Look to Trump, Not Trey Gowdy, to Address Bias at the FBI and DOJ

Rep. Trey Gowdy on Capitol Hill (James Lawler Duggan/Reuters)

National Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy, June 23, 2018:

The president runs the executive branch, after all.

I confess to being more weary than dizzy from the Dr. Gowdy–and–Mr. Trey routine. Just three weeks ago, Representative Gowdy, the South Carolina Republican who chairs the House Oversight Committee, assured us that everything was peachy with the FBI — no way, no how did the bureau “spy” on the Trump campaign when it deployed an “informant” to pry information from Trump-campaign officials. As Mollie Hemingway pointed out at the time, Gowdy had not seen relevant documents the FBI and Justice Department have been withholding from Congress — in fact, his spokeswoman said he did not even know what documents and records have been subpoenaed by the House Intelligence Committee (on which Gowdy also sits).

This week, Gowdy did a 180: back on the warpath, slamming the politically biased Feebs over “prejudging” the outcomes of the Clinton-emails and Trump-Russia investigations and delivering a chest-beating vow that the House would “use its full arsenal of constitutional weapons to get compliance” with its subpoenas — a threat that includes holding recalcitrant FBI and DOJ officials in contempt.

Whatever.

If I seem frustrated by Representative Gowdy, it is the frustration of an admirer. He is singular among lawmakers in his ability to ask piercing questions and drive home important points. But often there is little follow-through after a hearing’s highlight reel, and some of the scintillating rhetoric is, well, extravagant. The House is most certainly not going to use its “full arsenal of constitutional weapons” to pressure stonewalling agencies.

The Framers intended that the most ready and effective weapon would be Congress’s power of the purse. Yet, given Republicans’ slim majorities and the dysfunctional legislative budgeting process, it would not be realistic to threaten a dramatic slashing of Justice Department and FBI funding — something that would actually get their attention. Nor is impeachment chatter an effective means of saber-rattling. Republicans could not muster the simple House majority necessary to file impeachment articles against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein or FBI director Wray, much less the Senate supermajority (two-thirds) needed to remove them. And don’t think Rosenstein and Wray can’t do the math.

Thus does the vaunted “full arsenal” quickly degrade to a possible contempt-of-Congress citation against these officials. The votes, however, are probably lacking for that, too. Even if they weren’t, it would be an essentially meaningless gesture of censure. Sure, an official held in contempt won’t much like it in the moment, but ask former attorney general Eric Holder if it cramped his contemptuous style in the slightest. Did it make a bit of difference in the Republican Congress’s futile quest for timely disclosure of Justice Department files on the Fast and Furious scandal?

Of course it didn’t, and for a very simple, nakedly political reason: President Obama protected his attorney general. While the GOP-controlled Congress was delighted to huff and puff about Holder in conservative media, it had no stomach to take on Obama.

In our system, the president runs the executive branch. If he sets the tone that cooperation with Congress is the order of the day, there is no occasion to grouse about non-compliance. If he tolerates or encourages the non-compliance, all the grousing in the world makes no difference — unless the grousing is aimed in the president’s direction and sustained to the point that it materially affects the president’s standing with voters.

Which brings us to the strange dynamic that has infected today’s inter-branch clash from the start.

Rosenstein and Wray work for Trump. And they are not Obama holdovers; they are Trump appointees. If they are defying Congress, it is because the president is permitting them to do so. Twitter tantrums and dark deep-state conspiracy theories don’t count; the president is empowered give his subordinates a direct order to comply with Congress’s demands, and to fire them immediately if they fail to do so. The president has the unilateral authority to disclose executive-branch files to lawmakers, including classified documents. Trump could have done this any time in the last 18 months.

This is the elephant in the room. Gowdy and his fellow GOP chairmen who are investigating the investigators — Devin Nunes (R., Calif.) of the Intelligence Committee and Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.) of the Judiciary Committee — say they are committed to using their “full arsenal of constitutional weapons”? Well, instead of impeachment threats, how about simply directing their complaints to the one and only executive official empowered to rectify the problem instantly?

The president and his staff have suggested that Trump must stay out of the fray because Special Counsel Mueller is investigating him for obstruction, and his political foes would accuse him of interfering in that investigation if he asserted himself. That is specious. As we’ve recently observed, the absence of any credible obstruction case is even more obvious after last week’s inspector-general report; the executive branch’s lawful compliance with Congress’s oversight demands cannot obstruct justice; and, as noted above, Trump has been harassing his underlings with tweets anyway — i.e., if putting pressure on the DOJ and FBI is the stuff of obstruction allegations, that ship has already sailed.

