by Tom Fitton –
As I previously reported to you, Barack Obama would admit thousands of refugees from the center of the terrorist storm in the Middle East without any serious background security checks rather than listen to the American people, who oppose the refugee proposal in large and bipartisan numbers. Obama’s plan to spend your tax money to bring 10,000 refugees from Syria to the United States is moving full speed ahead. Congress, which went through the motions of showing outrage but today, with overwhelming Republican support, voted to fund fully this dangerous policy.
As both Congress and this president betray the safety and security of the American people, you can trust Judicial Watch to step into the breach as best we are able. To that end, JW just filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking records between the U.S. Department of State and its “voluntary agency” partners about the controversial refugees arriving in the United States. The Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeks documents that detail much of the federal spending and other details about the refugee program.
The lawsuit was filed after the State Department failed to respond to two comprehensive FOIA requests submitted on May 22, 2015, and September 14, 2015.
The FOIA request submitted on May 22, 2015, seeks records of:
• All Cooperation Agreements for the years 2014 and 2015 between the Department of State and the voluntary agencies involved in providing reception and placement services to refugees arriving in the United States.
• All Reception and Placement abstracts for the years 2014 and 2015 furnished to the Department of State by voluntary agencies, entities subcontracting to voluntary agencies, or entities affiliated with voluntary agencies regarding the provision of reception and placement services to refugees arriving in the United States.
• All transcripts of hearings held in 2014 and 2015 by the Department of State with representatives from voluntary agencies, entities subcontracting to voluntary agencies, entities affiliated with voluntary agencies, the Department of Health and Human Services, and/or the Office of Refugee Settlement regarding the provision of reception and placement services to refugees arriving in the United States.
• All comments submitted to the State Department by members of the public at the hearings identified in Bullet 3 above.
• All records reflecting the number of refugees, their countries of origin, and destinations in the United States in which they were settled by the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) through R&P programs for the years 2013, 2014, and 2015.
The second FOIA request, submitted September 14, 2015, seeks records of:
• All records regarding a meeting held on August 25, 2015 in Spartanburg, South Carolina between representatives from the State Department’s Office of Refugee Resettlement and/or Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, and representatives from the non-profit organization known as World Relief. Records sought shall include, but not be limited to, notices of the meeting, meeting agenda, transcripts, recordings, materials presented by World Relief, multimedia presentations, abstracts, contracts and any other materials.
I provide these details to show that your JW aims to leave no stone unturned in our investigation of the Obama administration’s Refugee and Resettlement program which plans to bring an additional 10,000 Syrian refugees to the United States in 2016, and even more in 2017. Obama is pressing ahead with his plan even as Syrian refugees have been implicated in the Paris terrorist attacks in which 129 people were killed and 350 were wounded.
The Obama administration is working in conjunction with The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to settle these individuals all across the U.S. The federal government contracts with non-profits and other entities to settle and provide financial payments to refugees. Many states are refusing to participate in this refugee resettlement program after the world learned how vulnerable they were to terrorist/refugees in the Paris terrorist attack. To see if your state is on the list of objectors, click here for a map.
We are also asking about World Relief, who is one of the federal contractors that settles refugees in South Carolina. South Carolina’s governor and other elected officials recently objected to any attempt to settle Syrian refugees there. A number of Somalian refugees or their children have left the United States to fight for ISIS. One of these refugees is reportedly tied to the San Bernardino terrorist attack and many refugees have already been arrested on terrorism charges.
The U.S. plans to spend $1.56 billion on resettlement in fiscal 2015 – up from $587 million a decade ago. Among other benefits, each refugee will receive $1,000 in spending money once they are here.
The Obama administration doesn’t want Americans to know about how it places refugees from terrorist states in their local communities. The fact we had to file a federal lawsuit to obtain basic information about Obama’s dangerous refugee plans should tell Americans (and Congress) that the Obama administration has something to hide about refugees, terrorism, and national security.
