Archive for the ‘Democrat National Committee’ category

Was it a Hack or a Leak? (4)

September 1, 2017

Was it a Hack or a Leak? (4), Power LineScott Johnson, September 1, 2017

(Didn’t AG Sessions recuse himself? — DM)

“This entire business with Comey setting in motion the steps to get a special counsel named has not been sufficiently investigated. And this story makes it clear that the FBI was lackluster when it came to investigating the DNC. What is Attorney General Sessions doing?”

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We have followed the argument presented by Patrick Lawrence in the Nation asserting that the alleged Russian hack of the DNC email was rather an inside job. Lawrence explored the findings of the analysis supporting the thesis Democratic National Committee was not hacked by the Russians in July 2016, but rather suffered an insider leak. Lawrence’s article is here; the most recent report with the analysis summarized by Lawrence is here. The analysis has been promoted by dissident former intelligence officials gathered under the umbrella of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

Lawrence’s long article in the Nation called for a response of some kind by proponents of the Russia hacking conspiracy theory, but it has been greeted mostly by silence. I am not aware of any analysis directly disputing VIPS.

Since the publication of Lawrence’s long article in the NationThe VIPS analysis has been taken up by Leonid Bershidsky at Bloomberg View and by Danielle Ryan at Salon. The DNC itself responded to Lawrence’s article:

U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded the Russian government hacked the DNC in an attempt to interfere in the election. Any suggestion otherwise is false and is just another conspiracy theory like those pushed by Trump and his administration. It’s unfortunate that The Nation has decided to join the conspiracy theorists to push this narrative.

Ryan rightly commented that the statement “is so lackluster it is almost laughable[.]” Students of logical fallacy may recognize both the argument from authority and the ad hominem in the three-sentence DNC statement. That is pathetic.

Philadelphia attorney George Parry takes up the VIPS analysis in his Philly.com column “Will special counsel Mueller examine the DNC server, source of the great Russiagate caper?” Parry prefaces his account of the VIPS analysis with a useful reminder of the origin story:

Much to the embarrassment of Hillary Clinton, the released [DNC email] files showed that the DNC had secretly collaborated with her campaign to promote her candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination over that of Bernie Sanders. Clearly, the Clinton campaign needed to lessen the political damage. Jennifer Palmieri, Clinton’s public relations chief, said in a Washington Post essay in March that she worked assiduously during the Democratic nominating convention to “get the press to focus on … the prospect that Russia had not only hacked and stolen emails from the DNC, but that it had done so to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary.”

Thus was laid the cornerstone of the Trump-Russia-collusion conspiracy theory.

Since then, the mainstream media have created a climate of hysteria in which this unsubstantiated theory has been conjured into accepted truth. This has resulted in investigations by Congress and a special counsel into President Trump, his family, and his campaign staff for supposed collusion with the Russians.

But in their frenzied coverage, the media have downplayed the very odd behavior of the DNC, the putative target of the alleged hack. For, when the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI learned of the hacking claim, they asked to examine the server. The DNC refused. Without explanation, it continues to deny law enforcement access to its server.

Why would the purported victim of a crime refuse to cooperate with law enforcement in solving that crime? Is it hiding something? Is it afraid the server’s contents will discredit the Russia-hacking story?

Parry also provides a good summary of the VIPS analysis. A friend comments and concludes with one more good question: “This entire business with Comey setting in motion the steps to get a special counsel named has not been sufficiently investigated. And this story makes it clear that the FBI was lackluster when it came to investigating the DNC. What is Attorney General Sessions doing?”

 

The Rohrabacher-Assange meeting

August 21, 2017

The Rohrabacher-Assange meeting, Washington TimesDavid Keene, August 20, 2017

Smoking Gun Flash Drive Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

The piece resulted in turmoil within the left-wing publication [the Nation] itself with many writers and contributors bitterly suggesting it should never have been printed because the publication has some sort of obligation to only publish material that strengthens rather than weakens the case against the president they despise.

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ANALYSIS/OPINION:

California Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s recent three-hour meeting with WikiLeaks head Julian Assange as reported earlier this week by The Hill may prove interesting in light of the allegations of several former high-ranking U.S. intelligence analysts that the Democratic National Committee was not hacked by the Russians or anyone else prior to last fall’s presidential election.

Mr. Rohrabacher said little after the meeting other than that Mr. Assange repeated his denial that the materials he obtained and made public did not come from the Russians, but claimed he had more information about what actually happened that he intended to share with President Trump.

The “common wisdom” in Washington circles is that the Russians were responsible for illegally hacking into the DNC computers during the campaign and leaked the emails thus obtained through WikiLeaks, but recent revelations suggest that there is at least a possibility that the “common wisdom” is dead flat wrong. If it is wrong and can be proven, the charges of “collusion” so dear to Mr. Trump’s opponents could collapse.

