Obama used NSA & FBI to spy on Trump – veteran CIA officer Gary Berntsen

RT – SophieCo, March 17, 2017: (go to RT for video)

The mighty CIA has fallen victim to a major breach, with WikiLeaks revealing the true scope of the Agency’s ability for cyber-espionage. Its tools seem to be aimed at ordinary citizens – your phone, your car, your TV, even your fridge can become an instrument of surveillance in the hands of the CIA. How does the CIA use these tools, and why do they need them in the first place? And as WikiLeaks promises even more revelations, how is all of this going to shape the already tense relationship between new president and the intelligence community? A man who has spent over two decades in the CIA’s clandestine service – Gary Berntsen is on SophieCo.

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Sophie Shevardnadze: Gary Berntsen, former CIA official, welcome to the show, great to have you with us. Now, Vault 7, a major batch of CIA docs revealed by Wikileaks uncovers the agency’s cyber tools. We’re talking about world’s most powerful intelligence agency – how exactly did the CIA lose control of its arsenal of hacking weapons?

Gary Berntsen: First off, I’d like to say that the world has changed a lot in the last several decades, and people are communicating in many different ways and intelligence services, whether they be American or Russian, are covering these communications and their coverage of those communications has evolved. Without commenting on the specific validity of those tools, it was clear that the CIA was surely using contractors to be involved in this process, not just staff officers, and that individuals decided that they had problems with U.S. policy, and have leaked these things to Wikileaks. This is a large problem, for the U.S. community, but just as the U.S. is having problems, the Russia face similar problems. Just this week you had multiple members of the FSB charged with hacking as well, and they have been charged by the U.S. government. So both services who are competitors, face challenges as we’ve entered a new era of mass communications.

SS: So like you’re saying, the leaker or leakers of the CIA docs is presumably a CIA contractor – should the agency be spending more effort on vetting its own officers? Is the process rigorous enough?

GB: Clearly. Look… There have been individuals since the dawn of history. Espionage is the second oldest occupation, have conducted spying and espionage operations, and there have been people who have turned against their own side and worked for competitors and worked for those opposing the country or the group that they’re working with. It’s been a problem from the beginning, and it continues to be a problem, and the U.S. clearly is going to have to do a much better job at vetting those individuals who are given security clearances, without a doubt.

SS: The CIA studied the flaws in the software of devices like iPhones, Androids, Smart TVs, apps like Whatsapp that left them exposed to hacking, but didn’t care about patching those up –  so, in essence the agency chose to leave Americans vulnerable to cyberattacks, rather than protect them?

GB: I think you have to understand, in this world that we’re operating and the number one target of our intelligence community are terrorists. Since the attacks of 9\11, 16 years ago, the obsession of the American intelligence community is to identify those planning terrorist attacks, collecting information on them and being able to defeat them. These individuals are using all these means of communication. I have spoken with many security services around the world, since my retirement back in 2005-2006, a lot of them have had problems covering the communications of somebody’s very devices and programs that you’ve talked about – whether they be narcotraffickers or salafist jihadists, they are all piggybacking off of commercial communications. Therefore the need for modern intelligence services to sort of provide coverage of all means of communications. And there’s a price that you pay for that.

SS: One of the most disturbing parts of the leaks is the “Weeping Angel” program – CIA hacking into Samsung Smart TVs to record what’s going on even when the TV appears to be turned off. Why are the CIA’s tools designed to penetrate devices used by ordinary Western citizens at home?

GB: Look, I wouldn’t say it has anything to do with Western homes, because the CIA doesn’t do technical operations against American citizens – that’s prohibited by the law. If the CIA does anything in the U.S., it does it side-by-side with the FBI, and it does it according to FISA – the Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Act laws. It’s gotta go to the judge to do those things. Those tools are used primarily against the individuals and terrorists that are targeting the U.S. or other foreign entities that we see as a significant threat to the U.S. national security, which is the normal functioning of any intelligence service.

SS: Just like you say, the CIA insists it never uses its investigative tools on American citizens in the US, but, we’re wondering, exactly how many terrorist camps in the Middle East have Samsung Smart TVs to watch their favorite shows on? Does it seem like the CIA lost its direction?

GB: Plenty of them.

SS: Plenty?…

GB: I’ve travelled in the Middle East, Samsungs are sold everywhere. Sophie, Samsung TVs are sold all over the world. I’ve spent a lot of time in the Middle East, I’ve seen them in Afghanistan, I’ve seen them everywhere. So, any kind of devices that you can imagine, people are using everywhere. We’re in a global economy now.

SS: The CIA has tools to hack iPhones – but they make up only around 15 % of the world’s smartphone market. IPhones are not popular among terrorists, but they are among business and political elites – so are they the real target here?

GB: No. The CIA in relative terms to the size of the world is a small organisation. It is an organisation that has roughly 20 or more thousand people – it’s not that large in terms of covering a planet with 7 billion people. We have significant threats to the U.S. and to the Western world. We live in an age of super-terrorism, we live in an age when individuals, small groups of people, can leverage technology at a lethal effect. The greatest threats to this planet are not just nuclear, they are bio. The U.S. needs to have as many tools as possible to defend itself against these threats, as does Russia want to have similar types of tools to defend itself. You too, Russian people have suffered from a number of terrible terrorist acts.

SS: Wikileaks suggest the CIA copied the hacking habits of other nations to create a fake electronic trace – why would the CIA need that?

GB: The CIA, as any intelligence service, would look to conduct coverage in the most unobtrusive fashion as possible. It is going to do its operations so that they can collect and collect again and again against terrorist organisations, where and whenever it can, because sometimes threats are not just static, they are continuous.

SS: You know this better, so enlighten me: does the he CIA have the authorisation to create the surveillance tools it had in the first place? Who gives it such authorisation?

GB: The CIA was created in 1947 by the National Security Act of the U.S. and does two different things – it does FI (foreign intelligence) collection and it does CA – covert action. Its rules for collection of intelligence were enshrined in the law that created it, the CIA Act 110, in 1949, but the covert action part of this, where it does active measures, when it gets involved in things – all of those are covered by law. The Presidential finding had to be written, it had to be presented to the President. The President’s signs off on those things. Those things are then briefed to members of Congress, or the House Permanent Subcommittee for Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee for Intelligence. We have a very rigorous process of review of the activities of our intelligence communities in the U.S.

SS: But you’re talking about the activities in terms of operations. I’m just asking – does CIA need any authorisation or permission to create the tools it has in its arsenal? Or it can just go ahead…

GB: Those tools         and the creation of collection tools falls under the same laws that allowed the CIA to be established. And that was the 1949 Intelligence Act. And also, subsequently, the laws in 1975. Yes.

SS: So, the CIA programme names are quite colourful, sometimes wacky –  “Weeping Angel”, “Swamp Monkey”, “Brutal Kangaroo” – is there a point to these, is there any logic, or are they completely random? I always wondered…

GB: There’s absolutely no point to that, and it’s random.

SS:Okay, so how do you come up with those names? Who… like, one says: “Monkey” and another one says: “Kangaroo”?…

GB: I’m sure they are computer-generated.

SS: Trump accused Obama of wiretapping him during the campaign… Could the CIA have actually spied on the president? It seems like the agency doesn’t have the best relationship with Donald Trump – how far can they go?

GB: Let me just say this: the President used the word “wiretapping” but I think it was very clear to us that have been in the intelligence business, that this was a synonym for “surveillance”. Because most people are on cellphones, people aren’t using landlines anymore, so there’s no “wiretapping”, okay. These all fall under the Intelligence Surveillance Act, as I stated earlier, this thing existing in the U.S.. It was clear to President Trump and to those in his campaign, after they were elected, and they did a review back that the Obama Administration sought FISA authorisation to do surveillance of the Trump campaign in July and then in October. They were denied in July, they were given approval in October, and in October they did some types of surveillance of the Trump campaign. This is why the President, of course, tweeted, that he had been “wiretapped” – of course “wiretapping” being a synonym for the surveillance against his campaign, which was never heard of in the U.S. political history that I can remember, I can’t recall any way of this being done. It’s an outrage, and at the same time, Congressional hearings are going to be held and they are going to review all of these things, and they are going to find out exactly what happened and what was done. It’s unclear right now, but all we do know – and it has been broken in the media that there were two efforts, and at the second one, the authorisation was given. That would never have been done by the CIA, because they don’t do that sort of coverage in the U.S.. That would either be the FBI or the NSA, with legal authorities and those authorities… the problem that the Trump administration had is they believed that the information from these things was distributed incorrectly. Any time an American –  and this is according to the U.S. law – any time an American is on the wire in the U.S., their names got to be minimized from this and it clearly wasn’t done and the Trump administration was put in a bad light because of this.

SS: If what you’re saying is true, how does that fall under foreign intelligence? Is that more of the FBI-NSA expertise?

