yes, you read that correctly: one of the highest ranking national security officials in the United States government – an official whose day-to-day responsibilities extensively involved classified information; who had secure facilities installed in her two homes (in addition to her office) so she could review classified information in them; and who acknowledged to the FBI that, as secretary of state, she was designated by the president as “an Original Classification Authority,” meaning she had the power to determine what information should be classified and at what level – had the audacity to tell the interviewing agents that she did not know what the different classification symbols in classified documents signified…

“I nearly fell out of my chair upon reading the very first paragraph of the notes of Clinton’s interview, which identifies the lawyers for Clinton who were permitted to be present for the interview. Among them is Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s longtime confidant and chief-of-staff at the State Department.”

…Clinton also claimed that she “did not pay attention to the ‘level’ of classified information.” The interview notes do not explain how the FBI squared this with, for example, (a) Clinton’s acknowledgement that top-secret “special access program” (SAP) information was delivered to her by paper in her office and she knew it was supposed to be handled with extraordinary care; and (b) Clinton’s admission that she made use of her Original Classification Authority at times (though she couldn’t say how often). That means she had to have assigned to some information the very classification levels with which she portrays herself as scarcely familiar.

[Read the full story here, at National Review]

We also learn in the FBI documents not only that Mrs. Clinton frequently lost her Blackberry devices, but that the FBI failed to account for some thirteen of them, most if not all of which she used while transmitting the over 2,000 classified emails the FBI identified.

Clintons land in Haiti to showcase industrial park

“As Clinton’s chief-of-staff, Mills was intimately involved in issues related to Clinton’s private email set up, the discussions about getting her a secure BlackBerry similar to President Obama’s, and questions that were raised (including in FOIA requests) about Clinton’s communications.That is to say, Mills was an actor in the facts that were under criminal investigation by the FBI.”

Clinton aides told the FBI that her devices – loaded with stored emails – would at times disappear and their whereabouts would become unknown. Interestingly, in the notes of Mrs. Clinton’s interview, the FBI says she told them that her BlackBerry devices would occasionally “malfunction”; when this happened, “[h]er aides would assist in obtaining a new BlackBerry.” I have not yet found indications that the FBI asked her about lost rather than malfunctioning devices.

[Full text here, at National Review]

We do learn, though, that on February 9, 2016, the Justice Department asked Clinton’s lawyers to turn over all 13 mobile devices that the FBI identified as having potentially transmitted emails. Almost two weeks later, on February 22, the lawyers told the FBI “they were unable to locate any of these devices.” As a result, the notes recount, “the FBI was unable to acquire or forensically examine any of these 13 mobile devices.” Read the rest of this entry »


IRS Sued for Refusing to Release Secret ‘Church Investigations’ Procedures

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Nobody knows what the ‘procedures’ are for conducting ‘church investigations’.

Bradford Richardson reports: Government watchdog groups have filed a motion in federal court to compel the IRS to reveal how it determines when to initiate “church investigations” after accusing the tax-collecting agency of “stonewalling” efforts to bring to light its procedures.

“Our country has a long history of religious leaders speaking freely on matters of public discourse. Whether it is Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. leading the charge against segregation, or preachers opposed to the Vietnam War, Americans expect their religious leaders to be able to speak freely to their flock without government oversight.”

— From a 2014 letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen, signed by nine members of Congress

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The motion, filed jointly Friday by the Alliance Defending Freedom and Judicial Watch, came in response to a legal settlement struck in 2014 with an atheist organization, which said the IRS had “resolved the signature authority issue necessary to initiate church examinations.”

“The IRS is not above the law, and Americans deserve to know the truth about the agency’s secret deals with activists.”

— ADF Legal Counsel Christina Holcomb

“The IRS also has adopted procedures for reviewing, evaluating and determining whether to initiate church investigations,” the Freedom From Religion Foundation said in a press release.

But nobody knows what those “procedures” are for conducting “church investigations,” the watchdog groups said.

White-House-w-Fence

The Obama IRS first ignored the ADF FOIA request and is now stonewalling in federal court. The public has a right to know about any new IRS guidelines for investigating the practice of our basic First Amendment freedoms.”

— Judicial Watch President Tom Litton, in a press release

“The IRS is not above the law, and Americans deserve to know the truth about the agency’s secret deals with activists,” ADF Legal Counsel Christina Holcomb said in a press release. “The IRS has a legal obligation to explain why it is hiding things or else produce documents. Its ongoing refusal to follow the law is absurd, particularly since much of [what] we are asking for is information that the IRS has already provided voluntarily to Freedom From Religion Foundation.”

