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14 May 2017

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LeaNder

thanks, johnf, was puzzled by allusions to this earlier.

turcopolier

LeaNder

HC was not president when she broke the law repeatedly by ignoring classification in her communications. The president is the ultimate classification and de-classification authority since the system is created by Executive Order. If HC had been POTUS when she did this she would not have committed a crime. Trump was withing his rights to reveal classified to the Russians. pl

turcopolier

Stephanie

The FBI Director is appointed by POTUS and serves at POTUS' pleasure. He/she is a line subordinate of POTUS and is in no way independent. If POTUS had attempted to fire a federal judge or a member of Congress you would be correct but he did not. pl

LeaNder

As for noble pursuits - I give you a man who has willingly given up minding his billion dollar business empire to enter public service, at the age of 70.

well basically, I think, in a family business at that age it may not be the worst time to turn it over to your successors.

Concerning Lee A. Arnold's use of nobility, for whatever reason, and I am surely not an expert on the classics, it triggers Cato and Cataline.

jonst

all the crocodile tears being shed for the manner in which Comey was fired (I grant all it could and should have been done more smoothly) are evidence, if any more is needed, of the high opinion the Borg has of itself. People are ungraciously fired every day, escorted out of the building, in Corporate America. And I mean all the way from the top, right down to burger flippers. You want Neoliberalism? Ya got it. So, I say, to hell with Comey. Anyone who comes before Congress, on such a vital and controversial matter, 6 MONTHS after the fact pattern occurred, so you have 6 MONTHS TO LEARN THE PATTERN, and make a mistake like Comey did,testifying that Weiner was "printing 1000s of State Dept Documents off his printer, should be fired. With, if not extreme prejudice, a hell of lot of it anyway. And that says nothing about all the other mistakes he made. And, apparently, refused to concede to.

Tyler

I swear one of Trump's greatest strengths is his ability to make his opponents look like lunatics lighting their hair on fire and waving their severed genitals around.

JerseyJeffersonian

Col. Lang,


That the President has the authority to declassify and/or share classified information when he adjudges this to be in the national interest was my very first thought when confronted by the whiny, hand-wringing headline in this morning's Philadelphia Inquirer & NeoCon Toe-Sucker. The article was, of course, from the brains of this local operation, the ever-odious Washington Post, unchallenged lead cheerleader for Trump Derangement Syndrome.

Yesterday we were treated to the information that "Clapper Pointedly Criticizes Trump" in our same local puppy-training medium. Well, I must say that, coming from the man who perjured himself before Congress, that's all I need to hear.

JerseyJeffersonian

Thank you.

Lost amidst all of the undignified caterwauling surrounding Comey's termination is the plain fact that the Director of the FBI serves at the pleasure of the President (and reports to the Deputy AG, in this case, Mr. Rosenstein). Even Comey himself acknowledged this fact. Lordy me.

LeaNder

The big corps go out of their way to avoid public scandal

Yes, that's the main problem. Public Perception. I can assure you that even more elaborate scenarios of "caught stealing" are trumped by the concern you list.

Fred

LeaNder,

Next thing you know we'll find out a Democratic President gave classified information to Stalin.

"...passing on even more sensitive information from a non-named partner..."
The President must kneel in submission to the extortionate demands of the unnamed power or else they'll get the WAPO to publish a story. Seems to me Trump should let everyone know who is threatening the US over keeping Their information secret. Just how much has that un-named power done to destroy ISIS?

LeaNder

Pat, it seems obvious he was aware of it. As president he surely must have been in the email 'loops'. Nitwit, no expert, question: is it costume that the Secretary of State communicates with the President via his secretary (no idea about the correct person in charge). Yes, pretty unlikely.

Would I want to dig into the dump? No, not quite a roof to repair, but along the lines of TTG something that I wanted to do for longer then I wish to remember. Meaning, something I would prefer to "dig into". Core cynic that I am. ;)

TonyL

Yes. It is true that the Director of FBI serves at the pleasure of the President. But the President should not fire the Director of the FBI when his close business associates are under criminal investigation by the same Director.

bks

No one has said that Trump can't fire Comey. What is being said is that the timing of the Comey firing is suspicious in light of the Russia/Flynn/Manafort investigations and that Trump has created a new maximal "credibility gap" by gainsaying his own aides.

