There Is A Key

The following appeared on my Facebook feed yesterday. I feel that it sums up Robert Mueller’s final statement on his investigation:

However, there is a new wrinkle in the investigation of the roots of the Russian collusion charge that is very interesting. Yesterday John Solomon posted an article at The Hill that contains what he describes as surprising information.

The article reports:

Multiple witnesses have told Congress that, a week before Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, Britain’s top national security official sent a private communique to the incoming administration, addressing his country’s participation in the counterintelligence probe into the now-debunked Trump-Russia election collusion.

Most significantly, then-British national security adviser Sir Mark Lyall Grant claimed in the memo, hand-delivered to incoming U.S. national security adviser Mike Flynn’s team, that the British government lacked confidence in the credibility of former MI6 spy Christopher Steele’s Russia collusion evidence, according to congressional investigators who interviewed witnesses familiar with the memo.

It gets more interesting:

Congressional investigators have interviewed two U.S. officials who handled the memo, confirmed with the British government that a communique was sent and alerted the Department of Justice (DOJ) to the information. One witness confirmed to Congress that he was interviewed by special counsel Robert Mueller about the memo.

Now the race is on to locate the document in U.S. intelligence archives to see if the witnesses’ recollections are correct. And Trump is headed to Britain this weekend, where he might just get a chance to ask his own questions.

“A whistleblower recently revealed the existence of a communique from our allies in Great Britain during the early days of the Russia collusion investigation,” Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), a member of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, told me.

So Robert Mueller knew that there were doubts about the Steele Dossier–the basis for the charge of Russian collusion.

The story continues:

The revelation of a possible warning from the British government about Steele surfaces less than a month after a long-concealed document was made public, showing that a State Department official in October 2016 met with Steele and took notes that raised concerns about the accuracy of some information he provided.

Those notes, as I have written, quoted the British operative as saying he had a political deadline of Election Day to make his information public and that he was leaking to the news media — two claims that would weigh against his credibility as an FBI informant. They also flagged a piece of demonstrably false intelligence he provided.

The British Embassy in Washington did not return a call or email seeking comment. Grant, who left his post in April 2017, did not respond to a request for comment at the university where he works. His former top deputy, Paddy McGuinness, declined comment.

The article concludes:

If the British memo exists, it was never shared with the House Intelligence, House Judiciary, House Oversight and Reform or Senate Judiciary committees, despite their exhaustive investigations into the Steele dossier, congressional investigators told me. These investigators learned about the document in the past few weeks, setting off a mad scramble to locate it and talk to witnesses.

If the witnesses’ recollections are correct, the British communique could become one of the most significant pieces of evidence to emerge in the investigation of the Russia-collusion investigators.

It would mean that Trump was never told of the warning Flynn’s team received, and that the FBI and DOJ continued to rely on Steele’s uncorroborated allegations for many months as they renewed the FISA warrant at least two more times and named Mueller as special prosecutor to investigate Russia collusion.

Former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), whose staff has been fighting unsuccessfully to gain access to the British communique, told me Wednesday its public release would further accentuate “that the FBI and DOJ were dead wrong to rely on the dossier in the Russia investigation and to use it as a basis to spy on Americans.”

The investigation into President Trump was a hoax, pure and simple. However, that won’t stop impeachment proceedings. As the truth dribbles out, those impeachment proceedings are going to look really silly.

We Spent An Awful Lot Of Money For Nothing

Yesterday Bryon York posted an article at The Washington Examiner about the upcoming release of the Mueller Report. The article lists five arguments that will not be settled by the release of the report.

The article lists those five items:

1. Collusion. On the face of it, Barr’s summary of Mueller’s conclusion could not be clearer: The evidence gathered by the special prosecutor does not show that the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with Russia to fix the 2016 election. Barr included two brief quotes from the Mueller report on collusion: “The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities” and “the evidence does not establish that the president was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference.” So on the question: Will Mueller show that collusion occurred? The answer seems a pretty straightforward no.

…2. Obstruction. This is a guarantee: Some readers of the Mueller report will swear that it proves the president obstructed justice, while others will swear it proves he did not obstruct justice. Mueller himself has made sure that will happen by not making what Barr called a “traditional prosecutorial judgment” on the obstruction question. Why Mueller did that is not clear; perhaps it will be revealed when the report is released. Barr said Mueller “views as ‘difficult issues’ of law and fact concerning whether the president’s actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction.”

…3. Impeachment. Some Democrats had hoped that the Mueller report would give them cover for impeaching the president. I was undecided, they might say, and then I saw the special counsel’s overwhelming evidence against the president, and I knew it was my duty to impeach. Some of those Democrats also hoped that the Mueller report would serve as a road map to impeachment, in effect doing for Congress the work of discovering and organizing evidence against the president.

…4. Investigating the investigation. Many Republicans, long convinced that the Trump campaign did not conspire or coordinate with Russia, have instead sought to uncover the events surrounding the decision by U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies to investigate the Trump campaign in 2016. It’s been hard finding out what happened. Rep. Devin Nunes, when he was chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, shook loose a lot of information, but much remains unknown to the public. Now, those Republicans are counting on an investigation by Justice Department inspector general Michael Horowitz to reveal more. And they are hoping that President Trump will declassify documents that could shed new light on the matter. One place they are not looking for answers is the Mueller report.

5. Why a special counsel? Some Republicans question whether there was really a need for a special counsel to investigate Trump-Russia. First, they cite the fact that there was no underlying crime. There was no crime specified in Mueller’s original scope memo, and Mueller could never establish that the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with Russia. Second, they point to the circumstances of Mueller’s appointment, when fired FBI director James Comey leaked confidential documents in order to set off an uproar that he hoped would result in the appointment of a special counsel. As it turned out, things went according to Comey’s plan. But was a special counsel really necessary to investigate the crime that did not occur? Like so many others, don’t look for that argument to be resolved by the Mueller report.

The Mueller investigation cost American taxpayers approximately $31 million. In the end, it proved to be nothing more than a way to keep a number of political people in Washington employed for a while after the administration they supported was not reelected.

 

 

How We Got Here

Yesterday The Conservative Treehouse posted a  transcript of an interview by Sean Hannity of Congressman Devin Nunes. Congressman Nunes related the history and origins of the spying on the Trump campaign by members of the Obama administration.

