Saturday, January 14, 2023

IDF chief Kohavi to 'Post': New war would set Lebanon back 50 years - Yaakov Katz, Yonah Jeremy Bob


by Yaakov Katz, Yonah Jeremy Bob

Aviv Kohavi wraps up his term and tells the ‘Magazine’ about plans for war with Hezbollah, attacks on Iran, and concern over new legislation.


 IDF CHIEF of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi: Hanging up his uniform.  (photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
IDF CHIEF of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi: Hanging up his uniform.

In March, Israel will mark a decade to what the IDF calls the “Mabam” – a Hebrew acronym for the war-between-wars, otherwise known as the covert shadow campaign that the country wages fiercely against Iran and its regional proxies.

Back in 2013, when the Mabam first started, there was a total of three attacks the entire year. In 2014, the number increased to about eight. Nothing, though, has been like the past year during which the IDF has an Iranian target somewhere in the Middle East, on an average of at least once a week.

These are attacks that take place in Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq and beyond. Some we hear about; many we don’t. Some are seamless and go by without a single enemy shot fired; some see Israel Air Force fighter pilots coming under intense enemy missile fire.

What it means is that although the public might not feel it, the IDF is constantly operating, seeing action, and preparing for war.

The man who has overseen this rapid pace of operations is Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi, the IDF chief of staff who will hang up his uniform on Monday after more than 40 years of service. One success he takes pride in is denying Iran the ability to establish a “Hezbollah II” in Syria.

 IDF CHIEF of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi: Addressing the elite Duvdevan Unit. (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT) IDF CHIEF of Staff Lt.-Gen. Aviv Kohavi: Addressing the elite Duvdevan Unit. (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

The last four years have been intense. In addition to the significant increase in Mabam operations, Kohavi has overseen four operations against Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip; he forged a unique alliance with the US military; he traveled the Middle East; he initiated a revolutionary digital transformation throughout the military; he prepared the IDF for war with Hezbollah; and he also upgraded operational plans and training for what could one day be Israel’s most complex mission in its 75-year history: an attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

In an extensive interview with The Jerusalem Post from his spacious office at the Kirya military headquarters in Tel Aviv, Kohavi spoke openly about his concerns about the new government’s plans to change the way the Civil Administration operates in the West Bank. He spoke about his phone call a few weeks ago with Benjamin Netanyahu before the government was formed and how it was “his duty” to voice this concern.

While there is concern domestically, he brushed away the possibility that the new government’s reforms will undermine the strategic military-security relationship the IDF has forged with the US military. He praised Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, saying that his affinity and support of Israel is “powerful and inspiring.”

Turning to Israel’s different fronts, Kohavi warned that if a new war broke out with Hezbollah, Israel would send Lebanon 50 years back in time through what he called “waves of firepower” that Israel would unleash on the Iranian-backed militia group, as well as against Lebanese national infrastructure.

“Hezbollah and [Sheikh Hassan] Nasrallah know that Lebanon will be hit in an unprecedented way, which it has never experienced in its history,” Kohavi said. “A third Lebanon war will see a powerful attack that they have never experienced. They know this.”

“Hezbollah and [Sheikh Hassan] Nasrallah know that Lebanon will be hit in an unprecedented way, which it has never experienced in its history. A third Lebanon war will see a powerful attack that they have never experienced. They know this.”

Aviv Kohavi

When it comes to Iran, Kohavi is just as confident in the IDF’s capabilities to deal Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s nuclear program a devastating blow.

“We will be ready at any point that the political echelon tells us to, whether it is in the coming months, or in another year, or if it is in another three years,” he said.

The following Q&A with Kohavi was edited for length and clarity.

 WITH PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu after a security cabinet meeting in the Kirya, Tel Aviv, 2019.  (credit: MIRIAM ALSTER/FLASH90) WITH PRIME MINISTER Benjamin Netanyahu after a security cabinet meeting in the Kirya, Tel Aviv, 2019. (credit: MIRIAM ALSTER/FLASH90)

You spoke to Netanyahu recently by phone. Putting aside what was said, why bother making the call when you have just a few weeks left? It’s your successor’s problem.

In principle, I think that issues like this, and certainly security issues, need to be dealt with behind closed doors. The publicity on this did not come from us. The intention of the call was to point to the fact that there might be decisions taken that could undermine the IDF’s operational capabilities or the IDF’s values. I asked and insisted on the opportunity to voice all the reasons and consequences of the decisions before they are made, since as we know, there are differences between what is written in the coalition agreements and what happens in reality.

It is my duty to do this. I am the chief of staff until the final second of my term. Since these are the days that they are going to make the decisions and I am the chief of staff, there is no question that it is my duty.

I was happy that the prime minister said that we will discuss and work out the issues.

How concerned are you?

It is not a question of concern. I am a professional and we, in the IDF, have two compasses – the professional compass that we use to set our doctrine and rules, as well as the ethical compass. 

There are two different issues here. On the professional and regulation side, for example, there is the matter concerning the Civil Administration. Since Judea and Samaria are under IDF rule, then by definition, I am in charge of law and order to prevent terrorism and establish security. If we are responsible, then we need the tools to act; and that is why it was decided a long time ago that the Civil Administration is under the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, and there is a connection between military operations and the civil activities and vice versa.

Let’s say that tomorrow there is a decision to pave a new road for residents. This has security implications. Let’s now say that tomorrow I will want to pave a road for security reasons. This will have implications for residents and this might mean, for example, that on this new road, a community will now be exposed to terrorist activity.

Therefore, there was logic when those before us decided that the Civil Administration – which is essentially a small government in Judea and Samaria – will have a civil dimension and a military dimension, and I need to reflect this to the prime minister, the defense minister, and the political echelon so they understand the implications of their decisions. In the end, it is their right to decide, but it is my obligation to point to the situation and reflect to them what could happen.

 WITH US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley at an enhanced honor cordon at the Pentagon in Washington, 2021.  (credit: JIM WATSON/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES) WITH US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley at an enhanced honor cordon at the Pentagon in Washington, 2021. (credit: JIM WATSON/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES)

Let’s connect this to the relationship you’ve forged with the Americans. You have very close ties with [General Mark] Milley and recently received the Legion of Merit from him. The relations have apparently never been closer. Are you concerned this could change because of the political situation?

My experience in relations with different countries did not start with my appointment as chief of staff but 15 years earlier since I was head of the IDF Operations Division. I can say that the relations – certainly with the US – are stronger than political moves.

The relations have only grown. They are not an example of cooperation but of a true partnership. Because the relations are so strong, I am not at all worried. What we get from them and what they get from us is based on [common] interests but also on solidarity, and it is deep and tight and stronger than any relationship between governments.

People tend to think that Israel is the recipient of benefits from the US – fighter jets, weapons and military aid. Can you tell us what we give them?

