#IRS: IT professionals skeptical of Lerner email loss story

June 27, 2014
"The new liberal tokerance"

“House special investigators in action”

And I say “skeptical” because, I’m sure, the real language the head of the International Association of Information Technology Asset Managers used was not repeatable in polite company. IAITAM is an organization that issues certifications and sets standards for IT management, including the proper disposal of retired hard drives. This is what their president, Dr. Barbara Rembiesa, had to say:

“The notion that these emails just magically vanished makes no sense whatsoever.  That is not how IT asset management at major businesses and government institutions works in this country.  When the hard drive in question was destroyed, the IRS should have called in an accredited IT Asset Destruction (ITAD) professional or firm to complete that process, which requires extensive documentation, official signoffs, approvals, and signatures of completion.  If this was done, there would be records.  If this was not done, this is the smoking gun that proves the drive or drives were destroyed improperly – or not at all.”

Emphasis added. I think this not only calls for another round of grilling for IRS Comissioner Koskinen, but subpoenas for any and all people working in the IT office that serviced Lerner’s computer.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Really? Lois Lerner thought of investigating Senator Grassley (R-IA)??

June 25, 2014
No way!!

No way!!

Real smart. Let a United States Senator find out you were planning a fishing expedition into his finances? Try it, and just see how fast the hammer gets dropped on you once he’s in the majority, again:

New emails reviewed by the House Ways and Means Committee in the IRS targeting investigation revealed something that might knock the probe up another notch: IRS manager Lois Lerner allegedly sought to have the circumstances surrounding a speaking invitation to Sen. Charles Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, referred for IRS examination.

“We have seen a lot of unbelievable things in this investigation, but the fact that Lois Lerner attempted to initiate an apparently baseless IRS examination against a sitting Republican United States Senator is shocking,” said Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) in a written press release.

According to the Ways and Means Committee, and the email chain released today, Lerner and Sen. Grassley were invited to speak at the same event in Dec. of 2012, but their invitations got mixed up. When Lerner received Grassley’s invitation, she suggested to others in her office that the invitation should be referred for examination.

“Looks like they were inappropriately offering to pay for his wife,” Lerner said. “Perhaps we should refer to Exam?”

Lerner’s idea was dropped after another employee politely said (I’m paraphrasing) “Are you nuts??” Still this is another example of the arrogance that infects the bureaucracy, much of which seems to have forgotten who employs whom around here.

BTW, Grassley sits on the Finance, Budget, and Joint Taxation committees, all of which have jurisdiction over the IRS. He had no comment about this story, but I’m sure he will have plenty to say in early 2015.

RELATED: My blog-buddy is already on the case.


Speaker’s Boehner’s meaningless, craven lawsuit

June 25, 2014
"Timid"

“Timid”

Pathetic. Speaker John Boehner announced plans for the House to sue President Obama in court to force him to do his job and enforce the laws. Without being specific about the grounds of the suit, one can safely assume it covers Obama’s non-enforcement of immigration laws along the southwest border and, perhaps, the administration’s unilateral rewrites and illegal waivers of the Affordable Care Act and it’s serial failure to cooperate in the IRS investigations.

Speaking to the press, Boehner added the following:

Boehner strongly brushed aside a question of whether impeachment proceedings could result from the suit. “This is not about impeachment. This is about his (Obama’s) faithfully executing the laws of our country,” he said.

Pardon me a moment; I was rolling my eyes so hard on reading that, I was getting dizzy.

Mr. Speaker, on taking office, every president swears the following oath:

“I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

The President is Chief Magistrate of the United States, its top federal law-enforcer. “Faithfully execute” means doing that job. If you are suing because the president has broken his oath by not faithfully executing the duties of his office, then you have perforce invoked grounds for impeachment by reason of maladministration.

You’ve said it, so don’t go denying in the next breath what we all know it means. Leave being a weasel to the Democrats.

More:

He also rejected a suggestion that the suit was designed to give traditional Republican voters a reason for going to the polls this fall when control of Congress will be at stake.

“This is about defending the institution in which we serve,” he said. “What we’ve seen clearly over the last five years is an effort to erode the power of the legislative branch.”

Argh. The Congress has been surrendering legislative power to the Executive, more under Democrats, less so under Republicans, since the Progressive era. More and more regulatory authority has been given to panels of bureaucrats in the guise of “rule making,” when really it amounts to the power to make law. It’s more accurate to say this process has greatly expanded under Obama, who pushes the bounds like no president has since FDR (or maybe Nixon), but let’s not pretend this hasn’t been going on for a long time. If the Congress were truly interested in “defending its prerogatives,” as Madison intended, it has had plenty of opportunities, but has done so only fitfully.

You want to “defend the institution” in which you serve? Then forget the ridiculous lawsuit (and Senator Paul’s and Senator Johnson’s); you don’t resolve political power struggles between the legislature and the presidency by running crying to the courts (1). You have two powers: cutting off funds and impeachment. The former seems to be ineffective, but you have the latter. As I wrote yesterday:

I’d suggest forming another [House Select Investigating Committee] for the IRS scandal and one for Fast and Furious, both with full subpoena powers and special counsel hired to lead the inquiries. They all should work through the summer and, when done, present their findings to the full House. Forget the Department of Justice; it can’t be trusted with Eric Holder in charge. Instead, the House should impeach whomever is found culpable by the investigations.

While impeaching the President himself isn’t politically practical (yet), his political appointees bear the same responsibility as he: faithful execution of the laws and obedience to the Constitution. If committee investigations find any derelict in their duties, such as top management at the IRS, impeach them, place them on trial before the Senate, and make Harry Reid defend their abuses of power. Fence Obama in by taking away his minions.

