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Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

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Tom Fitton's Judicial Watch Weekly Update

FBI Finds NEW Clinton Emails

FBI “Finds” News Clinton Emails Include Classified Info and Official Business in Texts
New Strzok-Page Emails Reveal DOJ Special Treatment of Clinton Lawyers
State Department Handler for Clinton Spy Steele Used Personal Email to Push Reports
Nearly All Arrested Illegal Aliens Had Criminal Convictions or Charges

FBI “Finds” News Clinton Emails Include Classified Info and Official Business in Texts

Remember when Hillary Clinton repeatedly stated that the 55,000 pages she turned over to the State Department in December 2014 included all of her work-related emails?

In response to a court order in a Judicial Watch case, she declared under penalty of perjury that she had “directed that all my emails on in my custody that were or are potentially federal records be provided to the Department of State, and on information and belief, this has been done.”

We’ve known for a while that this was not the case.

Now there’s more proof. We have released 37 pages of new Clinton emails recently “found” by the FBI that show the former secretary of state using her unsecure, non-government email to transmit classified information. The new emails also show Clinton used text messages for government business. The documents, which we received after a review by the State Department, include 13 new Clinton emails.

Here’s how poorly these emails were handled. The State Department did not provide information about where they were found; why they were not previously produced, or if additional records are anticipated. Last month, a Justice Department attorney could not tell a federal court judge how and where the FBI discovered the new cache of Clinton emails.

The State Department previously claimed it had produced all responsive Clinton emails, including emails recovered by the FBI that Hillary Clinton tried to destroy or withhold. The State Department initially claimed all responsive emails had been produced in 2018, but then found more emails, which were produced, for the first time, early last year. Then in November 2019, the State Department first disclosed to the court that the FBI had found this latest batch of emails.

The emails were produced thanks to our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit for all of Clinton’s government emails sent or received on her secret server system (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00687)). We sought:

All emails sent and received by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in her official capacity as Secretary of State, as well as all emails by other State Department employees to Secretary Clinton regarding her non-“” email address.

Here’s what we found.

In an email Clinton’s personal email, dated January 23, 2012, former-British Prime Minister Tony Blair sends details that were redacted as classified.

In a email containing classified information dated August 30, 2011, Jeffrey Feltman, then-Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs suggested Clinton meet Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati in Paris to talk about Syria and other issues.

In an email exchange on August 31, 2011, Clinton top aide Huma Abedin says she sent Clinton “a couple text messages,” and offers to “send Monica [Hanley] to hamptons to help you get organized.”

In an email sent on April 10, 2012, Clinton forwards to her then-Deputy Chief of Staff Jacob Sullivan a memo on the Egyptian election campaign that includes information on the Muslim Brotherhood that she received from Sidney Blumenthal. In this memo, Blumenthal claims to have “Sources with access to the highest levels of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, and Western intelligence and security services.”

On November 7, 2012, Mills forwards a classified email chain with the subject “global health doc” to Clinton’s personal email. The initial email, which included a draft of this document was labeled and highlighted “Confidential fyi – not for larger dissemination to ANY others.”

In an email dated August 30, 2011, Clinton forwards to Sullivan, her top foreign policy advisor, an intelligence memo on Libya that was sent to her earlier by Blumenthal with the subject line, “H: Very good intel re: inside NTC. Sid” NTC is the acronym for the Libyan National Transitional Council. The State Department redacted Hillary Clinton’s comments about the Blumenthal Libya memo.

In a heavily redacted email chain between January 25-26, 2009, Clinton CCs her BlackBerry in a discussion about an envoy to North Korea with her then-Chief of Staff, Cheryl Mills, and former State Department Special Advisor for Nonproliferation and Arms Control Robert Einhorn. Einhorn sends Clinton, “several names for [Clinton’s] consideration.” Clinton replies from her personal email account.

