What Is The Difference Between A Leaker And A Source?

Yesterday The New York Times reported the following:

…James A. Wolfe, 57,  (a former Senate Intelligence Committee Aide) was charged with lying repeatedly to investigators about his contacts with three reporters. According to the authorities, Mr. Wolfe made false statements to the F.B.I. about providing two of them with sensitive information related to the committee’s work. He denied to investigators that he ever gave classified material to journalists, the indictment said.

The article states:

Mr. Wolfe’s case led to the first known instance of the Justice Department going after a reporter’s data under President Trump. The seizure was disclosed in a letter to the Times reporter, Ali Watkins, who had been in a three-year relationship with Mr. Wolfe. The seizure suggested that prosecutors under the Trump administration will continue the aggressive tactics employed under President Barack Obama.

…Court documents describe Mr. Wolfe’s communications with four reporters — including Ms. Watkins — using encrypted messaging applications. It appeared that the F.B.I. was investigating how Ms. Watkins learned that Russian spies in 2013 had tried to recruit Carter Page, a former Trump foreign policy adviser. She published an article for BuzzFeed News on April 3, 2017, about the attempted recruitment of Mr. Page in which he confirmed the contacts.

However, we are dealing with The New York Times, which is not above using very selective memory in spinning a story.

The article states:

Ms. Watkins’s personal lawyer, Mark J. MacDougall, said: “It’s always disconcerting when a journalist’s telephone records are obtained by the Justice Department — through a grand jury subpoena or other legal process. Whether it was really necessary here will depend on the nature of the investigation and the scope of any charges.”

Poor Ms. Watkins. Let’s go back to the case of James Rosen.

The following was reported by Fox News on May 23, 2013:

Newly uncovered court documents reveal the Justice Department seized records of several Fox News phone lines as part of a leak investigation — even listing a number that, according to one source, matches the home phone number of a reporter’s parents.

The seizure was ordered in addition to a court-approved search warrant for Fox News correspondent James Rosen’s personal emails. In the affidavit seeking that warrant, an FBI agent called Rosen a likely criminal “co-conspirator,” citing a wartime law called the Espionage Act.

Rosen was not charged, but his movements and conversations were tracked. A source close to the leak investigation confirmed to Fox News that the government obtained phone records for several numbers that match Fox News numbers out of the Washington bureau.

Further, the source confirmed to Fox News that one number listed matched the number for Rosen’s parents in Staten Island.

A journalists right to report needs to be protected, but the leaks out of the Senate Intelligence Committee are ridiculous. There have been instances of matters not taken up by the Committee because the members knew that anything said would be leaked. I am not sure where we need to draw the line on investigating leakers, but it seems as if both the Obama administration and the Trump administration have used questionable methods to try to stop leaks.

This Week In Washington

One America News posted an article today about what is happening this week in Washington, D.C..

The article listed the following votes:

The House will vote Tuesday on whether to repeal the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s guidance on auto-finance.

CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel will testify in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee for her confirmation hearing Wednesday.

Lawmakers are set to vote Thursday on the Nuclear Waste Policy Amendments Act of 2018.

Republicans plan to continue their efforts to confirm at least six more of President Trump’s nominees for several key positions.

The article also notes that House Chaplain Patrick Conroy returns to work Monday. As noted in a previous article, President Trump will introduce his rescissions package to Congress tomorrow. Congress has 45 in-session days to respond to his request. The reaction to this request will tell the American people which Congressmen are actually fiscal conservatives and which are simply claiming to be fiscal conservatives in order to get elected.

Using The Government To Intimidate Those With Differing Views

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article today about Michael Caputo. Michael Caputo is an ordinary citizen who worked on the Trump presidential campaign. On Tuesday, he appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee and gave his testimony. Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It is chilling to anyone who believes that Americans should be free to volunteer for any candidate’s campaign they choose without facing enormous negative consequences.

The article reports on Michael Caputo’s interview with Tucker Carlson These are some quotes from that interview:

“They’re still looking at Russian collusion, still looking for it…In my mind, if anybody thinks that Russia collusion is off the table, they haven’t visited with the Mueller team.”

 “They know more about the Trump campaign than anybody that worked there and they know more about what I did in 2016 than I do myself.”

” What are they looking at? “I don’t want to interfere with the investigation. I was warned about that.”

“Did he construe that as a threat? “I’m not going to be friending them today on Facebook, if that’s what you’re asking.”

 “It’s not nice but it’s nothing compared to the $125,000 in legal bills that I’ve stacked up for nothing.”

 “What’s happening to me and my family is happening to many other people in this investigation and I’m just a witness. I can’t imagine if somebody’s a subject or a target what they’re going to go through.”

This is the statement from the interview that I find chilling:

“I certainly didn’t sign up for this when I went to work for the Trump campaign and I will never, ever work on another Republican campaign for as long as I live…and I think that’s part of this, Tucker. This is a punishment strategy. I think they want to destroy the president, they want to destroy his family, they want to destroy his businesses, they want to destroy his friends so that no billionaire, say, in 15 years wakes up and tells his wife, you know what, they country’s broken and only I can fix it….His wife will say, ‘are you crazy Did you see what happened to Donald Trump?’ That’s what this is about.”

Mr. Caputo explains that he thinks this is the Democrat’s new strategy–intimidate people who work on Republican campaigns so that no one will be willing to work on them.

