Posts Tagged ‘Crime’

House: Awan Gang Rampaged Through Dem Servers

Thursday, January 18th, 2018

Here’s some breaking news from the other, other, other Democratic scandal in Washington, D.C.:

House investigators concluded that Democratic IT aides made unauthorized access to congressional servers in 2016, allegedly accessing the data of members for whom they did not work, logging in as members of Congress themselves, and covering their tracks, according to a presentation summarizing the findings of a four-month internal probe.

Their behavior mirrored a “classic method for insiders to exfiltrate data from an organization,” and they continued even after orders to stop, the briefing materials allege. There are indications that numerous members’ data may have been secretly residing not on their designated servers, but instead aggregated onto one server, according to the briefing and other sources. Authorities said that the entire server was then physically stolen.

When acting on the findings, Democratic leadership appear to have misrepresented the issue to their own members as solely a matter of theft, a comparison of the investigators’ findings with Democrats’ recollections and a committee’s public statement shows, leading 44 Democrats to not conduct protective measures typically taken after a breach — including informing constituents whose personal information may have been exposed. (A list of the involved members is below.)

The presentation, written by the House’s Office of the Inspector General, reported under the bold heading “UNAUTHORIZED ACCESS” that “5 shared employee system administrators have collectively logged into 15 member offices and the Democratic Caucus although they were not employed by the offices they accessed.”

It found indications that a House “server is being used for nefarious purposes and elevated the risk that individuals could be reading and/or removing information” and “could be used to store documents taken from other offices.” The server was that of the House Democratic Caucus, a sister group of the DNC that was run at the time by then-Rep. Xavier Becerra.

The aides named are Imran Awan, his wife Hina Alvi, his brothers Abid and Jamal, and his friend Rao Abbas, Pakistani-born aides whose lives are filled with reason for concern. Abid’s Ukranian wife Natalia Sova and Haseeb Rana were also involved in the Awans’ activities but departed the House payroll prior to the investigation.

One systems administrator “logged into a member’s office two months after he was terminated from that office,” the investigative summary says.

While the rules could have been violated for some innocuous purpose, the presentation indicates that is unlikely: “This pattern of login activity suggests steps are being taken to conceal their activity.”

The list of affected Democratic Representatives (many of whom have been forcibly retired by voters or otherwise left office), alphabetized for your convenience:

  • Pete Aguilar (D-CA)
  • Brad Ashford (D-NE)
  • Ron Barber (D-AZ)
  • Karen Bass (D-CA)
  • Melissa Bean (D-IL)
  • Xavier Becerra (D-CA)
  • Chris Bell (D-TX)
  • Joyce Birdson Beatty (D-OH)
  • Julia Brownley (D-CA)
  • Tony Cardenas (D-CA)
  • John Carney (D-DE)
  • Andre Carson (D-IN)
  • Joaquin Castro (D-TX)
  • Ben Chandler (D-KY)
  • Katherine Clark (D-MA)
  • Yvette Clarke (D-NY)
  • Emanuel Cleaver (D-MO)
  • Jim Costa (D-CA)
  • Charlie Crist (D-FL)
  • Joe Crowley (D-NY)
  • Diana DeGette (D-CO)
  • Ted Deutch (D-FL)
  • Joe Donnelly (D-IN)
  • Tammy Duckworth (D-IL)
  • Rahm Emanuel (D-IL)
  • Lois Frankel (D-FL)
  • Marcia Fudge (D-OH)
  • Joe Garcia (D-FL)
  • Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ)
  • Gwen Graham (D-FL)
  • Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM)
  • Debbie Halvorson (D-IL)
  • Martin Heinrich (D-NM)
  • Baron Hill (D-IN)
  • Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY)
  • Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH)
  • Robin Kelly (D-IL)
  • Dan Kildee (D-MI)
  • Ron Klein (D-FL)
  • Sandy Levin (D-MI)
  • Ted Lieu (D-CA)
  • Dave Loebsack (D-IA)
  • Donald McEachin (D-VA)
  • Kendrick Meek (D-FL)
  • Gregory Meeks (D-NY)
  • Seth Moulton (D-MA)
  • Patrick Murphy (D-FL)
  • Stephanie Murphy (D-FL)
  • Cedric Richmond (D-LA)
  • Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-DE)
  • Jacky Rosen (D-NV)
  • Tim Ryan (D-OH)
  • John Sarbanes (D-MD)
  • Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ)
  • Hilda Solis (D-CA)
  • Darren Michael Soto (D-FL)
  • Jackie Speier (D-CA)
  • Mark Takano (D-CA)
  • Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL)
  • Henry Waxman (D-CA)
  • Robert Wexler (D-FL)
  • Frederica Wilson (D-FL)
  • Plus the House Democratic Caucus server.

    Here’s a thought experiment: Imagine a Republican had broken into one Democratic congressional servers. That would be front page news for weeks. Now imagine a Republican had broken into the servers of 44 Democratic congressmen, plus the DNC. There would be congressional hearings televised by every major network and calls to disband the RNC. But let five Pakistani nationals do the same thing and the MSM just can’t be arsed to even investigate it.

    It’s a huge scandal.

    Was Fusion GPS Allowed to Run Unsupervised FISA-702 Queries?

    Friday, January 12th, 2018

    We interrupt our regularly-scheduled LinkSwarm, and preempt our next gargantuan Clinton Corruption update, to bring you a development that potentially dwarfs not only what we already know of the scandal, but any national American political scandal since Benedict Arnold sold the British the plans to West Point in 1780.

    These claims center around a Top Secret FISA Court Order document obtained by Judicial Watch on May 23, 2017, but I first came across them last night on Twitter:

    Here is the prolonged argument at Conservative Treehouse/The Last Refuge:

    Ever since the transcript of Fusion-GPS Co-Founder Glenn Simpson’s testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee was released by Senator Dianne Feinstein, several inquisitive media outlets have begun questioning the relationship between the FBI investigators, Glenn Simpson and dossier author Christopher Steele.

