You may recall our Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed on July 14th that obtained documents in August from the CIA regarding the results of the CIA's detainee interrogation program, including a June 3, 2005, report entitled "Detainee Reporting Pivotal for the War Against Al-Qa'ida." Well last week we received two different versions of this report from the CIA.
Here's what's interesting about these two new versions of the report, dated June 1, 2005, and July 12, 2005, – they contain different information from the June 3rd version we previously released.
Notably, the June 1, 2005, report makes the strong statement that "Detainee reporting accounts for more than half of all HUMINT reporting on al-Qa'ida since the program began…" This key fact is missing from the other two later versions. The June 1, 2005, report also has additional pages of redacted material.
Even with the differences, however, all three reports conclude: "One of the gains to detaining the additional terrorists has been the thwarting of a number of al-Qa'ida operations in the United States and overseas." (The previously released June 3, 2005 report notes "…detainees in mid-2003 helped us build a list of approximately 70 individuals – many of whom we had never heard of before – that al-Qa'ida deemed suitable for Western operations.")
Vice President Cheney himself sought the documents in response to actions taken by President Obama last March. Obama ignored objections from national security officials and released documents detailing the government's enhanced interrogation program of terrorists (the so-called "torture" memos). President Obama initially withheld information detailing the results of this program, including alleged terrorist plots that the program prevented. This is the information that Cheney had sought and now Judicial Watch has provided to the public for the first time.
We got involved after it became clear that the Obama administration would not release the documents in a timely fashion. Only last week was the specific June 1, 2005, report that Vice President evidently sought released to Judicial Watch. Vice President Cheney had said all along these documents would show the effectiveness of enhanced interrogation techniques that were used on some detained terrorists, such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Abu Zubaydah.
Detainee interrogations were effective and have helped save lives in the United States and overseas. President Obama clearly didn't want you to know it, and that's why his administration initially cherry picked documents for release that supported his view while withholding others. We're just glad we were able to provide the American people with more of the truth about the effectiveness of terrorist detainee interrogations.
I have some more news for you regarding that controversial conference call set up in August by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to encourage artists to create pro-Obama propaganda.
Last week, I provided some excerpts from internal NEA correspondence demonstrating the White House's role in coordinating the conference call (first uncovered by www.BigGovernment.com). Specifically, we uncovered some emails between former NEA Communications Director Yosi Sergant and former actor and current Associate Director of the White House Office of Public Engagement, Kalpen Modi (Harold and Kumar, House, etc.) The emails show that The Corporation for National and Community Service, which runs the AmeriCorps program, was represented during the call. The agencies and the White House were supposedly promoting the administration's United We Serve political initiative.
Well here's one headline from this new batch of documents: The whole idea for the NEA propaganda effort evidently grew out the Obama campaign! The emails, which include the actual conference call invitation, also detail the controversial policy agenda that was being promoted.
Here are some excerpts from the documents uncovered by Judicial Watch:
July 28, 2009, 4:47 pm, Email from unknown Obama campaign activist to Yosi Sergant, former NEA Communications Director: "It was good to see you a few weeks ago in Washington. After our conversation, I thought it would be a really good idea to convene via a conference call some significant tastemakers/producers who can support United We Serve. As many of us contributed our services to the campaign, I would love to gather some of those folks to use their enthusiasm to get behind the President's very important service initiative. Here are some people who I think should be part of the call. [Names redacted.]"
August 6, 2009, Conference Call Invitation sent via email by Yosi Sergant: "A call has come in to our generation. A call from the top. A call from a house that is White. A call that we must answer. And to answer it, we need you…United We Serve is President Obama's call to service challenging all Americans to engage in sustained, meaningful community service. With the knowledge that ordinary people can achieve extraordinary things when given the proper tools, President Obama is asking us to come together to help lay a new foundation for growth, focusing on core areas of the recovery agenda – health care, energy and environment, safety and security, education, community renewal."
