Hillary vs. NSA?


" … if the DoJ declines to prosecute after the Bureau recommends doing so, a leak-fest of a kind not seen in Washington, D.C., since Watergate should be anticipated. The FBI would be angry that its exhaustive investigation was thwarted by dirty deals between Democrats. In that case, a great deal of Clintonian dirty laundry could wind up in the hands of the press, habitual mainstream media covering for the Clintons notwithstanding, perhaps having a major impact on the presidential race this year.

The FBI isn’t the only powerful federal agency that Hillary Clinton needs to worry about as she plots her path to the White House between scandals and leaks. For years, she has been on the bad side of the National Security Agency, America’s most important intelligence agency, as revealed by just-released State Department documents obtained by Judicial Watch under the Freedom of Information Act.

The documents, though redacted, detail a bureaucratic showdown between Ms. Clinton and NSA at the outset of her tenure at Foggy Bottom. The new secretary of state, who had gotten “hooked” on her Blackberry during her failed 2008 presidential bid, according to a top State Department security official, wanted to use that Blackberry anywhere she went.

That, however, was impossible, since Secretary Clinton’s main office space at Foggy Bottom was actually a Secure Compartment Information Facility, called a SCIF (pronounced “skiff”) by insiders. A SCIF is required for handling any Top Secret-plus information. In most Washington, D.C., offices with a SCIF, which has to be certified as fully secure from human or technical penetration, that’s where you check Top-Secret email, read intelligence reports and conduct classified meetings that must be held inside such protected spaces."  Observer.com


 So, basically the problem arose because she likes her Blackberry (so do I) and she did not want to climb into the traveling SCIF that was hauled around on her world-wide tourism.

Evidently a lot of the stuff that she and her minions sent around the world on an easily intercepted E-mail system had (irony alert) been originally intercepted by US SIGINT overseas.  Naughty! Naughty!  NSA has very little sense of humor about such things.

IMO the president can suppress DoJ action on an NSA complaint against her just as he can with regard to an FBI suggestion of an indictment of her and her personal staff.  Both the FBI and NSA are Executive Branch institutions and if he orders them to shut up, they will have no choice but to do so. 

BUT, as the author states, there will then be a firestorm of leaks to the media from both these groups that will be beyond belief.  Even the media will eventually understand the import of what they are told.  pl  


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64 Responses to Hillary vs. NSA?

  1. johnf says:

    Would anyone like to comment on the veracity of these Wikileak releases of Clinton emails on Israeli pressure on her to get her to topple Assad? Where they have been published online there have been claims that they have been forged or altered, but I’m not sure whether these claims are just the usual Borg-flak, or geniune points:
    “At the same time, the fall of the House of Assad could well ignite a sectarian war between the Shiites and the majority Sunnis of the region drawing in Iran, which, in the view of Israeli commaders would not be a bad thing for Israel and its Western allies.”
    “The best way to help Israel deal with Iran’s growing nuclear capability is to help the people of Syria overthrow the regime of Bashar Assad.”

  2. DC says:

    The details as publicly reported are getting serious. Here’s “The Hill”‘s view of what might be in store for the Democrats:
    I think this is becoming a real possibility, or else The Hill would not be reporting it.

  3. Andy says:

    What’s troubling is that this SCI information supposedly got to Clinton’s unclassified email via Blumenthal – someone who isn’t even a government employee. I have no doubt the FBI will try to get the bottom of how Blumenthal – a journalist, activist, writer and Clinton ally, is getting fed SCI level SIGINT. Someone else had to give it to him.
    The same thing with all these classified emails that were basically transferred or transcribed to Clinton’s email system – whoever did the transcription is (or should be) in a world of hurt.

  4. Valissa says:

    Naturally professional cartoonists have been having a field day with this… very few “supportive” cartoons (and those are typically are more focused on being anti-Republican)… which does say something about her public credibility.

  5. 505th PIR says:

    You can paint over rust, but it always finds a way to bubble forth. Even the zen master shape-shifter known as HRC cannot mute this law despite the help she may or may not be getting. It seems sadly, that we live in an age where lawbreaking (HRC and her deliberate mishandling of classified info) can only be exposed by more lawbreaking (leaks). When integrity is absent (in this case, the executive branch), the system breaks and a shadow system is left to police the wrong-doers. The shadow system of course, has no brakes, mandate or compass. It does however, have a real world impact on us all.

