How Much Did Obama Spend Jet-Setting?
NOVEMBER 13, 2015
The infamous al Qaeda terrorist attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, took place on the evening of September 11, 2012, killing U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and U.S. Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith. Shortly afterward, a second assault on a nearby compound killed two CIA contractors, Tyrone S. Woods and Glen Doherty. Ten others were also injured in the attacks. But right from the beginning, your Judicial Watch saw through the prevarication, deception and inaction by President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Susan Rice (who is now Obama’s national security adviser). Rather than tell the truth, and put Obama’s reelection (and Hillary Clinton’s then-nascent presidential campaign) at risk over the Libya mess and the lack of security – the Obama administration abandoned those under fire and instead issued public statements falsely portraying the attack had nothing to do with terrorism.
We know otherwise now, and we have some new bombshells to reveal. JW just released more of Hillary Clinton’s emails confirming that, at 11:00 p.m. on the night of the deadly assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton informed her daughter that an “Al Qaeda-like group” was responsible for the deadly terrorist attack. This obviously conflicts with her description of the attack as being the result of “inflammatory material posted on the Internet,” as Mrs. Clinton had claimed in her official public statement one hour earlier.
The documents were produced in response to lawsuits filed by Judicial Watch under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). Mrs. Clinton’s email to Chelsea Clinton was first produced to the Select Committee on Benghazi on October 20 and widely publicized on the day of Mrs. Clinton’s testimony, October 22, but court filings in Judicial Watch’s litigation show that the email was only produced after two federal court judges ordered the State Department to produce more Benghazi-related records to Judicial Watch.
The State Department’s records include a September 11, 2012, late-night email that Mrs. Clinton sent to her daughter Chelsea, who wrote under the pseudonym “Diane Reynolds” when using the Clinton email server:
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 11:11 PM
To: Diane Reynolds
Subject: Re: I’m in my office
Two of our officers were killed in Benghazi by an Al Qaeda-like group. The Ambassador, whom I handpicked and a young communications officer on temporary duty w a wife and two young children. Very hard day and I fear more of the same tomorrow.
Yet, in an earlier message, at 10:08 p.m. on September 11, Mrs. Clinton issued an official State Department press statement placing the blame for the attack on an obscure Internet video critical of the Islamic religion. At no point did she reference terrorist activity at or near the Consulate:
Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.
This key email shows that Hillary Clinton knowingly lied about the terrorist attack on Benghazi. In addition to the admission by Mrs. Clinton that the Benghazi assault was a terrorist attack, the email exchange between the Clintons also included an apparent attempt by Chelsea Clinton to equate Islamic terrorism with life in the United States before “modernism” was allowed “to take root:”
From: Diane Reynolds, email@example.com
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 11:07 PM
Subject: RE: I’m in my office
I am so sorry about the State Department officer killed in Libya and the ongoing precariousness in Egypt and Libya. Such anathema to us as Americans – and a painful reminder or [sic] how long it took modernism to take root in the US, after the Enlightenment, the 14th, 15th, 16th 19th amendments, removal of censorship norms and laws, etc.
Ironically, the Obama administration’s efforts to falsely blame an Internet video rather than al Qaeda for the terrorist attack in Benghazi included outreach to Islamist radicals who seek to censor criticism of Islam. The producer of the Internet video was also subsequently jailed by the Obama administration on a supposed probation violation.
The State Department first produced the smoking-gun Hillary Clinton email to her daughter to the Benghazi Select Committee on October 20. But the document was disclosed only after Judicial Watch pressed in litigation for additional searches of State Department records. Judges Amit P. Mehta and Amy Berman Jackson in two Judicial Watch cases ordered the State Department to disclose the newly found material to Judicial Watch. The court orders are dated July 31, 2015, October 9, 2015, and October 20, 2015. In fact, on October 8, the State Department knew that it was going to be required to provide a report to the court by October 22 regarding the number of responsive documents in Mrs. Clinton’s 30,000 emails, and specify how many responsive records pre-dated December 31, 2012.
The Select Committee on Benghazi subpoenaed records only through the end of 2012, however, a Judicial Watch lawsuit filed in May 2015 seeks records through the end of Mrs. Clinton’s term as Secretary of State, to January 31, 2013. In July, the State Department had represented incorrectly that the document production up through December 2012 was complete. But in responding to this request, the State Department says it found 242 additional emails from 2012, which the agency would later disclose included the email Mrs. Clinton wrote to her daughter on the night of the Benghazi attack. The State Department has yet to produce 87 records it found from Mrs. Clinton’s account from January 2013.
A status hearing took place this morning before U.S. District Court Judge Amit P. Mehta. A Justice Department attorney, on behalf of the State Department, confirmed that Judicial Watch’s FOIA forced the release of these smoking gun emails. The Obama administration, unfortunately, convinced Judge Mehta to give it until the middle of February to disclose these new Benghazi Clinton emails to Judicial Watch and the American people. What a relief for Hillary Clinton, as her new Benghazi emails will be kept secret by her co-conspirators in the Obama administration until after the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.
