Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on former Secretary John Kerry: “What Secretary Kerry has done is unseemly and unprecedented.” He also says: “Secretary Kerry ought not to engage in that kind of behavior.”
POWERLINE: “What Secretary Kerry Has Done Is Unseemly And Unprecedented”
Yesterday morning I revisited former Obama administration Secretary of State John Kerry’s coaching of the powers that be in Iran on the fine art of resistance to the Trump administration. Yesterday afternoon Trump administration Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was asked at a press conference (transcript here) about Kerry’s freelance diplomacy, as Michael Rubin calls it in this excellent New York Post column. Pompeo responded: “What Secretary Kerry has done is unseemly and unprecedented. This is a former Secretary of State engaged with the world’s largest state sponsor of terror…” Going further, Pompeo condemned Kerry’s conduct as “beyond inappropriate.”
Pompeo spoke firmly but diplomatically, as befits the office he holds, but how sweet the sound of Kerry being called out by a Secretary of State seeking to squeeze the Iranians into civilized norms of behavior….
John Kerry deserves jail for secret Iran diplomacy
Kerry has always been an arrogant and aloof man. During his long career on Capitol Hill, Senate colleagues on both sides of the aisle described him as the least-liked senator, an opinion repeatedly affirmed by his own office staff during his long career. He is disdainful of democracy. Simply put, he sees himself as above the law, deserving of privilege and special dispensation not only when he is in government, but also as a private citizen.
Perhaps Kerry believes he is not violating the Logan Act of 1799 which states that: “Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.”
Trump responded Thursday night. Brooke Singman reports at FOX News:
President Trump and John Kerry entered into a war of words on Twitter Friday, with the president suggesting the former secretary of state had “illegal meetings” with the Iranian regime, and Kerry suggesting the commander-in-chief should be more concerned with the Russia investigation.
“John Kerry had illegal meetings with the very hostile Iranian Regime, which can only serve to undercut our great work to the detriment of the American people. He told them to wait out the Trump Administration! Was he registered under the Foreign Agents Registration Act? BAD!” Trump tweeted Thursday night.
Firstly, here is the video as well as the typical line thrown about on FaceBook: “Senator Chaffetz admitted we have to prioritize, and the Senate voted down funding for additional security in Benghazi. I really love it, especially coming from Chaffetz.”
Here is the rest of the story:
Robert Baldre, The State Department’s Chief Financial Officer For Diplomatic Security, Wrote That “I Do Not Feel That We Have Ever Been At A Point Where We Have Sacrificed Security Due To Lack Of Funding.” “Robert Baldre, your chief financial officer for diplomatic security, stated, and I quote, ‘I do not feel that we have ever been at a point where we have sacrificed security due to lack of funding,’ Rep. Steven Chabot, Ohio Republican, told Mrs. Clinton.” (Guy Taylor and Shaun Waterman, “Tears And Rage: Clinton Testily Defends Depiction Of Benghazi Events,” The Washington Times, 1/23/13)
Senate Homeland Security Report: Congress Has Been Responsive To Appropriating More Money To The State Department For Security-Driven Requests, But Neither The President Nor The State Department Requested Additional Funds For Libya. “At the same time, Congress has generally been responsive in providing supplemental and Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) funds to the Department of State – more than $1.7 billion since 2007 – in response to emergent, security-driven funding requests, although primarily for facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. However, there was no supplemental or OCO request made by the President for additional diplomatic security enhancements in FY2010 or FY2011. Neither the Department of State nor Congress made a point of providing additional funds in a supplemental request for Libya, or more specifically, Benghazi.” (“Flashing Red: A Special Report On The Terrorist Attack At Benghazi,” United States Senate Committee On Homeland Security And Government Affairs, 12/30/12, p. 17)
The Washington Post Fact Checker: “The Reality Is That Funding For Embassy Security Has Increased Significantly In Recent Years.” “Moreover, while Boxer claims that Republicans ‘cut’ the budget, she is only comparing it to what the Obama administration proposed. The reality is that funding for embassy security has increased significantly in recent years. The Department of State’s base requests for security funding have increased by 38 percent since Fiscal Year (FY) 2007, and base budget appropriations have increased by 27 percent in the same time period,’ said the bipartisan Senate Homeland Security report on the Benghazi attack.” (Glenn Kessler, “Barbara Boxer’s Claim That GOP Budgets Hampered Benghazi Security,” The Washington Post’s Fact Checker, 5/16/13)
I am posting about this because there seems to be a misunderstanding of budgets and who is at fault and how much is given to the parties requesting it.
For instance, a charge always heard during Bush’s presidency was that he cut veterans benefits during his presidency. This was not the case, the Republicans passed continual increases while trimming the growth. In fact, benefits grew quicker under Bush than Clinton!
