Archive for the ‘Intel’ Category

When President Trump officially announced that Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had been killed by US special forces, President Trump said that al-Baghdadi died while “whimpering, crying and screaming.” Unfortunately, that’s more than what Democrats have said this morning. Just moments ago, Adam Schiff, the Democrats’ Impeachment Chairman, said “Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Adam Schiff were not informed in advance of the U.S. special operations forces raid in northwestern Syria in which ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi died, Schiff said on ABC’s ‘This Week.'”

Considering the need for secrecy to accomplish this dangerous mission, it isn’t surprising that Pelosi and Schiff weren’t notified. They’ve done nothing to suggest that they’re trustworthy at keeping secrets. In fact, Schiff’s actions have suggested that he isn’t trustworthy whatsoever, especially on a mission this sensitive. This article highlights President Trump’s thinking:

In a press conference, Trump responded to a reporter who asked if he informed House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of the strike ahead of time by confirming that he didn’t. “No, I didn’t,” Trump said. “I wanted to make sure this kept secret, I didn’t want to have men lost, and women, I didn’t want people lost.”

Implicit in that statement is that President Trump didn’t think Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Schiff could be trusted to keep this operation secret. Considering the daily selective leaking from Schiff’s closed door faux impeachment hearings, President Trump’s decision appears well-founded.

To be trusted, people need to be trustworthy. Schiff has proven to be the House’s leading liar and leaker. This was a super-sensitive mission involving dozens of our best operators. Why would President Trump trust Democrats, especially Schiff?

al-Baghdadi is killed

Here’s President Trump’s news conference:

This is a great day for the United States and the world. This isn’t the end of ISIS but it’s a great way to demoralize ISIS. This won’t help with ISIS recruitment, either. One sick bastard has breathed his last breath.

Good riddance. The only downside of this is that Democrats were too partisan to issue a statement congratulating President Trump and thanking US special operators for pulling off a daring, dangerous raid. It would’ve been nice to see Democrats put America first instead of putting Democrats first.

UPDATE: That didn’t take long. After a brief 6-hour delay, Speaker Pelosi finally issued this statement on the US operation that took out the former leader of ISIS:

It isn’t surprising that Speaker Pelosi still sounded bitter towards President Trump.
UPDATE II: This says it all:

Republicans took an important first step in piercing Adam Schiff’s star chamber on Wednesday when Matt Gaetz, Steve Scalise and other Republicans stormed Adam Schiff’s SCIF Sanctuary. I don’t doubt that they’ll be prepared for a second such attempt. That’s why I recommend changing things up the next time testimony is taken.

Instead of storming the gates, Republicans who are allowed into Schiff’s SCIF should take mental notes of what the witnesses say on cross-examination. The minute the minute a witness says something that contradicts their opening statement, that Republican should exit the room, walk right up to a camera, then tell the camera what the witness just said.

If you say that House rules prevent that, I’ll counter that by saying that the Constitution trumps House rules. If you’re wondering what I mean by that, it’s simple. The section of the Constitution that I’m referring to is Article I, Section VI, often referred to as the Speech and Debate Clause. The important part of that clause states “They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

That means that a Republican congressman or woman leaving Schiff’s SCIF can’t be questioned for making a speech. That part of the Constitution has been upheld most recently in 1966 and 1972. Remember Harry Reid’s speeches on the Senate floor accusing Mitt Romney of not paying taxes for 10 years?

Sen. Reid wasn’t punished for slandering Mitt Romney:

Despite slandering a man from the Senate floor, Harry Reid retired a happy man. If the Speech & Debate Clause protected him while he slandered a presidential candidate, Republicans should use the Speech & Debate Clause to shine sunlight into Schiff’s SCIF. The only precaution I’d make it to not mention anything that’s legitimately classified.

If Democrats insist on fighting dirty, then it’s time that Republicans fight fire with fire. The first thing that I’d state as justification is that if Democrats won’t conduct transparent hearings, then Republicans will deploy the options that the Constitution gives them to provide transparency. I’d also state clearly that I’m prepared to stop the minute Ms. Pelosi and the Democrats actually implement a set of rules that don’t change from witness-to-witness and day-to-day. Mention that there’s lots of different ways to skin Democrats’ rats. It’s important to remind Ms. Pelosi’s Democrats that the Speech & Debate Clause extends to Republicans’ aids, too.

The point is to highlight to the Democrats that there’s an infinite supply of different ways to pierce Schiff’s SCIF. Each time Republicans utilize this option, they’ll expose the Democrats’ dishonesty. In fact, I’d tell the NRCC to highlight Schiff’s dishonesty in an online video. Start with Schiff’s parody speech. Then I’d transfer to the Meet the Press/”more than circumstantial” oldie. Remind people that Schiff is the most corrupt, dishonest politician in DC in several generations.

