Tag Archives: House Intelligence Committee

“I Didn’t Know Anything”: Former Obama Official Criticized After Classified Testimony Contradicts Her Public Statements, by Jonathan Turley

It’s not what you tell CNN, it’s what you say under oath that matters. From Jonathan Turley at jonathanturley.org:

The long-delayed release of testimony from the House Intelligence Committee has proved embarrassing for a variety of former Obama officials who have been extensively quoted on the allegedly strong evidence of collusion by the Trump campaign and the Russians.  Figures like James Clapper, who is a CNN expert, long indicated hat the evidence from the Obama Administration was strong and alarming.  However, in testimony, Clapper denied seeing any such evidence.  One of the most embarrassing is the testimony of  Evelyn Farkas, a former Obama Administration official who was widely quoted in her plea to Congress to gather the evidence that she knew was found in by the Obama Administration. In her testimony under oath Farkas repeatedly stated that she knew of no such evidence of collusion.

440px-Evelyn_N._FarkasFarkas, who served as the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Russia/Ukraine/Eurasia, was widely quoted when she said on MSNBC in 2017 that she feared that evidence she knew about would be destroyed by the Trump Administration.  She stated

“was urging my former colleagues, and, frankly speaking, the people on the Hill… Get as much information as you can, get as much intelligence as you can, before President Obama leaves the administration, because I had a fear that somehow that information would disappear with the senior people that left. So it would be hidden away in the bureaucracy . . . the Trump folks, if they found out how we knew what we knew about their, the staff, the Trump staff’s dealing with Russians, that they would try to compromise those sources and methods, meaning we would no longer have access to that intelligence. So I became very worried, because not enough was coming out into the open, and I knew that there was more.”

MSNBC never seriously questioned the statements despite the fact that Farkas left the Obama Administration in 2015 before any such investigation could have occurred.  As we have seen before, the factual and legal basis for such statements are largely immaterial in the age of echo journalism.  The statement fit the narrative even if it lacked any plausible basis.

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Twin Pillars of Russiagate Crumble, by Ray McGovern

The Russiagate promoters peddled a bald-faced lie for two and a half years to try to take down President Trump. From Ray McGovern at consortiumnews.com:

For two and a half years the House Intelligence Committee knew CrowdStrike didn’t have the goods on Russia. Now the public knows too.

House Intelligence Committee documents released Thursday reveal that the committee was told two and half years ago that the FBI had no concrete evidence that Russia hacked Democratic National Committee computers to filch the DNC emails published by WikiLeaks in July 2016.

The until-now-buried, closed-door testimony came on Dec. 5, 2017 from Shawn Henry, a protege of former FBI Director Robert Mueller (from 2001 to 2012), for whom Henry served as head of the Bureau’s cyber crime investigations unit.

Henry retired in 2012 and took a senior position at CrowdStrike, the cyber security firm hired by the DNC and the Clinton campaign to investigate the cyber intrusions that occurred before the 2016 presidential election.

The following excerpts from Henry’s testimony speak for themselves. The dialogue is not a paragon of clarity; but if read carefully, even cyber neophytes can understand:

Ranking Member Mr. [Adam] Schiff: Do you know the date on which the Russians exfiltrated the data from the DNC? … when would that have been?

Mr. Henry: Counsel just reminded me that, as it relates to the DNC, we have indicators that data was exfiltrated from the DNC, but we have no indicators that it was exfiltrated (sic). … There are times when we can see data exfiltrated, and we can say conclusively. But in this case, it appears it was set up to be exfiltrated, but we just don’t have the evidence that says it actually left.

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He helped expand the surveillance state. Now he’s its victim. by Simon Black

There is some cosmic justice after all. From Simon Black at sovereignman.com:

Frankly, I couldn’t care less about the whole impeachment thing.

I’m a resident of Puerto Rico, so I couldn’t vote in the Presidential election if I wanted to. Which I don’t. I haven’t voted in years because I have a hard time believing that my vote really matters.

Plus, as the animated comedy South Park so eloquently puts it, an election decision usually comes down to a choice between a giant douche and a turd sandwich.

But from time to time the political circus does display some noteworthy acts, and one of those is taking place right now.

We all know that the US has become a giant surveillance state. Anyone who thinks otherwise is either deliberately ignorant or is named Dick Cheney.