After Einhorn responds, Clinton asks Mills privately to put Einhorn and someone only identified as “Rose” “into transition space.” She also asks that then-Senators John Kerry and Richard Lugar be on call lists to “schedule the two of them.”

On February 18, 2009, Mills sends an email to Clinton, Clinton’s BlackBerry and Abedin containing a message “For HRC from [former Ambassador] Frank Wisner” about Clinton’s request for his thoughts on her upcoming trip to Egypt.

On August 2, 2009, in an email with the subject line “Feingold,” Huma Abedin sends to Clinton’s personal email a memo from Russ Feingold about issues concerning Somalia, Angola, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Nigeria. The memo also includes information on the Islamist militant group, Boko Haram in Nigeria.

In an email dated January 8, 2012, which included Clinton’s schedule, Abedin emails Clinton’s main scheduler Lona Valmoro to check to see if Clinton will have enough time to prep for her Elle Magazine interview. She also had an interview with Lisa DePaolo of More magazine. That same day, Clinton took five questions during her phone call with 200 personnel from the US Embassy in Kabul.

In an email dated October 31, 2012, then-former-State Department Director of Policy Planning, Anne-Marie Slaughter emailed Clinton’s personal email, as well as Sullivan, Abedin, Mills, and Clinton innovation advisor Alec J. Ross a document asking for State Department support for a satellite channel that would “allow Syrians to talk to Syrians in a citizen-controlled format.” Slaughter adds that she’s “made contact with the Swedes” on this issue.

On November 4, 2012, Valmoro again sends Clinton’s sensitive daily schedule to Clinton and Abedin on the unsecure server.

What does all this mean? Magically, after years, the FBI finds more Clinton emails that show Clinton used text messages for government work, not to mention the continuing flow of classified information transmitted over her unsecure email system. These documents further underscore the need for a fresh, unbiased and thorough criminal investigation into Clinton’s blatant malfeasance – and the related DOJ, FBI, and State Department cover-up.

The production of documents in this case was to have been concluded with the FBI’s recovery of approximately 5,000 of the 33,000 government emails Clinton took and tried to destroy, but, as you see, this case is still in progress.


New Strzok-Page Emails Reveal DOJ Special Treatment of Clinton Lawyers

It’s one thing to say that the FBI pretended to investigate Hillary Clinton’s scandalous use of unsecure email. It is quite another to see that even blatantly anti-Trump FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page were disturbed by the special treatment her lawyers received.

We just received 211 pages of emails between former FBI officials Strzok and Page that detail special accommodations given to the lawyers of Hillary Clinton and her aides during the FBI investigation of the Clinton email controversy.

The new emails include a discussion about negotiations with Beth Wilkinson over the destruction of laptops provided to the FBI. Wilson was a lawyer for the Clinton aides who gathered and then deleted 33,000 emails for Hillary Clinton.

We received the records in our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed after the Justice Department failed to respond to our December 4, 2017, FOIA request seeking communications, including but not limited to, emails, text messages and instant chats, between FBI official Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice) No. 1:18-cv-00154)). We are seeking:

  • All records of communications, including but not limited to, emails, text messages and instant chats, between FBI official Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page;
  • All travel requests, travel authorizations, travel vouchers and expense reports of Peter Strzok;
  • All travel requests, travel authorizations, travel vouchers and expense reports of Lisa Page.

The FBI is processing the records at a rate of only 500 pages per month and has refused to process text messages. At this speed, the production of these communications won’t be completed for almost another two more years – in late 2021.

In an April 25, 2016, email from Strzok to FBI Agent Jonathan Moffa and other FBI officials, Strzok indicated that Wilkinson and Hillary Clinton lawyer David Kendall were set to meet the following day with FBI/DOJ in the Counterespionage Section of the FBI. Strzok tells his colleagues, “If you have strong objection (I do not other than finding out after the DD [Deputy Director]), we should raise it now.” Moffa replies, “It’s weird the DD [Andrew McCabe] is the first to know though. When did that become the norm?” Strzok replies, “Since the butthurt. I think there’s some passive aggressive stuff going on. Whatever.”

