The Iranian Shopping List With the $150 Billion and More

Iran’s Military Is No Match for Its Rivals – But That Could Soon Change

MilitaryEdge: Iran, despite its belligerent behavior and support for terrorism, is not a formidable conventional military force. The Islamic Republic has a handful of weapon systems that make it asymmetrically dangerous, but its military is largely outdated thanks to years of international sanctions and arms embargos. Under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the subsequent United Nations resolution endorsing the deal, however, Tehran will soon have access to foreign arms that could substantially upgrade its forces and challenge international efforts to curb its destabilizing activities.

Following the 1979 Iranian Revolution, the U.S. and many of its European allies imposed restrictions on arms exports to Iran. While they were not all air-tight (see the Iran-Contra Affair), they did have a profound impact on Iran’s arsenal when it was embroiled in a devastating eight-year war with Iraq. Tehran was forced to turn to new sources – such as China, Libya, Syria, North Korea and private smuggling networks – to acquire weapons and parts for their existing systems. Iran’s new regime was also forced to rely on indigenous production, which often meant copying foreign-made equipment and replacement parts.

During the 1990s and early 2000s, Russia and China delivered some modern systems to Iran, including MiG-29 fighters, Su-24 bombers, Kilo-class diesel submarines, Tor-M1 surface-to-air missiles systems, C-802 anti-ship missiles, and QW-1 MANPADS. Iran also acquired dozens of French- and Soviet-made Iraqi aircraft that fled to the country during the 1991 Persian Gulf War. Tehran impounded the aircraft, only returning a handful of Su-25s in 2014 to bolster Iraq in its fight against the Islamic State. But Iran was unable to import enough equipment to rebuild its forces following years of war and Western embargos.

Iran’s military suffered further blows as international pressure to curb Iran’s nuclear program enacted comprehensive embargos on arms supplies. In 2007, the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) approved Resolution 1747, forbidding Iran from exporting arms and calling on member states to exercise “vigilance and restraint” in supplying the country with conventional arms. Then in 2010, the UNSC approved Resolution 1929, which required all member states to “prevent” sales to Iran – effectively placing an international arms embargo against it. Tehran’s principal military suppliers, Russia and China, ceased arms deliveries to the Islamic Republic.

Russia halted the delivery of the S-300 air defense system purchased by Iran in 2007, though not as the result of UN restrictions. Moscow could have still provided the S-300 under Resolution 1929 because restrictions are based on the UN Register of Conventional Arms, which permits the transfer of surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) with the exception of the shoulder-launched variety (MANPADS). Russia ended its self-imposed ban on transferring the S-300 in April and is expected to begin delivering components before the end of this year. With the addition of this advanced mobile SAM system, Iran will improve the layered air defense of key sites, thus better protecting its nuclear and military facilities from potential U.S. and Israeli strikes.

The JCPOA and UNSC Resolution 2231 terminated Resolutions 1747 and 1929 and made the abolition of the conventional arms and ballistic missile embargos rewards for Iran’s implementation of its nuclear obligations. During the final days of the nuclear negotiations, Russia and China are reported to have been the primary advocates for removing the arms embargos. For years, Moscow and Beijing missed out on the lucrative arms race in the Middle East as American and European defense firms made billions on sales to the Arab Gulf states. Now, they are expected to be among the prime beneficiaries of Iran’s re-entry into the legitimate arms market.

Because of the substantial lead Iran’s Sunni adversaries hold in military spending and capabilities, it will be some time until the Iranian military is considered a peer competitor. Still, with investments in certain Russian and Chinese platforms and weapons systems, Iran could significantly increase its offensive lethality in the airspace and waters of the Persian Gulf to threaten its Arab neighbors and U.S. interests. Meanwhile, it can forego purchases of land systems such as tanks and armored vehicles, as a major ground war with its rivals appears unlikely.

