Posted tagged ‘Clinton campaign’

How Obama Used Hillary’s Dossier to Spy on Trump

October 26, 2017

How Obama Used Hillary’s Dossier to Spy on Trump, FrontPage Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, October 26, 2017

(Please see also, We Need an Investigation of the Entire Justice Department Now. — DM)

Hillary and the DNC hire Fusion GPS. Fusion GPS hires Steele. Steele contacts an FBI pal. The FBI takes up the dossier. And then it’s turned into a pretext for eavesdropping.

But there isn’t supposed to be a link between the Democrats and the eavesdropping. 

That’s why Marc Elias, the Clinton campaign and DNC lawyer who hired Fusion GPS, had denied it in the past. It’s why Fusion GPS fought the investigation so desperately. Opposition research isn’t a crime. A conspiracy to eavesdrop on your political opponents however is very much a criminal matter.


How do you legally spy on your political opponents?

At some point in time that question was asked in the White House, at the DNC or in the hotel suites where Hillary and her staff were staying during her speaking tours. It wasn’t exactly asked that way.

But it was asked. And now we know more of the answer.

What Hillary and Obama did wasn’t Watergate. That was amateur hour. Its sophistication is a tribute to the left’s deep knowledge and control of the workings of Washington, D.C. The men and women who planned this and carried it out understood not only government, but had an intimate familiarity with the loopholes in the laws and the networks of contacts that could realize their highly illegal plans.

The eavesdropping on Trump officials carried the ‘fingerprints’ of an administration that bypassed Congress to fund left-wing groups by blackmailing banks into huge settlements paid out to political allies in a billion dollar slush fund and sent pallets of foreign currency to Iran on unmarked planes. A complete lack of ethical norms was combined with the careful use of legal loopholes to protect the actions of the perpetrators even while they were engaging in a criminal conspiracy.

The revolutionary cell is embedded into left-wing organizing. These cells combined into networks across government, the media and the non-profit sector to pursue a collective agenda. The latest revelations about the Trump dossier give us greater insight into how Obama and Hillary’s people conspired to legally eavesdrop on political opponents by breaking up that eavesdropping into a series of legal actions carried out across different cells.

The road that led to Susan Rice and Samantha Power ‘unmasking’ Trump officials began with the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee funding a dossier pushing Trump-Russia conspiracies. The dossier was sourced through Fusion GPS which is notorious for handfeeding material to reporters.

The Clinton campaign was seeing to it that whatever Fusion GPS produced would make its way into media stories without having Hillary’s fingerprints on it. Indeed the only reason we learned that Hillary and the DNC were ultimately behind the dossier was a congressional subpoena that risked exposing other Fusion GPS clients.

But the second reason was far more devious and devastating.

Fusion GPS’ man for the job was Christopher Steele. The former British intelligence figure had connections with FBI people. Hillary Clinton wasn’t just doing “opposition research” as her former press secretary has claimed.  The best way to do opposition research in an American election doesn’t involve hiring a Brit in London with contacts in Russian intelligence and the FBI.

That is however the best way to independently produce information that can be injected into an intelligence investigation. (It’s also, perhaps not coincidentally, a great way for the Russians to inject their own material into a presidential election without getting their fingerprints on it.)

Hiring Fusion GPS and then Steele created two degrees of separation between the dossier and Hillary. A London ex-intel man is a strange choice for opposition research in an American election, but a great choice to create a plausible ‘source’ that appears completely disconnected from American politics.

What would an ex-M.I.6 agent have to do with Hillary, Obama or Trump?

The official story is that Steele was a dedicated whistleblower who decided to message an FBI pal for reasons “above party politics” while the Fusion GPS boss was so dedicated that he spent his own money on it after the election. Some figures in the FBI decided to take Steele’s material, offering to pay him for his work and reimbursing some of his expenses. Portions of the dossier were used to justify the FISA eavesdropping on Trump officials and were then rolled into the Mueller investigation.

That is how cells coordinate by breaking up a larger plot into a series of individual actions that just happen to produce the ideal result. Hillary and the DNC hire Fusion GPS. Fusion GPS hires Steele. Steele contacts an FBI pal. The FBI takes up the dossier. And then it’s turned into a pretext for eavesdropping.

But there isn’t supposed to be a link between the Democrats and the eavesdropping.

That’s why Marc Elias, the Clinton campaign and DNC lawyer who hired Fusion GPS, had denied it in the past. It’s why Fusion GPS fought the investigation so desperately. Opposition research isn’t a crime. A conspiracy to eavesdrop on your political opponents however is very much a criminal matter.

A forensic examination of the dirty dossier’s journey shows us that this modern Watergate was a collaborative effort between an outgoing Democrat administration and its expected Dem successor. The effort was broken up into two big pieces. The Clinton side would generate the material. The Obama side would make use of it. Steele was positioned as the interface between the two sides of the effort.

The London detour created and laundered the dossier. Moving the operation offshore tangled the connection between the Clinton side and the Obama side. This was important because what Steele produced wasn’t really opposition research, but a pretext for a government investigation.

That pretext couldn’t come directly from Hillary. But the FBI was too politically divided to generate it.

Obama Inc. needed that pretext, but it also didn’t want to generate it internally. Any investigation of the political opposition was inherently explosive. It was better if the intelligence came from outside and especially overseas. That was why Fusion GPS brought in Steele.

The first FISA request was filed in June. It was shot down by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. That was the same month we were told that Fusion GPS hired Steele. The second FISA request came through in October. That was the month, Steele did his first media interview with Mother Jones.

Two birds were being killed with one stone.

Obama’s Watergate depended on extensive compartmentalization. The process that led to the eavesdropping on Trump officials and their unmasking at the hands of his officials had to appear as ‘clean’ as possible. Susan Rice and Samantha Power could make unmasking requests to the NSA, but they couldn’t be involved in generating the investigation that led to those requests.

Seeding the media with an astroturf campaign through Fusion GPS created the appearance of an organic push to investigate Trump-Russia ties. Targeting the lefty fringe of the media, Mother JonesThe Guardian, would bake in the narrative among a demographic already prone to conspiracy theories.

The operation was vastly more sophisticated than the crude ugliness of Watergate. But it was not unique in that regard. The fusion of government loopholes, political campaigns, media operations, opposition research and covert funding had occurred more than once during the Obama era.

The most recent example of such a fusion before Trump-Russia was the Iran Deal in which members of Congress were eavesdropped on, money was moved around through non-profits to influence the media, a White House operation planted stories in the media and billions were smuggled to Iran. This mixture of influence operation, propaganda, eavesdropping and laundering has likely happened far more often in the previous administration than we know.

