The Russians (and Donald Trump) Did It!

http://intelligence.house.gov/

I just finished watching yesterday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing with FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers. I came away from it with the opinion that the Democrats on the committee are only interested in advancing a political agenda, as evidenced by the many, many statements they made rather than actually asking questions of the two subjects. Those statements were all based on information taken from the media, which is ironic because Director Comey made clear that media accounts regarding classified information are almost without exception inaccurate. (He gave them an accuracy of maybe ten percent.)  He also said that the “sources” used by the media are often some distance removed from the actual information and that the information they provide members of the media is usually inaccurate. Yet, even after he made this statement, the Democrats on the committee continued to read their obviously pre-written statements that were largely based on media accounts. Such a travesty!

The purpose of the hearings was, at least ostensibly, to hear from the two agency directors regarding the ongoing investigation into Russian “meddling” in the 2016 presidential election. The Director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo, was not there, probably because he just took over the agency. At the time of the alleged “meddling,” the CIA director was John Brennan, an Obama appointee who left office on January 20. Congressman Trey Gowdy, a former Federal prosecutor, insinuated that Brennan may have been responsible for some of the highly illegal leaks of information that have appeared in the media since President Trump’s election, leaks that Director Comey made clear are criminal and that the leakers should be found and prosecuted. The most serious is the leaking of information pertaining to Lt. General Mike Flynn, the short-lived Director of Intelligence in the Trump Administration. (Gowdy may have even been insinuating that Obama himself is the leaker. Someone in his administration authorized the “unmasking” of the general after his voice was found on recordings of the Russian ambassador.)

As the hearings proceeded, it became obvious that the object of Democrats was to attempt to influence Director Comey to investigate/prosecute various members of the Trump circle, particularly General Flynn. Congresswoman Terri Sewell, a black woman from Alabama, was the attack dog. She kept harping on General Flynn, insinuating that he is a criminal, in spite of Director Comey’s continual refusal to answer her questions. Comey had made it clear at the beginning of the hearing that he was not going to answer any questions related to individuals or information that had appeared in the media. (It has recently come to light that General Flynn’s company was paid $500,000 for consulting work for a Dutch company that is suspected of “having ties” to Turkey.) Sewell was obviously trying to get Comey to have Flynn charged for not registering as a foreign agent (which he did on March 8.) GOP Congressman Trey Gowdy, insinuated that the Obama White House leaked information about General Flynn that had been obtained illegally by the NSA. Remember that General Flynn is alleged to have engaged in a number of conversations with the Russian ambassador, information that could have only been obtained by surveillance, which is illegal since General Flynn is an American citizen and surveillance requires a court order.

When it comes to the actual Russian “interference” in the election, very little was actually said about it. At the beginning of the hearing, Congressman Nunes solicited statements from both directors that there is no evidence that the Russians changed the vote in any of the states that President Trump won by a narrow margin. Both Director Comey and Admiral Rogers stated that there is no evidence of any Russian interference in the actual election in those states. The two directors referred to the findings of the three intelligence agencies – CIA, FBI and NSA – that the Russians meddled in the election primarily by spreading “propaganda” on the Russian government-owned television station RT and it’s associated web site designed to hurt Mrs. Clinton. (There was no mention of the American propaganda stations – ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and MSNBC. However, as stated previously, Director Comey stated that their stories are highly inaccurate.) In reality, the information I’ve seen on RT was no different than accounts I have seen on other outlets dating back to the 1990s. Both Director Comey and Admiral Rogers referred to Russia as an “adversary” of the United States, but neither actually stated why they considered the two countries to be adversaries. (Adversary is not the same as an enemy – adversary is actually synonymous with opponent, as in a contest.)

