July 02, 2020
Judicial Watch Sues to Expose Full Truth Behind Obama Unmasking/Spy Abuses
Judicial Watch Files First Amendment Lawsuit Against DC – Because No One Is Above the Law!
Supreme Court Allows the Abortion Industry to Set Abortion Policy
Happy Independence Day!
The term “unmasking” refers to the practice of political appointees obtaining the identities of American citizens referenced in intelligence surveillance of foreign nationals.
Unmasking has a legitimate purpose, but in the final months of the Obama administration his lieutenants were abusing the process as they frantically looked for dirt on the Trump campaign.
Reportedly, one of the worst abusers was Obama’s U.N. Ambassador, Samantha Power. In 2017, it was reported that Power unmasked over 260 persons in her last year as Ambassador in an attempt to uncover associates of President Trump. She “was ‘unmasking’ at such a rapid pace in the final months of the Obama administration that she averaged more than one request for every working day in 2016,” even seeking “information in the days leading up to President Trump’s inauguration.”
We have now filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia against the State Department over requests by Power to unmask the identities of U.S. citizens whose names appear in intelligence reports concerning Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:20-cv-01729)).
We sued after the Justice Department failed to respond to a May 29, 2019, FOIA request for:
- All requests for information submitted to any Intelligence Community member agency by former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power concerning:
- Any actual or suspected effort by the Russian government or any individual acting on behalf of the Russian government to influence the 2016 presidential election.
- The alleged hacking of computer systems utilized by the Democratic National Committee and/or the Clinton presidential campaign.
- Any actual or suspected communication between any member of the Trump presidential campaign or transition team and any official or employee of the Russian government or any individual acting on behalf of the Russian government.
- The identities of U.S. citizens associated with the Trump presidential campaign or transition team who were identified pursuant to intelligence collection activities.
- All records or responses received by former United States Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power and/or any representative of United States Mission to the United Nations in response to any request described in part 1 of this request.
- All records of communication between any representative of any Intelligence Community member agency and former United States Ambassador to the United Nation Samantha Power and/or any representative of the United States Mission to the United Nations concerning any request described in part 1 of this request.
Our FOIA request and this lawsuit were filed after a similar 2018 lawsuit filed in 2018 (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. U.S. Department of State(No. 18-0300)), which derived from an October 31, 2017 FOIA request, was closed on March 3, 2019. The court upheld the Department of State’s response that it need not disclose whether or not responsive records existed for national security reasons. This new lawsuit argues that the State Department’s earlier Glomarresponse (that it could neither confirm nor deny whether records existed) was no longer sustainable:
On May 13, 2020, the Director of National Intelligence released a newly declassified memorandum and accompanying list identifying officials who submitted requests to the National Security Agency (“NSA”) to “unmask” the identity of former National Security Advisor Michael T. Flynn in NSA foreign intelligence reports. The list demonstrates that, between November 30, 2016 and January 11, 2017, Ambassador Power submitted seven requests to “unmask” Flynn’s identity in such NSA foreign intelligence reports and that all seven requests were approved.
The entire world now knows the Obama administration went on an unprecedented fishing expedition that involved unmasking General Flynn but almost certainly others tied to the Trump campaign, including the President and his family. For almost three years, the State Department has been stonewalling our request for information for this basic Obamagate information. We hope the court tears down this stonewall around the worst corruption scandal in American history.
We argue that at least some of Ambassador Power’s unmasking requests likely concerned intelligence reports about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and therefore relate to the subject matter of our May 29, 2019, FOIA request.
There is a long history related to Samantha Power’s and “unmasking” activities that lend credence to this argument.
On October 13, 2017, Power testified behind closed doors about this matter to the House Intelligence Committee. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, who also sits on the Intelligence Committee, stated that, “Her testimony is they [the unmasking requests] may be under my name, but I did not make those requests.”
In 2019, Power’s political bias came into question because of her harsh comments about President Trump found in her official government emails.
Then in May of this year, Power’s name appears on the unmasking list for General Flynn seven times, even though she testified under oath before Congress that she had “no recollection” of ever making such a request.
Our intelligence agencies have vast powers, and Obama used them illegally to spy on political opponents. This can’t be allowed to stand. And we aim to uncover the truth about this terrible corruption.
As you may know, we asked District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser and other officials for permission to paint our motto – “Because No One Is Above the Law!” – on a DC street. They of course have played games and have yet to grant us our request.
So, we just filed a civil rights lawsuit for First Amendment violations over their refusal. (Judicial Watch. v. Muriel Bowser, et al.(No. 1:20-cv-01789)).
Here’s the background. On June 5, 2020, after days of protests and riots in Washington, DC, led by the Black Lives Matter organization, Mayor Bowser authorized the painting of “Black Lives Matter” on 16th Street NW, and later authorized or allowed “Defund the Police” to be painted alongside it.
On June 10, 2020, we sent a letter requesting permission to paint “Because No One is Above the Law!” in the identical size and coloring of the “Black Lives Matter” painting on another DC street near its headquarters near Capitol Hill. We offered to pay for the cost of the painting and, citing the timely nature of the issue, asked for a response in three days.
Instead, after three weeks of emails with the Mayor’s office, we have yet to receive a substantive response to its street painting request.