We give them a lot on the political-diplomatic level, but it is not my job to talk about that. From the military perspective, we give them a lot of intelligence. Secondly – and I cannot give too much detail about this – we cooperate and give them a lot of advantages when it comes to operational methods, fighting methods and weapons systems.

You were chief of staff when there was tension between Israel and the US surrounding Iran. There was one government that decided to fight publicly with the US, and there was another government that wanted it to be behind the scenes. What do you think now that you have seen both play out?

It is not for a chief of staff to recommend to the government how to manage this. I can tell you that we, in the IDF, maintain a close dialogue with our US colleagues behind closed doors that is substantive. We clarify issues, and in a number of cases we have been able to portray the updated and right reality to the Americans and even convinced them that our position was right.

Can you give an example?

When we [Milley and Kohavi] sit for hours, the one-on-one meetings have a lot of impact. You can bring the person in front of you into your shoes to see things the way you do. If you use facts and strong arguments, rationale, the people and people who care about the State of Israel [can be convinced].

You have no idea what type of strong affinity Milley, CENTCOM chief [Gen. Michael] Kurilla and [Gen. Kenneth] McKenzie before him, have to the State of Israel and the Jewish people. It is powerful and inspiring. So they also are convinced. I can tell you that behind the 1,000 Iron Dome interceptors were the ties we have with the US military and with Milley. The decision not to delist the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps from the US terror list was also because of our relationship with the US military.

Did you share intelligence on this with them?

Yes, and we also worked out what the significance would be if the decision was made. The significance of the Quds Force was discussed between me and Milley in private. I know that he personally influenced President Biden.

 THE IDF’S F-35 ‘Adir’ stealth fighter plane. (credit: MOSHE SHAI/FLASH90) THE IDF’S F-35 ‘Adir’ stealth fighter plane. (credit: MOSHE SHAI/FLASH90)

Let’s talk about the Mabam. You mentioned that there is, on average, an Israeli attack against Iran once a week somewhere in the Middle East and how they have not succeeded in creating the force in Syria that they wanted.

We started 10 years ago in 2013, and there were three attacks the whole year. Our average today is more than one a week, and we crossed 52 operations in 2022.

They still try because like in every battle – strategic or tactical – just because one side succeeds does not mean that the other side withdraws completely.

Iran still has a desire – even if they don’t actualize the entire vision of [former Quds Force commander] Qasem Soleimani, which in this sense has failed – to put weapons and advanced capabilities in Syria. Although we undermined a large portion of the plan, it doesn’t mean they have stopped trying.

We have not finished, and I don’t think [the Mabam] will finish in the next year or two. There will be more attempts, but there is no doubt that we have prevented what was supposed to be there. They wanted hundreds of surface-to-air missiles and surface-to-surface missiles. They wanted tens of thousands of militiamen and a second Hezbollah. All of this was thwarted completely.

The IDF put out a report that it succeeded in stopping 70% of the weaponry from flowing into Syria. This means 30% made it in. If it is precision munitions, then that means they can strike strategic targets in Israel.

Firstly, the 70% is now more than 90%. This is a fact. We have gotten better, but you are right that some percentage manages to get in, and that is a challenge. Some of our action is to block the crossings – by air, ground or sea – and some is to hunt what gets in. Just look at the media reports and understand where we operate.

BORN IN 1964, Kohavi enlisted in the Paratroopers Brigade in 1982, and then spent the next 25 years in the field.

The year 2002 was a turning point. Suicide bombings were a weekly occurrence in Israel. The attacks would prompt then-prime minister Ariel Sharon to authorize the IDF to launch Operation Defensive Shield and take firmer control of the West Bank.

Kohavi received one of the hardest targets – the Balata refugee camp near Nablus. The largest refugee camp in the West Bank, Balata was then home to around 25,000 people in just a quarter of a square kilometer.

Before the operation, the Palestinians had used the time to get ready. Hundreds of gunmen had set up positions in the camp, digging trenches and booby-trapping front doors and narrow passageways. The Palestinian gunmen defiantly dared Israel to send troops inside. Kohavi knew that if not done right, he could be marching his men into a disaster.

But Kohavi was determined. He knew that this would be the test for the IDF. “The Palestinians have prepared the stage for a show that they want to direct,” Kohavi told his officers before the incursion. “They expect us to follow their orders. That is exactly what we won’t do.” 

On the eve of the operation, Kohavi sent his battalions to surround the camp. One took up positions to the northeast; another to the southeast. He wanted the Palestinians to think that he was going to order his men straight into the death traps they had set for them.

But then something else happened. The soldiers entered the homes and buildings on the outskirts and started crossing from one structure to the next. They hammered through walls or blew holes with small explosive charges. They were literally walking through the walls. 

This protected the soldiers but also had another result – it forced the gunmen out to the streets where the soldiers – now covered inside homes – could engage them from a point of cover. The operation took four days. While Kohavi lost a soldier, some 20 gunmen were killed, and dozens of others were arrested. 

The innovative tactic got the attention of the IDF’s top brass, and Kohavi continued to climb the ranks, serving as head of the Gaza Division, head of the Operations Division, head of Military Intelligence, and then the Northern Command before taking up the top military role. 

Kohavi told his men over the years that being polite does not create strength. Israel’s enemies, he explained, understand one language – that of force and lethality. So when he became chief of staff in 2019, he vowed to make the IDF more “lethal and efficient.” Three months after he took the reins, he began a revolution, starting with improving the IDF’s ability to identify and destroy the enemy with multi-dimensional blows. 

He established new units, including Ghost – a combat force that integrates cutting-edge technology, soldiers from multiple units, as well as an AI-powered target-creator in Military Intelligence. It churns out new targets weekly across Israel’s various fronts. In the past, the Operations Division was able to create 15 targets a week; today, it can create 50 to 100. 

It was only natural that under his watch, precision would also become one of the military’s top priorities.

 UNDERMINING SYRIA: A soldier displays a piece of debris (in a mask) after a missile launched from Syria landed in Ashalim, 2021. (credit: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images) UNDERMINING SYRIA: A soldier displays a piece of debris (in a mask) after a missile launched from Syria landed in Ashalim, 2021. (credit: Ahmad Gharabli/AFP via Getty Images)

The common denominators of the operations you oversaw in the Gaza Strip, as well as the Mabam, are precision and very little collateral damage. No other military has this level of accuracy. Explain how this happens.

There were four operations in Gaza. In Operation Black Belt [2019], there were hours of discussions on how to take out [Islamic Jihad commander] Baha Abu al-Ata in his apartment without hurting his sleeping children. And that is what happened.

There were discussions about where he sleeps, on what side, what angle the bomb goes in, and how to calculate the detonation for the right moment in the right place.

