Archive for the ‘Spies’ category

The West Betrays U.S. Heroes Who Prevented Another 9/11

August 14, 2017

The West Betrays U.S. Heroes Who Prevented Another 9/11, Gatestone InstituteGiulio Meotti, August 14, 2017

“Those who work as spies know the risks from America’s enemies, but they shouldn’t have to worry about politicized retribution from its friends” — The Wall Street Journal.

These officials should have never be prosecuted in a court; they should be protected from such actions. This prosecution is a betrayal of those who worked hard to prevent more massacres and to cripple the infrastructure of jihad.

That is the most important lesson: our spies and officials involved in the war against Islamic terrorism, like those who prevented another 9/11, now fear not only the wrath of the jihadists, but also the witch hunt of our media and judicial system.

One of the most important chapters in the war on terror is being rewritten — with a moral inversion. Islamic terrorists who were arrested and deported have become “liberal causes célèbres“, while agents of the CIA who questioned them are not only being condemned but also financially crushed by punishment and legal bills — for having tried, legally, to save American lives.

Guantanamo Bay has supposedly become “the Gulag of our time“; the psychologists who interrogated the murderer who sawed off Daniel Pearl’s head have been charged with working “for money“; the “black sites” in the Polish and Lithuanian forests have been compared to Nazi concentration camps, and the U.S. jurists and officials who conducted the war on terror have been compared to the Germans hanged in Nuremberg.

“In just a few months, Obama had sent the CIA back to the September 10 culture of risk aversion and timidity that had contributed to the disaster of 9/11”, Bruce Thornton wrote in his book, The Wages of Appeasement. A few examples of Obama’s policy include a directive to release Justice Department memos on the process of vetting interrogation techniques for legality. The attorney general at the time, Eric Holder, appointed a special prosecutor to determine if the CIA officers involved in the interrogation program had been guilty of breaking the law.

A judicial condemnation, however, has begun only now. A federal judge in Spokane, Washington, has opened one of the most important trials in the recent U.S. history. For the first time after September 11, three American citizens involved in interrogating Islamic terrorists have been called to answer to a judge. The New York Times released the video of their testimony. The federal court in Spokane, Washington, heard Bruce Jessen, James Mitchell and Jose Rodriguez testifying on their role in the war on terror. They are among the heroes who prevented another 9/11; now they are on the bench.

“I’ll tell you a story,” Bruce Jessen testified.

“Two Christmases ago, I get a call from the CIA; my grandchildren and my daughter and son-in-law are living with us. You have 15 minutes to get out of your house because ISIS has found someone to come and kill you and your family… Now, those — that isn’t the only threat I’ve received over the years, I’ve received lots of them. And I’m not afraid, and I did my duty and I stood up and I went to war, and I’ll stand up to any of them again, but I don’t want them messing with my family… And when you stick your face in the public eye, you get people like the SSCI and [Senator Dianne] Feinstein and the ACLU and other people who accuse you of things you didn’t do, who out your name, who give them your address, who print articles that are full of crap about you, and it makes it difficult.”

Jose Rodriguez, the former head of the CIA clandestine service, told the court what was at stake:

“George Washington did not face an enemy like Al Qaeda. These are people who want to die as martyrs and see the killing of thousands of innocent men, women, and children as justifiable to promote their cause. Making a few of the worst terrorists on the planet uncomfortable for a few days during their first month of imprisonment is worth it in order to save thousands of lives”.

John Rizzo also testified. In 2002, when George W. Bush signed the executive order in which he argued that the Geneva Convention does not apply to terrorists, Rizzo was an interim legal advisor. “No, I can’t honestly sit here today and say I should have objected to that”, Rizzo said.

Now, Judge Justin L Quackenbush of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, cleared the way for the case to move to the trial phase, rejecting the psychologists’ lawyers request for summary judgement. “This is a historic day for our clients and all who seek accountability for torture,” ACLU attorney Dror Ladin said in a press release. “The court’s ruling means that for the first time, individuals responsible for the brutal and unlawful CIA torture program will face meaningful legal accountability for what they did”.

