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The Plot Thickens: Grassley-Graham Letter Sheds New Light on Steele Dossier, Nunes Memo

While politicians, pundits, and the people continue to react to (and spin) the contents of the Nunes memo that was released last Friday, and await the release of the Democrats’ rebuttal, a new document has been released that contains tidbits of illuminating information.

On Jan. 4, Republican Sens. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Judiciary Committee’s subcommittee on crime and terrorism, submitted a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Chris Wray requesting that they consider investigating Christopher Steele for lying to the FBI, which is a federal crime.

Steele is the former British spy who was hired and paid $160,000 by Fusion GPS, a research company working on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee to do opposition research on Donald Trump. Steele is also the individual who produced a dossier that was used to support an application for a warrant to engage in electronic surveillance of Carter Page, a suspected foreign agent (wittingly or unwittingly) of the Russian government who was also working as an unpaid foreign policy adviser for the Trump campaign.

And it is Steele’s credibility, as well as allegations of political bias at senior levels of the FBI, that are the center of this dispute.

Grassley-Graham Memo Informs Our Understanding of Nunes Memo

Attached to that referral letter was an eight-page classified memorandum (“Grassley/Graham memo”) setting forth the basis for the referral. Wray, very much to his credit, has declassified much (but not all) of the information in that memorandum, which has now been released.

The initial application (which was subsequently renewed three times) was filed on October 21, 2016, pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and was signed by a judge on the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court.

As I wrote in a previous article, Former FBI Director James Comey has testified that the information in the Steele dossier was “unverified” at the time the initial FISA application was submitted, and, according to the Nunes memo, former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe testified before the House intelligence committee that “no surveillance warrant would have been sought from the [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court] with the Steele dossier information,” suggesting the FBI did not believe probable cause existed based on the information it gathered on its own.

Several Democrats have charged that the Nunes memo mischaracterized McCabe’s testimony and have implied that there was more than enough information in the FISA application to support issuing the warrant without information from the Steele dossier.

In their referral memorandum, Grassley and Graham, who have reviewed all four FISA applications in their entirety, “as well as numerous other FBI documents relating to Steele,” make statements which, assuming they are true, tend to support what is contained in the Nunes memo.

Specifically, the Grassley/Graham memo states that the Steele dossier “formed a significant portion of the FBI’s warrant application,” that the application “relied more heavily on Steele’s credibility than on any independent verification or corroboration for his claims,” and that the basis for the warrant “rests largely” on Steele’s credibility.

The Steele dossier contains explosive allegations that the Russian government, acting under orders from Russian President Vladimir Putin, was carrying out an operation to tilt the election in Trump’s favor and that the Russian government had compromising information of a financial and sexual nature against Trump that could be used to blackmail him at some point in the future.

Why the FBI Trusted Steele

The FBI, it seems, trusted Steele and relied on this information because of his background as a spy and because he had provided the bureau with reliable information on several occasions in the past.

According to the Grassley/Graham memo, the FBI stated in its initial FISA application that, “based on [Steele’s] previous reporting history with the FBI, whereby [Steele] provided reliable information to the FBI, the FBI believes [Steele’s] reporting to be credible.”

While that may have been so in the past, there was plenty of reason to distrust Steele in this case.

In addition to the fact that he was working on behalf of the DNC and Trump’s opponent in the presidential election, Steele detested Trump. A month before the government filed its first FISA application, Steele told Bruce Ohr, a senior Justice Department official whose wife worked for Fusion GPS, that he was “desperate” to see that Trump not win the election.

Moreover, the Steele dossier itself is replete with statement allegedly provided to Steele by various unnamed sources whom Steele claims are or were senior Russian officials or people who were close to them. In other words, the validity of the dossier depended not only on the credibility of the man preparing the dossier (whose credibility was subject to doubt in this case), but also his assessment of the credibility of other unidentified sources who were feeding him information.

Did Clinton Sources Contribute to Steele Dossier?

As disturbing as that is, another revelation in the Grassley/Graham memo is even more concerning.

The memo suggests that some of the information being fed to Steele and included in his dossier did not come from highly-placed Russian sources, but from people associated with the Clintons.

There has been some speculation that this individual may have been Sidney Blumenthal, a former senior adviser to President Bill Clinton and employee of the Clinton Foundation and a long-time close confidant of Hillary Clinton.

As the memo states, “[i]t is troubling enough that the Clinton Campaign funded Mr. Steele’s work, but that these Clinton associates were contemporaneously feeding Mr. Steele allegations raises additional concerns about his credibility.”

Steele’s Relationship With FBI

The nature of the lies that Steele may have told the FBI are also significant.

Given the fact that the information in the Steele dossier was “unverified” and was central to the FISA application, the FBI was looking for some, any, information that might be deemed corroborative. According to the Grassley/Graham memo, at the time of the initial FISA application, Steele had told the FBI that he had not disclosed the contents of his dossier to anyone other than the bureau and Fusion GPS.

Roughly one month beforehand, Yahoo News, presumably doing its own investigative work, published an article that, as the FISA application stated, “generally match[ed] the information about [Carter] Page that [Steele] discovered doing [his] own research … .”

According to the Grassley/Graham memo, the FBI affirmatively stated in the FISA application that it did not believe Steele was the source of the information that appeared in the Yahoo News article, which attributed the source of its information to “a well-placed Western intelligence source … .”

If the Yahoo News source was indeed an independent source, this would be significant, but it wasn’t. Contrary to what he told the FBI, Steele had, in fact, provided information in his dossier to others. The source of the information in the Yahoo News article was Steele himself.