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Intel Committee Rejects Basic Underpinning of Russiagate, by Ray McGovern

The House Intelligence Committee Republican majority came to the same conclusion about Russiagate that SLL reached when it all began: there’s nothing to it. From Ray McGovern at antiwar.com:

Let’s try to make this simple: The basic rationale behind charges that Russian President Vladimir Putin interfered in the 2016 U.S. election to help candidate Donald Trump rests, of course, on the assumption that Moscow preferred Trump to Hillary Clinton. But that is wrong to assume, says the House Intelligence Committee, which has announced that it does not concur with “Putin’s supposed preference for candidate Trump.”

So, the House Intelligence Committee Republican majority, which has been pouring over the same evidence used by the “handpicked analysts” from just the CIA, FBI, and NSA to prepare the rump Intelligence Community Assessment (ICA) of Jan. 6, 2017, finds the major premise of the ICA unpersuasive. The committee’s “Initial Findings” released on Monday specifically reject the assumption that Putin favored Trump.

This puts the committee directly at odds with handpicked analysts from only the FBI, CIA, and NSA, who assessed that Putin favored Trump – using this as their major premise and then straining to prove it by cobbling together unconvincing facts and theories.

Those of us with experience in intelligence analysis strongly criticized the evidence-impoverished ICA as soon as it was released, but it went on to achieve Gospel-like respect, with penance assigned to anyone who might claim it was not divinely inspired.

Until now.

Rep. K. Michael Conway (R-Texas), who led the House Committee investigation, has told the media that the committee is preparing a separate, in-depth analysis of the ICA itself. Good.

The committee should also take names – not only of the handpicked analysts, but the hand-pickers. There is ample precedent for this. For example, those who shepherded the fraudulent National Intelligence Estimate on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq 15 years ago were named in the NIE. Without names, it is hard to know whom to hold accountable.

To continue reading: Intel Committee Rejects Basic Underpinning of Russiagate

Game Over – Judge Jeanine Interview With HPSCI Rep. Chris Stewart… by sundance

Does the House Intelligence Committee have an ace up its sleeve: the cooperation of Bill Priestap, the head of FBI Counterintelligence? From sundance at theconservativetreehouse.com:

The game is over. The jig is up. Victory is certain… the trench was ignited… the enemy funneled themselves into the valley… all bait was taken… everything from here on out is simply mopping up the details.  All suspicions confirmed.

Why has Devin Nunes been so confident?  Why did all GOP HPSCI members happily allow the Democrats to create a 10-page narrative?  All questions are answered.

Fughettaboudit.

House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence member Chris Stewart appeared on Fox News with Judge Jeanine Pirro, and didn’t want to “make news” or spill the beans, but the unstated, between-the-lines, discussion was as subtle as a brick through a window.  Judge Jeannie has been on the cusp of this for a few weeks.

Listen carefully around 2:30, Judge Jeanine hits the bulls-eye; and listen to how Chris Stewart talks about not wanting to make news and is unsure what he can say on this…

Bill Priestap is cooperating.

When you understand how central E.W. “Bill” Priestap was to the entire 2016/2017 ‘Russian Conspiracy Operation‘, the absence of his name, amid all others, created a curiosity.  I wrote a twitter thread about him last year and wrote about him extensively, because it seemed unfathomable his name has not been a part of any of the recent story-lines.

E.W. “Bill” Priestap is the head of the FBI Counterintelligence operation.  He was FBI Agent Peter Strozk’s direct boss.  If anyone in congress really wanted to know if the FBI paid for the Christopher Steele Dossier, Bill Priestap is the guy who would know everything about everything.

FBI Asst. Director in charge of Counterintelligence Bill Priestap was the immediate supervisor of FBI Counterintelligence Deputy Peter Strzok.

Bill Priestap is #1. Before getting demoted Peter Strzok was #2.

To continue reading: Game Over – Judge Jeanine Interview With HPSCI Rep. Chris Stewart…

‘Release the Memo’ Is a Political Stunt, but I Want It Out Anyway, by Michael Krieger

Perhaps the best reason for releasing the House Intelligence Committee memo is the people who don’t want it released. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

Before I get started, I want to put my cards on the table. I don’t trust Republicans like Devin Nunes for a moment. He doesn’t care about the civil liberties of Americans, and it’s become clear to me the whole “release the memo” thing is largely a political stunt. I’m not claiming there isn’t anything important in there, but rather that they don’t have the best interests of the U.S. citizenry in mind.  Nevertheless, I’m very much in favor of it being released for a variety of reasons.

First, I want to offer a little advice. It’s always tempting to immediately take a side on whatever issue happens to be dominating the news cycle at any given moment, but this is typically a poor decision. One thing I’ve learned over the years is you should always wait at least a few days before coming to any sort of conclusion on most big stories being aggressively hyped by partisan pundits in the media.

