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

Saturday, May 26, 2018

A James Bond Villain

The Crossfire Hurricane ("Spygate") scandal just won't go away. As a consequence, the Democrats and their trained hamsters in the media careen from cries of "constitutional crisis" to "attacks on our democracy," from obfuscation to ad hominem attacks, from desperate attempts to change the subject (OMG, Donald Trump Jr. met with a Ukrainian representative—the humanity!!), from specious claims that the Congress has no oversight role to play with our intelligence agencies, from lengthy dissertations on the definition of what a "spy" is, to appeals to authority based on the words of proven liars like James Clapper and John Brennan (not to mention Jim Comey).

Gosh, if we are to believe the Dems, Donald Trump is a Master Villain who would rival any James Bond character. From his lair at Mira Lago, he colluded with Russia to undermine our elections while at the same time defeating a slam-dunk Dem candidate who led in all the polls and was heir apparent to the beloved Barack Obama. And to quote Sharyl Attkisson, he "was so good at covering it up he’s managed to outwit our best intel and media minds who've searched for irrefutable evidence for two years [and found absolutely none]."

On its face, this is so ridiculous it's laughable, were it not for the deadly serious game being played. The Dems want to unseat an elected president and will use any means necessary to do so. Lies, innuendo, fantasy allegations are par for the course, but the Crossfire Hurricane ("Spygate") scandal isn't about that. It involves something far more sinister—the weaponization of our intel agencies by a sitting administration against its political opponent.

The Democrats and their trained media hamsters along with most progressives are making a lot of noise, but they're having trouble dismissing the core elements of Crossfire Hurricane . First there is irrefutable evidence that the intelligence operation was real, it even had a code name—Crossfile Hurricane—that was leaked to the Dem-friendly New York Times to try to get ahead of the ongoing revelations.

Sharyl Attkisson describes other known elements of the operation as we currently understand them:
Wiretap fever. Secret surveillance was conducted on no fewer than seven Trump associates: chief strategist Stephen Bannon; lawyer Michael Cohen; national security adviser Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn; adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner; campaign chairman Paul Manafort; and campaign foreign policy advisers Carter Page and George Papadopoulos ...

[Of course, in the fevered imaginations of progressives, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, a decorated military veteran with over 30 years of service was somehow influenced by the Bond Villain who is Donald Trump to become a traitor. Interesting though that only the Trump campaign was surveilled, even after it was leaned that Hillary Clinton maintained a secret, unprotected email server, was almost definitely hacked by the Russians and other adversaries, and deleted 33,000 emails that may have shown, what, Russian collusion??]

National security letters. Another controversial tool reportedly used by the FBI to obtain phone records and other documents in the investigation were national security letters, which bypass judicial approval.

Improper use of such letters has been an ongoing theme at the FBI. Reviews by the Department of Justice’s Inspector General found widespread misuse under Mueller — who was then FBI director — and said officials failed to report instances of abuses as required.

Unmasking. “Unmasking” — identifying protected names of Americans captured by government surveillance — was frequently deployed by at least four top Obama officials who have subsequently spoken out against President Trump: James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence; Samantha Power, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; Susan Rice, former national security adviser; Sally Yates, former deputy attorney general.

[Gosh, those folks were pretty close the Barack Obama, but we can all rest assured he didn't know a thing about this operation, the unmasking or anything else. ]

Changing the rules. On Dec. 15, 2016 — the same day the government listened in on Trump officials at Trump Tower — Rice reportedly unmasked the names of Bannon, Kushner and Flynn. And Clapper made a new rule allowing the National Security Agency to widely disseminate surveillance material within the government without the normal privacy protections.

Media strategy. Former CIA Director John Brennan and Clapper, two of the most integral intel officials in this ongoing controversy, have joined national news organizations where they have regular opportunities to shape the news narrative — including on the very issues under investigation.

Clapper reportedly secretly leaked salacious political opposition research against Trump to CNN in fall 2017 and later was hired as a CNN political analyst. In February, Brennan was hired as a paid analyst for MSNBC.

Leaks. There’s been a steady and apparently orchestrated campaign of leaks — some true, some false, but nearly all of them damaging to President Trump’s interests.

A few of the notable leaks include word that Flynn was wiretapped, the anti-Trump “Steele dossier” of political opposition research, then-FBI Director James Comey briefing Trump on it, private Comey conversations with Trump, Comey’s memos recording those conversations and criticizing Trump, the subpoena of Trump’s personal bank records (which proved false) and Flynn planning to testify against Trump (which also proved to be false).

Friends, informants and snoops. The FBI reportedly used one-time CIA operative Stefan Halper in 2016 as an informant to spy on Trump officials.

Another player is Comey friend Daniel Richman, a Columbia University law professor, who leaked Comey’s memos against Trump to The New York Times after Comey was fired. We later learned that Richman actually worked for the FBI under a status called “Special Government Employee.”

The FBI used former reporter Glenn Simpson, his political opposition research firm Fusion GPS, and ex-British spy Christopher Steele to compile allegations against Trump, largely from Russian sources, which were distributed to the press and used as part of wiretap applications.
There's a lot we still don't know yet, but what we do know has the Dems circling the wagons. We also know that something sinister was happening. The big question is, Who authorized it?