Tag: Aides

Big Surprise! Hitlery Aides’ BlackBerrys Likely Destroyed

Clinton Aides’ BlackBerrys Likely Destroyed – The Hill

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State Department BlackBerry devices issued to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s aides Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin have likely been destroyed or sold off, the department said in a court filing on Wednesday.

Mills and Abedin “were each issued BlackBerry devices,” department Executive Secretary Joseph Macmanus wrote in the filing.

The department, however, “has not located any such device,” and believes that they would have been destroyed or removed from the department’s control.

“Because the devices issues to Ms. Mills and Ms. Abedin would have been outdated models, in accordance with standard operating procedures those devices would have been destroyed or excessed,” Macmanus added.

State Department spokesman John Kirby confirmed later on Wednesday afternoon that the two former officials’ devices were returned to the department after they left office.

“They belong to the United States government, and when you leave an agency you just turn it in,” Kirby said. “So yes, they were turned in. Where they are now I couldn’t begin to tell you.

“It’s also likely, because this was a while ago, that those devices may have been destroyed,” he added. “I don’t have the records of it because they were old and outmoded and often times we purchase new devices” in those circumstances.

In the same court filing, the State Department confirmed its previous claim that Clinton used a personal BlackBerry during her time in office that was not issued by the federal government.

The State Department “does not believe that any personal computing device was issued by the department to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and has not located any such device at the department,” Macmanus wrote.

News of the Clinton aides’ devices adds to the growing scrutiny on the Democratic presidential front-runner and two of her top advisors, both of whom have been drawn into the fire surrounding the Clinton email furor.

The criticism has been a major drag on Clinton’s presidential campaign, and has provided a nearly endless supply of ammunition to her critics – including some Democrats.

Wednesday’s filing came as part of a lawsuit from the conservative organization Judicial Watch, which is looking for documents related to Abedin’s employment arrangement while she served in the State Department.

“The questions just keep popping up,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “Every time the State Department tries to justify its stonewalling, one more bit of information arises.”

A hearing in the case before the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia is scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

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Leftist Corruption Update: Hillary’s Aides Emailed Her About Benghazi From Their Private Email Accounts

Hillary Clinton’s Aides Reportedly Emailed Her About #Benghazi From Their Personal Email Accounts – Weasel Zippers

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Via Buzzfeed:

Hillary Clinton’s top aides used their personal email accounts to correspond with her about the attack in Benghazi while she was Secretary of State, the New York Times reported Monday.

That detail comes after Clinton, earlier this month, held a news conference to address questions about her use of her personal email account to conduct official business while she was in office. During that event, she said “vast majority of my work emails went to government employees at their government addresses, which meant they were captured and preserved immediately on the system at the State Department.”

Critics said the likely presidential contender’s use of her personal email account may prevent official records from becoming public. Clinton’s email was run from its own server out of her New York state home, and she has said that she deleted thousands of emails she deemed personal.

About 300 emails have been turned over to the Congressional committee investigating the Benghazi attack, the New York Times reported. Some of those emails, according to people who saw them and described them to the Times, showed Clinton and her staff reacting as the Obama administration’s explanation of what happened in Benghazi changed from a “spontaneous” attack – as then-United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice called it – to a planned act of terrorism.

Jake Sullivan, Clinton’s foreign policy adviser, kept her updated on the developments, the Times reported:

Two weeks after that first email assessing Ms. Rice’s appearance, Mr. Sullivan sent Mrs. Clinton a very different email. This time, he appeared to reassure the secretary of state that she had avoided the problems Ms. Rice was confronting. He told Mrs. Clinton that he had reviewed her public remarks since the attack and that she had avoided the language that had landed Ms. Rice in trouble.

“You never said ‘spontaneous’ or characterized their motivations,” Mr. Sullivan wrote.