These officials should have never be prosecuted in a court; they should be protected from such actions. This prosecution is a betrayal of those who worked hard to prevent more massacres and to cripple the infrastructure of jihad.

Many former CIA directors explained that the program of enhanced interrogation techniques worked extremely well:

“It led to the capture of senior al Qaeda operatives, thereby removing them from the battlefield; it led to the disruption of terrorist plots and prevented mass casualty attacks, saving American and Allied lives; it added enormously to what we knew about al Qaeda as an organization and therefore informed our approaches on how best to attack, thwart and degrade it”.

The CIA claimed the demonstrable successes of the interrogation program: the raid in which Osama bin Laden was killed; the capture of José Padilla, accused of wanting to commit an attack in the United States with a dirty radiological bomb; preventing an attack on the US consulate in Karachi, Pakistan; a second wave of attacks after September 11 with a plan to hijack a plane and crash it into Library Tower in Los Angeles.

Jessen and Mitchell are not the only psychologists now in trouble for their involvement in this program. There are also the military psychologist Morgan BanksStephen Behnke, a former director of the American Psychological Association’s ethics office; Joseph Matarazzo, a former chairperson of the Psychologist Association, who allegedly wrote an opinion for the CIA in which the deprivation of sleep would not constitute “torture”.

One of the most important cases of rendition took place in the Italian city of Milan against Abu Omar; the verdict ended by condemning CIA agents. Robert Seldon Lady, the former head of the CIA in Milan, and involved in the Abu Omar case, was arrested and released in Panama. In a rare interview, the Wall Street Journal wrote:

“Mr. Lady, who had planned to retire and become a security consultant from a farm house he bought with his life savings in Italy’s Piedmont region, received the stiffest sentence — eight years in prison, increased to nine on appeal. Before the case went to trial, Magistrate Armando Spataro sued to seize Mr. Lady’s house and use the proceeds to pay damages to Abu Omar. Mr. Lady fled Italy in 2005 but lost his property. His 30-year marriage, he says, was another casualty”.

Sabrina De Sousa, another CIA agent involved in the Milan rendition, avoided the jail only thanks to being pardoned by the Italian authorities.

The European Court of Human Rights has condemned Macedonia for the rendition of a German citizen. The European judges also condemned Poland for hosting one of the CIA’s secret sites. Spanish judges opened a criminal file against some senior Bush administration officials, including John Yoo and Jay S. Bybee of the Justice Department, and William Haynes, a former senior Pentagon jurist. John Yoo, now a professor at University of California, Berkeley, wrote the 2003 memorandum authorizing the CIA’s interrogation techniques. The German attorney Wolfgang Kaleck filed a criminal complaint against Yoo; Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the Law School at the California University, asked to prosecute Yoo, who was also sued by José Padilla, a convicted American terrorist.

In 2009, Spanish judges opened a criminal file against some senior Bush administration officials, including John Yoo (pictured) of the Justice Department. Yoo, now a professor at University of California, Berkeley, wrote the 2003 memorandum authorizing the CIA’s interrogation techniques. (Image source: Commonwealth Club/Wikimedia Commons)

Recently, attorneys of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) in Berlin, filed a criminal complaint against Gina Haspel, now the CIA’s number-two person under Director Mike Pompeo, and charged her with being involved in directing a secret CIA detention facility near Bangkok, Thailand. Will U.S. officials fear that traveling in Europe might expose them to arrest?

The Wall Street Journal wrote last year, regarding the De Sousa case:

“The threat from terrorism is worse than at any time since 9/11, even as the West has limited its capacity for self-defense… Those who work as spies know the risks from America’s enemies, but they shouldn’t have to worry about politicized retribution from its friends. Sabrina De Sousa’s abandonment by the U.S. government sends a demoralizing message to all who serve in the shadows, even as the war on terror enters a dangerous new phase.”

That is the most important lesson: our brave spies and officials involved in the war against Islamic terrorism, like those who prevented another 9/11, now fear not only the wrath of the jihadists, but also the witch hunt of a Western media and judicial system.

As James E. Mitchell said, by prosecuting what the U.S. and the West have done in the war on terror, “we will be standing on the moral high ground, looking down into a smoking hole that used to be several city blocks”.

