Posts Tagged ‘FISA’

Clinton Corruption Update: It’s All One Scandal

Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

Got slammed by the holidays, so this Clinton Corruption update is both extra late and extra huge. Unless I just start throwing stuff down wherever it even remotely fits, I’ll never finish this update. So let’s jump in!

(But first, take a look at Was Fusion GPS Allowed to Run Unsupervised FISA-702 Queries? if you haven’t already.)

Several Clinton scandals, and revelations from the ill-conceived Russia investigation, have been converging into a single scandal for months. With the Peter Strzok/Fusion GPS revelations, there’s no longer any gap between the various Hillary Clinton and the Obama Administration unmasking scandals: it’s all one, big swampy scandal, with some of the same players showing up again and again, and Hillary Clinton is involved up to her chin.

Strzok, in case you hadn’t heard, is the FBI agent dismissed from Robert Mueller’s Russia probe. His text messages reveal that he’s a dedicated Trump hater:

Text messages between FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page in 2016 that were obtained by Fox News on Tuesday refer to then-candidate Donald Trump as a “loathsome human” and “an idiot.”

More than 10,000 texts between Strzok and Page were being reviewed by the Justice Department after Strzok was removed from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe after it was revealed that some of them contained anti-Trump content.

The messages were sent during the 2016 campaign and contain discussions about various candidates. On March 2, Strzok texted Page that someone “asked me who I’d vote for, guessed [Ohio Gov. John] Kasich.”

Fine and dandy, but what does this have to do with Hillary Clinton?

Strzok, who was an FBI counterintelligence agent, was reassigned to the FBI’s human resources division after the discovery of the exchanges with Page, with whom he was having an affair. Page was briefly on Mueller’s team, but has since returned to the FBI.

House Intelligence Committee investigators have long regarded Strzok as a key figure in the chain of events that began when the bureau, in 2016, received the infamous anti-Trump “dossier” and launched a counterintelligence investigation into Russian meddling in the election that ultimately came to encompass FISA surveillance of a Trump campaign associate.

Strzok briefed the committee on Dec. 5, 2016, sources said. But within months of that session House Intelligence Committee investigators were contacted by an informant suggesting that there was “documentary evidence” that Strzok was purportedly obstructing the House probe into the dossier.

Strzok also oversaw the bureau’s interviews with ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn – who pleaded guilty to lying to FBI investigators in the Russia probe.

He also was present during the FBI’s July 2016 interview with Hillary Clinton at the close of the email investigation, shortly before then-FBI director James Comey called her actions “extremely careless” without recommending criminal charges.

More than that, Strzok is the one who changed language in Comey’s draft report on Emailgate from “Grossly Negligent” to “Extremely Careless,” essentially letting her off the hook.

He was also the one who sent a text to Lisa Page, the FBI lawyer he was having an affair with, stating how he was working on an “insurance policy” in case Trump became President.

More on Peter Strzok:

A supervisory special agent who is now under scrutiny after being removed from Robert Mueller’s Special Counsel’s Office for alleged bias against President Trump also oversaw the bureau’s interviews of embattled former National Security advisor Michael Flynn, this reporter has learned. Flynn recently pled guilty to one-count of lying to the FBI last week.

FBI agent was one of two FBI agents who interviewed Flynn, which took place on Jan. 24, at the White House, said several sources. The other FBI special agent, who interviewed Flynn, is described by sources as a field supervisor in the “Russian Squad, at the FBI’s Washington Field Office,” according to a former intelligence official, with knowledge of the interview.

Strzok was removed from his role in the Special Counsel’s Office after it was discovered he had made disparaging comments about President Trump in text messages between him and his alleged lover FBI attorney Lisa Page, according to the New York Times and Washington Post, which first reported the stories. Strzok is also under investigation by the Department of Justice Inspector General for his role in Hillary Clinton’s email server and the ongoing investigation into Russia’s election meddling. On Saturday, the House Intelligence Committee’s Chairman Devin Nunes chided the Justice Department and the FBI for not disclosing why Strzok had been removed from the Special Counsel three months ago, according to a statement given by the Chairman.

The former U.S. intelligence official told this reporter, “with the recent revelation that Strzok was removed from the Special Counsel investigation for making anti-Trump text messages it seems likely that the accuracy and veracity of the 302 of Flynn’s interview as a whole should be reviewed and called into question.”

“The most logical thing to happen would be to call the other FBI Special Agent present during Flynn’s interview before the Grand Jury to recount his version,” the former intelligence official added.

The former official also said that “Strzok’s allegiance to (Deputy Director Andrew) McCabe was unwavering and very well known.”

(Hat tip: Aceof Spades HQ.)

Now on to other Clinton Corruption news:

  • Need more information? This timeline of FBI/Clinton malfeasance may help.
  • Here’s a “state of play” piece Conservative Treehouse put up before their Fusion GPS/FISA-702 bombshell:

    As the Inspector General investigation continues:

    • FBI Agent Peter Strzok has been reassigned to the HR department.
    • FBI Lawyer Lisa Page, personal legal aide to FBI Asst. Director, Andrew “Andy” McCabe, has been returned to the DOJ side.
    • FBI Chief Legal Counsel James Baker has been relieved of his duties by FBI Director Christopher Wray.
    • FBI Asst Director Andrew McCabe has announced his intent to retire in March.

    All of these FBI personnel moves are a preliminary outcomes of the still ongoing Office of Inspector General (OIG) investigation. All of this has been reported. None of these moves are speculative. All of these geese are cooked. However, this is just one side of the 2016 political “Trump operation”, the FBI investigative Counterintelligence Division side.

    The other side, the legal side of the Trump operation, stems from the National Security Division of the DOJ. A FISA application is submitted from the DOJ-NSD for use by the FBI Counterintelligence team. Sunlight upon this side of the collaboration is the reason for all of the current distraction narratives.

    While both sides of the corrupt political apparatus participated in the illegal unmasking and leaking, the documentation and activity behind the origin of the FISA application is the current ‘hot potato’ no-one wants any association with.

    The FISA application(s) and the subsequent wiretapping and surveillance collection, along with the unmasking that followed, is the focus of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes.

    Sometime this month, after the initial Inspector General Michael Horowitz release, House Judiciary Chair Bob Goodlatte and Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley will likely call for a Special Counsel to investigate the upper-level management of the FBI and DOJ.

    We should support that approach. The SC can quickly put a Grand Jury together and start presenting the IG investigative evidence, as well as enforceable subpoenas for witnesses.

