Adam Housley and Malia Zimmerman report: Lawmakers probing the surveillance of key officials in the Trump campaign and administration say the intelligence agencies now nominally under the president’s control are stonewalling efforts to get to the bottom of who revealed names and leaked protected information to the press.
“Our requests are simply not being answered.”
– House Intelligence Committee source
The House and Senate Intelligence Committees are currently investigating allegations the Obama administration spied on Trump associates – and possibly Trump himself – for as long as the year preceding his inauguration. And while former Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice has been implicated as at least one of the officials who sought redacted names from surveillance transcripts, multiple lawmakers and investigators for the panel told Fox News the CIA, FBI and National Security Agency – all agencies in position to aid the probe – are not cooperating.
“Our requests are simply not being answered,” said one House Intelligence committee source about the lack of responsiveness. “The agencies are not really helping at all and there is truly a massive web for us to try and wade through.”
A Senate Intelligence Committee source said the upper chamber had the same experience.
“Any information that will help find the wide extent on the unmasking and surveillance is purposely not being provided,” said the Senate source.
An FBI spokesperson said the bureau is working in good faith. Read the rest of this entry »
Nunes’ Trump surveillance claims raise more even questions.
James Rosen reports: Republican congressional investigators expect a potential “smoking gun” establishing that the Obama administration spied on the Trump transition team, and possibly the president-elect himself, will be produced to the House Intelligence Committee this week, a source told Fox News.
Classified intelligence showing incidental collection of Trump team communications, purportedly seen by committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and described by him in vague terms at a bombshell Wednesday afternoon news conference, came from multiple sources, Capitol Hill sources told Fox News. The intelligence corroborated information about surveillance of the Trump team that was known to Nunes, sources said, even before President Trump accused his predecessor of having wiretappedhim in a series of now-infamous tweets posted on March 4.
The intelligence is said to leave no doubt the Obama administration, in its closing days, was using the cover of legitimate surveillance on foreign targets to spy on President-elect Trump, according to sources.
The key to that conclusion is the unmasking of selected U.S. persons whose names appeared in the intelligence, the sources said, adding that the paper trail leaves no other plausible purpose for the unmasking other than to damage the incoming Trump administration.
The FBI hasn’t been responsive to the House Intelligence Committee’s request for documents, but the National Security Agency is expected to produce documents to the committee by Friday. The NSA document production is expected to produce more intelligence than Nunes has so far seen or described – including what one source described as a potential “smoking gun” establishing the spying.
Some time will be needed to properly assess the materials, with the likely result being that congressional investigators and attorneys won’t have a solid handle on the contents of the documents – and their implications – until next week.
Because Nunes’s intelligence came from multiple sources during a span of several weeks, and he has not shared the actual materials with his committee colleagues, he will be the only member of the panel in a position to know whether the NSA has turned over some or all of the intelligence he is citing. However, Fox News was told Intelligence Committee Ranking Member Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., had been briefed on the basic contents of the intelligence described by Nunes. Read the rest of this entry »
Richard Sylla’s new book, “Alexander Hamilton: The Illustrated Biography (Sterling, 2016), tells the story of how Alexander Hamilton played a crucial part in the political, legal, and economic development of the United States.
An immigrant born on the island of Nevis in the West Indies, he was George Washington’s right-hand man during the Revolution and wrote many of the Federalist Papers, which helped to establish the Constitution. He also modernized the country’s fledgling finances and was an early abolitionist.
Join AEI as Richard Sylla, a recognized Hamilton scholar, recounts the incredible story of an American Founding Father — a story that has become the toast of Broadway.
The brothers are suspected of serious violations, including accessing members’ computer networks without their knowledge and stealing equipment from Congress.
Luke Rosiak reports: Three brothers who managed office information technology for members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and other lawmakers were abruptly relieved of their duties on suspicion that they accessed congressional computers without permission.
Brothers Abid, Imran, and Jamal Awan were barred from computer networks at the House of Representatives Thursday, The Daily Caller News Foundation Investigative Group has learned.
