Fundraising Operation Inside State Dept. Raked in Cash for Hillary


Excerpted from the book “HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton”
Hillary tapped Kris Balderston, the hit list author, to keep the Clinton political network humming at State. A longtime lieutenant to both Clintons, Balderston, who called everyone “buddy,” liked to talk in salesman’s terms about Hillary’s “power to convene” and her commitment to making sure her partners could “do well by doing good.” What he meant was that Hillary could use the Clinton Rolodex to focus private-sector money, government power, and the expertise at colleges and nonprofits to solve global problems. At best, they would do a public service and make a buck. At worst, they would make a powerful friend. Balderston became, for lack of a better term, Hillary’s special ops guy at State.

He wrote Hillary the first memo on his concept for an office that would mirror Bill’s Clinton Global Initiative on December 8, 2008, less than a week after she was named to her job and more than six weeks before she took office. Though she had to wait for some of her lieutenants to clear the Obama vetting process and a Senate confirmation vote, she had made it a priority to empower Balderston, the political fixer who could help her build unique networks connecting her State Department to other government agencies, the nonprofit sector, and the corporate world. While many Democrats believe that government is the answer to the world’s problems, and many Republicans believe the same of the private sector, Balderston’s office was the embodiment of Hillary’s core Clintonian belief that government, business, and charitable organizations are all vital components of a thriving society.

“It’s more than raising money,” said one source familiar with the concept. “It’s networking other people’s intellectual property, networks, lists, that sort of thing. You need somebody who does more than just raise money.” Just like the Clinton Global Initiative.

But intellectual property and network expansion would have to wait—Hillary needed cash. Balderston was still setting up the office when Hillary approached him at the end of February 2009. “I have the first project for you,” she said. The job: raise more than $60 million from the private sector in nine months. In an era of billion-dollar presidential campaigns, that might not sound like much jack. But the government generally doesn’t raise money from the private sector, in large part because of the potential for corporate donors to give with the expectation that they will get specific government actions in return. Moreover, Congress and the Bush administration had shunned the very initiative Hillary wanted Balderston to execute.

Hillary had just returned from China, the anchor stop on her first trip overseas, where she had been surprised to find that the United States didn’t have a plan to build a pavilion at the world’s fair the following year, the Shanghai Expo. Chinese officials were incensed at the insensitivity to a major international showcase event in their country, and they gave Hillary an earful. They had been complaining to American businesses, too. From China’s perspective, America’s failure to build a pavilion would be a little less insulting than a boycott of the Olympics but not much. At the time, Hillary and Obama were touting an American “pivot” toward Asia, a shift of focus away from Europe and the Middle East and toward China, Japan, and their neighbors, as a central part of their foreign policy agenda. The elevation of State through the Strategic & Economic Dialogue was but one example of the new emphasis on building a more comprehensive relationship with China. After all, the world’s two most powerful nations had common interests in issues ranging from the world economy to fighting terrorism. Certainly, snubbing China at the encore to the 2008 Beijing Olympics would complicate those efforts.

So the expo held outsize symbolic importance in the new partnership Obama wanted to build. “It became important to [Hillary] because it was made clear to her by the Chinese senior leadership that it was important to them,” said José Villarreal, a veteran Clinton fundraiser with ties to China. “It was inconceivable to the Chinese that they could have a world expo and not have the United States there, especially not have the United States [be] virtually the only country that was not going to participate.”

While she was in China, Hillary confessed that she hadn’t been briefed on the fair—few politicians fail to blame their staff when necessary—and committed to looking into it when she got home. This impending diplomatic faux pas over the Shanghai Expo would be a serious affront to a country that the United States was in the process of courting. In addition to the downside risk, the expo offered Hillary two opportunities. First, she could draw a sharp contrast with the Bush administration, which had made clear that it wouldn’t use government resources to raise money for a pavilion. “The Department of State is not now authorized, and does not in the future intend to seek authorization from the U.S. Congress, to provide funding for any aspect of the U.S. exhibition at the World Expo,” the department wrote in a 2006 request-for-proposals for a private entity to try to build a pavilion on America’s behalf. That effort had been going nowhere when the Chinese approached Hillary.

The U.S. government had soured on the world’s fair idea after a scandal involving the American operation at the 1998 expo in Lisbon, and Congress had subsequently placed a nearly comprehensive ban on the State Department directly funding pavilions at future world’s fairs. But lawmakers had left a loophole for staff to raise money from private donors, corporations, NGOs, and foreign governments. That loophole was just the right size for Balderston and his new shop to fit through. Under federal law and ethics regulations, Hillary could even express her support to potential donors without making a direct appeal for money—a wrinkle in the law that would create great controversy when the secretary of health and human services, Kathleen Sebelius, helped raise private funds to promote Obamacare in 2013.

As a second bonus, setting up a fund-raising operation for the fair gave Hillary an invaluable early opportunity to strengthen and expand her network among top American business executives, a potential source of campaign contributions if she decided to run in 2016.

Balderston was a political operative but not a fund-raiser per se, and Hillary turned to two longtime Clinton money bundlers, Elizabeth Bagley and Villarreal, to jump-start the capital campaign. Bagley, a former ambassador to Portugal and a million-dollar donor to the Clinton Foundation, was named as Hillary’s special representative for global partnerships, a role that Balderston would later take over. A former adviser to both Clintons and the treasurer of Al Gore’s 2000 campaign, Villareal had been a “Hillraiser,” one of her big-time campaign cash bundlers. He was also a former member of the board of directors of Walmart Stores.

Villarreal had heard about the Shanghai Expo issue on a trip to China to visit his daughter a few months earlier, when Chinese Walmart executives gave him the same grilling on America’s expected absence from the fair that Hillary would get from government officials. When he heard Hillary had been in China, he told Cheryl Mills he would be happy to help organize a U.S. pavilion— and Hillary tapped him to do just that as the U.S. commissioner for the expo.

In addition to the sheer magnitude of the fund-raising challenge, Villarreal, Bagley, and Balderston faced a set of rules that complicated their effort. They had to raise all the money from private donors, and Hillary couldn’t solicit corporate contributions directly. To make matters worse, several of America’s biggest players in China, including Coca-Cola and GM, were already building their own pavilions to safeguard their own relationships with the Chinese. As a result, they were not likely to contribute money to the official U.S. pavilion.