That’s how you defend the institution, Mr. Speaker. If you really want to.

Footnote:
(1) For one thing, the courts rely on the Executive to enforce their orders. If you can’t trust Obama to enforce the laws…

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


IRS scandal: forget the special counsel. Instead, impeach.

June 24, 2014
Johnson impeachment trial

Let the trials begin

The growing frustration with the various scandals of the Obama administration have lead to repeated calls from the Opposition for special prosecutors to investigate and, if warranted, to criminally prosecute violators, most recently in the IRS scandal. For example, there’s Bryan Preston of PJ Media:

Congressional hearings make for mediocre TV and a poor vehicle for investigating the targeting of conservatives by our own government. It will take a special prosecutor who will go below the level of IRS chief and get to the people who were around when Lerner’s emails were supposedly lost, and who will depose them, look through contracts, find the inconsistencies and build a case. All the rest is show.

I sympathize, but, as I replied to Preston, just how does one get Holder and Obama to appoint one? And, furthermore, what guarantees do we have that the appointee will be truly independent? I don’t think it’s likely that the Attorney General will appoint a modern-day Archibald Cox, who’d rather be fired than compromise his investigation, do you?

Senator Roberts of Kansas was also among those calling for an independent prosecutor appointed by Congress:

 “The Obama Administration’s Department of Justice won’t meaningfully pursue the IRS, but Kansans are demanding a full investigation, where ever it may lead, into how and why the IRS shut down the activities of the Administration’s opponents. At this point, only a Congressionally appointed and separately funded special counsel, with full subpoena power, can get to the bottom of this matter. Congress has longstanding and broad authority to both investigate allegations of wrongdoing within the federal government and to delegate its investigatory powers to other entities. It’s time to put this authority into action.

Roberts wants the arrest and prosecution of those responsible for “suppressing the First Amendment” rights of those targeted by the IRS, but, as former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy points out, there is a serious flaw in Roberts’ argument: Congress has all the authority to appoint an investigator and investigate all they want, but they have no constitutional authority to prosecute:

Congress can issue subpoenas for information in connection with its oversight function; it lacks any power to issue subpoenas in connection with what Senator Roberts says he is calling for: “the arrest and prosecution of those responsible for suppressing the First Amendment.” Congress is bereft of authority to enforce the penal laws, to conduct grand-jury proceedings, to issue indictments, to make arrests, and to subject offenders to criminal trials.

(…)

Senator Roberts is surely correct that Congress may appoint and fund its own special counsel. Indeed, it has done so many times: Committees conducting significant congressional investigations have frequently retained experienced former prosecutors to lead the hunt for evidence and the examination of witnesses. But a congressional special counsel is not, and may not be, an independent prosecutor. A congressional “special counsel” may only exercise Congress’s powers, not the president’s. The special counsel may conduct oversight; he or she may not prosecute.

Citing arguments ranging from recent Appeals Court rulings back to James Madison in Federalist 10, McCarthy reminds us that the Founders considered this separation of power, a division between the power to legislate and the power to prosecute, as essential to our liberty. Indeed, Madison saw their combination in one branch of government’s hands to be the very definition of tyranny (1).

But, if Congress can only investigate and shed light, but not prosecute, what then is to be done? What remedy is there when the Executive won’t fulfill its duties to enforce the laws and, if need be, prosecute?

McCarthy answers that the solution to this political problem is the political “weapon” the Constitution allows Congress — impeachment:

Congress has the power to impeach and remove from power high executive officials who have abused their powers. And while it appears that conventional felonies may have been committed in the IRS scandal, that is nearly beside the point, for two reasons.

First, “high crimes and misdemeanors” need not be indictable offenses. The term, borrowed from English law, refers instead to betrayals of the profound trust reposed in high government officials. Undermining the constitutional rights of the people and misleading Congress are among the most egregious betrayals executive-branch officials can commit. They clearly warrant impeachment and removal.

Second, with due respect to Senator Roberts and other Republicans who have emphasized the potential criminal liability of IRS and other executive-branch officials, they are barking up the wrong tree. When executive power is being abused, the public-interest imperative is to remove the power from the malevolent or incompetent officials. Whether they are also, at some point, privately prosecuted for their wrongdoing is of far less moment.

And I agree. Realistically, we will have to wait for a Republican White House in order to criminally prosecute law breakers in the IRS and other scandals. But the health of our political system and the Rule of Law requires the removal of corrupt, faithless, and incompetent political appointees now. Forget that the Senate has a Democratic majority lead by a petty tyrant: bring the first impeachment against Commissioner Koskinen and make the Democrats defend the IRS before the public.

We already have a House select committee investigating the Benghazi massacre. If John Boehner doesn’t mind a bit of advice, I’d suggest forming another for the IRS scandal and one for Fast and Furious, both with full subpoena powers and special counsel hired to lead the inquiries. They all should work through the summer and, when done, present their findings to the full House. Forget the Department of Justice; it can’t be trusted with Eric Holder in charge. Instead, the House should impeach whomever is found culpable by the investigations.

Short of removing the President, himself (2), it’s the only way (3) to rein in an imperial Executive Branch.

Footnote:
(1) And if you look at the Chief Executive’s usurpations of Congress legislative power to rewrite the laws at whim, you can see what Mr. Madison meant. Also, this is one reason we prohibit Bills of Attainder.
(2) McCarthy has written an excellent book, Faithless Execution, making the legal case for Barack Obama’s impeachment and removal from office. However, he also makes a strong argument that this simply will not be possible without a public political consensus for Obama’s removal existing, first. I agree with him and think that going after lower officials, instead, will be more fruitful.
(3) There is the “power of the purse,” but for various reasons that hasn’t worked in recent years.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#IRS had an external email archiving service from 2005 to 2011

June 22, 2014
"Obama foreign policy advisers"

“IRS records retention staff”

Well, la-dee-da. Isn’t this interesting?

