Tag Archives: CIA

Trump DOJ Obtained Data on Schiff and Swalwell, Two Long-Time Champions of Domestic Spying, by Glenn Greenwald

Most of official Washington believe in all-encompassing surveillance on everybody but themselves. From Glenn Greenwald at greenwald.substack.com:

The two California Democrats join the long list of politicians who enable spying on ordinary citizens, then angrily object when they themselves are targeted.

: House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) (L) and committee member Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) return to a closed-door hearing at the U.S. Capitol March 06, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The Trump Justice Department in 2017 and early 2018 issued subpoenas to Apple to obtain the communications records of at least two Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee, Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA). According to The New York Times, DOJ prosecutors attempting to determine who leaked classified information to the media about Russiagate suspected the two House Democrats were the culprits, and to prove that, they obtained their communications records as well as those of family members, including minor children.

A DOJ leak investigation aimed at sitting members of Congress is highly unusual. Both the Obama and Trump administrations, in a hunt for leakers, created controversy by obtaining the communications records of journalists, including — in the case of the Obama DOJ — the family members of those journalists. But investigating members of the House Intelligence Committee for leaking crimes — as opposed to corruption or other standard criminal charges — can present different dangers. Neither Congressman was charged with any crimes and the investigation reportedly bore no fruit.

The two House Democrats, among the most fanatical disseminators of baseless Russiagate conspiracies and long known to serve as anonymous sources of leaks to liberal media outlets, reacted with predictable outrage. “This baseless investigation, while now closed, is yet another example of Trump’s corrupt weaponization of justice,” Schiff intoned on Thursday night. As difficult as it is, Swalwell, as he often does, found a way to be even more melodramatic than Schiff: “Like many of the world’s most despicable dictators, former President Trump showed an utter disdain for our democracy and the rule of law.”

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Torture Enters the Courtroom, by Andrew P. Napolitano

Evidence obtained by tortured confession should be inadmissible in a US court of law, but it no longer is. From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

For the first time in American history, a federal judge last week authorized the government to admit as evidence in a criminal case in a public courtroom words uttered by the defendant that were obtained under torture.

The fruits of torture — which is any cruel or degrading or intentionally painful or disorienting behavior visited upon a person in captivity to induce compliance or to gratify the torturer — are not permitted in any court in the United States, and their inducement is criminal.

Here is the backstory.

Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a low-level former member of the Taliban, is accused with others of plotting the suicide bombing of the USS Cole in October 2000 that killed 17 American sailors. He has been in U.S. custody since 2002 and at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since 2004. When he was first captured, he was turned over to the CIA for interrogation, not the Department of Justice for prosecution.

The practice of the federal government immediately following 9/11, when it captured anyone overseas from whom it believed it could extract national security information, was to hand the person over to the CIA for torture — the feds call it “enhanced interrogation” — at a “dark site” in a foreign country with which the U.S. does not have an extradition treaty.

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CIA (Dis)Information Operations Come Home to the US, from We Meant Well

The CIA charter prohibits its involvement in domestic politics, but that’s not stopping anyone in today’s CIA. From We Meant Well at wemeantwell.com:

Reporters joke the easiest job in Washington is CIA spokesman. You need only listen carefully to questions and say “No comment’ before heading to Happy Hour. The joke, however, is on us. The reporters pretend to see only one side of the CIA, the passive hiding of information about itself. They meanwhile choose to profit from the other side of the equation, active information operations designed to influence events in America. It is 2021 and the CIA is running an op against the American people.

Leon Panetta, the Director CIA from 2009 to 2011 explained bluntly his CIA did influence foreign media outlets ahead of elections in order to “change attitudes within the country.” The method, Panetta said, was to “acquire media within a country or within a region that could very well be used for being able to deliver a specific message or work to influence those that may own elements of the media to be able to cooperate, work with you in delivering that message.”

The CIA has been running such information ops to influence foreign elections since the end of WWII. Richard Bissell, who ran the agency’s operations during the Cold War, wrote of “exercising control over a newspaper or broadcasting station, or of securing the desired outcome in an election.” A report on the CIA in Chile boasts the Agency portrayed its favored candidate in one election as a “wise, sincere and high-minded statesman” while painting his leftist opponent as a “calculating schemer.” At one point in the 1980s foreign media insertions ran 80 a day.

