FBI Investigators Are So Much Better Than Those At The State Department; Really?

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON TIMES)

In this July 7, 2016, file photo, FBI Director James B. Comey testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington before the House Oversight Committee to explain his agency's recommendation to not prosecute Hillary Clinton. In a letter from Comey released on Nov. 6, he tells Congress review of additional Clinton emails does not change conclusion she should not face charges. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)
In this July 7, 2016, file photo, FBI Director James B. Comey testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington before the House Oversight Committee to explain his agency’s recommendation to not prosecute Hillary Clinton. In a letter from Comey released on … more >
– The Washington Times – Monday, November 7, 2016

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Last year, the State Department said it would need about one year to comb through and release Hillary Clinton’s 30,000 emails, or the 55,000 work-related pages she handed over in March 2015. Yet, we’re to believe the FBI can evaluate roughly 650,000 emails in just eight days.

Either the FBI is incredibly efficient or — more likely — partisan politics has corrupted two departments in our executive branch.

In May 2015, the State Department said it would need until January 2016 to release all of Mrs. Clinton’s emails, which were stored on her private email server while she served as secretary of state. They proposed a date of Jan. 15, 2016, to go over all of the classifications, but were shot down by a U.S. District Court judge which suggested a rolling release.

The State Department did its best to slow-roll the process. When Jan. 15, 2016, came around, it asked for a one-month extension to release the emails because of “inclement weather.” The delay would ensure the releases were after the presidential primary.

An FBI probe into how the State Department dealt with Mrs. Clinton’s email review revealed how it had a “shadow government” working within State, specifically tasked with handling — and perhaps obstructing — the release of Mrs. Clinton’s emails.

“There was a powerful group of very high-ranking STATE officials that some referred to as ‘The 7th Floor Group’ or ‘The Shadow Government.’” the FBI’s interview summary said. “This group met every Wednesday afternoon to discuss the FOIA process, Congressional records, and everything CLINTON related to FOIA/Congressional inquiries.”

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In February, a federal judge expressed dismay with State and determined that the delays in releasing the remaining of Mrs. Clinton’s emails were unreasonable. On Feb. 29, all of Mrs. Clinton’s emails were released — almost a year after they were received.

But that doesn’t count emails from Mrs. Clinton’s aides, which were also requested. The State Department said it would take 75 years to go through those roughly 450,000 emails. Seventy-five years!

“Given the Department’s current FOIA workload and the complexity of these documents, it can process about 500 pages a month, meaning it would take approximately 16-and-⅔ years to complete the review of the [Cheryl] Mills documents, 33-and-⅓ years to finish the review of the [Jake] Sullivan documents, and 25 years to wrap up the review of the [Patrick] Kennedy documents — or 75 years in total,” the State Department argued in a filing this June.

Yet the FBI can get through 650,000 emails in eight days.

They can’t. It, too, is all political — and corrupt.

Eleven days before the election, FBI Director James Comey came under intense political fire after he decided to send a letter to Congress to inform them his agency was reopening Mrs. Clinton’s email case in light of new information.

The bombshell sent shock waves throughout the presidential campaign, and sent Mrs. Clinton’s poll numbers crashing.

A McClatchy-Marist Poll released Nov. 4 found a majority of voters believed Mrs. Clinton did something illegal, with 83 percent believing she did something wrong. Thirty-two percent said she did something unethical but not illegal and just 14 percent believed she’d done nothing wrong.

Mr. Comey was blasted by Mrs. Clinton’s team — and multiple members of the mainstream media — for trying to sway the presidential election. There were reports that FBI agents forced his hand, threatening open rebellion if he didn’t do it.

President Obama said in multiple interviews although Mr. Comey is a “good man,” he may have acted improperly in alerting the public he was reopening the case.

“I do think that there is a norm that when there are investigations, we don’t operate on innuendo, we don’t operate on incomplete information, we don’t operate on leaks,” Mr. Obama said in an interview with Now This News. “We operate based on concrete decisions that are made.”

So, Mr. Comey fell.

On Sunday — 48 hours before voters hit the voting booth — he said the FBI had reviewed the emails, and criminal charges wouldn’t be pursued.