The Nation magazine earlier this month published a lengthy report on the conclusions of a number of intelligence analysts who have looked at the available evidence and concluded that it would have been physically impossible for the Russians to have done what Mr. Trump’s critics allege.

They maintain that the information that made its way into the public sphere wasn’t hacked at all, but leaked by someone within the DNC itself.

The Nation piece, by Patrick Lawrence titled “A New Report Raises Big Questions about Last Year’s DNC Hack,” claimed that for technical reasons, the data that was supposedly downloaded to a hacker could not have been downloaded in the manner alleged because the underlying data they analyzed showed it was downloaded far faster than would have been possible given the technology available to the supposed hacker at the time.

The only way they believe the data could have been downloaded in the time it was in fact downloaded was if the job was done internally to something like a thumb drive that was later turned over to WikiLeaks.

The piece resulted in turmoil within the left-wing publication itself with many writers and contributors bitterly suggesting it should never have been printed because the publication has some sort of obligation to only publish material that strengthens rather than weakens the case against the president they despise.

Many were particularly upset that the piece was picked up and praised by a number of conservative publications and commentators.

In response to the attacks, Katrina vanden Heuvel, the Nation’s editor and publisher has launched what she is calling a “post publication review” of the article.

It is certainly true that the allegations in the article are both controversial and contested, but it is at least possible that whether the Nation decides to trash its own writer and disavow the conclusions of his article, the analysts quoted in it are right.

The Obama administration, Hillary Clinton and Mr. Trump’s enemies take it as fact that the Russians were behind the “hacks” and that they constituted an attempt by Vladimir Putin’s regime to “affect” the outcome of the election and hint openly that it was all done in collusion with the Trump campaign. That, after all, is what Special Counsel Robert Mueller is trying to prove.

They almost as one dismiss evidence to the contrary, relying on the “consensus” view of “seventeen” US intelligence agencies that it was indeed the Russians who did it. The “consensus” view as former Obama Director of Intelligence James Clapper has since admitted was put together by “hand-picked” analysts from three agencies and never underwent the rigorous review one might have expected.

This is, of course, the same James Clapper who had earlier been caught lying to Congress.

When the Nation article first appeared, the Democratic National Committee responded in writing “U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded the Russian government hacked the DNC in an attempt to interfere in the election. Any suggestion otherwise is false and is just another conspiracy theory like those pushed by Trump and his administration.”

When The Hill article reporting on the Rohrabacher/Assange meeting appeared, the DNC was at it again, “We’ll take the word of the U.S. intelligence community over Julian Assange and Putin’s favorite Congressman,” said DNC Deputy Communications Director Adrienne Watson,

There are conspiracies and then there are conspiracies. Julian Assange may have the proof as to who is right and who is fantasizing and if he provided that proof to Mr. Rohrabacher things could get very interesting for all involved and especially for Mr. Clapper and those who have relied on his “consensus view.”

Left-Wing Magazine The Nation Report Puts ‘Russian Hack’ DNC Narrative in Freefall

August 12, 2017

Left-Wing Magazine The Nation Report Puts ‘Russian Hack’ DNC Narrative in Freefall, BreitbartIan Mason, April 10, 2017

REUTERS/Stevo Vasiljevic

The files apparently were transferred to a data storage device at a speed not possible over the internet. Metadata also indicate that the emails were taken by someone in the Eastern Daylight Timezone and then deliberately copy-and-pasted into a Microsoft Word file that had its language settings changed to Russian in a ruse to throw off investigators.

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A bombshell report published Wednesday by avowedly liberal news magazine The Nation may have put the last nail in the coffin of the “Russian hack” narrative that has dominated the mainstream media’s coverage for the last year.

Author Patrick Lawrence assembles the findings of months of investigation by forensic computer experts and former NSA officials to conclude, quite categorically, what Breitbart News and other independent media outlets have suggested for nearly a year: there was no hack of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) by the Russian government or anyone else last summer. An internal leaker is a much more likely source of the confidential internal DNC emails that upended the presidential campaign season when they became public last June.

Some supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders saw in the emails a DNC plot to support eventual nominee Hillary Clinton, dealing a blow to Democratic unity in the runup to the party’s convention.

The Nation, a leading publication of the American left for over a century, may seem an unlikely place for such a thorough refutation of one of the Democratic Party’s most salient talking points. Lawrence, however, is strikingly forthright. Calling the supposed hack and the continual allegations of collusion by President Donald Trump and his associates a “great edifice,” Lawrence points to the central role the “DNC Hack” plays in the “Russiagate” narrative. He writes:

All this was set in motion when the DNC’s mail server was first violated in the spring of 2016 and by subsequent assertions that Russians were behind that “hack” and another such operation, also described as a Russian hack, on July 5. These are the foundation stones of the edifice just outlined. The evolution of public discourse in the year since is worthy of scholarly study: Possibilities became allegations, and these became probabilities. Then the probabilities turned into certainties, and these evolved into what are now taken to be established truths.

