Debbie Wasserman Schultz and the Pakistani IT Scammers

National Review, by Andrew McCarthy, July 29, 2017:

In Washington, it’s never about what they tell you it’s about. So take this to the bank: The case of Imran Awan, Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s mysterious Pakistani IT guy, is not about bank fraud.

Yet bank fraud was the stated charge on which Awan was arrested at Dulles Airport this week, just as he was trying to flee the United States for Pakistan, via Qatar. That is the same route taken by Awan’s wife, Hina Alvi, in March, when she suddenly fled the country, with three young daughters she yanked out of school, mega-luggage, and $12,400 in cash.

By then, the proceeds of the fraudulent $165,000 loan they’d gotten from the Congressional Federal Credit Union had been sent ahead. It was part of a $283,000 transfer that Awan managed to wire from Capitol Hill. He pulled it off — hilariously, if infuriatingly — by pretending to be his wife in a phone call with the credit union. Told that his proffered reason for the transfer (“funeral arrangements”) wouldn’t fly, “Mrs.” Awan promptly repurposed: Now “she” was “buying property.” Asking no more questions, the credit union wired the money . . . to Pakistan.

As you let all that sink in, consider this: Awan and his family cabal of fraudsters had access for years to the e-mails and other electronic files of members of the House’s Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees. It turns out they were accessing members’ computers without their knowledge, transferring files to remote servers, and stealing computer equipment — including hard drives that Awan & Co. smashed to bits of bytes before making tracks.

They were fired in February. All except Awan, that is. He continued in the employ of Wasserman Schultz, the Florida Democrat, former DNC chairwoman, and Clinton crony. She kept him in place at the United States Congress right up until he was nabbed at the airport on Monday.

This is not about bank fraud. The Awan family swindles are plentiful, but they are just window-dressing. This appears to be a real conspiracy, aimed at undermining American national security.

At the time of his arrest, the 37-year-old Imran Awan had been working for Democrats as an information technologist for 13 years. He started out with Representative Gregory Meeks (D., N.Y.) in 2004. The next year, he landed on the staff of Wasserman Schultz, who had just been elected to the House.

Congressional-staff salaries are modest, in the $40,000 range. For some reason, Awan was paid about four times as much. He also managed to get his wife, Alvi, on the House payroll . . . then his brother, Abid Awan . . . then Abid’s wife, Natalia Sova. The youngest of the clan, Awan’s brother Jamal, came on board in 2014 — the then-20-year-old commanding an annual salary of $160,000.

A few of these arrangements appear to have been sinecures: While some Awans were rarely seen around the office, we now know they were engaged in extensive financial shenanigans away from the Capitol. Nevertheless, the Daily Caller’s Luke Rosiak, who has been all over this story, reports that, for their IT “work,” the Pakistani family has reeled in $4 million from U.S. taxpayers since 2009.

That’s just the “legit” dough. The family business evidently dabbles in procurement fraud, too. The Capitol Police and FBI are exploring widespread double-billing for computers, other communication devices, and related equipment.

Why were they paid so much for doing so little? Intriguing as it is, that’s a side issue. A more pressing question is: Why were they given access to highly sensitive government information? Ordinarily, that requires a security clearance, awarded only after a background check that peruses ties to foreign countries, associations with unsavory characters, and vulnerability to blackmail.

These characters could not possibly have qualified. Never mind access; it’s hard to fathom how they retained their jobs. The Daily Caller has also discovered that the family, which controlled several properties, was involved in various suspicious mortgage transfers. Abid Awan, while working “full-time” in Congress, ran a curious auto-retail business called “Cars International A” (yes, CIA), through which he was accused of stealing money and merchandise. In 2012, he discharged debts in bankruptcy (while scheming to keep his real-estate holdings). Congressional Democrats hired Abid despite his drunk-driving conviction a month before he started at the House, and they retained him despite his public-drunkenness arrest a month after. Beyond that, he and Imran both committed sundry vehicular offenses. In civil lawsuits, they are accused of life-insurance fraud.

