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Monday, September 30, 2013

CNN Cancels Hillary Clinton Documentary: Good or Bad Decision?

CNN is canceling a documentary about Hillary Rodham Clinton after its director withdrew because of push back from the potential 2016 presidential candidate's inner circle and the Republican National Committee.
Director Charles Ferguson wrote in a Huffington Post article that he decided not to go forward because "nobody, and I mean nobody, was interested in helping me make this film. Not Democrats, not Republicans — and certainly nobody who works with the Clintons, wants access to the Clintons or dreams of a position in a Hillary Clinton administration."
CNN said in a statement Monday that Ferguson "has informed us that he is not moving forward with his documentary about Hillary Clinton. Charles is an Academy Award-winning director who CNN Films was excited to be working with, but we understand and respect his decision." CNN said it "won't seek other partners and are not proceeding with the film."
Ferguson specifically said he was "interrogated" by Clinton aide Nick Merrill. He also said that Philippe Reines, a longtime Clinton adviser, "contacted various people at CNN, interrogated them and expressed concern about alleged conflicts of interest generated because my film was a for-profit endeavor."
The filmmaker also cited the RNC's decision to withhold CNN as a potential debate sponsor in 2016 if it went ahead with the project.
"It's a victory for the Clintons, and for the money machines that both political parties have now become," Ferguson wrote. "But I don't think that it's a victory for the media, or for the American people."
Asked for a comment on the developments, Merrill e-mailed this statement: "Lights, camera, no reaction."
Now that there is no Clinton documentary on CNN, Republicans say it's time for NBC to cancel its planned miniseries on the former secretary of State, senator and first lady if the network wants to host a 2016 GOP debate. When the RNC voted in the summer to punish CNN for its planned documentary, the GOP did the same to NBC.
"The pressure is now squarely on NBC to cancel its Hillary infomercial," said RNC spokeswoman Kirsten Kukowski.
NBC Entertainment Chairman Bob Greenblatt told USA TODAY in August that the Clinton miniseries was in its early stages and that there is no guarantee it will run. The movie is not yet in production, he said, and the script is still being written.

Friday, September 27, 2013

PPP's newest national poll finds Ted Cruz is now the top choice of Republican primary voters to be their candidate for President in 2016

He leads the way with 20% to 17% for Rand Paul, 14% for Chris Christie, 11% for Jeb Bush, 10% each for Marco Rubio and Paul Ryan, 4% for Bobby Jindal, and 3% each for Rick Santorum and Scott Walker.
Cruz has gained 8 points since our last national 2016 poll in July while everyone else has more or less stayed in place. He's made himself the face of a government shutdown over Obamacare, and the Republican base supports that by a 64/20 margin. It's not surprising that Republicans identifying as 'very conservative' support a shutdown 75/10, but even the moderate wing of the party supports it by a 46/36 margin.
Cruz is leading the GOP field based especially on his appeal to 'very conservative' primary voters, who he gets 34% with t0 17% for Rand Paul and 12% for Paul Ryan. Voters who fall into that ideological group make up the largest portion of the Republican electorate at 39%. With moderates Cruz gets only 4% with Christie leading at 34% to 12% for Jeb Bush and 10% for Marco Rubio, but they only account for 18% of GOP voters and thus aren't all that relevant to Cruz's prospects for winning a Republican nomination.
Our numbers also suggest that Cruz is now viewed more broadly as the leader of the Republican Party. When asked whether they trust Cruz or GOP leader Mitch McConnell more, Cruz wins out 49/13. When it comes to who's more trusted between Cruz and Speaker John Boehner, Cruz has a 51/20 advantage. And when it comes to Cruz and 2008 GOP nominee and Senate colleague John McCain, Cruz wins out 52/31. He now has more credibility with the GOP base than the folks who have been leading the party for years.

