De achtergrond waartegen zich dit saga voltrekt.quote:A cabal is a group of people united in some close design together, usually to promote their private views or interests in an ideology, state, or other community, often by intrigue, usually unbeknown to persons outside their group...
Laat men duidelijk bewust worden wat deze verzekeringspolis inhoudt. Dit is het complete 'Russia collusion' complottheorie en alle bijbehorende -en daaropvolgende- FBI- en DoJ-samenwerkingsacties die onder auspiciŽn van een contra-inlichtingenoperatie van de FBI zijn ondernomen om een volledig valse premisse te genereren.quote:“I want to believe the path you threw out for consideration in Andy’s office that there’s no way he gets elected – but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk. It’s like an insurance policy in the unlikely event you die before you’re 40.”
Maar ook via gewoon gezond verstand is heel gemakkelijk op te maken dat dit narratief een zwakke poging is om de hoax opnieuw leven in te blazen. Het narratief ligt inmiddels aan de beademing en de defibrillator (the New York Times) moet eraan te pas komen om er weer schwung in te krijgen.quote:In an interview on CNN, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said that when he left his Obama administration job on Jan. 20, 2017, George Papadopoulos “was not a name on my radar scope.”
Ik heb deze gisteren voor het eerst gezien en ik kan je vertellen dat deze hier veel indruk heeft gemaakt.quote:
quote:Chad Pergram from FOX News tweeted on Friday that the DOJ turned over some of the 1.2 million documents requested to the House Intelligence Committee.
Pas de laatste twee maanden begonnen mensen zoals Strzok, McCabe, Priestap, Ohr en anderen in te zien hoe Sessions, Horowitz (en Trump) hen hadden bespeeld , terwijl ze dachten de controle te hebben en de impeachmentprocedure van een president construeerden.twitter:
Dat was bij deze amendement. De re-autorisatie van de FISA Section 702. Rand Paul (R) en Ron Wyden (D) waren daarvan de aanjagers, maar dit werd gepareerd door een zogenaamde cloture.quote:
Ergens in het begin van 2016 werd het hoofd van de Nationale Veiligheidsdienst (NSA), admiraal Micheal Rogers, bewust van "aanhoudende" en "opzettelijke" schendingen van FISA en beval een uitgebreide review. Verder stopt hij alle FISA-702(17) “About Queries” permanent.quote:FBI gave raw Section 702–acquired information to a private entity that was not a federal agency and whose personnel were not sufficiently supervised by a federal agency for compliance minimization procedures.”
Later die maand wordt de voorzitter van de House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, voor de eerste keer informatie getoond van verscheidene mensen binnen het team van Trump, die zijn opgepikt in de incidentele surveillance. Hij ziet dat de informatie uit deze surveillance vervolgens zijn onthuld en is verspreid binnen de inlichtingengemeenschap, hoewel er geen legitieme onderzoeksreden leek te zijn waarom hun namen op deze manier werd gedeeld.twitter:
Dit geeft dus tientallen mensen directe toegang tot geheime informatie inclusief daaraan gekoppeld bekend gemaakte identiteiten, dat potentieel voor specifieke partijpolitieke doeleinden gebruikt kan worden.quote:[…] But while through most of its history the document has been marked “For the President’s Eyes Only,” the PDB has never gone to the president alone. The most restricted dissemination was in the early 1970s, when the book went only to President Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, who was dual-hatted as national security adviser and secretary of state.
In other administrations, the circle of readers has also included the vice president, the secretary of defense and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, along with additional White House staffers.
By 2013, Obama’s PDB was making its way to more than 30 recipients, including the president’s top strategic communications aide and speechwriter, and deputy secretaries of national security departments.
Bronquote:From Conspiracy Theories to Conspiracies
Not all conspiracy theorists are unhinged paranoids—even when they insist there was a loosely organized if not sometimes incoherent effort to destroy Donald Trump’s candidacy beyond the bounds of “normal” politics and later a renewed and unprecedented endeavor to abort his presidency.
After all, did anyone believe that in the year 2017 the losing side in an American election would immediately dub itself the “Resistance”—channeling the World War II nomenclature of the guerrilla campaign against the Nazi occupation of France? Or that the defeated candidate Hillary Clinton would formally embrace the imagery of liberationist patriots fighting a Nazi-like Trump’s occupation of the United States?
One ingredient for removing a president would entail a nonstop effort by the opposition to use the courts, the legislative branch, the investigatory agencies, and the administrative state to discredit, undermine, and remove an elected government. In modern terms, that might entail opponents suing to challenge the legitimacy of the election, perhaps by charging in court that according to “experts,” voting machines were dysfunctional and thus some state tallies were null and void.
The effort might embrace trying to subvert the Constitution by pressuring state electors not to honor their constitutionally defined responsibilities to vote in accordance with the popular vote in their respective states. It might also include an effort to introduce articles of impeachment in the House.
A resistance might sue under the 25th Amendment to find the president non compos mentis, accompanied by a popular campaign to clinically diagnose the president as mentally unfit or physically decrepit. Or a resistance might use the courts to seek the removal of an elected president on grounds he was a rank profiteer and had violated the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution—or to file suits with cherry-picked liberal judges to delay and stop the president’s executive orders. On the petty side, an organized effort to discredit a president would range from boycotting the Inauguration to deliberately holding up and delaying confirmation of his appointees.
In fact, in just Trump’s first year we have seen all these things and more.
Pop Culture Provocations
Any “resistance” aimed at removing a president would also involve the proverbial street and popular culture. A good way might be to implant to such a degree the idea of killing or harming the president that it would become something more than just a sick fantasy, but become contextualized as an act of near patriotism across the broader culture. Celebrities accordingly might dream out loud at rallies of blowing up the White House. Or a movie star might announce to his audience his hopes for a repeat of a John Wilkes Booth-style assassination. Or a state legislator might post hopes that someone would kill the president. Or a rapper might release a video in which the president is shown shot. Or a comedian on camera might hold up a facsimile of the bloody severed head of the president. Or a New York troupe might perform public plays in which the president each evening is ritually stabbed to death.
We might also see and hear ad nauseam from actors and other celebrities expressing desires to beat him to a pulp, or hang him, or shoot him—all the insidious efforts not of those easily disregarded as unhinged, but of those with public personas, and with the effect of incrementally normalizing violence against the president. Late night comedians might vie with each other in their profanity and scatology, ridiculing the president with references to him fellating a foreign leader. Who knows, a secret service agent might even post a brag that she would not be willing to “take a bullet” to defend the likes of this president. Or a left-wing zealot might think shooting Republican congressmen was doing his part to thwart the evil Trump agenda.
All that, too, transpired in Trump’s first year.
Blue, anti-Trump states might seek to nullify federal law, in the fashion that the states of the Old South insisted that they were not subject to federal jurisdictions. California, for example, might declare itself a sanctuary state, a declaration that would forbid federal immigration agents from enforcing fully the law. Or the states might incessantly sue the president’s administration on everything from immigration to environmental policy—such that every two weeks California is ritually filing a new suit in a friendly court to curtail federal government jurisdiction over state residents. The California governor might declare the president an immoral agent who had no fear of God, as grandees in his state talked of Calexit, a secession from the president’s United States. Or the California legislature might dream of subverting the new federal code curtailing state tax deductions in adolescent ways that would earn any taxpayer who tried such a con an IRS indictment.
In fact, in just Trump’s first year, we have seen all those efforts transpire as well.
Control the Media, Control the Narrative
In historian Edward Luttwak’s semi-serious Coup d’ťtat: A Practical Handbook, control of the media is essential to abort a leader’s term. Ideally, a resistance should hope to so influence or enlist popular television, radio, electronic media and print journalism to ensure that 90 percent of all coverage of the president would be classified as negative. Reporters would issue fake news reports, ranging from stories that the president deliberately phoned a foreign leader and threatened invasion, or in racist fashion had insulted minorities by removing the bust of a black civil rights icon from the West Wing. Some reporters would use on-air obscenity and scatology in expressing their hatred of the president, in efforts to normalize the once abnormal. The more theoretical would ponder the need to jettison disinterested reporting, claiming that the danger of Trump justified biased coverage. The deep-state media might brand as believable a fake-news, tell-all book about the secret and private lives of the Trump inner circle.
All of that happened in 2017. And it’s still happening.
What better way to derail a presidency would there be than to allow a blank-check special counsel to search out alleged criminal activity on the part of the president? We have seen FBI Director James Comey confess that he deliberately leaked, likely illegally, confidential notes of a meeting with president Trump to the media, with the expressed intent of creating a “scandal” requiring a “special counsel”—a gambit that worked to perfection when Comey’s close friend, former FBI Director Robert Mueller was appointed.
To facilitate those efforts, the counsel would appoint to his team several attorneys who despised the very target of their investigation. In fact, many special investigators have given generously to the campaign of Trump’s past political opponent Hillary Clinton and in at least one case had worked previously for the Clinton Foundation. Note that after nearly a year, the Mueller investigation has not indicted anyone on collusion charges and is unlikely to. Rather, in special counsel trademark, low-bar fashion, it is seeking to indict and convict suspects for not telling the whole truth during interrogations, or violating other statutes. As Peter Strzok—once one of the FBI’s lead investigators in the Mueller investigation—concluded of the “collusion” allegation to his mistress Lisa Page: there was “no big there there.”
The FBI itself would have earlier trafficked in a fraudulent document funded by the Clinton campaign to “prove” Trump and his team were such dangers to the republic that they required surveillance under FISA court warrants and thus should surrender their constitutional rights of privacy. The ensuing surveillance, then, would be widely disseminated among Obama Administration officials, with the likely intent that names would be unmasked and leaked to the anti-Trump press—again, in efforts to discredit, first, the Trump campaign, and later the Trump transition and presidency. A top official of the prior Department of Justice would personally consult the authors of the smear dossier in efforts to ensure that its contents would become useful and known.
In fact, all that and more has already transpired.
Subversion as Plain as Day
Key officials of the prior government would likewise weigh in constantly to oppose the subsequent Trump agenda and demonize their own president. Samantha Power, Susan Rice, and Ben Rhodes would warn the country of the threats posed by their successor, but fail to disclose that they had previously requested to view FISA surveillance of the Trump team and to unmask the names of U.S. citizens which predictably soon appeared in media reports. Former Secretary of State John Kerry, according to the Jerusalem Post, assured a prominent Palestinian government leader, “that he should stay strong in his spirit and play for time, that he will not break and will not yield to President Trump’s demands.” Kerry reportedly further assured the Palestinian representative that the president may not be in White House for much longer and would likely not complete his first term. In sum, the former American secretary of state all but advised a foreign government that his own president is illegitimate and thus to be ignored or resisted in the remaining time before he is removed.
If any of these efforts were undertaken in 2009 to subvert the presidency of Barack Obama popular outrage might well have led to criminal indictments. If Hollywood grandees had promised to do to Barack Obama what they boast doing to Donald Trump, the entire industry would have been discredited—or given the Obama investigatory treatment.
Indeed, in many cases between 2009-2017, U.S. citizens the Obama Administration found noncompliant with its agendas became targets of the IRS for their political activity or monitored by the Justice Department. The latter included reporters from the Associated Press and James Rosen of Fox News. Many a journalist’s sources were prosecuted under the Espionage Act of 1917. In another case, a filmmaker had his parole revoked and was scapegoated and jailed to advance a false administration narrative about the death of four Americans in Benghazi. Still others were surveilled by using fraudulent documents to obtain FISA court orders.
Everyone should be keen to distinguish conspiracies from conspiracy theories. The above are real events, not the tales told by the paranoid.
In contrast, unhinged conspiracy theorists, for example, might obsess yet again over the machinations of multibillionaire and leftist globalist bogeyman George Soros, and float wild yarns that he would fly to Davos to assure the global elite that he considers Trump “a danger to the world,” while reassuring them that the American president was “a purely temporary phenomenon that will disappear in 2020—or even sooner.” . . .
Wat ik heb begrepen is dat Adrew McCabe en Peter Strzok achter de beslissing zaten om Flynn te vervolgen, terwijl een derde agent, die samen met Strzok Flynn in het Witte Huis had verhoord, "no wrong-doing" zag. Het is natuurlijk in de zaak Flynn heel belangrijk voor hem dat er een getuigenverklaring van deze agent beschikbaar komt.quote:Mueller team seeks delay in Flynn sentencing
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team has postponed the sentencing of former national security adviser Michael Flynn due to the “status” of the investigation, raising questions as to what the development means for the direction of the Russia probe.
A one-page "Joint Status Report" filed Wednesday in federal court in Washington gave notice that they would file another such report within 90 days.
“Due to the status of the Special Counsel’s investigation, the parties do not believe that this matter is ready to be scheduled for a sentencing hearing at this time,” the document, signed by Mueller and Flynn attorneys Robert Kelner and Stephen Anthony, said.
“The parties shall file a joint status report by no later than May 1, 2018, stating whether the matter should be scheduled for sentencing or whether a deadline should be set for filing another joint status report,” said a related order signed by Judge Emmet G. Sullivan.
The delay could suggest Flynn is continuing to provide information.
Such a delay in sentencing, according to a former high-ranking Justice Department official, is common in federal investigations.
“This is very, very common for a cooperating defendant,” the former official, James Trusty who served under both the Bush and Obama administrations, told Fox News. “They don’t want to tell the judge to sentence Flynn until they can tell the judge that he helped in the case.”
Trusty said that if Flynn were ever asked to testify in a trial, he would be “a better witness” if still facing the prospect of sentencing.
Flynn could be sentenced to federal prison for up to five years for making false statements to the FBI.
“It’s a routine play that federal sentencing gets put off until you’re done cooperating,” Trusty said, adding that this does not give any insight into the “pace” of Mueller’s probe, but rather the “existence of it.”
“They are basically saying ‘we may use Flynn for more information,’ but who knows where they think he fits in the grand scheme of the investigation,” Trusty said. “They obviously think he still has some potential, affirmative work to do.”
--> But another former U.S. official told Fox News the decision to delay Flynn’s sentencing could be related to the judge presiding over the case.
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Judge Rudolph Contreras took Flynn’s guilty plea on Dec. 1, 2017 – but just days later, Contreras recused himself from the case.
A court spokesperson told Fox News that the courts do not disclose grounds for recusal.
“It may very well be that the guilty plea cannot stand because of all of this,” former federal prosecutor Joseph diGenova told Fox News Thursday, noting that Contreras also is a judge on the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. <---
Requests for FISA warrants are made through the court, and target suspected foreign spies inside the U.S. The court has been at the center of controversy over a congressional memo said to detail surveillance abuses tied to the 2016 campaign.
But in reference to Flynn’s guilty plea, a source close to the court told Fox News Thursday that Contreras’ recusal doesn’t affect the status of the plea. Bron
To be continued...quote:“What we will do in phase two is follow the facts where they lead, and when we get enough facts, we will figure out a way to let the American people know,” --Nunes
Oh wacht, je gelooft echt dat wat hij schrijft enige relatie heeft met de werkelijkheid?quote:
Ik stel voor dat je puntsgewijs aangeeft waarmee je het niet eens bent, per punt een aantal argumenten aanvoert -die jouw werkelijkheid reflecteren- en dan zal ik ingaan op deze argumenten.quote:
Je moet even goed lezen wat hij schrijft, hij post een flinke lap tekst met wat rapporten, maar trekt dan een hele hoop ongefundeerde conclusies zonder enige onderbouwing.quote:
quote:FBI informant on Uranium One Breaks Silence
An informant who spent years gathering information on the Russian energy and uranium market industry for the FBI, met staff members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, House Oversight, and House Intelligence Committees on Wednesday. He gave explosive testimony on his years as an undercover informant providing information to the FBI on Russian criminal networks operating in the United States. He also contends in his testimony, and written briefs, to the FBI that Russia attempted to hide its ongoing aid to help sustain Iran’s nuclear industry, at the time the Obama administration approved the sale of 20 percent of U.S. uranium mining rights to Russia.
