Special Access

The ramblings and ruminations of suspense-thriller novelist, Mark A. Hewitt

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No Need to Know:
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Clinton Donors got “Special Access”

NBC reporter Andrea Mitchell reported today that “Hillary Clinton is under fire from Donald Trump, claiming Clinton Foundation donors got Special Access….”

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Recent Headline and the Duncan Hunter Books: Surprise! USA Pays Ransom to Terrorists

Multiple news sources are reporting “U.S. Sent Cash to Iran as Americans Were Freed” http://www.wsj.com/articles/u-s-sent-cash-to-iran-as-americans-were-freed-1470181874

Paying ransom to terrorists is not something the U.S. government “normally” does for to do so and that information gets out, then Americans all over the world–whatever they are doing, vacationing, business, studying now have a target painted on their back and instantly become kidnapping targets. The Obama Administration reportedly paid $100,000,000 per American held in Iran.

In Shoot Down, Duncan Hunter learns of his next mission.
Director Rothwell stood and tapped the ubiquitous cheap pen in his hand against the thin file Hunter wasn’t offered to peruse. Hunter extracted a slip of paper from his notebook and offered it to the DCI. It contained challenges and responses for coded email transmissions as well as a list of actions needed by ground agents in Spain, the Azores, and Algiers. The DCI looked up from the document, nodded, and said, “This one is very special Duncan. I can’t stress how important it’s to execute this mission flawlessly. You do this, you’ll be a hero. I’ll walk you to the elevator.” The meeting was over.

Hunter wordlessly left the Director’s office in trail of Rothwell. Hunter winked and waved at an overburdened Miss Mayo, a phone was held up to her ear with her shoulder and her hands were full of FedEx envelopes. As Rothwell reached the elevators, he hit the down button and waited. Hunter looked back at the flailing Miss Mayo then turned back to Rothwell and asked, “What did he do?”

Rothwell glanced over to Miss Mayo; the distance was sufficient to say a few well-chosen and unclassified words as the elevator doors opened and Hunter stepped inside. Rothwell held the door open with one hand. “Besides suspected funding and facilitating terrorist acts against the United States? And Russia, and Great Britain, and France?” As he released the pressure on the elevator door he continued, “He shot down commercial airliners, usually for ransom.”

As the doors closed and the elevator sped to the ground floor, Hunter just closed his eyes and shook his head. This is going to be bad.

More to follow.

Release the Hounds!

In my Book, No Need to Know, I have a “little device” (actually, several little devices) that is used in a purely defensive role. To protect a CIA safe house high on a mountain in the Appalachians. The safe house is called “Spindletop” and the “little device is called HOUNDS, for “High-Output User-autoNomous Defensive System.” It’s a last ditch system; for those that may have been in the military, it provides what is called “final protective fires.” I envisioned it to look something like this: HOUNDSSHARP CLAW 1 UGV (Unmanned Ground Vehicle) CHINESE (2)

From No Need to Know:
On the telephone, “Becca,” provided a continuous dialog of what she witnessed on the monitors. “Anna, we have ten men, wearing night vision goggles and carrying AK-47s. Looks like two are beginning to cut through the first bundle of concertina wire…outside the wire.” Anna Comstock listened intently from her office at CIA HQ.

“You sure?” asked an incredulous Comstock. I should have never left! Damn!

“There is no doubt what they are doing Anna—they have those large handle…wire cutter things.”

“Bolt cutters.”

“Right, two men have bolt cutters and they are snipping away at the concertina and have just started to pull away the rolls from the fence. They’ll start cutting the chain link fence any moment.”

“Becca, I’m on my way back to the house and the security men are on their way; ETA 12 minutes.” Anna Comstock’s massive chest heaved as adrenaline was dumped into her system by the gallon. She hadn’t ever lost a special interest person or a CIA executive. There had never been an attack on a CIA safe house and now there was a sizable hostile force working its way up the mountain; the prize in the Bunker must be an incredible threat to someone. Anna Comstock would never have believed what she was about to do.

As Anna Comstock played mental gymnastics with the lives of her security detail and her career, the woman called “Becca” said, “Anna, we are all in body armor; we’re locked and loaded, the SCIF is locked and we’re ready for them until the cavalry arrives.” One by one, the four security women extracted their service weapons and racked the slides of the .38 Berettas to chamber a round. Once locked and loaded, one by one the weapons were safetied and returned to their holsters on their hips . One security officer snatched a pair of ten gauge shotguns from the weapons vault and placed them against the workstations. Only Nazy didn’t have a weapon on her person but there were several M-4s in weapons safe locker just three steps away.

The security chief racked her brain why the attack on the safe house was happening. Only a handful of people know of Spindletop! Only a handful of people know Cunningham is here! How is this possible? Her next thought was more pessimistic. I need to up-channel the news to Director Lynche.

Two women sat transfixed in front of the bank of monitors. Nazy recovered her composure and wiped her eyes; she stood and walked over to stand between the two women controlling the security cameras. She placed a comforting hand on each woman’s shoulder and dispassionately monitored the activities of the security force protecting her. Her mind wandered elsewhere, to another place and time, when she struggled to put the nightmares behind her. She was just starting to dream…of Duncan and her…in beautiful places. She didn’t want to go back to the bad places, of horrific dreams; she would rather die first. And if she were going to die, she wanted to die in Duncan’s arms; not in the grips of savages. She stared unblinkingly at the monitor as Muslim men were coming for her, yet again.

