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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

Urgent Update on Terror Border Threat

Urgent Update on Border Terror Threat – Narco-Islamist Connection Exposed

There are times when all of us hate to say, “I told you so.” And the latest news from Judicial Watch on the apprehension of ISIS terrorists on the U.S.-Mexico border is certainly one of them.

In late August, you may recall, JW broke the story that Islamic terrorist organizations are operating in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez where they plan to stage attacks against the U.S. In response to this threat, agents in the departments of Homeland Security, Justice and Defense had all been placed on alert and told to work to counter the imminent threat.  Two days after our initial report, Fort Bliss, the massive installation in El Paso, increased its security in response to this international terrorist threat.

But then the Obama spin machine cranked up. A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security officially denied the report, telling the London Daily Mail, “we are aware of absolutely nothing credible to substantiate this claim.” The DHS official duplicitously added, “In Mexico? I haven’t seen that at all.”
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest also responded, telling the newspaper that “the most detailed intelligence assessment that I can offer from here is that there is no evidence or indication right now that [the Islamic State group] is actively plotting to attack the United States homeland. That’s true right now.”

At Judicial Watch, we pulled no punches in standing by our story. We told the Daily Mail that JW’s sources were “golden,” and that the government’s denial constituted a “non-denial denial.” As I pointed out, the words “credible” and “specific” were rhetorical loopholes that one “could drive a truck bomb through,” the paper reported.

This week, Judicial Watch investigations resulted in two more bombshell reports.

First, on October 5, JW’s Corruption Chronicles blog posted an important story detailing how a “sophisticated narco-terror ring with connections running from El Paso to Chicago to New York City had been uncovered with the help of Judicial Watch.”  The details are extraordinary.  The story involves two of the FBI’s Most Wanted, plus a logistics and transportation operative for militant Islamists in the United States and an illegal alien with an extensive criminal record in El Paso, Texas.

Emad Karakrah, and Hector Pedroza Huerta are currently in jail for separate offenses in different states—Karakrah in Cook County Illinois and Huerta in El Paso. But in 2009 they partnered to plan a Chicago truck bombing that was thwarted. Between December 2010 and February 2011, Huerta and Karakrah also planned two additional bomb plots targeting oil refineries in Houston and the Fort Worth Stockyards, according to Judicial Watch’s federal law enforcement sources.

Before that Karakrah and Huerta met with two of the FBI’s “Most Wanted” terrorists: Jaber A. Elbaneh and Adnan Gulshair el Shukrijumah (a/k/a: “Javier Robles”). Meetings took place in a private home a few years ago in Anthony, NM. The four men discussed the movement of drugs, money and people. The plots were further planned by fellow conspirators at a “mosque” on Redd Road in El Paso, as well as two other “mosques” in the city. Karakrah, Huerta, Elbaneh and el Shukrijumah all met again in Anthony, NM, in March 2014, according to Judicial Watch sources.

The urgency is real, as Huerta is alleged to have smuggled explosives and weapons from, ironically, the Fort Bliss range and exercise areas in concert with corrupt US Army soldiers and government contractors with gate passes at the El Paso base.

The recent, seemingly unrelated, arrests of Karakrah and Huerta expose the nexus of Islamic terror and drug cartel trafficking operating from El Paso. With both Karakrah and Huerta in custody, federal law enforcement officials have an extraordinary opportunity to break the powerful narco-terrorism grip on El Paso – assuming they can overcome internecine turf wars between the various agencies of the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security.  Judicial Watch “connected the dots” in this narco-terrorism network for federal law enforcement.

This exposé was followed by another Judicial Watch revelation.  On October 8, JW’s Corruption Chronicles blog posted another major story detailing how federal authorities and other officials with the Texas Department of Public Safety in McAllen and Pharr had apprehended four Islamic terrorists crossing the border from Mexico into the U.S. just 36 hours earlier.

JW’s information was confirmed by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) Hunter revealed on national television that at least 10 fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria – known as ISIS – have been caught crossing into the U.S. from Mexico in Texas. Duncan said his source of the information is the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the agency responsible for patrolling and safeguarding the porous southern border.

As described above, just two days after our first August 29th report, Ft. Bliss, the U.S. Army post in El Paso, implemented heightened security measures. Military officials who spoke with us said the increased security demonstrates that Ft. Bliss is a terrorist target. Retired Army Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, former commander of the Army’s elite Delta Force, who also served four years as Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence, made it clear to us that military installations in the U.S. only make changes to security measures when they know of a specific threat.

“That means they’re getting a threat stream. Ft. Bliss had to have a clear and present threat,” Boykin said.

Despite all of JW’s comprehensive reporting, high-level Obama officials and allies are looking to silence our reporting and attack the messenger. This includes Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-Texas) who telephoned the area offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) in an effort to identify sources that have been used by JW to break the ISIS story.

It appears that top officials of the Obama administration are lying about ISIS terrorist activities on our border. Nevertheless, federal agents on the front lines are working to keep you safe and appreciate Judicial Watch’s clarion calls about security on the border. Rest assured that your JW will not back down on ferreting out the truth, and we will keep you fully informed.


JW Pushes Congress to Clean House

Regular readers of the Weekly Update will recall that in September Judicial Watch joined with watchdog groups from across the ideological spectrum to encourage top House Republicans and Democrats to lend their support to the continued operation of the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE). In a letter addressed to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) we urged the Leadership “to publicly and expeditiously announce your intent to continue the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) for the 114th Congress.”