Confirmed: John Brennan Colluded With Foreign Spies to Defeat Trump

April 19, 2017

Confirmed: John Brennan Colluded With Foreign Spies to Defeat Trump, American SpectatorGeorge Neumayr, April 19, 2017

A supporter of the American Communist Party at the height of the Cold War, Brennan brought into the CIA a raft of subversives and gave them plum positions from which to gather and leak political espionage on Trump. He bastardized standards so that these left-wing activists could burrow in and take career positions. Under the patina of that phony professionalism, they could then present their politicized judgments as “non-partisan.”

The Guardian story is written in a style designed to flatter its sources (they are cast as high-minded whistleblowers), but the upshot of it is devastating for them, nonetheless, and explains why all the criminal leaks against Trump first originated in the British press. According to the story, Brennan got his anti-Trump tips primarily from British spies but also Estonian spies and others.

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An article in the Guardian last week provides more confirmation that John Brennan was the American progenitor of political espionage aimed at defeating Donald Trump. One side did collude with foreign powers to tip the election — Hillary’s.

Seeking to retain his position as CIA director under Hillary, Brennan teamed up with British spies and Estonian spies to cripple Trump’s candidacy. He used their phony intelligence as a pretext for a multi-agency investigation into Trump, which led the FBI to probe a computer server connected to Trump Tower and gave cover to Susan Rice, among other Hillary supporters, to spy on Trump and his people.

John Brennan’s CIA operated like a branch office of the Hillary campaign, leaking out mentions of this bogus investigation to the press in the hopes of inflicting maximum political damage on Trump. An official in the intelligence community tells TAS that Brennan’s retinue of political radicals didn’t even bother to hide their activism, decorating offices with “Hillary for president cups” and other campaign paraphernalia.

A supporter of the American Communist Party at the height of the Cold War, Brennan brought into the CIA a raft of subversives and gave them plum positions from which to gather and leak political espionage on Trump. He bastardized standards so that these left-wing activists could burrow in and take career positions. Under the patina of that phony professionalism, they could then present their politicized judgments as “non-partisan.”

The Guardian story is written in a style designed to flatter its sources (they are cast as high-minded whistleblowers), but the upshot of it is devastating for them, nonetheless, and explains why all the criminal leaks against Trump first originated in the British press. According to the story, Brennan got his anti-Trump tips primarily from British spies but also Estonian spies and others. The story confirms that the seed of the espionage into Trump was planted by Estonia. The BBC’s Paul Wood reported last year that the intelligence agency of an unnamed Baltic State had tipped Brennan off in April 2016 to a conversation purporting to show that the Kremlin was funneling cash into the Trump campaign.

Any other CIA director would have disregarded such a flaky tip, recognizing that Estonia was eager to see Trump lose (its officials had bought into Hillary’s propaganda that Trump was going to pull out of NATO and leave Baltic countries exposed to Putin). But Brennan opportunistically seized on it, as he later that summer seized on the half-baked intelligence of British spy agencies (also full of officials who wanted to see Trump lose).

The Guardian says that British spy head Robert Hannigan “passed material in summer 2016 to the CIA chief, John Brennan.” To ensure that these flaky tips leaked out, Brennan disseminated them on Capitol Hill. In August and September of 2016, he gave briefings to the “Gang of Eight” about them, which then turned up on the front page of the New York Times.

All of this took place at the very moment Brennan was auditioning for Hillary. He desperately wanted to keep his job and despised Trump for his alleged “Muslim ban,” a matter near and dear to Brennan’s heart. Not only was he an apologist for the Muslim Brotherhood, but Brennan’s Islamophilia dated to his days in college, when he spent a year in Cairo learning Arabic and taking courses in Middle Eastern studies. He later got a graduate degree with an emphasis in Middle Eastern studies. In 1996, his ties to the Islamic world tightened after he became the CIA’s station chief in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. He once recalled that “during a 25-year career in government, I was privileged to serve in positions across the Middle East — as a political officer with the State Department and as a CIA station chief in Saudi Arabia. In Saudi Arabia, I saw how our Saudi partners fulfilled their duty as custodians of the two holy mosques of Mecca and Medina. I marveled at the majesty of the Hajj and the devotion of those who fulfilled their duty as Muslims by making that privilege — that pilgrimage.”

