That Ship Already Sailed

On Monday, The Daily Caller posted an article about some concerns in the intelligence community.

The article reports:

The intelligence community is warning that key agencies may be politicized under a second Trump administration as the 2024 election approaches after it tried to discredit the Hunter Biden laptop story and pushed a now-debunked dossier about the former president, Politico reported on Monday.

Former President Donald Trump could politicize the intelligence community through who he appoints and removes as well as demanding adherence to his agenda, the 18 former Trump officials and analysts claimed to Politico. The FBI welcomed the now-discredited Steele Dossier alleging Trump had ties to Russia and 51 former intelligence officials signed onto a letter saying Hunter Biden’s now-authenticated laptop was Russian disinformation shortly before the 2020 presidential election.

I think a more accurate story would be that the intelligence community is concerned that a second term of President Trump might force them to be neutral and obey the Constitution. He might also hold them accountable for the times they broke the law. I suspect he might even change the personnel to make the agencies politically neutral. Oh horrors.

The article concludes:

However, Trump’s campaign cited the examples of the Steele Dossier and Hunter Biden laptop letter among examples of intelligence community weaponization against the former president.

“President Trump has been under assault ever since he announced his campaign in 2016,” Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung told the DCNF. “From spying on his campaign, Russiagate, the Russia collusion hoax, the debunked Steele dossier, and the 51 intelligence officials wrongly ignoring Hunter Biden’s laptop from Hell, the establishment has been trying to meddle in elections because they simply can’t stand voters choosing a candidate who puts America First.”

Trump is currently leading Biden by 2.1 points in a RealClearPolitics national average of polls.

The FBI insisted that the intelligence community incorporate the Steele Dossier in a report of foreign meddling in the 2016 election, according to Politico.

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio hinted Wednesday that the Department of Justice is operating under a double standard after it indicted an FBI informant who allegedly provided false evidence of corruption involving Biden, while letting Christopher Steele, a former operative of the Secret Intelligence Service, off the hook for his dossier that was used to try and remove Trump from office.

The FBI “dug their own grave” by promoting the Steele Dossier, one former intelligence official told Politico.

I pray for an honest election without interference from the intelligence community or the deep state.

More Skullduggery Uncovered

Yesterday I posted an article espousing the theory that the raid on Mar-a-Lago was really about the FBI wanting to recover information that incriminated the Obama administration for spying on the Trump campaign. There was another article posted at Substack yesterday that gave further credence to that theory.

The Substack article reported:

Last December 15th, as Americans decorated trees, lit Menorahs, and prepared to tune out for winter holidays, CNN ran an extraordinary article titled, “The mystery of the missing binder: How a collection of raw Russian intelligence disappeared under Trump.”

Co-authored by Natasha Bertrand, the gargantuan exposé claimed a mysterious “binder” of “highly classified information related to Russian election interference” went “missing” in the chaotic waning days of Donald Trump’s presidency in January 2021, raising concerns that some of America’s most “closely guarded national security secrets… could be exposed.”

CNN and its intelligence sources meant “exposure” in a bad way. Sources have told Public and Racket, however, that the secrets officials worry might be “exposed” are ones that would implicate them in widespread abuses of intelligence authority dating back to the 2015-2016 election season.

“I would call [the binder] Trump’s insurance policy,” said someone knowledgeable about the case. “He was very concerned about having it and taking it with him because it was the road map” of Russiagate.

Transgressions range from Justice Department surveillance of domestic political targets without probable cause to the improper unmasking of a pre-election conversation between a Trump official and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to WMD-style manipulation of intelligence for public reports on alleged Russian “influence activities.”

The CNN report claimed intelligence officials were concerned about the disclosure of “sources and methods that informed the U.S. government’s assessment that Russian President Vladimir Putin sought to help Trump win the 2016 election.”

They should be concerned. The story of how a team “hand-picked” by CIA Director John Brennan relied on “cooked intelligence” to craft that January 6th, 2017 Intelligence Community Assessment is the subject of tomorrow’s story, the last in this three-part series.

Corruption, not tradecraft, is what officials are desperate to keep secret.

I rather doubt the mainstream media will cover this unless they absolutely have to. Meanwhile, please follow the link to read the entire article. It really isn’t surprising, but it is alarming that a group of people inside our government felt entitled to determine the results of an election regardless of the will of the voters.

The Real Purpose Of The Raid At Mar-a-Lago?

If you don’t have your conspiracy hat on, you are probably going to need it for this article.

An animal is most dangerous when it is cornered. On Tuesday, The New York Post posted an article about the illegal spying on President Trump during the presidential campaign of 2016 and afterward. Obviously, that was illegal, but it seems as if Democrats are not required to abide by laws.

The article reports:

The US Intelligence Community asked foreign spy agencies to surveil 26 associates of Donald Trump in the run-up to the 2016 election, which triggered the allegations that the former president’s campaign had been colluding with Russia, according to a report. 

Former CIA Director John Brennan identified and presented the targets to the US’s intelligence-sharing partners in the so-called “Five Eyes” agencies – the intelligence-gathering organizations in the US, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – according to a report published Monday on Michael Shellenberger’s Public Substack

The report by independent journalists Shellenberger, Matt Taibbi and Alex Gutentag has not been confirmed by The Post.

They cite multiple unnamed sources, including ones close to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, led by Rep. Mike Turner (R-Ohio). 

The article concludes:

Former FBI lawyer Kevin Clinesmith was sentenced to probation in 2021 after admitting that he falsified an e-mail to renew a wiretap against former Trump campaign adviser Carter Page. 

​​Page had been wiretapped after intelligence sources suspected he might have been targeted by Russian spies. The wiretap, which was approved by the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, was renewed several times after it was first granted.

Last March, Special Counsel John Durham concluded that the FBI investigation of Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia was “seriously flawed” and had no basis in evidence, after a four-year review of the probe. 

In response, the FBI said it had “implemented dozens of corrective actions” since the improper Trump probe and that “the missteps identified in the report could have been prevented” had the reforms been in place in 2016. 

In 2022, Taibbi and Shellenberger were involved in the publishing of the Twitter Files expose, which detailed how the social media giant’s previous management team sought to silence controversial voices and suppress news items such as The Post’s reporting on Hunter Biden’s laptop.

Do you really believe all necessary corrective actions have been taken? What if there is more to this than meets the eye? What if documents detailing exactly who was involved in this illegal activity exist and the FBI does not know where they are? Would they logically be at Mar-a-Lago or in President Trump’s possession? Is it possible that was what the raid at Mar-a-Lago was really about since other Presidents have never been treated that way?

President Trump is a smart man. I suspect (and I would also suggest that the parties who broke the law spying suspect) that somewhere in a very secret place the documents showing the abuse of our justice system are in President Trump’s possession. I also think that those who engaged in the illegal spying will be brought to justice if President Trump is re-elected. That is why the deep state is working so hard to prevent President Trump from being our next President.

