Archive for the ‘Devin Nunes’ category

Devin Nunes accuses FBI, DOJ of demonstrating ‘abuse’ of government surveillance programs

January 13, 2018

Devin Nunes accuses FBI, DOJ of demonstrating ‘abuse’ of government surveillance programs, Washington ExaminerDiana Stancy Correll, January 12, 2018

House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., told fellow Republicans he has witnessed evidence demonstrating a clear “abuse” of government surveillance programs by FBI and Justice Department officials, according to a new report.

Nunes’ comments were made as he was attempting to garner votes for a bill to reauthorize the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Section 702 permits the intelligence community to oversee foreign communications, but does not authorize the government to oversee Americans. The bill was passed by the House on Thursday.

Ahead of the vote, Nunes said he has not seen evidence to suggest Section 702 was abused to look at foreigners, but that other sections of the law had been misused by the government to oversee Americans, Fox News reported.

Nunes informed other lawmakers he would “read all 435 members of Congress into major abuses with other areas of FISA and will read members in ASAP” on those issues.

No further details were given given concerning the abuses Nunes brought up during the closed-door meetings this week. A report from the Washington Examiner this week said that representatives from congressional panels, including the House Intelligence Committee, viewed Obama-era FISA documents at the Justice Department earlier this month.

That meeting occurred after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray released the documents to lawmakers. Nunes had issued a letter to Rosenstein in December slamming the agencies for their “failure to fully produce” documents concerning the so-called “Trump dossier,” noting “at this point it seems the DOJ and FBI need to be investigating themselves.”

The Washington Examiner previously reported that the committees had the chance to view the documents that pertain to whether the FBI used unverified information from the dossier as a reason to spy on Americans.

Nunes said he will try to allow every member of the House to view the documents and come up with their own conclusions, though some Republicans already believe the dossier played a major role in leading to the authorization of surveillance of Trump officials.

Some aspects of the dossier — like communications between foreign nationals noted in the dossier — have been confirmed by officials. However, the majority of the scandalous allegations included in the document have not been verified.

The dossier came to light publicly after it was published in full by BuzzFeed in January 2017.

Nunes blows up, threatens contempt after FBI stonewalls House on Russia investigator demoted for anti-Trump bias

December 3, 2017

OPINION: Nunes blows up, threatens contempt after FBI stonewalls House on Russia investigator demoted for anti-Trump bias, Washington ExaminerByron York, December 2, 2017

(Please see also, FBI Stonewalls Corruption Probe, which opens with this sentence:

The Obama administration corrupted everything it touched, including the FBI. A scandal is brewing, and the FBI, predictably, is responding with the Obama playbook: it is stonewalling. Byron York has the story:

— DM)

Stories in both the Washington Post and New York Times on Saturday reported that Peter Strzok, who played a key role in the original FBI investigation into the Trump-Russia matter, and then a key role in Mueller’s investigation, and who earlier had played an equally critical role in the FBI’s Hillary Clinton email investigation, was reassigned out of the Mueller office because of anti-Trump texts he exchanged with a top FBI lawyer, Lisa Page, with whom Strzok was having an extramarital affair. Strzok was transferred to the FBI’s human resources office — an obvious demotion — in July.

The Post reported that Strzok and Page exchanged text messages that “expressed anti-Trump sentiments and other comments that appeared to favor Clinton.”

Word of the messages and the affair were news to Nunes, even though the committee had issued a subpoena that covered information about Strzok’s demotion more than three months ago. The committee’s broadly worded subpoena for information related to the so-called Trump dossier went to the FBI and DOJ on Aug. 24. In follow-up conversations on the scope of the subpoena, committee staff told the FBI and DOJ that it included information on the circumstances of Strzok’s reassignment.

On Oct. 11, Nunes met with deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein. In that meeting, Nunes specifically discussed the committee’s request for information about Strzok.

In an Oct. 31 committee staff meeting with the FBI, bureau officials refused a request for information about Strzok.

On Nov. 20, the committee again requested an interview with Strzok. (Three days earlier, on November 17, Strzok met with the Senate Intelligence Committee.)

On Nov. 29, Nunes again spoke to Rosenstein, and again discussed Strzok.

On Dec. 1, the committee again requested to speak with Strzok.