Mr. Caputo concludes:

“I think the president should not go anywhere near this [Mueller team]. I think in a lot of ways it’s a trap. I think the president is clear on potential Russian collusion. I think the campaign is in the clear. In the end if they want to get the president, they’re going to try to trip him up in an interview like this and my advice, after being through it, is stay away.”

 “I have a lot of respect for Director Mueller. When this thing first started I had some faith that it was going to be done fairly. I’m not so sanguine about it anymore.”

 “I’m very confident there was no Russian collusion. I’m very confident that the president is in the clear here. I’m very confident that in the end they’re going to find the holes that they’re digging to be empty, but they are digging and they’re going to continue to dig.”

It is long past time to send Mr. Mueller packing. There was no Russian collusion on the part of the Republicans, and he is obviously not interested in the Russian involvement in the GPS Fusion dossier that the Democrats put together. There is no way this can be considered a fair or legitimate investigation.

 

We Seem To Have A Problem With Our Intelligence Community Understanding That It Is Supposed To Work Within The Constraints Of Our Representative Republic

Townhall posted an article today by Sharyl Attkisson about misconduct by the intelligence community of our government.

The article lists ten examples of the intelligence community running amok:

Telecom takeover

Joe Nacchio, CEO of telecom giant Qwest, said that after he refused to spy on his customers for the National Security Agency (NSA) without a warrant in February of 2001, the government retaliated by yanking a contract worth hundreds of millions of dollars and filing an insider trading case against him. He went to prison. The government denied charges of retaliation. 

Olympic spying

In 2002, the NSA reportedly engaged in “blanket surveillance” of the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, collecting and storing “virtually all electronic communications going into or out of the Salt Lake City area, including … emails and text messages” to “experiment with and fine tune a new scale of mass surveillance.” NSA officials had denied such a program existed.

Spying on Congress

In 2005 intel officials intercepted and recorded phone conversations between then-Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-Calif.)  and pro-Israel lobbyists who were under investigation for espionage.

[…]

Journalist “witch hunts”

Internal emails from a “global intelligence company” executive in 2010 stated: “Brennan is behind the witch hunts of investigative journalists learning information from inside the beltway sources.

[…]

Misleading on mass spying

On March 12, 2013, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Congress that intel officials were not collecting mass data on tens of millions of Americans.

[…]

More spying on Congress

CIA officials improperly accessed Senate Intelligence Committee computers, according to an Inspector General report in July 2014, contradicting denials by then-CIA Director Brennan.

[…]

NSA privacy violations

In fall 2016, the government confessed to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court “significant non-compliance” of crucial procedures designed to protect privacy rights of U.S. citizens.

[…]

Intel mutiny?

Government requests to see or “unmask” names of Americans whose communications are “incidentally” captured during national security surveillance are supposed to be rare and justified.

[…]

Politically motivated press leak

In May 2017, former FBI Director James Comey secretly orchestrated a “leak” to The New York Times of negative memos he said he wrote contemporaneously about President Trump, with the motive of spurring the appointment of a special counsel to investigate the president’s alleged Russia ties.

[…]

Conflicted investigators

One purpose of special counsel investigations, such as the Russia investigation being led by former FBI Director Mueller, is to avoid the appearance of conflicts of interest. But multiple investigators working on Mueller’s team have been removed after being caught in compromising positions.

The swamp has been operating successfully for a number of years. It is time for the leadership in the intelligence community to resign. The intelligence community needs to go back to doing their job of protecting Americans–not spying on people who disagree with their political philosophy.

The article reminds us:

This issue has special meaning to the former CBS reporter, who alleges she was spied on by the Obama administration. She’s documented the reported Obama surveillance timeline on her website as well. Even left leaning journalists, like Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept, said the leaks from the intelligence community are a prescription to the destruction of our government. Granted, Greenwald’s publication is set up as a safe space for leakers, and to protect them, as they disseminate information relating to government corruption or wrongdoing. Leaking because Hillary Clinton lost isn’t any of those things. Now, Greenwald fears both the deep state and the Trump White House, but noted the former doesn’t have the institutional constraints to keep their power in check.

 

A Grown-Up Perspective

The media has been focused on the Senate Intelligence Report released by the Democrats on the committee yesterday. I am sure that almost everyone is tired of hearing the Monday-morning quarterbacking of the decisions made and the actions taken.

There is, however, one statement that stands out in the noise. The quote is in a Washington Times article posted yesterday.

The article reports:

The real point of the report, however, was not to blame Mr. Bush, but rather to say he was clueless about the program. A New York Times story alleged that Mr. Bush was purposely kept in the dark and that he was “once again been misinformed” about the effectiveness of the program (sticking with the meme that the Yale and Harvard graduate is a Texas hayseed).

Yet even that was wrong. He wrote in his book “Decision Points”: “I knew that an interrogation program this sensitive and controversial would one day become public. When it did, we would open ourselves up to criticism that America had compromised our moral values. I would have preferred that we get the information another way. But the choice between security and values was real. Had I not authorized waterboarding on senior al Qaeda leaders, I would have had to accept a greater risk that the country would be attacked. In the wake of 9/11, that was a risk I was unwilling to take.”

And he closed with this: “My most solemn responsibility as president was to protect the country. I approved the use of the interrogation techniques. The new techniques proved highly effective.”

The article concludes:

Perhaps there’s a lesson in that passage for the current president as Islamic terrorists continue to behead Americans. He planned to “talk” with America’s enemies, but sometimes, a president needs to do more to protect Americans.

I think we need more grown-ups in the room.