AUGUST 18, 2017
Former FBI Director James Comey sits in a firestorm of his own making. By his own admission, he created and then leaked memos to ensure that a special counsel would be appointed to investigate President Trump. It looks as if Comey broke government rules and laws as part of his machinations. Special Counsel Mueller is unlikely to investigate his friend Comey, and so it is up to your Judicial Watch to do the work of the Justice Department, FBI, Congress, and the media.
For that reason, we have filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Justice for all non-disclosure agreements pertaining to the handling, storage, protection, dissemination, and/or return of classified information that were signed by or on behalf of former FBI Director James Comey (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:17-cv-01624)).
The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after the Justice Department failed to respond to our June 13, 2017, FOIA request seeking “any and all non-disclosure agreements pertaining in full or in part to the handling, storage, protection, dissemination, and/or return of classified and/or sensitive information that were signed by or on behalf of former FBI Director James Comey.” Such records would include:
- All SF-312 (Classified Information Nondisclosure Agreement) forms
- All FD-857 (Sensitive Information Nondisclosure Agreement) forms
- All FD-597 (Receipt for Property Received/Returned/Released or Seized) forms
- All FD-291 (FBI Employment Agreement) forms
- All Case Briefing Acknowledgement forms
In June, Judicial Watch sent the FBI a warning letter concerning the FBI’s legal responsibility under the Federal Records Act (FRA) to recover records, including memos Comey subsequently leaked to the media and unlawfully removed from the bureau by Comey. Judicial Watch later filed a FOIA lawsuit against the Department of Justice for information about Comey’s memorandum written after his meeting with President Trump regarding potential interference by the Russians in the 2016 presidential election (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:17-cv-01189)).
In July, we filed a FOIA lawsuit against the Department of Justice for the metadata for the memoranda written by Comey memorializing his conversations with President Donald Trump as well as records about Comey’s FBI-issued laptop computer or other electronic devices and records about how Comey managed his records while he was FBI Director (Judicial Watch, Inc., v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 17-cv-01520)). The metadata information may include details about when the memos were created or edited and by whom.
How is it the FBI allowed Mr. Comey to walk out the door with sensitive documents about President Trump? It is remarkable that we must sue the FBI in federal court to get answers about this scandal.
I’m hoping that the momentum is now on the side of cleaning up voting rolls and ensuring fair elections nationwide. We are taking multiple steps around the country toward that end. Let me tell you about one of them.
We have again joined with the Allied Educational Foundation (AEF) in filing an amici curiae brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in support of the State of Georgia’s efforts to ensure that its voter rolls are up to date. The case is on appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia (Common Cause, et al., v. Brian Kemp, Georgia Secretary of State (No. 1:16-cv-00452)).
In ruling against plaintiff, the liberal activist group Common Cause, the district court held that Georgia’s use of voter data to initiate the address-confirmation procedure for cleaning voter rolls does not violate the plain language and congressional intent of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).
Simply put, Georgia’s voter-roll cleaning procedure does not violate the NVRA:
[Georgia’s procedure] is in perfect accord with the NVRA. Voters are not removed for failing to vote, as Appellants maintain. Rather, they are removed for failing to respond to a notice and then failing to engage in voting activity for two federal elections. Appellants’ attempt to stretch the notion of causation beyond its natural bounds to refer equally to all prior causes in a chain of causes is not warranted by logic or by the law.
We know Georgia has problems. We found at least 10 counties in the state had more names registered to vote than the actual eligible voters.
The Obama Justice Department and its allies on the Left were fanatical in their efforts to undermine election integrity measures. Dirty election rolls mean dirty elections. The Eleventh Circuit should affirm the district court’s decision allowing Georgia to continue to ensure that dead people, those who have moved to other states and other ineligible names are removed from its voter registration lists.
President Barack Obama barely concealed his disdain for Israel, and that bias found its way into the actions of his administration. Here is a good example.
We filed two Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the U.S. Department of State for records about the anti-Israel group BDS’s (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) lobbying of the Obama administration to ignore trade laws that protect Israel.
We filed a FOIA lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after the DHS failed to respond to two June 20 FOIA requests, one to the department itself and one to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Bureau (CBP), a component of DHS (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 1:17-cv-1650)). We are seeking:
- All emails which mention West Bank country-of-origin marking requirements, and were sent between [DHS or CBP] and any of the following groups: Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, Al-Awda, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Friends of Sabeel-North America, If Americans Knew, the International Solidarity Movement, Jewish Voice for Peace, the Muslim American Society, Students for Justice in Palestine, or the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (the “BDS Groups”).
- All emails internal to [DHS and/or CBP] discussing the efforts of the BDS Groups to strengthen enforcement of the West Bank country-of-origin marking requirements.
We also filed a FOIA lawsuit against the State Department after it failed to respond to a June 20 request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:17-cv-01651)). We are seeking:
- All emails which mention protections for Israel in the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015, and were sent between [State Department] and any of the following groups: Act Now to Stop War and End Racism, Al-Awda, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Friends of Sabeel-North America, If Americans Knew, the International Solidarity Movement, Jewish Voice for Peace, the Muslim American Society, Students for Justice in Palestine, or the US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation (the “BDS Groups”).
- All internal [State Department] emails discussing the efforts of the BDS Groups to limit protections for Israel in the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015.
Here is the background. In February 2016 President Obama signed the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015 into law. It forces U.S. trade partners to cut ties to the BDS movement and protects Israel territories. But Obama announced:
Certain provisions of this Act, by conflating Israel and “Israeli-controlled territories,” are contrary to longstanding bipartisan United States policy, including with regard to the treatment of settlements. Moreover, consistent with longstanding constitutional practice, my Administration will interpret and implement the provisions in the Act that purport to direct the Executive to seek to negotiate and enter into particular international agreements (section 414(a)(1)) or to take certain positions in international negotiations with respect to international agreements with foreign countries not qualifying for trade authorities procedures (sections 108(b), 414(a)(2), 415, and 909(c)) in a manner that does not interfere with my constitutional authority to conduct diplomacy.
But shortly after Obama signed the act, his customs agency restated the West Bank Country of Origin Marking Requirement rules requiring labeling of goods from the West Bank. The Jerusalem Post later reported that the restated rules were a result of several complaints filed by activists seeking to have the U.S. follow policy guidelines distinguishing goods produced from Israel and the West Bank.
The West Bank country-of-origin marking requirements are said to stem from “longstanding bipartisan U.S. policy” toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. First put in place in 1995 under the Clinton administration, the rule is to preserve the distinction between the goods produced in the State of Israel and the goods produced in the territories it controls over the Green Line.
The pernicious BDS movement was started by the PLO and other anti-Israel groups to encourage an economic and cultural boycott of Israel. It has gained the support of radical leftwing groups in the United States, especially on college campuses.
President Obama advanced the agenda of anti-Israel radicals in subverting U.S. law that rejects the malicious anti-Israel boycott movement. And it is no surprise the Deep State ignores our FOIA requests that could expose the Obama-BDS connections. It is well past time for the Trump administration to stop this obstruction and follow the FOIA law.
Until next week …