Hilarious, so she’s not responsible for what her effective understudy, Susan Rice did in her place, in their view. That she didn’t answer questions on the Sunday shows because she was “too tired”.

Actually, Mr. Sullivan, Hillary did characterize the motivation.

About 10:00 p.m.: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issues a statement confirming that one State official was killed in an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Her statement, which MSNBC posted at 10:32 p.m., made reference to the anti-Muslim video.

Clinton: Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.

Subsequently, over the next few days, she continued to refer to the video.

When meeting the bodies of the dead with the family, she lied to the families, saying that the government was going to “arrest the man behind the video” which, of course, they went on to do.

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Corruption Update: Hillary’s Top State Department Aides Used Private Emails Too (Video)

Hillary’s Top Two Aides Used Personal Email At State Department – Weekly Standard

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Stephen F. Hayes reported on Fox News that Hillary Clinton’s top two aides, Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills, used personal emails while working for the secretary of state at the State Department:

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“Two of Hillary Clinton’s top aides used personal email while they were employed at the State Department, Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills. Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff. The State Department has evidence of this.

“And the question I think become: were they emailing with Hillary Clinton from their personal email addresses to her personal email address about State Department business, about Benghazi, including sensitive classified information?Those are questions that I think that Trey Gowdy and the House Benghazi committee is going to want to look at very carefully.”

Hayes went on to explain, “This is the key point. Yesterday, she said look, when I was doing State Department business I was emailing to people who on the receiving end of her emails had .gov email addresses and therefore the emails, the documents would have been retained. What this suggests is that others were using non-.gov emails, their personal emails, and if they communicated with her in that manner those emails with her will be lost unless they’re compelled to provide them.”

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Panic Hits D.C. As Lawmakers And Their Aides Realize That ObamaCare Is Going To Screw Them Too

Obamacare? We Were Just Leaving… – Politico

Dozens of lawmakers and aides are so afraid that their health insurance premiums will skyrocket next year thanks to Obamacare that they are thinking about retiring early or just quitting.

The fear: Government-subsidized premiums will disappear at the end of the year under a provision in the health care law that nudges aides and lawmakers onto the government health care exchanges, which could make their benefits exorbitantly expensive.

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Democratic and Republican leaders are taking the issue seriously, but first they need more specifics from the Office of Personnel Management on how the new rule should take effect – a decision that Capitol Hill sources expect by fall, at the latest. The administration has clammed up in advance of a ruling, sources on both sides of the aisle said.

If the issue isn’t resolved, and massive numbers of lawmakers and aides bolt, many on Capitol Hill fear it could lead to a brain drain just as Congress tackles a slew of weighty issues – like fights over the Tax Code and immigration reform.

The problem is far more acute in the House, where lawmakers and aides are generally younger and less wealthy. Sources said several aides have already given lawmakers notice that they’ll be leaving over concerns about Obamacare. Republican and Democratic lawmakers said the chatter about retiring now, to remain on the current health care plan, is constant.

Rep. John Larson, a Connecticut Democrat in leadership when the law passed, said he thinks the problem will be resolved.

“If not, I think we should begin an immediate amicus brief to say, ‘Listen this is simply not fair to these employees,’” Larson told POLITICO. “They are federal employees.”

Republicans, never a fan of Democratic health care reform, are more vocal about the potential adverse effects of the provision.

“It’s a reality,” said Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas). “This is the law… It’s going to hinder our ability with retention of members, it’s going to hinder our ability for members to take care of their families.” He said his fellow lawmakers are having “quiet conversations” about the threat.

Alabama Rep. Jo Bonner said the threat is already real, especially for veteran lawmakers and staff. If they leave this year, they think they can continue to be covered under the current health care plan.

“I’ve lost one staffer who told me in confidence that he had been here for a number of years and the thought of losing the opportunity to keep his health insurance on Dec. 31 [forced him to leave]. He could keep what he had and on Jan. 1 he would go into that big black hole,” said Bonner, who had already planned his resignation from Congress. “And then I’ve got another staff member that I think it will be a factor as she’s contemplating her future.”

