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Entries in Saxby Chambliss (5)

Thursday
Nov152012

FBI Chief Briefs Select Lawmakers on Petraeus Events

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- FBI Director Robert Mueller had a 90-minute closed-door meeting on Wednesday with Rep. Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, to brief the lawmaker on the events that led to the resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus.  

The meeting was also attended by Maryland Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, the ranking Democratic member of the committee, and FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce.

CIA acting director Mike Morrell was also on Capitol Hill to brief the two lawmakers.

Senate Intelligence Chairman Dianne Feinstein and ranking GOP member Saxby Chambliss were also briefed on the Petraeus matter by Mueller.

After their meeting, Feinstein and Chambliss issued a joint statement: “Today we received a comprehensive briefing from FBI Director Robert Mueller and Deputy Director Sean Joyce on the events that led to the resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus.  They answered our questions.  Because this is an ongoing FBI investigation, we will have no further comment.”

Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy of Vermont met with Mueller, as well.

The Intelligence and Judiciary committees have oversight of the FBI.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov122012

GOP Senator Says ‘Put Politics Aside’ to Avoid ‘Fiscal Cliff’

Hemera/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- With the “fiscal cliff” looming, there was plenty of talk Sunday by members of both political parties of reaching a deal to avoid spending cuts and tax hikes that some economists say could plunge the country back into recession.

“We need to put politics aside.  The election is over.  President Obama has won,” Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia said on ABC’s This Week.

But while there are signs of a way to make a deal, it’s not clear that everyone is on board, even though Speaker of the House John Boehner says he will consider increasing revenues.

“The tone was good.  I think the jury is still out on exactly what the substance of what he said is,” Democrat Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland said.

The so-called “cliff” comes on Jan. 1, when several tax cuts expire and severe cuts to government spending are triggered.  It’s also been called “taxmageddon,” because an average American family will see their tax bill increase by $3,700 next year.

The sticking point to solve the stand-off is what the president calls a “balanced approach” of spending cuts and increased revenues.  The president campaigned on -- and won on -- the pledge to allow the tax rates for the rich to rise, while keeping middle-class tax rates where they are currently.

A leading Republican said “no” on Sunday.

“No Republican will vote for higher tax rates.  We will generate revenue from eliminating deductions and loopholes,” Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said on CBS’ Face the Nation.

That’s the position Boehner is promoting as well.

While Obama has said he is open to “new ideas,” a leading Democrat suggested closing loopholes is not enough.  Sen. Patty Murray of Washington was asked on ABC’s This Week if Democrats will allow the country to go over the cliff.

“To solve this problem, the wealthiest Americans have to pay their fair share, too,” she said.  “So if the Republicans will not agree with that, we will reach a point at the end of this year where all the tax cuts expire and we’ll start over next year.”

The two sides have a few more days to make their cases before congressional leaders are called to the White House on Friday.  That’s when negotiations start in earnest and we learn if the election made a difference in relations between the two parties.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Nov112012

Sen. Saxby Chambliss 'Confident' David Petraeus Was Truthful During Confirmation Hearing

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Republican Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia said Sunday morning on “This Week” he is “confident” that David Petraeus, the former CIA director who resigned Friday following an alleged extramarital affair with his biographer, was truthful during his confirmation hearings for his post in the Obama administration.

“I don’t know (the) exact date of when all of this process began and what took place there, but we’re — we’re confident that David Petraeus was very straight up with us during the confirmation hearings,” said Chambliss, the vice chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, who said he learned of the FBI investigation that uncovered the alleged affair on Friday.

Chambliss called Petraeus — who led the surge in Iraq under former President Bush and also led U.S. troops in Afghanistan before being named head of the CIA – a “great leader” and “a great patriot,” but said it was appropriate for him to resign.

“David Petraeus is a great leader, a great patriot, and he is a guy who has probably contributed more to the safety of the United States of America over the last decade than any one single individual.  And he’s a good leader.  And what leaders do when they’re put in a difficult position is, they lead,” Chambliss said. “And he led here by doing what he thought was the right thing.  And I think he did do the right thing.  I don’t think there’s any question.”

Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington also praised Petraeus Sunday morning on “This Week.”

“I think that General Petraeus has served our country incredibly well in many different forms and fashions.  And like all men and women who serve our country - have served our country - we owe him a debt of gratitude,” Murray said. “And I hope this moves forward quickly for him and his family to resolve.”

Chambliss also noted that Petraeus, who was scheduled to testify this week to the House and Senate intelligence committees regarding the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, could still be called.

“But at the end of the day, I would not rule out General Petraeus being called to testify.  That still could happen at some point in time,” Chambliss said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun062012

Senator Asks DOJ to Investigate SWAT-ting Attacks on Conservative Bloggers

Medioimages/Photodisc/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- A number of conservative bloggers allege they have been targeted through the use of harassment tactics such as SWAT-ting (fooling 911 operators into sending emergency teams to their homes), in retaliation for posts they have written, and now Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., has stepped into the matter. He has sent a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder urging him to investigate the SWAT-ting cases to see if federal laws have been violated.

“I am writing with concern regarding recent reports that several members of the community of online political commentators have been targeted with harassing and frightening actions. Any potentially criminal action that incites fear, seeks to silence a dissenting opinion, and collaterally wastes the resources of law enforcement should be given close scrutiny at all levels,” Chambliss wrote in the letter.

“Regardless of any potential political differences that may exist, threats and intimidation have no place in our national political discourse. Those who choose to enter into that political discourse should not have to worry about potential threats to their or their family’s safety,” Chambliss continued.  “While I am certain that local law enforcement is reviewing each of these instances, I am asking you to please look into each of these cases as well to determine if any federal laws may have been violated. Future targets of SWAT-ting, whether engaged in political speech or not, may not be so fortunate as to escape physical harm.”

ABC News spoke with two prominent conservative bloggers who were victims of SWAT-ting, a hoax tactic used by some hackers to infiltrate a victim’s phone system, often through voice over IP (VOIP) technology to make calls appear as if they are coming from a residence. The perpetrators call police to report a violent crime at that home to which the police respond, sometimes with SWAT teams.

Just after midnight on July 1, 2011, Patrick Frey, a deputy district attorney in Los Angeles and a conservative blogger who writes under the name “Patterico,” heard a pounding at his door as sheriff’s deputies arrived to investigate a call from Frey’s home about a man who claimed he had killed his wife. But no one in Frey’s home had been killed, and no one had made a phone call to the police.

“It’s a phone call that could have gotten me killed,” Frey wrote on his blog about the incident.

Frey was cuffed by police while they woke up his wife, who was asleep in their room, and questioned her about the safety of the children.  Helicopters swarmed overhead with searchlights as the sheriff’s deputies investigated.

Frey told ABC News he received email threats prior to the SWAT-ting incident.

Late last month, Erick Erickson, the editor of the conservative site RedState.com, was the victim of the same type of targeting. He had written about Frey’s case just a few days before.

Erickson sat at home in Macon, Ga., with his family while his children played outside over Memorial Day weekend when two sheriff’s deputies drove to the house after receiving a phone call about Erickson allegedly shooting his wife.

“My first thought was, ‘What have the kids done?’” Erickson said after seeing the police car outside his home.  “The police officer approached me in the driveway and said it was a call about an accidental shooting.  According to the 911 call, the person claimed I had killed my wife.”

Erickson, who said he has received other types of threats in the past, had alerted the sheriff’s department after Frey’s experience in case he became the victim of a similar occurrence.

The Bibb County District Attorney’s office in Georgia currently is investigating the case and could not offer comment on it.  Asked who he suspected was responsible for the phone call to police, Erickson declined to speculate.

But several conservative bloggers have been vocal about who they believe is responsible for the SWAT-tings and other forms of harassment  -- Brett Kimberlin, a man who was convicted of a series of bombings in Speedway, Ind., in the 1980s and made headlines in 1988 when he claimed to have once sold marijuana to then-vice presidential candidate Dan Quayle.

The group of conservative bloggers organized “Everybody Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day” on May 25, during which they urged the blogging community to write about the actions of Kimberlin.

