Archive for the ‘Trump Hater’s Club’ category

An Ideological Coup against Trump?

August 30, 2017

An Ideological Coup against Trump? American ThinkerShoula Romano Horing, August 30, 2017

(If President Trump won’t defend himself and his policies from the ideological coup waged by his appointees, who will? Who can? — DM)

As replacements for those fired, McMaster appointed individuals who are friendly with Obama-era ideologues who blame Israel for Palestinian terror, encourage negotiations with Hamas and are obsessed with the plan for Palestinian statehood. 

In addition, just before Trump’s visit to Israel, McMaster erroneously publicly claimed  that the President would recognize “Palestinian Self-determination“ and refused to state that the Western Wall,  one the holiest Jewish sites,  and the last remnant of the walls around the Second Jewish Temple, is in Israel and insisted that Netanyahu could not accompany Trump to the site after failing to convince the President not to visit there.

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See also: Bolton and Gorka both say they are locked out of the White House

As an Israeli who supports Trump and attended Trump’s inauguration to celebrate his win, I read with a heavy heart the reports leaking out of the White House that Sebastian Gorka did not resign but was forced out of his position as a security advisor to the President by General H.R. McMaster and General John Kelly.

Mr. Gorka is the seventh Trump loyalist McMaster has forced out in recent months from the President’s National Security Team.  All have been attempting to carry out President Trump’s campaign promises to combat Iranian and radical Islamist terrorist threats, and to support Israel and the U.S.-Israel alliance.

Gorka was the third Trump loyalist forced out since General John F. Kelly, an old military colleague of McMaster, was appointed to be the chief of staff and reportedly encouraged McMaster to make any staffing changes he deems necessary.

If it looks like a duck and sounds like a duck, it is a duck.  Maybe it does not sound yet like a “purge” and an ideological coup, but it is starting to look like one, engineered by Generals McMaster and Kelly. It is designed to eliminate President Trump’s national security agenda of support to Israel, opposition to the Iran deal, and determination to name and combat radical Islamist terrorism.

On Friday, in a letter reported by the Federalist, Sebastian Gorka’s explained his “resignation” by expressing his unhappiness with the direction that the Trump administration’s foreign policy has taken as signaled by the President’s recent speech on Afghanistan. Gorka stated:

“Regrettably, outside of yourself (President Trump), the individuals who most embodied and represented the policies that will ‘Make America Great Again’ have been internally countered, systematically removed, or undermined in recent months. This was made patently obvious as I read the text of your speech on Afghanistan…. The fact that those who drafted and approved the speech removed any mention of Radical Islam or radical Islamic terrorism proves that a critical element of your presidential campaign has been lost.”

On Sunday, in an interview with the Jerusalem Post, Gorka offered harsh criticism of McMaster’s stance towards Islamists saying:

“McMaster sees the threat of Islam through an Obama administration lens, meaning that religion has nothing to do with the war we are in.… He believes and he told me in his office that these people are just criminals.”

A source close to the White House said that after Bannon was forced out, anti-Bannon factions began erecting bureaucratic roadblocks to undermine Gorka internally.

Yahoo News reported that Kelly revoked Gorka’s security clearance, making it difficult if not impossible for him to continue his job. Other news outlets reported that Kelly has been restricting access to Trump as McMaster’s detractors are trying to reach the president.

In his short term at the National Security Council (NSC), General McMaster has fired or forced out from the National Security Team, including the NSC, strong pro-Israel and anti-Iran officials such as Steve Bannon, K.T. McFarland, Adam Lovinger, Rich Higgins, Derek Harvey, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, and now Sebastian Gorka.

General McMaster quickly removed Bannon, the engineer of much of President Trump’s pro-Israel, anti-Islamist terrorism agenda, from the Principals Committee of the NSC. McMaster also removed K.T. McFarland, a veteran pro-Israel national security professional in the Nixon, Ford, and Reagan administrations and a key member of the team of Iran deal opponents originally gathered by Trump. Lovinger, a pro-Israel national security strategist from the Pentagon, was returned to the Pentagon with his security clearance revoked.

McMaster also fired Iran “hawk” Rich Higgins, the NSC’s director of strategic planning, after Higgins wrote a memo about personnel opposed to President Trump’s foreign policy agenda in the NSC.  McMaster also fired Derek Harvey, a senior director and expert on the Middle East and one of the best intelligence analysts on Iraq, after Harvey prepared a list of NSC Obama-era holdovers to be fired for leaking national security information to the press.  Instead, other conservatives were fired, such as Ezra Cohen-Watnick, a strong opponent of the Iran deal, who tried to intensify efforts to counter Iran in the Middle East and controlled officials opposed to the president’s policies.