We'll have much more from our new national poll next week. On a lighter note, earlier this week Ari Fleischer accused Twitter of letting President Obama use more than 140 characters in his tweets before walking back his claim. We find though that 13% of GOP primary voters nationally do think Obama's allowed more than 140 characters to 36% who don't and 52% that aren't sure.
Full results here

Thursday, September 26, 2013

NYTimes food columnist: While EPA’s getting rid of coal, let’s get rid of natural gas, too

NYTimes food columninst Mark Bittman writes:
Natural gas is made up mostly of methane [2], and methane, unburned, is around 70 times as potent a greenhouse gas as carbon dioxide. There isn’t nearly as much of it, and it’s shorter lived, but it’s not so short-lived that we can allow a great deal to escape into the atmosphere, which it does when anything in the production, transmission or distribution processes leaks [3]. It’s a scarily powerful greenhouse gas for over 20 years, and merely powerful (25 times stronger than carbon dioxide) over a span of 100 years. By which time much of the world’s coastline will be what we now call “inland.”
To see natural gas as even semi-clean, then, you have to burn all you take out of the ground [4]. Because at least one study found that if as little as 3 percent of the methane produced escapes, you might as well be burning coal, from a climate perspective [5]. All that talk of a bridge to a renewable future … forget it. That’s why Anthony R. Ingraffea, professor of civil and environmental engineering at Cornell University, refers to natural gas as a “gangplank”…
We’re running out of time to measure emissions, and we’ll never arrive at an absolute number anyway. Embarking on a huge push to real renewables, and accepting the costs — which may actually be less than making natural gas “clean” — is the only responsible path to take. The real bridge to renewables is to begin to dismantle the existing infrastructure, starting with coal and nuclear — while using it as necessary to fill in the inevitable gaps as we build a new infrastructure of power from solar, wind and more.
If that’s impossible, we blew it. And if you plan to be on earth 50 years from now, I’ve got a nice piece of land in Murmansk I’d like to show you.

Monday, September 23, 2013

New Jersey Gov. Christie supports EPA coal rules — kisses 2016 hopes good-bye

Roughly one-third of the pollutants in New Jersey’s air float across our borders from other states, thanks mostly to the aging fleet of dirty coal plants in the Midwest.
President Obama has promised to force a cleanup during his second term. And on Friday he made his first big move by effectively banning the construction of new coal plants until technological breakthroughs allow for the capture and burial of carbon emissions.
This won’t have a huge impact right away because only a handful of new coal plants are in the works, thanks to the drop in prices for natural gas. But the next step is to force existing coal plants to reduce their emissions. And that could be a game-changer.
Forcing this type of cleanup has long been a goal of governors in the Northeast, both Republican and Democrat. The pollution floating our way not only causes lung diseases and premature death, it forces Northeast states to install costly anti-pollution devices on their power plants to compensate. And of course, the coal plants are a nightmare on the climate front, producing roughly twice the carbon emissions as natural gas.
Given all this, it is appalling that Gov. Chris Christie has sounded a retreat in this fight. His rhetoric has been incoherent. One day he says climate change is a real problem, and the next he calls it an “esoteric concern.” But when you look at his actions, he is a dependable friend of the coal industry almost every time. Let’s look at the record.
He withdrew New Jersey from the regional agreement on climate change, which required power producers to purchase credits for every ton of carbon they release, with a cap on overall emissions. The revenue is then devoted to green energy projects. So far, New York state has brought in $345 million through these credit sales, most of it now devoted to energy conservation programs, including help for home­own­ers.
Christie broke from other Northeast states by refusing to join a lawsuit in defense of the EPA’s cross-state rules. Those rules would have required the Midwest plants to install scrubbers and other equipment designed to filter traditional pollutants that cause smog and ozone.
He has raided nearly $1 billion during his first term from funds earmarked for green energy projects. That’s a staggering sum, and it comes mostly from surcharges on electricity bills. It’s a regressive way to raise money, and it has sabotaged clean-energy efforts across the state. But the gimmick allows the governor to protect his pledge against raising taxes.
The governor is a friend of the coal industry, despite the tangible damage to the public health in New Jersey.
A spokesman for the administration said Christie supports Obama’s move Friday. And on the plus side, the governor did pursue a lawsuit that will force the closure of the Portland Generating Station, across the Delaware River from Warren County.
But the larger picture is clear: The governor is a friend of the coal industry, despite the tangible damage to the public health in New Jersey, and to the overall problem of climate change.
Those are facts. And there is nothing “esoteric” about them.
The United States has the world’s largest reserves of coal, enough to last 200 years at current rates. But with prices for natural gas dropping, the use of coal is dropping sharply.
Portion of U.S. electricity generated with coal:
In 2007: 50 percent
In 2012: 37 percent
Source: United States Energy Information Administration

Hillary: I ‘obviously’ disagreed with Obama

Hillary Clinton said she “obviously”  had disagreements with President Obama when she served as Secretary of State, leaving the door open to criticize Obama’s first-term foreign policy in a possible presidential campaign.
Clinton, who left the State Department at the conclusion of Obama’s first term, used the term “obviously” twice in reference to disagreements with Obama.
“I feel comfortable raising issues with him. I had a very positive set of interactions, even when I disagreed, which obviously occurred, because obviously I have my own opinions, my own views,” Clinton said in an interview with New York magazine Sunday.

