How To Navigate The Media Spin

The Epoch Times posted an article yesterday about the report of the Justice Department Inspector General. The report found that the FBI failed to document facts correctly in 29 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) applications that were reviewed. A rational person would take that as an indication that all was not well at the FBI and that Americans were being unlawfully surveilled. However, the mainstream media did not necessarily see it that way.

Eli Lake posted the following comments at Bloomberg News:

In the twisted politics of the Trump Era, some of bureau’s defenders might actually view this report as good news: It shows that the investigation of the Trump campaign was not necessarily politically motivated. The bureau made the same kinds of mistakes with suspects who were not connected to the Trump campaign.

That’s hardly reassuring — and the malpractice that the report uncovers is a much larger problem than the FBI and its defenders may wish to admit. So far, the response to Horowitz’s December report has been a series of administrative reforms, such as a requirement that FBI field offices preserve their “Woods files” and a mandate for new FISA training for FBI lawyers and agents. That’s all well and good. But one need not go back to the bad old days of J. Edgar Hoover to see that the bureau has been careless in its monitoring of U.S. citizens.

The Woods procedures were issued in 2001 after Congress obtained a memo from the FBI’s counterterrorism division detailing surveillance abuse in the late 1990s. One target’s cell phone remained tapped after he gave it up and the number was reassigned to a different person. Another FBI field office videotaped a meeting, despite a clear prohibition on that technique in its FISA warrant. In 2003, an interim report from the Senate Judiciary Committee concluded that the 2001 memo showed “the FBI was experiencing more systemic problems related to the implementation of FISA orders” than a problem with the surveillance law itself.

Very little has changed in the intervening 17 years. That’s why it’s foolish to expect new and better procedures will work this time. A better approach would be an aggressive policy to prosecute FBI agents and lawyers who submit falsehoods to the surveillance court. The best way to prevent future violations is to severely punish those who commit them in the present.

Scott Johnson posted an article today at Power Line Blog that included the following quote (follow the link to the article for the audio of the answer to the question):

The New York Times is illustrative of “the twisted politics of the Trump era.” Daniel Chaitin covers the Times angle in his Examiner article “‘Biased and out of control’: Devin Nunes rips New York Times reporting on FISA memo.” Chaitin reports on Rep. Devin Nunes’s interview with Larry O’Connor:

Radio host Larry O’Connor read a passage from the [Times’s] report [on the Horowitz memo] to Nunes during the Examining Politics podcast on Tuesday. It said DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report “helps the FBI politically because it undercuts the narrative among President Trump and his supporters that the bureau cut corners to surveil the adviser, Carter Page, as part of a politically motivated conspiracy.”

“So, the good news for the FBI is that they trampled on people’s rights all over the place, not just people who worked with Donald Trump’s campaign,” O’Connor said. “Is that the takeaway we should have here congressman?”

I agree with Eli Lake–severe punishment for those guilty of illegal spying on American citizens is the only way to prevent future abuse by the FBI.

 

This May Not Be A Smoking Gun, But It Is Close

On Thursday, The Gateway Pundit posted part of an on-air conversation between Sean Hannity and Former Mayor of New York City Rudy Giuliani.

The article reports the conversation regarding the Russian collusion scandal:

Rudy then went on to describe the international expanse of this illegal operation.

Rudy Giuliani: The whole thing was made up from the very beginning and they sold it to 90% of our media! It’s a tragedy… The dimensions of it you still don’t realize. There’s plenty of evidence of what happened in Ukraine. Plenty of evidence of what happened in UK. In Italy. This was a massive conspiracy!

Sean Hannity: Do you believe, sir. It appears (investigator) John Durham is spending an awful lot of time in Europe.

Rudy Giuliani: I know why he’s spending an awful lot of time in Europe… He’s spending a lot of time investigating Ukraine, Italy, UK and Australia.

Sean Hannity: Was there outsourcing of techniques that are illegal. In other words, did our top intelligence officials, did they outsource spying on American citizens for the purpose of hurting President Donald Trump or candidate Trump or transition to be President Trump? Did they outsource intelligence gathering methods to spy on Americans to circumvent US law and outsource it to even allied countries. Did that happen, sir?

Rudy Giuliani: There is plenty of evidence that it happened, Sean. Plenty of evidence. Some of it documentary, some of it already recorded. And for a year people in Europe have been trying to get this to our FBI. And they have been thwarted and ignored and pushed aside. It was a deliberate effort to cover this up. It didn’t just happen. Even during the Trump administration there was a deliberate effort to cover this up to protect the prior wrongdoing. That’s really sick.

A video of the conversation is included in the article at The Gateway Pundit. What we are learning is that the ‘deep state’ is an international phenomena. Those who support One World Government were very unhappy with the election of President Trump and the British vote on Brexit. We can expect to hear more about efforts to undo both in the very near future.

Objectivity From A Surprising Source

On Monday USA Today posted an article about the Mueller investigation.

The article asks a very interesting question:

The Russian collusion story had been an article of faith for the Resistance and the press. But why were so many people so deeply convinced of something that was not true? Who was behind not only concocting this fantastic tale but also embedding it in the highest levels of the Justice Department, the intelligence community and the news media?

This question had been on hold during the Mueller investigation. Government officials could not dig into it because anything they might do publicly would have been denounced as interference or “obstruction.” But with the Mueller phase concluded, the gates have opened.

President Trump retweeted a link about a Wall Street Journal op-ed saying the Obama administration must account for “abuse of surveillance powers.” “Time to investigate the Obama officials who concocted and spread the Russian conspiracy hoax!” Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., tweeted. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., called for the appointment of a new special counsel. And former George W. Bush administration spokesman Ari Fleischer asked what could be the ultimate question, “What did Barack Obama know and what and when did he authorize it?

The surveillance of the Trump campaign and the Trump transition team was inexcusable. It was a more blatant an abuse of federal power than anything previously seen.

This is Article I of the Impeachment Articles against Richard Nixon:

On June 17, 1972, and prior thereto, agents of the Committee for the Re-election of the President committed unlawful entry of the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee in Washington, District of Columbia, for the purpose of securing political intelligence. Subsequent thereto, Richard M. Nixon, using the powers of his high office, engaged personally and through his close subordinates and agents, in a course of conduct or plan designed to delay, impede, and obstruct the investigation of such illegal entry; to cover up, conceal and protect those responsible; and to conceal the existence and scope of other unlawful covert activities.

Note that the crime was breaking and entering to secure political intelligence and using the powers of government to cover up the crime. What about lying to a FISA court to be able to conduct illegal surveillance and then fabricating a crime to cover up your activities?

The article at USA Today includes the following:

Yet Obama officials also treated Trump campaign staffers as targets themselves. They used cooperative foreign intelligence services to chat them up overseas, both to put a layer of deniability between them and this questionable behavior, and to get around prohibitions against spying on American citizens. The recently released transcript of the House Committee on the Judiciary and Committee on Government Reform and Oversight interview with Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos goes into great detail how this targeting was conducted. Papadopoulos claims that foreign governments are now cooperating to reveal more about these activities. 

These activities are illegal. Those involved in illegal FISA warrants, targeting innocent staff members of the campaign, and other misuses of government need to be held accountable. Unless they are held accountable, we can expect to see more of this behavior in the future.