Rod Rosenstein’s Unwanted Prominence

Rod Rosenstein’s Unwanted Prominence
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

From a long and distinguished career in Maryland where he was never known as a national figure, the nation’s second highest law enforcement official has suddenly risen to high prominence.

Rod Rosenstein U.S. Attorney (photo from Wikimedia Commons by the United States Department of Justice, public domain).

Rod Rosenstein served as a U.S. attorney in Maryland under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama. Selected to be second-in-command at the Justice Department by Trump appointee Jeff Sessions, Rosenstein found himself catapulted into unwanted attention when President Trump asked him for a letter providing his opinion of James Comey’s performance as Director of the FBI. His response, forthrightly criticizing the now-deposed head of the FBI, contains important perspective about Mr. Trump’s sudden decision to oust the FBI leader.

Rosenstein’s letter stated rather bluntly that Comey’s handling of the Bureau’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s careless transmissions of sensitive email had compromised the Bureau’s “reputation and credibility.” It was wrong and without precedent for the FBI Director to announce his personal conclusion after the investigation and to further claim that “the case should be closed without prosecution.” What the FBI Director should have said, claimed Rosenstein, was that “the FBI had completed its investigation and presented its findings to federal prosecutors.” It was only their job either to proceed or close down the case.

Additional damaging perspective from the Deputy Attorney General stated that Comey “ignored another longstanding principle: we do not hold press conferences to release derogatory information about the subject of a declined criminal investigation.” He then termed as a serious mistake Comey’s late October letter to Congress announcing discovery of even more transmissions of classified material on the former Secretary of State’s unsecured computer. Comey sent a letter to Congress about this new discovery less than two weeks before Election Day 2016. Hillary Clinton has claimed that the letter and publicity about it cost her the election. “Silence,” said Rosenstein in his letter, would not have been concealment; it would have been following “long-standing policy that we refrain from publicizing non-public information.”

In short, claimed Rosenstein, it was not Comey’s role to publicly state that Mrs. Clinton had been “extremely careless.” And the FBI leader violated long-standing FBI policy to refrain from issuing conclusions about a matter under investigation.

During his career, Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein has always been known as a completely apolitical public servant. He neither knew nor wanted to know whether individuals he dealt with were conservative or liberal, Republican or Democrat. When directed by a President – his ultimate superior – to produce a letter citing his opinion of Comey’s performance, he did so. That the letter became President Trump’s ammunition in his decision to oust the FBI Director was not Rosenstein’s intention.

A completely separate question now remains. Was the firing of James Comey, whom Mr. Trump had previously praised for his competence, done to deflect attention away from the ongoing investigation of possible Russian influence in the 2016 presidential contest? Mr. Trump’s extremely brief letter firing James Comey contained the seemingly extraneous assertion: “While I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation….” That comment in the middle of the letter ousting James Comey may have done exactly what it was intended not to do: add fuel to the fire about possible Russian collusion in the election. That matter is no longer on the front pages or dominating news broadcasts.

We can only hope that time will tell either that there is nothing to the rumors about Russian meddling or that there is plenty of fire that had already generated a considerable amount of smoke, maybe even enough to bring a sitting President down.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


The Flimsy Stance of FBI Director Comey

The Flimsy Stance of FBI Director Comey
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of private servers for transmitting official State Department business came to light in May 2015. Since then, much has been said and written about her “carelessness,” even to the point of claims being raised that her loose handling of sensitive information endangered the lives and well-being of U.S. military personnel and members of the diplomatic corps.

FBI Director James Comey recommended no criminal charges be issued against the Democrat candidate for President, Hillary Clinton (Image from flickr.com).

FBI Director James Comey recommended no criminal charges be issued against the Democrat candidate for President, Hillary Clinton (Photo by Rich Girard Flickr, some rights reserved).

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) spent a year investigating Clinton’s email activity and made several damning conclusions. But on July 5, 2016, FBI Director James Comey recommended that no criminal charges be issued against the Democrat candidate for President. In his remarks announcing the decision reached by his bureau, Comey said Mrs. Clinton was “extremely careless.”

Other comments made by Comey, during that highly anticipated press conference, included his finding that her judgment was questionable; she had contradicted statements previously made about her use of email; the possibility existed that hostile foreign governments had gained access to her transmissions; and had she still been a government employee, she could have faced disciplinary action. His recommendation that no charges be filed also included a similar refusal to issue charges against Clinton’s top aides who had been granted immunity.