This is the essence of the story:

Finally Devin Nunes is outlining what CTH has been calling attention to for over two years.  The spying began in 2015.   “Spygate” was part of the larger “Russian Conspiracy and Collusion” operation.   This was all planned well in advance.

The spying began in 2015, and was part of the collaborative process -and reason- for Nellie Ohr to join the political opposition research being conducted by Fusion GPS.

CIA Director John Brennan had his OCONUS lures, Joseph Mifsud and Stefan Halper on standby awaiting targeting information.  They needed targets.

Fusion-GPS and Nellie Ohr were researching targets based on candidates.  Donald Trump was the most likely candidate to win the GOP nomination.  Trump was the focus of identifying targets.

As the Fusion and Ohr research was ongoing, and when it became transparent that Trump was going to be the victor in the Primaries; the media began demanding to know who were the foreign policy and national security advisors to candidate Trump.  This DNC inspired effort to demand names and lists was in alignment with Brennan, Fusion and Ohr.

Once they had some names identified (March/April ’16), ie. Papadopoulos, Flynn, Manafort and Page,…  Brennan tasked Mifsud and Halper to run the spygate operation.

In/around late June and early July of ’16, Brennan was in position to turn over the outcome of his operation to the FBI via an origination EC memo.

[April 22nd 2018] According to House Intelligence Committee member Devin Nunes; who is also a member of the intelligence oversight ‘Gang-of-Eight’; that EC contains intelligence material that did not come through “official intelligence channels” into the U.S. intelligence apparatus.

The EC was not an official product of the U.S. intelligence community. Additionally, Brennan was NOT using official partnerships with intelligence agencies of our Five-Eyes partner nations; and he did not provide raw intelligence –as an outcome of those relationships– to the FBI. {Go Deep}

CIA Director Brennan formatted the same intelligence to the White House where Susan Rice and Samantha Powers were doing the unmasking to facilitate the leaks.

The FBI took Brennan’s two-page “EC” memo and originated the official counterintelligence operation known as “Crossfire Hurricane” on July 31st, 2016.

FBI Counterintelligence Agent Peter Strzok wrote out the operational instructions and objectives for the operation.  As noted by Trey Gowdy, included in those instructions was the targeting of the “Trump Campaign” specifically.

”’The intelligence outcomes were then continually distributed to the White House and in August 2016 to the Gang-of-Eight as noted by Brennan’s testimony.

Brennan: [13:35] “Third, through the so-called Gang-of-Eight process we kept congress apprised of these issues as we identified them.”

“Again, in consultation with the White House, I PERSONALLY briefed the full details of our understanding of Russian attempts to interfere in the election to congressional leadership; specifically: Senators Harry Reid, Mitch McConnell, Dianne Feinstein and Richard Burr; and to representatives Paul Ryan, Nancy Pelosi, Devin Nunes and Adam Schiff between 11th August and 6th September [2016], I provided the same briefing to each of the gang of eight members.”

“Given the highly sensitive nature of what was an active counter-intelligence case [that means the FBI], involving an ongoing Russian effort, to interfere in our presidential election, the full details of what we knew at the time were shared only with those members of congress; each of whom was accompanied by one senior staff member.”… (LINK)

This is thoroughly disgusting. It is a total misuse of the power of the government. There should be a lot of people held accountable for breaking the law for political purposes.

An October Surprise That Continues

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit reported that Senator Rand Paul announced Wednesday that according to a high level source, former CIA Chief John Brennan insisted Hillary’s fake Russia dossier be included in the Intelligence Report.

The article reminds us of the series of events leading up to the 2016 election:

In late summer of 2016, then-FBI Director James Comey was notified that former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would be sending him a letter asking him to investigate the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia.

Harry Reid’s letter was written a week after he met with John Brennan – raising suspicion that Brennan briefed Reid on the fake Steele dossier — Reid’s letter was then leaked to the New York Times just before election day.

John Brennan said during a February 2018 appearance on “Meet the Press” that he learned about the dossier in December of 2016 and that “it did not play any role whatsoever in the intelligence community assessment that was done that was presented to then-President Obama and then-President elect Trump.”

The article concludes:

John Brennan told the House Intelligence Committee in a May 2017 hearing that the dossier was not a part of the intelligence used to assess Russian interference in the 2016 election.

The dossier, Brennan testified, “was not in any way used as a basis for the intelligence community assessment that was done.”

Former House Intel Chairman Devin Nunes was reportedly investigating whether Brennan perjured himself during his 2017 testimony to the Committee.

Rand Paul is right — it’s time for Congress to drag Brennan in again and question him under oath ASAP.

The total lack of integrity in some of our government officials and elected officials in appalling.

 

The Need To Hold Individuals Accountable

I think one of the most frustrating things about watching the news these days is watching people in power say things that have no foundation in fact and do things that an ordinary person would go to jail for. Those days may be coming to an end (one can only hope).

Yesterday The Gateway Pundit reported that Judicial Watch has filed an ethics complaint with the Office of Congressional Ethics against House Intel Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA).

The article reports:

The official complaint filed by Judicial Watch with the Office of Congressional Ethics, requests House Intel Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) be investigated in connection with recent revelations that he secretly met with Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson in Aspen, Colorado in July of 2018.

The complaint also requests Schiff be investigated after it was revealed his staff traveled to New York and met with Michael Cohen for 10 hours prior to Trump’s former lawyer testifying to the House Intel Panel.

The article includes a portion of the ethics complaint:

Dear Chairman Skaggs,

Judicial Watch is a non-profit, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government and fidelity to the rule of law. We regularly monitor congressional ethics issues as part of our anti-corruption mission.

This letter serves as our official complaint to the Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE) concerning the activities of Rep. Adam Schiff. Rep. Schiff appears to have violated House Code of Official Conduct, Rule 23, clauses 1 and 2, by inappropriately communicating with witnesses. Clauses 1 and 2 provide:

1.A Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House shall behave at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House.

2.A Member, Delegate, Resident Commissioner, officer, or employee of the House shall adhere to the spirit and the letter of the Rules of the House and to the rules of duly constituted committees thereof.

