09/11/15

The Absurdity of Hillary Clinton’s Apology Tour

By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media

Hillary Clinton has been desperately trying to sell a number of lies to the American people about her inexcusable behavior as Secretary of State, but it is mainly the mainstream media who are buying her excuses. And even that avenue appears to be drying up as a source of support. Despite her protestations of innocence, it is clear that she has violated both the spirit and the letter of the law in an attempt to skirt accountability and stay on track to win the Democratic Party nomination for president in 2016.

However, most mainstream journalists are not interested in holding her accountable. Instead, news organizations run headlines about how Mrs. Clinton has finally apologized for her private server.

“As I look back at it now, even though it was allowed, I should have used two accounts,” said Clinton on ABC News on September 8. “That was a mistake. I’m sorry about that. I take responsibility.” But the next day, in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres, in a show to air on Thursday, she was back to apologizing only for the “confusion that has ensued.”

Anne Gearan reports for The Washington Post that Hillary claimed that she “did not send or receive classified material on the account” and was making an effort toward greater transparency.

Each of these assertions are demonstrably false. Whether or not classified information was sent and received, not whether or not it was marked classified—which is the current iteration of her evolving explanation—is the real issue. As Secretary of State, most of Mrs. Clinton’s communications were highly sensitive, guaranteeing that at some point classified information would pass through her server.

According to The Washington Post, among the emails released to the public, at least six of those sent by Mrs. Clinton have been marked as containing classified information. Reuters reports that 87 email threads to date contain information that should have been presumed classified.

Mrs. Clinton’s much-publicized apology is, in effect, no apology at all. It is, instead, an attempt to still justify her actions, with the aid of the media.

During a previous facile attempt at accountability, NBC anchor Andrea Mitchell actually stopped questioning this presidential candidate in order to avoid making her feel uncomfortable.

“Are you sorry?  Do you want to apologize to the American people for the choice you made?” asked Mitchell on September 4.

“Well, it wasn’t the best choice,” responded Mrs. Clinton. “And I certainly have said that.  I will continue to say that.  As I’ve also said many times, it was allowed. And it was fully above board.”

Mitchell told MSNBC’s Morning Joe on September 8 that she felt, after a dozen minutes of pressing Mrs. Clinton about her emails, that “out of concern that they would cut it off, obviously, that I had to move on.”

In other words, Mitchell allowed the Clinton campaign to set the tone of the interview, rather than doggedly pursuing the facts.

But the best line from Hillary in the interview with Mitchell was when she said she “was not thinking a lot when [she] got in. There was so much work to be done. We had so many problems around the world.” So therefore, she “didn’t really stop and think what kind of e-mail system will there be.”

Shannen Coughlin, a former George W. Bush Justice Department official, demolished that assertion. Writing in National Review, Coughlin fired off a list, starting each point with, “So she didn’t think when she…” For example, “paid a former campaign staffer to build the server and set up ‘Clinton.com’ e-mail addresses for herself and close State Department aides, including her deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin.” And, “So she didn’t think when she neglected to report her server to the Department of Homeland Security, as required by law, so DHS could audit the security of her system as part of its mission to protect the government’s Internet security.” You get the picture. It’s worth reading the whole article.

However, mainstream reporters seem uninterested in exposing Mrs. Clinton’s ongoing lies. Instead, the Associated Press asked Mrs. Clinton on September 7 “why she won’t directly apologize,” offering an opening for her to further justify herself or show some real contrition.

“What I did was allowed,” she told the AP. “It was allowed by the State Department. The State Department has confirmed that.” Yet when Mrs. Clinton still maintained on ABC News that her actions were allowed by the State Department, Gearan characterized this as “the furthest Clinton has gone in showing remorse for” her personal server. Remember, Mrs. Clinton was head of the State Department at the time she is saying they “allowed” it.

To the contrary, Daniel Metcalfe, former director of the Department of Justice’s Office of Information Policy, told Politifact that “Anyone at [National Archives and Records Administration] NARA would have said you can’t use a personal email account for all of your official business.”