After each occasion, the FBI and DOJ did nothing. Now, in what appears to be an orchestrated leak, both the Post and Times published the reason for Strzok’s demotion, along with concerns that the revelation might help President Trump. “Among federal law enforcement officials, there is great concern that exposure of the texts they exchanged may be used by the president and his defenders to attack the credibility of the Mueller probe and the FBI more broadly,” the Post reported. The Times reported that “the existence of the text messages is likely to fuel claims by Mr. Trump that he is the target of a witch hunt.”

Well, yes. It will be of concern to Trump’s defenders, and to defenders of fair investigations generally, that such an important figure in both the Clinton and Trump probes privately expressed bias. It will be important for investigators — and the public — to see Strzok’s and Page’s texts to assess the extent of the problem. But in any event, Nunes is extremely unhappy — not only with the revelation of bias but with the FBI’s resistance.

“By hiding from Congress, and from the American people, documented political bias by a key FBI head investigator for both the Russia collusion probe and the Clinton email investigation, the FBI and DOJ engaged in a willful attempt to thwart Congress’ constitutional oversight responsibility,” Nunes said in a statement Saturday afternoon. “This is part of a months-long pattern by the DOJ and FBI of stonewalling and obstructing this committee’s oversight work, particularly oversight of their use of the Steele dossier. At this point, these agencies should be investigating themselves.”

To add insult to injury, at just the moment the leaked stories appeared, the Justice Department out of the blue notified Nunes that it would meet some of the committee’s demands for information that it had been refusing for months. That didn’t make the chairman happy, either.

“The DOJ has now expressed — on a Saturday, just hours after the press reports on Strzok’s dismissal appeared — a sudden willingness to comply with some of the committee’s long-standing demands,” Nunes said in the statement. “This attempted 11th-hour accommodation is neither credible nor believable, and in fact is yet another example of the DOJ’s disingenuousness and obstruction.”

As a result, Nunes said he has instructed committee staff to draw up a contempt of Congress citation for Rosenstein and for FBI Director Christopher Wray. The chairman promised to take action on the citation before the end of December unless the FBI and DOJ meet all the committee’s outstanding demands.

Obviously Nunes is angry that he did not know about the real reasons for Strzok’s demotion. And he is equally angry with the FBI’s and DOJ’s treatment of the committee. Contempt of Congress is a big move for lawmakers to take, especially against an agency controlled by the same party as leaders of the House. But remember, House Speaker Paul Ryan has already said the FBI and DOJ “stonewalled” the House, and he demanded that it comply immediately. That was five weeks ago. Now, after this latest episode, it seems likely that leaders in Congress are becoming increasingly frustrated with what they see as the FBI and DOJ jerking lawmakers around. At some point, they will act.

 

Nunes’ investigating digs up trove of Democrat connections to Russia dossier

October 30, 2017

Nunes’ investigating digs up trove of Democrat connections to Russia dossier, Washington Times,  Rowan Scarborough, October 29, 2017

Rep. Devin Nunes, California Republican and chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, exposed the practice of “unmasking” by Obama aides and flushed out the source of payments for the scandalous anti-Trump dossier that drove the Russia collusion

Mr. Panetta told CNN that Congress needs to find out who funded the dossier.

“Well, it’s obviously something that the intelligence committee is going to have to look at,” Mr. Panetta said. “You know, knowing presidential campaigns, they’re big operations and somehow the left hand may not know what the right hand is doing. And that could be the case here, but I really do think that the committee is going to have to get into this, determine just exactly what happened. Who knew what and when.”

On Saturday, the House intelligence committee said it had reached a deal to inspect Fusion’s banking records.

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On two fronts, Rep. Devin Nunes has shifted the Russia debate in Washington further away from President Trump and closer to Democrats.

He exposed the practice of “unmasking” by Obama aides and flushed out the source of payments for the scandalous anti-Trump dossier that drove the Russia collusion narrative.

The California Republican’s first tactic: He traveled to the Executive Office Building and viewed evidence that the Obama administration had “unmasked” the concealed names of Trump associates in highly classified intelligence reports during the election campaign.

The chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence talked publicly about his discovery to much derision from Democrats and Washington’s press corps. The unmasking suggested that the Obama White House was spying on a political foe through its legal right to unmask the identities of people unintentionally swept up in surveillance operations.

An advocacy group filed a complaint about his disclosure with the Office of Congressional Ethics. Mr. Nunes responded by removing himself as the overseer of the committee’s Russia probe.

But his legacy lives on. Both the Senate and House intelligence committees have summoned former Obama aides as witnesses. It turns out that Samantha Power, as ambassador to the United Nations, made hundreds of unmasking requests, Fox News reported.

