By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media
This past weekend, the media were doing their usual swooning over Hillary Clinton, as she returned to Iowa to check that box off in her quest for the Democratic Party nomination for the presidency in 2016. But a story that broke this morning stands as a real test to see how clear that path will be for the former Secretary of State.
Clinton has long pointed to the “independent” 2012 Accountability Review Board (ARB) report as the ultimate arbiter of the Benghazi attacks, but newly revealed allegations by a former State Department employee call into question whether the ARB was given the full set of facts by those at State, or if, instead, a massive cover-up was launched to shield those on the 7th Floor from the fallout over Benghazi.
The question is not just whether or not this story by Raymond Maxwell is true, but whether it will prove to be a hurdle for Mrs. Clinton. That depends on the mainstream media’s reaction and how determined Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), the chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, is to getting at the heart of the Benghazi scandal. The Select Committee is holding its first public hearing this week to discuss the implementation of the ARB recommendations.
Given the seriousness and relevance of Maxwell’s allegations to this topic, Rep. Gowdy should invite Maxwell to speak before the Committee on Wednesday alongside the already confirmed witnesses Gregg Starr, Mark J. Sullivan, and Todd Keil. Maxwell was “a leader in the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, which was charged with collecting emails and documents relevant to the Benghazi probe.”
The timing of this hearing couldn’t be more serendipitous, given the story just published by Sharyl Attkisson, who received Accuracy in Media’s Reed Irvine Award for Investigative Journalism for her work at CBS News. Now, Ms. Attkisson is proving that you don’t need a major broadcast network behind you to break big stories. Writing for The Daily Signal, The Heritage Foundation’s new news service, Attkisson has a major scoop in the form of Maxwell.
The story is this: A former State Department official, a man who was a supporter and donor to Barack Obama, was suspended by the State Department. But before he was suspended, he discovered that “a State Department office director,” one of Clinton’s “closest advisors,” went on a weekend, after-hours adventure in the Foggy Bottom headquarters of State. She told him, “Ray, we are to go through these stacks and pull out anything that might put anybody in the [Near Eastern Affairs] front office or the seventh floor in a bad light.” (The 7th Floor is “shorthand for then-Secretary of State Clinton and her principal advisors,” according to Maxwell.) “Maxwell says when he heard that statement, he couldn’t help but wonder if the ARB—perhaps unknowingly—had received from his bureau a scrubbed set of documents with the most damaging material missing,” reports Attkisson.
We must now ask whether Hillary Clinton instigated or authorized a cover-up of the actions of the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, shielding key documents from Accountability Review Board scrutiny.
Given President Bill Clinton’s history, this might actually be the case. In 2002 and 2003, Sandy Berger, President Clinton’s former National Security Adviser, visited the National Security Archives and repeatedly stole “original, uncatalogued, highly classified terrorism documents…by wrapping them around his socks and beneath his pants,” according to an archives staff member. Berger admitted to having destroyed at least five documents, but some suspect he destroyed even more. Did Clinton’s wife encourage the same type of behavior in her staff, as well?
Not surprisingly, Hillary’s sycophants at Media Matters have jumped in to attempt to discredit Maxwell, and Attkisson. That’s what they do. “Maxwell himself is a dubious source,” they argued. “He was placed on administrative leave after the Accountability Review Board’s investigation found a ‘lack of proactive leadership’ and pointed specifically to Maxwell’s department, saying some officials in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs ‘showed a lack of ownership of Benghazi’s security issues.’”
That’s rich, coming from the ARB, which was a sham investigation from the start. As Attkisson pointed out, “Maxwell also criticizes the ARB for failing to interview key people at the White House, State Department and the CIA, including not only Clinton but Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides, who managed department resources in Libya; Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs Andrew Shapiro; and White House National Security Council Director for Libya Ben Fishman.”
Those four people should testify under oath before Rep. Gowdy’s committee to determine who it was that actually did fail in terms of “proactive leadership,” and who lacked “ownership of Benghazi’s security issues.”
If Maxwell’s allegations are true, this is dynamite. Let’s put Maxwell under oath, and see if he tells the same story. If so, then let’s bring forth the State Department ombudsman who told Maxwell not to worry and that “It’s not about you; it’s about Hillary and 2016,” and put her under oath, as well.
This is just one more of many potential scandals related to Benghazi, as we at the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi have been documenting. But this one has the potential to derail a run to the White House that many consider inevitable.