Democrats now say that any access to sensitive information was “unauthorized.” But how hard could it have been to get “unauthorized” access when House Intelligence Committee Dems wanted their staffers to have unbounded access? In 2016, they wrote a letter to an appropriations subcommittee seeking funding so their staffers could obtain “Top Secret — Sensitive Compartmented Information” clearances. TS/SCI is the highest-level security classification. Awan family members were working for a number of the letter’s signatories.

Democratic members, of course, would not make such a request without coordination with leadership. Did I mention that the ranking member on the appropriations subcommittee to whom the letter was addressed was Debbie Wasserman Schultz?

Why has the investigation taken so long? Why so little enforcement action until this week? Why, most of all, were Wasserman Schultz and her fellow Democrats so indulgent of the Awans?

The probe began in late 2016. In short order, the Awans clearly knew they were hot numbers. They started arranging the fraudulent credit-union loan in December, and the $283,000 wire transfer occurred on January 18. In early February, House security services informed representatives that the Awans were suspects in a criminal investigation. At some point, investigators found stolen equipment stashed in the Rayburn House Office Building, including a laptop that appears to belong to Wasserman Schultz and that Imran was using. Although the Awans were banned from the Capitol computer network, not only did Wasserman Schultz keep Imran on staff for several additional months, but Meeks retained Alvi until February 28 — five days before she skedaddled to Lahore.

Strange thing about that: On March 5, the FBI (along with the Capitol Police) got to Dulles Airport in time to stop Alvi before she embarked. It was discovered that she was carrying $12,400 in cash. As I pointed out this week, it is a felony to export more than $10,000 in currency from the U.S. without filing a currency transportation report. It seems certain that Alvi did not file one: In connection with her husband’s arrest this week, the FBI submitted to the court a complaint affidavit that describes Alvi’s flight but makes no mention of a currency transportation report. Yet far from making an arrest, agents permitted her to board the plane and leave the country, notwithstanding their stated belief that she has no intention of returning.

Many congressional staffers are convinced that they’d long ago have been in handcuffs if they pulled what the Awans are suspected of. Nevertheless, no arrests were made when the scandal became public in February. For months, Imran has been strolling around the Capitol. In the interim, Wasserman Schultz has been battling investigators: demanding the return of her laptop, invoking a constitutional privilege (under the speech-and-debate clause) to impede agents from searching it, and threatening the Capitol Police with “consequences” if they don’t relent. Only last week, according to Fox News, did she finally signal willingness to drop objections to a scan of the laptop by federal investigators. Her stridency in obstructing the investigation has been jarring.

As evidence has mounted, the scores of Democrats for whom the Awans worked have expressed no alarm. Instead, we’ve heard slanderous suspicions that the investigation is a product of — all together now — “Islamophobia.” But Samina Gilani, the Awan brothers’ stepmother, begs to differ. Gilani complained to Virginia police that the Awans secretly bugged her home and then used the recordings to blackmail her. She averred in court documents that she was pressured to surrender cash she had stored in Pakistan. Imran claimed to be “very powerful” — so powerful he could order her family members kidnapped.

We don’t know if these allegations are true, but they are disturbing. The Awans have had the opportunity to acquire communications and other information that could prove embarrassing, or worse, especially for the pols who hired them. Did the swindling staffers compromise members of Congress? Does blackmail explain why were they able to go unscathed for so long?

And as for that sensitive information, did the Awans send American secrets, along with those hundreds of thousands of American dollars, to Pakistan?

This is no run-of-the-mill bank-fraud case.

Forget about Trump and the Russians. The real action is with the Awan brothers and Fusion GPS.

Photo: Dulles International Airport (Joe Ravi CC-BY-SA 3.0 / Creative Commons)

The American Spectator, by Scott McKay July 28, 2017:

From a press release that hit on Thursday…

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Judiciary Committee Republicans today sent a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein calling for the appointment of a second special counsel to investigate unaddressed matters, some connected to the 2016 election and others, including many actions taken by Obama Administration officials like Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The letter follows yesterday’s House Judiciary Committee approval of H. Res. 446, as amended, to request documents pertaining to the FBI’s investigation of former Secretary Clinton.

