04/18/17

British Role Confirmed in Trump Spying Scandal

Accuracy in Media

A Special Report from the Accuracy in Media Center for Investigative Journalism; Cliff Kincaid, Director.

The British Guardian posted a report on April 13 claiming that its sources now admit that the British spy agency GCHQ was digitally wiretapping Trump associates, going back to late 2015. This was presumably when the December 2015 Moscow meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Lt. General Michael Flynn took place.

This runs contrary to the blanket nature of the denial insinuated in GCHQ’s carefully-crafted statement of March 17 claiming it was all “nonsense” and “utterly ridiculous” that they conducted surveillance of “thenpresident-elect” Donald Trump (emphasis added). The surveillance went back a year before he became “president-elect.”

President Trump’s claim of being “wire tapped” has been vindicated. Indeed, the surveillance is far more extensive than even he suspected at the time.

Based on the new disclosures, we can safely conclude that the world’s most advanced and extensive system of computerized espionage was indeed used against him and people he worked with, for political purposes, with the knowledge and approval of top Obama officials such as CIA Director John Brennan (one major name implicated by the Guardian).

Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst, Judge Andrew Napolitano, who said GCHQ was involved in wiretapping Trump, has also vindicated. Fox News owes Napolitano an apology for yanking him off the air for a week for making that “controversial” and now-verified assertion.

Trump Was Right

President Trump stressed the pervasive “extent” of this Obama political “wiretapping” to Maria Bartiromo of Fox Business in an Oval Office interview on April 11 (aired April 12).  “Me and so many other people” surveilled, Trump said. He explained again that he had picked up the “wire tapped” terminology straight from the headline of The New York Times (of January 20) as he has explained before (on March 15; see AIM report).

Now we’re learning that GCHQ did wiretap Trump for a year before the election. “Trump” is, of course, shorthand for Trump associates and possibly Trump himself directly, depending on context. But GCHQ is trying to put a positive spin on what it admits would be illegal spying on U.S. citizens if done by U.S. agencies.

The Guardian’s sources claim a heroic role for the British GCHQ as a courageous “whistleblower” in warning U.S. agencies to “Watch out” about Trump and Russia—but carefully avoiding mention of the U.S.’s NSA, which must be protected at all costs as part of the NSA-GCHQ spy-on-each-other’s-citizens “wiretap shell game.” (See AIM Special Report of March 18).

These sources virtually admit the mutual “wiretap shell game” by inadvertently mentioning the Trump-Russia data was originally passed on to the U.S. by GCHQ as part of a “routine exchange” of intelligence. The use of this term, “exchange,” suggests what we had previously reported—the shell-game “exchange” between the NSA and GCHQ where they can spy on each other’s citizens and deny it all.

British Wiretapping

Past British Prime Ministers have been implicated in various scandals involving wiretaps.  Some have involved the “Echelon” global surveillance system set up by the NSA with its counterparts in the other “Five Eyes” nations—UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.  Any one of these countries is able to circumvent domestic laws against spying on their own citizens by asking another Echelon member country to do it for them. This is precisely the “wiretap shell game” used by the Obama administration to have British GCHQ spy on Trump, as outlined by Judge Napolitano and his sources.

To avoid unraveling the longstanding Five Eyes spying “wiretap shell game,” the GCHQ had to pretend they “routinely” came across this Trump-Russia wiretap data “by chance,” unprompted by requests from U.S. agencies (such as the NSA or CIA) or by Obama officials, working outside normal NSA chain of command on Signals Intelligence or SIGINT (as Judge Napolitano reported on March 14).

So the heroic British GCHQ comes to the rescue with conveniently “accidental” (our word) captures of wiretap communications between Trump people and sinister-sounding “Russian intelligence agents,” with the wiretaps sent here to help out the U.S. agencies. We are supposed to believe the U.S. agencies and the Obama White House just passively received this bombshell wiretap data from GCHQ, no questions asked, for over a year from late 2015 to early 2017. (The Guardian has no end date for the surveillance, such as the November 8 election, and indicates continued surveillance into the Trump transition, with the FBI “throwing more resources” into the investigation then.)

Did Obama officials ever say, “Wait! Stop sending us this material, it may be illegal!” It does not appear so. Hence, the questions that have to be asked by the House and Senate Intelligence Committees are:

  • Were there requests for more wiretap data on Trump and his team?
  • Were there requests for more complete transcripts, or even voice recordings?

This “alerting” of the U.S. on Trump-Russia communications was needed, according to the Guardian and its U.S. and U.K. intelligence sources, because the U.S. agencies were “asleep” or “untrained,” or were legally prohibited from “examining the private communications of American citizens without warrants.” But to the GCHQ, America is a “foreign” nation and evidently they think they are free to spy on Americans “without warrants.”

Obama’s CIA and the Anti-Trump Task Force

Previous reporting has said that an interagency task force of six U.S. intelligence agencies was set up to investigate the alleged Trump-connected names supposedly discovered in “incidental collection” of digital wiretap surveillance of Russian communications. The six agencies are said to consist of the CIA, NSA, FBI, the Justice Department’s National Security Division, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Treasury Department financial crimes unit.

Until now, no one has known who in the Obama administration set up the task force, who directs it, what its operating directives state, what its activities have entailed, and who it is really accountable to.

But the Guardian is now reporting that it was CIA Director John Brennan who initiated, in about August 2016, what clearly seems to be an illegal domestic investigation of the Trump political campaign, which would be prohibited by the CIA charter.

Reportedly “Brennan used [British] GCHQ information and intelligence from other partners to launch a major interagency investigation.” The infamous fake “Trump dossier” is apparently dragged in too.

Brennan then proceeded to give highly classified “urgent” briefings to individual members of the Congressional “Gang of Eight.” Beginning on about August 25, with then-Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) on that date, CIA chief Brennan claimed that the Russian email hackings of the Democratic National Committee were designed to help Trump win the election, according to The New York Times. These partisan briefings represent the politicization of the CIA under Obama, and are of dubious legality.

In September 2016, this anti-Trump intelligence task force changed the previous “incidental” collection to outright direct targeting of Trump people so that their communications with Russia were “actively monitored,” not merely retrieved retroactively in digital archives with names having to be laboriously “unmasked.” (See also New York Times January 19/20, February 14.)

Unmasking is unnecessary if one starts with the specific names of Trump personnel first, and then flags them for future surveillance, going forward in time. In that case, the “actively monitored” and flagged Trump names automatically trigger alerts in the NSA-GCHQ computers whenever the names turn up. These wiretap reports would then have been submitted to Obama officials at the level of national security adviser Susan Rice and CIA director Brennan, and perhaps to Obama himself.

Interestingly, the Guardian’s sources carefully try to avoid implicating or involving the NSA in GCHQ’s allegedly unprompted reporting on intercepted wiretap data on Trump associates. It’s the “shell game” again with the NSA and GCHQ covering for each other.