Rep. Adam Schiff attended the Aspen Security Forum conference in July 2018, which was also attended by Glenn Simpson, the founder of the firm Fusion GPS. Press reports have detailed evidence of a meeting and discussion between Rep. Schiff and Glenn Simpson at the July 2018 Aspen Security Forum. As noted in The Hill newspaper:

At the time of the encounter, Simpson was an important witness in the House Intelligence Committee probe who had given sworn testimony about alleged, but still unproven, collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Fusion GPS is the political opposition research firm involved in procuring “unverified” information claiming the Trump presidential campaign had “colluded” with Russia, among other things. That Fusion OPS-supplied information was the basis upon which the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) obtained Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) surveillance warrants against Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page.

Mr. Simpson’s leadership of Fusion GPS and his centrality to events resulted in his having to testify before congressional committees or their staffs. Specifically, Mr. Simpson testified before the House Intelligence Committee, of which Rep. Schiff was the ranking Democratic member, on October 16, 2018 – approximately three (3) months after the Aspen Security Forum.

We note that following revelations in 2017 that Rep. Devin Nunes had informed President Trump that U.S. intelligence agencies had been engaging in “incidental collection” of his campaign’s communications, Rep. Schiff demanded that Rep. Nunes, then Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, recuse himself from any investigations involving alleged Trump collusion with Russia. Indeed, Rep. Schiff wrote the following on twitter:

This is not a recommendation I make lightly … But in much the same way that the attorney general [Jeff Sessions] was forced to recuse himself from the Russia investigation after failing to inform the Senate of his meetings with Russian officials, I believe the public cannot have the necessary confidence that matters involving the president’s campaign or transition team can be objectively investigated or overseen by the chairman.

Then-Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi concurred with Rep. Schiff’s call for Mr. Nunes to recuse himself.

The July 2018 contacts between Rep. Schiff and Mr. Simpson create, at a minimum, the appearance of impropriety. As a result of Rep. Schiff’s previously undisclosed, private discussions with Mr. Simpson, the public’s confidence in Mr. Schiff’s ability to objectively and impartially carry out his duties as Committee Chair of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence have been gravely damaged.

Further, Rep. Schiff’s contacts with Mr. Michael Cohen should also be scrutinized in the same light as the Simpson contacts. Journalists have reported:

President Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen told House investigators this week that staff for Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., traveled to New York at least four times to meet with him for over 10 hours immediately before last month’s high-profile public testimony, according to two sources familiar with the matter – as Republicans question whether the meetings amounted to coaching a witness.

The sources said the sessions covered a slew of topics addressed during the public hearing before the oversight committee – including the National Enquirer ‘s “Catch and Kill” policy, American Media CEO David Pecker and the alleged undervaluing of President Trump’s assets.

Judicial Watch is a watchdog group that fights for government transparency. The are equally hard on Democrats and Republicans. They have been major players in exposing much of the deep state in recent years.

What An Amazing Coincidence

On Thursday, John Solomon at The Hill reported that the House Intelligence Committee chairman, Adam Schiff, a Democrat from California, met with Fusion GPS Founder Glenn Simpson at an event in Aspen last year. Maybe they were talking about their grandchildren.

The article reports:

At the time of the encounter, Simpson was an important witness in the House Intelligence Committee probe who had given sworn testimony about alleged, but still unproven, collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign.

Simpson ran the firm hired by Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic Party to find dirt on Trump in Moscow. He employed retired British intelligence operative Christopher Steele, whose infamous and unverified dossier became the main evidence for the FBI’s probe of the Trump campaign, particularly the surveillance warrant against Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

And by the time of the meeting, the House Intelligence Committee had already received evidence from a senior Justice Department official, Bruce Ohr, that called into question Simpson’s testimony to lawmakers.

Specifically, Simpson claimed he had not begun meeting with Ohr until after Thanksgiving 2016, well after the FBI had begun investigating Trump-Russia collusion and after the presidential election in which Simpson’s client, Clinton, lost to Trump.

But Ohr provided compelling evidence, including calendar notations, testimony and handwritten notes, showing that Simpson met with him in August 2016, well before the election and during a time when Steele was helping the FBI start an investigation into Trump.

When confronted with the Aspen conference photos of Schiff, in sport coat and open-neck dress shirt, and Simpson, wearing casual attire, representatives for both men tried to minimize their discussion, insisting nothing substantive about the Russia case was discussed.

“In the summer of 2018, Mr. Simpson attended a media-sponsored social event where he exchanged small talk with Rep. Schiff and many other people who were in attendance,” Fusion GPS said in a statement to me. “The conversation between the two was brief and did not cover anything substantive. There has been no subsequent contact between Mr. Simpson and Rep. Schiff.”

The problem here is not the meeting–it’s the double standard:

There is nothing illegal or technically improper about a congressman meeting, intentionally or unintentionally, with a witness in an investigation. At least not under the law or the House Intelligence Committee’s rules.

But Schiff created a far higher standard two years ago when he demanded that his Republican counterpart on the committee, then-Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), be investigated for having meetings with national security council officials at the Trump White House without telling the committee. Schiff’s attacks led Nunes to temporarily recuse himself from the Russia probe.

Schiff assailed Nunes’s contacts with a source outside the committee confines as “a dead-of-night excursion” and said it called into question the impartiality of the inquiry because the committee wasn’t informed.

“I believe the public cannot have the necessary confidence that matters involving the president’s campaign or transition team can be objectively investigated or overseen by the chairman,” Schiff said at the time.

So how did Schiff meet his own standards? Boland (Schiff spokesman Patrick Boland) declined to say if his boss told the committee about his Simpson contact.

Democrats in Congress seem to have no concept of treating members of both political parties equally. I think that is one of the reasons people become disgusted with politics.

The Tactics Are Definitely Over The Top

The internet is buzzing today with the arrest of Roger Stone, someone who evidently had contacts with the Trump campaign at various points. Nothing he did in that context was illegal, but it seems that when questioned by Congress he did not tell the entire truth. Funny, other people who have recently lied to Congress are still walking around free.

The Washington Examiner posted an article today about Roger Stone’s arrest.

The article reports:

FBI agents arrested longtime Trump associate Roger Stone in a paramilitary-style raid at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., early Friday morning. A CNN producer on the scene said the arrest involved “heavy weaponry.” Stone was taken into custody without incident.

The arrest followed action by a grand jury in Washington, D.C., under Trump-Russia special counsel Robert Mueller. On Thursday, the grand jury indicted Stone on seven counts of lying to Congress, witness tampering, and obstructing a congressional investigation.