Hillary had a lot riding on her ability to turn an international slip into a diplomatic coup that saved face for both the United States and China. The talk about her clout as an international celebrity was nice, but could she deliver? Her fund-raising commandos didn’t have the luxury of time. They couldn’t wait for the charitable-giving arms of major corporations to process requests. Instead, they went straight to CEOs, and they made it crystal clear that the ask was from Hillary.

“We knew how to get to the leadership of companies, and of course, being able to suggest that this was a project that was very, very important to Secretary Clinton really, really helped in opening doors,” Villarreal recalled. Hillary even drafted a letter of support for potential donors, just in case they needed more proof than a name drop. Sources say she carefully walked on the legal side of the line, but there was no doubt that she was engaged. “She did a really good job of actually getting into the muck of raising that money,” said one source.

In the summer of 2009, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, one of the world’s most powerful women, according to Forbes, committed $5 million, a contribution that helped get the ball rolling. Chevron, General Electric, Honeywell, Microsoft, Intel, Yum!, the National Basketball Association, Pfizer, and nearly five dozen other corporations and foundations jumped on board. Just scratching the surface, the list included a who’s who of major donors to the Clinton Foundation. In addition to Microsoft, Yum!, and Pfizer, common contributors to the Clinton Foundation and the U.S. effort at the expo included Bloomberg LP, Citigroup and its foundation, Dow Chemical, Procter & Gamble, and Sidney Harman. (Harman’s company gave to the Shanghai Expo while his family foundation gave to the Clinton Foundation.)

“The Shanghai Expo,” one Clintonworld fund-raising source said, “was a primary example of being able to tap into a base of people that Elizabeth [Bagley] was able to go after.”

In November 2009, nine months after the Chinese chastised her, Hillary returned to Shanghai, where she made a personal pitch for more money. After visiting Boeing’s new two-bay hangar at Shanghai Pudong Airport, where she spoke to a group of fifteen to twenty executives, including the heads of Boeing China, Caterpillar China, and GE China, Hillary made her way to the fairgrounds to take a look at the still-skeletal U.S. pavilion and make an ask.

“I know there are some in the audience who are still contemplating sponsorship or who may be in negotiations with the USA Pavilion team,” she said. “Now is the time to join this effort.” Boeing, the host of her earlier session with executives, doubled its contribution to the pavilion fund from $1 million to $2 million.

Hillary’s personal effort paid dividends for Bagley, Villarreal, Balderston, and America’s relationship with China. They had raised enough money at that point to ensure that America would be present at the fair, but the U.S. pavilion wouldn’t be completed until the last minute.

Two days before the May 1, 2010, opening of the fair, Chinese president Hu Jintao, vice premier Wang Qishan, and state councilor Dai Bingguo toured the U.S. Pavilion, taking in what Hillary and her team had accomplished in less than fifteen months—under half the time it might normally have taken to complete such a project.

“We were still working on the finishing touches even after the expo officially opened,” Villareal said. “Had it not been for her personal involvement in really lending her personal prestige, we just never would have been able to get it done.”

In late May 2010, Hillary came back to Shanghai for a third time to get her own firsthand look as one of 7.36 million people who visited the carbon-neutral U.S. pavilion over a six-month period. The reviews were fair but not good. John Pomfret of the Washington Post called it “one of the singular successes” of her first year and a half in office but noted that the pavilion looked more like “a convention center in a medium-size American city than a national showcase—a warren of dark rooms with movie screens that pales in comparison to the ambitious pavilions of, among others, Saudi Arabia, which features the world’s biggest IMAX screen, and Germany, festooned with hundreds of giant red balls.”

Villarreal acknowledged that “we could have done much better” with two or three years to put it together. “We made the most that we could, given the limitations,” he said. “At the end of the day, the question is ‘Did ordinary Chinese enjoy it?’ and the answer is ‘Absolutely.’”

“I’m just relieved,” Hillary said when she arrived, adding a lukewarm assessment of the pavilion itself: “It’s fine.”

Years later an iconic photograph of Hillary speaking in the rain at the construction site hung on the wall of the reception area outside Balderston’s office, a testament to the first major project of the State Department’s version of the Clinton Global Initiative. American and Chinese officials knew that it was a minor miracle that Hillary had been able to secure financing and build the pavilion in the first place, which was a major sign of respect for China. The Clinton family contact list had been invaluable for Bagley, Balderston, and Villarreal as they dialed angel donors directly. They “went to a lot of people in the network, the givers and funders network,” said a senior Hillary adviser.

A hint of the Clinton network’s central role was inscribed on the first page of Balderston’s copy of the world’s fair commemorative coffee table book: “As you would say, ‘We did it, buddy.’” The signature: Bill Clinton.

Excerpted from the book “HRC: State Secrets and the Rebirth of Hillary Clinton” by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes. Copyright © 2015 by Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes. Excerpted by permission of Broadway, a division of Penguin Random House.

New wave of Islamic immigration planned For US

The number of students graduating with STEM degrees already far exceeds the number of STEM jobs available but powerful interests in the business community are pushing Congress to allow more foreign skilled workers into the country.

Congress is considering new immigration laws that would flood the U.S. with “guest workers” from the Middle East and Asia, a plan some are calling an open invitation for jihadists to walk right through America’s front door.

Critics say lawmakers – including top Republican leaders – are playing with fire and could jeopardize national security with the proposals to double or even triple the number of H1B work visas.

The legislation’s potential impact on the American worker has been widely debated on Capitol Hill, with experts warning lawmakers at a Senate subcommittee hearing last week that the plan would eliminate certain technology and IT jobs for Americans. But, so far, little has been said about the risks to national security.

The bills’ proponents in Washington and among Silicon Valley’s technology centers say America is not producing enough university graduates with so-called STEM degrees (science, technology, engineering and math). Their argument, put forth most passionately by presidential contender Jeb Bush, is purely economic. By inducing more foreign STEM students to immigrate to the U.S. and by expanding the visa program for skilled workers, it will fuel growth and bolster the tax base, they say.

But that argument falls flat on critics of the two bills floating in Congress — the so-called I-Squared bill in the Senate and the SKILLS Visa Act in the House.

They point to research from several think tanks that indicates, if anything, the U.S. has a glut of STEM graduates who are coming out of universities and not finding work in STEM fields. And by radically increasing the number of H1B visas issued, the United States will further increase the number of high-risk immigrants entering the country from Islamic states such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Yemen, Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Pakistan.

Citizens of Muslim countries already have several paths into the United States – as refugees through the State Department’s refugee resettlement program, as students attending U.S. universities, and as employees of an American company willing to sponsor them on an H1B (temporary) visa or a permanent green card. Once in the country, these immigrants are joined by thousands of their family members.

