America’s relative silence over the Hong Kong protests and the impending Chinese crackdown is deafening, and telling. It’s also dangerous.
John Daniel Davidson writes: The protests in Hong Kong that began two months ago have now shut down the city’s airport—one of the busiest in the world—amid violent clashes with riot police in recent days. Chinese troops, we’re told, are amassing along the border even as Chinese propaganda outlets warned Tuesday that protesters were “asking for self-destruction” and Chinese officials decried the demonstrations as “deranged acts” that marked “the first signs of terrorism.”
In other words, it appears the situation is about to get much worse. Why has the American response to all this been so muted? Hong Kong is the most important city in the world right now, and the cause of the pro-democracy protesters is one that all Americans should rally behind.
Yet, rhetorically, it’s not even clear what side the United States is on. President Trump has been content to offer platitudes and unhelpful observations like, “We’ll see what happens. But I’m sure it’ll work out. I hope it works out for everybody, including China, by the way.” On Tuesday, he tweeted, “Our Intelligence has informed us that the Chinese Government is moving troops to the Border with Hong Kong. Everyone should be calm and safe!”
Okay, thanks for that, president of United States and leader of the free world.
This is the future liberals want… https://t.co/Rq83wuNPTU— EducatëdHillbilly™ (@RobProvince) August 15, 2019
News and social media have largely focused on other stories, like Chris Cuomo flying off the handle at some random guy in New York calling him “Fredo,” or whether the Clintons had Jeffrey Epstein assassinated, or how stupid the 2020 Democratic candidates look eating corn dogs and pandering at the Iowa Sate Fair.
Meanwhile in Hong Kong, protesters are waving the American flag and singing the “Star-Spangled Banner.” They do this because they know that America is an idea and that the principles of our Founding are universal. Read the rest of this entry »
Alvin Lum reports: Hundreds of workers at 34 banks joined calls for a citywide strike next week against the government’s handling of recent unrest which has rocked Hong Kong.
The finance staff added their voices to an umbrella group of 95 unions from the public and private sectors behind the action planned for Monday.
The appeal from the pro-democracy Confederation of Trade Unions (CTU) and staff from local banks, including international investment banks and Chinese state-owned banks, was also echoed by teachers and art groups.
Civil servants, meanwhile, got the go-ahead from police to host an unprecedented rally on Friday evening in Chater Garden to urge the government to respond to the demands of protesters against the now-abandoned extradition bill.
The idea of a strike was first floated weeks ago on an online forum, and has gained momentum after two protests that descended into clashes over which 44 people have been charged with rioting. Read the rest of this entry »
Did our intel leaders have any evidence when they pushed the Russia collusion line?
William McGurn reports: The one we need is for all the intelligence officials—including former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Central Intelligence Agency chief John Brennan, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s former Director James Comey and former Deputy Director Andrew McCabe—who pushed the Russia conspiracy theory. The special counsel has just made clear they did so with no real evidence.
Mr. Mueller could have said he didn’t have enough evidence to prosecute. Instead he was categorical: “The investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
This wasn’t for lack of trying on Moscow’s part. “Despite multiple offers” from Russia-affiliated individuals to help their campaign, Mr. Mueller reports, the Trump people didn’t take them up on it.
So why do 44% of Americans—according to a Fox News poll released Sunday—believe otherwise? Part of the answer has to be that the collusion tale was egged on by leading members and former members of the American intelligence community.
Intelligence professionals are trained to sift through the noise and distractions in pursuit of the truth. In this case, however, they went all in for a tale that the Russian government had somehow compromised Mr. Trump or his close associates. In peddling this line, their authority rested on the idea they had access to alarming and conclusive evidence the rest of America couldn’t see. Now it appears they never had much more than an unverified opposition-research dossier commissioned by Fusion GPS’s Glenn Simpson on behalf of Hillary Clinton.
Nevertheless, they persisted. Start with the FBI’s Mr. McCabe, who boasts that he is the man who opened the counterintelligence probe into Russia and President Trump. Today the question has to be: On what evidence was this extraordinary step predicated, apart from Mr. Trump’s saying things the G-man didn’t like? Read the rest of this entry »
Source: Covers | New York Post
The Senate Judiciary Committee rescheduled a planned key vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination for Friday morning, one day after Kavanaugh Read the rest of this entry »
They need more evidence
… Reporters from The Daily Caller News Foundation asked students at George Washington University what they thought of the Supreme Court nominee, the allegations he’s facing and what they would tell him or his accuser.
