Posted tagged ‘Obama and intelligence’

Tom Fitton gives updates on Obama Spying Scandal, Unmasking Scandal, Rep. Adam Schiff, & Seth Rich

May 26, 2017

Tom Fitton gives updates on Obama Spying Scandal, Unmasking Scandal, Rep. Adam Schiff, & Seth Rich, Judicial Watch via YouTube, May 26, 2017

(This video covers a lot of ground and is very much worth watching. — DM)

 

Report: Obama Administration Carried Out Massive and Unconstitutional Surveillance Programs

May 26, 2017

Report: Obama Administration Carried Out Massive and Unconstitutional Surveillance Programs, Jonathan Turley’s Blog, Jonathan Turley, May 26, 2017

(Be patient. The media will cover the FISA report fully and fairly after the source of President Trump’s mother’s recipe for Borscht is discovered, documented and fully analyzed. Did Putin give it to her and is his devotion to the Trump family at the root of Hillary’s defeat? Clearly, that is far more important than mere unconstitutional spying on American citizens by the Obama administration.  — DM)

By any measure, this story deserves the attention of the national media and Congress.  However, it is being buried in the crush of controversies related to the Russian investigation, embarrassing leaks, and other items. The media is correct in pursuing these legitimate stories but it should also give attention to this chilling report. There was equally limited coverage of the expansion of surveillance authority in the final days of the Obama Administration.  Privacy advocates have serious concerns about these privacy stories being pushed from public review.

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With the steady stream of controversies swirling around the White House, there has been little attention given a highly disturbing report that the Obama Administration engaged in previously undisclosed and violations of the Fourth Amendment.  Just a few days from the 2016 election, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) reportedly raised a highly unusual alarm over the creation of “a very serious Fourth Amendment issue” by possibly unconstitutional surveillance conducted under President Barack Obama.  If true, this should be given equal attention to the other stories crowding our front pages and cable coverage.  The Obama Administration has a well-documented history of abuse of surveillance and stands as one of the most antagonistic administrations toward privacy in our history.  Indeed, if true, many of the former Obama officials currently testifying against the Trump Administration were responsible for a far broader scope of abusive surveillance programs.

Recently disclosed top-secret documents from the FISA court suggest that the government admitted that the NSA was regularly violating surveillance rules. Not that these violations were occurring after the unconstitutional surveillance programs revealed by Wikileaks and Snowdon were curtailed.  It also would have occurred after the disclosure that the Obama Administration put journalists under surveillance.

The FISA indicate that the government informed the court that NSA analysts had been violating rules, established in 2011, that protect the privacy of citizens on the Internet.  Once again, the NSA claimed new “inadvertent compliance lapses.”  The Court noted in its dealings with the NSA a certain “lack of candor” in its disclosures to the FISA court.

It is very rare for the FISA court to make such statements.  (For full disclosure, I had occasion to go to the FISA court when I was an intern with the NSA and later became a critic of the court).  The standards for FISA are so low and easily satisfied (with little judicial review) that it is difficult to establish any illegality under the law.

Passed in 1978 as a compromise with the Nixon Administration, FISA allows for “foreign intelligence” surveillance and was designed to evade the fourth amendment protections governing the use of warrants.  FISA surveillance is permitted based on a finding of probable cause that the surveillance target is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power. That is manifestly different from probable cause to believe someone has committed a crime.   It is true that, if the target is a “U.S. person,” there must be probable cause to believe that the U.S. person’s activities may involve espionage or other similar conduct in violation of the criminal statutes of the United States.  However, citizens can be collateral to the primary target under FISA. In 1994 Congress extended FISA further to allow for covert physical entries in connection with “security” investigations, and then in 1998, it was amended to permit pen/trap orders. It has been used to gather business records.

By any measure, this story deserves the attention of the national media and Congress.  However, it is being buried in the crush of controversies related to the Russian investigation, embarrassing leaks, and other items. The media is correct in pursuing these legitimate stories but it should also give attention to this chilling report. There was equally limited coverage of the expansion of surveillance authority in the final days of the Obama Administration.  Privacy advocates have serious concerns about these privacy stories being pushed from public review.

Susan Rice, Obama’s Hatchet Woman, Proves Lord Acton Right Again

April 4, 2017

Susan Rice, Obama’s Hatchet Woman, Proves Lord Acton Right Again, PJ Media, Roger L Simon, April 3, 2017

Forget G. Gordon Liddy and the White House plumbers of Watergate days.  If you’re looking for a my-president-right-or-wrong apparatchik in the grand tradition of the Soviet Union, willing to do anything for her leader, look no further than former national security adviser Susan Elizabeth Rice.