Steele, no doubt anxious to get his revelations into the public domain before the election, was leaking like a sieve. In addition to speaking to Yahoo News, Steele provided background briefings to CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The New Yorker, and possibly other media outlets.

Shortly after the initial FISA warrant was obtained, Mother Jones published its own article in which Steele outed himself as an FBI confidential source, which prompted the FBI to formally terminate Steele’s designation as a trusted source.

Friends of Steele’s have stated that Steele was deeply troubled by what he learned during his investigation of Trump and that he felt like he was “sitting on a nuclear weapon.” Perhaps that was so.

But given the explosive nature of charges, the relationship of the target (Page) to the Trump campaign in the heat of a close election battle, the fact that Steele was paid by (and possibly given unsourced information by) the Clinton campaign, it was incumbent on the FBI to verify as much of this information as it could or, at the very least, to reveal to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court every bit of information it had that might cast doubt on Steele’s credibility.

In summary, the initial FISA application and, most likely, the renewal applications, relied extensively on the credibility of Steele. Yet in addition to the fact that it failed to disclose the full extent of Steele’s known or potential bias in the initial application, when the FBI learned that Steele had not been truthful during the process, it did not, it seems, tell that to the FISA court.

As Graham has stated: “You can be an FBI informant. You can be a political operative. But you can’t be both, particularly at the same time.”

All attorneys before a court have a duty of candor, which means they must disclose “all material facts known to the lawyer that will enable the tribunal to make an informed decision, whether or not the facts are adverse.” Would the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge have signed the warrant if this information had been disclosed? We will never know.

This is, of course, a developing story, and more information will likely be revealed once the memo from Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., is disclosed, assuming that it is disclosed.

Speaking of the Schiff memo, some Democrats have expressed the fear that the president, who must approve the memo’s release, will make “political redactions” to the memo to prevent the disclosure of information that will be unfavorable to him.  And some Republican sources have expressed the fear that the Democrats may have intentionally included highly sensitive information in their memo so that, if redacted by Trump, it would enable them to argue that the president is hiding something.

Let’s hope neither of these is true.

It is, of course, vital that the president protect against the disclosure of sensitive “sources and methods” that could imperil the integrity of current or future national security investigations. That having been said, it is also important that the public get to the bottom of what happened here. As I have previously stated, this “matter should be thoroughly and dispassionately (to the extent that is possible in Washington, D.C.) investigated. The matter is too important to do otherwise.”

COMMENTARY BY

Portrait of John G. Malcolm

John G. Malcolm oversees The Heritage Foundation’s work to increase understanding of the Constitution and the rule of law as director of the think tank’s Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies. Read his research. Twitter: .

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Huma Abedin Emails Show Clinton Donors Receiving Special Treatment

New Clinton/Abedin Emails Revealed!

Our understanding of the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton’s State Department continues to expand as more of her illicit server’s emails are revealed.

This week we released 448 pages of documents from the U.S. Department of State revealing new incidents of Huma Abedin, deputy chief of staff to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, providing special State Department treatment to major donors to the Clinton Foundation and political campaigns.

The heavily redacted documents from Abedin’s non-government account include an email from Hillary Clinton’s brother, Tony Rodham, to Abedin revealing that he acted as a go between for a Clinton Foundation donor, Richard Park. And they reveal Clinton Foundation executive Doug Band instructing Abedin to “show love” to Clinton donor Andrew Liveris.

The documents included six Clinton email exchanges not previously turned over to the State Department, bringing the known total to date to at least 439 emails that were not part of the 55,000 pages of emails that Clinton turned over to the State Department, and further contradicting a statement by Clinton that, “as far as she knew,” all of her government emails had been turned over to the State Department.

The documents are in response to a court order from a May 5, 2015, lawsuit filed against the State Department (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00684)) for: “All emails of official State Department business received or sent by former Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin from January 1, 2009 through February 1, 2013 using a non-‘state.gov’ email address.”

A number of emails show the free flow of information and requests for favors between Clinton’s State Department and the Clinton Foundation.

In July 2009, in reference to the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, Clinton Global Initiative head Doug Band told Abedin that she “Need[s] to show love” to Andrew Liveris, the CEO of Dow Chemical. Band also asked for Liveris to be introduced to Hillary, “and have her mention both me and wjc”.  Dow gave between  $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative.  Band also pushes for Clinton to do a favor for Karlheinz Koegel, a major Clinton Foundation contributor, who wanted Hillary Clinton to give the “honor speech” for his media prize to “Merkel.”

The emails reveal that on June 19, 2009, Clinton’s brother, Tony Rodham, passed a long a letter for Hillary Clinton for Clinton donor Richard Park.  Park donated $100,000 to Bill Clinton as far back as 1993 and is listed by the Clinton Foundation as a $100,000 to $250,000 donor.

The Washington Examiner reported:

In March 2012, Bill Clinton received an invitation to speak at the Kaesong Industrial Complex in North Korea…. Richard Park’s friendship with Tony Rodham earned him a direct line to Hillary Clinton while she served as secretary of state. In January 2013, the Korean businessman sent Rodham an email and asked him to “forward this to your sister.”