As replacements for those fired, McMaster appointed individuals who are friendly with Obama-era ideologues who blame Israel for Palestinian terror, encourage negotiations with Hamas and are obsessed with the plan for Palestinian statehood.

As David Steinberg from PJ Media wrote, “Indeed, one is hard-pressed to identify a member of the NSC brought in by McMaster with a history of aligning with President Trump on Iran or with his Mideast policy or by his willingness to treat Islamic doctrine as the root cause of terror and related Mideast strife.”

But such nominations are not surprising if one understands McMaster’s own beliefs. He advised the president to certify that Iran is in compliance with the Iran deal, saying that Iran is merely violating the Iran deal’s “spirit” despite German intelligence reports that Iran is cheating and Trump’s promise to tear up or strictly enforce the Iran deal and punish violations.  Iran has refused to allow International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors into the Parchin nuclear facility or to interview Iran’s nuclear scientists, and has repeatedly tested intercontinental ballistic missiles.

Following the Obama administration’s practices, McMaster opposes using the term “radical Islamic terrorism” saying that the term isn’t helpful for U.S. goals because it does not help the U.S. in working with allies to defeat terrorist groups.“

Moreover, the general said that Jihadists terrorists aren’t true to their religion and terrorist organizations like ISIS represent a perversion of Islam and are thus un-Islamic

In addition, just before Trump’s visit to Israel, McMaster erroneously publicly claimed  that the President would recognize “Palestinian Self-determination“ and refused to state that the Western Wall,  one the holiest Jewish sites,  and the last remnant of the walls around the Second Jewish Temple, is in Israel and insisted that Netanyahu could not accompany Trump to the site after failing to convince the President not to visit there.

President Trump must wake up and realize the damage that Generals Kelly and McMaster are inflicting on his policies and on those who have been loyal to his ideology. President Trump should know that Israeli history is littered with heroic generals on the battlefield who were weak appeasers in national security when they became prime ministers, such as Israeli chiefs of staff Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Barak.  He should realize that just because they are generals they are not necessarily the right advisors to implement Trump’s tough-minded agenda.

Shoula Romano Horing is an Israeli born and raised attorney. Her blog: www.shoularomanohoring.com      

 

After Six Months, a Shocking Clarity

August 6, 2017

After Six Months, a Shocking Clarity, American ThinkerJames G. Wiles, August 6, 2017

But for now, the current crisis is not some political sideshow for the annual August “silly season.”  It is a struggle over who controls the government of the United States.

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Perhaps one James Woods said it best on Twitter (@realjameswoods) over the weekend: “I’ve never witnessed such hatred for a man who is willing to work for free to make his beloved country a better place. It is pathological.”

Mr. Woods did not exaggerate.  The last time the United States saw such a wholesale refusal to accept the result of a national election – and to overturn it – the year was 1861.

As the Trump administration moves past its 200th day in office, we have arrived at a moment of extreme clarity.  It is even – even by the standards of Watergate (which did not start, remember, until President Richard Nixon’s second term) – unprecedented in the history of the American Republic.

Just consider what we’ve learned since January 20 – and especially in the last two weeks.

1. Persons holding top positions in our national government (including its national security apparatus) are seeking to force the removal of an American president lawfully elected less than a year ago.  To achieve that goal, they have shown themselves willing to compromise the national security of the United States, including the conduct of its foreign affairs, and to commit serious felonies.

2. The MSM has united with these criminals (that is what the leakers of classified information are) in seeking to achieve this goal.  In particular, they are willing to facilitate achieving their objective by publishing information they know has been leaked to them in violation of federal law.

3. Democratic elected officials, at all levels of federal, state, and local government, oppose all aspects of the president’s agenda, upon which he was elected, and vigorously seek to block its implementation.  They have made no secret (thank you, Maxine Waters) that, if given control of Congress again, they will impeach and remove the president and, possibly, the vice president.

4. In a return to the days of the George W. Bush administration, the left is using “lawfare” (litigation for its own sake) to obstruct or defeat implementation of the president’s agenda, upon which he was elected.  A blog, Lawfareblog.com, offers daily info.  Another blog, The Intercept, promotes leaks of classified and other information.

5. For the first time since the Vietnam War years, there is a national mobilization – calling itself the Resistance – that can put people onto the streets and, occasionally, is willing to use mob violence in furtherance of its goals of ousting this president and stifling free speech.  Democratic elected officials have tolerated that violence.

6. Some Republicans in Congress have joined the Resistance.  Many more, even where they deplore the  Resistance, openly (or privately) oppose this president’s announced agenda, upon which he was elected.

7. Some Republicans in the Senate and the House who, for the last seven years, voted to repeal Obamacare, in fact, have refused to repeal it now that  a Republican president is in the White House who would sign such a repeal.

