Tag Archives: Emails

Veterans Group Urges DOJ To Take Action Against Hillary For Ordering Classified Info To Be Sent ‘Nonsecure’

By Chuck Ross – A veterans advocacy group that has sued the State Department over its failure to turn over Hillary Clinton’s emails is asking Attorney General Loretta Lynch to take action against the former secretary of state for ordering one of her top advisers to strip classification markers off of a set of talking points and send them through unencrypted channels.

In the letter, Veterans for a Strong America (VSA) executive director Joel Arends points to federal statute 18 USC 793, which he asserts Clinton violated when, in a June 17, 2011 email, she ordered adviser Jake Sullivan to strip a document containing talking points of its “identifying heading and send nonsecure” instead of sending via secure fax. (RELATED: Bombshell Emails Shows Hillary Instructed Adviser To Strip Markings From Sensitive Talking Points)

As Arends notes, 18 USC 793 states that it is a federal crime punishable by fine and up to 10 years in prison to “cause to be communicated, delivered or transmitted…to any person not entitled to receive [classified information], or willfully retains the same and fails to deliver it on demand to the officer or employee of the United States entitled to receive it.”

Gross negligence is also punishable under the statute. A person having knowledge that classified material was illegally removed from its “proper place of custody” and “fails to make prompt report of such loss, theft, abstraction, or destruction” has violated that portion of the law.

The State Department said Friday that it does not know for certain whether the talking points that Clinton asked to be stripped and sent nonsecure contained classified information. An agency spokesman said that an additional search of all 55,000 pages of Clinton’s emails was conducted for a follow-up email of the talking points sent from Sullivan. No such record was found.

But the mere fact that Sullivan intended to send the talking points over secure fax suggests that the information contained in the talking points was likely classified, many observers argued Friday.

Clinton would also have had no way of knowing whether classified information was included in the talking points when she ordered Sullivan to strip the document of its markings and to send away.

“It appears that the information contained in the emails referenced herein was classified, that the classified information was illegally transmitted, and that the Secretary ordered said classified information be stripped of its classification markers and transmitted through unencrypted channels,” Arends wrote to Lynch.

“It is false that Hillary Clinton asked for classified material to be sent over a nonsecure system,” Clinton’s campaign spokesman, Brian Fallon, said in a brief statement on Friday.

Arends and his veterans group have a vested interest in Clinton’s State Department records as well as the integrity of the security clearance process.

“Being a 21-year military veteran and a current holding of a U.S. security clearance,” Arends said that he is “aware that incidences of improper disclosure of classified information demand swift and sure action.”

In March, just days after news broke that Clinton exclusively used a personal email account to conduct all of her State Department business, VSA sued the State Department for Clinton’s emails and phone logs for just before and after the Sept. 11, 2012 Benghazi attacks.

VSA had filed a Freedom of Information Act request in July 2014 for the records but had not received the documents by the time Clinton’s personal email account was revealed. Had VSA obtained the emails and call logs, they would have found that Clinton sent one email to her daughter as the Benghazi attack was still occurring to state that an “Al Queda-like [sic] group” was behind the attack. (RELATED: Hillary Told Daughter Chelsea That Terrorists Were Behind Benghazi Attack The Night It Happened)

Other records from that time frame show that Clinton spoke to Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil and told him “we know the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the film. It was a planned attack, not a protest.”

But while Clinton was privately acknowledging that the Benghazi onslaught was a pre-planned terrorist attack, she and the Obama administration indicated in public that an anti-Muslim video may have sparked the incident.

VSA hoped to use Clinton’s records in a book called “What Difference Does It Make?” — the title borrowed from a line Clinton’s controversial comment during a Jan. 23, 2013 Senate hearing that it did not matter whether the murder of the four Americans at Benghazi was because of a protest or because a group of “guys outside for a walk one night” decided to kill Americans.

“What difference at this point does it make?” Clinton bellowed.

The FBI is already investigating Clinton’s off-the-books email setup, but Arends hopes that Lynch will open another inquiry into Clinton’s email to Sullivan.

“Action is critically important when the disclosure of classified of information came as a result of the Secretary of State using an unsecured server on which to transmit our nation’s secrets,” Arends wrote, urging the Justice Department “to put politics aside and to act upon the apparent disclosure, transmittal and improper handling of classified information by the former Secretary and those under her direction.”

Bradley Moss, who is representing VSA, says that holding a security clearance is a privilege, “and a sacred one at that.”

“It has been incredibly disheartening for the approximately four million of us who hold security clearances to see the rather sloppy (if not illegal) way in which Secretary Clinton and her aides handled classified information during their time at State,” Moss told The Daily Caller.

“If this were done by one of my rank and file clients, their clearances would have been revoked.”

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This article was republished with permission fro The Daily Caller.

Emails: CNN Reporter Coordinated With Hillary Aide To Smear Rand Paul During 2013 Benghazi Hearing

By Chuck Ross A CNN reporter who was recently suspended for two weeks for violating the network’s editorial guidelines showed up in a new trove of State Department emails released on Tuesday in which she appears to have coordinated social media posts with a top Hillary Clinton State Department aide during the former secretary of state’s Jan. 23, 2013 Senate testimony about the Benghazi attacks.

The emails, which were released to the website Gawker, show that Elise Labott, a foreign affairs reporter at CNN, took guidance from Clinton aide Philippe Reines by posting a tweet criticizing Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul for asking Clinton tough questions during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the Sept. 11, 2012 Benghazi attacks.

Labott also coordinated with Reines to post a favorable quote from Clinton’s testimony, which she gave just a week before she left office.

