Sunday, January 31, 2016

Former Inspector General accusing Hillary Clinton of lying quit State Dept. after being accused of lying and interfering with Blackwater probe

"The State Department is lying when it says it didn’t know until it was too late that Hillary Clinton was improperly using personal e-mails and a private server to conduct official business — because it never set up an agency e-mail address for her in the first place, the department’s former top watchdog says," Paul Sperry reported for the NY Post earlier today. However, the article fails to mention that Howard J. Krongard, who was the chief of the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of State, resigned after being "accused of improperly interfering with investigations into private security contractor Blackwater USA and with other probes," as the LA Times reported in December of 2008.

“'This was all planned in advance' to skirt rules governing federal records management, said Howard J. Krongard, who served as the agency’s inspector general from 2005 to 2008," Sunday's NY Post article continued. "He also points to the unusual absence of a permanent inspector general during Clinton’s entire 2009-2013 term at the department. He said the 5¹/₂-year vacancy was unprecedented."

Krongard added, "This is a major gap. In fact, it’s without precedent. It’s the longest period any department has gone without an IG."

On December 8, 2008, Paul Richter noted in his LA Times article, "Krongard, 66, has been accused by current and former members of his staff and by congressional Democrats of thwarting investigations of waste and fraud in Iraq. Among those are allegations of arms smuggling by Blackwater, the North Carolina-based security contractor that protects U.S. diplomats in Iraq and has been accused of using excessive force against Iraqi civilians."

"I am writing to you about an exceptionally serious matter: reports that your senior staff has threatened officials that you could fire them if they cooperate with the Committee's investigation into your conduct," Democratic Rep. Henry A. Waxman, who chaired the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee wrote in a letter (pdf link) sent to Krongard on November 11, 2007.

Waxman added that in an earlier letter he had "described allegations from seven officials in your office that you interfered with on-going investigations in order to protect the State Department and the White House from political embarrassment." He added that "John A. DeDona, the former Assistant Inspector General for investigations and Ralph McNamara, the former Deputy Assistant Inspector General for Investigations" said "that they had resigned after you repeatedly halted or impeded investigations undertaken by their office. This week, several current employees in your office - including two who have agreed to go on the record - informed the Committee that your senior staff attempted to coerce them not to cooperate with the Committee's inquiry and threatened their jobs and careers."

A year before resigning - which created "the gap" that the former IG chief appointed by former Republican President George W. Bush complained to the New York Post about on Sunday - Krongard "removed himself from investigations involving security contractor Blackwater Worldwide on Wednesday after admitting his brother serves on the company's advisory board," as Matt Kelley reported for USA Today on November 14, 2007.
"State Department Inspector General Howard Krongard first told the House Oversight Committee that his brother, former CIA executive director Alvin "Buzzy" Krongard, has no connections to Blackwater, which is being investigated by the FBI for a September shootout in Baghdad that left 17 Iraqis dead. After a break, however, Krongard said he had called his brother, who confirmed taking a seat on the Blackwater board and attending its first meetings this week.

'I'm not my brother's keeper, and we don't discuss our business with each other,' Krongard said.

The abrupt about-face stoked accusations from Democrats on the committee that Krongard was not credible when he denied subordinates' accusations of interfering with Justice Department investigations of Blackwater and other State Department contractors.
Even though Krongard may be right about the State Department and/or former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton "lying" or deliberately misleading about the current scandal, the New York Post was wrong not to note in their exclusive that he left his position under scandal after being accused of lying himself.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Anthony Weiner claimed his wife, longtime Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, didn't turn over any emails last September

Many media outlets reported that the vice chair for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign turned over approximately 23,000 emails in September of 2015, belatedly, after a federal judge demanded it.

"Huma Abedin, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s close personal aide, has turned over 6,714 emails, and 2,533 pages of documents in printed and electronic form, the Obama administration said in a court filing late Friday," Stephen Dinan reported for The Washington Times on September 11, 2015. And on September 19, Dinan reported, "Huma Abedin turned over an estimated 23,000 pages of emails, Philippe Reines gave back 70,000 pages of messages and Cheryl Mills returned somewhere in the neighborhood of 11,870 pages, the Obama administration told Judge Rudolph Contreras in a court filing."

However, according to Anthony Weiner - the Democratic Congressman who infamously resigned from Congress in 2011 after lying about being hacked to cover-up his sexting with multiple women - his wife, former deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin didn't turn over any emails last September. Weiner said the emails that all media outlets reported were released by Abedin's lawyer actually came from the State Department, and were part of the original batch of 30,000 pages that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton turned over in December of 2014. Weiner told me this during a contentious interview I had with him in a hotel bar last October. The 2013 NYC mayoral candidate lost that race after another woman revealed that he had recently sexted her, and he got into a nasty argument with an angry voter in a video that went viral.

In response to Weiner's claims, Michael Bekesha, the Senior Attorney at Judicial Watch, a conservative-leaning "public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption", and has filed over 20 Freedom of Information Act requests related to the Clinton Emails scandal told me in October, "The emails we got are from the government, not directly from the Abedin Camp. We're supposed to get those emails soon, but didn't get any yet."

When asked about metadata which might specifically show where the emails came from, Judicial Watch's Director of Public Affairs Jill Farrell said that "the paper is insufficient." She added that it's "a mystery" where the emails are coming from, since the State Department and the Clinton campaign often give conflicting responses. Whomever is turning over these emails is acting in a "halfway clever" manner, Farrell charged, and - for all everyone actually knows - they "could be coming from Santa Claus."

Weiner - who requested to be anonymous, but lied to my face about other issues, which broke a confidentiality agreement that he had agreed upon - said that it was impossible for Huma Abedin to turn over emails in September, since she no longer had access to the Clinton email server.

As I reported last October I warned Weiner on September 24, 2015, that "unlike other journos....I know that everyone lies and I trust my head and research more than sources..and if I'm lied to or someone leaks something i say or screws me over publicly, the confidentiality is off...but ill give you a chance to respond." On September 28, Weiner said, "[w]e have agreed on rules."

"I made a mistake," Weiner complained in a Direct Message he sent to me after the October 2nd, 2015 hotel bar interview. "I treated you like a reporter who wanted to ask a source questions while respecting a common agreement on what was on the record. In both instances I was wrong and I regret my error."

The relationship between President Barack Obama and his former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton - and their respective camps - has been a curious one, since they hit each other pretty harshly during the 2008 Democratic primary race bidding for the presidential nomination. On September 27, 2015, Hillary Clinton complained to CNN about the "drip-drip-drip" of the release of her emails by the State Department, and many journalists - on the left and right - theorized that the White House was exploiting the scandal so that Vice President Joe Biden could enter the race, if the leading Democratic candidate faltered. Biden decided not to run last October, but Bernie Sanders has been catching up in recent polls, and the email controversy hasn't gone away, and the State Department didn't release all of Clinton's emails that it had agreed to by the end of this month.

In addition, the media rarely reports that the majority of Huma Abedin and Hillary Clinton emails were cc'd or sent to government addresses, and, yet, the State Department failed to send those to journalists, media outlets and watchdog groups that have filed FOIA requests since 2013. And many emails that weren't released to Republican committees probing Benghazi and Huma Abedin's controversial special Government employee (SGE) appointment until 2015 also should have been released by the State Department earlier. Huma Abedin also often cc'd her government address on her emails sent from the private Clinton server, as well.

In a phone interview last October, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said, in response to all of the above, that the State Department was being "cagey about where these records" were coming from, and that it was a "mystery."

"They haven't said jack about it," Fitton added, but it's "just slick enough for them to try."