8. Prominent conservative media outlets and opinion leaders, such as Erick Erickson of theresurgent.com, redstate.com, the National Review and Bill Kristol’s Weekly Standard, oppose this president, hope for his removal or resignation from office and are, moreover, prepared to defend these national security breaches (which are occurring in an attempt to achieve that goal) asregrettable but necessary and to praise those who commit them.

In a signed editorial, Stephen Hayes of the Weekly Standard wrote on Friday (emphasis added):

Short-lived White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci was an utterly forgettable political hack. But he said one thing before he was dismissed that’s worth reflecting on: “There are people inside the administration that think it is their job to save America from this president. Okay?” Scaramucci was right about that. We know these people, and we admire them. We wish them every success.

9. Former Bush speech writer David Frum, writing in the Atlantic this week, both deplored and rationalized the leak of transcripts of presidential phone calls to foreign leaders.  Yes, he said, it’s illegal and compromises national security.  But it’s really Trump’s fault for making such breaches necessary.

Frum said (emphasis added):

The risk of national-security establishment overreach looms even larger. The temptation is obvious: Senior national-security professionals regard Trump as something between (at best) a reckless incompetent doofus and (at worst) an outright Russian espionage asset. The fear that a Russian mole has burrowed into the Oval Office may justify, to some, the most extreme actions against that suspected mole.

The nature of this particular leak suggests just such a national-security establishment origin.

10. It is quite obvious, in short, that the president of the United States has good reason to believe that he is, literally, being spied on in his own White House, by members of his own staff and by others elsewhere in the Executive Branch – especially including the national security apparatus.  And, furthermore, that his most confidential communications are not secure.

11. This exceeds, by some orders of magnitude, the national security threat faced by President Richard Nixon and national security adviser Henry Kissinger within the Nixon White House in 1970 and 1971.

Those are facts.  What does it all mean?

First, it means that next year’s congressional elections have grown enormously in importance since January 20.  The president will struggle to enact his agenda unless he has more allies on the allies on the Hill.

Second, it will probably take at least two full terms for the president to purge the Executive Branch.

But those are just politics and elections.  Here’s what should be concerning now:

If this pattern of the last six months continues, there will develop a real threat to the Republic and to the survival of democratic government.  While the national security threats the United States is presently facing – North Korean ICBMs, Chinese man-made islands in the South China Sea, and an expansive Russia – are serious and pressing, the most serious threat may be within.

We may be confronting a national security threat comparable to that which the United States (unknowingly) faced in the 1940s when American communists and fellow travelers penetrated the federal government, the Executive Branch, and the White House.  It was pooh-poohed at the time, called a “witch hunt” and a “Red Scare,” but, decades later,  the release of the Venona Intercepts and the opening of Soviet archives after the fall of the Soviet Union confirmed that, in fact, Soviet penetration of the highest levels of the U.S. government had occurred – and resulted in the loss of state secrets.

Here, there can be no dispute. The proof is appearing every day in our American media.

Attorney General Sessions is, therefore, amply justified in pursuing prosecution of the source(s) of these national security leaks – and, if necessary, targeting their media enablers.

The question of whether an American Deep State exists can be deferred until another time.  May cooler heads prevail until then.

But for now, the current crisis is not some political sideshow for the annual August “silly season.”  It is a struggle over who controls the government of the United States.

Roper’s Resolve: Critics Seek Dangerous Extensions Of Treason and Other Crimes To Prosecute The Trumps

July 21, 2017

Roper’s Resolve: Critics Seek Dangerous Extensions Of Treason and Other Crimes To Prosecute The Trumps, Jonathan Turley’s Blog, Jonathan Turley, July 21, 2017

Trump has certainly become a diabolic figure for many (though his popularity among Republicans remains above 80 percent). This hatred has blinded many to the implications of pulling up the roots of our criminal laws “to get after the Donald.” In particular, they should consider the cost to free speech and the political process if they hand the government the power to criminalize some of this conduct.

Turkey’s Recep Tayyip President Erdogan this week pledged to “chop off the heads” of some of the thousands of Turks arrested as supporting the failed coup last year, including political opponents. That is precisely why the Framers, and later courts, have narrowly defined this crime and why relatively few treason cases have been brought and even fewer have succeeded in this country.

As satisfying as it may be to “get after the Donald” or his progeny, the engorged criminal code that would be left would then be handed to the next president. That president would then have a less obstructed range for the investigation of opponents and critics. If that day should come, we must ask ourselves how we will “stand upright in the wind that would blow.” As More noted, it is a question worth asking not for Trump’s sake, but for our own.

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Below is my column in the Hill newspaper on how critics of Donald Trump have been calling for radical extensions or interpretations of criminal provisions against core figures. The implications for such interpretations of crimes like treason need to be considered by critics.

“So now you’d give the devil benefit of the law!” Those were the words of William Roper in one of the most riveting scenes from “A Man For All Seasons.

