Clinton Donor Promised To Make Her 'Look Good' If Appointed To National Security Board

Matt Vespa
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Posted: Jun 30, 2016 2:15 PM
Clinton Donor Promised To Make Her 'Look Good' If Appointed To National Security Board

So, remember when ABC News released the emails detailing the inner freak out at the State Department over media inquires as to why a top-level Clinton donor, Rajiv K. Fernando, was placed on the International Security Advisory Board, despite him having zero experience in the area? Well, it appears he wanted that appointment to further polish the image of Hillary Clinton.

Fernando, who was appointed to ISAB in July of 2011, is a leader in the field of computer-generated stock trading (high frequency trading), according to ABC News. They asked in August of 2011, about his qualifications for such a high-level security position, which would’ve given him access to sensitive information, other than being a big donor to Clinton, Obama, and the Democratic Party. The emails showed that Cheryl Mills, then chief of staff to Clinton, told the State press officer to stall the news organization for 24 hours. Fernando resigned the following day; two days after the news organization launched the inquiry.

Now, McClatchy reports that Fernando promised to make Clinton “look good” if he were appointed to the national security board [emphasis mine]:

A major Democratic donor personally lobbied then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s office for a seat on a sensitive government intelligence board, telling one of her closest aides that if appointed he would make Clinton “look good.”

Rajiv Fernando acknowledged that he may not have the experience to sit on a board that would allow him the highest levels of top-secret access, but he assured deputy chief of staff Huma Abedin in newly released 2009 emails that he was talking to two professors who were “getting me up to speed on the academics behind the field.”

Fernando, who contributed to Clinton, her family’s foundation and Barack Obama, described himself as one of “Hillary’s people” and mentioned that he recently had sent an ailing Clinton flowers to wish her a speedy recovery.

? […]

As a member of the board, Fernando was to advise Clinton on nuclear weapons and other security issues alongside nuclear scientists, former Cabinet secretaries and former lawmakers, including former Defense Secretary William Perry; Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft, a former national security adviser to two presidents; and former Sen. Chuck Robb of Virginia.

[…]

In September 2012, after ABC News again questioned the State Department about Fernando’s appointment, senior adviser Heather Samuelson sent Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Philippe Reines a response provided to ABC News explaining why he had been chosen.

Reines appeared to mock the appointment by responding to Samuelson: “Not the most compelling response I’ve ever seen since it’s such a dense topic the board resolves around. Couldn’t he have landed a spot on the President’s Physical Fitness Council?”

[…]

He [Fernando] contributed between $1 million and $5 million to the Clinton Foundation, according to records released by the foundation. Between $100,000 and $250,000 was donated before his board appointment. He once traveled with former President Bill Clinton to Africa.

In July 2015, Clinton attended a fundraiser at Fernando’s home for her second presidential campaign. About 170 people each paid $2,700 to get into the event, according to the campaign. The fundraiser had multiple hosts, each of whom raised $27,000 or more.

It’s seems to be a sore subject to bring up as well. As the video shows, ABC News’ Brian Ross asked Fernando about the appointment to ISAB at the 2012 Democratic National convention and was threatened with arrest. This controversial appointee—one member told the news organization that no one had a clue who Fernando was—seems to point to another Clinton lie regarding Foundation donors not getting preferential treatment. Add the Fernando foul-up, with the fact that Clinton did a 180-degree turn on the Colombia Free Trade Agreement, which helped donor Frank Giustra, and the billions in arms sales she gave to foreign nations who poured million into her non-profit—all point to a serial history of half-truths and distortions. Then again, this is politics and the Clintons—don’t expect a straight answer on anything.

According to the website, ISAB offers the State Department “independent insight and advice on all aspects of arms control, disarmament, nonproliferation, international security, and related aspects of public diplomacy.” This is the board Clinton seems to have thought was okay to offer some sort of payback to a top donor.