Judicial Watch • Obama

Obama Archives | Page 4 of 15 | Judicial Watch

In a scary development, a major Obama fundraiser who defended a convicted al Qaeda terrorist will become the third highest ranking official at the Department of Justice (DOJ), which, ironically, is charged with defending the interests of the United States.

Northern California lawyer Tony West has been named Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division, making him the No. 3 guy at the agency. In 2009 West, who helped Obama raise tens of millions of dollars as finance co-chairman of his first presidential campaign, was appointed to help run the DOJ’s civil division which represents the government, Congress and presidential cabinet officers and handles cases dealing with significant policy issues.

In a statement announcing the promotion this week, Attorney General Eric Holder says West has served the department with “professionalism, integrity and dedication.” Holder also mentions West’s work before coming to the DOJ a few years ago, including a stint as a Special Assistant Attorney General in California and a lengthier career at a large San Francisco law firm.

Conveniently omitted in the press release is that West represented convicted al Qaeda terrorist John Walker Lindh, who is serving a 20-year prison sentence. Lindh was captured in Afghanistan in 2001 while fighting against the U.S.-backed Northern Alliance as a member of the Taliban army. He actually pleaded guilty to aiding the Taliban and carrying explosives while fighting U.S. troops in the region.

Holder also knows a thing or two about defending terrorists. After all, he was a senior partner in a prestigious Washington D.C. law firm (Covington & Burling) that represented more than a dozen Yemeni terrorists held at the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay Cuba. While Holder was a senior partner the firm employed a number of radical attorneys to provide the Islamic extremists with thousands of hours of free legal representation, according to a news report.

Another highlight in Holder’s resume is that he orchestrated Bill Clinton’s shameful last-minute pardons, including that of a fugitive financier and a pair of jailed domestic terrorists. In fact, shortly after the pardon scandal, Holder predicted that his public career was over. Under his leadership the DOJ has been embroiled in a number of high-profile scandals, including a gun-running operation (Fast and Furious) in which weapons were sold to Mexican drug cartels. One was later used to murder a federal agent. Judicial Watch has sued the DOJ to obtain records involving the operation.

 

As the Moroccan who plotted a suicide bombing inside the U.S. Capitol appears in federal court today, much of the mainstream media coverage omits a crucial part of the story; this is the class of illegal immigrant the Obama Administration is sparing from deportation.  

That’s because, like millions of others, the would-be assassin didn’t have a criminal record and thus never posed a threat to the public, according to the feds. Like many of the illegal aliens protected by the Obama Administration the attempted bomber, 29-year-old Amine El Khalifi, came to the U.S. as a kid (“through no fault of his own” as the open borders movement says).  He could have easily qualified for discounted college tuition at a number of taxpayer-funded colleges and universities nationwide.

El Khalifi lived under the radar in Alexandria Virginia while he orchestrated attacking a number of targets, including military buildings, a Washington D.C. restaurant popular among military officials and a synagogue. Last week he planned to blow up the nation’s capitol as a suicide bomber in a martyrdom operation. El Khalifi concocted a detailed plot and believed he was working with al Qaeda. 

Incredibly, El Khalifi is the prototype of illegal immigrant protected by Obama’s backdoor amnesty plan. Officially launched in mid-November, the initiative halts the removal of illegal aliens with no criminal records. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) reviews all deportation cases and operates a “training program” to assure that enforcement agents and prosecuting attorneys don’t remove certain types of illegal immigrants.

The idea, according to the administration, is to deport only undocumented aliens who have been convicted of serious crimes or pose a national security risk. That means a large class of illegal immigrants are being granted de facto amnesty, which is technically illegal without the consent of Congress. So far thousands have been spared removal under the outrageous initiative. 

As if this weren’t bad enough, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) records indicate that serious criminals are not being targeted for removal either. This in addition to a sharp drop in the number of overall deportations during a recent quarter analyzed by a nonprofit university group dedicated to researching the U.S. government. 

