Jordan: Can you tell me some basics, how many agents/investigators you’ve assigned to the case?
Mueller: Well, uh, I may be able to do that but I’d have to get back to you.
Jordan: Can you tell me who the lead investigator is?
Mueller: Off the top of my head, no.
Jordan: This is the most important issue in front of the country in the last six weeks and you don’t know who’s heading up the case? Who the leadinvestigator is?
Mueller: Uh, at this juncture no I do not know..
Jordan: Can you get that information to us we’d like to know. We’d like to know how many people you’ve assigned to look into this situation.
Mueller: I have not had a recent briefing on it, I had a briefing on it when we first initiated it, but I have not had a recent briefing as to where we are
Jordan: Who’s leading the case?
Mueller: I do not know who is leading the case.
The IRS’ targeting of conservative groups has fallen out of public view, at least momentarily, as the NSA and PRISM data-collection scandals have burst onto the scene.
But, behind the scenes, the left is catching its breath and regrouping, having come up with what it says is an explanation for at least 157 visits to the White House by former IRS Director Douglas Shulman between 2010 and 2012.
By comparison, Shulman’s predecessor Mark Everson visited the White House only one time in four years during the George W. Bush administration, according to the Daily Caller.
The much greater number of visits by Shulman made many people skeptical of his claim that he never discussed the targeting of conservatives with anyone at the White House.
Now, the Atlantic has pushed the narrative that it was really only 11 visits, not 157.
The liberal magazine said White House logs show Shulman signed in only 11 times.
“According to the White House records, Shulman signed in twice in 2009, five times in 2010, twice in 2011 and twice in 2012,” the Atlantic reported.
But that’s no proof Shulman visited the White House only 11 times, or even fewer than 157 times. As the Atlantic also acknowledged, the number of times he signed in “does not mean that he did not go to other meetings, only that the White House records do not show he went to the 157 meetings he was granted Secret Service clearance to attend.”
That’s because Cabinet members and other important visitors often don’t sign in when they visit the White House.
The Atlantic also conceded that point, noting confirmation of the visits “don’t always show up in the visitor’s access records.”
“Neither do visits by staffers, journalists covering large events, or people who enter the White House grounds in their pre-cleared cars, like Cabinet members, who do not wait for badge swipes at the gate with the policymaking hoi polloi.”
The Atlantic also maintained Shulman was in the White House to discuss implementation of Obamacare because he was “cleared 40 times to meet with Obama’s director of the Office of Health Reform, and a further 80 times for the biweekly health reform deputies meetings and others set up by aides involved with the health-care law implementation efforts.”
But if that were so, why did Shulman have such difficulty explaining to a congressional committee the purpose of his visits, citing as his No. 1 reason the Easter Egg Roll?
When asked by a Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Rep. Gerald Conolly, D-Va., why he visited the White House so often during a two year period, Shulman responded: “Um, the Easter Egg Roll with my kids, questions about the administrability of tax policy they were thinking of, our budget, us helping the Department of Education streamline application processes for financial aid.”
Not one mention of Obamacare.
A former White House staffer says the sheer numbers make it hard to believe the IRS did not make the White House aware of the targeting of conservatives long before it became public knowledge.
Doug Wead served in the administrations of both President George W. Bush and his father, George H.W. Bush. Wead noted: “Sarah Hall Ingram, the woman responsible for the IRS division that targeted conservative and constitutional groups, made 165 visits to the White House since 2011? making for a total of 322 visits between her and her boss, Shulman.
Between the two of them, he calculated, that’s almost one visit every other working day.
Wead wondered: “[C]an one meet with the president hundreds of times and not talk about ones work? Isn’t the president too busy to talk about life? Or to quiz an IRS official about personal gossip at the agency? Wouldn’t a chief executive want to know what she is doing and how she is doing it? And would she really make hundreds of visits without the details of her work ever coming up? What would be the purpose of the visits?”
Putin On NSA Leak: Government Surveillance Shouldn’t Break Law – RT.
Data surveillance is an acceptable measure if done within the law, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin told RT while visiting the channel in the capital.
“Such methods are in demand. But you can’t just listen to the phone call in Russia; you need a special order from court. This is how this should be done in civilized society while tackling terrorism with the use of any technical means. If it is in the framework of the law, then it’s ok. If not it is unacceptable,” Putin said answering the question of RT’s Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan. Commenting on Obama’s statement that “You can’t have 100 per cent security and 100 per cent privacy,” Putin disagreed, saying it is possible if done within the law.
Russia said it could consider the possibility of granting political asylum to 29-year-old Edward Snowden, if such request is made. The ex-CIA worker disclosed the existence of PRISM, the National Security Agency’s NSA massive data-mining surveillance program, to The Guardian.