On November 14, 2009, Clinton donor Ben Ringel, who has appeared in numerous prior emails asking for favors, emailed Abedin to get help in getting an Iranian woman a visa to come to the United States. He writes: “We need to get her clearance even only temporary to be with her granddaughter.” Abedin forwarded the request to Lauren Jiloty, asking her “Can U help Monday with consular affairs?” Jiloty replies, “Sure. Will look into it.”  Ringel donated between $10,000 and $25,000 to the Clinton Foundation.  In May, Band, working through Abedin, attempts to help Canadian concert promoter and Foundationdonor Michael Cohl with the processing of a visa. Abedin passes the request to Monica Hanley, Clinton’s “confidential assistant.”

The emails show that the Clinton Foundation operative Band was involved in personnel matters at the Clinton State Department.  In a May 2009 email exchange between Band and Abedin, a “career post” to East Timor for someone is discussed. Abedin explains to Band that Cheryl Mills, Hillary Clinton’s then-chief of staff, was working on the situation “under the radar.”

In August 2009, Band tells Abedin of someone who wants to be the ambassador to Barbados. Abedin replies: “I know, he’s emailed a few times. But she wants to give to someone else.”

The emails also show that Abedin received advice from her mother, Saleha Abedin (a controversialIslamist activist), on whom the Obama administration should appoint as the US Envoy to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.   She notes that she has obtained a recommendation from “Hassan” (NFI), and that she’d reached out to “Ishanoglu”. This is presumably Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, a Turkish academic and the former Secretary-General of the OIC. Ihsanoglu famously called on the West to enact anti-Islamic blasphemy laws.

On Monday, June 8, Clinton emails her aide Lona Valmoro and Abedin asking to attend a cabinet meeting: “I heard on the radio that there is a Cabinet mtg this am. Is there? Can I go? If not, who are you sending?” Valmoro answers: “It is actually not a full cabinet meeting today – those agencies that received recovery money were invited to attend/participate. We were welcome to send a representative though, not sure if we have anyone going.”

Other emails found in Abedin’s unsecure email account appear to show additional instances of the Clinton State Department’s lax approach to protecting national security.

On July 4, 2009, U.S. Ambassador to Kenya Jonathan “Scott” Gration sent Abedin an email that the State Department has classified in part and redacted because the information deals with “foreign governments” and “national defense or foreign policy.” Abedin forwarded Gration’s email to her personal, unsecure email account.  In his email, Gration related his meeting with Libyan president Muammar Qadafi, saying: “I conveyed our appreciation for Libya’s role to improve relations between Chad and Sudan … Leader al-Qadafi promised to continue his nation’s close collaboration with the United States … and is eager to meet you and President Obama.…” Gration would later be fired for, among other things, using personal email accounts to send government information.

A document titled “HRC PRIVATE LINE BLOCK” gives the planned whereabouts for President Obama for Thursday, June 4, 2009: “Attend POTUS Foreign Policy Speech at Cairo University.” In another example of lax concern for security, Valmoro forwarded Clinton’s detailed daily schedule for July 15, 2009, to officers of the Clinton Foundation, including Doug Band and Justin Cooper. Again, on July 26 Valmoro forwarded Hillary’s detailed, sensitive daily schedule to numerous Clinton Foundation officials.

In other examples of lax concern for security, on June 11, there is a reference to testing the “Federal preparedness and response for an international terrorist threat to the United States. [Principal-Level Exercise] will be a scenario-driven discussion for Cabinet Secretaries, agency Directors and Administrators, senior officials in the Executive Office of the President, or their approved representatives.” A document in Abedin’s unsecure email account dated May 2009 is titled “The Secretary’s Phone Call with Chinese Foreign Minister Yang” is marked sensitive but unclassified and fully redacted, as is a document titled “The Secretary’s Phone Call with Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov.”

I’m not sure how much more evidence of pay for play, classified information mishandling, and influence peddling from Clinton’s email server one would need to show for a serious criminal investigation is required.

More emails to come soon, so stay tuned….

RELATED ARTICLE: A New Clinton Email Emerges In Which Clinton Camp Brags About Killing An Unflattering Story On Uranium One

Trump/Obama Travel Numbers Released

As we continue to monitor the cost to taxpayers of presidential perks, we have received new numbers on President Trump’s travel.

We have obtained records from the U.S. Department of the Air Force in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and a lawsuit for Trump administration travel records.

The new records show new expenses totaling $2,301,527.02. As a result of Judicial Watch’s lawsuit, the following records were produced:

  • Melania Trump flew to Mar-a-Lago between February 3-6 on a C-37B military jet at an operating cost of $10,075 per hour for six hours. The total comes to $60,450.
  • Vice President Pence flew Air Force Two 5.58 hours to Houston for the Super Bowl between February 3-6 at an operating cost of $15,994 per hour, for a total of $89,246.52.
  • Melania Trump flew from New York to Washington DC on February 10 to join her husband on Air Force One for the trip to Mar-a-Lago. She departed on February 12 for New York on a C-37A jet for a weekend total of 7.09 hours at $10,075 per hour, bringing the cost to $71,431.75.
  • President Trump flew Air Force One 5.7 hours to Mar-a-Lago between February 17-21 at an operating cost of $142,380 per hour, for a total of $811,566.
  • Melania Trump flew from New York to Mar-a-Lago between February 17-21. One leg she flew 5.63 hours on a C-37B military jet at an operating cost of $10,075 per hour for a total of $56,722.25 and on the other leg she flew 5.57 hours on a C-40B jet at $5,450 per hour for a total of $30,356.50. The grand total is $87,078.75.
  • President Trump flew 4.1 hours on Air Force One to Mar-a-Lago between March 17-19 at $142,380 per hour, for a total of $583,758.