Let’s All Spy On Our Neighbors

In an article I wrote on January 16th, 2013, I said the following, “Back in the early sixties when folk music was the rage, there was a group called the Chad Mitchell Trio that recorded a song called “The John Birch Society.” It was a great song. Some of the lyrics stated:

Oh, we’re the John Birch Society, the John Birch Society

Here to save our country from a communistic plot

Join the John Birch Society holding off the Reds

We’ll use our hand and hearts and if we must we’ll use our heads

Do you want Justice Warren for your Commissar?

Do you want Mrs. Krushchev in there with the DAR?

You cannot trust your neighbor or even next of kin

If mommie is a commie then you gotta turn her in.”

I don’t necessarily agree with the slam on the John Birch Society, but unfortunately what they were singing about back then is happening today.

On January 4th, Newsbusters posted the following:

Wednesday’s edition of the PBS NewsHour featured veteran journalist Judy Woodruff cheering on an obsessive group of “citizen investigators” who have teamed up with the media’s favorite domestic surveillance organization to turn in people who entered the U.S. Capitol building on January 6, 2021: “How citizen investigators are helping the FBI track down Jan. 6 rioters.”

One suspects these unlabeled, left-wing activist “Citizen investigators” would have been condemned as troubling vigilantes by PBS if they were crowdsourcing video for Black Lives Matter rioters and thieves in 2020.

Host Amna Nawaz: The federal investigation into 2021’s January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol is the largest FBI operation in history. More than 1,200 people have been charged and over 900 convicted so far, and hundreds more charges are expected before the investigation concludes. But it has stretched the bureau’s resources, and it’s often had to rely on the work of a bipartisan group of citizen investigators who came to be known as sedition hunters….

“Sedition hunters.” The tolerant left’s lexicon certainly sounds McCarthyite these days. This is a “public broadcasting” trend. NPR touted the “sedition hunters” last year at this time.

Woodruff interviewed someone who spends her every waking hour playing detective, seemingly determined to put everyone who walked into the Capitol on January 6 in prison. She won’t give her name, or show her face, but she exposes everyone else.

Please follow the link above to read the entire article. It is chilling.

Is Anyone Surprised?

On December 28th, NBC News reported the following:

U.S. intelligence officials have determined that the Chinese spy balloon that flew across the U.S. this year used an American internet service provider to communicate, according to two current and one former U.S. official familiar with the assessment.

The balloon connected to a U.S.-based company, according to the assessment, to send and receive communications from China, primarily related to its navigation. Officials familiar with the assessment said it found that the connection allowed the balloon to send burst transmissions, or high-bandwidth collections of data over short periods of time.

The Biden administration sought a highly secretive court order from the federal Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to collect intelligence about it while it was over the U.S., according to multiple current and former U.S. officials. How the court ruled has not been disclosed.

The article concludes:

After the balloon was shot down, a senior State Department official said that it was used by China for surveillance and that it was loaded with equipment able to collect signals intelligence.

The balloon had multiple antennas, including an array most likely able to collect and geolocate communications, the official said. It was also powered by enormous solar panels that generated enough power to operate intelligence collection sensors, the official said.

Defense and intelligence officials have said the U.S. assessment is that the balloon was not able to transmit intelligence back to China while it was over the U.S.

The FBI forensics team that examined the balloon after it was shot down completed a classified report about the equipment it carried, according to multiple U.S. officials. Its findings remain secret and have not been widely briefed.

Federal judges on the surveillance court, where proceedings are held in secret, must determine whether there is probable cause that the surveillance target is a foreign power or a foreign agent and that the surveillance is necessary to obtain foreign intelligence information. The court’s rulings are classified.

If you study the route of the balloon, you will notice that it flew over a number of significant military installations. I don’t believe that is a coincidence. You will also remember that the balloon was shot down over water–after it had flown over the entire country–and because  it was shot down over water, its electronics were fried. Is anyone in our government looking out for the security of America?

Sometimes Congress Actually Does Something When It Directly Impacts Them!

On Tuesday, The Daily Wire posted an article about the Department of Justice’s spying on members of Congress.

The article reports:

House Judiciary Chairman Jim Jordan (R-OH) announced on Tuesday that he subpoenaed Attorney General Merrick Garland for information on alleged efforts to surveil members of Congress and congressional staff — including during the Russiagate controversy that rocked former President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign and administration.

In a cover letter to Garland, which noted potential legislative reforms could follow, Jordan said his panel “must resort to compulsory process” because of the “inadequate response to date” by the Department of Justice (DOJ) following his request for details about the apparent use of subpoenas to obtain private communications of Legislative Branch employees.

The DOJ previously informed the committee that the legal process it used related to an investigation into the “unauthorized disclosure of classified information in a national media publication,” the letter said. Jordan cited news reporting that indicated the inquiry pertained to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) surveillance of one-time Trump campaign associate Carter Page, reliant on an effort to get FISA warrants that the DOJ inspector general heavily criticized and the DOJ itself later conceded had relied on “insufficient predication” to last as long as it did.

The article concludes:

The Executive Branch appears to have used its “immense law-enforcement authority to gather and search the private communications of multiple Legislative Branch employees who were conducting Constitutional oversight of the Department’s investigative actions — actions that were later found to be unlawful,” Jordan wrote.

“Because the Department has not complied in full with our requests, we cannot independently determine whether the Department sought to alleviate the heightened separation-of-powers sensitivities involved or whether the Department first sought the information through other means before resorting to legal process,” Jordan added. “The Committee also has concerns that aspects of the Department’s investigation may have been a pretext to justify piercing the Legislative Branch’s deliberative process and improperly access data from Members and staff involved in conducting oversight of the Department.”

After watching the Department of Justice in recent years, I have concluded that the upper management of the Department has very little respect for the rule of law. They need to be replaced.

The Importance Of Primary Elections

On Thursday, The Liberty Daily posted an article about primary elections.

The article cites a recent illustration of the importance of primary elections”

Another day, another betrayal by the Republican wing of the UniParty Swamp. The House overwhelmingly passed the NDAA and failed to strip out the extension of FISA domestic spying. Oddly, Senate Republicans actually did a better job of attempting to stop it than their House partners. Both still failed to do the will of their constituents and defend the Constitution.

Rather than write up a long rant about what needs to be done to reform the party or to hold our elected officials accountable, I’m going to cut to the chase. The primaries are EVERYTHING. Another election in which we’re forced to choose between the lesser of two evils in legislative races could be the end of our nation. We need America First constitutional conservatives. Having the letter (R) next to the name is not enough.

Fortunately, this is a presidential election year so the vast majority of attention by media, donors, and voters will be spent on the top of the ticket. This is an opportunity for patriots to have a greater impact on down ballot races during the primaries. Less money and effort will be spent propping up RINO legislative candidates so if we’re selective with our support and we loudly voice our opinions, we have a chance of putting fellow patriots on the general election ballots.

