Accuracy in Media
A Special Report from the Accuracy in Media Center for Investigative Journalism; Cliff Kincaid, Director.
A very disturbing report has come out from Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Fox News that Hillary Clinton and six top staffers kept their Top Secret and/or Top Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information (TS/SCI) clearances after she left her Secretary of State position in 2013. And they also kept their physical access to TS/SCI facilities and databases, which required those TS/SCI clearances, possibly up through the 2016 election and beyond.
The facilities are called SCIFs, Sensitive Compartmented Information Facilities, pronounced “skiffs,” which are vault-like secure buildings or rooms for protecting the most sensitive intelligence and defense data.
Hillary and her cronies may still have their SCIF clearances and access even today in 2017. The State Department has stonewalled Senator Grassley, Fox News and Judicial Watch for months, refusing to answer questions about such outrageous continued access to the most highly sensitive secrets by the most reckless and irresponsible official in all of history.
The Hillary staffers with continued SCIF access for bogus “memoir research” and book writing for their boss include Huma Abedin, Cheryl Mills and Jake Sullivan.
This raises the ominous possibility that the Obama administration deliberately spread raw wiretap intercepts of Donald Trump phone calls and communications throughout the government in Obama’s twilight days so that Hillary’s people could do the leaking of the intercepts, thus giving Obama officials “plausible deniability.” The Obama people could deny that “they” leaked anything, if it was Hillary people with illegal and potentially criminal SCIF access who may have done the leaking.
Intelligence sources tell Fox News that there was unprecedented “surveillance of Trump and people close to Donald Trump including some supporters for up to a year before inauguration,” disseminated through NSA channels with names “unmasked,” and circulated to the highest officials in the Obama administration—the National Security Council, Defense Department, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, CIA Director John Brennan, and others.
Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice has now been implicated in illegally unmasking Trump campaign and post-election Trump transition officials in monitored conversations, according to Bloomberg News and Fox News. The story was originally broken by Mike Cernovich, who has more of the details including the cover-up of Rice’s role by New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman, who was trying to protect Rice and Obama.
The wiretap surveillance summaries obtained by Rice “contained valuable political information on the Trump transition such as who the Trump team was meeting, the views of Trump associates on foreign policy matters and plans for the incoming administration.”
Thus they were illegal, Watergate-style wiretapping of political opponents, contrary to Bloomberg News’ pro-Obama spin.
This needs to be a high-priority matter of investigation.
The Farkas Farce
Obama and Hillary officials, recently out of government, retain contacts and access to remaining colleagues still in place within intelligence agencies and national security positions. These are holdovers who have yet to be removed by the Trump administration.
Former Obama defense official Evelyn Farkas was caught redhanded and flatfooted over her March 2 revelation to MSNBC that she had known about and encouraged the leaks (“that’s why you have the leaking!” she said) and the spread of raw NSA-type intercepts of unmasked names of “Trump folks” that The New York Times had just headlined (NYT: “intercepted communications of Russian officials, some of them within the Kremlin, discussing contacts with Trump associates”).
Fox News caught Farkas dead to rights and then caught her lying when exposed, trying to deny what she said on videotape, which had been broadcast to the world. She said (twice) that she had encouraged “former colleagues” to leak secret intelligence on Russia and Trump “folks;” and then when caught she deleted the words “former colleagues” in her new narrative and substituted “the Hill” (Congress).
Farkas even dragged out the phony Obama-Hillary claim that “17 intelligence agencies unanimously” agreed that Russia interfered with the U.S. elections, omitting the fact that the 17 agencies never actually signed off on the words put in their mouths by the DNI and Obama’s strong-arm political hacks, but instead stayed silent.
She also neglected to mention that very few of the 17 alphabet-soup miscellaneous agencies have any special expertise in cybersecurity and broad governmental responsibility—basically it’s only the NSA and Homeland Security. The rest of the 17 use cybersecurity merely to protect their own agencies, not U.S. elections, for example. Coast Guard intelligence can hardly be an expert at cybersecurity or Russian hacking of U.S. elections.
