National School Boards Association Admits to Colluding with Biden Administration on ‘Domestic Terrorism’ Letter

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) admitted Friday to colluding with senior White House officials to develop a letter asking the federal government to investigate concerned parents speaking at school board meetings as “domestic terrorists.”

The admission comes after an internal review, which was prompted by significant backlash to the letter that led Attorney General Merrick Garland to sic the FBI on parents and use “counterterrorism tools” to investigate them.

Parents speaking at school board meetings across the country were primarily outraged by the revelations that their children were being indoctrinated with critical race and queer theories, as well as the draconian coronavirus policies that masked children and shut down schools, leading to significant learning loss and other developmental stunting.

NSBA investigators placed the blame for the letter — from their end — almost entirely on Chip Slaven, who at the time was the Interim CEO and Executive Director of the organization. Slaven worked closely with White House Senior Advisor to the President Mary C. Wall, who “had advanced knowledge of the planned Letter and its specific contents and interacted with Mr. Slaven regarding the Letter during its drafting,” according to the findings of the inquiry.

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland testifies at a House Judiciary Committee hearing at the U.S. Capitol on October 21, 2021 in Washington, DC. Garland fielded many questions regarding first amendment issues related to school board meetings and efforts to prevent violence against public officials. (Photo by Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images)

U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland testifies at a House Judiciary Committee hearing at the U.S. Capitol on October 21, 2021, in Washington, DC. Garland fielded many questions regarding first amendment issues related to school board meetings and efforts to prevent violence against public officials. (Photo by Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images)

“In addition, evidence indicates that White House officials discussed the existence of the Letter, its requests, and the contents of the Letter with Department of Justice officials more than a week before the Letter was finalized and sent to President Biden,” the findings continue. “Ms. Wall requested an advanced copy of the Letter to provide to her White House and Department of Justice colleagues ‘to see if there might be any options we can pursue here.’”

The findings also claim that “the Letter initially received positive and cooperative feedback from the White House” but that “the Letter received significant political and media attention. As a result, the NSBA faces criticism for the Letter as well as a decline in its membership, posing challenges for the future of the organization.”

“In less than a week, Attorney General Merrick Garland issued a memorandum to federal law enforcement officials directing federal agencies to act consistent with relief requested in the Letter,” the report says.

During that time as well, others at the NSBA whom the findings deem “principal parties” were also involved with the concoction of the letter and it being shopped around to interested parties and media organizations.

Viola Garcia, who at the time was President of the NSBA Board of Directors, was quickly given a job at the Department of Education overseeing student progress.

Jason Amos, NSBA Director of Communications, “worked closely with Mr. Slaven and [NSBA Interim Chief Advocacy Officer Jane] Mellow to provide advance copies of the Letter to media outlets and to intentionally draw significant attention to the Letter both before and after it was publicly released.”

The day after Garland’s issuing of the memorandum, Biden himself called Garcia in a “fifteen-minute one-on-one phone call” and “thanked her for letting him know what was happening at the local level and for Dr. Garcia discussing the letter on television,” according to the investigation. Biden also invited her to visit the Oval Office, but investigators report that the visit never occurred.

Garcia was apparently reluctant to speak with NSBA investigators about the Biden call “because of the perception that the NSBA was ‘in cahoots essentially with the Biden Administration on this Letter.’”

House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Judiciary ranking member Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Oversight and Reform ranking member Rep. James Comer (R-KY), and Education and Labor ranking member Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) released a joint statement condemning the Biden administration.

“This report confirms that the Biden administration colluded with members of the NSBA to abuse the counterterrorism authorities of the federal government and investigate America’s parents,” the statement begins. “This entire episode remains an insult to parents. … Those who coordinated these unprecedented attacks on our families must be held accountable.”

The letter, however, was apparently “not authorized or approved by the Board of Directors or the Executive Committee” and “no one on the Board of Directors, other than the four officers of the NSBA, reviewed the draft” before being sent to Biden.

“The letter directly contradicts our core commitments to parent engagement, local control, and nonpartisanship,” current NSBA CEO and Executive Director John Heim said in a statement announcing the conclusions of the investigation. “The sentiments shared in the letter do not represent the views or position of the NSBA. The NSBA does not seek or advocate for federal law enforcement intervention at local school board meetings.”

One of the chiefly outrageous requests from the NSBA that fed into the negative reaction from parents and politicians alike was for the federal government to use the PATRIOT Act to prosecute parents. In an interview with investigators, Slaven said that “he edited the letter to clarify that the request to utilize the PATRIOT Act was not with regard to al Qaeda or foreign adversaries, but with regard to the fact that ‘we were concerned over folks here in this country.’”

The report appears to gloss over much of the parental concern with critical race and queer theories, however, saying the impetus for Slaven’s seeking the letter was in “response to the growing tensions at local school board meetings made manifest by the divide in public opinion in the then-ongoing debate about when and how public-school students should return to in-person instruction.”

“As a result of the NSBA’s internal investigation, the American people now know that Biden Administration officials did indeed work with NSBA on the since-retracted letter requesting federal intervention in school board issues,” Parents Defending Education President Nicole Neily said in a statement. “It is inexcusable that a senior White House advisor would have the audacity to collaborate on a public request to use the Patriot Act against families; this is, quite literally, a betrayal of trust by the highest levels of government.

“While a number of questions remain – including the extent of Secretary Cardona’s involvement in this scandal – it is our hope that the individuals involved are held accountable for this betrayal of public trust,” Neily concluded.

Breccan F. Thies is a reporter for Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @BreccanFThies.

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Emails Surface More Evidence Hillary Clinton Paid For Anti-Trump Disinformation Operation

Emails Surface More Evidence Hillary Clinton Paid For Anti-Trump Disinformation Operation

Evidence continues to mount that the Hillary Clinton campaign paid former MI6 agent Christopher Steele to launder fraudulent opposition research through U.S. intelligence agencies.