This process was designed by the IDF over years, not just during my tenure. But we improved and upgraded the intelligence capabilities, since precision starts with intelligence. We could have concluded that Abu al-Ata was in his daughter’s room, or we could have said that we do not know what room he is in, so we will take out the entire floor.

Next, we upgraded the ability to manufacture and produce targets. The fact that we attacked 200 Islamic Jihad targets in 55 hours in Operation Breaking Dawn [August 2022], just a year and a half after we hit Islamic Jihad targets in Operation Black Belt, shows this capability. This is largely thanks to the new target administration that works with AI. We also are in the process of a digital transformation so that everyone sees the same picture of intelligence – in the war room, the drone and the fighter jet.

I remember years when the same target appeared in one place for one, and another place for the other.

Altogether, myriad capabilities have helped increase the pace of creating targets and the ability to target them with precision.

Former prime minister Naftali Bennett said that laser defense will be ready soon. On the other hand, defense establishment officials say it will take much longer and if Hezbollah wants to destroy Metulla and other places, they can. Missile defense can help, but it is only Hezbollah knowing that we can destroy them that will prevent them from attacking.

As always with complex challenges, the response is also complex. Regarding Hezbollah: The scope of targets that we have today – as a result of major changes that we did in intelligence – is unprecedented. It ranges from the southern border with Lebanon up to Beirut, and from the Mediterranean Sea to the Bekaa Valley in the east. Lebanon is blanketed with thousands and thousands of targets.

We significantly improved our operational plans, and there are waves of firepower that will strike all of these targets and will cause large and unprecedented damage to Lebanon, including to national infrastructure which supports terror, such as electrical power stations and other infrastructure.

Hezbollah knows this. Nasrallah knows this, and this is our first and most substantial solution: a strong offensive capability. What has been the greatest improvement of the IDF in recent years? It is a clear increase in our offensive capabilities.

We are also upgrading our defensive capabilities – from a full spectrum of national air defense to a notable increase in interceptors in deals that we have already closed to cover our needs for years to come, and the laser defense system. 

The laser defense system is truly great news. It will be both land- and air-based. I do want to be cautious regarding time frames. In another two years, we expect to deploy systems along the Gaza Strip border to test this tool’s effectiveness.

It has worked very well in field tests. If this experiment works, and we continue to integrate and enhance the laser defense system over two years, we will move as fast as possible to deploy it across the entire North. I cannot commit to a specific number of years. I don’t want to be optimistic, and I also don’t want to be pessimistic.

I know that there has been great progress over the last three years, and we invested a lot of money in this. We defined the laser defense system as having multiple benefits that we would need to invest a lot in. I am happy that it has progressed so much.

You mentioned waves of firepower. If the IDF launches an attack against the Iranian nuclear program, would it also attack Lebanon simultaneously?

There is no way to know for certain if an attack against Iran will lead Hezbollah to join the fight. It really depends on what the situation is in Lebanon, which is in a state of deterioration. It will depend on what Hezbollah’s situation will be at the time. It is not certain that a decision by Hezbollah to join is a foregone conclusion. I want to repeat: Hezbollah and Nasrallah know that Lebanon will be hit in an unprecedented way, which it has never experienced in its history. A third Lebanon war will see a powerful attack that they have never experienced. They know this.

Hezbollah also sees examples of our capabilities to carry out attacks in the North by virtue of the Mabam, or in Gaza during operations like Breaking Dawn and Guardian of the Walls.

They understand that a new war will be multiple times larger. It is true that they have many rockets and missiles, but ours are accurate as opposed to their weapons, which mostly are not. Therefore, it is not certain that Hezbollah would automatically join, or that even after consideration it would join.

Step into Nasrallah’s shoes. He understands that because of the nuclear program in Iran, Lebanon could be sent backward 50 years. That is the calculation he needs to make in terms of the immensity of the blow that [Lebanon] will experience because of our attacks.

Israel used to say that it will not let Iran cross certain levels of nuclear enrichment, but they have crossed them. We said we would not let them throw out inspectors, but they did. IDF Intelligence chief Maj.-Gen. Aharon Haliva said recently that Iran might pass the weaponized 90% level soon. What changed in Israel’s red lines on Iran?

First of all, I don’t know what it means “we said.” We never made a red line.

Netanyahu did, at the UN.

No, he did not draw a red line in the sense that if they cross this specific line, then we commit to attacking.

Second, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA – the 2015 Iran nuclear deal] was signed with Iran when it already had enough nuclear material for seven potential nuclear bombs: six bombs from low-level enriched uranium and another one from 20% enriched uranium.

The situation today [is focused on] four potential bombs, even less. It is true that one of them is based on 60% enriched uranium; the distance between 60% and 20% is only a few weeks, so it does not really matter. What is important is not to allow Iran to obtain a nuclear bomb, but also not to get to the point where it can rapidly break out into a nuclear bomb within weeks.

That was, in my view, the biggest problem with the JCPOA. I thought it was a bad deal at the time, and I did not hide my view. Our responsibility in the IDF is to be ready to strike a substantial blow against the nuclear facilities and also against second-level military targets, and to be ready for a broader conflict with Iran.

This is what we did in recent years. One, we upgraded our intelligence to greatly increase the number of targets. Second, we increased the number of munitions and systems needed to attack Iran, with the process now at a peak. Third, we built operational plans. Fourth, and most important, we are training for this. We finished two drills. One was during the IDF’s War Month, and the second was at the end of November. We are about to hold a third very large exercise. 

In under a year, we are going to have carried out three training exercises with dozens of aircraft, refueling aircraft and all of the operative units. In addition, we also established an Iran Department in the IDF, led by a major general. All of this speaks for itself regarding the level of preparation that we are achieving.

A top intelligence official told us recently that there is actually no Israeli intention to attack Iran because the estimate is that Biden will go back to the JCPOA, and then it won’t be necessary to attack.

We are preparing the plans. These exercises cost a lot of money; the munitions cost a lot of money, and all of this is in order to prepare the IDF for the day the order will be given to attack. We are preparing this option. If the political echelon decides, they will have this tool available. And we will be ready at that moment.

What is that point when an attack will need to happen? The point not to allow them to get to a nuclear weapon and not to let them be at a rapid breakout to a bomb?

There is no clear point or line because the capability to assemble a nuclear bomb is made up of many components.

It is made up of the amount of enriched uranium and what level of enrichment it is at; it is composed of the number of centrifuges. It is composed of what stage they have advanced in the weapons group; it is also composed of ballistic missile development and how they deliver the weapon.

I am not saying that I am judging the situation only on the basis of this component or this specific pillar. I am happy to say that a number of the components that I mentioned have not advanced to a significant point. There is progress on multiple fronts, but they are not in a mad dash, since they understand that it is dangerous.

