Examining a possible violation of the Espionage Act
by WASHINGTON EXAMINER | SARAH WESTWOOD | AUGUST 29, 2015
An FBI probe into whether Hillary Clinton mishandled classified information on her private server has been described as “extremely serious” and has required the help of the agency’s best investigators.
The investigation, which Clinton has dismissed as a routine “security inquiry,” is examining a possible violation of the Espionage Act, according to a report by Fox News.
Investigators are looking to see whether Clinton should have been aware of the sensitive nature of emails circulating on her private network, regardless of whether the emails were marked classified.
Clinton has repeatedly defended her handling of the material by claiming none of the emails were marked classified at the time they were sent.
But intelligence experts say the absence of markings wouldn’t absolve an official of responsibility if he or she stumbled upon national defense information that should be classified.
Scrutiny of Clinton’s email activities has heated up since the FBI took custody of Clinton’s private server earlier this month.
The State Department is set to release thousands of Clinton’s emails Monday, with a handful expected to be designated classified before publication. Dozens of the former secretary’s emails have already been marked classified.
BY ADAM KREDO
Gov. Scott Walker disclosed on Friday in a wide-ranging foreign policy speech that the FBI is investigating Islamic State (IS, also known as ISIS or ISIL) elements in all 50 states, a revelation that the Republican presidential candidate said is proof that the Obama administration is failing to adequately combat radical terrorist forces.
Walker, who laid out his foreign policy views during a speech at The Citadel in Charleston, S.C., warned that IS’s global reach has extended to the United States, where open borders and failed immigration policies are permitting rogue forces to enter America freely.
The Obama administration’s foreign policy is strengthening Iran, said Walker, who vowed to terminate the recent nuclear deal on “day one” of his presidency.
“The FBI is investigating ISIS in all 50 states,” Walker said. “Far from beating ISIS, President Obama is barely disrupting it. His actual goal is to contain ISIS until he leaves office, all the while accommodating Iran. My goals will be to defeat ISIS and rollback Iran’s influence in the region.”
If Obama is able to force the nuclear deal to go forward, “it will be remembered as one of the greatest foreign policy failures in U.S. history,” Walker said. “So let me be clear, if Congress fails to stop the nuclear deal, I will terminate it on day one.”
Walker went on to outline his plan to eliminate radical terrorist forces across the globe.
“America is a force for good in the world. Radical Islamic terrorists are agents of pure evil,” he said. “Today, the Islamic Republic of Iran remains the world’s leading state-sponsor of terrorism. Iran is not a country we should be doing business with.”
“It is a stain on our nation’s honor that our countrymen languish in Iranian prisons while we are freeing up billions of dollars for the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism and legitimizing its massive nuclear program,” he said.
Walker also chided Obama for abandoning Israel during one of the most dangerous periods of time in recent memory.
“It’s not just the hostages whom President Obama has abandoned in this deal. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is right when he says the deal puts us all in danger,” Walker said. “Iran will expand its destructive influence in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon, and increase support to proxies like Hamas and Hezbollah, which strive to destroy Israel.”
Walker promised to fully restore the United States’ historically close relationship with Israel.
“There should be no daylight between our two countries,” he said, expressing anger at how the Obama administration has treated the Jewish state.
“White House officials insult the Prime Minister of Israel. Sadly, they never seem to criticize the Iranian Supreme Leader and the Revolutionary Guard commanders who have oppressed the people of Iran and helped kill thousands of our soldiers in Iraq,” he said.
“In fact, President Obama recently compared critics of his deal to these murderers,” Walker noted. “This is disgraceful. It ignores the very real opposition to the deal with Iran from people around our country and across party lines.”
Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs received the first letter from Washington shortly after the former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor’s revelations went public when he was stranded in Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport.
The note, dated June 27, 2013, was quoted by Norway’s NRK broadcaster: “We request that should US citizen Edward J. Snowden attempt to enter Norway through any means, the Government of Norway notify the Embassy immediately and effectuate the return of Mr. Snowden to the United States by way of denial of entry, deportation, expulsion or other lawful means.”
On the same day, the FBI’s Scandinavia office followed up with another letter addressed to justice authorities in Norway, Sweden and Finland. It described Snowden as a criminal fugitive and urged them to notify American personnel if the whistleblower booked a flight to one of their countries from Moscow.
