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Posts tagged ‘Judicial Watch’

Report: Ex-CIA Deputy Director May Have Altered Benghazi Talking Points.


Image: Report: Ex-CIA Deputy Director May Have Altered Benghazi Talking PointsMichael Morell

By Lisa Barron

The recent Senate Intelligence Committee report on Benghazi suggests that the former deputy director of the CIA played a role in shaping the official “talking points” about the September 2012 attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

Michael Morell may have altered the government’s explanation for the assault to benefit the Obama administration, reports Fox News.

Editor’s Note: Govt Prohibited From Helping Seniors (Shocking) 

The panel’s reports showed that on Sept.15, four days after the attacks and one day before U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice appeared on various Sunday talk shows, Morell received an email from the CIA station chief in Libya stating that they were “not/not an escalation of protests.”

But that same day, according to Fox News’ chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge, although Morell cut the word “Islamic” from the talking points, he left the word “demonstration.”

And despite the fact that the CIA and the FBI on Sept. 18 reviewed the closed circuit footage showing there were no protests, President Obama still referred to a demonstration two days later, reported Fox.

Intelligence analysts stayed with the explanation “without sufficient intelligence or eyewitness statements to corroborate that assertion. The IC (intelligence community) took too long to correct these erroneous reports,” said the Senate report.

In November 2012, as the controversy over the talking points escalated, Morell accompanied Rice to a meeting with Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.

Morell defended Rice’s TV appearances and maintained there was confusion about what happened in Benghazi, Graham told Fox.

“What I found curious is that he did not accept responsibility for changing the talking points. He told me the FBI had done this. I called the FBI — they went ballistic. And I am sure somebody from the FBI called Mike Morell, but within 24 hours, his statement was changed where he admitted the CIA had done it,” Graham said.

Herridge pointed to an interview Morell gave to The Wall Street Journal last August in which he spoke about his interest “in advising future presidential campaigns,” and noted that The Journal, citing unnamed officials, also reported that Morell “is close to Hillary Clinton.”

“He’s put himself out there as a political player,” said Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch. Judicial Watch is reportedly suing in federal court for the talking points documents and recently obtained 70 heavily redacted pages.

“You have to wonder what he was thinking at the time he was deleting these talking points in a way that benefited the Obama administration, and Hillary Clinton personally,” Fitton said.

Since leaving government Morell has joined Beacon Global Strategies, a government relations firm founded by Philippe Reines, whom the New York Times magazine recently described as “Clinton’s principal gatekeeper.”

Morell issued a written statement to Fox saying that the Senate report “…strongly supports the CIA’s long-standing position that neither the unclassified talking points nor the classified analysis on which they were based were in any way politicized. While not perfect, neither the talking points nor the analysis were produced with any political agenda in mind. None.”

“I think given what was said by him and others, and where they’re headed, down the political road, would justify revisiting this issue,” Graham told Fox.

Editor’s Note: Govt Prohibited From Helping Seniors (Shocking) 

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© 2014 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Judicial Watch Sues for Obama Trip Costs.


Image: Judicial Watch Sues for Obama Trip Costs

By Todd Beamon

Judicial Watch has sued the Secret Service and the U.S. Defense Department to obtain information on the amount of taxpayer funds spent on trips by President Barack Obama and his family over the past two years.

The conservative watchdog group said Thursday it had filed the lawsuits under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) in U.S. District Court in Washington.

The litigation seeks information on how much the government spent on trips last year by President Obama to Africa, California, Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, and to Hawaii in 2012; and by first lady Michelle Obama to Ireland last June and to London in 2012 for the Olympics.

“The Obama administration is in cover-up mode on the costs of the Obamas’ travel,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “The Secret Service has, in contemptuous violation of law, simply stopped answering our Freedom of Information inquiries.

“It seems that our ‘king’ does not want taxpayers to know how much he’s spending on his unnecessary travel,” he said.

Last week, Judicial Watch said that information obtained through a FOIA request revealed that taxpayers spent a total of $295,437.04 on separate trips for President Obama, Mrs. Obama, and Vice President Joe Biden during the three-day President’s Day holiday last February.

That request was filed last June, the group said.

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© 2014 NewsmaxHealth. All rights reserved.

Poll: Most Believe Gov’t Corruption is Worse Under Obama.


Image: Poll: Most Believe Gov't Corruption is Worse Under Obama

By Sandy Fitzgerald

Most Americans believe that government corruption has gotten worse under the Obama administration, according to a new national survey conducted by two conservative organizations.

