Saturday, September 5, 2015
Friday, September 4, 2015
Saturday, August 29, 2015
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Monday, August 24, 2015
Friday, August 21, 2015
Thursday, August 20, 2015
Email Scandal Deepens: Surprise: State Department Can't Find BlackBerrys of Clinton's Closest Aides, Say They Were Probably Destroyed
Do old phone models get turned in, replaced and ultimately destroyed? Yes. Does it make a bad situation surrounding Hillary Clinton's wiped out personal email server look worse? Absolutely.
According to a report published in The Hill late yesterday, BlackBerry devices belonging to Clinton's closest aides were likely destroyed.
State Department BlackBerry devices issued to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's aides Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin have likely been destroyed or sold off, the department said in a court filing on Wednesday.Mills and Abedin “were each issued BlackBerry devices,” department Executive Secretary Joseph Macmanus wrote in the filing.The department, however, “has not located any such device,” and believes that they would have been destroyed or removed from the department's control.“Because the devices issues to Ms. Mills and Ms. Abedin would have been outdated models, in accordance with standard operating procedures those devices would have been destroyed or excessed,” Macmanus added.State Department spokesman John Kirby confirmed later on Wednesday afternoon that the two former officials’ devices were returned to the department after they left office.“They belong to the United States government, and when you leave an agency you just turn it in,” Kirby said. “So yes, they were turned in. Where they are now I couldn’t begin to tell you.“It’s also likely, because this was a while ago, that those devices may have been destroyed,” he added. “I don’t have the records of it because they were old and outmoded and often times we purchase new devices” in those circumstances.
And here's this little nugget:
In the same court filing, the State Department confirmed its previous claim that Clinton used a personal BlackBerry during her time in office that was not issued by the federal government.
You know what that means? That Clinton was using an unsecure device, which contained top secret classified information, with an unsecure personal email system and server.
Last week we learned the personal server Hillary Clinton was forced to turn over the the FBI was wiped clean of data beforehand. The good news is, the FBI can recover at least some of what was erased.
Meanwhile, Clinton Press Secretary Brian Fallon is trying to argue that any classified information the former Secretary of State was in possession of was given to her as a "passive recipient of unwitting information."
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
We’ve been pointing that out for months, but Democrats can be forgiven for not taking our word for it. They may not be forgiven for putting all of their eggs in Hillary Clinton’s basket, though, after months of watching the presumed nominee proving that her fumble of a certain nomination in 2008 was no fluke. The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza hears from Democratsthat they’ve begun to see Hillary as an albatross, but with no other options on the horizon, they’re lost as to how to handle it:
Increasingly, Democrats — privately, of course — have begun to wonder whether the problem is not the campaign but the candidate.“She has always been awkward and uninspiring on the stump,” said one senior Democratic consultant granted anonymity to candidly assess Clinton’s candidacy. “Hillary has Bill’s baggage and now her own as secretary of state — without Bill’s personality, eloquence or warmth.”That same consultant added that he expected Clinton to easily win the Democratic nomination despite her weaknesses. “None of her primary opponents this time are Obama,” the consultant said. “Each lacks the skills, message and charisma to derail this train unless she implodes.”But. “The general [election] is another question.”
The latest round of hand-wringing got an adrenaline-panic boost after Democrats watchedHillary’s attempt at stand-up comedy in Iowa. Making cracks about disappearing messages turned out not to be a winner, not even among the cheering sections:
That sentiment was echoed repeatedly in a series of conversations I had over the past few days with Democratic strategists and consultants not aligned with Clinton or her campaign. And it’s evident anecdotally as well. Clinton’s decision to make light of her e-mail problems — she joked that she liked Snapchat because the messages disappear automatically — during a speech at a Democratic event in Iowa over the weekend rubbed lots of people in the party the wrong way.“The combination of messy facts, messy campaign operation and an awkward candidate reading terrible lines or worse jokes from a prompter is very scary,” admitted one unaligned senior Democratic operative.
Apparently, none of the Democrats interviewed by Cillizza see Bernie Sanders as a viable option. Why not? He’s pulling massive crowds, not too dissimilar to Barack Obama eight years ago when Hillary tried this the first time. Presumably, they see the dangers of offering a declared socialist as the party’s standard-bearer without any of the mitigating rhetorical and demographic advantages that Obama brought to the party in 2007-8. Sanders might be drawing crowds now, but those crowds are not likely to change election outcomes — and Sanders’ hard-Left ideology will almost certainly lose voters in the middle.
That leaves Democrats with few options, but they’d better not look to Obama administration officials for a rescue. The latest developments from the State Department on Philippe Reines’ e-mails makes it clear that Hillary is not the alpha and omega of cover-ups in this administration,as I argue in my column today for The Week:
This is a really big deal. Until now, the transparency and honesty issue has focused solely on Hillary Clinton. However, by early 2013, Clinton had left the State Department. John Kerry had taken over as secretary of state. If the lack of transparency was limited to the State Department under Hillary Clinton’s direction, then why did it continue under Kerry — and in such an obviously clumsy way?It is entirely possible, and frankly likely, that the lack of transparency didn’t start and end with Hillary Clinton, although she may have pushed it to the point of damaging national security. Though liberals are loathe to admit it, the Obama administration has too often suppressed transparency, be it the Department of Justice in the Operation Fast and Furious scandal or the IRS or now the State Department.And because of that, Clinton’s scandal could stick to the two men getting the most mention as possible emergency replacements for her in the Democratic primary. John Kerry’s State Department seemed perfectly willing to hide Clinton’s potential issues from public oversight. How could he take the 2016 mantle from her? And if Joe Biden ran for president, the argument for his candidacy would explicitly rest on continuity from the Obama years — years in which those in power tried to manipulate courts and avoid legitimate oversight.If this scandal gets any worse, Democrats may have no one left to rescue them from a disaster of their own making.