Shulman, Lerner and Wolin take their seats to testify before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on targeting of political groups seeking tax-exempt status from by the IRS, on Capitol Hill in Washington

The IRS began producing documents in July, months after the ADF and Judicial Watch had sued the agency for failing to comply with a Freedom of Information Act request. But even then the agency withheld more than 10,000 of the 16,000 requested documents, and thousands of the released documents were completely redacted, according to the ADF.

[Read the full story here, at Washington Times]

“The Obama IRS first ignored the ADF FOIA request and is now stonewalling in federal court,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a press release. “The public has a right to know about any new IRS guidelines for investigating the practice of our basic First Amendment freedoms.”

The IRS could not be reached for comment by press time. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] DENIED: Clinton Aide Huma Abedin Rejects Hug in Awkward Moment

 

Source: TheHill


[INFOGRAPHIC] How to File a Freedom of Information Act Request

Though it has been in place since 1967, some of us don’t fully understand—or take advantage of—the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). The act, often described as the law that keeps citizens in the know about their government, requires federal agencies to disclose requested information. While there are nine specific exemptions, the FOIA grants citizens a wide range of information controlled by the U.S. government.

As election season nears, and in light of an outbreak of high profile investigations into government dealings, FOIA requests have gained currency as an indispensable tool to shed light on the inner workings of public affairs.

Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen testifies under subpoena before the House Oversight Committee as lawmakers continue their probe of whether tea party groups were improperly targeted for increased scrutiny by the IRS, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, June 23, 2014. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Especially in the internet age, citizens should have free and unrestricted access to government information. As an essential tool to gain access to the troves of electronic information at the heart of the biggest, most important government disputes, FOIA requests are crucial for a transparent democracy. But to tap into the heaps of information, electronic and otherwise, you need to know how to file a request and identify the nine exemptions. This infographic clearly details the process of filing a request under the act as well as what happens once a request is made.

Source: logikcull.com


U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon: The ‘Least Ambitious’ Bureaucrat Could Process Clinton’s Personal Emails Faster

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“Even the least ambitious bureaucrat could do this.”

David Francis writes: So far, the State Department, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, has released just a small sampling of 55,000 pages of email from former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s home internet server. The PANTSUIT-REPORTtiming of the releases have been less than ideal: The first batch was released on the afternoon of May 22, the Friday before the long Memorial Day weekend. The second came late in the evening, on June 30, less than an ideal time for reporters to dig in to find a story.

According to U.S. District Judge Richard Leon, the pace of the releases, just like their timing, is also less than ideal.

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“Now, any person should be able to review that in one day — one day,” the judge said at a Wednesday hearing, while reviewing an Associated Press request for the release of just over 60 emails. “Even the least ambitious bureaucrat could do this.”

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New York Daily News

[Read the full text here, at ForeignPolicy.com, and more at the New York Daily News]

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[Noah Rothman on the Media’s Favorite Framing Device: ‘Republican Reaction’ Stories]

Read the rest of this entry »


Hillary Clinton’s Secret #Benghazi Phone Call

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If it’s almost 100% redacted, does it count as ‘unclassified’?

 writes: Another day, another tiny, minuscule, pin-width beam of light shining down on who knew what, when, and how during and in the wake of the 2012 attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

Most recently, we saw Sid Blumenthal, having been dragged before a Congressional committee, providing investigators with a batch of then-PANTSUIT-REPORTSecretary Clinton’s private e-mails that the State Department failed to hand over. The very existence of those e-mails had members of the committee convinced that their much-maligned digging is not only justified, but necessary in the effort to figure out what was in the Administration’s collective hive mind in the wake of the attacks.

We already knew that Clinton and Obama spoke on the night of the Benghazi attacks; what we didn’t know is what they talked about. But finally! A federal court has released a new document, the contents of which have the potential to blow this whole thing wide open.

The problem? The “unclassified” document is almost completely redacted:

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READOUT OF PRESIDENT’S CALL TO SECRETARY CLINTON: *crickets*Does it count as “unclassified” if it’s covered in correction tape?

Of course, the Administration has a totally predictable excuse for all the white-out. They’re not arguing that the information contained in the call was classified, but that it “represents internal deliberations” about the 2012 attack.

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[Read the full story here, at Legal Insurrection]

This e-mail was released as part of a FOIA demand made by activist group Judicial Watch, and it’s a vital link in the timeline.

