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24 March 2017

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Old Microbiologist

I recall at least one of the leaks only Comey, Trump, Rogers, and Bannon were in the room. That narrows the suspect list to something manageable. Should Comey himself be the source of the leak I think he may be in some serious trouble and may have been cleverly set up. Trump didn't get to be a billionaire by being a fool.

b

"That would shift the narrative."

I'd hope so, even as I dislike Trump and his policies.

It is obvious since December that the Obama-Clinton cabal is pushing for a coup against Trump. So far they have not been successful despite all the "Russia hacking" and "collusion" nonsense. They are running out of steam.

"Next six month" Friedman in the NYT calls for the military to putsch. The WaPo neocons call for Nunes to be investigated for breaching secrets while they want investigations into secrecy breaches against Trump to stop. These people know that the soft-coup scheme, and the people behind it, are in trouble. Good.

Could someone also investigate Flynn for the 560,000 he got from an Erdogan comprade instead of questioning the few 10,000 he got from Russia related interests? There surely is an interesting story behind it.

Bill H

What CBS News said Wednesday night (http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/why-might-trumps-associates-have-been-surveilled/) is that what the intelligence agencies were doing was spying on Russians, which they are legally entitled to do, so anyone talking to the Russians can also be recorded and their conversations used as evidence against them. It’s called “incidental collection,” we were told by Michael Morell, and it “happens every day.” Sort of invokes the phrase “collateral damage.” Anyway, it was perfectly ordinary and permissible that the Trump associates were recorded and reported on.

Valissa

The fact that people keep underestimating Trump only benefits Trump.

Nunes Calls Comey, Rogers For "Closed Session" After Finding "Concerning Info" In Intel Reports http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-24/nunes-calls-comey-rogers-closed-session-after-finding-concerning-info-intel-reports

Oh to be a fly on that wall!

A related story from last month...

Nunes asks FBI to investigate Trump leaks - The House intelligence chairman has said the president is being targeted by the intelligence community. http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/trump-leaks-devin-nunes-classified-intelligence-235167

Publius Tacitus

I think you are on to something. A knowledgeable friend put it in even more stark terms--Comey is a liar. I've always liked Comey, but if he is not playing this straight then shame on him.

Publius Tacitus

You are wrong. When AMCIT names show up their identities are supposed to be masked. Do you have a problem with reading comprehension? I wrote that tidbit in the body of the piece. What was not, to use your phraseology, "ordinary and permissible" was to spread that intel around with the names of the Trump people clearly identified. Doing guilt by association is not intelligence. I presume you are a Trump hater. This really is not about Trump. It is about learning that our Foreign Intelligence entities are meddling in domestic politics. If Democrat partisans can do it to Republicans then Republicans can do it to Democrats. You seem to be saying that as long as it is your guys you are fine with it. I'm not. I don't take sides on this. Wrong is wrong.

Lars

This is one major reason why an independent investigation is needed. Foremost to find the facts and hopefully debunk all the conspiracy theories. Congress is not up to doing this in a fair or impartial fashion.

If this is not investigated thoroughly, a very dark and growing cloud will hang over the Trump presidency and that could destroy it. His approval ratings are very low and any further deterioration will deplete any political capital he may still have. There is a difference between a de jure administration and a de facto one.

Eric Newhill

I am beginning to suspect that Comey is, indeed, a liar. The first tip was that the media went so far out its way to portray him as the consummate "straight shooter".

The list of suspects must be very small. There are only a handful that could order the unmasking of the names. I imagine that Trump had already investigated and had uncovered the perp well before his tweet.

The list of people with the technical skill and systems access to actually do the unmasking would be larger than the list of those who would order it done. This is the problem with maintaining a conspiracy. To many underlings need to be involved who then have no incentive to keep quiet once the stuff hits the fan. I think that an underling who was brought in to do the data work is now 1. CYAing 2. Coming forward out of love of country and sense of duty 3. Coming forward out of liking of Trump 4. All of the above/some combination of the above

Or Nunes has got nothing and he's trying to smoke screen to save Trump's bacon - I think not though.

Jack

Does anyone have a plausible speculation on what happened?

All I recall is that Trump is a Russian agent meme began with Hillary campaign manager Robby Mook accusing the Russians colluding with the Trump campaign to hack and pass on Podesta's emails to Wikileaks. Then there were all the leaks to the NY Times and WaPo, which was then amplified by the TV news channels of Trump's financial connections to the Russians and Trump campaign officials on the Russian payroll and then of course the leaks of Flynn's call with the Russian ambassador.