The nonpartisan New York-based data research center, Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), provides detailed information about the operation of hundreds of government agencies. Immigration is one of many areas it researches. This week TRAC released ICE data that shows the number of deportation proceedings initiated by the government during a recent quarter fell 33% from the previous quarter. 

The records also reveal that serious criminals are not being targeted as ICE promised when it announced its top enforcement priority. Of the 24,073 individuals targeted for deportation during the period analyzed, 8,884 were charged with immigration violations while only 1,300—just 3.3%—were sought to be removed as “aggravated felons,” the records show.

This is downright scary. That’s why Judicial Watch has worked to obtain information on how this is all being carried out. Last spring JW sued DHS for records concerning “deferred action” or “parole” to suspend removal proceedings against a particular group of individuals. The lawsuit was filed because the agency has ignored a federal public records request that dates back to July 2010.


 

 

 

The Obama backdoor amnesty plan is in full force, with a record amount of illegal immigrants spared from deportation and a huge increase in the number of those allowed to remain the United States.

The shift is striking, according to the nonprofit university group that obtained government records outlining the drastic change. The New York-based nonpartisan research center, Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), provides detailed information about the operation of hundreds of government agencies.  Immigration is one of many areas it researches.

This week TRAC revealed that during the first three months of fiscal year 2012, cases disposed of in the nation’s immigration courts showed a serious drop in deportation orders and an increase in the number of individuals allowed to stay in the U.S. That means that individuals were ordered removed in only half of the cases, the lowest rate in the past two decades.

An additional 14.0 percent received a “voluntary departure” order to leave the country, up slightly from 13.2 percent during the previous quarter, the records show.  Counting both removal and voluntary departure orders, slightly fewer than two out of every three cases (64.8 percent) in the first quarter of fiscal year 2012 ended in a deportation order, also a historic low.

The government records also show that, among individuals determined by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to have violated immigration laws, more than one in three (34.4 percent) were allowed to stay in the U.S. This also represented a historic high, which is illustrated in a chart that includes figures for the last several years.

Clearly, the Obama Administration’s stealth amnesty plan to suspend the deportations of most illegal aliens is in play here. The scandalous measure, which has led to a monstrous increase in the dismissal of deportations, was first reported by Texas’s largest newspaper in 2010. Shortly after the story broke, Judicial Watch requested records on the deportation suspensions from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

After DHS stonewalled the release of records for nearly a year, JW filed a lawsuit last spring. A few weeks ago the United States District Court for the District of Columbia issued a ruling criticizing the Obama DHS for failing to abide by FOIA law. U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly chastised the agency for its inadequate explanations for withholding certain documents, ruling in part that the agency failed to provide sufficient factual context for much of the information withheld.

While on the combined subject of lying and illegal immigration, last month TRAC exposed DHS records that show the agency repeatedly lied to Congress, the American people and the media by drastically increasing the number of individuals that have been apprehended, deported or detained. Check that story out here.

A new Homeland Security report compares terrorism to “ordinary crime” in metropolitan U.S. cities and omits the radical Islamic factor, instead finding “significant variability in the ideologies motivating terrorist attacks across decades.”

This appears to be part of the Obama Administration’s Muslim outreach effort, which includes hiring a special Homeland Security adviser (Mohamed Elibiary) who supports a radical Islamist theologian and renowned jihadist ideologue. The Obama Justice Department also created a special Muslim Engagement Advisory Group to foster greater communication, collaboration and a new level of respect between law enforcement and Muslim and Arab-American communities.

And, in 2010, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano held secret meetings with radical Arab, Muslim, Sikh and South Asian “community leaders.” Judicial Watch uncovered documents from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that includes a list of the individuals who participated, including radical leaders such as Imad Hamad, outed as a Hezbollah supporter by attorney and investigative journalist Debbie Schlussel, and extremist Salam Al-Marayati, founder of the Muslim Public Affairs Council.