    What we have discovered not only highlights the answer to that question, but it also answers a host of other questions, including: Did the FBI pay Christopher Steele? Yes, but now how media thinks. Was the FBI connected to the creation of the Steele Dossier? Yes, but not in the way the media is currently outlining.

    The story of how surveillance on the 2016 campaign of Donald Trump took place is simple. However, to understand the truth behind how they did it – the story it becomes more complex. Some key background understanding is necessary.

  • First, to understand what took place in 2016 we must first travel back to 2015 when Office of Inspector General (OIG) Michael Horowitz asked for approval to conduct oversight over the National Security Division of the Department of Justice.

    In 2015 Inspector General Michael Horowitz was blocked by the Department of Justice from having oversight over the DOJ-NSD. In a lengthy response to the IG’s office [Full 58 page pdf HERE] Sally Yates essentially said ‘all DOJ is subject to oversight, except the National Security Division.

  • Second, to understand how FISA is used it is CRITICAL to understand that any National Security Agency, such as the DOJ National Security Division or the FBI Counterintelligence Division, may use the NSA database -and FISA enabled inquires- with more leeway and less restrictions on access and use. In short, FISA “queries” from any national security agency within government are allowed without seeking court approval.
  • Snip.

    Understanding the scale and scope of what took place in 2016 is contingent upon understanding how the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was being used. More specifically how *critical* exceptions for FISA-702 “search queries”, without judicial warrants or FISA court approvals, were permitted.

    FISA-702(17) “About Queries” from legislatively authorized national security entities did NOT require FISA court approvals.

    Snip.

    The recent stories about the 2016 DOJ and FBI counterintelligence investigation of the Trump campaign center around how the Christopher Steele ‘Russian Dossier’ was used by the DOJ/FBI in obtaining FISA approvals for surveillance of Trump campaign officials.

    Within the “Russian Dossier” back-story everyone is now familiar with the relationship between Fusion-GPS, the founder of the company, Glenn Simpson, and the author of the dossier, Christopher Steele. Additionally, the relationship between the Clinton campaign and Fusion GPS is now well known.

    In/around April of 2016 the Clinton campaign entered into a financial relationship with Fusion-GPS. Team Clinton paid Fusion-GPS for information on candidate Donald Trump. That agreement led to Fusion-GPS hiring sub-contractor Christopher Steele, which eventually led to the creation of the ‘Steele Dossier’.

    Yesterday, it was reported that the ‘Steele Dossier’ was used as the underlying foundation for the DOJ and FBI to seek FISA Court Approvals to monitor the communications of the Trump campaign.

    In essence, as of yesterday, the FBI used contracted Clinton opposition research -via Fusion GPS- on candidate Donald Trump to generate surveillance authority over her political opponent.

    That sounds bad, but what we have discovered is even worse.

    Dates are critical because they build the circumstantial case amid a story clouded in obfuscation and convenient FISA secrecy.

    We know NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers became aware of an issue with unauthorized FISA-702(17) “About Queries” early in 2016. Due to a FISA court ruling that was declassified in May of 2017 we were able to piece that specific timeline together.

    After discovering the FISA-702(17) “About Query” concerns, NSA Director Rogers initiated a full FISA-702 compliance review.

    Snip.

    During the exact same time-frame that Christopher Steele was assembling his dossier information (May-October 2016), the NSA compliance officer was conducting the internal FISA-702 review as initiated by NSA Director Mike Rogers.

    The NSA compliance officer briefed Admiral Mike Rogers on October 20th 2016.

    On October 26th 2016, Admiral Rogers informed the FISA Court of numerous unauthorized FISA-702(17) “About Query” violations.

    Subsequent to that FISC notification Mike Rogers stopped all FISA-702(17) “About Queries” permanently. They are no longer permitted.

    The full FISC Court Ruling on the notifications from the NSA is below. And to continue the story we are pulling out a specific section [page 83, pdf] CRITICAL to understanding what was going on:

    Pg 83. “FBI gave raw Section 702–acquired information to a private entity that was not a federal agency and whose personnel were not sufficiently supervised by a federal agency for compliance minimization procedures.”

    This is where the snippet shown in the tweet comes in:

    Notice how it was an FBI “private contractor” that was conducting the unauthorized FISA-702 Queries.

    We have been tipped off that the contractor in question was, unbelievably, Fusion-GPS.

    It is almost certain this early 2016 series of FISA-702 compliance violations was the origin of NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers concern. His discovery becomes the impetus for Director Rogers requesting the 2016 full compliance audit. It appears Fusion-GPS was the FBI contracted user identified in the final FISA court opinion/ruling.

    Note the dates from the FISC opinion (above) – As soon as the FBI discovered Mike Rogers was now looking at the searches, the FBI discontinued allowing their sub-contracted agent access to the raw FISA information effective April 18th, 2016.

    [Fusion-GPS was working on behalf of the FBI? Fusion-GPS was a contractor for the FBI? Fusion-GPS was being paid by the FBI?… while using access to research Trump]

    On April 19th, 2016, the day after the FBI stopped allowing access to the FISA database, the wife of Fusion-GPS founder Glenn Simpson, Mary B Jacoby, went to the White House.

    The piece then goes on to reiterate what we already know about the Clinton/Democratic Party Fusion GPS ties, as well as ties to intelligence community figures such as Bruce and Nellie Ohr.

    Accepting the FBI was utilizing Fusion-GPS as a contractor, there is now an inherent clarity in the relationship between: FBI agent Peter Strzok, Fusion-GPS Glenn Simpson, and ‘Russian Dossier’ author Christopher Steele. They are all on the same team.

    The information that Fusion-GPS Glenn Simpson put together from his advanced work on the ‘Trump Project’, was, in essence, built upon the foundation of the close relationship he already had with the FBI.

    Simpson, Jacoby and Ohr then passed on their information to Christopher Steele who adds his own ingredients to the mix, turns around, and gives the end product back to the FBI. That end product is laundered intelligence now called “The Trump/Russia Dossier”.

