#Obamagate Raises the Question: Should We Repeal FISA?

Angelo Codevilla says yes. John Guandolo says no.

Jail the Guilty, Repeal FISA, at American Greatness by Angelo Codevilla, February 6, 2018

The House Intelligence Committee’s summary memo of highly classified FBI and Justice Department documents confirms what has been public knowledge for over a year: Some of America’s highest officials used U.S. intelligence’s most intrusive espionage tools to attempt to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, and then to cripple Donald Trump politically. Being of one mind with the rest of the Obama Administration and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, these officials acted symbiotically and seamlessly with them, regardless of any cooperation that may have existed.

The party-in-power’s use of government espionage to thwart the opposition violates the Fourth Amendment and sets a ruinous precedent. Having done so under color of law—specifically, the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)—makes it a lot worse.

Unfortunately, the summary memo—to say nothing of the Democrats’ and their kept media’s reaction to it—focuses largely on whether the FBI and Justice Department dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s as they obtained a warrant from the FISA court to do the spying. This misrepresents high crimes as merely technical violations. Worse, it risks leaving in place a law under which those in charge of the government may violate the basic tenets of American political life with reasonable hope of impunity.

FISA’s Origins
Prior to FISA, American intelligence agencies had done national security electronic surveillance under the president’s power as commander in chief of the armed forces. The president and his agents were responsible for doing it properly. I was part of the Senate Intelligence Committee staff that drafted FISA in 1978. The legislation was meant to answer complaints from leftists who sued the FBI and the National Security Agency after learning they had been overheard working against the United States during the Vietnam War. They wanted to extend the principle that no one may be surveilled without a court order to Americans in contact with foreigners.

But the main push for FISA, in fact, came from the FBI and NSA. Wishing to preclude further lawsuits, the agencies issued Congress an ultimatum: no more national security wiretaps unless each tap has the approval of a judge (thus absolving them of responsibility). FISA established a court to review warrant applications for national security electronic surveillance, in secret and without contrary argument. It commanded the agencies to observe procedural safeguards for the Americans involved.

I opposed FISA as a Senate staffer. I also argued against the legislation in an American Bar Association debate with Antonin Scalia, who was a professor at the University of Chicago Law School at the time. My view then and now is that the FISA court creates an irresistible temptation to political abuse and that officials would interpret any procedural safeguards accordingly.

The Memo Reveals a Bigger Problem
In what is arguably the key passage of the Nunes memo, the committee states:

Neither the initial application [for surveillance of the Trump campaign] in October 2016, nor any of the renewals, disclose or reference the role of the DNC, Clinton campaign, or any party/campaign in funding Steele’s efforts, even though the political origins of the Steele dossier [which was a basis for the application] were then known to senior DOJ and FBI officials.

If that’s true, then the officials who signed the applications—including FBI Director James Comey, Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, acting Attorney General Sally Yates, then-acting Attorney General Dana Boente, and then-acting Attorney General Rod Rosenstein—are guilty of misrepresenting material facts to a federal court. All of them belong in the slammer—for at least a little while.

And at some level, they know this. Hence the public relations campaign to downplay the crime. For example, the New York Times on February 2 quoted David Kris, who served as President Obama’s head of the Justice Department’s National Security Division. According to Kris, if the FISA application merely told the court that “Mr. Steele’s research was motivated to undermine Mr. Trump’s campaign,” then “the FISA application would be fine.” Note well what narrow distinction, subject to a wide latitude of interpretation, supposedly separates a high crime from “that’s fine” under the law.

But the FISA court’s procedures and requirements—inherently subject to self-interested interpretation as they are—are of far less importance than the fact that FISA was a big mistake to begin with. The law removed responsibility for the substance of executive judgment from the shoulders of the very people who make such judgments.

Today, Comey, Rosenstein, and others may well believe their own claims that they were merely turning government’s neutral wheels and that the judges would judge. Nonsense. They decided to become partisans in the 2016 presidential campaign because they were as convinced as were countless others of their class that they had the right and the duty to protect America (and their place in it) from unworthy challengers.

Perhaps only their failure to dot the i’s and cross the t’s may make it possible for them to be jailed for their crime. But because their successors may be similarly motivated and more careful, it behooves us to erase doubt about who is responsible for electronic surveillance by repealing FISA.

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FISA is a Constitutional & Needed Weapon in This War, by John Guandolo, Feb. 4, 2018:

With news full of reports about the fraudulent dossier used to obtain the FISA warrant to intercept communications of Carter Paige and the release of the memo last week, the following is provided to UTT readers to help them understand what it takes to obtain a FISA warrant, that FISA is constitutional, and that FISA is needed for the national security of America.

F.I.S.A. stands for the Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act, and was legislated by the U.S. Congress in 1978 to ensure American citizens were protected from overzealous government intrusion into their privacy in the name of “national security.”

The FISA Court provides a means for the U.S. government to collect on subjects of sensitive/classified investigations (counterintelligence and terrorism for example) without endangering sources and means of the investigation.

FISA judges are federal judges who have been confirmed by the U.S. Senate and chosen by the Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Understanding the Threat’s President John Guandolo served as a Supervisor in the Counterterrorism Division at FBI Headquarters during his career in the FBI.  In that capacity, he was the affiant – one who swears to the veracity of an affidavit – in support of numerous FISA warrants.