A spokesperson for Citizens United, another conservative organization that has sued the State Department over unfulfilled FOIA requests for emails from Hillary Clinton and some of her former staff members, also told me last fall that Weiner might have been telling the truth, based on what I relayed to him.

However, Huma Abedin's lawyer told the court last year that the emails came directly from his client. Miguel Rodriguez ignored an email I sent him on November 15, 2015, asking, among many other questions, "Also, did you specifically turn over Huma Abedin's emails to State Dept. from Huma Abedin as it was reported in September or did those emails come from Clinton?"

Last August, I reported that Rodriguez - who was former Chief Counsel for former New York Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton from 2005 to 2009 and her Legislative Director from 2008 until 2009 - "communicated directly with [her] during her tenure as secretary of state using her personal email address." State Department sources claimed Miguel "Rodriguez emerged as a behind-the-scenes point person" on the Benghazi scandal when classified hearings were held, and in 2015 was added to 'Super PAC' "seeking eight-figure checks" for the 2016 Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, which most media outlets haven't reported since he took on Huma Abedin as a client. Rodriguez also ducked questions on when Abedin hired him, and who was paying for her legal support. "Did you share anything you learned at classified hearings on Benghazi with anyone else?" I asked Rodrigues in another email he ignored last August.

Weiner became extremely angry when I doubted what he told me, yet it seemed possible - at the time - that Abedin couldn't have directly handed over the emails, since she didn't appear to be using that private account anymore. But he also may have been misinformed or out-of-the-loop.

During our interview on October 2nd, 2015, conducted in a hotel bar a few blocks from Union Square in Manhattan, not far from his apartment, Weiner repeatedly screamed at me, ducked questions by asking me multiple questions instead, said I wasn't a journalist because I asked him questions that nearly every US media outlet had reported as facts but he claimed weren't true (such as his requirement to release his personal financial data when he ran for mayor in 2013 and when his wife requested in 2012 to work part-time at the State Department so that she could stay close to home to take care of their new-born child), and jabbed his finger in my face to prevent me from taking notes. Staff members at the bar felt bad about the way that I was treated by the former Congressman, and one told me that "bad things happen to good people." But the bartender Mr. Weiner knew by name and was very friendly with denied hearing or seeing anything and refused comment.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

On publishing the early work of James Foley, the brave journalist brutally murdered by ISIS

On March 27, 2010, when I was the Executive Editor for RAW STORY - a left-leaning political website that fairly reported on both sides, during my reign - I received an email from a journalist named James Foley, who was embedded with US troops in Eastern Afghanistan.

Foley was born in New Hampshire, but he used the word "phoenix" in his email address, because - I presume - before he became a journalist, he "was a teacher through Teach for America at Lowell Elementary School in Phoenix, Arizona from 1996 to 2000" (link).

"Dear editor," Foley wrote. "I was given your email from a colleague, Jeremy Gantz at In These Times."

The email continued, "I'm currently embedded with US troops on a remote combat outpost in Kunar Province of Afghanistan. It's a uniquely interesting place featuring daily Taliban harassing fire, a mostly dysfunctional relationship with the Afghan Army and the efforts of young soldiers to reach out to village elders who don't believe in outside government. Please see my latest reporting on my blog at-"

But if you click on that link, now, you won't go straight to Foley's blog, instead you'll reach the home of the James W. Foley Legacy Foundation, because two years later, that brave freelance journalist was abducted in Syria, and two years after that, on August 19, 2014, he was beheaded by cowardly, hooded ISIS terrorists.

I've never been able to watch the video that was posted of Foley's murder, and I never will. Not long ago, I saw a screenshot on someone's Twitter timeline, and I wish I could unsee it. I don't hold it against anyone else who watches real life snuff videos that terrorists use to spread fear, but it's just something I can't stomach, since I had the honor of editing and publishing some of Foley's early, amazing journalism.

Although I've mentioned that Foley reported for RAW STORY on Twitter, podcasts and a few times on editor's notes for stories I've published regarding ISIS - because I'm obviously biased against them - I resisted writing a story about working with him, because I didn't want to exploit his tragic murder. But I'm writing about this now, because the death of the coward - I won't even name - who beheaded him was finally acknowledged by ISIS, plus a memoir by his mom and a documentary on Foley are on the way, and his heroic and extraordinary reporting for RAW STORY should be recognized, too.

Also, a few days ago, the Obama Administration negotiated for a Washington Post reporter imprisoned in Iran, but Foley's mother was reportedly threatened with arrest if she tried to get her son back, and the media acceded to White House requests to not even report on his two-year captivity. The United States government also reportedly only conducted one - unfortunately - failed raid to rescue James Foley, even though his family claimed they knew where he was being held for nearly a year.

I don't know if Foley was treated differently because he frequently criticized the Obama Administration, while journalists at the Washington Post often shill for the White House. But I do think that their actions are hypocritical, since that wasn't the first time Obama's White House negotiated to rescue Americans, and they should have done all they could do to bring James Foley safely home.

Foley's email continued, "The unit: Able Co. of 2-503, 173rd Airborne out of Vincenza Italy, last profiled by Sebastian Junger in '08 Vanity Fair-".

"This week: we'll be visiting a mostly hostile village to see if village leaders will come out to talk; climbing the tallest over watch position to see about setting up an observation post while avoiding gun fire; and meeting with the district sub-governor to tactfully explain why U.S. forces aren't going to approve his spending his entire allocated budget on two retaining walls and a well," Foley wrote me in March, 2010. "I'm interested in writing freelance pieces for your publication. I would send a more refined pitch if you have any interest in first hand reports from Afghanistan complemented by photos and short video."

Absurdly, James Foley apologized for not getting back to us for a few days due to "sporadic" internet reception while reporting from a war zone, but he humbly only asked for his usual "compensation" which - even more absurdly - was "usually $100 per story with photos." I asked my publisher, John Byrne, if we could at least double that, and - to his credit - he quickly agreed. "[H]ey we have to give him more than that per story or i wont be able to sleep at night lol," I emailed my former boss. And then brave James Foley - also absurdly - apologized for not finishing his story until a few weeks later. I was supposed to edit it, but I was overwhelmed running the site, writing stories, doing research for other reporters, and interviewing others, so John Byrne did it himself.

James Foley wasn't the first reporter who reported from the battlefields for RAW STORY. The conservative-leaning military blogger Bill Roggio also did some reporting from Iraq for us in 2006, after I did a story on how the Washington Post had slandered him by including him in a propaganda article, which their former Ombudsman Deborah Howell backed me up on, after I wrote her about it.

Also, in 2010, when Foley wrote us, we were trying to get another journalist embedded with US troops in Iraq, but the US military vetoed it. And, during President George W. Bush's administration, I worked with White House correspondent Eric Brewer, who did many great stories for us, including one on the Pentagon pundits scandal, after he had been "blacklisted" by former spokesperson Dana Perino for six weeks, and other journalists prodded her to allow him to ask a question. "I thought it was shameful that 10 days after David Barstow's NY Times article about how the establishment media colluded with the Pentagon to sell the war in Iraq and the 'war on terror' to the American people by hiring the Pentagon's 'message force multipliers' as military analysts, no one had asked the White House about it," Brewer wrote in April of 2008. But after President Obama took office, Brewer's credentials were mysteriously revoked, and we couldn't get him back in the White House.

Describing his first article for RAW STORY, James Foley told us on April 2nd, 2010, "I'm working on a follow up to a Special Forces raid in this valley. It's kind of like a react piece with the context of the volatile security and lack of in-roads with mountain villages."

"The New York Times reported that nine religious students were killed at a religious school in a March 15th article, and used it as one of three examples of why Special Forces command would be brought under more centralized control to reduce civilian casualties in Afghanistan," Foley added. "But here in the Badel valley, the story is not over. There are still differing opinions and deep wounds from the raid."

