I’m sure you’ve seen and read the usual DC establishment talking heads professing confusion as to why Hillary Clinton would make the “mistake” in setting up a separate email system to conduct government business as secretary of state. Of course, these types never see the obvious answer – because she had something to hide! And so did a lot of other Obama administration officials, some still running things at the State Department.
If you have any doubt about this, please take a look at the new State Department records we released yesterday that reveal Hillary Clinton personally signed the authorization for Huma Abedin, her then-deputy chief of staff, to become a special government employee.
The records also show that Abedin declined to provide complete information about her husband Anthony Weiner’s financial dealings. The records were uncovered as a result of a court order in a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit that seeks records about the controversial, to put it charitably, employment status of Abedin (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:13-cv-01363)). The records show also that Abedin used a clintonemail.com account to communicate about her special status. (We know only that Abedin had a clintonemail.com account to conduct business. Neither Clinton nor the State Department are telling who else from the State Department participated in this shady Clinton email system.)
The lies on this particular issue began in February 2014, when the State Department assured Judicial Watch that it had searched several individual offices of the department, including the office of the executive secretary, which would have included the offices of the secretary of State and top staff. Relying upon the State Department’s misrepresentation that the agency conducted a reasonable search, Judicial Watch agreed to dismiss its lawsuit on March 14, 2014. Judge Emmet Sullivan reopened the lawsuit on June 19, 2015, in response to revelations about Clinton’s separate email system.
The newly uncovered documents show that Clinton personally signed the form for Abedin’s appointment as a “Special Government Employee/ senior advisor to Clinton on March 23, 2012.” The position description form details that Hillary Clinton certifies that Abedin’s “position is necessary to carry out Government functions for which I am responsible.” The Obama State Department blacked out Clinton’s signature on the form, allegedly to protect Clinton’s privacy.
As Politico, which first reported our find, points out, this document suggests that Mrs. Clinton is a liar:
Clinton, in an interview with MSNBC on Sept. 4, said she “was not directly involved” with Abedin’s job arrangement.
“Do you think [Donald Trump] had a point in raising the question of whether it was appropriate for her to be taking a State Department salary and also be paid by an outside company closely associated with your husband, by you?” asked reporter Andrea Mitchell.
“Well, I was not directly involved in that, but everything that she did was approved under the rules as they existed by the State Department,” Clinton said.
Obviously, she was directly involved and, as you’ll see below, the “rules” were violated left and right.
The documents detail Abedin’s “expert” position, which evidently also required a continued top secret clearance:
As a Senior Advisor (Expert) to the Secretary, the incumbent will provide expert advice and guidance on varying issues related to the planning of logistical arrangements for foreign and domestic missions, and for the coordination of the foreign policy requirements, press, and protocol and security components necessary for a successful and sensitive foreign policy mission.
The documents raise questions about whether Abedin’s position complied with a federal law that prevents special government positions created for work already performed by current employees. On June 4, 2012, Abedin states “NO, MY NEW POSITION IS IDENTICAL TO MY OLD POSITION.”
Abedin also expressed concern in March 2012 about the State Department finally paying for her travel from New York. In a March 27, 2012, email about her “conversion to expert appointment,” Abedin writes:
“Have a few questions. One is time sensitive, I need to come down to state tomorrow. Can state start paying for my travel since ny is now my base? I’ve been paying personally for the last 6 months. Thanks.”
The records show that there was a rush to appoint Abedin to the position, which was initially set to begin on April 1, 2012. When Abedin was finally approved in June 2012, she had failed to provide her husband Anthony Weiner’s financial information, despite repeated requests from the State Department.
In a March 21, 2012, email, Cynthia Motley, administrative officer in the State Department, writes to Abedin requesting the financial disclosure information:
Huma, I have been advised to begin the process to convert you from your Non-Career SES position as Senior Adviser (Expert-SGE) in the Office of the Secretary which is to be effective April 1, 2012. In order to initiate the conversion appointment, I will need the following from you as soon as possible:
The attached SF-278 Financial Disclosure Report must be completed for your termination from the Non-Career SES appointment.
On April 3, 2012, in a response to Motely, Abedin begins what turns out to be a lengthy period of non-compliance:
Anthony filed his separate disclosures last june. Nothing has changed. I don’t need to include his stuff on mine, right? Just want to confirm Thanks!
On April 4, Motley again advises Abedin that Weiner’s assets must be disclosed:
I have confirmed with the Legal Office that his assets are imputed to you so his assets are reportable on your OGE-278 which should include all of 2011 and 2012 up to the date.
