memorandum of understanding

May 23, 2018 – It was a favor factory: State Dept. turns over thousands of Clinton-era State Department emails to/about the Clinton Foundation

American Center for Law & Justice Logo (Credit: public domain)

“We have just uncovered a stunning revelation about the extent to which the Clinton State Department colluded with the Clinton Foundation. Despite what Hillary Clinton told the American people, there was no firewall.”

(…) “These documents, only now being uncovered through our FOIA request and subsequent litigation, show extensive communications exchanged between Clinton or her senior staff at State Department and Doug Band – a senior aid at the Clinton Foundation and creator of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI).

In recent court filings, the State Department has revealed that more than 8,700 documents exist in Cheryl Mills’ and/or Huma Abedin’s files which contain the single search term, “Doug Band.” It is possible, and indeed likely, that each document consists of several pages placing the number closer to 18,000 pages or more.

The ACLJ has also learned through our litigation that another 22,000 documents exist in Cheryl Mills’ and Huma Abedin’s files (not including attachments) mentioning or referring to the Clinton Foundation or a related term referencing the foundation.

This information alone serves as overwhelming evidence of the corruption that occurred within the State Department during the time Hillary Clinton served as Secretary of State. The documents also confirm that Secretary Clinton intentionally lied to the American people and misled the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during her confirmation hearings for Secretary of State. On several occasions, Secretary Clinton assured the Senate that she would maintain a complete separation between her two worlds – the foundation and any donors hoping to obtain favors and her operation of the State Department. In fact, she informed the Senate that as early as January 2009, steps had already been taken to avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest. Absolutely no such steps appear to have ever been taken.

Indeed, in just the most recent 89 pages of documents produced by State which mention Doug Band, it is clear that Band served as a liaison for Clinton donors looking for favors and official acts from the Clinton-run State Department.

From requests for Secretary Clinton’s appearance at social events and fundraisers to requests for special consideration for government positions (Brock Johnson) and at least 5 ambassadorships (a diplomatic official of the highest rank), Doug Band was the guy to contact; and he had a direct line to Secretary Clinton and her senior staff. If a foundation donor needed help with a visa application in light of a prior criminal conviction or experienced complications with international travel, they contacted Doug Band and, within minutes of receiving their request, Doug Band would forward the request/favor to Huma Abedin or Cheryl Mills.

In fact, when other government employees or officials couldn’t get a hold of Secretary Clinton or her staff, they emailed Doug Band for a response.”

(…) “Brock Johnson later tipped off Cheryl Mills about a “Significant FOIA” request in 2012 that requested information about “the number of email accounts of, or associated with, Secretary Hillary Rodham Clinton, and the extent to which those email accounts are identifiable as those of or associated with Secretary Clinton.” The Inspector General found that the State Department then falsely stated that there were “no records responsive to your request,” when in fact numerous officials knew about Secretary Clinton’s private email address. To be clear, Johnson tipped off Cheryl Mills about the FOIA request that would have first publicly uncovered Secretary Clinton’s email scandal; instead the State Department covered it up for months longer. And Johnson obtained his job as a “favor” to the Clinton Foundation.” (Read more: American Center for Law and Justice, 5/23/2018)

April 29, 2015 – Clinton Foundation fails to disclose 1,100 foreign donations

Hillary Clinton (Credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images)

The co-founder of the Clinton Foundation’s Canadian affiliate is revealing new details about the charity’s donors in an effort to counter allegations in the New York Times and the new book “Clinton Cash.”

“Hillary Clinton’s presidential run is prompting new scrutiny of the Clintons’ financial and charitable affairs—something that’s already proved problematic for the Democratic frontrunner, given how closely these two worlds overlap. Last week, the New York Times examined Bill Clinton’s relationship with a Canadian mining financier, Frank Giustra, who has donated millions of dollars to the Clinton Foundation and sits on its board. Clinton, the story suggests, helped Giustra’s company secure a lucrative uranium-mining deal in Kazakhstan and in return received “a flow of cash” to the Clinton Foundation, including previously undisclosed donations from the company’s chairman totaling $2.35 million.

Giustra strenuously objects to how he was portrayed. “It’s frustrating,” he says. And because the donations came in through the Clinton Giustra Enterprise Partnership (CGEP)—a Canadian affiliate of the Clinton Foundation he established with the former president—he feels doubly implicated by the insinuation of a dark alliance.

