MARCH 25, 2016
This has been an important week in our continuing investigation of Hillary Clinton’s time as secretary of state. We are uncovering critical links between her official duties and the private interests of her family’s foundation.
The 276 pages of internal State Department documents we released this week reveal that within two days of the deadly terrorist attack on Benghazi, Mohamed Yusuf al-Magariaf, the president of Libya’s National Congress, asked to participate in a Clinton Global Initiative function and “meet President Clinton.”
The meeting had not previously been disclosed.
The documents also show that Clinton’s staff coordinated with the Clinton Foundation’s staff to have her thank Clinton Global Initiative project sponsors for their “commitments” during a Foundation speech on September 25, 2009.
We obtained those documents as a result of a federal court order in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed against the State Department on May 28, 2013, (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:13-cv-00772)).
Here’s the incredible back story:
“Dr. Almagariaf will be addressing the United Nations this September in New York as the Libyan Head of State, and he expressed a wish to meet President Clinton and to participate at the Clinton Global Initiative meeting for New York as well.”
Four hours later, Desai emailed Hillary Clinton’s Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills asking,
“Would USG [U.S. Government] have concerns about Libyan President being invited to CGI [Clinton Global Initiative]? Odd timing, I know.” Mills emailed back: “We would not have issues.”
Four days later, on September 17, Desai emailed Mills again, saying,
“The Libyan president is “asking for a meeting with WJC [William Jefferson Clinton] next week.” Desai asked, “Would you recommend accepting or declining the WJC meeting request?”
The State Department apparently had no objection to the meeting, because on September 26, Desai emailed Mills, “He had a v good meeting with Libya …” Hillary Clinton and al-Magariaf did not have a meeting until September 24. .
Don’t you find it incredible that the Libyan president would call and meet Bill Clinton through the Clinton Foundation before meeting Hillary Clinton about Benghazi!
The illicit partnership between Hillary Clinton’s State Department and her family foundation extended even to fundraising.
An August 2009 email chain including Hillary Clinton’s then-Chief of Staff Huma Abedin, Mills, and then-Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Jake Sullivan shows that the State Department coordinated with Clinton Foundation staff on how Mrs. Clinton was to thank Foundation supporters/partners for their “commitments.”
Caitlin Klevorick, senior advisor to the counselor and chief of staff to the secretary of state who previously worked at the Foundation, notes: “One question is if we want to see if there is a decent mass of fs [funds] related commitments to announce together at closing as a ‘mega’ commitment.”
The State Department material includes background information about Clinton Foundation partners, which include Foundation donors Nduna Foundation, Grupo ABCA, and Britannia Industries. Other CGI partners noted in the State Department documents include a federal agency (the Centers for Disease Control) and various United Nations entities, which also receive U.S. taxpayer funds.
The transcript of Hillary Clinton’s speech on the State Department Internet site confirms that the then-secretary of state did thank those making “exceptional commitments” to her husband’s foundation:
And so I congratulate all who helped to put on this (inaudible) CGI [Clinton Global Initiative]. I especially thank you for having a separate track on girls and women, which I think was well received for all the obvious reasons. (Applause.) And this is an exceptional gathering of people who have made exceptional commitments to bettering our world.
As previously reported elsewhere, a June 2012 email chain discusses a “firm invitation for President Clinton” to speak at a Congo conference, hosted in part by the controversial Joseph Kabila, president of that nation. Bill Clinton is offered $650,000 in fees and expenses, concerning which, as Desai emails Mills and others, “WJC wants to know that state [sic] thinks of it if he took it 100% for the foundation.”
This questionable activity is part of a pattern.
Our lawsuit had previously forced the disclosure of documents that provided a road map for over 200 conflict-of-interest rulings that led to at least $48 million in speaking fees for the Clintons during Hillary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state. Previously disclosed documents in this lawsuit, for example, raise questions about funds Clinton accepted from entities linked to Saudi Arabia, China and Iran, among others.
