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Tom Fitton's Judicial Watch Weekly Update

FBI Abuse of Ashli Babbitt

Judicial Watch Asks Court to Order Release of CIA Communications with Clinton Lawyer
OUTRAGE: FBI Records Reveal Posthumous Criminal Investigation of Ashli Babbitt
Public University Makes Future Journalists Take Diversity Course
Mexican Drug Cartels Operate on Indian Reservations Near and Far

 

Judicial Watch Asks Court to Order Release of CIA Communications with Clinton Lawyer

It’s an open secret here in Washington that the Central Intelligence Agency strays beyond its foreign purview, inserting itself into domestic political issues.

Judicial Watch’s legal team battled the CIA in a federal court hearing this week regarding our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeking to compel the CIA to produce records about its contacts with former Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussmann, who was unsuccessfully prosecuted by Special Counsel John Durham for making false statement to a federal agent.

We filed the February 2022 lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after the CIA failed to reply to an October 2021 FOIA request for records regarding meetings or telephonic conversations with Sussmann (formerly an attorney with Perkins Coie) (Judicial Watch v. Central Intelligence Agency (No. 1:22-cv-00412)).

During the hearing, we explained to the court that the case was filed more than two years ago and that it took the CIA more than a year, until July 1, 2023, to provide four responsive records introduced into evidence at Sussman’s spring 2022 criminal trial.

Afterward, the CIA tried to have the case shut down, arguing to the court that its production of exhibits from Sussmann’s trial was sufficient and that it need not identify any other records responsive to Judicial Watch’s request or even disclose the number of such records in its files. The CIA also admitted that it had not even searched for records responsive to the 2021 request. When Judicial Watch demonstrated that the CIA’s arguments were meritless, the agency declared to the court in November 2023, that it would finally search for records. Most recently, it asked the court for an additional four months to provide only an update.

In March 2024, Judicial Watch argued:

Plaintiff submits that, under the circumstances, the time for updates is past and the case should move forward. The Agency should be required to produce whatever additional records it intends to produce and a Vaughn index, “no list/no numbers” or Glomar assertion by the July 10, 2024, date, with Plaintiff reserving its rights to challenge the additional searches and any withholdings.

The CIA is in cover-up mode about its communications with the lawyer implicated in a shady spy operation against President Trump. What is the CIA hiding about its role in this plot against President Trump?

Another hearing is set for May 2024, and I will report as events warrant!

 

OUTRAGE: FBI Records Reveal Posthumous Criminal Investigation of Ashli Babbitt

I was astonished when I learned the details of the 62 pages of records Judicial Watch extracted from the Justice Department showing that the FBI opened a criminal investigation of Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt after her killing and listed four “potential violations of federal law,” including felony rioting and civil disorder.

It is beyond belief that the Biden FBI gave Babbitt’s killer a free pass while engaging in a malicious months-long “criminal” investigation of Babbitt herself.

The records were produced in our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Justice Department and FBI for records related to the death of Ashli Babbitt (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:21-cv-02462)).

These records may also be responsive to a recent FOIA suit for the family for FBI files and potentially related to the $30 million wrongful death lawsuit we brought on behalf of the Babbitt family.

The unarmed Babbitt was shot and killed as she climbed into a broken interior window in the United States Capitol. The identity of the shooter was kept secret by Congress, the Justice Department, and DC police for eight months until former U.S. Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd went public to try to defend his killing of Babbitt.

The newly obtained records include a January 14, 2021, Electronic Communication indicating that eight days after Babbitt’s death, under “Case ID#: 176-SD-3367083 (U) Ashli Elizabeth Babbitt,” a posthumous investigation was initiated from San Diego, California:

            Details:

Captioned investigation is being initiated based on photographic and video evidence that Ashli Elizabeth Babbitt unlawfully entered the United States Capitol Building, a Restricted Building, on 6 January 2021, in violation of federal laws to include violations of 18 U.S.C. Section 1752 and 40 U.S.C. Section 5104.

CDC [Chief Division Counsel] Approval

Field Office CDC has reviewed and concurred with the opening of this investigation. The investigation will be reviewed by the CDC at least semi-annually.

Summary of Predication:

***

Babbitt was fatally shot by police as she attempted to leap through the broken window of a door inside the Capitol….