He was chastising his father-in-law, Sir Thomas More, for elevating the law above morality. Roper, who was himself a lawyer and member of Parliament, was the face of resolve — and relativism — in the law. When More asked if Roper would “cut a great road through the law to get after the devil,” Roper proudly declared that he would “cut down every law in England to do that.”

After the 50th anniversary of the classic movie, we seem to be living in the “Age of Roper” — and rage. There is a constant drumbeat in the news as experts declare prima facie cases for indictment and impeachment against President Trump, Donald Trump Jr., and Jared Kushner. Trump has been denounced as threatening free speech, the free press, and even the democratic process.

However, the push for criminal charges could well create the very dangers that critics associate with Trump. Few have considered the implications of broadening the scope of the criminal code and handing the government wider discretion in criminalizing speech and associations. Once you declare someone to be the devil, there is no cost too great to combat him or his spawn.

Trump has certainly become a diabolic figure for many (though his popularity among Republicans remains above 80 percent). This hatred has blinded many to the implications of pulling up the roots of our criminal laws “to get after the Donald.” In particular, they should consider the cost to free speech and the political process if they hand the government the power to criminalize some of this conduct.

Treason

In the chorus of criminal charges following the disclosure of the Russia meeting, Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) was not to be outdone. Where others were arguing election fraud, Kaine declared that the case has moved to a potential treason charge. Likewise, Richard Painter, chief ethics lawyer for President George W. Bush, has said that, while rarely charged without a declaration of war, “the dictionary definition” of treason and the “common understanding” is “a betrayal of one’s country, and in particular, the helping of a foreign adversary against one’s own country.”

Former Watergate prosecutor Nick Ackerman declared the emails to be “almost a smoking cannon” and added that “there’s almost no question this is treason.” Even if there is a reluctance to bring a direct treason charge, Painter insists that “we just use other statutes because most of what is treason would have violated another statute anyway.”

Article III of the Constitution defines this crime as consisting “only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.” With neither a declaration of war nor an act of levying of war, such a charge is both absurd and dangerous. Many countries like China routinely charge communications with foreign organizations to be treason.

Indeed, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip President Erdogan this week pledged to “chop off the heads” of some of the thousands of Turks arrested as supporting the failed coup last year, including political opponents. That is precisely why the Framers, and later courts, have narrowly defined this crime and why relatively few treason cases have been brought and even fewer have succeeded in this country.

Espionage

Some lawmakers, like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), have suggested that if the Russians were hacking or spying on the Democrats, Trump Jr. and others participated in the crime of espionage. Like treason, the effort to construe this meeting as espionage would rip the crime from its statutory roots. There is no evidence that Trump Jr. gave any sensitive information to Russian officials or sought to hurt U.S. national security. If this were espionage, a host of campaigns and citizens could be investigated as traitors or spies for using information from a foreign source.

Conspiracy

Cornell Law School Vice Dean Jens David Ohlin has declared the Trump Jr. emails to be “a shocking admission of a criminal conspiracy.” However, the crime itself requires a showing that Trump Jr. sought to “conspire either to commit any offense against the United States, or to defraud the United States.”

MSNBC legal analyst Paul Butler identified the crime as “conspiring with the U.S.’ sworn enemy to take over and subvert our democracy,” and declared it is now clear that “what Donald Trump Jr. is alleged to have done is a federal crime.” The suggestion that acquiring opposition research is an effort to “defraud” an election would, again, criminalize a host of political speech and associations.

It would allow the government to call campaigns into grand juries to answer for discussions of how they obtained information or who they consulted. We live in a global marketplace of ideas and exchanges. The line between information given as part of political speech and information given to defraud could vanish… with a great deal of our political discourse.

Obstruction

I have previously discussed how the firing of former FBI Director James Comey has prompted many to declare a prima facie case of obstruction. Like many others, Akerman declared the matter resolved, saying, “Our president is guilty of obstruction of justice for endeavoring to obstruct an FBI investigation.”

However, an obstruction charge is based on obstructing a grand jury or other pending proceeding. FBI investigations are not generally considered a pending proceeding and case law has rejected such claims. Moreover, it would allow the government to broaden the element of trying to “corruptly” influence to an extent never reached in any prior case.

Under such an ambiguous standard, prosecutors could charge people willy nilly for a host of interactions with witnesses or documents in the earliest stages of an investigation. Prosecutors could force pleas or testimony under constant threats of obstruction charges. That is why courts have narrowed the language of obstruction.

Election fraud

The same chilling results would occur if, as a host of experts have declared, the receiving information from any foreigner would violate the Federal Election Campaign Act. The law makes it illegal to “solicit, accept, or receive a contribution or donation… of money or other thing of value” from a foreign national in connection with a federal election. Experts have declared the law as all but satisfied as a basis to charge Trump’s son.