Rice, who evidently exploited the world’s most technically advanced intelligence agency, the NSA, for similar purposes (spying on the opposition), has made Liddy et al seem like primitives.  Apparently, the former Obama adviser was the one who “requested to unmask the names of Trump transition officials caught up in surveillance.”  The final unmaskings took place in January, days before Trump’s inauguration. (Eli Lake at Bloomberg, Adam Housley and John Roberts at Fox, and Sara Carter and John Solomon at Circa have reported this story in only slightly varying ways.)

Failing some extraordinary  explanation (so far Rice isn’t talking), the onetime national security adviser exhibited an arrogance that once again proves Lord Acton’s famous apothegm: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.”

Rice undoubtedly believed she was undertaking her sub rosa, possibly felonious, activities for a greater good, but in reality she has been undermining the very basis of our democratic republic in a manner calling forth another quote from the 19th century British lord: “End justifies the means. This is still the most widespread of all the opinions inimical to liberty.” That Rice was able to prevaricate so casually during a recent PBS interview, claiming she “knew nothing” about the unmaskings of Trump officials when she had instigated them,  proves Acton right yet again and exposes the “ends justify the means” mentality as Rice’s default position.

(Speaking of Acton, he also wrote: “Men cannot be made good by the state, but they can easily be made bad.”)

From her serial lies about the Benghazi terror attack being caused by a video to this latest surveilling — incidental or otherwise — of political enemies and its own attendant dishonesties, Rice seems to have been the “go to” person for Obama White House dirty work and cover-ups, Obama’s hatchet woman.  She did not and could not, however, have acted alone.  She was part of a culture.

The unmasked names, of people associated with Donald Trump, were then sent to all those at the National Security Council, some at the Defense Department, then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and then-CIA Director John Brennan – essentially, the officials at the top, including former Rice deputy [Iran deal fixer] Ben Rhodes.

The names were part of incidental electronic surveillance of candidate and President-elect Trump and people close to him, including family members, for up to a year before he took office.[bold mine]

Up to a year?  Is it possible it was even longer? When did it actually start?  It would be interesting to see how “incidental” this all was. Will the Senate Intelligence Committee be sufficiently bipartisan to really investigate that?  Or will they be mired in the supposedly nefarious Russian connection that Clapper himself found no evidence of, even after, as we now learn, having been privy to all this “incidental” information for months or years? You would have to assume this Trump-Russia collusion was remarkably subtle to have withstood such constant investigation by so many for so long.

No, the real story here is the Russification, more accurately the Sovietization, of the Obama administration.  They did believe, unlike Lord Acton, that “the ends justify the means.”  That phrase, incidentally, is sometimes incorrectly ascribed to Machiavelli, who wrote something far more sophisticated.  In reality, it was coined, or at least codified, by the 19th century Russian revolutionary Sergey Nechayev and used by Lenin and Stalin to justify their murderous acts.

I hasten to say there are no murders going on here that I know of.  But there is a massive subversion of the principles of our republic. The moment the party in power is permitted to exploit the extraordinary capabilities of our intelligence agencies to surveil in any way the party out of power is the moment that we are well on the road to high-tech totalitarianism. We may already be there.

Difficult as it would be, what is called for now is a full airing not of Russian espionage, which has been going on pretty much constantly since the 1920s, but of our own intelligence agencies and how they function and how they are interacting with current and past administrations. We must be certain that existing privacy laws have actually been observed and, if those laws have not been sufficient, that they be revised to protect the apparently already violated civil liberties of our citizens.

Meanwhile, when it comes to actual punishable law-breaking, the person most vulnerable is, of course, the leaker (or leakers).  Those who accidentally or purposefully  “unmask” identities unfortunately can skate away under current readings of the law.  But if I were to guess, in this instance, the unmasker and the leaker are quite possibly one and the same.  Ms. Rice has much to answer for — and she should do it under oath.

As the scandal evolves, will the finger point even higher? In fact, it already has.  Unbeknownst to almost all of the American public, back in 2011 Barack Obama eased the rules on the unmasking of American citizens in NSA surveillances, putatively to counter foreign espionage threats.  Six years letter and the tables have been turned on us.  Was that always the intention? Or was it simply absolute power corrupting absolutely?