  6. Kunuri says:

    Hello all, sorry a bit off topic, but most of you may have heard of the suicide bombing in Istanbul. I live very close to where it happened, and our band performs at a venue on that very street. I was at that very corner Thursday night, where Balo Sokak crosses Istiklal. I am and our little colony of American and British expats are OK, for those who know I follow this site from Istanbul where I live and work. But it was very unsettling, too close for comfort. But we are not afraid or cowed, to a man or woman in out little community here we say bring it on, whoever it is, we will not yield to YOUR twisted vision of the world and reality.

  7. Valissa says:

    PL, according to the article, the wording was the same as in the classified reports. If it was chit-chat wouldn’t the language style and working be different?
    Currently serving NSA officials have told me they have no doubt that Mr. Blumenthal’s information came from their reports. “It’s word-for-word, verbatim copying,” one of them explained. “In one case, an entire paragraph was lifted from an NSA report” that was classified Top Secret / Special Intelligence.
    Another question for you, based on a prior article about the Hillary emails…
    Are the business dealings described in the excerpt below legal for someone in her position? And if they are legal, how common are they? It appears that there are strong financial incentives entwined in decision about war.
    Last Friday, the State Department released emails showing that Mr. Blumenthal had reached out to Ms. Clinton on behalf of Jonathan Powell, ex-chief of staff to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Mr. Powell proposed establishing “below the radar” channels between insurgents and governments and making money off of it through an NGO of Mr. Powell’s. Ms. Clinton was receptive to the idea, according to the Daily Caller.
    … To cite another striking example, Mr. Blumenthal sent then-Secretary of State Ms. Clinton reports on the political situation in Libya written by a former senior CIA officer, the recently deceased Tyler Drumheller. Those reports, which Mr. Blumenthal emailed to her in 2011 and 2012, apparently were intended to influence American policy toward Libya in a way favorable to a business project with which Mr. Blumenthal and Mr. Drumheller were involved. http://observer.com/2015/11/just-who-is-sidney-blumenthal-the-clintons-closest-advisor/

  8. Valissa says:

    Kunuri… so glad to hear you and your friends are OK! I looked at a couple of news article to see if anyone has claimed responsibility. Do you think it’s ISIL? PKK was mentioned by “Turkish sources” but that may have just been politics.

  9. Valissa says:

    Thanks PL! I remember you having mentioned that the Blumenthal’s were hated by the Ziocons so I was curious as to how accurate these Ken Silverstein columns are and what deeper political games might be going on.
    But I researched Ken a bit and he does not appear to be a Ziocon or have any obvious ties to Jewish organizations. He appears to be an investigative reporter so not sure what incentive he would have to lie about Sidney Blumenthal https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ken_Silverstein
    It is interesting to observe the personal networks of influence of the players at the high level of gov’t and the various factions therein duking it out to achieve their ambitions.

  10. johnf says:

    Moon of Alabama reveals more of this under-the-counter dealings with Libya involving again Jonathan Powell.
    He quotes from a Times of Malta report on a dodgy court case in Malta over who should post-Ghaddafi control The Libya Investment Authority, worth $65 bn, which was to support libyan social services:
    “First, there is the strange situation that [Britain’s Ambassador to Libya, Peter] Millett takes his orders from Britain’s Libya envoy, Jonathan Powell, a contractor to the FCO. Yes, the same Powell who, along with then prime minister Tony Blair, brokered the deal with Muammar Gaddafi to end his dictatorship’s isolation a decade ago – and lead to fat Blair consultancies with that same tyrant after the prime minister left office.
    Among other beneficiaries of this new opening up of Gaddafi’s dictatorship was a massive property development contract handed out to a company chaired by none other than Powell’s brother, Lord Charles Powell, which also involved an array of colourful London-based, well-known Arab millionaires. Which makes Powell more of a close relative of an interested party.”
    “…The Valletta court battle for the public telecommunications company LPTIC highlighted the complicated split and a new tussle is underway for control of the Libyan Investment Authority (LIA), the Tobruk-appointed office of which is situated in Malta.
    For now, the LIA battle is in London but in a bizarre twist the case was last week controversially stopped in mid flow on advice from Britain’s Foreign Office.
    The judge making the order, which keeps both existing governments from getting their hands on this $65 billion asset, is none other than William Blair, brother of – you guessed it, Tony.
    Never mind that Tony worked with the LIA in the latter Gaddafi years.”