The point of this is to first level the playing field. Next, it’s important that Democrats understand that you’re just as ruthless as they are. Third, remind them that they’ve got much more to lose that they do. Tonight on Tucker Carlson’s show, Matt Gaetz said that Republicans need to understand that they can’t “use Marquee de Queensbury rules while a pack of rabid hyenas” are attacking you.

Finally, I hate to disagree with my friend Ed Morrissey, albeit ever so slightly. Ed wrote “No one should trust any of these reports until we see the transcripts. In fact, no one should put any confidence in this process until it gets conducted openly, honestly, and fairly.”

I’ll stipulate that we won’t know with certainty that we’re reading the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth until the testimony transcripts are made public. That being said, I’m pretty confident that I know the truth because John Ratcliffe has proven himself in the hearings I’ve watched to be an honest man with lots of intelligence. When he told Martha McCallum that he personally cross-examined Taylor and got him to admit that “neither this witness nor any other witness has provided any evidence that there was a quid pro quo, any evidence that the Ukrainians were aware that any military aid was being withheld on July 25th. Unless and until they can bring in a witness who is willing to say that there was knowledge by someone who speaks Ukrainian to that fact, a legal quid pro quo is impossible.”

Meanwhile, Adam Schiff, the Democrats’ Impeachment Chairman, has been caught lying multiple times. I’ll stipulate that we can’t trust Schiff’s statements but I’m fairly comfortable trusting John Ratcliffe because Ratcliffe has a history of being trustworthy and he was the man who questioned Taylor. Getting the information from the man who questioned Taylor matters because it isn’t hearsay like most of the information that’s gotten leaked thus far.

Finally, I’m willing to trust the transcripts.

Anyone that thinks that Juan Williams isn’t living in a fantasy world just needs to read this article. The article is ostensibly about President Trump firing Dan Coats as his DNI, then appointing Rep. John Ratcliffe, (R-TX), to replace Coats full-time.

Williams takes Umbridge with the decision, saying “Coats fell out of favor with Trump for publicly confirming Russian interference in the 2016 election. The Trump appointee also raised eyebrows at a conference when he revealed Trump failed to consult with him before extending an invitation to the White House to Russian President Vladimir Putin.”

How dare the President invite a foreign head of state to the White House without first getting Dan Coats’ approval! Who does President Trump think he is, going over Dan Coats’ head?

Next, Williams expresses his indignation over this:

Trump will nominate Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX) to fill the role. Ratcliffe is a pure political player. He is a direct threat to the nonpartisan reputation of America’s intelligence agencies and to their ability to protect the country by producing unbiased, first-rate information.

Notice that Williams didn’t mention that Ratcliffe is evidence-based because he’s a former US attorney and a damn good one at that. That’s irrelevant to Williams when he has the opportunity to unfairly criticize a nominee.

Further, what planet is Williams living on? He thinks “America’s intelligence agencies” haven’t been politicized? Seriously? Has he ever heard of people like Jim Clapper, Jim Comey, Andy McCabe, Peter Strzok and John Brennan? Or is Williams stupid enough to think that they aren’t political hacks?

Later, Williams wrote that Ratcliffe “auditioned for the role last week, when he subjected Robert Mueller to harsh questioning when the former special counsel appeared before Congress.” Here’s Ratcliffe’s questioning:

The Mueller Report is a one-sided report. Further, Mueller’s report ignored Special Counsel guidelines while writing Volume II. If that’s treating Mueller harshly, it’s because he deserved it. Mueller wrote an impeachment op-ed instead of writing a confidential report outlining the indictments and declinations of the Mueller team.

Earlier tonight, President Trump “ordered U.S. intelligence officials to cooperate with Attorney General William Barr’s investigation into ‘surveillance activities’ directed at the president’s 2016 campaign.”

Let the finger-pointing begin. Comey, Clapper and Brennan are already attempting to incriminate each other. In the end, I suspect that they’ll each be ‘successful’, with each of them getting prosecuted and convicted or getting prosecuted and flipping on the other 2. Either way, the chances of this turning out well for that trio isn’t high.

Let’s get serious about this for a minute. Democrat spinmeisters point to the DOJ’s IG report and insist that it’s a comprehensive report on the origins of the faux investigation. It isn’t because it isn’t exhaustive. It can’t reach the places that the AG’s investigation can get to. First, the IG can’t call in people from all of the IC agencies. It’s limited by statute to the agency it’s assigned to.

