A magazine called the Economist has an “intelligence unit” that has named a Donald J. Trump presidency as one of the top 10 greatest risks to global stability. Communist China and jihadi terrorism also made the list, but somehow the Obama administration and the Russian government were left off. Though flawed, the effort by the media to identify security risks is a good one. It is the big issue of our time.
But rather than identify security risks based on subjective criteria and personal biases, the media should insist that the FBI be given the power to conduct a comprehensive background check on U.S. presidential candidates, and release those results to the American people. We should know by now that politicians can lie and engage in cover-ups. Just look at the Dennis Hastert hush-money and child abuse case. His cover-up went on for decades.
The American people have every right to insist that candidates be investigated by the FBI and that the results be disclosed publicly. Currently, candidates for federal office, including for the presidency and Congress, don’t have to go through background checks. Instead, the media are supposed to conduct inquiries for the benefit of the people. Too often they fail to do so.
Their reluctance may stem from discomfort over the possibility that skeletons in their own closets might be exposed. Consider the case of Fox News Chief White House correspondent Ed Henry, now on leave after allegations surfaced of an extramarital affair with a Las Vegas “hostess.” His wife, National Public Radio (NPR) reporter Shirley Hung, has a profile noting that she managed CNN’s Washington-based National Security unit, covering the Pentagon, State Department, intelligence, terrorism and other issues related to national security. Henry met her when they both worked at CNN.
It’s not known how long Henry was trying to protect his own private life from public exposure, although reports indicate his affair had been going on for at least ten months. He had high-level assignments at Fox News, including covering the Obama administration, the Benghazi terror attacks, and the leaks from NSA defector Edward Snowden.
Back in 2008, we at Accuracy in Media warned that the Barack Obama presidential candidacy was a Trojan horse, and that his communist connections in Hawaii and Chicago needed investigation by the FBI and the media. The media did their best to obscure the evidence, including his relationship with a suspected communist espionage agent by the name of Frank Marshall Davis. It turned out Davis was also a pornographer and child abuser.
The FBI was never called into that case because candidates for federal office—then and now—have been spared such scrutiny. It is a loophole in our system and the media have not done a good enough job filling the void.
As we’ve reported in the past, former FBI agent Max Noel has said the Bureau used to investigate candidates for federal employment—but not candidates for federal office—by analyzing Character, Associates, Reputation, and Loyalty to the United States. The first letters in those words make up the acronym CARL. Noel said that Obama could not have been elected president if he had been subjected to the CARL test.
It’s not too late, however, to apply the CARL test to Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump.
Mrs. Clinton was asked to disclose certain things about her background when she assumed the post of secretary of state. However, Clinton went on to allegedly violate the Espionage Act by using a private unsecure server to send and receive classified email messages. It’s likely that Russia and China obtained intelligence from Mrs. Clinton about the intentions of top leaders. Such information could have been as valuable as Snowden’s release of more than one million classified documents.
Mrs. Clinton’s reputation as a security risk has even alarmed analysts now considered to be on the left. Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, writing on the left-wing website Consortium News, suggests the possibility that a foreign intelligence agency had access to Mrs. Clinton’s emails. He likewise suggests that the information our enemies obtained contributed to the killing of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other U.S. personnel at the U.S. mission and CIA Annex in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012. He says, “…if there is any indication that Clinton’s belatedly classified emails contained information about internal State Department discussions regarding the consulate’s security shortcomings, questions may be raised about whether that information was somehow compromised by a foreign intelligence agency and shared with the attackers.”
Mrs. Clinton’s private emails were originally disclosed by a Romanian hacker, Marcel Lehel, known as “Guccifer.” He has been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of wire fraud, unauthorized access to a protected computer, aggravated identity theft, cyberstalking and obstruction of justice. He was extradited and made his initial appearance on April 1 in federal court. He tells Catherine Herridge of Fox News that it was easy to breach Clinton’s personal email server.