Moreover, the president has claimed to be the victim of the official misconduct that Congress is examining. These claims are colorable, to say the least — the IG report certainly illustrates pervasive anti-Trump bias. But they could also be exaggerated. We won’t know unless and until Congress is given the relevant information.

It is reasonable to ask whether President Trump is more interested in the political advantage of posing as a victim of Justice Department/FBI abuse than in exercising his legal authority to expose and address any abuse. And if the Republican Congress continues to portray the controversy as a battle only against truculent executive officials — as if these officials do not have a boss — it is fair to ask whether this dispute is about accountability or theater.

Also see:

Bombshell Moments from Day Two of the Inspector General’s Testimony

The Markets Work, by Jeff Carlson, June 20, 2018:

Day Two of the Inspector General’s Testimony proved far more crucial than Day One. Many new details were revealed.

The following are testimony highlights (tweet source links below):

  • IG Michael Horowitz has confirmed, under oath, that he is reviewing if FBI Agent Peter Strzok’s anti-Trump bias impacted the launch of the Russia probe.
  • Horowitz noted significant political bias “Almost everything we found was…anti-Trump”
  • FBI Agents were taking bribes from Reporters. “Over 50+ agents with 300+ interactions. We wanted to make this public.”
  • Horowitz noted the FBI was refusing to allow Anti-Trump Agents to be named, citing their employ by Counterintelligence. Horowitz later showed this to be false.
  • Obama’s email contacts with Clinton’s Server was noted.
  • Hillary Clinton was Not formally under FBI Investigation at any time in 2015-2016.
  • FBI never named a target or even subject in Clinton probe.
  • Horowitz noted that Bias may have influenced outcome of Clinton Investigation. “It could have and we don’t rule it out.”
  • Horowitz testified that the two unidentified biased FBI investigators assigned to the Mueller investigation have been removed. At least one of them was removed due to anti-Trump text messages.
  • Horowitz confirmed that an original draft of his 568-pp report was subsequently redlined by DOJ/FBI higher-ups.
  • Horowitz stated he’s no longer convinced the FBI was collecting all of Strzok’s and Page’s text messages. Many texts may be missing. An investigation into this is ongoing.
  • FBI Director Wray would neither confirm nor deny that AG Sessions has asked him to reopen some aspect of the Clinton email case.
  • Horowitz noted that one of the unidentified pro-Clinton FBI investigators referred for discipline was one of the agents who interviewed Hillary Clinton on July 2, 2016, along with Strzok. This could be Joe Pientka.
  • Mark Meadows noted possible editing of 302 summary reports. See Video towards bottom.
  • Horowitz confirmed that he is investigating allegations that FBI officials “edited” 302 summary reports of interviews with witnesses and suspects in the 2016-2017 investigations. This could include 302s involving Michael Flynn.
  • Meadows outed two of the unidentified anti-Trump, pro-Hillary FBI investigators referred for punishment by Horowitz. Both work for the general counsel of FBI, not in counterintelligence as the FBI claimed – as an excuse to w/hold their names. They are Sally Moyer and Kevin Clinesmith.
  • Meadows noted that both FBI attorneys work/worked for Trisha Anderson, then Office of Legal Counsel, FBI – not Counterintelligence.
  • Following the IG’s testimony it was reported that FBI Agent Strzok was escorted out of the FBI Building on Friday. See bottom.

Trey Gowdy led the questioning of IG Horowitz off for the second day. The following video contains Horowitz’s opening statement followed by Trey Gowdy’s questioning. A transcriptof Gowdy’s questioning is provided.

Gowdy begins at the 8:00 mark:

Read more

Also see:

Andrew C. McCarthy on Russiagate, Clinton-Trump Investigation Double Standards, Mueller’s Mandate, DOJ-FBI-CIA Politicization (Part II)

My Guest

Andrew C. McCarthy (@AndrewCMcCarthy) is senior fellow at the National Review Institute, contributing editor of National Review and author most recently of essential books on the threat of Islamic supremacism including Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the JihadThe Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America and Spring Fever: The Illusion of Islamic Democracy.

In Part II of my in-depth interview with Andy, we discussed Russiagate, the pervasive unethical and at times lawless behavior of law enforcement and the intelligence community with respect to Donald Trump and Russia versus Hillary Clinton and her e-mail server, the apparently limitless mandate of Robert Mueller’s special counsel, obstruction of justice and much more.

