2016 Election • Administrative State • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Donald Trump • Greatness Agenda • Intelligence Community • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post

Ratcliffe Falls to Intelligence Agency Imperialism

President Trump’s withdrawal of the nomination of U.S. Representative John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) to be director of national intelligence on Friday is the latest of his acts of deference to an Intelligence Community that hindered his election and plays a key role in the ruling class’s subversion of his presidency.

The identical talking points of politicians and pundits who railed against the Ratcliffe selection spooked Trump, and reflect the increasingly important domestic political role that the CIA and the FBI (though not the National Security Agency, which is mostly military) play within America’s ruling class.

Presumably and inexplicably, the president will nominate yet another person to oversee that complex who will answer to itself and not to constitutional authority.

The echo chambers of the Democratic Party, the establishment Republicans, and the media alleged that Ratcliffe would have been Trump’s defender. But these are the very people who have been trying to to take Trump down. We do not know what was in Ratcliffe’s mind, or in Trump’s. We know that the issues involved are bigger than either man. The agencies and the ruling class of which they are part would oppose with equal vigor any outsider who might disrupt their prerogatives.

The following explains those prerogatives’ bases, and hence why challenging them should become a national priority.

More than other parts of the modern administrative state, (or the deep state, or whatever you prefer to call it) and by virtue of the secrecy in which they must operate, these agencies have been able more vigorously to assert the classic claim that their officials are entitled to special deference because they know more than ordinary Americans and their elected officials. But their claim to special expertise is largely counterfactual.

For all the wizards who have hidden behind the CIA’s and FBI’s curtains, this is old news. Nothing could be further from the truth than the assumption (prevalent even at Fox News) that 99 percent of their officers are competent patriots who keep us safe. No. In reality, they are standard-issue bureaucrats who count on the public’s credulity for their privileges. Given their proclivities, we should be grateful for their incompetence.

The CIA, from its very founding, has filled the chasm between the mountain of what it claims to know and the mole hill of what it does know, by pretending that its opinions are facts. Politicians, press, and public are supposed to take its statements, that typically start with “we believe . . . ” or “we have high confidence that . . . ” as if they were founded on reliable secret sources. In fact, the CIA’s human intelligence, based as it is on “official cover,” has always been as ignorant as it has been gullible. Modern encryption has much reduced traditional communications intelligence’s usefulness. But agency people parry inquiry into the basis of their opinions by jutting the chin and asserting that any clarification would put lives in danger.

Almost invariably, those of us who have had the power to push through this pretense have found it to be cover for politics, or for incompetence, or for garden-variety corruption. Or all of the above. Revelations in the course of the war on Trump about the networks of the agency’s friends of friends in cushy sinecures around the world are nothing new to congressional overseers who have kept track of these relationships.

The FBI used to be different. That began to change beginning in the late 1970s under William Webster. After 9/11, as the FBI took on more a more obvious political role under Robert Mueller, the differences between its culture and CIA’s narrowed considerably.

Concern for influence within and service to the ruling class became its leadership’s foremost concern, closely following the felt need to assert sufficiency in the face of circumstances that showed its insufficiency. Its inability to perform the anti-terrorist mission that had become primary—the failure to find out who bombed the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, who mailed the 2001 anthrax letters, to notice the obvious warnings of the Boston Marathon bombing (to name but a few) led the bureau toward the same paths taken by the CIA of integration into the ruling class, of dishonesty, and whoring after political influence.

The Intelligence Community’s war on Trump is focusing national attention on the agencies’ incompetence and corruption. As the Justice Department’s investigations into the agencies’ interference in domestic politics unfold, the public should pay attention to how their conspiracies neglected basic competence, how they disregarded the need for even the mere appearance of truth—never mind truth itself—and how reliant they are on their own sense of entitlement.

Their coordination with the media was and remains impressive in its thoroughness and efficiency; as were the number of people feeding the same talking points to the media apparently independently and authoritatively. They planted stories, then used them as the bases for investigations, the very existence of which they used to foment yet more stories. But the transmutation of innocent events into causes celebres through mere addition of luridly presented pretend-detail are marks of low-grade agitprop. These people were playing with the political destiny of a great nation, and acted like the spoiled self indulgent little people they are.

These people, whose workaday products are of even lower quality, are the ones to whom we entrust—excluding the cost of military intelligence—some $50 billion, as well as the presumptive power of secrecy. These are the people who have claimed the right to decide with whom elected congressmen, senators, and presidents may discuss the nation’s secrets.

President Trump’s reticence and the delusions of Fox News notwithstanding, it is time for the American people to demand adult supervision for these sorcerers’ apprentices.

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2016 Election • Donald Trump • Intelligence Community • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post

Stepping Over Mueller’s Cadaver

There are few hoaxes in the history of journalism as disgraceful as Russiagate, and few events underscore the media’s shame quite like its tragic, unintentionally humorous  coda.

Liberals expected Robert Mueller’s testimony to be a moment of truth for Trump; but it turned out to be the only truthful moment in this soap opera. How quickly fact goes to work; in an afternoon, the number one “news” story in America for two years had completely evaporated, along with the reputation of its protagonist.

Had Mueller given a lecture on German idealism, his testimony would have been more intelligible and more worthwhile. Testifying about what had been built up as the most important investigation in modern political history, the man who liberal hagiographers had likened to an American giant seemed faintly familiar with his report. To the amused shock of the Right and the horror of the Left, it was revealed that the colossal shadow belonged to a senile old man.

The real Mueller painted, in strikingly ironic visual language, the malignance and power of the national news media that contrived, out of nothing, a deranged conspiracy theory that dominated American politics for the better part of two years.

It is difficult to grasp the profundity of this farce. Absurd as it was, this Russian fairy tale was no mere comedy; it contained elements of great tragedy as well.  People were hurt. A country was torn apart. Strangest of all, it destroyed Mueller too. How ironic, that he should become a casualty of his own witch hunt.

Even those who knew that Mueller’s probe was a sham were not prepared for the comedy that ensued. After months and months of gaslighting, here at last was the grotesque, ridiculous truth. The media could spin whatever tales they wanted about an ongoing investigation. They could pivot from collusion to “obstruction” and chatter about “OLC opinions” and whether the Sphinx of the Justice Department “meant” to say that Democrats should impeach Trump during his cryptic press conference. But here was the man himself, and he hadn’t even read his own report.

Mueller’s pointless, destructive testimony made for a fitting conclusion to this pointless and destructive drama. Like the probe that he was called to discuss, Mueller was preceded by great pomp and expectation. He was supposed to deliver the most spectacular indictment of a president in modern history. He ended by exposing the media’s self-importance and tarnishing his own legacy.

This painful self-parody was inevitable. A lie like this one could only grow so big before it collapsed under its own weight. It was abundantly clear when Mueller finished up months ago that the emperor had no clothes, but the media wouldn’t leave well enough alone. Too much had been invested in the story. The hero couldn’t exit the stage without making a speech.

Mueller didn’t want to do it, but larger forces had decreed that the Bad Orange Man must go down. So Mueller was summoned to drive a stake through Trump’s heart, only to embarrass himself and discredit his own work (assuming, of course, that he was actually involved in any of the work.) His feeble performance just accented the banality of the tragedy: what was all of this national panic even for?

For two years, all else fell by the wayside of a political counter-revolution staged by center-left partisans in the press and their Democrat handlers. The country was distracted, lied to, and deeply hurt. Nothing changed when Mueller finished up without the smoking gun. Accountability did not arrive for the hoaxers, who instead subjected the country to another four months of baseless, fevered conjecture about whether the president broke the law by wanting to end the inquisition.

Through it all, the media revealed its selfishness like never before. They were out to get Trump. It didn’t matter what was true or who got hurt in the process. Americans were divided against each other, their faith in democracy shaken. People like Michael Flynn and Roger Stone, who were never found to have committed any collusion related wrongdoing, were threatened, shaken down, and charged with spurious unrelated crimes. Just when it looked as though Mueller would escape unscathed, #TheResistance decided it needed him for one last impeachment push.

That any of this happened is a testament to the media’s destructive power. But Mueller is no victim, either. He was an active participant in the farce. This national embarrassment could have stopped at any point. It could have ended when Mueller realized he had nothing. It could have ended when Mueller submitted his report. But that is not what Mueller chose to do.

At each step, Mueller obscured things further. What was there to justify all the frothing hysteria, the libel, the early morning raid on a man’s home? Mueller could not say. Instead of closing the case and shutting up, he invented a singular standard of justice to penalize one specific person. Trump did not collude with Russia, neither was he charged with obstruction, but he was “not exonerated,” either.

Mueller’s even more confused testimony laid bare the inanity of the whole probe over six hours of agonized interrogation. He added nothing to the nothing that came before while muddling the whole.

Now, as they have done before, the media will congratulate themselves for a job well done and move on to the next hoax. They will pretend that they never beatified and built a national savior cult around a 74-year-old bureaucrat. Down the memory hole with Robert Mueller and all of his “bombshells.”

They will separate the Mueller report from its author and do what they can with his product. Even now, anyone who still questions the gravitas of that profound canonical work will fall under suspicion of insanity, while those who worshiped its creator for two years will give themselves a pat on the back for their devotion to the “truth.”

But the truth has, for once, come to light, and Mueller has been swallowed up in its monstrous absurdity. The media will gladly take the report and step over the cadaver.

Photo Credit: Andrew Burton/Getty Images

Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Intelligence Community • Post • Republicans • Russia • The Media

Democrats’ Attack Machine Revs Up Against Ratcliffe

Twenty minutes before President Trump announced Sunday afternoon on Twitter that Representative John Ratcliffe (R-Texas) would be his choice to replace Dan Coats as the director of national intelligence, the Democrats’ attack machine already was in action.

“John Ratcliffe, by one measure the second most conservative member of Congress, appears to believe that the Russia investigation was cooked up by Democrats who ‘committed crimes.’ Now Trump reportedly is considering placing atop the US intelligence community,” tweeted NBC News analyst Ken Dilanian, pejoratively known as “Fusion Ken” for his ties to the infamous opposition research shop, Fusion GPS.

(Take note of Dilanian’s scare quotes around “committed crimes” as if the whole thing was legit and not under criminal investigation by a U.S. attorney or a separate probe by the Justice Department inspector general.)

Trump then confirmed the pick on Twitter, saying Ratcliffe will “lead and inspire greatness for the Country he loves.”

Ratcliffe, a member of both the House Intelligence and House Judiciary committees, earned plaudits last week during the disastrous Robert Mueller hearings for his verbal vivisection of Mueller’s claims about not exonerating Donald Trump on alleged obstruction of justice offenses.

“The special counsel’s job, nowhere does it say that you were to conclusively determine Donald Trump’s innocence,” Ratcliffe told the bewildered prosecutor. “It’s not in any of the documents, it’s not in your appointment order, it’s not in the special counsel regulations, it’s not in the OLC opinions, it’s not in Department of Justice manual.”

Pointing out that the president, like any other American, is entitled to a presumption of innocence immediately caused the Left to brand Ratcliffe a Trump shill, lackey and suck-up.

Now Trump foes are using Ratcliffe’s performance against him while lauding the work of Coats, who publicly made it clear in May that he intended to stonewall Trump’s directive to declassify all documents related to the corrupt origins of the Obama Administration’s investigation into Trump’s presidential campaign. Coats succeeded James Clapper, a known anti-Trump partisan, who was a key player in concocting the bogus Russian collusion hoax in 2016. Attorney General Bill Barr is investigating the entire scandal, which includes any involvement by Clapper or his surrogates.

The media and top Democrats, including Clapper’s partner-in-collusion, former CIA Director John Brennan, immediately started bashing Ratcliffe on Twitter while commending Coats as a courageous straight shooter.

“Dan Coats served ably & with deep integrity,” Brennan tweeted early Monday morning. “Ratcliffe showed abject subservience to Trump in Mueller hearings. The women & men in the Intelligence Community deserve a leader like Coats who puts nation first; not a servile Trump loyalist like Ratcliffe.”

Coats “has had the independence and strength to speak truth to power,” tweeted House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.). Senator Mark Warner (D-Va.), the ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee that will preside over Ratcliffe’s confirmation hearing, tweeted that the “mission of the intelligence community is to speak truth to power. As DNI, Dan Coats stayed true to that mission.”

CNN contributor Garrett Graff mocked Ratcliffe while lauding his CNN colleague: “Before becoming DNI, Jim Clapper had worked in U.S. intelligence for nearly fifty years and personally headed two of the nation’s 17 intel agencies. By comparison, John Ratcliffe was the mayor of Heath, Texas, pop., 8000.”

The increasingly unstable Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” offered some public relations advice to those seeking to tank Ratcliffe’s nomination.

“Just start calling Ratcliffe a fascist,” Scarborough suggested on Monday morning’s show. “And call him a fascist throughout this entire process. Call him a fascist for the rest of his career until this fascist apologizes to capitalists who are Democrats who he has mislabeled.”

Washington Post columnist Paul Waldman insisted that the “ultra-conservative” Ratcliffe would make Russian interference in the next election “more likely.” Waldman’s perpetually hysterical colleague, NeverTrumper Max Boot, claimed that “Ratcliffe has no qualifications in the intelligence field, but he does have a history of slavish loyalty to Trump—as he demonstrated by berating and maligning special counsel Robert S. Mueller III during the House Judiciary Committee hearing last week.”

Ratcliffe, 53, is qualified to serve as DNI, a position created in 2004. (Coats, a former U.S. senator from Indiana, served for one term on the Senate Intelligence Committee.) The third-term congressman is a former U.S. attorney, federal terrorism prosecutor. and Texas mayor.

But the freakout about Ratcliffe has nothing to do with his qualifications or his appropriate excoriation of Robert Mueller last week. The Left and NeverTrump Republicans who’ve been fully invested in the now-discredited Russian collusion scam also have helped cover up the real scandal, which is how the most powerful law enforcement and intelligence agencies in the world were weaponized by the Obama administration against the Trump campaign and the incoming Trump administration. They are terrified that Ratcliffe, like Barr, will expose the abuse of power, widespread corruption and media complicity behind the hoax, just as the 2020 election gets underway.

Unlike the current deification of Coats for allegedly “speaking truth to power,” the real truth-seekers are people like Representative Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), Ratcliffe, Barr, and Trump who know that Americans are entitled to know exactly what went down in 2016 and 2017. Senate Republicans would be well-advised to make sure Ratcliffe’s nomination proceeds quickly, despite the egregious attacks.

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America • Deep State • Donald Trump • Intelligence Community • Post • Russia • The Leviathian State • Trump White House

Don’t Let Mueller Fool You

Former Special Counsel Robert Mueller on Wednesday gave a performance in front of the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees that Fox News anchor Chris Wallace described as a “disaster for Democrats.” 

