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Editor/Founder: Bill Smith, Ph.D. [aka: OzarkGuru & 2010 AFP National Blogger of the Year]
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One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors. -- Plato (429-347 BC)

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Judicial Watch Sues DOD for 'Initial Report' on Sgt Bergdahls And DHS for IG Records on Terrorist 'Hands Off' List

Judicial Watch announced today that on February 11, 2015, it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) to obtain records related to the “initial report” of the U.S. Army’s review of the disappearance of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Judicial Watch v U.S. Department of Defense (No. 1:15-cv-00212)).

Bergdahl left his post and was held captive by the Taliban-aligned Haqqani network in Afghanistan from June 2009 until May 2014. The circumstances surrounding Bergdahl’s disappearance and subsequent capture have become the subject of intense controversy. He was released on May 31, 2014, as part of a prisoner exchange by the Obama administration for five Taliban terrorist leaders who were held at the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit after the DOD failed to comply with a FOIA request submitted on October 22, 2014, asking for:Any and all records of communications, including by not limited to, emails and text messages, from or to (as either a direct recipient, “Cc” or Bcc”) Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and the following members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; the Military Service Chiefs of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps; and the Chief of the National Guard Bureau, regarding, concerning, or related to the ‘initial report’ of the Army’s review of the disappearance of Bowe Bergdahl from his post and his subsequent capture by Taliban forces. The time frame of the records sought is September 1, 2014 to October 28, 2014.The prisoner exchange by the Obama administration has also been the subject of intense controversy. The Government Accountability Office found that the Obama administration violated “clear and unambiguous” law in the prisoner swap. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 says that all prisoner transfers from Guantanamo Bay require 30 days’ notice to Congress. Such notice was not provided in Bergdahl’s case.

This is the latest in a series of lawsuits filed by Judicial Watch concerning the controversial prisoner exchange for Bergdahl. On November 18, 2014, Judicial Watch filed lawsuits against the U.S. Departments of Defense and State to obtain records concerning arrangements made between the U.S. government with third parties or other states regarding agreements and monetary payments to secure the release of Bergdahl from captivity in Afghanistan. On January 2, 2015, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA lawsuit against the U.S. State Department seeking access to the bilateral Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. and Qatar relating to the terrorist release.

The Army’s fact-finding investigation concluded in December, but the Obama administration withheld the results from the public. Despite today’s announcement that Bergdahl would be charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy, which could carry the death penalty, the Obama Defense Department announced that reports about Bergdahl would remain secret.

“Given today’s announcement, we now know why the Obama gang would keep a nearly five-year-old report secret about Bergdahl’s desertion,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The Obama administration lied and violated the law in releasing five terrorist leaders from captivity in exchange for Bergdahl, and is violating the federal open records law to cover its tracks.”

With respect to today’s announcement, Fitton added, “The untoward delay of justice by the Obama Pentagon is unseemly at best, and – as the decision was conveniently delayed well past the November elections – one must wonder if politics trumped military discipline and order among the Pentagon leadership who should know better.”


“Hands off” list allowed individuals with potential terrorist ties to enter the United States
Judicial Watch announced today that on February 13, 2015, it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to obtain a copy of an Office of Inspector General (OIG) report about an alleged “hands off list” used by the Obama administration to allow individuals to enter the U.S. who had previously been barred because of suspected terrorist ties. The suit also requested any and all records of former DHS Inspector General Charles Edwards regarding the OIG report. The lawsuit was filed in United States District Court for the District of Columbia (Judicial Watch v U.S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 1:15-cv-00222)).

Judicial Watch filed the suit after DHS failed to comply with a July 14, 2014, FOIA request seeking:
  1. A copy of the DHS Office of Inspector General report regarding, concerning, or related to a “hands off list” purportedly maintained by DHS, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and/or US Customs and Border Protection (CDP) used to allow certain individuals to enter the United States, who had previously been denied entry to the United States or been made to undergo secondary screening by CBP based on suspicion of terrorism ties.
  2. Any and all records of communication to or from DHS Inspector General Charles Edwards from May 31, 2014 regarding the aforementioned OIG report.
On May 6, 2014, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) released internal DHS emails revealing an alleged terrorist “hands off” list allowing individuals with potential terrorist ties into the United States. The emails were attached to a letter Grassley sent to the DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson inquiring about the “hands off” list in general, and specifically seeking information about an unnamed individual DHS may have admitted into the country as a result.

The DHS emails included a 2012 email chain between U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) asking whether to admit the unnamed individual with ties to various terrorist groups. The person was believed to be a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and a close associate and supporter of Hamas, Hezbollah, and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, according to the email exchange obtained by Grassley’s office.

In his letter to Johnson, Grassley quotes an email from an ICE official to a CBP official saying, “I’m puzzled how someone could be a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation trial, be an associate of [redacted], say that the US is staging car bombings in Iraq and that [it] is ok for men to beat their wives, question who was behind the 9/11 attacks, and be afforded the luxury of a visitor visa and de-watchlisted.”

On May 19, 2014, Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee Mike McCaul (R-TX) told Breitbart News that that the “terrorist hands off list” e-mails released by Grassley had been under investigation by the newly appointed DHS Inspector General John Roth for over three months. McCaul added, “The new IG has inherited this matter. He’s a new IG. He’s pretty decent–well respected. Obviously, his predecessor was not.”

Roth’s predecessor was Charles Edwards, who left office after a series of allegations that he had softened reports to avoid embarrassing the Obama administration. According to an April 24, 2014, report from an oversight panel of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Operations Committee, Edwards “failed to uphold the independence of the OIG … and directed that reports be altered or delayed to accommodate senior DHS officials.”

“The Obama administration’s unlawful secrecy on this ‘hands off’ list raises concerns about terrorists being allowed into the country,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Even when it comes to protecting our borders from known terrorists, the Obama administration places secrecy and politics above national security. Our nation has reached a dangerous pass.”

Tags: Judicial Watch, Sues DOD, Department of Defense, Bowe Bergdahl, Chuck Hagel, Haqqani network Sues DHS, Department of Homeland Security, terrorist "Hands Off" list To share or post to your site, click on "Post Link". Please mention / link to the ARRA News Service. and "Like" Facebook Page - Thanks!
Posted by Bill Smith at 7:17 PM - Post Link

2 Comments:

Anonymous Sherry R. Harris said...

Good.

4/03/2015  
Anonymous Ratchell Richter said...

It's a shame we have to do this.

4/03/2015  

Post a Comment

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