By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media
In a case of politics makes strange bedfellows, organizations funded by four billionaires on the left and right are uniting to put on a major conference at Columbia University calling for the end to the war on terrorism, and the legalization of dangerous drugs. The featured speaker is writer Glenn Greenwald, best known for publishing NSA secrets leaked to him by Edward Snowden, the former NSA analyst living in Moscow who has been charged with espionage in the U.S.
The “Stop the Wars on Drugs and Terrorism” Conference is being sponsored by the Future of Freedom Foundation and Young Americans for Liberty, both financed by Koch Brothers’ money. Two other groups involved in the event, Glenn Greenwald’s First Look Media and Ethan Nadelmann’s Drug Policy Alliance, are financed by billionaires Pierre Omidyar and George Soros, respectively.
Greenwald has appeared before conferences sponsored by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), a Muslim Brotherhood front, and the International Socialist Organization (ISO), one of America’s main Trotskyist/Marxist-Leninist parties.
The Koch Brothers are usually attacked by “progressives” for underwriting some Tea Party activities and promoting free enterprise capitalism. But their libertarian perspective gives them common cause with the far-left, especially on foreign policy.
The emergence of two Koch-funded organizations in a major conference promoting anti-NSA writer Glenn Greenwald has caught many conservatives by surprise. Greenwald, a libertarian turned leftist, called the 9/11 attacks “minimal in scope,” compared to the damage he said America was inflicting on the world.
Calling this a “libertarian-leftist alliance,” blogger and Tea Party activist Tina Trent tells Accuracy in Media, “Citizen activists in the Tea Party and 9/12 movements need to understand that libertarians are moving further and further to the left. This conference is just one example of how a radical leftist agenda is now the priority of national libertarian leaders who otherwise claim to be conservatives, and who are using their influence in the Tea Party to promote things like drug legalization.”
Speakers include Radley Balko, who blogs for The Washington Post and has popularized the dubious notion of local police being unnecessarily “militarized;” Eugene Jarecki, a filmmaker who “explores how militarism disfigures America’s foreign and defense policies as well as her broader national priorities;” Hina Shamsi, director of the ACLU’s National Security Project; Matt Welch, editor in chief of the libertarian magazine Reason and co-host of the Fox Business show, “The Independents;” and Greenwald associate Jeremy Scahill, who wrote a book and film by the name of “Dirty Wars,” about U.S. counter-terrorism efforts.
So-called “Diamond Sponsorship” is available for $1,000 and includes VIP seating at the conference and a reception for four people, in addition to an after-conference reception and book signing with Glenn Greenwald, who wrote No Place to Hide.
However, some in the media seem to have recently backed away from their support of Greenwald and Snowden, apparently because of the perception that the NSA secrets they disclosed have aided and abetted America’s enemies and led to the rise of the terrorist Islamic State in the Middle East and Russian aggression in Ukraine.
The involvement of Koch-funded groups in these activities may be surprising to some, but the fact is that the Koch Brothers are known as libertarians, not conservatives, and put the vast majority of their funds into libertarian organizations.
In several other cases, such as drug legalization, the interests of the leftist and libertarian billionaires have clearly converged. Indeed, George Soros has funded the Cato Institute, a group favoring drug legalization that was founded by Charles Koch, and on whose board David Koch sits today.
Jacob G. Hornberger, founder and president of the Future of Freedom Foundation, a major sponsor of the October 18th New York City conference, has called for the legalization of all drugs, saying that “…people have the right, under fundamental principles of liberty, to ingest anything they want. What a person puts into his mouth is none of the state’s business.”
Trent, who writes about crime and the drug problem, comments, “When they talk about drug legalization they mean cocaine, methamphetamine, ecstasy, LSD, everything. And when they talk about eliminating the military and the border patrol and opening the nation’s borders, they literally mean that.”
She’s referring in the latter statement to a 1980 Libertarian Party platform that called for “the withdrawal of all American troops from bases abroad,” as well as the “abandonment of interventionist doctrines” such as NATO and the Monroe Doctrine. It also sought “the abolition of the Central Intelligence Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation” and “the elimination of all restrictions on immigration, the abolition of the Immigration and Naturalization Service and the Border Patrol, and a declaration of full amnesty for those people who have entered the country illegally.”
David Koch, one of the famous Koch Brothers, was the 1980 vice presidential candidate on the Libertarian Party ticket. More recently, however, he has worked through the Republican Party and the Tea Party movement.
However, Trent has expressed deep concern about the influence of libertarians on Tea Party groups. She says these groups tend to emphasize economic issues, to the exclusion of foreign policy and cultural or social problems, and have adopted an anti-police mentality demonstrated by their exaggerated claims about the “militarization” of police in Ferguson, Missouri.
