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Judicial Watch, Inc., a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

Judicial Watch, Inc., a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

Because no one
is above the law!


Tom Fitton's Weekly Update

Obama Puts Criminal Aliens on Street

Terrorist Leader Tied to FBI?

An American born al-Qaeda operative whom President Obama assassinated in a drone strike on September 30, 2011, in Yemen was almost certainly a FBI asset. That’s what 900 pages of internal documents we obtained from the agency seem to show. The documents were released to us as a result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit which we filed on June 4, 2012. We had asked for the documents more than three years ago, so you can imagine that the FBI is none too happy to have been compelled to disgorge this explosive material thanks to a federal court order.

The previously secreted documents include an October 23, 2003, email message to an unidentified FBI agent directly from Anwar al-Aulaqi that references a congressional report (the 9/11 Commission report) that says he was a “spiritual advisor” to the 9/11 hijackers. Al-Aulaqi also mentions media reports that indicated U.S. officials were attempting to contact him. He then offers to meet with U.S. officials and concludes his email by writing “what was mentioned about me was nothing but lies.”

Here’s the problem. It is evident that the FBI maintained an open channel of communications with this individual despite al-Aulaqi’s terrorist designation.  Take a look at al-Aulaqi’s email to the FBI yourself (which he only sent after leaving a voice mail!).  This new information makes equally clear that there was a serious rift between the agency’s 9/11 Commission Task Force and the National Commission on Terrorism that may have hindered the 9/11 investigation and certainly deserves further scrutiny. The new FBI emails provide us with a picture of agency personnel who were irritated by the Commission’s investigation into the worst attack on America. These agents complained about “numerous and unrelenting requests” from the Commission concerning the U.S.-born al-Qaeda member. The emails, which date back to December 2003, describe how the FBI declined to set up interviews with the Commission and al-Qaeda.

And the antagonism did not stop there.

It is clear from the emails that the FBI was surprised to learn of the Commission’s trip to Yemen, where it tried but failed to track down the terrorist. And it is obvious from the tone of the emails that the FBI did not want these meetings to take place. There’s a long history here. In January 2014, we obtained 79 pages of surveillance reports and logs from the FBI that provide disturbing details that link al-Aulaqi, and another terrorist leader named Omar al Bayoumi, with counter-terrorism investigations organized through the government of Saudi Arabia, the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration in the days leading up to the 9/11 attacks.  For more details on the information in the new emails, click here.

There’s more. Despite an active arrest warrant, the FBI ordered the release of al-Aulaqi at the JFK airport shortly after he was detained. Plus, we have evidence that they dogged his steps all the way to the doors of the Pentagon. On September 11, 2012, we released surveillance reports and logs obtained from the FBI that showed its agents tracked al-Aulaqi to the Pentagon on the same day he addressed a Department of Defense luncheon as an invited guest.

All of this despite the fact that just one day before the surveillance and luncheon, al-Aulaqi had been identified as “a terrorist organization member.” The FBI had also issued an alert that said “Warning –approach with caution… Do not alert the individual to the FBI’s interest and contact your local FBI field office at the earliest opportunity.” Here’s another disturbing detail we pulled out of the U.S. State Department:  Apparently, the FBI was aware on September 27, 2001, that al-Aulaqi had purchased airline tickets for three of the 9/11 plane hijackers.

Former FBI director Mueller has refused to deny that al-Aulaqi was recruited to be an asset of either the FBI or another federal agency. He told Fox News, “I am not personally familiar with any effort to recruit Anwar al-Aulaqi as an asset – that does not mean to say there was not an effort at some level of the Bureau (FBI) or another agency to do so.”

Al-Aulaqi is the first American ever acknowledged to have been subject to a targeted drone killing. His 16-year-old son Abdulrahman al-Aulaqi was also killed by a U.S. drone attack; supposedly by accident, just two weeks later.

