FILE – In this March 3, 2005 file photo, a workman slides a dustmop over the floor at the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Va. Senate investigators have delivered a damning indictment of CIA interrogation practices after the 9/11 attacks, accusing the agency of inflicting pain and suffering on prisoners with tactics that went well beyond legal limits. The torture report released Tuesday by the Senate Intelligence Committee says the CIA deceived the nation with its insistence that the harsh interrogation tactics had saved lives. It says those claims are unsubstantiated by the CIA’s own records. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
There was a rather odd story reported in NBC News last week, byline by “Fusion” Ken Delanian which relied upon intelligence sources to criticize the ongoing investigation being conducted by the Department of Justice into the whole Russia Hoax.
The investigation, as best we know, is looking at the issue of FISA warrants being issued that would give the incumbent administration the ability to intercept the electronic communications of the Republican candidate (for those still snickering about President Trump’s comment about phones being tapped, while his phone might not have literally been tapped, there is no doubt that the FISA warrants on Carter page and others permitted the eavesdropping on Trump’s cell phone and email conversations via the ‘two-hop’ rule, see Maybe FBI Director Christopher Wray Should Ask John Brennan What He Thinks About Spying). There is no doubt that US and Western intelligence assets were directed at both Page and at George Papadopoulos to create the illusion that he had connections to Russia. Likewise, British intelligence has said, on the record, that they tried to warn the FBi about their concerns with the dossier assembled by Christopher Steele but were rebuffed. And we know that the investigation is now looking at how Mueller’s investigation was conducted. Like, I’m guessing here, how Mueller painted Joseph Mifsud, a western intelligence asset, as a Russian agent of influence but declined to interview him and failed, unlike Bill Barr, to gain possession of the telephones Mifsud used at the time.
Headlined AG Barr expands mysterious review into origin of Russia investigation the article gives a very one-sided view of the Barr investigation.
A review launched by Attorney General William Barr into the origins of the Russia investigation has expanded significantly amid concerns about whether the probe has any legal or factual basis, multiple current and former officials told NBC News.
With Barr’s approval, Durham has expanded his staff and the timeframe under scrutiny, according to a law enforcement official directly familiar with the matter. And he is now looking into conduct past Donald Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, a Trump administration official said.
If Durham is conducting a criminal investigation, it’s not clear what allegations of wrongdoing are being examined. The Justice Department has not detailed any, and a spokeswoman declined to comment for this story.
“I don’t know what the legal basis for this is,” Brennan said, calling the probe “bizarre.”
There are two key points here: Message and Medium.
The message is that Barr’s investigation is illegitimate. We don’t know why beyond unnamed officials and the guy most likely to pick up his soap in the shower in a federal prison, John Brennan, saying there is nothing to investigate. The story repeatedly calls allegations of misconduct “conspiracy theories” and “discredited” and “falsehoods.” These are all words we’ve come to know that the left uses when you’re looking at something that threatens their interests. Right along side that is the message the Barr is a compromised partisan who is merely doing the bidding of a president who is both compromised and unbalanced. Compare and contrast with the past three years of coverage of what an actual investigation of nothing looks like.
The medium is Ken Dilanian. Dilanian is an asset of the US intelligence community who was fired from the Los Angeles Times for letting CIA minders preview his stories and recommend changes. He is also closely affiliated with Fusion GPS and who was the recipient of “scoops” generated by Fusion GPS. Fusion GPS is the opposition research company who recruited Christopher Steele to write his fanciful dossier an which is now publishing a book defending its role in the Russia Hoax.
This leads one to believe that a lot of people are worried.
I am not a lawyer, so they may be right. There may be absolutely nothing illegal here. But there seems to me to be more than ample wrongdoing that requires administrative disciplinary action and changes in policies.
- Carter Page was the subject of at least four FISA warrants. Three of those were granted after Department of Justice knew, or should have known, that the Steel dossier was bogus.
- At what point did the FBI and Justice realize that virtually the entire corpus of the Steele Dossier was bullsh** on toast?
- What role did the FBI and Justice and CIA play in giving some sort of imprimatur to the dossier?
- Conducting electronic surveillance of a presidential campaign seems like something we don’t want our intelligence agencies involved in.
- The coordination of Comey’s briefing of President Trump as a hook to allow the media to report of the allegations strikes the untrained observer a problematic.
- How did the infamous Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, who was barred from entering the US, get special permission to do so and attend the meeting the Trump Tower?