Politifact refused to give Mrs. Clinton a truth-o-meter rating—which might have involved exposing her blatant lies—because it argued that the truth wasn’t “clear cut” enough.

Reporters’ reticence to label these falsehoods for what they are empower Mrs. Clinton to continuing lying to the public while claiming that she has made a full apology.

Jonah Goldberg puts Clinton’s apologies in perspective, asking, at National Review, “Who gives a rat’s ass?” about her apology.

He continues: “Note that she’s apologizing for the narrowest definition of her transgressions, which is a clever way of trying to minimize the scandal. It was perfectly allowed…but I should have used two email addresses. My bad. This is a strange way to ‘take responsibility,’ after months of saying you did absolutely nothing wrong and attacking anyone who said otherwise. If she’s going to apologize for anything, she should apologize for that. Or she could apologize for putting national security at risk. Or she could apologize for violating rules rank-and-file people can get sent to jail for. This ‘apology’ is a response to her falling poll numbers and nothing more. That’s because everything she does these days is in response to poll numbers.”

The Washington Post’s David Ignatius continues to dismiss this as a fake scandal. “After talking with a half-dozen knowledgeable lawyers, I think this ‘scandal’ is overstated,” he wrote. “Using the server was a self-inflicted wound by Clinton, but it’s not something a prosecutor would take to court.”

“It’s common’ that people end up using unclassified systems to transmit classified information,” former CIA general counsel Jeffrey Smith told him. Smith described this crossover as “inevitable, because the classified systems are often cumbersome and lots of people have access to the classified e-mails or cables.”

One thing Ignatius left out is more background on his source: Jeffrey “Smith served as a ‘close’ national security adviser for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign and that Smith has a history with the Clintons going back to at least President Bill Clinton’s election in 1992.” Not that that would influence his judgment on this matter.

“Several former prosecutors said flatly that such sloppy, unauthorized practices, although technically violations of law, wouldn’t normally lead to criminal cases,” argues Ignatius.

Mrs. Clinton’s exclusive use of a private server can hardly be equated with opting for a more convenient, yet normal, mode of communication. Neither can one excuse the mishandling of classified information under the excuse that everyone does it.

“Intent to do wrong or to leak material is not required to justify a prosecution and many officials, including some high ranking ones, have been subjected to embarrassing prosecutions that either ruined their careers or actually resulted in jail time,” writes Jonathan S. Tobin for Commentary Magazine. “But the FBI does not investigate civil cases or machines,” he adds. “They do criminal probes and if, as the Inspector General has just told us, she mishandled classified information, she and her aides are in serious trouble.”

Mrs. Clinton’s abuse of the system was egregious, deliberate, and systematic. Those reporters who continue to believe that this is a fake scandal have mired themselves in the technicalities at the expense of moral clarity, parsing legalese in order to, somehow, let Mrs. Clinton off the hook. But Hillary’s cover-up has been so blatant that it doesn’t even survive the legal challenge.

“The law says that no one has to use email, but it is a crime (18 U.S.C. section 1519) to destroy even one message to prevent it from being subpoenaed,” wroteRonald D. Rotunda in an opinion for The Wall Street Journal in March. “Prosecutors charging someone with obstruction don’t even have to establish that any investigation was pending or under way when the deletion took place.”

Mrs. Clinton didn’t just destroy one message—she destroyed thousands of them in order to prevent them from later being accessed by government officials. Arguments about the precise timing of her actions serve as a distraction.

By failing to challenge Mrs. Clinton’s obvious lies and technical hairsplitting, the mainstream media perpetuate this presidential candidate’s dishonesty. But no further information is necessary in order to demonstrate that Mrs. Clinton has not been forthcoming with the American people about Benghazi or her emails. The question is, when will the liberal media admit this to themselves?