Adding intrigue to her research, she told the committee that other people did some of the unmaskings in her name.

The committee subpoenaed documents concerning Ms. Power, former National Security Adviser Susan E. Rice and former CIA Director John O. Brennan. All deny that they were spying on Mr. Trump.

Mr. Nunes‘ second tactic brought the most immediately result: He flushed out the identities — long kept secret — of some of the financial backers for the notorious Trump dossier that has fed the Democrats’ Russia collusion charges for months.

He did it by signing a subpoena for the bank records of Fusion GPS, the liberal opposition research firm that hired the dossier writer, former British spy Christopher Steele.

The Nunes subpoena touched off a chain of events.

Fusion GPS went to U.S. District Court on Oct. 20 and asked a judge to block the subpoena. That move triggered the first unmasking of the dossier’s financier.

On Tuesday, the law firm Perkins Coie decided it was time to fess up. It filed a letter, written to Fusion’s attorneys, acknowledging that Perkins had hired Fusion with money from the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton campaign.

Perkins, whose attorney Marc E. Elias is the Clinton campaign’s general counsel, urged Fusion to lift the confidentiality of other clients who funded the dossier.

The letter said the flow of money to Fusion started in April 2016 and ended before the Nov. 8 presidential election. Mr. Steele began writing his memos in June. He continued to write and submit dossier memos up until December, meaning there are other moneymen for whom Mr. Nunes would like names.

Because Fusion also has Russian clients, some Republicans have wondered whether anyone in Moscow also paid Mr. Steele’s bills. There has been no proof, to date.

Washington learned of another funder. For months, news reports said the first entity to hire Fusion to conduct Trumpopposition research was a Republican.

The Washington Free Beacon on Friday acknowledged that it had hired Fusion to collect information from publicly available sources. It said the arrangement stopped well before Fusion went to Democrats and received money to pay Mr. Steele.

The Free Beacon, a snappy conservative news website filled with investigative and humorous postings, is funded by Paul Singer, a Republican and big campaign donor. He is also anti-Trump. He backed Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida in the Republican presidential primary race.

Mr. Nunes‘ moves have clearly irked Democrats, who want the investigation confined to suspected Republican coordination with Russian election interference. The Senate and House intelligence committees so far have found no confirmed evidence of Trump collusion.

Fusion’s attorneys, the Washington firm Zuckerman Spaeder LLP, filed court arguments attacking the congressman’s “fishing expedition.”

They said he had no power to act because he recused himself from the Russia investigation. They called his subpoena signature “not part of legitimate legislative activity” and an exercise of “coercive power.”

“The Trump dossier appears to have deeply upset President Trump and some of his allies, including Mr. Nunes, who served on President Trump’s campaign,” the Fusion attorneys said.

Posted in full by BuzzFeed, the dossier accuses Mr. Trump of salacious conduct with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel, a long quid pro quo relationship with Russian intelligence and bribe-paying in Asia. None of those charges has been confirmed publicly.

Mr. Nunes‘ chief congressional critic is Rep. Adam B. Schiff of California, the House intelligence committee’s top Democrat. Mr. Schiff is a big fan of Mr. Steele’s and has repeated his charges in Congress and on TV.

Interviewed last week by CNN’s Chris Cuomo, Mr. Schiff said Mr. Nunes is just trying to change the subject.

“I think, Chris, at the end of the day, what this is about is a technique you see often in criminal cases where the facts are really bad for the defendant, there’s an effort to put the government on trial,” Mr. Schiff said. “So I think Mr. Nunesand the president want to put the government on trial because they don’t want to look at the facts implicating the White House.”

Mr. Cuomo: “That’s problematic when the man that you’re defining that way is in charge of the investigation, is the head of your committee. And it raises the question of when are we going to see what you guys have.”

Mr. Schiff: “It is problematic, Chris, because he had committed to stepping aside and recusing himself from the investigation but has not done that. And so that is a real problem that we have to grapple with every day.”

Mr. Nunes picked up an unlikely supporter in Leon E. Panetta, a Democrat who has served as a congressional representative from California, director of the CIA and secretary of defense.

Mr. Panetta told CNN that Congress needs to find out who funded the dossier.

“Well, it’s obviously something that the intelligence committee is going to have to look at,” Mr. Panetta said. “You know, knowing presidential campaigns, they’re big operations and somehow the left hand may not know what the right hand is doing. And that could be the case here, but I really do think that the committee is going to have to get into this, determine just exactly what happened. Who knew what and when.”