In the Reines emails, which are the subject of a Gawker lawsuit against the State Department, Labott appears to pick up on a previous conversation she was having with Reines during the Benghazi hearing, asking him: “are you sure rand paul wasn’t at any hearings?”

Five minutes after sending that email, Labott sent Reines another message sharing what she had tweeted about Paul.

Hours later, Labott and Reines were at it again.

“She was great. well done. I hope you are going to have a big drink tonight,” Labott wrote to Reines, complimenting Clinton’s performance.

Reines followed up that compliment by telling Labott that he had “suggested a good Tweet.”

Labott said that she had not received an email concerning another tweet. Reines wrote back “Pin,” an apparent reference to a private messaging system.

Labott wrote back “will get back to you.” Eleven minutes later she sent an email reading, “done.”

According to free-market advocate Phil Kerpen, who scoured through the emails on Tuesday, Labott sent the following message at Reines’ request:

ARB is a reference to the Accountability Review Board that Clinton appointed to investigate the Benghazi attacks.

The release of the emails caps a rough month for Labott. On Thursday, she posted a biased tweet decrying the House’s passage of a bill that would halt the program allowing Syrian and Iraqi refugees into the U.S. until federal agencies can ensure that they don’t pose a national security risk. CNN suspended Labott the next day for violating its editorial guidelines.


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This article was republished with permission from The Daily Caller

Federal Trade Commission Seeks Warrantless Access To Americans’ Emails

On Wednesday, September 16th, members of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) told Congress that the agency needs power to access emails of Americans without a warrant approved by a judge.

The comments came at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on electronic privacy reform related to the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 2015 (ECPA), a bill with bipartisan support which would require government agencies to get warrants before accessing emails and chats, regardless of how old the content is. The EPCA was first passed in 1986 to help the FTC investigate fraudulent businesses. As of right now, the government can use a process known as administrative subpoena to access messages older than 180 days without a warrant.

The Daily Dot reported:

“The agency said in prepared testimony that it was “concerned that its robust anti-fraud program will suffer if copies of previously public commercial content that advertises or promotes a product or service cannot be obtained directly from the service provider.”

“Without further clarification to recent legislative proposals,” the agency said, “updates to ECPA would appear to prevent the FTC from compelling ECPA service providers to produce such previously public material.”

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission also testified against the EPCA. Andrew Ceresney, director of the SEC’s enforcement division, stated, “because the SEC and other civil law enforcement agencies cannot obtain criminal warrants, we would effectively not be able to gather evidence, including communications such as emails, directly from an [Internet Service Provider], regardless of the circumstances.”

The FTC is essentially arguing that without warrantless access to emails and chats, it might not be able to fully execute its mission. Despite the warnings from the FTC, the agency has been unable to list specific cases where warrantless surveillance was vital to an investigation. At the hearing Daniel Salsburg, an attorney with the FTC, said, “I can’t necessarily say it would produce emails that would dramatically further the investigation.”

FTC Commissioner Julie Brill was also critical of the agency’s request to be exempted from the EPCA. In a written statement Brill wrote:

“I am concerned that a judicial mechanism for civil law enforcement agencies to obtain content from ECPA providers could entrench authority that has the potential to lead to invasions of individuals’ privacy and, under some circumstances, may be unconstitutional in practice.”

The FTC was also concerned that under provisions of the EPCA it would not have the ability to access customers information even if they give consent. The FTC argued that:

“A defendant may want to authorize the FTC to obtain documents directly from its cloud computing account, if the records are voluminous, or the defendant’s only copies of the records are maintained on that service.”

The agency said the EPCA 2015 would impede this ability. However, Senator Richard Blumenthal was skeptical of the imagine scenario and asked Salsburg if the situation was common.

“There have been a couple of instances where this has occurred,” Salsburg said, “but it’s not common.”

Google was also critical of the FTC’s arguments. Richard Salgado, Google Inc.’s law enforcement and information security director, told the National Law Journal, “This committee is being asked by some today to jettison precisely the type of categorical rules that the Supreme Court held were imperative.” Salgado is referring to the a unanimous 2014 Supreme Court decision requiring police to obtain a warrant before searching the contents of a cell phone during an arrest.

Thankfully the claims made by the FTC are being met with skepticism and disdain. Unfortunately, the agency is only one of many agencies that are seeking surveillance abilities or already in possession of surveillance tools. Americans who value privacy and freedom should take notice and work to beat back the maneuvers of an increasingly oppressive government.

Criminal Investigation Requested In Hillary Clinton’s Use Of Personal Email

The U.S. Department of Justice has been asked to open a criminal investigation into whether Hillary Clinton abused classified government information during her tenure as Secretary of State when she used her personal email to conduct government business.

The New York Times reported that two inspectors general asked for the investigation after a memo from June 29 to Patrick Kennedy, the under secretary of state for management, stated that Clinton’s private email account contained “hundreds of potentially classified emails.”

Clinton, who is currently a democratic presidential candidate, served as Secretary of State from 2009 to 2013. Her use of a personal email account on a private server for government business was revealed in March.

[RELATED: Breaking The Law? Hillary Clinton Used Private Email As Secretary of State]

As Truth In Media previously reported, Clinton insisted that she “opted for convenience” when choosing to use her personal email, and she has denied that the account contains any classified information.

“I fully complied with every rule I was governed by,” Clinton said. “I did not email any classified material to anyone on my email. There is no classified material.”