    It is a circle of intelligence information.

    The FBI turn around and use the “dossier” as the underlying documents and investigative evidence for continued operations against the target of the entire enterprise, candidate Donald Trump. As Peter Strzok would say in August 2016: this is their “insurance policy” per se’.

    The explosive part of the piece is also, alas, the one that currently appears to have only anonymous sources as corroborating evidence: that Fusion GPS was the “outside contractor” allowed to run “unsupervised” FISA-702 queries. It fits the pattern and makes sense, but I have to treat it with wariness because it too neatly fits my understanding of Obama administration/Clinton campaign patterns of lawlessness, and I want to avoid the trap of confirmation bias.

    It’s an explosive charge, that the Obama Administration authorized a private company to run unsupervised queries on unmasked American citizens in order to destroy political enemies. That dwarfs Watergate. In fact, the entire unmasking scandal already dwarfed Watergate.

    But what greatly magnifies the scandal is that, at the same time they were allegedly running these unsupervised FISA-702 inquires, in addition to getting paid by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party, Fusion GPS was in the pay of Russian nationals who opposed the Magnitsky Act.

    If Fusion GPS was allowed to run unsupervised FISA-702 queries, it brings up a whole host of other questions, including just who in the Obama administration and/or the US intelligence community granted Fusion GPS (and why they aren’t in prison), and how such access was granted. Where they escorted to a secured terminal room in Ft. Meade and told “Have at it, boys!” Was a Virtual Private Network setup to give them a direct pipeline into U.S. intelligence data? Were they allowed access to all U.S. intelligence data (including all intercepts of American civilian communication), or just small abstract of same? Did any of the information resulting from the queries run end up in Russian hands?

    Knowing the answers to those questions would tell us how bad a breach in our security this was, and just what sort of felony charges need to be filed.

    If the worst case implications of the above are true, the Obama Administration gave unlimited, unsupervised access to America’s most sensitive national security data to a private firm in the pay of foreign powers merely to go after political enemies.

    That’s a huge, huge scandal no matter how you slice it.

    Pat Condell on Britain’s Hate Speech Police

    Sunday, January 7th, 2018

    “Hate speech is free speech that hurts people’s feelings. It’s illegal in Britain because we don’t have a First Amendment to protect us from this kind of arbitrary police state law and the police, for reasons best known to themselves, pay special attention to Internet hate speech. They’re always telling us how seriously they take it. It’s almost as if they prioritize it over real crime for some kind of ideological reason, because it seems they’re all over social media combing out thought criminals like head lice.”

    “It seems that you’re as likely to be arrested in Britain today for being abusive on Twitter as you are for gang raping a child. Maybe even more so.”

    Also this:

    “Recently on Channel 4 News we heard that the grooming gangs in Rotherham are still operating openly for all to see, including the police. And they wonder why they’re losing trust and respect.”

    The Religion of Peace and the UK progressive thought police organization “Common Purpose” puts in an appearance as well.

    Condell also has a rant called “A Word To The Criminal Migrant.” Unfortunately, due to the oppressive atmosphere of progressive censorship, YouTube has made it so that I can no longer embed it here, so click on that as well.

    LinkSwarm for January 5, 2018

    Friday, January 5th, 2018

    Happy New Year!

  • How Donald Trump is restoring the S-curve.
  • What it’s like to be a New York Times reporter during the war on terror:

    Success as a reporter on the CIA beat inevitably meant finding out government secrets, and that meant plunging headlong into the classified side of Washington, which had its own strange dynamics.

    I discovered that there was, in effect, a marketplace of secrets in Washington, in which White House officials and other current and former bureaucrats, contractors, members of Congress, their staffers, and journalists all traded information. This informal black market helped keep the national security apparatus running smoothly, limiting nasty surprises for all involved. The revelation that this secretive subculture existed, and that it allowed a reporter to glimpse the government’s dark side, was jarring. It felt a bit like being in the Matrix.

    It’s a long and informative piece, even if you don’t accept all of reporter James Risen’s analysis. And it really does show how badly our national security agencies leak…

  • The recently discovered vulnerability in Intel chips is really, really bad. And fixing it requires about a 5-30% performance hit on every OS that runs atop Intel processors. (Here’s a nice layman description).
  • More on the same topic from Borepatch.
  • “Crazy” like a fox: “The tougher the sanctions and rhetoric from the United States, the more flexible North Korea is becoming.”
  • 40 companies offer Trump Tax Cut bonuses. (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Germany outsources censorship. Evidently you’re not allowed to say anything critical of Muslims or “Muslim refugees,” ever. “How the Germans can’t see that such a law, in the hands of the wrong party, could be devastating is a mystery. I can only conclude such occurrences have no precedent in their country from which they could draw obvious lessons.” (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • Scott Adams enumerates all the things President Donald Trump broke that needed breaking.
  • DACA isn’t what Democrats say it is.
  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinds Obama-era memorandums on state-level legalized marijuana. Popehat thinks this is, at present, mostly cosmetic due to the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment. I oppose federal marijuana prohibition on constitutional grounds: Regulating marijuana is not an enumerated power of the federal government, regulation is neither necessary nor proper (thus no 9th Amendment justification), and thus a matter entirely for the states absent any interstate commerce under the 10th Amendment.
  • “Mayor Sylvester Turner’s press secretary was suspended for two weeks without pay after she failed to turn over thousands of documents required to be released under Texas law. Darian Ward was asked to turn over emails relating to her work on non-city related projects, including a private side business called ‘Joy in Motion Productions.'” She must have gone to the Hillary Clinton School of Email FOIA compliance…
  • Dave Chappelle has a point. As gross, disgusting and socially unacceptable as having Louis C.K. masturbate on the phone with you is, if you let that dissuade you from pursuing a career in a field as hotly competitive as standup comedy, that’s on you. (Hat tip: Ann Althouse.)
  • “Genetic Study Supports Carbohydrate-Insulin Model of Obesity.”
  • Perfect season.
  • Dibs.
  • LinkSwarm for December 29, 2017

    Friday, December 29th, 2017

    Welcome to the last LinkSwarm of one wild year!

