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

Monday, March 27, 2017


For weeks, the Democrats and their trained hamsters in the media have been hyperventilating over Donald Trump's tweet alleging that he and his campaign were surveiled by the Obama Administration (please spare me the verbal parsing that demands a literal interpretation of Trump's tweet—that only happens when the Democrats' opponents do the tweeting or talking). First, the media leaped to gleeful "I told you so's" when various law enforcement and intelligence officials testified that there was "no wire tapping of Trump Tower." That's probably true and purposely misleading. The FISA warrants and other surveillance tools don't investigate a place, they investigate people in that place, and it appears that those people were foreign nationals, not members of the Trump campaign. But Trump's people got caught up in the intelligence gathering (more on that later), so indirectly they became part of the surveillance. Trump was hyperbolic, but not wrong.

Now we learn that the very same media who called Trump a liar knew all along that surveillance was being conducted, reported the results of that surveillance, and did so in an effort to delegitimize Trump and his people. The initial story first appeared on November 7, 2016 when Heat Street, reported:
Two separate sources with links to the counter-intelligence community have confirmed to Heat Street that the FBI sought, and was granted, a FISA court warrant in October, giving counter-intelligence permission to examine the activities of ‘U.S. persons’ in Donald Trump’s campaign with ties to Russia.
John Nolte comments:
So let's stop for a moment to make a couple of things clear. The FBI reports to the Department of Justice, which at the time was run by Obama's highly politicized Attorney General, Loretta Lynch. The author of this piece, Louise Mensch, despises Trump, and if you'll look at the publication date, she dropped this supposed bombshell the night before the election, and did so for reasons I should not have to explain.
Nolte correctly points out that Heat Street is a relatively obscure web-based media source, but here's the thing. From November 7, 2016 to February, 2017, first-tier media sources ran with the story of surveillance, broadened it, and happily used the leaks from the surveillance to smear Trump and his people. (For a full breakdown of news reports delineating ongoing surveillance and the leaks derived from them by sources like the NYT, CNN, The Guardian, WaPo, McClatchy, and others, read Nolte's full article.)

Then, eyes wide with horror when Donald Trump has the temerity to imply that the sainted Obama administration was doing something that wasn't very nice, these same media sources went full bore to call Trump a liar.

Andrew Malcolm discusses the underlying issues:
Here’s what really matters: During the waning days of the Obama administration U.S. intelligence was indeed monitoring the conversations of foreign persons of interest after the Nov. 8 election and before the Jan. 20 inauguration. That’s normal and actually encouraging given how many key things those agencies have missed in recent years.

In those eaves-droppings they overheard Trump aides being mentioned or talking to agencies’ foreign targets. That’s called “incidental contact” in the intel world. That means they weren’t supposed to be targeting the American, but he or she came up. That’s unavoidable in intelligence-gathering if you’re doing a thorough job.

T​o avoid “unmasking” those innocent bystanders, t​ranscripts of those overheard conversations refer to the foreign target by name and identify the other person simply as American ​No. ​1 or American ​No. 2. ​A very small number of very senior intelligence officials ​will ​know the actual identity of the American​, people like, oh, then-CIA director John Brennan or Susan Rice, Obama’s national security adviser.​

​Remember Trump’s first national security adviser, retired Gen. Michael Flynn? He was picked up talking with the Russian ambassador as part of his transition work. Subsequently, he was fired​, not for the conversation but for misrepresenting that conversation to Trump teammates, including Vice President Pence. Trump accurately saw that as fatally corroding the trust he needs in such a close aide.

But here’s the deal: We should never have known it was Flynn.

Yes, as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency Flynn was very unpopular among Obama administration members and indeed was frozen out of contact with the commander-in-chief because he favored a much stronger response to ISIS, among other things. Talk about a president dodging opposing views.

Like Flynn or not, it is illegal — as in against the law — for anyone to reveal the name of an incidentally-overheard American. Someone in a small circle of Obama intelligence officials who knew the identity of that American No. 1 committed a felony by leaking Flynn’s name to media.

Safe to say the leak, like numerous others since Hillary Clinton was not inaugurated as president, was not intended to facilitate the smooth presidential transition that Obama so often publicly promised.
So ... a few questions. Why was the intel gathered under a legit FISA warrant released to approximately 16 different agencies without redacting (masking) the names of Americans who were "incidental" to the investigation? Who made the very unusual decision to do this? Did the decision come from inside the Obama administration? What was the intent of the decision, in other words, why was this intel distributed so widely? Were the purposeful unmasking and subsequent leaks criminal acts, and if so, who should be prosecuted?