She also admits that she’s thinking about running for president.
Huma Abedin, who used to make disparaging remarks about a close friend in the office in front other co-workers and then report back to the friend with the co-workers’ reactions about him, will have a role in her 2016 presidential efforts, according to an Anthony Weiner segment on “Buzzfeed Brews.”
Also, a Super PAC is putting her face on T-shirts in an apparent attempt to win over ironic hipsters thirty years from now.

Read more:

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Muslim Brotherhood official, former Clinton Foundation employee, arrested in Cairo

A senior Muslim Brotherhood official who, until recently, had been employed by the William J. Clinton Foundation was arrested in Cairo on Tuesday and charged with inciting violence.
Gehad el-Haddad served as one of the Muslim Brotherhood’s top communications officials until Egyptian security forces seized him as part of a wider crackdown on officials loyal to ousted former President Mohamed Morsi.
Before emerging as a top Brotherhood official and adviser to Morsi, el-Haddad servedfor five years as a top official at the Clinton Foundation, a nonprofit group founded by former President Bill Clinton.
El-Haddad gained a reputation for pushing the Muslim Brotherhood’s Islamist agenda in the foreign press, where he was often quoted defending the Brotherhood’s crackdown on civil liberties in Egypt.
He was raised in a family of prominent Brotherhood supporters and became the public face of the Islamist organization soon after leaving his post at the Clinton Foundation.
However, much of his official work with the Brotherhood took place while he was still claiming to be employed by the Clinton Foundation.
“It was only a matter of time before Gehad el-Haddad was arrested,” Egypt expert Eric Trager told the Washington Free Beacon. “Many of the other Muslim Brotherhood spokesmen have been apprehended, and in addition to decapitating the organization, the military-backed government has been specifically targeting the Brotherhood’s media wing, including by shutting down its T.V. stations at the time of Morsi’s ouster on July 3.”
“It has also gone after those connected to Morsi’s presidential office, and Gehad’s father is Morsi adviser and Muslim Brotherhood Guidance Office member Essam el-Haddad,” noted Trager, a next generation fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP).
El-Haddad’s father was a top foreign policy adviser for Morsi until both were apprehended by Egyptian security personnel.
El-Haddad’s arrest sparked outrage among Brotherhood supporters, scores of whom have taken to the street in protest in the weeks since Morsi was removed from office and seized by the Egyptian military.
“We are thinking about you and you are in our prayers,” one supporter wrote on Twitter Wednesday.
“Freedom for #gehad el haddad,” tweeted another.
El-Haddad served as the Clinton Foundation’s city director from August 2007 to August 2012, according to his LinkedIn profile.
Just a month after El-Haddad left the Clinton Foundation to work full-time for the Brotherhood, former President Morsi was invited to deliver his first major speech at the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), the high profile political family’s other nonprofit.
El-Haddad’s employment at the Clinton Foundation overlapped with his official work for the Muslim Brotherhood, which began in Cairo in February 2011 when he assumed control of the Renaissance Project, a Brotherhood-backed economic recovery program.
El-Haddad officially became a senior adviser for foreign affairs in Morsi’s Freedom and Justice Party in May 2011, when he was still claiming to be employed by the Clinton Foundation.
El-Haddad was quoted in the Guardian newspaper in March 2012 as “one of the Brotherhood’s senior advisers.” USA Today referred to him as “a senior adviser to the Muslim Brotherhood” in May 2012.
El-Haddad was “charged with developing a long-term economic recovery program,” known as the Renaissance Project, during his time as senior adviser.
Egyptian media reported in July 2012 that the program was actually meant to bring the country more in line with the Muslim Brotherhoods extremist religious ideals.
“Renaissance is far more than the electoral program of President Mohamed Morsi or the Brotherhood’s political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party,” the Egypt Independent reported at the time. “It is a 25-year project to reform state, business and civil society, rooted in the Brotherhood’s Islamic values but conditioned by the experiences of the project’s founders in the modern economy.”
Haddad told the Independent that he applied the knowledge he learned at the Clinton Foundation to his work at the Renaissance Project.
“The Clinton Climate Initiative taught Haddad about managing an NGO and the role that civil society takes between the state and private sector, lessons he is applying to the Renaissance Project,” the report states.
El-Haddad represented the Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Climate Initiative in Egypt during his overlapping tenure, according to his LinkedIn profile.
He additionally “setup the foundation’s office in Egypt and managed official registration,” “supervised policy-making workshops & presented foundations views,” and “presented projects to high-level government officials,” among many other duties.
El-Haddad left the Clinton Foundation in August 2012, two months after Morsi assumed the Egyptian presidency.
He was appointed a “senior adviser and media spokesman” to the Muslim Brotherhood in January 2013 and served in that role until his arrest.
El-Haddad regularly defended the Brotherhood’s authoritarian crackdown on civil society, even running damage control in December 2012 when Morsi supporters attacked women and children.
When widespread Democratic protests broke out on June 30, El-Haddad referred to the demonstrators as violent thugs in an interview with the Free Beacon.
“The anti-Morsi camp are providing a political endorsement to the violence,” he said at the time. “Some have resorted to violence because they didn’t do well at the ballot box.”
El-Haddad did not respond to an email request for comment sent shortly after reports emerged of his arrest.
The Clinton Foundation did not respond to multiple requests for comment on El-Haddad’s employment and arrest.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Navy Yard Shooting Another Clinton Gun-Free Zone Fail