[RELATED: Fact Check: Holes In Hillary’s Email Story]

 The New York Times noted that the Justice Department has not announced whether it will open a criminal investigation into Clinton’s actions, and that her campaign is claiming that “any released emails deemed classified by the administration have been done so after the fact, and not at the time they were transmitted.”

The State Department is now reviewing 55,000 pages of emails, looking for classified information. The New York Times reported that in the 3,000 pages of emails released on June 30, two dozen emails were redacted and labeled as “classified,” after being reviewed by the State Department.

[RELATED: Benghazi Chairman: There Are “Huge Gaps” In Hillary Clinton’s Email Records]

In a statement from Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.), the chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, he said that the State Department has “used every excuse to avoid complying with fundamental requests for documents.”

“Our Committee has tried asking personally. Our Committee has tried letter requests. Our Committee has tried public hearings with other agency employees. Our Committee has tried subpoenas,” Gowdy said. “While the tactics tried have varied, the results have not. Our Committee is not in possession of all documents needed to do the work assigned to us.”

In response, some State Department officials have said they “do not have the resources or infrastructure to properly comply with all the requests,” while others have said that they “believe that many senior officials did not initially take the House committee seriously, which slowed document production and created an appearance of stonewalling.”

[RELATED: Hillary Clinton Deletes All Emails, Wipes Server Clean]

Clinton was criticized in April when, after Gowdy claimed that she had been issued several subpoenas related to releasing her emails to the Benghazi Committee, she deleted all emails and wiped her server clean.

During an interview with CNN on July 7, Clinton accused Brianna Keilar of “making assumptions” regarding the subpoenas. “I’ve never had a subpoena, there’s nothing,” Clinton said.

Gowdy responded by releasing a copy of a subpoena sent to Clinton in March, and a statement where he claimed that while the Committee has “issued several subpoenas,” he had not intended to make them public.

“I would not make this one public now, but after Secretary Clinton falsely claimed the committee did not subpoena her, I have no choice in order to correct the inaccuracy,” Gowdy said.

Will Hillary Clinton Face Legal Trouble For Deleting Subpoenaed Emails?

On Tuesday, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, formally requested that Hillary Clinton appear before the Committee for a transcribed interview regarding her use of private email on a private server during her tenure as Secretary of State, and her decision to delete the emails and wipe her server clean, after she was aware that the emails had been subpoenaed by the Committee.

On March 19, 2015, the Committee asked former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to provide her personal email server to the Inspector General for the State Department to ensure the full record of her tenure as Secretary was preserved,” wrote Gowdy.

Gowdy explained that Clinton’s refusal to allow the Inspector General to ensure that the public record was complete is “not only disappointing but portends to delay the ability of our Committee to complete its work as expeditiously as possible.”

Toward that end and because of the Secretary’s unique arrangement with herself as it relates to public records during and after her tenure as Secretary of State, this Committee is left with no alternative but to request Secretary Clinton appear before this Committee for a transcribed interview to better understand decisions the Secretary made relevant to the creation, maintenance, retention, and ultimately deletion of public records,” wrote Gowdy. “The Committee is willing to schedule the interview at a time convenient for Secretary Clinton, but no later than May 1, 2015.”

Judge Andrew Napolitano, the Senior Judicial Analyst for Fox News, said that Clinton will only be in legal trouble for deleting the emails, if there is a federal prosecutor who has the courage to pursue a case against her.

Napolitano pointed out that not only has Clinton admitted she diverted government records from the government, she has also admitted that she put classified information in a non-classified venue, which is the same crime General David Petraeus committed.

She was so good at this, she could have taught Richard Nixon some lessons,” Napolitano said. “First, she diverted all of her emails to her husband’s server, and then when she found out they all were subpoenaed, she destroyed the ones, by cleaning the server, that she didn’t want everyone else to see.”

Looking at whether or not, Clinton will be prosecuted for “obstruction of justice,” Napolitano said that it all depends on whether there is a prosecutor with the courage to pursue a case against her.

She now has admitted to destroying subpoenaed evidence after she was on notice of the existence of the subpoena,” Napolitano said. “That’s known as obstruction of justice as well of the destruction of the documents, but none of her crimes will get to first base in terms of prosecution, without a prosecutor to pursue them.”

Napolitano said that if the Republicans continue to emphasize the now “20-year-long perception that the Clintons believe they’re above the law,” it could become a serious problems for Clinton if she runs for President in 2016.

Posing the question to President Obama, Napolitano said, “Why aren’t you having your prosecutors prosecute her? You went after General Petraeus for having some documents in a desk drawer. She destroyed evidence after it was subpoenaed!

In his letter requesting a transcribed interview with Clinton, Gowdy said that while she has provided some answers for why she did what she did, there are still many questions that remain unanswered, such as why she decided to bypass an official government email account, why she chose to retain email records upon separation from the Department of State, and why she decided to delete the emails.

We continue to believe Secretary Clinton’s email arrangement with herself is highly unusual, if not unprecedented,” Gowdy wrote. “The decision to delete these records during the pendency of a congressional investigation only exacerbates our need to better understand what the Secretary did, when she did it, and why she did it.  While she has cited a variety of justifications for this arrangement, many questions and details about the arrangement remain unanswered.”

Fact Check: Holes in Hillary’s Email Story

Hillary Clinton addressed her use of private email to conduct government business during her tenure as U.S. Secretary of State, from 2009 to 2013, at a press conference at the United Nations on Tuesday. 

“When I got to work as secretary of state, I opted for convenience to use my personal email account, which was allowed by the State Department, because I thought it would be easier to carry just one device for my work and for my personal emails instead of two,” Clinton said.