  • Five Great Ways Trump Shook Up Washington in 2017.” (Hat tip: Mark Tapscott at Instapundit.)
  • “The RNC closed November 2017 with $39.9 million cash on hand, while the DNC closed November 2017 with $2.6 million in debt.”
  • Democratic Party voter registration is down in a number of states. (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)
  • Panic at the Washington Post as even they start to realize that the Russia-Trump fantasy is bunk. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Trouble in Texas: “Public Schools Using Taxpayer Resources to Defeat Republicans, Elect Democrats.”
  • Islamic State bombing in Kabul kills 40.
  • Why #NeverTrump should get with the program.
  • This weeks example of liberals bigwigs acting like sexual creeps comes from: Vice. Gee, with a name like that, what are the odds?
  • “Stephen Henderson, the managing director of opinion and commentary at The Detroit Free Press and a Pulitzer Prize Winner, was fired for alleged sexual misconduct.”
  • The link between polygamy and war.
  • Australia ends airstrikes against the Islamic State. That happens when you run out of targets. Thanks for the help, Australia!
  • “Democrat run Baltimore had 343 homicides in 2017, sets record for killings per capita.” A singular achievement for a city that already gave us Homicide: A Year in the Killing Streets, The Corner, and The Wire… (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Here’s a real sweetheart: An Egyptian lawyer who says its a duty for Muslim men to rape women who wear revealing clothing.
  • How the beloved Charlie Brown Christmas Special almost never happened. Network executives hated the jazzy score and all that Christ stuff in Linus’ speech…
  • John Nolte on how hard Hollywood sucked this year. Though #6 should probably be #1…
  • Happy 2018, everyone!

    LinkSwarm for December 22, 2017

    Friday, December 22nd, 2017

    Welcome to a pre-Christmas LinkSwarm! (Pro-tip: The week before Christmas is the bad time to try rolling out a new diet.)

  • Female Kansas City Democratic congressional candidate drops out of race after sexual harassment charge. I’m betting this is the point when Democrats start going “Now wait a minute, this has gone on long enough…”
  • Occam’s Razor and why sunspots explain observed climaite changes better than CO2.
  • EU files formal article 7 complaint against Poland for “undermining the independence of the judiciary” (read: de-communizing it). They’ve also started action against “Poland, Hungary, and Czech Republic for blocking the EU migrant relocation plans to settle some 160,000 migrants among its member states.” The more they tighten their grip, the more member states will slip through their fingers…
  • Jews Flee Paris Suburbs over Rising Tide of Anti-Semitism.” (Hat tip: RS McCain’s Twitter feed.)
  • Public: “Hey, we’re sure like to see a list of all those secret sexual harassment payouts.” Office of Compliance: “Get stuffed!”
  • McConnell Backs Trump on Chain-Migration.” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • 12668 buildings have been damaged in Raqqa city due the battles between ISIS and SDF supported by Coalition. 3289 building in the red colour are completely destroyed. 3924 building in the orange colour are heavily damaged. 5444 building in the yellow colour are partially damaged.”

  • Lefty journalist Juan Thompson given a a five-year prison sentence for phoning in bomb threats at Jewish community centers. But you have to read the full piece to find out what a real sweetheart he was…
  • Another lefty alternative weekly paper in financial trouble. (Hat tip: Instapundit.)
  • Scott Adams offers suggestions on actually fighting crime.
  • California’s Lt. Gov Gavin Newsome admits that Democrats are coming for your guns.
  • Women love the sexual interplay they experience with men, and they relish men desiring their beauty. Why? Because it is part of their nature.”
  • Mistrial declared in the Cliven Bundy case due to the government not turning over evidence. Hmmm….
  • All other things being equal, it’s generally best not to commit federal felonies on Twitter.
  • “Long Island Iced Tea shares went gangbusters after changing its name to Long Blockchain.” I need a filter that changes every mention of “Bitcoin” to “Tulips”… (Hat tip: Stephen green at Instapundit.)
  • I’ve checked out of the NFL, but this is worth noting: Houston Texans offensive lineman David Quessenberry has been promoted to the active roster, and will step on the field for a regular game for the first time ever after beating cancer.
  • I would say this week has been a bear, but it’s more like a bear claw…

    Merry Christmas!

    Obama Let Hezbollah Sell Cocaine in U.S.

    Monday, December 18th, 2017

    This should take still more of the shine off Obama’s plastic halo:

    In its determination to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration derailed an ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, even as it was funneling cocaine into the United States, according to a POLITICO investigation.

    The campaign, dubbed Project Cassandra, was launched in 2008 after the Drug Enforcement Administration amassed evidence that Hezbollah had transformed itself from a Middle East-focused military and political organization into an international crime syndicate that some investigators believed was collecting $1 billion a year from drug and weapons trafficking, money laundering and other criminal activities.

    Over the next eight years, agents working out of a top-secret DEA facility in Chantilly, Virginia, used wiretaps, undercover operations and informants to map Hezbollah’s illicit networks, with the help of 30 U.S. and foreign security agencies.

    They followed cocaine shipments, some from Latin America to West Africa and on to Europe and the Middle East, and others through Venezuela and Mexico to the United States. They tracked the river of dirty cash as it was laundered by, among other tactics, buying American used cars and shipping them to Africa. And with the help of some key cooperating witnesses, the agents traced the conspiracy, they believed, to the innermost circle of Hezbollah and its state sponsors in Iran.

    But as Project Cassandra reached higher into the hierarchy of the conspiracy, Obama administration officials threw an increasingly insurmountable series of roadblocks in its way, according to interviews with dozens of participants who in many cases spoke for the first time about events shrouded in secrecy, and a review of government documents and court records. When Project Cassandra leaders sought approval for some significant investigations, prosecutions, arrests and financial sanctions, officials at the Justice and Treasury departments delayed, hindered or rejected their requests.