Security: As the usual suspects call for stricter gun control, the fact remains that a gunman with two prior gun-crime arrests entered a secure military facility with a stolen ID and found no one able to shoot back.

It was Fort Hood all over again. Aaron Alexis, a gunman whose prior behavioral warning signs were ignored, opens fire in an installation belonging to the most powerful military on Earth and those who protect our nation and design our weapons are not allowed to have a weapon to defend themselves.

He was more equipped than the 12 people he killed on the base who were not permitted to carry weapons on the base, thanks to former President Bill Clinton.\

In 1993 the president issued orders that barred members of the military and their civilian contractors from carrying personal firearms on base. Even officers were disarmed under the law.

Almost as soon as Clinton assumed office, in March 1993 the Army imposed regulations forbidding military personnel from carrying their personal firearms and making it almost impossible for commanders to issue firearms to soldiers in the U.S. for personal protection.

That ban extends to virtually all U.S military bases and related installations.
Under the ruling enacted by the Clinton administration, there must be "a credible and specific threat against personnel" before military personnel "may be authorized to carry firearms for personal protection."

This was the reason that the Fort Hood shooter Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan was able to go on a rampage for a full 10 minutes in 2009 without being stopped.

This is why, at Fort Hood, home of the heavily armed and feared 1st Cavalry Division, a civilian policewoman from off base was the one whose marksmanship ended Hasan's terrorist rampage, to this day obscenely called "workplace violence," denying survivors and the dead medals and benefits.

The liberal reaction to the Navy Yard massacre mirrors the reaction, after Fort Hood, of Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

He opined, "This latest tragedy, at a heavily fortified army base, ought to convince more Americans to reject the argument that the solution to gun violence is to arm more people with more guns in more places." What?

On Monday night, anchor John Roberts asked Mandy Foster, the wife of one of the soldiers shot at Fort Hood, how she felt about her husband's upcoming deployment to Afghanistan. She responded: "At least he's safe there and he can fire back, right?" Safer than at the Washington Navy Yard or Fort Hood.

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Professor Clinton? Harvard wants Hillary?

Harvard University has reached out to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about joining its faculty as a visiting professor, but is just one of several colleges eager to land the former first lady.
Clinton is a sought-after commodity. Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government would like her to join the faculty in whatever capacity she desires. The university has previously invited politicians such as former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush to become guest lecturers and visiting professors at the Kennedy School. (RELATED: Corrupt former mayor right at home teaching at Harvard)
Harvard even offers the Angelopoulos Fellowship, a teaching, lecturing and research position designed for leaders transitioning out of politics, according to the Harvard Crimson. Former President Bill Clinton announced the creation of the fellowship in 2011. Former Mexican President Felipe Calderon is currently serving as the first Angelopoulos Fellow, but will leave the position later this year, paving the way for Clinton.

