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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.

Because no one
is above the law!


Tom Fitton's Judicial Watch Weekly Update

Obama Library Secrets

Judicial Watch Sues for Obama White House Records about the 2016 ‘Russia Collusion Hoax’
Defense Department Records Reveal U.S. Funding of Anthrax Laboratory Activities in Ukraine
Taliban Uses U.S. Military Equipment, IG Withholds Records of Afghan Security Forces Collapse
Veterans Day – Why We Fight

Judicial Watch Sues for Obama White House Records about the 2016 ‘Russia Collusion Hoax’

Barack Obama has been out of office for almost six years now, and his allies are still busy hiding and covering up his unlawful actions while president. Now his presidential library is flouting the law trying to hide presidential records that go to the heart of the Obama administration’s efforts to undermine then-incoming President Donald J. Trump and tie up his new administration in a phony scandal. The American people have a right to access materials in presidential libraries, and we here at Judicial Watch are going to court to prevent the Obama Library from hiding these key records away from the public.

We filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Barak Obama Presidential Library for White House records about the 2016 “Russia Collusion Hoax.” The records, which by law were not available under FOIA until five years after President Obama left office, are held at the Library, which is part of the National Archives system (Judicial Watch, Inc. v National Archives and Records Administration (No. 1:22-cv-03310)).

The lawsuit was filed after the Library failed to respond to a March 4, 2022, FOIA request for records of former Obama White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice regarding alleged efforts by the Russian government to interfere with the 2016 presidential election and collude the Trump campaign and the alleged hacking of Democratic National Committee and/or Clinton campaign computer systems.

On March 7, 2022, we submitted a second FOIA request to the Obama Library for Obama White House records about the infamous January 5, 2017, Oval Office meeting between President Obama and Vice President Biden, Rice, FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and others.

Rice oddly memorized the meeting more than two weeks later in an email written in the final hours of the Obama Administration on January 20, 2017, stating:

President Obama began the conversation by stressing his continued commitment to ensuring that every aspect of this issue is handled by the Intelligence and law enforcement communities ‘by the book’. The President stressed that he is not asking about, initiating or instructing anything from a law enforcement perspective. He reiterated that our law enforcement team needs to proceed as it normally would by the book.

Acting Attorney General Sally Yates also attended the January 5, 2017, meeting.

A December 2019 report from the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General added to the list of attendees at the meeting: “On January 5, 2017, Clapper, then NSA Director Michael Rogers, Brennan, and Comey briefed the ICA [Intelligence Community Assessment] report to President Obama and his national security team.”

Comey also confirmed in a book that he briefed Obama at the January 5, 2017 meeting on his plan to confront President-elect Trump with the Clinton campaign “dossier:”

Obama did not appear to have any reaction to any of this—at least none he would share with us. In a level voice, he asked, “What’s the plan for that briefing?” With just the briefest of sidelong glances at me, Clapper took a breath, then said, “We have decided that Director Comey will meet alone with the president-elect to brief him on this material following the completion of the full ICA briefing.” The president did not say a word.

Instead, he turned his head to his left and looked directly at me. He raised and lowered both of his eyebrows with emphasis, and then looked away. I suppose you can read whatever you want into a wordless expression, but to my mind his Groucho Marx eyebrow raise was both subtle humor and an expression of concern. It was almost as if he were saying, “Good luck with that.” I began to feel a lump in my stomach…

Your Judicial Watch has taken a leading role in uncovering the Obama/Deep State spying and other abuses targeting Trump world.

In August of this year, we sued the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for records ordered declassified and released by President Trump the day before he left office.  The records relate to “Crossfire Hurricane,” the controversial spy operation against President Trump, his 2016 presidential campaign, and other Trump associates, and have yet to be made public by the Biden administration.

In May 2020, Judicial Watch litigation, we uncovered the “electronic communication” (EC) that officially launched the counterintelligence investigation, termed “Crossfire Hurricane,” of President Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. The document was written by Strzok.

In March 2019 Judicial Watch released heavily redacted records from the DOJ that reveal Bruce Ohr remained in regular contact with former British spy and Fusion GPS contractor Christopher Steele after Steele was terminated by the FBI in November 2016 for revealing to the media his position as an FBI confidential informant.