Out of this Islamophilia came a special dislike of Michael Flynn, who had planned to rip up the Obama-era “reset” with Muslim countries. Furious with Flynn for his apostasy from political correctness, Brennan and other Obama aides couldn’t resist the temptation to take him out after rifling through transcripts of his calls with the Russian ambassador. They caught him in a lie to Mike Pence and made sure the press knew about it.

Were the media not so completely in the tank for Obama and Hillary, all of this political mischief would make for a compelling 2016 version of All the President’s Men. Instead, the public gets a steady stream of Orwellian propaganda about the sudden propriety of political espionage. The headline writers at Pravda couldn’t improve on this week’s official lie, tweeted out by the Maggie Habermans: “Susan Rice Did Nothing Wrong, Say Both Dem and Republican House Aides.”

A Shoe Drops: Obama Administration Spied on Carter Page [Updated]

April 12, 2017

A Shoe Drops: Obama Administration Spied on Carter Page [Updated], Power Line, John Hinderaker, April 11, 2017

[E]ver since the Inauguration the Democratic Party, especially its press wing in Washington and New York, has relentlessly pushed the Trump/Russia story. What story? There isn’t one. But that hasn’t stopped Democrats in the press from talking about little else for the last three months.

And yet, all along, the Democrats have known that their spying produced nothing. This whole story is almost unbelievably sordid. The relevant Congressional committees should investigate thoroughly, and criminal prosecutions should follow where laws have been broken.

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I assume this Washington Post story is true: “FBI obtained FISA warrant to monitor former Trump adviser Carter Page.” It confirms what has been sporadically reported since late last year, that the Obama administration sought and ultimately received a FISA order to spy on at least one associate of Donald Trump. So Trump’s famous tweets were, in substance, true.

The FBI obtained a secret court order last summer to monitor the communications of an adviser to presidential candidate Donald Trump, part of an investigation into possible links between Russia and the campaign, law enforcement and other U.S. officials said.

Do the leaks come from the same Obama administration holdovers who have leaked in the past, trying to get ahead of disclosures that will confirm that President Trump’s suspicions were correct? Or do they come from officials appointed by Trump? I don’t know, but the Post’s illicit sources are pretty much always Democrats.

The FBI and the Justice Department obtained the warrant targeting Carter Page’s communications after convincing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge that there was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russia, according to the officials.

That’s a strong charge, but I doubt that there is evidence to support it. Carter Page “worked in Moscow for Merrill Lynch a decade ago and … has said he invested in Russian energy giant Gazprom.” He never had any official association with the Trump campaign, but has been referred to as an “informal adviser.” He has asked to testify before a Congressional committee to clear his name.

The current leakers, whoever they are, described the Obama administration’s FISA application in detail. Or else the Post reporters have seen it.

The government’s application for the surveillance order targeting Page included a lengthy declaration that laid out investigators’ basis for believing that Page was an agent of the Russian government and knowingly engaged in clandestine intelligence activities on behalf of Moscow, officials said.

Among other things, the application cited contacts that he had with a Russian intelligence operative in New York City in 2013, officials said. Those contacts had earlier surfaced in a federal espionage case brought by the Justice Department against another Russian agent. In addition, the application said Page had other contacts with Russian operatives that have not been publicly disclosed, officials said.

The Obama administration was already trying, last Summer, to find evidence that Russia’s government was “meddling” in our presidential election:

The application also showed that the FBI and the Justice Department’s national security division have been seeking since July to determine how broad a network of accomplices Russia enlisted in attempting to influence the 2016 presidential election, the officials said.

I find it hard to believe that Russia’s rulers, from Vladimir Putin on down, wanted to help elect a president who vowed to rebuild America’s dwindling military strength, and to put America first, in place of an administration that was consistently supine in the face of Russian aggression and was borderline anti-American. Possibly Putin and his advisers are that dumb, but I doubt it.

In any event, the Obama administration failed to find any evidence that anyone associated with Trump was somehow cooperating with the Russians–not even a “junior member of the [Trump] campaign’s foreign policy advisory group,” as Page described himself. If they had, we would have learned about it long before now.