British GCHQ Director Implicated

Instead, the Guardian’s anonymous intelligence sources say that then-director of GCHQ Robert Hannigan passed on a top secret “director level” report on Trump-Russia in “summer 2016” to CIA Director John Brennan, rather than to the NSA. However, if GCHQ was using NSA’s digital wiretap facilities to “routinely” spy on Trump people, then the NSA would be implicated by the very arrangement used.

As we predicted at AIM, the unexpected sudden resignation of GCHQ director Hannigan, announced on January 23, makes him the potential villain and scapegoat. Hannigan stayed on his job until his replacement took office on April 7.

In an unprecedented BBC interview on April 5, Hannigan fired a parting shot at the Judge Napolitano and White House reports of his GCHQ’s spying on Trump. Hannigan snidely dismissed the reports, saying, “We get crazy conspiracy theories thrown at us every day. We ignore most of them. On this occasion it was so crazy that we felt we should say so and we have said it’s a ridiculous suggestion.”

The Guardian’s report refutes Hannigan, barely a week after he left office, possibly with official connivance or approval. But why is Hannigan getting being thrown under the bus so soon? Is it fear of the impending findings of U.S. Congressional and official investigations exposing GCHQ?

Such reports in the British press on highly sensitive intelligence matters surely must have been quietly cleared by the British government as a first fallback position on GCHQ spying on Trump. Otherwise the Guardian would be in deep trouble under the UK’s Official Secrets Act and its D-Notice procedure to suppress or censor news stories on secret intelligence matters.

Finally, the British also seem to be trying to spread the blame around to a laundry list of other countries allegedly passing on intelligence about Trump-Russia contacts—Germany, Estonia, Poland, Australia, the Dutch and the French DGSE.

Still, no “smoking gun” has ever been found in any of this wiretap material, for it would already have been leaked like Lt. Gen. Flynn’s fairly benign conversations with the Russian ambassador that got him fired.

Despite the sensational news from The Washington Post that the FBI obtained a FISA warrant to wiretap ex-Trump adviser Carter Page, which may even still be in effect, his “Russian contacts” also seem to be completely ordinary and routine. Page is so confident of his innocence that he has been going on various television news programs to talk openly about his work on Russia, supplying Russian contacts with some of his New York University classroom materials.

To be sure, a certain large percentage of these kinds of business meetings with Russians will turn out to be with undercover Russian intelligence officers—unbeknownst to the Western business and academic people meeting them. The media portray them as suspicious. But this kind of Russian spy game has always been going on since the Cold War and is nothing new.

The FISA warrant, rather than proving any malfeasance by Carter Page—again no “smoking gun”—only adds to the evidence that what President Trump said from the start was true: that Trump and his associates were under electronic surveillance.

Unasked Questions

What do the wiretaps on Trump actually say? The media don’t want to know if the NSA-GCHQ wiretaps actually exonerate President Trump.

One of the advantages of the adversarial system in the courts is that advocates on the opposing side ideally get a fair chance—unlike the one-sided media with journalists who, at the rate of more than 90 percent, contributed to the Hillary Clinton campaign (see this Columbia Journalism Review study of election records).

Questions not asked of Rice or other sources by the media include whether she or other Obama officials “flagged” the unmasked Trump team names for future NSA (or British GCHQ) automatic unmasking and delivery of transcripts and summary reports.

Did the Obama people regularize the “unmasking” so that routinely a new retroactive search was automatically ordered with automatic unmaskings? That would be another way to turn “incidental collection” into an effectively ongoing wiretap order. Did President Obama or Rice or others request actual sound recordings of Trump and others to review?

Did the Obama team “unmask” other presidential candidates and associates besides Trump, such as Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who visited Moscow in December 2015 and dined with Putin? Fox is reporting that Congressional investigators are now looking into whether other presidential candidates and Members of Congress were surveilled too. In 2014, CIA director Brennan was caught red-handed lying to the Senate about the CIA’s criminal hacking of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s computer system.

We are told that many, if not most, of these wiretaps and unmaskings of Trump people were not even wiretaps about Russia or “incidental collection” on legitimate foreign intelligence subjects, though they may have begun that way.

The evidence now indicates that the information was procured for partisan political purposes—to spy on the Trump opposition to Hillary Clinton using the full weight of the U.S. government’s NSA spying apparatus (or NSA facilities used by British GCHQ).

Pompeo Must Clean Out the CIA

Trump’s CIA Director Mike Pompeo is in a position to get to the bottom of this scandal. Yet, on April 13, 2017, in his first public speech as director, he seemed to indicate that the evidence being developed in connection with the CIA’s role in the illegal surveillance of President Trump was going to be ignored or brushed aside. It was a forceful, even strident, defense of the Agency.

“I inherited an Agency that has a real appreciation for the law and for the Constitution,” he claimed. “Despite fictional depictions meant to sell books or box-office tickets, we are not an untethered or rogue agency. So yes, while we have some truly awesome capabilities at our disposal, our officers do not operate in areas or against targets that are rightfully and legally off-limits to us.”

The evidence suggests the opposite. The CIA under Obama’s CIA Director Brennan was involved in illegal surveillance, using those “truly awesome capabilities,” against political targets that should have been off-limits.

One of those targets was the President who appointed Pompeo as CIA director.

Related AIM Special Reports:

Just Who Was the Russian Agent After All?

on April 11, 2017

Watergate-style Wiretapping Confirmed

on April 4, 2017

A Watergate-style Threat to the Democratic Process

on March 18, 2017

How CNN Recycled Last Year’s Fake News

on February 20, 2017

04/13/17

Just Who Was the Russian Agent After All?

Accuracy in Media

A Special Report from the Accuracy in Media Center for Investigative Journalism; Cliff Kincaid, Director.

Ever since President Trump’s missile strike on Syria on April 6, which angered Russia’s Vladimir Putin, The Washington Post has ever-so-subtly backed away from its robotic “Russian interference to help elect Trump” claims, asserted with absolute certainty. The Post now, on April 7, calls it the “alleged” Russian efforts to “interfere in the 2016 presidential race.” The Post no longer sounds so sure of itself and its anonymous anti-Trump intelligence agency sources.

The U.S. strike on a Syrian air base not only demonstrates that Trump will take decisive action against a Russian client state, but that his predecessor, President Barack Obama, is the real Russian dupe, for making an admittedly flawed agreement with Russia that allowed Syria to keep (and use) some of its chemical weapons.

With the narrative that Trump is/was a Russian agent fading fast, perhaps the media will now get serious about exploring the abundant evidence that the real scandal is the political surveillance of Trump and his associates by the outgoing Obama administration. What’s more, the direct evidence points to Obama’s personal role. The motive? Covering up Obama’s own deals with the Russians on Syria and Iran.