Now, according to the research by the experts Lawrence cites — the group Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) — a Russian government cyberattack on the DNC’s computers is likely not a “possibility.” The group has examined several aspects of the emails’ journey to the public eye and concluded it cannot be made to comport with a hacker in the former Soviet Union. The files apparently were transferred to a data storage device at a speed not possible over the internet. Metadata also indicate that the emails were taken by someone in the Eastern Daylight Timezone and then deliberately copy-and-pasted into a Microsoft Word file that had its language settings changed to Russian in a ruse to throw off investigators.

The conclusions of four of VIPS’s investigators was unanimous. Lawrance writes:

All those interviewed came in between 90 percent and 100 percent certain that the forensics prove out. I have already quoted Skip Folden’s answer: impossible based on the data. “The laws of physics don’t lie,” Ray McGovern volunteered at one point. “It’s QED, theorem demonstrated,” William Binney said in response to my question. “There’s no evidence out there to get me to change my mind.” When I asked Edward Loomis, a 90 percent man, about the 10 percent he held out, he replied, “I’ve looked at the work and it shows there was no Russian hack. But I didn’t do the work. That’s the 10 percent. I’m a scientist.”

Nothing in the report, however, dissuaded the DNC from its conviction the Russians are responsible for the publication of their internal communications. “U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded the Russian government hacked the DNC in an attempt to interfere in the election. Any suggestion otherwise is false and is just another conspiracy theory like those pushed by Trump and his administration,” Adrienne Watson, the DNC’s deputy communications director told Breitbart News Thursday.

The Nation’s story is by no means the first indication something might be awry with the “official version” of what happened at the DNC last summer. Shortly after the emails became public, Julian Assange, whose Wikileaks played a major role in the emails’ dissemination, claimed Russia played no role, but this did nothing to stem the flood of assurances about a Russian hack.

The central text of the Russiagate gospel became the “Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA)” issued in January of this year, days before President Barack Obama left office. Presumably this ICA, quoted for months in the mainstream media as being the work of “all 17” American intelligence agencies, is the basis of the DNC’s continued claims of a Russian hack.

The reality, as the New York Times finally admitted in June, was that only three intelligence agencies participated in the creation of the ICA. The “17 intelligence agencies” line, a fixture of pro-Russiagate media since Hillary Clinton used the figure in her second presidential debate performance, was and is fake news.

Lawrence’s piece further takes the ICA to task. “James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, admitted in May that ‘hand-picked’ analysts from three agencies (not the 17 previously reported) drafted the ICA,” he writes, pointing out that not even the whole of the three agencies cited (the FBI, NSA, and CIA) were involved but only a few staffers “hand-picked” by Clapper.

The intelligence agencies, according to Lawrence, did not even examine the DNC’s computers, an omission he calls “beyond preposterous,” and instead relied on a third-party report from Crowdstrike, a non-profit co-founded by Dmitri Alperovitch, described as “vigorously anti-Russian.” The “high confidence” in Russian culpability we heard of again and again in mainstream media reporting is an “evasive term” and “how officials avoid putting their names on the assertions we are so strongly urged to accept.”

Some conservatives are already lauding Lawrance’s report and the work of VIPS as a final vindication of their skepticism. Americans for Limited Government President Rick Manning, for example, issued the following statement Thursday:

If the whole premise of the [Special Counsel Robert] Mueller investigation, that Russia hacked the DNC emails interfering with the elections, is in fact false and it was a DNC insider as the Nation reports former NSA officials contending, there is simply no rationale for the special counsel to continue investigating the Russia angle. It is incumbent upon the Justice Department to determine and settle once and for all the true source of the DNC emails. The only prosecutions that can flow from that investigation must be of Obama administration officials who covered up the real facts surrounding the DNC emails, setting the nation off on this new red scare. If Mueller is unwilling to go where the evidence leads, in this case to the DNC itself and the Obama administration cover-up, then he is not fit to serve. In Mueller’s case, this is either obstruction or willful blindness.

As Breitbart News’s Joel Pollak wrote last month, the “DNC Hack,” now better known as the “DNC Leak,” the term originally used in these pages, is not the only pillar of the Russia collusion narrative to face collapse as the media hysteria passes its first anniversary. It became clear through the testimony of Investor William Browder that Fusion GPS, the research firm that assembled for a still unknown client the infamous, perverse 2016 dossier describing now-President Trump asking Russian prostitutes to urinate for his pleasure, had, in fact, worked for the Russian government in the past.

With actual evidence of Russian collusion with the Trump campaign now looking increasingly unlikely to come to light, there are increasing indications  Mueller’s investigation has shifted to looking for financial crimes allegedly committed by President Trump and his family long before and far outside the presidential campaign. The impact of the revelations unearthed by the VIPS team and The Nation on that investigation have yet to be seen.

