Intelligence Committee Chair Claims Evidence Relevant in Central Command
Investigation Destroyed; Apple Appeals Government Request to Access
Information in San Bernardino Shooters iPhone; Mitt Romney Asked Republican
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BRET BAIER, SPECIAL REPORT HOST: Destruction of evidence, obstruction of justice, and a cover-up. New charges in the intel scandal about the Obama administration's campaign against ISIS.
This is "Special Report."
Good evening. Welcome to Washington. I'm Bret Baier.
Serious allegations of a cover-up inside the Pentagon today with a Chairman on Capitol Hill charging key evidence and the ISIS intelligence scandal has been destroyed.
The Pentagon's Inspector General and Congress have been investigating complaints by Intelligence Analyst that's their reporting on ISIS was altered on its way up to chain of command to make President Obama's campaign against the terror group look so successful than it really was.
We have Fox team coverage tonight, Correspondent Kevin Corke at the White House. But we begin with Chief Intelligence Correspondent Catherine Herridge on the stunning new allegations over a cover-up at CentCom.
Good evening, Katherine.
CATHERINE HERRIDGE, CHIEF INTELLIGENCE CORRESPONDENT: Thank you, Bret.
It's a very serious and credible charge coming from the Republican Chairman, Congressman Devin Nunes. Reading from a prepared statement today, he said evidence was destroyed at U.S. central command.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DEVIN NUNES, REPUBLICAN CHAIRMAN CONGRESSMAN: We have been made aware that both files and e-mails have been deleted by personnel at CentCom.
HERRIDGE: During the annual global threats hearing, lawmakers heard that nearly half of the intelligence analysts who oversee 20 nations, including Iran, Syria, say there were serious problems with the integrity of their work.
NUNES: It seems like that 40 percent of analysts that are concerned at CentCom, you know, that's just something that can't be ignored.
VINCENT STEWART, DIA DIRECTOR: Where we've sent our Ombudsman there to look at the analytic rigor and to look at the different views.
NUNES: Would you consider the 40 percent to be unusual, unusually high or it's just at normal?
STEWART: I would consider that unusually high.
HERRIDGE: A source close to the investigation toward Fox, late last year, that CentCom analysts were pressured to ease off negative assessment about the Islamic State threat. Among the complaints is that after the U.S. Air Campaign began in August 2014, the way progress was measured changed.
The source said analysts were instructed to use a number of sorties and body counts, metrics not used seems to be at non-war (ph) to page a more upbeat picture.
Tony Shaffer is a Former Intelligence Officer who has worked with CentCom analysts.
TONY SHAFFER, FORMER INTELLIGENCE OFFICER: The conflict is between the real truth, the ground truth these analysts stated and what the end results were presented to the national leadership. There's a huge gap and this information that was destroyed were to fill that gap in.
HERRIDGE: And Iran considered the Obama administration's most important foreign policy initiative. The nation's Intelligence Chief testified that lifting the sanctions in January freed up money for bad actors, including the Islamic Revolutionary Guards or IRGC and its Special Forces unit.
JAMES CLAPPER, NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE DIRECTOR: Some money has flowed to the organization we worried most about, I guess, is the IRGC and particularly the cuts force. Some money has flowed to them but they're not as nearly as much as they wanted to.
HERRIDGE: In the wake of more than 20 million security clearance files stolen from the office of Personnel Management, President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping strikes a cyber security deal last poll (ph). Clapper testified Beijing is not holding up its end of a bargain.
CLAPPER: So, I think the jury is out. We have seen some reduction but i don't think we're in a position to say, at this point, whether they're in strict compliance.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HERRIDGE: Privately, intelligence officials voiced deep concern of the stolen OPM files would be used to access government systems with the goal of corrupting the data so that its integrity is in doubt. This would be the cyber equivalent of blowing up a government network, Bret.
BAIER: Katherine, thank you.
HERRIDGE: You're welcome.
BAIER: Well, President Obama made a rare visit to the State Department today to meet with his national security team for a session that included a review of the stalled progress in the ISIS campaign.
Correspondent Kevin Corke is at the White House tonight with more on that.
Good evening, Kevin.
KEVIN CORKE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Hey, good evening, Bret.
As you know, the president doesn't just meet in the seat room here at the White House with his national security country (ph) on occasion. He'll take those meetings around the Washington area. Most recently, you may recall he met with them at the Pentagon and at the National Counterterrorism Center.
Well today, he did, so again meeting with his team over at the U.S. State Department. And for the president it was the chance to cooperate the various reports from his team about the ongoing battle against ISIS and of course the ceasefire that they're trying to work out in Syria.