State Department intelligence—one of Farkas’ 17—is the same agency that failed to protect the United States from Hillary’s unsecured private email server.
Farkas fell prey to the ever-changing leftist media narrative. On March 2, the narrative (in The New York Times article shown on the MSNBC Morning Joe screen) was that courageous Obama intelligence officials sought to thwart the evil cover-up of this Trump-Russia wiretap intelligence by the incoming Trump administration—which had not done anything at all, not even taken office yet in December/early January.
But then on March 4, the White House and Republicans pushed back on the criminal illegality of this massive leak factory of the most highly classified intelligence possessed by the U.S. The left then changed the narrative to bury their previous proud admissions of felony leaking of wiretap intercept intelligence of Trump for political purposes.
Former Obama official Evelyn Farkas was trapped. She had embraced the old narrative too quickly and too enthusiastically, and was left out on a limb that was cut off. The new narrative deep-sixed the “heroic wiretap leakers” narrative, and they pretended that the wiretapping never happened and that The New York Times had never said it happened.
The new media narrative was that Trump was lying about Obama wiretapping him, always with the reductio ad absurdum caricature lurking in the background of images of Obama personally shimmying up the telephone pole to physically wiretap Trump’s phones and no one else’s.
The new fake narrative is designed to evade the actual legal meaning (under FISA law, etc.) of “wiretapping” as mainly the interception of digital data streams of voice (phone calls), emails, texts, etc., or “broad surveillance.” “Wire communication” is the statutory language of FISA, contrary to the lying media’s acid attacks on President Trump who used “wire tapped” in quotes. It is still called “wires” under the FISA law.
Suddenly the lying media can no longer remember the technical details of “warrantless wiretapping” in NSA spying on Americans that they obsessed over, in the wake of the Edward Snowden revelations, and their outrage over this NSA intrusion into our privacy.
The Media Flip-Flop
Orwell described this process in 1949 in his classic novel of totalitarian government, 1984. The previous history is regularly put down the “memory hole” by the lying Ministry of “Truth,” to be destroyed so that a new contradictory history, a new narrative, is published as if nothing was amiss. The lying leftist media today is Orwell’s “Ministry of Truth.”
We are watching this happen right in front of our eyes, and we see the flip-flop literally from one day to the next. On March 2 and 3, the narrative was the heroic Obama wiretappers of Trump spreading and leaking the classified wiretap data. On March 4, President Trump tweets his protest of this Obama wiretapping of political opponents that targeted him, and the fake media’s new narrative flipped, feigning ignorance of what it said literally the day before.
The fake “Trump dossier” of bogus intelligence that was fabricated by a supposedly “ex” British agent Christopher Steele—alleging Trump collusion with Russia and nasty sex acts—lurks behind all of the political theater staged by the lying fake media and the Democrat deceivers. The FBI is now reported to have been using the (fake) “Trump dossier” as its investigative “roadmap.”
Britain’s GCHQ, the counterpart of our NSA wiretap surveillance agency, issued a devious partial denial laced with insult designed to distract: “Recent allegations made by media commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct ‘wiretapping’ against the then president-elect are nonsense. They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored.” (emphasis added)
GCHQ only denies “wiretapping” (within their scare quotes) of “the then president-elect” Trump—thus from the November 8 election to the January 20 inauguration.
They do not deny they “wiretapped” candidate Trump prior to November 8 or President Trump after January 20. Judge Napolitano specifically reported that the GCHQ spying was against “candidate” Trump as well as “president-elect” Trump, and GCHQ chose to deny only the latter, not the former.
They do not deny spying on Trump’s associates, who are not mentioned.
How slick. The GCHQ “denial” is priceless, deceptive and evasive.
Even more troubling is the fact that GCHQ director Robert Hannigan suddenly and unexpectedly resigned on January 23 after only two years on the job. Was he sacked in advance of a possible emerging scandal over the wiretapping surveillance of Trump? A GCHQ (partial) denial of wiretapping Trump coming from the new director’s spokesman on March 17 might be positioned to enable them to say later that they were not fully apprised of the former GCHQ director’s actions. A no-firing, no-disciplinary resignation can be suddenly changed into a was-fired, was-disciplined sacking if ever needed. How convenient.