In Syria, Obama had armed one side of the Syrian civil war, through CIA arms shipments to the “rebels,” and had then struck a deal with Russia that gave the appearance of having removed all of the chemical weapons from the arsenal of the other side. The resulting civil war has cost 500,000 lives and left President Trump with a series of bad options. He decided to strike the Shayrat Syrian airbase when he was informed that aircraft from that base conducted the chemical weapons attack on April 4.

On top of this, Trump is also facing the prospect of Obama’s Iran nuclear deal, supposedly limiting Iran’s nuclear weapons development, coming completely apart. In this case, Obama once again joined with the Russians in actually safeguarding a Russian client’s weapons arsenal through an agreement claiming to achieve the opposite.

As we noted in July 2015, Obama actually thanked Putin for bringing about the Iran deal. We said at the time, “This demonstrates something worse than the deal itself and the real nature of the Iranian threat. Putin should thank Obama because the U.S. is helping Iran, Russia’s client state, get tens of billions of dollars in international financial aid. Down the line, Russia gets U.S. approval to supply more weapons to the anti-American regime.”

The Smoking Gun

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) says that what he calls the “smoking gun” revelations about Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice unmasking Trump team names from NSA wiretap databases are “actually eerily similar to what President Trump accused them of” in tweets on March 4. (MSNBC, April 4.)

They point directly to President Obama. Rice surely must have informed her boss during the more than one year period of her “unmasking” Trump campaign and transition team names in NSA wiretap reports on numerous occasions.

Obama’s right-hand adviser Rice herself points to Obama. In the middle of a long MSNBC interview on April 4 discussing Rice’s “unmasking” of names in reports of intercepted Trump team-Russia communications and those communications with no connection to Russia, Rice was evasive but kept dragging Obama into the mix. She never says, for example, that she did unmasking on her own without ever informing Obama, or that she kept it all to herself.  She never says that.

Instead, Rice kept implicating Obama whenever she could, while minimizing her own role as somehow a passive one. Rice said that Obama ordered the compilation of intelligence reports on Russian hacking and election interference, which implied that the reports included the unmasked name of Trump adviser Gen. Michael Flynn in wiretap intercept reports of phone calls with Russian Ambassador Kislyak. This is what MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell had been asking Rice about.

MSNBC kept pressing Rice about the NSA-intercepted Flynn conversations with the Russian ambassador in December 2016, which Rice kept trying to dodge until Andrea Mitchell brought up the intercepted Flynn/Russian ambassador “conversations” (plural) one last time, noting that it was after the Obama sanctions and expulsion of Russian spy-diplomats.

Rice finally replied by taking it back to August 2016, and confirming Obama knew about it and was “concerned,” saying:

“Well, Andrea, from basically August [2016] through the end of the [Obama] administration [in January 2017] we were hearing more and more—getting more and more information about Russian interference in our electoral process. It was of grave concern to all of us in the national security team of the President [Obama] and the President himself….

“So YES there was a pace of reporting that accelerated as the Intelligence Community got more and more information on that and shared it with U.S. [Obama] officials…I can say that from when this first came to light in intelligence channels to when the administration ended we got more and more information” (emphasis added except “YES” was Rice’s voice emphasis; bracketed [ ] clarifications added).

The Nature of the Spying

Senator Paul explained that today’s “wiretapping” mainly means “reverse targeting” of existing digital taps that already massively eavesdrop on everyone’s communications, then searching the databases of transcripts, not physically tapping wires to phones. (AIM made the same points in its Special Reports on March 18 and April 4.)

These were not wiretaps about Russia or “incidental collection” on legitimate foreign intelligence subjects, though they may have begun that way. It was clearly procured for partisan political purposes to spy on the Trump opposition using the full weight of the U.S. government’s NSA spying apparatus (or NSA facilities used by the British GCHQ.)

According to Rep. Peter King (R-NY) of the House Intelligence Committee—who was briefed on the contents of the wiretap reports on the Trump campaign and his associates obtained by Rice and other Obama officials—they were like a private investigator’s file, with nothing on Russia-type intelligence:

“This [NSA wiretap] is information about their everyday lives. Who they were talking with, who they were meeting, where they were going to eat… just trying to lay out a dossier on somebody. Sort of like in a divorce case where lawyers are hired, investigators are hired to just find out what a person is doing from morning until night and then you try to piece it together later on” (bracketed [ ] clarification added).

The former Obama defense official and Hillary campaign adviser, Evelyn Farkas, proudly admitted during an MSNBC interview on March 2 that she had urged her “former colleagues” to collect and spread the NSA wiretap intelligence on Russia and Trump and “that’s why you have the leaking!” She had been “getting winks and nods from inside” the Obama administration since last summer, she said in an earlier interview.

MSNBC queried Farkas in response to the just-breaking New York Times March 1 story on Obama officials spreading around the government all the wiretap surveillance data on Trump and associates such as Gen. Flynn, and MSNBC had the Times article up on the video screen.  President Trump then tweeted on March 4 that Obama had his “‘wires tapped’” (two words).

The fake news media have ridiculed Trump for claiming anyone “wiretapped” him, insinuating he had said Obama physically tapped his phone wires—when he said no such thing. He merely used simplified terminology in quotes for a short tweet, rather than a book-length definition. FISA law as it stands today talks about “wire” taps or interception, even though it is understood to apply to digital communications (50 U.S. Code 1801 et seq.).

Putin Had No Motive 

In an unnoticed piece in Politico on December 12, 2016, Evelyn Farkas, a Russia expert, inadvertently tripped up the entire leftist narrative on the (bogus) Trump-Russia plot, and in effect admitted that Putin had no motive to hack DNC emails and help Trump get elected to be a Russian ally.

This was just a month after the election, so it is fresh in terms of application to the campaign leading up to it. Farkas wrote in Politico:

“For domestic political reasons, Putin needs the United States as its public enemy, given Russia’s current and foreseeable economic situation, and Russian presidential elections are coming up in 2018” (emphasis added).

Farkas explained that any positive “reset” of U.S.-Russia relations by President Trump as a result of purported Putin blackmail of Trump, making Trump his “puppet,” would be “very temporary” because Putin needs the U.S. as his “public enemy,” domestically and internationally (Trump and U.S. make it “international”). Putin doesn’t want good relations with the U.S. even with Trump as its President, according to Farkas.

Farkas apparently still believes Trump may be Putin’s “puppet” but her Russia analysis contradicts her narrative and that of the Democrat/media/intelligence juggernaut against Trump, that it is all a plot to get a pro-Russian president into the Oval Office. President Trump’s missile strike against Russia’s ally, Syria, contradicts that narrative.

Other observers have also noticed a complete lack of any evidence that Putin wanted to interfere in the U.S. election to help Trump win. The New York Review of Books on January 9 published this analysis of the report of the U.S. Intelligence Community (actually only 3 to 5 out of 17 agencies that make up the IC) on Russian interference that had claimed without a shred of evidence that Putin “ordered” the intervention to help Trump get elected.