Via Fox News:

The emails also show that Rhodes, on the night of Sept. 11, 2012, and before the attack was over, endorsed a statement from Clinton that cited an anti-Islam Internet video.

That statement noted some tried to justify the assault “as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet.” Rhodes told Clinton’s aides that “we should let State Department statement be our comment for the night.” Read the rest of this entry »


VICE: Releasing Bin Laden’s Porn Stash: The Public’s Heroic Battle with the CIA Continues

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Jason Leopold writes: In addition to his library of English-language books on topics such as international law, voting irregularities, and the Illuminati, Osama bin Laden also had a pretty substantial porn collection.

But the CIA won’t release bin Laden’s stash of porn, which Navy Seals apparently seized during a raid on his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan four years ago. That’s because, unbelievably, it’s located in an “operational file,” which is exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

In 2001, Mr Mir became the first journalist to interview Osama bin Laden following the 9/11 attacks

An operational file is defined as:

(1) files of the National Clandestine Service which document the conduct of foreign intelligence or counterintelligence operations or intelligence or security liaison arrangements or information exchanges with foreign governments or their intelligence or security services;

(2) files of the Directorate for Science and Technology which document the means by which foreign intelligence or counterintelligence is collected through scientific and technical systems; and

(3) files of the Office of Personnel Security which document investigations conducted to determine the suitability of potential foreign intelligence or counterintelligence sources;

“It seems like a stretch to call these [pornographic] materials operational files,” said Steven Aftergood, the director of the Project on Government Secrecy. “Although they may have been obtained in the course of an operation, they do not have anything to do with the planning or conduct of the operation. So they don’t really fit the definition of an operational file in the CIA Information Act.”

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Moreover, even if bin Laden’s porn collection wasn’t located in an operational file, the CIA said it still couldn’t release it because US law bars the agency from mailing “obscene or crime-inciting matter.”

[Read the full text here, at VICE News]

The CIA made these questionable arguments last week, in response to a May 26 FOIA request filed last month by David Covucci, an editor at BroBible, a site that describes itself as “the ultimate destination for Bros.” Read the rest of this entry »


SMIDGEN REPORT SPECIAL UPDATE: IRS Created ‘Special Project Team’ of ‘Hundreds of Lawyers’ to Hide Information from Congress

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The American Center for Law and JusticeJay Sekulow reports: New testimony reveals that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) used “hundreds of attorneys” to SMG-REPORThide critical information from Congress’s investigation of the IRS targeting of conservatives.

According to new congressional bombshell testimony today, the IRS set up a previously unknown “special project team” comprised of “hundreds of attorneys,” including the IRS Chief Counsel (one of only two politically appointed positions at the IRS).

The “special project” this team was given?  Concealing information from Congress.

The IRS’s director of privacy, governmental liaison, and disclosure division, Mary Howard, testified that soon after the IRS targeting scandal was revealed, the IRS “amassed hundreds of attorneys to go through the documents [requested by Congress] and redact them.”

Shulman looks on as Lerner delivers an opening statement to a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing in Washington

Members of Congress have long complained that many of the documents produced by the IRS have been “redacted to the point of absurdity.”

Now we know why.

As the Washington Times reports:

Mary Howard, who also works as the head Freedom of Information Act officer in the IRS, told the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that once the “special project team” was created and operational, she never saw requests for information.

“My understanding was that it started soon after the request came from Congress and other investigators asking for documents around this whole issue,” which she surmised meant around spring of 2013.

In other words, as soon as the IRS targeting scandal broke, the IRS set up a special O-SMDGE-CONDENSEDteam of hundreds of attorneys, including President Obama’s political head of the Chief Counsel’s office, to keep requests for publicly available information away from the person who would normally review those documents and turn them over to Congress and the public.  That “special” team then overly redacted, delayed, and determined which documents it wanted Congress to see.

After setting up a special “group” to target and delay applications by Tea Party groups for tax-exempt status, the IRS set up a new “special project team” to delay and redact information from Congress about that targeting.  Can you smell a cover-up? Read the rest of this entry »


UPDATE: Christian Printer Who Was Punished By the Government for Refusing to Print Gay Pride T-Shirts Just Scored a Major Victory

Hands-On

 reports: A Christian printer who was previously found guilty of discrimination for refusing to print T-shirts for a gay pride parade won big on Monday after a court ruled that he can decline to print messages that run in opposition to his religious views.

