Many of the critical tools employed in the coup to paint Donald Trump as a tool of the Russians and to manufacture a pretext for removing him from office, were created more than twenty years ago. I am talking about the surveillance state that the American electorate has ignorantly accepted as necessary in order to keep us safe from terrorists. Despite previous warning from whistleblowers like Russ Tice, Bill Binney, Ed Loomis and Kird Wiebe, no action to rein in the surveillance monster was taken until Edward Snowden absconded with the documents exposing the vast amount spying that the U.S. Government is doing to its own citizens. But even those weak efforts to supposedly rein in the NSA proved to be nothing more than mere window dressing.
The spying got worse. Just ask Donald Trump and the members of his campaign that were targeted first by the CIA and NSA and then by the FBI. Fundamental civil rights were trampled.
The real irony in all of this is that Barack Obama, as President, took credit for helping revise the laws in order to prevent the spying exposed by Edward Snowden. But under the Obama Administration, spying on political opponents–both real and perceived–escalated. We know for a fact that journalists, such as James Rosen and Sheryl Atkinson, were targets and their communications and computers attacked by the U.S. Government.
We know, thanks to a memo released by Judge Rosemary Collyer, that "FBI consultants" were making illegal searches of NSA material using the names of Donald Trump, his family and members of his campaign staff.
Some of this NSA material came courtesy of the Brits and their collection on U.S. targets. Some of this material came from the NSA's own collection and storage of all electronic communications and was obtained using a nifty NSA tool called XKEYSCORE. Listen to Ed Snowden's description. Also, take time to appreciate the irony that CNN and other journalists were actually trying to report real news. Now they are full blown apologists for the abuse of the intelligence collection tools.
Six years ago, former NSA Technical Director for Military and Geopolitical Issues, Bill Binney, and Russ Tice, a former NSA analyst, appeared on the PBS News Hour. Once again, they make very clear the enormous nature to the threat to our civil liberties.
Too bad Donald Trump did not listen to their warning.
Given the robust, wide ranging ability of the NSA to probe all communications by any person in the United States, it is remarkable that no real dirt on Donald Trump was ever uncovered. Had such information existed, it would be in the NSA's storage vaults in Utah and crooked CIA analysts under Brennan's direction would have found it and used it. But that did not happed. The best the intel folks could fabricate were the salacious claims attributed to reports ostensibly created by former British spy, Christopher Steele. Turns out that the titillating account that Trump hired hookers to perform coprophilia (could of been worse, coprophagia) was nothing more than idle bar talk.
What has happened to Donald Trump can happen to any of us. It is time to take this threat seriously and put the intel agencies back into a properly monitored corral. Otherwise, we will lose this Republic.
Does this both massive and petty US surveillance possibly explain why one gets the dreaded SSSS marking on their airline boarding pass. After spending a few years online, trash talking Obama on a counter-culture website?
AMEN. I used to think since I didn’t have anything to hide or be ashamed of, the extent of spying would never have an effect on my life. WRONG. Now that we know political POVs and affiliations can make us targets, and that the IC can and will fabricate predicates to ruin our lives, possibly resulting in incarceration or bankruptcy, no one can feel truly safe. As it is, votes for Trump in the 2016 presidential election have been under constant threat from the attempts to nullify the results, in part by using the IC’s tools of the trade.
The increasing extent of Political Correctness and misplaced blame is nearly just as bad, as freedom of speech, freedom of association, and other ostensible freedoms are gradually being eroded. PC has been weaponized, and lives, reputations and businesses can quickly be ruined if targeted. Just ask the Covington Catholic school boys who were minding their own business, waiting for their rides in front of the Lincoln Memorial in DC earlier this year.
Upstate NY'er says
I just cannot work up much fear of this army of incompetents.
The whole attempted soft coup by the Feebs and the CIA reeks as much of Inspector Clouseau as treason.
I have greater concern about the Chinese, Iranians, etc. because of the rampant ineptness of these (hilariously misnamed) “intelligence” agencies.
As someone that started in military encryption/communication the entered cellular industry in 86 I have an interesting perspective.
