Posted tagged ‘FBI’

Leakers and Journalists Are Destroying Our Republic

May 26, 2017

Leakers and Journalists Are Destroying Our Republic, PJ MediaRoger L. Simon, May 25, 2017

(Please see also, Alan Dershowitz: Civil Liberties Threatened With Kushner Probe. Is there a “probe,” if so, what is it about and is Kushner a target? –DM)

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Points of focus that pertain to Kushner include: the Trump campaign’s 2016 data analytics operation; his relationship with former national security adviser Michael Flynn; and Kushner’s own contacts with Russians, according to US officials [ i. e. leakers] briefed on the probe.
There is no indication Kushner is currently a target of the probe and there are no allegations he committed any wrongdoing. [bolds mine]

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Leakers and journalists are tied together like drug dealers and junkies.

Unfair analogy?  Maybe a bit, but people who live “respectable middle-class lives” can be just as dangerous, more dangerous, ultimately, than the murderous El Chapos of the world and that’s pretty bad. Only the other day some U.S. intel people or person leaked to the New York Times about the Manchester terrorist, causing news to be reported that could have instigated more Islamist child murders.

We have an epidemic of leaking in our society unlike anything I have seen in my lifetime. It’s approaching Plague level — but with no vaccine in sight.

The latest, at this typing, is that Jared Kushner is under investigation by the FBI.  Here’s the headline at CNN of an article signed by no less than four authors (it takes a village) –Evan Perez, Pamela Brown, Shimon Prokupecz and Gloria Borger: “FBI Russia investigation looking at Kushner role.”

Uh-oh.

Who leaked that and what did they tell them about the president’s son-in-law? Has Jared been selling us out to Putin?  It certainly sounds that way.

Well, not really. Look no further than the second and third paragraph and you discover:

Points of focus that pertain to Kushner include: the Trump campaign’s 2016 data analytics operation; his relationship with former national security adviser Michael Flynn; and Kushner’s own contacts with Russians, according to US officials [ i. e. leakers] briefed on the probe.

There is no indication Kushner is currently a target of the probe and there are no allegations he committed any wrongdoing. [bolds mine]

In other words, there’s no there there other than leaks that continue to pour out, even after the installation of the supposedly confidential investigation by Special Counsel Mueller. How repellent and, frankly, illegal is that? Has Mueller launched a leak probe of his own? He should.

For its part, CNN (as a kind of low-rent, ineffectual  Pravda)  is just cooperating in a smear job that was apparently instigated by their colleagues at frequent leak conduit NBC.  They are joined by The Hill, which, almost simultaneously, tweeted: “Jared under FBI scrutiny in Trump-Russia investigation: report.”  Note the weasel word —  report.

How would you describe these denizens of the Fourth Estate capable of this sort of sleazy behavior? ” Schmucks with Underwoods,” as was said of screenwriters in the old days of Warner Brothers? In this case, of course, the schmucks have laptops. (In those old Warner days, writers like Faulkner and Fitzgerald populated the studios.  Haven’t seen anywhere near that level of talent at  The Hill and CNN or anywhere in our media of late. But perhaps I missed something.)

So these great literary geniuses — the scions of Woodward and Bernstein (aka people who can pick up the phone) — and the leakers have a co-dependent relationship, both convincing themselves that what they are doing is for the betterment of humanity. (That’s what Hans Vaihinger called the Philosophy of As If.)  Of course, the leakers, assuming they are from our intelligence agencies, have all signed contracts swearing up and down  not to do the very thing they have done, in some cases, in all probability, multiple times. Moreover — in their putative attempt to “save the republic” (or their own jobs or get vengeance) — we have no idea whether they are telling the truth, a half-truth or no truth at all about what they are leaking. Or whether the journalists are reporting those leaks with even a modicum of accuracy.  That’s how thoroughly these symbiotic morally narcissistic partners believe in their own “goodness” and how little they really care about what the American people think or do.

So what do we do about this state of affairs in a democratic republic, assuming we are serious about having one?

Quite simply, the leakers need to go to jail with the proverbial key thrown away.  That is the only way this leaking will stop and it must stop. Prosecutions should have started months ago.  It’s hard to understand why it’s taken so long. Let’s hope we have indictments soon.  Like tomorrow.