On May 3rd, 2010, RAW STORY proudly published "Exclusive: In Kunar province, civilian deaths from Special Forces turn some Afghans against US" written by James Foley. Here's the first three paragraphs from the first story he reported for us:
"UNAR PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN – It was two nights after Christmas on a fortified dirt hill called Combat Outpost Badel.

2nd Platoon, Able Co. 2-503rd soldiers had strung Christmas lights along the improvised roof beams of their sandbagged bunkers. They munched homemade cookies sent in care packages. Their platoon had just taken over running the outpost from the previous unit, but there was little holiday cheer.

The young soldiers were mostly sleep deprived. The privates pulled hours of guard shift. At dusk, all heads scanned the mountains outlined in the distinct green of their night vision goggles. They got shot at about every third day. In fact, Christmas marked the rookies’ first firefight. Their helmet cams recorded the staccato of automatic guns and red tracers and shouts. Afterwards, they collected and replayed the shaky video and laughed at the things they said during their first unforgettable minutes under fire.
This fantastic paragraph by Foley also stands out: "Capt. Joseph Snowden also attempted to quell the villagers’ anger at the meeting arranged by the Sub-governor. According to the interpreter, the elder selected to speak for the village said, 'Give us the source of the bad intel. We want to kill him.'"

In late May of 2010, Foley contacted us to tell us he had Visa issues, and RAW STORY publisher John Byrne helped him regain it. "The fact is my Visa is expired, and just now Afghan law is coming down on embedded media with expired Visas," Foley wrote. "So I have to jump through some hoops to get a new one in Germany. I truly don't think it had anything to do with the last article, although they look at everything."

"Anyways, a very short form letter that states I'll be writing for you all on U.S. troops in AFghanistan this summer, would actually help," Foley added. "If you could attach it in an email... thanks much!"

Foley returned to Afghanistan in June of 2010, but it took a few months for him to finish a fantastic four-part story for us about veterans suffering after they returned from fighting for their country. So we only got that one story straight from the battlefields of Afghanistan.

On September 7, 2010, we published, "Exclusive: One Iraq veteran’s harrowing journey from the battlefield to suicide (Part I)," and I assigned Sahil Kapur, who now reports for Bloomberg News, to edit the series. I did what fact-checking we could do (since it's hard for even larger media outlets to fact-check what journalists report risking their lives overseas, while we sleep securely back home in our beds), proofread, and helped with the headlines.

Foley's harrowing lead paragraph: "'He said three times that he should have just died in Iraq and I would have loved him forever, because he didn’t think we were going to get back together,' Krissy Caudill, Sgt. First Class Spencer Kohlheim’s fiancĂ©e said after his grandmother found him hanging in her garage less than a month after he returned from Iraq."

Here's another great paragraph from Foley's story, which I wish received more attention, at the time: "In Indiana, citizen soldiers run in generations of families. For several years after 9/11, the Indiana Guard outpaced states as large as Texas and California in total numbers of Guardsmen recruited. It’s a tight knit group, with only a few degrees of separation between any Hoosier deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan since 2001. But Kohlheim had been deployed more than anyone had heard of — over seven times in twelve years between his service with the Guard and regular Army."

A day later, we published "Exclusive: An Iraq veteran’s descent from PTSD to suicide."

"When we see of images of returning soldiers, more often than not, we see their homecoming," Foley wrote. "Young wives or husbands crying with joy, group hugs, children picked up and spun around, and parents rejoicing. We do not see what happens when the parties are over, when the vets have to re-invent their former lives and become husbands and fathers, mothers and wives again. Fellow soldiers said Spencer Kohlheim wanted to out-process just as fast as they did. None of them admitted to picking up on any post-trauma issues he might have been having."

Yet another great Foley paragraph filled with vivid description that leaped from the page when you read it: "The American Legion at 100 Industrial Parkway in LaGrange looks like a bingo hall from the outside. Inside there’s a square wrap-around bar with an island of liquor bottles, a big screen TV, round Formica tables. The walls are decorated with photos of local veterans wearing Korean and Vietnam-era uniforms. Everyone at the Legion knew Spencer. It was his home when he was back from deployment."

Part 3 - Exclusive: Iraq vet, rattled by IEDs, ‘carried Ziploc bags full of pills’ - was published on September 9, 2010.

Here's a few paragraphs from that story:
"Sgt. Spencer Kohlheim had been wounded on two separate attacks in Iraq. They were concussions; invisible wounds that caused migraines and led to an increasing sense of hopelessness according to his family and close friends.

'The IED is our number one injury right now,' said the manager of a transition program for returning soldiers at the Northern Indiana Veterans Affairs hospital in January of ‘09. 'IEDs can cause traumatic brain injury without [the solider] being hit by any fragments. Depression is a standard reaction to traumatic brain injury.'

The New England Medical Journal has linked depression to multiple concussions, or mild traumatic brain injury, within the three to four months after soldiers return home.

Sgt. Patrick Clouse, 27, was there when Kohlheim got out of the base hospital after the second IED attack. 'He had constant headaches,' Clouse said. 'He was taking meds all the time; those heavier Ibuprofen they give you after the IEDs. There would be very few days that he didn’t have a headache.'
The final chapter - "Cold December: Sgt. Spencer Kohlheim hangs himself in his grandmother’s garage after harrowing battles in Iraq and Afghanistan" - was published on September 10, 2010.

"It was a cold December night, and the last of Sgt. Spencer Kohlheim’s life," Foley wrote. "He was at the Detroit Street Bar with his brother, when he called his ex-girlfriend Krissy to come to meet him. He was clearly intoxicated, she said, and he talked non-stop about getting back together."

"'He was loved by a lot of people,' Beth said, 'and he helped a lot of people, but just couldn’t seem to help himself."
This was the last email Foley personally sent to me, on September 8, 2010.

"Ron, thanks for publishing the vet story in the serial as we discussed," Foley wrote. "Sahil was excellent as an editor and offered very constructive suggestions."

Always so humble, Foley added, "I was thinking as a serial, the compensation would be $200 per. Does that sound fair? Let me know, I should be away from email for a few days. Going up to an outpost overlooking the Korengal."

I left RAWSTORY a little bit over two months later, so I don't know why he didn't do any more stories for them. We followed each other on Twitter, and I sent him a tweet on Christmas eve in 2010, but I wish I noticed that he had suddenly stopped tweeting on November 22nd, 2012, after he was captured by terrorists that very same day. But I feel privileged that I had a very small part in a very gifted journalist's short career. And I hope that people are inspired by this story to contribute to his foundation to honor his fantastic journalism.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Under the radar: Controversial consulting firm tied to Clintons hired 4 star General Odierno, who also got job at largest US bank days after retiring

2/4/16 Update: Four days after I reported that retired General Ray Odierno was hired by Teneo - a firm co-founded by three Clinton allies and which once included former President Bill Clinton as a paid consultant - an article in the New York Times written by Jennifer Steinhauer casually mentioned, "A national security breakout session with Gen. Ray Odierno and others was sobering for many members. As such, defense hawks appear to be gaining ground on the budget hawks in discussions over national security and spending." Did Congressional Republicans at that Baltimore retreat know that the retired general was just hired as a consultant by Teneo?

During last week as Chief of Staff of the US Army, General Odierno criticized presidential candidates Trump and Bush in regards to ISIS

Slipping underneath the radar, four days before Christmas, Teneo - a controversial consulting firm co-founded by former President Clinton's "body man" and two top Hillary Clinton fundraisers, one of which she appointed as US Economic Envoy to Northern Ireland - hired General Raymond T. Odierno as a Senior Advisor, and not one media outlet reported on it. Last August, less than a week after retiring from the Army, General Odierno was also hired as a consultant by JP Morgan, the largest bank in the United States.