    There’s a lot of different down-stream legal issues:

    • The unlawful exoneration of Hillary Clinton by political operatives in the DOJ/FBI.
    • The unlawful destruction of evidence; and the manipulation of investigative protocols to gain a specific and pre-planned political outcome. (Peter Strzok, Andrew McCabe)
    • The unlawful use of the FISA court for political spy operations by the DOJ/FBI.
    • The unlawful use of the Dept of Justice National Security Division. For weaponized political benefit. (Sally Yates, Loretta Lynch, Bruce Ohr)
    • The unlawful use of the FBI Counterintelligence Division. For weaponized political benefit. (James Comey, Andrew McCabe, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, James Baker)
    • The unlawful use of a Special Counsel (Mueller) investigation to hide the conspiracy; (James Baker, Peter Strzok, Lisa Page, Bruce Ohr, Andrew Weissman, Jeannie Rhee, Aaron Zebley)
  • Mueller needs to release all the documents congress has requested. Also:

    Voters also have an interest in knowing who else on Mueller’s legal team is biased. Not a stretch, as we already know many key players have donated heavily to Democrat politicians, including Clinton. Here’s just a few:

    • James Quarles donated $33,000 over the years to the Dukakis, Gore, Kerry, Obama and Clinton campaigns, according to CNN.
    • Jeannie Rhee has given more than $16,000 to Democrats since 2008. She also maxed out donations both in 2015 and 2016 to Clinton’s presidential campaign. Rhee also represented Clinton in a legal case involving access to her private emails and defended the Clinton Foundation in a former racketeering suit.
    • Andrew Weissman gave $2,300 to former President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign, and $2,000 to the Democratic National Committee in 2006, according to CNN.

    (Hat tip: Director Blue.)

  • Remember how Hillary Clinton swore up and down she had no classified information on her illegal homebrew server? Well guess what: There were classified documents from that sever Huma Abedin had forwarded to her own account and stashed on husband Anthony Weiner’s computer.
  • And speaking of EmailGate:

    Republicans on key congressional committees say they have uncovered new irregularities and contradictions inside the FBI’s probe of Hillary Clinton’s email server.

    For the first time, investigators say they have secured written evidence that the FBI believed there was evidence that some laws were broken when the former secretary of State and her top aides transmitted classified information through her insecure private email server, lawmakers and investigators told The Hill.

    That evidence includes passages in FBI documents stating the “sheer volume” of classified information that flowed through Clinton’s insecure emails was proof of criminality as well as an admission of false statements by one key witness in the case, the investigators said.

    The name of the witness is redacted from the FBI documents but lawmakers said he was an employee of a computer firm that helped maintain her personal server after she left office as America’s top diplomat and who belatedly admitted he had permanently erased an archive of her messages in 2015 after they had been subpoenaed by Congress.

    The investigators also confirmed that the FBI began drafting a statement exonerating Clinton of any crimes while evidence responsive to subpoenas was still outstanding and before agents had interviewed more than a dozen key witnesses.

  • Christopher Wray Refuses to Say if Steele Dossier Was Used to Procure FISA Warrant.” That would be the current FBI director.
  • If you’re still confused as to just how deeply Fusion GPS (in the pay of the Clinton campaign, the DNC and Russian nationals) infiltrated America’s press corp, read this:

    Fusion GPS’s principals—Glenn Simpson, Peter Fritsch, Thomas Catan, and [Neil] King—are all [Wall Street] Journal alumni. Moreover, several other former Journal hands employed throughout the Washington DC press corps to cover the Russiagate beat have teamed with the Fusion four. Because Journal alums played a key role not only in creating the Great Kremlin Conspiracy but also in disseminating it, it is natural that the Journal would find itself in the middle of the story. It appears its newsroom is still influenced by the former staffers driving the Russiagate story.

    William Browder, the driving force behind the Magnitsky Act, told me recently about his experience with the Journal’s newsroom and its relationship with the firm four former WSJ reporters have founded. “When I was trying to get journalists interested in a story about the role Fusion GPS was playing in trying to undo the Magnitsky Act,” said Browder, “I found that the Wall Street Journal was one of the places where Glenn Simpson and Fusion GPS were deeply entrenched in the newsroom.” Wall Street Journal editor Gerard Baker did not reply to a request for comment on Browder’s assertions.

    The Fusion GPS story doesn’t end with the Wall Street Journal. It only started there. Recently The Daily Caller reported onCNN reporter Evan Perez’s ties to Fusion GPS, showing photographs of Perez with Fritsch and King, with whom he shared bylines at the Wall Street Journal before they went to Fusion GPS and he moved to CNN. Perez had the lead byline on CNN’s January 10, 2017 story that broke how four U.S. intelligence chiefs briefed incoming president Trump and outgoing President Obama on the Steele dossier. The CNN story made no mention of Perez’s friends and former colleagues who produced and distributed the dossier that was the subject of the story.

    Former WSJ reporter Adam Entous, recently hired by the New Yorker, had the lead byline on the Washington Post article breaking the news that Marc Elias, a lawyer from the DC law firm Perkins Coie, hired Fusion GPS to compile an opposition research file on Trump for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and the Clinton campaign. After the story broke, New York Times reporters Maggie Haberman and Ken Vogel expressed their professional frustration on Twitter. They were after the story, and someone else nailed it.

    “Folks involved in funding this lied about it, and with sanctimony, for a year,” tweeted Haberman. “When I tried to report this story,” wrote Vogel, “Clinton campaign lawyer @marceelias pushed back vigorously, saying ‘You (or your sources) are wrong.’”

    So how did the Post get the Clinton campaign, DNC, or Elias to confirm the story? There’s no evidence they did. A former Clinton spokesman told the paper he wasn’t aware Fusion GPS was hired. A DNC spokesperson said the new leadership was not part of the decision-making. “Elias and Fusion GPS,” according to the Post report, “declined to comment on the arrangement.”

    That leaves the firm’s principals as Entous’ most likely sources. Why? Because Fusion GPS and its principals had an interest in dumping information to deter the House Permanent Select Committee in Intelligence from successfully subpoenaing the company’s bank records for evidence that Fusion GPS paid journalists. “Entous,” said one veteran journalist familiar with the national security beat, “is tight with Fusion GPS.”

    Carol Lee of NBC News is another WSJ alum. At her new job she has worked on Russiagate stories with Ken Dilanian, a reporter Browder believes to be a regular and reliable purveyor of Fusion GPS-manufactured talking points. In September, for instance, Lee and Dilanian broke a story about the June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, which also included Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort.

    The network of journalists who take dossiers from Fusion GPS is rich and deep.

    Lee and Dilanian reported, “Two sources tell NBC News that Manafort’s smartphone notes from the meeting included the words ‘donations’ in close proximity to the reference to the Republican National Committee.” NBC News was eventually forced to walk back the story when it turned out the word on Manafort’s phone was “donors,” not “donations,” a difference that nullified the thrust of the story, which was to suggest that Russia was funneling money directly to the Trump campaign.

