Tag: information

Inspector General: Hitlery Wrecked State Department’s Post-9/11 Digital Information Security

Clinton Wrecked State Department’s Post-9/11 Digital Information Security – Daily Caller

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Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server to conduct official diplomatic business created many national security problems, but they may pale by comparison with the wreckage she left behind in her department’s main digital information security office.

Harold W. Geisel, the State Department’s acting Inspector General, issued eight scathing audits and investigation reports during Clinton’s tenure, repeatedly warning about worsening problems and growing security weaknesses within the Bureau of Information Resource Management, according to a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation.

Geisel’s critical comments about the deficiencies throughout IRM carry additional weight since he was not considered an “independent” IG. Watchdog groups noted Geisel had served as a U.S. Ambassador for Hillary’s husband, President Clinton, and had never been confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

In fact, President Obama did not nominate an IG to the State Department during Clinton’s entire term. It was only in September 2013 that the Senate finally confirmed Geisel’s successor, Steve Linick, who currently occupies the the post.

After Clinton left the State Department in 2013, Linick quickly undertook remedial action to save the IRM. Barely two months after his Senate confirmation, he issued a “management alert” to State Department leadership, warning that IRM’s languishing security deficiencies since 2010 were still there.

“The department has yet to report externally on or correct many of the existing significant deficiencies, thereby leading to continuing undue risk in the management of information,” Linick said.

A spokesman for the Clinton campaign did not respond Sunday to a request for comment.

Clinton put Bryan Pagliano, her 2008 presidential campaign IT director, in the IRM in early 2009 as a “strategic advisor” who reported to the department’s deputy chief information officer. Pagliano had no prior national security experience or a national security clearance.

One of Pagliano’s jobs while working at the IRM was overseeing Clinton’s private email account and server. He recently refused to testify before Congress about his work for Clinton, citing his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

The IRM was established in 2002 by then-Secretary of State Colin Powell after the 9/11 Commission identified failure among government agencies like the FBI, CIA, Department of Defense and the State Department to exchange anti-terrorist intelligence. Powell and his successor, Condeleeza Rice, built the IRM to ensure secure communications among all U.S. embassies and consulates.

As Clinton entered the State Department, the IRM was the central hub for all of the department’s IT communication systems.

Geisel explained IRM’s primary role in one report, noting its “personnel are responsible for the management and oversight of the department’s information systems, which includes the department’s unclassified and classified networks” and “handles all aspects of information security for the department’s intelligence systems.”

Clinton instead allowed the IRM to degenerate into an office without a mission or strategy, according to multiple IG reports issued during and after her four years as the nation’s chief diplomat.

The seriousness of Clinton’s failure was summarized in a 2012 audit that warned, “the weakened security controls could adversely affect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information and information systems” used by U.S. officials around the world.

Geisel’s July 2013 inspection report issued after Clinton’s departure was so damning that the IRM became the butt of caustic comments throughout the IT world.

Network World, an IT review site, for example, headlined one of its articles on the issue with “FAIL: Your Tax Dollars at Play: the US State Department’s Bureau of Information of Resource Mis-Management.” The article charged that the IRM had become “a total joke.”

Another news outlet told its readers that the editors would “like to be able to tell you what the IRM does, but a new report from the Office of Inspector General concludes that it doesn’t really do anything.”

IRM “is evidently an aimless, over-funded LAN party with no real boss or reason to exist,” concluded reporter Jordan Brochette when the 2013 IG report was released.

Scott Amey, general counsel for the Project on Government Oversight, reviewed the IG reports for DCNF and concluded that “State’s IT security record is littered with questionable management, insecure systems, poor contract oversight, and inadequate training. The State IG’s reviews show a pattern of significant deficiencies and few, if any, corrections.”

Geisel issued his first audit of IRM in November 2009, eight months into Clinton’s term. It also was the first audit issued after Pagliano arrived at the bureau. Geisel identified many serious IT security deficiencies that year. Unfortunately, most of the problems would continue to be uncorrected throughout Clinton’s term.

One troubling observation early in Clinton’s secretaryship was that the IG found the State Department and even embassy chiefs of mission suffering from a lack of IT security training, including the lack of “security awareness training.”

The lack of IT security awareness by top State Department officials may partly explain why Clinton and her top aides saw no problems with the use of a personal email server.

Geisel also warned in late 2009 that at the IRM, he found “there were no Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for managing IT-related security weaknesses.”

In an audit about IRM in February 2010, the IG reviewed how well IRM officials were implementing Secretary Rice’s 2007 modernization and consolidation progam.

It was in this 2010 audit that the first hints emerged of poor management at the IRM. Geisel concluded the bureau’s leadership failed to satisfy vulnerable IRM field staff deployed at embassies and consulates. He called them IRM’s “customers.”