We haven’t heard the last of this story, but for the moment one thing is clear: a great many people, inside and outside of the media, owe President Trump an apology. Assuming that President Obama knew of, and approved, the FISA application–a safe assumption, I think–Trump’s much-reviled tweet was true:

Obama had my “wires tapped” in Trump Tower just before the victory. Nothing found.

How much of this Trump knew all along is, at this point, unclear.

UPDATE: We are now starting to get a picture of how sinister this whole Democratic Party misinformation campaign is. Through the last half of 2016, the Obama administration was desperately searching for evidence of some link between the Trump presidential campaign and Russia. They went to the length of seeking (twice, reportedly) and finally obtaining a FISA order that allowed them to spy on at least one insignificant Trump associate.

In addition, we now know that Susan Rice headed up an operation whereby raw NSA intelligence was sifted for names of Trump associates, no doubt in hopes of uncovering dirt of some sort.* And we also know that these efforts came up dry. The Obama administration found no compromising information about Trump or any of his associates.

Nevertheless, ever since the Inauguration the Democratic Party, especially its press wing in Washington and New York, has relentlessly pushed the Trump/Russia story. What story? There isn’t one. But that hasn’t stopped Democrats in the press from talking about little else for the last three months.

And yet, all along, the Democrats have known that their spying produced nothing. This whole story is almost unbelievably sordid. The relevant Congressional committees should investigate thoroughly, and criminal prosecutions should follow where laws have been broken.

It is time to get to the bottom of the Obama spy scandal.
___________________________

* All of this is reminiscent of Watergate, in this sense: after the fact, no one could figure out why the Plumbers bugged the Democratic National Committee, given that President Nixon was obviously going to be re-elected anyway. (The answer to that question may still be unknown, but that is another story.) Similarly, Barack Obama and his minion Susan Rice no doubt were confident that Hillary Clinton would win the election and serve Obama’s third term. Yet, they weren’t taking any chances.

A Times Source Outs Herself

March 29, 2017

A Times Source Outs Herself, Power Line, Scott Johnson, Power Line, March 29, 2017

(Weaponizing intelligence information for political purposes:

Meanwhile, the Democrat media continue to try to shift public focus to alleged Russian ties of Trump and his colleagues while ignoring the very substantial ties of the Clintons, Podestas, et al. — DM)

Evelyn Farkas is the former Obama administration deputy secretary of defense — and now an MSNBC analyst. Appearing on air among her friends at MSNBC yesterday, she all but outed herself as a key source for the seminal New York Times story on the Obama administration’s efforts to subvert the incoming Trump administration.

The March 1 Times story ran under the headline “Obama administration rushed to preserve intelligence of Russian election hacking” under the byline of Matthew Rosenberg, Adam Goldman and Michael Schmidt. The Times reporters noted that they protected the identity of their sources because, you know, their cooperation with the Times was criminal or because their actions were otherwise legally problematic. The Times reporters put it this way in their March 1 story:

More than a half-dozen current and former officials described various aspects of the effort to preserve and distribute the intelligence, and some said they were speaking to draw attention to the material and ensure proper investigation by Congress. All spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were discussing classified information, nearly all of which remains secret.

In her comments on MSNBC Farkas uses one term of art that requires translation. The term of art is “the Hill,” i.e., Capitol Hill. By “the Hill” Farkas means congressional Democrats and their staffers. As MSNBC flashed an image of the Times story on the screen, Mika Brzezinski states that Farkas “actually knew about this attempt to get and preserve information…and were doing some work yourself.” That’s nice “work” if you can get it.

Thus spake Farkas:

Well, I was urging my former colleagues, and, and, frankly speaking, the people on the Hill, it was more actually aimed at telling the Hill people, get as much information as you can – get as much intelligence as you can – before President Obama leaves the administration. Because I had a fear that somehow that information would disappear with the senior [Obama] people who left. So it would be hidden away in the bureaucracy, um, that the Trump folks – if they found out HOW we knew what we knew about their, the Trump staff, dealing with Russians – that they would try to compromise those sources and methods — meaning we would no longer have access to that intelligence. So I became very worried because not enough was coming out into the open and I knew that there was more. We have very good intelligence on Russia. So then I had talked to some of my former colleagues and I knew that they were also trying to help get information to the Hill…That’s why you have the leaking.