The agency said that emails stored on dead drives were lost forever because its email backup tapes were recycled every six months, and employees were responsible for keeping their own long-term archives.

The IRS had a contract with email backup service vendor Sonasoft starting in 2005, according to FedSpending.org, which lists the contract as being for “automatic data processing services.” Sonasoft’s motto is “email archiving done right,” and the company lists the IRS as a customer.

And, as recently as 2009, Sonasoft was advertising its work for the IRS. That’s awfully close to the time frame of Lois Lerner’s (and others’) missing emails. But, in an update to the linked article, Peter Suderman points out that Sonasoft’s contracts with the government were small, in the very low five figures. Thus, they may well have not been paid to back up the specific accounts in question. (SEE UPDATE)

But… This leaves wide open the question of what other archiving services, if any, IRS may have hired during the time in question. (And not just IRS, but the departments where the recipients of her emails worked.) This would be a very good question to ask IRS Commissioner Koskinen under oath, though I wouldn’t rely on his answer. After all, no one believes him. Rather, this is a question that should be posed by the lead investigator for a Select Investigating Committee who’s already done his due diligence and knows the answer.

Just because I like to see lying bureaucrats squirm.

RELATED: Per Sharyl Attkisson, it’s not just the IRS possibly destroying records they’re legally obligated to retain. A federal judge has held the EPA in contempt and ordered it to pay legal fees for destroying records requested under the Freedom of Information Act.

UPDATE: Oh, this is special! Via Rick Moran, The Daily Caller reports that Sonasoft’s contract with the IRS was terminated weeks after Lerner’s computer crash:

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) cancelled its longtime relationship with an email-storage contractor just weeks after ex-IRS official Lois Lerner’s computer crashed and shortly before other IRS officials’ computers allegedly crashed.

The IRS signed a contract with Sonasoft, an email-archiving company based in San Jose, California, each year from 2005 to 2010. The company, which partners with Microsoft and counts The New York Times among its clients, claims in its company slogans that it provides “Email Archiving Done Right” and “Point-Click Recovery.” Sonasoft in 2009 tweeted, “If the IRS uses Sonasoft products to backup their servers why wouldn’t you choose them to protect your servers?”

Sonasoft was providing “automatic data processing” services for the IRS throughout the January 2009 to April 2011 period in which Lerner sent her missing emails.

But Sonasoft’s six-year business relationship with the IRS came to an abrupt end at the close of fiscal year 2011, as congressional investigators began looking into the IRS conservative targeting scandal and IRS employees’ computers started crashing left and right.

Read the whole thing. I’m sure the timing was just a coincidence, aren’t you?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Sure it’s a coincidence: Lerner’s PC “crashed” 10 days after congressional inquiry

June 20, 2014
"Cross my fingers!"

“You can trust me!”

And if you believe that was an accident, have I got a bridge for you:

As to Ms. Lerner’s behavior, consider that House Ways & Means Chairman Dave Camp first sent a letter asking if the IRS was engaged in targeting in June, 2011. Ms. Lerner denied it. She engineered a plant in an audience at a tax conference in May 2013 to drop the bombshell news about targeting (maybe hoping nobody would notice?). She has subsequently asserted a Fifth Amendment right to silence in front of the only people actually investigating the affair, Congress. Now we learn that her hard drive supposedly defied modernity and suffered total annihilation about 10 days after the Camp letter arrived.

Is there something in those lost emails? The fact that they are “lost” at all probably answers that question.

Read the rest at Ace’s.

I’m sick of this crap. It defies any sense of the reasonable that her computer would just happen to crash mere days after a powerful congressman wrote to ask “Say, are you harassing people for their political beliefs?” There is something deliberate and criminal going on here.

But there is no way AG Holder will appoint a special counsel, so the only way to get to the bottom of this is House Select Investigating Committee. Yes, another one. I want it, I want it now, and I want these liars nailed to a wall.

Anyone have a Trey Gowdy clone handy?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Paul Ryan to #IRS commissioner: “No one trusts you.”

June 20, 2014
"Liar"

“Liar”

Well, gee after over a year of revelations about government harassment of conservative groups applying for non-profit status, and after recent claims that convenient computer crashes wiped out emails demanded by investigating congressional committees, what reasonable person wouldn’t trust the IRS?

Paul Ryan, for one, when questioning IRS Commissioner Koskinen:

“This is unbelievable,” said Ryan, a Republican, at a Friday hearing. “The apology that ought to be given is to the American taxpayer, not to a government agency that is abusing its power. I am sitting here listening to this testimony, I don’t believe it. That’s your problem. Nobody believes you.”

“You are the Internal Revenue Service,” Ryan added. “You can reach into the lives of hard-working taxpayers and with a phone call, an e-mail or a letter you can turn their lives upside down. You ask taxpayers to hang onto seven years of their personal tax information in case they are ever audited and you can’t keep six months worth of employee e-mails? And now that we are seeing this investigation, you don’t have the e-mails, hard drives crashed. You learned about this months ago. You just told us, and we had to ask you on Monday.”

Clearly, Congressman Ryan’s lack of faith in the bureaucracy’s honesty is rooted in anti-Obama racism. (1)

Once again, we’re left with a choice when it comes to an Obama administration scandal: either the IRS is massively incompetent and is unintentionally violating federal records retention laws, in spite of getting all the money and IT help it wants, or a bunch of people are lying through their teeth and deliberately violating those same laws (as well as others).