Here's what the president said not long ago about what ISIS is doing to continue to cause havoc in the region.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, USA PRESIDENT: And this remains a difficult fight. The situation of Syria and Iraq is one of the most complex the world has seen in recent times. ISIL's entrenched, including in urban areas, using innocent civilians as human shields.
Even in places where ISIL has been driven out, at least behind other devastation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CORKE: The president speaking at this very hour, Bret, part of a long ranging strategy against to get together to talk about the financial, the military and the strategic and even the diplomatic effort against ISIS. Bret.
BAIER: Kevin, the president's visit comes on a day when his top diplomat was grilled again on Capitol Hill. But this time, over the administrations failure to brand ISIS's slaughter (ph) of Christians as genocide. What can you tell us about that?
CORKE: Well, let me tell you, it really got heated today at that house of Foreign Affairs, committee hearing on the Hill.
Secretary of State John Kerry onto the spotlight, once again, he was asked repeatedly why, heavily (ph), the administration made that designation.
Kerry finally said, look, something needs to be done quickly about that designation but he suggested that his department would have to do more "legal legwork", before that designation could be made.
Bret, obviously, the numbers there out, this is, without a doubt, a genocide against Christians all over the globe. Bret.
BAIER: Kevin Corke, live in the North (ph).
Kevin, thank you.
Now in the cross hairs of ISIS supporters, apparently, the heads of Facebook and Twitter, Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey appear in the new 25- minute video released via Jihadists group that calls itself "The Sons of the Caliphate Army".
The video depicts -- detects CEO is being targeted by bullets. The Caliphate Army said it was just responding to recent moves by Facebook and Twitter to suspend the group's accounts and remove Jihadists messages.
The Obama Administration is facing a new lawsuit form six states over Obamacare, Texas Wisconsin, Kansas, Louisiana, Indiana and Nebraska file the suit Wednesday. It says that nothing in the affordable Care Act's language provided clear notice that states would have to pay to pay a fee to help, insures, to cover federal subsidies. The States want the fee stopped and refunded for what they've already paid.
President Obama will get his meeting with congressional leaders to discuss nominating someone to fill the Just Scalia's vacancy on the Supreme Court. The White House says the president will meet Tuesday with Republican and Democratic leaders of the senate and its judiciary committee.
Republican leadership put out a statement a short time later saying they will tell him directly that they will not move on a nomination until after the election.
Now, the politics. Donald Trump strikes back. The Republican frontrunner mocks 2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney's suggestion after he suggested that Trump's tax returns could be hiding something.
But as temper as flare, a new poll shows the businessman way out in front even the Senator Marco Rubio's home state.
Chief Political Correspondent Carl Cameron is in Texas tonight with the showdown between GOP.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CARL CAMERON: Pressure is on Texas Senator Ted Cruz tonight in his home state. With five days to Super Tuesday, when Texas has 155 delegates up for grabs, the biggest prize of the biggest day offering more than half the delegates to clinch the nomination.
MARCO RUBIO (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: It is good to be home.
CAMERON: The latest Mondmouth poll shows Cruz leading with 38 percent. Trump and Marco Rubio are virtually tied for a second. Ben Carson and John Kasich are way back in single digits.
Cruz supporters know he needs to win Texas for his candidacy to remain plausible. Some Texas donors have discussed shifting to Rubio if he comes up short. It is a big night for Rubio, too, who wants to derail Cruz once and for all.
Rubio has yet to win a state but neither has John Kasich. And Kasich is going after Rubio.
Washington politicians and lobbyist are rushing to crown Marco Rubio. But national polls show John Kasich is the one who beats Hillary Clinton by 11 points not Marco Rubio.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMERON: In the latest poll, Rubio is getting crashed by Donald Trump with his home state in Florida, a winner-take-all primary voting on March 15th. Trump's at 44 percent with a double digit lead over Rubio. Ted Cruz is a distant third and John Kasich's political Goro (ph) John Weaver twitted, "With the Florida implosion, Marco Rubio needs to withdraw from the race and support John Kasich, who will win Ohio and trounce Hillary in November."
Though, Kasich is also trailing Trump at this home state of Ohio, he's heads also twitted that, "John Kasich is the only candidate who can beat @realDonaldTrump on 3/15 and @marcorubio needs to do the right thing and suspend his campaign."