On May 11, 2016, Strzok submitted a “Wilkinson negotiation timeline” to Assistant Director for the Counterintelligence Division Bill Priestap wherein he laid out unspecified “negotiations” that had taken place between FBI/DOJ and Wilkinson. Strzok noted that “We will have spent 34 days waiting for opposing counsel to make the initial step of any tangible offer, about which we have no idea of if it will be anywhere close to what we have been specific about (at least since the Mills interview, if not earlier by DoJ) wanting.” Mills refers to Cheryl Mills, a top Clinton State Department official who then served as Clinton’s private lawyer and led the Clinton email review and destruction.

In an April 8, 2016, email to FBI officials, Strzok outlines questions for the FBI’s upcoming interviews of Clinton aides Cheryl Mills and Heather Samuelson “concerning their post-State employment.” Strzok then forwards the email on to Page, Moffa and other unidentified persons, indicating that the questions were prepared “in anticipation of potential need for further discussion between the FBI and DOJ on the analysis of attorney-client and attorney work product privileges and protections.”

Heather Samuelson was the Clinton lawyer who deleted the 33,000 Clinton emails and was one of several Obama-era State Department officials, lawyers, and Clinton aides who were ordered by Judge Lamberth to provide answers under oath to our questions about the Benghazi and Clinton email scandals. Ms. Samuelson testified last year that the Justice Department also gave her immunity.

On March 22, 2016, Strzok writes in an email to Priestap, “[Redacted] indicated he feels a need (and I agreed) to respond to Beth [Wilkinson] quickly about taking possession of the laptops. She is fine to provide them to be destroyed, but not to store them.”

On April 13, 2016, Strzok emailed Priestap and expressed concern about “the content of that Baker-Wilkinson contact,” apparently referring to a phone call between FBI General Counsel James Baker and Wilkinson. Strzok told Priestap, “To the extent you can ask what Jim’s contact was and ask that the investigative team be kept abreast of contact with our DOJ counterparts, I would greatly appreciate it.” Strzok forwarded the note to Page, saying, “You still think I don’t have reason to be angry?”

On April 1, 2016, Strzok forwards to Priestap, FBI Counterintelligence Division official Robert Jones, Moffa and some unidentified FBI officials a Politico report discussing the highly unusual legal strategy of Wilkinson simultaneously representing four of Hillary Clinton’s top aides in the email scandal.

On March 23, 2016, Page emails Strzok at 8:39 p.m. with the subject line “God, I’m in such a bad mood” and said, “I really just hate everyone. Especially DOJ. ??????”

Strzok replies: “God me too! I’m trying to figure out why I’m in a foul mood, I think it’s DoJ plus prospect of packing and travel and late night all for bullsh*t meeting postponed and [redacted] and wondering how Bill’s feeling. Got a weird too many people to coordinate I’m punting to [redacted] message earlier this morning. Why are you cranky? This stuff? The UC media provisions? Why did you end up staying up so late? And hi. The only saving grace is the glorious moon tonight.”

Page responds: “Just everything. Fighting with doj and internally on uc policy (it’s back up to DD – I don’t want to hear about it). [Redacted] I need an office closer to Andy, I need to clean my office, I need to write my PAR. [Redacted]. Just proposed to Andy [McCabe] that we have a pre-meet on Friday. Think we need it plus it will give us an opportunity to skinny down the room if he thinks it’s too big.”

Strzok replies: “Babe, that stinks across the board. I don’t have an easy answer for you on the hours. If you can’t get out before 7 on a day he isn’t there, well, you’re going to have to give somewhere. You definitely do need an office closer. Andy needs to do that. There are at least 5 people I can think of who easily can go. … Going to bed soon [redacted] United managed to f*ck up seat assignments when they split the locator record, so that’s nice [redacted].”