Nick Akerman, a former Watergate assistant special prosecutor, declared, “It’s illegal campaign contributions. It would be conspiring to commit campaign violations.”   Likewise, Ryan Goodman, a former Defense Department special counsel, has declared, “There is now a clear case that Donald Trump Jr. has met all the elements of the law.”

Of course, no court has ever reached such a conclusion and hopefully would never do so. If the receipt of opposition research from a foreigner is now equivalent to receiving illegal campaign funds, the law would extend to foreign academics, public interest groups, nongovernment organizations, and journalists supplying information to a campaign.

An environmental group might have given Hillary Clinton’s campaign a dossier on Trump’s business practices. All of those interactions could be investigated and prosecuted — sweeping a wide array of political speech into the criminal code. If successful, these experts and advocates would hand the next administration the ability to harass and pursue political opponents and groups.

During the Obama administration, Democrats tossed aside the principles of separation of powers and supported President Obama’s use of unilateral authority to circumvent Congress. The Democrats acted as if Obama would be our last president in abandoning core constitutional principles. Trump is now enjoying the very unilateral powers that the Democrats so unwisely embraced.

Trump will not be our last president — just as Obama was not. These laws will be left to the next president to use in the same broad fashion against others. Democrats have simply replaced blind loyalty under Obama with blind rage under Trump.

In the movie scene with Roper, More cautions those who too willingly discard or twist laws to achieve desired ends, saying, “Oh? And when the last law was down, and the devil turned round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country’s planted thick with laws from coast to coast — man’s laws, not God’s — and if you cut them down — and you’re just the man to do it — do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake.”

More shows the recklessness of Roper’s resolve — the dangerous tendency to make the law bend to your will in the name of a higher cause like Roper’s desire “to get after the devil.”

As satisfying as it may be to “get after the Donald” or his progeny, the engorged criminal code that would be left would then be handed to the next president. That president would then have a less obstructed range for the investigation of opponents and critics. If that day should come, we must ask ourselves how we will “stand upright in the wind that would blow.” As More noted, it is a question worth asking not for Trump’s sake, but for our own.

We Need an Independent Investigation of the Trump Leaks Mystery Now

March 26, 2017

We Need an Independent Investigation of the Trump Leaks Mystery Now, PJ MediaRoger L. Simon, March 25, 2017

If you are able to see the raw data available to the NSA, which means you are inches away from the most private information of almost every human being on Earth, you have a privilege akin to the gods.  The temptations to abuse this are huge.

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The detective story of our times is unspooling before us and the MacGuffin could affect all of our lives for years to come and the very nature of our republic.

That mystery is “whodunit” in the great Trump Transition leak(s) scandal that actually pre- and post-dates the transition itself.

Who unmasked Michael Flynn and — so it seems now — others and why did he, she or they do it? Who later leaked (selectively) President Trump’s conversations with the leaders of Australia and Mexico? Is this the same person or are there several?

More importantly, who is watching the watchers and why was their work — this raw data that supposedly is never seen except on the most extreme “need to know” basis — apparently so widely distributed? Who inspired this? And who ordered what is known as a “tasking” to enable this to happen in the first place?

These questions are as or more important than healthcare, immigration, taxes or even how long ISIS will survive because they speak to the very nature of our society and the values for which we stand.  Are we still a democratic republic or have we drifted so far into a high-tech Orwellian nightmare that we will never emerge from it again?

Yes, I am aware some of Mr. Flynn’s activities may be dodgy. But that doesn’t excuse the unmasking, particularly of others, one of whom may even have been the chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Devin Nunes, who was himself a member of the Trump transition team.

We need a truly independent investigation as divorced from partisan politics as humanly possible to unravel this mystery and expose the roots of this surveillance — if, as now seems likely, something of this nature occurred — to public light.

Yes, for the sake of bipartisanship, putative electoral collusion between Trump people and the Russians must be part of this investigation,  But I think at this point we can stipulate that the Russians have been trying to monkey with our elections from time immemorial and are now able to do that more effectively due to cyber technology.  We should work to counter that and undoubtedly are.  And we can also stipulate that people like Paul Manafort and John Podesta — just to name two on opposite sides of our politics – in their zeal to enrich themselves probably made deals with Russian business-types many of us would regard as unsavory.  But I would be surprised, again at this point, if the activities of those men rose to anything close to treason.

No, this is not about the Russians, nefarious as they may be.  As Pogo said many years ago about an entirely different matter, “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Illegal  surveillance of Americans by Americans — whether “coincidental,” deliberate or something in between — is our problem, and we have to correct it.

