Watchdog on Washington Corruption: an interview with Christopher Farrell of Judicial Watch
by Mike Bates with an introduction by Jerry Gordon (January 2016)
On December 8, 2015, Judicial Watch (JW) issued a press release about a long sought Pentagon email sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and aide, Jake Sullivan, by Chief of Staff Jeremy Bash, a deputy to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, on the evening of September 11th, 2012. The Bash Pentagon email was sent just after the attack by Ansar al-Sharia and others at the Benghazi Special Mission Compound. The JW release noted:
Judicial Watch today released a new Benghazi email from then-Department of Defense Chief of Staff Jeremy Bash to State Department leadership immediately offering “forces that could move to Benghazi” during the terrorist attack on the U.S. Special Mission Compound in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012. In an email sent to top Department of State officials, at 7:19 p.m. ET, only hours after the attack had begun, Bash says, “we have identified the forces that could move to Benghazi. They are spinning up as we speak.” The Obama administration redacted the details of the military forces available, oddly citing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) exemption that allows the withholding of “deliberative process” information.
Bash’s email seems to directly contradict testimony given by then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta before the Senate Armed Services Committee in February 2013. Defending the Obama administration’s lack of military response to the nearly six-hour-long attack on the U.S. Special Mission Compound in Benghazi. Panetta claimed that “time, distance, the lack of adequate warning, events that moved very quickly on the ground prevented a more immediate response.”
The first assault occurred at the main compound at about 9:40 pm local time – 3:40 p.m. ET in Washington, DC. The second attack on a CIA annex 1.2 miles away began three hours later, at about 12 am local time the following morning – 6 p.m. ET.
Due to the leadership of President Tom Fitton, Director of Investigations Christopher “Chris” Farrell, and Director of Litigation Paul Orfanedes and the team of investigators and lawyers at Washington, DC-based JW, we now know that U.S. special operations assets were “spinning up” to go to the aid of besieged U.S. personnel in Benghazi within hours of the attack on the evening of September 11, 2012. If launched that operation might have spared the lives of former Navy Seals and CIA contractors Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods who were killed in a mortar attack of suspicious origins on the morning of September 12. Did Former Secretary of State Clinton, currently 2016 Democrat Presidential front runner deny the release of those special operator assets?
Ken Timmerman, veteran investigative journalist in a Daily Caller column declared, “Benghazi “smoking gun” email unmasks Hillary Clinton.”
Judicial Watch, Inc. (JW) is a conservative non-partisan foundation whose objective is to assure “integrity, transparency and accountability in government” often unearthing official corruption, regardless of which party is in power. Founded in the mid-1990’s it has become the watchdog of record pursuing high profile issues using the power of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and when required, filing cases in the federal courts to force open government files to produce evidence of official wrongdoing. Currently, JW has over 3,400 outstanding pending FOIA requests.
JW has been in the forefront of a series of high profile investigations. There was the Fast and Furious Justice Department Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) "gun walking" probe by the House Government Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearings with former Attorney General Eric Holder. They were triggered by the killing of US Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry in a 2010 Arizona border shoot out by two Mexican “rip gang” members. The Two Mexican nationals, who perpetrated Agent Terry’s murder, using weapons sold under the controversial BATF program, were extradited and convicted of the crime in the US District Court in Phoenix, Arizona in October 2015.
There is the continuing House Select Benghazi Committee investigation that divulged the alleged Pentagon “smoking gun” email and former Secretary Clinton’s State Department's dereliction in preventing special operator aid to the embattled CIA annex team in Benghazi, Libya. Currently JW is heavily engaged in more than 16 lawsuits in connection with its investigations of the alleged abuse of private email servers by Democratic frontrunner, former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton that prompted FBI seizure of four email servers and investigation into possible national security law violations by Clinton and aides, Huma Abedin and Cheryl Mills.
JW was instrumental in bringing a suit against the IRS that forced the federal revenue agency to recover over 1,800 disputed emails of former Federal Elections Commission executive and IRS official Lois Lerner regarding complaints over delays in processing non-profit applications of Tea Party groups. In July 2015, the IRS released the emails under a court order by U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan.
JW raised denials from the Texas Department of Public Safety and US Department Homeland Security when in the spring of 2015; it revealed the possibility, based on informed sources, that ISIS may have established possible training camps just across the US border at El Paso in the adjacent area of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. JW’s further investigation into the porous southern border influx of illegal immigrants from Central America has revealed an underground network of camps in Mexico radiating out of the port of Tampico enabling the transformation of Islamic terrorists from “Mohammed into Manuel” replete with authentic Mexican identification documents, linguistic and cultural training.
