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Obama Asserts Executive Privilege Claim Over Holder’s Wife Emails Pertaining To Fast and Furious — Cover up Of Crimes — Article 1 of Impeachment Bill — What are They Hiding? — Aiding and Abetting Homicides –Videos

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Story 1: Obama Asserts Executive Privilege Claim Over Holder’s Wife Emails Pertaining To Fast and Furious — Cover up Of Crimes — Article 1 of Impeachment Bill — What are They Hiding? — Aiding and Abetting Homicides –Videos

Fast-and-furious-holder-obamafast-furious-eric-holder

eric-holder-fast-and-furious-gunwalking-documents-political-cartooncartoon_eric_holder_fast_n_furious_n_gun_confiscationJune 21, 2011 John de Rosier editorial cartoonEric Holder guns what guns Obama Fall Guyexecutive privillege gunexecutive_privilege_holder_fulleric holdersobama_holdersfast and furious

President Obama Evokes Executive Privilege for Eric Holder – 2007 v. 2012

Obama announces Eric Holder’s resignation

Is Obama involved in Fast and Furious, obstructing a congressional investigation or both?

Congress Votes to Hold Eric Holder in Contempt Perjury Lied to House Congress Vote Passes

Jon Stewart Slams Obama Executive Privilege, Fast & Furious, and Eric Holder

Remember Brian Terry, the murdered Border Patrol Agent

Judge Napolitano: Executive Privilege Only Applies If Obama Involved

Mark Levin Explains How GOP Should Handle Holder Contempt Charge & Executive Privilege Claim

Issa on Fast and Furious, Holder Contempt, Obama Executive Privilege on Fox News Sunday

Obama Perpetuates The ’90 Percent Of Mexico’s Weapons Come From The U.S.’ Lie — In Mexico!

Eric Holder – We Must “Brainwash” People Against Guns! – (1995)

Holder on 2nd Amendment

Eric Holder Attacking The Second Amendment To Help Mexico?

“Operation Fast & Furious: The Other Side of the Border” Part 1

“Operation Fast & Furious: The Other Side of the Border” Part 2

“Operation Fast & Furious: The Other Side of the Border” Part 3

Fast and Furious: Management Failures at the Department of Justice – Part 1

Eric Holder Choking on his Testimony

Michael Savage offers concise summary of “Fast and Furious”, describes his own love of guns

Congress: Eric Holder Should Be In Jail!

 

Obama Asserts Fast and Furious Executive Privilege Claim for Holder’s Wife

OCTOBER 23, 2014

Judicial Watch announced today that it received from the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) a “Vaughn index” detailing records about the Operation Fast and Furious scandal. The index was forced out of the Obama administration thanks to JW’s June 2012 Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request and subsequent September 2012 FOIA lawsuit (Judicial Watch v. Department of Justice (No. 1:12-cv-01510)). A federal court had ordered the production over the objections of the Obama Justice Department.

The document details the Attorney General Holder’s personal involvement in managing the Justice Department’s strategy on media and Congressional investigations into the Fast and Furious scandal. Notably, the document discloses that emails between Attorney General Holder and his wife Sharon Malone – as well as his mother – are being withheld under an extraordinary claim of executive privilege as well as a dubious claim of deliberative process privilege under the Freedom of Information Act. The “First Lady of the Justice Department” is a physician and not a government employee.

This is the first time that the Obama administration has provided a detailed listing of all records being withheld from Congress and the American people about the deadly Fast and Furious gun running scandal. The 1307-page “draft” Vaughn index was emailed to Judicial Watch at 8:34 p.m. last night, a few hours before a federal court-ordered deadline. In its cover letter, the Department of Justice asserts that all of the responsive records described in the index are “subject to the assertion of executive privilege.”

The Vaughn index explains 15,662 documents. Typically, a Vaughn index must: (1) identify each record withheld; (2) state the statutory exemption claimed; and (3) explain how disclosure would damage the interests protected by the claimed exemption. The Vaughn index arguably fails to provide all of this required information but does provide plenty of interesting information for a public kept in the dark for years about the Fast and Furious scandal.

Based on a preliminary review of the massive document, Judicial Watch can disclose that the Vaughn index reveals:

Numerous emails that detail Attorney General Holder’s direct involvement in crafting talking points, the timing of public disclosures, and handling Congressional inquiries in the Fast and Furious matter.
President Obama has asserted executive privilege over nearly 20 email communications between Holder and his spouse Sharon Malone. The administration also claims that the records are also subject to withholding under the “deliberative process” exemption. This exemption ordinarily exempts from public disclosure records that could chill internal government deliberations.
Numerous entries detail DOJ’s communications (including those of Eric Holder) concerning the White House about Fast and Furious.
The scandal required the attention of virtually every top official of the DOJ and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF). Communications to and from the United States Ambassador to Mexico about the Fast and Furious matter are also described.
Many of the records are already publicly available such as letters from Congress, press clips, and typical agency communications. Ordinarily, these records would, in whole or part, be subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. Few of the records seem to even implicate presidential decision-making and advice that might be subject to President Obama’s broad and unprecedented executive privilege claim.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton criticized President Obama and his disgraced Attorney General in a statement today:

This document provides key information about the cover-up of Fast and Furious by Attorney General Eric Holder and other high-level officials of the Obama administration. Obama’s executive privilege claims over these records are a fraud and an abuse of his office. There is no precedent for President Obama’s Nixonian assertion of executive privilege over these ordinary government agency records. Americans will be astonished that Obama asserted executive privilege over Eric Holder’s emails to his wife about Fast and Furious.

Once again, Judicial Watch has proven itself more effective than Congress and the establishment media in providing basic oversight of this out-of-control Administration. This Fast and Furious document provides dozens of leads for further congressional, media, and even criminal investigations.

On June 28, 2012, Attorney General Eric Holder was held in contempt by the House of Representatives over his refusal to turn over records explaining why the Obama administration may have lied to Congress and refused for months to disclose the truth about the gun running operation. It marked the first time in U.S. history that a sitting Attorney General was held in contempt of Congress.

A week before the contempt finding, to protect Holder from criminal prosecution and stave off the contempt vote, President Obama asserted executive privilege over the Fast and Furious records the House Oversight Committee had subpoenaed eight months earlier. Judicial Watch filed its FOIA request two days later. Holder’s Justice Department wouldn’t budge (or follow the law), so JW filed a FOIA lawsuit on September 12, 2012.

But then the Justice Department convinced U.S. District Court Judge John D. Bates to stay our lawsuit, in part to allow ongoing settlement discussions between the Holder’s government lawyers and the House Committee to continue. Unsurprisingly, the “negotiations” between politicians running the House and the Justice Department went nowhere.

Fed up with the interminable delay caused Holder’s gamesmanship and stonewalling, JW renewed its request to the Court to allow our transparency lawsuit to continue. Thankfully, this past July, Judge John D. Bates ended the 16-month delay and ordered the Obama administration to produce a Vaughn index of the alleged “executive privilege” records by October 1. Judge Bates noted that no court has ever “expressly recognized” President Obama’s unprecedented executive privilege claims in the Fast and Furious matter.

Unhappy with having to produce the records prior to the elections, Justice lawyers asked the judge to give them one extra month, until November 3 (the day before Election Day!) to produce the info. Judge Bates rejected this gambit, suggested that the Holder’s agency did not take court order seriously. Rather than a month, Judge Bates gave Justice until yesterday to cough up the Vaughn index. Judge Bates issued his smack down on September 23.

Attorney General Eric Holder announced his resignation two days later.

Many share our opinion it was “no coincidence” that Holder’s resignation came “on the heels of another court ruling that the Justice Department must finally cough up information about how Holder’s Justice Department lied to Congress and the American people about the Operation Fast and Furious scandal, for which Eric Holder was held in contempt by the House of Representatives.”

The House had been separately litigating to obtain the records but had gotten nowhere until after Judge Bates ruled that the DOJ finally had to disclose information to Judicial Watch.

On September 9, U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson, citing Judicial Watch’s success, ordered the Justice Department to produce information to Congress by November 3.

Fast and Furious was a DOJ/Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) “gun running” operation in which the Obama administration reportedly allowed guns to go to Mexican drug cartels hoping they would end up at crime scenes, advancing gun-control policies. Fast and Furious weapons have been implicated in the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and hundreds of other innocents in Mexico. Guns from the Fast and Furious scandal are expected to be used in criminal activity on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border for years to come.

Guns from the Fast and Furious scandal continue to be used in crimes. Just last week, Judicial Watch disclosed that a Fast and Furious gun was used in gang -style assault on a Phoenix apartment building that left two people wounded. We figured this out from information we uncovered through another public records lawsuit against the City of Phoenix.

Congress officially confirmed the AK-47 was used in the assault that terrorized residents in Phoenix. In an October 16 letter sent from Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Rep. Darryl Issa (R-CA) to Deputy Attorney General James Cole discloses that “we have learned of another crime gun connected to Fast and Furious. The [Justice] Department did not provide any notice to the Congress or the public about this gun….This lack of transparency about the consequences of Fast and Furious undermines public confidence in law enforcement and gives the impression that the Department is seeking to suppress information and limit its exposure to public scrutiny.”

We have many other active lawsuits over the Fast and Furious scandal:

On October 11, 2011, Judicial Watch sued the DOJ and the ATF to obtain all Fast and Furious records submitted to the House Committee on Oversight.

On June 6, 2012, Judicial Watch sued the ATF seeking access to records detailing communications between ATF officials and Kevin O’Reilly, former Obama White House Director of North American Affairs at the U.S. National Security Council.

On September 5, 2013, Judicial Watch sued the DOJ seeking access to all records of communications between DOJ and the Oversight Committee relating to settlement discussions in the Committee’s 2012 contempt of Congress lawsuit against Holder. The contempt citation stemmed from Holder’s refusal to turn over documents to Congress related to the Fast and Furious gunrunning scandal.

On May 28, 2014, Judicial Watch sued the DOJ on behalf of ATF Special Agent John Dodson, who blew the whistle on Operation Fast and Furious and was then subjected to an alleged smear campaign designed to destroy his reputation.

 

Obama used executive privilege to shield Holder emails

BY SUSAN FERRECHIO

President Obama used executive privilege to withhold the contents of more than 20 emails sent between Attorney General Eric Holder, his wife and his mother that a conservative watchdog group sought in connection with the federal government’s botched “Fast and Furious” gun-running operation.

The document, according to the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch, “details the Attorney General Holder’s personal involvement in managing the Justice Department’s strategy on media and Congressional investigations into the Fast and Furious scandal.”

Judicial Watch said the White House is withholding the contents of the Holder emails between his wife and mother citing not only the executive privilege, but the “deliberative process” exemption, which is normally used to exclude from public disclosure any information “that could chill internal government deliberations.”

Holder’s wife, Sharon Malone, is a Washington, D.C., gynecologist.

The Republican-led House has been dueling with Holder for years in an effort to get documents and emails related to Fast and Furious.

In 2012, the House voted to find Holder in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents related to the operation and has sued to obtain them. Democrats have accused the GOP of a politically motivated witch hunt against Holder, who recently announced plans to step down.

The Fast and Furious program ran from 2006 to 2011 out of an Arizona division of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. It involved U.S. agents selling guns to Mexican drug traffickers in an effort to trace the weapons to the drug cartels. But agents lost track of the weapons and some of them were used to kill people, including U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

“Obama’s executive privilege claims over these records are a fraud and an abuse of his office,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “There is no precedent for President Obama’s Nixonian assertion of executive privilege over these ordinary government agency records. Americans will be astonished that Obama asserted executive privilege over Eric Holder’s emails to his wife about Fast and Furious.”

“This list of documents was provided in order to fulfill a procedural step in this case,” Justice Department spokesman Brian Fallon told theExaminer. “We will make a further submission, related to these same materials, on Nov. 3 in connection to the case brought by the House Oversight Committee.”

Editor’s note: Judicial Watch is representing the Washington Examiner in the newspaper’s federal lawsuit seeking access to Consumer Financial Protection Bureau records under FOIA.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/obama-used-executive-privilege-to-shield-holder-emails/article/2555188

 

Operation Fast and Furious Fast Facts

Here’s some background information about Operation Fast and Furious. From 2009 – 2011, under Operation Fast and Furious, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Phoenix Field Division, along with other partners, allowed illegal gun sales believed to be destined for Mexican drug cartels in order to track the sellers and purchasers.

Facts:
An estimated 1,400 weapons were lost by the ATF in Mexico. Two of the missing weapons linked to the operation turned up at the Arizona murder scene of United States Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

Whistle-blowing leads to a Congressional investigation by the Senate Judiciary Committee and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Attorney General Eric Holder is cited for contempt.

Operation Fast and Furious was one of the operations under Project Gunrunner, part of the Department of Justice’s broader Southwest Border Initiative, an “inter-agency effort to combat Mexico-based trafficking groups.” (DOJ)

“Straw purchasers (also called straw buyers) buy firearms on behalf of others without disclosing that fact on the forms required by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.” (DOJ)

The operation lasted approximately 15 months, resulting in grand jury indictments of 34 suspects in drug and firearms trafficking organizations.

Operation Fast and Furious was not the first “gun walking” investigation by ATF; it was preceded by Operation Wide Receiver, which began in 2006.

Timeline:
April 2006 - Official launch of Project Gunrunner.

October 2009 – Operation Fast and Furious begins, based on a review of Project Gunrunner by the ATF Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF).

January 2010 – Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms agents tell the staff of Senator Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, that the ATF allowed straw buyer Jaime Avila to make repeated purchases of guns after his name had been entered into a “suspect person database” on January 13, 2009.

December 14, 2011 - Border patrol agent Brian Terry is killed in the Arizona desert, and two weapons the ATF allowed to be purchased earlier in 2010 by purported “straw buyer” Jaime Avila are found near the shooting scene. It is unknown whether any of the guns were used as the murder weapon.

January 25, 2011 – The Department of Justice announces the end of Operation Fast and Furious, with the indictments of 34 drug and firearm trafficking suspects.

March 3, 2011 – ATF Acting Director Kenneth Melson announces the formation of a panel to “review the bureau’s current firearms trafficking strategies employed by field division managers and special agents.”

April 1, 2011 - Acting Director Melson is issued a subpoena from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

May 3, 2011 – Attorney General Eric Holder testifies for the first time before the House Judiciary Committee that he had first heard of Operation Fast and Furious only over the past few weeks.

June 2011 - Whistleblowers testify before the House Oversight committee. ATF agent John Dodson tells lawmakers, “I cannot begin to think how the risk of letting guns fall into the hands of known criminals could possibly advance any legitimate law enforcement interest.”

July 26, 2011 – The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee holds a second hearing.

August 30, 2011 – Melson is reassigned to the Justice Department, and is replaced by B. Todd Jones.

October 12, 2011 – Congressional investigators issue a subpoena for communications from Attorney General Holder relating to the federal gunrunning operation.

October 2011 - Investigators uncover memos indicating Attorney General Holder had known about Operation Fast and Furious for close to a year, not a few weeks as he had stated in May 2011.

November 7, 2011 - A federal grand jury in the District of Arizona hands up an 11-count indictment. It alleges that on December 14, 2010, five of the defendants (Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga, Ivan Soto-Barraza, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes and Lionel Portillo-Meza) were involved in a firefight with Border Patrol agents during which Terry was fatally shot. The men are charged with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, conspiracy to interfere with commerce by robbery, attempted interference with commerce by robbery, carrying and using a firearm during a crime of violence, assault on a federal officer and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. The indictment is unsealed on July 9th, 2012.

November 8, 2011 - Attorney General Holder testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee that, “this operation was flawed in concept, as well as in execution.”

February 1, 2012 – The family of ATF agent Brian Terry files a $25 million wrongful death claim against the United States.

February 2, 2012 – Attorney General Holder testifies before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that firings and charges against Justice Department officials who oversaw Fast and Furious are likely to come in the next six months. He also denies any cover-up.

June 12, 2012 – Attorney General Holder testifies before the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary, and rejects calls for his resignation.

June 20, 2012 – The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee recommends that Attorney General Holder be cited for contempt of Congress for failing to turn over documents relating to the Fast and Furious operation.

June 20, 2012 – President Barack Obama asserts executive privilege over the documents sought by the investigating committee. This prevents future prosecution of Holder.

June 28, 2012 – The House of Representatives votes 255-67 to hold Holder in criminal contempt. This is the first time in American history that the head of the Justice Department has been held in contempt by Congress.

July 31, 2012 - The first of a three-part joint staff Congressional report is released, Fast and Furious: Anatomy of a Failed Operation, which lays blame for the failed gun-running probe on Acting ATF Director Kenneth Melson and Deputy Director William Hoover.

July 31, 2012 – ATF Deputy Director William Hoover resigns.

August 13, 2012 – The House Oversight Committee files a civil lawsuit against Holder over Operation Fast and Furious documents.

September 6, 2012 - Mexican authorities arrest Leonel Sanchez Jesus Meza, wanted in the killing of Border Patrol agent Brian Terry.

September 19, 2012 – Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz releases a report on the operation. The report finds 14 employees of the ATF and the Justice Department responsible for management failures. After the release, former acting ATF head Kenneth Melson retires and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein resigns.

December 13, 2012 – Jaime Avila is sentenced to 57 months in prison for his role in buying weapons that were found at the site of the killing of patrol agent Brian A. Terry.

June 17, 2014 – Lionel Portillo Meza, a suspect in the death of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, is extradited from Mexico to the U.S.

http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/27/world/americas/operation-fast-and-furious-fast-facts/

ATF gunwalking scandal

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Weapons recovered by Mexican military in Naco, Sonora, Mexico on November 20, 2009. They include weapons bought two weeks earlier by Operation Fast and Furious suspect Uriel Patino, who bought 723 guns during the operation.[1]

Gunwalking“, or “letting guns walk“, was a tactic of the Arizona Field Office of the United States Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), which ran a series of sting operations[2][3] between 2006[4]and 2011[2][5] in the Tucson and Phoenix area where the ATF “purposely allowed licensed firearms dealers to sell weapons to illegal straw buyers, hoping to track the guns to Mexican drug cartel leaders and arrest them.”[6] These operations were done under the umbrella of Project Gunrunner, a project intended to stem the flow of firearms into Mexico by interdicting straw purchasers and gun traffickers within the United States.[7] The Chambers case[who?] began in October 2009, and eventually became known in February 2010 as “Operation Fast and Furious” after agents discovered some of the suspects under investigation belonged to a car club.[1]

The stated goal of allowing these purchases was to continue to track the firearms as they were transferred to higher-level traffickers and key figures in Mexican cartels, with the expectation that this would lead to their arrests and the dismantling of the cartels.[6][8][9] The tactic was questioned during the operations by a number of people, including ATF field agents and cooperating licensed gun dealers.[10][11][12][13][14] During Operation Fast and Furious, the largest “gunwalking” probe, the ATF monitored the sale of about 2,000[1]:203[15] firearms, of which only 710 were recovered as of February 2012.[1]:203 A number of straw purchasers have been arrested and indicted; however, as of October 2011, none of the targeted high-level cartel figures had been arrested.[6]

Guns tracked by the ATF have been found at crime scenes on both sides of the Mexico–United States border, and the scene where United States Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed December 2010. The “gunwalking” operations became public in the aftermath of Terry’s murder.[2] Dissenting ATF agents came forward to Congress in response.[16][17] According to Humberto Benítez Treviño, former Mexican Attorney General and chair of the justice committee in the Chamber of Deputies, related firearms have been found at numerous crime scenes in Mexico where at least 150 Mexican civilians were maimed or killed.[18] Revelations of “gunwalking” led to controversy in both countries, and diplomatic relations were damaged.[2]

As a result of a dispute over the release of Justice Department documents related to the scandal, Attorney General Eric Holder became the first sitting member of theCabinet of the United States to be held in contempt of Congress on June 28, 2012.[19][20] Earlier that month, President Barack Obama had invoked executive privilegefor the first time in his presidency over the same documents.[21][22]

Background

Further information: Project Gunrunner and Mexican Drug War

One 20-year veteran of ATF’s Tucson office told us that before Operation Wide Receiver, all of ATF’s trafficking cases were very similar in their simplicity: ATF would get a tip from an FFL[Federal Firearms Licensee][14] about a buyer who wanted a large number of firearms and information about when the transaction was scheduled to take place, and would set up surveillance and arrest the buyer when he headed southbound or at the border. Sometimes the initial buyer would cooperate with ATF, and agents would arrest the actual buyer when he showed up to take possession of the guns. If the guns went to a stash house, agents would speak with subjects at the stash house or conduct a search of the stash house. This agent told us that ATF interdicted guns as a matter of course and had been “content to make the little cases,” but that Wide Receiver represented a “different direction” from ATF’s typical practice.

—Report by the Office of the Inspector General on the Review of ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious and Related Matters, September 2012[1]

ATF “gunwalking” operations were, in part, a response to longstanding criticism of the bureau for focusing on relatively minor gun violations while failing to target high-level gun smuggling figures.[23] U.S. firearms laws currently govern the possession and transfer of firearms and provide penalties for the violation of such laws. “Gun trafficking”, although not defined by statute, essentially includes the movement or diversion of firearms from legal to illegal markets.[24]:Summary A 2009 GAO report on efforts to combat arms trafficking to Mexico notes that straw purchasing is not in itself illegal, although it is illegal to provide false information in connection with a purchase.[25]

Four federal statutes govern U.S. commerce of firearms domestically and internationally. Many states supplement these federal statutes and have firearms laws of their own that are stricter. For example, some states require permits to obtain firearms and impose a waiting period for firearm transfers. Domestic commerce and importations into the United States are generally regulated under the National Firearms Act of 1934 (NFA) and the Gun Control Act of 1968 (GCA). The exportation of firearms from the United States is regulated by the Arms Export Control Act of 1976 and, to a lesser extent, the Export Administration Regulations (EAR).[24]:3

Defendants are often prosecuted and convicted under provisions of statutes such as the GCA that make it unlawful for certain persons to be in possession of firearms, govern the transaction process of obtaining firearms (e.g., straw purchases), and contain penalties for the use of a firearm in a crime of violence or a drug trafficking crime, or penalties for knowingly or fraudulently smuggling goods that would be contrary to U.S. law and regulation.[24]:18

In a 2012 case in San Juan, Texas, under existing 1968 Gun Control Act provisions on straw purchasing (Title 18 United States Code, Section 924(a)(1)(A)), straw purchaser Taisa Garcia received 33 months and buyer Marco Villalobos received 46 months, plus two years supervision after release.[26] In another Texas gun trafficking case, Oscar Bravo Hernandez received a sentence of 84 months for buying and sending to Mexico at least 55 firearms from a ring of nine straw purchasers who received sentences from 51 months for the most involved down to three years probation for the least involved.[27]

According to twenty-year ATF veteran Jay Wachtel, letting guns “walk” has been a practice done in a controlled manner that involved surveillance and eventual seizure of the weapons. “The idea was that you would follow it long enough until you were sure you had enough probable cause” to initiate an arrest, Wachtel said.[28]According to ATF field agents involved in Operation Fast and Furious, a part of Project Gunrunner, “ATF agents were trained to interdict guns and prevent criminals from obtaining them” and not to allow guns to walk and then disappear.[11] ATF agents assigned to Phoenix from other districts to work on Fast and Furious were critical of the operation.[29]

Operations

There have been allegations of “gunwalking” in at least 10 cities in five states.[30] The most widely known and controversial operations took place in Arizona under the ATF’s Phoenix, Arizona field division.

2006–2008: Operation Wide Receiver and other probes[edit]

Operation Wide Receiver[edit]

The suspicious sale of AR-15s led to Operation Wide Receiver.[31]

The first known ATF “gunwalking” operation to Mexican drug cartels, named Operation Wide Receiver, began in early 2006 and ran into late 2007. Licensed dealer Mike Detty of Mad Dawg Global informed the ATF of a suspicious gun purchase that took place in February 2006 in Tucson, Arizona. In March he was hired as a confidential informant working with the ATF’s Tucson office, part of their Phoenix, Arizona field division.[31]

With the use of surveillance equipment, ATF agents monitored additional sales by Detty to straw purchasers. With assurance from ATF “that Mexican officials would be conducting surveillance or interdictions when guns got to the other side of the border”,[12] Detty would sell a total of about 450 guns during the operation.[30] These included AR-15s, semi-automatic AK-pattern rifles, and Colt .38s. The majority of the guns were eventually lost as they moved into Mexico.[6][31][32][33]

As the later DOJ OIG Report documented, under Wide Receiver coordination of ATF Tucson with the ATF Mexico City Office (MCO) and with Mexican law enforcement had been haphazard. Discussions of getting tracking devices from Raytheon were not followed up. ATF field agents and the cooperating gun dealer had been told by ATF supervisors that the guns were being interdicted before they could reach Mexico, but only 64 of the 474 guns had actually been seized. The kingpin sought by walking the guns, Israel Egurrola-Leon, turned out to be the target of a larger drug case Operation Iron River run by OCDETF. After Operation Wide Receiver was ended, several attorneys at the Phoenix USAO who reviewed the Wide Receiver cases for prosecution found the cases had been so poorly managed that they were reluctant to bring any of them to trial.[1]

At the time, under the Bush administration Department of Justice (DOJ), no arrests or indictments were made. After President Barack Obama took office in 2009, the DOJ reviewed Wide Receiver and found that guns had been allowed into the hands of suspected gun traffickers. Indictments began in 2010, over three years after Wide Receiver concluded. As of October 4, 2011, nine people had been charged with making false statements in acquisition of firearms and illicit transfer, shipment or delivery of firearms.[23] As of November, charges against one defendant had been dropped; five of them had pled guilty, and one had been sentenced to one year and one day in prison. Two of them remained fugitives.[31]

The Hernandez case

Another, smaller probe occurred in 2007 under the same ATF Phoenix field division. The Fidel Hernandez case began when the ATF identified Mexican suspects who bought weapons from a Phoenix gun shop over a span of several months. The probe ultimately involved over 200 guns, a dozen of which were lost in Mexico. On September 27, 2007, ATF agents saw the original suspects buying weapons at the same store and followed them toward the Mexican border. The ATF informed the Mexican government when the suspects successfully crossed the border, but Mexican law enforcement were unable to track them.[4][10]

Less than two weeks later, on October 6, William Newell, then ATF’s Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the Phoenix field division, shut down the operation at the behest of William Hoover, ATF’s assistant director for the office of field operations.[34] No charges were filed. Newell, who was Phoenix ATF SAC from June 2006 to May 2011, would later play a major role in Operation Fast and Furious.[4][12]

The Hernandez case was referenced in a briefing paper prepared for Attorney General Michael Mukasey prior to his meeting with the Mexican Attorney General Medina Mora on November 16, 2007. The paper stated, “ATF has recently worked jointly with Mexico on the first-ever attempt to have a controlled delivery of weapons being smuggled into Mexico by a major arms trafficker” and that “the first attempts at this controlled delivery have not been successful.” The paper also stated, “ATF would like to expand the possibility of such joint investigations and controlled deliveries — since only then will it be possible to investigate an entire smuggling network, rather than arresting simply a single smuggler.”[35]

Investigators regarded the Hernandez Case as an example of “controlled delivery” with surveillance and involvement of Mexican authorities rather than “gunwalking” or failure to attempt interdiction.[1][36][37]

The Medrano case[

The 2008 Alejandro Medrano case involved both ATF SAC William Newell and cooperating Tucson gun dealer Mike Detty of Operation Wide Receiver. ATF Phoenix allowed about 100 guns to be taken into Mexico over the objections of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) personnel who became aware of the case. Phoenix ATF SAC Newell acknowledged to ICE “that letting guns cross the border was part of ATF’s plan”. In August 2010, Medrano was sentenced to 46 months, his associate Hernan Ramos received 50 months and their fellow conspirators received prison terms from 14 to 30 months, but the target, a Sinaloa Cartel kingpin, Javier Elenes Ruiz, nicknamed “Rambo,” remained untouched inside Mexico.[36]

2009–2011: Operation Fast and Furious

On October 26, 2009, a teleconference was held at the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. to discuss U.S. strategy for combating Mexican drug cartels. Participating in the meeting were Deputy Attorney General David W. Ogden, Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer, acting ATF Director Kenneth E. Melson, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Michele Leonhart, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Robert Mueller and the top federal prosecutors in theSouthwestern border states. They decided on a strategy to identify and eliminate entire arms trafficking networks rather than low-level buyers.[3][38][39] Those at the meeting apparently did not suggest using the “gunwalking” tactic, but Phoenix ATF supervisors would soon use it in an attempt to achieve the desired goals.[40]

The strategy of targeting high-level individuals, which was already ATF policy, would be implemented by Bill Newell, special agent in charge of ATF’s Phoenix field division. In order to accomplish it, the office decided to monitor suspicious firearms purchases which federal prosecutors had determined lacked sufficient evidence for prosecution, as laid out in a January 2010 briefing paper. This was said to be allowed under ATF regulations and given legal backing by U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona Dennis K. Burke. It was additionally approved and funded by a Justice Department task force.[3] However, long-standing DOJ and ATF policy has required suspected illegal arms shipments to be intercepted.[4][5]

FN Five-sevens were among the weapons allowed to walk.[41]

The operation began on October 31, 2009, when a local gun store reported to the Phoenix ATF that four individuals had purchased multiple AK47 style rifles.[42] In November 2009, the Phoenix office’s Group VII, which would be the lead investigative group in Fast and Furious, began to follow a prolific gun trafficker. He had bought 34 firearms in 24 days, and he and his associates bought 212 more in the next month. The case soon grew to over two dozen straw purchasers, the most prolific of which would ultimately buy more than 600 weapons.[3][5][43] The effort would come to be called Operation Fast and Furious for the successful film franchise, because some of the suspects under investigation operated out of an auto repair store and street raced.[3]

Under the previous Operation Wide Receiver, there had been a formal ATF contract with the cooperating gun dealer and efforts were made to involve the ATF Mexico City Office (MCO) and Mexican law enforcement. Under Operation Fast and Furious, at Newell’s insistence the cooperating gun dealers did not have contracts with ATF, and MCO and Mexican police were left in the dark.[1]