August 6, 2009, 9:46 pm, Email from Unknown to Yosi Sergeant: "How can I get down Yosi? I'm working with [redacted] doing brand consulting and event production for [redacted]. Love to see how we could collaborate our corporate funds with what you're working on."
August 12, 2009, 3:30 pm, Follow-up Email from Unknown participant to Yosi Sergant: "As per a suggestion on the call, below is a list of action items that might be helpful to inspire an idea on how you can participate in the campaign…Ex) If you are a graphic designer tap into your professional network and organize other designers to create a series of United We Serve posters that can be featured in print, through social media and on serv.gov. Ex) If you are a DJ, tap into your professional network and organize other DJs to promote Serve.gov or a specific local opportunity on the radio or at a club."
The documents also detail the use of the 9/11 anniversary as a vehicle for this political effort.
Yosi Sergant was forced to resign once the scandal broke. But the resignation of one lowly Obama administration official doesn't come close to full accountability. Think about it. The Obama administration used tax dollars to promote political "art" for the Obama big government agenda – and it had the support of the White House. This is a violation of the public trust. And it makes me wonder what other programs are ongoing within the Obama administration that misuse tax dollars for political gain.
Believe it or not, we expect another late Friday document dump on this topic from the Obama administration – so be sure to read here next week about what is a quickly developing scandal.
Corruption on the Minds of Voters Once Again
On Tuesday, Republicans bounced back from defeat last November to win a few key races, including the governorship in New Jersey where Republican Chris Christie knocked off incumbent Democrat Jon Corzine. The political class is busy reading the political tea leaves, groping for a sense of meaning in the results. So what issues topped the minds of the voters and might play a role in the mid-term elections next year? Obviously the economy and taxes figured big in Tuesday's election results in New Jersey, but not far behind on the list…corruption.
This according to The Washington Post:
Republican Chris Christie, who decisively defeated incumbent Democrat Jon S. Corzine Tuesday to become New Jersey's next governor, said he was prepared to face the economic turmoil that propelled him to victory…
Christie, a former U.S. attorney who also made fighting corruption in state politics a theme of his campaign, finished with 48.8 percent of the vote to Corzine's 44.6, a margin of almost 100,000 votes with 99 percent of precincts reported. It was a powerful Republican victory in a state that President Obama carried a year ago by 15 points, and where Christie was outspent by perhaps 3 to 1.
..The incumbent (Corzine) was saddled with approval ratings in the low 30s and fallout for the financial downturn that had him cutting the state budget and reneging on a vow to reduce property taxes for most residents. New Jersey voters leaving polling places Tuesday ranked the issues as their top priorities. Corruption ranked third, an indicator of support for Christie, who trumpeted his record of prosecuting public officials.
The fact that the corruption issue influenced these off-year elections is not altogether surprising. You may remember back in 2006, during the last mid-term elections, according to CNN.com, "when asked which issue was extremely important to their vote, more voters said corruption and ethics in government than any other issue, including the war, according to national exit polls." Democrats did well that time around.
I'm often asked by reporters if corruption matters at election time. My response is that it does if you're on the wrong end of the issue. Any politician running for office next year would do well to pay attention this issue. And any party seeking success at the ballot box would do well deal swiftly with the politician crooks in their midst.
Veterans Day next week will be all the more significant because of the murders yesterday at Ft. Hood. Judicial Watch is thankful for the service of all of our veterans (a few of whom we're pleased to have working with us at Judicial Watch). And I know we have a significant number of veterans who are supporting members. Judicial Watch is happy to honor the sacrifice and service of our nation's veterans.
Tom Fitton – President
Judicial Watch is a non-partisan, educational foundation organized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue code. Judicial Watch is dedicated to fighting government and judicial corruption and promoting a return to ethics and morality in our nation's public life. To make a tax-deductible contribution in support of our efforts and to access the embedded links please go to: www.JudicialWatch.org