The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Drip, Drip

It's becoming more and more likely that the Obama administration was involved, either directly or after the fact, in surveillance of the new Trump administration. The intent, it appears, was to allow incidental information gleaned from other surveillance to be "unmasked" and ultimately leaked to the media by Obama loyalists, therefore destabilizing Trump's early days in office. Unlike the ridiculous and evidence-free claims* of "Russian collusion" that Democrats have voiced for months, there is credible and growing evidence of Obama administration involvement in the unmasking and leaks.

Eli Lake reports:
White House lawyers last month learned that the former national security adviser Susan Rice requested the identities of U.S. persons in raw intelligence reports on dozens of occasions that connect to the Donald Trump transition and campaign, according to U.S. officials familiar with the matter.

The pattern of Rice's requests was discovered in a National Security Council review of the government's policy on "unmasking" the identities of individuals in the U.S. who are not targets of electronic eavesdropping, but whose communications are collected incidentally. Normally those names are redacted from summaries of monitored conversations and appear in reports as something like "U.S. Person One."

The National Security Council's senior director for intelligence, Ezra Cohen-Watnick, was conducting the review, according to two U.S. officials who spoke with Bloomberg View on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss it publicly. In February Cohen-Watnick discovered Rice's multiple requests to unmask U.S. persons in intelligence reports that related to Trump transition activities. He brought this to the attention of the White House General Counsel's office, who reviewed more of Rice's requests and instructed him to end his own research into the unmasking policy.

The intelligence reports were summaries of monitored conversations -- primarily between foreign officials discussing the Trump transition, but also in some cases direct contact between members of the Trump team and monitored foreign officials. One U.S. official familiar with the reports said they contained valuable political information on the Trump transition such as whom the Trump team was meeting, the views of Trump associates on foreign policy matters and plans for the incoming administration.
Hmmm. That would be the same Susan Rice who lied repeatedly and publicly about the Benghazi scandal—you know, the one where political motivation trumped the truth about the cause of an Islamic terrorist attack that killed four Americans. That's the same person (and administration) that never adequately explained why all forces in the region stood down during the 13 hours of the attack, allowing two of the brave Americans who defended the consulate in Benghazi to be killed by Islamic terrorists. That would be the same administration that weaponized a government agency (the IRS) against their opponents. Looks like they were at it again after Trump's upset victory.

As if to burnish her reputation as an inveterate liar, Rice stated this on a March 22nd PBS News Hour: “I know nothing about this. I was surprised to see reports from Chairman Nunes on that count today.” Really? Nothing. Who are we to believe, contemporaneous intelligence records or Susan Rice. Recall that she claimed that a bad movie review by an innocent group of Libyans was responsible for the Benghazi attack.

Why was Rice so interested in this intelligence? Why did that interest begin with Trump's nomination and escalate after he won the election? Why was the National Security Council's senior director for intelligence instructed to "end his own research into the unmasking policy." Why were the intelligence reports with unmasked content, according to a senior Obama aid, distributed so widely throughout the government?

It's a travesty that the media seems generally uninterested in those and many other questions. Maybe it's because any investigation would likely lead to a tarnish on the sainted Obama administration and the likelihood that some of its members might be indicted for violation of national security laws.

Yet the drip, drip of evidence continues.

* Right-wing writer Kurt Schlichter doesn't pull any punches when he comments on the Democrat claims of of "Russian collusion" and now, Trump's claims that his people were surveilled by Obama administration of Trump's team with the specific intend of generating leaks. He suggests that the overarching "scandal" has three "silos:"
The first silo is the question of whether the Russians somehow “hacked our election.” The second silo is whether any Trump people “colluded” with the Russians. The third silo, the one patriots care most about since it’s the one that isn’t a ridiculous fantasy, is whether anyone in Obama's administration used our intelligence apparatus to spy on his and Hillary’s political opponents. The answers are “No,” “No,” and “Yes.” The end results are going to be a stronger Trump, weaker Democrats, and various Obama minions exploring new career opportunities in the exciting fields of license plate-making, large-to-small rock transformation, and artisanal pruno distilling.

