The madness of J. Comey, Director of Matters 4

Is James Comey, the head of the FBI, mentally unstable?

Judge Andrew Napolitano has compiled a record of Comey’s actions over the last nine months or so; actions that display such wild irrationality that our suspicion of derangement seems justified.

In 2015, a committee of the House of Representatives that was investigating the deaths of four Americans at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, learned that the State Department had no copies of any emails sent or received by Clinton during her four years as secretary of state. When committee investigators pursued this – at the same time that attorneys involved with civil lawsuits brought against the State Department seeking the Clinton emails were pursuing it – it was revealed that Clinton had used her own home servers for her emails and bypassed the State Department servers.

Because many of her emails obviously contained government secrets and because the removal of government secrets to any non-secure venue constitutes espionage, the House Select Committee on Benghazi sent a criminal referral to the Department of Justice, which passed it on to the FBI. A congressionally issued criminal referral means that some members of Congress who have seen some evidence think that some crime may have been committed. The DOJ is free to reject the referral, yet it accepted this one.

It directed the FBI to investigate the facts in the referral and to refer to the investigation as a “matter,” not as a criminal investigation. The FBI cringed a bit, but Director James Comey followed orders and used the word “matter”.

So Comey followed an order that was out of the ordinary. Why? 

Was he protecting Hillary Clinton?

This led to some agents mockingly referring to him as the director of the Federal Bureau of Matters. It would not be the last time agents mocked or derided him in the Clinton investigation.

He should not have referred to it by any name, because under DOJ and FBI regulations, the existence of an FBI investigation should not be revealed publicly unless and until it results in some public courtroom activity, such as the release of an indictment. These rules and procedures have been in place for generations to protect those never charged. Because of the role that the FBI has played in our law enforcement history — articulated in books and movies and manifested in our culture — many folks assume that if a person is being investigated by the FBI, she must have done something wrong.

In early July 2016, Clinton was personally interviewed in secret for about four hours by a team of FBI agents who had been working on her case for a year. During that interview, she professed great memory loss and blamed it on a head injury she said she had suffered in her Washington, D.C., home. Some of the agents who interrogated her disbelieved her testimony about the injury and, over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, asked Comey for permission to subpoena her medical records.

When Comey denied his agents the permission they sought, some of them attempted to obtain the records from the intelligence community. Because Clinton’s medical records had been digitally recorded by her physicians and because the FBI agents knew that the National Security Agency has digital copies of all keystrokes on all computers used in the U.S. since 2005, they sought Clinton’s records from their NSA colleagues. Lying to the FBI is a felony, and these agents believed they had just witnessed a series of lies.

But  he did not want her statements to be verified. Why? Was he protecting her?

When Comey learned what his creative agents were up to, he jumped the gun by holding a news conference on July 5, 2016, during which he announced that the FBI was recommending to the DOJ that it not seek Clinton’s indictment because “no reasonable prosecutor” would take the case. He then did the unthinkable. He outlined all of the damning evidence of guilt that the FBI had amassed against her.

He held a news conference in which he “outlined all of the damning evidence against her”. 

That is to say, he explained why she should be indicted.

So he wasn’t protecting her. 

But he was. He would not recommend to the Department of Justice that she be indicted.

This double-edged sword – we won’t charge her, but we have much evidence of her guilt – was unprecedented and unheard of in the midst of a presidential election campaign. Both Republicans and Democrats found some joy in Comey’s words. Yet his many agents who believed that Clinton was guilty of both espionage and lying were furious — furious that Comey had revealed so much, furious that he had demeaned their work, furious that he had stopped an investigation before it was completed.

While all this was going on, former Rep. Anthony Weiner, the estranged husband of Clinton’s closest aide, Huma Abedin, was being investigated for using a computer to send sexually explicit materials to a minor. When the FBI asked for his computer — he had shared it with his wife — he surrendered it. When FBI agents examined the Weiner/Abedin laptop, they found about 650,000 stored emails, many from Clinton to Abedin, that they thought they had not seen before.

Rather than silently examine the laptop, Comey again violated DOJ and FBI regulations by announcing publicly the discovery of the laptop and revealing that his team suspected that it contained hundreds of thousands of Clinton emails; and he announced the reopening of the Clinton investigation. This announcement was made two weeks before Election Day and was greeted by the Trump campaign with great glee.

The glee was premature. Just as Comey’s public statements were.

But he wasn’t protecting Hillary.

No wait – he was.

Having again done something dramatic that was “unprecedented and unheard of in the midst of a presidential election campaign”, again rousing expectations that the great intelligence-gathering bureau was about to reveal that it had found evidence of Hillary Clinton’s turpitude and criminality, he let the big balloon he had sent up drop to an empty shred:

A week later, Comey announced that the laptop was fruitless, and the investigation was closed, again.

