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

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All Hands On Deck: Supporting Trump Through Inauguration Day

handsNew Zeal blog, By: Lloyd Marcus, January 16, 2017:

Trump’s Inauguration is less than a week away. While president elect Trump appears to be extraordinarily strong dealing with the tsunami of 24/7 vitriol launched at him from the Left and Washington establishment, he is still a human being.

The Bible says when Moses grew tired, “Aaron and Hur held his hands up–one on one side, one on the other–so that his hands remained steady till sunset.”

Folks, it is extremely crucial that we hold Trump’s hands up through Inauguration day. The Left is incensed over the prospect of Trump emancipating us from their 8 years of dictatorial slavery. As delusional as this sounds, the Left hopes to block Trump from being sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.

Numerous left-wing wacko groups including paid protesters vow to”shut down” the Inauguration. http://bit.ly/2iUyzpH

Nut case, Rosie O’Donnell wants to impose martial law to delay Trump’s Inauguration. http://bit.ly/2isJAgF

Joseph Goebbels said, “If you tell a big lie enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” The Left is relentlessly repeating their huge lie that the Russians hacked the election. They want Americans to believe Russia tampered with the vote count, stealing the election from Hillary. The Left’s lie is absurd. http://bit.ly/2jc9O9r

Concluding that no gutter tactic is too low to stop Trump, CNN and BuzzFeed partnered in promoting an unverified bogus claim that Trump hired prostitutes to urinate on a hotel bed slept in by Michelle and Obama. http://bit.ly/2jw9LF2 Yes folks, this is how disgusting and evil the Left’s insanity to block Trump has become.

As I said, at the heart of the Left’s panic, fear and rage is the prospect of Americans liberated from 8 years of Leftists forcing their far-left radical, anti-God, anti-America and anti-traditional values agenda down our throats.

Pray for our president folks. Let’s all join together and hold his hands up high.

Lloyd Marcus, The Unhyphenated American
http://www.lloydmarcus.com/
mr_lloydmarcus@hotmail.com

***

In case you missed it Here is Jeannine Pirro’s smack down of the “illegitimate”narrative:

And as always, Andrew McCarthy gives us his penetrating analysis on the truth of what the Dems are up to:

The ‘Trump Report’ Is a Russian Provocation

putin920x537It is part of Russia’s strategy to disrupt U.S. politics and institutions for years to come.

National Review, By David Satter, January 12, 2017:

Politicized Mishandling of Russian Cyberattacks Undermines Long-Term Security

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Daily Caller, by William J. Murphy, January 12, 2017:

The Obama Administration’s politicized mishandling of the Russian-orchestrated email hack of U.S. political organizations has distracted from even larger Kremlin cyber threats to American interests. Mr. Obama’s partisan clumsiness has fomented mistrust and confusion among Americans, undermining the ability of the U.S. to formulate an effective response to these dangers.

It is regrettable that the President and his associates have demonstrated more interest in using Moscow’s electoral cyber-activities to undermine the legitimacy of President-elect Trump, than in laying the foundation for an effective, long-term response to this significant, national security threat.

Mr. Obama couldn’t be bothered with involving the President-elect and Congress in a reasonable conversation about how to address Russian cyber-attacks. Instead, the Administration leaked the disputed CIA report asserting Moscow tried to help Mr. Trump win, which nicely set up the stunts to disrupt the Electoral College. In place of what would have been more statesmanlike courtesy and consultation with the incoming president, Mr. Obama displayed his customary petulant unilateralism.

Furthermore, the administration botched the delivery to Congress of the flawed CIA report, releasing it before sufficient evidence had been marshalled to support its proposition that Moscow desired to assist Trump’s election. FBI and ODNI officials contradicted the CIA estimate as soon as it was delivered, transforming the report into a public relations fiasco that raised more questions than it answered.

The peculiar timing of the President’s order for a “full review” of the Kremlin’s cyber-meddling as well as his decision to retaliate before completion of this intelligence review — particularly after neglecting for so long to take any action — likewise suggests greater interest in partisan, anti-Trump initiatives than in shutting down the Russian cyber threat.

But, the President’s focus on the claim that Moscow intended to help Trump win the election is not just unfortunate, it’s dangerous. This rhetoric trivializes the true scope and intensity of the Russian cyber threat, and has compromised the ability of the U.S. to respond effectively.

The fundamental goal of the Kremlin’s cyber-intervention in U.S. politics is to subvert national unity — to impair the U.S.’ ability to promote its interests in world affairs or interfere with the Kremlin’s strategic designs.  Americans should recognize these Russian tactics as contemporary cyber manifestations of KGB Cold War operations to support and manipulate U.S. political interest groups.

An even more important lesson Americans should take from the Kremlin’s 2016 electoral mischief is that Moscow’s cyber-political operations are but one weapon in a formidable arsenal of cyber-attack capabilities Russia has developed to cripple U.S. power. Moscow possesses, and in some cases, has already used, potent cyber-attack capabilities against critical national infrastructure including the electric grid, water utilities, financial system, transportation sector, government agencies, and corporations.

Americans should take careful note that Vladimir Putin and his government view the U.S as a rival foreign power capable of thwarting Moscow’s ability to realize its national interests and have already proven themselves willing and able to wield their cyber-power.

The U.S. has badly underinvested in its cyber-defenses and has failed to develop an appropriate response to the magnitude of the threat. An effective response must prioritize vastly improved cyber-defenses, integrate diverse cyber and conventional retaliatory options to deter future attacks, and strengthen government capacities to promote cyber security.

The partisan pettiness that has characterized President Obama’s approach to the Kremlin’s cyber-electioneering has squandered a valuable opportunity to inform the American people about the gravity of the Russian cyber-threat as well as to build public support for effective countermeasures.

Now that he has been given the appropriate courtesy of a formal intelligence briefing, President-elect Trump has acknowledged the danger and indicated he will bring forward a plan to address cyber threats. Americans would do well to hope Mr. Trump’s proposal is comprehensive, bold, and unifying. Nothing could bode better for the future than reversal of the partisan rancor and dysfunction observed to date.

Dr. William J. Murphy is an Associate Professor of Social Science at the New England Institute of Technology where he teaches courses on Terrorism and National Security, American Government, and Economics.  He is also a Policy Advisor with the Center for Constitutional Reform at the Heartland Institute.  He can be reached at @wjmurphy2.

Also see this: Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump backfire via David Shideler on Facebook where he comments:

An interesting little story on election influence that hasn’t received as much attention as some others.

The reality is that foreign actors of all stripes are seeking to manipulate U.S. policy every day through all available means. Many of them are aided and abetted by politicians who see only the next political target, and by law firms and lobby groups whose business is selling influence, no matter who the client is.

We have a responsibility as citizens to be wary, skeptical consumers of information, and to demand better from our politicians.

Also of note:

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.

Rex Tillerson Refuses to Label Saudi Arabia a Human Rights Violator

The Associated Press

The Associated Press

Breitbart, by Frances Martel, January 11, 2017:

During his confirmation hearing for the Secretary of State post in the U.S. Senate Wednesday, former Exxon Mobil head Rex Tillerson refused to label the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia a “human rights violator,” expressing fears that such a label would trigger a regression to more oppressive policies on the part of the Saudi ruling family.

Senator Marco Rubio asked Tillerson whether, in light of rampant human rights abuses against women and non-existent religious freedom in the nation, Tillerson would use the phrase “human rights violator” to describe Saudi Arabia.

“Saudi Arabia certainly does not share the same values of America,” Tillerson replied. “However, American interests have been advocating in Saudi Arabia for some time and I think the question is, what is the pace of progress that should be expected for the KSA to advance rights to women and others in the country?”