Something smells real fishy here. And since in general I don't trust our IC as they have burned any credibility with their leadership's blatant lying under oath and their numerous false and poor analysis and conclusions, I'd like to read an alternative perspective. I am not that naive to know that the Russians have the cyber capabilities and the intent to cause us embarrassment and harm just as we do. The Spy vs Spy capers between our two countries have been going a long time. I am also certain that the Chinese, Israelis, and even our European and British allies are running all kinds of infiltration campaigns. It is quite possible that the Russians obtained the emails and passed it on to Wikileaks. It is also possible that elements in our IC are attempting a putsch against a legitimate POTUS in collusion with elements within the MSM.

Here's Pat Buchanan with an explanation:

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-24/obama-plot-sabotage-trump

And there is Gen. McInerney (don't know anything about this officer):

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-03-24/general-mcinerney-says-obama-was-heavily-listening-what-was-going-trump-campaign

Babak Makkinejad

All:

meanwhile Rome burns:

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/03/economic-despair/520473/

Babak Makkinejad

All:

And ignoring Russia

https://imprimis.hillsdale.edu/think-vladimir-putin/

rexl

If such a good job is done listening and catching foreign originating phone calls then how about the kid in Israel calling Jewish Community Centers in the US?

b

Excellent piece. Thanks. Recommended.

dorothy108

Perhaps this letter (pdf)
might have some bearing on this matter:

https://www.scribd.com/document/342765662/Freedom-Watch-Whistleblower-Notification-to-Congress#fullscreen&from_embed

shorter link:
http://tinyurl.com/whistle-blower-doc

Tyler

I think the Left is fatally misreading the mood in this country. I don't believe polls that show him with 40% approval ratings and that the US populace is somehow 70%+ in favor of amnesty, either. Those who do forget the last year of polls showing HRC with a 360EV blowout and "turning Texas blue".

Trump has good coup insurance from the military with Mattis and McMaster, as well as Kelly.

However that's the bright and shiny everyone is distracted by. Here's the other half of the equation I don't think anyone has picked up yet. President Trump has on his side the largest uniformed, armed, agent corps in the US: the Border Patrol. 19K strong, with an air branch, a medical branch, and logistics branch. Probably the closest thing outside of the CIA's SAD that could be called an actual paramilitary function. And we have been fighting a low scale CI war here on the SWB.

One of the first things Trump does is kick out the outsider FBI Chief and put a patrol agent back in charge of the Patrol. He gets really cozy with the Union. ××One of the first things he does!××

If Comey (who comes across as weak and diffident) decides to try and order the arrest of Trump, I would get really nervous as a rank and file FBI agent. They ride a desk after academy and are about what, 5k strong? The Patrol is out busting the brush and hiking dope out of mountains. Most assaulted law enforcement agency in the US.

It'll get interesting.

Kooshy

Don't you think is wrong unconstitutional and dangerous if any side or anybody do it? IMO If intelligence agencies or any body else is attempting an illegal regime change, there need to be prosecutions regardless which side or who they support.

turcopolier

rexl

He is a US person. The Israelis probably caught him themselves. pl

David Habakkuk

Publius Tacitus,

Thanks for that.

With regard to Comey, I have to say that in the wake of events since the millennium, I tend to take for granted that one is foolish to take for granted that the leaders of the American or British ‘intelligence communities’ are either honest or indeed competent.

Lower down there may be figures who are both, although I suspect more so on your side of the Atlantic than ours. But it seems there is a kind of ‘glass ceiling’, so those who do make it to the top are corrupt and/or incompetent.

What Comey had to say at the Congressional hearings into Russian interference in the Presidential election provoked a fit of near apoplexy from the Ottawa University scholar Paul Robinson. In the course of a career which has led to him accumulating a wide knowledge of Russian military and intellectual history, he served as a British Army Intelligence officer.

(See https://irrussianality.wordpress.com/2017/03/22/2713/ )

What Comey told the hearings was that:

‘He [Putin] hated Secretary Clinton so much that the flip side of that coin was that he had a clear preference for the person running against the person he hated so much. They engaged in a multifaceted campaign to undermine our democracy.

‘They were unusually loud in their intervention. It’s almost as if they didn’t care that we knew, that they wanted us to see what they were doing. Their number one mission is to undermine the credibility of our entire democracy enterprise of this nation.

‘They’ll be back. They’ll be back, in 2020. They may be back in 2018.’