At about the same time that the House Benghazi Committee sent its criminal referral to the DOJ, American and British intelligence became interested in a potential [alleged] connection between the Trump presidential campaign and intelligence agents of the Russian government. This interest resulted in the now infamous year-plus-long electronic surveillance of Trump and many of his associates and colleagues. This also produced a criminal referral from the intelligence community to the DOJ, which sent it to the FBI.

This referral and the existence of this investigation was kept – quite properly – from the press and the public. When Comey was asked about it, he – quite properly – declined to answer. When he was asked under oath whether he knew of any surveillance of Trump before Trump became president, Comey denied that he knew of it.

But he must have known of it. Why did he deny it? Keeping quiet about it is one thing – proper, as Napolitano says – but outright denying it is another.

What was going on with the FBI?

How could Comey justify the public revelation of a criminal investigation and a summary of evidence of guilt about one candidate for president and remain silent about the existence of a criminal investigation of the campaign of another?

He might do it because he wanted to damage Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

But if he’d wanted to damage her campaign, he could have done it much more effectively by recommending her indictment, justified by all the reasons he himself had outlined.

How could he deny knowledge of surveillance that was well-known in the intelligence community, even among his own agents?

Why would the FBI director inject his agents, who have prided themselves on professional political neutrality, into a bitterly contested campaign having been warned it might affect the outcome? Why did he reject the law’s just commands of silence in favor of putting his thumb on political scales?

What but derangement can explain it? Is the answer to all these questions that James Comey is mad?

Posted under Espionage, Law, Treason, United States by Jillian Becker on Thursday, April 27, 2017

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Five Eyes spying 1

US intelligence agencies cannot legally spy on Americans. So they get foreign allied spy agencies to do it for them. Which means they spy on Americans.

Five countries form the “Echelon” global surveillance system: the US, the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – the “Five Eyes” of Western international espionage.

When something they have done leaks out and becomes a public scandal, they spread the blame wider and more thinly by including other agencies, such as those of Germany, Poland, the Netherlands, and France.

When the British were first accused of helping the NSA and CIA spy on Donald Trump and his associates, by Judge Andrew Napolitano on Fox News, they angrily denied it.

But they did it.

It’s a squalid story about a real international conspiracy, launched by the Obama administration, to concoct a monstrous lie about Donald Trump; that he was in league with the Russian government. It is a lie that the Democratic Party is still using to cast a shadow of illegitimacy over the Trump presidency.

From the Accuracy in Media Center for Investigative Journalism, using as its main source the leftist Guardian newspaper:

The British Guardian posted a report on April 13 claiming that its sources now admit that the British spy agency GCHQ was digitally wiretapping Trump associates, going back to late 2015. This was presumably when the December 2015 Moscow meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Lt. General Michael Flynn took place.

This runs contrary to the blanket nature of the denial insinuated in GCHQ’s carefully-crafted statement of March 17 claiming it was all “nonsense” and “utterly ridiculous” that they conducted surveillance of “then president-elect” Donald Trump (emphasis added). The surveillance went back a year before he became “president-elect”. 

President Trump’s claim of being “wire tapped” has been vindicated. Indeed, the surveillance is far more extensive than even he suspected at the time.

Based on the new disclosures, we can safely conclude that the world’s most advanced and extensive system of computerized espionage was indeed used against him and people he worked with, for political purposes, with the knowledge and approval of top Obama officials such as CIA Director John Brennan (one major name implicated by the Guardian).

Fox News Senior Judicial Analyst, Judge Andrew Napolitano, who said GCHQ was involved in wiretapping Trump, has also been vindicated. Fox News owes Napolitano an apology for yanking him off the air for a week for making that “controversial” and now-verified assertion.

President Trump stressed the pervasive “extent” of this Obama political “wiretapping” to Maria Bartiromo of Fox Business in an Oval Office interview on April 11 (aired April 12).  “Me and so many other people” surveilled, Trump said. He explained again that he had picked up the “wire tapped” terminology straight from the headline of The New York Times (of January 20) …

Now we’re learning that GCHQ did wiretap Trump for a year before the election. “Trump” is, of course, shorthand for Trump associates and possibly Trump himself directly, depending on context. But GCHQ is trying to put a positive spin on what it admits would be illegal spying on US citizens if done by US agencies.

The Guardian’s sources claim a heroic role for the British GCHQ as a courageous “whistleblower” in warning US agencies to “watch out” about Trump and Russia — but carefully avoiding mention of the US’s NSA, which must be protected at all costs as part of the NSA-GCHQ spy-on-each-other’s-citizens “wiretap shell game”. …

These sources virtually admit the mutual “wiretap shell game” by inadvertently mentioning the Trump-Russia data was originally passed on to the US by GCHQ as part of a “routine exchange” of intelligence. The use of this term, “exchange”, suggests what we had previously reported — the shell-game “exchange” between the NSA and GCHQ where they can spy on each other’s citizens and deny it all. 