William D. Campbell, an American businessman, provided extensive information on other counterintelligence issues to the FBI for decades and he had also provided information to the CIA on various issues during his time overseas.
“For several years my relationship with the CIA consisted of being debriefed after foreign travel,” Campbell noted in his testimony, which was obtained by this reporter. “Gradually, the relationship evolved into the CIA tasking me to travel to specific countries to obtain specific information. In the 1990’s I developed a working relationship with Kazakhstan and Russia in their nuclear energy industries. When I told the CIA of this development, I was turned over to FBI counterintelligence agents.”
The informant’s attorney, Victoria Toensing partner at the firm DiGenova & Toensing, said the following:
“Mr. Campbell testified for over four hours until he answered every question from three Congressional committees; the Senate Judiciary, House Oversight and House Intelligence committees.
He recounted numerous times that the Russians bragged that the Clintons’ influence in the Obama administration would ensure CIFIUS approval for Uranium One. And he was right.”
The recent revelations over the past year regarding Campbell’s undercover work for the FBI, sparked a Department of Justice investigation into the Obama Administration’s handling of the sale of U.S. uranium mining assets to Russia. On Wednesday, he shared with the committee information he provided to the FBI and has in the past described his frustration with the Obama administration’s failure to stop Russia’s nuclear giant from purchasing 20 percent of American uranium mining assets.
Campbell testified before numerous Congressional investigators that his extensive counterintelligence work on Russia and stated that during his time as an informant, he obtained information that Russia was continuing to aid the Iranian government. According to Campbell Russia provided the resources necessary for the nation’s nuclear reactors, despite promises that they were not sharing such technology with Iran.
In an April 16, 2010, summary brief provided to his former FBI handlers and obtained by this reporter, he stressed his deep concerns about Tenex, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Russian state nuclear arm Rosatom and its ongoing work to provide Iran with the technology needed for its nuclear reactor program.
At the time, Rosatom was seeking the approval to purchase the Canadian mining company Uranium One.
“TENEX continues to supply Iran with fuel through their Russian company TVEL,” stated Campbell in a 2010 brief provided to the FBI. TVEL is a Russian nuclear fuel cycle company headquartered in Moscow. “They (TVEL) continue to assist with construction consult and fabricated assemblies to supply the reactor. Fabricated assemblies require sophisticated engineering and are arranged inside the reactor with the help and consult of TVEL.”
Campbell informed the FBI of the close relationship between TVEL and TENEX, both a part of the Rosatom group. He stated in his brief that while spending time with the Russian executives from both Rosatom and Tenex, that any mention of “TVEL is a subject that is serious to all when mentioned. I do not even raise the subject of TVEL to our friends, but occasionally they speak of it and always in a guarded manner.”
In the briefs, he informed the FBI that “occasionally someone will mention having been in Iran but usually it is long after the fact.”
“His response was a smile and shoulder shrug”
And when he asked the Russians about these connections, he stated that they “occasionally speak of the relationship, i.e. equipment, consulting. I asked Vadim (Mikerin) if they felt there was a serious problem, and would they adhere to sanctions and western opinion. His response was a smile and shoulder shrug.”
But Campbell had provided the FBI with evidence of the criminal network and delivered the information to the FBI. which was monitoring his work as an informant and approving his transfer of bribery money to the Russians. Those transfers, which were made in bulk $50,000 sums and at times delivered in cash, occurred between senior executives of the American transportation company and the Russian executives connected to Rosatom. He had given the FBI irrefutable evidence showing how contracts obtained from the same Russian energy company Tenex, were based on contract bribery and other nefarious actions, he said.
Senior members of the FBI, Department of Treasury, Department of Energy and Department of Justice were also briefed on Campbell’s information and were apprised of the various facets pertaining to Russia’s acquisition of the Canadian company. In fact, Campbell had been told by his FBI handlers that his work had made it at least twice into President Obama’s classified presidential daily briefings.
“The Russians expressed a sense of urgency to secure new U.S. uranium business because they knew that the two-decades-old “Megatons to Megawatts” program would cease in 2013,” Campbell said. “Then Russia would no longer be guaranteed a market to sell recycled nuclear warhead materials as peaceful reactor fuel in the United States. I gathered evidence for the FBI by moving closer and closer to the Russians’ key nuclear industry players, including those inside the United States and high-ranking Russian officials who would visit.”
Despite the insurmountable evidence collected by Campbell, the Obama administration’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States approved Russia’s purchase of Uranium One in the fall of 2010.
That approval by the Obama administration gave Moscow extensive rights to buy and sell more atomic fuels.
“I was speechless and angry in October 2010 when CFIUS approved the Uranium One sale to Rosatom. I was deeply worried that TLI continued to transport sensitive uranium despite the fact that it had been compromised by the bribery scheme,” stated Campbell in his testimony to lawmakers. “I expressed these concerns repeatedly to my FBI handlers. The response I got was that “politics” was somehow involved. I remember one response I got from an agent when I asked how it was possible CFIUS would approve the Uranium One sale when the FBI could prove Rosatom was engaged in criminal conduct. His answer: “Ask your politics.”
It wasn’t until years later in 2015 that American businessman Daren Condrey, whose company Transportation Logistics International, plead guilty to conspiring to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and conspiring to commit wire fraud, according to the DOJ.
Russian national Vadim Mikerin, who was a top official of the Russian nuclear arms subsidiary Tenex and would later become president of Tenam the American subsidiary of Rosatom, was also sentenced in December 2015. Mikerin, who only plead guilty to money laundering, was arrested for a racketeering scheme that dated back to 2004. He was sentenced to 48 months in prison.
Boris Rubizhevsky, another Russian national from New Jersey, who was president of the security firm NEXGEN Security, was also involved in the conspiracy and plead guilty to conspiracy to commit money laundering in 2015. He served as a consultant to Tenam and to Mikerin. Rubizhevsky was sentenced to prison last year along with three years of supervised release and a $26,500 fine, according to a recent Reuters report.
And Mark Lambert, 54, a co-owner of Transportation Logistics International, was charged this month on an “11-count indictment with one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and to commit wire fraud, seven counts of violating the FCPA, two counts of wire fraud and one count of international promotion money laundering,” as stated in the DOJ press release. Lambert’s charges stem from an alleged scheme to bribe Mikerin in order to secure contracts with TENEX, according to the DOJ release.
Lambert is fighting the charges, according to a Reuters report.
Campbell, whose from the South Eastern United States, founded a company in 1981 early in his career that focused on agriculture and energy consulting for foreign companies.
He was the Chief Operating Officer, and “led the company’s expansion into Europe and the Middle East,” stated Toensing.
During his time working in the Middle East in the 1980s he came into possession of information he thought would be of interest to the U.S. government and “contacted the local FBI office and presented the plans to an agent,” he relayed to congressional members.
That was the beginning of Campbell’s informant with the FBI.
In the 1990’s Campbell traveled to Kazakhstan and Russia developing relationships in their nuclear energy industries. It was at that point that the Campbell also gave began providing information to the FBI’s counterintelligence agents.
“Through my energy consulting, I began to make inroads into the Russian nuclear industry, first in Kazakhstan through Swiss contacts and then in Russia,” Campbell’s statement said. “My FBI assignments included providing information about Russian efforts to secure large swaths of Kazakh uranium in the 1990’s and again around the time former President Bill Clinton visited the region as a private citizen in 2005, accompanied by a donor to his Foundation, Frank Giustra.”
He was reimbursed for his expenses and at times receive a modest compensation for his work with the FBI, he testified.
“By far the largest and most significant payment I received was in January 2016,” he noted. “The FBI presented me a $50,000-plus check thanking and commending me for my work from 2009 to 2014 in the investigation of the Russian nuclear energy industry.”
“Putin wanted Russia to dominate the world’s uranium supply, a goal of crucial interest to the U.S. government. At the same time, the Russian companies – Rosatom and Tenex – were engaged in racketeering,” his testimony stated.
Campbell, who was using the money paid to him by the FBI for his work and expressed his frustration to the FBI over their failure to reimburse him approximately $500,000 he had spent on payments to facilitate the undercover case, Toensing added.
In January 2016 the FBI invited him to a dinner in Crystal City, Virginia, where they presented him with a check for just over $50,000 and thanked him for his work, said Toensing. A copy of the check has been obtained by this reporter.
In 2016, Campbell filed a lawsuit in Maryland federal court against the Russian nuclear entities asking for the return of the money he had to launder out of his own paychecks. His lawyers were advised by the DOJ a few days of filing the lawsuit that prosecutors in the Fraud Section of the Justice Department under then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch, demanded the withdrawal the lawsuit. According to a letter, obtained by this reporter, the DOJ threatened to destroy Campbell’s reputation and prosecute him for violating a non-disclosure agreement he had signed with the FBI.
Late last year, the Department of Justice under Attorney General Jeff Sessions lifted Campbell’s NDA agreement so he could speak to Congress about his case and involvement in the investigation.
Campbell’s Briefs and Reports
The Russians were working to secure their global expansion of the energy market and according to his briefings to the FBI on August 2011, that “the Russians are going to do what they need to do to secure their influence, whether it’s in Europe, Iran or any other part of the world…they know that nobody’s in a position to stop them… not even us…unless we want to run a huge risk of massive confrontation.”
More importantly noted Campbell, the “fuel fabricators to Iran are being flown by Russian air transport due to the sensitive nature of the equipment. Taking them overland or by sea makes no sense when they can have them inside Iran in a matter of hours.”
But by 2010, the Russian government was working diligently to get approval from the Obama administration to purchase Uranium One. They wanted to downplay their relationship with Iran and were afraid that Republicans, who were against the proposed deal, would find a way to stop the approval process.
They hired lobbying firms and sought the counsel of American experts in the energy market.
Cherly Moss Herman, currently with the United States Department of Energy but who worked as private energy consultant on environmental issues at the time, produced a detailed report for the Russian nuclear company, as previously reported.
The document Moss Herman wrote as a consultant in 2010 was for TENAM/Tenex, according to the consulting memorandum she provided to the Russian subsidiary. TENAM is a fully-owned U.S. subsidiary of Tenex, which is 100 percent owned by the Russian state-controlled nuclear Rosatom, according to public documentation.
Titled “Policy/Legislative Issues Affecting the Business Climate in the U.S. for TENAM/Tenex,” the memorandum discussed the Department of Energy’s uranium regulations. She is now employed at the DOE’s Office Nuclear Energy where she? develops sustainable fuel cycles.
The Moss October 7, 2010, report discusses the congressional atmosphere regarding uranium, specifically states that “some Republicans truly fear the entry of Russia into the U.S. market, as demonstrated by the fact that they are taking steps to block the purchase of Uranium One ….”
Her memo outlined methods for the Obama administration to loosen U.S. restrictions on Rosatom to not only export nuclear materials but also secure billions of dollars in new uranium sales to American utilities, according to the report.
In late 2010, the Russians succeeded at doing both, while at the same time their companies were engaged in a criminal racketeering enterprise on U.S. soil.
Moss Herman’s 2010 memorandum outlined “the current status, including background information, and discussion on a few key issues that could affect the business climate for TENAM/Tenex’s directly and also introduces a number of other issues that could also have an impact on the nuclear business climate in the United States.”
“Some Republicans truly fear the entry of Russia into the U.S. market, as demonstrated by the fact that they are taking steps to block the purchase of Uranium One by Atomredmetzoloto,” she stated.
Atomredmetzoloto, known as ARMZ, is the mining arm of Rosatom. On June 8, 2010, Uranium One announced it had signed an agreement that would give “not less than 51%” of the company to JSC Atomredmetzoloto, or ARMZ. According to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Uranium One has two licensed mining operations in Wyoming that amount to about “20 percent of the currently licensed uranium in-situ recovery production capacity in the U.S.” Bron
Nog een aantal voorbeelden van het (potentieel) schenden van de Constitutie.quote:"The Rosen affair is as flagrant an assault on civil liberties as anything done by George W. Bush’s administration, and it uses technology to silence critics in a way Richard Nixon could only have dreamed of. To treat a reporter as a criminal for doing his job — seeking out information the government doesn’t want made public — deprives Americans of the First Amendment freedom on which all other constitutional rights are based."
quote:The Media Stopped Reporting The Russia Collusion Story Because They Helped Create It
The press has played an active role in the Trump-Russia collusion story since its inception. It helped birth it.
Half the country wants to know why the press won’t cover the growing scandal now implicating the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice, and threatening to reach the State Department, Central Intelligence Agency, and perhaps even the Obama White House.
After all, the release last week of a less-redacted version of Sens. Charles Grassley and Lindsey Graham’s January 4 letter showed that the FBI secured a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant to search the communications of a Trump campaign adviser based on a piece of opposition research paid for by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. The Fourth Amendment rights of an American citizen were violated to allow one political party to spy on another.
If the press did its job and reported the facts, the argument goes, then it wouldn’t just be Republicans and Trump supporters demanding accountability and justice. Americans across the political spectrum would understand the nature and extent of the abuses and crimes touching not just on one political party and its presidential candidate but the rights of every American.
That’s all true, but irrelevant. The reasons the press won’t cover the story are suggested in the Graham-Grassley letter itself.
Steele Was a Media Informant
The letter details how Christopher Steele, the former British spy who allegedly authored the documents claiming ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, told the FBI he wasn’t talking to the press about his investigation. In a British court, however, Steele acknowledged briefing several media organizations on the material in his dossier.
According to the British court documents, Steele briefed the New York Times, Washington Post, Yahoo! News, The New Yorker, and CNN. In October, he talked to Mother Jones reporter David Corn by Skype. It was Corn’s October 31 article anonymously sourced to Steele that alerted the FBI their informant was speaking to the press. Grassley and Graham referred Steele to the Department of Justice for a criminal investigation because he lied to the FBI.
The list of media outfits and journalists made aware of Steele’s investigations is extensive. Reuters reported that it, too, was briefed on the dossier, and while it refrained from reporting on it before the election, its national security reporter Mark Hosenball became an advocate of the dossier’s findings after November 2016.
BBC’s Paul Wood wrote in January 2017 that he was briefed on the dossier a week before the election. Newsweek’s Kurt Eichenwald likely saw Steele’s work around the same time, because he published an article days before the election based on a “Western intelligence” source (i.e., Steele) who cited names and data points that could only come from the DNC- and Clinton-funded opposition research.
A line from the Grassley-Graham letter points to an even larger circle of media outfits that appear to have been in contact with either Steele or Fusion GPS, the Washington DC firm that contracted him for the opposition research the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee commissioned. “During the summer of 2016,” the Grassley-Graham letter reads, “reports of some of the dossier allegations began circulating among reporters and people involved in Russian issues.”
Planting the Carter Page Story
Indeed, it looks like Steele and Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson may have persuaded a number of major foreign policy and national security writers in Washington and New York that Trump and his team were in league with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Those journalists include New Yorker editor David Remnick, Atlantic editor Jeffrey Goldberg, former New Republic editor Franklin Foer, and Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum.
A Foer story published in Slate on July 4, 2016 appears to be central. Titled “Putin’s Puppet,” Foer’s piece argues the Trump campaign was overly Russia-friendly. Foer discusses Trump’s team, including campaign convention manager Paul Manafort, who worked with former Ukrainian president Victor Yanukovich, a Putin ally; and Carter Page, who, Foer wrote, “advised the state-controlled natural gas giant Gazprom and helped it attract Western investors.”
That’s how Page described himself in a March 2016 Bloomberg interview. But as Julia Ioffe reported in a September 23, 2016 Politico article, Page was a mid-level executive at Merrill Lynch in Moscow who played no role in any of the big deals he boasted about. As Ioffe shows, almost no one in Moscow remembered Page. Until Trump read his name off a piece of paper handed to him during a March interview with the Washington Post, almost no one in the Washington foreign policy world had heard of Page either.
