August 28, 2009
From the Desk of Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:
Judicial Watch Obtains New CIA Documents Detailing Results of Detainee Interrogations
Judicial Watch made big news this week when we obtained documents from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) regarding the results of the detainee interrogation program. We got the documents after filing a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit on July 14th and they include two reports entitled “Khalid Shaykh Muhammad: Preeminent Source On Al-Qa’ida” and “Detainee Reporting Pivotal for the War Against Al Qa’ida”.
The records were previously held by the Office of former Vice President Cheney. As I reported to you several weeks ago, on March 31st Vice President Cheney personally issued a request for review of these same documents to the National Archives Presidential Libraries section for declassification. The Archives then passed on the request to the CIA for review on April 8, 2009. Vice President Cheney has said the reports show the effectiveness of enhanced interrogation techniques that were used on some detained terrorists, such as Khalid Shaykh Muhammad and Abu Zubaydah. We’re glad we were able to bring these documents to light for the first time.
You can judge for yourself by clicking here. The following are a couple of quick excerpts:
Khalid Shaykh Muhammad: Preeminent Source on Al Qa’ida: KSM’s (Khalid Shaykh Muhammad’s) decade-long career as a terrorist, during which he met with a broad range of Islamic extremists from around the world, has made him a key source of information on numerous al Qa’ida operatives and other mujahidin. He has provided intelligence that has led directly to the capture of operatives or fleshed out our understanding of the activities of important detainees, which in turn assisted in the debriefings of these individuals.
Detainee Reporting Pivotal for the War Against Al Qa’ida: Since 11 September 2001, reporting from high value al-Qa’ida detainees has become a crucial pillar of US counterterrorism efforts, contributing directly and indirectly to intelligence and law-enforcement operations against the al-Qa’ida target. In addition, detainees have been able to clarify and provide context for information collected from other sources; they also have provided unique insights into different aspects of the terrorist organization, including its leadership, attack strategy and tactics…
Of course, this is not the picture President Obama painted earlier this year.
In March, President Obama overruled objections from national security officials and released documents detailing the government’s enhanced interrogation program of terrorists (the so-called “torture” memos). However, President Obama initially withheld information detailing the results of this program, including alleged terrorist plots that the program prevented. It is these documents that Judicial Watch has obtained. They have never before been released to the public. (Incredibly, the Obama administration may still be playing games and withholding responsive documents.)
CIA interrogations have been the subject of great controversy over the last few months. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi came under fire in April when she claimed she was never briefed about the CIA’s use of the waterboarding technique during terrorism investigations. The CIA produced a report documenting a briefing with Pelosi on September 4, 2002, that suggests otherwise. Indeed, the CIA Inspector General report, which was released with the reports we obtained, further confirm that Congress was fully briefed on the enhanced interrogation techniques.
I think you’ll find when reading these documents (including the CIA Inspector General report) that they suggest enhanced interrogation techniques have prevented terrorist attacks and protected our country.
Despite this, Obama’s ethically-challenged Attorney General, Eric Holder, has decided to appoint a special counsel to hound CIA officials (and, for sure, top Bush officials) with a criminal investigation. In the meantime, this administration has released terrorist after terrorist, including Binyam Mohammed, who was involved in the “dirty bomb” plot with Jose Padilla.
At the very least, thanks to Judicial Watch, the American people now have a more complete understanding of whether these enhanced interrogation programs are effective.
Major Democratic Fundraiser Arrested for Bank Fraud
Yet another fundraising scandal struck the Democrats this week when one of their top fundraisers was arrested for attempting to defraud Citigroup out of tens of millions of dollars.
Here’s the scoop according to Bloomberg:
Hassan Nemazee, chairman of Nemazee Capital Corp. and a fundraiser for President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, was arrested on a bank fraud charge and ordered to remain under house arrest on $25 million bail.
Nemazee was charged with using phony documents to trick Citigroup Inc. into lending him as much as $74 million. The financier got the loan by telling Citibank he held accounts with hundreds of millions of dollars that could serve as collateral, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said yesterday in a statement.
So how much money did Nemazee raise for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton? Nemazee raked in $100,000 for Clinton’s presidential primary campaign. He then switched teams when Hillary lost the nomination and raised $500,000 for the Obama campaign. Of course Nemazee’s roots in the Democratic Party go much deeper and he was a major national fundraiser for the party. Senators Kerry and Schumer are among the other top Democrats who have benefited from Nemazee’s fundraising prowess.
(Schumer scrambled to distance himself from Nemazee following the arrest, saying that he is going to donate $4,800 raised by Nemazee to charity. Obama and the Democratic National Committee “returned” only a fraction of the money Nemazee raised.)
As far as the Clintons are concerned, every time a fresh campaign finance scandal breaks with their names on it, I’m reminded of the Clintons’ long sordid history of campaign finance abuses. Most recently there was Norman Hsu, who raised tens of thousands of dollars for Hillary’s presidential campaign until we learned in 2007 that authorities in California had a warrant for his arrest stemming from a 1991 fraud case.