According to internal ATF documents, the operation was initially run in conjunction with the Phoenix DEA Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force(OCDETF).[44] On January 26, 2010, ATF formally applied to the Justice Department in Washington for funding through the OCDETF program. When it won approval and received additional funding, Operation Fast and Furious was reorganized as a Strike Force that included agents from ATF, FBI, DEA, and the ICE component of the Department of Homeland Security, which would be run through the U.S. Attorney’s office rather than the ATF. This new Strike Force designation allowed the operation to take advantage of sophisticated surveillance techniques such as federal wiretaps, which would require court orders and interaction from Justice Department officials in Washington, D.C. since federal law requires certain individuals to review evidence and certify the necessity of such techniques.[45]

The dealers involved became concerned as months went by and the same individuals they reported to ATF as suspected straw purchasers returned and repeatedly bought identical weapons. As they later told the DOJ OIG, their previous experience was that after they reported a suspected straw to ATF, they did not see the straw again unless subpoenaed to testify against the straw at trial.[1] One cooperating dealer expressed his concerns in a series of emails in April and June 2010 to GS David Voth, who assured the dealer that ATF was monitoring the suspects using a variety of techniques that he could not discuss in detail.[14]

The tactic of letting guns walk, rather than interdicting them and arresting the buyers, led to controversy within the ATF.[5][46] As the case continued, several members of Group VII, including John Dodson and Olindo Casa, became increasingly upset at the tactic of allowing guns to walk. Their standard Project Gunrunner training was to follow the straw purchasers to the hand-off to the cartel buyers, then arrest both parties and seize the guns. But according to Dodson, they watched guns being bought illegally and stashed on a daily basis, while their supervisors, including David Voth and Hope MacAllister, prevented the agents from intervening.[3]

However, other accounts of the operation insist that ATF agents were prevented from intervening not by ATF officials, but rather by federal prosecutors with the Attorney General’s office, who were unsure of whether the agents had sufficient evidence to arrest suspected straw-buyers.[47] According to some reports, many agents insisted they were prevented from making arrests because prosecutors were unwilling to engage in what could become a potentially contentious political battle over Second Amendment rights during an election year, particularly given the difficult nature of prosecuting straw buyers, and the weak penalties associated with it, even if successful.[47] Instead, prosecutors instructed ATF agents not to make arrests, but rather continue collecting evidence in order to build a stronger case. One tactic proposed for doing so was a wiretap of suspected straw-buyers, in an attempt to link the suspects to criminal activities taking place on the Mexican side of the border.[47] Between March 20 and July 30, 2010, nine wiretaps were sought and approved by Justice Department officials, resulting in a significant delay in concluding the case.[1]:247,274

One of the central targeted individuals was Manuel Fabian Celis-Acosta.[45] By December 2009, Celis-Acosta was being investigated by the ATF, which had placed a secret pole camera outside his Phoenix home to track his movements. Around this time, apparently by chance, ATF agents discovered Celis-Acosta was also a potential criminal target of the DEA, which was operating a wire room to monitor live wiretaps in order to track him. On April 2, 2010, Celis-Acosta was arrested on possession of cocaine and found in possession of a weapon purchased by Uriel Patino, who had already purchased at least 434 guns from cooperating gun dealers in the Phoenix area. By this time about a dozen ATF agents regularly surveilled Celis-Acosta as he recruited 20 friends and family to buy guns for him and regularly traveled to Texas to obtain funds from cartel associates to purchase firearms. On May 29, 2010, Celis-Acosta was detained in Lukeville, Arizona with 74 rounds of ammunition and 9 cell phones. He was then released by the chief ATF investigator on Fast and Furious, Hope MacAllister, after he promised to cooperate with her to find two specific Sinaloa cartel associates. After the redetention and arrest of Celis-Acosta in February 2011, the ATF learned that the associates they were after were FBI/DEA paid informants, and one of them was Celis-Acosta’s financier. Since they were informants, they were unindictable under Operation Fast and Furious.[45][48][49][50][51]

Later, the DOJ inspector General concluded: “We did not find persuasive evidence that agents sought to seize firearms or make arrests during the investigative stage of the case and were rebuffed by the prosecutor. … We found that the lack of seizures and arrests was primarily attributable to the pursuit of a strategic goal shared by both the [Phoenix] ATF and the U.S. Attorney’s Office—to eliminate a trafficking organization—and the belief that confronting subjects and seizing firearms could compromise that goal.”[1]

Weapons bought by Fast and Furious suspect Uriel Patino, seized by Border Patrol and Tucson ATF agents on the Tohono O’odham Reservation from a vehicle headed toward the Mexican border, February 20, 2010.[1]

By June 2010, suspects had purchased 1,608 firearms at a cost of over US$1 million at Phoenix-area gun shops. At that time, the ATF was also aware of 179 of those weapons being found at crime scenes in Mexico, and 130 in the United States.[8] As guns traced to Fast and Furious began turning up at violent crime scenes in Mexico, ATF agents stationed there also voiced opposition.[3]

On the evening of December 14, 2010, U.S. Border Patrol agent Brian Terry and others were patrolling Peck Canyon,Santa Cruz County, Arizona, 11 miles from the Mexican border. The group came across five suspected illegal immigrants. When they fired non-lethal beanbag guns, the suspects responded with their own weapons, leading to a firefight. Terry was shot and killed; four of the suspects were arrested and two AK-pattern rifles were found nearby.[3] The Attorney General’s office was immediately notified of the shooting incident by email.[52] The rifles were traced within hours of the shooting to a Phoenix store involved in the Fast and Furious operation, but the bullet that killed Terry was too badly damaged to be conclusively linked to either gun.[3] Acting Deputy Attorney General Gary Grindler and Deputy Chief of Staff Monty Wilkinson were informed about the guns, but they didn’t believe the information was sufficiently important to alert the Attorney General about it or to make any further inquiry regarding the development.[1]:297

After hearing of the incident, Dodson contacted ATF headquarters, ATF’s chief counsel, the ATF ethics section and the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General, none of whom immediately responded. He and other agents then contacted Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa (R–IA), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, who would become a major figure in the investigation of “gunwalking.” At the same time, information began leaking to various bloggers and Web sites.[3]

On January 25, 2011, Burke announced the first details of the case to become officially public, marking the end of Operation Fast and Furious. At a news conference in Phoenix, he reported a 53-count indictment of 20 suspects for buying hundreds of guns intended for illegal export between September 2009 and December 2010. Newell, who was at the conference, called Fast and Furious a “phenomenal case,” while denying that guns had been deliberately allowed to walk into Mexico.[3][12]

Altogether, about 2,000 firearms were bought by straw purchasers during Fast and Furious.[1]:203[3] These included AK-47 variants, Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifles, .38 caliber revolvers, and FN Five-sevens.[41] As of October 20, 2011, 389 had been recovered in the US and 276 had been recovered in Mexico. The rest remained on the streets, unaccounted for.[15] As of February 2012, the total number of recovered firearms was 710.[1]:203 Most of the guns went to the Sinaloa Cartel, while others made their way to El Teo and La Familia.[2][32]

Although most weapons were purchased by suspects under investigation by the program, there have been reports of at least one instance of ATF agents being directly involved in the transfer of weapons. On April 13, 2010, ATF Agent John Dodson, with assistance from Agents Casa and Alt, directed a cooperating straw purchaser to give three guns to Isaiah Fernandez, a suspected gun trafficker, and had taped the conversations without prosecutor approval.[47]

After being instructed by his superiors to obtain approval from prosecutors (albeit retroactively), Dodson’s proposal was later rejected by his immediate superior David Voth, although he later received permission from Voth’s supervisor after submitting a written proposal for the program. On June 1, 2010, Dodson used $2,500 of ATF funds to purchase six AK Draco pistols from local gun dealers, which he then gave to Mr. Fernandez, who reimbursed him for the expense of the guns, plus $700 for his assistance.[47] Two days later, Agent Dodson went on a scheduled vacation without interdicting the weapons. As a result, the weapons were never recovered, no arrests were ever made, and the case was closed without charges being filed.[47]

According to the DOJ OIG report, Agent Dodson, as the undercover posing as a straw buyer, was not expected to surveil the weapons after hand-off to Fernandez. Other ATF agents followed the weapons to a storage facility; then surveillance was terminated without interdiction.[1] The Fernandez case was dropped from Fast and Furious after it was determined that Fernandez was not connected to Mexican cartels and had ceased buying guns for resale.[1][53]

Aftermath and reaction

Fate of walked guns

Since the end of Operation Fast and Furious, related firearms have continued to be discovered in criminal hands. As reported in September 2011, the Mexican government stated that an undisclosed number of guns found at about 170 crime scenes were linked to Fast and Furious.[54] U.S. Representative Darrell Issa (R–Calif.–49) estimated that more than 200 Mexicans were killed by guns linked to the operation.[55] Reflecting on the operation, Attorney General Eric Holder said that theUnited States government is “…losing the battle to stop the flow of illegal guns to Mexico,”[56] and that the effects of Operation Fast and Furious will most likely continue to be felt for years, as more walked guns appear at Mexican crime scenes.[57]

In April 2011, a large cache of weapons, 40 traced to Fast and Furious but also including military-grade weapons difficult to obtain legally in the US such as an anti-aircraft machine gun and grenade launcher, was found in the home of Jose Antonio Torres Marrufo, a prominent Sinaloa Cartel member, in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. Torres Marrufo was indicted, but evaded law enforcement for a brief time.[58][59] Finally, on February 4, 2012, Marrufo was arrested by the Mexican Police.[60]

On May 29, 2011, four Mexican Federal Police helicopters attacked a cartel compound, where they were met with heavy fire, including from a .50 caliber rifle. According to a report from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, this rifle is likely linked to Fast and Furious.[2]

There have been questions raised over a possible connection between Fast and Furious and the death of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata on February 15, 2011.[61][62] The gun used to kill Zapata was purchased by Otilio Osorio in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, Texas[63] (outside the area of responsibility for the ATF Phoenix field division[64] which conducted Fast and Furious), and then smuggled into Mexico. Congressional investigators have stated that Osorio was known by the ATF to be a straw purchaser months before he purchased the gun used to kill Zapata, leading them to question ATF surveillance tactics[63]and to suspect a Texas-based operation similar to Fast and Furious.[65]

In addition to Otilio Osorio, a Texas-based drug and gun trafficker, Manuel Barba, was involved trafficking another of the guns recovered in the Zapata shooting. The timeline of this case, called “Baytown Crew”, shows guns were allowed to walk during surveillance that began June 7, 2010. On August 20, 2010, Barba received a rifle later recovered in the Zapata ambush and sent it with nine others to Mexico. The warrant for Barba’s arrest was issued February 14, 2011, the day before Zapata was shot.[66] On January 30, 2012, Barba, who claimed to be working with Los Zetas in illegally exporting at least 44 weapons purchased through straw buyers, was sentenced to 100 months in prison.[67]

On November 23, 2012, two firearms linked to the ATF were found at the scene of a shootout between Sinaloa cartel members and the Mexican military. One of the weapons was an AK-47 type rifle trafficked by Fast and Furious suspect Uriel Patino, and the other was an FN Herstal pistol originally purchased by an ATF agent. Mexican beauty queen Maria Susana Flores Gamez and four others were killed.[68][69]

Investigations and fallout

In the U.S. Congress, Representative Darrell Issa (R–CA–49), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Senator Chuck Grassley(R–IA), ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, have been leading investigations of “gunwalking” operations.[70] There have also been investigations by the United States Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General and others.

2011

On January 27, 2011, Grassley wrote a letter to ATF Acting Director Kenneth E. Melson requesting information about the ATF-sanctioned sale of hundreds of firearms to straw purchasers. The letter mentioned a number of allegations that walked guns were used in the fight that killed Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry.[71] A second letter from Grassley on January 31 accused the ATF of targeting whistleblowers.[72]

On February 4, after review and comment from dozens of officials in the Justice Department Criminal Division, the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Phoenix, and ATF Headquarters,[1]:332 Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich sent a response to Grassley regarding his two letters. Weich said claims “…that (the) ATF ‘sanctioned’ or otherwise knowingly allowed the sale of assault weapons to a straw purchaser who then transported them to Mexico [are] false. ATF makes every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico.”[73][74] On February 28, Attorney GeneralEric Holder requested that the Department of Justice‘s Inspector General begin an investigation of Fast and Furious.[75]

On March 23, President Barack Obama appeared on Univision and spoke about the “gunwalking” controversy. He said that neither he nor Attorney General Holder authorized Fast and Furious. He also stated, “There may be a situation here in which a serious mistake was made, and if that’s the case then we’ll find out and we’ll hold somebody accountable.”[76]

On May 3, Attorney General Holder testified to the House Judiciary Committee that he did not know who approved Fast and Furious, but that it was being investigated. He also stated that he “probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks,”[77] a claim which would later be questioned[78][79][80] as explained below.

In June, ATF Agent Vince Cefalu, who helped to publicize Fast and Furious, was served with termination papers, in a move by the agency he described as politically motivated retaliation. He had been at odds with ATF management since he filed a complaint over tactics in an unrelated case in 2005. The ATF denied that the firing was retaliation, and Cefalu’s termination letter noted that he leaked documents to the Internet and showed a “lack of candor” in other operations.[81]

On June 14, 2011, a preliminary joint staff report was released by Representative Issa and Senator Grassley.[11] Among the findings: agents were told to stand down rather than interdict weapons, they complained about the strategy and were ignored, and Fast and Furious led to increased violence and death in Mexico.[82] Agents were panicked, certain that “someone was going to die.”[83]

Representative Issa continued to hold hearings in June and July where ATF officials based in Phoenix and Mexico, and at headquarters in Washington, testified before the committee.[84] ATF agent John Dodson stated that he and other agents were ordered to observe the activities of gun smugglers but not to intervene. He testified:[85][86]

Over the course of the next 10 months that I was involved in this operation, we monitored as they purchased hand guns, AK-47 variants, and .50 caliberrifles almost daily. Rather than conduct any enforcement actions, we took notes, we recorded observations, we tracked movements of these individuals for a short time after their purchases, but nothing more. Knowing all the while, just days after these purchases, the guns that we saw these individuals buy would begin turning up at crime scenes in the United States and Mexico, we still did nothing. …
I cannot begin to think of how the risk of letting guns fall into the hands of known criminals could possibly advance any legitimate law enforcement interest.

A second joint staff report was released by the Republicans on July 26.[41]

In August, three important Fast and Furious supervisors were transferred to new management positions at ATF headquarters in Washington: William Newell and David Voth, field supervisors who oversaw the program from Phoenix, and William McMahon, an ATF deputy director of operations. The transfers were initially reported as promotions by the Los Angeles Times, but the ATF stated that they did not receive raises or take on greater responsibilities.[70][87] In late August, it was announced that Acting ATF Director Melson had been reassigned to the Justice Department, and U.S. Attorney Burke announced his resignation after being questioned by Congressional investigators earlier that month.[88]

In October, documents showing that Attorney General Holder’s office had been sent briefings on Fast and Furious as early as July 2010, prompted questions about his May statement that he wasn’t sure of the exact date, but had known about it for only a few weeks. The briefings were from the National Drug Intelligence Center andAssistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer. The Justice Department said that those briefings were about a different case started before Holder became Attorney General, and that while he had known about Fast and Furious, he didn’t know the details of the tactics being used.[80]

On October 31, 2011, after the release of subpoenaed documents, Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer stated he found out about gunwalking in Operation Wide Receiver in April 2010, and that he wished he had alerted the deputy or the attorney general at the time.[89][90] The following day, in testimony before the Senate Judicial Committee in a hearing on International Organized Crime, when asked if he had reviewed the letter before it was sent to Senator Charles Grassley on February 4, 2011 denying gunwalking, Breuer replied, “I cannot say for sure whether I saw a draft of the letter that was sent to you. What I can tell you, Senator, is that at that time I was in Mexico dealing with the very real issues that we’re all so committed to.”[91]

On November 8, Holder stated for the first time in Congressional testimony that “gunwalking” was used in Fast and Furious. He remarked that the tactic is unacceptable, and that the operation was “flawed in its concept and flawed in its execution.” He further stated that his office had inaccurately described the program in previous letters sent to Congress, but that this was unintentional. Reiterating previous testimony, he said that he and other top officials had been unaware that the “gunwalking” tactic was being used. Holder stated that his staff had not showed him memos about the program, noting, “There is nothing in any of those memos that indicates any of those inappropriate tactics that are of concern. Those things were not brought to my attention, and my staff, I think, made the correct decision in that regard.”[78][92][93]

That same month, ex-US Attorney Burke admitted to leaking sensitive documents about ATF agent and whistleblower Dodson. Senator Grassley expressed concern that the Justice Department was using Burke as a scapegoat to protect higher officials and vowed to continue his probe.[94]

On December 2, 2011, the Justice Department formally withdrew its statement from February 4, 2011 denying gunwalking due to inaccuracies.[95]

Later that month, documents showed that some ATF agents discussed using Fast and Furious to provide anecdotal cases to support controversial new rules about gun sales. The regulation, called Demand Letter 3, would require 8,500 firearms dealers in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas that “have a significant number of crime guns traced back to them from Mexico” to report multiple rifle sales.[96]

2012

Investigations by Congress and the DOJ Inspector General continued into 2012. In January, Patrick Cunningham, who was the criminal division chief at the Phoenix office of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona and has since resigned, asserted his innocence and his constitutional right against self-incrimination to avoid testifying.[97] Cunningham worked directly under Burke during Fast and Furious. He was subpoenaed because of the role he might have played in the operation, and in the letter sent from the DOJ to Senator Grassley in February 2011 that claimed the ATF did not allow weapons to be trafficked to Mexico.[98]

On January 31, 2012, Democrats on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee released a report titled, “Fatally Flawed: Five Years of Gunwalking in Arizona”.[36] The report concluded that there was no evidence of involvement by high-ranking appointees at the Justice Department in “gunwalking.” Rather, Operation Fast and Furious was just one of four such operations conducted over five years during the Bush and Obama administrations, and was only “the latest in a series of fatally flawed operations run by ATF agents in Phoenix and the Arizona U.S. Attorney’s Office.”[99]

In May, it was reported that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Inspector General had begun to investigate Fast and Furious, with a report expected in October. The DHS had Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents assigned to the operation after becoming involved in late 2009.[100]

On May 3, 2012, Congressman Issa released a letter to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform that included a draft of a resolution to hold Attorney General Holder in contempt.[101] In the letter, Issa described the connection between Operation Fast and Furious and the OCDETF program since at least January 2009, which would involve multiple executive agencies including the ATF, DOJ, DEA, FBI, ICE, and DHS. He questioned how, why, or if oversight by high level Justice Department did not occur in such an important case. He further described the tragic death of Brian Terry, the whistleblowers and their mistreatment, and the damage the operation had to US-Mexico relations.

On June 7, 2012, under the threat of being held in contempt of Congress for not turning over additional requested documents, Attorney General Holder appeared at his seventh Congressional hearing, where he continued to deny knowledge of “gunwalking” by high-level officials. By then, the Justice Department had turned over more than 7,000 pages of documents.[102]

During the June 12, 2012, Senate hearing, Eric Holder stated, “If you want to talk about Fast and Furious, I’m the Attorney General that put an end to the misguided tactics that were used in Fast and Furious. An Attorney General who I suppose you would hold in higher regard was briefed on these kinds of tactics in an operation called Wide Receiver and did nothing to stop them—nothing. Three hundred guns, at least, walked in that instance.” Holder cited a briefing paper on “Wide Receiver”; the DOJ Office of Legislative Affairs later clarified that the briefing paper was about the Fidel Hernandez case, prepared for Holder’s predecessor, U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey before his meeting with Mexican Attorney General Mora on November 16, 2007.[35] The Hernandez Case had ended October 6, 2007,[103]before Mukasey entered office November 9, 2007.[104] The office further explained, “As Attorney General Holder also noted in his testimony, and as we have set forth in prior correspondence and testimony, he took measures and instituted a series of important reforms designed to ensure that the inappropriate tactics used in Fast and Furious, Wide Receiver, Hernandez, and other matters about which the Department has informed Congress are not repeated.”[35] The later DOJ OIG investigation concluded “Attorney General Mukasey was not briefed about Operation Wide Receiver or gun “walking,” but on a different and traditional law enforcement tactic that was employed in a different case.”[1]

On June 20, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee voted along party lines to recommend that Holder be held in contempt. At issue were 1,300 pages of documents that had not been turned over to Congress by the DOJ. Earlier that day, President Obama had invoked executive privilege over those documents, marking the first time the privilege has been asserted during his presidency.[21][22] Issa contends that the Obama executive privilege claim is a cover-up or an obstruction to the congressional probe. Issa said the department has identified “140,000 pages of documents and communications responsive to the committee’s subpoena.”[105]

On Thursday, June 28, 2012, Holder became the first sitting member of the Cabinet of the United States to be held in criminal contempt of Congress by the House of Representatives for refusing to disclose internal Justice Department documents in response to a subpoena. The vote was 255–67 in favor, with 17 Democrats voting yes and a large number of Democrats walking off the floor in protest and refusing to vote. A civil contempt measure was also voted on and passed, 258–95. The civil contempt vote allows the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform to go to court with a civil lawsuit to look into the US Justice Department’s refusal to turn over some of the subpoenaed documents and to test Obama’s assertion of executive privilege. Holder dismissed the votes as “the regrettable culmination of what became a misguided—and politically motivated—investigation during an election year,” and the White House called it “political theater rather than legitimate congressional oversight.”[19][20] The National Rifle Association controversially lobbied for Holder to be held in contempt.[106][107][108][109][110][111]

In June 2012, a six-month long investigation by Fortune magazine stated that the ATF never intentionally allowed guns to fall into the hands of Mexican drug cartels, in contrast to most other reports. Agents interviewed during the investigation repeatedly asserted that only one isolated incident of “gunwalking” ever occurred, and was performed independently by ATF Agent John Dodson (who later appeared on CBS News as a whistleblower to denounce the gunwalking scandal) as part of an unauthorized solo action outside the larger Fast and Furious operation.[47]

On July 31, the first part of a new three-part report, Fast and Furious: The Anatomy of a Failed Operation,[37] was released by Republican lawmakers. The report singled out five ATF supervisors for responsibility in Fast and Furious, all of whom had been previously reassigned. The report also said that Fast and Furious resulted from a change in strategy by the Obama Administration. The Justice Department was dismissive of the report, saying that it contained “distortions” and “debunked conspiracy theories,” and that “gunwalking” tactics dated back to 2006.[112] DOJ spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler, while critical of the report, did credit it for acknowledging that the idea for “gun walking”—allowing illegal sales of weapons on the border—originated under the Republican administration before Eric Holder took office in 2009. Schmaler noted that Holder moved swiftly to replace the ATF’s management and instill reforms.[113] On the same day, ATF Deputy Director William Hoover, who was one of the five blamed in the Congressional report, officially retired.[114] The report included an appendix disputing claims in the Fortune article.[53]Following its publication, Dodson’s lawyer wrote the managing editor of Fortune stating the article was “demonstrably false” and that a retraction was in order.[115] AfterFortune did not retract the article, Dodson sued for libel on October 12, 2012.[116][117]

On September 19,[118] the Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz publicly released a 471-page report[1] detailing the results of the Justice Department’s own internal investigations. The Inspector General’s report, which had access to evidence and interviews with witnesses not permitted in previous Congressional reports, recommended 14 federal officials for disciplinary action, ranging from ATF agents to federal prosecutors involved in the Fast and Furious operation.[118] It found “no evidence” that Attorney General Holder knew about Fast and Furious before early 2011.[119] It found no evidence that previous Attorneys General had been advised about gunwalking in Operation Wide Receiver.[1]

While the OIG report found no evidence that higher officials at the Justice Department in Washington had authorized or approved of the tactics used in the Fast and Furious investigations, it did fault 14 lower officials for related failures, including failures to take note of “red flags” uncovered by the investigation, as well as failures to follow up on information produced through Operation Fast and Furious and its predecessor, Operation Wide Receiver.[118][120] The report also noted ATF agents’ apparent frustrations over legal obstacles from the Phoenix Attorney’s Office to prosecuting suspected “straw-buyers,” while also criticizing the agents’ failure to quickly intervene and interdict weapons obtained by low-level suspects in the case.[118] The 14 Justice Department employees were referred for possible internal discipline. The Justice Department’s Criminal Division head Lanny Breuer, an Obama administration presidential appointee, was cited for not alerting his bosses in 2010 to the flaws of Operation Wide Receiver.[121] Deputy Assistant Attorney General Jason Weinstein, who was responsible for authorizing a portion of the wiretap applications in Operation Fast and Furious and faulted in the report for not identifying the gunwalking tactics, resigned on the day of the report.[122]

On December 4, 2012, the ATF Professional Review Board delivered its recommendations to high-level ATF managers, who will decide whether to accept them. The recommendations included firing William McMahon, ATF Deputy Assistant Director; Mark Chait, ATF Assistant Director for Field Operations; William Newell, Phoenix ATF Special Agent in Charge; and George Gillett, Newell’s second in command. Two additional ATF employees, Phoenix supervisor David Voth and lead agent Hope McAllister, received recommendations for demotion and disciplinary transfer to another ATF post, respectively.[123][124] It was reported the next day that McMahon had been fired. It was also announced that Gary Grindler, Eric Holder’s chief of staff who was faulted in the OIG report, would be leaving the Justice Department.[120] Later that month, the family of Brian Terry sued seven government officials and a gun shop involved in Operation Fast and Furious for negligence and wrongful death.[125]

2013

Agent John Dodson’s book on his experiences in Operation Fast and Furious was released by Simon and Schuster on December 3, 2013.[126]

Related criminal prosecutions

On July 9, 2012, an indictment charging five men in the death of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was unsealed. The FBI offered a reward of $250,000 per fugitive for information leading to their arrests. The indictment, originally handed up on November 7, 2011, charges Manuel Osorio-Arellanes, Jesus Rosario Favela-Astorga, Ivan Soto-Barraza, Heraclio Osorio-Arellanes and Lionel Portillo-Meza with first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and other crimes.[127][128] Manuel Osorio-Arellanes pled guilty to avoid the death penalty and is expected to be sentenced in March 2013. As of December 12, 2012, another of the suspects is in custody, and three remain fugitives.[129]

On October 15, 2012, Danny Cruz Morones, one of the twenty individuals indicted as a result of Fast and Furious, was sentenced to 57 months in prison. He was the first of the twenty to be sentenced. He pled guilty to straw purchasing and recruiting others to buy guns. According to prosecutors, he bought 27 AK-47s, and his recruits bought dozens more.[130]

On December 12, Jaime Avila, Jr. received the maximum penalty of 57 months in prison for gun dealing and conspiracy. He pled guilty after two AK-47 type rifles purchased by him were found at the scene of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry’s death. Federal prosecutors stated that, in addition to gun trafficking, he had recruited others to do the same. He was under ATF surveillance at the time.[129]

Mexican reactions

As more information on Operations Fast and Furious and Wide Receiver was revealed in 2011, Mexican officials, political commentators and media reacted with anger.[131] Mexican officials stated in September that the U.S. government still had not briefed them on what went wrong nor had they apologized.[132]

Due to several failed attempts at coordinating with Mexican law enforcement in the apprehension of suspected arms traffickers in the Wide Receiver and Hernandez cases,[36] and concerns about widespread corruption, details of Operation Fast and Furious were not shared with Mexican government officials, and they were deliberately kept out of the loop after related firearms began turning up at crime scenes and in criminal arsenals in 2010. The U.S. Embassy in Mexico and the ATF Mexico City Office (MCO) were also kept in the dark. According to Attorney General of Mexico Marisela Morales, the Mexican government was told about the undercover program in January 2011, but they were not provided details at the time.[132]

Morales stated, “At no time did we know or were we made aware that there might have been arms trafficking permitted. In no way would we have allowed it, because it is an attack on the safety of Mexicans.” In addition, she expressed that allowing weapons to “walk” would represent a “betrayal” of Mexico.[132] Morales said that her office would search “to the end” in order to clarify what happened in Fast and Furious.[133] In November 2011, it was reported that the Mexican Attorney General’s office was seeking the extradition of six citizens of the United States implicated with smuggling weapons.[134]

Mexican Senator Arturo Escobar stated after hearing about Operation Wide Receiver, “We can no longer tolerate what is occurring. There must be condemnation from the state,” and that the Mexican Senate condemned the actions of the ATF.[131][135][136]

Jorge Carlos Ramírez Marín, president of the Chamber of Deputies of Mexico from the Institutional Revolutionary Party, said “This is a serious violation of international law. What happens if next time they need to introduce trained assassins or nuclear weapons?”[137]

Chihuahua state prosecutor Patricia Gonzalez, who had worked closely with the US for years, said, “The basic ineptitude of these officials [who ordered the Fast and Furious operation] caused the death of my brother and surely thousands more victims.” Her brother, Mario, had been kidnapped, tortured and killed by cartel hit men in fall 2010. Later, two AK-47 rifles found among the several weapons recovered after a gunfight between police and cartel members were traced to the Fast and Furious program.[2][132]

Mexican Congressman Humberto Benítez Treviño, a former attorney general, called Fast and Furious “a bad business that got out of hand.”[132] He had also characterized it as “an undercover program that wasn’t properly controlled.”[137]

Like many politicians, Mexican pundits across the political spectrum expressed anger at news of both operations. La Jornada, a left-leaning newspaper, asked “US: ally or enemy?”[138] The paper also argued that after news about Wide Receiver, the Mérida Initiative should be immediately suspended. A right-leaning paper accused the US of violating Mexican sovereignty. Manuel J. Jauregui of the Reforma newspaper wrote, “In sum, the gringo (American) government has been sending weapons to Mexico in a premeditated and systematic manner, knowing that their destinations were Mexican criminal organizations.”[131]

See also

References

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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ATF_gunwalking_scandal

 

Executive privilege

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In the United States government, executive privilege is the power claimed by the President of the United States and other members of the executive branch to resist certain subpoenas and other interventions by the legislative and judicial branches of government to access information and personnel relating to the executive branch. The concept of executive privilege is not mentioned explicitly in the United States Constitution, but the Supreme Court of the United States ruled it to be an element of the separation of powers doctrine, and/or derived from the supremacy of executive branch in its own area of Constitutional activity.[1]The Supreme Court confirmed the legitimacy of this doctrine in United States v. Nixon, but only to the extent of confirming that there is a qualified privilege. Once invoked, a presumption of privilege is established, requiring the Prosecutor to make a “sufficient showing” that the “Presidential material” is “essential to the justice of the case” (418 U.S. at 713-14).Chief Justice Burger further stated that executive privilege would most effectively apply when the oversight of the executive would impair that branch’s national security concerns.