So what got Foer interested in Page? Were Steele and Simpson already briefing reporters on their opposition research into the Trump campaign? (Another Foer story for Slate, an October 31, 2016 article about the Trump organization’s computer servers “pinging” a Russian bank, was reportedly “pushed” to him by Fusion GPS.) Page and Manafort are the protagonists of the Steele dossier, the former one of the latter’s intermediaries with Russian officials and associates of Putin. Page’s July 7 speech in Moscow attracted wide U.S. media coverage, but Foer’s article published several days earlier.
The Slate article, then, looks like the predicate for allegations against Page made in the dossier after his July Russia trip. For instance, according to Steele’s investigations, Page was offered a 19 percent stake in Rosneft, one of the world’s energy giants, in exchange for help repealing sanctions related to Russia’s 2014 incursion into Ukraine.
Building an Echo Chamber of Opposition Research
Many have noted the absurdity that the FISA warrant on Page was chiefly based, according to a House intelligence committee memo, on the dossier and Michael Isikoff’s September 23, 2016 news story also based on the dossier. But much of the Russiagate campaign was conducted in this circular manner. Steele and Simpson built an echo chamber with their opposition research, parts of the law enforcement and intelligence communities, and the press all reinforcing one another. Plant an item in the open air and watch it grow—like Page’s role in the Trump campaign.
Why else was Foer or anyone so interested in Page? Why was Page’s Moscow speech so closely watched and widely covered? According to the Washington Post, Page “chided” American policymakers for an “often-hypocritical focus on democratization, inequality, corruption and regime change” in its dealings with Russia, China, and Central Asia.
As peculiar as it may have sounded for a graduate of the Naval Academy to cast a skeptical eye on American exceptionalism, Page’s speech could hardly have struck the policy establishment as shocking, or even novel. They’d been hearing versions of it for the last eight years from the president of the United States.
In President Obama’s first speech before the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), on September 23, 2009, he insisted that no country, least of all America, has the right to tell other countries how to organize their political lives. “Democracy cannot be imposed on any nation from the outside,” said Obama. “Each society must search for its own path, and no path is perfect. Each country will pursue a path rooted in the culture of its people and in its past traditions.”
Obama sounded even more wary of American leadership on his way out of office eight years later. In his 2016 UNGA speech, the 2009 Nobel laureate said: “I do not think that America can — or should — impose our system of government on other countries.” Obama was addressing not just foreign nations but perhaps more pointedly his domestic political rivals.
In 2008 Obama campaigned against the Iraq War and the Republican policymakers who toppled Saddam Hussein to remake Iraq as a democracy. All during his presidency, Obama rebuffed critics who petitioned the administration to send arms or troops to advance U.S. interests and values abroad, most notably in Ukraine and Syria.
In 2016, it was Trump who ran against the Republican foreign policy establishment—which is why hundreds of GOP policymakers and foreign policy intellectuals signed two letters distancing themselves from the party’s candidate. The thin Republican bench of foreign policy experts available to Trump is a big reason why he named the virtually unknown Page to his team. So why was it any surprise that Page sounded like the Republican candidate, who sounded like the Democratic president?
Why Didn’t the Left Like Obama’s Ideas from a Republican?
On the Right, many national security and foreign policy writers like me heard and were worried by the clear echoes of Obama’s policies in the Trump campaign’s proposals. Did those writing from the left side of the political spectrum not see the continuities?
Writing in the Washington Post July 21, 2016, Applebaum explained how a “Trump presidency could destabilize Europe.” The issue, she explained, was Trump’s positive attitude toward Putin. “The extent of the Trump-Russia business connection has already been laid out, by Franklin Foer at Slate,” wrote Applebaum. She named Page and his “long-standing connections to Russian companies.”
Even more suggestive to Applebaum is that just a few days before her article was published, “Trump’s campaign team helped alter the Republican party platform to remove support for Ukraine” from the Republican National Committee’s platform. Maybe, she hinted, that was because of Trump aide Manafort’s ties to Yanukovich.
Did those talking points come from Steele’s opposition research? Manafort’s relationship with Yanukovich had been widely reported in the U.S. press long before he signed on with the Trump campaign. In fact, in 2007 Glenn Simpson was one of the first to write about their shady dealings while he was still working at the Wall Street Journal. The corrupt nature of the Manafort-Yanukovich relationship is an important part of the dossier. So is the claim that in exchange for Russia releasing the DNC emails, “the TRUMP team had agreed to sideline Russian intervention in Ukraine as a campaign issue.”
The reality, however, is that the Trump campaign team never removed support for Ukraine from the party platform. In a March 18, 2017 Washington Examiner article, Byron York interviewed the convention delegate who pushed for tougher language on Russia, and got it.
“In the end, the platform, already fairly strong on the Russia-Ukraine issue,” wrote York, “was strengthened, not weakened.” Maybe Applebaum just picked it up from her own paper’s mis-reporting.
For Applebaum, it was hard to understand why Trump would express skepticism about the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, except to appease Putin. She referred to a recent interview in which Trump “cast doubt on the fundamental basis of transatlantic stability, NATO’s Article 5 guarantee: If Russia invades, he said, he’d have to think first before defending U.S. allies.”
The Echoes Pick Up
In an article published the very same day in the Atlantic, Jeffrey Goldberg made many of the very same observations. Titled “It’s Official: Hillary Clinton is Running Against Vladimir Putin,” the article opens: “The Republican nominee for president, Donald J. Trump, has chosen this week to unmask himself as a de facto agent of Russian President Vladimir Putin.” What was the evidence? Well, for one, Page’s business interests.
Trump’s expressed admiration for Putin and other “equivocating, mercenary statements,” wrote Goldberg, are “unprecedented in the history of Republican foreign policymaking.” However, insofar as Trump’s fundamental aim was to find some common ground with Putin, it’s a goal that, for better or worse, has been a 25-year U.S. policy constant, across party lines. Starting with George W.H. Bush, every American commander-in-chief since the end of the Cold War sought to “reset” relations with Russia.
But Trump, according to Goldberg, was different. “Trump’s understanding of America’s role in the world aligns with Russia’s geostrategic interests.” Here Goldberg rang the same bells as Applebaum—the Trump campaign “watered down” the RNC’s platform on Ukraine; the GOP nominee “questioned whether the U.S., under his leadership, would keep its [NATO] commitments,” including Article 5. Thus, Goldberg concluded: “Donald Trump, should he be elected president, would bring an end to the postwar international order.”
That last bit sounds very bad. Coincidentally, it’s similar to a claim made in the very first paragraph of the Steele dossier — the “Russian regime,” claims one of Steele’s unnamed sources, has been cultivating Trump to “encourage splits and divisions in the western alliance.”
The West won the Cold War because the United States kept it unified. David Remnick saw it up close. Assigned to the Washington Post’s Moscow bureau in 1988, Remnick witnessed the end of the Soviet Union, which he documented in his award-winning book, “Lenin’s Tomb.” So it’s hardly surprising that in his August 3, 2016 New Yorker article, “Trump and Putin: A Love Story,” Remnick sounded alarms concerning the Republican presidential candidate’s manifest affection for the Russian president.
Citing the “original reporting” of Foer’s seminal Slate article, the New Yorker editor contended “that one reason for Trump’s attitude has to do with his business ambitions.” As Remnick elaborated, “one of Trump’s foreign-policy advisers, has longstanding ties to Gazprom, a pillar of Russia’s energy industry.” Who could that be? Right—Carter Page. With Applebaum and Goldberg, Remnick was worried about Trump’s lack of support for Ukraine and the fact that Trump “has declared NATO ‘obsolete’ and has suggested that he might do away with Article 5.”
Where Did All These Echoes Come From?
This brings us to the fundamental question: Is it possible that these top national security and foreign policy journalists were focused on something else during Obama’s two terms in office, something that had nothing to do with foreign policy or national security? It seems we must even entertain the possibility they slept for eight years because nearly everything that frightened them about the prospects of a Trump presidency had already transpired under Obama.
The Trump team wanted to stop short of having the RNC platform promise lethal support to Ukraine—which was in keeping with official U.S. policy. Obama didn’t want to arm the Ukrainians. He ignored numerous congressional efforts to get him to change his mind. “There has been a strong bipartisan well of support for quite some time for providing lethal support,” said California Rep. Adam Schiff. But Obama refused.
As for the western alliance or international order or however you want to put it, it was under the Obama administration that Russia set up shop on NATO’s southern border. With the Syrian conflict, Moscow re-established its foothold in the Middle East after 40 years of American policy designed to keep it from meddling in U.S. spheres of influence. Under Obama, Russia’s enhanced regional position threatened three U.S. allies: Israel, Jordan, and NATO member Turkey.
In 2012, Moscow’s Syrian client brought down a Turkish air force reconnaissance plane. According to a 2013 Wall Street Journal article, “Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan raised alarms in the U.S. by suggesting that Turkey might invoke NATO’s Article V.” However, according to the Journal, “neither the U.S. nor NATO was interested in rushing to Article V… NATO was so wary of getting pulled into Syria that top alliance officials balked at even contingency planning for an intervention force to protect Syrian civilians. ‘For better or worse, [Syrian president Bashar al- Assad] feels he can count on NATO not to intervene right now,’ a senior Western official said.”
Whatever one thinks of Obama’s foreign policy, it is hardly arguable that he—wisely, cautiously, in the most educated and creative ways, or unwisely, stupidly, cravenly, the choice of adjectives is yours—ceded American interests and those of key allies in Europe and the Middle East in an effort to avoid conflict with Russia.
When Russia occupied Crimea and the eastern portion of Ukraine, there was little pushback from the White House. The Obama administration blinked even when Putin’s escalation of forces in Syria sent millions more refugees fleeing abroad, including Europe.
Was Anyone Paying Attention When This Happened?
Surely it couldn’t have escaped Applebaum’s notice that Obama’s posture toward Russia made Europe vulnerable. She’s a specialist in Europe and Russia—she’s written books on both. Her husband is the former foreign minister of Poland. So how, after eight years of Obama’s appeasement of a Russia that threatened to withhold natural gas supplies from the continent, did the Trump team pose a unique threat to European stability?
What about Goldberg? Is it possible that he’d never bothered to research the foreign policy priorities of a president he interviewed five times between 2008 and 2016? In the last interview, from March 2016, Obama told him he was “very proud” of the moment in 2013 when he declined to attack Assad for deploying chemical weapons. As Obama put it, that’s when he broke with the “Washington playbook.” He chose diplomacy instead. He made a deal with Russia over Assad’s conventional arsenal—which Syria continued to use against civilians throughout Obama’s term.
Again, regardless of how you feel about Obama’s decisions, the fact is that he struck an agreement with Moscow that ensured the continued reign of its Syrian ally, who gassed little children. Yet only four months later, Goldberg worried that a Trump presidency would “liberate dictators, first and foremost his ally Vladimir Putin, to advance their own interests.”
Remnick wrote a 2010 biography of Obama, but did he, too, pay no attention to the policies of the man he interviewed frequently over nearly a decade? How is this possible? Did some of America’s top journalists really sleepwalk through Obama’s two terms in office, only to wake in 2016 and find Donald Trump and his campaign becoming dangerously cozy with a historical American adversary?
All’s Fair in War and Politics
Of course not. They enlisted their bylines in a political campaign on behalf of the Democratic candidate for president and rehearsed the talking points Steele later documented. But weren’t the authors of these articles, big-name journalists, embarrassed to be seen reading from a single script and publishing the same article with similar titles within the space of two weeks? Weren’t they worried it would look like they were taking opposition research, from the same source?
No, not really. In a sense, these stories weren’t actually meant to be read. They existed for the purpose of validating the ensuing social media messaging. The stories were written around the headlines, which were written for Twitter: “Putin’s Puppet”; “It’s Official: Hillary Clinton is Running Against Vladimir Putin”; “Trump and Putin: A Love Story”; “The Kremlin’s Candidate.” The stories were vessels built only to launch thousands of 140-character salvos to then sink into the memory hole.
Since everyone took Clinton’s victory for granted, journalists assumed extravagant claims alleging an American presidential candidate’s illicit ties to an adversarial power would fade just as the fireworks punctuating Hillary’s acceptance speech would vanish in the cool November evening. And the sooner the stories were forgotten the better, since they frankly sounded kooky, conspiratorial, as if the heirs to the Algonquin round table sported tin-foil hats while tossing back martinis and trading saucy limericks.
Yes, the Trump-Russia collusion media campaign really was delusional and deranged; it really was a conspiracy theory. So after the unexpected happened, after Trump won the election, the Russiagate campaign morphed into something more urgent, something twisted and delirious.
Quick, Pin Our Garbage Story on Someone
When CNN broke the story—co-written by Evan Perez, a former colleague and friend of Fusion GPS principals—that the Obama administration’s intelligence chiefs had briefed Trump on the existence of the dossier, it not only cleared the way for BuzzFeed to publish the document, it also signaled the press that the intelligence community was on side. This completed the echo chamber, binding one American institution chartered to steal and keep secrets to another embodying our right to free speech. We know which ethic prevailed.
Now Russiagate was no longer part of a political campaign directed at Trump, it was a disinformation operation pointed at the American public, as the pre-election media offensive resonated more fully with the dossier now in the open. You see, said the press: everything we published about Trump and Putin is really true—there’s a document proving it. What the press corps neglected to add is that they’d been reporting talking points from the same opposition research since before the election, and were now showcasing “evidence” to prove it was all true.
The reason the media will not report on the scandal now unfolding before the country, how the Obama administration and Clinton campaign used the resources of the federal government to spy on the party out of power, is not because the press is partisan. No, it is because the press has played an active role in the Trump-Russia collusion story since its inception. It helped birth it.
To report how the dossier was made and marketed, and how it was used to violate the privacy rights of an American citizen—Page—would require admitting complicity in manufacturing Russiagate. Against conventional Washington wisdom, the cover-up in this case is not worse than the crime: Both weigh equally in a scandal signaling that the institution where American citizens are supposed to discuss and debate the choices about how we live with each other has been turned against a large part of the public to delegitimize their political choices.
This Isn’t the 27-Year-Olds’ Fault
I’ve argued over the last year that the phony collusion narrative is a symptom of the structural problems with the press. The rise of the Internet, then social media, and gross corporate mismanagement damaged traditional media institutions. As newspapers and magazines around the country went bankrupt when ownership couldn’t figure out how to make money off the new digital advertising model, an entire generation of journalistic experience, expertise, and ethics was lost. It was replaced, as one Obama White House official famously explained, by 27-year-olds who “literally know nothing.”
But the first vehicles of the Russiagate campaign were not bloggers or recent J-school grads lacking wisdom or guidance to wave off a piece of patent nonsense. They were journalists at the top of their profession—editors-in-chief, columnists, specialists in precisely the subjects that the dossier alleges to treat: foreign policy and national security. They didn’t get fooled. They volunteered their reputations to perpetrate a hoax on the American public.
That’s why, after a year of thousands of furious allegations, all of which concerning Trump are unsubstantiated, the press will not report the real scandal, in which it plays a leading role. When the reckoning comes, Russiagate is likely to be seen not as a symptom of the collapse of the American press, but as one of the causes for it.
quote:How The Media Enable Rep. Adam Schiff’s Russian Bot Conspiracy Theories
For more than a year, Adam Schiff has been hopping to all the TV stations claiming, without benefit of specifics, the existence of a vast conspiracy between President Trump and Russia.
Last week, Laurence Tribe suggested, without evidence, that a plane crash in Russia was related to fallout from the Russian dossier operation orchestrated and funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign. Tribe is a Harvard Law professor, a passionate critic of President Donald Trump, and a known Russia conspiracy theorist. So it should have been surprising that the same day he was tweeting out plane crash conspiracy theories, he also argued in a “facially absurd” op-ed in The New York Times that Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., should be charged with obstruction of justice — no, really — for performing congressional oversight of the FBI.
Then again, it was only last March that The New York Times published another Russia conspiracy theorist named Louise Mensch talking about Russian hacking. Yes, the same Louise Mensch who believes that the “Marshal of the Supreme Court” told Trump about his impeachment and that Steve Bannon faces the death penalty for espionage.
(Forget it, she’s rolling.)