In August 2019, our team at Judicial Watch uncovered “302” report material from FBI interviews with Bruce Ohr, showing that in November 2016, Ohr said that “reporting on Trump’s ties to Russia were going to the Clinton Campaign” and “Jon Winer at the U.S. State Department and the FBI.” The documents also showed that Ohr knew that Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson and others were “talking to Victoria Nuland at the U.S. State Department.” (A Form 302 is used by FBI agents to summarize the interviews that they conduct and contains information from the notes taken during the interview.)

In August 2018, the Justice Department admitted in a court filing that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court held no hearings on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) spy warrant applications targeting Carter Page, a former Trump campaign part-time advisor who was the subject of four controversial FISA warrants. Judicial Watch litigation also uncovered the secret FISA warrants that confirmed the FBI and DOJ misled the courts in withholding the material information that Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC were behind the “intelligence” used to persuade the courts to approve the FISA warrants that targeted the Trump team.

Also, in August of that year, we discovered FBI records about Christopher Steele, the former British spy, hired with Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee funds, who authored the infamous dossier targeting President Trump during the presidential campaign. The documents show that Steele was cut off as a “Confidential Human Source” (CHS) after he disclosed his relationship with the FBI to a third party. The documents show at least 11 FBI payments to Steele in 2016 and document that he was admonished for unspecified reasons in February 2016.

And we should also not that the Obama Presidential Library is part of the same National Archives system that is subjecting President Trump to unprecedented harassment (raiding Trump’s home!) about Trump White House record keeping practices.


Defense Department Records Reveal U.S. Funding of Anthrax Laboratory Activities in Ukraine

The American people have a right to know the nature and extent of our government’s involvement in the network of biolabs scattered across Ukraine. Here at Judicial Watch, we have been working overtime to shed needed light on U.S. involvement in the management and handling of pathogens in those Ukrainian biolabs. We just received 345 pages of records under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA), a component of the U.S. Department of Defense. These documents reveal that the United States funded anthrax laboratory activities in a Ukrainian biolab in 2018. Dozens of pages are completely redacted, and many others are heavily redacted. The records show over $11 million in funding for the Ukraine biolabs program in 2019.

We obtained the records in response to a February 28, 2022, Judicial Watch FOIA request to the DTRA for records regarding the funding of Black & Veatch involving work of any manner with biosafety laboratories in the country of Ukraine.

Three phases of work are discussed in the records, several of which are indicated to have occurred “on site” at the Ukrainian labs.

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency provided a report titled “PACS [Pathogen Asset Control System] at the [redacted (b)(3), which exempts information from disclosure when a foreign government or international organization requests the withholding, or the national security official concerned has specified in regulations that the information’s release would have an adverse effect on the U.S. government’s ability to obtain similar information in the future] Phase 2 On-the-Job Training Report, December 11-13/December 26, 2018” The Executive Summary includes information regarding “on-site” activities, likely referring to a Ukrainian biolab:

  • PACS [Pathogen Asset Control System] on-the-job training was conducted for users of the [redacted (b)(3)] on December 11-13, under Phase 2 implementation activities, Anthrax Laboratory activities were conducted on December 28, 2018.
  • PACS existing configuration and customization were checked jointly with the on-site PACS Working Group
  • Phase 1 implementation activities including progress and current status were reviewed; issues and problems discussed and resolved;
  • Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for PACS use at [redacted (b)(3)] was updated to include Subculturing Operation process – the updated SOP submitted to the on-site Working Group.

The report provides a list of titles of “OJT [on-the-job training] Participants” with all participants names from Black & Veatch redacted, citing exemptions (b)(6) for personal privacy and (b)(3):

Senior Researcher Laboratory of Anacrobic Infections

Leading Researcher Laboratory of Anacrobic Infections

Senior Researcher Laboratory of Anacrobic Infections

Researcher Laboratory of Anacrobic Infections

Leading Veternarian Laboratory of Anacrobic Infections

Senior Researcher Laboratory of Bacterial Animal Diseases

Head of Anthrax Laboratory

Researcher Anthrax Laboratory

Senior Research Scientist Laboratory of Mycotoxicology

Leading Veternarian Laboratory of Mycotoxicology

Junior Researcher Laboratory of Leptospirosis

Laboratory Assistant Neuroinfection Laboratory

Research Scientist Sector of International Relationships and Geoinformation

A section titled “Future Activities” notes: “Phase 3 implementation agreed for March 2019.”

