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After State Department Snub, Senators Look to ‘Other Means’ to Investigate Tax Dollars Propping up Soros Work

Republican senators could investigate U.S. tax dollars funding liberal billionaire George Soros’ networks abroad “through other means” if the Trump administration’s State Department doesn’t provide answers.

Six GOP senators wrote Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in March to ask for a State Department probe into how the federal grants are being used by Soros-funded Open Society Foundations, specifically in Macedonia and Albania, to promote progressive causes and undermine conservative and moderate political leaders in those countries. The State Department Bureau of Legislative Affairs responded not by addressing the question of a probe, but defending the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID.

Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, James Inhofe of Oklahoma, Ted Cruz of Texas, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Thom Tillis of North Carolina, and David Perdue of Georgia made the initial inquiry to Tillerson. Lee hoped for more in the response.

“Sen. Lee was not satisfied with the letter and believes the matter needs to be reviewed by Secretary Tillerson,” Lee spokesman Conn Carroll told The Daily Signal in a statement. “If the State Department is unwilling to give this a serious look, we will look at options to force the issue through other means.”

Neither the State Department nor USAID responded to inquiries from The Daily Signal for this story.

The Open Society Foundations also did not respond to request for comment on this story.

The March 14 letter from the senators to Tillerson asks the department to “investigate all funds associated with promoting democracy and governance and review the programs, accounts, and multiplicity of U.S. entities involved in such activities.”

The letter also states that the U.S. must “review how all our tax dollars are being utilized in order to halt activities that are fomenting political unrest, disrespecting national sovereignty and civil society, and ultimately undermine our attempts to build beneficial international relationships.”

When members of a president’s own party write to a Cabinet secretary, a more direct response might be anticipated. In this case, a career State Department employee signed a letter in response—which didn’t satisfy Lee. Joseph E. Macmanus, the State Department’s executive secretary, signed a March 23 letter that never directly responded to the call for an investigation.

“USAID issues clear guidelines to its missions and implementing partners that USAID assistance programs must adhere to the principle of supporting representative, multiparty systems, and must not seek to determine election outcomes,” the Macmanus letter said.

The response continues: “U.S. policy in Macedonia is to support the country’s Euro-Atlantic integration and the reforms necessary to advance that goal. … In Albania, U.S. policy supports the country’s accession to the European Union and the reforms necessary to advance that goal. This includes funding and support for judicial reform, for fighting corruption and organized crime and countering violent extremism.”

The senators highlighted the countries mentioned above in their original letter to Tillerson, which said:

As the recipient of multiple grant awards and serving as a USAID contractor implementing projects in this small nation of 2.1 million people, our taxpayer funding foreign aid goes far, allowing Foundation Open Society-Macedonia (FOSM) to push a progressive agenda and invigorated the political left.

USAID has provided the Soros-funded Open Society Foundation $4.8 million in Macedonia, according to Judicial Watch.

In conducting its own investigation, obtaining documents, and doing interviews with officials from the U.S. and Macedonia, Judicial Watch announced in a press release Wednesday that it has learned:

The Open Society Foundations has established and funded dozens of leftwing, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Macedonia to overthrow the conservative government. One Macedonian government official interviewed by Judicial Watch in Washington D.C. recently, called it the ‘Soros infantry.’ The groups organize youth movements, create influential media outlets, and organize violent protests to undermine the institutions and policies implemented by the government. One of the Soros groups funded the translation and publication of Saul Alinsky’s ‘Rules for Radicals’ into Macedonian.

In Albania, corruption and crime includes drug trafficking. Soros is a known supporter of relaxed drug laws, and is also leading the country’s effort in judicial reforms, which GOP senators say could be designed to boost the country’s socialist prime minister, Edi Rama.

Foundation Open Society-Albania (FOSA) and its experts, with funding from USAID, have created the controversial Strategy Document for Albanian Judicial Reform. Some leaders believe these “reforms” are ultimately aimed to give the Prime Minister and left of center government full control over judiciary power.

(For more from the author of “After State Department Snub, Senators Look to ‘Other Means’ to Investigate Tax Dollars Propping up Soros Work” please click HERE)

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State Department Gives Long Overdue Approval to Keystone XL Pipeline

If you had a child when TransCanada first submitted its application to build the Keystone XL pipeline, he would be halfway through the first grade by now.

Seven years after TransCanada submitted its first permit application for the Keystone XL pipeline, the Trump administration has overcome the prevaricating defeat-by-delay strategy of the last administration.