Congressional Investigation Into Wasserman Schultz IT Scandal Moves Forward

August 1, 2017

Congressional Investigation Into Wasserman Schultz IT Scandal Moves Forward, Washington Free Beacon, , August 1, 2017

SUNRISE, FL – MAY 11: Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) speaks with the media after she held a meeting with immigration advocacy group leaders met on May 11, 2017 in Sunrise, Florida. The round table meeting was held to address the growing concern about President Donald Trump’s Executive Orders and the increase in detentions and deportations of immigrants. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The scandal is said to have rocked the halls of Congress, despite little mainstream media coverage, sources said.

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Congress is advancing an investigation into a growing scandal surrounding IT staffers working for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.), who are accused of stealing sensitive computer equipment from House lawmakers’ offices, according to senior congressional sources who told the Washington Free Beacon the Democratic leader’s refusal to answer questions could “merit resignation.”

Congressional leaders have now requested a formal briefing by Capitol Police into its investigation of several Pakistani House IT staffers who are accused of stealing sensitive computer equipment and of illegally penetrating congressional networks.

Imran Awan, one of the staffers who worked for Wasserman Schultz and several other Democratic members of Congress, was arrested this week when trying to travel to Pakistan and charged with bank fraud after a months-long investigation that found he wired nearly $300,000 to that country. Several other staffers tied to Awan are the focus of an investigation into claims they stole sensitive equipment and illegally penetrated the House IT network.

Leading members of Congress are growing frustrated with the pace of the criminal investigation and have moved to conduct their own independent prove into the scandal, according to multiple sources who indicated that the relevant congressional committees are making moves to start an investigation, which could include compelling testimony from Wasserman Schultz, who has been accused of stonewalling on the issue.

As more information about the nature and scope of the IT staffers’ collection of privileged congressional information becomes public, lawmakers are seeking to immediately begin their own investigation into the situation.

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), a member of the House Oversight Committee and chair of its National Security Subcommittee, formally requested a briefing from the Capitol Police on Tuesday, telling the Free Beacon that the situation amounts to “one of the all-time congressional scandals in the last 30 years.”

Other senior congressional sources who spoke to the Free Beacon about the situation described Wasserman Schultz’s lack of cooperation in the investigation as unsettling, and said that her continued payments to these staffers even after evidence of their illegal activity became public may merit her resignation.

“I’m pushing very heard to get a full briefing from Capitol Police as soon as possible,” DeSantis told the Free Beacon. “There’s clearly criminal elements to this and I think there will be more going on. There’s probably going to be ethics issues on why these [taxpayer] funds were spent that [Wasserman Schultz] and others will have to deal with.”

“We have to know what happened now and we can’t wait for a criminal case to be done,” DeSantis added. “We need an immediate briefing from the Capitol Police.”

The congressional investigation into the matter is likely to be helmed by the House Committee on Administration, which has jurisdiction over these issues, in conjunction with House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R., Wis.) office, according to sources apprised of the situation.

The scandal is said to have rocked the halls of Congress, despite little mainstream media coverage, sources said.

“The extent of the potential breaches has been made more clear” in recent weeks, according to one senior congressional source who would only speak on background when discussing the sensitive matter. “The inexplicable nature of the conduct of Wassermann Schultz and others has broadened” congressional interest.

Lawmakers are confused as to why Wasserman Schultz continued paying Awan and other staffers implicated in the breach for several months after this information came to light.

“At best for her that is gross misapplication of public funds that could merit resignation alone,” the source said. “There’s got to be more to that story.”

The accused staffers are believed to have had access to sensitive intelligence information related to the House Foreign Affairs Committee, as well as lawmaker’s personal information, prompting concerns the breach could be far deeper than initially suspected.

Lawmakers such as DeSantis and others have become increasingly interested in questioning Wasserman Schultz about the situation and her behavior.

“Yes, we could ask for her [Wasserman Schultz] to testify” Rep. Louie Gohmert (R., Texas), told the Free Beacon late last week.

Gohmert described the situation as “incredible” and troubling given these staffers’ access to privileged information on the internal House computer network.

“You don’t have to be all that great at hacking to hack into almost anyone’s email and calendar,” Gohmert said. He noted this information is not classified or privileged because it pertains to official congressional business.

IT Intrigue at the DNC

August 1, 2017

IT Intrigue at the DNC, Front Page MagazineLloyd Billingsley, August 1, 2017

Awan’s lawyer, Christopher Gowen, explains that the accusations are “the product of an anti-Muslim, right-wing smear job targeting his client and his client’s family.” 

Imagine a Russian-born IT man working for, say, House Speaker Paul Ryan. Imagine if this man smashed up computers, and purloined secret material from the Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees. Imagine if he was kept on the job despite financial misconduct, then attempted to flee to Russian with a wad of cash. The likely explanation would not be Russophobia, and even the old-line establishment media might think there was something to it.