Mueller, who was appointed by the Justice Department in 2017 to investigate whether Donald Trump’s presidential campaign “colluded” with Russia to rig the 2016 election, appeared nonplussed by his surroundings. His responses to members’ questions posed to him were laconic, to say the least. After a little more than two years of a seemingly unforgiving and endless investigation, Mueller’s appearance was a total flop.

The Democrats have responded to Mueller’s lackluster showing either by quietly admitting it was an unmitigated disaster for their party heading into what will be another contentious presidential election year, or by insisting, as Representative Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) continues to do without evidence, that it proved everything the Left has been saying about Trump’s perfidy. 

Republicans mainly have agreed that Mueller was an embarrassment; a doddering old man who was well beyond his prime. Rush Limbaugh has maintained for months that Mueller was merely a figurehead for the investigation into Trump; that he was uninvolved with the day-to-day operations of the insidious, politically-charged investigation. 

Instead, Mueller’s presence as the namesake of the investigation into President Trump and his 2016 campaign allowed for true partisans to run amok—and to do so while still hiding in the murky shadows of the swamp. 

Don’t be fooled. 

Robert Mueller Is Not a Sad Sack

Mueller knew exactly what he was doing. Yes, he appeared much as Muhammad Ali did against Trevor Berbick in 1981: a sad remnant of a once-dominant fighter who was ultimately crushed by his own frailties. Yet, unlike Ali in that fight against Berbick, Mueller has no known or discernible physical or mental ailment that would reduce his talents. 

What Americans saw Wednesday was an act by Mueller to deflect attention away from the fact that his investigation was never going to “prove” any “collusion.” The entire thing was a grotesque act of political theater designed to give the anti-Trump forces of the establishment the boost they needed going into 2020. 

Mueller also wanted to protect critical intelligence sources from deeper public scrutiny, meaning that those responsible for initiating the absurd investigation into Trump will not be punished for their wrongdoing and, further, that these same people will be free to attempt similar shenanigans in the future. That’s right. The deep state will live to fight another day. Now that their attempt to defeat Trump through investigations and false accusations has faltered, Mueller would rather be viewed as a hapless hack than as the corrupt top cop he is. 

At the end of June, the House Democrats issued a subpoena demanding that Mueller appear before the House to answer questions related to the Russia investigation. Shortly before Mueller’s appearance, Deputy Attorney General Bradley Weinsheimer sent a letter to Mueller reminding him that his testimony, “must stay within the boundaries of your public report because matters within the scope of your investigation were covered by executive privilege.” Mueller did exactly as he was instructed by the Department of Justice. 

This was not the act of an ignoramus, rather it was the mark of a truly deceptive personality.

Mueller has been a career federal prosecutor. He has been involved in some of the biggest, high-stakes investigations both as a prosecutor and, later, as the second-longest-serving FBI director in history. Mueller has survived endless controversies, whether it be engaging in a massive cover-up after the FBI engaged in heinous informant abuse, or botching the 2001 anthrax terror attack investigation. 

After each controversy, Mueller maintained his good standing in “polite” society. 

The Greatest Ego Trip Ever

Mueller, I believe, accepted the role as special counsel investigating claims of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence because his ego would not allow him to pass up the chance. Not only did Mueller personally and politically dislike Trump (being a “Republican,” as we know, does not preclude NeverTrumpism), but as a career federal prosecutor, Mueller could not help but to envision himself the man to take down this much-maligned president. 

Pride goes before a fall, though, and Mueller has suffered through the greatest ego deflation of any public figure in recent memory. Touted as the purest of the pure; proclaimed to be the most respected man in Washington; portrayed as being too smart and tough for Trump to handle, Mueller has been stymied at every turn—and had minimal effect on Trump. 

The world did not witness the public nervous breakdown of a once-powerful member of the elite in that hearing. Instead, we saw the shiftiest move an inside operator could make in these tough circumstances. Mueller played dumb; he allowed himself to be the center of a partisan feeding frenzy, while ominously insisting that the president was neither guilty nor innocent—a sort of legal purgatory, awaiting final judgement. 

And who will be the arbiter of that final judgement? 

Mueller slyly showed us his devious hand: the president would be subject to an investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York. He would not be investigated for “conspiracy” to rig the 2016 election. Instead, Trump would be subject to an investigation into purported corrupt practices that occurred during his tenure as head of the Trump Organization. This investigation would begin the moment Trump leaves office, provided he loses in 2020, and it would be Mueller’s last laugh. 

Whether or not this come-from-behind-winds investigation can be more successful than the current spate of inquiries into President Trump is another matter, and not an especially important one for Mueller’s purposes. What Mueller appearance showed was the long-game that our wretched elite are playing. The Right can joke among themselves that Mueller broke down today and laugh at his embarrassing display. Yet, what most in the Right-wing media don’t get is that Mueller and his ilk are not playing for laughs and they don’t worry about the embarrassment. They are playing for keeps. 

Straining Credulity

Ask yourself: do you really believe a former FBI director would be unaware of the fact that virtually all of the people working for his investigation team were not only rank partisans who hated Donald Trump, but who also were active supporters of Hillary Clinton? Is it probable that Mueller is fine with his eponymous investigation turning up a royal goose egg for all to see?  

Come on. 

Mueller was shining everyone on today and that’s why all of us should be upset and why Trump and his supporters should continue to be on guard. These corrupt elites are only just getting started—especially the more obvious it becomes that they will not defeat Trump in a fair election.

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Administrative State • Deep State • Donald Trump • Free Speech • Intelligence Community • Law and Order • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post • Technology • The Constitution • The Corner

The Case for Prosecuting Comey and Brennan

Twenty-five years ago, the Arnold Schwarzenegger action hit “True Lies” depicted a jealous husband abusing his access to powerful tools intended to fight terrorism to discover whether his wife was having an affair. The character played by Tom Arnold lamely warns Schwarzenegger’s Harry Tasker that using government surveillance to spy on his wife is a crime (which is true) and that abusing these tools could land them both in prison.

Tasker retorts that they violate the law all the time. Once you have a person’s search history, access to her emails, text messages, and listen to her phone calls, it’s not hard to construct a blackmail scenario. But that could never happen in real life, right?

Wrong. In 2013, almost 20 years after the movie, Reuters reported that at least a dozen U.S. National Security Agency employees were caught using secret government surveillance tools to spy on the emails or phone calls of current or former spouses and lovers. The NSA has repeatedly promised to reform its procedures as the database it keeps on Americans continues to grow in scope and reach.

When you talk to your spouse, your child, or your lover in the presence of your electronic devices, those devices passively listen to what you’re saying just in case you say “Hey Siri,” or “Hey Alexa.” Have you ever noticed that when you suddenly develop an interest in a particular product or service, ads mysteriously seem to appear and follow you around?

Former FBI Director James Comey once admitted he covered his computer camera for his privacy. He would know. Just imagine a snooping government making a word-searchable transcript of audio and digital recording of video passively transmitted from your phone. What could a curious agent, with access to a feed from the two cameras in your phone, record while simultaneously viewing your private life in both directions?

Such data could give unlimited power to influence and blackmail elected officials, private citizens, judges, law enforcement, journalists, and so on.

When Americans see a public official or an influential journalist suddenly reverse a position or do something otherwise deemed illogical, speculation often runs to question whether “somebody has something on” that official. We should worry about the potential abuse of a database containing essentially unlimited source material that easily could be used to gain power over our fellow Americans.

False Affidavits
Congress set up the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to protect Americans from being spied upon by their own government.
And we also know, as in “True Lies,” that NSA analysts “with greater frequency than previously disclosed . . . used U.S. person identifiers to query,” the giant NSA database. This abuse continues even after repeated promises to Congress and the FISC that NSA revised procedures to safeguard private information about Americans.

The NSA’s inspector general caught this wholesale abuse simply by reviewing a small sample of the searches of the database. “That relatively narrow inquiry found that [a redacted number of] analysts had made [a redacted number of] separate queries using,” names of U.S. citizens to search the database. The inspector general discovered this in the first three months of 2015.

On September 26, 2016, the government submitted to the supervising court a certification that failed to disclose the inspector general’s report even though it was well known by then to the signatories of that certification. Among the supporting affidavits falsely reassuring the FISC that the government was not abusing access to data on Americans: NSA Director Admiral Michael S. Rogers, FBI Director James B. Comey, and CIA Director John Brennan.

On October 24, 2016, in the early days of the Trump-Russia scheme then-dubbed “Crossfire Hurricane” and just a few days after the FISC issued a warrant authorizing surveillance on Carter Page, Rogers dashed to the FISC court to make an oral admission. Two days before the FISC was about to approve the government’s continued use of the database, Rogers admitted to significant “non-compliance” with the NSA’s procedures to protect the private information gathered on Americans from the prying eyes of curious analysts. Rogers amended his affidavit to address the falsehoods of his earlier affidavit supporting the September 2016 certification.

Comey and Brennan apparently did not.

In the October 26, 2016 hearing, “the Court ascribed the government’s failure to disclose” the explosive revelations of widespread abuse of Americans’ data, “to an institutional lack of candor” and “emphasized that ‘this is a very serious Fourth Amendment issue.’” The court further described the NSA’s abuse of the database as “widespread during all periods under review.”

Rogers Breaks Ranks 
Shortly after the 2016 presidential election, Rogers then did something that incensed the Intelligence Community and its allies in the media: he
met with President-elect Trump without first giving President Obama a “heads up.” A cold slap of fear might have stung the offending intelligence officials as Rogers seemed to be tattling. This may explain why the Russia hoax accelerated after the election—to keep the incoming anti-swamp president from exposing their vast exploitation of the private information of Americans.

Georgetown University Law Center published an article arguing that the NSA gathering bulk information about Americans is simply unconstitutional. The NSA’s argument has been that the data is kept safe from unconstitutional searches until there’s a need for to search for a U.S. citizen in connection with a particular crime, at which point a warrant would be issued to “search” the data the government already scooped up. But we know from repeated experience that the database remains an irresistible temptation for bureaucrats looking for dirt on targets.

The government has repeatedly demonstrated that it won’t follow constitutional safeguards. The law review article noted, “As with general warrants, blanket seizure programs subject the private information of innocent people to the risk of searches and exposure, without their knowledge and with no realistic prospect of a remedy.” The article adds: “the seizure of papers for later search was an abuse distinct from, but equivalent to, the use of general search warrants—which is why ‘papers’ was included in the Fourth Amendment in addition to ‘effects’ or personal property.”

Comey and Brennan Have a Big Problem
“The FBI doesn’t spy on people,” Comey recently
proclaimed in a public announcement of the same lie he made to the FISC in his affidavit. Under the statute, the FBI was not supposed to search the NSA database without a court order. The FISC noted that the FBI not only accessed the database, but it did so with such frequency that it resorted to the extra manpower of outside contractors to conduct the searches.

Every search by the FBI without a court order requesting data on an American is a potential crime punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 or imprisonment of not more than five years, or both. Comey submitted a false affidavit to deceive the court charged with protecting our constitution.

That seems like a good reason to interrupt the celebrity deep stater’s interminable publicity tour and hold him accountable. We don’t yet know the identities of the targets of these many searches or how that illegally-obtained information was used. Were wives blackmailed into humiliation? Were public officials coerced into changing positions? Were journalists forced to conform to the Intelligence Community’s talking points? It does seem puzzling that the media cheerleads so vigorously for our intelligence agencies. The victims, if they know what the government did, aren’t talking.

Rogers did the right thing by (eventually) coming clean to the FISA court on the widespread abuse of Americans’ data. But James Comey and John Brennan do not appear to have taken any steps to correct their affidavits certifying that the data was not used improperly. The FISC court did not provide numbers but it’s reasonable to infer that the term “widespread” in reference to ongoing violations by multiple officials could mean thousands of felonies under the cover of the Comey and Brennan affidavits that apparently remain uncorrected, in spite of having been found false by a published court opinion.

Comey and Brennan should be prosecuted and the evidence is in plain sight.

The great gift that Donald Trump gave America may be that he tempted the intelligence community to the task of interfering with an American election and undermining a duly elected president. The abuses related to Trump appear to be the tiny tip of a much larger iceberg that we might never have spotted as our intelligence agencies increasingly seem to see their role as “protecting” us from our own constitutional rights.

James Comey and John Brennan (among others) presided over an assault on the constitutional right to keep the government out of our emails, texts, phone calls, and other data. Our republic must hold them to account. As Roman scholars once observed, ubi jus ibi remedium—”a right must have a remedy.” If no action is taken against those who trampled on our Fourth Amendment rights, then no right remains.

Photo credit: Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

2016 Election • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Intelligence Community • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post

Another Mueller-Comey One-Two Punch

Most Americans are unaware of the long history of comradeship and chicanery between Special Counsel Robert Mueller and former FBI Director James Comey. For nearly two decades, the pair have held the same jobs, earned the same foes, and swaggered in the same rarified sphere of political prestige and privilege.

This week, the country has been treated to another reminder of how often the twosome operates in tandem.

In fact, their prior relationship should have disqualified Mueller from overseeing an investigation into one of Comey’s fiercest critics and the man who fired him, President Donald Trump. Without Comey helping to fabricate the Trump-Russia collusion narrative in 2016, there wouldn’t have been a Mueller investigation into fabricated Trump-Russia election collusion.

Further, Comey admitted he leaked his internal “memos” to the New York Times after his dismissal in May 2017 in an attempt to prompt the appointment of a special counsel. Comey also would be a witness in Mueller’s investigation; his extemporaneous memos that documented alleged conversations with the president in early 2017 are cited as evidence throughout the obstruction of justice section of Mueller’s report. The conflicts are rife and overshadow the legitimacy of the entire Mueller probe.

Peas in a Pod
Comey and Mueller share similar traits: The lofty rhetoric about the rule of law; the self-aggrandizement disguised as adulation of the government institutions they run; the lust for power; the superiority complex; the petty thirst for vengeance. They are New York natives who once claimed to be Republican. Both served as deputy attorney general for President George W. Bush and director of the FBI for President Barack Obama.

In his 2013 confirmation hearing, Comey was effusive in his praise of the man he would succeed at the FBI. “His legacy of candor and straightforwardness and integrity is one that I pledge to continue,” he told the Senate Judiciary Committee. After Mueller was appointed special counsel in May 2017, Comey referred to Mueller as “one of this country’s great, great pros.”

In 2004, when Mueller was FBI director and Comey was deputy attorney general, the twosome famously ambushed ailing Attorney General John Ashcroft in an intensive care unit to stop him from signing a reauthorization of a surveillance program they viewed as illegal. Mueller lauded Ashcroft for refusing to sign the reauthorization over objections by Bush’s top White House aides, and quietly commended Ashcroft at his bedside.

