Tax payer funded charters spell more trouble for Hillary

In the four years leading up to her 2008 presidential campaign Hillary Clinton spent more than $300,00 on private charters at tax payers expense-- a practice that while legal raises questions about whether or not she pushed the boundaries of the law.

The use of charter travel is common on both sides of the aisle and lawmakers frequently ramp up the travel as they approach re-election. Paul Singer at USA Today found 28 of Clinton's office flights traveled outside of New York and in 2006 she spent more on charters than any other senator. A Clinton spokesman says  "she constantly crisscrossed the state to meet with the people she represented" and her travel was part of "her tireless work on behalf of New York."

This latest revelation is not illegal, but couldn't come at a worse time as the Clinton camp works to write a positive narrative ahead of kicking off her campaign. She is stuck with yet another round of negative press that could give many Democrats second thoughts about making Hillary their next nominee.

2016 Contenders: Rand Paul

Senator Rand Paul sat down with us as part of our 2016 Presidential Contenders series for Special Report. Here are a few of the questions and answers you didn't get to see on the show--including when he will make the decision to run, his thoughts on term limits, his views on national defense, and a GOP run against what could likely be a Hillary Clinton nomination.

 

HRC EMAILS: Hackers, Citing Security Lapses, Probe Clinton Server System

By James Rosen

Stirred by the controversy surrounding Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server when she was secretary of state, a determined band of hackers, IT bloggers, and systems analysts have trained their specialized talents and state-of-the-art software on clintonemail.com, the domain under which Clinton established multiple private email accounts, and uncovered serious lapses in security, according to data shared with Fox News.

The findings call into question Clinton’s confident declaration, at a hastily-arranged news conference in New York on Tuesday, that “there were no security breaches” in her use of a private server. One prominent figure in the hacker community, bolstered by long experience in the U.S. intelligence community, has undertaken to build a virtual “replica” of Clinton’s server configuration in a cyberlab, and has begun testing it with tools designed to probe security defenses. This individual has shared details of the Clinton system not disclosed publicly but legally obtainable.

Among other things, outside experts have managed to trace the most recent location of Clinton’s server – something she did not specify during her news conference and a subject of much speculation, as the server’s physical placement would provide early clues about whether the data stored on it was adequately secured against compromise by private-sector hackers and foreign intelligence services.

Fox News has previously reported that, with the aid of software named Maltego, experts had established that the server is up and running, receiving connectivity to the Internet through an Atlanta-based firm called Internap Network Services Corporation. Clinton’s stern insistence at her news conference that her server “will remain private” would appear to rest, then, at least in part, on the inviolability of Internap.

Now, working with publicly available tools that map network connectivity, experts have established that the last “hop” before the mail server’s Internet Protocol, or IP, address (listed as 64.94.172.146) is Internap’s aggregator in Manhattan (listed as 216.52.95.10). “This is a very strong indication that the clintonemail.com server is in Manhattan,” the source told Fox News. By entering the IP address for the Internap aggregator into existing databases, the experts obtained the exact geolocation coordinates for the aggregator – which an attached screen-grab revealed to be on lower Broadway, at the intersection with Chambers Street, some two blocks north of City Hall. This in turn suggests that the Clinton server itself lies within close proximity – most likely former President Clinton’s Harlem office, and not as far away as the Clintons’ home in Chappaqua, NY.

That outside experts could so swiftly unearth such information left them convinced that the server remains, as presently configured, highly “vulnerable” to unauthorized intrusion – even if, as most observers suspect, the server, with so much publicity now attendant on it, is no longer in active use. The hackers further concluded that Clinton’s email operation was likely not much better secured when she was secretary of state.

To test that proposition, they took the relatively simple step of examining the source code on the front page of clintonemail.com. This yielded the discovery, sources told Fox News, that the Clintons have not been using the latest version of Microsoft Outlook Web Application (OWA) to send and receive emails. The most recent version of OWA is listed as 14.3.224.2, whereas tests show clintonemail.com to be using the older 14.2.390.1. “[It’s] an indication they’re not keeping up with software upgrades,” one hacker told Fox News. “If I were a bad guy, I'd start looking for any vulnerabilities in that older version they're using.”

Work on the “replica” of the Clinton system also determined that the certificate for its TLS, or Transport Layer Security, is invalid – a lapse that “makes the site less secure,” the source said. A screen-grab provided to Fox News, illustrating the results of this test, showed the word “FAIL” appearing twice in a multifaceted stress-test for the security defenses of clintonemail.com.

Perhaps most concerning, private analysts determined that clintonemail.com has been running an older model of Microsoft Internet Information Services, or IIS – specifically version 7.5, which has been documented to leave users exposed on multiple fronts. The website CVEDetails.com, which bills itself as “the ultimate security vulnerability datasource,” is awash with descriptions of serious security vulnerabilities associated with version 7.5, including “memory corruption,” “password disclosure vulnerability,” and the enabling of “remote attackers to execute arbitrary code or cause a denial of service.”

The cyberlab technician who discovered the Clintons’ use of version 7.5 marveled at “the vulnerabilities the Clintons are ignoring” in an email to Fox News. “This is a big deal and just the thing real-world hackers look for in a target and will exploit to the max,” the source said. “Several of these vulnerabilities have been known since 2010 and yet HRC is running official State comms through it.”

Coupled with the earlier disclosure, first reported by Bloomberg, that the Clinton system used a commercial encryption product with “a default encryption certificate, instead of one purchased specifically for Ms. Clinton’s service,” these latest revelations suggest a complacent approach to server security on the part of the secretary and her aides.