While Clinton said that she used her private email for “convenience,” in order to carry just one device, she made a comment about using two different devices in an interview two weeks before.

At the Watermark Silicon Valley Conference for Women on Feb. 24, Clinton was asked if she preferred an iPhone or an Android. “iPhone,” Clinton responded. She then added, “Okay – in full disclosure – and a Blackberry.”

There are reasons when you start out in Washington on a Blackberry you stay on it in many instances,” Clinton said. “I don’t know, I don’t throw anything away. I’m like two steps short of a hoarder. So I have an iPad, a mini iPad, an iPhone and a Blackberry.”

While Clinton claimed at her press conference that she did not want to deal with the hassle of carrying two devices to keep up with her emails, she also revealed that she did go through the hassle of deleting about half, or 30,000 of her emails, which she categorized as personal and “chose not to keep.”

In going through the emails, there were over 60,000 in total, sent and received. About half were work-related and went to State Department, and about half were personal that were not in any way related to my work,” Clinton said.

Clinton also made a comment about her the fact that while she did not use proper protocol, and her own emails were not saved onto the government system, the government employees she corresponded with were using the correct addresses, and their overall correspondence was recorded.

The vast majority of my work emails went to government employees at their government addresses, which meant they were captured and preserved immediately on the system at the State Department,” Clinton said.

During the question-and-answer portion of the press conference, Clinton made a comment about deciphering between which emails were “work-related” and which ones were personal.

The process produced over 30,000 you know, work emails, and I think that we have more than met the requests from the State Department,” Clinton said. “The server contains personal communications from my husband and me, and I believe I have met all of my responsibilities and the server will remain private and I think that the State Department will be able, over time, to release all of the records that were provided.

Clinton claimed that the server contains “personal communications” between her and her husband, and she added that the private server, which has been traced back to her home in Chappaqua, New York, was “set up for President Clinton’s office.”

However, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that Bill Clinton “still doesn’t use email,” and “has sent a grand total of two emails during his entire life,” both while he was president.


Benghazi Chairman: There are “Huge Gaps” in Hillary Clinton’s Email Records

Last week, it was revealed that rumored 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton used her private email for government business during her four years as Secretary of State. The House Committee investigating the September 11, 2012, terrorist attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, issued subpoenas on Wednesday for all of Clinton’s emails related to Libya.

On Sunday, the chairman of the Benghazi Committee, Republican Representative Trey Gowdy, said that although Clinton provided 50,000 pages of emails, documentation from her trip to Libya following the terrorist attacks was not included.

Gowdy appeared on CBS’s Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer on Sunday, and he confirmed that there were “huge gaps” in the email records that were given to the Benghazi Committee.

Gowdy said that while Clinton’s emails are still under investigation, there would be no “selective releases” of the messages. “If she wants to release all of them, with the emphasis being on the word all, she’s welcome to do that. I can’t stop her from doing it,” Gowdy said. “But serious investigations don’t make selective releases.”

When asked about any significant gaps in the emails Clinton turned over to the Committee, Gowdy said that there were several “huge gaps” that raise questions about Clinton’s credibility.

There are gaps of months and months and months,” Gowdy said. “And if you think to that iconic picture of her on a C-17 flying to Libya, she has sunglasses on and she has her handheld device in her hand, we have no e-mails from that day. In fact, we have no e-mails from that trip.”

Gowdy said that it shouldn’t be up to Clinton to decide “what is a public record and what’s not.” He explained that he ultimately blames the State Department for allowing the arrangement, and for not doing anything about it until they received a request from the House Committee on Benghazi.

In an interview with CBS News on Saturday, President Obama said he learned of Clinton’s use of private email at “the same time everybody else learned it through news reports.”

On Monday, the Associated Press reported that while Obama was aware that Clinton conducted business using a private email account, he was not aware that she was using a private server to send those emails.

Josh Earnest, a spokesman for the White House, confirmed that Obama exchanged emails with Clinton using her private email address. “The president — as I think many people expected — did over the course of his first several years in office trade emails with the secretary of state,” Earnest said.

March 12, 2015: UPDATE: Fact Check: Holes in Hillary’s Email Story

SCANDAL: Hillary Clinton’s Chief of Staff Fired Ambassador for Using Private Email

Following the revelation last week that rumored 2016 Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton insisted on using her private email to conduct government business during her tenure as Secretary of State from 2009-2013, a former U.S. ambassador, who was fired in 2012 for similar practices, spoke out about his experience.

On Friday, former U.S. ambassador to Kenya Scott Gration told The Daily Caller that in 2012, Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff Cheryl Mills fired him “based on an inspector general’s report which found, among other things, that he routinely used an unauthorized email account to conduct official government business.”

Gration told CNN that Mills “obviously knew Secretary Clinton was using commercial email,” and said that he was “very surprised to learn of the double standard.

I make no apology for ‘rocking the boat’ in the State Department to improve physical security, to enhance cyber policy, and to conduct several other initiatives that the State Department Inspector General misrepresented to build the case that Secretary Clinton’s Chief of Staff used to terminate my tenure as the US Ambassador in 2012,” Gration said.

The August 2012 report from the Office of the Inspector General stated that Gration had been found conducting official business on non-Department automated information systems, which is a practice that should be “limited to only maintaining communications during emergencies.”

Gration’s “requirements for use of commercial email in the office” and his “flouting of direct instructions to adhere to Department policy have placed the information management staff in a conundrum,” according to the Inspector General.

The report went on to say that Gration’s use of private email to conduct government business left the State Department balancing the “desire to be responsive to their mission leader” with the “need to adhere to Department regulations and government information security standards.”