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Debbie Wasserman Schultz made a name for herself last year when the Democrats booted her as Democratic National Committee boss. Now she’s back with a vengeance in a tale centering on her top information technology man, Pakistani-born Imran Awan.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation, not limited to issues related to Russia, had been investigating Awan for theft and abuses related to cybersecurity. Awan had been feeling the heat and attempted to flee to Pakistan last week but the FBI arrested him at Dulles airport on a charge of bank fraud.

According to Andrew McCarthy, who prosecuted the “Blind Sheik” Omar Abdel-Rahman, there’s a bit more to the story, even though Awan and his family have indeed been involved in swindles. As McCarthy has it, “this appears to be a real conspiracy, aimed at undermining American national security.”

Awan started as an IT man for Rep. Gregory Meeks, New York Democrat, then shifted to Wasserman Schultz. The Florida Democrat empowered him to add to the payroll his wife Alfi – she attempted to flee the country in March while a criminal suspect – brother Abid, Abid’s wife Natalia Sova, and Awan’s brother Jamal. As McCarthy notes:

“Awan and his family cabal of fraudsters had access for years to the e-mails and other electronic files of members of the House’s Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees. It turns out they were accessing members’ computers without their knowledge, transferring files to remote servers, and stealing computer equipment — including hard drives that Awan & Co. smashed to bits of bytes before making tracks.” The smashing tactic recalls the Clinton crew during the last election cycle.

McCarthy wonders how Awan and his family achieved access to highly sensitive government information, which requires a thorough security clearance. In his judgment, the Awan cabal could not possibly have qualified for such clearance.

As the IT intrigue unfolded, Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been pushing back at investigators, and objecting strenuously to inspection of a laptop belonging to Awan. McCarthy doesn’t know what information Awan and company may have ripped off, or whether he sent it to Pakistan. But the former prosecutor is certain that “this is no run-of-the-mill bank-fraud case.”

The Daily Caller has been all over the story and according to investigative reporter Luke Rosiak Wasserman Schultz employed Awan and his wife and “refused to fire either of them even after U.S. Capitol Police said in February 2017 that they were targets of the criminal investigation.” Wasserman Schultz charged the Awans were victims of anti-Muslim profiling.

Other members of Congress had dumped Awan and Company but Wasserman kept him on board and was going to pay him, “even while he was living in Pakistan.” Rosiak also observes that Wasserman Schultz’s record on cybersecurity is shaky and the Hillary Clinton ally “was the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee when it was hacked.”

Last Thursday, President Trump reposted a Townhall tweet charging “ABC, NBC, And CBS Pretty Much Bury IT Scandal Engulfing Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s Office.” That prompted a New York Times piece by Nicholas Fandos headlined, “Trump Fuels Intrigue Surrounding a Former I.T. Worker’s Arrest.”

Fandos wonders if the ongoing intrigue is “the stuff of a spy novel, ripe for sleuthing,” but quickly shifts gears. Awan’s lawyer, Christopher Gowen, explains that the accusations are “the product of an anti-Muslim, right-wing smear job targeting his client and his client’s family.”

DNC spokeswoman Xochitl Hinojosa, called the security charges “laughable,” claiming that Awan was never employed by the DNC and that “the U.S. intelligence community has concluded that Russia was behind the DNC hack.” As for the attempt to flee, with bundles of cash, Gowen said Awan received threats online and traveled to Pakistan to stay with family and save money.

As Cheryl Chumley observed in the Washington Times, Awan’s first employer, Gregory Meeks, suggested the authorities are targeting Awan because he was born in Pakistan and ethnicity “is a factor” in the attention the family is receiving. And now Democrats are rushing to defend Awan, Chumley writes, “saying he’s the target of massive federal Islamophobia. What a crock.”

True to form, with smashed computers, cybersecurity lapses and such, the idea that Awan might be some kind of spy is entirely plausible. So is the concept that, as Sean Hannity has suggested, Awan was the source of Democratic National Committee emails published by WikiLeaks.

Those who dismiss it all as Islamophobia, or a simple case of bank fraud, might consider this scenario.

Imagine a Russian-born IT man working for, say, House Speaker Paul Ryan. Imagine if this man smashed up computers, and purloined secret material from the Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees. Imagine if he was kept on the job despite financial misconduct, then attempted to flee to Russian with a wad of cash. The likely explanation would not be Russophobia, and even the old-line establishment media might think there was something to it.

In the style of Andrew McCarthy, some journalist might even flag “a real conspiracy, aimed at undermining American national security.” In the ensuing investigation, government investigators would doubtless leave no stone unturned.

Meanwhile, Awan has pleaded not guilty to one count of bank fraud, ordered to wear a GPS monitor, and surrender his passport. More details about his activities may emerge before his preliminary hearing on August 21.