    But who fed Lee and Dilanian their story? It seems likely from the list of people at the meeting that their sources included Veselnitskaya herself and another Russian at the meeting, Rinat Akhmetshin—who both had partnered with Fusion GPS to try to undo the Magnitsky Act on behalf of pro-Putin elements. Indeed, Simpson met with Veselnitskaya before and after her meeting with Trump Jr.—a meeting Simpson says he didn’t know about until it was later reported.

    The network of journalists who take dossiers from Fusion GPS is rich and deep, which is how the company manages to seed so many stories around the media and make its money. Others whose tenure at the Wall Street Journal intersected with those of Fusion GPS principals and who have filed numerous stories on the Trump-Russia narrative that originated with Fusion GPS’s “Steele” dossier include, among others, Devlin Barrett and Tom Hamburger of the Washington Post, and Matthew Rosenberg of the New York Times.

    (Hat tip: Aceof Spades HQ.)

  • Lefty legal legend Alan Dershowitz says that Strzok should be punished:

    The FBI agent who altered former FBI Director James Comey’s assessment of Hillary Clinton’s private email server should be “severely punished,” said Alan Dershowitz, the retired Harvard University law professor.

    FBI agent Peter Strzok changed the wording in Comey’s assessment from “grossly negligent” to “extremely careless,” a key change in legal terms that softened the case against Clinton.

    Derschowitz also poo-poos the whole “obstruction of justice” angle as regards President Trump:

    In order to be charged with obstruction of justice, you have to go beyond simply exercising a presidential prerogative under Article II of the Constitution,” said Dershowitz on Fox News’ “The Ingraham Angle” on Monday. “If you bribe or take a bribe, if you destroy evidence and do what Nixon did, which is pay hush money or tell your subordinates to lie, of course you can be charged with obstruction of justice.”

    Presidents Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton were both charged with obstruction of justice, Dershowitz pointed out.

    “But you cannot be and should not be charged with obstruction of justice if you merely pardon people,” he added. “You merely fire people even if the prosecution believes your intentions are not good. That’s what George H.W. Bush did. He pardoned Caspar Weinberger and five other people. The special prosecutor said the intent was to stop the investigation of Iran-Contra. It succeeded. And nobody suggested that President Bush be charged.”

    Further:

    “He can’t be charged with obstruction merely for exercising his constitutional prerogatives,” said Dershowitz. “That’s an important distinction. No president in history has ever been charged for any crime or anything because he exercised his constitutional prerogative. They impeached President Andrew Johnson for doing that. And the Supreme Court ultimately ruled that that was absolutely wrong. The president had the authority to fire the secretary of the Army. He was impeached for that and wrongly impeached.”

    (Hat tip: Ace of Spades HQ.)

  • Hillary gonna Hillary:

    A former government watchdog says Hillary Clinton’s campaign threatened retribution against him and his loved ones when he raised concerns about classified info on Clinton’s private email server while it was being investigated in 2016.

    “There was personal blowback. Personal blowback to me, to my family, to my office,” former Intelligence Community Inspector General Charles McCullough III told Fox News’ Catherine Herridge on Monday.

    He said the Clinton campaign even put out word that it planned to fire him if Clinton won the 2016 election. Democrats in Congress also mounted what he thought looked like a coordinated campaign to intimidate him.

    McCullough, an Obama appointee, became inspector general after “more than two decades at the FBI, Treasury and intelligence community,” Fox News reported. He explained how the probe was quickly politicized and his office marginalized by Democrats in Congress.

    The intimidation campaign intensified in January 2016, after McCullough notified senior intelligence and foreign relations committee leaders that “several dozen emails containing classified information” were determined to be “at the CONFIDENTIAL, SECRET, AND TOP SECRET/SAP levels.”

    A government source involved with the review told Fox News at the time that seven of those emails had been deemed by the intelligence community to be so sensitive and so potentially damaging to national security that they could never be released under any circumstances.

    “All of a sudden I became a shill of the right,” McCullough recalled. “And I was told by members of Congress, ‘Be careful. You’re losing your credibility. You need to be careful. There are people out to get you.’”

    He also got it from congressional Democrats for having the unmitigated gall to tell the truth about Clinton’s emails:

    In March 2016, seven senior Democrats entered the fray, sending a letter to McCullough and his State Department counterpart expressing their reservations about the impartiality of the Clinton email review.

    McCullough, of course, wasn’t the one making the decisions regarding the classification of Clinton’s emails, he was just, as Herridge notes, “passing along the findings of the individual agencies” that had the final say on classification.

    The watchdog said he thought there was “a coordinated strategy” targeting him based on the evidence he saw.

    Six weeks before the election, McCullough said Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office tried to pressure him to respond to the letter – which Feinstein had co-signed.

    “I thought that any response to that letter would just hyper-politicize the situation,” McCullough said. “I recall even offering to resign, to the staff director. I said, ‘Tell [Feinstein] I’ll resign tonight. I’d be happy to go. I’m not going to respond to that letter. It’s just that simple.”

    The pressure intensified as Election Day approached and McCullough and another senior government investigator on the email case were threatened.

    “I was told in no uncertain terms, by a source directly from the campaign, that we would be the first two to be fired — with [Clinton’s] administration. That that was definitely going to happen,” he said.

    (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)

  • “The Anatomy Of Hillary Clinton’s $84 Million Money-Laundering Scheme.”

    The Committee to Defend the President has filed an FEC complaint against Hillary Clinton’s campaign, Democratic National Committee (DNC), Democratic state parties and Democratic mega-donors.

    As Fox News reported, we documented the Democratic establishment “us[ing] state chapters as straw men to circumvent campaign donation limits and launder(ing) the money back to her campaign.” The 101-page complaint focused on the Hillary Victory Fund (HVF) — the $500 million joint fundraising committee between the Clinton campaign, DNC, and dozens of state parties — which did exactly that the Supreme Court declared would still be illegal.

    HVF solicited six-figure donations from major donors, including Calvin Klein and “Family Guy” creator Seth MacFarlane, and routed them through state parties en route to the Clinton campaign. Roughly $84 million may have been laundered in what might be the single largest campaign finance scandal in U.S. history.

    Here’s what we know. Campaign finance law is incredibly complex and infamous for its lack of clarity. As I’ve explained before, its complexity is a feature, not a bug. Major political players with the resources to hire the very few attorneys who practice campaign finance law benefit from the complexity that keeps others out. Perhaps HVF’s architects thought so too, and assumed that if no one understands what’s happening, no one would complain.

    Here’s what you can do, legally. Per election, an individual donor can contribute $2,700 to any candidate, $10,000 to any state party committee, and (during the 2016 cycle) $33,400 to a national party’s main account. These groups can all get together and take a single check from a donor for the sum of those contribution limits — it’s legal because the donor cannot exceed the base limit for any one recipient. And state parties can make unlimited transfers to their national party.