In her reply, Page discusses a meeting that would take place between DOJ and FBI officials concerning the Hillary Clinton investigation, writing, “I texted Andy pre-meet, he agreed, I called [redacted] to ensure it gets on the calendar. I don’t care what Mike and Bill think, you’re going to be there. I also talked to [redacted] about skinnying up the room – right now we’ll have ELEVEN, which is retarded.”

Strzok responds: “If it’s any consolation, I think doj will have 5 plus one on speaker phone.”

In a March 28, 2016, email from Page to Strzok with the subject line “god, I’m frustrated,” Page appears to refer back to the large FBI/DOJ meeting at which Beth Wilkinson asserted a privilege over the Clinton’s lawyers sorting and deleting of Clinton’s emails. Page writes Strzok, “And I’m sorry, it is not obvious to me that the sort is opinion work product. It should have been conducted by State department records managers, and you wouldn’t even be in this position to be talking about privilege. And to be clear, some opinion work product materials ‘do not warrant heightened protection because, despite revelations they contain as attorney’s though processes, lawyer has no justifiable expectation that mental impressions revealed by materials will remain private.’” Page ends the email saying, I AM IRRITATED.”

Strzok responds: “Hi. I am irritated too, but mostly exhausted; I’m sure you’re more so after the morning you had. I’m glad you made it to the meeting – was worried you might not. Obviously want to talk about your impressions of the whole thing.”

On March 29, 2016, Strzok forwarded to officials in the FBI General Counsel’s office as well as to Deputy Assistant Director in the Counterintelligence Division Jonathan Moffa an article from The Hill headlined “Second judge opens door to depositions in Clinton email case” discussing Judge Royce Lamberth opening the door us to take depositions from government officials in our Benghazi talking points lawsuit. Strzok’s comment in his cover email is redacted, as is the response from the General Counsel’s office, under deliberative process.

On May 19, 2016, Strzok forwarded to Priestap a New York Times article discussing a deposition we took of State Department official Lewis Lukens regarding Clinton’s email case, and Strzok cut-and-pasted in particular comments I made concerning the impact of Lukens’s testimony.

A paragraph from the article which Strzok pasted in the email read: “But Mr. Fitton predicted that once the testimony is publicly released — perhaps as early as next week — it would show ‘why the State Department and Mrs. Clinton have slow-rolled this and withheld a complete explanation of what went on with her email system…’” Strzok acknowledges Lukens “plays a minor role but appears in an email discussing setting up a computer on Mahogany row where she could access private email which was seized upon by some outside.” Strzok writes: “we have interviewed his boss Stephen Mull and REDACTED both of which had greater involvement.” (We have also deposed Amb. Mull.)

It is quite apparent why the FBI is slow-rolling the release of these Strzok-Page emails – as they dramatically show how senior officials at the Obama DOJ and FBI gave special and favorable treatment to Clinton and her lawyers. As the Obama Justice Department and FBI bent over backwards to protect Hillary Clinton, these agencies broke every law under the sun to spy on her political opponent, Donald J. Trump.

In November 2019, we made public records of communications between Strzok and Page showing that Wilkinson was given a meeting with Baker and McCabe. Also, we uncovered records revealing that, after former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s statement denying the transmission of classified information over her unsecure email system, former FBI official Peter Strzok sent an email to FBI officials citing “three [Clinton email] chains” containing (C) [classified] portion marks in front of paragraphs.”

In June 2019, we received records from the Department of Justice that show FBI top officials scrambling to write a letter to Congress to supplement then-Director James Comey’s Senate testimony in an apparent attempt to muddle his message.

In a related case, we uncovered 277 pages of redacted records that show the FBI failed to produce information from an August 2015 meeting with the Intelligence Community Inspector General about Hillary Clinton’s email server. The FBI claimed that notes are “missing” and the CD containing notes from the meeting is likely “damaged” irreparably.