  11. rg says:

    The Observer is owned by Trump’s son-in-law, for whatever that’s worth. In any event, the two big scenarios, not mutually exclusive, are the one in which the Republicans block Trump and he splits their vote by running independently or with another party; and the other in which Hillary is taken down by the FBI, possibly the DoJ, and possibly through revelations of other kinds. I tend to think that Trump will be denied the Presidency, one way or another, but the Republicans are really stuck, because Trump is probably already in position to divide the “conservative” vote if the party doesn’t give him the nomination. And I’ve long believed that the Clintons are viewed by higher-ups as likely to be uncooperative if they get back into the White House, while Biden would be fine. Kerry would be, too, but Biden is an easier sell at this point. They might need to wait for some more primaries to take place and for Sanders to be further eclipsed before they move against Hillary, if indeed they plan to do so. The idea that Obama will pull out all the stops to help Hillary is way off the mark, in my view. If the plan is to install Biden, Obama will give it all he’s got.

  12. Valissa,
    Jonathan Powell is the brother of Charles Powell, who was private secretary to Thatcher. The two of them, and Charles’s son Hugh, appear to have played not insignificant roles in relation to the scandal about the al-Yamamah arms deal between Britain and the Saudis. This is a key ‘can of worms’ in British politics, which may be very relevant to American politics, which has never been properly explored.
    The activities of the Powell brothers may be a non-trivial part of the story of now ‘New Labour’ were assimilated into the Borg.
    (See http://www.powerbase.info/index.php/Charles_Powell .)
    The reference to Jonathan Powell’s new NGO ‘starting work in Syria’ in the March 2012 e-mail which Blumenthal forwarded to Hilary Clinton is interesting.
    (See https://foia.state.gov/searchapp/DOCUMENTS/HRCEmail_OctWeb/245/DOC_0C05789609/C05789609.pdf .)

  13. Valissa says:

    PL, I have no agenda but the truth. I have no allegiances whatsoever in this matter. That should be obvious to you by now.
    One of the reasons I come to SST is to understand how the gov’t really works versus all the ideological and idealistic crap out there. I am interested in human nature as a driving force, how human systems work, and how groups protect themselves, fight among themselves, etc (the sociological part of it). I find it all fascinating, in the educational sense. About it all I attempt to practice “detachment.”
    One of my friends once asked me how I thought the government should work (re: political ideology), and I told her it was a ridiculous question and a waste of my mental time and energy to even think about it. At the risk of being banal… governments are what they are, imperfect human attempts to control and organize the world they live in. They will never be anything else.

  14. Margaret Steinfels says:

    FYI: Today’s NYTimes (3/19/16, page A7, metropolitan edition) has a full-page ad, “Hillary Clinton must disavow here anti-Israel advisors.” Those advisors are! Sidney Blumenthal and…Max his son, who has written a critical book about Israel. S. Blumenthal’s e-mails referenced here open up the ad, but quickly move to Max Blumenthal and his anti-Zionist writings.
    The ad was paced by WORLDVALUES.US, Rabbit Shmule Boteach, Exec. Dir.
    What is going on here?

  15. turcopolier says:

    It is clear. On the one hand there are the federal police and intelligence agencies who are in their professional ranks outraged by her haughty disdain for the law and the national interest in protecting sources, and on the other hand there are the Ziocons who wish to destroy the Blumenthals. pl

  16. Valissa says:

    Yes, it’s all very strange Margaret. Many consider Hillary to be a Ziocon. Please note I’m not saying that I do, just observing the label usage. She certainly has always been very loyal to Israel from what I can tell. But I don’t expect all Ziocons (or neocons, or whatever) to agree with each other on the details any more than within any other group. There are always factions within groups.

  17. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Lots of foreign tourists in those areas as well – many from Arab countries.

  18. DC says:

    Colonel: what exactly did US SIGINT intercept overseas? Was the private server the equivalent of a public library for spooks? Thanks if you care to clarify.

  19. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Alfred Lilienthal is dead now but he was smeared in his time.

  20. Jack says:

    Your point highlights that in this era of massive IO one has to be highly skeptical of “news” reports. Who is playing whom is hard to discern.
    It would seem that since the Ziocons are after the Blumenthals, that if the allegation in the story that Sidney emailed Hillary a near verbatim NSA report is true, they would be going after him hard.

