The FBI spied on a Trump associate. Do they have evidence that Trump colluded with Russians, or was this a rampant abuse of power?
These latest leaks of classified information appear to be in response to Sen. Charles Grassley’s inquiry to FBI Director James Comey on behalf of the Senate Judiciary Committee he chairs. Grassley noted a February 28 Washington Post report, which used anonymous sources to report the FBI had made plans to pay dossier author Christopher Steele to continue investigating Trump before the election.
Paying an opposition researcher to investigate the Republican nominee for president in the run-up to the election “raises further questions about the FBI’s independence from politics, as well as the Obama administration’s use of law enforcement and intelligence agencies for political ends,” Grassley wrote.
Grassley demanded that the FBI turn over all records relating to the agreement, interviews of Steele, information on any government officials outside the FBI discussing the agreement with Steele, information on how the FBI obtained the dossier, any official reports that used Steele-collected information, any indication the FBI used the information before verifying it, and various other information, including:
9. Has the FBI relied on or otherwise referenced the memos or any information in the memos in seeking a FISA warrant, other search warrant, or any other judicial process? Did the FBI rely on or otherwise reference the memos in relation to any National Security Letters? If so, please include copies of all relevant applications and other documents.
These latest leaks answer that question. And the leaks about what intelligence agencies were doing during the presidential campaign begin to answer questions about whether the U.S. government has hard evidence that the Trump campaign had foreknowledge of Russian meddling and coordinated with Russians about that meddling, or whether there was rampant abuse of power in stripping an innocent U.S. citizen of his right not to be surveilled by his own government. Read the rest of this entry »
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 »
John Solomon and Sara Carter reports: As his presidency drew to a close, Barack Obama’s top aides routinely reviewed intelligence reports gleaned from the National Security Agency’s incidental intercepts of Americans abroad, taking advantage of rules their boss relaxed starting in 2011 to help the government better fight terrorism, espionage by foreign enemies and hacking threats, Circa has learned.
Dozens of times in 2016, those intelligence reports identified Americans who were directly intercepted talking to foreign sources or were the subject of conversations between two or more monitored foreign figures. Sometimes the Americans’ names were officially unmasked; other times they were so specifically described in the reports that their identities were readily discernible. Among those cleared to request and consume unmasked NSA-based intelligence reports about U.S. citizens were Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice, his CIA Director John Brennan and then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch.
Some intercepted communications from November to January involved Trump transition figures or foreign figures’ perceptions of the incoming president and his administration. Intercepts involving congressional figures also have been unmasked occasionally for some time. Read the rest of this entry »
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said earlier that he had briefed Trump on new information, unrelated to an investigation into Russian activities, that suggested that several members of Trump’s transition team and perhaps Trump himself had their identities “unmasked” after their communications were intercepted by U.S. intelligence officials.
The revelation is notable because identities of Americans are generally supposed to remain “masked” if American communications are swept up during surveillance of foreign individuals.
During an interview on Fox News, Woodward said that if that information about the unmasking is true, “it is a gross violation.” 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 »
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 »
Majority Whip Displays Impaled Senator Outside Capitol Building As Warning To All Who Cross Party LinesPosted: November 5, 2015
WASHINGTON—Instructing his colleagues to take a good, long look at what happens to consensus seekers, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-TX) publicly displayed the impaled body of a fellow senator at the entrance to the Capitol building Thursday as a warning to anyone thinking about crossing party lines….(read more)
The nine most terrifying in the English language: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”
John Hayward writes: Fresh from his diplomatic triumph in handing the Middle East over to Russia, America’s buffoonish Secretary of State, John Kerry, took his sad-clown act to Indonesia, where he somehow contrived to link a volcanic eruption to man-made global warming. But that’s not even the dumbest gesture an Obama Administration official has made toward the official government religion of the United States recently.
