Monday, July 27, 2015

Inspector General request would further delay release of Hillary Clinton emails

Both The New York Times and Gawker not only published erroneous articles with bogus headlines concerning Inspectors General memos to the State Department related to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emails, they also seem to have missed a recommendation which could be interpreted by critics as yet another governmental roadblock to fulfilling dozens of Freedom of Information Act requests by the media and watchdog groups.

"It is unclear if the Department of Justice is reviewing the emails before FOIA release," an OIG memo from June 15 states. "Former-Secretary Clinton's emails are the subject of numerous FOIA requests and multiple FOIA lawsuits. It may be prudent to integrate the Department of Justice into the FOIA process review to ensure the redactions can withstand legal challenges. If not already being done, recommend the State Department FOIA Office incorporate the Department of Justice into the FOIA process to ensure the legal sufficiency review of the FOIA exemptions and redactions."

As the Times reported, "a federal judge sharply questioned State Department lawyers at a hearing in Washington about why they had not responded to Freedom of Information Act requests from The Associated Press, some of which were four years old."
"“I want to find out what’s been going on over there — I should say, what’s not been going on over there,” said Judge Richard J. Leon of United States District Court, according to a transcript obtained by Politico. The judge said that “for reasons known only to itself,” the State Department “has been, to say the least, recalcitrant in responding.”"
In an editorial published by Daily Caller, Micah Morrison - the Chief Investigative Reporter for the conservative-leaning Judicial Watch - asks, "Is FOIA reform finally at the tipping point? The federal Freedom of Information Act was designed to give citizens prompt access to information about their government. Instead, it’s a bureaucratic nightmare, a vast black hole of years-long delays and heavily censored documents."

"In recent weeks, a trifecta of powerful federal judges, each acting independently, has blasted the Obama Administration’s FOIA delays," Morrison observes, before opining, "It is never good to anger a federal judge. Angering three over the same issue is unprecedented."
"It may take fed up federal judges to lead the charge on FOIA reform. Mrs. Clinton’s stonewalling aside, the problems with FOIA are obvious. FOIA offices, housed within every government department or agency, are underfunded and understaffed. FOIA personnel get no respect from their colleagues. FOIA rules on what not to disclose are routinely abused by bureaucrats with something to hide or simply no desire to cooperate with the law. The system is in ruins.

At a Congressional FOIA hearing last month, noted the Washington Post, House Oversight Committee witnesses 'delivered a powerful verdict that federal agencies do a terrible job of responding to document requests — across the board, just about all the time.'
"
Adding another government agency into the process would logically result in further delayed release of the emails, which critics complain is being done purposely to protect Hillary Clinton as she runs for president.

After publication, Judicial Watch's Micah Morrison linked to this article, tweeting, "New HRC email referrals fracas could result in FURTHER document release delays, as @ronbryn notes here." In the evening, Politico's Jeff Gernstein reported, "Transparency advocates say the procedures the inspectors general recommended for handling the release of Clinton’s email have the potential to slow to a complete stop the already glacial Freedom of Information Act process."
"'This is a recipe for paralysis,' said Steven Aftergood, a classified information expert with the Federation of American Scientists. 'Their recommendation essentially is to give more reviewers a veto over disclosure. They not only want to bring in intelligence community reviewers, but also Justice Department officials.'

'By adding on layers of review, and the corresponding ability to block disclosure, the IGs' approach would ensure that the least possible amount of information gets released,' Aftergood added.
"
Patrice McDermott of Openthegovernment.org told Gernstein that the recommendation to use DOJ on all redacted FOIA responses "to ensure [they] can withstand legal challenges" was "ridiculous", adding, "It would grind government to a halt and it would grind DOJ to a halt as well. ... It’s absurd."

The Politico story added, "McDermott said the recommendations seemed to be a roundabout way of the intelligence community saying it doesn’t trust the State Department to make classification decisions. 'This is them saying you don’t recognize highly classified information when you see it if it’s not marked,' she said. 'Those are entirely separate issues from the FOIA process.'"

However, responses to the OIG request indicate the Department of Justice is already involved in the review of Clinton's emails.

On June 25, Patrick F. Kennedy - the under secretary of state for management - replied, "the Department finds the issues raised by the ICIG are either already addressed in current processes or are inconsistent with interagency practices. Further, the recommendations provided by the ICIG would add to the FOIA review process schedule and make it more difficult to meet the U.S. District Court order for rolling productions without meaningfully enhancing the review process."

In an attachment, the memo added, "Emails with Department of Justice equities (including those of its component entities) are forwarded to the relevant DOJ entities for review. Legal sufficiency review of the FOIA exemptions and redactions are conducted by attorneys from the Office of the Legal Adviser; they consult regularly with the Department of Justice's Federal Programs Branch regarding FOIA issues and litigation, including litigation involving the former Secretary's emails. This type of process is common throughout the interagency."

On July 14, another memo sent by Kennedy argued that "as noted previously, Department attorneys consult regulary with the Department of Justice's Federal Programs Branch on legal issues that arise in the context of the FOIA and FOIA litigation. This practice is longstanding and continues with respect to this review; L attorneys met with attorneys from Federal Programs on Monday of this week."

The New York Times article by Michael S. Schmidt and Matt Apuzzo originally published on July 23, 2015 was full of so many mistakes that it probably merits its own internal probe, but one of the corrections added afterwards seems to blame "senior government officials" for the paper's misreporting.

"An article and a headline in some editions on Friday about a request to the Justice Department for an investigation regarding Hillary Clinton’s personal email account while she was secretary of state misstated the nature of the request, using information from senior government officials," a New York Times correction added to the article on July 25 stated, after the paper falsely reported the 2016 presidential candidate was facing a "criminal referral" by two Inspectors Generals. "It addressed the potential compromise of classified information in connection with that email account. It did not specifically request an investigation into Mrs. Clinton."

A second New York Times correction to the same article on July 26 added, "An article in some editions on Friday about a request to the Justice Department for an investigation regarding Hillary Clinton’s personal email account while she was secretary of state referred incorrectly, using information from senior government officials, to the request. It was a 'security referral,' pertaining to possible mishandling of classified information, officials said, not a 'criminal referral.'"

Unlike the New York Times, the Gawker article by Sam Biddle doesn't contain any self-corrections, just a note that the Times corrected its story, but the headline still inaccurately suggests that the Inspectors General recommended a "criminal investigation."

[Editor's Note: Sam Biddle blocked me on Twitter in December of 2012 because I criticized his reporting on a teenage hacker he apparently befriended. The hacker had been convicted for SWATtings and other computer crimes, then reportedly broke his plea deal, but Biddle argued in his defense with no evidence. Michael S. Schimdt has ignored multiple tweets I've sent him regarding an article he wrote for The New York Times in March, which I believe wrongly reported that the Clinton aide who set up the private server currently works for Teneo. Judicial Watch and Micah Morrison have highlighted much of my reporting on Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin, and Teneo (see: Teneo and the Clinton machine).]

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Year before launch, Clintons-linked firm worked on failed US World Cup bid

IRS filing reveals Teneo earned $75K fundraising while lobbying Fifa officials with ex-President Clinton in 2010

In its latest press release, Teneo - a PR firm co-founded by two former Hillary Clinton fundraisers, including CEO Declan Kelly who she appointed as US Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland, and former President Bill Clinton's "body man", Doug Band - claims that it "is a global advisory firm founded in 2011 by Declan Kelly, Doug Band and Paul Keary with a vision to create a new breed of advisory firm focused on working exclusively with the leaders of major corporations to help them address a wide range of business and reputational issues and opportunities."

However, Teneo's first paying gig was actually in 2010, while Kelly was still working for the State Department.

"The BBC has learnt New York-based Teneo Holdings has been retained in the wake of the criminal investigation launched into football's world governing body by the US Department of Justice in May," BBC Radio 5 Live Sports News Correspondent Richard Conway reported today. "The company's president is Doug Band, who served as a director on the US 2022 World Cup bid committee."

Conway notes, "Band, together with Fifa executive committee member Sunil Gulati and others, made the final World Cup bid presentation to high-ranking officials in Zurich in 2010."

On April 8, 2010 a US Soccer press release announced, "Counselor to President Bill Clinton, Douglas Band, has formally accepted an invitation to join the Board of Directors for the USA Bid Committee in its effort to bring the FIFA World Cup™ to the United States in 2018 or 2022."
"Band has worked alongside President Clinton for more than 14 years, serving a variety of roles dating back to Clinton’s time in the White House. He has served as President Clinton's chief adviser since 2002, counseling him and serving as the key architect of Clinton's post-Presidency. He created and built the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) that to date has raised $57 billion for 1,700 philanthropic initiatives around the world spanning climate change, global health, citizen service, education and the empowerment of women and girls, which in total impacts more than 200 million people in 170 countries.