    The Justice Department declined requests by Project Cassandra and other authorities to file criminal charges against major players such as Hezbollah’s high-profile envoy to Iran, a Lebanese bank that allegedly laundered billions in alleged drug profits, and a central player in a U.S.-based cell of the Iranian paramilitary Quds force. And the State Department rejected requests to lure high-value targets to countries where they could be arrested.

    How high did drug trafficking evidence go?

    As a result, the U.S. government lost insight into not only drug trafficking and other criminal activity worldwide, but also into Hezbollah’s illicit conspiracies with top officials in the Iranian, Syrian, Venezuelan and Russian governments — all the way up to presidents Nicolas Maduro, Assad and Putin, according to former task force members and other current and former U.S. officials.

    The network was extensive:

    For decades, Hezbollah — in close cooperation with Iranian intelligence and Revolutionary Guard — had worked with supporters in Lebanese communities around the world to create a web of businesses that were long suspected of being fronts for black-market trading. Along the same routes that carried frozen chicken and consumer electronics, these businesses moved weapons, laundered money and even procured parts for Iran’s illicit nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

    As they pursued their investigations, the DEA agents found that Hezbollah was redoubling all of these efforts, working urgently to raise cash, and lots of it, to rebuild its south Lebanon stronghold after a 2006 war with Israel had reduced it to rubble.

    Dating back to its inception in the early 1980s, Hezbollah, which translates to “Party of God,” had also engaged in “narcoterrorism,” collecting a tariff from drug dealers and other black-market suppliers who operated in territory it controlled in Lebanon and elsewhere. Now, based on the DEA’s extensive network of informants, undercover operatives and wiretaps, it looked like Hezbollah had shifted tactics, and gotten directly involved in the global cocaine trade, according to interviews and documents, including a confidential DEA assessment.

    “It was like they flipped a switch,” Kelly told POLITICO. “All of a sudden, they reversed the flow of all of the black-market activity they had been taxing for years, and took control of the operation.”

    Operating like an organized crime family, Hezbollah operatives would identify businesses that might be profitable and useful as covers for cocaine trafficking and buy financial stakes in them, Kelly and others said. “And if the business was successful and suited their current needs,” Kelly said, “they went from partial owners to majority owners to full partnership or takeover.”

    Hezbollah even created a special financial unit that, translated into English, means “Business Affairs Component,” to oversee the sprawling criminal operation, and it was run by the world’s most wanted terrorist after Osama bin Laden, a notoriously vicious Hezbollah military commander named Imad Mughniyeh
    Imad MughniyehA Hezbollah mastermind who oversaw its international operations and, the DEA says, its drug trafficking, as head of its military wing, the Islamic Jihad Organization.
    , according to DEA interviews and documents.

    Mughniyeh had for decades been the public face of terrorism for Americans, orchestrating the infamous attack that killed 241 U.S. Marines in 1983 in their barracks in Lebanon, and dozens more Americans in attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Beirut that year and an annex the year after. When President Ronald Reagan responded to the attacks by withdrawing peacekeeping troops from Lebanon, Hezbollah claimed a major victory and vaulted to the forefront of the Islamist resistance movement against the West.

    Over the next 25 years, Iran’s financial and military support for Hezbollah enabled it to amass an army with tens of thousands of foot soldiers, more heavy armaments than most nation-states and approximately 120,000 rockets and ballistic missiles that could strike Israel and U.S. interests in the region with devastating precision.

    Socialist “hero” Hugo Chavez was also involved in the operation up to his ears:

    In Venezuela, President Hugo Chavez was personally working with then-Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and Hezbollah on drug trafficking and other activities aimed at undermining U.S. influence in the region, according to interviews and documents.

    Within a few years, Venezuelan cocaine exports skyrocketed from 50 tons a year to 250, much of it bound for American cities, United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime statistics show.

    And beginning in 2007, DEA agents watched as a commercial jetliner from Venezuela’s state-run Conviasa airline flew from Caracas to Tehran via Damascus, Syria, every week with a cargo-hold full of drugs and cash. They nicknamed it “Aeroterror,” they said, because the return flight often carried weapons and was packed with Hezbollah and Iranian operatives whom the Venezuelan government would provide with fake identities and travel documents on their arrival.

    From there, the operatives spread throughout the subcontinent and set up shop in the many recently opened Iranian consulates, businesses and mosques, former Project Cassandra agents said.

    So what was the result of all this painstaking case-building?

    Senior Obama administration officials appeared to be alarmed by how far Project Cassandra’s investigations had reached into the leadership of Hezbollah and Iran, and wary of the possible political repercussions.

    As a result, task force members claim, Project Cassandra was increasingly viewed as a threat to the administration’s efforts to secure a nuclear deal, and the top-secret prisoner swap that was about to be negotiated.

    Snip.

    In addition, the briefings for top White House and Justice Department officials that had been requested by Holder never materialized, task force agents said. (Holder did not respond to requests for comment.) Also, a top intelligence official blocked the inclusion of Project Cassandra’s memo on the Hezbollah drug threat from being included in Obama’s daily threat briefing, they said. And Kelly, Asher and other agents said they stopped getting invitations to interagency meetings, including those of a top Obama transnational crime working group.

    That may have been because Obama officials dropped Hezbollah from the formal list of groups targeted by a special White House initiative into transnational organized crime, which in turn effectively eliminated DEA’s broad authority to investigate it overseas, task force members said.

    Snip.

    “When it looked like the [nuclear] agreement might actually happen, it became clear that there was no interest in dealing with anything about Iran or Hezbollah on the ground that it may be negative, that it might scare off the Iranians.”

    Hey, what are the lives of some black kids hooked on crack compared to the glory of Obama’s Iran deal?

    Remember the fantasy floated by liberals in the 1980s that the CIA was secretly behind the Central American cocaine trade? Obama actually did that, letting Hezbollah off the hook despite an iron-clad case of narcoterrorism, in order to do the Iran deal.