The survey, conducted by the conservative Judicial Watch in partnership with Breitbart.com, shows 77 percent of the 1,000 adults questioned are concerned about government corruption and 52 percent of them think the problem has gotten worse over the past five years since President Barack Obama first took office.

The Judicial Watch-Breitbart poll shows that the American people are thoroughly disenchanted with a government they see as corrupt and secretive,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.

“The support for the rule of law on immigration runs against the establishment narrative pretending there is overwhelming support for mass amnesty. On a host of issues – ranging from corruption to transparency, to election integrity, to Obamacare – President Obama is completely out of touch with the American people.”

The poll taken Dec. 15-16 also sought information on attitudes concerning other subjects, including voter fraud, immigration policy, and Obamacare.

When it comes to government corruption, Republicans tended to be more concerned, the survey revealed, with 88 percent being most concerned, followed by independents at 75 percent and Democrats at 68 percent.

Overall, the poll found that Americans think the government is doing a worse job at policing its own corruption, with 52 percent saying matters have gotten worse in the past five years. Only 18 percent of those surveyed thought the government is doing a better job at self-policing. The survey also found specifically that four out of five respondents do not believe that Obama has fulfilled his 2008 campaign pledge to have “the most open and transparent [government] in history.”

The respondents also expressed skepticism about several other Obama agenda items, including immigration and healthcare reform. Forty-nine percent said they believe immigration laws currently on the books should be enforced, and think illegal immigrants should return home rather than stay in the U.S. Of those polled, 71 percent favor enforcing current immigration laws, while 21 percent support changing the laws.

The survey also revealed that most respondents are more confident in their states’ ability to handle healthcare issues than they are the federal government’s. But nearly one-third of the respondents don’t have confidence in government at any level to coordinate healthcare.

As far Obamacare, two-thirds of those surveyed said they are satisfied with the insurance they have now.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Klayman: Court Ruling on NSA Like ‘Nuking a Missile’.


Image: Klayman: Court Ruling on NSA Like 'Nuking a Missile'

By Lisa Barron

Larry Klayman, the longtime legal activist who won a court ruling that the National Security Agency’s surveillance program was constitutionally flawed, says his victory is like “nuking a missile.”

Shortly after U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon’s ruling Monday, Klayman told The New York Times that it validated all of his prior attempts to challenge the government over alleged transgressions and wrongdoings.

It’s a little like a MIRV nuking a missile,” he said, referring to a weapon with several warheads. “If only one in 10 gets through, you’ve accomplished something. You’ve got to keep punching.”

The man who has been called “Litigious Larry” is already well-known in the nation’s capital, having filed several lawsuits against President Bill Clinton and his administration in the 1990s.

Klayman also founded and then left the conservative interest group Judicial Watch, which he later sued for breach of contract and trademark violations.

“Larry Klayman fights for himself and his own delusions of grandeur,” Brad Blakeman, a professor at Georgetown University and a former official in the George W. Bush administration, told the Times. “He’s a professional antagonist. He’s a bully.”

Still, with the latest case swinging in his favor, Klayman found success where several other civil liberties groups have not in their fight against the NSA’s surveillance operations, reports Politico.

A 2008 lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Amnesty International and others made it to the Supreme Court last year, but the justices threw it out in a 5-4 decision on the basis that the plaintiffs lacked adequate proof their communications had been monitored by the government, Politico noted.

This year’s leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden about the agency’s secret surveillance programs triggered further lawsuits by the ACLU and other organizations in Manhattan and San Francisco.

Klayman also filed suit in Washington, contending that the NSA had overstepped its constitutional authority by systematically tracking and gathering Americans’ phone records.

In his 68-page opinion, Leon, using some of Klayman’s own language, wrote that he could not “imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary’ invasion than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval.”

Leon also said he was staying his ruling pending appeal “in light of the significant national security interests at stake in this case and the novelty of the constitutional issues.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

CIA Papers Show Panetta Leaked Details on bin Laden Raid.


Image: CIA Papers Show Panetta Leaked Details on bin Laden Raid

Newly declassified documents show Tuesday that former CIA Director Leon Panetta revealed secret information to “Zero Dark Thirty” scriptwriter Mark Boal when Panetta gave a speech at CIA headquarters marking the raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

Panetta said through a spokesman that he didn’t know Boal was in the room.

Judicial Watch filed a request for the more than 200 pages of documents, which the CIA released Tuesday. The documents concerned the internal investigation of its role in the film about the bin Laden raid.