Reports already indicate that Tehran may be shopping for new equipment that could offset, or at least reduce, its adversaries’ qualitative edge. Iran, for example, has allegedly already begun negotiations to acquire between 24 and 150 Chengdu J-10 multirole fighters from China in exchange for turning over its largest oil field to Beijing for two decades. Although news of the prospective sale of J-10s remains unconfirmed by China, Iran’s desire to acquire modern combat aircraft to update its aging air force is well documented.

Prior to the 1979 revolution, the scores of first-rate American fighters sold to the shah gave Iran one of the strongest air forces in the Middle East. Today, many of those aircraft that survived the Iran-Iraq War still remain in the IRIAF’s inventory and are likely unusable or have been cannibalized to keep other aircraft in service. Iran’s limited number of bombing missions on Islamic State targets in Iraq may be an indication of just how degraded the IRIAF has become.


Currently, the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force (IRIAF) and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps air wing is made up of F-14A Tomcats, F-4E Phantom IIs, F-5E Tiger IIs, Chengdu F-7 (a Chinese copy of the iconic Soviet MiG-21), MiG-29 Fulcrums, Su-24 Fencers, Su-25 Frogfoots, and Mirage F-1s – nearly all manufactured before 1990. Iran also produced a handful of its own fighters, such as the Azarakhsh and the Saegheh. However, these aircraft appear to be only slightly modified copies of the American-designed F-5 Tiger – a light fighter outclassed by modern competitors.

Modern multirole fighter aircraft tend to only be as effective as the weapons and sensors they carry, so buying the jets themselves would not be enough. Iran would also have to shop for sophisticated munitions for air-to-air, anti-ship, and long-range standoff strikes. In fact, with certain air-to-surface missiles, the ban on its ballistic missile development becomes almost meaningless as Iran would be able to launch long-range precision-guided strikes that are likely more accurate and harder to intercept than any ballistic missile they are able to develop. While there are existing international agreements to limit the transfer of the more dangerous missiles, some systems could be altered to expand their range and payload.

With new weapons and an unrestricted supply of parts and technical assistance, Iran will be able to close the gap with it foes and far more easily exert its will in the Persian Gulf. Facing the U.S. and the Gulf states in a prolonged conflict, Iran’s military would still be at a significant disadvantage. Armed with a handful of advanced systems, however, Tehran could make a brief conflict with the U.S. or its neighbors costly, granting it the ability to double down on its rogue behavior while better deterring adversaries from stopping it.

Patrick Megahan is a research analyst at Foundation for Defense of Democracies focusing on military affairs.


NYT in part:

There is little question that Iran needs the money, $185 billion to update the petrochemical sector alone, officials say. It also needs a new airline fleet of as many as 400 planes and further investments in almost every aspect of the economy and infrastructure.

Yet, critics of President Hassan Rouhani’s government, the main driving force behind Iran’s foreign and economic diplomacy, say that many top officials in his reformist government have vested business interests, a common feature of almost the entire Iranian political elite. More details here.

UN is Whining About Immigration Crimes, So Blame Obama

The United Nations published a dispatch on the sexual crimes of illegal immigrants while in detention. So….rather than whine about Donald Trump, hey UN, go knock on the doors of the White House and that of Jeh Johnson’s office.

At least Donald Trump deserves real praise for raising the verbal flags on the issue of immigration.

Sheesh, get a load of this.

Violence Against Women is the Dark Underbelly of The USA’s Migrant Detention System

Donald Trump is fond of ascribing violence in American cities to immigrants. He has even gone so far as to propose a Constitutional amendment that would erase the bedrock law of giving citizenship to any baby born on American shores.

But what about violence inflicted on migrants once they crossed the border?  The fact is,  many who come to the USA fleeing violence–particularly women–are subject to abuse upon arrival.

Central American women, detained in Texas last year, alleged sexual abuse in detention. Many were asylum-seekers. Some had suffered sexual violence back home. But the nightmare was not over. Guards took them from their cells for sex, women said. They groped mothers in front of their children. Playing on detainees’ desperation, guards told women they would help them once released – but in exchange for sex.