Representatives for Clinton have not responded to multiple requests for comment. Spokesman Nick Merrill has released a FAQ document stating that “robust protections were put in place” on the server, with “upgrades and techniques employed over time as they became available, including consulting and employing third party experts.” Merrill added that “there is no evidence” that the server was ever hacked, and said there was never an unauthorized intrusion into the secretary’s email.

The Merrill document stated that Clinton’s server “was physically located on her property, which is protected by U.S. Secret Service,” but did not address its present location.

Just the original decision to use a private email account, with Clinton’s own surname embedded in it, has baffled the hacker community. The analyst with experience in the intelligence community and as a “white hat” hacker, the kind corporate firms retain to conduct “penetration testing” that exposes businesses’ cybersecurity lapses, told Fox News: “If we learned that the foreign minister of a major foreign country was using her own private server to send and receive emails, and was relying on outdated commercial software to operate and protect it, that’d be a hallelujah moment for us.”

Race for 2016: The Biden Factor

FRIENDS AND ASSOCIATES OF VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN SAY THEY ARE ALL BUT CERTAIN HE WON'T RUN AGAINST HILLARY CLINTON IF SHE DOES IN FACT DECIDE TO RUN IN 2016. 
 
POLLS SHOW THE FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE AS THE CLEAR FRONTRUNNER ON THE ROAD TO THE 2016 DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION, BUT PARTY ANGST ABOUT THE CLINTON JUGGERNAUT COULD PAVE THE WAY FOR AN ENTIRE FIELD OF ALTERNATES --INCLUDING MASSACHUSETTES SENATOR ELIZABETH WARREN, MARYLAND GOVERNOR MARTIN O'MALLEY, NEW YORK GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO, AND VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN. 
 
TRADITIONALLY IN AMERICAN POLITICS IF THE PRESIDENT IS NOT RUNNING AND THE VICE PRESIDENT WANTS THE PARTY NOMINATION IT IS HIS FOR THE TAKING. FORMER VICE PRESIDENT CHENEY OPTED NOT TO RUN IN 2008 BUT STILL REMAINS A KEY FIGURE IN THE POLITICAL ARENA. 
 
AT SEVENTY ONE, BIDEN IS FIVE YEARS OLDER THAN HILLARY. HE HAS ALSO RUN FOR PRESIDENT TWICE BEFORE, FIRST IN 1988 WHEN HE DROPPED OUT FOLLOWING PLAGIARISM ALLEGATIONS AND AGAIN IN 2008 WHEN DESPITE NOTABLE ENDORESMENTS HE WITHDREW FROM THE RACE AFTER CAPTURING LESS THAN 1% OF THE VOTE IN THE IOWA CAUCUSES.  
 
A BIDEN RUN MAY NOT BE APPEALING ON THE LEFT--ANXIOUS TO BREAK ANOTHER BARRIER.

CLINTON FILES: Hillarycare roadmap drafted in first week of Clinton presidency

By James Rosen

In the first week of Bill Clinton’s presidency, White House aides drafted a roadmap for the approach to health care reform that would be undertaken by then-First Lady Hillary Clinton, including warnings about prickly lawmakers who would be key to the process.

An unsigned memorandum dated January 28, 1993 and entitled “Discussion with Hillary Clinton” – the document does not make clear if it is summarizing the contents of a discussion that was already held with Mrs. Clinton, or would soon be held with her – offered an early blueprint for her ultimately doomed health care reform effort.

The memo stated that the initiative should take the form of a “framework” rather than “a detailed bill,” citing the fact that other recent legislative efforts – tax reform under President Reagan in 1985, deficit reduction under President George H.W. Bush in 1990, among others – had been devised that way.

The memo also cautioned against adopting a “here’s the bill, there’s not much time, take it to the Floor quick” approach, saying such a tactic “might fail” because “many Members [of Congress] would feel excluded” and “interest groups will object that their concerns, even those that are small or reasonable, have been excluded from the hearing and markup process.”

A separate document, an undated memo that White House policy adviser Chris Jennings sent to Mrs. Clinton in advance of a critical session with lawmakers, sought to prepare the First Lady for potentially clashes, possibly owing to personalities. Jennings described Rep. Peter Stark (R-TX), then chair of the House Ways and Means Committee, as “one of the most knowledgeable and (sometimes) feared health care legislators on Capitol Hill.” Calling Stark a “fierce advocate” for his policy agenda, Jennings added that the Texan had been “paying a price” for his tenacity in that he was “probably one of the more disliked Members in the Congress.”

Similarly, Jennings warned the First Lady about Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), at the time the chair of a key subcommittee on the Energy and Commerce Committee, now serving out the end of his twentieth term, having announced his retirement. “Known as a Medicaid guru, Waxman has pushed for increased coverage for poor populations in the absence of a national health care program,” Jennings wrote. “Since his main thrust for increased coverage to the indigent has been turning Medicaid coverage options into mandates, Waxman is widely unpopular with states and Governors. Although not well-liked at the state level, he has tremendous respect among consumer interest groups.”

 

Senate up for grabs in 2014 and a possible Clinton run in 2016

Secretary Clinton returns to work

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton opens a gift presented by Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides on her return to the office in Washington, D.C., January 7, 2013. [State Department photo by Nick Merrill/ Public Domain]

 

Secretary Clinton Meets With State Department Senior Leadership

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, returning to work, meets with the State Department's senior leadership in Washington, D.C., January 7, 2013. [State Department photo by Nick Merrill/ Public Domain]

 

Art In Embassies Commemorates 50th Anniversary!

Follow Katy Ricalde on Twitter @KatyRicalde!

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