The use of unauthorized information systems increases the risk for data loss, phishing, and spoofing of email accounts, as well as inadequate protections for personally identifiable information,” the report stated. “The use of unauthorized information systems can also result in the loss of official public records as these systems do not have approved record preservation or backup functions.”

The State Department told CNN that in addition to the private emails, there were  “several concerns with management and leadership” regarding Gration’s position. According to CNN, the State Department’s “continued referencing of the other allegations against Gration came amidst fruitless attempts by CNN to ask the department spokespeople to explain why it was acceptable for Secretary Clinton to use private email to conduct official business given that the 2012 Inspector General’s report against Gration repeatedly hammered him for the use of ‘commercial email for official government business.'”

In April 2014, the Washington Times reported that the Office of the Inspector General released a report which revealed that between 2008 and 2014, the State Department “misplaced and lost some $6 billion due to the improper filing of contracts,” mainly during Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State.

The report stated that State Department contracts worth “more than $6 billion in which contract files were incomplete or could not be located at all,” and that these unaccounted funds posed a “significant financial risk and demonstrates a lack of internal control over the Department’s contract actions.”

March 9, 2015, 3:30 p.m. Eastern: UPDATE: In a statement to us from Scott Gration, he maintained that he was fired for the “use of Gmail in the US Embassy,” and claimed that the Inspector General’s report, “Contains many egregious lies, falsehoods, and distortions on a variety of subjects.”

I hope the following details help to set the record straight on my use of a commercial email account during my tenure as the US Ambassador to Kenya,” Gration said. “My experience was somewhat different than Secretary Clinton’s use of her commercial account, yet I was ‘fired’ for the use of Gmail in the US Embassy, my insistence on improving our physical security posture, and other twisted and false allegations.”

While the report from the Office of the Inspector General claimed that Gration ignored State Department instructions and “willfully disregarded regulations concerning the use of commercial email for official government business,” he tells us that he made an effort to have his “unclassified State Department emails” and his “Gmail messages displayed as separate accounts on the same State Department Blackberry.”

March 10, 2015: UPDATE: Benghazi Chairman: There are “Huge Gaps” in Hillary Clinton’s Email Records

March 12, 2015: UPDATE: Fact Check: Holes in Hillary’s Email Story

Benghazi Committee Subpoenas Hillary Clinton’s Private Emails for Investigation

On Wednesday, the House Select Committee investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, issued subpoenas for the emails of Hillary Clinton, who used her private email account for government business, during her four years as U.S. Secretary of State.

The Washington Post reported that the Committee is asking for all e-mails related to the Benghazi attack “from all Clintonemail.com accounts and any other staff members’ personal accounts.”

The Associated Press reported that Clinton had a personal email server, which could be traced back to her home in Chappaqua, New York, and that the “unusual practice of a Cabinet-level official running her own email server” would have given Clinton “significant control over limiting access to her message archives.”

Jamal Ware, the Committee’s communications director, released a statement on Wednesday, announcing the Committee’s decision:

The Select Committee on Benghazi today issued subpoenas for all communications of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton related to Libya and to the State Department for other individuals who have information pertinent to the investigation. The Committee also has issued preservation letters to internet firms informing them of their legal obligation to protect all relevant documents.”

According to the Washington Post, after finding evidence that Clinton was using her personal email address to conduct government business, the Committee also found evidence suggesting that “at least a small group of Clinton staffers” used personal emails to “conduct government work and correspond with the secretary.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking member of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, defended Clinton, saying that her use of private email has been public knowledge for several years. He said he sees this as “an effort to go after Hillary Clinton, period.”

Patrick Peterson, chief executive of the Cybersecurity company Agari, told the Los Angeles Times that Clinton’s use of her private email raised several red flags, in terms of security and vulnerability.

We pay taxes to guarantee entire staffs monitoring this stuff, and here they are running off and doing it on their own,” Peterson said. “The real irony is she might have made it harder for us as a populace and citizens to legally discover her email contents, but this potentially increases the chances that China and Russia can get in.”

Clinton’s use of her private email for government business during her time as Secretary of State was first revealed by the New York Times on Monday. According to the Times, it wasn’t until two months ago that Clinton’s advisors “reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal emails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department.”

The Associated Press noted that the questions surrounding Clinton’s decision “left the Obama administration in an awkward position,” and that the White House has said it is Clinton’s responsibility to “make sure any emails about official business weren’t deleted from her private server.”


March 9, 2015: UPDATE: Hillary Clinton’s Chief of Staff Fired Ambassador for Using Private Email

March 10, 2015: UPDATE: Benghazi Chairman: There are “Huge Gaps” in Hillary Clinton’s Email Records

March 12, 2015: UPDATE: Fact Check: Holes in Hillary’s Email Story

Breaking the Law? Hillary Clinton Used Private Email as Secretary of State

On Monday, the New York Times revealed that during her four years as U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton did not have a government email address, and used her private email account to conduct government business, possibly violating the Federal Records Act.

Vox reported that while Clinton’s use of her personal email looks bad now, it looked even worse in 2009, when she “initially refused to use a governmental account,” due to the fact that she was entering just as a Congressional oversight committee was investigating allegations that the Bush Administration fired several U.S. Attorneys for political reasons, and denied access to “millions of internal messages that might have incriminated the White House.”

The New York Times reported that it wasn’t until two months ago, when the State Department made a new effort to observe the Federal Records Act, that Clinton’s advisors “reviewed tens of thousands of pages of her personal emails and decided which ones to turn over to the State Department.”