Newly published internal emails reveal that before Fusion GPS hired Steele on behalf of the Clinton campaign to dig up dirt on Donald Trump, the opposition-research firm began peddling several of the same Russia collusion lies that the former MI6 agent would later detail in the Steele dossier. This fact highlights a significant aspect of the Spygate scandal that deserves further focus and condemnation: Democrats’ outrageous exploitation of intelligence credentials and connections to launder scurrilous accusations against a political enemy.

Since early 2018, when the then-Chair of the House Intelligence Committee Devin Nunes exposed in a four-page memorandum evidence that the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) had abused the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act during the 2016 presidential election cycle, Americans open to reality have been slowly learning of the breadth of the Spygate scandal.

Attention during this time rightly focused first on FISA abuse and the FBI’s use of unverified “intel” to obtain a court order to surveil former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page. As the scandal continued to unravel, the categories of impropriety multiplied, from deep-staters illegally leaking to the media to build the collusion narrative and later to force the appointment of a special counsel, to the selection of the “right people” in the form of rabid partisans to staff the Crossfire Hurricane team.

Another underlying aspect of the scandal only became clear recently with the prosecution of former Clinton campaign attorney Michael Sussmann. Proceedings in Special Counsel John Durham’s false statement criminal case against Sussmann reveal Democrats paid credentialed individuals connected to U.S. intelligence agencies to pass, to both the press and the government, invented evidence of Trump colluding with Russia.

Sussmann, who previously worked for the DOJ, represents one such connected individual whose credentials served to hide the Clinton campaign’s responsibility for creating the Russia-collusion disinformation. Over the last several months, filings in the special counsel’s criminal case against Sussmann have exposed how he played his relationships with FBI and CIA agents to score meetings to pass on data and “white papers” related to the Alfa Bank and Yota phone Russia hoaxes, while hiding their origins.

Now, a batch of emails between Fusion GPS and journalists made public earlier this week in the Sussmann case after the special counsel’s office inadvertently filed them on the public docket suggest Steele was paid for the same reason: his credentials and connections would hide the political nature of the hit.

Those emails reveal that the month before Fusion GPS hired Steele, it had begun spinning the tale that the Trump campaign-connected Carter Page served Russian interests. In mid-May 2016, Fusion GPS’s Jake Berkowitz emailed Slate reporter Franklin Foer about Page. The note, which includes several links with prefatory sentences about Page, reads as a collaborative effort to investigate the Trump advisor.

Peter Fritsch, the co-founder of Fusion GPS, also joined in the email thread. It continued a few days later, with Berkowitz sharing with Fritsch and Foer his latest “research” on Page. That email included a couple of names of “former partners” of Page and a link to a Medium.com article critical of Page. The Medium article also attacked Trump’s then-volunteer campaign advisor George Papadopoulos, whom the FBI would later claim prompted the launching of Crossfire Hurricane when Papadopoulos supposedly bragged that the Russians had dirt on Hillary.

The Fusion GPS researchers continued to share the results of their probe into Page with Foer. Berkowitz on May 19, 2016 told his Fusion GPS boss and the reporter that “some Merrill bond issuances during Page’s tenure” at the investment banking firm of Merrill Lynch involved some “interesting characters,” including Alfa Bank and its founders. To that email, Foer responded that he is “going to do some work on Rick Burt,” whom he bets “does some work for the Russians.” Foer would then claim in a follow-up email that Burt was on the Alfa Bank board.

Foer incorporated the early research he exchanged with Fusion GPS in his Slate piece, “Vladimir Putin has a Plan for Destroying the West—and It Looks a Lot Like Donald Trump,” which cast Page, Papadopoulos, and the Alfa-Bank-connected Burt as Russian-compromised associates of Trump. Foer was also the “journalist” who ran the Alfa Bank tale at Slate just two weeks before the presidential election. Emails exchanged in late June between Fritsch and Foer also show Fusion GPS focusing on Sergei Millian, with Fritsch declaring that Millian is “clearly kgb.”

Fusion GPS continued to exchange emails over the next three months with Foer and other Democrat scribes, such as the Washington Post’s Tom Hamburger and Mark Hosenball from Reuters. Millian was a subject of a July 24, 2016 email sent by Fusion GPS’s other founder, Glenn Simpson, to Hamburger. In that late-July email, Simpson provided the Post’s “journalist” three email addresses for Millian, suggesting a push by Fusion GPS to have reporters focus on Millian as part of the Russia-collusion hoax.

These emails prove significant much beyond exposing the symbiotic relationship that existed between the Clinton-funded Fusion GPS and the unpaid propagandists in the press. That’s because the timing and targets of the communications indicate Democrats paid for Steele to stamp their opposition research with an MI6 imprimatur.

The law firm of Perkins Coie first hired Fusion GPS in April 2016 to conduct opposition research on Trump on behalf of the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. But Fusion GPS did not retain Steele until June 2016, with Steele’s initial memorandum being first dated June 20, 2016. By then, however, Fusion GPS had already targeted Page and highlighted Alfa Bank as suspect. Fusion GPS’s communications with the press pre-Steele also focused on Page’s role as an advisor for the Trump campaign and various connections to Alfa Bank.

Steele’s dossier would later seemingly confirm Fusion GPS’s framing of Page as a Russian agent based on the numerous lies Steele’s “primary sub-source,” Igor Danchenko, fed the former MI6 agent. Among his other lies, Danchenko, who is currently under indictment for making false statements to the FBI, falsely claimed that Millian had provided detailed intel related to the Trump campaign and Page.

While Steele did not name Danchenko or Millian in his memoranda, his dossier not only identified Page but framed Page as a Russian agent. The Steele dossier then served as the basis for the FBI to obtain a FISA court order to surveil Page, and in turn, the Trump campaign.

The DOJ’s Office of Inspector General has already excoriated the DOJ and FBI agents involved in obtaining FISA surveillance orders for Page for misconduct, but the blame extends further to the FISA court. It issued the unconstitutional surveillance orders based on Steele’s work as a former MI6 agent.

