8 signs pointing to a counterintelligence operation deployed against Trump’s campaign

The Hill, by Sharyl Attkisson, May 23,  2018:

It may be true that President Trump illegally conspired with Russia and was so good at covering it up he’s managed to outwit our best intel and media minds who’ve searched for irrefutable evidence for two years. (We still await special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings.)

But there’s a growing appearance of alleged wrongdoing equally as insidious, if not more so, because it implies widespread misuse of America’s intelligence and law enforcement apparatus.

Here are eight signs pointing to a counterintelligence operation deployed against Trump for political reasons.

Code name

The operation reportedly had at least one code name that was leaked to The New York Times: “Crossfire Hurricane.”

Wiretap fever

Secret surveillance was conducted on no fewer than seven Trump associates: chief strategist Stephen Bannon; lawyer Michael Cohen; national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn; adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner; campaign chairman Paul Manafort; and campaign foreign policy advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos.

The FBI reportedly applied for a secret warrant in June 2016 to monitor Manafort, Page, Papadopoulos and Flynn. If true, it means the FBI targeted Flynn six months before his much-debated conversation with Russia’s ambassador, Sergey Kislyak.

The FBI applied four times to wiretap Page after he became a Trump campaign adviser starting in July 2016. Page’s office is connected to Trump Tower and he reports having spent “many hours in Trump Tower.”

CNN reported that Manafort was wiretapped before and after the election “including during a period when Manafort was known to talk to President Trump.” Manafort reportedly has a residence in Trump Tower.

Electronic surveillance was used to listen in on three Trump transition officials in Trump Tower — Flynn, Bannon and Kushner — as they met in an official capacity with the United Arab Emirates’ crown prince.

The FBI also reportedly wiretapped Flynn’s phone conversation with Kislyak on Dec. 31, 2016, as part of “routine surveillance” of Kislyak.

NBC recently reported that Cohen, Trump’s personal attorney, was wiretapped. NBC later corrected the story, saying Cohen was the subject of a “pen register” used to monitor phone numbers and, possibly, internet communications.

National security letters

Another controversial tool reportedly used by the FBI to obtain phone records and other documents in the investigation were national security letters, which bypass judicial approval.

Improper use of such letters has been an ongoing theme at the FBI. Reviews by the Department of Justice’s Inspector General found widespread misuse under Mueller — who was then FBI director — and said officials failed to report instances of abuses as required.

Unmasking

“Unmasking” — identifying protected names of Americans captured by government surveillance — was frequently deployed by at least four top Obama officials who have subsequently spoken out against President Trump: James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence; Samantha Power, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; Susan Rice, former national security adviser; Sally Yates, former deputy attorney general.

Names of Americans caught communicating with monitored foreign targets must be “masked,” or hidden within government agencies, so the names cannot be misused or shared. 

However, it’s been revealed that Power made near-daily unmasking requests in 2016.

Prior to that revelation, Clapper claimed ignorance. When asked if he knew of unmasking requests by any ambassador, including Power, he testified: “I don’t know. Maybe it’s ringing a vague bell but I’m not — I could not answer with any confidence.”

Rice admitted to asking for unmasked names of U.S. citizens in intelligence reports after initially claiming no knowledge of any such thing.

Clapper also admitted to requesting the unmasking of “Mr. Trump, his associates or any members of Congress.” Clapper and Yates admitted they also personally reviewed unmasked documents and shared unmasked material with other officials.

Changing the rules

On Dec. 15, 2016 — the same day the government listened in on Trump officials at Trump Tower — Rice reportedly unmasked the names of Bannon, Kushner and Flynn. And Clapper made a new rule allowing the National Security Agency to widely disseminate surveillance material within the government without the normal privacy protections.

Media strategy

Former CIA Director John Brennan and Clapper, two of the most integral intel officials in this ongoing controversy, have joined national news organizations where they have regular opportunities to shape the news narrative — including on the very issues under investigation.

Clapper reportedly secretly leaked salacious political opposition research against Trump to CNN in fall 2017 and later was hired as a CNN political analyst. In February, Brennan was hired as a paid analyst for MSNBC.

Leaks

There’s been a steady and apparently orchestrated campaign of leaks — some true, some false, but nearly all of them damaging to President Trump’s interests.

A few of the notable leaks include word that Flynn was wiretapped, the anti-Trump “Steele dossier” of political opposition research, then-FBI Director James Comey briefing Trump on it, private Comey conversations with Trump, Comey’s memos recording those conversations and criticizing Trump, the subpoena of Trump’s personal bank records (which proved false) and Flynn planning to testify against Trump (which also proved to be false).