“I had no idea that individual was in the audience,” Panetta said in a statement. “To this day, I wouldn’t know him if he walked into the room.” Panetta spokesman Jeremy Bash said Panetta assumed everyone in the audience had the proper clearance to hear the speech.

The documents refer to Panetta revealing the name of the ground commander of the unit that carried out the raid.

Parts of the speech transcript released in the documents Tuesday are still blacked out.

CIA spokesman Dean Boyd said the CIA has since “overhauled its procedures for interaction with the entertainment industry after an extensive internal review.” He said the agency now maintains “a centralized record-keeping system for entertainment industry requests and, earlier this year, issued detailed guidance on contact with the industry and support for entertainment-related projects,” to make sure classified material is protected.

Boal declined to comment.
© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: Newsmax.com

Lawsuit Wants to Stop Obama’s Mandate Delay: ‘President Has No Right to Change Law’.


Despite a Supreme Court decision last year dismissing objections to Obamacare, legal challenges to the law continue to mount — the latest attempt a case charging that the president acted illegally when he delayed a provision requiring many employers to provide healthcare for their workers.

The lawsuit by a Florida dentist seeking to overturn the delay of the “employer mandate” joins other legal actions that are seeking to undo all or part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

One case pending in federal court says that Obamacare violates the Constitution’s Origination Clause, which states that all revenue measures are required to originate in the House.

Related: Dick Morris: Oklahoma Suit May End Obamacare

Legal actions have been filed over Obamacare’s mandate that health plans cover contraception, even for employers who have conscientious objections such as some religious hospitals.

And several cases – including one filed by the Oklahoma attorney general – involve the issue of whether subsidies are permitted in federally run healthcare exchanges.

In the challenge to the delay over the “employer mandate,” the plaintiff in the federal lawsuit says that President Barack Obama “crossed the red line” by taking unilateral executive action to change the law.

“I feel that he crossed the red line when he chose to waive the employer mandate. He generally rules by executive fiat, and he feels that he’s a Congress of one,” Larry Kawa, a Florida dentist, told “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax TV.

Kawa said the president doesn’t have the authority “to pick and choose which parts of the law he’s going to enforce for the sake of political convenience.”

The lawsuit – filed by Judicial Watch on Kawa’s behalf in the Southern District of Florida against the U.S. Treasury and the Internal Revenue Service – argues that the delay of the employer mandate “exceeded statutory authority, is arbitrary, capricious, and contrary to law, and is otherwise unlawful.”

At issue is whether the administration – by deciding on July 2 to postpone for one year the mandate for businesses with more than 50 employees – violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), a 1946 statue which governs how federal agencies can establish regulations and sets up a process for federal courts to review agency decisions.

Kawa believes the administration did violate the APA. Furthermore, Kawa tells Newsmax, under Article II of the Constitution, the president has the “duty to enforce those laws and not only is he not enforcing them, but he’s changing them.”

According to the lawsuit, Kawa “expended substantial time and resources, including money spent on legal fees and other costs, in preparation for the ’employer mandate’ taking effect on Jan. 1, 2014” and that he “would not have expended resources and incurred these anticipatory costs in 2013” if he knew the mandate would take effect in 2015.

The suit seeks an injunction to prevent Obama from waiving the employer mandate and a “declaratory action, which is basically a judge, to memorialize the fact that this was an attempted illegal maneuver,” Kawa said.

Thomas Miller, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, believes the Kawa case faces an uphill battle in the attempt to overturn the “employer mandate” delay, but that the case might nevertheless prove to be problematic for the administration.

“The federal courts usually provide a good bit of deference to executive branch regulators when it’s a matter of relatively short delays for technical or practical factors. Whether a full one-year delay for enforcement of the employer mandate is arbitrary, capricious, or unlawful will be a matter of judgment by the court,” Miller told Newsmax.

While Kawa may not achieve the outcome he desires, Miller says the case may make White House and Justice Department officials nervous if it results in the Obama administration being forced “into having to disclose more politically uncomfortable details about its July decision to delay the mandate.”

Unlike Kawa’s challenge, which seeks to force the law to be implemented as written, other legal attempts are trying to stop parts of the law from going forward or have the entire act declared unconstitutional.

The Supreme Court’s decision in NFIB v. Sebelius upholding Obamacare focused on whether the law’s “individual mandate” violated the Constitution’s Commerce Clause by requiring that individuals purchase healthcare insurance. The majority opinion held that the penalties for not buying health insurance fell instead under Congress’ taxing authority.

