Posted tagged ‘Trump transition’

It looks like Obama did spy on Trump, just as he apparently did to me

September 21, 2017

It looks like Obama did spy on Trump, just as he apparently did to me, The Hill, Sharyl Attkisson, September 20, 2017

Many in the media are diving deeply into minutiae in order to discredit any notion that President Trump might have been onto something in March when he fired off a series of tweets claiming President Obama had “tapped” “wires” in Trump Tower just before the election.

According to media reports this week, the FBI did indeed “wiretap” the former head of Trump’s campaign, Paul Manafort, both before and after Trump was elected. If Trump officials — or Trump himself — communicated with Manafort during the wiretaps, they would have been recorded, too.

But we’re missing the bigger story.

If these reports are accurate, it means U.S. intelligence agencies secretly surveilled at least a half dozen Trump associates. And those are just the ones we know about.

Besides Manafort, the officials include former Trump advisers Carter Page and Michael Flynn. Last week, we discovered multiple Trump “transition officials” were “incidentally” captured during government surveillance of a foreign official. We know this because former Obama adviser Susan Rice reportedly admitted “unmasking,” or asking to know the identities of, the officials. Spying on U.S. citizens is considered so sensitive, their names are supposed to be hidden or “masked,” even inside the government, to protect their privacy.

In May, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and former Acting Attorney General Sally Yates acknowledged they, too, reviewed communications of political figures, secretly collected under President Obama.

Trump: I was “wire tapped”
CNN: Haha. That idiot @realDonaldTrump thinks he was wiretapped.
..Six months later..
CNN: Trump was wiretapped

Weaponization of intel agencies?

Nobody wants our intel agencies to be used like the Stasi in East Germany; the secret police spying on its own citizens for political purposes. The prospect of our own NSA, CIA and FBI becoming politically weaponized has been shrouded by untruths, accusations and justifications.

You’ll recall DNI Clapper falsely assured Congress in 2013 that the NSA was not collecting “any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans.”

Intel agencies secretly monitored conversations of members of Congress while the Obama administration negotiated the Iran nuclear deal.

In 2014, the CIA got caught spying on Senate Intelligence Committee staffers, though CIA Director John Brennan had explicitly denied that.

There were also wiretaps on then-Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) in 2011 under Obama. The same happened under President George W. Bush to former Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-Calif.).

Journalists have been targeted, too. This internal email, exposed by WikiLeaks, should give everyone chills. It did me.

Dated Sept. 21, 2010, the “global intelligence” firm Stratfor wrote:

[John] Brennan [then an Obama Homeland Security adviser] is behind the witch hunts of investigative journalists learning information from inside the beltway sources.

Note — There is specific tasker from the WH to go after anyone printing materials negative to the Obama agenda (oh my.) Even the FBI is shocked. The Wonder Boys must be in meltdown mode…

The government subsequently got caught monitoring journalists at Fox News, The Associated Press, and, as I allege in a federal lawsuit, my computers while I worked as an investigative correspondent at CBS News. On Aug. 7, 2013, CBS News publicly announced:

… correspondent Sharyl Attkisson’s computer was hacked by ‘an unauthorized, external, unknown party on multiple occasions,’ confirming Attkisson’s previous revelation of the hacking.

Then, as now, instead of getting the bigger story, some in the news media and quasi-news media published false and misleading narratives pushed by government interests. They implied the computer intrusions were the stuff of vivid imagination, conveniently dismissed forensic evidence from three independent examinations that they didn’t review. All seemed happy enough to let news of the government’s alleged unlawful behavior fade away, rather than get to the bottom of it.

I have spent more than two years litigating against the Department of Justice for the computer intrusions. Forensics have revealed dates, times and methods of some of the illegal activities. The software used was proprietary to a federal intel agency. The intruders deployed a keystroke monitoring program, accessed the CBS News corporate computer system, listened in on my conversations by activating the computer’s microphone and used Skype to exfiltrate files.

We survived the government’s latest attempt to dismiss my lawsuit. There’s another hearing Friday. To date, the Trump Department of Justice — like the Obama Department of Justice — is fighting me in court and working to keep hidden the identities of those who accessed a government internet protocol address found in my computers.