This morning Trump has poured fuel on the fire by confirming the WaPo story about leaking intelligence to the Russians just hours after his top advisers were saying it was false! No one is denying that Trump can declassify intelligence at will,
but rather that he blurted it out to impress his guests. Nota bene this story from conservative Erick Erickson:
http://theresurgent.com/i-know-one-of-the-sources/

turcopolier

bks

Since, as you admit, Trump was within his rights and legel powers both to fire Comey and to disclose whatever he thought best to the Russians (or anyone else)your objections can be disregarded as mere political polemic. pl

turcopolier

TonyL

I share the opinion that it was foolish for '45 to fire Comey at that time, but that does not change the fact that he did nothing illegal. pl

David Habakkuk

pantaraxia,

I do not know whether James S. Henry is a ‘reputable investigative journalist.’ He quotes Cervantes – ‘Tell me who you walk with and I’ll tell you who you are.’ If however the people with whom he is walking are in British intelligence, or British law enforcement, I would want to look very carefully at claims he makes involving Semyon Mogilevich.

Remarks in a preliminary response of mine to Sir Robert Owen’s report on the death of Alexander Litvinenko, which Colonel Lang posted in January last year, may be to the point:

(See http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2016/01/david-hakkuk-on-sir-robert-owens-inquiry.html .)

The section dealing with the use of Mogilevich in MI6 ‘information operations’, and the covering up of this by British law enforcement, reads:

‘Although I am still reading through the report, it appears that Owen has chosen to accept the version according to which Litvinenko, together with associates like the Italian Mario Scaramella and their common collaborator Yuri Shvets, was engaged in bona fide attempts to uncover terrible truths about Putin and his “sistema”.

‘To do this, Owen both suppresses a vast mass of information, much of it unearthed by Mr Italian collaborator Mr David Loepp, and repeatedly drawn to the Inquiry team's attention by myself, and makes highly selective use of the information he does accept into evidence.

‘A key document is a letter supplied to Scaramella by Litvinenko on 1 December 2005 for use by the so-called 'Mitrokhin Commission', of which my Italian collaborator Mr David Loepp obtained the full (Italian) version, and an abbreviated (English) version was presented at the Inquiry.

‘Not discussed by Sir Robert Owen, however, was a key claim in the letter: that the notorious Ukrainian mobster Semyon Mogilevich, while acting as an agent for the FSB and under Putin's personal “krysha”, was attempting to obtain a “mini nuclear bomb” for Al Qaeda. This was clearly an attempt to capitalise on the “suitcase nuke” hysteria.

‘At the time he and Scaramella were collaborating in disseminating this and similar claims – with the involvement of other figures, such as Oleg Gordievsky, Vladimir Bukovsky, Vladimir Rezun (aka “Viktor Suvorov”), and the former CIA operative Lou Palumbo – Litvinenko was, as we now know, an agent of MI6. (See https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/files/2015/03/INQ018922.pdf.)

‘This farrago was supported by material from the famous Melnichenko tapes, which were transcribed and disseminated by Shvets, the whole operation being funded by Boris Berezovsky. As is evident to anyone who has looked at all closely to them, what used to be the conventional wisdom – that the published excerpts were not edited – is patently false.

‘If you do not believe me, have a look at the key transcript, available at https://www.litvinenkoinquiry.org/files/2015/04/INQ015726wb.pdf

There is a great deal more material in the remainder of the post and the exchanges of comments that followed.

What makes me even more cautious is the way that the former MI6 operative Christopher Steele has emerged as a key figure in the attempts to demonstrate that Trump was the ‘Siberian candidate’.

Unfortunately, as commonly, the versions disseminated by British officials are a tissue of contradictions. When the story of Steele’s involvement with the BuzzFeed dossier first broke in January, the ‘Telegraph’ reported that he had been case officer for Litvinenko. If this was true, of course, it would have been likely that he had been up to his eyeballs in forging the evidence supposed to implicate Putin in supplying nukes to jihadists.

(See http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/01/12/christopher-steelethe-former-british-spy-created-donald-trump/ .)

However, by the time Steele emerged out of the shadows in March, the ‘Guardian’ were being told a different story:

‘Several of the lurid stories about him that have appeared in the press have been wrong, said friends. The stories include claims that Steele met Alexander Litvinenko, the Russian dissident who was murdered in 2006 with a radioactive cup of tea, probably on Putin’s orders.

‘As head of MI6’s Russia desk, Steele led the inquiry into Litvinenko’s polonium poisoning, quickly concluding that this was a Russian state plot. He did not meet Litvinenko and was not his case officer, friends said.’

(See https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/mar/07/former-mi6-agent-christopher-steele-behind-trump-dossier-returns-to-work .)

Of course, if he was head of MI6’s Russia desk at the time, it would again appear likely that Steele was involved in the attempts to implicate Putin in supplying nukes to jihadists – and the related attempt to smear Romano Prodi as a KGB/FSB agent.

Be that as it may, it appears that, at the least, Christopher Steele can be held responsible for the crude cover-up which I described in my post last year.

Whether he was actually involved in the forging of the interviews purportedly given by Litvinenko to Detective Inspector Brent Hyatt when he was dying I cannot say – although it seems quite likely. That they are forgeries is clear.