In their letter, the Judiciary Committee members express concern that the directive given to Special Counsel Robert Mueller is narrow in scope and many concerns arising out of the 2016 presidential election and its aftermath are not being investigated. The members call for the appointment of a second special counsel to investigate grave concerns such as former Attorney General Lynch’s directive to former FBI Director Comey to mislead the American people on the nature of the investigation into former Secretary Clinton; the FBI and Justice Department’s investigative decisions related to the Clinton email investigation, including the immunity deals given to potential co-conspirators; selected leaks of classified information that unmasked U.S. persons incidentally collected upon by the intelligence community; and the FBI’s reliance on “Fusion GPS” in its investigation of the Trump campaign, among many others issues.

If you’re sick and tired of the never-ending “Trump And The Russians” scandal, which for all its hype has produced scant little actual evidence of anything other than desultory cooperation on the part of the president’s camp with an investigation it quite reasonably believes is a kangaroo court, this letter from Goodlatte’s committee might just be what the doctor ordered.

Because as Washington scandals go, Trump And The Russians doesn’t even make it out of Double-A ball. What Goodlatte and the Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee want is a special counsel to take us up to the Triple-A or major league scandal level, because there are opportunities for playing time available.

The unmasking issue still has a lot of undiscovered meat on its bones; we’ve already seen a little evidence of that. The Lynch-Comey-Phoenix Airport nexus deserves a lot more scrutiny than it’s received, as do those immunity grants. And the leaks without a doubt deserve a full investigation, and some smug SOB’s from the Deep State surely deserve lengthy prison terms.

But the Fusion GPS business — and the long-simmering and now-burgeoning Awan brothers scandal — are monsters hiding in D.C.’s closet. Here’s to both those scandals continuing to crackle and spark over the next several months, on the way to full explosions the legacy media can no longer contain.

Readers of this column already have an understanding of the Awan brothers scandal, as this space covered a substantial amount of the background of it back in February when things first started happening. Click here to see that background; we’ll give a very short summary of it now.

The central figure in this scandal is a Pakistani national named Imran Awan, who appears to be connected in some way to his country’s intelligence service. Awan is an IT professional who was hired in 2004 to handle computer equipment for Florida Democrat congressman Robert Wexler, and he then picked up a job as a shared staffer to work for Wexler’s colleague Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

Awan rode along with Wasserman Schultz as she ascended to the top of the Democratic Party structure, and soon not only was his boss the chair of the Democratic National Committee but Awan’s relationship with her led to his building a client list of some 80 Democrat House members who were using either Imran or other members of his family (a pair of brothers, one of their wives, his own wife) in a sizable little empire he’d built.

And in the meantime, the Awan family was engaging in a pattern of financial activities that looked a whole lot like a mafia operation — questionable real estate deals, bank fraud, kidnapping and extortion, a used-car dealership that might well have been a front for moving stolen cars to Pakistan for sale, and so on. Awan was arrested at Dulles International Airport on Monday as he tried to flee the country while the FBI and Capitol Hill Police were closing in on a bank fraud indictment. In January he had wired some $283,000 from the Congressional Federal Credit Union to two individuals in Pakistan; he was trying to board a flight to Lahore when he had the cuffs put on him.

But the real juice with the Awans isn’t the bank fraud or the possible stolen cars. The real scandal here is the stolen computers — and the stolen information. It’s alleged that the Awans illegally downloaded documents from their clients, some of whom were on the House Intelligence Committee and other sensitive committees, and even walked off with congressional computers. The FBI, in fact, seized a number of CPU’s and hard drives found at a house owned by Imran that he was renting to a military couple after the tenants had found the equipment partially destroyed in the garage and called the authorities. We don’t know what was on those hard drives.

There are even allegations the Awans were blackmailing their clients with information they’d found in their e-mails. Your imagination can likely conjure up all kinds of entertaining scenarios around that theme.