On a related note, we broke news of a concerning story that suggests that politics seems to always trump public safety in the Obama administration. Our Corruption Chronicles blog broke another major border security story this week. I share it below in full:
A Middle Eastern woman was caught surveilling a U.S. port of entry on the Mexican border holding a sketchbook with Arabic writing and drawings of the facility and its security system, federal law enforcement sources tell Judicial Watch.
The woman has been identified as 23-year-old Leila Abdelrazaq, according to a Customs and Border Patrol (CPB) report obtained by JW this week. Abdelrazaq appeared to have two accomplices, a 31-year-old man named Gabriel Schivone and a 28-year-old woman named Leslie Mcafee. CBP agents noticed the trio “observing the facilities” at the Port of Mariposa in Nogales, Arizona on December 2. Schivone was first noticed inside the entrance of the pedestrian area while the two women stood outside by the entry door, the CPB document states.
When federal officers asked Abdelrazaq why she was drawing sketches of the facilities she “stated because she’s never been to the border,” according to the CBP report. Abdelrazaq resisted showing officers the sketchbook, citing personal reasons, but subsequently handed it over. “During the inspection of the Abdelrazaq sketching book, CBPOs noticed the book contained writings in English and Arabic language,” federal officers write in the document. “There were drawings of what appeared to be vehicle primary inspection area and an additional drawing of pedestrian turn stile gate depicting video surveillance cameras above the gate.” The report proceeds to reveal that the drawings were “partial and incomplete.”
This distressing information comes on the heels of two separate-and equally alarming-incidents in the same vicinity. A few weeks ago JW reported that five young Middle Eastern men were apprehended by the U.S. Border Patrol in Amado, an Arizona town situated about 30 miles from the Mexican border. Two of the men were carrying stainless steel cylinders in backpacks, alarming Border Patrol officials enough to call the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for backup. DHS officially denies this ever occurred, but law enforcement and other sources have confirmed to JW that the two men carrying the cylinders were believed to be taken into custody by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
Of interesting note is that only three of the men’s names were entered in the Border Patrol’s E3 reporting system, which is used by the agency to track apprehensions, detention hearings and removals of illegal immigrants. E3 also collects and transmits biographic and biometric data including fingerprints for identification and verification of individuals encountered at the border. The other two men were listed as “unknown subjects,” which is unheard of, according to a JW federal law enforcement source. “In all my years I’ve never seen that before,” a veteran federal law enforcement agent told JW.
A week earlier six men-one from Afghanistan, five from Pakistan-were arrested in nearby Patagonia, a quaint ranch town that sits 20 miles north of the Mexican border city of Nogales. Federal authorities publicly confirmed those arrests after local media learned about them. JW has broken a number of stories involving serious terrorist threats on the southern border that have been disputed on the record by various Obama administration officials. Among these is an April report-confirmed by high-level Mexican authorities-about ISIS operating camps near the U.S. border in areas known as Anapra and Puerto Palomas west of Ciudad Juárez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua.
Last fall JW was the first to report on an Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) plot orchestrated from Ciudad Juárez to attack the U.S. with car bombs or other vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED). As a result of JW’s reporting Ft. Bliss, the U.S. Army base in El Paso, increased security. The threat was imminent enough to place agents across a number of Homeland Security, Justice and Defense agencies on alert. A few weeks later JW reported that four ISIS terrorists were arrested by federal authorities and the Texas Department of Public Safety in McAllen and Pharr.
JW supporters should be proud this week. Through its lawsuits and independent investigations, Judicial Watch is doing the work of Congress, the media, and – yes – even the Executive Branch in the key areas of border security, national security, and counter-terrorism.
Email Records Show Hillary Clinton
Ignored Concerns About Security of Internet Devices
The Clinton machine and its media mouthpieces would have you think that a presidential debate or primary contest is only the “trial” Hillary Clinton has to face. Incredible new documents this week show that she ought to face another sort of trial for her email games and related national security breaches at the State Department. This week, Judicial Watch released new documents, obtained as the result of a federal court order, containing more than 50 State Department internal emails from 2009 and 2011 warning of serious security concerns involving the use of “highly vulnerable” Blackberries by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her staff in the executive offices of the Foggy Bottom headquarters.
