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Judicial Watch • Weekly Update: ISIS in Central America?

Weekly Update: ISIS in Central America?

Weekly Update: ISIS in Central America?

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One Hundred ISIS Terrorists Caught in Guatemala as Caravan Heads to U.S.
The FBI Sat on Clinton / Abedin Emails Just Before the Election
Judge Court Criticizes State Department for Providing False Statements on Clinton Emails
Now It’s Up to President Trump and His Secretary of State

One Hundred ISIS Terrorists Caught in Guatemala as Caravan Heads to U.S.

If you have a sense that there is more to this march of people toward our southern border than meets the eye, you may be right. Not everyone seeking to cross our border is from South America, as our Corruption Chronicles explains.

In a startling revelation, Guatemala’s president announced in the country’s largest newspaper that nearly 100 ISIS terrorists have been apprehended in the impoverished Central American nation. Why should Americans care about this? A caravan of Central American migrants is making its way north. Let’s not forget that Guatemala is one of the countries that bombarded the U.S. with illegal immigrant minors under Barack Obama’s open border free-for-all. They came in droves from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala through the Mexican border and for years Uncle Sam rolled out the welcome mat offering housing, food, medical treatment and a free education

A terrorist could have easily slipped in considering the minors, coined Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC), were not properly vetted and some turned out to be violent gangbangers who went on to commit heinous crimes in their adopted land of opportunity. In fact, the nation’s most violent street gang, Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), was energized by the barrage of UACs. The Texas Department of Public Safety even issued a report documenting how the MS-13 emerged as a top tier gang in the state thanks to the influx of illegal alien gang members that came with the UACs. At the time more than 60,000 UACs—many with criminal histories—had stormed into the U.S. in a matter of months. Tens of thousands more eventually made it north.

Guatemala has long been known as a major smuggling corridor for foreigners from African and Asian countries making their way into the U.S. Last year Guatemala’s largest paper, Prensa Libra, published an in-depth piece on the inner workings of an international human smuggling network that moves migrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal and Bangladesh to the U.S. Individuals are sent to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates then flown to Brazil before heading to Colombia. Once in South America, the migrants are transported to Panama before moving on to Costa Rica, then to a central point in Guatemala. One Spanish news report refers to Guatemala as a human smuggling paradise because it’s so easy to get fake passports. A few years ago, the head of Guatemala’s passport division got arrested for selling fake passports to a group of Colombians, according to a government announcement.

All this makes ISIS terrorists operating in Guatemala incredibly alarming. President Jimmy Morales confirmed it during a recent security conference attended by Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as well as the presidents of Honduras and El Salvador and other Latin American dignitaries. Morales said that his administration has captured “close to 100 persons completely involved with terrorists, with ISIS and we have not only detained them within our territory, but they have been deported to their country of origin.” Several of the terrorists were Syrians caught with fake documents, according to Guatemala’s head of intelligence. At the same event, President Morales also revealed that Guatemalan authorities captured more than 1,000 gangbangers, including members of the MS-13.

Many more probably make it into the U.S. via the Mexican border and a lot of them get released inside the country. In fact, Border Patrol agents in Texas have been ordered to release illegal immigrants caught entering through Mexico because detention facilities have no bed space, according to a news report. Earlier this year Judicial Watch exposed a secret program—started by Obama and continued by Trump— that quietly relocates illegal immigrants to different parts of the country on commercial flights. Years earlier Judicial Watch uncovered a similar DHS initiative that transported illegal immigrants from the Mexican border to Phoenix and released them without proper processing. The government classified them as Other Than Mexican (OTM) and transferred them 116 miles north from Tucson to a Phoenix bus station where they went their separate way. The OTMs were from Honduras, Colombia, El Salvador and Guatemala and a security company contracted by the U.S. government drove the OTM’s from the Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector where they were in custody to Phoenix. Some could have been ISIS operatives.