Therefore, we are constantly carrying out reviews and always double-checking. But in the end, this is a decision for the political echelon. But there is no set point where you say: I know is when to attack.

Do you know when the attack option will be ready – in one more year? In another six months?

We will be ready at any point that the political echelon tells us, whether it is in the coming months, or in another year, or if it is in another three years.

 ‘LETHAL AND efficient’: Accompanying police in the Tel Aviv district as part of an effort to reinforce special units, in April.  (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICE) ‘LETHAL AND efficient’: Accompanying police in the Tel Aviv district as part of an effort to reinforce special units, in April. (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S OFFICE)

Last question. We both served and believe that it is a privilege to serve in the IDF. Maybe it is time, though, to admit that the IDF is no longer an army of the entire people but an army of half the people.

This is the army of the people, and it needs to remain an army of the people. There are huge advantages to the State of Israel by having an army of the people, as well as to the soldiers themselves.

First, if you set aside the Arab and haredi sectors, 85% of the nation serves in the IDF. Second, of the four out of 10 top socioeconomic groups in the country, those with the best draft scores serve in the IDF in higher percentages, often in combat roles.

These are the facts, representing an army of the people. Men and women serve in the IDF – that is an army of the people. The officers’ training course has a waiting list from here until next season, with soldiers motivated to serve in combat roles. Not only is the motivation steady to serve in the IDF and specifically in combat units, but for some roles – the infantry – it even went up.

Second, for a state that is surrounded by six fronts, with such a high level of complexity, in order to have the best possible army you need high-quality people. Therefore, under no circumstances can we abandon the idea of a people’s army or be in a situation without a draft law. With the draft law in place, you get the best soldiers, who aspire to become the best commanders, who become the best base commanders, who become the best battalion commanders or the best head of intelligence.

What the soldiers and commanders get in the IDF they cannot get in any other place. They learn discipline; they learn dedication to completing the mission; they learn how to work together as part of a team and interpersonal relations; they learn how to adapt; they learn how to work under pressure; they learn how to make decisions under pressure

Most importantly, they get free internships of one, two or six years in command, leadership and management roles. Where else does this exist in the world? Where in the world are 19-year-olds, 20, and 21-year-olds learning from a command experience? This benefit, for someone who goes back to civilian society, is vast and injects amazing energy.

Yaakov Katz, Yonah Jeremy Bob


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House GOP launches investigation into Biden classified document discoveries - Ben Whedon


by Ben Whedon

"It is unclear when the Department first came to learn about the existence of these documents, and whether it actively concealed this information from the public on the eve of the 2022 elections."

House Republicans are seeking information on the appointment of special counsel Robert Hur to investigate President Joe Biden's handling of classified documents and hand over records of communications between the DOJ, FBI, and the White House.

In a Friday letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland, House Judiciary Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Rep. Mike Johnson, R-La., said the committee was "conducting oversight of the Justice Department’s actions with respect to former Vice President Biden’s mishandling of classified documents, including the apparently unauthorized possession of classified material at a Washington, D.C. private office and in the garage of his Wilmington, Delaware residence."

They further observed that Garland's appointment of Hur had raised questions. Former President Donald Trump appointed Hur in 2018 to a legal posting in Maryland, wherein he established a record for taking on corrupt Democratic officials. Former Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh even found herself behind bars as a result of Hur's efforts.

He previously worked with former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and was an aide to now-FBI Director Christopher Wray. His association with the pair has raised some concerns among conservative circles.

President Joe Biden, who vehemently condemned former President Donald Trump's storage of classified documents at his Mar-a-Lago estate, appeared to have ink on his face this week following revelations that his aides had discovered classified documents in both his former office at the Penn Biden Center and his Delaware home.

The first discovery occurred in early November and the documents were handed over to the government at that time. Speculation has arisen that the government may have deliberately withheld the details of that incident until after the elections, which Jordan and Johnson addressed in their letter.

"It is unclear when the Department first came to learn about the existence of these documents, and whether it actively concealed this information from the public on the eve of the 2022 elections," they wrote. "It is also unclear what interactions, if any, the Department had with President Biden or his representatives about his mishandling of classified material."

The pair stopped short of making accusations, but noted that "[t]he Department’s actions here appear to depart from how it acted in similar circumstances."

The pair gave Garland until Jan. 27 to provide them with information surrounding the classified documents, Hur's appointment, and any communications between relevant federal agencies, and the University of Pennsylvania.

Ben Whedon


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Democracy Must Be Restored to Israel - Caroline Glick


by Caroline Glick

More than their increasingly radical, pro-Palestinian positions, it is the left’s unmistakable hatred for the groups that comprise the right-religious bloc that has convinced most Israelis that it is too hateful and contemptuous of them to be trusted with power.


“For years now, Israel has seemed to me like a man sleepwalking toward a cliff. Now we’ve fallen from it.”

So proclaimed author Hillel Halkin in a hysterical requiem for Israel published last week in The Jewish Review of Books.

Halkin’s metaphorical cliff is the right-religious bloc’s electoral victory on Nov. 1, 2022 and the formation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s sixth government two weeks ago. Halkin explained to his concerned readers that it isn’t that Israel stopped being a democracy on Nov. 1. Far worse. On that day, Israel lost its soul.

And Halkin identifies the culprit: Judaism.

In language redolent with antisemitic tropes, Halkin blamed “Judaism” for destroying “Zionism,” which he argued, oddly, “sought to cure us” of Judaism’s “fantasies and delusions … only to become infected with them itself.”

“Zionism wanted to make us a normal people,” he wrote. Alas, “It failed and grew warped in the process.”

American Jewish readers may have been shocked that the long-time Israeli darling of the neoconservative clique is now a hate-mongering leftist. But for Israeli readers, there was nothing original about Halkin’s essay. Since Nov. 1, the leftist-dominated Hebrew media has been consumed by the left’s collective nervous breakdown. Far more extreme messages than Halkin’s are shoved down the public’s throats 24-7. The charge is being led by politicians, retired generals and judges, and other members of Israel’s unelected, leftist establishment. The progressive U.S. foundation the New Israel Fund is reportedly funding and organizing the campaign.

Immediately after the Likud-led right-religious bloc won a comfortable parliamentary majority of 64, then-caretaker Prime Minister and current opposition leader Yair Lapid began speaking in terms of a civil war. While still prime minister, Lapid called for people to take to the streets to demonstrate against the Netanyahu government that still hadn’t been formed. He even participated in a demonstration against the incoming government while serving as prime minister.

Other senior members of Lapid’s left-Arab coalition jumped on his bandwagon without hesitation. In the two-and-a-half months since Nov. 1, and with ever-increasing velocity and implied violence since the government was sworn in two weeks ago, Lapid and his colleagues have breathlessly warned of civil war, called for a civil insurrection and proclaimed the end of Israeli democracy and the onset of fascism.