GB: It was FBI and NSA – it was clearly the FBI and the NSA that were involved, it would never have been the CIA doing that, they don’t listen to telephones in the U.S., they read the product of other agencies that would provide those things, but clearly, there were individuals on those phone calls that they believed were foreign and were targeting those with potential communications with the Trump campaign. Let’s be clear here – General Clapper, the DNI for President Obama, stated before he left office, that there was no, I repeat, no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. This has been something that has been dragged out again, and again, and again, by the media. This is a continuing drumbeat of the mainstream, left-wing media of the U.S., topaint the President in the poorest light, to attempt to discredit Donald Trump.

SS: With the intelligence agencies bringing down Trump’s advisors like Michael Flynn – and you said the people behind that were Obama’s loyalists – can we talk about the intelligence agencies being too independent from the White House, playing their own politics?

GB: I think part of the problem that we’ve seen during the handover of power from President Obama to President Trump was that there was a number of holdovers that went from political appointee to career status that had been placed in the NatSec apparatus and certain parts of the intelligence organisations. It is clear that President Trump and his team are determined to remove those people to make sure that there’s a continuity of purpose and people aren’t leaking information that would put the Administration into a negative light. That’s the goal of the administration, to conduct itself consistent with the goals of securing the country from terrorism and other potential threats – whether they be counter-narcotics, or intelligence agencies trying to breach our… you know, the information that we hold secure.

SS: Here’s a bit of conspiracy theories – could it be that the domestic surveillance agencies like the NSA or the FBI orchestrated the Vault 7 leaks  – to damage CIA, stop it from infringing on their turf?

GB :I really don’t think so and that is conspiracy  thinking. You have to understand something, in the intelligence communities in the U.S., whether it be the CIA and FBI, we’ve done a lot of cross-fertilizations. When I was in senior position in CIA’s counterterrorism center, I had a deputy who was an FBI officer. An office in FBI HQ down in Washington had an FBI lead with a CIA deputy. There’s a lot more cooperation than one would think. There are individuals that do assignments in each other’s organisations to help foster levels of cooperation. I had members of NSA in my staff when I was at CIA, members of diplomatic security, members of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and it was run like a task force, so, there’s a lot more cooperation than the media presents, they always think that there are these huge major battles between the organisations and that’s rarely true.

SS: Generally speaking – is there rivalry between American intel agencies at all? Competition for resources, maybe?

GB: I think, sometimes, between the Bureau and the CIA – the CIA is the dominant agency abroad, and the FBI is the dominant agency in the U.S. What they do abroad, they frequently have to get cleared by us, what we do domestically, we have to get cleared by them, and sometimes there’s some friction, but usually, we’re able to work this out. It makes for great news, the CIA fighting FBI, but the reality is that there’s a lot more cooperation than confrontation. We are all in the business of trying to secure the American homeland and American interests globally.

SS: I’m still thinking a lot about the whole point of having this hacking arsenal for the CIA since you talk on their behalf – the possibility to hack phones, computers, TVs and cars – if the actual terrorist attacks on US soil, like San Bernardino, Orlando are still missed?

GB: Look. There are hundreds of individuals, if not thousands, planning efforts against the U.S. at any  time. It can be many-many things. And the U.S. security services, there’s the CIA, the FBI, NSA – block many-many of these things, but it is impossible to stop them all. Remember, this is an open society here, in America, with 320 million people, here. We try to foster open economic system, we allow more immigration to America than all countries in the world combined. This is a great political experiment here, but it’s also very difficult to police. There are times that the U.S. security services are going to fail. It’s inevitable. We just have to try the best we can, do the best job that we can, while protecting the values that attract so many people to the U.S.

SS:The former CIA director John Brennan is saying Trump’s order to temporarily ban travel from some Muslim states is not going to help fight terrorism in ‘any significant way’. And the countries where the terrorists have previously come from – like Saudi Arabia, or Afghanistan, it’s true – aren’t on the list. So does he maybe have a point?

GB: John Brennan is acting more like a political operative than a former director of CIA. The countries that Mr. Trump had banned initially, or at least had put a partial, sort of a delay – where states like Somalia, Libya, the Sudan, Iran – places where we couldn’t trust local vetting. Remember something, when someone immigrates to the U.S., we have what’s called an “immigration packet”: they may have to get a chest X-ray to make sure they don’t bring any diseases with them, they have to have background check on any place they’ve ever lived, and in most of these places there are no security forces to do background checks on people that came from Damascus, because parts of Damascus are totally destroyed – there’s been warfare. It is actually a very reasonable thing for President Trump to ask for delay in these areas. Look, the Crown-Prince, the Deputy Crown-Prince of Saudi Arabia was just in the United States and met with Donald Trump, and he said he didn’t believe it was a “ban on Muslims”. This was not a “ban on Muslims”, it was an effort to slow down and to create more opportunity to vet those individuals coming from states where there’s a preponderance of terrorist organisations operating. A reasonable step by President Trump, something he promised during the campaign, something he’s fulfilling. But again, I repeat – America allows more immigration into the U.S., than all countries combined. So, we really don’t need to be lectured on who we let in and who we don’t let in.

SS: But I still wonder if the Crown-Prince would’ve had the same comment had Saudi Arabia been on that ban list. Anyways, Michael Hayden, ex-CIA…

GB: Wait a second, Sophie – the Saudis have a reasonable form to police their society, and they provide accurate police checks. If they didn’t create accurate police checks, we would’ve given the delay to them as well.

SS: Ok, I got your point. Now, Michael Hayden, ex-CIA and NSA chief, pointed out that the US intelligence enlists agents in the Muslim world with the promise of eventual emigration to America – is Trump’s travel ban order going to hurt American intelligence gathering efforts in the Middle East?

GB: No, the question here – there were individuals that worked as translators for us in Afghanistan and Iraq and serving in such roles as translators, they were promised the ability to immigrate to the United States. Unfortunately, some of them were blocked in the first ban that was put down, because individuals who wrote that, didn’t consider that. That has been considered in the re-write, that the Trump administration had submitted, which is now being attacked by a judge in Hawaii, and so it was taken into consideration, but… the objective here was to help those that helped U.S. forces on the ground, especially those who were translators, in ground combat operations, where they risked their lives alongside American soldiers.

SS:You worked in Afghanistan – you were close to capturing Bin Laden back in 2001 – what kind of spying tools are actually used on the ground by the CIA to catch terrorists?

GB: The CIA as does any intelligence service in the world, is a human business. It’s a business where we work with local security forces to strengthen their police and intelligence forces, we attempt to leverage them, we have our own people on the ground that speak the language, we’re trying to help build transportation there. There’s no “secret sauce” here. There’s no super-technology that changes the country’s ability to conduct intelligence collections or operations. In Afghanistan the greatest thing that the U.S. has is broad support and assistance to Afghan men and women across the country. We liberated half of the population, and for women were providing education, and when the people see what we were doing: trying to build schools, providing USAID projects – all of these things – this makes the population willing to work with and support the United States. Frequently, members of the insurgence groups will see this and sometimes they do actually cross the lines and cooperate with us. So, it’s a full range of American political power, whether it’s hard or soft, that is the strength of the American intelligence services – because  people in the world actually believe – and correctly so – that American more than generally a force of good in the world.

SS: Gary, thank you so much for this interesting interview and insight into the world of the CIA. We’ve been talking to Gary Berntsen, former top CIA officer, veteran of the agency, talking about the politics of American intelligence in the Trump era. That’s it for this edition of SophieCo, I will see you next time.

***

While searching for the RT video on YouTube I found this recent interview with Gary Berntsen by Newsfirst Sri Lanka:

Some Quick Thoughts on WikiLeaks’s Release of CIA Hacking Documents

National Review, by Fred Fleitz, March 7, 2017:

What every American should know about the CIA analyst who quit and blamed Trump

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Center for Security Policy, by Fred Fleitz, March 1, 2017:

Last week, Edward Price, a former CIA analyst, became a media darling after the Washington Post published Price’s op-ed announcing his resignation from the CIA because he was unable to serve the Trump administration in good faith because of President Trump’s policies and disregard for the U.S. Intelligence Community.

 While several media outlets rushed to interview Price and depict him as an ethical, non-political CIA officer who rejected what he claimed was the “deceitful” and “delusional” Trump administration, a brief look at the facts suggest not only is this a blatant instance of fake news, but that Price is a “fake” CIA analyst.

 OK, Price really did work for the CIA.  But for the past several years he was a member of the Obama National Security Council staff, apparently on a detail assignment from the CIA.  His NSC job was serving as a spokesman and helping deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes run the Obama NSC “echo chamber” that misled the news media, Congress and the American people about the July 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.  Price even bragged to New York Times writer David Samuels about how he manipulated and lied to the press to promote the Iran deal.