It’s clear that within the ranks of the liberal media establishment and the Democratic Party, their concerns are increasing. Though they ran it on page A22, today’s New York Times has a story entitled “Democrats Concerned About Clinton’s Swoon Consider a Big-Name Plan B.” It offers a cutting criticism from a long-time Democratic activist:

“‘You have Democrats beginning to panic about the one thing that a lot of them never worried about, which was Clinton’s electability in the general election,’ said Robert Shrum, a veteran strategist who was a senior adviser to Mr. Gore and Mr. Kerry during their presidential runs. ‘You still have to think of her as the odds-on favorite for the Democratic nomination. But the challenge she faces in the general election is both the trust problem and the likability problem.’”

09/5/15

Hillary’s Email and National Security Scandal Continues to Grow

By: Roger Aronoff
Accuracy in Media

The latest batch of Hillary Clinton’s emails establishes beyond a doubt that she regularly received classified information. This has become both an email scandal and a national security scandal, as Mrs. Clinton risked the safety and well-being of all Americans with her lax security practices.

Some might blame this gross negligence on incompetence, or falsely argue, as she does, that other secretaries of state have done the same thing, but her deliberate use of a private email server is, in fact, the mark of Hillary’s supreme arrogance.

To arrogance one must also add corruption, as it has also become undeniable that Mrs. Clinton worked on behalf of the interests of the Clinton Foundation, her family, and associates while in office.

“In another exchange, Mrs. Clinton praised an idea to set up schools in Haiti, developed by…longtime domestic partner to top Clinton aide Cheryl Mills, who was her chief of staff at the department,” reports The Washington Times. “Great ideas (no surprise). Let’s work toward solid proposal maybe to Red Cross and Clinton Foundation since they have unencumbered $,” Mrs. Clinton, then Secretary of State, responded to Mills.

“Records show the [Clinton] foundation would become a major player in the [Haiti] relief and reconstruction efforts, raising more than $30 million.” In other words, Mrs. Clinton was using her position as Secretary of State to steer contracts to the Clinton Foundation.

President Obama cannot have failed to have noticed Mrs. Clinton’s behavior as Secretary, and needs to be held equally accountable for this scandal. It is just one more scandal that has occurred on his watch that the media choose to treat as if he has no responsibility. Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) is asking, “What did President Obama know and when did he know it?” Surely he knew he was emailing with her on her unsecured server. Did he use a private email account too? IBD reminds us that the White House won’t say if he has. We, too, have been asking some of these same questions for many months.

Mrs. Clinton’s email practices are currently being investigated by the FBI, particularly in relation to potential violations of the Espionage Act, according to Fox News. However, despite the confidence some have in FBI Director James Comey’s independence, this investigation has become inherently political, and will have a political outcome. President Obama has two choices: indict Mrs. Clinton, and risk a civil war within the Democratic Party, or allow her to continue to stonewall as she runs for the presidency. The second option could be accompanied by selective leaks to undermine Hillary’s narrative that she has done nothing wrong. In the meantime, Obama has already given Vice President Joe Biden his blessing to run against her, and announced through his spokesman that appointing Biden was “the smartest decision he has ever made in politics.”

Mrs. Clinton’s released correspondence contains nearly 200 emails with classified information, according to The Washington Post. The Post is one of the few mainstream media organizations acknowledging that Mrs. Clinton “wrote and sent at least six e-mails” with classified information.

Yet The New York Times’ report made sure to include a quote from Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy for the Federation of American Scientists, stating that if these emails contained intelligence information, “it would certainly be classified at a higher level than confidential.”

“Confidential” is the lowest level of classification. This lower-level information seems to be all members of the mainstream media really want to talk about, as if it excuses Mrs. Clinton’s actions.

“But classifying government information is more of an art than a science, often relying on judgment calls by examiners,” reports the Times.

The Intelligence Community’s Inspector General has identified two emails from Mrs. Clinton’s server as “top secret.”

An email from Clinton’s server conveys spy satellite information regarding North Korea’s nuclear program, frequently classified as top secret, according to The Washington Times. It reported on September 1 that the intelligence community believes a State Department employee summarized this extremely sensitive information and sent it on to Mrs. Clinton. Thus, her defense is that while she may have passed classified information on her unsecured private email server, she didn’t recognize it as such because, she says, it wasn’t marked classified.