Three members of the intelligence panel and five members of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs were among the dozens of members who employed the suspects on a shared basis. The two committees deal with many of the nation’s most sensitive issues and documents, including those related to the war on terrorism.
Also among those whose computer systems may have been compromised is Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the Florida Democrat who was previously the target of a disastrous email hack when she served as chairman of the Democratic National Committee during the 2016 campaign.
The brothers are suspected of serious violations, including accessing members’ computer networks without their knowledge and stealing equipment from Congress.
Jamal handled IT for Rep. Joaquin Castro, a Texas Democrat who serves on both the intelligence and foreign affairs panels.
“As of 2/2, his employment with our office has been terminated,” Castro spokeswoman Erin Hatch told TheDCNF Friday.
Jamal also worked for Louisiana Democrat Rep. Cedric Richmond, who is on the Committee on Homeland Security.
Imran worked for Reps. Andre Carson, an Indiana Democrat, and Jackie Speier, a California Democrat. Both are members of the intelligence committee, and their spokesmen did not respond to TheDCNF’s requests for comment. Imran also worked for the House office of Wasserman Schultz. Read the rest of this entry »
The criminal government leaker with the hero complex is now living in Moscow under a 2013 asylum deal granted after Snowden gave the media troves of classified documents that revealed the extent of the U.S. surveillance state.
“If the Russian or Chinese governments have access to this information, American troops will be at greater risk in any future conflict.”
— Committee report
“Since Snowden’s arrival in Moscow, he has had, and continues to have, contact with Russian intelligence services,” the House Intelligence Committee said in a report on the Snowden leaks released Thursday.
“Most of the material he stole had nothing to do with Americans’ privacy. Its compromise has been of great value to America’s adversaries and those who mean to do America harm.”
— House Intelligence ranking member Adam Schiff
The declassified report, which is heavily redacted, did not offer proof of its serious accusation. It follows the committee’s release in September of an executive summary of the then-classified document.
House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said in a statement that the report offers “a fuller account of Edward Snowden’s crimes and the reckless disregard he has shown for U.S. national security, including the safety of American servicemen and women.”
The document casts Snowden as a dishonest miscreant and attempts to refute the portrayal of him as a duty-minded whistleblower.
The House panel’s report says there is “no evidence that Snowden took any official effort to express concerns about U.S. intelligence activities … to any oversight officials within the U.S. government, despite numerous avenues for him to do so.”
Snowden and his defenders claim that he feared reprisal and have pointed to numerous instances of the intelligence community retaliating against employees who complain about secret programs. Read the rest of this entry »
Grab your popcorn and enjoy the show.
Shawn Macomb writes: So now that the Democratic party is well and truly feeling the Bern, how should those of us who identify not as democratic socialists nor oligarchs nor oligarch-enablers feel about those lighter-shade-of-Mao “Bernie 2016″ yard signs reddening up the landscape?
“The Sandernistas on the march will be more fun to watch than a crossover season of Girls and The Walking Dead—if, that is, one could still stomach watching Lena Dunham now that she’s thrown in her lot with that pantsuited Goldman Sachs subsidiary who portrays Hillary Clinton on various debate stages and social media accounts.”
The perhaps counterintuitive answer is . . . thrilled. Ecstatic, even. The Sandernistas on the march will be more fun to watch than a crossover season of Girls and The Walking Dead—if, that is, one could still stomach watching Lena Dunham now that she’s thrown in her lot with that pantsuited Goldman Sachs subsidiary who portrays Hillary Clinton on various debate stages and social media accounts.
Skeptical? Allow me to relate a single line from Outsider in the House, Sanders’s memoir of his 1996 congressional campaign: “I’m not sure how many of them actually heard my fourteen-second speech about the dangers of Newt Gingrich, given when I stepped out of my tiger costume.”
Sanders is describing his collaboration with the Bread and Puppet Domestic Resurrection Circus, “a political company whose accomplished theatrical productions are,” the then-congressman assured us, “truly radical”—radical enough to induce a sitting congressman to hold up the hind quarters of a tiger costume, anyway. “It’s better than being a horse’s ass,” Sanders writes, though whether he speaks from experience is not immediately clear.
