Yishai Schlissel, an ultra-Orthodox Jewish man, stabbed six marchers in the annual Gay Pride Parade in Jerusalem. What is equally disturbing is that Schlissel was just released after serving 10 years for stabbing participants in the Gay Pride Parade in 2005. Schlissel immediately demanded a court held in accordance with Jewish law, a request which was denied.
The Obama Administration has been accused by public interest groups of being one of the most hostile administration toward whistleblowers since the Nixon Administration. Not only whistleblowers but reporters have been subject to abusive investigations and crackdowns under President Obama. Now, that record has taken an even more dangerous turn. The Justice Department is facing bipartisan criticism after it moved to restrict access of inspectors general to documents needed to ferret out corrupt and abusive practices. The Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) has issued a controversial 68-page memo that says that the department’s inspector general would be required to get permission from the agencies it is investigating to obtain wire taps, grand jury testimonies, and credit information.
For those who are already upset about the prospect of the country again being given simply a choice between a Bush or a Clinton in the general election, they might not want to read the recent interview of President George W. Bush and Bill Clinton in Time magazine. In a revealing aside, Bush shrugs off the real significance of the result of the election so long as it is either a Clinton or a Bush: says it really does not matter so long as it is either a Bush or Clinton: “What difference does it make,” he said at the time, “if the order is Bush/Clinton/Bush/Obama/Clinton or it is Bush/Clinton/Bush/Obama/Bush?” It appears that we have a dynastic democracy.
Despite the determination of investigators at the State Department and intelligence agencies that Hillary Clinton did use her personal email system to handle confirmed classified information (and potentially compromised “hundreds of classified emails”), Clinton dismissed such allegations and assured the public that it is “pretty clear” that there was no classified information on her personal email system — a system that she used rather than the secure State Department system.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that the Obama Administration is preparing to release one of this country’s most notorious spies in an effort to placate Israel in the aftermath of Iranian agreement. Jonathan Pollard, an Israeli spy, betrayed his country and was arrested as he attempted to flee to the Israeli embassy in 1985. He was not only convicted of espionage but the Justice Department and intelligence agencies have long maintained that he did untold harm to the national security. The question of the release of Pollard has always raised interesting political, social, and legal questions. Thirty years is certainly not an insignificant amount of time and Pollard reportedly has health issues. My greatest concern is one of special treatment, particularly on sentencing policy for other national security cases. (For full disclosure, I have handled and continued to serve as lead counsel in national security cases). Continue reading
In a major development on the Clinton email scandal, the New York Times is reporting that the inspectors general for the State Department and the intelligence community have asked the Justice Department to open an investigation into whether there was mishandling of classified information by Hillary Clinton using a personal email account while secretary of state. While the newspaper referred to the action as a criminal referral, the Administration quickly moved to counter the story and insist that it is not technically a criminal referral. We have previously discussed this story and the insistence of Clinton that she did nothing wrong in maintaining a private email system and that none of the emails were classified. I disagreed with both premises as well as expressed great skepticism over Clinton’s insistence that she was really not trying to control her emails and insulate them from review but rather simply did not want to carry around two phones. According to the New York Times, investigators believe that Clinton’s email archive contained “hundreds of potentially classified emails.” Nevertheless, the Justice Department appears to be moving to counter any expectation of a criminal investigation against the former Secretary of State under Obama. We have previously discussed the special treatment historically given powerful figures in violating national security rules or practices.
The Jefferson Jackson Bailey dinners are famous events for the state Democratic Party in Connecticut. However, as part of the backlash against historical figures who owned slaves, the NAACP demanded that both names be stripped away from the dinner and the state Democratic Party agreed.