  21. “Your point highlights that in this era of massive IO one has to be highly skeptical of “news” reports. Who is playing whom is hard to discern.”
    Exactly so. As I saw the NYT ad this morning, I had not read this post on Hillary and the NSA. So when I saw the Sid Blumenthal comments here, I wondered if Israeli intelligence might have given him the NSA documents? But why would they? Who is playing whom?
    My apologies for the misspellings, especially “Rabbit” for Rabbi. Botech is a show boater, but I didn’t mean to demean his calling.

  22. VietnamVet says:

    The Observer article seemed realistic when I read it. I agree with the comments that the ruling establishment is shook-up. Bernie Sanders has to go. Donald Trump could be a traitor to their class. Clinton is acceptable but her balloon could blow up any second allowing them or Ted Cruz to stomp all over their gravy train. Joe Biden is the only acceptable democratic alternative. Paul Ryan would be his perfect opponent. Democracy would be put down.
    Today this is all about good old fashion court politics. The anchor of the government doing good for the people has been thrown overboard. Government is run by and for corporations.
    Two articles closer to home about water and bees.
    Not being able to assure safe drinking water or an abundant food supply are sure signs that the Washington DC House of Cards is collapsing.

  23. Kunuri says:

    An Iranian, Babak, among the dead, as well as three Israelis.
    Fingerprints of ISIS so far, but we will know soon enough.
    So random, I could have been there, makes one to step back for a moment and think. All that we all write and opine here is maybe not just a glass bead game, but actually stuff that happens to have the potential that can affect us all, individually, wherever we happen to live in.

  24. Kunuri says:

    I have my ear out Valissa, just as curious as you are as to who has done it. One clear fact is that Saturday morning before noon is the least busy time of the whole week on that popular street, any other time would have been extremely catastrophic. So, why not go for a big bang and body count? This is a calling card/message event. I don’t know from whom and where.

  25. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The dead are: 3 Israelis, one Iranian, and one Kurd (the bomber).

  26. Walrus says:

    My guess is that Hilary will never be charged. I believe that Obama may make this quite explicit by using the excuse that she transgressed out of “an abundance of zeal” to discharge her duties 24/7. The quid pro quo for ex-President Obama will be a well paying Board appointment at the Clinton Foundation.
    I also expect that Hilary as President will continue to act according to type – which is to do anything for money, the oldest profession if you like.

  27. kooshy says:

    Happy Nowruz (New day) which is beginning of spring and start of Iranian new year to everyone on SST
    President Obama’s Nowruz Message to the Iranian People

  28. Valissa says:

    Thanks for the links, David. I had only the vaguest of memories of this arms scandal. While researching I found this link, which seems to sum up most of the story along with the final outcome.
    BAE admits guilt over corrupt arms deals – Arms firm pays out £300m after long-running Guardian investigation http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/feb/05/bae-systems-arms-deal-corruption
    Admitting to minor infractions and paying a minimal “penalty fee” seems to be the norm these days among the highest levels of the elites. This was also the outcome of the investigations into the major banking and financial institutions in the US following the 2008 crash.
    And speaking of norms… all of this reminds me of the famous speech/book by General Smedley D. Butler called “War is a Racket” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_Is_a_Racket
    Info on Butler here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smedley_Butler
    My observation, as a very amateur student of history, is that there have always been elites ready to make money off of wars, just as there have always been leaders eager to go to war and be seen as powerful and mighty. There has never been a golden age of just wars and righteous honorable financiers of same. Saying that “out loud” it sounds completely ludicrous, I know. But I think the point is important. Power and Money are an old married couple that always work in tandem. The highest level of elites have almost always been too powerful to jail or punish. Most often it is only as a result of infighting and jockeying for power and influence among the elites that some members of a losing elite faction might face some sort of “justice” or punishment.
    That the average person tends to disapprove of this, and wish it weren’t so, is also normal. Because in most ways, it is these “little people” (and often subgroups within the lower levels of the elites as well) who bear the brunt of the costs and consequences of the Power and Money games. These are the folks who want “justice” (punishment of the elites) when the schemes of certain of the elites go awry. However, if it is a time in history when an empire is on the rise, and all or most socio-economic groups are benefiting from this, then there is not the same urge for “justice” (outside of the small antiwar and pacifist groups).
    I am not saying that seeking justice is irrelevant or not worth bothering about, but as a realist I have come to accept that there are some things about human nature that are not going to change no matter how much people might wish otherwise. Especially in today’s world of “too much information” where people are already feeling mentally overloaded (multimedia bombardment) and there are so many crises and schemes going on and being revealed it’s hard to get sufficient public focus and outcry on any one of them to effect the outcome.