If we want to protect the rights that are guaranteed by our Constitution, we need to pay very close attention during the primary elections.

Please follow the link to see how conservatives can make a difference this primary season.

More Shenanigans On The FISA Renewal

On Monday, The Washington Examiner reported the following:

Neither of the two bills to reauthorize and reform a powerful spy tool used by American intelligence agencies will be voted on this week after the Rules Committee pulled the legislation amid intense backlash.

Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY), who sits on the Rules Committee, confirmed to the Washington Examiner that neither the House Judiciary Committee nor Intelligence Committee bills to reauthorize and reform Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act would be voted on this week.

…Now, with the bills being punted until next year, it theoretically gives committees the time to work out the differences. The House is also expected to vote on the National Defense Authorization Act on Thursday, which includes a short-term extension of FISA until April 19, 2024, something certain members also oppose.

“I’m really disappointed that we’re talking about a four-month extension in the authorities of FISA,” said Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), who helped author the Judiciary Committee bill. “So we should be laboring through to get this thing done, in my opinion.”

Under Section 702 of FISA, the federal government can surveil foreigners without a warrant for national security purposes. The collected information becomes part of a vast database of foreign intelligence that incidentally includes information about U.S. citizens who may have been communicating with people overseas.

There have been documented abuses of FISA. Because of this, most members want reforms but disagree on what those reforms should be.

I personally think that we have seen enough abuses and misuses of FISA to want it to go away. Obviously Washington politicians and bureaucrats do not have the maturity to use it wisely.

On Monday, The Conservative Treehouse reported:

For those confused. There are two bills to modify the FISA702 reauthorization in the House.  (1) HR 6611 from the House Intel Committee and (2) HR 6570 from the House Judiciary Committee.  The intel committee bill expands domestic surveillance authority under the modifications; the judiciary committee bill requires the DOJ to get a search warrant before they can look at the incidental collection of American citizens.

Both bills came out of committee and were scheduled for a floor vote tomorrow, which has been cancelled due to public outcry (good job).  Speaker Mike Johnson initially planned to let both bills get voted tomorrow and the bill with the most votes advances to the Senate.  😬That’s a hot mess.

The House Intel Committee bill organized by Chairman Mike Turner is absolutely horrible. It expands FISA702 surveillance and makes things much worse.  The House Judiciary Bill organized by Chairman Jim Jordan is not structurally that much better, but it does put strong curtailments on the 702 surveillance authority by forcing the DOJ to get actual court approved search warrants on American citizens.

It should not come as a surprise to see a panel of 46 experts in Deep State weaponization come out in support of the Intelligence Committee bill, and then decry the insufferable 702 limitations put into place in the Judiciary Committee bill.   The bad guys want the House Intel version.

As I stated, it’s time for FISA to go away.

This Sounds Innocuous, But It Is Frightening

On Thursday, The Conservative Treehouse reported the following:

Inside the construct of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), Congress has agreed to extend the current FISA-702 authorization through April 19. 2024.  Why April 19th?  I believe, based on DOJ/FBI history, there is a very nefarious intent. 

The article goes on to explain that April 19th is the end of the primary election season. The deep state will be free to abuse FISA during the primary elections in an attempt to skew the election results. This is another tool the deep state is going to use in their war against President Trump.

The article notes:

On/around April 19, 2024, the GOP nominee will likely have locked down the nomination.  The nominee is likely to be Donald Trump.

Beyond the extension motive, the previous counterintelligence investigation by the FBI never stopped.  Crossfire Hurricane evolved into the Mueller special counsel investigation.  The same investigative units from the FBI then transferred into the Jack Smith special counsel.  There is no reason to believe a counterintelligence investigation does not underpin the legal authorities by which the current DOJ is keeping candidate Donald Trump under surveillance today.

Using the wording within the criminal indictment, the DOJ-NSD could -likely is- considering Donald Trump a national security threat.  All indications from the Jack Smith prosecution point in this direction.  There is no countervailing data that would suggest the DOJ is not considering Donald Trump a national security threat.  As a result, it is very likely candidate Trump is once again under a FISA authorized Title-1 surveillance warrant….. and everyone within two hops of him would be under the same.

On/around April 19, 2024, if Trump is the presumptive GOP nominee, the FISA court might look at any renewal authorities differently.  It’s one thing to have American citizen Donald Trump under title-1 surveillance, it is another thing entirely to have the opposing candidate to the current administration under legally authorized surveillance by the DOJ-NSD.

The end date of April 19, 2024, would align with a need to have more than reasonable suspicion to retain the surveillance. At least, that’s the way the FISC would likely look at it.

If Occam’s razor is applied to the current datapoints, the most likely scenario for the DOJ-NSD, FBI and Jack Smith special counsel investigative units, is that Donald Trump is currently under FISC authorized title-1 surveillance.

It’s where we are, folks. The only solution is an overwhelming victory for President Trump in 2024. Otherwise, we will have morphed into a police state.

Spied On Again

On Wednesday, The U.K. Daily Mail posted the following headline:

Congress demands answers from White House over ‘invasive’ surveillance program known as Hemisphere that has tracked TRILLIONS of phone records for Americans each year – even if they are not suspected of a crime

Who authorized this surveillance?

The article reports:

Congress is demanding answers from the Biden administration about a secret spying program that tracks more than a trillion phone records from innocent and unsuspecting Americans each year.

The under-the-radar system, known as Data Analytical Services or ‘Hemisphere,’ has been in operation for over a decade. It allows federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies to tap into the phone records of U.S. citizens who have not been accused of any crime.

Under the Hemisphere program the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) pays phone service provider AT&T to hand over phone records as far back as 1987.

The deal first came to light in 2013 after a bombshell New York Times report, but it has since been expanded.

The article notes that Congress is ready to investigate why the government is spying on innocent Americans.

The article reports:

Republican congressman Andy Biggs, Ariz., accused the government of spying on Americans.

Hemisphere is ‘invasive’ and allows ‘government agents warrantless access to trillions of Americans’ domestic communications records,’ he said.

Biggs went on: ‘The federal government doesn’t care about your privacy and it’s long past time we end these abuses and hold rogue actors accountable.

‘The Hemisphere Project highlights major loopholes in federal law through which the government is able to spy on Americans without judicial oversight, such as the purchase of personal data.’

Congress is currently considering renewal of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act’s Section 702.

That allows for warrantless surveillance of foreigners but often catches the conversations of Americans.

Biggs said it must also look at the Hemisphere program.

The article concludes:

The program is run primarily by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Its stated purpose is to help investigate drug traffickers and other complex criminal enterprises.

However, it has also been used to arrest jewelry store robbers, a murder suspect and even a woman who was making nuisance bomb threats.

The program bypasses usual privacy regulations through a complex network of funding.

Rather than directly funding the surveillance, the ONDCP provides a grant to the Houston High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, which in turn pays AT&T to operate the program.