Included in the records is an Order for Supplies or Services dated August 1, 2019, is issued by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency to Black and Veatch Special Projects Corp. The total amount of the contract award is $11,289,142.00. The order contains approximately 35 contract line items set forth in a statement of work (SOW), dated March 5, 2019, titled: “Electronic Integrated Disease Surveillance (EIDSS) and Pathogen Asset Control (PACS) Implementation” The statement of work, consisting of 24 pages, was not provided, nor was there an explanation for the withholding.

A report titled “PACS [Pathogen Asset Control] Implementation at the [redacted (b)(3)]. Phase 3 On-the-Job Training Report, November 28-29.2018” states in its Executive Summary:

  • B&V has completed the final stage of PACS implementation at the [redacted (b)(3)]. The site has been fully commissioned in operations of PACS functionality.
  • PACS on-the-job training and on-site activities were conducted for users on November 28-29, 2018 under Phase 3 implementation activities
  • PACS existing configuration and customization were checked jointly with the on-site PACS Working Group
  • Phase 2 implementation activities were reviewed; issues and problems discussed and resolved;

A report titled “PACS [Pathogen Asset Control] Implementation at the [redacted (b)(3)]. Phase 3 On-the-Job Training Report, April 3-5, 2019” has its Executive Summary and other portions redacted, citing FOIA exemptions (b)(4) trade secrets, (b)(5) interagency or intra-agency communications and/or attorney-client privilege.

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency also provided a 2018 report titled “PACS [Pathogen Asset Control System] Implementation Plan at [redacted (b)(3)]. Phase 2 On-the-Job Training Report, September 25-27, 2018.” The Executive Summary includes: “PACS on-the-job training was conducted for users of the [redacted (b)(3)] on September 25-27, 2018, under Phase 2 implementation activities.”

A list of “OJT [on-the-job-training] Participants” from contractor Black & Veatch includes job descriptions but all names have been redacted through exemptions (b)(6) personal privacy and (b)(3). Some of those job descriptions include:

Head of Laboratory Virology

Department of Molecular Diagnostics and Control

Researcher of Pigs Diseases Research Laboratory

Scientist of Laboratory of Virology

Department of Avian Diseases

Researcher of Department of Avian Diseases

Laboratory for Biosafety, Quality Management

Engineer of the Laboratory for Biosafety, Quality Management

Laboratory of Biotechnology

Researcher of the Laboratory of Biotechnology

Head of the Brucellosis Laboratory

Senior Researcher of the Brucellosis Laboratory

Head of the Molecular Diagnostics and Control

Head of the Tuberculosis Laboratory

Researcher of Tuberculosis Laboratory

Researcher of the Laboratory of Virology

The report also contains a section titled “Future Activities:”


PACS [Pathogen Asset Control System] users to continue with material registration, moving and destruction operations.

PACS users to reflect the process of Subculturing in PACS.

B & V to update Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to include the Subculture operations process.

[Redacted (b)(3)] to perform check of PACS interface and provide feedback (if any).

Phase 3 implementation agreed for December 2018.

A December 19-21, 2018, Pathogen Asset Control System report begins with an Executive Summary that states: “B & V has completed the final stage of PACS [Pathogen Asset Control System] implementation at the Institute of Experimental and Clinical Veterinary Medicine of the National Academy Agrarian Sciences (NAAS) of the Ukraine. The site has been fully commissioned in all operations of PACS functionality.”

In a report titled “PACS Implementation Plan at the [redacted (b)(3)]” has the subtitle “Phase 3 On-the-Job Training Report, October 30 – 31, 2018 / November 14, 2018” The Executive Summary provides in part:

B & V has completed the final stage of PACS implementation at the [redacted (b)(3)]. The site has been fully commissioned in all operations of PACS functionality.

PACS on-the-job training and on-site activities were conducted for users on October 30 – 31, 2018, under Phase 3 implementation activities. Virology Department “activities” were conducted on November 14.