Keep in mind that the GCHQ traces its history back to its wartime origins at Bletchley Park, where codebreakers parsed every word of meaning in order to crack the German Enigma codes. They know that words have meanings.
Codebreaking often turns on subtle nuances of wording. Nautical language in a partially deciphered message, for example, is a clue that the rest of message deals with ships and navies, thus helping codebreakers to decrypt the rest of the intercepted message. GCHQ knows how to exploit those word tricks to their advantage. They made no mistake in their weasel-worded half-denial of wiretapping Trump. It was no careless slip of the tongue verbiage.
Equally devious was NSA Director Mike Rogers in his testimony on March 20 to the House Intelligence Committee that he and the NSA did not ask the British to “wiretap” Trump. But that is not what Judge Napolitano said (see quote below). This “wiretap” wording leaves it ambiguous as to whether he means the ridiculous climbing-the-telephone-pole physical “wiretap,” or what President Trump and sane people mean—the digital tapping of voice and data streams at an NSA computer console.
Like GCHQ, NSA chief Rogers dropped Trump’s associates from his narrative so his answer was solely about Trump personally being “wiretapped.” And Rogers says he has seen “no evidence” that Obama officials asked the British to wiretap Trump, without explaining how he could possibly know about all the activities of all of Obama’s officials.
In any case, that’s not what Judge Napolitano said on March 14: His three sources said very plainly that Obama officials went directly to the British, bypassing the NSA, bypassing the “chain of command” of the NSA and NSA Director Rogers, etc. This bypassing of the NSA was apparently illegal and a felony. It was a convenient setup for NSA director Rogers to deny that he had anything to do with it or even to “know” about it. And did he ever suspect it without directly “knowing” it was being done?
Judge Napolitano said all that legal NSA procedure was bypassed:
“Three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the chain of command. He didn’t use the NSA. He didn’t use the CIA. He didn’t use the FBI, and he didn’t use Department of Justice. He used GCHQ.
“What the heck is GCHQ? That’s the initials for the British spying agency. They have 24/7 access to the NSA database.
“So by simply having two people go to them saying, ‘President Obama needs transcripts of conversations involving candidate Trump, conversations involving president-elect Trump,’ he’s able to get it, and there’s no American fingerprints on this.” (emphasis added)
AIM has confirmed Judge Napolitano’s account from one of his three sources and found other confirmation of the likely procedure used, from a former NSA/CIA contractor. Judge Napolitano was suspended by Fox News for a week for revealing the GCHQ spying on Trump, but returned saying he and his sources stood by what he had reported.
FBI Director James Comey likewise made a devious half-denial to the House Intelligence Committee on March 20: He testified that the FBI internally has no information about wiretapping of Trump, nothing “inside the FBI.” What about “outside the FBI?” He did not say the NSA or CIA or DNI, etc., had no information, only his own agency.
But it is standard operating procedure within the U.S. Intelligence Community, or “IC,” that when highly sensitive intelligence is shared with other agencies within the IC, “sources and methods” are normally concealed or masked. If the FBI received such wiretap surveillance data on Trump from the NSA, CIA or British GCHQ they would not necessarily know it came from wiretap surveillance because that fact itself is a sensitive “source and method” and would be redacted, disguised or masked.
As we have pointed out at AIM, it has been long-standing procedure pursuant to “UKUSA” intelligence agreements that British GCHQ staff physically stationed at NSA headquarters in Maryland use NSA computer terminals and other equipment to spy on U.S. citizens designated by the NSA—or now, it appears, designated through the direct intervention of high-level Obama officials, thus bypassing the NSA itself.
Former DIA intelligence officer Mike Pregent has explained how a process of “reverse targeting” is used to turn “incidental collection” of NSA-type wiretap surveillance into direct targeting, as in the case of Trump. This ruse bypasses the need for new FISA warrants by repurposing old existing blanket FISA warrants for essentially global surveillance. The intercepted raw data on Russians are scrutinized for Trump data, which is then unmasked, spread and leaked.
It is Watergate by digital burglary.