No wonder Fusion GPS paid Steele. They needed his credential as an MI6 agent to provide gravitas to their opposition research and to hide the Clinton-campaign roots of the attacks on Trump. The Clinton campaign also needed Steele to exploit his government contacts, which the former spy did by passing the dossier off to his handler, his pal Bruce Ohr, and later the U.S. State Department. Steele thus served as a facade for Democrats’ attempt to frame Trump as a Russian patsy.

The email dump earlier this week, which represents but a fraction of “the hundreds” of emails between Fusion GPS and reporters, further reveals this reality by showing that Fusion GPS already had the storyline it paid Steele to compile well in hand before they retained the former MI6 agent. The same could be said for the journalists.


Margot Cleveland is The Federalist’s senior legal correspondent. She is also a contributor to National Review Online, the Washington Examiner, Aleteia, and Townhall.com, and has been published in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Cleveland is a lawyer and a graduate of the Notre Dame Law School, where she earned the Hoynes Prize—the law school’s highest honor. She later served for nearly 25 years as a permanent law clerk for a federal appellate judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Cleveland is a former full-time university faculty member and now teaches as an adjunct from time to time. As a stay-at-home homeschooling mom of a young son with cystic fibrosis, Cleveland frequently writes on cultural issues related to parenting and special-needs children. Cleveland is on Twitter at @ProfMJCleveland. The views expressed here are those of Cleveland in her private capacity.

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One Key Argument For Michael Sussmann’s Defense Has Already Crumbled

One Key Argument For Michael Sussmann’s Defense Has Already Crumbled

Former Hillary Clinton campaign attorney Michael Sussmann’s defenders have already been proven wrong on their claim that prosecutors will have a hard time proving Sussmann told the FBI that he was sharing Alfa Bank “intel” on his own, and not on behalf of a client.

Shortly after Special Counsel John Durham charged Sussmann with making a false statement to former FBI General Counsel James Baker when he provided Baker with data and three “white papers” purporting to establish a secret communication channel between the Trump organization and the Russia-based Alfa Bank, Sussmann’s friends, former colleagues, and political bedfellows launched a defense of the former Clinton campaign attorney.

Predictably, The Brookings Institute, which served as ground zero for the Russia collusion hoax, provided cover to Sussmann on its Lawfare blog. Chief collusion conspiracy theorist Benjamin Wittes penned a veritable defense brief. Wittes, who acknowledged in his article that “Baker is a personal friend and former colleague at Brookings and Lawfare,” attacked both Durham and the indictment.

Durham’s 27-page speaking indictment is “one of the very weakest federal criminal indictments I have ever seen in more than 25 years covering federal investigations and prosecutions,” Wittes proclaimed, asserting “the evidence that Sussmann lied at all is weak.”

“As a preliminary matter, the indictment by its terms concedes that the entire case—notwithstanding its many pages of narrative of the conduct of the Clinton campaign and its agents—hinges on the testimony of a single witness: the former FBI general counsel, Jim Baker,” Witte wrote. “This concession appears on page 18 of the indictment, which describes the Sept. 19, 2016, meeting between Sussmann and Baker at FBI Headquarters where the supposed lie happened. The indictment notably includes the fact that ‘[n]o one else attended the meeting.’”

Wittes then ticks off the prosecution’s three pieces of evidence that Sussmann told Baker he was not acting on behalf of any client, calling it “thin gruel,” with the gruel getting “a lot thinner when one looks at each of these pieces of evidence in any detail.”

First, there will be Baker’s testimony that Sussmann told Baker he was not acting on behalf of any client, Wittes notes. But Wittes claims Baker will be an unconvincing witness, because in his congressional testimony in October 2018, “Baker repeatedly disclaims specific memory of whether Sussmann identified his clients.” “It is hard for me to understand how a criminal case against Sussmann can proceed in the face of this testimony,” Wittes wrote.

Sussmann’s friend then downplays the “contemporaneous notes of Bill Priestap,” a higher up at the time in the FBI. Those notes, which Priestap penned after Baker relayed his conversation with Sussmann to his colleague, read “said not doing this for any client.” The note seems to corroborate Baker’s memory, Wittes acknowledges, before discounting it as hearsay. (Hearsay or not, the note will likely be admissible.)

Durham’s third piece of evidence concerns Sussmann supposedly repeating the lie to the CIA in January, but that “doesn’t cleanly corroborate the allegation that Sussmann lied to Baker,” Wittes concludes.

While Wittes’ Lawfare piece presented the most comprehensive defense of Sussmann, his fellow Russia collusion hoaxers also pushed the “it will be impossible to prove Sussmann lied to Baker” theme. In an op-ed for MSNBC, “Russia, Russia, Russia” queen Barbara McQuade called the case “weak on the merits,” claiming the special counsel could not prove Sussmann made the false statement.

“Sussmann maintains that he did not make the statement,” McQuade wrote, before repeating Wittes’ point that “it appears that the whole case is built on the testimony of one witness, Baker.” Like Wittes, McQuade stressed Baker will be a weak witness given his prior testimony. She also discounted Priestap’s corroborating notes as hearsay.

The Washington Post likewise critiqued the special counsel’s case, arguing that “even if the charge is legally sound, proving it will be a huge challenge.” “The alleged false statement was not written down or recorded. There were no witnesses other than the FBI attorney,” the Post wrote. And “given the nature of human language and memory, it’s almost impossible to prove beyond a reasonable doubt precisely what was said during a portion of a single conversation five years ago,” the article announced.

The New York Times also worked to counter the special counsel’s criminal case by citing Sussmann’s defense lawyers, Sean Berkowitz and Michael Bosworth. According to the Times’ piece, Sussmann’s legal team “have denied the accusation, insisting that he did not say he had no client and maintaining that the evidence against him is weak.”

The Times’ Russian-hoaxer team of Savage and Goldman continued: “The case against Mr. Sussmann turns on Mr. Baker’s recollection that Mr. Sussmann told him he was not at the meeting on behalf of any client—which Mr. Sussmann denies saying. There were no witnesses to their conversation.”