Sen. Rubio asked Tillerson to evaluate Saudi Arabia’s current human rights status, to which Tillerson replied that he would “need to have greater information.” In response, Sen. Rubio noted that women are not allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia and the government imposes Islamic Sharia law on its citizens.
In light of his context, Sen. Rubio then asked Tillerson what more information would make him comfortable on coming to a conclusion regarding the appropriateness of the label.
“In terms of when you designate someone or label someone, the question is, is that the most effective way to have progress continue to be made in Saudi Arabia or in any other country?” Tillerson repeated.
Tillerson’s response echoed his similar refusal to label Russian President Vladimir Putin a “war criminal” upon Sen. Rubio’s questioning, as well as his remark that he would need more information to assess the ongoing war on drugs in the Philippines. Tillerson repeatedly asserted that those holding high-ranking foreign policy offices in the United States are privy to pivotal information without which he would not assert a definitive opinion, and left breathing room for nuance in his approaches to global issues.
Saudi Arabia remains one of the world’s most egregious human rights violators, a liberal user of state force against Sharia violators, including those accused of adultery, apostasy (leaving Islam), “witchcraft,” as well as political targets such as human rights activists. Saudi officials have also implemented the death penalty against those with disabilities and minors. Those not sentenced to death can be arrested, beaten, and detained for extended periods of time for such crimes as dancing, “cursing the morality police,” or showing undue affection for dogs, which are considered haram.
Saudi Arabia is also a hotbed of radical Islamic thought, particularly the Sunni extremist ideology of Wahhabism, whose global spread the Kingdom is in part responsible for. “The Saudi Wahhabis regularly subsidize the organizations and individuals adhering to the militant ideology espoused by the Muslim Brotherhood and its murderous offshoots Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and al-Qaeda, all three of which are designated terrorist 2 organizations,” according to the Investigative Project on Terrorism’s Matthew Epstein.
Tillerson later addressed Rubio directly, perhaps not only in response to the Saudi Arabia question but to tensions arising Wednesday morning regarding Tillerson’s views on Russia. “My interest is the same as yours, our interests are not different,” he told the senator. “There seems to be some misunderstanding that somehow I see the world through a different lens, and I do not, I share all the same values that you share.”
Tillerson concluded the questioning by calling Saudi Arabia’s a culture that is centuries old and noting that, while “the pace [of progress] has been slower than any of us wish, there is a chance underway” to improve the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia. Tillerson expressed concerns of accidentally committing “some kind of precipitous action that would cause the leadership of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to change that” pace.
While Tillerson did not give concrete examples of the progress he claimed that begun in Saudi Arabia, some recent news articles do seem to indicate that some changes have occurred in the Gulf nation. In July 2016, for example, Saudi Arabia announced it would open a “women-only mobile phone shopping center,” allowing women to buy and sell cellular phones in an “appropriate” environment: one in which men would not see it happen. Saudi Arabia’s morality police no longer have the power to arrest people. At least one Saudi cleric has suggested women should be allowed to work in some medical fields in December, and a Saudi newspaper even challenged the nation’s ban on female drivers.
In his opening statement, Tillerson promised to put the right against radical Islam at the forefront of his work in the State Departmeent. “We need to be honest about radical Islam. It is with good reason that our fellow citizens have a growing concern about radical Islam and murderous acts committed in its name against Americans and our friends,” he told the Senate.
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Trump Admin Inherits Continued Insecurity, Corruption in Afghanistan

Afghan security personnel inspect at the site of roadside bomb blast in Kabul, Afghanistan, Dec. 28, 2016 / AP

Afghan security personnel inspect at the site of roadside bomb blast in Kabul, Afghanistan, Dec. 28, 2016 / AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Morgan Chalfant,January 12, 2017:

Donald Trump will need to confront the continued instability and corruption in Afghanistan as well as a resilient Taliban insurgency that continues to challenge Afghan military and police forces, according to the special inspector for Afghanistan reconstruction.

John Sopko, the U.S. government’s special inspector for Afghanistan reconstruction, offered a bleak assessment of the security situation and rebuilding efforts in the war-torn country on Wednesday during remarks at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, admitting that little has improved in Afghanistan over the past two years despite billions of dollars in investments from the United States.

The special inspector general unveiled a list of high-risk challenges facing the new administration in Afghanistan, including the capacity and capabilities of Afghan security forces, corruption, sustainability, on-budget assistance, counter-narcotics, contract management, general oversight, and planning and strategy.

Failure in any one of these eight areas, Sopko said Wednesday, could “fatally undermine the reconstruction mission in Afghanistan.”

The special inspector general identified corruption and poor leadership of the Afghan military and police forces as the root cause of the persisting insecurity in Afghanistan. He pointed to the tens of thousands of U.S. taxpayer-funded “ghost soldiers,” as well as evidence of Afghan forces selling U.S.-bought weapons and fuel for profit.

“Afghan commanders often pocket the paychecks of ghost soldiers for whom the U.S. is paying the salary,” Sopko said. “The number of ghost soldiers is not insignificant. It likely reaches into the tens of thousands of soldiers and police.”

“[Corruption] is so bad that there is evidence that the Taliban have instructed their field commanders to simply purchase U.S.-supplied weapons, fuel, and ammunition from the Afghan government because it is both easier and less expensive for the insurgents to do so,” he continued.

“There are reports that when fuel finally reaches the frontlines in Afghanistan, that some Afghan commanders refuse to use it, refuse to go on patrols, so they can save the fuel which they then can sell on the open market,” Sopko said.

The special inspector general has said as much as 50 percent of U.S.-purchased fuel is siphoned off and sold for profits.

“Our new administration and Congress should ask: Is it finally time to stop talking about combatting corruption and time for the Afghan government to start prosecuting senior officials who are either corrupt or feel they are above the law?” Sopko said.

The Taliban has continued to launch attacks and seize territory in Afghanistan, as U.S. and allied forces have withdrawn troops from the country. President Obama last year decelerated his planned drawdown of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, leaving some 8,400 service members in the country through the end of his term. Gens. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and John Nicholson, commander of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan, have both characterized the security situation as a “stalemate.”

The Taliban on Tuesday set off two large bombs near a government compound in Kabul, killing at least 38 people and injuring dozens. The attack was among 56 security incidents that occurred over the last two days in 22 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces, according to the special inspector general.

The Pentagon’s latest assessment of the Afghan military and police forces evaluated them as effective in repelling insurgents in key population areas and retaking territory seized by the Taliban. But Sopko on Wednesday offered a negative take on the assessment, saying that the Afghan forces are “basically playing whack-a-mole, following the Taliban around Afghanistan and retaking territory that was lost.”

“The DoD report reiterates this point by noting that the vast majority of the Afghan national army has little offensive capability,” the special inspector general said. “So, the best spin the Afghan security forces can put on their activities in 2016 is that they were able to retake strategic areas that had temporarily been lost to the Taliban. So, we’re defining success as the absence of failure. At a minimum, they are playing defense and are not taking the fight to the Taliban.”

The United States announced this week that it will send 300 Marines to Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province, in order to train, advise, and assist Afghan government forces fighting Taliban insurgents. Obama marked the end of combat in Afghanistan in December 2014.

Trump has not yet outlined a strategy for Afghanistan, which after 15 years has stretched to America’s longest war, but has pledged to end “nation building” by the United States. Under the new administration, the Pentagon will likely be led by retired Marine Gen. James Mattis, who faces a confirmation hearing to become defense secretary this week.

The United States has spent $115 billion on reconstruction in Afghanistan and is expected to contribute between $5 and $6 billion annually through 2020.

Sopko, who was appointed to the inspector general post in 2012 by President Obama, urged the incoming administration to “conduct a thorough assessment of resources and personnel to ensure they are sufficient to meet our military, law enforcement, and civilian objectives in Afghanistan.” He also recommended the new government work with Afghan and coalition allies to develop a “new and better strategy” in Afghanistan that avoids failures revealed by his office and other oversight investigations.

“Fifteen years in, there is no reason we should be seeing the problems we continue to witness and document in the nearly 250 reports my little office has released,” Sopko said. “My hope, and the hope of my staff, is that the high-risk report we are issuing today and the examples it provides will help guide Congress and the Trump administration as we move into 2017 to ensure a strong, better, and more effective reconstruction effort in what has become America’s longest war.”