Evidence continues to build. I recently filed new information unearthed through forensic exams. As one expert told the court, it was “not a mistake; it is not a random event; and it is not technically possible for these IP addresses to simply appear on her computer systems without activity by someone using them as part of the cyber-attack.”

Patterns

It’s difficult not to see patterns in the government’s behavior, unless you’re wearing blinders.

  • The intelligence community secretly expanded its authority in 2011 so it can monitor innocent U.S. citizens like you and me for doing nothing more than mentioning a target’s name a single time.
  • In January 2016, a top secret inspector general report found the NSA violated the very laws designed to prevent abuse.
  • In 2016, Obama officials searched through intelligence on U.S. citizens a record 30,000 times, up from 9,500 in 2013.
  • Two weeks before the election, at a secret hearing before the FISA court overseeing government surveillance, NSA officials confessed they’d violated privacy safeguards “with much greater frequency” than they’d admitted. The judge accused them of “institutional lack of candor” and said, “this is a very serious Fourth Amendment issue.”

Officials involved in the surveillance and unmasking of U.S. citizens have said their actions were legal and not politically motivated. And there are certainly legitimate areas of inquiry to be made by law enforcement and intelligence agencies. But look at the patterns. It seems that government monitoring of journalists, members of Congress and political enemies — under multiple administrations — has become more common than anyone would have imagined two decades ago. So has the unmasking of sensitive and highly protected names by political officials.

Those deflecting with minutiae are missing the point. To me, they sound like the ones who aren’t thinking.

 

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?

Unmasking Susan Rice and her NSC dead-enders

April 3, 2017

Unmasking Susan Rice and her NSC dead-enders, American ThinkerMonica Showalter, April 3, 2017

It’s time to start investigating this arrogant abuse of power now. Comey has not stated whether he is investigating these people or not, and this is proper. But with these dead-enders clearly threatening the Trump presidency, it’s time to see a hard hand come out against these deep-staters who don’t know when to leave office, and who subscribe to the leftist situational ethics of ‘by any means necessary.’ They are poison for our republic and if they are not removed, they will destroy the Trump presidency

**************************

Journalist/activist Mike Cernovich reports that former White House National Security Advisor Susan Rice obtained intelligence reports showing the identities of innocent Americans who incidentally spoke to foreign officials under security sweeps for spying or intelligence activities. Under U.S. law, U.S. persons are protected from such disclosure, which could be dry-cleaners asking envoys to pick up their laundry or wrong number phone messages spilling their guts about their mothers-in-law. If such U.S. persons get swept up in surveillance, they are protected. But only if they remain ‘masked,’ which is the law of the land.

Cernovich says the White House Counsel’s office has confirmed that Rice was one of the few officials with the authority to make the requests to unmask the innocent Americans caught up in surveillance dragnets. There was no national security reason to do so, but she did. It makes a lot of sense if the aim is political, however, and White House spokesman Sean Spicer has pointed out that their goal was ‘to leak stuff.’ Based on White House logs, she did, during the transition back when angry miserable Obama White House officials frowned in a group photo for the cameras.

The White House counsel’s office disclosed these logs to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, who has been as responsible a steward of America’s secrets as anyone (and said nothing). But it would mean that Rice had to have been responsible for the illegal leaking to the press of the legitimate activities of people like her NSC successor Mike Flynn, for political rather than national security purposes. This would be true whether she did it herself or dispatched a flunky like fellow NSC official Ben Rhodes or Joe Biden’s NSC man Colin Kahl to execute the dirty-tricks skullduggery.

It’s par for the course. Rice was the speaker of the infamous phony White House talking points on why four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, were slaughtered in Benghazi on 9/11/12, repeatedly stating for the press that the attack on the U.S. compound was the act of a spontaneous crowd that got out of control over a video, and not the pre-planned, lethally executed al-Qaida terrorist attack it was. After that, she went onto support the admittedly phony narratives about the Iran Deal, which her buddy Ben Rhodes, a creative writing major, cooked up out of thin air, just as he did the Benghazi talking points.

Cernovich reports that New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman (caught on Wikileaks for being in the tank with Obama) had the information, and chose to sit on it to protect the former president.

But based on the White House counsel act, the news nevertheless got out. The story meshes well with what FBI Director James Comey told the House Intelligence Committee, in response to Nunes’ request for information on leaks last March 20. Comey told the committee that only 20 people would have had access to the names of innocent Americans caught up in the spy dragnet during the transition. Rice was one of them.

