Compared to the media conniption fits over revocation of John Brennan's security clearance in August (Washington Post headline: "Trump revoked John Brennan's security clearance. The long-term consequences may be dire"), Hillary Clinton's defenestration from the House of National Security is being portrayed as a "voluntary" matter. CBS News, for instance, headlines, "Hillary Clinton's security clearance revoked by her own request," as if she woke up one day and decided she could no longer stand the stress of reading about our national secrets. Quite obviously, she surrendered the clearance to avoid the embarrassment of having it taken away, much the way Paul Manafort surrendered himself to authorities to begin his imprisonment to avoid a humiliating police raid or manhunt.Clinton’s “Researchers”….
The “researchers” who Secretary Clinton designated is the topic of interest; and the redacted identifications therein are telling. The Executive Order referenced is HERE. The subsection [Sec. 4.4 (a)(2)] involves:If true, I would further suggest that one of those name begins with bloomin' and sounds like Neanderthal.
Sec. 4.4. Access by Historical Researchers and Certain Former Government Personnel.Essentially what this tells us is that Secretary Hillary Clinton used her authority to waive the ‘need to know‘ limit on the people she listed. In essence, she gave unlimited access to her “researchers” for an unspecified reason.
(a) The requirement in section 4.1(a)(3) of this order that access to classified information may be granted only to individuals who have a need-to-know the information may be waived for persons who:
(1) are engaged in historical research projects;
(2) previously have occupied senior policy-making positions to which they were appointed or designated by the President or the Vice President; or
(3) served as President or Vice President.
When I see the wording, immediately I think of two distinct reasons for Clinton to grant her researchers with top-level security access to classified information: (1) to participate in searches of FISA databases (ie. ‘queries’); and (2) to make unmasking requests for any results within those search query results.
Keeping in mind these appear to be State Department access / authorized researchers. The DoS is one of the intelligence authorized access portals. [FBI, DOJ-NSD, NSA, CIA, DoD are others.] In short, Clinton ‘researchers’ would have access to compartmented intelligence gathering systems, ie. FISA intelligence systems.
Now, remember all of the ‘unmasking requests’ attributed to U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Powers? Hundreds of them. Ambassador Samantha Powers is a top-level official, for Obama a cabinet level official, within the Department of State.
Despite Donald Trump and Rod Rosenstein coming to some kind of understanding, Congress is still after Rod: Bob Goodlatte: 'I will issue a subpoena' for Rod Rosenstein
"It's essential that we talk to him. He knows that. He has not agreed to come for a transcribed interview on the record. He needs to agree to do that. If he does not agree to do that very soon, I will issue a subpoena for him to appear," Goodlatte said in an interview on Fox News.Jonathan Turley at the Hill thinks Rod Rosenstein must recuse himself. If the conflict of interest rule really meant anything, he would be shipped off to be the attorney general of Guam or something.
Rosenstein has said his comments were not meant seriously. He met with the White House on Monday, after which Trump said he would not fire Rosenstein.
"I have heard a number of different reports. One that he didn't say it; another that he said it and he meant it. Another that he said it in jest, another that he said it in sarcasm, which has a different connotation than making a joke of it. All of those are important to us. We need to hear his version," Goodlatte said.
One of the most glaring irregularities in the special counsel investigation has been the conflicted ethical position of top officials at the Justice Department. President Trump has long borne a deep resentment over the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, which many of us viewed as a necessary ethical step. The problem was not the recusal of Sessions but the fact that it was not immediately followed by the recusal of Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The precarious ethical position of Rosenstein just became far more acute with a new report that he ignored demands within the Justice Department to remove himself in 2017.
The report alleges that a heated argument over his conflicts arose soon after the appointment of special counsel Robert Mueller within the Justice Department. Rosenstein rejected the demands of then acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe that his supervision of Mueller was a glaring conflict, while he demanded McCabe’s recusal on different conflicts. The confrontation of Rosenstein over his dubious ethical position is no surprise. In 2017, I argued that both Mueller and Rosenstein had serious conflicts in performing any role in a special counsel investigation.
Mueller had interviewed for James Comey’s job after the latter was fired as FBI director, and reportedly spoke directly with Trump in the aftermath of the firing. That makes him an obvious witness to the very matter that he is investigating. Mueller should not have been on the list of possible special counsels, let alone selected by Rosenstein. Yet, that glaring conflict is now being overlooked, given the national interest in having this investigation completed fully and independently.
Rosenstein is a different matter. From the appointment of Mueller, Rosenstein’s more serious conflict has undermined the investigation. Rosenstein is not just a witness to Mueller’s obstruction investigation, he is one of the key witnesses. Trump consulted Rosenstein before firing Comey, and Rosenstein wrote a memorandum effectively calling for his removal. Initially, the White House suggested that Comey was fired due to that memorandum, and Rosenstein reportedly was irate. The White House then had to walk back the statements after Rosenstein demanded a correction. That puts him at ground zero of the obstruction allegations.
Despite the fact that he is a key witness in Mueller’s investigation, Rosenstein has continued as Mueller’s boss, approving any expansions of his mandate and other issues. The investigation could have a pronounced impact on Rosenstein’s professional standing. Rosenstein has portrayed himself as above the fray, a bulwark against Trump’s reported desire to lay waste to the investigation. He is Mueller’s primary line of defense. Yet, Mueller has to question Rosenstein’s own conduct and subsequent accounts if he is to do a complete investigation of Comey’s firing. Rosenstein also is a key player in some of the secret FISA warrants targeting Trump’s campaign aides in the Russian investigation.