There’s no wonder why Americans are skeptical of their federal institutions — they should be. It all needs to be burned down in order to be rebuilt.

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Bill And Hillary, Mr. And Mrs. Skanky Who Will Lie To Anyone, For A Dollar!

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WASHINGTON TIMES)

Illustration on Podesta email revelations about Hillary Clinton by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times
Illustration on Podesta email revelations about Hillary Clinton by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times 

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Hillary Clinton can’t bring change to Washington, D.C., and her closest advisers know it.

“She [Clinton] makes decisions based on polls, not principles and is beholden to the special interests in Washington,” a Democratic field-tested survey in the 2008 presidential race said. “If she is elected we will have the same kind of polarized politics that we have had for the past 15 years.”

The sentiment in the memo, which was released in a batch of John Podesta’s emails hacked by WikiLeaks, was the inspiration of one of Barack Obama’s most famous lines that primary season.

“She’ll say anything and change nothing. It’s time to turn the page,” Mr. Obama’s attack-ad said.

Mr. Podesta, who went on to become a counselor to Mr. Obama’s White House, along with Neera Tanden, who served as Mr. Obama’s domestic policy director after he won the nomination that year, still appear to believe this.

After Mrs. Clinton’s email server story broke in March 2015, Mr. Podesta and Ms. Tanden immediately knew who to place the blame on — Mrs. Clinton and her incredibly secretive posse of closest advisers.

“Speaking of transparency, our friends Kendall, Cheryl and Phillipe sure weren’t forthcoming on the facts here,” Mr. Podesta wrote in a March 2015 email, referring to Mrs. Clinton’s personal lawyer David Kendall and former State Department staffers and Clinton confidants Cheryl Mills and Philippe Reines on her email server set-up.

“Why didn’t they get this stuff out like 18 months ago? So crazy,” Ms. Tanden replied. Then answering her own question, wrote: “I guess I know the answer. They wanted to get away with it.”

Ms. Tanden is the president of the Center for American Progress (CAP), a progressive think-tank that Mr. Podesta helped found and lead before he stepped down in 2011. Ms. Tanden represents the progressive wing of the party and has a close relationship with Mr. Podesta, as they’re both veterans of the Obama and Clinton worlds.

It’s in Ms. Tanden’s emails where the most devastating character blows hit Mrs. Clinton.

“Her [Clinton‘s] instincts are terrible,” Ms. Tanden writes in one exchange. In another, complaining to Mr. Podesta about why Mrs. Clinton said at a rally she was a moderate Democrat rather than a progressive, she wrote: ‘[Clinton] doesn’t seem to know what planet we are all living in at the moment.’”

Indeed.

The only change Mrs. Clinton is promising in her campaign is to move more to the left. In the process of winning the Democratic nomination she adopted many of Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders’ more progressive positions, like the $15 minimum-wage, her stance against the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and subsidizing the cost of college education.

Yet, in the leaked emails, some of Mrs. Clinton’s closest aides demonstrate contempt for the more left-wing of the party, calling them “puritanical,” “radical,” “dumb,” and “freaks” who need to “get a life.”

She praises Wall Street and bankers in her paid speeches to them, and has collected more than $1 billion from special interests in this election cycle alone.

Doesn’t sound like Mrs. Clinton is too keen on changing after all.

In terms of cleaning up Washington corruption, well, Ms. Tanden admitted that was “dicey territory” for Mrs. Clinton to even comment on.

“This is a jump ball,” Ms. Tanden said, when asked if Mrs. Clinton should make a public statement on political corruption and government reform. “She may be so tainted she’s really vulnerable — if so, maybe a message of I’ve seen how this sausage is made, it needs to stop, I’m going to stop it will actually work. So maybe it requires harder charging.”

Even Colin Powell, who said he was going to vote for Mrs. Clinton this week (not a surprise given he didn’t support previous Republican nominees John McCain or Mitt Romney), thinks she’s anything but a change agent.

“A 70-year person with a long track record, unbridled ambition, greedy, not transformational, with a husband still d—king bimbos at home (according to the NYPD),” wrote Mr. Powell, describing Mrs. Clinton, and a July 26, 2014 email to Democratic donor Jeffrey Leeds.

