Refusing To Acknowledge Or Deal With The Problem

The Federalist is reporting today that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) presiding Judge James Boasberg  has chosen David Kris to review the FBI’s proposed changes to its surveillance application process.

The article notes:

Kris, who served as assistant attorney general for the DOJ’s National Security Division, recently claimed the IG report that catalogued egregious abuse of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) powers actually vindicated the FBI. He also smeared Rep. Devin Nunes in 2018, saying his initial sounding of the alarm about those abuses was incorrect, threatened national security, and should be harshly punished.

Kris appeared in locations that pushed the false Russia collusion narrative, such as Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show, the Lawfare blog, and Twitter, to defend the FBI and attack President Trump and other critics of the harmful surveillance campaign. He once wrote that Trump “should be worried” that Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into treasonous collusion with Russia meant “the walls are closing in.”

The appointment of a former official who served as an apologist for the FBI signals that the court isn’t particularly concerned about the civil liberty violations catalogued by Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s investigation into the year-long surveillance of Carter Page. Page is the Trump campaign affiliate whose phone and email communications federal agents wiretapped, and who had confidential human sources and overseas intelligence assets placed against him. False claims that Page was a Russian spy were leaked to the media by government officials as part of a years-long campaign to paint President Trump as a traitor who had colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election.

This is not good news for our country. It shows that the deep state is still protecting itself and will continue to do so at least in the near future. Dirty cops will not be dealt with as long as they have the right political views. We are at a tipping point–either we are going to have equal justice under the law or we are going to live in a surveillance state. The only way to change this is for voters to vote anyone out of office who hindered in any way the investigations into the corruption that took place at the senior levels of the Department of Justice, FBI, IRS,  etc., under the Obama administration.

Some Perspective From A Former FBI Agent

Sometimes the people who have done a job are the most qualified to analyze how a job was done. Frank Watt, a former FBI Agent, posted an article at The American Thinker today about the surveillance of Carter Page. The title of the article is, “Two Possibilities in Trump Wiretapping, and Neither Is Good.”

Mr. Watt reminds us that because the surveillance of an American citizen violates that citizen’s Fourth Amendment rights, there has to be proven justification for that surveillance. We know that was not the case with Carter Page, in fact, some things were left out of the application for surveillance that would have immediately called into question the need for surveillance.

The article notes:

Based on what we are told by the I.G., there are only two possible conclusions that can be reached regarding the official conduct of those responsible for infringing on Carter Pages Constitutional freedoms: 

The first is that the hand selected team of investigators, attorneys, and Senior Executive Service officials with decades of law enforcement, administrative, and judicial experience were abject failures at a task that they were hired to perform. Speaking from personal experience, in FBI, DEA, and state and local wire tap investigations, the slightest omissions, misstatements, and clerical errors are routinely identified and corrected by the street agents and line prosecutors who do these investigations for a living. To believe that a “varsity level” team, with unlimited time, support, and resources, somehow inadvertently overlooked seventeen major omissions, misstatements, and/or outright falsehoods, is simply not believable. 

The second possibility is that nearly everyone who significantly participated in obtaining FISA coverage on Page knowingly and deliberately operated outside the law to one degree or another. The reasons behind the decision to do so are irrelevant. The particulars regarding the seventeen I.G. findings are startling, taken individually. It’s difficult to see how any of the individual omissions or misstatements could have happened accidentally. Viewed collectively, the apparent intentionality is nearly impossible to reconcile as anything but corruption. 

In light of the I.G findings, the presiding FISA court judge seems to have come down on the side of intentional abuse. In a recent court order, Judge Rosemary Collyer gave the FBI until January 10 to explain to the court why the FBI should be allowed to continue to utilize FISA. The statement that the FBI “withheld material information” and that “FBI personnel misled NSD” suggests that the judge isn’t buying the “series of unfortunate events” excuse peddled by prominent figures in defense of the indefensible. 

The article concludes:

Whichever explanation seems more likely, the end result should be infuriating to every American. Either your nations premiere law enforcement agency was breathtakingly incompetent when the stakes were the highest, or select officials in that organization made deliberate decisions to break the law, undermine the Constitution, and illegally spy on a fellow American. Either possibility has deeply damaged the reputation of the FBI and DOJ in addition to the reputations of thousands of honest FBI Agents and DOJ attorneys. Despite the legitimate concerns of civil libertarians, the FISA process has indisputably proved an invaluable resource in safeguarding the country from terrorism. If the heinous abuses documented in the I.G.s report result in a weakening or loss of FISA, we will all be the worse for it. If those responsible are not held to account, this will happen again. There is no happy face to put on this episode. 

It is time for those guilty of corruption to be tried and held accountable for their actions.

Protecting Americans From Unlawful Surveillance

Yesterday Judicial Watch posted the following Press Release:

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced it today filed a lawsuit against Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and the House Intelligence Committee for the controversial subpoenas issued for phone records, including those of Rudy Giuliani, President Trump’s lawyer. The phone records led to the publication of the private phone records of Giuliani, Congressman Devon Nunes, journalist John Solomon, Trump attorney Jay Sekulow, attorney Victoria Toensing, and other American citizens.

Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit under the public’s common-law right of public access to examine government records after it received no response to a December 6, 2019, records request (Judicial Watch v Adam Schiff and U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (No. 1:19-cv-03790)):

    1. All subpoenas issued by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on or about September 30, 2019 to any telecommunications provider including, but not limited to AT&T, Inc., for records of telephone calls of any individuals;
    2. All responses received to the above-referenced subpoenas.

Schiff is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, currently serving as Chairman of the United States House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence. Schiff is being sued in his capacity as Chairman of that committee. The new lawsuit states:

The records are of critical public importance as the subpoenas were issued without any lawful basis and violated the rights of numerous private citizens.

Disclosure of the requested records would serve the public interest by providing information about the unlawful issuance of the subpoenas.

The requested records fall within the scope of the public’s right of access to governmental records as a matter of federal common law.

“Adam Schiff abused his power to secretly subpoena and then publish the private phone records, in potential violation of law, of innocent Americans. What else is Mr. Schiff hiding?” asked Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Schiff and his Committee ran roughshod over the rule of law in pursuit of the abusive impeachment of President Trump. This lawsuit serves as a reminder that Congressman Schiff and Congress are not above the law.”

What Adam Schiff did is inexcusable. Private phone records are private unless subpoenaed. What was the basis for the subpoena? This is simply another instance where someone aligned with the deep state chose to ignore the rights of American citizens for his own purposes. If this is not stopped and people held accountable, Americans will continue to be subject to unwarranted violations of their constitutional rights.

Why Your News Source Matters

Yesterday CNS News posted an article about recent events involving Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge Rosemary M. Collyer and the FBI.

The article reports:

A complete and total blackout. That was how ABC, CBS, and NBC reacted on their Tuesday evening newscasts when the top Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judge, Rosemary M. Collyer blasted the FBI for misleading the court when seeking surveillance warrants for a former Trump campaign staffer. The order was damning, accusing an FBI lawyer of a criminal act in intentionally lying to the court. It added that the court’s confidence in the FBI’s evidence was so shaken they needed extra oversight for all cases.

Judge Collyer penned the four-page order declaring: “When FBI personnel mislead NSD [National Security Division] in the ways described above, they equally mislead the FISC.” Much of the order explained the application process for obtaining FISA warrants and what happened in the case of Carter Page; in order for the public to “appreciate the seriousness of that misconduct and its implications…

On page three of the order, the judge accused an unnamed FBI lawyer of intentionally lying to other FBI personnel and the FISC in turn, which was a criminal act:

In addition, while the fourth electronic surveillance application for Mr. Page was being prepared, an attorney in the FBI’s Office of General Counsel (OGC) engaged in conduct that apparently was intended to mislead the FBI agent who ultimately swore to the facts in that application about whether Mr. Page had been a source of another government agency.

