Another Turn As Justice Department Now Helping FBI Investigate Hillary

 

hillaryshock

Mrs Clinton in shock

 

The FBI agents investigating Hillary Clinton’s potential violations of the Espionage Act with her private email server were “angered” by President Obama’s attempt to defend her on national television, the New York Times reports.

“I don’t think it posed a national security problem,” Mr. Obama said Sunday on CBS’s “60 Minutes.” He said it was a mistake for Mrs. Clinton to use a private email account when she was secretary of state, but his conclusion was unmistakable: “This is not a situation in which America’s national security was endangered.”

Those statements angered F.B.I. agents who have been working for months to determine whether Ms. Clinton’s email setup had in fact put any of the nation’s secrets at risk, according to current and former law enforcement officials.

Investigators have not reached any conclusions about whether the information on the server had been compromised or whether to recommend charges, according to the law enforcement officials. But to investigators, it sounded as if Mr. Obama had already decided the answers to their questions and cleared anyone involved of wrongdoing.

The White House quickly backed off the president’s remarks and said Mr. Obama was not trying to influence the investigation. But his comments spread quickly, raising the ire of officials who saw an instance of the president trying to influence the outcome of a continuing investigation — and not for the first time.

If we weren’t so numb to lawlessness and politicized bureaucracy from seven years of Obama scandals, this would be a national outrage. The President just tried to influence the outcome of a criminal investigation, on behalf of a powerful Democrat politician.  Of course, he loves to insert himself into politically useful criminal matters, while having nothing to say about politically damaging ones, such as sanctuary-city murders by illegal aliens.

Outrage requires at least a pinch of surprise, and Obama has so numbed the American people to corruption and the lawless exercise of power that it’s not surprising to watch him influence an active FBI investigation. As the Times notes later in its article, Obama made similar thoughtless – and, as it turned out, incorrect – comments when former CIA director David Petraeus was under investigation. Petraeus did have to face the music, but Obama’s politicized Justice Department arranged a misdemeanor plea bargain for him… even though he demonstrably lied to FBI agents during the investigation.

Unfortunately for Clinton, Obama’s effort to tip the scales on her behalf doesn’t seem to be working well. The White House was obliged to issue an extraordinary retraction of the President’s remarks, and the FBI agents working the case seem to be more inspired than ever.

As former FBI official Ron Hosko told the New York Times, “Injecting politics into what is supposed to be a fact-finding inquiry leaves a foul taste in the F.B.I.’s mouth and makes them fear that no matter what they find, the Justice Department will take the president’s signal and not bring a case.”

Notice that in the White House walkback, spokesman Josh Earnest still tried to pump a little hot air into Clinton’s favorite narrative trial balloon, namely her contention that she knows more about what should be “classified” than everyone in the intelligence community combined, and was trying to correct the spy kids on their excessive zeal for securing documents.

“There’s a debate among national security experts, as part of their ongoing, independent review, about how or even whether to classify sections of those emails,” said Earnest. “But, as the president said, there is no evidence to indicate that the information in those emails endangered our national security.”

Earnest appears to have forgotten that one of the classification rules Clinton violated most promiscuously was an executive order signed by his boss, Barack Obama.

Also, classified documents are not defined as “something that will instantly destroy America if unauthorized people read it.” The standard for indictable violation of the Espionage Act does not require proof that the exposed information has been certified damaging to national security with 100 percent certainty by some secret tribunal.

One of the reasons violations of the classification system must be punished vigorously, without regard to the apparent significance of the documents years after the fact, is that people who handle such material must not get the idea they can make personal value judgments and disregard security markings they find excessive. No intelligence service can afford to send that signal. If Clinton gets away with it, the damage to national security in the future will be far worse than whatever Chinese and Russian hackers might have gotten by raiding her email server.

Fox News reports that a group of national security whistleblowers held a news conference on Thursday to denounce the double standard working for Clinton, and demand she be treated the same way they were. They noticed Obama’s effort to give her cover on 60 Minutes, too:

NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake was indicted in 2010 under the Espionage Act for sharing unclassified material with a Baltimore Sun reporter. Drake, who also went to Congress with his concerns about the NSA, said his goal was to expose government misconduct.