On Tuesday, Clinton’s spokesperson Nick Merrill released a statement, claiming that Clinton’s behavior was not out of the ordinary, and that previous Secretaries of State had also used their personal emails:

Like Secretaries of State before her, she used her own email account when engaging with any Department officials. For government business, she emailed them on their Department accounts, with every expectation they would be retained. When the Department asked former Secretaries last year for help ensuring their emails were in fact retained, we immediately said yes.”

The statement went on to say that Clinton’s practice of using her personal email was a way of updating old policies:

Both the letter and spirit of the rules permitted State Department officials to use non-government email, as long as appropriate records were preserved. As a result of State’s request for our help to make sure they in fact were, that is what happened here. As the Department stated, it is in the process of updating its record preservation policies to bring them in line with its retention responsibilities.”

In a statement from Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking member of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, he defended Clinton and said that her use of private email has been public knowledge for several years.

“It has been public for several years that Secretary Clinton used her personal account, apparently following the pattern of previous Secretaries of States,” said Cummings. “Although Secretary Clinton has produced her emails to the State Department, it is unclear from press reports whether previous Secretaries have done the same.”

According to Vox, the fact that Clinton chose to use her private email for conducting government business shows a “stunning disregard for governmental transparency requirements.”

Jason Baron, a lawyer at Drinker Biddle & Reath and former director of litigation at the National Archives and Records Administration told the New York Times that Clinton’s use her private email is not a common practice and should not have been allowed.

It is very difficult to conceive of a scenario – short of nuclear winter – where an agency would be justified in allowing its cabinet-level head officer to solely use a private email communications channel for the conduct of government business,” Baron said.

March 5, 2015: UPDATE: Benghazi Committee Subpoenas Hillary Clinton’s Private Emails for Investigation

March 9, 2015: UPDATE: Hillary Clinton’s Chief of Staff Fired Ambassador for Using Private Email

March 10, 2015: UPDATE: Benghazi Chairman: There are “Huge Gaps” in Hillary Clinton’s Email Records

March 12, 2015: UPDATE: Fact Check: Holes in Hillary’s Email Story

Jeb Bush’s Massive Email Release includes Florida Residents’ Private Info

On Tuesday, Jeb Bush, former Governor of Florida and rumored 2016 GOP Presidential candidate, released 250,000 of his emails from his time as governor. Included in the release were the home addresses, phone numbers and social security numbers of several Florida residents, who are now at risk for having their identities stolen, following Bush’s “transparency inspired” release.

In the spirit of transparency, I am posting the emails of my governorship here,” Bush wrote on a website created to archive the emails titled Jeb Bush Emails.

Email kept me connected to Floridians and focused on the mission of being their governor,” wrote Bush. “Some are funny; some are serious; some I wrote in frustration.

The Verge was the first to report that while Bush’s massive email release “seems like a great idea in the name of transparency,” the emails were not redacted beforehand, and the fact that some of the messages contained the “email addresses, home addresses, phone numbers, and social security numbers of Florida residents” was not discovered until afterwards.

Richard Harrison, a private attorney in Florida told The Verge that while Florida’s freedom of information laws are broad, social security numbers are both “confidential and exempt” from public disclosure and can only be released for “limited purposes” under Florida law.

It doesn’t matter how an agency or official obtained the information,” said Harrison. “Once obtained it is a public record and the SSNs are confidential and exempt under the law.”

According to Harrison, the blame for the release of the confidential information does not fall on Bush, but on Florida’s legal custodian of records. The Verge noted that if found responsible, the custodian “might get off with just a scratch,” due to the fact that his or her violation is considered a “noncriminal infraction,” which is punishable by a fine of up to $500.

The Associated Press reported that along with contact information, Bush’s emails “offer up potentially harmful information about Floridians’ employment disputes, health issues and legal troubles.

Given the uproar that followed over the release of the residents’ private information, Bush’s spokesperson released a statement to Buzzfeed saying that Bush and his team have chosen to redact the emails:

Last year, we requested the State specifically comply with Florida statute regarding exemptions and redactions. We have redacted personal identifying information from two emails brought to our attention. We are doing an electronic search for any additional emails that may fall into this category and will do the same.

British Spy Agency Hacking and Stealing Emails From NBC News, NY Times, Washington Post

Washington D.C.- Newly released National Security Agency documents obtained by whistleblower Edward Snowden show that during a 10 minute timespan in 2008, the UK’s GCHQ spy agency collected at least 70,000 emails from journalists at The Washington Post, The New York Times, NBC News and multiple overseas news organizations.

Just the latest in a string of releases revealing the massive capabilities of modern intelligence gathering organizations, the information is renewing fears of a massive security complex that is threatening the rights of private citizens as well as government watchdogs.

Interestingly, GHCQ listed investigative journalists as the second greatest threats to security, directly behind terrorist organizations.

Don’t expect outrage from the Obama Administration which itself has seized the private communications of reporters and hacked journalist’s phone lines and email.

On the other hand, it is interesting to see the outrage against the alleged North Korea hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment and the stealing of data from that private entertainment company. Meanwhile, it is unlikely that any person in Washington will call this an act of cyber warfare despite the fact that a foreign government used cyber technology to hack into the email accounts of American journalists.

In the video above Ben Swann goes into detail about these new revelations.

Lois Lerner emails show DOJ and IRS were working together

The recovered emails Lois Lerner attempted to delete concerning the allegations against the IRS and their supposed targeting of conservative groups, show the Department of Justice was helping the IRS.