The four star general who "led over one million servicemen and women as the Chief of Staff of the Army" in the Iraq war effort and other conflicts has joined a firm - secretive about what oil firms it represents - filled with former US government officials who lobby for its clients, sometimes charged with crimes or facing prosecution, and analysts that are constantly quoted in the media arguing against ground troops being sent to combat ISIS, as I've reported. Teneo Intelligence Managing Director Crispin Hawes has even argued that the US government has "demon[ized]" the terror group.

Last July, as noted at Politifact, leading Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's fourth largest donor between 1999 and 2016 was JPMorgan Chase, which contributed $620,919 to her campaigns. The former Secretary of State under President Barack Obama posed for the photo, published to the left, with General Odierno in 2010.

On December 21, 2015, Teneo Holdings announced, "General Odierno, recognized for his instrumental role in defeating al-Qaeda in Iraq, and having led over one million servicemen and women as the Chief of Staff of the Army, has dedicated his life to serving the United States. Throughout the course of his career, General Odierno has gained remarkable expertise in a wide range of issues, from cybersecurity and risk management, to acquisition and global crisis management."

"General Odierno held the title of Chief of Staff (Chief Executive Officer) of the United States Army from September 2011 to August 2015, advising the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, and the National Security Council," Teneo's press release added. "In this role, he was responsible for leading, manning, training, and equipping a work force of over one million military personnel and 250,000 Department of Army civilian employees dispersed across 50 countries, as well as providing military and logistical support for combat and humanitarian support across six continents."
"Over the course of his role as the Chief of Staff, General Odierno worked closely on key international issues with various heads of state, senior foreign diplomats, and military leaders worldwide, and has extensive experience working with, and advising Congress on national and international issues spanning two administrations.

Previous roles served by General Odierno include assistant to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, where he was the primary military advisor to Secretaries of State Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice.
On August 20, 2015, Sonali Basak and Hugh Son reported for Bloomberg News, "JPMorgan Chase & Co., the biggest U.S. bank, hired former U.S. Army Chief of Staff Ray Odierno to advise Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon on issues including international risks and cyber security. Odierno, 60, a former four-star general, also will provide counsel to the bank’s board and operating committee and represent the New York-based bank with clients, government representatives and policy makers, the firm said Thursday in a statement."

The article added, "Wall Street firms have recruited government officials and military veterans as they seek to cope with cyber attacks and overseas upheaval. KKR & Co. hired former Central Intelligence Agency Director David Petraeus, another four-star general, to inform investment decisions. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. added Patrick Carroll, formerly of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, to help with compliance, while JPMorgan has added former agents after being attacked by hackers."

Reporting for New York Business Journal on August 24, 2015, Michael del Castillo noted that the four star general "will begin his new duties just six weeks after the FBI charged five people for alleged crimes linked to the hacking into JP Morgan’s infrastructure last year."

"On July 21, the Federal Bureau of Investigation charged five people in cases related to the hacking of New York City-based JP Morgan last year. According to a Wall Street Journal report, the men were accused of charges ranging from securities fraud to money laundering, in activities linked to a hack of the bank, curerently valued at $243 billion, last year," del Castillo added. "The general is scheduled to begin his duties on September 1."

In an August 22, 2015 article for Defense News, Andrew Clevenger reported, "Loren Thompson, a defense-industry consultant and analyst with the Lexington Institute, said the most visible, highest-ranking generals typically are in the greatest demand in the private sector."

Thompson told Defense News, "The appeal of retired general officers in the financial community comes down to three things: first of all, broad experience because of their frequent career rotations; discipline, which enables them to be organized and more focused than many people who have never served; and thirdly, prestige...I think you can’t overlook the prestige quality that a former chief of staff of the Army confers on a financial institution or a stock trader. Chief of staff of the Army is a title that grows with celebrity the farther you get from Washington."

"And part of the appeal for the senior officers is the ability to make up for their comparatively low military wages," Clevenger wrote. "Top officers typically make less than $200,000 a year. While this is not an insignificant salary, it does not compare with what someone with their skills and experiences would make in the private sector."

"If you’re a colonel, or a one-star, it may seem like you’re being reasonably paid," Defense-industry consultant Loren Thompson was further quoted. "But when you’re overseeing an entire military service, and you’re only making as much as a member of Congress, it’s easy to imagine that there are other career lines that might be more lucrative."

In its August 20, 2015 press release, America's largest bank, JP Morgan announced, "Additionally, General Odierno will represent JPMorgan Chase through engagement with clients, government officials and policy makers in the U.S. and internationally and will participate in the firm's regional advisory groups in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America. He will also advise on the firm's cities initiatives, including the Global Cities Initiative and New Skills at Work, meeting with mayors and other public officials to provide them with expert insight and advice that will help respective metropolitan areas thrive in the global economy and representing the firm in select events and conferences with JPMorgan's partnership organizations."
"General Odierno will also advise on JPMorgan Chase's Military and Veterans Affairs strategy and execution as a member of the Military and Veterans Affairs Advisory Council, engaging on these important issues in public forums and with policy makers. The firm has committed to helping position military members, veterans and their families for success in their post service lives through innovative programs in employment, housing and education. Through June of 2015, JPMorgan Chase had awarded over 800 homes to veterans and their families through nonprofit partners and hired over 9,100 veterans.

'I am proud to announce that General Odierno has joined JPMorgan as a senior advisor,' said Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO. 'Ray has dedicated his life to serving our country, rising to the top of the Army with proven leadership that delivers results. His experience, vision and impressive track record of success when confronting overwhelming challenges will provide significant value to our leadership team, the firm and our clients across a wide range of issues.'

General Odierno added, 'I'm excited to work with Chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon, a leader in the financial industry, and to have the opportunity to contribute to JPMorgan Chase – a globally recognized industry leader.'
In an article titled "Odierno Wades Into GOP Battle Over Iraq War" published on August 12, 2015 at, Marcus Weisberger reported, "Gen. Ray Odierno, the U.S. Army’s top officer, pushed back on the Iraq War blame game that has dominated the GOP 2016 presidential campaign trail, saying that the U.S. military’s withdrawal from Iraq in 2011 was the Bush administration’s plan all along. Odierno, formerly the senior U.S. general in Iraq, said he was unconvinced at the time that the Iraqi parliament would have approved a longer stay for American troops had Obama administration officials successfully negotiated for it."
"The Iraq War has jumped back into headlines recently as Republican candidates attempt to tie the U.S. withdrawal in 2011 — and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s role in it — to the rise of the Islamic State. In a major national security speech on Tuesday, Jeb Bush criticized Clinton and President Barack Obama for removing U.S. troops from Iraq.

'That premature withdrawal was the fatal error, creating the void that ISIS moved in to fill – and that Iran has exploited to the full as well,' said Bush, a former Florida governor and brother of President George W. Bush.
"So why was the success of the surge followed by a withdrawal from Iraq, leaving not even the residual force that commanders and the joint chiefs knew was necessary?" Jeb Bush asked during his speech at the Reagan Library in California last August. "And where was Secretary of State Clinton in all of this? Like the president himself, she had opposed the surge, then joined in claiming credit for its success, then stood by as that hard-won victory by American and allied forces was thrown away."

At Huffington Post on August 13, 2015, Matt Ramos wrote, "U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno said on Wednesday that Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush was wrong to blame the Obama administration for the current instability in Iraq."