Almost everyone said if Kavanaugh is guilty, he should not serve on the bench, “even if it was 35 years ago.” But most found it a difficult situation Read the rest of this entry »
The granting or withholding of that approval is a powerful lever over our lives.
>J.D. Tuccille writes: Increasingly, that’s the theme of modern America. More and more of what we do is dependent on permission from the government. That permission, unsurprisingly, is contingent on keeping government officials happy. Rub those officials the wrong way and they’ll strip you of permission to travel the roads, leave the country, or even make a living.
That’s not a recipe for a free country.
In February of this year, the IRS began sending the U.S. State Department lists of Americans who have a seriously delinquent tax debt, so that these individuals can be denied the right to travel overseas.
“[T]his only applies to a seriously delinquent tax debt,” cautions tax attorney Robert W. Wood, “more than $50,000. Even so, that $50,000 includes penalties and interest. A $20,000 tax debt can grow to $50,000 including penalties and interest.”
Passport revocation isn’t contingent on criminal conviction, or suspicion of flight. Your travel documents can be yanked just for the outstanding debt—even if you’re already outside the country.
“If you’re already overseas, the State Department may, but is not required to, provide a passport permitting your return home,” writes former federal prosecutor Justin Gelfand. “And a 1952 statute makes it a crime for a U.S. citizen to enter or exit the country without a valid passport.”
That law requiring a passport to cross the border in either direction, combined with the threat to strip passports from alleged tax debtors, effectively makes the country one big debtors’ prison.
What connection is there between taxes and the right to travel? None. Members of Congress and other government officials just thought they could coerce more people into meeting IRS demands if they made the right to travel (not so much a “right” any more) dependent on keeping the taxman happy. Read the rest of this entry »
FBI agent Peter Strzok ‘escorted’ from FBI building, lawyer confirms
Peter Strzok, the FBI agent under fire over a series of anti-Trump text messages, was “escorted” from the FBI building, his lawyer confirmed to Fox News on Tuesday.
Strzok’s lawyer, Aitan Goelman, argued that even though his client has “played by the rules,” he has been targeted by “unfounded personal attacks, political games and inappropriate information leaks.”
“All of this seriously calls into question the impartiality of the disciplinary process, which now appears tainted by political influence,” a statement from Goelman said.
He said that Strzok “has complied with every FBI procedure, including being escorted from the building as part of the ongoing internal proceedings.” The attorney did not say exactly when Strzok was escorted out.
“Instead of publicly calling for a long-serving FBI agent to be summarily fired, politicians should allow the disciplinary process to play out free from political pressure,” Goelman said. “Our leaders and the public should be very concerned with how readily such influence has been allowed to undermine due process and the legal protections owed to someone who has served his country for so long. Pete Strzok and the American people deserve better.”
The FBI had no comment when contacted by Fox News.
News of Strzok’s removal came after Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz confirmed during a Congressional hearing earlier Tuesday that his office was looking into whether Strzok’s anti-Trump bias played a role in the launch of the bureau’s Russia probe.
Horowitz’s report on the Clinton email investigation, which was released last week, revealed a text sent by Strzok to his then-colleague and lover Lisa Page. Read the rest of this entry »
The inspector general report is careful in its conclusions, but damning on the facts.
That won’t be the message from Democrats and most of the press, who will focus on a few episodes they will claim cost Hillary Clinton an election. Watch for them to blame former FBI Director James Comey, whom the report faults for “a serious error of judgment,” for having “concealed information” from superiors, and for “violation of or disregard for” departmental and bureau policies.
True, the report is damning about the man who lectures Americans on “higher loyalty.” It describes how an “insubordinate” Mr. Comey was, as early as April 2016, considering how to cut his Justice Department bosses from a public statement exonerating Hillary Clinton. He hid this scheme for fear “they would instruct him not to do it”—and therefore was able to “avoid supervision.” He then “violated long-standing Department practice and protocol” by using his July 5 press conference for “criticizing Clinton’s uncharged conduct.” In October, he made public that the FBI had reopened the investigation, even though the Justice Department recommended he not do so. Mr. Comey went rogue, and President Trump had plenty of justification in firing him in May 2017.
Yet it is the report’s findings on the wider culture of the FBI and Justice Department that are most alarming. The report depicts agencies that operate outside the rules to which they hold everybody else, and that showed extraordinary bias while investigating two presidential candidates.