The author is a Russian-American journalist, Masha Gessen, a hostile anti-Trump ideologue. Yet she candidly admits (in January 9 and March 6 articles):

“…the entirety of the evidence the [U.S. Intelligence Community] report offers to support its estimation of Putin’s motives for allegedly working to elect Trump: [is] conjecture based on other politicians in other periods, on other continents—and also on misreported or mistranslated public statements.”

“…the joint intelligence report on Russian interference in the campaign…is, plainly, laughable…the protracted national game of connecting the Trump-Putin dots is an exercise in conspiracy thinking.”

“Both of these appointments [Gen. McMaster and Russia expert Fiona Hill]—and the fact that sanctions [against Russia] remain in place six weeks into Trump’s fast-moving presidency—contradict the ‘Putin’s puppet’ narrative (as does the fact that Russian domestic propaganda has already turned against Trump). But such is the nature of conspiracy thinking that facts can do nothing to change it.”

“If…[Trump is impeached], it will have resulted largely from a media campaign orchestrated by members of the [U.S.] intelligence community—setting a dangerous political precedent that will have corrupted the public sphere and promoted paranoia” (emphasis added; bracketed [ ] clarifications added).

To sum up: No evidence, and no motive, is known for Russia hacking the DNC/Podesta emails to elect Trump or interfere with the election to defeat Hillary and support Trump. No smoking gun evidence, not even a whiff of smoke.

Surely such a “smoking gun” would have leaked by now—since Lt. General Flynn’s trivial conversation with Russian ambassador Kislyak on December 29, intercepted by NSA digital wiretap, leaked within weeks to David Ignatius of The Washington Post—and got Flynn fired. That was just a few words saying that the Trump administration will deal with Obama’s expulsion of 35 Russian “diplomats” (spies) later, with not a hint of any promises or relief, and no mention even of the word “sanctions” (evidently leading Flynn to forget the conversation).

The fact that no “smoking gun” has leaked or even been hinted at makes us suspect that in fact the unmasked NSA wiretap transcripts actually prove the opposite of the leftist Democrat Party narrative—that they record positive evidence that Trump and his associates were not colluding with Russia, that they had nothing to do with the hacking or leaking of the DNC or the Podesta/Hillary emails or any Russian interference in the election.

Obama’s Motive

It seems that the Trump-Putin conspiracy theory was designed to cover or excuse the illegal surveillance of Trump and his associates by the Obama administration. One of the motives may have been that Obama was fearful that the deals he struck with Putin on Syria and Iran would come unraveled. He had to know that he and his associates, including Susan Rice and former Secretary of State John Kerry, would look like dupes of the Russians for making such flawed agreements.

In order to brace for these developments, the idea was hatched to accuse Trump and his associates of being the Russian dupes, using their innocent contacts with Russian officials or businessmen as the excuse for surveillance. This made Trump look like the Russian dupe and Obama as the tough guy with Putin.

But the conversations captured in NSA digital wiretaps are turning out to be the opposite of the Democrat/media narrative. The remarks between Trump associates and Russian officials make it clear that no real relationship existed, that no insidious conspiracy was in play, that public events such as the WikiLeaks email releases were annoyances, that the “Trump dossier” was known to be fake, etc.

In fact, The New York Times has been forced to admit that the only thing anyone has turned up even in “intercepted calls” and “phone records” are benign “multiple contacts between Trump associates and Russians who serve in or are close to Mr. Putin’s government.”

Note in The New York Times quotes how the phony “Trump dossier” is always dragged in because the leaked NSA wiretaps show nothing, even on their face, that is incriminating or damaging to Trump, and only the “dossier” can (purportedly) supply that.

This was in The New York Times on March 3, the day before President Trump tweeted about the Obama “‘wire tapping’” against him, when it was still heroic in the left-wing narrative to admit to leaking highly classified NSA intelligence to try to destroy the President:

“Current and former American officials have said that phone records and [NSA-type] intercepted calls show that members of Mr. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election.”

“There have been courtesy calls, policy discussions and business contacts [in the intercepted phone calls of Trump campaign and associates], though nothing has emerged publicly indicating anything more sinister. A dossier of allegations on Trump-Russia contacts, compiled by a former British intelligence agent for Mr. Trump’s political opponents, includes unproven claims that his aides collaborated in Russia’s hacking of Democratic targets” (emphasis added; paras. reordered; bracketed [ ] clarification added).

“Former diplomats and Russia specialists say it would have been absurd and contrary to American interests for the Trump team to avoid meetings with Russians, either during or since the campaign.”

Intelligence agency officials have consistently denied finding any evidence for such Trump collusion with the Russians despite furious efforts to prove it in order to take down President Trump. The best anyone has come up with is the stupid claim that some internet “IP addresses” of attempted hackings trace back to Russian IP domains, when anyone with the slightest tech savvy knows that expert hackers cover their tracks to prevent such easy tracing, and even plant false trails (such as those pointing to, for example, Russian IP internet addresses).

No one has traced any specific hacking attempt to specifically attempt to capture the DNC emails, only alleged hacking attempts against the main DNC computer system. DNC emails are separated from the DNC computer system by the usual email client firewalls.

Trump himself pointed that out last year when these falsehoods first surfaced, that the supposed “Russian hackers” could be someone in New Jersey, etc., and that sophisticated hackers would not get caught digitally. Recently, the CIA’s hacker tools for planting false trails and the concealment of cybertraces were themselves leaked or hacked to WikiLeaks, causing worldwide consternation.

The pernicious misuse of the fake “Trump dossier” as an investigative “roadmap” by the FBI has been reported by The New York Times for months (with less dramatic prose than the BBC’s). (New York Times, January 20, February 14.) Instead, the Times should be investigating and exposing the “dossier’s” glaringly obvious fraudulent nature and the political motives behind its compilation and release. The NSA’s (and/or British GCHQ’s) “actively monitored” surveillance of Trump communications reportedly has been justified on the basis of this fake sex tape “dossier.”

Thus, the Obama digital Watergate burglary even invades the bedroom, albeit in the fictional narrative of the “dossier.”

04/4/17

Rand Paul Calls For Susan Rice To Testify Under Oath Over Surveillance… Levin Says Bigger Than Anyone Thought [AUDIO]

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton | Right Wing News

Rand Paul is stepping up and demanding that Susan Rice testify under oath in front of Congress on her unmasking of Trump’s associates and her leaks concerning incidental surveillance they were caught up in. She brazenly lied to NPR last month that she had not done this and now it has been exposed that she did indeed do all of what she is being accused of. In her position as National Security Adviser, asking to unmask certain individuals as a matter of national security is not a crime. However, widely disseminating that information is a felony. It is obvious that Rice did this for political reasons and I suspect, at the direction of Barack Obama and/or Valerie Jarrett.

