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

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Tom Fitton's Judicial Watch Weekly Update

Weekly Update: No ‘Credible Allegations’ Against Kavanaugh

There Are No ‘Credible Allegations’ Against Kavanaugh
Defense Department Fails to Implement Biosecurity Years After It Said It Would
A Sensible Plan to Keep Schools Safe
A Terrorist Resides in Arizona Four Years after U.S. Grants Refugee Status

There Are No ‘Credible Allegations’ Against Kavanaugh

Leftists are trying to kick the Senate confirmation for a Supreme Court nominee down field and past the November elections. They have shown they will do so at any cost. While compelling emotionally, Ms. Ford has no witnesses and no facts to back up her story.

There was no legitimate reason the allegations were not summarily evaluated, and a Judiciary Committee vote taken this week.

I was honored to be able to attend yesterday’s Kavanaugh hearing – a hearing that should never have taken place. It was intense, dramatic, emotional, and outrageous, but nothing changed. The allegations are not sufficient to derail Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination.

Leftist law breaking, rule breaking, violence, and disruption have already marred the public Kavanaugh confirmation hearings. The Senate has allowed this circus to continue, and in the process has delayed a timely confirmation vote on Judge Kavanaugh.

The vote to confirm can’t come soon enough. That the Senate hasn’t voted yet is shameful.

The Senate Judiciary Committee issued a statement that it will request that the administration instruct the FBI to conduct a supplemental FBI background investigation with respect to the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court.

The Senate request was for the FBI to investigate “credible allegations.” There are no “credible allegations.”

Nevertheless, President Trump authorized the supplemental investigation as requested.

If fairly conducted, this “supplemental investigation” could have been over yesterday. The Committee requested that the FBI investigation take no more than a week. This will not satisfy Leftists trying to destroy Kavanaugh.

It is urgent you let your Senators know how you feel about the Kavanaugh confirmation process. You can reach your Senators at 202-224-3121.

After witnessing the spectacle in person yesterday, the Senate owes Judge Kavanaugh an apology. And perhaps the best apology would be a vote finally to confirm him.


Defense Department Fails to Implement Biosecurity Years After It Said It Would

Bumbling bureaucrats are a dime a dozen, but we expect a higher order of competence when they’re dealing with bio weapons. We’re not getting it from the Department of Defense, as our Corruption Chronicles blog explains:

Years after a U.S. Army laboratory accidentally sent hundreds of live anthrax bacteria samples to 194 facilities around the globe, the Department of Defense (DOD) has not implemented biosafety and biosecurity programs to prevent a repeat of the potentially deadly mistake. The failure has left government labs and the public at risk, according to a federal audit conducted by the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress. The probe was conducted after an Army lab at the Dugway Proving Ground in Utah inadvertently made 575 shipments of live Bacillus anthracis, the bacterium that causes anthrax, to contractors worldwide.

A military investigation could not pinpoint the exact cause of the failure, which is hard to believe, but the probe led to the recommendation of specific actions to improve security at facilities that handle dangerous agents and toxins. That was more than three years ago. The DOD even created a special office, known as Biological Select Agents and Toxins (BSAT) Biorisk Program, to oversee the new security measures. Years later, it has yet to carry out the safety measures. The DOD has devised a BSAT Biosafety and Biosecurity Program, congressional investigators found, but hasn’t bothered to put it in place. “DOD has not developed a strategy and implementation plan for managing the program,” the report states. “Without a strategy and implementation plan, Dugway Proving Ground, Utah, and DOD’s laboratory facilities that currently produce and handle BSAT may be unclear about DOD’s strategy to harmonize BSAT operations to ensure safety, security, and standardization of procedures throughout DOD’s BSAT enterprise.”

The probe further discovered that the DOD has no estimated time frames for when it will adequately secure dangerous biological matter, even though a deadline was set for early last year by federal legislators. Congressional investigators visited six military laboratories in the course of their probe and interviewed staff. Apparently, the Army created a list with dozens of measures to boost security at labs and, though some have been implemented, there is no way to assess their effectiveness. “What’s at stake here is that these labs deal with very dangerous biological materials, in this case, Bacillus anthracis, that could potentially cause anthrax,” said Joseph Kirschbaum, the lead GAO investigator in this case, in an agency broadcast. Kirschbaum, a defense capabilities expert, added that “the assessment of these high-risk bioagents is vital for our own safety and the ability to conduct military options in the future, so it was really important that the Department of Defense continue to take this seriously.” Does the DOD really need a federal audit to remind it of this?