There’s Loretta Lynch, who felt it perfectly fine to have a long catch-up with her friend Bill Clinton on a Phoenix tarmac and whom the inspector general slams for an “error in judgment.” Read the rest of this entry »
D. O’Connor writes: A little over 40 years ago, Richard Nixon went from a landslide re-election winner to a president forced to resign in disgrace. Nixon’s downfall was the direct result of his unsuccessful attempts to politicize through patronage of an independent, straight-arrow FBI. The commonsense, ethical lesson from this for all government officials would be to avoid attempts to use our nation’s independent fact-finder as a partisan force.
There is as well, of course, a more perverse lesson to be learned from Nixon’s downfall at the hands of an independent FBI, to wit: there is much power to gain by politicizing the Bureau, but only if its upper-leadership team is all on partisan board. Emerging evidence increasingly suggests, sadly, that this was former FBI Director James Comey’s leadership strategy in our country’s most sensitive investigations.
In the years running up to the 1972 election, Deputy Associate FBI Director Mark Felt, serving under feisty bulldog J. Edgar Hoover, staunchly refused the entreaties of Nixon lieutenants to act politically, e.g., to whitewash an ITT/Republican bribery scheme and to lock up innocent war protestors. Felt, the natural successor to Hoover, fell out of White House favor as a result.
Following the death of Hoover in May 1972, Nixon appointed in place of Felt the decent but politically malleable L. Patrick Gray. When six weeks later five burglars were arrested in the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the Democratic National Committee, Nixon’s Justice Department tried to limit, through Gray, the scope of the FBI’s investigation. Unfortunately for Nixon, regular Bureau agents, led quietly but spectacularly by Felt, fought these attempts, with a far worse result for Nixon than if the Bureau had been left alone to do its job. Read the rest of this entry »
- The swiftness with which injustice was meted out to Tommy Robinson is stunning. No, more than that: it is terrifying.
- Without having access to his own lawyer, Robinson was summarily tried and sentenced to 13 months behind bars. He was then transported to Hull Prison.
- Meanwhile, the judge who sentenced Robinson also ordered British media not to report on his case. Newspapers that had already posted reports of his arrest quickly took them down. All this happened on the same day.
- In Britain, rapists enjoy the right to a full and fair trial, the right to the legal representation of their choice, the right to have sufficient time to prepare their cases, and the right to go home on bail between sessions of their trial. No such rights were offered, however, to Tommy Robinson.
“One potentially positive aspect of this ugly turn of events is that it turned heads that should have been turned long ago.”
In recent years, alas, Britain has deviated from its commitment to liberty. Foreign critics of Islam, such as the American scholar Robert Spencer, and for a time, even the Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders have been barred from the country. Now, at least one prominent native critic of Islam, Tommy Robinson, has been repeatedly harassed by the police, railroaded by the courts, and left unprotected by prison officials who have allowed Muslim inmates to beat him senseless. Clearly, British authorities view Robinson as a troublemaker and would like nothing more than to see him give up his fight, leave the country (as Ayaan Hirsi Ali left the Netherlands), or get killed by a jihadist (as happened to the Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh).
On Friday, as reported here yesterday, the saga of Tommy Robinson entered a new chapter. British police officers pulled him off a street in Leeds, where, in his role as a citizen journalist, he was livestreaming a Facebook video from outside a courthouse. Inside that building, several defendants were on trial for allegedly being part of a so-called “grooming gang” — a group of men, almost all Muslim, who systematically rape non-Muslim children, in some cases hundreds of them, over a period of years or decades. Some ten thousand Facebook viewers around the world witnessed Robinson’s arrest live.
The police promptly dragged Robinson in front of a judge, where, without having access to his own lawyer, he was summarily tried and sentenced to 13 months behind bars. He was then transported to Hull Prison.
Meanwhile, the judge who sentenced him also ordered the British media not to report on his case. Newspapers that had already posted reports of his arrest quickly took them down. Even ordinary citizens who had written about the arrest on social media removed their posts, for fear of sharing Robinson’s fate. All this happened on the same day.
A kangaroo court, then a gag order. In the United Kingdom, where rapists enjoy the right to a full and fair trial, the right to the legal representation of their choice, the right to have sufficient time to prepare their cases, and the right to go home on bail between sessions of their trial. No such rights were offered, however, to Tommy Robinson.
The swiftness with which injustice was meted out to Robinson is stunning. No, more than that: it is terrifying. On various occasions over the years, I have been subjected in person to an immediate threat of Islamic violence: I have had a knife pulled on me by a young gang member, and been encircled by a crowd of belligerent men in djellabas outside a radical mosque. But that was not frightening. This is frightening — this utter violation of fundamental British freedoms. Read the rest of this entry »
‘It’s Not Syping Spying, it’s Investigating Spying’.
