Beyond The County: 3 Clinton emails missing from report, Sanders accepts Ky. primary, Drug implant approved by FDA
Origin of key Clinton emails from report are a mystery
WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was supposed to have turned over all work-related emails to the State Department to be released to the public. But an agency audit found at least three emails never seen before — including Clinton’s own explanation of why she wanted her emails kept private.
After 14 months of public scrutiny and skepticism over Clinton’s motives in keeping her State Department emails secret, new questions emerged Thursday. They centered on her apparent failure to turn over a November 2010 email in which she worried that her personal messages could become accessible to outsiders, along with two other messages from 2011 that divulged possible security weaknesses in the private email system she used throughout her term as secretary of state. The Clinton campaign has previously denied that her home server was breached, but newly revealed emails show aides worried it could have been compromised.
The existence of these previously unreleased messages — which appear to have been found among electronic files of four former top Clinton State Department aides — renews concerns that Clinton was not completely forthcoming when she turned over a trove of 55,000 pages of work-related emails.
“I have turned over all my emails,” Clinton said late Wednesday in an interview with Univision’s Los Angeles affiliate. “No one else can say that.”
Most of those messages have been made public by the State Department over the past year due to both a court order and Clinton’s willingness to turn them over. But hundreds were censored for national security reasons and 22 emails were completely withheld because the agency said they contained top secret material — a matter now under investigation by the FBI.
Clinton said in March 2015 that she would turn over all work-related emails to the State Department after removing private messages that contained personal and family material. “No one wants their personal emails made public and I think most people understand that and respect their privacy,” she said after her exclusive use of private emails to conduct State Department business was confirmed by media reports.
Senate investigators have asked for and received numerous emails about Clinton’s server as part of their own inquiry into Clinton’s email practices in recent months but did not receive copies of those three emails, according to a person briefed on the matter.
All three emails cited in the inspector general’s report appear to contain work-related passages, raising questions about why they were not turned over to the State Department last year. The inspector general noted that Clinton’s production of work-related emails was “incomplete,” missing not only the three emails but numerous others covering Clinton’s first four months in office.
A spokesman for the Clinton campaign did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment Thursday. An inspector general’s spokesman declined to discuss the report.
The report said the inspector general was able to reconstruct some of Clinton’s missing emails by searching the email files of four former Clinton aides who had turned over thousands of pages of communications in 2015 at the request of the State Department, which is defending itself in multiple public records lawsuits, including one filed by The Associated Press. The four aides who turned over those files, according to the report, were Clinton’s former chief of staff, Cheryl Mills, and top aides Huma Abedin, Jake Sullivan and Philippe Reines.
Abedin was the aide who authored the key email in November 2010 that provoked Clinton’s concerns about outsiders obtaining her personal emails. After the State Department’s computer spam filters apparently prevented Clinton from sending a message to all department employees from her private server, Abedin suggested that she either open an official agency email or make her private address available to the agency.
Clinton told Abedin she was open to getting a separate email address but didn’t want “any risk of the personal being accessible.” Clinton never used an official State Department address, only using several private addresses to communicate. Abedin, Mills, Sullivan and Reines all also used private email addresses to conduct business, along with their government accounts.
Two other emails sent to Abedin were cited in the inspector general’s report, but also did not turn up among the 55,000 pages of emails released by Clinton to the State Department. Those messages to Abedin contained warnings in January 2011 from an unidentified aide to former President Bill Clinton who said he had to shut down Hillary Clinton’s New York-based server because of suspected hacking attacks. In response, Abedin warned Mills and Sullivan not to email Clinton “anything sensitive” and said she would “explain more in person.”
The AP has obtained more than 900 pages of Abedin emails from the State Department as part of a continuing production of documents under a public records lawsuit filed last year. But none of the three newly-disclosed emails to Abedin were found in those records.
The inspector general’s report found “extensive use of personal email accounts” by Mills, Abedin, Sullivan and Reines, who turned over a total of nearly 72,000 pages of hard copy documents and 7.5 gigabytes of electronic files to the State Department. But the report notes that some emails turned over by those four aides had not been preserved by the State Department because they sent and received messages using only “their personal web-based email accounts.”
The report singled out one Clinton aide who sent 9 emails a day using a personal account. The staff member, who is not identified by name, submitted a total of 9,585 emails between Jan. 22, 2009, and Feb. 24, 2013, in response to the IG’s request for federal records contained in personal email accounts.
The report notes that the staff members policy violations were mitigated by their production of the records last summer, but it’s unknown if all emails were turned over.
“OIG did not attempt to determine whether these productions were complete,” the report said.
Microsoft, Facebook team up to build undersea Internet cable
Microsoft and Facebook are building a new underwater Internet cable that will cross the Atlantic Ocean, carrying customers’ data between North America and Southern Europe.