But if Harvard wants Hillary, it has to get in line. New York University, Yale and other colleges have also made offers.
Baruch College, a senior college of the City University of New York, has offered the biggest perk. Administrators will alter the college’s public policy program and name the new school after Clinton if she agrees to join the faculty.
“A number of academic institutions have reached out with ideas,” said Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill. “We’re following up with each to discuss them.”
Marty Linsky, an adjunct public policy lecturer at Harvard, said that Clinton would be a welcome presence at the university, even if she ended up running for president.
“Obviously she’d be a tremendous asset, given her experience, and it would be great for our students and great for us on the faculty,” she said in a statement to the University Herald. “There’ve been presumptive presidential candidates here before. I don’t think it would be a problem at all.”
Commentators noted that a position in academia could serve as either a relatively cushy retirement for Clinton, or a springboard for her presidential campaign, should she chose to run.

Read more:

Hillary fundraising with Spielberg, Katzenberg.

Hillary Clinton will attend a Hollywood fundraiser with film moguls Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg, the latter of whom is reportedly in line to become a major donor to Clinton’s expected 2016 presidential efforts.
Clinton will join Spielberg and Katzenberg at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel Nov. 8 for a gala fundraiser for the International Medical Corps, where Clinton will accept an award.
Katzenberg is a multi-million dollar donor to the super PAC Priorities USA Action, which helped re-elect President Barack Obama in 2012 by hammering Mitt Romney with negative ads focused on his work as a private equity executive. Katzenberg is expected to come up big for Priorities again in 2016.

Priorities USA Action is now reportedly positioning itself to become the leading pro-Hillary PAC specializing in the media aspect of Clinton’s presumptive campaign in 2016.
Pro-Clinton super PAC’s Ready for Hillary and Hillary FTW (For the Win) have already emerged on the Democratic side, while the Stop Hillary PAC is fighting against her

Read more:

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

EXPLICIT: Stop Hillary PAC alerts FBI to vulgar threats:

n anti-Hillary Clinton political action committee says they have alerted federal and local law enforcement about a particularly vulgar and threatening message left on the voicemail of the organization’s chairman.
The caller threatens Ted Harvey, a Republican state senator in Colorado and leader of the PAC, and calls him a “dickhead,” a “fucking cunt” and a “fucking douche.”
The political action committee, Stop Hillary PAC, provided the explicit audio to The Daily Caller on Wednesday.

This message is for dickhead Ted Harvey,” the message begins. “I don’t think it’s a good idea — even though you dumb fucks probably do — to put out an ad showing Senator Clinton and then a cartoon character underneath it, ready to blow his head off with a gun. But that won’t stop you Ted, you fucking cunt.”
“Feel free to call me back, Ted,” the caller continued. “Come on up to New York. I got a special little place here for you, Teddy. You fucking douche.”
It appears that the angry caller was responding to a post on the Stop Hillary PAC Facebook page showing a photo of the cartoon character Stewie from the television show Family Guy holding a gun in his mouth. Above that image is a photo of Clinton and text that reads, “Hillary Clinton 2016.”
“Don’t do it, Stewie!” the post read. “I know the feeling, but there’s a better option.”
Garrett Marquis, a spokesman for the Stop Hillary PAC, said the threatening message was left for Harvey about two weeks ago after the Facebook post appeared online.
“It’s not the only one we’ve received,” Marquis said of vulgar messages.
Marquis said the group has notified local authorities in Colorado and their attorney has alerted the FBI’s Denver field office. Reached for comment on Wednesday, a FBI spokesman said they do not confirm or deny investigations.
Starting Thursday, the Stop Hillary PAC will start a petition asking Clinton to denounce the message. They plan to release ads supporting the effort.
Citing how “Democrats and thought leaders on the left” have condemned the hateful speech of conservatives in the past, Marquis said the “Democrats and Hillary Clinton” should do the same with their own “when you have a message like this.”
“They need to stand up and say that these type of messages are not acceptable and should not be part of the political dialogue,” he said.
In an interview with TheDC last month, Harvey said his new group, which only recently publicly began to ramp up its political efforts against Clinton, will be active in arguing against a Clinton candidacy for president.
“I am very passionate about making sure that the Republicans take back the White House in 2016 and passionate that Hillary Clinton doesn’t get off the ground,” Harvey said. “I have watched the Clinton machine for years involved in politics and the last thing I want to see is Hillary Clinton be president of the United States, especially after the Benghazi fiasco and cover up.”
Here’s the recording of the message. TheDC edited several seconds of personal information about Harvey out of the recording.