The revelation, stemming from recent reports in which FBI sources admitted sending an agent to snoop on the Trump camp, heightens suspicions that the FBI was seeking to entrap Trump campaign aides. Papodopoulous has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, while Page was the subject of a federal surveillance warrant.
“If the FBI or DOJ was infiltrating a campaign for the benefit of another campaign, that is a really big deal,” President Trump tweeted Saturday, calling for the FBI to release additional documents to Congress.
The Halper revelation also shows the Obama administration’s FBI began prying into the opposing party’s presidential nominee earlier than it previously admitted. Read the rest of this entry »
SO META: Here Are the Mugshots of the Guys Who Allegedly Run Mugshots.com (And Why They Were Booked)Posted: May 19, 2018
The AG’s statement claims that Mugshots.com owners got $64,000 from about 175 people with billing addressed in the state. That’s over a three-year period. Of course, that falls way, way short of how much they raked nationwide: The four got over $2 million in “de-publishing” fees from 5,703 people.
Alberto Luperon reports: The alleged owners of Mugshots.com have been charged and arrested. These four men–Sahar Sarid, Kishore Vidya Bhavnanie, Thomas Keesee, and David Usdan–only removed a person’s mugshot from the site if this individual paid a “de-publishing” fee, according to the California Attorney General on Wednesday. That’s apparently considered extortion. On top of that, they also face charges for money laundering, and identity theft.
“This pay-for-removal scheme attempts to profit off of someone else’s humiliation.”
If you read a lot of articles about crime, then you’re probably already familiar with the site (which is still up as of Friday afternoon). They take mugshots, slap the url multiple times on the image, and post it on the site alongside an excerpt from a news outlet that covered the person’s arrest.
“Those who can’t afford to pay into this scheme to have their information removed pay the price when they look for a job, housing, or try to build relationships with others. This is exploitation, plain and simple.”
— Attorney General Xavier Becerra
According to the AG’s office, the owners would only remove the mugshots if the person paid a fee, even if the charges were dismissed or if the suspect was only arrested because of “mistaken identity or law enforcement error.”
You can read the affidavit here.
According to the complaint, a man identified as Jesse T. tried to have his mugshot removed. A friend had reached out to him, concerned he might be prison. T. discovered that his arrest information from Sept. 2, 2013 was posted on the site. It had his full name, address, gender, and the charge he was arrested for. He went to the link to get rid of the mugshot–unpublisharrest.com–but they demanded a $399 fee. He got in touch with the 800 number listed on the site, and when the man on the phone told him he needed to pay the fee, T. said that was illegal.
“The man laughed and hung up,” the affidavit said. The man hung up again when T. tried calling back to say he had proof clearing him of the charges. T. tried calling again three times on July 23, 2016. It went to a recording every time. After that, he got an unlisted call on his home phone, and he turned on a recorder before answering, the affidavit said. T. played the following message for investigators [sic, as written in the affidavit; his name is alternately spelled “Jesse” and “Jessie” in the document]:
Jessie T.: Hello
Unknown Male: -this third time tell you fucking bitch we’ll never answer your calls again you’ve been permanently published faggot bitch.
Jessie T.: Hey I’d like my stuff removed.
Records cited by the affidavit showed that T. was only detained by cops, but his case was dropped due to lack of evidence. Even so, the damage was done. The incident was treated as “detention only.” Read the rest of this entry »
About That FBI ‘Source’
Among them is that the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation outright hid critical information from a congressional investigation. In a Thursday press conference, Speaker Paul Ryan bluntly noted that Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes’s request for details on this secret source was “wholly appropriate,” “completely within the scope” of the committee’s long-running FBI investigation, and “something that probably should have been answered a while ago.” Translation: The department knew full well it should have turned this material over to congressional investigators last year, but instead deliberately concealed it.
House investigators nonetheless sniffed out a name, and Mr. Nunes in recent weeks issued a letter and a subpoena demanding more details. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s response was to double down—accusing the House of “extortion” and delivering a speech in which he claimed that “declining to open the FBI’s files to review” is a constitutional “duty.” Justice asked the White House to back its stonewall. And it even began spinning that daddy of all superspook arguments—that revealing any detail about this particular asset could result in “loss of human lives.”
This is desperation, and it strongly suggests that whatever is in these files is going to prove very uncomfortable to the FBI.
