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

Monday, May 28, 2018

The Evidence

I've spent a lot of time on the Crossfire Hurricane scandal (e.g., here, here, and here) because it is an epic example of gross government misconduct accepted with a wink and a nod by a corrupt Obama administration. Sure, the Democrats are sanguine about the whole affair, using a variety of magical thinking that: (1) denies that it even happened, even though one of the principles, James Clapper, states that it did, or (2) justifies an intelligence operation directed by a sitting Democratic administration against an GOP opponent, unprecedented in U.S. history.

The Democrats, along with their trained hamsters in the media, are working feverishly to make it all go away, suggesting that the "threat to democracy" is the victim of this surveillance, not the weaponized government agencies that conducted the surveillance.

The Dems conveniently refuse to ask: (1) whether Barack Obama, the sitting president was aware of the surveillance; (2) whether he or one of his direct reports (e.g., AG Loretta Lynch) authorized it, (3) what was done with the 'intelligence' that was gathered (e.g., was it shared with operatives from the Clinton campaign), and (4) why a Clinton/DNC opposition research dossier, developed with the help (collusion?) of "Russians" was used as a lever to justify surveillance to find "collusion" with the Russians? Nah ... those questions aren't important to those who are oh-so worried about "Threats to Democracy" ... nothing to see here ... move along.

Andrew McCarthy, an ex-Federal Prosecutor, provides us with a conceptual view from 10,000 feet when he writes:
As progressivism has magnified the administrative state, the self-image of federal bureaucrats has become technocratic altruism: Let us explain what’s going on; after all, we’re just selflessly looking out for you, calling agenda-free balls and strikes. Think of Barack Obama, dyed-in-the-wool leftist, insisting he’s just a pragmatic, non-ideological problem-solver.

Is this bureaucracy “the deep state”? That’s an exaggeration — try, say, China or Turkey if you want to see what a real deep state looks like. Nevertheless, our modern form of government does make technocrats a force to be reckoned with, and they abide supervision and oversight only by other progressives. When a constitutionalist has the temerity to observe that technocrats are subordinate to executive political leadership and must answer to the legislature that created and funds their agencies, they brood about their “independence.” In their minds, they are an unaccountable fourth branch of government — at least until their fellow non-ideological pragmatists return to power.

For this species of arrogance, setting the narrative is a jealously guarded prerogative. We are to understand the bureaucracy’s work as unimpeachably noble and that so, therefore, are its tactics. Consequently, the government’s “cooperator” is never to be called a spy. He’s a “confidential informant” or, as the FBI’s former Director James Comey put it in a tweet this week, a “confidential human source.”
As Crossfire Hurricane unfolds, progressives have leaped to defend the federal bureaucracy, suggesting that anyone who questions the unprecedented surveillance of the Trump campaign is somehow attacking the FBI and our other intelligence services; that proven liars such as Comey, Brennan and Clapper are beyond reproach, and that their version of events is be accepted without question.

McCarthy summarizes nicely:
In the Trump–Russia affair, officials of the Obama-era intelligence agencies suggest that there are grounds to believe that the Trump campaign was in a traitorous conspiracy with the Kremlin. What grounds? They’d rather not say. You’ll just have to trust them as well-meaning, non-partisan pros who (all together now) can’t be expected to divulge methods and sources.

Countering that are not only Trump fans but growing ranks of security-state skeptics. The Obama administration blatantly politicized the government’s intelligence and law-enforcement apparatus. Their Chicken Little shrieks that public disclosure of FISA warrants and texts between FBI agents would imperil security have proven overblown at best (and, in some instances, to be cynical attempts to hide embarrassing facts). “Trust us” is not cutting it anymore.

In the end, it is not about who the spies are. It is about why they were spying. In our democratic republic, there is an important norm against an incumbent administration’s use of government’s enormous intelligence-gathering capabilities to — if we may borrow a phrase — interfere in an election. To justify disregarding that norm would require strong evidence of egregious wrongdoing. Enough bobbing and weaving, and enough dueling tweets. Let’s see the evidence.
But that's the Dem's core problem. There is NO evidence—only a need to weaponize the government bureaucracy again a political opponent that their administration found objectionable/unacceptable.