Historically, the uses of executive privilege underscore the untested nature of the doctrine, since Presidents have generally sidestepped open confrontations with the United States Congress and the courts over the issue by first asserting the privilege, then producing some of the documents requested on an assertedly voluntary basis.

Early precedents

Executive privilege is a specific instance of the more general common-law principle of deliberative process privilege and is believed to trace its roots to the English Crown Privilege.[2]

In the context of privilege assertions by US Presidents, “In 1796, President George Washington refused to comply with a request by the House of Representatives for documents related to the negotiation of the then-recently adopted Jay Treaty with the Kingdom of Great Britain. The Senate alone plays a role in the ratification of treaties, Washington reasoned, and therefore the House had no legitimate claim to the material. Therefore, Washington provided the documents to the Senate but not the House.”[3]

President Thomas Jefferson continued the precedent for this in the trial of Aaron Burr for treason in 1807. Burr asked the court to issue a subpoena duces tecum to compel Jefferson to provide his private letters concerning Burr. Chief Justice John Marshall, a strong proponent of the powers of the federal government but also a political opponent of Jefferson, ruled that the Sixth Amendment to the Constitution, which allows for these sorts of court orders for criminal defendants, did not provide any exception for the president. As for Jefferson’s claim that disclosure of the document would imperil public safety, Marshall held that the court, not the president, would be the judge of that. Jefferson complied with Marshall’s order.

In 1833, President Andrew Jackson cited executive privilege when Senator Henry Clay demanded he produce documents concerning statements the president made to his cabinet about the removal of federal deposits from the Second Bank of the United States during the Bank War.[4]

Modern exercises

During the period of 1947-49, several major security cases became known to Congress. There followed a series of investigations, culminating in the famous Hiss-Chambers case of 1948. At that point, the Truman Administration issued a sweeping secrecy order blocking congressional efforts from FBI and other executive data on security problems.[5] Security files were moved to the White House and Administration officials were banned from testifying before Congress on security related matters. Investigation of the State Department and other cases was stymied and the matter left unresolved.

During the Army–McCarthy hearings in 1954, Eisenhower used the claim of executive privilege to forbid the “provision of any data about internal conversations, meetings, or written communication among staffers, with no exception to topics or people.” Department of Defense employees were also instructed not to testify on any such conversations or produce any such documents or reproductions.[6] This was done to refuse the McCarthy Committee subpoenas of transcripts of monitored telephone calls from Army officials, as well as information on meetings between Eisenhower officials relating to the hearings. This was done in the form of a letter from Eisenhower to the Department of Defense and an accompanying memo from Eisenhower Justice. The reasoning behind the order was that there was a need for “candid” exchanges among executive employees in giving “advice” to one another. In the end, Eisenhower would invoke the claim 44 times between 1955 and 1960.

U.S. v. Nixon

The Supreme Court addressed ‘executive privilege’ in United States v. Nixon, the 1974 case involving the demand by Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox that President Richard Nixon produce the audiotapes of conversations he and his colleagues had in the Oval Office of the White House in connection with criminal charges being brought against members of the Nixon Administration. Nixon invoked the privilege and refused to produce any records.

The Supreme Court did not reject the claim of privilege out of hand; it noted, in fact, “the valid need for protection of communications between high Government officials and those who advise and assist them in the performance of their manifold duties” and that “[h]uman experience teaches that those who expect public dissemination of their remarks may well temper candor with a concern for appearances and for their own interests to the detriment of the decisionmaking process.” This is very similar to the logic that the Court had used in establishing an “executive immunity” defense for high office-holders charged with violating citizens’ constitutional rights in the course of performing their duties. The Supreme Court stated: “To read the Article II powers of the President as providing an absolute privilege as against a subpoena essential to enforcement of criminal statutes on no more than a generalized claim of the public interest in confidentiality of nonmilitary and nondiplomatic discussions would upset the constitutional balance of ‘a workable government’ and gravely impair the role of the courts under Article III.” Because Nixon had asserted only a generalized need for confidentiality, the Court held that the larger public interest in obtaining the truth in the context of a criminal prosecution took precedence.

“Once executive privilege is asserted, coequal branches of the Government are set on a collision course. The Judiciary is forced into the difficult task of balancing the need for information in a judicial proceeding and the Executive’s Article II prerogatives. This inquiry places courts in the awkward position of evaluating the Executive’s claims of confidentiality and autonomy, and pushes to the fore difficult questions of separation of powers and checks and balances. These ‘occasion[s] for constitutional confrontation between the two branches’ are likely to be avoided whenever possible. United States v. Nixon, supra, at 692.”[7]

Post-Nixon

Clinton administration

The Clinton administration invoked executive privilege on fourteen occasions.

In 1998, President Bill Clinton became the first President since Nixon to assert executive privilege and lose in court, when a Federal judge ruled that Clinton aides could be called to testify in the Lewinsky scandal.[8]

Later, Clinton exercised a form of negotiated executive privilege when he agreed to testify before the grand jury called by Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr only after negotiating the terms under which he would appear. Declaring that “absolutely no one is above the law”, Starr said such a privilege “must give way” and evidence “must be turned over” to prosecutors if it is relevant to an investigation.

George W. Bush administration

The Bush administration invoked executive privilege on six occasions.

President George W. Bush first asserted executive privilege to deny disclosure of sought details regarding former Attorney General Janet Reno,[2] the scandal involving Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) misuse of organized-crime informants James J. Bulger and Stephen Flemmi in Boston, and Justice Department deliberations about President Bill Clinton’s fundraising tactics, in December 2001.[9]

Bush invoked executive privilege “in substance” in refusing to disclose the details of Vice President Dick Cheney‘s meetings with energy executives, which was not appealed by the GAO. In a separate Supreme Court decision in 2004, however, Justice Anthony Kennedy noted “Executive privilege is an extraordinary assertion of power ‘not to be lightly invoked.’ United States v. Reynolds, 345 U.S. 1, 7 (1953).

Further, on June 28, 2007, Bush invoked executive privilege in response to congressional subpoenas requesting documents from former presidential counsel Harriet Miers and former political director Sara Taylor,[10] citing that:

The reason for these distinctions rests upon a bedrock presidential prerogative: for the President to perform his constitutional duties, it is imperative that he receive candid and unfettered advice and that free and open discussions and deliberations occur among his advisors and between those advisors and others within and outside the Executive Branch.

On July 9, 2007, Bush again invoked executive privilege to block a congressional subpoena requiring the testimonies of Taylor and Miers. Furthermore, White House Counsel Fred F. Fielding refused to comply with a deadline set by the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee to explain its privilege claim, prove that the president personally invoked it, and provide logs of which documents were being withheld. On July 25, 2007, the House Judiciary Committee voted to cite Miers andWhite House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten for contempt of Congress.[11][12]

On July 13, less than a week after claiming executive privilege for Miers and Taylor, Counsel Fielding effectively claimed the privilege once again, this time in relation to documents related to the 2004 death of Army Ranger Pat Tillman. In a letter to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Fielding claimed certain papers relating to discussion of the friendly-fire shooting “implicate Executive Branch confidentiality interests” and would therefore not be turned over to the committee.[13]

On August 1, 2007, Bush invoked the privilege for the fourth time in little over a month, this time rejecting a subpoena for Karl Rove. The subpoena would have required the President’s Senior Advisor to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee in a probe over fired federal prosecutors. In a letter to Senate Judiciary ChairmanPatrick Leahy, Fielding claimed that “Mr. Rove, as an immediate presidential advisor, is immune from compelled congressional testimony about matters that arose during his tenure and that relate to his official duties in that capacity….”[14]

Leahy claimed that President Bush was not involved with the employment terminations of U.S. attorneys. Furthermore, he asserted that the president’s executive privilege claims protecting Josh Bolten, and Karl Rove are illegal. The Senator demanded that Bolten, Rove, Sara Taylor, and J. Scott Jennings comply “immediately” with their subpoenas, presumably to await a further review of these matters. This development paved the way for a Senate panel vote on whether to advance the citations to the full Senate. “It is obvious that the reasons given for these firings were contrived as part of a cover up and that the stonewalling by the White House is part and parcel of that same effort”, Leahy concluded about these incidents.[15][16][17][18]

As of July 17, 2008, Rove still claimed executive privilege to avoid a congressional subpoena. Rove’s lawyer wrote that his client is “constitutionally immune from compelled congressional testimony.”[19]

House Investigation of the SEC

Leaders of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission testified on February 4, 2009 before the United States House Committee on Financial Servicessubcommittee including Linda Chatman Thomsen S.E.C. enforcement director, acting General Counsel Andy Vollmer, Andrew Donohue, Erik Sirri, and Lori Richards and Stephen Luparello of FINRA. The subject of the hearings were on why the SEC had failed to act when Harry Markopolos, a private fraud investigator from Boston alerted the Securities and Exchange Commission detailing his persistent and unsuccessful efforts to get the SEC to investigate Bernard Madoff, beginning in 1999.[20]Vollmer claimed executive privilege in declining to answer some questions.[21][22] Subcommittee chairman Paul E. Kanjorski asked Mr. Vollmer if he had obtained executive privilege from the U.S. attorney general.[21] “No … this is the position of the agency,” said Vollmer.[21] “Did the SEC instruct him not to respond to questions?” Mr. Kanjorski asked.[21] Vollmer replied that it was the position of the Commission and that “the answer is no.”[21] The SEC announced Vollmer would “leave the Commission and return to the private sector,” just 14 days after making the claim.[23]

Obama administration

On June 20, 2012, President Barack Obama asserted executive privilege, his first, to withhold certain Department of Justice documents related to the ongoingOperation Fast and Furious controversy ahead of a United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform vote to hold Attorney General Eric Holder inContempt of Congress for refusing to produce the documents.[24] Later the same day, the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform voted 23-17 along party lines to hold Attorney General Holder in contempt of Congress over not releasing documents regarding Fast and Furious.[25]

References

  1. Jump up^ Chief Justice Burger, writing for the majority in US v. Nixon noted: “Whatever the nature of the privilege of confidentiality of Presidential communications in the exercise of Art. II powers, the privilege can be said to derive from the supremacy of each branch within its own assigned area of constitutional duties. Certain powers and privileges flow from the nature of enumerated powers; the protection of the confidentiality of Presidential communications has similar constitutional underpinnings.United States v. Nixon, 418 U.S. 683 (1974) (Supreme Court opinion at FindLaw)
  2. Jump up^ Proper Assertion of the Deliberative Process Principle, S Narayan, p 6
  3. Jump up^ FindLaw’s Writ – Dorf: A Brief History Of Executive Privilege, From George Washington Through Dick Cheney
  4. Jump up^ David and Jeanne Heidler, Henry Clay: The Essential American (2010) p.264
  5. Jump up^ Blacklisted by History, p. 23
  6. Jump up^ Blacklisted by History p.575
  7. Jump up^ Holding, Reynolds. Time, March 21, 2007. Holding, Reynolds (March 21, 2007). “The Executive Privilege Showdown”. Time. Retrieved 2007-03-27.
  8. Jump up^ Baker, Peter; and Schmidt, Susan. “President is Denied Executive Privilege”. The Washington Post. July 22, 1998. Retrieved 2007-03-27. Washington Post, May 6, 1998.
  9. Jump up^ Lewis, Neil A. (2001-12-14). “Bush Claims Executive Privilege in Response to House Inquiry”. New York Times. Retrieved 2007-07-17.
  10. Jump up^ [1]
  11. Jump up^ “House inches toward constitutional showdown with contempt vote”. Politics (CNN). July 25, 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-25.
  12. Jump up^ “House Judiciary Reports Contempt Citations to the House of Representatives” (Press release). U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary. July 25, 2007. Retrieved 2007-07-26.
  13. Jump up^ “White House Rebuffs Congress on Tillman Papers”. Politics (The Seattle Times). August 1, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-01.
  14. Jump up^ “Bush won’t let aide Rove testify to Congress”. Politics (Reuters). August 1, 2007. Retrieved 2008-08-01.
  15. Jump up^ “Leahy: Bush not involved in firings”. Yahoo! News. Retrieved 2008-11-30.[dead link]
  16. Jump up^ “Leahy: Rove, others must comply with subpoenas”. CNN. Retrieved 2008-11-30.[dead link]
  17. Jump up^ “Leahy again orders Karl Rove to appear”. Bennington Banner. Retrieved 2008-11-30.
  18. Jump up^ “Leahy again demands U.S. attorney info”. Earth Times. Retrieved 2008-11-30.
  19. Jump up^ “Rove ignores committee’s subpoena, refuses to testify”. CNN. July 10, 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
  20. Jump up^ Henriques, Diana (February 4, 2009). “Anger and Drama at a House Hearing on Madoff”. The New York Times.
  21. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e Jamieson, Dan (February 4, 2009). “SEC officials dodge questions; one claims privilege”. InvestmentNews.
  22. Jump up^ Ahrens, Frank (February 5, 2009). “Lawmakers Sink Teeth Into the SEC: Agency Mocked for Not Catching Madoff”. The Washington Post. pp. D01.
  23. Jump up^ “Acting General Counsel Andrew Vollmer to Leave SEC”. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Feb 18, 2009. Retrieved 6 March 2009.
  24. Jump up^ Jackson, David (June 20, 2012). “Obama team: ‘Fast and Furious’ documents are privileged”. USA Today. Retrieved 20 June 2012.
  25. Jump up^ Madhani and Davis, Aamer and Susan (June 20, 2012). “House panel votes to cite Holder for contempt of Congress”. USA Today. Retrieved 20 June 2012.

President Asserts Executive Privilege in Bid to Forestall Contempt Vote By JOHN H. CUSHMAN Jr. Published: June 20, 2012 NY Times

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_privilege

 

 

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American People Will Push-back on Election Day November 4 — Democrat Party Candidates Will Lose Due To Job Insecurity, The Economy, Obama-care, Amnesty for Illegal Aliens, Tax Hikes, Failed Economic and Foreign Policies in Libya, Syria, Iraq and Iran, and Scandals Including Benghazi, Fast and Furious, NSA, IRS, Veterans Administration and Now Ebola — Democrats On Verge of Losing Massively Including Control of The Senate — Obama is An Epic Failure and Loser That Buried The Democratic Party — Rest In Peace — Videos

Posted on October 23, 2014. Filed under: Blogroll, Politics, Video, Taxes, Raves, Resources, Rants, Economics, Links, People, Life, Regulations, Talk Radio, Education, Energy, Employment, Security, Communications, Law, Programming, Computers, Philosophy, Foreign Policy, Wisdom, Monetary Policy, Fiscal Policy, government spending, Psychology, history, Demographics, Language, Federal Government, College, Business, Money, Banking, Wealth, American History, Diasters, Microeconomics, Unemployment, Macroeconomics, Tax Policy, Federal Government Budget, Literacy, Constitution, Press, Photos, Faith, Welfare, Documentary, Disease, Ebola | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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Latest AP National Poll Is a Nightmare for Democrats

By Jim Geraghty

This new poll from the Associated Press is about as dire a poll as Democrats could imagine two weeks before Election Day.

Democrats are more trusted than the GOP on just two of nine top issues, the poll showed.

The economy remains the top issue for likely voters — 91 percent call it “extremely” or “very” important. And the GOP has increased its advantage as the party more trusted to handle the issue to a margin of 39 percent to 31 percent.

With control of the Senate at stake, both parties say they are relying on robust voter-turnout operations — and monster campaign spending — to lift their candidates in the final days. But the poll suggests any appeals they’ve made so far haven’t done much to boost turnout among those already registered. The share who report that they are certain to vote in this year’s contests has risen just slightly since September, and interest in news about the campaign has held steady.

Now brace yourself:

The GOP holds a significant lead among those most likely to cast ballots: 47 percent of these voters favor a Republican controlled-Congress, 39 percent a Democratic one. That’s a shift in the GOP’s favor since an AP-GfK poll in late September, when the two parties ran about evenly among likely voters.

Women have moved in the GOP’s direction since September. In last month’s AP-GfK poll, 47 percent of female likely voters said they favored a Democratic-controlled Congress while 40 percent wanted the Republicans to capture control. In the new poll, the two parties are about even among women, 44 percent prefer the Republicans, 42 percent the Democrats.

The gender gap disappearing almost entirely would be a shocking development; at this point, it’s just one poll, but it’s something to look for in future polls. Democrats can console themselves that this is a national poll, and the biggest fights of the midterm — the Senate races — are occurring in about a dozen states. Having said that, almost all of those states are Republican-leaning ones that Romney won. If the national electorate is sour on Democrats, it’s extremely difficult to envision a scenario where Arkansas’s Mark Pryor hangs on despite the pro-GOP atmosphere,and Alaska’s Mark Begich, and Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu, and so on for the other endangered red-state Democratic senators. One or two might survive, but the rest . . .

The polls are grim, Mr. President.

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Obama Spreads Suspected Ebola Travelers To 5 Large U.S. Cities– New York, Newark, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Chicago — Sanctuary Cities For Illegal Aliens From Ebola Infected Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea — Ebola Czar Ron Klain Says “Overpopulation” Top Concern — Spreading Ebola Virus Would Reduce World Population In Africa And USA Sanctuary Cities? — Eugenics Redux — Videos

Posted on October 21, 2014. Filed under: American History, Biology, Blogroll, Chemistry, Communications, Constitution, Demographics, Diasters, Disease, Documentary, Ebola, Economics, Education, Federal Government, Foreign Policy, government spending, history, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Medical, People, Philosophy, Politics, Press, Rants, Raves, Science, Security, Strategy, Talk Radio, Unemployment, Video, Wealth, Welfare, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 353: October 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 352: October 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 351: October 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 350: October 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 349: October 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 348: October 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 347: October 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 346: October 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 345: October 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 344: October 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 343: October 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 342: October 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 341: October 1, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 340: September 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 339: September 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 338: September 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 337: September 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 336: September 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 335: September 23 2014

Pronk Pops Show 334: September 22 2014

Pronk Pops Show 333: September 19 2014

Pronk Pops Show 332: September 18 2014

Pronk Pops Show 331: September 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 330: September 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 329: September 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 328: September 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 327: September 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 326: September 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 325: September 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 324: September 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 323: September 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 322: September 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 321: September 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 320: August 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 319: August 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 318: August 27, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 317: August 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 316: August 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 315: August 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 314: August 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 313: August 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 312: August 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 311: August 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 310: August 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 309: August 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 308: August 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 307: August 1, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 306: July 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 305: July 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 304: July 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 303: July 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 302: July 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 301: July 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 300: July 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 299: July 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 298: July 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 297: July 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 296: July 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 295: July 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 294: July 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 293: July 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 292: July 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 291: July 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 290: July 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 289: July 2, 2014

Story 1: Obama Spreads Suspected Ebola Travelers To 5 Large U.S. Cities– New York, Newark, Washington D.C., Atlanta, Chicago — Sanctuary Cities For Illegal Aliens From Ebola Infected Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea — Ebola Czar Ron Klain Says “Overpopulation” Top Concern — Spreading Ebola Virus Would Reduce World Population In Africa And USA Sanctuary Cities? — Eugenics Redux — Videos

five_airports

Gov. Perry Announces North Texas Infectious Disease Bio Containment Facility

Gov. Rick Perry today announced the creation of a state-of-the-art Ebola treatment and infectious disease bio containment facility in North Texas. Creation of such facilities was among the first recommendations made by the governor’s recently named Texas Task Force on Infectious Disease Preparedness and Response in order to better protect health care workers and the public from the spread of pandemic diseases.

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U.S. Gov’t Has Ignored Every Possible Way To Contain And Stop Ebola

Meet Ron Klain: The ‘Ebola czar’

Obama’s New Ebola ‘Czar’ Has NO Health or Medical Background!

Ebola Czar Ron Klain Says “Overpopulation” Top Concern

MAAFA 21 [A documentary on eugenics and genocide]

Margaret Sanger, Planned Parenthood’s Racist Founder

Barack Obama Promises to Sign FOCA

Results for America Convening: Opening Keynote Panel

Bill O’Reilly Gets Angry over Ebola: Is President Obama Pulling CDC Director String?

PROOF: Feds Knew Ebola Would Hit U.S. in September

Americans want flight restrictions from Ebola countries. And it’s not close.

By Aaron Blake

Nearly two-thirds of Americans say they are concerned about an Ebola outbreak in the United States, and about the same amount say they want flight restrictions from the countries in West Africa where the disease has quickly spread.

A new poll from the Washington Post and ABC News shows 67 percent of people say they would support restricting entry to the United States from countries struggling with Ebola. Another 91 percent would like to see stricter screening procedures at U.S. airports in response to the disease’s spread.

Thus far, some countries in Europe have restricted flights from these countries in West Africa, and an increasing number of U.S. lawmakers are calling for similar bans. The White House has yet to increase restrictions, with federal officials saying such a move could actually increase the spread of the disease by hampering the movement of aid workers and supplies.
Concern about Ebola, at this point, is real but not pervasive. About two-thirds (65 percent) say they are concerned about an Ebola outbreak in the United States. But while people are broadly concerned about an outbreak, they are not necessarily worried about that potential outbreak directly affecting them. Just 43 percent of people are worried about themselves or someone in their family becoming infected – including 20 percent who are “very worried.”

That finding echoes a Pew poll from last week which showed just 11 percent were “very worried” about themselves or their families becoming infected. Since that survey, Dallas Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan died, and news that a nurse who provided care for him became infected broke on the final day of the Post-ABC poll.

By comparison, slightly more Americans said they were worried about the H1N1 virus – a.k.a. the swine flu – in October 2009 (52 percent). Concern about Ebola is about on-par with concern about Avian influenza – a.k.a. the bird flu – in 2006 (41 percent) and slightly higher than concern about Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003 (as high as 38 percent).
The support for increasing restrictions puts the White House in a tough spot. Given the moves by other countries and the American public’s stance, there is increasing pressure to act. And given the very real — but still somewhat muted — concerns about the disease, that’s significant, especially if the disease continues to expand.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/wp/2014/10/14/americans-want-flight-restrictions-from-ebola-countries-and-its-not-close/

West Africa travelers must go to 1 of 5 airports

The Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday that all travelers from Ebola outbreak countries in West Africa will be funneled through one of five U.S. airports with enhanced screening starting Wednesday.

Customs and Border Protection within the department began enhanced screening — checking the traveler’s temperature and asking about possible exposure to Ebola — at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on Oct. 11.

Enhanced screening for travelers from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea was expanded Oct. 16 to Washington Dulles, Chicago O’Hare, New Jersey’s Newark and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta international airports.

Those airports were supposed to screen 94% of the average 150 people per day arriving from the three countries. Lawmakers from other states asked for enhanced screening at their airports, too.

Some lawmakers have called for more restrictions, such as suspending visas or denying entry at ports for citizens from the three countries.

Jeh Johnson, secretary of Homeland Security, announced that travelers from West Africa must arrive at one of the five airports starting Wednesday.

“We are working closely with the airlines to implement these restrictions with minimal travel disruption,” Johnson said. “If not already handled by the airlines, the few impacted travelers should contact the airlines for rebooking as needed.”

The enhanced screening will apply to anyone who traveled recently to, from or through the three outbreak countries, according to the department’s announcement to be published Thursday in the Federal Register. Customs and Border Protection will work with airlines to identify potential travelers before they board, but airlines will be obligated to comply with the rule for carrying to the USA any passengers who recently traveled through the region, according to the filing.

The restrictions should affect only about nine travelers per day who would have arrived at other airports. Katie Cody, a spokeswoman for American Airlines, which serves Europe from hubs such as Philadelphia and Charlotte, said the airline has no concerns about the change.

“We have been tracking that, and we don’t have any concerns because the numbers are so small,” Cody said.

British Airways, which serves a variety of U.S. destinations other than the five targeted airports, said it would comply with the measures.

“Customers affected will be offered a refund or will be rerouted if there is availability,” spokeswoman Michele Kropf said.

Republican lawmakers offered muted praise but pressed for stricter travel restrictions.

“In addition to requiring all travelers from at-risk countries to fly through airports with enhanced screening measures in place, I continue to call on the administration to suspend all visas from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea,” said Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, the head of the House Homeland Security Committee.

The head of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said a “real solution” is to deny entry to anyone from the three countries under a provision of the 1952 Immigration and Nationality Act.

“President Obama has a real solution at his disposal under current law and can use it at any time to temporarily ban foreign nationals from entering the United States from Ebola-ravaged countries,” Goodlatte said. “The vast majority of Americans strongly support such a travel moratorium, and I urge the president to take every step possible to protect the American people from danger.”

Rep. John Conyers of Michigan, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, said steering travelers through the five airports is a sensible precaution.

“As agreed upon by experts in both the public health and transportation communities, issuing a blanket travel ban would not only be counterproductive, but it would also irresponsibly impede getting much-needed supplies and relief to the countries that need it most,” Conyers said.

Roger Dow, CEO of the U.S. Travel Association, a trade group for all aspects of travel, praised the move to calm travel concerns while avoiding a travel ban.

“The Obama administration continues to heed the counsel of an overwhelming consensus of health and security experts and resist calls for any sort of travel ban on the grounds that it will be counterproductive to efforts to contain Ebola,” Dow said.

A Liberian national, Thomas Eric Duncan, who became the first person diagnosed with the disease in the USA after arriving in Dallas on Sept. 20, had a temperature of 97.3 degrees but didn’t tell airport officials in Monrovia, Liberia, that he had cared for a pregnant woman suffering from Ebola. He died Oct. 8, and two nurses who treated him have become infected.

Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said the enhanced screening adds a layer of protection against Ebola entering the country.

“The Department of Homeland Security’s policy to funnel all passengers arriving from Ebola hot spots to one of these five equipped airports is a good and effective step towards tightening the net and further protecting our citizens,” Schumer said.

Obama and Johnson have said they will continue to monitor travel restrictions for possible changes.

“We are continually evaluating whether additional restrictions or added screening and precautionary measures are necessary to protect the American people and will act accordingly,” Johnson said.

http://www.wtsp.com/story/news/nation/2014/10/21/ebola-travel-restrictions-dhs-screening-jfk-dulles-ohare-newark-atlanta/17655889/

 

Gabbard Calls On CDC To Increase Incubation Period To Prevent Ebola Spread

 By Chad Blair

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) has called on the Center for Disease Control to implement stricter incubation guidelines for people who have been in contact with patients “confirmed or suspected” to have the Ebola virus.

According to a press release from her office, Gabbard is calling on the CDC to increase the quarantine and restriction period from the 21-day standard to 42 days, “based on the latest scientific studies and the World Health Organization report that the incubation period for the deadly Ebola virus can extend as long as 42 days.”

On Friday, Gabbard called for the “immediate suspension” of visas for citizens of Ebola-stricken West African nations as well as flights from those countries into the United States.

“Recent mistakes have revealed that the U.S. public health system is clearly not fully prepared to combat Ebola and prevent its spread in the United States,” she said in a statement.

Democrats like Gabbard are among a growing number who are “beginning to sound more like Republicans when they talk about Ebola. And Republicans are moving into overdrive with their criticism of the government’s handling of the deadly virus,” according to The Washington Post.

“The sharpened rhetoric, strategists say, suggests Democrats fear President Obama’s response to Ebola in the United States could become a political liability in the midterm election and Republicans see an opportunity to tie increasing concerns about the disease to the public’s broader worries about Obama’s leadership.”

The Washington Post notes, however, that Gabbard is “a liberal Democrat who is not in any danger of losing reelection.” It also reports that a Washington Post-ABC News poll showed that “67 percent of Americans would support restricting entry to the United States from countries fighting dealing with an Ebola crisis.”

The Associated Press is also reporting that moderate Democrats are joining the callfor a flight ban, even ones not in tough re-election battles.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/20/gabbard-ebola-incubation-period_n_6017290.html

 

How is the end of an Ebola outbreak decided and declared?

Information note – October 2014

Who decides the date?

The WHO Ebola outbreak response team is responsible for establishing the date of the end of the outbreak in collaboration with the affected country’s subcommittee for surveillance, epidemiology and laboratory.

How is the date determined?

An Ebola virus disease outbreak in a country can be declared over once 42 days have passed and no new cases have been detected. The 42 days represents twice the maximum incubation period for Ebola (21 days). This 42-day period starts from the last day that any person in the country had contact with a confirmed or probable Ebola case.

This includes health care workers who have been exposed to patients with Ebola virus disease, even if the health worker was wearing personal protective equipment and followed infection control procedures since such a person could be exposed accidentally without realizing it. In the setting of an Ebola treatment centre, the date of the last infectious contact is defined as the day when the last patient in the treatment centre tested negative for Ebola virus disease, using a real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.

If no new case has been detected at the end of this 42-day period, the risk of a further case is very low, and the outbreak is declared over.

Why 42 days?

The maximum incubation period for Ebola virus disease is 21 days. The 42-day period set by WHO (twice the maximum incubation period) provides a margin of security to cover any possible missed cases, uncertainty in reporting dates or hidden chains of transmission. (*)

During the 42-day period, the surveillance system should be fully functional, so that all contacts of the last patient are followed to detect possible chains of transmission.

What is the procedure to make the declaration?

The WHO Ebola outbreak response team in collaboration with the affected country’s subcommittee for surveillance, epidemiology and laboratory determines the date of the end of the epidemic. The government of the affected country, in collaboration with WHO and international partners, makes an official declaration of the end of the epidemic.

http://www.who.int/csr/disease/ebola/declaration-ebola-end/en/

Reversal: Obama sets Ebola travel restrictions

BY PAUL BEDARD

The Obama administration has reversed course on putting travel restrictions on those coming from three West African nations tainted with Ebola and is putting in place demands that they enter only through five U.S. airports prepared to screen for the virus.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said in a statement that the new rules will take effect Wednesday, bowing to demands from both parties that the U.S. do a better job so secure the border from Ebola.