“We’re not trying to hide anything,” he says. There are in fact 1,100 undisclosed donors to the Clinton Foundation, Giustra says, most of them non-U.S. residents who donated to CGEP.  “All of the money that was raised by CGEP flowed through to the Clinton Foundation—every penny—and went to the [charitable] initiatives we identified,” he says.

The reason this is a politically explosive revelation is because the Clinton Foundation promised to disclose its donors as a condition of Hillary Clinton becoming secretary of state. Shortly after Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, the Clinton Foundation signed a “memorandum of understanding” with the Obama White House agreeing to reveal its contributors every year. The agreement stipulates that the “Clinton Giustra Sustainable Growth Initiative” (as the charity was then known) is part of the Clinton Foundation and must follow “the same protocols.”

It hasn’t.”

February 1, 2013: The ethics agreement with the Clinton Foundation ends; donations from foreign governments increase

Clinton at the main annual Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) meeting, on September 22, 2014 in New York City. (Source: John Moore / Getty Images)

“As soon as Clinton’s term as secretary of state ends, the “memorandum of understanding” between the Clinton Foundation and the Obama White House also comes to an end. As a result, the Clinton Foundation resumes accepting increased donations from foreign governments. For instance, shortly after Clinton resigns, the foundation receives a $2 million donation from a conglomerate run by a member of China’s National People’s Congress.

The Wall Street Journal will report that news of such donations from foreign governments “prompted criticism from Republicans and some Democrats, who said it represented a conflict for a potential future president,” given the anticipation that Hillary Clinton would run for president again in 2016. (The Wall Street Journal, 3/19/2015)

United Arab Emirates and Germany begin donating to the foundation for the first time, and other countries such as Saudi Arabia resume donating after holding off during Clinton’s time as secretary of state. (Washington Post, February 25, 2015)

March 22, 2012 – The Obama administration announces new rules that will allow millions of U.S. citizens’ government files to be copied and analyzed for terrorism clues

(…) “Within the 99-page opinion from Judge Rosemary Collyer  she noted none of this FISA-702 database abuse was accidental. In a key footnote on page 87: Collyer outlined the years of unlawful violations was the result of “deliberate decisionmaking“:

This specific footnote, is key to peeling back the onion.

Note the phrase: “([redacted] access to FBI systems was the subject of an interagency memorandum of understanding entered into [redacted])”.  This sentence exposes an internal decision; withheld from congress and the FISA court by the Obama administration; and outlines a process for access and distribution of surveillance data. Note: “no notice of this practice was given to the FISC until 2016“.

We feel confident we’ve now found the source of the “memorandum of understanding” that lies at the heart of the issue.

Barack Obama and Eric Holder (Credit: Olivier Douliery/Getty Images)

In March 2012 the Obama administration through Attorney General Eric Holder made changes to the exploitation of intelligence databases as noted in this Wall Street Journal article later in the year:

(December 2012WSJ) Top U.S. intelligence officials gathered in the White House Situation Room in March to debate a controversial proposal. Counterterrorism officials wanted to create a government dragnet, sweeping up millions of records about U.S. citizens—even people suspected of no crime.

Not everyone was on board. “This is a sea change in the way that the government interacts with the general public,” Mary Ellen Callahan, chief privacy officer of the Department of Homeland Security, argued in the meeting, according to people familiar with the discussions.

A week later, the attorney general signed the changes into effect.

The rules now allow the little-known National Counterterrorism Center to examine the government files of U.S. citizens for possible criminal behavior, even if there is no reason to suspect them. That is a departure from past practice, which barred the agency from storing information about ordinary Americans unless a person was a terror suspect or related to an investigation.

Now, NCTC can copy entire government databases—flight records, casino-employee lists, the names of Americans hosting foreign-exchange students and many others. The agency has new authority to keep data about innocent U.S. citizens for up to five years, and to analyze it for suspicious patterns of behavior. Previously, both were prohibited. Data about Americans “reasonably believed to constitute terrorism information” may be permanently retained.

The changes also allow databases of U.S. civilian information to be given to foreign governments for analysis of their own. In effect, U.S. and foreign governments would be using the information to look for clues that people might commit future crimes.  (more)

The 2012 changes, instituted by Eric Holder, permitted files of specific Americans to be generated under the auspices of potential terror threats.  The NSA databases could be exploited by the National Counterterrorism Center to extract content that would be contained within these files on targeted Americans.