“In America, we don’t force people to express messages that are contrary to their convictions. America should not be a place where people who identify as homosexual are forced to promote groups like theWestboro Baptists and where printers with sincere religious convictions are forced to promote the message of the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization.”

— Adamson‘s co-counsel Bryan Beauman of Sturgill, Turner, Barker & Moloney, PLLC

The Fayette County Circuit Court’s ruling overturned a previous decision by the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Human Rights Commission, finding that Blaine Adamson, owner of Hands On Originals, a printing company in Lexington, Kentucky, was within his rights when he declined to make shirts for the Lexington Pride Parade, according to a press release from Alliance Defending Freedom, a conservative legal firm.

“The court rightly recognized that the law protects Blaine’s decision not to print shirts with messages that conflict with his beliefs, and that no sufficient reason exists for the government to coerce Blaine to act against his conscience in this way.” 

— Jim Campbell, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom

The court found that Adamson did not violate the law in citing his religious convictions as the reason for the refusal, and that his decision was based on his personal freedom not to be forced or coerced to print messages that contradict his views.

[VIDEO]

“The court rightly recognized that the law protects Blaine’s decision not to print shirts with messages that conflict with his beliefs, and that no sufficient reason exists for the government to coerce Blaine to act against his conscience in this way,” Jim Campbell, an attorney with Alliance Defending Freedom, said in a statement.

He added, “In short, [Hands On Originals’] declination to print the shirts was based upon the message of [Gay and Lesbian Services Organization of Lexington] and the Pride Festival and not on the sexual orientation of its representatives or members.”

As TheBlaze previously reported, Adamson’s case began when he refused service to the Gay and Lesbian Services Organization of Lexington and the organization subsequently filed a complaint against Hands on Originals in March 2012, alleging that he had discriminated based on sexual orientation.

But Adamson and his attorneys consistently argued that Hands on Originals is a Christian business and that the views presented on the T-shirts — which advertised a gay pride festival — violated his religious beliefs; these arguments were initially dismissed. Read the rest of this entry »


Tuesday Morning News Dump

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Ben K – Ace of Spades HQ


THE PANTSUIT REPORT: Hillary Doesn’t Take Questions After Speech Promising Open Relationship with Press

Hillary-grins

Forgive me for my cynicism, but that makes me think she just might not mean it

page_2014_200_timpfAt The CornerKatherine Timpf writes:

In a speech in front of a crowd full of journalists at Syracuse University on Monday, Hillary Clinton declared that she had a new hairstyle and would have a new, open relationship with the press along with it — and then didn’t take questions afterwards.PANTSUIT-REPORT

“Why not a new relationship with the press? …No more secrecy. No more zone of privacy. After all, what good did that do for me?”

“With a room full of political reporters, I thought to myself, ‘What could possibly go wrong?’” Clinton joked, apparently considering the press busting her for illegal e-mail practices that may have put national security at risk to be something to joke about…(read more)

National Review


THE PANTSUIT REPORT: State Dept: ‘We have reviewed Secretary Clinton’s official personnel file and administrative files and do not have any record of her signing…’

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This agonizing pretense finally ended on Tuesday, as State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki finally admitted there seems to be no record of Clinton following the OF-109 requirements

John Hayward reports: Another piece of the puzzle fell into place in Hillary Clinton’s ever-deepening email scandal, as the State Department – following days of absolutely absurd foot-dragging – finally admitted it can’t seem to find any record of her signed Form OF-109.PANTSUIT-REPORT

 “It’s not clear that this form is used as a part of a standard part of checkout across the federal government or even at the State Department…”

This is a crucial document signed by departing State Department employees, testifying that all official records have been turned over, including – but not limited to – classified materials and emails. Since it is manifestly obvious that Hillary Clinton didn’t turn over all such materials, her signature on the OF-109 would have constituted perjury.

:…We’re looking into how standard this is across the federal government and certainly at the State Department… I don’t want to characterize how common practice it is.”

Ever since lawyers familiar with this document began describing it, the State Department has been asked to produce the exit paperwork for Clinton (and her top aides Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin, and Philippe Reines, who also had accounts on Clinton’s secret email server.) The Republican National Committee filed a Freedom of Information Act request for the documents. Even Clinton-friendly reporters have been asking about it.