Regarding journalists, they need an entirely new code of ethics. Unfortunately, any reader of Evelyn Waugh (not to mention anybody with a pulse) knows just how unlikely that is. It’s high time for the consumers of news to fight back tooth and nail. Anytime we see or hear the term “anonymous source” or someone “authorized to speak” only confidentially, something so common now there’s almost no reporting without it, often six or seven instances within one article or broadcast, we should simply turn off the television or throw the newspaper into the garbage, never to buy another copy.  If you’re reading it on the Internet, just click off.  You could say that’s propaganda, not journalism.  But it’s not even good propaganda.  It’s junk, information pollution, worse than 1970s smog. It also lowers your IQ five points every time you’re exposed.  You don’t need it.

And if you ever see or hear the word “Russia” again,  feel free to run screaming from the room like the subject in an Edvard Munch painting.<

Alan Dershowitz: Civil Liberties Threatened With Kushner Probe

May 26, 2017

Alan Dershowitz: Civil Liberties Threatened With Kushner Probe, Newsmax, Todd Beamon, May 25, 2017

Jared Kushner (AP)

Harvard Law School professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said Thursday that reports that White House senior adviser Jared Kushner was under FBI scrutiny on Russia pointed to an inquiry that was “being done backwards” and “raises great concerns about civil liberties.”

“Usually, you can point to a statute and say, ‘We’re investigating crime under this statute,'” Dershowitz told Anderson Cooper on CNN before referencing special prosecutor Robert Mueller.

“What Mueller seems to be doing is saying: ‘We don’t like what happened. Maybe there was some collaboration. But I can’t figure out what statute was being violated.’

“When Hillary Clinton was being investigated, at least we knew what the statute was.”

The Washington Post and NBC News reported on Thursday that the FBI was investigating Kushner’s meetings last year with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak and a banker from Moscow.

Jamie Gorelick, Kushner’s lawyer, said that her client would cooperate with the probe.

“Mr. Kushner previously volunteered with Congress what he knows about these meetings,” she said in a statement. “He will do the same if he is contacted in connection with any other inquiry.”

Dershowitz had some advice for Gorelick, whom he said was a former student.

“I would say, first to the investigators: ‘Before you talk to my client, I want to know what your authority is. What your jurisdiction is.'”

Lacking that foundation, Dershowitz likened the Kushner inquiry to the words of Joseph Stalin’s secret police chief, Lavrentiy Beria: “Show me the man and I’ll find you the crime.”

“I don’t like criminal investigations to start on hoping that once you have the target, maybe we’ll find the crime, maybe we’ll find the statute – and if we can’t find the statute, we’ll stretch the statute to fit the person.

“I don’t want to ever see that come to America.”

Destroying Donald Trump is all that matters in the newsrooms of the mainstream media

May 19, 2017

Destroying Donald Trump is all that matters in the newsrooms of the mainstream media, Washington Times,

(America can survive, and probably prosper, under President Trump. The “mainstream media?” Maybe not. — DM)

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Now anything goes. All restraints are loosened, all self-discipline trashed. There’s no cure or even treatment for Trump Derangement Syndrome, a disease as wild and as swiftly lethal as anything imported from the Ebola River valley of the dark continent. The rules and taboos that once guided even the sleaziest excuse for a newspaper no longer apply.

Destroying Donald Trump is all that matters in the newsrooms of the mainstream media, so called, and by any means necessary. Rarely have so many hysterics contributed so much of the national conversation.

A columnist in The New York Times, ground zero in the epidemic of Trump Derangement Syndrome, suggests that a mutiny at the White House is the “more appropriate” way to rid the nation of the legitimate 46th duly elected president of the United States. Why waste time on impeachment? Mike Pence, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell could organize the ambush. The columnist likens them to “stewards for a syphilitic emperor.”

Ross Douthat is regarded as a “conservative” at The New York Times, and he thinks impeachment would take too long, be too messy, and recommends invoking the Twenty-fifth Amendment, which permits the president’s Cabinet to remove the president if a majority of the secretaries tells Congress that the president can no longer perform his duties.

Ultimately, he writes in the newspaper once known as “the old gray lady” and which has become “the old crazy lady,” he does not believe “our president sufficiently understands the nature of the office he holds, the nature of the legal constraints that are supposed to bind him, perhaps even the nature of normal human interactions, to be guilty of obstruction of justice in the Nixonian or even Clintonian sense of the phrase.”