That decision led to an amended legal challenge by the Pacific Legal Foundation, which argues in Sissel v. Department of Health and Human Services that the measure violated the Constitution’s Origination Clause, since the re-defined “tax” originated in the Senate and not in the House as required.

Ilya Shapiro, senior fellow in constitutional studies and editor in chief of the Cato Supreme Court Review, said there are numerous avenues to challenge Obamacare given the sheer size and scope of the legislation.

“Every time you have a major piece of legislation passed, it often becomes a full employment act for lawyers and this is no different,” notes Shapiro, who believes the Supreme Court may take up the issue of the contraceptive mandate in the current term.

As part of Obamacare, the Department of Health and Human Services issued guidelines requiring employers to include and pay for coverage of contraception with a failure to comply resulting in fines. The provision included a narrow exemption for certain religious employers, but many Catholic institutions and employers maintain the mandate would violate the tenets of their faith.

As many as 70 lawsuits with more than 200 plaintiffs have been filed by religious organizations and other private employers to block the contraceptive mandate from going into effect. The Catholic Archdiocese of New York also has filed suit.

The Hobby Lobby chain was granted a preliminary injunction in federal district court because it had shown a likely violation of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 and the Pennsylvania manufacturer Conestoga Wood, which employs about 950 people, was granted temporary relief by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Both cases could reach the Supreme Court.

Professor Timothy A. Jost, a professor of Law at Washington & Lee University, says it is unlikely that the Supreme Court will revisit the constitutionality of the entire healthcare statute, but might uphold challenges to parts of the healthcare act.

“I don’t see any litigation that will challenge the law, but there are some that could possibly lead to additional companies getting exemptions or having specific provisions eliminated,” Jost told Newsmax.

Jost says almost half of the lawsuits making their way through the courts are related to the contraceptive mandate, and would not slow down the overall implementation of Obamacare.

“While the cases involving the contraceptive mandates are significant, they are more of a religious freedom case and relates to one provision promulgated by the law,” Jost said.

Robert I. Field, Drexel University law professor, agrees that the contraceptive mandate cases have the greater chance of successfully reaching the Supreme Court.

“The court is more likely to hear [the religious contraception mandate] but I think they might rule in favor of religiously affiliated institutions, or those that have a religious component, and not be as favorable to businesses that happen to be owned by individuals,” Field said.

Two ongoing suits that could result in the greatest weakening of the Obamacare law involve the issue of whether subsidies are permitted in federally run healthcare exchanges.

In Halbig v. Sebelius, which was filed in May, a group of employers and individuals from six states filed suit in the District of Columbia challenging the IRS’ claim that it has authority to issue subsidies to health-insurance companies.

The plaintiffs are also challenging the IRS’ authority to impose penalties on individual taxpayers and employers who live in the 33 states that have refused to establish a health insurance exchange under Obamacare. They claim the penalty is in violation of the language of the ACA and counter to congressional intent.

The Department of Justice has moved to dismiss the case for lack of standing and made the same argument in a similar case – Pruitt v. Sebelius. However, a court ruled in August that the case brought by Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt could proceed.

Like the Halbig case, Oklahoma is arguing that Obamacare contains no provision giving the federally run exchanges the right to offer consumers health-insurance tax credits.

Field says if the Supreme Court decides to take the subsidy exchange cases and rules in favor of the states, that “would truly decimate the law because given states would not be required to subsidize care for low-income families.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Jennifer G. Hickey

Justice Scalia: ‘Devil at Work’ in US Society.


 

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia
Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says Satan is at work in American society.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia says Satan is at work in American society.

In an interview with New York Magazine, the longest-serving high court justice warned that even though the devil isn’t doing the same things from the Bible, he’s still very active.

“What he’s doing now is getting people not to believe in him or in God. He’s much more successful that way,” he said.

Scalia’s comments come as the U.S. Supreme Court opens for business, despite the government shutdown that’s closed other parts of Washington.

The justices returned to the bench Monday morning for their new term. They began with reviewing hundreds of cases to eliminate those on which they will not rule.

But there are a number of important cases the court will be taking, including the following:

  • Arguments against employers having to provide contraception coverage under the president’s health care law;
  • Cases regarding prayer at government events;
  • Cases regarding protests at abortion clinics.

Will this Supreme Court term help shape the future of American politics? Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, explains more on what to expect from this session on Monday’s CBN Newswatch.

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