Also in June 2019, we released emails of Strzok and Page that show then-FBI General Counsel James Baker instructing FBI officials to expedite the release of FBI investigative material to Kendall, in August 2016. Kendall and the FBI’s top lawyer discussed specifically quickly obtaining the “302” report of the FBI/DOJ interview of Clinton.

In February 2019, we uncovered records from the Department of Justice that include emails documenting an evident cover-up of a chart of potential violations of law by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. We also received records from the U.S. Department of Justice revealing former FBI General Counsel James Baker discussed the investigation of Clinton-related emails on Anthony Weiner’s laptop with Kendall. Baker then forwarded the conversation to his FBI colleagues. The documents also further describe a previously reported quid pro quo from the Obama State Department offering the FBI more legal attaché positions if it would downgrade a redaction in an email found during the Hillary Clinton email investigation “from classified to something else.”

There is a mountain of evidence, uncovered by Judicial Watch, that show AG Barr and FBI Director Wray have every reason to reopen the Clinton email investigation.


State Department Handler for Clinton Spy Steele Used Personal Email to Push Reports

It seems that people in Obama’s State Department other than Hillary Clinton were oblivious, to put it charitably, to the fact that using personal email for government business is a security risk and can also thwart federal recordkeeping laws.

This week we uncovered the use of personal email by a State Department official involved with the notorious British spy whose fictional dossier became the centerpiece of the coup against Donald Trump.

In our lawsuit filed together with The Daily Caller News Foundation we uncovered 11 pages of State Department documents revealing a discussion about the use of private email to transmit potentially sensitive information from Christopher Steele, the author of the Clinton-funded, anti-Trump dossier.

We obtained the documents in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed on April 25, 2018, on behalf the Daily Caller News Foundation against the State Department after it failed to respond to three separate FOIA requests (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:18-cv- 00968)). The lawsuit seeks:

  • All records of communications between State Department officials, including former Secretary of State John Kerry, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland, on the one hand, and British National Christopher Steele and/or employees or contractors of Steele’s company, Orbis Business Intelligence, on the other hand.
  • All records and/or memoranda provided by Christopher Steele and/or his firm Orbis Business Intelligence or by others acting on Steele’s/Orbis’s behalf to State Department officials.
  • Any and all records in the custody of the State Department related to the provision of documents to British national Christopher Steele and/or his firm, Orbis Business Intelligence, or the receipt of documents from Steele or his firm. Time period is January 20, 2009 through the present.
  • All records created in 2016 by Jonathan M. Winer relating to research compiled by Christopher Steele.

Here’s the story.

On December 8, 2014, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for European Affairs Paul Jones suggests to Special Coordinator for Libya Jonathan Winer that he “flip” reports from Steele’s firm, Orbis Business Intelligence, to a more secure email system, “given our ongoing concerns about security of opennet …”

Jones added, “We just want to be sure we don’t inadvertently undermine a very good source of info or worse.” Winer responds, “Flipping to the high side will result in delays whenever the reporting takes place and I am out of the office, which includes weekends plus when I am overseas…”

Then-Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland replies, “Let’s do high side.”

Winer replies that he would, “have [his assistant] Nina Miller send them to you on my behalf high side … I will send them to her from my non-State email account, not copying myself. She will then send them to us. You know who they are coming from, so even high side from here I will just refer to them as ‘O Reports,’ and strip out any other identifying information as to sourcing.”

On February 9, 2016, a heavily redacted email exchange with the subject, “Urgent — [redacted]” begins with an email from Justin Siberell, former-Principal Deputy Coordinator of the State Department’s Counterterrorism Bureau to multiple senior State Department officials including Winer. In this exchange, Siberell mentions that they are “meeting later today with OSD/SOLIC [redacted].” OSD/SOLIC is the office run by the Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations/Low Intensity Conflict.

