- Gary Byrne reveals how the agency compromised its integrity in Secrets of the Secret Service: The History and Uncertain Future of the US Secret Service
- They allegedly served Bill and Hillary Clinton with 'blind loyalty' and colluded with the couple in the 'Chinagate' campaign finance scandal in 1996
- The Chinese government was accused of using shell companies to donate to Democrats to buy access for Chinese goods to be imported to the US
- Agents knowingly allowed Chinese generals – disguised in civilian clothing – in the White House and logged them in as 'business guests' at the couple's request
- The Secret Service also ignored the contents of brown paper bags brought into the White House by Chinese officials
- Hillary allegedly once threw a Bible at an agent on her detail and hit him on the back of the head
Published: 11:12 EST, 14 December 2017 | Updated: 11:15 EST, 14 December 2017
Bill and Hillary Clinton forced the Secret Service to undermine itself by 'systematically destroying' the rules that were put in place for their protection, a former officer who guarded them claims.
In his new book, New York Times best-selling author Gary Byrne writes that the Secret Service was nearly undone by serving the Clintons with 'blind loyalty' which they took advantage of for their own gain.
Agents were allegedly forced to collude with the Clintons in the 'Chinagate' campaign finance scandal in 1996 by ignoring the contents of brown paper bags brought into the White House by Chinese officials.
The problem was compounded by Secret Service leadership mistakenly thinking that the Clintons were 'invincible,' Byrne writes.
'The view from the front lines, however, was that something, somehow, was bound to ensnare them. It was simply a matter of the right scandal,' he writes.
Byrne served in federal law enforcement for nearly 30 years first in the Air Force Security Police, then in the Uniformed Division of the Secret Service where he guarded the Clintons.
His book, Secrets of the Secret Service: The History and Uncertain Future of the US Secret Service, which is out next month, paints a picture of an agency in crisis which could be a danger to President Trump.
Working for the Clintons: The Secret Service served the Clintons (pictured on Inauguration Day) with 'blind loyalty' which the presidential couple took advantage of for their own gain, a former officer has revealed
The 'invincible' Clintons: Byrne previously reported that Hillary was so demanding that she drove many Secret Service agents to drugs and alcohol
Byrne writes that the problems date back to the 1990s when the Clintons were in the White House.
The rot started because they would 'continually seek to systematically destroy the protocols that ensure protection', putting the Secret Service in an impossible positions.
Byrne writes that 'the agency had decided to err on the slide of blind loyalty and that was nearly its undoing'.
Referring to the Secret Service responsibility for investigating money counterfeiting, Byrne writes: 'How can a law enforcement agency maintain its integrity, say in policing counterfeiting, while admittedly having compromised integrity in the area of protection?'
For a while Secret Service did a 'good job' of keeping itself out of the various investigations into the Clintons such as the Whitewater controversy, a scandal in which the couple was investigated over their failed business venture, Byrne says.
But it was impossible to do so with Chinagate, where the Chinese government allegedly used shell companies to donate to Democrats to buy access for Chinese goods to be imported to the US.
The Clintons allegedly forced their agents to collude in the 1996 'Chinagate' scandal in which the Chinese government was accused of using shell companies to donate to Democrats to buy access for Chinese goods to be imported to the US
Scandal: In 1995, Ng Lap Seng was photographed meeting President Clinton in Georgetown. The Secret Service also knowingly allowed Chinese officials – disguised in civilian clothing – to meet with White House personnel and logged them in as 'business guests.' Seng avoided prosecution over claims he gave illegal campaign donations
The Secret Service 'knowingly allowed Chinese generals, disguised in civilian clothing, to meet administration personnel at the White House and logged them as 'business guests' at the administration's request so as to avoid transparency'.
The agency also 'willfully ignored the contents of the generals' paper bags brought to those meetings'.
The Clinton White House would later be accused of accepting bribes but with no papertrail it was very difficult to prove it.
Byrne's previous book, Crisis of Character, was just as damning about the Clintons and claimed that Hillary was so demanding that she drove many Secret Service agents to drugs and alcohol.
Hillary once threw a Bible at an agent on her detail and hit him on the back of the head, Byrne claimed. She also once gave Bill a black eye during a fight, he writes in the book.
