Stonewall: Napolitano, DHS Still Silent on Mohamed Elibiary
It's been nearly five weeks since I broke the story exclusively at PJ Media: Homeland Security Advisory Council member Mohamed Elibiary downloaded sensitive Texas Department of Public Safety reports from the Homeland Security State and Local Intelligence Community of Interest (HS SLIC) database, then shopped them to at least one left-leaning media outlet. Elibiary claimed the reports represented a pattern of "Islamophobia" under GOP presidential hopeful Rick Perry's watch.
As I reported, the publication declined to publish anything on the leaked materials -- which were marked "For Official Use Only" (FOUO) -- after finding that there was no "Islamophobia" to be found. TX DPS Director Steve McCraw confirmed to me that Elibiary had in fact accessed and downloaded his agency's reports on the HS SLIC. Elibiary also serves on the TX DPS Advisory Council.
In the five weeks since, neither Secretary Napolitano nor the Department of Homeland Security has commented on the matter.
Before publishing the original article, I spoke with DHS spokesman Chris Ortman. After grilling me about the nature of my source, he immediately terminated the conversation after I asked him how and when Elibiary got access to the HS SLIC system, telling me he would have to get back to me.
Needless to say, I'm still waiting for that return phone call, despite follow-up emails.
The questions I am looking to get answered:
1) When did Elibiary get access to the HS SLIC system, and who approved it?
2) Why was Elibiary the only member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council -- he is one of 26 members -- to get access to that system?
3) What is the status of the investigation requested by TX DPS Director McCraw into Elibiary's leaking his agency's documents to the media?
4) What other sensitive government databases did/does Elibiary still have access to, since he works with other agencies (e.g., FBI, National Counterterrorism Center, Office of the Director of National Intelligence)?
5) Is there evidence that Elibiary leaked sensitive documents and reports to other media outlets?
Admittedly, I'm not alone in failing to get answers about the matter. When Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) questioned Napolitano about Elibiary when she was before the House Judiciary Committee the day my initial report appeared, Napolitano feigned ignorance (we know her senior aides had been briefed by TX DPS the night before):
Gohmert: Secretary, were you aware that a week ago today, from his home computer, he accessed the SLIC database, got information off and has been shopping a story to national media on islamophobia … [inaudible] … at the Governor of Texas and the security folks in Texas. Were you aware of that?
Gohmert: I’m telling you, it happened. Do we need to appoint somebody or will you have that investigated yourself, and if so, by whom?
Napolitano: Well, since I don’t know the facts, I’ll have to look into that.
In the video, Napolitano seemed unfazed that one of her top advisers was being accused of leaking sensitive intelligence for partisan political purposes, with corroborating evidence being given by the director of one of the top state homeland security agencies in the country. Was she lying about not knowing? If she wasn't, it doesn't speak well of her staff that they failed to inform her. Perhaps that's something for Congress to take a look at as well.
But it isn't just Congress that's being stonewalled on the Elibiary matter.
More than two weeks ago, my colleague Erick Stakelbeck of CBN News contacted DHS spokesman Chris Ortman -- the person who told me he would get back to me, and hasn't -- to ask many of the same questions for a video report. The response? Here's his report about confronting the DHS stonewall:
When I spoke to Ortman last week, I was greeted with a heavy dose of skepticism. His general attitude seemed to be that this was a non-story being peddled by a lone right-wing blogger who had it in for Muslims (presumably my colleague Patrick Poole, the intrepid investigative journalist who broke the story).
Still, Ortman promised to get back to me before my deadline. And he surely would have had I belonged to The New York Times, MSNBC, CNN, or any of the other countless Obama-friendly, mainstream media mouthpieces.
Well, the deadline came and went. My report on the Elibiary scandal aired on Tuesday's The 700 Club for a viewing audience of 1 million. It was also picked up by Glenn Beck's website, The Blaze (50 million hits per month) and Fox Nation.com.
In short, this story is gathering steam, and much to the chagrin of Ortman and others in the DHS Public Affairs office, is not going away. To that end, I sent the following email to Ortman yesterday (Ed: 11/9):
Just wondering if you had found anything out yet on the Mohamed Elibiary leak case. My story aired yesterday, but I would still love to update it with some kind of statement from DHS. Fox, Glenn Beck and a few others have picked it up over the past 24 hours, so it would seem that this warrants some kind of explanation, e.g., Is Elibiary still on the DHS Advisory Council and are these charges being investigated?
He was also apparently the only member on the Advisory Council to be granted this kind of access to the database. Why? I think these are all very reasonable and relevant questions, regardless of whether a "right-wing blogger" broke the story. It seems that allegedly leaking sensitive government docs is a big deal, whether the perpetrator is a Muslim or not.
His response? More silence. Now, I've been doing this for a while and have been around the block a few times. This isn't the first time I've been subjected to the trusty old "stonewall" tactic. But the charges against Elibiary are so egregious, and the implications for our national security so alarming, that it simply demands a response from someone at DHS.
So Stakelbeck too was promised answers by DHS, but none were forthcoming. On it's face, it would seem in the department's best interest to resolve the matter, if only to clear their adviser Elibiary. But there is more at work than meets the eye.
As I'll report later this week, there may be substantial reasons why Napolitano and DHS want absolutely no investigation into Elibiary. As one source told me a few weeks ago:
For them to even ask whether Elibiary was a bad actor who has penetrated our highest and most sensitive intelligence and homeland security agencies has the potential for such catastrophic consequences ... they don't even want the question asked. The likelihood that there will be an actual investigation can be calculated between zero and none no matter how overwhelming the evidence.
The only way that Napolitano can succeed is if Congress refuses to act. In the coming days we will give them more reasons why they may want to look into this matter, and Elibiary's involvement with other government agencies, much more closely.