Archive for the ‘Media and intelligence leaks’ category

DeSantis: House Intel Committee Has Brought in Some ‘Big Names’ to Answer Questions About Leaks

July 16, 2017

DeSantis: House Intel Committee Has Brought in Some ‘Big Names’ to Answer Questions About Leaks, PJ Media, Debra Heine, July 16, 2617

House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Rep. Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) said that the House Intelligence Committee has already brought in some “big names” — “more than the press knows” — to answer questions about leaks of classified information to reporters.

When asked by Hugh Hewitt on MSNBC Saturday morning whether the committee was planning to call up Obama’s former “foreign policy guru,” Ben Rhodes, DeSantis said that he’s spoken to the committee’s chairman, Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, about Rhodes but that he would defer to Gowdy to identify people of interest in the leak investigation.

DeSantis, a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the House Judiciary Committee, and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, said in an interview with the Washington Free Beacon last week that President Trump needs to purge Obama holdovers still working in the federal government.

DeSantis told the Beacon that “the holdovers and their allies outside the White House are responsible for an unprecedented series of national security leaks aimed at damaging the Trump administration’s national security apparatus.”

He singled out Obama’s chief propagandist, Ben Rhodes, as the person responsible for most of the leaks and called on Congress to press Attorney General Jeff Sessions and others to make sure they are looking into the situation.

DeSantis told Hewitt that he has drafted a letter to send to Sessions, asking that he investigate the leaks.

So I’ve prepared a letter. We’re going to be sending that next week, I imagine I’ll have a number of my colleagues joining it, asking the Justice Department to look into all these things, but then report back to us whether they are doing it or not, because, Hugh, you know, you’re very knowledgeable in national security.

We have certain intelligence authorities that are coming up for review this year. And if you don’t have anyone, say, being prosecuted for the Michael Flynn leaks, that was FISA material, then you’re not going to be able to do things like reauthorize 702 of the FISA statute, which is due by the end of the year. So I think if there’s no action being taken, I think it actually has a big effect on what we’re able to do in Congress.

And I’m somebody, I want to empower our intelligence agencies. I think it’s very important. But it’s very difficult to make that case to the American people if that information is then being used for domestic political warfare.

Asked if he would call Rhodes in to testify, DeSantis replied:

I’ve talked to Chairman Gowdy about it, and remember, they are doing things on the Intelligence Committee, and they’re doing a lot more than what the press knows in terms of some of the people that they have brought in. And they’ve brought in some pretty big names that I’m not authorized to say. So I want to defer to his judgment about whether that would be more appropriate in terms of the leak investigation that they’re doing on the Intelligence Committee. But I would like to bring him in to talk to him about it, because I want to figure out how all this information was getting out from the FISA intercept on…

DeSantis differentiated between the leaks that are coming from Obama holdovers in the Trump administration and standard “whistleblower” leaks.  These leaks, he argued, are an attack on the president.

“It’s not just people are leaking because they think something was wrong with the government and they want some sunlight,” DeSantis explained. “But this is concerted leaks designed to attack the sitting president. So I think the character of the leaks are different, and I think Comey’s leaks are part of that bushel.”

He cited as an example how conversations Trump has had with a foreign leaders have gone through the National Security Council and somehow ended up on the front page of the newspaper.

“And so we’ve gotten lot of information saying look, there’s only so many places that would come from,” the congressman said. “And the Obama holdover working with Rhodes, that’s a place we’ve been encouraged to look. So I want to look at that, because I think that it’s distorted the president’s ability to simply conduct foreign relations if there’s going to be selective leaking of his conversations with foreign leaders in ways that are damaging to him or at least purporting to damage him. That’s not the way we want our government to function.”

To answer his final question, Hewitt called on DeSantis to use his “prosecutorial chops”:

“If you had to guess who was going to get indicted, if anyone – Donald Trump Jr., James Comey or Ben Rhodes — what would your guess be?” he asked.

DeSantis answered: “I want to know what are in those Comey memos and see whether there’s classified information. I mean, I don’t think Donald Trump Jr. is going to get indicted. I think he had a meeting. I don’t think a criminal offense was committed. In terms of the political judgment, I think that’s fair to criticize. But I don’t think that there was a crime committed there.”

He forgot to mention Rhodes.