Trump has Islamic clerics wetting their pants

fatwa-amjaWND, by Leo Hohmann, January 9, 2017:

North American Islamic scholars have issued a legal ruling or “fatwa” in the wake of Donald Trump’s stunning victory and imminent presidency, instructing the faithful on what to expect and how they should respond to shifting political realities.

Changes are coming, warns the Assembly of Muslim Jurist of America, and Muslims are told to get ready. The fatwa is titled “AMJA Post-Election Statement: Principles and Roadmap.”

While the fatwa received no media attention, this declaration contains the principles to which imams in the nation’s more than 3,100 mosques will be looking for guidance on how to instruct their congregations.

Philip Haney, a retired Homeland Security officer and co-author of the whistleblower book “See Something Say Nothing,” said the document is loaded with coded language that signals a possible uptick in jihadist attacks during Trump’s presidency.

The fatwa starts out by referring to a “political storm” that has “taken over this country.”

The Islamic scholars at AMJA go on to explain that “Muslims of America are neither guests nor strangers” and they will strengthen their bonds with the country’s civil rights organizations and work to defend Muslim rights “whenever needed.”

“However, at the same time, we must always fulfill our obligations completely and be active participants in society working to protect the security and well-being of its inhabitants,” the fatwa states.

And what are their “obligations?”

“Their obligations are set by Shariah law,” Haney said.

The AMJA never had to issue such a declaration under President Obama because he gave the Muslim community everything they wanted, Haney said.  Now, they are expecting to meet resistance and they are preparing the troops.

“This whole fatwa is about fitnah,” Haney said.

“Fitnah” is an Arabic word meaning “trial” or “test,” which can take the form of oppression against Muslims in a society dominated by infidels. In the modern sense, “fitnah” equals “Islamophobia.”

“And the whole fitnah they expect to encounter is the new administration of Donald Trump,” Haney said. “That is what this whole fatwa is about, that the American Muslim community is about to encounter an intensification of what they consider Islamophobia.”

The AMJA’s Fatwa Committee is led by its senior member, the Egyptian-born radical Waleed Idris al-Maneese, imam of al-Faroq mosque in Bloomington, Minnesota, which has been attended by at least five Somali refugees who ended up being terrorists, as previously reported by WND.

The fatwa committee never mentions Trump by name, but it’s clear who they are talking about. They quote the Quran to reiterate that they themselves are the proper authorities to which all American Muslims should look for guidance in the coming days of trial.

“They’re laying the groundwork on the response to this fitnah,” says Haney. And what is the response?

While they don’t come right out and say it, the language of the directive will be understood by Muslims to mean that violent jihad could be within the realm of what is expected of them in the fight against the Trump-led fitnah or “oppression,” Haney said.

The threat is made with the following statement:

“There is no blame upon a country if it does what is needed to protect its interests and security as long as it does not transgress or oppress by denying or violating rights.”

Of course under Islamic law, where Muslims are able to rule, the government tramples all over people’s “rights,” especially those of Christians, Jews and other religious minorities. But in a Western democracy where Muslims are the minority, it helps further the cause of Islam to play the victim and claim to be “oppressed.”

“Osama Bin Laden was always talking about oppression,” Haney said. “These are capital offenses in Islam,” he added, as long as it is non-Muslims who are doing the oppressing. Otherwise it is expected that Muslims should oppress and subjugate non-Muslims where Muslims have the upper hand in a Muslim-majority society.

The fatwa continues by stating that Islam, with respect to its beliefs and legal foundations, is “unalterably fixed. It does not accept any replacement for change.”

That’s a warning to any moderates within the Islamic community, that they have no standing to make any claims on behalf of Islam, Haney said.

“What about all this talk about moderate Muslims? This is AMJA telling you there is no conceivable flexibility in Islam, it’s fixed, it will not change,” he said. “This ruling or fatwa is to accommodate anybody through any time or place, that’s why AMJA exists, to help Muslims in this non-Muslim community navigate the challenges of fitnah under Donald Trump.”

The fatwa states that only the AMJA can be trusted to represent the face of Islam in America:

“One must refer to the people of knowledge to know that the principle is being applied properly. A Muslim must comply with his faith and refer confusing or troublesome matters to the well-grounded scholars. AMJA is of the view that there has yet to occur – and they do not expect to occur – a situation in which one is required to flee with one’s faith or wherein one is excused from performing some parts of the faith’s teachings.”

“They’re telling the people you have to comply with the parameters of Shariah law,” Haney explains. “They’re telling Muslims, ‘we’re about to go down into a danger zone, so don’t go off on your own, you must listen to the enlightened ones.’

“They’re saying we’re not at that point yet where you need to flee. They’re telling you you’re not excused from observing Shariah law and we are telling you now you are obligated to keep it. You will flee America before you compromise with Shariah law. ”

The fatwa exhorts Muslims to “reach out to the other ethnic and religious group as well as political movements on the left and right. This will be the only way to stop those who deal in hate.”

The fatwa authors then re-emphasizing that Muslims must double down and support civil rights organizations, which signals that the Muslim community plans to step up its filing of lawsuits against governments and businesses that do not continue the Obama-era policies of affording special rights and privileges to Muslims and mosques that practice Shariah.

Without naming them, the call for donations is clearly directed at lining the coffers of the Council on American-Islamic Relations or CAIR, which is an offshoot of the extremist Muslim Brotherhood, identified as a co-conspirator in funding Hamas terrorists in the Holy Land Foundation trial of 2007.

The fatwa states:

“From among the most important obligations during this stage is to support those institutions and organizations that serve the Muslim community, such as those interested in defending freedoms, civil rights and political activism, those dedicated to social services and relief, and those dedicated to dawah, religious instruction and providing religious rulings.

“It is most unbelievable that there are some who cry over the state of the community and then they are too stingy to donate their time or money to such organizations. Worse than that are those who are even too stingy to pray for them or give them a kind word. But the worst of all are those who seek to destroy such organizations.”

‘Prepare for any possibility’

Haney said this is perhaps the most revealing segment of the fatwa.

“They’re telling you the whole structure of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States right there, and when you see it it’s as clear as day,” he said. “And they’re saying it is your obligation to support them.”

They see oncoming time of trial or Islamophobia as a test but that doesn’t alleviate the consequences for those people who are causing the difficulties for Muslims.

“That last line, where it says, ‘But the worst of all are those who seek to destroy such organizations’ is very revealing,” Haney said. “That is directed at those who go around trying to get CAIR out of our police departments, out of the FBI and out of our military. This could include Congress itself if they designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. This is the worst kind of fitnah, and what is the fate of those people? Jihad.”

The last admonition in the fatwa is perhaps the most chilling.

“No one knows the unseen except Allah. It is possible that an individual hates something while Allah has placed a lot of good for him in it. We must prepare for any possibility while hoping for the best outcomes.”

This comes directly from the Quran.

“The thing you hate you may have to do,” Haney says. “Devout Muslims know when they hear that phrase what it means. So it’s written in shorthand for those who know what it means.”

Flurry of lawsuits, activism on the way

So Haney, the career DHS officer who developed a database that could predict jihad attacks only to see it deleted from the DHS system by the Obama administration, expects to see an uptick not only in terrorist activity under the Trump administration. He believes America Muslims are also going to become more Shariah compliant.

“And that will spill over into the courts,” he said. “We will see more lawsuits filed, more allegations of hate crimes, hijab ripping, mosque defiling, and all those other things they consistently harp on are going to go up, because they see them as catalysts that reinforce this fatwa. They are going to be hyper-sensitive as a community to any perceived offense, because they are going into this new administration with the expectation that Trump is going to be oppressive, that they’re going to suffer, in other words an increase in Islamophobia, which is all fitnah is.

“So you’re going to hear the drumbeat of islamophobia louder and louder and it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because if Trump actually does designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terror organization, then AMJA is going to be one too, because they are a front for the Brotherhood that provides the guidance.”