On Saturday, the House intelligence committee said it had reached a deal to inspect Fusion’s banking records.

Unmasking Susan Rice and her NSC dead-enders

April 3, 2017

Unmasking Susan Rice and her NSC dead-enders, American ThinkerMonica Showalter, April 3, 2017

It’s time to start investigating this arrogant abuse of power now. Comey has not stated whether he is investigating these people or not, and this is proper. But with these dead-enders clearly threatening the Trump presidency, it’s time to see a hard hand come out against these deep-staters who don’t know when to leave office, and who subscribe to the leftist situational ethics of ‘by any means necessary.’ They are poison for our republic and if they are not removed, they will destroy the Trump presidency

**************************

Journalist/activist Mike Cernovich reports that former White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice obtained intelligence reports showing the identities of innocent Americans who incidentally spoke to foreign officials under security sweeps for spying or intelligence activities. Under U.S. law, U.S. persons are protected from such disclosure, which could be dry-cleaners asking envoys to pick up their laundry or wrong number phone messages spilling their guts about their mothers-in-law. If such U.S. persons get swept up in surveillance, they are protected. But only if they remain ‘masked,’ which is the law of the land.

Cernovich says the White House Counsel’s office has confirmed that Rice was one of the few officials with the authority to make the requests to unmask the innocent Americans caught up in surveillance dragnets. There was no national security reason to do so, but she did. It makes a lot of sense if the aim is political, however, and White House spokesman Sean Spicer has pointed out that their goal was ‘to leak stuff.’ Based on White House logs, she did, during the transition back when angry miserable Obama White House officials frowned in a group photo for the cameras.

The White House counsel’s office disclosed these logs to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, who has been as responsible a steward of America’s secrets as anyone (and said nothing). But it would mean that Rice had to have been responsible for the illegal leaking to the press of the legitimate activities of people like her NSC successor Mike Flynn, for political rather than national security purposes. This would be true whether she did it herself or dispatched a flunky like fellow NSC official Ben Rhodes or Joe Biden’s NSC man Colin Kahl to execute the dirty-tricks skullduggery.

It’s par for the course. Rice was the speaker of the infamous phony White House talking points on why four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, were slaughtered in Benghazi on 9/11/12, repeatedly stating for the press that the attack on the U.S. compound was the act of a spontaneous crowd that got out of control over a video, and not the pre-planned, lethally executed al-Qaida terrorist attack it was. After that, she went onto support the admittedly phony narratives about the Iran Deal, which her buddy Ben Rhodes, a creative writing major, cooked up out of thin air, just as he did the Benghazi talking points.

Cernovich reports that New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman (caught on Wikileaks for being in the tank with Obama) had the information, and chose to sit on it to protect the former president.

But based on the White House counsel act, the news nevertheless got out. The story meshes well with what FBI Director James Comey told the House Intelligence Committee, in response to Nunes’ request for information on leaks last March 20. Comey told the committee that only 20 people would have had access to the names of innocent Americans caught up in the spy dragnet during the transition. Rice was one of them.

Rice, like Rhodes, has the farthest of far-left backgrounds, and the highest of malice against the incoming president. Rhodes never was able to pass a background check to obtain a security clearance and continues to mock and berate Trump & Co, as if he thinks he owned the job and now they took it. Another coeval at NSC, Colin Kahl, who was attached to Joe Biden, seems to have laid out the diabolical plans for picking off Trump’s lieutenants one by one. The tweets he issues are unbelievable, here is one:

Colin Kahl‏ @ColinKahl

The 2nd essential step is purging or marginalizing the “Axis of Ideologues” in the West Wing: Bannon, Miller, Anton, Gorka, KT McFarland.14/

6:21 AM – 11 Mar 2017

With a pattern of malice and mishandled security information centered around NSC dead-enders, the one thing we can see is that there is a coterie of illegal leakers who will compromise national security to enact their political aims.

Devin Nunes pointedly asked Comey whether he knew that illegally leaking national security secrets was a jailtime offense. The FBI director said yes.

It’s time to start investigating this arrogant abuse of power now. Comey has not stated whether he is investigating these people or not, and this is proper. But with these dead-enders clearly threatening the Trump presidency, it’s time to see a hard hand come out against these deep-staters who don’t know when to leave office, and who subscribe to the leftist situational ethics of ‘by any means necessary.’ They are poison for our republic and if they are not removed, they will destroy the Trump presidency.