Keep in mind what this means for our nation’s security. An un-secured Blackberry or other Internet device (iPhone, iPad, etc.) are vulnerable to all sorts of hacking that could create opportunities for hostile foreign powers and non-state actors.
The new State records included a March 2, 2009, internal memorandum from Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security Eric Boswell entitled “Use of Blackberries on Mahogany Row,” in which he strongly advised that the devices not be allowed. According to the Boswell memo, sent to then-Secretary of State Clinton and her Chief of Staff Cheryl Mills, “the vulnerabilities and risks associated with the use of Blackberries in Mahogany Row [seventh floor executive offices] considerably outweigh their convenience.” Clinton has admitted she used a Blackberry during her early days in office despite Boswell’s memo with explicit written objections.
When Boswell’s internal memo was issued on March 2, 2009, it strongly warned of the security risks involved in the use of Blackberries by Clinton and her staff:
INFORMATION MEMO FOR CHERYL D. MILLS – S
FROM: DS – Eric J. Boswell
SUBJECT: Use of Blackberries in Mahogany Row
Our review reaffirms our belief that the vulnerabilities and risks associated with the use of Blackberries in the Mahogany Row [REDACTED] considerably outweigh the convenience their use can add to staff that have access to the classified OpenNet system on their desktops. [RECACTED] We also worry about the example that using Blackberries in Mahogany Row might set as we strive to promote crucial security practices and enforce important security standards among State Department staff.
I cannot stress too strongly, however, that any unclassified Blackberry is highly vulnerable in any setting to remotely and covertly monitoring conversations, retrieving e-mails, and exploiting calendars.
Leaving no doubt that Clinton was fully aware of the deep security concerns surrounding the Blackberry security issue early on, a March 11, 2009, email reads, “After this mornings ‘management meeting’ with the A/Secys, Secretary Clinton approached Ambassador Boswell [United States Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security] and mentioned that she had read the IM and that she ‘gets it.’ Her attention was drawn to the sentence that indicates we (DS) have intelligence concerning the vulnerability during her recent trip to Asia.” [Emphasis in original]
The internal State Department debate over the use by Clinton and her staff of “Electronic Devices on the 7th Floor” emerges again in a February 9, 2011, email from an unidentified source to State Department Director of the Office of Physical Security Programs Gentry Smith and Senior Coordinator for Security Infrastructure, Bureau of Diplomatic Security Donald Reid, in which the source advised: “I wanted to share with you, back channel, a little insight into current thinking in the Secretary’s inner circle on technology issues…” That same day, Reid responded by acknowledging the “vulnerabilities of portable devices” and saying he would expand the discussion to include Clinton chief of staff Cheryl Mills who wanted “to correct urban myths… re other agencies.” Reid did not clarify what “urban myths” Mills apparently wanted to clear up.
March 2, 2011 Reid writes: “We have a DS Memo to S re malicious cyber activity directed toward Dept seniors that is circulating in final clearance….”
By the way, we first asked for these documents way back in March, soon after the New York Times first reported on Clinton’s email shenanigans. We wanted to know who approved her use of an iPad or iPhone for government business and we wanted the back and forth about the use of “unauthorized” electronic devices for government business. Rather than comply with the law, the State Department stonewalled us. So we sued on April 29 and a federal court ordered the documents produced to us. We only received these key documents last month.
These new State Department emails are devastating. The emails show Hillary Clinton knew about but ignored national security warnings concerning the use of Blackberries and other unsecure computing systems. These new emails ought to be of interest to the FBI and federal prosecutors, as the emails show that her mishandling of classified information and violations of federal records laws was far from innocent.