The goal is to control information as a tool of influence. Sometimes the control is very direct, simply paying a reporter to run a story, or, as was done in Iraq, simply operating the media outlet yourself (known as the Orwellian Indigenous Media Project.) The problem is such direct action is easily exposed, destroying credibility.

A more effective strategy is to become a source for legitimate media such that your (dis)information inherits their credibility. The most effective is an operation so complex one CIA plant is the initial information source while a second CIA plant acts seemingly independently as a confirming source. At that point you can push information to the mainstream media, who can then “independently” confirm it, sometimes unknowingly, through your secondary agents. You can basically write tomorrow’s headlines.

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How American Journalism Became a Mouthpiece of the Deep State, by Peter Van Buren

You’d have trouble inserting a extremely sharp knife between the intelligence community and the mainstream media; they’re thick as thieves. From Peter Van Buren at theamericanconservative.com:

The intelligence community uses the media to manipulate the American people and pressure elected politicians..

The Washington Post’s David Ignatius (Wikimedia Commons)

Reporters joke that the easiest job in Washington is CIA spokesman. You need only listen carefully to questions, say, “No comment,” and head to happy hour. The joke, however, is on us. The reporters pretend to see only one side of the CIA, the passive hiding of information. They meanwhile profit from the other side of the equation, active information operations designed to influence events in America. It is 2021 and the CIA is running an op against the American people.

Leon Panetta, once director of CIA, explained bluntly that the agency influenced foreign media outlets ahead of elections in order to “change attitudes within the country.” The method was to “acquire media within a country or within a region that could very well be used for being able to deliver a specific message or work to influence those that may own elements of the media to be able to cooperate, work with you in delivering that message.” The CIA has been running such ops to influence foreign elections continuously since the end of WWII.

The goal is to control information as a tool of influence. Sometimes the control is very direct, operating the media outlet yourself. The problem is this is easily exposed, destroying credibility.

A more effective strategy is to become a source for legitimate media such that your (dis)information inherits their credibility. Most effective is when one CIA plant is the initial source while a second CIA plant acts seemingly independently as a confirming source. You can push information to the mainstream media, who can then “independently” confirm it, sometimes unknowingly, through your secondary agents. You can basically write tomorrow’s headlines.

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Reporters Once Challenged the Spy State. Now, They’re Agents of It, by Matt Taibbi

The mainstream press in this country can’t even be called the press. It’s better termed a public relations agency for the government and the Democratic party. From Matt Taibbi at taibbi.substack.com:

News companies are pioneering a new brand of vigilante reporting, partnering with the spy agencies they once oversaw

Former CIA director John Brennan was a media villain, now he’s media himself.

What a difference a decade makes.

Just over ten years ago, on July 25, 2010, Wikileaks released 75,000 secret U.S. military reports involving the war in Afghanistan. The New York Times, The Guardian, and Der Spiegel helped release the documents, which were devastating to America’s intelligence community and military, revealing systemic abuses that included civilian massacres and an assassination squad, TF 373, whose existence the United States kept “protected” even from its allies.

The Afghan War logs came out at the beginning of a historic stretch of true oppositional journalism, when outlets like Le Monde, El Pais, Der Spiegel, The Guardian, The New York Times, and others partnered with sites like Wikileaks. Official secrets were exposed on a scale not seen since the Church Committee hearings of the seventies, as reporters pored through 250,000 American diplomatic cables, secret files about every detainee at Guantanamo Bay, and hundreds of thousands of additional documents about everything from the Iraq war to coverups of environmental catastrophes, among other things helping trigger the “Arab Spring.”

There was an attempt at a response — companies like Amazon, Master Card, Visa, and Paypal shut Wikileaks off, and the Pentagon flooded the site with a “denial of service” attack — but leaks continued. One person inspired by the revelations was former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, who came forward to unveil an illegal domestic surveillance program, a story that won an Oscar and a Pulitzer Prize for documentarian Laura Poitras and reporters Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill. By 2014, members of Congress in both parties were calling for the resignations of CIA chief John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, both of whom had been caught lying to congress.