“The moment had taken a toll on me,” Comey wrote in his 2018 book, A Higher Loyalty. “My heart was racing. I was feeling slightly dizzy. But when I heard Bob Mueller’s tender words, I felt like crying. The law had held.”

Strategic Ambiguity, No Surprises
On March 21, the New York Times posted a lengthy column by Comey headlined, ‘What I Want from the Mueller Report.” Like a soothsayer, Comey wrote, “even though I believe Trump is morally unfit to be president of the United States, I’m not rooting for Mueller to demonstrate that he is a criminal. I’m also not rooting for Mueller to ‘clear’ the president.”

Magically, the very next day, without previous notice to the public, Mueller submitted his report to Attorney General William Barr; coincidentally, it neither charged nor “exonerated” (Mueller’s term) the president.

The Mueller-Comey one-two punch again is evident this week; the pair clearly organized a coordinated hit job against both President Trump and Barr, who currently is investigating possible misconduct by Comey and his FBI.

On Tuesday night, the Washington Post published yet another rant by the increasingly unhinged Comey wherein he basically called everyone a big fat dumb-dumb for not buying into his tales of collusion and his laughable justification for taking the unprecedented step of spying on a rival presidential candidate.

He can’t even keep his own story straight. In the column, Comey misrepresented the details of the George Papadopoulos exchange with a Clinton-tied Australian diplomat in the spring of 2016, among other fibs.

Comey begged for attaboys for not leaking the details of his sham investigation to the press before the election. All the talk in the “fringe media” about a covert attempt to infiltrate Trump’s campaign then carry off a soft coup against the president after he won, according to Comey, is nothing more than the work of conspiracy theorists.

Comey took another shot at Barr by scoffing at the notion that his agency “spied” on the Trump campaign, but then immediately explained how he asked “a federal judge for permission to surveil [Trump campaign aide Carter Page].”

And he referred to cheating spouses and criminal leakers who once worked for him as “good people.”

Parsing Mueller
Comey’s backup would arrive Wednesday morning in the form of a surprise announcement by Mueller. (It is probably safe to assume it did not come as a surprise to Comey.) In a short but wide-ranging statement by the 74-year-old prosecutor, Mueller essentially gave Congress the green light to impeach Donald Trump. Mueller delivered his remarks from the Justice Department while Barr is on business in Alaska; it was the first time in more than two years Mueller has made any kind of public statement.

After announcing his resignation from the department, Mueller reiterated his report’s finding that there was no conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians. He then pivoted to the juicier volume of the report that addresses potential obstruction of justice by the president.

Here, much like Comey, Mueller displayed his politically-expedient grasp of how the legal system is supposed to work: “If we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,” Mueller told the silent press corps. “We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the president did commit a crime.”

The reason, Mueller rather incoherently explained, is that Justice Department rules—last codified by the Office of Legal Counsel in 2000 based on both the Constitution and case law—prevented him from indicting the sitting president of the United States.

“Charging the president with a crime therefore was not an option we could consider,” Mueller emphasized. Then he served up the chum that the press and House Democrats were circling the water for: “The [OLC] opinion says that the Constitution requires a process other than the criminal justice system to formally accuse a sitting president of wrongdoing.”

That obviously would be impeachment. “A sitting President is immune from indictment as well as from further criminal process,” the OLC opinion states. “Where the President is concerned, only the House of Representatives has the authority to bring charges of criminal misconduct through the constitutionally sanctioned process of impeachment.”

Now thanks to another grudge-seeking joint stunt by Mueller and Comey, the Democrats and the media are recharged and ready to chase the folly of impeachment in time for the 2020 election.

And this week’s Mueller-Comey one-two punch serves another purpose: to obfuscate the real scandal, which is the pending investigation into how Comey’s FBI weaponized his agency against the Trump campaign and, ultimately, against the president himself.

Even though Mueller has stepped down as special counsel, it’s a fair bet to assume his days of double-teaming with Comey to settle scores are far from over.

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2016 Election • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Intelligence Community • Post

Comey’s FBI Ignored Sexual Abuse Victims To Play Politics

As the political world anticipates an internal Justice Department review of misconduct by James Comey’s FBI related to the Trump campaign probe, hundreds of American parents await another report: Why Comey’s FBI delayed an investigation into one of the country’s most notorious child sex abusers, former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar. The Michigan State University osteopathic physician now is serving a 100-year minimum prison sentence for numerous crimes, including sexual assault of minors, sexual assault, and possession of child pornography.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the Justice Department’s inspector general is looking into how the FBI handled the initial sexual abuse allegations made against Nassar in 2015 and 2016.

“The gymnasts’ complaints languished for at least nine months before an FBI office opened a formal investigation,” the Journal reported. “In their probe of the bureau’s handling of the matter, Justice Department investigators have conducted interviews with several people, including athletes and gymnastics officials. The investigation could lead to disciplinary action and criminal charges.”

Lawmakers also have questions. Senators Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray with questions related to the agency’s handling of the case in 2015 and 2016. “We have met several gymnasts who expressed concern about FBI delays in responding to their allegations against Nassar,” they wrote in July. “Our staffs have also reached out to the FBI for information related to these requests, but were not provided any information.”

No Action Until It Was Too Late
The Nassar case was a shameful display of failure at every level. It‘s earning newfound attention due to a documentary now available on HBO—”At the Heart of Gold: Inside the USA Gymnastics Scandal.” The documentary tells the girls’ shocking story. (It airs again Tuesday. Warning: It’s not easy to watch.) While coaches, parents, USA Gymnastics executives and Michigan State University officials turned a blind eye to Nassar’s deviancy, hundreds of the world’s most talented female athletes were physically tormented for years as the doctor traveled with them across the country and around the world.

And the powerful agency assigned with protecting the most vulnerable from the most predatory—the Federal Bureau of Investigation, led by the preening, moralistic James Comey—took no action until it was too late.

In 2015 and 2016, as Comey’s FBI connived to downplay the Clinton email investigation and concocted the Trump-Russia election collusion scheme, Nassar’s victims continued to be sexually abused even after the FBI had been warned of his behavior.

A February 2018 analysis by the New York Times identified “at least 40 girls and women who say that Dr. Nassar molested them between July 2015, when he first fell under F.B.I. scrutiny, and September 2016,” when the Indy Star reported on lawsuits filed by Nassar’s victims.

Throughout 2016, while Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page was under intense surveillance by Comey’s FBI, Dr. Larry Nassar was not.

In fact, Comey’s FBI didn’t arrest Nassar until December 2016, after Michigan law enforcement officials charged Nassar with a variety of crimes. FBI agents then found 37,000 images of child pornography, including girls as young as 6 and dating back to 2003, on Nassar’s home computers.

“He consumed child pornography on a massive scale,” U.S. Attorney Andrew Birge said after Nassar was sentenced to 60 years in federal prison. “Insatiable hunger of that nature simply encourages those who produce such images to continue to sexually exploit children. Compounding his danger to the public, Nassar was an insidious hands-on child predator in his own right.”

Real Evidence Ignored
If only the accusations against Nassar had been included in some kind of dossier produced by powerful political interests, then maybe Comey’s FBI would have taken immediate notice.

Larry Nassar was not some random creep sexually molesting girls in a trailer park. Nassar was employed by a Big 10 public university; he worked for an elite sports organization. In addition to traveling between Michigan State and the Texas ranch of Bela Karolyi, the famous gymnastics coach who hosted intense training camps for elite gymnasts each month, Nassar also attended four Olympic games with the team.

His decades-long crime spree that crossed state and international boundaries should not have gone unnoticed by federal law enforcement officials. Comey’s FBI should have been alerted that something was up even before girls started coming forward, given that there was already an internal investigation by Michigan State in 2014 into accusations of assault, or when Nassar suddenly retired as the team doctor in September 2015 as more allegations began to surface.

USA Gymnastics brass first contacted the Indianapolis field office of the FBI in July 2015. FBI agents were given the contact information of some of the sport’s brightest stars—including Olympians Ali Raisman and McKayla Maroney—who had been assaulted by Nassar.

At the time, the organization also turned over videos produced by Nassar that showed his grotesque intravaginal “technique” to alleviate pain from any injury, including a twisted ankle or pulled hamstring. The videos, according to New York Times reporters who viewed them, “show [Nassar] kneading the legs of girls before his ungloved hands begin to work under a towel, between the girls’ legs.” Nassar then explains how he does “the hand-shaky thing, demonstrating how he shakes his hand vigorously when it is deep between a girl’s legs.” Some of the therapy sessions, according to the girls, would last hours.

But that wasn’t enough to prompt an FBI investigation into Nassar. The allegations were bounced to the FBI’s Detroit office, which also took no action.

Perhaps if Nassar had discussed Russian sanctions instead of molesting hundreds of young athletes while pretending to be a serious doctor, Comey’s FBI immediately would have sent FBI agents to interrogate him.

Finally, the Los Angeles FBI office opened a formal investigation in the spring of 2016, around the same time Comey and Andrew McCabe, his deputy, were deeply immersed in how they could exonerate Hillary Clinton and target the Trump presidential campaign.

Then, 17 months after two female Olympic athletes notified James Comey’s FBI about allegations of sexual assault—and 10 months after James Comey’s FBI opened up an official case on the matter—the feds arrested Nassar at his Michigan home in December 2016.

Perhaps if Nassar had been a quirky political consultant working for a candidate Comey didn’t like, Comey’s FBI would have acted faster.

The human wreckage that Larry Nassar caused cannot be underestimated. The testimonials from the victims, their families, coaches and others either complicit or caught up in this tragedy are heartbreaking and infuriating at the same time. (The father of one victim, who testified that Nassar’s abuse began when she was six, committed suicide for not believing his daughter’s claims at the time.) USA Gymnastics is bankrupt, its former president now faces felony charges for witness tampering, and three Michigan State University officials, including its former president, are in legal trouble connected to the Nassar case.

Yet James Comey continues to insist he is a victim while preening about his integrity, his morality, and his duty. The Nassar fiasco didn’t even merit a mention in his self-indulgent book.

For all the misconduct and malfeasance that happened under Comey’s watch, his agency’s gross negligence (not extreme carelessness) on the Nassar case could be his most damning legacy.

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2016 Election • Administrative State • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Hillary Clinton • Intelligence Community • Law and Order • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Obama • Post • The Constitution

Colluders, Obstructionists, Leakers, and Other Projectionists

Before the defeat of Hillary Clinton, the idea that the Russians or anyone else could warp or tamper with our elections in any serious manner was laughed off by President Obama. “There is no serious person out there who would suggest that you could even rig America’s elections,” Obama said in the weeks leading up to the 2016 election.

Obama was anxious that the sure-to-be-sore-loser Trump would not blame his defeat on voting impropriety in a fashion that might call into question Clinton’s victory. After Clinton’s stunning defeat, Russian “collusion”—thanks initially to efforts by Obama holdover Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates to go after Michael Flynn and the successful attempts of the CIA and FBI to seed the bogus Steele dossier among the government elite—became a club to destroy the incoming Trump Administration.

Colluders, Inc.
How ironic that Russian “collusion” was used as a preemptive charge from those who actually had colluded with Russians for all sorts for financial and careerist advantages.

The entire so-called Uranium One caper had hinged on ex-President Bill Clinton, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and their Clinton Foundation uniting with Russian or Russian-affiliated oligarchs to ease restrictions on the sale of North American uranium reserves to a Russian company with close ties to Vladimir Putin. Coincidentally what followed were massive donations from concerned Russian parties to the foundation, as well as a $500,000 honorarium to Bill Clinton for a brief Moscow speech. Note that no more money has been forthcoming from Russia to either of the Clintons or their foundation.

Had Donald Trump been caught, as President Obama was in Seoul in March 2012, on a hot mic assuring the Russians that he would be more flexible with Russia after the 2012 election (“On all these issues, but particularly missile defense, this, this can be solvedbut it’s important for him [Putin] to give me space”) he would likely now be facing real impeachment charges.

Imagine the cries of outrage from Representatives Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) had Trump inadvertently blurted out to the world that he was willing to warp U.S. security interests to fit his own reelection agenda. (Remember: “This is my last election . . . After my election, I have more flexibility.”) Such a stealthy quid pro quo certainly would have been the crown jewel of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report.

The locus classicus of Russian collusion, however, is Hillary Clinton’s effort in 2016. The facts are not in dispute. Using the three firewalls of the Democratic National Committee, the Perkins Coie law firm, and Glenn Simpson’s Fusion GPS, the Clinton campaign paid a foreign national, British subject Christopher Steele, to compile a smear dossier against Clinton’s then-opponent, Donald J. Trump.

Steele then bought Russian and Russian-related sources to produce supposed dirt on Trump. None of these Russian-generated smears would ever be verified. In fact, almost immediately most slurs proved to be outright lies and completely made up in their details—if not the stuff of a Russian disinformation campaign.

Nonetheless, Steele seeded his contracted dirt during the 2016 election, and later during the Trump transition and presidency, among the highest Obama Administration officials at the Justice Department, FBI, and CIA. After more than three years of ex-Obama officials’ obfuscation, stonewalling, and chronic lying, we now know Clinton used Russian fake sources both to generate damaging anti-Trump media stories and to prompt government investigations designed to hamstring his governance. Again, if there is such a thing as “Russian collusion,” then Hillary Clinton is its font.

Obstructors of Justice
Mueller spent more than $34 million and wrote over 440 pages to inform the American people that Trump could not realistically be indicted for obstructing justice, mostly because the underlying crime—“collusion”— never existed in the first place. Moreover, Mueller and other officials were never actually hampered in their investigations. No matter: “obstruction” was supposedly the key to destroying the Trump Administration after collusion imploded. To this day it remains the battle cry of the impeach-Trump Left.

But what exactly would real obstruction of justice look like it? It might be a deliberate effort by government officials to mislead and impede the proper conduct of a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, in an effort to spy on an American citizen deemed useful in proving “collusion.”

That is, James Comey, Sally Yates and others signed FISA requests when they knew, but did not dare disclose to the court, that their sources of evidence—the Steele dossier and news accounts in circular fashion based on it—were unverified, products of Hillary Clinton’s bought oppositional research, and written by a contractor at the time fired by the FBI for unprofessional conduct.

Had Comey simply told the court that Clinton had paid for his evidence, that the Yahoo News account was not independent but based on the dossier, that he had fired Steele as an FBI collaborator, and that nothing in the dossier had been verified, then the court never would have granted him permission to spy on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page. In other words, top FBI and Justice Department officials deliberately obstructed and essentially destroyed the normal protocols necessary to protect the sanctity of legal surveillance, during the election, the Trump transition, and the early Trump presidency.

Or maybe obstruction would be defined as the efforts of a recused attorney general like Loretta Lynch, who had stepped aside from the FBI probe of Hillary Clinton’s emails, to have met secretly on an airport tarmac with the spouse of the target of her department’s investigation.