In response to a Judicial Watch FOIA request, the Air Force produced the following record:

  • President Trump entertained Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at Mar-a-Lago between February 10-13 where they played a round of golf. They flew Air Force One 4.2 hours at $142,380 per hour for a total of $597,996.

We previously released documents showing travel expenses of $1,281,420.

We also closely tracked Obama family travel costs throughout his presidency.  In response to a June 19, 2014, Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, Judicial Watch recently received documents from the Secret Service related to Michelle Obama’s March 2014 trip to China. The total Secret Service expenses adds up to $389,931.71:

$288,662.07 in hotels
$72,701.14 in car rentals
$5,020.52 in cell phone charges
$4,282.65 in rental reproduction equipment
$393.52 in printers and toners
$1,010.63 in cell phone rentals
$199.17 in supplies
$11,266.38 in overtime/per diem pay
$1,265.13 in miscellaneous services by another government agency
$5,130.50 in Air/Rail

Added to the previously released flight costs from the Air Force ($362,523.53) and the total for the trip comes to $752,455.24. Obama family travel cost taxpayers at least $100,104,459.53 during his two terms.

Presidential travel is racking up millions of dollars in expenses paid by taxpayers. The liberal media did not much care about our reporting on President Obama’s abusive travel but now are keenly interested in President Trump’s trips.

The Trump administration should do what the Obama administration did not do – move reforms through to get these expenses under control for this and future presidents.  In the meantime, the bureaucracies should release the travel numbers rather than requiring us to go to court to get accountability for taxpayers.

Media Ignores Virginia Governor’s Role in Green Car Scandal

When we last looked in on Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe he was trying to influence the 2016 presidential election in Hillary Clinton’s favor by abusing his office to restore voting rights for 206,000 convicted felons. As an aside, it’s interesting to note that he assumed criminals would choose to vote for Clinton.

Now we find the Teflon governor looking over his shoulder as some of his shady dealings pursue him. The media has apparently been too busy criticizing Ivanka Trump’s dress to cover this story fully. But our Corruption Chronicles blog has the details.

An electric car company that folded after taking millions of taxpayer dollars was founded by Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, the chairman of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign and former Democratic National Committee (DNC) chair, but the mainstream media is ignoring this pertinent fact.

The Mississippi-based company, GreenTech, shut down in January but is back in the spotlight because this week the state’s auditor demanded the firm repay $6.4 million in public funds. Only a small Richmond, Virginia, newspaper prominently reported McAuliffe’s ties to the scandal, stating in the headline that, “Mississippi auditor demands $6.4M repayment from McAuliffe’s former electric car company.

Most mainstream news outlets ignored the story altogether and a few kept McAuliffe’s name out the minimal coverage. Washington D.C.’s mainstream newspaper went with a lengthy wire service story that matter-of-factly mentions McAuliffe in the very last sentence. “Among former insiders is Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe,” the end of the article states. “He resigned as the firm’s chairman in December 2012 and said he divested his interest.” How convenient! The article omits that, as GreenTech founder, McAuliffe brokered the deal in which the company got millions in public funds by promising to invest $60 million locally and creating hundreds of new full-time jobs. That never happened and instead taxpayers got fleeced. Now Mississippi State Auditor Stacey Pickering is ordering that the money be repaid with interest and investigative costs. The exact figure is $6,360,019.60.

McAuliffe is a renowned Democratic fundraiser who made a fortune with shady investments in a telecommunications giant that went bankrupt. He started his fundraising career in Jimmy Carter’s 1979 reelection campaign and has raised big bucks for Democrats over the years, but not without controversy. McAuliffe was investigated for campaign-finance abuses during the 1996 presidential election and was deposed by the Senate committee investigating the matter. 

In 2002 the Virginia governor was investigated for his role in an unprecedented case of political profiteering for turning a $100,000 investment in telecommunications giant Global Crossings into an $18 million profit. The company later made the fourth-largest bankruptcy filing in history and McAuliffe insisted he only did “political work” for the company’s founder who, incidentally, donated $1 million to Bill Clinton’s Presidential Library.

In 2013, McAuliffe appeared on Judicial Watch’s most corrupt politicians list, and last year Judicial Watch sued the governor on behalf of Virginia voters for signing an executive order to restore voting rights to about 206,000 convicted felons. In court proceedings, Judicial Watch argued that the blanket restoration of rights to felons violates “provisions of the Virginia Constitution mandating that voting rights may only be restored on an individual basis, following a particular, individualized review and a finding of sufficient grounds for restoring such rights.” Plaintiffs alleged that their votes and the lawful votes of other Virginians will be cancelled out or diminished by felons who are not eligible to vote under Virginia’s laws and constitution.

Though his pals in the mainstream media are keeping his name out of the GreenTech scandal, McAuliffe could still be in serious trouble. The Virginia paper that reported his key role in the bankrupt electric car company points this out: “McAuliffe’s office has said the governor has had no involvement with the company since stepping down as its chairman and divesting his financial stake. But the escalating standoff in Mississippi raises the likelihood that the business deal McAuliffe brokered could be headed toward a bitter end in court. Ending his four-year term as governor with a higher national profile and record as an exuberant pitchman for Virginia, GreenTech’s unraveling could dog McAuliffe amid speculation about a 2020 presidential bid.”