Here’s the image from the Stop Hillary PAC Facebook page that prompted the threat.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Congress: Hillary’s Benghazi Investigation Let Top Officials Escape Blame

A new report reveals that the State Department’s Benghazi investigation failed to hold senior officials accountable for the deaths of four Americans. Josh Rogin reports. 


The State Department’s investigation into the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi was not independent and failed to hold senior State Department officials accountable for the failures that led to the death of four Americans, according to a new investigative report compiled by the House Oversight Committee.
130915-rogin-bengahzi-tease-NEW In January 2013, Hillary Clinton testified about Benghazi before the Senate. Watch the highlights.

The Administrative Review Board, chosen by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, unfairly placed the blame for the terrorist attack on four mid-level officials while ignoring the role of very senior officials in Clinton’s State Department for decisions about security in Benghazi, according to the new report led by Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA). Also, the structure of the ARB and the culture in Clinton’s State Department raised questions about the independence and integrity of the review, according to Issa’s committee.
“The ARB blamed systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies within two bureaus, but downplayed the importance of decisions made at senior levels of the Department. Witnesses questioned how much these decisions influenced the weaknesses that led to the inadequate security posture in Benghazi,” the report stated. “The ARB’s decision to cite certain officials as accountable for what happened in Benghazi appears to have been based on factors that had little or no connection to the security posture at U.S. diplomatic facilities in Libya.”
The Daily Beast first reported in May that the four officials removed from their jobs and placed on administrative leave as a result of the State Department’s ARB report on Benghazi had never been told what they were accused of, never been given any opportunity to appeal their punishments, and never were officially fired. One of the officials, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Ray Maxwell, had little to no role in Libya security policy and was not even alleged to have been connected to the security failures leading up to the Benghazi attack.
The Daily Beast first reported last month that the Kerry State Department decided to allow those four officials to return to work in the State Department, although not in their previous jobs. Although former Undersecretary of State Thomas Pickering, the head of the ARB, said that responsibility should be placed at the assistant secretary level, top officials including Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Beth Jones were never disciplined.
‘It appears increasingly likely the Department’s primary objective was to create the public appearance of accountability.’
The new report by Issa’s committee questions why Under Secretary of State Patrick Kennedy, who admitted to having a role in overseeing the decision to reject requests for more security in Benghazi before the attack, was never blamed or disciplined by the ARB. Moreover, Kennedy played a key role in selecting the members of the ARB and the staff that helped the ARB do its works, Issa’s report revealed.
“The haphazard decision to place the four officials cited by the ARB on paid administrative leave created the appearance that former Secretary Hillary Clinton’s decision to announce action against the individuals named in the ARB report was more of a public relations strategy than a measured response to a tragedy,” Issa’s report said. “Therefore, one year after the Benghazi attacks, no one at the State Department has been fired for their role leading up to the Benghazi attacks. It appears increasingly likely the Department’s primary objective was to create the public appearance of accountability.”
Several officials told Issa’s committee that Kennedy was deeply involved in security decisions and would have been directly involved in the decision not to approve requests for more security in Benghazi before the attacks.
“The ultimate decision maker is Under Secretary Kennedy,” testified Eric Boswell, the Assistant Secretary of Diplomatic Security, who was punished by the ARB.
“The way the Under Secretary for Management runs things, there is no decision that DS makes that doesn’t have his input and his imprimatur, his approval,” Maxwell testified. “There is no decision that DS doesn’t make that doesn’t have his disapproval.”
The report also questions Clinton’s personal awareness and role in the mistakes that contributed to the attacks.
“Did Secretary Clinton have views on the need to extend the Benghazi mission, both in the fall of 2011 and summer of 2012? Was she consulted on these questions and what, if any, influence did her opinion have on the Department’s decisions?” the report asks.
Issa’s investigation also found that the ARB was rushed in its investigation, completing its work in only 10 weeks, undermining claims by Clinton and President Obama that the ARB conducted a full and complete investigation into the attacks. Also, the committee identified several conflicts of interest between the ARB and the people they were investigating. Jones admitted to the committee that she had close personal and professional relationships with both Pickering and the executive director of the ARB staff Uzra Zeya. Pickering also knew Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Liz Dibble, who had a role in Benghazi security decisions but was not punished after the ARB report. Dibble was subsequently named Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in London.
“For some, including the Department itself, this report represented the final word on the internal failures that contributed to the tragedy in Benghazi. For others, however, the report overvalued certain facts, overlooked others, and failed to address systemic issues that have long plagued the State Department,” the report said.
Eric Nordstrom, the former Regional Security Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, testified to Issa’s committee that top people in Clinton’s State Department, including Kennedy, were allowed to escape any accountability for the failures that preceded the Benghazi attack. The ARB interviewed Kennedy, but not Clinton, Deputy Secretary of State Bill Burns, or Deputy Secretary of State Tom Nides.
“It’s an accountability of mid-level officer review board and the message to my colleagues is that if you are above a certain level, no matter what your decision is, no one is going to question it. And that is my concern with the ARB,” Nordstrom testified on May 8.
Issa’s staff interviewed over two dozen current and former State Department officials to compile its 100 page report on the ARB. The Daily Beast viewed an embargoed copy of Issa’s report. The full report will be released Monday.
The State Department defended its handling of the four mid-level officials punished following the ARB report in a Aug. 29 letter to Issa. The letter stated that since the ARB had not found any active breach of duty by the four officials, Kerry was not able to fire them and was therefore required to bring them back to work in the State Department.
In a statement Sunday responding to Issa’s investigation into the ARB, Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affair Douglas Franz defended the ARB and disputed Issa’s claim that the State Department has not been cooperating with the committee. Franz accused Issa of playing politics with the Benghazi tragedy.