    Here’s what you can’t do, which the Clinton machine appeared to do anyway. As the Supreme Court made clear in McCutcheon v. FEC, the JFC may not solicit or accept contributions to circumvent base limits, through “earmarks” and “straw men” that are ultimately excessive — there are five separate prohibitions here.

    On top of that, six-figure donations either never actually passed through state party accounts or were never actually under state party control, which adds false FEC reporting by HVF, state parties, and the DNC to the laundry list.

    Finally, as Donna Brazile and others admitted, the DNC placed the funds under the Clinton campaign’s direct control, a massive breach of campaign finance law that ties the conspiracy together.

    Democratic donors, knowing the funds would end up with Clinton’s campaign, wrote six-figure checks to influence the election — 100 times larger than allowed.

    HVF bundled these megagifts and, on a single day, reported transferring money to all participating state parties, some of which would then show up on FEC reports filed by the DNC as transferring the exact same dollar amount on the exact same day to the DNC. Yet not all the state parties reported either receiving or transferring those sums.

    Did any of these transfers actually happen? Or were they just paper entries to mask direct transfers to the DNC?

    For perspective, conservative filmmaker Dinesh D’Souza was prosecuted and convicted in 2012 for giving a handful of associates money they then contributed to a candidate of his preference — in other words, straw man contributions. He was sentenced to eight months in a community confinement center and five years of probation. How much money was involved? Only $20,000. HVF weighs in at $84 million — more than 4,000 times larger!

  • As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton personally lifted the U.S. travel ban on terrorist-supporting accused rapist Tariq Ramadan. (Hat tip: The Other McCain.)
  • Hey, Remember the Uranium One scandal, Hillary Clinton’s other other scandal? Well guess what? Indictments have been issued:

    The Department of Justice unsealed an 11-count indictment on Friday to a former DoD intelligence analyst-turned uranium transportation executive who stands accused of a bribery and money laundering scheme involving a Russian nuclear official connected to the Uranium One deal.

    The indictment corroborates a November report by The Hill that an FBI mole deeply embedded in the Russian uranium industry had gathered extensive evidence of the scheme.

    Mark Lambert, 54, of Mount Airy, Maryland, was charged with one count of conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and to commit wire fraud, seven counts of violating the FCPA, two counts of wire fraud and one count of international promotion money laundering.

    The charges stem from an alleged scheme to bribe Vadim Mikerin, a Russian official at JSC Techsnabexport (TENEX), a subsidiary of Russia’s State Atomic Energy Corporation and the sole supplier and exporter of Russian Federation uranium and uranium enrichment services to nuclear power companies worldwide, in order to secure contracts with TENEX.

    According to the indictment, beginning at least as early as 2009 and continuing until October 2014, Lambert conspired with others at “Transportation Corporation A” to make corrupt and fraudulent bribery and kickback payments to offshore bank accounts associated with shell companies, at the direction of, and for the benefit of, a Russian official, Vadim Mikerin, in order to secure improper business advantages and obtain and retain business with TENEX. -DOJ

    While the indictment lists Lambert’s company as “Transportation Corporation A,” a simple search reveals that Lambert is the co-President of DAHER-TLI, “the leading front end freight forwarding company dedicated to Nuclear Cargo,” according to its website.

    (Hat tip: Stephen Green at Instapundit.)

  • More thoughts on same.
  • “Obama State Department Let Clinton And Huma Make Off With Boxes Of ‘Muslim Engagement’ Docs.”
  • Could a Trump executive order lead to a crackdown and seizure of Clinton assets?

    The Trump Administration quietly issued an Executive Order (EO) last Thursday which allows for the freezing of US-housed assets belonging to foreign individuals or entities deemed “serious human rights abusers,” along with government officials and executives of foreign corporations (current or former) found to have engaged in corruption – which includes the misappropriation of state assets, the expropriation of private assets for personal gain, and corruption related to government contracts or the extraction of natural resources.

    Snip.

    Now consider that if reports from The Hill are accurate – an FBI mole deep within the Russian uranium industry uncovered evidence that “Russian nuclear officials had routed millions of dollars to the U.S. designed to benefit former President Bill Clinton’s charitable foundation during the time Secretary of State Hillary Clinton served on a government body that provided a favorable decision to Moscow (the Uranium One approval)” – a deal which would eventually grant the Kremlin control over 20 percent of America’s uranium supply right around the time Bill Clinton also collected $500,000 for a Moscow speech, as detailed by author Peter Schweitzer’s book Clinton Cash and the New York Times in 2015.

    “The Russians were compromising American contractors in the nuclear industry with kickbacks and extortion threats, all of which raised legitimate national security concerns. And none of that evidence got aired before the Obama administration made those decisions,” a person who worked on the case told The Hill, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution by U.S. or Russian officials. –The Hill

    The same FBI informant claims to have video evidence showing Russian agents with briefcases full of bribe money related to the controversial Uranium One deal.

  • “A joint investigation by the Washington Examiner and the nonprofit watchdog group Judicial Watch found that former President Clinton gave 215 speeches and earned $48 million while his wife presided over U.S. foreign policy, raising questions about whether the Clintons fulfilled ethics agreements related to the Clinton Foundation during Hillary Clinton‘s tenure as secretary of state.” Nice work if you can get it…
  • How Clinton cronies pay to manufacture fake news:

    A wealthy Hillary Clinton supporter dropped half a million dollars in the run up to the 2016 election to fund a number of alleged victims willing to accuse President Donald Trump of sexual misconduct.

    The New York Times reported on Sunday that Susie Tompkins Buell, a major Clinton donor for years, gave $500,000 to celebrity attorney Lisa Bloom in support of a stable of women willing to come forward – if the price was right.

  • Why Democrats finally turnd on Bill Clinton:

    The media doesn’t suddenly “believe Juanita”. Or rather it always knew that Juanita Broaddrick, Kathleen Willey, Paula Jones and the other women were telling the truth. It didn’t silence them because it thought they were lying. It silenced them because they were telling the truth about its guy.

    Now Bill Clinton isn’t the media’s guy anymore. He’s a problem.

    And what the media does “believe” is that the Clintons will continue to be a liability that might cost them victories in 2018 and 2020. The DNC badly needs money. The Clintons are once again posing a threat to the DNC’s financial viability. And the Dems have become less willing to lose House and Senate seats to sate the insatiable greed of the grifters from Hope.

    Then there’s 2020. The Dems don’t want to risk their nominee facing passive aggressive attacks by Hillary Clinton. Nor do they even want to see Hillary Clinton on the air for the entire election.

    Snip.

    They’re purging the Clintons for the same reason that they covered up for them.

    They’re calling out Bill Clinton for his sexual assaults for the same reason that they covered them up.