Esteban Santiago [a.k.a. Aashiq Hammad] is a Puerto Rican Salafist Sunni Muslim

EDITORS UPDATE:

WeSearchr and GotNews published more of their findings that neither the government nor media have yet discovered or released: BREAKING: #FortLauderdale Terrorist #EstebanSantiago Joined MySpace As “Aashiq Hammad”, Recorded Islamic Music – GotNews

Fort Lauderdale Airport terrorist Esteban Santiago registered on MySpace under the name “Aashiq Hammad” and recorded Islamic religious music on the site, 3 years before he ever deployed to Iraq as a U.S. soldier, destroying the lying mainstream media’s narrative that he was just a mentally disturbed veteran and that “Islam had nothing to do with it.”

[ … ]

And take a look at the three songs recorded by “Aashiq Hammad.” The first one is titled “La ilaha illAllah”, which is Arabic for “There is no God but Allah,” and the first half of the Muslim declaration of faith, the Shahadah:

[ … ]

That song was recorded in 2007, 3 years before Esteban Santiago went to Iraq as a U.S. soldier in 2010, destroying the lying mainstream media’s narrative that he was a “mentally disturbed veteran”, although even they admit Santiago went into an FBI office in 2015 and told agents he was being forced to watch ISIS videos by voices in his head (or something).

2007 was also the year that “Naota33” was posting on an explosives/weapons forum about mass-downloading Islamic propaganda videos, as GotNews exclusively revealed yesterday.

[ … ]

“Aashiq Hammad” also has Bryan Santiago — Esteban’s brother — as a connection…

The perpetrator of today’s random shooting at Fort Lauderdale, Esteban Santiago Ruiz is a Puerto Rican Salafist Sunni Muslim who was a resident of Anchorage, Alaska. CBS reported that he walked into an Anchorage, Alaska FBI office in November 2016 claiming he was forced to fight for ISIS.

He was born in New Jersey, but moved to Penuela, Puerto Rico to live with his brother and mother shortly thereafter. He moved to Alaska in 2015 for work, and had been employed as a security guard. Same job as Omar Mateen, the perpetrator of the Orlando Pulse Nightclub Massacre. He was “fighting with a lot of people” during his time in Alaska, including his girlfriend. At the time of the shooting, he was receiving mental help for his depression .

Santiago Ruiz is reportedly a Sunni Muslim with Salafist beliefs, and he is a father of one. He served in the Puerto Rican National Guard for six years. He also signed up for the National Guard as a combat engineer and served a year in Iraq. Reports indicate he had a history of mental health issues. In November 2016, he walked into the FBI office in Anchorage, claiming he was fighting for ISIS.

Esteban Santiago Ruiz’s record:

  • February 2015: Eviction for nonpayment of rent.
  • January 2016: Fourth-degree assault and damage of property, from a domestic violence incident. Santiago settled the charges.
  • On January 6, 2017 Esteban Santiago killed 5 people and injured many more in the . His name was released by Florida US Senator Bill Nelson on MSNBC. He was carrying a military ID.
  • On January 6, 2017 Esteban Santiago killed 5 people and injured many more in the Fort Lauderdale Airport shooting. His name was released by Florida U.S. Senator Bill Nelson on MSNBC . He was carrying a military ID.

Santiago took Delta Airlines Flight #1088 from Anchorage to Minneapolis – Saint Paul Thursday night. He landed Friday morning, and then took Delta Flight no. 2182 from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Fort Lauderdale. He then appeared in the Terminal 2 baggage claim area wearing a Star Wars shirt.

Witnesses say he appeared to randomly target his victims during the shooting spree which has left at at least five people dead and many more injured. He was apprehended by authorities when he stopped shooting to reload, witnesses said.

RELATED ARTICLES:

Airport Shooter Converted to Islam, Identified as Aashiq Hammad Years Before Joining Army

The Trump Administration Should Treat Islamists Like The Mafia

Fort Lauderdale Airport Shooter Lived Near Islamic Community Center of Anchorage Mosque

Fort Lauderdale Airport shooter had told FBI he was forced to fight for the Islamic State

EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of Santiago pictured wearing a black on green Palestinian Keffiyeh scarf giving a “one-finger salute,” a gesture displayed by the ISIS gunman who shot the Russian ambassador in December.

Could the Jig Finally Be Up for Huma Abedin?

In FrontPage this morning I explain why the current mini-controversy over Huma Abedin bespeaks a much larger problem with America’s contemporary political culture.

They got Al Capone for tax evasion, and they may get Huma Abedin for “violating rules regarding vacation and sick leave” and for the “possible exchange of unsecured, classified data.” To be sure, these are serious charges, and the available evidence makes it abundantly clear that there is ample warrant to investigate and perhaps even charge Abedin. However, it is a sign of a serious problem with today’s political culture that even more serious allegations regarding Abedin have never been investigated, and almost certainly never will be.

Huma Abedin’s Muslim Brotherhood connections have been fully exposed by Andrew McCarthy and bruited about for years. The facts are quite public, albeit largely ignored: Abedin’s parents are both members of the Muslim Brotherhood, but her links to the organization are not just familial. Abedin was for twelve years the assistant editor of the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs (JMMA), which was founded by Abdullah Omar Naseef, a Muslim Brotherhood operative and al-Qaeda financier. Naseef and Abedin both appeared on the JMMA’s masthead from 1996 to 2003.

Consider that Abedin worked closely for seven years with a member of the Muslim Brotherhood who financed al-Qaeda in light of the Obama Administration’s foreign policy during the years that Hillary Clinton was the Secretary of State. Everyone acknowledges that Abedin and Clinton are extremely close, and that Abedin controls access to Clinton and has tremendous influence over her. Hillary Clinton’s tenure at the State Department was distinguished by the remarkable sight of Egyptian anti-Muslim Brotherhood protestors holding signs denouncing the President of the United States for supporting terrorism, and by the Benghazi debacle, when the Secretary of State sat back and did nothing as jihad terrorists murdered four Americans, including an ambassador.