'Doug has spent most of his professional career working with President Clinton on topics that range from international and domestic policy to global philanthropic and environmental issues,' said Sunil Gulati, the Chairman of the USA Bid Committee and President of U.S. Soccer. 'His vast experience and multi-national contacts, along with his passion for the game of soccer will be key assets to the bid as he travels the world alongside President Clinton in the months to come.'
"
The 2010 press release added, "All candidates must have their bid applications to FIFA by May 14, 2010. FIFA’s 24 member Executive Committee will study the bids, conduct site visits and name the hosts for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments on December 2, 2010, completing a 21-month bid and review process."

According to an IRS filing (pdf link; page 28) by the USA Bid Committee Inc. that appears to have been submitted on May 13, 2011, Teneo Strategy Consulting raised $1,392,500 through phone and email solicitations and earned $75,000 for its work in 2010. "Teneo Strategy Consulting was engaged to provide phone and email solicitations," the filing states on page 30. On page 8, listed second between Chairman Sunil Gulati and Vice Chairman Carlos Cordeiro, Honorary Chairman William Clinton is named as only one of three officers for the USA bid committee.

One month after the U.S. Men's National Soccer Team and U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati met with President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden, along with former US President Bill Clinton, in a May 2010 visit to the White House, Foreign Policy's P.J. Aroon reported on June 24, 2010, "Clinton, who was president when the United States hosted the World Cup in 1994 and women’s World Cup in 1999, was in Africa primarily to lobby FIFA’s executive committee on the U.S. bid for 2018 or 2022, though his trip includes visits to Malawi and Tanzania to check up on Clinton Foundation projects."

According to his website biography, Teneo Strategy Senior Vice President Michael Coakley "has been an advisor on a number of sports-related engagements including the United States bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup and Qatar’s bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games." However, his LinkedIn resume claims that he didn't work for the firm until 2011.

As his biography notes, Doug Band also "was part of the negotiation team that handled all aspects of Hillary Clinton’s becoming Secretary of State." Although it states that he "served...in 2010 on the Board of Directors of the United States Bid Committee for the World Cup," the Teneo website doesn't note that they were paid for this service.

"Teneo is believed to have been hired by Fifa following advice from Quinn Emanuel, the American law firm working on its behalf," the BBC reported today. "It's understood the firm's links with senior politicians and with the US Department of Justice were a motivating factor for Fifa's choice as it seeks to mitigate the legal and financial threats facing it."
"The indictment from the DoJ in May led to the arrest and detention of 14 football officials and sports marketing executives on charges of 'rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted' corruption following a major inquiry by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

The DoJ insists its investigations are only just beginning.
"
The BBC added, "Teneo's links with the upper echelons of US politics are well established."

At least two partners at the San Francisco based law firm Quinn Emanuel worked for the Clinton Administration: Michael Lyle was "the Director of the White House Office of Administration in the Clinton Administration" and Stephen Neuwirth served as "Associate White House Counsel to President Clinton from 1993-1996." Quinn Emanuel's Susan Estrich - who was 1998 presidential candidate Michael Dukakis' campaign manager - wrote a 2004 book called "The Case for Hillary Clinton" and endorsed her 2008 POTUS campaign.

Also, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service gave Quinn Emanuel a $2.5 million contract to advise an IRS audit of Microsoft, which has drawn controvery. "Senator Orrin Hatch, the Utah Republican who chairs the Senate Finance Committee" charged, "The IRS’s hiring of a private contractor to conduct an examination of a taxpayer raises concerns because the action: 1) appears to violate federal law and the express will of the Congress; 2) removes taxpayer protections by allowing the performance of inherently governmental functions by private contractors; and 3) calls into question the IRS’s use of its limited resources," as Reuters reported last month.

On May 27, a Teneo consultant was quoted in a Bloomberg article regarding Qatar, who beat out the United States for the 2022 World Cup bid.
"'There are lots of foreign firms working on the projects, but essentially the investment is all coming from the Qatari government,' Crispin Hawes, managing director of research firm Teneo Intelligence in London, said by phone.

In the U.S. investigation, the immediate 'procedural, legal, logical implications are very limited for Qatar, at the simplest level,' he said. Still, 'If there is an additional investigation that is specifically targeting 2022 or 2018 awards, then it’s not going to die down.'
"
On his Twitter account, the BBC's Richard Conway also notes, "Teneo recently bought Blue Rubicon – a pr firm that has worked closely with the Qatar 2022 World Cup supreme committee for a number of years." (More on that acquisition can be read in my last article).

Late Thursday, Simon Evans at Reuters reported, "The [US] bid lost out to Qatar in a vote of FIFA executive committee members that is now one subject of U.S. and Swiss investigations."

Sunil Gulati's relationship with Bill Clinton and Doug Band may cause a distraction for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.

"Congress turned its attention to world soccer for several hours Wednesday afternoon as a Senate subcommittee convened a hearing to examine what the United States Soccer Federation had known about widespread corruption within FIFA, the sport’s global governing body," Rebecca R. Ruiz reported for The New York Times on July 15. "But one of the senators’ most persistent lines of inquiry was simpler: why had U.S. Soccer’s top official, Sunil Gulati, declined to show up?"

The NY Times article claims that Gulati drew "ire" for not appearing. "Asked repeatedly why he had been sent to testify rather than Mr. Gulati, who sits on FIFA’s governing executive committee and has long associations with several of the indicted officials, [Daniel Flynn, chief executive and secretary general of U.S. Soccer] said it was at the advice of an outside lawyer, and because he had greater familiarity with U.S. Soccer’s daily operations than Mr. Gulati does."
"Senator Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut, the ranking Democrat on the subcommittee, said that U.S. Soccer should have acted on its discomfort.

'There had to be either willful ignorance or blatant incompetence,' he said, noting that he hoped U.S. Soccer would conduct an internal inquiry on top of complying with investigations by the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service.
"
At the hearing, Senator Blumenthal also blasted FIFA sponsors such as Coca-Cola as "enablers". Coca-Cola is also a Teneo client and has given generous donations to the Clinton Foundation.

"Both FIFA and the Qatari Supreme Legacy and Development Committee have donated to the Clinton Foundation," Travis Waldron reported for the Huffington Post. "FIFA gave between $50,000 and $100,000, according to the foundation’s documents, while the Qatari committee donated between $250,000 and $500,000."

In an April 30 article covering my reporting on Teneo, conservative watchdog Judicial Watch's Micah Morrison wrote, "Brynaert pays close attention to the timelines. Kelly served as U.S. Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland from September 2009 to May 2011. Brynaert asks, 'When exactly was Teneo founded? If Declan Kelly helped found the firm while he was also envoy, that might complicate Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign even more.'"
"The official line from Teneo is that it was founded in 2011. But Brynaert reports that Teneo appears to have been registered as a business as early as 2009. 'According to the New York State Corporation & Business Entity Database,' Brynaert writes, 'Teneo Strategy Consulting LLC was registered on November 18, 2009, which was two months after Declan Kelly was appointed to the No. Ireland envoy post.' Brynaert notes as well that the website www.TeneoStrategyConsulting.com was registered on November 20, 2009, and began redirecting to www.TeneoHoldings.com on September 30, 2011."
The IRS filing by the USA Bid Committee Inc. submitted on May 13, 2011 according to its electronic stamp came after an April request for an extension to file. This was two days after then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's May 11, 2011 statement regarding Kelly's resignation as US Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland.

"A joint investigation by the Washington Examiner and the nonprofit watchdog group Judicial Watch found that former President Clinton gave 215 speeches and earned $48 million while his wife presided over U.S. foreign policy, raising questions about whether the Clintons fulfilled ethics agreements related to the Clinton Foundation during Hillary Clinton's tenure as secretary of state," Luke Rosiak and Micah Morrison reported for the Washington Examiner on July 30, 2014.

On June 11, 2011, "the State Department approved a consulting agreement [(pdf link)] between Bill Clinton and a controversial Clinton Foundation adviser, Doug Band."

The consulting work that Band, Clinton and Teneo provided the US World Cup bid apparently wasn't approved by the State Department, since it transpired a year before it was even contacted about Teneo.

Friday, July 10, 2015

PR firm that briefly hired jilted Clinton aide after Weinergate scandal will now represent Facebook

In 2012, less than a year after her husband resigned from Congress after being caught lying about leaked explicit private messages by falsely claiming his Facebook account was hacked, Huma Abedin was hired by international PR firm Teneo while still working for then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Teneo was co-founded by two former Hillary Clinton fundraisers - including CEO Declan Kelly who she appointed as US Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland - and former President Bill Clinton's "body man", Doug Band. And, now, three years later, the global advisory firm will take on online social networking service Facebook as a client.

