Controversy continues to brew over Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she served as Secretary of State. New documents released this week from a court-ordered Freedom of Information Act lawsuit proves the former Secretary of State and presidential hopeful’s staff dealt with “serious” technical problems that forced them to temporarily disable security measures on a private server she kept in her New York home.
On January 9, 2011, a State Dept. IT worker shut down Clinton’s private server because he said, “someone was trying to hack us.” In another email they wrote, “We were attacked [sic] again so I shut it down.”
This directly conflicts with a statement from her spokesperson, Brian Fallon, who said there was no evidence of any hacking.
However, Robert Gates, the Defense Secretary at the time, said he thought it was likely her private server had been targeted by Russia, China or Iran. “Given the fact that the Pentagon acknowledges that they get attacked about 100,000 times a day, I think the odds are pretty high.”
A Defense Department official confirmed the likelihood that Clinton’s private server was hacked and put US security on the line. “You’re putting not just the Clinton server at risk but the entire Department of State emails at risk,” Bob Gourley, former chief technology officer (CTO) for the DIA told Fox News. “When you turn off your defensive mechanisms and you’re connected to the Internet, you’re almost laying out the welcome mat for anyone to intrude and attack and steal your secrets.”
Yet, Clinton maintains that having a private server was allowed and above board. “The truth is, everything I did was permitted and I went above and beyond what anybody could have expected.”
But a report released by the State Department’s Inspector General condemned Clinton for not seeking counsel on whether to handle work-related emails on her private Blackberry. He said information officers would have refused the request because of security risks. It’s worth stating that during Clinton’s tenure as Secretary of State, she never hired an Inspector General as mandated by federal law.
In addition to the security factors, under federal law, all the emails are considered federal property. It’s this provision that ensures the American people have an accurate, detailed accounting for the history books.
Nevertheless, Clinton kept a private email server at her New York home and publically stated that she deleted 30,000 emails she deemed personnel.
Judicial Watch says it identified more than a dozen work-related emails that were not included Clinton’s production of emails to the State Department.
According to Judicial Watch; “The revelations came thanks to our prying loose the email records referred to in the May 2016 State Department’s Office of the Inspector General report criticizing former Secretary of State Clinton’s email practices. The OIG report makes reference to the emails but they were not released to the public until now. We obtained them under a June 14, 2016, court order issued by U.S. District Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan in accordance with an unopposed motion by Judicial Watch to obtain the records. As an explosive Associated Press article makes clear, these new emails raise more questions.”
*This is part three in a series on veterans who return home from the battlefield with varying degrees of Traumatic Brain Injury and/or Post-Traumatic Stress.
Last week the Veterans Affairs Department announced that 24,000 post-9/11 veterans with traumatic brain injuries who were denied disability compensation by VA between 2007 and 2015 might have another chance to receive their benefits.
In a statement, the VA said: “To ensure that TBI is properly evaluated for disability compensation purposes, VA developed a policy in 2007 requiring that one of four specialists – a psychiatrist, physiatrist, neurosurgeon or neurologist – complete TBI exams when VA does not have a prior diagnosis.”
But it’s the status quo that has left many veterans unhappy with treatment options and wait times. In May the Veteran Affair’s Secretary Robert McDonald started a firestorm when he said: “What really counts is how does the veteran feel about their encounter with the VA. We go to Disney. Do they measure the number of hours you wait in line? Or the number… you know what’s important? What’s important is, what’s your satisfaction with the experience.”
However, there are alternatives to the 2007 VA protocols that could make a difference in diagnosis and treatment of TBI and PTS. A long established and proven blood test that only three percent of doctors’ nationally use could provide many answers to those suffering from the effects of TBI or PTS, says Dr. Brooke Alexander. She says genetic testing on four types of metabolism should be the first step in personalized TBI and PTS treatment. This specific test determines if the right medication and dosages are being prescribed. So far, she says the VA has not been receptive to the idea.