Former Supreme Court President Aharon Barak, the patron saint of the left, gave interviews Friday morning to all three left-dominated television stations (he refused to speak to Channel 14, the only television station aligned with the right-religious bloc). His interviews were broadcast simultaneously Saturday night. Barak likened Justice Minister Yariv Levin’s proposals for judicial reform to a tank onslaught and a revolution. He said he’d be willing to take a bullet to stop the charge. He called for his followers to man the barricades. Democracy, he warned, was in danger.

While Barak’s call to arms was being broadcast, thousands of leftists congregated in Tel Aviv to oppose the week-old Netanyahu government. They held placards portraying Levin as a Nazi and calling the Netanyahu government “the Sixth Reich.” Calls for civil war were heard. PLO flags were waved.

The rally was followed by a new wave of calls by senior politicians from Lapid on down that were, at best, flirtations with violence. MK Michal Shir, from Lapid’s Yesh Atid party, called for the “streets to be set on fire.” Former Meretz deputy minister and former IDF Deputy Chief of General Staff Yair Golan called for a civil insurrection. Former IDF Chief of General Staff and Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon called for policemen to disobey orders. Yaalon’s successor at both jobs, Stateliness Party leader Benny Gantz, said that if there is a civil war, it will be Netanyahu’s fault. Tuesday, the heads of almost all opposition parties agreed to participate in a follow-up New Israel Fund-organized demonstration this Saturday night.

The current godfathers of the rebellion are the two Baraks—Aharon Barak and former Prime Minister Ehud Barak. Writing in Yediot Ahronot Thursday, Ehud Barak declared, “The struggle has begun. This is not a false alarm. Emergency mobilization orders. Clear and immediate danger to the rapidly approaching collapse of Israeli democracy. When a million citizens take to the streets, this evil government will fall.”

Two questions arise from all of this. First, what is fueling the hysteria and incitement? And second, how must the government handle the situation?

The likes of Halkin, the Baraks and their compatriots insist that this is about “democracy.” Levin’s proposed reforms will place checks and balances on the currently unchecked powers of Israel’s Supreme Court and subordinate the attorney general to the government he serves. The left insists that if Levin’s reforms are passed, minority rights in Israel will disappear.

The problem with this argument is that the court doesn’t protect minority rights per se. It protects the rights of minorities associated with the left. Indeed, it confers extralegal rights on them. Since Aharon Barak enacted his judicial revolution in the early 1990s and seized the powers of the government to set policy and of the Knesset to legislate laws, the Supreme Court has protected Palestinian terrorists from the IDF. It protects Arab Israelis from efforts to enforce Israel’s planning and zoning laws. It protects illegal migrants from Africa from immigration laws. And so on and so forth.

On the other hand, minorities aligned with the right-religious bloc—working-class residents of neighborhoods victimized by illegal migrant crime, Israeli residents of communities in Judea and Samaria and mixed Jewish-Arab neighborhoods in Jerusalem and throughout the country, ultra-Orthodox Israelis and Sephardi and Mizrahi Israelis, receive no decisive support or protection from the Court.

In other words, curtailing the uncurbed power of the Court won’t undermine minority rights. It will limit the Court’s power to selectively adjudicate in favor of the left-Arab bloc and against the right-religious bloc.

The hysteria generated by this prospect stems from two sources—neither of which has anything to do with democracy or with Israel’s soul for that matter. The first source is hatred and prejudice. Halkin’s derisive castigation of Orthodox Israeli Jews is just the current iteration of the left’s longstanding prejudice against everyone who looks and thinks differently. This sort of hatred, against Sephardic and Mizrahi Jews, national religious Jews, ultra-Orthodox Jews and other traditionally right-wing constituencies, has been the background noise of Israel’s social discourse since before the founding of the state.

More than their increasingly radical, pro-Palestinian positions, it is the left’s unmistakable hatred for the groups that comprise the right-religious bloc that has convinced most Israelis that it is too hateful and contemptuous of them to be trusted with power.

The legal fraternity’s decision to indict Netanyahu ahead of the 2019 elections temporarily convinced enough center-right Israelis to vote for parties on the center-left to plunge Israel into political chaos for three years. But over the past year-and-a-half of the Bennett-Lapid-Gantz-Abbas government, two things happened, which together brought the right-religious bloc their commanding victory on Nov. 1.

First, the charges the legal fraternity brought against Netanyahu have disintegrated in court. Angry castigations of Netanyahu as a corrupt crook brought four inconclusive elections in quick succession from 2019 through 2021. But they rang hollow in the last election.

The second thing that happened is that the year-and-a-half of leftist rule reminded the public why it had placed the left in the political desert. As judged from the policies it enacted, the single unifying characteristic of the Bennett-Lapid-Gantz-Abbas government wasn’t hatred of Netanyahu. It was hatred of the right-religious bloc and their voters. As finance minister, Avigdor Liberman proudly enacted policies that deliberately persecuted ultra-Orthodox Israelis. As transportation minister, Labor Party boss Merav Michaeli deliberately discriminated against Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria. Lapid called the opposition “shits” and said their representatives in the Knesset weren’t worthy of the law that required him to bring his gas deal with Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon before the Knesset for approval. The government’s hand-picked Attorney General Gali Meara Baharav gave Lapid and his colleagues a green light to trample the opposition and ignore every limitation her predecessor placed on the Netanyahu governments.

The second cause of the left’s current hysteria and invitation to political violence is political. After the Likud and the right won their first Knesset election in 1977, the left initiated a plan to transfer governing power away from the Knesset and the government to Israel’s unelected deep state—particularly the Supreme Court and the state legal authorities generally.

Over the succeeding four decades, more and more executive and legislative powers were stripped away from Israel’s elected leaders and transferred to the unelected elites, aligned with and protective of the left to the point where, today, it is hard to view Israel as a democracy. The unelected legal fraternity’s unchecked powers have rendered them omnipotent.

It took many years for politicians to understand what was happening and even longer for the majority of the public to understand that they had been effectively disenfranchised. The growing plurality of Israelis awake to the realities of their political system only became a majority after Netanyahu’s trial opened in 2021. The collapse of the charges against Netanyahu in the Jerusalem District Court on the one hand, and the revelations of profound and systemic prosecutorial and investigative abuses of witnesses and suspects throughout the investigative stages of the legal onslaught against the sitting prime minister on the other hand, were enough to give the right a clear mandate for legal reform.

Today is the first time that the Baraks and their comrades face the real prospect that their post-1977, post-democratic governing apparatus will be dismantled, and actual democracy restored to the country. And they will not take it lying down. Over the past several days the legal fraternity has been flexing its muscles, calling for criminal probes of government ministers, and placing obstacles before ministers in their efforts to appoint senior officials to their ministries. More indictments of Netanyahu’s associates on process charges are in the works. And, of course, there will be more mass protests and calls for violence and insurrection from politicians, retired generals and justices.