The State Department’s decision to approve a permit for the pipeline at the U.S.-Canadian border comes as a result of President Donald Trump’s Jan. 24 executive order to expedite infrastructure projects.

Just days later, TransCanada resubmitted its application, and in February it suspended its lawsuit against the U.S. government for $15 billion in damages resulting from the drawn-out delay under President Barack Obama.

Today, the State Department, relying on extensive reports completed under the Obama administration, approved a permit.

What more can be said after seven years of talking an otherwise mundane pipeline to death?

The amount of time and resources spent debating one pipeline is stunning. The State Department has published five environmental reviews, Congress has voted 23 times, and The Heritage Foundation has written well over 100 blogs, op-eds, and policy papers on the Keystone XL pipeline.

Democrats and Republicans alike have voted in favor of a permit—in fact, approving the pipeline was one of the first orders of business last Congress, only to be met by an Obama veto.

Obama’s own State Department concluded that the pipeline was environmentally safe and would not contribute in any significant manner to global warming.

Instead of listening to the State Department officials, some of his own Cabinet members, and the unions supporting the project, Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry listened to the environmental activist organizations and shut it down.

Opponents of Keystone XL are still trotting out excuses, saying that the jobs impact will be minimal and Keystone may not be a viable project in an era of low oil prices.

While the permanent job tally will be small, the criticism dismisses the thousands of shovel-ready construction jobs building the northern half will create. In fact, the southern portion, which did not require Obama’s approval, created nearly 5,000 jobs.

Construction jobs by their nature are temporary. The 35-50 permanent jobs indicate how efficient Keystone XL is.

As to whether or not Keystone XL is still economically viable, that’s a business decision, not a government one.

Oil prices are long-term. Industry makes investment decisions looking decades into the future, not simply based on short-term projections.

Although it certainly is possible that low oil prices could keep Keystone XL from reaching its peak volume, oil prices could rise as quickly as they fell. Businesses are much better equipped and flexible to deal with changing economic circumstances than short-sighted politicians in Washington.

Approving a permit has nothing to do with supporting “big oil” or fighting global warming. It’s simply good energy, environment, and economic policy.

The Keystone XL pipeline is part of an extensive grid of energy infrastructure that helps fuel our economy, support our way of life, and open new opportunities. There are 2.4 million miles of pipeline crisscrossing the U.S., 72,000 miles of which are for crude oil.

Nearly every good and service Americans engage in—schools, hospitals, grocery stores, transportation, manufacturing, and so on—depend on affordable, reliable energy like that being transported through pipelines like the Keystone XL pipeline.

The fight over Keystone XL represents a larger problem for infrastructure (whether it is pipelines or transmissions) where regulators and politicians capitulate to the “Keep It in the Ground” movement.

An already onerous environmental review and permitting process is stretched longer by environmental activists tying projects up in courts.

It’s nice to see that the State Department’s approval of Keystone XL re-establishes some certainty and sanity to a permitting process that was hijacked by political pandering.

However, Congress and the Trump administration need to implement reform so that projects in the future are not held up for years in regulatory paralysis or through litigation. (For more from the author of “State Department Gives Long Overdue Approval to Keystone XL Pipeline” please click HERE)

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State Department ‘Troubled’ by Moscow’s Move Against Soros Groups

The U.S. State Department says it is “troubled” by Russia’s decision to ban two of liberal billionaire George Soros’ pro-democracy charities and label the organizations a threat to national security.

“Today’s designation of the Open Society Foundations and the Open Society Institute Assistance Foundation as so-called ‘undesirable’ organizations will only further restrict the work of civil society in Russia for the benefit of the Russian people,” State Department spokesman Mark Toner said Monday. “This action is yet another example of the Russian Government’s growing crackdown on independent voices and a deliberate step to further isolate the Russian people from the world.”

A spokesperson from Russia’s Prosecutor General’s Office said the activities of the fund are threats to state security and the Russian constitution, Radio Free Europe reports.

The Open Society Foundations said in a statement on its website that it was “dismayed” by the decision . . .

Prosecutors started investigating the charity fund in July after Russian senators flagged a list of 12 groups that required a closer look over their supposed anti-Russian activities, RT reports. (Read more from “State Department ‘Troubled’ by Moscow’s Move Against Soros Groups” HERE)

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Critics Say New State Department Guidelines Meant to ‘Chill’ Employee Speech

Funny faces: Hillary ClintonTougher State Department rules governing federal workers’ speech — covering everything from their congressional testimony to tweets — have critics warning of a chilling effect that could be a way to put officials on notice as Congress probes the Benghazi attack and Hillary Clinton email scandal.