Confirming her opinion is Randy Noller from the VA who told this reporter they only use their own protocols. “Clinical care for Service members and Veterans who have experienced a Traumatic Brain Injury has been consistently provided through VHA’s TBI/Polytrauma System of Care since 2007. This includes TBI screening, evaluation, and development of an individualized rehabilitation plan of care.”
However, former Green Beret Andrew Marr, who nearly died following military docs TBI treatment advice said: “The status quo isn’t working, the status quo is medication and psychotherapy, so we’re (WarriorAngels.org) challenging the status quo by providing a superior alternative.”
He continued to explain, “for a third of the cost (VA incurs) we can exponentially improve your quality of life in a fraction of the time.”
Further evidence supporting the evolving protocols arrived two weeks ago with a ground breaking new Lancet Study that confirmed combat service members do suffer physically discernable injuries to the brain, providing a new roadmap for doctors treating TBI patients. Part of the significance of this Lancet discovery is that treatment of wounded warriors with psychotropic drugs now becomes just one aspect of treatment and not the exclusive realm of psychiatrists.
Approximately 339,462 service members have been diagnosed with a Traumatic Brain Injury. One in three service members’ returns home experiencing severe Post Traumatic Stress (PTS) symptoms. Plus, 5.3 million non-veteran Americans are currently living with a long-term disability as a result of some level of TBI. Symptoms include irritability, depression, insomnia, anxiety as well as other cognitive and co-morbidity issues. If left untreated, TBI/PTS can result in the breakdown of family relationships as well as difficulties at work and most importantly, can lead to suicide.
But as the suicide numbers grow, many doctors are looking at well-established, albeit underused tests, to find relief and improve the quality of life of those living with TBI/PTS.
For example, a blood test can chart variations of polymorphisms in cytochrome P450 genes can affect the function of the enzymes and metabolism. “The effects of polymorphisms are most prominently seen in the breakdown of medications. Depending on the gene and the polymorphism, drugs can be metabolized quickly or slowly,” according to the National Health Institute’s US National Library of Medicine. “If a cytochrome P450 enzyme metabolizes a drug slowly, the drug stays active longer and less is needed to get the desired effect. A drug that is quickly metabolized is broken down sooner and a higher dose might be needed to be effective. Cytochrome P450 enzymes account for 70 to 80 percent of enzymes involved in drug metabolism.
The metabolic rate of TBI/PTS medications can give a false indicator of the patients’ compliance with a treatment plan that can lead to service members being dismissed from the military, which only further exacerbates the 22 suicides committed each day by service members, Dr. Brook Alexander explains. “Once you kick them out of the military they (veterans) start self-medicating.”
This theory dovetails with Mayo Clinic research. “Medications for depression are usually prescribed based on symptoms and medical history. For some people, the first antidepressant tried relieves depression symptoms and has tolerable side effects. For many others, however, finding the right medication takes trial and error. For some people, it can take several months or longer to find the right antidepressant.”
“Genotyping tests, such as cytochrome P450 tests, may speed up the identification of medications that are more likely to be better processed by the body. Ideally, better processing would lead to fewer side effects and improved effectiveness.”
This type of genetic testing works with the body’s physiology to evaluate the scientific pairing with the medication a patient is prescribed. Dr. Alexander said it’s imperative to identify what kind of metabolism a person genetically possesses. There are four metabolizing categories: poor, intermediate, extensive, and ultra-rapid. Determining the metabolic rate of the patient will go a long way to improving success rates.
Psychology Today broke it down this way. “A poor metabolizer (PM) is a person whose metabolism takes in the medication very slowly, resulting in increased levels of the medicine in the bloodstream. This sluggish process causes significant side effects and poses toxicity risks such as serotonin syndrome—a potentially life-threatening condition caused by toxic levels of serotonin. If you’re a poor metabolizer, you not only have the hardship of experiencing side effects and toxicity, you also continue to have depressive symptoms.