When it comes to the Russia-Trump collusion theory, a bit more journalistic rigor is in order. One of the most enthusiastic promulgators of a Russia-Trump collusion theory is Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., the ranking member on Nunes’ House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. For more than a year, Schiff has been hopping around all the TV stations claiming, without benefit of specifics, the existence of a vast conspiracy between Trump and Russia.
Leaks from his committee that advance this theory frequently get published, even if they fail to hold up under scrutiny. But even his public actions shouldn’t be accepted so uncritically.
Experts Refute The Russia Charge
On January 23, public interest in the memo from the majority of the intelligence committee had been high, as evidenced by the demand to #ReleaseTheMemo hashtag on Twitter and Facebook. When the hashtag went viral, Schiff had a theory that it wasn’t the American public that was interested in abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Nope, it was Russians! Secret Russian bots were trying to make it look like Americans were interested in FISA abuse against a Trump campaign affiliate.
Schiff put out a press release pressuring private companies to investigate whether Russians using their platform were behind the spread of the #ReleaseTheMemo hashtag. The letter demanded that Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg perform an “in-depth forensic examination” on the “ongoing attack by the Russian government through Kremlin-linked social media actors directly acting to intervene and influence our democratic process.”
The Daily Beast quickly put out a story with an anonymous Twitter source denying that Russian bots were behind the spread of the hashtag. The story said the theory was bunk, according to “an early in-house analysis” that concluded the hashtag was mostly pushed by eager Americans:
But that was just an anonymous source at Twitter. Twitter itself publicly responded on January 26 with a letter saying an investigation “has not identified any significant activity connected to Russia with respect to Tweets posting original content to this hashtag.” The letter went on to note that #ReleaseTheMemo “was also used by several prominent, verified U.S. accounts on the evening of Thursday, January 18. Typically, hashtag use by high-profile accounts, including those with high numbers of followers, plays a role in driving conversations around a hashtag on Twitter.”
Facebook responded with a letter that said this was a Twitter hashtag, not a Facebook one, and added that the company would continue to update Congress on any Russian interference. Schiff went back and asked for more information and pressured social media companies for more action.
Facebook slapped it down again, saying, “To date, our internal Information Security team has not become aware of information or activity of a sort that would prompt further review.” Facebook explained that it monitors and assesses thousands of detailed account attributes such as location information and connections to others on the platform, and it hadn’t detected any significant Kremlin activity.
Media Coverage of the Russian Bot Story
When Schiff advanced his theory that it was Russian bots — not Americans — who cared about FISA abuse, he received typical friendly media coverage. But when Twitter and Facebook refuted the claim, media outlets either downplayed it or pretended it didn’t matter.
Politico is one outlet that heavily pushed the idea of Russian bots being behind the #ReleaseTheMemo hashtag, despite the denials of officials at Facebook and Twitter. In January, PoliticoPro ran a story that acknowledged Twitter had found no evidence of any significant Russian bot activity before this odd section that pretended denial had never happened: “Schiff and Feinstein said the companies must deactivate the bot accounts if they violate user policies. They want Twitter and Facebook to notify users who may have seen posts from the bots and to describe how they’ll prevent similar foreign influence campaigns in the future.”
Even after more denials from Facebook and Twitter were issued, Politico continued to go all-in on Schiff’s idea that Russian bots were behind the #ReleaseTheMemo hashtag, repeating his accusations. This article mentions The Daily Beast’s anonymous Twitter source, saying Russian bots weren’t behind the hashtag, omitting the on-the-record Twitter letters saying the same thing. This article mentions the Twitter denial, but it’s placed in the middle of the story with absolutely no consequence, as if it’s irrelevant.
Natasha Bertrand, a reporter who facilitates messages from Fusion GPS, the group that authored the infamous Russia dossier on behalf of the Clinton campaign, wrote a piece headlined “Russia-linked Twitter accounts are working overtime to help Devin Nunes and WikiLeaks.”
Her story and many others uncritically accept and promote a secretive group’s unverified claim of a Russian conspiracy. The Alliance for Securing Democracy runs an operation called Hamilton 68 that it claims tracks Russian bots, though it’s impossible to assess the claim because of the group’s methodology. The advisory council for the alliance includes NeverTrump stalwarts such as Bill Kristol and David Kramer, the man Sen. John McCain sent to London to pick up the discredited Russian dossier from Christopher Steele.
Hamilton 68’s claim — later refuted by Twitter and Facebook — formed the entire basis of Schiff’s theory that it was Russian bots, not real Americans, who wanted to learn about FISA abuse by the FBI. Asked to respond to Hamilton 68’s claim, Twitter responded, “Because the Hamilton Dashboard’s account list is not available to the public, we are unable to offer any specific context on the accounts it includes.” They added, “We have offered to review the list of accounts contained in the Dashboard and this offer remains open.”
In other words, Hamilton 68 won’t let anyone review their dashboard to determine in any way if they’re tracking actual Russian propaganda bots, or just conservative Americans who, for instance, care about FISA abuse. Yet Hamilton 68’s claims are repeated uncritically by a media that asks no questions about the methodology.
Yesterday’s front page at The New York Times is a great example of how much the media are willing to publicize claims they have in no way independently verified:
As journalist Glenn Greenwald of Edward Snowden fame noted:
Russian bot hysteria is taking over many in the media. This week both Newsweek and RawStory were duped by a false story alleging that Russian bots forced Al Franken from office over his sexual harassment of women.
Thankfully, some other voices are making their way in this hysterical climate. Adrian Chen wrote the definitive piece on Russian troll farms back in 2015 for the New York Times Sunday Magazine. It is well worth a read for anyone wanting a factual look at how Russian troll armies work and how to guard against them. His piece centers on the very same Internet Research Agency whose members were indicted by Robert Mueller on Friday. He knocked down the Russian bot hysteria on MSNBC:
Masha Gessen is a vehement and long-standing Putin critic. She has written a book warning about Putin and many articles comparing Putin and Trump. Even she, in a new article for The New Yorker, mocks the hysteria over the troll farms and says of the Russian bot operation that it was “not at all sophisticated, and about as bold as, say, keying a neighbor’s car under the cover of night.”
Russian disinformation campaigns have been a real thing going back decades, but the implication that bots are a particularly significant force in turning political debate poisonous is ridiculous. It’s juvenile enough for Schiff to peddle his conspiracy theories. Journalists should show a bit more restraint before uncritically broadcasting them further.
quote:Did China Hack The CIA In Massive Intelligence Breach From 2010 To 2012?
Both the CIA and the FBI declined to comment on reports saying the Chinese government killed or imprisoned 18 to 20 CIA sources from 2010 to 2012 and dismantled the agency's spying operations in the country. It is described as one of the worst intelligence breach in decades, current and former American officials told the New York Times.
Investigators were uncertain whether the breach was a result of a double agent within the CIA who had betrayed the U.S. or whether the Chinese had hacked the communications system used by the agency to be in contact with foreign sources. The Times reported Saturday citing former American officials from the final weeks of 2010 till the end of 2012, the Chinese killed up to 20 CIA sources.
Officials also said the number of U.S. assets lost to China were comparable to the loss of assets in the Soviet Union and Russia because of the two infamous spies Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen.
Ames had joined CIA in 1962 in a low-level position. Over the years, he worked on several interesting cases but financial constraints started building up due to troubles in his personal life. In 1985, Ames went to the Soviet Embassy in Washington D.C. and offered secrets to the KGB — Komitet gosudarstvennoy bezopasnosti, the committee for the security of the Soviet Union — and started receiving money from them. In 1994, Aimes was arrested for spying for Russia and sentenced to life imprisonment without parole, according to the website of CIA.
Hanssen is considered the "most damaging spy" in FBI history for disclosing confidential information about the U.S. to the Soviet Union and Russia. On Feb. 18, 2001, he was arrested and charged with committing espionage on behalf of the intelligence services of the former Soviet Union and its successors, and was also sentenced to prison without the possibility of parole, according to the website of FBI.
China has reportedly attempted to disrupt American spying efforts several times in the past. In 2015, the U.S. pulled out spies from China as a result of a cyber attack that compromised the personal data of 21.5 million government workers, CNN had reported citing a U.S. official.
On that occasion, the U.S. suspected Chinese hackers were responsible for the breach at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, which exposed the fingerprints of 5.6 million government employees. The hack reportedly had a huge impact on U.S. national security, in part because the hacked data included information from U.S. government forms used for security clearances.
In April, ahead of President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping's summit, a hacking group that pursues Chinese government interests broke into the website of the National Foreign Trade Council (NFTC). They left a malicious link on web pages where members of NFTC register for upsoming meetings, Reuters reported citing researchers at Fidelis Cybersecurity and a person familiar with the trade group.
The FBI and the NFTC had declined to comment. A spokesperson for the Chinese foreign ministry did not respond to a request for comment.
quote:Sessions: DOJ inspector general to probe FISA abuse allegations
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Tuesday the inspector general of the Department of Justice will probe allegations of government surveillance abuse, in light of the memos released on Capitol Hill about FBI and DOJ efforts to obtain FISA warrants to surveil a Trump campaign adviser.
“We believe the Department of Justice must adhere to the high standards in the FISA court,” Sessions said during a news conference Tuesday. “Yes it will be investigated. And I think that's just the appropriate thing the inspector general will take that as one of the matters he'll deal with.”
Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released a memo in February detailing the DOJ and FBI’s surveillance of Trump campaign adviser Carter Page, saying an infamous, unverified dossier funded by Democrats "formed an essential part" of the application to spy on him. Democrats released a rebuttal memo on Sunday.
The White House responded to the GOP memo by saying it “raises serious concerns about the integrity of decisions made at the highest levels of the Department of Justice and the FBI to use the government’s most intrusive surveillance tools against American citizens.”
In an earlier interview on Fox News’ "Sunday Morning Futures," Sessions told host Maria Bartiromo that there would be an investigation into how the FBI used the dossier to secure a wiretap.
“Let me tell you, every FISA warrant based on facts submitted to that court have to be accurate,” he said. “That will be investigated and looked at, and we are not going to participate at the Department of Justice in providing anything less than the proper disclosure to the court before they issue a FISA warrant.”
The involvement of the inspector general is significant.
Over the last year, Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz has been conducting a review of the FBI and DOJ’s actions related to the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state. A final report on the investigation is expected within several months.
quote:I can guarantee that. And I can guarantee that, not because I give Attorney General Lynch a directive, that is institutionally how we have always operated. I do not talk to the Attorney General about pending investigations. I do not talk to FBI directors about pending investigations. We have a strict line, and always have maintained it, previous precedent.
Brieven van Rosemary M. Collyer aan Bob Goodlatte en Devin Nunes.quote:FISA court responds to Republican leaders' requests for info on Trump aide surveillance
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court sent response letters to Republican leaders who requested certain documents related to investigations into surveillance of a Trump campaign aide, saying the court is analyzing the unusual requests.
Judge Rosemary Collyer, who presides over the national security court, explained in the letters dated Thursday and sent to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes and House Judiciary Chairman Bob Goodlatte that the requests the court have received this year are the first of their kind and thus a path forward has yet to be determined.
"Before 2018, the Court had never received a request from Congress for documents related to any specific FISA application. Thus, your requests — and others I have recently received from Congress — present novel and significant questions," Collyer wrote in her letter to Nunes.
Nunes, R-Calif., wants FISC to turn over transcripts from hearings related to the FBI and Justice Department’s application for and renewals of a warrant to conduct surveillance on a Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page. Goodlatte, R-Va., sent a similar request to FISC last month, and also reached out to the heads of the Justice Department and FBI.
A memo compiled by Nunes and Republican staff in the House Intelligence Committee made public earlier this month alleged officials within the DOJ and the FBI used information contained in an unverified and salacious dossier compiled by Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer, in its application to secure the warrant. The memo also claims officials within the law enforcement agencies did not include information that the research for the dossier was funded by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
However, that point has been brought into question in recent days as Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., a member of House Intelligence, who claimed in a meeting this week that the FISA court judge “was alerted” to the political origins of the "Trump dossier."
Collyer wrote that any such transcripts would be classified and noted that a "typical process of considering an application" would not include a "systematic record of questions we ask or responses the government gives."
Collyer further explained that the court's considerations involve the prerogatives of the legislative branch as well as the executive branch, "including its responsibility for national security and its need to maintain the integrity of any ongoing law enforcement investigations."
Collyer also suggested that the Justice Department and the FBI would likely be in a better position, due to "separation of powers considerations," to respond with much of the same information.
The release of the Republican memo which sparked these requests to FISC was fiercely opposed by Democrats, the FBI, and the DOJ. President Trump allowed the release of the report in unredacted form, but Democrats warned some of its sensitive information might be misleading without proper context or omitted facts.
Democrats have tried to secure the public release of their own rebuttal memo, but last week, President Trump blocked their efforts and sent it back to the House Intelligence Committee for review.
In a letter transmitted to the House Intelligence Committee late Friday, White House counsel Don McGahn explained Trump was “inclined to declassify” the Democrats' memo, but he wouldn't be doing so over national security concerns, following a review by top spy and law enforcement officials, including Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
McGahn also said Trump directed the Justice Department to give “technical assistance” to the intelligence committee if they decide they want to “revise” the memo to “mitigate the risks identified," and that the White House is ready to review any new draft offered in the future.
quote:FBI lacked corroboration for Page wiretap; discredited dossier writer Steele ID’d as Yahoo source
Two pieces of evidence that have come together prove anti-Trump dossier writer Christopher Steele was the key source for a Yahoo News story that the FBI cited to support its wiretap application.
Identifying the source of that September 2016 article on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page has taken on added importance in recent weeks.
First, Rep. Devin Nunes, California Republican and chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, issued a declassified memo on Feb. 2. It said the FBI relied greatly on Mr. Steele’s discredited Democrat-financed dossier to obtain a surveillance warrant on Mr. Page.
To bolster the dossier’s charge that Mr. Page met with two Kremlin figures in Moscow, the FBI cited the Yahoo News article, which said the same thing.
But the Nunes memo said the FBI, in its Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Act application, wasn’t corroborating the dossier because the Page accusation in Yahoo came from the same source: Mr. Steele.
“The Carter Page FISA application also cited extensively a September 23, 2016 Yahoo News article by Michael Isikoff, which focuses on Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow,” the memo states. “This article does not corroborate the Steele dossier because it is derived from information leaked by Steele himself to Yahoo News.”
Mr. Nunes cited Mr. Steele’s testimony, through his attorneys, in a London court case in which he is being sued for libel.
Then came a Democratic rebuttal from Rep. Adam B. Schiff of California, a leading dossier supporter.
Mr. Schiff, the House intelligence committee’s top Democrat, said Republicans failed to “cite evidence that Steele disclosed to Yahoo details included in the FISA warrant, since the British Court filings to which they refer do not address what Steele may have said to Yahoo.”
This assertion is important to Democrats. They are trying to bolster the FBI as it pursues collusion charges between the Trump campaign and Russia, and also support Mr. Steele, whose unverified accusations they have repeatedly cited.
The two pieces of evidence that say Mr. Steele was in fact the source:
⦁ In the London court case, Mr. Steele acknowledged that he came to the U.S. in September 2016 at the request of Fusion GPS, which paid him with Democratic Party money. He met with a number of major news representatives, including The New York Times and The Washington Post as he tried to sell his explosive charges. Included in Mr. Steele’s list of appointments was a meeting with Mr. Isikoff.
Mr. Isikoff subsequently wrote a story that matched the dossier. Both the dossier and the Yahoo story said Mr. Page met with two U.S.-sanctioned Russians, Rosneft oil chief Igor Sechin and Vladimir Putin aide Igor Diveykin. Mr. Isikoff sourced the information not to Mr. Steele but to a “Western intelligence source.”
Mr. Page, whose trip to Moscow was for a public speech at a university, has repeatedly denied under oath that he met the two men. The former Moscow resident and energy investor has decried the investigation into him, including the nearly one-year-long wiretap, which he says found no wrongdoing.