Next, the IG can’t interview people who worked inside the DOJ but have since left. That means the IG can’t interview the central figures in the investigation. Specifically, it prohibits the IG from interviewing Comey, Lynch, McCabe, Strzok and Page. Ditto with Clapper and Brennan.

Trump also gave Barr “full and complete authority” to declassify information related to the investigation, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. The notice comes as Barr is conducting a review of what he has described as “spying” on members of the Trump campaign during the investigation into Russian interference.

Sanders said Trump had directed the intelligence community to “quickly and fully” cooperate with the investigation at Barr’s own request. “Today’s action will help ensure that all Americans learn the truth about the events that occurred, and the actions that were taken, during the last Presidential election and will restore confidence in our public institutions,” Sanders said.

This gives Attorney General Barr wide latitude to investigate the investigators. Last Sunday, Trey Gowdy made a rather interesting prediction during Maria Bartiromo’s show:

Considering the fact that Trey Gowdy a) has seen these documents and b) is one of the most honest people to ever serve in Congress, I’m betting that there’s some former employees of the FBI and the IC who should be exceptionally worried.

After this morning’s House Intel Committee meeting, it’s impossible to think that Democrats will be able to defend Committee Chairman Adam Schiff much longer.

The article opens by saying “Every Republican on the House Intelligence Committee is calling on Chairman Adam Schiff to resign Thursday, accusing the California Democrat of weaving a ‘demonstrably false’ narrative of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia and ‘undermining’ the credibility of the panel.”

Literally, for years, Chairman Schiff insisted that he’d seen proof that President Trump had colluded with Russians during the 2016 election. After Mike Conaway read the GOP letter, Schiff responded “A visibly emotional Schiff, who did not know this broadside from Republicans was coming, had a strident response. At times raising his voice, he listed a litany of known and controversial interactions between the Trump campaign and Russia – including Donald Trump Jr.’s involvement in the Trump Tower meeting and former campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s sharing of polling data with a Russian associate. “You might think it’s OK,” Schiff said. ‘I don’t.'”

Actually, Mr. Schiff does think it’s ok — if Democrats are employing those tactics. If he thought these things were wrong, why didn’t Schiff present legislation making President Trump’s actions illegal? As chairman of a powerful committee, that legislation, at minimum, would get a hearing. Most likely, that legislation would pass the House.

At this point, there’s no reason to think this isn’t just a stunt. Watch this video and tell me he wasn’t playing to the cameras:

Speaker Pelosi issued this preposterous statement in defense of Schiff:

I’d love to know what type of drugs Ms. Pelosi is taking because they must be powerful if she thinks that a liar like Schiff is a patriot.

If I were king for a day, one of the things high on my to-do list would be to officially end the fishing expeditions investigations into Russian collusion. I’d finish them because they’re a waste of time. I’d finish them because senators of both parties have admitted that, after a 9-month-long fishing expeditions investigation, they still haven’t found a single piece of evidence that shows President Trump colluded with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Greg Jarrett’s article highlights the fact that “Senators Diane Feinstein (D-CA) and Joe Manchin (D-WV), have said they have seen no evidence of Trump- Russian collaboration. Both sit on the Senate Intelligence Committee.” Jarrett then adds that “even more compelling are the statements of senior Obama administration intelligence officials who were privy to all the information gathered by both the FBI and the alphabet soup of intel agencies which began investigating the matter more than a year ago. Take a gander at what they have said. James Clapper, the former Director of National Intelligence, has twice confirmed that he has seen no evidence of collusion. As the basis for his conclusion, he cited reports from the NSA, FBI and CIA. John Brennan, the former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, has said the same thing –no sign of ‘collusion.’ And then there is James Comey. When asked if Clapper’s assessment was correct, the fired FBI Director testified that Clapper was ‘right,’ there is no known evidence of a conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians.”

At this point, it’s pretty clear that Mueller won’t find anything. He won’t because there’s nothing to find on the Trump-Russian collusion topic. It’s time to wrap that up rather than continue to waste taxpayers’ money on a fishing expedition.

Let’s be honest, too. If nobody has proof that Trump and Putin colluded to steal the election from Hillary after 9 months of looking, it doesn’t exist. Let’s remember that the NSA, the FBI and the CIA haven’t found proof of Trump-Putin collusion. If that trio can’t find proof of it, then it doesn’t exist. There’s a better chance that I’ll see the Northern Lights on a foggy night than finding proof of collusion.