Because of this Hemisphere is not subject to a federal Privacy Impact Assessment like most projects funded by federal agencies.

The program is obviously not successful in stemming the drug problem; why is it still in place?

The Video Tapes Are Revealing The Truth

As the video tapes from January 6th are being released, it is becoming very obvious that the story we have been told about that day is simply not true. The role of the Capitol Police needs to be scrutinized carefully in view of what the video reveals.

On Wednesday, Just the News posted an article about some of what has been learned from the video tapes.

The article reports:

Congressional investigators have obtained hours of video footage from undercover officers who were dispatched by the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department to the U.S. Capitol to conduct electronic surveillance during the Jan. 6 riot, a critical new piece of evidence that could help lawmakers fashion long-delayed security reforms.

The footage reviewed by Just the News ranges from the mundane — such as chronicling moments when Capitol Police officers are impacted by tear gas fired into the crowd – to more provocative scenes that appear to show plainclothes MPD officers exhorting rioters to climb scaffolding near the Capitol or talking about being undercover with liberal fascist protesters in a crowd.

Please follow the link and read the entire article. At this point we need to know who the Capitol Police actually work for and who gave them their instructions for that day.

The Videos Don’t Lie

We have all been told that the staff at Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza had no idea that Hamas was using the hospital for their purposes. However, videos from the hospital surveillance system tell another story. On Monday, The Geller Report posted an article showing videos posted on the Internet of doctors watching as armed Hamas soldiers escort hostages through the halls of the hospital.

Here are a few of the screenshots:

You get the picture.

Why It Matters

On Wednesday Real Clear Politics posted an article titled, “What the ‘Obamagate’ Scandals Mean and Why They Matter.” The article lists and details the scandals and why they matter. I will list them and then share the conclusion. Please follow the link to the article for further details.

The article lists the scandals:

Scandal No. 1: Massive, illegal surveillance of American citizens, using the database of the National Security Agency

Scandal No. 2: Spying on the Trump campaign

Scandal No. 3: Covering up this spying, continuing it during the new administration, charging that Trump was not legitimately elected, and impeding his presidency with major investigations, based on false charges

The article concludes:

Obama officials worked especially hard to remove incoming National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Because Gen. Flynn was an experienced intelligence officer, he would surely uncover the surveillance of Trump’s campaign and transition and stop its continuation against the new administration. He had to go. Now we know just how low the Obama administration and Comey FBI sunk to make that happen: spying, unmasking, leaking classified phone calls, discarding FBI protocols to set up an entrapment interview based on a meaningless “legal violation,” and telling Trump directly, as Obama did, not to hire Flynn.

Beyond this destructive mission, Brennan loyalists at the CIA burrowed into Trump’s National Security Council while the FBI tried to plant agents in the White House itself. Most important of all, the Obama team and their congressional allies helped launch multiple, full-scale investigations of “Russian collusion” with no solid basis, plenty of contrived “evidence,” and breathless media headlines. It all failed, but not before it damaged Trump’s presidency and the basic tenets of liberal democracy.

It’s an ugly picture, one that goes beyond dirty tricks and the normal bounds of “loyal opposition.” We still have a lot to learn, but we already know a great deal. We know how grave the three scandals were. We know they fit together, forming something much larger. With each new tranche of declassified documents, we see something big and hideous emerging from the Swamp, a political scandal of profound import.

This information needs to be shouted to the American people. There are many Americans who still believe that President Trump did collude with the Russians, and they need to be told the truth. No one likes to admit that they believed a lie, but it is time to educate the American citizens on what the truth actually is.

The Underlying Purpose Of The Mueller Investigation

Yesterday The Conservative Treehouse posted an article explaining how the Mueller investigation was used to block the release of any information that would have shown the Russian collusion charges against President Trump as a hoax.

The article explains:

Within an interesting interview conducted by Jan Jekielek of Epoch Times, former AAG Matt Whitaker confirms what CTH long suspected. The Mueller investigation was used by corrupt interests within the special counsel’s office to threaten any/all executive branch and congressional officials with “obstruction of justice” charges if they revealed any exculpatory or counter-narrative information during the Mueller probe.

Whitaker describes this as the “obstruction of justice trap.”

Essentially, this approach confirms the second-prong purpose of the Mueller investigation itself. First, use the special counsel in 2017, 2018 and into the beginning of 2019, as a shield (hide information); and secondly a weapon (threats) against any entity who would reveal the background intelligence that undercut the Trump-Russia collusion narrative.

We know President Trump was threatened by Rod Rosenstein not to declassify any information in September of 2018 or the Mueller investigation would use that act as evidence of obstruction. Whitaker confirms that same approach was applied toward any executive branch officer who would reveal or release information to congress during the tenure of the special counsel; even within the DOJ and including the attorney general.

This is how the Mueller probe was weaponized to mislead the American people.

…Documents could not be released without Mueller approval; interviews with key FBI/DOJ officials could not be conducted without Mueller team approval; information could not be declassified without Mueller team approval, etc.

Any agency or individual that attempted to release any information was subject to the threat of indictment by the same corrupt prosecutors leading the investigation. It’s a self-fulfilling safety mechanism.  Even DOJ officials like Matt Whitaker were under threat. Whitaker calls it the “Obstruction of Justice Trap”.

With that in mind this is a very serious flaw in the authority of the special counsel statute that needs to be addressed by congress. Who can watch the watchers, when the watchers were specifically selected because they would knowingly contribute to the corruption.

The article includes the following video:

The article also highlights particular parts of the video:

Very disturbing (timestamps for interview):

♦03:43 On Judge Sullivan choosing not to dismiss the case against Gen. Flynn
♦06:54 On FBI director Christopher Wray calling for an internal investigation
♦08:41 What kind of accountability will we see for 2016 election surveillance?
♦15:27 The problem with the regulation creating Special Counsels
♦19:32 Obstruction of justice trap?
♦35:38 Communist China’s a greater threat than Russia

The truth needs to come out. Americans are entitled to see how their government became a political weapon used against a campaign and against a presidency. There are a number of people who need to pay a high price for what they have done to thwart the smooth transition of power in America.

As More Information Comes To Light, There Are More Questions

Everything surrounding the case against General Flynn has been looked at, analyzed, and dissected, but it seems that the more we learn, the more questions arise. The Federalist posted an article today about the weaponization of the intelligence community by the Obama administration. I suspect that what we are learning is only a taste of what is to come. The article at The Federalist is complex, and I suggest that you follow the link to read the entire article. I will attempt to summarize the high points.

The article reports:

The drip-drip-drip of newly declassified documents related to the Trump-Russia investigation, together with recent reports that a classified leak against former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn might not have come from an unmasking request, leaves little doubt that the Obama administration weaponized federal surveillance laws to target Trump associates and undermine the incoming administration.

The story thus far is complex, but it reveals a disturbing abuse of power by the Obama administration that suggests congressional reform of federal surveillance laws is needed to ensure this never happens again.