As we pointed out in prior columns, Mrs. Clinton has demonstrably and repeatedly lied about her private email arrangement. She falsely claimed that the public record she submitted to the State Department was complete despite having deleted half of her emails that she claimed were personal, having her email server wiped clean, and even having altered some of the ones she turned over. And there is a high probability that Russia and China have hacked her server and seen all of her emails. She also falsely maintained that her relationship with Clinton confidant and hatchet man Sidney Blumenthal was “unsolicited” despite clear evidence to the contrary.

Now the Clinton acolytes are proceeding forth from the woodwork in defense of her inexcusable behavior. Andy McCarthy, a former U.S. Attorney writing for National Review, describes how Anne M. Tompkins, a Hillary Clinton donor, hastaken to USA Today in defense of Mrs. Clinton’s case because the latter, somehow, didn’t “knowingly” do what she did. Thompson is the Obama-appointed prosecutor who gave former CIA Director David Petraeus a “sweetheart plea deal” after he grossly mishandled classified information and provided it to his girlfriend, according to McCarthy.

“To exonerate Clinton, [Thompson] relies on nothing other than her status as the government lawyer who oversaw the prosecution of David Petraeus,” writes McCarthy. He continues:

Tompkins seems to believe that unless the prosecution has the kind of slam-dunk proof she had (but shied away from using) in the Petraeus case—namely, proof that Petraeus admitted to someone that the information he hoarded was highly classified—it is impossible to prove knowledge beyond a reasonable doubt. Nevertheless, there are innumerable cases in which investigators and prosecutors establish knowledge, intent, willfulness, gross negligence, and other mental elements without a confession by the suspect.

The media aren’t interested in making reasonable inferences about Mrs. Clinton’s behavior. Instead, reporters tie themselves in knots to avoid making common sense conclusions which might implicate her.

Former Clinton aide Bryan Pagliano’s decision to plead the Fifth before the Select Committee on Benghazi has taken the Committee’s investigation to a whole new level. Pagliano “was the information technology director for Mrs. Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign,” helped set up Mrs. Clinton’s private server, “and then worked at the State Department as an adviser and special projects manager for its chief technology officer…” reports The New York Times. How much did he know about the vulnerability and usage of that server? Michael Isikoff is reporting that Pagliano also refused to talk with the FBI or the State Department Inspector General.

The media’s fact-checkers, especially, are supposed to hold leaders accountable and expose candidates’ false statements for what they are. After Mrs. Clinton said on August 26 that she was “confident that this process will prove that I never sent nor received any e-mail that was marked classified,” The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler, in his Fact Checker column, gave her only two Pinocchios for “excessively technical wordsmithing.” Maybe, as the Democratic primary nears, Mrs. Clinton’s false statements will be downgraded to only one Pinocchio—or maybe she’ll start winning the “prized” Geppetto checkmark.

“In all the 87 email threads examined by Reuters, the State Department has blanked out the confidential information in the public copies, adding the classification code ‘1.4(B),’ denoting foreign government information,” reportsJonathan Allen.

“This is the only kind of information that presidential executive orders say is ‘presumed’ to likely harm national security if wrongly disclosed.” In other words, it is born—and presumed—classified.

Mrs. Clinton’s continued claims about her receipt of classified information are egregious lies, second only to her misconduct in the Benghazi scandal. Yet the liberal media continue to ignore, downplay, or trivialize this scandal.

The Benghazi scandal, in particular, will continue to haunt Mrs. Clinton just as much as the continued drip-drip-drip of emails. Just as no further information is necessary to demonstrate that Mrs. Clinton lied about classified information on her server, no further revelations are necessary either to implicate Hillary Clinton, or President Obama, in perpetrating a cover-up after the planned terrorist attacks in Benghazi that claimed the lives of four brave Americans. The media refused to be honest in the 2012 election; it seems that they are set to continue with this dishonesty into 2016.