“The response to the tragedy in Benghazi by the Accountability Review Board and the State Department has been thorough and transparent. In fact, it set a new standard for transparency measured by tens of thousands of pages of documents turned over to Congress, testimony in public and closed hearings and a declassified report for the public,” said Franz.  “Twisting the facts to advance a political agenda does a disservice to those who lost their lives and those who have devoted the past year to understanding what happened and implementing security procedures to make certain it does not happen again. Attacking the ARB now is an attack on the integrity of one of America’s most respected diplomats and one of the nation’s most respected military leaders, both of whom spent their lives serving presidents of both parties.”

Franz also said that the ARB did not shield officials from questioning or blame. 

“State Department officials, including former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, have appeared at nine congressional hearings and the Department has provided thousands of pages of material to members of Congress and their staffs. Under Secretary of State Patrick F. Kennedy has represented the Department at more than twenty open and classified briefings and hearings before Congress to discuss the implementation of new security procedures worldwide,” Franz said. “The facts show that the ARB report was prepared by people of unquestioned integrity, that the process has been transparent and open, and the lessons have been learned and are being implemented.”

Update: House Oversight Committee ranking Democrat Elijah Cummings (D-MD) sent The Daily Beast a statement criticizing Issa’s new report and defending the ARB.

“This Republican report is not an official Committee report, but rather a completely partisan staff report that the Chairman apparently did not want Committee Members to see before he leaked it to the press. Rather than focusing on the reforms recommended by the ARB, Republicans have politicized the investigation by engaging in a systematic effort to launch unsubstantiated accusations against the Pentagon, the State Department, the President, and now the ARB itself,” Cummings said.

Pickering and ARB co-chairman ret. Adm. Mike Mullen will testify before the committee Sept. 19, Cummings noted.  

“Ambassador Pickering and Admiral Mullen are respected public servants who dedicated their lives to this country, and accusations that they engaged in a ‘cover-up’ at Secretary Clinton’s bidding re completely unfounded,” he said. “I look forward to hearing from them this week at a public  hearing where they can finally address these accusations directly, and I hope Republicans will finally  join us in an effort to ensure the full implementation of recommendations to improve security for our entire diplomatic corps serving overseas.”