Evidence of JW’s non-partisan investigations into official Washington corruption is exemplified by its examination of Hillary Clinton’s role in the unauthorized development of Health Care national programs under a semi-secret task force in the mid-1990’s versus that of former Vice President Cheney’s unauthorized energy task force a decade later in the Bush Administration. In the later case, JW went all the way to the US Supreme Court that remanded a decision to a lower Federal court that forced open the files of the illegal Bush Administration energy task force led by Vice President Cheney.
The interview by my colleague Mike Bates with Chris Farrell was triggered by an encounter we had with him when he appeared at a Pensacola, Florida Tiger Bay presentation on December 11, 2015 on the heels of the Pentagon ‘smoking gun” email news. Farrell was interviewed by Bates about JW and its activities unearthing corruption and fascinating historical information that aired on 1330amWEBY on December 28, 2015. We published an earlier New English Review interview with Farrell in September 2014 on “Insecure Borders and Broken Immigration Laws.”
Christopher ”Chris” Farrell is Director of Investigations at JW. Farrell is a long term member of the staff and board of JW in Washington D.C. He is a Distinguished Military Graduate from Fordham University with a Bachelor in History after which he accepted a regular Army commission and served as a Military Intelligence Officer specializing in counter-terror intelligence and human intelligence. He has appeared frequently on cable news TV programs, Fox News channel and others.
Mike Bates: Good afternoon and welcome to Your Turn. This is Mike Bates. I am speaking with Chris Farrell who is the Director of Investigations and Research at Judicial Watch. Chris Farrell, welcome.
Chris Farrell: Great to be on with you, how are you?
Bates: I am doing well thank you. I appreciate you joining us. I recall Judicial Watch. My first exposure to Judicial Watch was during the administration of President Bill Clinton when he was breaking all kinds of laws and keeping all kinds of documents secret and it was Judicial Watch that got a lot of those released. When was Judicial Watch actually formed?
Farrell: About 21 years ago, so, we've been around for quite awhile doing all sorts of good work to educate the public on the operations of government.
Bates: So that would have been in the early years of the Clinton Administration?
Farrell: Actually, about half way through, somewhere around,'94, '95.
Bates: I have seen much of your work. Some people have what I perceive is a false perception of Judicial Watch as being a Conservative Watchdog group. As I said a moment ago, my introduction to Judicial Watch was when you were making FOIA; Freedom of Information Act requests of the Clinton Administration but you were quite aggressive with the Administration of George W. Bush as well weren't you?
Farrell: We are philosophically conservative but nonpartisan. That is an important difference. We're interested in principles over politics so what is good for the goose is good for the gander. No political party has a monopoly on ethics. There are, to use the vernacular dirtballs in both parties and both parties have folks that have done wrong. We just go with the evidence and where documents take us. We find that the Republican Administration has engaged in wrong-doing as do Democrats. It's just that we have an abundance of material to work with particularly given the current Administration.
Bates: Do you think that the Obama Administration is as transparent as they claim?
Farrell: It's preposterous. At face value they would make Richard Nixon blush. This is an operation that goes out of its way, actually talking out of both sides of their mouths as you've referenced. They make this claim of transparency. However, they are not only secretive but they are dishonest about it. It is really quite shameful.
Bates: Speaking of dishonesty and shamefulness, let's talk about Hillary Clinton for a moment. Specifically, as refers to the Benghazi Investigation. Thanks to a FOIA request from Judicial Watch an email revealed that it wasn’t technically a stand-down order but that the Military was in fact ready to go with some kind of a rescue mission. Tell us about that.
Farrell: Earlier this month we have seen documents and records that we've obtained clearly show an email from the Pentagon Chief of Staff to Secretary Panetta. A gentleman by the name of Jeremy Bash sent an email from the Pentagon to the State Department, Secretary Clinton and her inner circle, saying that on the night of September 11, 2012 about three hours into the attack on the special mission compound in Benghazi that it identified forces ready to respond, and to go to Benghazi. The Bash email said "they were spinning up as we speak," meaning that helicopters are churning, that the troops are ready to go. That email was incredibly important because it comes about three hours into the attack and of course, at the point in time they did not know if the attack was three hours or three days, they didn't know when it was going to end. It turns out that it ran on for another five or six hours. The important thing to consider is that within three hours the Defense Department had identified available forces that were ready to go and the Pentagon communicated that to the leadership in the State Department. It even gave them advice on how to communicate a response, let’s go. For whatever reason, which remains to be identified, there was no action, no response, no communication and those forces did not launch.