Roger Stone is 66 years old. The paramilitary-style raid was an abuse of power and was dangerous. It was also a waste of money. I have no doubt they could have simply waited until after breakfast, knocked on the man’s door, and taken him into custody. This is another example of the over-the-top tactics used by Robert Mueller.

The article goes on to explain what Roger Stone is charged with. Basically it is process crimes connected to the Special Counsel’s witch hunt. I suspect his real crime was supporting President Trump.

The article continues:

All the counts stem from Stone’s Sept. 26, 2017, interview with the House Intelligence Committee investigating Russia’s attempt to influence the 2016 election and the response by U.S. intelligence and law enforcement agencies. Stone is not charged with lying to or attempting to obstruct the Mueller investigation.

The special counsel’s charges involve Stone’s House testimony about WikiLeaks and its release of hacked material from the Democratic National Committee and, later, from Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta during the 2016 campaign. The indictment does not say Stone communicated with Wikileaks head Julian Assange. Rather, it says Stone lied about his attempts to learn Assange’s intentions through two intermediaries: journalist and provocateur Jerome Corsi and radio host Randy Credico.

Meanwhile, crimes involving lying to a FISA court go unpunished, misuse of government agencies to spy on Americans goes unnoticed, and destruction of evidence that was subpoenaed goes unpunished.

Unless the new Attorney General is sworn in quickly and deals with the unequal justice currently being practiced in America, we will have become a banana republic.

Getting To The Bottom

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article about what the Republicans have accomplished in informing Americans about the misuse of government agencies in surveilling the Trump campaign and the Trump administration.

The article lists what we know as a result of the work of the House Intelligence Committee.

This is the list:

1) The important role that the incendiary allegations in the still-unverified Trump dossier played in the FBI’s investigation of the Trump campaign.

2) The fact that the dossier was commissioned and paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party.

3) The unusual circumstances surrounding the formal beginning of the FBI’s counter-intelligence investigation into the Trump campaign.

4) The troubling deficiencies in the FBI’s application for a warrant to wiretap onetime Trump campaign figure Carter Page.

5) The anti-Trump bias of some of the top officials in the FBI investigation.

6) The degree to which the dossier’s allegations spread throughout the Obama administration during the final days of the 2016 campaign and the transition.

7) Obama officials’ unmasking of Trump-related figures in intelligence intercepts.

8) The fact that FBI agents did not believe Michael Flynn lied to them in the interview that later led to Flynn’s guilty plea on a charge of lying to the FBI.

9) The role of the opposition research firm Fusion GPS in the Trump-Russia probe.

There is more. The article notes that the FBI and Justice Department fiercely resisted the investigation. They withheld materials, dragged their feet, and flat-out refused to provide information to which congressional overseers were clearly entitled.

The article further reports:

None of this has been bipartisan. The work has been done by Republicans and opposed by Democrats. And if Democrats win control of the House, as a number of polls suggest they will do, it will stop immediately.

If Democrats win, Rep. Adam Schiff, who has opposed nearly everything Nunes has done, will become chairman of the Intelligence Committee. Rep. Jerrold Nadler will head the Judiciary Committee. And Rep. Elijah Cummings will take over the Oversight Committee.

This month Schiff wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post broadly outlining the new direction Democrats would take. In the Intelligence Committee, Schiff promised to investigate aspects of Trump-Russia that committee Republicans would not — a move that would target the president but also likely duplicate the work of other investigators. Schiff also mentioned what he said were “serious and credible allegations the Russians may possess financial leverage over the president, including perhaps the laundering of Russian money through his businesses.”

The Judiciary and Oversight Committees would also abandon their current paths and focus directly on the president.

There are legitimate concerns about the use of government agencies to spy on a political opponent. It is unfortunate that the Democrats do not seem to share this concern. If the Democrats gain control of the House of Representatives, the political abuses of government agencies will continue. At that point we will lose the concept of ‘equal justice under the law.’ We will be on our way to becoming a nation where your politics matter more than your guilt or innocence.

It’s Going To Be An Interesting Week

CNS News posted the following headline today, “Glenn Simpson, James Baker, and Nellie Ohr Scheduled to Testify This Week; Simpson Taking the 5th.” My, what an interesting combination of testimonies.

The article reports:

Glenn Simpson, the founder of Fusion GPS, will take the Fifth, refusing to testify, when he appears before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday.

Taking the Fifth does not necessarily mean that you are guilty of anything, but the article speculates on why Mr. Simpson might want to take the Fifth:

Simpson previously has testified before the House intelligence committee and two Senate committees. In response to a subpoena to testify on Tuesday, Simpson’s lawyers sent a letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte, saying in part that the “inquiry is not designed to discover the truth.”

“The obvious — and at times explicitly stated — goal of this Committee is to discredit and otherwise damage witnesses to Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, all as part of an effort to protect a President who has sought to placate and curry favor with a hostile foreign power and who demands that the Justice Department stop investigating him,” said the letter obtained by various media outlets.

When the flak becomes thick, it means that you are getting close to the target. It is becoming obvious to almost everyone that the Special Prosecutor’s investigation is going nowhere because it was a political scheme to interfere with the Trump presidency. Now we are reaching a time when those responsible for the scheme may be held accountable.

The article further reports:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein refused a request to appear last Thursday, prompting calls by some Republicans to subpoena him:

“He didn’t show up,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said of Rosenstein. “Look, when you’re the guy who in reality is running the Justice Department, and the chairman of the committee that has jurisdiction over your agency asks you to come, you are obligated to come and you’re obligated to come and testify under oath. He didn’t do that.

“So if it takes a subpoena, that’s exactly what should happen. We need him to answer questions about all kinds of issues associated with the Trump-Russia investigation, but specifically the statement that it’s alleged that he said where he talked about actually recording the commander in chief of our great country and he talked about the 25th Amendment.

“That is specifically what I want to ask him about,” Jordan told “Sunday Morning Futures” with Maria Bartiromo.

Rosenstein has said he was joking when he suggested wearing a wire into the Oval Office with the goal of documenting the alleged dysfunction of the commander in chief.

But according to some press reports, three FBI officials — Andrew McCabe, Lisa Page, and James Baker — did not take Rosenstein’s words as a joke, believing him to be serious about wiretapping the president in the wake of James Comey’s firing.