If you missed Part I of my conversation with Andy on his experience prosecuting the jihadist mastermind of the first World Trade Center attack and what it taught him about the Islamic supremacist threat America faces, the primacy of religion and why Islamic supremacists choose jihadist savagery over assimilation, willful blindness in American national security and foreign policy, folly in American foreign affairs from Syria to Libya, and the imperative to collapse the Khomeinist Iranian regime, be sure to catch up here.

What We Discussed

  • Russia’s historical attempts to “interfere” with U.S. elections, and its imperceptible impact on the 2016 U.S. presidential vote
  • McCarthy’s dissection of the double standard in the DOJ/FBI’s handling of its investigation of Hillary Clinton versus that of Donald Trump, and the unwillingness to bring Clinton to justice over Clinton Foundation impropriety if not worse and destruction of State Department emails
  • Former FBI Director James Comey’s monumental error in testimony on the counter-intelligence investigation implicating the Trump campaign that ultimately served as the basis for Robert Mueller’s special counsel
  • Mueller’s limitless special counsel mandate and brazen tactics against Paul Manafort
  • Politicization of law enforcement and the intelligence apparatus, and its detrimental long-term impact on American national security
  • How to root out corruption in the FBI, CIA and DOJ, and the suspicious if not lawless acts of Obama DNI Chief James Clapper and CIA Director John Brennan
  • The disingenuous nature of the Intelligence Community Assessment on Russian meddling in the 2016 election
  • The double standard in the treatment of Paul Manafort versus Hillary Clinton and her email server
  • McCarthy’s obliteration of the obstruction of justice theory
  • President Obama’s involvement in Russiagate

Full Transcript (go there for the audio also)

Also see McCarthy’s article at NRO yesterday: 

#Obamagate Raises the Question: Should We Repeal FISA?

Angelo Codevilla says yes. John Guandolo says no.

Jail the Guilty, Repeal FISA, at American Greatness by Angelo Codevilla, February 6, 2018

The House Intelligence Committee’s summary memo of highly classified FBI and Justice Department documents confirms what has been public knowledge for over a year: Some of America’s highest officials used U.S. intelligence’s most intrusive espionage tools to attempt to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, and then to cripple Donald Trump politically. Being of one mind with the rest of the Obama Administration and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, these officials acted symbiotically and seamlessly with them, regardless of any cooperation that may have existed.

The party-in-power’s use of government espionage to thwart the opposition violates the Fourth Amendment and sets a ruinous precedent. Having done so under color of law—specifically, the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)—makes it a lot worse.

Unfortunately, the summary memo—to say nothing of the Democrats’ and their kept media’s reaction to it—focuses largely on whether the FBI and Justice Department dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s as they obtained a warrant from the FISA court to do the spying. This misrepresents high crimes as merely technical violations. Worse, it risks leaving in place a law under which those in charge of the government may violate the basic tenets of American political life with reasonable hope of impunity.

FISA’s Origins
Prior to FISA, American intelligence agencies had done national security electronic surveillance under the president’s power as commander in chief of the armed forces. The president and his agents were responsible for doing it properly. I was part of the Senate Intelligence Committee staff that drafted FISA in 1978. The legislation was meant to answer complaints from leftists who sued the FBI and the National Security Agency after learning they had been overheard working against the United States during the Vietnam War. They wanted to extend the principle that no one may be surveilled without a court order to Americans in contact with foreigners.

But the main push for FISA, in fact, came from the FBI and NSA. Wishing to preclude further lawsuits, the agencies issued Congress an ultimatum: no more national security wiretaps unless each tap has the approval of a judge (thus absolving them of responsibility). FISA established a court to review warrant applications for national security electronic surveillance, in secret and without contrary argument. It commanded the agencies to observe procedural safeguards for the Americans involved.

I opposed FISA as a Senate staffer. I also argued against the legislation in an American Bar Association debate with Antonin Scalia, who was a professor at the University of Chicago Law School at the time. My view then and now is that the FISA court creates an irresistible temptation to political abuse and that officials would interpret any procedural safeguards accordingly.

The Memo Reveals a Bigger Problem
In what is arguably the key passage of the Nunes memo, the committee states:

Neither the initial application [for surveillance of the Trump campaign] in October 2016, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele’s efforts, even though the political origins of the Steele dossier [which was a basis for the application] were then known to senior DOJ and FBI officials.

If that’s true, then the officials who signed the applications—including FBI Director James Comey, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, acting Attorney General Sally Yates, then-acting Attorney General Dana Boente, and then-acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein—are guilty of misrepresenting material facts to a federal court. All of them belong in the slammer—for at least a little while.