The H1B visa lasts for three years and can be renewed once for a total of six years. At this point, many H1B workers are able to obtain a permanent green card.

In total, about 100,000 new immigrants come to the United States from Islamic countries every year, according to Steve Camarotta, director of research for the Center for Immigration Studies.

Camarotta recently authored a study of the H1B guest-worker program and concluded there is no shortage of STEM workers in America.

“In 2012, there were more than twice as many people with STEM degrees (immigrant and native) as there were STEM jobs — 5.3 million STEM jobs vs. 12.1 million with STEM degrees,” Camarotta said. “Only one-third of natives who have a STEM degree and hold a job do so in a STEM occupation.”

In fact, as Camarotta explains it, the “skilled-labor shortage” argument is little more than a con game waged on Congress and the American public by corporate interests seeking to further their goal of open borders or what they call “labor mobility.”

One of the most impassioned proponents of this strategy is Bush, the former Florida governor.

Bush, in an interview about a year ago with Thane Rosenbaum, said America’s best chance to rejuvenate itself and get back on the path of sustained economic growth lies with increased immigration. He calls for unlimited growth in guest-worker visas and is critical of the “border security first” approach to immigration.

“Border security should be based on the fact that coming here legally should be easier, with less cost and less risk than coming illegally,” Bush said. “And in fact today in America for most people who want to come to our country, coming here illegally is the only way.

“So if you want to have secured borders you also have to have an open legal system where aspiring people can come in. So, ‘security first’ misses that point. You could have greater border security if you had a guest-worker program, where people who can come and work and provide for their families can come and go, work in our fields, work in our hotels, take the jobs no one else wants.”

He also argued for “higher-end type immigration” where H1B visas are “expanded” and “economically driven immigrants can come and go.”

Watch the entire interview in which Jeb Bush makes the argument for open borders and a multi-cultural society.

In the globalist dream world, corporations would shift workers from Bangkok to Birmingham or from Islamabad to Atlanta as easily as they would from New York to Chicago in a borderless, seamless system geared toward labor mobility, multiculturalism, and maximum hedging against wage inflation.

They overlook the fact that immigration is already at historic highs, with a record 41.3 million immigrants now living in the U.S. (both legal and illegal), making up 13.1 percent of all U.S. residents, the highest percentage in 93 years, according to the CIS study. As recently as 1980 that percentage was 6.2 percent. This historic influx has kept a lid on wages for the average American worker, including tech workers. Immigrants are also far less likely to come from Europe now than 40 years ago and more likely to come from Asia and the Middle East, the study found.

If there really was a shortage of “knowledge workers” as the globalists maintain, Camarrota asks how they would explain the fact that real wages for U.S. STEM workers, with the exception of oil-field engineers, have remained stagnant for more than a decade.

Congress paving way for TPP?

Of course that is exactly what the corporate elites want, is to keep wages low for both skilled and unskilled labor. These wage-deflating guest-worker programs are also being built into the TransPacific Partnership trade deal being secretly negotiated by the Obama administration with the support of both Democrat and Republican leaders in Congress.

The so-called labor mobility issue was also a key driver for the implementation of Common Core national education standards, which are more accurately seen as global educational standards supported by UNESCO. If every nation adopts the same basic standards for its schools, it becomes easier for CEOs to transfer what they call “human capital” around the globe.

It is no coincidence that Bush has been the loudest, most unapologetic advocate of Common Core within the Republican Party.

But the emergence of one neglected issue – national security – could be the pig on the parlor that disrupts the globalist agenda.

Since many of the guest workers flooding into U.S. firms and universities would come from countries like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Iran, they could test the U.S. government’s ability to screen out potential terrorists in a post-Arab Spring world in which radical Islam is blossoming.

The most troubling issue regarding this legislation, which has not been debated on Capitol Hill, would be to dramatically increase immigration from the Middle East, which is already at historic highs.

‘Irresponsible and insane’

“They call it the I-Squared bill. That’s appropriate to me because I would call it the Irresponsible and Insane bill,” said Jessica Vaughn, director of policy studies with the Center for Immigration Studies. “It’s irresponsible on so many levels, both because of the destructive impact it would have on opportunities for American workers but also for the security risk it would bring.”

Employment-based and student-based immigration is notoriously lax in screening for potential terrorists and terrorist sympathizers, Vaughn said.

Even the U.S. State Department’s refugee resettlement program, which applies the most rigorous screening process of all the immigration programs, has botched dozens of cases over the past few years, accepting “refugees” who later turned out to be terrorists or were providing material support to terrorist organizations.

The FBI announced last month its newest “most wanted terrorist” is a naturalized Somali-American who entered the U.S. as a refugee and worked as a cab driver in the Washington, D.C., area. That was his day job. He spent the bulk of his evenings recruiting for al-Qaida and its affiliate, al-Shabab. The Boston bombers were radical Muslims who entered the U.S. as asylum-seeking refugees from war-torn Chechnya.

Compared to the refugee program, those entering the U.S. through the H1B visa program are only lightly screened.

“We know that the government agencies processing these applications are not equipped and do not make enough of an effort to screen out the risks,” Vaughn said. “And now we’re talking about more than doubling the numbers, so it will be guaranteed to become even more of a rubber-stamping than it already is.”

Republican Senators Orin Hatch of Utah, Marco Rubio of Florida and Jeff Flake of Arizona are joined by Democrats Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Chris Coons of Delaware and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut in sponsoring the I-Squared bill. On the House side, the SKILLS Visa Act is sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., and has more than 22 co-sponsors.

Vaughn said it’s a “myth” that America has a shortage of workers qualified to fill the jobs being created in Silicon Valley, the Research Triangle Park and other tech hotspots.

“That is borne out by a number of studies, and the best evidence of that is the fact that salaries have not been rising in these fields for a number of years,” she said.

The SKILLS Visa Act would increase the annual cap on H1B temporary work visas from 65,000 to 115,000 annually, while also authorizing spouses of visa holders to work and giving a grace period to the visa holder allowing for the change of jobs.

The bill would also set aside 55,000 green cards each year for employers to hire foreign graduates of U.S. universities with advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

The H1B program was designed to allow foreigners with special skills to fill jobs in the U.S. when there are not enough Americans to fill those jobs. Over time, businesses have found ways to evade its loosely worded restrictions, such as the requirement to first recruit Americans for the jobs and to pay foreign workers the “prevailing rate” of U.S. wages.