Bates: Why did it take Judicial Watch to get this email released? Why wasn't Congress given this email?
Farrell: Well, the question is, was Congress given this email. The question is whether Mr. Gowdy and his committee sat on it for months, perhaps even more than months, perhaps even a year. Just like they sat on information that Mrs. Clinton was running her own private personal e-mail server with possible classified national defense information. Mr. Gowdy and his committee knew about that for months and did nothing. Besides their dereliction their very questionable sense of timing when it comes to revealing information to the public, they are engaged in a political process. Judicial Watch is involved in a legal process so we use the law, the Freedom of Information Act. We also go into Federal Court and, by process of law; we can tell the government to produce records that the public is owed. Because the Freedom of Information Act is a disclosure statute, it's an affirmative obligation on the government to provide information to citizens, and that is you and me and your listening audience.
Bates: I've seen much of your work, but can you give us a few highlights over the 20-something years that Judicial Watch has existed in terms of government corruption or for that matter just government secrecy that shouldn't have been kept secret?
Farrell: There are some instances that verge on the preposterous and the ludicrous like the government insisting on protecting the privacy rights of Osama Bin Laden. Then there were extraordinary lengths that the Department of Justice and the FBI went to with respect to lying in Federal Court to a judge to protect the fact that Ted Kennedy visited hookers in Santiago, Chile. So, I mean there are really some perverse examples like that. However, I think more importantly, the examples we have been speaking about most recently with respect to Benghazi and Mrs. Clinton's national security violations, those are very important. Likewise, the only reason the public knows anything about Lois Lerner and the IRS going after Patriot groups on the right is because of Judicial Watch's work. All of that information was only made public because of our efforts.
Bates: Even when documents are made public, they are not all made public and how do you prove a negative? How do you know with certainty that you were given all the records?
Farrell: You never do entirely. We are very good at doing reverse engineering. Our ability to sort of dissect or examine to conduct analysis of the records, we have this down to a science. In the end very often it comes down to a sworn declaration under penalty of perjury by a very senior government official or a government attorney or a Federal District Court Judge saying that they have given us everything that they have and sometimes that has to be enough. You actually have to rely on and believe in the system. Is that abused? Absolutely. However, that's as good as it gets.
Bates: Well, you say it's under penalty of perjury, I don't want to challenge that in terms of the law but I do want to challenge that in terms of practice. Was there not a recent example where the State Department swore up and down that they gave every single relevant document and then later on was oh gee, we forgot something and it turned out it was Hillary's emails they forgot. How convenient.
Farrell: That is the case where we had to reopen a closed case because of the scenario that you just discussed. The State Department through the Justice Department, who were representing them, has provided us records and then they sheepishly returned to us and said remember that case that we closed out? Well, we've come upon another universe of records and so we pressed them and drilled down and said what do you mean? How do you not know what records you have? You supposedly conducted a complete search. It was Hillary's emails. We went back to the court and said we would like to reopen this case which was pretty extraordinary. What happened was the State Department had agreed with us in our filing. They admitted that they and Secretary Clinton, had engaged in misconduct and a fraud upon the court and that was pretty astounding. We have a government agency admitting in writing to a U.S. District Court Judge, fraud and misconduct, misrepresentations to the court. Now, one would think that that would be a banner headline in The New York Times of course, right?
Bates: One would hope that the court would take great offense at being lied to. Were there any repercussions with that through the court?
Farrell: Nothing meaningful, no.
Bates: So, perjury is ok?
Farrell: Evidently. You can draw your own conclusions.
Bates: I value the truth above my politics. Both parties need to be held accountable. I don't like it when either party lies to us. I don't like it when either party commits crimes against the Constitution and I know Judicial Watch doesn't either.
Bates: We were talking about Hillary Clinton's emails on her private server. Is there any reason to believe that foreign intelligence agencies were aware of the classified information that traversed that private server?
