OBAMA BIRTH-CERTIFICATE INVESTIGATOR: “THEY THREATENED MY FAMILY”
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jan. 13, 2020) — On Sunday evening, The Post & Email reported on a second lawsuit filed by investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson alleging government intrusions into her computers, phones and internet connection which also impacted her family.
The filing arises from an underlying lawsuit initiated in 2015 after Attkisson was informed by independent forensic examiners she hired that the breaching software employed in the intrusions could have been utilized only by “a US intelligence agency.” After performing his own analysis, a CBS-hired analyst told her in an email, Attkisson reported, “It is my professional opinion that a coordinated action (or series of actions) have taken place. I don’t wish to go into details because the integrity of email is now in question.”
In a striking development, last week’s filing accuses former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein of ordering the surveillance when he was U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland, based on Attkisson’s report that “a former U.S. government agent has admitted participating in the illegal government surveillance” and “identified former U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein as the person responsible for the project.”
The intrusions took place while Barack Hussein Obama occupied the Oval Office.
According to the brief, at Rosenstein’s direction, four then-government agents set up the surveillance of Attkisson’s cellular and home phones and computers as well as interference with her internet and cable connections, affecting her ability to carry out her job responsibilities for CBS and rendering useless a family-utilized Apple iMac.
The surveillance of Attkisson began in 2011, after she began reporting on the “Fast & Furious” gunwalking operation conducted by the Obama ATF with the knowledge of then-U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. In a January 9, 2019 detailed update on her initial lawsuit, Attkisson v. DOJ & FBI, Attkisson reported:
On September 21, 2010 executives with Stratfor, a global intelligence firm doing business with government agencies, emailed internally about an alleged Obama administration initiative to target journalists. One email was titled: “Obama leak investigations.” The email stated: “Brennan is behind the witch hunts of investigative journalists learning information from inside the beltway sources…(t)here is a specific tasker from the [White House] to go after anyone printing materials negative to the Obama agenda (oh my.) Even the FBI is shocked.”
Last Wednesday, Attkisson refiled the initial suit, about which Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Ron Johnson sent a January 8 letter to Attorney General William Barr and FBI Director Christopher Wray posing five questions seeking the source(s) of Attkisson’s computer intrusions.
In May 2013, the Associated Press discovered that Holder’s Justice Department had collected the phone records of 21 AP reporters without a warrant. A May 13, 2013 report by The Week refers to an AP report and subsequent letter written by AP President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Pruitt to Holder demanding “that the DOJ explain why it had gone after the records.”
The links in the article to the AP’s original reportage now yield error messages.
A week later, The Christian Science Monitor reported on another case of surveillance of a journalist: then-Fox News reporter James Rosen:
Associated Press reporters are not alone. One week after news broke that the Justice Department secretly obtained phone records from AP, more news has emerged about the Obama administration’s campaign to silence leaks.
This time, it’s new details about a 2010 Justice Department investigation into a Fox News correspondent who reported government secrets on North Korea. The twist is that in the Fox News case, the government is suggesting that the reporter broke the law and criminal charges could result.
On May 23, 2013, The New York Times reported:
In a case involving a Fox News correspondent, James Rosen, prosecutors obtained a search warrant for Mr. Rosen’s phone and e-mail records, after describing him as a possible “co-conspirator” for publishing information about a potential North Korean missile test.
On Wednesday, NBC News reported that Mr. Holder had signed off on the search warrant. Officials at the Justice Department did not return a phone call requesting comment.
Mark Landler of The Times reported Obama’s claim to have been “troubled” by the potential threat to “investigative reporting” caused by the DOJ’s then-recent and unprecedented actions against journalists.
The same day, Ryan Gallagher of Slate wrote of the Rosen case:
An FBI counterespionage agent in an affidavit alleged that the reporter had broken the law “at the very least, either as an aider, abettor and/or co-conspirator.” This contentious reasoning appears to be grounded in the notion that any journalist receiving and publishing classified material from a confidential source is engaging in a criminal act—even although the U.S. government has never successfully prosecuted a reporter for disseminating unlawfully leaked classified information.
A contemporaneous Fox News report stated:
The administration has come under criticism before for using the Espionage Act to prosecute leakers and whistle-blowers. Under the Obama administration, federal prosecutors have used the act six times.