The IRS targeting of conservatives, shutdown theater and the Libyan War offer more examples.

Obama’s eavesdropping on Trump didn’t break the norms. They had already been thoroughly broken. The network that is being uncovered, the interfaces between media insiders, top government officials and private interests, demonstrates why Obama Inc. believed that it could get away with it.

It had gotten away with all its old abuses. There was no reason to doubt it could do so again.

America still has elections. The rule of law exists. In theory. But the network being uncovered in the dossier investigation looks very much like something that would be found in a totalitarian state.

The combination of media propaganda, government surveillance and contrived investigations of political opponents is the sort of thing you would expect to find in… Russia. The key players were wary enough that they compartmentalized their conspiracy, breaking it up across the private and public sector, the media, private firms, law enforcement figures and even another country. But that just makes it look like a cross between terrorist cells and organized crime.

And that is what we are dealing with here.

The left’s networks are becoming increasingly malignant. They executed a sophisticated attack on the political process while contriving to blame it on their victims. What the attack reveals is just how much the levers of power in our political system are embedded in the shadowy networks that operate in and around government. And what those networks are willing to do to win.

FEC complaint accuses Clinton campaign, DNC of violating campaign finance law with dossier payments

October 26, 2017

FEC complaint accuses Clinton campaign, DNC of violating campaign finance law with dossier payments, Washington TimesDave Boyer, October 25, 2017

(But what difference does it make now! — DM)

FILE – In this Oct. 22, 2015, file photo, then-Democratic presidential candidate, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, before the House Benghazi Committee.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee violated campaign finance law by failing to disclose payments for a dossier on Donald Trump, according to a complaint filed Wednesday with the Federal Election Commission.

The complaint from the nonprofit Campaign Legal Center said the Democrats effectively hid the payments from public scrutiny, contrary to the requirements of federal law. By law, campaign and party committees must disclose the reason money is spent and its recipient.

“By filing misleading reports, the DNC and Clinton campaign undermined the vital public information role of campaign disclosures,” said Adav Noti, senior director of trial litigation and strategy at CLC and a former FEC official. “Voters need campaign disclosure laws to be enforced so they can hold candidates accountable for how they raise and spend money. The FEC must investigate this apparent violation and take appropriate action.”

Media reports on Tuesday alleged that a lawyer for the Clinton campaign hired Fusion GPS to investigate Mr. Trump in April 2016. The private research firm reportedly hired Christopher Steele, a former British spy with ties to the FBI, to conduct the opposition research, and he compiled a dossier containing allegations about Mr. Trump’s connections to Russia.

The Clinton campaign and the DNC funded the effort until the end of October 2016, just days before the election.

“Questions about who paid for this dossier are the subject of intense public interest, and this is precisely the information that FEC reports are supposed to provide,” said Brendan Fischer, director of federal and FEC reform at CLC. “Payments by a campaign or party committee to an opposition research firm are legal, as long as those payments are accurately disclosed. But describing payments for opposition research as ‘legal services’ is entirely misleading and subverts the reporting requirements.”

Highly Classified National Security Information Must Not be Leaked

February 20, 2017

Highly Classified National Security Information Must Not be Leaked, Dan Miller’s Blog, February 20, 2017

(The views expressed in this article are mine and do not necessarily reflect those of Warsclerotic or its other editors. — DM)

Evidence of political corruption should be.

It has been obvious since the early Republican primaries that most media coverage of a Trump presidency would be adverse and presented out of context. Perhaps a recent editorial at The Week Magazine explains why, albeit inadvertently. Or maybe this cartoon better explains the media view:

Trump and Putin as seen by the lamebrain media

Trump and Putin as seen by the lamebrain media

According to The Week Magazineall leaks are equal. However, we approve of those which fit our politics and disapprove of those which don’t.

Live by the leak, die by the leak. When WikiLeaks was releasing a steady stream of embarrassing emails hacked from Democratic officials during the presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton and her supporters cried foul, and urged the press not to report their contents. Donald Trump applauded every new revelation, saying the leaks provided voters with important information, and gleefully invited the Russians to find and publish emails she had deleted. “Boy, that WikiLeaks has done a job on her, hasn’t it?” Trump exulted. Now that it’s Trump who is being tortured by leaks, he’s complaining they’re illegal and “un-American.” Democrats, meanwhile, are welcoming the torrent like a rainstorm after a long drought. (See Main Stories.) When it comes to leaks, everyone is a hypocrite. “Good” leaks are ones that damage our opponents. “Bad” leaks are those that hurt Our Side. [Emphasis added.]

But let’s set partisanship aside for a moment. Is it always in the public interest for government officials to leak, and for the media to publish leaked material? Crusading journalist Glenn Greenwald—who angered the Obama administration by publishing Edward Snowden’s trove of stolen NSA documents—argues in this week that all leaks exposing “wrong-doing” are good ones, regardless of the leaker’s motives. “Leaks are illegal and hated by those in power (and their followers),” Greenwald says, “precisely because political officials want to be able to lie to the public with impunity and without detection.” The implication of this argument, of course, is that governments, politicians, and organizations should not keep any secrets—that when people in power conceal documents, emails, or information that could embarrass them, they are by definition deceiving the public. Radical transparency certainly sounds noble—but I suspect it’s a standard no public official, or indeed most of us, could survive. It’s so much more convenient to have a double standard: Transparency for thee, but not for me.

I disagree. Leaks of unclassified materials demonstrating corruption of the political process by either party are necessary for an effectively functioning democracy. Leaks of highly classified national security information — particularly in the area of foreign policy — endanger our democracy, are crimes and the perpetrators should be dealt with accordingly. When the media sensationalize leaks of the latter type, they are complicit and must be criticized vigorously.

The press has long served as an objective fail-safe to protect the public from the powers-that-be. That objectivity is now absent and the media’s role in our democratic society is in jeopardy. Rather than self-reflect as to how they got off course, the press have opted to label the man who exposed this derailment as un-American.

What’s un-American is the belief that the press should be unaccountable for its actions. What’s un-American is the belief that any attempt to criticize the press should be viewed as heresy. What’s un-American is the belief that the press is akin to a golden calf that compels Americans, presidents included, to worship the press.

Two very different types of leaks

a. DNC and Podesta e-mails:

The DNC and Podesta e-mails were released as written and posted by DNC officials and Podesta for transmission on unsecured servers easily hacked by modestly competent teenage hackers. I have seen no suggestion that the e-mails were classified. The intelligence community opined that Russian agents had done the hacking, but offered no significant proof beyond that the methods used by the hacker(s) were comparable to those used by Russian hackers in the past.

