The Democrats don’t love Russia any more 1

Our anti-Trump media accepted the January 6 report, Declassified Intelligence Community Assessment of Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent U.S. Elections, because it was designed to convey the impression that Trump was favored by the Russians.

But it is the Democrats who have long enjoyed (if that is the right word) a warm relationship with Russian regimes in both their Soviet Socialist and crony-capitalist mode. At least the Dems wanted to. Whether the Russians ever reciprocated the warm feeling remains a matter of conjecture. Skeptics and Republicans will have one opinion, Democrats and other Leftists another.

We quote from an article by Cliff Kincaid at GOPUSA:

The Russians obtained favored nation trading status under President Obama, giving them access to U.S. capital, and New START, a nuclear weapons agreement giving Moscow a strategic advantage.

Historically, the Russians have always found the Democrats to be friendlier to their global ambitions.

Professor Paul Kengor broke a story on how “the liberals’ lover-boy”, Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA), had “reached out to Victor Chebrikov at the KGB and Yuri Andropov at the Kremlin” to work against President Ronald Reagan.

Remember that, you who are outraged by the notion – born in your own minds – that President-elect Trump conspired with the Russians to defeat Hillary Clinton in the recent election.

Such a charge [of Trump-Putin conspiracy] was welcomed by the liberal media, in particular because it allowed them to divert attention away from the substance of the WikiLeaks revelations that showed how major journalists worked hand-in-glove with Hillary Clinton-for-president staffers. These disclosures were in emails hacked from the account of Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta and the Democratic National Committee.

Not even the persons most eager to smear Donald Trump claimed that the scandalous contents of the purloined emails (see here and here) were not true or not genuine. In fact the intelligence report positively states that they are true.

The IC report says that WikiLeaks, an alleged Russian agent, disseminated truthful information. “Disclosures through WikiLeaks did not contain any evident forgeries,” the report says.

This is quite a turnaround for the Russians. In the past the Russians would alter or forge documents to make people look bad. This time, the Russians revealed the truth. … Of course, the Russians do not provide accurate and truthful information to their own people and they conduct propaganda and disinformation campaigns targeting foreign audiences. Their alleged illegal hacking into the private accounts of Americans cannot be justified. But Podesta and other Democrats can be criticized for failing to safeguard their own information and virtually inviting foreign hacking.

Russian intentions in allegedly providing the emails to WikiLeaks are a subject worthy of attention. But the conclusion that the Russians favored Trump over Clinton cannot be sustained by the evidence in the report. The IC report fails miserably in articulating how the Russians use dialectical maneuvers in playing both sides of the political street in the U.S.

One of the glaring omissions in the report on Russian interference in “recent elections” is the failure to address the evidence that RT [Russia Today] television was giving enormously favorable coverage in the 2012 presidential campaign to then-Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), a libertarian with pro-Russia views on foreign policy. He ran in the Republican presidential primary. …

Of course, Obama won that election, after dismissing his Republican opponent Mitt Romney’s claim that Russia was a geopolitical threat to the United States. Obama had been caught on an open mic before the election promising to be “flexible” in changing his positions to benefit Russia. These comments provide more evidence that Obama was never the anti-Russian figure he postured as in the final days of his second term. …

Obama’s various federal agencies, including the Department of Justice, the FCC and the FEC, refused to take any direct action against RT over the years when it was engaging in anti-Republican activities and supporting the progressive movement.

But when they saw they could use RT as a weapon against Trump, they suddenly became concerned about foreign interference in the U.S. political process.

Although the IC report insists that the Russians had a “preference” for Donald J. Trump for president … back in August of 2015 …  RT was backing “Bolshevik Bernie” Sanders for president. … Yet the intelligence community report makes no mention of RT programs backing Sanders, whose Russian connections included visiting the Soviet Union on his honeymoon. Sanders was a fellow traveler of the Moscow-controlled U.S. Peace Council.

The focus on Trump runs counter to the stated purpose of the report and reflects the political bias therein. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) says that “On December 9, 2016, President Barack Obama directed the Intelligence Community to conduct a full review and produce a comprehensive intelligence report assessing Russian activities and intentions in recent U.S. elections.” (emphasis added). Yet, nothing is said about RT’s involvement in the 2012 contest that Obama won.

The U.S. Intelligence Community is described as “a coalition of 17 agencies and organizations, including the ODNI,” but only three were involved in the report. They were the CIA, FBI and NSA. It is generally believed that CIA Director John Brennan was the guiding force behind the Obama administration effort to blame the Russians for Trump’s election victory. Former CIA officials Michael Morell, Michael Hayden and Philip Mudd had all denounced Trump.

It certainly looks as if the CIA interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Perhaps blaming the Russians was an attempt to get the attention off the agency.

Brennan was accused of converting to Islam when he was stationed in Saudi Arabia. His CIA under Obama’s orders directed the shipment of arms to jihadist groups in the Middle East. At a congressional panel on diversity in hiring, he admitted voting Communist when he was in college.

His focus at the agency has been on hiring people with “diverse” backgrounds, such as transgenders, and he even signed a policy document on a “Diversity and Inclusion Strategy” for the years 2016 to 2019, beyond his tenure as director.

Rather than go down in history with a reputation for defending America, … Brennan “would prefer his legacy be the way he fought to nurture a workforce that reflected America’s diversity”. The Journal added, “During his tenure he has put particular emphasis on promoting the interests of gay, lesbian, and transgender officers. He was the first CIA director to attend an annual social gathering of LGBTQ employees and has been known to wear a rainbow lanyard around the office as a symbol of solidarity.”

It looks like the focus on “diversity” in hiring has taken precedence over getting the facts right about foreign threats. Indeed, some observers, such as former FBI agent John Guandolo, have suggested that President Trump should abolish and replace the CIA with a new organization. “In 15 years they haven’t gotten a strategic analysis of the threat right — yet”  …

The CIA will have to answer to its new director, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS), Trump’s pick to run the agency.

But the media have a lot to answer for as well.

If WikiLeaks has suddenly became a Russian front or conduit, why are American news organizations such as The New York Times and The Washington Post still included among the “partners” with WikiLeaks in distributing its information? Other partners include the British Guardian, The Intercept, The Nation, McClatchy, The Wall Street Journal, and, of course, RT. 

If WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is a Russian agent, why did major U.S. media organizations partner with him? Why did they not investigate him …? Assange was considered a courageous whistleblower by the liberal press. They hailed WikiLeaks for releasing the classified documents that were stolen by Army intelligence analyst Bradley/Chelsea Manning, whose sentence for espionage has been shortened by Obama.

Obama has commuted Bradley’s 35 year sentence, allowing the convict to be freed in May 2017 – iniquitously, and in contradiction to his outrage at the Russian interference that he alleges.

In addition to these issues and questions, some parts of the report lend themselves to a far different interpretation of Russian motives in U.S. politics.

For example, the IC report notes that RT ran a story against fracking, a technique that has sparked U.S. oil and gas production. The report says, “RT runs anti-fracking programming, highlighting environmental issues and the impacts on public health. This is likely reflective of the Russian Government’s concern about the impact of fracking and US natural gas production on the global energy market and the potential challenges to Gazprom’s profitability.”