“Everything HRC touches she kind of screws up with hubris,” Mr. Powell added, according to his emails obtained by the Website DC Leaks.

“Unbridled ambition.” “Tainted.” “Instincts terrible.” “Doesn’t seem to know what planet we are all living in.” “Not transformational.”

With friends like these, who needs enemies? In private, they understand Mrs. Clinton is the very embodiment of the status quo. In public, however, they’re trying to sell the American public a different bag of goods.

Good luck.

Kelly Riddell is a columnist for The Washington Times.

Turkey’s President Erdogan Blasts U.S.-Led Campaign Against Islamic State

 

While Defense Secretary Ashton Carter prepared for his trip to Turkey, a senior Iraqi general on Wednesday called on Iraqis fighting for the Islamic State to surrender as a wide-scale operation to retake Mosul entered its third day. Story.
– The Washington Times – Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter will be walking into diplomatic buzz saw Thursday when he arrives in Turkey a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan launched a blistering critique of the U.S.-backed campaign to oust the Islamic State group from neighboring Iraq and demanded a bigger role for Turkish military forces.

Mr. Erdogan’s remarkable outburst was the latest sign of difficulties the Obama administration faces in keeping the various members of its regional coalition pushing in the same direction in the fight to oust the Islamic State from its strongholds in Iraq and Syria and find a way to end Syria’s bloody civil war.

The Obama administration has long sought to control Turkish involvement in the Iraq fight amid fears of a clash with American-aligned Kurdish forces near Mosul, but Mr. Erdogan threatened Wednesday to take unilateral action ifTurkey’s interests were threatened by chaos spilling from the battle to reclaim Iraq’s second-largest city.

“From now on, we will not wait for problems to come knocking on our door, we will not wait until the blade is against our bone and skin, we will not wait for terrorist organizations to come and attack us,” Mr. Erdogan said in a fiery speech from his presidential palace in Ankara.

His comments prompted concern among U.S. officials already wary about a series of provocative moves by Mr. Erdogan that analysts say have been driven — at least in part — by a desire to pressure Washington into giving Turkey its way against Syrian and Iraqi Kurds. Mr. Carter’s visit will also be his first to Ankara since a failed military coup nearly ousted Mr. Erdogan and his ruling AKP party from power this summer.

While Turkey remains a major NATO ally, Mr. Erdogan raised eyebrows in the West last week when he suddenly invited Russia to bid on providing his nation with its first-ever long-range air and anti-missile defense system.

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The Pentagon declined to comment Wednesday on whether Mr. Carter will raise the issue during his visit to Turkey. But it is likely to add to the thick tension over the Kurdish issue. Turkey has long battled the separatist Kurdish PKK movement in its south and fears an independent Kurdistan across the border in Iraq will only inflame the fight.

The Obama administration has relied on Kurdish militias to fight the Islamic State in both nations, but the Erdogan government views many of them as terrorists no less threatening than the group that has held Mosul and other territory in northern Iraq and Syria for the past 2 years.

Erdogan is trying to leverage political gain, and he wants Turkish troops in northern Iraq,” said Michael Rubin, a scholar with the American Enterprise Institute and a former Pentagon official.

“He clearly wants to be in Mosul,” Mr. Rubin said Wednesday. “He wants Turkish boots on the ground so he can help determine the future of what happens there.”

Muscling the Pentagon?

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim made headlines Tuesday by claiming the country had reached an agreement with U.S. commanders to allow Turkish fighters to carry out airstrikes in Mosul against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS and ISIL.

Turkish F-16 fighters based out of Incirlik Air Base, near the country’s southern border with Iraq, would execute airstrikes in Mosul under the command of the country’s military command node in Kuwait, Mr. Yildrim told the Hurriyet Daily News. The Iraqi government of Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has protested Turkish military actions inside its borders.

Mr. Erdogan reiterated the claim regarding Turkish air operations over Mosul, saying Baghdad “thought they could keep us out of Mosul by bothering us with the PKK and [the Islamic State].”

He said Iraqi leaders strove to “shape our future with the hands of terrorist organizations.”