These correspondences were followed up with a separate message to Norway’s Department of Foreign Affairs on July 4, 2013, requesting that Snowden be arrested and extradited if he were to attempt to enter Norwegian territory. “The United States urges that Snowden be kept in custody, if arrested,” the note said.
The language in documents revealed by NRK reflects how desperately the US wanted to contain the information Snowden had in his possession.
“The Embassy requests the seizure of all articles acquired as a result of the offenses (..) This includes, but is not limited to, all computer devices, electronic storage devices and other sorts of electronic media.”
The most problematic aspect of the US making such bullish requests is that Snowden would have been denied his international right to apply for asylum before being arrested had the countries complied, Snowden’s lawyer Ben Wizner told NRK.
“What is troubling to me is the suggestion that if Mr. Snowden showed up in one of these countries, he should be promptly extradited – before he would have a chance to raise his humanitarian rights under international law,” he said.
“The only correct response from political leaders in Norway or any other free society should be to tell the US that this is a question of law and not a question of politics. And that, under international law, someone who is charged with a political offense has a right to raise a claim for asylum before the question of extradition even comes up.”
Snowden has been invited to Norway to receive the prestigious Bjørnson Prize by the Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson Academy for freedom of expression. The award is being presented to Snowden “for work protecting privacy and for shining a critical light on US surveillance of its citizens and others.”
However, it is still unclear whether Norway would arrest Snowden if he attempted to enter the country.
Norway’s Justice and Foreign Affairs departments said that the US’ requests had not been answered because, under Norwegian law, no country can make an extradition request until the alleged criminal is actually on Norwegian territory.
Jøran Kallemyr, State Secretary in Norway’s Department of Justice, confirmed this view: “What Norway has done is to inform the American authorities how the Norwegian system works,” he said. “If they request an extradition, the prosecuting authorities will decide if the case should be brought before the courts. And the court will decide if the terms for extradition are fulfilled.”
Norway is not the only country reportedly bullied to hand over Snowden. Washington threatened to stop sharing intelligence with Berlin should Germany offer asylum to Snowden or even try to arrange any kind of travel to Germany, according to a report by journalist Glenn Greenwald.
“They told us they would stop notifying us of plots and other intelligence matters,” German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said earlier this week, as cited by Greenwald in the Intercept.
Snowden sought political asylum in Russia in 2013 after facing arrest and extradition to the US, where he has been charged under the country’s Espionage Act.
On August 1, 2013, Russia granted him asylum for one year, saying it had no other legal choice. A year later, Snowden received a Russian residence permit valid for three years, valid from August 1, 2014. In March, he publicly asked Switzerland to grant him political asylum.
Snowden has been condemned as a criminal in the US for leaking a vast trove of classified material to journalists who published the documents, revealing the espionage antics of the NSA’s global spying operations.
The documents leaked by Snowden informed the public that the US government, together with European allies, is gathering and storing millions of pieces of metadata on citizens. Other disclosures revealed that the NSA bugged the personal communications of high-ranking businessmen and world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff.
Raid of Rentboy, an Escort Website, Angers Gay Activists
BY STEPHANIE CLIFFORD
For some gay activists, it had shades of bathhouse raids and gay-bar roundups from decades ago. On Tuesday, federal authorities burst into the Union Square office of the gay-escort website Rentboy.com and arrested the chief executive and several employees on prostitution charges.
Rentboy, which federal authorities called the biggest male-escort website, had been around for almost two decades, allowing escorts to pay to advertise themselves. It was well known in the gay community, hosting pool parties, dances and awards shows throughout the country.
After federal authorities charged its top executives with promoting prostitution, seized the website and went after the business’s assets on Tuesday, many gay activists were infuriated. The Transgender Law Center, a civil-rights group, criticized the arrests, as did some male sex workers. Several activists said they would use the episode to renew calls to decriminalize prostitution.
Continue reading the main story
Jeffrey Hurant of Rentboy.com, after his arraignment in Brooklyn on Tuesday, said the site brought “good people together.”
7 Charged With Promoting Prostitution by Working on Rentboy.com, an Escort WebsiteAUG. 25, 2015
“To many in our community this feels like a throwback to when the police raided gay bars in the ’50s and ’60s,” Justin Vivian Bond, a performer and an activist who is transgender, wrote in an email. “This invasion of a consensual hookup site which is run for and by members of the L.G.B.T. community feels like a real slap in the face after gentrification and the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations drove so many gay bars out of business and forced people to meet online instead of in person,” the activist added, referring to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.