Similar, but not identically, as the U.S. was withdrawing from Iraq, the budget for the State Dept was trimmed. But before getting to the charts, let’s see what Hillary Clinton said in regards to the spending on Security:
During Previous Congressional Testimony, Clinton Stated That She Would “Be The First To Say” That The State Department’s Prioritization Of Funds Was “Imperfect.”SECRETARY CLINTON: “And I – I would go back to something the chairman said, because this was a point made in the ARB: Consistent shortfalls have required the department to prioritize available funding out of security accounts. And I will be the first to say that the prioritization process was at times imperfect, but as the ARB said, the funds provided were inadequate. So we need to work together to overcome that.” (Secretary Hillary Clinton, Committee On Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, Testimony, 1/23/13)
Clinton Indicated That The State Department’s Designation Of The Benghazi Facility As Temporary Contributed To The State Department Not Allocating Additional Resources To Benghazi. SECRETARY CLINTON: “That’s why we have a huge workforce of people who are given responsibility and expected to carry forward that responsibility and I think designating it as ‘temporary’ in the ARB’s findings did cause an extra level of uncertainty to some extent. You know, as the chairman said at the very beginning quoting from the ARB, the has been an enculturation in the State Department, the husband (ph) resources to, you know, try to be as — as careful in spending money as possible and then I think adding to that the fact that it was quote, ‘temporary’ you know, probably did lead to some of the confusion that we later saw played out in the cables, but not the — the status of it for the Libyan government.” (Secretary Hillary Clinton, Committee On Foreign Relations, U.S. Senate, Testimony, 1/23/13)
The State Department Was “Hesitant To Allocate Money” On Security Upgrades On The Benghazi Facility, “A Post That May Be Closing In A Few Months.” “The RSO should be aware that the requests for expensive security upgrades may be difficult to obtain as headquarters is hesitant to allocate money to a post that may be closing in a few months.” (“Review Of The Terrorist Attacks On U.S. Facilities In Benghazi, Libya, September 11-12, 2012 Together With Additional Views,” Senate Select Committee On Intelligence, 1/15/14, p. 17)
Four Months Before The Benghazi Attack, The State Department Spent $108,000 For An Electric Vehicle Charging Station At The Vienna Embassy. “In May 7, the State Department authorized the U.S. embassy in Vienna to purchase a $108,000 electric vehicle charging station for the embassy motor pool’s new Chevrolet Volts. The purchase was a part of the State Department’s ‘Energy Efficiency Sweep of Europe’ initiative, which included hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars on green program expenditures at various U.S. Embassies.” (Representative Mike Kelly, “Libya Security Cut While Vienna Embassy Gained Chevy Volts,” The Washington Times, 10/10/12)
In 2009, The State Department Spent Nearly $300,000 On Alcohol. “Last year alone, the State Department sent taxpayers tabs totaling nearly $300,000 for alcoholic beverages — about twice as much compared to the previous year, according to an analysis of spending records by The Washington Times.” (Jim McElhatton, “Taxpayers Foot State Department’s Stiff Liquor Bill,” The Washington Times, 4/15/10)
Here are the raw numbers, and keep in mind that the draw down if funding was because of the draw down in Iraq:
Take note as well the information gleaned from the following graph:
There has been some back and forth between Republicans and Democrats over funding for security in Libya in the wake of Ambassador Chris Stevens’s death. Republicans have questioned whether the State Department had adequate security to protect the ambassador, and Democrats have countered that Republicans tried to cut funding for embassy security. What does the budget record show?
According to the fiscal year (FY) 2013 Congressional Budget Justification Department of State Operations (p. 11), overall funding for those programs has increased sharply over the past decade. Indeed, Worldwide Security Protection is more than double what it was a decade ago. Despite reductions from budget peaks in FY 2009 and FY 2010, both budget lines are higher than in FY 2008. (continues below chart)
Comparing FY 2011 actual funding versus the FY 2012 estimate, there appears to be a reduction in Worldwide Security Protection and Embassy Security, Construction and Maintenance. But that reduction does not account for additional funding in FY 2012 from Overseas Contingency Operations funds amounting to $236 million for Worldwide Security Protection (p. 63) and $33 million for Embassy Security, Construction and Maintenance (p. 467). As a result, total funds for Worldwide Security Protection for FY 2012 are estimated to be $94 million higher than in FY 2011, while Embassy Security, Construction and Maintenance is estimated to be $61 million less than FY 2011. Together, there is a net increase.
It is tempting to look for a scapegoat for the tragic events in Libya. However, if one exists, the overall budget for embassy security is not it.
…State Department officials, meanwhile have said publicly that budgets were not a factor.
During a House hearing into the attack on Oct. 10, 2012, Rep. Dana Rohrabacherasked deputy assistant secretary of state Charlene Lamb: “Was there any budget consideration and lack of budget which led you not to increase the number of people in the security force there?”