“If we receive such a request, we will consider it,” President Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said.
The whereabouts of whistleblower remain unknown after he checked out of a Hong Kong hotel. A day earlier Snowden revealed his identity to The Guardian newspaper.
With Susan Rice moving from the UN to the West Wing, the game of musical chairs needed another player, and it didn’t take long for Barack Obama to pick another insider to fill Rice’s seat. Longtime adviser Samantha Power will replace Rice, but unlike the first move today, Power will have to face a Senate confirmation hearing, and that may prove turbulent:
It’s a good thing that Hillary Clinton has retired as Secretary of State. Power had to leave the first Obama presidential campaign after calling Hillary “a monster,” and that may have made for some awkward moments around the Foggy Bottom water cooler.
That’s not going to make much difference now, especially with a lot of open questions that will now arise during a Senate Foreign Relations Committee confirmation hearing. Power spent the first Obama term on his National Security Council, where she was a prime mover in the decision to intervene in Libya. Since the White House never bothered to seek Congressional approval for that war, this will give those still angry over the violation of the War Powers Act (and Constitution) an opportunity to settle some scores. Also, the actual outcome of that intervention — a failed state, the destruction of our Benghazi assets, and the invasion of Mali by suddenly-free radical Islamist terror networks — we can expect to get a lot of questions about the kind of advice Power actually gave the White House.
However, a bigger problem than that will be Israel. In 2002, Power told a Berkeley interviewer that she would advise a President to put together a “massive” Western military coalition to occupy Israel and the Palestinian territories in order to impose “a solution on unwilling parties.” On top of that, she told Harry Kreisler that this should be done even though it “might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import.” That would be the Jews in America, in case the subtlety didn’t come across:
Obama keeps insisting that he’s a pro-Israel president. Why, then, would he send Power to a body that spends an inordinate amount of its time – especially in the laughable Human Rights Council — obsessing about Israel’s supposed crimes? This might well turn into one of the most uncomfortable confirmation hearings Obama will experience.
Roy Costner IV — the South Carolina valedictorian who gained national attention after he ripped up his pre-approved speech and delivered the Lord’s prayer at his high school graduation on Saturday — told The Blaze today that he teared up onstage as the auditorium erupted with applause.
The 18-year-old Liberty High School graduate spoke told The Blaze that his decision to ignore his secular speech and say the prayer instead was pre-planned.
“God’s such a big, important part of our life with everything going on, our community really needed it,” he said. “Our community is really strongly opposed to the school district’s decision to remove prayer.”
The Washington Times reported Wednesday that the student’s act was to protest the Pickens County School District’s decision to no longer include prayer at graduation ceremonies. Officials said the decision was made after the district was barraged with complaints by atheist groups, Christian News reported.
“Originally, they were only supposed to take away prayer in the school district before meetings — [but then] they blew it way out of proportion, taking prayers out of anything,” Mr. Costner told The Blaze, noting that teachers aren’t even allowed to participate in invocation events before school.
The former student told The Blaze that he warned his family beforehand that he would be deviating from the approved, secular script. His father, a youth pastor, was in support of the defiance.
No disciplinary action was taken against the graduate, and he has received national attention after a video of the exchange went viral. Social media networks exploded, lauding Mr. Costner as a champion of civil disobedience and the First Amendment.
“I didn’t know what kind of response I was going to have,” he told TheBlaze. “I was tearing up on stage. I was overwhelmed on the stage. I did not expect a response of that magnitude.”
Though the valedictorian said he has received some negativity since the event, the positive response has been overwhelming.
“Don’t let the few hold you back. Stand up for what you believe in,” he said to those who may be afraid to speak up. “We have freedom of speech for a reason.”
“And by the way, with respect to my concerns about privacy issues, I will leave this office at some point, sometime in the last – next 3 1/2 years, and after that, I will be a private citizen. And I suspect that, you know, on – on a list of people who might be targeted, you know, so that somebody could read their emails or – or listen to their phone calls, I’d probably be pretty high on that list. So it’s not as if I don’t have a personal interest in making sure my privacy is protected.”
Hmmm…..a Freudian slip? Does he think that he might be leaving a bit early? Whenever it is, it won’t be soon enough for me.
Congressional intelligence briefing sessions have not included details about President Barack Obama’s data-gathering programs, despite claims by the president that Congress approved the measures and “every member” knew about them, Republican Rep. Aaron Schock said.
“I can assure you the phone number tracking of non-criminal, non-terrorist suspects was not discussed,” the Illinois lawmaker told Politico. “Most members have stopped going to their classified briefings because they rarely tell us anything we don’t already know in the news. It really has become a charade.”
Responding to the furor over the National Security Agency’s data monitoring programs, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky introduced legislation Friday that requires a warrant be issued before any government agency can search phone records of Americans.