We are continuing our litigation to obtain these conflict of interest records. The State Department has yet to explain why it failed to conduct a proper, timely search in the 20 months between when it received our request on May 2, 2011, and the February 1, 2013, date that Clinton left office.
Here’s why this is important.
Hillary Clinton and her State Department aides were involved in fundraising for the Clinton Foundation.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton worked hand in glove with the Clinton Foundation on fundraising and foreign policy. Despite the law and her promises to the contrary, she turned the State Department into the DC office of the Clinton Foundation.
Our lawsuit has become particularly noteworthy because it has been reported that the Clinton Foundation, now known as the Bill, Hillary, & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, accepted millions of dollars from at least seven foreign governments while Mrs. Clinton served as secretary of state.
The Foundation has acknowledged that a $500,000 donation it received from the government of Algeria while Mrs. Clinton was in office violated a 2008 ethics agreement between the foundation and the Obama administration. Some of the foreign governments that have made donations to the Clinton Foundation – Algeria, Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman – have questionable human rights records.
The public reaction to these latest JW findings was one of outrage. As one opinion writer at The Washington Post observed:
And, Clinton’s State Department was apparently coordinating meetings for Bill Clinton with foreign heads of state. If any other employee at the State Department had arranged such meetings for their spouse and actively thanked contributors to their spouse’s foundation, they would likely go to jail. No lawyer would even let it go to trial, because the sentencing guidelines would guarantee years behind bars. Another way to think about what was going on is to imagine that another country’s foreign minister’s spouse or family ran a foundation that American companies were caught giving to. Those American companies would certainly be vulnerable to prosecution by the Justice Department under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).
It’s only because Hillary’s last name is Clinton and because she is the Democratic front-runner for president that she isn’t already being prosecuted for something or another. For anyone else at the State Department, their conviction and sentencing would produce only a matter-of-fact, back-page reference in The Washington Post.
You can find the full set of documents here.
Cover-up on American POWs in Cuba?
Seventeen U.S. airmen captured during the Vietnam War may have been flown to Cuba, held captive in a prison noted for holding political prisoners, and used for medical experiments on torture.
We don’t know for sure, because the Obama Pentagon is balking at requests for records.
This week we filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Defense to obtain records about American POWs who may have been held captive by Cuban government or military forces on the island of Cuba. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Defense (No. 1:16-cv-00151)).
We filed this suit after the Defense Department failed to comply with a June 1, 2015, FOIA request seeking:
Any and all records depicting the names, service branch, ranks, Military Occupational Specialty, and dates and locations of capture of all American servicemen believed to have been held captive by Cuban government or military forces on the island of Cuba since 1960.
Responding to the suit, the Department of Defense initially claimed to have no responsive records.
An opinion piece published in Accuracy in Media by John Lowery describes at least 17 U.S. airmen captured during the Vietnam War and reportedly brought to Cuba for “medical experiments in torture techniques.”
When U.S. Navy F-4 pilot Lt. Clemmie McKinney’s plane was shot down in April 1972, he was reportedly held in the Cuban compound called Work Site Five in North Vietnam. The Department of Defense reportedly said he was killed in the crash, but a CIA document later published included a picture of McKinney standing next to Fidel Castro.
Lowery also reported:
More than 13 years later, on August 14, 1985, the North Vietnamese returned Lt. McKinney’s remains, reporting that he died in November 1972. However, a U.S. Army forensic anthropologist established the “time of death as not earlier than 1975 and probably several years later.”
The report speculated that he had been a guest at Havana’s Los Maristas prison, with his remains returned to Vietnam for repatriation. (We also paid big money for the remains—delivered in stacks of green dollars to Hanoi aboard an AF C-141 from Travis AFB, California.) Unfortunately, our servicemen held in the Cuban POW camp near Work Site Five (Cong Truong Five), along with those in two other Cuban run camps were never acknowledged nor accounted for and the prisoners simply disappeared.
