OpenCDA

January 25, 2017

Realistically, What Does It Mean?

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 3:39 pm

trump-drain-the-swampWe heard it from candidate, then nominee, then President-elect Trump throughout his candidacy:  “Drain the swamp!”  But in the surreal world of Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac, what does it really mean?  Does the new President hate all “government” employees?  What will the remnants of the swamp look like when President Trump pulls the drain plug?

It will probably look like waterlogged mahogany furniture and even emptier $1000 suits than it has for decades.  It is far less likely to look like unfilled JCPenney slacks and shirts and ties or Ross skirts, slacks and blouses.  Most of the folks whose desks and chairs are gray painted sheet metal rather than mahogany, the folks at GS/GM-15 and below, are likely to be high and dry and still have jobs.

To the aforementioned occupants of the mahogany furniture:  Welcome to the whirlpool.

Some Senior Executive Service officials are likely to be retained in the SES, some will be effectively demoted (though that’s not what it’s called in the SES).

Presidential appointees, the folks who “…serve at the pleasure of the President…,”  should have already submitted their resignations. It is customary for appointees to offer to resign when the President who appointed them leaves office.

Some Obama appointees may be reappointed by President Trump.  For example, President Trump said during the campaign that he intended to reappoint Preet Bharara to be the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York.  Bharara had been appointed to that position in 2009 by President Obama, and he has administered that office without evidence of partisan bias.  That is to say, Bharara has gone after many corrupt public officials without any apparent deference to the offender’s party affiliation.

The US Department of Justice Headquarters, often shortened to Main Justice, is one of the large swamps with subsidiary swamps in many of the federal judicial districts.  Until the Senate gets around to confirming Senator Sessions to be the new US Attorney General, here is a list of the designates who will continue to oversee Main Justice.

The delay by the US Senate to confirm Sessions will result in some legal actions being delayed since the US Attorneys in each of the federal judicial districts needs to know what the new boss at Main Justice wants before making representations to the federal courts on his behalf.

Other federal agencies have likely filed similar memoranda which identify component heads.   It is done for continuity of government operations.

January 13, 2017

What About The Public Interest?

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , , , — Bill @ 7:04 am

Questions copy copyThe Coeur d’Alene Press published an article on Thursday, January 12th, headlined Nault’s Family Wants Answers.   The article’s lead read, “A year and half after a popular Coeur d’Alene High baseball player drowned in Lake Coeur d’Alene, his mother and sister still don’t know exactly what happened.”

Unfortunately, it was a typical Press “emotion” piece, an article more focused on telling the public how the Nault family feels rather than giving the Nault family or us substantive information.  It’s information the public needs to evaluate how well or how poorly the Kootenai County Sheriff Ben Wolfinger and the Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh are performing their official duties.

The Nault family is absolutely entitled to know the answers to the questions Mr. James posed in the article.

So is the public.  There is a valid  public interest in determining if Reggie Nault’s death was thoroughly and competently investigated and if all those who contributed materially to his death were prosecuted.  There is certainly a valid public interest in knowing if official favoritism was shown toward some who should have been prosecuted for incidental crimes (e.g., Destruction, alteration or concealment of evidence) but were not.

The county sheriff and the county prosecutor are elected officials.  The questions posed by the Nault family in Thursday’s article and the questions OpenCdA raised in our earlier posts in 2015 and 2016 are still valid.  It appears they’re also still unanswered.   The results of the Nault death investigation and any investigations into the related conduct of involved adults  and juveniles will allow the public to better evaluate the official performance of elected officials including the sheriff, the prosecutor, and judges.

Certainly the Nault family’s feelings are important. OpenCdA gives attorney Leland James respectful credit for pushing the feckless Coeur d’Alene Press to perform as a newspaper rather than the image protector of elected officials.

January 10, 2017

Case in Point …

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: — Bill @ 1:04 pm

benrhodesIn its stories on January 5, 2017, and also on January 10, 2017, The Washington Free Beacon for-profit online newspaper has reported that “Ben Rhodes, a White House deputy national security adviser who led the administration’s efforts to mislead Congress about the terms of the Iran nuclear agreement, is under [Congressional] scrutiny in the wake of disclosures he was declined interim clearance status by the FBI in 2008 …”

Under the circumstances, Congress is properly trying to determine if Rhodes was cleared by the FBI to receive access to national security information.  Specifically, Congress wants to know if Rhodes had been denied an interim security clearance.