 

Russia? No, the Pony in the Manure Is the Corruption of our Intelligence Officials

April 2, 2017

Russia? No, the Pony in the Manure Is the Corruption of our Intelligence Officials, American ThinkerClarice Feldman, April 2, 2017

There’s so much in print and online about the House and Senate intelligence committees and Russian “collusion” with Trump that I can’t blame people with real lives to lead who just throw their hands up and garden or go hiking. Some will assume there’s got to be a pony in there somewhere, as Ronald Reagan used to joke about the kid digging through manure. I think there is, but it isn’t that Russia corrupted the 2016 election, it’s that Obama and his closest aides, including some at the highest level in the intelligence community, illegally intercepted one or more Republican candidates’ communications before the election, circulated them widely to their cohorts and then tried to use this information to defeat and later to hamstring Trump when Hillary — to their surprise — lost the election.

I also suspect that the attacks on Flynn have nothing to do with his Russian contacts which he disclosed, but, rather, to misdeeds respecting the Middle East, particularly Iran, the country he observed as Obama’s head of the DIA.

The Surveillance and “Unmasking” of Trump and his Associates 

We learned this week that surveillance of Trump began long before he was the Republican nominee, and that the names in the intercepted communications were “unmasked” — that is, identified by name or context — by someone high up in the intelligence community.

In addition, citizens affiliated with Trump’s team who were unmasked were not associated with any intelligence about Russia or other foreign intelligence, sources confirmed. The initial unmasking led to other surveillance, which led to other private citizens being wrongly unmasked, sources said.

“Unmasking is not unprecedented, but unmasking for political purposes… specifically of Trump transition team members… is highly suspect and questionable,” an intelligence source told Fox News. “Opposition by some in the intelligence agencies who were very connected to the Obama and Clinton teams was strong. After Trump was elected, they decided they were going to ruin his presidency by picking them off one by one.”

Nunes and Surveillance Reports

The best summation of this week’s distraction — respecting chairman of the House intelligence committee, Devin Nunes — is Victor Davis Hanson’s which I urge those of you interested to read in its entirety.

First, the central question remains who leaked what classified information for what reasons; second, since when is it improper or even unwise for an apprehensive intelligence official to bring information of some importance to the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee for external review — in a climate of endemic distrust of all intelligence agencies?[snip] Nunes also said that the surveillance shown to him “was essentially a lot of information on the President-elect and his transition team and what they were doing.” Further, he suggested that the surveillance may have involved high-level Obama officials. When a reporter at Nunes’ second March 22 press conference asked, “Can you rule out the possibility that senior Obama-administration officials were involved in this?” Nunes replied, “No, we cannot.” Ipso facto these are startling disclosures of historical proportions — if true, of an anti-constitutional magnitude comparable to Watergate. Given the stakes, we should expect hysteria to follow, and it has followed. [snip]

Some notion of such intrigue, or rather the former nexus between Congress, the Obama administration, the intelligence agencies, and the monitoring of incoming Trump officials, was inadvertently disclosed recently by former Obama-administration Department of Defense deputy assistant secretary and current MSNBC commentator Evelyn Farkas. In an interview that originally aired on March 2 and that was reported on this week by Fox, Farkas seemed to brag on air about her own efforts scrambling to release information on the incoming Trump team’s purported talks with the Russians. Farkas’s revelation might put into context the eleventh-hour Obama effort to more widely disseminate intelligence findings among officials, one that followed even earlier attempts to broaden access to Obama-administration surveillance.

In any event, the White House invited  the highest ranking  members of the House and Senate intelligence committees to come view the documents themselves. Adam Schiff did, and reported he’d seen what Nunes had, after which he did not deny the intercepted communications contained nothing about Russia or Trump. They clearly were of no national intelligence significance, but rather, as Hanson noted, were evidence that the prior administration was snooping on political adversaries using the apparatus of the state to do so.

We also learned this week that Hillary (despite her uncontested mishandling of classified information when she was Secretary of State), and her aides, including Farkas, were given access to classified information long after she left the Department of State which, with Farkas’ admission on MSNBC, underscores the apparent misuse of intelligence from her end.

FBI Director James Comey and former DNI James Clapper

As for Comey, Hanson notes:

There is no need to rehash the strange political career of FBI director James Comey during the 2016 election. As Andrew McCarthy has noted in his recent NRO analyses, news accounts alleged that Comey’s FBI investigations of supposed contacts between General Michael Flynn and the Russian ambassador were shared with Obama-administration officials — but why and how we are not sure. Comey himself was quick to note that his agency is investigating supposed collusion between Team Trump and Russia, but he refused to comment on whether or not the FBI is investigating possibly inappropriate or illegal intercepts of Trump officials and the surely illegal dissemination of intercepted info through leaks to favorable media.