The 2016 Democratic Party platform is highly critical of fracking. So does this mean the Democrats are doing the bidding of Putin? The progressive movement is almost completely against fracking. Does that mean that the progressives are puppets of Putin? …

By [an] objective measure of actual policies,Trump will prove to be more harmful to Russia than Hillary Clinton could ever hope to be.

And she surely would not have hoped to be harmful to Russia – not to Russia – when she was still in a position to hope for any effect on international relations. Fortunately, that time has passed.

We had noted RT’s favorable coverage of the Occupy movement. Of course, Occupy Wall Street was a left-wing political movement aligned with the progressives and even encouraged by President Obama. So does this mean that Obama was doing the bidding of the Russians?

The IC report explains how RT bypassed American laws such as the Foreign Agents Registration Act “by using a Moscow-based autonomous nonprofit organization to finance its US operations”. The report goes on, “According to RT’s leadership, this structure was set up to avoid the Foreign Agents Registration Act and to facilitate licensing abroad. In addition, RT rebranded itself in 2008 to deemphasize its Russian origin.” Still, the financing for the channel comes from the Russian government, the report says.

So RT is, and has been, a foreign state-funded entity that should be subject to federal oversight from agencies such as the Department of Justice, the FCC, and the FEC. Yet, only now, after Hillary Clinton has lost the presidential election, has the IC been ordered to release a public report on what the Russian channel has been doing in U.S. elections.

The only thing that has changed over the years is that RT is now somehow considered to be a factor in Hillary Clinton’s defeat.

If the liberal media are now truly concerned about Russian influence in the U.S. political process, rather than just using the issue as a weapon against Trump, they should … review their own “partner” relationship with Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

After this review is complete, they should take another look at the IC report and determine why and how agencies like the CIA became adjuncts of the Democratic Party with a partisan bias against the new Republican president.

Since we know that the media and the Democrats work hand-in-glove, perhaps it’s time to investigate the CIA’s relationship with the media.

Yes. Tomorrow, January 20, 2017, will be the day when that becomes possible, and sometime soon may it become an active process!

The uses of false intelligence 1

The scurrilous “intelligence” dossier on President-elect Donald Trump, claiming that he did disgusting, low, disreputable things on a visit to Russia (which he never made) –  the alleged antics being on film and in the possession of Russian snoop officials, so the Putin government has a hold on him forever (and that’s why Putin wanted Trump to win the election and therefore wrecked poor Hillary’s otherwise perfect campaign) – was concocted by an erstwhile MI6 agent, now having even more fun running his very own espionage company. His name is Christopher Steele.

He has been accused of lying! And he feels so got-at that he’s gone into hiding.

Which is – we are to understand – awfully unfair, because, you see, the information in the dossier never was intended to be TRUE. Good grief! TRUE? When was “intelligence” ever intended or expected to be TRUE?

A corrective to so naive an expectation comes from an article by Tom Burgis in the Financial Times of January 14, 2017. We quote from the print version:

[Intelligence agents] argue that the rush to shoot the messenger [Christopher Steele] represents a misunderstanding of what intelligence is, whether amassed by state agencies or private companies. It does not deal in true or false, they say, but in shades of confidence in sources. “When you are in the corporate intelligence world, everyone knows that, in every report you get, not everything is true,” says a British investigator who knows Mr Steele.

So in every report you get, there are falsehoods. In every report you get, everything may be false, nothing true. There is no way of knowing.

Now you’ve been educated, now you know that trade secret, how do you feel about your country’s intelligence services? Confident in them? Safer?

No intelligence service detected signs that the 9/11 terrorists attacks on New York and the Pentagon were coming. Nor subsequent mass killings by Muslim terrorists in the US, Britain, France, Germany, and Spain.

However, US intelligence has uncovered many violent plots and prevented them. They have found, or stumbled upon, the truth very often. So it is possible for them to find out what is really happening, has really happened, is going to happen. They surely  do strive for accurate information. They are a vital part of the defense of the nation. They cannot take that responsibility as lightly as the colleagues of Christopher Steele insouciantly brag that they do.

The important point about the dossier on Donald Trump in Russia is that it was a work of pure fiction, of cruel malice, of witless irresponsibility. It was extremely unintelligent.

And the chiefs of the US intelligence services knew that it was all those things. Yet they “leaked” the tainting lies to media hostile to the president-elect. That is distressing and horrible to contemplate.  

We expect President Trump’s appointees to the headship of the intelligence services – in which many persons of integrity do labor for the truth –  to be better and to do better.

Posted under Britain, Defense, Ethics, France, Germany, Islam, jihad, Muslims, Russia, Spain, United States by Jillian Becker on Tuesday, January 17, 2017

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Hacking: the US does it best 1

How the U.S. Government Hacks the World is the title of an article by Michael Riley published by Bloomberg in May, 2013.

On a dispute over hacking between the U.S. and China, the author writes:

“‘You spy, we spy, but you just steal the wrong stuff.’ That’s a hard conversation,” says Michael Hayden, who headed the NSA [under President Clinton and President G.W Bush], and later the CIA.

States spying on states, I got that,” says Hayden … “But this isn’t that competition. This is a nation-state attempting espionage on private corporations. That is not an even playing field.”

The tension between the two nations escalated in May, when a Pentagon report to Congress for the first time officially linked China’s government directly to the hacking of U.S. defense contractors. It revealed that U.S. intelligence had been tracking a vast hacking bureaucracy adept at stealing technology from American companies. China’s leaders have long denied being behind the hacks. An article about the Pentagon report in the official People’s Daily newspaper called the U.S. the “real hacking empire”. 

The U.S. government doesn’t deny that it engages in cyber espionage.

Hayden is quoted as saying:

You’re not waiting for someone to decide to turn information into electrons and photons and send it. You’re commuting to where the information is stored and extracting the information from the adversaries’ network. We are the best at doing it. Period.”

The U.S. position is that some kinds of hacking are more acceptable than others — and the kind the NSA does is in keeping with unofficial, unspoken rules going back to the Cold War about what secrets are OK for one country to steal from another.  …

Next the writer introduces us to TAO:

The men and women who hack for the NSA belong to a secretive unit known as Tailored Access Operations.

It gathers vast amounts of intelligence on terrorist financial networks, international money-laundering and drug operations, the readiness of foreign militaries, even the internal political squabbles of potential adversaries, according to two former U.S. government security officials, who asked not to be named when discussing foreign intelligence gathering.

For years, the NSA wouldn’t acknowledge TAO’s existence. A Pentagon official who also asked not to be named confirmed that TAO conducts cyber espionage, or what the Department of Defense calls “computer network exploitation”, but emphasized that it doesn’t target technology, trade, or financial secrets. The official says the number of people who work for TAO is classified. …

The two former security officials agreed to describe the operation and its activities without divulging which governments or entities it targets. According to the former officials, U.S. cyberspies, most from military units who’ve received specialized training, sit at consoles running sophisticated hacking software, which funnels information stolen from computers around the world into a “fusion center”, where intelligence analysts try to make sense of it all. The NSA is prohibited by law from spying on people or entities within the U.S., including noncitizens, or on U.S. citizens abroad.