Kimberlin, who is now the director of a non-profit organization called Justice Through Music, told ABC News that he did not commit or ask anyone to conduct the SWAT-ting hoaxes that were perpetrated against Erickson and Frey.

“Of course not, it’s ridiculous.  It’s totally irresponsible for them to even say this,” Kimberlin told ABC News.  “There is no truth to anything about the SWAT-ting.”

But some conservative bloggers contend Kimberlin and his associates are responsible for other forms of harassment as well.  Robert Stacy McCain, a contributor to the American Spectator and founder of The Other McCain Blog, wrote about Kimberlin, and shortly after, his wife’s place of employment received a phone call from Kimberlin accusing McCain of harassment.  Based on Kimberlin’s ability to find his wife’s employer, McCain became concerned Kimberlin also knew the location of his home, so the McCain family relocated to an undisclosed location.

Ali Akbar, the president of the National Blogger’s Club, an organization established to support bloggers, recently was targeted by an anonymous website which posted the address of his mother’s home in Forth Worth, Texas, along with a picture of the house. Akbar and other bloggers believe the website, “Breitbart Unmasked,” is linked to Kimberlin.

The National Blogger’s Club recently started a relief fund to help ease the financial woes of bloggers who are undergoing lawsuits, including one lawsuit by Kimberlin against blogger Aaron Walker, and Akbar believes the anonymous post of his mother’s home address was a response to the creation of this fund. Akbar and his mother are cooperating with the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office regarding the incident.

Kimberlin denied he was responsible for the post, even saying that he does not maintain any online presence and said he and his family have been victims of threats themselves and accused the bloggers of constructing a “false narrative” about him.

“I don’t blog, I don’t comment, I don’t tweet on any blogs at all.  This is a right-wing attack on me and my organizations and it’s a smear job. It’s a swift boat action against us,” Kimberlin said. “What they’re doing is an obstruction of justice and it’s defamatory.  We’re cooperating with the authorities in this matter.  They have engaged in a massive smear campaign against us that has resulted in death threats to me and my family and to others associated with us.”

The FBI has investigated a number of SWAT-ting incidents in the past.  In 2009, Carlton Nalley was sentenced to nine years in federal prison after pleading guilty to offenses related to a SWAT-ting conspiracy in Fort Worth, Texas.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
May022011

Osama bin Laden's Death Brings Praise from Capitol Hill

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- News of the killing of Osama bin Laden by U.S. Special Forces striking inside Pakistan Sunday brought praise from both sides of the political aisle in Washington, D.C., but all agree the U.S. must remain vigilant in the war on terrorism.

Here is what some lawmakers are saying:

Sen. John McCain, R-AZ, top Republican on Senate Armed Services Committee:

“I am overjoyed that we finally got the world's top terrorist.  The world is a better and more just place now that Osama bin Laden is no longer in it.  I hope the families of the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks will sleep easier tonight and every night hence knowing that justice has been done.  I commend the president and his team, as well as our men and women in uniform and our intelligence professionals, for this superb achievement.  But while we take heart in the news that Osama bin Laden is dead, we must be mindful that al Qaeda and its terrorist allies are still lethal and determined enemies, and we must remain vigilant to defeat them.”

Sen. John Kerry, D-MA, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee:

"The killing of Osama bin Laden closes an important chapter in our war against extremists who kill innocent people around the world.  We are a nation of peace and laws, and people everywhere should understand that our ten-year manhunt was in search of justice not revenge.  Terrorists everywhere must never doubt that the United States will hunt them down no matter where they are, no matter how long it takes.

"We owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the men and women of our intelligence agencies and our military for their tireless dedication and enormous sacrifice to bring justice to a man responsible for the deaths of nearly 3,000 Americans on Sept. 11 and thousands more men, women, and children around the world.

"I commend President Obama and his national security team for never forgetting the need to secure justice for those who lost their lives nearly 10 years ago and for those who have lost their lives in the war against extremism that continues today.

"A single death does not end the threat from al Qaeda and its affiliated groups.  We must remain vigilant and committed to keeping the world safe and secure."