Russia? No, the Pony in the Manure Is the Corruption of our Intelligence Officials

April 2, 2017

Russia? No, the Pony in the Manure Is the Corruption of our Intelligence Officials, American ThinkerClarice Feldman, April 2, 2017

There’s so much in print and online about the House and Senate intelligence committees and Russian “collusion” with Trump that I can’t blame people with real lives to lead who just throw their hands up and garden or go hiking. Some will assume there’s got to be a pony in there somewhere, as Ronald Reagan used to joke about the kid digging through manure. I think there is, but it isn’t that Russia corrupted the 2016 election, it’s that Obama and his closest aides, including some at the highest level in the intelligence community, illegally intercepted one or more Republican candidates’ communications before the election, circulated them widely to their cohorts and then tried to use this information to defeat and later to hamstring Trump when Hillary — to their surprise — lost the election.

I also suspect that the attacks on Flynn have nothing to do with his Russian contacts which he disclosed, but, rather, to misdeeds respecting the Middle East, particularly Iran, the country he observed as Obama’s head of the DIA.

The Surveillance and “Unmasking” of Trump and his Associates 

We learned this week that surveillance of Trump began long before he was the Republican nominee, and that the names in the intercepted communications were “unmasked” — that is, identified by name or context — by someone high up in the intelligence community.

In addition, citizens affiliated with Trump’s team who were unmasked were not associated with any intelligence about Russia or other foreign intelligence, sources confirmed. The initial unmasking led to other surveillance, which led to other private citizens being wrongly unmasked, sources said.

“Unmasking is not unprecedented, but unmasking for political purposes… specifically of Trump transition team members… is highly suspect and questionable,” an intelligence source told Fox News. “Opposition by some in the intelligence agencies who were very connected to the Obama and Clinton teams was strong. After Trump was elected, they decided they were going to ruin his presidency by picking them off one by one.”

Nunes and Surveillance Reports

The best summation of this week’s distraction — respecting chairman of the House intelligence committee, Devin Nunes — is Victor Davis Hanson’s which I urge those of you interested to read in its entirety.

First, the central question remains who leaked what classified information for what reasons; second, since when is it improper or even unwise for an apprehensive intelligence official to bring information of some importance to the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee for external review — in a climate of endemic distrust of all intelligence agencies?[snip] Nunes also said that the surveillance shown to him “was essentially a lot of information on the President-elect and his transition team and what they were doing.” Further, he suggested that the surveillance may have involved high-level Obama officials. When a reporter at Nunes’ second March 22 press conference asked, “Can you rule out the possibility that senior Obama-administration officials were involved in this?” Nunes replied, “No, we cannot.” Ipso facto these are startling disclosures of historical proportions — if true, of an anti-constitutional magnitude comparable to Watergate. Given the stakes, we should expect hysteria to follow, and it has followed. [snip]

Some notion of such intrigue, or rather the former nexus between Congress, the Obama administration, the intelligence agencies, and the monitoring of incoming Trump officials, was inadvertently disclosed recently by former Obama-administration Department of Defense deputy assistant secretary and current MSNBC commentator Evelyn Farkas. In an interview that originally aired on March 2 and that was reported on this week by Fox, Farkas seemed to brag on air about her own efforts scrambling to release information on the incoming Trump team’s purported talks with the Russians. Farkas’s revelation might put into context the eleventh-hour Obama effort to more widely disseminate intelligence findings among officials, one that followed even earlier attempts to broaden access to Obama-administration surveillance.

In any event, the White House invited  the highest ranking  members of the House and Senate intelligence committees to come view the documents themselves. Adam Schiff did, and reported he’d seen what Nunes had, after which he did not deny the intercepted communications contained nothing about Russia or Trump. They clearly were of no national intelligence significance, but rather, as Hanson noted, were evidence that the prior administration was snooping on political adversaries using the apparatus of the state to do so.

We also learned this week that Hillary (despite her uncontested mishandling of classified information when she was Secretary of State), and her aides, including Farkas, were given access to classified information long after she left the Department of State which, with Farkas’ admission on MSNBC, underscores the apparent misuse of intelligence from her end.

FBI Director James Comey and former DNI James Clapper

As for Comey, Hanson notes:

There is no need to rehash the strange political career of FBI director James Comey during the 2016 election. As Andrew McCarthy has noted in his recent NRO analyses, news accounts alleged that Comey’s FBI investigations of supposed contacts between General Michael Flynn and the Russian ambassador were shared with Obama-administration officials — but why and how we are not sure. Comey himself was quick to note that his agency is investigating supposed collusion between Team Trump and Russia, but he refused to comment on whether or not the FBI is investigating possibly inappropriate or illegal intercepts of Trump officials and the surely illegal dissemination of intercepted info through leaks to favorable media.

But there’s much more to be said about him and his “investigation” which seems to be continuing only to cover his own backside.