⦁ After Mr. Schiff wrote his rebuttal to the Nunes memo on Jan. 31, Mr. Isikoff, a longtime journalist in Washington with a number of scoops to his credit, posted an edition of his podcast, “Skullduggery,” on Feb. 2. Through the Nunes memo, Mr. Isikoff had just learned and said he was surprised that the FBI relied on his article before the FISA court judge.
He told about being summoned by his “old friend,” Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson, to a private room in a Washington hotel to meet the former spy from Britain.
“Steele tells me an amazing story,” Mr. Isikoff said. “One of Donald Trump’s foreign policy advisers, Carter Page, had flown to Moscow and held private talks with close associates of Vladimir Putin about lifting U.S. sanctions against Russia. And Steele tells me something else that day that gets my attention. He has taken this information to the FBI, and the bureau is very interested. Why were they interested? What did the bureau know that would prompt them to take the next step of launching an investigation into an adviser to the Republican nominee for president?”
Mr. Isikoff subsequently wrote the article that ended up in the FBI’s FISA petition. His podcast sealed the case for Mr. Nunes.
This prompts the question: Why did the FBI believe that the dossier section about Mr. Page and the Isikoff article came from collaborating sources?
The answer lies in a declassified referral sent to the Justice Department from Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican, and Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican.
The two said the evidence suggests that Mr. Steele lied to the FBI when he denied being the source. They have asked the Justice Department to investigate him.
“The FBI repeatedly represented to the court that Mr. Steele told the FBI he did not have unauthorized contacts with the press about the dossier prior to October 2016,” the senators’ referral said. “The FISA applications make these claims specifically in the context of the September 2106 Yahoo News article. But Mr. Steele has admitted — publicly before a court of law — that he did have such contacts with the press at this time and his former business partner Mr. Simpson has confirmed it to the committee.”
The referral says that the FBI either submitted false information or “Mr. Steele made materially false statements to the FBI when he claimed he provided the dossier information only to his business partner and the FBI.”
quote:DOJ Announces Fast and Furious Documents Withheld by Eric Holder Will Be Released
The Department of Justice announced Wednesday additional documents related to the Operation Fast and Furious scandal during the Obama administration will be released to the House Oversight Committee. The documents were previously withheld by Attorney General Eric Holder, who was voted in civil and criminal contempt of Congress for refusing to turn them over.
“The Department of Justice under my watch is committed to transparency and the rule of law. This settlement agreement is an important step to make sure that the public finally receives all the facts related to Operation Fast and Furious,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions released in a statement.
The Department stated the document release is part of “the conditional settlement agreement, filed in federal court in Washington D.C.” and “would end six years of litigation arising out of the previous administration’s refusal to produce documents requested by the Committee.”
During an interview with Fox and Friends Tuesday, the brother of slain Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry called on the Trump administration to reopen the investigation into the operation and to release previously withheld documents.
"We need to find out the truth, exactly what happened, how it happened, why it happened. We need Mr. Trump, President Trump, to unseal the documents, reverse executive privilege so that we know what happened, and that we can hold the people accountable that are responsible," Kent Terry said.
Terry was murdered by Mexican cartel rip crew members in December 2010. They were carrying guns illegally trafficked by ATF to Mexico through the Fast and Furious program.
Operation Fast and Furious was a secret ATF program, overseen heavily at the highest levels at the Department of Justice, which took place between September 2009 and December 2010. ATF agents repeatedly and knowingly allowed individuals working for Mexican cartels to traffic thousands of AK-47s, .50 caliber rifles and handguns into Mexico. The operation ended in 2010 when Agent Terry was murdered and years of coverups surrounding his death and the extent of the operation ensued. Hundreds, if not thousands of Mexican citizens have been murdered as a result of the U.S. government putting guns into the hands of narco-terrorists and a number of firearms trafficked during the operation have been found at additional crime scenes in the United States.
quote:Who Believes in Russiagate?
Knowledgeable reporters on the left and right are frightened by the spread of an elite conspiracy theory among American media
Half the country hates Donald Trump, and even the half that thinks he’s doing a good job often flinch from his boorishness, his nasty public attacks, sometimes even on his own aides.
For all the top talent he says he’s surrounded himself with, the president repeatedly attracts among the worst that Washington -and New York- have to offer. No doubt that’s one reason why whatever is thrown at him seems to stick.
At the same time, there is a growing consensus among reporters and thinkers on the left and right -especially those who know anything about Russia, the surveillance apparatus, and intelligence bureaucracy -that the Russiagate-collusion theory that was supposed to end Trump’s presidency within six months has sprung more than a few holes. Worse, it has proved to be a cover for U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement bureaucracies to break the law, with what’s left of the press gleefully going along for the ride. Where Watergate was a story about a crime that came to define an entire generation’s oppositional attitude toward politicians and the country’s elite, Russiagate, they argue, has proved itself to be the reverse: It is a device that the American elite is using to define itself against its enemies—the rest of the country.
Yet for its advocates, the questionable veracity of the Russiagate story seems much less important than what has become its real purpose -elite virtue-signaling. Buy into a storyline that turns FBI and CIA bureaucrats and their hand-puppets in the press into heroes while legitimizing the use of a vast surveillance apparatus for partisan purposes, and you’re in. Dissent, and you’re out, or worse -you're defending Trump.
Recently, a writer on The New Yorker blog named Adrian Chen gave voice to the central dilemma facing young media professionals who struggle to balance their need for social approval with the demands of fact-based analysis in the age of Trump. In an article pegged to special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictments of the Internet Research Agency, Chen referenced an article he had written about the IRA for The New York Times Magazine several years ago. After the Mueller indictments were announced, Chen was called on to lend his expertise regarding Russian troll farms and their effect on the American public sphere -an offer he recognized immediately as a can’t-win proposition.
“Either I could stay silent,” wrote Chen, “and allow the conversation to be dominated by those pumping up the Russian threat, or I could risk giving fodder to Trump and his allies.”
In other words, there’s the truth, and then there’s what’s even more important -sticking it to Trump. Choose wrong, even inadvertently, Chen explained, no matter how many times you deplore Trump, and you’ll be labeled a Trumpkin. That’s what happened to Facebook advertising executive Rob Goldman, who was obliged to apologize to his entire company in an internal message for having shared with the Twitter public the fact that “the majority of the Internet Research Agency’s Facebook ads were purchased after the election.” After Trump retweeted Goldman’s thread to reaffirm that Vladimir Putin had nothing to do with his electoral victory, the Facebook VP was lucky to still have a job.
Chen’s article serves to explain why Russiagate is so vital to The New Yorker, despite the many headaches that each new weekly iteration of the story must be causing for the magazine’s fact-checkers. According to British court documents, The New Yorker was one of the publications that former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele briefed in September 2016 on the findings in his now-notorious dossier. In a New Yorker profile of Steele this week -portraying the spy-for-corporate-hire as a patriotic hero and laundering his possible criminal activities -Jane Mayer explains that she was personally briefed by Steele during that time period.
The New Yorker has produced tons of Russiagate stories, including a small anthology of takes on the Mueller indictments alone. Of course there’s one by the recently-hired Adam Entous, the former Washington Post and Wall Street Journal reporter who broke the news that the Washington firm Fusion GPS, which produced the Steele dossier, had been hired by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee -a story that helped Fusion GPS relieve some of the pressure congressional inquiries had put on the firm to release its bank records. No doubt Entous will continue to use his sources, whoever they are, to break more such stories at The New Yorker.
One person at The New Yorker who won’t get on board with the story is Masha Gessen. Born in Moscow, Gessen knows first-hand how bad Putin is and dislikes Trump only a little less than she dislikes the Russian strongman. Yet in a recent New Yorker piece, Gessen mocked Mueller’s indictments: “Trump’s tweet about Moscow laughing its ass off was unusually (perhaps accidentally) accurate,” she wrote. “Loyal Putinites and dissident intellectuals alike are remarkably united in finding the American obsession with Russian meddling to be ridiculous.”
Another native Russian-speaking reporter, Julia Ioffe, formerly with The New Republic and more recently, The Atlantic, has some similar reservations. In a September 2016 article for Politico, she threw cold water on the legend of Carter Page, master spy and wheeler-dealer. As Ioffe reported, virtually no one in Moscow had ever heard of Page.
From the beginning, Gessen saw the collusion story as dangerous, not because she supported Trump but because it fed into a fantasy that convinced Trump’s opponents that they need not bother with the difficult and boring work of procedural politics. And who were the would-be agents of America’s salvation? Spies -the former British spy allegedly responsible for the dossier and countless American intelligence officials using anonymous press leaks to manipulate the American public.
“The backbone of the rapidly yet endlessly developing Trump-Putin story,” Gessen wrote in The New York Review of Books nearly a year ago, “is leaks from intelligence agencies, and this is its most troublesome aspect.”
The specter of an intelligence bureaucracy working in tandem with the press to preserve the prerogatives of a ruling clique is the kind of thing that someone who knows Russia from the inside and actually fears the specter of authoritarian government would naturally find worrying. And not surprisingly, concerns over the role of the intelligence community and its increasingly intrusive methods motivate other Russiagate critics on the left, like Glenn Greenwald at the Intercept, historian Jackson Lears writing at the London Review of Books, and Stephen Cohen at The Nation.
“One of the most bizarre aspects of Russiagate,” writes Lears, “is the magical transformation of intelligence agency heads into paragons of truth-telling -a trick performed not by reactionary apologists for domestic spying, as one would expect, but by people who consider themselves liberals.”
Cohen, a distinguished if often overly sympathetic historian of the Soviet Union, was even more alarmed. “Was Russiagate produced by the primary leaders of the US intelligence community?” asks Cohen, referring to former CIA director John Brennan as well as ex-FBI chief James Comey. “If so, it is the most perilous political scandal in modern American history and the most detrimental to American democracy.”
Yes, the left hates Trump. I didn’t vote for him, either. But what Gessen, Greenwald, Lears, and Cohen all understand is that Russiagate isn’t about Trump. He’s just a convenient proxy for the real target. Their understanding is shared by writers on the right, like Andrew McCarthy, a former lawyer at the Department of Justice, who has unfolded the Russiagate affair over the last year in the pages of National Review, where he has carefully explained how the DOJ and FBI misled the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in order to spy on Carter Page and violate the privacy of an American citizen.
What unites Gessen, Greenwald, Lears, and McCarthy obviously isn’t politics—rather, it’s the recognition that the Russiagate campaign represents an attack on American political and social institutions, an attack on our liberties, an attack on us. Russiagate is a conspiracy theory, weaponized by political operatives, much of the press, as well as high-level intelligence and law enforcement bureaucrats to delegitimize an American election and protect their own interests, which coincide with those of the country’s larger professional and bureaucratic elite. [...]
quote:[...] The story of how the Russiagate collusion myth was made and marketed is much easier to understand -it’s social. Imagine a map of professional, academic, and family networks that connect people across professions like law, journalism, public relations, and lobbying, which intersect with political institutions, like the permanent bureaucracies that staff places like the FBI, CIA, Congress, and the White House. That map is largely blue, but there’s lots of red there, too.
The story of how spies and journalists came to collaborate on a disinformation campaign is also, as the left may not be surprised to find, partly explained by economics. With the rise of the internet and social media, and the resulting collapse of print advertising, it was no longer necessary for the media to mass so close to New York City ad firms. Surviving old-media outlets and their new-media cousins moved much of their operations to Washington, which offered one-stop shopping for “national” stories. Having insulated itself from the 2008 economic collapse, the capital thrived. Ambitious and inexperienced young journalists flocked to where the jobs were, staffing startup news and social media operations -which were often simply partisan war rooms that produced and solicited opposition research -just in time to cover Obama’s historic presidency.
For those like Gessen, Cohen, Lears, and others on the left who don’t understand how and when American journalists got in bed with the country’s spies, it started several years before Trump or Russiagate. It was while reporting on the Obama administration that the press came to rely on the White House’s political operatives, including intelligence officials, for sources and stories about American foreign policy. It got worse when the Obama administration started spying on its domestic opponents during the Iran deal, when the Obama administration learned how far it could go in manipulating the foreign-intelligence surveillance apparatus for domestic political advantage. As Adam Entous, then of The Wall Street Journal, wrote in a December 2015 article, “the National Security Agency’s targeting of Israeli leaders and officials also swept up the contents of some of their private conversations with U.S. lawmakers and American-Jewish groups.”
Obama administration officials had leaked the story to Entous in order to shape its reception. After all, the real news was pretty bad—Obama had spied on Americans and the Americans he spied on, Congress and Jewish community leaders, knew it. But in Entous’ account, it was only by accident that the National Security Agency had listened in on Americans opposed to the Iran deal, opponents whose communications had simply been “swept up.” While Entous’ evident lack of skepticism about that account was hardly good reporting, it was perfectly in keeping with the maxim of not biting the hand that feeds you.
What the White House really wanted to know, on Entous’ telling, was what the Israeli prime minister and his ambassador to Washington were doing to contest the Iran deal. Except, neither Benjamin Netanyahu nor Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer makes U.S. policy: Congress does. As I explained in an April Tablet article, the purpose of the spying campaign was to help the White House fight U.S. legislators and other Americans critical of the deal -i.e., to win a domestic political battle. A pro-Israel political operative who was deeply involved in the Iran deal fight told me last year, “The NSA’s collections of foreigners became a means of gathering real-time intelligence on Americans.” With the Iran deal, as would later happen with Russiagate, the ostensible targets of intelligence collection -Israel, then Russia- were simply instruments that the Obama administration used to go after the real bad guys, namely its enemies at home.
The same process of weaponizing foreign-intelligence collection for domestic political purposes that the Obama administration road-tested during the Iran-deal fight was used to manufacture Russiagate and get it to market. Except instead of keeping a close hold of the identities of those swept up during “incidental collection” of U.S. persons, departing Obama White House officials leaked the names to friendly reporters.
Leaking classified intelligence is a felony, which means that Obama officials, many in the intelligence community, who leaked the names of Americans whose communications were intercepted to the press, were breaking the law. A crucial concern, then, was the trustworthiness of the intermediaries chosen to publish classified intelligence. It is to those intermediaries that anyone seeking to understand how the press became an instrument of the U.S. intelligence bureaucracy’s information war must now turn.
Entous, now The New Yorker’s man in Washington, had already proved his trustworthiness by shaping the story about Obama administration spying on congressional and American Jewish-community leaders in a way that was favorable to the administration, and disguised blatant abuses of power. More stories would now come his way, courtesy of the U.S. intelligence community.
One of Entous’ most famous Russia-related scoops was a Dec. 31, 2016, Washington Post article reporting that “according to US officials,” Russians hackers had penetrated the computer system of a Vermont dam. As it turns out, the story was entirely wrong.
A statement from Burlington Electric released shortly after the Post’s story explained that a laptop unconnected to the company’s grid was affected by malware. There was no threat to the dam, never mind “the nation’s electrical grid,” as the anonymous U.S. officials quoted in the Entous story had claimed.
In other words, there was no story -which Entous or his co-writer would have discovered had they contacted the electricity company. They didn’t, because the story was not sourced to original reporting -i.e. discovering from sources on location in Vermont that the state’s electrical grid had in fact been compromised. In support of reporting like that, the journalists might well have sought supporting information or quotes from government officials, named or even anonymous. Instead, their story started with anonymous U.S. officials, who leaked to Entous and his colleague for the evident purpose of advancing the Russiagate narrative. Russia was everywhere -from a dam in Vermont to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
If Entous’ story about the Obama administration’s spying on Congress and U.S. Jewish leaders showed that the reporter was trustworthy, the Vermont-dam article showed he wasn’t going to ask many questions of the officials who pointed him toward a nonexistent story, whose purpose appeared to have less to do with the health of the state of Vermont than with fear-mongering about Russia.
Clearly, someone noticed. In the March 1, 2017, Washington Post, Entous was lead byline on an article breaking the news that Attorney General Jeff Sessions met twice with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. A July 21, 2017, Post story on which Entous had the lead byline alleged that Sessions had discussed campaign-related matters with Kislyak. The latter story provides evidence of how the March and July articles were produced -U.S. officials leaked classified intelligence regarding intercepts of Kislyak’s communications with Moscow, in which he discussed Sessions. Officials then unmasked the identity of the attorney general and leaked it to Entous and the other reporters on the story.
