Tag Archives: FOIA

New Legal Filing Seeks State Department Records on IT Specialist Pagliano’s Involvement in Clinton Email Scandal

There’s that name Clinton again. It just keeps popping up in connection with questions concerning crimes, classified information mishandling, secrecy, lies, and purloined government documents. 

And as new names pop up in connection with the Hillary Clinton (and Obama administration) email scandal, Judicial Watch follows the leads as only Judicial Watch can.

Tom Fitton of Judicial WatchWe have just filed yet another Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeking records concerning the service and maintenance of former Secretary Hillary Clinton’s email server. Specifically, Judicial Watch seeks records that will show whether Bryan Pagliano was hired or paid by the State Department to maintain the email server used by Clinton and her aides to conduct official State Department business and whether the State Department spent taxpayer money to manage the email server. (Pagliano, Hillary Clinton’s IT director during her 2008 run for the presidency, was hired by her State Department in 2009.)

Our team filed a simple FOIA request on August 5, the day after The Washington Post reported Pagliano, while employed at the State Department, “continued to act as the lead specialist responsible for [Clinton’s email system]…with Pagliano summoned at various times to fix problems. Notably, the system crashed for days after New York was hit by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, while Hillary Clinton was secretary of state.” Judicial Watch’s request seeks:

• Records concerning the hiring of Pagliano;
• Time sheets, calendars, or similar records of Pagliano;
• Travel records to/from Chappaqua, NY. Such records include, but are not limited to, expense reports, reimbursement forms, and travel logs;
• Pagliano’s records concerning, regarding, or relating to the maintenance of former Secretary Clinton’s email server. Such records include, but are not limited to, expense reports, reimbursement forms, and maintenance logs; and
• Records of communications between Pagliano and any official, officer, or employee of the Office of the Secretary concerning former Secretary Clinton’s email server.

We requested expedited processing (which is DC-speak for “hurry up”), which the State Department agreed to on August 13:

[B]ecause a compelling need for the requested information exists. … Specifically, Judicial Watch has at least 15 cases pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia related to Secretary Clinton’s email practices while Secretary of State. The information at issue in this request will shed light on whether the State Department was involved in the operation of Secretary Clinton’s email server.

Though the State Department agreed with Judicial Watch to expedite this request, the agency has failed to provide any documents or otherwise comply with the Freedom of Information Act.

(Reports state Pagliano plans to refuse to provide testimony to Congress by asserting his Fifth Amendment rights. So much for the Clinton apologist claims that the Justice Department/FBI investigation into her mishandling of classified material on her alias email system is not criminal!)

Mrs. Clinton’s argument that her “server” was private fails on many levels, especially if Mr. Pagliano, a State Department employee, was paid by taxpayers to take care of it. We must wonder if Mr. Pagliano has emails from the Clinton server. The Obama State Department is in cover-up mode, refusing to comply with federal law and honor our request about whether its employee was responsible for the Clinton server maintenance. This is yet another example of the Obama administration’s complicity in the Clinton email scandal.

Hillary Clinton, immediately following our lawsuit, said that she personally paid Pagliano to handle her server issues. This, if true (and that is a big “if”) raises all sorts of other issues. How many of other State Department employees did she pay on the sly? Was the alleged income reported as required by law? I’m sure you can think of a few more.

It was back in March that the news initially broke that Hillary Clinton used a non-government email during her four years as secretary of state. Let us not lose sight that JW FOIA lawsuits forced Hillary Clinton’s separate email system into the light of day. And that it was our litigation that forced Mrs. Clinton to do what no other congressional committee, FBI, or Justice Department investigation has done – submit information, under penalty of perjury, about her email system.

Judicial Watch’s work on this scandal is now so vast that I can’t possibly tell you everything that’s going on in all our twenty plus lawsuits and countless investigations. Check our website, www.judicialwatch.org every day for breaking news on this fast moving scandal. You can also track our investigations on Facebook, Twitter, and now even Instagram.

As I mentioned above, we will have big news next week, so stay tuned…


[from Judicial Watch updates]




As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis




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Clinton-Obama Benghazi story refuted by detailed Defense Department report

At the same time Obama, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other top leaders were blaming spontaneous protests for the deadly Benghazi attack, the Defense Department broadly circulated a detailed intelligence report that said an al Qaeda-linked group planned the assault 10 days beforehand.

Its goal was to kill as many Americans as possible.

The Defense Intelligence Agency report is contained in a trove of previously classified documents that the government watchdog group Judicial Watch forced the Obama administration to release under court order.

On another terrorism development that has wide implications today, one DIA report in August 2012 predicted the rise of the Islamic State, which was then emerging in Syria. It now controls wide sections of eastern Syria and northern and western Iraq, and is committing mass slaughter of Christians, Kurds and Muslims of rival sects or clans.

Mr. Obama downplayed the Islamic State as the “JV” in January 2014 when the terrorist army made its first incursions into western Iraq.