But there’s much more to be said about him and his “investigation” which seems to be continuing only to cover his own backside.

The FBI was concerned that the ill-secured DNC internet communications were being hacked and sought to examine them. The DNC refused and engaged an outfit called Crowd Strike to do the job. Crowd Strike reported the Russia had likely tapped their server. There’s no explanation of why Crowd Strike was chosen, why the FBI allowed this, and why it apparently relied on that outfit’s findings. Recently Crowd Strike has walked back many of its claims after a VOA report that the company misrepresented data published by an influential British think tank.

And then there’s the dossier compiled by the former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele. If you recall, this dossier was commissioned through a DC firm, Fusion GPS, by Hillary to dig up opposition research on her opponents, and when she dropped it, unnamed Republicans followed up on the contract. At some point (accounts vary about how this occurred), dog in the manger John McCain got it and widely distributed it to the press and political figures. These Republicans, too, dropped the service, at which time the FBI picked it up, though they claim not to have paid GPS. Comey apparently has based his still ongoing “investigation” on it. The dossier is utter bunk. Ironically, it is Fusion GPS that is tied to Russian intelligence.

“It is highly troubling that Fusion GPS appears to have been working with someone with ties to Russian intelligence — let alone someone alleged to have conducted political disinformation campaigns — as part of a pro-Russia lobbying effort while also simultaneously overseeing the creation of the Trump/Russia dossier,” writes [Senator] Grassley.

Akhmetshin hired Simpson and Fusion GPS last year to work on a campaign to roll back the Magnitsky Act, a law passed in 2012 which imposed sanctions against a handful of Russian criminals accused of human rights violations.

The law was named in honor of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who was killed by jail guards in 2009. Magnitsky was working for Bill Browder, a London-based investor who once operated in Russia, when he uncovered a $230 million fraud being carried out by the Russian government.

After Magnitsky’s death, Browder began lobbying U.S. lawmakers to enact sanctions against Russian criminals engaged in human rights abuses.

In a FARA complaint submitted in July, Browder laid out the case that Akhmetshin conducted a covert lobbying campaign to hinder the Global Magnitsky Act, an expansion of the original law.

The report is not worthy of consideration, but the FBI and Rep. Adam Schiff did apparently rely on it, drawing into question the FBI’s “independence from politics” and Schiff’s credulity or venality:

Citing current and former government officials, the New Yorker reported the dossier prompted skepticism among intelligence community members, with the publication quoting one member as saying it was a “nutty” piece of evidence to submit to a U.S. president.

Steele’s work has been questioned by former acting CIA director Morell, who currently works at the Hillary Clinton-tied Beacon Global Strategies LLC. Beacon was founded by Phillippe Reines, who served as Communications Adviser to Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state. From 2009-2013, Reines also served in Clinton’s State Department as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Strategic Communications. Reines is the managing director of Beacon…

Morell, who was in line to become CIA director if Clinton won, said he had seen no evidence that Trump associates cooperated with Russians. He also raised questions about the dossier written by a former British intelligence officer, which alleged a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia…

Morell pointed out that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said on Meet the Press on March 5 that he had seen no evidence of a conspiracy when he left office January 20.

“That’s a pretty strong statement by General Clapper,” Morell said.

Regarding Steele’s dossier, Morell stated, “Unless you know the sources, and unless you know how a particular source acquired a particular piece of information, you can’t judge the information — you just can’t.”

Morell charged the dossier “doesn’t take you anywhere, I don’t think.”

“I had two questions when I first read it. One was, How did Chris talk to these sources? I have subsequently learned that he used intermediaries.”

Morell continued:

And then I asked myself, why did these guys provide this information, what was their motivation? And I subsequently learned that he paid them. That the intermediaries paid the sources and the intermediaries got the money from Chris. And that kind of worries me a little bit because if you’re paying somebody, particularly former FSB officers, they are going to tell you truth and innuendo and rumor, and they’re going to call you up and say, “Hey, let’s have another meeting, I have more information for you,” because they want to get paid some more.

I think you’ve got to take all that into consideration when you consider the dossier.’

Maybe Comey is continuing the investigation to blur his own role in the Obama administration’s improper and illegal snooping on his party’s opponents. He has not closed the investigation despite its apparently flimsy basis, perhaps to protect himself. He was supposed to report this investigation in a timely manner to the Congressional and Senate intelligence committees and did not.