When an FBI agent in the field needs a FISA warrant, he/she contacts their supervisor at FBI headquarters who acts as the affiant for the warrant.  The two work through the affidavit, sometimes over 100 pages long, until the FBIHQ Supervisor is satisfied the legal standard of Probable Cause is met and the facts are verified.

The FBIHQ supervisor works with a Department of Justice attorney, and the cover sheet for the affidavit must be signed off by a DOJ official.  The affidavit is also reviewed and signed off by the FBI Director or Deputy Director.

It is not unusual for the FBI supervisor and DOJ attorney to meet with the FBI Director over a weekend at his home while the Director reviews the affidavit, asks questions, and is satisfied the affidavit can go to the judge.

Then the FBI supervisor and DOJ attorney sit before the FISA judge who reads the affidavit and asks questions.  When the judge signs the affidavit, the technical process begins to intercept the subject of the investigation.

This entire process is legal, constitutional and an important tool in the national security toolbox for dedicated servants inside the government.

In the current case before us, FBI and Department of Justice leaders put forth an affidavit that – as the memo released last week makes clear – was fraudulent and the FBI knew it.  The dossier from Christopher Steele was fabricated and purchased by Hillary Clinton/DNC, and yet this information was not provided to the FISA judge during the initial application for the FISA warrant nor at any of the three times when the warrant was renewed.

In a vacuum, these actions are violations of federal law.  At a minimum, this is perjury and tampering with a federal election by those involved.

But it is much worse than that.

Robert Mueller’s investigation was predicated on a request for Special Counsel which did not allege any crime.  The FISA warrant for Paige was predicated on lies using a source known by the FBI to lack credibility (Steele).

In reality, these actions – efforts to tamper with a federal election and, now, undermine and overthrow a duly elected President of the United States – constitutes “Sedition.”

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Also see:

Nunes memo raises question: Did FBI violate Woods Procedures?

Attkisson on New Strzok-Page Texts: What’s in the 5 Months of Messages We Haven’t Seen?

Grassley-Graham Memo: Dossier Author Christopher Steele Lied to FBI, FBI Didn’t Tell FISA Court

The Other Secret Dossier

Latest FBI Texts: ‘Hillbillys,’ ‘OUR Task,’ Obama ‘Wants to Know Everything’

BREAKING: Senate Homeland Committee drops BIG document dump on FBI’s Hillary email investigation [READ THEM HERE]

Exclusive — Rep. Paul Gosar: Obama’s Fast and Furious, Benghazi, IRS Scandals All Connected to DOJ, FBI Corruption in Trump Probe

Outraged About The FISA Court? Maybe You Should Think About Who Is Surveilling You

Breaking: All Contacts On Anthony Weiner’s FBI Confiscated Laptop Leak Including Clinton, Soros, Gore (Updated)

Center Occasional Paper Exposes a Perfect Storm of Threat

Center for Security Policy, Nov. 2, 2017

CENTER OCCASIONAL PAPER EXPOSES A PERFECT STORM OF THREAT: 
PORT CANAVERAL CONTAINER LEASE TIED TO RUSSIAN CLUB-K MISSILE SYSTEM

 (Washington, DC): A new Center for Security Policy Occasional Paper being released today picks up where our earlier December 2016 paper, “What Could Possibly Go Wrong?” left off. Additional research by the dogged and fearless team of Alan Jones and Mary Fanning now reveals exactly what could go wrong, with potentially catastrophic consequences for U.S. national security.

The original Occasional Paper broke the news that the family of Iraqi nuclear physicist Dr. Jafar Dhia Jafar – known as Saddam Hussein’s nuclear bombmaker – along with the Emir of Sharjah, United Arab Emirates (UAE), had been awarded a 35-year lease for cargo container operations at Port Canaveral, Florida after two years of secret talks with the Obama administration. Jones and Fanning continued their research over the following months and now present their updated and even more alarming findings with this new report: “Perfect Storm: Project Pelican’s Gulftainer, Russia’s Club-K, KGB’s Primakov, North Korea, and the Architects of the Islamic Bloc and the Iran Nuclear Deal.”

There is a U.S. government inter-agency review board called the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) whose responsibility is to conduct a thorough review of any commercial acquisition of U.S. infrastructure or property by a foreign entity that may have national security implications. Unfortunately, during a five-year period from 2009-2014, the CFIUS staff chairperson was Aimen Nabi Mir, the son of a Pakistani immigrant from Kashmir with family connections to the Pakistani intelligence service and the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood. As we now know, it was during this timeframe that both the Gulftainer lease and the Uranium One deal were permitted to go forward by CFIUS.

Thanks to the remarkable investigative efforts of Mr. Jones and Ms. Fanning, it has now come to light that the implications of the CFIUS failure appropriately to review the Port Canaveral Gulftainer deal go far beyond original concerns about this Middle East-based ports company acquiring such strategic access to all the container operations at this key port along Florida’s Atlantic coast. Indeed, Port Canaveral is near a number of important U.S. facilities—including the Navy’s East Coast ballistic missile submarine base, two U.S. Air Force Space Command bases and NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Additionally, Port Canaveral and its container facilities are connected directly to rail and road lines that provide ready transportation access to the entire country.