The Huffington Post story continued, "Ahead of his official retirement on Friday, Odierno, the former highest-ranking officer in Iraq and one of the architects of the 2007 troop surge there, sought to set the record straight. 'I remind everybody that us leaving at the end of 2011 was negotiated in 2008 by the Bush administration. That was always the plan, we had promised them that we would respect their sovereignty,' Odierno said during his final press conference at the Pentagon."

Reporting for the Wall Street Journal on August 12, 2015, Gordon Lubold wrote, "The Pentagon’s retiring Army chief pushed back on a suggestion by GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump that the way to counter Islamic State would be to seize Iraqi oil fields to eliminate one of the group’s biggest sources of revenue."

"Gen. Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, told reporters Wednesday that he thinks the best way to address Islamic State in the region is to find ways to achieve a 'sustainable outcome' based not only on military but also political and economic approaches," the Wall Street Journal article continued. "Military operations, such as bombing oil fields in Iraq that the militant group uses to draw some of its financial power, doesn’t fit the bill."
"'There are limits to military power,' he said at the Pentagon two days before he retires from the Army after more than 39 years of service, adding that he disagrees with Mr. Trump’s idea. “Right now, I do,” he said. 
Mr. Trump said he would 'bomb the hell out of those oil fields' and then send in big oil companies to rebuild them.

'If I win, I would attack those oil sites that are controlled and owned — they are controlled by ISIS,' Mr. Trump said. 'I wouldn’t send many troops because you won’t need ‘em by the time I’m done,' Mr. Trump said last month. Other military officers have suggested the idea was not a good one and it was not clear that Mr. Trump’s plan was based on any particular military advice or planning.
(Editor's Note: For many more articles on its worldwide ambitions, considerable ties to the Clintons, and reasons why the firm is considered controversial, search for "Teneo" on the top of this blog)

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

The Return of Project Vigilant: Former NSA manager Blaine Burnham and DoD Cyber Crime Center director Jim Christy allegedly help form Attribution Academy

The shadowy cyber group of spooks behind Project Vigilant, which led future Pulitzer-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald to "conclude" its claims may not be "real and credible" - after it boasted that it "tracks more than 250 million IP addresses a day and can ‘develop portfolios on any name, screen name or IP address,'" and "hands much of that information to federal agencies” - has apparently launched a new venture called Attribution Academy, and former director of the Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center Jim Christy will allegedly be involved with it.

However, Chet Uber has announced some things in the past that never materialized, and the Project Vigilant website already vanished from the Internet after going live on New Year's Day.

(1/11/16 Update: In an additional post added to the website - which two Project Vigilant associates told me was experiencing technical problems - on Sunday (Google cache link), the group, announced, "The inclusion of Jim Christy as the Deputy Directory at the Attribution Academy adds so much that we couldn’t be happier." A lengthy biography of Christy followed the terse statement, which began, "Jim Christy is a retired Special Agent that has specialized in cyber crime investigations and digital forensics for over 29 years with the Air Force Office of Special Investigation, the Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center (DC3) and now the private sector. Jim left the government in July 2013 after 42 years of public service and has started his own consulting firm, The Christy Group, LLC. He has also co-founded The Digital Forensics Consortium, a 501 3(c) non-profit organization to promote STEM and specifically cyber investigations and digital forensics to students. The Digital Forensics Consortium has received a grant from the US Department of Homeland Security to resurrect both the Digital Forensics Challenge and the Digital Crime Scene Challenge he created for DC3. Jim just joined Cymmetria in November of 2015 as the Vice President for Investigations and Digital Forensics."

"Jim retired in Nov 2006 as a Special Agent and immediately returned to the federal government and DC3 first as an IPA and later as an HQE (Highly Qualified Expert), a senior appointed by the Secretary of the AF as the Director of Futures Exploration (FX) for the DC3. FX, the DC3 innovation incubator was responsible for Communication outreach/marketing, cyber workforce development and strategic relationships with other government organizations, private sector, and academia.")

Three years ago, after an alleged Project Vigilant mailing list that included Jim Christy's name was published at an Anonymous website - which may have been leaked by a strange group of trolls that called themselves "ZAPEM" - along with a taped phone call with security firm agent Tom Ryan who once hoodwinked government and military officials on social networks with a female "Mata Hari" sock (See my 2013 article, "Meet the 'real' Robin Sage and Provide Security's 'Senior Research Analyst'" for more information on Tom Ryan), Chet Uber tweeted, "Tomorrow at 1000 UTC-6 ProjectVIGILANT will release a very detailed Press Release covering the alleged 'leak' and the 'tapes.' Stay Frosty." But he never released that statement, and later explained on Twitter that he didn't "press charges" for the alleged intrusions - in another tweet that Uber later scrubbed: "I did not see a benefit to our project to press any of these charges for many reasons." Uber also told me in a Direct Message that the press release was never issued because it might bring bad publicity to Project Vigilant.

As I once reported on Twitter, Jim Christy appeared on a "Meet the Feds and Ex-Feds" panel at DEFCON 17 in 2009 with Project Vigilant's Kevin Manson. A video of the panel can be found at this YouTube link. According to a biography published online, Kevin Manson "[c]o-founded Cybercop Portal, a Department of Homeland Security endorsed, secure online information sharing community with a DARPA pedigree serving over 14,000 law enforcement and industry users, including some 4,000 INFRAGARD members. As a senior instructor at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center's Financial Fraud Institute and Legal Division (FLETC), he created the Cybercop BBS, (Wildcat), the first online community enabling federal law enforcement agents and agencies to collaborate with state and local law enforcement. Designed, developed and deployed four new training initiatives at the FLETC: 'Digital Officer Safety'(OPSEC), Data Mining and two Internet Investigations programs for federal agents at the FLETC (URL:"

"Chet is a natural asset when it comes to serve and protect on the Internet," Kevin Manson told the Palm Beach Post in August of 2010. "We need people like him." The article titled "Cybercop earns fame but fuels skepticism" added that Manson was "a onetime general counsel for former Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., who describes himself as liaison-at-large for Project Vigilant."

In an August 5th, 2010 "important correction and clarification about Project Vigilant" to his August 2nd Salon article, Glenn Greenwald - who later won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting on leaked documents by former Central Intelligence Agency employee, Edward Snowden - wrote that he had been "convinced that Uber’s claims about his group are wildly exaggerated, rendering [his] concerns about it largely misguided and unwarranted." Greenwald added, "Anyone with even minimal credibility knows not to believe uncorroborated, fantastical claims simply because they are publicly touted...In retrospect, I should have been more skeptical of these claims."

(1/9/16 Update: Threat analyst and former hacker Adrian Lamo - whose LinkedIn profile states that he's the Assistant Director for Threat Intelligence & Acting PAO at Project Vigilant, which he joined as a volunteer in April of 2008 - contacted me by DM and said, "I can tell you on behalf of PV that the site outage is unrelated to our announcement, unless it's brought on by traffic. I don't work on site issues, so I don't know specific details, but I may be looking at more robust hosting fairly soon."

"I've spoken /w Chet about the journal, and want to help in any way I can I already have a number of writing commitments, so I don't know how frequently I'll participate," Lamo added.

(1/7/16 Update: Minutes after I published and tweeted this story to his twitter account @ChetUber - which is mostly filled with references and retweets to me over the past few years since I began reporting on Project Vigilant - Chet Uber sent me a few Direct Messages. It's not the first time Uber - who has been trolling people on the Internet and lying to journalists for many, many years - played dumb about seeing a tweet that he is obviously responding to: "First of all we don't share this account, but I thought you might be interested in the combination between our Academic efforts, the Journal of Attribution, and our Research area. Major reorganization for PV."