Military labs aren’t the only ones endangering the world with the careless handling of hazardous pathogens. Hundreds of government, private and academic laboratories around the country that conduct research on BSATs are also guilty of serious safety lapses. The GAO identified an alarming 276 instances, warning that the mishandled agents may cause serious or lethal infection in humans, animals or plants. “BSAT materials, such as the Ebola virus and Bacillus anthracis—the bacterium that causes anthrax—have been determined to have the potential to pose a severe threat to public health and safety,” the report states. “Laboratories conduct research on BSAT for a variety of reasons, including identifying their characteristics and developing vaccines and other measures to help diagnose, prevent, or treat exposure to or infection by these agents.” The safety lapses “raise concerns about whether oversight of biosafety and biosecurity in these laboratories is effective,” the GAO writes. That is certainly an understatement.

Judicial Watch has reported extensively on similar beaches at government-owned nuclear laboratories with notoriously faulty management, weak security and lousy oversight. Among the biggest offenders is the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, among the world’s largest science institutions and the nation’s key nuclear weapons research facility. The massive lab is charged with developing technology to reduce global threats and ensure the safety, security and reliability of the U.S. nuclear deterrent. Last year, Los Alamos mistakenly shipped radioactive material on a commercial cargo plane. Before that, lab officials sent top secret data relating to nuclear weapons via an open electronic mail network and police accidentally stumbled upon it in a drug dealer’s mobile home during a drug bust. Other recent Los Alamos breaches include foreign scientists that stole classified restricted data involving nuclear weapons and passed it along to a foreign government that’s hostile to the U.S. Back in the 1990s a Chinese communist scientist stole nuclear secrets from Los Alamos, and Judicial Watch represented the whistleblower, Notra Trulock, responsible for launching an investigation into the Chinese scientist’s actions.

President Trump knows how to make things happen. Here’s a good place to start.


A Sensible Plan to Keep Schools Safe

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to find a way to protect our school children – just someone who has been on the ground and knows how things work. Micah Morrison, our chief investigative reporter, has been in touch with one such man and has filed this Investigative Bulletin report:

It’s September and New York City’s 1.1 million school kids are back to class and Randy Jurgensen is back to worrying about them getting killed.

A Korean War veteran and former New York City homicide detective, Jurgensen has seen a lot of shooting deaths. He investigated over 200 murders during his twenty years as a detective, including the killings of children, police officers and civilians. After that, he was a consultant to national and international police organizations. Jurgensen is a famous figure in law-enforcement. Investigative Bulletin has written about his pursuit of justice in the murder of NYPD Patrolman Phillip Cardillo—the so-called “Harlem Mosque Incident.”

A grandfather many times over, Jurgensen is obsessed with school shootings. He says that experience has taught him that “two things matter most in preventing shootings: training and information.”

He’s had a plan to make schools safer. In the aftermath of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School cataclysm, he wrote Vice President Joe Biden with the plan. Biden had been appointed by the president to lead a gun-violence task force. Jurgensen pointed out that across the country, dozens of law-enforcement personnel retire every day. These highly trained professionals have been vetted their entire careers, retire with pensions and health insurance, and are licensed to carry firearms. He recommended that retired law-enforcement professionals be hired to help protect school kids.

“I received a polite, non-committal reply from the vice president,” Jurgensen said. “I wrote other leading political figures. I received the same reply: thanks, we’ll get back to you. No one ever did.”

Meanwhile, after Sandy Hook, the school killings continued: three dead in Kentucky; six killed in Santa Monica; two dead in Colorado; five dead in Washington state. Killings in 2015 in Roseburg, Oregon; in Savannah, Sacramento and Flagstaff, in Houston, Nashville, Winston-Salem and Las Vegas. Killings in 2016 in Wisconsin, California, Massachusetts, Texas, South Carolina. Killings in 2017 in California, Texas, New Mexico, Kentucky. In 2018, the murder of ten at Santa Fe High School in Texas and seventeen at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Broward County, Florida.

On the national policy front, nothing changed.

“Policy makers are bogged down,” Jurgensen says. “They’re still searching for ways to protect children at school. I warned years ago that half-steps and state efforts would get tied up in court cases and you see that happening now. Meanwhile, children are left to fend for themselves in active-shooter situations with ineffective instructions such as ‘hide in the closet,’ ‘stay away from the windows,’ and ‘go to a safe area.’ The latest idea is to arm teachers, but most experts dismiss that as unrealistic. Ditto gun control. But by putting retired law-enforcement professionals in place to protect—not police—the schools, shootings can be prevented.”