Finding truly independent, impartial leadership for such an investigation will not be easy.  Jesus and Moses, by all reports, are dead. But it must be done and they must be found. Perhaps it should take the form of the 9/11 Commission, because this is just as important for our times as that event was then. The investigation, to the extent possible, should err on the side of transparency, even to the extent of revealing state secrets. It should be conducted in full view of the public, because such a large number of us have lost confidence in the leaders of our intelligence agencies, including the FBI, and also in their rank-and-file. Our suspicions may be overblown, but that must be proven to us.

Indeed, the Democrats, who have been in control for the last eight years, have much more to fear from such an investigation.  But, if they think it through, it is actually in their interests as much as anybody’s, perhaps more.  They aren’t in control now and it is a certainty that the Trump administration is going to be restaffing a good percentage of our intelligence agencies.  Mike Pompeo is already at the head of the CIA,  and Dan Coats is the director of national intelligence.  The Democrats should not want done to them what they — purposefully or not — have done to the Republicans.

But even without an investigation we have learned something extremely disturbing.  The five-year incarceration for conviction for a single leak is evidently not enough of a deterrent in our current political culture to prevent such a felony.  We should double or triple that, probably more.  If you are able to see the raw data available to the NSA, which means you are inches away from the most private information of almost every human being on Earth, you have a privilege akin to the gods.  The temptations to abuse this are huge.  Employees of the agency have been caught spying on lovers or ex-lovers, which is already despicable. To try to use this legally confidential information to change the course of events in a democratic country is a far more horrendous crime and should be prosecuted accordingly.  It is indeed treason.

Obama Admin Loyalists, Government Insiders Sabotage Trump White House

March 22, 2017

Obama Admin Loyalists, Government Insiders Sabotage Trump White House, Washington Free Beacon, March 22, 2017

The White House. Photo credit  MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

The Obama administration worked in its final weeks in office to undermine the incoming Trump White and continues to do so, according to multiple sources both in and out of the White House.

Behind the effort, these sources say, are senior government officials who previously worked under President Obama and remain loyal to his agenda. These individuals leak negative information about the Trump White House and its senior staff to a network of former Obama administration officials who then plant this information in key media outlets including the Washington Post and New York Times.

Meanwhile, holdovers from the Obama administration are working to undermine the Trump administration’s agenda through efforts to alter official communications, a number of administration officials confirmed in conversations with the Washington Free Beacon.

Multiple sources expressed concern over what they described as an unprecedented effort by the former administration to subvert President Donald Trump’s team. These sources would only speak on background because they were not officially authorized to publicly discuss the situation, which is said to have fostered a level of discomfort and distrust in the West Wing.

The Free Beacon first reported on several portions of this effort earlier this year, including separate campaigns to undermine current CIA Director Mike Pompeo and former national security adviser Michael Flynn, both of whom were subjected to leaks aimed at undermining their credibility.

“We have members of the former administration at the highest levels who through their actions after January 20 have demonstrated their refusal to recognize the results of the general election,” one senior administration official told the Free Beacon. “They have pursued, organized, and managed a comprehensive subversion of the new administration.”

In one instance, Trump administration officials found evidence that the administration’s executive order banning travel from certain Muslim-majority nations had been selectively altered to bring it more in line with Obama-era talking points.

Several hours before the orders were set to be signed by Trump, officials noticed that language concerning “radical Islamic terrorism” had been stripped from the order and replaced with Obama-era language about countering violent extremism.

West Wing staffers quickly scrambled to rewrite the order to bring it back in line with Trump’s rhetoric, sources told the Free Beacon. The alteration of these directives is said to have spooked some senior officials working on the issue.

A series of targeted leaks also has fostered concerns that Obama administration holdovers are seeking to handicap the new administration.

Several weeks before his resignation, former national security adviser Flynn requested staff assemble an in-house phonebook that included contact information for senior White House staff. Before Flynn signed off on the effort, the phonebook was leaked to the press.

Additionally, the previous administration permitted staff to accrue substantial amounts of vacation time in its last year in office. As soon as team Trump entered the White House, it was obligated to pay out all of these hours. White House sources say the cost was in the millions of dollars.

The payout prevented the Trump White House from hiring key staff in its opening days due to insufficient funds, according to those familiar with the situation. Flynn, for instance, was able to hire only 22 people to work on the White House National Security Council, which topped around 420 staffers under Obama.

“They put landmines everywhere,” according to one senior administration official.

Outside of the White House, meanwhile, a team of former Obama administration officials is working to subvert Trump’s agenda.

Former Obama administration officials such as Ben Rhodes, the architect of Obama’s pro-Iran press operation, and Colin Kahl, a senior national security adviser to former Vice President Joe Biden, have engaged in public efforts to “purge” the current White House of officials they disagree with.

Earlier this month, Kahl admitted on Twitter that he is seeking to provoke the firings of Trump’s handpicked team “in the West Wing,” including senior advisers Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, and Sebastian Gorka, and NSC leaders Michael Anton and KT McFarland.