Sussmann’s lawyers went further in a statement released after the indictment, with NPR and others reporting the Latham and Watkins attorneys’ claim that the special counsel “is bringing a false statement charge based on an oral statement allegedly made five years ago to a single witness that is unrecorded and unobserved by anyone else.”

For all the ink spilled over the “you can’t prove Sussmann said he was not representing a client” defense of the former Clinton campaign attorney, 42 words dissolve that narrative: “Jim—it’s Michael Sussmann. I have something time-sensitive (and sensitive) I need to discuss. Do you have availability for a short meeting tomorrow? I’m coming on my own—not on behalf of a client or company—want to help the Bureau. Thanks.”

Last week, the special counsel’s office revealed Sussmann sent that text to Baker at 7:24 p.m. on the night before the meeting at which Sussmann handed the Alfa Bank material to the then-FBI general counsel. Just like that, the thin gruel seems more like cement.

Of course, it will be for a jury to decide whether Sussmann lied to Baker and is guilty of the offense charged, but Sussmann’s text message dispatches one of the strongest defenses pushed by his cohorts in the court of public opinion, which raises an intriguing question: Why is this text only becoming known now?

It isn’t as if Durham’s team went light on the details, either in the indictment or follow-up legal filings. And from comments they made to the press, Sussmann’s attorneys seemed unaware that prosecutors possessed the text message—which would be bizarre if the special counsel’s office knew of the text before dropping the indictment. After all, the special counsel would want to show Sussmann the strongest evidence it had of the alleged crime, to push him to enter a plea deal and cooperate with prosecutors.

Together these facts suggest that neither the special counsel’s office nor Sussmann’s legal team knew this damning text existed prior to the indictment. How, then, was the text discovered?

One possible explanation is that the text was recovered from one of Baker’s two cellphones the DOJ’s Office of Inspector General had secreted from the special counsel’s office until January 2022. But those phones were “FBI cellphones,” and according to Durham’s filing, the text was sent to Baker’s personal cell phone.

So, maybe instead the special counsel’s office somehow just recently obtained access to Baker’s personal cell phone or texts sent to that phone. If so, why the delay? Was someone keeping this evidence on the sly? Or did Baker possibly forward the Sussmann text from his personal cell phone to one of his FBI cellphones, and thus the text was on the phones the OIG had long possessed? If so, that raises even more questions.

The mysterious case of the appearing text will have to wait for another day. For now, though, we know that, contrary to the Russia-collusion hoaxers’ claim, the special counsel has ample evidence that Sussmann told Baker he was not working on behalf of a client, striking down one of the two main defenses touted by Sussmann’s backers. With a decision by the court on Sussmann’s motion to dismiss imminent, the second attack of the indictment—that the lie was not material—will likely crumble soon too.


Margot Cleveland is The Federalist’s senior legal correspondent. She is also a contributor to National Review Online, the Washington Examiner, Aleteia, and Townhall.com, and has been published in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Cleveland is a lawyer and a graduate of the Notre Dame Law School, where she earned the Hoynes Prize—the law school’s highest honor. She later served for nearly 25 years as a permanent law clerk for a federal appellate judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Cleveland is a former full-time university faculty member and now teaches as an adjunct from time to time. As a stay-at-home homeschooling mom of a young son with cystic fibrosis, Cleveland frequently writes on cultural issues related to parenting and special-needs children. Cleveland is on Twitter at @ProfMJCleveland. The views expressed here are those of Cleveland in her private capacity.

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Federal Judge Finds J6 Defendant Not Guilty, Nuking DOJ Charges That Walking Through An Open Door Is A Crime

Federal Judge Finds J6 Defendant Not Guilty, Nuking DOJ Charges That Walking Through An Open Door Is A Crime

A federal judge found a Jan. 6 defendant who entered the Capitol not guilty on all charges after he said he was waved in by two Capitol Police officers. The decision lays down the groundwork to push back against the Department of Justice’s charge that the hundreds of people on Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, 2021 deserve to be punished.

U.S. District Court Judge Trevor McFadden acquitted Matthew Martin of all misdemeanor charges on Wednesday after he said it was “plausible” that the defendant “reasonably believed” he had permission to be in the Capitol.

Martin made the trek to Washington D.C. after he saw a tweet from former President Donald Trump in December 2020 encouraging supporters to come to his rally. Martin said he entered the Capitol when he was “let in” by two U.S. Capitol Police officers who waved him through a doorway. In his testimony, Martin said law enforcement officers did not try to stop him from entering the building.

McFadden established that Martin’s involvement in the event in the Capitol was “minimal and not serious.” He also said that video evidence shows that “quiet” and “orderly” Martin was merely a “silent observer” instead of an active participant who entertained any of the crowd’s rowdy antics.

When the Sante Fe, N.M., man was arrested a year ago in April of 2021, he faced a myriad of charges including “entering and remaining in a restricted building; disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building; violent entry and disorderly conduct in a Capitol building; and parading, demonstrating, or picketing in a Capitol building.”

As a result, Martin lost his job as a senior engineer at a company that does work for the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration. Now that he was found not guilty on all counts, Martin hopes he can get his job back.

“I am very thankful for the judge’s verdict and I’m hoping that I can my life back, I can get my job back,” he said in an interview after the judge’s ruling.

“Martin did not break the law,” the defendant’s lawyer stated. “And we had the benefit of a lot of video evidence, and the judge had a chance to see it. And video evidence is the best evidence, and he did nothing wrong.”

The acquittal comes hours after reports that President Joe Biden’s DOJ requested extra funds from Congress to prosecute Americans who were present on Capitol grounds on Jan. 6. 


Jordan Boyd is a staff writer at The Federalist and co-producer of The Federalist Radio Hour. Her work has also been featured in The Daily Wire and Fox News. Jordan graduated from Baylor University where she majored in political science and minored in journalism. Follow her on Twitter @jordangdavidson.

