Ten Disturbing Findings in the Justice Department Inspector General Report

The Justice Department inspector general report released on Monday shed light on some disturbing findings with how the FBI handled the investigation and surveillance of the Trump campaign.

Most disturbing was that the report proved that the FBI used uncorroborated allegations in the infamous “pee dossier” to convince a court to grant it an intrusive surveillance warrant on a former campaign aide, which gave the FBI insight into the Trump campaign.

However, the report also exposed a number of other disturbing findings, some related to the obtaining of the initial and subsequent surveillance warrants, and some related to its use of confidential human sources, and other practices.

Here are ten of the most disturbing findings in the report:

  1. The FBI’s Counterintelligence Division (CD) Assistant Director (AD) E.W. “Bill” Priestap considered whether the FBI should conduct defensive briefings for the Trump campaign to warn them of Russian interference in the 2016 election but “ultimately decided that providing such briefings created the risk that ‘if someone on the campaign was engaged with the Russians, he/she would seek to cover-up his/her activities, thereby preventing us from finding the truth.’”
  2. The FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane team tasked to investigate the Trump campaign sought help from a foreign intelligence agency to surveil Trump campaign members. “The Crossfire Hurricane team submitted name trace requests to other U.S. government agencies and a foreign intelligence agency, and conducted law enforcement database and open source searches, to identify individuals associated with the Trump campaign in a position to have received the alleged offer of assistance from Russia.”
  3. DOJ and FBI policy did not require the FBI to consult with any DOJ official before using confidential human sources — or spies — involving advisers to a major party candidate’s presidential campaign, and the FBI did not do so. “Consultation, at a minimum, is required by Department and FBI policies in numerous other sensitive circumstances.”
  4. The FBI wanted a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant on former Trump campaign member Carter Page in August 2016, but the FBI’s Office of General Counsel (OGC) and its National Security Division’s Office of Intelligence (OI) determined more information was needed to support probable cause that Page was an agent of a foreign power. Only after the use of the “pee dossier” were they successful.”Immediately after the Crossfire Hurricane team received Steele’s election reporting on September 19, the team reinitiated their discussions with OI and their efforts to obtain FISA surveillance authority for Page, which they received from the FISC on October 21. … We determined that the Crossfire Hurricane team’s receipt of Steele’s election reporting on September 19, 2016 played a central and essential role in the FBI’s and Department’s decision to seek the FISA order.”
  5. The Crossfire Hurricane team failed to inform department officials of significant information that was available to the team at the time that the FISA applications on Page were drafted and filed. “Much of that information was inconsistent with, or undercut, the assertions contained in the FISA applications that were used to support probable cause and, in some instances, resulted in inaccurate information being included in the applications.”
  6. The FBI made false assertions on their FISA applications. FBI agents “did not question Steele about his role in a September 23, 2016 Yahoo News article entitled, ‘U.S. intel officials probe ties between Trump advisor and Kremlin,’ that described efforts by U.S. intelligence to determine whether Carter Page had opened communication channels with Kremlin officials.” However, the FBI asserted in the Page FISA applications, without any support, that Steele had not “directly provided” the information to Yahoo News.
  7. FBI leadership supported relying on Steele’s reporting to seek a FISA order on Page even after being advised it was political dirt paid for by the Clinton campaign and there could be blowback: “FBI leadership supported relying on Steele’s reporting to seek a FISA order on Page after being advised of, and giving consideration to, concerns expressed by Stuart Evans, then NSD’s Deputy Assistant Attorney General with oversight responsibility over OI, that Steele may have been hired by someone associated with presidential candidate Clinton or the DNC, and that the foreign intelligence to be collected through the FISA order would probably not be worth the ‘risk’ of being criticized later for collecting communications of someone (Carter Page) who was ‘politically sensitive.’”
  8. FBI personnel fell “far short” of a requirement to ensure that “all factual statements” in the FISA application were “scrupulously accurate.” “Our review found that FBI personnel fell far short of the requirement in FBI policy that they ensure that all factual statements in a FISA application are ‘scrupulously accurate.’ We identified multiple instances in which factual assertions relied upon in the first FISA application were inaccurate, incomplete, or unsupported by appropriate documentation, based upon information the FBI had in its possession at the time the application was filed.”
  9. The FBI knowingly continued seeking information from Steele even after he was fired as a source — 13 times. “The FBI closed him as a CHS for cause in November 2016. However, as we describe below, despite having been closed for cause, the Crossfire Hurricane team continued to obtain information from Steele through Ohr, who met with the FBI on 13 occasions to pass along information he had been provided by Steele.”
  10. The FBI sent an investigative agent to a Trump campaign briefing specifically because it knew Michael Flynn would be there, and it had deemed him a subject of an investigation — in other words, the FBI used a campaign briefing to spy on Flynn.”In August 2016, the supervisor of the Crossfire Hurricane investigation, SSA 1, participated on behalf of the FBI in a strategic intelligence briefing given by Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) to candidate Trump and his national security advisors, including Michael Flynn, and in a separate strategic intelligence briefing given to candidate Clinton and her national security advisors. The stated purpose of the FBI portion of the briefing was to provide the recipients ‘a baseline on the presence and threat posed by foreign intelligence services to the National Security of the U.S.’ However, we found that SSA 1 was selected to provide the FBI briefings, in part, because Flynn, who was a subject in the ongoing Crossfire Hurricane investigation, would be attending the Trump campaign briefing.”