An intermediate metabolizer (IM) is a person whose metabolism of a drug occurs at a slower rate than normal. People in this category experience side effects and mild toxicity but not as intensely as do poor metabolizers. As you might expect, medication success is guarded in this category. You notice some symptom relief, but it won’t be substantial.
Extensive metabolizers (EM) have an average expected range for metabolism. Herein, you absorb medication effectively and are able to experience symptom relief with little or no side effects.
Ultra-rapid metabolizers (UM) quickly process medication, rendering drug treatment virtually ineffective. Because your genetic metabolism synthesizes the medication too fast, you cannot experience its therapeutic effects. If you’re an ultra-rapid metabolizer, you feel no symptom relief whatsoever.”
This is good news for those taking psychotropic medications. Being well versed, knowledgeable and prepared can lead to a more individualized treatment plan, but patients cannot forget the science side as well. As the lead researcher in the Lancet study, Daniel Perl, a neuropathologist discovered the brain could receive physical damage. “What we found was a pattern of scarring that in 40 years of examining thousands of brains at autopsy I’ve never seen before and as far as I know is not described in any of the medical literature.” He also believes the implications of this discovery are weighty.
For those who want to treat TBI/PTS with a more homeopathic method, there are also several options. This individualized type of treatment centers on the replenishment of brain hormones called neurosteriods.
“Once these are lost, the brain’s ability for rational thought, cognition, creativity, understanding, and love are curtailed,” Dr. Mark Gordon of the Millennial Center explained. Dr. Gordon said that his treatment was so successful with one military service member that he was able to return to the Middle East battlefield. “When he returned home we retested his hormone levels and found only a slight drop.”
This case is encouraging for those struggling with the decision to get treatment through the military or outside medical facilities. Andrew Marr, the founder of Warrior Angels knows the tough choice enlisted members face- seek help and risk active duty status or hope it goes away on its own. However, for those who wait the consequences can be dire. That’s why Marr, a retired Army Green Beret, is encouraging those suffering the TBI/PTS symptoms to reach out to his organization where he can provide them with all the information he has collected during his road to recovery.
Unfortunately, the Departments of Defense and the Veteran Affairs do not endorse or support the brain hormone treatment program yet. Many doctors are stuck in the 20th century thinking that synthetic drugs can provide a cure, Marr says. While it may be a relatively new therapy, Dr. Gordon said the research has been around for a couple of decades and isn’t “new science” at all.
A pro-Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) hacking group called the “United Cyber Caliphate” has released a US kill list in an effort to speed up wannabe jihadist terror attacks inside America. The list includes names, addresses, and email addresses of more than 8,000 people. Vocativ reports that 7,848 Americans are listed with 1,445 addresses in California, 643 in Florida, 341 in Washington, 333 in Texas, 331 in Illinois, 290 in New York as well as other states and countries.
The group reportedly hacked into US Central Command’s (CENTCOM) 54,000 Twitter accounts and threatened President Barack Obama with assassination. There have also been several reports that ISIS has targeted the US military and their families, prompting military brass to warn service members to refrain from posting on social media like Facebook.
A Las Vegas TV report said, “If in fact a sympathizer gets ahold of this list and is readily able to identify you as being his neighbor and, then, decides (because they’re a sympathizer) to go out and do something horrific to you, there is no way to calculate the potential or to prevent that.”
That chilling statement has the FBI looking into this angle as part of the horrific Orlando terrorist attack that left 49 Americans dead and another 50 wounded earlier this month in Florida.
While the use of cyber warfare may not be new for ISIS, a rash of attacks on the homeland resulted in a lengthy security warning from Flashpoint Intel. The security experts suggest that ISIS has grown in the past couple of years, and its media machine, global support, and online channels have also grown.