Or would obstruction be classified as Lynch supposedly ordering the FBI not even to use the word “investigation” when it was investigating Clinton? Or would obstruction constitute deliberately destroying more than 30,000 emails under subpoena, in the fashion that Clinton ordered her aides to “bleach bit” her correspondence and destroy mobile communication devices?

Or would obstruction be classified as deleting emails germane to an investigation of the collusion scam in the fashion of Nellie Ohr erasing emails received from her husband’s government email account, or perhaps in the manner of Mueller team staffers who wiped clean the mobile phones of the fired Lisa Page and Peter Strzok?

Or would obstruction characterize the brag of the anonymous New York Times guest editorialist? He preened in a September 5, 2018 column that he was an unnamed high administration official and NeverTrump Republican who, along with like-minded “resistance” leaders, was trying his best to disrupt his own president’s governance. What would anonymous’s obstruction entail—deliberately ignoring legal mandates? Failing to follow new federal guidelines? Trying to subvert nominations? Illegally leaking to the press? Obstructing anything he did not like, whether in legal or illegal fashion?

Logan Acting
The pathetic attempt to invoke the ossified Logan Act—with two indictments and no convictions in the law’s 220-year history—by Sally Yates likely fueled much of the Trump collusion investigations, well before Mueller’s misadventure.

Yates testified before Congress that her theory of supposed violations of the Logan Act prompted her own request for FBI interviews with Michael Flynn. Trump’s first national security advisor had purportedly dared to talk about sanctions with the Russian ambassador during the Trump transition in the days before Obama left office. In other words, Obama officials believed there really was a viable Logan Act, or at least the façade of one that could be deemed useful to destroy a political opponent.

But for the sake of argument, assume it is unwise to allow any private citizen to subvert government foreign policy. What then would be a classical definition of a Logan Act violation?

Perhaps the ongoing efforts of former Secretary of State John Kerry fit the bill. During the lead-up to the Trump’s Administration’s cancelation of the Iran deal and in its aftermath, private citizen Kerry met with high Iranian officials and purportedly advised them how to obstruct or at least survive the ramifications of Trump’s new Iranian policies.

In spring 2018, Kerry’s sought out meetings with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Norway, Germany, and perhaps as well at United Nations headquarters in New York. He purportedly discussed ways to preserve the spirit of the prior Iran deal negotiated by the two—an agreement which was no longer official U.S. policy and had just been canceled by Trump.

In other words, the ex-secretary of state and, again, now private citizen Kerry met secretly with an Iranian foreign minister to brainstorm about how the elements of their deal might survive his own country’s current policies. Note that Senator Dianne Feinstein likewise just met with Zarif, a sort of copycat performance of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s 2007 meeting with the murderous Bashar al-Assad, who at the time was doing all he could to help Iran spike American deaths in Iraq.

If Kerry’s machinations were deemed grey violations of the Logan Act, how about the more overt recent efforts of another former State Department official Susan Thornton? Here is what she boasted about recently in Shanghai to an audience of Chinese analysts and academics:

I tell all our foreign counterparts they should keep steady, keep their heads down and wait. [They should] try to not let anything change dramatically . . . If this skeptical attitude towards talking diplomacy continues in this administration, you might have to wait till another administration . . . 

Thornton seems to be advising the likely veneer of the Chinese apparat and government to stall out the Trump Administration and thus wait to find a more familiar and compliant America that would follow past protocols. That advice might be taken to mean she is advising them to stonewall her current American president and find better ways to facilitate the accustomed serial Chinese patent and copyright infringement, dumping, currency manipulation, technological appropriation, massive trade and account surpluses, and imperialist initiatives in the South China Sea.

When Thornton crows, “I tell all our foreign counterparts” she seems to assume that she is playing the role of omnipotent shadow State Department grandee, whose message is geared to assist almost any power other than her own government.

Thornton’s advice is old news. It is simply a more muscular version of former Obama Pentagon official Rosa Brooks’ June 30, 2017 reassurance to the nation and the world (“3 Ways to Get Rid of President Trump Before 2020”) about how  best to depose the just inaugurated U.S. president without having to wait for a constitutionally mandated election in four years.  

After just a week of Trump in office, Brooks had concluded Trump had to go. Her blueprint for his forced retirement was in an apparent answer to “the question being asked around the globe” (note how our would-be best and brightest always boast of having their hands on the pulse of the like-minded global elite).

Presumably Brooks would reassure her foreign friends and kindred Democrats at home that Trump most certainly could be stopped after just a few days in office—if only the right people began the right adoption of her tripartite strategy of either impeachment, removal under the 25th Amendment, or an outright military coup (e.g., “The fourth possibility is one that until recently I would have said was unthinkable in the United States of America: a military coup, or at least a refusal by military leaders to obey certain orders.”)

The revolutionary Brooks could sum up Trump after a few days in office as a likely target of a military plot (one far more likely to have been successful than Andrew McCabe’s later comical 25th Amendment effort to record Trump secretly and then convince the Cabinet of his mental derangement). Brooks ended her scenarios with a triumphant approval of the idea of a revolutionary coup d’étatnever before seen in our history: “For the first time in my life, I can imagine plausible scenarios in which senior military officials might simply tell the president: ‘No, sir. We’re not doing that,’ to thunderous applause from the New York Times editorial board.”

Noble Dangerous Leaking
Lately, House impeachment hounds Nadler and Schiff have whined that Trump’s effort to declassify government intelligence records concerning the collusion scheme poses a grave threat to national security. In other words, the chronic leakers who recently demanded an unredacted Mueller report and serially leak supposed impending “bombshells,” suddenly have become anti-leakers and pro-redactors. The only common denominator in their chameleonism is Trump hatred.

But what would dangerous and illegal leaking consist of?

James Comey leaking to media conduits classified, private-one-on-one presidential conversations to prompt the appointment of a special prosecutor?

Andrew McCabe feeding the media self-serving hoaxes about collusion?

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper seeding to CNN the private Comey briefing with President Trump—and then deploring such illegal leaks, as he leveraged that scoop to land himself a future CNN analyst billet?

FBI sources planting stories of pre-election “collusion” with Yahoo and Mother Jones?

Or how about leaks to tip off the media about the timing Roger Stone arrest? Or periodic Mueller team “walls are closing in” and “noose is tightening” leak-lies to the obsequious media?

What have we learned about the Left’s moralistic talk of Trump’s supposed collusion, obstruction, Logan Act violations, and leaking?

One, that these are all projections of real resistance behavior. The zeal to remove Trump by any means necessary justified colluding with Russians, obstructing justice, undermining his administration abroad, and chronic leaking.

Two, these deep-state and media elites are narcissistically delusional. So inured are they to deference that they really believed they should have the power, indeed the right, to subvert democracy, to overturn a U.S. election on the justification that the wrong voters had voted for the incorrect candidate and both needed to be corrected by the right people. All that is why the last 28 months have been both scary and dangerous.

Real coups against democracies rarely are pulled off by jack-booted thugs in sunglasses or fanatical mobs storming the presidential palace. More often, they are the insidious work of supercilious bureaucrats, bought intellectuals, toady journalists, and political activists who falsely project that their target might at some future date do precisely what they are currently planning and doing—and that they are noble patriots, risking their lives, careers, and reputations for all of us, and thus must strike first.

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2016 Election • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Intelligence Community • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post

Loretta Lynch Deals Another Blow to FBI’s Cover-Up Story

The implausible justification for why James Comey’s FBI opened an investigation into the Trump campaign—a drunken encounter between a low-level campaign aide and an Australian diplomat in the spring of 2016, we’ve been told—is falling apart quickly.

And the newly-released testimony of former Attorney General Loretta Lynch just gave Comey’s cover-up story another blow.

As congressional investigators in 2017 closed in on the political origins of the unprecedented counterintelligence probe into four U.S. citizens associated with the Trump campaign, the New York Times threw the perpetrators a lifeline. It was not the dossier compiled by Christopher Steele, who in 2016 indirectly was being paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party, that alerted Comey’s cops to the potential for chicanery between Team Trump and the Kremlin to rig the election.

No, it was when George Papadopoulos—a young, unpaid foreign policy adviser to the campaign—allegedly told Alexander Downer, an Australian diplomat, in May 2016 at a London bar that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton. “The . . . revelation that a member of the Trump campaign may have had inside information about it were driving factors that led the F.B.I. to open an investigation in July 2016 into Russia’s attempts to disrupt the election and whether any of President Trump’s associates conspired,” the Times reported on December 30, 2017.

Not coincidentally, this is the same month the House Ethics Committee cleared Representative Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Intelligence committee, of a bogus ethics complaint that sidelined for eight months his crucial work into the handling of the dossier by top Obama officials. He would release his bombshell memo a few months later, exposing for the first time how the FBI used the Steele dossier as evidence on a FISA application to wiretap campaign volunteer Carter Page.

In their article, the Times reporters emphasized that the political propaganda sourced by Steele had nothing to do with the investigation known as “Crossfire Hurricane.” That storyline was just more bluster and fake news by the president, the reporters insisted.

“It was not, as Mr. Trump and other politicians have alleged, a dossier compiled by a former British spy hired by a rival campaign,” they wrote. “Instead, it was firsthand information from one of America’s closest intelligence allies.”

The Papadopoulos trope has been regurgitated for 18 months by the press, Democrats, and NeverTrumpers as a way to cover for the fact that opposition research cultivated by Trump’s political enemies was the likely basis for the Russian election collusion probe. Even Comey is sticking to that story: “My recollection is the first information we had, certainly the first information that came to my attention that Americans might be working with the Russians as part of their efforts, came at the end of July . . . when we received information from an allied nation about the conversations their ambassador had in England with George Papadopoulos,” Comey told lawmakers in closed-door testimony last December. “That was the beginning of it, which is the first time we turned to trying to figure out whether any Americans were working with the Russians.”

But that isn’t true, according to Lynch, Comey’s boss at the time.

Comey briefed her in “late spring” of 2016 about Carter Page, not George Papadopoulos. “I recall receiving information about Mr. Page from Director Comey to Deputy Director McCabe in the context of here is some information that we think you should be aware of,” Lynch told a joint session of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees in December. “I don’t recall specifics about Mr. Papadopoulos, or when I was given any information about him. It would have been after that.”

Under further questioning by Republican lawmakers, Lynch again confirmed the timeline: “As we look at the constellation of things that have come to be known as the Russia investigation, things were brought to my attention in 2016, I believe it was the spring and throughout the summer.”

And considering the alleged encounter between Papadopoulos and Downer happened in May 2016, and Downer reportedly didn’t notify the FBI about the incident until July 22, 2016—nine days before the FBI officially opened its investigation into the Trump campaign—any part of the “constellation” given to Lynch in the spring would’ve been about Page.

The idea that the Papadopoulos-Downer meeting was a legitimate predicate for the FBI to investigate the Trump campaign always strained credulity. The FBI never even bothered to interview Papadopoulos until January 2017; Downer is a Clinton crony.

Further, three of the four targets of the probe were mentioned in the Steele dossier. One installment of the dossier claimed Page was acting as an “intermediary” between the Kremlin and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort; both were part of Crossfire Hurricane.

But the effort to distance the FBI probe from the dossier is intentional. The dossier was produced by Fusion GPS, whose founder, Glenn Simpson, is a longtime pal of Steele. Fusion had been hired in late 2015 by conservative foes of Donald Trump; the first articles about the campaign’s alleged ties to Russia posted in conservative news outlets in the spring of 2016. Steele also met the day before the FBI opened its investigation on July 31, 2016 with Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr, whose wife also was working for Fusion GPS. At that meeting, Ohr obtained information on Page.

“And so the first item that I recall Chris Steele telling me was he had information that Carter Page met with higher-level Russian officials,” Ohr testified last year. “The Carter Page information I think was significant because there was some sort of connection, at least in the press I think, between Carter Page and the Trump campaign.”

Ohr passed along that information to the FBI within days of his meeting with Steele. The FBI sought and received authorization from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court in October 2016 to spy on Carter Page, not Papadopoulos. Much of the evidence against Page in the FISA application is gleaned from the dossier and Steele-planted news stories.

Now, there is a technicality about the term “dossier” that requires further exploration; it could justify how the media and people like Comey and Lynch keep denying that the Steele dossier was the rationale for Crossfire Hurricane. It’s likely there was some type of “pre-dossier” material—talking points or rough notes—that predated the formal compilation of what now is considered the “full” Steele dossier. Perhaps the earlier documents were suggested storylines distributed to reporters by Simpson about Russian collusion, or detailed backgrounders on targeted campaign associates like Page, Manafort and Michael Flynn.

Lynch, for her part, was very cagey in her answers about the dossier, claiming she never saw a dossier and was only receiving “information from a number of places.” But when pressed by Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) she tipped her hand a bit.

“You didn’t know . . . that this group of documents is called the Steele dossier, what’s come to be known as the Steele dossier?” Biggs asked. “Correct,” Lynch replied. She also refused to characterize the form of information she was receiving at the time.

Clever.

Regardless of whether it was the full Steele dossier or some nascent form of the document, it’s becoming clear that the Papadopoulos ruse will not withstand scrutiny as more facts emerge. Dossier or pre-dossier, it’s indisputable that political dirt produced by paid operatives hired to discredit Donald Trump’s candidacy was circulated at the highest echelons of the Obama Administration—including at the White House and in a secret court—before and after the election.

A tipsy talk between a campaign staffer and a politically-connected ambassador was served up as a distraction to those alarming facts; and the collusion truthers took it like bait.

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2016 Election • America • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Intelligence Community • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post

Federal Rats Are Fleeing the Sinking Collusion Ship

The entire Trump-Russia collusion narrative was always implausible.

One, the Washington swamp of fixers such as Paul Manafort and John and Tony Podesta was mostly bipartisan and predated Trump.

Two, the Trump administration’s Russia policies were far tougher on Vladimir Putin than were those of Barack Obama. Trump confronted Russia in Syria, upped defense spending, increased sanctions and kept the price of oil down through massive new U.S. energy production. He did not engineer a Russian “reset” or get caught on a hot mic offering a self-interested hiatus in tensions with Russia in order to help his own re-election bid.

Three, Russia has a long history of trying to warp U.S. elections that both predated Trump and earned only prior lukewarm pushback from the Obama administration.

It’s also worth remembering that President Bill Clinton and the Clinton Foundation had been recipients of Russian and Russian-related largesse—ostensibly because Hillary Clinton had used her influence as Secretary of State under Obama to ease resistance to Russian acquisitions of North American uranium holdings.