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Judge puts injunction on border wall – when SCOTUS already ruled there’s no standing

Can I get standing to sue our policy of disarming soldiers on military bases because it embarrasses our image as Americans and makes us look weak in the eyes of the world? Well, if Trump legitimizes a district judge’s opinion granting a city government standing to sue the construction of border wall because of “reputation” issues, then there is quite literally no political question a court can’t decide, on any standing or none.

Yesterday, U.S. District Judge David Briones of El Paso, a Clinton appointee, ruled that Trump has no authority to reprogram $3.6 billion in military construction projects for border wall construction as part of his emergency declaration powers. The Department of Homeland Security was slated to use those funds to construct 175 miles of border wall in several border states.

Let’s put aside the fact that 10 U.S.C. § 2808 allows the president to reprogram defense funding for construction of barriers if he declares a national emergency, which he did last February.  Even if the president indeed infringed upon Congress’ power of the purse, since when did the judicial branch hold the power of the purse? How in the world can a federal judge grant standing to random plaintiffs to rule upon a national question dealing with defense funding?

The “plaintiffs” in this case weren’t defense contractors or people standing to lose from the reprogramming. They were the city government of El Paso, Texas, and an agitation group named Border Network for Human Rights. How can a city government and a left-wing political group get standing to sue against transferring funds to our own national security?

As the Washington Post reports, the city “argued that the new barrier was unwanted by the community and would inflict permanent harm on its reputation as a welcoming, cross-border place.”

So now a single district judge can grant standing to a city government to rule on a national policy affecting national security at an international border and then place an “injunction” on all construction, even outside El Paso?

Of course not. No judges have such power. The problem is the administration continues to act as though they do, perpetuating this dangerous myth that there is nothing out of bounds for the courts to rule on.

Simply saying that the administration will appeal the decision is not good enough. This was already appealed in a similar case. After a California judge placed an injunction on the first $2.5 billion of reprogrammed funding, the Supreme Court stayed the injunction. Yet, as we’ve seen in the growing trend of lower courts ignoring the Supreme Court, that didn’t stop the El Paso judge from issuing a similar injunction.

It’s true that the California case involved the $2.5 billion in non-emergency funding to combat drug smuggling, which might be a stronger authority for the president than the $3.6 billion in emergency military construction funding, but that doesn’t matter. The reason the Supreme Court stayed the injunction is because, regardless of whether the president was correct in using the funding, courts have no power to grant standing to outside organizations to sue against a border wall. The case in California involved the Sierra Club and a group named Southern Border Communities Coalition. The reasons why these groups do not have standing applied to the El Paso case as well. “The government has made a sufficient showing at this stage that the plaintiffs have no cause of action to obtain review of the Acting Secretary’s compliance with Section 8005,” stated the 5-4 majority SCOTUS order in July.