After details on the case involving Fox News were made public, the White House said President Obama believes reporters should not be prosecuted for doing their jobs. Attorney General Eric Holder made similar comments during Hill testimony last week.
Rosen was never charged with a crime.
On March 12, 2013, then-Director of National Intelligence (DNI) James Clapper testified to the Senate Intelligence Committee that the government did not “wittingly” collect data on Americans. On June 5, 2013, The Guardian issued its first report on the revelations of former National Security Administration (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden “revealing a secret court order showing that the US government had forced the telecoms giant Verizon to hand over the phone records of millions of Americans.”
Other surveillance programs, Snowden revealed, involved GCHQ, the UK’s national intelligence agency and a U.S. program dubbed PRISM, which “allows officials to collect material including search history, the content of emails, file transfers and live chats,” according to a document Snowden provided.
On June 21, 2013, The Guardian reported that “GCHQ has gained access to the network of cables which carry the world’s phone calls and internet traffic and is processing vast streams of sensitive personal information it shares with the NSA.”
When confronted by members of the same committee three months later, Clapper conceded that he gave the “least untruthful” response when previously asked if the U.S. government spied on its citizens. With a five-year statute of limitations on lying to Congress, Clapper was not prosecuted by the Justice Department, then led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
In 2014, after initially denying it, then-CIA Director John Brennan was forced to admit that members of the agency had intruded on a Senate Intelligence Committee’s classified computer system used to house documents concerning controversial “enhanced interrogation” methods. Brennan reportedly prepared a letter of apology to committee chairman Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and ranking member Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) which was ultimately not sent, and the “accountability board” to examine what, if any, action would be taken against the intruders yielded no discipline.
On March 4, 2017, President Donald Trump tweeted, taking the nation and world by surprise, that his campaign was the subject of a “wire tap” by the Obama regime. The mainstream media immediately derided both Trump and the assertion, stating that he revealed “no evidence” to support it.
Obscured at the time was a January 19/20, 2017 New York Times article claiming that the FBI was investigating the Trump campaign with information gleaned from “wiretapped communications.”
At the time, the FBI had already launched its “Crossfire Hurricane” probe into alleged improper communications between members of the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia. While the agency claimed it opened the investigation on July 31, 2016, several congressmen have reported that it actually began much earlier, perhaps in 2015 with surveillance of Lt. Gen. Michael T. Flynn (Ret), Obama’s former Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) director ousted in 2014.
Following the election, Trump selected Flynn to serve as his national security adviser. During the presidential transition period, the transcript of a telephone call between Flynn and then-Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak was leaked to a Washington Post reporter, giving rise to the claim that Flynn had been dishonest with Vice President-Elect Mike Pence as to the content of his communications with Kislyak.
On February 13, 2017, Flynn was forced to resign after three weeks in the position. Later that year, Flynn was charged with lying to the FBI during a January 24, 2017 seemingly informal meeting with two FBI agents, for which he accepted a “guilty” plea.
Flynn’s current attorney, Sidney Powell, has claimed that the DOJ withheld crucial documentation associated with the case, which Powell was reportedly seeking to have dismissed for “egregious government misconduct and in the interest of justice.”
Last month, after a number of postponements, U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan scheduled Flynn’s sentencing for January 28 over Powell’s objections. Last Tuesday, the Justice Department indicated in a brief that it was seeking possible jail time for Flynn, whereas previously it appeared to have accepted Mueller’s recommendation that Flynn should not be incarcerated based on his cooperation with the Special Counsel’s probe.
After the firing of FBI Director James Comey on May 9, 2017, the FBI’s “Russia” probe was turned over to Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who was brought in by Rosenstein because of Sessions’s recusal from Russia matters. Spanning 22 months at a cost to taxpayers of approximately $35 million, Mueller’s investigation ultimately cleared the campaign, and all Americans for that matter, of “collusion” with the Kremlin to affect the outcome of the 2016 election.
On December 9, 2019, Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz, an Obama appointee, released a long-awaited report detailing 17 instances in which the FBI failed to provide complete and/or accurate information to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) in its applications to conduct surveillance on U.S. citizen Carter W. Page, a former Trump informal campaign adviser. In a sworn affidavit to the court in October 2016, an FBI agent stated that Page was believed to be “an agent of a foreign power,” namely, Russia, including information from an unverified “dossier” compiled by former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele.
