A few Americans perhaps felt unexpectedly riveted to their monitors today, listening to an exchange on C-Span between Arizona Representative Martha McSally and the current FBI Director James Comey, a former Director of HSBC Holdings, regarding the Hillary Clinton email/server scandal as it relates to the topic of “current threats to the homeland.”
The Congresswoman pressed Director Comey regarding ex-Secretary Clinton’s email “carelessness” and possible lies to the American public. (See video, at 01:40:37, of the conversation at this link: FBI Director James Comey talks about Clinton email scandal.”)
Stating to Director Comey that she has served in the military for 26 years, McSally handled the highest levels of secure information, and wanted to know what consequences someone else might receive for the same conduct as Clinton.
The Congresswoman was clear. “If an airman in the Air Force had conducted behavior similar to Secretary Clinton’s, I am confident, as a minimum, that they would lose their clearance, they would be kicked out, they would never get a clearance or be able to work for another federal department or agency, in addition [to other fines].”
She then asked Comey if such people would even “get an interview” at the FBI with such security violations such as ex-Secretary Clinton did.
“I can’t answer that as a hypothetical,” answered Comey. Inside the FBI, there exists “a robust process to assess suitability….”
If his own chief of staff mishandled classified information at the FBI, “…it would be a significant security review” along with consequences such as firing the employee, loss of pay, or even some reprimand or lose clearances, Comey answered when pressed again.
Rep. McSally then moved on to “how” the classified information got from a “classified system” to an “unclassified” system. Comey answered there were three specific email “conversations” of confidential concern.
Comey tried to explain the transmitting of confidential information on an unclassified system. “I think we concluded that somebody [at a lower level in State] had typed a talking point for the Secretary…”
“This is concerning on many levels,” replied Rep. McSally. She wanted it followed up. “Those people should be held accountable as well.”
Not illegal, but ‘scandalous’
As Jonathan Allen of Vox points out in his report, there exists 181 Clinton Foundation donors who actually lobbied ex-Sec. Hillary Clinton’s State Department. “The size and scope of the symbiotic relationship between the Clintons and their donors is striking,” states Allen. “At least 181 companies, individuals, and foreign governments that have given to the Clinton Foundation also lobbied the State Department when Hillary Clinton ran the place, according to a Vox analysis of foundation records and federal lobbying disclosures.”
But Allen is also clear that while it is not illegal, … “but it is scandalous.” He adds this: “Still, the Clintons have shown they can’t police themselves,” and then proceeds to point out that the Clinton Foundation’s acting CEO, Maura Pally, had “… acknowledged problems with reporting on federal 990 tax forms in a statement issued Sunday, in which she contended that information about donors was available but not appropriately listed in filings with the government.”
What was Pally doing before the gig at the Foundation? According to Allen, “[b]efore working for the foundation, she was a deputy assistant secretary under Hillary Clinton at State.”
Allen quotes Pally: “So yes, we made mistakes, as many organizations of our size do, but we are acting quickly to remedy them, and have taken steps to ensure they don’t happen in the future.”
HSBC clients and the Clinton Foundation
As writers Paul Lewis and James Ball discovered and published over at theGuardian last year, “[l]eaked files from HSBC’s Swiss banking division reveal the identities of seven donors to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation with accounts in Geneva. They include Frank Giustra, a Canadian mining magnate and one of the foundation’s biggest financial backers, and Richard Caring, the British retail magnate who, the bank’s internal records show, used his tax-free Geneva account to transfer $1m into the New York-based foundation.”
And, as pointed out previously, James Comey is a former Director of HSBC Holdings.
Per the Guardian report, “… another client of HSBC Geneva to donate to the Clinton foundation is Denise Rich, the ex-wife of the late billionaire and commodities trader Marc Rich, who fled to Switzerland in 1983 after being indicted by US authorities for tax evasion, fraud and racketeering. Mark Rich was was controversially granted a presidential pardon by Bill Clinton just hours before the former president left office in 2001.”
Peter Schweizer, in his article over at the NYPost, wrote that in his “… last day in office, Bill Clinton issued a pardon for international fugitive Marc Rich. It would become perhaps the most condemned official act of Clinton’s political career. A New York Times editorial called it ‘a shocking abuse of presidential power.’ The usually Clinton-friendly New Republic noted it ‘is often mentioned as Exhibit A of Clintonian sliminess.'”
Congressman Barney Frank felt that President Clinton’s pardon for the fugitive “… was a real betrayal by Bill Clinton of all who had been strongly supportive of him to do something this unjustified. It was contemptuous.” (Rich had big deals with Iran, Libya, Yugoslavia, North Korea, Cuba and the U.S.S.R. and was on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” List, apparently.)
As Schweizer also points out in his article, Rich was “[f]acing prosecution by Rudy Giuliani in 1983” when he (Rich) fled to Switzerland.
And, as the Guardian story highlights, “Denise Rich contributed as much as $500,000 to the Clinton foundation. Now 70, she is reported to have recently renounced her US citizenship, becoming tax-resident in Austria.”