09/2/15

Media Nervous Over Hillary Sting Videos

By: Cliff Kincaid
Accuracy in Media

You know an event is potentially damaging to Hillary Clinton or other top Democrats when Dana Milbank of The Washington Post shows up. Hence, Milbank’s attendance at Tuesday’s James O’Keefe news conference on Clinton campaign violations of federal election law was an indication that the Democrats are concerned. This time, despite video evidence of top staffers for Hillary accepting cash from a known foreign national, most of the media reaction was vintage Milbank. “Is this a joke?” the media wanted to know.

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In fairness, Milbank’s questions seemed mild, when compared to some of the other media reactions.

The joke question came from Olivia Nuzzi of The Daily Beast, with other liberals joining in and wondering what the press conference was all about. The law says that foreigners are strictly prohibited from contributing to U.S. political campaigns, and O’Keefe had dramatic evidence of the campaign law violation. Thevideo was played on a television screen for all to see.

Looking for some reason not to pay attention to the facts, some in the media seized upon the small amount of money that was used to pay for the Hillary campaign merchandise in question.

This was not the only media reaction, but it seemed to be one of the most popular. “James O’Keefe Targets Clinton Campaign For Legally Selling A T-Shirt,” was the dishonest headline over an article attacking O’Keefe published by Media Matters, the pro-Hillary and George Soros-funded group. This article set the tone for the pro-Hillary contingent in the press.

However, the great number of journalists who showed up was an indication that, when it comes to Hillary, nobody really knows how serious the law-breaking will get. O’Keefe suggested that more evidence against the campaign is yet to come.

Milbank may be in a quandary about what to do with Hillary, who is dropping in the polls against the socialist career politician Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and leaving the Democratic presidential field open to other candidates, most notably Vice President Joe Biden, a notorious plagiarist. (In Biden’s case, Media Matters had also defended him, insisting the plagiarism wasn’t as serious as some knew to be the case).

Milbank’s modus operandi in the past has been to ridicule conservatives who provide evidence of corruption by top Democrats such as Hillary and Barack Obama. For example, he attacked those who investigated Obama’s relationship with communist Frank Marshall Davis. He showed up at an AIM conference to write an article distorting the findings of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi, which investigated Hillary’s role in covering up the terrorist attack that killed four Americans.

Mollie Hemingway of The Federalist has written that Milbank “serially exaggerates or distorts what he writes about. It’s just what he does.”

But those distortions won’t suffice when the video evidence itself can be seen by millions, telling the real story that some in the media try to conceal. As Project Veritas emphasized, the video shows Molly Barker, the Director of Marketing for Hillary Clinton’s national campaign, knowingly breaking campaign finance law by accepting a straw donation from a foreign national.

O’Keefe, who almost single-handedly took down the Alinskyite ACORN organization, has also investigated Planned Parenthood and National Public Radio. He wrote the book, Breakthrough: Our Guerilla War to Expose Fraud and Save Democracy, and has targeted Republican politicians in the past as well.

His reputation meant that O’Keefe’s Project Veritas Action news conference at the National Press Club was packed, with at least seven television cameras there to record the proceedings.

Washington Post reporter David Weigel conveyed the message from the Clinton campaign that the event was much ado about nothing. But at least he did an advance story about the video and got the Clinton campaign response.

Los Angeles Times reporter Evan Halper played the story to the advantage of the Hillary campaign, insisting that the video somehow missed its target. It was “Hardly the stuff of a Pulitzer Prize,” he insisted. He found it newsworthy, and somehow relevant to the issue of federal law violations, that the journalist from The Daily Beast had treated the video as a joke.

The “joke” response said more about the lack of seriousness from The Daily Beast than it did about O’Keefe’s video. Making matters worse, Olivia Nuzzi of The Daily Beast seemed proud of the fact that she didn’t grasp the seriousness of the election law violations, highlighting her “Is this a joke?” responses on her Twitter account.

O’Keefe may have the last laugh, as he repeatedly emphasized that more videos are coming, and that other Hillary officials may be in them and forced to resign. Reporters in attendance, anxious to dismiss these charges, seemed nervous about this prospect. They repeatedly pressed O’Keefe to spill more details about other undercover operatives he may have in the Clinton and other campaigns. He told the media they would just have to wait.