Friends, informants and snoops

The FBI reportedly used one-time CIA operative Stefan Halper in 2016 as an informant to spy on Trump officials. 

Another player is Comey friend Daniel Richman, a Columbia University law professor, who leaked Comey’s memos against Trump to The New York Times after Comey was fired. We later learned that Richman actually worked for the FBI under a status called “Special Government Employee.”

The FBI used former reporter Glenn Simpson, his political opposition research firm Fusion GPS, and ex-British spy Christopher Steele to compile allegations against Trump, largely from Russian sources, which were distributed to the press and used as part of wiretap applications.

These eight features of a counterintelligence operation are only the pieces we know. It can be assumed there’s much we don’t yet know. And it may help explain why there’s so much material that the Department of Justice hasn’t easily handed over to congressional investigators.

Sharyl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson) is an Emmy-award winning investigative journalist, author of The New York Times bestsellers “The Smear” and “Stonewalled,” and host of Sinclair’s Sunday TV program, “Full Measure.”

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Also see:

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Very important point made by Sharyl Attkisson on the big picture in all of this. She points out that this is not just about hating Trump. The reason he is being so aggressively attacked is to keep the massive abuses of power that have been going on for decades from being outed. It’s about unchecked government surveillance. Go to about 19 min. into the video.

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Stopping Robert Mueller to protect us all by former Clinton aide Mark Penn!

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Mueller Year One: The Real Heroes in Journalism

Photo credit: Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call via Getty Images

American Greatness, by Julie Kelly, May 16th, 2018:

Part one of a two-part series.

The American media are broken.

After eight years of feeding the Obama cult of personality—swooning over his suave personal traits, covering for mistakes and misconduct, applying little if any scrutiny to his policies or performance—the news media suddenly developed a keen interest in presidential accountability and integrity on November 9, 2016.

Since the day Donald Trump won the election over their strenuous objections, the media have been out to get the man they deem unworthy of the presidency. They have teamed up with the Left of and the NeverTrump Right to campaign for his removal from office. (Victor Davis Hanson recently documented #TheResistance’s full list of tactics.) Trump’s family, aides, and cabinet members have been harassed and reviled in despicable ways.

Reporters eagerly transcribe salacious stories pitched by unnamed sources to incite an already inflamed body politic. Events are twisted in grotesque ways to fuel the anti-Trump hysteria. (Look no further than this week’s reporting on the Hamas-led “protest” during the opening of the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.)

At the same time, the American media arrogantly portray themselves as martyrs—even heroes—for acting as bulwarks against a purportedly devious, inept and cruel administration. The self-puffery on display at last month’s White House Correspondents’ Dinner sounded like war veterans commending each other for bravery on the battlefield, although veterans are far more modest than your average cable news anchor or political pundit.

But it took the self-assured comfort that comes from getting too comfortable with such puffery to draw the media out, unwittingly perhaps, at that very event. For it was at the White House Correspondents dinner that they acknowledged their sycophancy to #TheResistance, their gullibility in being snookered by Obama loyalists, their flat-on-their-back willingness to be used by anti-Trump pimps.

CNN won an award for its January 2017 report about President-elect Trump being briefed on the bogus Steele dossier. While we now know the story was improperly leaked by former Director of National Intelligence (and virulent Trump foe) James Clapper to shotgun the Trump-Russia collusion plotline days before the inauguration—and the celebrated CNN reporters did little more than regurgitate talking points spoon-fed to them by political operatives (one is known to have close ties to Fusion GPS)—the network was applauded for its “depth of reporting.”

The reality is that there are only a handful of reporters bravely bucking the media’s status quo and conducting real investigative journalism to expose what, quite possibly, is the biggest political scandal in U.S. history: How top officials in an outgoing administration colluded with a presidential candidate’s campaign and a major political party for the purpose of  discrediting the rival presidential candidate and then stage a soft coup against him after he won.

Out of thousands of reporters in the United States, fewer than a dozen journalists have dared to cover the ways in which the world’s most powerful law enforcement and intelligence apparatus leveraged its authority to try and destroy Trump’s candidacy, then his presidency. The courageous group includes NRO’s Andrew McCarthy, The Federalist’s Mollie Hemingway and Sean Davis, Tablet’s Lee Smith, The Daily Caller’s Chuck Ross, the Wall Street Journal’s Kimberley Strassel, Washington Examiner’s Byron York, Fox News’ Catherine Herridge, and independent journalist Sara Carter.