One lawmaker who is fighting the effort to expand the program is Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala.

“People aren’t commodities,” Sessions said at a March 18 Senate subcommittee hearing on the program. “We have no obligation to yield to the demands of big businesses that want cheaper labor.”

In his “Immigration Roadmap,” written for the new Republican Congress, Sessions included a chapter titled “The Silicon Valley STEM Hoax.”

“It is understandable why these corporations push for legislation that will flood the labor market and keep pay low; what is not understandable is why we would ever consider advancing legislation that provides jobs for the citizens of other countries at the expense of our own,” Sessions wrote to lawmakers. “Who do we work for?”

Exploiting loopholes

Ron Hira, a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute and a professor of public policy at Howard University, told the Senate panel that the H1B guest-worker program has evolved into a highly profitable business model of bringing in cheaper H1B workers to replace American workers.

In explaining the H1B rules, he said the U.S. Department of Labor clearly states that the hiring of a foreign worker “will not adversely affect the wages and working conditions of U.S. workers comparably employed.”

“That’s a direct quote from the website that describes the H1B program to employers. The reality is, that in fact the intent of the law is not being met,” he said. “The recent replacement of 500 American IT workers at Southern California Edison shows that this intent is clearly not being met and that U.S. workers are clearly getting adverse effects in terms of their wages and working conditions.”

Myth No. 1: Employers must prove there are no qualified American workers before hiring an H1B. In fact there are no requirements to demonstrate there is any shortage of American workers before hiring H1B workers, Hira said. “The Southern California Edison story tells you that straight up. Not only are they not recruiting American workers they are directly replacing American workers. They’re taking their jobs directly. They’re even sitting in their cubicles. So there is no recruiting requirement and H1B workers are replacing Americans. And oftentimes employers are earmarking jobs directly for H1B workers.”

Myth No. 2: H1B workers cannot be cheaper than Americans because employers must pay the prevailing wage. “The reality is, they can legally do this because of the way the prevailing wage rules are written. And we see this again in the Southern California Edison case,” Hira said. “The American workers were being paid $110,000 a year. Their H1B replacements are being paid 70,000 a year. That’s more than $40,000 in cost wage savings right there, a $20 million windfall for Southern California Edison, and they are not alone. It’s Disney, it’s Harley Davidson, it’s Xerox, it’s Northeast Utilities.

He said accounting giant Deloitte is now hiring exclusively H1B workers to service the state of California’s unemployment insurance IT system.

Hewlett-Packard is laying off 55,000 workers in the U.S., replacing many of them with lower-cost H1B workers.

Tata and Infosys, the two outsourcing firms used in the SoCal Edison case, brought in 12,000 H1B workers in fiscal year 2013.

“That’s 12,000 jobs that should have gone to Americans or should have stayed with Americans,” Hira said. He said Cargill in Minnesota, Harley Davidson in Wisconsin and Pfizer in Connecticut are all following suit and exploiting the H1B loophole.

In the case of SoCal Edison and Northeast Utilities, the American workers were required to train their foreign replacements as a condition of their severance, Computerworld reported.

“If you create a profitable business model where you can substitute cheaper guest workers for Americans, many businesses will take advantage of that…regardless of what we might think of whether that’s a good thing for America,” Hira said.

“So this is a very widespread and massive problem,” he said. “In fact the Indian government dubs the H1B program ‘the outsourcing visa.’”

Joining Hira on the Senate panel was Professor Hal Salzman of Rutgers University and another expert on the H1B program.

“Based on our analysis we find the preponderance of evidence is fairly clear. That, A, the U.S. supply of top-performing graduates is large and far exceeds the hiring needs of STEM industries with only one of every two STEM graduates finding a STEM job,” he told the panel. “The guest-worker supply is very large and it’s highly concentrated in the IT industry, leading to both stagnant wages and job insecurity.”

Vaughn said the guest-worker program also promotes a downward longterm spiral. The more foreign workers who fall into these tech jobs, the more that get promoted and then prefer to hire more foreign workers over Americans.

‘Green cards for grads’ scams run by colleges

Corruption at U.S. universities is also a problem.

Salzman said guest-worker policies provide incentives for universities to establish masters’ degree programs that “almost exclusively recruit foreign students into lower-quality programs that provide easy entry into the U.S. labor market, fueling the oversupply of entry level STEM workers.”

Salzman said the “green cards for grads” provisions embedded in the I-Squared, SKILLS Act and S.74 bills provide incentives for universities to provide masters programs that function as a sort of global services business, essentially offering a green card for the price of a graduate degree.

Salzman said expanding the guest worker program will only further encourage universities to see foreign students as a cash cow, at the expense of U.S. students.

“This will eventually lead state universities to close their doors to American students, just as the California state university system did when it recently declared its graduate programs were closed to state residents,” he said. “In order to increase revenues it favored admissions to foreign students, which now make up 90 percent or more of some graduate programs.”

Vaughn said it is the same members of Congress who back the guest-worker legislation every year.

“This is one of those perennial immigration expansion proposals that certain members of Congress keep bringing up,” Vaughn told WND. “We have employers that want to have unlimited ability to bypass American workers and drive down wages overall.”

Vaughn said there was a time, in the 1990s and the height of Y2K fears, when there was a legitimate shortage of skilled tech workers.

“My husband, who works in the tech industry, was able to shift jobs often and each time he got a substantial pay increase. That is not happening now,” she said. “Employers are finding ways to exploit the guest-worker laws already on the books and students are getting discouraged because they don’t see any good employment options. Universities are among the worst violators of exploiting low-wage foreign workers, sometimes using them to work on government grants. That’s sort of an open secret in academia and the nonprofit world.”

The system is also rife with fraud, she said. Up to 20 percent of the H1B system is marred by fraud, whether it be the integrity of the companies doing the hiring or questionable foreign elements being allowed into the country. “They’ve even found fake companies getting approved as H1B employers,” Vaughn said.

“And there’s nothing special about these workers,” she added. “What we’ve found is these companies classify them as entry-level employees and trainees and so they’re able to pay them much lower wages even though they are quite skilled at writing code and other skills. They’re doing it by pretending these are new workers for the purpose of pay, then turning around and telling Congress they need these workers because Americans don’t have the advanced skills they need. So now it’s a major pipeline that has been established to replace American workers, who can do this work and have been doing it. It’s a complete charade.”