Guatemala is a hotbed of radical leftist activity funded by billionaire George Soros, often funded by your tax dollars. We haven’t learned everything there is to know about this caravan, but I would not be at all surprised if we discover that it is a product of Soros world and the handiwork of allied U.S.-based leftist groups.

The FBI Sat on Clinton / Abedin Emails Just Before the Election

One of the great miscarriages of justice recently is the FBI sham “investigation” of Hillary Clinton’s egregious email habits.

We have just received 45 pages of FBI documents that reveal a “significant number” of 340,000 emails on the laptop of disgraced former Congressman Anthony Weiner were between the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her top aide Huma Abedin.

We obtained the documents as the result of the September 2018 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit we filed after the Justice Department did not act on two FOIA requests for Anthony Weiner laptop investigation documents, including any Clinton emails found on the laptop (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No.1:18-cv-02105)).

The new documents include an October 3, 2016, email to an FBI official in New York that reads:

Just putting this on the record because of the optics of this case.

During the course of my review of a computer seized from Anthony Weiner, a seizure and search of which was authorized by an SDNY [Southern District of New York] Search Warrant, I encountered approximately/at least 340,000 emails stored on the computer. The large number of emails appears to be a result of a mail client program installed on that computer (such as Outlook) that pulled emails from servers belonging to both Anthony Weiner and Huma Abedin.

A significant number of these 340,000 emails appeared to be between Huma Abedin and Hillary Clinton (the latter who appears to have used a number of different email addresses). This is based simply a review of the header information. I did not review content of these emails, as the warrant only authorized me to view items that would give me probable cause to believe that CP [child pornography] evidence may reside therein.

SDNY is comfortable with me continuing my review as I have, which is to NOT read any emails to/from Anthony Weiner to which his wife, or a possible attorney is a party. Even if there is a third party on those emails, I will not review their content out of an abundance of caution. Obviously, I will not review any emails to which Anthony Weiner is not a party (such as emails between Ms. Abedin and Mrs. Clinton). I just wanted to formally bring this to your attention due to the pending election, the ongoing Congressional investigation into the FBI’s own investigation into Ms. Clinton’s email activities, etc.

The documents also include a September 29, 2016, FBI report indicating that after agents served unidentified persons with a grand jury subpoena on September 22, “Discussions immediately ensued between the US Attorneys’ Offices in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) and [redacted], as well as the Department of Justice in Washington, DC.”

RealClear Investigations’ reporter Paul Sperry reported that only 3,077 of the emails found on the Weiner laptop “were directly reviewed for classified or incriminating information. Three FBI officials completed that work in a single 12-hour spurt the day before Comey again cleared Clinton of criminal charges.”

In a related case, we obtained an email revealing that fired FBI official Peter Strzok created the initial draft of the October 2016 letter then-FBI director James Comey sent to Congress notifying lawmakers of the discovery of Hillary Clinton emails on Weiner’s laptop.

The notification to Congress, according the DOJ IG, came a full month after the emails were discovered by the FBI on Weiner’s laptop. The delay, the IG suggests, may have been the result of anti-Trump bias by FBI official Peter Strzok and others:

In September 2016, the FBI’s New York Field Office (NYO) and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) began investigating former Congressman Anthony Weiner for his online relationship with a minor. A federal search warrant was obtained on September 26, 2016, for Weiner’s iPhone, iPad, and laptop computer. The FBI obtained these devices the same day. The search warrant authorized the government to search for evidence relating to the following crimes: transmitting obscene material to a minor, sexual exploitation of children, and activities related to child pornography.

The Weiner case agent told the OIG that he began processing Weiner’s devices on September 26, and that he noticed “within hours” that there were “over 300,000 emails on the laptop.”

***

In assessing the decision to prioritize the Russia investigation over following up on the midyear-related investigative lead discovered on the Weiner laptop, we were particularly concerned about text messages sent by Strzok and Page that potentially indicated or created the appearance that investigative decisions they made were impacted by bias or improper considerations.