Following close on the heels of those two pass-through DC-based “scoops,” Entous was lead byline on an April 3, 2017, story reporting a meeting in the Seychelles between Blackwater founder Erik Prince and a Russian banker, reportedly to set up a back channel between Trump and Putin. After publication of the story, Prince said he was shown “specific evidence” by sources from the intelligence community that his name was unmasked and given to the paper. “Unless The Washington Post has somehow miraculously recruited the bartender of a hotel in the Seychelles,” Prince told the House Intelligence Committee in December, “the only way that’s happening is through SIGINT [signals intelligence].” Recent news reports suggest that Prince’s meeting has become a key focus of the Mueller investigation. If those reports are accurate, it seems even more likely that classified intelligence was purposefully being leaked to put pressure on Prince. A week later, on April 11, 2017, Entous is bylined on yet another story based on a leak of classified intelligence that once again violated the privacy rights of an American citizen when the Post broke the news that the FBI secured a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant on Carter Page.
If you think Russiagate is real, then you will probably conclude that Sessions, Prince, and Page are all part of a single, monstrous criminal conspiracy -and that Adam Entous is one of the most important journalists in American history, an indefatigable shoe-leather reporter who helped whistleblowers inside the federal government put the truth before the American public, like Bob Woodward, Carl Bernstein, and Neil Sheehan combined. If you think the collusion story is nonsense, then Entous is just a political operative with a convenient byline. And if you think Russiagate is a campaign of political warfare waged in the shadows by bureaucrats who violated the privacy of American citizens in order to undo election results they disagreed with, then Entous is something worse—an asset whom sectors of the intelligence community have come to rely on in order to manipulate the public.
quote:The CIA Democrats: Part one
An extraordinary number of former intelligence and military operatives from the CIA, Pentagon, National Security Council and State Department are seeking nomination as Democratic candidates for Congress in the 2018 midterm elections. The potential influx of military-intelligence personnel into the legislature has no precedent in US political history.
If the Democrats capture a majority in the House of Representatives on November 6, as widely predicted, candidates drawn from the military-intelligence apparatus will comprise as many as half of the new Democratic members of Congress. They will hold the balance of power in the lower chamber of Congress.
Both push and pull are at work here. Democratic Party leaders are actively recruiting candidates with a military or intelligence background for competitive seats where there is the best chance of ousting an incumbent Republican or filling a vacancy, frequently clearing the field for a favored “star” recruit.
A case in point is Elissa Slotkin, a former CIA operative with three tours in Iraq, who worked as Iraq director for the National Security Council in the Obama White House and as a top aide to John Negroponte, the first director of national intelligence. After her deep involvement in US war crimes in Iraq, Slotkin moved to the Pentagon, where, as a principal deputy assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, her areas of responsibility included drone warfare, “homeland defense” and cyber warfare.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has designated Slotkin as one of its top candidates, part of the so-called “Red to Blue” program targeting the most vulnerable Republican-held seats—in this case, the Eighth Congressional District of Michigan, which includes Lansing and Brighton. The House seat for the district is now held by two-term Republican Representative Mike Bishop.
The Democratic leaders are promoting CIA agents and Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. At the same time, such people are choosing the Democratic Party as their preferred political vehicle. There are far more former spies and soldiers seeking the nomination of the Democratic Party than of the Republican Party. There are so many that there is a subset of Democratic primary campaigns that, with a nod to Mad magazine, one might call “spy vs. spy.”
The 23rd Congressional District in Texas, which includes a vast swathe of the US-Mexico border along the Rio Grande, features a contest for the Democratic nomination between Gina Ortiz Jones, an Air Force intelligence officer in Iraq, who subsequently served as an adviser for US interventions in South Sudan and Libya, and Jay Hulings. The latter’s website describes him as a former national security aide on Capitol Hill and federal prosecutor, whose father and mother were both career undercover CIA agents. The incumbent Republican congressman, Will Hurd, is himself a former CIA agent, so any voter in that district will have his or her choice of intelligence agency loyalists in both the Democratic primary and the general election.
CNN’s “State of the Union” program on March 4 included a profile of Jones as one of many female candidates seeking nomination as a Democrat in Tuesday’s primary in Texas. The network described her discreetly as a “career civil servant.” However, the Jones for Congress website positively shouts about her role as a spy, noting that after graduating from college, “Gina entered the US Air Force as an intelligence officer, where she deployed to Iraq and served under the US military’s ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy” (the last phrase signaling to those interested in such matters that Jones is gay).
According to her campaign biography, Ortiz Jones was subsequently detailed to a position as “senior advisor for trade enforcement,” a post President Obama created by executive order in 2012. She would later be invited to serve as a director for investment at the Office of the US Trade Representative, where she led the portfolio that reviewed foreign investments to ensure they did not pose national security risks. With that background, if she fails to win election, she can surely enlist in the trade war efforts of the Trump administration.
How this article was prepared
The House of Representatives is currently controlled by the Republicans, with a majority of 238 compared to 193 Democrats. There are four vacancies, one previously held by the Democrats. To reach a majority of 218 seats in the next Congress, the Democrats must have a net gain of 24 seats.
The DCCC has designated 102 seats as priority or competitive, including 22 seats where the incumbents are not running again (five Democrats and 17 Republicans), and 80 seats where Republican incumbents could be defeated for reelection in the event that polls predicting a sizeable swing to the Democrats in November prove accurate.
The World Socialist Web Site has reviewed Federal Election Commission reports filed by all the Democratic candidates in these 102 competitive districts, focusing on those candidates who reported by the latest filing date, December 31, 2017, that they had raised at least $100,000 for their campaigns, giving them a financial war chest sufficient to run in a competitive primary contest. In addition, there a few cases where a candidate had less than the $100,000 cutoff, but was unchallenged for the nomination, or where last-minute retirement or resignation has led to late entry of high-profile candidates without an FEC report on file. These have also been included.
The total of such candidates for the Democratic nomination in the 102 districts is 221. Each has a website that gives biographical details, which we have collected and reviewed for this report. It is notable that those candidates with a record in the military-intelligence apparatus, as well as civilian work for the State Department, Pentagon or National Security Council, do not hide their involvement, particularly in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They clearly regard working as a CIA agent in Baghdad, an Army special ops assassin in Afghanistan, or a planner for drone missile warfare in the White House or Pentagon as a star on their rťsumť, rather than something to conceal.
One quarter of all the Democratic challengers in competitive House districts have military-intelligence, State Department or NSC backgrounds. This is by far the largest subcategory of Democratic candidates. National security operatives (57) outnumber state and local government officials (45), lawyers (35), corporate executives, businessmen and wealthy individuals (30) and other professionals (19) among the candidates for Democratic congressional nominations.
Of the 102 primary elections to choose the Democratic nominees in these competitive districts, 44 involve candidates with a military-intelligence or State Department background, with 11 districts having two such candidates, and one district having three. In the majority of contests, the military-intelligence candidates seem likely to win the Democratic nomination, and, if the Democrats win in the general election, would enter Congress as new members of the House of Representatives.
There are some regional differences. In the Northeast, 21 of the 31 seats targeted by the Democrats have military-intelligence candidates. This area, not the South or Midwest, has the highest proportion of military-intelligence candidates seeking Democratic nominations.
In the West, only 7 of the 23 targeted seats have military-intelligence candidates, while in a half dozen seats the leading candidates are self-funded millionaires, mainly from the IT industry. There has been a wave of Republican retirements in California and wealthy people are bidding for these seats.
The military-intelligence candidates are disproportionately favored by the party apparatus, encouraged to run in districts that are the most likely takeover targets. Military-intelligence candidates account for 10 of the 22 districts selected for the most high-profile attention as part of the “red-to-blue” program, or nearly half. In some cases, military-intelligence candidates have amassed huge campaign war chests that effectively shut out any potential rivals, an indication that the financial backers of the Democratic Party have lined up behind them.
quote:The CIA Democrats: Part two
Agents and war commanders
There are 57 candidates for the Democratic nomination in 44 congressional districts who boast as their major credential their years of service in intelligence, in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, at the State Department, or some combination of all three. They make up the largest single occupational group running in the Democratic primaries that began March 6 in Texas and extend through mid-September, selecting the candidates who will appear on the general election ballot on November 6.
Aside from their sheer number, and the fact that more than 40 percent, 24 of the 57, are women, there are other aspects worth considering.
Agents, but no longer secret
First: The number of candidates who openly proclaim their role in the CIA or military intelligence. In years past, such activities would be considered confidential, if not scandalous for a figure seeking public office. Not only would the candidates want to disguise their connections to the spy apparatus, the CIA itself would insist on it, particularly for those who worked in operations rather than analysis, since exposure, even long after leaving the agency, could be portrayed as compromising “sources and methods.”
This is no longer the case. The 2018 candidates drawn from this shadow world of espionage, drone murders and other forms of assassination positively glory in their records. And the CIA and Pentagon have clearly placed no obstacles in the way.
We’ve already reviewed the cases of Elissa Slotkin, running in Michigan’s 8th District, who served three tours with the CIA in Baghdad, and Gina Ortiz Jones, an Air Force intelligence officer in Iraq, running for the Democratic nomination in the 23rd District of Texas. There are many others.
Abigail Spanberger, seeking the Democratic nomination in a district in the suburbs of Richmond, Virginia, has the following declaration at the top of her campaign website: “After nearly a decade serving in the CIA, I’m running for Congress in Virginia’s 7th District to fight for opportunity, equality and security for all Americans. My previous service as a law enforcement officer, a CIA officer, and a community volunteer has taught me the value of listening.” Indeed!
Abigail Spanberger's campaign website
Spanberger worked for the CIA as an operations officer, in which capacity, “She traveled and lived abroad collecting intelligence, managing assets, and overseeing high-profile programs in service to the United States.” Her opponent for the Democratic nomination is a career Marine Corps pilot, Dan Ward, in one of nearly a dozen contests involving multiple military-intelligence candidates.
Jesse Colvin, running in the 1st District of Maryland, spent six years in Army intelligence, including four combat deployments to Afghanistan and a year near the Demilitarized Zone between North Korea and South Korea. According to his campaign biography, “I am a proud graduate of the US Army’s Ranger Course, the premier leadership school in the military. I am even more honored to have served in the 75th Ranger Regiment—the Army Rangers. Rangers lead in many key roles throughout the Special Operations Forces’ (SOF) community, and I am lucky to have served and led with men and women of this caliber.”
His biography continues: “As a Ranger, my four combat deployments in Afghanistan took place within a Joint Special Operations Task Force. I led intelligence teams whose work facilitated capture/kill missions of Taliban, al-Qaeda and other terrorist leaders. I managed a lethal drone program. I ran human intelligence sources. Every day, my team and I made dozens of decisions whose outcomes carried life and death consequences for my fellow Rangers, our Afghan partners, and Afghan civilians.”
Jesse Colvin (front right) with his unit in Afghanistan
Jeffrey Beals, seeking the Democratic nomination in the 19th District of New York, is now a school teacher, but writes on his website, “After beginning my career as a CIA intelligence officer, I joined the State Department … I answered the call to help our country in Iraq in 2004 and became one of the longest serving US diplomats of the Iraq War. Fluent in Arabic, I faced down insurgents to set up the first diplomatic talks between our ambassador, our generals and the insurgency. I helped bring warring factions together to create a constitution for Iraq and was decorated by both the US Army and the State Department.”
Unfortunately for Beals, his fundraising, $174,000 by December 31, 2017, is dwarfed by that of another military-intelligence rival for the nomination, Patrick Ryan, a West Point graduate with two tours of duty in Iraq, “including a tour as the lead intelligence officer for an infantry battalion of 1,000 soldiers and officers responsible for ground operations in Mosul,” according to his campaign website. Ryan had raised $906,000 by December 31, and two other candidates in that district, a politically connected lawyer and a medical device manufacturer, had raised more than one million dollars each, all seeking to challenge two-term Republican incumbent John Faso in the Hudson Valley district.
Jonathan Ebel, running in the 13th District of Illinois, served four years as a naval intelligence officer, including on the staff of the US European Command in Stuttgart, Germany during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. He now teaches religion at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Then there is Shelly Chauncey, seeking the Democratic nomination in the 5th District of Pennsylvania, in the Philadelphia suburbs. Her website strikes a feminist note:
“Shelly served her nation for more than a decade with the Central Intelligence Agency. She began her career as a secretary and worked her way up to become a counter-intelligence officer. Shelly served as an undercover officer with the CIA in Latin America, East Asia and throughout the United States, providing logistical and counter-intelligence support to operatives abroad.”
The reference to undercover operations “throughout the United States” underscores the role of the intelligence apparatus in spying on the American people, although the CIA is, by law, prohibited from such activity.
Another campaign website touches on the domestic operations of the US spy machine. Omar Siddiqui, running in California’s 48th District, describes his background as follows: “On the front lines of national defense, Mr. Siddiqui serves as a private advisor and consultant to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on issues of national security and counter-terrorism and was formerly an advisor and community partner with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Mr. Siddiqui is presently director of special projects of the FBI National Citizens Academy Alumni Association…”
Commanders and planners of the Iraq War
Barack Obama won the Democratic presidential nomination and the 2008 election in large measure by presenting himself as an opponent of the war in Iraq launched under George W. Bush. Once in office, however, he retained Bush’s defense secretary, former CIA Director Robert Gates, and continued the war for another three years, as well as escalating the long-running US war in Afghanistan.
It is noteworthy in this context that so many of the military-intelligence candidates for Democratic congressional nominations boast of their roles in the war in Iraq and even, in some cases, present it as the high point of their professional and even personal lives.
Thus Elissa Slotkin, already referred to above, met her future husband, the pilot of an Apache helicopter gunship, while working as a CIA agent in Baghdad. Dan McCready, a Marine Corps veteran turned “clean energy” multi-millionaire, backed by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee for the Democratic nomination in the 9th District of North Carolina, even claims to have found Jesus in Iraq, where he was baptized in water from the Euphrates River.
The Iraq War veterans are either officers, giving them command responsibility in one of the great crimes of the 21st century, or served in special forces units like the Army Rangers and the Navy SEALs, engaging in covert operations that were among the bloodiest and most brutal of the war, or had high-level responsibility at the Pentagon or the National Security Council.
Daniel Helmer, running in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District against five other well-financed candidates—including former State Department official Alison Friedman, who has already topped the $1 million mark—says remarkably little about what he did in Afghanistan and Iraq, although his photograph in military fatigues is on the front page of his website. But Helmer boasts perhaps the most extensive list of endorsements by retired national security officials of any candidate in the country, including eight generals and admirals, two former deputy directors of the CIA, Avril Haines and David Cohen, and Michele Flournoy, former under secretary of defense for policy. What he did to earn their support is left to the imagination.
Richard Ojeda, elected as a West Virginia state senator in 2016, is now seeking the Democratic nomination in the 3rd Congressional District, covering the southern third of the state. As the WSWS has reported, Ojeda has based his political career on more than two decades in the US Army Airborne, including repeated tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, where he reached the rank of major. His last post was as executive director of Army recruiting in Beckley, seeking to convince youth in West Virginia and Virginia to become cannon fodder for the Pentagon.
Josh Butner, running in the 50th District of California against Republican Duncan Hunter, Jr., “served for 23 years in the United States Navy where he saw multiple combat deployments, most recently in Iraq and Afghanistan.” The career Navy SEAL says almost nothing about what he actually did in the top military assassination unit, but that is to be expected. His campaign website features the slogan “Service, Country, Leadership,” alongside a photograph of Butner in desert fatigues.
Dan Feehan is running to succeed incumbent Democrat Tim Walz in the 1st Congressional District of Minnesota, after Walz announced his candidacy for governor of that state. From 2005 to 2009, according to his campaign biography, Feehan “served as an active duty soldier and completed two combat tours of duty as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.” He then joined the Obama administration, first as a White House aide, then as an acting assistant secretary of defense in the Pentagon.
