Libya

January 17, 2019 – Charles Ortel Opinion: The ‘Benghazi’ scandal likely involves national security offenses, money laundering, campaign-finance crimes, charity fraud, and public corruption

Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (Credit: Manuel Balce Ceneta/The Associated Press)

“The recent ruling by US District Judge Royce C. Lamberth may become a breakthrough in the 5-year long Clinton email scandal, Wall Street analyst Charles Ortel told Sputnik, asking how it happened that the Obama administration, the CIA and FBI had apparently overlooked “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”

“The ‘Benghazi’ scandal likely involves national security offenses, money-laundering, campaign-finance crimes, charity fraud, and public corruption”, says Wall Street analyst and investigative journalist Charles Ortel, commenting on a US federal judge ordering former Obama officials to answer the conservative watchdog Judicial Watch’s (JW) questions on Hillary Clinton’s private email issue and the Benghazi scandal.

On 15 January, US District Judge Royce C. Lamberth ruled that former national security adviser Susan Rice, former deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, fmr. secretary of state Clinton’s former senior advisor and deputy chief of staff Jacob Sullivan, and FBI official E.W. Priestap must answer the watchdog’s written questions about the State Department’s response to the deadly 2012 terror attack in Benghazi, Libya.

BREAKING: Citing government shutdown, DOJ/State seek to stall court-ordered discovery ordered to begin yesterday on Clinton Email, Benghazi Scandal: Top Obama-Clinton Officials, Susan Rice, and Ben Rhodes to Respond to @JudicialWatch Questions Under Oath https://t.co/kka1QCEWtG pic.twitter.com/WYHLLTFP0G

— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton)

​”In time, historians will likely document that the Clintons and Obamas entered office in January 2009 with a grand plan to transform America’s relations with key powers, especially in the Middle East,” Ortel said. “This plan involved toppling national leaders in many nations by fomenting local uprisings using clandestine resources, in actions that were not likely validly authorized by Congress, as is certainly required under US laws.” (Read more: Sputnik News, 1/17/2019)

October 5, 2016 – Obama DOJ drops charges against alleged broker of Libyan weapons to protect Hillary Clinton

Clinton walks with  Obama to the Rose Garden Sept. 12, 2012, where he spoke about the death of U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. (Credit: Evan Vucci/The Associated Press)

“The Obama administration is moving to dismiss charges against an arms dealer it had accused of selling weapons that were destined for Libyan rebels.

Lawyers for the Justice Department on Monday filed a motion in federal court in Phoenix to drop the case against the arms dealer, an American named Marc Turi, whose lawyers also signed the motion.

The deal averts a trial that threatened to cast additional scrutiny on Hillary Clinton’s private emails as Secretary of State and to expose reported Central Intelligence Agency attempts to arm rebels fighting Libyan leader Moammar Qadhafi.

Government lawyers were facing a Wednesday deadline to produce documents to Turi’s legal team, and the trial was officially set to begin on Election Day, although it likely would have been delayed by protracted disputes about classified information in the case.

A Turi associate asserted that the government dropped the case because the proceedings could have embarrassed Clinton and President Barack Obama by calling attention to the reported role of their administration in supplying weapons that fell into the hands of Islamic extremist militants.

“They don’t want this stuff to come out because it will look really bad for Obama and Clinton just before the election,” said the associate.

In the dismissal motion, prosecutors say “discovery rulings” from U.S. District Court Judge David Campbell contributed to the decision to drop the case. The joint motion asks the judge to accept a confidential agreement to resolve the case through a civil settlement between the State Department and the arms broker.

“Our position from the outset has been that this case never should have been brought and we’re glad it’s over,” said Jean-Jacques Cabou, a Perkins Coie partner serving as court-appointed defense counsel in the case. “Mr Turi didn’t break the law….We’re very glad the charges are being dismissed.”

Under the deal, Turi admits no guilt in the transactions he participated in, but he agreed to refrain from U.S.-regulated arms dealing for four years. A $200,000 civil penalty will be waived if Turi abides by the agreement.” (Read more: Politico, 10/05/2016)

September 17, 2016 – Obama State Dept officials Victoria Nuland and Jonathan Winer plan a face-to-face meeting on the “Russia matter”

Victoria Nuland and Jonathan Winer (Credit: public domain)

“Judicial Watch and The Daily Caller News Foundation today released 84 pages of documents, including a September 2016 email exchange between then-Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and Special Coordinator for Libya Jonathan Winer, a close associate of dossier author Christopher Steele, discussing a “face-to-face” meeting on a “Russian matter.”

(In June 2016 Nuland permitted a meeting between Steele and the FBI’s legal attaché in Rome. Nuland told CBS News that the State Department knew about the Steele dossier by July 2016.)