Despite its close ties to both Clintons, and the fact that its founders helped raise millions of dollars for 2016 presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in the past, Teneo's "rapid" expansion across the UK is being overlooked by the US press. Multiple media organizations - including the Associated Press and Gawker - have sued the State Department for stalling investigative reports by providing insufficient FOIA responses, but the reporters covering Hillary Clinton's campaign have mostly ignored Teneo and barely ask her questions about it. Last month, I reported that Teneo hired the former British counterpart to Hillary Clinton, former UK Foreign Secretary William Hague. Even though Clinton and Hague are friends, and her State Department worked with him, the news was mostly unreported in America.

"Teneo Holdings today announced that it has completed the acquisition of Blue Rubicon and StockWell, two of the UK's leading strategic communications and reputation management firms," a press release stated yesterday "The acquisitions of the two businesses, in addition to Teneo's existing UK operations, will create one of the largest strategic communications practices in the European market. It will also augment Teneo's operations in other parts of the world. All members of the Blue Rubicon and StockWell senior management team will continue as part of the Teneo leadership team. Terms of the transactions have not been disclosed."
"Blue Rubicon, widely regarded as one of the most progressive strategic communications consultancies to have emerged in London in the last 20 years, provides senior counsel to some of the world's largest companies as they navigate high-stake issues including succession planning, corporate restructuring, re-launches and post-M&A integration. Founded 15 years ago the firm has been led by Senior Partner, Fraser Hardie, CEO, Gordon Tempest-Hay, Partners Chris Jones and Fiona Joyce. Blue Rubicon today employs more than 225 people operating globally from offices in London, Doha, Dubai and Singapore.

StockWell was founded in 2010 and is led by its three Managing Partners: Tim Burt; Philip Gawith and Richard Holloway. The firm is headquartered in London and has 30 staff. StockWell specializes in providing boardroom level strategic communications advice to leading corporations and individuals across the UK, Europe and beyond.
"
In the press release, Chairman and CEO Declan Kelly states, "The acquisition of Blue Rubicon and StockWell is a transformational moment for Teneo as we continue to grow across the globe, building on our reputation as one of the world's leading advisory firms. Teneo is fortunate to advise many of the world's most senior business leaders on a daily basis. This requires us to be able to provide the highest-level strategic counsel at all times. Today's acquisitions will help us to enhance Teneo's offering even further in this regard."

"Blue Rubicon gives Teneo an expanded communications team with more than 225 employees across four offices — in London, Doha, Dubai, and Singapore — and a client roster that includes Facebook, Lloyds Bank, Mondelez, Unilever, and British supermarket chain Tesco," Fortune's Tom Huddleston, Jr. reported yesterday. "StockWell, meanwhile, has a staff of nearly 30 people and a list of clients that includes French telecom giant Orange and Vivendi."

The article added, "Blue Rubicon also works with Coca-Cola, which is also part of Teneo’s client list — a roster that includes Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group, Dow Chemical, and British bank Standard Chartered. Teneo’s recently landed a role advising Britain’s Willis Group Holdings on its $18 billion merger with U.S. consulting firm Towers Watson."

"So far this year, Teneo has advised clients on communications and investor relations for 10 different M&A deals worth a total of over $60 billion," and it "has grown rapidly from a 20-person team to one with more than 275 employees across 12 offices around the world," Huddleston noted.

According to its website, other Blue Rubicon clients include HSBC, Vevo, Instagram, McDonalds, Prudential, Samsung, Western Union and ebay.

"The former Congressman switched his Facebook account from Anthony.Weiner to AnthonyDWeiner in November of 2010, and only left one message there afterward, on the same day he stopped posting at his new account, three days after the 'Weinergate' scandal publicly began on May 27, 2011," as I reported in 2012.

"We are having a big 'going out of business' sale on this page," Weiner wrote on November 24, 2010. "But we have double coupons and huge discounts on a far better site. Check it out at http://www.facebook.com/AnthonyDWeiner. ill be posting there. so this one may get a little dusty."

According to reports - and one of my sources who sexted with Weiner - the old account was used by Weiner in 2011 strictly to speak to his female admirers (it's possible Weiner used his older account to speak to other people, but none have come forward). My source told me that she never exchanged any communications with Weiner on his newer Facebook account which contains his middle initial "D". Also, he ignored her pleas to contact her after the scandal broke out.

Weiner abandoned both accounts on May 30, 2011, but he only left a message referring to his hacking at his older account, which appears to have been unnoticed by the press.

"Hello friends," Weiner wrote on May 30, 2011 in his first message at his old Facebook account in six months. "I know this page has been dry for a while, but if you've gotten any odd emails, chats or notices from here recently, drop me a note. And thanks for supporting me over at our fully jazzed page linked above."

Since the message was left before he admitted to sexting a week later, Weiner - perhaps - was thinking of pretending that the older account had been hacked.

In January of 2012, I asked Facebook a number of questions regarding both of Weiner's accounts and its policies - in general - when someone claims to be hacked. On May 28, 2011, Ginger Adams Otis at The New York Post reported, "'Anthony's accounts on both Facebook and Twitter were hacked,' said spokesman Dave Arnold," and "Weiner, who represents parts of Queens and Brooklyn, got a message about a week ago from Facebook alerting him that his password might have been tampered with, Arnold said. But the warning was ignored, granting the hacker carte blanche to hijack Weiner's online identity."
Is there any way I can confirm that Rep. Weiner and/or his office received such a message from Facebook in the last week or two of May? I'm curious why if this wasn't true no one from Facebook denied it.

Were any hacking investigations launched after Weiner's claims hit the airwaves?

Did Weiner contact Facebook to probe or vice versa after Weiner's spokesman mentioned the hacking?

Did the Secret Service or FBI or any other law enforcement agencies contact Facebook to probe the claim before or after the news hit the press?

If there was such a probe, has it ended or is it ongoing?

What does Facebook normally do when a celebrity claims that their account was hacked? I would assume it would be a black eye for the company, and you would want to ensure that the claim was true. Have there been circumstances when you probed such a claim and found no proof of it?

Would Facebook ever consider taking legal or criminal action when a false hacking claim is made?

Approximately how many confirmed Facebook hackings occurred in 2010. How many reported? Does Facebook keep track of such events (obviously, I'm assuming you do)?
"Thanks for your inquiry," a manager from Facebook's Public Policy Communications sent me an email by iPhone - months later - on May 13. "We'll decline to comment."

After two years of investigating longtime Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin's concurrent work at Teneo while still working for the former Secretary of State, a top Republican senator accused the State Department of erecting a "stone wall" to evade his questions. In his June 13, 2013 request to the State Department, Senator Chuck Grassley sought "all documents and/or communications between the Department of State and Teneo, and any client or entities they represent," which would have to include Bill Clinton, since along with being a paid adviser and an unpaid adviser for the firm, he was also a Teneo client, as I noted in March. Almost immediately after his resignation, disgraced Democratic NY Rep. Anthony Weiner also reportedly landed consulting gigs through Bill Clinton.

Huma Abedin was still in charge of helping to arrange former State Secretary's Hillary Clinton's schedule and worked for Teneo when both attended the December 2012 Belfast luncheon. In April, I reported that a September 2012 Teneo brochure touted Abedin as 'Senior Leadership' for the firm to clients, and her specific job title was listed as a 'Senior Advisor', even though the media and public didn't know she worked for both at the time. Longtime Clintons aide Justin Cooper - who registered the www.Clintonemail.com domain that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin secretly used to send and receive emails instead of official State Department accounts - was featured on the same page.

"Teneo's highly experienced and dedicated professions come from diverse backgrounds including investment banking, private equity, corporate finance and strategy, government, government affairs, communications, investor relations, media, and public policy," the brochure states.

In May, conservative-leaning watchdog Judicial Watch posted an article about my Teneo reporting. "Reporter Ron Brynaert is one example of this new breed of investigative gunslinger," Micah Morrison wrote. "A former executive editor for Raw Story, Brynaert has been digging deep into the Teneo connection and publishing his findings at his blog, '-gate news' and on Twitter."

At The Washington Examiner, Sarah Westwood wrote, "Reporter Ron Brynaert first noted the connection between Teneo and the Ireland Funds on his blog, -gate News."

"A longtime Clinton aide, Abedin reportedly advised Clinton on her schedule and travel as deputy chief of staff — raising questions about whether she played a role in steering the secretary of state to an event in which her other employer was involved," Westwood reported, based on my articles, adding, "State Department officials did not return a request for comment" and "Teneo did not return a request for comment on its involvement with the Ireland Funds."

DEVELOPING...MORE TO COME...

See my previous stories for more information on the links between Teneo and the Clintons:

Controversial consulting firm linked to Clintons hires another former political big shot

2012 Teneo brochure touted Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin as Senior Adviser for firm

Questions linger about Clintons-linked firm co-founded by former US Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland

Staff employed by State Dept. as administrative support for Clinton envoy helped launch Teneo

Teneo worked on Belfast event honoring Hillary Clinton

State Secretary's last dinner in Dublin hosted by Clinton Foundation donor

Is Weiner planning to try and win back his old Congress seat?