‘Collusion’ Collapses: Dem Congressional Espionage Ring Takes Center Ring

July 30, 2017

‘Collusion’ Collapses: Dem Congressional Espionage Ring Takes Center Ring, American ThinkerClarice Feldman, July 30, 2017

In truth, the Russians “colluded” through GPS Fusion to harm, not help, Trump and the evidence of that is coming out. It’s time to repeal the Special Counsel law which has now been used twice to hamstring two Republican Presidents, has dubious constitutional authority, and will never result in the indictment of a prominent Democratic politician.

Under the Constitution there are three ways to deal with official corruption: the ballot box, impeachment, or criminal prosecution. Instead, in recent years we have tried two different means: the Independent Counsel law, now lapsed, and the Special Counsel law.  Pepperdine Law Professor Douglas M. Kmiec explains the difference and argues that the features of the independent counsel, which the Supreme Court held constitutional, and the special counsel law that has not been challenged, are different, notably that the absence of outside supervision of the prosecutor and failure in both instances of the application of the Special Counsel act — the Plame case, and the Russian interference case now under Mueller — lack what the Court called a necessary predicate for such an investigation: a finding by the attorney general that there is reason to believe that a crime has occurred. That did not occur in the “collusion” investigation. In the Plame case, as I show, the major figures all knew there was no crime before they began the investigation.

In the case of the Independent Counsel investigation of Whitewater, you may recall the prosecutor said that they had reason to believe Hillary Clinton had committed perjury before the grand jury, but as prosecutors should not indict unless they believe a conviction is likely and the case would be brought before an Arkansas jury who would never convict Bill Clinton’s wife, no indictment would be sought.

Absent a dramatic shift in D.C. demography and political sentiment, you can be sure this would be the case should any special prosecutor find criminal wrongdoing by a prominent Democrat, especially Hillary Clinton. She has a ticket to ride (as she did when Comey absolved her of gross misuse of classified information).  In contrast, any prominent Republican tried here already has a strike against him.

My online friend “Ignatz Ratzykywatzky” now describes what we have:

So Comey intentionally leaked his memo to cause Mueller to be appointed to investigate a plan by Putin to generate a fake scandal to fool dopes like Comey.

Top. Men.

But for the addition of a new player, GPS-Fusion, this case is remarkably similar in evolution and cast of characters to the Plame case. The genesis of the Mueller investigation was the recusal of Attorney General Sessions on the ground that he was too close to the subject of the investigation. It was on the same ground that former Attorney General John Ashcroft recused himself in the Plame leak case. In both cases the media incited recusal.

On October 31, 2016 David Corn (who worked for the Nation during the Plame case and now for Mother Jones), wrote in Mother Jones “A veteran spy [David Steele of GPS Fusion] has given the FBI information alleging a Russian operation to cultivate Donald Trump.” GPS-Fusion is a smear-for-hire operation. Among the smears created by this outfit of which we are now aware were a number against Mitt Romney, including the tape of his remarks about Obama supporters secretly made at a donors’ meeting; the false claim that the videos of Planned Parenthood negotiating for the sale of fetus body parts was “fake,” and attacks on the credibility of Venezuelan dissidents who had charged Venezuelan officials with graft and money laundering. In addition, they were working to get Russian sanctions via the Magnitsky Act lifted, having been hired to do so by Natalia Veselnitskaya, the woman who tried to entrap Donald J. Trump. Prior to David Corn’s article, GPS met with a Mother Jones “journalist“ according to Steele himself. And that journalist was most certainly the Democrat’s water bearer, David Corn. Steele’s group had shopped the story around and on January 19, 2017 BuzzFeed published the GPS dossier.

After BuzzFeed published Steele’s dossier, individuals mentioned in the dossier sued Steele and Orbis Business Intelligence for defamation. In his defense, Steele blamed Fusion GPS for circulating his dossier among reporters without his permission. However, he admitted “off-the-record briefings to a small number of journalists about the pre-election memoranda in late summer/autumn 2016.” Steele’s defense contended that in October 2016, “Fusion GPS instructed him to brief a journalist from Mother Jones”, as Daily Caller reporter Chuck Ross summarized.

Despite Steele admitting that his dossier was never verified, and despite specific allegations in the dossier being disproven, Corn has continued to promote the dossier’s thesis, recently publishing an article claiming that “Donald Trump Jr.’s Emails Sound Like the Steele Dossier”. In his recent piece, Corn argued that Donald Trump Jr’s meeting with Natalia Veselnitskaya vindicates Steele’s dossier:

Trump and his supporters have denounced the Steele memos as unsubstantiated trash, with some Trump backers concocting various conspiracy theories about them. Indeed, key pieces of the information within the memos have been challenged. But the memos were meant to be working documents produced by Steele — full of investigative leads and tips to follow — not finished reports, vetted and confirmed.