Trump, the undisputed frontrunner, is being called out by Mitt Romney.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MITT ROMNEY: Every time he's asked about his taxes, he dodges and delays.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMERON: Romney warned that the billionaire's back tax returns could contain "bomb shell". Trump tweet at Twitter and shout back, "Mitt Romney, who's one of the dumbest and worst candidates in the history of Republican politics is not pushing me on tax returns." And Romney countered, "Methinks the Donald doth protest too much. Show voters you back taxes @realDonaldTrump, #WhatisheHiding." Trumps rivals are piling on.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TED CRUZ (R-TX), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: You know, An awful lot of people speculate that he hasn't made nearly as much money as he said, who knows, because he doesn't release his tax returns?
RUBIO: So, a lot of my tax returns are already out there because I released them during my senate campaign.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We'll figure out what the right years are but we don't have anything to hide there.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CAMERON: Five candidates will be debating in Houston tonight. It is their tenth debate thus far. They all have a tremendous amount riding on this and know the trajectory could set the outcome for what's happens on Super Tuesday and for some of them it could be the end of the campaign trail. Bret.
BAIER: Carl Cameron, live in Houston.
Carl, thank you.
Mexico's former president weighed on Donald Trump's border plans today with the Mexico (ph).
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VINCENT FOX, FORMER MEXICO PRESIDENT: I'm not going to pay for that wall. He should pay for it. He's got the money.
(END VIEO CLIP)
BAIER: True to form. Donald Trump tweeted out a response saying, "Former President of Mexico, Vicente Fox used horribly used the F-word when discussing wall. He must apologize. If I did that, there would be an uproar."
Some big developments in the raise for the Democratic nomination, Front- runner Hillary Clinton broke ranks with the president today. Well, it seems Bernie Sanders has moved on timing (ph) up on the chance to win in the Palmetto State.
Senior White House Correspondent (ph) Ed Henry has the latest on the race from South Carolina.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ED HENRY, SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: Hillary Clinton today, broke with President Obama by declaring despite (ph) trial balloon from White House age (ph). She's against Nevada's Republican Governor Brian Sandoval from being nominated to the Supreme Court.
HILLARY CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I know the governor has done some good things but I sure hope the president choses a true progressive, who will stand up for the values and the interests of the people of this country.
HENRY: Moments later, Governor Sandoval issued a statement saying he told the White House he no longer wants to be considered.
It was not an accident Clinton revealed her opposition in an African- American part of South Carolina, wrapping-in in her claim that a Democrat needs to replace Justice Antonin Scalia because Republicans are trying to take away voting rights.
CLINTON: We still need the Voting Right's Act to be enforced because too many people are being deprived of their rights to vote in this country.
HENRY: This fits right into a strategy that the liberal website BuzzFeed dub scorch the earth. Declaring the only path some Clinton Advisers see to a victory in a general election is to rally the left behind the idea that Republicans want to take something away.
A strategy of necessity according BuzzFeed because, "In reality, nobody is that excited about Hillary Clinton, and young voters, women and men - the foot soldiers of any Democratic Party movement - aren't coming around."
Clinton appears to be marching toward a decisive victory over Bernie Sanders here. in Saturday's South Carolina primary. Yet she is still struggling the generate enthusiasm.
BERNIE SANDERS (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: When I look at this crowd, I don't think there's any way we're going to lose, I have to say (ph).
HENRY: Knowing that he's struggling in South Carolina, Democratic Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders have shifted his focus to Super Tuesday. He's getting large crowd in states like Oklahoma, where he helps to grab a victory next week.
Last night, Sanders' new 6800 people in Tulsa with 2500 more supporters waiting outside and trying to hedge his bits (ph) today. He got a big crowd in Ohio, which has not vote until the middle of next month.
SANDERS: We're going to do every that we can to make sure that billionaires do not buy elections in United States of America.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HENRY: Sanders will be back in the State tomorrow for one last shot at winning the primary. It's been a hard pivot to Super Tuesday without some big victories next week. Sanders may have a hard time keeping up in the delegate count. Bret.
BAIER: Ed Henry in Myrtle Beach.
Ed, thank you.
Up next, Apple doubles down on its fight against the FBI.
Forces use some responsibilities (ph) around the country are covering tonight.
Fox 11 in Los Angeles, where a fast moving brush fire in the hillsides of Malibu prompted evacuations of several homes. No structures were damaged in that fire. But fire officials say one woman was severely injured while fighting the blaze.
Fox 13 in Memphis were voting ahead of Super Tuesday, is breaking records. More than 385,000 people have voted so far with Republican voters outpacing Democratic voters 2 to 1. One counting election commissions says the high turnout is probably due to the number of candidates in this year's election.
And this is a live look at New York from our affiliate Fox 5, the big story there tonight.