The FBI was concerned that the ill-secured DNC internet communications were being hacked and sought to examine them. The DNC refused and engaged an outfit called Crowd Strike to do the job. Crowd Strike reported the Russia had likely tapped their server. There’s no explanation of why Crowd Strike was chosen, why the FBI allowed this, and why it apparently relied on that outfit’s findings. Recently Crowd Strike has walked back many of its claims after a VOA report that the company misrepresented data published by an influential British think tank.

And then there’s the dossier compiled by the former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele. If you recall, this dossier was commissioned through a DC firm, Fusion GPS, by Hillary to dig up opposition research on her opponents, and when she dropped it, unnamed Republicans followed up on the contract. At some point (accounts vary about how this occurred), dog in the manger John McCain got it and widely distributed it to the press and political figures. These Republicans, too, dropped the service, at which time the FBI picked it up, though they claim not to have paid GPS. Comey apparently has based his still ongoing “investigation” on it. The dossier is utter bunk. Ironically, it is Fusion GPS that is tied to Russian intelligence.

“It is highly troubling that Fusion GPS appears to have been working with someone with ties to Russian intelligence — let alone someone alleged to have conducted political disinformation campaigns — as part of a pro-Russia lobbying effort while also simultaneously overseeing the creation of the Trump/Russia dossier,” writes [Senator] Grassley.

Akhmetshin hired Simpson and Fusion GPS last year to work on a campaign to roll back the Magnitsky Act, a law passed in 2012 which imposed sanctions against a handful of Russian criminals accused of human rights violations.

The law was named in honor of Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer who was killed by jail guards in 2009. Magnitsky was working for Bill Browder, a London-based investor who once operated in Russia, when he uncovered a $230 million fraud being carried out by the Russian government.

After Magnitsky’s death, Browder began lobbying U.S. lawmakers to enact sanctions against Russian criminals engaged in human rights abuses.

In a FARA complaint submitted in July, Browder laid out the case that Akhmetshin conducted a covert lobbying campaign to hinder the Global Magnitsky Act, an expansion of the original law.

The report is not worthy of consideration, but the FBI and Rep. Adam Schiff did apparently rely on it, drawing into question the FBI’s “independence from politics” and Schiff’s credulity or venality:

Citing current and former government officials, the New Yorker reported the dossier prompted skepticism among intelligence community members, with the publication quoting one member as saying it was a “nutty” piece of evidence to submit to a U.S. president.

Steele’s work has been questioned by former acting CIA director Morell, who currently works at the Hillary Clinton-tied Beacon Global Strategies LLC. Beacon was founded by Phillippe Reines, who served as Communications Adviser to Hillary Clinton while she was secretary of state. From 2009-2013, Reines also served in Clinton’s State Department as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Strategic Communications. Reines is the managing director of Beacon…

Morell, who was in line to become CIA director if Clinton won, said he had seen no evidence that Trump associates cooperated with Russians. He also raised questions about the dossier written by a former British intelligence officer, which alleged a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia…

Morell pointed out that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said on Meet the Press on March 5 that he had seen no evidence of a conspiracy when he left office January 20.

“That’s a pretty strong statement by General Clapper,” Morell said.

Regarding Steele’s dossier, Morell stated, “Unless you know the sources, and unless you know how a particular source acquired a particular piece of information, you can’t judge the information — you just can’t.”

Morell charged the dossier “doesn’t take you anywhere, I don’t think.”

“I had two questions when I first read it. One was, How did Chris talk to these sources? I have subsequently learned that he used intermediaries.”

Morell continued:

And then I asked myself, why did these guys provide this information, what was their motivation? And I subsequently learned that he paid them. That the intermediaries paid the sources and the intermediaries got the money from Chris. And that kind of worries me a little bit because if you’re paying somebody, particularly former FSB officers, they are going to tell you truth and innuendo and rumor, and they’re going to call you up and say, “Hey, let’s have another meeting, I have more information for you,” because they want to get paid some more.

I think you’ve got to take all that into consideration when you consider the dossier.’

Maybe Comey is continuing the investigation to blur his own role in the Obama administration’s improper and illegal snooping on his party’s opponents. He has not closed the investigation despite its apparently flimsy basis, perhaps to protect himself. He was supposed to report this investigation in a timely manner to the Congressional and Senate intelligence committees and did not.

As a correspondent with some knowledge of these matters related to me:

“When push comes to shove, no investigation gets opened, no FISA order is applied for, without James Comey’s say-so.  They can bluster, but it’s damned hard to get rid of an FBI Director without a very, very public stink.  He could have said no, but he didn’t.  That means the investigation is bound to focus on him.  And count on it — the decision to short circuit Congressional oversight was probably pushed on him by those same people, but once again, it was ultimately his decision.  He could’ve gone to the Committee, but he didn’t.  His decision, his responsibility.”