Having discussed the kind of enquiry which would be necessary to try to assess how people in the Kremlin are actually thinking – and also how difficult this is – Professor Robinson goes on to remark of Comey:

‘He doesn’t know what Gazprom is!!! But yet, he “knows” Moscow’s innermost secret plans! These guys are clowns. They are beyond ignorant, because they are ignorant even of their own ignorance... Nobody should take these hearings in the slightest bit seriously.’

Another problem with Comey’s remarks, which Robinson does not discuss, bears on the question of how seriously we should take the denials by GCHQ and others on this side of the claims made that were brought in to make it possible to access transcripts of conversations recorded by the NSA without leaving a ‘paper trail’.

There is what seems to me a fair summary of the problems with the case that a group identified as ‘Fancy Bear’ hacked the DNC on behalf of the GRU in a piece entitled ‘Rush to Judgement’ just posted by Justin Raimondo on the Antiwar.com site.

(See http://original.antiwar.com/justin/2017/03/23/rush-to-judgment/ .)

As regards Dmitri Alperovitch of ‘Crowdstrike’, who initially produced the version of the DNC hacks that Comey seems to be echoing, it is material that he is a ‘Nonresident Senior Fellow, Cyber Statecraft Initiative’, at the ‘Atlantic Council.’

The Council is an organisation which appears to be heavily into ‘StratCom.’

Apparently, ‘Crowdstrike’ also has an $150,000 a year no-bid contract with the FBI for ‘systems analysis’. And it seems that organisation did not even request access to the DNC servers, but instead relied upon ‘Crowdstrike’.

What Comey has done in the remarks I have quoted, however, is to take over the Orwellian ‘doublethink’ of the claims about ‘Fancy Bear’, and amplify it.

If Putin and General Gerasimov, who as Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces has overall responsibility for the GRU, wanted to undermine Hillary Clinton and American democracy, they would not have ‘wanted us to see what they were doing’ – and certainly would not have left the initials of Dzerzhinsky in broad daylight.

Their obvious course would have been to make the hack unattributable, so as to sustain the story that the materials were leaked by Seth Rich, and he was ‘Arkancided’ as a result. That would have fitted neatly into a ‘narrative’ where the Clintons are murderers, and American (and British) ‘democracy’ is a complete fraud, where high-falutin’ ideological professions mask a corrupt oligarchy run by murderous thugs.

As to the claims made about the role of GCHQ, the only thing one can safely deduce from them, it appears, is that they are complicit in the same ‘StratCom’ activities as ‘Crowdstrike’ and the FBI.

After the declassified intelligence report endorsed this McCarthyite nonsense back in January, including the claim of GRU responsibility for the DNC hacks, the account in the ‘New York Times’ produced claims so extraordinary that they merit extended quotation:

‘‘Intelligence officials who prepared the classified report on Russian hacking activity have concluded that British intelligence was among the first to raise an alarm that Moscow had hacked into the Democratic National Committee’s computer servers, and alerted their American counterparts, according to two people familiar with the conclusions.

‘Mr. Trump was briefed by senior intelligence officials for nearly two hours on Friday, describing the briefing in a statement as “a constructive meeting and conversation with the leaders of the intelligence community.”

‘It is unclear whether they highlighted the British role, which has been closely held, in the briefing. But it is a critical part of the timeline, because it suggests that some of the first tipoffs, in fall 2015, came from voice intercepts, computer traffic or human sources outside the United States, as emails and other data from the D.N.C. flowed out of the country.

‘“The British picked it up, and we may have had it at about the same time,” said one cyberexpert who has been briefed on the findings. British intelligence – especially the signals intelligence unit, GCHQ – has a major role in tracking Russian activity.’

(See https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/06/us/politics/russia-hack-report.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share&_r=1 .)

These claims, having been recycled uncritically by the ‘NYT’, were then recycled, equally uncritically, by the ‘Guardian’.

(See https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/07/russia-us-election-hacking-uk-intelligence .)

Another problem with the notion that Putin is obsessively determined to destroy ‘democracy’ in the United States and Europe is that the élites in both places seem so hell-bent on destroying the credibility of their own system that it is not clear why the Russian security services should bother.

And indeed, it seems to me that somewhere down in Hell Stalin may be lamenting. Something along the following lines, perhaps:

‘What a wonderful people, the British. Their journalists simply re-type what the “organs” tell them, and the people believe them. If I had been given British to rule, I would not have needed a Gulag.

‘Of course, if a journalist in the “New York Times” or “Guardian” had ever questioned what the “organs” told him, or her, I would have had to do something about it. But you don’t need to have these people shot, as they always do what they are told. I wouldn’t even have needed a small concentration camp on the Isle of Man.’