Keep in mind this is early 2012, John Brennan is Deputy National Security Advisor and Asst. to President Obama for Homeland Security.

When Attorney General Eric Holder empowered the National Counterterrorism Center with this new authority, the office assigned to the data-collection was the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC).  The founder of the TTIC was John Brennan:

On 1 May 2003, the Terrorist Threat Integration Center (TTIC) opened its doors. Led by its first Director, John Brennan, TTIC filled its ranks with approximately three dozen detailees from across the US Government (USG) and was mandated to integrate CT capabilities and missions across the government. (link)

Also note the date of this DOJ Memorandum is March 2012:

Under the new rules issued in March, the National Counterterrorism Center, known as NCTC, can obtain almost any database the government collects that it says is “reasonably believed” to contain “terrorism information.”  (link)

The March 2012 date is right before the IRS scandal hit the headlines.

The IRS targeting scandal is where the term “Secret Research Project” originated as a description from the Obama team. It involved the U.S. Department of Justice under Eric Holder and the FBI under Robert Mueller. It never made sense why Eric Holder requested over 1 million tax records via CD ROM, until overlaying the timeline of the FISA abuse:

The IRS sent the FBI “21 disks constituting a 1.1 million page database of information from 501(c)(4) tax exempt organizations, to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.” The transaction occurred in October 2010 (link)

Why disks? Why send a stack of DISKS to the DOJ and FBI when there’s a pre-existing financial crimes unit within the IRS. All of the evidence within this sketchy operation came directly to the surface in spring 2012.

Here’s how it looks:

♦ In 2010 Eric Holder asked the IRS to send him the records of 501(c) non profit groups and individuals representing conservative voters. [LINK] Lois Lerner sent the DOJ 1.1 million pages of 501(c)(4) tax filing data. Including a very specific set of “33 Schedule B attachment files”. The Schedule B’s were specific to Large Conservative 501(c)(4) groups operating and organized to oppose the agenda of President Obama. The Schedule B’s include the donor lists of specific people and sub-groups attached to the 501(c)(4).

The IRS sent the FBI “21 disks constituting a 1.1 million page database of information from 501(c)(4) tax exempt organizations, to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.” The transaction occurred in October 2010 (link)

♦ In 2012 Eric Holder authorizes the use of government databases to search records of Americans and assemble “files” on potential targets. [Link] “The agency has new authority to keep data about innocent U.S. citizens for up to five years, and to analyze it for suspicious patterns of behavior.”

♦ In the period of 2012 through April 2016According to FISA Judge Rosemary Collyer, there were tens of thousands of illegal (“non-compliant”) search queries of the NSA database targeting Americans.  The search results were unlawfully “extracted” to unknown entities.  Eighty-five out of every hundred searches were illegal (85% non-compliant rate).

Consider purposeful actions, as a political targeting operation, by weaponizing the systems of government.  Steps:

  • First, identify the targets (IRS Database).
  • Second, research the targets (NSA Database).
  • Third assemble files on the targets (DOJ Authorization).
  • Fourth use the files to leverage/destroy your opposition.

We now have evidence of the first three steps; and my hunch is if we apply hindsight a lot of unusual activity will now make sense.  We have been living inside the fourth step for a few years.  We noticed the consequences… but we only had suspicions, until now.” (Read more: Conservative Treehouse, 5/28/2019)

***

On December 12, 2012, the Wall Street Journal publishes a timeline of events regarding the National Counterterrorism Center controversy:

Dec. 25, 2009 – On Christmas Day, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a 23-year-old Nigerian man, boarded a flight to Detroit from Amsterdam wearing explosives sewn into his undergarments. His bomb didn’t properly detonate. He eventually pleaded guilty to terror-related charges.

Jan. 7, 2010 – The White House issued a report about the attempted bombing, citing the need to strengthen the watchlisting process.

May 18, 2010 – The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report on the Christmas Day bombing concluded that “NCTC was not organized adequately to fulfill its mission.”

Feb 24, 2011 – In February 2011, Homeland Security staffers began corresponding about their concerns about the proposed NCTC guidelines, including issues with “oversight/compliance” and difficulty stripping down “what you need to focus on as the problems.”