Being denied a security clearance after an appropriate background investigation has been completed and adjudicated is different from simply not applying for the security clearance.   Clearances are generally denied when the applicant is unsuitable to hold the clearance. (more…)

January 7, 2017

The (U) 2016 Election Report From ODNI

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 8:46 am

odni-u-report-coverOn January 6, 2017, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI)  released its unclassified background report entitled “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections”.

The (U) background report makes it very clear that the Russian Federation government at the direction of President Vladimir Putin mounted an information campaign intended to influence the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election in the United States.

That revelation has provided the breathless headlines for many skewspaper articles and broadcast skews blather which would have us conclude that this has never happened before and that the United States of America has never and would never engage in anything so nefarious as to try and influence who controls other nations’ governments.  Both conclusions are wrong.

Long before the Soviet Union dissolved, it had been using influence campaigns to try and influence western elections.   It hasn’t stopped.  If the incoming cast of Republican clowns think that Putin and his intelligence services (SVR, FSB, GRU) haven’t been laying the groundwork to disrupt the Trump administration using similar and even more aggressive tactics, then those Republicans need to re-read the report and be drug tested regularly. (It’s not only the Russians.  The People’s Republic of China,  the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and several of our allies have the ability and very probably the will to do much worse.)

What the Russians did in the 2016 election campaign was attack the vulnerabilities of several electronic storage media to gather information for their influence campaign.   Those vulnerabilities were known or should have been known to the systems’  administrators.   For the past eight years efforts by the Intelligence Community to beef up counterintelligence (CI), including offensive CI operations, were largely rebuffed by President Obama.

The report offers no evidence the Russians successfully manipulated votes via cyberattacks.

As for any misplaced belief that the United States would never do unto someone else what the Russians did unto us, ask Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about the efforts by President Obama and his henchmen at State Department to get Netanyahu ousted in 2015.   Go back even further to the 1973 support by President Richard Nixon for the Chilean coup ousting President Salvador Allende and to the numerous efforts under President John F. Kennedy to remove and even kill Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro.

The links in the first paragraph provide a pretty good primer for those wanting to know more about how the Intelligence Community assesses threats and how it provides information to decision makers.  It also hints at what worked in preventing the Russians from doing what our skews media wish had happened:  actually manipulating the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election.

December 8, 2016

‘Warnings Unheeded: Twin Tragedies at Fairchild Air Force Base’

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , — Bill @ 7:04 am

warnings-unheeded

On June 20, 1994, Dean A. Mellberg, a former US Air Force airman returned to Fairchild Air Force Base, Washington, with a rifle.  He specifically targeted Major Thomas Brigham, M.D., and Captain Alan Landon, Ph.D.  After entering the base hospital and killing his intended targets, Mellberg continued to shoot and kill everyone he could including eight year old Christin McCarron.  Mellberg’s mass murder attack was stopped only when he was shot and killed by Senior Airman Andy Brown, a security police officer assigned to the 92nd Security Police Squadron at Fairchild.

Then on June 24, 1994, a U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress crashed at Fairchild Air Force Base while rehearsing maneuvers for an annual air show.  The B-52 was piloted by Lieutenant Colonel Arthur “Bud” Holland.  The crash killed Holland and three other crew members.

Aside from geographic coincidence, the two incidents had something else in common:  There had been many credible warnings that both Dean Mellberg and Bud Holland represented a serious, likely life-threatening danger to their fellow airmen.  The warnings had gone unheeded.

In his just-released book Warnings Unheeded:  Twin Tragedies at Fairchild Air Force Base,  (WU Press, Spokane, Washington, (c)2016 Andy Brown, ISBN 978-0-9978634-0-6,) author Andy Brown explains the unheeded warnings in a remarkably well-researched and very readable book.    If his book stopped there, it would be worth reading by every supervisor at every level of public service and private industry.  But Mr. Brown went further and revealed the personal challenges he faced in his own journey from Trauma to Recovery.   His revelation elevates the importance of his book to an entirely new level.

Andy Brown’s book has not received much national attention.  It should.  Warnings like the ones unheeded at Fairchild Air Force Base leading up to the events of June 1994 are not restricted to any particular institution or by geographic location.

Warnings Unheeded:  Twin Tragedies at Fairchild Air Force Base is available from Amazon.com.  It is also available from the Hayden Branch of the Community Library Network of Kootenai and Shoshone Counties in Idaho.

Author Andy Brown is scheduled to appear on Saturday, December 10, 2016, from noon until 2 p.m. at a book signing at Center Target Sports, 3295 E. Mullan Avenue, Post Falls, ID 83854.