LondonBob

Isn't Comey effectively investigating himself?

How did this all start, was it the highly questionable Steele dossier, or dodgy intel from the Baltic states that started the investigation?

How come the investigation is still ongoing nine months later, with nothing found so far?

The irony is Trump's campaign was largely self funded and he raised a record amount from small donors to fund his on the cheap Presidential run. Trump seems to be the first candidate not to be noticeably under the influence of any lobbies and Russia's role in US elections is seemingly less than a number of other countries. Whatever happened to the Clinton Foundation and the pay for play? The idea Trump won the election with anything other than everything arrayed against him is just bizarre.

BillWade

In a previous post I linked to a Huffington Post article which detailed the financial/moral support given to President Trump from the ultra-rich NYC Mercer family. It's a long article and my takeaway is that the Mercer's are an ok with me family.

I think it was about 5 days before the election when Comey came out and said that HRC was still under investigation. The Clinton campaign appeared to be furious at Comey "he cost them the election". My guess is that was all a ruse to make Comey appear to be an "honest broker". But, laughing here, I'd bet that if HRC had won, she'd of kept Comey on and, if she lost the thinking would be: Comey would still be there to run interference for her and anyone else who might need it, hopefully we'll know soon.

turcopolier

All

IMO we should all be wary of Huff Post under its new ultra left managing editor. pl

Valissa

Great article about Putin's role as an actor on the world stage and what he represents.

Some of my favorite bits...

-----------------
Vladimir Vladimirovich is not the president of a feminist NGO. He is not a transgender-rights activist. He is not an ombudsman appointed by the United Nations to make and deliver slide shows about green energy. He is the elected leader of Russia—a rugged, relatively poor, militarily powerful country that in recent years has been frequently humiliated, robbed, and misled. His job has been to protect his country’s prerogatives and its sovereignty in an international system that seeks to erode sovereignty in general and views Russia’s sovereignty in particular as a threat.

… Yet if we were to use traditional measures for understanding leaders, which involve the defense of borders and national flourishing, Putin would count as the pre-eminent statesman of our time. On the world stage, who can vie with him? Only perhaps Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey. When Putin took power in the winter of 1999-2000, his country was defenseless. It was bankrupt. It was being carved up by its new kleptocratic elites, in collusion with its old imperial rivals, the Americans. Putin changed that. In the first decade of this century, he did what Kemal Atatürk had done in Turkey in the 1920s. Out of a crumbling empire, he rescued a nation-state, and gave it coherence and purpose. He disciplined his country’s plutocrats. He restored its military strength.

… Today’s biggest threat to the U.S. isn’t Vladimir Putin. So why are people thinking about Putin as much as they do? Because he has become a symbol of national self-determination. Populist conservatives see him the way progressives once saw Fidel Castro, as the one person who says he won’t submit to the world that surrounds him. You didn’t have to be a Communist to appreciate the way Castro, whatever his excesses, was carving out a space of autonomy for his country.

In the same way, Putin’s conduct is bound to win sympathy even from some of Russia’s enemies, the ones who feel the international system is not delivering for them. Generally, if you like that system, you will consider Vladimir Putin a menace. If you don’t like it, you will have some sympathy for him. Putin has become a symbol of national sovereignty in its battle with globalism. That turns out to be the big battle of our times. As our last election shows, that’s true even here.
--------------

Bill H

I should have been more specific. I do not subscribe to this theory, in fact disagree with it, but am merely passing along what CBS News reported.

Fred

How many people received full or partial immunity from the Hilary classified information scandal? Is there anything they might know?

http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2017/01/lock-her-up-by-fred.html
http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/trump-dubs-clinton-staff-fbi-immunity-five

What about the 3 House IT staffers who were recenlty fired? What did they vacuum up and send where? Or, since it hasn’t been rulled out. Just what made up evidence did they plant using their access and IT skills? Of course we also need to ask who did a background check on them.
http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/house-staff-criminal-investigation-234714

Jack

David

This is what confuses me. If the Russians have such awesome cyber capabilities as our IC claim, why would they leave behind attribution? To brag about the hacking? That would seem uncharacteristic.

I am not holding my breath that we'll find out the truth. It's all about information operations and guilt by innuendo. If our recent election is anything to go by then the marginal effectiveness of these information operations is declining as more people become skeptical of the stories in our MSM, with "officials who spoke under anonymity, said..." Of course that will not prevent our MSM and political and governmental elites from whipping up hysteria to further their groupthink agenda.

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