“The Perfect Storm: Project Pelican’s Gulftainer, Russia’s Club-K, KGB’s Primakov, North Korea, and the Architects of the Islamic Bloc and the Iran Nuclear Deal” now reveals that the danger to U.S. national security may be exponentially more critical. Dr. Jafar Dhia Jafar worked closely with the Russians on Iraq’s full range of Weapons of Mass Destruction programs, including the nuclear one. He succeeded in designing a miniaturized nuclear warhead similar to the model that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un posed with earlier in 2017. Worse yet, Gulftainer, the Iraqi-UAE company that was allowed to obtain the Port Canaveral container facility lease, has entered into a joint venture with the Russian state-owned firm which owns 100% of the shares of Rosoboronexport, the exporter of the Club-K system.

The Club-K is a cruise missile launch system concealed in a container whose external appearance looks identical to standard ISO intermodal commercial cargo shipping containers. Inside each Club-K container, however, are four missiles which can carry biological, chemical, conventional, Electro-Magnetic Pulse (EMP), or nuclear warheads. The genius of the Club-K system is its ability to evade detection among the millions of shipping containers carried on ships, trains, and trucks all over the world, including inside the U.S. Now, the Russian maker of the Club-K has partnered with the Iraqi-UAE company headed by the nuclear mastermind who designed a nuclear warhead specifically to fit on the nosecone of the Club-K cruise missile. Also, Ras al-Khaimah (RAK), one of the seven UAE emirates, runs a shipping company in partnership with Iran, which essentially controls RAK’s main shipping port. And a broken and possibly corrupt CFIUS just gave them all access to a 35-year lease on the container facilities at one of America’s most critical ports.

A Perfect Storm, indeed.

The Center for Security Policy presents this extremely important Occasional Paper in hopes that those with responsibility to protect U.S. national security will awaken—and quickly—to the mortal peril this confluence of threats poses to our country.

In unveiling the Center’s new Occasional Paper, its president, Frank J. Gaffney, observed:

“This transaction is such an obvious threat to U.S. national security that it must be suspended, if not canceled outright, pending a fresh evaluation of its merits, a rigorous re-evaluation of the CFIUS decision-making process that allowed it to be approved, and an informed and thorough debate on Capitol Hill.”

“The Perfect Storm” is available for free in PDF format

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Clare Lopez Facebook post on Jan. 23:

This one’s important, really important – US is vulnerable, right now, to a company that’s been given container facility access at Port Canaveral, FL…and that company is co-owned by the Emir of Sharjah (UAE) & the family of Saddam Hussein’s nuclear mastermind (yes, he actually did have WMD programs) – and that company, Gulftainer, is in a joint venture w/the Russian firm that makes/markets the Club-K – an ordinary-looking shipping container that conceals within 4 missiles that could be fitted w/any kind of warhead: nuclear, EMP, CW or BW – neither Congress nor the media has paid any attention to this story – need your help to bang on their doors!

Also see from The American Report:

CLUELESS: PORT CANAVERAL SECURITY DIRECTOR BAFFLED ABOUT GULFTAINER NUCLEAR MASTERMIND DR. JAFAR DHIA JAFAR; “I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT”

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Why Obama Really Spied on Trump

Obama had to spy on Trump to protect himself.

Front Page Magazine, by Daniel Greenfield, Sept. 20, 2017:

Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is an investigative journalist and writer focusing on the radical left and Islamic terrorism.

Last week, CNN revealed (and excused) one phase of the Obama spying operation on Trump. After lying about it on MSNBC, Susan Rice admitted unmasking the identities of Trump officials to Congress.

Rice was unmasking the names of Trump officials a month before leaving office. The targets may have included her own successor, General Flynn, who was forced out of office using leaked surveillance.

While Rice’s targets weren’t named, the CNN story listed a meeting with Flynn, Bannon and Kushner.

Bannon was Trump’s former campaign chief executive and a senior adviser. Kushner is a senior adviser. Those are exactly the people you spy on to get an insight into what your political opponents plan to do.

Now the latest CNN spin piece informs us that secret FISA orders were used to spy on the conversations of Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.  The surveillance was discontinued for lack of evidence and then renewed under a new warrant. This is part of a pattern of FISA abuses by Obama Inc. which never allowed minor matters like lack of evidence to dissuade them from new FISA requests.

Desperate Obama cronies had figured out that they could bypass many of the limitations on the conventional investigations of their political opponents by ‘laundering’ them through national security.

If any of Trump’s people were talking to non-Americans, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) could be used to spy on them. And then the redacted names of the Americans could be unmasked by Susan Rice, Samantha Power and other Obama allies. It was a technically legal Watergate.

If both CNN stories hold up, then Obama Inc. had spied on two Trump campaign leaders.

Furthermore the Obama espionage operation closely tracked Trump’s political progress. The first FISA request targeting Trump happened the month after he received the GOP nomination.  The second one came through in October: the traditional month of political surprises meant to upend an election.

The spying ramped up after Trump’s win when the results could no longer be used to engineer a Hillary victory, but would instead have to be used to cripple and bring down President Trump. Headed out the door, Rice was still unmasking the names of Trump’s people while Obama was making it easier to pass around raw eavesdropped data to other agencies.

Obama had switched from spying on a political opponent to win an election, to spying on his successor to undo the results of the election. Abuse of power by a sitting government had become subversion of the government by an outgoing administration. Domestic spying on opponents had become a coup.

The Democrat scandals of the past few administrations have hinged on gross violations of political norms, elementary ethics and the rule of law that, out of context, were not technically illegal.

But it’s the pattern that makes the crime. It’s the context that shows the motive.

