Archive for the ‘Eric Holder’ category

Corruption and Collusion: Obama, Comey, and the Press

June 11, 2017

Corruption and Collusion: Obama, Comey, and the Press, PJ Media, Andrew Klacan, June 11, 2017

Image Courtesy of Shutterstock

My point is simply this: when you are listening to Comey, and when you are listening to the news media sanctifying Comey or indeed demonizing Trump, just remember who it is you are listening to: unindicted co-conspirators in an administration that was rotten to the core.

******************************

It now seems clear that Barack Obama was a corrupt machine politician in the worst Chicago mold. He used the IRS to silence his enemies, and the Justice Department to protect his friends. His two major “achievements” — a health care law that doesn’t work and a deal that increased the power and prestige of the terrorist state of Iran — were built on lies to the public and manipulation of the press. And that’s according to his own allies! Only the leftist bias and racial pathology of the media kept his administration from being destroyed by scandal, as it surely would have been had he been a white Republican.

I don’t mention this to bring up old grudges, but for what it says about the current moment and the week just passed. Here’s some of what we recently learned:

Former FBI Director James Comey’s Senate testimony concerning former Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s corruption confirmed our worst suspicions about the Obama DOJ. In an apparent attempt to help Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Lynch told Comey to refer to the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s abuse of classified material as “a matter” rather than an investigation. And, as we already knew but Comey confirmed, Lynch’s secret tarmac meeting with Bill Clinton so underscored Comey’s sense of her crookedness that the self-serving drama queen Comey actually went around her to publicly declare Hillary guilty-but-not-guilty.

“It won’t get much attention, but that was pretty damning,” said CNN’s John King of Comey’s testimony about Lynch. You can translate “it won’t get much attention” into “we won’t give it much attention.”

But all that was nothing compared to the brutal, nearly 300-page report released last week by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, a report absolutely blasting the previous Obama AG, Eric Holder. The report details how Holder and the Obama administration labored to cover up the details of the Fast and Furious gun-running scandal — a scandal which, unlike the non-collusion-with-Russia non-scandal, was implicated in the murder of an American law officer. Even the mom of the slain officer couldn’t get the truth out of Holder and his cronies. The report says Holder considered the officer’s family a “nuisance” because they were trying to get him to tell them how exactly the lawman died at the hands of gangsters who were wielding guns Obama’s DOJ had allowed them to buy.

We’ve heard a lot from Comey and the press this week about the precious independence of the Justice Department. And yet Attorney General Holder once said, “I’m still the president’s wing-man, so I’m there with my boy.” Holder was also the first attorney general ever to be held in contempt of Congress for not turning over documents relating to Fast and Furious. And, speaking of obstruction of justice — we were speaking of obstruction of justice, weren’t we? — President Obama asserted executive privilege to make it easier for Holder to keep those docs in the dark. Hey, nothing’s too good for the president’s wingman!

What a sleazy bunch they were! Hiding their corruption behind the color of their skin. Criticized for Fast and Furious in 2011, Holder said: “This is a way to get at the president because of the way I can be identified with him, both due to the nature of our relationship and, you know, the fact that we’re both African-American.” What a sleazy bunch.

So let’s remember. Obama is the nefarious machine pol who appointed James Comey to head the FBI in the first place. This is the Comey who took no notes when he spoke with Obama, no notes when he questioned Hillary about her emails, no notes, apparently, during the cover-up conversation with Lynch that left him with “a queasy feeling,” but who suddenly began documenting his exchanges with Trump — exchanges that Trump says never happened. This is the Comey who let Hillary off the hook because he somehow knew she didn’t intend to share classified information (a matter that doesn’t exist in the relevant law), but who cannot comment on whether Donald Trump intended to obstruct justice when Trump expressed his hopes about an investigation.

And the Obama administration — this crooked gang of liars and colluders — this is the gang that was deemed “scandal free” by virtually every “mainstream” news outlet. Indeed, investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson had to leave CBS News in large part because CBS would not run her work on Fast and Furious.

My point is not to excuse Trump for any of his inappropriate and sometimes boorish behavior. I hope he learns better. My point is simply this: when you are listening to Comey, and when you are listening to the news media sanctifying Comey or indeed demonizing Trump, just remember who it is you are listening to: unindicted co-conspirators in an administration that was rotten to the core.