Farrell: Absolutely. the reason we and the public even discovered it at least in large part was an article I think the Daily Mail highlighted that Guccifer, a Romanian hacker (whose real name is Marcel Lazar Lehel) had gotten into Mrs. Clinton's emails via Sidney Blumenthal’s AOL account. Mr. Blumenthal had a very vulnerable email account, Guccifer hacked it, showed his inbox which revealed Mrs. Clinton's email address and communications with her. One has to believe that if the Romanian hacker is able to access and shoehorn himself into her email via Sidney Blumenthal that certainly, the national intelligence assets of the Russians and the Chinese would have accessed her server. I know any number of Intelligence professionals who are of the same opinion.
Bates: And, you are saying that was broken by a story in The Daily Mail of the British Press. What has the American Press done with it?
Farrell: They take directions from the Clinton campaign; they don't ask significant questions.
Bates: Mike Morell, the former Deputy Director of the CIA broke on this very radio station, which is one of the syndicated programs that we carry in the evenings, the Hugh Hewitt program. Hugh Hewitt was having a conversation with Morell and he asked him if he thought that foreign intelligence services hacked into that server and read Hillary's emails. To paraphrase Morell’s answer, "absolutely, positively, definitely, certainly without a doubt.” Yet, she has not been held accountable. Gen. Petreaus was convicted of a crime for far less than that, what's the difference?
Farrell: Mrs. Clinton's National's Security crime was far graver than Mr. General Petreaus' infraction. It was literally a misdemeanor or treated that way. Mrs. Clinton is well up into the world of felonies. She has a very serious problem that is not going away. The only question is whether the FBI has a spine and whether they are able to stand up to Attorney General Loretta Lynch. That is what it is going to come down to. I'm convinced of that, because in my past professional life, I was a Special Agent of Army Counter Intelligence and I have done investigations concerning national security crimes. So, I'm not guessing at this. I've done it for a living. Based on my considered opinion and experience on this we have a national security crime that is quite grave. It is a settled matter that Mrs. Clinton had Top Secret Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI) going across an unsecured outside private server that was vulnerable to foreign intelligence. That is a crime, intent doesn't matter. The fact that it occurred is a crime unto itself. Does the FBI Director have enough weight of evidence to convince the Attorney General to bring a case against Mrs. Clinton or not. Let's see how far this goes. This will be quite telling. If they handle it like they handled the IRS, which was really a cowardly half-baked effort to bring any kind of justice or accountability. If they do it that way, it's an extraordinarily dangerous signal to our Intelligence and our Defense Department folks when it comes to getting away with this kind of thing. It really gravely damages the country.
Bates: What is the chance that Huma Abedin sent classified emails to that private server?
Farrell: In my opinion, she was apparently excerpting classified information. I don't have absolute firsthand knowledge of this because I'm not conducting the investigation. However based upon my examination of the reporting of this case it appears to me that Ms. Abedin was excerpting material from highly classified reporting and then putting it in bolded format in non-classified email notes to her boss. That is how it appears to me. I could be wrong of course, however, that is my considered opinion on what was going on. It reveals the highly classified material that she was trying to convey to her boss in violation of established systems.
Bates: Well, then, let's talk about those established systems because it is my understanding that there is a classified network, there is a semi-eyes only network, and there is a public network. You can't just copy/paste between them. So, if she was excerpting she wouldn't be able to do that by copy/paste, so how would that happen?
Farrell: For purposes of discussion there are three networks, a regular unclassified just like government email, e.g., [email protected] kind of thing. There is a secret level network and then there is a top secret network above that. One would have to look at one screen and read classified material. Then there was the unclassified State Department email. You would excerpt, in your own words essentially conveying the same information from one screen onto a different device.
Bates: Well, that doesn't even allow for plausible deniability. That sounds as deliberate as it can possibly get. Do you think she will be held accountable?
Farrell: She might be a sacrificial lamb, who knows? If they are afraid to go after Mrs. Clinton, maybe just hang it around her neck and go after her.
Bates: Let me put together a really frightening scenario. Let's say that nothing happens to Hillary at this juncture. Let's say that she gets the Democratic nomination and wins the Presidency. At that point, is it worth pursuing?
Farrell: Is what worth pursing?
Bates: Her crime of national security violations with that private email server.