Just as a side note, I can assure you that if those who misused the intelligence community are not punished, we will see this again.

The article continues:

According to Rice’s bizarre email, which she wrote to herself as President Trump was being inaugurated on Jan. 20, 2017, Comey told Obama and Biden he had “some concerns that incoming NSA Flynn is speaking frequently with Russian Ambassador Kislyak,” and that “the level of communication is unusual.” How did Comey know this? Because the FBI had been spying on Flynn as part of a counterintelligence investigation it launched in August 2016.

Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador became national news after someone in the Obama administration illegally leaked to Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, who revealed in a Jan. 12, 2017, column that Flynn had spoken to Kislyak several times on Dec. 29, 2017.

That touched off an effort by Republicans to find out who leaked to the Post. Last week, responding to a request from Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), acting Director of National Intelligence Richard Grenell released a list of former senior Obama administration officials who requested the unmasking of Flynn between Nov. 30, 2016, and Jan. 12, 2017.

This is the important (often overlooked) fact:

But the dates of the unmasking requests don’t match up with Flynn’s Dec. 29 conversations with the Russian ambassador, which suggests Flynn was identified in an intelligence report that didn’t require the concealment of his identity. On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that, according to an anonymous former senior U.S. official, “When the FBI circulated [the report], they included Flynn’s name from the beginning,” and that, “There were therefore no requests for the unmasking of that information.”

This report matches with a theory floated over the weekend by National Review Online’s Andrew McCarthy, that Flynn’s call with Kislyak might have been “intercepted under an intelligence program not subject to the masking rules, probably by the CIA or a friendly foreign spy service acting in a nod-and-wink arrangement with our intelligence community.”

Please follow the link to read the rest of the story–it is amazing.

The Timeline Is Important

When you look up Sharyl Attkisson this is what you find, “Sharyl Attkisson is a nonpartisan Investigative Journalist who tries to give you information others don’t want you to have. What you do with it is your own business. Do your own research. Seek advice from those you trust. Make up your own mind. Think for yourself.” That is a pretty accurate description of a lady who works hard to report the truth.She has received numerous awards for her investigative reporting and was under surveillance during the Obama administration because she got too close to the truth in her reporting about Fast and Furious.

On her website, she recently posted a timeline of all of the illegal surveillance carried out by the Obama administration. Please follow the link to see the entire timeline. I am going to focus only on the part beginning in the summer of 2016.

The article reports:

Summer 2016:

The FBI reportedly tries to obtain a secret FISA court order to monitor communications of Trump adviser Carter Page, alleging that Page is acting as a Russian agent. The application is turned down but approved in October when the anti-Trump “dossier” is included to justify the wiretap application.

2016:

It’s not yet known publicly, but CNN later reports that the Obama Justice Department wiretapped Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort before the 2016 election over Russia ties, closed the investigation, then began surveillance anew sometime in the fall and continued it through the early part of 2017.

Fall 2016:

Trump opponents “shop” to reporters a political opposition research “dossier” alleging Trump is guilty of various inappropriate acts regarding Russia. The information is unverified (and some of it is false) and the press doesn’t publish it, but a copy is provided to the FBI.

September 26, 2016:

It’s not publicly known at the time, but the government makes a proposal to the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) court to allow the National Counter Terrorism Center to access “unmasked” intel on Americans acquired by the FBI and NSA. (The Court later approves as “appropriate”.)

October 7, 2016:

Former vice chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff James Cartwright pleads guilty in a leak investigation to lying to the FBI about his discussions with reporters regarding Iran’s nuclear program.

October 26, 2016:

At  closed-door hearing before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, the Obama administration disclosed that it had been violating surveillance safeguards, according to Circa. It disclosed that more than 5 percent of its searches of the NSA’s database violated safeguards promised in 2011.

November 8, 2016:

Donald Trump is elected President.

November 2016-January 2017:

News reports claim Rice’s interest in the NSA materials accelerates after President Trump’s election through his January inauguration. Surveillance reportedly included Trump transition figures and/or foreign officials discussing a Trump administration.

December 2016:

FBI secretly monitors and records communications between Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak and Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who later became President Trump’s national security adviser.

After Trump’s election, Obama officials take steps to ensure certain intelligence gathered regarding Trump associates is “spread across the government.” One Obama official would later say it’s because they were afraid once Trump officials “found out how we knew what we knew,” the intelligence would be destroyed. However, Obama critics later theorize Obama officials were working to mount opposition to Trump’s presidency.

December 15, 2016:

National Security Adviser Susan Rice later reportedly acknowledged that the Obama administration spied on Trump officials in Trump Tower on this date, but claimed it was incidental to the administration’s spying on the foreign leader they were meeting with: the UAE crown prince. Rice also reportedly admitted to “unmasking” the names of the Trump officials who met with the crown prince, saying it was important to know who they were, although the identities of Americans are supposed to be strictly protected except in extraordinary circumstances. Trump officials who met with the crown prince reportedly included: Steve Bannon, Jared Kushner and Gen. Michael Flynn.

January 10, 2017:

The media reports on the leaked anti-Trump “dossier” compiled by a political opposition research group containing unverified and at least partly untrue allegations of misconduct involving Trump and Russia.

January 12, 2017:

The Obama administration finalizes new rules allowing the National Security Agency (NSA) to spread certain intelligence to 16 other U.S. intel agencies without the normal privacy protections.

President Obama commutes all but the last four months of Manning’s sentence for leaking intelligence information to WikiLeaks.

February 2, 2017:

The news reports that five information technology (IT) computer professionals employed by Democrats in the House of Representatives are under criminal investigation for allegedly “accessing House IT systems without lawmakers’ knowledge.” The suspects include three brothers identified as Abid, Imran and Jamal Awan “who managed office information technology for members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and other lawmakers.” The brothers were said to have been employed by three Democrats on the Intelligence Committee and “five members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs which deal with with many of the nation’s most sensitive issues and documents, including those related to the war on terrorism.”

February 9, 2017:

News of the FBI recordings of Lt. Gen. Flynn speaking with Russia’s ambassador is leaked to the press. The New York Times and the Washington Post report that Flynn was captured on wiretaps discussing current U.S. sanctions, despite Flynn’s earlier denials.

The Washington Post also reports the FBI reviewed Flynn’s calls with Russian ambassador and “found nothing illicit.”

I realize that is a long list, but there are a few things in it that stand out to me. President Trump took office on January 20th. Why would President Obama change long-standing rules on handling intelligence eight days before leaving office? Why have we heard nothing about any consequences the Awan brothers have suffered because of their activities? Why were there no consequences for the spying on Trump Tower?