Unlike the self-proclaimed heroes in the mainstream media who either have willfully ignored or purposefully diverted coverage away from this scandal, these writers have not squandered their integrity or credibility in order to make nice with the ruling political class.

While each one deserves accolades and yes, legitimate awards, for their work, let’s focus on a few here first:

Andrew McCarthy: The former federal prosecutor who once worked for ex-FBI Director James Comey is arguably the most influential writer in this group, and has risked the most in terms of jeopardizing personal and professional relationships. “In the eyes of many of my former colleagues, I’m one of the bad guys. I’m sad about that, because I know things never really go back to the way they were,” he told me via email.

McCarthy, 59, is a Bronx native with a solid record of fighting organized crime and international terrorists. A law-and-order Republican, McCarthy contributed to National Review’s “Against Trump” issue where he wrote, “the [terrorist] threat against us has metastasized in our eighth year under a president who quite consciously appeases the enemy. But the remedy is not a president oblivious of the enemy.” His scrutiny of the Trump-Russia scheme is by not rooted in a deep affection for the president.

But his legal expertise and working knowledge of Justice Department protocols have been an invaluable guide, as the average person (like me) attempts to make sense of the various investigations and indictments. McCarthy also acknowledges that his bias toward law enforcement and some people at the center of this scandal have influenced his approach.

“I’ve been validly criticized for giving him [Comey] the benefit of many doubts that I would not give to others whom I don’t know well, or at all. It’s been a good—if excruciating—lesson in humility,” he told me.

He detected as far back as December 2016 that the Russian collusion story was a farce. He opposed both Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ recusal and the appointment of a special counsel, although he applauded the choice of Robert Mueller (while predicting his probe “could be wrapped up within a few months.”)

Since then, he has been a fierce critic of the Mueller team, particularly of the prosecutions of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. And he has plenty of harsh words for Comey, someone for whom he has “genuine affection.” In his latest piece, he takes a deep dive into the text messages between FBI lovers Peter Strzok and Lisa Page and once more questions why his former colleagues are concealing information from the public.

Mollie Hemingway and Sean DavisThe Federalist has been a major target of #TheResistance for its unflinching coverage of the Trump-Russia scandal and exposure of an Obama Administration rife with corruption. (Even though publisher Ben Domenech was also a contributor to NR’s “Against Trump” issue.)

Hemingway was the first to suggest in great detail—just days after the award-winning CNN story—that Obama’s intelligence community had declared war against Donald Trump. “Far from discrediting Trump, [the allegation of Russian election interference]  paints a worrisome portrait of the deep state gone rogue, desperate to stop a man who, whatever his considerable flaws, is an outsider to Washington.” She started to piece together how the politically sourced Steele dossier was used to obtain FISA warrants on Trump campaign volunteer Carter Page, and gave extensive coverage to the work of the House Intelligence Committee.

After the Comey memos were released last month, Hemingway suggested the January 6, 2017 briefing orchestrated by top Obama intelligence officials was designed to set up the incoming president: “This briefing, and the leaking of it, legitimized the dossier, which touched off the Russia hysteria. That hysteria led to a full-fledged media freakout.” And she’s spared the media no criticism for burying huge developments in the emerging corruption scandal.

Hemingway has taken her battle to the airwaves. A regular Fox News contributor, Hemingway has become fan favorite by going toe-to-toe with anti-Trump journalists to raise serious questions about the veracity of the Trump-Russia investigation. (I personally admire her smackdowns of National Review’s Jonah Goldberg.)

Sean Davis (if you don’t follow him on Twitter, do it now), the site’s co-founder, had one of the past year’s most explosive scoops when he reported that Obama’s PAC paid nearly $1 million in 2016 to the law firm that was funneling money to Fusion GPS, and that the husband of one of Obama’s top communications advisors went to work for Fusion shortly after the 2016 election.

Just last month, Davis outed a former staffer to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif) who has raised $50 million from a few wealthy Democratic donors to continue Fusion GPS’s dirty work against the Trump Administration. He also amplified an overlooked conclusion in the House Intelligence Committee report: Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper lied to Congress when he testified that he did not discuss the dossier with any journalists when in fact he leaked the information to CNN’s Jake Tapper for the “award-winning” story. (Clapper, naturally,  is now a CNN intelligence analyst.)

Lee Smith: Few writers wield the literary blowtorch that Smith does. An expert on the Middle East, Smith noticed that the election collusion story sounded familiar: “The Russia story is a replay of how the former White House smeared pro-Israel activists in the lead-up to the Iran Deal,” he wrote in April 2017.