Yet liberal judges will just come back in identical cases and start the injunction process all over again. At some point, the Trump administration needs to make the point that if the Supreme Court won’t effectively defend its own decisions from the lower courts, the other branches of government will.

Going forward, if the administration is going to salvage some semblance of border security, it has two choices: Either refuse to give force to this lawless ruling, or engage in a budget fight with Democrats and refuse to sign a funding bill without border wall appropriations. One of the two needs to take place. Otherwise, the foremost promise of Trump’s presidency goes down the tubes.

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Michigan High Schooler Claims Teacher Assaulted Her over ‘Women for Trump’ Pin

A student at Mason High School in Mason, Michigan, is alleging that a teacher at the school did not like her “Women for Trump” pin and forcibly pulled it off her shirt. A police report has been filed, but when the school district’s superintendent addressed the situation in an email to parents, claiming that the incident “does not affect the safety of our students.”

“When your MALE teacher physically grabs your shirt and pulls your women for Trump pin off and wont give it back. So sick of public schools,” wrote 16-year-old Mason High School student Sadie Earegood on Facebook. “NO REASON I should have been assaulted and had my pin pulled off.”

The student told local media that the man involved in the incident is Paul Kato, who teaches media technology at the high school.

“He stood up and walked over to me and aggressively grabbed the pin that was attached to my jacket that said ‘Women for Trump,’” Earegood told Breitbart News. “I kept telling him no and stop but he wouldn’t. I was walking backwards trying to get away from him and then he kept coming towards me each time I took a step back.”

“He put his hands on my shoulder trying to get the pin off,” she added. “Then he took both hands and unlatched the pin from my jacket and put it upside down on his shirt, and said it belongs upside down.”

After Earegood posted about the alleged occurrence on social media, the school’s superintendent addressed the incident in an email to parents.

“This morning, there was an incident reported to the high school administration,” wrote Mason Public Schools Superintendent Ronald Drzewicki in an email to parents. “This incident does not affect the safety of our students or staff, but because the matter appeared on social media, we wanted to provide you with some information.”

“We have followed standard procedure by contacting law enforcement and conducting interviews to determine the facts of the situation,” continued Drzewicki. “Please trust that we are doing our very best to uncover the facts, and that we will take appropriate action when we have a complete understanding of the situation.”

Students say that Kato has not been seen at the school since December 5, the same day the alleged incident occurred, according to a report by WILX 10. The police confirmed to WILX that they are investigating the incident.

The report added that Kato is originally from Nigeria, where he spent ten years establishing a residential soccer school that officially opened in 2018.

Earegood told Breitbart News that while exposing Kato’s alleged behavior on has resulted in her being bullied by her peers at school and on social media, she has nonetheless refused to remain silent and will continue wearing her gear showing support for President Donald Trump.

“People are trying to silence my freedom of speech,” said Earegood to Breitbart News. “They won’t stop me from standing up for what I believe in.”

The student added that her family has filed a police report regarding the incident. The Mason Police Department has reportedly confirmed that police are looking into a report of an alleged assault.

Superintendent Drzewicki did not respond to Breitbart News’ request for comment or clarification on how the alleged incident of a teacher placing his hands on a student “does not affect the safety of students.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo, and on Instagram.

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Two New Experimental Drugs May Help Save Lives of Women with Aggressive Forms of Breast Cancer – Report

Doctors on Wednesday reported unusually good results from tests of two experimental drugs in women with an aggressive form of breast cancer that had spread widely and resisted many previous treatments.

One drug showed a particular ability to reach tumors in the brain, which are notoriously tough to treat.

The other pairs a sort of homing device for cancer cells with a payload of chemotherapy that’s released when it reaches its target.

“It’s a guided missile. It’s able to bring the chemotherapy directly to the cancer cell,” said the study leader, Dr. Ian Krop of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

Results were disclosed at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium and in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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From 15 percent to 20 percent of breast cancers are “HER2-positive” — they have too much of a protein called HER2 on their cell surfaces, driven by an overactive gene that promotes cancer growth.

Krop led a study of 253 such women to test the guided-missile drug, called T-DXd, given as an infusion every three weeks. These women had tried on average six previous treatments before the experimental drug.