No, the winning act of devotion to the Church of Global Warming is President Obama blaming drought in California on the Angry Sky Gods. It might just be the dumbest thing any American president has ever said. It’s so far opposed to actual science that Obama might as well have blamed elves and trolls for the drought, and announced a billion-dollar initiative to hunt them down. Not even the more respectable pseudo-scientists of the Church think the California drought has anything to do with global warming.
Dr. Larry Arnn and Robert Ferrigno on Iran
Dr. Larry Arnn is president of Hillsdale College, and was an assistant to Sir Martin Gilbert for some of the years of Gilbert’s work on the massive biography of Churchill.
Both were my guests today on the growing crisis in Iran.
Their interviews will be up at Radioblogger.com later today…
Bonus track — from Ferrigno’s blog:
I recently did Hugh Hewitt’s live national radio show to promote The Girl Who Cried Wolf and listening to it afterwards – the host archives his shows – I realized, after thirteen book tours and a lot of radio interviews, I had learned some things. I hope the following tips helps other authors facing the microphone and praying that they don’t projectile vomit.
Live radio interviews are either conducted in a studio or linked to your location by telephone. Either way they are terrifying the first few times. Acknowledge that to yourself and move forward.
A studio interview will seem strange the first time you do it. You’re in a glass booth, usually sitting across from the host. The two of you will be wearing headphones and speaking into a large microphone, while the engineer is watching things from another room through a pane of thick glass. Yes, it’s artificial, but the more you can hone in on the host when you talk, the better. You want to make things feel like a friendly conversation between the two of you. Depending on the host, it may actually be a confrontational conversation, but that’s okay too, as long as you keep things lively and don’t freeze up. (I once went on a “Morning Zoo” type early morning show where the merry band of pranksters made fart noises while they read excerpts from my book that they considered “hot.” I played the part of the good sport, although I wanted to strangle them… slowly.)
Location interviews are more relaxed. You’re in a comfortable place at your home, just talking on the phone to hopefully millions of people. Make sure you’re on a land line for the best reception and turn off any “inaudible” air-conditioning or forced-air heating, which will be picked up and make for a “hissy” broadcast. Your host will appreciate this, or, at least the engineer will. (I learned this from an ex-CIA agent I interviewed once, who complained about poor surveillance recordings)
Whether at home or in-studio, make notes to yourself. Short, succinct notes on separate cards. You can’t believe the things you will blank out on under pressure. I usually go with the name of the host, my own name (really), the name of my book, and the plot of the book in fifteen or twenty words. In big letters I write SLOW DOWN. Most of us talk faster when we’re nervous, so a reminder to ease off will make things easier for listeners to understand and keep you from running out of air. (My first interview I think the host was worried he was going to have to perform CPR on me)
I also write a note that says HAVE FUN. This is the most important note of all.
Try not, and I know it’s hard, try not to not feel compelled to insert the name of your book in every sentence. A good host will mention the title at the beginning and end of the segment and in my case at least, spell your name for the audience. (“Just like Lou Ferrigno!”) Let the host do the work. Otherwise you come off as sweaty and desperate.
Radio is a medium of superlatives because it makes the guest more interesting to the listeners. If the host introduces you as “perhaps the best crime fiction writer in the known and unknown universe,” don’t correct them. You may think it makes you look humble, but it also makes the host look bad. Don’t EVER make the host look bad. Chuckle and say thank you. Besides, who’s better than you?
The host is always aware of the clock and so should you be. When you hear background music getting louder FINISH YOUR POINT because the host will be cutting to a break and if he has to interrupt you to do so, it will feel awkward. You want to make the host’s job easy, just like the host wants to make your job easy. See, you’re pals!
You have been given a gift, act accordingly. Airtime, whether on a national radio show or a podcast beamed out of a garage, is a way to connect with people who don’t know you, a party where for five or ten minutes you’re the guest of honor. The host has many, MANY more people who want to sit where you are sitting than you can imagine. So greet the host warmly, thank him or her when your time is over and send an email to that effect afterwards. They will have earned it.