Lawmakers and aides on both sides of the aisle are acutely aware of the problems with the provision. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) have discussed fixes to the provision. Boehner, according to House GOP sources, believes that Reid must take the lead on crafting a solution. Since Republicans opposed the bill, Boehner does not feel responsible to lead the effort to make changes.

The Affordable Care Act – signed into law in 2010 – contained a provision known as the Grassley Amendment, which said the government can only offer members of Congress and their staff plans that are “created” in the bill or “offered through an exchange” – unless the bill is amended.

Currently, aides and lawmakers receive their health care under the generous Federal Employee Health Benefits Program. The government subsidizes upward of 75 percent of the premiums for the health insurance plans. In 2014, most Capitol Hill aides and lawmakers are expected to be put onto the exchanges, and there has been no guidance whether the government will subsidize those premiums. This is expected to cause a steep spike in health insurance costs.

There have been many options for fixing the problem discussed throughout the year, including administrative fixes and legislative tweaks. One scenario seen as likely on Capitol Hill would have OPM simply decide that the government could still subsidize insurance on the exchanges.

House Democratic leadership says the issue must be resolved.

“The leadership has assured members that fixing this issue is a top priority,” said one Democratic leadership aide. “This issue must be fixed by administrative action in order that the flawed Grassley Amendment’s spirit is honored and all staff and members are treated the same.”

It could be politically difficult to change this provision. The provision was put in the bill in the first place on the theory that if Congress was going to make the country live under the provisions of Obamacare, the members and staff should have to as well.

The uncertainty has created a growing furor on Capitol Hill with aides young and old worried about skyrocketing health care premiums cutting deeply into their already small paychecks. Some longtime aides and members of Congress, who previously had government subsidized health care for life, are concerned that their premiums will now come out of their pension.

If their fears are borne out, the results could be twofold. Some junior staff will head for the private sector early while more seasoned aides and lawmakers could leave before the end of the year so they can continue under the old plan.

Several lawmakers said departures could run the gamut from low-level staff to legislative aides, to senior aides and lawmakers. Capitol Hill is an attractive workplace for politically ambitious college graduates, but a core of Capitol Hill aides stick around for decades, serving as institutional knowledge, and earning prized retirement packages.

OPM, which administers benefits for federal employees, is expected to rule in the coming months on how congressional health care is to be administered.

OPM did not respond to a request for comment.

More than a dozen senior aides interviewed by POLITICO about the issue declined to be named out of fear for future job prospects. The problem is most acutely felt at the staff level, where aides make between $35,000 and roughly $170,000 and budgetary problems have all but stopped pay increases and bonuses. Lawmakers have questioned leadership aides about the future of their health care.

“Between the constant uncertainty surrounding sequestration, and the likelihood aides will soon be paying for the subsidy portion of their health care coverage, congressional office budgets are being squeezed once again, and it’s causing a lot of concern amongst chiefs of staff regarding how to best handle the situation,” said one chief of staff to a senior Democratic member of the House. “Do we give raises to junior level aides so they can afford to pay for their higher health care costs, and if so, where do we find the funds to do so? Additionally, leadership has been relatively silent in terms of providing guidance to offices, which is frustrating.”

There are other ways that aides can fully avoid this problem. If they’re married, they can join their spouse’s health care plan. If they are 65, they can go on Medicare.

But the focus right now is centered on lawmakers trying to figure out how to offset potential increases in premiums.

“I know other members are doing the same thing in terms of what we can do to offset [premiums],” Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.) said. “You are particularly limited now because of course we’ve had the cuts in the [member office allowances] on top of this. You just don’t have a lot of options.”

Cole added, “A lot of the staff stays on largely because of the benefit levels and particularly if you’ve got people with families and it’s extraordinarily important to them… it’s just not right.”

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