Andy Kim, running in the 3rd District of New Jersey, has actually raised more money than the incumbent Republican, Tom MacArthur. Kim worked at the Pentagon and as a strategic adviser to generals David Petraeus and John Allen while they were in command of US forces in Afghanistan. He then moved to the National Security Council, where he was Obama’s director for Iraq for two years.
Maura Sullivan, seeking the Democratic nomination in New Hampshire’s 2nd District, where incumbent Democrat Carol Shea-Porter is retiring, was a Marine Corps officer, rising to the rank of captain and deploying to Fallujah, Iraq, scene of some of the bloodiest battles and most horrific US war crimes of that war. She too joined the Obama administration as a civilian administrator at both the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Pentagon.
Jason Crow is running in Colorado’s 6th Congressional District against incumbent Republican Mike Coffman, where he was selected by the DCCC as one of its top candidates in the “Red-to-Blue” program. He is a veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division, leading a paratrooper platoon during the invasion of Iraq. He then joined the Army Rangers and served two tours in Afghanistan “as part of the Joint Special Operations Task Force,” where he rose to the rank of captain.
Matthew Morgan had a 20-year career in the Marine Corps “where I would deploy routinely overseas, culminating in several senior staff roles where I’d provide counsel to numerous military leaders, including the secretary of defense.” He did two tours in Iraq and also worked in counterterrorism on the Horn of Africa. Now he is the unopposed candidate for the Democratic nomination in Michigan’s 1st Congressional District, which has switched back and forth between the two big business parties and is currently held by first-term Republican Jack Bergman.
quote:The CIA Democrats: Part three
From the State Department to Capitol Hill
The final category of military-intelligence candidates consists of veterans of the US State Department during the Obama years, most of them former aides to Hillary Clinton. These are among the best financed and most publicized of the likely Democratic nominees. In the event of a Democratic “wave” in November, most would find themselves with seats in Congress.
Tom Malinowski, a former congressional aide and Clinton administration official, headed the Washington office of Human Rights Watch for 13 years before joining the Obama administration under Secretary of State John Kerry as assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights, and labor. He is seeking the Democratic nomination in New Jersey’s 7th Congressional District against incumbent Republican Leonard Lance.
Lauren Baer was a legal adviser to both Secretaries Clinton and Kerry, as well as US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power. She is now seeking the Democratic nomination in the 18th District of Florida, where her principal opponent is Pam Keith, a former judge advocate general in the US Navy and now general counsel to Florida Power & Light. Both women push additional buttons for identity politics, as Baer is openly gay and Keith is African-American.
Nancy Soderberg is a longtime US foreign policy figure going back to the Clinton administration, first at the National Security Council, then as deputy assistant to the president for national security affairs, then as an alternate US representative at the UN Security Council with the rank of ambassador. She has spent much of her time since then heading private overseas operations like the International Crisis Group, while playing a prominent role in the Florida Democratic Party. She is effectively unchallenged for the Democratic nomination in Florida’s 6th Congressional District (Daytona Beach), where the incumbent Republican Ron DeSantis is running for governor.
Edward Meier was a senior adviser to the State Department. According to his campaign website, he “was responsible for coordinating the military-to-civilian transition in Iraq—ensuring our diplomats and aid workers would be safe and secure after the withdrawal of US troops. In this role, he traveled to Iraq on multiple official trips working closely with the US military and the Iraqi government. …” He went on to be director of policy outreach for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Meier fell short Tuesday in his bid for the Democratic nomination in the 32nd District of Texas, finishing fourth out of five Democrats running against incumbent Republican Pete Sessions in a suburban Dallas district Clinton carried over Donald Trump, even though he spent the most money.
Sara Jacobs is another State Department official turned Clinton campaign aide, working on “conflict zones in East and West Africa,” particularly the campaign against Boko Haram in Nigeria, and helping to “spearhead President Obama’s efforts to improve governance in the security sector of our counterterrorism partners,” according to her campaign website. She was a foreign policy adviser to the Clinton campaign and is now seeking the Democratic nomination in California’s 49th District, where incumbent Darrell Issa is retiring.
Jacobs is the best-financed Democrat in the race, as befits the granddaughter of Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs, but at age 29 she would be the youngest congresswoman ever, and she has been snubbed in favor of several more experienced rivals by recent Democratic Party caucuses. One of her opponents is Douglas Applegate, a career Marine Corps judge advocate general with combat tours in Fallujah, Baghdad and Ramadi, who narrowly lost the 2016 race to Issa.
Talley Sergent, yet another State Department official turned Clinton campaign aide, is running in West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District, which includes Charleston, against two-term incumbent Republican Alex Mooney. A former aide to Senator Jay Rockefeller, Sergent worked on slavery and sex trafficking at the State Department, then managed Clinton’s disastrous campaign in West Virginia before becoming a public relations executive for The Coca-Cola Co.
Challenging her for the Democratic nomination is Aaron Scheinberg, West Point graduate and Iraq War veteran, deployed first as a platoon leader in the 4th Infantry Division, then as a civil affairs officer in Haswah, Iraq. Scheinberg is now executive director of The Mission Continues, a nonprofit promoting the employment of veterans, whose board of directors includes such figures as Michele Flournoy, Pentagon undersecretary in the Obama administration; Meghan O’Sullivan, Iraq director for the National Security Council under George W. Bush; and retired General Ray S. Odierno, former commander of US forces in Iraq.
Jessica Morse was Iraq country coordinator for the State Department in the course of “over a decade as a national security strategist,” according to her website. She worked for the US Agency for International Development, a longtime CIA front, then as adviser to the US Pacific Command, where she “strengthened the US-India defense relationship … and worked to counter terrorist threats in South Asia.” Her opponent for the Democratic nomination in the 4th District of California, to face Republican incumbent Tom McClintock, is another former State Department officer, Regina Bateson, who was a vice-consul in Guatemala and “studied terrorist travel and border security,” according to her campaign website.
A stealth candidate—and some celebrities
The American corporate media has been slow to comment on the extraordinary influx of military and intelligence officers into the Democratic Party’s 2018 congressional campaign. The media prefers to cover the campaign from the standpoint of secondary characteristics, focusing on the great number of women running for office, mainly as Democrats, supposedly in response to Trump’s misogyny.
An exception to this pattern was the article February 8 by the Capitol Hill publication Roll Call, under the headline, “Active-Duty Candidates Can Run—But Can They Campaign?” The article profiled a Tennessee Democratic congressional candidate, Matt Reel, who was called up from his reserve status for a five-month deployment with the 20th Special Forces Group (Green Berets). According to the article, “Even Matt Reel’s staff doesn’t know where he’s deployed.”
Reel announced his campaign for the 7th District seat shortly after incumbent Republican Marsha Blackburn announced that she was leaving the House of Representatives to run for the US Senate seat from Tennessee currently held by Bob Corker, who is retiring. Because of the late announcements, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has not yet targeted the district and Reel is not included in the figures cited earlier in this article.
The unusual situation for Reel is that, under Pentagon rules, he cannot direct his own campaign while he is on active duty. His aides and supporters can continue to campaign, but he is barred communicating with them in any way. Reel is not even allowed to tell them where he is, since the military deployment is covert. This truly “dark horse" candidate left his campaign having shot a few commercials and other video material, and will return a month or so before the August 2 primary.
Reel is one more example of a candidate from the “black ops” section of the military running as a Democrat. In his case, the two cannot be separated: he has been a Democratic Party functionary and a Green Beret since completing college. A former chief of staff to Alabama Representative Terri Sewell, his most recent position was deputy staff director for the Democrats on the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
While Reel is considered an extreme long-shot as a candidate, running in a district won by the Republicans in 2016 by a 3-1 margin, the DCCC is heavily promoting a number of career military candidates, most of them women, as star recruits for the most competitive districts in 2018, those where a switch from Republican to Democratic control is most likely. These candidates have access to funding far beyond what would be expected for first-time candidates without huge personal resources.
Running in the 31st District of Texas is Mary Jane Hegar, a helicopter pilot and certified military celebrity—Angelina Jolie is cast to play her in a biographical film based on her memoir, Shoot Like a Girl: One Woman’s Dramatic Fight in Afghanistan and on the Home Front. Hegar came to prominence through a lawsuit against the Pentagon policy of barring women from combat. Opposing her for the nomination to face incumbent Republican John Carter is Kent Lester, a West Point graduate and career military officer who retired as a lieutenant colonel after deployments to Panama and Bosnia, among other locations.
Shoot Like A Girl
In Virginia’s 2nd District, which encompasses the Norfolk-Hampton Roads area with its complex of naval bases and shipyards, the DCCC has promoted Elaine Luria, one of the first Navy women to serve as an officer on a nuclear-powered ship, as its favored candidate under the “Red-to-Blue” program. Luria has “deployed six times to the Middle East and Western Pacific as a nuclear-trained surface warfare officer.” She was second-in-command of a guided missile cruiser and commanded assault craft supporting a Marine Corps deployment.
Other military candidates who had already raked in more than one million dollars in campaign funds in 2017, the year before the election, and have been widely publicized in local media in their districts, include:
Mikie Sherrill, a career Navy helicopter pilot, with ten years’ active service in Europe and the Middle East, now a federal prosecutor. She reported raising $1,230,000 by December 31, 2017 for her campaign for the Democratic nomination in New Jersey’s 11th Congressional District, where incumbent Republican Rodney Freylingheusen is retiring.
Chrissy Houlahan, a former US Air Force captain, has raised $1,228,000 for her campaign in Pennsylvania’s 6th Congressional District, against incumbent Republican Ryan Costello.
Amy McGrath, a career Marine fighter pilot with 89 missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, has raised $1,133,000 for her campaign in Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District against incumbent Republican Andy Barr.
Some political conclusions
There is growing popular hostility to the Trump administration, but within the political straitjacket of the two-party system, it is trapped without any genuine outlet. In November 2016, faced with the choice of equally repugnant ruling class figures—Hillary Clinton, the longtime stooge of Wall Street and the Pentagon, and Donald Trump, the corrupt billionaire from the financial underworld of real estate swindling and casino gambling—millions refused to vote. But disappointment and anger over the bankrupt, right-wing policies of the Obama administration led a sufficient number of working people to vote for Trump, particularly in devastated industrial states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, that he could eke out an Electoral College victory despite losing the popular vote.
The 2018 elections could well see a similar process, but in reverse. Angered by the tax cuts for the wealthy and big business, the gutting of social programs like Medicaid and food stamps, the attacks on immigrants and democratic rights more generally, and Trump’s threats of military violence and even nuclear war, millions of working people, however reluctantly, will go to the polls to cast their ballots for the official “opposition,” the Democratic Party, which does not actually oppose Trump at all.
It is by no means certain that the Democrats will win control of the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm election on November 6. But the details presented in this report demonstrate that a Democratic victory would in no sense represent a shift to the left in capitalist politics.
In a sense, the Democratic Party’s promotion of a large number of military-intelligence candidates for competitive districts represents an insurance policy for the US ruling elite. In the event of a major swing to the Democrats, the House of Representatives will receive an influx of new members drawn primarily from the national security apparatus, trusted servants of American imperialism.
Parenthetically, it should be noted that there would be no comparable influx of Bernie Sanders supporters or other “left”-talking candidates in the event of a Democratic landslide. Only five of the 221 candidates reviewed in this study had links to Sanders or billed themselves as “progressive.” None is likely to win the primary, let alone the general election.
When the dust clears after November 6, 2018, there will almost certainly be more former CIA agents in the Democratic caucus in the House of Representatives than former Sanders activists. It is the military-intelligence operatives who constitute the spine of the Democratic Party, not the Sanders “Our Revolution” group. This is a devastating verdict on the claims of the Vermont senator, backed by various pseudo-left groups, that it is possible to reform the Democratic Party and push it to the left.
The preponderance of national security operatives in the Democratic primaries sheds additional light on the nature of the Obama administration. Far from representing a resurgence of liberal reformism, as apologists for the Democrats like the International Socialist Organization claimed at the time of his election, Obama’s eight years in office marked the further ascendancy of the military-intelligence apparatus within the Democratic Party.
This is demonstrated by the subsequent role of his top personnel. Among the former Obama civilian officials who are running in the Democratic primaries for seats in the House of Representatives, 16 served in the State Department, Pentagon, Department of Homeland Security or National Security Council, while only five served in domestic agencies. One of those, Haley Stevens, was chief of staff for the Obama auto industry task force, which imposed 50 percent wage cuts on newly hired auto workers. Among the five, only Stevens is considered a likely winner in the primary.
The Democratic Party has always been a party of the American capitalist class, and that means, from the dawn of the 20th century on, it has been a party of imperialism and imperialist war, whatever the occasional “peace” noises made by its candidates for the purpose of diverting and derailing mass antiwar sentiment among the American people.
For more than a century, a major political task of the Marxist movement in the United States has been to combat illusions in the Democratic Party, particularly those engendered by its comparatively brief periods of reformist politics, under President Franklin Roosevelt in the 1930s, and again during the Kennedy-Johnson years of the 1960s. The struggle against the Democratic Party, as well as the Republicans, remains the main focus of the effort to establish the political independence of the working class.
But the 2018 campaign represents something qualitatively different. Neither party offers any credible prospect of significant social reform. Both offer right-wing nostrums, laced with militarism, while seeking to split the working class along the lines of race, gender and national origin.
The campaign takes place in the wake of more than a year of unrelenting focus by the Democrats on the anti-Russian campaign, a narrative claiming that Trump’s victory in the presidential election was the result of Russian interference and that Trump is, for all practical purposes, a Russian stooge in the White House.
Not a shred of evidence has been provided either of Russian interference or of collusion with Russia on the part of the Trump campaign. Nor is there any suggestion that there was any significant element of fraud in either the vote or its tabulation by local and state governments.
But the Democratic Party has deliberately sought to whip up and appeal to the most right-wing, McCarthyite, chauvinist sentiments. It denounces Trump not for his right-wing policies, his immigrant baiting, his consorting with fascists and white supremacists, or his tax cut bonanza for the wealthy, but because he is allegedly insufficiently committed to confronting Russia militarily in the Middle East, Central Asia, Ukraine, Eastern Europe and the Baltic.
Clinton ran in 2016 as the favored candidate of the military-intelligence apparatus, amassing hundreds of endorsements by retired generals, admirals and spymasters, and criticizing Trump as unqualified to be the commander-in-chief.
This political orientation has developed and deepened in 2018. The Democratic Party is running in the congressional elections not only as the party that takes a tougher line on Russia, but as the party that enlists as its candidates and representatives those who have been directly responsible for waging war, both overt and covert, on behalf of American imperialism. It is seeking to be not only the party for the Pentagon and CIA, but the party of the Pentagon and CIA.
This is not merely a result of the political psychology or even the career paths of those who make up the upper echelon of the Democratic Party. It has a social and class character. The Democratic Party has long abandoned even a limited role as a party pledging social reforms in the interests of working people as a whole, in favor of the promotion of privileges for sections of the upper-middle class, doled out on the basis of identity politics.
The Democrat Party proposes a certain redistribution of wealth and power within the most privileged layer of the population, while leaving the essential social structure unchanged, with society divided between the super-rich at the top, a privileged upper-middle class, perhaps ten percent or less, and below them, the vast majority of working people, whose conditions of life continue to deteriorate as the economic “recovery” from the 2008 Wall Street crash approaches its tenth year.
The upper-middle-class layer that provides the “mass” base of the Democratic Party has moved drastically to the right over the past four decades, enriched by the stock market boom, consciously hostile to the working class, and enthusiastically supportive of the military-intelligence apparatus which, in the final analysis, guarantees its own social position against potential threats, both foreign and domestic. It is this social evolution that now finds expression on the surface of capitalist politics, in the rise of the military-intelligence “faction” to the leadership of the Democratic Party.
quote:Obamagate: Exposing the Obama deep state
Obama’s third term has begun. Our Republic is in danger
After Trump secured the nomination, Obama’s people filed a wiretapping request. As he was on the verge of winning, they did it again. After he won, they are doing everything they can to bring him down.
