State Dept Gives Us More Clinton Emails “Found” by the FBI
New Clinton Emails Include Benghazi and Classified Information
Schiff Asserts Privilege over His Impeachment Phone Record Subpoenas
FBI Shuts Online Public Records Operation over Coronavirus
Another Illegal Immigrant Caravan Leaves Honduras for the U.S.
The FBI found more Hillary Clinton emails. This is, of course, after the State Department assured us long ago it had produced all releasable Clinton emails, including emails recovered by the FBI that Clinton tried to destroy or withhold.
We released 80 pages of emails that further document how former Secretary of State Clinton used her unsecure, non-government email system to transmit classified and other sensitive government information.
There are 11 new Clinton emails. The emails include one sent by Clinton a month after the Benghazi terrorist attack referencing a “Benghazi security” issue. The emails also include talking points, which are redacted, for a meeting with President Obama.
This is the second release from the batch of Clinton emails the FBI inexplicably found late last year
The State Department previously claimed it had produced all releasable Clinton emails, including emails recovered by the FBI that 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 this year.
The emails were produced to us in a FOIA lawsuit we filed seeking all of Clinton’s government emails sent or received on her non-government system (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00687)).
The new emails include an October 13, 2012, message from Clinton telling private attorney Robert Barnett about a conversation with Jake Sullivan, Clinton’s senior advisor and deputy chief of staff, about Benghazi: “Jake and I were discussing the Benghazi security issue since he tried to tell [Redacted] would be asked about it but they didn’t think so. Might be good for you to call Jake too.” Clinton also mentions then-candidate Mitt Romney’s “47% remark,” referring to his dismissal of Obama voters as irresponsible.
On August 29, 2011, Sullivan sends a “cheat sheet” with “key issues” to Clinton, Abedin and Clinton’s confidential assistant Monica Hanley including “Talking Points for POTUS” for a briefing that day. The talking points are completely redacted.
The new email cache includes an email dated August 31, 2011, that former Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Jeffrey Feltman sends to former Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin, William Burns and others, which is heavily redacted as classified. Burns forwards the email to Sullivan. Sullivan forwards it to Clinton’s private email, and she responds: “I called him [redacted.] Didn’t you get memcon?”
On December 22, 2009, former Ambassador Joseph Wilson emails Clinton “directly … rather than Sid [likely Sidney Blumenthal]” about Afghanistan, disparaging “cost plus contractors” and promoting his company, Symbion Power. Wilson includes a memo from his boss, an Inspector General audit of USAID in Afghanistan’s power sector activities and a memo of USAID management’s comments regarding the audit. Clinton forwards the email to Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources Jacob Lew, Mills and Sullivan with the following instructions:
Please check out what Joe is saying here. He is now working for a company that has a good track record building in Iraq and wants to do so in Afghanistan. Let me know. Thx.
On August 30, 2011, Melanne Verveer emails Clinton an article titled “Family planning as a pro-life cause,” and tells Clinton “I know you are going off to France for the Libya meeting.” Clinton forwards the message to Sullivan.
On August 28, 2011, Clinton aide Lona Valmoro sends Clinton, Abedin and Sullivan a copy of Clinton’s sensitive daily schedule, which is fully redacted.
On November 1, 2012, Valmoro sends Clinton, Abedin and Hanley a copy of Clinton’s sensitive schedule that includes a briefing with President Obama and afterward a meeting with then-Special Envoy for Middle East Peace David Hale, Burns and Sullivan.
In a September 1, 2011, email marked sensitive Abedin notifies Clinton that United Arab Emirates’ money for the Transitional National Council of Libya is blocked in the U.S. financial system. The assumption was that the money was actually frozen Libyan assets. The UAE claimed it was not Libyan money.
The State Department did not provide information about where the emails were found; why they were not previously produced; or if additional records are anticipated. In November 2019, the State Department first disclosed to the court that the FBI had found this latest batch of emails. In a December 2019 court hearing, a Justice Department attorney could not tell a federal court judge how and where the FBI discovered the new cache of Clinton emails. In authorizing additional discovery, including the deposition testimony of Hillary Clinton, in this separate Judicial Watch lawsuit, U.S. District Court Judge Lamberth specifically referenced the FBI’s recent discovery of Clinton emails:
With each passing round of discovery, the Court is left with more questions than answers. What’s more, during the December 19, 2019, status conference, Judicial Watch disclosed that the FBI recently produced approximately thirty previously undisclosed Clinton emails. State failed to fully explain the new emails’ origins when the Court directly questioned where they came from.