The IG “found a significant level of customer dissatisfaction among bureaus about the quality and timeliness of IT services after consolidation.”

In November 2010 Geisel issued yet another warning about shortcomings within IRM. In this report, the IG repeated that IRM “needed to make significant improvements” to address “security weaknesses,”

Once again, he emphasized that IRM had failed in providing mandatory “security awareness training” to all top security personnel. He also noted a failure to require all contractors to undergo mandatory security authorization.

“The department did not identify all employees who had significant security responsibilities and provide specialized training,” the IG charged.

The IG discovered other worrisome problems in 2010. It found officials failed to provide corrective patches for security problems in a third of the cases examined by his office. The IG also pointed to more than 1,000 “guest” IT accounts within the department’s IT systems that could provide entry paths for hackers.

Geisel further reported that the IRM had 8,000 unused email accounts and that department officials never changed the passwords on 600 active email embassy and consulate accounts.

There were also “24 of 25 Windows systems tested [that] were not compliant with the security configuration guidance.”

The damning IG reports continued in July 2011 when Geisel detailed serious problems afflicting a new IRM program called eDiplomacy that Clinton unveiled earlier that year.

Geisel was blunt: “eDiplomacy lacks a clear, agreed-upon mission statement that defines key goals and objectives. With the absence of performance measurement process, management has few means to evaluate, control, budget, and measure the success of its projects.”

Geisel painted an alarmingly negative assessment in a November 2011 audit on the IRM’s overall information security program. Specific details were redacted but the report warned for the first time of “additional security breaches,” saying “we identified weaknesses that significantly impact the information security program controls. If these control weaknesses are exploited, the department could be exposed to additional security breaches. Collectively, these control weaknesses represent a significant deficiency.”

If the breaches weren’t quickly fixed, the consequences would be harmful to “the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information and information systems.”

The IG noted in this 2011 audit that a relatively new program called OPNET suffered from nearly 10,000 defective user accounts that could be breached by hackers.

Geisel also identified another flaw in the audit – the failure of IRM officials to do “continuing monitoring” of Oracle for “control weaknesses.” Oracle is the department’s most widely used internal database management system.

A November 2012 audit repeated the earlier IG audi that with the mounting IRM deficiencies, “the department could experience security breaches. Collectively, the control weaknesses represent a significant deficiency, as to enterprise-wide security.”

The same report again pointed out that, under Clinton, IRM “had not fully taken corrective action to remediate all of the control weaknesses identified in the FY 2011 report. The weakened security controls could adversely affect the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information and information systems.”

The November 2012 report again noted that training lagged and at times was non-existent. Among the positions that had not received IRM training were the department’s Chief of Mission, a deputy assistant secretary, information management specialists, information technology specialists and security engineers.

Again Geisel noted that within the bureau,“we found that all 46 employees had not taken the recommended role-based security-related training course in the [six month] time-frame, as recommended in the Information Assurance Training Plan.”

Another area of repeated failure was risk management. “The department’s risk management program for information security needs improvement at the system level.”

Geisel’s final – and most denunciatory – report on the IRM was issued in July 2013 and focused on Clinton’s final year in the department.

The report said that after years of deteriorating service, the IRM no longer performed a vital role in the department, with many of its duties usurped by other offices or simply ignored. The bureau “does not have a lead role in most of the functions it does perform and, for the most part, only compiles information generated by others,” Geisel concluded.

The IRM “does not have a mission statement outlining a vision for the office,” and “no document provides a clear connection between the work of IRM and the high-level goals outlined by the Chief Information Officer in the department’s IT Strategic Plan for FYs 2011-13.”

Under Clinton’s watch, new technologies and even social media were ignored by IRM, Geisel said, in the 2013 report that, “IRM policies do not mention the latest technologies and efforts within the department. For example, there is little mention and guidance for handling social media.”

And after four years under Clinton, the systems overseen by the IRM were still not considered user friendly.

“System owners described IRM tools as difficult to use and not user-friendly. Many commented that the tools would lock up while entering content, requiring information to be reentered. System owners attempted to share their frustrations with IRM, but to no avail.”

Perhaps Geisel’s most surprising criticisms, however, were that the “IRM is not engaged with IT strategic planning in the department,” and many of the department’s IT regulations had not been updated since 2007.

The State Department IG also compiled five classified audits of the IRM during Clinton’s tenure that were never made public.

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Special Intelligence Review Confirms Hitlery Had Top Secret Nuke Information On Private Email Server

Second Review Says Classified Information Was In Hillary Clinton’s Email – New York Times

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A special intelligence review of two emails that Hillary Rodham Clinton received as secretary of state on her personal account – including one about North Korea’s nuclear weapons program – has endorsed a finding by the inspector general for the intelligence agencies that the emails contained highly classified information when Mrs. Clinton received them, senior intelligence officials said.

Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign and the State Department disputed the inspector general’s finding last month and questioned whether the emails had been overclassified by an arbitrary process. But the special review – by the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency – concluded that the emails were “Top Secret,” the highest classification of government intelligence, when they were sent to Mrs. Clinton in 2009 and 2011.

On Monday, the Clinton campaign disagreed with the conclusion of the intelligence review and noted that agencies within the government often have different views of what should be considered classified.

Mrs. Clinton’s work-related emails from when she was secretary of state are slowly being released by the State Department.

“Our hope remains that these releases continue without being hampered by bureaucratic infighting among the intelligence community, and that the releases continue to be as inclusive and transparent as possible,” said Nick Merrill, a campaign spokesman.

John Kirby, the State Department spokesman, echoed Mr. Merrill.

“Classification is rarely a black and white question, and it is common for the State Department to engage internally and with our interagency partners to arrive at the appropriate decision,” he said in a statement. “Very often both the State Department and the intelligence community acquire information on the same matter through separate channels. Thus, there can be two or more separate reports and not all of them based on classified means. At this time, any conclusion about the classification of the documents in question would be premature.”

The intelligence review is the latest development in continuing reverberations over Mrs. Clinton’s use of only a private email account for her public business when she was secretary of state, which gave her some control over what was made public. She faced criticism when the account became known this year, and after deleting what she said were more than 31,000 personal messages turned over more than 30,000 work-related emails for the State Department to make public.

Mrs. Clinton has said that her emails contained no information that was marked classified – having classified information outside a secure government account is illegal – and that she is fully cooperating with an F.B.I. investigation to determine who at the State Department may have passed highly classified information from secure networks to her personal account. She herself is not a target of the investigation.

I. Charles McCullough III, the inspector general for the intelligence community, found the two emails containing what he determined was “Top Secret” information in the course of reviewing a sampling of 40 of Mrs. Clinton’s work-related emails for potential security breaches.

The senior intelligence officials briefed on the findings of the review spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to jeopardize their access to sensitive information.

President Obama signed an executive order in December 2009 that defined “Top Secret” as information that if disclosed could “reasonably” be expected to cause “exceptionally grave damage to national security.”

In the months after the disclosure, Mrs. Clinton and her campaign were unequivocal in their stance that there was no classified information on it. But after it was revealed in August that the F.B.I. was investigating how classified materials were handled in connection with the account, Mrs. Clinton’s aides began saying that she never sent or received anything that was classified at the time.

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Leftist Corruption Update: Federal Judge Orders IRS To Disclose White House Requests For Taxpayer Information

Federal Judge Orders IRS To Disclose WH Requests For Taxpayer Info – Washington Free Beacon

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A federal judge on Friday ordered the Internal Revenue Service to reveal White House requests for taxpayers’ private information, advancing a probe into whether administration officials targeted political opponents by revealing such information.

Judge Amy Berman Jackson of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia rejected the IRS’s argument that a law designed to protect the confidentiality of such information protected the public disclosure of such communications with the White House.

The law, 26 U.S. Code § 6103, was passed after the Watergate scandal to protect citizens from retribution by federal officials. Jackson scoffed at the administration’s claims that the statute could be used to shield investigations into whether private tax information had been used in such a manner.

“The Court is unwilling to stretch the statute so far, and it cannot conclude that section 6103 may be used to shield the very misconduct it was enacted to prohibit,” Jackson wrote in her order.

The decision was a victory for Cause of Action, the legal watchdog group that sued the IRS in 2013 seeking records of its communications with the White House and potential disclosure of confidential taxpayer information.

The group called the decision “a significant victory for transparency advocates” in a Friday statement

“As we have said all along, this administration cannot misinterpret the law in order to potentially hide evidence of wrongdoing,” said Dan Epstein, the group’s executive director. “No administration is above the law, and we are pleased that the court has sided with us on this important point.”

The lawsuit came after Treasury’s inspector general for tax administration, the IRS’s official watchdog agency, revealed that it was investigating whether Austan Goolsbee, the White House’s former chief economist, illegally accessed or revealed confidential tax information related to Koch Industries.

The corporation’s owners, Charles and David Koch, are prominent funders of conservative and libertarian groups that often oppose the White House’s policy priorities.

Goolsbee “used Koch Industries as an example when discussing an issue noted in the [President’s Economic Recovery Board] report that half of business income goes to companies that do not pay corporate income tax because they are pass-through entities and that many of them are quite large,” the White House said in 2010.

His apparent knowledge of Koch’s tax history, detailed during a conference call with reporters, “implies direct knowledge of Koch’s legal and tax status, which would appear to be a violation” of federal law, said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, at the time.