Siberell notes that the “DOD will work on press guidance and a strategic messaging plan that will be cleared with/through State,” which implies that it is a matter of public relations concern.

Later in the redacted discussion, Winer changes the distribution list and writes, “For this group only – [redacted]”. Secretary John Kerry’s Chief of Staff Jonathan Finer responds, “As Jonathan predicted [redacted].”

One of the other recipients, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Europe, John Heffern, then forwards the entire exchange to two colleagues, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Europe, Conrad Tribble and then-Office Director for Western European Affairs, Robin Quinville saying, “Do not circulate widely.”

Tribble replies the next day asking Heffern and Quinville, “Anything further on this? No real action for EUR [State Department’s Bureau of Europe and Eurasian Affairs] yet, but obviously of some concern.”

Said Neil Patel, publisher and CEO of the Daily Caller News Foundation: “The Obama State Department’s handling of the Steele dossier remains one of the great mysteries of the Russia probe. We still do not have all the answers about how the State Department used opposition research collected by a foreign spy regarding President Trump and his campaign. These documents, obtained through our lawsuit filed together with Judicial Watch, raises further questions about what exactly went on at Foggy Bottom.”

No wonder Jonathan Winer, Steele’s ally at the State Department, refused to talk to the DOJ IG. He seems to have circumvented the rules in pushing Steele’s unreliable reports to his Obama State Department colleagues. Our lawsuits have documented that the Obama-Kerry State Department was a hotbed of anti-Trump activity. AG Barr and US Attorney Durham would do well to focus like a laser on the State Department.

Here is some background.

We recently released 146 pages of documents revealing that Steele had an extensive and close working relationship dating back to May of 2014 with high-ranking Obama State Department officials including Winer and Nuland. We also uncovered documents showing that less than a month before the presidential inauguration Winer had a 10-minute phone call with Alexey Vladimirovich Skosyrev, the “political chief” at the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC.

In July 2019, we released 84 pages of documents revealing an email exchange between Nuland and Winer, discussing a “face-to-face” meeting on a “Russian matter” in New York in September 2016.

In June 2019 we released 41 pages of documents from the State Department revealing that Winer played a key role in facilitating Steele’s access to other top government officials and prominent international business executives. Winer was even approached by a movie producer about making a movie about the Russiagate targeting of President Trump.

In May 2019, our FOIA lawsuit produced information from the DOJ showing a conversation between former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs Kathleen Kavalec and Bruce Ohr, discussing the targeting of Donald Trump with Steele dossier material. In discussing a meeting with the potential source for a Mother Jones article accusing the Trump campaign of taking money from a Russian-American oil magnate, as well as Steele’s connection to that source, Kavalec emails Ohr citing the accusatory Mother Jones article. Ohr says, “I really hope we can get something going here.”

Also, we obtained an email revealing that Nellie Ohr, wife of Bruce Ohr, informed him that she was deleting emails sent from his DOJ email account. The full email exchange is between Bruce Ohr, Lisa Holtyn, Nellie Ohr, and Stefan Bress, a first secretary at the German Embassy, and is part of 339 pages of heavily redacted records from the U.S. Department of Justice.

In March 2019, we uncovered emails from Bruce Ohr showing that he remained in regular contact with former British spy and Fusion GPS contractor Steele after Steele was terminated by the FBI in November 2016 for revealing to the media his position as an FBI confidential informant. The records show that Ohr served as a go-between for Steele by passing along information to “his colleagues” on matters relating to Steele’s activities. Ohr also set up meetings with Steele, regularly talked to him on the telephone and provided him assistance in dealing with situations Steele was confronting with the media.

We broke this story and, as you can see, we aren’t letting it go.


Nearly All Arrested Illegal Aliens Had Criminal Convictions or Charges

Although President Trump is trying to improve security at the border, in its currently porous state there isn’t a good filter for keeping out the bad guys. Countries south of us aren’t always sending us their best and brightest. Sometimes not their most law-abiding either. We’re at the point at which it’s fair to question the motives of those who favor throwing open our borders and setting up sanctuaries for those who cross.