Nazy was shocked back to the present to hear the young woman called Becca shout, “Anna, they’ve cut the links out of the chain link fence. Anna; they’re inside the wire.”
Anna Comstock checked her watch and realized the quick reaction force coming up from the tiny inn at Columbia Furnace wasn’t going to respond quickly enough; they would not make it in time. She prayed she was making the right decision when she said, “Becca, I need you to release the Hounds. Release the Hounds dammit!”

The two women sitting were close enough to hear Anna Comstock’s voice come though the telephone receiver. They shared a quick glance and acknowledged the order. The woman seated to Nazy’s left said, “I’ve got it.” Nazy’s eyes grew wide.

Alice Prince shook the mouse to find the cursor and placed it on the HOUNDS icon near the bottom of the monitor and clicked the left button once and activated the system. A windows box opened and six stroboscopic lines appeared, from low intensity to high. She scrolled the mouse to select the targets, as each man stepped through the hole in the fence and those already inside “the wire.” With a double click of the mouse, ten pulsating red circles, each the size of nickels, tracked each man as he moved through the fence and the path through the concertina wire. Green lights flashed in the windows box in the middle of the control monitor, indicating six tracked robots had been activated and were powered up. Another small windows screen appeared with two buttons: RELEASE and RETURN. Security Officer Prince exhaled as she panned the cursor over and clicked the RELEASE button. One after another, the six flashing green lights turned solid; video shots from each HOUND appeared on the control monitor. One after another, the lawnmower-sized machines shot away from their charging stations from the side of the barn and turned hard right, and zipped down the hill. The computer system continuously fed targeting data into each HOUND as the wide rubber-tracked, electrically-driven vehicles, split into two echelons of three. The five women watched the screen, as one by one; the armed robots acquired their targets and attacked in enfilade. Nazy turned her head; the four intelligence officers looked on in stunned amazement.

Simultaneously, all six HOUNDS fired; the sound from the robots was a deafening mélange of zip and crack; the sounds from the infiltrators were truncated grunts as thousands of bullets found their marks.

The twelve small barrels of each Gatling gun spun rapidly and spat five hundred rounds in a twenty-second burst. Three thousand rounds of .22 caliber long-rifle intermeshed, from left and right; and saturated the narrow killing field with the small-bore ammunition. Death was nearly instantaneous, by a thousand tiny rounds cutting into the men’s unprotected flesh. Sensors on each HOUND monitored the killing field for movement. After two minutes, intelligence officer Prince moved the cursor on the monitor and selected RETURN. One after the other, each HOUND pivoted 180º and zipped back up the hill, spun 180º and slipped into its docking station, barrels pointing outboard.

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More to follow.

Went to Another Author’s Book Signing

I had a great time meeting and listening to Frederick Harrison, author extraordinaire. Retired from the CIA, he is the author of several books. They are quick easy reads and good stories. I got to talk with Fred for about 30 minutes before the program began. Learned much and confirmed much from the old warhorse.

Around the table I had fun talking about my own books and passed out “my cards” which are business-card sized pictures of my book covers. Met interesting people, some of which were also retired from the intelligence community. And the food was delicious.

More to follow.

No Reasonable Prosecutor Would Bring Such a Case?

No Reasonable Prosecutor Would Bring Such a Case

Having been on the side of leading or as a member of a team charged with conducting several investigations, usually aircraft accident, accidental death of a service member, or an investigation to determine possible criminal activity, I found the process of conducting investigations to be relatively uniform.

Whether an aircraft accident or criminal investigation process, as an investigator I followed a template and a script. When I drafted my report, I was obligated to follow a certain format. As a team member or as an individual, I began with an Executive Summary—what it was specifically that I or our group of investigators had been charged to discover. In the case of an aircraft accident, this might be “to determine the causal factors and probable cause of the July 9, 2000 mishap of aircraft serial number 138820.” The investigator included a narrative of their understanding of the accident and the process they used to investigate the background of the aircraft and the aircrew—we would document our review of maintenance records, pilot flight logs, etc.

The real meat of an investigation is the determination of FACTS and FINDINGS. These could be a lengthy list of what documents and actions which were found during the discovery phase of the investigation. Examples: FACT: A review of the maintenance records determined the aircraft was released for flight per the applicable maintenance instructions. FINDING: Pilot failed to regain control of the aircraft using approved recovery procedures after departing controlled flight. Conclusions and recommendations follow. A good investigation should leave no doubt in anyone’s mind that the template provided and the process followed was thorough and complete. Essentially, even I couldn’t leave the eggs out of the recipe if I were making a lemon meringue pie.

Having conducted several investigations and briefed my findings, conclusions, and recommendations to senior leaders, I found FBI Director Comey’s Conclusion statement simply bizarre. “Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.” There is a reason the apoplectic Republicans in Congress catapulted themselves into the rafters of the Capitol Building, and demanded Director Comey explain himself. Based on the available information in the public domain, there should have been sufficient evidence for a reasonable prosecutor to charge Hillary Clinton on violating a number statutes and bring the case to court.