As far as alleged Russian collusion goes, Hillary Clinton used three firewalls—the Democratic National Committee, the Perkins Coie law firm and the Fusion GPS strategic intelligence firm—to hide her campaign’s payments to British national Christopher Steele to find dirt on Trump and his campaign; in other words, to collude. Steele in turn collected his purchased Russian sources to aggregate unverified allegations against Trump. He then spread the gossip within government agencies to ensure that the smears were leaked to the media—and with a government seal of approval.

No wonder that special counsel Robert Mueller’s partisan team spent 22 months and $34 million only to conclude the obvious: that Trump did not collude with Russia.

Mueller’s failure to find collusion prompts an important question. If the Steele dossier—the basis for unfounded charges that Trump colluded with Russia—was fraudulent, then how and why did the Clinton campaign, hand in glove with top Obama administration officials, use such silly trash and smears to unleash the powers of government against Trump’s campaign, transition team and early presidency?

The question is not an idle one.

There may well have occurred a near coup attempt by high-ranking officials to destroy a campaign and then to remove an elected president. Likewise, top officials may have engaged in serial lying to federal investigators, perjury, the misleading of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the illegal insertion of informants into a political campaign, the leaking of classified documents and the obstruction of justice.

So, how can we tell that the former accusers are now terrified of becoming the accused? Because suddenly the usual band of former Obama officials and Trump accusers have largely given up on their allegations that Trump was or is a Russian asset.

Instead, John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey, Andrew McCabe and Rod Rosenstein are now beginning to accuse each other of wrongdoing.

Even their progressive media handlers are starting to sense the desperation in their new yarns—and the possibility that these hired-gun analysts or guests were themselves guilty of crimes and were using their media platforms to fashion their own defense.

The end of the Mueller melodrama has marked the beginning of real fear in Washington.

Comey, the former FBI director, has hit the lecture and television circuit with his now-tired moralistic shtick that he alone had a “soul” while others allowed theirs to be eaten away by Trump. Translated, that means Comey is terrified that former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, whom Comey attacked as a Trump enabler, knows that Comey himself may have broken the law—and may direct prosecutors on how to prove it.

Comey is also in a tiff with his former deputy, Andrew McCabe. Both know that the FBI under Comey illegally leaked classified information to the media. But Comey says McCabe went rogue and did it. Of course, McCabe’s attorney shot back that Comey had authorized it. Comey also claims the Steele dossier was not the chief evidence for a FISA warrant. McCabe insists that it was. It’s possible that one might work with prosecutors against the other to finagle a lesser charge.

Former CIA Director John Brennan has on two occasions lied under oath to Congress and gotten away with it. He may not get away with lying again if it’s determined that he distorted the truth about his efforts to spread the Steele dossier smears. A former CIA official claims that Comey put the unverified Steele dossier into an intelligence community report on alleged Russian interference. Comey has contended that Brennan was the one who did.

It’s possible that both did. Doing so would have been unethical if not illegal, given that neither official told President Obama (if he didn’t already know) that the silly Steele dossier was a product of Hillary Clinton’s amateurish efforts to subvert the 2016 Trump campaign.

In sum, the old leaky vessel of collusion is sinking.

The rats are scampering from their once safe refuge—biting and piling on each other in vain efforts to avoid drowning.

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2016 Election • Administrative State • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Intelligence Community • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post

Obama’s Other Intelligence Operation

Now that it’s apparent to all but Donald Trump’s most deranged critics that Barack Obama’s FBI was indeed spying on the president’s 2016 campaign, we find ourselves at long last in the scandal’s “What did he know and when did he know it” phase.

So it’s worth pointing out that, in addition to the FBI’s “Crossfire Hurricane” operation, the Obama Administration was running a concurrent, higher-level counterintelligence investigation into alleged Russian efforts to put Trump in the White House. Details of the second, less-discussed investigation were leaked by senior Obama Administration officials for a June 2017 Washington Post story, “Obama’s secret struggle to punish Russia for Putin’s election assault.” That story hasn’t received anywhere near the attention it deserves.

An Official Narrative
The Post says its story is based mostly on anonymous interviews “with more than three dozen current and former U.S. officials in senior positions in government, including at the White House, the State, Defense and Homeland Security departments, and U.S. intelligence services.”

The article is mainly an approving regurgitation of a tale that top-level Obama Administration officials obviously wanted told, according to which their failure to stop the Russian election interference we’re supposed to believe cost Hillary Clinton the election is entirely the fault of Republican obstruction.

The article reads more like an Obama Administration press release than journalism. We’re informed that “Obama’s approach to national security challenges was deliberate and cautious,” and “often seemed reducible to a single imperative: Don’t make things worse” and of his “determination to avoid politicizing the Russia issue.”

Meantime, CIA Director John Brennan “moved swiftly to schedule private briefings with congressional leaders,” but “getting appointments with certain Republicans proved difficult.” The White House was “[s]tung by the reaction” of Republicans, having “hoped that a bipartisan appeal to states would be more effective.”

Naturally, Republican objections are described as “partisan squabble.”

The anonymously sourced details of meetings only attended by a handful of intelligence bureau chiefs and their inner thoughts and objectives could have only been provided by people in the uppermost echelon of the intelligence community under Obama, including Brennan, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and FBI Director James Comey.

But in the midst of their naked attempt to absolve themselves and President Obama of any blame for failing to stop the alleged Russian meddling, which was aimed at discrediting the trove of negative information WikiLeaks released about Hillary Clinton during the election and then to undermine Trump’s presidency after she lost, we learn about Crossfire Hurricane’s more-distinguished but less-discussed elder brother.

Brennan’s “Intelligence Bombshell”
According to the Post, sometime in the summer of 2016, John Brennan received,

a report drawn from sourcing deep inside the Russian government that detailed Russian President Vladi­mir Putin’s direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race.

But it went further. The intelligence captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation’s audacious objectives—defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump.

The Post is cagey about exactly when the CIA chief received this “intelligence bombshell.” All we know for sure is that it must have been in or before “early August,” since that’s when we’re told it was sent to the White House “by courier from the CIA,” in an envelope that “carried ‘eyes only’ instructions that its contents be shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three senior aides.”

But it’s hard to believe Brennan waited very long before apprising President Obama of such vital information. In all likelihood, Brennan received the momentous intelligence report in late July or early August.

In response, presumably under instructions from and certainly with the consent of Obama, Brennan,

convened a secret task force at CIA headquarters composed of several dozen analysts and officers from the CIA, the NSA and the FBI.

The unit functioned as a sealed compartment, its work hidden from the rest of the intelligence community. Those brought in signed new non-disclosure agreements to be granted access to intelligence from all three participating agencies.

They worked exclusively for two groups of “customers,” officials said. The first was Obama and fewer than 14 senior officials in government. The second was a team of operations specialists at the CIA, NSA and FBI who took direction from the task force on where to aim their subsequent efforts to collect more intelligence on Russia.

Since Crossfire Hurricane began on July 31 and Brennan notified Obama of his intelligence on Putin in early August, the two parallel investigations must have begun at around exactly the same time.

Even apart from Brennan having chosen some of his team from the FBI, we know that James Comey was fully involved in Brennan’s investigation from its inception. According to the Post story, the evidence produced initially was evaluated by only a handful of Obama Administration officials that included Comey, Clapper, National Security Advisor Susan Rice, and Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Moreover, it appears that Peter Strzok, who according to Lisa Page’s testimony initiated Crossfire Hurricane, also happened to be a member of the team working on Brennan’s parallel investigation. The Washington Post tells us that the Obama Administration’s January 6, 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment alleging that the Russians conducted cyber-espionage to put Trump in the White House “was based largely on the work done by” Brennan’s secret task force. This is confirmed by Clapper’s testimony to the Senate, in which he says the ICA was the result of work done by “two dozen” “hand-picked analysts” from the CIA, FBI and NSA. Apart from the Post using the words “several dozen” instead of “two dozen,” this is exactly how the paper described the team handpicked by Brennan.

But, according to investigative reporter Paul Sperry, “[a] source close to the House [of Representatives Intelligence Committee Russia] investigation” reports that “[Peter] Strzok was the intermediary between Brennan and Comey, and he was one of the authors of the ICA.”

Independent of Sperry’s source, before he was fired we know that Strzok was chief of the FBI’s counterespionage section. So it makes sense that he would be one of the FBI agents handpicked by Brennan who served as Comey’s representative. And Sperry’s source received further confirmation recently when Catherine Herridge reported on text messages between former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and Lisa Page discussing a meeting between Strzok and Clapper in the weeks before the ICA was released.

Given that (1) Comey was intimately involved in the higher-level investigation that ran concurrently with the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane operation, (2) Brennan had agents from the FBI on his team, and (3) it appears Strzok was as one of them, contra Obama Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes’ recent assertion, it becomes very hard to believe that a hard partition was kept around the FBI investigation. And the question is raised of exactly what information might have been shared and how much about the FBI investigation made its way towards President Obama.

What About the Steele Dossier?
Evidence has emerged that the Clinton campaign-funded Steele dossier was used to justify the FBI’s Crossfire Hurricane investigation. And the fact that Brennan’s task force was responsible for the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment raises questions about whether portions of the Steele dossier might also have comprised the “intelligence bombshell” Brennan used to justify his investigation.

Paul Sperry also reported that Obama’s National Security Agency chief, Admiral Michael Rogers, “stated in a classified letter to Congress” that the Steele Dossier played a role in producing the January 2017 ICA. Indeed, according to Sperry, Rogers told congress “a two-page summary of the dossier” appears as an appendix to the classified version of the ICA.

As Sperry notes, Clapper appeared to confirm in an interview with CNN that Brennan’s task force made use of the Steele dossier.

But the Washington Post story also reports Rogers was “reluctant to view” the intelligence that Brennan used to justify his investigation “with high confidence” because it came from another country. The Steele dossier is, of course, named after former British spy Christopher Steele, who authored the 17 memos it comprises. According to a November 15, 2017 story in the Guardian, Brennan received the report used to justify his investigation from none other than British intelligence agency GCHQ’s then head, Robert Hannigan, who “flew to the US to personally brief CIA chief John Brennan.”

The Washington Post tells us that the “intelligence bombshell” Brennan received from Britain came from a highly-placed source within the Russian government who alleged that Putin had instigated a cyber-intelligence operation whose aim was to “defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump.” As it happens, Steele’s first memo, dated June 20, alleges the existence of a Russian espionage operation to help Trump’s election bid that was “supported and directed by Russian President Vladimir Putin” based on information from a “former senior [Russian] intelligence officer.” Indeed, Steele’s August 5 memo describes this operation as designed “to aid Trump and,” using the Post’s exact words, “damage Clinton.”

Steele’s July 19 memo goes on to claim that these efforts included “state-sponsored cyber operatives working in Russia.” In short, everything the Post tells us was included in the report from British intelligence used to justify Brennan’s investigation happens to have been included in the memos Steele had already produced at the time Brennan received it.

Much attention has been paid to Crossfire Hurricane and rightly so. But it’s well past time that Congress and the Department of Justice began looking into the other higher-level shadow investigation into Russia’s alleged efforts to put Trump in the White House. Americans deserve to know what information was shared between the two efforts, if the operation directed by Brennan also involved any spying on Trump’s campaign, and whether it was justified by the utterly discredited, Clinton-funded Steele dossier.

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2016 Election • America • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Intelligence Community • Post

Was the Steele Dossier a Crown Operation?

In his statement to Fox News last week, former U.S. Representative  Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said that in the much-discussed dispute between former FBI Director James Comey and former CIA Director John Brennan, “Comey has a better argument than Brennan, based on what I’ve seen.”

As Debra Heine reports at PJ Media,

According to Fox News’ Catherine Herridge, sources familiar with the records say that “a late-2016 email chain indicated then-FBI Director James Comey told bureau subordinates that then-CIA Director John Brennan insisted the dossier be included in the intelligence community assessment on Russian interference, known as the ICA.”

The argument is over who argued for the inclusion of the Steele dossier in the Intelligence Community Assessment that was delivered on January 5, 2017 in a meeting with President Obama. Obama had ordered the assessment from Director of National Intelligence James Clapper the previous month.

According to Brennan, Comey argued for the dossier’s inclusion. But it was left out. Just two days after their meeting with President Obama,  at a Trump Tower meeting between President-elect Trump and Clapper, Brennan, and Comey, Comey according to Brennan, on his own, remained behind and gave Trump his first notice of the existence of the dossier. Comey also gave Trump limited information on “golden shower” assertion. Comey later called the Dossier “salacious and unverified” in his June 8, 2017 testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Even so, James Comey had used the dossier in repeated FISA applications filings that described it as “verified.” Former Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe testified the dossier was “essential” to getting the FISA applications approved.

In a seven hour interview with the House Intelligence Committee, McCabe said he believed it met the standard of credibility to open an investigation.

But Gowdy also exclaimed: “They made no effort to corroborate the dossier until after it had been used in the application and a renewal. No effort! It’s not that they failed. They made no effort to do it!”

“Whoever’s investigating this,” Gowdy added, “tell them to look for emails between Brennan and Comey in December of 2016.”   

So why, if Gowdy is right, would Comey have wanted to keep the “salacious and unverified” dossier out of the ICA report to President Obama and Brennan have wanted to include it? Current evidence has now established that the Intelligence Community was well aware that the dossier was at the very least a political opposition research project of the Clinton campaign.

It had additionally been given warning of its questionable provenance and Steele’s anti-Trump political objectives by Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec before the presidential election, after a meeting with its purported author, Christopher Steele, in October 2016. Steele was fired by the FBI on November 1, 2016 for his media activities.

Debra Heine’s story in PJ Media last week offered a major clue:

Fox News was told that the email chain—not yet public—referred to the dossier as “crown material,” but it was not clear why this apparent code was used.

But what if it wasn’t “code.” What if the email chain was referring to actual “Crown material?” Was the U.S. Intelligence Community relying upon the veracity of the Steele Dossier, without verifying it, because it was “Crown material,” that is—produced with oversight by their reliable opposite numbers at British Intelligence?

We already know Christopher Steele was being paid by Fusion GPS as well as the FBI. What if this “retired MI6” operative was also working for his former employers as well? In the slippery world of intelligence operatives this would not be surprising. The oleaginous professor Stefan Halper was being used by the CIA/FBI (no one is clear which, or both) to entrap persons of interest like George Papadopoulos and Carter Page in the IC’s examination of the Trump campaign in Spring 2016. This was well before the official initiation date given by James Comey for “Operation Crossfire Hurricane”—July 31, 2016.

Halper was also being paid by a honeypot in the ruins of Andrew Marshall’s once prestigious Office of Net Assessment, supposedly still in the Department of Defense. He had, also been working, however, at Cambridge University in Great Britain as his base of operations. Veteran Office of Net Assessment executive Adam Lovinger had his security clearance pulled by Obama officials on May 1, 2016 after looking into this, just after Halper’s entrapment operation.