“Today, as part of the Department of Homeland Security’s ongoing response to prevent the spread of Ebola to the United States, we are announcing travel restrictions in the form of additional screening and protective measures at our ports of entry for travelers from the three West African Ebola-affected countries,” said Johnson.

He said the rules require that anyone coming from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea enter the U.S. only through the five airports where special Ebola screenings have been set up: New York’s John F. Kennedy, Newark Liberty, Washington Dulles, Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson and Chicago’s O’Hare.

“All passengers arriving in the United States whose travel originates in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea will be required to fly into one of the five airports that have the enhanced screening and additional resources in place. We are working closely with the airlines to implement these restrictions with minimal travel disruption. If not already handled by the airlines, the few impacted travelers should contact the airlines for rebooking, as needed,” said the statement.

He said that passengers flying into those airports on flights originating in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea “are subject to secondary screening and added protocols, including having their temperature taken, before they can be admitted into the United States. These airports account for about 94 percent of travelers flying to the United States from these countries.”

There are no direct, non-stop commercial flights from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea to the U.S.

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/reversal-obama-sets-ebola-travel-restrictions/article/2555074

 

NIH unit treating Dallas nurse for Ebola is one of 4 special isolation facilities in U.S.

By Lena H. Sun

It has a specially designed air-flow system to prevent contaminated air from leaving the patient room. It requires anyone who enters to be buzzed in. Personnel who work there receive special training in infection control to prevent the spread of bio­terror agents, natural or man-made. It also has a tiny gym.

Welcome to the Special Clinical Studies Unit at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. It is a 4,000-square-foot unit inside the NIH Clinical Center, the nation’s only hospital dedicated to research, which provides free state-of-the-art care to very sick patients from all over the world.

Now it’s home to its first confirmed Ebola patient, Nina Pham.
Pham is the first patient with a confirmed infectious disease to be cared for in the special seven-bed unit, center director John Gallin said in an interview Friday. Opened in 2010 for patients who need advanced isolation and extended stays, the unit was initially designed to take care of personnel working at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases in case they were exposed to infectious agents. In more recent years, it has been used to house healthy volunteers participating in live vaccine trials. The volunteers need to be monitored in a place where they can be safely quarantined, Gallin said. To accommodate those healthy volunteers, the unit has a dining room and a “tiny fitness area,” he said.

Pham, the first nurse diagnosed with Ebola after caring for a patient in Dallas, is in fair and stable condition, officials said Friday morning.
What does an Ebola isolation ward look like?
“We are giving her the best possible care on a symptomatic and systemic basis,” Anthony Fauci, director of NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said during a news conference.

Pham, 26, was transferred to the facility, one of four in the country with a special bio­containment unit, late Thursday. She was diagnosed with Ebola on Sunday, becoming the first person to contract the disease on U.S. soil. Pham had been part of the team that treated Thomas Eric Duncan, a Liberian man who flew to Dallas last month before being diagnosed with Ebola. Duncan died last week, four days before it was announced that Pham had contracted the disease.

“There is no specific therapy that has been proven to be effective against Ebola, and that’s why excellent medical care is critical,” Fauci said. He said Pham was “very, very tired” from her trip.

Patients infected with the Ebola virus require a large number of staffers to provide care around-the-clock. At NIH, that comes out to about 27 people a week — doctors, nurses, support staff — for one patient, Gallin said. With about 50 to 60 such personnel specially trained for infectious disease and critical care, NIH can only care for two Ebola patients at a time, he said.

The four facilities that provide such care were designed in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to protect against bio­terrorism. Two of them, Emory University Hospital in Atlanta and the Nebraska Medical Center, are each treating one Ebola patient. The other facility is St. Patrick Hospital in Missoula, Mont.

They require staff to undergo more rigorous training in infection control, and staff must follow strict protocol for putting on and taking off personal protective equipment in a separate anteroom. Officials say meticulous attention to detail in following protocols is what sets them apart from other facilities.
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Emory has treated three Ebola patients, all of whom have recovered. The University of Nebraska treated one patient who recovered and is now caring for a freelance NBC cameraman. St. Patrick has not yet treated an Ebola patient. The hospital has received so many inquiries that it has set up a special hotline where they are transcribed and forwarded to the appropriate departments.
Bruce Ribner gives a tour of the Emory University Hospital isolation unit which has been used for treatment of patients infected with the Ebola virus. (Emory University via YouTube)
Unlike the Dallas hospital where Pham and another nurse were infected, which officials said most likely occurred because of a breach of protocol involving personal protective equipment, no health workers taking care of the Ebola patients at the special facilities have become infected.

“There is a step-by-step, checklisted procedure to putting on your personal protective equipment for when you go in to the patient’s room to perform your duties and when you come out,” said Mark Rupp, medical director of Nebraska Medical Center’s infection control department, which includes the special unit. “That’s the big difference with what goes on in our unit and what goes on in a regular intensive-care unit.”

The facilities have one person whose only job is to make sure health-care workers put on and take off their protective equipment correctly. At NIH, this person is dubbed “the Watson,” Gallin said, for the sidekick to Sherlock Holmes.

The Watson “has the authority to stop everything at any moment if someone looks like they’re breaking protocol,” Gallin said. The Watson has a checklist, like a pilot’s preflight checklist, and everything has to be done in that order. If not, the Watson can “scream at them and tell them to stop,” Gallin said, which apparently happened at least once Thursday night when doctors and staff were admitting Pham.

The protective gear that health-care workers take off is autoclaved (sanitized via pressurized steam) and then incinerated. Equipment that is not disposable is disinfected according to the manufacturer’s directions. The units also have negative air pressure to prevent germs from spreading beyond patient rooms. For Ebola patients, contaminated air is not such a concern because the disease is not transmitted through the air, but through contact with bodily fluids.

 

What does an Ebola isolation ward look like?

The seven-bed, 4,000-square-foot biocontainment unit at the National Institutes of Health Clinical Center in Bethesda, Md., is a state-of-the-art facility built to keep the world’s scariest pathogens from escaping. The four U.S. facilities are all different — NIH’s even has a gym — but they contain many of the same things. This layout is based on the unit at Emory University in Atlanta.

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When Will Obama Close United States Airports and Borders To Flights and Travelers From Ebola Virus Disease Infected Countries Such As Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria? Time To Follow Saudi Arabia’s Stringent Ebola Checks! — Videos

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The Pronk Pops Show Podcasts

Pronk Pops Show 343: October 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 342: October 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 341: October 1, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 340: September 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 339: September 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 338: September 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 337: September 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 336: September 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 335: September 23 2014

Pronk Pops Show 334: September 22 2014

Pronk Pops Show 333: September 19 2014

Pronk Pops Show 332: September 18 2014

Pronk Pops Show 331: September 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 330: September 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 329: September 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 328: September 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 327: September 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 326: September 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 325: September 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 324: September 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 323: September 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 322: September 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 321: September 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 320: August 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 319: August 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 318: August 27, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 317: August 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 316: August 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 315: August 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 314: August 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 313: August 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 312: August 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 311: August 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 310: August 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 309: August 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 308: August 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 307: August 1, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 306: July 31, 2014

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Pronk Pops Show 304: July 29, 2014

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Story 1: When Will Obama Close United States Airports and Borders To Flights and Travelers From Ebola Virus Disease Infected Countries Such As Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria? Time To Follow Saudi Arabia’s Stringent Ebola Checks! — Videos

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Story 1: When Will Obama Close United States Airports and Borders To Flights and Travelers From Ebola Virus Disease Infected Countries Such As Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria? Time To Follow Saudi Arabia’s Stringent Ebola Checks! — Videos

 

Obama Just Endangered 250 Million Americans, UNBELIEVABLE!

Aerosolizing ONE DROP of EBOLA = 1/2 MILLION DEAD

NIH Wants Blood From ‘NATURALLY’ Exposed Ebola Survivors in Congo

Dallas Ebola Victim Acquired His Infection On His Aircraft +50% Probability

Pestilence : Mutating Airborne Ebola Virus Diagnosed inside the US for the first time (Oct 02, 2014)

Experts worry Ebola could mutate to spread by air | Breaking News

DALLAS EBOLA WARNING, AIRBORNE RISK HIGH.

The Secret Ebola Open Border Connection Revealed: Special Report

Saudi Arabia Stringent Ebola checks for 3 million Haj pilgrims – LoneWolf Sager

Ebola – What You’re Not Being Told

SOMETHING ‘NEVER SEEN BEFORE’ IS COMING TO AMERICA (GLOBAL PANDEMIC)

Officials Monitor Contacts of Ebola Patient in Texas

Ebola: The Gear Worn To Prevent Infection

Up to 100 possibly exposed to U.S. Ebola patient; four isolated

Shocking! Over 80 Possible Ebola Victims in Dallas

Ebola Virus in Dallas Texas US – Ebola Patients 80 to 100 people being checks Presbyterian!!!

Ebola in Texas – Ebola outbreak 2014 Texas Ebola Patient Thomas Duncan Virus Timeline!

Ebola Virus Symptoms | Ebola Virus effects on Human Body

Ebola Unleashed: Bioweapons 101

Saudi Arabia bans Haj pilgrims from Ebola hotspots

Ebola’s spread to US “inevitable”

Patient with Ebola-like symptoms in Washington D.C. at Howard University Hospital

Ebola In D.C. Patient With Ebola Like Symptons At Howard University Hospital

Patient Showing Signs of Ebola Reportedly Quarantined in D.C. Hospital

Ebola crisis: United States patient’s flat cleaned by specialists

Washington DC hospital admits patient with possible Ebola Virus US – Ebola Patients In DC 10/3/2014!

Saudi Arabia’s first suspected Ebola victim dies, as death tolls tops 900

Ebola Outbreak: Saudi Arabia Bans Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia From Hajj

Suspected Ebola victim dies in Saudi Arabia.

Ebola-Infected Patient Escapes Quarantine In Search Of Food

U.S. Democrat Congressman Demands Travel Ban From Ebola Infected Countries

SOMETHING ‘NEVER SEEN BEFORE’ IS COMING TO AMERICA (GLOBAL PANDEMIC)

Michael Osterholm on the Bird Flu in China

Pandemic Influenza: Science, Economics, and Foreign Policy: Session Two: The Economics

Watch experts analyze the economic effects of pandemic influenza including on the labor force and trade.
This session was part of a CFR symposium, Pandemic Influenza: Science, Economics, and Foreign Policy, which was cosponsored with Science Magazine.

SPEAKERS:
Yanzhong Huang, Director, Center for Global Health Studies, Seton Hall University
Andrew Jack, Pharmaceutical Correspondent, Financial Times
Michael T. Osterholm, Director, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), University of Minnesota (via teleconference)
PRESIDER:
Robert E. Rubin, Co-Chair, Council on Foreign Relations; Former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury

 

Saudi Arabia bans Ebola-stricken countries from hajj pilgrimage

With the arrival of approximately two million people from around the world in Saudi Arabia for the annual hajj pilgrimage, there are a group of pilgrims who were not welcomed.

The Saudi government has banned the entry of travelers from three countries currently dealing with the Ebola epidemic: Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. The decision to reject visa requests from these countries has affected 7,400 people, according to the Associated Press.

Hospitals in Saudi Arabia are also preparing in the event of an outbreak by setting up isolation and surgery units as well as dispatching medical staff to airports.

Despite banning pilgrim seekers from West Africa, Saudi officials are granting visas to pilgrims travelling from Nigeria. Saudi Arabia’s King Abdulaziz International Airport has provided them with two exclusive lounges as a precaution.

“So far 118,000 pilgrims have arrived by air from Nigeria. There was not a single suspected case of the deadly virus among anyone of them,” said Abdul Ghani Al-Malki, supervisor of hajj affairs at the airport.

Saudi officials have also been closely monitoring incoming flights from Kenya, Congo and other countries with reported cases of Ebola. Al-Malki told the local Saudi Gazettethat airport’s health inspection center ensured that planes and their passengers were not only free of Ebola, but other contagious diseases as well. “We have double-checked the papers that prove the airplanes had been sprayed twice before taking off to their destinations.”

The current death toll from Ebola in West Africa rose to 3,338, according to the World Health Organization report released Wednesday.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/saudi-arabia-bans-pilgrims-ebola-stricken-countriespilgrims-ebola-stricken-countries-banned-hajj/

 

Saudi Arabia plays down Ebola concern for Hajj pilgrimage

Some in the crowd wore face masks – a possible precaution over Ebola fears

Two million Muslims have begun the annual Hajj pilgrimage, a five-day ritual central to Islam.

This year there have been concerns pilgrims may spread the contagious diseases Ebola and MERS.

Saudi Arabia, where the Hajj takes place, played down fears on Ebola, having banned pilgrims from Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia.

Their decision has excluded 7,400 Muslims, though it is estimated that 1.4m of the pilgrims are international.

Some of the numbers involved in 2014’s Hajj – in 60 seconds

Saudi Arabia has claimed this year’s Hajj is Ebola free as pilgrims flooded into Mina, 5km (three miles) from the holy city of Mecca, for the start of the pilgrimage.

As well as refusing visas to those from the three countries worst hit by Ebola, Saudi authorities asked all visitors to fill out medical screening cards and detail their travels over the past three weeks.

But Ebola is not the only disease concerning the Saudi government.

MERS, or Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, hit Saudi Arabia badly in the spring of this year.

Since 2012, there have been more than 750 cases of MERS in the country. Of this total 319 people died, some of whom were health workers.

Grey line

The meaning of Hajj

Pilgrims walk around the Kaaba in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, archivePilgrims walk around the Kaaba in Mecca, the building is the most sacred place in Islam and the direction of prayer for Muslims
  • Hajj is an annual five-day pilgrimage which all able-bodied Muslims are required to perform at least once in their lives, if they can afford it
  • It is the fifth and final pillar of Islam and is supposed to cleanse Muslims of sin and bring them closer to each other and God
  • The pilgrims, or Hajjis, wear simple white garments called “ihram” which give them all equal status
  • Those going on the hajj are required to abstain from sex, not to argue, kill anything or hunt and to avoid shaving and cutting their nails
  • Pilgrims perform several rituals during the hajj including walking counter-clockwise seven times around the Kaaba in Mecca, drinking from the Zam Zam Well and performing a symbolic stoning of the devil.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-29461229

Will Airborne Ebola Become A Modern Global Plague?

The last several months have led to much confusion about the spread of the Ebola virus. Health officials and governments first denied that a serious threat existed and took no significant action to prevent its spread outside of West Africa. Then, after it had made it’s way to six different countries in the region, officials at the World Health Organization and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control started to panic. Apathy gave way to the real fear that we were facing a virus on a whole different scale than ever before.

At its current rate, some mathematical models show that the virus could infect anywhere from 20,000 to 100,000 by the end of the year, with over 4,000 people worldwide having been infected thus far. About 2,300 people, over 50% of those who have contracted it, have died.

Fired Up Obama to Immigration Activists: ‘No Force On Earth Can Stop Us’

‘Si se puede, si votamos! Yes, we can, if we vote!’

 BY DANIEL HALPER

A fired up President Barack Obama had a message to immigration activists at a dinner this evening in Washington, D.C.: “no force on earth can stop us.”

 

“The clearest path to change is to change [the voter turnout] number,” said Obama “Si se puede, si votamos! Yes, we can, if we vote!”

“You know, earlier this year, I had a chance to host a screening of the film Cesar Chavez at the White House, and I was reminded that Cesar organized for nearly 20 years before his first major victory. He never saw that time as a failure. Looking back, he said, I remember the families who joined our movement and paid dues long before there was any hope of winning contracts. I remember thinking then that with spirit like that, no force on earth could stop us.

“That’s the promise of America then and that’s the promise of America now. People who love this country can change it. America isn’t Congress. America isn’t Washington. America is the striving immigrant who starts a business or the mom who works two low-wage jobs to give her kids a better life. America is the union leader and the CEO who put aside their differences to make the economy stronger. America is the student who defies the odds to become the first in the family to go to college. The citizen who defies the cynics and goes out there and votes. The young person who comes out of the shadows to demand the right to dream. That’s what America is about.

“And six years ago, I asked you to believe, and tonight, I ask you to keep believing, not just in my ability to bring about change, but in your ability to bring about change. Because in the end, DREAMer is more than just a title, it’s a pretty good description of what it means to be an American.

http://engine.4dsply.com/Bridge/Index?width=850&height=650&url=%2FRedirect.engine%3FPerformanceTest%3Dnull%26MediaId%3D15307%26PId%3D17982%26MediaSegmentId%3D11932%26PoolId%3D26%26SiteId%3D523%26ZoneId%3D2029%26Country%3DUnited%20States%26Bid%3D10.57807%26MaxBid%3D16%26currentUrl%3Dhttp%253A%252F%252Fwww.weeklystandard.com%252Fblogs%252Ffired-obama-immigration-activists-no-force-earth-can-stop-us_808488.html

 

Patient Being Evaluated for Possible Ebola at D.C.’s Howard University Hospital

A patient with Ebola-like symptoms who had recently traveled to Nigeria is being treated at Howard University Hospital in Washington, D.C., a hospital spokesperson confirmed late Friday morning.

That person has been admitted to the hospital in stable condition and is isolated. The medical team is working with the CDC and other authorities to monitor the patient’s condition.

“In an abundance of caution, we have activated the appropriate infection control protocols, including isolating the patient,” said hospital spokesperson Kerry-Ann Hamilton in a statement. “Our medical team continues to evaluate and monitor progress in close collaboration with the CDC and the Department of Health.”

Hamilton did not share further details about the patient, citing privacy reasons, but said the hospital will provide updates as warranted.

The D.C. Department of Health released a statement shortly before 1 p.m. Wednesday, saying that the department has been working with the CDC and Howard University Hospital to monitor “any patients displaying symptoms associated with the Ebola virus.”

There are no confirmed cases of Ebola in D.C., said the statement.

At Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville, Maryland, a patient is in isolation with “flu-like symptoms and a travel history that matches criteria for possible Ebola,” according to a statement from the hospital. Lab results indicate the patient has another illness.

“We are working closely with the Montgomery County Health Department and State Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) as well as the CDC to manage this case and to ensure we continue to be prepared to care for patients with Ebola symptoms,” the statement said.

“We will only be making an announcement if and when there is a laboratory confirmed case, and that announcement would be made in conjunction with the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and the CDC,” Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson Mary Anderson said.

The White House announced Friday that senior administration officials will hold a briefing on the U.S. government’s response to the Ebola pandemic at 4:30 p.m., NBC News reported.

As public health advocates had warned, the raging Ebola outbreak in West Africa has begun to affect Westerners, though the disease is difficult to spread casually.

Thursday, news broke that a freelance NBC cameraman covering the outbreak in Monrovia, Liberia had tested positive for Ebola after experiencing symptoms of the disease.

The cameraman, Ashoka Mukpo, had been working with chief medical correspondent Dr. Nancy Snyderman. NBC News is flying Mukpo and the entire team back to the U.S. so Mukpo can be treated and the team can be quarantined for 21 days.

Snyderman told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that she and the rest of her crew have shown no signs of the disease and have taken precautions while covering the outbreak, including washing their hands with bleach.

The crew are quarantining themselves as a precaution.

Ebola is contagious only when infected people are showing symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People who have been exposed to Ebola will show signs of it within 21 days of exposure, the CDC said.

“There is no risk to people who have been in contact with those who have been sick with Ebola and recovered, or people who have been exposed and have not yet shown symptoms,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden of the CDC.

On Tuesday, the CDC confirmed the first case of Ebola to be diagnosed in the United States. The patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, flew from his hometown of Monrovia, Liberia, and through Brussels, Belgium on Sept. 20 before entering the United States via Washington Dulles International Airport in Virginia. He then traveled on to Dallas-Fort Worth.

Duncan, a Liberian man with family in the United States, first went to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Sept. 25 but was sent home. He returned to the hospital via ambulance Sunday.

On Friday, he was listed in serious but stable condition.

http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/Patient-With-Ebola-Like-Symptoms-Being-Treated-at-Howard-University-Hospital-278025181.html

U.S. Ebola Screening Widens

Officials Say About 100 Individuals Will Be Monitored for Potential Exposure

The number of people in Texas who are being screened for potential exposure to Ebola expanded to approximately 100, and four members of a family close to the U.S. patient were ordered to remain in their Dallas home. (Photo: AP)

The number of people in Texas who are being screened for potential exposure to Ebola expanded Thursday to roughly 100, as health officials cast a wide net to try to prevent the one confirmed case of the disease from sparking an outbreak.

Four members of a family close to Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian man diagnosed with the virus, were ordered to remain in their Dallas home and not receive any visitors until at least Oct. 19, to pass the 21-day maximum incubation period for the often-deadly disease.

The 100 people being screened represent a “very wide net,” including some who possibly had brief encounters with Mr. Duncan, Texas health officials said. They added that the number is likely to drop as they narrow the list to those actually at potential risk of infection.

Thursday, an American freelance journalist in Liberia tested positive for the disease, his father and his employer, NBC News, said. The 33-year-old man is tentatively scheduled to be transported back to the U.S. on Sunday.

In Mr. Duncan’s case, Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said officials so far have identified only “a handful” of individuals who may have had close contact with him.

The public health search comes as authorities in Liberia grapple with how Mr. Duncan managed to leave their country and bring Ebola to the U.S. despite government efforts to stop transmission of the virus, a journey that took him from a neighborhood of tin-roof houses in a West African capital to an isolation ward at a Dallas hospital.

Before traveling to Texas via Belgium, Mr. Duncan escorted a woman to a treatment ward in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, where she was turned away and died of the virus within hours, said Irene Seyou, Mr. Duncan’s next-door neighbor.

In a community near where U.S. victim Thomas Eric Duncan lived in Monrovia, many have died and children are worried they will be taken away. Glenna Gordon for The Wall Street Journal

On Sept. 16, several health workers arrived in Mr. Duncan’s neighborhood in Monrovia to investigate a report that a pregnant 18-year-old woman, recently sent home from a nearby clinic, had shown Ebola symptoms that included vomiting, diarrhea and bleeding, said Prince Toe and other members of the Ebola Response Team in the capital’s 72nd community.

But when the team arrived in the neighborhood, residents insisted the pregnant teenager had been in a car accident, said Mr. Toe, the unit’s supervisor. When the neighbors grew rowdy at being pressed for information, the team turned back, he said.

At Liberia’s airport, the temperatures of arriving and departing passengers are checked three times by security guards—at the entrance, before the check-in desk and at the metal detectors—to screen out those who display Ebola’s hallmark early symptom, a fever.

Passengers are asked to fill out questionnaires about whether they had been in contact with any Ebola victims. Mr. Duncan lied on those forms—and would be prosecuted for doing so if he returns to Liberia—the Associated Press reported Liberia’s government as saying Thursday.

Mr. Duncan is in an isolation unit at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas, which initially sent him home with antibiotics after he complained of illness, only to accept him on Sunday after he returned in an ambulance. Hospital officials have since conceded that they erred by not taking him in initially after he mentioned his symptoms and country of origin.

Hospital officials said Thursday that Mr. Duncan’s condition continued to be serious. Dr. Frieden of the CDC said Mr. Duncan’s physicians were discussing the possible use of experimental treatments with his family.

Edward Goodman, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital’s epidemiologist, said the team of doctors treating Mr. Duncan has received guidelines from the CDC but that there is no specific treatment for Ebola other than supportive measures, such as keeping the patient well hydrated to avoid organ damage and supplying oxygen.

Most of the 100 people Texas is tracking for potential Ebola exposure haven’t been ordered to stay home. Officials said they ordered four of Mr. Duncan’s family members to remain in their home because the family disobeyed their request to stay there. They said the family, which was examined Thursday, hadn’t developed any symptoms. A law enforcement official is stationed outside their apartment to make sure they don’t leave.

Ebola is a highly contagious virus, but only if you come into contact with certain bodily fluids of those infected. What do scientists know about how it’s transmitted? WSJ’s Jason Bellini has #TheShortAnswer.

Judge Clay Jenkins, the highest elected official in Dallas County, said there were no plans to issue similar orders for other people. Local and state health officials said they had delivered groceries to the family and were arranging for a contractor to clean the apartment. Mr. Jenkins said it appeared that sealed bags filled with Mr. Duncan’s belongings, including his clothes and sheets, were still inside, and that the family had pushed mattresses against the wall.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings sought to assure the public that the risk of contagion was minimal. “We’re getting the word out and people are starting to understand what has happened,” he said.

Still, at schools attended by five children who came into contact with Mr. Duncan, attendance was down to 86% from the 95% level that is normal, said Mike Miles, superintendent of the Dallas Independent School District, who added that custodians were doing extra cleaning.

While officials sought to control the panic over Ebola in Texas, some people who had come into contact with Mr. Duncan wondered why he hadn’t received treatment sooner.

Joe Joe Jallah said he met Mr. Duncan last week when visiting Mr. Jallah’s former wife, Louise Troh, the same woman Mr. Duncan had come to see in the U.S.

Ms. Troh declined to speak about the situation when reached by phone.

Mr. Jallah, who has a daughter with Ms. Troh, said he listened as Mr. Duncan described how dire things had become in Liberia, and how rigorous the health screenings were during his trip to the U.S.

Several days later, on Saturday, Mr. Jallah said he heard that Mr. Duncan had fallen ill at Ms. Troh’s apartment. Concerned, Mr. Jallah went back.

“He was lying down on the floor with a comforter. He said he was sick and that he had no appetite,” Mr. Jallah said.

“I said, ‘Did you go to the hospital?’ He said, ‘Yes, but they did nothing for me,’” Mr. Jallah recalled. “I said, ‘You should eat so you can gain strength.’”

The next day, Mr. Jallah said he returned after his daughter, Youngor Jallah, a nurse’s aide who visits her mother frequently, called, sounding frantic and saying that Mr. Duncan was still sick.

Ms. Jallah said Mr. Duncan had been up all night with diarrhea. His eyes were red, he seemed exhausted and had no appetite for the breakfast she made. He tried to drink some tea. Ms. Jallah took his temperature and it was 104, she said.

Ms. Jallah decided to call an ambulance. When emergency workers came, she informed them that Mr. Duncan was sick and had traveled to Dallas from a virus stricken-region in Africa. The workers put masks over their faces.

Ms. Jallah said she has since been told she and her family must stay in their home for 17 more days.

“I am concerned for myself. When I took his blood pressure, I never had no protection. I worry about my kids. My kids were over there with my mom,” she said.

“I am worried about him too,” she added.

http://online.wsj.com/articles/u-s-ebola-screening-grows-1412293227?mod=WSJ_hpp_sections_health

Michael Osterholm

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Michael T. Osterholm, Ph.D., M.P.H., is a prominent public health scientist and a nationally recognized biosecurity expert in the United States.[1] Osterholm is the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP) at the University of Minnesota, a professor in the School of Public Health, and an adjunct professor in the University of Minnesota Medical School.[2]

Career

From 1975 to 1999, Osterholm served in various roles at the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH), including as state epidemiologist and Chief of the Acute Disease Epidemiology Section from 1984 to 1999. While at the MDH, Osterholm strengthened the departments role in infectious disease epidemiology, notably including numerous foodborne disease outbreaks, the association between tampons and toxic shock syndrome (TSS), and the transmission of hepatitis B and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in healthcare workers. Other work included studies regarding the epidemiology of infectious diseases in child-care settings, vaccine-preventable diseases (particularly Haemophilus influenzae type b and hepatitis B), Lyme disease, and other emerging and re-emerging infections.

From 2001 through early 2005, Osterholm, in addition to his role at CIDRAP, served as a Special Advisor to then–HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson on issues related to bioterrorism and public health preparedness. In April 2002, Osterholm was appointed to the interim management team to lead the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), until the eventual appointment of Julie Gerberding as director.

Osterholm was appointed by Michael Leavitt, Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), to the National Science Advisory Board on Biosecurity in 2005.

Biosecurity

Osterholm has been particularly outspoken on the lack of international prepardness for an influenza pandemic.[3][4] Osterholm has also been an international leader against the use of biological agents as weapons targeted toward civilians.

Other

Osterholm serves on the editorial boards of five journals, and is a reviewer for another two dozen. He is a past president of the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists (CSTE) and has served on the CDC National Center for Infectious Diseases Board of Scientific Counselors from 1992 to 1997.

Osterholm serves on the IOM Forum on Emerging Infections. He has served on the IOM Committee on Emerging Microbial Threats to Health in the 21st Century and the IOM Committee on Food Safety, Production to Consumption, and he was a reviewer for the IOM Report on Chemical and Biological Terrorism. He is a frequent consultant to the World Health Organization (WHO), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Department of Defense, and the CDC.

Honors

Osterholm has received numerous honors for his work, including an honorary doctorate from Luther College, and is a member of the Institute of Medicine of theNational Academy of Sciences.

References

  1. Jump up^ “Plague War: Interviews: Michael Osterholm”. Frontline. PBS. 1998-10-01. Retrieved 2008-07-02.
  2. Jump up^ “Global Conference 2006″. Milken Institute. 2006-04-24. Retrieved 2008-07-01.
  3. Jump up^ “Renewed warning over flu pandemic”. BBC News. 2005-05-25. Retrieved 2008-07-01.
  4. Jump up^ Osterholm MT (May 2005). “Preparing for the next pandemic”. N. Engl. J. Med. 352 (18): 1839–42. doi:10.1056/NEJMp058068. PMID 15872196. Retrieved 2008-07-02.

