How did a top Clinton donor end up as a State Department security advisor?
Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of Mr. [Rajiv K. ]Fernando, because you arguably never should have. Mr. Fernando is a one-time Chicago securities trader who in July of 2011 somehow found himself sitting on the International Security Advisory Board, with the ability to access the nation’s most sensitive intelligence.
Mr. Fernando had no background that would have qualified him to sit on the ISAB alongside the likes of former National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, former Defense Secretary William Perry, a United Nations chief weapons inspector, members of Congress, and nuclear scientists. That Mr. Fernando didn’t belong was apparent. “We had no idea who he was,” one board member told ABC News. So how exactly did he get there?
We now finally know, thanks to State Department internal emails that the government was forced to turn over to the watchdog group Citizens United. And thanks to ABC News, which began digging into Mr. Fernando’s bizarre appointment when it first happened.
In August 2011, ABC requested a copy of Mr. Fernando’s resume from the State Department. This, the internal emails show, sent a press aide reeling to find answers to how a trader had ended up on the ISAB. Even the aide noted that it was “natural to ask how he got onto the board when compared to the rest of the esteemed list of members.”
The response came only a few hours later in an email from Wade Boese, chief of staff for an undersecretary of state: “The true answer is simply that S staff ( Cheryl Mills) added him,” Mr. Boese wrote. “Raj was not on the list sent to S; he was added at their insistence.”
S, in this situation, stands for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Ms. Mills, a longtime aide, was her chief of staff. Why would Hillary want to entrust the nation’s secrets to a man with no intelligence experience?
Here’s what we do know: Mr. Fernando, before his plum appointment, had given between $100,000 and $250,000 to the William J. Clinton Foundation. He had been a top bundler for Mrs. Clinton in her 2008 presidential run, and later a major Obama fundraiser. He gave tens of thousands more to a political group that helped Hillary pay off her 2008 campaign debt by renting her email list.
The 2011 emails reveal that the State Department knew it had a problem on its hands. “We must protect the Secretary’s and Under Secretary’s name,” the press aide warned. Ms. Mills, the messages say, asked staff to “stall” the news organization. Damage control came in the form of Mr. Fernando’s quick resignation, on grounds of “additional time needed to devote to his business.” Uh huh.
This is how Hillary Clinton operates. Donald Trump, for all the trouble his out-loud musings cause him, can nonetheless take credit for perfectly distilling, in five short words, what would be the defining nature of another Clinton presidency: The politics of personal profit. Give money to the Clinton Foundation; get special favors. Figure out a way to slip the Clintons some speech money, or cattle-futures trades, or donations; get rewarded in the political arena.
This is also why Mrs. Clinton kept control over her home-brew email server. The Citizens United release shows that messages about ISAB appointments were forwarded to Mrs. Clinton’s personal account—where they fell into a black hole. Were there email discussions about the personal-profit merit of appointing Mr. Fernando? Ask Mrs. Clinton’s webmaster, Bryan Pagliano. Or not. He recently invoked the Fifth during a deposition 125 consecutive times.
News organizations have also noted that Mr. Fernando is missing from the State Department website listing former ISAB members. So the department has also scrubbed the national record of actual facts. Much as it deliberately cut a portion from the video of an uncomfortable press briefing, or as the administration attempted to censor the transcript of the Orlando shooter’s 911 call.
As for Mr. Fernando, a message left on a cell number that appeared to belong to him was not returned. But he’s still bundling—this time for Mrs. Clinton’s 2016 bid. A peek at the Clinton Foundation website shows he continued to donate and is now listed as having given between $1 million and $5 million. If he keeps that up, he’ll likely be in the running to become President Hillary’s own secretary of state.
As I noted yesterday, the State Department has yet to produce a single document or an honest answer about any of Clinton’s secret dealings except under court order. It has stonewalled the press for 7 years, just like the rest of the administration, and continues to do so: Just today, it told the judge who has ordered it to produce all emails concerning the Clinton Foundation by July that it will need 27 more months to comply, We are living under the rule of a completely lawless government.