Danny Cruz said he had posted ads on Rentboy “to supplement income” for about seven years, starting when he moved to New York. He said he had talked regularly to the executives who were arrested, both about his business and about staying safe.
“I don’t see why the government would be interested in what two people do behind closed doors,” Mr. Cruz, who is now involved in the Sex Workers Outreach Project in Los Angeles, said.
Khaalid Walls, a spokesman for the United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which participated in the investigation, said in an email that “any insinuation that a specific population was targeted is categorically false.”
The federal complaint says that although Rentboy.com, whose headquarters are on 14th Street at Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, had a disclaimer telling visitors that they could not exchange money for sex, that was “clearly” happening. Escorts, the complaint says, posted ads including penis size, pay rate and preferred fetishes, and the site’s visitors then contacted them directly. On a separate website, DaddysReviews.com, clients would review the individual escorts, the complaint says.
The seven current and former Rentboy executives were charged with conspiring to violate the Travel Act by promoting prostitution, and each faces up to five years in prison.
Mr. Walls said: “As the investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, ICE is responsible for the enforcement of laws that promote the legitimate movement of people, goods and currency in domestic and foreign transactions. Our allegation with this case is that the business and its principals purported itself to be an escort service while promoting criminal acts, namely illegal prostitution.”
Rentboy’s chief executive, Jeffrey Hurant, 50, said in an interview excerpted in the criminal complaint that “there is no place on this website where somebody says I’ll have sex for money because that is against the law.”
The director of the site, Michael Sean Belman, 47, said in another interview excerpted in the complaint: “We say that escorts are selling their time only.”
“What happens between you and the escort is up to you,” he said. “That way it’s legal.” (The complaint says he “incorrectly” summarized the legality.)
Derrick De Lise, publisher of the online magazine Queer Voices, said the fact that the government went after a gay-escort website, without making mention of protecting sex workers, made it seem as though the site’s gay affiliation attracted the government attention.
I thought the Obama administration was gay friendly. Apparently not. He just takes gay money and continues to spin an illusion.
Anti 41 minutes ago
What happened, did they get behind on their extortion payments to Obama?
M. 46 minutes ago
Have to agree. This is typical government overreach along ideological lines. Ignore criminal aliens, but harass actual US citizens rights to…
See All Comments Write a comment
“With no rhetoric coming out of their press releases or statements about trafficking or concern with the sex workers, it doesn’t match what is happening in other cases,” he said. To him, he said, it seemed as if “yet another homophobic raid had occurred.”
In 2014, federal authorities seized myRedBook, a California-based site with ads for sex. But unlike in the Rentboy case, the charges included money laundering. The authorities also said myRedBook allowed child prostitution, which has not been cited in the Rentboy case.
MyRedBook’s owner, Eric Omuro, was charged with using the mail and the Internet to promote prostitution and with laundering money derived from the site. Mr. Omuro pleaded guilty in 2014 to using a facility of interstate commerce with the intent to facilitate prostitution, and admitted that the site allowed prostitutes to post ads. He was sentenced to 13 months in prison. In an affidavit submitted for sentencing, the Federal Bureau of Investigation said it had found more than 50 juveniles advertised for prostitution on his site.
Mr. Omuro was the first website operator to be convicted on prostitution charges, the Department of Justice said.
For some gay activists, the focus on sex workers, gay or straight, is problematic.
“It’s troubling to think that we’re investing resources and time to target Rentboy and sex workers,” said Alex Garner, a writer and activist in Washington, “when what we really should be having is a reasonable and thoughtful conversation about the decriminalization of sex work. We have an entire police force we should be overhauling, we have murders of trans women happening in large numbers, and we’re devoting our time and energy to cracking down on sex work. Who’s choosing to prioritize it?”
Nellin McIntosh, a spokeswoman for the United States attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York, which is prosecuting the case, declined to comment.
Since the day his regime took over in Washington, Barack Obama’s blinkered “intelligence” services have been warning that it is conservative groups and “militias” that are the real, lurking danger in America and recently Obama’s FBI did it again claiming that “militias” are looking to attack Muslims inside the USA.