Are Russia and the United States actually in competition with one another? If so, just how? Back when the Soviet Union was still in power, there was the matter of ideology as the Soviet Union was the leading advocate of the spread of communism. Those days are over, however. The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and since then Russia and the United States have had a different kind of relationship. Russia is not trying to manipulate ideology in the West; in fact, Russia is now capitalist even if the country is run, at least allegedly, by an oligarchy (another word that is often thrown about without consideration – some allege that the United States is an oligarchy, or was before Donald Trump became president. Since then, it’s often called fascist – by people who are actually Marxist themselves.) The truth is that the United States has nothing Russia wants. Yes, Russia now owns a company that owns a uranium mine in the US but it also has large uranium reserves of its own, more than twice as much as the United States. It’s the same with oil – Russian oil reserves are more than double those of the United States. The fear and hatred of Russia characteristic of so many Americans, particularly those in government, is actually a holdover from the Cold War combined with animosity over Russia’s occupation of Crimea and influence in Ukraine, both of which have strong connections to Russia dating back for centuries. It’s actually Europe that fears Russia, and that fear has spread into elements in the United States.

Director Comey stated something that has been made public in the past, that the FBI never had access to the Democratic National Committee’s computer servers. The claim that they were hacked by “the Russians” (the hackers were actually not from the Russian government, but are alleged to have been working for it) is based on information provided by a third party internet security company contracted by the DNC. He alleged that this is not abnormal, but that the FBI often depends on information from third party internet security companies when investigating cyber crimes.

Personally, I doubt that the hearings and the House (and FBI) investigations will accomplish anything. One writer has referred to the hearing as a “nothing burger.” I tend to agree.

 

 

DEFINITELY Political!

The “Intelligence Community Report” has been released and, as I expected, it doesn’t say anything. The IC claims that (1) Russian President Vladimir Putin  ordered a campaign to influence the US election, (2) that Russian intelligence services conducted cyberespionage against US political establishments and (3) that they used certain outlets – the Russian English language TV channel and RT.com, DCLeaks.com, Guccifer 2.0 and WikiLeaks –  to disseminate the information. Yet they only offer supposition with no actual evidence to back up their claims. Of course, they insinuate that such evidence is classified.

Let me mention a few things. First, I am an Air Force veteran and held Secret and Top Secret clearances. I was required to read classified documents and attended classified intelligence briefings. I am also a published author and was cleared by the Air Force to access classified documents while doing research. I was advised that documents are classified for three reasons – (1) to protect national security matters (2) to protect relations between the US and foreign governments and (3) to protect reputations, meaning the reputations of high placed government officials and military officers. Classified documents are routinely declassified after a specified period of time. For instance, Air Force unit records are classified for thirty years but some documents have been classified for as much as half a century and perhaps longer. An example is the intelligence report of the interrogation of the senior Japanese officers responsible for the defense of Kyushu, the Japanese island where the Allies planned to land in the initial invasion of Japan. This report was classified for a half century for one reason – to protect the reputation of President Harry Truman, who ordered the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The claim that Putin personally ordered a campaign to affect the US election is very sketchy, although the report claims that the three intelligence agencies involved, the FBI, CIA, and National Security Agency agree “with high confidence.” They also claim that Putin and the Russian government “aspired to help President-elect Trump’s election chances when possible by discrediting Secretary Clinton and publicly contrasting her unfavorably to him.” However, while the FBI and CIA claimed “high confidence” in this claim, the NSA’s confidence is “moderate.” That the NSA’s position is essentially “maybe” is significant because it is the agency that actually collects electronic data.

The report uses the term “to denigrate Secretary Cinton” and “discredit Secretary Clinton” numerous times, which indicates that the report was political. Bear in mind that this report was requested by President Barrack Obama AFTER Donald Trump was elected. This is an indication that he intended it for political purposes, specifically to foster discontent among Clinton supporters and to undermine President Trump’s administration.