Most of his work is published in Tablet, a liberal, Jewish publication, but he views this scandal as nonpartisan. “We are now starting to understand more clearly, this is not simply a Democratic scandal, it’s a scandal that in many ways ties together both political establishments,” he told me by email. “Thus it threatens voters who tend to vote for Democrats as much as it does Republicans.”

He’s been a frequent critic of Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson and routinely blasts the media for their self-serving complicity in pushing the phony Trump-Russia story. “Buy into a storyline that turns FBI and CIA bureaucrats and their hand-puppets in the press into heroes while legitimizing the use of a vast surveillance apparatus for partisan purposes, and you’re in. Dissent and you’re out, or worse—you’re defending Trump.”

But it was his withering takedown of Robert Mueller in March 2018 that scorched the ruling class. Smith called the Mueller investigation a cover-up to “obscure the abuses of the U.S. surveillance apparatus that occurred under the Obama administration.” He disassembled the Washington narrative that Mueller is above reproach, an unimpeachable public figure who should be allowed to conduct his investigation untethered.

Mueller, according to Smith, is the prototypical swamp creature, a hanger-on who’s been held unaccountable for his egregious failures. “The problem is that by using the justice system as a political weapon to attack the enemies of the country’s elite, Robert Mueller and his supporters in both parties are confirming what many Americans already believe. That in spite of all the fine rhetoric, we are not all equal under one law.”

Smith takes an almost patriotic approach to his reporting. “What all of us want is the restoration and rehabilitation of the key American institutions that have inflicted so much damage on the American public as well themselves with Russiagate—I am thinking primarily here of the media,” he told me. “Left and right, we need a free and honest press in order to debate and discuss how we best live together and influence others abroad.”

PART TWO: The rest of the Trump-Russia truth-tellers and media influencers.

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Also see:

VIDEO: Green Beret Subjects Himself to Waterboarding to Support Trump CIA Nominee Gina Haspel

Breitbart, by Katherine Rodriguez, May 14, 2018:

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) fighter and Green Beret Tim Kennedy posted a live-streamed video of himself being waterboarded on Saturday in support of President Trump’s nominee to lead the CIA, claiming that the controversial interrogation tactic is not torture.

Kennedy said in the 41-minute video posted to Facebook that he pulled this stunt to show that CIA nominee Gina Haspel has been unfairly criticized for overseeing a CIA black site where “enhanced interrogation techniques” were used on terrorist detainees shortly after 9/11.

The video showed the former UFC fighter’s towel-covered face being doused with water from a hose.

After the experience, the Green Beret wrote a caption explaining his “waterboarding” experience.

“We did this yesterday for almost 45 minutes. The average pour was anywhere from 10 to 60. They wouldn’t tell me when they were going to put the towel on. They would just smash it on my face and start pouring. You can’t hold your breath while they do it because the water runs down your sinuses,” Kennedy wrote. “The water runs through your eyes, down your nose and pools at the back of your throat. It was a baptism in freedom. It’s not torture! Hell we had elk tacos and wine afterwards. Wake up people.”

Kennedy claimed waterboarding is uncomfortable but not torture.

“If I can change one person’s mind about what torture is and what I would do to protect American freedom, I will do this for years,” he said.

Not everybody agreed with Kennedy. Counterterrorism expert Malcolm Nance wrote on Twitter that Kennedy’s technique is “wrong” and there is more to waterboarding than pouring water on someone’s towel-covered face:

During her Senate Intelligence Committee confirmation hearings on Wednesday, Haspel pledged not to restart the CIA’s controversial interrogations program if selected as CIA director.

“Having served in that tumultuous time, I can offer you my personal commitment, clearly and without reservation, that under my leadership, on my watch, CIA will not restart such a detention and interrogation program,” Haspel said at the hearing.

Trump has backed his decision to nominate Haspel despite concerns from Democrats and some Republicans in the Senate. The president tweeted last week that his “highly respected nominee” has been criticized for “being too tough on terrorists.”

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This analysis is very interesting. (h/t Vlad Tepes)

Also see:

Mr. Mitchell, a retired Air Force officer and former CIA contractor, is the author of “Enhanced Interrogation: Inside the Minds and Motives of the Islamic Terrorists Trying to Destroy America”

Trump Frees Three American Captives From North Korea

After years of failure, strong foreign policy produces results.