According to one of the former officials, the amount of data the unit harvests from overseas computer networks, or as it travels across the Internet, has grown to an astonishing 2 petabytes an hour—that’s nearly 2.1 million gigabytes, the equivalent of hundreds of millions of pages of text.

The agency has managed to automate much of the process, one of the former officials says, requiring human hackers to intervene only in cases of the most well-protected computers. Just like spies in the physical world, the U.S. cyberspies take pains to obscure their tracks or disguise themselves as something else — hackers from China, say — in case their activities are detected.

Even as the rest of the Pentagon budget shrinks, the importance of the NSA’s hacking operations has helped create a booming cyber-industrial complex. Specialized units of big defense contractors, and boutique firms that create hacking tools, look for security flaws in popular software programs that allow government hackers to take over computers. A company called KEYW does a robust business training hackers for U.S. intelligence, says Chief Executive Officer Leonard Moodispaw, who cautions that he can’t reveal more. “Our federal partners don’t like it if we’re too explicit.”

All this activity gives China leverage against Washington’s complaints, says Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists. Beijing can turn U.S. protests about industrial espionage around and claim that Washington is doing something even worse. “It’s OK to steal plans for a new automobile,” Aftergood says the Chinese can argue, “but not our national secrets.”

Spiegel OnLine reported in October, 2013:

TAO specialists have directly accessed the protected networks of democratically elected leaders of countries. They infiltrated networks of European telecommunications companies and gained access to and read mails sent over Blackberry’s BES email servers, which until then were believed to be securely encrypted. Achieving this last goal required a “sustained TAO operation”, one document states.

This TAO unit is born of the Internet – created in 1997, a time when not even 2 percent of the world’s population had Internet access and no one had yet thought of Facebook, YouTube or Twitter. From the time the first TAO employees moved into offices at NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, the unit was housed in a separate wing, set apart from the rest of the agency. Their task was clear from the beginning – to work around the clock to find ways to hack into global communications traffic.

To detect Russian hacking into the – easily hacked – DNC communications, TAO hacked into Russian communications.

“You spy, we spy … States spying on states …” 

That’s the norm. And it’s good to know that the U.S. does it best.

Posted under China, Russia, United States by Jillian Becker on Saturday, January 7, 2017

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If it wasn’t Russia, who is disappointed? 2

Outgoing President Obama has accused Russia of hacking Democratic Party emails during the presidential campaign, and leaking them with the intention of interfering in America’s election process.

What the emails revealed should be the subject of scandal, but that is lost in the noise about Russia’s interference.

By accusing Russia, Obama casts a shadow of illegitimacy over Donald Trump’s election to the presidency; an implication that he only won because a foreign power intervened to help him. (Which is nonsense, of course.) 

But did Russians hack and leak those scandalous emails?

From Ars Technica, by Dan Goodin

Talk about disappointments. The US government’s much-anticipated analysis of Russian-sponsored hacking operations provides almost none of the promised evidence linking them to breaches that the Obama administration claims were orchestrated in an attempt to interfere with the 2016 presidential election.

The 13-page report, which was jointly published Thursday [December 29, 2016] by the Department of Homeland Security and the FBI, billed itself as an indictment of sorts that would finally lay out the intelligence community’s case that Russian government operatives carried out hacks on the Democratic National Committee, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and Clinton Campaign Chief John Podesta and leaked much of the resulting material. While security companies in the private sector have said for months the hacking campaign was the work of people working for the Russian government, anonymous people tied to the leaks have claimed they are lone wolves. Many independent security experts said there was little way to know the true origins of the attacks.

Sadly, the JAR, as the Joint Analysis Report is called, does little to end the debate. Instead of providing smoking guns that the Russian government was behind specific hacks, it largely restates previous private-sector claims without providing any support for their validity. Even worse, it provides an effective bait and switch by promising newly declassified intelligence into Russian hackers’ “tradecraft and techniques” and instead delivering generic methods carried out by just about all state-sponsored hacking groups.

“This ultimately seems like a very rushed report put together by multiple teams working different data sets and motivations,” Robert M. Lee, CEO and Founder of the security company Dragos, wrote in a critique published Friday. “It is my opinion and speculation that there were some really good [US] government analysts and operators contributing to this data and then report reviews, leadership approval processes, and sanitation processes stripped out most of the value and left behind a very confusing report trying to cover too much while saying too little.”

The sloppiness, Lee noted, included the report’s conflation of Russian hacking groups APT28 and APT29 — also known as CozyBear, Sandworm, Sednit, and Sofacy, among others — with malware names such as BlackEnergy and Havex, and even hacking capabilities such as “Powershell Backdoor”. The mix up of such basic classifications does little to inspire confidence that the report was carefully or methodically prepared. And that only sows more reasons for President elect Donald Trump and his supporters to cast doubt on the intelligence community’s analysis on a matter that, if true, poses a major national security threat.

The writers showed a similar lack of rigor when publishing so-called indicators of compromise, which security practitioners use to detect if a network has been breached by a specific group or piece of malware. As Errata Security CEO Rob Graham pointed out in a blog post, one of the signatures detects the presence of “PAS TOOL WEB KIT”, a tool that’s widely used by literally hundreds, and possibly thousands, of hackers in Russia and Ukraine, most of whom are otherwise unaffiliated and have no connection to the Russian government.

“In other words, these rules can be a reflection of the fact the government has excellent information for attribution,” Graham wrote. “Or, it could be a reflection that they’ve got only weak bits and pieces. It’s impossible for us outsiders to tell.”

Security consultant Jeffrey Carr also cast doubt on claims that attacks that hit the Democratic National Committee could only have originated from Russian-sponsored hackers because they relied on the same malware that also breached Germany’s Bundestag and French TV network TV5Monde. Proponents of this theory, including the CrowdStrike researchers who analyzed the Democratic National Committee’s hacked network, argue that the pattern strongly implicates Russia because no other actor would have the combined motivation and resources to hack the same targets. But as Carr pointed out, the full source code for the X-Agent implant that has long been associated with APT28 was independently obtained by researchers from antivirus provider Eset.

If ESET could do it, so can others,” Carr wrote. “It is both foolish and baseless to claim, as CrowdStrike does, that X-Agent is used solely by the Russian government when the source code is there for anyone to find and use at will.” …

It’s hard to escape the conclusion that Thursday’s Joint Analysis Report provides almost no new evidence to support the Obama Administration’s claims Russia attempted to interfere with the US electoral process.

And this is from PowerLine by John Hinderaker:

Evidence for Russian involvement in DNC hack is nonexistent.

The Obama administration insists that Russia’s government was behind the penetration of the Democratic National Committee’s email system (even though it admits that the intrusion was not carried out by the government itself). The administration released a report that purportedly provided evidence in support of this claim, but even an amateur like me could see that the report was surprisingly weak.

Then the experts started to weigh in. Their verdict was that the operation termed “Grizzly Steppe” by the Obama administration could possibly have been carried out by Putin’s regime, but the administration’s report contained no evidence at all that pointed toward Russia, let alone the Russian government.