U.S. defense officials told The Washington Times on Wednesday that no such agreement had been reached withAnkara on military air operations in Mosul.

“It’s not true,” one defense official said, noting there had been only one instance of Turkish aircraft entering Iraqi airspace — a surveillance drone — since the country’s forces deployed to northern Iraq.

Additionally, Russia has warned Turkish forces advancing through the Syrian border town of Jarablus to halt their advance south or risk being targeted by Russian aircraft operating in the country, the official added. Russia is allied with Syrian President Bashar Assad, a longtime adversary of Turkey.

Even if a military coordination deal included Turkey, it would require Iraq to sign off because any offer of foreign military support in the campaign against the Islamic State needs Baghdad’s approval, a second U.S. defense official told The Times.

Army Maj. Gen. Gary Volesky, commander of U.S. and coalition land forces in Iraq, said at the Pentagon on Wednesday that there were no orders directing Turkish fighters to take part in the fight for Mosul.

Roughly 300 to 400 Turkish soldiers are stationed at a small training camp outside Bashiqa, northeast of Mosul. Reports say smaller Turkish units are scattered across the city’s northern and eastern borders.

Turkish units have been training and equipping Sunni militias in the region, preparing them to defend against any threats posed by Kurdish members of the People’s Protection Unit, also known as the YPG, the armed faction of the Kurdish Workers’ Party in northern Iraq. Ankara considers the group to be on par with the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations.

U.S.-Turkish ties in the fight against the Islamic State began to fray in June, when Washington rebuffed an offer byTurkey to conduct joint operations to retake the strategically critical northern Syrian district of Manbij.

Since then, U.S. diplomats and defense officials have repeatedly tried to engage with their Turkish counterparts to quell any tensions among Washington, Baghdad and Ankara, the second defense official said.

But Pentagon officials say Mr. Erdogan’s recent tough talk is aimed less at the U.S. and Mr. Carter than at concerns over the fallout once the Islamic State is driven from Mosul. The caustic rhetoric coming out of Ankara over the past several weeks did not start “until [Mr. al-Abadi] announced the operation” to retake Mosul, one official added.

Footsie with Moscow

Turkey’s demand for a role in the Mosul fight has overshadowed its outreach toward Russia, which has generated growing concern among officials in Washington.

According to a Defense News report, Mr. Erdogan made the surprising move last week to invite Moscow to bid on a contract to provide a long-range air and anti-missile defense system for Turkey — three years after Ankara disqualified a Russian bidder.

Turkey’s pursuit of the system has been bumpy since 2013, when Ankara took bids from U.S., French and Chinese companies before selecting the China Precision Machinery Import-Export Corp. to provide the air defense architecture.

But the deal with the Chinese was suddenly canceled amid heated criticism from Washington and other NATO allies.

One American official who spoke on the condition of anonymity Wednesday said U.S. officials were warily monitoring Mr. Erdogan’s call for a Russian bid ahead of Mr. Carter’s visit.

However, the official suggested that the Obama administration thinks it is highly unlikely that the Turks will go through with deal with the Russians.

“Obviously, we were concerned three years ago when Turkey decided to try to buy an air defense system from China,” said the official. “So we walked them off of that, telling them that if they were interested in getting an air defense system that could be interoperable with NATO and linked to intelligence aspects of the NATO network, then they would have to buy a NATO system, not a Russian or Chinese system.”

While the official lamented that the Turks have “invited the Russians to bid again,” they added that “there’s a big difference between Turkey doing things for optics and actually signing contracts.”

But Turkey’s overtures toward Russia may be more than just posturing, Mr. Rubin said.

“On one hand, Erdogan is trying to leverage political gain,” he said, but Turkey appears poised to take “a turn away from NATO.”

Mr. Erdogan, he noted, went out of his way after this summer’s failed coup to fire scores of Turkish military officials “simply because they had experience working with NATO.”

In addition to Turkey, the Pentagon said, Mr. Carter will stop in the United Arab Emirates, France and Belgium to meet with “key partners in the campaign to deliver [Islamic State] a lasting defeat.” He plans a major speech on the future of NATO next week in Brussels.

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