Comey then explained his controversial recommendation saying that there needed to be evidence that Mrs. Clinton’s cavalier use of unsecured computers was intentional, or that she had willfully broken State Department rules. A drunk driver who causes injuries to others doesn’t intend the harm that he causes. But his carelessness still earns him prosecution. Former Army General and CIA Director David Petraeus was charged and punished for his misuse of classified material that was far less serious an offense than the former Secretary of State admitted to.

In his July 5, 2016 press conference, the FBI Director agreed that more than 100 emails containing classified markings had been sent via non-secure methods; that Mrs. Clinton had not turned over all of the requested emails; that potentially hostile foreign governments had possibly gained access to her transmissions; and that she had used several private servers at her home in addition to those she used while travelling on official business.

Prior to the FBI Director’s announcement of an unwillingness to recommend charges, Mrs. Clinton faced questioning from a congressional panel examining the Benghazi debacle that cost the lives of four Americans. She survived grueling questioning, but skepticism about her casual use of unsecured computers has remained.

On September 28, 2016, the House Judiciary Committee listened to Director Comey as he continued to defend his decision not to recommend charges against Mrs. Clinton. Committee chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) insisted that his unwillingness to recommend charges “defies [both] logic and the law that she faces no consequences for jeopardizing national security.” Committee members also questioned the grant of immunity to five Clinton aides. Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) claimed a fix to exonerate Mrs. Clinton was in from the start.

But Comey remained adamant while continuing to defend his recommendation of no charges being made against the Democrat nominee. For his stand, members of the congressional panel called him and his underlings “weasels.” Defending himself and his FBI subordinates, he responded with: “You can call us wrong. You can call me a fool. You cannot call us weasels.” The congressmen before him wondered, “Why not?”

Mrs. Clinton casually admits to having made a “mistake,” something she pledged she would never do again. The drunk driver who injured several innocent people with his recklessness would love to plead that he, too, made a mistake and wouldn’t drive drunk again. He went to prison. Why is that not the case with Hillary Clinton?

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


Clinton’s ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ Card Unfortunately Worked

Clinton’s ‘Get Out of Jail Free’ Card Unfortunately Worked
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Shame on FBI Director James Comey! He supplied numerous reasons why Hillary Clinton’s reckless handling of her emails should have led to a recommendation that she be indicted. But, in parlance that has become common, the head of the FBI punted. Clinton magic, enjoyed repeatedly in the past by husband Bill, seems to have prevailed once more.

In unambiguous terms, Director Comey stated that the former Secretary of State had been “extremely careless” when she used a private computer to send and receive sensitive information. He pointed to the “top secret” classification of numerous emails Mrs. Clinton had wrongly sent and received on unprotected instruments. He said the FBI had found “several thousand” emails that were not in the material she was required to turn over to the bureau. About whether hostile foreign governments could have accessed what she was sending and receiving, he said it was “possible.”

Comey revealed that Mrs. Clinton had improperly used “several different servers and administrators.” But she has repeatedly admitted to using only one such instrument, even joked about employing a type of email that erases itself shortly after being sent.

Comey pointed to 110 Clinton emails that contained varying degrees of classification, even some as high as top secret. But she claimed on numerous occasions that anything marked classified or top secret had been so marked after being sent by her, a complete fabrication.

Comey said “any reasonable person” in the Secretary of State post should have known not to send or receive sensitive information on an unsecured personal computer. And he stated his opinion that “hostile actors gained access” to what she was sending and receiving. It is hardly a stretch to claim that the head of the FBI has in fact questioned her ability to reason.

Mrs. Clinton has often excused herself with the claim that she had “no intention” of doing anything wrong. Yet, Comey indicated that a violation of federal law (in this case a felony) occurs when classified information is mishandled “either intentionally or in a negligent way.” Having signed her name to the non-disclosure agreement required of anyone holding such a high post, she knew that she could be prosecuted for what that document states is “negligent handling of Sensitive Compartmented Information.”

With all of this, and more, Comey still recommended against an indictment. If she’s not guilty of any crime and not liable for prosecution, what’s left?  Shouldn’t Comey have concluded that she’s not a reasonable person, not incompetent, and not worthy of being our nation’s president?  Instead, he left open a path for her to win the White House.

The known facts indicate she broke laws, repeatedly denied any wrongdoing, endangered fellow Americans, destroyed government records, and lied to the American people and government investigators. Question: If elected to be our nation’s president, should she be given a security clearance? If the answer to that question is either “No” or “Possibly No,” she should quit the race for President.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.