Now, the internet security experts who are proprietors of Wordfence re-state their conclusions and explain the research they did to support them.

On Friday we published an analysis of the FBI and DHS Grizzly Steppe report. The report was widely seen as proof that Russian intelligence operatives hacked the US 2016 election. We showed that the PHP malware in the report is old, freely available from a Ukrainian hacker group and is an administrative tool for hackers.

We also performed an analysis on the IP addresses included in the report and showed that they originate from 61 countries and 389 different organizations with no clear attribution to Russia. …

If I find something in the DHS/FBI report on my website or network, does it mean that Russia hacked me?

No it does not. 

This has caused serious confusion already among press and US policy makers. A Vermont electrical utility found a sample of what is in the DHS/FBI Grizzly Steppe report on a single laptop. That laptop was not connected to the Electric Grid network. It was reported as Russia hacking the US electrical grid. …

The data in the DHS/FBI Grizzly Steppe report contains “indicators of compromise” (IOCs) which you can think of as footprints that hackers left behind. The IOC’s in the report are tools that are freely available and IP addresses that are used by hackers around the world. There is very little Russia-specific data in the Grizzly Steppe report.

If you find an IOC that is in the report on your network or server, it is unlikely that you have been targeted by Russian Intelligence.

The PHP malware the report provided, for example, is freely available for anyone who wants it.

The article then provides a technical explanation of “how the Wordfence proprietors got to the bottom of what appears to have been an attempt at obfuscation by the Obama administration”.

The Wordfence experts conclude:

[That]  is how we determined that the FBI/DHS report contains an old malware sample that is publicly available and the hacker group that distributes it appears to be Ukrainian.

Other experts have weighed in, pointing out that the administration’s report contains little or no evidence that Russia had anything to do with the DNC hack, e.g. Ars Technica and others … If any technical experts have endorsed the claims in the administration’s report, I am not aware of it.

Nevertheless, the Democratic Party operatives who masquerade as reporters in the U.S. have uncritically swallowed the administration’s line, and are hectoring Donald Trump and his aides to admit that Vladimir Putin was responsible for “hacking the election”. 

President-elect Donald Trump does not strike us as a man easily hectored. And he is very unlikely to “admit” to something he had nothing to do with – and that apparently didn’t happen.

If Obama and the Democrats are hoping he will accuse himself and defend Vladimir Putin, they are doomed to yet another disappointment.

The first labor of Trump 3

… undoing Obama’s “deal” with Iran?

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On July 14, 2015, the P5+1 countries finalized a nuclear agreement with Iran. Iranian president Hassan Rouhani announced: “Today major world powers recognized Iran’s nuclear program. Our dreams have come true.”

Of all the bad that Obama has wrought upon the world, the worst may be his empowering of the Islamic regime of Iran.

Secretary of State John Kerry, under the orders of Islam-loving President Obama, concluded a “deal” with the Iranian regime.

This is what they brought the United States to agree to.

The quotations and information come from Discover the Networks:

The key elements of the deal were the following:

Iran will be permitted to keep more than 5,000 centrifuges, one-third of which will continue to spin in perpetuity. (Note: Pakistan created a nuclear bomb with just 3,000 centrifuges.)

Iran will receive $150 billion in sanctions relief. (In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice conceded the following: “Yes, it is real, it is possible, and, in fact, we should expect that some portion of that money would go to the Iranian military and could potentially be used for the kinds of bad behavior that we have seen in the region up until now.”)

Russia and China will be permitted to supply Iran with weapons. Indeed, Russia has agreed to sell Iran S-300 anti-missile rocket systems in exchange for 500,000 barrels of oil. As the InternationalBusiness Times reports, “Russia and China will continue to make weapons deals with Iran under U.N. procedures.” According to political analyst Charles Krauthammer, “the net effect of this capitulation will be not only to endanger our Middle East allies now under threat from Iran and its proxies, but to endanger our own naval forces in the Persian Gulf.” “Imagine,” he added, “how Iran’s acquisition of the most advanced anti-ship missiles would threaten our control over the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, waterways we have kept open for international commerce for a half century.”

Iran will have the discretion to block international inspectors from military installations and will be given 14 days’ notice for any request to visit any site. If Iran in fact denies access to any suspected site, that denial is then adjudicated by a committee on which Iran sits as a member. Next, the matter goes through several other bodies, on all of which Iran likewise sits. All told, the entire process may take up to 24 days.

Only inspectors from countries that have diplomatic relations with Iran will be given access to Iranian nuclear sites. Thus there will be no American inspectors. The embargo on the sale of weapons to Iran will be officially lifted in 5 years, though in reality it has not been enforced at all in recent years under Obama.

Iran’s intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) program will remain intact and unaffected; indeed it was never even discussed as an issue in the negotiations.

The heavy water reactor in Arak and the underground nuclear facility in Fordo will remain open, violating the “red lines” that Obama has repeatedly cited.

Iran will not be required to disclose information about its past nuclear research and development.

The U.S. will provide technical assistance to help Iran develop its nuclear program, supposedly for peaceful domestic purposes.

Sanctions will lifted on critical parts of Iran’s military, including a previously existing travel ban against Qasem Suleimani, leader of the terrorist Quds force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Suleimani was personally responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans in the Iraq War.

Iran will not be required to release American prisoners like Iranian-American Christian missionary Saeed Abedini, Iranian-American Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian, or U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati. The P5+1 nations “and possibly other states, as appropriate, are prepared to cooperate with Iran on the implementation of nuclear security guidelines and best practices”. This would include “co-operation through training and workshops to strengthen Iran’s ability to protect against, and respond to nuclear security threats, including sabotage, as well as to enable effective and sustainable nuclear security and physical protection systems“.

Last and worst – we must add – the “deal” allows Iran to make nuclear weapons freely ten years from the date of the “deal”.

What, you may ask, does the US get out of the “deal”?

Answer: Nothing but enmity, hatred, and threats.

The ruler of Iran, [the Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Hosseini] Khamenei, is quoted as saying that Iran needs to plan to fight the US regardless of whether there is an agreement. The president of Iran, Rouhani, stands at the head of the march of hatred in the streets of Tehran, in which US and Israeli flags were burned, and in which many chanted “Death to America” and “Death to Israel”.

Concessions [were made by the US] even on issues that had been marked as red lines … which is a bad deal in its own right.

It [the deal] paves Iran’s way to many nuclear bombs and gives it hundreds of billions of dollars for its terrorism and conquest machine, thereby endangering the peace of the entire world.

(The full text of the “deal” may be found here.)

A narcissistic fool and his terrible legacy 3

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Barack Obama thinks that his presidency has been a great success. That if he could have stood for a third term, he would certainly have been elected again.

And yet he is not entirely comfortable in his mind that he has accomplished everything he intended to while he had all that power.

We can reproduce the list if his top four aims with a fair chance of accuracy:

The empowerment of Iran. Okay, done that. Tick it off.

Compulsory health insurance as a step towards a national health service (“Obamacare”). Tick.

The emptying of Guantanamo prison for prisoners of war and terrorists (“Gitmo”) and its closure. Gosh! Not achieved. Try again. Not many prisoners left. Can I do it before January 19? Let them go, let them go, let them go!