In recent years the Secret Service has been battered by scandals of its own doing that have raised grave questions over its competence.
In 2008 an employee caused an 'immense' security breach when they left computer backup tapes on a train in Washington, D.C.
Byrne also claims Hillary once threw a Bible at an agent on her detail and hit him on the back of the head. She also allegedly once gave Bill a black eye during a fight
The scandal only came to light four years later in 2012.
That same year 12 agents were put under investigation for using prostitutes in Cartegena, Colombia, on the eve of President Barack Obama's official visit – in the very hotel where he was staying.
Byrne's book paints a picture of an agency in crisis which could be a danger to President Trump
Eight quit their posts while the others were cleared of 'serious misconduct', prompting the President to brand them 'knuckleheads'.
Amid the fallout, former Secret Service agents and commentators agreed that it was the worst scandal to hit the organisation in decades.
Last year an intruder roamed the grounds of the White House for 15 minutes even though the alarms were going off – because the Secret Service could not find him.
And in a separate bungle two Secret Service agents including a top member of the President's personal detail drove a car into White House security barricades after drinking at a late night party.
In January a senior Secret Service agent in Denver wrote on Facebook that she wouldn't 'take a bullet' for President Trump.
Kerry O'Grady, the special agent in charge of the Secret Service's Denver district, said that the then President-elect was a 'disaster'.
The post Secret Service undermined itself under the Clintons appeared first on News Wire Now.
Sydney seaplane crash: Exhaust fumes affected pilot, report confirms
The pilot of a seaplane that crashed into an Australian river, killing all on board, had been left confused and disorientated by leaking exhaust fumes, investigators have confirmed.
The Canadian pilot and five members of a British family died in the crash north of Sydney in December 2017.
All were found to have higher than normal levels of carbon monoxide in their blood, a final report has found.
It recommended the mandatory fitting of gas detectors in all such planes.
British businessman Richard Cousins, 58, died alongside his 48-year-old fiancée, magazine editor Emma Bowden, her 11-year-old daughter Heather and his sons, Edward, 23, and William, 25, and pilot Gareth Morgan, 44. Mr Cousins was the chief executive of catering giant Compass.
The family had been on a sightseeing flight in the de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver plane when it nose-dived into the Hawkesbury River at Jerusalem Bay, about 50km (30 miles) from the city centre.
The final report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) confirmed the findings of an interim report published in 2020.
It said pre-existing cracks in the exhaust collector ring were believed to have released exhaust gas into the engine bay. Holes left by missing bolts in a firewall then allowed the fumes to enter the cabin.
“As a result, the pilot would have almost certainly experienced effects such as confusion, visual disturbance and disorientation,” the report said.
“Consequently, it was likely that this significantly degraded the pilot’s ability to safely operate the aircraft.”
The ATSB recommended the Civil Aviation Safety Authority consider mandating the fitting of carbon monoxide detectors in piston-engine aircraft that carry passengers.
It previously issued safety advisory notices to owners and operators of such aircraft that they install detectors “with an active warning” to pilots”. Operators and maintainers of planes were also advised to carry out detailed inspections of exhaust systems and firewalls.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55862128
Australia unlikely to fully reopen border in 2021, says top official
Australia is unlikely to fully open its borders in 2021 even if most of its population gets vaccinated this year as planned, says a senior health official.
The comments dampen hopes raised by airlines that travel to and from the country could resume as early as July.
Department of Health Secretary Brendan Murphy made the prediction after being asked about the coronavirus’ escalation in other nations.
Dr Murphy spearheaded Australia’s early action to close its borders last March.
“I think that we’ll go most of this year with still substantial border restrictions,” he told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation on Monday.
“Even if we have a lot of the population vaccinated, we don’t know whether that will prevent transmission of the virus,” he said, adding that he believed quarantine requirements for travellers would continue “for some time”.
Citizens, permanent residents and those with exemptions are allowed to enter Australia if they complete a 14-day hotel quarantine at their own expense.
Qantas – Australia’s national carrier – reopened bookings earlier this month, after saying it expected international travel to “begin to restart from July 2021.”
However, it added this depended on the Australian government’s deciding to reopen borders.
Australia’s tight restrictions
The country opened a travel bubble with neighbouring New Zealand late last year, but currently it only operates one-way with inbound flights to Australia.