The bureau already has some explaining to do. Thanks to the Washington Post’s unnamed law-enforcement leakers, we know Mr. Nunes’s request deals with a “top secret intelligence source” of the FBI and CIA, who is a U.S. citizen and who was involved in the Russia collusion probe. When government agencies refer to sources, they mean people who appear to be average citizens but use their profession or contacts to spy for the agency. Ergo, we might take this to mean that the FBI secretly had a person on the payroll who used his or her non-FBI credentials to interact in some capacity with the Trump campaign. Read the rest of this entry »
A Higher Priority: The Investigation of James Comey Raises Serious Questions Over His Leaking Of FBI MaterialPosted: April 24, 2018
Jonathan Turley writes:
… The release of the memos already contradicts critical aspects of Comey’s explanation for his leaking of the information. What is troubling is that many have worked mightily to avoid the clearly unprofessional aspects of Comey’s conduct. Comey could well be accurate in his account of Trump and justified in his concerns over Trump’s conduct but that does not excuse the actions that he has exhibited in both the leaking of the memos and the timing of his book. Comey’s best-selling book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership, could prove tragically ironic if Comey showed a higher loyalty to himself in responding to his own firing rather than the investigation that he once headed. In the very least, there remains a serious question of Comey’s priorities in these matters.
Here is the column:
One day after the disclosure that the Justice Department inspector general has recommended criminal charges against former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, it has been confirmed that fired FBI director James Comey is under investigation by the same office for leaking information to the media. This disclosure followed the release of the Comey memos, which seriously undermined both Comey and his cadre of defenders. Four claims by Comey are now clearly refuted, and the memos reaffirm earlier allegations of serious misconduct.
James Comey was a leaker
For more than a year, various media experts have advanced dubious defenses for Comey, including the obvious problem that the man charged with investigating leaks became a leaker himself when as it suited him. Clearly, Comey removed the memos and did not allow for a predisclosure review of the material. Moreover, the memos were withheld by Comey’s surrogate, a Columbia University law professor, who reportedly read the information to the media.
If taking and disclosing memos were perfectly proper, why the surrogate and subterfuge? More importantly, Comey did not disclose the memos to Congress or hold copies for investigators. If Comey was not a leaker, then any fired FBI agent could do the same with nonpublic investigatory material. If the inspector general agreed with that position, then federal laws governing FBI material would become entirely discretionary and meaningless.
The memos were FBI material
Various media experts and journalists also defended Comey by portraying the memos as essentially diary entries. When I argued that the memos clearly were FBI material subject to limits on removal and disclosure, the response was disbelief. Legal expert and former FBI special agent Asha Rangappa said that these constituted “personal recollections,” and CNN legal expert and Brookings Institution fellow Susan Hennessey wrote, “It’s hard to even understand the argument for how Jim Comey’s memory about his conversation with the president qualifies as a record, even if he jotted it down while in his office.”
The plain fact, then and now, is that it’s hard to understand that it would be anything other than a record under federal rules. These were memos prepared on an FBI computer, in the course of an FBI investigation. All FBI agents sign a statement affirming that “all information acquired by me in connection with my official duties with the FBI and all official material to which I have access remain the property of the United States of America” and that an agent “will not reveal, by any means, any information or material from or related to FBI files or any other information acquired by virtue of my official employment to any unauthorized recipient without prior official written authorization by the FBI.” Read the rest of this entry »
Below is my column in USA Today on the rapid demise of James Comey and Andrew McCabe, who have fulfilled the very stereotypes drawn by President Donald Trump. Comey continues to spin the controversy over his book as fulfilling what he saw as a need for ethical leadership (i.e., Comey himself). Comey acknowledged that he never asked Mueller if he should wait on the book. Why? If you are so committed to the FBI and this investigation, why would you not ask about the possibly deleterious effects of a tell-all book (which discussed both public and nonpublic evidence). Clearly the book was not helpful to the investigation, but that did not matter to Comey who saw the greater need as advancing himself as the personification of virtue and ethics — while cashing in on the first tell-all book from a former FBI Director.
Here is the column:
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Amber Athey reports: Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has a simple solution for most of the problems presented to him by Congress: “more AI tools.”
Zuckerberg repeatedly stressed Facebook’s growing focus on artificial intelligence during his testimony Read the rest of this entry »
Well, that piece caused a healthy amount of speculation from readers on why Strzok and Page are still FBI’ing. Read the rest of this entry »
During Mark Zuckerberg’s appearance before two Congressional committees, it was unclear whether the Facebook CEO knew the answer to ANYTHING. Don’t worry though, his ‘team’ will be sure to follow-up.