“Boy, does this smell like bad fish,” said Peter Van Buren, an ex-foreign service officer who was squeezed out of his job in 2012 after he published a book and a personal blog critical of the State Department’s Iraq reconstruction efforts.

“This does seem kind of coincidental that these new rules, after three years, have been issued in the same time frame as the Hillary Clinton [email] situation … and looking forward to [Benghazi] hearings in October,” he told FoxNews.com. “It looks like they are trying to chill the speech of their employees.”

The 19-page revised rules, first reported by the blog Diplopundit, were issued on July 27 and include three major changes or clarifications, critics say, that could clamp down on government workers’ speech. They include specific wording about congressional testimony, wait times for review of blog posts and social media like tweets, and additional restrictions on what material can be published in a personal capacity by either current or former employees.

“It’s an absolute overreach,” Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told The Heritage Foundation’s Daily Signal. (Read more from “Critics Say New State Department Guidelines Meant to ‘Chill’ Employee Speech” HERE)

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Report: Sweeping New Hostage Policy Due to ‘Idiot’ at State Dept, WILL Harm Americans

The federal government will stop threatening families with criminal prosecution for attempting to pay ransom for loved ones taken hostage by terrorist groups, President Barack Obama will announce Wednesday in an executive order clarifying and changing the way the government handles hostage situations. The sweeping new policy is due to “an idiot” at the Department of State, an official close to the review process told The Daily Caller News Foundation– and “it’s going to encourage more kidnappings of U.S. service members and U.S. diplomats stationed abroad, and it’s going to make Americans targets.”

The changes are the result of an extensive review of federal policy regarding hostages abroad. Obama ordered the review in December after frustrated family members of current and former hostages complained about the process, and in light of changing national security realities, such as the rise of ISIS, since the policy was written in 2000.

The official told TheDCNF that the Justice Department has not wanted to issue blanket immunity because there are times when a duress defense would not hold up in court, such as if the a family crowd-sourced for ransom money. That, the officials said, is because providing material support to terrorists is a blatant violation of U.S. law. Other agencies also opposed the change.

It’s long been an unofficial policy to turn the other way if a family tries to pay a ransom, but making that policy official could prove problematic if non-family members try to get financially involved or if family members try to solicit the public for the money they need to pay a ransom.

“This is really media-driven,” the official told TheDCNF. “The White House wants this issue to go away.” (Read more from “Report: Sweeping New Hostage Policy Due to ‘Idiot’ at State Dept, WILL Harm Americans” HERE)

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State Department Shuts Down Email After One of the Most Serious Cyber Attacks in Department History

The State Department shut down large parts of its unclassified email system today in a final attempt to rid it of malware believed to have been inserted by Russian hackers in what has become one of the most serious cyber intrusions in the department’s history, U.S. officials told ABC News.

“The Department is implementing improvements to the security of its main unclassified network during a short, planned outage of some internet-linked systems,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in a statement to ABC News.

The outage could last though the weekend, according to officials. But as of now there is no time limit and no real indication of when the system will be back online.

Last November, the State Department conducted similar repairs to its system stemming from a cyber-attack it suffered the month before. The attack targeted the unclassified email system and is believed to have been executed by Russian hackers. (Read more from “State Department Shuts Down Email After One of the Most Serious Cyber Attack’s in Department History” HERE)

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Top U.S. Counter-Terrorism Director Charged with Soliciting Sex from Minor, Obscene Communications [+video]

By The Associated Press. A U.S. State Department official appeared in court Wednesday afternoon following his arrest in D.C. on a charge of soliciting a minor.

Daniel Rosen was arrested at his Washington home around noon Tuesday, said Lucy Caldwell, a spokeswoman with the Fairfax County Police Department in northern Virginia.

Rosen, 44, was in custody with the D.C. Department of Corrections and was arraigned during an initial appearance in D.C. Superior Court.

Rosen was arrested “following a series of online exchanges” with a detective assigned to the Fairfax County Police Department’s Child Exploitation Unit, Caldwell said. He was charged with one count of using of a communications device to solicit a juvenile. (Read more from ‘Top U.S. Counter-Terrorism Director Charged with Obscene Communications, Soliciting Sex from Minor’ HERE)


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Senior State Department Official Arrested for Allegedly Soliciting Sex from a Minor

By James Rosen. A senior State Department official in charge of federal counterterrorism programs will face trial in Virginia after he was arrested Tuesday afternoon for allegedly soliciting sex from a minor.

