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December 4, 2009
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May 17, 2013
President Barack Obama’s White House fought and lost a battle to avoid making public what it claimed were confidential records of internal deliberations over the attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya last September.
Obama administration officials portray their unsuccessful effort to avoid disclosing the records as the end result of a process of “accommodation” which the government’s executive branch routinely uses to respond to frequent requests and subpoenas by Congress for sensitive materials.
But some politicians and legal experts say the administration’s decision to not release the records sooner may have backfired, prolonging the controversy and deepening the determination of critics in Congress to keep the story alive.
“I don’t trust them as far as I can throw them,” said Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who accused the administration of trying to “stonewall Congress at every turn.”
The administration at first refused to show copies of the Benghazi records, including emails and drafts of what proved to be inaccurate public “talking points” about the attack, to anyone outside the executive branch.
In the face of escalating congressional demands for the materials, the administration then offered closed-door briefings on these, officials said.
Subsequently, facing a squeeze in the Senate over the confirmation of Obama’s counterterrorism adviser John Brennan as CIA director, the White House allowed congressional intelligence committees to read the records in secret rooms, but not to take copies, the officials said.
As recently as last week, administration lawyers still maintained the White House had a rock-solid case that the Benghazi material could be withheld from Congress, even if subpoenaed, executive branch and congressional officials said.
The White House argued, as have past administrations, that it did not have to hand over materials that were part of a “deliberative process,” these officials said.
“Releasing internal deliberations is something that goes to the kind of protections that have existed for the executive branch for many administrations of both parties,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Tuesday.
The very next day, White House released the records in response to leaks about their contents that the administration characterized as inaccurate.
Eric Schultz, a White House spokesman, said: “Despite the fact that e-mails relating to the Benghazi talking points were made available to members of Congress several months ago, in recent days these e-mails have been selectively and inaccurately read out to the media. To make clear what is and is not in these e-mails … the White House took the extraordinary step of releasing” them.
NOTHING ‘OF NATIONAL SECURITY CONCERN’
Republican Representative Peter King, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said that the administration’s decision, after fighting for months to keep the documents secret, had “definitely weakened their credibility doing forward.”
Nothing in the materials made public “was of national security concern” and the White House’s withholding of the documents was “clearly a political attempt by them,” he said.
Obama’s political opponents have charged that the talking points were deliberately skewed to protect his image as an effective counterterrorism fighter in the heat of last year’s presidential election campaign.
Some officials now argue that what the documentation really shows is maneuvering between bureaucrats at the State Department and CIA to avoid or shift blame for what is now widely regarded as a foreign policy fiasco.
Legal experts said the administration’s U-turn on disclosure is consistent with similar battles fought by Obama’s predecessors.
For example, President Richard Nixon fought, but ultimately lost, a battle to avoid disclosing tapes he had made about the Watergate Scandal. President Bill Clinton tried and failed to block prosecutors from questioning his aides in an investigation of his relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
He said it would be difficult to imagine officials like former Vice President Dick Cheney, who believed in strong executive power, abandoning a deliberative process claim the way Obama did.
Steven Schwinn, a professor at the John Marshall Law School in Chicago, said the White House cave-in on the Benghazi documents could damage its credibility, but it would not necessarily undermine future legal claims by Obama to withhold materials. Courts are historically very reluctant to order such disclosures or enforce congressional subpoenas, he said.
May 17, 2013
Well maybe that Red Coat Piers Morgan is coming around to seeing the light……maybe! Vaguely tyrranical? That’s like being a little bit pregnant.
British CNN host Piers Morgan finally admitting gun advocates have a point when they say the Second Amendment is to protect citizens from tyrannical government?
Morgan has made headlines for many months as he loudly trumpeted the cause of gun control, even to the detriment of his shows ratings.