‘When are you all gonna start standing up for the majority? … I’m the majority!’
Ryan Saavedra On Tuesday, while speaking during a city council meeting on curtailing gun violence, an African-American gun owner in North Carolina blasted government officials who want to restrict gun rights of law-abiding citizens.
“When are you all gonna start standing up for the majority? … I’m the majority! I’m a law-abiding citizen who’s never shot anybody,” Mark Robinson said. Read the rest of this entry »
LAWBREAKERS, LAWMAKERS: In some parts of Chicago, violent street gangs and pols quietly trade money and favors for mutual gain. The thugs flourish, the elected officials thrive—and you lose.
Baskin isn’t a slick campaign strategist. He’s a former gang leader and, for several decades, a community activist who now operates a neighborhood center that aims to keep kids off the streets. Baskin has deep contacts inside the South Side’s complex network of politicians, community organizations, and street gangs. as he recalls, the inquiring candidates wanted to know: “Who do I need to be talking to so I can get the gangs on board?”
Baskin—who was himself a candidate in the 16th Ward aldermanic race, which he would lose—was happy to oblige. In all, he says, he helped broker meetings between roughly 30 politicians (ten sitting aldermen and 20 candidates for City Council) and at least six gang representatives. That claim is backed up by two other community activists, Harold Davis Jr. and Kublai K. M. Toure, who worked with Baskin to arrange the meetings, and a third participant, also a community activist, who requested anonymity. The gang representatives were former chiefs who had walked away from day-to-day thug life, but they were still respected on the streets and wielded enough influence to mobilize active gang members.
The first meeting, according to Baskin, occurred in early November 2010, right before the statewide general election; more gatherings followed in the run-up to the February 2011 municipal elections. The venues included office buildings, restaurants, and law offices. (By all accounts, similar meetings took place across the city before last year’s elections and in elections past, including after hours at the Garfield Center, a taxpayer-financed facility on the West Side that is used by the city’s Department of Family and Support Services.)
At some of the meetings, the politicians arrived with campaign materials and occasionally with aides. The sessions were organized much like corporate-style job fairs. The gang representatives conducted hourlong interviews, one after the other, talking to as many as five candidates in a single evening. Like supplicants, the politicians came into the room alone and sat before the gang representatives, who sat behind a long table. “One candidate said, ‘I feel like I’m in the hot seat,’” recalls Baskin. “And they were.”
The former chieftains, several of them ex-convicts, represented some of the most notorious gangs on the South and West Sides, including the Vice Lords, Gangster Disciples, Black Disciples, Cobras, Black P Stones, and Black Gangsters. Before the election, the gangs agreed to set aside decades-old rivalries and bloody vendettas to operate as a unified political force, which they called Black United Voters of Chicago. “They realized that if they came together, they could get the politicians to come to them,” explains Baskin. Read the rest of this entry »
FISA Memo Is Scarier than Watergate.
Victor Davis Hanson write: The Watergate scandal of 1972–74 was uncovered largely because of outraged Democratic politicians and a bulldog media. They both claimed that they had saved American democracy from the Nixon administration’s attempt to warp the CIA and FBI to cover up an otherwise minor, though illegal, political break-in.
In the Iran-Contra affair of 1985–87, the media and liberal activists uncovered wrongdoing by some rogue members of the Reagan government. They warned of government overreach and of using the “Deep State” to subvert the law for political purposes.
We are now in the midst of a third great modern scandal. Members of the Obama administration’s Department of Justice sought court approval for the surveillance of Carter Page, allegedly for colluding with Russian interests, and extended the surveillance three times.
But none of these government officials told the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that the warrant requests were based on an unverified dossier that had originated as a hit piece funded in part by the Hillary Clinton campaign to smear Donald Trump during the current 2016 campaign.
Nor did these officials reveal that the author of the dossier, Christopher Steele, had already been dropped as a reliable source by the FBI for leaking to the press.
Nor did officials add that a Department of Justice official, Bruce Ohr, had met privately with Steele — or that Ohr’s wife, Nellie, had been hired to work on the dossier.
Unfortunately, such disclosures may be only the beginning of the FISA-gate scandal.
Members of the Obama administration’s national security team also may have requested the names of American citizens connected with the Trump campaign who had been swept up in other FISA surveillance. Those officials may have then improperly unmasked the names and leaked them to a compliant press — again, for apparent political purposes during a campaign.
Thomas Del Beccaro writes: There can be no question, at this point, that certain higher ups in the FBI and the DOJ did not want Hillary to be indicted and did not want Donald Trump to become President. Those efforts were not entirely independent of each other.