Considering this cozy relationship, the new DHS terrorism report should come as no surprise. It compares terrorist attacks to “ordinary crime” in large, metropolitan areas which is why the nation’s terrorism “hot spots” are Manhattan, Los Angeles County, Miami-Dade County Florida, San Francisco County and Washington, D.C. As if to downplay the distinct difference between crashing a plane into a high-rise and a mugging, the DHS says “terrorism and ordinary crime occur in many of the same areas.”

It stresses that the “Ideological motivation” for terrorist attacks varies greatly. For instance, the brilliant DHS minds found that certain counties are prone to a particular type of terrorist attack, including extreme right-wing, ethno-nationalist/separatist and “religiously motivated,” though no specific religion is mentioned. The report does point out however, that “religiously motivated attacks occurred predominately in the 1980s.”

Terrorism is also linked to social economic status, poverty, residential instability and “ethnic heterogeneity,” a dramatic change in the urban landscape caused by massive numbers of immigrants. Because neighborhoods were “rapidly transformed into centers of diversity,” the result was not immediately positive and some turned to terrorism, the DHS report seems to indicate.

The only mention of Islam is buried deep in the 36-page document as an example of “those who seek to politicize religion” along with “Christian Reconstructionists” and those who seek to bring about Armageddon, such as Jewish Direct Action and Mormon extremists. The study was conducted by the DHS’s National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), a team of social scientists that research the causes and human consequences of terrorism in the U.S.

The U.S. government’s minority cash giveaway for “discriminated” farmers has reached a new level, with an improved process that makes it faster and easier for Hispanics to get awards much larger than previously announced.

The goal is to make amends to those who suffered discrimination when seeking farm loans from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the agency charged with doling out billions in reparation money. A few years ago black farmers got $1.25 billion to settle discrimination allegations and last summer the Obama Administration announced a new pot of “compensation” cash—$1.33 billion—for women and Hispanics.

Originally, under that plan, Hispanics who felt they were victims of USDA discrimination could get up to $50,000 to make up for their suffering. To get the word out the feds launched an impressive bilingual advertising and public relations campaign that includes national outreach tours by top USDA officials as well as Justice Department bigwigs because that agency is sort of overseeing it.

This month the USDA quietly increased the amount of money that each discriminated Hispanic farmer can collect by five times, to $250,000. The agency also announced an “updated claims process” that simplifies and speeds things up so the victims can get their government cash faster. Victims are encouraged to participate in the simplified process and are assured that there is no filing fee or other costs.

The updated process is part of the USDA’s efforts to ensure that all its “customers” have equal access to its programs, according to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. It’s also part of the president’s mission to end discrimination at the agency. “The Obama Administration has made it a priority to resolve all claims of past discrimination at USDA, and we are committed to closing this sad chapter in USDA’s history,” Vilsack said.

Under Obama, the agency has served as a key tool to help minorities through a variety of costly programs, mainly the First Lady’s $4.5 billion effort to bring affordable healthy foods to inner cities nationwide. Under the plan, the USDA has dispersed huge sums of money to community groups that promise to make available affordable healthy foods in poor neighborhoods.

The agency has also allocated $8.8 million to train “underserved” Hispanic students to someday work for it. The money is paying for programs that tackle global food security and hunger, climate change, bio-based energy development, childhood obesity (Michelle Obama’s favorite topic) and food safety. In all, 20 “Hispanic-serving institutions” got grants to help the targeted population “develop a skilled American work force” that will someday join the USDA ranks.  

Two-Week Trip to Copenhagen Cost Taxpayers in Excess of $467,175

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch, the organization that investigates and fights government corruption, announced today that it has obtained records detailing costs associated with a trip made by President and Mrs. Obama and key members of the administration to Copenhagen, Denmark, for the expressed purpose of securing the 2016 Olympics for the city of Chicago.  Expenses for the two-week trip appear to have far exceeded $467,175, in light of the fact that costs associated with the aircrafts ‒ two Boeing 747s and several Air Force cargo planes – have not been made available.