The final settlement of the Israel-Palestine problem, to be accomplished to the advantage of the Palestinians, and to the severe disadvantage of Israel, possibly facilitating its ultimate extinction. TICK.

The  deal with Iran may be torn up by Trump? My State Department will stop that happening.

Obamacare will be repealed? I doubt it.

Gitmo still open. Damn!

Israel f***ed. Yay!

Now carve my head on Mount Rushmore.

Ben Shapiro writes at Townhall:

President Barack Obama likes to see himself as a moral leader. “The arc of the moral universe is long”, Obama likes to say, quoting Martin Luther King Jr, “but it bends toward justice”. According to Obama, Obama is a genteel representative of decency and good grace, a man pointing America toward a broader vision, a fellow questing for social justice and contextual consideration.

In reality, he’s a narcissistic fool. And like Burgess Meredith’s character in The Twilight Zone, he will be left standing in the ruins, bewailing the fates that abandoned him, leaving no worshipful admirers upon whom to lean.

Obama’s legacy is one of failure all around the world. He leaves office with a genocide in Syria on his record – a genocide he pledged to prevent, then tolerated and finally lamented, mourning the fates while blithely ignoring his own cowardice. Libya, meanwhile, remains a full-scale disaster area, with tens of thousands of refugees from that failed campaign swamping Europe, along with those fleeing Syria, and his leftist European allies paying the political price.

Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, stands on the brink of a nuclear dawn, its pockets filled with billions of dollars, its minions ascendant from Tehran to Aleppo to Beirut. Obama made that happen with nearly a decade of appeasement and a willingness to abandon freedom-minded Iranians to the tender mercies of the mullahs.

Meanwhile, Russia has only expanded its reach and influence, invading the sovereign nation of Ukraine and seizing Crimea to the deafening silence of the Obama administration. Russia has flexed its muscle in Kaliningrad, where it has stocked missiles, and in Syria, where it has assured Syrian President Bashar Assad’s continued dominance.

China has grown its sphere of influence across the South China Sea, putting American allies from Taiwan and Japan to the Philippines directly under its thumb. Thanks to Obama’s military cuts, China believes that it can bully American allies into embracing Chinese supremacy in international waters – and it may be right. Simultaneously, Obama continues to drive America into debt, and the Chinese are large buyers of that outstanding debt.

The communist Cubans have been re-enshrined; so have the socialist Venezuelan authorities. The Islamic State group remains an international threat, and western capitals have been struck by Islamic terror time and again, to Obama’s teeth-gnashing and general inaction.

Not so sure about that teeth-gnashing. Does Obama give a damn about Islamic terrorism?

But at least Obama is truly putting his focus where it’s necessary: on declaring that our only ally in the Middle East, Israel, has no historic claim to its own existence and threatening Jews with sanctions for building bathrooms in East Jerusalem.

Right. The sarcasm is necessary. Exasperation is hard to express adequately.

Obama came into office amidst grand promises to restore America’s place in the world.

Did he? If so, he saw its place as lower, not higher. We seem to remember that he desired – perhaps not saying so in exactly these words – to bring America down a peg or two.

Unless our place is the outhouse, he’s failed. But at least he feels good about his accomplishments, even if thousands have died – and thousands more will die – in order to ensure his moral stature in his own mind.

Posted under China, Commentary, Cuba, Europe, Iran, Israel, Japan, Libya, Palestinians, Russia, Syria, United States, Venezuela by Jillian Becker on Wednesday, December 28, 2016

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The UN must be destroyed 1

“Ceterum autem censeo Carthaginem esse delendum” – “Apart from all this, Carthage must be destroyed“.

That was the statement Cato the Elder (234-149 BCE) made at the end of every one of his speeches in the Roman Senate during the Punic Wars (Rome against Carthage), no matter what the rest of the speech had been about.

The statement became a slogan, often shortened to “Carthago delenda est”.

For years we have copied Cato the Elder by writing “The UN must be destroyed” at the end of every post that mentions that evil institution.

Now the need for it to be wiped off the face of the earth, or at the very least expelled from American soil and denied American tax-payers’ money, has been made urgent by the iniquitous action of its “Security Council”, initiated by the perfidious outgoing Obama administration of the US government, against the state of Israel. (See our post Obama’s parting act of extreme vindictiveness, December 23, 2016. For the harm the resolution will do see here.)

Daniel Greenfield writes at Front Page:

The United States pays 22% of the total UN budget. What we get for our $3 billion a year is a corrupt organization whose dysfunctional and hostile agencies are united in opposing us around the world.

The United Nations does only two things consistently and effectively: waste money and bash Israel. Sometimes it manages to do both at the same time.

After an extended, and no doubt costly, visit to the region, the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women blamed Muslim men beating their wives on Israeli settlements.

No wonder the UN Security Council just condemned them. Who wouldn’t rightfully be upset that Jews living in Jerusalem somehow causes poor Mohammed to batter his wife?

The Jewish State is the UN’s scapegoat for anything and everything. The Palestinian Authority blamed Israel at the UN for Global Warming. WHO [the World Health Organization, a UN agency] denounced Israel for violating “health rights”.

Israel is one of the foremost inventors and manufacturers of advanced life-saving medical technology in the world. Extremely effective Israeli teams rush to places where disasters occur to provide medical assistance, always free of charge. Israel even cures its enemies free of charge, and returns them to enemy territory to continue plotting its destruction.

And even when Muslim terrorists stab Israelis, it’s still Israel’s fault.

The latest anti-Israel vote at the UN has led to calls to defund the corrupt organization which, even when it isn’t actively trying to hurt us or our allies, is making the world worse every which way it can.

Just this summer the UN admitted that it had spread cholera that killed tens of thousands in Haiti. Sexual abuse allegations against its staffers were up 25% last year. In the spring, the UN admitted that peacekeepers from three countries had raped over 100 girls in only one African country. …

Here’s what we get for our $3 billion.

UNRWA schools are turning out students who want to fight for ISIS.  The UN’s email system has been used to distribute child pornography. UN staff members have smuggled drugs, attacked each other with knives and pool cues, not to mention a tractor. This month the UN marked Anti-Corruption Day despite refusing to fight its own corruption. The former President of the UN General Assembly was arrested on bribery charges last year. He had also headed UNICEF’s executive board. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is battling accusations of bribery.

Some of this might be defensible if the UN did anything useful. It doesn’t. It’s just a slush fund for redistributing our money to a vast UN bureaucracy and anyone willing to bribe it for benefits.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to the UN vote by beginning the process of defunding the UN. And there’s every reason in the world for us to also stop tossing money at the United Nations.

It’s something that we and every sane country should have done decades ago. If you give money to the UN, it will end up anywhere and everywhere except where it’s supposed to go. But defunding the UN isn’t enough. There is no reason for us to remain there at all.

The United Nations has never met any of its lofty goals. During the Cold War it became a playground for the Communist powers. The USSR, the second signatory to the UN charter, helped force out the first signatory, Taiwan. Even while the treaty was being signed, it was taking over Poland, the 51st signatory.