Nemazee has been a suspicious character for a long time. Bill Clinton tried to nominate him for an ambassadorship back in 1999, but the nomination went nowhere when it became clear that Nemazee was a shady businessman. So Obama, Clinton, and the Democrats (and a few Republicans) should have known to stay from this guy.
Here’s what I told One News Now about this scandal:
“The problem is these politicians don’t care,” Fitton states bluntly. “As long as you’re raising the money, they don’t care about your ethics or [your] background or your criminal history — and in the case of Nemazee, he was…helping to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Clinton gang. And then even after Clinton lost [the Democratic primary], he went over to the Obama side and raised a half-a-million dollars for him.”
So as for Obama, he obtained Nemazee’s money, got elected in part because of the money, he’ll return a few bucks to make himself seem ethical, and go on as if nothing happened. In our current system, breaking the rules has little downside and may help you get elected. Any fines or embarrassment after the fact is a small price to pay to get into public office.
This is one of the many corruption issues that Judicial Watch tries to address, with the support of our members, through its various investigations and litigation. You can see why we’re now America’s largest government watchdog organization.
Judicial Watch Continues Legal Battle against Hillary Clinton Appointment
I have another legal update for you on the challenge to Hillary Clinton’s unconstitutional appointment to serve as Secretary of State. On August 20, Judicial Watch filed a Cross Motion for Summary Judgment in its lawsuit on behalf of U.S. Foreign Service Officer David C. Rodearmel, who is challenging the Clinton appointment based on the Ineligibility Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
The Ineligibility (or Emoluments) Clause plainly states the following: “No Senator or Representative shall, during the Time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil Office under the Authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the Emoluments whereof shall have been increased during such time.”
In other words, if an individual served in Congress while the salary of a civil office was increased, they cannot serve in that position. And that includes the position of Secretary of State. And that includes Hillary Clinton.
Judicial Watch’s response brief, which can be read in its entirety by clicking here, addresses two main legal issues:
Hillary Clinton’s appointment is contrary to the plain language of the Ineligibility Clause: It is undisputed that the emoluments of the office of the Secretary of State increased during the Senate term to which Mrs. Clinton was elected (January 2007 through January 2013)…This increase rendered Mrs. Clinton ineligible for appointment to any “civil office under the Authority of the United States” under Art. I, sec. 6, cl. 2. Defendants contend that a subsequent legislative ‘fix’ by Congress restored Mrs. Clinton’s constitutional eligibility for office. Defendants, however, have no explanation as to why, if Framers had intended to allow for such a legislative remedy, no such provision exists…The Ineligibility Clause plainly does not provide for any such legislative ‘end runs’ to try to cure a Member’s ineligibility.
(As Judicial Watch further notes in its brief, government lawyers have employed an “extra-textual” interpretation of the Ineligibility Clause, proposing to amend the Constitution by adding the words “on net” to the otherwise unambiguous language of the clause. In other words, if Congress subsequently retracts a salary increase, no harm no foul, because the salary would not, “on net” have increased. Such fixes are unconstitutional and irresponsible.)
Mr. Rodearmel has legal standing to bring this lawsuit: [Mr. Rodearmel] has demonstrated that he is being injured in his employment by being required to serve under, take direction from, and report to a constitutionally ineligible superior, Mrs. Clinton. This is because [Mr. Rodearmel] has been placed in a position where he either must violate his oath of office or risk substantial, adverse consequences to his employment. This constitutes a direct, personal, and concrete injury for purposes of establishing standing to bring this action. [Mr. Rodearmel] also enjoys a property right in his continued employment as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer, and being required to serve under, take direction from, and report to a constitutionally ineligible superior, in violation of Plaintiff’s oath of office, also constitutes a material, adverse change in the terms and conditions of Plaintiff’s employment and injures Plaintiff’s property right in that continuing employment.
Too often government officials do not like to be bound by the plain meaning of the U.S. Constitution.
Judicial Watch takes a different view. The U.S. Constitution is the law of the land. And it ought to be respected.
I’d be remiss as Judicial Watch president if I did not try to correct the misleading historical record that is being created by the adoring media coverage of Senator Kennedy’s tenure in office.
I have no doubt that Senator Kennedy was often a kind man, a great friend to many and capable of acts of Christian charity to which many would rightly aspire.
Yes, I’ve seen Ted Kennedy in church. But I’ve also personally seen him behave in a way that would disgust most decent Americans.
Senator Kennedy used the power of his office to avoid accountability for criminal misconduct. Despite numerous ethical transgressions through the years, Sen. Kennedy’s colleagues in the U.S. Senate looked the other way — which only served to encourage additional misconduct by him.
Senator Kennedy supposedly once said, “Do we operate under a system of equal justice under law? Or is there one system for the average citizen and another for the high and mighty?”
Unfortunately, his record suggests disappointing answers to his questions.
Until next week…
Judicial Watch is a non-partisan, educational foundation organized under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue code. Judicial Watch is dedicated to fighting government and judicial corruption and promoting a return to ethics and morality in our nation’s public life. To make a tax-deductible contribution in support of our efforts, click here.