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Biden’s DOJ Spied On Project Veritas Journalists By Secretly Reading Thousands Of Their Emails And Snooping Into Their Sources

Biden’s DOJ Spied On Project Veritas Journalists By Secretly Reading Thousands Of Their Emails And Snooping Into Their Sources

President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice secretly spied on Project Veritas by circumventing certain legal processes to gain covert access to the emails and sources of at least eight journalists without their knowledge.

Project Veritas obtained several legal documents from Microsoft Corporation detailing how the DOJ covertly used “secret warrants, orders, and a subpoena” approved by six magistrates in the Southern District of New York (SDNY) to surveil the journalists without proper oversight from the “Special Master” designated to protect the organization’s rights.

Over the course of 16 months, Project Veritas said the DOJ and Assistant United States Attorney Robert B. Sobelman justified giving the SDNY “unchecked” and “unfettered” access to the emails and contacts of Founder and CEO James O’Keefe and seven other staff members because the federal government claimed, without providing evidence, that “there is probable cause to believe the email account(s), maintained at premises controlled by Microsoft Corporation, USA, contain evidence, fruits, and instrumentalities of crime.”

The organization believes this “spying campaign represents the latest example of governmental misconduct in a seemingly politically-motivated investigation by President Biden’s Department of Justice into Project Veritas’ news-gathering activities surrounding allegations against then-candidate, Joe Biden, made by his daughter, Ashley Biden, in her diary.”

The orders, warrants, and subpoenas commissioned by Biden’s DOJ each maintained non-disclosure orders that kept Project Veritas and other judges from knowing that Microsoft had handed over more than a year’s worth of emails to the government for scrutiny. These non-disclosure orders were scheduled to expire in January of 2022, but the SDNY sidestepped previous rulings designed to protect the organization from unjustified overreach and renewed the orders.

Microsoft reportedly took issue with these renewals and demanded that the SDNY change course.

“Microsoft pointed out that the DOJ’s investigation was already public and no proof that Project Veritas would destroy evidence had been offered by the SDNY.  As a result of Microsoft’s briefing, the SDNY relented and permitted Microsoft to disclose the surveillance, which Microsoft did within hours,” Project Veritas reported.  

U.S. District Court Judge Analisa Torres previously ruled that Project Veritas was entitled to “journalistic privileges” and appointed Special Master Judge Barbara Jones to enforce those privileges by gatekeeping the DOJ’s investigation into the organization. Project Veritas alleges that the DOJ kept its email spying campaign a secret from both Torres and Jones to avoid asking for approval so it could secretly gather information about the organization and its staff’s communications.

Further, the DOJ reportedly went behind Torres’s back to a magistrate judge to get an extension on two sealed non-disclosure orders to hide the fact that the federal government already had secret and unhindered access to the journalists’ correspondence.

Project Veritas assessed that as a result, the SDNY possesses “nearly 150K documents they should not have” as well as “over one thousand contacts from journalists that they also failed to disclose to Judge Torres or to the Special Master.”

The organization filed a motion this week demanding that a court force SDNY to halt its digital reconnaissance.

“By the time [Project Veritas] filed the Motion to Appoint a Special Master, the government already had the opportunity to review Project Veritas’ journalistic and attorney-client privileged materials,” Paul Calli, an attorney for the organization, noted in the motion. “…While the Special Master litigation proceeded, the government apparently misled the Court by omission, failing to inform it, and failing to inform the aggrieved journalists, that the government had already obtained the contents of privileged emails from Project Veritas’ cloud computing provider.”


Jordan Boyd is a staff writer at The Federalist and co-producer of The Federalist Radio Hour. Her work has also been featured in The Daily Wire and Fox News. Jordan graduated from Baylor University where she majored in political science and minored in journalism. Follow her on Twitter @jordangdavidson.

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GOP Senators Object To Proposal To Label Mask Objectors ‘Terrorists’

GOP Senators Object To Proposal To Label Mask Objectors ‘Terrorists’

More than half a dozen Republican senators penned a letter last week demanding the Department of Justice (DOJ) reject a request to stamp those who protest airplane mask mandates as “terrorists.”

Earlier this month, Delta Air Lines’ CEO Ed Bastian asked the DOJ to add travelers convicted of “unruly” conduct to a new “no-fly” list barring access to commercial air transport. Such conduct warranting the same expulsion granted to suspected terrorists include those who’ve resisted compliance with mask requirements, which made up nearly three-quarters of airplane disputes last year, according to data from the Federal Aviation Administration published by CNBC.

“Like other airlines, Delta maintains its own no-fly list for anyone who disrupts onboard safety or refuses to comply with crew instructions,” Bastian wrote in a Washington Post op-ed Tuesday doubling down on his request. “But unfortunately, we’ve seen cases in which unruly passengers have simply switched airlines and continued to fly even after endangering flight safety… Only a comprehensive list overseen by the federal government can close the loopholes and prevent disrupters from flying.”

Last week, Republican lawmakers objected to the push for treating those who protest airplane mask mandates as suspected terrorists.

“While airlines are currently free to deny service to any individual over past transgressions on their flights, the federal government’s role in denying access to the commercial aviation network has been limited to ensuring that suspected terrorists remain off of domestic flights,” senators wrote. “The creation of this list by DOJ would result in a severe restriction on the ability of citizens to fully exercise their constitutional right to engage in interstate transportation.”

Face masks have been required on airplanes since President Joe Biden took office last year and signed the mandate as one of his first moves in office. On track to expire March 18, the mandate is likely to be extended again as compulsory facial coverings have become a religious movement among leftists.

“While we strongly condemn any violence towards airline workers,” lawmakers added, “there is significant uncertainty around the efficacy of this mandate.”

The Republicans pointed to Senate testimony from the CEO of Southwest Airlines in December who conceded the masks “don’t add much” to passenger protection from the Wuhan coronavirus considering sophisticated ventilation on modern aircraft.

“The statistics, I recall, is that 99.97 percent of airborne pathogens are captured by the [high-efficiency particulate air] filtering system,” Southwest CEO Gary Kelly told the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. “It’s turned over every two or three minutes.”