Our lawsuit argues that DC officials denied timely, access to Judicial Watch to paint its own expressive message and violated federal civil rights law in:
(a) allowing District streets to be used for the painting of expressive messages, which constitutes protected, First Amendment activity, but denying Plaintiff (Judicial Watch) the timely opportunity to paint its expressive message on a District street for reasons that are not narrowly drawn to achieve a compelling government interest; (b) failing to provide a reasonable basis for denying Plaintiff the timely opportunity to paint is expressive message on a District street; (c) favoring the expressive messages painted on 16th Street NW and/or creating the appearance of endorsing those messages to the exclusion of Plaintiff’s message on a related subject matter; and/or (d) failing to provide reasonable, non-arbitrary processes and procedures for timely consideration of Plaintiff’s request to paint an expressive message on District streets.
Mayor Bowser gave us the runaround rather than access, as the First Amendment requires, to a DC street to paint our timely message and motto. Our message is especially relevant today because it applies equally to law enforcement and public officials, as well as to protesters, looters, and rioters.
Meanwhile in New York …
On Tuesday, June 30, in response New York Mayor de Blasio’s announcement that “Black Lives Matter” is to be painted on prominent streets in all five boroughs, we formally asked the mayor for permission to paint “Because No One Is Above the Law” on a street, preferably Fifth Avenue between 81st and 83rd Streets.
Here is our letter to Mayor de Blasio:
Re: Request to Paint Message Along Fifth Avenue Between 81st and 83rd Streets
Dear Mayor de Blasio:
On June 9, 2020, the City’s press office issued a press release stating that your administration will work with community activists to paint five streets, one in each borough, to commemorate the Black Lives Matter movement. During a press conference 10 days later, you announced the five locations to include Center Street, in Manhattan; Richmond Terrace, in Staten Island; Joralemon Street, in Brooklyn; 153rd Street in Queens; and Morris Avenue in the Bronx. On June 26th, you also confirmed that “Black Lives Matter” would be painted along Fifth Avenue between 56th and 57th Streets. These paintings are expressive activity.
Judicial Watch, Inc. is a Washington, DC-based, non-profit organization. For more than twenty-five years, Judicial Watch, Inc. has promoted transparency, accountability and integrity in government and fidelity to the rule of law. Our motto is “Because No One Is Above the Law!” – a message that is particularly relevant today because it applies equally to law enforcement and public officials as well as to protesters, looters, and rioters.
Because City streets are now being used as public fora for expressive activity, we would like to have our motto painted along a street, preferably Fifth Avenue between 81st and 83rd Streets. The lettering would be identical in size and color to the lettering used to paint “Black Lives Matter” in the six above-referenced locations. We would pay the cost of the painting, but we would likely need the assistance of the City to aid in traffic diversion and parking restrictions while the painting is completed. Of course, the painting could be completed in the same manner as the other locations.
As the timeliness of our message is important, please respond within 3 working days. If our desired location is not possible, we are open to considering alternative locations.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.
President, Judicial Watch
The Left claims public thoroughfares as its rightful place for protesting, marching, rioting and painting. We have a right to equal expression and we’re in court to vindicate our rights and the Constitution!
The Supreme Court ruled against the Louisiana law requiring doctors who perform abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital.
It is a rogue Supreme Court that allows this, despite the resulting risk to “women’s health.” This is another sad day for the rule of law and the Constitution. By a bare majority the court violated the Constitution by changing the rules and granting the abortion industry a special veto power over laws seeking to promote and protect the health of women and their unborn children. The Supreme Court should have put a stop to the misuse of the courts by special interests that seek to overturn laws passed by the people’s representatives.
Instead, Chief Justice Roberts, in another political move, bent the rule of law to accommodate and protect the radical political position that the Constitution prevents the states from taking steps to protect innocent life. The Chief Justice has repeatedly broken his promise to be a neutral “umpire” and instead too often acts as a “politician in robes.”
As Justice Thomas writes in dissent, “Today a majority of the Court perpetuates its ill-founded abortion jurisprudence by enjoining a perfectly legitimate state law and doing so without jurisdiction.”
We filed an amicus curiaebrief with the U.S. Supreme Court in the case Dr. Rebecca Gee v. June Medical Services, et al.(No. 18-1460), in which we opposed abortion providers’ efforts to overturn Louisiana’s Unsafe Abortion Protection Act. In our brief we argued that abortion providers petitioning the court to overturn the law lacked a legally protectable interest in the outcome, otherwise known as “standing.”
We pointed out that plaintiffs generally may file a lawsuit only to protect their own rights, not the rights of others. In this litigation, the lower courts allowed third party abortion interests to challenge the law on the theory they represent the interests of women. As the brief points out, expanding health and safety requirements for abortionists can be argued to be in the best interests of women.
The one silver lining is that no member of the Supreme Court was willing today to defend the Supreme Court’s abominable Roedecision. And the march for life will go on.
As our nation faces a communist insurrection that is targeting our history and founding, it is more important than ever that we remind ourselves of the glorious revolution for liberty behind our nation’s founding. The Left is the enemy of history and memory and hates our nation’s founding principles. To that end, to celebrate Independence Day, here is the Declaration of Independence in full:
In Congress, July 4, 1776.
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavored to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our British brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
Have a safe and wonderful Independence Day and God Bless the United States of America!
Until next week …