As a correspondent with some knowledge of these matters related to me:

“When push comes to shove, no investigation gets opened, no FISA order is applied for, without James Comey’s say-so.  They can bluster, but it’s damned hard to get rid of an FBI Director without a very, very public stink.  He could have said no, but he didn’t.  That means the investigation is bound to focus on him.  And count on it — the decision to short circuit Congressional oversight was probably pushed on him by those same people, but once again, it was ultimately his decision.  He could’ve gone to the Committee, but he didn’t.  His decision, his responsibility.”

His view is strengthened by Comey’s obfuscation at a Congressional hearing:

The counter-intel investigation, by his own admission, began in July 2016. Congress was not notified until March 2017. That’s an eight month period – Obviously obfuscating the quarterly claim moments earlier.

The uncomfortable aspect to this line of inquiry is Comey’s transparent knowledge of the politicized Office of the DNI James Clapper by President Obama.

The first and second questions from Stefanik were clear. Comey’s understanding of the questions was clear. However, Comey directly evaded truthful response to the second question. When you watch the video, you can see Comey quickly connecting the dots on where this inquiry was going.

There is only one reasonable explanation for FBI Director James Comey to be launching a counter-intel investigation in July 2016, notifying the White House and Clapper, and keeping it under wraps from congress. Comey was a participant in the intelligence gathering for political purposes — wittingly, or unwittingly.

As a direct consequence of this mid-thought-stream Comey obfuscation, it is now clear — at least to me — that Director Comey was using his office as a facilitating conduit for the political purposes of the Obama White House.

John Brennan

It’s possible that the tissue-thin, incredible Steele “dossier” was not the only disinformation source. At the Spectator there’s a plausible account of how Obama’s CIA director John Brennan worked with Hillary and certain Baltic figures to discredit Trump with the charge of collusion with Russia.

Brennan pushed for a multi-agency investigation of the Trump campaign, using as his pretext alleged intelligence from an unnamed Baltic state. That “intelligence” was supplied at the very moment Baltic officials had their own political motivation to smear Trump.

“Last April, the CIA director was shown intelligence that worried him. It was — allegedly — a tape recording of a conversation about money from the Kremlin going into the US presidential campaign. It was passed to the US by an intelligence agency of one of the Baltic States,” reported the BBC’s Paul Wood.

Is it just a coincidence that Brennan got this tape recording from a Baltic State intelligence agency in April when officials in the Baltic States were up in arms over candidate Trump? Recall that in March of 2016 — the month before Brennan allegedly got the recording from Baltic spies — Trump made remarks about NATO that the press was hyping as hostile to the Baltic States. [snip]

Hillary and her allies in the media seized on these remarks and ripped Trump on the false claim that, if elected, he would “pull out of NATO,” leaving Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia to fend for themselves against Russia.

Such fearmongering set off an anti-Trump panic in political circles within the Baltic States. Out of it came a steady stream of stories with headlines such as: “Baltic States Fearful of Trump’s Nato Views” and “Estonian Prez Appears to Push Back on Trump’s NATO Comments.”

[Snip]

Both Brennan and officials in the Baltic States had strong incentives to help Hillary and hurt Trump. That Brennan and some Baltic spies teamed up to inflate the significance of some half-baked intelligence from a recording isn’t surprising. Only in such a feverish partisan milieu would basic questions go unasked, such as: Is it really a good idea to investigate a political opponent on the basis of a lead provided by a country that wants to see him lose?

Flynn

Flynn was Obama’s head of the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) and served only days under Trump. Reports this week initially made it appear that he was under investigation for ties to Russia, but it is more obvious to me that he knows about skullduggery by the prior administration in the Middle East, most likely Iran, and wants protection against the sort of unwarranted prosecutions Ted Stevens and Lewis Libby suffered at the hands of vindictive Democrats and their minions. The charges against him are being leveled by former Obama aide Sally Yates, who has utterly discredited herself earlier by her demonstrably false claim that the White House blocked her from testifying to Congress when the documentation clearly shows she was not.

Perhaps the easiest thing to do is to just consider everything the Democrats say, directly or through the media, which just prints as truth handouts from the same Democratic sources, as a lie. You’d save a lot of time and most likely be right.