In May 2012, after Abedin has still failed to file the required disclosures, Sarah Taylor, the chief of the State Department’s financial disclosure division, is forced to contact Abedin in an email marked “Importance: High:”
I have your termination OGE-278 report and the financial disclosure report for the Senior Advisor position. While reviewing your termination OGe-278, I noticed your spouse had several assets that weren’t reported on your report. Can you kindly provide an end of year summary statement so that I can update your report accurately?
After months of non-productive wrangling, Abedin was appointed to the SGE position on June 3, 2012, without having submitted the proper financial disclosure documents for Weiner, as indicated in a June 22 email from Taylor to Marcela Green of the DOS Financial Disclosures Division:
Yes, she [Abedin] was supposed to give me some information regarding her spouse’s assets and she has not done so.
Another email suggests that as of August 29, 2013, Abedin still hadn’t provided the required financial information.
In a June 6, 2012 email, Abedin admits, “I don’t really know [Weiner’s] clients or his work.” This email chain discloses that Abedin had already been cleared for the “other position.”
So if the “rules” had been followed, Abedin would never have gotten her sweetheart job that allowed her to double dip from federal taxpayers and Clinton Foundation/Clinton front operations.
Interestingly, the State Department produced these records after performing a second search of State Department offices. The first search, conducted in early 2014, produced only eight pages. I wonder how these documents were missed in the first place? You can bet we’ll be asking the court the same thing.
This same litigation saw the development of the FBI and Justice Department rejecting an order by Judge Sullivan to produce information about searching for records on the server and other material reportedly taken from Mrs. Clinton. As Judicial Watch responded in a court filing this week:
We still do not know whether the FBI… has possession of the email server that was used by Mrs. Clinton and Ms. Abedin to conduct official government business… We also do not know whether the server purportedly in the possession of the FBI – an assumption based on unsworn statements by third parties – is the actual email server that was used by Mrs. Clinton and Ms. Abedin to conduct official government business… Nor do we know whether any copies of the email server or copies of the records from the email server exist.
These documents show the Huma Abedin received special treatment contrary to law and that Hillary Clinton personally approved a corrupt patronage position.
These new documents are smoking gun evidence of what Hillary Clinton’s separate email server was all about – keeping secret the corruption of her and her top staff.
What else is out there?
Politico reported that, since June 2012, Abedin had been double-dipping, working as a consultant to outside clients while continuing as a top adviser at State. Abedin’s outside clients included Teneo, a strategic consulting firm co-founded by former Bill Clinton counselor Doug Band. According to Fox News, Abedin earned $355,000 as a consultant to Teneo, in addition to her $135,000 SGE compensation.
Teneo describes its activities as providing “the leaders of the world’s most respected companies, nonprofit institutions and governments with a full suite of advisory solutions.” [Emphasis added] Outside of the U.S., it maintains offices in Dubai, London, Dublin, Hong Kong, Brussels, Washington, and Beijing. Teneo was also the subject of various investigative reports, including by the New York Times, which raise questions about its relationship with the Clinton Foundation. This week, Politico also reported that other State Department documents show Abedin was asked to help both the Foundation and Teneo in April 2012.
If JW catching Clinton and Abedin in scams and lies regarding the misuse of public office and your tax dollars isn’t enough for you, then read on….
Clinton Email Games Put Nation at Risk
The Clinton email scandal isn’t only about the subversion of the rule of law. It is about the nation’s security and, frankly, the safety of senior government officials. Mrs. Clinton’s email games, ironically, may have put her own personal safety at risk.
If you have any doubt take a look at the more than 50 pages of new emails from the clintonemail.com server account of Huma Abedin, a former top aide to Hillary Clinton during her tenure in the State Department. The emails discuss seemingly sensitive security and foreign affairs issues and raise questions about the handling of classified material. The documents were obtained as result of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit seeking Huma Abedin’s government business emails conducted on non-state.gov email accounts (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00684)). The emails were produced from a search of State Department records, as the agency continues to delay full production of records turned over by Ms. Abedin recently.
In 2012, then-Secretary of State Clinton traveled to Finland (June 27-28), Latvia (June 28), Russia (June 28-29), and Switzerland (June 29-30). On June 26, 2012, former Principal Deputy Executive Secretary Pamela Quanrud writes to Abedin:
Huma – if I could lobby to get to Geneva on Friday night. We have a big data dump to get from beth jones and others there to prep for Saturday, and it would be a lot better for us to work through the night there (with access to classified) than be stuck in St. Pete with no classified at all.
Abedin responds from her email@example.com account the next morning (June 27):
i had no idea about no comms
we need secure
makes total sense
Let’s think for a minute about why this matters and what kind of insight that gives us into how Clinton and her team operated in the U.S. State Department.