Price’s selective outrage over Trump administration’s polices – which are still being finalized – while he was part of the Obama Iran deal echo chamber is pretty galling.  It’s also hard to square Price’s NSC position with his statements to the Post that his resignation had “nothing to do with politics” and said “as intelligence professionals, we’re taught to tune out politics.”  Price also apparently had no problem with the CIA crafting politicized talking points on the Benghazi terrorist attacks in 2014 or the Obama administration pressuring CENTCOM intelligence analyststo slant their analysis of ISIS to favor Obama administration policy.

 I also wonder why, if Price is really such a paragon of virtue and a champion of keeping politics out of intelligence, that he didn’t resign last summer after Senator Harry Reid called on intelligence analysts to give Candidate Trump fake intelligence briefings.

But the bigger question is why the CIA was paying Price to be an Obama administration political hack.  Once Price assumed such an extremely partisan NSC job, he stopped being a bona fide intelligence officer.  A CIA officer should never have been allowed to serve in a job like this or to participate in a scheme to mislead the American people and the U.S. Congress.

This also is fake news because the mainstream media left out crucial facts.  For example, Price contributed a total of $5,000 to the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party in 2016.  This was a huge contribution for a government employee and suggests Price was angling for a senior job in a Clinton administration.  None of the mainstream media press accounts I reviewed mentions this contribution, although the Washington Post added the following clarification to the Price story after it was criticized for omitting this information:

“Clarification: This column should have included a disclosure of donations made by author Edward Price in support of 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. In August, Price gave a total of $5,000 to the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party.”

All of the mainstream media accounts also omitted that Price is a fellow with the Truman Project, a leftwing think tank that served as a mouthpiece for the Obama administration, and that he worked for several Democratic political campaigns.

Price’s resignation had everything to do with politics.  This is the story of a liberal political hack quitting a Republican administration.  Price engineered a splashy resignation advertised on the opinion pages of the Washington Post as part of the Democratic Party’s effort to undermine President Trump and to secure himself a well-paid perch in a liberal think tank to bash the Trump administration.  The media’s coverage of Price’s resignation is typical of its extremely biased coverage of President Trump.

The bottom line: this is fake news about a fake CIA officer.

The Return of the Shadow Warriors

American Thinker, by Daniel Ashman, Feb. 24, 2017:

Michael Flynn was fired from the Trump administration following vague, somewhat concerning, leaks about a phone conversation he had with the Russian ambassador. The intelligence community (IC) leaked this conversation to damage President Trump, who had previously tweeted, “Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to ‘leak’ into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?”

These are glimpses into the soft civil war taking place between the IC and the democratically elected president.

shadow-wThis fight should be completely unsurprising. Kenneth Timmerman, in 2007, wrote a fabulous book called Shadow Warriors, which documented bureaucrats in the State Department and CIA, i.e. shadow warriors, nakedly harming President Bush. What Timmerman had the foresight to catalog years ago now serves as an explanatory backdrop to what is happening between Trump and the IC.

When IC people attack Flynn, it is not safe to take them at their word. They could be working for political reasons — or simply personal ambition. Timmerman provides many recent historical examples which show them doing exactly this. The IC has damaged their own credibility.

One example is the 2005 confirmation hearings for John Bolton as ambassador to the UN. The Democrats blocked Bolton’s nomination due to a confrontation he had with a State Department analyst, Christian Westermann. Democrats claimed Bolton’s actions had “grave and far-reaching implications for American credibility”.

What was Bolton’s horrible deed? He had written a speech, “Beyond the Axis of Evil,” to communicate the threats Americans faced from biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons, from actors beyond North Korea, Iran, and Iraq. Bolton stated that Cuba had a biological weapons program and shared data with other states.

Westermann, based on the intelligence work of Ana Montes, went behind Bolton’s back to stop him. The problem is that Ana Montes was convicted in 2002 of espionage for Cuba. She avoided a death penalty by plea bargaining down to twenty-five years in jail.

Prior to conviction, Ana had been the top analyst on Cuba for the entire American IC. After her conviction, her disinformation remained in the system. Westermann was relying on the work of a Cuban spy to subvert Bolton. In response, Bolton had a frank conversation with Westermann.

In the confirmation hearings, Democrats and Westermann had turned the whole issue around on Bolton. Bolton was punished for speaking the truth about Cuba, and punished for confronting a bureaucrat in the IC about carrying water for a Cuban spy.

Like Bolton, Flynn has a reputation for calling stupid people out on stupid behavior. Maybe the IC took out Flynn because they are true patriots who think he posed a risk to America. Or maybe it’s because they didn’t like his political orientation and policy goals. Maybe it’s simply because he was going to tell the truth and make them look bad. One thing is certain, ascribing nefarious motivations to their actions is not a conspiracy theory, as Timmerman has documented this type of behavior.

The IC uses various disinformation methods to achieve their nefarious goals. One example Timmerman gives covers how CIA man Stephen Kappes hid important intelligence from the American people.

Kappes was in the CIA for over two decades so this is exactly the sort of “career IC” man one would expect to be nonpolitical. As deputy director, he was the second most powerful man in the CIA, so one would hope he would put patriotic love for America first.

The Bush administration had obtained media from an Arab television station which showed how the war had been effective at stopping terrorists. Bush wanted to share the video with the American people.

Timmerman writes what Kappes response was, “You’ve got to tell them they can’t use that tape unless they want to answer to me for getting one of my guys killed”. This would have been a laudable reason for Kappes to stop the information from coming out. The only problem was that Kappes was lying.

The CIA director and Bush appointee Porter Goss first told Bush not to publish the tape, to protect Kappes’s source. Then when Goss learned Kappes had lied, he went back to Bush to explain what had happened and clear release of the tape.

Bush lost trust in Goss. Only a couple of years later, in 2006, Goss was forced out of the CIA. Meanwhile, Kappes served as number two at the CIA into 2010. One lie from Kappes had served to hurt Republicans, prevent the truth from getting out to the public, hurt Goss, destabilized the administration, and furthered his own career. What a success! …for a shadow warrior.

Kappes’ deception figures as a relatively simple one in Timmerman’s book, in this instance anyway, as Kappes pops up fighting the shadow war numerous times.

Timmerman also recounts the Valerie Plame affair, which shows how the CIA carries out sophisticated psychological operations against America.

As readers will recall, CIA agent Valerie Plame arranged for her husband, Joe Wilson, to go to Niger to investigate whether Iraq was trying to buy uranium. Remarkably, Wilson was not bound to a confidentiality agreement. After the Iraq War started, Wilson went public bashing Bush. When Republicans defended themselves, Valerie Plame’s name came out, and Republicans got scorched again for leaking the name of a CIA agent

As then-senator Zell Miller wrote, “The rules on agents are clear. They can’t purposely distort gathered intelligence, go public with secret information or use their position or information to manipulate domestic elections or matters without risking their job or jail. But their spouse can!”

Wilson’s public attack on Bush wasn’t even truthful. Wilson focused on one piece of evidence, some forged documents, to discredit the idea that Iraq was trying to buy uranium. He completely bypassed the fact that an Iraqi delegation had gone to Niger in 1999 headed by Iraqi nuclear expert Wissam al-Zahawie. Wilson used a half-truth to deceive.

This CIA operation has permanently changed America. Many Americans now “know” that Bush lied. The Republican brand was damaged forever. And efforts to employ violence in self-defense against dictators working to procure uranium have been undercut.

What Trump is facing from the IC is nothing new. It is simply Shadow Warriors Part Two. As Timmerman has documented, a significant number of people in the IC, the shadow warriors, have a history of subverting America and democratically elected presidents, for political reasons. Anyone who says this is impossible is lying or ignorant of history.

Given the IC’s rabid lying attacks on Bush, there is no particular reason to believe them now. The attacks on Trump must especially be taken with skepticism as they come from anonymous sources, are vague, and merely hint at wrongdoing. Until the IC gives hard evidence that Flynn or Trump are Russian agents, these attacks say more about the IC than Trump. It suggests that certain shadow warriors perceive Trump as a threat to their well-being, and that they don’t like Trump’s policy stances. Never mind that he won the election in a free country.

One recurring theme in Shadow Warriors is that under the Bush administration, the shadow warriors didn’t face consequences. Westermann was not fired for spreading Cuban disinformation, nor for his political attempts to harm Bolton. Kappes was not fired for lying to Goss. And Plame actually got rich and famous.

Trump has approached these situations entirely differently from Bush. He has called out the IC for illegal subversive behavior in a direct and public manner.

There is a wonderful thread on Reddit in the Donald Trump forum (because the generic politics section of Reddit has banished Trump supporters), where users hypothesize that Flynn and Trump lured the IC into leaking Flynn’s private conversation on purpose, “In a single day, the deep state went from tinfoil hat conspiracy to common public knowledge. Amazing.”