It was nervous laughter from the press, as they couldn’t figure out what other damaging evidence O’Keefe’s crew may have against the Democratic presidential candidate.

In a message to his supporters, O’Keefe noted, “Since at least 1996, Hillary and her husband Bill have been accused of accepting foreign contributions to further their political ambition. Back then, it was China accused of funneling massive amounts of money into the Clinton campaign and the DNC [Democratic National Committee]. The State Department investigated the matter. Three Americans were convicted of crimes, one of whom, Johnny Chung, admitted that $35,000 of his contributions came from the Chinese military. But Bill and Hillary got off clean.”

Not all media were prepared to laugh this all away. In his story about the O’Keefe news conference, Alan Rappeport of The New York Times seemed to admit that O’Keefe had struck gold, noting, “Foreign donations are a sensitive subject for the Clintons, as their family foundation has been under scrutiny for accepting money from overseas while Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state, and recent State Department emails showed that former President Bill Clinton tried to get permission to give paid speeches in North Korea and the Democratic Republic of Congo.”

One question is whether the illegal transactions captured in the Project Veritas video are part of a pattern of illegal conduct. The media will just have to wait. Maybe their laughter will die down in the wake of more videos being released.

Asked why the major media don’t do these kinds of undercover investigations and the job falls on him and his staff, O’Keefe dismissed the significance of liberal media bias and said that he thinks journalists are more motivated by a desire to protect their access to candidates like Hillary. In other words, reporters have to flatter the candidates with fawning coverage.

But it’s increasingly difficult to portray Hillary in a favorable light. At the campaign event where the video of the illegal contribution was recorded, Hillary had told the crowd that she would “stop the endless flow of secret, unaccountable money that is distorting our elections, corrupting our political process, and drowning out the voices of our people.”

A reporter seeking to maintain access to a candidate like this, caught in scandal after scandal, is something that is destined to truly become a joke.

08/29/15

You know who’s not #ReadyForHillary? The thousands who’ve died fleeing the Libya she destroyed

Doug Ross @ Journal

Hillary Clinton is directly responsible for the humanitarian catastrophe unfolding in the Mediterranean Sea as the death toll of those who drowned fleeing her destabilized Libya approaches 2,500.

Rescue workers counted dozens of victims Friday from the increasingly desperate tide of humanity sweeping into Europe fleeing war, oppression and poverty. Austrian police said 71 people likely suffocated in an airless truck and authorities estimated 200 people drowned off the Libyan coast when two overloaded boats bound for Europe capsized…

…The International Office of Migration has recorded 2,432 deaths linked to Mediterranean crossings this year, but countless more have vanished beneath the waves out of sight of rescuers. The official count was set to rise Friday as authorities counted the dead from three shipwrecks off the Libyan coast.

Two ships went down on Thursday alone off the western Libyan city of Zuwara. Hussein Asheini of Libya’s Red Crescent, said at least 105 bodies had been recovered, adding: “a coast guard team is still diving in and checking inside to see if there’s anyone else.”

Say, Doug, isn’t it unfair to pin these deaths on Hillary?

Well, let’s put it this way. Hillary was eager to take credit for destabilizing Libya when Muammar Gaddafi was executed in 2011:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shared a laugh with a television news reporter moments after hearing deposed Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi had been killed.

“We came, we saw, he died,” she joked when told of news reports of Qaddafi’s death by an aide in between formal interviews.

Clinton was in Tripoli earlier this week for talks with leaders of Libya’s National Transitional Council (NTC).

The reporter asked if Qaddafi’s death had anything to do with her surprise visit to show support for the Libyan people.

Now, as the mouthpiece of the Vast Right Wing Conspiracy known as The New Yorker reported earlier this month, Hillary’s masterwork has resulted in the rise of ISIS in Libya:

The wars in Syria and Iraq continue to dominate international headlines, but a growing stream of news offers reminders that Libya is in a state of meltdown. In Cairo on Sunday, John Kerry said he had discussed the need for “increased border cooperation” along Egypt’s long, mostly unguarded Libyan border. Tunisia has begun building a security wall along its own hundred-and-four-mile-long border with Libya.