Judicial Watch said in a statement that the Benghazi documents are clear evidence that Mr. Obama and his aides lied to the American public two months before the November elections. Amid poor security, the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and an aide. Terrorists later attacked a nearby CIA base, killing two former Navy SEALs serving as a security detail.

Judicial Watch previously forced the administration to release a chain of emails that revealed the tortured process by which White House and State Department political appointees took the CIA’s draft report on the attack and changed it to say the carnage was caused by spontaneous demonstrations over an American-made anti-Islam video.

On Sept. 16, the same date as the DIA report, Susan E. Rice, who then was U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and now is national security adviser, went on Sunday political talk shows and blamed the attack on protesters angered by the video.

The administration could argue this point: The final CIA “talking points” paper was approved Sept. 15. The DIA report saying an al Qaeda-linked group carried out the attack was dated Sept. 16.

But Judicial Watch argues that the information contained in the DIA report was obtained as of Sept. 12, the day after the attack.

The president and Mrs. Clinton took days more to concede that the attack was terrorism and not a protest gone violent. Mr. Obama cited the video later that month in a speech to the U.N.

Matt Olsen, who was serving as director of the National Counterterrorism Center, became the first administration official to publicly call the attacks terrorism, on Sept. 19.  Mrs. Clinton followed suit the next day. But Obama, on that same day, was asked at a town hall meeting about the attack and declined to label it terrorism.

The White House on Tuesday did not respond to a query about the Judicial Watch findings.

Subsequent congressional hearings showed the Benghazi post was on a hit list compiled by terrorists who wanted to rid the city of all Western organizations. The hearings showed that Mr. Stevens repeatedly asked for more security but was rebuffed by Washington.

The Washington Times first reported in October 2012 that a defense intelligence report existed and that it blamed al Qaeda for the Benghazi attack shortly afterward.

The DIA papers obtained by Judicial Watch say the al Qaeda-linked group, Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman, claimed responsibility. Rahman is known as the “blind sheikh,” and was convicted and imprisoned for his role in the first World Trade Center attack. The organization is linked to Ansar al-Sharia, a Libyan terrorist group that also took part in the attack on the diplomatic outpost.

“The attack was planned ten or more days prior on approximately 01 September 2012,” the defense report said. “The intention was to attack the consulate and to kill as many Americans as possible to seek revenge for the U.S. killing of [an al Qaeda commander] in Pakistan and in memorial of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center buildings.”

Even more revealing is that the DIA concluded that al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri was involved. He sent Abdul Baset Azuz, the brigades leader, to Libya to set up an al Qaeda terrorist cell.

“It was stated that Azuz was not a charismatic leader but rather just a violent radical,” the DIA said.

Tom Fitton, Judicial Watch president, called the DIA documents “jaw dropping.” His group sued the administration under the Freedom of Information Act.

“No wonder we had to file more FOIA lawsuits and wait over two years for them,” he said. “If the American people had known the truth — that Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and other top administration officials knew that the Benghazi attack was an al Qaeda terrorist attack from the get-go — and yet lied and covered this fact up — Mitt Romney might very well be president.”

Mr. Fitton said the documents “show that the Benghazi cover-up has continued for years and is only unraveling through our independent lawsuits. The Benghazi scandal just got a whole lot worse for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.”

The DIA report said Azuz quickly established an al Qaeda headquarters in eastern Libya and obtained Russian-designed shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles.

Another document states that the Muslim Brotherhood was allied with al Qaeda in trying to bring down the Bashar Assad regime in Syria. At the time, Mr. Obama supported the elected Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt, which was later deposed by the military.

“Why would the Obama administration continue to support the Muslim Brotherhood even after it knew it was tied to the Benghazi terrorist attack and to al Qaeda?” Mr. Fitton said.

The Judicial Watch documents also show that the administration was aware of a major arms trafficking network in Libya that took government missiles and guns and shipped them to Islamists in Syria.

There is no indication that the CIA was involved, as some observers asserted.

On the Islamic State, the DIA said in August 2012 that the terrorist army “could also declare an Islamic State throughout its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory.”

[by Rowan Scarborough, writing for The Washington Times]

NORM ‘n’ AL Note:  As all of America knows by now, the only “JV team” that really is one is the team in the White House. Biggest bunch of bunglers ever to assume they could lead the USA.


As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis

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Judge’s new ruling shows EPA lied, deliberately delayed information requests from targeted organizations, and discriminated against conservative groups

Ruling seen as a rebuke of Obama, who took office vowing to run the “most transparent administration in history,” but who has totally failed to live up to that goal. Judge says “public trust has been diminished.”

A federal judge warned the Environmental Protection Agency today not to discriminate against conservative groups in how it responds to open-records requests, issuing a legal spanking to the agency concluding that while it can’t prove officials intentionally destroyed documents, they lied to the court and showed “apathy and carelessness” in carrying out the law.

Judge Royce C. Lamberth described the “absurdity” of the way the EPA handled a Freedom of Information Act request from the Landmark Legal Foundation and then the court case stemming from it — including late last week admitting it lied to the court about how it went about searching for documents.