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State Department Finds Another 150 Of Hitlery’s Emails That Contain Classified Information

Report: State Department Finds Another 150 Hillary Emails Containing Classified Info – Daily Caller

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The latest batch of Hillary Clinton emails set to be released by the State Department Monday evening include 150 which contain now-classified information, a spokesman for the agency has confirmed.

Through two mass releases so far – one in June and another last month – the State Department retroactively classified 63 emails Clinton sent or received during her tenure as secretary of state.

That’s in addition to several others which the Intelligence Community inspector general discovered contained information that was classified as “top secret” at the time they were sent.

During a daily press briefing Monday afternoon, State Department spokesman Mark Toner confirmed that approximately 150 of the 7,000 emails that will be released contain information that has been “upgraded” to classified. He said that while State Department staffers are still processing the emails before publishing them online Monday night, none of the emails are believed to contain information that was classified at the point of origination.

Toner said that the new release puts the State Department ahead of a schedule mandated by a federal judge in May.

“We’re producing more documents than we have in the previous three releases,” said Toner. U.S. district court judge Rudolph Contreras ordered the agency to release Clinton’s emails on a graduated schedule at the end of each month.

Clinton has downplayed the existence of classified information in her 30,000-plus emails. When the scandal over her use of a private email account and private server first broke in March, she maintained that none of her emails contained classified information. She has since altered that claim by saying that none of the emails that traversed her server contained information that was marked classified when originated.

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Your Daley Gator Hitlery Clinton News Roundup

Hillary Discussed Highly Sensitive Information, Now Classified “Secret,” On Her Private Email, As We Predicted – Andrew C. McCarthy

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Well, you heard it here first.

Today, the State Department released Benghazi-related email from the private server and one of the (at least) two private email accounts on which former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton conducted official business – recklessly and in violation of laws and guidelines relating to the exchanging and preservation of electronic communications. Within hours, the Obama administration was forced to concede that at least one of the emails contained classified information.

Mrs. Clinton has previously and dubiously claimed that she did not discuss classified information on her private email account(s). Despite today’s disclosure, she is standing by that claim as, apparently, is the State Department. Her rationale is that the information in question – which relates to suspects in the Benghazi attack and remains highly sensitive ­- was not classified “secret” at the time of the email exchange. Instead, it was upgraded to “secret” status just today by the FBI, which was plainly alarmed at the prospect of its disclosure.

I warned about this situation back in March, when Mrs. Clinton’s violation of federal laws and guidelines in connection with using private email to conduct official business first surfaced. The problem with the rationalization offered by Mrs. Clinton and the administration is twofold.

First, at the time of the Benghazi attack, Mrs. Clinton was secretary of state and an old hand at dealing with classified information. She thus had to have known at the time of the communication in question that information of the type she was dealing with should have been classified as “secret” even if it had not been so classified yet. Obviously, the FBI instantly recognized the significance of the information upon learning that it was about to be disclosed.

Second, it is frequently the case that highly sensitive information is not classified (or not yet classified); nevertheless, government officials are instructed that it is not to be disclosed publicly and not to be discussed on non-government email systems.

As I explained back in March:

Mrs. Clinton [in her press conference] stressed that she never stored classified documents on her private e-mail system. To the uninitiated, this sounded like the strongest point in her defense. Mostly, however, it is a red herring, exploiting the public’s unfamiliarity with how classified information works – and fueling no small amount of irresponsible speculation over the last few days about how the nature of her responsibilities meant classified material must have been stored on her private system. In the government, classified documents are maintained on separate, super-highly secured systems… [I]n general, Mrs. Clinton would not have been able to access classified documents even from a .gov account, much less from her private account – she’d need to use the classified system… That said, there are two pertinent caveats.

First, since we’re dealing with Clintonian parsing here, we must consider the distinction between classified documents and classified information – the latter being what is laid out in the former. It is not enough for a government official with a top-secret clearance to refrain from storing classified documents on private e-mail; the official is also forbidden to discuss the information contained in those documents. The fact that Mrs. Clinton says she did not store classified documents on her private server, which is very likely true, does not discount the distinct possibility that she discussed classified matters in private e-mails…

Second, most of the important but mundane information exchanged in government is not classified. It is a truism that too much information in Washington is classified. Still, it is also true that, for government officials, dealing with classified information is very inconvenient – you are usually not allowed to read it on your office computer, certainly not on your personal computer, not while commuting to work, not at home, etc. Thus, much of the information that government officials deal with is categorized as “sensitive but unclassified” (SBU).