She added that the FISC couldn’t trust anything the FBI told them anymore:

The frequency with which representations made by FBI personnel turned out to be unsupported or contradicted by information in their possession, and with which they withheld information detrimental to their case, calls into question whether information contained in other FBI applications is reliable.

From Fox News:

Please follow the link to the CNS News article to read the entire piece. Not only were the civil rights of American citizens violated, the mainstream media has refused to report what is going on.

 

The New Standard–Expect A January Surprise

Yesterday Byron York posted an article at The Washington Examiner that previews what will happen when the impeachment trial moves to the Senate. It’s not a particularly optimistic article in terms of antics by the Democrats, although I think the eventual outcome will be the acquittal of President Trump.

The article reports:

With a House impeachment vote a foregone conclusion, the battle to remove President Trump from office has moved to the Senate. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer grabbed control of the debate Monday with demands for what he called “fairness” in the president’s trial.

I think Senator Schumer’s definition of fairness is, “Heads I win; tails you lose.”

The article continues:

Schumer wants the Senate to allow testimony from four witnesses the House did not interview: former national security adviser John Bolton, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, key Mulvaney aide Robert Blair, and Office of Management and Budget official Michael Duffey. House Democratic impeachers wanted the men to testify, but after the White House, claiming privilege, refused, House leaders chose not to try to force them to appear. Going to court to compel their testimony, Democrats said, would take too much time.

Now, Schumer wants the witnesses simply to forget about privilege questions and testify in the Senate trial.

“How, on such a weighty matter, could we avoid hearing this, could we go forward without hearing it?” Schumer asked at a news conference Monday. “I haven’t seen a single good argument about why these witnesses shouldn’t testify — unless the president has something to hide and his supporters want that information hidden.”

Republicans will respond that the Senate is not the place for fact-finding — that is, for senators to become investigators and do what the House declined to do. Some will also note that the House chose not to seek the appointment of an outside investigator, a special counsel, to establish what happened in the Trump-Ukraine matter, and the Senate is ill-equipped to play that role. Many will also argue that the facts of the case do not align with the Democratic accusation of bribery and more testimony will not change that. Others will argue that they don’t believe what the president did rises to the level of an impeachable offense.

The technique the Democrats will use is the one we saw in the Kavanaugh confirmation hearing. The Democrats needs four Republicans to sign on to the idea of calling new witnesses (a simple majority vote is needed). Then they can dig up all the imaginary dirt on the President they can manufacture and totally taint the hearing. The idea is to damage President Trump to the point where the Democrats win the Presidency in 2020 and none of their misdeeds like government abuses of surveillance or violations of citizen’s civil rights will ever be dealt with. I am not sure Americans are stupid enough to buy what they are selling.

On a final note, I would like to share my prediction that Hillary Clinton will be the Democrat’s candidate for President in 2020.

Slowly Getting To The Truth

Fox News posted an article today about a recent comment by James Comey. In an interview with Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace, James Comey stated that the recently released Justice Department Inspector General’s report on the launch of the FBI’s Russia investigation and their use of the surveillance process showed that he was “overconfident” when he defended his former agency’s use of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). I don’t mean to be difficult, but I think you could fertilize your garden with that statement. Remember, it was James Comey who leaked information to his friend to leak to The New York Times in order to promote the idea that a Special Prosecutor was needed. It was James Comey who listed all the crimes committed by Hillary Clinton and then said they weren’t really crimes because she didn’t mean to commit them. It was James Comey who briefed the President on the Steele Dossier so that it could be leaked to the press. It was James Comey who paved the way for the entire phony Russia investigation that cost taxpayers millions and prevented Congress from actually accomplishing anything for the good of the country. Keep that in mind as he proclaims he had no idea what was going on.

The article notes:

“He’s right, I was wrong,” Comey said about how the FBI used the FISA process, adding, “I was overconfident as director in our procedures,” and that what happened “was not acceptable.”

Horowitz did make it clear that he believes the FBI’s investigation of Russian election interference and possible connections with the Trump campaign was properly initiated, but he did note that this is based on a “low threshold.” He also concluded that there was no testimonial or documentary evidence to show that the investigation started due to any political bias, but said the issue of bias “gets murkier” when it comes to the various issues with the FISA process.

That process included the reliance on information gathered by former British spy Christopher Steele as part of opposition research conducted by Fusion GPS for the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign. Horowitz’s report stated that government attorneys were hesitant to approve a FISA warrant application until they relied on unverified information from Steele. That information also was used in subsequent renewals for the FISA warrant.

Comey downplayed the role of Steele’s information in obtaining the FISA warrant against Page, claiming Sunday that it was “not a huge part of the presentation to the court,” just part of the information included in the warrant application.

It will be interesting to see if James Comey is included when indictments are handed out. My bet is that he will be. He should at least be held accountable for leaking information.

Actions Have Consequences

One American News posted an article today quoting a remark made by Senator Lindsey Graham during the Department of Justice Inspector General’s hearing today.

The article reports:

During the Department of Justice Inspector General’s hearing Wednesday, the senator said there needs to be more “checks and balances to make sure something like this never happens again.”

The Republican lawmaker also warned Inspector General Michael Horowitz against refusing to recommend charges against the bureau for mishandling the investigation.

Graham went on to say he has serious doubts the FISA court can continue working if nothing is done, adding that the court will “lose his support” if no corrective action is taken.

Meanwhile, Horowitz told senators the FBI maintained surveillance on Carter Page even when its investigation into him was winding down. While discussing his report Wednesday, Horowitz outlined 17 instances where the bureau intentionally “omitted or withheld” information in their application for FISA warrants.

People went to jail because of a third-rate burglary in the Watergate Building when they attempted to spy on an opposing political candidate. The FISA scandal involves using a government agency to accomplish what the Watergate burglars were attempting. Why is it being handled so differently by both the press and the political class? This entire situation shows the need for tighter controls on the government’s ability to spy on its citizens. There could easily come a time in the future when government surveillance is used against everyday Americans of a political party different than the one in power. That is the reason that the people who did the illegal spying need to face consequences.

Common Sense From NBC?

Yesterday Breitbart reported some recent statements on NBC News by justice correspondent Pete Williams.

The article reports:

On Monday, during NBC News breaking new following the release of Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report, justice correspondent Pete Williams said Horowitz found that the FBI “screwed up at every level.”

Williams said the inspector general found, “The FBI failed to document to the court assertions in the FISA application that undercut Steele’s credibility.”

…He added, “The IG report says the FISA application was inaccurate, incomplete, or unsupported. It says, for example, that the FBI failed to look at some of the problems in Steele’s past work, but that was never sufficiently addressed.”

This is the most important part of what Pete Williams said:

He concluded, “The inspector general is so concerned about these problems that if the FBI so mishandled this application for an investigation into a candidate for president, then how is it doing it for garden variety people who are subject to these warrants? And for that reason, we learned today the inspector general is now opening a new investigation on how the FBI gets these warrants on American citizens.”

It’s time to wake up and realize that privacy is a thing of the past. How does an average American protect himself from this sort of invasion of privacy and unwarranted legal charges? That should be the lesson learned from all of this–if President Trump with all of his money and all of his power is vulnerable to political surveillance and witch hunts, how secure from government attacks are the rest of us?

When You Are Up To Your Neck In Alligators…

Before he retired, my husband had a sign on his office wall that said, “When you are up to your neck in alligators, it’s hard to remember that your objective was to drain the swamp.” That is approximately where we are with impeachment and FBI surveillance abuse.