Then there was the Benghazi cover-up, during which Clinton vowed to have a man who made a video criticizing Muhammad arrested and imprisoned for supposedly provoking the riots, thereby placing herself firmly in opposition to the freedom of speech and aligning herself with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s efforts to compel Western governments to criminalize criticism of Islam (under the guise of “incitement to religious hatred”).

Is it at all possible that Huma Abedin, whose parents were active in the Brotherhood and who worked for twelve years for a journal closely linked to the Brotherhood, had anything to do with the pro-Muslim Brotherhood orientation of the Obama/Clinton State Department? In today’s poisonous political culture, it isn’t possible even to ask the question without incurring charges of “Islamophobia” – as we saw in 2012, when Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN) had the temerity to call for an investigation of possible Muslim Brotherhood infiltration of the U.S. government.

Bachmann explained: “The concerns about the foreign influence of immediate family members is such a concern to the U.S. Government that it includes these factors as potentially disqualifying conditions for obtaining a security clearance, which undoubtedly Ms. Abedin has had to obtain to function in her position. For us to raise issues about a highly-based U.S. Government official with known immediate family connections to foreign extremist organizations is not a question of singling out Ms. Abedin.  In fact, these questions are raised by the U.S. Government of anyone seeking a security clearance.” And that was to say nothing about Abedin’s association with Naseef and work with the JMMA.

Now that Abedin is suspected of mishandling classified material, Bachmann’s questions about Abedin’s security clearance are piquant in retrospect. But when she first raised them, Bachmann was ridiculed and vilified, even earning a denunciation from John McCain: “These sinister accusations rest solely on a few unspecified and unsubstantiated associations of members of Huma’s family, none of which have been shown to harm or threaten the United States in any way. These attacks on Huma have no logic, no basis, and no merit. And they need to stop now.”

It was actually about more than just Abedin’s family, and a perfectly sound case could be made, in light of Obama’s foreign policy disasters, that Abedin’s Muslim Brotherhood links possibly did harm and threaten the United States. But Bachmann’s name was dragged through the mud in 2012 for talking about all this, and now none of the new allegations against Abedin raise any issue with her possible Muslim Brotherhood connections.

That few people care about those connections, and that those who do are dismissed as “far-Right bigots,” shows how myopic and foolish our contemporary political culture is. If Huma Abedin had a hand in the pro-Muslim Brotherhood tilt of the Obama/Clinton State Department, that would be a far graver offense than anything she is accused of now, just as old Capone was guilty of far greater crimes than tax evasion. But on the other hand, those tax evasion charges ended Capone’s operations for good, and so if Hillary’s infamous email server does the same to Huma Abedin, no one who values America’s historic role as leader of the free world will have any reason to complain.

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VIDEO: Hillary Clinton Lies… A Lot

Ben Shapiro does another video on Hillary Clinton and her history of lies. According to Shapiro’s website:

Hillary Clinton says that she is the most transparent woman in American politics. There’s just one problem – Hillary Clinton lies… a lot. Ben Shapiro takes a trip in the way back machine to look at a few of the more egregious examples.


TRANSCRIPT:

Hillary Clinton is the most transparent woman she knows. She said so in 2008:

I think I’m probably the most transparent person in public life…I feel you know a lot more about me than you know about anyone else. Much of it untrue, but nevertheless, it’s all out there.

Unfortunately, Hillary is a liar. When news emerged this week that Hillary had set up a private email server the day before her nomination as Secretary of State, and had used her private email address for her entire tenure as Secretary of State so that there were no government records of those emails, and that her aides also used private email addresses, and that her server had the capacity to fully delete emails, and that hackers could have hacked her emails…no one should have been surprised. Of course she did.

Let’s take a trip in the wayback machine.

When Hillary Clinton was 27, back in 1974, she worked for the House Judiciary Committee, which was investigating Richard Nixon. According to her boss, Democrat Jerry Zeifman, Hillary met with Teddy Kennedy’s chief political strategist – a violation of House rules. She then manipulated the system to avoid investigating Nixon, hoping he’d stick around long enough to sink Republican election chances in 1976, letting her boy Teddy into the White House.

According to the guy who shared office space with Hillary, John Labovitz, Hillary gave “erroneous legal opinions” and tried to “deny Nixon representation by counsel.” Zeifman said that Hillary wrote a “fraudulent legal brief” and “confiscated public documents.” Zeifman fired her and wouldn’t give her a letter of recommendation. Zeifman later wrote a book stating that “Hillary Clinton is ethically unfit to be either a senator or president.”

Hillary’s now in the White House, and there’s a big search going on for a memorandum written by a former presidential aide regarding the firing of members of the White House travel office. They go missing for two years. At the same time, documents regarding Hillary Clinton’s work at the Rose Law firm in Arkansas – specifically, regarding a savings and loan company run by the Clintons’ business partner in the Whitewater land venture – go missing for two years.

Then, in January 1996, they miraculously appear. The Rose Law firm documents magically show up. A White House aide finds them. In the White House. In a storage area in the third-floor of the White House – the private residence of the President and First Lady. And the long-lost memo shows up just a couple of days later. How miraculous. Hillary’s lawyers said that she had no idea the documents were there. Except that the FBI found Hillary’s fingerprints on the documents. Oopsies. Hillary is still the only First Lady in American history to be fingerprinted by the FBI.