The horror stories hardly stop there. Transgendered women especially are at risk. Despite identifying as female, they are often placed in all-male units. Nicoll Hernández-Polanco, one transgendered woman detained in Arizona, fled Guatemala seeking asylum from persecution based on gender identity. In six months in all-male detention, she alleged that male guards constantly groped and insulted her. Another male detainee sexually assaulted her. When she protested these conditions, she was put in solitary confinement, she said.

These are only a few of many more sexual abuse allegations. The Government Accountability Officeinvestigated over 200 such complaints filed from 2009 to 2013. Yet even this number is an underestimate. Detainees often avoid reporting incidents, fearing retaliation or re-traumatization.

The sexual abuse of migrants in detention centers is the dirty underbelly of the USA’s migrant detention system. It’s a problem that has been known to authorities for years, yet there has not been sufficient effort to clamp down on these kinds of criminal activities that prey on deeply vulnerable women.

So what can be done to stop the abuse?

For starters, freeing certain detainees would probably help. Last month, a federal judge ordered the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to release mothers and children detained together. (The Texas women who alleged sexual abuse had been in such a family-detention center.) While a welcome change, this one step is far from a solution. Thousands of women are still detained. They are still potential victims of abuse.

There are broader, systemwide changes that might also push the needle in the right direction.

For one, the DHS does not follow guidelines set by the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). These rules include more checks, training, and restrictions on guards. A first step is to improve compliance with PREA. Yet even that would only go so far. Detainees, like prisoners, are inherently vulnerable to abuse.

Also, many detainees are simply waiting to go to court. They have been convicted of no crime and pose no security threat. Detention is a drastic method just to ensure court attendance. Detainees might stay locked up for months. Each day they spend in detention, they remain at risk of abuse.

Finally, alternatives to detention already exist in many countries. In the USA, effective methods include social services and legal representation. Asylum-seekers are very likely to pursue their cases, even with no supervision.  With a better chance in court, people are more likely to show up for hearings. They need not be locked up beforehand.

Changes will be slow. The detention system is entrenched. To comply with Congressional budget directives, DHS must detain at least 34,000 people a day. Politicians must change this mandate to make detention reform possible.

The United Nations can play a role. It has already urged US compliance with PREA in detention centers. It can make more Americans aware of the abuses in detention centers and the alternatives to detention. Many voters know little about immigration detention, which happens in remote sites.  Alternatives to detention may be hard to imagine. The UN can help US advocates see how other countries have successfully used alternatives. With this knowledge, advocates can press for reforms to detention.

No immigration system should allow abuses in detention. Women fleeing violence must not suffer again. Asylum-seekers to the US must truly find refuge there.

*** Hold on…while this is a self inflicted wound at the hands of the Obama doctrine on immigration and while Jeh Johnson is his corrupt soldier…there is more they are hiding and with purpose.

STONEWALLED: Feds Hide Fiscal Details About Vast Operation To Resettle Illegal Alien Minors

Illegal aliens who show up at the border have been resettled all across United States of America instead of being detained and deported, as Donald Trump recently called for in his new immigration plan.

Breitbart: According to data from the Justice Department obtained by Breitbart News, 96 percent of Central Americans caught illegally crossing into the country last summer are still in the United States. Now Breitbart News has learned exclusively that a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request from a pro-security group about the cost of this operation is being stonewalled.

In January of 2015, the Immigration Reform Law Institute, on behalf of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), filed a FOIA request to discover the cost of accommodating the tens of thousands of illegal unaccompanied minors who came across the border encouraged by President Obama’s 2012 executive amnesty for illegal youths.