And at some level, they know this. Hence the public relations campaign to downplay the crime. For example, the New York Times on February 2 quoted David Kris, who served as President Obama’s head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. According to Kris, if the FISA application merely told the court that “Mr. Steele’s research was motivated to undermine Mr. Trump’s campaign,” then “the FISA application would be fine.” Note well what narrow distinction, subject to a wide latitude of interpretation, supposedly separates a high crime from “that’s fine” under the law.

But the FISA court’s procedures and requirements—inherently subject to self-interested interpretation as they are—are of far less importance than the fact that FISA was a big mistake to begin with. The law removed responsibility for the substance of executive judgment from the shoulders of the very people who make such judgments.

Today, Comey, Rosenstein, and others may well believe their own claims that they were merely turning government’s neutral wheels and that the judges would judge. Nonsense. They decided to become partisans in the 2016 presidential campaign because they were as convinced as were countless others of their class that they had the right and the duty to protect America (and their place in it) from unworthy challengers.

Perhaps only their failure to dot the i’s and cross the t’s may make it possible for them to be jailed for their crime. But because their successors may be similarly motivated and more careful, it behooves us to erase doubt about who is responsible for electronic surveillance by repealing FISA.

***

FISA is a Constitutional & Needed Weapon in This War, by John Guandolo, Feb. 4, 2018:

With news full of reports about the fraudulent dossier used to obtain the FISA warrant to intercept communications of Carter Paige and the release of the memo last week, the following is provided to UTT readers to help them understand what it takes to obtain a FISA warrant, that FISA is constitutional, and that FISA is needed for the national security of America.

F.I.S.A. stands for the Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act, and was legislated by the U.S. Congress in 1978 to ensure American citizens were protected from overzealous government intrusion into their privacy in the name of “national security.”

The FISA Court provides a means for the U.S. government to collect on subjects of sensitive/classified investigations (counterintelligence and terrorism for example) without endangering sources and means of the investigation.

FISA judges are federal judges who have been confirmed by the U.S. Senate and chosen by the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Understanding the Threat’s President John Guandolo served as a Supervisor in the Counterterrorism Division at FBI Headquarters during his career in the FBI.  In that capacity, he was the affiant – one who swears to the veracity of an affidavit – in support of numerous FISA warrants.

When an FBI agent in the field needs a FISA warrant, he/she contacts their supervisor at FBI headquarters who acts as the affiant for the warrant.  The two work through the affidavit, sometimes over 100 pages long, until the FBIHQ Supervisor is satisfied the legal standard of Probable Cause is met and the facts are verified.

The FBIHQ supervisor works with a Department of Justice attorney, and the cover sheet for the affidavit must be signed off by a DOJ official.  The affidavit is also reviewed and signed off by the FBI Director or Deputy Director.

It is not unusual for the FBI supervisor and DOJ attorney to meet with the FBI Director over a weekend at his home while the Director reviews the affidavit, asks questions, and is satisfied the affidavit can go to the judge.

Then the FBI supervisor and DOJ attorney sit before the FISA judge who reads the affidavit and asks questions.  When the judge signs the affidavit, the technical process begins to intercept the subject of the investigation.

This entire process is legal, constitutional and an important tool in the national security toolbox for dedicated servants inside the government.

In the current case before us, FBI and Department of Justice leaders put forth an affidavit that – as the memo released last week makes clear – was fraudulent and the FBI knew it.  The dossier from Christopher Steele was fabricated and purchased by Hillary Clinton/DNC, and yet this information was not provided to the FISA judge during the initial application for the FISA warrant nor at any of the three times when the warrant was renewed.

In a vacuum, these actions are violations of federal law.  At a minimum, this is perjury and tampering with a federal election by those involved.

But it is much worse than that.

Robert Mueller’s investigation was predicated on a request for Special Counsel which did not allege any crime.  The FISA warrant for Paige was predicated on lies using a source known by the FBI to lack credibility (Steele).

In reality, these actions – efforts to tamper with a federal election and, now, undermine and overthrow a duly elected President of the United States – constitutes “Sedition.”

***

***

Also see:

Nunes memo raises question: Did FBI violate Woods Procedures?

Attkisson on New Strzok-Page Texts: What’s in the 5 Months of Messages We Haven’t Seen?