 

An Epidemic of Lawlessness

June 24, 2017

An Epidemic of Lawlessness, Power LineScott Johnson, June 24, 2017

Taking the story at face value, we can conclude that the Post and its sources have done great damage to the national security of the United States. The Post attributes the leaks on which the story is based to “three dozen current and former U.S. officials in senior positions in government, including at the White House, the State, Defense and Homeland Security departments, and U.S. intelligence services. Most agreed to speak only on the condition of anonymity…”

Again, taken at face value, the story buries this bombshell. Three dozen current and former U.S. officials in senior government positions have undertaken a campaign of gross lawlessness for their own purposes undermining the national security of the United States beyond anything Vladimir Putin can do.

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Yesterday’s Washington Post carried the Russia story of the day. Post reporters Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima and Adam Entous purport to deliver the goods on “Obama’s secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin’s election assault.” It’s a long, long story that is of interest from a variety of perspectives.

The Post purports to give us the inside story on the collection of intelligence on Russian interference in the presidential election and serve up the apologetics explaining the Obama administration’s passive response. Based on highly classified intelligence related to the Post, the CIA discovered Russian interference in the election while it was in process within months of the election in the last year of the Obama administration. According to the CIA intelligence, the interference came on the order of Vladimir Putin and furthered Putin’s desire to aid the election of Donald Trump as president.

The Post dates the critical intelligence “bombshell” obtained by the CIA to August 2016. The Post reports that CIA Director John Brennan deemed it so confidential that he withheld it from the President’s Daily Brief and conveyed it directly in writing to Obama by hand delivery.

The intelligence provided Obama administration officials plenty of time to do foil Putin’s plans. Indeed, administration officials concocted plans to punish and deter Russia from interference. The Post reports that “Obama administration secretly debated dozens of options for deterring or punishing Russia, including cyberattacks on Russian infrastructure, the release of CIA-gathered material that might embarrass Putin and sanctions that officials said could ‘crater’ the Russian economy. But in the end, in late December, Obama approved a modest package” (emphasis added). In other words, President Obama declined to take any action while it might still have done some good.

One might infer from story that President Obama “colluded” with Putin to defeat Hillary Clinton and elect Donald Trump. One might support the inference with Obama’s own comment open mic comment to Dmitri Medvedev that during Obama’s second term he would have more “flexibility” to cooperate with Putin.

To be fair, we might consider the explanation that Obama was just a pusillanimous pussy disinclined to protect the interests of the United States from our enemies. Perhaps Obama’s passivity was overdetermined and several of the possible explanations apply. Certainly some explanation beyond any offered by the Post’s sources is called for. The possibilities are endless.

By contrast, however, the Post’s reportage offers no evidence of Trump’s “collusion” with the Russian interference intended to assist Trump’s election. Zero. Nada. Not even by inference.

Perhaps evidence of Trump “collusion” is beyond the scope of the Post’s story. If the Post had obtained such evidence from its numerous sources, however, it would be in the story.

So far as I can tell, sophisticated commenters on the story take it at face value and consider it on the terms presented by the Post. See, for example, David French’s NRO column and Tom Rogan’s Examiner column.

The story comes complete with this revelation: “Obama also approved a previously undisclosed covert measure that authorized planting cyber weapons in Russia’s infrastructure, the digital equivalent of bombs that could be detonated if the United States found itself in an escalating exchange with Moscow. The project, which Obama approved in a covert-action finding, was still in its planning stages when Obama left office. It would be up to President Trump to decide whether to use the capability.”

I’m sure Putin is grateful for the heads-up from the Post. You don’t have to be a CIA officer of analyst to figure that out.

Now like much of the Post story, this is a piece of highly classified intelligence whose disclosure violates the oaths of those who gave it to the Post. The violation of a solemn oath by a witness is commonly taken to detract from the credibility of the witness’s testimony. Consider, moreover, that the Post did not place its sources were not under oath when they confided in Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima and Adam Entous. The intelligent reader would be well within his rights not to believe a word they say.

If we believe it, however, this pertinent fact should be added. The disclosure of highly classified intelligence by government officials seriously violates the espionage laws of the United States. It is in all likelihood felonious several times over in the case of each of the Post’s numerous anonymous sources.

The Post and its reporters are accomplices to the crimes committed by their sources. They have disseminated highly classified intelligence to the enemies of the United States — as the left has lately discovered Putin and Russia to be.

Taking the story at face value, we can conclude that the Post and its sources have done great damage to the national security of the United States. The Post attributes the leaks on which the story is based to “three dozen current and former U.S. officials in senior positions in government, including at the White House, the State, Defense and Homeland Security departments, and U.S. intelligence services. Most agreed to speak only on the condition of anonymity…” As for the requirement of anonymity imposed by the Post’s sources, see the paragraph above.