The culmination of this period came when billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar launched The Intercept in February 2014. The outlet was devoted to sifting through Snowden’s archive of leaked secrets, and its first story described how the NSA and CIA frequently made errors using geolocation to identify and assassinate drone targets. A few months later, former CIA and NSA director Michael Hayden admitted, “We kill people based on metadata.”

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CNN’s New “Reporter,” Natasha Bertrand, is a Deranged Conspiracy Theorist and Scandal-Plagued CIA Propagandist, by Glenn Greenwald

Of course, you could say the above about most CNN reporters. A tried and true means of journalistic career advancement is to get in bed with the CIA. From Glenn Greenwald at greenwald.substack.com:

In the U.S. corporate media, the surest way to advance is to loyally spread lies and deceit from the U.S. security state. Bertrand is just the latest example.

CNN’s new national security reporter Natasha Bertrand, then of Politico and NBC News, with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow, Sept. 19, 2019

The most important axiom for understanding how the U.S. corporate media functions is that there is never accountability for those who serve as propagandists for the U.S. security state. The opposite is true: the more aggressively and recklessly you spread CIA narratives or pro-war manipulation, the more rewarded you will be in that world.

The classic case is Jeffrey Goldberg, who wrote one of the most deceitful and destructive articles of his generation: a lengthy New Yorker article in May, 2002 — right as the propagandistic groundwork for the invasion of Iraq was being laid — that claimed Saddam Hussein had formed an alliance with Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. In February, 2003, on the eve of the invasion of Iraq, NPR host Robert Siegel devoted a long segment to this claim. When he asked Goldberg about “a man named Abu Musab al-Zarqawi,” Goldberg replied: “He is one of several men who might personify a link between Iraq and al-Qaeda.”

Needless to say, nothing could generate hatred for someone among the American population — just nine months away from the 9/11 attack — more than associating them with bin Laden. Five months after Goldberg’s New Yorker article, the U.S. Congress authorized the use of military force to impose regime change on Iraq; ten months later, the U.S. invaded Iraq; and by September, 2003, close to 70% of Americans believed the lie that Saddam had personally participated in the 9/11 attack.

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Journalists, Learning They Spread a CIA Fraud About Russia, Instantly Embrace a New One, by Glenn Greenwald

Remember the Russian bounty story? When it comes to the legacy media and the intelligence community, it’s: Fool me once, fool me again . . . and again . . . and again. From Glenn Greenwald at greenwald.substack.com:

The most significant Trump-era alliance is between corporate outlets and security state agencies, whose evidence-free claims they unquestioningly disseminate.

A US soldier in Afghanistan CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES

That Russia placed “bounties” on the heads of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan was one of the most-discussed and consequential news stories of 2020. It was also, as it turns out, one of the most baseless — as the intelligence agencies who spread it through their media spokespeople now admit, largely because the tale has fulfilled and outlived its purpose.

The saga began on June 26, 2020, when The New York Times announced that unnamed “American intelligence officials” have concluded that “a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops.” The paper called it “a significant and provocative escalation” by Russia. Though no evidence was ever presented to support the CIA’s claims — neither in that original story nor in any reporting since — most U.S. media outlets blindly believed it and spent weeks if not longer treating it as proven, highly significant truth. Leading politicians from both parties similarly used this emotional storyline to advance multiple agendas.

The story appeared — coincidentally or otherwise — just weeks after President Trump announced his plan to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2020. Pro-war members of Congress from both parties and liberal hawks in corporate media spent weeks weaponizing this story to accuse Trump of appeasing Putin by leaving Afghanistan and being too scared to punish the Kremlin. Cable outlets and the op-ed pages of The New York Times and Washington Post endlessly discussed the grave implications of this Russian treachery and debated which severe retaliation was needed. “This is as bad as it gets,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Then-candidate Joe Biden said Trump’s refusal to punish Russia and his casting doubt on the truth of the story was more proof that Trump’s “entire presidency has been a gift to Putin,” while Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) demanded that, in response, the U.S. put Russians and Afghans “in body bags.”