***

After October 4, we found no evidence that anyone associated with the midyear investigation, including the entire leadership team at FBI Headquarters, took any action on the Weiner laptop issue until the week of October 24, and then did so only after SDNY raised concerns about the lack of action.

These new documents show the FBI knowingly sat on the Clinton emails for over a month before notifying Congress. And even worse, we now know the FBI didn’t even bother to look at the emails, and then again only partially, for weeks. The Clinton email scandal needs to be reviewed again and immediately by the Justice Department. Optics indeed.

Judge Court Criticizes State Department for Providing False Statements on Clinton Emails

Judicial Watch is relentless and is unwilling to give Hillary Clinton, the State Department, and other conspirators a pass.

A federal court judge, U.S. District Court Judge Royce C. Lamberth, is also upset about the abuses of the Clinton email cover-up…

In his opening remarks during a hearing last Friday (October 12), Judge Lamberth strongly criticized the U.S. Department of State: “The information that I was provided was clearly false regarding the adequacy of the [Clinton email] search and… what we now know turned out to be the Secretary’s email system.”

Turning his attention to the Department of Justice, Judge Lamberth said that he was “dumbfounded” by the agency’s Inspector General report revealing that Cheryl Mills had been given immunity and was allowed to accompany former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to her FBI interview:

I had myself found that Cheryl Mills had committed perjury and lied under oath in a published opinion I had issued in a Judicial Watch case where I found her unworthy of belief, and I was quite shocked to find out she had been given immunity in — by the Justice Department in the Hillary Clinton email case. So I did not know that until I read the IG report and learned that and that she had accompanied the Secretary to her interview.

(In an April 28, 2008, ruling relating to Mills’ conduct as a White House official in responding to concerns about lost White House email records, Judge Lamberth called Mills’ participation in the matter “loathsome.” He further stated Mills was responsible for “the most critical error made in this entire fiasco … Mills’ actions were totally inadequate to address the problem.”)

Lamberth also complained that the Justice Department attorney representing the State Department was using “doublespeak,” and playing “word games.”

The hearing had been ordered by Judge Lamberth regarding a request from us for testimony under oath from Clinton, Mills and several other State Department officials regarding the State Department’s processing of our FOIA request and Clinton’s emails. The State Department still opposes all of our requests for additional discovery into the Clinton email scandal.

Judge Lamberth said he was relieved that he did not allow the case to be shut down prematurely, as the State Department had requested:

The case started with a motion for summary judgment [seeking to close the case] here and which I denied and allowed limited discovery because it was clear to me that at the time that I ruled initially, that false statements were made to me by career State Department officials and it became more clear through discovery that the information that I was provided was clearly false regarding the adequacy of the search and this – what we now know turned out to be the Secretary’s email system.

I don’t know the details of what kind of IG inquiry there was into why these career officials at the State Department would have filed false affidavits with me. I don’t know the details of why the Justice Department lawyers did not know false affidavits were being filed with me, but I was very relieved that I did not accept them and that I allowed limited discovery into what had happened.

Judge Lamberth also said the State Department was using “doublespeak” and word games:

THE COURT: The State Department told me that it had produced all records when it moved for summary judgment and you filed that motion.  That was not true when that motion was filed.
[ROBERT] PRINCE: At that time, we had produced all –
THE COURT: It was not true.
MR. PRINCE: Yes, it was – well, Your Honor, it might be that our search could be found to be inadequate, but that declaration was absolutely true.
THE COURT: It was not true.  It was a lie.
MR. PRINCE: It was not a lie, Your Honor.
THE COURT: What – that’s doublespeak.

***

PRINCE: There’s strong precedent saying that items not in the State’s possession do not need to be searched….
THE COURT:  And that’s because the Secretary was doing this on a private server?  So it wasn’t in the State’s possession?… So you’re playing the same word game she played?