It’s interesting that Rod Rosenstein wrote the letter that recommended Comey’s firing.

The article highlights some of the history of the Russian collusion investigation:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein refused a request to appear last Thursday, prompting calls by some Republicans to subpoena him:

“He didn’t show up,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) said of Rosenstein. “Look, when you’re the guy who in reality is running the Justice Department, and the chairman of the committee that has jurisdiction over your agency asks you to come, you are obligated to come and you’re obligated to come and testify under oath. He didn’t do that.

“So if it takes a subpoena, that’s exactly what should happen. We need him to answer questions about all kinds of issues associated with the Trump-Russia investigation, but specifically the statement that it’s alleged that he said where he talked about actually recording the commander in chief of our great country and he talked about the 25th Amendment.

“That is specifically what I want to ask him about,” Jordan told “Sunday Morning Futures” with Maria Bartiromo.

Rosenstein has said he was joking when he suggested wearing a wire into the Oval Office with the goal of documenting the alleged dysfunction of the commander in chief.

But according to some press reports, three FBI officials — Andrew McCabe, Lisa Page, and James Baker — did not take Rosenstein’s words as a joke, believing him to be serious about wiretapping the president in the wake of James Comey’s firing.

Hopefully anyone involved in plotting against a duly-elected President will pay a high price for their actions.

Footnote 43

Yesterday John Solomon posted an article at The Hill about the redactions in the House Intelligence Committee Report Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

The article reports the following about declassifying the report:

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the FBI have tried to thwart President Trump on releasing the evidence, suggesting it will harm national security, make allies less willing to cooperate, or even leave him vulnerable to accusations that he is trying to obstruct the end of the Russia probe.

Before you judge the DOJ’s and FBI’s arguments — which are similar to those offered to stop the release of information in other major episodes of American history, from the Bay of Pigs to 9/11 — consider Footnote 43 on Page 57 of Chapter 3 of the House Intelligence Committee’s report earlier this year on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

Until this past week, the footnote really had garnered no public intrigue, in part because the U.S. intelligence community blacked out the vast majority of its verbiage in the name of national security before the report was made public.

From the heavy redactions, all one could tell is that FBI general counsel James Baker met with an unnamed person who provided some information in September 2016 about Russia, email hacking and a possible link to the Trump campaign.

Not a reporter or policymaker would have batted an eyelash over such a revelation.

Then, last Wednesday, I broke the story that Baker admitted to Congress in an unclassified setting — repeat, in an unclassified setting — that he had met with a top lawyer at the firm representing the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and received allegations from that lawyer about Russia, Trump and possible hacking.

It is becoming very obvious that releasing the report of the Committee will not harm national security as much as it will harm the reputation of the Department of Justice and FBI. It’s time to release the report.

This Is Not The America Most Of Us Want

Yesterday Judicial Watch posted the following Press Release:

‘[N]o such hearings were held with respect to the acknowledged FISA applications. Accordingly, no responsive hearing transcripts exist.’

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch today announced that in response to a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit, the Justice Department (DOJ) admitted in a court filing last night that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court held no hearings on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) spy warrant applications targeting Carter Page, a former Trump campaign part-time advisor who was the subject of four controversial FISA warrants.

In the filing the Justice Department finally revealed that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court held no hearings on the Page FISA spy warrants, first issued in 2016 and subsequently renewed three times:

[National Security Division] FOIA consulted [Office of Intelligence] … to identify and locate records responsive to [Judicial Watch’s] FOIA request…. [Office of Intelligence] determined … that there were no records, electronic or paper, responsive to [Judicial Watch’s] FOIA request with regard to Carter Page. [Office of Intelligence] further confirmed that the [Foreign Surveillance Court] considered the Page warrant applications based upon written submissions and did not hold any hearings.

The Department of Justice previously released to Judicial Watch the heavily redacted Page warrant applications. The initial Page FISA warrant was granted just weeks before the 2016 election.

The DOJ filing is in response to a Judicial Watch lawsuit for the FISA transcripts (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-01050)).

In February, Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee released a memo criticizing the FISA targeting of Carter Page. The memo details how the “minimally corroborated” Clinton-DNC dossier was an essential part of the FBI and DOJ’s applications for surveillance warrants to spy on Page.

Judicial Watch recently filed a request with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court seeking the transcripts of all hearings related to the surveillance of Carter Page.

“It is disturbing that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance courts rubber-stamped the Carter Page spy warrants and held not one hearing on these extraordinary requests to spy on the Trump team,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Perhaps the court can now hold hearings on how justice was corrupted by material omissions that Hillary Clinton’s campaign, the DNC, a conflicted Bruce Ohr, a compromised Christopher Steele, and anti-Trumper Peter Strzok were all behind the ‘intelligence’ used to persuade the courts to approve the FISA warrants that targeted the Trump team.”

This is a blatant example of using the apparatus of the government to spy on a political opponent. It is illegal and should result in jail time for those involved. To let this go unpunished means that it will be acceptable behavior in the future. We are in danger of losing our country to a group of elites who have no respect for either the law or the voters.

How Many Smoking Guns Do We Need?

On August 16th, Sara Carter posted an article about the latest batch of emails released between Bruce Ohr and other people involved in the lead up to the investigation of President Trump and Russia.

The article reports:

In one of Ohr’s handwritten notes listed as “Law enforcement Sensitive” from May 10, 2017, he writes “Call with Chris,” referencing Steele. He notes that Steele is “very concerned about Comey’s firing, afraid they will be exposed.” This call occurred months after FBI Director James Comey testified before the House Intelligence Committee and revealed for the first time that the FBI had an open counterintelligence investigation into President Donald Trump’s campaign and alleged collusion with Russia.

Steele is also extremely concerned about a letter sent from the Senate Judiciary Committee asking Comey for information on his involvement with Steele. Grassley sent 12 questions to Comey regarding the bureau and Steele’s relationship and wanted all information on any agreements they had during the investigation into alleged Russia-Trump collusion. Grassley also wanted to know if the FBI ever verified any of the information in Steele’s reports.