Australia has also discussed the option of travel bubbles with other low-risk places such as Taiwan, Japan and Singapore.
A vaccination scheme is due to begin in Australia in late February. Local authorities have resisted calls to speed up the process, giving more time for regulatory approvals.
Australia has so far reported 909 deaths and about 22,000 cases, far fewer than many nations. It reported zero locally transmitted infections on Monday.
Experts have attributed much of Australia’s success to its swift border lockdown – which affected travellers from China as early as February – and a hotel quarantine system for people entering the country.
Local outbreaks have been caused by hotel quarantine breaches, including a second wave in Melbourne. The city’s residents endured a stringent four-month lockdown last year to successfully suppress the virus.
Other outbreaks – including one in Sydney which has infected about 200 people – prompted internal border closures between states, and other restrictions around Christmas time.
The state of Victoria said on Monday it would again allow entry to Sydney residents outside of designated “hotspots”, following a decline in cases.
While the measures have been praised, many have also criticised them for separating families across state borders and damaging businesses.
Dr Murphy said overall Australia’s virus response had been “pretty good” but he believed the nation could have introduced face masks earlier and improved its protections in aged care homes.
In recent days, Australia has granted entry to about 1,200 tennis players, staff and officials for the Australian Open. The contingent – which has recorded at least nine infections – is under quarantine.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55699581
Covid: Brisbane to enter three-day lockdown over single infection
The Australian city of Brisbane has begun a snap three-day lockdown after a cleaner in its hotel quarantine system became infected with coronavirus.
Health officials said the cleaner had the highly transmissible UK variant and they were afraid it could spread.
Brisbane has seen very few cases of the virus beyond quarantined travellers since Australia’s first wave last year.
It is the first known instance of this variant entering the Australian community outside of hotel quarantine.
The lockdown is for five populous council areas in Queensland’s state capital.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced the measure on Friday morning local time, about 16 hours after the woman tested positive.
Ms Palaszczuk said the lockdown aimed to halt the virus as rapidly as possible, adding: “Doing three days now could avoid doing 30 days in the future.”
“I think everybody in Queensland… knows what we are seeing in the UK and other places around the world is high rates of infection from this particular strain,” she said.
“And we do not want to see that happening here in our great state.”
Australia has reported 28,500 coronavirus infections and 909 deaths since the pandemic began. By contrast, the US, which is the hardest-hit country, has recorded more than 21 million infections while nearly 362,000 people have died of the disease.The lockdown will begin at 18:00 on Friday (08:00 GMT) in the Brisbane city, Logan and the Ipswich, Moreton and Redlands local government areas.
Residents will only be allowed to leave home for certain reasons, such as buying essential items and seeking medical care.
For the first time, residents in those areas will also be required to wear masks outside of their homes.
Australia has faced sporadic outbreaks over the past year, with the most severe one in Melbourne triggering a lockdown for almost four months.
A pre-Christmas outbreak in Sydney caused fresh alarm, but aggressive testing and contact-tracing has kept infection numbers low. The city recorded four local cases on Friday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s government has pledged to start mass vaccinations in February instead of March as was planned.
Lockdown interrupts ‘near normal’ life in Brisbane
Simon Atkinson, BBC News in Brisbane
At 8:00 today I popped to the local supermarket for some bread, milk – and because it’s summer here – a mango. I was pretty much the only customer.
When I went past the same shop a couple of hours later it was a different story – 50 people standing in the drizzle – queuing to get inside as others emerged with bulging shopping bags. “Heaps busier than Christmas,” a cheery trolley attendant told me. “It’s off the scale”.
Despite the “don’t panic” messages from authorities, pictures on social media show it’s a pattern being repeated across the city.
While shutdowns are common around the world, the tough and sudden stay-at-home order for Brisbane has caught people on the hop here after months of near normality.
But while such a rapid, hard lockdown off the back of just a single case of Covid-19 will seem crazy in some parts of the world, I’ve not come across too many people complaining.
And I don’t think that’s just because Aussies love to follow a rule. This is the first time the UK variant of the virus has been detected in the community in Australia.
And nobody here wants Brisbane to go through what Melbourne suffered last year. Even if it means going without mangoes.
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-55582836
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