The timeline of the increased unmasking during the transition period and during the early days of the Trump administration is very telling. This looks like the setting up of a shadow government to make sure the previous illicit activities were not discovered. I firmly believe that General Flynn was targeted because he was smart enough and had been around Washington enough to figure out quickly what was going on. Had General Flynn stayed on the White House staff, I suspect there might already be some people on trial for their misdeeds. That may well have been the reason he was targeted. The reason he is still being targeted is that those who broke the law want to make sure he is never put in a position to uncover their misdeeds.

The Details Of The Soft Coup Against President Trump Are Slowing Emerging

Yesterday The Conservative Treehouse posted an article connecting a lot of the dots in the soft coup attempt against President Trump. It is a long article with a lot of screen shots to support the claims it is making. I suggest that you follow the link to the article as it would be impossible to summarize it here. However, there are a few noteworthy points I would like to share.

The article reports:

Former HPSCI Chairman, and current HPSCI ranking member, Devin Nunes appears on Fox News with Maria Bartiromo to discuss several matters of importance.  One of the critical topics touched is the ongoing investigations of Obama era intelligence and political surveillance via the DOJ-NSD FBI, CIA, DNI and State Dept.

Representative Nunes hits the key point when he highlights current redactions and current decisions to classify ongoing investigative documents.  It is critically important to accept this reality. There are current intelligence officers and career officials in place hiding material by labeling evidence as classified.  A recent example was the December 9, 2019, inspector general report about the manipulation of FISA.

There is a video embedded in the article that gives an example of the actions being taken to prevent the truth from coming out.

The article concludes:

Politico, The New York Times, CNN, MSNBC and The Washington Post are all implicated in the James Wolfe leak to Ali Watkins. They had the FISA information since March 2017, yet those media outlets were disingenuously falsifying their reporting on the actual content of the FISA application despite their actual knowledge.

Remember all of the media denials about what Devin Nunes wrote in the “Nunes memo”? Remember the media proclaiming the Steele Dossier was not part of the FISA application?

How was the media fifteen months later (July 2018) going to report on the Wolfe leak to Watkins without admitting they had been manufacturing stories about its content for the past year-and-a-half?

It was in the media’s interest NOT to cover, or dig into, the Wolfe story.

Additionally, from both the DOJ and Media perspective, coverage of the Wolfe leak would prove the senate intel committee (SSCI) was, at a minimum, a participating entity in the coup effort. That same SSCI is responsible for oversight over the CIA, FBI, DOJ-NSD, ODNI, DNI, and all intelligence agencies.

Worse yet, all officers within those agencies require confirmation from the SSCI (including Chair and Vice-Chair); and any discussion of the Wolfe leak would highlight the motive for ongoing corruption within the SSCI in blocking those nominations (see John Ratcliffe).

Stunning ramifications.

There was a clear fork in the road and the DOJ took the path toward a cover-up; which, considering what the DOJ was simultaneously doing with Mueller and the EDVA regarding Assange, is not entirely surprising.

Was that decision wrong? Oh hell yes, it was corrupt as heck. .

Were the decisions done with forethought to coverup gross abuses of government? Yes.

Where the DOJ is today is directly connected to the decisions the DOJ made in 2017 and 2018 to protect themselves and internally corrupt actors from discovery.

It is often said: “the coverup is always worse than the crime.” This is never more true than with these examples, because where we are today… now miles down the path of consequence from those corrupt decisions… is seemingly disconnected from the ability of any institutional recovery. That’s now the issue for Bill Barr.

If Bill Barr wanted to deal with the issue he would not be telling President Trump to stop talking about the corruption; instead he would be holding a large press conference to explain to the American people about that fork in the road.

That type of honest sunlight delivery means taking people back into the background of the larger story and explaining what decisions were made; with brutal honesty and without trepidation for the consequences, regardless of their severity and regardless of the friends of Bill Barr compromised by the truth.

Here’s a big reason why Bill Barr should take that approach: We Know.

We know; the DOJ trying to hide it doesn’t change our level of information.

Regardless of whether Bill Barr actually admits what surrounds him, there are people who know…

We know….

You know….

AG Bill Barr shouting at President Trump ‘don’t tweet‘ like the Wizard of Oz doesn’t change the fact the curtain has been removed.

Turn around Bill, it’s time to come clean.

Please follow the link to read the entire article. There are many in the government who are still working hard to cover up the truth.

The Lies That Allowed The Investigation To Continue

As the drip, drip, drip of information about the Russia investigation continues, it is becoming more obvious that the investigation was based on lies. Today The Gateway Pundit posted an article titled, “2018 DOJ Memo to FISA Court Contained at Least 8 Lies which Ensured Mueller Investigation Would Continue.” The article details the lies and the false impressions they were designed to create.

These are the lies:

1. The DOJ letter refers to the Nunes and Schiff memos released in February 2018 and states that with this new information the Deep State attorneys leading the DOJ at that time still believed that the Carter Page FISA applications contained sufficient support that the agent they were spying on was an agent of a foreign power [Russia].

2. In addition, the DOJ claimed that Carter Page was targeted by Russia when in fact they knew that his connections with Russia were were as a result of his time as a CIA agent working for the US in spying on Russians.  This information was altered and then provided to the court omitting that Page was working for the CIA…

3. The document goes on to state that a friendly foreign government, which is not identified, reported that George Papadopoulos was perhaps coordinating with Page and Russia.

4. The government then goes on to mention activities related to Papadopoulos that no doubt were in the press at that time and claims that Papadopoulos’s discussions were “consensually recorded”. But we now know that Papadopoulos was not aware at the time that he was being taped.

5. Then the DOJ claims that none of what Papadopoulos shared would have impacted the Carter Page FISA, but this is not true as well.

6. The DOJ next discussed information about its “Source 1”. One item that jumps out is that the source, believed to be British MI6 Agent Christopher Steele, was handled before September 2016, which is the date when Steele reportedly first interacted with the DOJ…

7. and 8. The DOJ said they still didn’t think Steele was behind the Yahoo News leak and the DOJ claimed the Primary Sub Source (PSS) was found to be believable, but in the DOJ IG’s report from December 2019, not a single person could be found who believed this.

Please follow the link to the article to read the details. The bottom line here is that the Russia investigation was a political hit job designed to remove a sitting President before he could uncover the unlawful activities of the previous administration in regard to surveillance of American citizens. Unless people go to jail, this will happen again.

One Reason Transparency About The Russia Investigation Is Taking So Long

Yesterday John Solomon posted an article at Just The News about some behind-the-scenes maneuvering by Adam Schiff that made it difficult to get the truth out about the investigation into President Trump and any connections he might have had with Russia.

The article reports:

Shortly after Schiff took over from Republican Rep. Devin Nunes as chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) in 2019, he sent a letter to the office of then-Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

The letter obtained by Just the News specifically ordered that the witness transcripts — some of which contained exculpatory evidence for President Trump’s team — not be shared with Trump or White House lawyers even if the declassification process required such sharing.

“Under no circumstances shall ODNI, or any other element of the Intelligence Community (IC), share any HPSCI transcripts with the White House, President Trump or any persons associated with the White House or the President,” Schiff wrote in a March 26, 2019 letter to then-Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.