Grassley-Graham Memo: Dossier Author Christopher Steele Lied to FBI, FBI Didn’t Tell FISA Court

The Other Secret Dossier

Latest FBI Texts: ‘Hillbillys,’ ‘OUR Task,’ Obama ‘Wants to Know Everything’

BREAKING: Senate Homeland Committee drops BIG document dump on FBI’s Hillary email investigation [READ THEM HERE]

Exclusive — Rep. Paul Gosar: Obama’s Fast and Furious, Benghazi, IRS Scandals All Connected to DOJ, FBI Corruption in Trump Probe

Outraged About The FISA Court? Maybe You Should Think About Who Is Surveilling You

Breaking: All Contacts On Anthony Weiner’s FBI Confiscated Laptop Leak Including Clinton, Soros, Gore (Updated)

Center Occasional Paper Exposes a Perfect Storm of Threat

Center for Security Policy, Nov. 2, 2017

CENTER OCCASIONAL PAPER EXPOSES A PERFECT STORM OF THREAT: 
PORT CANAVERAL CONTAINER LEASE TIED TO RUSSIAN CLUB-K MISSILE SYSTEM

 (Washington, DC): A new Center for Security Policy Occasional Paper being released today picks up where our earlier December 2016 paper, “What Could Possibly Go Wrong?” left off. Additional research by the dogged and fearless team of Alan Jones and Mary Fanning now reveals exactly what could go wrong, with potentially catastrophic consequences for U.S. national security.

The original Occasional Paper broke the news that the family of Iraqi nuclear physicist Dr. Jafar Dhia Jafar – known as Saddam Hussein’s nuclear bombmaker – along with the Emir of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (UAE), had been awarded a 35-year lease for cargo container operations at Port Canaveral, Florida after two years of secret talks with the Obama administration. Jones and Fanning continued their research over the following months and now present their updated and even more alarming findings with this new report: “Perfect Storm: Project Pelican’s Gulftainer, Russia’s Club-K, KGB’s Primakov, North Korea, and the Architects of the Islamic Bloc and the Iran Nuclear Deal.”

There is a U.S. government inter-agency review board called the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) whose responsibility is to conduct a thorough review of any commercial acquisition of U.S. infrastructure or property by a foreign entity that may have national security implications. Unfortunately, during a five-year period from 2009-2014, the CFIUS staff chairperson was Aimen Nabi Mir, the son of a Pakistani immigrant from Kashmir with family connections to the Pakistani intelligence service and the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. As we now know, it was during this timeframe that both the Gulftainer lease and the Uranium One deal were permitted to go forward by CFIUS.

Thanks to the remarkable investigative efforts of Mr. Jones and Ms. Fanning, it has now come to light that the implications of the CFIUS failure appropriately to review the Port Canaveral Gulftainer deal go far beyond original concerns about this Middle East-based ports company acquiring such strategic access to all the container operations at this key port along Florida’s Atlantic coast. Indeed, Port Canaveral is near a number of important U.S. facilities—including the Navy’s East Coast ballistic missile submarine base, two U.S. Air Force Space Command bases and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Additionally, Port Canaveral and its container facilities are connected directly to rail and road lines that provide ready transportation access to the entire country.

“The Perfect Storm: Project Pelican’s Gulftainer, Russia’s Club-K, KGB’s Primakov, North Korea, and the Architects of the Islamic Bloc and the Iran Nuclear Deal” now reveals that the danger to U.S. national security may be exponentially more critical. Dr. Jafar Dhia Jafar worked closely with the Russians on Iraq’s full range of Weapons of Mass Destruction programs, including the nuclear one. He succeeded in designing a miniaturized nuclear warhead similar to the model that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un posed with earlier in 2017. Worse yet, Gulftainer, the Iraqi-UAE company that was allowed to obtain the Port Canaveral container facility lease, has entered into a joint venture with the Russian state-owned firm which owns 100% of the shares of Rosoboronexport, the exporter of the Club-K system.

The Club-K is a cruise missile launch system concealed in a container whose external appearance looks identical to standard ISO intermodal commercial cargo shipping containers. Inside each Club-K container, however, are four missiles which can carry biological, chemical, conventional, Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP), or nuclear warheads. The genius of the Club-K system is its ability to evade detection among the millions of shipping containers carried on ships, trains, and trucks all over the world, including inside the U.S. Now, the Russian maker of the Club-K has partnered with the Iraqi-UAE company headed by the nuclear mastermind who designed a nuclear warhead specifically to fit on the nosecone of the Club-K cruise missile. Also, Ras al-Khaimah (RAK), one of the seven UAE emirates, runs a shipping company in partnership with Iran, which essentially controls RAK’s main shipping port. And a broken and possibly corrupt CFIUS just gave them all access to a 35-year lease on the container facilities at one of America’s most critical ports.

