The Swamp Is A Danger To American National Security

On August 4th, Daniel Greenfield posted an article at Front Page Magazine about National Security Council head H.R. McMaster.  Daniel Greenfield has concluded that McMaster is part of the deep state and is working against the interests of both America and the Trump Administration. At this point I should mention that like it or not, Donald Trump is the President, and working against Donald Trump is working against the interests of America. It is not patriotic to oppose anything and everything the Trump Administration proposes–it is obstructionism. The Washington establishment’s worst nightmare is for the Trump Administration to succeed–that will be the end of their stranglehold on our government and their success as an elite class.

The article notes:

Derek Harvey was a man who saw things coming. He had warned of Al Qaeda when most chose to ignore it. He had seen the Sunni insurgency rising when most chose to deny it.

The former Army colonel had made his reputation by learning the lay of the land. In Iraq that meant sleeping on mud floors and digging into documents to figure out where the threat was coming from.

It was hard to imagine anyone better qualified to serve as President Trump’s top Middle East adviser at the National Security Council than a man who had been on the ground in Iraq and who had seen it all.

Just like in Iraq, Harvey began digging at the NSC. He came up with a list of Obama holdovers who were leaking to the press. McMaster, the new head of the NSC, refused to fire any of them.

McMaster had a different list of people he wanted to fire. It was easy to make the list. Harvey was on it.

All you had to do was name Islamic terrorism as the problem and oppose the Iran Deal. If you came in with Flynn, you would be out. If you were loyal to Trump, your days were numbered.

And if you warned about Obama holdovers undermining the new administration, you were a target.

One of McMaster’s first acts at the NSC was to ban any mention of “Obama holdovers.” Not only did the McMaster coup purge Harvey, who had assembled the holdover list, but his biggest target was Ezra Watnick-Cohen, who had exposed the eavesdropping on Trump officials by Obama personnel.

It seems as if the NSC under McMaster has turned political,  gotten totally out of control, and needs to be promptly reined in.

The article continues:

Ezra Watnick-Cohen had provided proof of the Obama surveillance to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes. McMaster, however, was desperately working to fire him and replace him with Linda Weissgold. McMaster’s choice to replace Watnick-Cohen was the woman who helped draft the Benghazi talking points which blamed the Islamic terrorist attack on a video protest.

After protests by Bannon and Kushner, President Trump overruled McMaster. Watnick-Cohen stayed. For a while. Now Ezra Watnick-Cohen has been fired anyway.

According to the media, Watnick-Cohen was guilty of “anti-Muslim fervor” and “hardline views.” And there’s no room for anyone telling the truth about Islamic terrorism at McMaster’s NSC.

McMaster had even demanded that President Trump refrain from telling the truth about Islamic terrorism.

Another of his targets was Rich Higgins, who had written a memo warning of the role of the left in undermining counterterrorism. Higgins had served as a director for strategic planning at the NSC. He had warned in plain language about the threat of Islamic terrorism, of Sharia law, of the Hijrah colonization by Islamic migrants, of the Muslim Brotherhood, and of its alliance with the left as strategic threats.

Please follow the link to read the entire article. It is chilling to think that a group of people have become so entrenched in a government agency that they will risk the security of America to remain in power.

 

The Story vs. The Spin

Yesterday The Washington Post reported some interesting information about the allegations that President Obama used electronic surveillance on President Trump’s campaign and transition team. I seriously wonder if anything will come of this, but I believe we have a smoking gun.

The article reports:

The FBI obtained a secret court order last summer to monitor the communications of an adviser to presidential candidate Donald Trump, part of an investigation into possible links between Russia and the campaign, law enforcement and other U.S. officials said.

The FBI and the Justice Department obtained the warrant targeting Carter Page’s communications after convincing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge that there was probable cause to believe Page was acting as an agent of a foreign power, in this case Russia, according to the officials.

This is the clearest evidence so far that the FBI had reason to believe during the 2016 presidential campaign that a Trump campaign adviser was in touch with Russian agents. Such contacts are now at the center of an investigation into whether the campaign coordinated with the Russian government to swing the election in Trump’s favor.

I would like someone to explain to me how the Russian government could swing the election in Trump’s favor. The investigation into any Russian involvement in the Trump campaign is nothing more than a smoke screen for the illegal surveillance done by the Obama Administration.

The New York Post reported yesterday:

In what the paper (The Washington Post) described as a lengthy declaration, the government said Page “engaged in clandestine intelligence activities on behalf of Moscow.”

The application was submitted in July and the ensuing 90-day warrant has been renewed at least once, the paper reported.

The government agencies are trying to determine whether Page or any other members of the Trump campaign had improper contacts Russian agents as the Kremlin sought to influence the presidential election.