Off Topic ? | Attkisson v. Eric Holder, Department of Justice, et al

April 3, 2017

Attkisson v. Eric Holder, Department of Justice, et al, sharylattkisson.com, April 2, 2017

(Spying on Ms. Attkisson, an investigative journalist, by the Obama administration. This seems relevant to more recent efforts to spy on Trump, et al. — DM)

As an investigative reporter for CBS News, Ms. Attkisson was responsible for investigating and reporting on national news stories. Between 2011 and 2013, she investigated and prepared various high-profile news reports, including ones related to the “Fast and Furious” “gunwalking” operation and the attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.

*********************************

Many of you have asked for the status of my computer intrusion lawsuit against the federal government.

On March 19, 2017, a federal judge denied the government’s motion to dismiss my computer intrusion lawsuit, and transferred the case from Washington D.C. to the Eastern District of Virginia.

Below are excerpts from the judge’s opinion, which provides a good summary.

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

MEMORANDUM OPINION, by U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan

As an investigative reporter for CBS News, Ms. Attkisson was responsible for investigating and reporting on national news stories. Between 2011 and 2013, she investigated and prepared various high-profile news reports, including ones related to the “Fast and Furious” “gunwalking” operation and the attack on the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya…

In 2011——at the same time that Ms. Attkisson was conducting investigations and issuing certain of her high-profile news reports——the Attkissons “began to notice anomalies in numerous electronic devices at their home in Virginia.” These anomalies included Ms. Attkisson’s work-issued laptop computer and a family desktop computer “turning on and off at night without input from anyone in the household,” “the house alarm chirping daily at different times,” and “television problems, including interference.” All of these electronic devices used “the Verizon FiOS line installed in [the Attkissons’] home,” but Verizon was unable to stanch the anomalous activity despite multiple attempts. In January 2012, the Attkissons’ residential internet service “began constantly dropping off.”

In February 2012, “sophisticated surveillance spyware” was installed on Ms. Attkisson’s work-issued laptop computer. A later forensic computer analysis revealed that Ms. Attkisson’s laptop and the family’s desktop computer had been the “targets of unauthorized surveillance efforts.” That same forensic analysis revealed that Ms. Attkisson’s mobile phone was also targeted for surveillance when it was connected to the family’s desktop computer. The infiltration of that computer and the extraction of information from it was “executed via an IP address owned, controlled, and operated by the United States Postal service.” Additionally, based on the sophisticated nature of the software used to carry out the infiltration and software fingerprints indicating the use of the federal government’s proprietary software, the infiltration and surveillance appeared to be perpetrated by persons in the federal government.

An independent forensic computer analyst hired by CBS subsequently reported finding evidence on both Ms. Attkisson’s work-issued laptop computer and her family’s desktop computer of “a coordinated, highly-skilled series of actions and attacks directed at the operation of the computers.” Computer forensic analysis also indicated that remote actions were taken in December 2012 to remove the evidence of the electronic infiltration and surveillance from Ms. Attkisson’s computers and other home electronic equipment.

As Ms. Attkisson’s investigations and reporting continued, in October 2012 the Attkissons noticed “an escalation of electronic problems at their personal residence, including interference in home and mobile phone lines, computer interference, and television interference.” In November of that year, Ms. Attkisson’s mobile phones “experienced regular interruptions and interference, making telephone communications unreliable, and, at times, virtually impossible.”

Additionally, in December 2012, a person with government intelligence experience conducted an inspection of the exterior of the Attkissons’ Virginia home. That investigator discovered an extra Verizon FiOS fiber optics line. Soon thereafter, after a Verizon technician was instructed by Ms. Attkisson to leave the extra cable at the home, the cable disappeared, and the Attkissons were unable to determine what happened to it. In March 2013, the Attkissons’ desktop computer malfunctioned, and in September of that year, while Ms. Attkisson was working on a story at her home, she observed that her personal laptop computer was remotely accessed and controlled, resulting in data being deleted from it. On April 3, 2013, Ms. Attkisson filed a complaint with the Inspector General of the Department of Justice. The Inspector General’s investigation was limited to an analysis of the compromised desktop computer, and the partially-released report that emerged from that investigation reported “no evidence of intrusion,” although it did note “a great deal of advanced mode computer activity not attributable to Ms. Attkisson or anybody in her household.”