A Perfect Storm, indeed.

The Center for Security Policy presents this extremely important Occasional Paper in hopes that those with responsibility to protect U.S. national security will awaken—and quickly—to the mortal peril this confluence of threats poses to our country.

In unveiling the Center’s new Occasional Paper, its president, Frank J. Gaffney, observed:

“This transaction is such an obvious threat to U.S. national security that it must be suspended, if not canceled outright, pending a fresh evaluation of its merits, a rigorous re-evaluation of the CFIUS decision-making process that allowed it to be approved, and an informed and thorough debate on Capitol Hill.”

“The Perfect Storm” is available for free in PDF format

***

Clare Lopez Facebook post on Jan. 23:

This one’s important, really important – US is vulnerable, right now, to a company that’s been given container facility access at Port Canaveral, FL…and that company is co-owned by the Emir of Sharjah (UAE) & the family of Saddam Hussein’s nuclear mastermind (yes, he actually did have WMD programs) – and that company, Gulftainer, is in a joint venture w/the Russian firm that makes/markets the Club-K – an ordinary-looking shipping container that conceals within 4 missiles that could be fitted w/any kind of warhead: nuclear, EMP, CW or BW – neither Congress nor the media has paid any attention to this story – need your help to bang on their doors!

Also see from The American Report:

CLUELESS: PORT CANAVERAL SECURITY DIRECTOR BAFFLED ABOUT GULFTAINER NUCLEAR MASTERMIND DR. JAFAR DHIA JAFAR; “I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT”

***

Clinton State Department silenced them on Benghazi security lapses, contractors say

Fox News, by Catherine Herridge Sept. 12, 2017:

EXCLUSIVE: Security at the State Department’s Benghazi compound was so dire that another contractor was brought in to clean up the mess just two weeks before the 2012 terror attack – and was later pressured to keep quiet by a government bureaucrat under then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to two men from the American security company.

Brad Owens and Jerry Torres, of Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions, say they faced pressure to stay silent and get on the same page with the State Department with regard to the security lapses that led to the deaths of four Americans.

They spoke exclusively with Fox News for “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” revealing new information that undermines the State Department’s account of the 2012 terror attack in Benghazi, where Islamic militants launched a 13-hour assault from Sept. 11-12 that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, foreign service officer Sean Smith and former Navy SEALS Ty Woods and Glenn Doherty.

Jerry Torres, CEO of Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions, shown here in Afghanistan.

Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions provides security for U.S. embassy and consulate personnel around the world in some of the most dangerous locations spanning Africa, the Middle East and South America, according to the firm.

Jerry Torres remains haunted by the fact specific bureaucrats and policies remain in the State Department after the Benghazi attack despite the change in administrations. “A U.S. ambassador is dead and nobody is held accountable for it. And three guys … all died trying to defend him,” said Torres, the company’s CEO and a former Green Beret.

Asked if there was a specific effort by a senior State Department contracting officer to silence them, Torres said, “Absolutely, absolutely.”

Owens, a former Army intelligence officer, echoed his colleague, saying those “who made the poor choices that actually, I would say, were more responsible for the Benghazi attacks than anyone else, they’re still in the same positions, making security choices for our embassies overseas now.”

In 2012, Owens was the American company’s point man in Libya with extensive experience in the region. After the death of Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi in the fall of 2011, Owens stressed to Fox News it was well-known that Islamic radicals including Al Qaeda-tied militias were pouring into the region and security “had deteriorated considerably.”

Based on documents reviewed by Fox News, Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions bid on the Benghazi compound security contract in the spring of 2012. But the State Department awarded the deal to a U.K.-based operation called The Blue Mountain Group.

Owens, who had personally visited the Benghazi compound to assess security, was shocked. “Blue Mountain U.K. is a teeny, tiny, little security company registered in Wales that had never had a diplomatic security contract, had never done any high threat contracts anywhere else in the world that we’ve been able to find, much less in high threat areas for the U.S. government. They had a few guys on the ground,” he said.

According to Torres, the Blue Mountain Group came in 4 percent lower than their bid – and they challenged the decision, claiming the American company should have been preferred over the foreign one.

Torres said State Department contracting officer Jan Visintainer responded that the State Department had the “latitude to apply” that preference or not.

And there was more: The Blue Mountain Group hired guards through another company who were not armed.