Again, taken at face value, the story buries this bombshell. Three dozen current and former U.S. officials in senior government positions have undertaken a campaign of gross lawlessness for their own purposes undermining the national security of the United States beyond anything Vladimir Putin can do.

Times Tips to Iran’s American Network

June 10, 2017

Times Tips to Iran’s American Network, Power LineScott Johnson, June 10, 2017

Against this background, one wonders what the New York Times was thinking when it drew on the usual anonymous sources to expose Michael D’Andrea, the CIA officer newly appointed to run the agency’s Iran operations.

The Times and its gaggle of “current and former officials” are guilty of mind-boggling irresponsibility. They have put a target on D’Andrea’s back. They omit only D’Andrea’s home address. They have damaged the national security of the United States to no public purpose. Their action is deeply nasty, gratuitous and, given its role in hyping the alleged “outing” of Valerie Plame into a crisis of the first order, unbelievably hypocritical.

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On Thursday the Department of Justice announced the arrests of “New York man” Ali Kourani and “Michigan man” Samar El Debek as Hezbollah agents. They have been charged with providing material support to Hezbollah. They were on the prowl looking to do damage in the United States and elsewhere. Acting Manhattan U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim made the announcment:

Today, we announce serious terrorism charges against two men who allegedly trained with and supported the Islamic Jihad Organization, a component of the foreign terrorist organization Hizballah. Recruited as Hizballah operatives, Samer El Debek and Ali Kourani allegedly received military-style training, including in the use of weapons like rocket-propelled grenade launchers and machine guns for use in support of the group’s terrorist mission. At the direction of his Hizballah handlers, El Debek allegedly conducted missions in Panama to locate the U.S. and Israeli Embassies and to assess the vulnerabilities of the Panama Canal and ships in the Canal. Kourani allegedly conducted surveillance of potential targets in America, including military and law enforcement facilities in New York City.

The Department of Justice press release has much more in the way of detail along with comments on Hezbollah’s status as an Iranian asset. The alleged facts set forth in the press release are chilling.

Iran maintains a sophisticated network of agents in the United States. Jordan Chandler Hirsch opens his review of Jay Solomon’s book on Iran and the Obama administration with this story:

In April 2009, a young Iranian, Shahram Amiri, disappeared in Medina, Saudi Arabia. Ostensibly there to perform the hajj, Amiri had in fact brokered a deal with the CIA to provide information on Iran’s nuclear program. Leaving his wife and child behind in Iran and a shaving kit in an empty Saudi hotel room, Amiri fled to America, received asylum, pocketed $5 million, and resettled in Arizona. Formerly a scientist at Malek Ashtar University, one of several institutes harboring Iran’s nuclear endeavors, Amiri conveyed the structure of the program and intelligence about a number of key research sites, including the secret facility at Fordow.

The story might have ended there. But according to Jay Solomon, chief foreign affairs correspondent for the Wall Street Journal and author of The Iran Wars, what happened next “emerged as one of the strangest episodes in modern American espionage.” A year after Amiri defected, he appeared on YouTube, claiming that the CIA had drugged and kidnapped him. In fact, Iranian intelligence had begun threatening his family through their intelligence assets in the United States [Ed. note: Solomon reports in the book that Iranian threats against Amiri’s wife and son left in Iran had been conveyed to Amiri through “a sophisticated network of assets maintained in the” United States]. Buckling under that pressure, Amiri demanded to re-defect. In July 2010, he returned to a raucous welcome in Tehran, claimed he had been working for Iran all along, and reunited with his son. Of course this was not the end of the story. Amiri soon disappeared, and in August 2016, shortly after Solomon’s book was published, he was hanged.

This past August David Sanger reported on Amiri’s execution for the Times in “How an Iranian’s spy saga ends, 6 years later: He’s executed.”

Students of ancient history may also recall Iran’s 2011 effort to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States in Washington, D.C. The Houston Chronicle updated the story in its 2015 report “How a plot to kill Saudi ambassador went from fiction to fact.”

Against this background, one wonders what the New York Times was thinking when it drew on the usual anonymous sources to expose Michael D’Andrea, the CIA officer newly appointed to run the agency’s Iran operations. The Times explained:

The C.I.A. declined to comment on Mr. D’Andrea’s role, saying it does not discuss the identities or work of clandestine officials. The [current and former intelligence] officials spoke only on the condition of anonymity because Mr. D’Andrea remains undercover, as do many senior officials based at the agency’s headquarters in Langley, Va….The New York Times is naming Mr. D’Andrea because his identity was previously published in news reports, and he is leading an important new administration initiative against Iran.