“No, sir,” Lamb said.
Later, Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, asked, “So there’s not a budget problem. It’s not you all don’t have the money to do this?”
“Sir, it’s a volatile situation. We will move assets to cover that,” Lamb said.
More of the same on May 8, 2013. Responding to a Democratic member who pointed to embassy security spending in recent GOP House budgets, committee chairman Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., prodded Eric Nordstrom, former regional security officer in Libya, about Lamb’s previous testimony.
Issa said, “Mr. Nordstrom, you were on that panel. Do you remember what she (Lamb) said?”
“Yes, she said that resources was not an issue,” Nordstrom said. “And I think I would also point to the (Accountability Review Board) report, if I’m not mistaken, that they talked to our chief financial officer with (Diplomatic Security), who also said that resources were not an issue.”
It’s true that Congress did not fully fund embassy security requests from the Obama administration in recent years, which is what Farrow argues amounts to a “cut.” But funding for embassy security is up from 2008, and up dramatically since before 9/11.
How does this tie into the Benghazi attack? State Department officials and government experts lay more blame on decisions by upper management not to provide the temporary Benghazi facility with more officers and better protections than the availability of money.
Farrow made that very point in his segment, which makes it odd that he led his segment by tying the attack with insufficient congressional funding.
The Romanian hacker who claimed he easily breached Hillary Clinton’s email server pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court to two counts of computer hacking charges, as part of a deal with the Justice Department.
In exchange for a reduced sentence, Marcel Lehel Lazar – also known as Guccifer — has agreed to cooperate with federal authorities in the future.
Significantly, the report also reveals that Clinton and her top aides at State – Cheryl Mills, Jake Sullivan, Huma Abedin, and possibly others – refused to cooperate with the IG’s investigation despite the IG’s requests that they submit to interviews.
The report is devastating, although it transparently strains to soften the blow. For example, it concludes that State’s “longstanding systemic weaknesses” in recordkeeping “go well beyond the tenure of any one Secretary of State.” Yet, it cannot avoid finding that Clinton’s misconduct is singular in that she, unlike he predecessors, systematically used private email for the purpose of evading recordkeeping requirements.
…A long-awaited State Department inspector general report on the impact of personal email use on recordkeeping at State was released to lawmakers on Wednesday, and concluded that Clinton violated the agency’s records rules. And as many Americans prepare for the traditional Memorial Day kickoff to the summer season, longtime Clinton aide Cheryl Mills is scheduled to sit for a sworn deposition Friday in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by the conservative group Judicial Watch.
Mills’ testimony would be the first known time a member of Clinton’s inner circle has been questioned under oath in the email controversy. Another top Clinton aide, Huma Abedin, is set to testify next month. And Clinton herself is awaiting a judge’s ruling on whether she should be required to give a deposition.
No matter how that comes out, Clinton also faces an ongoing FBI investigation into the email set up. Some of her aides have already been questioned. She’s expressed a willingness to sit down with investigators — something they’re expected to take her up on in the next few weeks. Unless it takes place in complete secrecy, such a session would be the highest-profile legal spectacle the former first lady has faced since she testified 20 years ago before a federal grand jury investigating the disappearance and reappearance of Whitewater billing records.
“I think the [Office of Inspector General] report is going to be of interest and the testimony is going to be out there,” said Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton. “I think the courts will take action this summer….I don’t see any of this going away.”
On top of all that, there’s an expected House report on Benghazi. And a slew of planned document releases from the State Department that a conservative group is planning to make into a movie.
“We have been for months and we will be for the next several months on the receiving end of document productions from the State Department and others,” said David Bossie of Citizens United, another conservative organization. “We have been and continue to be in the works on a Hillary documentary….We’d like to have something launch on or around the the Democratic Convention.”
“Whether it’s the Benghazi report, the state IG report or other types of releases, those are just a variation of bad for Hillary Clinton because on that day and time whenever those happen it is taking her off her message and making her have to answer questions related to these issues that she doesn’t want to talk about,” the veteran GOP operative said. “That’s called winning, if you’re Donald Trump.”
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton repeatedly broke government policy by using her own secret email server and top aides misled other department staff to cover for her, an inspector general concluded in a report sent to Capitol Hill Wednesday.
Not only did her use of the secret server shield her communications from open-records laws, but she also broke department policy by failing to report several hacking attempts, the inspector general said in an 83-page investigative report that is devastating in its conclusions.
After one of the 2011 hack attempts Mrs. Clinton’s tech staffer shut the server down for a few minutes, hoping that would solve the situation, but quickly warned top aides not to send Mrs. Clinton “anything sensitive” after the attempted breach, according to the report, which was obtained by The Washington Times.
After another suspicious attempt Mrs. Clinton said she was scared to open email — but failed to report the matter.