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Asset Price Bubble Bursts Coming In October With 69 Months of Near Zero Federal Funds Interest Rates! — Interest Rate Suppression or Price Control and Manipulation Will Blow Up Economy — Suppressing Savings and Investment With Low Interest Rates Is A Formula For Diaster and Depression — Panic Time — Start A War Over Oil — Meltdown America –Videos

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Pronk Pops Show 331: September 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 330: September 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 329: September 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 328: September 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 327: September 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 326: September 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 325: September 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 324: September 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 323: September 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 322: September 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 321: September 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 320: August 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 319: August 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 318: August 27, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 317: August 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 316: August 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 315: August 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 314: August 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 313: August 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 312: August 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 311: August 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 310: August 8, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 309: August 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 308: August 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 307: August 1, 2014 

Pronk Pops Show 306: July 31, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 305: July 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 304: July 29, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 303: July 28, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 302: July 24, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 301: July 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 300: July 22, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 299: July 21, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 298: July 18, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 297: July 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 296: July 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 295: July 15, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 294: July 14, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 293: July 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 292: July 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 291: July 7, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 290: July 3, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 289: July 2, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 288: June 30, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 287: June 27, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 286: June 26, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 285 June 25, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 284: June 23, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 283: June 20, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 282: June 19, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 281: June 17, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 280: June 16, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 279: June 13, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 278: June 12, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 277: June 11, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 276: June 10, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 275: June 9, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 274: June 6, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 273: June 5, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 272: June 4, 2014

Pronk Pops Show 271: June 2, 2014

Story 1: Asset Price Bubble Bursts Coming In October With 69 Months of Near Zero Federal Funds Interest Rates! — Interest Rate Suppression or Price Control and Manipulation Will Blow Up Economy — Suppressing Savings and Investment With Low Interest Rates Is A Formula For Diaster and Depression — Panic Time — Start A War Over Oil — Meltdown America –Videos

U.S. Debt Clock

Current Debt Held by the Public Intragovernmental Holdings Total Public Debt Outstanding
09/17/2014 12,767,522,798,389.80 4,997,219,915,398.95 17,764,742,713,788.75

 

TABLE I -- SUMMARY OF TREASURY SECURITIES OUTSTANDING, AUGUST 31, 2014
(Millions of dollars)
                                              Amount Outstanding
Title                                         Debt Held             Intragovernmental         Totals
                                              By the Public         Holdings
Marketable:
  Bills.......................................        1,450,293                     1,704                1,451,998
  Notes.......................................        8,109,269                     7,365                8,116,634
  Bonds.......................................        1,521,088                        57                1,521,144
  Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities.....        1,031,836                        52                1,031,888
  Floating Rate Notes  21  ...................          109,996                         0                  109,996
  Federal Financing Bank  1  .................                0                    13,612                   13,612
Total Marketable  a...........................       12,222,481                    22,790 2             12,245,271
Nonmarketable:
  Domestic Series.............................           29,995                         0                   29,995
  Foreign Series..............................            2,986                         0                    2,986
  State and Local Government Series...........          105,440                         0                  105,440
  United States Savings Securities............          177,030                         0                  177,030
  Government Account Series...................          193,237                 4,993,277                5,186,514
  Hope Bonds 19...............................                0                       494                      494
  Other.......................................            1,443                         0                    1,443
Total Nonmarketable  b........................          510,130                 4,993,771                5,503,901
Total Public Debt Outstanding ................       12,732,612                 5,016,561               17,749,172
TABLE II -- STATUTORY DEBT LIMIT, AUGUST 31, 2014
(Millions of dollars)
                                              Amount Outstanding
Title                                         Debt Held             Intragovernmental         Totals
                                                 By the Public 17, 2Holdings
Debt Subject to Limit: 17, 20
  Total Public Debt Outstanding...............       12,732,612                 5,016,561               17,749,172
  Less Debt Not Subject to Limit:
    Other Debt ...............................              485                         0                      485
    Unamortized Discount  3...................           15,742                    12,421                   28,163
    Federal Financing Bank  1     ............                0                    13,612                   13,612
    Hope Bonds 19.............................                0                       494                      494
  Plus Other Debt Subject to Limit:
    Guaranteed Debt of Government Agencies  4                 *                         0                        *
  Total Public Debt Subject to Limit .........       12,716,386                 4,990,033               17,706,419
  Statutory Debt Limit  5.....................................................................                   0
COMPILED AND PUBLISHED BY
THE BUREAU OF THE FISCAL SERVICE
www.TreasuryDirect.gov

Interest Expense on the Debt Outstanding

The Interest Expense on the Debt Outstanding includes the monthly interest for:

Amortized discount or premium on bills, notes and bonds is also included in the monthly interest expense.

The fiscal year represents the total interest expense on the Debt Outstanding for a given fiscal year. This includes the months of October through September. View current month details (XLS Format, File size 199KB, uploaded 09/05/2014).

Note: To read or print a PDF document, you need the Adobe Acrobat Reader (v5.0 or higher) software installed on your computer. You can download the Adobe Acrobat Reader from the Adobe Website.

If you need help downloading…

Interest Expense Fiscal Year 2014
August $27,093,517,258.24
July $29,260,530,745.98
June $97,565,768,696.69
May $32,081,384,628.40
April $31,099,852,014.96
March $26,269,559,883.36
February $21,293,863,450.50
January $19,498,592,676.78
December $88,275,817,263.03
November $22,327,099,682.97
October $16,451,313,332.09
Fiscal Year Total $411,217,855,816.94
Available Historical Data Fiscal Year End
2013 $415,688,781,248.40
2012 $359,796,008,919.49
2011 $454,393,280,417.03
2010 $413,954,825,362.17
2009 $383,071,060,815.42
2008 $451,154,049,950.63
2007 $429,977,998,108.20
2006 $405,872,109,315.83
2005 $352,350,252,507.90
2004 $321,566,323,971.29
2003 $318,148,529,151.51
2002 $332,536,958,599.42
2001 $359,507,635,242.41
2000 $361,997,734,302.36
1999 $353,511,471,722.87
1998 $363,823,722,920.26
1997 $355,795,834,214.66
1996 $343,955,076,695.15
1995 $332,413,555,030.62
1994 $296,277,764,246.26
1993 $292,502,219,484.25
1992 $292,361,073,070.74
1991 $286,021,921,181.04
1990 $264,852,544,615.90
1989 $240,863,231,535.71
1988 $214,145,028,847.73

chart

fredgraph

fredgraph

BND-10-Year-Treasury-Yield-09122014

 JIM ROGERS Financial disaster coming – Dollar collapse – Countries Move Away From USD

US Fed signals move to normalize monetary policy

Dollar Meltdown, Massive Financial Bubble, Economic Collapse Marc Faber

Peter Schiff Iraq Crisis Threatens Global Economy

Peter Schiff – Fantasy About US Recovery Is Not Going To Materialize

Most important video Americans will see today – Doug Casey Interview

James Grant: Two Alternative Outcomes From Fed Policy – Much Higher Inflation or More Money Printing

Investor Jim Grant on Bubbles And Bargains

Jim Rogers Discusses Concern Over The Market

Jim Rogers On Economic Collapse And The US Debt‬

US Economy 2014 Collapse – *Peter Schiff* – FED will cause Huge Economic Crisis!

US ECONOMY COLLAPSE WILL LEAVE MILLIONS IN POVERTY

There Will Be No Economic Recovery. Prepare Yourself Accordingly

US Massive Financial Crisis Coming

Dan Mitchell Discussing Harvard Survey, Arguing for Growth over Class Warfare

The Coming Stock Market Crash and The Death of Money with Jim Rickards

Market Crash, Economic collapse 2014, The coming of World War 3 – Stock Market

Forbes: Obama’s Economic Reforms Are the Definition of Insanity

Why America Should Default and You Should Live Abroad: Q&A with Doug Casey

Doug Casey-No Way Out-Stock, Bond and Real Estate Markets Will Collapse

Russia conspired to destroy US dollar with China – clip from Meltdown America documentary

http://www.caseyresearch.com/lg/meltdown-video

 

 

Here a bubble, there a bubble: Ol’ Marc Faber

Even after the Dow and the S&P 500 closed at new all-time highs, closely followed contrarian Marc Faber keeps sounding the alarm.

“We have a bubble in everything, everywhere,” the publisher of The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Friday. Faber has long argued that the Federal Reserve’s massive asset purchasing programs and near-zero interest rates have inflated stock prices.

The catalyst for a market decline, as he sees it, could be a “raise in interest rates, not engineered by the Fed,” referring an increase in bond yields.

 

Faber also expressed concern about American consumers. “Their cost of living have gone up more than the salary increases, so they’re getting squeezed. So that’s why retailing is not doing particularly well.”

A real black swan event, he argued, would be a global recession. “The big surprise will be that the global economy slows down and goes into recession. And that will shock markets.”

If economies around the world can’t recovery with the Fed and other central banks pumping easy money into the system, that would send a dire message, Faber added. He believes the best way for world economies to recover is to cut the size of government.

Read MoreBond market hears Fed hawks; stocks see doves

There’s a dual-economy in the U.S. and around the world with the rich doing really well and others struggling, he said. “[But] the rich will get creamed one day, especially in Europe, on wealth taxes.”

On the other end of the market spectrum, longtime stock market bull Jeremy Siegel told CNBC on Tuesday (ahead of Wednesday’s Fed policy statement leaving interest rate guidance unchanged) that he stands by his Dow 18,000 prediction.

The Wharton School professor sees second half economic growth of 3 to 4 percent, S&P 500 earnings near $120, and the start of Fed rate hikes in the spring or summer of 2015

http://www.cnbc.com/id/102016166

 

Fed and TWTR Overvaluation, Evidence of Looming Market Crash: Stockman

The Federal Reserve Wednesday reassured investors that it will hold interest rates near zero for a “considerable time” after it ends the bond-buying program known as quantitative easing in October. In response, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) closed at a new record high.

Former Director of the Office of Management and Budget and author of the book, The Great Deformation, David Stockman, has significant concerns about that very policy.

“I’m worried… that we’ve got the greatest bubble created by a central bank in human history,” he told Yahoo Finance.

In a recent blog post, Stockman offered a handful of high-flying stocks as evidence of what he sees as “madness.”

                                               “…Twitter, is all that is required to remind us that once

                                               again markets are trading in the nosebleed section

                                               of history, rivaling even the madness of March 2000.”

Behind the madness

In an interview with Yahoo Finance, Stockman blamed Fed policy for creating that madness.

“We have been shoving zero-cost money into the financial markets for 6-years running,” he said. “That’s the kerosene that drives speculative trading – the carry trades. That’s what the gamblers use to fund their position as they move from one momentum play and trade to another.”

And that, he says, is not sustainable. While Stockman believes tech stocks are especially overvalued, he warns that it’s not just tech valuations that are inflated. “Everything’s massively overvalued, and it’s predicated on zero-cost overnight money that continues these carry trades; It can’t continue.”

And he still believes, as he has for some time – so far, incorrectly – that there will be a day of reckoning.

“When the trades begin to unwind because the carry cost has to normalize, you’re going to have a dramatic re-pricing dislocation in these financial markets.”

As Yahoo Finance’s Lauren Lyster points out in the associated video, investors who heeded Stockman’s advice last year would have missed out on a 28% run-up in stocks. But Stockman remains steadfast in his belief that the current Fed policy and the resultant market behavior can not continue. “I think what the Fed is doing is so unprecedented, what is happening in the markets is so unnatural,” he said. “This is dangerous, combustible stuff, and I don’t know when the explosion occurs – when the collapse suddenly is upon us – but when it happens, people will be happy that they got out of the way if they did.”

 

 

Federal Reserve Statistical Release, H.4.1, Factors Affecting Reserve Balances; title with eagle logo links to Statistical Release home page
Release Date: Thursday, September 11, 2014
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FEDERAL RESERVE statistical release

H.4.1

Factors Affecting Reserve Balances of Depository Institutions and Condition Statement of Federal Reserve Banks September 11, 2014

1. Factors Affecting Reserve Balances of Depository Institutions

Millions of dollars

Reserve Bank credit, related items, and
reserve balances of depository institutions at
Federal Reserve Banks
Averages of daily figures Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Week ended
Sep 10, 2014
Change from week ended
Sep 3, 2014 Sep 11, 2013
Reserve Bank credit 4,377,690 +    4,183 +  761,693 4,379,719
Securities held outright1 4,159,537 +    2,675 +  765,361 4,160,521
U.S. Treasury securities 2,439,657 +    2,671 +  401,376 2,440,637
Bills2          0          0          0          0
Notes and bonds, nominal2 2,325,368 +    2,678 +  386,333 2,326,351
Notes and bonds, inflation-indexed2     97,755          0 +   11,737     97,755
Inflation compensation3     16,534 -        7 +    3,306     16,531
Federal agency debt securities2     41,562          0 -   22,868     41,562
Mortgage-backed securities4 1,678,317 +        4 +  386,851 1,678,322
Unamortized premiums on securities held outright5    208,963 -      219 +    5,815    208,907
Unamortized discounts on securities held outright5    -18,664 +       21 -   12,958    -18,654
Repurchase agreements6          0          0          0          0
Loans        291 -        8 +       18        352
Primary credit         10 -       18 -        8         53
Secondary credit          0          0          0          0
Seasonal credit        247 +        9 +       94        266
Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility7         34          0 -       68         34
Other credit extensions          0          0          0          0
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane LLC8      1,664 -        1 +      171      1,665
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane II LLC9         63          0 -        1         63
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane III LLC10         22          0          0         22
Net portfolio holdings of TALF LLC11         44          0 -       80         44
Float       -675 -       69 +       94       -627
Central bank liquidity swaps12         77 +        1 -      243         77
Other Federal Reserve assets13     26,369 +    1,784 +    3,517     27,349
Foreign currency denominated assets14     22,933 -      353 -      737     22,801
Gold stock     11,041          0          0     11,041
Special drawing rights certificate account      5,200          0          0      5,200
Treasury currency outstanding15     46,103 +       14 +      820     46,103
Total factors supplying reserve funds 4,462,967 +    3,844 +  761,776 4,464,863

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding. Footnotes appear at the end of the table.

1. Factors Affecting Reserve Balances of Depository Institutions (continued)

Millions of dollars

Reserve Bank credit, related items, and
reserve balances of depository institutions at
Federal Reserve Banks
Averages of daily figures Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Week ended
Sep 10, 2014
Change from week ended
Sep 3, 2014 Sep 11, 2013
Currency in circulation15 1,292,467 -      442 +   84,956 1,291,993
Reverse repurchase agreements16    266,584 +      818 +  173,996    267,602
Foreign official and international accounts    102,228 -      296 +    9,640    107,303
Others    164,356 +    1,115 +  164,356    160,299
Treasury cash holdings        165 +        4 +       23        164
Deposits with F.R. Banks, other than reserve balances     52,715 -    6,170 -   19,233     53,117
Term deposits held by depository institutions          0          0          0          0
U.S. Treasury, General Account     39,081 -    3,787 +      530     31,872
Foreign official      5,432 -    1,134 -    3,562      5,241
Other17      8,202 -    1,248 -   16,201     16,004
Other liabilities and capital18     63,991 -        1 +      818     63,033
Total factors, other than reserve balances,
absorbing reserve funds
1,675,922 -    5,792 +  240,561 1,675,910
Reserve balances with Federal Reserve Banks 2,787,045 +    9,636 +  521,214 2,788,954

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding.

1. Includes securities lent to dealers under the overnight securities lending facility; refer to table 1A.
2. Face value of the securities.
3. Compensation that adjusts for the effect of inflation on the original face value of inflation-indexed securities.
4. Guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae. The current face value shown is the remaining principal balance of
the securities.
5. Reflects the premium or discount, which is the difference between the purchase price and the face value of the securities that has not been amortized.  For U.S. Treasury and Federal agency debt securities, amortization is on a straight-line basis.  For mortgage-backed securities, amortization is on an effective-interest basis.
6. Cash value of agreements.
7. Includes credit extended by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York to eligible borrowers through the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility.
8. Refer to table 4 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
9. Refer to table 5 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
10. Refer to table 6 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
11. Refer to table 7 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
12. Dollar value of foreign currency held under these agreements valued at the exchange rate to be used when the foreign currency is returned
to the foreign central bank. This exchange rate equals the market exchange rate used when the foreign currency was acquired from the
foreign central bank.
13. Includes accrued interest, which represents the daily accumulation of interest earned, and other accounts receivable.  Also, includes Reserve Bank premises and equipment net of allowances for depreciation.
14. Revalued daily at current foreign currency exchange rates.
15. Estimated.
16. Cash value of agreements, which are collateralized by U.S. Treasury securities, federal agency debt securities, and mortgage-backed securities.
17. Includes deposits held at the Reserve Banks by international and multilateral organizations, government-sponsored enterprises, and designated financial market utilities.
18. Includes the liabilities of Maiden Lane LLC, Maiden Lane II LLC, Maiden Lane III LLC, and TALF LLC to entities other than the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, including liabilities that have recourse only to the portfolio holdings of these LLCs. Refer to table 4 through table 7 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9. Also includes the liability for interest on Federal Reserve notes due to U.S. Treasury. Refer to table 8 and table 9.

Sources: Federal Reserve Banks and the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

1A. Memorandum Items

Millions of dollars

Memorandum item Averages of daily figures Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Week ended
Sep 10, 2014
Change from week ended
Sep 3, 2014 Sep 11, 2013
Securities held in custody for foreign official and international accounts 3,338,309 -      417 +   61,832 3,343,937
Marketable U.S. Treasury securities1 3,010,563 -      456 +   86,414 3,016,027
Federal agency debt and mortgage-backed securities2    285,805 +       28 -   29,008    285,934
Other securities3     41,942 +       12 +    4,427     41,976
Securities lent to dealers     10,669 +    1,648 -    1,429     11,123
Overnight facility4     10,669 +    1,648 -    1,429     11,123
U.S. Treasury securities      9,860 +    1,721 -    1,405     10,373
Federal agency debt securities        810 -       72 -       23        750

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding.

1. Includes securities and U.S. Treasury STRIPS at face value, and inflation compensation on TIPS. Does not include securities pledged as collateral to foreign official and international account holders against reverse repurchase agreements with the Federal Reserve presented in tables 1, 8, and 9.
2. Face value of federal agency securities and current face value of mortgage-backed securities, which is the remaining principal balance of the securities.
3. Includes non-marketable U.S. Treasury securities, supranationals, corporate bonds, asset-backed securities, and commercial paper at face value.
4. Face value. Fully collateralized by U.S. Treasury securities.
2. Maturity Distribution of Securities, Loans, and Selected Other Assets and Liabilities, September 10, 2014

Millions of dollars

Remaining Maturity Within 15
days
16 days to
90 days
91 days to
1 year
Over 1 year
to 5 years
Over 5 year
to 10 years
Over 10
years
All
Loans1        118        234          0          0          0        352
U.S. Treasury securities2
Holdings          0         90      3,194 1,037,162    742,261    657,930 2,440,637
Weekly changes          0          0          0 +    1,615 -        1 +    2,037 +    3,651
Federal agency debt securities3
Holdings      1,556      1,329      3,584     32,746          0      2,347     41,562
Weekly changes          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Mortgage-backed securities4
Holdings          0          0          0         10      4,698 1,673,614 1,678,322
Weekly changes          0          0          0          0 +      863 -      857 +        6
Asset-backed securities held by
TALF LLC5
         0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Repurchase agreements6          0          0          0
Central bank liquidity swaps7         77          0          0          0          0          0         77
Reverse repurchase agreements6    267,602          0    267,602
Term deposits          0          0          0          0

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding.
…Not applicable.

1. Excludes the loans from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) to Maiden Lane LLC, Maiden Lane II LLC, Maiden
Lane III LLC, and TALF LLC. The loans were eliminated when preparing the FRBNY’s statement of condition consistent with consolidation
under generally accepted accounting principles.
2. Face value. For inflation-indexed securities, includes the original face value and compensation that adjusts for the effect of inflation on the
original face value of such securities.
3. Face value.
4. Guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae. The current face value shown is the remaining principal balance of the securities.
5. Face value of asset-backed securities held by TALF LLC, which is the remaining principal balance of the underlying assets.
6. Cash value of agreements.
7. Dollar value of foreign currency held under these agreements valued at the exchange rate to be used when the foreign currency is returned to
the foreign central bank. This exchange rate equals the market exchange rate used when the foreign currency was acquired from the foreign
central bank.

3. Supplemental Information on Mortgage-Backed Securities

Millions of dollars

Account name Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Mortgage-backed securities held outright1 1,678,322
Commitments to buy mortgage-backed securities2     80,643
Commitments to sell mortgage-backed securities2          0
Cash and cash equivalents3          4
1. Guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae. The current face value shown is the remaining principal balance of the securities.
2. Current face value. Generally settle within 180 days and include commitments associated with outright transactions, dollar rolls, and coupon swaps.
3. This amount is included in other Federal Reserve assets in table 1 and in other assets in table 8 and table 9.

4. Information on Principal Accounts of Maiden Lane LLC

Millions of dollars

Account name Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane LLC1      1,665
Outstanding principal amount of loan extended by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Accrued interest payable to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Outstanding principal amount and accrued interest on loan payable to JPMorgan Chase & Co.3          0
1. Fair value. Fair value reflects an estimate of the price that would be received upon selling an asset if the transaction were to be conducted in an orderly market on the measurement date. Revalued quarterly. This table reflects valuations as of June 30, 2014. Any assets purchased after
this valuation date are initially recorded at cost until their estimated fair value as of the purchase date becomes available.
2. Book value. This amount was eliminated when preparing the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s statement of condition consistent with consolidation under generally accepted accounting principles. Refer to the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
3. Book value. The fair value of these obligations is included in other liabilities and capital in table 1 and in other liabilities and accrued dividends in table 8 and table 9.

Note: On June 26, 2008, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) extended credit to Maiden Lane LLC under the authority of section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act. This limited liability company was formed to acquire certain assets of Bear Stearns and to manage those assets through time to maximize repayment of the credit extended and to minimize disruption to financial markets. Payments by Maiden Lane LLC from the proceeds of the net portfolio holdings will be made in the following order: operating expenses of the LLC, principal due to the FRBNY, interest due to the FRBNY, principal due to JPMorgan Chase & Co., and interest due to JPMorgan Chase & Co. Any remaining funds will be paid to the FRBNY.

5. Information on Principal Accounts of Maiden Lane II LLC

Millions of dollars

Account name Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane II LLC1         63
Outstanding principal amount of loan extended by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Accrued interest payable to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Deferred payment and accrued interest payable to subsidiaries of American International Group, Inc.3          0
1. Fair value. Fair value reflects an estimate of the price that would be received upon selling an asset if the transaction were to be conducted in an orderly market on the measurement date. Revalued quarterly. This table reflects valuations as of June 30, 2014. Any assets purchased after
this valuation date are initially recorded at cost until their estimated fair value as of the purchase date becomes available.
2. Book value. This amount was eliminated when preparing the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s statement of condition consistent with consolidation under generally accepted accounting principles. Refer to the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
3. Book value. The deferred payment represents the portion of the proceeds of the net portfolio holdings due to subsidiaries of American
International Group, Inc. in accordance with the asset purchase agreement. The fair value of this payment and accrued interest payable are
included in other liabilities and capital in table 1 and in other liabilities and accrued dividends in table 8 and table 9.

Note: On December 12, 2008, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) began extending credit to Maiden Lane II LLC under the authority of section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act. This limited liability company was formed to purchase residential mortgage-backed securities from the U.S. securities lending reinvestment portfolio of subsidiaries of American International Group, Inc. (AIG subsidiaries). Payments by Maiden Lane II LLC from the proceeds of the net portfolio holdings will be made in the following order: operating expenses of Maiden Lane II LLC, principal due to the FRBNY, interest due to the FRBNY, and deferred payment and interest due to AIG subsidiaries. Any remaining funds will be shared by the FRBNY and AIG subsidiaries.

6. Information on Principal Accounts of Maiden Lane III LLC

Millions of dollars

Account name Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane III LLC1         22
Outstanding principal amount of loan extended by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Accrued interest payable to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Outstanding principal amount and accrued interest on loan payable to American International Group, Inc.3          0
1. Fair value. Fair value reflects an estimate of the price that would be received upon selling an asset if the transaction were to be conducted in an orderly market on the measurement date. Revalued quarterly. This table reflects valuations as of June 30, 2014. Any assets purchased after
this valuation date are initially recorded at cost until their estimated fair value as of the purchase date becomes available.
2. Book value. This amount was eliminated when preparing the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s statement of condition consistent with consolidation under generally accepted accounting principles. Refer to the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
3. Book value. The fair value of these obligations is included in other liabilities and capital in table 1 and in other liabilities and accrued dividends in table 8 and table 9.

Note: On November 25, 2008, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) began extending credit to Maiden Lane III LLC under the authority of section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act. This limited liability company was formed to purchase multi-sector collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) on which the Financial Products group of American International Group, Inc. (AIG) has written credit default swap (CDS) contracts. In connection with the purchase of CDOs, the CDS counterparties will concurrently unwind the related CDS transactions. Payments by Maiden Lane III LLC from the proceeds of the net portfolio holdings will be made in the following order: operating expenses of Maiden Lane III LLC, principal due to the FRBNY, interest due to the FRBNY, principal due to AIG, and interest due to AIG. Any remaining funds will be shared by the FRBNY and AIG.

7. Information on Principal Accounts of TALF LLC

Millions of dollars

Account name Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Asset-backed securities holdings1          0
Other investments, net         44
Net portfolio holdings of TALF LLC         44
Outstanding principal amount of loan extended by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Accrued interest payable to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York2          0
Funding provided by U.S. Treasury to TALF LLC, including accrued interest payable3          0
1. Fair value. Fair value reflects an estimate of the price that would be received upon selling an asset if the transaction were to be conducted in an orderly market on the measurement date.
2. Book value. This amount was eliminated when preparing the Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s statement of condition consistent with consolidation under generally accepted accounting principles. Refer to the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
3. Book value. The fair value of these obligations is included in other liabilities and capital in table 1 and in other liabilities and accrued dividends in table 8 and table 9.

Note: On November 25, 2008, the Federal Reserve announced the creation of the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF) under theauthority of section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act. The TALF is a facility under which the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) extended loans with a term of up to five years to holders of eligible asset-backed securities. The Federal Reserve closed the TALF for new loan extensions in 2010. The loans provided through the TALF to eligible borrowers are non-recourse, meaning that the obligation of the borrower can be discharged by surrendering the collateral to the FRBNY.

TALF LLC is a limited liability company formed to purchase and manage any asset-backed securities received by the FRBNY in connection with the decision of a borrower not to repay a TALF loan. TALF LLC has committed, for a fee, to purchase all asset-backed securities received by the FRBNY in conjunction with a TALF loan at a price equal to the TALF loan plus accrued but unpaid interest. Prior to January 15, 2013, the U.S. Treasury’s Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) committed backup funding to TALF LLC, providing credit protection to the FRBNY. However, the accumulated fees and income collected through the TALF and held by TALF LLC now exceed the remaining amount of TALF loans outstanding. Accordingly, the TARP credit protection commitment has been terminated, and TALF LLC has begun to distribute excess proceeds to the Treasury and the FRBNY. Any remaining funds will be shared by the FRBNY and the U.S. Treasury.

8. Consolidated Statement of Condition of All Federal Reserve Banks

Millions of dollars

Assets, liabilities, and capital Eliminations from consolidation Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Change since
Wednesday Wednesday
Sep 3, 2014 Sep 11, 2013
Assets
Gold certificate account     11,037          0          0
Special drawing rights certificate account      5,200          0          0
Coin      1,930 +        8 -       62
Securities, unamortized premiums and discounts, repurchase agreements, and loans 4,351,126 +    3,534 +  756,847
Securities held outright1 4,160,521 +    3,657 +  763,739
U.S. Treasury securities 2,440,637 +    3,651 +  399,549
Bills2          0          0          0
Notes and bonds, nominal2 2,326,351 +    3,661 +  385,784
Notes and bonds, inflation-indexed2     97,755          0 +   10,546
Inflation compensation3     16,531 -       10 +    3,219
Federal agency debt securities2     41,562          0 -   22,654
Mortgage-backed securities4 1,678,322 +        6 +  386,844
Unamortized premiums on securities held outright5    208,907 -      132 +    5,820
Unamortized discounts on securities held outright5    -18,654 +       19 -   12,787
Repurchase agreements6          0          0          0
Loans        352 -       10 +       75
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane LLC7      1,665 +        1 +      167
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane II LLC8         63          0 -        1
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden Lane III LLC9         22          0          0
Net portfolio holdings of TALF LLC10         44          0 -       68
Items in process of collection (0)         94 -       22 -       31
Bank premises      2,255          0 -       29
Central bank liquidity swaps11         77 +        1 -      243
Foreign currency denominated assets12     22,801 -      404 -      925
Other assets13     25,095 +    2,704 +    3,719
Total assets (0) 4,421,408 +    5,821 +  759,373

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding. Footnotes appear at the end of the table.

8. Consolidated Statement of Condition of All Federal Reserve Banks (continued)

Millions of dollars

Assets, liabilities, and capital Eliminations from consolidation Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Change since
Wednesday Wednesday
Sep 3, 2014 Sep 11, 2013
Liabilities
Federal Reserve notes, net of F.R. Bank holdings 1,247,980 -    2,086 +   84,510
Reverse repurchase agreements14    267,602 +   17,296 +  175,438
Deposits (0) 2,842,072 -    8,612 +  499,663
Term deposits held by depository institutions          0          0          0
Other deposits held by depository institutions 2,788,954 -   24,799 +  513,312
U.S. Treasury, General Account     31,872 +   10,836 +    1,852
Foreign official      5,241 -    1,326 -    3,524
Other15 (0)     16,004 +    6,676 -   11,978
Deferred availability cash items (0)        721 -      482 -      163
Other liabilities and accrued dividends16      6,693 -      299 -    1,529
Total liabilities (0) 4,365,067 +    5,817 +  757,919
Capital accounts
Capital paid in     28,170 +        2 +      726
Surplus     28,170 +        2 +      726
Other capital accounts          0          0          0
Total capital     56,341 +        4 +    1,454

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding.