Problems soon arose. One month before the attack — in August 2012, with The Blue Mountain Group still in charge of compound security — Ambassador Stevens and his team alerted the State Department via diplomatic cable that radical Islamic groups were everywhere and that the temporary mission compound could not withstand a “coordinated attack.” The classified cable was first reported by Fox News.

By Aug. 31, 2012, the situation had deteriorated to the point that Owens and Torres said the State Department asked them to intervene – as Owens put it, an “admission of the mistake of choosing the wrong company.”

“They came back to us and said, ‘Can you guys come in and take over security?’ Owens said. “So we were ready.”

But Torres emphasized that time was against them, saying it would have taken two-to-three weeks to get set up.

Twelve days later, the ambassador was killed. Torres learned of the attacks by watching television. He called the circumstances leading up to the tragedy “bad decision-making from top to bottom.”

“There was nothing we could’ve done about it. If we’d had one month warning … who knows what might’ve happened,” Owens said.

In the chaotic days following that attack, the Obama White House blamed the attacks on an anti-Islam video and demonstration which was not accurate. As a former Green Beret, Torres was stunned: “Coming from a military background, I would expect the administration to tell the truth. So I bought into it for a minute. But I didn’t believe it in the back of my mind.” He said they later figured out the video was not the culprit. The attack was a coordinated terrorist assault which included a precision mortar strike on the CIA post in Benghazi.

But as the Obama administration and Clinton’s team struggled to answer questions about the attacks, Visintainer apparently took it one step further — summoning Jerry Torres from overseas to attend a meeting at her government office in Rosslyn, Va., in early 2013.

Torres took Fox News back to the Virginia office building where he recalled that day’s events.

“[Visintainer] said that I and people from Torres should not speak to the media, should not speak to any officials with respect to the Benghazi program,” he said.

Torres said he was afraid for his company – and hasn’t spoken publicly until now.

“We had about 8,000 employees at the time. You know, we just didn’t need that level of damage because these guys, their livelihood relies on the company,” he said. “I trust that our U.S. government is going to follow chain of command, follow procedures, follow protocols and do the right thing.”

Another part of that conversation stuck out to Torres. He said Visintainer told him “in her opinion, that guards should not be armed at U.S. embassies. She just made that blanket statement. … And she said that they weren’t required in Benghazi. So I was kind of confused about that. And she said that she would like my support in saying that if that came up. And I looked at her. I just didn’t respond.”

The State Department declined Fox News’ request to make Visintainer available for an interview, or have her answer written email questions.

The Blue Mountain Group did not immediately respond to questions from Fox News.

Torres and Owens said repercussions against their company continue to this day – and that of the 20 security force contracts they’ve bid on since that conversation, they’ve lost 18.

Torres and Owens are concerned another attack like the one in Benghazi could happen again because the same State Department employees responsible for the Benghazi contract remain in place and the contracting rules are outdated.

“In 1990, Congress passed a law that required contracts of this nature to go to the lowest bidder that’s technically acceptable,” Owens explained. “Now, what that has created is a race to the bottom, is what we call it. So basically, every company tries to cut every corner they can for these contracts.”

The men say they are hopeful that changes will come with the Trump administration’s promise to “drain the swamp.”

“Let’s just say there’s been a change at management at Department of State,” Owens said. “I feel now that, given that the politics has been taken out of the Benghazi situation, now that there’s no longer a candidate or anything related to it, a change of administrations, that actually, we have an opportunity here to fix the problems that made it happen.”

On the fifth anniversary, Torres said he thinks about the four families who lost a father, a brother or a son in the 2012 attack, and feels sorry “for not bringing this up earlier. For not actually being there, on the ground and taking care of these guys.”

Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.

Pamela K. Browne is Senior Executive Producer at the FOX News Channel (FNC) and is Director of Long-Form Series and Specials. Her journalism has been recognized with several awards. Browne first joined FOX in 1997 to launch the news magazine “Fox Files” and later, “War Stories.”

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House Judiciary Committee Calls for Second Special Counsel on Possible Comey Misconduct

FBI Director James Comey (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

PJ Media, by Patrick Poole, July 28, 2017:

Members of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter Thursday to Attorney General Jeff Sessions calling for a second special counsel to be appointed to address the possible misconduct of former FBI Director James Comey. The letter also asked for an investigation into other matters not covered by the scope of the current special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s attempts to influence last year’s presidential election.