After I asked when the website would go live again, Uber said, "It is sort of back up again I am adding in edited stories and working on the X theme for Word Press so I can turn it over to a pro." But it's still down, as I write this update.

Proving he had already read my tweet asking if the convicted felon known as the "homeless hacker" Adrian Lamo - @6 on Twitter, infamous for working with the FBI and Army CID to, as many hacktivists see it, entrap the US soldier Chelsea "Bradley" Manning, who was convicted by a military court that included testimony from the Project Vigilant duo, for leaking documents to WikiLeaks - would be involved with Attribution Academy, Uber responded: "asking Adrian can answer better than I but he has been offered a position to teach if he wants to but I have no response he is very busy grooming me as the Voice of PV."

"Adrian will have to account for his behavior but I know that he is not doing things to impress people, he is doing things to build on the company brand and to use his skills to improve our public communication," Uber added. "Voice of PV means he writes our responses to the press and speeches and outside the legal general counsel or myself no one has the official right to make comments that are credited as coming from ourselves. He is well written and well spoken.")

As I reported October 9, 2012, back on June 21, 2010, San Francisco technology columnist Mark Albertson wrote an article for called Secret group aids fight against terror: the first story about "unpaid volunteers" who had allegedly been "patrolling the Internet for many years."

"For the past 14 years, a significant volunteer group of U.S. citizens has been operating in near total secrecy to monitor and report illegal or potentially harmful activity on the Web," Albertson wrote.

Since that article was published, a number of journalists and bloggers have suspected that the hard-to-believe group was a hoax, a fraud or a front, due to its underdeveloped website, strange director, and conflicting stories spun by the "unpaid volunteers" to the media.

But in August of 2010 at a DefCon event, when the director claimed that he played a background role in the arrest of US soldier Bradley Manning, many journalists and bloggers changed their dismissive tune. Manning was arrested in late April that same year, days after revealing to Adrian Lamo - who either joined Project Vigilant before or after - that he had been leaking classified material to the international non-profit media group, WikiLeaks. A video Manning named "Collateral Murder" which showed footage of a 2007 US Apache helicopter strike in New Baghdad, Iraq that killed at least eighteen people helped put WikiLeaks "on the map", Ellen Nakashima wrote for The Washington Post in April, 2011.

Declan McCullagh reported in a August 10, 2010 article for that Lamo "became Project Vigilant's associate director for adversary characterization about half a year ago," but both have ducked questions about the claim. In an interview with Elinor Mills published on June 24, 2009 at, Lamo said he was "looking at an option as a staff scientist in what's called 'adversary characterization,' figuring out who is going to break into your s*** before they do it and how they're going to do it before they even formulate the plan," but told her "it would be inappropriate to specifically state who I would be a staff scientist for."

Lamo told Mills that he was working as "a threat analyst for a privately held company," which he revealed was Reality Planning LLC, but he didn't tell her it was his own firm, and that he may have been its only employee, at the time (In January of 2012, Reality Planning LLC lists a workforce size of 5-10). In a February 1, 2010 article, also written by Elinor Mills, Lamo was referred to as a "threat analyst."

"Uber says Lamo worked as a volunteer research associate for Project Vigilant for about a year on something called adversary characterization, which involved gathering information for a project on devising ways to attribute computer intrusions to individuals or groups," Kim Zetter and Kevin Poulsen reported for Wired on August 1, 2010. "He helped define the roles, tools and methods intruders would use to conduct such attacks."

Also worth noting is that six months before Manning's arrest, Albertson - who would later "out" Project Vigilant in an exclusive - wrote a November 2, 2009 article called "Adrian Lamo knows your number", that referred to him as "a working journalist who is frequently called upon to give speeches at security conventions and various 'cybecrime' gatherings", and predicted he "may soon become an ever bigger celebrity if a movie – Hackers Wanted – is ever released."

Even though Project Vigilant's director has claimed that the group has as many as 600 "unpaid volunteers" working for it, only about a dozen names have been linked, so far. "Vigilant also claimed to have 'collection officers' in 22 countries that gather intelligence or coordinate networks in person," Glenn Chapman reported for AFP on August 1, 2010. Director Chet Uber claimed Project Vigilant was "in a drive to be at 'full capacity' by adding 1,750 'vetted volunteers' by the year 2012," Chapman noted
However, on August 21, 2012, Albertson reported, "Uber says that Project Vigilant has expanded its volunteer force from 500 in 2010 to a current level of 750, with the biggest increase coming in Project Vigilant's core volunteers (defined as people who work 5 or more hours per week) who today number 125." In his "exclusive" June of 2010 columns, Albertson spoke on-the record to Uber and - according to his own accounts - a shadowy Democratic operative named Neal Rauhauser who somehow managed to hook up with liberal bloggers, Anonymous hacktivists, and members of the Occupy Wall Street movement, even though he belonged to a group which essentially spied for the government. Since early 2010, Rauhauser has spent much of his time harassing conservatives, critics, journalists (including me) and bloggers, but somehow argues that it's the other way around.
"Finding information about Project Vigilant is not easy. They have a public webpage that reveals little information about the group. Names of the volunteers are stored in such a way that they are not accessible from any network. Access to the work of the group by its own members is highly controlled and monitored.

The group’s collaboration with the U.S. Government is handled through another highly secure web portal which supports protected email, chat and other features.
In a follow-up column published on June 22, 2010, Albertson revealed "Big names help run Project Vigilant." He wrote, "It’s tempting to look at a secret group of cybercrime “monitors” and dismiss them as a group of lightweights trying to play cops and robbers in the Internet world. Nothing could be farther from the truth."

Aside from Project Vigilant General Counsel Mark Rasch, who "led the Department of Justice computer crime unit" for nine years, and Director Chet Uber, who claimed to be "a founding member of InfraGard (a partnership between the FBI and the private sector) and a longtime participant in AFCEA (Armed Forces Communications and Electronics Association)," the other "big names" outed were Cybercop co-founder "Kevin Manson, who serves as Project Vigilant’s liaison with state and federal law enforcement groups", second in command George Johnson, who "was handpicked by DARPA (the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency – part of the U.S. Department of Defense) to develop secure tools for the exchange of sensitive information between federal agencies," Ira Winkler, "president of the Internet Security Advisors Group and...former employee of NSA (National Security Agency)," and "Suzanne Gorman, one of Project Vigilant’s top leaders,...a former security chief for the New York Stock Exchange [who] is widely viewed as one of the foremost experts on Web threats in the financial services world."

In August of 2011, blogger Bailey Carlson took a "Closer look at Project Vigilant," adding some other names to the list.
"Blaine Burnham formerly NSA Information Security expert between 1987-1998. Before the NSA, Blaine worked at the Los Alamos National Laboratory developing tools and techniques to achieve higher levels of Information Security to secure the US national nuclear weapons arsenal. He is now the executive director of Nebraska University Consortium on Information at University of Nebraska.

Blaine['s] position with Vigilant is listed as Independent Validation & Verification.

Wayne Wilson has US Top Secret security clearance. He has worked with military contractor Northrop Grumman and Department of Defence contractor The Yellowstone Group where his primary focus was on 'Cybersecurity and Linguistics for the NSA and other Agencies'.
Carlson also named AJ Fardella, "Contracted for Secret Service, DOJ, DEA" Richard Brandt, "former Journalist for BusinessWeek" Mike Tomasiewicz, "ConAgra Foods Sys Admin, certified as InfoSec professional" Doug Jacobson, "Professor of Electrical/Computer Engineering at Iowa State University, founder of Cybersecurity business Palisade Systems" and Christophe Veltsos, "Faculty of Computer Information Science at Minnesota State University."