But the piece de resistance with the Awan brothers scandal is the revelation that Imran Awan, with his foreign intelligence connections, his criminal appearance and his persistent financial problems despite apparently not lacking in the ability to make a buck, had the password to Wasserman Schultz’ iPad from which she answered her e-mail… as DNC chair.

Forget about the Russians and their supposed hacking of the DNC e-mails. If you’re really curious about who got to that information and would have been in a position to shop it to the highest bidder, Imran Awan is the most likely culprit in the room.

Things are moving very quickly on this case, and it’s somewhat telling that Awan was released on bond after being caught trying to flee the country. He has a tracking bracelet on his ankle, but what makes more sense is that he may have turned states’ evidence in exchange for being let out of jail. Awan’s attorney is former Bill Clinton go-fer Chris Gowen, and the lawyer’s statement after he’d been arrested reads like a press release from a campaign operative rather than a criminal attorney; bizarrely so, one might say. It might be that Awan is rolling on Wasserman Schultz and the Clintons have decided to hang her out to dry in order to insulate themselves from whatever blowback the DNC e-mails might generate for them.

Or maybe that isn’t possible anymore. Former Washington police detective Rod Wheeler, who you’ve probably seen on Fox News from time to time and who most recently was in the news as having done some private snooping in the Seth Rich case, has intimated there is a connection between that case and that of the Awan brothers. We’re not going to try to connect those dots without more information, but one’s imagination might run riot with those.

Meanwhile, Republicans in both the House and the Senate are exceptionally curious about Fusion GPS, and with good reason. In case you’re not familiar with this outfit, it’s the “opposition research and strategic communications” firm co-founded by former Wall Street Journal reporters Peter Fritsch and Glenn Simpson which played a significant role in the 2016 election. It was Fusion GPS which commissioned the infamous and debunked “pee pee dossier,” written by former British spy Christopher Steele, sourced largely from Steele’s Russian contacts and containing a mountain of scurrilous and implausible allegations about Donald Trump’s misbehaviors. Fusion GPS was initially contracted by anti-Trump Republican donors, but after Trump got the GOP nomination it was Democrats paying the freight for their work product… and before it was over it looks like James Comey’s FBI, amazingly, was picking up the tab.

That last part is of special interest to Sen. Charles Grassley and the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has made a priority out of Fusion GPS, and had called Simpson to testify. He did, but only in private, and only after threatening to take the Fifth. That’s his right, but what does an oppo researcher need the Fifth Amendment for?

But there’s more with Fusion GPS. On Wednesday Tucker Carlson had as a guest on his show one Thor Halvorssen, a Venezuelan native of Norwegian descent who runs a watchdog outfit called the Human Rights Foundation, and Halvorssen told a harrowing story of Fusion GPS attempting to destroy his life with a smear campaign because he’d blown the whistle on a crooked contract one of Fusion’s clients had with the Venezuelan government to build power plants. That story also got told in a letter Halvorssen sent to Grassley’s committee. And then there is Fusion’s other client, Natalia Veselnitskaya, the “Russian lawyer” whose meeting with Jared Kushner, Donald Trump Jr., and Paul Manafort has been bandied about as some sort of smoking gun proving collusion with the Russians. It turns out that Veselnitskaya had hired Fusion to help her push to overturn the Magnitsky Act, a sanctions bill targeting crooked Russian oligarchs and human rights abusers. In none of these cases did Fusion bother to register under FARA, the Foreign Agent Registry Act, which would put them on the wrong side of the law.

Grassley’s committee, and Goodlatte’s committee, would like to know if this entire Russian business was a setup cooked-up by Fusion’s dirty-tricks shop with the collusion of a few actors in the Obama administration. It’s hard to blame them.

There’s a lot of debate about Trump’s “drain the swamp” mantra these days, but nobody is really denying the swamp exists. And nobody can — not with Fusion GPS and the Awan brothers skulking around in the muck.