Different doses were tested, and 184 women got what turned out to be the best one. Among those women, 61 percent saw their tumors shrink at least 30 percent. In 6 percent of them, no signs of cancer were seen in at least two follow-up scans.

Although the experimental drug was not tested against others, the response rate is three to four times better than what’s usually seen in this situation, Krop said. The median time until cancer worsened was 16 months, and to see anything hold such serious cancers at bay for more than a year is exciting, he said.

Side effects were substantial, though. About 60 percent of women had low blood counts, nausea, anemia or fatigue, and 15 percent stopped treatment because of them. Most serious: Twenty-five developed lung inflammation, and four died of it.

This is a rare side effect with other drugs for this type of cancer, but it was much more common with the experimental drug. Doctors can watch patients closely and give anti-inflammatory medicines if it occurs, Krop said.

Because these cancers generally prove fatal, the drug “is still beneficial for most patients,” he said.

An independent expert, Dr. Jennifer Litton of the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, said it may be possible to give patients preventative anti-inflammatory medicines. It’s worth the risk because the drug’s benefit is so great, she said.

The study was sponsored by the drug’s developers, Daiichi Sankyo Inc. and AstraZeneca, and they are seeking approval for the medicine in the U.S., Japan and Europe. Krop consults for the companies.

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Dana-Farber’s Dr. Eric Winer helped lead a study of the other experimental medicine — tucatinib, from Seattle Genetics.

“It’s a drug that’s particularly able to get into the brain,” he said, and half of the 612 participants had cancer that had spread there.

“These patients had nothing” that worked, and they’re often excluded from tests of new drugs because their outlook is so poor, Litton said.

All were given usual treatments — Herceptin and the chemo drug Xeloda — plus tucatinib or dummy pills.

After two years, 45 percent of those on tucatinib were alive versus 27 percent of the others. Among the women whose cancer had spread to the brain, one quarter were alive with no worsening of those tumors a year later. None of the women in the comparison group achieved that.

Diarrhea, fatigue, nausea and some liver side effects were a little more common with tucatinib. About 6 percent of the tucatinib group stopped treatment because of side effects versus 3 percent of the others.

Litton said she put some patients on studies of the drug “and they did really well.”

Seattle Genetics sponsored the study and Winer and others consult for the company.

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Drag Queens Hijack Christmas on a Slay Ride

When Christmastime comes around, many people find themselves reminiscing on traditional songs, like “We Three Queens,” and “All I Want For Christmas Is Nudes.” Well, maybe not many people … probably just ridiculous wackos who want to pervert Christmas, all of its traditions, and tear it from its roots in Christianity — like the left and the LGBTQ+ movement promoting woke, drag queen remakes of holiday classics!

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The Nuclear Option: Obama Spied, FBI Lied — But Trump Impeached?

We are frogs in boiling water.

When President Trump first blew the whistle — in a now-famous 2017 tweet that misspelled the word “tapp” — on the previous administration’s spying operation against his presidential campaign at the height of the election, Swamp creatures laughed. They ridiculed. They mocked.

It was a lie, they said. Never happened.

And the gaslight media backed them up. They whitewashed the whole thing for their friends in the Obama administration. And for their friends in the federal administrative state.

Today, after enduring two years of spinning, counter-leaks and relentless lies, we know officially what any sensible person knew from the beginning.

The FBI spied on an official they believed — or pretended to believe — was working inside the 2016 Trump presidential campaign on behalf of the Russian government to hijack the election and install a Manchurian candidate who would give America away to Moscow.

The FBI never alerted the Trump campaign to this grave inside threat, obviously, because the Department of Justice believed that the Trump campaign — including Mr. Trump, himself — was in on the giant con.

And therein lies the plotted coup.

Whatever you think of former President Barack Obama or Mr. Trump or Carter Page or James B. Comey or anybody’s foreign policy opinion regarding Russia or NATO or Mexico, only one thing matters in this situation. At the moment these decisions were being made to spy on the Trump campaign, Mr. Obama was president. His administration was at the controls of one of the most sprawling and sophisticated espionage apparatuses ever assembled on this planet.