Frontpage Magazine, by Lloyd Billingsley, May 10, 2018:

“As everybody is aware,” President Trump tweeted back on May 2 ,“the past administration has long been asking for three hostages to be released from a North Korean labor camp, but to no avail. Stay tuned!” Those who stayed tuned got the news from the president’s tweet Wednesday.

“I am pleased to inform you that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in the air and on his way back from North Korea with the 3 wonderful gentlemen that everyone is looking so forward to meeting. They seem to be in good health. Also, good meeting with Kim Jong Un. Date & Place set.”

North Korea released Kim Dong-chul, 64, who owned a business in Rason, a special economic zone of North Korea. The Communist regime arrested the businessman in October 2015 and sentenced him to 10 years in prison on charges of espionage and subversion.

Tony Kim, 59, was arrested during a month-long assignment as a guest lecturer at Pyongyang University of Science and Technology (PUST). In April, 2017, as he awaited to board a flight, Kim was arrested for “committing criminal acts of hostility” aimed to overthrow North Korea.

Agricultural consultant Kim Hak-song, who also taught at PUST, was detained about the same time. The regime provided no details of the charges, which to all but the willfully blind were bogus.

“We thank God, and all our families and friends who prayed for us and for our return,” the three U.S. citizens said in a statement. “God bless America, the greatest nation in the world.”

At this writing, President Trump awaits their arrival, but the story got scant attention in the old line media.

Well into Wednesday, for example, the Los Angeles Times headlined its story “Trump announces North Korea’s apparent release of three U.S. hostages.” The New York Times opted to bash Mike Pompeo for not being present when Trump nixed the Iran deal. So in the typical pattern, President Trump gets no credit for any accomplishment.

The previous administration, by contrast, did not secure the release of Kim Dong-chul and failed to gain a summit with Kim Jong-un. Trump took a tougher approach, at one point making it clear that if “Rocket Man,” continued to lob missiles in our direction, he would essentially incinerate North Korea and even deployed forces ready to take care of business.

By all indications, that was why Trump gained the meeting with Kim Jong-un and the hereditary Stalinist regime released Kim Dong-chul, Tony Kim, and Kim Hak-song. These were not the first releases Trump had achieved.

Last June, North Korea released Otto Warmbier, sentenced to 15 years hard labor for taking a political banner from a Pyongyang hotel. On his return, Warmbier, 22, was awake but unresponsive and doctors said he had suffered loss of brain tissue. Shortly after his return the American slipped into a coma and died.

For the Huffington Post it was a case of “white privilege,” and on Comedy Central Larry Wilmore lampooned Warmbier as a dumb frat boy, mocking his name as “warm beer.” So the three newly released captives might expect indifference at best or mockery at worst.

The president also secured the release of Caitlan Coleman and her husband Joshua Boyle from the Haqqani network, an ally of the Taliban. They had been abducted in 2012 and moved to Pakistan, Trump told Pakistan if they didn’t rescue them, the United States would do so directly. Pakistan duly complied.

The Trump administration blocked the extradition of former CIA agent Sabrina De Sousa, who had been tortured in Egypt. The president also played a role in the release of  Egyptian-American charity worker Aya Hijazi.

UCLA basketball players LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill were accused of stealing sunglasses from a store in Hangzhou, China. President Trump had a word with Zi Jinping and China duly released the trio. “Be careful,” Trump tweeted, “there are many pitfalls on the long and winding road of life!”

Most Americans doubtless welcome the return of Kim Dong-chul, Tony Kim, and Kim Hak-song. On the other hand, many may remain unaware of key back stories.

For the American left, the guidebook on Korea is The Hidden History of the Korean War, which charges that the South Korea invaded North Korea, a reversal of reality and the official Soviet position of the time. The left still venerates author I.F. Stone as an independent journalist, but as John Earl Haynes, Harvey Klehr and Alexander Vasiliev showed in Spies: The Rise and Fall of the KGB in America, Stone was in fact a Soviet propagandist who took money from the KGB.

In the 1950-1953 Korean conflict, American captives were transferred to the Soviet Union. Guards spotted American prisoners in the gulag as late as 1983. Nothing close to an accounting has ever been achieved.

Stalinist regimes, meanwhile, hold no monopoly on taking Americans hostage. On November 4, 1979, Iranian “students” invaded the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, took more than 60 American hostages and held them for 444 days. Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini freed the hostages on January 21, 1981, the first day of Ronald Reagan’s presidency.

Ronald Reagan wasn’t at all like president Jimmy Carter. President Trump isn’t much like POTUS 44. So let freedom ring.