In August, Albertson added "Jeff Bardin (Assistant Director, Intelligence and Analysis – Middle East Desk, Chief Intelligence Officer for Treadstone 71)" to the list of members, and "some major leaders in the computer and Internet world who are not members of the group, but were willing to talk for this story about their support for Project Vigilant’s work."
"These include Vint Cerf, Vice President for Google and widely recognized as the 'father of the Internet,' Bill Cheswick, a highly-regarded Internet security expert, and Winn Schwartau, one of the world’s top experts on cyberterrorism. 'I know an awful lot of people who are involved with Project Vigilant,' says Schwartau."
(Editor's Note: Read more of my lengthy article on Project Vigilant at this link, and check back here soon for more information on the group according to Direct Messages I exchanged with Chet Uber that were off the record until he played games with me about Adrian Lamo allegedly contacting me to interview him.)

On or about October 12, 2015, the Project Vigilant website (archive link) returned to the Internet after a long hiatus with the group's logo announcing itself as the "Home of the Attribution Academy" and "Journal of Attribution." Three months later, on January 1st, 2016, the first brief post went live announcing that the cyber and reality-based school would be "offer[ing] nine classes during semester" under an un-attributed quote: "In the physical world entropy increases with time. In digital physics entropy decreases with time."

The next day, the website announced, "ProjectVIGILANT launches the Journal of Cyber Attribution", and claimed that "Jim Christy has for years been a close adviser to Director Chet Uber with regards to almost every aspect of ProjectVIGILANT’s operations and has recently stepped foreword to work as the Editor of the Journal of Cyber Attribution; as well as an Director of Students. These are on top of his other duties."

According to his public edited Wikipedia entry, "Jim Christy (born 1951) is the Director of Futures Exploration (FX) for the Department of Defense Cyber Crime Center (DC3). FX is in charge of establishing strategic relationships between the US Government and private agencies and academia. Christy was the Director of the Defense Cyber Crime Institute from 2003–2006, and Director of Operations of the Defense Computer Forensics Laboratory from 2001-2003. Christy was chief of the Air Force Office of Special Investigations computer crime investigations unit from 1989-1996. As the founder of the world's largest digital forensics shop, he is notable for his involvement in high priority government computer security.

It adds, "Christy joined the Air Force when he was 19. He later became a computer operator at the Pentagon, and got a job as a computer crime investigator at the Air Force Office of Special Investigations (OSI) in 1986. In 1986 Christy investigated the notorious Hanover Hackers, a band of West German digital delinquents who stole information from United States Defense Department computers and sold it to the KGB. It was his first hacker case as an OSI agent. In 1991, Christy founded the Pentagon's first digital forensics lab for the Air Force. In 1998 the Air Force Lab became the Department of Defense Computer Forensics Laboratory, supporting all of the investigative agencies of the Department of Defense."

On January 3rd, the PV website claimed that former National Security Agency manager Blaine Burnham would be assuming the "lead post in the Attribution Academy", and provided the following biography:
"Dr. Blaine Burnham is a Professor at the University of Southern California Viterbi School of Engineering, where he is responsible for the development and administration of the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Master of Cyber Security degree. Dr. Burnham additionally assists with academic development of professional education and outreach opportunities through business, industry and government. In this arena, he has led the development of curriculum for such organizations as the FBI, InfraGard, AeroSpace and a host of other law enforcement agencies. Dr. Burnham’s primary research interests have been focused on the challenges of implementing very high assurance security designed to address the problems of adversarial attacks that include software subversion.

Prior to joining USC, Dr. Burnham worked for eleven years at the National Security Agency, where he held various management positions surrounding information assurance and cyber security research. Dr. Burnham directed and managed the Infosec Criteria and Guidelines Organization and was responsible for the publishing of half of the guideline documents, commonly referred to as the Rainbow Series. Perhaps most notably, he was responsible for crafting the Federal Criteria successor to the Trusted Computer Security Evaluations Criteria, also known as The Orange Book.

While at NSA, Dr. Burnham served as Chief of the Commercial COMSEC Endorsement Program and Trusted Products Division, as well as creating and developing the Product Security Profile. In 1994, Dr. Burnham took over direction of the Infosec Research Organization, which established the information security research agenda for the NSA. During his tenure, he established the University Research Program, which led to cyber security as an academic offering at universities and provided start-up funding for several of what now are the nation’s top Information Assurance programs. The research agenda Dr. Burnham initiated gave support for the development of the intrusion detection system industry and the creation of IPSEC.

Dr. Burnham’s final assignment with NSA was establishing, promoting and sustaining the Information Security Research Council for the Department of Defense and the Intelligence Community as a whole. This was the first attempt in our nation’s history to galvanize all government organizations under one banner for cyber security research, and as such has led to numerous collateral efforts and spin-offs that have contributed billions of dollars to developing literally hundreds of innovations in computer security.

After retiring from the NSA, Dr. Burnham accepted a position at the Georgia Institute of Technology as Director of the Georgia Tech Information Security Center. Consistently ranked as one of the best cyber security programs in the world, Dr. Burnham was responsible for leading the GTISC in its infancy, laying the foundation for success by developing the research direction for the Center, forming the laboratories, creating a Masters Degree program and initiating industry and government partnerships for access and funding.

Dr. Burnham left Georgia Tech to begin a new cyber security program at the University of Nebraska, the Nebraska University Center on Information Assurance (NUCIA), serving as the founding Executive Director. During his time directing NUCIA, Dr. Burnham built undergraduate, Master’s and Doctoral level degree programs, and led one of the largest information assurance outreach programs in the country, with over 250 industry and government participants.

Dr. Burnham has been employed at Idaho, Sandia and Los Alamos National Laboratories. He is a member of the Cyber Crimes Task Force, IEEE and the InfraGard Executive Committee, and served as the technical advisor for the US delegation to the NATO Office of Security, Technical Working Group. He also served on the Advisory Board (SAG) to US STRATEGIC COMMAND under five of its last Commanders.
Also, on January 3rd, the website stated in a FAQ, "ProjectVIGILANT is a membership group that began in the summer of 1996 and functioned as DIY club and began experiments on turning FreeBSD machines into Sun Microsystems by rewriting port headers and some other tricks. We were (our clients) being attacked from a large storm from Asia and we needed something to collect the information. For there we have grown to a diverse Limited Liability Firm. We are still built on a base of American’s who have the same goals towards the safety and security of the nation."

Two other brief postings claimed, "Glyn Gowing is the Deputy Director of Science, Technology, Engineering , and Mathematics (STEM)" and "Board of Advisor member Jim Christy will be stepping in to aide Blaine Burnham, Ph.D in the formation of that Attribution Academy."

"ProjectVIGILANT formed an educational division called the Attribution Academy (AA) effective immediately," the website claimed on January 4th. "This joint venture among a number of organizations was created to fill the void for education in event, attack, and cyber attribution and is led by Blaine Burnham, PhD (Mathematics); and is joined by Jim Christy (SA Retired) as Blaine’s second. Heading the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) is Doug Jacobson, Ph.D and Glyn Gowing, Ph.D is his Deputy. The format allows for both in person classes, research, and semester Internships; and virtual classes for remote students."

Another post on January 4th claimed that Homeland Security Defense Coalition instructor Kelli Waxman would be joining the faculty and provided the following biography:
"Kelli Waxman, BA, MBA, is an Instructor with the Homeland Security Defense Coalition. She is a Private Investigator is the Founder/President of National Security Consulting & Investigations PLLC, Founder/CEO of Waxman Associates LLC and Founder/CEO of AviWax Enterprises LLC. She has a B.A. in Sociology, an MBA in Human Resources/Business Finance, and post-graduate certifications and course work in Homeland Security, Infrastructure Protection, Psychology, Psychiatry, Medicine, Bioterrorism, Counter-terrorism, Hazardous Materials, Radiological Terrorism, Cybersecurity, Digital Forensics, Adolescent Psychopathology and Criminology.