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The CIA Used To Infiltrate The Media. Now The CIA Is The Media. by Caitlin Johnstone

Just look at all the ex-spooks (Or is it once a spook always a spook?) on the various network payrolls. From Caitlin Johnstone at caitlinjohnstone.com:

Back in the good old days, when things were more innocent and simple, the psychopathic Central Intelligence Agency had to covertly infiltrate the news media to manipulate the information Americans were consuming about their nation and the world. Nowadays, there is no meaningful separation between the news media and the CIA at all.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald just highlighted an interesting point about the reporting by The New York Times on the so-called  “Bountygate” story the outlet broke in June of last year about the Russian government trying to pay Taliban-linked fighters to attack US soldiers in Afghanistan.

“One of the NYT reporters who originally broke the Russia bounty story (originally attributed to unnamed ‘intelligence officials’) say today that it was a CIA claim,” Greenwald tweeted. “So media outlets – again – repeated CIA stories with no questioning: congrats to all.”

Indeed, NYT’s original story made no mention of CIA involvement in the narrative, citing only “officials,” yet this latest article speaks as though it had been informing its readers of the story’s roots in the lying, torturing, drug-running, warmongering Central Intelligence Agency from the very beginning. The author even writes “The New York Times first reported last summer the existence of the C.I.A.’s assessment,” with the hyperlink leading to the initial article which made no mention of the CIA. It wasn’t until later that The New York Times began reporting that the CIA was looking into the Russian bounties allegations at all.

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The U.S. Intelligence Community, Flouting Laws, is Increasingly Involving Itself in Domestic Politics, by Glenn Greenwald

Anyone who paid attention to Russiagate knows that the CIA and the NSA were involved in domestic politics, in flat-out contravention of US law. From Glenn Greenwald at greenwald.substack.com:

A letter from House Intelligence Committee members demands answers from the DNI about illegal breaches of the wall guarding against CIA and NSA domestic activity.

Then-Vice President Joseph Biden (L) with former Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon Panetta (R) at CIA headquarters in McLean, Virginia. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

A report declassified last Wednesday by the Department of Homeland Security is raising serious concerns about the possibly illegal involvement by the intelligence community in U.S. domestic political affairs.

Entitled “Domestic Violent Extremism Poses Heightened Threat in 2021,” the March 1 Report from the Director of National Intelligence states that it was prepared “in consultation with the Attorney General and Secretary of Homeland Security—and was drafted by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), with contributions from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).”

Its primary point is this: “The IC [intelligence community] assesses that domestic violent extremists (DVEs) who are motivated by a range of ideologies and galvanized by recent political and societal events in the United States pose an elevated threat to the Homeland in 2021.” While asserting that “the most lethal” of these threats is posed by “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists (RMVEs) and militia violent extremists (MVEs),” it makes clear that its target encompasses a wide range of groups from the left (Antifa, animal rights and environmental activists, pro-choice extremists and anarchists: “those who oppose capitalism and all forms of globalization”) to the right (sovereign citizen movements, anti-abortion activists and those deemed motivated by racial or ethnic hatreds).

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The Omnipotent Power to Assassinate, by Jacob G. Hornberg

Can good things be in store for a government that claims the power to assassinate anyone it chooses? From Jacob G. Hornberger at fff.org:

It goes without saying that the Constitution called into existence a government with few, limited powers. That was the purpose of enumerating the powers of the federal government. If the Constitution was bringing into existence a government of unlimited or omnipotent powers, then there would have been no point in enumerating a few limited powers. In that event, the Constitution would have called into existence a government with general, unlimited powers to do whatever was in the interests of the nation.

If the Constitution had proposed a government of omnipotent powers, there is no way the American people would have accepted it, in which case America would have continued operating under the Articles of Confederation. Our American ancestors didn’t want a government of omnipotent powers. They wanted a government of few, limited, enumerated powers.

Among the most omnipotent powers a government can wield is the power of government officials to assassinate people. Our American ancestors definitely did not want that type of government. That is why the power to assassinate is not among the enumerated powers of government in the Constitution.

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