Farrell: Go find her Attorney General to see if she or he would do that. In the end, it isn't just a matter of having an opinion about it. I mean the process of law requires that the Attorney General is essentially the nation's top prosecutor who could empanel a Grand Jury for an indictment, that's the way it goes. This is why it's so critical that FBI Director Comey ends up being the senior investigator. To put it on a local level, the cops go to the DA and request an indictment. The FBI or the cops have to go to the Attorney General and look for an indictment or empanelling a Grand Jury for evidence to weigh a possible indictment. This is the mechanism; that is what has to happen. If Mrs. Clinton is the President, she gets to appoint her Attorney General, how loyal do you think that person will be?
Bates: Well, that's a good point. It’s not going to happen.
Bates: There have been accusations by Centcom analysts about possible manipulation of ISIS intelligence assessments. Has Judicial Watch considered making any FOIA requests about that?
Farrell: We are well down the road in that area. Just to give your listeners an idea of the scale or scope of the effort we are involved in we have more than 3,400 FOIA requests in our active management data base. We file hundreds of lawsuits a year to compel the government to produce records based upon their failure to respond. For us, when any of these public policy issues comes up or becomes an issue in the news, you can rest assured that the minute there is a whiff of a story the researchers and analysts here jump on it and file various requests with all the relevant agencies. Every once and awhile we miss something but it's few and far between.
Bates: Every once and awhile I imagine you don't succeed either. On what grounds can they withhold a FOIA request?
Farrell: There are nine separate exceptions or exemptions; the actual legal term is an exemption. Nine separate exemptions under the law. They range from something very obvious like classified information, but we wouldn't exactly want classified information. We don't want to know troop movements or the names of clandestine intelligence case officers, that's not what we're interested in. We're interested in public policy matters. There are times when information is classified and rightfully so. There are also times when that is abused like mad. I gave you an absurd example of Teddy Kennedy running around Santiago, Chile with prostitutes, that the government tried to claim was classified. That was 50 years ago, Kennedy was dead, there was nothing classified about that. There are times when that exception is abused and taken advantage of. There are other exemptions though, like privacy, the things that are called like deliberative process, which means that when the government is considering a matter. It hasn't decided anything yet. It is still weighing information between various advisors and no senior executive has made a decision yet. That information can be withheld, because the notion is that the senior executive wouldn't get frank advice. That it would have a chilling effect if every bit of internal deliberations were made public. To a certain degree that is true. However, that is another one of those that has been badly abused. There are ways the government can lawfully withhold information, but we still fight that pretty vigorously.
Bates: Don't you have to know that it exists? I mean, this Ted Kennedy consorting with prostitutes, how did you know to even ask for that?
Farrell: What happened was we made a request following his death for his FBI file. Any number of famous persons have FBI files. It is our habit that when they pass away we ask for them because it often has very interesting information in it. Ted Kennedy's FBI file was 900 pages long and about 850 out of the 900 pages frankly were from various whackos who were threatening him. They basically said, we killed your other two brothers now we're going to get you. We're going to make it a trifecta. There were a lot of lunatic ravings, threats and crazy stuff. However, there were about 50 pages that were interesting and among those 50 pages was a December 1961 document from the FBI detailing Ted Kennedy's trip to Central and South America. We thought that was curious, interesting because at that point Ted Kennedy was being groomed to run for his brother's vacant Senate seat. One brother was the President, the other was the Attorney General and now there was this opening. Ted Kennedy at that point in his life, in April of '61 was still quite early in his professional career. He hadn't allegedly killed Mary Jo Kopechne, which was still 7 years away. He had no credentials other than playing tennis, drinking too much and chasing women. His father, Joe Kennedy, got him a job as the Suffolk County, Massachusetts Assistant District Attorney. They decided that would bolster his credentials by sending him down to South America exposing him to some foreign policy experience. A Harvard professor escorted him through Central and South America where he kept demanding from various ambassadors to meet with Communist Revolutionaries. The ambassadors didn't think it was too funny. These are the part of the records that were revealing to us. Once you start reading these files, you know what questions to ask. So the investigator went before a judge and asked to declassify a particular page of records because it just didn't make sense the way it was presented to us. We caught the FBI and the Department of Justice in serial lies. They spent an enormous amount of time trying not to reveal that Kennedy wanted to meet with people like Lauchlin Currie who was a Soviet espionage agent who worked in FDR's White House. Or that he was running around with hookers in Santiago, Chile. Further, he made unreasonable demands on our ambassador in Mexico City. The ambassador basically told him to stop it, but very politely. These are not something out of the headlines, it's more historical. Nonetheless, they are very important facts. These are historical facts and records the public is owed and that is the kind of work that we do.