Ms. Waxman’s investigation specialties include internet national security, criminal behavioral profiling, global internet linguistic research in 82 languages, threat prevention, intelligence analysis and development of proprietary investigative systems, target specific, technology aided. Ms. Waxman is the developer of a number of proprietary technological systems currently being patented to aid law enforcement in the fields of cyber-security, counter-terrorism, cyber-bullying, national security threat prevention, penetration testing and homeland security education.

Ms. Waxman is a seasoned veteran educator in the public, private and government industry developing and teaching adult educational courses, community and university courses, public awareness courses/seminars, curriculum development, program development and workforce/labor job development. Her private business industry experience has included a variety of consulting projects including human resources training and course development, border issues, military and war curriculum development, terrorism and cult-related law enforcement consulting, development of programs for the extraction of gang members from cults/gangs, development of horse therapy programs, development of re-entry programs for long-term foster children with PTSD, and program development and intervention for reactive attachment disordered youth.

Ms. Waxman has worked in the university, public and private sectors in behavioral health, program administration, juvenile justice, workforce development and behavioral programming. Ms. Waxman has completed a number of FEMA courses from the Emergency Management Institute, TEEX, Texas A&M, Rush University Medical School Counter-terrorism series, University of Nebraska Medical School courses on sociopathology and severe personality disorders and hundreds of courses from various MEDSCAPE providers. Ms. Waxman is a 3rd degree brown belt in Kenpo Karate and a former 100-mile high altitude endurance horse rider/racer. Ms. Waxman is a former extreme hiker having hiked rim-to-rim-to-rim in Grand Canyon 5 times to date, within 2.5 days, and an advanced classical pianist.

Ms. Waxman’s awards have included various musician awards, Stanley Kaplan scholarship, Honoree, International Association of Business Leaders (2011), Global Directory of Who’s Who (2010), Stanford Who’s Who (2010), International Who’s Who of Professional and Business Women (1998), University of Arizona Honors Society (1984-1989), Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities & Colleges (1986), Cambridge Who’s Who (2010), and Golden Key National Honor Society (1986). Ms. Waxman is a current member of the National Investigative Security Professionals (NISP), United States Association of Private Investigators (USAPI), National Association of Investigative Specialists (NAIS), Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM), High Technology Crime Investigation Associations Inc(HTCIA) (pending), and is a Federal Subject Matter Expert with Infragard (FBI program).
According to the last post at its website, "ProjectVIGILANT is making a series of press releases and will consider requests for interviews via email or phone. The releases are said to be in support of the Attribution Academy and the concomitant release of the Journal of Cyber Attribution; as well as an arm length list of other major and minor announcements. The releases are also said to be available within the week."

But between January 4th and today, the server for the Project Vigilante website can no longer be found on the Internet.

The world will - no doubt, anxiously - have to wait and see if this was another hoax or if the group jumped the gun with its website and press releases will actually be released this time.

Friday, January 1, 2016

State Department scrubbed email forwarded to Hillary Clinton referring to threat to Huma Abedin

A newly released email by the State Department clearly references a threat made by a New Jersey Muslim man to longtime Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, but was mysteriously scrubbed. Articles credited to a dozen journalists at The New York Times and The Washington Post noted the email, but apparently neither paper researched what the "threat" was about, even though a simple Google search explained it. And the Washington Post spelled a State Department employee's name wrong.

In an article published by The New York Times today, Peter Baker reports, "With the latest releases, more than 1,200 messages have been found to contain classified information. But even some of those released Thursday were redacted heavily under a privacy exemption. One sent to Mrs. Clinton referring to Huma Abedin, one of her closest aides, forwarded a message with the subject line 'Threat,' but the text was blacked out."

At The Washington Post, Rosalind S. Helderman wrote, "In the emails released most recently, for instance, Clinton thanked a top aide, Joe McManus, in July 2012 for forwarding what appeared to be information about a threat against her long-serving close personal aide, Huma part of an email chain titled 'Huma' and that included the State Department's top security officer, Eric Bosworth. Abedin's primary residence with her husband, former Rep. Anthony Weiner, was in Manhattan."

The "State Department's top security officer" was actually Eric Boswell, not Bosworth, as the Post wrongly reports.

Seven other reporters - Carol Morello, Anne Gearan, Tom Hamburger, Mary Jordan, Carol D. Leonnig, Karen Tumulty and Vanessa Williams - worked on the Post article. And the New York Times noted, "Reporting was contributed by Steven Lee Myers from Washington, Amy Chozick from New York, and Gardiner Harris from Kailua, Hawaii."

(Editor's Note: Washington Post Managing Editor Cameron Barr has ignored multiple tweets and an email about this embarrassing typo, and - as of January 3rd - it remains uncorrected. Barr thanked me a few months ago for pointing out misspellings in an article by David Weigel - who sent me a trollish, threatening email (that Barr gave me a half-baked apology over) - but has ignored emails and tweets pointing out similar typos, errors and incorrect facts in many Washington Post articles. I can't remember the last story I read from that paper online which doesn't seem to be poorly edited, researched or proofread. Weigel will be the subject of a future article. Aside from the fact he's friends with Libertarian/Conservative political operatives and bloggers who falsely accused me of crimes and sued me in a crazy conspiracy lawsuit - that he has written one-sided articles about at a few different media outlets - Weigel has a long history of shilling for them, along with presidential candidate Ted Cruz, which the Washington Post has also ignored.

Dave Weigel omits the fact that he's friendly with many colleagues of Dan Backer and Shaun McCutcheon - such as filmmaker Ladd Ehlinger Jr. - who he has hyped in many stories. Ehlinger has not only been hired by PACs controlled by Backer to create viral campaign ads - including one that McCutcheon's website brags he " encourage voters to support Republican Bob Turner in the special election to replace Anthony Weiner after his scandal" - he has also been a plaintiff in a lawsuit against the FEC (Stop This Insanity pdf, Docket showing Backer representing Ehlinger). Weigel has also hung out at CPAC parties sponsored by Backer and McCutcheon, but the Washington Post reporter is not big on transparency when it comes to himself. In 2012, Weigel and Slate leaked - and cherry-picked - Direct Messages I sent him regarding convicted bomber Brett Kimberlin, who I was falsely accused of working with in a conspiracy theory lawsuit argued by Dan Backer, that was tossed out of court, and Ehlinger also leaked emails to slander me at his blog.]

The email was sent by United States Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Eric Boswell on July 21, 2012 at 9:32 AM to Joseph Macmanus - who was Executive Assistant to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, at the time - and Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy, and Macmanus forwarded it to the top 2016 Democratic presidential candidate's private email account an hour later.

"Thanks for the update and for the peace of mind from the NYPD," Hillary Clinton responded, ten minutes after being forwarded the email.

As the New York Post reported a day later on July 22, 2012, "Police and federal officials have placed security around ex-Rep. Anthony Weiner’s wife, Huma Abedin, after a New Jersey man threatened her, law-enforcement sources said."

"An individual, described as a Muslim man, made the unspecified threat after Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) last week claimed Abedin’s family had ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and asked for a probe to see if she is helping the Islamist organization," Larry Celona added. "The man was questioned by the NYPD and the State Department and has not been charged, sources said."

In today's NY Times, Baker added, "Mrs. Clinton’s presidential campaign was sensitive to the perception that the batch posted online Thursday was deliberately released on New Year’s Eve, a time when attention would be low. The campaign made a point on Twitter of reminding the public that the release date was set according to the court schedule."