I am sure you will not be surprised to know that to date – some two months later – the House leadership (Republican and Democrat) remain silent on whether they will continue independent ethics enforcement in the next Congress.  Let’s hope they’re not following the lead of the likes of Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), who recently proclaimed, “There’s absolutely no need for this group. There is no question in my mind that that committee can smear the reputation of members of Congress and do irreparable harm.”  (This is the same Charles Rangel who in 2010 was found guilty on 11 counts of breaking House rules.  Rangel should have been expelled, but he received a slap on the wrist for his corruption.)

While we support at least keeping the current ethics reforms in place, you and I both know that the House is still a body of ill repute.  That’s why on October 6 we once again joined the watchdog groups to push the House to make additional reforms:

  • Make Ethics Office permanent.

As was noted in a previous letter, we urge you to publicly and expeditiously announce your intention to continue the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) for the 114th Congress.  The OCE has provided a credible means for allegations of violations by Members and staff to be investigated and, if warranted, dismissed and has compiled a stellar record of conducting fair investigations and bipartisan cooperation.  Yet the OCE lives in a state of instability, existing tenuously from Congress to Congress.  OCE should be made a more permanent institution of Congress.

  • OCE should be given subpoena power.

Currently, the OCE does not have the power to compel testimony from witnesses when investigating allegations of ethics violations.  As a result, the Office can be hobbled in its efforts to complete its investigation — which in turn undermines its fact-finding function and the scope of its recommendations.  In providing this power, rules can be included to ensure the power to issue a subpoena is wielded carefully in a bipartisan manner and to protect against abuses.  But without it, an uncooperative witness can stymie an investigation, blocking the OCE from working as intended and shielding important aspects of an investigation from review.

  • Increase transparency of and access to information from the House Committee on Ethics

The House Ethics Committee continues to do most of its work behind closed doors, giving rise to reasonable suspicions that it is more interested in protecting individual Members than the integrity of the institution.  One important step that can be taken to increase the Committee’s credibility is to increase and improve the public availability of documents pertaining to House ethics, such as all current and historic guidance (“pink sheets”) issued by the Committee. In addition, many of the ethics documents made available through the Clerk’s office should also be online, such as legal defense fund disclosures and statements of recusal. We applaud the Committee for publishing its current and historic decisions online and hope it will continue the practice.

Americans think Congress is fundamentally corrupt, and stronger ethics enforcement for the House of Representatives should be a priority for both political parties.  The House needs to strengthen and open up its ethics process to help diminish the well-deserved perception for corruption.

Next up:  the U.S. Senate…


Obama Luxury Travel Costs Taxpayers, Weakens Secret Service

This week saw an astonishing report from the Washington Post that described how the Obama White House and other Obama officials lied and suppressed embarrassing information about the Secret Service and White House officials implicated in a prostitution scandal:

As nearly two dozen Secret Service agents and members of the military were punished or fired following a 2012 prostitution scandal in Colombia, Obama administration officials repeatedly denied that anyone from the White House was involved.

But new details drawn from government documents and interviews show that senior White House aides were given information at the time suggesting that a prostitute was an overnight guest in the hotel room of a presidential advance-team member — yet that information was never thoroughly investigated or publicly acknowledged.

For the Obama gang, election year politics took precedence over the truth and the safety of the president and the White House.  This is no surprise to us, but you can see how the Secret Service is at the breaking point because of the abuses of this presidency.

We announced this week that our investigators obtained more records from the U.S. Secret Service and the U.S. Department of the Air Force revealing the security costs for the Obama Family’s 2013 vacation in Honolulu and Martha’s Vineyard, and the flight cost for the First Lady’s 2014 ski trip to Aspen, CO, came to $972,450.24 in taxpayer-paid vacation expenses. The cost to taxpayers includes:

In February 2014, Judicial Watch released flight expense records from the U.S. Department of the Air Force revealing that President Obama incurred $5,250,624 in flight expenses alone for his 2013 vacations to Hawaii and Martha’s Vineyard. Adding in the newly released expense records, that brings total cost to the taxpayers for the two Obama family 2013 vacations and the First Lady’ 2014 Aspen ski trip to $6,223,074.24, not including the Aspen security costs.

From December, 21, 2012, to January, 5, 2013, the Obama family spent their Christmas vacation in Honolulu, Hawaii, where they stayed at the luxurious 6,000 square-foot, $7.9 million Kailua home they had rented in 2011. From August 11 – 17, 2013, the Obama family spent an extended week vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, where they stayed at the plush $7.6 million home of David Schulte, founder of the private equity firm Chilmark Partners and major contributor to Obama’s campaigns. These two vacations cost a total of $937,487.94 in security alone.

The Obamas continually abuse the public trust and raid the taxpayers’ coffers for unnecessarily luxurious and incessant vacations and travel.  The very fact that we repeatedly have to file Freedom of Information Act requests and lawsuits to obtain this information reveals that the most transparent administration in history knows that its behavior is extravagant and, therefore, seeks to cover it up.

One can only imagine how this unnecessary travel, and the cover up of facts about its costs, saps the budget and morale of a Secret Service that cannot even secure the White House complex, and had trouble keeping the president secure even when he’s traveling on important government business.  I am told that morale in the Secret Service is terrible and that good men and women are fleeing the agency in droves.

According to the numbers we’ve been able to extract thus far, the Obamas and Bidens have spent more than $40 million taxpayer dollars on trips since 2009 up through the president’s most recent Palm Springs and Key Largo golf outings, which cost the taxpayers $2,952,278 in flight expenses.  Tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer money to send Obama golfing and his wife skiing:  keep these numbers in mind as you hear the Obama gang distract from the corruption and abuse of the Secret Service with demands for more money and “reforms.”

Until next week …