    They did it out of political self-interest then. And they’re doing it out of political self-interest now. There’s nothing clean or honest about what they’re doing. There’s no moral reckoning here. Only a political reckoning. It’s not about the women Bill abused. It’s about DNC cash and the 2020 election.

  • Democrats are shocked, shocked to find out that Bill Clinton is a sexual predator. Remember all those Democrats who looked into allegations against Clinton when he was President? Me neither.
  • Despite all the “we’re free to call Bill Clinton a sexual predator now that Hillary will never run again” talk, don’t count on it. “Hillary Clinton never does anything spontaneously. Until further notice, we should assume she’s running to get back that which is *rightfully* hers.” And remember that the DNC recently purged all the non-Clinton DNC staffers.
  • Dolly Kyle, the women who claims to be Bill Clinton’s longtime mistress, claims that Bill Clinton has had over 2,00 sex partners and that Hillary Clinton is a lesbian. I would approach her claims with several pounds of salt.
  • Hillary Clinton said America was totally unprepared for the advent of artificial intelligence, then excused herself and asked directions to Sarah Conners’ house.
  • The New York Times ever-changing Trump Russia narrative:

    Slowly but surely, it has emerged that the Justice Department and FBI very likely targeted Page because of the Steele dossier, a Clinton-campaign opposition-research screed disguised as intelligence reporting. Increasingly, it appears that the Bureau failed to verify Steele’s allegations before the DOJ used some of them to bolster an application for a spying warrant from the FISA court (i.e., the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court).

    Thanks to the persistence of the House Intelligence Committee led by Chairman Devin Nunes (R., Calif.), the dossier story won’t go away. Thus, Democrats and their media friends have been moving the goal posts in an effort to save their collusion narrative. First, we were led to believe the dossier was no big deal because the FBI would surely have corroborated any information before the DOJ fed it to a federal judge in a warrant application. Then, when the Clinton campaign’s role in commissioning the dossier came to light, we were told it was impertinent to ask about what the FBI did, if anything, to corroborate it since this could imperil intelligence methods and sources — and, besides, such questions were just a distraction from the all-important Mueller investigation (which the dossier had a hand in instigating and which, to date, has turned up no evidence of a Trump-Russia conspiracy).

    Lately, the story has morphed into this: Well, even if the dossier was used, it was only used a little — there simply must have been lots of other evidence that Trump was in cahoots with Putin. But that’s not going to fly: Putting aside the dearth of collusion evidence after well over a year of aggressive investigation, the dossier is partisan propaganda. If it was not adequately corroborated by the FBI, and if the Justice Department, without disclosing its provenance to the court, nevertheless relied on any part of it in a FISA application, that is a major problem.

    So now, a new strategy to prop up the collusion tale: Never mind Page — lookee over here at [George] Papadopoulos!

    But that’s not what they were saying in April, when the collusion narrative and Democratic calls for a special prosecutor were in full bloom.

    Back then, no fewer than six of the Times’ top reporters, along with a researcher, worked their anonymous “current and former law enforcement and intelligence officials” in order to generate the Page blockbuster. With these leaks, the paper confidently reported: “From the Russia trip of the once-obscure Mr. Page grew a wide-ranging investigation, now accompanied by two congressional inquiries, that has cast a shadow over the early months of the Trump administration” [emphasis added].

    Oh sure, the Times acknowledged that there might have been a couple of other factors involved. “Paul Manafort, then [i.e., during Page’s trip] Mr. Trump’s campaign manager, was already under criminal investigation in connection with payments from a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine.” And “WikiLeaks and two websites later identified as Russian intelligence fronts had begun releasing emails obtained when Democratic Party servers were hacked.”

    But the trigger for the investigation — the “catalyst” — was Page.

    Somehow, despite all that journalistic leg-work and all those insider sources, the name George Papadopoulos does not appear in the Times’ story.

    Now, however, we’re supposed to forget about Page. According to the new bombshell dropped on New Year’s Eve by six Times reporters, it was “the hacking” coupled with “the revelation that a member of the Trump campaign” — Papadopoulos — “may have had inside information about it” that were “driving factors that led the F.B.I. to open an investigation in July 2016 into Russia’s attempts to disrupt the election and whether any of President Trump’s associates conspired.”

    It seems like only yesterday — or, to be more precise, only late October, when he pled guilty to a count of lying to the FBI in the Mueller probe — that Mr. Papadopoulos was even more obscure than the “once-obscure Mr. Page.” Now, though, he has been elevated to “the improbable match that set off a blaze that has consumed the first year of the Trump administration.” But hey, if you’re willing to hang in there through the first 36 paragraphs of the Times’ nearly 3,000-word Papadopoulos report, you’ll find the fleeting observation that “A trip to Moscow by another adviser, Carter Page, also raised concerns at the F.B.I.”

    You don’t say!

    Again, until this weekend, Page was the eye of the collusion storm. And as I outlined in a column last weekend, a significant part of what got the FBI and the Obama Justice Department stirred up about Page’s July 2016 trip to Moscow was the Steele dossier — the anti-Trump reports compiled by former British spy Christopher Steele. Alas, six months after the Times’ planted its feet on Page as the linchpin of the Trump-Russia investigation, we learned that the dossier was actually an opposition-research project paid for by the Hillary Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. We further learned that at Fusion GPS, the research firm that retained Steele for the project, Steele collaborated on it with Nellie Ohr, the wife of top Justice Department official Bruce Ohr — and that Bruce Ohr had personally been briefed on the project by Steele and a Fusion GPS executive.

  • Reminder: Chelsea Clinton used Clinton Foundation resources for her wedding. So say Wikileaks documents. Just in case you had forgotten…
  • 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.

    Trying to Make Sense of #Obamagate Wiretapping

    Monday, March 6th, 2017

    The latest controversy began, as so many seem to, with a President Trump tweet:

    My first thought was “Eh, Trump’s talking out his ass.” Which happens from time to time.

    But then further reports came in, and the Obama Administration talking points started to take the form of “Ah, well, actually, here, have this carefully worded denial that dances around the main issue.”

    Here’s Andrew McCarthy in National Review (hardly the most Trump-friendly outlet on the right) dissecting the non-denial denials about what actually happened:

    To summarize, reporting indicates that, prior to June 2016, the Obama Justice Department and FBI considered a criminal investigation of Trump associates, and perhaps Trump himself, based on concerns about connections to Russian financial institutions. Preliminary poking around indicated that there was nothing criminal involved. Rather than shut the case down, though, the Obama Justice Department converted it into a national-security investigation under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). FISA allows the government, if it gets court permission, to conduct electronic surveillance (which could include wiretapping, monitoring of e-mail, and the like) against those it alleges are “agents of a foreign power.” FISA applications and the evidence garnered from them are classified – i.e., we would not know about any of this unless someone had leaked classified information to the media, a felony.