His view is strengthened by Comey’s obfuscation at a Congressional hearing:

The counter-intel investigation, by his own admission, began in July 2016. Congress was not notified until March 2017. That’s an eight month period – Obviously obfuscating the quarterly claim moments earlier.

The uncomfortable aspect to this line of inquiry is Comey’s transparent knowledge of the politicized Office of the DNI James Clapper by President Obama.

The first and second questions from Stefanik were clear. Comey’s understanding of the questions was clear. However, Comey directly evaded truthful response to the second question. When you watch the video, you can see Comey quickly connecting the dots on where this inquiry was going.

There is only one reasonable explanation for FBI Director James Comey to be launching a counter-intel investigation in July 2016, notifying the White House and Clapper, and keeping it under wraps from congress. Comey was a participant in the intelligence gathering for political purposes — wittingly, or unwittingly.

As a direct consequence of this mid-thought-stream Comey obfuscation, it is now clear — at least to me — that Director Comey was using his office as a facilitating conduit for the political purposes of the Obama White House.

John Brennan

It’s possible that the tissue-thin, incredible Steele “dossier” was not the only disinformation source. At the Spectator there’s a plausible account of how Obama’s CIA director John Brennan worked with Hillary and certain Baltic figures to discredit Trump with the charge of collusion with Russia.

Brennan pushed for a multi-agency investigation of the Trump campaign, using as his pretext alleged intelligence from an unnamed Baltic state. That “intelligence” was supplied at the very moment Baltic officials had their own political motivation to smear Trump.

“Last April, the CIA director was shown intelligence that worried him. It was — allegedly — a tape recording of a conversation about money from the Kremlin going into the US presidential campaign. It was passed to the US by an intelligence agency of one of the Baltic States,” reported the BBC’s Paul Wood.

Is it just a coincidence that Brennan got this tape recording from a Baltic State intelligence agency in April when officials in the Baltic States were up in arms over candidate Trump? Recall that in March of 2016 — the month before Brennan allegedly got the recording from Baltic spies — Trump made remarks about NATO that the press was hyping as hostile to the Baltic States. [snip]

Hillary and her allies in the media seized on these remarks and ripped Trump on the false claim that, if elected, he would “pull out of NATO,” leaving Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia to fend for themselves against Russia.

Such fearmongering set off an anti-Trump panic in political circles within the Baltic States. Out of it came a steady stream of stories with headlines such as: “Baltic States Fearful of Trump’s Nato Views” and “Estonian Prez Appears to Push Back on Trump’s NATO Comments.”

[Snip]

Both Brennan and officials in the Baltic States had strong incentives to help Hillary and hurt Trump. That Brennan and some Baltic spies teamed up to inflate the significance of some half-baked intelligence from a recording isn’t surprising. Only in such a feverish partisan milieu would basic questions go unasked, such as: Is it really a good idea to investigate a political opponent on the basis of a lead provided by a country that wants to see him lose?

Flynn

Flynn was Obama’s head of the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) and served only days under Trump. Reports this week initially made it appear that he was under investigation for ties to Russia, but it is more obvious to me that he knows about skullduggery by the prior administration in the Middle East, most likely Iran, and wants protection against the sort of unwarranted prosecutions Ted Stevens and Lewis Libby suffered at the hands of vindictive Democrats and their minions. The charges against him are being leveled by former Obama aide Sally Yates, who has utterly discredited herself earlier by her demonstrably false claim that the White House blocked her from testifying to Congress when the documentation clearly shows she was not.

Perhaps the easiest thing to do is to just consider everything the Democrats say, directly or through the media, which just prints as truth handouts from the same Democratic sources, as a lie. You’d save a lot of time and most likely be right.

 

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.

Remember When Obama Spied on Congressmen Opposed to Iran Deal?

March 6, 2017

Remember When Obama Spied on Congressmen Opposed to Iran Deal? Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, March 5, 2017

obamanixon

When the media puts on its befuddled face over Trump’s allegations, remember what Obama was doing little more than a year ago.

The National Security Agency’s (NSA) continued surveillance of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli leaders may also have swept up private conversations involving members of Congress, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday night.

Further, the Journal reports that intercepted conversations between Israeli leaders confirmed Israel’s knowledge of the talks, as well as its intent to undermine any nuclear deal with Iran by leaking its details. When Netanyahu and his top aides came to Washington to talk with Jewish-American groups and members of Congress to lobby against the deal, the NSA was there to pick up the conversations.