A half-century ago a certain magazine thought a long-distance psychiatric examination of a presidential candidate was in order, and asked 12,000 psychiatrists (who knew there were so many headshrinkers on the fruited plain?) whether they thought Barry Goldwater was crazy, and 1,189 responded with a diagnosis: Mr. Goldwater, the Republican nominee for president in 1964, was nothing less than nuts. The American Psychiatric Association, sensitive to the public outrage that followed, told their members never to do it again.

But since the psychiatrists wouldn’t do it, Ross Douthat was fitted out with degrees in medicine and psychiatry (honorary degrees, we must hope), and told to get to work. (He is expected to retire his shingle once President Trump has been dispatched to the nut house, but who knows? On the Upper East Side there’s never enough psychiatrists.) Dr. Douthat writes that the president has no aides, friends and confidantes who have any remaining regard for him. “They have no respect for him, indeed they seem to palpate with contempt for him, and to regard their mission as equivalent to being stewards for a syphilitic emperor.”

Since impeachment would take so long, Dr. Douthat would “respectfully ask Mike Pence and Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell to reconsider their support for a man who never should have had his party’s nomination, never should have been elevated to this office, never should have been endorsed and propped up and defended by people who understood his unfitness all along.”

It’s hard to imagine anything more calculated to invoke a Second Amendment answer to such a Twenty-fifth Amendment coup, and it would be nothing less than a coup by the Republican elites and the press that so many Americans believe have “rigged” the elections meant to express the nation’s will. You don’t have to be a Trump friend, supporter or voter to see where this would inevitably lead. The United States has never been a banana republic or a third world dump where elections are ultimately determined in the streets, but this would be the ultimate national indignity, wrought by just those who would go to civil war to depose an indignity.

The two stories that have dominated the news this week were the work of the very two newspapers, The Washington Post and The New York Times, that have become the not-so-loyal opposition, drivers of the coup with tales told in every edition. The Post accuses the president of dispensing national secrets to the Russians, based on the word of an anonymous source who concedes he wasn’t in the meeting, and denied by those who were. The New York Times says it heard a passage read from a memo written by James Comey, telling how the president asked him go easy on Mike Flynn, and denied by the White House.

All this to support tales of Trump campaign collusion with the Russians, which Democrats and Republicans agree that no one has yet found any evidence of. There’s no fire and only a few wisps of something that might be smoke, or more likely, the passing of partisan gas.

Chris Farrell on Trump/Russia Probe: “There are two sides” to Fmr. FBI Director Robert Mueller

May 18, 2017

Chris Farrell on Trump/Russia Probe: “There are two sides” to Fmr. FBI Director Robert Mueller, Judicial Watch via YouTube, May 18, 2017

 

The Nuclear Option: Comeygate Latest Fake News Hysteria for Trump/Russia Conspiracists

May 13, 2017

The Nuclear Option: Comeygate Latest Fake News Hysteria for Trump/Russia Conspiracists, Breitbart, Charles Hurt, May 12, 2017

(Scandal? Scandal? What scandal? Comeygate was nothing! Here’s a real scandal, certain to bring Trump down: Media throw hissy fit because Trump gets more ice cream than them. Not only is Trump devious, he tries to starve poor, struggling reporters and is the cruelest president evah. — DM)

Every time the Washington political press freaks out and goes into full panic mode against President Trump, the blockbuster, Watergate-volume story always unfolds the same way.

First, the news starts leaking or breaking. Newsrooms from the Potomac to the Hudson become seized and fixated on every morsel of the delicious story. News flashes zing around the internet.

Then it hits cable television and the press starts slinging the most salacious and scandalous accusations they can whip up, charging the president with the highest crimes imaginable.

Each time, these reporters sink deeper and deeper into a fantasyland as they dream bigger and bigger. THIS TIME, they keep thinking, we FINALLY got him!

Reporters and Democrats alike — not to repeat myself — are actually now speculating about whether Mr. Trump will survive the certain impeachment hearings to come.

But then, as the heavy breathing subsides and the adrenaline rush gives way to factual, concrete reporting, the most damning charges fall away.

Turns out Mr. Trump is a germaphobe and wasn’t in that Russian hotel room.

The bust of Martin Luther King is still in the Oval Office.