Russians didn’t hack the election. Liberals use the word “hacked” because they can claim they only mean “influenced” while implying to stupid people inclined to believe their conspiracy theories that the Russians broke into computers and changed votes from Hillary to Donald. Of course, they forgot to also change the Senate votes to the Dems, but whatev.

Even James Comey agrees that never happened, so now the Democrats are claiming that Russian social media bots used fake news to trick the previously Hillary-inclined electorate into voting against her. Basically, they’re saying Hillary’s supporters were easily duped idiots. Now, dummies have always been a key Democrat demographic. She clearly has a unique appeal to the stupid, the gullible, and the readily confused, making the voters she was counting on especially vulnerable to those cunning Russian clickbaiters operating from secret Macedonian villages ...

You think the geniuses leading our intelligence community – not the brave and dedicated folks in the trenches but the clowns and political suck-ups lording over them – could have or would have kept real collusion secret? Do you think if Trump was cavorting with the former commies we wouldn’t have heard about it from the NYT, the WaPo and the rest of the Democrat steno pool about a week before November 8th?

Get. Real.
Yet many of my Democrat friends seem to believe, honestly believe, that Russian collusion with Trump actually took place. That belief defies common sense, it defines political reality, and it defies a complete, utter lack of any evidence to support it. It's fantasy thinking, but then again, that's not really unusual among adherents to leftist ideology.


The reason that the accusations of Obama administration surveillance on the Trump campaign and new administration are so believable, is that Obama and his people had a long and sordid history of conducting questionable surveillance on American citizens (and getting away with it because his trained hamsters in the media looked the other way).

Steven Miller
recounts a few examples:
1. In 2013 the news broke that Eric Holder’s Justice Department had spied on James Rosen. Obama’s DOJ collected Rosen’s telephone records as well as tracked his movements to and from the State Department from where he reported. Rosen was named as a possible co-conspirator in a Justice Department affidavit. Rosen claims that his parents phone line was also swept up in the collection of his records and DOJ records seem to confirm that. Despite the targeting of Rosen, there were no brave calls to boycott the White House Correspondents Dinner.

2. CIA officers penetrated a network used to share information by Senate Intel committee members, including Sen. Diane Feinstein, the committee’s Democrat chair. The bombshell New York Times report went on to disclose:
The C.I.A. officials penetrated the computer network when they came to suspect that the committee’s staff had gained unauthorized access to an internal C.I.A. review of the detention program that the spy agency never intended to give to Congress. A C.I.A. lawyer then referred the agency’s suspicions to the Justice Department to determine whether the committee staff broke the law when it obtained that document. The inspector general report said that there was no “factual basis” for this referral, which the Justice Department has declined to investigate, because the lawyer had been provided inaccurate information. The report said that the three information technology officers “demonstrated a lack of candor about their activities” during interviews with the inspector general.

The Obama White House defended CIA director John Brennan’s actions and response. Imagine that.

3. In 2013, it was revealed how the Obama administration and NSA were facilitating a secret government mass surveillance program called Prism, because the name Orwell would have been too obvious, I guess.

Prism was created to access private communications of internet subscribers through several IP providers. This was done without the knowledge (or at the very least, the denial) or permission of the leaders of the targeted companies, including Google, Yahoo and Facebook. Defenders of the program, including President Obama suggested that Americans were not intentionally being caught up in Prism’s net and that the program was only to monitor actively from outside the united states coming into the country as part of the FISA authorization...

4. Much like James Rosen and his shady al Qaeda looking parents, Obama’s Justice Department secretly obtained months of phone records belonging to AP journalists while investigating a failed terror attack. And much like the Rosen spying, this was personally approved by Attorney General Holder.
I still suspect that the media will punt on all of this, and that another Watergate level scandal will be buried in obfuscation and denial. Too bad. It would be nice to see a few people be held accountable.