March 4, 2011 – By March, Justice Department was on its “third round of edits” with NCTC. DHS Associate General Counsel Matthew L. Kronisch encouraged Homeland Security colleagues to submit their comments soon.

March 7, 2011 – In a heated exchange, an official at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence – whose name was redacted – said that several Homeland Security comments “suggest a potential lack of understanding” and “would eviscerate the authorities” of the counterterrorism center.

March 11, 2011 – Homeland Security Associate General Counsel Matthew Kronisch expressed “little expectation of resolving our concerns” but requested a meeting with the Office of Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Justice.

May 12, 2011 – Homeland Security Chief Privacy Officer Mary Ellen Callahan and Officer for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Margo Schlanger elevated their concerns to DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano in a memo titled “How Best to Express the Department’s Privacy and Civil Liberties-Related Concems over Draft Guidelines Proposed by the Office of The Director of National Intelligence and the National Counterterrorism Center.”

June 17, 2011 – Ms. Callahan expressed frustration with the process, stating that she “non-concurred” on “operational examples,” and that the examples were “complete non-sequiturs” and “non-responsive.”

November 8, 2011 – “I’m not sure I’m totally prepared with the firestorm we’re about to create,” Margo Schlanger wrote in an e-mail to Mary Ellen Callahan in November, referring to the fact that the two wanted to push for further privacy protections in the guidelines. Others in the department were willing to agree to the counterterrorism proposal.

March 7, 2012 – Staffers for the Homeland Security Privacy and Civil Rights and Civil Liberties offices’ prepared talking points for the “Deputies Committee meeting” at the White House to discuss the guidelines.

March 22, 2012 – But right after the meeting the guidelines were finalized and quietly released with a statement from the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper who cited the Abdullmutallub failures. “Following the failed terrorist attack in December 2009, representatives of the counterterrorism community concluded it is vital for NCTC to be provided with a variety of datasets from various agencies that contain terrorism information,” said Clapper, “The ability to search against these datasets for up to five years on a continuing basis as these updated Guidelines permit will enable NCTC to accomplish its mission more practically and effectively than the 2008 Guidelines allowed.”

April 2, 2012 – Homeland Security staffers began preparing the terms under which they would hand over the “six DHS datasets associated with the revised NCTC AG Guidelines.”

(Wall Street Journal, 12/12/2012)

Mid-November, 2011 – December 2, 2011: In a rare event, the State Department refuses to support a paid speech offer to Bill Clinton

Kai Jiang (Credit: CS International)

Less than a year after Hillary Clinton became secretary of state, former President Bill Clinton asked the State Department to approve a paid, videotaped speech he was asked to make at a gala in Shanghai, sponsored by a Chinese sports foundation.

Wealthy hedge fund manager Kai Jiang wanted to pay the former president an undisclosed amount through a charity fund set up by his wife, Crystal Huang, a Chinese TV and film star who regularly serves as fodder for the Chinese tabloids.

But unlike hundreds of big-dollar Bill Clinton speeches that sailed through a State Department ethics approval process while Hillary Clinton served as America’s top diplomat, this one raised a note of caution that the Chinese government might actually be funding the speech or planning to profit from it.

The inconclusive bureaucratic back and forth — with weeks of emails asking for greater detail — made clear the difficulties the government faced getting information about Bill Clinton’s far-flung moneymaking efforts through an ethics review process Hillary Clinton agreed to when she joined President Barack Obama’s Cabinet.

(…) “In hundreds of documents released to POLITICO under the Freedom of Information Act, not a single case appears where the State Department explicitly rejected a Bill Clinton speech. Instead, the records show State Department lawyers acted on sparse information about business proposals and speech requests and were under the gun to approve the proposals promptly. The ethics agreement did not require that Clinton provide the estimated income from his private arrangements, making it difficult for ethics officials to tell whether his services were properly valued.

The proposed China speech and one consulting deal with a major player in Middle East policy are the only examples in the released documents where serious concerns were registered. The records include requests to speak to investment groups, colleges and foreign entities.” (Read more: Politico, 2/25/2015)

June 2010 – 2013: Secret donations flow to Clinton Foundation amid Uranium One deal

Ian Telfer (Credit: Galit Rodan/Bloomberg News/Getty Images

“At the heart of the tale are several men, leaders of the Canadian mining industry, who have been major donors to the charitable endeavors of former President Bill Clinton and his family. Members of that group built, financed and eventually sold off to the Russians a company that would become known as Uranium One.