To listen to the commentary over the past week, and to listen to Mrs. Clinton yesterday, one would think there are only two realms of government information: something is either a national defense secret or the seating chart for Chelsea’s wedding reception. Most information, though, is neither classified nor private. When I was a federal prosecutor, for instance, the SBU information I routinely dealt with included: grand-jury transcripts, the secrecy of which must be maintained by law; investigative reports by the FBI, DEA, NYPD, and other investigative agencies; wiretap affidavits that disclosed that investigations were underway, the suspects, the evidence, the wiretap locations, and the identity of government undercover agents, informants, and witnesses; memos outlining investigative or litigation strategies to deal with organized crime and terrorism organizations; plans to orchestrate arrests in multi-defendant cases where flight risk was a concern; financial information of subjects of investigations; personal information (sometimes including family financial and medical information) of lawyers and staff whom I supervised; contact information (including home addresses) of agents with whom I worked on cases often involving violent crime and public corruption; contact information (including home addresses) of judges in the event it was necessary to get a search warrant after hours; and so on.

None of that information was classified. I was permitted to – and needed to – have it ready to hand, but it was also my duty to maintain it in a secure, responsible manner… a duty that became even more important once I was a boss and was expected to set an example for junior lawyers and staff to follow. And mind you, I was just a government lawyer. I was not the secretary of state.

The inadvertent or unauthorized disclosure of SBU can do enormous damage. It can even get people killed. That is why the State Department has elaborate rules about SBU – rules that include instructing State Department employees to conduct their e-mail business via government e-mail accounts on government communications systems that have “the proper level of security control to provide nonrepudiation, authentication and encryption, to ensure confidentiality, integrity, and availability of resident information” (U.S. Dept. of State, Foreign Affairs Manual, vol. 12, sec. 544.3 ). As Fox News relates, it was on the basis of these concerns that Mrs. Clinton, as secretary of state, directed State Department employees in June 2011 to “avoid conducting official Department [business] from your personal e-mail accounts.”

Thus far, there has been disclosure of only a fraction of Mrs. Clinton’s existing private email – i.e., the email that she did not unilaterally delete despite being on notice that it was relevant to government investigations. Yet it is already clear that, as secretary of state, she did business in a way that was, at a minimum, grossly irresponsible… and quite possibly worse. She had to have realized the near certainty that an official of her stature would have been targeted for surveillance of her private emails by foreign intelligence services. Yet, in her determination not to leave a paper trail that might damage her political prospects, she ignored the risks. The Justice Department, which has prosecuted high government officials for mishandling national defense information, should be investigating – and that includes acquiring custody of Mrs. Clinton’s private server.

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Related articles:

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Krauthammer Sounds Off On Hillary Email Dump, Explains Why He Thinks ‘Whole Release Is A Farce’ – The Blaze

Conservative political pundit Charles Krauthammer reacted to the release of the first batch of Hillary Clinton emails, calling the “whole release” a “farce.”

“This is an echo of what her own press secretary said, who said there isn’t a shred of evidence. And as I’ve said there is no shred of evidence because she shredded the evidence. This whole release is a farce,” the syndicated political columnist said. “What is being released now… is stuff that was scrubbed and cleansed and decided upon, chosen by her own people, acting in her own interest, rather than… people with obligation to the public.”

“So we are getting the cleaned up version,” he continued. “And I think they are succeeding, the Clinton people. Because everybody is hungrily looking through stuff pre-scrubbed. They are not going to find anything. The Clinton’s are secretive and deceptive, but they are not stupid.”

Krauthammer then explained how he thought the process will benefit Clinton in the presidential election.

“Whatever is indicating has been scrubbed and removed. So we are going to have this long saga of the release. She will take the credit for, ‘I asked for it to be released, I wanted it to be released.’ But it’s the wrong stuff. And when people attack her later in the campaign, she will say it’s all been released, the press has looked at it,” he said.

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Hillary Slept Through Security Briefing On Benghazi Attack – Gateway Pundit

Figures.

Hillary Clinton slept through the president’s daily briefing on Benghazi. She didn’t wake up until 10:45 AM.

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What difference does it make?

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Hillary Didn’t Even Know Ambassador’s Name After He Was Murdered In Benghazi – Right Scoop

The State Department is releasing a batch of the Hillary emails, because the best way to make sure no one notices is to do it on the beginning of Memorial Day weekend. Hidden in one email is a pretty deplorable absence of interest and care from Hillary.

From the Washington Times:

The night a U.S. ambassador was killed in a terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, Hillary Clinton sent a message three senior State Department officials.

The recepients were Jake Sullivan, Deputy Chief of Staff to then-Secretary of State Clinton, Cheryl Mills, an adviser to Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign and Counselor and Chief of Staff to the Secretary, and Victoria Jane Nuland, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.

“Cheryl told me the Libyans confirmed his death. Should we announce tonight or wait until morning?” Clinton says in the email, time stamped 11:38 p.m. on Sept. 11, 2012.

The email had as its subject line: “Chris Smith.” The murdered ambassador was Chris Stevens.

The Secretary of State didn’t even know the name of the U.S. ambassador to Libya – even after terrorists stormed an American compound and killed him.