I’m usually willing to blame stupidity before malice, but the IRS and the Obama White House are making that awfully hard.

RELATED: An interesting reminder from Ed Morrissey — as part of a larger article on abuse of power and the missing emails, he mentions an odd meeting between the IRS Chief Counsel, William Wilkins, and President Obama, himself, just days before Wilkins sent Lerner new guidelines for dealing with Tea Party applicants for 501(c) status:

There are are numerous differences between [Watergate and the IRS] scandals, too. For one thing, no one has tied this to the White House or any of President Barack Obama’s advisers. The closest insinuation between the IRS targeting scandal has been an unusual meeting between the IRS’ chief counsel, William Wilkins, and Obama on April 23, 2012. The chief counsel for the IRS would have no discernible reason for a private meeting with the president; his job would be to brief the IRS commissioner – at the time Douglas Shulman – who met with Obama the very next day.

The day after that, Wilkins sent a revised set of guidelines to Lois Lerner for the tax-exempt unit to use when applying extra scrutiny. To this day, no explanation for this meeting has been made public, even though records show that Wilkins spent hours at the White House with “POTUS” as his host.

Nor was this the first time that Wilkins appears in the targeting narrative. Carter Hull, a retired high-ranking IRS official with 48 years’ experience at the agency, testified that after he approved a Tea Party-related tax-exempt application, it got routed to Wilkins rather than finalized.

I noted this and another curious meeting with the head of the anti-Tea Party Treasury employees union last July. I’d suggest both these are potentially fruitful avenues of investigation for a House select committee.

Footnote:
(1) You just know some MSNBC talking head is dying to say just that.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) #Benghazi — why it matters

June 19, 2014

Aside from owing a true accounting to the memories of the dead lost there and their survivors, the truth about the Benghazi massacre matters because of two words: “competence” and “character.”  Bill Whittle explains:

Remember, one of the two top American officials mentioned in the video plainly desires to be President of the United States. Ignore the faux-outrage of her supporters; questions about Hillary Clinton’s conduct, competence, and character before, during, and after the attack are absolutely appropriate.

And the answers should disqualify her from office.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#IRS email epidemic claims six more victims: truth, common sense hardest hit

June 17, 2014
x

IRS IT expert

Boy, those mysterious computer crashes afflicting the IRS are something, eh? First it was just the computer of Lois Lerner, a central figure in the scandal involving IRS harassment of conservative groups. Potentially crucial emails gone, trashed, wiped out so thoroughly that even the resources of the IRS couldn’t recover them. (Try that excuse at your next audit.) Oops! No backups, either!  “Gee, Mr. Investigating Congressman and lawyers representing the people we harassed, we’re sorry. But, don’t worry! There’s not a smidgen of corruption here. Trust us.”

And now, we learn, it wasn’t just Lerner’s computer that crashed, but the PCs of six more figures close to the heart of the scandal. What a coincidence:

The IRS recently informed Ways and Means chairman Dave Camp and subcommittee chairman Charles Boustany that computer crashes resulted in additional lost e-mails, including from Nikole Flax, the chief of staff to former IRS commissioner Steven Miller, who was fired in the wake of the targeting scandal.

The revelation about Lerner’s e-mails rekindled the targeting scandal and today’s news has further inflamed Republicans. Camp and Boustany are now demanding a special prosecutor to investigate “every angle” of the events that led to Lois Lerner’s revelation in May 2013 that the agency had used inappropriate criteria to review the applications for tax exemption.

(…)

If Lerner is the central figure in the scandal — Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa said Monday evening he believes she was the senior-most official involved — Flax may be an important auxiliary figure. E-mails produced in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from the group Judicial Watch show Flax giving the green light to Lerner’s request to meet with Department of Justice officials to explore the possibility of criminally prosecuting nonprofit groups — at the suggestion of Democratic senator Sheldon Whitehouse — for engaging in political activity after declaring on their application for nonprofit status that they had no plans to do so.

What kind of computers are these clowns using? 386s running Windows 3??

Nah, you can bet they’re using fairly recent hardware and software, which mean those emails exist. Not only are they required to maintain copies by statute, but, as a former IRS IT tech put it to PJMedia’s Brian Preston:

He says that the IRS uses Microsoft Outlook/Exchange systems, which are backed up using Symantec NetBackup.

He also says that “the IRS is the cash cow of the federal government. When they ask for funding for anything it was granted without discussion.”

In the case of the prime contract and record retention, “The IRS IT projects were fully funded and never lacked for resources. To state ‘Backup tapes were reused after some short period’ is a complete joke. The IRS had thousands and thousands of tapes and ‘Virtual Tape Libraries’ (VTL or non-tape backups based on hard drive storage technologies). There was never a reason to reuse tapes.”

(…)

The former IRS IT worker adds that in his time on the prime contract, “I have worked for many federal agencies and the IRS had some of the best people.”

“This reason is why I scoff at the story being put out. Those folks would not have had such a short retention period for email unless they had it in writing from the highest levels. It would have made the local IT water cooler gossip if the IRS had screwed up and lost tons of email by accident.”

It is absolutely un-credible that these emails happened to all get irretrievably destroyed in some grand cosmic accident. The question is, then, what is in them that makes it worth telling such baldfaced lies to the nation and risking civil or criminal liability?