They found no discrepancies between the original e-mails and those posted by WikiLeaks (which denied that Russia had been the source). The e-mail leaks damaged the Clinton campaign because they portrayed, accurately — and in their own words —  dishonest efforts of high-level DNC and Clinton campaign personnel to skew the Democrat primary process in Ms. Clinton’s favor. They did not involve American foreign policy until Obama — who had previously done nothing of significance to halt Russia’s hacking of highly classified information from our intelligence establishment beyond asking, “pretty please, stop” — decided that Russia must be punished for Hillary’s loss of the general election through sanctions and by the expulsion of thirty-five of its diplomats.

Russian president Vladimir Putin had been expected to respond in kind, with the expulsion of US diplomats from its territory.

However, he later said he would not “stoop” to “irresponsible diplomacy”, but rather attempt to repair relations once Donald Trump takes office.

Mr Trump praised the decision as “very smart.”

b. Flynn telephone conversations:

Neither transcripts nor audio recordings of the Flynn telephone conversations were released. Instead, conclusions of the leakers were released. According to House Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes,

“I think there is a lot of innuendo out there that the intelligence agencies have a problem with Donald Trump. The rank and file people that are out doing jobs across the world — very difficult places — they don’t pay attention to what is going on in Washington,” the California representative told CBS “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson.

“What we have is we do have people in the last administration, people who are burrowed in, perhaps all throughout the government, who clearly are leaking to the press,” Nunes added. “And it is against the law. Major laws have been broken. If you believe the Washington Post story that said there were nine people who said this, these are nine people who broke the law.” [Emphasis added.]

Nunes said the FBI and other intelligence agencies ought to investigate who has leaked information to the press because so few people in the administration knew these secrets, that it would have had to have been someone at the “highest levels of the Obama administration” who is an acting official until Trump replaces him or her.

Did the leaker(s) try to present the conversations honestly, or to damage President Trump’s efforts to deal with Russia in matters of foreign policy where American and Russian interests coincide? To disrupt America’s badly needed “reset” with Russia which seemed likely to succeed under President Trump after Clinton’s and Obama’s efforts had failed?


Remember the Obama – Romney debate when Romney characterized Russia as America’s greatest geopolitical threat and Obama responded that the cold war was over and that “the 1980’s are calling and want their foreign policy back”?

The position now asserted by the Democrats and the media seems rather like the position that Obama rejected. If the position(s) of the Democrats and the media are now correct and Russia is again our enemy, might it be due to actions which Obama took or failed to take over the past eight years?

It is unfortunate that there has been a resurgence of Democrat (and some Republican) Russophobia when Russia is reassessing her relationship with Iran and America.

On January 22, 2017, the Russian media outlet published an analysis on Russia-Iran relations. According to the article’s author, Dmitri Nersesov, Iran is becoming a problem for Russian interests. Nersesov also added that Iran wants Russia to choose between Iran and Washington. “Iran wants Russia to recognize that Teheran holds the key to the regulation of the Syrian crisis. Should Russia decide that the real strategy is built on the cooperation between Moscow and Washington, rather than Moscow and Teheran; the Islamic Republic will be extremely disappointed,” Nersesov wrote. [Emphasis added.]

An American – Russian realignment in areas of mutual concern — which as suggested below had seemed to be progressing well until General Flynn ceased to be involved — would be good, not bad. We have many areas of mutual concern, and Iran is one of them. The war in Syria is another. When were Russians last directed to yell Death to America? Or to refer to America as the “Great Satan?”

c. General Flynn, Russia and Iran

General Flynn had, at President Trump’s request, been dealing with Russia concerning the future roles of Iran, Russia and America in the Syria debacle:

Overlaying US President Donald Trump’s extraordinary, hour-long skirmish with reporters Thursday, Feb. 16, was bitter frustration over the domestic obstacles locking him out from his top security and foreign policy goals. [Emphasis added.]

Even before his inauguration four weeks ago, he had arranged to reach those goals by means of an understanding with President Vladimir Putin for military and intelligence cooperation in Syria, both for the war on the Islamic State and for the removal of Iran and its Lebanese surrogate Hizballah from that country. [Emphasis added.]

But his antagonists, including elements of the US intelligence community, were turning his strategy into a blunderbuss for hitting him on the head, with the help of hostile media.

Thursday, in a highly unconventional meeting with the world media, he tried to hit back, and possibly save his strategy.

That won’t be easy. The exit of National Security Adviser Mike Flynn, the prime mover in the US-Russian détente, sent the Kremlin a negative signal. The Russians began unsheathing their claws when they began to suspect that the US president was being forced back from their understanding. The SSV 175 Viktor Leonov spy ship was ordered to move into position opposite Delaware on the East Coast of America; Su-24 warplanes buzzed the USS Porter destroyer in the Black Sea.

Before these events, Washington and Moscow wre moving briskly towards an understandingdebkafile’s intelligence sources disclose that the Kremlin had sent positive messages to the White House on their joint strategy in Syria, clarifying that Moscow was not locked in on Bashar Assad staying on as president. [Emphasis added.]

They also promised to table at the Geneva conference on Syria taking place later this month a demand for the all “foreign forces” to leave Syria. This would apply first and foremost to the pro-Iranian Iraqi, Pakistani and Afghan militias brought in by Tehran to fight for Assad under the command of Revolutionary Guards officers, as well as Hizballah. [Emphasis added.]

Deeply troubled by this prospect, Tehran sent Iran’s supreme commander in the Middle East, the Al Qods chief Gen. Qassem Soleimani, to Moscow this week to find out what was going on.

Flynn’s departure put the lid on this progress. Then came the damaging leak to the Wall Street Journal, that quoted an “intelligence official” as saying that his agencies hesitated to reveal to the president the “sources and methods” they use to collect information, due to “possible links between Trump associates and Russia.. Those links, he said “could potentially compromise the security of such classified information.”

A first-year student knows that this claim is nonsense, since no agency ever share its sources and methods with any outsider, however high-placed.

What the leak did reveal was that some Washington insiders were determined at all costs to torpedo the evolving understanding between the American and Russian presidents. The first scapegoat was the strategy the two were developing for working together in Syria. [Emphasis added.]

Defending his policy of warming relations with Moscow, Trump protested that “getting along with Russia is not a bad thing.” He even warned there would be a “nuclear holocaust like no other” if relations between the two superpowers were allowed to deteriorate further.