    This is a long, detailed piece in a mainstream media outlet. Read the whole thing.

    (Hat tip: Legal Insurrection.)

    LinkSwarm for December 15, 2017

    Friday, December 15th, 2017

    Another week, another abbreviated LinkSwarm. I’m running out of year and a variety of tasks (including work) keep crowding more extensive blogging out.

  • Gallup poll shows support for decreasing immigration holding steady. (Hat tip: Mickey Kaus’ Twitter feed.)
  • More on that same poll (also via Kaus):

    An overwhelming majority of Hispanics opposes increasing immigration, but their position is entirely unrepresented in the Democratic party. It seems possible that the Democrats will throw away a winnable Senate seat in Alabama because they have nominated a pro-abortion extremist against a Republican who has been credibly accused of sexual assault and ephebophilia (probably better that you don’t look that up).

    Even ten years ago, Democrats were willing to nominate candidates who were culturally conservative (or at least willing to pretend to be culturally conservative) in order to replace conservative Republicans with somewhat-more-liberal Democrats. What changed?

    The first thing was the alleged coming of the “emerging Democratic majority,” which was supposed to be brought about by demographic change and a larger nonwhite share of the electorate. This Democratic majority has been a little late in arriving, but that isn’t the only important part of the story.

    Many liberal whites wanted to be rid of the culturally conservative, economically liberal, working-class white voters whom Democrats had courted in the previous decade. Upper-middle-class whites were embarrassed by these people. After all these centuries of white privilege, they never managed to get into a good school—or even a state college—and now they were making demands about trade and immigration.

    One of the themes that emerges from Shattered (a chronicle of the Clinton campaign) is that the Clinton operation didn’t want to make a strong play for working-class white voters in swing states. The Clintonites thought these voters were disposable. It was left to Barack Obama to point out that he had done better than Clinton in many heavily working-class white areas, because he had done those voters the courtesy of treating them as though they were as important as any other American.

  • Paul Ryan to retire?
  • Little appreciated is the fact that Ryan is also an expert fundraiser.
  • Former Massachusetts Democratic state senator Brian A. Joyce arrested on 113 counts, including “mail fraud, theft of federal funds, money laundering, scheme to defraud the IRS, 20 counts of extortion, seven counts of money laundering, and conspiracy to impair the functions of the IRS.” How did he do all that? He’s a coffee achiever! (Seriously. Read the story.)
  • The hard-left sorts over at Counterpunch are not at all impressed with the myriad serial flavors of liberal Trump Derangement Syndrome:

    This initial post-election propaganda was understandably somewhat awkward, as the plan had been to be able to celebrate the “Triumph of Love over the Forces of Hate,” and the demise of the latest Hitlerian bogeyman. But this was the risk the ruling classes took when they chose to go ahead and Hitlerize Trump, which they wouldn’t have done if they’d thought for a moment that he had a chance of actually winning the election. That’s the tricky thing about Hitlerizing people. You need to be able to kill them, eventually. If you don’t, when they turn out not to be Hitler, your narrative kind of falls apart, and the people you’ve fear-mongered into a frenzy of frothing, self-righteous fake-Hitler-hatred end up feeling like a bunch of dupes who’ll believe anything the government tells them. This is why, normally, you only Hitlerize foreign despots you can kill with impunity. This is Hitlerization 101 stuff, which the ruling classes ignored in this case, which the left poor liberals terrified that Trump was actually going to start building Trump-branded death camps and rounding up the Jews.

    Fortunately, just in the nick of time, the ruling classes and their media mouthpieces rolled out the Russian Propaganda story. The Washington Post (whose owner’s multimillion dollar deal with the CIA, of course, has absolutely no effect on the quality of its professional journalism) led the charge with this McCarthyite smear job, legitimizing the baseless allegations of some random website and a think tank staffed by charlatans like this “Russia expert,”who appears not to speak a word of Russian or have any other “Russia expert” credentials, but is available both for television and Senate Intelligence Committee appearances. Numerous similar smear piecesfollowed. Liberals breathed a big sigh of relief … that Hitler business had been getting kind of scary. How long can you go, after all, with Hitler stumbling around the White House before somebody has to go in there and shoot him?

    In any event, by January, the media were playing down the Hitler stuff and going balls-out on the “Russiagate” story. According to The Washington Post (which, let’s remember, is a serious newspaper, as opposed to a propaganda organ of the so-called US “Intelligence Community”), not only had the Russians “hacked” the election, but they had hacked the Vermont power grid! Editorialists at The New York Times were declaring that Trump “had been appointed by Putin,” and that the USA was now “at war” with Russia. This was also around the time when liberals first learned of the Trump-Russia Dossier, which detailed how Putin was blackmailing Trump with a video the FSB had shot of Trump and a bunch of Russian hookers peeing on a bed in a Moscow hotel in which Obama had allegedly slept.

    This nonsense was reported completely straight-faced, and thus liberals were forced to take it seriously. Imagine the cognitive dissonance they suffered. It was like that scene in 1984 when the Party abruptly switches enemies, and the war with Eurasia becomes the war with Eastasia. Suddenly, Trump wasn’t Hitler anymore. Now he was a Russian sleeper agent who Putin had been blackmailing into destroying democracy with this incriminating “golden showers” video. Putin had presumably been “running” Trump since Trump’s visit to Russia in 2013 to hobnob with “Russia-linked” Russian businessmen and attend the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. During the ensuing partying, Trump must have gotten loaded on Diet Coke and gotten carried away with those Russian hookers. Now, Putin had him by the short hairs and was forcing him to staff his Manchurian cabinet with corporate CEOs and Goldman Sachs guys, who probably had also been videotaped by the FSB in Moscow hotels paying hookers to pee on furniture, or performing whatever other type of seditious, perverted kink they were into.