Early analog cellular required a warrant for a tap to be placed but test modes in equipment allowed very technically adept to use care phones are listening devices
Now of course we are dealing with the possibly more easy to find needle in the haystack? What to do? Carry a gun. Since the hillariously misnamed “intelligence agencies” cannot protect us?
With the implementation of CALEA law enforcement could set their own tap/traps.
I mirrored the output of those units and noticed a massive increase in government intrusion.
Paul Damascene says
Appreciate the reflection but the Republic may be beyond saving.
As K Strassel of the WSJ asks, where were the FISC and their judges when Nunez sent his memo, which the IG report has borne out? Not just the FISC judges but evidently the rot has set in deep across the judiciary, if Emmet Sullivan’s latest is any indication.
And here is at least one source that suggests the FBI may be beyond redemption.
Linked article underscores the role the Crowdstrike “conclusion” could well have played. Crowdstrike uncorroborated conclusions “the Russians did it” added the necessary gravitas pivotal to this entire Brennan-Clapper-Comey Spygate operation on the Trump campaign. Would their hypothetical case against Trump hold, absent the Crowdstrike input?
Whatever US intelligence agencies know, Israel and ADL know.
Paul Damascene says
No I would think it wouldn’t, or at least another pretext would have had to be invented.
Harlan Easley says
There is no “democracy” in America when it comes to these issues.
Iran and China are just minding their own business, and have for centuries and millennia.
If you fear them, you are deluded.
Upstate NY'er says
Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons and China is building out all of their military branches – especially a blue water navy.
These are not the acts of minding their own business.
Larry Johnson says
So, by your logic, the U.S. is the biggest threat. True? We’re spending far more on building out all of our military branches than is China and Iran combined. And we continue to build bigger, “better” nukes. Or are you saying because we’re Americans we can pretend that other countries count these acts by us as of no consequence.
Fourth and Long says
Don’t know if you’ve seen these notes on his new book — Matt Taibbi:
As he indicates it’s far worse than the truth you present and has been since Cheney reconstructed the illegal secrecy state not long after Nixon was ousted.
It’s so bad that even a US president can’t find out what tools are being used on him even were he more experienced and knowledgeable than Trump. We can elect presidents till the cows come home but the outcome is “so what?”
Keep up the good work and Happy 2020.
You mean LTC Vindman didn’t sign the naval construction permission slip? It is his office that tells the foreigners what they can do isn’t it? Or did that sovereign nation not need to do that?
Can someone here explain this to me? Where exactly is the US going to deploy these 2 new Iron Domes? I doubt its in the US,so where….in another ME country/war or is this just a cover to give 2 more to Israel? I don’t understand it.
Congress Bills H.R. 3186 (116th)Text
H.R. 3186: U.S.-Israel Indirect Fire Protection Act of 2019
(4)The United States has provided more than $1,400,000,000 to Israel for Iron Dome batteries, coproduction costs, and general maintenance.
(12)At an April 2, 2019, hearing by the Committee on Armed Services of the House of Representatives, the Chief of Staff of the Army General Mark Milley stated, The Iron Dome is a very capable system. It has basically a 100 percent track record in combat. We clearly need it to protect our formations, and we are buying the two batteries..
Diana C says
It’s a sad and frightening state of affairs. Big Brother lives. 1984 and Brave New World are no longer fiction.
It’s pretty frightening to those of us who have grandchildren. What kind of world will they inhabit as adults?
It’s New Year’s Eve. What sort of changes will 2020 bring to our politics and to our government agencies? (For some reason, I am not hopeful that the changes will be good ones.)
English Outsider says
Outsider’s view – in this case an outsider to the security world you are discussing – the States are the only place where this stuff gets opened up at all. The Germans and the French have it all locked down tight, Lord knows what the Dutch get up to, and in the UK we have to read the US press to have any idea of what our lot have been brewing up.
Lucky old USA. Well, sort of.
Recently the Wall Street Journal published an article by Francis Fukuyama in which he stated the need for the deep state! He said we needed a permanent culture that is not bound by political ideology, I kid you not, that can keep the U.S. on an even keel and operate smoothly without political rancor. Should I quit WSJ?