  29. cynic says:

    If the President interferes with the normal course of the administration of justice, is not that an abuse of his office, and a violation of his oath of office? Could he not be charged with an offence, either whilst still in office, or after leaving it? Why are more ex-Presidents not already in jail if this is how they normally behave?

  30. J says:

    What concerns me is the damage her and her minions have done to our NATSEC both short and long term. She will get her comupins, it has a way of working its way through both DOJ and NSA.
    It’s how she endangered U.S. with her and her minions reckless regard is my concern.

  31. Babak Makkinejad says:

    “…stuff that happens to have the potential that can affect us all, individually, wherever we happen to live in…”
    So true!
    Like when my German friend was killed in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103.

  32. Tony says:

    I think the Borg rather see either Clinton or Cruz. In that case it depends who will be the Republican’s nominee. IMO, if Trump is the nominee, then no words of Clinton’s email, but if Cruz is, then we will hear all about Clinton’s screw ups.

  33. Babak Makkinejad says:

    The whole thing is also known as the “crooked timber of mankind”.

  34. Babak Makkinejad says:

    هر روزتان نوروز
    نوروزتان پیروز

  35. gemini33 says:

    I take everything Schindler writes with a yuuge grain of salt.

  36. rjj says:

    All conjecture, no facts:
    From the Observer article…

    as revealed by just-released State Department documents obtained by Judicial Watch under the Freedom of Information Act.

    from memory (an associative, not a logical, chain):
    Judicial Watch >> Larry Klayman >> his nuisance lawsuits in 90s (mostly allowed by Royce Lambeth) that cost Clintons millions to defend against >> also in 90s ruinous (bankrupting) prosecutorial harassment of a large number of Arkansans for the crime of having been downwind of the Clintons.
    going after the Blumenthals … more of same? to encourage the others?

  37. turcopolier says:

    I believe Sidney and Max Blumenthal to be honorable men who are good Americans. I do not think Sidney has done anything wrong or illegal in the matter of HC’s e-mails. In my opinion the Blumenthals are being persecuted in the media over the issue of Max’s excellent and unbiased writing concerning Palestine. pl

  38. Valissa says:

    Always a pleasure to learn something new 🙂 A search brought me to this article, in case anyone else is unfamiliar with this Kantian phrase…
    Kant – The Crooked Wood of Humankind http://harpers.org/blog/2009/05/kant-the-crooked-wood-of-humankind/

  39. Kunuri says:

    News blackout here is slackening a bit, so 2 of the Israeli victims are American citizens. ISIS fingerprints all over the bombing, so maybe RTE’s unholy alliance with “angry boys” is coming apart. Which means RTE is shifting his position of supporting, enabling, or simply ignoring the ISIS threat. Which means ISIS is hurting, and possibly blaming RTE of reneging of their previous mutually beneficial agreements. Which also means US position is changing mostly due to Russian show of strength and resolution in Syria. Add in the new agreement with EU regarding the refugees, there is a major tectonic development in that 3D chess game down there. The cards have been reshuffled and I am very curious how the new hands will be dealt. A Turkish invasion into northern Syria now is in the cards, whereas it wasn’t before the bombing in Istanbul. We may see very strange alliances now Kurds with Turks, Russians with Turks and Assad, Israelis with Turks and Americans on board all throwing ISIS under the bus, come spring thaws and good fighting weather, not excluding a major push to liberate Musul, box and isolate Rakka and a major refugee repatriation effort as part of the EU deal, unspoken but implied, of course.

  40. oofda says:

    Agree completely- Max Blumenthal’s writing on Israel and the Palestinians has been outstanding- wish more people read it.
    Off topic, but note that the Turkish Air Force has lost 3 F-4s recently, killing 6 pilots. Two apparently were in a two-ship that flew into a mountain in inclement weather. So the official version goes. Check the comments to the article ,which give more detail on the story.
    But the other was lost in action. There seem to be a difference of opinion on what caused it- the official version being that the plane ‘shot itself down’ by having flares and chaff it had dropped ingested by the engine. Other commentators say that it was really downed by a Syrian ‘shilka’- AA-gun made by the Soviets. Question who and what really shot it down? The article is interesting because of the political issues it raises. But it does confirm that the Turkish AF is still using F-4s in combat – and is losing them.