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Somehow our titanic $3.5 trillion mega government – the same government that just took over the Internet, the brilliant bureaucratic machine that understands health care better than any doctor and investment better than any capitalist – couldn’t seem to find that important piece of paper. Excuses that the government wouldn’t accept from the smallest private enterprise in America were proffered for State’s golly-gee-whiz-aw-shucks inability to produce a crucial form. The same people who love to bury citizens beneath towering piles of paperwork, demanding requests in triplicate for permission to do virtually anything, claimed they had no idea what happened to the Secretary of State’s termination papers. Read the rest of this entry »


State Department Official Confirms: Hillary Decides What Emails We Can See

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Byron Yorkyork writes: The State Department has faced a lot of questions about former Secretary Hillary Clinton’s secret email account, but the most fundamental one is: Do you have them all? Officials at State have said repeatedly that Clinton has turned over 55,000 pages of emails from her time at the department. But each time spokeswoman Marie Harf has been asked whether that material — 55,000 pages, not 55,000 emails — represents all of Clinton’s State Department emails, she ends up citing Clinton’s staff, who have told department officials that Clinton has turned over everything that is “responsive” to the department’s hillary-eyesrequest for documents. Clinton, of course, decided what is “responsive” and what is not.

“According to Harf, State depends on the official involved to give everything to the office that answers FOIA requests.”

On Friday, Harf faced another part of the question. Yes, Clinton’s staff has said they have turned over everything, but is the State Department doing anything to make sure that’s really true? It took a long time to get around to the answer, which is “No.”

“But reporters wanted to know: Is there any way to check whether the employee has handed everything over?”

“Will any attempt be made to check whether these are all the emails, or will you just be accepting the secretary’s word on this?” asked a reporter.

“You’re saying that the State Department — for all FOIA requests, it relies on the goodwill of the individuals?”

“Well, as we have said, her staff has said these were all the responsive emails they had to our request, and that’s really a question for her staff to answer,” Harf said.

“Well, no, no,” said the reporter. “My question is: Will the State Department be attempting in any way to verify whether they are all the emails? I mean, what I imagine is there are various methods you can use to look at whether they’re in sequence or whether there are gaps. I mean, will there be any attempt to verify this?”

Harf didn’t have an answer. “Well, a couple points,” she said. “First, as I’ve said, it covers the breadth of her time at the State Department. So it covers the span of when she was here. But — ”

“The request does, but — ” the reporter interjected.

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“No, the records in response cover — the emails she gave us back cover the breadth of her time at the State Department.”

“How do you know that? How do you know they’re all — ”

“Because I know when she started and when she left,” Harf said, “and they correspond to that and they cover all of the time in between.”

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[Also  see – Only the Shadow Knows – Maureen Dowd, NYT]

[Also see – More Proof That State Dept. Spox Marie Harf Is Terrible At Her Job]

Reporters were still skeptical. “But you don’t know that there’s gaps or deleted emails or some that just weren’t sent,” one said. Read the rest of this entry »


Foxes in Hen Houses: Obama’s Inspectors General Cover-Up Fraud and Corruption

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Under the Obama administration there are accusations of retaliation by inspectors general against whistleblowers who help to expose corruption and abuse.

The Obama’s administration’s 72 inspectors general, who are appointed to investigate wrongdoing in their respective departments such as the Department of Justice, the Internal Revenue Service, the Veteran’s Administration and other federal agencies, appear to require an inspector general to investigate them.

“Imagine police officers punishing or threatening their confidential informants, or snitches, when they bring them information and you can see how ludicrous it has become within the federal government…”

— Former police detective and corporate security director Michael Snopes

They allegedly do more ignoring or covering up misconduct, malfeasance and even out-and-out criminal activity, than they do weeding out corruption and crime, according to a report released on Friday by non-governmental, public-interest group that probes and exposes government and political corruption.

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Courtesy of Police Times

Inspectors General Needed to Investigate Obama Administration’s Corrupt Inspectors General

“The [supposedly] ‘independent’ watchdogs that are supposed to root out waste, fraud and corruption inside U.S. government agencies often help cover it up,” noted officials from Judicial Watch. The group of investigators and attorneys — who use the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the civil court system to probe and “prosecute” federal, state and local government agencies and individuals — points to a four-part newspaper exposé that accuses these high-paid inspectors general of sometimes becoming “the lapdogs of the agencies they’re charged with overseeing.” 

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Under the Obama administration there are accusations of retaliation by inspectors general against whistleblowers who help to expose corruption and abuse.

The newspaper’s investigative reporter, Mark Flatten, penetrated the veil of deceit — so common in President Barack Obama’s so-called transparent administration — to reveal the present reality of inspectors general tasked with keeping an eye on the government. The 72 inspectors general, with superiors appointed by the president, is a decades-old practice that became law with both Democrats and Republicans supporting the legislation in both houses of Congress.