There are some basic facts to remember. First of all, the transcript of the telephone call that started this investigation has been released. People can read it for themselves and draw their own conclusions. Second of all, the people involved in the telephone call have stated that there was no quid pro quo and no bribery. Third, the supposed condition of the quid pro quo never happened and the aid was released–the investigation was not done and no public statement was made by the Ukrainians. Fourth, the actions of this Congress have created serious problems for any administration in the future–they have not respected the need of a President to have private conversations, they have ignored lawyer-client privilege, they have abused surveillance, and they have failed to acknowledge the right of the executive branch to go to the courts when subpoenas go beyond what is legal.

There is an aspect of this that is brewing beneath the surface. I can’t find a reliable source on this, but it is brewing and it brings up valid questions. Where does our foreign aid go? Is there a connection between foreign aid and various foundations or organizations run by members of Congress (or members of their families)  that are collecting consulting fees in various foreign countries? Is that why Congress is so reluctant to look into the business dealings of Hunter Biden and a number of other children of sitting congress members? A congressman makes $174,000 a year. That is not a lot if you are maintaining a home in your district and in Washington, D.C. In February 2018, Roll Call reported that 38 percent of the members of Congress are millionaires. How do you become a millionaire while supporting two households on $174,000 a year (consider the cost of living in Washington, D.C.)? According to a New York Post article in March 2019, 3 percent of Americans are millionaires. For that reason alone, Congress is not representative of the people they are supposed to represent.

I don’t know how much of the obvious corruption in our government will be exposed in the coming weeks, but I believe we are seeing example after example of the need to drain the swamp.

And Now We Wait…

The elephant in the room right now is the Inspector General’s Report on the surveillance of the Trump campaign during 2016. As we await the report, many people named in the report are attempting to blunt the impact of the report, and others are reiterating its importance.

The Washington Times posted an article yesterday with its views on the report. The headline of the article is, “‘Dirty cops’: FBI leaves trail of lies, leaks, lapses in Trump era.”

The article reports:

The FBI already has amassed a record of misconduct by top officials leading up to Monday, when the Justice Department inspector general is scheduled to release conclusions on whether agents also abused the bureau’s intrusive wiretapping powers.

To date, four inspector general reports and internal Justice Department documents have found senior FBI officials guilty of lying, insubordination, security violations, mishandling confidential material and personal biases against President Trump.

Rep. Devin Nunes, the California Republican who discovered that the FBI had used a Democratic Party-financed dossier as evidence, often refers to bureau leaders as “dirty cops.”

Lisa Page, a former FBI senior counsel and one of those singled out, portrayed herself this week as an innocent victim of FBI betrayal.

Meanwhile, news media stories have downplayed the significance of the upcoming inspector general’s report on how the FBI spied on the Trump campaign through the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and other means.

There will be a lot of charges and counter-charges when the report comes out, but there are two basic facts to remember. First, it is illegal to conduct surveillance on a political opponent using government agencies and foreign sources (there is some question as to whether the FBI farmed out some of the surveillance to the CIA and foreign sources to avoid American laws). Second of all, the FBI did not inform the Trump campaign that they were concerned about Russian interference (as they are required to do and as they did in the case of Diane Feinstein and her Chinese driver).

What was done to President Trump was a government Watergate burglary. It was unacceptable, and unless those responsible are held accountable, it will happen again.

Does America Have Equal Justice Under The Law?

We are about to find out if the same rules apply to everyone. One America News Network is reporting today that Attorney General William Barr’s probe into the origins of the Russia investigation is turning into a criminal case. For those listening to the mainstream media spin that this is just retribution for impeachment, have you considered the Constitutional protections that were violated when there was massive surveillance on the Trump campaign, the Trump transition team, and even the Trump presidency? Have you looked at the changes made in the handling of classified information that took place in the final days of the Obama administration that made leaking information much easier?

The article notes:

The change reportedly allows U.S. attorney John Durham, who was chosen by Barr to lead the probe, to subpoena documents as well as witness testimonies and to file criminal charges if necessary. This comes after reports last week said Barr was expanding the investigation after Durham found something “significant.:” However, it’s still not clear what exactly prompted the switch.

The probe was first launched in May as an administrative review into the origins of the Russia hoax. President Trump has repeatedly denounced former special council Robert Mueller’s Russia probe by calling it a “witch hunt” and a “hoax.” When asked whether he prompted the attorney general to open the investigation, however, the president said he hadn’t, but also said he appreciates Barr’s work.

The article concludes:

Meanwhile, Durham has reportedly expressed interest in investigating former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and CIA Director John Brennan, who were in charge while the since-debunked Steele dossier was released. This led to the secret surveillance of Trump campaign officials in 2016.

It was recently reported that multiple CIA officials have pursued legal council because of Durham’s legal review. Horowitz has said his report will be released in the near future.

Spying on Americans by the CIA is illegal. However, if the CIA used overseas resources to accomplish what was illegal, they need to be held accountable. One of the things that the Obama administration was known for was the politicization of government agencies–the IRA targeted conservative groups by slow walking their 501(c)(3) applications, the administration dismissed charges against the New Black Panthers for voter intimidation when there was video evidence, the administration eavesdropped on James Rosen and his parents because they didn’t like his reporting, etc. It would not really be a surprise if they had used the government to further their political agenda. It will be interesting to see if anyone is held accountable for the violations of the civil rights of American citizens that occurred during the Obama administration.

Technology Isn’t Perfect

The San Francisco Chronicle posted an article today about facial recognition technology. The technology was developed by Amazon.

The article reports:

San Francisco Assemblyman Phil Ting has never been arrested, but facial recognition technology developed by Amazon links his image to a jailhouse mugshot.

Ting is one of 26 state legislators who were wrongly identified as suspected criminals using the technology, according to results of a test released Tuesday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California.

Matt Cagle, a technology and civil liberties attorney at the ACLU, said the organization ran its experiment using Amazon’s Rekognition software and screened 120 lawmakers’ images against a database of 25,000 mugshots.

The article concludes:

More than half the 26 California lawmakers who were falsely identified in the ACLU’s experiment are people of color, Ting’s office said. Ting said that makes the technology especially dangerous for African Americans, Latinos and Asian Americans.

“This could lead to more false arrests in those particular communities,” he said.

Last year, the ACLU ran a similar experiment using images of members of Congress. It found that Amazon’s program incorrectly matched 28 of them with suspected criminals.

I realize that this technology may have some usefulness after it is improved, but there is an important fact that needs to be acknowledged here.  In America a person is considered innocent until proven guilty. I am afraid that the use of this technology might shortchange that process. It might be used to recognize a criminal, but I question how it would be used in a court of law.

More Questions Than Answers

On Saturday, Jeffrey Epstein, an inmate at Metropolitan Correction Center in lower Manhattan, was found unresponsive in his cell. He was taken to the hospital where he was declared dead. There are a lot of questions surrounding these events. There are very few answers available.

The New York Post reported yesterday:

The following account is from a former inmate of the Metropolitan Correction Center in lower Manhattan, where Jeffrey Epstein was found unresponsive Saturday, and declared dead at a hospital of an apparent suicide. The ex-convict, who spoke to The Post’s Brad Hamilton and Bruce Golding on the condition of anonymity, spent several months in the 9 South special housing unit for high-profile prisoners awaiting trial — like Epstein.

There’s no way that man could have killed himself. I’ve done too much time in those units. It’s an impossibility.

Between the floor and the ceiling is like eight or nine feet. There’s no way for you to connect to anything.

You have sheets, but they’re paper level, not strong enough. He was 200 pounds — it would never happen.

When you’re on suicide watch, they put you in this white smock, a straight jacket. They know a person cannot be injurious to themselves.

…But it’s my firm belief that Jeffrey Epstein did not commit suicide. It just didn’t happen.

Breitbart reported yesterday:

Rudy Giuliani reacted to Jeffrey Epstein’s alleged suicide Saturday morning, asking a series of questions about his death and stating, “Committing suicide on suicide watch doesn’t happen.”

Authorities found the convicted pedophile dead in his cell early Saturday morning, according to several reports.