A coast guard boat sent to rescue a fishing vessel overturns off the coast of New York City. Five coast guard crew members had to swim the shore when the boat overturned in 10 to 12 foot waves. A helicopter was used to rescue the seven fishermen from their fishing vessel that run a ground.
That is tonight's live looked outside the beltway from special report. We'll be right back.
BAIER: Four people in Virginia are dead after severe storms battered the East Coast Wednesday night. A two-year-old child was among dead in Virginia after a tornado ripped through the town of Waverly.
Elsewhere, a funnel cloud left an 8 to 10 mile path of destruction in the state. In all, seven people were killed in that storm system.
The battle between privacy and security took central stage on Capitol Hill today and in court. The FBI Director tamped down expectations that unlocking the San Bernardino shooter's phone would set a precedent. While Apple tells the court, doing so would be dangerous.
Senior Correspondent Adam Housley reports on the ongoing battle from Los Angeles.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ADAM HOUSLEY, FOX NEWS SENIOR CORRESPONDENT: Apple fires back, filing a motion to vacate a U.S. Judge's order requiring the company to work with the FBI to access an iPhone belonging to the San Bernardino terrorist Syed Farook.
In the legal brief, Apple also makes the argument, among others, that the government's request, if granted, violates the company's first amendment rights and that the FBI is seeking "Dangerous power through courts".
Company CEO Tim Cook, in an interview with ABC about Apple's fight with the feds, says, "Unlocking the terrorist iPhone will "be bad for America"."
TIM COOK, APPLE CEO: There're a lot of bad guys in the world. And you don't need to look further than what has happened to our own government. Millions of people have had their personal information stolen by hackers.
HOUSLEY: Apple's push back comes on a day the FBI Director James Comey testified before the House Intelligence Committee, saying he understands consumer's desire for encryption technology but he worries about long term implications and the harm it could have for law enforcement investigation. Comey also stress that the Justice Department's battle with Apple is "the hardest question he's seen in government"."
JAMES COMEY, FBI DIRECTOR: When I hear corporations saying, we're going to take to you a world where no one can look at your stuff. Part of me is saying, "That's great. I don't want anyone looking at my stuff." But then I step back and say, you know, law enforcement, which I'm part of, really does save people's lives.
When I hear corporations saying, we're going to take to you a world where no one can look at your stuff. That's great. I don't want anyone looking at my stuff. Law enforcement, which I'm part of, really does save people's lives.
HOUSLEY: Federal sources tell Fox, they believe the iPhone contains information that connects Farook to others who may have helped the terrorist and his wife Tashfeen Malik plan or pay for the attack that killed 14 and injured 22 in a Christmas party in December.
Congress now is also looking to get involved and there's a growing call for a bipartisan commission that would include the tech industry and law enforcement.
NANCY PELOSI, HOUSE MINORITY LEADER: I don't think it should be up to one judge to decide on the encryption policy as we go forward. This isn't about one case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ADAM HOUSLEY: As the encryption battle ramps up, there are multiple reports that Apple is now building a new operating system that would make it impossible to ever create an encryption work around. And that the company is also adding similar security on its iClone service. It comes as were told these family numbers of those killed in San Bernardino and injured back in December may file an amicus brief tomorrow hoping that the FBI will work with Apple. Bret.
BAIER: Adam Housley in Los Angeles.
Adam, thank you.
The Obama administration is speeding up its efforts to help Puerto Rico. The White House is helping the financially-strapped country gain access to nearly $400 million for infrastructure projects and hopes it will spur economic growth. Puerto Rico has $72 billion in public debt that the governor says is unpayable.
The Dow was up 212 points today. The S&P 500 was up 22. The NASDAQ close up 40 points.
Next up, with South Carolina's Democratic contest coming up.
Geraldo Rivera looks at how the candidates are trying to sway and hold voters.
BAIER: Hillary Clinton is banking on a strong turnout from the African- American community in Democratic contests going forward.
Strength with black voters helped her in Nevada. But can that advantage sustain her going forward or will younger black voters be swayed by Bernie Sanders' message?
Fox news Senior Correspondent Geraldo Rivera went to South Carolina get a sense of the key demographic for Democrats.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To the next President of the United States, Senator Bernie Sanders.
GERALDO RIVERA: In the most basic turn, South Carolina has some something New Hampshire and Iowa do not. Black people who represent an overwhelming majority of those expected to vote in the Democratic primary on February 27th. And a whopping 90 percent of black people in South Carolina, approved of the way president Obama is handling his job.
CLINTON: What we're going to do in this election is to make sure we have a democrat in the White House to succeed President Obama to keep our progress going.
RIVERA: Secretary Clinton works hard to tie herself to her former boss. But even before he got burned in Nevada, Bernie got the memo. Go black or go home.