“Such transcripts remain the sole property of HPSCI, and were transmitted to ODNI for the limited purpose of enabling a classification review by IC elements and the Department of Justice,” Schiff added.

U.S. intelligence officials said Schiff’s request made it impossible for them to declassify 10 of the transcripts, mostly of current and former White House and National Security Council witnesses, because White House lawyers would have had to review them for what is known as “White House equities” and presidential privileges.

But 43 of the transcripts were declassified and cleared for public release and given to Schiff’s team, but they have never been made public despite the committee’s vote to do so, officials said.

One senior official said the 43 transcripts were provided to Schiff’s team some time ago, and the 10 remain in limbo. Asked how long House Intelligence Democrats have had the declassified transcripts, the official said: “You’ll have to ask Mr. Schiff.”

A spokesman for Schiff and House Intelligence Committee Democrats did not return an email Monday seeking comment.

The article concludes:

Newly declassified footnotes from the Horowitz report released last week show the FBI’s key informant in the case, the former British spy Christopher Steele, may have been the victim of Russian disinformation. More declassified evidence from that probe is expected to be released later this week.

In the meantime, Republicans who led the House Intelligence Committee probe in 2018 when the witnesses were interviewed are trying to learn what came of the transcripts.

Schiff’s letter to Coats suggests that at the time the new Democratic chairman was still interested in releasing the transcripts.

“I hope our staff can reach agreement soon on a schedule for returning the transcripts to the Committee for ultimate public release,” he wrote.

Nearly 13 months since the letter, that release has not happened.

Elections have consequences. The consequences of turning the House of Representatives over to the Democrats was three years of wasted money on an investigation that many of the Democrats knew was unwarranted from the beginning. Because the Democrats were so focused on getting President Trump, they overlooked the looming problem of the coronavirus and were not prepared to deal with it. In fact when President Trump closed our borders to China, the Democrats criticized him for it. We may find out in the coming months why the Democrats were so intent on removing President Trump. As more information comes out about the surveillance of the Trump campaign and Trump presidency, it is becoming more obvious that laws were broken. The goal may have been to take out President Trump before that was discovered.

Bucket Five Is Released

Those of us who have followed the investigation into Crossfire Hurricane closely have been waiting for the information in Bucket Five to be released. That is the information that investigative reporters have cited from the beginning as having the real story behind the surveillance on the Trump campaign and the early days of the Trump presidency. The Conservative Treehouse posted an article today about the documents the Senate Judiciary Committee has released today. The article includes links and screenshots of information and is very detailed. I recommend that you follow the link and read the entire article, but I will includes some of the highlights here.

The article reports:

The documents include more Papadopoulos transcripts from wired conversations with FBI confidential human source Stefan Halper; and also for the first time less redacted version of all three Carter Page FISA applications.  It’s going to take some time to go through this.

The declassification and release includes some seriously interesting documents the DOJ submitted to the FISA court, as far back as July 2018, which completely destroy the prior claims made by Lisa Page, Peter Strzok, James Baker, James Comey, Andrew McCabe and their very vocal media and Lawfare defenders.   Here’s one example:

Lisa Page testified to congress, and claimed in media, that the FBI never had any contact with the Steele dossier material until September 2016.  However, the DOJ directly tells the FISA court that Chris Steele was funneling his information to the FBI in June 2016.

Obviously those involved in the surveillance never expected the truth to come out. They assumed that Hillary Clinton would be elected and their illegal activities would be buried in a sea of classified information. All Americans need to understand that if the Democrat party gains power in Washington, no one involved in this illegal surveillance will ever be held accountable and similar activities will continue in the future. Until the people involved in these activities are held accountable, there will be no guarantee that the civil rights of Americans will not be violated by our government in the future.

The Slow Drip Of Investigations Into FISA Abuse Continues

Yesterday The Washington Examiner posted an article titled, “FISA court orders DOJ to review flawed surveillance applications and provide names of targets.”

The article reports:

The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court demanded answers about whether FISA applications were invalid after a new Justice Department inspector general report found pervasive issues with the FBI not following fact-checking procedures.

Friday’s ruling came days after DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz released a memo showing FISA flaws were not just limited to the surveillance of Trump campaign associate Carter Page.

The findings of Horowitz’s audit released on Tuesday focused on the FBI’s requirement to maintain an accuracy subfile known as a “Woods file.” Investigators found serious problems in each of the 29 FISA applications they examined.

“We believe that a deficiency in the FBI’s efforts to support the factual statements in FISA applications through its Woods Procedures undermines the FBI’s ability to achieve its ‘scrupulously accurate’ standard for FISA applications,” Horowitz concluded.

The article continues with information that might indicate the FISA court is not happy about being misled:

“It would be an understatement to note that such lack of confidence appears well-founded. None of the 29 cases reviewed had a Woods File that did what it is supposed to do: support each fact proffered to the Court. For four of the 29 applications, the FBI cannot even find the Woods File,” presiding Judge James Boasberg said. “For three of those four, the FBI could not say whether a Woods File ever existed. The OIG, moreover, ‘identified apparent errors or inadequately supported facts’ in all 25 applications for which the Woods Files could be produced. Interviews with FBI personnel ‘generally have confirmed’ those deficiencies, not dispelled them.”

Boasberg said the wide-ranging problems “provide further reason for systemic concern” about the FBI’s FISA process and “reinforces the need for the Court to monitor the ongoing efforts of the FBI and DOJ to ensure that, going forward, FBI applications present accurate and complete facts.” The judge said, “When problems are identified in particular cases, furthermore, the Court must evaluate what remedial measures may be necessary.”

The article concludes:

In a rare public order last year, the FISA court criticized the FBI’s handling of the Page applications as “antithetical to the heightened duty of candor described above” and demanded an evaluation from the bureau. The FISA court also ordered a review of all FISA filings handled by Kevin Clinesmith, the FBI lawyer who altered a key document about Page in the third renewal process. He is now under criminal investigation by U.S. Attorney John Durham, a prosecutor from Connecticut who was tasked by Attorney General William Barr with investigating the origins and conduct of the Russia inquiry.

I will not be impressed with any of this until people actually go to jail for violating the civil rights of American citizens. I am still not convinced that will ever happen.

 

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.

 

Don’t Pass It Until People Are Held Accountable

One America News posted an article today about Congressional attempts to extend the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Frankly, I don’t think it should be extended until those who abused it in the past are held accountable for their actions. FISA was used (just as the Watergate break-in was attempted to be used) to spy on an opposing political campaign. If the act is extended and no one is held accountable, it is a pretty safe bet that political parties that are in power could do the same thing that the Obama administration did–use the law to spy on the political campaign of their opposition. That is not acceptable. That sort of action puts us on the road to having a two-tiered justice system with the government having almost unlimited authority to spy on Americans.