Fairfax County Police officials say Daniel Rosen was arrested by a county detective about noon Tuesday at his Washington, D.C. home after he allegedly sought to arrange sex with a minor. The detective, a female officer working in the county’s Child Exploitation Unit, had been posing as the minor in online exchanges with Rosen, police said.


Rosen, who is the director of counterterrorism programs and policy at the State Department, appeared in D.C. Superior Court Wednesday and waived extradition to Virginia. A judge ordered him held without bond, and authorities said he would be transferred to a Fairfax County jail sometime in the next ten days.

An online court record did not list an attorney for him, and a message seeking comment left by The Associated Press on Wednesday at a telephone number associated with his address was not immediately returned. (Read more from this story HERE)

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State Dept Offering Millions to Recapture Terrorist Freed From Gitmo

Photo Credit: Reuters

Photo Credit: Reuters

On December 18, 2014, the State Department put Ibrahim al-Rubaysh, a senior leader of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, on a Specially Designated Global Terrorist watch list. Al-Rubaysh plays a key role in operational planning for the terrorist group and provides justification for their attacks. He’s also made public statements on more than one occasion calling for war against the United States. For these reasons, there’s been a $5 million reward offered since October for information that could lead to his capture.

The problem is not the terrorist per se, or the State Department’s decision to place him on the global watch list; it’s the fact that the U.S. already had him once—and let him go.

Judicial Watch explains:
“Hundreds of Gitmo terrorists have been discharged over the years under a program that started with President George W. Bush and continued full-throttle with this administration. Intelligence report after intelligence report has revealed that many rejoin terrorist missions after leaving the military prison. In fact, Judicial Watch has been reporting this for years. Back in 2010 JW wrote about a report that the Director of National Intelligence gave Congress documenting that 150 former Gitmo detainees were confirmed or suspected of “reengaging in terrorist or insurgent activities after transfer.” At least 83 remained at large, according to the document.”

Read more from this story HERE.

What is Hillary Hiding?

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

The State Department has failed to turn over government documents covering Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state that The Associated Press and others requested under the U.S. Freedom of Information Act ahead of her presumptive presidential campaign. They include one request AP made four years ago and others pending for more than one year.

The agency already has missed deadlines it set for itself to turn over the material.

The State Department denied the AP’s requests, and rejected the AP’s subsequent appeals, to release the records sought quickly under a provision in the law reserved for journalists requesting federal records about especially newsworthy topics.

In its requests, the AP cited the likely prospect of Clinton entering the 2016 race. The former first lady is widely considered the leading Democratic contender hoping to succeed President Barack Obama. She has made scores of recent high-profile speeches and public appearances.

On Wednesday, the conservative political advocacy group Citizens United sued the State Department for failing to disclose flight records showing who accompanied Clinton on overseas trips.

Read more from this story HERE.

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Hillary Clinton Got The Benghazi Talking Points BEFORE Rest Of Obama Administration

By Patrick Howley

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton knew the Obama White House’s Benghazi talking points BEFORE the White House even sent them around to administration officials.

Hillary Clinton used the administration’s exact talking point blaming the attack on a YouTube video before Obama’s White House speechwriter Ben Rhodes drafted it to prepare Susan Rice for Sunday morning talk shows days later.

As Rhodes prepares to leave the White House before he can be called to testify in front of Rep. Trey Gowdy’s select committee on the attack, a new timeline emerges that puts the video in Secretary Clinton’s hands.

We know now that Benghazi was an al-Qaeda attack, not just a spontaneous response to filmmaker Nakoula Nakoula Bassely’s obscure film “Innocence of Muslims.”

Read more from this story HERE.

State Department Forced to Apologize for Promoting Muslim Cleric Who Supported Killing of U.S. Soldiers

Photo Credit: IJ Review In yet another embarrassment to Obama’s State Department, conservative news outlet Free Beacon forced the Counter Terrorism Bureau to apologize for promoting a Muslim cleric who supported a 2004 fatwa (an Islamic religious order), endorsing the killing of U.S. soldiers fighting in Iraq:

The apology came on the heels of a Friday Washington Free Beacon report detailing the CT Bureau’s promotion of Sheik Abdallah Bin Bayyah, the vice president of a radical Muslim scholars group that was founded by a radical Muslim Brotherhood leader who has called “for the death of Jews and Americans.”

…The CT Bureau apologized multiple times on Tuesday for tweeting in favor of Bin Bayyah and promoting an article on his website.

Read more from this story HERE.