[snip]

But that media firestorm, based on nothing but unverified information — probably fed to GPS by the Russians — from a smear for pay outfit caused Sessions to recuse himself.

In the previous special counsel case – Plame — both Mueller, then head of the FBI, and Comey, then acting attorney upon Ashcroft’s recusal, were informed even before Patrick Fitzgerald was appointed that no one had deliberately “outed” her to punish her husband; that the information Novak published came from Richard Armitage, a Colin Powell underling and that it was absolutely inadvertent. And yet they used that to hamstring GW Bush and his administration and to convict Lewis Libby. That conviction is proving to be, as I argued at the time, a prosecution without a crime.

Last year, Libby sought and received a reinstatement of his law license and an investigation was held, with counsel confirming his innocence:

In the District of Columbia Court of Appeals Disciplinary Counsel’s Report readmitting Libby, the Counsel noted that Libby had continued to assert his innocence. As a result, the Counsel had to “undertake a more complex evaluation of a Petition for reinstatement” than when a petitioner admits guilt. But the Counsel found that “Libby has presented credible evidence in support of his version of events and it appears that one key prosecution witnesses [sic], Judith Miller, has changed her recollection of the events in question.” The reference to Judith Miller, a former New York Times reporter, involved her memoir,The Story, A Reporter’s Journey. In the book, Miller said she read Plame’s memoir and discovered that Plame’s cover was at the State Department, a fact Miller said the prosecution had withheld from her. In rereading what she called her “elliptical” notes (meaning hard to decipher), she realized they were about Plame’s cover, not her job at the CIA. She concluded that her testimony that Libby had told her Plame worked at the CIA was wrong. “Had I helped convict an innocent man?” she asked. Miller went on to note that John Rizzo, a former CIA general counsel, had said in his memoir that there was no evidence that the outing of Plame had caused any damage to CIA operations or agents, including Plame. That statement rebuts the prosecution’s closing argument that as a result of the disclosure of Plame’s identity, a CIA operative could be “arrested, tortured, or killed.”

Who paid for the GPS-Fusion smear job which was used to persuade Sessions to recuse himself and which led to the appointment of Mueller as special counsel? Well, that’s a mystery the Democrats are doing everything to hide.

Kimberley Strassel reports:

What if, all this time, Washington and the media have had the Russia collusion story backward? What if it wasn’t the Trump campaign playing footsie with the Vladimir Putin regime, but Democrats? The more we learn about Fusion, the more this seems a possibility. [snip] We know that at the exact time Fusion was working with the Russians, the firm had also hired a former British spy, Christopher Steele, to dig up dirt on Mr. Trump. Mr. Steele compiled his material, according to his memos, based on allegations from unnamed Kremlin insiders and other Russians. Many of the claims sound eerily similar to the sort of “oppo” Mr. Akhmetshin peddled.

We know that Mr. [Glenn] Simpson is tight with Democrats. His current attorney, Joshua Levy, used to work in Congress as counsel to no less than Chuck Schumer. We know from a Grassley letter that Fusion has in the past sheltered its clients’ true identities by filtering money through law firms or shell companies (Bean LLC and Kernel LLC).

Word is Mr. Simpson has made clear he will appear for a voluntary committee interview only if he is not specifically asked who hired him to dig dirt on Mr. Trump. Democrats are going to the mat for him over that demand. Those on the Judiciary Committee pointedly did not sign letters in which Mr. Grassley demanded that Fusion reveal who hired it.

Here’s a thought: What if it was the Democratic National Committee or Hillary Clinton’s campaign? What if that money flowed from a political entity on the left, to a private law firm, to Fusion, to a British spook, and then to Russian sources? Moreover, what if those Kremlin-tied sources already knew about this dirt-digging, tipped off by Mr. Akhmetshin? What if they specifically made up claims to dupe Mr. Steele, to trick him into writing this dossier?

[snip]

If the Russian intention was to sow chaos in the American political system, few things could have been more effective than that dossier, which ramped up an FBI investigation and sparked congressional probes and a special counsel, deeply wounding the president. This is all to Mr. Putin’s benefit, and the question is whether Russia engineered it.

While the press has been promoting a ridiculous and ass backwards Russian collusion story, it has been sitting on a far bigger story: The likelihood that the Congressional Democrats financed and enabled the largest espionage ring in U.S. history. This story has been percolating on the internet for weeks with no mainstream media coverage. It got a tiny, misleading smattering of coverage this week when the FBI arrested Imran Awan, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz’s internet employee, for trying to flee the country after transferring almost $300,000 dollars to Pakistan.

Ignatz sums up the media U Turn:

“1. The wsj, nyt and wapo now all agree what wasn’t a crime didn’t occur.

2. Because they all know what was a series of crimes by the Dems, did occur, so now it’s time to move on to more important things… like not seeing Dems in handcuffs.”