The video of Farkas’s response is below. The entire segment including Senator Debbie Stabenow is posted here.

(The video is at the link. A longer video, with similar but longer content is at the Fox News article linked below.– DM)

I have lifted the video and slightly modified the transcript of Farkas’s response from the post here by Sundance at the The Conservative Tree House site. Sundance has more in the way of commentary in an update that may or may not be on point or withstand scrutiny. I agree with Sundance on this point: “Looks like Devin Nunes and the House Intelligence Committee ha[ve] a new person to bring in for testimony.” Yes, indeed, let us hear more from Ms. Farkas regarding “the Hill people” and her underlying project under oath.

UPDATE: FOX News covers the story here. (Here is the video embedded in the Fox News post. — DM)

 

What’s really hidden deep within all this intel squabbling

March 24, 2017

What’s really hidden deep within all this intel squabbling, Hot Air, Andrew Malcolm, March 24, 2017

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

One of the tricks in political communications when experiencing difficult times is to drag several other issues into the fray, muddying the waters to distract attention from the main controversy.

That’s what you’re witnessing now in the arcane kerfluffle over wiretapping, eavesdropping, surveillance and congressional protocol. So, let’s clear things up.

Forget President Trump’s unsubstantiated tweets about being wiretapped by a certain ex-president who’s fled to French Polynesia for a month. Forget about Russians and what they may or may not have done last year. And ignore the manners expected of a House committee chairman. In other words, disregard all the pots calling all the kettles black.

Here’s what really matters: During the waning days of the Obama administration U.S. intelligence was indeed monitoring the conversations of foreign persons of interest after the Nov. 8 election and before the Jan. 20 inauguration. That’s normal and actually encouraging given how many key things those agencies have missed in recent years.

In those eaves-droppings they overheard Trump aides being mentioned or talking to agencies’ foreign targets. That’s called “incidental contact” in the intel world. That means they weren’t supposed to be targeting the American, but he or she came up. That’s unavoidable in intelligence-gathering if you’re doing a thorough job.

T o avoid “unmasking” those innocent bystanders, t ranscripts of those overheard conversations refer to the foreign target by name and identify the other person simply as American No. 1 or American No. 2. A very small number of very senior intelligence officials will know the actual identity of the American, people like, oh, then-CIA director John Brennan or Susan Rice, Obama’s national security adviser.

Remember Trump’s first national security adviser, retired Gen. Michael Flynn? He was picked up talking with the Russian ambassador as part of his transition work. Subsequently, he was fired , not for the conversation but for misrepresenting that conversation to Trump teammates, including Vice President Pence. Trump accurately saw that as fatally corroding the trust he needs in such a close aide.

But here’s the deal: We should never have known it was Flynn.

Yes, as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency Flynn was very unpopular among Obama administration members and indeed was frozen out of contact with the commander-in-chief because he favored a much stronger response to ISIS, among other things. Talk about a president dodging opposing views.

Like Flynn or not, it is illegal — as in against the law — for anyone to reveal the name of an incidentally-overheard American. Someone in a small circle of Obama intelligence officials who knew the identity of that American No. 1 committed a felony by leaking Flynn’s name to media.

Safe to say the leak, like numerous others since Hillary Clinton was not inaugurated as president, was not intended to facilitate the smooth presidential transition that Obama so often publicly promised.

Before you faint from the revelation of illegal duplicity among partisan spies in Washington, hear this. Rep. Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, has made public appeals for information on intelligence matters, beyond official intel briefings.

On Wednesday Nunes, who was on Trump’s transition, said, “I recently confirmed that on numerous occasions the intelligence community … collected information about U.S. citizens involved in the Trump transition.” The chairman said the monitorings involved transition team members and possibly Trump himself, adding, “I want to be clear, none of this surveillance was related to Russia or the investigation of Russian activities or of the Trump team.”