Epstein committed suicide via hanging, according to reports from the New York Times and ABC News. The Associated Press reported that the “medical examiner’s office in Manhattan confirmed Epstein’s death.”

Many, including Giuliani, have questions.

“What does the word suicide mean in the phrase suicide WATCH? Who was watching? Did they fall asleep? Did the camera malfunction? Was there camera surveillance? Who was he about to implicate?” Giuliani tweeted Saturday.

Yesterday Bernie Kerik, former first deputy and commissioner of the New York City Department of Corrections and former commissioner of the New York (City) Police Department, posted an article at The Hill about the death of Jeffrey Epstein.

Commissioner Kerik notes:

The crime here — in my mind, with what is known at this point — is that Epstein was placed in solitary confinement at all. The government often uses every tool in its power to ensure you never have a fair day’s fight in court, including the use of psychological tools to force you to plead guilty or to force you to cooperate with the government.

Solitary confinement is one of those tools. It is a mechanism to demean, degrade and demoralize a prisoner. The mind-altering seclusion of “solitary” will force a prisoner into a deep depression from which, for some, there is no return.

Only time will tell if that’s what happened with Epstein or if something more sinister occurred.

But one thing already is crystal clear: There are flaws and failures in the U.S. criminal justice system that should disturb all of us. And in Jeffrey Epstein’s case, none of it makes any sense.

Right now we have questions, not answers. Hopefully in the future we will get some answers.

Some Basic Facts

Yesterday Mark Penn posted an article at Fox News about the Mueller investigation. Mark Penn was the chief strategist on Bill Clinton’s 1996 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign, and Mrs. Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.

The article reminds us of some important facts regarding the investigation:

Robert Mueller’s testimony to Congress, by any reasonable standard, should have been the swan song of the impeachment movement.

To state the obvious, there is no evidence that President Trump or any other American probed by the Mueller investigation conspired with the Russian government to influence the 2016 presidential election.

…So why does a third or more of the public still believe in Russia collusion? Because partisanship by our politicians and some in the media knows no bounds, and to partisans, facts and evidence are simply inconvenient bumps on a road to power.

That brings us back to the Mueller testimony and the Mueller Andrew Weissmann investigation. Mueller turned out to be the classic emperor-has-no-clothes witness. He once again said that he did not indict Trump because of the Justice Department policy against indicting a president only to once again retract the statement hours later.

He may be old, but he surely understood he was playing and retracting that card — he would have practiced that question 10 times as it was the only anti-Trump card remaining in his dwindling hand. He ignored that Attorney General William Barr, former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and career Justice Department lawyers all determined that the facts he listed didn’t constitute criminal obstruction of justice.

The president was, as far as the Justice Department was concerned, cleared on obstruction of justice.

Mueller’s weak grasp of the facts, combined with his deputy Weissmann’s documented history of prosecutorial abuse, strongly suggests Weissmann ran the investigation, not Mueller. It also indicates that Weissmann enjoyed free rein to go after not just the facts, but the people associated with the president.

The article concludes with a very important observation:

Targeting political opponents through the legal and subpoena process after a massive investigation revealed no collusion undermines our democracy. It is a far greater threat to our country and its institutions than any ads on Facebook. Whether you think the FBI acted out of political malice (which is now being investigated) or a sense of duty, there is simply no evidence that the president ever committed a crime, or that his top aides were involved in collusion or conspiracy. Nothing of consequence alleged in the Steele dossier was ever proven true.

Mueller’s testimony confirmed these basic facts, and it should put impeachment investigations in the rearview mirror.

The investigation and surveillance of the Trump campaign and the early days of the Trump administration were a violation of the civil rights of a number of Americans. This is unacceptable. Those who violated those civil rights need to be held accountable or our Justice Department will become a political instrument to be used against political opponents. At that point we will have lost our republic.

Behind The Scenes–The Search For Roots

While Robert Mueller was making the headlines with his appearance on Capitol Hill, the internal investigation at the Justice Department was continuing as to the source of the charges of Russian collusion by the Trump campaign.

Fox News posted an article today about that investigation. Before I go into the details, I think we need to consider why the internal investigation is important. Despite what the Democrats are trying to spin, Mueller, in the afternoon session and his opening remarks, made it clear that there was no evidence of collusion. His task was to look for collusion. The second part of his report, based on speculation by news sources, tried to imply that there was obstruction. That charge was based on conversations and thoughts–not actions. The President talked about firing Robert Mueller. Robert Mueller was not fired. Was talking about it a crime? Using that standard, you can pretty much find anyone guilty of anything. If I decide that I need money and say that I want to rob a bank, is that a crime? Not unless I follow through on it.

The internal investigation is important to determine the source of the charges against candidate Trump. If the source is questionable or political, then the same technique can be used against any future President. That does not bode well for our republic.

The Fox News article points out a few basic things the internal investigation has uncovered:

The Justice Department’s internal review of the Russia investigation is zeroing in on transcripts of recordings made by at least one government source who met with former Trump campaign aide George Papadopoulos overseas in 2016, specifically looking at why certain “exculpatory” material from them was not presented in subsequent applications for surveillance warrants, according to two sources familiar with the review.

The sources also said the review is taking a closer look at the actual start date of the original FBI investigation into potential collusion between members of the Trump campaign and the Russians, as some allege the probe began earlier than thought. Both components are considered key in the review currently being led by Attorney General Bill Barr and U.S. Attorney from Connecticut John Durham –– an effort sure to draw more attention in the coming weeks and months now that Robert Mueller’s testimony is in the rearview.

The recordings in question pertain to conversations between government sources and Papadopoulos, which were memorialized in transcripts. One source told Fox News that Barr and Durham are reviewing why the material was left out of applications to surveil another former Trump campaign aide, Carter Page.

The story continues:

A source told Fox News that the “exculpatory evidence” included in the transcripts is Papadopoulos denying having any contact with the Russians to obtain the supposed “dirt” on Clinton.

But Papadopoulos did not only meet with Mifsud and Downer while overseas. He met with Cambridge professor and longtime FBI informant Stefan Halper and his female associate, who went under the alias Azra Turk. Papadopoulos told Fox News that he saw Turk three times in London: once over drinks, once over dinner and once with Halper. He also told Fox News back in May that he always suspected he was being recorded. Further, he tweeted during the Mueller testimony about “recordings” of his meeting with Downer.

…Former Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., now a Fox News contributor, first signaled the existence of transcripts of secretly recorded conversations between FBI informants and Papadopoulos earlier this year.

“If the bureau’s going to send in an informant, the informant’s going to be wired, and if the bureau is monitoring telephone calls, there’s going to be a transcript of that,” Gowdy said in May on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” acknowledging he was aware of the files and suggesting they included exculpatory information.

The article concludes:

The Barr-Durham review is likely to draw more attention following Mueller’s highly anticipated testimony on Capitol Hill. Republicans sought to focus their questioning on the origins of the Russia investigation under then-Director James Comey’s FBI—a topic Mueller repeatedly said was “out of his purview” due to the ongoing investigation being led by the Justice Department. Another review is being conducted by the DOJ inspector general.

“Maybe a better course of action is to figure out how the false accusations started,” Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said Wednesday. “Here’s the good news—that’s exactly what Bill Barr is doing and thank goodness for that.”

The fact that an investigation which began with the misuse of government agencies to spy on a political opponent has taken two years is a miscarriage of justice. Those responsible need to be severely penalized so that the country never has to go through this again.

What They Actually Did

Yesterday Sebastian Gorka posted an article at American Greatness about the recent dust-up about President Trump’s comments in an interview with George Stepanopoulos. The comments had to do with accepting information on an opposing candidate from a foreign source. Sebastian Gorka’s response to the dust-up is to list the offenses committed by President Obama and candidate Hillary Clinton that fit that description. I strongly recommend that you follow the link and read the entire article, but I will try to list the highlights.