Senior officials told the WSJ that those conversations collected by the NSA raised fears “that the executive branch would be accused of spying on Congress.” The White House wanted the information anyway, however, because it “believed the intercepted information could be valuable to counter Mr. Netanyahu’s campaign.”

So in order to avoid leaving a trail, the White House left it to the NSA to figure out what to share, and the NSA obliged, deleting names of members and any personal attacks on the administration.

To summarize…

1. Obama Inc. used surveillance of an ally and of domestic groups, even members of Congress, to defend its own political agenda

2. It did so relying on plausible deniability

3. The information was shared across the administration and planted in the media

Kerry justified his accusation by pointing to Israeli media reports, but those reports were a convenient source, given that “Intelligence officials said the media reports allowed the U.S. to put Mr. Netanyahu on notice without revealing they already knew his thinking. The prime minister mentioned no secrets during his speech to Congress,” wrote the Journal.

There was no firewall between spying for national security and for a political agenda. That was the most important point here. Everything else is plausible deniability.

White House officials believed the intercepted information could be valuable to counter Netanyahu’s campaign. They also recognized that asking for it was politically risky. So, wary of a paper trail stemming from a request, the White House let the NSA decide what to share and what to withhold, officials said. “We didn’t say, ‘Do it,’ ” a senior U.S. official said. “We didn’t say, ‘Don’t do it.’ ”

When you hear the current Obama denials, remember that they almost certainly played another variation of the same game.

Russian Hacking Conspiracy Theory Implodes

December 16, 2016

Russian Hacking Conspiracy Theory Implodes, Front Page MagazineMatthew Vadum, December 16, 2016

vlad1

The Left’s crusade against Republican presidential electors is kicking into high gear even as the CIA-attributed story that Russian hackers won the White House for Donald Trump is going up in flames.

There is still no evidence –at least none that has been made publicly available– that the Russian government or Russian-backed cyber militias hacked anything to help Trump win the election but that’s not halting the Left’s efforts to delegitimize his presidency before it even begins.

Against this backdrop, members of the Electoral College are preparing to gather this Monday in the 50 states and the District of Columbia to fulfill their constitutional duty. Adding to the drama, some electors are demanding intelligence briefings on the alleged hacking before they vote.

But sometimes not everyone on the Left gets the memo.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch yesterday undermined the Left’s post-election jihad against Trump by rejecting the proposition that the Russian government (or anyone) hacked into voting machines used in the recent election.

“We didn’t see any sort of technical interference that people had concerns about, in terms of voting machines and the like,” she said at an event hosted by Politico.

While community organizers across America whip their followers into a state of frenzy, stories are still being planted in the media by the Central Intelligence Agency or sources claiming to speak for the spy agency. Yet the CIA refuses to be held to account.

When federal lawmakers did their job this week and demanded proof of the Russian hacking allegations, intelligence agencies refused to show up to provide congressional testimony.

Most reasonable people would infer from this appallingly arrogant behavior by the CIA, which has long been home to left-wing Democrats and squishy moderate Republicans, that all this damning evidence we keep hearing about does not actually exist.

House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) blasted “Intelligence Community directors” for their “intransigence in sharing intelligence with Congress [which] can enable the manipulation of intelligence for political purposes.”

Intelligence overseer Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) is hopping mad over the CIA’s obstructionism. It is “absolutely disgraceful,” he said, that the intelligence community is refusing to brief lawmakers about the alleged Russian hacking program while false information is being surreptitiously funneled to the media to discredit Donald Trump.

“There is no consensus opinion, and yet we find it in the New York Times and the Washington Post and yet the House Committee on Intelligence was told nothing about this,” King said.

“This violates all protocols and it’s almost as if people in the intelligence community are carrying out a disinformation campaign against the president-elect of the United States,” King said. He acknowledged it is possible that someone in Congress could also be leaking false information.

Obama White House press secretary Josh Earnest escalated the time-limited administration’s war of words against the incoming president.

Referring to Trump’s fabled July 27 press conference at which the media falsely reported the then-GOP candidate had invited Russia to hack Hillary Clinton, Earnest said matter-of-factly Wednesday that Trump asked Russia to use cyberwarfare against Clinton.

“There’s ample evidence that was known long before the election and in most cases long before October about the Trump campaign and Russia — everything from the Republican nominee himself calling on Russia to hack his opponent,” Earnest said.

“It might be an indication that he was obviously aware and concluded, based on whatever facts or sources he had available to him, that Russia was involved and their involvement was having a negative impact on his opponent’s campaign.”