If a real investigation had been performed, the FINDINGS and FACTS would have demonstrated clearly which violations of the statutes, directly and tangential, which were attributable to her mishandling of classified information. FINDINGS and FACTS would have been unambiguous, that while there may have been some “potential violations of the statutes,” the preponderance of the information would have outlined those easily proven and documented violations of the statutes. Having worked in the intelligence community for a few years, with top secret clearances and having to undergo a polygraph, I was naturally drawn to the expected violations of, specifically, 18 U.S. Code Chapter 37 – ESPIONAGE AND CENSORSHIP.

With the publically available data from open sources, there are multiple instances of Hillary Clinton’s violations of 18 U.S. Code § 793 – Gathering, transmitting or losing defense information, 18 U.S. Code § 794 – Gathering or delivering defense information to aid foreign government, and 18 U.S. Code § 798 – Disclosure of classified information. A properly conducted investigation would list the hundreds if not thousands of Hillary Clinton’s individual violations of 18 U.S. Code. FACT: Over 1,200 classified emails, from confidential up to and including special access program material was found on Mrs. Clinton’s email server. FACT: Mrs. Clinton signed a nondisclosure statement when she got to the State Department, in which she agreed to “never divulge anything marked SCI [sensitive compartmented information] or that I know to be SCI to anyone who is not authorized to receive it without prior authorization from the U.S. Government department or agency that authorized my access.”
Then there is 18 U.S. Code Chapter 19 – CONSPIRACY. Based on the publically available data, there appeared to be an obvious strategy to violate 18 U.S. Code § 372 – Conspiracy to impede or injure officer. During a document review and interviews, an investigator should have no problem determining if the statute was violated. On the FINDING of purposely deleting upwards of 33,000 emails so as to prevent or impede an investigator “in the discharge of his official duties, each of such persons shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six years, or both.” The evidence was compelling, with the actions to set up and operate an external email server, Hillary Clinton, her staff and lawyers, and her computer guy’s actions were designed to do whatever was necessary to keep the former Secretary of State’s emails away from the public and the government, and from an investigator. This is conspiracy. FINDINGS and FACTS.

Additionally, there would be thousands of violations of 18 U.S. Code Chapter 93 – PUBLIC OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES. During an interview, MSNBC’s Chuck Todd specifically asked Hillary Clinton, “Obviously the central question here is whether you violated the law in the handling of classified information. 18 U.S. Code 1924, unauthorized removal or retention of classified documents or material. Why do you believe you did not violate this law? It says here, being an officer, employee, contractor, or consultant in the United States and by virtue of his or her office, if they become possessed of documents or materials containing classified information of the United States, knowingly removing such documents or materials without authority and with the intent to retain such documents or materials at an unauthorized location. How did your private server where you kept this classified information, some of which was retroactive I understand, after your term as secretary of state, how is that not a violation of this code?” This would have been another FINDING.

The rest of FBI Director Comey’s Conclusion statement is not a conclusion, a recapitulation of the FINDINGS and FACTS, but a non sequitur. “…our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.” (Italics and highlight mine.) This isn’t even a formal recommendation of an investigation. A reasonable recommendation would sound like: Based on the FINDINGS and FACTS that Hillary Clinton clearly violated, at a minimum, 18 U.S. Code Chapters 19, 37, and 93, an indictment is clearly justified and warranted. Director Comey’s statement is akin to “leading the witness.”
Moreover, the FBI Director ignored FINDINGS and FACTS and the investigation’s CONCLUSION, and articulated some a new legal standard should be employed. No reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case.

Director Comey repeated these three odd incongruous words throughout his testimony on Capitol Hill. What is meant by “reasonable prosecutor?” I was reminded of what is a “Reasonable Person?” What is reasonable person theory?

A phrase frequently used in Tort and Criminal Law to denote a hypothetical person in society who exercises average care, skill, and judgment in conduct and who serves as a comparative standard for determining liability.

The decision whether an accused is guilty of a given offense might involve the application of an objective test in which the conduct of the accused is compared to that of a reasonable person under similar circumstances. In most cases, persons with greater than average skills, or with special duties to society, are held to a higher standard of care. For example, a physician who aids a person in distress is held to a higher standard of care than is an ordinary person. http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Reasonable+man+theory

Under the “reasonable person” theory, and in the distracting context that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case, is it unreasonable to suggest a reasonable DOJ prosecutor should be someone who is held in high esteem, to uphold a higher standard of law and jurisprudence than some backwater small town Atticus Finch or Seinfeld’s Jackie Childs. The Republican Congressmen at the FBI Director’s Hearing, especially those who are attorneys, were understandably distressed and angry at the Nation’s chief law enforcement officer’s blatant prestidigitation, diversion, and disinformation. FINDINGS and FACTS were obviously ignored and neutered as “potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information.” (Italics and highlight mine.) No discussion of FINDINGS and FACTS regarding an obvious conspiracy to “impede an investigator in the discharge of his official duties.” Apparently, the former Secretary of State is not only too stupid to be able to handle classified information—she was just reckless and that there was no intent—but the calculated deletion of 33,000 emails into cyberspace (or Eric Snowden’s or Putin’s inbox, et alia ) was just an unsophisticated version of “the dog ate my homework.” When he was on stage, Bud Abbott played like he was an idiot. He and Lou Costello were very smart men. We are being led to believe that when Mrs. Clinton is on stage and being interviewed by the FBI she is a complete incompetent when it comes to the safeguarding of classified information.