“It will edge them closer to violence because they’re told they must comply with the principles of Shariah and fitnah, and when you’re presented with the fitnah you must fight against it,” he said.

Haney believes the AMJA fatwa should be studied by the Trump administration as he believes it telegraphs the Muslim leaders’ plan to “set the stage” for a new level of activism and violence.

The AMJA is not just an American organization. It’s a part of the global Islamic hierarchy.

“They come to these fatwa decisions after consulting with their brethren around the world. This is not an independent organization,” he said. “It’s a global consortium that speaks in a unified voice, and they wrote this fatwa specifically about their expectation of fitnah with the election, but did it in consultation with the global community of Islamic scholars.”

“It is a declaration,” he added. “They are telling the community how to respond to the new administration, and what they should do. This is a paramilitary declaration, a clarion call to the minutemen, ‘the British are coming, the British are coming’ and they are expecting an open confrontation and telling them in advance that those trying to shut these organizations [like CAIR] down are the worst.”

Also see:

A Look at the Groups Taking Part in the Women’s March Protesting Donald Trump’s Inauguration

A WOMAN LOOKS ON AS SHE TAKES PART IN A PROTEST AGAINST PRESIDENT-ELECT DONALD TRUMP IN FRONT OF TRUMP TOWER IN NEW YORK ON NOVEMBER 10, 2016. (KENA BETANCUR/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

A WOMAN LOOKS ON AS SHE TAKES PART IN A PROTEST AGAINST PRESIDENT-ELECT DONALD TRUMP IN FRONT OF TRUMP TOWER IN NEW YORK ON NOVEMBER 10, 2016. (KENA BETANCUR/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

How Do You Stop Good People from Hurting Themselves? by Eileen Toplansky, American Thinker,  January 1, 2017:

How do you stop good people from careening over a cliff?  How do you protect decent Jewish philanthropic women from aligning with groups who would be quite happy to hurt them in many ways?

A Women’s March is scheduled for Saturday, January 21, 2017.  The National Council of Jewish Women (NCJW), which I joined over 30 years ago as a life member, is joining forces with groups that have neither Jewish nor American interests at hand.  And far too many of the NCJW members are either willfully blind or simply ignorant of the nefarious background of many of the “partners” marching at this event.  NCJW needs to review its principles, one of which includes “efforts that counter attempts to delegitimize Israel.”

NCJW members were informed that “[a]lthough the values espoused by all the organizers are certainly those of NCJW, [the march is scheduled for] Shabbat.  But, given that [they] are an organization based on Jewish values, not an orthodox observant group, it was finally decided that it was more important to be a part of this coalition.”

First of all, no one has to be an orthodox Jew to observe the Sabbath.  According to Jewish law, Shabbat regulations can be broken only if it is a matter of life or death.  Thus, “[w]hen treating on Shabbat a patient who is critically ill, or when dealing with an individual whose life is in danger … one is commanded to ‘violate’ the Shabbat. This applies even if there’s a doubt whether it is – or could evolve into – a life threatening situation.”  The National Council of Jewish Women deems it acceptable to disregard a key pillar of Jewish life.

The first clue to the march is that it is a “social justice” event.  It is important to perceive that “[o]ppression is the fixed constant of Social Justice Warriors[.] The only thing justifying their oppression is their victimhood. To oppress, they have to perpetuate the myth of their victimhood. They are always the beleaguered minority under siege by the people who don’t want to be oppressed or who don’t even know they exist.”

According to Marcus Ellsworth, the march “will be taking a stand against the racism, misogyny, Islamophobia and classism that Trump and his administration represent.”  Furthermore, “with a strong socialist core, these protests are standing up to the entire political system and all forms of oppression.”

Some of the groups planning to march are DisruptJ20, Bend the Arc Jewish Action, Code Pink, Human Rights Watch, National Network for Arab American Communities, Oxfam, and Planned Parenthood, to name only a few.

So let us take a closer look at some of the groups participating in this march.

The DisruptJ20 site calls “on all people of good conscience to join in disrupting the ceremonies [because] Trump stands for tyranny, greed, and misogyny. He is the champion of neo-nazis and white Nationalists, of the police who kill the Black, Brown and poor on a daily basis, of racist border agents and sadistic prison guards, of the FBI and NSA who tap your phone and read your email. He is the harbinger of even more climate catastrophe, deportation, discrimination, and endless war. He continues to deny the existence of climate change, in spite of all the evidence, putting the future of the whole human race at stake.”

Thus, “[f]rom day one, the Trump presidency will be a disaster. #DisruptJ20 will be the
start of the resistance. We must take to the streets and protest, blockade, disrupt, intervene, sit in, walk out, rise up, and make more noise and good trouble than the establishment can bear[.]”

An ostensible Jewish group, Bend the Arc “seeks to ‘create a just, fair and compassionate America’ by ‘mobilizing … Jewish resources’ to promote ‘equality and justice for disenfranchised residents of our nation.’ Bend the Arc ‘condemns voter ID laws as barriers that make it harder for communities of color, women, first-time voters, the elderly, and the poor to cast their vote,’ and finally, Bend the Arc ‘calls for comprehensive immigration reform that creates a path-to-citizenship for millions of illegal aliens currently residing in the United States.'”  Bend the Arc used to be known as Jewish Funds for Justice.  According to Daniel Greenfield, “it is currently headed by Stacy Cotler who is an anti-Israel protester.”  “[A]n article in the Saudi lobby’s Washington Report states that Cotler was working with Women in Black. She appears as a signatory on a Not In My Name petition calling for war crimes charges against Israeli soldiers.”

What makes this particularly intriguing is that Bend the Arc is now getting a boost from George Soros’s son, who wants “to play a more active role in the 2016 election with the launch of new political action committee focused on representing the views of Jewish Americans – beyond foreign policy.”  Thus, Bend the Arc will “back progressive candidates by making direct contributions to their campaign committees. It will focus on issues such as income inequality, marriage equality, social justice and immigration reform.”

As Greenfield ruefully explains, “who better to show the real experience of American Jewry than the son of a Hungarian Nazi collaborator whose father described his own mother as a Jewish anti-Semite and who blamed Jews for anti-Semitism. Anyway this whole thing is already as incestuous as any Soros project. The PAC is drawing on Soros’ Democracy Alliance donors, a project for using big money to hijack elections. The whole thing will officially be run by Hadar Susskind of Soros’ J Street.”

Oxfam is an international relief organization that condemns Israeli defensive measures against terrorism and supports the boycotts of Israeli products.  In fact, on January 29, 2014, actress Scarlett Johansson announced she was quitting her role as an ambassador of Oxfam, since the group “is opposed to all trade with products from Israeli settlements which it holds are illegal under international law. Ms. Johansson signed a contract to be the first brand ambassador and spokesperson for SodaStream, the Israel business making products that allow people to produce carbonated sodas.”  Ironically, the “SodaStream factory in Ma’ale Adumim employs 1,300 workers; of these 442 are Palestinians from the West Bank and 237 are Palestinian citizens of Israel, all of whom receive the same benefits as Israeli workers. Apparently their salaries are far higher than those paid by Palestinian employers. Unquestionably, Palestinians would suffer from the closure of this factory.”

Human Rights Watch “directs a disproportionate share of its criticism at Israel. Following an April 2002 counterterrorism operation by the Israeli military in the Palestinian refugee camp of Jenin, the organization issued a report charging that ‘IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] military attacks were indiscriminate,’ and that ‘Israeli forces committed serious violations of international humanitarian law, some amounting prima facie to war crimes.’ Contrary to HRW’s charges, which echoed Palestinian propaganda, a United Nations report later exonerated the Israeli forces.”

As Gerald Steinberg notes, “similar political attacks using the language of ethics and morality have taken place in connection with false massacre claims, related to the intense fighting information.”  “Almost nobody checks their accuracy, and this process is a central pillar in the war to delegitimize Israel.”  In fact, between 2004-2006, “ideological attacks against Israel took up one-third of the entire activity of Human Rights Watch.”