A House select investigating committee may be the only way we ever get the answer.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Some excellent questions for the #IRS about Lois Lerner’s missing emails

June 15, 2014
x

IRS data recovery techie in action

My blog-buddy ST has already covered the mysterious disappearance of former IRS employee Lois Lerner’s emails. I’m sure the Justice Department, per Congressman Camp’s suggestion, will get right to investigating how this could happen, in apparent violation  of standard IRS protocols. Attorney General Eric Holder, that unquestioned paragon of judicial integrity, will no doubt produce a report that lays bare the unvarnished truth.

And while we’re waiting for a certain hot spot to freeze over, independent investigative reporter Sharyl Attkisson has some suggested questions for the IRS about Ms. Lerner’s computers and those vanishing emails:

  • Please provide a timeline of the crash and documentation covering when it was first discovered and by whom; when, how and by whom it was learned that materials were lost; the official documentation reporting the crash and federal data loss; documentation reflecting all attempts to recover the materials; and the remediation records documenting the fix. This material should include the names of all officials and technicians involved, as well as all internal communications about the matter.
  • Please provide all documents and emails that refer to the crash from the time that it happened through the IRS’ disclosure to Congress Friday that it had occurred.
  • Please provide the documents that show the computer crash and lost data were appropriately reported to the required entities including any contractor servicing the IRS. If the incident was not reported, please explain why.
  • Please provide a list summarizing what other data was irretrievably lost in the computer crash. If the loss involved any personal data, was the loss disclosed to those impacted? If not, why?
  • Please provide documentation reflecting any security analyses done to assess the impact of the crash and lost materials. If such analyses were not performed, why not?
  • Please provide documentation showing the steps taken to recover the material, and the names of all technicians who attempted the recovery.
  • Please explain why redundancies required for federal systems were either not used or were not effective in restoring the lost materials, and provide documentation showing how this shortfall has been remediated.
  • Please provide any documents reflecting an investigation into how the crash resulted in the irretrievable loss of federal data and what factors were found to be responsible for the existence of this situation.
  • I would also ask for those who discovered and reported the crash to testify under oath, as well as any officials who reported the materials as having been irretrievably lost.

Also read Attkisson’s earlier report on the missing emails.

Since AG Holder will no doubt be busy with his own line of inquiry (1), I offer my own suggestion: these would be excellent questions to include as part of the investigations by a House Select Committee formed to examine the entire IRS scandal. We already have one for Benghazi; why not another? I’d say it’s more than warranted.

How about it, Mr. Speaker?

PS: Lest anyone harbor any smidgen of doubt that the IRS is lying on this matter, consider this observation from Tax Politix (h/t Rick Moran):

Again, the IRS claims it only “has Lerner emails to and from other IRS employees during this time frame…it cannot produce emails written only to or from Lerner and outside agencies or groups, such as the White House, Treasury, Department of Justice, FEC, or Democrat offices.” The ability for an inbox to lose certain emails during the time frame — but not others — is incredible.

To answer an old question, we at least now know how stupid they think we are.

Footnote:
(1) Stonewalling takes time, you know.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Benghazi attackers used State Dept. phones the night of the attack

June 12, 2014
American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

And we overheard them doing it. If anyone still believes Hillary’s story about blaming a YouTube video based on the best information they had at the time, that person is either dumber than a rock, or hoping for a job in a possible Hillary administration.

Via Bret Baier and James Rosen:

The terrorists who attacked the U.S. consulate and CIA annex in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 used cell phones, seized from State Department personnel during the attacks, and U.S. spy agencies overheard them contacting more senior terrorist leaders to report on the success of the operation, multiple sources confirmed to Fox News.

The disclosure is important because it adds to the body of evidence establishing that senior U.S. officials in the Obama administration knew early on that Benghazi was a terrorist attack, and not a spontaneous protest over an anti-Islam video that had gone awry, as the administration claimed for several weeks after the attacks.

Eric Stahl, who recently retired as a major in the U.S. Air Force, served as commander and pilot of the C-17 aircraft that was used to transport the corpses of the four casualties from the Benghazi attacks – then-U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, information officer Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods – as well as the assault’s survivors from Tripoli to the safety of an American military base in Ramstein, Germany.

In an exclusive interview on Fox News’ “Special Report,” Stahl said members of a CIA-trained Global Response Staff who raced to the scene of the attacks were “confused” by the administration’s repeated implication of the video as a trigger for the attacks, because “they knew during the attack…who was doing the attacking.” Asked how, Stahl told anchor Bret Baier: “Right after they left the consulate in Benghazi and went to the [CIA] safehouse, they were getting reports that cell phones, consulate cell phones, were being used to make calls to the attackers’ higher ups.”

Funny, but the Accountability Review Board Secretary Clinton set up after the Benghazi massacre never interviewed Mr Stahl, nor, as far as I know, anyone else who might have knowledge of this. Odd oversight for them to make, isn’t it?

Remember, late on the night of the attack, right after a phone call with the president, Clinton released a statement blaming a video for the attack. She then swore before the caskets of the honored dead returning from Benghazi –and to the faces of their family members– that she would see that video maker brought to justice. She and her boss, the President of the United States, later still made a commercial for Pakistani TV denouncing the video. To this day, in her recently release memoirs, Hillary Clinton defends that claim as being based on the best intelligence we had available at the time.

And yet, if this story is true, we now know we had overheard the enemy calling their leaders and reporting a successful operation. Not a demonstration that got out of control, but an attack.

And, again, they knew that night.

This isn’t the first time we’ve had evidence that State and the White House knew that evening what was really happening, but this is explosive and, if it holds up, should destroy any remnant of Lady MacBeth’s credibility.

As I’ve said before, the only intended target for this deception could have been us. Not the enemy. In addition to getting the truth for its own sake, we the voters need to ask ourselves a question: Do we really want as president someone who not only and so casually lies to us, but to bereaved families?