The article lists what we know as fact so far:

  • Christopher Steele, a former British intelligence officer with close ties to the Kremlin and an intense hatred for Donald Trump was paid by Hillary Clinton’s lawyers and the Democrat Party to compile a file of damaging information on candidate Trump. He did so without registering as an agent of a foreign power.
  • This file was replete either with unverifiable fabrications, old accusations that were already out in the open or which were deceptively repackaged to implicate Donald Trump, or outright propaganda Steele had “acquired” from his contacts associated with Russian intelligence.
  • Steele was deemed so unreliable and biased a political actor by the FBI and the State Department, that he was terminated as a source by the Bureau.
  • Senior DoJ official Bruce Ohr’s wife worked for Fusion GPS, the company that hired Christopher Steele, and he funneled anti-Trump opposition research from his wife to the FBI.
  • The DNC dispatched a contractor to the embassy of Ukraine to collect proffered opposition research on Donald Trump from the government in Kiev with a plan to coordinate a smear campaign with officials from that non-NATO nation, foreign power.
  • As the Trump campaign grew in strength, Clinton’s allies in the Obama Administration initiated an unprecedented cross-agency operation code-named CrossFire Hurricane to target Donald Trump and his associates.
  • This involved the exploitation of foreign “liaison services,” especially in the UK (and possibly Italy and Australia as well) in order to circumvent constitutional protection that forbid U.S. intelligence agencies from spying on Americans citizens for political reasons. John Brennan, Obama’s CIA director, was the pivotal actor driving these operations, which led in part to the sudden resignation of the director of GCHQ, the British equivalent of the NSA, and included FBI Director James Comey as well.
  • On multiple occasions, U.S. intelligence assets were tasked with penetrating the Trump campaign to lure its representatives into what they believed were attempts to connect with the Russia government.
  • This included targeting George Papadopoulos, a minor figure in the campaign, via the offices of the Australian diplomat Alexander Downer, and a female FBI “analyst” known as Azra Turk who no one has been able to locate. (Note: When Downer was Foreign Minister he funneled $25 million of taxpayer dollars to the Clinton Foundation).
  • The NSA’s massive database of surveillance intercepts was repeatedly accessed illegally, often by contractors with no authority to do so.
  • At a rate never seen before in the history of the U.S. Intelligence Community (I.C.), the identity of hundreds of American citizens innocently caught up in NSA intercepts were “unmasked” by senior Obama Administration officials. Some of the officials who authorized the unmaskings weren’t even members of the I.C. and who had no plausible reason for the unmasking, including Samantha Power, Obama’s ambassador to the United Nations.
  • The fabricated allegations provided by Russian government sources that Clinton and the DNC bought from Christopher Steele were used to obtain a secret FISA Court warrant to spy on Carter Page and the Trump campaign. The unverified quality of the “Steele dossier” and the fact that is was opposition research paid for by Donald Trump’s political opponent was hidden from the secret FISA court.

The article concludes:

In sum: Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party paid a foreign agent to collect or manufacture damaging information about the Republican candidate for president, information that was sourced from the Russian government. The subsequent propaganda file was used to surveil members of the Trump campaign, illegally, as NSA and British assets were also used to spy on those associated with Clinton’s political rival, and as human intelligence assets were deployed in an attempt to entrap Trump advisers and members of his staff.

The fall-out of the Stephanopoulos interviews is great. But not in the way George and his allies would like it to be.

With one sentence, the president has yet again turned the nation’s attention to the real scandal that should claim our focus: how the Democrats willingly colluded with a nation that remains our enemy in an attempt to win an election and defraud the will of the American people, in the biggest and most successful information operation Moscow has ever deployed against us.

Now it is up to Attorney General William Barr to uncover the rest of their crimes before our next election.

Much of America is waiting for equal justice under the law.

 

J. Edgar Brennan

For those of you too young to remember some of the antics of J. Edgar Hoover as Director of the FBI. Some of the actions of the FBI and intelligence community under President Obama are reminiscent of those actions.

The website biography includes the following about J. Edgar Hoover:

During the Cold War, Hoover intensified his personal anti-Communist, anti-subversive stance and increased the FBI’s surveillance activities. Frustrated over limitations placed on the Justice Department’s investigative capabilities, he created the Counter Intelligence Program, or COINTELPRO. The group conducted a series of covert, and oftentimes illegal, investigations designed to discredit or disrupt radical political organizations. Initially, Hoover ordered background checks on government employees to prevent foreign agents from infiltrating the government. Later, COINTELPRO went after any organization Hoover considered subversive, including the Black Panthers, the Socialist Workers Party and the Ku Klux Klan.

Hoover also used COINTELPRO’s operations to conduct his own personal vendettas against political adversaries in the name of national security. Labeling Martin Luther King “the most dangerous Negro in the future of this nation,” Hoover ordered around-the-clock surveillance on King, hoping to find evidence of Communist influence or sexual deviance. Using illegal wiretaps and warrantless searches, Hoover gathered a large file of what he considered damning evidence against King. 

In 1971, COINTELPRO’s tactics were revealed to the public, showing that the agency’s methods included infiltration, burglaries, illegal wiretaps, planted evidence and false rumors leaked on suspected groups and individuals. Despite the harsh criticism Hoover and the Bureau received, he remained its director until his death on May 2, 1972, at the age of 77.

Does any of this sound familiar?

In December 2014, The Atlantic posted an article titled, “A Brief History of the CIA’s Unpunished Spying on the Senate.” Under that title is written, “President Obama’s choice to lead the intelligence agency has undermined core checks and balances with impunity.” Those are not encouraging words.

Below are some excerpts from The Atlantic article:

Late last week, that internal “accountability board” announced the results of its review. If you’ve followed the impunity with which the CIA has broken U.S. laws throughout its history, you’ll be unsurprised to learn that no one is going to be “dealt with very harshly” after all. “A panel investigating the Central Intelligence Agency’s search of a computer network used by staff members of the Senate Intelligence Committee who were looking into the C.I.A.’s use of torture will recommend against punishing anyone involved in the episode,” The New York Times reports. “The panel will make that recommendation after the five C.I.A. officials who were singled out by the agency’s inspector general this year for improperly ordering and carrying out the computer searches staunchly defended their actions, saying that they were lawful and in some cases done at the behest of John O. Brennan.”

…Brennan and the CIA have behaved indefensibly. But substantial blame belongs to the overseers who’ve permitted them to do so with impunity, including figures in the Obama administration right up to the president and Senate intelligence committee members who, for all their bluster, have yet to react to CIA misbehavior in a way that actually disincentivizes similar malfeasance in the future. President Obama should fire John Brennan, as has previously been suggested by Senator Mark Udall, Trevor Timm, Dan Froomkin, and Andrew Sullivan. And the Senate intelligence committee should act toward the CIA like their predecessors on the Church Committee. Instead, the CIA is asked to investigate its own malfeasance and issue reports suggesting what, if anything, should be done.

The article includes a quote from The New York Times:

Mr. Brennan has enraged senators by refusing to answer questions posed by the Intelligence Committee about who at the C.I.A. authorized the computer intrusion. Doing so, he said, could compromise the accountability board’s investigation.

“What did he know? When did he know it? What did he order?” said Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who is a member of the Intelligence Committee, said in an interview last week. “They haven’t answered those basic questions.”

The article concludes:

Senator Levin, you’re a member of a coequal branch. You’ve flagged outrageous behavior among those you’re charged with overseeing. What are you going to do about it?

Obviously nothing was done about it. John Brennan remained the head of the CIA until January 2017. He was not retained as the CIA Director when President Trump took power.