1. Includes securities lent to dealers under the overnight securities lending facility; refer to table 1A.
2. Face value of the securities.
3. Compensation that adjusts for the effect of inflation on the original face value of inflation-indexed securities.
4. Guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae. The current face value shown is the remaining principal balance of the securities.
5. Reflects the premium or discount, which is the difference between the purchase price and the face value of the securities that has not been amortized.  For U.S. Treasury and Federal agency debt securities, amortization is on a straight-line basis.  For mortgage-backed securities, amortization is on an effective-interest basis.
6. Cash value of agreements, which are collateralized by U.S. Treasury and federal agency securities.
7. Refer to table 4 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
8. Refer to table 5 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
9. Refer to table 6 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
10. Refer to table 7 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9.
11. Dollar value of foreign currency held under these agreements valued at the exchange rate to be used when the foreign currency is returned to
the foreign central bank. This exchange rate equals the market exchange rate used when the foreign currency was acquired from the foreign
central bank.
12. Revalued daily at current foreign currency exchange rates.
13. Includes accrued interest, which represents the daily accumulation of interest earned, and other accounts receivable.
14. Cash value of agreements, which are collateralized by U.S. Treasury securities, federal agency debt securities, and mortgage-backed securities.
15. Includes deposits held at the Reserve Banks by international and multilateral organizations, government-sponsored enterprises, and designated financial market utilities.
16. Includes the liabilities of Maiden Lane LLC, Maiden Lane II LLC, Maiden Lane III LLC, and TALF LLC to entities other than the Federal
Reserve Bank of New York, including liabilities that have recourse only to the portfolio holdings of these LLCs. Refer to table 4 through table 7 and the note on consolidation accompanying table 9. Also includes the liability for interest on Federal Reserve notes due to U.S. Treasury.

9. Statement of Condition of Each Federal Reserve Bank, September 10, 2014

Millions of dollars

Assets, liabilities, and capital Total Boston New York Philadelphia Cleveland Richmond Atlanta Chicago St. Louis Minneapolis Kansas Dallas San
City Francisco
Assets
Gold certificate account     11,037        352      4,125        338        464        824      1,349        706        278        173        291        880      1,257
Special drawing rights certificate acct.      5,200        196      1,818        210        237        412        654        424        150         90        153        282        574
Coin      1,930         32         94        124        123        320        222        276         25         46        153        182        332
Securities, unamortized premiums and discounts, repurchase agreements,
and loans
4,351,126     88,009 2,670,390    104,231     94,993    243,168    240,542    177,833     53,725     26,795     57,330    132,586    461,524
Securities held outright1 4,160,521     84,160 2,553,576     99,673     90,839    232,534    229,991    170,046     51,317     25,497     54,804    126,772    441,311
U.S. Treasury securities 2,440,637     49,370 1,497,974     58,470     53,288    136,409    134,917     99,752     30,104     14,957     32,149     74,367    258,881
Bills2          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Notes and bonds3 2,440,637     49,370 1,497,974     58,470     53,288    136,409    134,917     99,752     30,104     14,957     32,149     74,367    258,881
Federal agency debt securities2     41,562        841     25,509        996        907      2,323      2,298      1,699        513        255        547      1,266      4,409
Mortgage-backed securities4 1,678,322     33,949 1,030,093     40,207     36,644     93,803     92,777     68,595     20,701     10,285     22,107     51,139    178,021
Unamortized premiums on securities held outright5    208,907      4,226    128,220      5,005      4,561     11,676     11,548      8,538      2,577      1,280      2,752      6,365     22,159
Unamortized discounts on securities held outright5    -18,654       -377    -11,449       -447       -407     -1,043     -1,031       -762       -230       -114       -246       -568     -1,979
Repurchase agreements6          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Loans        352          1         44          0          0          0         34         11         61        132         20         17         33
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden
Lane LLC7      1,665          0      1,665          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden
Lane II LLC8         63          0         63          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Net portfolio holdings of Maiden
Lane III LLC9         22          0         22          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Net portfolio holdings of TALF LLC10         44          0         44          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Items in process of collection         94          0          0          0          0          0         93          0          0          1          0          0          0
Bank premises      2,255        121        434         74        110        222        209        198        124         97        243        224        200
Central bank liquidity swaps11         77          4         25          6          6         16          4          2          1          0          1          1         11
Foreign currency denominated assets12     22,801      1,037      7,335      1,714      1,813      4,754      1,311        629        192         96        240        381      3,299
Other assets13     25,095        535     15,039        739        546      1,547      1,374      1,014        356        219        347        798      2,580
Interdistrict settlement account          0 +   10,547 -   58,585 +    2,678 +    9,252 +      197 +    8,040 -   10,297 -   10,950 -    2,083 -      134 +    2,635 +   48,701
Total assets 4,421,408    100,833 2,642,468    110,114    107,543    251,460    253,799    170,787     43,900     25,434     58,623    137,969    518,478

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding. Footnotes appear at the end of the table.

9. Statement of Condition of Each Federal Reserve Bank, September 10, 2014 (continued)

Millions of dollars

Assets, liabilities, and capital Total Boston New York Philadelphia Cleveland Richmond Atlanta Chicago St. Louis Minneapolis Kansas Dallas San
City Francisco
Liabilities
Federal Reserve notes outstanding 1,443,974     44,572    489,349     42,766     65,118    103,568    212,875     94,569     37,360     21,242     36,783    115,911    179,862
Less: Notes held by F.R. Banks    195,994      5,311     63,063      6,357      8,870     11,177     20,690     11,915      4,937      4,278      5,302     25,736     28,359
Federal Reserve notes, net 1,247,980     39,261    426,285     36,409     56,248     92,391    192,186     82,654     32,423     16,964     31,481     90,175    151,503
Reverse repurchase agreements14    267,602      5,413    164,244      6,411      5,843     14,956     14,793     10,937      3,301      1,640      3,525      8,154     28,385
Deposits 2,842,072     53,409 2,030,175     62,876     40,791    131,999     42,547     75,315      7,510      6,356     22,882     38,429    329,783
Term deposits held by depository institutions          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Other deposits held by depository institutions 2,788,954     53,397 1,977,410     62,837     40,788    131,731     42,538     75,306      7,510      6,355     22,881     38,428    329,774
U.S. Treasury, General Account     31,872          0     31,872          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Foreign official      5,241          2      5,214          3          3          8          2          1          0          0          0          1          6
Other15     16,004         11     15,679         36          0        260          7          7          0          0          1          0          3
Deferred availability cash items        721          0          0          0          0          0        611          0          0        110          0          0          0
Interest on Federal Reserve notes due
to U.S. Treasury16
     1,693         19      1,199         20         10         23         86         73         20         12         20         54        155
Other liabilities and accrued
dividends17
     5,000        167      2,179        211        208        544        361        282        142        118        126        208        454
Total liabilities 4,365,067     98,270 2,624,083    105,927    103,101    239,913    250,583    169,261     43,395     25,200     58,034    137,021    510,279
Capital
Capital paid in     28,170      1,282      9,193      2,093      2,221      5,773      1,608        763        252        117        295        474      4,099
Surplus     28,170      1,282      9,193      2,093      2,221      5,773      1,608        763        252        117        295        474      4,099
Other capital          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0          0
Total liabilities and capital 4,421,408    100,833 2,642,468    110,114    107,543    251,460    253,799    170,787     43,900     25,434     58,623    137,969    518,478

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding. Footnotes appear at the end of the table.

9. Statement of Condition of Each Federal Reserve Bank, September 10, 2014 (continued)

1. Includes securities lent to dealers under the overnight securities lending facility; refer to table 1A.
2. Face value of the securities.
3. Includes the original face value of inflation-indexed securities and compensation that adjusts for the effect of inflation on the original face value of such securities.
4. Guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Ginnie Mae. The current face value shown is the remaining principal balance of the securities.
5. Reflects the premium or discount, which is the difference between the purchase price and the face value of the securities that has not been amortized.  For U.S. Treasury and Federal agency debt securities, amortization is on a straight-line basis.  For mortgage-backed securities, amortization is on an effective-interest basis.
6. Cash value of agreements, which are collateralized by U.S. Treasury and federal agency securities.
7. Refer to table 4 and the note on consolidation below.
8. Refer to table 5 and the note on consolidation below.
9. Refer to table 6 and the note on consolidation below.
10. Refer to table 7 and the note on consolidation below.
11. Dollar value of foreign currency held under these agreements valued at the exchange rate to be used when the foreign currency is returned to the foreign central bank. This exchange rate
equals the market exchange rate used when the foreign currency was acquired from the foreign central bank.
12. Revalued daily at current foreign currency exchange rates.
13. Includes accrued interest, which represents the daily accumulation of interest earned, and other accounts receivable.
14. Cash value of agreements, which are collateralized by U.S. Treasury securities, federal agency debt securities, and mortgage-backed securities.
15. Includes deposits held at the Reserve Banks by international and multilateral organizations, government-sponsored enterprises, and designated financial market utilities.
16. Represents the estimated weekly remittances to U.S. Treasury as interest on Federal Reserve notes or, in those cases where the Reserve Bank’s net earnings are not sufficient to equate surplus to capital paid-in, the deferred asset for interest on Federal Reserve notes. The amount of any deferred asset, which is presented as a negative amount in this line, represents the amount of the Federal Reserve Bank’s earnings that must be retained before remittances to the U.S. Treasury resume. The amounts on this line are calculated in accordance with Board of Governors policy, which requires the Federal Reserve Banks to remit residual earnings to the U.S. Treasury as interest on Federal Reserve notes after providing for the costs of operations, payment of dividends, and the amount necessary to equate surplus with capital paid-in.
17. Includes the liabilities of Maiden Lane LLC, Maiden Lane II LLC, Maiden Lane III LLC, and TALF LLC to entities other than the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, including liabilities that have recourse only to the portfolio holdings of these LLCs. Refer to table 4 through table 7 and the note on consolidation below.

Note on consolidation:

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY) has extended loans to several limited liability companies under the authority of section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act. On June 26, 2008, a loan was extended to Maiden Lane LLC, which was formed to acquire certain assets of Bear Stearns. On November 25, 2008, a loan was extended to Maiden Lane III LLC, which was formed to purchase multi-sector collateralized debt obligations on which the Financial Products group of the American International Group, Inc. has written credit default swap contracts. On December 12, 2008, a loan was extended to Maiden Lane II LLC, which was formed to purchase residential mortgage-backed securities from the U.S. securities lending reinvestment portfolio of subsidiaries of American International Group, Inc. On November 25, 2008, the Federal Reserve Board authorized the FRBNY to extend credit to TALF LLC, which was formed to purchase and manage any asset-backed securities received by the FRBNY in connection with the decision of a borrower not to repay a loan extended under the Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility.

The FRBNY is the primary beneficiary of TALF LLC, because of the two beneficiaries of the LLC, the FRBNY and the U.S. Treasury, the FRBNY is primarily responsible for directing the financial activities of TALF LLC. The FRBNY is the primary beneficiary of the other LLCs cited above because it will receive a majority of any residual returns of the LLCs and absorb a majority of any residual losses of the LLCs. Consistent with generally accepted accounting principles, the assets and liabilities of these LLCs have been consolidated with the assets and liabilities of the FRBNY in the preparation of the statements of condition shown on this release. As a consequence of the consolidation, the extensions of credit from the FRBNY to the LLCs are eliminated, the net assets of the LLCs appear as assets on the previous page (and in table 1 and table 8), and the liabilities of the LLCs to entities other than the FRBNY, including those with recourse only to the portfolio holdings of the LLCs, are included in other liabilities in this table (and table 1 and table 8).

10. Collateral Held against Federal Reserve Notes: Federal Reserve Agents’ Accounts

Millions of dollars

Federal Reserve notes and collateral Wednesday
Sep 10, 2014
Federal Reserve notes outstanding 1,443,974
Less: Notes held by F.R. Banks not subject to collateralization    195,994
Federal Reserve notes to be collateralized 1,247,980
Collateral held against Federal Reserve notes 1,247,980
Gold certificate account     11,037
Special drawing rights certificate account      5,200
U.S. Treasury, agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities pledged1,2 1,231,743
Other assets pledged          0
Memo:
Total U.S. Treasury, agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities1,2 4,160,521
Less: Face value of securities under reverse repurchase agreements    257,508
U.S. Treasury, agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities eligible to be pledged 3,903,013

Note: Components may not sum to totals because of rounding.

1. Includes face value of U.S. Treasury, agency debt, and mortgage-backed securities held outright, compensation to adjust for the effect of inflation on the original face value of inflation-indexed securities, and cash value of repurchase agreements.
2. Includes securities lent to dealers under the overnight securities lending facility; refer to table 1A.

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The Select Committee on Benghazi Will Never Answer The Most Important Questions — Why Was The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) In Benghazi, Libya and What Were They Doing? — Shipping Arms Through Turkey To The Syrian Rebels — Free Syrian Army, Al Nustra, Islamic State — Al Qaeda Arms Deal Gone Bad — Congress and Obama Arms Our Enemies To Kill Christians — The War on Christians! — Videos

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Story 1: The Select Committee on Benghazi Will Never Answer The Most Important Questions — Why Was The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) In Benghazi, Libya and What Were They Doing? — Shipping Arms Through Turkey To The Syrian Rebels — Free Syrian Army, Al Nustra, Islamic State — Al Qaeda Arms Deal Gone Bad — Congress and Obama Arms Our Enemies To Kill Christians —  The War on Christians! — Videos

selectcommittegowdy

obama-cia-leon-panetta-twice-denied-military-backup-us-embassy-libya-benghazi

The Tyrant’s Liars Club

liars_club

Benghazi Select Committee Holds First Public Hearing Trey Gowdy On The Record

Watch Live: Select Committee on Benghazi Holds First Hearing

President Obama announces bipartisan House and Senate support of his plan to arm rebels in Syria

Islamic State: Obama’s plan to arm Syrian rebels approved

Rand Paul Lambasts White House, Congress for Arming Syrian Rebels

General: Benghazi ‘Botched Arms Deal’ To Muslim Brotherhood And Al Qaeda

Chairman Gowdy’s Questioning in First Benghazi Select Committee Hearing

Trey Gowdy Demands Answers On Benghazi

Rand Paul Destroys Hillary Clinton Over Benghazi-Gate During Capitol Hill Press Conference

Chaffetz: Clinton’s Top Aides Involved In Benghazi Documents Scrub

Hillary allies secretly removed Benghazi documents damaging to her ahead of ARB probe

Obama Admin Lied To Us! They Knew Who Attack Us In Benghazi, Libya On 9-11!!

RUSH: Benghazi Cover-Up Blown Wide Open And Nobody’s Talking About It

CIA Arming Syrian Rebels With Missiles, Taxpayer Dollars

Congress Passes War Funding To Support Obama’s ISIS Fight

The Benghazi Select Committee: Many Questions Remain Unanswered

Patrick Cockburn on the rise of the Islamic State

The Rise of ISIS: US Invasion of Iraq, Foreign Backing of Syrian Rebels Helped Fuel Jihadis’ Advance

Patrick Cockburn: U.S. Turns Blind Eye As Saudis Fund Jihadists in Syrian Conflict (2 of 2)

Syria – Who are Jabhat al-Nusra? – Truthloader

Who are ISIS? – Truthloader

 

benghazi-we-will-find-out-what-difference-does-it-make

13_hours

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650px-U.S._mission_and_annex_map_for_2012_Benghazi_attacksmcannex_mapcia_annex

manpads

Thousands of Surface To Air Missiles Are Missing In Libya

Libya rebels discover Gaddafi’s huge tank store in Tripoli ready for battle

The largest arms depot in Africa ( Alqaha)been taking over by Libyan freedom fighters

Benghazi, Arms for Rebels & Obama Lies About Syrian Chemical Weapons

FSA rebels shoot down SAA aircraft with 9K38 “Igla” MANPADS

Jabhat al-Nusra (Nusra Front): Reports on Terror Group from CNN & Al-Jazeera… Purpose Explained!

13 Hours – Full Interview of the Three Benghazi Survivors – Fox News

Benghazi – The Truth Behind The Smokescreen – Bret Baier Reporting

Glenn Beck Why Obama Hid the Truth of Benghazi

Rep. Trey Gowdy blasts Jay Carney and Ambassador Susan Rice: I want to know why we were lied to!

Susan Rice Caught Lying About Benghazi – Rep. Trey Gowdy Whistleblower Questioning

Treason Exposed! Obama Used Benghazi Attack to Cover Up Arms Shipments to Muslim Brotherhood

CIA Pressuring Agents With Knowledge Of Benghazi To Keep Silent

SYRIA CNBC: Benghazi Is Not About Libya But An Operation To Put Arms & Men In Syria

Retired Lt Gen Jerry Boykin suspects US Was Running Guns To Syrian Rebels Via Benghazi

SYRIA Rand Paul “Maybe We Were Facilitating Arms Leaving Libya Going Through Turkey Into Syria”

Rand Paul Blasts Stupid Senate for Wanting to Arm Syrian al-Qaeda Fighters

Sen. Rand Paul: ‘Worldwide War on Christianity’ Ignored by Obama, Media

House Votes to Arm Syrian Rebels; CR Passes (Updated) (Video)

After voting to give President Barack Obama the authority to arm and train Syrian rebels, the House passed legislation Wednesday to fund the government until Dec. 11, moving the bill to avoid a government shutdown and address Islamic State organizations to the Senate.

House lawmakers voted 319-108 to pass the continuing resolution, with 143 Democrats joining 176 Republicans in support of the measure. 55 Democrats and 53 Republicans voted against the bill.

A vote on the spending bill, which will continue government spending through Dec. 11 at a $1.012 trillion level, was delayed last week so lawmakers could attach a request from the president to give him Title 10 authority to fight the Islamic State group.

That authority would allow the Obama administration to equip Syrian rebels for the intended purpose of fighting ISIL, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also referred to as ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

Obama praised the House and urged the Senate to follow suit on the legislation, which he reiterated is not an authorization for the use of U.S. troops in Syria.

“Today’s vote is another step closer to having the authorization to train and equip vetted elements of the moderate Syrian opposition so they can defend themselves against, and ultimately push back on, ISIL forces,” he said in a statement

Just before the CR vote, lawmakers voted 273-156 to adopt the Syrian rebel amendment. 159 Republicans and 114 Democrats voted for the proposal, while 85 Republicans and 71 Democrats voted against it.

As voting on the amendment took place, members stared at the board in the House chamber showing who was voting for the amendment and who was voting against it. Despite a tally that was never really close, it was a dramatic vote.

Much of the debate on the CR turned into a debate on the proposal to arm Syrian rebels, and, more broadly, the specter of another war in the Middle East. In fact, the CR has become such a proxy for the Syria amendment that the Club for Growth, a conservative group opposed to the spending bill, withdrew its key vote on the legislation, explaining that the vote was now largely driven by foreign policy.

But if it were true that foreign policy was driving decisions on the CR, then it was the memories of past foreign policy decisions largely driving this current debate.

Liberal Democrats and some conservative Republicans worried on the House floor that this initial authorization was the first step of a larger military entanglement.

Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., a staunch opponent of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, said the six-hour debate on the amendment reminded her of “the failure to have a thorough and robust debate in the wake of 9/11,” which, she said resulted in an overly broad authorization that was a “blank check for perpetual war.”

Other members voted against the amendment because they worried of an opposite effect. Louisiana Republican John Fleming expressed concern that the authorization was “little more than an incremental strategy, not unlike the one used in Vietnam.”

“History warns of the dangers of such approaches,” Fleming said. “By moving hesitantly in piecemeal fashion, the enemy has more time to learn, adapt and get stronger. This is a recipe for a stalemate and failure.”

Many other lawmakers expressed concern over the stated strategy of arming the Free Syrian Army. They said there was no guarantee those rebels would always be allies of the United States, or that they wouldn’t simply use their U.S.-supplied weapons to take down Syrian President Bashar al-Assad instead of ISIL.

The Obama administration says there will be a thorough vetting process before any Syrian rebel is handed a weapon, but, by Wednesday, many lawmakers remained less than convinced. California Republican Dana Rohrabacher called the administration’s plan “wishful thinking, not realistic planning.”

But congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle insisted the authority was needed.

Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said earlier Wednesday that Obama deserved the support of Democrats in what she acknowledged was a “war vote,” but a proposal that was “discrete” and “short-term.”

“It is not pleasant, it’s not easy,” Pelosi later said on the House floor. “It’s hard. But it really is necessary for the House to approve this.”

Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., said ISIL was already threatening U.S. allies in the Middle East and in Europe.  ”And if left unchecked,” he said, “it will surely threaten us here at home.”

The ranking Democrat on the Armed Services panel, Adam Smith of Washington, argued that arming Syrian rebels would deny ISIL a “safe-haven,” and Armed Services Chairman Howard “Buck” McKeon of California, who sponsored the amendment, said there was “no doubt” that any strategy to defeat ISIL would need to include a Syria component.

The plan to arm Syrian rebels is a middle-of-the-road response to the rise of ISIL. It isn’t an Authorization for the Use of Military Force, as the amendment explicitly indicates, and it won’t, by itself, dismantle terrorists in the region. But it’s not nothing.

Speaker John A. Boehner appealed to his conference by arguing this was a first step toward defeating ISIL, saying Congress had a responsibility to give the president this authority. While hetold reporters Tuesday there’s “a lot more” the U.S. needed to be doing to address ISIL, the Ohio Republican said there was “no reason not to do what the president asked us to do.”

Already, GOP leaders seem to be indicating that the House may soon consider a new authorization for use of military force for the Middle East, with Majority Leader Kevin McCarthytelling reporters on Monday that, “after November,” there may be an “opportunity” to debate a larger military authorization.

As for the CR itself, the 10-week extension, if it is — as expected — agreed to by the Senate and signed by the president, will force lawmakers to return after the midterm elections and begin work on a more permanent spending solution. Appropriations Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., said he was hopeful the House and Senate could work out an omnibus package similar to the one lawmakers worked out in January 2014.

“It is my sincere hope that if this CR is enacted, we can use the coming months wisely to craft agreement on all 12 bills by Dec. 11,” said the ranking Democrat on the House Appropriations Committee, Nita M. Lowey of New York. “There is absolutely no reason to punt our responsibilities into the new year and new Congress.”

Conservatives had pushed for a longer CR — one that would fund the government until, say, March 1, 2015 — so that a new Congress, perhaps one with a Senate under Republican control, could set the spending levels. Conservatives also voiced concern over extending the Export-Import Bank until June 30, 2015. They wanted to simply let the credit agency expire.

But the reauthorization until June 30 seemed to scare Democrats more than Republicans. Democrats are showing unease that they won’t have a must-pass bill in June to which they can attach another extension of the Ex-Im Bank, and they worry that decoupling the agency from a spending bill will ultimately kill it.

Democrats seemed to understand, however, that holding up the CR over the length of extension on such an inside-the-Beltway issue would not be politically advantageous just before an election.

Passing the CR allows both Republicans and Democrats to get back to their districts early and campaign for about six weeks before the midterms. While the House is scheduled to be in session next week, most aides expect McCarthy to cancel the remaining legislative days before November and send everyone to the campaign trail early.

http://blogs.rollcall.com/218/house-votes-to-arm-syrian-rebels-passes-cr/?dcz=

Clinton insiders screened Benghazi documents before ARB probe, official says

 BY ED MORRISSEY

Just how unfettered was that “unfettered access” promised by the State Department to the Accountability Review Board in the aftermath of the Benghazi attack two years ago? According to one of the four officials punished and then cleared by State for the failures that led to the death of four men, a weekend housecleaning operation kept the ARB from seeing some of the most explosive documentation related to the attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens. Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell told Sharyl Attkisson that the operation was supervised by advisers within Hillary Clinton’s inner circle, in this Daily Signal exclusive:

As the House Select Committee on Benghazi prepares for its first hearing this week, a former State Department diplomat is coming forward with a startling allegation: Hillary Clinton confidants were part of an operation to “separate” damaging documents before they were turned over to the Accountability Review Board investigating security lapses surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.

According to former Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell, the after-hours session took place over a weekend in a basement operations-type center at State Department headquarters in Washington, D.C. This is the first time Maxwell has publicly come forward with the story. …

When he arrived, Maxwell says he observed boxes and stacks of documents. He says a State Department office director, whom Maxwell described as close to Clinton’s top advisers, was there. Though the office director technically worked for him, Maxwell says he wasn’t consulted about her weekend assignment.

“She told me, ‘Ray, we are to go through these stacks and pull out anything that might put anybody in the [Near Eastern Affairs] front office or the seventh floor in a bad light,’” says Maxwell. He says “seventh floor” was State Department shorthand for then-Secretary of State Clinton and her principal advisors.

“I asked her, ‘But isn’t that unethical?’ She responded, ‘Ray, those are our orders.’ ”

Not long afterward, two people high up the State Department chain arrived to check on the operation. Attkisson describes them as “close confidants” of Hillary Clinton, probably from Maxwell’s own description, although neither are named in Attkisson’s report. Maxwell says that both of them accompanied him into another office with a fourth person, where they personally vetted more documents:

Maxwell says after those two officials arrived, he, the office director and an intern moved into a small office where they looked through some papers. Maxwell says his stack included pre-attack telegrams and cables between the U.S. embassy in Tripoli and State Department headquarters. After a short time, Maxwell says he decided to leave.

“I didn’t feel good about it,” he said.

Don’t expect that this will disappear as quietly. Maxwell says that members of the select House committee on Benghazi have already deposed him on this weekend filing session, including both chair Trey Gowdy and Rep. Jason Chaffetz. Chaffetz told Attkisson that he is “100% confident the Benghazi Select Committee is going to dive deep on that issue.”

The ARB has insisted all along that they conducted a thorough and independent probe, a claim at which Maxwell scoffs on both counts in Attkisson’s report. This could let them off the hook, though. If State conspired to hide evidence from them, it will give the ARB an opening to withdraw their report — which would be a PR move entirely, since the ARB had no authoritative status otherwise — and give Congress even more validation for pursuing this in select-committee form. If Maxwell testifies to this in open session and the BSC finds one or more corroborating witnesses, it will put this right back front and center. And we may still yet hear from the unnamed advisers, too, as to what their orders were, and who gave them.

Benghazi Post-Attack Satellite Revelations

Benghazi, Libya showing the locations of the U. S. Consulate and CIA Annex on the outskirts of town

Perplexing questions yet remain surrounding the attacks in Benghazi that killed U.S. Libyan Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

Satellite images taken before and AFTER the attacks, which anyone can view on Google Earth, show evidence of the attacks at both the Consulate and CIA Annex. They help clarify conditions on the ground at the time.

Google Earth (GE) is an incredibly useful online tool. With it, armchair sleuths at home can uncover important details about news events that get overlooked by the big shot mainstream media.

Such is the case with the attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.

Geography and News Events

Google Earth provides two unique capabilities to the armchair sleuth:

  • A scalable geographic look at any place on Earth and its surroundings
  • A history of images of that place to investigate its background and history

Most important for investigating the Benghazi attacks is that the most current GE satellite image of both the Consulate and CIA Annex were taken on 9/17/2012, just 6 days after the attack.

GE’s image history is used to go back and forth between before and after images to identify evidence of the attacks visible from space.

For the attack on the CIA Annex this is particularly important because Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods were killed when hit by mortar fire while defending the Annex from a rooftop position.

The U.S. Consulate


—————————————————————————————————————————————————–

Plainly visible on the satellite image of the Consulate complex are the burned out remains of two vehicles, the charred remains of burnt furniture next to one of the vehicles and the couch and other things tossed into the swimming pool by either the terrorists or looters.

GE shows us that the U.S. Consulate is located on the outskirts of Benghazi in a very open area surrounded by an orchard and soccer field. Contrary to news reports, GE tells us it is in a narrow rectangular shaped property about 300 feet wide and 800 feet long.

The property is surrounded by trees with no visible wall. It was built as a residence. It has two gates.
The back gate has no defenses whatsoever.

The consulate has three main buildings and a guardhouse at the front gate. The front gate has been fortified with barriers since October of 2011. Those barriers are the only visible signs of increased security at the Consulate. The unprotected back gate opens onto Fourth Ring Road, one of the main streets circling Benghazi.

Its three main structures are the consulate building, a detached Ambassador’s residence with saferoom where Ambassador Stephens was found; and a nearby guard barracks near the front gate.

GE history reveals the main consulate building, detached residence and swimming pool were a lonely patch of dirt in August of 2007 and that they were under construction in June of 2009. Little has changed since then.

During the consulate attack Navy SEAL Woods and others came from the CIA Annex, fought their way to consulate, rescued staff and recovered the body of Sean Smith. They took them back to the CIA Annex from the consulate.

The CIA Annex

CIA Annex showing where mortar rounds struck building tops and grounds

Line of sight, the CIA Annex complex is located about a mile from the consulate next to what appears to be a large warehouse with many buildings.

The annex is within a thick wall surrounding a 300 X 400 foot rectangle. It is better fortified and much more defensible than the consulate. It is also closer to civilian targets.

The annex took mortar fire. Mortar strikes show up as distinct smudges on the satellite image near the red dots. Navy SEALs Doherty and Woods were killed by one of the rooftop mortar strikes.

GE history reveals the annex was built some time after June 28th, 2009.

Conclusions

From satellite images it is easy to see why Ambassador Stephens would be seriously concerned about consulate security, especially given all the al Qaeda activity in area and previous attacks.

The consulate, originally built as someone’s house, was barely modified after it was acquired by the U.S. government. It is not even clear from satellite imagery that it had a surrounding wall. Its unguarded back gate opens onto a main Benghazi street and is easily penetrable.

The Annex is better protected and was successfully defended against a physical breach, albeit at the cost of Doherty and Woods who gave their lives defending the annex from a rooftop position.

Woods and Doherty probably deserve the Congressional Medal of Honor for their heroic efforts.

Armchair sleuthing reveals this immutable fact… the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, one of the most dangerous places in the world, was woefully under-protected at the time of the attacks. The warning signs of another inevitable attack were all present. Those up the chain of command had been told.

Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith and the others didn’t stand a chance.
Someone MUST be held accountable!

Intrigue Surrounding The Secret CIA Operation In Benghazi Is Not Going Away

In May CNN’s Jake Tapper argued that the CIA’s presence in Benghazi, where four Americans were killed in an attack on September 11, 2012, should be scrutinized.

Congressman Frank Wolf (R-Va.) agreed, saying: “There are questions that must be asked of the CIA and this must be done in a public way.”

The Agency, for its part, doesn’t want anyone knowing what it was doing in the Libyan port city.

On Thursday Drew Griffin and  of CNN reported that the CIA “is going to great lengths to make sure whatever it was doing, remains a secret.”

Sources told CNN that 35 Americans were in Benghazi that night — 21 of whom were working out of the annex — and that several were wounded, some seriously.

One source said: “You have no idea the amount of pressure being brought to bear on anyone with knowledge of this operation.”