Importing terrorists ‘with tech skills’

Washington policy makers like to argue that tech workers make unlikely terrorists. The argument seemed plausible. That was before ISIS. It has been proven that some of the world’s most notorious terrorists are highly educated. That was underscored by the recent identification of the infamous “Jihadi John,” who turned out to be a man from Britain in his late 20s with a computer science degree. He joined ISIS and became its most well-known terrorist, seen on many propaganda videos slicing off the heads of helpless Westerners. Scores of other ISIS terrorists use social media and specialized software programs to recruit new members while still others have demonstrated the special skill of hacking Western computer systems.

“People can come in on basis of their degree and then have a completely different goal when they get here,” Vaughn said. “These (H1B) visas give you six years in the country.”

Another problem not discussed at this week’s Senate committee hearings is that of espionage – both government and corporate.

“The Chinese have taken this to an art form,” Vaughn said. “They work on government contracts, technological development for the private sector, sensitive work, and it is then that proprietary information is stolen for the Chinese government or Chinese companies.”

Vaughn said the government has cut back on fraud assessment in recent years.

“So we have no idea how much fraud is going on because fraud assessment is simply not a priority for this administration. It’s not just the type of fraud where, OK, we’re going to lie about the qualifications of this person we want to bring in so we can pay him less, but it’s also completely fictitious companies.”

So if the existing system encounters a doubling or tripling of H1B applicants without a comparable increase in screeners, the amount of fraud slipping by the government can only be expected to increase exponentially, she said.

“There are plenty of legit applicants and when there are so many the chances of fraud just skyrockets,” Vaughn said. “So they’ve got to clean up the program first before they can talk about expanding it.”


ATF Director Resigns Amid Controversy Over Backdoor Ammo Ban


by Chuck Ross
The director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives resigned suddenly on Friday while the agency is still reeling from its failed “backdoor ammo ban” of the popular 5.56 M855 bullet.

It is unclear if B. Todd Jones’ departure is at all related to that proposed ban. A statement released by the agency only said that he will resign effective March 31 to pursue opportunities in the private sector. ABC News reported that Jones will take a job in New York City, possibly with a professional sports league.

Whatever the reason for his departure, the 57-year-old Jones leaves the agency on a sour note after the ban attempt.

With backing from the Obama administration, ATF sought to prohibit the sale of the M855 — the so-called “green tip” — out of fear that they pose a risk to police officers since they can pierce bullet-proof vests. Green tips were approved by the ATF in 1986, and have become more popular for use in AR-15 pistols.

The agency offered a comment period from the public, but did not advertise the proposal.

Gun rights groups such as the National Rifle Association and numerous lawmakers pushed back heavily on what was characterized as a “backdoor ammo ban.”

That outcry forced ATF to temporarily table the idea.

But Jones did little to assuage those groups’ fears after the ban was shelved. Last week he told the Senate Appropriations Committee that all 5.56 rounds pose “a challenge for officer safety.”

That statement was interpreted by many as an indication that the Obama administration has plans to ban more than just the M855.

Jones has served as director of the agency since July 31, 2013. He was nominated by President Obama in January of that year after serving as acting director since August 2011.

“ATF employees are hard-working, dedicated individuals who serve the public to make our nation safer every day,” he said in a statement. “I have seen firsthand their extraordinary commitment to combatting violent crime, ridding the streets of criminals, and leveraging all available resources to keep our communities safe.”

Jones will be replaced by current ATF deputy director Thomas Brandon. He’s been with the agency since October 2011.

“Throughout his tenure as Director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Todd Jones has cemented his reputation as an exemplary leader, a consummate professional, and an outstanding public servant,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.

Holder also said that Jones “has made bold changes, advanced forward-looking policies, and taken innovative steps to strengthen ATF’s investigative capabilities—including ballistic imaging technology that recently played a critical role in the investigation of the shooting of two police officers.”

Soros fights constitutional fix to limit Obama, Congress

Posted by Paul Bedard

A nationwide drive by mostly conservative states to throttle President Obama and Washington’s grab for more power and taxes is running into an odd left-right combo of opposition: Liberal financier George Soros and the conservative John Birch Society.

Documents provided to Secrets show that the Soros-backed Montana Budget and Policy Center recently urged the state’s lawmakers to reject the so-called “convention of states” pushed by advocates such as radio talk show host Mark Levin as a way to pass constitutional amendments limiting the power of the federal government and especially the Supreme Court.

In an email to lawmakers, the liberal group called on supportive Montana lawmakers to “direct your questions” to the John Birch Society, which believes a states convention, provided in Article V of the Constitution, won’t stop Washington from expanding its power and taxing authority.

The opposition effort succeeded last month when the Montana House rejected a convention.

Already facing liberals who fear that a convention would trim spending on their causes, the proponent conservative group Convention of States is also facing an unusual Soros partner in the John Birch Society, which believes the answer to Washington is to cut spending and the bureaucracy.

“Until the massive bureaucracy that is part of the federal government is curtailed, downsized or eliminated, federal officials will find a way around the Constitution no matter what amendments are ratified,” the group said. Groups like Birch oppose the convention out of concerns that the conservatives running it will go too far to limit government powers and fear that the public isn’t smart enough on the Constitution to change it.

But that opposition is being forcefully rebutted by Michael Farris, director of the Convention of States project for Citizens for Self-Governance. In a 23-page memo, he argued that simply trying to choke Washington’s power by sending more conservatives to Congress won’t work.

“Trying harder with the same old tactics won’t work,” he wrote.

So far, 23 states have endorsed the convention but 38 are needed before one is called.

Levin, Farris and other supporters are focusing on the power the U.S. Supreme Court has in interpreting the Constitution and claim that decisions like a recent one endorsing much of Obamacare violated the document.

Click here to read the original article in the Washington Examiner.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner’s “Washington Secrets” columnist, can be contacted at


‘Only a military option’ can stop Iranian nuke quest

by Grant Kant

At the end of a historic week in which President Obama distanced himself from Israel and drew closer to Iran, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton accused the commander in chief of the “worst act of appeasement by an American president in history, bar none.”

But perhaps Bolton’s worst insult towards Obama’s persistence in trying to negotiate a deal, ostensibly to keep Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, was when he called the president less skeptical than a certain U.S. ally.

“It’s a fine irony that a French socialist government is the only thing between us and this debacle,” quipped the ambassador.

Invited to speak at the U.S. Capitol on Friday by the Endowment for Middle East Truth, or EMET, Bolton called negotiating with the Islamic Republic useless, because Iran “knows it will begin violating the deal as soon as it signs it.”