For months, ISIS has been trumpeting its abduction and execution of African Christians in Libya. In February, a slick, ghoulish video showed twenty-one Egyptian hostages in orange jumpsuits being led along a beach by black-masked executioners, who forced them to kneel and then cut off their heads. In April, another video appeared, showing the execution of twenty-nine Ethiopians in Libya. Gunmen who trained with ISIS in Libya were involved in the murder of twenty foreign tourists, at a Tunis museum in March, and thirty-eight more tourists, most of them British, at a seaside resort in Tunisia in June. These attacks focused attention on the fact that Libya, a vast, oil-rich, underpopulated country with a long southern-Mediterranean coastline, has become part of the self-proclaimed ISIS caliphate.

In a parallel phenomenon, armed trafficking gangs in Libya are driving most of Africa’s illegal immigration across the Mediterranean to Europe. As many as a hundred and seventy thousand are thought to have made the crossing last year, with thousands dying en route. Unprecedented numbers are continuing to cross this year, taking advantage of the chaos in Libya.

Hillary’s email exploits are getting the headlines, and deservedly so for actions that would have sent a lesser mortal to prison long ago, but no one is discussing her complicity in crimes against humanity.

One other odd point: I don’t hear the word “chickenhawk” bandied about when these Democrat politicians bloviate about “their” military achievements. I wonder why that is?

Hat tip: BadBlue Gun News.

08/27/15

The Email Issue Goes Beyond Just Hillary Clinton

By Frank Salvato

As scandal surrounding Hillary Clinton’s illegal use of unsecured email servers to access classified information during her time as US Secretary of State continues to unravel her presidential aspirations, a more comprehensive overview of the many email issues related to the Obama Administration presents a more sinister possibility. From the State Department to the Internal Revenue Service, the Environmental Protection Agency to the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy to the White House itself, everywhere you turn in the Obama Administration there has been an issue with high-ranking personnel using alternative email accounts and/or servers for government business and then refusing access to those communications to oversight authority.

In 2010, President Barack Obama, speaking in Elyria, Ohio, bragged,

“We have put in place the toughest ethics laws and toughest transparency rules of any administration in history…in history! And by the way, this is the first administration since the founding of the country where all of you can find out who visits the White House. First time in history! And that’s just one example.”

In fact, Mr. Obama’s claim to open visitor’s logs was first trumpeted in 2009. It sounded good, like his claim that his was the most transparent administration in history. Alas, as usual, what sounds good during his “speechifying” never quite pans out to be the truth. The Obama Administration actually vetted which visitors to include on those “transparent” visitor’s logs and in 2013 pulled the logs from public access completely during its budget battle with Congress saying, “Due to Congress’s failure to pass legislation to fund the government, the information on this web site may not be up to date,” the placeholder on the visitor’s log page reading, “This dataset is currently private.”

But the visitor’s log duplicity pales in comparison to the administration’s use of alternative email accounts and servers for official communication where the claim of being the most transparent administration in American history is concerned. In fact, if you examine the many instances of the abuse of email communications protocol a pattern is evidenced; a pattern that serves plausible deniability and political opportunity, while denying transparency, accountability and oversight.

The instance most in the public eye is the use of – and subsequently the cleansing of – Hillary Clinton’s personal email server during her time as Secretary of State. This attention is only awarded by the media because she is a candidate for the presidency. Many in media didn’t give much attention to the fact she was using a private email server when she was corresponding with aides, States Department personnel and the White House before, during and after the assassination of a sitting US ambassador and his security team in Benghazi, Libya.

I won’t even get into the disingenuous manipulation of talking points memos that circulated from White House Communications Adviser Ben Rhodes about the cause of the Benghazi attacks.

But Mrs. Clinton isn’t the only high-ranking State Department official who has used a personal email account to perform official US government business. Caroline Kennedy, US ambassador to Japan, has been cited by the State Department’s Inspector General – as has the entirety of her staff at that embassy location – for using personal email accounts to receive and transmit communications regarding official business.