- What did she and Fusion GPS bigwig Glenn Simpson talk about when they met before and after the the Trump Tower meeting?
- What role did the US government play in trying to retrieve financial records on Paul Manafort from Ukraine (because we know now that is bad-bad-bad and foreign meddling in our elections)?
- Why did the FBI and Mueller never interview Joseph Mifsud who is not all that hard to find if you look?
- Who employed the woman, Azra Turk, dangled in front of George Papadopoulos in an comically inept honey trap operation? If it was the CIA, why was it running an operation against a US national?
- What was the role of Stefan Halper and Alexander Downer?
- Who came up with the idea to go after Mike Flynn?
- Why was his testimony deemed truthful by FBI agents who interviewed him but later deemed false for higher officials? And why were the charges against Flynn so flimsy that a federal judge directed a acquittal in a case using the same facts?
- Who alerted CNN to Roger Stone’s arrest?
- Why did the CIA undertake a campaign of leaks against the Trump campaign and administration that appalled even NeverTrump Lothario Peter Strzok?
This is only a partial list of potential malfeasance in the Russia Hoax. I don’t know if any of these specific items are illegal or if there is a law against trying to perpetrate a coup against a sitting president but i’m sure some steely-eyed federal prosecutor can answer that question.
The answers to these questions are important to us and they should be important to the intelligence community.
For a president to rely upon the judgement of the intelligence community he has to believe he is not being set up for failure. A few months ago, Colonel Rob Maness wrote an article at our sister publication, Townhall, titled Politicized Intelligence Agencies in which he decried the way the intelligence agencies have been carrying out political attacks on President Trump:
As we can all see now, the specific approval and release of these politicized intelligence agency documents led this nation through more than two years of a counterintelligence investigation against the Trump campaign (CrossFire Hurricane), incessant accusations (he’s a Russian Asset) against the duly elected President United States of America, appointment of a special counsel (Mueller) to criminally investigate the entire administration, his campaign team, his family, and his associates.
In my opinion, based on more than three decades of national security experience, this insertion of politics into the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of our government has caused extremely grave damage to our nation’s ability to defend itself, make and keep treaties, and for our citizens to have confidence that the Nation’s justice system is equally applied to all Americans.
From the role of the IC in the Steele Dossier, to orchestrated leaks of personal conversations between President Trump and world leaders and insinuations of mishandling of classified information by the President, his has been abundantly clear that the IC is at war with this President. Even as Washington was shaking from the Trump-Zelensky phone call, another leak was crowing about how Erdogan had rolled Trump on Syria.
In the IC, as cureently constituted, seems to be an amalgam of Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracies:
Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people”:
First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.
Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.
The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.
All organizations that are not actually right-wing will over time become left-wing.
All of the IC are not flaming liberals, but, over time, employing the strategy of Gramsci’s Long March Through the Institutions, the people in the IC who are devoted to the institutional prerogatives, or ‘equities’ in today’s bureaucratic lexicon, are fairly fervent leftists. They meddled and interfered in the US political system the way no foreign power would ever dare. They worked directly with the media to undermine and discredit the President and any advisors perceived as loyal to him. They sabotaged policies. They worked to create the reason for a special counsel which they hoped would result in either impeachment or a single term of a harmless and emasculated Trump.
I think we’ve reached a point in the current administration where they would be idiots to rely upon very much that the intelligence community offers as legitimate advice and to view every action by the intelligence community as a potential act of sabotage or insubordination. How do you speak freely if you know your words will be in the Washington Post tomorrow? How do you accept analysis and advice, particularly when it conflicts with your gut instincts, if the people giving that advice and counsel are people you know who are trying to have you impeached? You can’t afford to. While you “may” make a bad call following your gut, the odds of that happening area lot less than listening to people who are your sworn enemies.
There is no way of knowing what Barr will find, but what we know with mathematical certainty is that any Republican president would be ill-advised to rely upon the current IC for advice. It has shown that it is relentlessly partisan and will not scruple at using it information and resources to damage a candidate or president it dislikes. Democrats should not be terribly sanguine about this. A President Sanders or President Gabbard would be treated just as harshly as President Trump.
Regardless of what Barr uncovers, there needs to be a thorough-going purge of the policy and management ranks with the IC and safeguards instituted to ensure that this never, ever happens again. The IC is not a branch of government. It should have no politics. If it is to have any value it is to serve all presidents loyally because only by being trusted by the president will it be able to carry out its primary mission of keeping the nation safe. And unless the IC can show that it shares that view, then we might as well shutter the place and start afresh.