From my seat, both Republicans and Democrats in Congress are being dishonest about the memo, which makes perfect sense because the vast majority of politicians in Washington D.C. are corrupt liars who pretend to hate each other while consistently passing bipartisan legislation to abuse the American public. If that’s not obvious to you by now, I don’t know what it’ll take.

Devin Nunes and other Republicans in the House of Representatives have been attempting to portray their push to release the memo as some sort of civil liberties crusade. They claim it’ll expose the criminality of the deep state and how it abuses its unconstitutional surveillance powers. Perhaps it will, but that’s not at all what’s driving the effort.

To continue reading: ‘Release the Memo’ Is a Political Stunt, but I Want It Out Anyway

WSJ Asks What Are Adam Schiff, The Justice Department, & The FBI Trying To Hide? by Kimberley Strassel

There must be a lot to hide, given the hysterical reaction to the possibility that the House Intelligence Committee report will be disclosed to the public. From Kimberley Strassel at the Wall Street Journal, via zerohedge.com:

Operation ‘Sabotage The Memo’

Rep. Adam Schiff has many talents, though few compare to his ability to function as a human barometer of Democratic panic. The greater the level of Schiff hot, pressured air, the more trouble the party knows it’s in.

Mr. Schiff’s millibars have been popping ever since the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, on which he is ranking Democrat, last week voted to make a classified GOP memo about FBI election year abuses available to every House member. Mr. Schiff has spit and spun and apoplectically accused his Republican colleagues of everything short of treason. The memo, he insists, is “profoundly misleading,” not to mention “distorted” and “political,” and an attack on the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He initially tried to block his colleagues from reading it. Having failed, he’s now arguing Americans can know the full story only if they see the underlying classified documents.

This is highly convenient, given the Justice Department retains those documents and is as eager to make them public as a fox is to abandon the henhouse. Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes had to threaten a contempt citation simply to get permission for his committee to gain access, and even then investigators had to leave Capitol Hill to view them, and were allowed only to take notes. Mr. Nunes has no authority to declassify them. The best he can do in his continuing transparency efforts is to summarize their contents. Only in Schiff land is sunshine suddenly a pollutant.

The Schiff pressure gauge is outmatched only by the Justice Department and the FBI, which are now mobilizing their big guns to squelch the truth. That included a Wednesday Justice Department letter to Mr. Nunes—written by Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd, designed as a memo to the media, copied to its allies in Washington, and immediately leaked to the public. And the department wonders why anyone doubts the integrity of all its hardworking professionals.

To continue reading: WSJ Asks What Are Adam Schiff, The Justice Department, & The FBI Trying To Hide?

Republicans Sitting On Evidence That Clears Trump, by Paul Craig Roberts

Paul Craig Roberts makes a good point: the Republicans are better of releasing the “bombshell” House Intelligence Committee memo and its supporting evidence sooner rather than later. Why give the opposition time to discredit it? From Roberts at paulcraigroberts.org:

The Stupid Party Remains Stupid

In the 1970s neoconservative Irving Kristol aptly described the Republicans as “the stupid party.” We are seeing this today in the hesitation of the House Intelligence Committee to release to the American public the results of its investigation of Russiagate.

The committee has released a description of its findings to members of the House, and most Republicans who have read it are demanding that it be released to the public as it clearly proves that Russiagate was an orchestrated conspiracy between the Democratic National Committee, the FBI, and the Obama Department of Justice against Donald Trump.

Apparently, Republicans are not smart enough to understand that to announce that you have proof that turns Russiagate away from President Trump and toward its DNC, FBI, and DOJ originators and then to sit on the information gives the Democrats and the presstitutes time to discredit the information in advance of its release.

And that is exactly what we are witnessing. For example, presstitute Greg Sargent writing in the Washington Post, a long-time CIA asset, mischaracterizes the finding of the House Intelligence Committee as “the latest effort to delegitimize the Russia probe by painting it as born of partisan dirty tricks and an illegitimate abuse of power.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/01/23/republicans-launch-extraordinary-new-tactics-to-protect-trump-on-russia/?hpid=hp_no-name_opinion-card-f%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.73506281e6ba

The presstitute Sargent goes on to allege that “the campaign to discredit the Russia investigation continues unabated, and the Nunes memo [the House Intelligence Committee report] is at the center of it.” Sargent dismisses the report, which he has not seen, as merely “a selective release of cherry-picked info that will give Republicans ammunition to shield Trump from accountability, secure in the knowledge that the full set of facts allowing us to gauge the memo’s accuracy will not be released.”