So, as the newly obtained emails confirm, it appears as though the man President Obama targeted for elimination had a special relationship with the FBI that, while still not entirely clear, was far more intimate and involved than the American people have been led to believe.

A report by Catherine Herridge of Fox News, who has been persistent in pursuing this important issue, allowed us to put this into context for a national news audience:

Fitton claims federal law enforcement had al-Awlaki in their custody, until the FBI let him walk – and in the years before he was killed by a CIA drone in 2011, al-Awlaki pioneered the digital jihad, now being capitalized upon by the Islamic State, or ISIS.

“ISIS took that and ran with it – who knows, maybe if we had gotten al-Awlaki and kept him off the streets and in jail or in prison where he belonged that there would have been a much more slow development of the Internet jihad that we’re all facing worldwide.”

No one else is asking tough questions of the FBI but we’ll keep digging.  Al-Aulaqi, even though now (thankfully) dead, still inspires terrorism through his writings and exhortations on the Internet.  I suggest that you review our materials on this issue directly and ask your elected representatives in Congress why aren’t they following Judicial Watch’s leads and demanding accountability from the Obama administration and the FBI about its mishandling of a terrorist mastermind who created a new Internet organizing template for the Islamic State and other Islamic supremacists (too many from America) we’re now fighting in a new war.

Obama Administration Puts Public at Risk – Releases 36,000 Criminal Aliens

When you’re living outside of Washington, D.C., and the word “criminal” is put in front of the phrase “illegal alien,” you may find that a bit redundant. But, to political insiders, it is simply typical Washington double-speak. And that may help explain why last year the Obama administration released 36,000 convicted illegal aliens on an unknowing American public. Each had been convicted of violent and other serious crime. To be clear, I’m talking about crimes such as murder, sexual assault, kidnapping and aggravated assault.  And, if you aren’t upset enough already, the criminal aliens who are now in circulation throughout the country have almost 88,000 convictions.

That’s why on July 21, 2014, your Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to obtain vital information about a report from our friends at the Center for Immigration Studies that found Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) released 36,007 criminal aliens who were the subjects of deportation hearings. We filed our FOIA lawsuit after the DHS, which includes ICE, ignored our May 15, 2014, FOIA request for the following basic information:

Any and all records of communications including, but not limited to, emails to or from personnel in the office of the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (including its component offices, such as the Office of Public Affairs), from May 1 to May 15, 2014, concerning, regarding, or related to the report published by the Center for Immigrations Studies concerning the release of 36,000 criminal aliens.

A simple request designed to get to the heart of the decision that put untold innocents at risk – completely ignored by the misnamed Department of Homeland Security.  What agency dedicated to providing Americans “security” would release criminal aliens who should have been deported who had, collectively:

  • 193 homicide convictions (including one willful killing of a public official with gun)
  • 426 sexual assault convictions
  • 303 kidnapping convictions
  • 1,075 aggravated assault convictions
  • 1,160 stolen vehicle convictions
  • 9,187 dangerous drug convictions
  • 16,070 drunk or drugged driving convictions
  • 303 flight escape convictions

Immediately following the release of the CIS report, former House Judiciary Committee chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) issued a statement terming the action, “the worst prison break in American history.” The representative laid the responsibility at the feet of President Obama, adding, “[I]t was sanctioned by the President and perpetrated by our own immigration officials … The Administration’s actions are outrageous. They willfully and knowingly put the interests of criminal immigrants before the safety and security of the American people.”

Obama administration officials, of course, took a far more casual attitude towards the “worst prison break in American history.” Three weeks after the release of the report, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he was he was still trying to understand what happened, and declined to provide further details as to how the criminal aliens were freed or who was responsible. Johnson told the committee, “I am aware of the reports that in Fiscal Year 2013 thousands of individuals with criminal convictions who may be removable were released from custody. I have asked for a deeper understanding of this issue.”

By the way, do you know why the Secret Service, also “run” by Mr. Johnson, would leave the front door of the White House open and allow the president to be put in an elevator with “security contractor with a gun and three convictions for assault and battery”?