The efficacy of masks to stop transmission of the Wuhan coronavirus to begin with remains ambiguous at best.

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Wyoming Republican Sen. Cynthia Lummis, who led the letter to Garland last week with seven GOP colleagues, told The Federalist no-fly lists have already barred law-abiding travelers from commercial airline access.

“There are real concerns about the current no-fly list for terrorists, because it has accidentally stopped honest, law-abiding Americans,” Lummis said. “This is unacceptable, and I have real concerns that an additional no-fly list would do that more and more.”

Lummis also pointed to collusion between the DOJ and the National School Boards Association (NSBC) last fall seeking to indict concerned parents about race-based curricula and obsessive COVID protocols as “domestic terrorists” as reason to be skeptical of the department’s approach weaponizing the “terrorist” label on political dissidents. Garland admitted before House lawmakers in October the NSBA’s recommendation motivated the DOJ to use resources investigating upset parents.

“Given concerns over the Department of Education and Department of Justice’s responses to parents protesting radical school boards, I think my concerns about this list are doubly warranted,” Lummis told The Federalist, as liberal columnists such as the Washington Post’s Jennifer Rubin claim Republicans are defending “thugs.” “The Department of Justice must not unilaterally create a new no-fly list to restrict the constitutional rights of American citizens.”


Tristan Justice is the western correspondent for The Federalist. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and The Daily Signal. His work has also been featured in Real Clear Politics and Fox News. Tristan graduated from George Washington University where he majored in political science and minored in journalism. Follow him on Twitter at @JusticeTristan or contact him at Tristan@thefederalist.com.

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George W. Bush-Ted Kennedy Program Blew Open Door for Fake U.S. Refugee Claims from Iraq

George W. Bush-Ted Kennedy Program Blew Open Door for Fake U.S. Refugee Claims from Iraq

A program created by former President George W. Bush with the help of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) helped blow open the door for widespread fraud among Iraqi nationals in the United States refugee system.

In January 2021, the State Department suspended the Bush-Kennedy Direct Access program, which sought to put Iraqis on a fast-track for refugee resettlement so long as they claimed to aid the U.S. armed forces after the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

Most recently, Iraqi national Aws Muwafaq Abduljabbar pleaded guilty in federal court to conspiracy to commit refugee fraud by operating an international scam ring with two other foreign nationals who worked for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) at overseas consulates.

An unsealed indictment against Abduljabbar, Haitham Isa Saado Sad of Jordan, and Olesya Leonidovna Krasilova of Russia alleges that the three operated the scam from February 2016 to April 2019.

Abduljabbar, the indictment claims, paid Sad and Krasilova for hundreds of refugee case numbers which he would then use to help Iraqi nationals fraudulently, and often successfully, secure refugee status in the U.S.

Sad previously pleaded guilty while Krasilova has yet to be located and arrested.

The case shows the extent to which the Bush-Kennedy program was rife with fraud and abuse. Last year, Breitbart News detailed State Department data that revealed that some 4,000 Iraqi nationals fraudulently filed claims for refugee status in the U.S. — 500 of which have already been resettled in American communities.

Bush created the Direct Access program after signing a Department of Defense (DOD) budget in February 2008 that included the authorization of the program. After failing to get the program, alone, passed through Congress, Kennedy slipped the program’s authorization into the DOD budget.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at jbinder@breitbart.com. Follow him on Twitter here

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Special Counsel ‘Clarification’ Reveals The DOJ’s Inspector General Is Not A Team Player

Special Counsel ‘Clarification’ Reveals The DOJ’s Inspector General Is Not A Team Player

Last Tuesday, Special Counsel John Durham’s office filed a “discovery update” along with a request for an extension of time to provide Michael Sussmann documents related to the government’s pending criminal case against the former Clinton campaign lawyer. Much like the talking indictment Durham filed against Sussmann late last year, the discovery update made public several significant revelations, one of which the special counsel’s office was forced to “clarify” on Friday.

Rather than cast a shadow over the details revealed in the special counsel’s original filing, Friday’s clarification should cause a renewed focus on the most shocking revelation in Durham’s “discovery update”: that early on in the Trump administration, Sussmann met with the inspector general and conveyed a claim that his client, Rodney Joffe, had “seen” a Department of Justice Office of Inspector General (OIG) employee’s computer connect to a foreign IP address.

Why? Because the OIG apparently found nothing for Durham to “correct” concerning the Sussmann-Joffe connection detailed in the special counsel’s initial “discovery update.”

The public has known about Sussmann’s connection to “Tech Executive-1,” Joffe, since September 2022. The special counsel’s indictment of Sussmann alleged Joffe “had exploited his access to non-public data at multiple Internet companies to conduct opposition research concerning Trump.” Then, according to the indictment, Joffe and Sussmann “coordinated . . . with representatives and agents of the Clinton Campaign with regard to the data and written materials that SUSSMANN gave to the FBI and the media,” concerning a supposed communications channel between the Trump Organization and the Russian Alfa-Bank.”

In providing that information to the FBI, specifically the FBI’s General Counsel James Baker, the indictment charged that “Sussmann lied about the capacity in which he was providing the allegations to the FBI.” Sussmann falsely stated that “he was not doing his work on the aforementioned allegations ‘for any client,’” when in fact he was working on behalf of both the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign and Joffe, the special counsel’s indictment alleged.

A Second Sussmann-Joffe Connection

Last week, the special counsel’s office revealed a second connection between Sussmann and Joffe, with this contact involving the OIG rather than the FBI. In the “discovery update” filed last Tuesday by the special counsel’s office, Durham explained that in mid-December, the OIG provided Durham a written forensic report concerning a “cyber-related matter.”

That forensic report summarized a claim Sussmann had made on behalf of one of his then-unnamed clients to an OIG Special Agent in Charge that, in early 2017, his client “had observed that a specific OIG employee’s computer was ‘seen publicly’ in ‘Internet traffic’ and was connecting to a Virtual Private Network in a foreign country.”