Rice, like Rhodes, has the farthest of far-left backgrounds, and the highest of malice against the incoming president. Rhodes never was able to pass a background check to obtain a security clearance and continues to mock and berate Trump & Co, as if he thinks he owned the job and now they took it. Another coeval at NSC, Colin Kahl, who was attached to Joe Biden, seems to have laid out the diabolical plans for picking off Trump’s lieutenants one by one. The tweets he issues are unbelievable, here is one:

Colin Kahl‏ @ColinKahl

The 2nd essential step is purging or marginalizing the “Axis of Ideologues” in the West Wing: Bannon, Miller, Anton, Gorka, KT McFarland.14/

6:21 AM – 11 Mar 2017

With a pattern of malice and mishandled security information centered around NSC dead-enders, the one thing we can see is that there is a coterie of illegal leakers who will compromise national security to enact their political aims.

Devin Nunes pointedly asked Comey whether he knew that illegally leaking national security secrets was a jailtime offense. The FBI director said yes.

It’s time to start investigating this arrogant abuse of power now. Comey has not stated whether he is investigating these people or not, and this is proper. But with these dead-enders clearly threatening the Trump presidency, it’s time to see a hard hand come out against these deep-staters who don’t know when to leave office, and who subscribe to the leftist situational ethics of ‘by any means necessary.’ They are poison for our republic and if they are not removed, they will destroy the Trump presidency.

 

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.

 

A Times Source Outs Herself

March 29, 2017

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

(Weaponizing intelligence information for political purposes:

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

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

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

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

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

Thus spake Farkas:

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

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

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

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

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

 

Obama Did Wiretap Trump: It’s Like Putting Together a Russian Nesting Doll

March 26, 2017

Obama Did Wiretap Trump: It’s Like Putting Together a Russian Nesting Doll, American ThinkerClarice Feldman, March 26, 2017

(Please see also, We Need an Independent Investigation of the Trump Leaks Mystery Now. — DM)

No matter how many dolls are hidden in the nest — Comey, Clapper, Brennan, Lynch — it is undeniable that they all fit under the big one — Obama. It was he who authorized the surveillance and multiagency distribution of intelligence — in Bob Woodward’s reading, “highly classified gossip” — about political opponent Trump and his team — invading their privacy in violation of the law. If you were inclined to want Americans to lose faith in their intelligence community and media you couldn’t have done a better job than they did themselves. The Russians didn’t have to do a thing.

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Matryoshkas are Russian nesting dolls. Inside each doll are several others, smaller but identically shaped characters, until you get to the smallest one inside. Studying what we have learned of the timeline — and we still don’t have the entire story — we see Wikileaks, the smallest, at the core, and Obama as the largest piece in what is the most historically outrageous misuse of the people and institutions of government for partisan advantage.

Wikileaks

During the campaign, Wikileaks posted a number of email messages from the DNC — largely Podesta, but Hillary as well. The communications (not well reported, but, in any event, more embarrassing tittle tattle) had been on unsecured accounts, poorly guarded and easily accessed because of carelessness on the part of the Hillary team. Assange, who published them, denied the source of this information was Russian hackers. This now has been confirmed by the heads of our intelligence community, but the Clinton camp claim that the Russians did it set the stage for the notion that her opponent was the favored candidate of the Russians.

Apart from the fact that our intelligence services have denied the claim, there are a number of reasons to believe that the Russians would have preferred Hillary to Trump. For one thing, Russia is in terrible financial shape and relies on its sales of oil and gas to Europe to stay afloat. Is it sensible to believe that the Russians would prefer Trump, who made clear he wanted to vastly increase U.S. oil and gas production, over Hillary, who gave every indication of keeping it down and the worldwide price of oil and gas higher? (I can’t imagine — for the same reason — that Iran and OPEC wouldn’t prefer her as well.) Why you do suppose the Russians have been funding “green” groups in Europe — and possibly here — who oppose fracking?

Secondly, for eight years Russian businesses and businessmen closely aligned with Putin pumped millions into the Clinton Foundation slush fund, paid her husband a half-million dollars for a single speech, and got in return a substantial portion of our uranium assets when, as Secretary of State, Hillary okayed their purchase. Finally, John Podesta, chair of Hillary’s presidential campaign wasclosely aligned with Russian interests. His brother was hired by the Russians to lobby for the uranium sale. He was on the board of a company closely aligned with Putin.