The “Intelligence Community” is actually of recent origin. It came into existence in 1981 by executive order of President Ronald Reagan, who sought to increase the access of the CIA to classified information. The role of the IC was increased in 2004 by President George W. Bush. Bush’s order established the new Director of National Intelligence to oversee ALL intelligence agencies of the US government, both civilian and military.  The office was initially proposed by Democratic Senators Dianne Feinstein, Jay Rockefeller and Bob Graham. The position was formalized by the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004. The DNI is a political appointee, as is the Director of the CIA and the Director of the DIA (Defense Intelligence Agency) although the latter is an active duty military officer.

Although the report states that there’s no evidence of actual Russian tampering in the election, such as hacking voting machines, it states that the Russians were influential in disseminating information to “denigrate” and “discredit” Secretary Clinton. Never mind that the DNC leaks revealed information about how the committee operated rather than anything about Clinton, other than that the DNC favored Clinton over Bernie Sanders as the candidate. They claim that the Russians disseminated information through RT, a Russian television and internet network. However, the information put out by RT was no different than that circulated by conservative web sites and news outlets. I would consider the claims made in the report as disinformation, meaning that it is not really information at all.

I rate the report as nothing but political bullshit.

 

A Criminal Enterprise and Revolt in the Executive Branch

It’s Friday, November 4, the last day of early voting here in Texas. Election day is three days away. I’m addressing this to those who have yet to vote, particularly those who intend to vote for Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. If you vote for Hillary, ,you will be voting for a criminal. If you vote for any Democrat,  you’re voting for a candidate who represents the  party of corruption.

Just today the State Department released a new batch of Emails that Hillary Clinton had deleted  from her server but which remained in the DOS server. This particular Email is classified yet Hillary forwarded to her daughter Chelsea, who was using the alias Diane Reynolds even though she was using Hillary’s private server – dreynolds@clintonemail.com. That she sent the Email, the contents of which are so sensitive that they have been classified as “Confidential” by the State Department, is a violation of Federal law because “Diane Reynolds” was not authorized to read official mail. This particular Email is classified until 12/18/2024. The Email was sent by Michael B. Froman, who was deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for international economic affairs, at the National Security Council and the National Economic Council. It was forwarded to Hillary by Jake Sullivan, who was Hillary’s deputy chief of staff and director of policy planning. Although the contents have been redacted, it was obviously official correspondence that Hillary had no authority to share with her daughter, who was involved with the Clinton Foundation and working for an investment group in New York City. Hillary’s response to the Email had been previously released.

That Hillary shared this Email with Chelsea, a private citizen, is an indication of how she exhibited careless disregard for national security. Only the FBI – and the NSA – know what she shared and with whom and many agents seem to be very upset that she was not indicted. It turns out that the investigation of Hillary’s misconduct while she was Secretary of State isn’t the only aspect of her life under scrutiny. It turns out that the Feds are also looking into the Clinton family foundation and Hillary’s conflict of interest as she engaged in a play-for-pay scheme selling influence in return for big dollar contributions to the Clinton Foundation. It appears that the Feds now have the goods on Hillary and are working furiously to put her in jail – while the Department of Justice fights them at every turn. Such is the Clinton saga.

Hillary’s trail of dishonesty goes all the way back to 1978 when she mysteriously turned a $1,000 investment into $100,000 practically overnight. She claimed she got good advice from Jim Blair, an Arkansas lawyer and politician with close ties to her and her husband. It’s believed that the windfall was actually a payback for Bill to look the other way while Blair and some of his associates set up a drug-smuggling scheme with Barry Seal, a drug runner from Louisiana who was relocating his base of operations to Mena, a small western Arkansas town in the southern Ozarks. Bill was Arkansas attorney general at the time. It’s believed that the plan was for Seal to bring the drugs in then they’d be distributed in chicken carcasses packed by Tyson foods then sent to fast food restaurants in the Midwest. (Kentucky governor John Y. Brown’s political career came to an end when he was found to have been talking to members of a Lexington, KY based drug ring.) One of those allegedly involved was Dan Lasater, a  Clinton buddy who was convicted of drug distribution and served six months in jail; Bill Clinton pardoned him. When Barry Seal was arrested in Florida, he hired Clinton friend and Hillary’s former associate in the Watergate prosecution Richard Ben-Veniste to represent him. (Seal was later assassinated in front of a half-way house in Baton Rouge, some say by Federal agents.)