In Ohr’s notes from May 10, 2017, he goes onto write that Steele is concerned about a letter from the Senate Intelligence Committee, writing:

“Asked them 3 questions:

  1. What info (information) did you give to the U.S. govt (government)?
  2. What was the scope of yr (your) investigation?
  3. Do you have any other info that would assist in our question?”

SaraACarter.com first reported this week text messages between Steele and Ohr, revealing that Steele was anxious about Comey’s testimony and was hoping that “important firewalls will hold” when Comey testified.

Wouldn’t we all like to know exactly what those important firewalls were.

The Real Answer To The Mueller Investigation

Last night Tucker Carlson stated the following on his television show (posted at The Gateway Pundit):

Tucker Carlson: I just wanted to say this. We spoke to the Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee a minute ago. Devin Nunes of California is an honorable person… He has read the whole text of the application for the FISA warrant by the government, the Obama administration to spy on Carter Page and the Trump Campaign. He says the parts that have been redacted do not in any way threaten American national security. It is merely butt-covering on the part of the bureaucracy. We ask the obvious question which is why don’t you just tell us what’s in it and let the public decide, let the public judge. In the commercial break I got an interesting text, I’m going to read it on the air from a very informed person in Washington. And I’m quoting, “Dianne Feinstein entered the CIA torture memos into the record of the senate and was protected by the speech and debate clause. Any Republican with access to the FISA warrant could do the same. Complete immunity awaits them. I believe that to be true… I will say one more time, if you know what’s in the redacted portions of that application please send it to us. The public has a right to know.

I believe transparency is the answer to the current corruption in Washington. The best way to deal with the ‘deep state’ is to expose it.

Exactly How Did The Surveillance Of The Trump Campaign Begin?

Every now and then I post a story that I don’t understand, but I think is important. This is one of those stories. I think we may see its importance in the coming months, but right now it just looks like bureaucracy.

Breitbart is reporting the following today:

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) on Monday referred ten current and former U.S. officials to the House Judiciary and Oversight & Government Reform Committees’ joint task force, as it investigates potential DOJ and FBI wrongdoing related to the Trump-Russia probe.

In question is exactly when the federal investigation into and surveillance of the Trump campaign began and whether or not it was justified when it began.

The article at Breitbart reports:

Papadopoulos was reportedly told by a Maltese professor named Joseph Mifsud that Russia had dirt on Hillary Clinton in the form of emails. Downer requested a meeting with Papadopoulos weeks afterward. Papadopoulos reportedly told Downer in May 2016 that he was told Russia had dirt on Clinton, but did not specify “emails.”

The conversation was reportedly passed on from Downer to Amb. Joe Hockey, who was Australia’s ambassador to the United Kingdom serving in London at that time. Hockey reportedly passed on the conversation to the U.S. Embassy in London after the emails were released on July 22, 2016, who relayed it to the FBI.

Normally, intelligence passed on from a member of the “Five Eyes” alliance — Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.K., and the U.S. — to another member comes through an official channel for intelligence sharing.

However, Nunes, upon reviewing the document that formally launched the FBI’s investigation, said there was no intelligence shared through that official channel, meaning that the intelligence was shared through unofficial means.

U.S. officials who were serving at the U.S. Embassy in London listed in Nunes letter include: Elizabeth Dibble, Lewis Lukens, and Thomas Williams.

Dibble served as the deputy chief of mission at the embassy from 2013 through July 2016. Previously, she served as the principal deputy assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, from 2011 to 2013.

Lukens is the current deputy chief of mission at the embassy, who has served there since August 2016. Williams serves as the minister counselor for political affairs at the embassy, where he has served since at least December 2015. (The italics above are mine).

The article also mentions:

Nunes’s letter also lists Colin Kahl, former national security adviser to former Vice President Joe Biden, another former Biden aide, and former journalist Shailagh Murray – who is married to a Fusion GPS executive Neil King, Jr. – as well as former top Clinton State Department aide and campaign official Jake Sullivan.

This is getting to the bottom of the swamp.

 

When Is A Leak Not A Leak?

This article is based on two articles–one posted at The Washington Examiner today and one posted at Fox News yesterday. Both articles have to do with leaking by high ranking members of our government.

The Washington Examiner article deals with James Clapper. The article states that Mr. Clapper provided the House Intelligence Committee with ‘inconsistent testimony’ about his contact with the media.

The article reports:

The former spy chief initially said he did not speak with journalists about a secret intelligence assessment containing the information, before later admitting he discussed the dossier with CNN reporter Jake Tapper and possibly others, the report said.

A spokesman for the committee did not immediately respond to a request for comment on whether the committee will seek criminal charges. Last month, Clapper avoided charges for a separate alleged lie to Congress due to a five-year statute of limitations.

A spokesman for Clapper did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to the report, Clapper “flatly denied” during a July 2017 interview with the committee “discuss[ing] the dossier [compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele] or any other intelligence related to Russia hacking of the 2016 election with journalists.”

The activities of the upper levels of our government during the past two years are shameful.

The article at Fox News reports:

Former FBI Director James Comey, in a wide-ranging interview with Fox News on Thursday, defended sharing his memos about conversations with President Trump with multiple people, while denying it was a “leak.”

“That memo was unclassified then,” Comey told anchor Bret Baier during an appearance on “Special Report.” “It’s still unclassified. It’s in my book. The FBI cleared that book before it could be published.”

Comey acknowledged giving the memos to at least three people including his friend, Columbia University law professor Daniel Richman. He said he sent Richman a copy of the two-page unclassified memo and “asked him to get the substance of it out to the media.” 

“The reason I’m smiling, Bret,” Comey said. “I don’t consider what I shared Mr. Richman a leak.” 

It really doesn’t matter whether or not Mr. Comey considered it a leak. I suspect that those familiar with laws regarding leaks might come to a different conclusion.

Both these stories are examples of the war on President Trump that has been going on since he became a candidate for President. It is sad that certain areas of our government have been politicized to the point that they can be used to work against the policies of an elected President. It truly is time to clean house thoroughly in Washington.

All Americans Are Equal Under The Law…Except Those Who Are Not

Yesterday Tablet Magazine posted an article about the ongoing Robert Mueller investigation. The magazine has a unique take on the investigation and cites numerous events that illustrate why they drew the conclusions they did.