It is impossible to know what Trump and Flynn’s intentions were, but these ideas are not so far-fetched. Shadow warriors exist. And by baiting them into leaks which self-expose, Trump would merely be using the same play that Plame and Wilson used when they baited Republicans into outing her, only this time the shadow warriors were the victim. Either way, Trump’s response to the IC has been strong.

As Zell Miller realized over a decade ago, “Something has to be done. We can’t let the CIA become the domestic dirty tricks shop, with Republican and Democratic agents each trying to pull down their opposing presidents.” Kenneth Timmerman has gone to great lengths to document these past abuses, which explain the current situation, and predict the future. A man ignorant of shadow warriors is but a wounded lion, staggering as the IC hyenas stalk from the shadows.

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Leaky John Brennan

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The American Spectator, by George Neumayr, February 17, 2017

Out of hatred for McGovernite liberals, a Republican president in the 1970s broke the law. Now those aging radicals break the law out of hatred for a Republican president.

Nested within intelligence agencies, they have fed a series of criminal leaks to a press corps that functions like an anti-Trump dirty tricks operation.

Donald Trump has publicly speculated that former CIA director John Brennan is one of the criminal leakers. In January, he tweeted out, “Was this the leaker of Fake News?” Trump has now charged the Justice Department with investigating “low-life leakers” in the government.

Former CIA analyst Tony Shaffer also suspects Brennan as one of the leakers. He said on Fox Business Network that the leaks which forced Michael Flynn out can be laid “squarely at the feet of” Brennan, among other embittered Obama aides.

What we know is that intelligence agencies taped Flynn’s call with the Russian ambassador, and we know that the contents of the call were leaked to the Washington Post’s David Ignatius, who is a de facto stenographer for political liberals at the CIA. We also know that Brennan has made no secret of his opposition to Trump and Flynn. By opposing Brennan’s overtures to the Muslim Brotherhood and his refusal to grapple with the spread of Islamic terrorism, Flynn became enemy number one in the eyes of Obama holdovers at the CIA.

All of this gives the Justice Department ample reason to focus on Brennan. He had the means and motive to commit a crime.

“When I hear [former CIA head] John Brennan with the venom that seems to be in his voice after Donald Trump was elected president, it’s not hard to imagine that in the intelligence community, Donald Trump has his enemies and those enemies are not as restrained as they ought to be,” said Congressman Steve King on MSNBC.

Indeed, John Brennan brought with him to the CIA a coterie of political radicals and left-wing academics and gave them plum positions from which to leak to the press. So dedicated was Brennan to open political activism that he would walk the halls of the CIA in an LGBTQ “rainbow lanyard,” reports Bill Gertz of the Washington Times.

According to Gertz, Brennan turned his left-wing hires into “operatives” by fiddling with standards at the Directorate of Operations. These political hacks disguised as apolitical operatives had no more business receiving high-security clearances than Brennan himself did.

Recall the astounding admission Brennan once made at a “diversity” conference in 2016: that he thought he had “screwed” up his chances to enter the CIA after undergoing a polygraph test which smoked out his support for the American Communist Party during the Cold War. This sounds like a parody, but it isn’t. As he recounted:

This was back in 1980, and I thought back to a previous election where I voted, and I voted for the Communist Party candidate… I froze, because I was getting so close to coming into CIA and said, “OK, here’s the choice, John. You can deny that, and the machine is probably going to go, you know, wacko, or I can acknowledge it and see what happens.”… I said I was neither Democratic or Republican, but it was my way, as I was going to college, of signaling my unhappiness with the system, and the need for change. I said I’m not a member of the Communist Party, so the polygrapher looked at me and said, “OK,” and when I was finished with the polygraph and I left and said, “Well, I’m screwed.”

Unfortunately, he wasn’t. He entered the CIA, rose to its highest rank, and then salted the agency with fellow radicals, whose hatred for the “system” now takes the form of sabotaging the Trump administration.

Brennan and his leakers see no irony in becoming what they once opposed. In the 1970s, they cheered as the Church committee castigated the CIA for breaking laws. Now they use the CIA for their own dark arts and receive applause from ACLU-style liberals. They have gone from voting for communists to taping Russians, from fearing the unaccountable power of the system to wielding it shamelessly.

They marched through the institutions, stayed long enough to find the exits, and now booby-trap them as they file out. The trail of McGovernite liberalism ends as it began, in lawlessness, with a departing CIA director who behaved no differently than Daniel Ellsberg.

Also see:

Are US Intelligence Agencies Withholding Intelligence From President Trump?

Trump leaving the CIA headquarters with Michael Flynn after delivering remarks during a visit in Langley, Virginia, on January 21. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Trump leaving the CIA headquarters with Michael Flynn after delivering remarks during a visit in Langley, Virginia, on January 21. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Center for Security Policy, by Fred Fleitz, February 16, 2017:

According to a front page Wall Street Journal article today, U.S. intelligence officials have withheld sensitive intelligence from President Donald Trump because they are concerned it could be leaked or compromised.  The Journal story cited former and current intelligence officials.  If true, this would be a dangerous and unprecedented act of defiance by unelected intelligence officers.  The acting Director of National Intelligence denied this report.

I suspect this story is only partly true for several reasons.  While I believe there are a handful of Obama appointees who are making such claims, most intelligence officers would  never do this because they know they work for the president and such behavior would cost them their jobs.  I also question whether any intelligence officials who have had actual contact with the White House did this.  I believe this story is being driven by a blogger and former intelligence officer who, although he has a wide following, has a history of making far-fetched and conspiratorial claims.

What this story does represent is the urgency that the Trump administration get its appointees in place in intelligence agencies to ensure they perform their mission to provide the president with the intelligence he needs to keep our nation safe.  Trump officials also are urgently needed at State and the Pentagon.

Once Trump officials are in place and assert control over the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, CIA, DIA, State and DOD, there should be a sharp reduction in leaks and anti-Trump press stories like today’s Wall Street Journal article.

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LISTEN TO TODAY’S SECURE FREEDOM PODCAST ON THE DEEP STATE

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The CIA’s affront to Trump

CIA Bullies Trump Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

CIA Bullies Trump Illustration by Greg Groesch/The Washington Times

The Washington Times, February 15, 2017:

The CIA has denied a security clearance to Trump National Security Council (NSC) official Robin Townley without any allegation, much less evidence of disloyalty to the United States. Quite simply, it is because the CIA disapproves of Mr. Townley’s attitude toward the agency, and this is unprecedented. President Trump appointed Mr. Townley to coordinate Africa policy at the NSC. The CIA did not want to deal with him. Hence, it used the power to grant security clearances to tell the president to choose someone acceptable to the agency, though not so much to him. This opens a larger issue: Since no one can take part in the formulation or execution of foreign or defense policy without a high-level security clearance, vetoing the president’s people by denying them clearances trumps the president.

Hence, if Mr. Trump does not fire forthwith the persons who thus took for themselves the prerogative that the American people had entrusted to him at the ballot box, chances are 100 percent that they will use that prerogative ever more frequently with regard to anyone else whom they regard as standing in the way of their preferred policies, as a threat to their reputation, or simply as partisan opponents. If Mr. Trump lets this happen, he will have undermined nothing less than the self-evident heart of the Constitution’s Article II: The president is the executive branch. All of its employees draw their powers from him and answer to him, not the other way around.

Using security clearances for parochial purposes — usually petty ones — while neglecting security, never mind counterintelligence, is an old story at the CIA which I got to know too well during eight years overseeing the agency as the designee of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s budget chairman. Because I did my quality control job vigorously, and because I placed on the budget cut list some of the many outside contracts that seemed corrupt, the agency made repeated attempts to withdraw my top-level, cross-cutting security clearances. After I left the Senate staff for Stanford, when the Naval Postgraduate School asked me to teach a highly classified course on signals intelligence, the school’s security office asked the CIA for my clearances. The bureaucrats there said they had never heard of me. I had to call Director of Central Intelligence Bill Casey, who ended up phoning them in personally to a startled Navy chief.

The CIA uses pretense about security to insulate itself from criticism, to protect its own, and to intrude into policymaking. Security against foreign intelligence ranks low in its priorities. For near a decade, its bureaucrats refused to look into obvious evidence that their own Aldrich Ames had sold out America’s entire agent network in the Soviet Union. Moreover, according to its inspector general, they continued to pass reports from that network to the president because they happened to agree with the direction in which these KGB-produced reports were pushing U.S. policy. The CIA also uses secrecy to avoid responsibility. It crafts the conclusions of its reports specifically to be leaked to The New York Times and The Washington Post, while making sure that the thin or nonexistent facts behind those conclusions never see the light of day.