As I told The Hill today: “The only way [the Benghazi Select Committee] had that Sept. 11 smoking gun is because of this FOIA case … So who the heck knows what else is out there.”
So once again, it was Judicial Watch lawsuits – not Congress – that forced the production of this smoking-gun email into the open for the American people. I have no doubt that the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton knew this email was out there and illegally stonewalled its release to Judicial Watch, the courts, and Congress. It is shameful that this stonewalling continues.
Judicial Watch has now filed more than 40 FOIA requests, a Mandatory Declassification Review, and 12 lawsuits against the Obama administration relating to the Benghazi terrorist attack.
In April 2014, we forced the release of documents showing then-White House Deputy Strategic Communications Adviser Ben Rhodes and other Obama administration public relations officials attempting to orchestrate a campaign to “reinforce” President Obama and to portray the Benghazi consulate terrorist attack as being “rooted in an Internet video, and not a failure of policy.” Judicial Watch’s release of the Rhodes email, which had been withheld by the Obama administration from Congress, caused the House of Representatives to approve the Select Committee on Benghazi, which is now led by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC).
This latest success shows again how Judicial Watch’s Benghazi work is the nation’s most historically significant investigation by a non-government organization.
Obama Travel Cost Taxpayers $3.1 Million (Trips for Golf, NY Family Trip, and Martha’s Vineyard Vacation)
You may want to sit down for this one. We have new records from the U.S. Department of the Air Force revealing that Barack Obama and family had a busy 2015, vacationing on the American taxpayers’ dime. The unnecessary travel included an Obama Palm Springs golf trip in June, a trip to New York City in July and a family trip to Martha’s Vineyard in August – all of which cost taxpayers $3,115,688.70 in travel expenses alone. The documents regarding the Obama travel expenses came in response to three Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, the first was filed on June 30, 2015, the second on July 23, 2015, and the third on August 24, 2015.
According to the Air Force records:
- Obama’s June 20, 2015, golf outing to Palm Springs required 10.6 hours of flying time at $206,337 per hour, costing taxpayers $2,187,172.20.
- Obama’s July 18, 2015, trip to New York City with his daughters required 1.5 hours of flying time at $206,337 per hour, costing taxpayers $309,505.50.
- Obama’s August 7, 2015, family trip to Martha’s Vineyard required 3 hours of flying time at $206,337 per hour, costing taxpayers $619,011.
In Palm Springs, Obama played golf at the plush, private golf course of Oracle billionaire Lawrence Joseph “Larry” Ellison. The golf course is located on Ellison’s 249-acre Porcupine Creek estate, which features a golf club and course, a huge 18,400 square-foot main residence, eight guest houses, a pool, spa, gym and an amphitheater. It was Obama’s fifth golf outing to Palm Springs in the past two years. The West Coast trip reportedly included political fundraising and one speech to the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
A month later, Obama flew to New York City to spend Saturday, July 18, “hanging out with his girls,” as WABC-NY reported. The “girls” included Obama’s two daughters and several of their friends, flown to New York aboard Air Force One. While in New York, Obama and company took in the hip-hop Broadway musical “Hamilton.” After that one-day trip to New York, Obama flew back to New York three days later to appear with Jon Stewart on “The Daily Show” and to speak at a Democratic fundraiser. It was Obama’s seventh appearance on “The Daily Show.”
Obama’s New York City outing, which coincided with the killing of four U.S. Marines in Chattanooga, Tennessee, drew criticism from some because of his failure to order the lowering of the American flag at the White House or other federal government installations in response to the deadly assault. Obama did not order the flag flown at half-mast until three days later, after intense pressure had mounted nationwide.
In August, while at Martha’s Vineyard, Obama spent much of his vacation playing golf on the island’s plush golf courses. His partners included former President Bill Clinton, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, notorious Democratic adviser Vernon Jordan, as well as former NBA player Alonzo Mourning and the father-son basketball team of Dell Curry and Stephen Curry.
The Obamas stayed at the same vacation property they have rented in past, the Blue Heron Farm in Chilmark, on the western part of the island. The main house on the sprawling estate has seven bedrooms and nine bathrooms, according to the Martha’s Vineyard Times. The 8,100-square-foot house sits on a 10-acre lot and features a total of 17 rooms, some of which offer sweeping views of Vineyard Sound. There’s also an infinity pool, hot tub and a dual tennis-basketball court, and a par-three golf course. The estate rents for $50,000 a week.
The Secret Service has not yet provided requested information on these trips, as required by federal law, regarding security costs. I’ll have more for you on that issue next week.
To date, the total known expenses for travel by the Obamas and Bidens are currently $70,563,336.75.
President Obama evidently cares not one whit about the costs to beleaguered taxpayers of his personal and political travel. Why would any public servant think it appropriate to use an Air Force plane (and an army of law enforcement) to take his daughters sightseeing in New York? Barack Obama is enamored with the presidency’s trappings of power and taxpayers are left holding the tab.