According to documents obtained by Judicial Watch in May 2013, this is not be the first time Obama immigration policies have resulted in lax treatment of dangerous or potentially dangerous illegal aliens. The documents, obtained in accordance with an October 2012 FOIA request, revealed that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) abandoned required background checks in 2012, adopting instead costly “lean and lite” procedures. The documents also revealed that, contrary to administration claims, that Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policies applied only to minors who came to this country illegally “through no fault of their own,” the directive actually created a new wave of chain migration, whereby immediate relatives of DACA requesters could be approved for amnesty. As a result, according to an agency memo from District 15 Director David Douglas, “some of the districts closer to the U.S./Mexico border have been inundated.”

The fact is, time and again, the Obama administration has rolled out the red carpet for illegal immigrants. And we now know that once they arrive, they are encouraged to stay, even if they have wreaked violent mayhem on the unsuspecting public. The American people deserve to have their own ‘deeper understanding’ of who authorized the release of these dangerous, convicted felons. And JW is going to court to find out.

In Washington, you get fired, and rightly so, for not doing your job and leaving the president unprotected.  But if you ignore the law and release criminals and guns onto the streets and get Americans killed, you get to be Attorney General, head of Homeland Security, and a seat behind the desk in the Oval Office.

Rule by Judges or Rule of Law?

Increasingly in recent years, whenever democracy and self-governance break out and find expression, there is always the distinct danger that judicial activists are ready to pounce. That’s one reason Judicial Watch spoke out through an amicus curiae brief with the U.S. Supreme Court on September 4, 2014, in defense of Utah’s Constitutional Amendment 3.  We took the position that “we the people” in the state of Utah should have final say in something so fundamental as to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. But that’s not what happened on June 25, 2014. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit ruled in Kitchen v. Herber that the Fourteenth Amendment, which was adopted nearly 150 years ago, can now suddenly be read to preclude laws that deny “marriage” to same-sex couples. Utah state officials are rightly appealing this political court ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court, which is now considering the state’s Writ of Certiorari.

Amendment 3, which says marriage is “only of the legal union between a man and a woman,” passed by an overwhelming margin of 65.8 percent to 33.2 percent on November 2, 2004, with 593,297 out of about 900,000. That’s not even close. Even if it was, there is no sufficient cause for the judiciary to interject itself and override the will of the people.

In our amicus brief, we argue that “the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit raises important questions of constitutional law:

In particular, this amicus is concerned that the Tenth Circuit’s ruling imposes unconstitutional limits on the right of the people to self-governance and harms American democracy. Among the harms are: a dangerous distortion of constitutional jurisprudence; an unlawful expansion of the powers of the federal judiciary; and an anti-democratic limitation on the people’s right to democratic self-governance through popular initiative and referendum.

We believe the high court should agree to review this case since the people’s right to make laws and engage in direct democracy is now in serious jeopardy. The Tenth Circuit rationalized its activist ruling by substituting, by unmoored judicial fiat, its own policy preference for the “adult happiness and dignity” model in place of the “responsible procreation” model of marriage favored by the citizens of Utah:

Utah’s citizens have spoken loudly that they do not view marriage as granting social status (or government benefits) to committed adults, but instead view marriage as encouraging biological parents to raise their own offspring together. The Tenth Circuit should have respected this democratically-elected definition of marriage, and Amendment 3 should have been subject to rational basis review, which it easily passes. By redefining Amendment 3 as a law that privileges opposite-sex couples rather than encourages certain of them to be more responsible parents, the Tenth Circuit has denied Utah citizens their fundamental right to democratic self-governance.

(This is not the first time we have weighed on the growing conflict between traditional and non-traditional marriage.  For instance, in January 2013, we joined with the Alliance Educational Foundation to file an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in support of California’s Proposition 8, which said “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid and recognized in California.”  Unfortunately, the High Court let that decision stand because elected officials in California – following the corrupt Obama model of refusing to defend and uphold the laws they swore to protect – refused to defend California voters in the ensuing court battle.)