“This is the secretary of state, one of the most targeted individuals by other intelligence entities and agencies in the world using a private server to traffic highly sensitive information and no doubt including classified information and no doubt including info about sources and methods,”Drake said at Thursday’s event.

He added the whistleblowers’ treatment shows there is a law for the average citizen, and apparently a different set of rules for the powerful.

“But hey, I’m secretary of state,” Drake said in a sarcastic tone. ”Even Obama gave her cover.”

Another whisteblower, former Justice Department ethics adviser Jesselyn Radack, brought up the Petraeus case, recalling how he “gave away more secret information, classified at a much higher level, to his mistress and received a sweetheart plea deal for a minor misdemeanor,” consequences she described as a mere “slap on the wrist.”

Fox also suggests that in addition to possible Espionage Act violations, the FBI might be considering obstruction-of-justice charges:

A former FBI agent, who is not involved in the case, said the inconsistent release of emails, with new documents coming to light from outside accounts, such as that of adviser Sidney Blumenthal, could constitute obstruction. In addition, Clinton’s March statement that there was no classified material on her private server has proven false, after more than 400 emails containing classified information were documented.

The FBI agents working on Clinton’s case are obviously justified in fearing political involvement. Unfortunately, there isn’t much they can do about it.

FBI Director James B. Comey likes to boast that “if you know my folks, they don’t give a rip about politics.” Doubtless that is true, but their hyper-political superiors at the Justice Department most certainly do, and they’re not likely to allow anything but the most ironclad case derail the Democrat frontrunner for the 2016 presidential nomination… unless they get a thumbs-up from the White House.

There are many ways this particular lightning bolt of scandal could be grounded, most obviously including the use of a few select Clinton aides as lightning rods. On the other hand, the description recently offered of the Espionage Act investigation makes it seem like the charges would be difficult to pin on underlings, given Clinton’s overall responsibility for creating the email system. Downgrading the consequences to a misdemeanor “slap on the wrist,” as with Petraeus, might not contain the political fallout in this case. “Vote Hillary 2016: She Was Only Indicted For Misdemeanor Offenses” isn’t much of a campaign slogan.

If the FBI decides to float some charges against Clinton, they had better have battleship armor, or else the same DOJ that swept Operation Fast and Furious under the rug is going to sink them. What Obama said on 60 Minutes might not have been aimed at the FBI, but rather intended to prepare the media battlespace for a high-level torpedoing of whatever case the agents come up with.

Estimated war dead World War II

 

AXIS MILITARY CIVILIAN TOTAL
GERMANY

3,500,000

700,000 4,200,000
JAPAN 2,000,000 350,000 2,350,000
ROMANIA 300,000 160,000 460,000
HUNGARY 140,000 290,000 430,000
ITALY 330,000 80,000 410,000
AUSTRIA 230,000 104,000 334,000
FINLAND 82,000 2,000 84,000
AXIS TOTAL 6,582,000 1,686,000 8,268,000
ALLIED MILITARY CIVILIAN TOTAL
SOVIET UNION 10,000,000 10,000,000 * 20,000,000
CHINA 2,500,000 7,500,00 10,000,000
POLAND 100,00 5,700,000 5,800,000
YUGOSLAVIA 300,000 1,400,000 1,700,000
FRANCE 250,000 350,000 600,000
CZECHOSLOVAKIA 200,000 215,000 415,000
UNITED STATES 400,000 400,000
UNITED KINGDOM (ENGLAND, SCOTLAND, WALES, AND  NORTHERN IRELAND) 326,000 62,000 388,000
NETHERLANDS 12,000 198,000 210,000
GREECE 20,000 140,000 160,000
BELGIUM 12,000 76,000 88,000
CANADA 37,000 37,000
INDIA 24,000 13,000 37,000
AUSTRALIA 23,000 12,000 35,000
ALBANIA 28,000 2,000 30,000
BULGARIA 10,000 10,000 20,000
NEW ZEALAND 10,000 2,000 12,000
NORWAY 6,400 3,900 10,300
SOUTH AFRICA 7,000
ETHIOPIA 5,000 5,000
LUXEMBOURG 5,000 5,000
MALTA 2,000 2,000
DENMARK 400 1,000 1,400
BRAZIL 1,000 1,000
ALLIED TOTAL 14,276,800 25,686,900 39,963,700
EST. TOTAL 20,858,800 27,372,900 48,231,700

* The majority of Soviet Union civilian casualties were Ukrainian.

