Editor’s note: Due to brutal ops tempo this week, enjoy the rare commentary-free SOFREP News Roundup. We’ll come back hard next week.—BK
The long hours and grueling pace of the presidential campaign may be finally catching up with a rapidly aging Bill Clinton.
During an appearance in Bluffton, South Carolina on Friday, a former Marine interrupted Clinton’s speech and asked him to address what Hillary was going to do about the VA.
“What do you think should be done with the VA?” Clinton said in a raspy voice, turning the question back on him and yielding the floor.
“The thing is, we had four lives in Benghazi killed and your wife tried to cover it up,” the Marine responded, eliciting boos and jeers from the crowd.
As the man continued to talk, audience members yelled at him to sit down. “Are you going to let me answer?” Clinton asked. “This is America. I get to answer,” he said. “You listen to me. I heard you,” Clinton snapped as the man turned around and began addressing the crowd.
“I heard your speech. They heard your speech. You listen to me now,” Clinton said, his voice cracking.
“Am I allowed to answer? I’m not your commander in chief anymore but if I were, I’d tell you to be more polite and sit down.”
“I wouldn’t listen!” the man shouted in return.
“Do you have the courage to listen to my answer? Don’t throw him out. Shut up and listen to my answer. I’ll answer it,” Clinton said as the man was pushed out of the gymnasium by sheriff’s deputies.
“Can I just saying something? That’s what’s wrong: his mind has been poisoned by lies and he won’t listen,” Clinton said.
A woman just jumped up and began shouting at the former president.
“Hillary lied over four coffins,” she said as a man near her yelled “Bullshit.”
“She lied and she lied to those families. So all those families are liars?” she said as Clinton tried to stop her and a Secret Service agent moved closer to the former president.
“Did she lie?” the woman said as Clinton responded, “Will you let me answer?”
“No,” he said. “Why are you afraid to listen to my answer?” Clinton said.
“Are you afraid?” he asked her. “No I’m not afraid because I know you’re going to lie,” she responded.
The video shows her then forcibly removed from the room. Clinton never did answer.
*It has not been verified, but it sounds like he knows what he’s talking about. If anyone knows this guy, tell him to email us or find me on Twitter. We’d love to talk to him.—BK
WASHINGTON (Tribune News Service) — Imagine yourself in the most dangerous, dire circumstance — held hostage, say, by the Taliban. You’d want a guy just like Edward Byers looking for you.
No nonsense, humble, focused, Byers on Monday will receive the military’s highest award – the Medal of Honor – for helping rescue an American doctor in Afghanistan in 2012.
He’ll shake President Obama’s hand and acknowledge the loss of a treasured colleague. Later, Senior Chief Byers — the sixth Navy SEAL to receive the award and the first living one since 1998 — will gladly slip back into the shadows, and the exquisitely dangerous, secretive work that has become his life’s calling.
What he has more trouble stomaching, though, are the books written by retired SEALs that reveal secrets of their trade. No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission that Killed Osama bin Laden, was a best-seller in 2012 and has spawned several other books about SEALs. Don’t look for a first-person account by Byers of the mission that saved Joseph anytime soon.
“I’ve been in the military almost 18 years,” Byers said. “I’ve lived a very quiet life. I’m not exactly sure what their motives are and what they’re trying to accomplish by writing those. I’ve never read their books. I have no plans in the future to write a book or do a movie or anything like that. It’s not what I believe in.”
Byers is “very confident,” he says, that the majority of his secret warrior brethren feel the same way.
A young Southold couple’s love story ended in tragedy this week.
A few days ago, Joe and Tara Tandy had the world on a string. Working in careers they loved, they shared a passion for life, for each other and for service to others.
It all came to an abrupt end a week ago when Joe’s heart suddenly stopped beating. Doctors at Stony Brook University Hospital were unable to determine why the physically fit, 29-year-old man went into cardiac arrest, his brother Mike said. They suspected a virus of some kind, but never came to a definite conclusion. He spent his last few days surrounded by his family, who kept vigil at his bedside. They said their last goodbyes on Tuesday, Feb. 23.
Joe and Tara, who both attended Mattituck High School, graduating one year apart, got to know each other in 2007 at Legends Restaurant, where Tara was working at the time. They had their first date in 2008, after Joe enlisted in the Air Force, and have been together ever since, even deploying together to Afghanistan in 2012.
The international backlash against big game hunters triggered by last year’s killing of a beloved lion named “Cecil” could spell doom for hundreds of the beasts who now roam a Zimbabwe preserve.
The deafening criticism after Cecil’s death in July has created a chilling effect among many in the industry, leading to more hunters staying home, animal populations growing out of control and a more dangerous environment for guides, say experts.
“Far fewer hunters are going to Zimbabwe,” said Steve Taylor, a former game ranger and current guide in Zimbabwe who is also associate director for International Safety and Security at Harvard University. “Directly after the Cecil situation numbers declined precipitously.”