The most detailed coverage of how the Awan brothers were hired, overpaid, and had access to all the Democrat’s communications and how Schultz protected Imran and kept him on her payroll even after the Capitol Police denied him and his three brothers further access to the Democrats’ computers was on the Daily Caller:

Should the press decide it’s past time to sit around promoting GPS Fusion smears and do some work?

1. Who coordinated the hiring of the Awan brothers by dozens of Democratic Congressman?

2. Why were they so grossly overcompensated (millions of dollars) for no work?

3. Were they kicking back money to the Democrats, doing “dirty” work for them, or blackmailing them?

4. Why did Wasserman-Schultz keep the Capitol Police from searching her laptop they had confiscated from Imran Awan?

5. Why did Wasserman-Schultz keep him on her payroll after the Capitol Police further barred him and his brothers from accessing Congressional computers?

6. Why did the Iraqi fugitive and Hezb’allah supporter Dr. Ali-al Attar “lend” them $100,000?

7. Who is paying Chris Gowan, a Clinton insider, to represent Imran Awan?

8. Why did the Awan brothers continue to have security clearances when they had declared several bankruptcies and were engaged in financial misdealing?

9. Why were the Awans broke when they were making so much money and living so modestly?

10. Why did eight members of the House Permanent Select committee on Intelligence issue a letter demanding the Awans be granted access to Top Secret information?

11.Were the Awans working for Pakistani intelligence and the Moslem Brotherhood?

12. To whom were the Awans sending data to on an offsite server?

Buckle your seatbelts. Draining the swamp is going to create a lot of waves.

Congress Seeks Wasserman Schultz Testimony in IT Scandal Investigation

July 28, 2017

Congress Seeks Wasserman Schultz Testimony in IT Scandal Investigation, Washington Free Beacon, July 28, 2017

(Please see also, Forget about Trump and the Russians. The real action is with the Awan brothers and Fusion GPS. — DM)

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz / Getty Images.

Lawmakers expressed their concern that some of the information potentially stolen by these staffers could compromise congressional officials.

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Congressional leaders are interested in conducting their own independent investigation into a growing scandal surrounding IT staffers working for Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D., Fla.), who are accused of stealing sensitive computer equipment from House lawmakers’ offices.

One of these IT staffers, Imran Awan, was arrested this week when trying to travel to Pakistan and charged with bank fraud after a months-long investigation that found he wired nearly $300,000 to that country. Several other staffers tied to Awan are the focus of an investigation into claims they stole sensitive equipment and illegally penetrated the House IT network.

Leading members of the House Judiciary Committee and Government Oversight Committee told the Washington Free Beacon that the appropriate congressional bodies should launch an investigation into the illicit IT activity, which could include asking for testimony from Wasserman Schultz on the situation.

Wasserman Schultz’s testimony is of particular interest as she has come under fire for keeping Awan on the House payroll even after information about his actions became public and not cooperating with the investigation.

Lawmakers expressed their concern that some of the information potentially stolen by these staffers could compromise congressional officials.

“In addition to the criminal case that is now underway, Congress needs to get answers regarding the scope of Imran Awan’s misconduct and the access he had to sensitive material in the United States House of Representatives, including why he remained on the House payroll for so long,” Rep. Ron DeSantis (R., Fla.), a member of the Government Oversight Committee and chair of its National Security Subcommittee told the Washington Free Beacon.

“The facts as we know them are very troubling and we need a full accounting of his time at both the DNC and the U.S. House,” DeSantis said. “Congressional hearings are in order.”

Asked if Wasserman Schultz could be asked to testify in such an investigation, DeSantis said it is possible.

“If [the Department of Justice] doesn’t think it will interfere with the criminal case then it’s a live possibility,” he said.

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R., Texas), a member of the House’s Judiciary Committee, expressed a similar desire when asked about the matter by the Free Beacon.

“Yes, we could ask for her [Wasserman Schultz] to testify and look for either the government reform or judiciary” committees to help an investigation, Gohmert said. “Both have jurisdiction over things in this whole catastrophe.”

Gohmert described the situation and “incredible” and troubling given these staffers’ access to privileged information on the internal House computing network.

“You don’t have to be all that great at hacking to hack into almost anyone’s email and calendar,” Gohmert said. He noted this information is not classified or privileged because it pertains to official Congressional business.

“Our enemies that would like to bring down the U.S. would love to have the calendars of every single member of Congress to see who’s vulnerable to what and how they can be manipulated. There’s a reason that you have to have a background check in order to work on our system,” Gohmert said.

It remains unclear what types of background check Awan and the other staffers were given, if any at all, according to Gohmert.

“We don’t know if someone assured our members who hired them they had had the background check,” Gohmert said.

The investigation into this matter has received little media attention, prompting calls of bias from Republican leaders.

“It’s very sad that the mainstream media is not talking about this at all,” Republican National Committee chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel said earlier this week. “It shows the bias.”