A footnote about those “previously published” news reports. In the version of the story posted online, the Times linked to its own 2015 story by Mark Mazzetti and Matt Apuzzo as I have above.

The Times and its gaggle of “current and former officials” are guilty of mind-boggling irresponsibility. They have put a target on D’Andrea’s back. They omit only D’Andrea’s home address. They have damaged the national security of the United States to no public purpose. Their action is deeply nasty, gratuitous and, given its role in hyping the alleged “outing” of Valerie Plame into a crisis of the first order, unbelievably hypocritical. Yet so far as I am aware Marc Thiessen stands [alone? — DM] among mainstream media columnists in calling out the Times for what it has done.

Total Vetting Fail: Left-Wing Snowden Fan Girl Reality Winner Gets Access to Our NSA Secrets

June 6, 2017

Total Vetting Fail: Left-Wing Snowden Fan Girl Reality Winner Gets Access to Our NSA Secrets, BreitbartJohn Hayward, June 6, 2017

(“[I]f the adventures of Reality Winner are an indication of the Deep State’s skill and discipline, Trump doesn’t have much to worry about.” Unfortunately, Ms. Winner is probably not “an indication of the Deep State’s skill and discipline.” — DM)

Facebook

Even with a valid top secret clearance, Winner had no legitimate reason to see the documents she allegedly purloined. She was only caught because the website she reportedly leaked to contacted the NSA to ask if her material was legitimate. The agency that was stunned by how much sensitive material Edward Snowden managed to abscond with still doesn’t seem to be properly compartmentalizing information and enforcing need-to-know rules.

Fans of the “Deep State” keep saying Trump made a big mistake picking a fight with them, but if the adventures of Reality Winner are an indication of the Deep State’s skill and discipline, Trump doesn’t have much to worry about. Also, it’s worth repeating that nobody voted to give the Deep Staters or Reality Winners control over America’s national security, law enforcement, and foreign policy.

Democrats created the environment in which left-wingers cannot be trusted in sensitive posts, not Donald Trump. Leftists and extreme NeverTrumpers excuse every offense against this administration by saying Trump brought it on himself, just by being himself. That’s not how the rule of law works.

This anything-goes climate has to be shut down, and fast, before permanent damage to our national interest is inflicted, if that hasn’t happened already. A few words from top Democrats about acknowledging elections, honoring their oaths, and respecting the Oval Office even if you despise the current occupant (remember that?) would be very helpful.

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The news reads like something out of a screwball comedy: a far-left activist named “Reality Leigh Winner” somehow received clearance to work for the National Security Agency, which she allegedly proceeded to rob of classified material in the name of the kookburger anti-Trump “Resistance.” In the post-Edward Snowden era, how does someone like this get anywhere near sensitive data?

Speaking of Snowden, Ms. Winner is a huge fan of his. He was one of only 50 accounts she followed on Twitter, along with WikiLeaks, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif, and the Anonymous hacker collective. Her own Twitter posts were filled with foaming-at-the-mouth anti-Trump tirades such as, “Why burn a flag? Donald Trump thinks crosses burn much better.”

She was also a supporter of climate change hysteria and the Black Lives Matter radical movement. Her last Tweet, from February, was advice for rapper Kanye West to “make a shirt that says, ‘being white is terrorism.’”

She didn’t just follow the Iranian Foreign Minister, she tweeted at him. “There are many Americans protesting U.S. government aggression towards Iran. If our Tangerine in Chief declares war, we stand with you!” she gushed to Zarif.

She also referred to President Trump as “the orange fascist we let into the White House,” and some other names that cannot be reprinted at a family-friendly website without exceeding our allotment of asterisks for the day.

“On a positive note, this Tuesday when we become the United States of the Russian Federation, Olympic lifting will be the national sport,” she sneered in advance of the 2016 election.

The totality of the Reality Winner experience reads like a joke put together for a presentation by bored NSA staffers about the sort of person that should never, ever be given a security clearance. It’s as though a far-left blog downloaded itself into a human brain and chose a name by reading its own comments section.

It should also be noted that the circumstances of this Iran fangirl’s data theft are a blistering indictment of agency procedures. Even with a valid top secret clearance, Winner had no legitimate reason to see the documents she allegedly purloined. She was only caught because the website she reportedly leaked to contacted the NSA to ask if her material was legitimate. The agency that was stunned by how much sensitive material Edward Snowden managed to abscond with still doesn’t seem to be properly compartmentalizing information and enforcing need-to-know rules.