Among the questions are whether CIA missteps contributed to the security failure in Benghazi and, more importantly, whether the Agency’s Benghazi operation had anything to do with reported heavy weapons shipments from the local port to Syrian rebels.

In short, the CIA operation is the most intriguing thing about Benghazi.

Here’s what we know:

benghaziThe attack

At about 9:40 p.m. local time on Sept. 11, a mob of Libyans attacked a building housing U.S. State Department personnel. At 10:20 p.m. Americans arrived from a CIA annex located 1.2 miles away, to help the besieged Americans. At 11:15 p.m. they fled with survivors back to the secret outpost.

Armed Libyans followed them and attacked the annex with rockets and small arms from around midnight to 1:00 a.m., when there was a lull in the fighting.

Glen Doherty, a former Navy SEAL and CIA security contractor, was with a team of Joint Special Operations Command military operators and CIA agents in Tripoli at the time of the attack. When they received word of the assault on the mission, Doherty and six others bribed the pilots of small jet with $30,000 cash for a ride to Benghazi.

At about 5:15 a.m., right after Doherty’s group arrived, the attackers began shooting mortars at the annex, leading to the death of Doherty and fellow former Navy SEAL and CIA contractor Tyrone Woods.

At 6 a.m. Libyan forces from the military intelligence service arrived and subsequently took more than 30 Americans — only seven of whom were from the State Department — to the Benghazi airport.

So the CIA’s response to go to the mission where Ambassador Christopher Stevens was located, after being held back for 20 minutes, saved American lives but also ended up exposing the annex.

And according to Paula Broadwell, the mistress of David Petraeus when he was CIA director, the CIA may have provided an impetus for the attack by holding prisoners: “Now I don’t know if a lot of you heard this, but the CIA annex had taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner and they think that the attack on the consulate was an effort to try to get these prisoners back.”charlene lamb

At its heart a CIA operation’

The top-secret presence and location of the CIA outpost was first acknowledged by Charlene Lamb, a top official in the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, during Congressional testimony in October.

Representatives Jason Chaffetz and Darrell Issa immediately called a point of order when Lamb exposed the location of the annex, and asked for the revelation to be stricken from the record.

“I totally object to the use of that photo,” Chaffetz. said. “I was told specifically while I was in Libya I could not and should not ever talk about what you’re showing here today.”

In November The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. mission in Benghazi “was at its heart a CIA operation.”

In January, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Congress that the CIA was leading a “concerted effort to try to track down and find and recover … MANPADS [man-portable air defense systems]” looted from the stockpiles of toppled Libyan ruler Muammar Qaddafi.

The State Department “consulate” served as diplomatic cover for the previously-hidden annex.

AnnexWeapons from Benghazi to Syria

Also in October we reported the connection between Ambassador Stevens, who died in the attack, and a reported September shipment of SA-7 surface-to-air anti-craft missiles (i.e. MANPADS) and rocket-propelled grenades from Benghazi to Syria through southern Turkey.

That 400-ton shipment — “the largest consignment of weapons” yet for Syrian rebels — was organized by Abdelhakim Belhadj, who was the newly-appointed head of the Tripoli Military Council.

In March 2011 Stevens, the official U.S. liaison to the al-Qaeda-linked Libyan rebels, worked directly with Belhadj while he headed the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.

Stevens’ last meeting on Sept. 11 was with Turkish Consul General Ali Sait Akin, and a source told Fox News that Stevens was in Benghazi “to negotiate a weapons transfer in an effort to get SA-7 missiles out of the hands of Libya-based extremists.”

Syrian rebels subsequently began shooting down Syrian helicopters and fighter jets with SA-7s akin to those in Qaddafi’s looted stock. (The interim Libyan government also sent money and fighters to Syria.)

What did the CIA know?

Collectively these details raise the question of what the CIA knew, given that Agency operatives in Libya were rounding up SA-7s, ostensibly to destroy them, while operatives in southern Turkey were funneling weapons to the rebels.

The State Department told CNN that it was not involved in any transfer of weapons to other countries, but it “can’t speak for any other agencies.”

Ambassador Stevens certainly would have known if the new Libyan government was sending 400 tons of heavy weapons to Turkey from Benghazi’s port.

Just like the CIA would know if those the weapons arrived in Turkey and began showing up in Syria.

Journalist Damien Spleeters created this sourced map, drawing info shared on social media such as YouTube, that gives an idea of the MANPADS presence in Syria.

We’ve added red tag noting the Turkish port, Iskenderun, where the massive SA-7 shipment docked.

And this map of nearby Turkish highways shows that the heavy weapons could have been transported from the port to the Syrian city of Aleppo in three hours.

syriaOther intriguing details

This week Nancy Youssef of McClatchy reported that Ambassador Stevens twice turned down offers for additional security, despite specifically asking for more men in cables to the State Department.

Right after the attack American Matthew VanDyke, who fought with Libyan rebels during their revolution, told us he suspected that extremist groups in the nearby mountains — who felt marginalized by the new Libyan government — “saw their opportunity to pounce.”

In May Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kent.) told CNN: “I’ve actually always suspected that, although I have no evidence, that maybe we were facilitating arms leaving Libya going through Turkey into Syria. … Were they trying to obscure that there was an arms operation going on at the CIA annex? I’m not sure exactly what was going on, but I think questions ought to be asked and answered.”

So now that the White House has released more than 100 pages of Benghazi emails, and the State Department’s role during and after the attack have been probed ad nauseam, the only thing to explore is “whatever [the CIA] was doing.”

http://www.businessinsider.com/the-secret-cia-mission-in-benghazi-2013-8

UN has testimony showing Syrian rebels used sarin gas

WW3 UPDATE – U.S. Intelligence: Rebels Used Sarin Gas

U.N. Strong Suspicions That Syrian Rebels Used Sarin Gas

Syria Gas Attack – ‘Eyes Twitching, Noses Foaming’ (CNN, 30Aug13)

Al-Qaeda’s Jabhat al-Nusra Caught with Sarin Gas inside Turkey

Seymour Hersh: Obama “Cherry Picked” Intel on Syrian Chemical Attack to Justify U.S. Strike (1 of 2)

Seymour Hersh: Obama “Cherry Picked” Intel on Syrian Chemical Attack to Justify U.S. Strike (2 of 2)

Sy Hersh Reveals Potential Turkish Role in Syria Chemical Strike That Almost Sparked U.S. Bombing

U.S. Ship Finishes Neutralizing Syria’s Worst Chemical Arms: Pentagon

Syrian Sarin gas chemicals destroyed.

 

 

The Red Line and the Rat Line

Seymour M. Hersh on Obama, Erdoğan and the Syrian rebels

In 2011 Barack Obama led an allied military intervention in Libya without consulting the US Congress. Last August, after the sarin attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, he was ready to launch an allied air strike, this time to punish the Syrian government for allegedly crossing the ‘red line’ he had set in 2012 on the use of chemical weapons.​* Then with less than two days to go before the planned strike, he announced that he would seek congressional approval for the intervention. The strike was postponed as Congress prepared for hearings, and subsequently cancelled when Obama accepted Assad’s offer to relinquish his chemical arsenal in a deal brokered by Russia. Why did Obama delay and then relent on Syria when he was not shy about rushing into Libya? The answer lies in a clash between those in the administration who were committed to enforcing the red line, and military leaders who thought that going to war was both unjustified and potentially disastrous.

Obama’s change of mind had its origins at Porton Down, the defence laboratory in Wiltshire. British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal. The message that the case against Syria wouldn’t hold up was quickly relayed to the US joint chiefs of staff. The British report heightened doubts inside the Pentagon; the joint chiefs were already preparing to warn Obama that his plans for a far-reaching bomb and missile attack on Syria’s infrastructure could lead to a wider war in the Middle East. As a consequence the American officers delivered a last-minute caution to the president, which, in their view, eventually led to his cancelling the attack.

For months there had been acute concern among senior military leaders and the intelligence community about the role in the war of Syria’s neighbours, especially Turkey. Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan was known to be supporting the al-Nusra Front, a jihadist faction among the rebel opposition, as well as other Islamist rebel groups. ‘We knew there were some in the Turkish government,’ a former senior US intelligence official, who has access to current intelligence, told me, ‘who believed they could get Assad’s nuts in a vice by dabbling with a sarin attack inside Syria – and forcing Obama to make good on his red line threat.’

The joint chiefs also knew that the Obama administration’s public claims that only the Syrian army had access to sarin were wrong. The American and British intelligence communities had been aware since the spring of 2013 that some rebel units in Syria were developing chemical weapons. On 20 June analysts for the US Defense Intelligence Agency issued a highly classified five-page ‘talking points’ briefing for the DIA’s deputy director, David Shedd, which stated that al-Nusra maintained a sarin production cell: its programme, the paper said, was ‘the most advanced sarin plot since al-Qaida’s pre-9/11 effort’. (According to a Defense Department consultant, US intelligence has long known that al-Qaida experimented with chemical weapons, and has a video of one of its gas experiments with dogs.) The DIA paper went on: ‘Previous IC [intelligence community] focus had been almost entirely on Syrian CW [chemical weapons] stockpiles; now we see ANF attempting to make its own CW … Al-Nusrah Front’s relative freedom of operation within Syria leads us to assess the group’s CW aspirations will be difficult to disrupt in the future.’ The paper drew on classified intelligence from numerous agencies: ‘Turkey and Saudi-based chemical facilitators,’ it said, ‘were attempting to obtain sarin precursors in bulk, tens of kilograms, likely for the anticipated large scale production effort in Syria.’ (Asked about the DIA paper, a spokesperson for the director of national intelligence said: ‘No such paper was ever requested or produced by intelligence community analysts.’)

Last May, more than ten members of the al-Nusra Front were arrested in southern Turkey with what local police told the press were two kilograms of sarin. In a 130-page indictment the group was accused of attempting to purchase fuses, piping for the construction of mortars, and chemical precursors for sarin. Five of those arrested were freed after a brief detention. The others, including the ringleader, Haytham Qassab, for whom the prosecutor requested a prison sentence of 25 years, were released pending trial. In the meantime the Turkish press has been rife with speculation that the Erdoğan administration has been covering up the extent of its involvement with the rebels. In a news conference last summer, Aydin Sezgin, Turkey’s ambassador to Moscow, dismissed the arrests and claimed to reporters that the recovered ‘sarin’ was merely ‘anti-freeze’.

The DIA paper took the arrests as evidence that al-Nusra was expanding its access to chemical weapons. It said Qassab had ‘self-identified’ as a member of al-Nusra, and that he was directly connected to Abd-al-Ghani, the ‘ANF emir for military manufacturing’. Qassab and his associate Khalid Ousta worked with Halit Unalkaya, an employee of a Turkish firm called Zirve Export, who provided ‘price quotes for bulk quantities of sarin precursors’. Abd-al-Ghani’s plan was for two associates to ‘perfect a process for making sarin, then go to Syria to train others to begin large scale production at an unidentified lab in Syria’. The DIA paper said that one of his operatives had purchased a precursor on the ‘Baghdad chemical market’, which ‘has supported at least seven CW efforts since 2004’.

A series of chemical weapon attacks in March and April 2013 was investigated over the next few months by a special UN mission to Syria. A person with close knowledge of the UN’s activity in Syria told me that there was evidence linking the Syrian opposition to the first gas attack, on 19 March in Khan Al-Assal, a village near Aleppo. In its final report in December, the mission said that at least 19 civilians and one Syrian soldier were among the fatalities, along with scores of injured. It had no mandate to assign responsibility for the attack, but the person with knowledge of the UN’s activities said: ‘Investigators interviewed the people who were there, including the doctors who treated the victims. It was clear that the rebels used the gas. It did not come out in public because no one wanted to know.’

In the months before the attacks began, a former senior Defense Department official told me, the DIA was circulating a daily classified report known as SYRUP on all intelligence related to the Syrian conflict, including material on chemical weapons. But in the spring, distribution of the part of the report concerning chemical weapons was severely curtailed on the orders of Denis McDonough, the White House chief of staff. ‘Something was in there that triggered a shit fit by McDonough,’ the former Defense Department official said. ‘One day it was a huge deal, and then, after the March and April sarin attacks’ – he snapped his fingers – ‘it’s no longer there.’ The decision to restrict distribution was made as the joint chiefs ordered intensive contingency planning for a possible ground invasion of Syria whose primary objective would be the elimination of chemical weapons.

The former intelligence official said that many in the US national security establishment had long been troubled by the president’s red line: ‘The joint chiefs asked the White House, “What does red line mean? How does that translate into military orders? Troops on the ground? Massive strike? Limited strike?” They tasked military intelligence to study how we could carry out the threat. They learned nothing more about the president’s reasoning.’

In the aftermath of the 21 August attack Obama ordered the Pentagon to draw up targets for bombing. Early in the process, the former intelligence official said, ‘the White House rejected 35 target sets provided by the joint chiefs of staff as being insufficiently “painful” to the Assad regime.’ The original targets included only military sites and nothing by way of civilian infrastructure. Under White House pressure, the US attack plan evolved into ‘a monster strike’: two wings of B-52 bombers were shifted to airbases close to Syria, and navy submarines and ships equipped with Tomahawk missiles were deployed. ‘Every day the target list was getting longer,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘The Pentagon planners said we can’t use only Tomahawks to strike at Syria’s missile sites because their warheads are buried too far below ground, so the two B-52 air wings with two-thousand pound bombs were assigned to the mission. Then we’ll need standby search-and-rescue teams to recover downed pilots and drones for target selection. It became huge.’ The new target list was meant to ‘completely eradicate any military capabilities Assad had’, the former intelligence official said. The core targets included electric power grids, oil and gas depots, all known logistic and weapons depots, all known command and control facilities, and all known military and intelligence buildings.

Britain and France were both to play a part. On 29 August, the day Parliament voted against Cameron’s bid to join the intervention, the Guardian reported that he had already ordered six RAF Typhoon fighter jets to be deployed to Cyprus, and had volunteered a submarine capable of launching Tomahawk missiles. The French air force – a crucial player in the 2011 strikes on Libya – was deeply committed, according to an account in Le Nouvel Observateur; François Hollande had ordered several Rafale fighter-bombers to join the American assault. Their targets were reported to be in western Syria.

By the last days of August the president had given the Joint Chiefs a fixed deadline for the launch. ‘H hour was to begin no later than Monday morning [2 September], a massive assault to neutralise Assad,’ the former intelligence official said. So it was a surprise to many when during a speech in the White House Rose Garden on 31 August Obama said that the attack would be put on hold, and he would turn to Congress and put it to a vote.

At this stage, Obama’s premise – that only the Syrian army was capable of deploying sarin – was unravelling. Within a few days of the 21 August attack, the former intelligence official told me, Russian military intelligence operatives had recovered samples of the chemical agent from Ghouta. They analysed it and passed it on to British military intelligence; this was the material sent to Porton Down. (A spokesperson for Porton Down said: ‘Many of the samples analysed in the UK tested positive for the nerve agent sarin.’ MI6 said that it doesn’t comment on intelligence matters.)

The former intelligence official said the Russian who delivered the sample to the UK was ‘a good source – someone with access, knowledge and a record of being trustworthy’. After the first reported uses of chemical weapons in Syria last year, American and allied intelligence agencies ‘made an effort to find the answer as to what if anything, was used – and its source’, the former intelligence official said. ‘We use data exchanged as part of the Chemical Weapons Convention. The DIA’s baseline consisted of knowing the composition of each batch of Soviet-manufactured chemical weapons. But we didn’t know which batches the Assad government currently had in its arsenal. Within days of the Damascus incident we asked a source in the Syrian government to give us a list of the batches the government currently had. This is why we could confirm the difference so quickly.’

The process hadn’t worked as smoothly in the spring, the former intelligence official said, because the studies done by Western intelligence ‘were inconclusive as to the type of gas it was. The word “sarin” didn’t come up. There was a great deal of discussion about this, but since no one could conclude what gas it was, you could not say that Assad had crossed the president’s red line.’ By 21 August, the former intelligence official went on, ‘the Syrian opposition clearly had learned from this and announced that “sarin” from the Syrian army had been used, before any analysis could be made, and the press and White House jumped at it. Since it now was sarin, “It had to be Assad.”’

The UK defence staff who relayed the Porton Down findings to the joint chiefs were sending the Americans a message, the former intelligence official said: ‘We’re being set up here.’ (This account made sense of a terse message a senior official in the CIA sent in late August: ‘It was not the result of the current regime. UK & US know this.’) By then the attack was a few days away and American, British and French planes, ships and submarines were at the ready.

The officer ultimately responsible for the planning and execution of the attack was General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs. From the beginning of the crisis, the former intelligence official said, the joint chiefs had been sceptical of the administration’s argument that it had the facts to back up its belief in Assad’s guilt. They pressed the DIA and other agencies for more substantial evidence. ‘There was no way they thought Syria would use nerve gas at that stage, because Assad was winning the war,’ the former intelligence official said. Dempsey had irritated many in the Obama administration by repeatedly warning Congress over the summer of the danger of American military involvement in Syria. Last April, after an optimistic assessment of rebel progress by the secretary of state, John Kerry, in front of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Dempsey told the Senate Armed Services Committee that ‘there’s a risk that this conflict has become stalemated.’

Dempsey’s initial view after 21 August was that a US strike on Syria – under the assumption that the Assad government was responsible for the sarin attack – would be a military blunder, the former intelligence official said. The Porton Down report caused the joint chiefs to go to the president with a more serious worry: that the attack sought by the White House would be an unjustified act of aggression. It was the joint chiefs who led Obama to change course. The official White House explanation for the turnabout – the story the press corps told – was that the president, during a walk in the Rose Garden with Denis McDonough, his chief of staff, suddenly decided to seek approval for the strike from a bitterly divided Congress with which he’d been in conflict for years. The former Defense Department official told me that the White House provided a different explanation to members of the civilian leadership of the Pentagon: the bombing had been called off because there was intelligence ‘that the Middle East would go up in smoke’ if it was carried out.

The president’s decision to go to Congress was initially seen by senior aides in the White House, the former intelligence official said, as a replay of George W. Bush’s gambit in the autumn of 2002 before the invasion of Iraq: ‘When it became clear that there were no WMD in Iraq, Congress, which had endorsed the Iraqi war, and the White House both shared the blame and repeatedly cited faulty intelligence. If the current Congress were to vote to endorse the strike, the White House could again have it both ways – wallop Syria with a massive attack and validate the president’s red line commitment, while also being able to share the blame with Congress if it came out that the Syrian military wasn’t behind the attack.’ The turnabout came as a surprise even to the Democratic leadership in Congress. In September the Wall Street Journal reported that three days before his Rose Garden speech Obama had telephoned Nancy Pelosi, leader of the House Democrats, ‘to talk through the options’. She later told colleagues, according to the Journal, that she hadn’t asked the president to put the bombing to a congressional vote.

Obama’s move for congressional approval quickly became a dead end. ‘Congress was not going to let this go by,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘Congress made it known that, unlike the authorisation for the Iraq war, there would be substantive hearings.’ At this point, there was a sense of desperation in the White House, the former intelligence official said. ‘And so out comes Plan B. Call off the bombing strike and Assad would agree to unilaterally sign the chemical warfare treaty and agree to the destruction of all of chemical weapons under UN supervision.’ At a press conference in London on 9 September, Kerry was still talking about intervention: ‘The risk of not acting is greater than the risk of acting.’ But when a reporter asked if there was anything Assad could do to stop the bombing, Kerry said: ‘Sure. He could turn over every single bit of his chemical weapons to the international community in the next week … But he isn’t about to do it, and it can’t be done, obviously.’ As the New York Times reported the next day, the Russian-brokered deal that emerged shortly afterwards had first been discussed by Obama and Putin in the summer of 2012. Although the strike plans were shelved, the administration didn’t change its public assessment of the justification for going to war. ‘There is zero tolerance at that level for the existence of error,’ the former intelligence official said of the senior officials in the White House. ‘They could not afford to say: “We were wrong.”’ (The DNI spokesperson said: ‘The Assad regime, and only the Assad regime, could have been responsible for the chemical weapons attack that took place on 21 August.’)

*

The full extent of US co-operation with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in assisting the rebel opposition in Syria has yet to come to light. The Obama administration has never publicly admitted to its role in creating what the CIA calls a ‘rat line’, a back channel highway into Syria. The rat line, authorised in early 2012, was used to funnel weapons and ammunition from Libya via southern Turkey and across the Syrian border to the opposition. Many of those in Syria who ultimately received the weapons were jihadists, some of them affiliated with al-Qaida. (The DNI spokesperson said: ‘The idea that the United States was providing weapons from Libya to anyone is false.’)

In January, the Senate Intelligence Committee released a report on the assault by a local militia in September 2012 on the American consulate and a nearby undercover CIA facility in Benghazi, which resulted in the death of the US ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and three others. The report’s criticism of the State Department for not providing adequate security at the consulate, and of the intelligence community for not alerting the US military to the presence of a CIA outpost in the area, received front-page coverage and revived animosities in Washington, with Republicans accusing Obama and Hillary Clinton of a cover-up. A highly classified annex to the report, not made public, described a secret agreement reached in early 2012 between the Obama and Erdoğan administrations. It pertained to the rat line. By the terms of the agreement, funding came from Turkey, as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar; the CIA, with the support of MI6, was responsible for getting arms from Gaddafi’s arsenals into Syria. A number of front companies were set up in Libya, some under the cover of Australian entities. Retired American soldiers, who didn’t always know who was really employing them, were hired to manage procurement and shipping. The operation was run by David Petraeus, the CIA director who would soon resign when it became known he was having an affair with his biographer. (A spokesperson for Petraeus denied the operation ever took place.)

The operation had not been disclosed at the time it was set up to the congressional intelligence committees and the congressional leadership, as required by law since the 1970s. The involvement of MI6 enabled the CIA to evade the law by classifying the mission as a liaison operation. The former intelligence official explained that for years there has been a recognised exception in the law that permits the CIA not to report liaison activity to Congress, which would otherwise be owed a finding. (All proposed CIA covert operations must be described in a written document, known as a ‘finding’, submitted to the senior leadership of Congress for approval.) Distribution of the annex was limited to the staff aides who wrote the report and to the eight ranking members of Congress – the Democratic and Republican leaders of the House and Senate, and the Democratic and Republicans leaders on the House and Senate intelligence committees. This hardly constituted a genuine attempt at oversight: the eight leaders are not known to gather together to raise questions or discuss the secret information they receive.

The annex didn’t tell the whole story of what happened in Benghazi before the attack, nor did it explain why the American consulate was attacked. ‘The consulate’s only mission was to provide cover for the moving of arms,’ the former intelligence official, who has read the annex, said. ‘It had no real political role.’

Washington abruptly ended the CIA’s role in the transfer of arms from Libya after the attack on the consulate, but the rat line kept going. ‘The United States was no longer in control of what the Turks were relaying to the jihadists,’ the former intelligence official said. Within weeks, as many as forty portable surface-to-air missile launchers, commonly known as manpads, were in the hands of Syrian rebels. On 28 November 2012, Joby Warrick of the Washington Post reported that the previous day rebels near Aleppo had used what was almost certainly a manpad to shoot down a Syrian transport helicopter. ‘The Obama administration,’ Warrick wrote, ‘has steadfastly opposed arming Syrian opposition forces with such missiles, warning that the weapons could fall into the hands of terrorists and be used to shoot down commercial aircraft.’ Two Middle Eastern intelligence officials fingered Qatar as the source, and a former US intelligence analyst speculated that the manpads could have been obtained from Syrian military outposts overrun by the rebels. There was no indication that the rebels’ possession of manpads was likely the unintended consequence of a covert US programme that was no longer under US control.

By the end of 2012, it was believed throughout the American intelligence community that the rebels were losing the war. ‘Erdoğan was pissed,’ the former intelligence official said, ‘and felt he was left hanging on the vine. It was his money and the cut-off was seen as a betrayal.’ In spring 2013 US intelligence learned that the Turkish government – through elements of the MIT, its national intelligence agency, and the Gendarmerie, a militarised law-enforcement organisation – was working directly with al-Nusra and its allies to develop a chemical warfare capability. ‘The MIT was running the political liaison with the rebels, and the Gendarmerie handled military logistics, on-the-scene advice and training – including training in chemical warfare,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘Stepping up Turkey’s role in spring 2013 was seen as the key to its problems there. Erdoğan knew that if he stopped his support of the jihadists it would be all over. The Saudis could not support the war because of logistics – the distances involved and the difficulty of moving weapons and supplies. Erdoğan’s hope was to instigate an event that would force the US to cross the red line. But Obama didn’t respond in March and April.’

There was no public sign of discord when Erdoğan and Obama met on 16 May 2013 at the White House. At a later press conference Obama said that they had agreed that Assad ‘needs to go’. Asked whether he thought Syria had crossed the red line, Obama acknowledged that there was evidence such weapons had been used, but added, ‘it is important for us to make sure that we’re able to get more specific information about what exactly is happening there.’ The red line was still intact.

An American foreign policy expert who speaks regularly with officials in Washington and Ankara told me about a working dinner Obama held for Erdoğan during his May visit. The meal was dominated by the Turks’ insistence that Syria had crossed the red line and their complaints that Obama was reluctant to do anything about it. Obama was accompanied by John Kerry and Tom Donilon, the national security adviser who would soon leave the job. Erdoğan was joined by Ahmet Davutoğlu, Turkey’s foreign minister, and Hakan Fidan, the head of the MIT. Fidan is known to be fiercely loyal to Erdoğan, and has been seen as a consistent backer of the radical rebel opposition in Syria.

The foreign policy expert told me that the account he heard originated with Donilon. (It was later corroborated by a former US official, who learned of it from a senior Turkish diplomat.) According to the expert, Erdoğan had sought the meeting to demonstrate to Obama that the red line had been crossed, and had brought Fidan along to state the case. When Erdoğan tried to draw Fidan into the conversation, and Fidan began speaking, Obama cut him off and said: ‘We know.’ Erdoğan tried to bring Fidan in a second time, and Obama again cut him off and said: ‘We know.’ At that point, an exasperated Erdoğan said, ‘But your red line has been crossed!’ and, the expert told me, ‘Donilon said Erdoğan “fucking waved his finger at the president inside the White House”.’ Obama then pointed at Fidan and said: ‘We know what you’re doing with the radicals in Syria.’ (Donilon, who joined the Council on Foreign Relations last July, didn’t respond to questions about this story. The Turkish Foreign Ministry didn’t respond to questions about the dinner. A spokesperson for the National Security Council confirmed that the dinner took place and provided a photograph showing Obama, Kerry, Donilon, Erdoğan, Fidan and Davutoğlu sitting at a table. ‘Beyond that,’ she said, ‘I’m not going to read out the details of their discussions.’)

But Erdoğan did not leave empty handed. Obama was still permitting Turkey to continue to exploit a loophole in a presidential executive order prohibiting the export of gold to Iran, part of the US sanctions regime against the country. In March 2012, responding to sanctions of Iranian banks by the EU, the SWIFT electronic payment system, which facilitates cross-border payments, expelled dozens of Iranian financial institutions, severely restricting the country’s ability to conduct international trade. The US followed with the executive order in July, but left what came to be known as a ‘golden loophole’: gold shipments to private Iranian entities could continue. Turkey is a major purchaser of Iranian oil and gas, and it took advantage of the loophole by depositing its energy payments in Turkish lira in an Iranian account in Turkey; these funds were then used to purchase Turkish gold for export to confederates in Iran. Gold to the value of $13 billion reportedly entered Iran in this way between March 2012 and July 2013.

The programme quickly became a cash cow for corrupt politicians and traders in Turkey, Iran and the United Arab Emirates. ‘The middlemen did what they always do,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘Take 15 per cent. The CIA had estimated that there was as much as two billion dollars in skim. Gold and Turkish lira were sticking to fingers.’ The illicit skimming flared into a public ‘gas for gold’ scandal in Turkey in December, and resulted in charges against two dozen people, including prominent businessmen and relatives of government officials, as well as the resignations of three ministers, one of whom called for Erdoğan to resign. The chief executive of a Turkish state-controlled bank that was in the middle of the scandal insisted that more than $4.5 million in cash found by police in shoeboxes during a search of his home was for charitable donations.

Late last year Jonathan Schanzer and Mark Dubowitz reported in Foreign Policy that the Obama administration closed the golden loophole in January 2013, but ‘lobbied to make sure the legislation … did not take effect for six months’. They speculated that the administration wanted to use the delay as an incentive to bring Iran to the bargaining table over its nuclear programme, or to placate its Turkish ally in the Syrian civil war. The delay permitted Iran to ‘accrue billions of dollars more in gold, further undermining the sanctions regime’.

*

The American decision to end CIA support of the weapons shipments into Syria left Erdoğan exposed politically and militarily. ‘One of the issues at that May summit was the fact that Turkey is the only avenue to supply the rebels in Syria,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘It can’t come through Jordan because the terrain in the south is wide open and the Syrians are all over it. And it can’t come through the valleys and hills of Lebanon – you can’t be sure who you’d meet on the other side.’ Without US military support for the rebels, the former intelligence official said, ‘Erdoğan’s dream of having a client state in Syria is evaporating and he thinks we’re the reason why. When Syria wins the war, he knows the rebels are just as likely to turn on him – where else can they go? So now he will have thousands of radicals in his backyard.’

A US intelligence consultant told me that a few weeks before 21 August he saw a highly classified briefing prepared for Dempsey and the defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, which described ‘the acute anxiety’ of the Erdoğan administration about the rebels’ dwindling prospects. The analysis warned that the Turkish leadership had expressed ‘the need to do something that would precipitate a US military response’. By late summer, the Syrian army still had the advantage over the rebels, the former intelligence official said, and only American air power could turn the tide. In the autumn, the former intelligence official went on, the US intelligence analysts who kept working on the events of 21 August ‘sensed that Syria had not done the gas attack. But the 500 pound gorilla was, how did it happen? The immediate suspect was the Turks, because they had all the pieces to make it happen.’