In a scorching 25-page opinion, the judge accused the agency of “insulting” him by first claiming it had done a full search for records, then years later retracting that claim without any explanation.

“The recurrent instances of disregard that EPA employees display for FOIA obligations should not be tolerated by the agency,” the judge said in a 25-page ruling. “This court would implore the executive branch to take greater responsibility in ensuring that all EPA FOIA requests — regardless of the political affiliation of the requester — are treated with equal respect and conscientiousness.”

The ruling could be seen as a rebuke to President Obama, who took office vowing to run the most transparent administration in history, but who has faced increasing challenges over how he’s failed to live up to that claim. The EPA in particular has been in a years-long battle with conservative groups who argue the agency has ignored them while playing favorites with liberal groups.

Eric W. Wachter, a key EPA official identified as overseeing the open-records search, didn’t respond to a request for comment but an agency spokeswoman said they were happy the judge didn’t sanction them, as Landmark had sought.

“EPA is focused on creating more efficient work processes to ensure FOIAs responses are done more effectively and at a lower cost,” the spokeswoman said. “That includes adopting industry concept and best practices into the delivery of information technology services in areas such as cloud computing, mobile technology and workplace standards.

Judge Lamberth said Mr. Wachter provided false information to the court, then the EPA tried to withdraw it on Friday, though never explained how it got things wrong in the first place nor why it waited years to admit it had lied to the court.

Landmark, a conservative public interest legal group, filed a request in 2012 trying to see what outside groups EPA officials had been speaking with as they wrote new rules and regulations.

EPA slow-walked that request, Landmark sued, and the matter has been in front of the courts ever since.

Just Lamberth said at several turns, the EPA was either lying or terribly incompetent in how it handled the situation, both in terms of the search it performed and how it responded to the court case.

“Either EPA intentionally sought to evade Landmark’s lawful FOIA request so the agency could destroy responsive documents, or EPA demonstrated apathy and carelessness toward Landmark’s request,” Judge Lamberth said. “Either scenario reflects poorly upon EPA and surely serves to diminish the public’s trust in the agency.”

The judge said since Landmark couldn’t prove it was intentional bad faith, the group wasn’t entitled to “spoliation sanctions.” Neither could he find a reason to impose criminal sanctions against the agency.

Judge Lamberth also refused to appoint an independent monitor to oversee the EPA’s open-records requests, saying that was an “extreme and legally uncertain” alternative. But his frustration with the situation showed through repeatedly.

“The court is left wondering whether EPA has learned from its mistakes, or if it will merely continue to address FOIA requests in the clumsy manner that has seemingly become its custom,” the judge wrote. “Given the offensively unapologetic nature of EPA’s recent withdrawal notice … the court is not optimistic that the agency has learned anything.”


In other news, the IRS says  illegal immigrants can claim up to three years’ refunds on income even if they never paid income taxes.

[NORM ‘n’ AL Note: Read it again, folks. That’s what it says: Illegal immigrants are permitted to get tax refunds on taxes they never paid. Think that might work for us regular legal Americans? The guy in the White House is not only a liar, he’s a lunatic. Great job, Mr. O…just bring ’em in and show ’em the loopholes!]


The IRS is defending its decision to let illegal immigrants claim up to three years’ refunds on income even if they never paid income taxes, telling Congress in a new letter last week that agency lawyers have concluded getting a Social Security number triggers the ability to go back and ask for previous refunds.

Obama’s deportation amnesty could grant Social Security numbers to as many as 4 million illegal immigrants, making many of them eligible for tax refunds under the Earned Income Tax Credit even for years when they cheated on their taxes, worked off the books and refused to file tax returns.

“Section 32 of the Internal Revenue Code requires an SSN on the return, but a taxpayer claiming the EITC is not required to have an SSN before the close of the year for which the EITC is claimed,” IRS Commissioner John Koskinen wrote in his letter to Sen. Charles E. Grassley on Wednesday.

The IRS’s chief lawyer had reached that conclusion in 2000, and the agency has newly confirmed it, Mr. Koskinen said.

Mr. Grassley said that made a mockery of the law, and said he’ll try to write a bill specifically prohibiting it.

“The tax code shouldn’t reward those who broke our immigration laws,” the Iowa Republican and chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said in a statement.

The IRS ruling creates an odd circumstance where illegal immigrants who cheated by not paying taxes before can see if they would benefit from refunds. If they do benefit, they could file, but if they don’t benefit they could continue to avoid taxes for those years.


NORM ‘n’ AL Note:  An “odd circumstance”? It’s not odd, it’s OUTRAGEOUS!  Dumbest thing we’ve ever heard! Let’s just change the name of the IRS to Irrational Revenue Service, and quit kidding ourselves that this agency is really doing something beneficial.


[by Stephen Dinan, writing for The Washington Times]
As always, posted for your edification and enlightenment by

NORM ‘n’ AL, Minneapolis


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