As part of this effort, Kahl, Rhodes, and others have leaked damaging stories about these officials to allies in the media.

The latest target, Gorka, has been falsely accused of being a Nazi sympathizer and an Islamophobe. The campaign against Flynn unfolded in a similar manner and sources who spoke to the Free Beacon about the matter speculated that these leaks will continue.

“They have a network of journalists for whom they have served as sources and they have fed stuff to these journalists,” one senior U.S. official told the Free Beacon. “That’s what pretty obviously is going on. I’ve never seen this happen before. I’ve never heard of it happening throughout history.”

Putting the current White House in a permanent state of defense is a key objective of this strategy, according to one senior Republican foreign policy operative who is close to the White House.

“Part of this campaign, of course, was the media operation of selective leaks, many of which were illegal and directly targeted the staff and officials of the incoming Trump administration,” the source said.

This targeted media campaign is similar to the method used by Rhodes and others to push the Iran nuclear deal.

“You can tell what’s clearly going on because many of the same media outlets who formed crucial parts of Ben Rhodes’ Iran Deal ‘echo chamber’ are springing to launch coordinated attacks on Sebastian Gorka today,” said one longtime political consultant who is close to the White House NSC. “The way it works is, one highly partisan journalist goes out on a limb in dishonestly characterizing the target. That dishonest story is used to build on the next, in which the original lie is taken as fact, and then repeated in an echo chamber until it becomes conventional wisdom.”

Virgil: The Beltway Assures Us the Deep State Doesn’t Exist

March 13, 2017

Virgil: The Beltway Assures Us the Deep State Doesn’t Exist, BreitbartVirgil, March 13, 2017

(Please see also, The Trouble with Barry.  — DM)

BNN Edit

In parts one and two of our guided tour of the Deep State, we looked at two anchors of the Federal Triangle in downtown DC, the Department of Commerce and the Environmental Protection Agency.  And while Virgil looks forward to continuing his tour of the Triangle and other nodes of the Deep State, sometimes breaking news breaks in, and so we should pause to consider the latest.

On March 10, from his podium at the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, President Trump’s press secretary, Sean Spicer, was asked about the Deep State.  The question:

Does the White House believe in a “Deep State” that is actively working to undermine the president?

And here’s Spicer’s answer:

I think that there’s no question when you have eight years of one party in office, there are people who stay in government—and continue to espouse the agenda of the previous administration.  So I don’t think it should come as any surprise there are people that burrowed into government during eight years of the last administration and may have believed in that agenda and want to continue to seek it.  I don’t think that should come as a surprise.

In other words, Spicer’s answer to the answer to the question was “Yes.”  So now there can be no doubt that the concept of the Deep State will be discussed for a long time to come.  And yet if Virgil might be permitted to quibble with Spicer, he would say that the Deep State is a lot deeper than just the past eight years—we’ll come back to that point.

But first, let’s hear from other voices on the issue of whether or not there’s a Deep State.  As we can see, it’s gaining a critical mass of recognition, at least on the right.  And that’s good, because, as they say, forewarned is forearmed.

On March 5, former House speaker Newt Gingrich made himself clear—as he always does:

There is an active Deep State opposition to a populist disruptive reformer.  Many [in the government] believe it is their duty to break the law and lie.  For Trump to succeed, there will have to be profound overhaul of the bureaucracy.

A few days later, Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) didn’t use the actual words “Deep State,” but his point was the same when he described the situation in Powertown: “The same people were there, and they don’t think the new owners or the new managers should be running the ship.”  And then Kelly added this point about former president Barack Obama:

He’s only there for one purpose and one purpose only, and that is to run a shadow government that is totally going to upset the new agenda.

So is the 44th president setting up a permanent campaign against the 45th president?  Obama denies any such intention; he says that he and his family are remaining in Washington so that his youngest daughter, Sasha, can finish high school.  Of course, that explanation doesn’t quite tell us why former White House consigliere Valerie Jarrett has moved into the Obamas’ 8200-square-foot home in the swanky Kalorama neighborhood, just a couple miles north of the White House.

In fact, the real goal of the relocation, according to The Daily Mail, is to “oust Trump from the presidency either by forcing his resignation or through his impeachment.”

Meanwhile, others in Congress, too, are eyeing closely the shadowy armada arrayed against the new administration.  In the words of Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), “I think it’s really the Deep State vs. the president, the duly elected president.”

And on March 9, Fox News’ Sean Hannity, was even more direct:

Deep State Obama holdovers embedded like barnacles in the federal bureaucracy are hell-bent on destroying President Trump.  It’s time for the Trump administration to purge these saboteurs.

Interestingly, by coincidence, or perhaps not, the very next day President Trump’s Justice Department ordered the firing of 46 US Attorneys, all Obama holdovers.  