As you can see in the next story, Judicial Watch will be keeping the pressure on.
Judicial Watch Sues for Info
on Team Hillary at State Department
Earlier this week, we announced the filing of a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia seeking ethics and employment records of Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin, the longtime and ethically-challenged aides of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The lawsuit was filed after the State Department failed to comply with a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request submitted on August 18, 2015. Judicial Watch is seeking access to the following records on Mills:
• All SF-85s and 85Ps; SF-86s; SF-450s; certificates of divestiture; individual waivers or any other applicable ethics statues, regulations, guidelines or agreements.
A separate FOIA request, submitted on August 19, 2015, seeks access to Abedin’s and Mills’ OF-109 forms, which are signed, under penalty of perjury, by departing government employees stating they have turned over all official documents and records to the State Department. The OF-109 form records are not limited to classified material. It requires that all records must be left in the hands of the State Department, including emails.
The other documents Judicial Watch requests, such as the SF-85 form, are filled out by incoming government employees, detailing past work history, education, and references. Other Judicial Watch litigation forced Clinton to admit that Abedin used Clinton’s email system to conduct government business, leading to both Abedin and Mills turning over thousands of emails from non-governmental accounts to the State Department for review and disclosure to Judicial Watch. Emails uncovered from Abedin’s account described Clinton as “often confused.”
And Hillary Clinton’s cover-up expert Cheryl Mills is in the middle of another major Hillary Clinton scandal. Judicial Watch previously released documents revealing that between 2009 and 2011 former President Clinton spoke to more than two dozen leading international investment firms and banking institutions, many of them on more than one occasion. At least one of the documents shows that Mills used a non-governmental email account for the Clinton ethics reviews. Mills reportedly negotiated the “ethics agreement” on behalf of the Clintons and the Foundation that required the Clintons to submit to rigorous conflict-of-interest checks. Despite this, and in apparent violation of Obama administration ethics rules, the documents reveal that Bill Clinton’s requests for speaking engagement approval were invariably copied to Mills, who was involved in ethics reviews as chief of staff for Mrs. Clinton at the State Department.
The Washington Post reported that Mills was unpaid for her first few months at the State Department, “officially designated as a temporary expert-consultant – a status that allowed her to continue to collect outside income while serving as chief of staff.” Isn’t that convenient, especially as the Post notes that Mills work involved a project funded by the foreign government of Abu Dhabi and:
is another example of how Clinton as secretary allowed close aides to conduct their public work even as they performed jobs benefiting private interests. Another key Clinton aide, Huma Abedin, spent her last six months as Clinton’s deputy chief of staff in 2012 simultaneously employed by the Clinton Foundation, the family’s global charity, and a consulting company with close Clinton connections. Similarly, Mills remained on the Clinton Foundation’s unpaid board for a short time after joining the State Department.
Mills confirmed her “unpaid” arrangement at the State Department to the Benghazi Committee, which included acting as an Envoy to Haiti (another nation repeatedly plundered by Clinton corruption).
Separate Judicial Watch FOIA litigation raised questions about whether Abedin received an illegal patronage job from Clinton’s State Department. Records forced out of the State Department reveal Abedin failed to produce important financial and employment information as required by law before obtaining her position as a special government employee (SGE) in 2012.
Our new FOIA lawsuit is making news. This is how the Daily Caller reported on these latest developments:
Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuits against the Department of State are piling up fast thanks in part to non-profit transparency cop Judicial Watch, which said Wednesday it is going to court to force release of federal employment documents of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s two closest aides.
This new lawsuit should be news. The State Department is breaking federal transparency law to provide cover for Mrs. Clinton and those who are now working for the Clintons: Huma Abedin, vice chairwoman of the campaign; and Cheryl Mills, Clinton’s counselor and a member of the board of directors for the Clinton Foundation. It shouldn’t take untold months and a federal lawsuit to get the Obama administration to turn over a dozen forms about top officials. This is another cover-up.
Tom Fitton – President