How deplorable is that. And this is who the Democrats want to make president? Disgusting.

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E-mails: Hillary Knew That State Department Asked YouTube To Block Anti-Muslim Movie Overseas – Hot Air

Not that there was ever much doubt. Three days after the Benghazi attack, the White House admitted it had pressured Google and YouTube to yank “Innocence of Muslims” as some sort of terms-of-use violation. Google refused. A week after that, having failed to twist a major corporation’s arm into censoring a politically unhelpful bit of free speech on its behalf, the State Department started running ads in Pakistan denouncing the movie, in hopes that jihadi savages would be appeased by the show of national contrition and not target any more embassies. Also around this time, YouTube did agree to censor “Innocence of Muslims” by blocking it in Egypt and Libya, the two nations that saw the most violent attacks on U.S. diplomats on September 11, 2012. Hillary Clinton had to have known about and signed off on all this, we naturally assumed. And now here’s evidence that she did: Although the message below is vague, I assume it’s referring to the ban that Google imposed on the video in Africa.

Leaning on corporate cronies to suppress Americans’ speech for political ends would be a disqualifying offense for a candidate in a sane world.

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Fun fact: On the very day that e-mail was sent, the man who made “Innocence of Muslims” was arrested by the feds on a “parole violation.” Hillary’s leisure reading in the weeks before that was interesting too:

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Clinton Foundation Discloses Millions In Additional Payments Under Pressure – Big Government

From the Washington Post:

The Clinton Foundation reported Thursday that it has received as much as $26.4 million in previously undisclosed payments from major corporations, universities, foreign sources and other groups.

Thursday’s disclosure is one of a number of instances in recent weeks in which the foundation has acknowledged that it received funding from sources not disclosed on its Web site.

The ethics agreement was reached between the foundation and the Obama administration to provide additional transparency and avoid potential conflicts of interest with Hillary Clinton’s appointment as secretary of state.

The agreement placed restrictions on foreign government donations, for instance, but the foundation revealed in February that it had violated the limits at one point by taking $500,000 from Algeria.

There was one entity clearly associated with a foreign government that provided speaking fees, of $250,000 to $500,000 for a speech by Bill Clinton: The energy ministry in Thailand.

The U.S. Islamic World Forum also provided $250,000 to $500,000 to the foundation for a speech by Bill Clinton, according to the new disclosure. The event was organized in part by the Brookings Institution with support from the government of Qatar.

In addition, the list is studded with overseas corporations and foundations.

They included the South Korean energy and chemicals conglomerate Hanwha, which paid $500,000 to $1,000,000 for a speech by Bill Clinton.

China Real Estate Development Corp. paid the foundation between $250,000 and $500,000 for a speech by the former president. The Qatar First Investment Bank, now known as the Qatar First Bank, paid fees in a similar range. The bank is described by Persian Gulf financial press as specializing in high-net-worth clients.

The Telmex Foundation, founded by Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim, provided between $250,000 and $500,000 for a speech by Hillary Clinton.

Read the rest of the story here.

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Department Of Education Employees Caught Stealing Students’ Personal Information To Apply For Credit Cards, Loans

Fraudsters In Department Of Education Are Caught Stealing Students’ Personal Information To Apply For Loans And Cellphones, And One Worker Looked Up Barack Obama’s Student Loan Records – Daily Mail

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Government employees have been caught stealing students’ personal information to apply for loans, credit cards and set up new cell phone accounts,Daily Mail Online has learned.

Reports on breaches of staff conduct inside the Department of Education shows how workers stole social security numbers from a database while a man was fired for trying to look up President Barack Obama’s student loan records.

Cyber security campaigners warned that the failure to protect sensitive information because of ‘bureaucratic incompetence’ is just the ‘tip of the iceberg’.

Insiders involved in illicit breaches are often overlooked, simply because the public think hackers and cybercriminals are more often to blame, they said.

Lee Tien, senior staff attorney and Adams Chair for Internet Rights at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told the Daily Mail Online ‘insiders are frequently part of the breach story’.

He added that entities – especially the government – need to uphold their duty to safeguard other people’s personal information.

Berin Szoka, the president of Tech Freedom, insisted some of the privacy issues come from within the government.

‘As usual, the real privacy problem is government. Big Brother surveillance at the NSA is bad enough,’ he told the Daily Mail Online.

‘But bureaucratic incompetence can be far bigger problem. Failing to protect sensitive student loan data is just the tip of the iceberg of poor data security inside government.’

According to the documents – obtained by the Daily Mail Online through a Freedom of Information Act request – a number of government employees set up an illicit scheme to steal students’ information.

One woman created a bogus Department of Education account to access the National Student Loan Data System to aid her criminal plot.

While accessing the records, she would extract information from individual accounts.