The CIA’s denial of a clearance to a presidential appointee minus good cause, however, breaks new ground and shows truly revolutionary boldness. Traditionally, bureaucrats have used sticks and carrots to convince political appointees to play along lest they suffer unpleasantness. Thus, presidents have ended up having to choose between suffering appointees who have “gone native” or replacing them. Now, the CIA’s denial of Mr. Townley’s clearance removes all subtlety by demanding that Mr. Trump appoint only “natives.” If Mr. Trump indulges that demand for self-emasculation, the message will go out to all agencies: They need pay no attention to what political appointees tell them, and they need fear no retribution for this or for pressuring appointees in any way they want. The message to the people who Mr. Trump has appointed or who are considering working for Mr. Trump is just as clear: You have no choice but to make yourself acceptable to the bureaucrats because, if you don’t, they will hurt you and the president will not help you. This cannot help but skew the pool of potential members of the Trump administration.

We cannot know nor does it matter why Donald Trump seems to be deferring to bureaucrats who have gone out of their way to delegitimize him. But we can be certain about the kind of dynamic engendered by deference in the face of assaults.

Angelo M. Codevilla is professor emeritus of international relations at Boston University.

Trump Administration Intel – White Hats Confer With Reform Agents Within Political Islam…

The Last Refuge,  by sundance:

To understand the activity within any intelligence action any observer must do two things:

  • #1 You must stay elevated. If you try to get into the weeds you will be lost because your insight will be lacking specificity briefs.
  • #2 You must always reflect upon the recent historic context of the engagement you are observing. Including, most importantly, the engagements of the parties therein.

The recent example of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Mike Pompeo traveling to Saudi Arabia last weekend, at the request of President Donald Trump, to personally present Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Nayef with an award named after former CIA director George Tenet, is an example of the need for this approach.

pompeo-and-crown-prince

If you want to understand what’s going on, you must understand the recent relationship of the parties.  It begins with understanding modern political Islam.

Within “political Islam” there are various factions. However, again with the intent to remain elevated, let us just approach two larger congregations as: “Authentic supporters” and “Reform Agents”.

sisi

The modern extremist elements fall under the category of “Authentic Supporters” or Salafists (politically, The Muslim Brotherhood).   The “Reform Agents” are represented by people like Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Jordan’s King Abdullah III.

Within “Political Islam” these two elements (Authentic -vs- Reform) are fighting for the heart, soul, intellect and -in larger measures- the future of Islam in a modern world.

All the various Muslim factions fall along a continuum of authenticity to the principles of Islam. The more authentic the expression, the more violent and confrontational the group. The more moderate the expression, the reformers, the less violent… etc.

Over the course of the past decade each political side has surged and/or retreated during the larger struggle for the heart of those who adhere to the Muslim faith. The so-called “Arab Spring” was a surge of the Authentic group, and was empowered/emboldened by the foreign policy activity of exterior nations. In particular, the ideological sympathy of former President Barack Obama.

In the face of the growth of the various Authentic expressions, the Reform elements were in a retreating position attempting to contain the internal damage being carried out by the extremist groups. Reformers and more moderate voices were simply trying to hold on to the construct of a civil society amid the growing crisis created by emotional demands of extremists requiring adherence to Sharia, the authentic political law of Islam.

On January 19th 2015, three days before Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz died from a lung infection, Egypt’s President Fattah al-Sisi was urgently summoned to met with him.

It was only a few weeks earlier (New Years Day 2015) when al-Sisi delivered an impassioned speech to a scholarly audience in Al-Azhar University in Cairo comprised of Islam’s most important religious leaders.

As the most notable and visible reformer (<- important link) President Fattah al-Sisi made the case for “a religious revolution in Islam that would displace violent jihad from the center of Muslim discourse“:

“The corpus of texts and ideas that we have made sacred over the years, to the point that departing from them has become almost impossible, is antagonizing the entire world. You cannot feel it if you remain trapped within this mindset. You must step outside yourselves and reflect on it from a more enlightened perspective.” –LINK

el-sisi-in-saudiPresident al-Sisi’s visit to Saudi Arabia to visit with King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz was a meeting specifically requested by an aging 90-year-old Saudi King to recognize Sisi for his courage and leadership.

King Abdulaziz was intent on honoring his friend.

Saudi Arabia had been coping with the same internal conflict as all other Muslim nations who were caught between the internal struggle.

President Sisi left Saudi Arabia with the full support of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, and upon his death a few days later the new Saudi King Salman; who  honored Sisi in a similar fashion as did his brother.

With the support of Saudi Arabia, the demands of al-Sisi to remove the extremism of the Muslim Brotherhood gained traction. The Gulf States finally, and collectively, pressured Qatar to stop aiding/financing extremism.

Under pressure Qatar conceded and expelled The Brotherhood along with the five leading voices of leadership within the Muslim Brotherhood. Recep Erdogan gave them refuge in Turkey.

This was the origin of the turning tide, when the Reform Agents began to stabilize and reassert their politics and internal domestic economies – the underlying wedge issue used by The Brotherhood to stir turmoil.

Unstable Yemen is to Saudi Arabia -> as unstable Libya is to Egypt -> as unstable Syria is to Jordan… and so it goes.

Each unstable nation being stirred by the extremist voices of various agents operating under the umbrella of the destabilizing politics expressed by The Muslim Brotherhood.

Remove the destabilizing agents and the Reformers believe they will be able to stop the extremists. This is the longer-term objective of those within the fight inside political Islam.

Now look again at the nations of Trump’s visa restrictions and you’ll note the presence of the destabilizing agents: Libya, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, Iran [and Sudan, Somalia].

This is the necessary backdrop to understand events as they unfold and relate to President Donald Trump and his own foreign policy objectives and engagements.

It is not accidental that newly appointed CIA Director Mike Pompeo traveled to meet with Saudi Arabia’s crown prince Muhammad bin Nayef, after a phone call between Saudi King Salman and President Trump took place.

trump4

Director Pompeo’s visit was to recognize the efforts of Saudi Arabia in the larger fight against Islamic extremism/terrorism.  However, based on internal consumption, Pompeo could not be seen publicly in this regard with King Salman himself.  The visible face of Saudi Reform is the crown prince.

  • Jan 20th – President Trump takes office.
  • Jan 26th – President Trump has a phone call with King Salman
  • Jan 26th – On the same day, State Dept. Nominee Rex Tillerson visits State Dept. HQ and the media report on the resignation of many existing State Department personnel.
  • Feb 1st – Secretary Rex Tillerson is confirmed by the Senate.
  • Feb 2nd – The three Muslim Awan brothers are terminated amid accusations they accessed congressional intelligence committee computers without permission.
  • Feb 8th – FOX reports administration considering labeling The Muslim Brotherhood as an official terrorist organization.
  • Feb 11th – CIA Director Pompeo travels to Saudi Arabia to deliver thanks.

By all appearances it seems the Trump administration was given a head’s up of sorts as to specific [Muslim Brotherhood] agents within the U.S. State Department. And also with key Democrat staffers, in highly sensitive intelligence positions, amid Congress.

Additionally:

To wit, Egyptian media announce that Fattah el-Sisi will be traveling to Washington DC to meet with President Trump:

[…]  Informed sources said that the presidency is currently coordinating with the US to arrange a visit next month. The sources referred to the visit as the first official one for an Egyptian president to Washington since 2009, as the last visit since then was paid by former President Hosni Mubarak.

Meanwhile, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu will leave Washington next Monday going back to Tel Aviv. Israeli TV reported on Sunday that Netanyahu is planning to form the ‘Israeli-Saudi-Egyptian’ axis.  (read more)

It is ironic, but not coincidental, that no official Egyptian delegation has visited the United States since President Obama traveled to Cairo and started “The Islamist Spring” which led to the uprising of the Muslim Brotherhood extremism in Egypt.

dawn-of-the-muslim-brotherhood

Irony, because now the Trump administration is facing the internal extremist purging of the Muslim Brotherhood embeds remaining within the U.S. government leftover from President Obama’s aftermath…. and now, President Fattah el-Sisi, the destroyer of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt comes to officially visit President Trump in Washington.

I hope everyone can clearly see what’s going on in the bigger picture.

After eight years of Obama’s intense political embedding of extremist sympathy in every aspect of governance, and culture – President Trump is now tasked with removing it, all of it; and finding allies amid those who have already mounted the same effort.

sisi-trump

It is also important to remember the political enterprise of The Muslim Brotherhood not only employs congressional staffers, but also has key connections to elected officials within both parties.   Representative Adam Kinzinger and John McCain are two of the more obvious sympathizers on the right side of the UniParty.

Again, reference the seven states of turmoil/concern and you’ll notice a pattern:

Senator John McCain and Senator John Kerry in Cairo, Egypt – 2011

john-mccain-and-john-kerry-in-cairo-on-sunday-egypt-stock-exchange

What came next?…  The installation of the Muslim Brotherhood:

morsi-kerry

Senator John McCain and Ambassador Christopher Stephens, Benghazi Libya 2012

mccainbenghazicourthouse

What came next?…. The rise of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood

alqaedaoverbenghazi

Senator John McCain travels to Syria in 2013

john-mccain-isis

What came next?  Yup, you guessed it – Muslim Brotherhood (via ISIS)

Isis soldiers in Syria

 

Flynn Resignation Raises Tough Questions for FBI, Intel Services

Michael Flynn

Breitbart, by Joel Pollak, February 14, 2017:

The resignation of National Security Adviser Michael Flynn on Monday evening raises troubling questions about the role of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the intelligence services.

Flynn ostensibly resigned because he provided Vice President Mike Pence with “incomplete information” about a conversation he had with the Russian ambassador, which turned out to include a discussion of recent sanctions, contrary to his earlier denials. Trust is crucial; the resignation was warranted.

That said, the sanctions were largely bogus, and were applied not just to punish Russia for spying on the U.S. (both countries clearly spy on each other), but to substantiate the Democratic Party’s sore-loser conspiracy theory that Russia was responsible for electing Donald Trump.

There is no concrete evidence to support that theory, and there is no evidence (yet) that Flynn did anything but discuss sanctions in the most general terms. He did not break the Logan Act, nor any other law, apparently.

Whether Flynn deliberately concealed the contents of his conversation from Vice President Pence, or merely forgot what had been said, he was “caught” because the Department of Justice had been eavesdropping on the conversation. And one of the officials responsible for ordering the eavesdropping was none other than Acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who forced President Trump to fire her when she defied her duty to enforce his executive order on immigration, however, controversial.

Four possibilities emerge. One, which the media and the Democrats (largely one and the same) clearly believe, is that Flynn really was a potential Russian plant, perhaps indicating much deeper Russian penetration of the campaign and administration.

A second possibility is that things really are what they seem, on the surface, to be. Russia’s unusual response to the sanctions — declining to retaliate — was so bizarre that it warranted investigation, which then raised legitimate suspicions about Flynn.

The remaining possibilities are more worrying. The third explanation is that President Obama deliberately, and cleverly, used the bogus sanctions as a “blue dye” test to expose which strings Russia might try to pull to relieve them. Flynn, with a prior relationship with the Russian government, may have been a natural, innocuous point of contact — or perhaps something more.

The fourth and most worrying explanation is that the government was not merely monitoring the communications of Russian diplomats, but of the Trump transition team itself. The fact that the contents of Flynn’s phone conversation — highly sensitive intelligence — were leaked to the media suggests that someone with access to that information also has a political axe to grind.

Democrats are clamoring for a deeper investigation of Russian ties to Trump. But the more serious question is whether our nation’s intelligence services were involved in what amounts to political espionage against the newly-elected government.

We know that there are hundreds and perhaps thousands of federal bureaucrats already using shadow communications systems. How far does that “shadow government” go?

The FBI, CIA and other agencies ought to reassure Congress, or come clean.

Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named one of the “most influential” people in news media in 2016. His new book, How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.

Also see:

The CIA really is out to get General Flynn

gettyimages-623849086PJ MEDIA, BY DAVID P. GOLDMAN, FEBRUARY 13, 2017

How come no-one is accusing NSA Director Michael Flynn of taking bribes from Turkey’s dictator Recep Erdogan? Not long ago, they did. Last November 18, Commentary Magazine’s Noah Rothman called Flynn a “dubious choice” for the National Security Council because his consulting company had a Turkish client, adding that Flynn’s views on Turkey raised a “conflict of interest.” Flynn had published an article in The Hill on Nov. 8 warning that America’s dalliance with the messianic Turkish Islamist and alleged coup plotter Fetullah Guelen might undermine the country’s relationship with NATO, at a time when Russia was giving Turkey the full court press.

On Dec. 2, I wrote in Asia Times that Commentary’s Rothman probably was stooging for a CIA disinformation campaign against Flynn. Not only did Flynn propose to deep-six Guelen, a longstanding friend of the CIA, but he had blown the whistle on CIA incompetence in Syria. Flynn’s Defense Intelligence Agency produced a now-notorious 2012 report warning that chaos in Syria’s civil war enabled the rise of a new Caliphate movement, namely ISIS. For full back ground, see Brad Hoff’s July 2016 essay in Foreign Policy Journal: Flynn humiliated the bungling CIA and exposed the incompetence and deception of the Obama Administration, and got fired for it. If anyone doubts the depth of CIA incompetence in Syria, I recommended an account that appeared this month in the London Financial Times.

In November, Flynn warned that the U.S. stood to lose its Turkish ally, to the benefit of Russia–and got attacked as a Turkish agent. That doesn’t square with the current round of disinformation, which paints Flynn as pro-Russian. Flynn’s detractors rely on a fake-news media which forgets the story it spun a couple of months ago when it contradicts the story it is spinning today.

I don’t know why Flynn talked to the Russian ambassador about the incoming Trump Administration’s prospective policy on sanctions, or what transpired in the White House regarding mis-statements that Flynn may or may not have made about such discussions. Senior officials speak to their counterparts in other countries all the time, and for obvious reasons do not want these conversations to become public. The intelligence community, though, was taping Flynn’s discussions, and the transcripts (of whose existence we are told but whose contents we have not seen) were used to embarrass him.

A couple of observations are in order.

First, the allegation of various Democrats that Flynn violated the 1799 Logan Act is silly. No-one ever has been prosecuted under the Logan Act. It forbids US citizens from communicating with foreign governments “with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States.” Flynn reportedly was talking about prospective policies of an administration that would take office in a matter of days; it is absurd to construe such discussions, whatever they may have contained, as an intent to undermine disputes with the United States.

Second, two narratives are running simultaneously in the media which appear to support each other, but actually consist of entirely independent bubbles of hot air. One is that Flynn misspoke about his contacts with the Russian ambassador, an allegation I cannot evaluate but find neither important nor interesting. The second is that the “Intelligence Community pushes back against a White House it considers leaky, untruthful and penetrated by the Kremlin,” as retired intelligence officer John Schindler alleged today in The Observer. Not a single fact is presented in Schindler’s account nor in several similar accounts circulating in the media. What leaks? Penetrated by whom? Sen. Joseph McCarthy could do better than that.

Third, the CIA has gone out of its way to sandbag Flynn at the National Security Council. As Politico reports: “On Friday, one of Flynn’s closest deputies on the NSC, senior director for Africa Robin Townley, was informed that the Central Intelligence Agency had rejected his request for an elite security clearance required for service on the NSC, according to two people with direct knowledge of the situation.” Townley held precisely the same security clearance at the Department of Defense for seventeen years, yet he was blackballed without explanation. At DoD, Townley had a stellar reputation as a Middle East and Africa expert, and the denial of his clearance is hard to explain except as bureaucratic backstabbing.

Fourth, Gen. Flynn is the hardest of hardliners with respect to Russia within the Trump camp. In his 2016 book Field of Fight (co-authored with PJ Media’s Michael Ledeen), Flynn warned of “an international alliance of evil movements and countries that is working to destroy us….The war is on. We face a working coalition that extends from North Korea and China to Russia, Iran, Syria, Syria, Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela and Nicaragua.” The unsubstantiated allegation that he presides over a “leaky” National Security Council tilting towards Russia makes no sense. The only leaks of which we know are politically-motivated reports coming from the intelligence community designed to disrupt the normal workings of a democratic government–something that raises grave Constitutional issues.

Flynn is the one senior US intelligence officer with the guts to blow the whistle on a series of catastrophic intelligence and operational failures. The available facts point to the conclusion that elements of the humiliated (and perhaps soon-to-be-unemployed) intelligence community is trying to exact vengeance against a principled and patriotic officer. When the Turkish smear against Flynn came out in November, I smelled a rat. The present affair stinks like a dumpster full of dead rats.

Trump Terrorism Platform May Contain Two Contentious Proposals

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Update: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer says the CIA black site proposal was not a White House document and Fox News White House correspondent John Roberts reports that the document was just a draft produced by a transition team that will most likely never be adopted.

Daily Caller, by Saagar Enjetti, January 25, 2017:

President Donald Trump may pave the way for the return of the CIA black site program and explore designating the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, The New York Times reports.

Trump’s draft executive order reportedly includes revoking detainee’s access to the International Red Cross at Guantanamo Bay, and would lift former President Barack Obama’s executive order closuring all CIA prisons. The draft order does not explicitly reopen any of the CIA prisons, but instead would ask Trump’s national security advisors to offer him recommendations on how to proceed.

Trump’s order would similarly continue the Bush Administration’s policy of holding and prosecuting detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Obama tried desperately to close the prison throughout his presidency, and transferred hundreds of prisoners to other countries. Trump said during the Presidential transition that he was displeased with Obama’s transfer of detainee’s, indicating he will likely keep the prison open.

Another expected Trump executive order will direct Secretary of State designate Rex Tillerson to determine whether the U.S. should designate the Muslim Brother political machine a terrorist organization. The Muslim Brotherhood is a political party in several Arab countries whose ideology is linked to radical Islamic elements such as al-Qaida.