The article reminds us of some of Robert Mueller’s recent activities:

News that special counselor Robert Mueller has turned his attention to Erik Prince’s January 11, 2017 meeting in the Seychelles with a Russian banker, a Lebanese-American political fixer, and officials from the United Arab Emirates, helps clarify the nature of Mueller’s work. It’s not an investigation that the former director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation is leading—rather, it’s a cover-up.

After all, Mueller took his job not at the behest of the man who by all accounts he is likely to professionally and personally disdain, Donald Trump, but of the blue-chip Beltway elite of which he is a charter member. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein appointed him nearly a year ago to lead an investigation without parameters. That’s because Mueller’s job is to obscure the abuses of the US surveillance apparatus that occurred under the Obama administration.

The fact that someone at the level of former FBI director was called in to sweep up the mess left by bad actors in the bureau and Central Intelligence Agency and other parts of the intelligence bureaucracy suggests that the problems are even worse than previously thought. And that means the constituency for Mueller’s political intervention is enormous.

Mueller is said to believe that the Prince meeting was to set up a back channel with the Kremlin. But that makes no sense. According to the foundational text of the collusion narrative, the dossier allegedly written by former British spy Christopher Steele, the Kremlin had cultivated Trump himself for years. So what’s the purpose of a back channel, when Vladimir Putin already had a key to the front door of Mar-a-Lago?

The group behind the goals of this investigation are counting on the American people to get bored and stop paying attention. They are also hoping that we are not asking questions about the cost and strange direction the investigation has taken.

The article also reveals that some of the information the investigation is using could have only come from illegal unmasking of the people involved:

Prince was thrown into the middle of Russiagate after an April 3, 2017 Washington Post story reported his meeting with the Russian banker. But how did anyone know about the meeting? After the story came out, Prince said he was shown “specific evidence” by sources from the intelligence community that the information was swept up in the collection of electronic communications and his identity was unmasked. The US official or officials who gave his name to the Post broke the law when they leaked classified intelligence. “Unless The Washington Post has somehow miraculously recruited the bartender of a hotel in the Seychelles,” Prince told the House Intelligence Committee in December, “the only way that’s happening is through SIGINT [signals intelligence].”

Mueller presumably knows whether Prince’s name was indeed unmasked and then leaked to the press—and that the leak was a crime. Mueller certainly knows that most of the case he has regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election was built by abuses of the foreign intelligence surveillance apparatus and other related crimes that are punishable with jail time. The identity of Trump’s short-tenured National Security Adviser Michael Flynn was swept up and leaked to the press in the same way as Prince’s. It was leaked to the same newspaper, the Washington Post.

As I explained last week, the identity of Attorney General Jeff Sessions was also unmasked from intelligence intercepts and leaked to the Washington Post. The fact that the FBI had secured a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant on Carter Page was also leaked to the Post. The warrant on Page was secured on the basis of the findings in the Steele dossier, an unverified piece of opposition research paid for by the Clinton campaign and Democratic National Committee.

One of the main conclusions in the article:

The purpose of the Mueller inquiry is therefore not to investigate the mostly ludicrous-seeming charges in the Steele dossier, but to protect the institution of the FBI, former colleagues, as well as the national security surveillance system. Therefore the inquiry has to cover up the sinful origins of the collusion narrative itself—which was born in repeated abuses of power and subsequent crimes committed by US officials in the intelligence bureaucracy and the Obama administration.

Please follow the link to read the entire article. It reveals some of what President Trump is up against in trying to reclaim America for the average American.

From The Gateway Pundit

Posted today at The Gateway Pundit:

Jarrett also said, “Again, if true, Rosenstein’s action was an illegal abuse of power and he should no longer serve as Deputy Attorney General. He allegedly used threats to try to stop the Intelligence Committee from exposing wrongful behavior in an attempt to cover it up.’

The swamp is deep, and there will be a lot of resistance to cleaning it up. Hopefully there are enough honest people in Washington to get the job done. It is time for some people to be fired and arrested.

The Plot Thickens

It seems as if there were some major infringements on the privacy and civil rights of American citizens during the last year or so of the Obama Administration. Fortunately, it looks as though these violations will be investigated and the guilty parties will be held accountable.

The Washington Free Beacon posted an article today about the ongoing investigation into the unmasking of the names of American citizens who were named in classified intelligence community reports. Oddly enough, many of these citizens were associated with the Donald Trump campaign for President or his transition team.

The article reports:

Rep. Devin Nunes (R., Calif.), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, which is handling the probe, petitioned Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats last week to request his help in addressing the unmasking issue.

Nunes disclosed in his letter that the former Obama administration had “easy access” to sensitive classified information and that they may have used it to “achieve partisan political purposes, including the selective, anonymous leaking of such information.”

Congressional investigators uncovered that “one official [whose] position has no apparent intelligence-related function”—now believed to be Power—”made hundreds of unmasking requests during the final year of the Obama administration.”

Little justification was provided for the request of this sensitive classified information, which government insiders described as outside the purview of a U.N. ambassador.

“Of those requests, only one offered a justification that was not boilerplate and articulated why that specific official required the personal information for the performance of his or her official duties,” according to Nunes.

One former senior U.S. official intimately familiar with the national security infrastructure told the Free Beacon that Power would have little reason to be requesting such information, particularly information that included in raw intelligence reports related to Trump and his team.

“Asking for an unmasking is rare at the [National Security Council] or the State Department. It is frankly shocking that anyone would be asking for dozens, and if there are really hundreds it is indefensible,” said the former official. “It does make me wonder why [National Security Agency] didn’t stop her [Power], by questioning this practice and getting the head of NSA to raise it with the president or the national security adviser.”

In addition to Power, the House Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed former National Security Adviser Susan Rice and other top officials as part of its investigation into these leaks.

This is NOT politics as usual. The unmasking of American citizens and then leaking classified information is an example of using a government position for political purposes. Not only is it illegal, it is a danger to our republic.

The article concludes:

One veteran congressional adviser who has been briefed by senior Intelligence Committee members told the Free Beacon that the emergence of Power’s role in these unmasking efforts could point to the improper use of this information, given her unrelated role at the U.N.

“The outrage about Obama officials spying on Americans, let alone on the Republican candidate and then incoming president, is both real and legitimate,” said the source, who would only discuss the sensitive matter on background. “But there are still a lot of known unknowns, which could make things a lot worse.”