“This unprecedented expansion has now come to include capabilities to inflict damage over the Internet, which came to light when its supporters began coordinating and organizing cyber attacks on Western targets. Highlighting this newfound desire to cause virtual harm was the brief 2014 takeover of Twitter accounts run by US CENTCOM and Newsweek.”
Flashpoint also pointed out that the successful hacking attacks propagated the support of ISIS and generated notable global attention. “Like-minded individuals and groups found new ways to target Western interests. As such, new concerns regarding ISIS’s cyber capabilities emerged. At the center of the conversation has been whether ISIS’s cyber prowess is a real threat or exaggerated. Given the attacks that resulted in the CENTCOM and Newsweek Twitter accounts being compromised, it appears that ISIS’s supporters maintain somewhat of an existing coordinated cyber campaign that aims at launching attacks on targets of opportunity, typically those that are considered low-hanging fruit.”
Guccifer pleads guilty in Hillary email gate federal case
The Romanian hacker Marcel Lazar or “Guccifer” who said he compromised Hillary Clinton’s private email server, pleaded guilty on May 25 in federal on two counts of computer hacking. Justice Department prosecutors told the court that in exchange for a reduced sentence (2 to 7 years), Guccifer agreed to cooperate with federal officials with other cyber investigations, presumably the FBI’s ongoing criminal investigation into Hillary Clinton’s private email server.
“Mr. Lazar will be punished for violating the personal privacy of dozens of Americans,” said Dana J. Boente, US Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. “These convictions show that cyber criminals cannot hide from justice. The United States will vigorously pursue these offenders, wherever they may hide.”
Leslie Caldwell, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said: “Cybercriminals like Marcel Lazar believe they can act with impunity from safe havens abroad, but the Justice Department’s partnerships with law enforcement agencies around the world ensure that they can be brought to justice. Lazar sought fame by hacking the private online accounts of Americans and releasing their personal information to the public; instead, he has been convicted in aUnited States federal court.”
The FBI also weighed in on the guilty plea. “Marcel Lazar, who hacked under the moniker ‘Guccifer,’ has now been brought to justice before a United States court,” said Paul M. Abbate, Assistant Director in Charge of the FBI’s Washington Field Office. “As a direct result of our global technological and investigative reach and strong international partnerships, we were able to successfully identify Guccifer and his criminal activities, and bring him to justice here in America. The FBI will continue to relentlessly hunt down criminals in cyberspace and around the world. I would like to commend the dedicated efforts of the agents, analysts, prosecutors, and international partners who worked tirelessly to resolve this highly complex cyber investigation.”
Lazar pleaded guilty to the unauthorized access of a protected computer and aggravated identity theft, these counts were first tied to a report in the Smoking Gun. Guccifer illegally hacked into systems belonging to former US government officials, including former Clinton adviser Sidney Blumenthal and former Secretary of State Colin Powell. The defense did not answer any questions after the hearing in which only a handful of reporters attended.
While neither the defendant nor the US courts have released evidence supporting Guccifer’s claims, he was transferred into US custody from a Romanian jail where he was serving time for other computer hacking crimes. Security experts, as well as former federal agents, say it’s completely feasible that he breached the email server and that the US government would not go through the arduous task and expense of an extradition if there was no probable cause of a crime. Keep reading here.
The more we sweat in peace the less we bleed in war, is the maxim that drives US military training. The reality is that training is so realistic and dangerous that many troops are killed and injured during training preparations for war. But realistic and intensive training helps to dispel the “fog of war” so that in the face of adversity battlefield decisions will ultimately save lives.
After 15 years of war in the Middle East, the signature injuries service members’ suffer in addition to the “usual” consequences of war are Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress (PTS). For years, many veterans suspected repeated exposure to combat blast zones, whether in training or in the theater of operations, were the cause of actual brain injuries. But traditional medical practice concluded there was no physically discernible injury because one could not be seen in either radiological or blood tests – – – until now.