These days, the United Nations is a forum for Islamist powers and the rotting remains of the Communist front to continue its war against the free world while seducing weak-minded nations into going along.

We are not making the world a better place by being members of this anti-American organization which vacillates between being evil and useless.

You can always count on UN peacekeeping troops to run away whenever they might be called on to use force. The head of the peacekeeping mission in South Sudan was fired by the UN for refusing to protect aid workers, including Americans, who were being raped and assaulted. …

The UN was brought into being in the aftermath of the horrors of World War II. Instead of ending “the scourge of war”, the UN has a solid track record of uselessness and complicity in the face of genocide.

Israel was the first to alert the UN to Pol Pot’s genocide in Cambodia. But Moscow and its Syrian ally conspired to protect the Communist dictatorship. The UN did not condemn the killing. And only a generation later did it convene the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, which has been running for almost twenty years. It took ten years to arrest Brother Number Three, the Foreign Minister of the Communist terror state, whose lies the United Nations chose to believe when the butchery was taking place.

He died six years later while still on trial.

The UN has been apologizing for its non-response to the Rwandan genocide for decades. But apologizing for not doing anything is what the United Nations does best. That and condemn Israel.

Earlier this month, the UN Security Council couldn’t even manage to pass a ceasefire resolution on Syria.

Venezuela, which championed the anti-Israel resolution, took time out from starving its own people to protect Assad. Why in the world would anyone take this vote, or any UN vote, seriously?

The UN’s Human Rights Council members include China, Cuba, Russia, Saudi Arabia and, of course, Venezuela. UN Women, the body dedicated to empowering women, includes China, which forces women to have abortions; Pakistan, where women can be murdered by their male relatives for marrying on their own; and Iran, where it’s practically illegal for a woman to leave the house.

The United Nations does not promote its own ideals. Or ours. Instead, it sanctimoniously violates them. Providing every brutal dictatorship with equal representation hasn’t ushered in an age of human rights. Allowing Islamic terrorists and the radical left to denounce their enemies hasn’t made the world better. And throwing $3 billion a year at the towering UN swamp on Turtle Bay only wastes our time and money. …

The UN doesn’t share our ideals. It’s time to build our closest alliances with the countries that do.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called the 2030 agenda a “Declaration of Interdependence.” We must declare our independence from the UN’s interdependency of corruption and tyranny.

We should defund and withdraw. Where quarreling diplomats once preened in the tower above Turtle Bay, seagulls will soar and young couples will walk with their children. The billions we waste on the UN will go toward taking care of our people. And once we are free of the UN, we will actually be able to promote real human rights instead of pandering to the dictators and Islamists of the United Nations.

Like the League of Nations, the United Nations is a failed experiment. The only difference is that, despite decades of wars, genocides and terror, we still haven’t pulled the plug.

President Obama has betrayed his own country – the country he has led for eight years – by colluding with the UN against Israel. 

President Trump will have the opportunity to pull out of the UN and drain the swamp in Turtle Bay.

UN delenda est.

The amazing power of Vladimir Putin 2

The Left believes that not only Donald Trump’s victory in the US presidential elections, but also Brexit was finagled by …

You guessed it! RUSSIA!

 

And via PowerLine:

obama-putin

 

Posted under Britain, Europe, Russia, United Kingdom, United States, Videos by Jillian Becker on Saturday, December 17, 2016

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Whose CIA? 5

The Democrats who cannot bear to accept the result of the presidential election, and their toady press, are trying to delegitimize the election of Donald Trump by various ineffectual means.

One was declaring that this time, for the first time ever, the number of popular votes for a candidate should decide the winner, not the number of Electoral College votes (and Hillary Clinton, they say, won the popular vote). Won’t work.

Another was to join with a Green candidate who got a few votes in demanding a recount in certain states that they feel deeply should have preferred Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump. Didn’t work.

Next comes their attempt to get a majority of the super-delegates of the Electoral College to vote for Hillary Clinton even though their duty is to vote for Donald Trump. Won’t work.

Another ploy is to imply that the election is of dubious validity because the CIA has concluded that Russia intervened in the 2016 election.

According to the Washington Post of September 5, 2016:  :

A Russian influence operation in the United States “is something we’re looking very closely at”, said one senior intelligence official who, like others interviewed, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive matter. Officials also are examining potential disruptions to the election process, and the FBI has alerted state and local officials to potential cyberthreats

The way that’s worded, “a Russian influence operation” is an established fact, waiting only to be explored by intelligence officials. To lend the story a gloss of verisimilitude, the cunning writer adds that “the FBI has alerted state and local officials to potential cyberthreats”, which we expect is true because it is only sensible after all.

However –

The official cautioned that the intelligence community is not saying it has “definitive proof” of such tampering, or any Russian plans to do so. “But even the hint of something impacting the security of our election system would be of significant concern,” the official said. “It’s the key to our democracy, that people have confidence in the election system.”

The “hint” coming, of course, only and entirely from them.

The same Washington Post story included this:

The Kremlin’s intent may not be to sway the election in one direction or another, officials said, but to cause chaos and provide propaganda fodder to attack U.S. democracy-building policies around the world, particularly in the countries of the former Soviet Union.

But the paper and its like changed that part of the story.

The Washington Post reported on December 9 – after the election:

The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.

Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, according to U.S. officials. Those officials described the individuals as actors known to the intelligence community and part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton’s chances.

Never mind that Julian Assange of Wikileaks has denied that the emails it acquired and released came from Russia.

And no plausible explanation of why Russia would prefer Donald Trump to Hillary Clinton is provided.

Cliff Kincaid comments at GOPUSA:

The line-up of former CIA personnel opposing Trump sounds impressive, except when you consider the fact that the CIA has a habit of getting things wrong. Democratic Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, a former vice-chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, once declared that “for a quarter century, the CIA has been repeatedly wrong about the major political and economic questions entrusted to its analysis.” Moynihan had introduced a bill to abolish the CIA. The late Lt. Gen. William Odom, then-director of the National Security Agency (NSA), said the CIA should be disbanded.

Trump critic Michael Hayden, who served as director of both the NSA and CIA, was on a list of “former national security officials” from Republican administrations who announced they wouldn’t vote for Trump. …

Under the headline, “CIA Judgment On Russia Built On Swell Of Evidence,” The New York Times reports that “many believe” there is “overwhelming circumstantial evidence” that the Russians tried to help Trump. The paper said “the conclusion that Moscow ran an operation to help install the next president is one of the most consequential analyses by American spy agencies in years.”

These “many’ have come to “believe” it on “a swell of evidence”? What evidence? None – none at all – has been produced.

Such analyses can mean nothing and can, in fact, divert the attention of elected officials from the truth. Trump calls the verdict on alleged Russian involvement in the election “ridiculous”. It would not be the first ridiculous work product from the intelligence community. The CIA failed to predict the Soviet “collapse,” and then mistakenly assumed the collapse was real and not a strategic deception.

It is significant that The Washington Post, owned by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos, broke the story about the CIA allegedly concluding that the Russians had somehow meddled in the U.S. elections by hacking into Democratic Party computers. The CIA has a $600 million contract with Amazon Web Services.