State Dept. spokesman fielded question about Hillary Clinton Deputy Chief of Staff after Huma Abedin 'quietly' left position

Anthony Weiner company led by former board director for firm investors blasted as 'CROOKS'

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Did pornographer Larry Flynt help fund secret Hillary Clinton spy network?

Back in the nineties, many conservatives speculated that Sidney Blumenthal - a journalist with ties to the Clintons - and pornographer Larry Flynt were working together to dig up dirt on Republicans and, perhaps, commit political "dirty tricks." An email hacked from Blumenthal's account might add new fuel to that conspiracy fire.

"Starting weeks before Islamic militants attacked the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, Libya, longtime Clinton family confidante Sidney Blumenthal supplied intelligence to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gathered by a secret network that included a former CIA clandestine service officer, according to hacked emails from Blumenthal's account," ProPublica's Jeff Gerth and Gawker's Sam Biddle reported in a joint investigation on March 27, 2015. "The emails, which were posted on the internet in 2013, also show that Blumenthal and another close Clinton associate discussed contracting with a retired Army special operations commander to put operatives on the ground near the Libya-Tunisia border while Libya's civil war raged in 2011."
"The dispatches from Blumenthal to Clinton's private email address were posted online after Blumenthal's account was hacked in 2013 by Romanian hacker Marcel-Lehel Lazar, who went by the name Guccifer. Lazar also broke into accounts belonging to George W. Bush's sister, Colin Powell, and others. He's now serving a seven-year sentence in his home country and was charged in a U.S. indictment last year."
"It's unclear who tasked Blumenthal, known for his fierce loyalty to the Clintons, with preparing detailed intelligence briefs," Gawker and ProPublica reported. "It's also not known who was paying him, or where the operation got its money. The memos were marked 'confidential' and relied in many cases on 'sensitive' sources in the Libyan opposition and Western intelligence and security services. Other reports focused on Egypt, Germany, and Turkey."
"Indeed, though they were sent under Blumenthal's name, the reports appear to have been gathered and prepared by Tyler Drumheller, a former chief of the CIA's clandestine service in Europe who left the agency in 2005. Since then, he has established a consulting firm called Tyler Drumheller, LLC. He has also been affiliated with a firm called DMC Worldwide, which he co-founded with Washington, D.C., attorney Danny Murray and former general counsel to the U.S. Capitol Police John Caulfield. DMC Worldwide's now-defunct website describes it at as offering 'innovative security and intelligence solutions to global risks in a changing world.'

In one exchange in March 2013, Blumenthal emailed Drumheller, 'Thanks. Can you send Libya report.' Drumheller replied, 'Here it is, pls do not share it with Cody. I don't want moin speculating on sources. It is on the Maghreb and Libya.' Cody is Cody Shearer, a longtime Clinton family operative—his brother was an ambassador under Bill Clinton and his now-deceased sister was married to Clinton State Department official Strobe Talbott—who was in close contact with Blumenthal.
"
Gerth and Biddle noted that "Drumheller's attorney and business partner Danny Murray confirmed that Drumheller 'worked' with Blumenthal" and "Shearer said only that 'the FBI is involved and told me not to talk. There is a massive investigation of the hack and all the resulting information.'"

According to a letter reportedly sent from prison, which was translated and published on June 9, "Guccifer" regrets that he wasn't able to hack into Max Blumenthal's account, too.

"If I had a frustration, it was that I hadn't managed to also penetrate the Yahoo account of his son, Max, a young lizard, maker of dirty games, journalist and blogger, 'righteous heir' of his father's, known whippersnapper in Chicago's high-life," Guccifer allegedly complained.
"In conclusion, Hillary Clinton profited fully from the information supplied by the Blumenthal-Shearer-Drumheller-Grange clandestine network in 2011, 2012 and 2013. Especially that in 2011 and 2012 – the apex of the Libyan crisis – according to personnel lists, the American State Department didn't have a bureau chief in Libya, and in the entire Maghreb – Algeriia, Tunisia, Libya – were only two employees of the department on official duty."
In the middle of one email conversation about Libya on March 20, 2011, Cody Shearer - who has many ties to the Clintons - tells Sidney Blumenthal, "Off to meeting with Flynt shortly, heavy rain here."



Of course, Shearer may have been referring to someone other than Larry Flynt, but the manner in which his name was raised does seem to be related to the strange spy network machinations, and many questions are being asked about who was funding the alleged operatives all around the world referred to in many of the hacked emails. If Shearer was meeting Flynt in Los Angeles on March 20, 2011 or thereabouts, the weather was reportedly rainy that week.

While one reference in an email is a lot to hang a conspiracy theory upon, there is no doubt that Flynt and Shearer have long ties to one another.

"Fasten your seat belts-this is the book that official Washington does not want you to read," Cody Shearer wrote about Larry Flynt's 2004 book, "SEX, LIES AND POLITICS: The Naked Truth", which the Hustler publisher and freedom of speech anti-hero used to help hype it.

"In 1999, Sam Dealey reported in the New York Post that Shearer was connected to pornographer Larry Flynt, who had been going after Republicans in response to the Clinton scandal," Mark Hemingway blogged at Weekly Standard in late March.

Dealey noted that Flynt told reporters that he hadn't "seen" then Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott "in years"...[b]ut he is married to a sister of a very good friend of mine"; and asked, "Could Shearer be passing Flynt the goods on GOP members? Neither Shearer nor Flynt returned calls seeking comment."

"Cody's twin sister Brooke - Strobe Talbott's wife - has been a friend of Hillary's since their college days," Dealey wrote in his 1999 New York Post column: "Brooke joined the Clinton's 1992 campaign as an aide to Hillary. 'Sometimes at the end of the day, when Bill telephoned,' she reminisced of the campaign, 'we'd be laughing so loud, doing imitations and carrying on, that he'd say, 'You guys sound like you're having a lot more fun than I am.' After the campaign, she headed up Hillary's White House fellows program, and later moved on to become a senior advisor to the Interior Department."

Weekly Standard's Hemingways adds, "And two, [in a 1999 article] Slate also notes that'it was Shearer who, during the 1992 presidential campaign, introduced the world--through the unlikely medium of Doonesbury--to Brett Kimberlin. Kimberlin, you may recall, was the convicted bomber, habitual liar, and all-around sociopath who claimed to have sold drugs to Dan Quayle. Was Shearer acting on behalf of the legendary Clinton ‘opposition research' outfit, which had floated damaging rumors during the '92 primaries about Paul Tsongas' health and Jerry Brown's drug use? Or was he just an enthusiastic free-lancer?' In recent years, Kimberlin has been involved in number of frivolous lawsuits aimed at shutting down conservative blogs."

On May 1, 2015, John Heilemann reported for Bloomberg that Flynt was endorsing Hillary Clinton for president. "The Hustler honcho has long supported Democrats—and thinks Clinton could get a chance to shift the balance of the Supreme Court," Heilemann explained.

"Flynt’s people had lured me out West with the promise that he had something of import to say about the Democratic front-runner," Heilemann added. "It took little prompting to get it out of him. 'I’m endorsing Hillary Clinton for president!' Flynt declared."
"Flynt’s backing of Clinton is, on the face of it, unsurprising. His support for Democrats at the presidential level has been lifelong and unfailing; one of his better friends in politics is California Governor Jerry Brown, who, as it happened, was next in line to see Flynt after I exited the building. His famous/infamous practice of trawling for the sexual indiscretions of public figures—which reached its apogee during the impeachment furor around Bill Clinton and claimed the scalp of House Speaker-to-be (and then not-to-be) Bob Livingston—has been directed almost entirely at Republicans. On his desk the day we met were galleys from the next issue of Hustler, including an column that confers on George W. Bush the honorific 'A--hole of the Century.'

For Clinton, a raft of endorsements from Capitol Hill to Hollywood have been a rare bright spot in a campaign launch filled with poor reviews and worse headlines. But whatever her private views of Flynt and his profession, it beggars belief that she and her team will be issuing any press releases touting the latest bold-faced name to clamber aboard her bandwagon.

Flynt is well aware of that most politicians prefer to keep their distance from him, and that Hillary will likely be among them. And he professes not to care. 'Hillary doesn’t need no help from me,' he says. 'All she needs to do is start fighting back'—in particular against Clinton Cash author Peter Schweizer, whose campaign against Hillary Flynt likens to that of his bete noire Jerry Falwell against Bill Clinton in 1992. 'One of the biggest evangelists in the world put out a video accusing President Clinton of murder—[and Schweizer’s book] is the same kind of smear tactic.'
"
The pornographer claimed to Heilemann, that at a 2006 fundraiser, former President "Bill Clinton—apparently still grateful for the porn king’s role in the downfall of Bob Livingston, a key moment in the deflation of the impeachment bubble—walked over, shook Flynt’s hand, and said, 'You’re my hero.' As I prepare to leave, Flynt shows me a photo on his desk of him and Clinton from the fundraiser, noting that the former president has denied the quote in question. 'He can say whatever he wants,' Flynt chuckles. 'I have three witnesses.'"