Also  see:

Zumwalt: A Pyongyang Defector May Give Trump an Upper Hand in Negotiations with Kim

AFP PHOTO / KCNA VIA KNS

Breitbart, by James Zumwalt, May 9, 2018:

In a totally unexpected development, the defection of a high-level North Korean official has caught both North Korea and the U.S. by surprise days before the yet-to-be-scheduled meeting between President Donald Trump and dictator Kim Jong-un.

Its impact on negotiations to end Pyongyang’s nuclear program remains to be seen.

If Pyongyang delays, it may well be due to an advantage Trump will have gained beforehand. If so, the advantage will be eerily similar to one President John F. Kennedy attained over the Soviets during the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis negotiations.

Tipped off earlier by a spy working for the U.S. in Moscow that the Soviets were deploying nuclear missiles to Cuba, U.S. Navy ships began patrolling the waters off the island, preparing to intercept additional Soviet vessels en route to bring missiles to the island nation. As Kennedy and his Soviet counterpart, Premier Nikita Khrushchev, stared eyeball-to-eyeball in a game of nuclear poker, the world appeared to be on the brink of war.

But if Kennedy were to force Khrushchev to blink first, he needed to know what cards the Soviet leader was holding. Kennedy needed to know if the missiles photographed on launchers were operational and guidance systems functioning.

For this critical intelligence, Kennedy turned to his spy in Moscow, who was not an American but a colonel in the Soviet military intelligence (GRU): Oleg Penkovsky. Getting the intelligence back to Washington in a timely manner, however, risked Penkovsky’s identity being uncovered.

Knowing the risk, Penkovsky sent Kennedy the answers he needed. Now knowing the missiles were not operational, the President could demand Khrushchev remove them. Kennedy negotiated a quid-pro-quo with the Soviets (removing missiles in Turkey) so they would not lose total face. Later, however, the Soviets were able to determine Penkovsky’s identity, for which he was brutally executed. The means of execution, if true, only underscores the inhumanity of which humanity is capable. Tied down on a slab, he was allegedly slowly inserted into a raging furnace fire, feet first to draw out the pain. The execution was witnessed by others to get the message out as to the fate awaiting traitors. While an unsung hero of the Cuban Missile Crisis, Penkovsky ultimately paid a heavy personal price helping to avoid nuclear war.

This brings us to what recently happened in North Korea. Kim Jong-un received the unpleasant news in February that a high-ranking official had defected, not only taking with him a large amount of cash but, more importantly, a treasure trove of nuclear secrets. He apparently fled to England but could be anywhere in Europe or, even possibly, the U.S. Undoubtedly, the documents he had with him are eagerly being translated and shared with U.S. intelligence agencies. Kim Jong-un knows whatever the documents contain will give Trump an advantage as far as what demands to make of Kim at the talks.

The defector, only identified as “Mr. Kang,” is believed to be a colonel and senior counter-espionage official. He defected while in China, disappearing on February 25th from a facility operated by both the North Korean and Chinese governments, reportedly serving as an office for the former’s hackers working in China. It is said Kang was responsible for getting information for the North’s nuclear program to scientists.

Kang must not have had much concern about getting caught as he also is said to have taken with him a counterfeit machine used to print U.S. currency.

Based on Kang’s knowledge alone and, thus, the intelligence he could provide the U.S. and its allies, Kim, reportedly, has dispatched a ten-man hit squad to locate and execute Kang. It is an act Kim has no reluctance to do as evidenced by the execution he is believed to have ordered last year of his half-brother while he was in an airport terminal in Malaysia.

The hit squad, undoubtedly, has motivation to be successful as their failure would probably result in their own execution upon returning to North Korea.

While there are some espionage similarities between the Cuban Missile Crisis and this incident, there is one major difference concerning the motivation of the two colonels involved. Colonel Penkovsky’s motivation was ideological in nature; Colonel Kang’s is believed to be financially-driven. Apparently, evidence was discovered in North Korea that Kang had been taking money while out of the country. Rather than return home to plea for his life, he opted to go rogue, leaving his family behind. Unfortunately, it is they from whom a heavy price will undoubtedly be extracted.

Defections are somewhat common in North Korea, a sufficient number over the past few decades probably to populate a small country. It is estimated there have been about 30,000 defections. But those by high-level officials, who enjoy living the high life of the elites, are rare.

Kang’s defection offers us a great opportunity to learn much more about North Korea’s nuclear program. Coming on the heels of Israel’s release of over 100,000 pages on Iran’s secret nuclear arms program it surreptitiously smuggled out of that country, both caches of documents should prove most illuminating – not only about their own individual programs but about their contributory efforts to arm two members of the Axis of Evil with nuclear weapons.