“That’s why he was encouraging them to keep doing it,” Earnest said.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, whose site released thousands of purported emails from senior Democrats during the recent election campaign, threw cold water on the Russian hacking conspiracy theory.

Assange told Sean Hannity yesterday, “Our source is not the Russian government.” He also said the information WikiLeaks received “has not come from a state party.”

What Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the House Intelligence Committee on Nov. 17 suggests Assange may be right.

“As far as the WikiLeaks connection [to Russian hackers is concerned] the evidence there is not as strong and we don’t have good insight into the sequencing of the releases or when the data may have been provided,” Clapper said. “We don’t have as good insight into that.”

Assange told Hannity WikiLeaks received almost nothing on Republicans. “We received about three pages of information to do with the RNC and Trump but it was already public somewhere else.”

Interestingly, Assange, who has been built up in the media to be some kind of radical anarchist, stood by America’s constitutionally prescribed system for choosing a president.

He said:

There’s a deliberate attempt this week to conflate a whole lot of different issues together. It seems to be as a desire, an extremely dangerous and foolish desire, to flip members of the U.S. Electoral College around into getting up John Kasich or Hillary Clinton on the 19th. It’s foolish because it won’t happen. It’s dangerous because the argument that it should happen can be used in four years’ time or eight years’ time for a sitting government that doesn’t want to hand over power and that’s a very dangerous thing. There’s [Hillary] Clinton-aligned PACs putting out ads with lots of celebrities trying to push these electors to do it.

Who’s doing all this conflating? President Obama, Assange suggested.

Hannity asked Assange if the president knows Russia isn’t behind the Democrat electronic document dump and is “purposefully” pushing a false narrative to delegitimize Trump. Assange replied, “yes … there is a deliberate effort to conflate” underway.

Hannity piled on the CIA, noting that “for over 10 years WikiLeaks has never been proven wrong, not one single time.”

The radio talk show host said the CIA pushed the lie that the coordinated military-style attack on U.S. assets in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11, 2012 arose out of a mere protest.

“The CIA advanced that false story that it was a spontaneous demonstration when we now know it was a terrorist attack. And they advanced it through the CIA in Langley,” Hannity said. “There were some people there that were playing politics at the CIA, advancing a false narrative, a story that we know is false.”

But facts are malleable things and reality is never an obstacle to the plans of the Left.

The fact that Trump never asked Russia to hack Hillary and the CIA apparently has nothing to back up its wild allegations is no reason for those who wish to overturn the recent verdict of the American people to back off.

Something called Electors Trust is claiming that somewhere between 20 and 30 Republican electors are considering not voting for Trump on Monday, the John Podesta-founded Center for American Progress Action Fund’s propaganda site ThinkProgress reports. Co-founded by radical Harvard law professor Larry Lessig, Electors Trust claims to provide “free and strictly confidential legal support to any elector who wishes to vote their conscience.”

In a dramatic come-from-behind victory, Trump won 306 of the 538 available elector slots on Nov. 8. Left-wingers want to peel off enough GOP electors to deprive Trump of the magic number 270 he needs to formally secure the presidency in the official Electoral College vote this Monday.

There is almost no chance this coup will succeed but even if the Electoral College were to reach a stalemate Trump would still be on track to become president. With each state’s delegation casting a single vote, the current Republican-dominated House of Representatives would elect a president. The current GOP-dominated Senate would elect a vice president with each senator casting a single vote.

Trump-haters could still try and throw a wrench in the works when the new Congress convenes in January. When Congress begins to officially count the electoral votes, they could apply pressure to lawmakers to contest those votes. But it’s a very hard slog. A written objection has to be made to the president of the Senate, that is, Vice President Joe Biden, and it has to be signed by at least one senator and one House member.

Both chambers then debate the objection separately. Debate is limited to two hours. Afterwards, both the Senate and the House of Representatives rejoin and both must agree to reject the electoral votes for them not to count.

Making matters more difficult for the Trump-blockers, Lessig’s estimate of having as many as 30 sympathetic Republican electors in his pocket is almost certainly a hallucination on his part that helps to create the false impression that his anti-democratic campaign is succeeding.

More responsible whip counts place the number of likely faithless electors in the single digits – enough for an interesting historical footnote but not enough to keep Trump out of the Oval Office.

In an email Lessig cited “three groups that I know of working with/supporting electors,” and said that his faithless electors’ estimate is “based on my confidence in the reports from these three groups.”

Lessig told Chuck Todd on MSNBC Tuesday that he shares the goal of groups like Hamilton Electors to convince at least 40 Republican electors to say they’re contemplating dumping Trump.

Lessig is just one of many mass hysteria-afflicted leftists trying to stop Trump from becoming president.