According to an op-ed Winer wrote for The Washington Post in 2018, also in September 2016, “Steele and I met in Washington and discussed the information now known as the “dossier… I prepared a two-page summary and shared it with Nuland, who indicated that, like me, she felt that the secretary of state needed to be made aware of this material.”

A September 17, 2016email exchange between Nuland and Winer – that was classified in the interest of national defense or foreign policy – discusses the political situation in Libya, but also brings up a “Russian matter:”

From: Nuland, Victoria J
Sent: Saturday, September 17, 2016 1:31 PM
To: Winer, Jonathan
Subject: Re. Libya Update

In ny face to face?

From: Winer, Jonathan
Sent: September 17, 2016 at 1:56:05 PM EDT
To: Nuland, Victoria J
Subject: Re: Libya Update

Yes that was [sic] be good.

From: Nuland, Victoria J
Sent: Saturday, September 17, 2016 1:58 PM
To: Winer, Jonathan
Subject: Re. Libya Update

Good. I’ll reach out when im there Sunday. [Redacted]

Other emails show senior State Department personnel using unsecure BlackBerrys to transmit classified information even after the Clinton email scandal became public.” (Read more: Judicial Watch 7/18/2019)

The State Department says that around 30 Clinton emails discovered by the FBI could relate to Benghazi.

160830AmitMehtapublic

US District Judge Amit Mehta (Credit: public domain)

US District Court Judge Amit Mehta is presiding over a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit initiated by Judicial Watch regarding the public release of information relating to the 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. The FBI recently gave the State Department almost 15,000 previously unknown Clinton emails, so Mehta wants to know if any of them relate to Benghazi.

State Department spokesperson John Kirby says, “Using broad search terms, we have identified approximately 30 documents potentially responsive to a Benghazi-related request. At this time, we have not confirmed that the documents are, in fact, responsive, or whether they are duplicates of materials already provided to the department by former Secretary Clinton in December 2014.” The department says it will need until the end of September 2016 to review the 30 or so emails and redact any classified information in them.

However, Mehta doesn’t understand why it would take the department so long to process so few emails. He orders the department to return in a week to try to justify the processing time.

Starting in mid-2014, Clinton was specifically asked for all her emails related to Benghazi, months before she was asked for all her work-related emails in general. The Benghazi-related emails were the first of her emails to be released, in early 2015.

Jason Miller, senior communications adviser for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, says, “Clinton swore before a federal court and told the American people she handed over all of her work-related emails. If Clinton did not consider emails about something as important as Benghazi to be work-related, one has to wonder what is contained in the other emails she attempted to wipe from her server.” (The Hill, 8/30/2016)

The House Benghazi Committee releases their final report, which lacks any new politically damaging revelations.

The report is over 800 pages. and comes after 15 months of investigation, at a cost of over $7 million. However, the New York Times comments that the report “offers a handful of new details but nothing that will alter the conventional narrative about the events of September 11, 2012,” the date of the terrorist attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The report does point out numerous failures regarding the US government’s response to the attack, but those were mostly outside the control of Clinton’s State Department, such as a slow response time from the US military.

The Times also comments that “after nearly four years and eight congressional investigations, Mrs. Clinton emerged largely unscathed. […] In the end, the biggest revelation unearthed by the [committee] came 15 months ago: the disclosure that Hillary Clinton had used a private email address and server during her four years as secretary of state.”

Clinton comments, “I’ll leave it to others to characterize this report, but I think it’s pretty clear that it’s time to move on.” (The New York Times, 6/28/2016)

 

March, 2016 – Newt Gingrich paid Judicial Watch to hunt for Clinton server hack

Newt Gingrich (Credit: Nicholas Kamm/Agence France Presse/Getty Images)

“In the summer of 2016, the FBI interview report noted, the interviewee reported that a senior staff member of the US Senate Judiciary Committee contacted him “out of concerns data from Clinton’s e-mail server might end up overseas. Specifically [name redacted] wanted to determine if there was an intrusion into Clinton’s server and, if so, whether exfiltrated data fell into the hands of a foreign power”—and whether that data could endanger the Senate staffer’s sons, who were in the military.

The interviewee told FBI investigators that he had told the Senate staffer that he would have to look for data that was “genuine, authentic and relevant” to determine that there had been a breach. But the staffer had no money to fund the research, so the project was brought to Newt Gingrich—who obtained funding for the investigation from Judicial Watch.

In March of 2016, Judicial Watch paid the contractor’s side company $32,000 for the first phase of the project—determining whether Clinton’s server had been directly attacked. “Judicial Watch awarded the contract to [name redacted] because they were confident he understood both the Deep Web and the Dark Web,” the interviewee told the FBI. The investigation also targeted data from Sidney Blumenthal’s e-mail account, but Clinton’s and Blumenthal’s actual e-mail services were off-limits for the search.