We are at a crossroads. This article indicates that the misuse of government spy agencies has been going on for a long time. The people responsible have never been held accountable. We have a choice–we can hold the people responsible for the misuse of spy agencies accountable or we can see the illegal spying on political enemies continue. What has been done to President Trump and some of the people around him could be done to any American if the people responsible are not held accountable. Was it really necessary to roust an unarmed senior citizen and his deaf wife out of bed with a S.W.A.T. team in the middle of the night when he was charged with lying? Unfortunately this could be the future of America.

When Making More Information Available To The Public Is Called A “Cover-Up”

Yesterday President Trump signed a memo allowing for the declassification of the background information on the investigation into Russian-collusion.

Paul Mirengoff at Power Line Blog reported the event this way:

From the White House comes this announcement:

Today, at the request and recommendation of the Attorney General of the United States, President Donald J. Trump directed the intelligence community to quickly and fully cooperate with the Attorney General’s investigation into surveillance activities during the 2016 Presidential election.

The Attorney General has also been delegated full and complete authority to declassify information pertaining to this investigation, in accordance with the long-established standards for handling classified information. Today’s action will help ensure that all Americans learn the truth about the events that occurred, and the actions that were taken, during the last Presidential election and will restore confidence in our public institutions.

Trump’s directive doesn’t mean that information will be declassified willy-nilly. The Attorney General is instructed to adhere to “long-established standards for handling classified information” — the same standards that those who made the initial classification decisions should have applied, but may not have in order to cover their tracks.

This is how the Associated Press reported the event:

The headline reads, “Trump moves to escalate investigation of intel agencies.”

President Donald Trump on Thursday granted Attorney General William Barr new powers to review and potentially release classified information related to the origins of the Russia investigation, a move aimed at accelerating Barr’s inquiry into whether U.S. officials improperly surveilled Trump’s 2016 campaign.

Trump directed the intelligence community to “quickly and fully cooperate” with Barr’s probe. The directive marked an escalation in Trump’s efforts to “investigate the investigators,” as he continues to try to undermine the findings of special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe amid mounting Democratic calls for impeachment proceedings.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement that Trump is delegating to Barr the “full and complete authority” to declassify documents relating to the probe, which would ease his efforts to review the sensitive intelligence underpinnings of the investigation. Such an action could create fresh tensions within the FBI and other intelligence agencies, which have historically resisted such demands.

Still think the media is not biased? The Associated Press accuses the President of trying to undermine the findings of Robert Mueller. It fails to mention that Robert Mueller didn’t find anything. Make no mistake–the media is looking for impeachment. They want Watergate all over again. Only this time the illegal spying was the work of the people they support. That is a hard pill to swallow and is going to get even harder as the evidence comes out.

What was done to the President, his campaign, and his transition team was illegal. It was a flagrant misuse of government agencies for political purposes. Unless we want to see this sort of illegal surveillance occur during every election cycle, those responsible have to be held accountable.

Sunlight is the best disinfectant.

This Went Much Farther Than What We Have Been Told

Real Clear Investigations posted an article today that reveals an aspect of the surveillance on the Trump campaign, Trump transition team, and Trump presidency that has not really been talked about much. The article deals with the surveillance by people the FBI placed (or attempted to place) within the campaign. I would just like to mention that Richard Nixon was impeached for far less than what the government was doing during the 2016 election. We have no idea how high up the shenanigans went, but I suspect we will eventually find out. That may be the reason Attorney General Barr is being attacked so fiercely.

The article reports:

Baker (former FBI general counsel James Baker being interviewed by CNN host John Berman) then seemed to switch the question from whether spying occurred to its intent, saying: “There was no intention by myself or anybody else I’m aware of to intrude or do activities with respect to the campaign.” Then he continued his sentence with a clause that significantly modified even that claim. There was no intrusion of the Trump campaign, he said, done “in order to gather political intelligence to find out what the political strategies were.” The FBI was only interested in what the campaign was up to regarding Russia.

There’s a very big difference between saying “I didn’t spy” and saying “I didn’t spy for inappropriate reasons.” The former is a denial, the latter is all but an admission. Baker asserted there was no spying done to gather information on Trump’s campaign strategies. Which could very well mean there was spying, just not any for the narrow reason given.

After a while you learn that you just have to parse some people’s statements to determine what the meaning of ‘is’ is.

The article includes testimony Trisha Anderson gave last Aug. 31 to the House Judiciary Committee and the Committee on Government Reform and Oversight:

Later in her testimony Anderson let slip another piece of information undermining claims that the FBI isn’t in the spy game. The shop where she worked at the bureau is in charge of giving legal guidance for FBI activities. She was asked about whether she or her fellow lawyers in the general counsel’s office were involved in decisions about when confidential human sources had to be let go. “I’m not aware of any such instances,” Anderson said. And then she elaborated perhaps longer than intended: “Our office might and actually routinely provided legal advice on uses, investigative uses of sources overseas, for example, on double-agent operations is a good example of a circumstance that might implicate legal considerations.”

“You mentioned double-agent operations,” said the Republican staff lawyer. “It sounds like your office might give legal advice when an issue arose from an actual operational issue?”

“Correct,” Anderson said.

So for all the denials that the FBI uses spies, the truth seems to be that the bureau not only runs secret agents, but double agents.

Given the difficulties of double agent operations, success with them should be a source of pride, not shame. As long, that is, as they are not done for political purposes.

The average person is truly at a disadvantage in trying to piece together exactly what went on during the 2016 presidential campaign. The media is very careful and very selective in what it reports. Our only hope is that when the investigations are done, those guilty of using the government for their own personal spying operations will be held accountable. I am also hoping that the results of all investigations into the investigators will be made public.

The Ultimate October Surprise

John Solomon at The Hill reported the following last night:

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Kathleen Kavalec’s written account of her Oct. 11, 2016, meeting with FBI informant Christopher Steele shows the Hillary Clinton campaign-funded British intelligence operative admitted that his research was political and facing an Election Day deadline.

And that confession occurred 10 days before the FBI used Steele’s now-discredited dossier to justify securing a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to surveil former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page and the campaign’s ties to Russia.

Steele’s client “is keen to see this information come to light prior to November 8,” the date of the 2016 election, Kavalec wrote in a typed summary of her meeting with Steele and Tatyana Duran, a colleague from Steele’s Orbis Security firm. The memos were unearthed a few days ago through open-records litigation by the conservative group Citizens United.

Kavalec’s notes do not appear to have been provided to the House Intelligence Committee during its Russia probe, according to former Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). “They tried to hide a lot of documents from us during our investigation, and it usually turns out there’s a reason for it,” Nunes told me. Senate and House Judiciary investigators told me they did not know about them, even though they investigated Steele’s behavior in 2017-18.

How much money did we spend on this investigation into President Trump without investigating the source for the FISA Warrants?

The article concludes:

Documents and testimony from Department of Justice official Bruce Ohr, whose wife Nellie worked for Fusion GPS, show he told the FBI in August 2016 that Steele was “desperate” to defeat Trump and his work had something to do with Clinton’s campaign.

Kavalec’s notes make clear the DNC was a likely client and the election was Steele’s deadline to smear Trump.

Likewise, there is little chance the FBI didn’t know that Steele, then a bureau informant, had broken protocol and gone to the State Department in an effort to make the Trump dirt public.

That makes the FBI’s failure to disclose to the FISA judges the information about Steele’s political bias and motive all the more stunning. And it makes the agents’ use of his unverified dossier to support the warrant all the more shameful.

Kavalec’s notes shed light on another mystery from the text messages between the FBI’s Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, which first revealed the politically-biased nature of the Trump collusion probe.

Strzok, the lead FBI agent on the case, and Page, a lawyer working for the FBI deputy director, repeatedly messaged each other in October 2016 about efforts to pressure and speed the review of the FISA warrant.

For instance, on Oct. 11, 2016, Strzok texted Page that he was “fighting with Stu for this FISA,” an apparent reference to then-Deputy Assistant Attorney General Stu Evans in DOJ’s national security division.