Nunes then briefed Trump at the White House, a violation of political protocol because he did not first tell committee Democrats. They went into immediate p hoto-op orbit to — wait for it — distract from the actual revelation about their departed dear leader.

But forget such hissy fits. Also, ignore whether this supports Trump’s claim of being “wiretapped” by Obama.

We now know Obama administration intelligence operatives listened in on Trump aides’ conversations. We now know they illegally leaked the identities. And it’s not a stretch in this poisonous partisan environment to wonder if those intel encounters were truly incidental.

Or perhaps did the monitoring use foreign officials as mere covers to gather information, hopefully damning, on the Republican’s transition team and on this Trump usurper who had no business upsetting Clinton on Nov. 8?

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)

Our World: Showdown at the OK Corral

November 3, 2015

Our World: Showdown at the OK Corral, Jerusalem Post, Caroline Glick, November 2, 2015

ShowImage (16)US President Barack Obama meets with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, October 1, 2014. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Whatever he says before the cameras next week when he meets with Netanyahu, Obama has no intention of letting bygones be bygones.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s meeting with US President Barack Obama next week is likely to look less like a rapprochement than a showdown at the OK Corral.

The flurry of spy stories spinning around in recent weeks makes clear that US-Israel relations remain in crisis.

Two weeks ago, The Wall Street Journal published a fairly detailed account of the US’s massive spying operations against Israel between 2010 and 2012.

Their purpose was to prevent Israel from attacking Iran’s nuclear installations. The Journal report, which was based on US sources, also detailed the evasion tactics the Obama administration employed to try to hide its covert nuclear talks with Iran from Israel. According to the report, the administration was infuriated that through its spy operations against Iran, Israel discovered the talks and the government asked the White House to tell it what was going on.

Over the past several days, the Israeli media have reported the Israeli side of the US spying story.

Friday Makor Rishon’s military commentator Amir Rapaport detailed how the US assiduously wooed IDF senior brass on the one hand and harassed more junior Israeli security officials on the other hand.

Former IDF chiefs of General Staff Lt.-Gens. Gabi Ashkenazi and Benny Gantz were given the red carpet treatment in a bid to convince them to oppose Israeli strikes on Iran’s nuclear installations. More junior officials, including officers posted officially to the US were denied visas and subjected to lengthy interrogations at US embassies and airports in a bid to convince them to divulge information about potential Israeli strikes against Iran.

Sunday, Channel 2 reported that the IDF’s Intelligence Directorate’s information security department just issued guidance to all IDF soldiers and officers warning them about efforts by the CIA to recruit them as US agents.

These stories have been interpreted in various ways. Regardless of how they are interpreted, what they show is that on the one hand, the Obama administration has used US intelligence agencies to weaken Israel’s capacity to harm Iran and to actively protect Iran from Israel. And on the other hand, Israel is wary of the administration’s efforts to weaken it while strengthening its greatest foe.

These stories form the backdrop of next week’s meeting between Netanyahu and Obama – the first they will have held in more than a year. They indicate that Obama remains committed to his policy of weakening Israel and downgrading America’s alliance with the Jewish state while advancing US ties with Iran. Israel, for its part, remains deeply distrustful of the American leader.

This Israeli distrust of Obama’s intentions extends far past Iran. Recent statements by Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have convinced Israel that during his last 15 months in office, Obama intends to abandon US support for Israel at the UN Security Council, and to ratchet up pressure and coercive measures to force Israel to make irreversible concessions to the Palestinians.

From Netanyahu’s perspective, then, the main strategic question is how to prevent Obama from succeeding in his goal of weakening the country.

The implementation of Obama’s deal with Iran deal will form a central plank of whatever strategy the government adopts.

As far as Obama and his allies see things, the nuclear accord with Iran is a done deal. On October 21, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi hosted a reception for Democratic congressmen attended by White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough to celebrate its official adoption.

Unfortunately for Pelosi and her colleagues, Iran is a far more formidable obstacle to implementing the deal than congressional Republicans. As Yigal Carmon, president of the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), explained in a report published on his organization’s website last week, at no point has any Iranian governing body approved the nuclear deal. Iran’s parliament, the Majlis, and its Guardians’ Council have used their discussions of the agreement to highlight their refusal to implement it. More importantly, as Carmon explains, contrary to US media reports, in his October 21 letter to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei did not give his conditional approval to the deal. He rejected it.