The Attkissons allege that the “cyber-attacks” they “suffered in [their] home” were perpetrated by “personnel working on behalf of the United States.” Accordingly, they have asserted various claims against the United States and against former Attorney General Eric Holder, former Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, and unknown agents of the Department of Justice, the United States Postal Service, and the United States, all in their individual capacities. Those claims include claims against the United States under the FTCA and claims against the individual federal officers for violations of constitutional rights under Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Fed. Bureau of Narcotics, 403 U.S. 388 (1971)…

Having determined that venue is improper as to the Attkissons’ FTCA claims and that the pendent venue doctrine is inapplicable, the Court may either “dismiss, or if it be in the interest of justice, transfer [this] case to any district or division in which it could have been brought.” “The decision whether a transfer or a dismissal is in the interest of justice . . . rests within the sound discretion of the district court,” Naartex Consulting Corp. v. Watt, 722 F.2d 779, 789 (D.C. Cir. 1983), but the “standard remedy for improper venue is to transfer the case to the proper court rather than dismissing it——thus preserving a [plaintiff’s] ability to obtain review.” Nat’l Wildlife Fed’n v. Browner, 237 F.3d 670, 674 (D.C. Cir. 2001). The Court will use that standard remedy here and find that

the interest of justice warrants transfer rather than dismissal so that the Attkissons’ claims can be adjudicated on the merits.

Conclusion

For the reasons stated above, defendants’ amended motion to dismiss is GRANTED IN PART and DENIED IN PART WITHOUT PREJUDICE. As to their assertion that the Attkissons’ FTCA claims are improperly venued, defendants’ motion is granted. Accordingly, this consolidated case shall be transferred in its entirety to the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia. The remainder of defendants’ amended motion to dismiss is denied without prejudice so that defendants may refile it, if appropriate, upon transfer to the Eastern District of Virginia. Likewise, the Attkissons’ motion for reconsideration of the Order denying various motions related to third-party discovery is DENIED WITHOUT PREJUDICE so that it may be refiled in and more appropriately resolved by the transferee court. An appropriate Order accompanies this Memorandum Opinion.

SO ORDERED.

Signed: Emmet G. Sullivan
United States District Judge
March 19, 2017

Former AG Under Contempt Of Congress: “Deeply Concerned” Over Comey’s Actions

October 31, 2016

Former AG Under Contempt Of Congress: “Deeply Concerned” Over Comey’s Actions, Hot Air, Ed Morrissey, October 31, 2016

holder

Nothing will start a morning off with a good laugh more than an op-ed from Eric Holder touting his record of fighting public corruption. The former Attorney General, who earned a contempt citation from Congress and who participated in one of the most corrupt presidential pardons in US history, took time out from his retirement to wag his finger at James Comey because the FBI director kept Congress informed. Why, Holder writes, that goes against everything I did as AG!

That may actually be one good argument in favor of Comey:

I began my career in the Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section 40 years ago, investigating cases of official corruption. In the years since, I have seen America’s justice system firsthand from nearly every angle — as a prosecutor, judge, attorney in private practice, and attorney general of the United States. I understand the gravity of the work our Justice Department performs every day to defend the security of our nation, protect the American people, uphold the rule of law and be fair.

That is why I am deeply concerned about FBI Director James B. Comey’s decision to write a vague letter to Congress about emails potentially connected to a matter of public, and political, interest. That decision was incorrect. It violated long-standing Justice Department policies and tradition. And it ran counter to guidance that I put in place four years ago laying out the proper way to conduct investigations during an election season. That guidance, which reinforced established policy, is still in effect and applies to the entire Justice Department — including the FBI.

Let’s take a moment to recall the career of the man who issued this scolding. Holder most famously stonewalled Congress over the ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious program, which ran guns into Mexico in an attempt to make political hay over allegedly widespread “straw man” purchases of firearms in the US. Instead, the ATF thoroughly botched the operation and dumped thousands of guns into the hands of the drug cartels south of the border; the weapons were later traced to hundreds of murders, including those of two Border Patrol agents. When Congress demanded records and communications from the ATF and the Department of Justice, Holder refused to comply, offering a specious claim of “executive privilege” that only applies to the President. Congress approved a contempt citation that the DoJ refused to enforce, and a later court rejected Holder’s claims of executive privilege.