CNN reported:

“Senior embassy staff, including the ambassador, used personal email accounts to send and receive messages containing official business…In addition, (investigators) identified instances where emails labeled sensitive but unclassified were sent from, or received by, personal email accounts…The watchdog report said that Kennedy’s practices were against State Department policy and put the agency at risk.”

Then there is the issue of Environmental Protection Agency senior staff – both during Lisa Jackson’s tenure and Gina McCarthy’s – using email aliases and emails from those alias accounts being destroyed in direct violation of federal records preservation policies. Breitbart.com describes the EPA’s goal thusly:

“The point of this scheme was to evade public accountability, to conduct official government business under the table, outside of the public eye. When Congress and others asked for [senior officials’] EPA correspondence and email, the [alias] e-mails would fall outside that request and, eventually, be destroyed allowing official EPA business to be conducted secretly. That falls well short of conducting business in the open and in a transparent fashion. It also falls well short of the standards required by federal law.”

Dovetailing on the EPA email malfeasance is the refusal of John Holdren to honor a FOIA request relating to policy emails he maintained on the private servers of his former employer, the high-pressure eco-zealot group Woods Hole Research Center, as he sits as the director of the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy. Holdren, you may recall, is a man-made “global warming” believer with a penchant for smearing scientists who disagree with him. About the OSTP emails, the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s senior attorney, Hans Bader, writes:

“The use of such non-official accounts for agency business frustrates federal open-government laws, and undermines government accountability, since such accounts are generally not searched in response to FOIA or congressional oversight requests seeking work-related communications or agency records. Moreover, the use of email accounts at a former employer that lobbies the federal government gives such pressure groups direct access to and control over public records, including highly sensitive information.”

But the most damning instance of unethical and criminal abuse of email correspondence lies with Lois Lerner, the former director of the Exempt Organizations Unit of the Internal Revenue Service. Not only did Ms. Lerner conspire with other IRS operatives to marginalize the First Amendment free speech rights – as well as the guaranteed right to redress of government – of TEA Party and other Conservative organization members, she attempted to conceal and destroy any and all email evidence that proved her criminal acts. More recent revelations indicate that Ms. Lerner not only had contact with White House policy adviser Jeanne Lambrew that served to collude about Conservative targets, but that she, too, like her counterparts at the EPA, used alias emails to avoid detection by oversight authorities.

So, while the country remains rightfully obsessed with the Hillary Clinton email scandal (I prefer to call her actions “crimes”), there appears, to any honest broker, to be evidence pointing to a systemic issue with alternative communications and transparency in the Obama Administration. This evidence – a chronicle of criminal and unethical acts from the State Department to the Environmental Protection Agency to the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy to the Internal Revenue Service and the White House itself – must serve as proof of a pattern establishing an early effort by the Obama Administration to circumvent the legislated communications and information sharing protocol in federal government in an effort to control the informational narrative for political and ideological reasons. The evidence is overwhelming and, by virtue of the pattern’s existence, proves a conscious mandate from the highest levels.

What we have here, if you look at the evidence before you, is proof of a concerted conspiracy to deceive entities that execute governmental oversight, from the Inspector Generals of affected agencies all the way to the hall of Congress. What we have here is a direct attack by the Executive Branch of the United States on the authorities, rights and privileges of the co-equal branches of government. What we have here is a direct attack on the sovereign rights of the American people.

Yes, the emails scandals being exposed today are bigger than Watergate. Now, what are we going to do about it?

Frank Salvato is the Executive Director of BasicsProject.org a grassroots, non-partisan, research and education initiative focusing on Constitutional Literacy, and internal and external threats facing Western Civilization. His writing has been recognized by the US House International Relations Committee and the Japan Center for Conflict Prevention. His opinion and analysis have been published by The American Enterprise Institute, The Washington Times, The Jewish World Review, Accuracy in Media, Human Events, Townhall.com and are syndicated nationally. Mr. Salvato has appeared on The O’Reilly Factor on FOX News Channel, and is the author of six books examining Islamofascism and Progressivism, including “Understanding the Threat of Radical Islam”. Mr. Salvato’s personal writing can be found at FrankJSalvato.com.