Obama Inc. compartmentalized its espionage operation in individual acts of surveillance and unmasking, and general policies implemented to aid both, that may have been individually legal, in the purely technical sense, in order to commit the major crime of eavesdropping on the political opposition.

When the individual acts of surveillance are described as legal, that’s irrelevant. It’s the collective pattern of surveillance of the political opposition that exposes the criminal motive for them.

If Obama spied on two of Trump’s campaign leaders, that’s not a coincidence. It’s a pattern.

A criminal motive can be spotted by a consistent pattern of actions disguised by different pretexts. A dirty cop may lose two pieces of evidence from the same defendant while giving two different excuses. A shady accountant may explain two otherwise identical losses in two different ways. Both excuses are technically plausible. But it’s the pattern that makes the crime.

Manafort was spied on under the Russia pretext. Bannon may have been spied on over the UAE. That’s two different countries, two different people and two different pretexts.

But one single target. President Trump.

It’s the pattern that exposes the motive.

When we learn the whole truth (if we ever do), we will likely discover that Obama Inc. assembled a motley collection of different technically legal pretexts to spy on Trump’s team.

Each individual pretext might be technically defensible. But together they add up to the crime of the century.

Obama’s gamble was that the illegal surveillance would justify itself. If you spy on a bunch of people long enough, especially people in politics and business, some sort of illegality, actual or technical, is bound to turn up. That’s the same gamble anyone engaged in illegal surveillance makes.

Businessmen illegally tape conversations with former partners hoping that they’ll say something damning enough to justify the risk. That was what Obama and his allies were doing with Trump.

It’s a crime. And you can’t justify committing a crime by discovering a crime.

If everyone were being spied on all the time, many crimes could be exposed every second. But that’s not how our system works. That’s why we have a Fourth Amendment.

Nor was Obama Inc. trying to expose crimes for their own sake, but to bring down the opposition.

That’s why it doesn’t matter what results the Obama surveillance turned up. The surveillance was a crime. Anything turned up by it is the fruit of a poisonous tree. It’s inherently illegitimate.

The first and foremost agenda must be to assemble a list of Trump officials who were spied on and the pretexts under which they were spied upon. The pattern will show the crime. And that’s what Obama and his allies are terrified of. It’s why Flynn was forced out using illegal surveillance and leaks. It’s why McMaster is protecting Susan Rice and the Obama holdovers while purging Trump loyalists at the NSC.

The left’s gamble was that the Mueller investigation or some other illegitimate spawn of the Obama eavesdropping would produce an indictment and then the procedural questions wouldn’t matter.

It’s the dirty cop using illegal eavesdropping to generate leads for a “clean” case against his target while betting that no one will look too closely or care how the case was generated. If one of the Mueller targets is intimidated into making a deal, the question of how the case was generated won’t matter.

Mueller will have a cooperative witness. And the Democrats can begin their coup in earnest. It will eventually turn out that there is no “there” there. But by then, it’ll be time for President Booker.

There’s just one problem.

If the gamble fails, if no criminal case that amounts to anything more than the usual investigational gimmick charges like perjury (the Federal equivalent of ‘resisting arrest’ for a beat cop) develops, then Obama and his allies are on the hook for the domestic surveillance of their political opponents.

With nothing to show for it and no way to distract from it.

That’s the race against the clock that is happening right now. Either the investigation gets results. Or its perpetrators are left hanging in the wind. If McMaster is fired, which on purely statistical grounds he probably will be, and a Trump loyalist who wasn’t targeted by the surveillance operation becomes the next National Security Adviser and brings in Trump loyalists, as Flynn tried to do, then it’s over.

And the Dems finally get their Watergate. Except the star won’t be Trump, it will be Obama. Rice, Power, Lynch and the rest of the gang will be the new Haldeman, Ehrlichman and Mitchell.

Once Obama and his allies launched their domestic surveillance operation, they crossed the Rubicon. And there was no way back. They had to destroy President Trump or risk going to jail.

The more crimes they committed by spying on the opposition, the more urgently they needed to bring down Trump. The consequences of each crime that they had committed spurred them on to commit worse crimes to save themselves from going to jail. It’s the same old story when it comes to criminals.

Each act of illegal surveillance became more blatant. And when illegal surveillance couldn’t stop Trump’s victory, they had to double down on the illegal surveillance for a coup.

The more Obama spied on Trump, the more he had to keep doing it. This time it was bound to pay off.

Obama and his allies had violated the norms so often for their policy goals that they couldn’t afford to be replaced by anyone but one of their own. The more Obama relied on the imperial presidency of executive orders, the less he could afford to be replaced by anyone who would undo them.  The more his staffers lied and broke the law on everything from the government shutdown to the Iran nuke sellout, the more desperately they needed to pull out all the stops to keep Trump out of office. And the more they did it, the more they couldn’t afford not to do it. Abuse of power locks you into the loop familiar to all dictators. You can’t stop riding the tiger. Once you start, you can’t afford to stop.

If you want to understand why Samantha Power was unmasking names, that’s why. The hysterical obsession with destroying Trump comes from the top down. It’s not just ideology. It’s wealthy and powerful men and women who ran the country and are terrified that their crimes will be exposed.

It’s why the media increasingly sounds like the propaganda organs of a Communist country. Why there are street riots and why the internet is being censored by Google and Facebook’s “fact checking” allies.

It’s not just ideology. It’s raw fear.