           Potential Violations of Federal Law:

Potential violations of federal criminal statutes include:

  • Title 18 U.S.C 231 Civil Disorder
  • Title 18 U.S.C 1752(a) Unlawful Entry – Restricted Building or

Grounds

  • Title 18 U.S.C 2101 – Riots
  • Title 40 U.S.C 5104 – Injuries to property

(U) It is therefore requested that a [redacted] case be opened and assigned to Special Agent [Redacted]

A January 7, 2021, Electronic Communication regarding Babbitt following her shooting death the previous day reports that during the protests two “subjects” were shot at the Capitol that day:

Multiple officers were injured during the incident and two subjects were shot, with one fatal injury…. Ashli Elizabeth Babbitt, a San Diego resident, was present in D.C. on January 6, 2021, and entered the United States Capitol building where she was fatally shot. Babbitt was an Air Force veteran.

An FBI Interview Report Form FD-302 dated April 23, 2021, indicates FBI agents interviewed a witness by telephone on April 15 who provided background information on Babbitt:

In 2008, Babbitt transitioned to the Air Force Reserve at Sheppard Air Force Base but continued to serve on active duty orders. In 2009, [Redacted] and Babbitt [redacted] where Babbitt continued to serve out the remainder of her career in either the Reserves of Air National Guard at Andrews Air Force Base. At one point Babbitt transitioned Military Occupational Specialties to serve as a mechanic, but ultimately returned to Security Forces. According to [Redacted] Babbitt was excellent at her job and [redacted].

Babbitt deployed several times throughout her service. In 2005, Babbitt deployed to Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan. In 2006, Babbitt was deployed to Camp Bucca in southern Iraq which served as a Theater Internment facility. In approximately 2012-2014, Babbitt deployed to the United Arab Emirates. Babbit did not suffer any physical or mental injuries stemming from her deployments and [redacted]. While stationed in Alaska, Babbitt did suffer from a torn meniscus [a common knee injury] which had occurred while she was previously stationed in Texas. While deployed to Camp Bucca, Babbitt did fly to Camp Arifjan in Kuwait [redacted].

[Redacted] characterized Babbitt as very outgoing, opinionated, loud, very intelligent, loyal, sweet, very loving and caring. At times, Babbitt was not a fan of her chain of command and made her views known. Babbitt was a leader rather than a follower and liked being her own boss. Consequently, she was happy running her pool company in California. Babbitt loved her family and loved her country.

***

[Redacted] judged that she likely did not know the risk of passing through the window. Babbitt would never “go after someone physically” according to [redacted].

[Redacted] was not aware of Babbitt’s political views as she was not political [redacted]. [Redacted] did know that Babbitt had voted for President Obama. [Redacted] did not know if Babbitt belonged to any political groups or organizations. [Redacted] was frustrated by media portrayals of Babbitt as being associated with white nationalists, which was not accurate.

A January 19, 2021, entry into the file indicates that two people were shot at the Capitol on January 6: “Multiple officers were injured during the incident and two subjects were shot, with one fatal injury.”

A separate record dated January 19 indicates that “information from a public tip” was submitted to the FBI related to Babbitt that was submitted through the fbi.gov/uscapitol online portal. The description of the information submitted is redacted.

A January 20 record regarding a “public tip” is titled “Upload of Digital Media Report,” however, the substance of the report is redacted.

A report dated January 21 indicates a tip had been submitted to the FBI’s web portal, but the information is redacted.

A January 29 FBI witness interview summary indicates that on January 23, 2021, two FBI agents interviewed an acquaintance of Babbitt, however, the substance of what the witness said is entirely redacted.

An Electronic Communication dated January 29 indicates that FBI agents from the San Diego office interviewed another acquaintance of Babbitt on January 18, but the substance of what that person said is also entirely redacted.

We are extensively investigating the events of January 6.

We recently were pleading in court for the denial of the U.S. Government’s request to transfer the Ashli Babbitt wrongful death lawsuit from California to Washington, DC. Among other legal points, we argue that it would prejudice the case and be unjust for Ashli’s family if it were transferred to the hostile forum of District of Columbia.

In January 2024, we filed a FOIA lawsuit on behalf of Aaron Babbitt and the Ashli Babbitt Estate against the U.S. Department of Justice for all FBI files on Ashli Babbitt.

In October 2023, we received the court-ordered declaration of James W. Joyce, senior counsel in the Office of the General Counsel for the Capitol Police, in which he describes emails among senior officials of the United States Capitol Police in January 2021 that show warnings of possible January 6 protests that could lead to serious disruptions at the U.S. Capitol.