A real investigator’s head would have exploded. There were no discussions of FINDINGS and FACTS, other than the legally squishy meme of “being reckless,” regarding the obvious violation of “the unauthorized removal or retention of classified documents or material.” 18 U.S. Code Chapter 93 – PUBLIC OFFICERS AND EMPLOYEES. FACT: Any accidental unauthorized removal or retention of classified documents or material constitutes, at a minimum, gross negligence.
FBI Director Comey said during his testimony, “In looking back at our investigations into mishandling or removal of classified information, we cannot find a case that would support bringing criminal charges on these facts.” Also, “All the cases prosecuted involved some combination of: clearly intentional and willful mishandling of classified information; or vast quantities of materials exposed in such a way as to support an inference of intentional misconduct; or indications of disloyalty to the United States; or efforts to obstruct justice. We do not see those things here.”

Really? What is the difference between the cases against Alger Hiss and Hillary Clinton? Alger Hiss lied to the FBI about how he, a Democrat, lawyer, and senior State Department official used his WOODSTOCK typewriter to move classified material out of the building at Foggy Bottom and push it into the hands of his soviet handler. Alger Hiss, whose Soviet codename was ALES, was ultimately charged—not with gross negligence, or being reckless, or even espionage, but with perjury. Hillary Clinton, a Democrat, lawyer, and senior State Department official used a BlackBerry to move classified material out of the building at Foggy Bottom and push it into the unsecure hard drive of an unprotected email server. If hackers didn’t have a field day with that bathroom server, I would have asked for a FINDING: Who had administrator rights to that server?

Technology is wonderful when you can remove the middle man. Hillary Clinton’s only saving grace was that unlike the poorly-informed former attorney Alger Hiss, she learned a crucial lesson from the old soviet spy and, apparently, didn’t lie to the FBI. And when Director Comey informed the Congress the former Secretary wasn’t deposed formally, that she did not testify under oath, blood leaked from my eyes. Having to put senior Marine Corps officers under oath was not pleasant but necessary in the conduct of my investigations. Not putting Mrs. Clinton under oath was a Get Out Of Jail Free Card. Not to do so was an abrogation of one’s responsibilities when conducting an investigation. It is a necessary tool to conduct an investigation, so why didn’t they do it? Maybe it was because she didn’t have a soviet or Muslim Brotherhood codename. No one at the Congressional hearing would articulate the obvious—you didn’t give her a chance to lie to the hear-no-evil FBI. Therefore, her whole interview was bogus. Maybe Director Comey and Mrs. Clinton talked about their grandchildren.

Even Inspector Clouseau, the fictional inept and incompetent police detective in the French Sûreté, would find the former Secretary’s own admission of 33,000 emails, scrubbed or “wiped clean” from a private server, to be highly suspicious. It is so irregular in the intelligence community that anyone else on Planet Earth caught doing this unilateral action would have been the immediate roommate of Private Bradley Manning at the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. FINDING. The intentional destruction or negligent loss of evidence suggests that Hillary Clinton believed that her emails were harmful to her, and that consciousness of guilt led her to destroy, hide or lose them. Under the rubric of “lack of intent,” the FBI Director wouldn’t acknowledge the FINDINGS and FACTS of Secretary Clinton’s admitted intentional destruction of her emails—classic spoliation of evidence—even if her 11-foot high stack of emails fell on top of him.

Hillary Clinton is the new Houdini. The Department of Justice is as corrupt as her magical support crew at the State Department since no reasonable (DOJ) prosecutor could find a dripping wet indictable charge even if they used a divining rod while standing in a wading pool. Maybe the ghost of Vince Foster paid them a visit. Director Comey and his FBI are a joke. Reminds me of the old line: What did the county sheriff say about a robber who had been shot 15 times? “Worst case of suicide I’ve ever seen.” No reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case. Nothing to see here.

Isn’t it time we get some reasonable people in these positions?

Is it Espionage, Redux

Todd asked Clinton, “Obviously the central question here is whether you violated the law in the handling of classified information. 18 US Code 1924, unauthorized removal or retention of classified documents or material. Why do you believe you did not violate this law. It says here, being an officer, employee, contractor, or consultant in the United States and by virtue of his or her office, if they become possessed of documents or materials containing classified information of the United States, knowingly removing such documents or materials without authority and with the intent to retain such documents or materials at an unauthorized location. How did your private server where you kept this classified information, some of which was retroactive I understand, after your term as secretary of state, how is that not a violation of this code?”

It’s time to revisit my American Thinker article, Is it Espionage? Published February 24, 2016.

Is it Espionage?

The latest batch of Hillary’s classified emails now totals over 1,700. Her decision to exclusively conduct official business on a separate remote and unsecure email server has placed the men and women of the Intelligence Community (IC) in turmoil. Members of the IC would never be allowed such “permissions” and it is an abuse of authority to purposefully circumvent classified information safeguards.