All that was before the rise of email. But the Clintons loved email, because it was so much easier to hide emails than to track down every copy of every document for destruction. And hide those emails they did. According to Judicial Watch, Cheryl Mills, Hillary’s hatchet woman helped prevent the Clintons from turning over 1.8 million emails to Judicial Watch, Congress, and federal investigators. 1.8 million emails. When a White House computer contractor tried to reveal this, White House officials allegedly told her to “keep her mouth shut.” Cheryl Mills. You may remember her. She ended up being in charge of document production for Hillary’s State Department in the Benghazi investigation.

When she was Secretary of State, over and over again, document requests to the State Department were rejected, because they didn’t have the documents – Hillary did, on her private server. The Associated Press hit a stonewall. So did Judicial Watch. So did Gawker.

All a big coincidence, of course. It was all a big mixup when Clinton hit man Sandy Berger stole documents from the National Archives and stuffed them down his pants, too. And now Hillary has assured us via Twitter that she wants the State Department to release all her hidden emails.

We should believe her. After all, she’s the most transparent woman in American history. At least, the most transparently corrupt.

IRS: Legally Blind…Literally!

“One should judge a man mainly from his depravities. Virtues can be faked. Depravities are real.” – Klaus Kinski

The last two years have once again provided the American people with great illumination into the arrogant, deceitful and nefarious ways in which the IRS treats the hardworking citizens who pay their tab. Hardly a day, week or month has gone by without a new revelation that left most of us dropping our jaws further and further and further.

In fact, there has been so much lawlessness that people became almost immune to the escalating nature of their egregious conduct. This week’s vile and disgusting revelation: the agency had a legally blind individual conducting the inspection of Lois Lerner’s hard drive. Yes, you read that right – the IRS used a blind employee to inspect Lerner’s hard drive.

Political appointees who play cat and mouse with Congressional investigators are something we’ve come to expect. But for a federal agency like the IRS to engage a blind employee as a pawn in a political chess match is best described in terms of moral depravity.

It’s yet another reason Congress must pass the FairTax Plan as soon as possible.

The FairTax is the only tax reform/replacement plan that disbands, defunds and eliminates the IRS. The flat tax doesn’t, the proposed income tax reforms don’t and neither do the other plans bantered about by various Members of Congress. Nope – they have to pass the genuine article, the real deal, the one and only FairTax Plan.

Peggy Green-Ernst to lead AFFT government relations

This is why I am so pleased to announce the FairTax campaign’s newest secret weapon for getting the FairTax passed. Enter Texas FairTax supporter, Peggy Green-Ernst, who has joined AFFT as our new Director of Government Relations. In this role Peggy will be directing AFFT’s federal and state government relations and lobbying activities, and will be expanding the FairTax Memorial initiative that was first initiated by the Florida FairTax team.

Peggy hails from the great state of Texas where she serves as the volunteer legislative director for the Texas FairTax organization. Her professional and political career encompassed the corporate, business, academic and nonprofit sectors, where she was:

  • Executive Director of the Housing Roundtable
  • Director of Government Relations for the National Gypsum Company
  • Commissioner, Texas National Research Laboratory Commission (appointed by then-Texas Governor Ann Richards)

Peggy is a seasoned political strategist who excels in coalition building, policy analysis, political action committee (PAC) administration and media management. She’s smart, engaging and politically savvy.

A Texan by birth, Peggy spent her formative years enjoying an international education while supporting her father’s military career. She graduated from Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, TX with a master’s degree in business administration.

Peggy will be joining AFFT Chairman and President Steve Hayes in Washington in a few weeks and has already begun to aggressively book meetings with cosponsors, cosponsor prospects and other influencers. It’s going to be a great week in Washington when Peggy comes to town. I can’t wait to hear all about it!

Sarasota School Board Candidate Ken Marsh gets a little help from his union friends

Pat210-302

Patricia “Pat” Gardner, President SC/TA.

PUBLISHERS NOTE: I, Dr. Rich Swier, regret having used the term “illegal” in this and any other article to describe actions by Ms. Pat Gardner and the SC/TA.

Democrat Ken Marsh is in a run off for the Sarasota County School Board in District 1. Marsh has been endorsed by the Sarasota Classified/Teachers Association (SC/TA). An investigation has revealed that two officers of the SCTA have been using their official school board email accounts to promote Marsh, denigrate a sitting school board member, promote Charlie Crist for governor and take positions on a variety of political ballot measures. These two individuals are SC/TA President Patricia “Pat” Gardner and SC/TA Treasurer Kevyn Fitzgerald. For example an email from Pat Gardner reads:

—–Original Message—–

From: Gardner Pat

Sent: Thursday, September 11, 2014 3:37 PM

Subject: List of Contributors to Bridget Ziegler

Please forward:

Bridget Ziegler will be in a run off election for the District 1 School Board seat with Ken Marsh in November.

SCTA endorsed Ken Marsh. Bridget Ziegler will not say if she voted for or against the referendum because she voted against it. Attached is a list of contributors to her campaign. This information came right from the Sarasota Supervisor of Elections web site.

[ATTACHED FILE LISTING DONORS TO BRIDGET ZIEGLER’S CAMPAIGN]

>Please be aware that all e-mail to and from Sarasota County Schools is subject to the public records laws of Florida.