It is too soon to say whether his Russian policy is finally in shreds or can still be repaired. Trump indicated more than once in his press briefing that he would try and get the relations back on track.

Asked how he would react to Russia’s latest provocative moves, he said: “I’m not going to tell you anything about what responses I do. I don’t talk about military responses. I don’t have to tell you what I’m going to do in North Korea,” he stressed.

At all events, his administration seems to be at a crossroads between whether to try and salvage the partnership with Russia for Syria, or treat it as a write-off. If the latter, then Trump must decide whether to send American troops to the war-torn country to achieve his goals, or revert to Barack Obama’s policy of military non-intervention in the conflict. [Emphasis added.]

Substantially more is generally involved in matters of foreign policy than is facially apparent or than government officials should discuss publicly, particularly while negotiations with foreign powers are underway. Leaks by held-over members of the intelligence community did much to reveal the opinions of the leakers but little to reveal what General Flynn had been doing, while upsetting the chances of better American – Russian relations in areas of mutual concern.

Conclusions — The Administrative State

The Federal Government has grown far too big for its britches, giving the unelected “administrative state” substantially more authority, and hence power, than is consistent with a properly functioning democracy. As they have been demonstrating in recent months, holdovers from one administration can succeed, at least partially, in paralyzing a new and democratically elected president. Holdovers with political appointee status can generally be fired. Few others who should be can be.

Getting rid of the obstructionist “civil servants” who have become our masters should rank very high on President Trump’s “to do” list and should be accomplished before it’s too late. The task may be difficult but is not impossible. Perhaps some particularly obnoxious Federal agencies (or departments within those agencies) can be relocated to places less congenial than Washington. Inner City Chicago comes to mind. So do otherwise pleasant cities in California, where housing prices are much higher than in the Washington, D.C. area. How many Federal employees faced with the choice of relocating or resigning would choose the latter option?

There are likely other and probably better ways to get rid of the fatheads. President Trump’s administration should devise them.

Making Sense of the Russian Hacking Saga

December 31, 2016

Making Sense of the Russian Hacking Saga, PJ Media, Charlie Martin, December 30, 2016

Now, we have leaked files that exposed real corruption in the DNC and real conspiracies against private citizens. We’re told this is an attack on our democracy. At the same time, there was an ongoing effort to lobby, coerce, even threaten electors to get them to change their votes in the Electoral College.

So you tell me what the bigger threat to democracy is: Revealing actual facts about the DNC and the Clinton campaign? Or trying to suborn the electors and change the election results?


A quick trip to an alternate timeline:

New York Times, December 7, 2016

Trump Campaign Claims Times’ Coverage Skewed Election

“Hacked” Emails Responsible for Trump Loss

In a dramatic announcement, failed presidential candidate Donald J. Trump accused the New York Times and the Russian FSB of sabotaging his campaign by hacking and releasing emails from the Trump campaign’s mail servers.

Mr. Trump announced a campaign to convince members of the Electoral College to vote for him even if their state had voted for Mrs Clinton.

“A source inside the FBI told me that the Russians released these emails because they wanted Crooked Hillary to win,” Mr Trump said. “They call electors who change their votes ‘faithless electors’ but we should call them ‘faithFUL’ — faithful to what Alexander Hamilton meant electors to do. They should vote for me, to prove to Vladimir Putin he can’t corrupt American elections.”

President-Elect Clinton’s spokesperson issued this statement: “As we saw before the election, Mr Trump refused then to promise to accept the election results, and continues to refuse, even going so far as to attempt to subvert the electoral process by suborning electors. President-elect Clinton won fair and square, and Mr. Trump is, at best, grasping at straws.”

So I admit it: the “what if a Republican said that” trope has gotten to be so much a cliche that I honestly hate to use it. The problem is, it’s so often right.

For the last several weeks, people in the Democratic Party, the press, groups of crazies like Media Matters, and individual nuts like Keith Olbermann have been pushing this idea that the Rooosians are hacking our elections, doom!

So get out your tinfoil hats and let’s see if we can make some sense of this mess.

What we know for certain. Starting on July 22, 2016, WikiLeaks started releasing emails obtained from the Democratic National Committee going back well into 2015. These emails proved to be, at the very least, embarrassing to lots of people involved with the Hillary Clinton campaign: they resulted in Debbie Wasserman Schultz being forced to resign as head of the DNC when it became clear she and the DNC were conspiring behind the scenes to prevent Bernie Sanders from being nominated; they also revealed that Donna Brazile, acting head of the DNC, had been passing supposedly confidential debate questions to the Clinton campaign.

In November, WikiLeaks started to release emails obtained from John Podesta’s personal email accounts. These also proved embarrassing for many reasons — not just because of the campaign, but by exposing Podesta and the Center for American Progress conspiring to use political pressure against private citizens, in one notable case very successfully intimidating Roger Pielke Jr. into leaving the Climate Change debate entirely.

There is one more thing we know: with the exception of a desultory attempt to claim the emails had been modified, there has been essentially no attempt to deny the illicitly obtained emails were authentic.

How were the emails obtained? The consensus of the legacy press and the Clinton campaign has been that the emails were “hacked.” Now, any time you read a news story about anything relating to computer security, it’s worth remembering that to most people in either media or politics, the word “hacked” means “this happened somehow with a computer and computers are scary.” In this case, what people really mean is that somehow someone illicitly got access to a bunch of embarrassing email.

What we know is this: There were active Russian efforts to hack both Democrats and Republicans. To anyone with even a vague knowledge of intelligence and counter-intelligence — say, anyone who has read a detailed history of World War II, or a John LeCarré novel — the basic reaction to this should be, “well, duh.” The Russians are almost certainly trying to hack various email systems — as well as trying to intercept Internet traffic, exploit zero-day flaws, seduce young and impressionable (and old and lonely) staffers, dig through trash, and everything else that has been part of spying since Ur and the Assyrians. So are the Americans. And the Israelis. And the Chinese. And the Germans and the French and pretty much everyone else.

(Just as an aside — if the Russians were hacking the DNC successfully, I wonder what happened to the server…)

In the case of the Russians, though, we have something more, since we have a number of statements on the part of the DNI and the DCIA that there were active Russian attempts to hack U.S. servers. And I have sources of my own who confirm the intelligence community really does have good evidence the Russians were involved.

There’s another point here: while the Russians were trying to hack both parties, there are only some unsubstantiated assertions the hackers were successful with the RNC computers. The RNC has repeatedly denied they were successfully hacked.