Sources

Gregory Frumkin, Population Changes in Europe Since 1939 (European estimates)

B. Urlanis, Wars and Population (Soviet Union and the Far East)

Singer and Small, Wages of War (the Americas and Ethiopia)

I.C.B. Dear, editor, The Oxford Companion to World War II (British Commonwealth)

Putin’s Blitz Leaves Washington Rankled and Confused

Posted by Ainhoa Aristizabal

Global Research, October 01, 2015
Mike Whitney, CounterPunch, 2015
Region: Middle East & North Africa, Russia and FSU, USA
Theme: US NATO War Agenda
In-depth Report: SYRIA: NATO’S NEXT WAR?

obama-putin-510x383-400x300On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin delivered a blistering critique of US foreign policy to the UN General Assembly.

On Tuesday, Barack Obama shoved a knife in Putin’s back. This is from Reuters:

“France will discuss with its partners in the coming days a proposal by Turkey and members of the Syrian opposition for a no-fly zone in northern Syria, French President Francois Hollande said on Monday…

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius “in the coming days will look at what the demarcation would be, how this zone could be secured and what our partners think,” Hollande told reporters on the sidelines of the annual United Nations General Assembly…

Hollande said such a proposal could eventually be rubber-stamped with a U.N. Security Council resolution that “would give international legitimacy to what’s happening in this zone.”…(France, partners to discuss northern Syria ‘safe zone’: Hollande, Reuters)

Hollande is a liar and a puppet. He knows the Security Council will never approve a no-fly zone. Russia and China have already said so. And they’ve explained why they are opposed to it, too. It’s because they don’t want another failed state on their hands like Libya, which is what happened last time the US and NATO imposed a no-fly zone.

But that’s beside the point. The real reason the no-fly zone issue has resurfaced is because it was one of the concessions Obama made to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for the use of Incirlik airbase. Washington has kept the terms of that deal secret, but Hollande has let the cat out of the bag.

So who put sock-puppet Hollande up to this no-fly zone nonsense?

Why the Obama administration, of course. Does anyone seriously believe that Hollande is conducting his own independent policy in Syria? Of course not. Hollande is just doing what he’s been told to do, just like he did when he was told to scotch the Mistral deal that cost France a whopping $1.2 billion. Washington and NATO didn’t like the idea that France was selling state-of-the-art helicopter carriers to arch-rival Putin, so they ordered Hollande to put the kibosh on the deal. Which he did, because that’s what puppets do; they obey their masters. Now he’s providing cover for Obama so the real details of the Incirlik agreement remain off the public’s radar. That’s why we say, Obama shoved a knife in Putin’s back, because, ultimately, the no-fly zone damages Russia’s interests in Syria.

The significance of the Reuters article cannot be overstated. It suggests that there was a quid pro quo for the use of Incirlik, and that Turkey’s demands were accepted. Why is that important?

Because Turkey had three demands:

1–Safe zones in north Syria (which means that Turkey would basically annex a good portion of Syrian sovereign territory.)
2–A no-fly zone (which would allow either Turkish troops, US Special Forces or US-backed jihadi militants to conduct their military operations with the support of US air cover.)
3–A commitment from the US that it will help Turkey remove Assad.

Did Obama agree to all three of these demands before Erdogan agreed to let the USAF use Incirlik?

Yes, at least I think he did, which is why I think we are at the beginning of Phase 2 of the US aggression against Syria. Incirlik changes everything. US bombers, drones and fighters can enter Syrian airspace in just 15 minutes instead of 3 to 4 hours from Bahrain. That means more sorties, more surveillance drones, and more air-cover for US-backed militias and Special Forces on the ground. It means the US can impose a de facto no-fly zone over most of Syria that will expose and weaken Syrian forces tipping the odds decisively in favor of Obama’s jihadi army. Incirlik is a game-changer, the cornerstone of US policy in Syria. With access to Incirlik, victory is within Washington’s reach. That’s how important Incirlik is.