In 1999, during testimony before Congress, Mike Benge, former prisoner of war (POW) and POW historian stated: “I have also uncovered evidence of the possibility that American POWs from the Vietnam War have been held in Los Maristas, a secret Cuban prison run by Castro’s G-2 intelligence service.”
American POWs describe the Cuban section of a Hanoi prison as the Zoo. Cuba reportedly provided personnel who helped improve the Ho Chi Minh Trail, which was used by the communists to support military attacks against U.S. military forces in Vietnam.
The fact that we had to sue the Obama administration to get simple answers as to whether Cuba held and tortured American POWs strongly suggests that a cover-up is underway. The Obama administration admires Castro’s Cuba so much that even the fate of the regime’s victims, even American POWs, is of little concern.
I have a feeling that President Obama didn’t raise the issue with his friends in the Cuban regime during his visit.
Public interest in our probe of Hillary Clinton’s emails is, for understandable reasons, very high. We have been in the center of this storm from the beginning. Our litigation helped uncover and press the State Department to begin disclosing what it knew.
In response to this public interest, we hosted an educational panel discussion in Washington this month that earned headlines. And, as I told the audience at the panel two weeks ago, the Clinton email scandal developments break fast and furious, and many Americans are apt to be confused by the misinformation from Hillary Clinton and her allies. So our panel was designed to bring folks up to speed with accurate information and honest analysis.
The panelists included Joseph E. diGenova, former U.S. Attorney, Independent Counsel and founding partner of the Washington, DC, law firm diGenova & Toensing, LLP; Jason Leopold, investigative reporter for Vice News; and Michael Bekesha, who has litigated dozens of Freedom of Information Act lawsuits and serves as an attorney for Judicial Watch.
Here was the big irony: As we met, Washington was celebrating Sunshine Week, in which Washington “good government” groups – of both the Left and Right – try to highlight the issue of government transparency. There isn’t much “sunshine” with the Obama/Clinton email scandal – as our discussion centered on the fact that the State Department has thwarted the Freedom of Information Act in such a significant way that it generated lawsuits (mostly by your JW) and an enormous waste of taxpayer resources to cover up Clinton’s and this administration’s malfeasance.
Jason Leopold, who spoke first, said that the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) is critical to his work as a journalist. He had actually used it to seek all of Hillary Clinton’s emails in 2014, not knowing at the time about her private email account and server. He asked for the emails because Mrs. Clinton was expected to run for the presidency and he was simply doing his due diligence in trying to obtain her public records:
Then The New York Times broke the story about the exclusive use of private email. Shortly after that, The Associated Press broke the story about the server. As a journalist who depends heavily on records from the government, this was disturbing. To me initially this seemed like an attempt to thwart the Federal Records Act and the Freedom of Information Act and to deprive journalists and historians of important records about Hillary Clinton during her tenure as Secretary of State.
Joseph E. diGenova spoke next. The former federal prosecutor didn’t mince words:
Some of the most revealing and astounding bits of information about the conduct of government at the highest levels, so disturbing in their extent and in their implications, has to really put into question whether or not a person who did what Hillary Clinton did should ever be president of the United States.
Let’s settle a few things at the outset. Mrs. Clinton continues to say that this is a security review that the FBI is doing. That is nonsense. It is also false. Mrs. Clinton, by the way, has given mendacity a bad name. It hardly seems possible for anyone to have lied so much about so many things of such import, but she continues to do so and she does so with vigor and impunity. And you have to ask yourself whether or not the type of Nixonian paranoia, which led her to set up the private server, really, really disqualifies her from the highest office in the land.
Mr. diGenova noted that two processes were now likely underway concerning the Clinton email issue. One is a criminal grand jury investigation. The other is a damage assessment in the intelligence community about the classified material. A damage assessment determines what national security information has been compromised. This assists criminal prosecutors and it helps national security officials to take steps to mitigate damage to any intelligence sources and methods.