In March 2016, Judge Lamberth granted us “limited discovery”:

Where there is evidence of government wrongdoing and bad faith, as here, limited discovery is appropriate, even though it is exceedingly rare in FOIA cases.

***

[Judicial Watch] is certainly entitled to dispute the State Department’s position that it has no obligation to produce these documents because it did not “possess” or “control” them at the time the FOIA request was made. The State Department’s willingness to now search documents voluntarily turned over to the Department by Secretary Clinton and other officials hardly transforms such a search into an “adequate” or “reasonable one. [Judicial Watch] is not relying on “speculation” or “surmise” as the State Department claims. [Judicial Watch] is relying on constantly shifting admissions by the Government and the former government officials.

The development comes in the July 2014 FOIA lawsuit we filed after the State Department failed to respond to a May 13, 2014 FOIA request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:14-cv-01242)). Judicial Watch seeks:

  • Copies of any updates and/or talking points given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency concerning, regarding, or related to the September 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
  • Any and all records or communications concerning, regarding, or relating to talking points or updates on the Benghazi attack given to Ambassador Rice by the White House or any federal agency.

This isn’t any old FOIA lawsuit, it is the Judicial Watch FOIA suit led directly to the disclosure of the Clinton email system in 2015.

In May 2016, we filed an initial Proposed Order for Discovery seeking additional information. The State Department opposed our proposal, and in December 2016 Judge Lamberth requested both parties to file new proposed orders in light of information discovered in various venues since the previous May.

The full transcript of the hearing is available here.

President Trump should ask why his State Department is still refusing to answer basic questions about the Clinton email scandal. Hillary Clinton’s and the State Department’s email cover up abused the FOIA, the courts, and the American people’s right to know.

I have more comments on this here and here.

Now It’s Up to President Trump and His Secretary of State

It is frustrating that this State Department is still stonewalling a full accounting of Hillary Clinton’s illicit activities when she was secretary of state.

We were in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia this week regarding the failure of the State Department to take remedial measures to recover emails of Clinton and other high-level State Department officials who used a non-state.gov email system to conduct official business.

The appeal names Michael Pompeo, current secretary of state, as the defendant-appellee. We argue that the law requires a referral for action to the Justice Department:

[I]t is important to recall that this case arises from a mess of the State Department’s own making. The State Department was fully aware throughout Secretary Clinton’s tenure that she was using a private email system. Then, at the end of her tenure, the State Department allowed four years of federal records to “walk out the door” with Secretary Clinton. Only belatedly did the State Department ask Secretary Clinton to return those records. Yet it is undisputed that not all emails have been returned. All the efforts that have been made – and remain to be made – are necessary because of the State Department’s failure to preserve federal records as it was required to do. And because the State Department still has not recovered all the records, a referral to the Attorney General is necessary. [Emphasis added]

We further point out that the State Department has never claimed that all unlawfully removed records have been recovered. And, the State Department “must approach the Attorney General and seek his assistance in retrieving federal records that have been unlawfully removed from the State Department. The Federal Records Act requires him to do so.”

In May 2015, we filed suit after the State Department failed to take action on a letter “notifying him of the unlawful removal of the Clinton emails and requesting that he initiate enforcement action pursuant to the [Federal Records Act],” including working through the Attorney General to recover the emails (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. John F. Kerry (No. 1:15-cv-00785)).

After initially being dismissed by the district court, our lawsuit was revived on appeal by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit on December 27, 2016. The Federal Records Act states that an agency head “shall” initiate an action through the Attorney General when he becomes aware of any unlawful removal of agency records.

State Department officials should have taken it upon themselves to initiate action with the Justice Department – and both agencies should finally make an honest effort to recover all the government emails Hillary Clinton unlawfully removed. It is frankly incredible that the Pompeo State Department is still protecting Hillary Clinton from the consequences of her illicit email activity.

Until next week…