The FOIA letter made five requests of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency: that the federal agency detail (1) the costs of building of family detention centers; (2) the costs of apprehending, processing and detaining unaccompanied minors; (3) the costs transporting, transferring, removing and repatriating unaccompanied minors; (4) the costs related to ICE’s representation of government in removal procedures involving unaccompanied minors; and (5) the number of instances where objections to the return of unaccompanied minors were raised by the governments of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

The federal agency, however, refused to answer many of these questions– instead only partially answering two of the five requests. The agency provided only the costs of transporting, transferring and removing illegal minors, as well as the costs of the man-hours such tasks required. Those costs totaled $58.2 million—quadrupling ICE’s costs of $15.6 million in the year previous.

FAIR told Breitbart News that the agency did not provide clear documentation nor explanation as to how it arrived at this estimation.

FAIR asserts that, “The failure to provide most of the cost information related to the surge of [unaccompanied minors] indicates that the government has either failed to properly document those costs, or is refusing to reveal them.”

Because this FOIA request only inquired into the fiscal impact on the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency– it does not at all take into account the cost incurred by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) nor the public education system. Because most of the unaccompanied minors were turned over to HHS following their apprehension, FAIR notes that HHS’ costs “for providing shelter, food, education, health care and other services, likely vastly exceed additional costs incurred by ICE.”

The flood of minors has also placed fiscal strains on our public education system. FAIR notes that, “68,541 [unaccompanied minors] were apprehended entering the U.S. Virtually all of them have been allowed to remain in the U.S., at least temporarily.”

Because federal law dictates that all children are entitled to an education regardless of their immigration status, the fiscal burden of educating these students has fallen onto our public education system.

As FAIR notes, educating 68,541 illegal immigrant children at “an average annual cost of $12,401 per child enrolled in K-12 education, the annual cost to local schools is at least $850 million. However, since virtually all of the [unaccompanied minors] are non-English proficient, the actual costs are likely substantially greater.”

The increased costs and difficulties associated with educating illegal minors from poor and developing countries has been well-documented. As Fox News Latino reported in June of this year, the border surge has left many “schools struggling with influx of unaccompanied minors.” While the federal government’s policy of releasing illegal minors into American communities imposes burdens all across our nation’s education system, it will perhaps hurt minority American students most profoundly, by straining the educational resources needed in their communities.

For instance, New York’s Hempstead School District, which is a 96 percent black and Hispanic district, had about 6,700 students dispersed amongst its 10 schools and usually receives an average of a couple hundred new students every year. “However, last summer’s enrollment skyrocketed to about 1,500 new kids – most of them undocumented immigrants.” Fox News Latino writes, “The crush of new enrollees left the district scrambling, forcing it to dip into its emergency reserves to shell out more than $6 million to hire more English as a Second Language teachers and additional staff to alleviate overcrowded classrooms. Still, it has not been enough. The average classroom in the district now has about 40 to 50 children and [as one teacher explained is] posing a safety issue… ‘You have to understand,’ [one teacher said], ‘many of the children are not even proficient in their native language, Spanish, and now we have to teach them how to speak English. That can be very difficult.’”

Deporting instead of resettling illegal immigrants would save taxpayer dollars in two ways.

First, by deterring future border crossings, it would reduce the amount of illegal immigration in the future. As FAIR explains, refusing to implement immigration law has only encouraged more illegal immigrants to unlawfully enter the United States: “In July 2015, the Government Accountability Office confirmed that President Obama’s Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals [DACA] program played a substantial role in triggering the surge of [unaccompanied minors] in 2014.”

Second, deporting rather than resettling illegal immigrants would save the costs of feeding, clothing, housing, educating, hospitalizing, and caring for illegal immigrants and their relatives. A previous study conducted by FAIR documented that illegal immigrants cost U.S. taxpayers about $113 billion every year. After FAIR explains that by comparison, “The estimated cost of deporting an illegal alien is $8,318. Using just the partial enumerated $58.2 million costs to ICE and the conservative $850 million estimate for education of [unaccompanied minors] resettled in the U.S., the amount of taxpayer money spent on dealing with unaccompanied minors would have paid for the removal of an additional 109,000 illegal aliens.”