Interestingly, Amazon CEO Bezos plans to attend President-elect Donald Trump’s meeting of tech-industry executives this Wednesday [today] in New York. Perhaps Trump will ask Bezos whether the Post is being manipulated by political partisans in the Intelligence Community.

Trump has tweeted, “Can you imagine if the election results were the opposite and WE tried to play the Russia/CIA card. It would be called conspiracy theory!” Or “fake news”. …

After he takes office, Trump should immediately clean house in the CIA and other intelligence agencies. But it may be the case that the charges being directed against him at the present time are designed to prevent just that. If Trump cleans house, he will be accused in the press of trying to purge intelligence officials with evidence of a Russian plot to elect Trump!

The American people have been saddled with an Intelligence Community that is full of what are called “insider spies”. The situation is so bad that a special paper has been published about a novel new way to deal with traitors. The idea is to provide a “safe refuge” and a secret process of “reconciliation” for them without threatening long prison terms or the death penalty. In this manner, the American people would hear nothing about spies being arrested and the damage they have done.

We know that the media picked sides in the presidential contest. Now we are seeing more evidence of how the CIA picked sides, to the point of engaging in what is an obvious effort to bring down the Trump presidency even before it  begins.

What does Michael Hayden himself – Director of the National Security Agency from 1999 to 2005 and the Central Intelligence Agency from 2006 to 2009 –  say?

He – who announced in advance of the election that he wouldn’t vote for Trump –  writes a Washington Post article headlined, Trump is already antagonizing the intelligence community, and that’s a problem: 

A month ago I wrote here about the importance and challenge of the intelligence community establishing a relationship with President-elect Donald Trump.

That has just gotten more important and more challenging.

In my November op-ed, I asked: “What role will facts and fact-bearers play in the Trump administration? . . . Which of the president-elect’s existing instincts and judgments are open to revision as more data is revealed?”

Instincts open to revision“? And this was a top intelligence official?

I had in mind the president-elect’s confidence in his own a priori beliefs and specifically his rejection of the intelligence community’s judgment that Russia had stolen American emails and weaponized their content to corrode faith in our electoral processes.

The president-elect has been unmoved in his rejection of this high-confidence judgment. In Time magazine’s article last week naming him “Person of the Year,” Trump repeated, “I don’t believe it. I don’t believe they interfered.”

Such obstinacy, to have confidence in his own judgment!

Shortly afterward, The Post reported that CIA analysts now believe the Russian aim was to help Trump win.

Why Russia might do that, might want that, is not explained.

And some might consider that publishing such a “belief” to be an attack on Trump – especially considering that not a trace of evidence has been produced to support any of these alleged CIA analysts’ alleged “beliefs”.  But this luminary of the Intelligence world, Michael Hayden, thinks it is Trump who is going “on the attack”:

Team Trump immediately went into attack mode, employing the bureaucratic equivalent of the ad hominems the president-elect used during the campaign (“Crooked Hillary,” “Lyin’ Ted,” “Little Marco”). “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction,” its first salvo described the U.S. intelligence community.

A failed analogy that. A reminder of a  CIA failure is not an “ad hominem” of the sort quoted in brackets.

Then Republican National Committee communications director Sean Spicer alleged on CNN that “there are people within these agencies who are upset with the outcome of the election”.

How could he say such a thing? How could that possibly be true? As if there were Democrats in the CIA who would be upset that their candidate lost and Donald Trump won!

Incompetent. Politicized. No need to discuss any further. Move on.

“Move on”, Mr. Hayden, is a signature motto of the Democratic Party, not of any Republicans.

To be fair, the “Russia did it” announcement in October was official and well documented.

Was it? To be fair, tell us how. Show us the documents.

No need, Mr. Hayden soothes us, because two absolutely dependable human pillars of integrity attest to the veracity of the announcement:

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. attached their reputations to it.

That would be the Jeh Johnson who stated that “ISIS is not Islamic”, and the James Clapper who announced that the Muslim Brotherhood was “largely secular”.

An administration-in-waiting more confident in itself, in its own legitimacy, in U.S. institutions and in the people it will soon govern might have said, “These are serious issues. We intend to hear them out. Nothing is more precious than our democratic process. We have asked the Obama administration for details.”

The fact that that didn’t happen should invite tons of commentary. But not from me.

So, “it needs commentary, but I’m not commenting on it”. There is a Greek word for that rhetorical device: Apophasis. It means that the speaker brings up a subject by saying he will not bring it up.

This article could have been scripted for a villain’s speech in a play!

My narrow concerns as an intelligence officer are the questions raised above. How will this affect the new president’s relationship with the intelligence community?

A lot. And not well.

First is the question of how the incoming administration values intelligence. On Sunday, the president-elect again rejected the Russian role, adding that he was smart enough that he didn’t want or need a daily briefing.

This creates more than hurt feelings. The intelligence community makes great sacrifices, and CIA directors send people into harm’s way to learn things otherwise unavailable. And directors have seen stars carved on the agency’s memorial wall because of it. If what is gained is not used or wanted or is labeled as suspect or corrupt — by what moral authority does a director put his people at risk? …

Now the suppliers of intelligence are victims of callous indifference?

Wasn’t it revealed not so long ago that Centcom (U.S.Central Command] actually served up to President Obama what he wanted to hear about the progress of his tentative little war on ISIS rather than the depressing truth discovered “at great sacrifice”? And that in any case President Obama has skipped more than half his intelligence briefings?

What happens if the incoming administration directs that the “Russia did it” file be closed?

There’s a file? With documents in it? That prove the case? And it is still open?

Would standing intelligence requirements to learn more about this be eliminated? And if they were, what would the agency do with relevant data that would inevitably come through its collection network?

And what about the statute that requires the CIA and the rest of the intelligence community to keep Congress “fully and currently informed” about all significant intelligence activities? Data on a foreign power manipulating the federal electoral process would certainly qualify. What will the White House position be when the agency is asked by Congress if it has learned anything more on the issue?

More immediately, what will CIA Director-designate Mike Pompeo say during his confirmation hearings about this? He is not yet director, so he can fairly deflect any questions on the substance of this debate, for now. But every TV set at Langley will be turned on during his confirmation hearings, and his most important audience will not be the senators on the dais. His future workforce will be looking for clues about his willingness to defend them against charges of incompetence and politicization simply for saying what their craft tells them to be true. …

And, finally, how does the intelligence community break through and explain itself to the incoming team?

Don’t worry about that, Mr. Hayden. We are confident that Mr. Pompeo will manage it perfectly well.

The word of the CIA 1

The CIA has concluded in a secret [!?] assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.

(Words taken from the Washington Post whose report is to be found here.)

Donald Trump dismissed CIA claims that Russian hacks on Democratic emails were intended to help him win the presidency as “ridiculous”. He told Fox News Sunday that it was “another excuse” for Democrats and said he believed that rival politicians had spread the news. He’s not the only one with doubts – in a secret Capitol meeting last week, a senior FBI official refused to back the CIA’s claim. Russia has been named as the culprit in a number of hacks during the election that saw Democratic emails being leaked. But the FBI says there isn’t enough evidence to confirm Russia was pro-Trump, rather than just causing interference with the election.