Paul stated that the reports that Rice made dozens of requests to learn more about the identities of anonymous people thought to be close to the Trump transition team, inadvertently caught on tape during investigations into foreign persons of intelligence interest, was “enormous news.” Yes, it is. The implications are far more criminal and bigger than the Watergate scandal. When this all started, I said that is where this would lead and that is exactly what is occurring here. Rand Paul is asking the same questions I am, “She needs to be asked, ‘did President Obama ask her to do this?’ I think she ought to testify under oath on this.”

From the Daily Mail:

As fingers point to President Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice as the individual who requested the ‘unmasking’ of Trumpworld names on raw intelligence reports, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., today demanded that she testify before Congress.

‘I believe Susan Rice abused this system and she did it for political purposes,’ Paul said today on Morning Joe. ‘She needs to be brought in and questioned under oath.’

Bloomberg View columnist Eli Lake wrote that from her position as chief of the National Security Council, Rice asked government agencies to identify names that had been withheld from raw intelligence reports linked with Trump campaign and transition figures.

Monday evening, the Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group piggybacked on this reporting, writing that Rice had asked U.S. spy agencies for ‘detailed spreadsheets,’ of legal phone calls involving Trump and his aides during the presidential campaign, U.S. Attorney Joseph diGenova told the news site.

‘What was produced by the intelligence community at the request of Ms. Rice were detailed spreadsheets of intercepted phone calls with unmasked Trump associates in perfectly legal conversations with individuals,’ diGenova said.

Paul also tied Monday’s revelations about Rice to the slew of leaks on the topic around the time of the handover of the White House. “I think she should be asked under oath, did she reveal it to the Washington Post?” he asked. Again, he’s correct. Trump and his team were under surveillance for a year before his inauguration. We want to know why and what transpired. Heads are going to roll over this one. It’s beyond explosive.

“I don’t think you should be allowed to listen to Americans’ conversations without a warrant,” Paul said. “They are targeting a foreigner, and because they are targeting a foreigner they are gathering all of this information on Americans. A million Americans are apparently caught up in these incidental conversations,” Paul continued. “Everybody in the Trump Administration transition, they could basically look at those conversations.”

Those ‘detailed spreadsheets’ that were passed around are of great concern and need to be reviewed as well. “This is a big deal,” Paul reiterated. “If the outgoing administration was actually, literally sifting through things and part of the administration already said we were going to scatter, we were going to get as much information, we were going to scatter it out there publicly to try and harm the Trump administration. This was a witch hunt that began with the Obama administration,” Paul charged. “Sour grapes on the way out the door. They were going to use the intelligence apparatus to attack Trump and I think they did,” the senator added. I believe that Rand Paul and Mark Levin are right here… this is a smoking gun and their crimes are just beginning to come out. Buckle up… this is way bigger than any of us thought.

04/4/17

Grassley Wants Answers From The FBI… Why Were They Offering Money To A Spy? [VIDEO]

By: Terresa Monroe-Hamilton | Right Wing News

Sen. Charles Grassley is demanding answers on the Trump dossier that sought to smear the President. A point that should be examined closely is brought up here… why did the FBI offer to pay Christopher Steele for investigating Trump? Grassley wants an answer from Comey over that issue and fast. He’s particularly interested in Deputy Director Andrew McCabe and his role in the Trump-Russia affair. Why is the FBI delving into partisan politics here? A few weeks before the FBI offered to pay Steele for the dossier, the Democrats also paid him. It looks like the FBI never followed through on payment to the spy, but they were all set to pay him. What is the story here?

The FBI and the Democrats were actively investigating a political opponent. Unless there is something solid there to indicate it is a national security issue (and a serious one), that is extremely unethical and perhaps illegal. I would also like to know if there were communications on this matter between the Clinton camp and the FBI. It appears there were, which makes Comey and the FBI look complicit and very, very bad.

From the Washington Examiner:

Sen. Charles Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has sent a letter to FBI Director James Comey demanding the story behind the FBI’s reported plan to pay the author of a lurid and unsubstantiated dossier on candidate Donald Trump. In particular, Grassley appears to be zeroing in on the FBI’s deputy director, Andrew McCabe, indicating Senate investigators want to learn more about McCabe’s role in a key aspect of the Trump-Russia affair.

Grassley began his investigation after the Washington Post reported on February 28 that the FBI, “a few weeks before the election,” agreed to pay former British spy Christopher Steele to investigate Trump. Prior to that, supporters of the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign had paid Steele to gather intelligence on Clinton’s Republican rival. In the end, the FBI did not pay Steele, the Post reported, after the dossier “became the subject of news stories, congressional inquiries and presidential denials.” It is not clear whether Steele worked under agreement with the FBI for any period of time before the payment deal fell through.

“The idea that the FBI and associates of the Clinton campaign would pay Mr. Steele to investigate the Republican nominee for president in the run-up to the election raises further questions about the FBI’s independence from politics, as well as the Obama administration’s use of law enforcement and intelligence agencies for political ends,” Grassley wrote in a letter to Comey dated March 28.

The fact that Obama would use law enforcement and intelligence agencies to further his political agenda does not surprise me in the least. But he should be held accountable for that. Hearings need to be convened over this surveillance of Trump and his associates. This is far more serious than Watergate ever was.

Grassley is gunning for McCabe. He noted that McCabe is already under investigation by the FBI‘s inspector general for playing a top role in the Hillary Clinton email investigation even though McCabe’s wife accepted nearly $700,000 in political donations arranged by a close Clinton friend, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, for her run for state senate in Virginia. “While Mr. McCabe recused himself from public corruption cases in Virginia… he failed to recuse himself from the Clinton email investigation,” Grassley wrote, “despite the appearance of a conflict created by his wife’s campaign accepting $700,000 from a close Clinton associate during the investigation.” McAuliffe is dirty as hell and here we are with Comey and the FBI again. Is it a coincidence he let Clinton walk during all this? I highly doubt it. All of the involved parties should be investigated at the very least and go to prison if found guilty of breaking the law here.

04/4/17

Watergate-style Wiretapping Confirmed

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.

Republican Counterattack

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.”

Devious Half-Denials

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.

NSA Doubletalk

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.

04/2/17

First They Came for Judge Napolitano

By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media

An admitted CIA mouthpiece writing for The Washington Post receives classified information and publishes it. He remains in good standing at the paper. Yet the Senior Judicial Analyst for Fox News offers his informed opinion that the British helped conduct surveillance on President Trump and is suspended for several days from on-air appearances.

This action by Fox News reflects disrespect for someone who has worked for the channel since 1998. It sends a message that the intelligence community, here and abroad, cannot be investigated.

Since the British NSA, the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), had issued a denial of what Napolitano had said, the feeling of most of the media (and the management of Fox News Channel) was apparently that this was the Gospel and must not be challenged.

The scalp of Judge Napolitano will forever be nailed to the wall of Fox News, setting an example of what happens when the establishment narrative about Russia and Trump is undermined. Napolitano was made into an example of what happens when the intelligence agencies are embarrassed.