“The initial incident in Ferguson was hand-to-hand combat between a cop patrolling a dangerous neighborhood alone and someone twice his size who attacked him while he was alone,” she noted. “The looters and rioters were throwing bricks at cops and shooting at them. Should those police have gone to the riot scenes without body armor to gratify the leftist and libertarian activists? Would you want your son or daughter to confront a mob, one that’s going to be given special dispensation by the courts, without wearing the most protective gear their department can afford? In reality, when the police have armored vehicles, it makes it possible for them to dispel looters and rioters without having to resort to shooting them.”
Trent says the shared conference agenda of libertarians and leftists demonstrates that the nature of the political spectrum is changing. “Anti-police messaging has always been an organizing tool of the left,” she points out. “Now it’s becoming an obsession of some people on the right. People who don’t believe anything else in the mainstream media now believe stories about ‘militarization’ of police. You can trace these discussions back to libertarians like Radley Balko. The nicest thing you can say about them is that their ideas aren’t reality based. The most disturbing thing is that they’re in bed with people like communist Angela Davis who celebrate cop-killers and literally want to empty the prisons.”
Another pet cause of the libertarians is open borders. Hornberger, for instance, opposes “immigration controls,” saying, “So, for decades the federal government has abused and mistreated people whose ‘crime’ has been to exercise the fundamental God-given rights to which Jefferson referred—freedom of movement, freedom of travel, freedom of trade, freedom of association, and economic liberty.” He denounces the “statist position on immigration,” which he claims entails “waging war against peaceful people who are simply trying to better their lives, help their families, and pursue happiness by offering their labor services to others who are willing to pay for them.”
He has not explained how the social problems caused by open borders will be taken care of by free markets.
On other issues, he has:
- Compared the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay to communist North Korea: “How is the North Korean judicial system any different in principle from the judicial system established by the Pentagon and the CIA at their prison camp in Cuba?”
- Compared harsh interrogation techniques to prevent a terrorist attack on America to Islamist beheadings of Americans: “Given that the Islamic State subjected American citizen James Foley to physical abuse, waterboarding, and extra-judicial execution, U.S. officials and American interventionists, including those in the mainstream media, are describing the Islamic State as savage and barbaric. But wait a minute! When the U.S. government was doing those same things, weren’t U.S. officials and American interventionists saying that such actions weren’t any big deal?”
- Condemned the liberation of Iraq: “In the Iraq War, the U.S. troops were the aggressors.”
- Urged abolition of the CIA: “It’s time for Americans to do what they should have done a long time ago—abolish, not reform, the CIA. It’s time to put a stop to the lying, murdering, assassinating, spying, torturing, and detaining.”
The term “interventionist” is used to describe supporters of a strong U.S. military who believe in challenging national security threats and preventing terrorist attacks.
Hornberger says the grant for the one-day conference at Columbia University on October 18 came from “one of our donors” that he would not identify publicly. “We are doing the conference in partnership with the Young Americans for Liberty, a nationally renowned group devoted to libertarianism,” he noted. “We have worked with YAL in the past on our college tours.”
He said the theme of the conference, “Stop the Wars on Drugs and Terrorism,” refers to “two wars [that] are the two most destructive forces against the liberty, peace, and prosperity of the American people in our time.” He said the purpose is to “bring both of these wars to an end.”
Publicly available reports indicate that while the Future of Freedom Foundation has been a relatively minor recipient of Koch funds ($10,000), the other major co-sponsor, Young Americans for Liberty (YAL), has received tens of thousands of dollars from various Koch entities. Robert A. Tappan, who handles external relations for the Koch Companies, did not respond to specific questions about whether the Koch Brothers approved the use of their funds for an anti-NSA event.
YAL is considered a libertarian version of Young Americans for Freedom (YAF), the conservative youth group founded in 1960 that emphasized free enterprise, traditional values and a strong national defense. But in contrast to YAF, Young Americans for Liberty has no platform plank on a strong foreign policy in its “statement of principles,” says nothing about traditional religious or cultural values, and emphasizes private property rights.
In addition to sponsoring Glenn Greenwald, YAL counts The American Conservative magazine as one of its “partners” in opposing the “neoconservative agenda.” The publication is associated with Patrick J. Buchanan, the veteran conservative who once proclaimed anti-communism but now says that former KGB spy and Russian President Vladimir Putin has emerged as a Christian leader in global affairs.
The term “neoconservative” usually refers to former liberals who left the Democratic Party over its abandonment of a strong foreign and military policy. They first became prominent under the presidency of Ronald Reagan and helped establish the “Reagan Coalition” of social, foreign policy and economic conservatives that helped him win two presidential terms.