The article reports:

The Senate voted on a temporary extension of recently lapsed intelligence programs to provide time for discussion on major provisions in the renewal process. The extension was passed Monday, just minutes before a scheduled procedural vote on the matter.

The move came as a way to give lawmakers more time to consider the bill, which would reauthorize the controversial Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). However, the extension for the Senate was unanimously agreed to in order to give members more time to debate on the House’s revisions.

Specifically, there is bipartisan push-back to FISA, which senators on both sides of the aisle fear violates people’s privacy rights. Two of the most vocal opponents to the act are Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah).

“The secret FISA court should be forbidden from allowing spying on political campaigns ever again, period,” said Sen. Paul. “…History has proven just how dangerous it can be when we sacrifice our rights to create a temporary and ultimately false sense of security.”

Until I see indictments of people who knowingly lied to the FISA court, I don’t want to see FISA renewed.

Refusing To Continue A Practice That Was Abused

Townhall posted an article this morning stating that the House Freedom Caucus will refuse to reauthorize the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court unless serious reforms are made. The FISA court was the vehicle used by the Obama administration to spy on the Trump campaign and the early days of the Trump administration. The authorization to spy was gained by misleading the court, specifically by omitting the fact that Carter Page was a CIA asset–not a Russian asset and omitting the fact that Joseph Mifsud was an American asset–not a Russian spy.

The article reports:

Members of the House Freedom Caucus released a statement Wednesday morning vowing to vote against any reauthorization of the FISA court unless serious and substantial changes are made to the spying program. 

“Members of the Freedom Caucus have long called for reforms to FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act). Recent revelations that FISA was severely and repeatedly used to spy on a presidential campaign are beyond the pale—if the government can misuse this system to spy on a presidential campaign, they can surely do it to any other American citizen,” members of the caucus said. “As Congress considers reauthorizing FISA, anything short of significant and substantive reforms would betray the trust of the American people. The House Freedom Caucus will oppose any bill that does not meet a Constitutional standard for the protections of American citizens’ rights. We will also oppose any ‘clean’, short-term reauthorization of the current, harmful version of FISA.”

Members of the Freedom Caucus include House Oversight Committee Ranking member Jim Jordan, Paul Gosar, Louie Gohmert, Matt Gaetz, Chip Roy and other long time critics of FISA. 

The FISA court was misused by the Obama administration, and unless it is seriously reformed, could easily be used for political purposes again. There needs to be a limitation so that the court could only use surveillance on foreign citizens–not Americans. Unfortunately, FISA misuse was one of many traps set in place by the Obama administration to hinder the progress of the Trump administration.

The article continues:

“Enhanced penalties for abusing the system and additional layers of certification from the Department of Justice and the FBI are insufficient to gain our support, particularly when, to date, no one has been charged with a crime for previous abuses,” the statement continues. “A proposal for additional scrutiny when elected officials and candidates are the target of investigations similarly misses the point: politicians don’t need more protection from government spying than their fellow citizens. More fundamental changes to standards of evidence and process that mirror as closely as possible our Article III courts are needed to gain our support.”

Yesterday the House reached a compromise on how to move a bill, sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, forward for reauthorization of the program. It does not reform the system that was used as a political weapon against President Trump in 2016 and well into his presidency.

Until people are held accountable for past abuses of FISA, it should not be reauthorized.

Privacy Is Now A Total Myth

Yesterday NBC News posted an article that illustrates how the surveillance state can be a problem for perfectly innocent individuals.

The article reports:

The email arrived on a Tuesday afternoon in January, startling Zachary McCoy as he prepared to leave for his job at a restaurant in Gainesville, Florida.

It was from Google’s legal investigations support team, writing to let him know that local police had demanded information related to his Google account. The company said it would release the data unless he went to court and tried to block it. He had just seven days.

“I was hit with a really deep fear,” McCoy, 30, recalled, even though he couldn’t think of anything he’d done wrong. He had an Android phone, which was linked to his Google account, and, like millions of other Americans, he used an assortment of Google products, including Gmail and YouTube. Now police seemingly wanted access to all of it.

“I didn’t know what it was about, but I knew the police wanted to get something from me,” McCoy said in a recent interview. “I was afraid I was going to get charged with something, I don’t know what.”

There was one clue.

In the notice from Google was a case number. McCoy searched for it on the Gainesville Police Department’s website, and found a one-page investigation report on the burglary of an elderly woman’s home 10 months earlier. The crime had occurred less than a mile from the home that McCoy, who had recently earned an associate degree in computer programming, shared with two others.

The article goes on to say that McCoy went to his parents, explained what was happening, and they funded a lawyer for him. McCoy was trying to figure out how he got involved in something he was totally unaware of. He began to look at his phone and realized that he was using an exercise-tracking app, RunKeeper, to record the bike rides he was taking for exercise.

The article continues:

The lawyer, Caleb Kenyon, dug around and learned that the notice had been prompted by a “geofence warrant,” a police surveillance tool that casts a virtual dragnet over crime scenes, sweeping up Google location data — drawn from users’ GPS, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and cellular connections — from everyone nearby.

The warrants, which have increased dramatically in the past two years, can help police find potential suspects when they have no leads. They also scoop up data from people who have nothing to do with the crime, often without their knowing ─ which Google itself has described as “a significant incursion on privacy.”

Please follow the link to read the entire article. However, the bottom line is simple–Mr. McCoy’s civil rights were violated when he was accused of a crime simply because his exercise application placed him in the neighborhood of the crime. There was no other evidence other than the illegal surveillance of his movements.

The article concludes with the outcome of the case:

On Jan. 31, Kenyon filed a motion in Alachua County civil court to render the warrant “null and void” and to block the release of any further information about McCoy, identifying him only as “John Doe.” At that point, Google had not turned over any data that identified McCoy but would have done so if Kenyon hadn’t intervened. Kenyon argued that the warrant was unconstitutional because it allowed police to conduct sweeping searches of phone data from untold numbers of people in order to find a single suspect.

That approach, Kenyon said, flipped on its head the traditional method of seeking a search warrant, in which police target a person they already suspect.

“This geofence warrant effectively blindly casts a net backwards in time hoping to ensnare a burglar,” Kenyon wrote. “This concept is akin to the plotline in many a science fiction film featuring a dystopian, fascist government.”

The filing seemed to give law enforcement authorities second thoughts about the warrant. Not long afterward, Kenyon said, a lawyer in the state attorney’s office assigned to represent the Gainesville Police Department told him there were details in the motion that led them to believe that Kenyon’s client was not the burglar. The state attorney’s office withdrew the warrant, asserting in a court filing that it was no longer necessary. The office did not respond to a request for comment.

Kenyon said that in a visit to his office, the detective acknowledged that police no longer considered his client a suspect.

On Feb. 24, Kenyon dropped his legal challenge.

The case ended well for McCoy, Kenyon said, but “the larger privacy fight will go unanswered.”

This is frightening.