And that’s why the normally-cautious Putin decided to deploy his warplanes, troops and weaponry so soon after the Incirlik deal was signed. He could see the handwriting on the wall. He knew he had to either act fast and turn the tide or accept the fact that the US and Turkey were going to topple Assad sometime after Turkey’s snap elections on November 1. That was his timeline for action. So he did the right thing and joined the fighting.

But what does Putin do now?

On Wednesday, just two days after Putin announced to the UN General Assembly: “We can no longer tolerate the current state of affairs in the world,” Putin ordered the bombing of targets in Homs, an ISIS stronghold in West Syria. The attacks, which were unanimously approved by the Russian parliament earlier in the day, and which are entirely legal under international law (Putin was invited by Syria’s sitting president, Assad, to carry out the airstrikes), have put US policy in a tailspin. While the Russian military is maintaining an open channel to the Pentagon and reporting when-and-where it is carrying out its airstrikes, U.S. State Department spokesman John Kirby said that the US plans to “continue to fly missions over Iraq and Syria” increasing the possibility of an unintended clash that could lead to a confrontation between the US and Russia.

Is that what Washington wants, a violent incident that pits one nuclear-armed adversary against the other?

Let’s consider one probable scenario: Let’s say an F-16 is shot down over Syria while providing air cover for Obama’s militants on the ground. Now that Russia is conducting air raids over Syria, there’s a good chance that Putin would be blamed for the incident like he was when the Malaysian airliner was downed over East Ukraine.

So what happens next?

Judging by similar incidents in the past, the media would swing into full-propaganda mode exhorting the administration to launch retaliatory attacks on Russian military sites while calling for a broader US-NATO mobilization. That, in turn, would force Putin to either fight back and up-the-ante or back-down and face disgrace. Either way, Putin loses and the US gets one step closer to its objective of toppling Bashar al Assad.

Putin knows all this. He understands the risks of military involvement which is why he has only reluctantly committed to the present campaign. That said; we should expect him to act in much the same way as he did when Georgian troops invaded South Ossetia in 2007. Putin immediately deployed the tanks to push the invading troops back over the border into Georgia and then quickly ended the hostilities. He was lambasted by critics on the right for not invading Georgia and removing their leader, Mikheil Saakashvili, in the Capital. But as it turned out, Putin’s restraint spared Russia the unnecessary hardship of occupation which can drain resources and erode public support. Putin was right and his critics were wrong.

Will his actions in Syria mirror those in South Ossetia?

It’s hard to say, but it’s clear that the Obama crew is thunderstruck by the speed of the intervention. Check this out from the UK Guardian: “Back at the White House, spokesperson Josh Earnest suggests that Vladimir Putin did not give Barack Obama warning about his intentions to begin air strikes in Syria.

“We have long said we would welcome constructive Russian coordination,” Earnest says, before qualifying that the talks between US and Russian militaries will be purely tactical: “to ensure that our military activities and the military activities of coalition partners would be safely conducted.” (The Guardian)

What does Earnest’s statement mean? It means the entire US political class was caught off-guard by Putin’s blitz and has not yet settled on an appropriate response. They know that Putin is undoing years of work by rolling up proxy-units that were supposed to achieve US objectives, but there is no agreement among ruling elites about what should be done. And making a decision of that magnitude could take time, which means that Putin should be able to obliterate a fair number of the terrorist hideouts and restore control of large parts of the country to Assad before the US ever agrees to a strategy. In fact, if he moves fast, he might even be able to force the US and their Gulf allies to the bargaining table where a political solution could be reached.

It’s a long-shot, but it’s a much better option than waiting around for the US to impose a no-fly zone that would collapse the central government and reduce Syria to Libya-type anarchy. There’s no future in that at all.

Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com.

Copyright © Mike Whitney, CounterPunch, 2015