She swapped around the last four digits of her SSN with those of another during the scheme, and set up the fake identity to apply for credit cards, personal loans and set up a Sprint cell phone account.

An internal investigation within the department found she went into the database 24 times between 2006 and 2009 to retrieve the information.

Just 24 hours after searching through the database on one occasion in 2009, the documents revealed she applied for a personal loan.

The unidentified employee was arrested and charged in 2011 for stealing more than $500 using the stolen details.

One of the documents related to her case reads: ‘It appears [the employee] did not have a business reason to run either name in the National Student Loan Data System (NSLDS).’

After pleading guilty, she was sentenced to 18 months in jail with a 17-month suspended sentence. However, according to the documents, the employee only served a month in prison and was then given authorized work by a judge.

It’s not known what happened to the other staff members involved in the scheme.

In 2011, a man violated department protocols by trying to access ‘Barrack [sic] Obama’s student loans records. According to the documents he consistently spelled the president’s name wrong – using two ‘r’s.

The employee involved was not prosecuted, but lost his job after departmental staff also discovered he had misused his government-issued travel card.

It is not clear why he tried to access the records as Obama has made the majority of his financial history public knowledge.

He paid off his student loans in in 2004 while he was in the Illinois State Senate. He took out $42,753 in loans to pay for his Harvard Law School tuition while Michelle applied for $40,762 in loans for her Harvard Law education.

The couple carried their debt for 25 years, but the president is believed to have paid it off using $1.9million worth of royalties from his book, Dreams of My Father. It was reissued and became a best seller after his speech at the Democratic convention in 2004.

A third Department of Education employee was investigated in 2014 for using his government email to promote his own business at the taxpayers’ expense. Some of the documents involved have been heavily redacted.

The analysis revealed there were approximately 166 calls totaling 616 minutes or approximately 10 hours of calls during on-duty hours. His calls cost the government approximately $478.36 based on his hourly salary.

He admitted that he shouldn’t have used government equipment – including a scanner, printer, phone and email – for his own personal gain, but it’s not clear what type of business he was operating or whether he was punished.

Another part of the document trove described the investigation into Joseph Butler, a veteran department employee from Clarkstown, Georgia, who accessed child pornography for years.

According to reports he was able to filter his computer activity and get around filtering software preventing government staff from visiting illicit websites.

More than 70 disturbing images were founded embedded in several Microsoft Word documents that were then saved to his government computer.

His Internet browsing history also revealed he had searched for child nudity and pornography.

Butler used his computer to download images onto CD-ROMs, which federal agents found during a search of his home in July 2011. Agents also found graphic stories Butler had written about children.

He is currently serving a 10-year prison sentence. When he is released he will have to sign up to the sex offenders register and completed five years of supervision.

The Department of Education did not comment on the revelations.

However a report in 2015 addressing ‘management challenges’ highlighted ‘repeated problems in IT security and noted increasing threats and vulnerabilities to the Department’s systems and data.’

The document said more steps needed to be taken to make sure federal employees did not breach the database.

One of the factors considered was a two-step authorization process – but it is yet to be implemented.

In September 2013 the Office of the Inspector General – who oversee the Department’s management – warned officials there were weaknesses led to ‘unauthorized accesses to private information.’

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It’s About Freakin’ Time! Federal Court Orders Obama Regime To Release Fast And Furious Information

Federal Court Orders Obama Administration To Release Fast And Furious Information – Judicial Watch

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Judicial Watch announced today that on July 18, 2014, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) must turn over to the organization a “Vaughn index” of all requested Operation Fast and Furious materials from the June 2012 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and subsequent September 2012 FOIA lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. Department of Justice (No. 1:12-cv-01510)). Judicial Watch sought all of the documents the Obama White House was withholding from the House of Representatives under executive privilege claims.

The ruling by U.S. District Court Judge John D. Bates lifted a lengthy 16-month delay of this open records lawsuit. This order forces the Obama DOJ, for the first time and by October 1, 2014, to provide a detailed listing of all documents that it has withheld from Congress and the American people for years about the deadly Fast and Furious gun running scandal. The ruling can be found here.

The DOJ opposed the Judicial Watch action, claiming it would interfere with the department’s continuing litigation with the House Oversight Committee concerning these Fast and Furious documents subpoenaed in October 2011. In September 2012, Obama asserted executive privilege over the documents. In the July 2014 opinion overruling the Obama Justice Department’s request for an almost indefinite hold on Judicial Watch’s legal right obtains this information under the Freedom of Information Act Bates said:

In the [February 15, 2013] order granting the stay, this court explicitly noted that the DOJ ‘does not seek, and the court will not award, an indefinite stay pending ultimate resolution of the House Committee litigation,’ and that ‘the benefits of delaying this case might well [become] too attenuated to justify any further delay”…

Because many of the issues to be resolved in this case do not overlap with the House committee, and because resolving those issues will not risk upsetting the delicate balance of powers in subpoena disputes between the political branches, the Court will require DOJ to produce a Vaughn index here.