At that time, Mr. Trump was an avowed political opponent. Any decision made by the Obama administration to spy on officials inside the Trump campaign was of massive, profound constitutional import. It is in these moments where a country is either a nation of laws or a banana republic.

It is either “equal justice under law” or a police state.

So, FBI agents — operating at the highest levels of DOJ authority — sought secret warrant applications normally reserved for our worst enemies such as active terrorists plotting to kill as many innocent Americans as possible.

They cobbled those secret warrant applications together with bad information supplied by — among others — Mr. Trump’s political opponents during the 2016 election. Much of that information was gathered abroad from America’s enemies seeking to sow discord in our elections.

The inspector general found specifically at least 17 “significant errors or omissions” in the FBI’s secret warrant applications.

Again, do not forget, the Obama administration took all these drastic and sloppy steps against a political opponent at the height of a presidential race — without ever alerting the campaign of this dastardly threat inside its campaign.

This is, literally, worse than Watergate. This is worse than the most egregious abuses of power by J. Edgar Hoover in his campaign of spying on political opponents.

The Obama administration officials responsible for this miscarriage of justice and trampling of the Constitution now step forward and admit they spied on political opponents at the height of an election — though they scramble to find softer-sounding terms for it.

And they bleat about how the inspector general found no evidence of “political bias” in their espionage campaign against the Trump campaign.

Give me a break.

First, there is plenty of evidence of deep-seated hatred of Mr. Trump spewed these biased jackboots. Second, what on earth is “political bias,” anyway? Wearing an “I’m With Her” T-shirt while applying for a secret warrant to spy on the administration’s political opponents?

Yeah, well, I am sure John Wilkes Booth was not motivated by “political bias,” either.

But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

• Contact Charles Hurt at churt@washingtontimes.com or on Twitter @charleshurt.

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NY School District Blocks Christian Club

A New York school district violated anti-discrimination laws by blocking a high school student from forming a Christian club on campus, according to a religious freedom group.

Daniela Barca, a 14-year-old freshman at Roy C. Ketcham High School in Wappingers Falls, New York, expressed interest in founding a Christian student club only to be blocked by school officials. The First Liberty Institute, a nonprofit religious freedom law firm, sent a letter to the Wappingers Central School District claiming that the district’s actions violated the Equal Access Act of 1984, which prohibits discrimination "on the basis of religious content." The letter said that Ketcham High School principal David Seipp demonstrated hostility toward Barca’s faith after repeatedly stonewalling the student.

"School officials appear pleased to support the political speech of the Pride Club and the philosophical speech of the RAK–Random Acts of Kindness Club, but refuse to support Daniela’s proposed club explicitly because of the club’s proposed religious speech," the letter says. "By singling out religious clubs and providing them inferior access to school resources than that provided to other noncurricular groups, the District shows a hostility to religion that violates the First Amendment."

Seipp did not respond to request for comment.

Barca reached out to a special education teacher at Ketcham High about being the faculty sponsor of the club. Barca told the teacher she was interested in forming a club where she could "have discussions about living for God in a godless society." The teacher responded favorably, but after submitting the club’s application to administrators, Barca encountered resistance. The high school principal ultimately denied the creation of the club, telling Barca the religious group would be "seen as exclusive." Barca then emailed an assistant superintendent arguing for the creation of the club.

"I want to start this club for other students like me so we can support each other in our beliefs," she wrote in the email. "The school district celebrates diversity and the right to express who you are. All I want is to be allowed to express who I am."

District officials continued to block the club despite the student’s petitions. An administrator said in an email obtained by the First Liberty Institute that it would be acceptable for Barca to form a more generic religion-based club, so long as it was not Christian in nature.

The institute said that the school’s refusal to allow the creation of the club violates the Equal Access Act. The act prohibits public secondary schools that receive federal funding from discriminating against meetings of student groups "on the basis of religious content," as long as meetings are voluntary and initiated by the students, there is no government sponsorship of the meetings, and there is no sanctioning of unlawful activity.

First Liberty called on the school to approve Barca’s proposal immediately and permit meetings of the group before the start of the school term in January.