JW will continue to fight this critical battle for the basic right of self-governance. The revolt against traditional marriage by activist federal courts undermines more than just marriage; it undermines the fundamental freedom Americans have to govern themselves.

Lack of Border Security Increases Threat to Public Health

While the Obama administration keeps downplaying the Ebola crisis, it appears to be a health disaster that some could see coming like a freight train. In fact, back in July Judicial Watch warned about these serious health issues, specifically pertaining to the influx of Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) and tens of thousands of other illegal aliens coming from Central America through Mexico.

Back then Judicial Watch reported that the illegal immigrant wave – caused by Obama’s refusal to enforce the law and the border – was bringing in serious diseases – including swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola virus and tuberculosis – that present a danger to the American public. Among our sources was United States Congressman Phil Gingrey (R-GA), who is also a medical doctor who took the time to gather information on the ground.

JW obtained an alarming letter from the congressman to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), warning that there was a “severe and dangerous” crisis because the new arrivals were importing infectious diseases (like Ebola) considered to be largely eradicated in this county. Indeed, Ebola has never been considered a threat in the U.S. and, despite the recent outbreak here, the CDC maintains that it’s only a problem in Africa. In fact, the agency insists that “the risk of an Ebola outbreak in the United States is very low.”

Recent events indicate otherwise. As we all know a man in Texas, who traveled from Liberia unimpeded despite all sorts of alleged checks in place, has been diagnosed with the deadly virus that was first identified in Africa decades ago and several of his relatives have been quarantined by health officials. It gets worse; at least five schools in the Dallas area are being monitored because of students who may have had contact with the infected man and Texas Governor Rick Perry has confirmed that “this case is serious.” At least 100 people have to be monitored by authorities because of potential contact with only one Ebola victim. The nation’s capital is unnerved today by reports of second potential Ebola patient.

Ebola is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission, according to the World Health Organization. The CDC admits that the manner in which the virus first appears in a human at the start of an outbreak is unknown. That’s because the natural reservoir host of Ebola viruses has not yet been identified, according to the agency. There are simply too many unknowns for the government to offer such strong assurances that this lethal and highly contagious virus is not a threat in this country.

Officials tell us not to worry because “airport officials” in West Africa are monitoring travelers from Ebola-ravaged countries in West Africa by asking questions and checking travelers for fever before they get on planes bound for the United States.  But anyone with common sense knows that few lies and some Advil can get you through that cordon.  Sure enough, the Dallas Ebola victim almost certainly lied to get out Liberia.  And let’s not pretend that only countries in Africa can’t their act together.  Our vaunted system utterly failed to protect the public health, as the Daily Mail reports:

A Dallas hospital treating the first person to [be] diagnosed with Ebola on US soil has admitted staff did know he’d been to Africa but a ‘flaw’ meant he was released and only given antibiotics.

As a result, Thomas Eric Duncan was let loose in the city for a week, allowing him to come into contact with hundreds of people and potentially infect them with the deadly virus.

Now, we already know, as Judicial Watch exclusively reported back in June, that our Border Patrol’s “temporary housing, care, health, safety and processing capabilities” were being strained by Obama’s border crisis.  Does anyone seriously believe that the Obama administration is asking travelers on the Mexican border about their travels to West Africa or checking them individually for fever at manned border crossings?  And since the border is unsecured, it is a free-for-all and the public health will be the victim.

You can be sure your Judicial Watch is hard at work investigating the issue.  We took the lead in reporting to you about health, safety and security issues at the border – and unlike Congress and much of the other media, we have a record of success using the courts to get the truth about these matters from the dishonest Obama administration.  It is important not to get hysterical about Ebola, but this administration has a demonstrated record of lying about matters of national security, public health, and safety – so Judicial Watch will ask questions, demand transparency, and is prepared to sue in federal court to get around illegal stonewalling, while keeping you apprised all the way.

Until next week…