Fourth and Long says
No. Just don’t read the editorial section. (Kidding).
There’s a strange old mystical book of wisdom – a fairly silly book actually that I discovered while researching my “roots” which I won’t go into except to say that it’s main point is that without secrecy the world could not exist. If you’ve raised kids you already know that, of course. It’s pathetically self evident if you think about it. So extrapolate and maybe give the devil his due. But don’t forget to mind the minders. My new years hat off to Colonel Lang, TTG, Larry Johnson and company.
Wikipedia has a particularly snarky and most likely partisan entry for (against) Jared Kushner. In which one finds the following quote -was this Brennan’s hair on fire cause celebre that required the highly sensitive spying on the Trump team, particularly it was intended to gain access to Jared Kushner?
WIKIPEDIA – JARED KUSHNER – partisan hit team Wiki entry? Considering Team Mueller found no nefarious “Russian” connections with the Trump campaign years and millions of dollars later.
……Between April and November 2016, Kushner had two undisclosed phone calls with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak.
(In May 2017, Kushner’s attorney Jamie Gorelick told Reuters that Kushner had participated in “thousands of calls in this time period” and did not recall any with Kislyak.)
In December 2016, Kushner met with Kislyak. That month, U.S. intelligence officials who were monitoring Kislyak reportedly overheard him relaying to Moscow a request from Kushner to establish a “secret and secure communications channel” with the Kremlin using Russian diplomatic facilities.
Kislyak reportedly was “taken aback by the suggestion of allowing an American to use Russian communications gear at its embassy or consulate – a proposal that would have carried security risks for Moscow as well as the Trump team”.
Also in December 2016, Kushner met with Sergey N. Gorkov, a trained Russian spy who then headed Vnesheconombank (VEB), a Russian state-owned bank.
How did Mueller miss what WIKIPEDIA still loves to push in broad daylight about this obvious (Russian double agent) Mr. Kushner. I want part of that $29 million dollar Mueller investigation back. (!)
PS- who exactly writes thses WIKI entries?
And Putin — who has formed very strong relations with both China and Iran — as well as forming an ostensibly strong eye-to-eye with Trump… he’s just going to sit on the sidelines, without anything to say about any of this? What’s missing from your narrative?
RICHARD A FEIBEL says
“”WE WERE WARNED!! BUT NO ONE LISTENED””! WHAT DID YOU EXPECT FROM A NATION OF UNEDUCATED; ARROGANTLY IGNORANT; SELF CENTERED; SELFISH ;UNCARING ;OVER FED; OVER ENTERTAINED ;UNDER FATHERED ONE PARENT PERSONS WHO RUDELY EXPRESS THIS DESCRIPTION..TO BAD YOU DON’T WANT TO ADMIT THE LATER PROVEN FACT!!AND NOT JUST THE BLACK OR HISPANIC’S! SOCIETY AS IT EXIST TODAY IS MOMENTS AWAY FROM BEING COMPLETELY ENSLAVED .AND ITS NOT ANYTHING TO DO WITH AMERICA. THE SO CALLED DEEP STATE IS WORLDWIDE AND HAS BEEN IN THE WORKINGS FOR CENTURIES POTUS TRUMP IS THE LAST POTUS NEED TO FINISH THIS CABAL.THE STEVE BANNON MONSTERS ARE LOSE UPON THE WORLD SPEWING THEIR CABALS DEMONISM! IF YOU LISTEN TO BANNON HE SOUNDS AS AN INSANE PERSON SOUNDS !”THE DANCE IS OVER AND THE BANDS GONE HOME”!!!SIC SEMPRE TYRANNUS!!!!
I posted the Reibel screed as an example of “the more demented commenters”
“What has happened to Donald Trump can happen to any of us. It is time to take this threat seriously and put the intel agencies back into a properly monitored corral. Otherwise, we will lose this Republic.”
“At the end of a century that has seen the evils of communism, Nazism and other modern tyrannies, the impulse to centralize power remains amazingly persistent.” ~ Joseph Sobran
What a trip down Memory Lane. If Scalia was spied on and then latter “pillowed” what does that Pelican Brief say?
Excellent riposte to an obvious troll, Larry.