It’s clear that Clinton is a security risk, based on her criminally negligent handling of classified information. But what about Trump? His pro-Russian views and hiring of pro-Russian advisers have raised red flags in the national security community about whether he can be trusted to handle classified information. There’s also the matter of his mental abilities and intellectual prowess. In his attempt to deny Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) a win in the Indiana primary, Trump cited the National Enquirer on “Fox & Friends” and used an unsubstantiated story from the supermarket tabloid to smear Cruz’s father as having been involved with the assassin of U.S. President John F. Kennedy.
Trump has commented repeatedly on the fact that the FBI doesn’t have the ability to investigate the background of Muslim refugees coming into this country from places like Syria. Trump says, “We have no idea who these people are. We are the worst when it comes to paperwork. This could be one of the great Trojan horses.”
Ironically, like Obama, Trump may himself be a Trojan horse. He is not vetted by the FBI, either. He has produced some paperwork, such as a financial disclosure form, which was required by law but has not been audited for accuracy. He refuses to release his tax returns, using as an excuse that he is facing an IRS audit. Newsweek has just published a major article on his mobster connections. One has to assume there is much more damaging information to come, perhaps from the FBI.
The Washington Post is correct that Trump has been “the least transparent candidate” on the Republican side. It notes that Senator Cruz and other GOP candidates disclosed tax returns going back at least four years. Trump, by contrast, released nothing.
What’s more, it has now been confirmed that Trump has 378 entities registered in the state of Delaware, a legal maneuver that can be used to assure corporate secrecy and hide income. Hillary Clinton has taken advantage of the same loophole, but to a lesser extent.
Trump has released a “health record,” a laughable four-paragraph summary referring to his “astonishingly excellent” physical health. Mrs. Clinton’s “Healthcare Statement” is longer and mentions several medications she is taking. Neither addresses mental health issues.
Coming to the end of the presidential primary season, we know a lot about Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic nominee, because of her time in office. The evidence demonstrates that she is a full-blown security risk who should be indicted for her reckless criminal conduct as Secretary of State. In addition, enough information has been assembled by Peter Schweizer, the author of Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich, to link her work in office to making millions of dollars for the Clinton Foundation. She worked with her husband to sell out to foreign interests. She is still adamant about not releasing the transcripts of her lucrative speeches before Wall Street firms, using the excuse that such disclosure hasn’t been done before. It’s an obvious cover-up.
With Trump, who has made the kind of money Hillary and Bill Clinton only dream about, not only do his tax returns remain private and his mobster ties generate controversy, his dealings with the old Soviet Union and Russia continue to remain a subject of deep concern. The Russians are ecstatic over the possibility that he will win the American presidency and pull the plug on NATO and U.S. allies in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
On NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, May 1, before he dropped out of the race, Senator Cruz was asked repeatedly by host Chuck Todd about whether he would pledge his allegiance to Trump. The Senator would not fall into the trap and demanded a debate with Trump so the facts about his positions and views on the issues could be disclosed. He said, “The media created this Trump phenomenon, and then they don’t hold him accountable.” Cruz said, however, that he was sure that the media would eventually ask Trump some questions “if he’s the nominee in the general election.” He explained, “Suddenly you’re going hear every day about Donald Trump’s tax returns. When was the last time you talked about his tax returns?”
The implication is that the media gave Trump a free ride because they wanted him to be the Republican nominee. Once he became the GOP nominee, he suggested, the media would take an interest in the skeletons in Trump’s closet. By then, however, it would be too late for the Republican Party to reverse course. They would be stuck with a certain loser in November who would probably take down the Republican House and Senate.
Trump’s tax returns, ties to mobsters, and a relationship with Russian billionaire Aras Agalarov, an associate of Vladimir Putin, are all subjects that the American people have a right to know much more about.
If Mrs. Clinton is “Crooked Hillary,” then what is Trump? It would appear that he’s not so much the master of the art of the deal, but the master of the art of the cover-up. He is “Cover-up Donald.”
Which candidate is the greater security risk? We report. You decide. It’s time for the major media to do their jobs. Stop treating the presidential contest as a reality TV show or an athletic competition. Get off your duffs and investigate these candidates.
The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.