Was it just a coincidence that almost all the pre-Crossfire Hurricane activities seemed based in Great Britain? And why did the head of Britain’s General Communications Headquarters, Robert Hannigan, seem to spend much of his time with CIA Director John Brennan when his opposite number as head of an electronic intelligence surveillance operation was Admiral Michael Rogers at the National Security Agency? And why did he go back to Great Britain to resign for “family reasons” just a few days after Trump’s inauguration?

It wasn’t only the Obama Intelligence Community that viewed Trump’s presidency as a disaster to be avoided at all cost. So did Theresa May’s government and much of the British establishment. They opposed the exit of Britain from the European Union, and Trump’s presidency was going to support “Brexit” and make it that much harder to avoid.

The Telegraph now adds a key piece of the puzzle:

Theresa May’s spy chiefs were secretly briefed on an explosive dossier of claims about Donald Trump’s ties to Russia before the US president was made aware of its existence, The Telegraph can reveal.

The heads of MI5 and MI6 and one of Mrs. May’s most trusted security advisers were told about former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele’s memos on the Trump campaign in the weeks after his November 2016 election victory.

So was Christopher Steele’s “crown material” really “Crown material”—an operation of British intelligence? Who was Steele really working for?

John Brennan is supposed to brief members of the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday. The Democrats are pretending that Brennan, a man with no security clearance and who has had no briefings on the subject for a long while now, can speak with authority about Iran. Democrats mean to use committee rules and gavel control to prevent members from asking real questions, like the one above. Perhaps someone can find a way to ask him this vital question—preferably under oath.

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2016 Election • Administrative State • America • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Donald Trump • Intelligence Community • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post

He Did It, Not Me!

There is something Kafkaesque about the current round of investigating possible FBI, CIA, National Security Agency, Justice Department, and National Security Council wrongdoing during the 2016 election, Trump transition, and early presidency.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller had been permitted to range well beyond his mandate of “Russian collusion.” He outsourced much of the selection of his “dream team” and “all-star” staff of attorneys to his deputy, Andrew Weissman. In turn, Weissman—who commiserated with Hillary Clinton at her ill-fated “victory” party on the evening of her defeat—stocked the team with Trump-haters, liberals and progressives, Clinton donors, a few who had previously served as attorneys for the Clinton Foundation, and Clinton or Obama aides. Most of these were themselves briefed during the early dissemination of the fraudulent Steele dossier.

Yet after all the bias, prosecutorial leveraging, the process crimes, the perjury traps, and after 22 months, $34 million, and a 440-plus page report, Mueller’s “hunter-killer” team did not establish that President Trump colluded with the Russians to warp the 2016 election.

In fact, Mueller could not find prosecutable “obstruction” of justice by Trump to impair the investigation of what Mueller concluded was not a crime.

The Wolves Turn On Each Other
Now we turn to the real unspoken question: how did it happen that the top machinery of the U.S. government meddled in an election, and sought to sabotage a presidential transition and early presidency?

Note well: none of the leveraged targets of Robert Mueller turned state’s evidence to accuse Donald Trump of “collusion,” the object of the special counsel’s investigation, although to have done so would have mightily helped their cause and given them John Dean iconic status among leftists. In contrast, we have scarcely begun to investigate wrongdoing at the intelligence and justice departments and already the suspects are fingering each other.

James Clapper, John Brennan, and James Comey are now all accusing one another of being culpable for inserting the unverified dossier, the font of the effort to destroy Trump, into a presidential intelligence assessment—as if suddenly and mysteriously the prior seeding of the Steele dossier is now seen as a bad thing. And how did the dossier transmogrify from being passed around the Obama Administration as a supposedly top-secret and devastating condemnation of candidate and then president-elect Trump to a rank embarrassment of ridiculous stories and fibs?

Given the narratives of the last three years, and the protestations that the dossier was accurate or at least was not proven to be unproven, why are these former officials arguing at all? Did not implanting the dossier into the presidential briefing give it the necessary imprimatur that allowed the serial leaks to the press at least to be passed on to the public and thereby apprise the people of the existential danger that they faced?

Why would not they still be vying to take credit for warning President Obama that Donald J. Trump was a likely sexual pervert, with a pathological hatred of Obama, as manifested in Trump’s alleged Moscow debauchery—a reprobate who used his subordinates to steal the election from Hillary Clinton and who still must somehow be stopped at all costs?

That entire bought fantasy was the subtext of why Mueller was appointed in the first place. It was the basis for the persistent support to this day among the media and progressives for the now discredited notion of “collusion.”

If our noble public servants really believed all that to be true, would not Comey and Brennan instead now be arguing that each, not the other, was bold and smart enough to have included the seminal dossier into a presidential briefing? Comey in public still insists that the dossier is not discredited, though in all his sanctimonious televised sermons, he never has provided any details that support the supposed veracity of Steele’s charges. Why then is Comey not demanding that the FBI take credit for bringing this key piece of intelligence to Obama’s attention rather than fobbing off such an important feat to the rival CIA?

Why, for that matter, are Andrew McCabe and James Comey at odds?

The commonality of their respective sworn testimonies has been that Trump was and remains a danger to the republic—to the extent that McCabe admittedly staged a comical coup attempt and Comey committed a likely felony in leaking to the media classified documents that had memorialized his versions of his own confidential conversations with the president.

Why, given their protestation of innocence and their cry-of-the-heart leaking to save us, would not McCabe and Comey be heaping praise on each other, as each tried to outdo the other in pursuing extraordinary measures to end the clear and present danger of Donald Trump?

McCabe has testified that the dossier was the anchoring evidence that the FBI presented to the FISA court. Comey denies that fact. But once more why would they disagree? And why would they be at odds over supposedly noble leaking to the press?

McCabe claims Comey allowed him to leak gossip and rumors about Trump’s culpability; Comey says he did no such thing. But should not both still be bragging that they had the guts to seed the dossier and related confidential information to the media to the stop the national threat of Donald Trump?

We know that Comey has no intrinsic objection to scattering classified information, because he has bragged that he did just that after his firing to help appoint a special counsel. We know in addition that McCabe has no problem with divulging confidential information because to the media he has accused Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, in a confidential conversation, of volunteering to wear a wire in hopes of entrapping the President of the United States at some incriminating moment.

For the Good of the People?
Why again are McCabe and Comey pointing fingers at each other as leakers and purveyors or ruinous gossip, when both have admittedly leaked and are apparently proud of it, reasoning that they did it for us, the people, in our moment of peril from our president whom the people elected?

Why are McCabe and Rosenstein at odds? The former says the latter was willing to record stealthily his conversations with Trump in an effort to remove him, the latter says it was a joke and that McCabe engineered such a discussion. But why the disconnect? Both in varying ways have tried to obstruct declassification of government documents that might suggest government overreach under the Justice Department and FBI. Both seem at odds with Trump, both the man and his presidency. Why then are not each vying with the other for the greater credit of nearly engineering a coup to remove an existential threat like Donald Trump, a supposedly legal act under their allegedly mutually referenced application of the 25th Amendment?

These are rhetorical questions because we know the answers: our top officials at the DOJ, CIA, FBI, and NSC, as well as James Clapper as director of national intelligence, likely broke federal law, betrayed their agencies, and in general acted in an abjectly unethical manner on the premises that 1) Hillary Clinton would be the next president and their behavior would be rewarded; and 2) in the aftermath of her defeat and after Trump became president, that Trump could either be removed or so discredited that their own prior illegality would either never come to light or would be contextualized as noble resistance.

Until election night, they seemed to have been correct in their assumptions.

Given the subsequent serial efforts of #TheResistance to remove or destroy president-elect and President Trump—the suits to overturn the voting in three states, the attempted subversion of the Electoral College voting, the efforts to invoke the Emoluments Clause, the Logan Act, and the 25th Amendment, the early impeachment vote, the recusal of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the Mueller investigation, and the brouhaha over Stormy Daniels, the Trump tax returns, Michael Cohen and Michael Avenatti—these officials still believed that their prior behavior would either eventually be praised or at least excused. But they bet foolishly against the viability of Trump.

The appointment of William Barr as attorney general has sobered the lawbreakers, and perhaps soon the media, which may not wish to go down the drain with their erstwhile FBI and CIA speaking-truth-to-power heroes.

No longer are Brennan, Clapper, Comey, and McCabe along with a host of others insisting that they acted nobly. No longer are they in solidarity in their defiant opposition to Donald Trump.

Now, for the first time, they are pointing fingers at one another, because they have come to realize that their prior criminality may not be rewarded, praised, or even excused, but rather prosecuted.

And so in response, we now hear: “He did it, not me!”

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Administrative State • America • Congress • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • History • Intelligence Community • Law and Order • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post • the Presidency

Deep Throat and Donald Trump

You have to give it to Democrats; they are organized.

As soon as Attorney General Bill Barr refused to commit a crime by releasing a fully unredacted version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report, the Democrats’ talking-point team was drafting the mandatory soundbites.

In a flurry of interviews over the past few weeks, everyone has been on message: If they work for, or are related to President Donald Trump, just jail them.

Whether it’s the ongoing calls for the attorney general to be imprisoned  or Da Nang Dick Blumenthal (D-Conn.)—the only senator in office who lied about serving in Vietnam—calling for the imprisonment of the president’s son or whether Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) saying she doesn’t have enough prison cells to lock up all the “criminals” in the Trump administration, the refrain has been remarkably consonant.

Just a reminder friends, this is America in 2019. Not Russia in 1918. Or Cuba in 1960. Or Venezuela today.

As a legal immigrant to this the greatest nation on God’s Earth, I find this shocking. It’s all the more shocking given what my family suffered during the 20th century, with my parents surviving as children under a fascist occupation and then persecuted under a Communist regime before escaping to the West and to freedom. The recent actions and statements of the Democrats are so surreal, so over-the-top, that it feels like we’ve crossed into new and very dangerous territory.

But then I read the latest issue of the superb Hillsdale publication Imprimis and I realized I was so very, very wrong. I had lost all historic perspective. This is the Left. This is who they have been for a very long time.

In his essay, “Politics by Other Means: The Use and Abuse of Scandal,” John Marini of the University of Nevada, takes us back to Watergate and juxtaposes the conventional wisdom about who Richard Nixon was and the significance of Watergate with what actually happened and why the then President had to be neutralized. He writes:

The popular understanding of the Watergate scandal—that it was somehow rooted in Nixon’s flawed personal character, and that it was essentially a legal matter—remains unshaken after more than 40 years. But I was not convinced then, nor am I convinced today, that Watergate can be properly understood in either personal or legal terms. By promising to use his executive power to bring the executive bureaucracy under his control, Nixon posed a danger to the political establishment after his landslide re-election. In response, the establishment struck back.

And how did they do that exactly? If you ask anyone of the right age, or even a Millennial who has received the requisite indoctrination (or happened to see the film version of “All the President’s Men”), the same answer is the same: The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein risked their all for the truth in a fight with the “criminal” in the White House.

But that’s not really what happened. That’s a narrative that has been drummed into the public psyche thanks to the Noam Chomsky-Howard Zinn-Oliver Stone-Michael Moore machine intent on falsifying our history for political ends.  

The real story is that an incredibly vain self-appointed “elite” who fancied himself a Guardian of the Good and who became notorious as “Deep Throat,” spoon-fed information to the Post duo for over a year. (Remind you of anyone called Jim you know? Possibly a very tall former FBI director?) Woodward and Bernstein didn’t investigate anything. The deep state was in control the whole time. Who was the puppet master? None other than FBI Associate Director Mark Felt.

As Marini writes, the media merely “served as a conduit by which the bureaucracy undermined the authority of the elected chief executive.” He adds, fascinatingly, that  “Geoff Shepard, a young member of Nixon’s defense team who has continued investigating Watergate using the Freedom of Information Act, has recently established as well that the prosecutors and judges involved in Watergate violated the procedural requirements that ensure impartiality, acting instead as partisans opposed to Nixon.” Can you say FISA Court? Can you say “Operation Crossfire Hurricane”?

What was the catalyst for this series of seditious leaks that led to a president’s downfall? Marini has done his homework and provides us an answer from the Congressional Quarterly of the period:

When the 93rd [Congress] first convened in January 1973, President Nixon’s sweeping assertions of executive authority posed a threat to the viability of the legislative branch. Even as Congress braced for confrontations with Nixon over spending, war powers, and other issues, its defiance was tempered by doubts as to whether it was indeed any match for the newly re-elected President. But by the time Congress adjourned [on] December 20, 1974, the balance of power had shifted dramatically. Both Nixon and . . . [Vice President] Agnew had been driven from office in disgrace—replaced by men whom Congress had a hand in selecting. 

The opening sentences may as well be a description of Congress today and the cries to impeach President Trump must be put into this broader, more strategic context.

This is not a case of the Democrats lacking imagination and not having a platform for the 2020 election and simply defaulting to “Impeach, Impeach, Impeach!” This isn’t just a delayed act of revenge for the impeachment of President Bill Clinton, a settling of scores with the GOP. The Democrats couldn’t care less about the Clintons today. Just look at the fate of the Clinton Foundation or the pathetic spectacle that is the Clintons’ speaking tour fiasco.

This is about one thing and one thing alone. It’s yet another case of the deep state deciding that the will of the American people must be overridden and an election nullified with the help of their domesticated lackeys in the media.

Richard Nixon was never supposed to be president. And the billionaire from Queens most certainly wasn’t. Donald Trump is a threat to the Comeys, the Brennans, the Nadlers, the Schiffs, the Pelosis, and the Mark Felts of the world. Just who do the American people think they are to threaten the power and control of people who have made up the modern professional political class since the 1960s?

These are the stakes involved and this is why 2020 will be even more important than 2016. The Republic hangs by a thread. Remember that when next you hear the Speaker of the House laugh like a despot about jailing those who support the president.

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2016 Election • Congress • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Intelligence Community • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post

Can Congress Be Guilty of Obstruction?

Calls for President Trump to be charged with obstruction of justice have reached a fever pitch, and I say “fever” because the basis for such charges doesn’t exist. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is correct: the case of Mueller vs. Trump is closed.

Why then is the Left so desperate to keep the lie rolling? For one thing, they can’t stand the good economic news and the improving popularity of President Donald Trump as it undercuts the chances of Democrats defeating him in the coming election.

Their frenzy is also due, in part, to Democrats trying desperately to avoid what may be a devastating steamroller coming in the form of Attorney General Bill Barr’s pending investigation, along with the report from Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz. And does anyone recall U.S. Attorney John Huber? If the missing pieces of this puzzle materialize. as it appears they will, the results in 2020 will be disastrous for the left and Democrats.