We understand that journalists use intelligence officials as anonymous sources and therefore accommodate them. But when a commentator like Napolitano breaks the mold with information that embarrasses the intelligence community, he must be supported, not punished with a suspension. Otherwise, the notion of a free and independent press is a joke.

Meanwhile, an anchor for Fox News, gay activist Shepard Smith, makes a mockery of conservative values on a regular basis and continues to enjoy the blessings of the channel’s owners. This is what happens when a conservative channel takes its conservative base for granted and moves to the left in order to appear more acceptable to the rest of the media. Smith was actually designated to declare on the air that Napolitano’s report was incorrect. No details were offered on what investigations were done, if any, to question the sources behind his claims. One source came forward to validate what the judge had said.

His “return” was instructive and quite uncomfortable. Host Bill Hemmer offered a lame joke that Napolitano “had a few quiet days” and “likely needed them.” Napolitano said he stood by his report that the British played a role in the surveillance, “and the sources stand by it.”

Meanwhile, over at The Washington Post, CIA mouthpiece David Ignatius is still on the payroll of Jeff Bezos, the Amazon billionaire owner of the paper with CIA and NSA connections. Little is said or reported about this curious arrangement.

The Post is an example of the corporate marriage between the media and intelligence establishments. It has become a weapon in the arsenal of the Democratic Party and the Obama officials still ensconced in the intelligence agencies.

As we should all know by now, Ignatius received an illegal leak of classified information about conversations involving Michael T. Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, and reported them in the paper. Both the leak and the publication of the information constitute potential felonies under the law.

Ignatius continues to write from the viewpoint of those who want to use anonymous sources to destroy the Trump presidency. His latest column is a blast at the courageous head of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), for continuing to probe the issues of illegal leaks and illegal surveillance of the Trump team. Ignatius knows the trail leads to his desk and then to a high-ranking Obama official in the CIA, NSA or FBI.

His obvious conflict of interest is cause for concern among anyone with a remote sense of journalistic ethics.

But the Post, whose owner Jeff Bezos does business with the CIA and NSA, looks the other way.

Incredibly, Ignatius tried to turn the tables on Nunes, saying, “He needs to demonstrate that he’s the chairman of a bipartisan oversight panel trusted with the nation’s secrets, rather than a conduit for information from the Trump White House.”

For the record, nobody knows the identity of the source that provided evidence to Nunes of improper or illegal surveillance of the Trump team. It is completely absurd, however, for Ignatius to posture as someone concerned about the protection of “the nation’s secrets.”

Our column, “Investigate and Prosecute the Press,” remains as valid today as when we published it.

In a promotional advertisement trying to drum up subscriptions, the Post declares, “Democracy needs great journalism. Great journalism needs you.”

Bezos ought to be indicted for false advertising and consumer fraud. He ought to be invited to testify after Nunes is done with Ignatius.

Indeed, Ignatius ought to be hauled in front of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees and grilled on his relationship with the anonymous sources who provided him with classified information.

Nunes just might have the guts to do this. But it’s clear that the Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Richard Burr (NC), is in over his head, and is letting the ranking minority member, Senator Mark Warner (D-VA), virtually run the hearings on the Senate side.

In their “Statement on Inquiry into Russian Intelligence Activities,” Burr and Warner didn’t indicate any effort would be undertaken to discover the source of the illegal leaks and whether surveillance of the Trump team had taken place.

No wonder the Post wants to destroy Nunes. He is standing in the way of the establishment reasserting the primacy of their narrative on the Russians and Trump. They got Napolitano’s scalp; now they want to get that of Nunes.

  • Call 202- 225-4121 and support Rep. Nunes, urging him to hold the media and the intelligence community accountable for illegal leaks of classified information.

Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at cli[email protected] View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.

03/26/17

Free Judge Napolitano!

By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media

BuzzFeed, described by Wikipedia as “a liberal American internet media company based in New York City,” is in the “donor spotlight” at the national news museum in Washington, D.C., known as the Newseum. The “honor” demonstrates how the media have changed and how low they have sunk.

A virtual property of Comcast Corp.’s NBCUniversal, BuzzFeed has been a cog in the anti-Trump media machine.

The “donor spotlight” designation is strangely appropriate, since BuzzFeed disclosed the so-called “Trump Dossier” used by the intelligence community to smear President Trump. “The allegations are unverified, and the report contains errors,” the social media site acknowledged while spreading the dubious claims.

By contrast, the John Peter Zenger exhibit located in the Newseum highlights a printer whose publication used the weapon of truth. The Newseum tells us, “German immigrant John Peter Zenger became a free-press hero before there was a First Amendment. On Nov. 17, 1734, the newspaper publisher was jailed for printing truthful articles in his New-York Weekly Journal accusing British Colonial governor William Cosby of being corrupt.”

The “Trump Dossier” released by BuzzFeed was concocted by a former British intelligence agent, and turned over to James Comey’s FBI. Around that time, in July of 2016, notes columnist Lawrence Sellin, the FBI launched its investigation of the unproven connections between the Trump campaign and the Russians. Comey told Congress that the Bureau has been actively investigating possible links between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin since “late July” of 2016.

“What a coincidence,” writes Sellin, a retired colonel with 29 years of service in the U.S. Army Reserve and a veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq. This means that “the FBI investigation was based on highly questionable evidence” for which former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele reportedly “paid intermediaries who in turn paid sources for the information he used in the report.” In other words, he says, they were third-hand rumors from unidentified individuals. Sellin adds, “Remarkably, along with Trump’s political opponents, the Obama-Comey FBI planned to pay Steele to continue his work.”

The British link is significant. While Fox News commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano has been suspended for suggesting that the British NSA, known as GCHQ, had access to the surveillance information used against Trump, the two organizations do in fact have a history of working closely together.

This is shaping up as an example of how the Deep State operates, writes Sellin. In this case, intelligence arrangements are made “that open the possibility for government officials to skirt inconvenient national laws in order to surveil citizens and then use the products of that surveillance for political purposes.”

For raising necessary questions about this arrangement, Napolitano was reportedly banned from Fox News. He is the modern-day John Peter Zenger. However, his March 16 column, “Did Obama Spy on Trump?” is still on his website and looks increasingly relevant every day that passes.

This has been a major black mark for Fox News. Still, Fox News personalities like Sean Hannity are trying to cover the deepening scandal involving Obama administration surveillance of Trump and his associates.

The role that has been played by Comcast and its properties in the anti-Trump campaign is a teachable moment that allows us to reflect on the meaning of the First Amendment and how modern media have left behind the legacy of John Peter Zenger.

In contrast to Zenger, who used the weapon of truth against public officials, BuzzFeed used lies that were apparently devised for partisan political purposes by a foreign operative.