Obama’s Stand-down Order on Crimea/Ukraine

Putin put 150,ooo troops on ready status during the Olympics for a military confrontation against Ukraine, but none was to come. The White House only responded with the usual condemnation. Russia continued to test the will of the West and there was no response. Russia already had military facilities in Crimea as the Russian Black Fleet is based there.

The United Nations issued their own warning to Russia over Ukraine, yet to date, almost 7000 are dead. Sanctions are the weapon of choice and there has been some impact on the Russian economy.

Russia will accept any compliant Russian government in Ukraine, beyond that or if threatened, Putin will increase his aggressions.

The shades of the Orange Revolution and the hostilities between Russia and Georgia in 2008 are at the core of the United States lack of will, strategy and response.

The back story here is the Minsk Agreement has no value and to date is not deliverable as the standing with Ukraine remains in an incubation condition at the hand of General Breedlove and NATO.

The U.S. has looked to support the Baltics under the building threat of Putin’s aggressions there.

Secretary of Defense is working the NATO operations and is European Command under Operation Atlantic Resolve.

U.S. Told Ukraine to Stand Down as Putin Invaded


As Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces took over Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in early 2014, the interim Ukrainian government was debating whether or not to fight back against the “little green men” Russia had deployed. But the message from the Barack Obama administration was clear: avoid military confrontation with Moscow.

The White House’s message to Kiev was advice, not an order, U.S. and Ukrainian officials have recently told us, and was based on a variety of factors. There was a lack of clarity about what Russia was really doing on the ground. The Ukrainian military was in no shape to confront the Russian Spetsnaz (special operations) forces that were swarming on the Crimean peninsula. Moreover, the Ukrainian government in Kiev was only an interim administration until the country would vote in elections a few months later. Ukrainian officials told us that other European governments sent Kiev a similar message.

But the main concern was Russian President Vladimir Putin.

As U.S. officials told us recently, the White House feared that if the Ukrainian military fought in Crimea, it would give Putin justification to launch greater military intervention in Ukraine, using similar logic to what Moscow employed in 2008 when Putin invaded large parts of Georgia in response to a pre-emptive attack by the Tbilisi government. Russian forces occupy two Georgian provinces to this day.

Looking back today, many experts and officials point to the decision not to stand and fight in Crimea as the beginning of a Ukraine policy based on the assumption that avoiding conflict with Moscow would temper Putin’s aggression. But that was a miscalculation. Almost two years later, Crimea is all but forgotten, Russian-backed separatist forces are in control of two large Ukrainian provinces, and the shaky cease-fire between the two sides is in danger of collapsing.

“Part of the pattern we see in Russian behavior is to test and probe when not faced with pushback or opposition,” said Damon Wilson, the vice president for programming at the Atlantic Council. “Russia’s ambitions grow when they are not initially challenged. The way Crimea played out, Putin had a policy of deniability, there could have been a chance for Russia to walk away.”

When Russian special operations forces, military units and intelligence officers seized Crimea, it surprised the U.S. government. Intelligence analysts had briefed Congress 24 hours before the stealth invasion, saying the Russian troop buildup on Ukraine’s border was a bluff. Ukraine’s government — pieced together after President Viktor Yanukovych fled Kiev for Russia following civil unrest — was in a state of crisis. The country was preparing for elections and its military was largely dilapidated and unprepared for war.

There was a debate inside the Kiev government as well. Some argued the nation should scramble its forces to Crimea to respond. As part of that process, the Ukrainian government asked Washington what military support the U.S. would provide. Without quick and substantial American assistance, Ukrainians knew, a military operation to defend Crimea could not have had much chance for success.

“I don’t think the Ukrainian military was well prepared to manage the significant challenge of the major Russian military and stealth incursion on its territory,” said Andrew Weiss, a Russia expert and vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment, told us. This was also the view of many in the U.S. military and intelligence community at the time.

There was also the Putin factor. In the weeks and months before the Crimea operation, Russia’s president was stirring up his own population about the threat Russian-speakers faced in Ukraine and other former Soviet Republics.