Now – after learning of the Obama administration’s involvement in the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups and its secret seizure of Associated Press phone records – the CNN host admitted to guest Penn Jillette that perhaps gun advocates were right about creeping tyranny after all:
“I’ve had some of the pro-gun lobbyists on here, saying to me, ‘Well, the reason we need to be armed is because of tyranny from our own government,’ and I’ve always laughed at them,” Morgan said. “I said, ‘Don’t be ridiculous! Your government won’t turn itself on you. …
“But, actually, this is vaguely tyrannical behavior by the American government.”
He continued, “I think what the IRS did is bordering on tyrannical behavior. I think what the Department of Justice has done to the AP is bordering on tyrannical behavior.”
Jillette agreed with Morgan, stating, “There’s no doubt about that. Once you use the word ‘bordering,’ that’s true.
“I also think that it shows you that how much we can trust the government and just sit back– which is not very much at all. We have to be ever vigilant.”
May 17, 2013
This is what we need in every State that passes unconstitutional legislation about gun control. The founding fathers would never have dreamed of the States doing such things. The Federal Gov’t bribed the State of Colorado to get them to do this…..bought them off.
84% of all Colorado sheriffs have filed a lawsuit against the new gun law that passed earlier this Spring in the wake of the Sandy Hook school shooting. The sheriffs are hoping to have the new restrictions invalidated because they believe they violate the Second Amendment.
The Colorado Legislature passed two laws that are set to take effect July 1 which limit the size of the of ammunition magazines to 15 rounds and expand background checks to private and online firearm sales.
Sheriffs from 54 of the state’s 64 counties are involved in the lawsuit because believe it’s their duty to uphold the U.S. Constitution.
According to the Associated Press, El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa said “We each took an oath. The line in the sand has been drawn, and we will stand united,” at the Friday Denver press conference announcing the lawsuit.
May 17, 2013
Alan Keyes says the IRS scandal is a ploy to shield Obama’s secret collaboration with terrorists to create chaos, introduce tyrannical government and destroy America.
Did you know the Obama administration has a witness protection program for known or suspected terrorists? You didn’t? Well, now you do. On top of that it might interest you to know that they not only have such a program, but they have lost two or more of these known or suspected terrorists. Thanks to the numerous scandals the White House is immersed in, many people won’t even hear about this.
First, according to the Associated Press:
The Justice Department failed to provide the names of some terrorists in the witness protection program to the center that maintains the government’s watch list used to keep dangerous people off airline flights, the department’s inspector general said in a report Thursday.
As a result of the department’s failure to properly share information, some in the witness protection program who were on the “no-fly” list were allowed to travel on commercial flights, the federal watchdog said.
“It was possible for known or suspected terrorists to fly on commercial airplanes in or over the United States and evade one of the government’s primary means of identifying and tracking terrorists’ movements and actions,” the report said.
To help protect witnesses from the people and organizations against whom they testify, the U.S. Marshals Service provides cooperating witnesses with new names and identities.
“We found that the department was not authorizing the disclosure to the Terrorist Screening Center of the new identities provided to known or suspects terrorists” in the federal Witness Security Program, known officially as WitSec.
Jake Tapper dropped the bombshell:
The U.S. Marshals Service lost two former participants in the federal Witness Security Program “identified as known or suspected terrorists,” states the public summary of an interim Justice Department Inspector General’s report obtained by CNN.
The Marshals Service has concluded that “one individual was and the other individual was believed to be residing outside of the United States,” according to the summary.
May 17, 2013
Now for some local news from the Jackson Sun.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation announced this afternoon that the non-profit organization “Without Warning” did not investigate the case of Holly Bobo to law enforcement standards, as reported by Nashville television station WSMV – which aired several stories during newscasts this month as well as a special documentary which aired May 12, 2013.
While speaking to TBI Special Agents, each member of the private investigative team admitted that they regurgitated information they had heard and read in order to talk about the case on television, according to a report from the TBI.
In addition, the founder of “Without Warning,” Sheila Wysocki, wrote in an email to a TBI Special Agent: “You all have to realize that we have been able to make any story surrounding this case a ratings winner and online success which was the goal. In return, someone may come forward to be the hero and give you all the right information to resolve this case.”