The very interesting news that the FISA court had made four criminal referrals came courtesy of former U.S. Attorney Joe DiGenova, speaking on Fox News on April 24. DiGenova also claimed that several prominent collusion advocates, including James Comey, John Brennan, and James Clapper, could face criminal charges.

This has been coming for a long time but now consider this. If there was illegal spying, favorable treatment for Hillary Clinton, and what amounts to criminal use of the powers of the Justice Department, the FBI, and perhaps even the CIA, what does that make illegal “leaks” designed to conceal and delay such actions being revealed and prosecuted. Why wouldn’t that be obstruction?

Consider congressmen and senators who actively made inflammatory claims and also released information through press leaks. Comey’s acts of leaking classified memos to the New York Times also comes to mind. Would reporters faced with criminal charges—as were some of Mueller’s  targets in his investigation—be willing to stand silent in front of a federal grand jury, not as valiant defenders of the free press but instead as active co-conspirators?

What should scare the corporate left-wing media is the prospect of Democrats’ corruption and abuse of power being revealed at long last. Will some of those who created the “collusion” conspiracy show up in court? It seems according to released emails from Peter Strzok and Lisa Page that the Obama White House was deeply involved in the proceeding from the start. Will we see that evidence come to light?

So will we see politicians going over the line to keep concealing what may have been a criminal conspiracy to frame Donald Trump and to create a baseless scheme designed as a framework to pursue impeachment? Will Democrats on powerful congressional committees continue to misuse their power to conceal and prevent the Justice Department from proceeding? Wouldn’t that be obstruction too? If the Democrats concede that complaining about legal proceedings is “obstruction,” does that standard set them up also in the coming days for being prosecuted for such charges? We’ll soon know.

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2016 Election • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Intelligence Community • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post

Progressives Face a Bleak Post-Mueller Landscape

Democrats have grown infuriated by Attorney General William Barr’s indifference to their hysteria over the Trump-Russia collusion narrative.

Barr recently released a brief summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s conclusions that Donald Trump did not collude with the Russians to warp the 2016 election. Barr added that Mueller had not found enough evidence to recommend that Trump be indicted for obstruction of justice for the non-crime of collusion.

Progressives, who for 22 months had insisted that Trump was a Russian asset, were stunned. But only for a few hours.

Almost immediately, they redirected their fury toward Barr’s summation of the Mueller report. Yet few rational people contested Barr’s synopses about collusion and obstruction.

Both the Mueller report and Barr’s summation can be found on the internet. Anyone can read them to see whether Barr misrepresented Mueller’s conclusions.

Again, there have been few criticisms that Barr was wrong on his interpretation that there was no collusion and not enough evidence to indict on obstruction of justice.

But now Democrats are calling for Barr to resign or be impeached for not regurgitating the unproven allegations against Trump. In other words, Barr acted too much like a federal prosecutor rather than a tabloid reporter trafficking in allegations that did not amount to criminal conduct.

The besmirching of Barr’s conduct is surreal. He certainly has not done anything even remotely approximating the conduct of former President Obama’s two attorneys general.

Has Barr dubbed himself the president’s “wingman” or called America a “nation of cowards,” as did former Attorney General Eric Holder?

Has Barr’s Department of Justice monitored reporters’ communications or ordered surveillance of a television journalist? Has Barr used a government jet to take his family to the Belmont Stakes horse race, as did Holder?

Has Barr met secretly on an airport tarmac with the spouse of a person his Justice Department was investigating, as did former Attorney General Loretta Lynch, who had such a meeting with Bill Clinton?

The Mueller report ignored the likely illegal origins of the Christopher Steele dossier, the insertion of an FBI informant into the Trump campaign, the unlawful leaking of documents, and the conflicted testimonies of former high-level intelligence officials.

All of those things were potential felonies. All in some way yielded information that Mueller drew on in his investigation. Yet Mueller never recommended a single indictment of any of the Obama-era officials who likely broke laws.

Mueller was instead fixated on possible collusion with Russia. But it is a crime to knowingly hire a foreign national to work on a presidential campaign—in other words, to “collude.” That is exactly what the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee did when they paid British subject Christopher Steele to smear Trump.

Did Mueller argue that the possible crimes of John Brennan, James Clapper, James Comey, Andrew McCabe and other former government officials—lying to federal investigators, perjury, obstruction of justice, deceiving the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, planting an informant into a political campaign, unmasking and leaking the identities of individuals under surveillance—were only peripheral to his investigation?

Not really. After all, Mueller indicted Michael Flynn, Paul Manafort, George Papadopoulos, Roger Stone and others for crimes that had nothing to do with collusion and were far less serious than the improper behavior of top Obama administration bureaucrats.

So what really explains the furor now directed at Barr?

One, progressives are terrified that a number of Trump’s critics—Brennan, Clapper, Comey, McCabe—may soon be indicted. They apparently seek to preempt such indictments by attacking Barr, a seemingly no-nonsense prosecutor who will likely follow up on any criminal referrals from any inspector general that reach his desk.

Two, the 2020 progressive agenda—whether defined as the Green New Deal, a wealth tax, Medicare for All or open borders—will not compete well with Trump’s currently booming economy. Impeaching Trump for collusion and obstruction is seen by progressives as the best (or perhaps only) way to return to power. That effort so far is failing, causing even more hysteria.

Three, the Mueller investigation is over, finished after 22 months, $34 million and a 448-page, two-volume report.

There will be no indictments of Trump for either collusion or the obstruction of justice during the investigation of that non-crime. So now what?

Since late 2015, Trump, as the supposed Russian puppet or the Machiavellian obstructer of justice, was nightly cable-TV news fare. Now, such fantasies are shattered. But progressives are not willing to let the Mueller investigation rest in peace and move on with their lives.

Perhaps they feel in the political sense that there is nothing to move on to. And they are probably right.

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2016 Election • Administrative State • America • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Intelligence Community • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post

The Fright of James Comey

In a recent op-ed, fired FBI Director James Comey was back again preaching to the nation about the dangers of Donald Trump and his capacity to corrupt any top-ranking federal official of lower character than Comey’s own.

Comey seems to have become utterly unhinged by Donald Trump, especially when the president, in his thick Queens accent, scoffs in the vernacular—quite accurately, given the transgressions of the FBI hierarchy—about “crooked cops.” What an affront to Comey’s complexity, his subtlety, his sophistication, his feigned Hamlet-like self-doubt—at least as now expressed in his latest incarnation as Twitter’s Kahlil Gibran.

One can say a number of things about the timing of Comey’s latest sermon and his characteristic projection of his own sins on to others.

First, Comey’s unprofessionalism was home-grown and certainly did not need any help from President Trump. His schizophrenic behavior both as a prosecutor and investigator in the Hillary Clinton email matter was marked by exempting Clinton aides Cheryl Mills and Huma Abedin from indictment, despite their lying to his own federal officials about their knowledge of a private Clinton email server. Comey wrote his summation of the Clinton email investigation before he had even interviewed the former secretary of state. He was hardly independent from a recused Attorney General Loretta Lynch in the Clinton email investigation. As her rubbery courier he bent to her directives on all key decisions that led to de facto exoneration of likely next president Hillary Clinton.

Second, Attorney General William Barr is soon to receive a number of criminal referrals from Congress, inspectors general, and perhaps other prosecutors. He won’t allow collusion hysteria to cause him to recuse himself in the manner in which Jeff Sessions sidelined himself and elevated Rod Rosenstein.

In anticipation of that bleak reality, Comey seems to be prepping his own defense by a transparent preemptive attack on the very official who may soon calibrate Comey’s own legal exposure. Comey should at least offer a disclaimer that the federal prosecutor he is now attacking may soon be adjudicating his own future—if for no other reason than to prevent a naïf from assuming that Comey’s gambit of attacking Barr is deliberately designed to suggest later on that prosecutor Barr harbored a prejudicial dislike of likely defendant Comey.

How ironic that Comey who used to lecture the nation on “obstruction” and the impropriety of Trump’s editorializing about the Mueller prosecutorial team, is now attacking—or perhaps “obstructing”—the Attorney General before he has even issued a single indictment.

Three, Comey somehow remains seriously delusional about the abyss between his sermonizing and his own unethical and likely illegal behavior.

Remember, James Comey assured the nation that the Steele dossier, contra the testimony of his subordinate Andrew McCabe (already facing criminal referrals) was not the chief evidence presented to a FISA court. That is likely untrue. And if it is not, Comey’s other evidence he presented is likely to be just as compromised.

Comey also misled a FISA judge by not admitting 1) that his submitted dossier evidence was compiled by a contractor paid by Hillary Clinton; 2) that ex-British spy Christopher Steele’s work was unverified; 3) that Steele’s relationship with Comey’s FBI has already been severed due to Steele’s unprofessional behavior; and 4) that submitted news accounts of “collusion” were in circular fashion based on the dossier itself. Had Comey’s behavior ever become standard procedure in FISA applications, there could be no longer a FISA court.

Comey also misled about his meetings with President Trump, as memorialized in his now infamous memos. He briefed the president on the Steele dossier—without telling Trump that it had been paid for by Hillary Clinton.

Comey likely also lied in telling Trump he wanted to brief him on the dossier in worries that the press might otherwise report on it first. In fact, his meeting with Trump by design was the necessary imprimatur the press had been waiting for to leak information from the dossier, which shortly followed.

Comey likely misled the president into thinking both that he was not under investigation by the FBI and that the FBI hierarchy did not leak confidential information to the press. In fact, neither assertion was true; both his deputy Andrew McCabe and Comey himself were chronic leakers. Comey swore under oath that he had never authorized anyone in the FBI to leak to the press, while his deputy McCabe swore in contrast that Comey was well aware that his subordinates were talking freely with the press in order to leak information selectively.

When he was no longer a U.S. government employee, Comey illegally took personal possession of at least seven confidential memos of presidential conversations, written on FBI time and equipment and thus still government property. He leaked at least three memos that were likely classified, apparently to seed his narratives to the media and to prompt the appointment of a special prosecutor as payback for his own firing.

That trick worked out well, since his friend Robert Mueller was soon appointed special counsel amid the general Russian “collusion” hysteria that Comey himself had long ago helped ignite. If any lower echelon employee had leaked in a similar manner to Comey, he would face an array of felony indictments.

Comey, remember, on more than 240 occasions reportedly claimed under oath he could not remember or did not know the answers to questions from Congressional inquirers. If a private citizen tried that with the IRS, he world likely face perjury charges.

Comey has never adequately explained his role in inserting FBI informants into a presidential campaign, and the degree to which his decision might have been taken in conjunction with other intelligence agencies or with the knowledge of the then-attorney general or President Obama. The New York Times of all publications is apparently investigating the use of FBI informants to sandbag the Trump campaign—during Comey’s directorship. To my knowledge, no previous FBI director—perhaps not even J. Edgar Hoover—had unilaterally placed FBI informants into a presidential campaign during the general election.

One way of looking at John Brennan’s and James Clapper’s nonstop cable news announcements of Trump’s “treason,” the Comey-McCabe whirlwind book tours and television confessionals, the Adam Schiff furrowed-brow predictions of huge bombshells soon to go off, and the general progressive media hysteria over the last two years or so is to appreciate a transparent effort at preemptive defense.

That is, Russian “collusion” and its bastard child “obstruction,” sought to divert attention from massive Obama Administration efforts at the CIA, FBI, Justice Department, and National Security Council to use the powers of government to first ensure that Trump was not elected and then, failing that, to distort and ruin his transition and presidency.

The effort initially was so easily green-lighted, because none of these Washington fixtures had any idea of the nature of the “smelly” Walmart folks or the supposedly toothless sorts who live apart from the two coasts, and thus they bet on the wrong horse—convinced that Hillary Clinton was a sure landslide winner, and their own skullduggery would be rewarded as loyalty in extremis by someone who trumped them all in skullduggery.

When Clinton crashed and burned, phase two of the now “resistance” was comprehensive stonewalling. The culpable adopted a preventative defense by accusing the very victim of their prior assault of being a disloyal, unpatriotic victimizer of American institutions—no doubt in their mind leading to Trump’s emasculation or impeachment and thus their own exoneration.

For a while, they got away with all that and more as Representative Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) was for a time sandbagged off the investigation of Russian collusion at the House Intelligence Committee, as Attorney General Jeff Sessions recused himself, as his conflicted deputy Rod Rosenstein took over the investigation and may have trafficked in Andrew McCabe’s melodramatic but ultimately ridiculous coup efforts—and as the media, in insult to injury fashion, put on television many of the very principals who had acted so unethically and illegally to contextualize and analyze their own crimes.

The only remaining mystery of this entire sordid mess is how the rotten onion will be peeled away. When indictments come down, will the likes of Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson or James Baker or Bruce and Nellie Ohr be leveraged to inform on the likes of the Brennan, Clapper, Comey, and McCabe high stratum—that in turn will provide clarity about still higher officials to learn what Barack Obama, Joe Biden, Loretta Lynch, Susan Rice, Samantha Power, and Sally Yates knew and when they knew it?

In the meantime, expect James Comey to continue his frenetic pace on TV, radio, and in op-eds attacking William Barr and Donald Trump in deathly fear that his illegal behavior may finally have a legal accounting.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

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2016 Election • Administrative State • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Intelligence Community • Post

Has the Intel Community Become a Danger to Our Republic?

As Americans learn about Foreign Intelligence Security Act abuses and the misuse of national security data for political purposes—executed by contractors until then NSA Director Admiral Rogers learned of it and halted the program, they are justly disturbed. Elements in our government were spying on a presidential campaign and on the Trump White House itself.

While the deadly battle to uncover, or to obfuscate, events around the 2016 election plays out, many Americans are starting to ask a deeper question.

Has our massive, complex national security apparatus made us less secure as a nation? Has it, in fact, become a danger to our republic?

It’s not a question to ask or answer lightly. But consider this single statistic:  according to the NSA’s official report, in 2018 the number of warrantless searches of US citizens’ email and phone data spiked 28 percent to the equivalent of roughly 4 percent of the total U.S. adult population (estimate based on 2010 census age demographics).  Note that these were only the searches conducted without a court-issued warrant.

We want to keep our country safe. But to do that we need those we entrust with great and secret power to be both effective and accountable in their actions.

Two personal anecdotes from the periphery of the intelligence community hint at some of the issues.

Don’t Say That
I was sitting across the table from a man who’d spent his career in and around the intelligence community: in an operational agency, on Capitol Hill, in the Beltway contractors. I was there to see whether and how the new team I was forming might bring some advanced tech to support his current organization’s work.

It was during the early, get-to-know-one-another chit chat stage that I said something along the lines of “I know the U.S. isn’t perfect, but it’s definitely better than the alternatives.”

While I said it, I was thinking of my grandmother, most of whose family were intentionally starved to death in Stalin’s genocidal Holodomor for the offense of wanting to keep the small family farm they had built with hard work over a generation.