  41. LeaNder says:

    “Botech is a show boater,…”
    He no doubt is, sickeningly so, to the extend I watched him.
    I gave up after a while reading the article circling in on Sid Blumenthal. I would imagine (I am partly aware concerning academic subjects) that our killer instincts take over after a while looking into matters. But as happened in my nitwit case–meaning not important–we may loose the audience on our ways of “biting our teeth” into matters at hand.

  42. LeaNder says:

    concerning your interests, Valissa, from my own limited nitwit perspective you seemingly forget to mention an earlier interest of yours in your second paragraph: power.

  43. turcopolier says:

    What is the evidence for “supposedly she got this SCI information” from Blumenthal?” pl

  44. Valissa says:

    I imagine this is merely the “tip of the iceberg” in regards to war profiteering, and related wheeling and dealing between members of gov’t and their business cronies and their cronies’ cronies, etc, in the worldwide arems industry. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arms_industry

  45. Respectfully disagree! There are two preconditions to HRC being freed of the issue [other than a pardon] and that is if she wins the Presidency and names WJC as her Attorney General and he is confirmed by the Senate.

  46. turcopolier says:

    Is she not banned by law from appointing her husband AG? pl

  47. Royce Lambeth was a carrier DoJ attorney and headed the TORTs Section of the Civil Division. Appointed as a federal District Court judge after the SCOTUS decision in the Bivens case that created the concept of a Constitutional Tort.
    A TORT is a civil injury! The Bivens concept was that no one, not even the government could violate the Constitutional Rights of a citizen. Today, if memory seerves almost 30,000 BIVES actions are pending.
    Royce Lambeth IMO was sicked by his years of exposure to the government side of civil litigation.

  48. NO! JFK appointed RFK and many believe a ban in place but not IMO!

  49. turcopolier says:

    Royce Lamberth? I testified in his court once in a tort case. He asked me to stop answering the questions before they were asked. pl

  50. CORRECTION: “career”!

  51. turcopolier says:

    I thought a law had subsequently been passed to prevent a repetition of that event. pl

  52. Valissa,
    Unfortunately the ‘Guardian’ investigation was, in a bizarre way, tribute to the success of the cover-up. It treated the al-Yamamah contract as simply a case of commercial corruption. It was not. The contract was set up in order to facilitate ‘covert operations’.
    I discussed some relevant evidence in comments which Colonel Lang put up as a post back in May 2008.
    (See http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2008/05/habakkuk-on-bae.html .)
    The link to the – crucial – report in the ‘Financial Times’ by Stephen Fidler will probably not work.
    It can be accessed at http://www.salaam.co.uk/news/my_news/250489.txt .

  53. A common response by judges to witnesses in civil cases. Most attorneys are trained to instruct their witnesses to only answer what was asked by their counsel and opposing counsel. N.B. federal civil cases often do not involve jury trials.

  54. I don’t know of any such law but could be in error. There is rampant NEPOTISM in a number of Executive Branch agencies theoretically banned by the Office of Government Ethics [OGE] regulations but these apply only to agencies not the WH.
    And remember Bobby was confirmed by the U.S. Senate.

  55. turcopolier says:

    “Under 5 U.S.C. § 3110, federal officials are prohibited from appointing their immediate family members to certain governmental positions, including those in the Cabinet. Passed in 1967, this law was a congressional response in delayed dismay about John F. Kennedy’s appointment of his brother Robert F. Kennedy to the office of the Attorney General.” Wiki on the US cabinet. pl

  56. rjj says:

    Can you be more explicit? I know nothing, so don’t get the implications of what you said.

  57. Valissa says:

    Very educational, thanks! Reading those articles triggered some unexpected flashbacks for me. Back in May 2008 I had not yet decided to study geopolitics and foreign policy issues. I was in the midst of trying to understand the nature of politics, and paying more closely attention than I ever had before as to “how the sausage is made” when it comes to running for any level of national office and getting elected. Also the role of propaganda.
    Had I read your article back then I’m sure I would have been suitably appalled at the whole shady affair. I was still pretty naive with a much more simplistic attitude about matters of power and money. While now, some 8 years later I find myself a rather jaded and cynical realist about power and money games, as well as those who are the players.
    OTOH, the positive benefit of that knowledge is that I am much less dissatisfied with the world I live in as I no longer have unrealistic expectations of those who govern and their cronies. I never cared for the soaps on TV. Oddly though, these days I do find great entertainment in the soap operas of great power politics, aka The Great Game, and all it’s subsidiaries.
    “If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane.”
    ― Robert Frost