Some of Blumenthal’s files—but no e-mails—were found on a server in Romania, according to the FBI interview. The investigation also found an Excel file listing names of known or suspected jihadists in Libya—but part of that file was in Russian. “The file did not come from Blumenthal’s server, but contained a reference to an IP address range that included the IP address of Clinton’s server,” the FBI report recounts. “Upon viewing this file, [name redacted] became concerned he had found a classified document and stopped the project.”

(Read more: Ars Technica, 10/17/2016)

 

Colin Powell thinks Benghazi was a “stupid witch hunt” and Condoleezza Rice agrees.

Condoleeza Rice (Credit: Fox News)

Condoleeza Rice (Credit: Fox News)

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell writes an email to former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on this day about the Republican-led House Benghazi Committee investigation. “Benghazi is a stupid witch hunt. Basic fault falls on a courageous ambassador who thoughts [sic] Libyans now love me and I am ok in this very vulnerable place.” He is referring to former ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, who was killed in the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack.

Powell also comments, “But blame also rests on his leaders and supports back here. [Patrick] Kennedy, Intel community, [State Department] and yes HRC,” referring to Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“Completely agree,” Rice responds. (Washington Post, 09/14/16)

The hacker website DCLeaks.com will publish Colin Powell’s hacked emails on September 13, 2016.

The State Department won’t reveal which Clinton aides used her private server or other non-government accounts.

Bradley Moss (Credit: public domain)

Bradley Moss (Credit: public domain)

In March 2015, the House Benghazi Committee subpoenaed records, including work-related emails from personal accounts, from ten former Clinton aides, for a two-year period surrounding the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack. The State Department then asked those ten people for their records. It is known that four of the aides—Cheryl Mills, Huma Abedin, Jake Sullivan, and Philippe Reines—have turned over records, including from personal email accounts. However, it is not known what happened with the other six, or even who they are.

Clinton wrote in a sworn affidavit on August 6, 2015 that Abedin had an email account on Clinton’s private server and that Mills did not. Otherwise, department officials and Clinton’s staff have failed to reveal who else had an email account on Clinton’s server or even which other aides had any kind of personal email account.

The Intelligence Community inspector general’s office says it is not currently involved in any inquiry into Clinton’s former top aides because it is being denied full access to the aides’ emails by the State Department.

The media outlet Gawker is suing for access to Reines’ emails. Bradley Moss, a lawyer for Gawker, says: “I think the headline is that there’s nothing but murkiness and non-answers from the State Department. I think the State Department is figuring this out as it goes along, which is exactly why no one should be using personal email to conduct government business.”  (McClatchy Newspapers, 8/11/2015)

The House Benghazi Committee requests Clinton should preserve and then hand over all her emails, not just those related to Benghazi.

The committee already had requested that the State Department turn over all of Clinton’s emails relating to Benghazi or Libya. But on March 2, 2015, the New York Times reported a front-page story that revealed Clinton’s lawyers had deleted over 31,000 of Clinton’s emails without input from anyone else, deeming them “personal” in nature.

The committee gives a letter to Williams & Connolly, the law firm of Clinton’s personal lawyer David Kendall, requesting the preservation and production of all documents and media related to hdr22@clintonemail.com, the email Clinton used while she was secretary of state. In addition, they ask the same for her hrcl7@clintonemail.com account. This account was only used by Clinton starting one month after she left the State Department, but at the time that isn’t clear. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)

One day later, the committee will issue two subpoenas to Clinton, but they have a more limited scope.

In Clinton’s July 2016 FBI interview, the FBI will summarize her as saying, “Concerning the Congressional preservation request on March 3, 2015 for email and other records, Clinton trusted her legal team would comply with the request.” (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 9/2/2016)

Clinton and her future campaign chair Podesta appear to discuss classified information before Podesta warns her to stop.

John Podesta and Hillary Clinton in 2007. (Credit: Flickr)

John Podesta and Hillary Clinton in 2007. (Credit: Flickr)

Clinton forwards an email to her future campaign chair John Podesta. It is not clear where the forwarded email comes from, especially considering that Clinton is a private citizen at the time, since the sender’s name is not included. But it discusses nine detailed points on how to deal with the ISIS Islamist movement in Iraq and Syria. The forwarded email starts with the sentence: “Note: Sources include Western intelligence, US intelligence and sources in the region.”

Podesta replies with some brief commentary on the email.

Then Clinton emails him back, writing, “Agree but there may be opportunities as the Iraqi piece improves. Also, any idea whose fighters attacked Islamist positions in Tripoli, Libya? Worth analyzing for future purposes.”

Podesta then replies, “Yes and interesting but not for this channel.” (WikiLeaks, 11/3/2016)

The email chain will be released by WikiLeaks in November 2016. Thus, it is unknown what parts of the chain might be deemed classified by the US government.