    In June, the Obama Justice Department submitted an application that apparently “named” Trump in addition to some of his associates. As I have stressed, it is unclear whether “named” in this context indicates that Trump himself was cited as a person the Justice Department was alleging was a Russian agent whom it wanted to surveil. It could instead mean that Trump’s name was merely mentioned in an application that sought to conduct surveillance on other alleged Russian agents. President Trump’s tweets on Saturday claimed that “President Obama . . . tapp[ed] my phones[,]” which makes it more likely that Trump was targeted for surveillance, rather than merely mentioned in the application.

    In any event, the FISA court reportedly turned down the Obama Justice Department’s request, which is notable: The FISA court is notoriously solicitous of government requests to conduct national-security surveillance (although, as I’ve noted over the years, the claim by many that it is a rubber-stamp is overblown).

    Not taking no for an answer, the Obama Justice Department evidently returned to the FISA court in October 2016, the critical final weeks of the presidential campaign. This time, the Justice Department submitted a narrowly tailored application that did not mention Trump. The court apparently granted it, authorizing surveillance of some Trump associates. It is unknown whether that surveillance is still underway, but the New York Times has identified – again, based on illegal leaks of classified information – at least three of its targets: Paul Manafort (the former Trump campaign chairman who was ousted in August), and two others whose connection to the Trump campaign was loose at best, Manafort’s former political-consulting business partner Roger Stone, and investor Carter Page. The Times report (from mid-January) includes a lot of heavy breathing about potential ties between the Trump campaign and Russia; but it ultimately concedes that the government’s FISA investigation may have nothing to do with Trump, the campaign, or alleged Russian efforts to interfere in the U.S. election by hacking e-mail accounts.

    Trump’s tweets on Saturday prompted some interesting “denials” from the Obama camp. These can be summarized in the statement put out by Obama spokesman Kevin Lewis:

    A cardinal rule of the Obama Administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice. As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any U.S. citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false.

    This seems disingenuous on several levels.

    First, as Obama officials well know, under the FISA process, it is technically the FISA court that “orders” surveillance. And by statute, it is the Justice Department, not the White House, that represents the government in proceedings before the FISA court. So, the issue is not whether Obama or some member of his White House staff “ordered” surveillance of Trump and his associates. The issues are (a) whether the Obama Justice Department sought such surveillance authorization from the FISA court, and (b) whether, if the Justice Department did that, the White House was aware of or complicit in the decision to do so. Personally, given the explosive and controversial nature of the surveillance request we are talking about – an application to wiretap the presidential candidate of the opposition party, and some of his associates, during the heat of the presidential campaign, based on the allegation that the candidate and his associates were acting as Russian agents – it seems to me that there is less than zero chance that could have happened without consultation between the Justice Department and the White House.

    Second, the business about never ordering surveillance against American citizens is nonsense. Obama had American citizens killed in drone operations. Obviously, that was not done in the U.S. or through the FISA process; it was done overseas, under the president’s commander-in-chief and statutory authority during wartime. But the notion that Obama would never have an American subject to surveillance is absurd.

    Third, that brings us to a related point: FISA national-security investigations are not like criminal investigations. They are more like covert intelligence operations – which presidents personally sign off on. The intention is not to build a criminal case; it is to gather information about what foreign powers are up, particularly on U.S. soil. One of the points in FISA proceedings’ being classified is that they remain secret – the idea is not to prejudice an American citizen with publication of the fact that he has been subjected to surveillance even though he is not alleged to have engaged in criminal wrongdoing.

    Snip.

    To be clear, there does not seem to be any evidence, at least that I know of, to suggest that any surveillance or requests to conduct surveillance against then-candidate Donald Trump was done outside the FISA process.

    Nevertheless, whether done inside or outside the FISA process, it would be a scandal of Watergate dimension if a presidential administration sought to conduct, or did conduct, national-security surveillance against the presidential candidate of the opposition party. Unless there was some powerful evidence that the candidate was actually acting as an agent of a foreign power, such activity would amount to a pretextual use of national-security power for political purposes. That is the kind of abuse that led to Richard Nixon’s resignation in lieu of impeachment.

    Moreover, it cannot be glossed over that, at the very time it appears the Obama Justice Department was seeking to surveil Trump and/or his associates on the pretext that they were Russian agents, the Obama Justice Department was also actively undermining and ultimately closing without charges the criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton despite significant evidence of felony misconduct that threatened national security.

    This appears to be extraordinary, politically motivated abuse of presidential power.

    So as far as I can tell:

    1. The Obama Administration attempted to conduct wireless wiretapping involving Donald Trump, and was rejected by the FISA court,
    2. The Obama Administration sought, and was granted, a FISA application to conduct wireless wiretapping involving Donald Trump associates in the final month of a heated Presidential campaign, and
    3. This information was illegally leaked to the press.

    That’s not a nothingburger.

    The question at this point is not “Was a felony committed?”, it’s “How bad a felony was committed, who ordered it, and for what reason?”

    More extensive discussing of the legal issues involved here.

    Public Not So Hot on Unlimited Surveillance State

    Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

    Or so says a CBS poll on the vast NSA/FISA/PRISM monitoring program. Republicans and Independents were pretty strongly against the government reading their emails and seizing their phone records. Democrats, on the other hand, were evenly split; evidently half of them do want Big Brother monitoring their every move…at least when the person in the White House has a (D) after their name.

    A less granular Pew poll show more support for the NSA being able to “monitor everyone’s email. Like any poll (much less a Pew poll), I’d take it with a large grain of salt, especially given how ridiculously over-weighted with Democrats this poll is:

    Fisking Obama’s NSA Conference (Part 1)

    Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

    Obama gave his speech on the NSA scandal a few days ago. I wanted to fisk it because it’s eminently fiskable, and I don’t think that anyone else has done it (though Scott Shackford over at Reason took a stab).

    Comments in blockquotes are from Obama’s press conference, the rest are mine (along with referenced quotes to others).

    I’m going to take one question.

    One whole question? How generous of you! Not only did George W. Bush hold far more press sessions than Obama, I seem to remember him answering a lot more questions at each one as well.

    And then remember, people are going to have opportunity to — I’ll also answer questions when I’m with the Chinese president today.

    “One, Barack Obama is terrified of the press and refuses to face them on his own. Two, out of fear he is using foreign leaders as props to keep the press from getting out of hand, and to force them to ask questions having nothing to do with his scandals.”

    So I don’t want the whole day to just be a bleeding press conference.

    How about just one day you have a press conference where you actually answer all the questions reporters have on Benghazi, the IRS, Pigford, and the NSA?

    But I’m going to take Jackie Calmes’s question.