Get Jerome Corsi’s “Atomic Iran: How the Terrorist Regime Bought the Bomb and American Politicians,” for the special discounted price of just $4.95.

He called the Iranians “expert at negotiations with the U.S.,” because the administration is impatient to make a deal and they are not.

The ambassador portrayed Obama as a desperate to strike a deal, “no matter the price,” because “the president thinks this will be his signature achievement in his second term.”

He added: “I don’t think there is an acceptable deal” to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions, “as long as this regime remains in power,” because it has violated virtually every commitment it has ever made.

He also insisted Iran will not stop, no matter how long it takes, until it gets both nuclear weapons and inter-continental ballistic missiles capable of hitting targets anywhere in the world, including the U.S.

Bolton’s stark bottom line: There is “no option other than a military” solution to stopping Iran’s drive to acquire nuclear weapons.

The ambassador said the leaked details of the current deal are so bad because, over the years, the West has entirely abandoned its original insistence that Iran have no ability to enrich uranium or to extract plutonium from spent reactor fuel.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said those are the only conditions that would make any deal acceptable, but the Obama administration has called that stance unrealistic.

Instead, it was learned this week, the administration plans to let Iran keep 6,000 of 10,000 centrifuges that can enrich uranium.

And those 6,000 centrifuges are more than enough to provide Iran with the fuel to build a formidable arsenal of nuclear warheads, according to Israel and Bolton.

As long as Iran is allowed any uranium enrichment capabilities, he insisted, “They have the knowledge and ability to conduct a long-range program.”

Bolton said Israel will have to make the extremely difficult decision of whether to take out Iran’s nuclear program with a military strike, but “since the leader of free world won’t, they may have to.”

He said that is why Congress must make clear it would be a legitimate exercise of self-defense, because Israel can’t count on either the administration or the United Nations Security Council for support.

“No one believes sanctions alone can work,” he asserted, noting Iran has long been receiving assistance in keeping its nuclear program afloat from Russia and other countries.

“Sanctions do not slow down nuclear and missile programs, even according to Obama’s own director of national intelligence,” Bolton told the audience.

He predicted that when Iran does break out its arsenal, it “won’t be a few, it will be dozens or scores” of nuclear weapons.

The ambassador said exacerbating the president’s willingness to accommodate the Islamic Republic is that Iran is seeking to have sanctions lifted not just for their nuclear program but also for its far-flung terrorist activities.

“And in Barack Obama, they have just the man to do it.”

ObamaNetBolton called Iran “a partner only in the mind of Barack Obama,” because this is not like America’s negotiations with the Soviets in the Cold War, when Washington had common interests, including global security and avoiding nuclear war.

Even before a deal is struck, Obama has sent a message to America’s allies in the Mideast that they are on their own against Iran, Bolton suggested.

“We have opened Pandora’s Box when it comes to proliferation in the Mideast,” he said.

And he worried a nuclear arms race had already begun that will be worldwide.

Bolton said key details of the proposed deal with Iran leaked to the New York Times and Washington Post are so bad, it makes the problem exponentially worse.

“The American disposition to succumb to demand after demand is fueling a nuclear arms race in Mideast,” he said, because U.S. allies see the administration as doing nothing to stop Iran.

And, he said, those allies won’t wait for proof of Iran’s violation of any deal before acquiring their own nuclear weapons. In fact, he said, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states were already moving to build their own nuclear arsenals.

Referring to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s words while disavowing responsibility for the deadly Benghazi attack, Bolton stated: “‘What difference does it make’ when the personal representative of the president is murdered with impunity? It sends a message that terrorists can act with impunity, and it makes our Arab allies pull their hair out.”

Bolton implored his listeners to actively oppose the deal Obama is striking with Iran.

“We have to try to change the deal, slow it down, derail it – whatever we can do,” he said.

“If we are inactive, the other side will prevail. lf we can’t stop before it’s signed, do everything to take it off the rails afterwards.”

He ended on a positive note.

“We still have the power to change it, and that’s what we have to take away from today.”

Follow Garth Kant @DCgarth



Even Democrats may be ready to oppose attorney-general nominee

by Garth Kant

WASHINGTON – Loretta Lynch’s bid to become the next attorney general appears to be in big trouble, as a well-placed source on Capitol Hill told WND there are now rumblings that even some Democratic Party senators may oppose her nomination.

The source also said WND’s revelations about Lynch’s ties to terrorists and drug lords are playing a part in the growing opposition to her confirmation.

WND reported on Friday that her nomination was already in serious jeopardy, with her support dwindling to just 50 senators, the bare minimum needed. Vice President Joe Biden would have to break a 50-to-50 tie in the Senate.

But with every passing day, her prospects apparently grow more dim, especially after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced on Sunday that Lynch will not get a confirmation vote until GOP differences with Democrats over an anti-human trafficking bill are resolved.

The source told WND the extra time seems to be putting more pressure on holdout Republicans to oppose Lynch.

Just four GOP senators are now prepared to vote in favor of confirming Lynch: Orrin Hatch, R-Utah; Jeff Flake, R-Ariz.; Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.; and Susan Collins, R-Maine.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., has come out against the nomination and is closely allied with fellow Arizonan Flake and with Graham. McCain has even strongly suggested Graham run for president.

Another well-placed Capitol Hill source told WND it may all come down to whether McCain can persuade his close colleagues in the Senate to vote against Lynch’s confirmation.

The first source told WND that Sens. Richard Burr, R-N.C., and Dean Heller, R-Nev., are undecided but leaning toward voting no.

Politico reports undecided Republicans include Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.; Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn.; Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H.; Rob Portman, R-Ohio; and Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska.

McConnell said he is undecided but leaning against confirmation because of testimony during her Senate hearing in which she did not oppose President Obama’s executive amnesty.

McConnell told CNN, “I think the attorney general nominee is suffering from the president’s actions,” after the November elections, and after he nominated Lynch, because they “enraged a number of members.”

As WND reported Friday, the stated reason most Republican senators have given for the rising opposition to Lynch is that she would be too much of a clone of current Attorney General Eric Holder in refusing to challenge the legality and constitutionality of Obama’s rule by executive actions, in particular, his granting of amnesty to five million illegal immigrants.

But behind the scenes, the sudden change of hearts also may be due to a WND expose about allegations that Lynch covered-up money laundering by drug lords and terrorists.