Turkish Govt Opened $100m Mosque in Washington DC as Turkish Intel Spied From Mosques Across Europe

PJ MEDIA, BY PATRICK POOLE, APRIL 2, 2017:

Editor’s Note: See Patrick Poole’s related article from yesterday, “Mosques Spying for Turkish Intelligence in Germany Prompt Raids, Government Probe

One year ago today Turkey’s president Recep Erdogan was in the Washington D.C. area to open a new $100 million mosque complex funded by the Turkish government and operated by the Diyanet, Turkey’s religious affairs ministry.

Needless to say, the opening of the Diyanet complex received national and international media attention:

But not without controversy:

But on the one year anniversary of the opening of the Diyanet Center of America, questions about its true purpose are raised by ongoing investigations by European officials into widespread spying allegations implicating Turkish government-funded Diyanet mosques across the continent – just like the one opened outside of Washington D.C. – spying on behalf of the the Turkish intelligence service, the Milli Istihbarat Teskilati (MIT).

Yesterday, I reported here at PJ Media on the investigations in Germany, where authorities have conducted raids targeting Diyanet imams and high ranking officers of the Turkish-Islamic Union for Religious Affairs (DITIB), the official arm of the Diyanet in Germany.

Read more

Warfare goes digital in the 21st century

Cyber Warfare Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

Washington Times, b, March 29, 2017:

Russia’s intelligence service hacks Democratic Party computer networks and puts out stolen emails in a bid to influence the 2016 election. China says it owns 90 percent of the South China Sea and begins building military bases under a vague historical claim to the strategic waterway. Iranian hackers break into American banks and a water control computer network at an upstate New York dam. Welcome to the new form of conflict in the 21st century: information warfare.

American adversaries have found asymmetric ways to attack and are waging sophisticated information warfare operations — both technical cyber-attacks and soft power influence and disinformation campaigns designed to achieve strategic objectives.

The U.S. government remains completely ignorant of the threat and lacks ways to deal with this new form of warfare. The Cold War-era U.S. Information Agency (USIA), the last semi-autonomous agency used for promoting America was disbanded in 1999. Its functions were folded into the State Department and the result has been diplomacy-impaired information programs.

The government also remains stuck with the 20th century role of “telling America’s story” while adversaries are spending billions on cable propaganda and other outlets are seek discredit and denigrate the United States.

There also are no effective institutions for countering lies and deception by foreign states. When pro-Russian rebels in Ukraine’s Donbass region in 2014 launched a Russian Buk surface-to-air missile against a Malaysian Airlines passenger jet, killing all 283 people on board, Russia’s extensive propaganda Wurlitzer swung into action. RT, the state-run cable propaganda outlet successfully muted criticism of Russia by putting out sophisticated misinformation. The Russian narrative argued the jetliner was downed by a Ukrainian surface-to-air missile or by air-to-air cannon fire. Moscow even supplied forged satellite imagery found to have been taken from a video game to bolster its false claim that an air-to-air missile took down the jet.

The disinformation sowed confusion and doubt in the West. To date, Moscow has paid no price for its role in the crime.

For the past eight years under President Obama, the U.S. government largely ignored these new and increasingly sophisticated information warfare threats. The Obama administration’s operating assumption was that in the cosmopolitan world, nation-state enemies don’t really exist. The only real foes are the extremist terror groups like the Islamic State.

Yet the entire U.S.-led conflict against terror groups like al Qaeda and the Islamic State has relied heavily on kinetic military and intelligence strikes while farming out to questionable Middle East states the ideological counter-ideological warfare programs designed to discredit the Islamist political narrative motivating terrorists’ campaigns of suicide bombings, beheadings, sex slavery and other atrocities.

“Cyberwarfare and influence campaigns that are being waged against our country represent a national security challenge of generational proportions,” said Rep. Elise Stefanik, New York Republican and chairman of the House Armed Services subcommittee on emerging threats. “Our core values of truth, democratic principles, and self-determination are under assault,” Ms. Stefanik said at hearing on information warfare earlier this month.

Experts at the hearing testified that the U.S. government lacks an understanding of the threat posed by foreign information warfare, and also has no strategy for countering it.

“Continuing to get this wrong is a threat to our national security, to our economic growth and to our very standing as a world leader,” said Matthew Armstrong, a former official involved in government radio broadcasting and associate fellow in King’s College Center for Strategic Communications.