My attorney colleague Michael Bekesha rounded out the discussion by noting the Clinton email revelations have been “revelations” only to the American people:
It wasn’t a revelation to anyone within the government. As Joe mentioned, there’s a good chance that foreign countries had access to this information, so Mrs. Clinton were keeping the public in the dark. She and the State Department were keeping this email system secret so that the public did not have access to her records.
Bekesha noted that through our efforts it was a federal judge, U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan, appointed by President Clinton, who said it looks as though the purpose of the email system was to deliberately thwart FOIA so that the public and the investigative reporters wouldn’t have access to Mrs. Clinton’s records. On that, he granted our motion for discovery. Most recently, Michael successfully argued before District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan Judicial Watch’s motion for discovery into whether the State Department and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton deliberately thwarted FOIA.
The process of discovery will unfold in the coming weeks, and we’ll keep you informed here of our progress. Every week is Sunshine Week at JW!
This report can only give you a taste of the Clinton email panel. I encourage you review the full video of the event (and share it) – it is available for viewing on the Judicial Watch YouTube channel here.
Enough about corruption!
On behalf of all my colleagues here at Judicial Watch, I wish you a joyous Easter! St. John Chrysostom, one of the great saints of the Christian Church, is known for his Easter homily (the Paschal homily). I’ve reproduced his homily for you below, the translation courtesy of the Orthodox Church of America. The text is centuries old, but Christians and non-Christians alike still will be moved by the power of these words on this Good Friday:
If any man be devout and love God, let him enjoy this fair and radiant triumphal feast. If any man be a wise servant, let him rejoicing enter into the joy of his Lord. If any have labored long in fasting, let him now receive his recompense. If any have wrought from the first hour, let him today receive his just reward. If any have come at the third hour, let him with thankfulness keep the feast. If any have arrived at the sixth hour, let him have no misgivings; because he shall in nowise be deprived thereof. If any have delayed until the ninth hour, let him draw near, fearing nothing. If any have tarried even until the eleventh hour, let him, also, be not alarmed at his tardiness; for the Lord, who is jealous of his honor, will accept the last even as the first; he gives rest unto him who comes at the eleventh hour, even as unto him who has wrought from the first hour.
And he shows mercy upon the last, and cares for the first; and to the one he gives, and upon the other he bestows gifts. And he both accepts the deeds, and welcomes the intention, and honors the acts and praises the offering. Wherefore, enter you all into the joy of your Lord; and receive your reward, both the first, and likewise the second. You rich and poor together, hold high festival. You sober and you heedless, honor the day. Rejoice today, both you who have fasted and you who have disregarded the fast. The table is full-laden; feast ye all sumptuously. The calf is fatted; let no one go hungry away.
Enjoy ye all the feast of faith: Receive ye all the riches of loving-kindness. let no one bewail his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one weep for his iniquities, for pardon has shown forth from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Savior’s death has set us free. He that was held prisoner of it has annihilated it. By descending into Hell, He made Hell captive. He embittered it when it tasted of His flesh. And Isaiah, foretelling this, did cry: Hell, said he, was embittered, when it encountered Thee in the lower regions. It was embittered, for it was abolished. It was embittered, for it was mocked. It was embittered, for it was slain. It was embittered, for it was overthrown. It was embittered, for it was fettered in chains. It took a body, and met God face to face. It took earth, and encountered Heaven. It took that which was seen, and fell upon the unseen.
O Death, where is your sting? O Hell, where is your victory? Christ is risen, and you are overthrown. Christ is risen, and the demons are fallen. Christ is risen, and the angels rejoice. Christ is risen, and life reigns. Christ is risen, and not one dead remains in the grave. For Christ, being risen from the dead, is become the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. To Him be glory and dominion unto ages of ages. Amen.
God bless you and God bless America.