WikiLeaks says they didn’t get the emails from the Russians. This is one of those things that we don’t know how to evaluate. WikiLeaks honestly has a pretty good record of their released data being the real thing. When Julian Assange and Craig Murray are willing to come out publicly and say they got these emails from a disgruntled DNC staffer disgusted with what happened to Sanders, we ought to at least consider it.

On the other hand, it’s exactly what we’d expect if Assange really were a front for Russian intelligence.

What to make of that? I don’t know.

What we can suspect. Now we come to the part where I dance. These are some things I find suspicious.

  • What is the evidence the Russians wanted to help Trump? As far as I can tell, the public evidence for this assertion is that derogatory information was leaked about the DNC and not the RNC. But then, the RNC tells us they weren’t actually hacked.
  • Why did the evaluation change so quickly? In October, there was no evidence the Russians were taking sides. On November 17, there was no evidence the Russians were taking sides. On December 9, the CIA (according to anonymous sources) had decided it was an effort to help Trump, but the FBI disagreed. By December 16, the FBI reportedly came around.Here’s one other thing we know: over that same interval, a Democrat-connected PR firm began a campaign to suborn electors.
  • It’s possible everyone involved is telling the truth. That is, the Russians really did hack the DNC, and a DNC insider really did leak the emails to WikiLeaks.

This is an article that, by the nature of things, doesn’t have any conclusions. There’s too much we don’t know. And yes, before someone starts up on “how dare you not trust the CIA?!,” I’m just going to tell you, it’s easy.

The CIA, like every other bureaucracy, suffers from the SNAFU principal: in most circumstances, bureaucrats will tell their bosses what they think the bosses want to hear. (Yes, this is not exactly the original SNAFU principal. For a longer exposition, see this Ignite talk I did some years ago.)

Intelligence assessments almost never say something with absolute certainty; they’re usually phrased to lay out all possibilities and then say which ones seem most probable. When you hear that the intelligence says something certainly — think “slam dunk” — it means the SNAFU principle is probably in action.

After all these years, though, I am pleased to see the strange new respect the CIA is getting from the Left.

Did the Russians or WikiLeaks or both “hack the election”?

Now, here’s where we run into a third version of the word “hack.” No one is asserting that the Black Hats, whoever they were, actually affected the voting. (Well, there was one person at New York Magazine suggesting computer scientists were suggesting this, but no one took it seriously, including the computer scientists he was misinterpreting.) All that anyone is suggesting is that publishing the emails may have led some people not to vote for Clinton.

What to make of all this?

Here, at last, we wrap around to the little parallel-universe story that started this piece. We know that a number of emails, ranging from embarrassing to really really embarrassing and possibly criminal, were exposed by WikiLeaks, and after that Clinton lost the election.

This isn’t the first time documents have been released — whether by “hacking” or old-fashioned leaking. Think back to the Pentagon Papers, which were leaked to the New York Times, and published. I don’t recall anyone at the time suggesting this was a threat to democracy, and even if it was, we seem to have survived. Certainly, repeated leakings of FBI investigations during Watergate were noble moments of journalistic perfection, not threats to democracy.

Now, we have leaked files that exposed real corruption in the DNC and real conspiracies against private citizens. We’re told this is an attack on our democracy. At the same time, there was an ongoing effort to lobby, coerce, even threaten electors to get them to change their votes in the Electoral College.

So you tell me what the bigger threat to democracy is: Revealing actual facts about the DNC and the Clinton campaign? Or trying to suborn the electors and change the election results?

David Brock Says Hillary Clinton Was ‘Poorly Advised’ By Her Campaign

December 14, 2016

David Brock Says Hillary Clinton Was ‘Poorly Advised’ By Her Campaign, Daily Caller, Chuck Ross, December 13, 2016

Notably, Brock did not blame FBI director James Comey or Russian cyber attacks for Clinton’s loss, as have some campaign veterans.


David Brock, the former conservative journalist turned Democratic operative, says that Hillary Clinton lost to Donald Trump, in part, because she was “poorly advised” by her campaign.

Brock, who heads the group Media Matters and operated the pro-Clinton super PAC Correct the Record, offered that candid assessment and others in a podcast interview with Politico’s Glenn Thrush.

In addition to slamming Clinton’s professional campaign hands, Brock acknowledged that his own sister voted for Donald Trump. He also blasted the media over its coverage of the campaign, calling the press “animals.”

Notably, Brock did not blame FBI director James Comey or Russian cyber attacks for Clinton’s loss, as have some campaign veterans.

“I say she was poorly advised,” Brock told Thrush of Clinton. “There was a slow-motion swift boating of Hillary Clinton in ’15. I know you think Democrats would have learned from ’04, but no.”

“What could one have done?” the operative continued, adding that “the lesson of the swift boating thing was to lean in.”

Brock was a prominent figure throughout the campaign. He appeared often on TV to defend Clinton over the various scandals that plagued her candidacy. During those appearances he refused, often to the exasperation of his hosts, to acknowledge that Clinton did anything wrong by using a private email server as secretary of state.

“She should have just said, in my opinion, ‘This was allowed,’” Brock told Thrush. “I wouldn’t have apologized. Once you apologize, then the press wants you to get down on your knees and say you’re sorry. They are not appeasable. Trump apologized for nothing, including the horrible tape, right? No apology.”

Brock also took aim at the Clinton campaign’s digital operations and at what he said was a lack of a strategy to combat Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Brock, who rose to prominence in the 1990s with a series of anti-Bill Clinton stories for The American Spectator, said he talked to the former president in January or February about the need to beef up the campaign’s online operations.

“I talked to him about the fact that the campaign had no discernable online strategy,” Brock told Thrush. “I said, ‘There’s something wrong in the digital operation because it’s not connecting. Sanders is connecting.’ They were slow to realize Sanders was connecting. And I said, ‘Something has to be done.’ And so nothing was done.”

Brock begrudgingly tipped his hat to the Trump campaign for its handling of the release of an “Access Hollywood” tape from 2005 in which Trump was heard speaking in vulgar terms about women. The campaign’s efforts to paint the comments as benign locker room banter worked on his own sister, Brock admitted.

“My sister voted for Donald Trump and her response was, ‘It was locker room talk,’” Brock said. “So it worked. My sister got the talking point, OK?”

But he also took a shot at the media for, he says, allowing Trump to shape coverage of him.

“Donald Trump intimidated the press and bullied the press. I’m not saying you have to intimidate and bully, but you have to be tough,” he said. “The press are animals and they need to be treated that way.”

He also acknowledged that Democrats’ position is bleak.