Depression, anxiety, memory issues and sleep deprivation are a few of the side effects service members have endured through combat and training. However, those markers sent anyone complaining of the symptoms into one of two camps; first, the suck it up and get on with it crowd that most military members are trained to accept before they head to combat or a trip to the psychiatrist office.
The military’s version of “Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride” convinced warriors that pharmaceutical drugs were the cure for their ailments. They were asked to follow prescription drug regimens that were supposed to ease the symptoms, but tragically, approximately 22 warriors continue to commit suicide every day. Despite the best of intentions, these warriors received a “life sentence” of drug dependency. This medical practice went against everything they stood for, but it was the generally accepted medical treatment plan of the day.
This week that “wild ride” was turned upside down. A new study uncovered a never before seen lesion in the brain tissue, something not seen on the CT/MRI scans, that is believed to be causing a “plethora” of symptoms troops had been describing, but which had been dismissed by traditional medicine.
The study reveals PTS was most likely a misdiagnosis. Daniel Perl, a neuropathologist at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences released a pioneering medical research article that his findings found a brain lesion indicating combat blast damage was distinctive.
The research team sponsored by the Department of Defense may have solved a 100-year mystery that explains how blast force from battlefield explosions can damage the human brain.
The findings, published Thursday in the medical journal the Lancet Neurology, demonstrated a consistent pattern of damage using autopsies from the brains of eight military service members that had served in the Middle East.
But could the fix be deduced from a specialized blood test? According to new research, brain hormone imbalances could be the culprit and the key to unlocking a cure for many TBI/PTS cases diagnosed within the military. While the study is in its initial stages, it does provide a road map for other doctors and medical researchers.
As a Green Beret, Andrew Marr, is a textbook example of TBI/PTS misdiagnoses. However, as a special forces leader, he refused to accept his “new life sentence” and searched for alternative options. He found a doctor in Los Angeles that treated TBI/PTS patients for brain hormone imbalances. It worked for Marr, but without mainstream studies or scholarly papers, it was not generally accepted in the medical community.
The Lancet study has lent a lot of credence to Dr. Mark Gordon’s theory; “It has been my 11 years of experience in treating mild and moderate TBI cases that the replenishment of neuroactive and neurosteroids to optimal levels has offered the greatest impact and resolve in each patient’s condition.”
If the Lancet study proves correct, it will revolutionize how TBI/PTS patients are treated and could go a long way to removing the stigma long associated with PTS. Another factor to consider is the non-military population at large; many have survived car accidents, played sports or work in law enforcement where concussions are common, they too could see the effects of this revolutionary therapy.
Responding to the groundbreaking brain research Dr. Gordon, of the Millennium Center, said; “This is fantastic science showing that blast wave trauma can penetrate the skull and cause perforations in the cells of the brain. It has taken 100 years to figure this out so how much longer before they start treating the underlying sequalae of the trauma and address the inflammatory cascades and loss of important biochemical regulators of cognition and personality; the neurosteroids?”
The lead researcher in the Lancet study, Daniel Perl, a neuropathologist said, “What we found was a pattern of scarring that in 40 years of examining thousands of brains at autopsy I’ve never seen before and as far as I know is not described in any of the medical literature.” He also believes the implications of this discovery are weighty.
“It will mean reevaluating people we’ve labeled as having PTSD,” Perl said. “There’s nothing obvious in terms of treatment, but at least it suggests that one should not think about approaching the problem as a purely mental health problem.”
What it means for troops is astounding. Typically soldiers sent to the shrink to cope with PTS were handed bushels of psychotropic drugs that only masked the real problem, the treatment didn’t necessarily address the injuries the military troops exposed to blasts waves suffered. It means they could be reexamined. Dr. Perl says many of these symptoms “are also characteristic of PTSD, which afflicts an estimated 11 to 20 percent of all veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in any given year.
Pre-study medical practices initially assumed the symptoms to be psychological.