Mr. Armstrong said he was told by a Russian information official that state-run RT broadcasts would have no audience in the United States “if the American media was doing their jobs.”

The failure of America’s news media in this sphere stems of the Balkanization of news outlets. Coverage by mainstream press outlets today is biased by three central liberal narratives of gender identity, racial issues and climate change, while the conservative media outlets are heavily weighted toward opinion and lack a needed hard news focus.

By contrast, authoritarian regimes suffer no similar fate. They are focused laserlike on promoting propaganda narratives to support strategic goals. For China, it is managing Beijing’s perceived decline of the U.S. superpower. Stealing 22 million records from the Office of Personnel Management supports a covert Big Data program to target the United States for both espionage and influence activities.

For Russia, America remains the main target of Russian strongman Vladimir Putin’s vision of pursuing a pan-Eurasian Russian power that is embattled on all sides by a U.S.-led liberal democratic international cabal.

North Korea’s 2014 cyberattack on Sony Pictures Entertainment over the ribald film “The Interview” aimed at attacking the film industry and choking off American freedom of expression by threatening with terror attacks movie theaters that showed the film. Meanwhile, Pyongyang was given free rein to develop nuclear weapons and missile delivery systems unimpeded — to perpetuate its crimes-against-humanity regime with a growing arsenal of nuclear missiles.

Iran’s information operations are designed to further the strategic goals of the Islamist regime, the world’s deadliest state sponsor of global terrorism, as Tehran works to emerge from the chaos of the Middle East as the dominant regional power.

Social media have emerged as another platform in the forefront of information warfare as terrorists use Twitter, Facebook and other outlets to recruit terrorists and spread propaganda.

These foreign information warfare programs are growing in both scale and sophistication while American public diplomacy and counter-disinformation efforts remain minuscule.

The Trump administration urgently needs to recreate a new USIA for the digital age, something I call “Information America.”

This new institution can be established as a government entity similar to the USIA, or a nongovernmental organization funded by philanthropists. A third option would be set up Information America as hybrid government/private-sector organization.

Its mission should be to use truth and facts to counter lies and disinformation. Information America also must begin anew to promote fundamental American ideals and values.

Outgoing Director of National Intelligence James Clapper agreed on the need for a new information entity, something he recently called “a USIA on steroids to fight this information war a lot more aggressively than I think we’re doing right now.”

The first step should be setting up a blue-ribbon panel of information experts — government officials, journalists and others — to quickly formulate a plan for Information America.

The task is urgent in a world filled with violence and hatred. Effective information-based capabilities should become a top priority of the new Trump administration. These programs offer the promise of solving some of the world’s most pressing problems through the use of information as a strategic tool to promote peace and freedom.

• Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and author of “iWar: War and Peace in the Information Age” (Threshold Editions, 2017).

Also see:

Obama Frees Manning the Traitor

manning

Front Page Magazine, by Matthew Vadum, January 18, 2017:

To the Left the highest form of service to America is to betray it.

This is why President Obama yesterday ordered that the 35-year sentence of convicted traitor U.S. Army Pvt. Chelsea Manning be commuted. Manning, who leaked vast quantities of classified materials, was born male with the given name Bradley but now identifies as female.

Bradley’s transgender status, which has made the prisoner a cause célèbre among left-wingers, almost certainly played a huge role in the commutation. Manning, who has tried to commit suicide in prison, has not had sex-reassignment surgery but has been campaigning for it for years.

As a consequence of our Marxist, identity politics-obsessed president’s order, Manning is now scheduled to be released from military prison on May 17 of this year, instead of 2045. This means that upon release Manning will have served about seven years behind bars.

Manning was convicted by court-martial on July 30, 2013, of 20 counts, including six violations of the Espionage Act, along with theft and computer fraud. An acquittal was registered on the most serious charge, aiding the enemy, which can result in a sentence of life imprisonment.

As a clemency-sweetener, on Jan. 12 WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange offered to allow himself to be extradited to the U.S. if President Obama ordered the release of Manning.