Tillerson indicated in his confirmation hearing that he considered the Muslim brotherhood a threat to the U.S. saying, “The demise of ISIS would also allow us to increase our attention on other agents of radical Islam like al-Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, and certain elements within Iran.”

U.S. allies Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have designated the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization, and have pushed the White House to follow suit for years. Critics of the designation say the Muslim Brotherhood are simply an Islamist political party, that does not share in extremist ideology.

Dishonest CIA Director Rips Trump; Trump Should Rip him Back [Updated]

fox-news-sunday-john-brennanPowerline Blog, by John Hinderaker, January  15, 2017:

John Brennan’s career in the Obama administration, first as counterterrorism adviser, then as Director of the CIA, has been a disaster. We have written about him many times; just search “John Brennan” on this site. Along with being an inept CIA Director, Brennan is a political hack. Today he went on Fox News Sunday and attacked Donald Trump. But the real news was Brennan’s inability to respond to questions about his agency’s use of the fake “Russian dossier” to smear Trump. That was the topic that Chris Wallace began with:

WALLACE: President-elect Trump has made it clear, as we just discussed, that he believes the intelligence community released, put out information about this unverified dossier in order to undercut him. Here’s what he said at his press conference.

TRUMP VIDEO: I think it was disgraceful, disgraceful, that the intelligence agencies allowed any information that turned out be so false and fake out. I think it’s a disgrace, and I say that and I say that, and that something that Nazi Germany would have done and did do.

WALLACE: Mr. Brennan, your response.

JOHN BRENNAN, CIA DIRECTOR: Well, I think as the Director of National Intelligence said in his statement, this information has been out there circulating for many months. So, it’s not a question of the intelligence community leaking or releasing this information, it was already out there.

WALLACE: But it hadn’t been reported, though. And one of the reasons it hadn’t is because it hadn’t been verified. And when you briefed the president on it, you collectively briefed the president on it, the president-elect, that made it news.

That is exactly correct. Not a single news organization had reported on the fake “Russian dossier” because it was obviously bogus. The CIA, or someone in the intelligence community, deliberately turned fake news into a “legitimate” news story by purporting to brief Donald Trump on the smears against him, and then leaking the fact that they had done so. Brennan’s defense is pathetic.

BRENNAN: Well, nothing has been verified. It is unsubstantiated reporting that is out there, that has been circulating in the private sector and with the media as well by a firm that pulled this information together.

But what I do find outrageous is equating the intelligence community with Nazi Germany. I do take great umbrage at that, and there is no basis for Mr. Trump to point fingers at the intelligence community for leaking information that was already available publicly.

WALLACE: But it wasn’t available publicly. Various news organizations, if I may, various news organization had it, but they weren’t reporting it because it hadn’t been verified. And this brings me to the real question, Director Brennan, why on earth [would our] nation’s intelligence spy chiefs brief President-elect Trump, in your first meeting collectively with him, on this unverified information? First of all, it wasn’t intelligence, it was rumors. And secondly, by briefing him on it, you made it a news event and, therefore, gave news organizations an excuse to report it.

That is indeed the question, and Brennan has no answer.

Read more

Also see:

Mike Pompeo: Attempts to Invalidate Trump’s Presidency Plays into Putin’s Hands

Getty / Joe Raedle

Getty / Joe Raedle

Breitbart, by Warner Todd Huston, January 12, 2016:

During his confirmation hearing, Congressman Mike Pompeo (R-KS) said he would observe the proper laws forbidding enhanced interrogation of terror suspects and affirmed that he believes Russia is a threat to the United States. He also noted, however, that attempts to undermine President-elect Donald Trump plays right into the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate held its first hearing for the confirmation of Rep. Pompeo, President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee to become CIA chief. While the hearing kicked off with a temporary power outage in the room, the congressman fielded a range of questions from metadata, to CIA-sponsored torture, to privacy concerns. One senator, California’s Kamala Harris, even went off on a tangent asking Pompeo about NASA global warming data and Pompeo’s views on gay marriage.

When it came time to talk about Russia, though, Pompeo had a dual warning.

The Kansan said that Russia is not an ally of the United States, but also insisted that attempts to invalidate Donald Trump’s presidency is serving the anti-American policies of Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Agreeing with the U.S. intelligence community’s latest assessment of Russia, Pompeo also said it is “pretty clear” that the Russians tried to influence the U.S. elections.

“It’s pretty clear about what took place here, about Russian involvement in efforts to hack information and to have impact on American democracy,” Pompeo said during the Senate Intelligence Committee meeting. “I’m very clear-eyed about what that intelligence report says. This was an aggressive action taken by the senior leadership inside of Russia.”

Pompeo also said he would support an extensive investigation into just what forms that “aggressive action” took during the 2016 campaign saying, “I will continue to pursue foreign intelligence with vigor no matter where the facts lead.”

“The internet,” Pompeo said, “is a borderless, global environment, easily and frequently exploited by sophisticated adversaries like China and Russia, as well as by less sophisticated adversaries like Iran and North Korea, non-state actors, terrorist groups, criminal organizations, and hackers.”

He also warned though that constant speculation that the election was hacked plays into Putin’s hands. During his response on the matter he said he has “no doubt that the discourse that’s been taking place is something Putin would look at and say, ‘That was among the objectives that I have.’”

As for another topic, many liberals have worried about Pompeo’s thoughts on the CIA using enhanced interrogation. The question seemed fairly answered when Senators Feinstein and Heinrich both quizzed him on the topic. Pompeo told Feinstein he would not re-start the enhanced interrogation policy if he were to become head of the CIA and assured Senator Heinrich that he would stick to the Army field manual for interrogation that currently forbids such techniques.

As to Iran, Pompeo said that despite his personal opinions and his past claims that he would work to repeal Obama’s “disastrous deal” with Iran, he would abide by whatever his President told him to do on the issue.

The congressman also fielded questions about his past comments on gathering metadata. While noting that intelligence is the “lifeblood” of national security, he added that such intel “is more in demand than ever.”

The Supreme Court has ruled that metadata is not private personal information, but nonetheless Pompeo said he would certainly toe the line of the law — whatever that may be — on the collection of data.

He was also asked for his thoughts on demanding that tech companies give the U.S. government keys to their encryption of data. Pompeo replied that personal privacy would be an important concern for him and added, “I think we need to acknowledge that encryption is out there, and not all encryption takes place in the United States,” Pompeo replied.

But even as Pompeo said he’d toe the law on these matters, Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn asked Pompeo if he will “play to the edge” of the law as CIA director so as not to play too cautious with national security. The Congressman said he would be sure to be mindful of the needs of his operatives and added, “It’s my role to make sure those lines are clear and bright.”

Pompeo also faced questioning from California Democrat Kamala Harris who seemed to feel his stance against gay marriage would hamper his work to secure the nation. She also quizzed him on global warming, asking if he would accept climate change claims made by NASA.

Seemingly bemused by the quixotic line of questioning, Pompeo assured Harris that as a small businessman he’s never let anyone’s sexuality interfere in what he expected of them as an employee and that, as an engineer by training, facts and data drive his life – so if he found believable data on climate change it would certainly be an important consideration in his thought process.

The hearing was not without humor, either, as Arizona Republican John McCain, a graduate of the Naval Academy, joked that Pompeo’s education was “very poor” because he was a graduate of West Point.

No Surprise Classified Report on Russia Leaked to Media to Hurt Trump

524204248-1Center for Security Policy, by Fred Fleitz, January 6, 2016:

The same day that a classified 50-page intelligence report was delivered to President Obama on alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, its findings were immediately leaked to the Washington Post by “U.S. officials” – probably senior Obama officials at the National Security Council.  Making this worse, the leakers may have compromised sensitive intelligence sources and methods by revealing that the report was based on intercepted communications.

According to the Post story, the classified intelligence report says senior officials in the Russian government celebrated Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton as a geopolitical win for Moscow.  So-called “actors” involved in providing Democratic emails to WikiLeaks reportedly are identified.  The report also is said to discuss “disparities in the levels of effort Russian intelligence entities devoted to penetrating and exploiting sensitive information stored on Democratic and Republican campaign networks.”

After the Washington Post story was posted online, a senior U.S. intelligence official discussed the classified report with NBC News.  The intelligence official agreed to talk to NBC because he or she disagreed with the focus of the Post story and believes the Post overemphasized alleged Russian celebration of Trump’s win and did not focus on the thrust of the report.

Two other intelligence officials also leaked details of the classified report to NBC.  According to the NBC story, “Two top intelligence officials with direct knowledge told NBC News that the report on Russian hacking also details Russian cyberattacks not just against the Democratic National Committee, but the White House, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the State Department and American corporations.”