    Ah, yes, Jackie Calmes. Even among the Obama-philic staff of The New York Times, Colmes stands out for consistently pushing the Obama line, be it the desirability of Keynesian pump-priming deficit spending over fiscal responsibility, Obama’s credentials as a pragmatist, or claiming ObamaCare will reduce the deficit, Obama can always count on Jackie to lend him a helping hand! Imagine Bush only taking one question at a press conference, then calling on Rush Limbaugh or Dennis Miller.

    Q: Mr. President, could you please react to the reports of secret government surveillance of phones and Internet? And can you also assure Americans that the government—your government doesn’t have some massive secret database of all their personal online information and activity?

    “Could you reassure.” Funny, I thought it was the job of reporters to ask questions to elicit information, not “assurance.” What a nice, slow pitch over the middle of the plate.

    PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yeah. You know, when I came into this office, I made two commitments that are more than any commitment I make: number one, to keep the American people safe;

    I’m sure Ambassador Stephens deeply appreciated those efforts during the last few hours of his life.

    and number two, to uphold the Constitution. And that includes what I consider to be a constitutional right to privacy and an observance of civil liberties.

    Funny, Mr. Obama’s fervor to uphold the Constitution (especially such “troublesome” sections as the Second and Tenth Amendments) has seemed fairly underwhelming to non-liberal observers, especially compared to his enthusiasm for expanding the size and scope of the federal government, or even reducing his golf handicap.

    Now, the programs that have been discussed over the last couple days in the press

    Well, there’s a pretty vague formulation. Why not just come out and say “The NSA FISA Prism intercept program?” Is this just an inadvertently vague phrasing, or is it deliberate in order to provide plausible deniability if proven false? Given the extensive revisions the Benghazi talking points underwent, I’m going to go with “deliberate.”

    are secret in the sense that they’re classified, but they’re not secret in the sense that when it comes to telephone calls, every member of Congress has been briefed on this program.

    Funny, but congressional Republicans have said otherwise, and that they had no idea of the breadth and depth of NSA’s Prism program. Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley (OR) says the same thing. And Obama mouthpiece Jay Carney walked back the “every member” claim. Even so, notice the “when it comes to telephone calls” qualifier, which suggests large swathes of other types of data collection they haven’t been briefed on.

    With respect to all these programs, the relevant intelligence committees are fully briefed on these programs.

    I can’t actually ding that as a lie, since the intelligence committee people who have talked about it (including Marco Rubio) have sounded supportive of it, even the “hand over all your metadata for all phone customers” portion.

    These are programs that have been authorized by broad, bipartisan majorities repeatedly since 2006.

    The general NSA program yes. “Obtain the records for every phone call made in America?” Not so much. Also don’t forget that as Senator, Obama himself railed against the government conducting “a fishing expedition through every personal record or private document.” Of course, seizing every record isn’t a fishing expedition, it’s a net-drag operation designed to capture all the fish. And George W. Bush’s NSA director says the program has expanded under Obama.

    And so I think at the outset, it’s important to understand that your duly elected representatives have been consistently informed on exactly what we’re doing.

    Some representatives, and not “constantly.”

    Now, let — let me take the two issues separately. When it comes to telephone calls, nobody is listening to your telephone calls.

    This statement is almost certainly false, given that some Americans are almost certainly covered by one of the 1,769 classified wiretap orders filed in 2012.

    That’s not what this program’s about. As was indicated, what the intelligence community is doing is looking at phone numbers and durations of calls. They are not looking at people’s names, and they’re not looking at content.

    This is almost certainly a lie. I can’t imagine there’s not a name-matching algorithm operating even at this very early stage of metadata sifting.

    But by sifting through this so-called metadata, they may identify potential leads with respect to folks who might engage in terrorism.

    And the NSA’s idea of “people who might engage in terrorism” is “everyone who owns a Verizon phone?”

    If these folks — if the intelligence community then actually wants to listen to a phone call, they’ve got to go back to a federal judge, just like they would in a criminal investigation. So I want to be very clear. Some of the hype that we’ve been hearing over the last day or so — nobody’s listening to the content of people’s phone calls.

    The strawman set alight here is so large that Nicolas Cage should be standing underneath it screaming “No, not the bees!” First, as Shackford noted in his piece, ” Nobody said that the program was about listening to telephone calls.” Second, just because you’re not actually listening in, doesn’t mean that you can’t glean data from the metadata, including sensitive and potentially blackmail-worthy data. And, as the IRS scandal shows, there’s no reason for the public to believe that Obama Administration officials won’t abuse such data if they get their hands on it.

    There’s that word “fully” again. And there’s a great deal of evidence that court has become little more than a rubber stamp, turning down a whopping .03% of the requests submitted.

    And so not only does that court authorize the initial gathering of data, but I want to repeat, if anybody in government wanted to go further than just that top-line data and wanted to, for example, listen to Jackie Calmes’s phone call, they’d have to go back to a federal judge and — and — and indicate why, in fact, they were doing further — further probing.

    Again with the listening to phone calls. Handwaving.

    Now, with respect to the Internet and emails, this does not apply to U.S. citizens, and it does not apply to people living in the United States. And again, in this instance, not only is Congress fully apprised of it, but what is also true is that the FISA Court has to authorize it.

    Given that the NSA intercepts 1.7 billion emails a day, I find it hard to believe that they’re all to or from foreigners, unless an usually high percentage of them are Nigerian princes.

    So in summary, what you’ve got is two programs that were originally authorized by Congress, have been repeatedly authorized by Congress. Bipartisan majorities have approved (on them ?). Congress is continually briefed on how these are conducted. There are a whole range of safeguards involved. And federal judges are overseeing the entire program throughout.

    For this summary of lies and half-truths, see the fisking of the previous lies and half-truths.

    And we’re also setting up — we’ve also set up an audit process when I came into office to make sure that we’re, after the fact, making absolutely certain that all the safeguards are being properly observed.

    Which is it? You’ve set it up, or you’re going to set it up? And we should trust you for that same sterling oversight you’ve observed for Benghazi, Pigford, and the IRS? Speaking of “audit processes.” Bad choice of words there, O…

    Now, having said all that, you’ll remember when I made that speech a couple of weeks ago

    No, as a matter of fact, I don’t. You give so many speeches, and say so little in each of them.

    about the need for us to shift out of a perpetual war mindset.

    Translation: “I’m a 9/10 Democrat.” How Obama’s love of drone strikes, and his decision to intervene in the Libyan civil war (and now, possibly, the Syrian civil war as well) tie into shifting out of a “perpetual war mindset” remains unclear. As does how we get Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, and various other terrorist groups (some backed by the Islamic Republic of Iran) to stop killing Americans. It would probably be quite easy to “shift out of a perpetual war mindset” if fighters for radical Islam weren’t waging perpetual war on us.

    I specifically said that one of the things that we’re going to have to discuss and debate is how were we striking this balance between the need to keep the American people safe and our concerns about privacy, because there are some trade-offs involved.

