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  • We are proud to announce that the 2014 Ronald Reagan Gala will honor Gary Sinise. For over thirty … [more]

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Calls mount for Hillary Clinton criminal investigation amid email data breach fears

by Guy Taylor     •     The Washington Times

Hillary Clinton at senate hearingWith U.S. intelligence officials scrambling to contain damage from potentially hundreds of spy agency secrets in Hillary Rodham Clinton’s private emails, questions are mounting over why the Justice Department has not yet opened a criminal investigation against the Democratic presidential front-runner for mishandling a mountain of classified information.

While some secrecy experts believe Mrs. Clinton will be able to build a strong case that material on her server was not classified at the time it was moving through her emails, others assert that what the former secretary of state did was far more egregious than the mishandling of information that saw former CIA Director David H. Petraeus sentenced to two years probation and a $100,000 fine.

“I don’t see how the Justice Department would be able to avoid at least investigating this,” said Kevin Carroll, a former CIA officer and secrecy lawyer in Washington. “What Petraeus did was really small in comparison, because there was no exposure of any information to any foreign intelligence services.” [Read more...]

Beyond Benghazi: Hillary, Sid and Libya

Once a proud moment, the U.S. military intervention in Libya continues to haunt candidate Clinton.

by Michael Hirsh & Jeff Bartholet      •      Politico MagazineHillary Clinton 2

Hillary Clinton tried to turn the page with her most recent campaign kick-off rally. She confidently laid out her claim to the presidency at her Roosevelt Island campaign rally, even as she conceded: “Lord knows I’ve made my share of mistakes. And there’s no shortage of people pointing them out.”

This week, one of those mistakes—perhaps her biggest and certainly her most politically potent one—will be front-and-center yet again when her longtime confidant and vast-right-wing-conspiracy whisperer, Sidney Blumenthal, testifies before a congressional oversight committee that is digging through what even Clinton has admitted was the No. 1 “regret” of her tenure as secretary of state: the unanticipated attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, that left the U.S. ambassador dead. [Read more...]

Executive Dysfunction

President Obama has done next to nothing to build confidence in government.

by James Bennet     •     The Atlantic

Obama defeatedIt’s happened by this point in every modern two-term presidency: If we weren’t sick of the guy to start with, we certainly are by now. What once seemed like roguish charm, or bracing surety, or nuanced intelligence, has curdled into self-indulgence, or arrogance, or passivity. Voters punish the president in the midterms; congressmen investigate him; political journalists, eager to cultivate sources in the coming campaigns, save all their nice adjectives for the presidents-in-waiting, and their aides. [Read more...]

Obama’s Year In Review

ISIS, Ferguson, the Senate, Ukraine, Ebola, border kids. Really, this was a pretty awful sixth year for the president. Not that he’s acting like it.

by James Oliphant     •     National Journal

Smug-ObamaYou can make a compelling case that 2014 was the worst year for President Obama since, well, the year before. And, in fact, the president spent much of this year trying to recover from some body blows he took in the final months of 2013, when, in short order, Congress rebuffed him on Syria and the federal health care exchange imploded.

Those setbacks ate away at Obama’s public support. According to Gallup, the president began 2014 with a 41 percent approval rating, and he’s ending it a tick or two higher. He’s also ending the year as a certified lame duck, facing two final years with a hostile Congress and the political conversation centering around the likes of Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, and Rand Paul. [Read more...]

Obamacare Architect Admits Deceiving Americans to Pass the Law

In a newly surfaced video, one of Obamacare’s architects admits a “lack of transparency” helped the Obama administration and congressional Democrats pass the Affordable Care Act. “Lack of transparency is a huge political advantage,” says the MIT economist who helped write Obamacare. “And basically, call it the stupidity of the American voter or whatever, but basically that was really, really critical for the thing to pass.”

American Commitment posted Jonathan Gruber’s remarks from an Oct. 17, 2013 event on YouTube.

What Obama’s Many Messes Really Mean

Dems blame . . . big government?

bureaucracy_big governmentby S.E. Cupp

Another week, another scandal.

From Fast and Furious at the ATF to the Pigford fraud at the Department of Agriculture, the IRS’ political targeting to the State Department’s Benghazi mess, the healthcare.gov debacle at HHS to spying at the NSA and the DOJ, President Obama is running out of agencies and departments to defend in his two years left in office.

This White House has either had the worst luck in recent memory or it is responsible for breaches of public trust so vast, it’s no wonder public faith in our government is at a record low.

And now, we must add the scandal at the Department of Veterans Affairs — one so singularly sad, offensive and disappointing it almost feels wrong to put the callous deaths of at least 40 veterans who served our country in the same category as political tax targeting. Still, in some ways it is more of the pitiful same. [Read more...]

There Is No Better Predictor of Obamacare Than the Veteran Affairs System

ObamaCare IRS Cost Compassion

 The VA offers precisely what Obamacare offers: not a guarantee of treatment in time of need, but a guarantee of a place in line for treatment at a time of the bureaucracy’s choosing.

by Kevin O’Brien

The White House says Americans can’t draw any conclusions yet about just how screwed up is the Department of Veterans Affairs medical care system.

Well, yes, Americans can. And if they have any sense — always a debatable proposition — Americans will.

One conclusion we can draw is an old, familiar one: No matter what the issue or activity, bureaucracy’s first and strongest instinct is to protect itself in the face of a perceived threat. [Read more...]