“Alas, the charge of ‘insufficient Leninism’ is not the campaign-killer it once was. The Sandernistas don’t care about realpolitik lectures from ex-congressmen or the bitter ravings of the man whose 2000 campaign on the Green party ticket robbed the nation of four-to-eight glorious years of prime-time PowerPoint presentations from President Gore.”
Sure, the tiger-costume anecdote is a bit rich coming from the same guy who a few pages before slagged freshman Republicans who slept in their offices to save taxpayer cash back in ’95 as “total nuts” making “some kind of weird political statement.” But Sanders’s tale takes an even more absurdist turn as he recounts his address to the all-volunteer Mississquoi Valley Emergency Rescue Service later that same day. “Person after person,” Sanders notes, “talked about the trauma of seeing people die and the joy of saving people’s lives.” The contrast “from radical theatrics to community-based service,” he allows, “was striking.” Indeed. But “the differences strike me as more superficial than deep,” Sanders inexplicably feels compelled to add, as “both the rescue workers and the drama troupe are focused on . . . giving of themselves to build community.”
Even if he isn’t plotting to replace America’s first-responders with a puppeteer corps, Bernie Sanders is clearly delusional enough to be president. But is he delusional in the appropriate way?
Many of his erstwhile ideological allies are not so sure. Former congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts, for example, snarked to National Journal, “I don’t understand what [Sanders] running for president would do other than frankly show that his viewpoint is not the majority viewpoint.” In a scathing Salon piece, writer Charles Davis averred that while, yes, Sanders “tosses rhetorical Molotovs at America’s 21st-century robber barons like few other national politicians,” he’s also “rather non-threatening, his politics reformist, not revolutionary—more old-school liberal than Leninist.” Read the rest of this entry »
STATEMENT TO THE SUB-COMMITTEE ON SPACE, SCIENCE AND COMPETITIVENESS OF THE UNITED STATES SENATE
Data or Dogma?
Promoting Open Inquiry in the Debate over the Magnitude of Human Impact on Climate Change
December 8th 2015
My name is Mark Steyn. I am not a scientist. I am an author. My main interest in climate science is that Michael E Mann, the inventor of one of its most notorious artifacts, is suing me for “defamation of a Nobel Prize winner” – a crime that I was not aware existed, especially in his case, as according to the Nobel Institute he is not a Nobel Prize winner. So I recently edited a book about it called “A Disgrace to the Profession”: The World’s Scientists – in Their Own Words – On Michael E Mann, His Hockey Stick, and Their Damage to Science, Volume One – which I’m proud to say was Number One on the Climatology Hit Parade. I have been Number Four on the Amazon books chart, and Number Seven on the Amazon easy-listening chart, and earlier this very month the Number One Amazon jazz vocalist, but I had no idea there was also a climatological bestseller list. Still, I’m happy my book was credible enough to get to the top of it.
That said, at a hearing on “Data or Dogma?”, given the distinguished scientists here to address the data, I thought I should confine myself mostly to the dogma.