“They did face a trap,” said the Atlantic Council’s Wilson, who was the senior director for Europe at the National Security Council when Russia invaded Georgia in 2008. “Any Ukrainian violent reaction to any of these unknown Russian speakers would have played into the narrative that Putin already created, that Ukraine’s actions threaten Russian lives and he would have pretext to say he was sending Russian forces to save threatened Russians.”

The White House declined to comment on any internal communications with the Ukrainian government. A senior administration official told us that the U.S. does not recognize Russia’s occupation and attempted annexation of Crimea, and pointed to a series of sanctions the U.S. and Europe have placed on Russia since the Ukraine crisis began.

“We remain committed to maintaining pressure on Russia to fulfill its commitments under the Minsk agreements and restore Ukraine’s territorial integrity, including Crimea,” the senior administration official said.

Ever since the annexation of Crimea in March, 2014, there have been a group of senior officials inside the administration who have been advocating unsuccessfully for Obama to approve lethal aid to the Ukrainian military. These officials have reportedly included Secretary of State John Kerry, his top Europe official, Victoria Nuland, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, and General Philip Breedlove, the supreme allied commander for NATO.

Obama has told lawmakers in private meetings that his decision not to arm the Ukrainians was in part due to a desire to avoid direct military confrontation with Russia, one Republican lawmaker who met with Obama on the subject told us. The U.S. has pledged a significant amount of non-lethal aid to the Ukrainian military, but delivery of that aid has often been delayed. Meanwhile, Russian direct military involvement in Eastern Ukraine has continued at a high level.

Even former Obama administration Russia officials acknowledge that Ukraine’s decision last year to cede Crimea to Moscow, while making sense at the time, has also resulted in more aggression by Putin.

“Would a devastating defeat in Crimea serve the interest of the interim government? Probably not,” said Michael McFaul, who served as ambassador to Russia under Obama and is now a scholar at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution. But nonetheless, McFaul said, the ease with which Putin was able to take Crimea likely influenced his decision to expand Russia’s campaign in eastern Ukraine: “I think Putin was surprised at how easy Crimea went and therefore when somebody said let’s see what else we can do, he decided to gamble.”

The Obama administration, led on this issue by Kerry, is still pursuing a reboot of U.S.-Russia relations. After a long period of coolness, Kerry’s visit to Putin in Sochi in May was the start of a broad effort to seek U.S.-Russian cooperation on a range of issues including the Syrian civil war. For the White House, the Ukraine crisis is one problem in a broader strategic relationship between two world powers.

But for the Ukrainians, Russia’s continued military intervention in their country is an existential issue, and they are pleading for more help. While many Ukrainians agreed in early 2014 that fighting back against Russia was too risky, that calculation has now changed. The Ukrainian military is fighting Russian forces elsewhere, and Putin is again using the threat of further intervention to scare off more support from the West. If help doesn’t come, Putin may conclude he won’t pay a price for meddling even further.

Interview With Ambassador Wallace on the Iran Deal

Sadly, not only is Iran cheating, it is proven by the side deal they will cheat with White House and United Nations approval. The text of the side deal signed by Iran and the IAEA is here.

Further, Barack Obama has signed waivers on sanctions which allows the existing sanctions to be overlooked and violated by foreign countries where the United States will not apply any punishment.

It is proven that Barack Obama, John Kerry and the other members of the P5+1 don’t have any red-lines with regard to Iran’s actions or violations. Contact your senators and demand they vote no.

Meanwhile, United Against Nuclear Iran is a private group leading the charge to stop the Iran deal. It is led by former Senator Joe Lieberman. The radio interview with UANI CEO Ambassador Mark Wallace is here.