Our Corruption Chronicles blog reports how those coming in are threats to our safety.

More than 90% of illegal immigrants arrested by federal agents in the United States last year had criminal convictions or pending criminal charges, including 56,000 assaults and thousands of sex crimes, robberies, homicides and kidnappings. Many had “extensive criminal histories with multiple convictions,” according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) year-end report. The 123,128 illegal aliens arrested by the agency’s Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) in 2019 had 489,063 criminal convictions and pending charges, representing an average of four crimes per alien, highlighting the “recidivist nature” of the arrested aliens, the agency writes, noting that sanctuary cities nationwide greatly impeded its public safety efforts.

The Dallas ICE field office, which covers north Texas and Oklahoma, led the way with 16,900 arrests in fiscal year 2019. The overwhelming majority,12,578, were convicted of crimes and 3,499 had pending criminal charges. The Atlanta field office, which is responsible for enforcing immigration law in Georgia as well as South and North Carolina, ranked second with 13,247 arrests, 8,009 of them convicted for state crimes. Another 3,943 illegal aliens had pending criminal charges. Atlanta field office leadership has repeatedly blasted local law enforcement officials within its jurisdiction for releasing droves of illegal immigrant criminals back onto the streets after being jailed for serious state crimes, accusing the sanctuary jurisdictions of creating a “serious public safety threat.”

In North Carolina alone, hundreds of violent criminals were released by local authorities last year to honor measures that offer illegal immigrants sanctuary. Among them were illegal aliens charged with serious violations such as homicide, kidnapping, arson and sex offenses. Mecklenburg County, the state’s largest, was among the biggest offenders, releasing numerous violent criminals rather than turn them over to federal authorities for removal. Among them was a previously deported Honduran charged with rape and child sex crimes. The perpetrator, 33-year-old Oscar Pacheco-Leonardo, was freed by the county sheriff, who has kept his campaign promise to protect illegal immigrants from the feds. In Buncombe County, North Carolina the elected sheriff recently freed a child sex offender to keep with his county’s sanctuary policy. The Salvadoran national, a registered sex offender charged with four felony counts of statutory sex with an 11-year-old girl, had been in ICE’s radar for years.

The Tar Heel State is hardly alone in making ICE’s enforcement duties more difficult by protecting the most violent of illegal immigrants. Police nationwide are contributing to the crisis, refusing to participate in a local-federal partnership known as 287(g) that notifies ICE of jail inmates in the country illegally so they can be deported after serving time for state crimes. Instead, a growing number of law enforcement agencies are releasing the illegal aliens——many with serious convictions such as child sex offenses, rape and murder—rather than turn them over to federal authorities for removal. In California various police departments released 16 illegal immigrants with criminal records during a three-month period, some arrested and released multiple times by the same agency. Offenders include Mexican, Honduran and Salvadoran nationals charged with murder, rape, assault with a deadly weapon, spousal abuse, driving under the influence of alcohol, possession of illegal drugs and other serious crimes.

ICE still managed to deport some after scooping them up in targeted operations. Last year ICE removed 5,497 known or suspected gang members and 58 known or suspected terrorists. Just this month, ICE arrested a previously deported illegal immigrant released by local authorities in a fatal hit and run that killed a 35-year-old woman on Christmas eve. The Mexican national, 27-year-old Jorge Flores-Villalba, was arrested and released by Stony Point Town Police in New York. ICE’s New York Field Office Director, Thomas Decker, blasted Stony Point officials in a statement. “Creating laws and policies that prevent cooperation between law enforcement agencies just to promote their political agenda, places the safety of the public in danger,” he said. “Due to the hard work of our officers, we were able to find and arrest this accused criminal, but there are countless others who are released without ICE even knowing, or whom it may take a great amount of resources to find for arrest.”

Until next week …