Page told the paper that he was just a target in a political hit campaign.

“This confirms all of my suspicions about unjustified, politically motivated government surveillance,” Page told The Washington Post Tuesday. “I have nothing to hide.”

This makes Watergate look like amateur hour. People went to jail because of the Watergate break-in. People should go to jail for the surveillance of the Trump campaign and the Trump transition team. What was done was unconstitutional and a violation of the civil rights of the people under surveillance. The leaking of this information with the names unmasked was also a violation of the law. If no one is held accountable, then the precedent is set that unwarranted surveillance of American citizens and releasing the information is acceptable.

 

The Real Bottom Line On RussiaGate

On Wednesday, The Hill posted an article about the scandal surrounding Russian influence during the 2016 presidential campaign and election.

The article reminds us of some recent events:

Senator Chuck Schumer and Congressman Adam Schiff have both castigated Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, for his handling of the inquiry into Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election.  They should think twice.  The issue that has recently seized Nunes is of vital importance to anyone who cares about fundamental civil liberties.

The trail that Nunes is following will inevitably lead back to a particularly significant leak.  On Jan. 12, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius reported that “according to a senior U.S. government official, (General Mike) Flynn phoned Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak several times on Dec. 29.”

Remember–this case (or lack of it) is based on leaked information. The rights of a private American citizen were violated in the way the information about the Russian Ambassador’s phone call was distributed and leaked. What happened here is exactly what the Congressmen who opposed the Patriot Act feared would happen–the use of government apparatus to spy on political opponents. It’s here.

The article reports:

Regardless of how the government collected on Flynn, the leak was a felony and a violation of his civil rights.  But it was also a severe breach of the public trust. When I worked as an NSC staffer in the White House, 2005-2007, I read dozens of NSA surveillance reports every day. On the basis of my familiarity with this system, I strongly suspect that someone in the Obama White House blew a hole in the thin wall that prevents the government from using information collected from surveillance to destroy the lives of the citizens whose privacy it is pledged to protect.  

The leaking of Flynn’s name was part of what can only be described as a White House campaign to hype the Russian threat and, at the same time, to depict Trump as Vladimir Putin’s Manchurian candidate.  On Dec. 29, Obama announced sanctions against Russia as retribution for its hacking activities.  From that date until Trump’s inauguration, the White House aggressively pumped into the media two streams of information: one about Russian hacking; the other about Trump’s Russia connection. In the hands of sympathetic reporters, the two streams blended into one.  

In late December there were reports of Russians hacking into the electricity grid of a Vermont utility. The hype of Russian intervention continued. It turned out later that the story was totally misreported–an employee had mistakenly loaded some information into the utility’s computer system.

The article  concludes:

While the White House was hyping the Russia threat, elements of the press showed a sudden interest in the infamous Steele dossier, which claimed that Russian intelligence services had caught Trump in Moscow in highly compromising situations.  The dossier was opposition research paid for by Trump’s political opponents, and it had circulated for months among reporters covering the election.  Because it was based on anonymous sources and entirely unverifiable, however, no reputable news organization had dared to touch it.  

With a little help from the Obama White House, the dossier became fair game for reporters.  A government leak let it be known that the intelligence community had briefed Trump on the dossier.  If the president-elect was discussing it with his intelligence briefers, so the reasoning went, perhaps there was something to it after all.

By turning the dossier into hard news, that leak weaponized malicious gossip. The same is true of the Flynn-Kislyak leak.  Ignatius used the leak to deepen speculation about collusion between Putin and Trump: “What did Flynn say (to Kislyak),” Ignatius asked, “and did it undercut the U.S. sanctions?” The mere fact that Flynn’s conversations were being monitored deepened his appearance of guilt.  If he was innocent, why was the government monitoring him?

It should not have been.  He had the right to talk to in private — even to a Russian ambassador.  Regardless of what one thinks about him or Trump or Putin, this leak should concern anyone who believes that we must erect a firewall between the national security state and our domestic politics.  The system that allowed it to happen must be reformed.  At stake is a core principle of our democracy: that elected representatives control the government, and not vice versa.

Laws were broken in releasing the transcripts of the conversations of General Flynn. It is time to get past the partisan divide and realize that this was a serious encroachment on the freedom of all Americans. Those responsible for spreading the information need to be dealt with severely.

How The Deep State Works

It is nearly impossible to fire a federal employee. The logic behind this is that civil servants should not be at the mercy of elections. They should have some modicum of job security. Although in theory that is a really good idea, it prevents the occasional housecleaning that Washington, D.C. needs. The group in Washington that is dedicated to maintaining the status quo is a small portion of the deep state. The deep state is much more complex and entangled than that, but for the purposes of this article, the deep state is simply the entrenched bureaucracy that is intent on maintaining the status quo. The deep state is one of the few things in Washington that is truly bi-partisan.