Note presstitute Sargent and the Washington Post’s assumption that Trump is guilty of some Russiagate accusation despite the absence of any evidence.

To continue reading: Republicans Sitting On Evidence That Clears Trump

You Can Call Them Scandals Now, by Robert Gore

The pathetic attempts to undo Donald Trump’s victory are signs of desperation, not strength, in the Deep State.

SLL, “Desperation,” 12/21/16

The Deep State’s worst nightmare was never that Donald Trump would improve relations with Russia. What keeps it awake, shaking and screaming in the darkness, is the prospect of exposure and prosecution for decades of criminality. For the first time since John F. Kennedy, the Deep State is being challenged. An inflection point may have been reached. If so, legal developments will take on a life of their own, ultimately beyond the control of congressional committees, Sessions, Trump, or anyone else.

Trump has expressed skepticism about US military interventions, NATO’s usefulness and funding, and the US’s hostile posture towards Russia. However, he says and tweets a lot of things, most of which are best ignored.

Instead, look at what he’s done, which should never be ignored. He has:

1. Significantly increased the already bloated military and intelligence budgets

2. Increased troop levels in Afghanistan, Syria, and Iraq

3. Increased US special forces operations around the world, especially in Africa

4. Given US military field commanders more latitude to conduct operations

5. Encouraged NATO forces to increase strength and display force around Russia’s western perimeter

6. Sent arms to Ukraine’s corrupt government so it can better harass eastern Ukrainian separatists, who are supported by Russia

7. Strengthened US ties with Israel and Saudi Arabia, supporting the latter’s vicious war in Yemen

8. Threatened to abrogate the Iranian nuclear agreement

9. Threatened preemptive war in North Korea

10. Brokered billions of dollars worth of US arms sales

Trump ticks virtually every item on the Deep State wish list. Although scores of commentators say otherwise, the few and minor policy differences between them do not explain the Deep State’s fear and loathing of the president.

Imagine you’re a long time, paid up member of the Deep State. You’ve got a gold-plated résumé, an extensive network of useful contacts in both government and the private sector, and money in the bank. You also know a lot of secrets. Your knowledge of those secrets makes you complicit in a fair amount of criminality. But you consider them your protection, because everyone in your world is complicit in something. You go down and they go down too. And you can’t imagine everyone going down.

Then Trump—an outsider—runs for president on his own dime and captures the Republican nomination. An alarm goes off. The Deep State, the Democrats, never Trump Republicans, and the media do everything they can to get something on Trump, but all they came up with is grabbing pussy. Trump’s apparently clean and not beholden to anyone. As a successful and sophisticated businessman, he’s undoubtedly aware of systemic rot and corruption in Washington. What if he wins and starts turning over the rocks? That’s a remote but real danger. Who cares about his policies? Something has to be done.

And so Russiagate was born.

It was predictable that a probe based on nothing would at best go nowhere and at worst backfire spectacularly (see SLL, “Plot Holes,” 2/26/17). It’s backfired. There are ongoing congressional committee, FBI, IRS, and Department of Justice investigations of Uranium One, the Trump Dossier and Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act abuse, the Clinton Foundation, Hillary Clinton’s emails, and the FBI’s investigation of those emails. An indictment against Mark Lambert has been returned in Uranium One.

A “bombshell” Republican-authored report is circulating in the House of Representatives that has members and government officials openly speculating on the removal of senior FBI and Department of Justice personal, and possible prosecution. House Republicans are agitating for the report’s public release, and after jumping through various procedural hoops, they’ll probably get it.

The rolling snowball got more momentum recently as the FBI revealed that five months of emails between Peter Strzok and his mistress Lisa Page had been “inadvertently” destroyed. Whoever destroyed the emails will probably cause the FBI, Strzok, and Page more trouble than the actual evidence would have. The presumption is that destroyed evidence is construed in the most unfavorable light to the party or parties responsible for its destruction. This means the trier of fact (jury or judge) is generally free to assume the worst. The destruction of evidence itself can be a crime if it is intentional, reckless, or negligent.

It’s official: you can call them scandals now.

Since the day Trump took office there has been internet speculation and predictions of imminent, Gordian Knot-types of legal strokes: mass indictments that will drain the swamp and vanquish the Deep State once and for all. Such “revelations” reveal only their authors’ ignorance of the law and legal process. In real life, competent and thorough investigations are grinding, meticulous, and mostly secret, only occasionally leading to headline worthy disclosures and developments. You’re watching paint dry, not a Hollywood legal thriller. Even if the House report lives up to its bombshell billing, it won’t speed up the legal process.