More recently in January of 2016, Human Rights Watch issued a lengthy reportclaiming “how [Israeli] settlement businesses contribute to Israel’s Violations of Palestinian Rights” – a continuing demonization of Israel amidst high-sounding ideas, many of which are factually incorrect.

Then there is Code Pink.  According to John J. Tierney, “Code Pink are serious and very radical political activists. They subscribe in varying degrees to strands of Marxist, neo-Marxist, and progressive left-wing thought[.]”

“Code Pink describes itself as a ‘grassroots peace and social justice movement.’ It is anti-everything about America – against the U.S. economic system, against U.S. foreign and domestic policies and against the American culture of ‘racism’ and ‘sexism.'”

Tierney asserts that “Code Pink’s leaders are not pacifists – they are revolutionaries. They are not devoted to peace – they are dedicated to political turmoil.”  Like so many of the Women’s March groups, “Code Pink is part of a global network of leftwing activists. Individuals in the network may pursue diverse issues and programs, but all are united in opposition to the U.S.”

Finally we have Linda Sarsour, one of the national co-chairs of the anticipated January Women’s March.  Billed as a “social media maverick,” Sarsour has been the civic engagement coordinator for the National Network for Arab American Communities (NNAAC).  Honored by Obama as a “Champion of Change,” Sarsour “supports the Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions (BDS) Movement, a Hamas-inspired initiative that uses various forms of public protest, economic pressure, and court rulings to advance the Hamas agenda of permanently destroying Israel as a Jewish nation-state.”

Sarsour favors a one-state solution, where an Arab majority and Jewish minority live together within the borders of a single country.  In October 2012, she stated that “nothing is creepier than Zionism.”  In addition, she has maintained the falsehood that “Palestine existed before the State of Israel.”  On Rachel Maddow’s television program, Sarsour maintained that there is a nationwide epidemic of Islamophobia and Muslim “kids being executed in the United States.”  Sarsour played a central role in pressuring the New York Police Department to terminate its secret surveillance of Muslim mosques and organizations suspected of promoting extremism or terrorism.  Furthermore, Sarsour is deeply involved in the Black Lives Matter Movement – despite its anti-Semitic overtones.

This is just the tip of the iceberg.

Missing from the Intelligence Report: The Word ‘Podesta’

podestaDisclosure of embarrassing information should not be confused with disinformation.

National Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy, January 8, 2017:

There is a word missing from the non-classified report issued Friday, in which three intelligence agencies assess “Russia’s Influence Campaign Targeting the 2016 US Presidential Election.” The FBI, CIA, and NSA elide any mention of . . . “Podesta.”

Seems like a pretty significant omission — not just because of how the 2016 campaign played out but also in light of the intelligence community’s recent history of politicizing its analyses.

The report is replete with references to Russian “cyber espionage,” “covert intelligence,” “false-flag,” “propaganda,” and “influence” operations by which Vladimir Putin is alleged to have tried to put his thumb on the electoral scale. Very sinister stuff, to be sure. But when the public hears these terms, it thinks of spies, misdirection, disinformation campaigns — i.e., schemes intended to deceive the target audience. People don’t instantly think, “Oh, you mean an effort to publicize true but embarrassing information”; they don’t read “covert operation” and say to themselves, “That must mean they subjected only one side of a political contest to a high level of scrutiny.” That’s the kind of behavior people associate with the American media, not the Kremlin.

The three intelligence agencies’ report pointedly declines to tell us what specific information gives them such “high confidence” that they know the operation of Vladimir Putin’s mind. They plead that the nature of their work does not allow for that: To tell us how they know what they purport to know would compromise intelligence methods and sources.

Fair enough. The problem, though, is that if you’re essentially going to say, “Trust us,” you have to have proven yourself trustworthy over time.

Here, we are talking about a community whose own analysts have complained that their superiors distort their reports for political purposes. In just the past few years, they have told us that they had “high confidence” that Iran suspended its nuclear weapons programs in 2003; that the NSA was not collecting metadata on millions of Americans; and that the Muslim Brotherhood is a moderate, “largely secular” organization. We have learned that the Obama administration intentionally perpetrated a disinformation campaign — complete with a compliant media “echo chamber” — to sell the public on the Iran nuclear deal (and the fiction that Iran’s regime was moderating). We have seen U.S. intelligence and law enforcement complicit in the Obama administration’s schemes to convince the public that “violent extremism,” not radical Islam, is the explanation for terrorist attacks; that a jihadist mass-murder attack targeting soldiers about to deploy to Afghanistan was “workplace violence”; that al-Qaeda had been “decimated”; that the threat of the ISIS “jayvee” team was exaggerated; and that the Benghazi massacre was not really a terrorist attack but a “protest” gone awry over an anti-Muslim video.

I can attest that the intelligence agencies overflow with patriotic Americans who do the quiet, perilous, thankless work that saves American lives. We can acknowledge this incontestable fact and still observe that, on this record, the intelligence community as an institution cannot very well expect that “Trust us” is going to get them very far.

Which brings us back to what the new report studiously avoids mentioning.

The vaporous assertion that Putin’s regime was up to “espionage” and “covert ops” in order to “denigrate” Mrs. Clinton might naturally be presumed to imply that Putin was promoting smears. Such an impression — if that’s what the agencies were aiming to create — would have been contradicted by mentioning “Podesta,” as in John Podesta, the top Obama White House and Clinton-campaign official whose private e-mails were hacked. To bring up Podesta might remind the public that this was not a disinformation campaign. What was revealed here was true information that Podesta and his correspondents would understandably have preferred to keep private.

As President Obama likes to say, let me be clear. I am not endorsing hacking, cyber-theft, and the publication of private information. Unlike some conservatives now infatuated with scoundrels like Julian Assange (and even Putin!), I continue to regard enemies of the United States as, well, enemies of the United States. They are not to be trusted, regardless of whose ox they happen to be goring as their allegiances and calculations twist and turn.

My point is that Putin did not plant a slanderous story that top Clinton aides were, say, spouting anti-Catholic bigotry. What he did was orchestrate the release of authentic e-mails, in one of which top Clinton aides were in fact spouting anti-Catholic bigotry.

I will give Democrats the benefit of the doubt that, if the shoe were on the other foot, they would condemn the theft — a benefit they probably do not rate given their praise of Edward Snowden and their historic efforts (the Carter administration, Ted Kennedy) to seek Soviet interference in the American political system when it stood to help their electoral prospects. But I am quite certain Democrats would have no sympathy for Republicans over any political damage if the latter were caught saying unsavory things. In such an instance, victorious Democrats would not tolerate a suggestion that the “the election had been hacked”; they’d say, “Republicans got caught being Republicans.”

The new report may be entirely right — I think it is — that Putin tries to meddle in American and European elections and that he has preferences about the outcomes. Yet it is written in a way that enables the Left to spin it as support for the fallacy that Putin “hacked the election.” It gives Democrats ammunition to continue prattling about how the Russians used “espionage” and “covert operations” “aimed at the US election” in order to “influence” the result; and that Putin wanted Trump to win, according to our “highly confident” agencies. The Left can even cite the agencies’ intriguing but inchoate conclusion that the Kremlin “accessed elements of multiple state or local electoral boards” — a conclusion that a cynic, believing the intelligence community might be just a teensy bit political, might figure was included in the report to undercut Trump’s refrain that the hacking had nothing to do with the electoral process.

The agencies, of course, would deny any political agenda. And perhaps they don’t have one — personally, I don’t have “high confidence” that I can read their minds as well as they can apparently read Putin’s. Nevertheless, when you read the report carefully, it is like a media report: It feeds the “hack the election” theme, but it does not actually say Putin hacked the election.

Indeed, when you look for the fire under all the smoke, you find the agencies saying, “We did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election.” And while the report repeatedly asserts that Russia wanted to “influence” the election, it elaborates that Russia’s main aim is to “undermine the U.S.-led democratic order” and “faith in the US democratic process” (an unremarkable finding that, by the way, is of a piece with the contention of Trump national-security adviser Mike Flynn that the Russian regime is anti-American principally because it opposes democracy).