The FBI did not make clear to the court that Steele’s work product was commissioned by the DNC as opposition research on Trump for the benefit of the Clinton campaign. The report also stated that information gleaned from a credible source should have given the FBI pause when it reapplied for continued surveillance on Page in January 2017 and on two additional occasions.
In total, Page was surveilled for nearly a year but never charged with a crime.
In its opening pages, the Horowitz report revealed that Flynn, former Trump foreign-policy adviser George Papadopoulos, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, and Page had been under surveillance, although Page is the only individual reported to have been subjected to formal FISA warrants.
FBI agents withheld “exculpatory” information from the Justice Department during its 2017 prosecution of Papadopoulos, the report said, as well as on Page to the FISC. Former FBI Agent Kevin Clinesmith, who interviewed Papadopoulos prior to Papadopoulos’s arrest in July 2017, was found to have altered an email to say that Page was not a source for another U.S. government agency when, in fact, he had served as a source and was deemed reliable by the agency.
Clinesmith was noted in the report to have said in an instant message, in response to a question from an FBI colleague about continuing to serve in the Trump administration, “Viva le resistance” (p. 256).
Barr and U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut John Durham are reportedly investigating the origins of the “Russia collusion” probe, which intelligence agencies were involved, and the motivations for the “spying” which Barr has said took place on the Trump campaign.
The Horowitz report confirmed Papadopoulos’s claims made on Twitter, in interviews, and in his book, “Deep State Target,” that in 2016 informants, termed “confidential human sources,” were used to extract information from him for the benefit of U.S. law enforcement. Papapdopoulos has also said that the FBI planted at last one “spy” inside the Trump campaign.
On May 10, 2019, Attkisson wrote in an editorial published at RealClearPolitics:
It was bad enough when the Department of Justice under Attorney General Eric Holder engaged in spying on journalist James Rosen (and even spied on his parents’ phone records). And the same cast of characters secretly spied on Associated Press reporters — also in the name of tracking down government leakers.
Amid those discoveries were NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden’s revelations about massive government spying on the citizenry, which Director of National Intelligence James Clapper had denied under oath. As the dominos [sic] began to fall, Holder expressed some regret, particularly as it applied to the intrusion upon journalists, who until the Obama administration had been considered largely off limits for the government’s intel dragnet.
Then there’s my case…
On January 3, 2017, speaking of Trump’s expressed dubiousness as to the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, “Let me tell you: You take on the intelligence community — they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”
In a statement issued in response to her new lawsuit against Rosenstein, Attkisson wrote, “I’ve learned that when the Justice Dept. won’t hold its own accountable, the ability to get justice in civil court can be nearly impossible for an ordinary citizen, even when irrefutable forensic proof and admissions are in hand, such as in my case. There are six ways from Sunday that the Justice Department can make sure the proof is never seen by a jury. On the other hand, it’s worth the fight because at least we are bringing important information to light about the illegal government abuses that I believe have happened to many U.S. citizens…”
On April 27, 2011, an image was uploaded to the White House website said to represent Obama’s “long-form” birth certificate from the Hawaii Department of Health (HDOH). The release followed several months wherein then-businessman Trump, who was considering a run for the White House against Obama, called for Obama to prove his constitutional eligibility to serve.
Within hours of its appearance that Wednesday morning, the image was deemed a forgery by experts, eventually leading to a 5+-year criminal investigation by former detective and private investigator Mike Zullo on behalf of the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO).
The media refused to investigate or report the evidence Zullo revealed in three press conferences held between early 2012 and late 2016 which revealed a source document for the Obama long-form image and the conclusions of two forensic analysts agreeing with Zullo’s that the “birth certificate” is a “computer-generated forgery.”
On Monday, Zullo told The Post & Email that during the course of the probe, “I was told to my face that all my emails and communications were being monitored. Then they threatened my family.”
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Sharon Rondeau has operated The Post & Email since April 2010, focusing on the Obama birth certificate investigation and other government corruption news. She has reported prolifically on constitutional violations within Tennessee’s prison and judicial systems.