This was underscored by the Senate Intelligence Committee when it disclosed that it had conducted in excess of 100 interviews over 250 hours, held 11 open hearings, produced more than 4,000 pages of transcripts, and reviewed some 100,000 documents. Every intel official who drafted the report on Russian election meddling was interviewed, as were all relevant Obama administration officials.

That sounds pretty thorough. If these professional investigators didn’t find anything, it doesn’t exist.

If this article is telling the truth, some Obama administration officials likely will be facing substantial jail time.

Circa News is reporting that “More than 5 percent, or one out of every 20 searches seeking upstream Internet data on Americans inside the NSA’s so-called Section 702 database violated the safeguards Obama and his intelligence chiefs vowed to follow in 2011, according to one classified internal report reviewed by Circa.”

Further, Circa quotes a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court document that said “Since 2011, NSA’s minimization procedures have prohibited use of U.S.-person identifiers to query the results of upstream Internet collections under Section 702,” the unsealed court ruling declared. “The Oct. 26, 2016 notice informed the court that NSA analysts had been conducting such queries in violation of that prohibition, with much greater frequency than had been previously disclosed to the Court.”

This video is stunning:

Eventually, the FISA Court got so frustrated with the Obama administration that it rebuked them. It’s clear that Obama administration officials should be worried about their legal exposure. This time, Susan Rice’s testimony won’t be off-the-record. This time, it’ll be under penalty of perjury.

Let’s just say I’m thankful I’m not facing Ms. Rice’s situation.

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According to Wikipedia, Karen Finney is a time-tested veteran of high profile campaigns. Among other tours of duty, “Finney served four years as the spokesperson and Director of Communications at the Democratic National Committee.” Later, “Finney joined Media Matters as a senior fellow and consultant” on November 25, 2014. Ms. Finney isn’t a centrist Democrat by anyone’s stretch of the imagination.

Last night, Ms. Finney appeared on The Kelly File. SIDENOTE: Shannon Bream sat in for Ms. Kelly last night. During the interview, Ms. Finney stuck to the DNC’s script, saying “In addition to the briefing that the electors are asking for, all of this information at some point should be made public, to the American people. We are the greatest democracy on the face of the planet. We need to know if the Russians are trying to infiltrate our government in these nefarious ways. I mean, our brave men and women in our intelligence agencies and who serve in uniform, they fight to give us this type of information and to uncover these sorts of things, and I think their next commander-in-chief, Mr. Trump, owes it to them, not to just dismiss them out-of-hand … Again, if the electors are suggesting that part of their constitutional responsibility is they want to hear a briefing so that they can feel confident…”

Democrats are desperately trying to convince the public that getting a briefing is part of the electors’ responsibilities. It isn’t part of the electors’ responsibility. This is what Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution says their responsibility is:

Article II
Section 1. The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his Office during the Term of four Years, and, together with the Vice President, chosen for the same Term, be elected, as follows
Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

The Congress may determine the Time of choosing the Electors, and the Day on which they shall give their Votes; which Day shall be the same throughout the United States.

As electors, what the intel community thinks about Russian hacking and causing mayhem is immaterial. As electors, their responsibility is to cast their vote for the candidate that gathered the most votes in the state. Period.

As citizens, though, they have the responsibility of demanding that their government protect against cybercrimes. Ms. Finney didn’t hold the Obama administration’s feet to the fire. She didn’t live up to the standard that she’s advocating for now. I might say that that’s hypocritical but I won’t. Instead, I’ll say that she’s exercising her right to be a partisan who’s more interested in being a good Democrat than she’s interested in being an American patriot first.

First, Jim Comey tilted the election to Trump. Next, it was fake news. After that, it was the electoral college gave Trump the victory. Now, it’s supposedly the Russians who are giving Trump the victory. I’d ask Democrats when they’ll admit that Mrs. Clinton lost because a) she was the status quo candidate, b) she ran a crappy campaign and c) an overwhelming majority of people think that the Obama administration was taking the country in the wrong direction.

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Dianne Feinstein’s op-ed is a tortured attempt to rationalize the Democrats’ last attempt to throw mud at President Bush. It’s time to expose Sen. Feinstein’s tortured logic.

In the wake of 9/11, we were desperate to bring those responsible for the brutal attacks to justice. But even that urgency did not justify torture. The United States must be held to a higher standard than our enemies, yet some of our actions did not clear that bar.

When people’s lives are at stake, every tactic must be on the table. Protecting people’s lives must always be a higher priority than living up to an imaginary international standard for polite societies. What Sen. Feinstein and the Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee just said is that protecting people is less important than living up to an imaginary international image.

Thank God the president’s oath doesn’t give him that luxury. His oath is to protect the United States. Period.