A section of the order titled “Special Contract Requirements” cites the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act and states the contractor “shall not engage in activities that incur expenditures in the Russian Federation, such as project management activities, procurement and shipping activities, travel or direct and indirect cost incurrences.” The contractor may, however, procure Russian-origin equipment from a Russian or non-Russian vendor located outside of Russia.

The records include 10 reports titled “Report of Transfer of U.S. Government Property Ownership.” between the Defense Threat Agency and the [redacted (b)(3)]. All of the property listed in the reports is redacted, citing exemptions (b)(3) and (b)(6). The total value of the property is $20,293.05

The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine claims the U.S. Department of Defense’s Biological Threat Reduction Program is purely for bio-threat reduction:

The U.S. Department of Defense’s Biological Threat Reduction Program collaborates with partner countries to counter the threat of outbreaks (deliberate, accidental, or natural) of the world’s most dangerous infectious diseases.  The program accomplishes its bio-threat reduction mission through development of a bio-risk management culture; international research partnerships; and partner capacity for enhanced bio-security, bio-safety, and bio-surveillance measures. The Biological Threat Reduction Program’s priorities in Ukraine are to consolidate and secure pathogens and toxins of security concern and to continue to ensure Ukraine can detect and report outbreaks caused by dangerous pathogens before they pose security or stability threats.

On March 8, 2022, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland admitted to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee: “Ukraine has biological research facilities, which in fact we are now quite concerned that Russian forces may be seeking to gain control of, so we are working with the Ukrainians on how they can prevent any of those research materials from falling into the hands of Russian forces, should they approach.”

On March 26, 2022, the New York Post reported that Hunter Biden helped secure funds for a U.S. biolab contractor in Ukraine.

According to a webpage expunged from the website of the State Department:

PACS [Pathogen Asset Control System] was first installed in Ukraine in test mode in November 2009 at the Interim Central Reference Laboratory of the Especially Dangerous Pathogens (ICRL). Since then, Sanitary-Epidemiological Department (SED) of the Medical Command of the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense received four mobile laboratories from DTRA with the goal of reinforcing the system of epidemiological surveillance in the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

These records reveal the United States has been involved in Ukrainian biolabs for at least 13 years, including work on Anthrax. This appears to be a very deep hole, and we have only begun to plumb its depths.


Taliban Uses U.S. Military Equipment, IG Withholds Records of Afghan Security Forces Collapse

It’s not bad enough that the United States fought the Taliban for 20 years in a losing cause only to withdraw and see the radical Islamists waltz into power unopposed; it now comes to light that the Taliban is training its military and operating with U.S. military equipment in the aftermath of our withdrawal.

As reported in the Judicial Watch Corruption Chronicles, the Taliban is operating with U.S. military equipment:

The Taliban is training and operating with U.S. military equipment including rifles, trucks, and helmets with night vision mounts since the Biden administration withdrew American troops from Afghanistan last year. Taliban forces even held a military parade with dozens of U.S.-provided armored vehicles and Mi-17 helicopters flying overhead, according to a federal audit documenting the collapse of the American-funded Afghan National Defense and Security Forces (ANDSF). For two decades the U.S. Government spent a mind-boggling $90 billion to help the ANDSF develop into a self-sustaining force capable of combatting terrorist groups like the Taliban. It never happened.

When the Biden administration withdrew U.S. troops in August 2021, the ANDSF crumbled, and the Taliban took over, generating images and videos of soldiers wearing U.S.-provided clothing and brandishing U.S.-provided rifles. “Taliban units now patrol in pickup trucks and armored vehicles likely procured by the United States and provided to the ANDSF,” reads the report published by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), which was created by Congress to provide independent and objective oversight of Afghanistan reconstruction projects and activities. “Taliban special operations troops, known as Badri 313 units, wear helmets with night vision mounts likely provided by the United States, and carry U.S.-provided M4 rifles equipped with advanced gunsights.” The report continues: “Khalil Haqqani, a senior Taliban leader, carried a U.S.-provided rifle as he attended prayers at a mosque in Kabul following the collapse.” The examples show that the terrorist group is now equipped with material that was supplied by the United States to defeat it, the watchdog writes.