    Before the poor liberals had time to process this, the ruling classes launched “the Resistance.” You remember the Pussyhat People, don’t you? And the global corporate PR campaign which accompanied their historic “Womens’ March” on Washington? Do you remember liberals like Michael Moore shrieking for the feds to arrest Donald Trump? Or publications like The New York Times, Salon, and many others, and even State Satirist Stephen Colbertaccusing Trump and anyone who supported him of treason … a crime, let’s recall, that is punishable by death? Do you remember folks like William Kristol and Rob “the Meathead” Reiner demanding that the “deep state” launch a coup against Trump to rescue America from the Russian infiltrators?

    Ironically, the roll-out of this “Russiagate” hysteria was so successful that it peaked too soon, and prematurely backlashed all over itself. By March, when Trump had not been arrested, nor otherwise removed from office, liberals, who by that time the corporate media had teased into an incoherent, throbbing state of anticipation were … well, rather disappointed. By April, they were exhibiting all the hallmark symptoms of clinical psychosis. This mental breakdown was due to the fact that the media pundits and government spooks who had been telling them that Trump was Hitler, and then a Russian sleeper agent, were now telling them that he wasn’t so bad, because he’d pointlessly bombed a Syrian airstrip, and dropped a $314 million Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb on some alleged “terrorist caves” in Afghanistan.

  • Intelligence Leaks Reveal Erdogan Regime Arming Criminal Turkish Gangs in Germany.” He’s just a barer of light and joy all around… (Hat tip: Ed Driscoll at Instapundit.)
  • Where was that explosion on the “Arab Street” all those “experts” warned us about if President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel?
  • Sweden has an antisemitism problem, but refuses to admit it’s a result of its Muslim refugee problem.
  • Portugal decriminalized all drugs in 2001. Is it working? Mostly. But it’s not a cure-all. Interesting piece.
  • How Jennifer Rubin turned into Dana Milbank. (Hat tip: Dr. Milton Wolfe’s Twitter feed.)
  • Police: “This man is a rapist!” Judge: “Were you just going to ignore the 40,000 texts from the alleged victim asking for sex?”
  • Senior Hamas leader arrested. Good.
  • Did a Long island woman launder money to the Islamic State using Bitcoin? (Hat tip: Director Blue.) (And let me apologize for ruining your previously Bitcoin-free LinkSwarm…)
  • More on the Wisconsin John Doe Witch Hunt.
  • Everyone’s favorite Tweeter, Texas Supreme Court justice Don Willett, was confirmed to the federal 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Congrats, Justice Willett!
  • As was former Texas Solicitor General James Ho.
  • With Ho’s appointment, President Donald Trump broke broke the all-time record for first year judicial appointments.
  • This week’s winning pervert in the Sexual Harassment Sweepstakes is… senior Disney music executive Jon Heely. Now I feel even more conflicted about Devo 2.0.
  • Seven woman have now accused 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Alex Kozinski of sexual harassment.
  • Speaking of sexual abuse, I really hope these horrific “blind” sexual abuse allegations against unnamed Hollywood celebrities are untrue. If not, life in prison for the perpetrators is too good for them…
  • Russia has a new stealth fighter, the Su-57. Too bad for them its engines won’t be ready until 2027… (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)
  • (screamingheadline)RUSSIA TROLLS BOUGHT ADS BEFORE BREXIT!!!! (in small type) All of 97¢ worth. And Slashdot thought this was worth a entire post.
  • “Net Neutrality” scrapped, Slashdot hit hardest:

  • The top-ranked restaurant in London, The Shed at Dulwich, is so exclusive it doesn’t exist. (Hat tip: Sarah Hoyt at Instapundit.)
  • LinkSwarm for December 8, 2017

    Friday, December 8th, 2017

    Last night mother nature dumped a bunch of snow on Austin…very little of which stayed on the ground through this morning. Which is just fine for those of us who have jobs.

    I’ll still sorting out the latest DOJ/FBI revelations to have them all filed in the next Clinton Corruption update, which should be ginormous.

  • California is on fire.
  • “Traffic through central Mordor is slow but steady.”

  • The Wisconsin Witch Hunt was even worse than even conservatives feared:

    Wisconsin’s infamous John Doe investigation was more sinister and politically driven than originally reported.

    A Wisconsin Attorney General report on the year-long investigation into leaks of sealed John Doe court documents to a liberal British publication in September 2016 finds a rogue agency of partisan bureaucrats bent on a mission “to bring down the (Gov. Scott) Walker campaign and the Governor himself.”

    The AG report, released Wednesday, details an expanded John Doe probe into a “broad range of Wisconsin Republicans,” a “John Doe III,” according to Attorney General Brad Schimel, that widened the scope of the so-called John Doe II investigation into dozens of right-of-center groups and scores of conservatives. Republican lawmakers, conservative talk show hosts, a former employee from the MacIver Institute, average citizens, even churches, were secretly monitored by the dark John Doe.

    State Department of Justice investigators found hundreds of thousands of John Doe documents in the possession of the GAB long after they were ordered to be turned over to the Wisconsin Supreme Court.

    The Government Accountability Board, the state’s former “nonpartisan” speech cop, proved to be more partisan than originally suspected, the state Department of Justice report found. For reasons that “perhaps may never be fully explained,” GAB held onto thousands of private emails from Wisconsin conservatives in several folders on their servers marked “Opposition Research.” The report’s findings validate what conservatives have long contended was nothing more than a witch-hunt into limited government groups and the governor who was turning conservative ideas into public policy.

    “Moreover, DOJ is deeply concerned by what appears to have been the weaponization of GAB by partisans in furtherance of political goals, which permitted the vast collection of highly personal information from dozens of Wisconsin Republicans without even taking modest steps to secure this information,” the report states.

    Snip.

    The Department of Justice, however, recommends the John Doe judge initiate contempt proceedings against former GAB officials and the John Doe probe’s special prosecutor for “grossly” mishandling secret evidence. Schimel also recommends that Shane Falk, who served as lead staff attorney in the John Doe probes, be referred for discipline to the Wisconsin Court System’s Office of Lawyer Regulation. Falk took a job with a private law firm in August 2014, just as allegations of investigative abuse began to surround the political investigation.