It seems to me that the reason for the distribution of the intel to the widest possible audience is painfully obvious. With all of those eyes on the intel, persons loyal to the Obama administration, smarting over the voting public's rejection of his eight years of governance, and livid over the upset defeat of Hillary Clinton and their subsequent job lose, were only too happy to make Trump look bad by leaking parts of the intel. Those leaks were intended to damage the new president and his administration, to destabilize their early legislative efforts and to focus the public away from any early and positive accomplishments. The leakers knew that the Democrats trained hamsters in the media would run with all of this, and run they have.

Allegations of "collusion" between the Trump campaign and the Russians are very serious and deserve investigation, but after all this time, there is nothing that indicates collusion. NOTHING. Not one phone call, not one piece of paper, not one word of credible testimony. Nothing. Yet the Dems and the media keep suggesting that something is there.

Allegations that an outgoing administration purposely acted to sabotage an incoming administration are very serious and deserve investigation. It is absolutely certain that leaks of classified intel occurred. It is absolutely certain that the Obama administration distributed that intel widely, even though there was no obvious reason to do so. Yet the Dems look away and the media shows a remarkable lack of interest.

Sadly, there's nothing new in all of this. When wrong-doing on the part of Dems is all but certain, the media avoids it altogether or buries it as a footnote. When wrong-doing is alleged by the Dems, the media mounts a tsunami of investigative resources and when no wrong-doing is encountered, repeats specious allegations as if they are fact, and then falls back on innuendo and character assassination.

Here's the problem. Clarice Feldman, correctly I think, characterizes this whole episode by comparing it to Russian nesting dolls:
Matryoshkas are Russian nesting dolls. Inside each doll are several others, smaller but identically shaped characters, until you get to the smallest one inside. Studying what we have learned of the timeline -- and we still don’t have the entire story -- we see Wikileaks, the smallest, at the core, and Obama as the largest piece in what is the most historically outrageous misuse of the people and institutions of government for partisan advantage ...

No matter how many dolls are hidden in the nest -- Comey, Clapper, Brennan, Lynch -- it is undeniable that they all fit under the big one -- Obama. It was he who authorized the surveillance and multiagency distribution of intelligence -- in Bob Woodward’s reading, “highly classified gossip” -- about political opponent Trump and his team -- invading their privacy in violation of the law. If you were inclined to want Americans to lose faith in their intelligence community and media you couldn’t have done a better job than they did themselves. The Russians didn’t have to do a thing.
The complexity and the nesting was purposely built in to mask culpability and make even an honest investigation difficult and inconclusive (and remember, the media has absolutely no intention of investigating this, and the congress is largely incompetent). That's how corrupt and savvy politicians operate, and that's why no one will be held accountable much less go to jail.


Andrew McCarthy gets to the crux of the matter when he writes:
... To claim that something is technically legal is not to say that it is appropriate. Another analogy from law enforcement: Under federal law, any distribution of illegal narcotics is punishable by up to 20 years’ imprisonment. But a judge who sentenced a man to 20 years in jail for merely passing a marijuana joint to the person next to him would be grossly abusing his power. Such a judge should be impeached — the fact that the sentence is technically legal is beside the point.

There is a salient difference between technical legality and political propriety. The Obama administration intelligence community’s monitoring of Trump associates during the presidential campaign may well have been technically legal. But whether it was an abuse of power hinges on whether the investigation(s) that rationalized the monitoring were legitimate. Was there a serious Russian effort to subvert U.S. interests, possibly including the integrity of our electoral process? Were there suspect dealings between Trump campaign officials and Putin operatives? Or was Russia just a pretext to spy on the campaign of the opposition party? Did the Obama administration spread intelligence information to people who did not have a need to know it — including White House officials — in order to facilitate its unauthorized disclosure?
The Democrats and their trained hamsters in the media fervently believe that something is "legal" when it meets their needs (e.g., in the case of unintentional surveillance of Trump people). At the same time, they reject laws they don't like (e.g., enforcement of existing laws that address illegal immigration) suggesting that they are "immoral." They can't have it both ways. If the Obama administration intended to undermine the new administration using intelligence data to precipitate leaks, that is an abuse of power, not to mention, an indictable criminal offense.