I was thinking of her sons, who fought the Nazis and Japanese Fascists and in several cases came home with heroes’ medals and deep war wounds. Of my cousins and close relatives who served in uniform, or built small businesses, and raised families, and were grateful for the freedom that hadn’t come to them cost-free. Of the multiethnic, multiracial family that grew here. Of a Latina in-law whose family knew firsthand what corruption and violence looked like to the south of us. Of black and Asian colleagues who held respected professional positions.

Above all, I was thinking of what the Founders gave us: a republic, capable of improving over time with continuity instead of revolution. A republic, if we could keep it.

The immediate response of this member of the extended Intelligence Community was sharp. “Don’t say that. Don’t say we’re better. Just say it’s ours.”

No One Else’s Judgement But My Own
Later that year I was in the office of a woman who had led an information gathering mission in a foreign country on a politically sensitive issue that gained some notoriety. I knew a bit about the information sharing and analysis thrusts that IARPA (Intelligence Advanced Research Project Activity), the intel community’s equivalent of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, had underway. Her agency was one of several struggling to deal with an explosion of digital data: not only email, phone intercepts, and the Dark Web, but also sensor data from a variety of platforms that needed to be interpreted to be understood.

How, I asked her, might a digital assistant that she controlled and shaped help her with her own analyses? How, as an analogy, might she work with a junior human assistant? What sorts of information collecting might she delegate, and how would she verify that her assistant’s work was sound?

Again, the answer was sharp and quick. “I wouldn’t. I don’t trust anyone else’s judgment but my own.”

Now, to be sure, she was one of the agency’s top people in her specialty. But the world was changing fast, and tech was both a cause and a new source of information regarding it. I knew from other work I’d done that she probably wasn’t accessing some important new clues. And that meant confirmation bias, always a danger, was even more likely to be cemented in place.

Put Them Together and What Have You Got?
When you believe there is a principles-based republic for which you are working and which is worth defending for reasons much larger than your own interests, those principles constrain your actions. And when your work is covert, and you use or influence powerful national security mechanisms, constraint is an important safeguard against tyranny and corruption. It is, in fact, a key part of your work.

When you acknowledge the limits of your own knowledge, rapid change in an area where you have hard-won expertise, and a flood of information (trustworthy, ambiguous, and sometimes intentionally deceitful), you actively seek to avoid missing key factors as a result of longstanding filters. You listen for different perspectives even—no, especially—when they challenge yours deeply.

Fortunately, there are many men and women in our intelligence community who do just that. But as we are learning, there are some who do not constrain themselves for the sake of the republic in their use of powerful covert mechanisms. And there are some who justify their illegal and unethical behavior on the grounds that they know better than American voters.

But it’s no secret that our national security apparatus is in major need of an overhaul at a time of rapid geopolitical and technology-driven change. And current events have upped the stakes.

Institutional Complexity
From its origins in World War II and the early days of the Cold War, U.S. national security agencies have multiplied in number, scope, and activity. And yet we’ve had major, damaging intel scandals and failures. Scandals like the range of illegal and unauthorized activities led by the CIA, NSA, FBI and IRS that led to the Church Committee investigation in the Senate and the related Pike Committee investigation in the House and the presidential Rockefeller Commission investigation into CIA activities within the United States, all in 1975. And then there were failures like the attacks of 9/11.

In 1997 Gen. William Odom proposed changes to our national security apparatus that were later published as Fixing Intelligence For A More Secure America. Odom, who was head of the National Security Agency under President Reagan, was a firm advocate of the post-World War II liberal order and international institutions that he believed were the foundation of America’s prosperity and security. A fierce critic of the Iraq war, Odom saw the United States as having an inadvertent but beneficial empire facilitated by institutions such as NATO and the United Nations.

Odom’s reform proposals reflected his experience as an Army general and at NSA.  He detested the CIA, wanted to simplify the multitude of intel agencies to one each per type of source (HUMINT, SIGINT, etc.), dissolving individual military and other agencies, and pushed to create a director of national intelligence separate from the director of the CIA.

After 9/11, Odom sharply criticized warrantless capture of U.S. citizen calls to and from overseas locations.

Odom’s fundamental orientation to and support for the post-World War II international liberal order was not unique. On the contrary, it has been the orientation of most of our intel, military, and political leaders for decades. We shouldn’t be surprised, therefore, when he asserts that liberal institutions domestically and internationally are prior to democracy, which they support but do not emerge from.

Flawed By Design?
But what if the intelligence apparatus and management structures intended to support the classical liberal order are inherently flawed? That’s what Amy Zegart explored in her Stanford Ph.D. dissertation and 1999 book Flawed By Design: The Evolution of the CIA, JCS, and NSC.

Zegart chronicles the political infighting and jostling that led to the creation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the National Security Council as well as the Central Intelligence Agency. A major theme in her work is how cultures from the different uniformed services and the OSS shaped the intel agencies that emerged. Those cultures, along with turf battles, quickly became entrenched and self-reinforcing.

Writing after the fall of the Soviet Union and during a presidential administration that believed that fall meant substantial resources could be shifted to various domestic federal programs, Zegart contrasted domestic agency cultures of the time with those in the national security agencies. The former she characterized as having strong interest groups, open information, legislative domain, and unconnected bureaucracies. The latter have weak interest groups, secrecy, executive branch domain, and connected bureaucracies even as they fought turf battles. The national security agencies are, therefore, inherently much more difficult to reform as a result. Indeed, she said, the lack of domestic constituencies invested in how the national security apparatus is organized means no president should waste political capital in the attempt.

Then 9/11 Happened
What was deeply problematic by the late 1990s became an urgent issue after the attacks of 9/11, the first major attack on the continental United States in over a century.

Several decisions around 9/11 blurred notional boundaries between the foreign/spying/covert operations mission of the intelligence agencies and law enforcement here at home. An understandable reluctance to demonize Muslims and immigrants morphed, with intention on the part of some advocates, into a reluctance to confront an ideology that is aggressively opposed to the founding principles of our constitutional republic.  Instead, a bipolar response emerged: treat terrorism as a domestic crime at home and a military issue abroad.

The USA Patriot Act was instrumental in giving domestic counterterrorism efforts the tools they needed to uncover, track, and intercept terrorist networks at work within the country.  But it also meant giving the FBI the ability to use National Security Letters to search emails, phone records, and other information of U.S. citizens without a court order, and more broadly empowered law enforcement officials to search a wide variety of personal information, businesses, and even homes without the knowledge of the people involved.

Remember Zegart’s focus on institutional culture? Those powers were given to an FBI long shaped by a “do what it takes” culture firmly nurtured by J. Edgar Hoover. Is it any surprise, then, that we see recent federal court cases dismissed with prejudice because the FBI and Department of Justice withheld exculpatory evidence from U.S. citizen defendants, including what the judge in the Bundy case called “flagrant federal misconduct”?

We will learn more over the coming several months about FBI and intel community abuses around and after the 2016 presidential campaign.  The evidence so far suggests a national crisis bigger than the 19th century’s Civil War. It’s a crisis that goes not only to the heart of accountability of the federal government to constitutional principles but also to the stakes in an age of ubiquitous electronic surveillance, terrorism threats with links to the international drug networks, and the dying post-World War II liberal order and institutions.

It’s a dangerous world and it will become more so for at least a while. We deeply need effective, accountable national security agencies. How we get them, and what that looks like, should be a concern for us all.

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2016 Election • Administrative State • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Intelligence Community • Mueller-Russia Witch Hunt • Post

Why Are Clapper and Brennan Not in Jail?

The clearest of all the laws concerning U.S. intelligence is Section 798, 18 U.S. Code—widely known in the Intelligence Community as “the Comint Statute,” or “the 10 and 10.” Unlike other laws, this is a “simple liability” law. Motivation, context, identity, matter not at all. You violate it, you are guilty and are punished accordingly.

Here it is:

(a) Whoever knowingly and willfully communicates, furnishes, transmits, or otherwise makes available to an unauthorized person, . . . any classified information—

(1) concerning the nature, preparation, or use of any code, cipher, or cryptographic system of the United States or any foreign government; or

(2) concerning the design, construction, use, maintenance, or repair of any device, apparatus, or appliance used or prepared or planned for use by the United States …or

(3) concerning the communication intelligence activities of the United States or any foreign government; or

(4) obtained by the processes of communication intelligence . . .

Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both.

On December 9 and 10, 2016, the New York Times and the Washington Post independently reported that anonymous senior intelligence officials had told them that, based on intercepted communications, the intelligence agencies agreed that Russia had hacked the Democratic National Committee to help Donald Trump win the election. Their evidence was the fact of their access to U.S communications intelligence. A flood of subsequent stories also cited allegations by “senior intelligence officials” that “intercepted communications” and “intercepted calls” showed that “members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election.”

Incontrovertibly, the officials who gave these stories to the Times and Post violated the Comint Statute, and are subject to the “10 and 10” for each count. There is no clearer instance of what the governing law is, of how it was violated, and of the punishment that this incurs.

Consequently, there is no clearer indictment of our legal system than the fact that no one has been prosecuted for these violations, much less punished.

Nor is there any doubt as to who at least two of these “senior intelligence officials” are: Former CIA director John Brennan and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

Beginning in January 2017, Brennan and Clapper made essentially the same statements on national television. The only possible excuse—that their allegations were lies—is irrelevant because the essence of the violation is the revelation that U.S intelligence was monitoring the communications of the Russians in America, and those of the Trump campaign as well. This is true, and that revelation is a textbook violation of the Comint Statute.

The reasons no prosecutions have followed should be plain enough. The offenders are big people, in the permanent government and in the Democratic Party. They have a great many friends in the U.S Justice Department. From the top down, the Trump Administration has been filled by much smaller people. Loud words aside, the president has kowtowed to the intelligence agencies in every way imaginable. No prominent Republican has chosen to challenge the de facto privileged relationship between Democrats in the intelligence agencies and the media.

And so, Brennan and Clapper continue as living proof that the United States has a dual system of justice. The example of their impunity speaks louder than any speech, and reassures their leftist successors in the intelligence agencies that their channel to the Times and Post is as safe as ever.

Politics is not responsible for the non-application of Section 798 to Brendan and Clapper. It is difficult to imagine that the public would not approve massively the straightforward application to prominent men of a law that is so unambiguous, which is the foundation of arguably the main part of U.S intelligence, and which has been applied countless times to ordinary people.

Rather, the absence of real politics—of real competition between opposing sides in American life—is the culprit. What we see is that those in the upper echelons of American life, whether they call themselves Republicans or Democrats, have greater loyalty to the ruling class to which they belong than to any law or institution. The refusal to apply Section 798 to Brennan and Clapper —the fact that they are free men —is simply the most obvious manifestation of the fact that we have a ruling class, that it is coherent, and that it has yet to be challenged in any serious way.

Content created by the Center for American Greatness, Inc. is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a significant audience. For licensing opportunities for our original content, please contact licensing@centerforamericangreatness.com.

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2016 Election • Center for American Greatness • Deep State • Democrats • Donald Trump • Intelligence Community • Post

Early Days for the Spygate Scandal

In 1961, the British Parliament’s Tory majority of Prime Minister Harold Macmillan was wracked and wrecked by the Profumo Affair, eponymously named for Sir John Profumo, the Secretary for War. In her book, City of Sin: London and Its Vices, Catharine Arnold provides a pithy recap of the salacious scandal, which involved “call girls” Christine Keeler and Mandy Rice-Davies:

Christine and Mandy’s relationship with Stephen Ward [the procurer] and many rich and powerful men was exposed; there were juicy rumors in the Sunday papers about two-way mirrors, whips and canes, and kinky sex among the jet set including allegations about a party in Bayswater attended by Keeler, Rice-Davies and Ward, at which a cabinet minister had served a dinner of roast peacock while wearing nothing except a mask and a bow tie . . . The man also had a card around his neck: “If my services don’t please you, whip me.”

As the media frenzy escalated, Sir John told the assembled House of Commons he had engaged in “no impropriety whatever,” and threatened to sue anyone for slander and libel for repeating in public such allegations against him.

Sir John’s was a stellar performance, which worked for a spell until the bottom fell out. By June 5, he was forced to admit to the Commons that he had made love not war; lied to the chamber; and resigned his seat in Parliament and cabinet post as war secretary. As for Ward, he was arrested and went on trial for “living off of immoral earnings.” Keeler and Rice-Davies both testified against him. He was convicted and committed suicide prior to sentencing.

Keeler was later convicted of perjury and was given a nine month sentence. Rice-Davies, though not convicted of a crime, did make her mark in the public record.

On the stand during Ward’s trial, when the prosecutor informed Rice-Davies that Lord Astor had denied having an affair with or meeting her, she replied: “He would say that, wouldn’t he?”

Which calls to mind—yep—the left’s adored spymaster, John Brennan.

As PJ Media’s Debra Heine reports, the ex-CIA head is feeling frisky these days, because he feels a great wrong has been committed. No, not against the American people, President Trump, or other allegedly spied upon citizens, but against him.

“I don’t think it’s surprising at all that we continue to hear the sociopathic ramblings of Mr. Trump claiming that there was this effort to try to prevent him from being elected or to unseat him,” Brennan opined.

Worse, he believes himself the target of—wait for it—a disinformation campaign: “Rand Paul and others make these very specious allegations that have no basis in truth. But they put it into the bloodstream and then unfortunately certain networks will propagate that.” To what specious allegation does Mr. Brennan refer?

Per Senator Paul: “A high-level source tells me it was Brennan who insisted that the unverified and fake Steele dossier be included in the Intelligence Report . . . Brennan should be asked to testify under oath in Congress ASAP.”

Not one to sport an “If my services don’t please you, whip me” card, Brennan indignantly denied the charge: “That’s absolutely incorrect and 180 degrees from the truth. It was CIA that was pushing not to have it included, not to have it taken into account at all in that intelligence community assessment.”

Ever the CIA professional, Brennan provided a plausible patsy: ex-FBI Director James Comey. “This was something that Jim Comey and the FBI thought it was appropriate that Mr. Trump, who was going to become the president of the United States, would be aware of this report that is circulating and how it could be exploited by the Russians or others to try to undermine this government,” Brennan said.

Regarding this and other contentious matters, Brennan claimed he’d “welcome any kind of continued investigation in terms of what we did during that period of time that we were in government . . . I testified in front of Congress,” and would “absolutely” do so again if need be.

In these early days of investigating the investigators and their masters who perverted the police powers of the state to spy upon political opponents, John Brennan’s indignant protestations of innocence from a man whose job it was to deceive on a global scale and a cavalier regard for said investigation and of testifying before Congress—a body to which he has already lied—should surprise no one.

After all, he would say that, wouldn’t he?

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