 

Devin Nunes Has Absolutely No Reason To Recuse Himself

March 28, 2017

Devin Nunes Has Absolutely No Reason To Recuse Himself, The Federalist, March 28, 2017

The day after Republican House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes held a press conference saying he’d seen reports that show the government may have collected information on Donald Trump’s transition team or family and then inappropriately shared it, journalists jumped into action. Not to dig into the accusation of NSA unmasking or a failure to minimize incidentally collected information — as they most surely would have had any Democrat been president — but to figure out where the congressman had been the past few days.

Most of the subsequent stories skipped over (or brushed past) the issue of abuse altogether to focus on the “incidental” nature of the accusation, which sounds innocent enough and is completely legal and not the issue. As Andrew McCarthy, certainly no squish when it comes to FISA, explains at the NRO:

Of course, any legitimate government power can be abused. If the government’s real objective was to intercept the communications not of the foreigners but of the Trump associates, such that the agencies’ “targeting” of the foreigners was merely a pretext (i.e., they were monitored only because they were in contact with Trump associates, who were the real targets), it could hardly be said that the associates’ communications were intercepted “incidentally.”

This seemed to escape the attention of erstwhile civil libertarians who once breathlessly warned us about the potential abuses of intelligence services, and specifically about the dangers of politicians getting entangled in the exploitation of sensitive information. They wanted to know what Nunes had for dinner last Tuesday night.

Certainly, as part of the larger story, it’s legitimate and useful to cover Nunes’ actions. When it turned out that he had been on White House grounds  — probably to use a sensitive compartmented information facility — it gave Democrats the space they needed to start demanding recusal.

“Calls Grow for Nunes to Step Aside in Inquiry on Surveillance,” says The New York Times. “The remarkable calls,” it goes on to say, “by Representatives Adam B. Schiff of California, the committee’s top Democrat,” came after revelations that Nunes had met a source at the White House. Democrats claimed that a “bipartisan investigation” could no longer be achieved.

For starters, the idea that Schiff isn’t a full-blown partisan is preposterous. He’s already made a number of wild and irresponsible claims about Russia “hacking our election.” (The California representative contends to have conclusive evidence of collusion, though he’s yet to share the specifics with the group.) There is no reason to treat him like the guardian of a chaste investigation. Others who went on the record to demand recusal were nonpartisan public servants like Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer.

The Times’ headline, by the way, could just as easily have read “Calls Grow for Nunes to Stay on in Inquiry on Surveillance.” Last night, Rep. Trey Gowdy said that “Jesus would not be a satisfactory chairperson to some of my Democratic colleagues.” Rep. Peter King, just as much (or little) a partisan as Pelosi, came out in defense of Nunes. As did others. These “calls” are just as real. (It’s also important to remember that GOP hawks who have been critical of Nunes — although none have asked for recusal — are also defenders of the NSA’s wide authority under Section 702.)

Ostensibly, demanding recusal is framed as an effort to save the impartiality and integrity of the committee. In reality, it’s meant to create the impression that Nunes has done something unethical or illegal to defend Trump. It meant to proactively poison any investigation. Schiff offers two reasons for his position: 1 – Nunes shared information with the White House. 2 – Nunes got his information from someone in the White House.

Nunes has said this isn’t an inquiry into charges of Russian collusion, so why is it inappropriate for the House Intelligence Committee Chair to share intelligence about the president with the president — and then let the world know he’s done so? Furthermore, why is it wrong for the House Intelligence Committee Chair to see classified information from a source at the White House? “If that’s where the information is, and the information is relevant, and it’s authentic, and it’s reliable, wouldn’t you go where the information was?” Gowdy asked The Weekly Standard.

Even if we concede, for the sake of argument, that Nunes had been ethically compromised, does the information attained in the effort become less valid? Were the leaks that cost Mike Flynn his job any less persuasive because they were illegally obtained? Haven’t many Democrats been defending the need for whistleblowers to speak up in the name of democracy?

Schiff has no reason to give up the name of his source. If the NSA abused its power, and the evidence is legitimate, we should welcome the information. If not, Nunes’ credibility will be blown forever. Considering Nunes’ history, the media had no reason to assume the latter, which mirrors the concerns and goals of Democrats.

Of course, Nunes might have nothing. If that’s the case, he’ll no doubt pay a steep political price. We’ll know soon enough.

WATCH: Devin Nunes Confirms Surevillance Of Trump Transition team – FULL PRESS CONFERENCE

March 24, 2017

WATCH: Devin Nunes Confirms Surevillance Of Trump Transition team – FULL PRESS CONFERENCE via YouTube, March 22, 2017

(Please see also, Will Smoking Gun Documents Vindicate Trump? –DM)