    (Hat tip: Instapundit.)

  • Perspective: Nancy Pelosi seems to think the GOP tax bill is worse than the Fugitive Slave Act
  • Another sexual harassment followup on Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen: “Hey, Nancy Pelosi knew all about my sexual harassment charges last year, and threw money at me anyway. So why’s she getting her knickers in a knot now?”
  • “Eye Doctor Tied to Bob Menendez Case Convicted in $100 Million Fraud Scheme.” And Democrat Menendez is still, as of this writing, a Senator.
  • Months after the Las Vegas shooting, and there are still dozens of unanswered questions about what actually happened.
  • 92 percent of illegal aliens arrested this year had ‘criminal convictions, pending criminal charges, were an immigration fugitive, or were an illegal reentrant.'” (Hat tip: Director Blue.)
  • Man Deported 20 Times Sentenced to 35 Years for Sexual Assault.” So when is San Francisco throwing him his parade?
  • “Swedish Government to Ban Websites that List Ethnic Origin of Criminal Suspects.”
  • Related: “Swedish lawyer Elisabeth Fritz claims that in the majority of rape cases she has had to work on the suspects have been individuals from migrant backgrounds.”
  • “Swedish Chief Prosecutor: No-Go Zone Rinkeby Is Like a ‘War Zone.'”
  • “You know who doesn’t have a refugee problem? Japan.” This year Japan has taken in three refugees. Last year it was 28.
  • Hmmmm: “A federal judge in Argentina indicted former President Cristina Fernandez for treason and asked for her arrest for allegedly covering up Iran’s possible role in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center that killed 85 people, a court ruling said.”
  • Arizona Republican Rep. Trent Franks to resign over asking staffers to consider being a surrogate mother for him and his wife? Franks, unlike Al Franken, has actually resigned, not merely promised to resign at some unspecified date in the future.
  • More on how Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman plans to revitalize the kingdom:

    Last Sunday premiered the newly formed Islamic anti-terrorism coalition, putting together leaders from Sunni Arab nations to denounce and combat fundamentalist terrorism throughout the Middle East and the world. It was another bold initiative towards the West of the young and energetic Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, coming on the heels of other bold moves that have looked to consolidate political and religious power in the Kingdom.

    Together, all of these initiatives couldn’t be more transparent. They represent a movement of the most economically powerful nation in OPEC towards social, cultural and economic change, the realization of the Saudi “Vision 2030”. It is a top-down Arab Spring movement that likely has a better chance of success than the populist movements that resulted in more chaos than change in 2010.

    However, the ultimate success for Vision 2030 will rely upon achieving the main economic goal of this revolution – the divestiture of Saudi Arabia from the singularity of oil revenues. Because we know that ultimately money – and lots of it – will be needed to drive the engines for change, we get a far better picture of just how important these latest production extensions agreed to in Vienna were for the young Prince.

    And here we’re brought back to the upcoming IPO of Saudi Aramco, still on tap for 2018.

    Even the planned 5 percent offering of the Saudi state oil assets could yield an instantaneous $100 billion dollars, if the $2 trillion-dollar valuation of Saudi Aramco is accurate. That’s a lot of capital to start the process of rebuilding a Saudi economy from one that is now virtually completely reliant upon the State. 75 percent of the Saudi public is under 35 years old, and they are starving for a new economic infrastructure that will bring job opportunities, cultural diversity, music, education – global access of all kinds – the kind of freedoms that the 2010 Arab Spring uprisings were supposed to deliver. Only this time, the push for change is coming from the top down, not as a populist movement from the people upwards.

  • “Tesla – which lost $619 million in Q3 – delivered only 3,590 vehicles in November in the US, down 18% from a year ago.”
  • In a rare moment of sanity for Sports Illustrated, they named J. J. Watt and the Houston Astro’s Jose Altuve as co-sportsmen of the year. Next week I’m sure they’ll get back to their usual Social Justicing…
  • Texas writer Bill Crider enters hospice care. Bill’s not particularly political, but he is a friend of mine, and I have frequently stolen some of the lighter LinkSwarm items from his blog. He’s a prince among men and he will be missed…
  • You’ve got to admire the designers of http://www.theworldsworstwebsiteever.com for having the courage of their convictions.
  • “Opossum breaks into liquor store and gets drunk as a skunk.”
  • Hell to the no
  • A tweet that tells you all you need to know to evaluate forthcoming legislation:

  • A shot of yuletide Archer cheer:

  • Democratic Dirtbag Update

    Wednesday, December 6th, 2017

    A few quick updates on various stories of sleazy antics from Democratic politicians:

  • Former Florida Democratic Rep. Corrine Brown was sentenced to five years in prison for using a charity as her own personal slush fund. (Previously. Also see Dwight for more info on what a real sweetheart Rep. Brown was.)
  • Democratic Michigan Rep. John Conyers announced his retirement effective immediately:

    Facing a growing number of sexual harassment claims and a rising chorus of voices demanding he resign, U.S. Rep. John Conyers Jr., D-Detroit, on Tuesday retired from the seat he had held for more than five decades, a swift and crushing fall from grace for a civil rights icon and the longest-serving active member of Congress.

  • Leading potential candidates for John Conyers Jr.’s seat? His 27-year-old son, John Conyers III, who the retiring Conyers endorsed, and his grandnephew, state Sen. Ian Conyers. Because Democratic political dynasties have never had a problem with corruption in America…
  • Meanwhile, freshman Democratic Rep. Ruben Kihuen of Nevada is saying he won’t step down despite his own sexual harassment allegations.
  • “Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass., called on Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., to resign Tuesday following allegations of sexual misconduct from six different women.” I’m sure that no matter how many women Franklin groped, it will be one below the threshold at which Senate Democrats demand a resignation for. “Moulton also slammed House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for her stewardship of the Democratic caucus in the wake of multiple women coming forward to describe incidents of sexual harassment or assault at the hands of members of the party.”