Posts Tagged With: emails

NYT: White House Wants Holder to Resign……


Presidential aides are privately admitting to a growing frustration inside the White House with Attorney General Eric Holder’s political ineptness in the press leak investigations and are hoping the embattled appointee will resign from office, The New York Times reports.

“The White House is apoplectic about him, and has been for a long time,” said an anonymous Democrat source, identified only as a former government employee who acknowledged the White House staffers in question are his friends.

President Barack Obama’s advisers are frustrated with Holder’s inability to foresee problems arising from his approval of a subpoena naming a Fox News reporter as a coconspirator in an espionage investigation. Now Congress is looking at whether Holder lied under oath when he testified last month that he knew nothing about the incident.

Additionally, Holder has become a lightening rod for criticism for pulling the phone records of 100 Associated Press reporters in another polarizing investigation.

“How hard would it be to anticipate that the AP would be unhappy?” the former official said. “And then they haven’t defended their position.”

The New York Times article highlighted a rare glimpse of the interworking of the White House social circle, stating that Holder’s “saving grace through years of controversies has been the friendship of two women close to Mr. Obama” – First Lady Michelle Obama, who is good friends with Holder’s wife, and Valerie Jarrett, the president’s senior adviser.

In addition to the press leak scandals, Holder has come under attack for his agency’s participation in the botched gun-trafficking investigation “Fast and Furious,” for which Holder was found in contempt of Congress.

And, in 2009, Holder made a contentious decision to prosecute September 11 terrorists in a Manhattan civilian court, but his decision was eventually reversed.

Bob Woodward of the Washington Post brought up the New York Times story during a press roundtable discussion on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” and said both Holder and Obama need to explain this and other unfolding scandals to the American people

“It’s all very troubling, and you lump all these things, IRS and Benghazi together, and what you’ve got is a feeling that no one’s coming clean, we aren’t getting straight talk,” Woodward said.

“This goes to President Obama, he’s got to find a way to unravel this. We live in an age of distrust, I think it’s more severe now, and he has to find some way to clean this up and say this is what happened,” Woodward said.

David Ignatius, a columnist and associate editor at the Washington Post, said the larger question is whether Holder has done a good job as the nation’s top law enforcement officer.

“In terms of the critique of Eric Holder, the problem is Eric Holder has been a weak attorney general,” Ignacious said.

Friends of Holder told the Times that the attorney general does not want to leave his job working for the government because he does not like working in the private sector, but there are rumblings he might resign as early as this fall.

William M. Daley, Obama’s former chief of staff, spoke on the record to the Times and said that as long as Holder runs the department in a competent manner and remains a friend of Obama, he would not be drummed out of the administration for political reasons.

“Whoever Barack Obama puts in there, these people will try to drumbeat him out of there, no matter what,” Daley said.

Tom Brokaw, the former NBC “Nightly News” anchor, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that the Times article exemplifies the typical Washington two-step – being praised on the record, “but at the same time there’s another part of that two-step that is going on in which people are saying it would be better if he left, it would be better for the president to get this cleaned up.”
Brokaw there is a political double standard in play with regards to how the Obama administration scandals are playing.

“From a political point of view, one of the ways that you can measure the impact of all of this and the fairness of it, is think if this had happened in the Bush administration with John Ashcroft as the attorney general. You know full well that the Democrats and the left would be going very hard after them,” Brokaw said.

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Rep. Peter King: Holder May Be Guilty of Perjury…..


Rep. Peter King says Attorney General Eric Holder’s initial denial of involvement in the targeting of Fox News reporter James Rosen “could be perjury.”