THE CLIMATE OF FEAR
In the three years that I have been ensnared in the dysfunctional court system of the District of Columbia, I have come to know well what I call the “climate of fear” within climate science. Professors Christy, Curry and Happer are sufficiently eminent that they can, just about, bear the assault the Big Climate enforcers mount on those who dissent from the dogma – although that assault is fierce and unrelenting. If you’re a professor emeritus, you’re told you’re senile. If you’re one of the few women in this very male field, you’re told you’re whoring for Big Oil: The aforementioned Michael Mann of Penn State, who is too cowardly to be here today and has instead sent his proxy, approvingly linked to an Internet post accusing Dr Curry of sleeping with me. This is how a supposedly distinguished climate scientist treats those who disagree with him. On May 13th last year I wrote:
It’s always fun in a legal battle to have something bigger at stake than a mere victory. In Canada, we put the ‘human rights’ system itself on trial, to the point where the disgusting and indefensible ‘hate speech’ law Section 13 was eventually repealed by Parliament. It seems to me that in this particular case the bigger issue is the climate of fear that Mann and his fellow ayatollahs of alarmism have succeeded in imposing on an important scientific field.1
The very next day the distinguished 79-year-old Swedish climatologist Lennart Bengtsson was forced to resign from a dissident climate group after the Big Climate enforcers took the hockey stick to him in the back alley. He had agreed to participate in a group headed by Nigel Lawson. Some of you may know Lord Lawson personally. He was Chancellor of the Exchequer in Mrs Thatcher’s ministry in the United Kingdom. He’s nobody’s idea of a fringe madman: He’s a
member of the House of Lords, a Privy Counselor; his daughter is a popular celebrity chef on America’s Food Network; his fellow trustees include a bishop of the Church of England, a former private secretary to the Queen, and an advisor to two Prime Ministers from the Labour Party. But they disagree with the tight little coterie of climate alarmists, and so Lennart Bengtsson could not be permitted to meet with them. As Professor Bengtsson wrote:
I have been put under such an enormous group pressure in recent days from all over the world that has become virtually unbearable to me. If this is going to continue I will be unable to conduct my normal work and will even start to worry about my health and safety. I see therefore no other way out therefore than resigning from GWPF. I had not expecting such an enormous world-wide pressure put at me from a community that I have been close to all my active life. Colleagues are withdrawing their support, other colleagues are withdrawing from joint authorship etc. I see no limit and end to what will happen. It is a situation that reminds me about the time of McCarthy. I would never have expecting anything similar in such an original peaceful community as meteorology. Apparently it has been transformed in recent years.2
Because it’s no longer about “meteorology”, it’s about saving the planet. Bengtsson was a former director of the Max Planck Institute of Meteorology, winner of the Descartes Prize and a WMO prize for groundbreaking research, and even a friend and collaborator of Mann’s at scientific conferences. But he made the mistake of, ah, seeking to expand his circle of climate acquaintances, and so Michael Mann now sneeringly dismisses him as “junk science”3. Nate Silver is the hipster statistician who correctly predicted the 2012 election and then set up his own “538” website dedicated to “data journalism” – just the data, the facts, the numbers, the analysis… But, when Mr Silver made the mistake of hiring Professor Roger Pielke Jr, then Michael Mann and Kevin Trenberth were obliged to explain to him that these considerations do not apply to climate science4. So Nate Silver fired Professor Pielke – who has now withdrawn from all climate research. When Professor Willie Soon co-authored a paper earlier this year on why the turn-of-the-century climate models all turned out wrong, the Big Climate heavies did not attempt to refute the paper, but instead embarked on a campaign to get him fired from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.
For every Judith Curry or Willie Soon or Lennart Bengtsson, there are a thousand lesser names who see what happens to even the most distinguished people in their field and decide to keep their heads down. Professor Ivar Gievar recently spoke out against, among other things, the recent adjustment of figures by NASA – an agency overseen by this sub-committee – at the annual meeting of Nobel Laureates in Lindau. Professor Gievar is a Nobel Laureate. A real Nobel Laureate, I mean, not a fake one like Michael Mann, Kevin Trenberth and many other climate scientists who falsely claim to be Nobel Prize winners on the grounds that the IPCC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, and they once contributed to an IPCC report. Mann falsely claimed to be a Nobel Prize winner on his book jacket, on his website, in his court complaint about me – even though the Nobel Institute told him he wasn’t a Nobel Prize winner and he should cut it out. But this serial misrepresentation of credentials by Mann, Trenberth and others is also part of their intimidation technique. If you’re a real Nobel Laureate like Ivar Giaever, who won the 1973 Nobel Prize in Physics, or if you’re older, tenured and sufficiently eminent, you can just about withstand the Big Climate enforcers jumping you in the parking lot and taking the hockey stick to you.