IRS: The Internal Repression Service

Eye of Sauron IRSThe revenue agency has become a tool for suppressing speech.

by Andrew C. McCarthy

Through months of Obama administration stonewalling, the redoubtable Judicial Watch perseveres in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, finally uncovering bombshell documents that have eluded several congressional investigations. For the second time in a matter of days, we find that standing oversight committees with competing subject-matter jurisdictions and limited attention spans are incapable of the grand-jury-style probe needed to get to the bottom of administration lawlessness. For that, in the absence of a scrupulous special prosecutor reasonably independent from the Obama Justice Department (not gonna happen), it becomes clear that a select committee will be necessary. [Read more...]

Benghazi Isn’t Iran-Contra

The comparison reflects poorly on the Obama Administration and the facts show an important difference – which reflects poorly on Obama himself. 

The Benghazi investigation should go forward but with knowledge that it will face heavy partisan and media pushback.

Democrats will argue—they already are—that with the country in crisis the attention of Congress should be turned to addressing the issue that weighs most on the public mind: a bad economy with the very top flourishing while the middle is stuck, stressed and sinking. [Read more...]

White House Benghazi Explanations Are Beginning To Unravel In A Very Public Way

Benghazi Coverup2CATHERINE HERRIDGE: Nearly 20 months after the attack, the administration’s explanations about who knew what and when are beginning to unravel in a very public way.

The testimony laid bare uncomfortable facts.

BRIG. GEN. ROBERT LOVELL (RET.): This was a hostile action. This was no demonstration gone terribly awry.

HERRIDGE: Retired Brigadier General Robert Lovell, a deputy intelligence director for the Africa Command testified that seven hours into the Benghazi assault, at their command post in Germany, they knew there was no connection to a protest or an Internet video. [Read more...]

House select committee must peel back Benghazi coverup

Stays in BenghaziSince the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack that killed four Americans — including Ambassador Chris Stevens — at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, the Obama administration has covered up the essential facts about what happened before, during and after that terrible night. House Speaker John Boehner’s decision to go forward with a select committee to investigate Benghazi is both welcome and long overdue.

Some of the relevant facts were established by the Jan. 15 report of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. From that report, for example, a partial timeline was constructed concerning the roles of the intelligence community and the military prior to and during the attack. It was clear that Stevens repeatedly asked for additional security forces in Benghazi, but not only were his requests denied, the mission’s defenses were reduced. In addition, it was learned that no military forces were on standby to aid the facility before it was attacked, and no request for such aid came from the State Department during the assault. [Read more...]

Is Menendez Knuckling Under Foreign Policy Hardball?

Obama IranThe Foreign Relations Committee chairman has been strangely quiescent – is it because of his scandals?

by Peter Roff

We’re not seeing a lot of leadership from the U.S. Senate these days on issues in the foreign relations arena. Perhaps that’s because the chairman of the relevant committee, New Jersey Democrat Bob Menendez, believes his current ethical troubles make him politically vulnerable, making it best to keep a low profile.

This creates a dangerous situation for the country given the Senate’s special role in foreign affairs. The continuing scandal surrounding Menendez means he may no longer be able to lead on issues where his views diverge from those held by the president, Secretary of State John F. Kerry or other senior administration officials for fear that some damaging piece of information about him may be leaked to the major news media like the New York Times – which called in February of 2013 for him to step away from the chairmanship. [Read more...]

White House withholds thousands of documents from Senate CIA probe, despite vows of help

whitehouse Presidentby Jonathan S. Landay, Ali Watkins and Marisa Taylor

The White House has been withholding for five years more than 9,000 top-secret documents sought by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence for its investigation into the now-defunct CIA detention and interrogation program, even though President Barack Obama hasn’t exercised a claim of executive privilege.

In contrast to public assertions that it supports the committee’s work, the White House has ignored or rejected offers in multiple meetings and in letters to find ways for the committee to review the records, a McClatchy investigation has found.

The significance of the materials couldn’t be learned. But the administration’s refusal to turn them over or to agree to any compromise raises questions about what they would reveal about the CIA’s use of waterboarding and other harsh interrogation techniques on suspected terrorists in secret overseas prisons. [Read more...]

The Benghazi Cover-up

benghazi media scandalHow the CIA’s No. 2 misled Congress

by Stephen F. Hayes

Two leading Republicans on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence say that Michael Morell, then acting director of the Central Intelligence Agency, gave an account of his role on Benghazi that was often misleading and sometimes deliberately false.

“I went back and reviewed some of his testimony the other day and he’s gotten himself in a real box,” says Senator Saxby Chambliss, the highest-ranking Republican on the committee. “It’s really strange. I’ve always thought Mike was a straight-up guy, gave us good briefings—factual, straightforward. I mean, this has really been strange the last few weeks—all this now being uncovered.” [Read more...]

Freed Guantánamo Detainee Involved in Benghazi Attack

Benghazi Attackby Frances Martel

U.S. officials told the Washington Post that Abu Sufian bin Qumu, a former Guantánamo Bay detainee and leader of a paramilitary group with al-Qaeda ties, had a role in the Benghazi embassy attacks on September 11, 2012.

Qumu, currently a leader of a wing of the Libyan paramilitary group Ansar al-Sharia, is being linked, along with his militiamen, to the attack on the Benghazi consulate. The Post notes that many eyewitnesses noted the group’s presence in Benghazi days before the attack–despite being natives to the city of Darnah–and Qumu’s presence specifically. Reuters reports that the group’s presence in Benghazi after being kicked out in the post-September 11, 2012 days was noted as recently as last February, with many anti-Gaddafi Libyans arguing that Ansar al-Sharia’s role in toppling the dictator grants them a certain license to roam freely despite their overt violence and Islamic fundamentalism. The State Department is set to designate Ansar al-Sharia a terrorist group in the coming days and link its activities to the broader, less structured, post-bin Laden al-Qaeda. [Read more...]