Referring to Comcast and others, Trump adviser Peter Navarro said during the campaign, “Donald Trump will break up the new media conglomerate oligopolies that have gained enormous control over our information, intrude into our personal lives, and in this election, are attempting to unduly influence America’s political process.”

BuzzFeed has been forced to apologize to one of those named in the Trump Dossier, in preparation for a suit filed against them.

By contrast, Zenger was found not guilty of seditious libel after his attorney, Alexander Hamilton, said, “It is not the cause of one poor printer, but the cause of liberty.”

Rather than being given a distinction as a valued donor, perhaps an exhibit in the Newseum should highlight BuzzFeed as an example of the politically-correct corporate media that today makes a mockery of First Amendment values.

At the same time, the Newseum should consider embracing the cause of freeing Judge Napolitano.

There’s no money in doing so. It would just be the right thing to do. It would be a reaffirmation of First Amendment values.


Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected] View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.

03/21/17

Trump vs. Fox News on Wiretapping

By: Cliff Kincaid | Accuracy in Media

President Donald Trump is usually a fan of Fox News, but his opinion may now be changing. Fox News has been caught misrepresenting its own interview with Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) on the subject of alleged wiretapping of President Trump, in order to make Trump look bad. The cable channel also threw one of its own commentators, Judge Andrew Napolitano, under the bus for highlighting a possible British role in gathering intelligence on Trump and his associates.

After having Nunes on the network’s “Fox News Sunday” show, Fox News claimed that he said “that phones at President Donald Trump’s campaign headquarters in midtown Manhattan were never tapped during last year’s election campaign, contrary to Trump’s earlier, unsubstantiated assertion.”

But if you listen to the video clip or read the transcript, that is not what Nunes really said.

Nunes actually said, “…the President doesn’t go and physically wiretap something. So if you take the President literally, it didn’t happen.” But Trump has referred to “wiretap” in quotes, to refer to surveillance. Nunes went on, “I think the concern that we have is that are—were there any other surveillance activities that were used unmasking the names” (emphasis added).

Unmasking refers to acquiring the name of a U.S. citizen in a surveillance report, even though that citizen’s personal privacy is supposed to be protected under U.S. law because he/she was not the target of the surveillance that captured the conversation. Trump press secretary Sean Spicer said on Monday, “Before President Obama left office, Michael Flynn was unmasked and then illegally his identity was leaked out to media outlets, despite the fact that, as NSA Director [Mike] Rogers said, that unmasking and revealing individuals endangers ‘national security.’ Not only was General Flynn’s identity made available, Director [James] Comey refused to answer the question of whether or not he’d actually briefed President Obama on his phone calls and activities.”

Nunes explained, “…the one crime we know that’s been committed is that one, the leaking of someone’s name through the FISA system. That is—that is a crime that’s been committed.”

At Monday’s hearing, Nunes repeated in his prepared opening statement, “…it’s still possible that other surveillance activities were used against President Trump and his associates.”

The media highlighted FBI Director James B. Comey’s statement at Monday’s hearing that the FBI and the Justice Department had “no information that supports” President Trump’s tweets about wiretapping.

But where could these “other surveillance activities” have originated? We know that a former British intelligence agent was involved in gathering “intelligence” against Trump in the form of the fake “Trump Dossier,” and was paid by donors associated with the Hillary Clinton campaign. Parts of that “dossier” were passed on to Trump by the U.S. intelligence community.

As we note in our special report, “A Watergate-style Threat to the Democratic Process,” it is well-known that the British NSA, known as GCHQ or Government Communications Headquarters, collaborates with the NSA. In fact, a declassified document on the NSA’s own website confirms NSA/GCHQ “collaboration” dating back decades. Fox News senior judicial analyst and commentator Judge Andrew Napolitano said his sources confirm there was such an arrangement in the matter of the “wiretapping” of Trump and/or his associates.

Fox News immediately threw Napolitano under the bus. “Fox News cannot confirm Judge Napolitano’s commentary,” Fox News anchor Shepard Smith said on-air. “Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that the now-President of the United States was surveilled at any time, any way.”

The phrase, “knows of no evidence,” does not suggest any independent investigation of his information.

One of Napolitano’s sources, former CIA operative Larry Johnson, came forward to say, “I reached out to friends in the intel community and asked them about the possibility that a back channel was used to get the Brits to collect on Trump associates. My sources said, ‘absolutely.’ I later confirmed this via a cutout with a person who is a Senior Intelligence Service executive in the CIA.”

In the face of this evidence of collaboration, NSA Director Mike Rogers tried to insist at Monday’s hearing that the NSA never asked the British to conduct surveillance of Trump. So why did the intelligence community accept and circulate the Trump dossier?

In a letter to Comey, Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) noted that not only was the former British intelligence agent Christoper Steele “creating these memos as part of work for an opposition research firm connected to Hillary Clinton,” but that The Washington Post had reported that the FBI had reached an agreement a few weeks before the 2016 presidential election “to pay the author of the unsubstantiated dossier alleging a conspiracy between President Trump and the Russians, Christopher Steele, to continue investigating Mr. Trump” (emphasis added).

Grassley said, “The idea that the FBI and associates of the Clinton campaign would pay Mr. Steele to investigate the Republican nominee for President in the run-up to the election raises further questions about the FBI’s independence from politics, as well as the Obama administration’s use of law enforcement and intelligence agencies for political ends.”

At the House Intelligence Committee hearing on Monday, Rep. Andre Carson (D-IN) was still quoting from the discredited Trump dossier.

Although Comey confirmed to the House Intelligence Committee that the investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged relationship with Russian officials continues, there was no firm commitment to get to the bottom of the source (or sources) of the leaks to the media that are designed to damage the Trump administration.

Nunes said his committee wanted to pursue the matter, saying, “Numerous current and former officials have leaked purportedly classified information in connection to these questions. We aim to determine who has leaked or facilitated leaks of classified information so that these individuals can be brought to justice.”

As we argued in our column, “Investigate and Prosecute the Press,” there is a procedure to get to the bottom of at least one of these leaks. That is, to subpoena Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, the recipient of the illegal leak of the classified information naming or “unmasking” Michael T. Flynn.

Here’s what Ignatius, a known mouthpiece for the CIA, reported on January 12: “According to a senior U.S. government official, Flynn phoned Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak several times on Dec. 29, the day the Obama administration announced the expulsion of 35 Russian officials as well as other measures in retaliation for the hacking.”

Subsequently, the Post revealed that, in regard to the Flynn matter, “Nine current and former officials, who were in senior positions at multiple agencies at the time of the calls, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters.”

All of this leaking is illegal, a violation of the Espionage Act. It is a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

Jeff Bezos, the owner of The Washington Post, has a financial relationship with the CIA and the NSA through the provision of computer cloud capabilities.

On “Fox News Sunday,” Nunes said that “still remaining out there is the unmasking of names and the leaking of names…we have a lot of surveillance activities in this country and I think the concern that the Trump administration has is, you know, were they actually using surveillance activities to know what they were up to, because we know that that happened with General Flynn. We know that his name was unmasked and we know that it was leaked out to the press.”