Each member of the team stated the information provided to them came from the victim’s family.
Since the stories aired, agents with the TBI have gone through the appropriate legal channels to obtain the information provided to “Without Warning,” as well as video footage from WSMV. No information contained in the documents and video has led to any new evidence in the two year old investigation. The majority of documents contained in the binders are print outs of social media sites, comments posted on various internet websites, personal notes, public records, news articles and a production shooting schedule.
By their own admission, members of “Without Warning” said they had no geolocation information about Holly Bobo’s cell phone after her disappearance including the exact locations and times the phone “pinged” as reported by WSMV. The source of the incorrect and unofficial cell phone information has stated that he told “Without Warning” members the information was not accurate when he provided it to them. TBI has obtained emails exchanged between members of the “Without Warning” team where they discuss the inaccuracy of the times, but used them as factual information regardless.
May 17, 2013
The hole the IRS has dug for themselves just keeps getting deeper and deeper. Now it has been proven that the IRS lied to avoiding filling a FOIA request of documents pertaining to the Tea Party:
FREE BEACON – The Internal Revenue Service denied the existence of any documents related to its policy of targeting Tea Party organizations in response to a 2010 Freedom of Information Act request, even though such documents were later discovered by the IRS inspector general.
The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, a conservative nonprofit group, filed a FOIA request in 2010 through investigative journalist Lynn K. Walsh seeking all IRS documents related to the agencies tax-exempt division specifically mentioning the Tea Party.
IRS headquarters responded in 2011 that it “found no documents specifically responsive to your request.”
However, the May 14 inspector general report found that the “first Sensitive Case Report [identifying Tea Party groups] was prepared by the Technical Unit” in April of 2010.
The report’s timeline chronicles the existence of numerous 2010 emails, memoranda, and policies related to the targeting of conservative organizations.
According to the IG timeline, an email was sent on July 27, 2010 “updating the description of applications involving potential political campaign intervention and providing a coordinator contact for the cases.”
“The description was changed to read, ‘These cases involve various local organizations in the Tea Party movement [that] are applying for exemption under 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4).’”
The IRS determinations unit developed a “be on the lookout” listing on Aug. 12, 2010, “in order to replace the existing practice of sending separate e-mails to all Determinations Unit employees as to cases to watch for, potentially abusive cases, cases requiring processing by the team of specialists, and emerging issues.”
The language of the listing was identical to the July 27, 2010 email.
“Either IRS Headquarters was entirely incompetent in maintaining awareness of prominent policies and documents within the IRS, or it deliberately covered up the existence of anti-conservative IRS policies. Either is terrifying,” Maurice Thompson, Executive Director of the 1851 Center, said in a statement. “Legal action is necessary to ensure that the IRS does not lie to taxpayers in this manner in the future.”
May 17, 2013
The Treasury Department’s inspector general told senior Treasury officials in June 2012 he was auditing the Internal Revenue Service’s screening of politically active organizations seeking tax exemptions, disclosing for the first time on Friday that Obama administration officials were aware of the matter during the presidential campaign year.
At the first Congressional hearing into the I.R.S. scandal, J. Russell George, the Treasury inspector general for tax administration, told members of the House Ways and Means Committee that he informed the Treasury’s general counsel of his audit on June 4, and Deputy Treasury Secretary Neal Wolin “shortly thereafter.”
It remained unclear how much the disclosure would affect the broader debate over the I.R.S.’s problems. Complaints from Tea Party groups that the I.R.S. was singling them out became public in 2012, through media accounts.
Mr. George told Treasury officials about the allegation as part of a routine briefing about ongoing audits he would be conducting in the coming year, and he did not tell the officials of his conclusions that the targeting had been improper, he said.
Still, the inspector general’s testimony will most likely fuel efforts by Congressional Republicans to show that Obama administration officials knew of efforts to single out conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status for additional scrutiny, but did not reveal that knowledge during President Obama’s re-election campaign.