The left is sitting on the biggest crime committed by a sitting president. The only way to cover it up is to destroy his Republican successor.

A turning point in history is here.

If Obama goes down, the left will go down with him. If his coup succeeds, then America ends.

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DID SUSAN RICE SPY ON TRUMP OFFICIALS FOR MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD?

Also see:

CIA’s New Boss Accused of Not Being Interested in Diversity

Front Page Magazine, by Daniel Greenfield, Sept. 10, 2017:

The CIA needs diversity like a racehorse needs a fifth leg.

The Foreign Policy “expose” accidentally demonstrates that with its opening anecdote.

In early summer, Judy and Dennis Shepard bought plane tickets to give a speech to the workforce at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. The Shepards in 1998 had founded the Matthew Shepard Foundation in honor of their late son — a 21-year-old college freshman who was viciously attacked and left tied to a fence before he was brought to a hospital where he died of his injuries. One of the most notorious anti-gay acts of violence in U.S. history, his death led to some of the country’s first federal hate crime laws.

The Shepards had been invited to the CIA to talk about diversity and LGBTQ rights, joining a long line of guest speakers at the covert overseas spy agency including lawmakers, former officials, authors, and celebrities.

The schedule was set, and the details arranged, but in the 11th hour, the senior leadership shut down the event. The seventh floor, where the director’s office sits, had the Shepards’ speech canceled, questioning what value it would bring to the CIA mission.

Good question. What value does it bring? FP’s article treats the answer as self-evident. But it isn’t at all.

Does the CIA have a major gay bashing problem? Is it involved in solving gay hate crimes? There’s no concievable reason for this except Obama Inc’s obsession with shoehorning its social justice agenda into everything. And so it was rightly canceled. The CIA should have better things to do than diversity training. Except not according to FP.

The cancellation, now under review by the CIA’s Office of General Counsel, according to a second source, left employees disheartened — particularly those invested in the diversity reforms that were emphasized during the tenure of John Brennan, the former CIA director.

…if you were looking for yet another reason why John Brennan shouldn’t have ever been allowed to run the CIA or fry eggs over the stove…

But the media is playing the same old game of turning embedded Obama operatives in an organization into anonymous sources that highlight some larger supposed frustration about the organization’s mission. Because #Resistance.

For those who have worked inside the agency, the backtracking on diversity represents a threat to the workforce and national security,

Yes, not hearing a lecture on Matthew Shepard undermines our national security…

The agency needs employees from different backgrounds and orientations to effectively recruit agents abroad.

Somehow the old CIA managed to recruit all sorts back in the day. Has the new diversity CIA gotten better at recruiting assets?

“The most important intelligence product … during the 1950s and ’60s and ’70s was essentially produced by old white men,” said David Priess, a former CIA briefer and author of The President’s Book of Secrets.

Not to mention science. If only Newton or Einstein had been forced to sit through a lecture on Angela Davis or Matthew Shephard.

In March 2013, John Brennan was appointed director under President Barack Obama, and the new CIA head moved to make diversity and employee rights a priority. Senior leaders competed for spots to speak at employee gay pride events and accompanied the director to diversity events and celebrations.

…priotiies. When the left takes over, national security ceases to be a priority and is replaced by political correctness.

But for Brennan, the changes were a matter of building a better workforce, as well as national security. “I believe strongly that diversity and inclusion [are] what this country is all about,” Brennan said in a phone interview with FP. “I can think of no organization that can make a better business case for diversity and inclusion than the CIA.”

Except just about every organization. But who wants to waste time on intel when there’s virtue to be signaled.

In June, the intelligence community held its pride summit at FBI headquarters. Speakers included then-acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, who said the intelligence community’s credibility derived from the importance it placed on diversity. “We all need to be allies, to walk in each other’s shoes, to try to understand what it’s like, for example, to be gay, a person of color, or transgender, or all of these at the same time,” he said in a keynote speech.

Another reminder of what a disaster McCabe is.

During his very first all-hands speech to the CIA workforce, Pompeo cheered the officers and analysts, pledging to support them. But on the issue of diversity, Pompeo’s response raised concerns. According to two sources familiar with the speech, he was repeatedly asked about his commitment to diversity. After the third question, he visibly lost his temper. He snapped back, saying he didn’t know what people wanted him to do besides seek out the best person for the job, one source who was present at the speech recalled.

The best person for the job? Come on. What is this? Some sort of meritocracy.

“He didn’t seem to understand the need for a workforce that reflects America,” another source familiar with speech noted.

They don’t want a workforce that reflects America, but one that reflects Berkeley.

When asked if Pompeo had attended any diversity events, the spokesperson instead referred to Pompeo’s commitment to hiring the best person. “Whether that person is an African American IT professional from New York, a Pashtun speaking Italian from Montana or a Hmong scholar from Mississippi, there is only one question:  can that person deliver the mission they are tasked with undertaking to keep America safe?” the spokesperson said.

“This is heartbreaking,” said Bakos, the former CIA analyst, of reports that diversity efforts are backsliding. “It’s already too easy to get these flag-waving, chest-bumping people” hired into the agency.

And why would we want those?

Swamp Creatures Series

Center for Security Policy, by Frank Gaffney, Sept. 6, 2017:

The Center for Security Policy has launched a new “Swamp Creatures Series” to identify individuals in the national security establishment starting with the National Security Council (NSC) itself. National Security Adviser (NSA) H.R. McMaster has repeatedly hired, retained and promoted staff whose records suggest their hostility towards President Trump’s policies and the agenda he ran on.