According to the records obtained from the Obama Department of Defense (DOD), President and Mrs. Obama; Secretary Ray LaHood; Secretary Arne Duncan; Senior Advisor and Assistant to the President Valarie Jarrett; and representatives of the White House Office of Olympic, Paralympic, and Youth Sport visited Copenhagen from September 21 through October 3 in an effort to convince members of the International Olympics Committee (IOC) to select Chicago as the location for the 2016 Olympics.  The Obama administration ferried dozens of other participants, including supporting staff members, to Copenhagen.  However , the DOD has redacted many of their names.

Among the itemized costs associated with the Olympics trip (totaling $467,175):

    • $235,659         Hotel rental for seven “offices” plus transportation and communications (through October 2, 2009)
    • $33,044           Cost of extra day in hotel (October 3, 2009)
    • $129,276         Travel vouchers for hotel, mileage, reimbursed expenses, and flight costs for persons attending
    • $69,196            Flight costs for press

President Obama tapped Valarie Jarrett to serve as his “Olympics Czar” and lead the effort to secure the Olympics for Chicago despite her personal and business ties to Chicago, which included a stint working for Mayor Daley.  Jarrett’s work on the Olympics bid would have violated Obama’s own Executive Order against engaging in lobbying activities prior to his administration.  However, then-“Ethics Czar” Norm Eisen granted Jarrett an “ethics waver” from the president’s highly-touted ethics pledge so Jarrett could run the push for the Chicago Olympics bid.  The waiver exempted Jarrett from the restrictions of President Obama’s own ethics pledge, even though she had personally led the bid before entering the White House.

Judicial Watch obtained the documents pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request submitted to the DOD on October 5, 2009.  FOIA law required the DOD to respond within 20 days.  However, the DOD took 26 months to release the records.  In September 2009, Judicial Watch submitted an open records request with Chicago Mayor Richard Daley’s to obtain records related to the Olympics bid, and the mayor’s office has failed to respond.  Therefore, Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit against the mayor’s office on November 10, 2009, seeking those records.

“Barack and Michelle Obama wasted taxpayer dollars on a junket that seemed designed for one purpose – to take care of their Chicago cronies who stood to gain financially from the Olympics racket,” says Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The fact that Valerie Jarrett needed an ‘ethics waiver’ to lead this failed bid to bring the Olympics to Chicago tells you almost all you need to know about the scandalous nature of this trip.”


The Homeland Security agency charged with immigration enforcement has repeatedly lied to Congress, the American people and the media by drastically increasing the number of individuals that have been apprehended, deported or detained.

The shameful revelation was made this week by a nonprofit university group dedicated to researching the U.S. government. The nonpartisan New York-based data research center, Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), provides detailed information about the operation of hundreds of government agencies. Immigration is one of many areas it researches.

For the better part of the last two years TRAC has been engaged in a fierce legal battle with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) over records involving the agency’s enforcement activities. After repeatedly getting stonewalled, TRAC was recently provided with some of the documents involving statistics of individuals who had been arrested, detained, charged, returned or removed from the country during a specific period.

Although ICE is still withholding much of the information, the files that have been furnished so far reveal “vast discrepancies” in many areas, according to a case-by-case analysis conducted by TRAC. The initial probe reveals that official ICE statements claimed 34 times more detentions, 24 times more deportations and almost five times more apprehensions than its own data. This certainly indicates that ICE knowingly lied to lawmakers and the press to embellish its enforcement activities.  

For instance, during a one-year period that ICE claimed it detained 233,417 individuals it really only detained 6,778, according to agency’s own records. That same year, ICE said it deported 166,075 people when it really only deported 6,906 and it only apprehended 21,339 compared to claims that it had apprehended 102,034.