In providing Durham’s team the “forensic report,” the OIG office represented “that it had ‘no other file[] or other documentation’ relating to this cyber matter.” However, in last week’s discovery update, Durham’s team told the court it later learned from Sussmann’s attorneys that Sussmann had personally met with the DOJ inspector general in March 2017, when he passed on this “tip” to the OIG.

Also, significantly, while Sussmann had not told the OIG his client’s name at the time, his lawyers informed the special counsel’s office that his client who had “seen publicly” the OIG employee’s computer connecting to a VPN in a foreign country was Tech Executive-1—i.e., Joffe.

After learning these additional details, the special counsel’s office contacted the OIG again and then learned for the first time that Sussmann had met not just with the inspector general but also his then-general counsel about the cyber matter involving Joffe’s tip. That follow-up resulted in the OIG providing Durham additional documentation related to Sussmann’s meeting with the OIG office, even though the OIG had previously claimed there was no further documentation related to that incident.

A Cascade of Questions!

As I wrote following this revelation last week:

So many questions!

First, why did the OIG not inform the Special Counsel’s office that Sussmann had met with both the Inspector General and his then-General Counsel? And why did the OIG falsely represent that there was no ‘further documentation?’ Sure, it could have been accidental, but given that Durham’s attorneys publicly exposed this ‘mistake,’ it suggests something more is afoot.

Then there is the question of the veracity of the claim and what happens to the investigation. Was there really an OIG employee connecting on a foreign VPN? Who was it? Why? Did the OIG ever find out?

What about Joffe: How in the world did he discover the OIG employee’s computer connecting to a VPN in a foreign country? Was Joffe monitoring other government computers? How? Why? Was anyone else involved? Who knew?

The Sussmann Indictment Revisited . . . Again

Given the allegations about Joffe contained in the Sussmann indictment, the revelation that Joffe, through Sussmann, told the OIG about its employee’s computer connecting to a foreign VPN is jaw-dropping. Here’s why.

According to the Sussmann indictment, Joffe served as an executive “of a particular Internet company (‘Internet Company-I’), which offers various Internet-related services and products, including Domain Name System (‘DNS’) resolution services, to its customers.” As the indictment explained, “DNS is a naming system for devices connected to the Internet that translates recognizable domain names, e.g., http://www.google.com, to numerical IP addresses, e.g., 123.456.7.89,” and “a DNS ‘lookup’ refers to an electronic request by a particular computer or device to query information from another device or server.”

“By virtue of his position at Internet and other companies,” the indictment continued, Joffe “maintained direct or indirect access to, and the ability to provide others access to, large amounts of internet and cybersecurity data, including DNS data.”

Joffe’s access to “large amounts of internet and cybersecurity data,” and his ability to “look up” numerical IPS address, coupled with his claim to have seen the OIG employee’s computer “connecting to a Virtual Private Network in a foreign country,” suggests Joffe may have been monitoring government computers.

Given that Sussmann shared Joffe’s claim with the inspector general in March 2017—solidly within the new Trump administration’s time in office and during the ongoing Crossfire Hurricane investigation—and given Sussmann and Joffe’s earlier attempt to peddle the anti-Trump Alfa Bank story to the FBI, one must wonder if Sussmann’s handing off of this second “tip” to the OIG was a continuation of the get-Trump project.

The special counsel’s office seems concerned about these details as well. At least, that is the suggestion from last week’s “discovery update,” in which Durham explained the special counsel’s office will “work expeditiously with the OIG to conduct interviews” related to the Sussmann-Joffe “cyber-related matter.” That the special counsel’s office plans to interview people related to this matter suggests Durham’s interest extends beyond handing discovery material to Sussmann to probing the circumstances and handling of the underlying “tip.”

Baker’s (and Other’s) Phones

The discovery update filed last week raised additional concerns about the OIG’s candor and cooperation with the special counsel’s office. Specifically, Durham’s office noted that “in early January 2022, the Special Counsel’s Office learned for the first time that the OIG currently possesses two FBI cellphones of the former FBI General Counsel” Baker, along with “forensic reports analyzing those cellphones.”

On Friday, the special counsel’s office submitted a three-page “Supplemental Filing Regarding Government’s Discovery Update.” It began by quoting the special counsel office’s previous statement that it had learned for the first time in early January 2022 that the OIG possessed two of Baker’s cellphones. “The Government wishes to provide some additional context for this statement,” the supplemental filing continued.

The special counsel’s office then noted that, after reviewing the initial discovery update, the OIG “brought to our attention based on a review of its own records that, approximately four years ago, on February 9, 2018, in connection with another criminal investigation being led by then-Acting U.S. Attorney Durham, an OIG Special Agent who was providing some support to that investigation informed an Assistant United [States] Attorney working with Mr. Durham that the OIG had requested custody of a number of FBI cellphones.”

According to Friday’s filings, the OIG records indicate that one of Baker’s cellphones was among those the OIG requested, and that the OIG then obtained that phone on February 15, 2018. The OIG records also reflected that its special agent providing support to then-Acting U.S. Attorney Durham had a conference call on February 12, 2018 “with members of the investigative team, including Mr. Durham, during which the cellphones likely were discussed.” Durham had no recollection of that conference call, nor did he recall knowing the OIG possessed Baker’s two phones before January 2022, the supplemental filing explained.

Rather, the supplemental filing explained the special counsel’s current investigative team learned of the two cellphones on January 6, 2022, the day after they had a conference call with the FBI’s Inspection Division to discuss obtaining call log data for Baker. In a follow-up to that discussion, the FBI’s Inspection Division emailed the special counsel’s office, informing Durham’s team that the OIG was currently maintaining custody of Baker’s cellphones. At that point, the special counsel’s office requested information concerning the cellphones from the OIG, according to Friday’s filing.

Lots of Wordsmithing by the OIG

The supplement filing on Friday proves fascinating for several reasons. First, while a quick read of the three-page document seems to suggest Durham knew the OIG had Baker’s phone long before January 2022, that is not what the filing said: Durham maintains he does not remember ever being told the FBI had possession of Baker’s phones.