One Zimbabwean conservancy floated the idea of culling nearly 200 of its lions to fight overpopulation. That notion – since tabled – has drawn condemnation, but it highlights the desperation some conservancies face as lion and other animal populations go unchecked, say some conservationists…
…But criticism has certainly reached Bubye’s fences, and not only for the cull suggestion. A professional hunter familiar with Bubye attempted to set up a hunting raffle for the conservancy, with 100 tickets each selling for $1,500. The raffle would have provided economic benefits for Bubye as well as helped to thin the lion population. But advocacy groups quickly sounded the alarm and the raffle was cancelled.
In 2019 the Army expects to roll out a new, lighter body armor system. The armor will provide at least as much protection as today’s system, but with more comfort, and greater flexibility to adjust based on the mission, Army officials said.
The Torso and Extremities Protection, or TEP, program cleared the engineering and development phases last summer, and will move into a few years of limited production and testing. During that time and beyond, technology advances may be integrated.
Already, improved ballistics materials have allowed the Army to cut the weight of TEP, when compared to the Army’s current heavy-duty option, the Improved Outer Tactical Vest. The IOTV, when loaded with heavy plates, weighs about 31 pounds, while a comparable TEP system checks in at about 23 pounds, or 26 percent lighter.
A U.S. Navy whistleblower whose identity is being withheld has come forward with claims that he saw proof of alien and UFOs while he served at Moffett Field, formerly a U.S. naval base in California.
The former naval officer claims that he handled top-secret files and saw thousands of photos of aliens and UFOs. He says he is ready after 27 years of silence to make a contribution to the ongoing campaign for full alien and UFO disclosure by sharing the information he gained access to, first as junior officer and later as senior U.S. Naval officer.
The 49-year-old man from Ohio has reportedly filed a report with MUFON, a US-based organization that documents and investigates reports of alien and UFO sightings. He also spoke in an interview with the U.K.’s Express.
He told MUFON that he was a third-class petty officer in the U.S. Navy in the 1980s. He served in the navy as a telecommunications technician and later as a senior officer in the U.S. Army and the Navy Seals. He claimed that when he was at Moffett Field, from February 1986 to October 1989, he handled thousands of files containing classified documents about aliens and UFOs. He also saw photos of aliens and UFO crafts.
“I have never seen a UFO or ET or alien, however I have seen literally tens of thousands of documents confirming they are real and have visited Earth,” he said. “I personally handled, viewed and delivered thousands of documents involving UFO/ET Projects. I would like to share my knowledge in hopes that someone will be able to use it effectively towards disclosure.”
A top government watchdog on Thursday accused the central agency tasked with holding Veterans Affairs accountable of dropping the ball — by failing to properly investigate whistleblower claims of secret wait lists at Shreveport, La., and Chicago hospitals where thousands of veterans languished up to 15 months without care.
Further, Special Counsel Carolyn Lerner said the VA’s Office of Inspector General even tried to “discredit the whistleblowers” who brought the allegations by focusing on a narrow aspect of the case.
“The OIG investigations that the VA submitted … are incomplete. They do not respond to the issues that the whistleblowers raised,” Lerner wrote to President Obama.
The U.S. Office of Special Counsel reports directly to the president and investigates claims of whistleblower retaliation. It has no direct authority over the VA, but the letter sent to Obama and Congress on Thursday represents a stark challenge to the supposedly independent review conducted by the VA inspector general.
A 30-year Navy engineer with access to government secrets has been indicted on charges of lying about his dual Iranian citizenship and creating false identities to conceal his ongoing ties and money he received from overseas.
U.S. federal prosecutors are accusing Naval Sea Systems Command employee James Robert Baker, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Iran, of lying about his holding an active Iranian passport and using four separate social security numbers to open bank accounts, move money and shield his income from taxes — including an unexplained overseas wire transfer of $133,902 in 2009.
Baker, who changed his name from Majid Karimi when he became a U.S. citizen in 1985, faces 14 counts on charges including lying on his SF-86 security clearance questionnaire, identification documents fraud and social security fraud, which could bring a maximum sentence of nearly 70 years in prison. However, experts say Baker, if convicted on all charges, would likely only spend about five years behind bars because of sentencing guidelines.
A Marine veteran known for an embarrassing wartime controversy is being credited with helping police in Tennessee stop his fiancée’s alleged plan to hire a hit man to kill her ex-boyfriend.
Joseph Chamblin, a former scout sniper whose military career came to an end after a video surfaced showing him and other Marines urinating on enemy corpses, tipped off law enforcement in Kingston, Tennessee, that his fiancée, Laura Ann Buckingham, had allegedly repeatedly asked for his help in making her ex “go away,” according to the Knoxville News Sentinel…
…Buckingham was arrested Wednesday evening on a warrant for criminal attempt to commit first degree murder of her former boyfriend, Bradley Sutherland, according a joint press release put out by the Roane County Sheriff and 9th District Attorney General offices.
She allegedly paid an undercover agent with the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to kill Sutherland, who lives in New Albany, Indiana, the Sentinel reported. The two have a 3-year-old son together, according to the sheriff’s office release.