The account of Litvinenko’s journey into central London on 1 November 2006, the day he was – supposedly – deliberately poisoned, and how it was established that he was clear of contamination when he travelled, involves the claim that he travelled in from his home in Muswell Hill by a combination of a no 234 bus and Northern Line and Victoria Line tube trains to Oxford Circus.

However, it took Steele and his cronies a long time to arrive at this version. First of all it was claimed that he had been given a lift in by car, which was found to be clear of contamination. Then it was supposed to be a no 134 bus, identified by a £1.50 ticket. After that it was a no 134 bus, identified by an Oyster Card, which brought him in to Tottenham Court Road. And – in the last version before that presented to Owen – it was a no 134 bus and tube.

In addition, if the interviews were to be believed, Litvinenko immediately suspected, following his meeting with his supposed assassins, Andrei Lugovoi and Dmitri Kovtun, on the late afternoon of I November, that poison had been put in his green tea.

However, if the interviews are to be believed, his MI6 ‘handler’ was completely ignorant of the fact that there was anything amiss with him until at Litvinenko’s instigation Brent Hyatt ‘phoned him on 20 November.

(See https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/jan/19/alexander-litvinenko-the-man-who-solved-his-own-murder .)

So, you see, if John S. Henry chooses to ‘walk with’ people like this, I think he may have told us a good deal about whom he may be.

Stephanie

I'm not sure why you would wish to inflict unnecessary extra work on our admirable professional diplomats by an immediate and unexpected mass firing of all ambassadors. They already have enough to do, surely. Are you suggesting that we dispense with all appointed ambassadors? It may not be a bad idea in the long run, but it's not at all clear that Trump had that - or anything - in mind. It would seem to be the act of someone who does not take our diplomatic presences seriously, which is what you say you are advocating.

Valissa

The FBI has been investigating the Russia issue for a long time now. And they are probably not the only ones doing so. Yet there is still no evidence that shows Trump did anything wrong. It is just constant innuendo.

To quote an old commercial... "Where's the beef?"

After probably thousands of man-hours of investigation looking for something to pin on Trump, still nothing. Feinstein said there was nothing recently when she was interviewed by Wolf Blitzer on CCN after having meetings with both the CIA and FBI.

Why shouldn't trump fire Comey after hearing the FBI wanted to continue investigating something that has produced NOTHING but more innuendo and speculation of dastardly deeds after many months of concerted effort.

The phrase "leaking intelligence" was used by the WaPo to paint Trump in a certain light. Even the WaPo article pointed out it is the President's right to share intelligence whenever they deem it useful or necessary to do so. They should have said he shared intelligence not that he "leaked" it. The use of the word "leaked" implies illegality and is an example of anti-Trump propaganda geared to trigger readers to be upset with the president for doing something wrong.

This type of anti-Trump propaganda is constant. While I'm not surprised that uninformed readers believe it, I am surprised that a commenter at this blog is so easily suckered by such blatant MSM propaganda.

Stephanie

Col.,

I agree, and I didn't mean to suggest that the President wasn't technically within his rights to dispense with Comey's services whenever he pleased, as Comey himself said. However, here you have a situation where the (multiple and changing) reasons offered for the dismissal were plainly pretexts, the official being fired had reportedly previously refused to vow personal fealty to the president at a meeting requested by the president, and the official dismissed was leading an investigation bearing on the president, which the president publicly admitted to factoring into his decision. Not good, to say the least.

If Trump is right in claiming that this is all a "made up story" he hasn't done much to make it disappear. Just the opposite.

turcopolier

Stephanie

"Technically" Your use of that terms plumbs the depths of your partisan status as part of "the resistance." pl

bks

Any fair-minded person will admit that Trump was obstructing justice in firing Comey. Whether that rises to the level of High Crimes is all about political polemics. Likewise, a fair-minded person will acknowledge that Trump blurted out the intelligence to impress his guests. Whether that was an impeachable breach of his Oath of Office is, likewise, political polemics.

Trump could order his opponents shot dead and then pardon the shooters.

bks

Flynn is gone. Manafort is gone. There's the beef.

turcopolier

Stephanie

Most Foreign Service Officers serving overseas are drones who don't work much, entertain other diplomats a lot at US government expense, live in well furnished US government representational housing, send their kids to Swiss or British boarding prep schools at US government expense, get very liberal leave with transport to the US and draw hefty overseas duty additional pay. I was Defense and Army Attache in two US embassies and later head of all military, air and naval attaches in all US embassies world-wide. pl

TonyL

Col,

Yes, I agreed he did nothing illegal. And I understood the President is the ultimate classification authority (except for some extraordinary secrets).

Just the timing and the way he fired Comey made it smell of something very inappropriate.

Fred

Stephanie,

The reason - stated in writing - for firing Comey was that "gratuitous" Clinton reference known as the investigation of her email server and the FBI director's handling thereof.

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