Paul calls the revelation of the program to collect phone records of millions of Verizon customers “an astounding assault on the Constitution.”
But meanwhile, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle deny Obama’s claims that they knew about plans to monitor cell phone and Internet use of Americans, and many said they either learned of the programs through the news or after asking specifically to be briefed.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said that the average member of Congress doesn’t receive such briefings, and would not have know about programs to monitor cell phone records and Internet use unless they were on an intelligence committee, like Schock, were in special sessions in 2011 or asked to be briefed.
GREELEY, COLO. – Officials in eight northern Colorado counties united in opposition to the state’s new gun control laws and oil and gas regulations are reportedly considering forming a 51st U.S. state called North Colorado.
The Denver Post reports that a proposal to separate Weld, Morgan, Logan, Sedgwick, Phillips, Washington, Yuma and Kit Carson counties from the rest of the state was hatched at a meeting of county commissioners last week.
Weld County commissioners Sean Conway, Mike Freeman and Doug Rademacher said they will conduct public meetings and decide whether to draft a ballot measure by Aug. 1., according to a report in The Greeley Tribune.
The U.S. Constitution requires that Legislatures must first approve any state that is to be created within its jurisdiction.
Commissioners said Thursday that failed legislative efforts to crack down on oil and gas, as well as increases in rural renewable energy standards were “the straws that broke the camel’s back.”
Conway told the Tribune that Weld County’s main economic drivers, agriculture and energy, are under attack, even though those sectors contribute significantly to the state’s economy. He said the county’s return on its financial contributions to the state are minimal.
Commissioners are also concerned about the lack of funding for infrastructure and education and believe the split would allow them to leverage financial investments from energy companies in the region, the newspaper reported.
Rep. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., whose district would be included in the split, said in a statement last week that he is sympathetic to the commissioners’ concerns and doesn’t blame them for wanting to form a new state, The Tribune reported.
“The people of rural Colorado are mad, and they have every right to be,” Gardner said. “The governor and his Democrat colleagues in the statehouse have assaulted our way of life, and I don’t blame these people one bit for feeling attacked and unrepresented by the leaders of our state.”
Gov. John Hickenlooper’s spokesman Eric Brown said in a statement obtained by the paper that “background checks on gun sales, increasing renewable energy and supporting responsible development of oil and gas are popular with rural and urban voters.”
To those who thought the rule of law still protected them, the IRS targeting conservative groups for special scrutiny and Justice Department (DOJ) monitoring journalists’ phone records should have been enough to disabuse them of that notion.
But then came news Wednesday shredding any scintilla of evidence America is the land of the free with reports that the National Security Agency is monitoring every phone call made on Verizon’s network. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court signed an order on April 25 requested by the FBI allowing the government to collect information through July 19 on a daily basis from one of the nation’s largest phone companies on seemingly everything except the content of communication.
As the Cato Institute’s Julian Sanchez told The Guardian, the British newspaper that broke the story,
We’ve certainly seen the government increasingly strain the bounds of ‘relevance’ to collect large numbers of records at once — everyone at one or two degrees of separation from a target — but vacuuming all metadata up indiscriminately would be an extraordinary repudiation of any pretence of constraint or particularized suspicion.
Glenn Greenwald, the reporter who wrote the story, should consider himself permanently wiretapped. He should also expect that no one in the government will speak to him in the future knowing his communications are monitored. His only hope is to have a sympathetic government spy on the other side like East German Stasi agent Hauptmann Gerd Wiesler in the brilliant 2006 film, The Lives of Others — if he doesn’t end up in federal prison.
To think many were appalled by Congressional testimony earlier this week by John Eastman, the chairman of the National Organization for Marriage, that the IRS leaked confidential tax forms of his organization to the group’s main political opponent, Human Rights Campaign. That seems so small fry in comparison to this.
Within hours of the disclosure that federal authorities routinely collect data on phone calls Americans make, regardless of whether they have any bearing on a counterterrorism investigation, the Obama administration issued the same platitude it has offered every time President Obama has been caught overreaching in the use of his powers: Terrorists are a real menace and you should just trust us to deal with them because we have internal mechanisms (that we are not going to tell you about) to make sure we do not violate your rights.
Those reassurances have never been persuasive — whether on secret warrants to scoop up a news agency’s phone records or secret orders to kill an American suspected of terrorism — especially coming from a president who once promised transparency and accountability.
The administration has now lost all credibility on this issue. Mr. Obama is proving the truism that the executive branch will use any power it is given and very likely abuse it. That is one reason we have long argued that the Patriot Act, enacted in the heat of fear after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by members of Congress who mostly had not even read it, was reckless in its assignment of unnecessary and overbroad surveillance powers.