Even though many important questions remain unanswered, the Justice Department inexplicably still takes the position that the Court should close discovery and rule on dispositive motions. The Court is especially troubled by this. To argue that the Court now has enough information to determine whether State conducted an adequate search is preposterous, especially when considering State’s deficient representations regarding the existence of additional Clinton emails.
Magically, after years, the FBI finds more Clinton emails that are classified, involve Benghazi, and detail communications with President Obama. This drip, drip game that the DOJ, FBI, and State are playing is a key reason a federal court authorized more discovery, including the sworn deposition of Hillary Clinton.
Last December we sued Representative Adam Schiff (D-CA) and the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence for their controversial impeachment-related subpoenas for phone records, including those of Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s lawyer.
This case raises very serious questions about personal privacy and the power of the federal government to violate it.
Schiff and the Committee, represented by the Office of General Counsel for the House of Representatives, have now asked the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to dismiss the lawsuit.
The phone records led to the publication of the private phone records of Giuliani, Congressman Devin Nunes, journalist John Solomon, Trump attorney Jay Sekulow, attorney Victoria Toensing, and other American citizens.
In their 14-page motion Schiff and the Committee claim “sovereign immunity;” “Speech or Debate Clause” privilege; immunity from FOIA and transparency law; that the records are secret; and that the public doesn’t need to see them.
We filed our lawsuit under the public’s common-law right of public access to examine government records after it received no response to a December 6, 2019, records request (Judicial Watch v. v Adam Schiff and U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (No. 1:19-03790)):
- All subpoenas issued by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on or about September 30, 2019 to any telecommunications provider including, but not limited to AT&T, Inc., for all records of telephone calls of any individuals
- All responses received to the above subpoenas.
Schiff is chairman of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. He is being sued in his capacity as chairman of that committee. The lawsuit argues:
The records are of critical public importance as the subpoenas were issued without any lawful basis and violated the rights of numerous private citizens.
Disclosure of the requested records would serve the public interest by providing information about the unlawful issuance of the subpoenas.
The requested records fall within the scope of the public’s right of access to governmental records as a matter of federal common law.
Schiff’s new court filing is an effort to try to avoid disclosing his abusive subpoenas of confidential phone records. It suggests he and Congress can secretly subpoena and publish the phone records of any American with zero accountability under law or to the people. Speaker Pelosi and every House member should be asked if they agree that they are above the law and can spy on any American.
I have watched with considerable concern as government at every level has asserted its authority in the wake of the coronavirus – closing schools and businesses and telling people to stay home. These actions may be necessary to protect the public, but we have discovered one action that is beyond belief. And it comes from the FBI, which marred its reputation in recent years through lies and obfuscation. The FBI recently announced it is halting electronic processing of Freedom of Information Act requests. This is more bad news for the FBI’s already tarnished image.
As you know, access to government records is critical to exposing and controlling the abuses of government. Here, from our Corruption Chronicles blog, is the story:
As mandatory social distancing forces Americans and federal government employees to telework, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is using coronavirus as an excuse to shut down its electronic public records operations. Instead, the agency that dropped the ball on 9/11 and more than 20 terrorist attacks in the U.S. since then, is encouraging the public to send requests via standard mail. Even for a famously inefficient government with a talent for keeping the public in the dark, this is a bit much. Furthermore, it is a scary display of attitude and conduct by the same bloated entity that is supposed to save us all from the new pandemic.
The bizarre move comes amid a nationwide mandate to avoid the outside world and a maximum telework order for federal government employees. Shutting its online Freedom of Information/Privacy Act (FOIPA) operation and accepting only standard mail makes no sense unless the law enforcement agency is simply trying to stop the flow of public records requests. That would be unethical, to say the least. FOIPA is a valuable tool used by Judicial Watch to expose government corruption and it is essential that there be no disruption in the system. Who will receive the mail with the new requests? When will the FOIPA requests get processed if employees are under a mandatory telework order? Judicial Watch reached out to the FBI, but never received a response. Apparently, everyone is home teleworking, which means the requests could easily be accessed if the FBI didn’t shut down its electronic system.
