"The 'Benghazi' scandal likely involves national security offenses, money-laundering, campaign-finance crimes, charity fraud, and public corruption", says Wall Street analyst and investigative journalist Charles Ortel, commenting on a US federal judge ordering former Obama officials to answer the conservative watchdog Judicial Watch's (JW) questions on Hillary Clinton's private email issue and the Benghazi scandal.
On 15 January, US District Judge Royce C. Lamberth ruled that former national security adviser Susan Rice, former deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes, fmr. secretary of state Clinton's former senior advisor and deputy chief of staff Jacob Sullivan, and FBI official E.W. Priestap must answer the watchdog's written questions about the State Department's response to the deadly 2012 terror attack in Benghazi, Libya.
BREAKING: Citing government shutdown, DOJ/State seek to stall court-ordered discovery ordered to begin yesterday on Clinton Email, Benghazi Scandal: Top Obama-Clinton Officials, Susan Rice, and Ben Rhodes to Respond to @JudicialWatch Questions Under Oath https://t.co/kka1QCEWtG pic.twitter.com/WYHLLTFP0G— Tom Fitton (@TomFitton) 17 января 2019 г.
"In time, historians will likely document that the Clintons and Obamas entered office in January 2009 with a grand plan to transform America's relations with key powers, especially in the Middle East," Ortel said. "This plan involved toppling national leaders in many nations by fomenting local uprisings using clandestine resources, in actions that were not likely validly authorized by Congress, as is certainly required under US laws".
According to Ortel, "it is certainly odd to see in the US that many senior Democrats and Republicans today who were so active in the Anti-Vietnam War movement were among those so willing to foment destabilising and seemingly unending conflicts in so many places".
The question arises as to who benefits from "regime change" operations.
"Multinational defence contractors, investment firms, and financial institutions that happen also to be major donors to political campaigns", the investigative journalist responded.
Hillary Clinton Knew What She Was Doing
However, Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton threw this assumption into question, suggesting that Hillary Clinton could have deliberately switched to her private server to evade public record under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
"The Clintons knew exactly what rules a White House and Secretary of State must navigate following Bill's tenure as US President from January 1993 through January 2001", Ortel emphasised. "From what I can tell, the system evidently adopted by the Clintons fell laughably outside protocols rigorously employed throughout the highest levels of our government."
The investigative journalist elaborated that "top secret information (at highest classification levels) is, according to publicly available sources, trafficked through special facilities over secure equipment".
"Transmissions are absolutely not supposed to be copied, edited, or removed from these facilities as apparently happened while Hillary Clinton served as Secretary of State and until her people turned over a portion of such materials to investigators late in 2014", he highlighted.
Ortel asks a number of questions, in particular: Who, specifically, authorized these arrangements? Who may have complained about these arrangements? If no one actually complained, according to available records, are we sure these remaining records are accurate?
He stressed that it's important to find out how much former president Barack Obama, his staff and the FBI/CIA knew about all this.
The Clintons Seem Impervious to Serious Inquiry
Although the Clinton email scandal erupted back in 2014, it is only now that it has been officially qualified as "one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency" by Judge Lamberth.
"It seems as if the world is watching a modern day mafia drama, where so many members of the government bureaucracy across the political system are doing their level best to resist exposing the true contours of this scandal, having sworn blood oaths," Ortel said, commenting on the issue.
"Yet, the Clintons, the Obamas, and the Bushes seem impervious to serious inquiry," according to the Wall Street analyst.
Ortel suggested that "in the US, laws and regulations pertaining to Freedom of Information Act requests need to be modernised". In particular, "government officials must not be permitted to use 'alias' emails of any type, or to communicate via email using nefarious means, including via the 'draft' folder".
"Penalties for committing offenses need to be more severe than they currently are," he stressed.
Lamberth's Ruling as a Potential Breakthrough in Clinton Email Case
"One hopes the Lamberth ruling, and the magnitude of the potential criminal conspiracy that seems ongoing will rekindle public interest in telling the whole story here", the investigative journalist said when asked whether one could regard the federal judge's ruling as a breakthrough in the Clinton emailgate case.
However, "to date, the Western 'mainstream' media is exhausting itself (and its credibility) spewing out maniacal anti-Trump hit pieces 24/7 while ignoring stories that seem, to me, far bigger than Watergate".
There yet another set of questions demanding answers, according to the analyst:
1. What did senior Obama-era officials know about the rationale for opening an FBI investigation into the mishandling of classified information by Hillary Clinton, Huma Abedin and others on 10 July 2015?
2. Why did the Obama administration and senior Democratic Party officials encourage Hillary to continue her presidential campaign after 10 July 2015?
3. Who in the Obama Administration may have tamped down investigations by the Justice Department and IRS into the Clinton Foundation for charity fraud and public corruption, starting in mid-2015 through and after the November 2016 election?
Citing experts' opinion, Ortel presumed that email information "is never effectively destroyed" and "numerous parties inside and outside the US likely have all of the 'missing' Clinton emails".
"Let us hope that Judicial Watch, Judge Lamberth and others continue to capture the public interest, so that justice may be served, at long last," Ortel said. "Members of dynastic political families who engage in, and cover up criminal activities certainly are not too big to jail, in an America that adheres to and honours our founding ideals."
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The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.