Within the IC there exists (at least) two systems, one classified system and an unclassified system. The Non-classified Internet Protocol (IP) Router Network (abbreviated as NIPRNet) is a private IP network used to exchange unclassified information. The Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet) is a system of interconnected computer networks used by the U.S. Department of Defense and the U.S. Department of State to transmit classified information. (up to and including information classified SECRET).

In a letter to the chairmen of the Senate intelligence and foreign affairs committees, the intelligence community’s inspector general, said that he has received sworn declarations that cover “several dozen emails containing classified information determined by the IC element to be at the CONFIDENTIAL, SECRET and TOP SECRET/SAP information.”

The rules for the management of Special Access Programs is in a category unto itself. SAP’s are so sensitive that even people who have security clearances giving them access to Top Secret/Sensitive Compartment Information (TS/SCI), an enormously high security clearance level, cannot have accesses to a SAP unless they receive a special indoctrination into the SAP based on an operational “must know” that exceeds all other “need to know” standards.

Compromise of a SAP is the single most dangerous security violation that can ever happen to the USA. Even the enormously damaging revelations of the Edward Snowden’s TS/SCI security compromise does not reach the level of a SAP compromise. The unauthorized disclosure and transfer of SAP information, onto something like Hillary Clinton’s unsecure server, is a class one felony. That is because such a compromise is so dangerous that it could and likely will result in the death of people protected by and within the scope of the SAP.

To transfer any classified information onto an unclassified system, you have to work at it. To transfer classified information from a secure classified system and move it to an unclassified system is not only difficult, it is illegal. It’s called espionage.

Seventy years ago, the former government lawyer and State Department official, Alger Hiss, removed classified information from the State Department. He typed them on his office typewriter, slipped the copies into a briefcase, and provided them to his Soviet agent who photographed and microfilmed them. When the FBI retrieved the spools of microfilm, the Hiss Papers printed out to a stack 4 ½ feet tall. The FBI case against Alger Hiss should have been a clear cut case of espionage, but Hiss was convicted of a lesser crime; perjury.

There is little doubt the Democratic Presidential candidate under investigation by the FBI had her State Department minions strip off the classification headers and footers of thousands of classified documents and input those documents—they had to type them into an unsecured email server. Alger Hiss found a way—he typed them—to remove classified information from the offices of the State Department. The essence of espionage is to get classified documents out of a Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, a SCIF, and into the hands of “someone not authorized to receive them.”

Whittaker Chambers walked away from the Communist Party of the USA and accused the number three man at the State Department, Alger Hiss, of espionage. Hiss copied thousands of the most classified documents in the State Department on his office typewriter and for years spirited those documents out of Foggy Bottom in his briefcase. The classified originals never left the security of a SCIF. The 4 ½-foot tall stack of documents held by the FBI were so explosive, the heavily left-leaning Justice Department abandoned plans to indict Whittaker Chambers. The Justice Department was forced to find ways of watering down an indictment of Alger Hiss. He was charged and convicted of perjury.

One official involved in the investigation said that the special access program information found on Hillary Clinton’s email was so sensitive that Intelligence Community’s Inspector General, Charles McCullough and some of his aides, had to receive clearance to be “read on” the SAP before they could view the sworn declaration about the Clinton emails. The Special Access Program material does not appear to be the same two Top Secret emails identified earlier among the hundreds of classified emails found on Clinton’s server.

FBI may refer Hillary Clinton and her staff—Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills, and Jake Sullivan—for indictment for the simple charge of mishandling classified information. But don’t bet the rent money. Over the last 70 years, Left-leaning Justice Departments have a history of watering down or drowning any indictment of top-level Democrats caught in the act or suspected of conducting classic espionage.

I would add, the letter of the law on espionage is clear. Chuck Todd didn’t get an answer, at least not a real answer.

The FBI has the former Secretary of State dead to rights; she became “possessed of documents or materials containing classified information of the United States, and knowingly removing such documents or materials without authority and with the intent to retain such documents or materials at an unauthorized location.” There may not be any intent to conduct espionage, but the law is clear–she removed thousands of classified documents “with the intent to retain” such documents “at an unauthorized location.” What more could the FBI want? Alger Hiss didn’t copy the classification headers and footers either.

More to follow.

It’s not Where you are Born but How you are Born

My article, It’s not Where you are Born but How you are Born, is slated to run on American Thinker on Independence Day.

In January 2016, Congressman Alan Grayson said he would sue Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex) over his eligibility to be President. Grayson told MSNBC that he would sue over Canadian-born Cruz’s natural-born citizen status if the senator ever became the GOP nominee. Why? “Because the Constitution means what it says and says what it means.” In February 2016, Presidential Candidate Donald Trump jumped into the fray and said he was “very seriously” thinking about filing a suit to challenge Ted Cruz’s eligibility to be President. Senator Cruz’ father was Cuban-born; his mother was American. “He was born in Canada, lived there for years.” Presumably, Mr. Trump’s suit would have sought to determine if his competitor was a “natural born citizen” as stipulated by the U.S. Constitution.

Article II of the U.S. Constitution states: “No person except a natural born citizen … shall be eligible to the Office of President.”

Congressman Grayson and Mr. Trump’s threats of a lawsuit seemed to suggest Senator Cruz’s birthplace in Canada—and that alone—would render him ineligible to be President of the United States. However, apparently only Democrats and the media are sufficiently credentialed to make the determination of defining the constitutional phrase, “No person except a natural born citizen….”