Bates: Those FBI Agents or Administrators would have gone through great lengths to withhold information. Are they not bound by the law to do so, are there no penalties for noncompliance?
Farrell: They all walked away scot free. This is a case where they were involved not protecting legitimate classified information. This is all legacy protection. This is a powerful, wealthy family that believes their own press releases. The Kennedy's office generated the lie of the Senate releases. They believed this kind of stuff and they have willing operatives embedded into these various government agencies who are more interested in legacy protection than they are in telling the truth. That is unfortunately what we're faced with.
Bates: When you go to court, and you ask for these kinds of things, does the judge know the content that they are trying to hide?
Farrell: He can on certain occasions. You can request for the judge to do an in camera review if you have reason to believe that the records are being withheld unreasonably or unlawfully. Sometimes judges will do that and sometimes they won't. I'll give you an example. We thought it was important that the American public be allowed to see the dead body of Osama Bin Laden. You know, a picture speaks a thousand words, right? So, semi-literate and illiterate goat herders in the hillside of Afghanistan, when they saw Bin Laden dead they might get the message. The message would be, it may take 10 years but we're going to track you down and we're going to bring you to justice either the easy way or the hard way. It doesn't rely on editorial opinion or smooth negotiation or persuasion. When they caught Benito Mussolini and his mistress, Clara Petacci, they hung them upside down after executing them. That picture ran on the front page of The New York Times and no one seemed too upset about it. Right now we have an Administration that is worried about being Sharia compliant and they won't release photos of Bin Laden's dead body. They won't even release photos of Bin Laden's body wrapped in a shroud, a human form in a white linen wrap. They contend that image might offend someone’s feelings.
We face an uphill battle with these issues and very often judges are very deferential to various executive department agencies. They have a Justice Department attorney show up and they swear, “No, we can't possibly do this. It is too classified” and the judges say “ok,” I have to show deference to the government's position and they just roll over and go along with it.
Bates: And then you appeal. How far can this go?
Farrell: In theory, it can go to the Supreme Court of the United States which would respect the Federal Advisory Committee Act, an open records meetings law. Vice President, Dick Cheney was developing energy policy, in semi-secret, wasn't making any full disclosures about what he was or wasn't doing. This was akin to what Mrs. Clinton was doing back in the Hillary Care Days in 1993 and '94. We sued the Vice President to compel him to release the meeting minutes and notes with partial success. We went to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court remanded it to the District Court and real records and documents were produced. It wasn't a clear grand slam, victory. However, it was enough to show that you actually have to produce records when the public is owed answers. Not just what you wanted to give them.
Bates: The difference, between the commentary, columnists, and news stories about Hillary Clinton's Health Care Task Force and Dick Cheney's Energy Task Force were that the very people that defended Hillary attacked Cheney for the exact same thing.
Farrell: Right, and vice versa. No one has clean linens on this. You know, people were screaming hysterically about Hillary developing health care policy in secret. Then they turned around a few years later and did the exact same thing. This is idiocy on a scale that is hard to imagine. However, they expect to be treated differently. It is nonsense. Nonetheless, that is what we are here for. What is good for the goose is good for the gander, it cuts both ways. There has to be some intellectual honesty, even when it's inconvenient and annoying. That is why is has to be done.
Bates: I read a fair amount of what Judicial Watch does. However, I rarely read about it in the mainstream press. Why doesn't the mainstream press cover what you do?
Farrell: The largest news outlet with the greatest reach in the country Fox News has my colleague Thomas Fitton and us on regularly. Today, I was on NBC Today and Fox Business. There are all sorts of opportunities via the largest cable news outlet in the country to get our message out. If you're looking for us in the pages of The New York Times, good luck. There is an intellectual, philosophical divide and many of these folks in the media establishment just have a chip on their shoulder about the information that we uncover. Even when it is something unique, exclusive to our work, they will go out of their way not to mention us.
Bates: I would actually prefer to see it in the New York Times, because they are the opinion leader. When it runs on the front page of The New York Times, ABC, NBC, CNN and so forth pick it up. I don't think that conveys accurate information. Fox News is often dismissed as faux news or fake news, even though they can rarely cite examples.
Farrell: The New York Times is becoming less and less relevant. Many millennials don't even know what a newspaper is. They consume all of their news online and a credible number of them don't even own television sets anymore. Everything is streaming, everything is online, everything can be viewed on a handheld device, laptop or IPad, So, the demographics for people getting their news directly from their own selected sources actually favors us. Some people will go to Drudge Report on-line to see our work five times more frequently than they would ever see it in The New York Times.