Kevyn_Fitzgerald1

Kevyn Fitzgerald, SC/TA Treasurer, teacher Riverview High School.

Kevyn Fitzgerald, who works at Riverview High School, forwarded an email from Gardner during school hours which reads:

From: Fitzgerald Kevyn

Sent: Tuesday, September 30, 2014 11:55 AM

To: REDACTED

Subject: FW: Information for Restricted Class

From: Gardner Pat

Sent: Tuesday, September 30, 2014 10:57 AM

Subject: Information for Restricted Class

Please forward:

Yesterday, I heard from a frustrated teacher at one of our elementary schools that one of her colleagues had announced in the lunch room that she didn’t know who she would be voting for in the Governor’s race. She was shocked and, truthfully, so am I.

We have a screwed up merit pay system ready to hit us right in the face. No one can understand the formula. They don’t have the tests. It is the biggest mess I have ever seen.

Rick Scott signed this bill into law before the session was even finished in his first year. He couldn’t wait. Charlie Crist had a similar version of a merit pay law and he vetoed it the year before. So how hard is it to make a decision?

Scott cut the education budget his first year by 1.3 billion dollars. Yes, the economy was in a shambles. However, Scott’s proposed budget called for cutting 1.75 billion dollars. Even the GOP led Legislature said no. So how hard is it to make a decision?

Scott championed and signed the bill to take 3% from your salary for retirement. He did not put it into the FRS. He used it to fund the state budget. Now they want everyone to go into a 401K. This proposed law has failed twice but they will keep trying. Crist will veto any law that will hurt the FRS. So how hard is it to make a decision?

What is next with Rick Scott? Will they try to limit your sick time? Will they reduce the number of days you can cash in at retirement or worse, take them away altogether? If this man wins everything is up for grabs. He will have nothing to lose.

So, how hard is it to make a decision? [Emphasis added]

NOTE: A flyer titled FAST FACTS For Florida Teachers and Public School Employees was attached comparing Crist to Scott.

You would expect senior SC/TA officials to know the rules concerning use of the school board email system. The Sarasota County Schools Information Technology Guidelines and Procedures, page 28, under the heading “Appropriate Use of E-mail” states the following:

Sarasota County Schools guidelines prohibit certain types of e-mail. These include mail that may be perceived as harassment, political campaigning, or commercial solicitation. Chain mail is also prohibited. Violators will be subject to loss of computer access privileges, as well as additional disciplinary action as determined by the Sarasota County Schools disciplinary procedures. Certain types of e-mail, including but not limited to harassing e-mail, may also subject the sender to civil or criminal penalties. [Emphasis added]

Gardner and Fitzgerald, with others, appear to be willfully ignoring these guidelines by using school board computers and the internal email system, during school hours to send emails that “may be perceived as harassment or  political campaigning.” The teacher mentioned in the Fitzgerald/Gardner email is clearly known to all those who overhead the lunchroom conversation. Both emails are promoting a particular candidate for public office.

So, what has Superintendent Lori White done about these, and other, violations of school board policy?

Scott Ferguson, Communications Specialist Sarasota County Schools, in an email sent on behalf of Superintendent White states:

Ms. Gardner and Mr. Fitzgerald are representatives of the Sarasota Classified/Teachers Association.

Pursuant to the collective bargaining agreements between the School Board and the SC/TA, the Association has the right to use the School Board’s email system to communicate with employees regarding union business. Specifically, the instructional bargaining agreement stipulates, in Article IV-G:

E-Mail and Computer Access

1. The employer shall provide access to the Board’s electronic mail delivery system to the Union as a means of communications with the employees.

2. The employer agrees to provide access to a computer and the electronic mail delivery system for the senior Union representative at each worksite.

3. E-mail communications between the employees and the Union and/or its building representatives involving Union business will be considered a private communication not subject to Chapter 119, Florida Statutes.

4. When the Administration deems it necessary to read an employee’s e-mail, the employee will be so notified in a timely fashion. Such notification will include the reason for such interception. The e-mail of an employee will not be read by an unintended party without providing such notice to the affected parties.

5. The Union will reimburse the district a sum of $250 per year or the actual costs; whichever is higher.

Thus, the SC/TA has the contractual right to use the School Board’s email system to communicate with district employees for its own business. The School Board does not monitor these private communications, and they are not the subject of discipline.

Outside of the SC/TA’s ability to communicate with the employees, you are correct that our procedures state that the district email system is not to be used for, among other things, political campaigning. Superintendent White has sent a reminder to all employees of this prohibition.

So what action did Superintendent White take, after we notified her of the violations, exactly? Superintendent White sent out the following to all school board employees:

REMINDER TO ALL EMPLOYEES

As our community is in the midst of a number of political campaigns, I want to remind all employees about the School Board’s Information Technology Guidelines and Procedures which prohibit, among other things, using the School Board’s email system for any communication that may be perceived as political campaigning. While I encourage all our employees to be civically engaged in the electoral process, this engagement should not occur on work hours, nor should the School Board’s email system be used for this purpose.

Thank you for your cooperation.

Of course since the school board does not monitor these union “private communications” and “they are not the subject of discipline” then Superintendent White cannot know if her reminder will be honored. The only way to know for sure is to follow the school board procedure and revoke Gardner and Fitzgerald’s email privileges at least temporarily.

Imagine what would happen if a student used the school board computer system to politic, what would happen to that student? Perhaps Marsh needs to reconsider who his friends are? Or perhaps Sarasota County voters should consider Marsh and his union friends as “birds of a feather who flock together”?