In September 2023, we received records from the Executive Office for United States Attorneys, a component of the Department of Justice, in a FOIA lawsuit that detailed the extensive apparatus the Biden Justice Department set up to investigate and prosecute January 6 protestors.

A previous review of records from that lawsuit highlighted the prosecution declination memorandum documenting the decision not to prosecute U.S. Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd for the shooting death of Babbitt.

In January 2023, documents from the Department of the Air Force, Joint Base Andrews, MD, showed U.S. Capitol Police Lieutenant Michael Byrd was housed at taxpayer expense at Joint Base Andrews after he shot and killed U.S. Air Force veteran Ashli Babbitt inside the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021.

In November 2021, we released multiple audio, visual and photo records from the DC Metropolitan Police Department about the shooting death of Babbitt on January 6, 2021, in the U.S. Capitol Building. The records included a cell phone video of the shooting and an audio of a brief police interview of the shooter, Byrd.

In October 2021, United States Park Police records related to the January 6, 2021, demonstrations at the U.S. Capitol showed that on the day before the January 6 rally featuring President Trump, U.S. Park Police expected a “large portion” of the attendees to march to the U.S. Capitol and that the FBI was monitoring the January 6 demonstrations, including travel to the events by “subjects of interest.”

Judicial Watch will continue to work to ensure justice for Ashli Babbitt and her family in the months ahead. This latest release detailing FBI abuse of her memory only spurs us on!

 

Public University Makes Future Journalists Take Diversity Course

Arizona State University’s journalism school didn’t care much about transparency when a request was made for information about its “diversity” course for budding journalists. Our Corruption Chronicles blog reports the disturbing information the public university was trying to hide:

In an apparent effort to keep with the mainstream media’s leftwing ideology, future journalists at a public university must endure a curriculum that includes a course on identity politics, microaggressions, cisgender privilege and the use of preferred pronouns. One assignment requires students to develop a public relations plan for a nonbinary pop star that uses “they/them” pronouns. Another argues that objecting to men using women’s bathrooms is an example of discrimination against transgender individuals. The mandatory course for students in three journalism-related undergraduate programs at Arizona State University (ASU) is called Diversity and Civility at Cronkite and material—including course syllabi, assignments and readings—obtained by a conservative Phoenix-based thinktank “reveals a radical agenda that argues for the primacy of identity and spends large portions of class time on trendy concepts in progressive activism.”

The nonprofit Goldwater Institute, founded in the late 80s with the blessing of U.S. Senator Barry Goldwater, describes itself as a free-market public policy research and litigation organization dedicated to advancing the principles of limited government, economic freedom, and individual liberty. The group obtained detailed information about the ASU diversity course after engaging in a “prolonged public records request process” with the taxpayer-funded college. In the material one instructor writes that “Diversity and Civility is an entry level course to bring thoughtful, open minded discourse to issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, income, geography, and age.” Another instructor similarly writes that the class is intended to bring thoughtful, open-minded discourse to issues of race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, income, geography, and other aspects of our identities.” One syllabus tells students that the class is the first step in their DEI—diversity, equity, and inclusion—practice as a journalist or communications professional. The assigned readings and activities promote the concept that race, gender identity, and sexuality are the most important aspects of a person’s experience, according to the Goldwater Institute’s analysis.

Journalism students are taught that statements such as “America is a melting pot” are examples of offensive microaggressions. Other statements, such as “I believe the most qualified person should get the job” or “everyone can succeed in this society, if they work hard enough,” are also problematic because they communicate that “people of color are lazy and/or incompetent and need to work harder.” An entire week is dedicated to a discussion of “sexuality and gender identity,” with the goal of teaching future reporters to understand the difference between sexuality and gender identity when it matters, recognize privileges related to sexuality and gender identity and how to ask for a person’s pronouns as well as the benefits of gender-neutral language. More than 400 students were required to take the course in fall 2023 alone at Arizona’s largest taxpayer-funded university, the Goldwater Institute reveals, adding that the undergraduates spent over 2,000 hours on class work during that time.