He didn’t abandon conservatives by naming his sister to the Supreme Court.

Mr. Trump’s Tower — and people involved in his campaign — were, in fact, surveilled.

Slowly, agonizingly, Truth becomes very inconvenient for all these people predicting Mr. Trump’s certain demise.

In the end, they are all left clinging to the smallest Styrofoam shard of their original story, bobbing in the harsh sea of Donald Trump Derangement Syndrome.

The last remaining wastrels pontificating about the “scandal” formerly larger than Watergate are left with just one flimsy accusation.

“Well, he could have handled it better,” they sniff. “He didn’t follow Washington political protocol.”

Are you freaking kidding me? It all starts with charges of high crimes and misdemeanors — impeachment imminent — and when it all turns out to be fake news these people walk away grumbling about how Mr. Trump could have handled it better?

Just look at this latest “Watergate” scandal.

The upshot is that Mr. Trump finally fired a man who every single person in all of Washington, except perhaps James B. Comey’s wife, has said at one time or another in the past year should have been fired.

Why was he fired? For all the reasons every single person in Washington has stated at one point or another during the past year.

But if you are among the legions around here suffering from Donald Trump Derangement Syndrome, it is always much more sinister.

Russia!

The FBI was closing in on Donald Trump’s sordid connections to the Russians! (Minus the laughably debunked Moscow hotel room scandal that was one of Mr. Trump’s previous “Watergate” scandals.)

The FBI had just asked for more money to pursue the Trump-Russia connection, we were breathlessly told. Subpoenas were just being issued to known associates of known associates of President Trump!

So incensed by the lies of the scandal’s cover-up, it was reported, that a top official in the Justice Department was threatening to quit in protest rather than carry on working for such a criminal in the White House.

And then inconvenient reality unfolds again.

One by one, each of these blockbusters came under clouds of scrutiny. Nobody quits in protest.

By Thursday morning, the whole scandal had substantially come unraveled.

At a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Chairman Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican, said he and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the ranking Democrat on the committee, had recently met with Mr. Comey and came away with the clear impression that, in fact, Mr. Trump is not a target of any investigation by the FBI.

“Sen. Feinstein and I heard nothing that contradicted the president’s statement,” he said.

And in a stunning display of nonpartisanship, Mrs. Feinstein agreed.

Well, OK. But the White House should have handled it better.

In Clinton Caper, Comey Was the Most Visible Player, Not the Most Consequential

May 10, 2017

In Clinton Caper, Comey Was the Most Visible Player, Not the Most Consequential, PJ MediaAndrew C. McCarthy, May 10, 2017

FBI Director James Comey testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015 (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

If Comey had gone the other way, his recommendation to file charges would have been rejected, and his wings would have been clipped in a hurry. He is being cast as the official responsible for key decisions in the Clinton case and the fate of the Clinton candidacy. But the decisive scandal is Hillary Clinton’s alone, and the key decisions were never Jim Comey’s to make.

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At National Review last weekend, I addressed the Democrats’ loopy claim that the FBI became a Trump partisan in the 2016 election. The claim is worth more examination in light of President Trump’s dismissal of FBI Director James Comey.

In Clinton World, self-absorption always triumphs over self-inspection, so nothing could be more predictable than Hillary Clinton’s scapegoating of Comey, a diversion from acknowledging what really cost her the election: her own manifest flaws. Congressional Democrats are along for the ride: those who were swooning over Comey in July when he announced that Clinton would not be charged, then ripped him in October when he reopened and quickly reclosed the FBI’s investigation, and then branded him a Trump partisan hack after the votes were counted, are suddenly back in swoon mode.

Comey, of course, hasn’t changed through all of this. He’s always been the same guy. The laughably transparent explanation for all the careening around him is politics.

Mrs. Clinton was hoping to put the e-mail scandal behind her by arguing that she had been vindicated by a thorough, highly professional FBI investigation. But she lost, so the investigation that was to be her credential for office became the downfall that denied her. Comey thus became Rationalization 1 for her defeat … at least until Rationalization 1A, Russia, got some media traction. So now, Comey has gone from villainous J. Edgar Hoover to valiant Elliot Ness again – not out of anything he did, but because Democrats calculate that framing his termination as part of a “cover-up” may resuscitate the Trump-Russia narrative, which has grown stale in the absence of concrete evidence of collusion.