"Daniela’s experience with multiple District officials and reports from students indicate that it is the District’s custom and practice to deny any such official recognition on the unfounded (and distinctly illegal) basis that public schools may not officially recognize clubs with a religious purpose," the letter says. "This matter is not one for reasonable dispute: Wappingers Central School District officials have repeatedly broken long-standing, clearly established federal law."

District superintendent Jose Carrion did not respond to an email seeking comment about the letter.

*UPDATE 8:51 P.M.*

Carrion said the district intends to comply with anti-discrimination laws.

"The District recognizes the rights of student-initiated, non-curricular groups to organize and meet in accordance with the Equal Access Act," he said in an email. "We fully anticipate that this matter will be resolved as per the Equal Access Act."

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Twitter Throttles Call for Social Media Strike as ‘Sensitive Content’

Ex-founder of Wikipedia Larry Sanger’s Twitter followers reported that they couldn’t see the tweets he had put out about a social media strike. “Who wants me to organize mass tryouts of decentralized social media networks?” Sanger tweeted on Dec. 2.

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Report: Suspects in Deadly New Jersey Shootout Identified, Linked to Black Supremacist Group

More details are emerging following a shooting Wednesday in Jersey City, New Jersey, that left six people dead, including the two alleged shooters.

Officials are now saying that a Kosher grocery store where three of the four victims were shot was specifically targeted.

“There were multiple other people on the streets,” Jersey City Public Safety Director James Shea told reporters Wednesday, according to NBC News. “There were many other targets available to them that they bypassed to attack that place. So it was, clearly, that was their target, and they intended to harm people inside there.”

The shooting started at a nearby cemetery, when Jersey City Police Detective Joseph Seals approached two suspects who were in a van that been linked to a prior homicide.

Seals, an 18-year law enforcement veteran, was shot in the back of the head and later died, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

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The suspects, who were armed with long guns, then took off in the van before parking outside a kosher grocery store.

A law enforcement official told The New York Times the suspects walked into the store while firing their guns. A pipe bomb was later found in their car, that official said.

A lengthy standoff ensued, with the suspects firing at both law enforcement officers who responded and innocent victims in the store.

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While police had yet to name the other three victims, Rabbi Moshe Schapiro of the Chabad of Hoboken and Jersey City identified two of them as members of the Orthodox Jewish community — Leah Minda Ferencz, who owned the JC Kosher Supermarket with her husband, and her cousin Moshe Hirsch Deutsh, a rabbinical student who lived in Brooklyn, according to NorthJersey.com.

Miguel Jason Rodriguez, an Ecuadorian migrant who worked at the grocery store, was identified by his pastor as the final victim.

Officials are investigating the identity and motives of the suspects.

“Last night after extensive review of our CCTV system it has now become clear from the cameras that these two individuals targeted the Kosher grocery location on MLK Dr,” Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop tweeted.

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As of early Wednesday afternoon, police had not yet publicly identified the suspects.

However, the law enforcement official told The Times that the suspects’ names were David Anderson and Francine Graham. A “manifesto-style note” was found in the van, though it did not provide a clear motive for the attack, The Times reported, citing two officials.

Four law enforcement sources also confirmed the suspects’ names to WNBC-TV.

Both outlets reported Anderson has been linked by investigators to the Black Hebrew Israelites, a black supremacy organization.

According to TheBlaze, the group was founded in the late 19th century and combined elements of both Judaism and Christianity to argue that African-Americans descended from the 12 tribes of Israel.

There are multiple offshoots of the group, though more extreme members are taught that “a vengeful black Jesus will soon return to earth to kill or enslave all white people,” the outlet reported.

Even the liberal Southern Poverty Law Center says the Black Hebrew Israelites “advocate the superiority of the black race and that African Americans represent God’s true ‘chosen people.’ As God’s ‘true’ Jews, BHI adherents believe that Jews who self-identify with Israel are ‘scam artists’ and imposters.”

Three sources told WNBC that Anderson was a one-time follower of the group.

A neighbor of Graham’s, meanwhile, told the outlet that Graham met Anderson after sustaining an injury at work.

“[The neighbor] says Graham turned into a ‘dark person’ after they met,” WNBC reported.