The report concludes that while Putin appears to have been rooting for Trump, the Russians assumed Clinton was going to win and were mainly trying to undermine the effectiveness of her anticipated presidency, not swing the election to Trump. And even the conclusion that Putin was rooting for Trump is partially based on speculation (“Putin most likely wanted to discredit Secretary Clinton because” he blames her for protests against his regime), along with heavy doses of hypothesis (Putin is said to have: liked “Trump’s stated policy to work with Russia”; seen Trump’s election as a potential pathway “to achieve an international coalition against the Islamic State”; “had many positive experiences working with Western political leaders whose business interests made them more disposed to deal with Russia”; etc.).

Note: all this agency guesswork appears to be based on publicly available information that you and I — without any access to super-secret intelligence sources and methods — could have done on our own. It doesn’t really tell us anything we didn’t already know, or couldn’t already have surmised.

And what about those dark suggestions about Russian penetration of “multiple state or local electoral boards,” and that “since early 2014, Russian intelligence has researched [ooh!] US electoral processes and related technology and equipment”? Well, if you read on, you find that the report is at pains to concede that the Department of Homeland Security “assesses that the types of systems we observed Russian actors targeting or compromising are not involved in vote tallying.”

In other words, Putin did not hack the election.

In light of the report’s emphasis on Mrs. Clinton as the “espionage” victim, it is worth noting a couple of other nuggets. The agencies acknowledge that Kremlin spies “conducted cyber operations against . . . targets associated with both major US political parties” (emphasis added). In fact, Russia “collected against” anyone and everyone “viewed as likely to shape future US policies” — including “US primary campaigns, think tanks, and lobbying groups.”

In making the concession that “Russia collected on some Republican-affiliated targets,” the agencies are quick to caveat that, whatever Putin may have done to Republicans, it was not “comparable” to his “disclosure campaign” against Democrats. But is that necessarily because he wanted the Republicans to win?

Again, reading the report closely, we learn that while the Russians apparently “targeted” the Republican party, they actually succeeded in “gain[ing] access to Democratic National Committee (DNC) networks” — access they maintained for about a year. And note that, just as the agencies refrain from any discussion of the Podesta motherlode, they also choose not to tell us anything about the quantity or quality of the information obtained from Republicans. We’re just vaguely told that Russia’s Republican disclosures were not “comparable” to its Democratic disclosures. But that might be indicative of a motive only if the information acquired from each party was comparable. Isn’t it possible that the disclosures were not comparable because the stuff Putin got on the GOP was not nearly as copious or juicy as what he got on the Dems?

Or . . . let’s assume for argument’s sake that the information Russia acquired was comparable — let’s assume that they have something on Trump, or on some Republican as relatively high-level as Podesta, that would stoke the same kind of press frenzy as the tens of thousands of Podesta e-mails. If the report is correct that Putin was convinced Hillary would win and wanted to cripple her presidency from the start, wouldn’t it be logical that he’d more heavily disclose what he had on the Dems? What would be the point of trying to cripple the anticipated Republican loser? Wouldn’t Putin keep his powder dry on the GOP — hold whatever he’s got for future damage or blackmail purposes, save it for a time when it would be more useful?

I’m speculating about Putin’s motives, and I don’t have “high confidence” that I know what they were. But that’s kind of the point, isn’t it?

Before the agencies’ report was issued, most of us knew that Russia is an adversary obsessed with America, that it aggressively spies against us and endeavors to influence any aspect of American affairs that could advantage it. We also knew Russia did not “hack the election.” The underwhelming intelligence report on Russia’s meddling in our election changes none of that.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is a senior policy fellow at the National Review Institute and a contributing editor of National Review.

Also see:

U.S. Intel Report Says Putin Led ‘Cyber-Enabled Disclosure Operation’ to Help Elect Trump, Discredit Clinton

AP

AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Bill Gertz, January 6, 2017:

The CIA, FBI, and National Security Agency concluded in a report made public Friday that Russian President Vladimir Putin directed a covert intelligence campaign to boost the election of Donald Trump while seeking to discredit Hillary Clinton.

The 23-page unclassified report is part of a longer secret study into a wide-ranging cyber and disinformation campaign similar to the activities during the Cold War of the Soviet KGB intelligence service.

“We assess Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election,” the report said.

“Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency.”

The combined cyber and intelligence operation “reflected the Kremlin’s recognition of the worldwide effects that mass disclosures of U.S. government and other private data—such as those conducted by WikiLeaks and others—have achieved in recent years, and their understanding of the value of orchestrating such disclosures to maximize the impact of compromising information,” the report said.

The report warned that Russia will continue “cyber-enabled disclosure operations” to achieve foreign policy goals with relative ease and without causing significant damage to Russian interests.

“We assess Russian intelligence services will continue to develop capabilities to provide Putin with options to use against the United States, judging from past practice and current efforts,” the report said.

The report noted that immediately after the Nov. 8 election, Russia launched an email spearphishing campaign targeting U.S. government employees and Americans at think tanks and non-governmental organizations involved in national security, defense, and foreign policy.

“This campaign could provide material for future influence efforts as well as foreign intelligence collection on the incoming administration’s goals and plans,” the report said.

The report is based in part on top-secret NSA electronic intercepts and analysis of Russian spy tradecraft and other aspects of the operation by CIA and FBI intelligence analysts.

The report also states specifically that the three agencies “did not make an assessment of the impact that Russian activities had on the outcome of the 2016 election.”

President-elect Trump, who was briefed on the top-secret report on Friday, stated on Twitter that he left the briefing convinced that Russian covert action had no impact on the election.

“While Russia, China, other countries, outside groups and people are consistently trying to break through the cyber infrastructure of our governmental institutions, businesses and organizations including the Democrat National Committee, there was absolutely no effect on the outcome of the election including the fact that there was no tampering whatsoever with voting machines,” Trump said.

He noted that Russian attempts to hack the Republican National Committee were unsuccessful as a result of better cyber security than used by the DNC.

The declassified report is titled “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections” and will likely fuel the political debate among some Democrats who have sought to discredit Trump’s election victory.

According to the report, Russia and Putin sought to influence the presidential election in a bid to “undermine the U.S.-led liberal democratic order.”

However, the effort in 2016 began with major cyber intrusions in the summer and “demonstrated a significant escalation in directness, level of activity, and scope of effort compared to previous operations.”

Regarding Trump, the agencies concluded that Putin and the Russian government developed a clear preference for Trump, a judgment the three agencies gauged with “high confidence.”

U.S. officials familiar with the classified version of the report said intelligence indicated Russian officials celebrated Trump’s stunning Nov. 8 election upset, Reuters reported.

The influence program involved “discrediting” Clinton through leaking information obtained from hacks against the DNC and political figures like John Podesta, Clinton’s campaign manager.

The report also said the Russians “aspired” to boost Trump’s election prospects by discrediting and contrasting Clinton unfavorably with Trump. In that judgment, the CIA and FBI voiced high confidence, but the NSA said it had only moderate confidence.

The operation evolved over the course of the election campaign and intensified when it appeared Clinton was likely to win. The report said at that point the Russians’ influence campaign sought to focus on undermining her future presidency.

“Moscow’s influence campaign followed a Russian messaging strategy that blends covert intelligence operations—such as cyber activity—with overt efforts by Russian Government agencies, state-funded media, third-party intermediaries, and paid social media users or ‘trolls,’” the report said.

The main conduits for Russian intelligence, specifically the GRU military intelligence service, were hackers using the online persona Guccifer 2.0 and the website DCLeaks.com. Another main conduit for hacked “victim data” was the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks that the report says cooperated closely with Russia’s main propaganda outlet, RT, formerly Russian Television.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told Fox News this week that Russia was not the source of the information published by the website. Assange did not reveal who the source was that provided the leaked information.

The report provides details on WikiLeaks close ties to RT.

Additionally, Russian hackers broke into multiple state and local election boards, but did not penetrate systems involved in vote tallying.