Named after the infamous network television news anchor Walter Cronkite, ASU’s journalism school is ranked nationally as is ASU in various college ratings. The Broadcast Education Association has ranked it a top school and it is widely recognized as one of the country’s premier journalism and mass communications programs, according to its website. “Rooted in the time-honored values that characterize its namesake — accuracy, responsibility, objectivity, integrity — the school fosters excellence and ethics among students as they master the professional skills they need to succeed in the digital media world of today and tomorrow,” the ASU journalism school website states. Researchers at the Goldwater Institute point out in their report that “forcing students to divert time and tuition dollars away from core academic pursuits—and expending university resources on faculty teaching assignments in support of mandatory classes such as DCC—undermines the institution’s ability to prioritize academic rigor and affordability.” The records show that there is a need for curricular reform at Arizona’s public universities, the group says.

 

Mexican Drug Cartels Operate on Indian Reservations Near and Far

Our Indian reservations are being overrun by Mexican drug traffickers due in large part to Biden’s willful refusal to secure our border. Our Corruption Chronicles blog explains how this illicit trade works.

Indian reservations near and far from the Mexican border are actively targeted by drug cartels whose operations are facilitated by President Biden’s open border policies to traffic massive amounts of illegal drugs as well as people across the United States, according to alarming testimony delivered this week in a congressional hearing. Mexican cartels regularly use the porous 62-mile border between Mexico and Arizona’s Tohono O’odham Nation tribe to traffic illicit drugs and migrants who then haul their cargo north to rural Indian communities many miles away in Montana and Wyoming. The situation is so out of control that a congressional committee held a hearing this week to examine the impacts of international cartels targeting Indian country.

The committee chairman, Arkansas congressman Bruce Westerman, disclosed that cartels have established extensive distribution networks in communities to traffic dangerous substances into Indian communities, notably fentanyl and methamphetamine. “This has led to an increase in violence, crime, and drug overdoses that are ravaging communities across Indian country, particularly in Montana and Wyoming,” the legislator writes in the hearing memo. The sophisticated criminal enterprises, specifically the renowned Sinaloa and Jalisco Nueva Generación cartels, target reservations in rural areas where profits are better because drugs are sold at a higher price than in other parts of the country and the area is often not patrolled by law enforcement. “The impact of cartel activity is alarming among the Indian reservations in Montana and Wyoming and felt by every person in those communities,” the hearing memo states.

Many of the criminal treks go through the Tohono O’odham reservation which sits in the south-central Arizona Sonoran Desert and has about 34,000 members on both sides of the border. The reservation is about 2.8 million acres or roughly the size of Connecticut and terrain consists largely of mountains and desert making it difficult to patrol. For years the land has appeared on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) list because it is a significant center of illegal drug production, manufacturing, importation and distribution. The reservation is a primary transshipment zone for methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and marijuana destined for the United States, according to the DEA. During the Trump administration sources inside the U.S. Border Patrol and other law enforcement agencies told Judicial Watch that the tribe banned National Guard troops deployed by the then president to help crack down on a crisis of drug smuggling and illegal crossings.

At this week’s hearing Tohono O’odham Chairman Verlon Jose complained that his tribe spends an average of $3 million of its own tribal funds on border security and enforcement. He also told the congressional panel that in 2023 the Tohono O’odham Police Department (TOPD) responded to over 100,000 incidents involving drug seizures, illegal immigration, and other border-related criminal activity. Additionally, the tribe’s law enforcement division has spent nearly $6 million on over 1,500 migrant death investigations and recoveries without any federal financial assistance. More money and police hours have been dedicated to investigating the impacts of drug trafficking, including overdose probes and other related training. “Criminal cartel activity has exacerbated the negative effect of drug and migrant smuggling on the Nation,” Chairman Jose said adding that “smugglers have held tribal families hostage, damaged and stolen property, and recruited tribal youth to engage in smuggling activity.” Before leaving, Jose told federal lawmakers that the border wall is “particularly ineffective in remote geographic areas like our homelands, where it can easily be circumvented by climbing over, tunneling under, or sawing through it.”

A councilman for the Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes in Montana’s Fort Peck Reservation testified that there is no doubt Mexican drug cartels are responsible for a drug crisis that has infested every corner of the tribes’ community, including young and old without regard for gender. “They have found their way to the Fort Peck Indian Reservation and embedded themselves in our communities and our families,” said the councilman, Bryce Kirk. He provided the panel with an example, a former Mexican police officer, Ricardo Ramos Medina, who became a Sinaloa cartel associate and was stopped on the Fort Peck Reservation, which spans over 2 million acres. Medina was a key part of expanding the cartel’s presence in Montana as he had a valid U.S. visa and was former law enforcement, Kirk said.

Until next week,


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