Below is a timeline of events – abbreviated though it is – that makes it rather plain that the FBI and DOJ were not investigating potential crimes objectively.
Indeed, they were committing crimes during the process in aid of their preferred outcomes.
1. 2007. Hillary Clinton wanted to be President. Hillary’s ambitions to be president started long ago. She ran for President in the 2008 cycle. In 2009, after losing to Obama, Hillary became Obama’s Secretary of State. She stayed in that post until 2013.
2. March 2015. The Hillary email scandal breaks. Hillary was using an unapproved/unsecured server and devices to communicate. She was using a private email account. Classified information was being sent through that email, server and devices – including when Hillary was abroad.
All of that is illegal. As 2015 unfolds, it becomes clear to the FBI and the DOJ that President Barack Obama was communicating with Hillary using her non-state department email. Obama was using an email and a name that masked who he was.
That had to be known to authorities long before March of 2015 given that it occurred prior to 2013.
As Andrew McCarthy points out in his recent article, there was no chance that the DOJ was going to indict Hillary because that would have required implicating President Obama. That was never going to happen. From thereafter, DOJ officials acted with that understanding, however illegal, in mind.
3. June 2015. Donald Trump announces his Presidential run.
4. March 2016. Trump has enough delegates to claim the nomination. Read the rest of this entry »
The House memo reveals disturbing facts about the misuse of FISA.
Now we know why the FBI tried so hard to block release of the House Intelligence Committee memo. And why Democrats and the media want to change the subject to Republican motivations. The four-page memo released Friday reports disturbing facts about how the FBI and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court appear to have been used to influence the 2016 election and its aftermath.
The White House declassified the memo Friday, and you don’t have to be a civil libertarian to be shocked by the details. The memo confirms that the FBI and Justice Department on Oct. 21, 2016 obtained a FISA order to surveil Carter Page, an American citizen who was a relatively minor volunteer adviser to the Trump presidential campaign.
The memo says an “essential” part of the FISA application was the “dossier” assembled by former British spy Christopher Steele and the research firm Fusion GPS that was hired by a law firm attached to the Clinton campaign. The memo adds that former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe told the committee in December 2017 that “no surveillance warrant would have been sought” without the dossier.
This is troubling enough, but the memo also discloses that the FBI failed to inform the FISA court that the Clinton campaign had funded the dossier. The memo says the FBI supported its FISA application by “extensively” citing a September 2016 article in Yahoo News that contained allegations against Mr. Page. But the FBI failed to tell the court that Mr. Steele and Fusion were the main sources for that Yahoo article. In essence the FBI was citing Mr. Steele to corroborate Mr. Steele.
Unlike a normal court, FISA doesn’t have competing pleaders. The FBI and Justice appear ex parte as applicants, and thus the judges depend on candor from both. Yet the FBI never informed the court that Mr. Steele was in effect working for the Clinton campaign. The FBI retained Mr. Steele as a source, and in October 2016 he talked to Mother Jones magazine without authorization about the FBI investigation and his dossier alleging collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign. The FBI then fired Mr. Steele, but it never told the FISA judges about that either. Nor did it tell the court any of this as it sought three subsequent renewals of the order on Mr. Page. Read the rest of this entry »
The former FBI director speaks out on Twitter.
Samuel Chamberlain reports: Former FBI Director James Comey lashed out at unnamed “weasels and liars” on social media late Thursday, hours before President Trump was expected to declassify a controversial memo about purported surveillance abuses over the objections of Democrats.
“All should appreciate the FBI speaking up. I wish more of our leaders would,” Comey wrote on Twitter. “But take heart: American history shows that, in the long run, weasels and liars never hold the field, so long as good people stand up.
“Not a lot of schools or streets named for Joe McCarthy,” Comey added, a reference to the Wisconsin senator who claimed high-ranking government officials were Soviet spies in the 1950s.
Comey appeared to be referencing an FBI statement released Wednesday that objected to the release of the memo, authored by House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif. That statement said the FBI had “grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo’s accuracy.”
Sources told Fox News Thursday that the version of the memo Trump plans to declassify contains “technical edits” made at the FBI’s request. The sources said the edited version was shown to five FBI officials at the White House on Tuesday afternoon and the officials were satisfied that the edits addressed concerns they had about an earlier version of the memo that was reviewed on Monday. Read the rest of this entry »
Source: New York Post
Andrew C. McCarthy writes:
… First, the main questions that we need answered are:
- Were associates of President Trump, members of his campaign, or even Trump himself, subjected to foreign-intelligence surveillance (i.e., do the FISA applications name them as either targets or persons whose communications and activities would likely be monitored)?