A few days later, on Oct. 14, Strzok emailed Page he needed some “hurry the F up pressure” to get the FISA approved.

If the evidence is good and the FISA request solid, why did the FBI need to apply pressure?

The real reason may be the FBI was trying to keep a lid on the political origins, motives and Election Day deadline of its star informant Steele.

And that would be the ultimate abuse of the FBI’s FISA powers.

This (and many other things like it) are what the Mueller team should have been investigating–the abuse of the FISA Warrant. However, the team of Democrat donors Mueller assembled to handle to investigation somehow managed to look the other way during the investigation. That is so unfortunate for our country. Not only was their report totally biased in what it left out; because of those omissions, the country is further divided even after the report was released. A man who could have done his patriotic duty to America chose instead to serve crooked politicians. I suspect that decision is about to catch up with him.

The Saga Continues

Andrew McCarthy has an article up at The National Review today about the roots of the Russian collusion investigation. The title of the article is, “The FBI’s Trump-Russia Investigation Was Formally Opened on False Pretenses.”

Meanwhile, CNN is reporting today:

If Democrats are not careful, they will end up in the worst of all political worlds.

Since the release of the Mueller report, the party’s leadership in Congress has been extraordinarily hesitant about taking the logical next steps. Faced with a 400-plus page report documenting extensive efforts by the President of the United States to obstruct justice, House Democrats have punted — making it pretty clear that impeachment proceedings will not be happening any time soon.

Even as the attorney general takes extraordinary steps to obstruct the subsequent hearings into obstruction, Democratic leaders remain tepid about any conversation that involves impeachment.

Okay. Let’s go back to some basic tenants of American law. First of all, you are innocent until proven guilty. The Mueller Report specifically stated that they could not find the evidence to prove President Trump guilty of anything. That means according to our laws, he is presumed innocent. Second of all, how can you have obstruction when there was no crime involved?

The CNN report is totally misleading and divisive. It states that the President obstructed justice when the Mueller Report concluded that there was no evidence to support that claim.

So let’s look at what Andrew McCarthy has to say about the root of this witch hunt:

Chicanery was the force behind the formal opening of the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation. There was a false premise, namely: The Trump campaign must have known that Russia possessed emails related to Hillary Clinton. From there, through either intentional deception or incompetence, the foreign ministries of Australia and the United States erected a fraudulent story tying the Trump campaign’s purported knowledge to the publication of hacked Democratic National Committee emails.

Andrew McCarthy points out in his article that in order to begin surveillance on the Trump campaign, the State Department and the FBI had to find something other than the Steele Dossier to base their claims on. They set up George Papadopoulos.

The National Review article lists some of the connects of the people involved in setting up the scam:

The State Department (very much including the American embassy in London) was deeply in the tank for Clinton. Downer has a history with the Clintons that includes arranging a $25 million donation to the Clinton Foundation in 2006, when he was Australia’s foreign minister and then-senator Hillary Clinton was the favorite to become U.S. president in 2008. For years, furthermore, Downer has been closely tied to British intelligence, which, like the British government broadly, was anti-Trump. (More on that in the future.)

The State Department’s Dibble immediately sent Downer’s information though government channels to the FBI.

About three weeks earlier, Victoria Nuland, the Obama administration’s top State Department official for European and Eurasian affairs, had supported the FBI’s request to meet former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele in London. Steele was the principal author of the Clinton-campaign-sponsored faux intelligence reports (the unverified “Steele dossier”), which claimed — based on anonymous sources and multiple layers of hearsay — that Russia was plotting to help Trump win the election, and that it had been holding compromising information about Hillary Clinton.

On July 5, Agent Michael Gaeta, the FBI’s legal attaché in Rome (who had worked with Steele on the FIFA soccer investigation when Steele was still with British intelligence), met with Steele at the latter’s London office. Steele permitted him to read the first of the reports that, over time, would be compiled into the so-called dossier. An alarmed Gaeta is said to have told Steele, “I have to report this to headquarters.”

It is inconceivable that Gaeta would have gone to the trouble of clearing his visit to London with the State Department and getting FBI headquarters to approve his trip, but then neglected to report to his headquarters what the source had told him — to wit, that the Trump campaign was conspiring with the Kremlin to undermine the 2016 election.

As I have previously detailed, after the hacked DNC emails were published, Steele (whose sources had not foretold the hacking by Russia or publication by WikiLeaks) simply folded this event into his preexisting narrative of a Trump-Russia conspiracy.

Prior to early July, when the FBI began receiving Steele-dossier reports (which the State Department would also soon receive), the intelligence community — particularly the CIA, under the direction of its hyper-political director, John Brennan — had been theorizing that the Trump campaign was in a corrupt relationship with Russia. Thanks to the Steele dossier, even before Downer reported his conversation with Papadopoulos to the State Department, the Obama administration had already been operating on the theory that Russia was planning to assist the Trump campaign through the anonymous release of information that would be damaging to Clinton. They had already conveniently fit the hacked DNC emails into this theory.

Downer’s report enabled the Obama administration to cover an investigative theory it was already pursuing with a report from a friendly foreign government, as if that report had triggered the Trump-Russia investigation. In order to pull that off, however, it was necessary to distort what Papadopoulos had told Downer.

To repeat, Papadopoulos never told Downer anything about emails. Moreover, the Mueller report provides no basis for Papadopoulos to have known that Russia was planning the anonymous release of information damaging to Clinton in order to help Trump; nor does the Mueller report allege that Papadopoulos actually told Downer such a thing.

The State Department’s report to the FBI claiming that Papadopoulos had “suggested” these things to Downer was manufactured to portray a false connection between (a) what Papadopoulos told Downer and (b) the hacking and publication of the DNC emails. That false connection then became the rationale for formally opening the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation — paper cover for an investigation of the Trump campaign that was already under way.

CNN either doesn’t know the truth or chooses not to report it accurately. Either way, they are doing a disservice to Americans by misleading them on the facts of the case.

Sorry, Your Stories Just Don’t Add Up

Scott Johnson at Power Line posted an article today about an article that appeared in The New York Times. Because the article at The New York Times is subscribers only, I am not including a link. The article deals with the FBI’s sending someone to investigate the Trump campaign. Spying, actually. So why is The New York Times finally admitting that the FBI was spying on the Trump campaign? The Inspector General’s report is due out shortly, and Attorney General Barr has openly stated that he will be investigating the roots of the surveillance of the Trump campaign. Both investigations are expected to say that the FBI spied on the Trump campaign.

On April 15th, The New York Post posted an article by Andrew McCarthy about the spying on the Trump campaign. The article includes the following:

On Jan. 6, 2017, Comey, Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan and National Security Agency chief Michael Rogers visited President-elect Trump in New York to brief him on the Russia investigation.

Just one day earlier, at the White House, Comey and then–Acting Attorney General Sally Yates had met with the political leadership of the Obama administration — President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and national security adviser Susan Rice — to discuss withholding information about the Russia investigation from the incoming Trump administration.

Rice put this sleight-of-hand a bit more delicately in the memo about the Oval Office meeting (written two weeks after the fact, as Rice was leaving her office minutes after Trump’s inauguration):

“President Obama said he wants to be sure that, as we engage with the incoming team, we are mindful to ascertain if there is any reason that we cannot share information fully as it relates to Russia. [Emphasis added.]”

It is easy to understand why Obama officials needed to discuss withholding information from Trump. They knew that the Trump campaign — not just some individuals tangentially connected to the campaign — was the subject of an ongoing FBI counterintelligence probe. An informant had been run at campaign officials. The FISA surveillance of Page was underway — in fact, right before Trump’s inauguration, the Obama administration obtained a new court warrant for 90 more days of spying.

