Flynn Resignation Raises Tough Questions for FBI, Intel Services

Michael Flynn

Breitbart, by Joel Pollak, February 14, 2017:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The ‘Russia Hacked the Election’ Narrative Battle Continues—Are Republicans Paying Attention?

Sessions testifies at his confirmation hearing, January 10, 2017. (Reuters photo: Kevin Lamarque)

Sessions testifies at his confirmation hearing, January 10, 2017. (Reuters photo: Kevin Lamarque)

A Democratic attempt to force Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from investigating Russian meddling in the election is a ploy to make him concede a conflict where none exists.

National Review, by Andrew C. McCarthy, January 18, 2016:

I contended in last weekend’s column that the Justice Department’s inspector-general investigation, focusing on statements by FBI director James Comey in the stretch-run of the presidential campaign, is part of a carefully orchestrated Democratic scheme to win the narrative battle over the 2016 election. The inquiry into whether Director Comey’s disclosures about the Clinton e-mails investigation violated DOJ standards is merely a pretext. The real objective is to bolster the claim that Donald Trump’s triumph was illegitimate, thus undermining his presidency.

The same strategy informs the Democrats’ continued repetition of the theme that “Russia hacked the election.” Notwithstanding that Putin’s regime did not tamper with the actual voting process and that the embarrassing information released by WikiLeaks (mostly e-mails from the DNC and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta) was true, Democrats are determined to depict President Trump not as elected fair-and-square by Americans but as maneuvered into the White House by Russian “cyber-espionage.”

Now it’s the same old wine in a different bottle.

The Senate Judiciary Committee is currently considering Trump’s nomination of Senator Jeff Sessions (R., Ala.) to be attorney general. On Tuesday, all nine Democrats on the committee signed a letter demanding that, if confirmed, Sessions recuse himself from any investigation of efforts by Russia to interfere in the election.

Let’s once again take a step back and understand what’s going on here.

If Russia merely tried to interfere in an American election, there is no basis to call for Sessions’s recusal. There is no reason to question Sessions’s motivation and commitment to investigate and prosecute espionage by Putin’s regime. The purported conflict of interest would arise only if we accept the narrative — i.e., the fiction — that “Russia hacked the election.” Had that actually happened, then it could be credibly claimed that Trump owes his presidency, and Sessions his stewardship of the Justice Department, to Russian espionage. That would be a major conflict of interest. Thus, Democrats want Sessions to concede, in effect, that he has a powerful motive to conceal Russia’s espionage — such that he must recuse himself because we cannot trust him to lead a fair and impartial investigation. Implicitly, Sessions would be conceding — and thus cementing — the fiction that “Russia hacked the election.”

In other words, the Democrats’ latest recusal ploy has nothing to do with Sessions, just as the IG investigation has nothing to do with Comey. The objective is to engrave a story on the election: The Democrats lost not because their candidate was terrible and their policies unpopular; they lost because Russia stole the election for Trump — rendering Trump illegitimate, and implicitly obliging Americans to resist him as a Putin puppet.

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

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Judicial Watch’s Chris Farrell gives the facts of Russian “active measures” –

Dr. Sebastian Gorka: Iran Nuclear Deal Is the Worst of Obama’s ‘Many Catastrophic Legacies’

Associated Press

Associated Press

Breitbart, by John Hayward, January 10, 2017:

Breitbart News National Security Editor Dr. Sebastian Gorka, author of the best-selling book Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War, was tasked by SiriusXM host Raheem Kassam on Tuesday’s Breitbart News Daily with choosing the “worst thing Obama is leaving this country, in terms of foreign policy.”

“Oh, that’s easy,” Gorka replied. “It’s the empowering to nuclear threshold status of a nation that his own State Department says is a state sponsor of terrorism. The Iran nuclear deal is – of all the many, many catastrophic legacies, it’s the Iran deal.”

He judged that the empowerment of Iran was a worse Obama legacy than the rise of the Islamic State because “we can wipe ISIS off the face of the earth, if we’re serious, and if we really go to war.”