The entire influence campaign was orchestrated by senior Kremlin officials and disseminated to Russia’s state-run “propaganda machine,” a combination of both traditional media outlets and social media, including St. Petersburg group Internet Research Agency, to operate a troll network. The operation is funded by a Putin ally with ties to Russian intelligence.

The report concluded that Moscow will use the lessons of the campaign in future influence operations worldwide, including U.S. allies and their elections.

The campaign to influence the election represented a “significant escalation” compared to past Russian influence operations in terms of directness, level of activity, and scope of effort over past election meddling.

Russian deep cover “illegal” intelligence operatives expelled from the United States in 2010 revealed Moscow’s bid to influence the 2008 election.

Also, during the 1970s, the Soviet KGB “recruited a Democratic Party activist who reported information about then-presidential hopeful Jimmy Carter’s campaign and foreign policy plans,” the report said.

Putin’s motive for the campaign was part ideological and part revenge for what the Russian leader believes is U.S. backing for mass democratic protests against his regime in 2011 and 2012. Putin also “holds a grudge for comments he almost certainly saw as disparaging him,” the report said.

Putin in June avoided directly praising Trump as part of the campaign in order to avoid having the campaign backfire in the United States.

Still, Putin during the presidential campaign voiced preference for Trump because he believes the president-elect is more willing to work with Russia and because he perceived Trump would adopt policies more favorable to Russia related to Syria and Ukraine.

By contrast, Putin criticized Clinton for her “aggressive rhetoric,” the report said.

Moscow also believed Trump as president would assist Moscow’s plan to build an international coalition against the Islamic State terror group.

“Putin has had many positive experiences working with western political leaders whose business interests made them more disposed to deal with Russia, such as former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder,” the report said.

Russian diplomats also were employed in publicly denouncing the U.S. electoral process and were ready to question the results if Clinton had been elected.

On social media, pro-Kremlin bloggers also had prepared a Twitter campaign using the hashtag #DemocracyRIP on election night.

The disinformation and influence operation was based on “years of investment” by the Russians and based on experiences used in influencing former Soviet states that Moscow is seeking to control in what is termed the “near abroad.”

“By their nature, Russian influence campaigns are multifaceted and designed to be deniable because they use a mix of agents of influence, cutouts, front organizations, and false-flag operations,” the report said.

An example was the takeover of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014 that used a combination of military forces and information warfare operations.

In the presidential campaign operations, leaks from cyber attacks, intrusions into state and local election networks, and overt propaganda were used. Russian intelligence agencies “both informed and enabled the influence campaign,” the report said.

In addition to the DNC and Podesta’s email, the Russians targeted the primary election campaigns, think tanks, and lobbying groups likely to be involved in shaping future policies.

For the DNC, Russian intelligence gained access from July 2015 until at least June 2016, with the GRU launching aggressive attacks beginning in March 2016.

“By May, the GRU had exfiltrated large volumes of data from the DNC,” the report said.

The information was provided to Guccifer 2.0 who claimed to be a Romanian hacker who the report says was likely Russian and probably more than one person.

DCLeaks.com began spreading GRU hacked data in June.

Contrary to Assange’s claims this week, the report said: “We assess with high confidence that the GRU relayed material it acquired from the DNC and senior Democratic officials to WikiLeaks.”

“Moscow most likely chose WikiLeaks because of its self-proclaimed reputation for authenticity,” the report said. “Disclosures through WikiLeaks did not contain any evident forgeries.”

The report noted that in September Putin denied state-level involvement in the Russian campaign to hack the election and stated publicly that it was more important to focus on the leaked data than the source of the leaks.

On Russian ties to WikiLeaks, the report said the Kremlin’s main international propaganda outlet, RT, “actively collaborated with WikiLeaks.”

“RT’s editor-in-chief visited WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London in August 2013, where they discussed renewing his broadcast contract with RT,” the report said.

RT also had an exclusive partnership with WikiLeaks that involved access to secret information. Additionally, RT provided sympathetic coverage of Assange and “provides him a platform to denounce the United States,” the report said.

Sputnik, an online outlet, along with a network of social media trolls are also part of the Moscow propaganda machine.

According to the report, Russian media viewed Trump’s election victory as validating Putin’s advocacy of global populist movements and an example of Western liberalism’s “collapse.”

Negative Russian propaganda coverage of Clinton included highlighting her bout with pneumonia in August.

An RT interview with Assange in August also suggested that Clinton and the Islamic State were funded by the same money. Additional reporting by RT focused on the Clinton Foundation and how all of the foundation’s funds went to the Clintons.

***

Also see:

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.

Islamic terror cells shift from Mideast to U.S.-Mexican border

SIS militants  like these in Syria are filing into Mexico. (Credit Image: © Medyan Dairieh/ZUMA Wire/ZUMAPRESS.com)

ISIS militants like these in Syria are filing into Mexico. (Credit Image: © Medyan Dairieh/ZUMA Wire/ZUMAPRESS.com)

‘They are only waiting for the order’ to attack American cities

WND, by Leo Hohmann, January 5, 2017:

A new report by a government watchdog agency says jihadists are partnering with Mexican drug cartels along the U.S.-Mexican border, preparing to carry out precision attacks in American cities.

Judicial Watch cites confidential U.S. and Mexican law enforcement sources for the disturbing report, which builds on earlier JW reports shining light on the jihadists’ exploitation of the porous border policies of President Barack Obama.

As part of the plan, Islamists have arrived recently at the Monterrey International Airport situated in Apodaca, a city in the Mexican state of Nuevo León, about 130 miles south of the Texas border, JW reports.

“An internal Mexican law enforcement report obtained by Judicial Watch confirms that Islamic terrorists have ‘people along the border, principally in Tijuana, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas.’”

U.S. intelligence sources have also warned that the defeat of ISIS in Iraq and Syria will lead to many of those jihadists escaping and relocating into Western Europe and the United States.

But JW reported as early as April 2015 that ISIS had established a training camp just a few miles from El Paso, Texas, in an area known as “Anapra” just west of Ciudad Juárez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua.

Just ‘waiting for the order’

According to the JW report, cartel informants have told law enforcement that “they are only waiting for the order and the times to carry out a simultaneous attack in the different ports of entry or cities of the United States of America.”

Drug cartels have a working “agreement” with Islamic terrorists, according to a high-ranking Mexican police administrator, who told JW that men from the Middle East arrive regularly into the country to train jihadists.

Judicial Watch sources include veteran law enforcement officials in the U.S. and Mexico as well as longtime undercover informants who have worked for intelligence agencies in both countries. They can’t be identified out of fear for their safety.

One seasoned Mexican law enforcement official told Judicial Watch that a key cartel informant verified picking up various Middle Eastern men from “evil groups” at the Monterrey Airport in the last few days alone. JW described the informant as “extremely credible” having also worked for several U.S. government agencies.

U.S. about to reap what it has sown

John Guandolo, a former FBI counter-terrorism specialist who now heads up the private consulting business Understanding the Threat, said the U.S. is about to reap the bitter fruit it has been sowing under the last several administrations – the Clintons, Bushes and Obamas — all of whom invited the Muslim Brotherhood into the White House as an inside policy player.

As a result, all references to Islam deemed offensive to Muslims has been scrubbed from FBI training manuals and Muslim Brotherhood entities like CAIR have been providing advice on how to deal with terrorism.

Now, terror cells are here and ready to strike, as documented by Judicial Watch.

“This is a symptom of the much bigger ongoing problem – the catastrophic failure of U.S. officials to identify the threat and deal with it,” Guandolo told WND.

Not only have they not identified the threat, Obama and his predecessors have invited the threat into the government.

“Because we will not associate ‘terrorism’ with Islam as a part of our national security directives and overall strategy, Islamic organizations, mosques, enclaves, and communities continue to serve as support networks, training sites and safe havens for jihadis across the United States,” Guandolo said.

He said Muslim leaders control the false narrative that terrorism has nothing to do with Islam, and they put themselves in the driver’s seat to be the gateway for all information getting to government leaders having to do with Islam.