“We’re in a bad situation, the Democratic Party,” Brock said. “Hillary Clinton’s loss has exposed the lack of Democratic power in this country at all levels.”

“But we won the popular vote; we ought to act like it,” he added. “And so I think the strategy is — it’s pretty simple. The strategy is to keep Trump unpopular and let me tell you why we need to keep him unpopular.”


Washington Post Issues Correction To “Fake News” Story

December 10, 2016

Washington Post Issues Correction To “Fake News” Story, Jonathan Turley’s Blog, Jonathan Turley, December 9, 2016


The Washington Post has been under fire for its publication of an article entitling “Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say.” The article by Craig Timberg relied on a controversial website called PropOrNot, which published what is little more than a black list of website that the authors deemed purveyors of fake news including some of the largest sites on the Internet like Drudge Report. However, the previously unknown group was itself criticized for listing “allies” that proved false. Yesterday, Hillary Clinton ramped up the call for action against “fake news” which she described as an epidemic. Now the Washington Post has published a rather cryptic correction to the fake news story. The controversy is the subject of my latest column in USA Today.

The organization listed a variety of news sites as illegitimate. It included some of the most popular political sites from the left and right Truthout, Zero Hedge,, and the Ron Paul Institute. It even includes one of the most read sites on the Internet, the Drudge Report. Notably, it also included WikiLeaks, which has been credited with exposing political corruption and unlawful surveillance programs.

The Washington Post is the largest newspaper to buy the clearly biased list as the work of objective “experts” — ignoring that the site relies on anonymity of those contributors. When the Post ran the story, some were eager to push the story as a reason why they lost the election. The former White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer tweeted, “Why isn’t this the biggest story in the world right now?” The reason is that it was facially absurd.

The Post has now added the following “correction”:

Editor’s Note: The Washington Post on Nov. 24 published a story on the work of four sets of researchers who have examined what they say are Russian propaganda efforts to undermine American democracy and interests. One of them was PropOrNot, a group that insists on public anonymity, which issued a report identifying more than 200 websites that, in its view, wittingly or unwittingly published or echoed Russian propaganda. A number of those sites have objected to being included on PropOrNot’s list, and some of the sites, as well as others not on the list, have publicly challenged the group’s methodology and conclusions. The Post, which did not name any of the sites, does not itself vouch for the validity of PropOrNot’s findings regarding any individual media outlet, nor did the article purport to do so. Since publication of The Post’s story, PropOrNot has removed some sites from its list.

One of the spins offered by the Clinton camp was that the election loss was not (1) the establishment engineering the primary win for Clinton; (2) the selection of the ultimate establishment figure when all polls showed people wanted an outsider; (3) the record low polls of Clinton for popularity and honesty; or (4) the continual missteps of Clinton or her staff in just being honest in dealing with various scandals. Instead it was the “fake news” problem. When this has been raised during speech appearances in the last few weeks, I have repeatedly asked people to point to the fake news that influenced the election. They often cite the FBI investigation but that is not fake news. It was real news. They also cite Wikileaks. However, while Clinton and DNA head Donna Brazile suggested that emails were tampered with, they produced no proof of any such false emails on Wikileaks.

When the New Yorker pressed the anonymous spokesman (a curious position) for ProporNot, he struggled to explain why conservative sites like Drudge were put on the list.

Yet, when pressed on the technical patterns that led PropOrNot to label the Drudge Report a Russian propaganda outlet, he could point only to a general perception of bias in its content. “They act as a repeater to a significant extent, in that they refer audiences to sort of Russian stuff,” he said. “There’s no a-priori reason, stepping back, that a conservative news site would rely on so many Russian news sources. What is up with that?”

Now there is hard journalistic work. The Post insists that it had other sources, but what would prompt the reliance on this anonymous band of obvious amateurs?

I have been highly critical of sites like The National Report, a group of truly juvenile idiots who get a thrill by just placing false news stories. Those sites are the Internet version of graffiti and should be addressed by servers. I have also encouraged lawsuits for defamation and false light when available. However, there are thankfully few adults who actually get a kick out of tricking people into posting false stories. They are the same type of people who love to watch fire departments rush to false alarms. It gives some weird sense of worth to degrade others by tricking them.

The current controversy is different. Many people in Washington are irate over Wikileaks — not because the email were untrue but because they proved what many had long suspected . . . that Washington is a highly corrupt place full of truly despicable people. For people who make their living on controlling media and information, it was akin to the barbarians breaching the walls of Rome. So the answer is to call for government regulation to combat what will be declared “fake” news or propaganda. It is only the latest effort to convince people to surrender their rights and actually embrace censorship.

Steep Learning Curve: DNC Staff Rally Behind Brazile As Democratic Leaders Reportedly Groom Chelsea For Congress

November 12, 2016

Steep Learning Curve: DNC Staff Rally Behind Brazile As Democratic Leaders Reportedly Groom Chelsea For Congress, Jonathan Turley’s Blog, Jonathan Turley, November 12, 2016




For even the armchair political commentator, the results of this election were not surprising. The voters made two things clear from the outset of the election: they wanted a change from the establishment and they did not like Hillary Clinton. The Democratic leadership responded by engineering the selection of perhaps the greatest establishment figure in politics and someone with a record level of unpopularity with voters. On election day, voters followed through on every poll: they voted against Clinton and the establishment. Only the mainstream media and democratic insiders seemed bowled over by the news — shocked that the voters would reject their sage advice and lopsided coverage. Indeed, as someone who contributed to the coverage that night, I was shocked how shocked everyone was. It showed how entirely out of touch the core Democratic leadership (and media) has become. Now, that thick cloak of denial appears firmly in place as Democrats blame FBI Director Comey for the loss despite the fact that Hillary was declining in the polls before his late disclosure to Congress and the fact that Hillary set records on dishonesty in poll after poll. Two stories this week have brought this home. One was the rallying behind Donna Brazile by DNC staff last week with the notable exception of one man who confronted both Brazile and his colleagues. The second is the report that Democratic leaders immediately turned form Hillary Clinton’s historic defeat to start grooming Chelsea Clinton for political office. The problem it seems was that the public was not given enough Clintons. Faced with a populist uprising, the Democratic leadership seems to be offering more of the same like an actor who cannot move beyond one script and one role.

We have previously discussed the unethical actions of interim DNC chief Brazile and the conspicuous failures of the media to investigate her claims of altered emails. While CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker called Brazile’s actions “disgusting” and others have denounced her actions, the DNC has stuck with Brazile and she recently appeared before staff to given them a pep talk.

