7-23-2014 National Report
Jeffery Whitman, an employee of the IRS in the Information Technologies Division, has come forward with allegations that the missing Lerner emails were actually found a little over a week ago. Whitman states that while performing repair and maintenance on a series of server banks that had been taken of line due to hardware issues in 2011, he stumbled across a back-up catch for the Tax Exempt Division that was headed by Lerner. Contained within the backup was a significant, though incomplete, portion of the Lerner emails that have been sought after by Congressional Republicans.
Whitman states that he spent about ten minutes looking through the emails before notifying the office of his Division, Terry Millholand, that he had located the previously “lost” emails of Lois Lerner. Within twenty minutes personal aids of IRS Commissioner John Koskinen arrived at Whitman’s work area and took custody of the tapes. “They thanked me profusely”, said Whitman. “They were emphatic that it was a great service I’d done for the organization by finding these files. They told me that the Commissioner wanted to meet me and personally thank me for providing the information which would put all the scandal talk to rest. And that I should keep the discovery secret until the Commissioner announced it”.
But Whitman didn’t meet Commissioner Koskinen. In fact he didn’t hear anything about the emails he’d found from anybody, for days. “After four days I tried to contact Chief Mullholand’s office and was informed that he was unavailable”, stated Whitman. “I tried to call on the fifth day and the sixth, both with the same results. I was finally told, by Mullholand’s secretary, that I had been mistaken, and that upon further review it had been determined that what I had found were not Lerner’s missing emails. I was then asked to stop calling.”
Whitman then attempted to contact both the offices of Chief Counsel Thomas Kane and Commissioner Koskinen but was met with the same message of mistake and wall of silence that he had received from his own division head. “It was obvious that I was being ignored and let known that I should just be quiet”, said Whitman. ” I had a chance to look through some of those emails, and even one of the few I saw seemed to confirmed, in part, some of the charges that have been made against her.”
“After I had contacted Chief Mullholand’s office my surprise wore off a little bit and I tried to make a copy of the emails on a flash drive I keep on my keychain”, stated Whitman. “Unfortunately it was almost full and I was only able to fit a very small portion of the emails on to it. Before I had a chance to notice that the drive was full and hadn’t downloaded a significant portion of the emails the Commissioners men had shown up and taken the server tapes away. ”
Whitman contacted the office of Darrell Issa, head of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, told them his story and furnished the congressman with a copy of the portion of the emails he was able to obtain. Congressman Issa is expected to bring the matter to committee on Monday following the break. A spokesman for the IRS Commissioner’s office has called Whitman’s claims baseless and the result of “derangement”. Recently Chief Counsel Kane has begun to backpedal on his previous statements that the Lerner emails had definitely been lost. This has fueled speculation in Washington as to wether Kane is hedging his bets, recognizing the harm Whitman’s information could do. Commissioner Koskinen has remained unwavering though, stating that anything Whitman may have provided to Congressman Issa would clearly be fabricated evidence. Commissioner Koskinen is noted to be a political appointee of President Barak Obama.
By Mark Hosenball
WASHINGTON | Tue Oct 23, 2012 9:11pm EDT
(Reuters) – Officials at the White House and State Department were advised two hours after attackers assaulted the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11 that an Islamic militant group had claimed credit for the attack, official emails show.
The emails, obtained by Reuters from government sources not connected with U.S. spy agencies or the State Department and who requested anonymity, specifically mention that the Libyan group called Ansar al-Sharia had asserted responsibility for the attacks.
The brief emails also show how U.S. diplomats described the attack, even as it was still under way, to Washington.
U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the Benghazi assault, which President Barack Obama and other U.S. officials ultimately acknowledged was a “terrorist” attack carried out by militants with suspected links to al Qaeda affiliates or sympathizers.
Administration spokesmen, including White House spokesman Jay Carney, citing an unclassified assessment prepared by the CIA, maintained for days that the attacks likely were a spontaneous protest against an anti-Muslim film.
While officials did mention the possible involvement of “extremists,” they did not lay blame on any specific militant groups or possible links to al Qaeda or its affiliates until intelligence officials publicly alleged that on September 28.
There were indications that extremists with possible al Qaeda connections were involved, but also evidence that the attacks could have erupted spontaneously, they said, adding that government experts wanted to be cautious about pointing fingers prematurely.
U.S. intelligence officials have emphasized since shortly after the attack that early intelligence reporting about the attack was mixed.
Spokesmen for the White House and State Department had no immediate response to requests for comments on the emails.
MISSIVES FROM LIBYA
The records obtained by Reuters consist of three emails dispatched by the State Department’s Operations Center to multiple government offices, including addresses at the White House, Pentagon, intelligence community and FBI, on the afternoon of September 11.
The first email, timed at 4:05 p.m. Washington time – or 10:05 p.m. Benghazi time, 20-30 minutes after the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission allegedly began – carried the subject line “U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi Under Attack” and the notation “SBU”, meaning “Sensitive But Unclassified.”
The text said the State Department’s regional security office had reported that the diplomatic mission in Benghazi was “under attack. Embassy in Tripoli reports approximately 20 armed people fired shots; explosions have been heard as well.”
The message continued: “Ambassador Stevens, who is currently in Benghazi, and four … personnel are in the compound safe haven. The 17th of February militia is providing security support.”
A second email, headed “Update 1: U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi” and timed 4:54 p.m. Washington time, said that the Embassy in Tripoli had reported that “the firing at the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi had stopped and the compound had been cleared.” It said a “response team” was at the site attempting to locate missing personnel.
A third email, also marked SBU and sent at 6:07 p.m. Washington time, carried the subject line: “Update 2: Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack.”
The message reported: “Embassy Tripoli reports the group claimed responsibility on Facebook and Twitter and has called for an attack on Embassy Tripoli.”
While some information identifying recipients of this message was redacted from copies of the messages obtained by Reuters, a government source said that one of the addresses to which the message was sent was the White House Situation Room, the president’s secure command post.
Other addressees included intelligence and military units as well as one used by the FBI command center, the source said.
It was not known what other messages were received by agencies in Washington from Libya that day about who might have been behind the attacks.
Intelligence experts caution that initial reports from the scene of any attack or disaster are often inaccurate.
By the morning of September 12, the day after the Benghazi attack, Reuters reported that there were indications that members of both Ansar al-Sharia, a militia based in the Benghazi area, and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the North African affiliate of al Qaeda’s faltering central command, may have been involved in organizing the attacks.
One U.S. intelligence official said that during the first classified briefing about Benghazi given to members of Congress, officials “carefully laid out the full range of sparsely available information, relying on the best analysis available at the time.”
The official added, however, that the initial analysis of the attack that was presented to legislators was mixed.
“Briefers said extremists were involved in attacks that appeared spontaneous, there may have been a variety of motivating factors, and possible links to groups such as (al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Ansar al-Sharia) were being looked at closely,” the official said.
(Additional reporting by Susan Cornwell; Editing by Mary Milliken and Jim Loney)
- White House told of militant claim two hours after Libya attack: emails | Reuters (reuters.com)
- Emails: White House told of militant claim two hours after Libya attack (dailystar.com.lb)
- Reuters: White House, State Dep’t received e-mails within two hours of Benghazi attack about jihadi group taking credit (hotair.com)
- White House Was Told Benghazi was a Terrorist Attack Two Hours Into the Battle (pjmedia.com)
- White House told of militant claim two hours after Libya attack: emails (punditfromanotherplanet.com)