2 http://klimazwiebel.blogspot.com.au/2014/05/lennart-bengtsson-leaves-advisory-board.html 3 https://twitter.com/MichaelEMann/status/467310861237760000
But, if you’re a younger scientist, you know that, if you cross Mann and the other climate mullahs, there goes tenure, there goes funding, there goes your career. I’ve been stunned to learn of the very real fear of retribution that pervades the climate world.
When I look at what has happened to those who speak out, I recall the wise words of Stephen McIntyre:
As a general point, it seems to me that, if climate change is as serious a problem as the climate ‘community’ believes, then it will require large measures that need broadly based commitment from all walks of our society.5
Mr McIntyre is exactly right: If we take Big Climate at their word that the entire global economy needs massive re-orientation on a scale never before contemplated, it will require the largest societal consensus – left and right and center, in America, in Canada, in Britain, in Europe… Yet all Big Climate does is retreat ever deeper into its shrinking echo chamber and compile ever longer lists of people who are beyond the pale – Professor Curry, Professor Christy, Professor Bengtsson, Professor Pielke, Professor Soon, Lord Lawson, the Bishop of Chester, the winner of the 1973 Nobel Prize in Physics, the winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physics… It might be quicker for Mann, Trenberth, Gavin Schmidt and the other climate enforcers to make a short list of those to whom they are prepared to grant a say in the future of the planet.
In shoring up this cartoon climatology, the alarmism industry is now calling on courts and legislatures to torment their opponents. I shall outline my own particular experience, and then the general climate.
MANN vs STEYN et al
On July 12th 2012 former FBI Director and special investigative counsel Louis Freeh issued a devastating report regarding the behavior of Pennsylvania State University and its most senior figures, as they ignored, abetted and covered up the systemic and brutal child sexual abuse conducted by Gerald A Sandusky, longtime football coach at the university.
The following day Rand Simberg posted an article on the Competitive Enterprise Institute’s website entitled “The Other Scandal in Happy Valley”, which suggested that, in light of the revelations regarding the “rotten and corrupt culture” at Penn State under the presidency of Graham Spanier, it might be worth revisiting the other sham “investigation” on Spanier’s watch – of Dr Michael E Mann, creator of the famous global-warming “hockey stick”.
The very same day The Chronicle of Higher Education also tied together the sham
Sandusky and Mann investigations in a piece titled “Culture of Evasion”6. As you know, after the Freeh Report was published, criminal charges were filed against Penn State President Graham Spanier and other senior administrators. Spanier is currently under indictment for grand- jury perjury, obstruction of justice, child endangerment, conspiracy and failure to report child abuse.
Two days later, I wrote a 270-word blog post for the opinion page of National Review Online7 referencing the Freeh Report and Mr Simberg’s piece. That post appears below in its entirety:
In the wake of Louis Freeh’s report on Penn State’s complicity in serial rape, Rand Simberg writes of Unhappy Valley’s other scandal:
‘I’m referring to another cover up and whitewash that occurred there two years ago, before we learned how rotten and corrupt the culture at the university was. But now that we know how bad it was, perhaps it’s time that we revisit the Michael Mann affair, particularly given how much we’ve also learned about his and others’ hockey- stick deceptions since. Mann could be said to be the Jerry Sandusky of climate science, except that instead of molesting children, he has molested and tortured data in the service of politicized science that could have dire economic consequences for the nation and planet.’
Not sure I’d have extended that metaphor all the way into the locker-room showers with quite the zeal Mr Simberg does, but he has a point. Michael Mann was the man behind the fraudulent climate-change ‘hockey-stick’ graph, the very ringmaster of the tree-ring circus. And, when the East Anglia emails came out, Penn State felt obliged to “investigate” Professor Mann. Graham Spanier, the Penn State president forced to resign over Sandusky, was the same cove who investigated Mann. And, as with Sandusky and Paterno, the college declined to find one of its star names guilty of any wrongdoing. If an institution is prepared to cover up systemic statutory rape of minors, what won’t it cover up? Whether or not he’s ‘the Jerry Sandusky of climate change’, he remains the Michael Mann of climate change, in part because his ‘investigation’ by a deeply corrupt administration was a joke.
