- 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.
Australia resists calls for tougher climate targets
Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has resisted pressure to set more ambitious carbon emission targets while other major nations vowed deeper reductions to tackle climate change.
Addressing a global climate summit, Mr Morrison said Australia was on a path to net zero emissions.
But he stopped short of setting a timeline, saying the country would get there “as soon as possible”.
It came as the US, Canada and Japan set new commitments for steeper cuts.
US President Joe Biden, who chaired the virtual summit, pledged to cut carbon emissions by 50-52% below 2005 levels by the year 2030. This new target essentially doubles the previous US promise.
By contrast, Australia will stick with its existing pledge of cutting carbon emissions by 26%-28% below 2005 levels, by 2030. That’s in line with the Paris climate agreement, though Mr Morrison said Australia was on a pathway to net zero emissions.
“Our goal is to get there as soon as we possibly can, through technology that enables and transforms our industries, not taxes that eliminate them and the jobs and livelihoods they support and create,” he told the summit.
“Future generations… will thank us not for what we have promised, but what we deliver.”
Australia is one of the world’s biggest carbon emitters on a per capita basis. Mr Morrison, who has faced sustained criticism over climate policy, said action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would focus on technology.
The prime minister said Australia is deploying renewable energy 10 times faster than the global average per person, and has the highest uptake of rooftop solar panels in the world.
Mr Morrison added Australia would invest $20bn ($15.4bn; 11.1bn) “to achieve ambitious goals that will bring the cost of clean hydrogen, green steel, energy storage and carbon capture to commercial parity”.
“You can always be sure that the commitments Australia makes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are bankable.”
Australia has seen growing international pressure to step up its efforts to cut emissions and tackle global warming. The country has warmed on average by 1.4 degrees C since national records began in 1910, according to its science and weather agencies. That’s led to an increase in the number of extreme heat events, as well as increased fire danger days.
Ahead of the summit, President Biden’s team urged countries that have been slow to embrace action on climate change to raise their ambition. While many nations heeded the call, big emitters China and India also made no new commitments.
“Scientists tell us that this is the decisive decade – this is the decade we must make decisions that will avoid the worst consequences of the climate crisis,” President Biden said at the summit’s opening address.
Referring to America’s new carbon-cutting pledge, President Biden added: “The signs are unmistakable, the science is undeniable, and the cost of inaction keeps mounting.”
Read from source: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-australia-56854558
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
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