Fans of the “Deep State” keep saying Trump made a big mistake picking a fight with them, but if the adventures of Reality Winner are an indication of the Deep State’s skill and discipline, Trump doesn’t have much to worry about. Also, it’s worth repeating that nobody voted to give the Deep Staters or Reality Winners control over America’s national security, law enforcement, and foreign policy.

Some hay has been made over Winner’s support for Bernie Sanders in the 2016 presidential election, but that’s not nearly enough reason to question someone’s security clearance by itself. It is, however, fair to ask when the media will get around to asking Sanders if he disavows his treacherous supporter – as the press would certainly be doing if a red-hatted MAGAphile supporter of Donald Trump, boasting a Twitter feed full of right-wing causes and celebrities, had looted the NSA to help a “resistance” movement take down President Hillary Clinton.

In the alternate universe where that happened, you may rest assured the media freakout about Trump saboteurs threatening the very fabric of democracy has pushed all other stories off the front page today, and the upcoming Sunday talk shows are already booked solid.

Of course, as we all know, Democrat politicians are firewalled from the misdeeds of their followers, and no left-wing Climates of Hate are ever detected. Certain Democrats have no compunctions about actually encouraging criminality, secure in the knowledge their party will never be made to pay a price for going off the rails:

Now more than ever we need whistleblowers to come forward. I created an official website on how to leak to the press https://lieu.house.gov/federal-employees-guide-sharing-key-information 

Federal Employees Guide to Sharing Key Information with the Public

Washington – On February 16, 2017, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D | Los Angeles County) and Congressman Don Beyer (D | Virginia) released the following resource guide for federal employees who wish to…

lieu.house.gov

Remember the Democrat freak-out about President Trump supposedly compromising American secrets by warning the Russians about a terrorist plot? Some of them don’t actually seem all that concerned about real leaks of sensitive information, as long as it furthers their political goals.

Democrats have created an anything-goes, get-Trump-at-all-costs environment that’s guaranteed to drive their more loosely-wrapped supporters around the bend. If one believes, as Reality Winner evidently does, that Donald Trump is an illegitimate president who must be resisted by any means necessary, it’s not difficult to justify lawbreaking or even deliberately damaging America, for the greater good of shoving that reality-show usurper out of the White House.

Our security services absolutely must take this into account when granting clearances and sweeping sensitive departments for risky personnel. No one with Reality Winner’s political beliefs can be trusted with anything sensitive, period.

Democrats created the environment in which left-wingers cannot be trusted in sensitive posts, not Donald Trump. Leftists and extreme NeverTrumpers excuse every offense against this administration by saying Trump brought it on himself, just by being himself. That’s not how the rule of law works.

This anything-goes climate has to be shut down, and fast, before permanent damage to our national interest is inflicted, if that hasn’t happened already. A few words from top Democrats about acknowledging elections, honoring their oaths, and respecting the Oval Office even if you despise the current occupant (remember that?) would be very helpful.

Trump Promises to Identify, Prosecute Leak Culprits After U.K. Concern

May 25, 2017

Trump Promises to Identify, Prosecute Leak Culprits After U.K. Concern, Washington Free Beacon, May 25, 2017

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Donald Trump on Thursday morning met with leaders of NATO and spoke out about the on-going problem of illegal intelligence leaks. Trump promised in a statement to launch an investigation led by the Justice Department into the matter and prosecute all culprits “to the fullest extent of the law.”

Trump’s statement was likely a response to the British government condemning U.S. intelligence for leaking lassified information about the terrorist attack in Manchester. The name of the attacker and photos of the crime scene were allegedly leaked to the press after being passed to the U.S. by British investigators.

British Prime Minister Theresa May publicly warned Trump that “intelligence that is shared between law enforcement agencies must be shared securely.”

Trump’s statement also condemned the public release of classified information, calling the leaks  “deeply troubling” while promising to “get to the bottom of this.” Trump’s statement aimed to ensure that there “is no relationship we cherish more” than that between the U.S. and U.K.

The alleged leaks coming out of government agencies are deeply troubling. These leaks have been going on for a long time and my Administration will get to the bottom of this. The leaks of sensitive information pose a grave threat to our national security.

I am asking the Department of Justice and other relevant agencies to launch a complete review of this matter, and if appropriate, the culprit should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

There is no relationship we cherish more than the Special Relationship between the United States and the United Kingdom.

Trump is not the only one condemning the persistent problem of government leaks. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats on Tuesday said that leaks have played a “negative role relative to our national security” and “jeopardize[d]” lives.