Lt. Colonel James G. Zumwalt, USMC (Ret.), is a retired Marine infantry officer who served in the Vietnam war, the U.S. invasion of Panama and the first Gulf war. He is the author of “Bare Feet, Iron Will–Stories from the Other Side of Vietnam’s Battlefields,” “Living the Juche Lie: North Korea’s Kim Dynasty” and “Doomsday: Iran–The Clock is Ticking.” He frequently writes on foreign policy and defense issues.

North and South Korea Agree to ‘Complete Denuclearization,’ End of Korean War

Pool/Getty Images

Breitbart, by John Hayward, April 27, 2018:

At their historic summit meeting in Panmunjom on Friday, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in announced they would work for the “complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula” and formally end the Korean War after 55 years.

“The two leaders declare before our people of 80 million and the entire world there will be no more war on the Korean peninsula and a new age of peace has begun,” said the summit declaration.

North and South Korea cannot unilaterally end the Korean War on their own, as China and the United States must also sign the peace treaty. The summit led to a commitment from both Korean governments that they would begin working with Washington and Beijing this year to formally end the war.

Seoul and Pyongyang also agreed to hold more high-level talks and bilateral events, establish a joint liaison office in the Kaesong industrial zone, jointly participate in international sporting events such as the 2018 Asian Games, work on reuniting families separated by the Korean War, and resume joint economic projects that were canceled when inter-Korea relations soured.

Another significant development is that both sides agreed to stop throwing propaganda at each other across the Demilitarized Zone – South Korea uses loudspeakers, while North Korea favors printed leaflets – and establish a “peace zone” along their maritime border to ensure the safety of fishermen.

The American and Chinese governments both welcomed the Korean declaration. Naturally, President Donald Trump did so on Twitter:

China’s congratulations were delivered in a more formal style by the Foreign Ministry, as quoted by South Korea’s Yonhap news service:

Today, the leaders of South and North Korea held their summit successfully. (They) announced a joint declaration on their common understanding of inter-Korean relations, easing military tension on the Korean Peninsula, denuclearizing the peninsula and a permanent peace. The positive outcome of the summit is helpful for inter-Korean reconciliation and cooperation, peace and stability on the peninsula and the political resolution of Korean Peninsula issues.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe praised the summit agreements as “positive news,” but injected a note of skepticism into his congratulations, stating that his government will “keep watching North Korea.” He suggested he would withhold final judgment until he speaks with President Moon directly.

“Japan will compare the latest declaration to the previous ones and respond according to the analysis. Japan will solidly unite with South Korea and the United States, as well as with China and Russia, for the resolution of abduction, nuclear and missile issues,” said Abe.

The summit agreements are, at the moment, primarily symbolic in nature, but the symbolism is powerful. Observers around the world marveled at surreal photos and videos of Kim Jong-un walking onto South Korean soil and shaking hands with Moon.

“It was a very courageous decision for you to come all the way here,” Moon told Kim.

Kim then broke from the tightly scripted ceremony to invite Moon to walk back across the border with him. “Maybe this is the right time for you to enter North Korean territory,” he said.

Moon accepted the offer, so Friday saw the leaders of both nations walking on each others’ territory for the first time since the armistice in 1953.

Moon later announced that he will visit Pyongyang this fall, and expressed a desire to visit historic Mount Paektu near the Chinese border.

“Wow, if you invite me to the Blue House I am willing to go to the Blue House anytime,” Kim said after Moon broached the possibility of a visit to the presidential house in Seoul.

Kim poured on the charm with a number of little jokes during the summit, such as his humorously-phrased promise to discontinue the provocative early-morning missile tests that brought the Korean peninsula to the brink of war: “President Moon, I heard you didn’t sleep very well because you had to take part in a National Security Council meeting, and you have habitually been waking up very early … I will make sure I won’t interrupt your morning sleep anymore.”

Of course, it will take more than a few symbolic gestures and witty remarks at a summit meeting to ease the tensions North Korea has created. It should be noted that the South Korean opposition was strongly critical of the summit, calling it a “show camouflaged as peace” where Moon “wrote down the words Kim called out.” Opposition leaders also criticized Moon for committing to bilateral denuclearization instead of insisting on North Korea’s nuclear disarmament.

While President Moon stressed the importance of the two Korean governments leading the way in resolving their differences, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha told CNN on Friday that her government appreciates President Trump’s role in advancing the peace process, or “stepping on the accelerator,” as she put it.