In fact, the court suggested that disclosing information to Judicial Watch might actually resolve the legal dispute now before Judge Amy Berman Jackson between the Obama administration and Congress:

True, nothing in the subpoena enforcement context of House Committee would require DOJ to produce a particularized description of the withheld documents… But this is a FOIA case, and since 1973, when Vaughn was decided, courts in this circuit have required agencies to justify their FOIA withholdings on a particularized basis. And doing so here will not prematurely expose or resolve the executive privilege issues ahead of Judge Jackson and the political branches; it will merely permit the parties and this Court to cull from the dispute any documents as to which a valid, non-executive privilege reason for withholding exists, thereby narrowing or perhaps even resolving the case. To the extent DOJ argues that the mere production of the Vaughn index – not involving the release of any documents in dispute – would alter the historical balance of powers between the branches, any unbalancing would result from FOIA itself, a law passed by Congress and signed into law by the President, and which this Court cannot ignore forever.

Judge Bates also noted no court has ever “expressly recognized” President Obama’s executive privilege claims that his administration is using to keep these documents secret from Congress and the American people.

The DOJ claims, in addition to other Exemption 5 rationales, at least two distinct forms of executive privilege to justify withholding documents: a “deliberative process” privilege of constitutional dimensions and a “congressional response work-product” privilege. See: Mem.in Supp. of Def.’s Mot. for Summ. J., House Committee, No. 12-1332 [ECF No. 63] (“House Committee Def.’s Mot.”) at 21-27, 27-30. It appears that neither form has been expressly recognized by any court Id (citing Senate Select Comm. on Pres. Campaign Activities v. Nixon, 498 F.2d 725 (D.C. Cir. 1974)).

A Vaughn index must: (1) identify each document withheld; (2) state the statutory exemption claimed; and (3) explain how disclosure would damage the interests protected by the claimed exemption.” In ordering the DOJ to provide Judicial Watch the Vaughn index, the Court ruled, “In this circuit, when an agency is withholding documents under exemption claims, courts require that the agency provide a Vaughn index so that the FOIA requester – at a distinct informational disadvantage – may test the agency’s claims.”

Fast and Furious was a DOJ/Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) “gun-running” operation in which the Obama administration reportedly allowed guns to go to Mexican drug cartels in hopes that they would end up at crime scenes, thereby advancing gun-control policies. Fast and Furious weapons have been implicated in the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and hundreds of other innocents in Mexico.

On June 20, 2012, President Obama asserted executive privilege over Fast and Furious documents the House Oversight Committee had subpoenaed eight months earlier. Judicial Watch filed its FOIA request two days later. When the DOJ denied that request, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA lawsuit on September 12, 2012. On February 15, 2013, Judge Bates stayed the case, in part to allow ongoing settlement discussions between the DOJ and the House Committee to continue. Judge Bates’ order lifted the stay after a lengthy July 18 hearing. Generally speaking, the documents at issue are about how and if the Obama administration misled Congress about the Fast and Furious matter.

“Once again, Judicial Watch has beat Congress to the punch in getting key information about another Obama scandal – this time, the Fast and Furious outrage,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “A federal court has ordered the Obama administration to produce information that could, for the first time, provide specific details who in the administration is responsible for Fast and Furious lies to Congress and the American people. This is a battle that put Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, saw Nixonian assertions of executive privilege by Barack Obama, and a hapless Congress in face of all this lawlessness. Finally, we may get some accountability for Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and the countless others murdered as a result of the insanely reckless Obama administration program.”

The Judicial Watch lawsuit for Oversight Committee documents is one of several FOIA lawsuits Judicial Watch has filed in its effort to obtain information concerning the Fast and Furious scandal:

* On October 11, 2011, Judicial Watch sued the DOJ and the ATF to obtain all Fast and Furious records submitted to the House Committee on Oversight.

* On June 6, 2012, Judicial Watch sued the ATF seeking access to records detailing communications between ATF officials and Kevin O’Reilly, former Obama White House Director of North American Affairs at the U.S. National Security Council.

* On September 5, 2013, Judicial Watch sued the DOJ seeking access to all records of communications between DOJ and the Oversight Committee relating to settlement discussions in the Committee’s 2012 contempt of Congress lawsuit against Holder. The contempt citation stemmed from Holder’s refusal to turn over documents to Congress related to the Fast and Furious gunrunning scandal.

* On May 28, 2014, Judicial Watch sued the DOJ on behalf of ATF Special Agent John Dodson, who blew the whistle on Operation Fast and Furious and was then subjected to an alleged smear campaign designed to destroy his reputation.

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