House Speaker John Boehner:

"This is great news for the security of the American people and a victory in our continued fight against al Qaeda and radical extremism around the world.  We continue to face a complex and evolving terrorist threat, and it is important that we remain vigilant in our efforts to confront and defeat the terrorist enemy and protect the American people.  I want to congratulate -- and thank -- the hard-working men and women of our Armed Forces and intelligence community for their tireless efforts and perseverance that led to this success.  I also want to commend President Obama and his team, as well as President Bush, for all of their efforts to bring Osama bin Laden to justice."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi:

“The death of Osama bin Laden marks the most significant development in our fight against al-Qaeda.  I salute President Obama, his national security team, Director Panetta, our men and women in the intelligence community and military, and other nations who supported this effort for their leadership in achieving this major accomplishment.  It is a testament to the professionalism of our dedicated national security professionals that no American lives were lost in this operation.

“As we approach the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, I hope that today’s action provides some comfort to the 9/11 families who lost loved ones in the devastating attacks on our shores.

“Though the death of Osama bin Laden is historic, it does not diminish our relentless pursuit of terrorists who threaten our country.”

Rep. Peter King, R-NY:

“Today, the American people have seen justice.  The leader of the United States’ top enemy has gotten what he deserves for orchestrating the deaths of nearly 3,000 innocent Americans on Sept. 11, 2001.

“In 2001, President Bush said ‘we will not tire, we will not falter, and we will not fail.’  President Bush deserves great credit for putting action behind those words.  President Obama deserves equal credit for his resolve in this long war against al-Qaeda.

“This great success would not have been possible without the tireless work of countless brave men and women who have served around the world in this War on Terror.”

Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-KY, top Senate Republican:

"The death of Osama bin Laden marks a long-awaited end to the work of the man responsible for the 9/11 attacks.  No one who remembers the horror of that day can help but feel relieved that Osama bin Laden is dead.  This is a great victory in the War on Terror and for all who have worked so tirelessly over the years to thwart the monstrous designs of this madman and his disciples.  On Sept. 11, 2001, America came together and vowed that we would never forget the memory of those whose lives were lost on that terrible day.  Tonight's announcement shows that we have made good on that pledge.  It is proof that no matter how difficult or how long it takes, our military, intelligence forces and law enforcement officials will never stop until the job is done.  America celebrates tonight, and is grateful for the heroic efforts of the many men and women around the world who have fought and who are still fighting to protect the world from terrorism.  Though they may never make the headlines, we are ever mindful of their many sacrifices.  This war on terror continues, but we can be happy tonight that with the death of Osama bin Laden, the world is a better place.”

Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY:

"This is a thunderous strike for justice for the thousands of my fellow New Yorkers -- and citizens from all over the world -- who were murdered on 9/11.  It took close to ten years, but the world's most wanted terrorist has finally met his deserved fate.  New York's heart is still broken from the tragedy of 9/11, but this at least brings some measure of closure and consolation to the victims and their families.  This is a massive accomplishment for the countless military and intelligence personnel who have been urgently dedicated to this task for the past decade.  Because bin Laden's evil dogma has poisoned the minds of so many others, we cannot let up in the war on terror.  This successful mission sends a definitive message to those who would test the resolve of the people of the United States of America: do not doubt our resolve; if you do us harm, we will find you, we will mete out justice, and we will prevail."

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-IL, the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate:

“I was advised by Vice President Biden this Sunday evening that Osama bin Laden has been killed.  Though this is not the end of the threat of terrorism, it is a clear warning to our enemies that when they threaten and kill Americans, they will be pursued and held accountable.  Our nation owes a great debt of gratitude to our intelligence community and military for pursuing this manhunt for almost ten years and successfully eliminating the most high profile terrorist on earth.  Those who believed bin Laden and his network were invincible will now awaken to a new reality.”

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-GA, top Republican on U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence:

"This is a historic moment for the U.S. special operations and intelligence communities.  I highly commend the special operations units who undertook this mission and carried it out with no injuries to women or children inside the compound.  The CIA and others in the U.S. intelligence community did a phenomenal job over several months in carrying out this assignment."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio