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On Russia, Again

On this, the last week-end of the Obama misadministration, I charge onward, onward like Lord Cardigan  . . . Ok, Ok, I am getting carried aw...

Friday, February 17, 2017

The Coup Attempt Continues

Some eight days before Trump's inauguration, and in the midst of the Russia hysteria, I wrote
I have never seen such a pile on as the one we are seeing with Trump. The press, the leftoid idiots on the street and in Hollywood are joined, of course, and most troubling, by at least some of our intel agencies which have allowed themselves pressed into the service of one political party. 
We could be seeing nothing less than an attempted coup by the bureaucratic mandarins and their minions in our federal government against an incoming president. 
It is not just political appointees at the top of key agencies who are involved. Let us not forget that, in their long march, the progressives have targeted such key institutions as the CIA, FBI, NSA, Homeland, and State for special attention. These agencies are now increasingly staffed from bottom to top by products of our progressive universities and are becoming full-time believers in the progressive vision of the world. In addition they see, thanks to Hillary Clinton, that mishandling classified information brings no penalty. They apparently have no reluctance to join efforts to subvert our electoral system.
If anything, those seemingly alarmist words seem now more accurate and relevant than when written over a month ago.

We all have heard the news. National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn has been forced out of his position after a concerted media and Democratic Party campaign, a campaign abetted by anti-Trump bureaucrats. "Journalists" relying on half-stories, innuendo, and rank speculation "leaked" by intel agencies drove the assault on Flynn, and, of course, on Trump.  The whole episode was a sorry exhibition of how our democracy is now threatened by those who see themselves as the rightful and permanent ruling class in DC.

The Dems and their allies were abuzz with the words "Logan Act." You can follow the link to Wikipedia and, as is rare on Wikipedia, read a pretty good summary of this nearly 220 year-old act and its legal and political history.

Until the Flynn episode, I had not heard "Logan Act" since I left the Foreign Service. When I was at State, we would occasionally entertain ourselves noting persons who should be prosecuted under that ancient legislation. We came up with culprits such as: John Kerry for his role at the Vietnam peace conference in Paris; Ramsey Clark for his involvement in Iraq and Yugoslavia; Louis Farrakhan for Libya; Jesse Jackson for Syria, etc. Any number of NGOs and Congressional staffers could also in theory be charged under the Logan Act's text which reads, in part,
Any citizen of the United States, wherever he may be, who, without authority of the United States, directly or indirectly commences or carries on any correspondence or intercourse with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government or of any officer or agent thereof, in relation to any disputes or controversies with the United States, or to defeat the measures of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.
We, however, all recognized that the Act would likely be found in violation of the First Amendment.

Well, the MSM and the Dems, joined by Senators McCain and Graham, went gunning for Flynn, and tried to make him part of the increasingly stale story of how the Russians "hacked" the US elections to throw them to Trump. Flynn was accused of talking to the Russian Ambassador some time in December, and in the course of that conversation mentioning US sanctions on Russia. In the process of attacking Flynn, the media produced vague, poorly sourced, stories allegedly from US intelligence sources implying that Flynn had formed part of a persistent link up between the Trump campaign and Russia, and that Flynn, who was still technically a private person, had no business talking to the Russian Ambassador about anything, but especially nothing about sanctions. Please. Get real. If Flynn committed an error it was trying to hit the ground running, and get a jump on his duties some three or four weeks before he became the National Security Advisor. Perhaps he outdrove his headlights. Let that serve as a warning to President Trump about dealing with the entrenched bureaucracy--it is not your friend and it is willing to damage the national security of the United States.

I would love to see a prosecution effort on Flynn. Right.

In the attack on Flynn, however, the Dems and their intel allies revealed that we had tapped the Russian Ambassador's phone line. Now, I am sure that the Russians always had assumed this, and that Flynn, former head of the DIA, suspected such a possibility, but these are not things talked about openly, and doing so only gave Putin talking points against us.

Let's review the gist of the case against Flynn and the Trump White House. As far as I can tell it consists of the following three hard and irrefutable facts,

1) Uhm;
2) Err; and
3) Ah.

That pretty well sums it up.

I hope and trust that AG Sessions will go after those in the intel agencies and, I suspect, among the Congressional staffers with access to intel, and prosecute them. Even more important, however, we need to have less classification of materials and far fewer people with access to the genuinely classified stuff.


38 comments:

  1. Would not high level SIGINT be controlled in such a fashion that there is a clear record of who not only could access it, but who actually did access it?

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    1. Apparently new regs implemented by Obama just before he left greatly weakened control over SIGINT and made it much more available to a wide selection of people.

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    2. Frown. Why would he do that? Unless, of course he is using Harry Reid philosophy of disregarding down the road ramifications.

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    3. The EO by Peace Prize is chilling. He has in effect opened up the NSA databases to internal law enforcement. And "everybody" knows that despite what they say, every phobe call, email, text msg & social media post now reside in Utah.

      Unbelievable how zero beefed up the surveillance state and all the usual lefty suspects never picked up a sign and took to the streets.

      https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/12/us/politics/nsa-gets-more-latitude-to-share-intercepted-communications.html

      BC

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    4. The list will be small and it will be rather easy to determine. I have heard the name Ben Rhodes tossed around.
      My question for Dip is this....what was that last executive order Obama signed regarding Top Secret info that gave extraordinary power to our Spy depts. I heard it briefly talked about yesterday but I can find nothing about it.
      I read or heard that it helped this leak take place by leaving a shadow bunch of Obama's hold overs in place to be able to do an internal coup. True or False?

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    5. It's here: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/12/us/politics/nsa-gets-more-latitude-to-share-intercepted-communications.html?platform=hootsuite&_r=0&mtrref=pjmedia.com&gwh=3DA19F5D2F0D56F81F017C53E4B0D25C&gwt=pay

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  2. I think the main claim for which Trump supposedly asked for his resignation was because he misled Pence into making a semi-false statement.... that's Trump's call... but when DNC rigging their primaries came out, all the media could talk about was "who let the secret out! let's get 'em.." now that the shoe is on the other foot, they couldn't give a crap 'who let the secret out'.
    I claim forthrightly to be a hypocrite, so I'm never in danger of being one.

    - reader #1482

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  3. Looks like the Trump administration is purging State: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/state-dept-layoffs-under-rex-tillerson-being-carried-out/

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  4. Add to this the recent revelation--from Wikileaks, which has been accurate so far--that the CIA was deeply involved in surveillance of foreign elections, especially in France, in 2012. Does an outside power have access to CIA databases? Or was this leaked by our new admin to discredit Obama? I think this will have repercussions.

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  5. Congress needs to pass bill that suspends federal civil service protections for 6 months. Then the department heads need to terminate 10-20% of the administrative career employees. It would be beautiful!

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  6. A number of my comments disappear. Am I offending a moderator? Second try today.

    I am confused by Flynn saga. I assume he knew his calls were monitored (even I as hobby reader of espionage history know such calls are listened to) and therefore, I assume he did nothing wrong. So why the lies to the public, and especially to Pence? How could he let Pence go out and defend lies, thereby wrecking his own credibility? Trump apparently knew about calls for a while. Why didn't Trump say publicly that the calls were simply part of Flynn's preparation, or why didn't he tell Flynn to level? How did it get to point where a Pence, knowing nothing, is lied to and Flynn and Trump let him go on Sunday shows, repeat the lie and wreck his own credibility? This doesn't make sense to me.

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  7. Question to Diplomad: Any idea why Trump didn't bring Bolton into Administration?

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    1. Update: 5 hours later, news breaking that Bolton will be in FL to be interviewed by Trump for National Security adviser. But why wasn't he snapped up in first round?

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    2. You realize the Capitol will be ablaze with the fury of the Rinos and ratbag liberals. Remember, during Bolton's previous confirmation hearing, the Republican senator who was driven to tears at the description (probably false) of Bolton's management style while at State.

      Davod

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    3. I understand that although so seemingly affable, mild and almost meek when we see him on TV, with respect to State, he is as fierce as a Tasmanian devil because he despises the whole lot of them. I'm not clear whether he just hates State, or is thought to be a bad manager in general. And perhaps he isn't the easiest colleague to have. He thought the Bush Admin. got soft in its second term (I agree. Elections for the Palestinians??? Surprise, surprise, we get Hamas.) and made his feeling known. (He seems so low-keyed and pleasant on TV!) I've read that even from his admirers. So I guess in person he has an edge he doesn't show on TV. I don't know whether his contempt for State matches Trump's and in that sense he's a good fit. He's also very hawkish about Russia and in that he DOESN'T match Trump but I think it's good for Trump to be able to test his views against someone much more cynical of Russian intentions. Bolton would come into the position knowing what Trump wanted to try and would have to agree to support that approach. Also if advised by Bolton it would be hard for anyone to call Trump Putin's puppet - not that I guess anything would stop the Dems. Maybe Trump could nuke Russia and put the whole "agent of Russia" thing to bed?

      Three defenses Bolton might have as to being a hawk for the Iraq war: 1) he assumed competent post-invasion administration of Iraq (It was supposed to be Chalibi), but State and CIA overrun Bush-Cheney for the administration to be in their incompetent hands. (Imho, when Bush-Cheney began to suspect their blue print would be overridden, they should have called the whole thing off as the plan would no longer be theirs.) 2) Imho, State did its best to sabotage a successful outcome. And 3) Rove wrongly talked Bush out of defending the war, including talking about weapons/WMD the army eventually did find. (I write that paragraph defending Bolton, Bush and Cheney as someone against the war because I thought it would turn into exactly the disaster it did.)

      I have read supposedly huge put downs of Bolton by various lefty sources. And in those -in all the things they write as negatives - he sounds hugely wonderful.

      All of this is why I would like to know Diplomad's assessment.

      Another one so-far by-passed that I'm curious about is Allen West. He left the army abruptly after apparently firing a pistol to frighten a prisoner being questioned. Yawn. I wonder why there hasn't been a place for him.

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  8. "How could he let Pence go out and defend lies, thereby wrecking his own credibility? "

    The version I tend to support is that the mention of sanctions was obscure and Flynn did not have a transcript so he forgot the topic had come up. The call was about Obama expelling 35 Russians, not sanctions. Scooter Libby got convicted in a similar recollection issue. Pence may have seen this as a credibility matter and Trump has to go with Pence. I would like to see the transcript. Flynn might be back in another role.

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    1. However this happened, and it still doesn't make sense to me (Flynn knew what he had said in calls when interviewed by FBI), when Pence was made a fool of, Trump had to fire Flynn, no choice, to save his VP. I don't imagine Pence is very happy about all this. He's been a loyal soldier. I doubt he appreciated being made a fool.

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  9. ... John Kerry for his role at the Vietnam peace conference in Paris; Ramsey Clark for his involvement in Iraq and Yugoslavia; Louis Farrakhan for Libya; Jesse Jackson for Syria, etc.

    How could you not mention Jimmy Carter and North Korea?

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    1. How could we forget the Chappaquidick Swimmer's overture to the KGB to hurt Reagan's reelection chances? Guy got away with letting a girl drown and then came right back with this nasty piece of unpatriotic behavior.

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  10. "In the attack on Flynn, however, the Dems and their intel allies revealed that we had tapped the Russian Ambassador's phone line. Now, I am sure that the Russians always had assumed this, and that Flynn, former head of the DIA, suspected such a possibility, but these are not things talked about openly, and doing so only gave Putin talking points against us."

    This is what I said on another blog, but the commentators didn't seem to grasp why this was a problem.

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    1. Well, the denizens on this blog tend to be at the deep end of the gene pool.

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    2. To David

      I wrote about exactly that below in response to "Nick Tempo" and why,imho,the leak is very concerning but the actual revelation is not a revelation. I think we'd all like to hear more on this from Diplomad.

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  11. OK, now I'm convinced that McMullin was an intelligence community plot to derail Trump. I wasn't before, but their actions make it clear they're out to bring Trump down by any means, even if it means weakening their agencies. I'm deeply embarrassed for the naive, well-meaning LDS people who got taken in by McMullin's affinity fraud.

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  12. On a related issue.
    The other day, the CIA denied top Flynn aid Townley's higher clearance meaning he could not work at the NSC. This was widely reported as part of the fight back against Flynn. Especially as Townley had the higher level clearance previously.

    To-day, the FBI denied clearances to six White House staffers and they were escorted out of the building. I know this routine with incoming White House staff, but I hope it is not driven by a desire to slow down the Trump administration.

    Davod

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    1. How many Clinton /Obama staffers never got around to applying for a clearance? Spent 4-8 years working on their DD398/SF86/EPSQ?

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    2. Trump decided to keep Comey. Do any of us understand Comey and who, if anyone, he answers to? Somewhere in his background there is something Soros/Clinton Foundation. I've forgotten what and was never clear whether whether it was coincidental and innocent or was sinister.

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    3. And yet no problem giving clearances to these guys.

      "Brothers Imran, Abid, and Jamal Awan and Hina Alvi, Imran’s wife, each made $160,000 a year as information technology workers for the House. Their salaries and time were shared among dozens of Democratic members, including former Democratic National Committee Chairman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida. The lawmakers also include members of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs

      Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2017/02/07/congress-it-probe-suspects-had-massive-debts-years-of-suspicious-activity/#ixzz4Z3lzIju4



      pmc

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  13. "I am sure that the Russians always had assumed this"

    Thank you. That was the first thing that struck me as odd. Was somebody in "intelligence" stupid enough to leak something admitting that we record the conversations of Russian diplomats?

    Of course they suspect we do it. Now they KNOW we do it. Big difference.

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    1. I have had a hobby reading about espionage for decades. I was reading about the NSA in the early 90's, as well as the five eyes sigint gathering, analysis and sharing alliance among the 5 Anglosphere countries in place since WWII. I, an amateur hobby reader, read numerous accounts of our and five eyes' listening to calls of foreign diplos and leaders, with supposedly the members of five eyes agreeing not to spy on each other. The Germans are notorious for their own spying. They've wanted in to five eyes forever, and presumably, Merkel's public outrage at her calls being intercepted were not because she was surprised but 1) for domestic consumption, and 2) as leverage in her quest to get into five eyes. (Canada recently claimed to pull out in a lefty snit over privacy. Maybe it's now "four eyes.")

      The point being, if I as a mere hobby reader, knew this for years, so does everyone in every gov't. No surprises here, except yes, intel community publicly admitted it and the citizenry would know. But then again, didn't Snowden already let that cat out of the bag?

      No, I'm not defending these leaks. I just don't think the main issue was that anything was given away, but rather that our intel personnel are politicized and trying to mount a coup against an elected president. If they think themselves patriots, why no leaks on the Iran deal? That's what really scares me. Who are these people now and to what/whom is their allegiance?

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  14. Rex Tillerson fired 7 top level State Department officials.

    I'm very interested in reading your comments on this story, Mr. Diplomad.

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    1. why only seven? there have got to be hundreds that need the ax.
      and why only tillerson?
      seems like most intelligence agencies should be deprecated in favor of new agencies where maintaining political opinions is discouraged in favor of focusing on doing their jobs!

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    2. If I had to guess, he fired (or accepted resignations of) folks in appointive positions. Civil service protections usually prevent easily firing outright civil service employees. Or is State not covered by normal civil service rules?

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  15. You left out the fourth and occasionally most important in your list there: AHA!

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  16. The way to head off this Russia Hysteria is obvious, Trump should announce that the FBI investigation into Hillary's illegal server, Democrat NC server "hacking" by the Awans and Abedin/Wiener insecure computer is back on. That Hillary, Abedin, Wasserman-Schultz, Schumer are subject to the usual sanctions for careless exposure of national secrets-ie no favours for the DNC.

    Meanwhile some serious culling of Clinton and Obama operatives throughout the security departments need to be made expeditiously.

    To concentrate the presstitutes minds it might also be useful to announce the closure of Dept of Education at some not too distant date.

    Cutting back McCains travel budget might also send a message.

    I don't know what you do about the insipid RINO's but I'm sure Presidents Trumps staff can come up with something.

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  17. Who knew the details of Flynns call?
    NSA, CIA, Obama Admin, Russians.
    What if the Russians leaked it to poison the relationship between Trump and US Intel?

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    1. FBI Too. Why did the FBI interview Flynn, and how did that leak?

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