"While advising Mrs. Clinton on Libya, Mr. Blumenthal, who had been barred from a State Department job by aides to President Obama, was also employed by her family’s philanthropy, the Clinton Foundation, to help with research, 'message guidance' and the planning of commemorative events, according to foundation officials," Nicholas Confessore and Michael S. Schmidt reported for The New York Times on May 18, 2015. "During the same period, he also worked on and off as a paid consultant to Media Matters and American Bridge, organizations that helped lay the groundwork for Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 campaign."

The New York Times story continued, "Some of Mr. Blumenthal’s memos urged Mrs. Clinton to consider rumors that other American diplomats knew at the time to be false. Not infrequently, Mrs. Clinton’s subordinates replied to the memos with polite skepticism."

One of the emails from Blumenthal that Hillary Clinton finally provided to Congressional investigators who have sought her communications on Libya that the New York Times recently published was a forwarding of an email originally sent by Drumheller to Blumenthal and his colleague at DMC Worldwide, John T. Caulfield (page 189 of pdf) on September 12, 2012.

According to his biography from the scrubbed DMC Worldwide website, "In over twenty-five years of service to Congress and the Capitol Police, Mr. Caulfield has provided all kinds of counsel, including as a legal strategist and accomplished expert on the legislative process and government investigations, and received numerous commendations and awards. Mr. Caulfield also gained unique and invaluable hands-on expertise in all aspects of emergency response and crisis management as the Chief Legal Advisor for the multi-agency and asset Congressional Response Management Team relative to the anthrax terrorists' acts against the U.S. Congress."

As shown above, Caulfield's bio oddly refers to "anthrax terrorists" instead of "anthrax terrorist". This is either a typo or DMC Worldwide knows something about the attacks that wasn't reported.

"DMC guides companies as they address the most pressing security threats of today and the next five to ten years: supply chain risk, cyber-security, climate change risk, and extreme events such as nuclear, biological or chemical terrorist (and other) attacks," the firm's website claimed (archive link).

But "Defensive Approaches to Risk are No Longer Sufficient", DMC Worldwide's firm argued.
"Not only are the types of threats changing; global expectations are as well. As the Danish cartoon crisis, troubles faced by American contractors in Iraq and various divestment campaigns show, image as well as community and legal challenges can hurt a company as dramatically as a direct attack on a facility."
DMC Worldwide claimed, "In order to enhance their competitive position, a major defense industry contractor wished to change how the government perceived them and improve the training and research that went into the services they provide. DMC developed a comprehensive strategy that included new training for employees, detailed analysis of the current governmental view on security, a targeted government relations campaign, and analysis of the devices being developed in relation to projected terrorist concerns."

"Many of DMC's experts choose to remain anonymous until their expertise is required for a particular client," an archive cache of the scrubbed DMC Worldwide website reveals. "This is due to their high profiles and past careers. Below is a list of some of the network members."

Along with Drumheller, Caulfield and Murray, the website listed Tom Fahy, Michael Driggs, Clifford L. Downen, Ralph J. Marlatt, Donald B. Mathis, Mike Michael, J. Douglas Smith and Kurt A. Wagner as "network members." Based on Google searches and online bios, nearly everyone listed appears to be in their late fifties or older. Tom Fahy - who is currently a Lobbyist for Weather, Warnings and Satellite public policy - doesn't even name DMC Worldwide on his Linked In resume. William "Mike" Michael and J. Douglas Smith spent decades working for the CIA.

Here are excerpts from their bios (Zoom info archive link):
"Tom Fahy is one of the leading advocates and experts on the intersection between technology, public broadcast systems, and homeland security. The U.S. Department of Justice honored him by selecting him to serve on the first National AMBER Alert Advisory Board that made policy recommendations to the Attorney General. He collaborated with three state emergency management agencies to upgrade the Emergency Alert System capabilities with a satellite link for instantaneous emergency messaging to benefit law enforcement with AMBER Alerts, which was expanded to include All-Hazards alerts and warnings to the public for homeland security.

Tom Fahy serves on the Board of Directors for the Emergency Interoperable Consortium (EIC), which works in cooperation with the US Department of Homeland Security to create a national approach for the adoption of XML data interoperability standards and accurate exchange in incident information throughout the Emergency Management Community.

Mr. Driggs is recognized as an expert in economic analysis. He also demonstrated strong management ability when he took the lead in the management of the Chrysler Corporation as the government provided assistance for the reconstruction of that company. Mr. Driggs has strong international business experience as President of ICN, a company that provides preferred access to private clubs around the world.

Mr. Downen is a native of Illinois and graduated from McKendree College with a BA in History and Political Science. After graduation he was elected as the youngest member of the Illinois Continental Convention where he served on the revenue and finance committee. After successfully serving on the campaign staff of President Reagan in Illinois, California, and Kansas City. In 1978 he became chief of staff to Congressman Daniel Crane. His duties included the Foreign Relations Committee and the Armed Services Committee.

Mr. Downen served as the Public Affairs Officer for the Chairman of the Federal Matime Commission. He was then appointed as Assistant Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration. President George H.W. Bush designated Mr. Downen as the Director of Congressional Affairs at the U.S. Department of Commerce.

Since 1993, Mr. Downen has been serving as an advisor to the Parliament of the Ukraine, working with the Council of Advisors to the Parliament. He also served as Executive Director of the U.S./Malaysia Exchange Council and worked extensively with members of the European Parliament in Brussels.

Ralph Marlatt has over 35 years experience as an international management consultant specializing in association capacity building, government affairs, and international business development. Strategic planning and leadership training are fundamental to the success of any endeavor. Mr. Marlatt has provided technical expertise to business associations and public organizations in Egypt, Brazil, Serbia and Montenegro, Hungary, Romania, Uganda, Turkey and Afghanistan.

Mr. Mathis brings to DMC the real-world skills from twenty-five years with the BellSouth Corporation plus nearly a decade of private consulting in a wide variety of industries and disciplines. The client base of his consulting organization ranges from Fortune 500 companies (Sikorsky Aircraft, Philip Morris, Service Corporation International, etc.) to local hotels, law firms, developers, entertainment groups, and government organizations.

William "Mike" Michael brings over twenty-five years of extensive experience as a Senior Intelligence Service Officer in various leadership positions at the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Department of State.

Mr. Michael initiated programs and unprecedented cross-government Memorandum of Understanding which generated millions in cost savings for, and greatly enhanced security of, the largest critical threat security program ever undertaken by the U.S. Government. He transformed the largest Working Capital Fund enterprise from negative to positive assets in less than one year.

Mr. Michael rebuilt relationships across bureaucratic borders to enable the longest construction program ever undertaken by the CIA to be completed successfully and securely. He has also managed a large support platform overseas during wartime, developing solutions to provide on-the-spot surge capabilities without the traditional infrastructure.

Mr. Michael facilitated the relocation of the then largest overseas presence of the CIA personnel, ahead of schedule and under budget. He also developed the strategic plan and secured Congressional support for the largest CIA program of its kind involving external leased facilities, implementing the plan on time and under budget. Mr. Michael has received numerous Exceptional Performance Awards and Senior Intelligence Service Awards. He has also received the National Intelligence Medal of Distinction, and the Secretary of State Meritorious Award.

Mr. Smith currently works as a security and counter-terrorism consultant based in Athens, Greece, following a 31-year career with the CIA. "While serving with the CIA, he held numerous senior positions directing operations in Greece, Austria, Bosnia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Zaire), and Mozambique. He also directed counter-terrorism operations in Athens. Mr. Smith spent five years on active duty in the Navy.

Kurt A. Wagner is the founding member of the Law & Consulting Offices of Kurt A. Wagner, P.C. and a founding partner of Wagner & Schell, L.L.P. with offices in the United States and the European Union. Mr. Wagner brings experience, expertise and contacts from government, business and academia to the DMC network. Prior to establishing his international business law practice, he served eleven years as a U.S. diplomat in Europe focusing on strategic economic, political and security matters including postings as the Ambassador's staff aide in Austria, head of the political-labor section in Malta and as a political officer in Portugal. Before joining the diplomatic service, Mr. Wagner was a business consultant in London to British firms with interests in Egypt, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia.

"
(Editor's Note: Cody Shearer helped push the alleged claim that convicted bomber Brett Kimberlin once sold pot to Dan Quayle. I've been - absurdly - and wrongly accused of committing crimes including "political terrorism" on behalf of Brett Kimberlin, partly due to his alleged ties to my former employer, RAW STORY. RAW STORY founder and publisher John Byrne is (or was) friends with Max Blumenthal, and my former boss has ducked questions about Kimberlin for four years. During my 4-year tenure as Executive Editor, RAW STORY published articles by Max Blumenthal, and Hustler published a story by Larisa Alexandrovna based on her reporting for RAW STORY.)