Where a Presidential candidate was born is not a de facto eligibility disqualifier for the Office of President. Senator John McCain was born to American parents while his father served in the U.S. Navy in Panama. Had he been elected, he would have been the first President born outside the 50 states. Senator Mitt Romney’s father was born in Mexico, and the elder Romney’s eligibility to run for President in 1968 was hardly questioned. George W. Romney was born of American citizens living in a Mormon Church colony in Chihuahua, Mexico.

What is going on here? Contrary to what the Democrats and the media have reported over the last eight years, with respect to the eligibility of the Office of President, as demonstrated above, it’s not where you are born but how you are born. Any discussion of the somewhat ambiguous Article II eligibility requirements for the Office of President, during the 2016 election season, conveniently ignored any discussion of Barack Obama’s eligibility. He’s already President. At this point, what does it matter?

There has been no finer display and execution of media malfeasance and political disinformation than that of the eligibility of Candidate Barack Obama to be President. During the 2007 election cycle, Democrats and the media buttressed his eligibility to be President with an unrelenting campaign that having been born in Hawaii automatically made the Candidate Obama—a child of a Kenyan national—a “natural born citizen” of the United States. Newspaper and magazine articles steered away from discussing how the son of a Kenyan national could be the next President of the United States. He was born in Hawaii and that was sufficient.

The Left despises the U.S. Constitution and the Founding Fathers. From the Federalist Papers and the discussions at the time of the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, a Natural Born Citizen was never defined by the location of where a baby was born. From the Signing to today, those three words have “always been a little obscure due to the lack of any single authoritative source to confer in order to understand the condition of citizenship the phrase recognizes.”

The Federalistblog provides the best background on the topic. “One universal point most all early publicists agreed on was natural-born citizen must mean one who is a citizen by no act of law. If a person owes their citizenship to some act of law (naturalization for example), they cannot be considered a natural-born citizen. This leads us to defining natural-born citizen under the laws of nature – laws the founders recognized and embraced.

Under the laws of nature, every child born requires no act of law to establish the fact the child inherits through nature his/her father’s citizenship as well as his name (or even his property) through birth. This law of nature is also recognized by law of nations. Sen. Howard said the citizenship clause under the Fourteenth Amendment was by virtue of “natural law and national law.”

The advantages of Natural Law is competing allegiances between nations are not claimed, or at least with those nations whose custom is to not make citizens of other countries citizens without their consent. Under Sec. 1992 of U.S. Revised Statutes (1866) made clear other nation’s citizens would not be claimed: “All persons born in the United States and not subject to any foreign power, excluding Indians not taxed, are declared to be citizens of the United States.”

Rep. John A. Bingham commenting on Section 1992 said it means “every human being born within the jurisdiction of the United States of parents not owing allegiance to any foreign sovereignty is, in the language of your Constitution itself, a natural born citizen.” (Cong. Globe, 39th, 1st Sess., 1291 (1866))” *From the Federalistblog.

Did not Barack Obama Senior owe his allegiance to the foreign government, that country which is now Kenya? Unable to secure U.S. citizenship through a marriage of convenience, he returned to Nairobi, without his wife and child. The parents of John McCain and George Romney did not owe allegiance to any foreign sovereignty—both mother and father swore allegiance to and were Americans. Those four American parents could recite the Pledge of Allegiance and they knew to turn to face the flag when they did.

If not for Democrat Party propaganda and media disinformation, what made Barack Obama eligible to be President in the first place? The President’s father, BHO senior, was a British then a Kenyan national. Like the United States of America, the Brits and Kenyans have constitutions outlining the laws of the land. And like every country on the planet, the Kenya Constitution has firm “citizenship by birth” requirements: A person is a citizen by birth if on the day of the person’s birth, whether or not the person is born in Kenya, either the mother or father of the person is a citizen.

Simply, Barack Obama II, with a Kenyan father and an American mother, was born under two constitutions, where one parent owed allegiance to a foreign sovereignty. It’s not where you are born that counts to be eligible to be the President of the United States but how you are born. What nation doesn’t recognize citizenship of children born to their own citizens wherever they may be? Some countries have constitutionally-mandatory military service requirements of its citizens even when they are born abroad.
If anyone had cause to sue over the eligibility issue regarding running for the Office of the President, it was Senator John McCain. To have the question of what constitutes “natural born citizen” answered once and for all, Senator McCain should have taken Senator Barack Obama to court; to the Supreme Court. McCain vs Obama. Dozens of Americans have tried to sue President Obama over his eligibility to serve as President but failed; they had no “standing.” Regarding standing, only another presidential candidate would have a case to sue another presidential candidate. See Bush vs. Gore.
Although there were issues with the candidacy of Senator Obama—could they overcome the constitutional hurdle of eligibility—could they also negotiate the other hidden political landmine: the candidate’s religion. Democrats and the media refused to engage in a discussion about the religion of President Obama’s father, that he’s a Muslim. To do so would enter uncharted territory. Isn’t a child born of a Muslim also a Muslim? Senator McCain turned himself into a pretzel anytime someone brought up this issue at a townhall meeting.