The government must be careful as it plots its course. Ministers need to remember that they are now in charge. They can change things and they have no reason to return fire in kind when they are attacked. The Knesset can pass Levin’s judicial reform package and it should do so without delay. Other policies should be implemented with minimal fanfare. The right has waited for a generation to restore the democratic foundations of Israel’s parliamentary system. The seriousness of the threats of violence and civil strife must make our leaders mindful of why their plan to restore democracy is imperative and urgent.

Originally published at

Caroline Glick


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Israeli protestors fear Ben-Gvir influence as police prepare for mass protests - Jerusalem Post Staff


by Jerusalem Post Staff

Protest leaders and organizers called on Saturday on police officers to ensure the security of demonstrators.


 Israel Police officials survey Habima Square in Tel Aviv ahead of planned protests on Saturday, January 14, 2023 (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)
Israel Police officials survey Habima Square in Tel Aviv ahead of planned protests on Saturday, January 14, 2023

Ahead of massive anti-government protests scheduled Saturday evening across Israel, the Black Flags Movement issued a statement vowing to fight against "[Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu's coup d'etat.

"The Jewish people will not give up their freedom for the tyranny of Bibism," the statement read. "Netanyahu's dangerous actions carried out through Justice Minister Yariv Levin are putting the Zionist vision at risk."

The protest group further called on Israel Police officials to "act sharply against provocateurs who will be planted by the fascist camp. Ensure a democratic protest - we are also fighting for you and your families," it added.

Protest leaders and organizers continued to call on Saturday for police officers to "ensure the security of the protestors and allow them to fully exercise their rights to protest and their freedoms of speech."

Police officers were seen surveying Habima Square in Tel Aviv, where tens of thousands are set to gather later on Saturday to protest the government's planned judicial reforms.

protest against the current israeli government, at Habima Square in Tel Aviv, on January 7, 2023 (credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90)protest against the current israeli government, at Habima Square in Tel Aviv, on January 7, 2023 (credit: TOMER NEUBERG/FLASH90)

Michaeli calls on police to not be 'tools' in Ben-Gvir's game

Labor leader MK Merav Michaeli, who previously confirmed her intention to attend the demonstrations, also called on police to allow for peaceful protests to occur, adding that this is "a struggle of truth and of values. A fight for rights and for freedom."

"I will be there together with MKs and members of the Labor Party to ensure that your rights as demonstrators are protected," Michaeli added. "We cannot run this protest by remote control.

"I also call on the police to act responsibly and professionally. You are not tools in anyone's game. Even if the National Security Minister [Itamar Ben-Gvir] tries very hard to police you, you are the police.

"You are the public's gatekeepers and your responsibility is to protect the public, not to act against it," Michaeli said in a message to police officers.

According to reports from earlier in the week, Ben-Gvir instructed police to arrest protesters who block roads or riot at the protests.

Jerusalem Post Staff


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What the Classified Scandal Shows About Biden’s Foreign Connections - Daniel Greenfield


by Daniel Greenfield

Is it a coincidence that Biden profited and kept classified documents from Ukraine and Iran?


Biden’s misappropriated classified documents problem keeps getting worse with a second tranche of documents being discovered at another location. It is now clear that the first set of classified documents found at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement was not an isolated incident. Despite that, the FBI and National Archives are continuing to take a casual approach to the case. There have been no raids of Biden facilities. And won’t be.

But beyond the misappropriation of classified documents, a violation of the Espionage Act, the discovery renews old questions about the foreign connections of Joe Biden and his family.

While details about the classified documents remain scant, we know that they included briefing materials related to three countries: Ukraine, Iran and the United Kingdom.

It may be a coincidence that Biden has corrupt ties to two of the countries on the list, but it’s more likely that there was something in these briefing materials that specifically interested him.

The most prominent of the Trump documents at the heart of the illegal Mar-a-Lago raid by the Biden administration focused on his peace efforts with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un. Trump personally staked a great deal on trying to forge a personal connection with Kim and it is not surprising that he would have wanted to retain access to some of the correspondence.

There’s no apparent reason why Biden, on leaving office as vice president, should have kept memos and intelligence materials about Iran, the UK and Ukraine. And yet he had strong official and unofficial relationships with Iran and Ukraine that crossed the streams of government policy and personal gain.

That may explain why Biden, as a private citizen, felt the need to retain classified documents.

The Penn Biden Center, the location where the first set of documents was found, was not just an academic project, it was a humbler version of the Clinton Foundation. Like it, the Penn Biden Center was a prepping stage for the Biden administration financed by foreign donors. Such organizations often focus on ‘global engagement’ or ‘international humanitarian projects’, but, as a practical matter, provide jobs for past and future administration officials using foreign money.

Foreign donors get access to future administration officials who will be in a position to set foreign policy. Ten Biden administration officials were employed at the Penn Biden Center. Secretary of State Blinken served as a managing director of a center that at various points took in $30 million from Chinese donors. Most of that money was provided “anonymously”.

Beyond Biden’s known ties to China, he had deep ties to Ukraine and Iran.

Biden’s level of involvement in Ukraine during the Obama administration was strange because it was an unlikely backwater for an ambitious veep who dreamed of replacing his boss to focus on. Few Americans paid attention to it, even during the original Russian invasion, unlike Trump’s focus on North Korea, and Ukraine could not be expected to pay political dividends.

However, while Biden became Obama’s point man on Ukraine, his son, Hunter Biden, was serving as a director on the board of the Ukrainian energy company, Burisma. In the process, the ‘Big Guy’ appears to have met with a Burisma adviser. While Hunter sat on the board, his father was pressuring the government to “reform” its energy industry.

While the nature of the classified documents on Ukraine are unknown, such materials would be potentially very valuable to investors looking to gauge where they should put their money. Briefing materials could indicate anything from information about Ukraine’s industry, behind-the-scenes dealings and the foreign policy of other countries toward it.

Even if Penn Biden Center officials did not provide direct access to such documents, having them would be a significant asset and a reference point for outside donors or for themselves.

Iran, the other country at the center of the classified documents scandal, is also an energy state and one that has extensive connections to Joe Biden.

Biden’s relationship with the Islamic terror state began early on when he had celebrated the Islamic takeover of Iran and opposed the rescue of American hostages.

After 9/11, Biden proposed, “this would be a good time to send, no strings attached, a check for $200 million to Iran.”

In 2002, he addressed the American Iranian Council whose founder had run for the presidency of Iran. Later that year, Biden was raising big money from Iran supporters and urging that Iran be allowed to join the WTO. In 2007, Biden warned that if Bush bombed Iran, he would impeach him. A year later, he told Israelis that they would have to accept Iran’s nuclear program.