“The neighbor also claims Graham was coerced into a militant religion he could not identify; chanting and reading of the New Testament, translated into ‘evil,’ could be heard from her home, he said.”

Unnamed officials also said they had found anti-police and anti-Jewish postings connected to Anderson’s social media page.

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US Army Demands Small Business Remove Bible Verses from Replica Military Gear

Anti-Christian insanity has officially reached new heights — and it should worry all of us.

Shields of Strength is a Beaumont, Texas, company that sells Christian-themed jewelry and accessories. It also makes replica dog tags with Bible verses on them.

So, imagine its surprise when the military came a-calling and demanded the retailer remove those verses or stop selling the dog tags.

“These are not the government-issued dog tags, these are replica dog tags,” Michael Berry of the First Liberty Institute said during a recent interview on the “Todd Starnes Show.”

“The government can’t discriminate against people and private businesses … on the basis of religion,” Berry said.

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The government disagrees.

“You are not authorized to put biblical verses on your Army products,” Army Trademark Licensing Program Director Paul Jensen told the small business, according to Fox News. “For example, Joshua 1:9. Please remove ALL biblical references from all of your Army products.”

According to the Washington Times, Shields of Strength has been making replica dog tags for 20 years under a licensing program with the Army. Now that business is in jeopardy.

First Liberty — which is representing the company in a lawsuit against the government — says the Army’s order is in violation of both the Constitution and the law.

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“Your directive that SoS remove all Biblical references from its Army-licensed products is unconstitutional and violates [the Religious Freedom Restoration Act],” the group said in a Tuesday letter to the service.

Meanwhile, the Military Religious Freedom Foundation claims the company’s “proselytizing merchandise” is “a clear-cut violation” of Department of Defense policy on merchandising, according to the Army Times.

“Such craven utilization of American military logos and related symbology by this sectarian Christian group (Shields of Strength) not only viciously violates well established DoD regulatory law but also poisons the Constitutionally-mandated separation of Church and State,” MRFF founder Mikey Weinstein said in a statement.

Of course, buying the tags remains incredibly voluntary. The problem seems to be that the tags are also incredibly popular.

“If you walk on any military base, Fort Bragg, you name it, you’re likely to see someone wearing a Shields of Strength dog tag or if you go to the base exchange you can get them there,” Berry said, according to WTVD-TV.

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“I think having that on the back of the dog tag brings comfort during a time of need,” an Army vet told the outlet.

“Virtually every unit has contacted us and said, ‘Would you make us a tag with our unit on it?’ We’ve seen the fruit of the mission. Literally thousands of soldiers, airmen, marines, telling us with tears in their eyes how much it’s meant to them, and many times the Gold Star families to be in possession of the dog tag they wore,” Kenny Vaughn of Shields of Strength, according to Fox News. “I don’t understand it.”

Berry also criticized the Army for caving to the MRFF’s complaint.

“You would think the most powerful military in the world would be able to withstand the complaint of an activist group thousands of miles away, but apparently that’s all it takes to bring the military to its knees,” he said.

But on issues of religion, it seems there’s plenty of room for capitulation.

As Fox News reports, this issue has been percolating since July. The common-sense solution is to let the company make the dog tags, but when it comes to issues of religion, common sense can never prevail.

It’s almost entirely predictable. This is what always happens. There’s almost never an individual or entity that stands up for bedrock issues like freedom of religion, either under the Constitution or the First Amendment.

The MRFF has a history of this sort of thing, too.

“This is just a despicable cowardly act, really a publicity stunt, by Mikey Weinstein,” Berry said.

That’s not inaccurate. Organizations such as the MRFF and the Freedom from Religion Foundation survive on the oxygen afforded to them. If starved of that, they wither away.

They needed to be starved of that here and they weren’t. There’s still an opportunity, however, for common sense — and constitutionality — to prevail. Let’s hope the Army does the right thing here.

If it doesn’t, however, First Liberty and Shields of Strength are willing to fight on.

“Nobody who puts their life on the line defending our freedoms should not be able to enjoy those freedoms themselves,” Berry said. “We will not stop fighting for [Shields of Strength].”

Amen to that.

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via The Western Journal

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