“I mean, think about it: they’ve got maybe, at best, at this point, 40,000 fighters. We have twice that number of special operators alone in the United States,” he noted. “If we’re serious, we can destroy them, and then follow that up with a counter-ideological campaign. But dealing with an eschatologically informed theocratic republic that now has a crescent of influence from Yemen to Persia, which is on the cusp of nuclear capability, that’s even more dangerous.”

Gorka suggested a dissertation could be written on how the realignment of power in the Middle East became a “secret war,” largely unreported by U.S. media, because President Obama wanted to change American posture towards Iran and other regional powers.

“Obama has a legacy for using more drones to kill people in the first six months of his administration than Bush ever did,” he said. “If you look at the fact that on one day, he has bombed six different nations – but nobody’s reporting about it. During the Bush administration, we had embedded journalists. You remember embed phenomena? That doesn’t exist any more. This is the complicity of the mainstream media, that they preach peace, they preach Nobel Prizes, but this is a truly hyper-engaged administration when it comes to doing what they think is right around the world for ideological reasons. But nobody writes about it, except Breitbart.”

Gorka agreed with author Dinesh D’Souza’s contention that Obama was “the first post-American President.”

“His guiding philosophy was very simple: America is bad. If there are problems in the world, from global warming to you-name-it, we are the cause. America is the new imperial force. As a result, we have to be taken down a peg or two – and my, did he take us down a peg or two,” he said.

Gorka had no patience for Obama’s claim of a “scandal-free” presidency.

“Where to begin? Benghazi, the IRS, the Iran deal, the involvement of drone strikes against U.S. citizens without due process – on and on and on,” he said. “That is perhaps the most bare-faced lie of any of the press reporting in the last eight years, that this was a scandal-free administration.”

Kassam asked for Gorka’s take on how the Trump transition team is handling the Russian hacking story, in particular the assertion in the intelligence community’s public report that Russian President Vladimir Putin directly ordered an effort to influence the 2016 election via media manipulation.

“I can’t talk to the transition, but if you listen to the statements that are being made, I think you’ll understand that the transition team understands better than most: this isn’t about ‘hacking.’ It’s hard to hack somebody whose password is ‘password,’” Gorka replied, making a jab at the notoriously lax security procedures of Hillary Clinton campaign chief John Podesta.

“This is about influence operations and information warfare,” he continued. “The issue is that Russia, for very little investment, managed to question the probity of our elections, without there really being anything that’s occurred to the elections themselves. That’s the big story. This is old, Cold War-style information operations at their worst.”

He said links to Russia could be seen in the penetration of the Democratic National Committee and Podesta’s email.

“If you look at the code that was used, if you look at the various modus operandi, the report from DHS, FBI, the unclassified one is clear. But the important point is, it’s not a ‘hack.’ The election wasn’t undermined. It is the perception of the probity of the election, and that’s called active measures. That’s called dezinformatsiya,” Gorka said.

Kassam noted the IC report has been criticized for offering far-reaching conclusions about Russian involvement without providing any supporting information, much of which would still be classified – the very same criticism that was leveled retroactively, for years, with white-hot passion, against the intelligence reports on pre-war Iraq. “Why are we just sort of accepting this now?” he asked.

“Look, the thing that has to be remembered – and this is the point I always try to make on any interviews – is that we have patriots and good people working inside the national security establishment,” Gorka responded. “For the majority of cases, that is absolutely true. But who runs them? Who is John Brennan? Who is General Clapper? These individuals are politically chosen. John Brennan has carried the water for Obama for eight years. That is important, and as a result, we have to reassess when one agency says something that the other agencies do not agree with. That’s the bottom line, Raheem.”

Kassam recalled that the last time unanimity was supposedly reached between the intelligence agencies, “it was Colin Powell sitting there claiming that everybody believed we had to go to war in Iraq. How’d that work out for us?”

“Yes indeed – another political actor who I’m sure regrets waving a test tube at the United Nations Security Council. Indeed, the ‘sexed-up’ dossier, Colin Powell’s behavior – these are all things we must remember,” Gorka urged.

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