The giant tech companies say they helped design the high-speed cable to carry data for their growing numbers of online consumers and commercial customers. The project will be operated by an affiliate of Spanish telecommunications firm Telefonica, which will sell unused capacity on the cable to other customers. It will connect data hubs in Northern Virginia and Bilbao, Spain.
Internet companies often pay to use cables owned by telecommunications providers, but the new project won’t be the first to be owned by a U.S. tech company. Google has invested in subsea projects across the Pacific.
Growing woes reducing size of bing cherry crop
KENNEWICK, Wash. — The new crop of bing cherries has been beset with growing problems this year that are reducing the size of the crop.
The Northwest’s most popular cherry variety could be in short supply in 2016, after the five-state Cherry Commission on Wednesday lowered its outlook for the season to 18.3 million 20-pound boxes.
The Tri-City Herald reported that some farmers are warning that if conditions worsen, some bing orchards could go unpicked.
Mike Taylor of Stemilt Growers says about 30 percent of the fruit on the trees would have to be culled if harvested. He described the bing crop as a “disaster.”
Washington is the nation’s leading producer of cherries and contributes more than 83 percent of the total Northwest harvest.
Kings County won’t appeal California high-speed rail ruling
Kings County officials have opted not to appeal a judge’s ruling against Central Valley landowners in their ongoing lawsuit against California’s high-speed rail project, clearing another legal hurdle to the bullet train.
County counsel Colleen Carlson says even though a Sacramento County Court judge ruled against the county in March, the ruling accomplished much of what the county sought.
Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny said plans for the $64 billion system do not violate promises made to voters in a 2008 bond initiative.
Kenny says it authorized the state to issue bonds for high-speed rail and did not prevent modifications to the plan voters were given.
Carlson said Thursday that the judge’s determination that the project has to meet the initiative terms to sell bonds is what plaintiffs sought.
Trail to extend 67 miles through Santa Monica Mountains
LOS ANGELES — Hearty hikers will soon be able to travel an uninterrupted 67-mile path along the canyons and peaks of the Santa Monica Mountains.
After decades of planning and deal-making, all sections of the Backbone Trail will be connected next month between Point Mugu State Park and Will Rogers State Historic Park, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday (http://lat.ms/1OOXNhW ).
The trail with spectacular ocean views has been slowly stitched together since the 1960s, thanks to public funding and private donations to acquire land.
The National Park Service recently closed escrow on a 40-acre donation by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and fitness pioneer Betty Weider.
Within 10 days, the agency expects escrow to close on two remaining parcels along a fire road known as the Etz Meloy Motorway.
The agency will commemorate completion of the trail at a ceremony at Will Rogers park on National Trails Day, June 4.
“The Backbone Trail offers the primo, sustained outdoor experience in Southern California,” said Joe Edmiston, who has been hiking the Santa Monica Mountains since the 1970s.
Edmiston, 67, is longtime executive director of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. He believes the trail is as iconic as the John Muir Trail in the Sierra Nevada and the Appalachian Trail.
The three new properties are among 180 individual tracts that have been acquired over the decades by the National Park Service, California Department of Parks and Recreation, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.
Unlike the unbroken wilderness of Yellowstone or Yosemite, the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is a patchwork of private and public land that has made charting the singular path a challenge, the Times said.
As conceived more than a half-century ago, the trail would pass through old forests and chaparral highlands, offering views of the Channel Islands to the south and as far north as the Tehachapi range.
Sanders accepts Kentucky primary result; Clinton wins state
WASHINGTON — Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders says his campaign accepts the primary results in Kentucky, handing front-runner Hillary Clinton another victory and an additional pledged delegate.
A review of election results Thursday yielded no change in the outcome of Kentucky’s May 17 primary.
Both candidates had earned 27 delegates, with one outstanding in the 6th congressional district. Because Clinton currently leads Sanders by about 500 votes in that district, she will receive the remaining delegate.
Sanders sent a letter requesting a recanvassing of the results on Tuesday. He could have asked a judge to order a recount, but he would have to pay for it himself.
Clinton now leads Sanders by a margin of 272 pledged delegates from primaries and caucuses. But Sanders has vowed to stay in the race.
More than 4,000 migrants rescued in single day
ROME — More than 4,000 would-be refugees were rescued at sea Thursday in one of the busiest days of the Mediterranean migrant crisis, and at least 20 died trying to reach Europe as Libyan-based smugglers took advantage of calmer seas to send desperate migrants north.
The death toll was likely to grow far higher, however, as the Libyan coast guard also reported two overturned boats between the coastal cities of Sabratha and Zwara. Only four bodies were found, raising fears that the rest of those on board had perished.
Overall, the Italian coast guard said it had coordinated 22 separate rescue operations Thursday that saved more than 4,000 lives.
“That probably is a record,” said coast guard spokesman Cmdr. Cosimo Nicastro, noting that previous highs have been in the range of 5,000 to 6,000 over two days.
One 5-year-old boy got special treatment: He was airlifted from his rescue vessel to the island of Lampedusa, suffering from hypothermia, Nicastro said.