You can be sure that potential defendants are already making quiet inquiries and arrangements, lawyering up. Top criminal attorneys are probably raising their rates, anticipating a flood of new business. They’re paid to delay, obstruct, and stymie. The highest profile potential defendants—Comey, the Clintons—can afford them and they’re not going quietly or quickly into that good night. Constitutional safeguards and the legal system’s procedural maze will be facts of life.

However, not even the best attorneys can counter the hard-wired desire to save one’s own skin. Once the investigations are really rolling, it’s every man and woman for himself or herself. (Will Bill Clinton turn state’s evidence against Hillary? Will she turn state’s evidence against him?) That’s when things could get explosively unpredictable. The prospect of jail time concentrates the mind and prompts a reconsideration of past friendships and alliances. When prosecuting authorities dangle reduced charges and suspended sentences in exchange for ratting out, ratting out becomes the order of the day.

Washington is a vast trove of illicit secrets. Good investigations unearth secrets. It may be a pipe dream, but present investigations, taking on uncontrollable lives of their own, could start unraveling the secrecy that has protected the government, its string pullers and their cronies, and the complicit mainstream media for too long.

This sick nation has no hope of healing until hidden truths—stretching back to at least World War II—are revealed. It’s a remote possibility, but never say never. In a perfect world, the guilty would be punished and restitution made to their victims. That prospect, unfortunately, doesn’t even qualify as a pipe dream.

Deep cynicism is warranted when it comes to the Deep State and the US government. However, those of us who want to see criminality exposed and prosecuted can do more than just watch the scandals unfold with our fingers crossed.

WikiLeaks and Judicial Watch have been at the forefront of private efforts to shine the light. WikiLeaks’ role is well-known. Judicial Watch has toiled in comparative obscurity, but its work has been just as important. It has issued a barrage of Freedom of Information Act requests to various federal agencies. Refusing to take no for an answer, it goes to court every time those requests are delayed or stonewalled. It usually wins. The documents it’s uncovered have led to progress in a number of these matters scandals.

If you have the money and want to fight the good fight, consider donating to WikiLeaks and Judicial Watch. Every little bit helps. The links:

WikiLeaks:

https://shop.wikileaks.org/donate

Judicial Watch:

https://www.judicialwatch.org/about/support-judicial-watch/

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The FISA Memo is All the Ammunition Trump Needs to Take on the CIA, by Tom Luongo

Tom Luongo exults that Trump appears to be rolling up victory after victory against the shadow government, which he differentiates from the Deep State. From Luongo at tomluongo.me:

FISA is an abomination. Let’s get that out of the way. And since I don’t believe there are any coincidences in U.S. or geo-politics, the releasing of the explosive four-page FISA memo after Congress reauthorized FISA is suspicious.

Former NSA analyst (traitor? hero?) turned security state gadfly Edward Snowden came out in favor of President Trump vetoing the FISA reauthorization now that the full extent of what the statute is used for is known to members of the House Intelligence Committee, who are rightly aghast.

But, like I said, timing in these things is everything. And the timing on this leak is important.

Someone leaked this memo to the House Intelligence Committee with the sole intention of giving President Trump the opportunity to do exactly what Snowden is arguing for.

And well Trump should.  This is the essence of draining the swamp.  It is the essence of his war with the Shadow Government.  If one makes the distinction between the Deep State and the Shadow Government, like former CIA officer Kevin Shipp does, then this falls right in line with Trump’s goals in cleaning up the rot and corruption in the U.S. government.  In a recent interview with Greg Hunter at USAWatchdog.com,

Shipp explains, “I differentiate between the ‘Deep State’ and the shadow government. The shadow government are the secret intelligence agencies that have such power and secrecy that they act even without the knowledge of Congress. There are many things that they do with impunity. Then there is the ‘Deep State,’ which is the military industrial complex, all of the industrial corporations and their lobbyists, and they have all the money, power and greed that give all the money to the Senators and Congressmen. So, they are connected, but they are really two different entities. It is the shadow government . . . specifically, the CIA, that is going after Donald Trump. It is terrified that some of its dealings are going to be exposed. If they are, it could jeopardize the entire organization.” [emphasis mine]

To continue reading: The FISA Memo is All the Ammunition Trump Needs to Take on the CIA