The press release from the House Judiciary Committee states:

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Judiciary Committee Republicans today sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein calling for the appointment of a second special counsel to investigate unaddressed matters, some connected to the 2016 election and others, including many actions taken by Obama Administration officials like Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The letter follows yesterday’s House Judiciary Committee approval of H. Res. 446, as amended, to request documents pertaining to the FBI’s investigation of former Secretary Clinton.

In their letter, the Judiciary Committee members express concern that the directive given to Special Counsel Robert Mueller is narrow in scope and many concerns arising out of the 2016 presidential election and its aftermath are not being investigated. The members call for the appointment of a second special counsel to investigate grave concerns such as former Attorney General Lynch’s directive to former FBI Director Comey to mislead the American people on the nature of the investigation into former Secretary Clinton; the FBI and Justice Department’s investigative decisions related to the Clinton email investigation, including the immunity deals given to potential co-conspirators; selected leaks of classified information that unmasked U.S. persons incidentally collected upon by the intelligence community; and the FBI’s reliance on “Fusion GPS” in its investigation of the Trump campaign, among many others issues.

The full letter can be found here.

The letter lists as possible issues to be addressed by the second special counsel:

We call on a newly appointed special counsel to investigate, consistent with appropriate regulations, the following questions, many of which were previously posed by this Committee and remain unanswered:

  1. Then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch directing Mr. Comey to mislead the American people on the nature of the Clinton investigation;
  2. The shadow cast over our system of justice concerning Secretary Clinton and her involvement in mishandling classified information.
  3. FBI and DOJ’s investigative decisions related to former Secretary Clinton’s email investigation, including the propriety and consequence of immunity deals given to potential Clinton co-conspirators Cheryl Mills, Heather Samuelson, John Bentel and possibly others;
  4. The apparent failure of DOJ to empanel a grand jury to investigate allegations of mishandling of classified information by Hillary Clinton and her associates;
  5. The Department of State and its employees’ involvement in determining which communications of Secretary Clinton’s and her associates to turn over for public scrutiny;
  6. WikiLeaks disclosures concerning the Clinton Foundation and its potentially unlawful international dealings;
  7. Connections between the Clinton campaign, or the Clinton Foundation, and foreign entities, including those from Russia and Ukraine;
  8. Mr. Comey’s knowledge of the purchase of Uranium One by the company Rosatom, whether the approval of the sale was connected to any donations made to the Clinton Foundation, and what role Secretary Clinton played in the approval of that sale that had national security ramifications;
  9. Disclosures arising from unlawful access to the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) computer systems, including inappropriate collusion between the DNC and the Clinton campaign to undermine Senator Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign;
  10. Post-election accusations by the President that he was wiretapped by the previous Administration, and whether Mr. Comey and Ms. Lynch had any knowledge of efforts made by any federal agency to unlawfully monitor communications of then-candidate Trump or his associates;
  11. Selected leaks of classified information related to the unmasking of U.S. person identities incidentally collected upon by the intelligence community, including an assessment of whether anyone in the Obama Administration, including Mr. Comey, Ms. Lynch, Ms. Susan Rice, Ms. Samantha Power, or others, had any knowledge about the “unmasking” of individuals on then candidate-Trump’s campaign team, transition team, or both;
  12. Admitted leaks by Mr. Comey to Columbia University law professor, Daniel Richman, regarding conversations between Mr. Comey and President Trump, how the leaked information was purposefully released to lead to the appointment of a special counsel, and whether any classified information was included in the now infamous “Comey memos”;
  13. Mr. Comey’s and the FBI’s apparent reliance on “Fusion GPS” in its investigation of the Trump campaign, including the company’s creation of a “dossier” of information about Mr. Trump, that dossier’s commission and dissemination in the months before and after the 2016 election, whether the FBI paid anyone connected to the dossier, and the intelligence sources of Fusion GPS or any person or company working for Fusion GPS and its affiliates; and
  14. Any and all potential leaks originated by Mr. Comey and provide to author Michael Schmidt dating back to 1993.

Some will see this as a shot across the bow of current special counsel Robert Mueller to put some limits on perceived mission creep with his ongoing investigation.

One issue will be whether Attorney General Sessions’ recusal in the Russia investigation will limit his ability to appoint a second special counsel on unrelated matters. The thrust of the House Judiciary Committee letter seems to indicate they don’t believe it does.

Democrats may perceive a second special counsel as a corresponding threat of “mutual self-destruction” if the current investigation goes off course.

With Congress possibly leaving town tomorrow for the August recess, this could make for entertaining viewing during the congressional break.

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