In an wide-ranging interview Tuesday with Newsmax TV’s “The Steve Malzberg Show,” King also discussed:
President Barack Obama’s “moralizing” speech on the closing of Guantanamo Bay, saying the terror threat is more dangerous now than on 9/11;
The Obama administration should exercise “extreme caution” in evaluating the possible sale of Sprint Nextel Corp. to a foreign company.
King, a Republican from New York, was highly critical of Holder, who previously said he would never be part of targeting a reporter and didn’t think it was good policy, when he actually approved a search warrant on James Rosen. The House Judiciary Committee is reportedly looking into whether he perjured himself in steadfastly denying a role in the Rosen subpoena when he OK’d the seizure of the Fox reporter’s phone records.
King comments: “To me, on its face, that certainly could be perjury. And the reason I’m saying ‘could be’ — I know there’s always precise standards to meet — that certainly warrants a full investigation as to whether or not perjury was committed there. There’ve been other people over the years indicted for perjury or tried for perjury on a lot less evidence than that.”

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Senate committee passes email privacy legislation….Cops need a warrant…


Over objections from law enforcement officials, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved legislation Thursday that would require police to obtain a search warrant from a judge before they can review a person’s emails or other electronic communications.
The bill makes it slightly more difficult for the government to access the content of a consumer’s emails and private files from Google, Yahoo, Facebook and other Internet providers. Under the current law, the 1986 Electronic Communications Privacy Act, a warrant is needed only for emails less than 6 months old.
The committee chairman and the bill’s sponsor, Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said digital files on a computer should have the same safeguards as paper files stored in a home. Americans “face even greater threats to their digital privacy, as we witness the explosion of new technologies and the expansion of the government’s surveillance powers,” Leahy said during the committee’s vote on the legislation. The full Senate is expected to vote on the bill early next year. A House committee hasn’t yet voted on a similar bill.
Passage of the bill comes just a few weeks after the stunning resignation of David Petraeus as the head of the CIA over an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell. The case focused the public’s attention on how easy it is for federal agents to access people’s email accounts.
Privacy advocates and civil liberties groups applauded the action, saying the law is outdated in an era of cloud computing, cheaper electronic storage, social networking and wireless phones. Such advances in technology have dramatically increased the amount of stored communications in ways no one anticipated a quarter of a century ago.
“We are very happy that the committee voted that all electronic content like emails, photos and other communications held by companies like Google and Facebook should be protected with a search warrant,” said Chris Calabrese, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union.
The Justice Department and other law enforcement groups had resisted changes to the law.

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U.S Government accused of spying on citizens, intercepting trillions of emails and phone calls


Governments around the world are repeatedly accused of spying on both domestic and foreign individuals and groups that may threaten the interests of their citizens; sometimes these accusations are without merit and sometimes they pan out. William Binney, a former official with the National Security Agency, recently said that domestic surveillance in the U.S. has increased under President Obama, and trillions of phone calls, emails and other messages sent by U.S. citizens have been intercepted by the government. In fact, in an interview with Democracy Now, the official-turned-whistleblower claims that the government currently possesses copies of almost all emails sent and received in the United States
Binney, who is regarded as one of the best mathematicians and code breakers in NSA history, says he left the agency in late 2001 after he learned about its plan to use the September 11th terrorist attacks as an excuse to launch a controversial data collection program on its own citizens. One commercial company he claims to have participated in the program is AT&T (T), which he says handed over more than 320 million records of citizen-to-citizen communications that took place within the U.S.

The program, which Binney says he helped create, was never meant for domestic surveillance but the agency has supposedly been spying on U.S. citizens for more than a decade now.

According to Binney, once the software intercepts a transmission it will then build profiles on every person referenced in the data. The NSA is now in the process of building a $2 billion data storage facility in Utah that is bigger than anything Google (GOOG) or Apple (AAPL) has ever built, and Binney calculates that the facility will be able to store 100 years worth of the world’s electronic communications.

In the closing lines of a documentary by Laura Poitas, Binney notes that just because “we call ourselves a democracy, it doesn’t mean we will stay that way.” The real problem, he
he says, is that “people may have nothing to say about it… we haven’t had anything to say so far.”

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