The Conservative Treehouse posted an article yesterday that illustrates how the deep state works.

The article reports:

Chairman Nunes is the only member of the Intelligence Oversight Gang-of-Eight who has reviewed the executive level intelligence product which caused him concern.  Nunes alleged in the last week he received evidence that Obama administration political figures gained access to unmasked American identities through foreign intercepts involving the Trump transition team between November 2016 and January 2017.

Media and congressional leadership intentionally skip the obvious questions:

Why don’t the other seven members also go look at the same executive intel?

  • Why, instead of looking at the same data, does the entire UniParty political apparatus and DC media now seem intent on eliminating Devin Nunes?
  • Why doesn’t Adam Schiff, Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer or Mark Warner simply go look at the same executive intelligence product?
  • Why doesn’t Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell or Richard Burr simply go look at the same executive intelligence product?
  • Why doesn’t any member of the DC media ask such brutally obvious questions?
  • Why is the DC UniParty both intent on not looking at the intelligence and simultaneously intent on removing Nunes, and getting the investigation removed from the House Intelligence Committee (Nunes/Schiff) and over to the Senate Intelligence Committee (Burr/Warner)?
  • What is it about that Executive Office Level Intelligence Product the gang-of-eight are all so desperately afraid of?
  • Why would the Senate launch another entire congressional intelligence inquiry, when the head of the Senate Intelligence Committees, Burr and Warner, are desperate NOT to see the intelligence product that causes Nunes such concern?

In a previous article, The Conservative Treehouse explains why much of those in Washington who should see the intelligence reports have not:

If Representative Schiff saw the same intelligence that substantiates Nunes he couldn’t keep up the fake outrage and false narrative. Right now Schiff can say anything about it he wants because he hasn’t seen it.  If Schiff actually sees the intelligence Nunes saw he loses that ability. He would also lose the ability to criticize, ridicule and/or marginalize Devin Nunes.

The same political perspective applies to Minority leader Nancy Pelosi, Minority leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Mark Warner. For each of them to see the information would eliminate their ability to talk about it, or criticize Nunes. The politics of the situation are more valuable so long as they don’t engage in actual truthful knowledge.

Chairman Nunes cannot share his intelligence finding with the House Committee, because the intelligence product is beyond their intel authority. Nunes has to ask for it in portions as each compartment would permit and authorize; And so long as Pelosi, Schumer, Warner and Schiff refuse to look at the intelligence that ‘only they’ are allowed to see, they can continue to ridicule and take political advantage.

This reality is also the reason why the media is so able to manipulate the narrative around Chairman Nunes; and simultaneously why he’s able to say he’s done nothing wrong.

Until we go back to a system under which civil servants can be fired and there is a periodic housecleaning in Washington, we will be a bi-partisan government of unelected bureaucrats and our votes will not be worth much. If President Trump is serious about changing Washington, he needs to begin clearing out the deep state by firing civil servants who are working against the interests of elected officials. The uproar will be monstrous, but it is truly the only way to drain the swamp.

 

 

If You Can Discredit The Messenger, You Might Be Able To Discredit The Message

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about the Democrat‘s call that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes recuse himself from the investigation into Russian activities during the 2016 election. Their main justification for this request is that Congressman Nunes informed President Trump that he had been under surveillance by the Obama Administration.

The article reminds us:

Journalists were so busy scoffing on Twitter at Nunes’ March 22 press conference that they failed to pay attention to what he said. Importantly, the intelligence collected on Trump transition staff was not related to Russia. It was not collected in the course of monitoring Russian officials, nor as part of any official criminal investigation into Trump-world that might have justified inter-agency sharing.

In describing this still-unreleased intelligence material, Nunes referred to an earlier incident in which the Obama administration spied on Israeli officials. During that monitoring, the White House incidentally picked up conversations between the Israelis and members of Congress at the height of the debate over the Iran nuclear deal.

The article points out that there are two separate items before Congress right now that they should be investigating:

There are two important and separate questions now. One pertains to Russian propaganda efforts and illegal hacking during the 2016 election. The other pertains to potentially illegal handling of intelligence information on U.S. persons by the intelligence community or the Obama administration.

The article concludes:

Democrats accuse him of canceling the hearing to prevent testimony by Sally Yates, Obama’s acting attorney general whom Trump fired in January.

 Whatever the truth of this claim, and Nunes can prove them wrong by quickly rescheduling Yates’ testimony on Flynn and Russia, the illegal handling of intelligence information about conversations by opposition politicians is a very serious issue. Nunes is right to demand answers quickly by going to the source. Democrats’ calls for him to recuse himself from a completely separate investigation are not just disingenuous, but are intended to confuse the public.