Center for Security Policy President Frank J. Gaffney unveiled the new series in an interview with Breitbart Radio host Raheem Kassam. He warned that, when combined with NSA McMaster’s rank insubordination (for example, his rejection of President Trump’s term “radical Islamic terrorism”) and his serial and often public repudiations of the President’s policies (notably, with respect to Iran, Qatar, Syria, Afghanistan, Israel and the Muslim Brotherhood), McMaster is surrounding President Trump with individuals on the NSC who oppose the Trump agenda – and purging those that support Trump – amounts to a “coup d’etat with respect to foreign and defense policy.”

With the release of the first installment in the Swamp Creatures Series, Mr. Gaffney announced:

President Trump ran for office on a platform that is, in important respects, at odds with the views of Lieutenant General McMaster and virtually all of those now populating the National Security Council staff. Ronald Reagan understood that “personnel is policy.” If those who are nominally Mr. Trump’s personnel actually support policies he ran against, the people who elected him will be grievously disappointed – and disserved. So will Donald Trump.

The Center intends to provide on an ongoing basis evidence of the degree to which President Trump has been saddled with staff who may be loyal to Gen. McMaster’s vision and priorities and, for example, those of Barack Obama, but would be hard-pressed faithfully to advance those of the incumbent Commander-in-Chief.

An example of how this works in practice can be found in the disagreement between President Trump and Gen. McMaster regarding the Obamabomb deal with Iran. Mr. Trump has repeatedly reviled what then-Secretary of State John Kerry finally confessed was just a “political understanding” as the worst agreement ever negotiated. McMaster, nonetheless, has aggressively supported continued U.S. adherence to the Iran Deal. In April, the President reportedly ordered his subordinates to prepare for him an alternative to certifying that Iran was in compliance with the deal and that it is in the interest of the United States. He is said to have been furious when no such option was provided ninety days later, compelling him once again to affirm such an inaccurate certification.

#1 Fernando Cutz – National Security Council

Administration Sources: Creepy Tweet Was a Coded Message to General McMaster About Leakers

National security adviser H.R. McMaster speaks during the news briefing at the White House, Friday, Aug. 25, 2017. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

PJ Media, by David Steinburg, Sept. 6, 2017:

A story fantastically strange, dancing between lowbrow and stupid, and it matters: this masterwork of a news item belongs in a time capsule, one day making the case to our descendants that we were, at least, blessed to live in interesting times.

Because this sort of thing happens in 2017, an alt-right crank who hasn’t won anyone’s trust beyond that of his loyal travelers seems to have become the white-whale obsession of National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster.

Also, a multi-national public relations campaign which occupied much of August — a campaign seemingly intended to repair General McMaster’s reputation with the President of the United States, to sully the reputation of Trump loyalists whom McMaster had removed from the National Security Council, and to drive out Steve Bannon and Sebastian Gorka, all in one shot — may have been unintentionally destroyed by said alt-Right crank tweeting the words …

“Spirit Animal” :

Mike Cernovich posted this tweet on August 11. To an objective observer, that’s inscrutable nonsense. And — also objectively — it’s creepy.

But when considered with its actual context, and pivotally, its timing, that rational observer should be driven to conclude that, ahem, the “McMaster what’s your spirit animal” tweet is a political thunderbolt with ramifications much beyond what Cernovich appears to have intended.

Here goes:

Sources within the Trump Administration claim that the “spirit animal” tweet is a reference to a small meeting that McMaster and select others within the National Security Council held in the days prior to August 11.

At that meeting, attendees reportedly joked about each other’s “spirit animals.” Indeed, as of this writing, I cannot neither confirm nor deny that a prominent member of the NSC is imbued with the soul of a platypus.

Since August 11, Cernovich has offered other information that also points to him having sourcing within the NSC. However, the “spirit animal” tweet reportedly represented a more concerning breach. Yet even so, the breach itself is of less evident concern to McMaster and his supporters than is the fact of its August 11 publication.

Why?

Because if Cernovich still had a source leaking to him on that date or in the days immediately prior, then the tweet necessarily deconstructs much of the past month’s administration-orchestrated media defense of General McMaster’s personnel decisions.

———————–

In early August, General McMaster came under enormous pressure — spearheaded by the Jerusalem Post’s Caroline Glick and the Zionist Organization of America’s Morton Klein — for having seemingly purged the NSC of all members who aligned with candidate Trump’s Mideast policy. “Radical Islamic terror” and the destruction of the Iran nuclear deal was out; the continuance of Obama-era policies behind the “Arab Spring” catastrophe had apparently returned.

Wrote Glick on August 2:

McMaster disagrees and actively undermines Trump’s agenda on just about every salient issue on his agenda. He fires all of Trump’s loyalists and replaces them with Trump’s opponents, like Kris Bauman, an Israel hater and Hamas supporter who McMaster hired to work on the Israel-Palestinian desk.

He allows anti-Israel, pro-Muslim Brotherhood, pro-Iran Obama people like Robert Malley to walk around the NSC and tell people what to do and think. He has left Ben (reporters know nothing about foreign policy and I lied to sell them the Iran deal) Rhodes’ and Valerie Jarrett’s people in place.

And he not only is remaining at his desk. He is given the freedom to fire Trump’s most loyal foreign policy advisers from the National Security Council.