DEVELOPING...MORE TO COME...

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Controversial consulting firm linked to Clintons hires another former political big shot

International consulting firm Teneo was founded by a longtime Bill Clinton associate and two Hillary Clinton fundraisers, one of whom the former US Secretary of State now running for president appointed US Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland. Former US President Bill Clinton and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair were hired by Teneo months after its official launch in 2011, which generated world publicity attracting top firms willing to pay up to six figures a month for consultancy from a firm connected to former world leaders. Former British counterpart to Hillary Clinton, Foreign Secretary William Hague is the latest big shot to sign up with Teneo, after leaving or taking a rest from politics.

Photo credit: "Friday, July 15, 2011 U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) and British Foreign Secretary William Hague chat during the Libya contact group meeting in Istanbul July 15, 2011. REUTERS/Osman Orsal"

"Hague, 54, who stepped down as an MP at the general election, has started work for Teneo, a New York-based corporate advisory firm whose clients include Coca-Cola, UBS and Standard Chartered," James Lyons and Tim Shipman reported for the UK's Sunday Times on May 31, 2015. "It charges clients a monthly retainer of up to $250,000 (£163,000)."

Teneo is currently being probed by GOP Congressional leaders for its communications with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her former staff members that also work on her political campaigns and media outlets on the right, left and neutral have lawsuits seeking information from the State Department. Meanwhile, the Boston Business Journal reported on June 5th, that Boston 2024 - "to support its Olympics pitch" - has "signed a contract in April with Teneo Sports, a bid presentation firm, valued at up to $1.25 [million] annually."

On May 31, in an opinion piece for The Daily Mail - bearing the headline "Are ex-MPs REALLY just in it for all they can get?" - Peter McKay complained, "William Hague was retiring at 54 to write books, we were previously told. Now we hear the former Tory leader and Foreign Secretary is joining Teneo, a big-bucks New York-based consultancy firm which has employed those highly respected ex-public servants Bill Clinton and Tony Blair."
"‘How is the public interest served by ex-ministers taking the skills and insider knowledge they gained in government and flogging them to private interest?’ wonders Tamasin Cave, of pressure group Spinwatch. Not shy of stating the obvious, Ms Cave adds: ‘There is a reason why companies hire outgoing ministers. It has become another way of buying influence.’

But is there genuine public disquiet about ex-politicians making their fortunes in retirement by ‘advising’ big companies and in some cases governments? If so, it is not mentioned by politicians themselves. A few obscure Left-wing MPs protest from time to time, but I can’t think of a single prominent politico from any major party who has made an issue out of the self-enrichment schemes of retired colleagues.

Hague has friends across the political spectrum. As a former Foreign Secretary, he has made excellent business contacts internationally. Thanks to his support for Hollywood star Angelina Jolie’s campaign against the sexual abuse of women in war zones, he has also established himself in America, where the hiring of big-name politicos by business firms is uncontroversial.
"
"Surely we all have a right to share the knowledge and expertise which ministers accrued in public service," McKay opines. "It must be wrong for it to be used so that companies, or foreign regimes, benefit."

It was reported in May of 2011, just after Declan Kelly quit his envoy post, that Blair and former President Clinton would join the newly launched firm, but the official announcement didn't come until June 30, 2011, as I noted in March. According to the New York State Corporation & Business Entity Database, Teneo Strategy Consulting LLC was registered on November 18, 2009, which was two months after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had appointed him US Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland. He has helped raise millions for her, and I also broke the news that her last foreign trip as State Secretary was to a event held in her honor by a Teneo client. Teneo CEO Declan Kelly was also on the Board of Directors for American Ireland Funds (part of the Worldwide Ireland Funds) when they held the Belfast luncheon for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2012.

Two years ago, on January 29, 2013, the AFP reported, "British Foreign Secretary William Hague Monday hosted a private dinner to bid farewell to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as she steps down from her post this week, officials said. The dinner was being held at the British embassy in Washington, and came amid a whirlwind of events for Clinton's last week as America's top diplomat.
"Hague on Monday joined the chorus of praise for Clinton's achievements as secretary of state, in an opinion piece for the Huffington Post in which he set out plans to seek G8 action against rape as a weapon of war.

Britain will chair the Group of Eight richest nations this year, and Hague said he would make it a 'personal priority... to secure new international action against the use of rape and sexual violence as a weapon of war.'

'In the crowded field of Secretary Clinton's achievements her work on women's rights is particularly inspirational. In this as in so many of the challenges of our time, Britain and the United States are natural allies,' he wrote.
"
Hogue was awarded the 2014 Hillary Clinton Prize for Women, Peace and Security on February 25, 2014 at Georgetown University, and gave a speech that thanked and praised her.
"Everyone remembers who they shared a desk with at school. Well Hillary and I shared a desk for 2½ years when I was a brand-new Foreign Secretary, at the UN Security Council and in meetings around the world where they seat nations in alphabetical order.

She would silence any room, just by walking into it. She always spoke the truth as she saw it, fearlessly. And she was fond of passing notes in class. I remember one that said ‘William, let’s get out of here and have some fun’.

Hillary, you enhanced the standing of US diplomacy in the world. You strengthened the State Department. You created new opportunities for your country, breaking fresh diplomatic ground in Asia and Africa. You are one of the world’s resolute champions of human rights, and in doing all these things and more you placed the United States in a stronger position for the 21st century. You are a remarkable stateswoman and an outstanding American, and I am glad to call you my friend.
"
"We both started off a bit cautiously with each other, but, much to my delight, I found him a thoughtful statesman with good sense and good humor," Hillary Clinton wrote about William Hague in her book "Hard Choices", according to Daily Mail. "He also became a good friend."
"Mrs Clinton says: 'Hague brought to his job the understanding that diplomacy is slow and often boring but absolutely necessary.' She adds: 'Hague was the David Beckham of toasting!'"
In an April interview with Absolute Radio, Hague said he had "fun" having drinks with Hillary Clinton over the years. "I always got on with her," Hague said, after selecting her alone out of all the most "personable" world leaders he has known or worked with.

The former UK Foreign Secretary has over 250,000 followers at his Twitter account @WilliamJHague. He joined Twitter in March of 2010 and his profile also notes, "Leader of the House of Commons and MP for Richmond (Yorks) 1989-2015. Co-Founder of the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative." However, it doesn't yet mention that he began working for Teneo a few weeks ago.

After two years of investigating longtime Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin's concurrent work at Teneo while still working for the former Secretary of State, a top Republican senator accused the State Department of erecting a "stone wall" to evade his questions. In his June 13, 2013 request to the State Department, Senator Chuck Grassley sought "all documents and/or communications between the Department of State and Teneo, and any client or entities they represent," which would have to include Bill Clinton, since along with being a paid adviser and an unpaid adviser for the firm, he was also a Teneo client, as I noted in March.

Huma Abedin was still in charge of helping to arrange former State Secretary's Hillary Clinton's schedule and worked for Teneo when both attended the December 2012 Belfast luncheon. In April, I reported that a September 2012 Teneo brochure touted Abedin as 'Senior Leadership' for the firm to clients, and her specific job title was listed as a 'Senior Advisor', even thought the media and public didn't know she worked for both at the time. Longtime Clintons aide Justin Cooper - who registered the www.Clintonemail.com domain that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Huma Abedin secretly used to send and receive emails instead of official State Department accounts - was featured on the same page.

"Teneo's highly experienced and dedicated professions come from diverse backgrounds including investment banking, private equity, corporate finance and strategy, government, government affairs, communications, investor relations, media, and public policy," the brochure states.

Last month, conservative-leaning watchdog Judicial Watch posted an article about my Teneo reporting. "Reporter Ron Brynaert is one example of this new breed of investigative gunslinger," Micah Morrison wrote. "A former executive editor for Raw Story, Brynaert has been digging deep into the Teneo connection and publishing his findings at his blog, '-gate news' and on Twitter."

At The Washington Examiner, Sarah Westwood wrote, "Reporter Ron Brynaert first noted the connection between Teneo and the Ireland Funds on his blog, -gate News."

"A longtime Clinton aide, Abedin reportedly advised Clinton on her schedule and travel as deputy chief of staff — raising questions about whether she played a role in steering the secretary of state to an event in which her other employer was involved," Westwood reported, based on my articles, adding, "State Department officials did not return a request for comment" and "Teneo did not return a request for comment on its involvement with the Ireland Funds."

DEVELOPING...MORE TO COME...