WND has chronicled in great detail charges that Lynch, in her capacity as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York in 2012, arranged a mere slap-on-the-wrist settlement with the world’s second-largest bank, HSBC, for laundering billions of dollars for Mexican drug cartels and Middle Eastern terrorists.

Read the explosive backstory inside the HSBC scandal – how WND first exposed the massive money-laundering scheme, the fallout from the eye-popping discovery and the role Loretta Lynch played in “Launder-gate.”

The wrist-slap $1.9 billion fine paid to the U.S. government, and an admission of “willful criminal conduct,” allowed HSBC to enter into a “deferred prosecution” settlement, which ended the investigation and stopped the filing of criminal charges.

Whistleblower and former HSBC Vice President John Cruz told WND he believes the laundering is still continuing due to the lack of oversight by Lynch.

On Monday, CBS News revealed HSBC has given at least $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation, run by Hillary, Bill and Chelsea Clinton.

CBS estimates the foundation has taken at least $170 million from foreign entities and individuals, including a firm closely affiliated with Chinese Ministry of State Security. Speculation in Washington has run rampant as to what former Secretary of State Clinton may have promised foreign governments in exchange for their cash.

On Friday came word from Le Monde that government prosecutors in France “want the Swiss bank (HSBC) tried on suspicion of money laundering related to tax fraud and unlawful soliciting of clients … adding the ‘habitual’ manner of the alleged fraud made it an aggravated crime.”

hsbc3HSBC also faces a renewed investigation by U.S. authorities and British lawmakers “after reports it helped customers to conceal millions of dollars of assets in a period up to 2007.”

WND senior staff writer Jerome Corsi broke the HSBC story in 2012, after making contact with whistleblower Cruz, who provided mountains of meticulously documented evidence of HSBC money laundering.

The charges against Lynch gained new urgency after she became the attorney general nominee.

After WND recently informed key senators of the charges, they expressed keen interest as Cruz provided Senate investigators with his voluminous documented evidence.

Senate investigators also recently interviewed Cruz on details of his allegations.

Corsi reported in WND on Feb. 18 that the Senate Judiciary Committee had conducted a two-hour session with Cruz on his allegations Lynch engaged in a Department of Justice cover-up, based on his more than 1,000 pages of evidence and secret audio recordings.

Cruz called the $1.9 billion HSBC fine “a joke,” explaining to WND that HSBC bank auditors had told him in 2009 that senior managers and compliance officers in New York were fully aware the London-headquartered bank was engaged in a criminal scheme to launder money internationally for Mexican drug cartels and Middle Eastern terrorists.

“The auditors warned me investigating the money laundering could cost me my job,” Cruz said. “The auditors told me in 2009 that nobody in the bank was going to go to jail and that HSBC had already put aside $2 billion in reserves to pay the fine they somehow had reason to suspect back then that the Department of Justice would demand to settle the case.”

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Cruz argued that a $1.9 billion fine of an international bank the size of Hong Kong Shanghai Bank, the official name of HSBC, amounted to no more than “a few days operating profit.” He described it as “a cost of doing business” once HSBC had decided to launder money for international criminals.

Cruz’s charges and documentation were brought to Sen. David Vitter, R-La., a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, before the senator announced Feb. 11 that he was opening his own investigation of Lynch.

The Senate Judiciary Committee’s staff questioning of Cruz and his attorney focused on approximately 1,000 pages of HSBC customer account records that Cruz turned over to WND early in 2012. The records were pulled from the HSBC computer system before he was fired by HSBC senior management, who didn’t want to investigate his claim to have discovered illegal money-laundering activity at the bank.

Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassle, R-Iowa greets Attorney General nominee is sworn before testifying on Jan. 28, 105
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, greets Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch on Jan. 28, 2015
As WND reported in a series of articles beginning Feb. 1, 2012, Cruz was able to document a complex criminal scheme that involved wiring billions of dollars of money for Mexican drug cartels and Middle Eastern terrorists through thousands of bogus accounts created through identity theft.

The scheme used the names and Social Security numbers of hundreds of unsuspecting current and former customers. It allegedly had the active participation of regional bank managers, branch managers and employees, as well as bank compliance officials at hundreds of HSBC locations throughout the nation. The money ultimately was wired by the bank to undisclosed bank accounts internationally.

Confidential sources in Washington confirmed to WND that Jason Foster, the chief investigative counsel at the Senate Judiciary Committee, was directing the investigation into Cruz’s allegations against Lynch.

Foster is considered on Capitol Hill to be one of the Senate’s best, most experienced investigators. A graduate of Georgetown University Law Center, he had more than 15 years experience directing fact-finding inquiries for the Senate Committee on Finance, Senate Homeland Security Committee and the House Committee on Government Reform before becoming chief investigative counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee in January 2011.

Foster, on behalf of the Senate Judiciary Committee, requested Cruz submit some 70 hours of conversations he secretly recorded of bank management and compliance officers in New York. Cruz also recorded his conversations with law-enforcement authorities, including the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office, the Department of Homeland Security and the IRS.

Cruz played for WND an audio recording he made of a phone call he placed to Jeremy Scileppi, the bureau chief at the office of the Suffolk County district attorney June 25, 2012. Scileppi told Cruz that Suffolk County did not want to duplicate other investigations of HSBC money-laundering allegations.

Scileppi explained the Suffolk district attorney had turned over Cruz’s documentation to HSBC security personnel, “so the bank could conduct their own internal investigation,” as well as to the Brooklyn district attorney’s office and to the FBI, a division of the Department of Justice, as is the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York.

“We generally back off the investigation if the FBI or another federal agency is involved,” Scileppi explained.

“The way it works is that we don’t want two different agencies to chase the same squirrel up the same tree from two different sides, because, then, nobody gets the squirrel. The FBI told us to back off because they were working the HSBC money-laundering investigation.”

Cruz: ‘DHS stonewalled’

One day after WND’s first article on the HSBC money-laundering scandal was published in February 2012, WND received an email from Sgt. Frank J. DiGregorio, a DHS employee in New York.

“I have read your article in WND pertaining to the allegations by John Cruz against HSBC Bank. As a supervisor for Homeland Securities Investigators, I would very much like the opportunity to meet with Mr. Cruz and speak with him,” DiGregario said.

On Feb. 7, 2012, WND attended a meeting with DiGregorio and Graham R. Klein, special agent for the Department of Homeland Security, in an office building on Manhattan’s lower east side that bore no DHS designation, with Cruz attending by telephone.