Will Assange honor his promise? We’ll see.

Read more

***

Tucker Carlson and Ben Collins discuss:

Trump Must Up The Ante On Russian Subversion In America

Trump should welcome a comprehensive probe into Hillary Clinton's allegations of Russian subversion. (Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images)

Trump should welcome a comprehensive probe into Hillary Clinton’s allegations of Russian subversion. (Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images)

Forbes, by J. Michael Waller, January 4, 2017:

The real scandal about Russian subversion of the American political process is that the nation’s leadership has known about it for years and done nothing.

Now is the time to put an end to it.

Candidate Hillary Clinton uncharacteristically decried “Russian subversion” during the campaign. She called opponent Donald Trump a “puppet” of Russian strongman Vladimir Putin. In so doing, the Clinton team unleashed a wave of unsubstantiated accusations—about which the intelligence community remains divided—that Putin wanted Trump to win the election. This has morphed into a widespread misperception that the Russians “hacked” the election itself.

Clinton’s allegations of Russian subversion must undergo the most rigorous investigation. Trump should welcome a comprehensive probe.

But limiting the scope of “Russian subversion” to the 2016 campaign is a trap. Trump must raise the ante. He must broaden any investigation to cover all foreign subversion of American politics and policies. It’s time to drain the fetid swamp of foreign espionage, subversion and corruption aimed at compromising decision-makers in Washington.

Congress must do the same. For almost 60 years after our involvement in World War I, Congress had bipartisan, standing committees and subcommittees to investigate foreign-sponsored subversion that manipulated or undermined our democracy. Congress shut them down in the 1970s and never replaced them. Occasionally a congressional panel would hold hearings about “active measures,” as the Soviets called their political warfare technique, welcoming classified and unclassified testimony from the FBI and CIA and an occasional outside expert, but generally Congress pretended not to see the problem and surrendered its investigative role to the intelligence community. Private-sector support for continued research and reporting practically dried up.

Documentation and testimony from those old congressional hearings and reports, defector accounts and internal Soviet documents unearthed over the past 25 years show that the Kremlin tried to influence or manipulate the American political process in every presidential election from 1924 to 1952, and from 1968 to 1988. It did so by directly and indirectly funding American political and policy groups amid relentless active measures, campaigns and espionage offensives.

Edward Snowden speaks via video link at a news conference for the launch of a campaign calling for President Obama to pardon him on September 14, 2016 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Edward Snowden speaks via video link at a news conference for the launch of a campaign calling for President Obama to pardon him on September 14, 2016 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The nation can come to no conclusive understanding of whether or how Moscow tried to manipulate the recent elections—and decades of foreign and defense policy—unless it re-learns the bigger picture and historical context.

By expanding the investigative focus, we can learn from cases like the FBI’s Operation Ghost Stories, a brilliant, decade-long effort that broke up a network of deep-cover Russian spies in 2010. The agents’ assignment was to get close to influential American academic, business and political figures. Mostly under false identities, the agents lived as normal-looking Americans. Russian tradecraft terms them “illegals” because they went without diplomatic protection. The network of 11 known illegals operated primarily in the Boston-New York-Washington, D.C. corridor, with the heaviest concentration in New York City.

One of the Russian spies, federal prosecutors said, worked as a financial advisor to the 2008 presidential campaign chairman of then-senator Hillary Clinton. Another was connected to a New York-based confidant of an unnamed “cabinet member” in 2009 whose identity, though redacted from declassified Justice Department documents, was understood to be then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton. The purpose of the massive intelligence operation may not have been only to steal secrets. Like some of Moscow’s most successful human intelligence coups, a purpose may have been to subvert American decision-making at crucial times.

When the FBI wrapped up the network on June 27, 2010, after one of the illegals escaped, Clinton moved with unusual speed over an extended Independence Day weekend to whisk the remaining ten spies back to Russia. On July 9, a Friday, the U.S. swapped them in Vienna, Austria for four Russians who had been convicted of spying for the United States.