On August 9, Morton Klein released a statement on behalf of the ZOA which included this passage:

The duties of the National Security Council (NSC) include “coordinat[ing] and direct[ing] the activities of the United States Government relating to combating transnational threats.” 50 U.S.C. § 3021(i). It is thus alarming that National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster purged from the NSC those officials who were carrying out President Trump’s policies of combating Iranian and radical Islamist transnational threats, and purged from the NSC those officials who support the U.S.-Israel alliance — an alliance that is vital to America’s ability to combat radical Islamist terrorism.

Instead, General McMaster has appointed officials who are holdovers from the Obama administration, who favor the Iran nuclear deal and are hostile to Israel — officials who are diametrically opposed to President Trump’s policies. Moreover, new revelations demonstrate that General McMaster’s ideology is antagonistic to the President’s policies on these vital issues.

Since then, McMaster and a large contingent of administration and media allies have chosen to defend his behavior primarily as the restoration of Executive Branch decorum and as the necessary removal of “alt-Right” thinkers. These defenses included implications that the purged members had been leaking to the disreputable Mike Cernovich.

With “spirit animal,” however, Cernovich managed the improbable feat of wiping out several weeks of PR crafted by some of the administration’s most powerful figures, because the fact of his tweet’s August 11 publication date establishes the following truth:

On the date of the “spirit animal” meeting, NO ONE with fealty to Trump’s aggressively pro-Israel, anti-Obama/Iran nuclear deal campaign platform — without which, he likely loses to Hillary — remained at the NSC.

Yet Cernovich’s source was still in the room.

So we now have a strong repudiation of the narrative component of the purge which — with the later resignation of Sebastian Gorka (who had long been unwelcome at the NSC) and his public resignation note confirming that such a purge had indeed been afoot — successfully removed every Trump Administration official aligned with Trump’s campaign promises regarding national security.

————

On August 11, I published a story at PJ Media identifying the National Security Council officials whom administration sources claim had been coordinating August’s public relations defense of McMaster. My concern at that time was the apparent dishonesty in how McMaster’s defenders have attacked both his critics and the members of NSC whom McMaster has fired or otherwise helped remove:

Deputy National Security Adviser Rick Waddell, Senior Director for Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Gulf States Joel Rayburn, and Yll Bajraktari, a former special assistant to the deputy secretary of defense during the Obama administration, have been coordinating an extensive public relations campaign in support of embattled National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster, according to multiple sources.

Members of the national security community who spoke with PJ Media describe the talking points used during this effort to defend McMaster’s tenure as NSA as “absurd,” “dishonest,” and “comically inaccurate.” But sources primarily expressed anger regarding insinuations that NSC members fired by McMaster or otherwise no longer in their positions — such as K.T. McFarland, Rich Higgins, Adam Lovinger, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, and Derek Harvey — are gone for reasons other than ideology.

Over the past week, several media accounts have painted them as “conspiratorial” members of the “alt-right,” possibly leaking information to the controversial Mike Cernovich, and possibly working in tandem with Russian social media accounts. Such claims, which have been picked up by several outlets, are reportedly doing lasting damage to reputations and careers.

Further, multiple sources believe McMaster and his allies within the administration are using such “career-ending” “swamp” tactics with the knowledge that the fired members and supportive colleagues — due to the nature of their careers within the national security realm — do not necessarily have the option of defending themselves in the public sphere.

Yes, Mike Cernovich does indeed have sourcing within the administration. And apparently he has occasionally released accurate information regarding the workings of the NSC. However, I’m hard-pressed to find anyone who was aware of this situation prior to reading of it in this August 4 piece in The Atlantic. And that should lead our objective observer towards identifying cynical motives behind Cernovich receiving unwarranted attention from McMaster.

In that article, the Atlantic’s Rosie Gray revealed that — among the myriad leaks to various outlets that are assumed to have originated from the NSC, including the Washington Post’s atrocious decision to publish transcripts of President Trump’s phone calls with two foreign statesmen — McMaster had seemingly prioritized plugging the leak to the popular-within-the-alt-Right-but-otherwise-irrelevant Cernovich. Sources could only speculate as to why McMaster has been so concerned with the one voice that could be most simply dispatched as a purveyor of false information. Indeed, Cernovich — recall “Pizzagate”? — has otherwise carried out that mission on his own.

But it’s clear that, as August came, Cernovich was a useful foil for defending McMaster against charges of purging the NSC of conservatives.

Suddenly, America was being told that McMaster had not been systematically removing those who questioned his embrace of the Obama-era policy of discounting the Islamic roots of terror and jihad. Instead, as we were told, McMaster was indeed tough on Iran and Mahmoud Abbas, and had actually been doing Trump’s bidding by removing “alt-Right” liabilities suspected of leaking to a man with the reputation of a conspiracist kook.

Throughout August, elements of this narrative were spread by influential outlets and think tanks, by Sunday morning talk shows, by Senator John McCain, by the U.S. ambassador to Israel, and even by a friendly in the Netanyahu administration.

Perhaps Senator McCain’s contribution most shamelessly embraced the smear tactic. McCain released a statement declaring that the outside pressure to have General McMaster removed from the NSC — which, as all of D.C. knew at the timepresumably including McCain, had been spearheaded by former IDF captain Caroline Glick and Morton Klein, child of Holocaust survivors and president of the Zionist Organization of America — instead arose “from the same purveyors of hatred and ignorance who precipitated the recent violence in Charlottesville.”