The normal protocol if the FBI believed that a foreign government was attempting to infiltrate a political campaign would be to notify the campaign to put the candidate and the campaign on alert. However, this was not done. Those involved in the operation needed secrecy to keep their operation going. Now, as all of this is about to be revealed, some of the mainstream media is trying to get ahead of the story and undo the lies they have been telling for the past two and a half years. Hopefully, Americans are smart enough to see through their hypocrisy.

We Are Beginning To See What Is Under The Bright Shiny Object

The charges that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russians were odd at best. No one ever explained exactly what that collusion looked like or why it was illegal (collusion by itself is generally not illegal). There were also some other odd matters about unmasking, domestic spying, and misuse of foreign information sources. All of that is currently out there, but not necessarily being shouted at this point. Well, The Conservative Treehouse posted an article today that explains some of the reasons for the extreme hype of ‘Russian collusion’ and the reaction when Hillary Clinton lost the presidential election.

The article reports:

Now that we have significant research files on the 2015 and 2016 political surveillance program; which includes the trail evident within the Weissmann/Mueller report; in combination with the Obama-era DOJ “secret research project” (their words, not mine); we are able to overlay the entire objective and gain a full understanding of how political surveillance was conducted over a period of approximately four to six years.

Working with a timeline, but also referencing origination material in 2015/2016 – CTH hopes to show how the program operated.  This explains an evolution from The IRS Files in 2010 to the FISA Files in 2016.

The article details some of the timeline involved:

Early in 2016 NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers was alerted of a significant uptick in FISA-702(17) “About” queries using the FBI/NSA database that holds all metadata records on every form of electronic communication.

The NSA compliance officer alerted Admiral Mike Rogers who then initiated a full compliance audit on/around March 9th, 2016, for the period of November 1st, 2015, through May 1st, 2016.

While the audit was ongoing, due to the severity of the results that were identified, Admiral Mike Rogers stopped anyone from using the 702(17) “about query” option, and went to the extraordinary step of blocking all FBI contractor access to the database on April 18, 2016 (keep these dates in mind).

The article explains that many of the searches carried out were illegal:

The operators were searching “U.S Persons”. The review of November 1, 2015, to May 1, 2016, showed “eighty-five percent of those queries” were unlawful or “non compliant”.

…The [five digit] amount (more than 1,000, less than 10,000), and 85% error rate, was captured in a six month period.

Also notice this very important quote: “many of these non-compliant queries involved the use of the same identifiers over different date ranges.”   So they were searching the same phone number, email address, electronic “identifier”, or people, repeatedly over different dates.  Specific people were being tracked/monitored.

Additionally, notice the last quote: “while the government reports it is unable to provide a reliable estimate of” these non lawful searches “since 2012, there is no apparent reason to believe the November 2015 [to] April 2016 coincided with an unusually high error rate”.

That means the 85% unlawful FISA-702(16)(17) database abuse has likely been happening since 2012.  (Again, remember that date, 2012) Who was FBI Director? Who was his chief-of-staff? Who was CIA Director? ODNI? etc.  Remember, the NSA is inside the Pentagon (Defense Dept) command structure.  Who was Defense Secretary? And finally, who wrote and signed-off-on the January 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment?

The article explains the role of the Steele Dossier was necessary to continue surveillance:

Fusion GPS was not hired in April 2016 to research Donald Trump.  As shown in the evidence provided by the FISC, the intelligence community was already doing surveillance and spy operations. The Obama administration already knew everything about the Trump campaign, and were monitoring everything by exploiting the FISA database.

However, after the NSA alerts in/around March 9th, 2016, and particularly after the April 18th shutdown of contractor access, the Obama intelligence community needed Fusion GPS to create a legal albeit ex post facto justification for the pre-existing surveillance and spy operations.  Fusion GPS gave them that justification in the Steele Dossier.

That’s why the FBI small group, which later transitioned into the Mueller team, are so strongly committed to and defending the formation of the Steele Dossier and its dubious content.  The Steele Dossier contains the cover-story and justification for the surveillance operation.

Please follow the link above and read the entire article. It is chilling. It paints a picture of an administration that politicized government agencies to spy on Americans and made an attempt to eliminate political opposition by using the force of government. Just for the record, even though the Obama administration is out of office, they are still using the government connections they have to work against the President and against the best interests of Americans.

Spying, What Spying?

Supposedly Attorney General Barr dropped a bombshell when he told Congress that there was spying on the Trump campaign. Although Congress seemed shocked, I suspect most Americans were not.

An article in The Gateway Pundit yesterday quotes James Comey in a recent interview:

“With respect to Barr’s comment, I have no idea what he’s talking about when he talks about spying on the campaign and so I can’t really react,” Comey said Thursday at a Hewlett Foundation conference.

…“The FBI and the Department of Justice conduct court-ordered electronic surveillance, “Comey said. “I have never thought of that as spying…and if the Attorney General has come to the belief that that should be called ‘spying’ – WOW!”

“But I don’t know what he meant by that term — and factually I don’t know what he meant because I don’t know of any court-ordered electronic surveillance aimed at the Trump campaign and that’s the reason for my confusion,” Comey said.

So now the argument is that the FISA warrants were not aimed at the Trump campaign? I’m sure it is just an incredible coincidence that most of the surveillance allowed by those FISA warrants were on members of the Trump campaign who would have communicated with the candidate fairly frequently. This may be believable to the never-Trump crowd, but I sure wouldn’t try to sell it anywhere else.

He who defines the words controls the debate.

It really doesn’t matter if it is court-ordered or not, if you are listening to a person’s private conversations, it is spying. Notice that in claiming it was court-ordered, he avoids the issue of whether or not the court was deceived.

We need to keep in mind that this was court-ordered surveillance of a political opponent’s campaign. It was the use of the government to spy on that campaign–it was not simple ‘opposition research.’ Richard Nixon was impeached for far less. Unless we hold those responsible accountable, this will become an everyday occurrence in political campaigns.

The Truth Begins To Drip Out

If you depend totally on the mainstream media for your news, you might be unaware that there was government surveillance of the Trump campaign and the Trump transition team. There is a school of thought that believes that Admiral Mike Rogers informed President Trump that Trump Tower was under electronic surveillance early in the Trump administration and that is the reason President Trump began doing business from New Jersey. I suspect that will be confirmed in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, there was some very interesting testimony on Capitol Hill by Attorney General William Barr regarding surveillance.

CNS News posted an article today about that testimony.

The article reports:

Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) asked Attorney General William Barr at a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on Wednesday to “rephrase” his use of the word “spying” to characterize the government targeting the Trump campaign.

“I want to give you a chance to rephrase something you said, because I think when the attorney general of the United States uses the word ‘spying,’ it’s rather provocative, and in my view unnecessarily inflammatory, and I know what you’re getting at, because you have explained yourself in terms of answering Senator Graham’s questions and the questions of others,” Schatz said.

“Do you want to rephrase what you’re doing, because I think the word ‘spying’ could cause everybody in the cable news ecosystem to freak out, and I think it’s necessary for you to be precise with your language here. You normally are, and I want to give you a chance to be especially precise here,” the senator said.

The article continues:

As CNS News.com reported, Barr told Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) that “spying” occurred during the 2016 election.

“So you’re not suggesting though that spying occurred?” Shaheen asked.

“I think there was – spying did occur. Yes, I think spying did occur, but the question is whether it was predicated, adequately predicated, and I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated, but I need to explore that,” the attorney general said.

“I think it’s my obligation. Congress is usually very concerned about intelligence agencies and law enforcement agencies staying in their proper lane, and I want to make sure that happened,” Barr said.

I suspect that by the end of next week we will know a lot more about the surveillance of the Trump campaign and Trump transition team. The news media being what it is, I suspect a lot of information on this subject will be in the Good Friday news dump because the media is hoping most people will be too preoccupied with Easter to see it.