But Holder cites his earlier work on “public integrity,” too. What did that look like? Well, Holder’s approach to public integrity was to promote pardons for tax fugitives whose friends and family kicked in a lot of dough to the Clintons. Slate’s Justin Peters recalled the case of Marc Rich after his demise, the multibillionaire who got off scot-free thanks to Bill Clinton’s last-minute pardon while on the run for tax evasion:

Eric Holder was the key man. As deputy AG, Holder was in charge of advising the president on the merits of various petitions for pardon. Jack Quinn, a lawyer for Rich, approached Holder about clemency for his client. Quinn was a confidant of Al Gore, then a candidate for president; Holder had ambitions of being named attorney general in a Gore administration. A report from the House Committee on Government Reform on the Rich debacle later concluded that Holder must have decided that cooperating in the Rich matter could pay dividends later on.

Rich was an active fugitive, a man who had used his money to evade the law, and presidents do not generally pardon people like that. What’s more, the Justice Department opposed the pardon—or would’ve, if it had known about it. But Holder and Quinn did an end-around, bringing the pardon to Clinton directly and avoiding any chance that Justice colleagues might give negative input. As the House Government Reform Committee report later put it, “Holder failed to inform the prosecutors under him that the Rich pardon was under consideration, despite the fact that he was aware of the pardon effort for almost two months before it was granted.” …

Since then, Bill Clinton hasn’t stopped apologizing for the pardons of Marc Rich and Pincus Green. “It was terrible politics. It wasn’t worth the damage to my reputation,” he told Newsweek in 2002—and, indeed, speculation was rampant that Rich (and his ex-wife) had bought the pardon by, in part, donating $450,000 to Clinton’s presidential library. Clinton denied that the donations had anything to do with the pardon, instead claiming that he took Holder’s advice on the matter. Holder, for his part, has distanced himself from the pardons as well. As the House Government Reform Committee report put it, he claimed that his support for the pardon “was the result of poor judgment, initially not recognizing the seriousness of the Rich case, and then, by the time that he recognized that the pardon was being considered, being distracted by other matters.”

The excuses are weak. In the words of the committee report, “it is difficult to believe that Holder’s judgment would be so monumentally poor that he could not understand how he was being manipulated by Jack Quinn.”

Before the Washington Post offered its pages to Holder for this scolding on law-enforcement ethics, perhaps they should have consulted their own Richard Cohen. Not exactly a conservative activist, Cohen argued vehemently that Holder’s participation in the Rich pardon should have disqualified him for the AG position:

Holder was not just an integral part of the pardon process, he provided the White House with cover by offering his go-ahead recommendation. No alarm seemed to sound for him. Not only had strings been pulled, but it was rare to pardon a fugitive — someone who had avoided possible conviction by avoiding the inconvenience of a trial. The U.S. attorney’s office in New York — which, Holder had told the White House, would oppose any pardon — was kept ignorant of what was going on. Afterward, it was furious. …

But the pardon cannot be excepted. It suggests that Holder, whatever his other qualifications, could not say no to power. The Rich pardon request had power written all over it — the patronage of important Democratic fundraisers, for instance. Holder also said he was “really struck” by the backing of Rich by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak and the possibility of “foreign policy benefits that would be reaped by granting the pardon.” This is an odd standard for American justice, but more than that, what was Holder thinking? That U.S.-Israeli relations would suffer? Holder does not sound naive. He sounds disingenuous.

And he sounds just as disingenuous here, too. Perhaps Holder feels that he has the moral standing to argue that Congress should be kept in the dark about executive-branch operations, especially when they have a potentially large impact on the body politic; Holder himself certainly exemplified that in Operation Fast and Furious. Or perhaps Holder’s convinced that the Department of Justice should direct all its efforts to get potential felons off the hook, especially in cases where it benefits the Clintons, and Holder has definitely made that part of his life’s work. But Eric Holder lecturing James Comey for not following the examples he set at the DoJ qualifies as farce, and would get gales of laughter had the political parties been swapped.

An argument might be made that shows Comey misstepped, but this isn’t it — and Eric Holder is near the bottom of any list of former officials with the moral authority for public lectures on clean government.

PS: The Marc Rich pardon continues to pay dividends for the Clintons, too. They did big business with former Rich partner Gilbert Chagoury, even while the FBI looked into his connections to terror groups. We can thank Holder for that, too — a dividend of his 2000 efforts for “public integrity” that paid off for the Clintons over and over again.

David Sirota offers another reason to doubt Holder’s moral standing on questions of public integrity:

Comey may or may not be screwing up. But Eric Holder is an unconvincing voice on how law enforcement should act https://twitter.com/davidsirota/status/792926441755127809 

I’d say my arguments are more directly on point, but YMMV.