The event however did not turn out quite as planned when one staffer had had enough. According to The Huffington Post, a staffer named Zach asked “Why should we trust you as chair to lead us through this? You backed a flawed candidate, and your friend [former DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz] plotted through this to support your own gain and yourself.” He continued by saying “You are part of the problem. You and your friends will die of old age and I’m going to die from climate change. You and your friends let this happen, which is going to cut 40 years off my life expectancy.”

He then left — a personification for millions of independents and Democrats who abandoned the party to elect Donald Trump.

Nevertheless, the rest of the DNC rallied behind Brazile and gave breathless accounts of her inspiring leadership. A DNC staffer told HuffPost that there was “overwhelming” support for Brazile and that her words “had some staffers in tears.” That would be welcomed news for Republican strategists. It is also worth noting that, after emails showed that Debbie Wasserman-Shultz (Brazile’s predecessor) had worked to rig the primary and dealt dishonestly with Sanders, she was overwhelmingly reelected and embraced by the DNC leadership.

The second story is even more curious. Many viewed the election as the ultimate rejection of the Clinton dynasty that has controlled the Democratic party for over a decade. The Clintons put their family and its “brand” front and center in this election . . . and voters rejected it. However, within hours of the defeat, Democratic leaders were reportedly turning to Chelsea Clinton as the new flag bearer. Clinton, 36, is reportedly being groomed by the same leadership to replace Rep. Nita Lowey, 79, in representing New York’s 17th District. Of course, Chelsea does not live there but the district covers part of Westchester County, including Bill and Hillary Clinton’s hometown of Chappaqua.

Chelsea was previously given a high-ranking media position with disastrous results— a move that was denounced by journalists as political connections overwhelming journalistic merit. Her role in the Clinton Foundation has come under fire. However, the greatest problem is that her resume is largely the result of her family and foundation ties.

The question is whether the Democrats are going to spin the result of this election and deny reality when, in two years, they will be facing the inverse of this election: more Democratic seats will be up for grabs and Trump could receive a super majority in Congress, including a veto-proof margin.

I am an independent and do not have a horse in this race. However, in speaking with my Democratic students, they express complete separation from the Democratic leadership and the establishment politics that it has come to represent. I come from a long-standing Democratic and liberal family in Chicago. When I was raised in that environment, the Democratic party was the populist party — the voice of the outsider and emerging constituencies. Now it is viewed as the party of insiders and establishment power brokers. There may be enough unhappy members (particularly Sanders people) to change the party, but these stories do not help with that image.

It seems to me that, if the Democrats want to resurrect their party, it will require entirely new leadership and a new vision to fit an increasing independent populace.

What do you think?

Clinton Campaign Acknowledged Hypocrisy on Equal Pay

November 4, 2016

Clinton Campaign Acknowledged Hypocrisy on Equal Pay, Washington Free Beacon, November 4, 2016

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton makes remarks at a Pennsylvania Democrats Pittsburgh Organizing Event at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Friday, Nov. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton makes remarks at a Pennsylvania Democrats Pittsburgh Organizing Event at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Friday, Nov. 4, 2016. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

Hillary Clinton’s campaign admitted she was “hypocritical” on the issue of equal pay, according to new emails released by Wikileaks.

The Washington Free Beacon has reported extensively on the gender pay gap for Clinton’s staff while she was a senator, secretary of state, and in her current campaign. Clinton’s campaign manager Robby Mook acknowledged paying women less was problematic for his candidate who has continued to make the issue central to her campaign.

“This is the problem with having big chunks of research locked away…we just don’t know what’s going to be coming at us,” Mook wrote John Podesta in the aftermath of the New York Times story revealing Clinton’s use of a private email account.

“I worry we’re going to get out on a limb on certain issues (perfect example: equal pay) and not realize how hypocritical we might look later,” he said.

“I hate to sound like we’re trying to get into all her dirty laundry and I completely understand all the sensitivities, but this is the big leagues and we need comms and reserach experts preparing us [sic],” Mook added. “Consultants are all a flutter as you can imagine! But I know that this is a special world we live in…”

Mook’s comments appeared on the same email chain where he said he believed “everything was taken care of” in the summer of 2014 regarding Clinton’s private email server.

Other emails revealed the Clinton team’s concern about reports that she paid women just 72 cents on the dollar paid to men, causing the campaign to poll test whether the issue hurt her image in Iowa.

The campaign has confirmed the accuracy of the Free Beacon’s report that Clinton’s male senate staffers received a median salary $15,708.38 higher than women.

The gender pay gap continued when Clinton became secretary of state, where men earned on average $16,000 a year more than women.

Early in her presidential campaign a Free Beacon analysis found that female staffers were earning 87 cents for each dollar that was earned by a man.

The U.S. director of national intelligence and the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security have accused “Russia’s senior-most officials” of hacking and leaking emails posted to Wikileaks and other sites in order to influence the 2016 election.

Podesta Warned: “I Hope Hillary Truly Understands Now How Batshit Crazy David Brock Is”

November 4, 2016

Podesta Warned: “I Hope Hillary Truly Understands Now How Batshit Crazy David Brock Is” Jonathan Turley’s Blog, Jonathan Turley, November 4, 2016

The consistent view from both inside and outside of the Clinton campaign referenced Brock in the same terms. The obvious conclusion is that it is precisely those attributes that proved the attraction.


One of the issues that was raised repeatedly by Bernie Sanders and later by Donald Trump is the alliance between Hillary Clinton and David Brock, the founder of Media Matters. Brock has been widely attacked for what critics view as sleazy and vicious work on behalf of Hillary Clinton. You may recall Bernie Sanders denouncing Clinton for her continued alliance with Brock and use of his controversial PAC organizations. Sanders referred to Brock as simple “scum” but Clinton [neither? — DM] denounced Brock [n]or to discourage[d] Democrats from working with or contributing to his PACs. It turns out that even Clinton aides were disgusted by Clinton’s refusal to cut off Brock or to denounced his work. In the latest batch of Wikileaks, Neera Tanden, the President of Center for American Progress, allegedly emailed John Podesta that “I hope Hillary truly understands now how batshit crazy David Brock is.”

Of course, the question answers itself. The consistent view from both inside and outside of the Clinton campaign referenced Brock in the same terms. The obvious conclusion is that it is precisely those attributes that proved the attraction.


The mainstream media has been repeatedly accused of ignoring the Clinton-Brock connection. Yet, the email (if accurate) shows that Clinton allies were equally concerned about the association. Tanden previously worked for Hillary Clinton’s Senate campaign and later served as policy director for Barack Obama.