Clinton’s office pooh-poohed the magnitude of the Russian illegals operation. “There is no reason to believe that the secretary of state was a special target of this spy ring,” Clinton spokesman P.J. Crowley said at the time.

Senator Chuck Schumer, the outspoken New York Democrat whose job on the Judiciary Committee is to oversee U.S. counterintelligence, also showed little concern. He expressed no interest in doing a damage assessment of Russian penetration, whether of America itself or the political machine in his home state. Few in the Republican-controlled Congress made much an issue of either the spying or Clinton’s cavalier attitude toward it. Everyone seemed to forget about the matter. It didn’t come up in the 2016 campaign.

Operation Ghost Stories and other cases help us understand the foreign subversion threat. Congress and the executive branch must spare no effort to get to the bottom of hacking American institutions and subverting or manipulating our politicians. But the recent proposal of Senators Schumer and John McCain (R-AZ) to restrict the investigation to this election’s campaign-related cyber espionage won’t safeguard the nation’s interests. Investigations need to go broad and deep. Both houses of Congress should create new, bipartisan standing committees to investigate, hold hearings and report on all foreign subversion in the U.S.—not only from Russia but from any foreign individual, government or movement. Such a call should elicit widespread resistance from special interests dependent on foreign sources of cash, which is exactly the point.

As part of making America great again, the Trump administration must smack down foreign covert political warfare once and for all. It should instruct the entire intelligence community to prepare a definitive annual National Intelligence Estimate, or NIE, to reach the most accurate professional consensus on the scope and cumulative effects of foreign subversion of the United States and its allies. The NIE timeframe should begin at least as far back as the longest-serving federal official has been in office. Separately, Trump should assemble an interagency task force to develop a strategy to identify, monitor and neutralize foreign propaganda, political warfare and subversion from any source. A special hybridized team should provide the president with effective strategies and methods of deterrence and retaliation.

Trump should handle America’s foreign adversaries the way he treats some of his personal opponents: through the specter or acts of exposure, humiliation and destruction. This is where Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and others are especially vulnerable. An easy, off-the-shelf tool is the Magnitsky Act, which the U.S. has used to put the financial squeeze on individual figures close to the Kremlin. The best way to check against foreign misbehavior is to squeeze the ruling inner circles financially. That will make powerful oligarchs pay high personal prices for their regimes’ meddling in American internal affairs, and incentivize them to pressure their leaders to become more accommodating to the new American leadership.

Muslim Navy Employee Sold Info on How to Sink Aircraft Carrier

navytheft4-450x253Frontpage, by Daniel Greenfield:

Just workplace espionage. No reason to worry about our national security.

A naturalized American citizen working for the Navy was arrested Friday for attempting to sell technical information about the nuclear aircraft carrier Gerald R. Ford to an agent of the Egyptian government.

The agent, however, was a federal undercover agent working for the FBI.

During that meeting, Awwad suggested they employ “an elaborate cyber security system which included several one-time use electronic mail boxes with phantom names,” the affidavit said. He also described a detailed plan to circumvent Navy computer security by installing a “bug” on his restricted computer that would allow him to copy documents without drawing attention.

According to the affidavit, Awwad provided the undercover agent four computer-aided design drawings of the Ford and told him where to strike the vessel with a missile to sink it.

According to a redacted affidavit from federal agent James Blitzer, Awwad was born in 1979 in Saudi Arabia. He married a US citizen in May 2007 in Cairo, Egypt, and later became a US citizen.

At the time of his indictment, Awwad, of Yorktown, Virginia, was working as a civilian engineer in the nuclear engineering and planning department of the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, where he had been hired in February. He had been given a clearance of Secret.

During their first meeting in a park in Hampton, Va., Awwad explained to “Yousef” that he intended to use his position to obtain military technology for use by the Egyptian government, including but not limited to, the designs of the USS Gerald Ford nuclear aircraft carrier.

It might be time to stop providing classified ratings to just about everyone who walks off the street. Members of enemy ideologies should be doubly scrutinized. Saudi Arabia is an enemy country. It’s the source of most of our terrorist problems.

We’re taking the enemy deep within our own system.