Orlando Was Not a Senseless Crime

Orlando Was Not a Senseless Crime
by JBS President Emeritus John F. McManus

Headlines and electronic media have been full of the gory details surrounding the horrendous crime in Orlando. At least 50 are dead (one being the killer) and more are wounded. But many reporters and commentators have claimed that the rampage was a “senseless” crime. That assessment is itself senseless.

Omar Mateen (Photo by Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (Omar Mateen: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons).

Omar Mateen, an American citizen, was born in New York City into a Muslim family. In 2006, he earned an associate degree in criminal justice technology. After a few years of bouncing from one job to another, he found steady employment as a security guard. In 2009, he got married and bought a home. But the marriage ended in divorce after, according to his wife, he had abused her. By 2013, co-workers reported suspicions that he possessed ties to terrorism. The FBI investigated him twice but found no reason to act on the worries of the co-workers.

In an interview with ABC News, his ex-wife and his father claim that he was not radicalized, yet when the ex-wife was interviewed by federal authorities, she said he was radicalized within the last year.

During his deadly rampage, Mateen shouted “Allahu Akbar,” a phrase regularly used by Muslims at the start of prayers and other occasions. Among several meanings, the most popular is “God (or Allah) is great!” He called 911 during the shooting and stated allegiance to ISIS, a revealing fact confirmed by California Congressman Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee.

What motivated this man to kill so many others? Why did he commit his crime when he certainly could expect to be gunned down himself?

President Obama termed Mateen’s horrific deed “an act of terror and an act of hate.” But he carefully avoided what else the crime was – the act of a radical Islamic terrorist. Marine Corps University instructor Sebastian Gorka said it amounted to “individual jihad.” Security Policy Analyst Clare Lopez said Mateen’s crime was not the act of a “lone wolf,” but that of a deliberate individual concretely carrying out his obligations of Sharia.

According to the Telegraph, Syed Shafeeq Rahman, the imam of Islamic Center of Fort Pierce, where the gunman prayed four days a week, said his moque’s teaching is “peaceful and moderate.” Regarding radicalization, he said, “This is nothing that the Mosque is teaching them. They get it from the Internet.”

He continued, “It is not written in the religion that you go and kill 50 people in the middle of the night. So if he blames religion for it, he has to explain it- where do you get it from?”

The article states another young man who occasionally visited the mosque became America’s first suicide bomber in Syria in 2014.

Fox News reported that the gunman was enrolled in the online Fundamental Islamic Knowledge Seminary run by Marcus Dwayne Robertson. Here is an excerpt from the article explaining more about Robertson:

FoxNews.com has reported extensively on Robertson, a former U.S. Marine who served as a bodyguard to the Blind Sheik involved in the 1993 World Trade Center Attack and led a gang of New York bank robbers called “Ali Baba and the 40 Thieves” before resurfacing in Orlando, where he started an Islamic seminary.

The school, recently renamed the Timbuktu Seminary, is operated by Robertson, a 47-year-old firebrand known to his thousands of followers as Abu Taubah.

Robertson, who recently spent four years in prison in Florida on illegal weapons and tax fraud charges before being released by a Florida judge one year ago, has openly and enthusiastically preached against homosexuality.

Robertson is reportedly being questioned by federal authorities.

In 2006, Pentagon-based U.S. intelligence analysts issued a document entitled Motivations of Muslim Suicide Bombers. It concluded that “most Muslim suicide bombers are in fact students of the Quran who are motivated by its violent commands.” The analysts noted: “The selfless sacrifice by the individual Muslim to destroy Islam’s enemies becomes a suitable, feasible and acceptable course of action.”

Vast numbers of Muslims want to be left alone to raise their families and live in peace. They do not become jihadists. But even if a minuscule amount of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims become radicalized, the non-Muslim world must be on guard.

Omar Mateen’s rampage wasn’t “senseless.” Nor could the murders and mayhem committed by the San Bernardino pair, the Boston bombers, the Fort Hood killer, and so many other criminals be deemed “senseless.” These were deliberate deeds carried out by deliberate individuals. It is senseless, and potentially even suicidal, to conclude otherwise.

Editor’s Note: Keep up with The New American’s coverage of this as a more comprehensive profile takes shape of who exactly was Omar Mateen, from an alleged homosexual to a security guard working as a Department of Homeland Security contractor.

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McManus_2Mr. McManus served in the U.S. Marine Corps in the late 1950s and joined the staff of The John Birch Society in August 1966. He has served various roles for the organization including Field Coordinator, Director of Public Affairs, and President. Mr. McManus has appeared on hundreds of radio and television programs and is also author of a number of educational DVDs and books. Now President Emeritus, he continues his involvement with the Society through public speaking and writing for this blog, the JBS Bulletin, and The New American.