To fully understand the science, Perl explains blast waves cause damage at the boundaries of different structures, such as “between brain matter and cerebrospinal fluids and between gray and white brain matter. That damage is consistent with experiments that have modeled blast waves’ effects on the different substances forming the brain.”
But the game changer for many service members is relieving the stigma attached to PTS.
“It comes back down to the stigma of mental illness,” said Jean Teichroew, Anxiety and Depression Association of America spokeswoman. “Military members also are afraid to speak out because it’s seen as a weakness. The VA [Veteran Affairs] has programs to try to combat that, too. But when you have a sergeant who doesn’t think you should be afraid of a bomb going off near you or seeing a dead body, that’s another issue.”
Still, the rate of diagnosed PTSD cases among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans is higher than the rate of cases associated with men and women who served in past conflicts. That abrupt spike has sparked an ongoing debate within American and British academia as to how common PTSD truly is among military personnel and veterans.”
Department of Veterans Affairs records suggests that 45 percent of all veterans from Iraq’s Operation Iraqi Freedom and Afghanistan’s Operation Enduring Freedom have applied for some form of service-connected disability compensation. Compare this figure to veterans from World War II, 11 percent and Vietnam, 16 percent, who also received disability compensation.
Dr. Gordon simply says it’s about the replenishment of hormone levels. Until the body and brain are operating on the individual’s specific hormonal levels the misdiagnosis will continue. “All illnesses have a beginning, middle and ending. Our goal is to detect low-normal and abnormal levels of hormones, neurosteroids, and neuroactive steroids that have significant influences over psychological, physiological and physical functioning.”
“The impact on normal hormonal production in apparently health individuals who have sustained a minor TBI can be life altering. The perception that only intense forms of trauma can precipitate hormonal deficiencies or insufficiencies is greatly in error. Simple trauma such as an auto accident, amusement park rides, and jarring of the head can lead to singular or multiple hormone deficiencies. Sports related TBI have now become a daily discussion on the major cable channels. We started discussing this in 2004 and then on ESPN in January 2007,” Gordon said.
The only way to diagnose whether a singular head injury or years of subtle head injuries has caused hormone deficiency/insufficiency is through specific laboratory testing. Once the test results are seen it will be the matter of interpretation of the results that will make the major difference.
According to Dr. Gordon, conventional medications (antidepressants, anti-anxiety, anti-seizure, anti-psychotic, and narcotics) do nothing to address the underlying causes that create the symptoms associated with TBI (Post-Concussion Syndrome) because they do not replenish the missing neurosteroids (brain hormones). Many individuals under conventional treatment become further dysfunctional from the overload of medications used for treating the superficial complaints (masking).
“My position on PTSD versus TBI is very clear; if there was no physical component to your acute stressor situation that precipitated the condition referred to as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, then it is most likely PTSD,” Gordon explains. “On the other hand, if you had any physical component, whether it involved the head directly or indirectly, then it is a potential case of Traumatic Brain Injury. It is my belief, based upon interpretation of 100’s of articles suggesting that it is the interruption of both neurosteroids (hormones produced in the brain that regulate who we are and how we function) and neuroactive steroids (produced in the peripheral glands like testes, ovaries, adrenals and so forth) that cause the change in our neuro-receptors that regulate mood and intellectual states.”
Dr. Gordon has been at this for more than a decade and currently lectures to physicians. In 2015, he launched a lecture series based upon his book: Traumatic Brain Injury – A Clinical Approach to Diagnosis and Treatment.
Dr. Brooke Alexander, who has researched TBI/PTS, concurs with Dr. Gordon and says more than 385,000 troops have come home with varying forms of brain damage. “Dr. Gordon’s hormone studies of the last 20 years are absolutely brilliant. He is using the body to heal itself.”
Hang tough warriors, the cavalry is on the way.
Read and watch part one here
Watch the entire unedited interview here
To reach Dr. Gordon link here