The Judge’s Ruling Today on Hillary’s Server/FBI

Judge Sullivan is showing little tolerance and has taken full control of the email matter and the State Department. There is no way out now, when he orders all parties to completely cooperate with the FBI on all material, devices, people and dates. Beyond the work of the media and the FBI, keep eyes on the White House collusion that ‘executive privilege’ may be applied to Hillary and her inner circle due in part to connectivity and the Benghazi testimony in October. The other point of importance is where is Attorney General Loretta Lynch going to take this matter, when in fact a special investigative team and even prosecutor should have already been named.

It is shameful that after Hillary was hacked in 2013, the State Department, the FBI and even the Justice Department chose not to further investigate. Hummm, the DOJ did issue a criminal warrant on Marcel Lazar Lehel, AKA Guccifer but it did not proceed as Romanian officials chose to advance the case where Lehel is presently serving prison time.

The Hill: A federal judge on Thursday ordered the State Department to communicate with the FBI about Hillary Clinton’s personal email server, and opened the door to additional demands on the former secretary of state.

Judge Emmet Sullivan told the department to “establish a dialogue” with the FBI about the machine, and be prepared to demand that the FBI turn over documents that may be related to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

“I’m surprised that State didn’t do that already,” Sullivan told government lawyers.

“If you can get the information as result of a dialogue with the FBI… I think I may be satisfied,” he added. “Let’s see what the investigation reveals, if anything.”

The order comes amid increasing scrutiny on Clinton’s unorthodox email practices while serving as the nation’s top diplomat. Her use of a “home brew” email system has grown into an increasing drag on her front-runner presidential campaign, and forced top campaign officials to grow more aggressive in trying to get out in front of the story.

Last week, Clinton handed the server and thumb drives containing copies of 55,000 pages of her work-related emails over to the FBI, after news broke that classified information may have inappropriately passed through her inbox.

On Thursday, Sullivan raised the specter of demanding that Clinton determine whether a backup of her home server was made either by the company that managed it or by someone else, and prepare for the possibility of turning that over to the government. Those files might contain other messages of interest to the government, he suggested.

“Arguably there were backups of everything that were communicated,” he said.

“Why wouldn’t the same requirement be appropriate” with that private company as with the FBI, he questioned.

However, any additional demands would not be handed down until the FBI had at least 30 days to inspect Clinton’s server.

“Let’s see what the investigation reveals and we’ll go from there,” the judge said.

Sullivan asked for a written status report about the FBI’s progress on Sept. 21.

Thursday’s order came as part of a lawsuit launched by the conservative organization Judicial Watch, which had requested documents from the State Department about the employment status of Clinton aide Huma Abedin.

“We believe [additional] records exist,” Judicial Watch lawyer Michael Bekesha said. “Just because the government hasn’t found them doesn’t mean they’re not out there.”

Those records may be among the roughly 30,000 emails that Clinton said were personal and deleted from her server, Bekesha speculated, or else on a computer or other device she had used while in office. On Wednesday, the State Department confirmed that Clinton was not issued a BlackBerry or other device by the government while in office.

“I think the judge was curious and interested in what other copies may be out there and where those backups and copies may be,” Bekesha told reporters after the hearing. “The court decided that let’s first hear from the FBI, see what they have, see what they are doing with it, and then proceed in 30 days.”

“We don’t know what those devices could be,” he added. “All we know is they’re probably out there and the American people are not being told about them, probably because more emails are there.”

Clinton appeared to have wiped the server after deleting them at some point between last December and this March. However, there are signs that investigators may nonetheless be able to recover and search some of that information.

The next hearing in the case is scheduled for the morning of Oct. 1.

Peter Wechsler, a Department of Justice lawyer representing the State Department, told the court that it did not need to ask about backups of Clinton’s server or other locations that her communications may be, since the former secretary and her lawyer had already pledged that all work-related documents had been handed over to the department.

Wechsler also urged the judge not to demand that State itself take control of and search the server and USB thumb drives.

That would be an “extraordinary” demand, he said.

“We think the concept of reasonable search here has been met,” he added, while repeatedly expressing a desire not to “interfere” with the work of the FBI.