Some of the recovered emails show Lerner had met with the DOJ’s Election Crime Division about one month before the 2010 elections, according to Forbes.  This in and of itself isn’t damning, but this coupled with the DOJ’s refusal to show over 800 pages of documents concerning Lerner, citing “taxpayer privacy” and “deliberative privilege” as reason not to hand out the documents raises suspicions.

Even worse, a few internal DOJ documents were recovered which showed Lerner had discussed the possibility of prosecuting tax-exempt entities with the DOJ around the same time Lerner was meeting with DOJ officials.

According to the Examiner, other documents contained within the deleted emails show Lerner sent the DOJ a “1.1 million page database of information from 501(c)(4) tax exempt organizations,” which included various classified tax records.

A FOIA filed by the government watchdog group Judicial Watch also  revealed how the DOJ was involved in the IRS scandal.  Judicial Watch’s president, Tom Fitton, said it was outrageous that the DOJ’s Public Integrity Section, which is supposed to be investigating such abuses of power and authority, was shown to be involved in the IRS scandal as well.

“It is shameful how Establishment Washington has let slide by Obama’s abuse of the IRS and the Justice Department,” said Fitton according to Breitbart.  “Only as a result of Judicial Watch’s independent investigations did the American people learn about the IRS-DOJ prosecution discussions of Obama’s political enemies and how the IRS sent, in violation of law, confidential taxpayer information to the FBI and DOJ in 2010.”

Congressman Stockman introduces bill to grant taxpayers same excuse as IRS

WASHINGTON, June 20, 2014– Can’t do your taxes because the dog ate your hard drive? No problem! According to a press release from Congressman Steve Stockman (R- Texas), taxpayers who do not produce documents for the Internal Revenue Service will be able to offer a variety of dubious excuses under new legislation he introduced a week after the IRS offered an incredibly dubious excuse for its failure to turn documents over to House investigators.

“The United States was founded on the belief government is subservient and accountable to the people.  Taxpayers shouldn’t be expected to follow laws the Obama administration refuses to follow themselves,” said Stockman.  “Taxpayers should be allowed to offer the same flimsy, obviously made-up excuses the Obama administration uses.”

Under Stockman’s bill, “The Dog Ate My Tax Receipts Act,” taxpayers who do not provide documents requested by the IRS can claim one of the following reasons:

1.         The dog ate my tax receipts
2.         Convenient, unexplained, miscellaneous computer malfunction
3.         Traded documents for five terrorists
4.         Burned for warmth while lost in the Yukon
5.         Left on table in Hillary’s Book Room
6.         Received water damage in the trunk of Ted Kennedy’s car
7.         Forgot in gun case sold to Mexican drug lords
8.         Forced to recycle by municipal Green Czar
9.         Was short on toilet paper while camping
10.       At this point, what difference does it make?

Stockman’s bill comes a week after the IRS refused to turn over to House investigators emails from former Exempt Organizations Divison director Lois Lerner that would implicate agency personnel in illegal targeting of citizens critical of President Barack Obama.

The IRS claimed a “computer glitch” has erased the hard drives of all incriminating evidence.  The IRS further claimed the hard drives are not available for forensic investigation as they had just been destroyed for recycling.

The full text of the resolution follows:

The resolution may be cited as the “Dog Ate My Tax Receipts Resolution.”

Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) must allow taxpayers the same lame excuses for missing documentation that the IRS itself is currently proffering

Whereas, the IRS claims that convenient, unexplained, miscellaneous computer malfunction is sufficient justification not to produce specific, critical documentation; and,

Whereas, fairness and Due Process demand that the American taxpayer be granted no less latitude than we afford the bureaucrats employed presently at the IRS;

Now, therefore, be it resolved that it is the sense of the House of Representatives that unless and until the Internal Revenue Service produces all documentation demanded by subpoena or otherwise by the House of Representatives, or produces an excuse that passes the red face test,

All taxpayers shall be given the benefit of the doubt when not producing critical documentation, so long as the taxpayer’s excuse therefore falls into one of the following categories:

1.         The dog ate my tax receipts
2.         Convenient, unexplained, miscellaneous computer malfunction
3.         Traded documents for five terrorists
4.         Burned for warmth while lost in the Yukon
5.         Left on table in Hillary’s Book Room
6.         Received water damage in the trunk of Ted Kennedy’s car
7.         Forgot in gun case sold to Mexican drug lords
8.         Forced to recycle by municipal Green Czar
9.         Was short on toilet paper while camping
10.       At this point, what difference does it make?

In any case, IRS can see the NSA for a good, high quality copy.

Follow Michael Lotfi On Facebook & Twitter.

NSA Director Plays Offense: Let Us Spy, We Aren’t Reading Your Messages

Article submitted by guest contributor Ezra Van Auken.
NSA Director Keith Alexander

Looking to ease the Americans’ tensions and primarily concerned with federal spying, National Security Agency (NSA) director Keith Alexander took on lawmakers this past Wednesday, hoping to bring understanding to the saga of mass surveillance. Rather than opening discussion to possible NSA reform, more innovative surveillance, or anything of the sort, NSA’s Alexander told a Senate committee that there’s no better way at this time.

The NSA director compared his agency’s unfavorable spying to holding a hornet’s nest, and said that while officials are being stung, there isn’t an alternative solution. Alexander explained that prior to the September 11th attacks, NSA officials had no ability to track communications between foreign and domestic bystanders. While professing that current NSA programs “connect the dots”, Alexander said there’s a balance between privacy and spying.