See my previous stories for more information on the links between Teneo and the Clintons:

2012 Teneo brochure touted Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin as Senior Adviser for firm

Questions linger about Clintons-linked firm co-founded by former US Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland

Staff employed by State Dept. as administrative support for Clinton envoy helped launch Teneo

Teneo worked on Belfast event honoring Hillary Clinton

State Secretary's last dinner in Dublin hosted by Clinton Foundation donor

Is Weiner planning to try and win back his old Congress seat?

State Dept. spokesman fielded question about Hillary Clinton Deputy Chief of Staff after Huma Abedin 'quietly' left position

Anthony Weiner company led by former board director for firm investors blasted as 'CROOKS'

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Canadian bank US probed multiple times for fraud paid up to $1M for Hillary Clinton speeches

6/2/15 update: Clinton campaign and Canadian bank duck questions from Ryan Grim and Paul Blumenthal at Huffington Post about speech fees; "Clinton's representatives" told University of California at Los Angeles $300,000 was a "special" discounted rate for colleges, but Canadian bank only paid $150,000 for speech plus meet-and-greet at investor conference

The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce may only appear once on former State Secretary Hillary Clinton's mandatory financial disclosure form, but the 2016 US presidential candidate seems to have netted close to ten percent of her recent speech income from the bank which has a history of "often" being investigated for fraud by the US. Since campaign officials and organizers duck multiple media inquiries, it's hard to get the whole financial picture just from what has been publicly revealed. But it appears that the foreign bank paid close to $900,000 for Hillary Clinton speeches just in the last eight months alone.

"Hillary Clinton gave 51 paid speeches for a total of nearly $12 million since January 2014," Josh Gerstein and Louis Nelson reported for Politico.

However, four-to-five of those speeches appear to have been sponsored by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), and Clinton's fee also seemed to rise until she entered the presidential race.

Less than a year ago, Hillary Clinton was paid $150,000 for a speech in Toronto, Canada on June 16th and $100,000 for one in Edmonton two days later. Both events were handled by the two-man firm tinePublic - who have prospered booking many speeches by former US political leaders across Canada - including both President Bushes and Bill Clinton. Hillary Clinton earned $225,000 for a March speech handled by tinePublic in Calgary. Press accounts for both speeches in June only mentioned that they were to promote Hillary Clinton's book, "Hard Choices", and didn't mention any possible corporate sponsors.

But the Edmonton speech apparently included a moderated question-and-answer forum with Victor Dodig, who was Senior Executive Vice-President for CIBC, at the time. Not long after, in late July, Dodig was promoted to CEO and bank president.

And after an October 6, 2014 speech for a Canada 2020 event, Hillary Clinton did another "interview" with Dodig. But this earned Clinton more than double what she earned in Edmonton: $215,500. She earned $674,000 for three speeches sponsored by CIBC in 2015, but it's unclear if the bank also paid her $315,000 for the Edmonton and Ottawa sessions in 2014.

The Canada 2020 website placed CIBC first in a list of sponsors for the Ottawa speech at a "special" luncheon: "Join Canada 2020 for this special luncheon event featuring a keynote address from Secretary Clinton followed by an on-stage Q&A." And the photo credit for the picture of Dodig and Clinton - shown above - that it links to at Flicker, reads, "Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered keynote remarks at a special Canada 2020 luncheon event sponsored by CIBC on Monday, October 6th 2014."

"Following her address in Ottawa Monday, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sat with CIBC CEO Victor Dodig for an informal interview," according to an October 6, 2014 report from Canada's iPOLITICS. "The two had met before in Edmonton, which Dodig reminisced on fondly."

Journalists following the Clinton 2016 presidential campaign as it travels across the US have complained that she went over three weeks without replying to questions from the press, but Dodig has essentially paid her for at least four "interviews" delivered to thousands of Canadians within the last year.

On Twitter, CNN political producer Dan Merica - who is currently covering the Clinton campaign - joked, "@cibc CEO Victor Dodig has interviewed Hillary Clinton 3x (Edmonton, Ottawa & Winnipeg) in the last yr. What U.S. news anchor can say that?"

In a Canadian newspaper article published in January called "Clinton Tickets Selling Fast" (which isn't currently readable on the internet), Andy McCreath of tinePublic Inc explained, "We did an event in June with Clinton in Edmonton and Toronto, and Victor was the moderator then and he was fantastic, so it was an easy decision" to do it again for the Winnipeg show this year.

January's speeches for the bank garnered some bad publicity for Hillary Clinton, before she officially entered the race, but media outlets noting the speeches didn't realize she may have earned double the amount that they estimated - since they didn't know about the January 22nd speech in Whistler and the bank's sponsorship of the Ottawa luncheon. Both the organizers and campaign officials ducked questions from multiple media outlets in Canada and the United States regarding details and fees.

"Clinton has given dozens of speeches since leaving office as Secretary of State, many for free and many drawing paychecks of as much as $200,000 to $300,000," McClatchy's Anita Kumar reported on January 19, 2015. "The Wednesday addresses could stand out, as they’ll be hosted by a foreign bank with a history of investigations by U.S. officials."
"In 2003, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce settled a case with the Securities and Exchange Commission for $80 million for allegedly helping the Enron energy company mislead investors through a series of transactions over a period of several years, according to the SEC. At least two executives agreed to settle charges of aiding and abetting the fraud, paying a total of $600,000.

In 2005, CIBC settled another case with SEC for $125 million after it was accused of financing late trading to increase their customers' trading profits at the expense of long-term mutual fund shareholders, according to the SEC.

And again in 2005, the bank agreed to pay nearly a half million dollars to settle SEC allegations that it broke the law by underwriting municipal securities for the state of California after making campaign donations to six politicians, including former Democratic California Gov. Gray Davis, according to the SEC. Securities law forbids a corporate donor from doing municipal securities work for an issuer within two years of a contribution.
"
"Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce agreed yesterday to pay $2.4 billion to settle claims that it helped hide losses at the Enron Corporation, raising to $7.1 billion the sum that banks and other defendants have thus far agreed to pay to compensate investors," Jeff Bailey reported for The New York Times August 3, 2005. "The Enron lawsuit accused CIBC and other firms of creating false investments in elaborate and complex Enron partnerships that had the effect of deceiving investors and moving billions of dollars of debt off the company's balance sheet."

Even though it agreed to pay a few billion dollars, Bailey noted that "CIBC said it admitted no wrongdoing in the Enron matter, and that it had settled to avoid uncertainties of further litigation."

Reporting in 2009 for the Financial Post, John Greenwood wrote, "Four years after Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce paid a record $3-billion settlement to disentangle itself from Enron litigation, the spectre of the failed U.S. energy trader has come back to haunt Canada’s fifth-largest bank."

"CIBC disclosed Wednesday that it is preparing to go to court with the Canada Revenue Agency to defend its position that the settlement is tax-deductible," Greenwood noted. "If the bank wins it will recognize a tax benefit of $214-million, but if the government prevails CIBC could end up having to pay $826-million."

Another McClatchy article from January - "Hillary Clinton talks to be hosted by bank often investigated for wrongdoing" - noted, "Hillary Clinton, the presumed frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination, will give a pair of speeches on Wednesday in Canada hosted by a major bank that has been the subject of several investigations into wrongdoing over the past dozen years."

"Ms Clinton and the bank refused to say if she's being paid for the speeches," the story added. "But the appearances are all but certain to fuel complaints that she's too close to the corporate elites, especially coming a day after President Barack Obama's State of the Union speech focusing on the plight of the middle class and signs that several top Republicans also plan to make economic populism a centrepiece of their campaigns."
"More recently, it was hit with a series of class action lawsuits seeking $US4 billion over allegations that it did not adequately warn investors of its exposure to the US subprime market. In each case, even the ones in which CIBC settled, it denied any wrongdoing.

Clinton will speak in Winnipeg and Saskatoon as part of the Global Perspective speakers series sponsored by the Toronto-based bank with millions of clients and tens of thousands of employees. Tickets are being sold for the events that will be held in large arenas, at the RBC Winnipeg Convention Centre and the TCU Place.

CIBC and a Clinton spokesman did not respond to questions from McClatchy.
"
On January 20, 2015, Washington Free Beacon Staff noted, "Hillary Clinton will give two speeches Wednesday in Canada and is co-hosted by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. The bank has recently come under investigation from the United States for helping wealthy Americans offshore money in the bank’s Caribbean accounts to avoid paying federal taxes."

"The Elizabeth Warren-supporting wing of the Democratic party has not been quiet in reminding people that Hillary Clinton has connections to Wall Street and big banks," the Free Beacon staff editorialized. "These poorly timed paid speeches will raise some eyebrows and show misgivings of Hillary Clinton’s connections."

On April 30. 2003, the US Department of Justice released a statement which "announced that late yesterday a federal court in San Francisco entered an order authorizing the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to serve a John Doe summons seeking information about U.S. taxpayers who may hold offshore accounts at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce FirstCaribbean International Bank (FCIB). The order was signed by Senior District Judge Thelton E. Henderson. The IRS summons seeks records of FCIB’s United States correspondent account at Wells Fargo N.A., which will allow the IRS to identify U.S. taxpayers who hold or held interests in financial accounts at FCIB and other financial institutions that used FCIB’s Wells Fargo correspondent account."