The emails show Abedin used the non-secure clintonemail.com server to discuss sensitive travel and operations security information that could have placed the personal security of Clinton and other government officials at risk, such as real-time location information while traveling abroad, such as hotel and travel arrangements.
On May 31, 2012, as Clinton and her State Department entourage are traveling in Scandinavia, Abedin writes to Clinton’s then-Special Assistant Lona J. Valmoro:
Abedin to Valmoro: “Let me know when u r leaving.”
Valmoro: “We are en route to airport now. Could we do during the 45 minute drive from Oslo airport to hotel. Everyone can dial into Ops and will have minis.”
Abedin: “When? Who’s in car with her?”
Valmoro: “Cheryl is with her now. If we are wheels up by 9:35 pm, land at 11:25, start call by 11:35 or 5:35 pm EDT?
Abedin: “[I] could barely hear [Hillary Clinton] with the background….”
Can you imagine if these unsecure emails fell into the hands of bad guys? The threat to the safety of top public officials, especially Mrs. Clinton, could have been enormous.
On June 25, 2012, Abedin writes that she is willing to discuss travel details while on a “packed train.” With the subject line “Could we get on the phone together at 11:30 – in advance of the [Russia] trip call?” Abedin writes to several people, including Quanrud:
I see call got moved to noon. We can talk right before then if you want. All shuttles were canceled this morning and I am sitting on a packed train so hard for me to talk but we can def do calls. [Emphasis added]
Other emails provide details of Clinton’s plans and schedules for the 2012 trip that included Russia, including the timing of calls on trip planning.
Other emails show sensitive foreign affairs information is contained on Abedin’s Clinton server account. A June 29, 2012, email discloses a move to hold a meeting concerning Syria in Geneva. Pamela Quanrud writes to Abedin and Valmoro an email with the subject: “UK and P3 meeting requests:”
UK has asked to meet at 8:45 ahead of a 9:30 with UK. US and France to coordinate. Jake thought P3 meeting necessary – what about UK? Should we say yes to 8:45?
Abedin writes back two hours later:
UK meaning hague?
Another email details a request from the Iraqi Foreign Minister for a bilateral discussion with Clinton. Abedin uses her clintonemail.com account to approve the “pull aside,” writing, “fine to add to list.”
Another document shows Abedin approving, weeks ahead of time, the Hanoi Sheraton for Clinton’s trip on July 10-11, 2013, to Vietnam. A June 22, 2012, email from Tulinabo S. Mushingi, who is now the U.S. Ambassador to Burkina Faso, details the hotel options in Hanoi for Abedin, with Sheraton as the number one option. The email details both the luxury and security aspects of the hotel:
The Sheraton hosted the Secretary in July 2010 and October 2010 and much of the hotel staff remains, so they know the drill The July 2010 visit S stayed in the Imperial Suite (shown in attachment and the suite available for this visit); in October 2010, since another Head of State was also in the Sheraton and occupied the Imperial Suite S stayed in the Presidential Suite. The Imperial suite is spacious and very bright and airy, with lake views. It has a large bathroom with Jacuzzi style tub and walk in shower. The Sheraton was redecorated and refurbished within the past 12 months, so it is in excellent condition and is very attractive. From a logistics perspective the hotel is excellent as it has a very large parking area for staging motorcades. It’s location is in close proximity to government buildings where most meetings are likely to be held.
P.S. Post reminded us that the entire focus of the Hanoi stop is to promote U.S. businesses and trade. Given the purpose of the stop, the optics of staying at the available quality American name brand hotels would carry the same message, hence another for choosing The Sheraton.
Mushingi also suggests that one other hotel choice is not up to par in that “the suite bathroom is nice, but not quite to the standard of the Sheraton.” Your tax dollars at work ensuring Mrs. Clinton has the best possible luxury bathroom!
On August 8, in response to another JW FOIA lawsuit, Clinton was forced to file a sworn declaration in which she claimed to have turned over to the agency “all my e-mails on clintonemail.com” and conceded “Huma Abedin did have such an account which was used at times for government business.” Again, neither the State Department, Clinton, nor Abedin has provided information about the status of Abedin’s emails (or the emails of any other government employee) on the clintonemail.com server.
What conclusions can we draw from this?
These emails your JW forced out through a federal lawsuit show that Huma Abedin used her separate clintonemail.com account to conduct the most sensitive government business, endangering not only her safety but the safety of Hillary Clinton and countless others. And why on Earth would Ms. Abedin and Mrs. Clinton recklessly use this unsecure system to discuss foreign affairs and sensitive matters such as the Syria conflict?
Hillary Clinton’s email games were a danger to the nation’s security.