November 26, 2016

Update: Title IX Federal Lawsuit Targets NIC

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 3:33 pm

casewatchOn September 22, 2016, former North Idaho College (NIC) student Reina Rodriguez filed a federal lawsuit (District of Idaho case number 2:16-cv-430) in Boise.  The initial Complaint and Demand for Jury Trial alleges that while she was a student at NIC in 2013, Ms. Rodriguez “… had been gang raped by three male students at an off-campus event.”  It further alleges that NIC failed to respond to her initial reports in compliance with various requirements of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 USC § 1681(a), commonly referred to as “Title IX”.

The initial reports by The Spokesman-Review and the Coeur d’Alene Press did not identify the plaintiff by name even though she is identified in public record court filings.

Both skews paper reports stated the alleged rape had been investigated by the Coeur d’Alene Police Department and that the Kootenai County Prosecuting Attorney had declined to prosecute.  That misses the point.

The validity of Ms. Rodriguez’s federal Title IX lawsuit is not dependent on the filing of any state criminal charges or even on her making a complaint to law enforcement. (more…)

November 14, 2016

FBI Director Comey’s Letters

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , , , — Bill @ 7:20 pm

hillaryloserfsbPredictably, Hillary Clinton blames FBI Director James Comey for her loss in the 2016 presidential election.  She asserts that Comey’s July and October comments and letters to certain Congressional oversight committee chairmen and minority ranking members caused some of her supporters to vote for Trump or at least not vote for her.

Assume she’s correct about the influence Comey’s letters may have had on some voters.

The real question, then, is whether Comey acted with malice or favoritism toward either nominee.  Did he intend to influence the outcome of the election?

OpenCdA doesn’t think he did.  An equally strong and even more plausible argument is that Comey was performing the duties required and expected of the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Hillary Clinton’s illegal storage and retention of national security information on her unsecured private email server and her illegally allowing unauthorized persons (e.g., her housekeeper) to handle and view that information elevated the severity of her actions.  More than just violating statutes and administrative orders, Clinton maliciously jeopardized the national security.  As Secretary of State,  Clinton was required to know and understand the various national security regulations and laws to not only conform her own conduct but also to ensure her employees complied with those regulations and laws as well.    By virtue of her position, she knew using the private email server to traffic in national security information was wrong.  She cannot claim ignorance as a defense.

As we’ve pointed out in several preceding OpenCdA posts, the FBI has multiple responsibilities.   Not all of them will or should end in an arrest, prosecution, and trial.  Protecting the United States against foreign intelligence operations and espionage is frequently at the top of that list.

Whether the Clintons  want to admit it or not, their knowingly allowing her server to be used to exchange national security information seriously jeopardized the national security.  Using BleachBit overwrite software, Clinton intentionally tried to hide evidence of her culpability from the Intelligence Community.    The effect was that she obstructed the Intelligence Community’s effort to assess the damage done to national security.  She made it difficult and maybe impossible to conclusively itemize what national security information was actually compromised and by whom.

If the Clinton private email server had not been used to traffic in national security information, it would likely not have been of even passing interest to Congress.   But once the FBI determined the server had been used to unlawfully store national security information, it had a duty to investigate and keep Congress informed about the threat to national security.  To do otherwise is to make it difficult or impossible for Congress to exercise its responsibility to oversee Executive Branch departments and agencies.

FBI Director James Comey was between the dog and the fire hydrant, but it was Hillary Clinton who pumped the dog full of diuretics when she created her illegal email server and used it to illegally traffic in national security information.

FBI Director James Comey did not conceive, build, and use the backchannel unsecured email system.  Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did.

November 8, 2016

Another ‘What If…’

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 5:36 am

CRS copyWhat if no candidate for President of the United States wins a majority of electoral votes?  What  happens then?

There will be a ‘contingent election.’  It happened twice in history, both times in the 1800’s.  The House of Representatives would elect the President, and the Senate would elect the Vice-President.

There’s a more detailed explanation of the ‘contingent election’ process in the Congressional Research Service’s report dated November 3, 2016, and entitled Contingent Election of the President and Vice President by Congress:  Perspectives and Contemporary Analysis.

November 1, 2016

Cooperating Witness? Or Defendant?

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , , — Bill @ 4:42 pm

humaabedinweinerNow we learn that the FBI discovered some Hillary email server case emails on the laptop computer of none other than Huma Abedin’s estranged husband Anthony “Carlos Danger” Weiner.