“Notification is required when a user suspects compromise of, among other things, a personally owned device containing personally identifiable information,” the investigators said. “However, OIG found no evidence that the Secretary or her staff reported these incidents to computer security personnel or anyone else within the Department.”…
“You’re not suggesting that you actually sold this to the Cubans?” one reporter asked Kirby. ”I don’t understand why you can’t say, ‘No, we didn’t sell this to the Cubans, it got there by accident by mistake.’” (The Blaze)
The United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) cabinet approved a comprehensive list of 83 designated terrorist organizations Saturday, the WAM Emirates News Agency reports. The list includes various al-Qaeda affiliates and the Islamic State.
In a statement, CAIR said it and MAS “peacefully promote civil and democratic rights and … oppose terrorism whenever it occurs, wherever it occurs and whoever carries it out.”
But FBI policy since 2008 has prohibited communicating with CAIR outside of criminal investigations. That decision was based on evidence in a terror-financing prosecution in Dallas which placed CAIR and its founders in a Muslim Brotherhood Hamas support network called the Palestine Committee. “[U]ntil we can resolve whether there continues to be a connection between CAIR or its executives and HAMAS, the FBI does not view CAIR as an appropriate liaison partner,” Assistant FBI Director Richard Powers wrote in 2009.
The Muslim American Society (MAS) also serves as a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in America. A 2004 Chicago Tribune story describes how MAS was formed as the Brotherhood’s U.S. arm after a debate about whether to stay underground. In 2012 testimony, Abdurahman Alamoudi, once the most politically influential Islamist activist in the country, said the connection between MAS and the Brotherhood was well known in Islamist circles….
…This photo comes from Hamas-linked CAIR-Florida’s “14th Annual Banquet Rooted in Faith” in Tampa yesterday, courtesy of an anonymous reader who was at the banquet. It is not the first time Hamas-linked CAIR, designated a terror organization by the United Arab Emirates, has discouraged Muslims from talking to the FBI…
Jihad Watch director Robert Spencer explains the connections between the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the jihad terror group Hamas. (H/T – Creeping Sharia)
…At approximately 12:50 pm, the motorcade stopped at the Charcoal Pit, a popular, established restaurant just north of Wilmington, Del. Known for its burgers and sundaes. Obama shook hands and mingled with many of the diners, stopping at one point to pick up seven-month old Jaidyn Oates, and pose for a photo.
…He invoked Vice Presiident Biden’s name a few names, noting to some diners, “Me and Joe, we share shakes all the time,” and to others, “Biden told me the burgers are pretty good.”
….Just before hugging another young girl, whose mother lifted her across the booth to hug the president, Obama asked, “Do you give good hugs?”
….At 1:01 pm Obama declared, “I’m starving!” He sat down to eat with Tanei Benjamin, who wrote the president a year ago. The president ordered a 4-ounce “Pit special,” which is burger with fries. He asked for it to be done medium well, and to have lettuce and tomato. He also asked for a water with lemon.
Even the State Department was soo feckless that even Shep Smith got frustrated:
HotAir noted the last Tweet from the State Dept. to end this eventful day:
For years, tweets from @BarackObama have popped up in my Twitter feed so often so very detached from the actual events of the day as to feel like some kind of non sequitur performance art. This outdoes all of them.
This tweet is from the official State Department account, from Jen Psaki, at 9:26 p.m.*, hours after two huge international stories have broken. Now, the administration perhaps can’t be expected to react to the actual events at issue seriously. Too much to ask. But what they do sometimes react to seriously is a p.r. issue, and they’ve had many hours to realize everyone thinks they’re muffing this. Would it be so much to ask to keep it relatively sober tonight?
And yet. And yet.
The Blaze has some great follow up Tweets on the above:
By the time of publication on Friday morning, Psaki sent out one more tweet, but it was about John Kerry’s trip to Afghanistan last weekend.
Three days earlier, Tony D’Aleo, the chapter president of Vietnam Veterans of America in Brown’s hometown of Jacksonville, told local Fox station WAWS that “we have members in our chapter that have been three and four years waiting for a claim. They’re going to die. They’re honestly going to die.”
Brown also represents Gainesville, where earlier this month three VA administrators were placed on leave following the discovery of a secret mental health waiting list similar to those found at other VA facilities across the nation. Thomas Wisnieski, director of the North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Health System, says the list was not “secret” per se, but that he did not know about it until investigators unearthed it during a hospital visit.
In other parts of the state, complaints are pouring in. Thomas Fiore, who works for the VA police department in South Florida, blew the whistle on clinics in Miami. Fiore alleges malfeasance ranging from drug dealing on hospital property — “anything from your standard prescription drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet, and of course marijuana, cocaine, heroin” — to patient abuse in VA nursing homes.
Fiore was instructed to stop investigating these claims by hospital administrators. He was later reassigned from the VA police department to a clerical position….