Jurgensen thinks New York City is the ideal location to launch a national movement to protect our schools with retired law-enforcement personnel. According to the New York City Police Pension Fund, there are more than 43,000 retired cops with a connection to the Big Apple. There are 1,700 public schools in New York. A two-person team for each school would require about 3,400 cops. Their function would be two-fold:

One, serve as a first-line of defense in case of an active-shooter situation. Documents obtained by Judicial Watch in the aftermath of the Broward County shooting show that an immediate armed response is essential.

Two, gather information from within the school itself. “Most school shootings are done by students and other students know the shooters,” Jurgensen says. “Over time, police officers serving in schools can earn the trust of students. Information conveyed on a confidential basis from concerned students could prevent shootings.”

The cost of putting retired cops in city schools would be significant, but not a budget buster. New York City has an annual school budget of $24 billion. Albany could chip in. And the federal government could provide funding for a pioneering school safety program with a bipartisan stamp.

“We all can agree that protecting children should be our highest priority,” Jurgensen says. “We can develop a program to actually prevent school shootings, not just react to them. The police community is a critical component in any program. Just look at your TV during a school shooting and see who is running toward the danger.”

As with everything else, this issue is being kicked around – to death – on the political soccer field.


A Terrorist Resides in Arizona Four Years after U.S. Grants Refugee Status

We open our country to refugees and what we get in return sometimes for this generosity are terrorists who sneak in with fake documents and burrow into American society. Judicial Watch has been reporting this for years. Here’s one more example, from our Corruption Chronicles blog:

In a distressing case out of Arizona, an Ethiopian man granted refugee status by the Obama administration is really a terrorist who lied to the U.S. government about his identity. The man, Mohamed Abdirahman Osman, and his wife, Zeinab Abdirahman Mohamed, have lived in Tucson since Uncle Sam invited them into the country as refugees back in 2014. Don’t you wonder how their neighbors feel about the fact that a grand jury recently indicted the couple for making false statements to a government agency and lying about the husband’s ties to the militant Somali group Al-Shabaab?

Osman used a fake Somalian passport to get to the U.S., according to the 11-count indictment, which charges the husband with eight crimes and the wife with three for helping him conceal his true identity. The feds say Osman was injured while handling explosives for al-Shabaab in 2009 but told authorities the injury occurred in a 2010 terrorist attack at the Bakara Market in Somalia. In 2008 the State Department designated al-Shabaab an official Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). “Al-Shabaab is a violent and brutal extremist group with a number of individuals affiliated with al-Qaida,” according to the State Department. “Many of its senior leaders are believed to have trained and fought with al-Qaida in Afghanistan.” The agency further writes in its designation that “Al-Shabaab has used intimidation and violence to undermine the Somali government and threatened civil society activists working to bring about peace through political dialogue and reconciliation.”

Osman and his wife fled to China and applied for refugee status with a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officer in Beijing using an alias. Documents submitted by the couple contained “false, fictitious, and fraudulent statements,” according to the indictment. The fraudulent statements included Osman’s true name and nationality and denial of his association with a terrorist organization. Osman was born in Ethiopia and obtained a passport from the Somali Republic, the indictment says. The feds claim that he moved from Ethiopia to Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital, at “the direction of al-Shabab.” The couple was finally arrested last month, after living in Tucson for four years. Osman and Mohamed had already submitted applications for legal permanent residence.

It’s not clear how federal authorities completely missed the red flags to allow this suspected terrorist to live in the U.S. for years or how they finally discovered the truth. What the case indisputably reveals is that there are gaping vulnerabilities in the refugee program. Judicial Watch has reported on this for years. In fact, back in 2011, Islamic terrorists— including two al-Qaeda affiliates indicted in Kentucky—entered the United States legally through a refugee resettlement program. It was called the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP), a joint venture between the State Department and USCIS to help tens of thousands of the world’s most vulnerable refugees start a new life in America each year. Most of the refugee referrals in USRAP are made by the notoriously corrupt United Nations, which has published an extensive handbook on the subject.

In 2016, an Iraqi refugee granted residency after coming to the U.S. as a teenager, was charged with supporting the jihadist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). The once-displaced refugee, Omar Faraj Saeed Al Hardan, was 24 years old and lived in Houston, Texas. He tried to supply material support to ISIL and lied about his ties to the terrorist organization and his weapons training when applying to become a U.S. citizen, according to a federal indictment. This is hardly an isolated incident. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) confirmed that individuals with ties to terrorist groups in Syria tried to infiltrate the U.S. through the Obama refugee program that admitted 10,000 Syrians. The agency that serves as the umbrella for the intelligence community also revealed the obvious, that “the refugee system, like all immigration programs, is vulnerable to exploitation from extremist groups seeking to send operatives to the West.”

In the Obama years this sort of free-for-all at our borders was policy.


Until next week …