With Cruz’s approval, WND handed over to DHS all the written documentation and audio recordings Cruz had provided, offering with Cruz’s permission to assist in the investigation in any way possible.

dhs_logo_20In a meeting lasting over an hour that Cruz audio-recorded without WND’s knowledge, DiGregorio and Klein promised to investigate the evidence and allegations Cruz had presented.

“This is an ongoing investigation,” DiGregorio told WND at the conclusion of the meeting. “Cruz made very serious allegations, and it takes time for us to do our work. But we have not forgotten about Cruz, and we will get back to him just as soon as we can.”

DiGregorio explained that as a detective sergeant in the office of the Queens County district attorney, he is currently assigned to Homeland Security Investigations, where he supervises Special Agent Klein.

Subsequent to the meeting, Cruz told WND he was amazed DHS claimed it was their first contact with him.

“Back in 2010, my attorney turned over information regarding HSBC to DiGregorio,” Cruz said, as reported by WND in an article published May 13, 2012.

“Then, on Feb 7, 2012, Homeland Security said my attorneys never spoke to them, that they didn’t know who I am.”

Cruz was shocked.

“DiGregorio called me; he was belittling me,” Cruz recounted. “DiGregorio said I was a disgruntled employee, that I was just here for the money. They said, ‘Why did it take you two years to come forward?’”

IRS continues to stonewall Cruz

WND reported May 13, 2012, that Cruz explained he had also presented his allegations and evidence to Internal Revenue Service Special Agent David Wagner and Supervisory Special Agent Kevin B. Sophia. Both were of the U.S. Department of Treasury, IRS, Criminal Investigation Division.

“I met with them in Denver, Colorado, on April 12, 2012, at the IRS office,” Cruz said. “I gave them a computer disc with all the HSBC documents on it. Agent Sophia asked, ‘What would make us believe HSBC employees would acknowledge illegal activity?’ I told them I recorded everything.”

Cruz also handed over to the IRS two discs with approximately 19 to 20 hours he had recorded of his discussions with HSBC employees concerning his allegations.

Cruz told WND the IRS agents were overwhelmed with the volume and detail of the information he handed over.

“The IRS agents said, ‘This is mind-boggling,’” Cruz recounted. “They told me that if the information on the computer disk and in the audio files was as I represented, the IRS agents were talking about arresting HSBC bank employees.”

Cruz noted the IRS was stunned at the dollar magnitude of the suspicious bank transactions he had documented, noting that billions of dollars in tax revenue was being lost, with bank employees transferring money into and out of bogus accounts set up for illegal gain.

Fake IRS agents have been running a costly hoax on innocent Americans.The IRS explained to Cruz that the individuals whose identities may have been stolen to set up the apparently fraudulent accounts would also have to be investigated, to see if they were part of the suspicious activity or merely victims.

Either way, the Social Security numbers associated with the suspicious HSBC accounts turned out to be authentic numbers, identified, in many cases, with present or former customers of the bank. And the billions of dollars traveling through the accounts had never been reported for income tax purposes.

“The IRS denied my request to be a whistleblower in the HSBC case,” Cruz told WND. “The IRS said the information I provided did not result in the collection of any fines, so I was not owed any fee by the federal government.”

Cruz: ‘I no longer trust DHS or the IRS’

As WND also reported May 13, 2012, Cruz handed over to WND audio recordings he made of his meetings with DHS and IRS officials – recordings he made without disclosing to the DHS and IRS.

Cruz explained that he no longer trusts even federal law enforcement to do their job investigating and prosecuting HSBC employees who may be involved in illegal bank transactions, as he alleges.

“It’s a circle,” Cruz explained. “I turn over the information to law enforcement, and law enforcement turns around and gives the information right back to the bank for the bank to conduct their own internal investigation.”

Cruz says he was fired by HSBC for bringing forth his charges.

“This is how the bank and employees in the bank make money,” he argued, explaining why he was fired instead of being given awards for meritorious service disclosing the suspicious activities. “It’s a lot easier to make money off fraudulent transactions than it is to make money off legal transactions.”

He indicated he was not concerned HSBC and/or its employees might sue him for libel or defamation.

“Sue me,” he said defiantly. “Sue me all you want. Then bring out the proof. I will ask for every document. I will ask for a lot of documents. I will show that I am right, and I will give every tape recording to the public on air, so they can listen to these individuals talking.”

Cruz explained he taped the conversations with federal law enforcement authorities “to cover myself.”

“You never know what’s going to happen,” he explained. “Somebody could say, ‘Oh, you’re involved.’ I need to explain that I’m not involved, but that I reported it. Then, if they deny I reported it, I have the tapes to prove I reported it.”

Cruz affirmed to WND he was accusing by name federal officials in DHS and IRS, as well as officials in the district attorneys offices in Suffolk County and Queens County, New York, of not taking steps to stop immediately what he alleges was money laundering billions of dollars in the United States around the world.

He noted his contact with the IRS was relatively recent, and he has reason to believe the IRS has opened an investigation.

IRS agents Wagner and Sophia did not return WND calls for comment.

HSBC ‘a criminal organization’

Cruz began working at HSBC on Jan. 14, 2008, as a commercial bank accounts relationship manager and was terminated for “poor job performance” on Feb. 17, 2010, after he refused to stop investigating the HSBC criminal money-laundering scheme from within the bank.

In his position as a vice president and a senior account relationship manager, Cruz worked in the HSBC southern New York region, a which accounts for approximately 50 percent of HSBC’s North American revenue. He was assigned to work with several branch managers to identify accounts to which HSBC might introduce additional banking services.

Cruz told WND he recorded hundreds of hours of meetings he conducted with HSBC management and bank security personnel in which he charged that various bank managers were engaging in criminal acts.

“I have hours and hours of recordings, ranging from bank tellers, to business representatives, to branch managers, to executives,” he said. “The whole system is designed to be a culture of fraud to make it look like it’s a legal system. But it’s not.”

Cruz explained that after many repeated efforts, he gave up on the idea that HSBC senior management or bank security would pursue his allegations to investigate and stop the wrongdoing.

“My conclusion was that HSBC wasn’t going to do anything about this account, because HSBC management from the branch level, to senior bank security, to executive senior management was involved in the illegal activity I found,” he said.

After repeated attempts to bring the information to the attention of law enforcement officers, Cruz hit a brick wall until WND examined his documentation and determined his shocking allegations were sufficiently substantiated.

“HSBC is a criminal organization,” he stressed. “It is a culture of crime.”