What the special counsel’s office did do in the supplement filing was to tell the court what the OIG claimed happened. That, notably, was not that anyone told Durham—or anyone else on the special counsel’s team—that it had possession of Baker’s cell phones. Instead, the OIG maintained Durham was told that in February 2018, while he was leading another criminal investigation. That was before Durham was even confirmed as the U.S. attorney for Connecticut and more than a year more before then-U.S. Attorney General William Barr would assign Durham to investigate Crossfire Hurricane.

As part of that earlier investigation, an OIG agent told an attorney working with Durham that the OIG had requested custody of a number of FBI cellphones and that a few days later Durham participated in a conference call “during which the cellphones likely were discussed.”

At no point, however—at least based on Friday’s filing—did the OIG maintain that its possession of Baker’s cellphone was discussed either with the assistant U.S. attorney or with, or in, Durham’s presence, leaving one to wonder why the OIG would even bother to raise this with the special counsel’s office. Clearly, the OIG was not happy with being called out publicly by Durham’s team.

Not the First Time Durham Challenged the OIG

Of course, this was not the first time Durham has been publicly at odds with the OIG. In December 2019, after the OIG concluded the Crossfire Hurricane investigation was sufficiently predicated, Durham took the extraordinary step of issuing a public statement disagreeing with that assessment.

“I have the utmost respect for the mission of the Office of Inspector General and the comprehensive work that went into the report prepared by Mr. Horowitz and his staff,” Durham said in a statement. Unlike the OIG, which was limited to “developing information from within component parts of the Justice Department,” Durham noted that his team’s “investigation has included developing information from other persons and entities, both in the U.S. and outside of the U.S.”

“Based on the evidence collected to date,” Durham explained, his team does “not agree with some of the report’s conclusions as to predication and how the FBI case was opened.” Durham’s statement further noted that he had told the OIG its preliminary conclusion prior to the release of the OIG’s final report.

The OIG’s Explanation Is Nuts

This history of friction between the OIG and the special counsel’s office may explain why agents presented Durham records from a four-year-old case and an apparent request that Durham “correct” the record. But Friday’s clarification actually cements the case that the OIG is acting at odds with the special counsel’s office.

Here it is important to realize it is not merely that the OIG sat silent knowing Sussmann had been indicted for lying to Baker, but that the OIG kept silent about the two Baker cell phones in its possession during a meeting between special counsel’s prosecution team and IG and OIG personnel on October 7, 2021, called specifically “to discuss discoverable materials that may be in the OIG’s possession.”

The special counsel’s team also later provided the OIG a formal written discovery request seeking relevant documents and records. Yet no one bothered to turn over, or even mention, Baker’s two cellphones?

And what is the OIG’s explanation? That nearly four years earlier, in another case, before Durham was even assigned to investigate the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, cellphones were likely discussed in a meeting Durham attended.

With Friends Like This, Who Needs Enemies

The OIG’s counter doesn’t make the office look better, it makes the OIG look worse. It makes the office look duplicitous.

Any office of the federal government genuinely cooperating with another would, when discussing potentially relevant documents and records, mention the existence of Baker’s phones, even if they knew for a fact that four years prior Durham had been told the OIG was taking possession of one of Baker’s phones. But, according to Friday’s filing, the OIG didn’t even know that the cellphones in general were definitely discussed in Durham’s presences, much less that any mention was made of Baker’s cell phone.

But in some ways, it is better for Durham’s team to know now that the OIG isn’t genuinely cooperating. The special counsel’s office can now revisit the formal written discovery requests it has made, both in the Sussmann case and the pending Igor Danchenko case, as well as more broadly in its entire investigation of Crossfire Hurricane and Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. What else has the OIG kept mum about?

Friday’s filing suggests that is precisely what Durham is doing, with the supplemental filing closing with a note that after revisiting the 2018 criminal investigation in which the OIG claimed it likely discussed cell phones with Durham, the special counsel’s office requested from the OIG access to additional cellphones it possesses.

OIG Made Another False Claim

An even more significant takeaway from the special counsel’s Friday supplemental filing concerns not what the OIG said, but what it did not say: After reading the “discovery update” the special counsel’s office filed, the OIG’s only objection concerned the potential that it had previously mentioned possessing cellphones to Durham in another investigation.

The OIG apparently raised no concerns about the special counsel’s office’s representations to the court concerning the “cyber-related matter” involving Joffe and Sussmann, including Durham’s statement that he learned from Sussmann—and not the OIG—that Sussmann had actually met with the IG, and not merely passed Joffe’s tip to an OIG agent.

From Friday’s filing, it also appears the OIG did not challenge Durham’s representation that when the OIG provided Durham’s team the “forensic report” about the Sussmann-Joffe tip, it falsely represented “that it had ‘no other file[] or other documentation’ relating to this cyber matter,” and that later, after Durham further questioned the OIG, additional documentation turned up.

If the OIG thinks it has cleared its name, it is sadly mistaken.

As for the special counsel’s request for more time to provide Sussmann discovery, the district court granted that motion on Friday. With the OIG playing hide-the-ball from Durham, the special counsel clearly needs that extra time. Apparently, the elite media also needs some additional time to realize there is a huge story being missed (ignored?) concerning a private individual potentially tracking government computers.


Margot Cleveland is a senior contributor to The Federalist. She is also a contributor to National Review Online, the Washington Examiner, Aleteia, and Townhall.com, and has been published in the Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Cleveland is a lawyer and a graduate of the Notre Dame Law School, where she earned the Hoynes Prize—the law school’s highest honor. She later served for nearly 25 years as a permanent law clerk for a federal appellate judge on the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Cleveland is a former full-time university faculty member and now teaches as an adjunct from time to time. As a stay-at-home homeschooling mom of a young son with cystic fibrosis, Cleveland frequently writes on cultural issues related to parenting and special-needs children. Cleveland is on Twitter at @ProfMJCleveland. The views expressed here are those of Cleveland in her private capacity.

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