After the release of the video from this exchange with Black Lives Matter activists, expect that panic to increase exponentially.
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
The State Department, which is reviewing Hillary Clinton's emails from her tenure as secretary of state, has flagged 305 emails for further review to determine if they contain classified information.
In a court document filed Monday, the State Department said it would be able to meet a schedule for publicly releasing the Clinton emails, since just 305 -- or about 5 percent of the emails reviewed so far -- need further examination.
- Clinton dismisses latest controversy over her emails
- O'Malley: "Legitimate" questions surround Clinton's email
The agency is in the process of reviewing 30,000 emails for public release in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The flagged emails will be sent to the intelligence agencies from which the information in question originated for further review.
Meanwhile, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter on Friday to David Kendall, Clinton's private attorney, asking about his security clearance and his handling of Clinton's emails. Kendall was previously in possession of a thumb drive that held Clinton's emails.
Following the revelation that at least four of Clinton's emails should have been marked asclassified, Grassley wrote, "it appears the FBI has determined that your clearance is not sufficient to allow you to maintain custody of the emails."
Grassley asked Kendall to respond to a series of questions, such as, "Which government entity granted you and your associates a security clearance to be a custodian of Secretary Clinton's emails?
Monday, August 17, 2015
State Department officials have uncovered thousands of emails between Philippe Reines, a top Hillary Clinton aide, and members of the media, they previously said did not exist.
In a court filing last Thursday, the State Department estimated that a recent search turned up more than 81,000 emails from Reines’s official account while at the State Department. And 17,855 potentially fall within a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by Gawker earlier this year.
That is a reversal from 2013, when the State Department said a thorough search turned up no responsive records for Gawker’s request. In 2012, Gawker requested all emails between Reines and reporters from 34 media outlets.
The State Department did not explain the reversal in the court document, nor did it return a request for comment.
It will begin releasing a tranche of Reines's emails by the end of September.
After it was revealed earlier this year that Clinton, and potentially some of her aides, used personal email accounts for official business, Gawker sued the State Department over its initial request for communications between Reines and reporters.
Gawker asserted the search must not have been exhaustive if it turned up no emails between the press and a State Department spokesman, who regularly communicated with the media.
In March, Reines said reporters would have to ask the State Department about the apparent discrepancy.
In last week’s court filing, the State Department estimated it would begin releasing some of those emails that do not fall within an exemption on Sept. 30. It will release more every 30 days as they are reviewed.
The agency said it does not know how many of the 17,855 are exempt from disclosure and will have to be redacted or handed over to other agencies for redaction. It said it is willing to negotiate with Gawker to narrow the scope of the request.
The emails at issue from Reines’s official State Department account are separate from the 20 boxes of emails from his personal account that he handed over to the State Department last month, related to the controversy about Clinton’s use of a private email account and server.
Sunday, August 9, 2015
Friday, August 7, 2015
Corruption: After a year's stalling by the IRS, the Senate Finance Committee has released its bipartisan report, denouncing the tax-collection agency's partisanship and incompetence. When are these people going to jail?
The Senate report wasn't entirely satisfactory, given that its criticism was primarily in the compromise language of "gross mismanagement" to describe the agency's targeting of Tea Party dissident groups.
Using legal technicalities to silence and repress political dissent under the color of the nation's most feared enforcement agency isn't mismanagement. It's a crime.
It's incompatible with democracy and it shatters public confidence in the rule of law. It's the very crime the State Department is now condemning in Venezuela: the use of legal technicalities to halt popular opposition candidates from running for office. Until now, this kind of activity has had no precedent in our country, and it must be stopped before it becomes the standard.
This is far from mere incompetence or gross mismanagement. It was a highly competent operation to silence dissent. Yet no one has been sanctioned or punished, despite there being laws on the books dating back to the beginning of a professional civil service, that forbid and punish partisan motives in what should be impartial law. Already some observers believe the IRS swung the last election for the Democrats with these activities.
Not only did the IRS target Tea Party groups with unconscionable delays and intrusive questions, it went for their families, too. Young Bristol Palin learned yesterday that just being the daughter of former Alaska Gov. and Tea Party favorite Sarah Palin put her in the IRS' sights. Sarah Palin's father was targeted, too.
The agency also obstructed justice, first falsely claiming that its illegal targeting was only the work of rogue agents in its Cincinnati office. Then, as that lie fell apart, IRS moved to destroy evidence in the thousands of missing emails on IRS tax exempt organizations chief Lois Lerner's computer. Conveniently for them, it was declared lost forever in a hard drive crash — until it wasn't.
Now it's relying on its allies in the Senate and among anti-Tea Party Democrats in the House for cover, having them declare it incompetence, not a crime.
Allies? Yes. IRS top executive John Koskinen is a major financial contributor to Democrat campaigns, having donated nearly $100,000 to Democrats since 1979. And the National Treasury Employees Union, the IRS agents' union, is an even more notable donor to Democrats, with 94% of its members donating to leftists, and the 150,000-strong union itself endorsing Obama for president both in 2008 and 2012.
Lerner herself called Tea Party members "crazies" and spewed other anti-GOP insults in her emails.
To say that the IRS didn't have an interest in repressing dissent and was just unwittingly incompetent is ridiculous. IRS bureaucrats saw an illicit advantage for their Democrat friends — and wrongly took it.
That's illegal, and it demands a strong response from the law if the agency ever expects to recover public confidence. If it doesn't care enough about that, well, then what difference is there between the U.S. and a lawless banana republic?
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