Thankfully, Ralph Peters’ op-ed sets Sen. Feinstein and the Democrats serving on the Senate Intelligence Committee straight:

As for those supposedly horrendous actions taken by CIA personnel to convince blood-encrusted terrorists that cooperation might be the wisest course, they may have been harsh, but the times and our enemies were and are immeasurably harsher. But torture? What the Islamic State and its ilk do to their captives is torture. They shrink from nothing. We shrink from the thought of a terrorist gasping for breath.

Harsh interrogation techniques don’t equal torture. Any nation that’s squeamish about making life a living hell for terrorists won’t live a peaceful existence. Democrats insist that ‘we’re better than that.’ Here’s a question for Sen. Feinstein and her fellow Democrats: What’s better than protecting American lives?

Here’s how Col. Peters took Sen. Feinstein and the Senate Intelligence Committee Democrats to the woodshed:

Senator Feinstein and her supporters argue that the American people have a “right to know,” but they don’t know the American people. Living too long in a bubble with fellow members of the cultural elite, they have no sense of how the average American feels about terrorists who fly passenger aircraft into skyscrapers or who gleefully behead innocent captives in video clips.

Far from being mortified by water-boarding or sleep deprivation (for working Americans sleep deprivation is a normal state of affairs from holding down two jobs and multiple shifts to feed their families during the Reign of Obama), the folks I know back home in the Pennsylvania coal towns would skin terrorists alive then get out the salt shaker. My people weren’t upset by water-boarding. They were upset—infuriated—by the collapse of the Twin Towers and the deaths of 3,000 Americans.

The Pennsylvanians Col. Peters described in his op-ed are clear-thinking people living in the real world. These Pennsylvanians have their priorities straight. As I said earlier, protecting people’s lives must always be America’s highest priority. Sen. Feinstein and the other Democrats serving on the Intelligence Committee apparently think that we’re living in a peaceful world. When barbarians with a seventh century mindset attacked the United States, they gave the United States permission to be more barbaric than the terrorists were. (Think fighting fire with fire or all’s fair in love and war.)

It’s time for the Democrats to recognize that the barbarians haven’t stopped thinking barbaric thoughts. They’ve changed tactics but they’re still just as barbaric as al-Qa’ida was. That’s just the cold, hard truth.

It’s time for President Obama, Secretary Clinton, CIA Director Petraeus and Defense Secretary Panetta to be grilled extensively on their decisions, or lack thereof, during the terrorist attack of Sept. 11, 2012. I don’t want this hearing to be about a ton of peripheral topics. Citizen journalists will sort through Susan Rice’s and Jay Carney’s spin.

This shouldn’t even be about President Obama attending a Vegas fundraiser the day after the terrorist attacks. Again, that’s something citizen journalists can sort through. Here are the things this hearing must be about:

  1. Who was the first senior administration official to get real time reports from the consulate the day of the terrorist attack? Did this senior administration official report this immediately to President Obama? If not, why not?
  2. When did President Obama’s national security team first tell him about the terrorist attack? Was this during his afternoon meeting with Defense Secretary Panetta the day of the terrorist attack?
  3. During his meeting with Secretary Panetta, did President Obama order Panetta to send troops to protect the diplomatic staff in Benghazi? If he didn’t order protection for these American patriots during his meeting with Secretary Panetta, did President Obama order military support later in the day? If not, why not?
  4. Secretary Panetta said that he didn’t send troops in because they didn’t know what they’d be jumping into. Mike Baker dispelled that myth by saying the CIA and military are receiving a “glut of information” in real time from the CIA, specifically the Global Response Staff. Did Secretary Panetta recommend to President Obama that the military jump into the firefight/terrorist attack? If he did, what was President Obama’s response? If he didn’t, why didn’t he make that recommendation?
  5. When did Charlene Lamb first tell Hillary Clinton about the terrorist attack? When she was told about the terrorist attack, did Ms. Clinton immediately contact President Obama? If not, why not? If she did, what time was it that she contacted him?
  6. President Obama was the only person with the constitutional authority to order troop deployments during an act of war. Terrorist attacks on American consulates are without question acts of war. Did he order spec-ops troops to be deployed to Benghazi to protect the diplomats from the terrorist attack? If he didn’t, why didn’t he?

These hearings need to start with focusing in on a single subject so the American people get a detailed understanding of President Obama’s national security team operations and his decisions to protect or not protect Christopher Stevens and his diplomatic staff.

Once that base of information is established and the American people understand President Obama’s failings, then the hearings can expand into other areas. Until then, they must stay focused.
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