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Each government department is required to have an independent section that functions the way a police department’s internal affairs bureau functions: with total access to all information, documents and materials and a total absence of any conflict of interest or any apprehension of retaliation by superiors including the President of the United States. Any findings by an inspector general with the appropriate House of Representatives’ committee or Senate committee charged with oversight. Read the rest of this entry »


SMIDGEN REPORT: Feds Won’t Release IRS Documents Shared with White House

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Douglas Ernst reports: The federal government will not disclose thousands of documents sought by an IRS watchdog that may prove that taxpayer data was improperly shared with the White House.

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[Also see “Improper Disclosure” – The Daily Caller]

The nonprofit Cause of Action filed a lawsuit against the federal government when its Freedom of Information Act requests were O-SMDGE-CONDENSEDstonewalled roughly two years ago. A judge agreed with the organization and ordered the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) to honor the request for transparency.

An attorney with TIGTA wrote Cause of Action on Tuesday and informed the organization of “2,509 pages of documents potentially responsive to your request,” Fox News reported Wednesday. Of those documents, 2,043 were in fact responsive to the organization’s request. Read the rest of this entry »


Refresher Course: White House Promise of Immigration ‘Background Checks’

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November 20, 2014, Michelle Malkin writes: You will hear over and over again tonight from President Obama — and repeated ad nauseum by the gullible, open-borders media — that only illegal aliens who pass “background checks” will be eligible for the massive new administrative amnesty.

Two words: Bull. Crap.

For the past two decades, I’ve reported on the systematic sabotage and incorrigible incompetence of the federal government when it comes to immigration background checks. Instead of instituting a moratorium and fixing enforcement of the current system, both political parties have piled on and exacerbated the problem with endless new amnesties that overwhelm the homeland security infrastructure.

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Obama’s DHS abandoned criminal background checks wholesale for DACA/”Dreamers” after promising they would be vetted.

Flashback 2013:

Judicial Watch announced today that documents obtained recently through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request show that the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services (USCISabandoned required background checks late last year, adopting, instead, costly “lean and lite” procedures in effort to broken-meter--numbers_19-96788keep up with the flood of amnesty applications spurred by President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) directive, which grants illegal aliens a two-year deferment from deportation.

Acting on a tip from a whistleblower at a federal law enforcement agency, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA request with DHS, for “all communications, memoranda, emails, policy guidance, directives, initiatives, and any other correspondence respecting the scope and extent of background checks to be performed (or not) on aliens applying to the Obama administration’s DACA program.” The FOIA was filed on October 26, 2012. The Immigration and National Security Act (INA) mandates a “coordinated, uniform, and efficient,” system of background checks. Instead, the FOIA documents reveal a costly, haphazard process, with only cursory review for the backgrounds of illegal aliens seeking “deferred status.” Document highlights include:

In a series of agency memos beginning in September 14, 2012, field offices were told to expect the National Benefits Center (which collects all DACA applications) to conduct only “lean & lite” background checks on illegal alien applicants, and that, henceforth, “NBC will not perform full TECS checks or any evidence review on these cases before we ship to the field.” An October 14 memo reiterated that under the new “lean and lite” policy, “Hits will be sent to the field without resolution.” On October 25, the St. Paul Field Director conceded to staffers that the new “lean & lite” procedures were for an indefinite period of time, saying, “I just can’t tell you when things will revert back to the way they used to be.”…(read more)

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And here’s my 2008 refresher on the long pattern of throwing background checks out the window for bipartisan open-borders expedience. Washington never learns:

McClatchy reporter James Asher has a new piece out detailing how DHS is clearing massive application backlogs by skipping the background checks.Before we get into the meat of that story, let me refresh your memories about a few michelle-malkin-bookthings.

[Flashback – click for full-size memos]

[Order Michelle Malkin’s book “Culture of Corruption: Obama and His Team of Tax Cheats, Crooks, and Cronies”  from Amazon.com]

During the shamnesty debacle, we were told to shut up about our national security concerns because McCain and company were going to guarantee that all illegal alien guest-workers would get thorough background checks. We were told to calm down about the proposal because there was nothing to worry about. But the background check process was a fraud.(read more)

In 2003, an INS center in Laguna Niguel solved the massive backlog problem by putting tens of thousands of applications through a shredder. Read the rest of this entry »