The subject of the email was simply “I Hope.”

You can Smell Hillary’s Fear

November 4, 2016

You can Smell Hillary’s Fear, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, November 4, 2016


Hillary Clinton has awkwardly wound her way through numerous scandals in just this election cycle. But she’s never shown fear or desperation before. Now that has changed. Whatever she is afraid of, it lies buried in her emails with Huma Abedin. And it can bring her down like nothing else has.


In the final stretch of the election, Hillary Rodham Clinton has gone to war with the FBI.

The word “unprecedented” has been thrown around so often this election that it ought to be retired. But it’s still unprecedented for the nominee of a major political party to go war with the FBI.

But that’s exactly what Hillary and her people have done. Coma patients just waking up now and watching an hour of CNN from their hospital beds would assume that FBI Director James Comey is Hillary’s opponent in this election.

The FBI is under attack by everyone from Obama to CNN. Hillary’s people have circulated a letter attacking Comey. There are currently more media hit pieces lambasting him than targeting Trump. It wouldn’t be too surprising if the Clintons or their allies were to start running attack ads against the FBI.

The FBI’s leadership is being warned that the entire left-wing establishment will form a lynch mob if they continue going after Hillary. And the FBI’s credibility is being attacked by the media and the Democrats to preemptively head off the results of the investigation of the Clinton Foundation and Hillary Clinton.

The covert struggle between FBI agents and Obama’s DOJ people has gone explosively public.

The New York Times has compared Comey to J. Edgar Hoover. Its bizarre headline, “James Comey Role Recalls Hoover’s FBI, Fairly or Not” practically admits up front that it’s spouting nonsense. The Boston Globe has published a column calling for Comey’s resignation. Not to be outdone, Time has an editorial claiming that the scandal is really an attack on all women.

James Carville appeared on MSNBC to remind everyone that he was still alive and insane. He accused Comey of coordinating with House Republicans and the KGB. And you thought the “vast right wing conspiracy” was a stretch.

Countless media stories charge Comey with violating procedure. Do you know what’s a procedural violation? Emailing classified information stored on your bathroom server.

Senator Harry Reid has sent Comey a letter accusing him of violating the Hatch Act. The Hatch Act is a nice idea that has as much relevance in the age of Obama as the Tenth Amendment. But the cable news spectrum quickly filled with media hacks glancing at the Wikipedia article on the Hatch Act under the table while accusing the FBI director of one of the most awkward conspiracies against Hillary ever.

If James Comey is really out to hurt Hillary, he picked one hell of a strange way to do it.

Not too long ago Democrats were breathing a sigh of relief when he gave Hillary Clinton a pass in a prominent public statement. If he really were out to elect Trump by keeping the email scandal going, why did he trash the investigation? Was he on the payroll of House Republicans and the KGB back then and playing it coy or was it a sudden development where Vladimir Putin and Paul Ryan talked him into taking a look at Anthony Weiner’s computer?

Either Comey is the most cunning FBI director that ever lived or he’s just awkwardly trying to navigate a political mess that has trapped him between a DOJ leadership whose political futures are tied to Hillary’s victory and his own bureau whose apolitical agents just want to be allowed to do their jobs.

The only truly mysterious thing is why Hillary and her associates decided to go to war with a respected Federal agency. Most Americans like the FBI while Hillary Clinton enjoys a 60% unfavorable rating.

And it’s an interesting question.

Hillary’s old strategy was to lie and deny that the FBI even had a criminal investigation underway. Instead her associates insisted that it was a security review. The FBI corrected her and she shrugged it off. But the old breezy denial approach has given way to a savage assault on the FBI.

Pretending that nothing was wrong was a bad strategy, but it was a better one that picking a fight with the FBI while lunatic Clinton associates try to claim that the FBI is really the KGB.

There are two possible explanations.

Hillary Clinton might be arrogant enough to lash out at the FBI now that she believes that victory is near. The same kind of hubris that led her to plan her victory fireworks display could lead her to declare a war on the FBI for irritating her during the final miles of her campaign.

But the other explanation is that her people panicked.

Going to war with the FBI is not the behavior of a smart and focused presidential campaign. It’s an act of desperation. When a presidential candidate decides that her only option is to try and destroy the credibility of the FBI, that’s not hubris, it’s fear of what the FBI might be about to reveal about her.

During the original FBI investigation, Hillary Clinton was confident that she could ride it out. And she had good reason for believing that. But that Hillary Clinton is gone. In her place is a paranoid wreck. Within a short space of time the “positive” Clinton campaign promising to unite the country has been replaced by a desperate and flailing operation that has focused all its energy on fighting the FBI.

There’s only one reason for such bizarre behavior.

The Clinton campaign has decided that an FBI investigation of the latest batch of emails poses a threat to its survival. And so it’s gone all in on fighting the FBI. It’s an unprecedented step born of fear. It’s hard to know whether that fear is justified. But the existence of that fear already tells us a whole lot.

Clinton loyalists rigged the old investigation. They knew the outcome ahead of time as well as they knew the debate questions. Now suddenly they are no longer in control. And they are afraid.

You can smell the fear.

The FBI has wiretaps from the investigation of the Clinton Foundation. It’s finding new emails all the time. And Clintonworld panicked. The spinmeisters of Clintonworld have claimed that the email scandal is just so much smoke without fire. All that’s here is the appearance of impropriety without any of the substance. But this isn’t how you react to smoke. It’s how you respond to a fire.

The misguided assault on the FBI tells us that Hillary Clinton and her allies are afraid of a revelation bigger than the fundamental illegality of her email setup. The email setup was a preemptive cover up. The Clinton campaign has panicked badly out of the belief, right or wrong, that whatever crime the illegal setup was meant to cover up is at risk of being exposed.

The Clintons have weathered countless scandals over the years. Whatever they are protecting this time around is bigger than the usual corruption, bribery, sexual assaults and abuses of power that have followed them around throughout the years. This is bigger and more damaging than any of the allegations that have already come out. And they don’t want FBI investigators anywhere near it.

The campaign against Comey is pure intimidation. It’s also a warning. Any senior FBI people who value their careers are being warned to stay away. The Democrats are closing ranks around their nominee against the FBI. It’s an ugly and unprecedented scene. It may also be their last stand.

Hillary Clinton has awkwardly wound her way through numerous scandals in just this election cycle. But she’s never shown fear or desperation before. Now that has changed. Whatever she is afraid of, it lies buried in her emails with Huma Abedin. And it can bring her down like nothing else has.