Past British Prime Ministers have been implicated in various scandals involving wiretaps.  Some have involved the “Echelon” global surveillance system set up by the NSA with its counterparts in the other “Five Eyes” nations — UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.  Any one of these countries is able to circumvent domestic laws against spying on their own citizens by asking another Echelon member country to do it for them. This is precisely the “wiretap shell game” used by the Obama administration to have British GCHQ spy on Trump, as outlined by Judge Napolitano and his sources.

To avoid unraveling the longstanding Five Eyes spying “wiretap shell game”, the GCHQ had to pretend they “routinely” came across this Trump-Russia wiretap data “by chance”, unprompted by requests from US. agencies (such as the NSA or CIA) or by Obama officials, working outside normal NSA chain of command on Signals Intelligence or SIGINT (as Judge Napolitano reported on March 14).

So the heroic British GCHQ comes to the rescue with conveniently “accidental” (our word) captures of wiretap communications between Trump people and sinister-sounding “Russian intelligence agents”, with the wiretaps sent here to help out the US agencies. We are supposed to believe the US agencies and the Obama White House just passively received this bombshell wiretap data from GCHQ, no questions asked, for over a year from late 2015 to early 2017. (The Guardian has no end date for the surveillance, such as the November 8 election, and indicates continued surveillance into the Trump transition, with the FBI “throwing more resources” into the investigation then.)

Did Obama officials ever say, “Wait! Stop sending us this material, it may be illegal!” It does not appear so. Hence, the questions that have to be asked by the House and Senate Intelligence Committees are:

  • Were there requests for more wiretap data on Trump and his team?
  • Were there requests for more complete transcripts, or even voice recordings?

This “alerting” of the US on Trump-Russia communications was needed, according to the Guardian and its US and UK intelligence sources, because the US agencies were “asleep” or “untrained,” or were legally prohibited from “examining the private communications of American citizens without warrants”. But to the GCHQ, America is a “foreign” nation and evidently they think they are free to spy on Americans “without warrants”.

Previous reporting has said that an interagency task force of six US intelligence agencies was set up to investigate the alleged Trump-connected names supposedly discovered in “incidental collection” of digital wiretap surveillance of Russian communications. The six agencies are said to consist of the CIA, NSA, FBI, the Justice Department’s National Security Division, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the Treasury Department financial crimes unit.

Until now, no one has known who in the Obama administration set up the task force, who directs it, what its operating directives state, what its activities have entailed, and who it is really accountable to.

But the Guardian is now reporting that it was CIA Director John Brennan who initiated, in about August 2016, what clearly seems to be an illegal domestic investigation of the Trump political campaign, which would be prohibited by the CIA charter.

Reportedly “Brennan used [British] GCHQ information and intelligence from other partners to launch a major interagency investigation.” The infamous fake “Trump dossier” is apparently dragged in too.

You can read the “dossier” here. It’s a pile of ludicrous bilge.

Brennan then proceeded to give highly classified “urgent” briefings to individual members of the Congressional “Gang of Eight”. Beginning on about August 25, with then-Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) on that date, CIA chief Brennan claimed that the Russian email hackings of the Democratic National Committee were designed to help Trump win the election, according to The New York Times. [!] These partisan briefings represent the politicization of the CIA under Obama, and are of dubious legality.

In September 2016, this anti-Trump intelligence task force changed the previous “incidental” collection to outright direct targeting of Trump people so that their communications with Russia were “actively monitored”, not merely retrieved retroactively in digital archives with names having to be laboriously “unmasked”. …

Unmasking is unnecessary if one starts with the specific names of Trump personnel first, and then flags them for future surveillance, going forward in time. In that case, the “actively monitored” and flagged Trump names automatically trigger alerts in the NSA-GCHQ computers whenever the names turn up. These wiretap reports would then have been submitted to Obama officials at the level of national security adviser Susan Rice and CIA director Brennan, and perhaps to Obama himself.

Interestingly, the Guardian’s sources carefully try to avoid implicating or involving the NSA in GCHQ’s allegedly unprompted reporting on intercepted wiretap data on Trump associates. It’s the “shell game” again with the NSA and GCHQ covering for each other.

Instead, the Guardian’s anonymous intelligence sources say that then-director of GCHQ Robert Hannigan passed on a top secret “director level” report on Trump-Russia in “summer 2016” to CIA Director John Brennan, rather than to the NSA. However, if GCHQ was using NSA’s digital wiretap facilities to “routinely” spy on Trump people, then the NSA would be implicated by the very arrangement used. …

The unexpected sudden resignation of GCHQ director Hannigan, announced on January 23, makes him the potential villain and scapegoat. …

In an unprecedented BBC interview on April 5, Hannigan fired a parting shot at the Judge Napolitano and White House reports of his GCHQ’s spying on Trump. Hannigan snidely dismissed the reports, saying,

We get crazy conspiracy theories thrown at us every day. We ignore most of them. On this occasion it was so crazy that we felt we should say so and we have said it’s a ridiculous suggestion.

The Guardian’s report refutes Hannigan, barely a week after he left office, possibly with official connivance or approval. But why is Hannigan being thrown under the bus so soon? Is it fear of the impending findings of US Congressional and official investigations exposing GCHQ?

Now that Trump is president, the British have some urgent repairs to make.

Such reports in the British press on highly sensitive intelligence matters surely must have been quietly cleared by the British government as a first fallback position on GCHQ spying on [now President] Trump. Otherwise the Guardian would be in deep trouble under the UK’s Official Secrets Act and its D-Notice procedure to suppress or censor news stories on secret intelligence matters.

Finally, the British also seem to be trying to spread the blame around to a laundry list of other countries allegedly passing on intelligence about Trump-Russia contacts—Germany, Estonia, Poland, Australia, the Dutch and the French DGSE.

Still, no “smoking gun” has ever been found in any of this wiretap material, for it would already have been leaked like Lt. Gen. Flynn’s fairly benign conversations with the Russian ambassador that got him fired.

Despite the sensational news from The Washington Post that the FBI obtained a FISA warrant to wiretap ex-Trump adviser Carter Page, which may even still be in effect, his “Russian contacts” also seem to be completely ordinary and routine. Page is so confident of his innocence that he has been going on various television news programs to talk openly about his work on Russia, supplying Russian contacts with some of his New York University classroom materials.

To be sure, a certain large percentage of these kinds of business meetings with Russians will turn out to be with undercover Russian intelligence officers —  unbeknown to the Western business and academic people meeting them. The media portray them as suspicious. But this kind of Russian spy game has always been going on since the Cold War and is nothing new.

The FISA warrant, rather than proving any malfeasance by Carter Page — again no “smoking gun” — only adds to the evidence that what President Trump said from the start was true: that Trump and his associates were under electronic surveillance.

What do the wiretaps on Trump actually say? The media don’t want to know if the NSA-GCHQ wiretaps actually exonerate President Trump.

One of the advantages of the adversarial system in the courts is that advocates on the opposing side ideally get a fair chance — unlike the one-sided media with journalists who, at the rate of more than 90 percent, contributed to the Hillary Clinton campaign …

Questions not asked of Rice or other sources by the media include whether she or other Obama officials “flagged” the unmasked Trump team names for future NSA (or British GCHQ) automatic unmasking and delivery of transcripts and summary reports.

Did the Obama people regularize the “unmasking” so that routinely a new retroactive search was automatically ordered with automatic unmaskings? That would be another way to turn “incidental collection” into an effectively ongoing wiretap order. Did President Obama or Rice or others request actual sound recordings of Trump and others to review?

Did the Obama team “unmask” other presidential candidates and associates besides Trump, such as Green Party candidate Jill Stein, who visited Moscow in December 2015 and dined with Putin? Fox is reporting that Congressional investigators are now looking into whether other presidential candidates and Members of Congress were surveilled too. In 2014, CIA director Brennan was caught red-handed lying to the Senate about the CIA’s criminal hacking of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s computer system.

We are told that many, if not most, of these wiretaps and unmaskings of Trump people were not even wiretaps about Russia or “incidental collection” on legitimate foreign intelligence subjects, though they may have begun that way.

The evidence now indicates that the information was procured for partisan political purposes — to spy on the Trump opposition to Hillary Clinton using the full weight of the US government’s NSA spying apparatus (or NSA facilities used by British GCHQ).

Scandalized? Prepare to be more so:

Trump’s CIA Director Mike Pompeo is in a position to get to the bottom of this scandal. Yet, on April 13, 2017, in his first public speech as director, he seemed to indicate that the evidence being developed in connection with the CIA’s role in the illegal surveillance of President Trump was going to be ignored or brushed aside. It was a forceful, even strident, defense of the Agency.

“I inherited an Agency that has a real appreciation for the law and for the Constitution,” he claimed. “Despite fictional depictions meant to sell books or box-office tickets, we are not an untethered or rogue agency. So yes, while we have some truly awesome capabilities at our disposal, our officers do not operate in areas or against targets that are rightfully and legally off-limits to us.”

The evidence suggests the opposite. The CIA under Obama’s CIA Director Brennan was involved in illegal surveillance, using those “truly awesome capabilities” against political targets that should have been off-limits.

One of those targets was the President who appointed Pompeo as CIA director.

We need our intelligence agencies. But they have gone bad under bad leadership.