Carmon explained that the nine conditions Khamenei placed on his acceptance of the nuclear deal render it null and void. Among other things, Khamenei insisted that all sanctions against Iran must be permanently canceled. Obama couldn’t abide by this condition even if he wanted to because he cannot cancel sanctions laws passed by Congress.

He can only suspend them.

Khamenei also placed new conditions on Iran’s agreement to disable its centrifuges and remove large quantities of enriched uranium from its stockpiles.

He rejected inspections of Iran’s military nuclear installations. He insisted that Iran’s Arak heavy water reactor must remain capable of producing heavy water in contravention of the deal. And he insisted that at the end of the 15-year lifetime of the deal Iran must have sufficient uranium enrichment capability to enable it to develop bombs at will.

As Carmon noted, the US and EU have announced that they will suspend their nuclear sanctions against Iran on December 15 provided that by that date, the UN’s International Atomic Energy Commission certifies that Iran has upheld its part of the bargain.

By that date, in conformance with their interpretation of the nuclear deal, the US and the EU expect for Iran to have reduced the number of centrifuges operating at the Natanz facility from 16,000 to 5,060 and lower enrichment levels to 3.67%; reduce the number of centrifuges at Fordow to a thousand; remove nearly all its advanced centrifuges from use; permit the IAEA to store and seal its dismantled centrifuges; reduce its stockpile of enriched uranium to 300kg.; remove the core from the Arak reactor and disable it; and submit to agreed monitoring mechanisms of its nuclear sites.

Carmon noted that Iran has taken no steps to fulfill any of these conditions.

With Khamenei’s rejection of the nuclear deal and Iran’s refusal to implement it, there are two possible ways the US and the EU can proceed.

First, as Carmon suggests, Obama and the EU may renew nuclear talks with Iran based on Khamenei’s new position. These talks can drag out past Obama’s departure from office. When they inevitably fail, Obama’s successor can be blamed.

The other possibility is that Iran will implement some component of the deal and so allow Obama and the EU to pretend that it is implementing the entire deal. Given the US media’s failure to report that Khamenei rejected the nuclear pact, it is a fair bet that Obama will be able to maintain the fiction that Iran is implementing the deal in good faith until the day he leaves office.

So what is Israel to do? And how can Netanyahu use his meeting with Obama next week to Israel’s advantage? Israel has two policy options going forward. First, it can highlight the fact that Iran is not implementing the deal, just as Israel took the lead in highlighting the dangers of the nuclear accord with Iran over the past year. This policy can potentially force Obama onto the defensive and so make it harder for him to go on the offensive against Israel at the UN and other venues in relation to the Palestinians.

But then, it is far from clear that Obama will be deterred from adopting anti-Israel positions at the UN even if Israel succeeds making an issue of Iranian noncompliance with the nuclear deal.

Moreover, if Netanyahu leads the discussion of the Iran’s bad faith, as he drove the discussion of the nuclear deal itself, he will reinforce the already prevalent false assessment in the US that a nuclear Iran threatens Israel but is not dangerous for the US.

This incorrect assessment has made a lot of Americans believe that by seeking to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, Israel is advancing is own interests at America’s expense.

The other policy option is the one that Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon indicated Israel is pursuing in his meeting last week with his counterpart Defense Secretary Ashton Carter. At the Pentagon Ya’alon declared, “The Iran deal is a given. Our disputes are over.”

The downside of this position is that it indicates that Israel accepts the legitimacy of a deal that Iran is not implementing and that would imperil Israel’s national security even if Iran were implementing it.

Its upside is that it takes Israel out of the US debate regarding the nuclear deal. To the extent that opponents of Obama’s Iran policy are willing to lead the fight against the deal themselves, Israel could do worse than to take a step back and plot its own course on Iran, independent of the US policy discussion.

It is hard to know which line of action makes more sense. But as the spy stories demonstrated, one thing is clear enough. Whatever he says before the cameras next week when he meets with Netanyahu, Obama has no intention of letting bygones be bygones.