Clinton friend and associate Jim McDougal had a lot to say about the Clintons, particularly about Hillary, in his memoir, which was published posthumously after he died in a Federal prison in Texas. He tells how an Arkansas political hack told him he should pay off the Clintons so he started slipping them $2,000 a month under the table. Later on, when Bill told him that the Rose Law Firm where Hillary had been hired was complaining because she wasn’t generating any revenue, McDougal put her on a $2,000 a month retainer even though he had no need of her services. God only knows how many other Arkansas businessmen (and crooks) were paying the Clintons off.

The Clintons continued their illegal activities after Bill left the White House, but their new activities come under the category of influence-pedaling. The Clintons charge exorbitant speaking fees in return for political favors and there’s evidence that Hillary  took advantage of her role as Secretary of State by offering her influence to large donors to the Clinton Foundation. It is those activities that have attracted the attention of agents of the FBI. All indications are that the FBI has the goods on the Clintons, and are seeking an indictment but are being blocked by political appointees in the Department of Justice. It is highly likely that the FBI obtained evidence against Clinton in the voluminous trove of documents found in the possession of National Security Service contractor Harold Martin in August. Current media accounts are that the Clinton Email investigation was reopened because of information found on Anthony Weiner’s computer but this has never been confirmed. All FBI director Comey said in his letter to Congress is that new evidence was found in “an unrelated case.”

At this point no one knows for sure what the FBI has on Clinton, or even what progress has been made on any of the cases since the Email case was just reopened and the Clinton Foundation Case has just become public knowledge – although there have been indications that it was on-going. There are rumors of disagreements between the FBI and the DOJ over the two cases – Director Comey is alleged to have notified Congress that the Email case had been reopened against the wishes of the DOJ. There have been claims that revealing investigations of political candidates close to an election violates some kind of “official policy” although no evidence of such a policy actually exists. This is not the first time the White House has claimed some kind of nonexistent policy – during the Clinton impeachment, the White House claimed there was some kind of executive privilege prohibiting Secret Service agents from testifying. The Supreme Court said otherwise.

There is one thing for certain, and the White House is more than aware of it. If Hillary Clinton wins the election, the Democrats will retain control of the Executive Branch even if she is impeached and removed from office. To the White House, electing Hillary is imperative because a Trump presidency will see a continuation of the investigations and prosecution of the criminal Clintons. Hillary also knows it; it’s been reported that after the national security/veterans forum in New York that she went off on her staff shouting “if this fucker is elected, we’ll hang!” Trump told Clinton to her face during one of the debates that if he were president, she’d be in jail. Jail is where she belongs, not the Oval Office. Just remember that when you go to vote next Tuesday. If you can’t bring yourself to vote for Trump, don’t vote at all.

 

The Clintons in Arkansas and beyond (Note – this is from a left-wing site!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remember Harold Martin?

Last Friday, FBI Director James Comey sent a letter to Republican members of Congress advising that the case against presidential candidate Hillary Clinton had been reopened because information had been found in “an unrelated case” that might pertain to the case. Now, this is earthshaking news that veteran reporter and Clinton biographer Carl Bernstein says can only be due to blockbuster information. (Bernstein has also said there’s “no way” it can be bigger than Watergate but then he has no knowledge of the information and doesn’t know what it contains.) Naturally, the Clinton campaign and Clinton are screaming foul and demanding “answers” even though the answer has been given – that Hillary Clinton is under criminal investigation. The New York Times came out and claimed that the information was found on a computer jointly used by former Congressman Anthony Weiner and his wife Huma Abedin, the Indian Muslim and former White House intern Clinton took under her wing back when her husband was doing the same thing with Monica Lewinsky. The Times and other news outlets, including FOX news have “confirmed” this information through “unidentified sources in the FBI”. While it is possible that the unrelated case is the Weiner case – he is being investigated for sending inappropriate texts to an underage female – there is another, more likely source.