As intercepts and other data related to the 21 August attacks were gathered, the intelligence community saw evidence to support its suspicions. ‘We now know it was a covert action planned by Erdoğan’s people to push Obama over the red line,’ the former intelligence official said. ‘They had to escalate to a gas attack in or near Damascus when the UN inspectors’ – who arrived in Damascus on 18 August to investigate the earlier use of gas – ‘were there. The deal was to do something spectacular. Our senior military officers have been told by the DIA and other intelligence assets that the sarin was supplied through Turkey – that it could only have gotten there with Turkish support. The Turks also provided the training in producing the sarin and handling it.’ Much of the support for that assessment came from the Turks themselves, via intercepted conversations in the immediate aftermath of the attack. ‘Principal evidence came from the Turkish post-attack joy and back-slapping in numerous intercepts. Operations are always so super-secret in the planning but that all flies out the window when it comes to crowing afterwards. There is no greater vulnerability than in the perpetrators claiming credit for success.’ Erdoğan’s problems in Syria would soon be over: ‘Off goes the gas and Obama will say red line and America is going to attack Syria, or at least that was the idea. But it did not work out that way.’

The post-attack intelligence on Turkey did not make its way to the White House. ‘Nobody wants to talk about all this,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘There is great reluctance to contradict the president, although no all-source intelligence community analysis supported his leap to convict. There has not been one single piece of additional evidence of Syrian involvement in the sarin attack produced by the White House since the bombing raid was called off. My government can’t say anything because we have acted so irresponsibly. And since we blamed Assad, we can’t go back and blame Erdoğan.’

Turkey’s willingness to manipulate events in Syria to its own purposes seemed to be demonstrated late last month, a few days before a round of local elections, when a recording, allegedly of a government national security meeting, was posted to YouTube. It included discussion of a false-flag operation that would justify an incursion by the Turkish military in Syria. The operation centred on the tomb of Suleyman Shah, the grandfather of the revered Osman I, founder of the Ottoman Empire, which is near Aleppo and was ceded to Turkey in 1921, when Syria was under French rule. One of the Islamist rebel factions was threatening to destroy the tomb as a site of idolatry, and the Erdoğan administration was publicly threatening retaliation if harm came to it. According to a Reuters report of the leaked conversation, a voice alleged to be Fidan’s spoke of creating a provocation: ‘Now look, my commander, if there is to be justification, the justification is I send four men to the other side. I get them to fire eight missiles into empty land [in the vicinity of the tomb]. That’s not a problem. Justification can be created.’ The Turkish government acknowledged that there had been a national security meeting about threats emanating from Syria, but said the recording had been manipulated. The government subsequently blocked public access to YouTube.

Barring a major change in policy by Obama, Turkey’s meddling in the Syrian civil war is likely to go on. ‘I asked my colleagues if there was any way to stop Erdoğan’s continued support for the rebels, especially now that it’s going so wrong,’ the former intelligence official told me. ‘The answer was: “We’re screwed.” We could go public if it was somebody other than Erdoğan, but Turkey is a special case. They’re a Nato ally. The Turks don’t trust the West. They can’t live with us if we take any active role against Turkish interests. If we went public with what we know about Erdoğan’s role with the gas, it’d be disastrous. The Turks would say: “We hate you for telling us what we can and can’t do.”’

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n08/seymour-m-hersh/the-red-line-and-the-rat-line

 

Whose sarin?

Seymour M. Hersh

Barack Obama did not tell the whole story this autumn when he tried to make the case that Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the chemical weapons attack near Damascus on 21 August. In some instances, he omitted important intelligence, and in others he presented assumptions as facts. Most significant, he failed to acknowledge something known to the US intelligence community: that the Syrian army is not the only party in the country’s civil war with access to sarin, the nerve agent that a UN study concluded – without assessing responsibility – had been used in the rocket attack. In the months before the attack, the American intelligence agencies produced a series of highly classified reports, culminating in a formal Operations Order – a planning document that precedes a ground invasion – citing evidence that the al-Nusra Front, a jihadi group affiliated with al-Qaida, had mastered the mechanics of creating sarin and was capable of manufacturing it in quantity. When the attack occurred al-Nusra should have been a suspect, but the administration cherry-picked intelligence to justify a strike against Assad.

In his nationally televised speech about Syria on 10 September, Obama laid the blame for the nerve gas attack on the rebel-held suburb of Eastern Ghouta firmly on Assad’s government, and made it clear he was prepared to back up his earlier public warnings that any use of chemical weapons would cross a ‘red line’: ‘Assad’s government gassed to death over a thousand people,’ he said. ‘We know the Assad regime was responsible … And that is why, after careful deliberation, I determined that it is in the national security interests of the United States to respond to the Assad regime’s use of chemical weapons through a targeted military strike.’ Obama was going to war to back up a public threat, but he was doing so without knowing for sure who did what in the early morning of 21 August.

He cited a list of what appeared to be hard-won evidence of Assad’s culpability: ‘In the days leading up to August 21st, we know that Assad’s chemical weapons personnel prepared for an attack near an area where they mix sarin gas. They distributed gas masks to their troops. Then they fired rockets from a regime-controlled area into 11 neighbourhoods that the regime has been trying to wipe clear of opposition forces.’ Obama’s certainty was echoed at the time by Denis McDonough, his chief of staff, who told the New York Times: ‘No one with whom I’ve spoken doubts the intelligence’ directly linking Assad and his regime to the sarin attacks.

But in recent interviews with intelligence and military officers and consultants past and present, I found intense concern, and on occasion anger, over what was repeatedly seen as the deliberate manipulation of intelligence. One high-level intelligence officer, in an email to a colleague, called the administration’s assurances of Assad’s responsibility a ‘ruse’. The attack ‘was not the result of the current regime’, he wrote. A former senior intelligence official told me that the Obama administration had altered the available information – in terms of its timing and sequence – to enable the president and his advisers to make intelligence retrieved days after the attack look as if it had been picked up and analysed in real time, as the attack was happening. The distortion, he said, reminded him of the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, when the Johnson administration reversed the sequence of National Security Agency intercepts to justify one of the early bombings of North Vietnam. The same official said there was immense frustration inside the military and intelligence bureaucracy: ‘The guys are throwing their hands in the air and saying, “How can we help this guy” – Obama – “when he and his cronies in the White House make up the intelligence as they go along?”’

The complaints focus on what Washington did not have: any advance warning from the assumed source of the attack. The military intelligence community has for years produced a highly classified early morning intelligence summary, known as the Morning Report, for the secretary of defence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; a copy also goes to the national security adviser and the director of national intelligence. The Morning Report includes no political or economic information, but provides a summary of important military events around the world, with all available intelligence about them. A senior intelligence consultant told me that some time after the attack he reviewed the reports for 20 August through 23 August. For two days – 20 and 21 August – there was no mention of Syria. On 22 August the lead item in the Morning Report dealt with Egypt; a subsequent item discussed an internal change in the command structure of one of the rebel groups in Syria. Nothing was noted about the use of nerve gas in Damascus that day. It was not until 23 August that the use of sarin became a dominant issue, although hundreds of photographs and videos of the massacre had gone viral within hours on YouTube, Facebook and other social media sites. At this point, the administration knew no more than the public.

Obama left Washington early on 21 August for a hectic two-day speaking tour in New York and Pennsylvania; according to the White House press office, he was briefed later that day on the attack, and the growing public and media furore. The lack of any immediate inside intelligence was made clear on 22 August, when Jen Psaki, a spokesperson for the State Department, told reporters: ‘We are unable to conclusively determine [chemical weapons] use. But we are focused every minute of every day since these events happened … on doing everything possible within our power to nail down the facts.’ The administration’s tone had hardened by 27 August, when Jay Carney, Obama’s press secretary, told reporters – without providing any specific information – that any suggestions that the Syrian government was not responsible ‘are as preposterous as suggestions that the attack itself didn’t occur’.

On 29 August, the Washington Post published excerpts from the annual budget for all national intelligence programmes, agency by agency, provided by Snowden. In consultation with the Obama administration, the newspaper chose to publish only a slim portion of the 178-page document, which has a classification higher than top secret, but it summarised and published a section dealing with problem areas. One problem area was the gap in coverage targeting Assad’s office. The document said that the NSA’s worldwide electronic eavesdropping facilities had been ‘able to monitor unencrypted communications among senior military officials at the outset of the civil war there’. But it was ‘a vulnerability that President Bashar al-Assad’s forces apparently later recognised’. In other words, the NSA no longer had access to the conversations of the top military leadership in Syria, which would have included crucial communications from Assad, such as orders for a nerve gas attack. (In its public statements since 21 August, the Obama administration has never claimed to have specific information connecting Assad himself to the attack.)

The Post report also provided the first indication of a secret sensor system inside Syria, designed to provide early warning of any change in status of the regime’s chemical weapons arsenal. The sensors are monitored by the National Reconnaissance Office, the agency that controls all US intelligence satellites in orbit. According to the Postsummary, the NRO is also assigned ‘to extract data from sensors placed on the ground’ inside Syria. The former senior intelligence official, who had direct knowledge of the programme, told me that NRO sensors have been implanted near all known chemical warfare sites in Syria. They are designed to provide constant monitoring of the movement of chemical warheads stored by the military. But far more important, in terms of early warning, is the sensors’ ability to alert US and Israeli intelligence when warheads are being loaded with sarin. (As a neighbouring country, Israel has always been on the alert for changes in the Syrian chemical arsenal, and works closely with American intelligence on early warnings.) A chemical warhead, once loaded with sarin, has a shelf life of a few days or less – the nerve agent begins eroding the rocket almost immediately: it’s a use-it-or-lose-it mass killer. ‘The Syrian army doesn’t have three days to prepare for a chemical attack,’ the former senior intelligence official told me. ‘We created the sensor system for immediate reaction, like an air raid warning or a fire alarm. You can’t have a warning over three days because everyone involved would be dead. It is either right now or you’re history. You do not spend three days getting ready to fire nerve gas.’ The sensors detected no movement in the months and days before 21 August, the former official said. It is of course possible that sarin had been supplied to the Syrian army by other means, but the lack of warning meant that Washington was unable to monitor the events in Eastern Ghouta as they unfolded.

The sensors had worked in the past, as the Syrian leadership knew all too well. Last December the sensor system picked up signs of what seemed to be sarin production at a chemical weapons depot. It was not immediately clear whether the Syrian army was simulating sarin production as part of an exercise (all militaries constantly carry out such exercises) or actually preparing an attack. At the time, Obama publicly warned Syria that using sarin was ‘totally unacceptable’; a similar message was also passed by diplomatic means. The event was later determined to be part of a series of exercises, according to the former senior intelligence official: ‘If what the sensors saw last December was so important that the president had to call and say, “Knock it off,” why didn’t the president issue the same warning three days before the gas attack in August?’

The NSA would of course monitor Assad’s office around the clock if it could, the former official said. Other communications – from various army units in combat throughout Syria – would be far less important, and not analysed in real time. ‘There are literally thousands of tactical radio frequencies used by field units in Syria for mundane routine communications,’ he said, ‘and it would take a huge number of NSA cryptological technicians to listen in – and the useful return would be zilch.’ But the ‘chatter’ is routinely stored on computers. Once the scale of events on 21 August was understood, the NSA mounted a comprehensive effort to search for any links to the attack, sorting through the full archive of stored communications. A keyword or two would be selected and a filter would be employed to find relevant conversations. ‘What happened here is that the NSA intelligence weenies started with an event – the use of sarin – and reached to find chatter that might relate,’ the former official said. ‘This does not lead to a high confidence assessment, unless you start with high confidence that Bashar Assad ordered it, and began looking for anything that supports that belief.’ The cherry-picking was similar to the process used to justify the Iraq war.

*The White House needed nine days to assemble its case against the Syrian government. On 30 August it invited a select group of Washington journalists (at least one often critical reporter, Jonathan Landay, the national security correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers, was not invited), and handed them a document carefully labelled as a ‘government assessment’, rather than as an assessment by the intelligence community. The document laid out what was essentially a political argument to bolster the administration’s case against the Assad government. It was, however, more specific than Obama would be later, in his speech on 10 September: American intelligence, it stated, knew that Syria had begun ‘preparing chemical munitions’ three days before the attack. In an aggressive speech later that day, John Kerry provided more details. He said that Syria’s ‘chemical weapons personnel were on the ground, in the area, making preparations’ by 18 August. ‘We know that the Syrian regime elements were told to prepare for the attack by putting on gas masks and taking precautions associated with chemical weapons.’ The government assessment and Kerry’s comments made it seem as if the administration had been tracking the sarin attack as it happened. It is this version of events, untrue but unchallenged, that was widely reported at the time.

An unforeseen reaction came in the form of complaints from the Free Syrian Army’s leadership and others about the lack of warning. ‘It’s unbelievable they did nothing to warn people or try to stop the regime before the crime,’ Razan Zaitouneh, an opposition member who lived in one of the towns struck by sarin, told Foreign Policy. The Daily Mail was more blunt: ‘Intelligence report says US officials knew about nerve-gas attack in Syria three days before it killed over 1400 people – including more than 400 children.’ (The number of deaths attributable to the attack varied widely, from at least 1429, as initially claimed by the Obama administration, to many fewer. A Syrian human rights group reported 502 deaths; Médicins sans Frontières put it at 355; and a French report listed 281 known fatalities. The strikingly precise US total was later reported by the Wall Street Journal to have been based not on an actual body count, but on an extrapolation by CIA analysts, who scanned more than a hundred YouTube videos from Eastern Ghouta into a computer system and looked for images of the dead. In other words, it was little more than a guess.)

Five days later, a spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence responded to the complaints. A statement to the Associated Press said that the intelligence behind the earlier administration assertions was not known at the time of the attack, but recovered only subsequently: ‘Let’s be clear, the United States did not watch, in real time, as this horrible attack took place. The intelligence community was able to gather and analyse information after the fact and determine that elements of the Assad regime had in fact taken steps to prepare prior to using chemical weapons.’ But since the American press corps had their story, the retraction received scant attention. On 31 August the Washington Post, relying on the government assessment, had vividly reported on its front page that American intelligence was able to record ‘each step’ of the Syrian army attack in real time, ‘from the extensive preparations to the launching of rockets to the after-action assessments by Syrian officials’. It did not publish the AP corrective, and the White House maintained control of the narrative.

So when Obama said on 10 September that his administration knew Assad’s chemical weapons personnel had prepared the attack in advance, he was basing the statement not on an intercept caught as it happened, but on communications analysed days after 21 August. The former senior intelligence official explained that the hunt for relevant chatter went back to the exercise detected the previous December, in which, as Obama later said to the public, the Syrian army mobilised chemical weapons personnel and distributed gas masks to its troops. The White House’s government assessment and Obama’s speech were not descriptions of the specific events leading up to the 21 August attack, but an account of the sequence the Syrian military would have followed for any chemical attack. ‘They put together a back story,’ the former official said, ‘and there are lots of different pieces and parts. The template they used was the template that goes back to December.’ It is possible, of course, that Obama was unaware that this account was obtained from an analysis of Syrian army protocol for conducting a gas attack, rather than from direct evidence. Either way he had come to a hasty judgment.

The press would follow suit. The UN report on 16 September confirming the use of sarin was careful to note that its investigators’ access to the attack sites, which came five days after the gassing, had been controlled by rebel forces. ‘As with other sites,’ the report warned, ‘the locations have been well travelled by other individuals prior to the arrival of the mission … During the time spent at these locations, individuals arrived carrying other suspected munitions indicating that such potential evidence is being moved and possibly manipulated.’ Still, the New York Times seized on the report, as did American and British officials, and claimed that it provided crucial evidence backing up the administration’s assertions. An annex to the UN report reproduced YouTube photographs of some recovered munitions, including a rocket that ‘indicatively matches’ the specifics of a 330mm calibre artillery rocket. The New York Times wrote that the existence of the rockets essentially proved that the Syrian government was responsible for the attack ‘because the weapons in question had not been previously documented or reported to be in possession of the insurgency’.

Theodore Postol, a professor of technology and national security at MIT, reviewed the UN photos with a group of his colleagues and concluded that the large calibre rocket was an improvised munition that was very likely manufactured locally. He told me that it was ‘something you could produce in a modestly capable machine shop’. The rocket in the photos, he added, fails to match the specifications of a similar but smaller rocket known to be in the Syrian arsenal. The New York Times, again relying on data in the UN report, also analysed the flight path of two of the spent rockets that were believed to have carried sarin, and concluded that the angle of descent ‘pointed directly’ to their being fired from a Syrian army base more than nine kilometres from the landing zone. Postol, who has served as the scientific adviser to the chief of naval operations in the Pentagon, said that the assertions in the Times and elsewhere ‘were not based on actual observations’. He concluded that the flight path analyses in particular were, as he put it in an email, ‘totally nuts’ because a thorough study demonstrated that the range of the improvised rockets was ‘unlikely’ to be more than two kilometres. Postol and a colleague, Richard M. Lloyd, published an analysis two weeks after 21 August in which they correctly assessed that the rockets involved carried a far greater payload of sarin than previously estimated. The Times reported on that analysis at length, describing Postol and Lloyd as ‘leading weapons experts’. The pair’s later study about the rockets’ flight paths and range, which contradicted previous Times reporting, was emailed to the newspaper last week; it has so far gone unreported.

The White House’s misrepresentation of what it knew about the attack, and when, was matched by its readiness to ignore intelligence that could undermine the narrative. That information concerned al-Nusra, the Islamist rebel group designated by the US and the UN as a terrorist organisation. Al-Nusra is known to have carried out scores of suicide bombings against Christians and other non-Sunni Muslim sects inside Syria, and to have attacked its nominal ally in the civil war, the secular Free Syrian Army (FSA). Its stated goal is to overthrow the Assad regime and establish sharia law. (On 25 September al-Nusra joined several other Islamist rebel groups in repudiating the FSA and another secular faction, the Syrian National Coalition.)

Two months later, a White House statement announced a change in the assessment of Syrian culpability and declared that the intelligence community now had ‘high confidence’ that the Assad government was responsible for as many as 150 deaths from attacks with sarin. More headlines were generated and the press was told that Obama, in response to the new intelligence, had ordered an increase in non-lethal aid to the Syrian opposition. But once again there were significant caveats. The new intelligence included a report that Syrian officials had planned and executed the attacks. No specifics were provided, nor were those who provided the reports identified. The White House statement said that laboratory analysis had confirmed the use of sarin, but also that a positive finding of the nerve agent ‘does not tell us how or where the individuals were exposed or who was responsible for the dissemination’. The White House further declared: ‘We have no reliable corroborated reporting to indicate that the opposition in Syria has acquired or used chemical weapons.’ The statement contradicted evidence that at the time was streaming into US intelligence agencies.

Already by late May, the senior intelligence consultant told me, the CIA had briefed the Obama administration on al-Nusra and its work with sarin, and had sent alarming reports that another Sunni fundamentalist group active in Syria, al-Qaida in Iraq (AQI), also understood the science of producing sarin. At the time, al-Nusra was operating in areas close to Damascus, including Eastern Ghouta. An intelligence document issued in mid-summer dealt extensively with Ziyaad Tariq Ahmed, a chemical weapons expert formerly of the Iraqi military, who was said to have moved into Syria and to be operating in Eastern Ghouta. The consultant told me that Tariq had been identified ‘as an al-Nusra guy with a track record of making mustard gas in Iraq and someone who is implicated in making and using sarin’. He is regarded as a high-profile target by the American military.

On 20 June a four-page top secret cable summarising what had been learned about al-Nusra’s nerve gas capabilities was forwarded to David R. Shedd, deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency. ‘What Shedd was briefed on was extensive and comprehensive,’ the consultant said. ‘It was not a bunch of “we believes”.’ He told me that the cable made no assessment as to whether the rebels or the Syrian army had initiated the attacks in March and April, but it did confirm previous reports that al-Nusra had the ability to acquire and use sarin. A sample of the sarin that had been used was also recovered – with the help of an Israeli agent – but, according to the consultant, no further reporting about the sample showed up in cable traffic.

Independently of these assessments, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, assuming that US troops might be ordered into Syria to seize the government’s stockpile of chemical agents, called for an all-source analysis of the potential threat. ‘The Op Order provides the basis of execution of a military mission, if so ordered,’ the former senior intelligence official explained. ‘This includes the possible need to send American soldiers to a Syrian chemical site to defend it against rebel seizure. If the jihadist rebels were going to overrun the site, the assumption is that Assad would not fight us because we were protecting the chemical from the rebels. All Op Orders contain an intelligence threat component. We had technical analysts from the Central Intelligence Agency, the Defense Intelligence Agency, weapons people, and I & W [indications and warnings] people working on the problem … They concluded that the rebel forces were capable of attacking an American force with sarin because they were able to produce the lethal gas. The examination relied on signals and human intelligence, as well as the expressed intention and technical capability of the rebels.’

There is evidence that during the summer some members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were troubled by the prospect of a ground invasion of Syria as well as by Obama’s professed desire to give rebel factions non-lethal support. In July, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, provided a gloomy assessment, telling the Senate Armed Services Committee in public testimony that ‘thousands of special operations forces and other ground forces’ would be needed to seize Syria’s widely dispersed chemical warfare arsenal, along with ‘hundreds of aircraft, ships, submarines and other enablers’. Pentagon estimates put the number of troops at seventy thousand, in part because US forces would also have to guard the Syrian rocket fleet: accessing large volumes of the chemicals that create sarin without the means to deliver it would be of little value to a rebel force. In a letter to Senator Carl Levin, Dempsey cautioned that a decision to grab the Syrian arsenal could have unintended consequences: ‘We have learned from the past ten years, however, that it is not enough to simply alter the balance of military power without careful consideration of what is necessary in order to preserve a functioning state … Should the regime’s institutions collapse in the absence of a viable opposition, we could inadvertently empower extremists or unleash the very chemical weapons we seek to control.’

The CIA declined to comment for this article. Spokesmen for the DIA and Office of the Director of National Intelligence said they were not aware of the report to Shedd and, when provided with specific cable markings for the document, said they were unable to find it. Shawn Turner, head of public affairs for the ODNI, said that no American intelligence agency, including the DIA, ‘assesses that the al-Nusra Front has succeeded in developing a capacity to manufacture sarin’.

The administration’s public affairs officials are not as concerned about al-Nusra’s military potential as Shedd has been in his public statements. In late July, he gave an alarming account of al-Nusra’s strength at the annual Aspen Security Forum in Colorado. ‘I count no less than 1200 disparate groups in the opposition,’ Shedd said, according to a recording of his presentation. ‘And within the opposition, the al-Nusra Front is … most effective and is gaining in strength.’ This, he said, ‘is of serious concern to us. If left unchecked, I am very concerned that the most radical elements’ – he also cited al-Qaida in Iraq – ‘will take over.’ The civil war, he went on, ‘will only grow worse over time … Unfathomable violence is yet to come.’ Shedd made no mention of chemical weapons in his talk, but he was not allowed to: the reports his office received were highly classified.

*

A series of secret dispatches from Syria over the summer reported that members of the FSA were complaining to American intelligence operatives about repeated attacks on their forces by al-Nusra and al-Qaida fighters. The reports, according to the senior intelligence consultant who read them, provided evidence that the FSA is ‘more worried about the crazies than it is about Assad’. The FSA is largely composed of defectors from the Syrian army. The Obama administration, committed to the end of the Assad regime and continued support for the rebels, has sought in its public statements since the attack to downplay the influence of Salafist and Wahhabist factions. In early September, John Kerry dumbfounded a Congressional hearing with a sudden claim that al-Nusra and other Islamist groups were minority players in the Syrian opposition. He later withdrew the claim.

In both its public and private briefings after 21 August, the administration disregarded the available intelligence about al-Nusra’s potential access to sarin and continued to claim that the Assad government was in sole possession of chemical weapons. This was the message conveyed in the various secret briefings that members of Congress received in the days after the attack, when Obama was seeking support for his planned missile offensive against Syrian military installations. One legislator with more than two decades of experience in military affairs told me that he came away from one such briefing persuaded that ‘only the Assad government had sarin and the rebels did not.’ Similarly, following the release of the UN report on 16 September confirming that sarin was used on 21 August, Samantha Power, the US ambassador to the UN, told a press conference: ‘It’s very important to note that only the [Assad] regime possesses sarin, and we have no evidence that the opposition possesses sarin.’

It is not known whether the highly classified reporting on al-Nusra was made available to Power’s office, but her comment was a reflection of the attitude that swept through the administration. ‘The immediate assumption was that Assad had done it,’ the former senior intelligence official told me. ‘The new director of the CIA, [John] Brennan, jumped to that conclusion … drives to the White House and says: “Look at what I’ve got!” It was all verbal; they just waved the bloody shirt. There was a lot of political pressure to bring Obama to the table to help the rebels, and there was wishful thinking that this [tying Assad to the sarin attack] would force Obama’s hand: “This is the Zimmermann telegram of the Syrian rebellion and now Obama can react.” Wishful thinking by the Samantha Power wing within the administration. Unfortunately, some members of the Joint Chiefs who were alerted that he was going to attack weren’t so sure it was a good thing.’

The proposed American missile attack on Syria never won public support and Obama turned quickly to the UN and the Russian proposal for dismantling the Syrian chemical warfare complex. Any possibility of military action was definitively averted on 26 September when the administration joined Russia in approving a draft UN resolution calling on the Assad government to get rid of its chemical arsenal. Obama’s retreat brought relief to many senior military officers. (One high-level special operations adviser told me that the ill-conceived American missile attack on Syrian military airfields and missile emplacements, as initially envisaged by the White House, would have been ‘like providing close air support for al-Nusra’.)

The administration’s distortion of the facts surrounding the sarin attack raises an unavoidable question: do we have the whole story of Obama’s willingness to walk away from his ‘red line’ threat to bomb Syria? He had claimed to have an iron-clad case but suddenly agreed to take the issue to Congress, and later to accept Assad’s offer to relinquish his chemical weapons. It appears possible that at some point he was directly confronted with contradictory information: evidence strong enough to persuade him to cancel his attack plan, and take the criticism sure to come from Republicans.

The UN resolution, which was adopted on 27 September by the Security Council, dealt indirectly with the notion that rebel forces such as al-Nusra would also be obliged to disarm: ‘no party in Syria should use, develop, produce, acquire, stockpile, retain or transfer [chemical] weapons.’ The resolution also calls for the immediate notification of the Security Council in the event that any ‘non-state actors’ acquire chemical weapons. No group was cited by name. While the Syrian regime continues the process of eliminating its chemical arsenal, the irony is that, after Assad’s stockpile of precursor agents is destroyed, al-Nusra and its Islamist allies could end up as the only faction inside Syria with access to the ingredients that can create sarin, a strategic weapon that would be unlike any other in the war zone. There may be more to negotiate.

 

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Drone Warfare — Videos

Posted on August 2, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Bomb, Books, Communications, Computers, Constitution, Crime, Crisis, Data, Diasters, Documentary, Drones, Drug Cartels, Federal Communications Commission, Federal Government, Films, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, Genocide, government, government spending, Heroes, history, Homicide, Islam, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, Missiles, National Security Agency (NSA_, Natural Gas, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Psychology, Radio, Radio, Rants, Raves, Resources, Security, Strategy, Talk Radio, Technology, Terrorism, Transportation, Video, War, Weapons | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Obama defends US drone attacks

Peter Singer: Drone Warfare

The Morality of Drone Warfare

DRONE WARS, PART ONE: THE DRONE LANDSCAPE

DRONE WARS, PART TWO: THE DRONE ECONOMY

DRONE WARS, PART THREE: THE DRONE MORALITY

Drone Boom Why Drones Aren’t Just for Dropping Bombs Anymore

Drone Laws Restrict Civilian UAV’s but allow Government

Rise of the Drones(full documentary)HD

RISE OF THE DRONES – NOVA (full documentary)

The Costs of Drone Warfare – Documentary

Richard Clarke – U.S. Drone Program Under Obama “Got Out of Hand”

EVERYONE needs to see this! Drone Strikes

Top 10 Drones in the world

ex CEO Colin Guinn is ALIVE, Files legal Injunction against DJI Innovations

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NSA–Now Spying on Americans: Big Brother Government Spying On Americans–Progressives Minding Your Business Without Warrants–Remotely Piloted Aircraft a.k.a.Drones–Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)–Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISA)–Videos

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Peter Brimelow — Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster — Videos

Posted on July 21, 2014. Filed under: American History, Blogroll, Books, British History, Business, Catholic Church, Communications, Computers, Demographics, Diasters, Economics, Employment, Family, Federal Government, Foreign Policy, Freedom, Friends, government spending, history, Illegal, Immigration, IRS, Islam, Language, Law, Legal, liberty, Life, Links, Literacy, media, Medicine, Natural Gas, Non-Fiction, Oil, People, Philosophy, Photos, Politics, Press, Psychology, Public Sector, Rants, Raves, Regulations, Religion, Resources, Reviews, Security, Shite, Strategy, Sunni, Talk Radio, Taxes, Technology, Terrorism, Unemployment, Unions, Video, War, Water, Wealth, Weather, Welfare, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , , , , |

aliennation

peter_brimelow

VDARE.com

What Price Mass Immigration – Peter Brimelow Introduction

 

Peter Brimelow of VDare on How Republican Party Has to be More White

Alien Nation: America’s Immigration Disaster

Mr. Brimelow discussed his book Alien Nation: Common Sense About America’s Immigration Disaster, published by Random House. The book focuses on U.S. immigration policy and cycles of control on immigration. Mr. Brimelow argues that legislation passed in 1965 has resulted in negative trends in immigration to the United States, including an influx of immigrants from a very few countries that he says are engulfing America. The author says that the latest immigration wave consists of immigrants who are less educated, less skilled, and less likely to share American ideals, which he argues is a detriment to American culture.

Peter Brimelow Reflects on Immigration in America, Post-Alien Nation

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The Libertarian Case Against Open Immigration | Peter Brimelow

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The Meaning of Independence Day — Video

Posted on July 3, 2014. Filed under: American History, College, Communications, Constitution, Education, High School, history, Language, Law, liberty, Life, Links, media, People, Philosophy, Politics, Press, Radio, Raves, Talk Radio, Video, Wealth, Wisdom | Tags: , , , , |

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The Meaning of Independence Day – Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights

Dr. Michael Berliner, co-chairman of the Board of Directors of the Ayn Rand Institute, former professor of philosophy and executive director of the Ayn Rand Institute, reminds us of the true meaning of Independence Day.

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