It was always going to come down to this.
One is the elected President of the United States. The other is the Anti-President who commands a vast network that encompasses the organizers of OFA, the official infrastructure of the DNC and Obama Anonymous, a shadow government of loyalists embedded in key positions across the government.
A few weeks after the election, I warned that Obama was planning to run the country from outside the White House. And that the “Obama Anonymous” network of staffers embedded in the government was the real threat. Since then Obama’s Kalorama mansion has become a shadow White House. And the Obama Anonymous network is doing everything it can to bring down an elected government.
Valerie Jarrett has moved into the shadow White House to plot operations against Trump. Meanwhile Tom Perez has given him control of the corpse of the DNC after fending off a Sandernista bid from Keith Ellison. Obama had hollowed out the Democrat Party by diverting money to his own Organizing for America. Then Hillary Clinton had cannibalized it for her presidential bid through Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and Donna Brazile. Now Obama owns the activist, OFA, and organizational, DNC, infrastructure.
But that’s just half the picture.
Obama controls the opposition. He will have a great deal of power to choose future members of Congress and the 2020 candidate. But he could have done much of that from Chicago or New York. The reason he didn’t decide to move on from D.C. is that the nation’s capital contains the infrastructure of the national government. He doesn’t just want to run the Democrats. He wants to run America.
The other half of the picture is the Obama Deep State. This network of political appointees, bureaucrats and personnel scattered across numerous government agencies is known only as Obama Anonymous.
Obama Inc. had targeted Trump from the very beginning when it was clear he would be the nominee.
Trump had locked down the GOP nomination in May. Next month there was a FISA request targeting him. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court denied the request, and it is still unknown whether the request targeted Trump, or only his associates, but it’s silly to pretend that the submission of such a request a month after he became the presumptive GOP nominee was apolitical.
The second, narrower, FISA request came through in October. This one was approved. The reason for getting a FISA request in October was even more obvious than June. October is the crucial month in presidential elections. It’s the month of the “October Surprise” when the worst hit pieces based on the keenest opposition research is unleashed. Obama’s opposition research on Trump involved eavesdropping on a server in Trump Tower. Nixon would have been very jealous.
After the election, Obama Inc. began to spread out its bets. Some of his people migrated into his network of political organizations. Others remained embedded in the government. While the former would organize the opposition, the latter would sabotage, undermine and try to bring down Trump.
An unprecedented campaign for full spectrum dominance was being waged in domestic politics.
Political opposition wasn’t a new phenomenon; even if a past president centralizing control of the organizational and activist arms of his party to wage war on his successor was unprecedented. But weaponizing unelected government officials to wage war on an elected government was a coup.
Obama Anonymous conducted its coup in layers. The first layer partnered congressional Democrats with OA personnel to retain control of as much of the government as possible by the Obama Deep State. They did it by blocking Trump’s nominees with endless hearings and protests. The second layer partnered congressional Democrats with the deeper layer of Obama operatives embedded in law enforcement and intelligence agencies who were continuing the Obama investigations of Trump.
This second layer sought to use the investigation to force out Trump people who threatened their control over national security, law enforcement and intelligence. It is no coincidence that their targets, Flynn and Sessions, were in that arena. Or that their views on Islamic terror and immigration are outside the consensus making them easy targets for Obama Anonymous and its darker allies.
These darker allies predate Obama. The tactics being deployed against Trump were last used by them in a previous coup during President Bush’s second term. The targets back then had included Bush officials, an Iran skeptic, pro-Israel activists and a Democrat congresswoman. The tactics, eavesdropping, leaks, false investigations, dubious charges and smear campaigns against officials, were exactly the same.
Anyone who remembers the cases of Larry Franklin, Jane Harman and some others will recognize them. Before that they were used to protect the CIA underestimates of Soviet capabilities that were broken through by Rumsfeld’s Halloween Massacre and Team B which helped clear the way for Reagan’s defeat of the Soviet Union.
Under Bush, the Deep State was fighting against any effort to stop Iran’s nuclear program. It did so by eliminating and silencing opposition within the national security establishment and Congress through investigations of supposed foreign agents. That left the field clear for it to force a false National Intelligence Estimate on President Bush which claimed that Iran had halted its nuclear program.
Obama broke out the same tactics when he went after Iran Deal opponents. Once again members of Congress were spied on and the results were leaked to friendly media outlets. Before the wiretapping of Trump’s people, the NSA was passing along conversations of Iran Deal opponents to the White House which were used to coordinate strategy in defense of the illegal arrangement with Islamic terrorists.
The same wall between government and factional political agendas that Nixon’s “White House Plumbers” had broken through on the way to Watergate had been torn down. NSA eavesdropping was just another way to win domestic political battles. All it took was accusing the other side of treason.
And worse was to come.
During the Iran Deal battle, the NSA was supposedly filtering the eavesdropped data it passed along.
In its last days, Obama Inc. made it easier to pass along unfiltered personal information to the other agencies where Obama loyalists were working on their investigation targeting Trump. The NSA pipeline now makes it possible for the shadow White House to still gain intelligence on its domestic enemies.
And the target of the shadow White House is the President of the United States.
There is now a President and an Anti-President. A government and a shadow government. The anti-President controls more of the government through his shadow government than the real President.
The Obama network is an illegal shadow government. Even its “light side” as an opposition group is very legally dubious. Its “shadow side” is not only illegal, but a criminal attack on our democracy.
When he was in power, Obama hacked reporters like FOX News’ James Rosen and CBS News’ Sharyl Attkisson. He eavesdropped on members of Congress opposed to the Iran Deal. Two men who made movies he disliked ended up in jail. But what he is doing now is even more deeply disturbing.
Obama no longer legally holds power. His Deep State network is attempting to overturn the results of a presidential election using government employees whose allegiance is to a shadow White House. Tactics that were illegal when he was in office are no longer just unconstitutional, they are treasonous.
Obama Inc. has become a state within a state. It is a compartmentalized network of organizations, inside and outside the government, that claim that they are doing nothing illegal as individual groups because they are technically following the rules within each compartment, but the sheer scope of the illegality lies in the covert coordination between these “revolutionary cells” infecting our country.
It is a criminal conspiracy of unprecedented scope. Above all else, it is the most direct attack yet on a country in which governments are elected by the people, not by powerful forces within the government.
"We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain,” President Lincoln declared at Gettysburg. “That this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”
Obama’s shadow government is not just a war on President Trump. It is a war on that government of the people, by the people and for the people. If he succeeds, then at his touch, it will perish from the earth.
Obama’s third term has begun. Our Republic is in danger.
quote:Unlawful FISA Spying Widespread Under Obama Administration
Relaxation of privacy policies paved the way for FBI and NSA to spy on Americans
The FBI and the National Security Agency (NSA), under the Obama administration, committed numerous violations of procedures intended to safeguard Americans’ personal data and communications collected under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).
Under the section, which was part of amendments to FISA passed in 2008 by then-President George W. Bush, the intelligence community has broad powers to collect internet and telephone data to spy on foreign nationals.
Procedures to protect Americans’ data collected under the program were weakened under then-President Barack Obama in 2011, allowing the NSA to search through Americans’ data using their names. Previously, these types of searches, known as “queries using United States person identifiers,” were prohibited.
In its ruling in 2011, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) said the “relaxation of the querying rules” would be limited to queries “reasonably likely to yield foreign intelligence information.”
The FISC at the time also approved the broader collection of so-called upstream data, which is all internet data traveling through key internet backbone carriers.
However, in subsequent years, policies intended to defend against the misuse of this power, called minimization and targeting procedures, were systematically broken, resulting in numerous violations.
A declassified top-secret FISC report released in April 2017 revealed that the NSA had an 85 percent noncompliance rate when it came to searches involving Americans.
The 702 system, which was never designed to spy on Americans, but rather to safeguard U.S. national security, had become a powerful spying tool in the hands of the government.
Problems with the FISA system received nationwide attention in February after a declassified House intelligence committee memo revealed that the FBI and the Department of Justice had obtained a FISA warrant on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page, using information paid for by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
The initial warrant, and its three subsequent renewals, could have been used to spy on anyone who was in contact with Page, including members of the Trump campaign. The NSA is allowed to analyze communications “three hops” from its original target. Anyone in direct communication with Page is one hop away; anyone in communication with those talking to Page is two hops away; and anyone talking to those who are twice removed from Page is three hops away.
Last year, it was already revealed that top Obama officials, including national security adviser Susan Rice and U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Samantha Power, used so-called unmasking requests to obtain communications belonging to specific members of the Trump campaign and transition team.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions said on March 7 that he has appointed a person outside of Washington to look into the allegations of FISA abuse. Sessions’s statement came in response to a letter signed by 13 members of Congress calling for the appointment of a second special counsel to investigate the alleged abuse.
Problems With the FBI
According to the declassified top-secret FISC report, the FBI provided access to sensitive 702 data to employees that were not authorized to have access to the data. In some cases, this data was then exported by the employees, and it is unclear how it was subsequently used.
The agency also provided contractors with access to raw 702 data. The contractors maintained access to the data, even after their work for the FBI was finished.
In one case, an unauthorized private entity was given access by the FBI to 702 data. The unnamed private entity is mostly staffed by private contractors, whose access to 702 data was not controlled or monitored.
The “contractors had access to raw FISA information that went well beyond what was necessary to respond to the FBI’s requests,” wrote the FISC, in its report.
The FBI discontinued the private entity’s access to raw FISA data in April 2016, the same month in which the Clinton campaign and the DNC used law firm Perkins Coie to retain Fusion GPS to produce the so-called Trump dossier.
The dossier would eventually lead to the FBI obtaining the FISA warrant on Carter Page in October 2016.
While the FISC did recertify the FBI’s minimization procedures as being constitutional it wrote that it was “nonetheless concerned about the FBI’s apparent disregard of minimization rules and whether the FBI may be engaging in similar disclosures of raw Section 702 information that have not been reported.”
The scope of the FBI’s accessing of Americans’ data is unclear, as the government is not required to provide the FISC with numbers on violations. In the NSA’s case, it told the court that it was unable to provide a number for how many times Americans’ data had been unlawfully accessed. The scope of the NSA’s violations also remains unclear.
In response to the problems, as well as an internal review by the agency, the NSA stopped the collection of what are called multicommunication transactions (MCTs) to minimize violations. The term MCTs refers to the NSA’s mass collection of communications while targeting one communication.
The FBI and CIA will no longer have access to upstream data collected by the NSA at key internet junctions.
In January, President Donald Trump ordered his director of national intelligence to develop procedures for law enforcement agencies to obtain the identities of Americans in intelligence reports. This practice of unmasking is what was used to spy on the Trump campaign during the elections.
Trump did authorize Section 702 in January for another six years, stressing the importance of the program for national security.
quote:Explosive Text Messages Reveal Judge in Flynn Case Was Friends with Strzok
Newly redacted text messages discovered by congressional investigators reveal that an embattled FBI agent at the center of the Russia investigation controversy was close friends with a District of Columbia judge who recused himself from the criminal case over former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, congressional members said, and text documents show.
The never before seen text messages, which were a part of the texts given to congress by the Department of Justice, show that FBI Special Agent Peter Strzok and his paramour FBI attorney Lisa Page discussed Strzok’s relationship with U.S. District Court Judge Rudolph Contreras, who presided over a Dec. 1, 2017 hearing where former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI. Strzok was removed from Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel’s Office last year after anti-Trump text messages between him and his FBI agent lover were discovered by the DOJ’s Inspector General Michael Horowitz. But on Dec. 7, without warning, Judge Rudolph Contreras was removed as the presiding judge on Flynn’s case. Little information was given at the time as to why Contreras was removed.
DOJ officials did not immediately respond for comment.
In a text message chain from Page to Strzok on July, 25, 2016 she writes, “Rudy is on the FISC! Did you know that? Just appointed two months ago.” At that point, the pair continues to discuss other issues but comes back to Contrares, “I did. We talked about it before and after. I need to get together with him.” Then later Strzok appears to return to his discussion about Contreras.
Page: “Thought of it because you had to Google FISC judges and him there. I’m telling you.”
Strzok: “….She brought up a good point about being circumspect in talking to him in terms of not placing him into a situation where he’d have to recuse himself.”
Page: “I can’t imagine you either one of you could talk about anything in detail meaningful enough to warrant recusal.” Page then goes back to discussing a different issue saying, “Anyway, maybe you meant to, but didn’t.’
Strzok: “Really? Rudy. I’m in charge of espionage for the FBI. Any espionage FISA comes before him, what should he do? Given his friend oversees them?”
Page: “Standards for recusal are quite high. I just don’t think this poses an actual conflict. And he doesn’t know what you do?”
Strzok: “Generally he does know what I do. Not the level or scope or area but he’s super thoughtful and rigorous about ethics and conflicts. (redacted) suggested a social setting with others would probably be better than a one on one meeting. I’m sorry, I’m just going to have to invite you to that cocktail party. Of course you’ll be there. Have to come up with some other work people cover for action.”
Page: “Why more? Six is a perfectly fine dinner party.”
Investigators working with Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, and Rep. Mark Meadows, both with the House Oversight Committee, discovered the text messages during their ongoing investigation into the FBI’s handling of the alleged Trump-Russia collusion investigation, the Congressional members told this reporter. Under rules established by DOJ officials, congressional investigators could only review the less redacted version of the pairs’ text messages at DOJ headquarters and only the highly redacted version of the texts were allowed to be removed during the ongoing process, they said. Of the 1.2 million documents collected by Horowitz’s team, the House Oversight Committee has only received 3,162 “unique documents,” they added.
“Why did Contreras recuse himself?” said Jordan. “Text messages show he had a relationship with Strzok… Why did the DOJ make it difficult for us to get the information? To me those are the two fundamental questions. We don’t know that answers to either one of those ”
Jordan noted that the text messages provide some context but that some of the communications are not completely clear. He added what is “clear is that the back and forth exchange shows that Strzok and Page were friends. But we don’t know if the discussion regarding recusal has anything to do with Russia or if they were referring to another case. What we do know is that Contreras recused himself after the guilty plea but we still don’t know why?”
Meadows added that a “recusal for a judge is very high bar,” added Meadows. “I think from my stand point we’re asking the department of justice and the FBI to give us the documents we need to do proper oversight. Failing to be able to be able to provide Congress with those documents in an expeditious manner would certainly strengthen the case for a special prosecutor.”
Meadows also stated that the DOJ’s failure to be forthright with the information makes it extremely difficult for Congress to conduct oversight.
“The only thing we would not have access to is grand jury material and some classified documents,” said Meadows. “There is no reason why we cannot get the same documents the Inspector General has.”
Dat viel mij ook al op ja. Smerig staaltje framing.quote:In dit proces is de president niet betrokken, ondanks de pogingen van CNN en The Washington Post om hiervan een talking point te maken.
Nee hoor. Trump heeft het al een tijdje op deze kerel gemunt en dat is precies wat de pers ook report. Zoals gewoonlijk verdraait redpilled de feiten weer eens.quote:
Op zich is het begrijpelijk vanuit de optiek van sommige journalisten, omdat er nu eenmaal veel lijntjes zijn tussen hen en DoJ en FBI officials en politieke officials die anti-Trump zijn.quote:
Het nadeel van de grote nieuws netwerken en hun ongelooflijke partijdigheid is dat ze het publiek geen dienst bewijzen door hun manier van berichtgeven.quote:Op zaterdag 17 maart 2018 14:08 schreef dellipder het volgende:
Eventuele aanbevelingen voor strafrechtelijke vervolging zullen ook vanuit het bureau komen waar McCabe werkzaam was en deze aanbevelingen worden gedaan door zijn oud-collega's.
McCabe heeft dit lot zelf over zich afgeroepen en het verlies van zijn pensioen is het minste waarover hij bezorgd zou moeten zijn.