By attacking Representative Nunes, the Democrats can take the focus off of the illegal surveillance of American citizens, the failure to mask the identify of those citizens, and leaking of surveillance information to the press with the purpose of bringing down a presidential candidate and later a President.  This is not acceptable behavior.

In watching the Democrats and their attempts to delegitimize by keeping the Russian interference story alive, I am reminded of a historic event in which the Democrats and the press did a similar thing and succeeded.

The actions of the Democrats during Watergate provide a preview of what is happening now. Watergate was a high watermark in the politics of personal destruction. In his book, Inside the Real Watergate Conspiracy, the author, Geoff Shepard, states:

“It seems clear that without Cox’s intervention, the federal prosecutors would have issued indictments at least by August 1973, and the public’s desire to know that the government was seriously pursuing the Watergate case would have been fully satisfied. Indeed, on May 24, 1973, the U.S. attorney publicly stated that comprehensive indictments were imminent; and the prosecutorial memo submitted to Cox on his arrival stated that the case was all but closed.”

As Americans, we need to make sure that this sort of manipulation of the news does not happen again. Today we have an alternative media that we did not have then. Hopefully that will make a difference. At any rate, we need to be aware of what is being attempted.

The accusations of Russian interference are garbage–they are a distraction designed to prevent President Trump from draining the swamp. The accusations provide another illustration of the reason President Trump needs to drain the swamp.

A New Wrinkle In One Of The Current Scandals

One of my favorite radio shows is the Hugh Hewitt Show. I can’t listen to him locally, but I can listen to him on Townhall.com. Mr. Hewitt is a California attorney, law professor, and served in the Reagan Administration. His show is always informative, and he posts many of the interviews at HughHewitt.com.

The following is an excerpt from an interview with Congress Devin Nunes that took place on May 15th:

DN: So when they went after the AP reporters, right? Went after all of their phone records, they went after the phone records, including right up here in the House Gallery, right up from where I’m sitting right now. So you have a real separation of powers issue that did this really rise to the level that you would have to get phone records that would, that would most likely include members of Congress, because as you know…

HH: Wow.

DN: …members of Congress talk to the press all the time.

HH: I did not know that, and that is a stunner.

DN: Now that is a separation of powers issue here, Hugh.

HH: Sure.

DN: And it’s a freedom of press issue. And now you’ve got the IRS going after people. So these things are starting to cascade one upon the other, and you have the White House pretending like they’re in the clouds like it’s not their issue somehow.

This whole discussion of abuse of power just got very interesting.

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Things That Slow Down The Growth Of The Economy

In September of 2010 I posted a story about the water shutoff in the Central Valley region of California (rightwinggranny.com). The irrigation systems that water the valley were shut down by Congress to protect the delta smelt, a supposedly endangered small fish that was getting caught in the irrigation pumps. Before the shutdown, the Central Valley was the breadbasket of America, supplying a major part of the fruits, nuts, and vegetables found in American supermarkets.

To add insult to injury, On April 28, 2010, Investors.com  reported:

Take the three congressmen who represent the valley and how they were pressured to vote for President Obama’s health care bill. It didn’t go without notice by farmers like Jasper that the 5% water allocations announced in February for all three congressional districts were lifted to 25% for the two whose Democratic representatives, Jim Costa of Fresno and Dennis Cardoza of Modesto, switched their votes on health reform from “no” to “aye.”

That is a disgrace.

Now to the present. Ed Morrissey at Hot Air reported yesterday that President Obama has stated that if the bill to restore the water to the farmers of Central Valley passes Congress, he will veto the bill. California Representative Devin Nunes has sponsored the Sacramento-San Joaquin Water Reliability Act.

The article at Hot Air reports:

“The bill restores the flow of water and establishes a framework for meaningful environmental improvements. It is a repudiation of the left’s assault on rural communities, which began with the decimation of the West’s timber industry and now is focused on Central Valley agriculture,” Nunes told IBD.

The stand-alone bill, H.R. 1837, marks the first time Central Valley water shortages and the federal role in creating them will be considered directly in Congress.

The statement from the White House regarding this bill includes the following:

H.R. 1837 would undermine five years of collaboration between local, State, and Federal stakeholders to develop the Bay-Delta Conservation Plan.  It would codify 20-year old, outdated science as the basis for managing California’s water resources, resulting in inequitable treatment of one group of water users over another.  And, contrary to 100 years of reclamation law that exhibits congressional deference to State water law, the bill would preempt California water law.

The article at Hot Air also includes a picture of what five years of collaboration have created. I posted my own picture back in April 2010. This is that picture:

Near Bakersfield, Calif., a farmer posts a sign blaming Congress for a sharp drop in water supplies that has slashed farm output.

Sometimes a picture is all you need.

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