Civil liberties proponents including groups like the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), which have been putting up a fight since Snowden’s leaks, would beg to differ. Both advocacy groups have aimed at the federal government, filing lawsuits against the NSA and White House. Of course, Snowden’s leaks have only solidified claims by privacy groups, giving ample reason to take action.

Reapplying his position to the Senate Judiciary Committee, Alexander noted, “And [he] think[s] these programs have been effective.” Once again, however, media and advocacy group objections have shown a much different story than “effective”. Most significant was the claim by Alexander, earlier in the year, that NSA officials had foiled 54 terror-related incidents. The claim by Alexander and the President was quickly refuted.

Declassified charts from July provide insight on what exactly the NSA story is behind the alleged 54 thwarted plots. Off the bat, the declassified material reads, the NSA “has contributed to the [US government’s] understanding of terrorism activities and, in many cases, has enabled the disruption of potential terrorist events at home and abroad.” And whether or not Alexander and Obama forgot the NSA’s numbers, it certainly wasn’t 54.

Rather, the number is 42, and only the NSA identified four of the foiled plots. Elliot and Meyer of ProPublica explained that “The NSA itself has been inconsistent on how many plots it has helped prevent and what role the surveillance programs played.” Throwing more fudge onto the NSA’s success, director Alexander decided once again to make bold claims behind cameras – this time in front of CBS’s 60 Minutes with John Miller.

For any viewer who watched the CBS program, conflicted interests were glowing. Miller, the reporter assigned to interviewing Alexander, actually spent years inside the National Intelligence for Analytic Transformation and Technology as associate deputy director, and prior to that, held position in the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Ironically, the entire interview sounded like a shock to Miller, who threw Alexander softballs.

Despite the Snowden storm of NSA information, Alexander and Miller spent Sunday night’s CBS segment talking as if information never existed. He asked the NSA director whether or not it’s true that “There is a perception out there that the NSA is widely collecting the content of the phone calls of Americans.” Alexander, shrugging the obvious, replied, “No, that’s not true,” and added that NSA officials can only target Americans with probable cause.

Alexander said the agency itself has only 60 authorizations on specific persons, allowing officials to scan their phones, e-mails and other devices. However, recent reports show the NSA tracks over five billion phone users. Using up 27 terabytes of computer-server space, the agency is constantly pumping data, a Snowden report showed.

Bringing up a FISA court judge’s claim that even with the FISA courts, NSA officials have avoided using the court’s powers to receive confirmation requests, Miller asked for reasoning. Director Alexander’s blunt and obnoxious answer was that “There was nobody willfully or knowingly trying to break the law.” While Alexander concluded that nothing was willful or knowing, Miller decided not to challenge the response.

Giving in to the NSA director, Miller felt satisfied with the loose answer that held no proof of either happening. It’s as if Miller decided not to challenge Alexander because Alexander is the NSA director and therefore must know facts from conjecture. On the other hand, Miller was in the same intelligence gathering process as Alexander, and challenging the very practice with which you once partook in is certainly not protocol.

With Alexander packing on the interviews and Senate hearings, it seems the NSA wants to shape up more of the picture than they have in recent months.

Breaking: John Boehner and Harry Reid Secret Meetings To Protect Their Own Healthcare Subsidies

As the debate rages on over whether or not Congress should continue its attempt to defund Obamacare, Politico has released leaked emails that indicate Speaker of the House John Boehner’s and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s staffs worked secretly to continue federal subsidies for members of Congress.

The emails first released by Politico, indicate that over a five month period, Boehner’s and Reid’s staffs worked together to create a legislative “fix” for the issue of whether Congressional members and their staffers could continue to receive between $5,000 and $12,000 a year in employer contributions from the Federal Government.

“As part of the Affordable Care Act, lawmakers and aides are required to join insurance exchanges that begin operating on Tuesday, the same day the government shut down.”

At its core, the issue surrounds the Office of Personnel Management and its decision that lawmakers and staff members could not receive those employer contribution subsides any longer once they were enrolled into healthcare exchanges. After pressure from Congress, top White House aides and even the President himself, the OPM reversed its position and issued a regulation saying that the subsidies would continue after October 1st.

So how is this newsworthy? Because during the debate over the government shutdown, Speaker Boehner included a measure that would end those very same subsidies. Subsidies that, again according to the leaked emails, the Speaker of the House fought secretly for.

Among the multiple attempts to create a fix for these subsidies, the emails indicate that Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Reid attempted to get a private meeting with President Obama to appeal for his help. Whats more, the emails between Speaker Boehner’s chief of staff Mike Sommers and Majority Leader Reid’s top aide David Krone agree that the reason for meeting with President Obama must remain secret.

“We can’t let it get out there that this is for [Boehner] and [Reid] to ask the President to carve us out of the requirement of Obamacare,” Sommers told David Krone, Reid’s top aide in a July 17 e-mail obtained by POLITICO.

That email conversation between Krone and Sommers goes on to claim that the cover story for the meeting with the President could be floated as “next steps on immigration” to which Sommers reportedly says, he isn’t concerned about the cover story so long as the real reason for the meeting remains a secret.

By the way, the meeting with President Obama never materialized. Neither did the legislative “fix” for the subsidies, which Boehner himself reportedly suggested. That suggestion included just hiding the language into another bill.

“‘When I was in the state legislature, we used to stick things in [bills] and no one would notice,’ Boehner said during a private meeting with Reid in July to discuss this issue, the sources said.”

What this story goes to demonstrate is the harsh reality of the false left/right paradigm in Washington. The reality of what is happening in our nation’s capital is so much political theater, so little attempt at actually representing the public.