    So far the “trade offs” of your foreign policy seem to be “keep fighting long enough to avoid being accused of losing in Iraq and Afghanistan, but not doing enough in either place to actually win.”

    And I welcome this debate.

    Given how thin-skinned you are, how negatively you react to people criticizing you, and how poorly you performed debating Mitt Romney, I rather doubt that.

    And I think it’s healthy for our democracy. I think it’s a sign of maturity, because probably five years ago, six years ago, we might not have been having this debate. And I think it’s interesting that there are some folks on the left, but also some folks on the right who are now worried about it who weren’t very worried about it when it was a Republican president. I think that’s good that we’re having this discussion.

    You know what debate we weren’t having 5 or 6 years ago? “Why is the IRS targeting the Administration’s political opponents?” And we weren’t having that debate because George W. Bush wasn’t using the IRS to target his political opponents. Unlike you.

    We also weren’t having this debate because we really believed that Bush was committed to fighting the war on terror. Unlike you. Moreover, we weren’t having this debate back when there were 22 classified wiretap orders because that didn’t seem excessive. Now that there are 1,769 classified wiretap orders, under an Administration known for abusing its power, it’s a lot more urgent concern. We didn’t have that debate under a Republican because he didn’t have the documented pattern of abuse of power you do. Was it short-sighted of our representatives to sign off on the more expansive measures of the Patriot Act? Obviously so, though how could they have known your abusive administration was coming down the pike so soon?

    But I think it’s important for everybody to understand, and I think the American people understand, that there are some trade-offs involved. You know, I came in with a health skepticism about these programs.

    Sure you did…right up until you realized you were in charge of them. See also: Lord Acton.

    My team evaluated them. We scrubbed them thoroughly. We actually expanded some of the oversight, increased some of the safeguards.

    How convenient that everything is secret so we can’t evaluate these “improvements” your team has made.

    But my assessment and my team’s assessment was that they help us prevent terrorist attacks.

    Maybe. But how many did they prevent, and at what cost? Which of those 1,769 secret wiretap orders were more effective than the previous 22?

    And the modest encroachments on privacy that are involved in getting phone numbers or duration without a name attached and not looking at content — that on, you know, net, it was worth us doing.

    I’m sure that Obama feels that any encroachment’s on other people’s privacy are entirely acceptable, just as he feels spending more of other people’s money on higher spending and taxes is just fine and dandy. And I don’t think that gathering phone and email data for every American is “worth doing.” Or constitutional.

    That’s — some other folks may have a different assessment of that. But I think it’s important to recognize that you can’t have a hundred percent security and also then have a hundred percent privacy and zero inconvenience. You know, we’re going to have to make some choices as a society.

    No one (at least among conservatives or libertarians) believes that you can reach 100% security, because human beings are inherently imperfect creatures. But we’re not asking for “100% privacy,” we’re demanding the level of freedom and privacy guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States of America. And the TSA seems to be closing in on 100% inconvenience for 0% effectivety. 100% privacy and 100% security are both unreachable, but 100% secret surveillance of a free nation’s phone calls and emails is intolerable.

    And [all?] I can say is, is that in evaluating these programs, they make a difference [to] anticipate and prevent possible terrorist activity. And the fact that they’re under very strict supervision by all three branches of government and that they do not involve listening to people’s phone calls, do not involve reading the emails of U.S. citizens or U.S. residents, absent further action by a federal court, that is entirely consistent with what we would do, for example, in a criminal investigation.

    Both the scandal and the leak of same proves that the supervision isn’t “very strict.”

    Once again Obama stands up his “listening to every phone call” and “reading every email” strawmen to give them another pummeling. And I severely doubt that any police department in any city has ever sworn out a warrant that said “give me the phone records for every call in [for example] New York City over the last month.” This is the sort of abuse that can only be carried out by the vast, unaccountable, black budget national security state. Worse still, your Administration’s unwillingness to name and confront the threat posed by radical Islam has made us all less safe still.

    I think, on balance, we — you know, we have established a process and a procedure that the American people should feel comfortable about. But again, this — these programs are subject to congressional oversight and congressional reauthorization and congressional debate. And if there are members of Congress who feel differently, then they should speak up.

    They are.

    And we’re happy to have that debate. OK.

    Joe the Plumber certainly remembers how “happy” you and your supporters are to have “debates.” Funny how you and your supporters willingness to abuse and leak government information was already on display even before you were elected. We should have taken that as a sign.

    That ends the fisking of Obama’s answer to Calmes’ question. This is already so long I think I’ll go ahead and post it, and save the fisking for Obama’s answer to the other question he allowed to a later post.

    FISA/NSA/PRISM/IRS/Etc. Midday Obama Scandal Roundup for June 7, 2013

    Friday, June 7th, 2013

    The torrent of Obama scandal information is flooding the news is something to behold. In contrast to the tiny drops of Benghazi information the MSM would begrudgingly dole out last year, every day seems to bring a new outrage about how the Obama Administration is trampling on the rights of American citizens. I wish they would put 1/10th the effort of snooping on innocent Americans into tracking and deporting illegal aliens as required by law.

    Some links:

  • How PRISM works, using the NSA’s own slides.
  • How the NSA lies with numbers. “We only issued 1,789 requests for warrentless wiretaps last year…that just happened to cover every phone and data provider in America.” Plus that number was just 21 in 2009.

  • NSA’s Verizon request targeted Americans, not foreigners. “This is [an] indiscriminate dragnet. Say what you will about warrantless wiretapping, at least it was targeted at agents of Al Qaeda. This includes every customer of Verizon Business Services.”
  • “And when we swear up and down, cross our hearts and hope to die, that the NSA does no domestic spying on Americans, what we actually mean is that there’s an awful lot of it.”
  • So why does #NSA’s #PRISM use the Dark Side of the Moon logo? “All that you touch, all that you see…”

    The eye-on-the-pyramid scheme came from the Great Seal of the United States – it’s on the back of the dollar bill – and is still beloved of conspiracy theorists all over the world. It’s meant to be the all-seeing eye of God, but it’s also commonly associated with freemasonry, the occult and a shadowy New World order presided over by the Illuminati. To deploy it in a logo for a creepy-sounding spy agency simply justifies the paranoia of people who think the world is run by lizard-shaped aliens. David Icke’s next podcast will write itself.

  • The IRS political timeline.
  • The New York Times softens its editorial on Obama within hours of publishing it. Bet they never did that for an editorial critical of Bush…
  • The NSA scandal has even hit the sports pages: “LeBron James and his friends should be worried right now, and not just because the government is tracking their phone calls.”
  • The ACLU is shocked, SHOCKED that Obama is reading your email.
  • Hat tips: Ace, Insta, others.