Bates: Our borders, particularly the Southern border, have been very porous, long before the Obama Administration. However there has been news that it is not just illegal migrants seeking economic opportunity in America that they can't find in Mexico. Is there a concern now that some of these migrants are actually not Mexican or Latin American at all? And, in fact they might possibly be Islamic terrorists?
Farrell: It is not a concern, it's a fact. The illustration of this is the case of Tampico, Mexico, a large commercial port on the Gulf of Mexico with a huge amount of freighter traffic and commercial shipping. On those vessels arrive persons from the Middle East, North Africa, and Southwest Asia, many of them are Islamists. They arrive in the Port of Tampico for $1,500 a head. Mohammad becomes Manuel. $1,500 later that person has authentic, legitimate Mexican identity papers, birth certificates, and drivers’ licenses. This would be all of the documentation they would need to establish their identity and take on a new life in Mexico. They are then moved through a series of camps. We know locations of three camps. We have heard from various sources that there are upwards of seven camps in the interior of Mexico where these folks receive language training, clothing, cultural history and mannerisms to help them integrate and appear Mexican. To live, breathe, walk, talk, and act as though they are natives of Mexico. From there they move north to our Southern border and into the United States. The example I use is one raindrop in an ocean of humanity washing up on our Southern shore. However, what is concerning is that this happens with some regularity and frequency. It is organized, deliberate and poses an enormous security threat to our country.
Bates: Does the Administration know this is happening? Clearly if Judicial Watch knows the Administration must know.
Farrell: Absolutely. Yes, they do.
Bates: So, are we doing anything about it?
Farrell: Not to my knowledge, there may be other efforts that we are simply not privy to. However, they are keenly aware that this is going on. We think they have their fingers crossed and hope that they are able to interdict one or two. However, it is a large, organized deliberate operation facilitated by the drug cartels. Realize these drug cartels are running an $18-20 billion dollar business annually across our border. Is the government aware of that? Well, certainly. Are they doing anything to stop it? Virtually nothing. We have the DEA publicly endeavoring to stop drug trade and use in the United States. However, the infiltration of Islamic terrorists disguised as Mexican nationals is happening.
Bates: Why isn't that on the front page of the New York Times? Seems to me that that would be a nonpartisan issue. You'd think anybody would want to keep terrorists out of the country. They're not coming to Mexico learning to speak Spanish and come across the border because they want a job. They can do that somewhere else. They're clearly coming in to blend with the migrant population so that one day they can commit a possible attack inside the United States. You'd think everybody would be opposed to that, even the New York Times.
Farrell: We've done the reporting and investigation of this infiltration of Islamic terrorists across our Southern border. We have done a documentary; we have uncovered records and documents. We interviewed local people on the Southern border area, law enforcement and intelligence officials. We publish our findings. We have some public officials very angry and upset with Judicial Watch for the work we have done. There have been attempts by certain law enforcement officials at the state level in Texas to try in some cases to criminalize journalism. They do not like that we report on things that are embarrassing to the State of Texas. They are more interested in covering their reputations than actually going after the bad guys.
Bates: Well, what about Congress? Some US Senators like Alabama’s Jeff Sessions are particularly vocal about our porous borders.
Farrell: There are some things he could do. Senator Grassley is another one, Chairman of the Judiciary Committee. I personally have made his staff aware of some of the issues we have discussed and they all take it very seriously, but there has been little to no real action.
Bates: We have to rely on Judicial Watch to find out the truth. If people support your cause, can they make financial contributions? I would imagine you do need money to make all this work.
Farrell: We do. We are organized as a non-profit, under IRC section 501C3. To continue the efforts of Judicial Watch, we rely on the generous support of Americans across the country. Look us up on the internet at Judicialwatch.org. There you and you can see the work that we've done and make a tax deductible donation show your support for us.
Bates: Chris Farrell, Director of Investigations and Research for Judicial Watch. Great work. I appreciate you joining us this afternoon. Again, if you want to go online and learn more about Judicial Watch or help them financially, the web address is: www.judicialwatch.org. Farrell thanks for joining us on 1330 WEBY.
This interview aired on 1330amWEBY on December 28, 2015, listen here.
Also see Jerry Gordon's collection of interviews, The West Speaks.
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