In a report issued in May only to police departments and other law enforcement agencies, the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division insisted that “militia extremists” are looking to kill Muslims. The report goes on to cite two–yes only two–instances of “militia” leaders saying they are mad at Muslims and may want to target them.
No actual instances of this desire to attack Muslims has been seen, though. Only talk. Still, the FBI is all worried over Americans with guns.
An intelligence bulletin issued by the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division in late May warns that so-called “militia extremists” are likely to begin targeting Muslim institutions, including mosques and other religious facilities. The bulletin titled “Militia Extremists Expand Target Sets To Include Muslims” was obtained by Public Intelligence after being released to law enforcement in late May, just days before a planned “freedom of speech” rally outside a Phoenix mosque which attracted numerous individuals dressed in camouflage, tactical gear and carrying loaded assault weapons.
Based primarily on a “large body of source reporting generated mainly since 2013,” the bulletin states that militia extremists are “expanding their target sets to include Muslims and Islamic religious institutions in the United States.” The recent targeting of Muslims augments prior FBI analysis, contained in a January 2015 report, which found that “established militia extremists target government personnel and law enforcement officers, perceived threats from abroad, and individuals or institutions that seek to constrain Second Amendment rights.”
Multiple FBI “sources with varying levels of access” report that militia extremists have been conducting surveillance of “diverse locations including Alaska, Arizona, Indiana, Montana, New York, North and South Carolina, Utah, and Texas.” This reporting indicates that extremists have often focused on targeting Islamic facilities, such as mosques or community centers, though some have discussed targeting individual Muslims within their community. In September 2014, a source with “good access” reported to the FBI that “militia extremists in Mississippi discussed kidnapping and beheading a Muslim and posting video of the attack to the Internet.” Likewise, another source reported in early 2015 that the leader of a militia extremist group expressed “interest in training members for direct action against ISIS and associated ISIS locations.”
The FBI concludes that increased targeting of Muslims is being fueled by two fundamental misconceptions that are described as “salient perceptions within militia extremism that contribute toward an anti-Muslim bias”
With attacks by Muslims being thwarted right and left, with multiple Muslims being caught trying to leave the USA to join the ISIS jihad, and with bombing threats being constantly stopped by the FBI, with mass shooting breaking out at the hands of Muslims, it seems that the FBI is more worried about “militias” (i.e. white, male conservatives) attacking Muslims inside the USA than they are in Muslims attacking everyone else.
Could a “militia” perpetrate a crime against Muslims inside the USA? Sure. But since none ever have and it is thousands of times less likely that a “militia” will attack a Muslim than that a Muslim will commit an act of terror in the USA, one has to wonder where the FBI’s resources are being spent and if they are being directed in the proper manner?
One also has to wonder how much Obama’s often pro-Muslim agenda influences the FBI?
But Obama has pushed his FBI to go soft on Domestic Muslim terror before. In August of last year, for instance, his FBI threat matrix excluded Muslim extremism as a worry and made white people the object of worry.
This is all of a piece with how Obama has run the security services. Story after story proves to us that Obama has systematically instructed our policing agencies to steer clear of calling Islam a danger to this nation and repeatedly we see groups like the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security claiming that it is patriotic, tea party-going, whites who are the real danger.
What we have here is the Democrat Party agenda and PCism forcing our security agencies to ignore the real threats we face. Worse, it is obvious that Obama has wiped 9/11 from the memory of those who are supposed to be keeping us all safe.
Fox News chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge reported this morning that three government agencies are now confirming that information contained in Hillary Clinton’s private email was classified at the time it was sent.
Herridge said the classified information was in an email three years ago from Clinton aide Huma Abedin to the then-secretary of state, and the messages kickstarted the ongoing FBI probe of Clinton’s email server.
The DIA, the NSA, and the NGA, which oversees U.S. government spy satellites, confirmed to Herridge that the information was classified at the time and remains classified now.
The State Department, along with the Clinton team, have maintained that the information was not classified at the time, with Clinton characterizing the situation as a “disagreement” among agencies about what should be classified.
“That has nothing to do with me,” Clinton said last week in Las Vegas.
Herridge noted that under an Obama executive order from 2009, the State Department cannot decide whether information from other agencies should be classified.
She said only the agency that obtains the information can decide whether to mark it as classified.
Watch her full report above to hear more on the new developments.