Beyond mines in Kazakhstan that are among the most lucrative in the world, the sale gave the Russians control of one-fifth of all uranium production capacity in the United States. Since uranium is considered a strategic asset, with implications for national security, the deal had to be approved by a committee composed of representatives from a number of United States government agencies. Among the agencies that eventually signed off was the State Department, then headed by Mr. Clinton’s wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

As the Russians gradually assumed control of Uranium One in three separate transactions from 2009 to 2013, Canadian records show, a flow of cash made its way to the Clinton Foundation. Uranium One’s chairman used his family foundation to make four donations totaling $2.35 million. Those contributions were not publicly disclosed by the Clintons, despite an agreement Mrs. Clinton had struck with the Obama White House to publicly identify all donors. Other people with ties to the company made donations as well.

And shortly after the Russians announced their intention to acquire a majority stake in Uranium One, Mr. Clinton received $500,000 for a Moscow speech from a Russian investment bank with links to the Kremlin that was promoting Uranium One stock.” (Read more: New York Times, 4/23/2015)

2009 – 2013: Foreign governments gave millions to the Foundation while Clinton was at State Department

“The Clinton Foundation accepted millions of dollars from seven foreign governments during Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, including one donation that violated its ethics agreement with the Obama administration.

Most of the contributions were possible because of exceptions written into the foundation’s 2008 agreement, which included limits on foreign-government donations.

The agreement, reached before Clinton’s nomination amid concerns that countries could use foundation donations to gain favor with a Clinton-led State Department, allowed governments that had previously donated money to continue making contributions at similar levels.

The new disclosures, provided in response to questions from The Washington Post, make clear that the 2008 agreement did not prohibit foreign countries with interests before the U.S. government from giving money to the charity closely linked to the secretary of state.”  (Read more: Washington Post, 02/25/2015)

January 13, 2009 – Clinton assures transparency during her Senate confirmation hearing for Secretary of State

US Secretary of State nominee and incumbent  Senator Hillary Clinton testifies during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on January 13, 2009. (Credit: Alex Wong/Getty Images)

(…) “So the work of the foundation, the confidence that it has created with donors who know that it has an extremely low percentage that goes to any overhead, it has a very transparent way that it uses the money, were very persuasive to the transition team, that we had to work out something to keep the foundation in business while I did what I needed to do to be as transparent as possible.

So the kinds of concerns that were put forth were very carefully considered. And,  you know, I do believe that the agreement provides the kind of transparency — under the Memorandum of Understanding, foreign government pledges will be submitted to the State Department for review. I don’t know who will be giving money. That will not influence; it will not be in the atmosphere. When the disclosure occurs, obviously it will be after the fact, so it will be hard to make an argument that it influenced anybody because we didn’t know about it. So I think that in the way the president-elect’s transition team saw it, the agreement that has been worked out is actually in the best interests of avoiding the appearance of conflict.” (Video and Transcript: CSpan, 1/13/2009)

December 12, 2008 – The Clinton Foundation makes an agreement with the White House over conflict of interest issues

Bruce Lindsey (Credit: Clinton Foundation)

“In late 2008, when it becomes clear that newly elected President Obama will nominate Hillary Clinton to be his secretary of state, the Clinton Foundation presents a very large conflict of interest problem. There is a particular concern that foreign governments could use donations to the foundation to influence the Clinton-led State Department.

As a result, on December 12, 2008, the foundation’s CEO Bruce Lindsey signs a memorandum of understanding with Valerie Jarrett, co-chair of Obama’s transition team. It allows governments which had previously donated to the foundation to continue to do so, but only at existing yearly levels. It details an ethics review process for new donating countries or countries that want to “materially increase” their support. However, it does not prohibit foreign countries with interests before the US government from continuing to give money to the foundation.

The Washington Post will later report, “Some of the donations came from countries with complicated diplomatic, military, and financial relationships with the US government, including Kuwait, Qatar, and Oman. Other nations that donated included Australia, Norway, and the Dominican Republic.” The Post will also note, “Foreign governments and individuals are prohibited from giving money to US political candidates, to prevent outside influence over national leaders. But the foundation has given donors a way to potentially gain favor with the Clintons outside the traditional political limits.” (Read more: Washington Post, 12/08/2008)