“Clearly, credit goes to President Trump. He’s been determined to come to grips with this from day one,” she said.

The ball is once again in President Trump’s court, as his own summit meeting with Kim Jong-un is tentatively scheduled for May or June, with the date and venue yet to be determined.

“It could be that I walk out quickly – with respect, but it could be. It could be that maybe the meeting doesn’t even take place. Who knows? But I can tell you right now they want to meet,” Trump told Fox News on Thursday.

Also see:

What’s really behind Macron’s sweet talk about the Iran deal?

Ludovic Marin/AFP | Getty Images

Conservative Review, by Jordan Schachtel, April 25, 2018:

French President Emmanuel Macron is waging an all-out campaign to convince President Trump — and the American people — to keep the United States in the Iran nuclear deal.

In a speech before a joint session of Congress on Wednesday morning, Macron called on the United States to stay in the Iran deal. He began his remarks claiming that Iran would never be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon, delivering what at first appeared to be tough rhetoric.

But shortly thereafter, Macron quickly took a more capitulatory tone and showed his hand when he demanded that the nations of the world respect the sovereignty of the terrorist regime that rules the country. He then pledged that France would not leave the Iran nuclear deal (known officially as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or the JCPOA).

He described Iran as a “great civilization,” but notably failed to mention that the ruling regime dismisses Iran’s historic Persian heritage and replaces it with an Islamic supremacist doctrine.

Here’s more of what Macron didn’t tell Congress and the American people:

Staying in the Iran deal would guarantee an economic windfall for France. He knows that continuing U.S. involvement in the deal — which effectively keeps it afloat — secures billions of dollars in trade deals for France. Leaving the deal would almost certainly terminate these agreements.

As the United States continues to warn against securing economic partnerships with the regime in Tehran, France has ignored these warnings. Paris is more than eager to execute multi-billion-dollar accords with the terrorist regime. France-based Airbus has a deal in place to sell 100 jetliners to the regime for $10 billion dollars. Total, a French oil and gas company, has signed a $2 billion deal with Tehran. Moreover, as the United States has tightened sanctions on the regime, France is working on bolstering trade with Iran.

The debate over the future of the Iran deal comes as the ayatollah’s theocracy is on the ropes.

Instead of focusing on building up the economy inside Iran, the regime has decided to dedicate most of its expenditures toward waging expansionist wars in foreign lands. Iran is in total upheaval, and protest movements continue to shake the foundations of the ruling class. The Iranian people are rising up throughout their country in defiance of the totalitarian state that rules over them with an iron fist. The Iranian economy is in tatters and continues on a downward spiral. Its currency, the rial, is depreciating on an exponential level. All of these circumstances pose real threats to the very existence of the regime.

President Trump has until May 12 to decide whether to stay in the Iran deal, negotiate a “fix” to it, or leave it altogether. Staying in the Iran deal, as presently construed, delivers a much-needed lifeline to the mullahs, who will continue to use the platform to negotiate bailout packages from European and Asian powers. Recent European proposals for reforming show that they have little interest in countering the serious threats from Iran.

The European model for stability and security with Iran, presented through the JCPOA, has no proven successes. If anything, it enriches the ruling parties in Europe while simultaneously bending the knee to Islamic totalitarians.

France and many others in Western Europe have surrendered their nations’ sovereignty — and moral authority — to radical Islamic theocrats. They believe that making a temporary peace agreement with the regime in Tehran — which serves as the incubator for Shiite radicalism — can perhaps stave off further terrorist threats. European powers have chosen to largely ignore the massive, uncontrolled Middle East migration crisis. And due to the influx of Middle East migrants and the Islamist doctrine they bring along, Sunni radicalism has become embedded in European society, so much that European intelligence agencies are entirely overwhelmed with domestic and foreign terrorist threats. French and German Jews are now attacked on what seems like a daily basis. Jews and other minority populations are fleeing the country in droves. Europe has surrendered minority protections to the interests of the millions of new migrants.

The French model is a model for surrender. President Trump knows that his primary duty is to protect the interests and safety of the citizens of the United States. He can do this by either reforming the Iran nuclear deal seriously, or simply leaving it altogether. President Macron and the French establishment are not serious about reforming the nuclear deal or keeping their own people safe from continuous terror threats. They have chosen the path of submission. President Trump must not make the same mistake. America does not bend the knee to foreign ideologies, particularly the Shiite radicalism articulated by the theocrats who rule Iran.