Some officeholders are demanding a congressional investigation of the supposed hacking saga. Others liken the cyber-conspiracy they fantasize to 9/11 and are demanding an independent blue-ribbon commission be created. Maybe Jesse Jackson Sr. will invite the United Nations to participate.

Up to 55 electors –54 of whom are Democrats– have reportedly called upon Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to authorize intelligence briefings on the alleged Russian cyberattacks before the Electoral College votes. California elector Christine Pelosi, daughter of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is spearheading the effort.

Democrat activist Daniel Brezenoff is paying for full-page ads in newspapers across the country such as the Washington Post and Atlanta Journal-Constitution asking electors to “vote their conscience” and reject Trump, Politico reports.

Then there are the left-wingers who have been doxxing Republican electors.

“Liberal groups, including a new one called Make Democracy Matter, have disseminated the names and contact information of the electors and encouraged people to contact Republican electors and ask them to change their vote,” hippy rag Mother Jones reports. “And those messages are arriving to electors’ inboxes, voicemails, and homes by the thousands.”

So now at least we know where all the death threats Republican electors are receiving are coming from.

Left-wing activists call this kind of in-your-face harassment “accountability,” an Orwellian euphemism to be sure. Accountability actions focus on harassing and intimidating political enemies, disrupting their activities, and forcing them to waste resources dealing with activists’ provocations. It is a tactic of radical community organizers, open borders fanatics, and union goons. Taking a cue from Marxist theorist Herbert Marcuse, they want to shut down, humiliate, and silence those who fail to genuflect before their policy agenda, or in this case, ignore the votes of the 63 million Americans in 3,084 of the nation’s 3,141 counties or county equivalents who chose Donald Trump for president.

Make Democracy Matter, by the way, shrieks on its homepage that “We can stop Trump from imposing his racist agenda on America … we can build systems and structures that protect people from harm and dismantle white supremacy.”

MoveOn plans to run a 30-second ad on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” today featuring faithless Republican elector Christopher Suprun from the 30th congressional district in Texas.

“The CIA report is frightening,” Suprun says in the video even though as far as anyone knows he’s never seen the elusive report.

No doubt the Van Jones-founded Megaphone Strategies, a self-described “social justice media strategy firm” hired by parties unknown to turn Suprun into 2016’s Cindy Sheehan has helped put him in the media spotlight.

In a sanctimonious New York Times op-ed earlier this month, Suprun denounced Trump, saying, “He does not encourage civil discourse, but chooses to stoke fear and create outrage. This is unacceptable.”

After writing that “Mr. Trump lacks the foreign policy experience and demeanor needed to be commander in chief,” he repeats the proven lie that during the campaign Trump said “Russia should hack Hillary Clinton’s emails.” He adds, “This encouragement of an illegal act has troubled many members of Congress and troubles me.”

Suprun, by the way, is quite a piece of work. GotNews discovered he “joined and paid for cheating website Ashley Madison in 2012, using the same address registered to his 9/11 charity, while bankrupt, likely unemployed, and married with three young kids, after he and his working wife owed over $200,000 to multiple creditors.”

More than 35,000 people have signed a Change.org petition demanding Suprun “be removed” as an elector.

And then there are the famous college dropouts from Hollywood.

Something called Americans Take Action, apparently doing business as Unite for America, put together a celebrity-larded public service announcement to urge Republican electors to vote for somebody, anybody, other than Donald Trump on Dec. 19.

In the video we learn that idiot actors Martin Sheen, Debra Messing, Bob Odenkirk, James Cromwell, Noah Wyle, and singer Moby have suddenly become champions of the government-limiting U.S. Constitution.

“Our Founding Fathers built the Electoral College to safeguard the American people from the dangers of a demagogue, and to ensure that the presidency only goes to someone who is, ‘to an eminent degree, endowed with the requisite qualifications,’ ” Sheen solemnly intones in the video.

A somber Messing repeats Sheen’s words, “to an eminent degree.”

You get the picture.

It’s also been fascinating watching left-wingers embrace Founding Father Alexander Hamilton solely because he wrote Federalist No. 68 which explains the Electoral College and the qualifications of a president.

Because the Left’s narrative paints Trump as a rabid Russophile, these people who otherwise would use the Constitution as toilet paper are heeding Hamilton’s warning that foreign powers might seek to raise “a creature of their own” to the presidency.

And they scream bloody murder about Holy Mother Russia, a country they were only too happy to serve in the days of the Soviet Union when Russian President Vladimir Putin was a colonel in the KGB.

KGB collaborator Ted Kennedy must be rolling in his grave.