REV PATRICK DEMMER, GRAHAM MEMORIAL COMM CHURH: I was told that African- Americans had to be with the other candidate.
RIVERA: Reverent Patrick Demmer represents Bernie's black home. That he can create the same generational split among Democrats that now exist among whites.
So, Hillary has the black establishment and Morgan Freeman.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
She speaks for our city, always edifying (ph) difference.
CLINTON: We need action now.
Extends with the president against those who would undo his achievements, just like she's always stood with us (ph).
(END VIDEO TAPE)
RIVERA: But Bernie has Danny Glover and Spike Lee.
And when Bernie gets to the White House, he will do the right thing.
RIVERA: But can Bernie bridge the racial gap?
Can Hillary Clinton rely on the black vote to sustain her in the South Carolina primary?
REV. ISAAC HOLT, ROYAL BAPTIST CHURCH: The vast majority of the political structure of the state, the Democratic structure is back in Hillary.
JIM CLYBURN, SOUTH CAROLINA REPRESENTATIVE: The Democratic Party and the United States of America will be best served with the experiences and know- how of Hillary Clinton.
RIVERA: With all due respect to elder statesmen hike congressman Jim Clyburn, what about younger black voters, like Rev. Tory Fields?
Will it be Hillary or Bernie?
REV TORY FIELDS, COMMUNITY ACTIVIST: Bill Clinton came out trying to be the first black president but Barack Obama is our first black president.
The saxophone won't get us no more. Bernie Sanders has been standing a lot, he stand with black lives no matter he's standing (ph) with some other groups that we feel that mean a lot to us. So, yes, Hillary Clinton, we like Bill, not necessarily that we like Hillary.
RIVERA: Like campuses across the country, at the College of Charleston, we couldn't find a single Clinton supporter.
Who are you voting for and why?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'll be voting for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Presidential Race because he doesn't have a super PAC and I feel like getting money out of politics, it would extremely important.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm going to vote for Mr. Sanders. I believe that he is very -- he sticks with the notion of equality in our country very, very well. And i see a lot of integrity in him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bernie Sanders. Mostly, because I feel, as a student, he has my best interests at heart.
RIVERA: And what about Hillary Clinton?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know about Hillary. And we went to a presidential debate on Mondmouth pleasant (ph) and Bernie Sanders is just the man. He is saying things right now that are kind of getting everybody fired up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm not sure how he's going to get everything he's promising but we'll see how that cares (ph).
ALLEN WILSON, SOUTH CAROLINA'S ATTORNEY GENERAL: So, when you look into the eyes of a woman and her two daughters and have to them explain why their daddy was shot.
RIVERA: South Carolina's Attorney General Allen Wilson attending this very important conference on bridging the racial gap. It is pretty historic, the division here, black and white.
On the democratic side, Hillary Clinton counting on the African-American vote to sustain her after her devastating loses in New Hampshire. Do you think that her faith is well placed?
WILSON: The African-American block has always been a reliable voting block for the Clintons. I know from when I talk to Democratic friends who believe she has to stop the bleeding here. So absolutely I think that's what's going to happen.
MARLON KIMPSON, (D) SOUTH CAROLINA STATE SENATOR: South Carolina is much different.
RIVERA: State Senator Marlon Kimpson agrees.
KIMPSON: I think the majority of the electorate, young and old, will be voting in large number for Secretary Clinton. And here's why -- we know her. She's been with us on the issues. She's not a stranger.
HILLARY CLINTON, (D) PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: America's long struggle with race is far from finished.
J.A. MOORE, FIELD DIRECTOR FOR SENATOR KIMPSON: I think what is important for Secretary Clinton to do is she really has to hone in that message that is going to resonate with not just African-Americans here in South Carolina but white Americans and Latino Americans as well.
RIVERA: Bret, the latest surveys out of South Carolina indicate that older African-American vote letters will prove Secretary Clinton's saving grace in South Carolina. But as that young man said going forward she has a much tougher road to hoe with young white and Latino voters as well, Bret.
BRET BAIER, FOX NEWS HOST: The question is, Geraldo, whether there enough young Democrats to give Bernie Sanders the nod?
RIVERA: That's a great question. It doesn't look that way, Bret. Especially remember that these mid-March primaries to the end of, to the beginning of April, first week in April, they fall right in the middle of spring break, which means a lot of these college kids who are registered on their campuses won't even be around to vote, Bret.
BAIER: That's a good point. Geraldo, thank you.
Next up, a cover-up at CENTCOM? We'll discuss the latest shocking allegations with the panel.