- Was information from the Steele dossier used in FISA applications?
- If Steele-dossier information was so used, was it so central that FISA warrants would not have been granted without it?
- If Steele-dossier information was so used, was it corroborated by independent FBI investigation?
- If the dossier’s information was so used, was the source accurately conveyed to the court so that credibility and potential bias could be weighed (i.e., was the court told that the information came from an opposition-research project sponsored by the Clinton presidential campaign)?
- The FBI has said that significant efforts were made to corroborate Steele’s sensational claims, yet former director James Comey has acknowledged (in June 2017 Senate testimony) that the dossier was “unverified.” If the dossier was used in FISA applications in 2016, has the Justice Department — consistent with its continuing duty of candor in dealings with the tribunal — alerted the court that it did not succeed in verifying Steele’s hearsay reporting based on anonymous sources? Read the rest of this entry »
Sharyl Attkisson writes: What happens when federal agencies accused of possible wrongdoing — also control the alleged evidence against them? What happens when they’re the ones in charge of who inside their agencies — or connected to them — ultimately gets investigated and possibly charged?
Those questions are moving to the forefront as the facts play out in the investigations into our intelligence agencies’ surveillance activities.
There are two overarching issues.
First, there’s the alleged improper use of politically-funded opposition research to justify secret warrants to spy on U.S. citizens for political purposes.
Second, if corruption is ultimately identified at high levels in our intel agencies, it would necessitate a re-examination of every case and issue the officials touched over the past decade — or two — under administrations of both parties.
This is why I think the concerns transcend typical party politics.
It touches everybody. It’s potentially monumental.
This week, the FBI said it was unfair for the House Intelligence Committee not to provide its memo outlining alleged FBI abuses. The committee wrote the summary memo after reviewing classified government documents in the Trump-Russia probe.
The FBI’s complaint carries a note of irony considering that the agency has notoriously stonewalled Congress. Even when finally agreeing to provide requested documents, the Department of Justice uses the documents’ classified nature to severely restrict who can see them — even among members of Congress who possess the appropriate security clearance. Members who wish to view the documents must report to special locations during prescribed hours in the presence of Department of Justice minders who supervise them as they’re permitted to take handwritten notes only (you know, like the 1960s). Read the rest of this entry »
Joseph Tanfani reports: Returning to a favorite cause for President Trump and Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions, the Justice Department on Wednesday escalated a struggle with two dozen so-called sanctuary jurisdictions, demanding records proving they are cooperating with immigration enforcement agencies.
The department sent letters to 23 states, cities and counties, including California, Los Angeles and Chicago, demanding records showing whether law enforcement officers are sharing information with federal agents on the immigration status of people in their custody.
If the local jurisdictions don’t comply, the department says it will issue subpoenas or possibly cut off certain federal grant funds.
A crackdown on sanctuary jurisdictions was one of the first measures ordered by Trump a year ago, and Sessions has repeatedly focused on the policies, which he says are a hazard to public safety. Read the rest of this entry »
Alex Pappas reports: FBI Director Christopher Wray said Tuesday that his chief of staff, James Rybicki, was leaving the bureau, a development that follows President Trump taking aim at other senior FBI officials who worked under the former director, James Comey.
Rybicki, who served in the same position under Comey and continued his role under Wray, came under scrutiny from Republicans in recent months over his role in the Hillary Clinton email investigation.
But federal law enforcement sources told Fox News that Rybicki was not fired. His departure, they said, has “been in the works for a while.”
“Jim Rybicki notified me last month that he will be leaving the FBI to accept an opportunity in the corporate sector,” Wray said in a statement. “While this is an exciting move for the whole Rybicki family, Jim will be dearly missed by the FBI family — and by me personally.”
According to his FBI biography, Rybicki began his career at the Department of Justice in 2001 and has worked at the Office of Legislative Affairs, the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review, the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia and the National Security Division.
“His many years of dedication to the bureau and DOJ, his level-headed judgment and earnest professionalism, and his steady good cheer have been an asset to us all and have contributed greatly to the safety and security of our nation,” the FBI director said.
Wray said he has tapped attorney Zachary Harmon to replace Rybicki.
“Fortunately, I am pleased that Zachary Harmon has agreed to return to government service as our next chief of staff,” Wray said, mentioning how he has “worked closely together” with Harmon in the past. Read the rest of this entry »