A spokesman for the Student Movement Coordination Committee for Democracy in Iran warned that Biden’s campaigns “have been financed by Islamic charities of the Iranian regime based in California.”

“Biden’s political games have made him Tehran’s favorite senator,” an opinion piece in the Washington Post noted.

The Biden-Iran relationship appears to have continued not only during the Obama administration, when the terror state’s nuclear weapons program was legalized, but now.

As the Freedom Center revealed last year, one of Biden’s bundlers during his presidential campaign was the executive director of NIAC Action and the former policy director of the National Iranian American Council: often referred to as the Iran Lobby.

We also exposed the fact that the Iranian hackers who appear to have run a false flag operation for Biden in the 2020 election were linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. In 2007, Biden was one of only 22 senators to vote against designating the IRGC as a terror group.

Once in office, Biden has offered Iran covert sanctions relief and attempted to restart the legitimation of Iran’s nuclear weapons program that had begun under his former boss.

Is it a coincidence that Biden profited and kept classified documents from Ukraine and Iran?

Biden’s ties to Ukraine and Iran have previously spurred suspicions of corruption and calls for investigations. The revelation that his people had taken and kept classified documents involving both countries should be a significant red flag. And another example of Biden mixing the personal and the political, national policy and economic interest in these two major flashpoints.

There are still many unanswered questions about the classified documents.

Why would the Penn Biden Center have needed classified briefing materials? And why did it take so long to disclose their presence? The timing of the discovery in November, right before the midterm elections, is interesting. Until the midterms, it appeared unlikely that Biden would be able to run for another term. The Democrat showing in the midterms however has all but locked in the nomination for Biden. At least the way things stand now. Had Biden been forced to step down after one term, it’s likely that the Penn Biden Center might have been a hub for him again.

The lawyers who found the documents were possibly exploring the possibility or closing the door on it depending on which way Biden’s people thought the midterms would shake out.

Disclosing the classified materials suggested that no one expects Biden to return to Penn Biden. Instead a ‘house cleaning operation’ was underway with the aim of defusing scandals and minimizing legal risks ahead of the 2024 election.

Whatever damage was done with these classified documents has been done. Much as with the Clinton Foundation, all that remains is the cover-up.

Daniel Greenfield


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The EU and the Biden Administration Still Appeasing and Rewarding the Mullahs of Iran - Majid Rafizadeh


by Majid Rafizadeh

"[T]he JCPOA was designed as an instrument to break pro-Israel Democrats, who represent what Obama saw as the most powerful of the internal constituencies that might oppose his reordering of the Democratic Party. That is, the real realignment [ostensibly with Iran] isn't in the Middle East, which America is leaving anyway, but inside Obama's own party." — Lee Smith, Tablet, March 10, 2021.

  • The Obama-Biden administration had also kept the US Congress, the American people and US allies in the Middle East in the dark about what it was negotiating with the ruling mullahs of Iran. When Biden was vice president, the Obama administration made multiple secret deals with Iran's mullahs.

  • "[T]he JCPOA was designed as an instrument to break pro-Israel Democrats, who represent what Obama saw as the most powerful of the internal constituencies that might oppose his reordering of the Democratic Party. That is, the real realignment [ostensibly with Iran] isn't in the Middle East, which America is leaving anyway, but inside Obama's own party." — Lee Smith, Tablet, March 10, 2021.

The Obama-Biden administration kept the US Congress, the American people and US allies in the Middle East in the dark about the multiple secret deals it made with the ruling mullahs of Iran. Pictured: Iran's then Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has a laugh while meeting with then US Secretary of State John Kerry at the United Nations on April 27, 2015, in New York City. (Photo by Jason DeCrow-Pool/Getty Images)

While the Iranian regime has become more belligerent, the European Union and the Biden administration are still attempting to restore the nuclear deal that will lift economic sanctions on Iran, empower and embolden the regime, enhance its global legitimacy and pave the way for what the US State Department has called the "world's worst sponsor of state terrorism" to legally become a nuclear-armed state.

The Biden administration claimed that the nuclear deal was "off the table," but regrettably this statement appears merely an attempt by the administration to keep Congress and the public in the dark, to let their guard down, about the revival of the nuclear deal with Iran. A few days after President Joe Biden claimed that the nuclear deal was dead, Robert Malley, the U.S. special envoy to Iran, revealed in interview with RFE/RL's Radio Farda on December 22 that the nuclear deal is in fact not dead.

On December 20, 2022, the European Union's head of foreign policy, Josep Borrell, met with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian by the Dead Sea in Jordan, and stressed that the revival of the nuclear deal is an important step. According to Mehr News, Borrell said:

"I still believe that when it comes to nuclear non-proliferation, there is no alternative to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Those who think otherwise simply fool themselves."

Borrell added that he would "continue working towards restoring the JCPOA based on the results of the Vienna negotiations... I also stressed that bringing the JCPOA back to life does not happen in a strategic vacuum. It is part, a key part, of a broader picture."

On January 3, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said:

"Unfortunately, contrary to the popular opinion that this dangerous nuclear agreement has been scrapped, despite the recent events in Iran, I think that this possibility has not yet been definitively removed from the [global] agenda... "Therefore, we will do everything to prevent the revival of this bad agreement that will lead to a nuclear Iran with international sponsorship... We will act powerfully and openly on the international front against the revival of the [Iranian] nuclear agreement."

The Obama-Biden administration had also kept the US Congress, the American people and US allies in the Middle East in the dark about what it was negotiating with the ruling mullahs of Iran. When Biden was vice president, the Obama administration made multiple secret deals with Iran's mullahs. One of these secret deals consisted of permitting the Iranian regime to have access to US dollars by sidestepping sanctions.

"The Obama administration misled the American people and Congress because they were desperate to get a deal with Iran," said Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), who chaired the Senate panel conducting the investigation at the time.

In addition, the Obama-Biden administration secretly agreed to lift sanctions on several Iranian banks, including Bank Sepah and Sepah International. Another major concession was that the deal actually did pave the way for Iran legally to become a full-blown nuclear state. The JCPOA's sunset clauses, which enshrined that commitment, had set a firm expiration date for restricting Iran's nuclear program, after which the country would be free to have, legitimately, as many nuclear weapons as they like.

The Biden administration has reportedly already made a major concession to allow non-US persons to do business with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), designated as a terrorist organization by the US State Department. According to a leaked draft agreement:

"Non-U.S. persons doing business with Iranian persons that are not on the [U.S. sanctions list] will not be exposed to sanctions merely as a result of those Iranian persons engaging in separate transactions involving Iranian persons on the [U.S. sanctions list] (including Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), its officials, or its subsidiaries or affiliates)."