Pursuant to a petition filed by the United States, the Court granted the IRS permission to serve what is known as a “John Doe” summons on Wells Fargo. The IRS uses John Doe summonses to obtain information about possible violations of internal revenue laws by individuals whose identities are unknown. This John Doe summons directs Wells Fargo to produce records identifying U.S. taxpayers with accounts at FCIB and other banks that used FCIB’s correspondent account.

According to the declaration of IRS Revenue Agent Cheryl R. Kiger filed in support of the petition, FCIB is based in Barbados and has branches in 18 Caribbean countries. Although FCIB does not have U.S. branches, it maintains a correspondent account in the United States at Wells Fargo Bank N.A. As alleged in Agent Kiger’s declaration, the IRS learned that U.S. taxpayers were using FCIB to help them keep their offshore accounts undetected by the IRS and not to pay U.S. federal income tax on money placed in those offshore accounts. Kiger’s declaration describes her review of the information submitted by more than 120 FCIB customers who participated in the IRS’s Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program. According to the Kiger declaration, many of the FCIB customers in the John Doe class may have been under-reporting income, evading income taxes, or otherwise violating the internal revenue laws of the United States.

“The Department of Justice and the IRS are committed to global enforcement to stop the use of foreign bank accounts to evade U.S. taxes,” said Kathryn Keneally, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Tax Division. “This John Doe summons is a visible indication of how we are using the many tools available to us to pursue this activity wherever it is occurring. Those who are still hiding should get right with their country and their fellow taxpayers before it is too late.”

“This summons marks another milestone in international tax enforcement,” said IRS Acting Commissioner Steven T. Miller. “Our work here shows our resolve to pursue these cases in all parts of the world, regardless of whether the person hiding money overseas chooses a bank with no offices on U.S. soil.”
In an article for The Guardian on May 27, 2013, James Ball reported, "The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has filed a 'John Doe' summons – a request for information on an unknown number of unnamed people – against US taxpayers with offshore accounts at FirstCaribbean International Bank (FCIB), who it suspects of having used accounts with the bank as parts of efforts to illegally evade US tax."

However, Ball noted, "The summons is seeking information on customers of FCIB or its predecessors who may have avoided US tax. It makes no application for information on the activities of the banks themselves, and nor does it suggest the banks had any intention of supporting, or direct knowledge of, such activities by their customers.
"A spokesman for Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, which has a majority stake in FCIB, said: We are committed to complying with all laws and regulatory requirements. We are working with Wells Fargo, our correspondent bank, to understand the nature of the order. It is our intention to co-operate with authorities in accordance with the respective laws of all jurisdictions involved.'"
"FCIB, based in Barbados, has branches in 18 Caribbean countries, was formed in 2002 by Britain’s Barclay’s Bank and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC)," Nanette Byrnes reported for Reuters on April 30, 2013. "In 2006, CIBC became the bank’s majority shareholder."

Hayden Boyce, Editor-in-Chief for SunTCI.com, reported on May 6, 2013, "Reliable sources in Washington told the SUN that the Turks and Caicos Islands branches of CIBC FCIB will also be under scrutiny, because several Americans are known to have accounts in here."

In January, CBS News reported, "Clinton's speaking engagements like this one have drawn attention because of the high fees she commands. Her twin speeches Wednesday, in particular, have been criticized because CIBC has reportedly been the subject of federal fraud investigations. And while Clinton has said that the cash collected goes to her foundation, some have still used Clinton's lucrative speaking tour to tie her to the wealthy elite."

"Organizers did not respond to a request for information about whether Clinton was paid to speak in Winnipeg and, later Wednesday, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan," the CBS News story about the two known speeches in January.

Last December CNN's Dan Merica reported, "Clinton's events in Canada have run the gamut, from speeches at high priced dinners to question and answer sessions in theaters. Most have been promoted and organized by TINEPUBLIC, a special events and conference organizer in Canada. CNN's calls to the group went unanswered on Monday."

Although its numbers were off, the conservative leaning WND.com complained in April, "Since leaving the State Department in January 2013, Hillary has given six paid speeches in Canada. At $200,000 to $300,000 a speech or more, that’s between, $1.2 million and $1.8 million of personal income courtesy of the Canadians."

MSNBC also reported in January that "Gordon Giffin, a longtime Clinton donor who served as ambassador to Canada under Bill Clinton, is on the board of directors of the CIBC, the bank sponsoring Clinton’s appearance, and has lobbied for the company hoping to build the Keystone pipeline."

"Giffin, who as a “Hillraiser” bundler for Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign and has donated $1,000 to the pro-Clinton super PAC Ready for Hillary, is a lawyer specializing in international energy issues. His firm was a registered lobbyist for Transcanada for several years, and Giffin personally lobbied for the company trying to build Keystone pipeline in 2007 and 2008, according to Senate ethics records. Transcanada did not fully takeover the Keystone pipeline until 2009.

Giffin is also on the board of Canadian Natural Resources, an energy company pushing for Keystone to be built. Also on that board with him is his former counterpart, Frank McKenna, a former Canadian ambassador to the U.S. who has moderated discussions with Clinton on previous visits to Canada.
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"A post in Canada, our biggest trade partner, brings plenty of future earnings potential," Muckety reported in April of 2011. Former US Ambassador to Canada "Gordon D. Giffin, named to the job by President Bill Clinton, received more than $990,000 (Canadian) last year in cash, stock and other compensation for his work on four Canadian corporate boards." Five years ago, while living in Atlanta, GA, Giffin was "director of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Canadian National Railway Company, TransAlta Corporation and Canadian Natural Resources Limited."

According to this Canadian Press article, around 2,000 people attended the Winnipeg speech Hillary Clinton gave - a day after President Obama's State of the Union address - and tickets sold for $300 each. "Tickets for Clinton's appearance in Saskatoon ranged from $96 to more than $300." The bank paid $524,500 for those speeches, and another $150,000 for one given in Whistler, Canada the day after on January 22, 2015, was for the bank itself, at the CIBC 18th Annual Whistler Institutional Investor Conference (link).

"Great afternoon with @CIBCEquities and @HillaryClinton talking social media & US/Canada ties at #CIBC2015Whistler," IntergulfGroup tweeted.

Dodig "interviewed" Clinton again, according to Quentin broad: "Meet & greet with @HillaryClinton followed by a speech & fireside chat with CIBC CEO Victor Dodig #cibcwhistler2015.

"I know it's been a busy schedule already. I said I'm extremely impressed with CIBC to bring in Hillary Clinton as a warm-up speaker for the uranium section is really kind of over the top. I thought so. Anyway, ...," Tim Gitzel, the president and CEO of Cameco Corporation, joked in an online transcript of a "fireside chat" with Tom Meyer - Executive Director, Institutional Equity Research, Base Metals & Minerals Analyst at CIBC - regarding the global uranium market held at 1:30 PM on January 22, 2015. (pdf link).

Later, in the transcript, Cameco CEO Gitzel references Hillary Clinton two more times, and he uses her words to pitch the case that uranium is the best option for foreign countries to power their electricity.
"So, you know, in countries—where are we seeing the growth? It's in countries, China, India, South Korea, Russia, countries with—Middle East now—big growing populations that need more electricity going forward, but they need large baseload electricity; electricity to run health care systems, transportation systems, education systems. I can tell you we're all for wind power. We love it. We love wind power and we love solar. You're not going to run a health system on solar power; not today you're not. You need backup power for that, and so what are your choices? You heard them from Hillary Clinton. I mean you've got coal. Some like, some don't like that. You've got oil; maybe, but not much electricity generated by oil anymore. Gas; gas is a big competitor for us in North America and you heard her, on a competitive basis, nuclear is—can't touch $2 gas. You've got hydro, and some like or don't like that. Try damming up a river up here somewhere and see how that goes over for you. So, you know, there's choices to be made. None of them are perfect. We think nuclear fits nice in Asia. We're spending a lot of our time now over in Asia with the Chinese, in South Korea. India's going to be a big market for us going forward. The Canadian government's been very helpful getting agreements in place that will allow us to ship our uranium into India, and if they can get coordinated with their build-out, it's going to be a big market as well."
2014-2015 Hillary Clinton speeches that appear to have been sponsored by CIBC:

tinePublic Inc. 6/18/2014 Edmonton, Canada $100,000

Canada 2020 10/6/2014 Ottawa, Canada $215,500

tinePublic Inc. 1/21/2015 Winnipeg, Canada $262,000

tinePublic Inc. 1/21/2015 Saskatoon, Canada $262,500

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce 1/22/2015 Whistler, Canada $150,000