I asked what I thought was quite an obvous question: If an institution is prepared to cover up the systemic ongoing rape of minors, what won’t it cover up?
It’s a legitimate question for an institution that receives taxpayer funding, a certain portion of which falls under the oversight of this committee. Penn State has a representative here today, and perhaps he will address some of these questions about his institution and its integrity.
Graham Spanier, the now disgraced president of Penn State who presided over the joke investigations of both Sandusky and Mann, remains the President Emeritus of Penn State, and a professor of family studies. His absolution of Michael Mann was widely regarded at the time as a total joke even by many who are by no means “climate deniers” – for example, the venerable American institution The Atlantic Monthly:
The Penn State inquiry exonerating Michael Mann — the paleoclimatologist who came up with ’the hockey stick’ — would be difficult to parody.
Professor Harold Lewis, one of the most distinguished members of the American Physical Society, resigned from the organization over the whitewashing of Mann, writing:
When Penn State absolved Mike Mann of wrongdoing, and the University of East Anglia did the same for Phil Jones, they cannot have been unaware of the financial penalty for doing otherwise.
In other words, Spanier’s depraved regime at Penn State turned a blind eye to Mann for the same reason it turned a blind eye to the Sandusky rape epidemic: they couldn’t afford to take the financial hit.
WASHINGTON— Gordon Lubold and Adam Entous report: The U.S. special-operations force that carried out a first-of-its-kind mission in Syria to capture the Islamic State finance chief and his wife over the weekend came away with a treasure trove of materials that could help in the attempt to pressure the extremist group.
“There are a lot of things that have to align to be able to execute some of these things. For a variety of reasons, we were not able to execute the operation.”
U.S. officials said that the Army Delta Force team that swooped down onto the site in eastern Syria in helicopters killed the Islamic State operative after a brief firefight and left with laptops, phones, documents and, likely, hard drives, DVDs, CDs and SIM cards.
“What our team gathered was substantial, but we won’t know until it’s exploited just how valuable it is.It could be very substantial.”
— Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.), the senior Democratic member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
The material could prove valuable in efforts to disrupt Islamic State’s ability to raise funds and may show why the Obama administration set aside its aversion to such operations to authorize the risky mission.
“What our team gathered was substantial, but we won’t know until it’s exploited just how valuable it is,” said Rep. Adam Schiff (D., Calif.), the senior Democratic member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, who has been briefed on the operation. “It could be very substantial.”
The raid also sent a signal to extremists that they aren’t safe in Syria and to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that the U.S. can operate in his country, said John McLaughlin, a former acting Central Intelligence Agency director.
“We’re going to conduct these types of operations whenever we can. This isn’t opening the door any more; the door is open, it has been open, and it will remain open if we have the opportunity.”
The group of about two dozen of the Army’s Delta Force commandos flew in late Friday in UH-60 Black Hawks and V-22 Ospreys to a residential compound in Al-Amr in eastern Syria intending to capture the Islamic State operative, Abu Sayyaf, and his wife, Umm Sayyaf, who is also thought to be a member of Islamic State. The couple apparently was holding a young Yazidi woman as a slave. Read the rest of this entry »
Andrew Johnson writes: Members of the House Intelligence Committee, including its chair, voiced bipartisan criticism of a recent New York Times investigation that asserted that al-Qaeda had nothing to do with last year’s attacks on a diplomatic facility in Benghazi.
Representatives Mike Rogers (R., Mich.), the committee’s chair, and Adam Schiff (D., Calif.) took to Fox News Sunday to contest its claims. Rogers called the piece “just not accurate,” while Schiff said he didn’t “think it’s complete.” Both indicated that their intelligence has found pre-planning and aspirations of an attack for al-Qaeda and its affiliates, such as Ansar al-Sharia.
Rogers also pointed to the curious timing of the Times piece as well as a recent 60 Minutes feature on Susan Rice. “I don’t want to speculate on why they might do it, but I can tell you that the information that’s being presented in a way that we heard before and, through the investigation, have been able to determine is not accurate in its portrayal,” he said.