At least one smugglers’ boat sank off Libya’s coast, and 20 bodies were spotted floating in the sea, said Navy Lt. Rino Gentile, a spokesman for the EU’s Mediterranean mission. Photos tweeted by the mission showed a bright blue dinghy submerged under the weight of migrants waving their arms in hope of rescue as an EU aircraft flew overhead.
None had a life jacket.
Two Italian coast guard ships and the Spanish frigate Reina Sofia responded to the scene. Nicastro said 96 people were rescued.
Barbara Molinario, spokeswoman for the U.N. refugee agency in Italy, said favorable weather conditions in May to October often encourage migrant crossings. She said prior to the recent rescues, some 40,000 people had been rescued so far this year, compared to 47,500 over the same period in 2015.
Among those coming ashore Thursday in Sicily were the survivors of a dramatic capsizing a day earlier off Libya’s coast. Footage provided by the Italian navy showed the steel-hulled smuggler ship rocked under the weight of its passengers and finally flipped, sending migrants into the water or clambering up the side.
The Italian navy vessel Bettica brought the survivors and five bodies ashore in Porto Empedocle, Sicily. Red Cross workers took at least one migrant away in a stretcher, while rescue teams in white hazmat suits carried children down the plank to shore.
In other rescues, a Libyan navy spokesman said a total of 766 migrants were rescued by the Libyan coast guard on Thursday.
Col. Ayoub Gassim said they were found in two groups: one of 550 near the western coastal city of Sabratha and the second of 216 off Zwara.
He said two other capsized boats were found empty in waters between the two cities and only four bodies were retrieved, with the rest of those aboard feared dead. He said he had no other details, including how many migrants had been aboard the boats.
Before this week’s deaths, the International Organization for Migration said only 13 people had drowned in the month of May, compared with 95 last May and 330 in May 2014. It said the figures “indicate that migrant fatalities may at last be declining” thanks to beefed-up coast guard monitoring along the North African coast.
However, improved weather conditions appear to have led to an increase in the number of migrants risking the crossing.
FDA approves first drug-oozing implant to control addiction
WASHINGTON — Federal health officials on Thursday approved an innovative new option for Americans struggling with addiction to heroin and painkillers: a drug-oozing implant that curbs craving and withdrawal symptoms for six months at a time.
The first-of-a-kind device, Probuphine, arrives as communities across the U.S. grapple with a wave of addiction tied to opioids, highly-addictive drugs that include legal pain medications like OxyContin and illegal narcotics like heroin. Roughly 2.5 million Americans suffer from addiction disorders related to the drugs, according to federal estimates.
The implant from Braeburn Pharmaceuticals is essentially a new, long-term delivery system for an established drug, buprenorphine, which has long been used to treat opioid addiction. But its implantable format could help patients avoid dangerous relapses that can occur if they miss a medication dose.
The matchstick-size implant slowly releases a low dose of buprenorphine over six months. Previously the drug was only available as a pill or film that dissolves under the tongue. It is considered a safer, more palatable alternative to methadone, the decades-old standard for controlling opioid addiction.
Probuphine is intended for patients who have already been stabilized on low-to-medium doses of buprenorphine for at least a half year. Braeburn estimates that one fourth, or 325,000, of the 1.3 million patients currently taking buprenorphine meet that criterion.
The FDA previously rejected Probuphine in 2012, judging the drug’s dose was too low to reliably help the broad range of opioid-addicted patients. Braeburn and partner Titan Pharmaceuticals resubmitted the product with additional data and it received a positive endorsement from federal advisers earlier this year.
The FDA said Thursday that Probuphine should be used as part of a multipronged addiction treatment program that includes counseling and other forms of support. Doctors who implant the device must also receive special training to safely insert and remove the device.
FDA officials are spotlighting new treatment options for opioid abuse, after weathering heavy criticism for not acting faster to combat the epidemic of addiction and overdose tied to the drugs.
“We must do everything we can to make new, innovative treatment options available that can help patients regain control over their lives,” said Dr. Robert Califf, who became FDA commissioner in February.
Heroin and opioid painkillers caused 28,650 fatal overdoses in 2014, the highest number on record in the U.S. Despite those numbers, experts say buprenorphine remains underused due to federal limits on how many prescriptions each doctors can write, gaps in insurance and a lack of acceptance by doctors.
Along with increasing compliance, Probuphine has the potential to address other problems associated with the oral buprenorphine, including illegal diversion and accidental poisoning in children.
The implant comes with significant safety risks, including nerve damage and punctured skin if it accidentally moves after implantation. Patients should be seen during the first week after the procedure and at least once a month afterward for counseling and follow-up care.
Braeburn’s CEO Behshad Sheldon says 2,200 doctors have already signed up to take the training course required to administer Probuphine. The company could train as many as 4,000 physicians by the end of the year, she says.
—Stories by Associated Press
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