(Words taken from the Daily Mail whose report is to be found here.)

The Obama man heading the CIA is John Brennan.

That great resource, Discover the Networks, reveals the following (inter alia) about John Brennan:

In September 2012, Brennan was involved in crafting the false talking points that then-Secretary of State Susan Rice gave regarding the 9/11/12 terrorist attack against a U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. Specifically, Rice claimed that according to the “best information at present”. the deadly attack was not premeditated, but rather, a “spontaneous reaction” to “a hateful and offensive video that was widely disseminated throughout the Arab and Muslim world.”

On January 7, 2013, President Obama nominated Brennan for the position of CIA director. …

At a May 21, 2013 CIA ceremony honoring the Agency officials killed in the September 11, 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi, several CIA officers who had survived those attacks were asked to sign non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) — despite the fact that they were: (a) leaving government service, and (b) still bound by previous NDAs which they had signed. Both before and after the May 21st NDAs, intelligence officials adamantly denied that anyone affiliated with the CIA had been asked to sign nondisclosure agreements regarding the events in Benghazi.

Perhaps the most notable of those denials came in a September 3, 2013 letter from CIA director Brennan to House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence chairman Mike Rogers, in which Brennan responded to several specific questions that Rogers had previously posed (in a letter dated August 2, 2013) regarding whether or not the CIA officers who survived the Benghazi attacks were subsequently subjected to polygraphs or required to sign NDAs. Posing and answering several questions as a means of responding to Rogers’ queries, Brennan wrote:

Has any officer, either staff of contractor, been forced to undergo any polygraph because of their presence or their participation in any activity related to Benghazi attacks? Response: No.

Has any officer, either staff of contractor, been required to sign any non-disclosure agreement because of their presence at Benghazi or their participation in any activity related to the Benghazi attacks? Response: No.

According to sources familiar with the NDAs that were presented to the Benghazi survivors at the May 21, 2013 memorial service, the documents did not specifically mention the Benghazi attacks and thus were technically consistent with Brennan’s letter. But as a Weekly Standard analysis notes:

That’s a generous interpretation. The new NDAs were presented to Benghazi survivors after they had flown in from around the country (or world) to attend a CIA memorial for the Benghazi fallen at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia — where the attacks in Benghazi were the focus of the day. It’s hardly a leap to imagine that these NDAs, perhaps not even necessary, were intended to remind CIA officials a little more than six months removed from their service in Benghazi that the U.S. government would prefer that they not discuss what happened there.

In March 2014, Senator Dianne Feinstein — the head of a Senate Intelligence Committee that was involved in a multi-year probe (begun in 2009) of the CIA’s use of harsh interrogation measures on suspected terrorists during the Bush Administration — went to the Senate floor and angrily accused Brennan’s CIA of having hacked into the computers of her Committee staffers. In response, Brennan expressed dismay that “some members of the Senate” were making “spurious allegations about CIA actions that are wholly unsupported by the facts”. Moreover, he demanded an end to “outbursts that do a disservice to the important relationship that needs to be maintained between intelligence officials and Congressional overseers”. And he told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell:

As far as the allegations of the CIA hacking into Senate computers, nothing could be further from the truth. We wouldn’t do that. I mean, that’s just beyond the, you know, the scope of reason in terms of what we do.” Brennan likewise told the media that “a lot of people who are claiming that there has been this tremendous sort of spying and monitoring and hacking will be proved wrong.

But according to the findings of a CIA inspector general’s report released on July 31, 2014, it was actually Brennan who was proved wrong. The report indicated that five CIA employees — two attorneys and three computer specialists — indeed had surreptitiously and unlawfully searched files and emails on the computers of the aforementioned Senate investigators. In response to the report, Brennan apologized to Senate Intelligence Committee leaders.

Committee members were infuriated, however. Senator Mark Udall (D-Colorado), for example, called for Brennan’s resignation, citing “the unprecedented hacking of congressional staff computers”, damaging leaks about the Committee’s investigations, and Brennan’s “abject failure to acknowledge any wrongdoing by the agency”.

By contrast, White House press secretary Josh Earnest said that President Obama continued to support Brennan and had “not at all” lost faith in the CIA leader’s credibility. …

In a May 2012 teleconference, Brennan revealed some highly sensitive information that, in turn, was relayed to the press by one of the other parties to the call — Richard Clarke, former chief of counter-terrorism in the Clinton White House. This highly serious intelligence leak blew the cover of secrecy off of an active counterterrorism operation in which the British and Saudi intelligence agencies had successfully placed an operative deep inside al Qaeda’s organization in the Arabian Peninsula. Consequently, the initiative had to be terminated immediately, enraging America’s foreign intelligence allies.

… CNN reporter Tal Kopan found a striking admission from CIA Director John Brennan. When he first applied to join the CIA, and received his polygraph test, he was asked this standard question:

Have you ever worked with or for a group that was dedicated to overthrowing the US?

Remarking on this last week during a panel discussion at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s annual conference, Brennan said: “I froze…. This was back in 1980, and I thought back to a previous election where I voted, and I voted for the Communist Party candidate.” Brennan was responding to a question about barriers to recruiting diverse candidates for the intelligence agencies, including whether past records of activism could hurt someone applying for a clearance later in life.

Brennan called his support of the Communist Party a mere “indiscretion”, and reminded his audience that the Constitution grants free speech. He then remembered that he said to himself he could either lie and the polygraph machine would “go wacko” or tell the truth and face the consequences, including possibly being rejected for employment. He told the audience he voted for Gus Hall because while in college he was unhappy “with the system” and saw the “need for change”.

It is relevant to mention that John Brennan probably converted to Islam. (He has not confirmed this.) He is certainly highly protective of Islam.

In a March 2015 speech at the Council on Foreign Relations, Brennan refused to refer to the Islamic State (ISIS, a.k.a. ISIL) terror group as an “Islamic” entity. Said the CIA director: “Quite frankly I am amused at the debate that goes on [that] unless you call it what it is [Islamic terrorism], you don’t know what you’re fighting. And let’s make it very clear that the people who carry out acts of terrorism, whether it be Al Qaeda or the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant [ISIS], are doing it because they believe it is consistent with what their view of Islam is. It is totally inconsistent with what the overwhelming majority of Muslims throughout the world [believe]. And so by ascribing it as a Muslim terrorism or Islamic extremism — I think it does really give them the type of Islamic legitimacy that they are so desperately seeking, but which they don’t deserve at all. They are terrorists, they’re criminals. Many of them are psychopathic thugs, murderers, who use a religious concept and masquerade, mask themselves, in that religious construct. And I do think it does injustice to the tenets of religion when we attach a religious moniker to [ISIS]. The Muslims I know … The people I’ve worked with throughout the Middle East most of my career find just disgraceful that these individuals present themselves as Muslims.”

Considering all this, we would concede that John Brennan’s trustworthiness may be a little higher than Hillary Clinton’s.

And the reliability of reports that come out of John Brennan’s CIA may sometimes rise to the level of Susan Rice’s statements about the Benghazi attack.

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