I can’t wait for these hearings to get started.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Barack Obama: evil, or stupid?

June 8, 2014

Like the old IBM commercial for the NFL said, “You make the call!”

No matter what the scandal, Obama always seems not to know; he finds out about it in the morning news, like the rest of us. Fast and Furious, IRS-gate, the utter screw up of the Obamacare web site launch, you name it. His response is always an un-credible “I didn’t know.”

So, evil? Or stupid?

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The VA Health Scandal Is about Government Incompetence, not Inadequate Funding

June 1, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

Frightened of what the VA scandal foreshadows for life under Obamacare, the Left has fallen back on their standard policy prescription: More money! (Cries of “racism!” are next on the list, I think…)

Originally posted on International Liberty:

I’ve never been susceptible to the claim that you solve problems with taxpayer money.

Indeed, this amusing poster is a pretty good summary of my views on the effectiveness of government spending.

But what about the horrific stories about veterans dying because of secret waiting lists and bureaucratic skullduggery at the Veterans Administration?

I want to take care of former soldiers who need treatment because of their service, and national defense is one of the few legitimate functions of the federal government. So is this one of the rare cases where a budget needs to increase? That’s certainly the mentality in some quarters on Capitol Hill.

Here are some excerpts from Byron York’s column in the Washington Examiner.

Sanders and his fellow Democrats want to give the VA billions more. …What is striking about Sanders’ bill is not just its price tag but how irrelevant it is to the…

View original 803 more words


Pelosi channels Whoopie Goldberg on the #VAscandal: It’s not really a scandal-scandal…

May 29, 2014

Oh, brother.

While her minions race to the microphones to denounce VA Secretary Shinseki before the voters take out their wrath on them, House Minority Leader (1) Nancy Pelosi took the softball question lobbed to her by Vox’s Ezra Klein (2) and explained that, yes, the poor treatment of veterans was scandalous, but she wasn’t sure if it really was a “scandal:”

Gee, Nancy, it sure seems to me that VA administrators and employees manipulating federal records to hide the poor treatment of veterans and win themselves some bonuses amounts to a scandal. Maybe even a criminal matter. What else do you need? Oh, wait. I know.

An (R) after the president’s name.

via The Right Scoop

Footnote:
(1) And a person very much responsible for creating that minority. Thanks, Nancy!
(2) He who thinks the Constitution is too old to understand.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Unofficial Death Panels at the VA Show Where Obamacare Will Lead

May 23, 2014

Phineas Fahrquar:

The amazing thing to me is that, having known about this since taking office and having touted VA as a model for how Obamacare would work, why in Heaven’s name did the Obama administration not fix VA??

Originally posted on International Liberty:

In hopes of warning people about the dangers of Obamacare, I’ve shared horror stories from the United Kingdom about patients languishing on waiting lists and being left to die.

Now, thanks to whistleblowers, we have horror stories from America. The government-run system operated by the Veterans Administration has maintained secret waiting lists that have led to lots of delayed care and numerous deaths.

The Wall Street Journalopines on the scandal.

The real story of the VA scandal is the failure of what liberals have long hailed as the model of government health care. Don’t take our word for it. As recently as November 2011, Paul Krugman praised the VA as a triumph of “socialized medicine,” as he put it… What the egalitarians ignore, however, is that a government system contains its own “perverse incentives,” such as rationing that leads to treatment delays and preventable deaths, which the bureaucracy…

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Intellectual fascism: respected scientist hounded for daring to doubt the “climate consensus”

May 15, 2014
"The new liberal tokerance"

“Confess, Dr. Bengtsson! Recant your heresy!!”

Well, so much for freedom of thought and open debate in the sciences. Dr. Lennart Bengtsson, a Swedish meteorologist with an accomplished professional record, just a couple of weeks ago joined the advisory board of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), a British organization skeptical of the theory of catastrophic man-caused warming and headed by noted skeptic Lord Lawson. It was quite a coup for the GWPF, since Bengtsson was highly regarded in the Warmist camp and is a specialist in numerical modeling, which is critical to Warmist arguments. (1) But, Bengtsson had become highly critical both of the pressure for consensus in climate science, seeing it as anti-scientific, and of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the UN-sponsored global scientific organization that regular issues reports of “climate doom.” Via Judith Curry, here’s an excerpt from an interview Dr. Bengtsson gave with the Dutch web site State of the Climate, in which he shares his opinion on “scientific consensus:”

Interviewer: Is there according to you a “climate consensus” in the community of climate scientists and if so what is it?

Bengtsson: I believe the whole climate consensus debate is silly. There is not a single well educated scientist that question that greenhouse gases do affect climate. However, this is not the issue but rather how much and how fast. Here there is no consensus as you can see from the IPCC report where climate sensitivity varies with a factor of three! Based on observational data climate sensitivity is clearly rather small and much smaller that the majority of models. Here I intend to stick to Karl Popper in highlighting the need for proper validation.

If you read the whole interview, you see that Lennart Bengtsson is an “old school” scientist, one who respects the scientific method and knows that theories (which is what a model is!) must always be tested by observation. I doubt this man would ever say “The science is settled, so shut up.” Thus he joined the GWPF in the spirit of open investigation and good science.

That was his big mistake.

Just a week later, Dr. Bengtsson was forced to resign from the GWPF’s board of advisers, hounded by his former colleagues and even in fear of physical violence. From his resignation letter:

I have been put under such an enormous group pressure in recent days from all over the world that has become virtually unbearable to me. If this is going to continue I will be unable to conduct my normal work and will even start to worry about my health and safety. I see therefore no other way out therefore than resigning from GWPF. I had not expecting such an enormous world-wide pressure put at me from a community that I have been close to all my active life. Colleagues are withdrawing their support, other colleagues are withdrawing from joint authorship etc. I see no limit and end to what will happen.