Here is the absurd message that greets those wishing to obtain records from the FBI during the viral crisis: “Due to the emerging COVID-19 situation, the FBI is not accepting electronic Freedom of Information/Privacy Act requests or sending out electronic responses through the eFOIPA portal at this time. You may still submit a FOIPA request via standard mail. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding.” The print is in red, indicating a sense of urgency, and appears above the original eFOIPA submission portal, which was designed to facilitate the process by allowing requesters to submit and receive responses electronically. “The eFOIPA portal’s normal operating hours are 24 hours a day seven days a week,” according to the FBI website, which offers simple directions on how to proceed with public records requests. “The FBI would like to thank you in advance for your cooperation and looks forward to receiving and responding to your request,” the agency writes. “If you have any additional questions or experience any issues while using the eFOIPA system, please e-mail [email protected] for assistance. To report a matter concerning national security or another federal crime, submit a tip at tips.fbi.gov.”
Who benefits from a FOIA shutdown? Ohr, Strzok, Page, Comey, McCabe, Obama, Hillary Clinton, and the whole Spygate Gang. Who loses? Americans who want accountable government under law.
President Trump declared that people who cross our southern border illegally will be removed because of the Coronavirus. Now comes word that yet another caravan is forming, no doubt with the intent of encroaching on the United States. Here are the details from our Corruption Chronicles blog:
While the world is absorbed in the Coronavirus drama, yet another caravan of illegal immigrants is heading north to the United States from Central America. The group departed recently from the northern Honduran city of San Pedro Sula and is making its way to Guatemala en route to the southern Mexican state of Chiapas. The final destination is the U.S., according to a Mexican news report that reveals the caravan has some 500 Central Americans but is expected to grow along the way. “They left their country due to a lack of work opportunities and prevailing violence,” according to the Spanish-language article published a few days ago.
The illegal immigrants are expected to arrive late this week in the Guatemalan city of Tecún Umán, a heavily transited border crossing into Mexico. Earlier this month a Guatemalan newspaper reported that, despite the global Coronavirus pandemic, cross border travel between Mexico and Guatemala continues full throttle without any sort of health screenings. It is very unlikely the new group of illegal immigrants will be monitored for health issues as it makes its way north. This marks the third organized Central American caravan that tries to enter Mexico. The most recent one, with about 2,000 Central Americans, took off earlier this year and was largely intercepted by Mexican authorities in Hidalgo.
At the time Honduran authorities disclosed that four Iranian nationals had been arrested after entering the crime-infested nation illegally. The men were heading north to the United States, according to a Honduran newspaper article that attributed the information to the president, Juan Orlando Hernández. The Iranians were transported to the capital, Tegucigalpa, and officials reportedly launched an investigation. The worrisome incident coincided with a U.S. alert warning Mexico of armed Iranians planning to enter the country through the southern border, further illustrating the national security dangers of unmonitored human caravans. The bulletin, issued by the Border Patrol’s regional intelligence operation center in Arizona, said that a Guatemalan national may try to smuggle five Middle Easterners—including a suicide bomber—into the U.S. through Mexico. The smuggler and four other men and a woman transited through Guatemala and Belize before reaching Veracruz, Mexico, according to the bulletin. The Guatemalan, whose name is redacted in the government document, was deported from California a year ago. U.S. authorities received the threat after picking up recordings distributed via social media, according to a Spanish-language news story published by a Latin American outlet.
The scariest part is that the U.S. alert didn’t faze a busy Mexican border city’s police chief, who confirmed at the time that the region is full of Middle Easterners, Africans and Asians trekking north. In a Latin American news report published shortly after the U.S. issued the bulletin, Mexicali Police Chief María Elena Andrade Ramírez matter-of-factly said the arrival of people from the Middle East, Africa and Asia as well as the rest of the Americas is “normal” in her California border city of about a million residents. In a separate article published in a Mexicali paper, authorities downplayed the situation by assuring citizens that the arrival of people from the Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia and the rest of the Americas is “something normal.”
Central America has long been a popular route for illegal immigrants from terrorist nations who want to reach the U.S. There’s no doubt many will infiltrate all of the organized caravans that take off from Honduras. When the first Central American caravan launched from San Pedro Sula in the fall of 2018, then Guatemalan President Jimmy Morales confirmed that nearly 100 ISIS terrorists had been apprehended in Guatemala. Like its Honduran neighbor, Guatemala too is a major smuggling corridor for foreigners from African and Asian countries making their way into the U.S. In 2017, 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.
It will be interesting to see if the mania for open borders survives this global health threat.
Until next week …