On August 29, a National Security contractor named Harold Martin was arrested for possessing classified information. Martin, a US Navy veteran, possessed highly classified information dating back for two decades. Now, let’s think about the National Security Agency and what it does. Dating back to 1917, the NSA was chartered in its current form in 1952 by President Harry Truman. The documentation chartering the agency was (and still is) classified and the organization’s very existence was kept secret The NSA – often referred to as “No Such Agency” depends heavily on signals intelligence services in each of the military services. Until 1979, the Air Force, of which I was a part from 1963-1975, had the Air Force Security Service. The Army and Navy each had their own signals intelligence services/commands. The role of the AFSS was interception of foreign communications, particularly radio communications, using sophisticated listening equipment at remote sites around the world and onboard modified transport airplanes and bombers – the C-47, C-54, C-130 and C-135 and B-17 and B-29. Highly intelligent young airmen were selected to train as “Crypto” technicians through a battery of tests administered during basic training. (I was tested because I had taken Spanish in high school.) Those who were selected to train as linguists were placed in special programs that included two years at selected universities. Linguists and technicians were cleared at a level even higher than Top Secret, it was commonly referred to as a “Crypto” clearance but no one who didn’t have one really knew what it was called. I once met a young cook at Pope Air Force Base, North Carolina who had cross-trained into the aircraft loadmaster field from crypto. Although he had a high security clearance, his job change required a new background check. He had recently been married and the background check revealed that his new wife had family connections in a communist country. He lost his clearance and was sent to the chow hall as a cook!

There is another side to the signals intelligence mission that is not generally known. It was whispered about within the military. It is the mission of protecting US secrets by monitoring communications of American officials and military personnel. The first time I ever heard it referred to officially was when I went on temporary duty to Kadena AB, Okinawa (I later went PCS to Naha, an airbase some 12 miles away.) We were told during our orientation that all telephone lines were monitored and we should be very careful about what we said on the telephone. The admonition was repeated when I reported for my permanent assignment at Naha several months later. There were signs on the wall by telephones reminding that calls were monitored. Several years after I left the military, I worked with an Army veteran who had served in the Army’s counterpart to the AFSS. He told me that his job was monitoring telephone lines, and how that he and his buddy had once monitored conversations between a high-ranking general and his mistress. I was reminded again of how the NSA and it’s military agencies monitor communications when my son entered his plebe year at the US Naval Academy. Shortly after he got there, he told me to be very careful what I said in Emails because their Emails were monitored.

Now, NSA monitoring of communications is conducted not only of military personnel, but also of Federal officials, including Congressmen, Senators and members of the Executive Branch with access to classified information. There is no doubt that Hillary Clinton’s communications were monitored throughout her term as Secretary of State and probably while she was a US Senator since she was a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and would have had access to classified information. Her communications may have also been monitored – and probably were – while she was Bill Clinton’s First Lady. It is highly likely, no, it is CERTAIN that Harold Martin’s trove includes Emails from and to Hillary Clinton.

Now, the question arises -if Hillary was discussing classified information on unofficial channels while she was SOS, why wasn’t she prosecuted? The answer is simple – while military personnel are subject to prosecution under the UCMJ, members of the Executive Branch are prosecuted in the Federal courts and any prosecution would have had to be initiated by the DOJ, which, like the SOS, is headed by a presidential appointee. Any information would have been “kept secret,” or covered up at the highest level.

What we’re seeing now is a struggle at the highest level, a struggle between Congress and the Executive Branch. We’ll see what happens.