Through her personal attorney, Abedin states she didn’t know those emails were on Anthony Weiner’s computer.

If Abedin is denying using Carlos’ computer for work-related emails, then how did the emails get there?

It appears to OpenCdA that the FBI now owns Huma Abedin.  She swore under oath that she had turned over all devices containing Clinton email server related messages.

It also appears to us that Abedin has two choices:  She can become a fully cooperating truth-telling witness in the FBI’s investigations of both Clinton’s email and her family’s foundation,  or she can become a defendant and risk spending time in a federal penitentiary.  Since daddy is likely already facing prison time for soliciting sex with an underage girl, if Huma wants to give their four year-old son Jordan some semblance of a normal life, it shouldn’t be a difficult choice.

October 27, 2016

… And Now We Know Who and Why

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , , , — Bill @ 12:59 pm

hillaryfsb78FBI Director James Comey’s July 5th announcement surprised many people, but it completely stunned the over 100 FBI investigators and 6 DoJ National Security Division attorneys who had worked on the Clinton private email server investigation.   The investigative team had nearly unanimously recommended charging Democrat Party presidential nominee Hillary Clinton with numerous very serious violations of national security laws.

But thanks to recent FBI releases of more of her emails which Clinton thought she had not only deleted but overwritten as well, the world now knows that President Barack Hussein Obama had directed his sycophant Attorney General Loretta Lynch that under no circumstances was Clinton to be charged with any crimes.

Many people would assume Obama’s order to Lynch was to protect Clinton’s candidacy.  But again thanks to the FBI releases of the emails, even liberal propaganda mills the New York Times and Politico were forced to report that Obama was more likely trying to prevent one of his own very serious lies to the American public from being revealed.

On March 15, 2015, Obama gave a highly-publicized interview in which he told the world he had learned about Clinton’s private email server the same way as everyone else — from the news.  The Clinton email dump reveals that Obama was lying, and Hillary Clinton, her lawyer Cheryl Mills, and her campaign advisor John Podesta knew it.   A March 7, 2015, email from Mills to Podesta told Podesta about emails from Obama (using a pseudonym) to Clinton on her private server that long predated his March 15, 2015, interview.   Here are the Politico story and the New York Times story.

And now we know why FBI Director James Comey said what he said on July 5.

Comey almost certainly had been told by Lynch that she really didn’t care what evidence the FBI and DoJ investigators found.  She had already made an agreement with Barack Hussein Obama to decline prosecuting Clinton.  Why?  Because any prosecution of Clinton would most certainly have revealed the President’s own bald-faced lie to the people.

Infinitely more worrisome than Obama’s lie to the public, a Clinton criminal trial could and probably would reveal that Obama was aware the server was illegally being used to store classified information.  Even the very bribable Democrats and lily-livered Republicans in Congress would be forced to deliberate impeachment, not of Obama (who will presumably be gone on January 20, 2017) but of President Hillary Clinton.

Loretta Lynch’s loyalty may at some point in her legal career have been to the principle of rule of law and the US Constitution.  No longer.  Loretta Lynch’s loyalty is to Barack Hussein Obama.   The public will rightly wonder what tangible gratuity Lynch will receive in return from the Clintons or their Foundation.

It’s highly doubtful that Lynch has either the personal or professional integrity and dignity to follow in the steps of Nixon’s Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus.  They resigned rather than follow Nixon’s politically-motivated orders to fire the special prosecutor.  Lynch didn’t even have the courage to refuse to meet privately on her government airplane with the disgraced former President William Jefferson Clinton even though her Justice Department was investigating Clinton’s wife for her crimes which gravely imperil the national security.

The American public should be very, very concerned that Obama’s US Department of Justice, particularly but not exclusively Mahogany Row at Main Justice, has become so politicized.

One of the often-heard arguments against Hillary Clinton’s presidency is that she will likely be able to appoint at least three US Supreme Court justices.  Voters need to recognize that it is worse than that.

The ideological contamination will not be limited to appellate decisions by the US Supreme Court.

The next President will appoint not only Supreme Court justices.  The next President will also appoint some new or additional federal judges and appoint or reappoint some or all of the 94 US Attorneys.  For citizens who need to seek the remedy and justice of the federal courts, the thought that any or all of those appointees could be like Eric Holder or Loretta Lynch or Janet Reno or John Mitchell or Ed Meese or Alberto Gonzales is terrifying.

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