With the Republican candidate capitulating early on the tough issues of constitutional eligibility and Muslim-by-birth, the Democrats were emboldened. Their candidate wasn’t a Muslim but a member of the Trinity United Church of Christ led by the Reverend Jeremiah Wright. All they had to do was skirt the U.S. Constitution through strong-arm politics, propaganda, and disinformation.

Senators McCain and Obama, all of Congress, Democrats far and wide, as well as the media knew of the constitutionally-mandated eligibility requirements for President. For the Democrats, the media, and the Candidate Obama, it was a game of chicken. Would the Maverick McCain call their bluff or would he fold? I submit, Barack Obama would not have been able to withstand the challenge. It would have required unsealing his sealed record history during discovery. Immigration documents. Passports. College applications. I suppose, afraid of being called a racist for bringing a lawsuit against an apparently ineligible candidate, however “transformative” he may be, trumped truth, justice, and the American way.

Out of 350 million people living in America, only Donald Trump was able to get President Obama to respond to the cries that there was something wrong with the President’s eligibility, and the White House released his birth certificate, however bogus that document appears to be. American Thinker ran several articles on the issue. 1, 2, 3, 4, and others.

Little has been written on why the Candidate Trump mocked the senior Senator from Arizona. I submit Mr. Trump’s issues with Senator McCain stem from the senator’s cowardly and abject failure to sue the Candidate Obama. If Senator McCain thought he was being noble by not challenging the bona fides of Barack Obama, he was not only sadly mistaken but wrong. It was an easy case to win. Senator McCain did not uphold his oath to uphold and defend the U.S. Constitution against a usurper of the Constitution. So much for being a Maverick.

And on the issue of allegiance. Many on the Right have tried to make the case, using his own words from “The Audacity of Hope,” that President Obama would “stand” with Islam and Muslims “should the political winds shift in an ugly direction.” It’s hard to defend a man whose daily words and actions can be easily interpreted as being overly sympathetic to Islam and Muslims, to the detriment of America and Americans.

I think the Founders got it right; to avoid any split allegiance to another country or a religion, candidates seeking the Office of the President need to demonstrate they are Americans first, born of Americans, that they love this country, and that they will do whatever is necessary to protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Our President is not doing any of that. He is not and never has been on the side of America.

Only one candidate today is on the side of America. And he demonstrated no fear to sue another candidate who may not have been eligible to run for President.

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Eternal Peace

https://youtube.com/watch?v=MgE2KiPd3xg%3Ffeature%3Dplayer_detailpage

When the Government Lies: TWA Flight 800

American Thinker published my article June 28th.

Years ago, in another lifetime, I flew the mighty F-4S Phantom II in the jet route structure. Several times I flew high enough for the engine exhaust to condense in the minus 60°F atmosphere. At 30,000 feet, I’d look in the mirrors on the canopy bow and watch a pair of thick contrails swirl behind me, laying down a set of unmistakable tracks proving that I was no longer just turning jet fuel into jet noise but I was leaving a trail visible for all to see for miles and miles. Some people on the ground, primarily those on the political left, have suggested my contrails were actually “chemtrails,” that they were some wild Petri dish concoction consisting of chemical or biological agents that were being deliberately sprayed for some sinister purpose, like a Bond villain, on an ignorant general public. I was shocked to learn that somehow the enlisted guy who refueled my jet with JP-5, was in on the conspiracy and was dispensing some nefarious additional chemicals from his R-11 fuel truck. When I became aware of the “chemtrail controversy” years later it proved there are some strange people in America. That when you don’t have enough facts or understanding of the basic science of condensation, I guess you make up something. Who doesn’t love a good conspiracy when the facts are just boring?
Jack Cashill has his second book coming out on Flight 800, TWA 800: The Crash, the Cover-Up, and the Conspiracy. Former FBI Special Agent John F. Picciano’s fine novel, Liam’s Promise, suggests there was an international terrorist conspiracy and massive government cover-up of Flight 800. In my book, Shoot Down, the President knew aircraft were threatened, that they were warned, and they did nothing about it until it was too late. Sort of like what happened on September 11th in Benghazi, Libya.

For Misters Cashill and Picciano, and myself, there has always been something wrong with the reported circumstances surrounding the loss of the TWA 747.When you look at all the evidence behind the tragedy of Flight 800, it was very difficult not to conclude the government’s investigation was faulty and scripted, and the probable cause of the incident was some fuel cell problem that was completely unbelievable. It was July 17, 1996, and Flight 800 occurred right in the middle of the sweet spot of a string of terrorist attacks on America, on American interests, on President Clinton’s watch. The three authors came to the same conclusion, by different means, that someone used a man-portable, shoulder-launched, anti-aircraft missile. How was this not a terrorist attack? Terrorists, primarily al-Qaeda, were having a field day attacking Americans.