It is a situation that reminds me about the time of McCarthy. I would never have expecting anything similar in such an original peaceful community as meteorology. Apparently it has been transformed in recent years. Under these situation I will be unable to contribute positively to the work of GWPF and consequently therefore I believe it is the best for me to reverse my decision to join its Board at the earliest possible time.

Emphases added. This isn’t “science.” This is a mob of fanatics, a primitive tribe turning on one of their own who’s dared to point out their idol is just a piece of wood. It’s naked Lysenkoism; all that’s needed is a show-trial. They should be praising Professor Bengtsson for being willing to work with reasonable skeptics, but, instead, they set on him like a rabid pack of hounds. Convinced of their righteousness, they’re willing to frighten an old man for the cause. (2)

Science, and with it civilization itself, does not advance when scientific questions are put off-limits as untouchable dogma. Down that path lies a new bonfire of the vanities.

RELATED: Science as McCarthyism.

Footnote:
(1) Especially since the Earth keeps refusing to cooperate.
(2) He’s nearly 80, for Pete’s sake!

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The Democrats’ rationale for boycotting the #Benghazi committee just died

May 13, 2014
American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

Oh, they might still try it, though I think they’d be dumb to do so (1), especially when Obama’s former Secretary of Defense and Deputy Director of the CIA say they welcome it:

But Panetta and Morell, noting the attack has been subject to many investigations already, said they welcome the latest one in the House.

“If you look at the polling numbers a not insignificant percentage of the American people still have questions,” Morell said.

Morell, who said he already has testified four times about Benghazi, said he is 100 percent confident the upcoming investigation will show that allegations “the intelligence community politicized its analysis” are false.

Panetta, a former Central Coast congressman and Democratic Party stalwart, said there needs to be an investigation to lay out the full story to the public. “The problem has been sometimes bits and pieces of information keep coming out” that raise more questions, he said.

“Obviously there is a concern whether it’s going to be a political effort to target an issue for a campaign,” Panetta said. “I hope Democrats participate, and it really is a legitimate effort.”

Spoken like two men who have nothing to hide, or at least think they can come through the hearings relatively unscathed. It also makes it very difficult for the White House and State to continue to denounce the committee as a farce or a political stunt (2) when two key former officials say “fine by me.” Given the questions about Obama and Clinton’s actions (or non-actions) with regard to Benghazi, continued resistance may well convince more and more people that there really is something to hide.

One other thing to bear in mind: there’s been friction between the White House (and to a lesser extent State) and the intelligence and military communities for years. One has to wonder if the latter aren’t relishing the opportunity for a little payback.

via Power Line

Footnote:
(1) Come on, if you were Hillary Clinton or Susan Rice or Tommy “Dude” Vietor, among others, would you want to go before this committee with no allies there to at least try to cover for you? And, if you’re the Democrats, do you really want to leave the field to the Republicans, who smell blood?
(2) Of course it’s political — this is what Opposition parties do. But the key is that it is not solely political, and there are indeed very serious questions to answer.

PS: It would help if I put the update on the right post. smiley headbang wall

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) #Benghazi Rep. Gowdy asks some darned fine questions

May 8, 2014

 

"Star rising?"

“Star rising?”

It was recently announced that Congressman Trey Gowdy (R -SC), a former state and federal prosecutor, would  be heading up the forthcoming House Select Committee on the Benghazi massacre. Quite a few of us have been cheering his selection, because, since the massacre, he has shown himself to be a master of the issues at stake and a dogged questioner, unlike most of the so-called press.

And speaking of the press, and courtesy of my blog-buddy ST and Kat McKinley, here’s video of Rep. Gowdy posing some questions to the press. Consider this an appetizer for the main course to come:

Let’s hope, for the sake of an honest media, that at least some in the audience were red-faced at receiving this needed lesson.

Bring on the hearings. smiley popcorn


#Benghazi: State Dept. knew within hours that it was a terrorist attack

May 5, 2014
American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

And not a demonstration. I don’t know how I missed this over the weekend (1), but the administration’s favorite investigative reporter, Sharyl Attkisson, posted this little bombshell to her site back on the 1st (via Hot Air):

Internal Emails: State Dept. Immediately Attributed Benghazi Attacks to Terrorist Group

A newly-released government email indicates that within hours of the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks on Americans in Benghazi, Libya; the State Department had already concluded with certainty that the Islamic militia terrorist group Ansar al Sharia was to blame.

The private, internal communication directly contradicts the message that President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice and White House press secretary Jay Carney repeated publicly over the course of the next several weeks. They often maintained that an anti-Islamic YouTube video inspired a spontaneous demonstration that escalated into violence.

The email is entitled “Libya update from Beth Jones. ” Jones was then-Assistant Secretary of State to Hillary Clinton. According to the email, Jones spoke to Libya’s Ambassador at 9:45am on Sept. 12, 2012 following the attacks.

“When [the Libyan Ambassador] said his government suspected that former Qaddafi regime elements carried out the attacks, I told him the group that conducted the attacks—Ansar Al Sharia—is affiliated with Islamic extremists,” Jones reports in the email.

There is no uncertainty assigned to the assessment, which does not mention a video or a protest. The State Department provided the email to Congress in Aug. of 2013 under special conditions that it not be publicly released at that time. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) sought and received permission to release it Thursday.

“If the video was a cause, why did Beth Jones of the State Department tell the Libyan Ambassador that Ansar Al Sharia was responsible for the attack?” said Chaffetz.