The 43-page report, which has 17 pages of endnotes, was released to the public earlier this year and determined that the single most important factor in the ANDSF’s collapse was the U.S. decision to withdraw military forces and contractors from Afghanistan. Since 2002, the United States deployed military and civilian personnel to train, advise, and mentor Afghan soldiers, police, and ministry officials, the report reveals, adding that Uncle Sam provided the ANDSF over 600,000 weapons, 300 aircraft, 80,000 vehicles, communication equipment, and other advanced material, such as night vision goggles and biometric systems. As part of its probe SIGAR reviewed hundreds of government and academic reports related to the development of Afghan forces and its subsequent collapse. Investigators also conducted more than 40 interviews with former Afghan government officials, former ANDSF members, and current and former U.S. government officials, including commanders of U.S. forces and the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan (CSTC-A), the unit responsible for the ANDSF’s development. Ambassadors and advisors were also interviewed.

Though quite lengthy, the report leaves a lot of unanswered questions so we here at Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for records that could shed light on the SIGAR probe and provide answers for the American taxpayers that financed the 20-year boondoggle. In our request, Judicial Watch asked for emails, interviews, memoranda, reports, and briefings with former Afghan government officials, former ANDSF members, and current and former U.S. Government officials, including former commanders of U.S. forces, CSTC-A commanders, ambassadors, and advisors responsible for the development of the Afghan army, air force, special forces, and police, as they relate to the report. A few weeks later we received a letter acknowledging receipt of the FOIA request, and several weeks later SIGAR followed up with a letter rejecting the public record request. The watchdog claims only 27 records responsive to Judicial Watch’s request were located but they are exempt from disclosure under measures that protect attorney-client privilege, personal privacy and information compiled for law enforcement that could reasonably be expected to constitute an invasion of personal privacy. The exemptions have official government codes that were cited in the rejection letter.

SIGAR’s refusal to provide the records means the public will never know the entire truth behind the U.S.’s massive failure in Afghanistan and the abrupt demise of the American-funded ANDSF. In the name of transparency, the government watchdog should provide the information. Ironically, SIGAR recently blasted the State Department for withholding records necessary to investigate how billions of dollars in Afghanistan reconstruction money is being spent. SIGAR condemned the State Department’s stonewalling in a letter to Congress and the Secretary of State explaining, “American taxpayers deserve to know why the Afghan government collapsed after all that assistance, where the money went, and how taxpayer money is now being spent in Afghanistan.”

Now, that very same so-called “watchdog” indulges in building its own stonewall around information taxpayers are entitled to see. Hypocrisy much?


Veterans Day – Why We Fight

As we honor the sacrifices of our great nation’s veterans on November 11, I’d like to call your attention again to the Veterans Day speech given in 1985 by then-President Ronald Reagan, particularly this section:

And the living have a responsibility to remember the conditions that led to the wars in which our heroes died. Perhaps we can start by remembering this: that all of those who died for us and our country were, in one way or another, victims of a peace process that failed; victims of a decision to forget certain things; to forget, for instance, that the surest way to keep a peace going is to stay strong. Weakness, after all, is a temptation — it tempts the pugnacious to assert themselves — but strength is a declaration that cannot be misunderstood. Strength is a condition that declares actions have consequences. Strength is a prudent warning to the belligerent that aggression need not go unanswered.

Peace fails when we forget what we stand for. It fails when we forget that our Republic is based on firm principles, principles that have real meaning, that with them, we are the last, best hope of man on Earth; without them, we’re little more than the crust of a continent. Peace also fails when we forget to bring to the bargaining table God’s first intellectual gift to man: common sense. Common sense gives us a realistic knowledge of human beings and how they think, how they live in the world, what motivates them. Common sense tells us that man has magic in him, but also clay. Common sense can tell the difference between right and wrong. Common sense forgives error, but it always recognizes it to be error first.

We endanger the peace and confuse all issues when we obscure the truth; when we refuse to name an act for what it is; when we refuse to see the obvious and seek safety in Almighty. Peace is only maintained and won by those who have clear eyes and brave minds.

I know millions of Americans have “clear eyes and brave minds” and these patriots desire the same qualities in our political and judicial leaders. It certainly reflects Judicial Watch’s modest approach to our mission.

God bless America!



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