Still, some in the Main Stream Media, even now, choose to deny that there is any such thing as a Deep State.  One such is David Ignatius, veteran columnist for The Washington Post, who wrote on March 7 that what we’re seeing is simply the collision of President Trump and the properly established legal system:

Some [Trump] supporters claim he’s facing a secret coup from an intelligence and foreign policy establishment that constitutes a despotic “deep state.” But really, Trump is confronting the orderly process we call the “rule of law.”

Virgil thinks that it’s rich, indeed, for Ignatius to insist that there’s nothing going on except the proper rule of law.  Why?  Because it was Ignatius’ own reporting, back on January 12, that demonstrated the extra-legal power of the Deep State.  That was the report that revealed that on December 29, Michael Flynn, named as Trump’s national security adviser in the new administration, had been intercepted talking on the phone to the Russian ambassador to the US, Sergey Kislyak.  And from that first report, events tumbled, and as we all know, Flynn resigned from his White House post on February 13.

And yet a few days after that Ignatius story ran on January 12, Virgil wondered aloud how he got the information about a private phone call: “Now how did Ignatius know that?”  That is, how did Ignatius learn about the Flynn-Kislyak conversation?  Continuing, Virgil wrote back then, “The Postman won’t say, other than that he got his information from a ‘senior US government official.’”  Virgil then pointed out that even if was legal to record the call—yes, it’s smart to surveil Russians—it’s not legal to leak such information to the media, especially if it involves an American citizen.  “Such disclosures aren’t legal,” Virgil added with a sigh, “but once again, nobody in Washington, DC, seems to care.”

So we can see: In the Flynn case, the power of the Deep State wasn’t at all about the “rule of law.”  It was about just the opposite.

Others, too, take the Ignatius line—even if their denials are weirdly weak and self-contradicting.  Here, for example is a March 9 headline in Politico, the bible of the Beltway: “The Deep State Is a Figment of Steve Bannon’s Imagination.” The author, Loren DeJonge Schulman, starts out by firing both barrels at Bannon and anyone else who might have suspicions about the Deep State:

Here’s a handy rule for assessing the credibility of what you’re reading about national security in the Trump era: If somebody uses the term “Deep State,” you can be pretty sure they have no idea what they’re talking about.

Got that?  Nothing to see here: So if you hear Spicer, Gingrich, Kelly, Massie, Hannity—or, of course, ol’ Virgil—nattering on about the Deep State, well, have a dunce cap handy.

So who’s the author of this don’t-worry-about-a-thing piece?  We can see from her bio that Loren DeJonge Schulman, who now works at a Democratic-aligned think-tank in DC, has an extensive background in the politics of the Democratic Party and the Deep State, both.

So maybe it’s not so surprising that Schulman wouldn’t want anyone nosing around too much in Deep State matters.   After all, nobody likes being snooped on, right?   In fact, Virgil is reminded of the 1999 Brad Pitt movie, Fight Club, featuring these oft-repeated lines:

Welcome to Fight Club.  The first rule of Fight Club is: you do not talk about Fight Club.  The second rule of Fight Club is: you DO NOT talk about Fight Club!

That was Hollywood’s way of expressing the most basic wisdom of any secret enterprise: Keep it secret!

So Virgil was surprised to see how Schulman chose to end her denial piece.  After nearly 2000 words of mercilessly mocking the idea that there was any such thing as a Deep State, Schulman closed by . . . outing herself as a Deep Stater:

So the next time you hear someone using the term Deep State, send them a copy of this article.  Ask them to stop using it.  Tell them the term betrays their ignorance, and obscures and misleads far more than it illuminates.  And if that doesn’t work, well, we Deep Staters will take matters into our own hands. [emphasis added]

One supposes that Schulman would say that her final words were just her way of being funny: What an arch sense of humor she has!  And no doubt she got some yuks from her pals in Cleveland Park, Crystal City, and Chevy Chase.  Meanwhile, other Americans, curious about how they are being governed, might wonder what’s so funny about being threatened by a well-connected Beltway apparatchik.

Yes, an attempt at humor, however ominous, is one possible explanation for Schulman’s close.  Another possibility is that she is, in fact, proud to be a Deep Stater, and that her pride shines right through her feigned irony.  That is, she is eager to signal to her friends and colleagues in the Deep State that she is truly one of them, even as she laughs it off.

Was her Politico piece a successful stratagem?  Did Schulman succeed in playing her double game?  That is, proving that she is one of the cool kids, even as she convinced readers that only dopes and paranoids worry about the Deep State?  Virgil reports, you decide.  

Tapped Out: Surveillance Nation

March 9, 2017

Tapped Out: Surveillance Nation, Bill Whittle Channel via YouTube, March 9, 2017