Gosh, that’s a darned good question Rep. Chaffetz asks. Do you think the forthcoming House special investigative committee on the Benghazi massacre might want to ask that of Ms. Jones, too?

There’s much more in the article about the origin of the controversial “talking points” and the subsequent effort to push the false narrative about a video being the goad for the attack, but I want to draw your attention to the routing of Jones’ email. These are the people copied in:

Among those copied on the emails: Deputy Secretary William Burns; Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman; Jake Sullivan, then-Deputy Chief of Staff (now promoted to national security advisor to Vice President Joe Biden); Under Secretary of State Patrick Kennedy; Cheryl Mills, then-Secretary Clinton’s Chief of Staff (now on the board of directors of the global investment firm BlackRock); and Victoria Nuland, then-State Dept. spokesperson (now promoted to Asst. Secretary of State). 

Note particularly the name of Cheryl Mills. We’ve met her before, a couple of times. A longtime Clintonista, she has the reputation of being “Hillary’s fixer.” She was also, as Attkisson reminds us, the Secretary’s chief of staff. If Mills had this information, not to mention the other bigwigs on that list, then it is inconceivable that Hillary herself did not know that it was her department’s firm opinion that the attack was caused by Ansar al Sharia. Add this to the fact that she spoke with the Deputy Chief of Mission in Libya that night  and then think about her promising the bereaved relatives of the victims, just a few days later and as their bodies were being delivered home, that the US would get the video maker. (2)

This wasn’t a case of honestly believing something that turned out to be false. Hillary Clinton was lying to heartbroken people and knew she was lying.

I can’t wait for these hearings to get started. Hillary is going to find out that, at this point, the truth still makes a difference.

RELATED: More Attkisson – Did Tommy “Dude” Vietor contradict the sworn testimony of White House officials? Must-read: Andy McCarthy on the AWOL President. More McCarthy: “Why I should not be the select committee’s special counsel.” Jonah Goldberg: “Benghazi made simple.”

UPDATE: Changed the headline to be a bit more accurate.

Footnote:
(1) Sharyl really needs to get an RSS feed going for her site.
(2) In fact, the very evening of the attack, she put out a press release blaming the video, after she had talked with President Obama, a conversation the contents of which we still do not know.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


#Benghazi: Boehner to appoint special investigating committee? UPDATE: Here we go

May 2, 2014
American Blood, US Consulate, Benghazi

American Blood, U.S. Consulate, Benghazi

At last. Just posted on Fox News:

House Speaker John Boehner is “seriously considering” appointing a special committee to probe the Benghazi attacks and an announcement from GOP leaders could come as early as Friday, sources tell Fox News.

One senior GOP source told Fox News that Boehner, who has faced pressured from rank-and-file members for months to form such a panel, is expected to go forward with the committee.

It’s unclear whether the decision is yet final. Some sources told Fox News this is a “done deal,” while others said it is “close.”

The movement comes after newly released emails raised questions about the White House role in pushing faulty claims about the attacks.

For more about the emails in question and their significance, see….

This is one of those “about danged time” moments. What was probably the back-breaker for Boehner was the revelation that the White House had withheld this email when first demanded by the House, then released it only as part of a judicial decision in a FOIA lawsuit regarding Benghazi, and then claiming it really had nothing to do with Benghazi, even though it clearly did. (And why release it as part of the documents demanded in a Benghazi lawsuit, if it had “nothing to do with Benghazi, per se” and was previously classified? And why was it classified?) This just screams “something to hide.” which is like blood in the water to Opposition politicians.

Keep in mind there are really three parts, interrelated but distinct, to the “Benghazi question:”

  1. Prior to the attack: What was the role of then-Secretary Clinton, her top aides, and the State Department in determining the level of security in Benghazi, and why wasn’t the level or protection raised, or the compound evacuated, in the face of clear warning signs? Why were no emergency-reaction assets pre-positioned nearby to come to the aid of a station in a clearly dangerous area? Defense and the White House, too, have questions to answer here.
  2. During the attack: Where exactly were President Obama and Secretary Clinton, and when? Who was calling the shots? What actions, if any, did they take that night? Who made the decision not to even attempt a rescue with assets available in Sicily and Italy? (This last question was examined by the House Armed Services committee, which found no wrongdoing, but the testimony yesterday of General Robert Lovell (ret.), Deputy Director for Intelligence for Africom, the combat command responsible for Benghazi, makes it worth reopening.)
  3. After the attack: Who came up with the largely fraudulent story about a video? Why was it pushed on the American people for weeks after the massacre, including Secretary Clinton lying to the faces of the victims’ families? Why were the reports from State Department and CIA personnel on the ground in Libya that there was no anti-video demonstration ignored? My strong suspicion is that this was done to protect Obama’s reelection and Hillary’s 2016 prospects, but we need to know a lot more.

Clearly this committee would have a lot of work to do, much of it taking a lot of time. (Remember how long the Watergate hearings took?) Even if nothing criminal occurred, the American public has a right to a full public audit of the decisions and actions of its hired help before, during, and after the crisis.

Having raised the possibility, I can’t see Boehner not going through with this, which means we can expect some televised fireworks as witnesses are called under oath and House Democrats try desperately to protect the White House.

Stock up on the popcorn. smiley popcorn

 

RELATED: Earlier posts on the Benghazi massacre.

UPDATE: It’s on. Boehner will form the committee and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) (1) is expected to lead it. Meanwhile, Issa’s House Oversight Committee has subpoenaed Secretary Kerry regarding the State Department withholding documents.

Footnote:
(1) Good choice.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


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