It’s no surprise that Obamas officials would immediately leak to the news media details about the intelligence report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election since they have a history of leaking highly classified intelligence to the press – including sensitive intelligence sources and methods – to advance their political agendas.

For example, in 2012 then-Secretary of Defense Robert Gates reportedly told the Obama NSC staff to “shut the f— up” after they leaked sensitive details about the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound as part of a victory lap for the president’s foreign policy.

Not only do I believe the Obama White House raced to the phone to leak the new intelligence report on Russian hacking to the press, I believe this is why Mr. Obama requested this report in the first place – the president wanted an intelligence assessment undermining Trump’s election that his staff could leak to the news media before he left office.

But as bad as the leaking of classified reports to the press for political reasons by White House officials is, leaks about the Russia report by intelligence officers are far more serious, especially at a time of growing tension between President-elect Donald Trump and the U.S. Intelligence Community.  Trump’s team has attacked the accuracy of intelligence assessments and accused intelligence officers of leaking to the news media against Trump and politicizing intelligence.  Regardless of whether these accusations have merit (I believe they do), press leaks by intelligence officials on the Russia report will only widen the rift between Trump and U.S. intelligence agencies.  Trump tweeted in response to the NBC story:

How did the intelligence officials who leaked to NBC expect Mr. Trump to react?  Did they give any thought to the damage these leaks would cause to relations between their agencies and the president-elect?

President Trump will need and deserve a U.S. Intelligence Community that provides him with hard hitting and objective analysis devoid of politics.  It’s time for Director of National Intelligence Clapper and other intelligence officials to stop complaining about Donald Trump “disparaging” U.S. intelligence agencies and demand that intelligence officers stop trying to undermine our new president.  I am certain that the vast majority of intelligence officers welcome the opportunity to support Mr. Trump.  If the handful of intelligence officers who have been leaking against Trump cannot accept his election and their responsibility to loyally serve the next president, they need to resign immediately.

Connecting the Dots Between Boston, Columbus and Berlin

161228bostonmarathonbombersConservative Headquarters, by George Rasley, CHQ Editor | 12/28/16

After every Muslim terrorist attack the establishment media, and others who refuse to take the Koran at face value, seem astonished that a young Muslim “immigrant” or “refugee” would wreak death on innocent non-believers.

They always want to discount the attack as the work of a “lone wolf” or someone who was disaffected or mentally ill.

And they are never prepared to admit that had the authorities acted on the clear information at hand and not been blinded or hog-tied by political correctness the attack could have been stopped.

In the case of the Boston Marathon bombing that killed 3, and injured an estimated 264 others, the perpetrators, Chechen “refugee” brothers Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, should have been on the authorities’ radar because both the FBI and the CIA had been alerted to Tamerlan Tsarnaev by no less an authority on Chechen Muslim terrorism than the Russian security services.

The Russians, who have been fighting the Chechen Muslims since the 19th Century, had separately asked both the FBI (at least twice: during March and November 2011) and the CIA (September 2011) to look carefully into Tamerlan Tsarnaev and provide more information about him back to Russia.

The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) even secretly recorded phone conversations between Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his mother Zubeidat Tsarnaeva (they vaguely and indirectly discussed jihad) and sent these to the FBI as evidence of possible extremist links within the family.

The March 2011, Russian Federal Security Service alert provided the FBI with information that Tamerlan and his mother Zubeidat Tsarnaeva were “adherents of radical Islam and that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was preparing to travel to Russia to join unspecified ‘bandit underground groups’ in Dagestan and Chechnya.

A government report released in April of 2014 detailed the failures of federal law enforcement officials to recognize Tamerlan Tsarnaev as a potential source of terrorism in the years before the Boston Marathon bombing. The document—an unclassified summary report from the Inspectors General of the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Justice, and the Department of Homeland Security—called particular attention to an FBI interview of Tsarnaev in 2011 and the failure of a Boston agent of the Joint Terrorism Task Force to follow up on an automated alert that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was leaving the country for Dagestan.

Despite all of these revelations, the report concludes that “based on all of the information gathered during our coordinated review, we believe that the FBI, CIA, DHS, and NCTC…followed procedures appropriately.”

Translation: The information to stop this Muslim terrorist attack was there, but Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were allowed to carry out their deadly attack because the FBI, CIA, DHS, and NCTC procedures allowed them to.

In the case of Abdul Razak Ali Artan, the Ohio State Muslim terrorist who ran over and slashed 13 people who were hospitalized for injuries once again the signs that Artan was a potential terrorist were there.

According to Senator Chuck Grassley, while applying for entrance into the U.S. as a “refugee” from Somalia in 2013, Artan’s mother told immigration officials she feared persecution from al-Shabaab, an al-Qaida affiliated terrorist group, and believed Abdul and his siblings would be recruited into the organization if they remained in Somalia, the Daily Caller reported.

That knowledge should have led USCIS officials to “conduct additional questioning to better understand ties to a group that the United States designated as a foreign terrorist organization in 2008,” a letter Sen. Grassley sent to DHS said. But the additional questioning, which the Senator’s committee describes as “common practice” in those situations, never happened.

Artan’s mother also told government screeners that her husband had been kidnapped by al-Shabab.

All of these facts should have been red flags our friend Phil Haney, a former DHS screening officer, told WND’s Leo Hohmann.

Haney, a recently retired Homeland Security officer and co-author of the bombshell book “See Something Say Nothing,” said it’s not all that rare that a case with obvious red flags gets no response when passed up the line from the original interviewer at DHS because, says Haney, concerns about certain refugee cases began to be ignored as soon as Obama took office.

Translation: The information to stop this Muslim terrorist attack was there, but Abdul Razak Ali Artan was allowed to carry out his attack because the FBI, CIA, DHS, and NCTC procedures allowed him to.

Anis Amri, the main suspect in the Berlin Christmas market truck attack, was also on the radar as a potential terrorist before he entered Germany.

A Moroccan security official says that his country’s intelligence service warned Germany twice about the risk posed by Anis Amri, the radical Muslim who slaughtered 12 people at a Christmas market in Berlin earlier this month.

“Correspondence from the Moroccan security agencies had a clear warning about the Tunisian man’s desire to carry out a terrorist act,” an unnamed Moroccan official told the Turkish newspaper Daily Sabah.

The UK’s Daily Mail has documented that Amri was under surveillance for months, arrested and freed three times, and not deported allegedly because of a clerical error.

According to team reporting by the Daily Mail, German security officials had Amri under close surveillance between March and September this year because he was suspected of dealing drugs and planning robberies to finance the purchase of assault rifles.

The Tunisian radical was known to be a supporter of Islamic State and to have received weapons training.  He also tried to recruit an accomplice for a terror plot – which the authorities knew about – but still remained at large.

Amri was also under investigation for planning a ‘serious act of violence against the state’ and counter-terrorism officials had exchanged information about him last month and after he was named as the suspect it emerged Amri spent four years in an Italian prison for acts of violence and vandalism inside a migrant center where he was being kept following his arrival in Europe, the Daily Mail reported.

Before he was killed in a gun battle with a heroic Italian police officer, it was revealed that Amri had used at least six different aliases under three different nationalities and photographs show how he had changed his appearance over his years of freely moving about Europe even as the signs he was a dangerous terrorist mounted.

The Daily Mail reported that a senior German politician blamed the atrocity on “institutional political correctness,” arguing that Amri would not have been free to act if police had enforced the law.

Hugh Theodore Bronson, the deputy leader of the German political party AfD, said that German deportation law was ignored because the authorities were afraid of offending Muslims, reports Karin Bredenkamp of Free West Media.

Anis Amri, who was being monitored by police, would have been deported long ago if it wasn’t for a liberal “ideological agenda,” Bronson told MailOnline. “The law as it stands is not being implemented,” he said. “If it was, 12 people would still be alive, 48 people would not be in hospital, and there would have been no attack on Monday.”

“We are being too lenient in our implementation of the law. You can call it political correctness, you can call it an ideological agenda, but it cost 12 people their lives.”

No translation needed for Mr. Bronson’s comments.

The German authorities say they have at least 7,000 active Muslim terror suspects at large in their country and they do not have the resources to track them. The FBI and American Department of Homeland Security say that there are too many people like Tsarnaev and Artan across America today for the FBI to track them all—leaving the vast majority of people who the FBI suspects might harbor terrorist aspirations to plan their attacks without government surveillance.

So why would we allow more potential Muslim terrorists into our country?

The dots or common thread that runs through all of these Muslim atrocities is that the perpetrators entered their target countries as “refugees,” took the Koranic directives to kill unbelievers at face value, and most importantly, were allowed to carry out their plans by failed security procedures based upon institutional political correctness.

Recognizing that Islam is the threat, and implementing threat-based security procedures devoid of political correctness or ideological agendas is the only way to stop these attacks from continuing in what Muslims now consider to be “the era of total confrontation” with the West.