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) was unable to get exact figures from Comey or Rogers on the number of people at these agencies able to “unmask”—and therefore leak—a name. Such a number is absolutely vital in any identification of the leakers.

Comey did admit that the heads of the intelligence agencies and various Obama White House officials could have acquired access to unmasked names. But as Spicer noted at the White House press briefing, Comey would not talk about any discussions he may have had with President Obama on the matter.

It looks increasingly like any serious investigation of the illegal surveillance and leaking will have to be led and conducted by Rep. Nunes. But in going forward, it appears that the Fox News Channel has decided not to pursue the line of inquiry already opened up by one of its own commentators, Judge Napolitano.

Predictably, there are now demands that Fox News fire its senior judicial analyst for offering his own informed opinion based on the facts and his own sources of information.

[UPDATE: The Los Angeles Times and other media are now reporting that Judge Napolitano has been suspended by the Fox News Channel.]


Cliff Kincaid is the Director of the AIM Center for Investigative Journalism and can be contacted at [email protected] View the complete archives from Cliff Kincaid.

03/8/17

Investigate This: Russia, Obama, Trump and Hillary

By: Roger Aronoff | Accuracy in Media

Once again the dominant media narrative has shifted overnight. Last week the media exploded with stories about Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ admitted contacts with the Russian ambassador to the U.S., the latest attempt to somehow derail and delegitimize the Donald Trump presidency. It is part of the narrative concocted by the Democrats and their allies in the media to claim that Trump won the election thanks in part to help from Russia. Collusion has been the word of choice, though no evidence has surfaced to support it.

The narrative changed over the weekend when President Trump sent out a series of tweets asserting that former President Barack Obama had wiretapped him “during the very sacred election process,” and that it was “Nixon/Watergate. Bad (or sick) guy!”

It turns out that the Obama administration, according to reports, did go to the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) court to gain permission to spy, or electronically eavesdrop, or wiretap some members or elements of Trump’s campaign. They apparently were turned down back in June, and approved in October, after taking Trump’s name out of the request.

Former federal prosecutor and journalist for National Review Andy McCarthy examined how disingenuous the denial coming from an Obama spokesman was. In essence, it comes down to, “It depends on what the definition of ‘surveillance’ is,” and who is a “White House official.”

The media called foul after Trump’s tweets, and the word of the day became “baseless,” as in baseless accusations by Trump. They said he had “no evidence” to support these very serious charges against his predecessor, Barack Obama.

But the allegations of Russian influence were largely orchestrated by the Obama administration, and were ramped up when Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in November. That is when he decided to impose new sanctions and expel Russian diplomats, which never would have happened if Hillary had won.

Now, using his group Organizing for Action (OFA), Obama intends to continue influencing the political scene with a shadow government apparatus. OFA has been coordinating with groups such as the Soros-linked Indivisible. “Obama is intimately involved in OFA operations and even tweets from the group’s account,” writes Paul Sperry for the New York Post. “Run by old Obama aides and campaign workers, federal tax records show ‘nonpartisan’ OFA marshals 32,525 volunteers nationwide.” It has also raised over $40 million, according to Sperry.

The New York Times recently reported that Obama’s intelligence agencies kept documents related to the alleged Russian influence operation “at a relatively low classification level to ensure as wide a readership as possible across the government—and, in some cases, among European allies.’”

In other words, President Obama wanted information potentially damaging to his successor kept at the forefront of the national discussion whenever possible. It could be even better for Obama if there were Congressional investigations; that might distract Trump from rolling back Obamacare or the unsigned Iran deal. The Times also reports that the administration “sent a cache of documents marked ‘secret’ to Senator Benjamin Cardin of Maryland days before the Jan. 20 inauguration.” These documents were shared with Congressional Republicans, as well.

It should come as no surprise that the Obama administration would be aggressive, since the Obama administration waged a war on leakers, prosecuting more cases than all previous administrations combined, while harassing numerous media figures.

But while Trump appears to have stumbled by not producing evidence to support his claim, in fact his move may result in changing the narrative once again. Now the investigation could include Obama’s and Hillary’s ties to the Russians. After all, the same Russian ambassador who met twice with then-Senator Sessions visited the Obama White House at least 22 times during Obama’s presidency, including four times in 2016. Were any of those meetings about presidential politics? Hillary’s ties to the Russians have been well documented, including the Uranium One deal and Skolkovo, the Silicon Valley of Russia that provided them with dual-use technology and handed millions of dollars to Hillary’s campaign manager, John Podesta.

Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) argued on Fox News Sunday this past weekend that based on statements from Trump’s Cabinet appointments, they will be much tougher on the Russians than the Obama administration, including Hillary. Cotton said:

“If you want to know what a pro-Russia policy would look like, Chris, here’s some elements of it. You’d slash defense spending. You’d slow down our nuclear modernization. You’d roll back missile defense systems. You would enter a one-sided nuclear arms control agreement. And you’d try to do everything you could to stop oil and gas production. That was Barack Obama’s policy for eight years. That’s not Donald Trump’s policy.”

He might have added that you empower Russia’s ally Iran with more than $100 billion dollars, and a pathway to becoming a nation with nuclear weapons, to go along with its current status as the number one state sponsor of terrorism.

We at Accuracy in Media find the allegations of Russian interference in the election to be flimsy at best.

And as Andy McCarthy points out in another piece, the new Obama/media narrative that his administration was never surveilling the Trump campaign for ties to Russia, cuts against what they have been arguing for months now:

“Now that we’re supposed to believe there was no real investigation of Trump and his campaign, what else can we conclude but that there was no real evidence of collusion between the campaign and Russia…which makes sense, since Russia did not actually hack the election, so the purported objective of the collusion never existed.”

Monday night’s Nightline on ABC picked up on this theme, with reporter David Wright stating that “It’s important to note that there’s an equally outlandish narrative on the other side [besides Trump’s claim about Obama]. The other narrative, also in the mix, is that the Trump campaign may have colluded with the Russian government to meddle in the 2016 election. Again, allegedly. No proof of that either. No smoking gun of collusion.”

Brian Ross then added that former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said he had seen no evidence of collusion when he left the government in January. With the Republicans controlling every committee in Congress, as well as the executive branch, they should be able to shape the scope of the investigations. We hope they are just and honest, as well as tough and fearless.


Roger Aronoff is the Editor of Accuracy in Media, and a member of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi. He can be contacted at [email protected]. View the complete archives from Roger Aronoff.

06/5/15

Mark Levin: ‘It’s The Chinese Government’ Who Hacked Into Our Government Computers

Mark Levin: China’s Hacking of U.S. Government Computers ‘Is an Act of War’

Massive ‘data breach’ could affect every federal agency

China ‘building database on Americans’

Report: China Dispatching Surveillance Vessels Off Hawaii