“The Obama folks may have made a deliberate decision to use Power, even though they knew it would risk giving away their unmasking campaigns, because she had no business making those requests,” the source said. “What was so bad they had to use her for the requests, rather than someone who would have had a better excuse but may have balked?”

Stay tuned. Even if the mainstream media ignores this story, you will be hearing more about this in the future.

 

Finding The Leaks

I am still enough of an optimist to think that there are some members of Congress who actually care about what happens to America. I am tired of watching the dog and pony show of endless accusations, endless hearings, endless anonymous sources, and no one being actually found guilty of anything. I believe that the election of President Trump has illustrated the fact that there is a deep state of the Washington establishment that does not want anyone to rock their boat.

I have quoted Carrol Quigley before:

I would like to believe that he was wrong. There is some hope.

The Washington Free Beacon is reporting today that the House Intelligence Committee has issued subpoenas for Samantha Power and other Obama Administration figures, including former national security adviser Susan Rice, in an effort to find out who has been leaking raw intelligence reports to the press during the presidential transition period.

The article reports:

Power’s role in this unmasking effort is believed to be particularly questionable given her position as the U.N. ambassador, a post that does not typically require such sensitive unmasking activities, according to former U.S. officials and other sources familiar with the matter.

“Unmasking is not a regular occurrence—absolutely not a weekly habit. It is rare, even at the National Security Council, and ought to be rarer still for a U.N. ambassador,” according to one former senior U.S. official who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.

“It might be defended when the communication in question relates directly to U.N. business, for example an important Security Council vote,” explained the former official, who would only discuss the matter on background. “Sometimes it might be done out of other motives than national security, such as sheer curiosity or to defend a bureaucratic position. Or just plain politics.”

The Intelligence Committee’s focus of Power and other key Obama officials is a prime example of the Obama administration’s efforts to spy on those close to Trump, according to sources familiar with the ongoing investigation.

“The subpoena for Power suggests just how pervasive the Obama administration’s spying on Americans actually was,” said one veteran GOP political operative who has been briefed on the matter by senior Congressional intelligence officials. “The U.N. ambassador has absolutely no business calling for the quantity and quality of the intelligence that Power seems to have been asking for.”

It is becoming obvious that President Obama used to power of his office to spy on and limit the influence of his political opponents. Under President Obama, the IRS became a political arm of the Democratic party–slow walking nonprofit applications from conservative groups. The Justice Department was also politicized when voter intimidation by the New Black Panthers was ignored despite video evidence. It should not be a surprise that the Patriot Act was also misused in the way feared by those in Congress who opposed it.

It is time to hold those who misused their government offices accountable. Leaking raw intelligence to the media is a crime. There are penalties. The law needs to be applied, and it needs to be applied evenly to everyone who broke it. Either Congressional investigations have value or they are a dog and pony show that wastes taxpayer money. We are about to find out which.

 

The Layers Of The Obama-Orchestrated Palace Intrigue

President Obama has been relatively quiet since leaving the White House, but that doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have people representing his interests in the Democratic Party and the media. What are his interests? The main one is preventing President Trump from undoing his executive orders and other policies that were put in place that were not helpful to the American economy. On Saturday, The New York Post posted a list of recent Presidents and the economic growth under each.

This is the list:

Here are the average growth rates for each president:

  • Johnson (1964-68), 5.3 percent
  • Kennedy (1961-63), 4.3 percent
  • Clinton (1993-2000), 3.9 percent
  • Reagan (1981-88), 3.5 percent
  • Carter (1977-80), 3.3 percent
  • Eisenhower (1953-60), 3 percent
  • Nixon (1969-74), 2.8 percent
  • Ford (1975-76), 2.6 percent
  • G.H.W. Bush (1989-92), 2.3 percent
  • G.W. Bush (2001-08), 2.1 percent
  • Truman (1946-52), 1.7 percent
  • Obama (2009-16), 1.6 percent

There are some real questions as to the methods former President Obama and those who supported him plan to use to prevent President Trump from taking actions to improve the economy. It is becoming obvious, however, that one of those methods is to attempt to delegitimize President Trump. So far the attempts to do this have included bogus information accusing President Trump of strange activities while visiting Russia, a claim that the Electoral College is unfair, and a charge that the Russians helped President Trump win the election. So far the only success these people have had has been the destruction of General Flynn and the withdrawal of one of the President’s cabinet nominations. However, we shouldn’t conclude that they are anywhere near giving up.

Sometimes the best laid plans backfire. An illustration of that is found at Bloomberg.com today in an article by Eli Lake.

The article reports:

White House lawyers last month learned that the former national security adviser Susan Rice requested the identities of U.S. persons in raw intelligence reports on dozens of occasions that connect to the Donald Trump transition and campaign, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

The pattern of Rice’s requests was discovered in a National Security Council review of the government’s policy on “unmasking” the identities of individuals in the U.S. who are not targets of electronic eavesdropping, but whose communications are collected incidentally. Normally those names are redacted from summaries of monitored conversations and appear in reports as something like “U.S. Person One.”

Oddly enough, these conversation involved members of the Trump transition team and contained information that would be of value politically.

The article also points out that Susan Rice has publicly denied any knowledge of President Trump’s transition team being caught up in intelligence collection. I would like to remind everyone that Susan Rice’s record on honesty is not spotless.

The article further reports:

Both the House and Senate intelligence committees are probing any ties between Trump associates and a Russian influence operation against Hillary Clinton during the election. The chairman of the House intelligence committee, Representative Devin Nunes, is also investigating how the Obama White House kept tabs on the Trump transition after the election through unmasking the names of Trump associates incidentally collected in government eavesdropping of foreign officials.

Rice herself has not spoken directly on the issue of unmasking. Last month when she was asked on the “PBS NewsHour” about reports that Trump transition officials, including Trump himself, were swept up in incidental intelligence collection, Rice said: “I know nothing about this,” adding, “I was surprised to see reports from Chairman Nunes on that account today.”

This scenario is an illustration of the nightmare those who opposed the Patriot Act saw coming–the intelligence community being used as a political weapon. The problem is not entirely with the Patriot Act; part of the problem is unethical politicians who do not understand that they are also required to abide by the law and follow the Constitution. The Fourth Amendment rights of a number of people were violated by the actions of the Obama Administration. Those responsible need to be brought to justice.