“To now go and request the devices would be the tail wagging the dog,” the told the court.


NPR: The prediction is the full FBI investigation will go wider and deeper as the media is at least reporting due to some real investigations and interviews on their part.

For now, federal authorities characterize the Justice Department inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s private email server as a security situation: a simple matter of finding out whether classified information leaked out during her tenure as secretary of state, and where it went.

Except, former government officials said, that’s not going to be so simple.

“I think that the FBI will be moving with all deliberate speed to determine whether there were serious breaches of national security here,” said Ron Hosko, who used to lead the FBI’s criminal investigative division.

He said agents will direct their questions not just at Clinton, but also her close associates at the State Department and beyond.

“I would want to know how did this occur to begin with, who knew, who approved,” Hosko said.

Authorities are asking whether Clinton or her aides mishandled secrets about the Benghazi attacks and other subjects by corresponding about them in emails.

For her part, Clinton said she did not use that email account to send or receive anything marked classified.

“Whether it was a personal account or a government account, I did not send classified material, and I did not receive any material that was marked or designated classified which is the way you know whether something is,” she said Tuesday in a question-and-answer session with reporters.

Why is Clinton emphasizing the idea that none of those messages were marked? Because what she knew — her intent — matters a lot under the law. If the Justice Department and FBI inquiry turns into a formal criminal investigation.

Two lawyers familiar with the inquiry told NPR that a formal criminal investigation is under consideration and could happen soon — although they caution that Clinton herself may not be the target.

The Clinton campaign maintains that Clinton did nothing wrong, that the government inquiry would not move beyond a “security-related review” and points a finger at a “culture of classification” within the intelligence community.

“She was at worst a passive recipient of unwitting information that subsequently became deemed as classified,” said Brian Fallon, Clinton campaign press secretary, in a conference call Wednesday with reporters, per NPR’s Tamara Keith. “When it comes to classified information, the standards are not at all black and white, and in the absence of markings that officially designate something classified, reasonable people each taking their responsibilities extremely seriously, can nonetheless disagree on the character of the information they are dealing with — and both could be completely justified in that perspective.

“And that is why we are so confident that this review will remain a security-related review. We think that furthermore this matter is mostly just shining a spotlight on a culture of classification that exists within certain corners of the government, especially the intelligence community.”

Michael Mukasey, who served as attorney general in the George W. Bush administration, recently talked to Newsmax TV about the government’s burden of proof.

“They’d have to show that she was responsible for having the information on that server and essentially knew what was on there,” Mukasey said.

Whether or not the emails were labeled as secret, some other Republicans say Clinton should have known better.

Former NSA Director Michael Hayden told the MSNBC program Morning Joe: “Put legality aside for just a second, it’s stupid and dangerous.”

Clinton said she’s cooperating with investigators. She has turned over 55,000 pages of emails for review. Inspectors general and members of the intelligence community are sifting through them now. And watchdog groups are in court demanding their public release.

But Clinton’s lawyer says she’s already deleted thousands more personal email messages. Republicans in Congress are asking about her motivations and soon federal agents may be, too.

“Then we get to the questions about what did Congress subpoena, when did they subpoena it and what was the intent … if information was deleted or if it was wiped after that time?” Hosko asked.

There’s no evidence to suggest those messages were deleted after Clinton got a subpoena this year from the House Select Committee on Benghazi, something that would raise allegations of obstructing justice.

On the campaign trail this week, a reporter asked Clinton if she had wiped clean the server. Her reply? “What like with a cloth or something? Well no I don’t know how it works digitally at all.”

Clinton later added: “I’m very comfortable that this will eventually get resolved and the American people will have plenty of time to figure it out.”

As the campaign intensifies, the FBI and its director, James Comey, will be operating in an environment filled with political sensitivity. But it won’t be the first time, Hosko said.

“The FBI won’t be ignorant to the political realities,” he said, “but they have a job to do, they know that job, they’ve done it before, they will do it here.”