Yes — Senator McCain employed shameless expediency to turn “Glick and Klein” into … the Klan.

And until now, that disingenuous campaign had been remarkably successful.

“McMaster is purging the alt-Right leakers” soon became “McMaster can’t work with alt-Right leaker Steve Bannon and alt-Right leaker Sebastian Gorka.” Both are out. Truly, everyone who had been brought on as complementary to Trump’s Mideast campaign promises is now out, as Sebastian Gorka summarized in his public resignation letter.

But Cernovich’s leaker is still there.

—————-

So America is now presented with two options to consider regarding what has transpired throughout 2017 at the NSC under National Security Adviser McMaster:

A. Either McMaster has chosen to restaff the NSC only with people loyal to Mideast policy he has embraced throughout his recent career, even though his policy preferences are in intractable opposition to those of the current Commander-in-Chief; or —

B. Several career intelligence officials of high regard, all of whom shared the distinction of having been selected for duty at the NSC because they were loyalists to Trump’s Mideast platform, somehow became Trump antagonists once McMaster, the real Trump loyalist, was appointed to lead them.

Then some of these officials, concerned about McMaster’s leadership, decided to risk their careers by leaking private, even confidential, information to the media.

Having made this decision, they then considered which outlet was the wisest choice for disseminating their concerns, and lo, they went with … Pizzagate guy.

So August’s narrative needs to end now, and wondrously, it’s all due to a creepy tweet from an apparent conspiracist who may or may not have realized what he was doing. While normal, everyday Americans hopefully get a kick out of that, the media needs to return to demanding McMaster answer everyone’s initial questions:

  1.  Why did you purge the NSC of every official loyal to Trump’s Middle East campaign platform?
  2. Why have you instead placed Obama administration holdovers in key positions?

McMaster brings top Obama admin officials into NSC, sources say

INFLUENTIAL OBAMA PENTAGON STAFF MEMBERS NOW HOLD SENIOR NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL ROLES.

Conservative Review, by Jordan Schachtel, Aug. 31, 2017:

National security adviser H.R. McMaster has quietly pulled in high-ranking officials from the Obama administration into senior positions on his staff, current and former administration officials told Conservative Review.

In recent months, McMaster has hired influential members of the Obama Pentagon. One of these individuals was assigned to boost the Iran nuclear deal with Tehran, while the other became a trusted aide to former defense chief Ash Carter.

The recent hires are Ylli and Ylber Bajraktari, Albanian-Kosovan brothers who elevated to the top of government in the Obama administration.

A 2016 Medium profile of the brothers describes the major influence they have had in crafting policies for the previous administration.

“I have never heard of a story of two brothers playing such a critical behind-the-scenes role at the Pentagon,” Carl Woog, a senior Obama NSC adviser, commented to Partnership for Public Service.

“Ylber travels with [Sec. Carter] to international destinations and attends all his Pentagon meetings on foreign policy matters,” the article said.

At the time, Ylber (pronounced ill-BEAR) was deputy chief of staff to Secretary of Defense Carter, where he helped develop the Obama administration’s foreign policy, focusing on Iran and Iraq. Ylber also worked on the administration’s highly controversial nuclear deal with the Tehran regime.

Ylli (pronounced ill-lee) served as a special assistant to the Obama Pentagon’s deputy secretary, Robert Work, and his job was to “make sure” that the top Obama officials’ “visions are being completed,” Ylli told Medium.

Less than four months after their glowing profile on Medium, Ylber and Ylli witnessed the election of Donald J. Trump. Since the Democrats were no longer in power, their bosses lost their powerful jobs in government.

But H.R. McMaster has recently adopted a good many Ash Carter protégés, bringing Obama administration officials back into power. At the same time, McMaster got rid of much of President Trump’s initial wave of hires upon entering government.

Yll now serves as a close confidant to McMaster, in a position described by a current officialas a gatekeeper to the national security adviser (comparable to the role of a chief of staff). Ylli reviews all requests before they reach McMaster’s desk.

Meanwhile, Ylber is the National Security Council’s senior director for defense policy.

After initial reports surfaced on social media pertaining to the brothers’ role in the White House, figures from left-wing institutions and think tanks quickly emerged to defend them.

“Ylli’s story is what makes America great. It was an honor to serve with him,” said Carl Woog.

“Ylli is a patriot. He embodies the American dream & served the US in non-political DoD roles for years,” said Colin Kahl, the national security adviser to former Vice President Joe Biden.

“Ylli Bajraktari is a kind, honest & dedicated civil servant,” adds Jacqueline Ramos, a fellow at the left-wing Center for a New American Security.

Though the national security adviser continues to populate the NSC with individuals and influences from the past administration, not everyone is convinced that the White House is a lost cause for President Trump’s base.

“I know the president will very rapidly come to understand that people around him at the senior levels of government are not serving him properly and honorably with regard to the advice and options they’re giving him,” Dr. Sebastian Gorka, who recently stepped down as special assistant to the president, tells Conservative Review.

“The president doesn’t just rely upon the counsel of those inside the White House,” Gorka said, predicting that Trump will “make some personnel decisions in the short to medium term that will strengthen the base that actually got the president elected.”

The National Security Council has not responded to a request for comment on this story. Should that change, this story will be updated to include the comment.

Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel.

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