Note that in all of this, Comey is always in the center of events, but he has never been in control of events. Don’t be fooled by appearances. The FBI director has been the most visible player, but he has not come close to being the most consequential.

Yes, the FBI that actually carries out the dual functions of criminal inquiry and foreign intelligence collection. In either type of investigation, it is the Bureau that performs the rubber-meets-the-road work of gathering information and analyzing it, searching for the connections that prove actions and intentions. Consequently, Director Comey has gotten top billing in this drama – a happenstance made more pronounced by the director’s very forceful personality. It has made him look more important than, in fact, he has been.

Some perspective, please. There could have been no indictment against Hillary Clinton unless the Obama Justice Department approved it. Comey headed an investigative agency; he had no authority to exercise prosecutorial discretion – to decide whether charges got filed.

In the Clinton caper, Comey ostensibly seized the Justice Department’s decision-making power. In reality, though, he exercised it within obvious limitations, and under circumstances in which his superiors factored decisively.

Those superiors were President Obama, the chief executive, who made crystal clear in his public comments that he did not want Clinton indicted; and Attorney General Loretta Lynch, the head of the real decision-making department – the Justice Department. Contrary to media-Democrat intimations, Lynch never actually recused herself after being caught in a shameful private meeting with Bill Clinton. That was right before the Justice Department – not Comey, the Justice Department – declined prosecution against Mrs. Clinton.

Lynch could have ignored Comey, and surely would have if he had not come out the “right” way. In effect, Comey was able to project the authority of the official making a tough call as long as the call he made was against filing an indictment.

The Obama Justice Department was never, ever going to indict Hillary Clinton. Even if he had wanted to push against that outcome, Comey had to know doing so would have been futile. But as long as he accepted the inevitable – as long as he defended the decision with dizzying disquisitions on mens rea and other criminal law esoterica – he would be given a wide berth.

That is what enabled him to do some highly irregular things: e.g., the July press conference describing the damning evidence but recommending against criminal charges, and the late October letter informing Congress that the investigation had been reopened (but, significantly, not suggesting that any charges were anticipated). The point, if I may speculate, was to protect the reputation of the FBI as much as possible under circumstances in which the Bureau was unavoidably embroiled in a political controversy. Comey knew there would be no indictment. That meant the FBI was vulnerable to charges of participation in a whitewash. The director no doubt convinced himself that it was essential, for the sake of the rule of law, to show that the FBI had not been corrupted – that it had investigated as thoroughly as the constraints imposed by the Justice Department allowed.

Comey’s agenda to protect the FBI happened to coincide with the political agenda of Obama and Lynch. They, too, needed to show that there had been a thorough, professional investigation – they knew they could prevent any charges from being filed, and they reckoned that a solid FBI investigation would make their non-prosecution decision look like good-faith law enforcement rather than partisan politics. With a little help from their media friends, the general public would remain in the dark regarding the instances in which Lynch’s Justice Department frustrated the FBI’s ability to investigate: the close working relationship with Clinton team defense lawyers, the cutting off of salient areas of inquiry, the bizarre immunity grants.

What the public would see was Hillary “exonerated” after the FBI “left no stone unturned.”

Undoubtedly, Obama and Lynch were not thrilled by Comey’s press conference, laying out the FBI’s investigation. They may even have been quite angry about it. But they also realized that Comey remained a net positive in the equation. Because of their vulnerabilities – Obama because he could not be seen as interfering with law enforcement, and Lynch because of her bone-headed meeting with Bill Clinton – they needed the decision not to indict to appear to be made by someone with bipartisan credibility. Comey fit the bill, so they were willing to put up with a lot … as long as he held firm on the bottom line.

But make no mistake: If Comey had gone the other way, his recommendation to file charges would have been rejected, and his wings would have been clipped in a hurry. He is being cast as the official responsible for key decisions in the Clinton case and the fate of the Clinton candidacy. But the decisive scandal is Hillary Clinton’s alone, and the key decisions were never Jim Comey’s to make.

Trump Fires FBI Director James Comey

May 10, 2017

Trump Fires FBI Director James Comey, Breitbart, Daniel Nussbaum, May 9, 2017

AP Photo

President Donald Trump fired FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday, according to a statement from the White House.

In a statement from the press office, the White House said Trump acted on the recommendation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Borenstein.