A truck bomb was detonated below the North Tower of the World Trade Center on February 26, 1993. On December 11, 1994, a bomb was planted on Flight 434, a Philippine Airlines Boeing 747,by the master terrorist Ramzi Yousef. The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Buildingwas bombed in downtown Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. The failed Bojinka plot was a large-scale attack to assassinate Pope John Paul II and blow up 11 airliners from Asia to the United States during January 1995. It was planned by Islamists Ramzi Yousef and a current orange-jumpsuit-0wearing occupant of Guantanamo Bay, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. A pair of United States embassy bombings on August 7, 1998 killed over 200 people in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and in Nairobi, Kenya. And on 31 October 1999, there was EgyptAirFlight 990, where the aircraft plunged into the Atlantic Ocean about 60 miles south of Nantucket Island, Massachusetts. The flight data and cockpit voice recorders were recovered and proved the relief first officer deliberately pushed the jet into the water while repeating some nine times in Egyptian Arabic, “Tawkalt ala Allah,” which roughly translated to, “I rely on God.” The United States Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Cole (DDG-67) was bombed on 12 October 2000 while it was harbored and being refueled in the Yemeni port of Aden. September 11, 2001.

President Clinton’s time in office saw the highest level of terrorism activity directed at American interests: Buildings, embassies, a small dreadnaught, and over a dozen high-capacity aircraft were targeted or attacked.Other commercial aircraft had been shot down and that news was ignored. These were “spectacular operations.” And according to the National Transportation Safety Board Flight 800 was just a jet with a bad set of wires in a fuel tank. The only airplane in the history of flight to have exploded in flight because of a possible short circuit in a fuel tank.The NTSB must have been watching the Magic Loogie episode of Seinfeld when they submitted their Flight 800 report, for that was one incredible magic wire.

Sometime after 2003, I was teaching the aircraft accident investigation course for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University at Laughlin Air Force Base in Del Rio, Texas. My graduate students were seasoned USAF instructor pilots from across the Air Force—they flew fighters, cargo aircraft, and helicopters. I’m an old USMC F-4 pilot, and intuitively we knew what had happened to the TWA 747 was an obvious act terrorism, that the declaration that it was probably just bad wiring was an expedient political deflection to a White House intern problem while jets and buildings were being blown up all across the globe, and that it didn’t explode during departure because of some defective fuel cell wiring or “overheated fuel vapors.” Military and commercial pilots know fuel systems don’t work that way.

It was a good exercise for my students to look into what other reasons there could be to explain the government’s handling of the case and determine a better or more rational probable cause. One of my students found an interesting newspaper article, where a couple of Congressmen were stopped as they were leaving a closed-door session on the proliferation of MANPADS, Man-Portable Air-Defense Systems. Those are shoulder-launched, anti-aircraft missiles. French Mistrals, Russian SA-18s, British Blowpipes, and the U.S. Stingers. I will always remember my reaction to what was reported, when my student said, “One of the Congressmen said,they were looking into the problem of the proliferation of MANPADS to prevent another Flight 800.”It was a curious statement at best. An inadvertent admission? Someone who had wandered off script and forgot to maintain the government’s message? Sometime after the Flight 800 incident, some 14 pieces of legislation were introduced related to MANPADS were introduced to the U.S. Congress.The timing of the proposed legislation was a conspiracy theorist’s wet dream.

As an adjunct, also immediately following the downing of Flight 800, there were hearings on Capitol Hill to force DOD to install heat-seeking missile countermeasures on commercial aircraft. It wasn’t until 2005 that Fred Smith, FedEx CEO/Chairman, volunteered some of his aircraft to be outfitted with directed infrared countermeasures equipment (DIRCM) to thwart shoulder-launched heat-seeking missiles. Were these MANPADS really a threat; were they responsible for Flight 800?800. Consider this: between “500 to 750 thousand MANPADSare believed to have been produced,” thus far. Reportedly, at the date of that report up to 27 militia and terrorist groups possess shoulder fired SAMs. Yet it was one magic wire that brought down that jet.

The EgyptAir Flight 990 case demonstrated that a government can manipulate the outcome of an investigation. Egyptian government officials rejected the interpretation of the actions of the first officer, they asserted that it was “culturally impossible for (the relief pilot) Batouti to have done what the NTSB believed; second, that the NTSB lacked the cultural sensitivity to understand what was on the cockpit voice recorder.” Despite the data from the recovered black boxes, the Egyptians blamed Boeing for an inoperative elevator system. They blamed everyone else except their guy.

What happens when you—an accomplished investigative reporter, an FBI Special Agent, and an old accident investigator—know you’re not being told the truth? The investigators of Flight 990 capitulated on reason, genuflected and tested the myriad ridiculous Egyptian theses that the Boeing 767 suffered a hidden mechanical malfunction. There is a psychological impact on subordinates when high ranking government officials reject the obvious evidence for their own narrative. The normal first inclination is not to be confrontational even as the available evidence, like a finding compass, continually points in the same direction.

President Lincoln rejected generals by the score until he found one that could do the job. When the government wants to maintain or foster a certain message, they are in the power position to reject those that do not “get it,” that there is a message and that message is to be maintained. Those investigators and witnesses that do not play well with others are cast off to the Island of Misfit Toys. Flight 800 went through a crazy number of investigators. Many dynamic witnesses were ignored. The CIA was even brought in. The government went overboard to prove what it wasn’t, not what it was. The message was, “It wasn’t terrorism. It definitely wasn’t a missile—ignore all those witnesses who say they saw a missile launch. We’re pretty sure it was only a broken wire.”

What do you do when you know you are not being told the truth on Flight 800? Some of us write a story that is tangential to the cover up and the government lies. I know I can’t wait to read Jack Cashill’s new book.

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