“[Buckingham] acted with intent to complete a course of action that would constitute the offense of premeditated murder by hiring and paying another to kill Bradley Sutherland and thereby taking a substantial step toward the commission of that offense,” the release states.
Chamblin, who shared a rental home with Buckingham, became concerned after she allegedly asked him about killing Sutherland several times, the Sentinel reported.
“She stated to him that since he was in the military maybe he had some friends that could do this for him,” a police incident states, according to the Sentinel.
KENNEBUNK, Maine — Congresswoman Chellie Pingree has asked the U.S. Marine Corps top official to review rules she feels discriminates against female recruits who have tattoos.
In a release issued Monday, Pingree said she is trying to help Kate Pimental, 20, of Kennebunk, who has volunteered to serve with the Marines but was told she can’t because of a small tattoo she has below her collarbone, which reads “Let your smile change the world but never let the world change you.”
Pimental, who grew up in New Hampshire, graduating from Farmington High School in 2013, got the tattoo when she was 18 years old, Pingree’s release states.
“Male recruits get a waiver when they have a tattoo like Kate’s because they can wear a T-shirt that covers it up,” Pingree said. “But because the Marine Corps uniform for women is cut lower, the same tattoo on a female recruit effectively keeps her from enlisting. That’s not right and it keeps smart, capable women like Kate from being able to serve her country.”
Although the Marine Corps policy discourages accepting recruits with tattoos, waivers are regularly given when the tattoo can be covered up by the official uniform, Pingree’s release states. For male Marines, that uniform can include a crew neck undershirt that would cover up a tattoo like Pimental’s, she noted, but the female uniform calls for a v-neck undershirt that leaves more of the recruit’s upper chest area exposed.
Pingree told Neller that Pimental “is bright, strong, motivated, and dedicated to overcoming the barriers currently prohibiting her from enlistment. She meets every prerequisite required by the USMC Recruiting Command other than her ability to obtain a tattoo waiver.”
“It is my hope that under your command, we can review this administrative oversight and create policies and regulations that will allow the Marines of today to serve with equal opportunity.”
On Monday, Pimental said goodbye to friends who were leaving for boot camp. She continues to train at the Marine Recruiting Center in South Portland with other members of a poolee program, which helps prepare recruits for boot camp.
WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has taken action against two senior officials in Cincinnati following a federal investigation into allegations of wrongdoing at Cincinnati’s VA Medical Center.
Network Director Jack Hetrick submitted his retirement after VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson proposed his removal as the agency’s highest-ranking VA official in Ohio, Indiana and Michigan. Dr. Barbara Temeck, the hospital’s acting chief of staff, was reassigned to non-patient-care duties and her medical privileges were summarily suspended by VA Undersecretary for Health, David Schulkin.
Dr. Temeck could face additional actions, according to the VA press release.
“We are committed to sustainable accountability,” said Gibson. “We will continue to use VA’s statutory authority to hold employees accountable where warranted by the evidence. That is simply the right thing to do for veterans and taxpayers.”
The VA said Dr. Temeck’s “salary and benefits remain unchanged” by Thursday’s action and Hetrick’s retirement package will not be reduced.
“Once the employee accrues enough years of service to retire, he or she can do so irrespective of any proposed or final removal action, and the calculation remains the same,” said VA Media Relations Director James Hutton.
Rima Nelson disappeared from public view after the St. Louis Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospital she managed potentially exposed 1,800 patients to HIV, was closed twice for serious medical safety issues and ranked dead last in patient satisfaction.
But Nelson wasn’t fired. Her VA superiors hid her literally on the other side of the Earth in 2013 at the department’s only foreign facility, a seldom-used clinic inside the palatial U.S. Embassy in the Philippines capital city of Manila.
She resides in a government-provided condo and gets the same $160,000 salary she made in St. Louis, which allows her to live like royalty in a country where the average person makes only $2,500 a year.
GOLDSBORO, N.C. (WNCN) – A Goldsboro woman has been arrested and charged with selling narcotics to active duty military members at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office said.
Roberta Ann McClure, 29, is accused of selling narcotics to airmen at Seymour Johnson while making food deliveries on base.
McClure has been charged with trafficking in opiates by possession, transportation, sell, and delivery; possession with intent to deliver Schedule II controlled substance; sell/deliver a Schedule II controlled substance; and conspiracy to sell/deliver a Schedule II controlled substance.
McClure was taken to the Wayne County Detention Center where she is being held under a $507,500 Secured bond.
FORT PIERCE (CBS12) — A man from Fort Pierce is facing indecent exposure charges.
Samuel Harris is accused of walking up and down the beach naked while masturbating.
A witness told police she saw the naked man doing his thing in the dunes near Blind Creek Beach, a beach where clothing is considered optional by locals.
A police officer confronted the man, who was naked and sunbathing on the sand.
Police said Samuel Harris denied masturbating on the beach. He told police he was going in and out of the dunes to urinate.
Tweet to me @BKactual. See you next week.