That is apparently why a group of 50 US House Representatives, mostly Democrats, urged the Biden administration to release the text of the nuclear deal:

"We are writing to respectfully request that your Administration provide Congress with the full text of any proposal to rejoin the Iran nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), including any side agreements, and consult with Congress prior to reentering that agreement."

As Middle East Scholar Lee Smith notes:

"The Biden administration's determination to reenter the Iran deal is a macabre scam virtually handing off a bomb to a terror state....

"America's Middle East allies are in fact only the most visible targets of the Iran deal: As an intervention in American domestic politics, the JCPOA was designed as an instrument to break pro-Israel Democrats, who represent what Obama saw as the most powerful of the internal constituencies that might oppose his reordering of the Democratic Party. That is, the real realignment isn't in the Middle East, which America is leaving anyway, but inside Obama's own party."

Dr. Majid Rafizadeh is a business strategist and advisor, Harvard-educated scholar, political scientist, board member of Harvard International Review, and president of the International American Council on the Middle East. He has authored several books on Islam and US Foreign Policy. He can be reached at Dr.Rafizadeh@Post.Harvard.Edu


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Dem Classified Capers - Lloyd Billingsley


by Lloyd Billingsley

From Biden and Clinton to Berger and the FBI. Let the revelations begin.


“Documents with classified markings were found inside an institution at which President Joe Biden worked before he took office,” The Epoch Times reports. Biden’s lawyer Richard Sauber found the documents at the Penn Biden Center last November 2, but did not disclose the finding until January 9, 2023.

Donald Trump and assorted Republicans wondered when the FBI would raid the home of Joe Biden and institutions where the Delaware Democrat stored government documents. A search could start with Biden’s Senate papers, now locked up at the University of Delaware.

In 2010, as Fox News reports, vice-president Biden expressed concern that “political sensitivities” could arise from releasing the papers. Biden associate counsel Katherine Oyama emailed Hunter Biden’s longtime business partner Eric Schwerin that the vice president and the White House “will have strong views on some of these items, especially those related to the timing and scope of any public release.” Similar concerns arose in the spring of 2020.

After Tara Reade accused Biden of sexual assault, the Delaware Democrat made a public request for a search of Senate records from 1993 for the alleged complaint. Senate secretary Julie Adams proclaimed that “disclosing the existence of such specific records would amount to a prohibited disclosure under the Government Employee Rights Act of 1991. Furthermore, we are not aware of any exceptions in law authorizing our office to disclose any such records that do exist, if any, even to original participants in a matter.”

Biden initially claimed his Senate papers would lead to deeper understanding and UD officials said the materials would illuminate decades of U.S policy and diplomacy and the vice president’s critical role in its development. That all changed after Reade came forward.

Biden told reporters the papers were irrelevant to her accusation, and the files were closed to the public without “express consent” from Biden. The University of Delaware claimed a provision in state law exempts the school from requests not related to “public funds.” The records had not been digitized, UD bosses claimed, so there was no way to search the archive.

Joe Biden’s Senate records were supposed to be available to the public two years after Biden’s last day in elected office. That changed in April, 2019, when the serial plagiarist once again threw his hat in the ring for president. The UD quickly changed the release to the end of 2019 or two years after Biden retired from public life.

Biden claimed the materials could be “taken out of context” or used as “fodder” against his run for president. The documents remained inaccessible, even in the face of FOIA requests. Those looking into the matter might also consider the case of Hillary Clinton.

The former First Lady and Secretary of State kept reams of sensitive data on an unsecured home-brew server. When some 30,000 Clinton emails sparked interest, she bleached the server clean and smashed up phones and other devices. Clinton’s actions violated several statutes but the FBI never conducted a surprise raid in the style of their action against Donald Trump and his associates.

FBI boss James Comey, a longtime Clinton crony, contended that no reasonable prosecutor would pursue the case against Hillary Clinton. None did, and the former First Lady may have been drawing on the experience of Samuel “Sandy” Berger, a Harvard law alum and McGovern speechwriter in 1972.

Bill and Hillary made Berger deputy national security advisor under Anthony Lake. In that role, Berger was unable to prevent terrorist attacks on U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, but he did gain fame on the home front.

As a representative to the 9/11 Commission, Berger had special access to the Clinton records on terrorism. In 2004, several months before his testimony, Berger entered the National Archivers, stuffed documents into his pants and socks, stashed the material on a construction site then returned to retrieve it.  This was a serious crime but Berger cut a deal with the DOJ to stay out of jail, pay a $50,000 fine, and avoid a full explanation of what he had ripped off.

As The Rule of Law in America author Ronald A. Cass noted in 2007, the DC Bar began to probe what Berger had stolen and why he stole it. The DOJ failed to pursue the case and no word of any raids or sudden actions by the FBI, which had problems of its own.

Detailed to the Office of Foreign Missions and the Department of State, FBI counterintelligence agent Robert Hanssen had full access to the FBI’s Automated Case Support (ACS) system and the State Department’s computer systems. From these sources, Hanssen provided classified information to the USSR and Russia, for some 15 years, almost as long as the 17 years it took the FBI to catch Unabomber Ted Kaczynski.

Since Hanssen remained undetected for so long, it is possible someone in the FBI or DOJ was protecting him. After Hanssen’s arrest in 2001, the FBI failed to reveal which official assigned him to the State Department, the prime target for foreign agents going back to the days of Alger Hiss.  The best source would be Hanssen himself, and he’s available.

The FBI spy is serving 15 consecutive life sentences at a maximum security federal prison in Colorado. Hanssen is 78 and has absolutely nothing to lose. The new Congress should summon him to testify in full view of the cameras. Hanssen’s testimony could prove enlightening about classified material, espionage, and the FBI itself.

Eager to raid the residence of Donald Trump, the FBI seems uninterested in actual classified information harbored by Joe Biden and Hillary Clinton. Congress should look into it, and in the process tie up some loose ends.

Clinton National Security Advisor Anthony Lake failed to become CIA director partly because he thought Stalinist spy Alger Hiss might be innocent. On the other hand, in 1976 college student John Brennan voted for the Stalinist Gus Hall, candidate of the Communist Party USA, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Soviet Union. Brennan was not only hired by the CIA but ran the entire agency from 2013 to 2017.

John Brennan was also one of 51 intel vets who called the Hunter Biden laptop story “Russian disinformation,” which Brennan and the others knew was untrue. This bunch should be called to testify, along with FBI bosses Comey and Wray. What did they know, when did they know it, and what did they do about it?

Congress has much ground to cover. Let the revelations begin, and in the meantime take good care of Robert Hanssen. As the Jeffrey Epstein case shows, strange things can happen to key witnesses, even in prison cells.

Lloyd Billingsley is the author of Yes I Con: United Fakes of America, Barack ‘Em Up: A Literary Investigation, Hollywood Party, and numerous other works.


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