As the crack investigative reporter Richard Pollock notes:

John Podesta, national chairman of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign, may have opened himself up to a Russian “influence campaign” designed to temper his views of the Kremlin, The Daily Caller News Foundation (TheDCNF) Investigative Group has learned.

Influence campaigns are conducted by many governments — including the United States — with the aim of influencing decision makers in other countries to realign their geopolitical worldviews more closely to the influencing country.

Some national security experts interviewed by The DCNF wonder if Podesta may still be a target of Russian influence. They trace the campaign back to his company board membership, in which one-third of the board were top Russian businessmen with direct ties to the Kremlin.

The last time Podesta talked negatively about Russia was Dec. 18, 2016, when he charged in an NBC “Meet the Press” interview the 2016 election was “distorted by the Russian intervention.”

The former Clinton national campaign chairman has since been silent, even as other former top Clinton aides, such as Robby Mook, Brian Fallon and Jim Margolis have repeatedly aimed high-decibel rhetoric at President Donald Trump about Russian “meddling” in the 2016 presidential race.

[snip]

Podesta’s silence is particularly striking, according to retired Air Force Col. James Waurishuk.

“We haven’t heard very much from Podesta lately, particularly on the subject of Russia’s interference in the elections,” Waurishuk told the DCNF. He served on the National Security Council and worked on “information operations” for military intelligence.

The suggestion is that he’s staying out of it because the Russians want this chatter about their influence silenced.

In any event, Russia has now been cleared of the claim, yet in the recesses of the dimmer voters’ minds the charge remains a cogent explanation of why their candidate lost the election.

The National Security Agency and the FISA

The NSA engages in global monitoring for foreign intelligence and counterintelligence. It does by passive means (signals Intelligence) and active means like physically bugging systems and through subversive software. It assists and coordinates SIGINT elements at other government organization like the DIA.

Domestic communications can be intercepted under two circumstances: in the first instance to protect us against sabotage or international terrorism or sabotage. In such a case, when authorized by the president through the attorney general, it can be done without a court order provided that it is for only one year and only to acquire foreign intelligence information and there is real likelihood that a U.S. person is a party to the communication. Even then it must be done in such a way to minimize the impact on the U.S. person. The attorney general must report such surveillance under seal to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and report their compliance to both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees.

Surveillance can also be done on a court order from FISA when the attorney general persuades the court that there is probable cause (i.e. a reasonable suspicion) that the target is a “foreign power” or an “agent of a foreign power” and the minimization requirements for information pertaining to U.S. persons will be followed. Such orders may be approved for 90 days,120 days, or a year.

FISA court authorization is almost always granted. Reliable reports indicate that the Obama administration sought authorization in July of last year when Trump appeared a likely opponent (the application is still secret) and it was denied. These reports also state that a pared-down application was sought in October and granted by the court. We have no idea on what basis the Department of Justice sought these warrants nor who the purported target was.

From the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, we learned this week that Trump team’s conversations were caught in the surveillance, that for over nine months this was never reported to his committee. Moreover, it is public knowledge that three days before the inauguration in January, for no legitimate purpose, President Obama authorized wide distribution of the surveillance reports to 16 other agencies, the names of U.S. persons involved in the conversations were not redacted, the contents were of no intelligence value and they were widely leaked — a perfectly predictable consequence of spreading the raw data so widely in contrast to normal redaction and dissemination patterns. Suspicious minds like mine think may well be to further hamper the incoming administration by leaks designed to embarrass members of his team. Nunes also reported the post-election spying “had nothing to do with Russia.”  By January 20, for example, the New York Times reported that Trump had been wiretapped.

We learned this week from Nunes’ work that the investigation is continuing.

On his own Mike Rogers, head of NSA, met privately with Trump shortly after the inauguration. We have no details of their discussion, but my guess is he told him what had happened and how. At the moment, Rogers appears to be the sole white hat in our intelligence network. But he may not be the only one, which, I think, would mean a number of former Obama officials have to be looking for lawyers.