TRAC is still working to get the rest of the records and points out in an appeal filed this week that “ICE has been making highly exaggerated and inaccurate claims about the level of its enforcement activities,” or it is “withholding on a massive scale.” TRAC further states that the agency’s apparent inability to substantiate the level of its claimed enforcement activities is a very significant matter that’s central to the public debate on federal enforcement policy and the presidential election campaign.

In early December TRAC also uncovered records that show the Obama Administration inflated statistics to show that it had deported a record-high number of illegal immigrants with criminal records. The documents reveal that the figure is actually at an all-time low and rapidly decreasing as the administration brags about removing an unprecedented number of criminal aliens.

 

 

The untold story of the Obama Administration’s widely reported, $335 million discrimination settlement with Countrywide Financial Corporation is that, under a secret Justice Department program, a chunk of the money won’t go to the “victims” but rather leftist groups not connected to the lawsuit.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) will determine which “qualified organizations” get leftover settlement cash and Democrat-tied groups like the scandal-plagued Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) and the open-borders National Council of La Raza (NCLR) stand to get large sums based on the hastily arranged deal which got court approval in just a few days.  

Judicial Watch has investigated this controversial arrangement and in 2010 sued the DOJ to obtain information about the policy directing big portions of cash settlements from its civil rights lawsuits to organizations not officially connected to the cases. In response to JW’s lawsuit, the DOJ was forced to acknowledge that it has no official guidelines regarding “qualified organizations” that get leftover settlement funds and that it doesn’t monitor how the money is used.  

In the Countrywide case, details of the unscrupulous arrangement are buried deep (page 10 of the 17-page settlement) in the court document where Bank of America’s Countrywide Financial Corporation agrees to pay to resolve allegations that it discriminated against qualified black and Hispanic borrowers. The lender denies all of the charges, but wanted to end the case and caved into the government’s terms.

Here’s a synopsis straight out of the court settlement; all money not distributed to allegedly aggrieved persons within 24 months shall be distributed to qualified organizations that provide services including credit and housing counseling, financial literacy and other related programs targeted at African-Americans and Hispanics. Recipients may include “non-profit community organizations that provide education, counseling and other assistance to low-income and minority borrowers…”

This language essentially comes from ACORN’s mission statement. The famously corrupt group has raked in tens of millions of taxpayer dollars over the years but a series of scandals involving misuse of public funds, embezzlement, intimidation tactics, employee abuse, questionable hiring tactics and fraudulent voter registrations led Congress to pass legislation prohibiting the federal government from funding ACORN. The group simply transformed into various “spinoffs” and affiliated organizations and continues to get public money. Read all about it in a special JW investigative report, “The Rebranding of ACORN.”

The NCLR also stands to get money under the Countrywide settlement because the influential Mexican La Raza group is tight with the president and offers Latinos “housing counseling” that’s previously been funded by Uncle Sam. A JW probe uncovered documents in June that reveal federal funding for the group has skyrocketed since one of its top officials— Cecilia Muñoz—got a job in the Obama White House. Keeping with the mutual praise, the NCLR quickly issued a press release commending the administration for holding Countrywide “accountable for targeting communities of color.”

The landmark deal is the largest residential fair-lending settlement in history and has been widely celebrated by liberal groups as well as various media outlets, some of which believe the punishment wasn’t harsh enough. One newspaper editorial called it a “pittance compared to the grievous harm the lender brought to families across the nation.”

The money is supposed to be distributed to more than 200,000 minority victims—nearly one-third of them in California—who took out home loans between 2004 and 2008. According to the DOJ they were charged higher interest rates and fees than white borrowers based on their race not their credit. Thomas Perez, head of the DOJ’s bloated civil rights division, called it “discrimination with a smile” because victims had no idea they were being victimized and instead were thrilled just to get a home loan and realize the American dream.

 

 

 

 

Sign Up for Updates!