Law enforcement neutered under Obama

“Islamic leaders get the federal government — the White House and DOJ especially — to bear down on local/state governments and law enforcement to let the FBI handle all counter-terrorism investigations, then strip the FBI of all factual understanding of the real threat and tie their hands so they cannot be aggressive in any case,” Guandolo said.

Philip Haney, a retired Homeland Security officer who co-authored the whistleblower book “See Something Say Nothing,” said the global Islamic movement led by the extremist Muslim Brotherhood is anticipating that they will encounter a far less friendly regime in Washington and they are filing some of their most militant assets into place.

“They’re laying the groundwork on the response to the new administration. And what is that response going to be? Attacks,” Haney told WND. “Like we’re seeing around the world, generated from the same sort of activity we’re seeing here. This is a turning point in terms of the Muslim community in North America because they are now being upgraded in their understanding and their expectation of what’s expected of them as devout, observant Muslims.”

Guandolo said the U.S. Department of Justice has been the most ardent supporter of the Islamic movement in America. It has aggressively gone on the offensive, suing any jurisdiction that takes any proactive measures to pursue the Islamic threat at the local level. This has weakened law enforcement’s ability to do its job. The DOJ has pushed Muslim Brotherhood organizations into local jurisdictions to do training for state and local law enforcement agencies, sponsored by U.S. attorneys’ offices.

Exploiting gaps on the way to ‘zero hour’

In this environment, Guandolo said terrorists use “Grand Canyon-size gaps in our security apparatus” to develop routes, methods and locations to move people, money and equipment in preparation for what the Muslim Brotherhood calls “zero hour.”

Evidence of this strategy was entered into the court record during the largest terrorism financing trial ever successfully prosecuted in American history – the Holy Land Foundation trial in Dallas, Texas, in 2007-08.

“These routes, methods, and locations will be used by many nefarious entities be they cartels, terrorists, or gangs. In the end, though, they will lead to devastating results in American towns,” Guandolo said.

“It is nothing less than concerted and incremental efforts by heads of the key agencies of the United States — DHS, FBI, CIA, the White House counter-terrorism adviser — and the president himself to make America tragically vulnerable to our enemies,” he adds. “This is treason and sedition, and we will pay for allowing it for so long.”

Former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann said Obama’s national security team has either known or should have known about the existence of Islamic terror cells on U.S. soil and along the border, “yet willingly allowed them to use the U.S. as a safe haven.”

“To think President Obama would fail to destroy every vestige of a U.S.-based Islamic terror cell is both jaw dropping and unthinkable, especially in light of the numerous U.S.-based Islamic terror attacks that have already occurred in the U.S. on his watch,” Bachmann told WND.

“Unfortunately, Obama’s failures are now President Trump’s responsibilities,” she added. “Mr. Trump will have to extinguish this evil from American soil — there is no other choice because Islamic supremacism has one goal — to conquer our land. We have to destroy this evil before they can destroy our liberty.”

HAYWARD: Time’s ‘Top 10 Risks to the World in 2017’ Starts with America, Excludes Terrorism

AP

AP

Breitbart, by John Hayward, January 4, 2017:

Ian Bremmer of Time magazine declared a “geopolitical recession” due to the election of Donald Trump, and put forth his list of “Top 10 Risks to the World in 2017” with this howler of an opening paragraph:

The triumph of an “America first” foreign policy marks a fundamental break with decades of U.S. exceptionalism and a consensus view in Washington that U.S. international leadership, however flawed and uneven, is indispensable for international stability.

I hate to be the one to break it to him, but “U.S. exceptionalism” and “U.S. international leadership” were traded for a bag of multicultural magic beans by outgoing President Barack Obama, long before anyone thought Trump might run for President.

The Libya disaster, the Syria disaster, the Iran disaster, the ISIS disaster… on and on it goes, in every case reducing America’s international credibility, with such remorseless consistency because Obama intended to sunset American leadership, regardless of the huge cost to Americans and people overseas.

Remember “leading from behind?” Never mind Obama’s hidden agendas and deep-seated, faculty-lounge antipathy to American power, his stated purpose was to make the U.S. less exceptional, to concede its moral stature, and transfer leadership responsibilities to other nations.

As for “international stability,” how is that looking after unlovely but basically pro-American dictatorships were swapped out for Mad Max-style Muslim militias in the “Arab Spring”?

Libya was transformed into a warlords-vs.-terrorists cage match, Europe is bucking under a tidal wave of contemptuous “refugees,” the Syrian bloodbath transformed Russia and Iran into the new Middle Eastern power axis, China began militarizing the South China Sea, and Russia snatched Crimea and tormented Ukraine?

It would be facile to say there’s nowhere to go but up, but President-elect Trump has a fairly low bar to clear when it comes to handling American prestige and global stability better than his predecessor.

The notion that an “America first” stance will automatically make the world less stable is wrongheaded. Nations that look out for their own predictable interests are more predictable than the eight-year globalist dorm-room bull session held by Obama and his friends  Ask the Syrian resistance or the Israelis about that.

Number One on Bremmer’s Top 10 list of threats facing the world is an “Unpredictable America”:

The world’s sole superpower was once the international trump card, imposing order to force compromise and head off conflict. Now it’s a wildcard, because instead of creating policies designed to bolster global stability, President Trump will use U.S. power overwhelmingly to advance U.S. interests, with little concern for the broader impact. Trump is no isolationist. He’s a unilateralist. Expect a more hawkish–and a much less predictable–U.S. foreign policy. Allies, especially in Europe and Asia, will hedge. Rivals like China and even Russia will test. U.S.-led institutions will lose more of their international clout.

For good measure, Number Two on the list of global security risks is… America again, because Bremmer worries about China “overreacting” to Trump’s provocations. He worries that 2017 will be a “dangerous year for China, and all who depend on it for growth and stability.”

Not only is the assertion that more “unilateral” foreign policy is less predictable dubious, but “hawkish” doesn’t seem like the right word for Trump’s foreign policy outlook, just as “dovish” would be an absurd adjective for President Barack “Drone Strike” Obama’s legacy of wars burning around the world.

The Libyan intervention was “unilateralist” with respect to Obama’s disregard for Congress, but impeccably “multilateral” in the way foreign leaders and Hillary Clinton badgered Obama into starting the war, and predictably disastrous.

Obama’s “red line” in Syria was supposed to be the multilateral consensus of the international community – in one of his more scurrilous attempts to escape responsibility for his words, he claimed “The World” had drawn the red line against chemical weapons, not him. Gas-spewing dictator Bashar Assad correctly deduced that a red line drawn by “everyone” would be enforced by no one. The ban against using WMD was supposed to be the most predictable, universal principle on Earth, but it proved extremely unpredictable in practice, judging from the surprised expressions on the faces of the gas victims.

America tops the Time hit parade of global threats… but ISIS, al-Qaeda, and the rest of the terrorist carnival of horrors are not on the list at all. The word “Islamist” is nowhere mentioned, in any of its permutations. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, an Islamist, makes it in at Number Eight because his “tightening grip” on power will “exacerbate the country’s economic problems and his worsening relations with Europe and his neighbors,” but his ideology goes unmentioned. The great danger for the Middle East listed in the article is disruptive technological change.

Entry Number Three on the list is a potential “power vacuum in Europe,” which mentions the French elections, Brexit, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s precarious position, but does not mention why all those European voters are so upset. The risk to global stability and national security that should be ranked high on this list is migration: that is, mass immigration contrary to the best interests of citizens in the host countries.

The arrogance of denouncing the Trump administration and America as the top “risks to the world in 2017” without even mentioning terrorism, just a few days after the latest mass-murder atrocity, is breathtaking.

People from 14 different countries were murdered at the Reina nightclub in Istanbul by a soldier of ISIS. How’s that for a microcosm of “global risk?”

Also see:

Trump Must Up The Ante On Russian Subversion In America

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

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

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

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

Now is the time to put an end to it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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