Tom Lipscomb, a former reporter and online friend, thinks the white hats in the intelligence community fed the truth about the wiretapping directly to Trump so he could weed out from their ranks the Obama confederates. Like him, I think the Trump tweet that he was wiretapped was smart. He’s giving “fair warning to what is coming,” and the claims that Trump was engaged in some “crazy conspiracy” are evaporating just as had the earlier nonsense that he and the Russians were conspiring via Wikileaks.

Christopher Steele and John McCain

Christopher Steele is a former British intelligence agent of dubious character and credibility. He had been hired early by the Clinton camp to dig up dirt on Trump. When Hillary ended that agreement, unnamed Republicans engaged him to continue, and when they stopped paying him, the FBI — for as yet unexplained reasons — took him up. His “dossier” is preposterous, based on accounts to his aides from unnamed and thus unverifiable sources. In the rare instance when they provide recognizable details, they have been proven false. As incredible as the “dossier” was, it was used to tar Trump with salacious nonsense and to further encourage the ridiculous notion that he and his team were Russian agents.

There are three different versions of how John McCain, a bitter #NeverTrumper always seeking media cuddles and enamored by globalization, came to get the dossier — he says, in December.  In one version, he got it from a member of the McCain Institute, in other published accounts he dispatched someone abroad to get it, and in a third he first heard of it from a former British ambassador while at a meeting in Halifax. That he’s offered various tales in itself suggests some dissembling on his part. Nevertheless, he concedes he widely distributed the scurrilous dossier to the media and members of Congress. He was either a useful dupe of those determined to bring down Trump or a willing partner of theirs. Right now, he’s flailing about abroad, attacking the president and moaning that Trump hasn’t yet met with him.

The Media

John Nolte, writing for the Daily Caller, highlights how it is apparent that the media knew of the spying operation and later covered it up:

“Of course the media knew what the Obama administration had done. First off, when they thought the news would hurt Trump, the national media publicly reported on the fact that the Obama administration had spied on Team Trump. It was only after that knowledge became a liability for Precious Barry that the media pretended otherwise. In other words, they LIED.”

Jim Geraghty at National Review cites a specific example of the media-leaker waltz:

On January 12, the Washington Post columnist David Ignatius wrote:

According to a senior U.S. government official, Flynn phoned Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak several times on Dec. 29, the day the Obama administration announced the expulsion of 35 Russian officials as well as other measures in retaliation for the hacking. What did Flynn say, and did it undercut the U.S. sanctions? The Logan Act (though never enforced) bars U.S. citizens from correspondence intending to influence a foreign government about “disputes” with the United States. Was its spirit violated? The Trump campaign didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

This is a leak of classified information. Michael Flynn was not, as far as we know, a target of any U.S. government surveillance. He was one of the figures whose conversations was “incidentally” recorded, presumably as part of the regular monitoring of Kislyak.

People within the U.S. government are not supposed to take the information that is incidentally recorded and then run to David Ignatius because they don’t like the American citizen who was recorded. That’s not the purpose of our domestic counterintelligence operations. Even if Flynn had violated the Logan Act — which, as we all know, no one has never been prosecuted for violating — there are legitimate avenues for dealing with that, namely going to law enforcement and a prosecutor.

(Invoking the Logan Act in this circumstance is particularly nonsensical, because the interpretation Ignatius floats would criminalize just about any discussion between a presidential candidate, a president-elect or his team and any representative of a foreign government on any matter of importance. If you ask a foreign official if his country would make a concession on Issue X in exchange for a U.S. concession on Issue Y, BOOM! Call out the SWAT teams, we’ve got a Logan Act violation!)

There are a lot of reasons not to like Michael Flynn, but that doesn’t change the fact that somebody broke the law and leaked classified information in an effort to get him in trouble. That is wrong and that is illegal, and Nunes is right to point out we’re going down a dangerous road when information collected by U.S. intelligence agencies about American citizens starts getting strategically leaked for partisan purposes.

No matter how many dolls are hidden in the nest — Comey, Clapper, Brennan, Lynch — it is undeniable that they all fit under the big one — Obama. It was he who authorized the surveillance and multiagency distribution of intelligence — in Bob Woodward’s reading, “highly classified gossip” — about political opponent Trump and his team — invading their privacy in violation of the law. If you were inclined to want Americans to lose faith in their intelligence community and media you couldn’t have done a better job than they did themselves. The Russians didn’t have to do a thing.

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.