  58. Tidewater says:

    Tidewater to DC and All,
    In in an attempt to answer your question as to what exactly OUR SIDE found out about OUR SIDE’S reckless conduct in the use and misuse of very risky technology–the homely, all-too-familiar cell phone–please take a look at an image of the American Embassy in Kiev. All American embassies, and some consulates (Geneva, where Snowden worked), have an architect’s nightmare up on the roof, a large featureless, shed-like structure, often on one corner, that has an expanse of blank walls that are made of radio transparent panels. You could probably cut through these panels with a pocket knife. They conceal a grouping of large and small and differently shaped radio antennas. I assume there might even be some dishes. (Like a little DDG?) This array has many capabilities, which boil down (as James Bamford long ago told us) to the ability to vacuum up microwave radio transmissions. Duncan Campbell.org is interesting on this. And remember Snowden…
    I, for one, have my own little theory of the Hillary server case. It is about infection. An analogy might be in the responsible care of cats. You don’t go from one little colony of cats to the other, [certainly an odd situation to be in, of course] having just touched one on the nose and then another elsewhere in a colony area where there is quarantine, a fear and suspicion (because cats eat their meals together), of, say, a mysterious kind of mouth disease. But of course we live in a world of very real viruses (which seem to be winning) as well as those that are famously digital. You use alcohol to cleanse your hands which has to be rated at 92 per cent, as often as you can, in caring for cats. There are viral infections that vets don’t know how to cure. Consider, as well, the prevailing view among many London women in the Eighteenth Century that there was something very creepy and terrifying about male-controlled obstetrics in city hospitals. (The male doctors washed their hands every month or so, it seems.) The women who survived went to midwives.
    You would think that women like Hillary, Victoria, Angela, who are supposed to be very, very smart, would be extremely sensitive to the whole question of INFECTION. You would think they would be (typically) suspicious of this guy-thing technology. That they would be very cautious. If guys are behind this there is surely something wrong with it, right? You would think that it might have occurred to them that they should even think about the protection of their own families. This cell-phone technology is famous for reaching back into people’s lives, as for example, in identity theft. I know people who won’t use it in banking. It’s potentially dangerous, and we all know it.
    So what’s with this carelessness of the Clintons? How could they not know?
    My take on this is that you can “infect” a cell phone and this “infection” can be spread in the way that typhoid can be spread, or hepatitis, as by food workers.
    Now think about Angela Merkel. I find it incredible that she did not know that the new American embassy hard by the Brandenburg Gate, a building that overlooks the Bundestag and her Chancellery office and a good deal of central Berlin –that she didn’t know that our embassy, like all of them– no matter that they told her it was a Wintergarten and she should come up sometime– would have a roof-top Special Collection Service space that would be most deliciously curious about all that goes on in Berlin and quite capable of “spoofing” Berlin cell towers. Or the Lady’s very own office. And so she continues to use an ordinary, favorite, completely vulnerable cell phone? And then whinges publically about this? You’d think she’d be too embarrassed to say anything. La Dumba. And she has to know that that phone was not only vulnerable, it was almost certainly “infected.”
    This indifference to security by a woman who grew up in a country where the STASI had more than a hundred miles of main-frame computers, a short autobahn’s length, in their HQs, as at Leipzig, in the sinister Round Cornered building (now the STASI museum), seems suspicious to me.
    My view is that the cream of the jest and the whole intent of an intelligence agency–or a private investigator, or a crazy, nearly bankrupt Hollywood journalist– is not just to listen in, but to KEEP listening in, by infecting, using a scanner ($1800.00) and then by attaching that phone’s varied identification, number, metadata, whatever, to a computer program that will report in when that phone is activated, and for as long as that program can be kept on that phone. Now I know that this can be done! And there surely must be checks and balances, but I don’t know what. The thing is, why shouldn’t this infection be spread very fast? The perpetrator or team of perpetrators just keep right on identifying significent “other” cell phone numbers and keep right on adding them to the computer program or programs. The infection can run off into the hidden and unexpected areas of cell-phonedom. (Why not an au pair girl; a household servant; a cook; a driver?)
    I see this as an entirely different issue from that of the server. Though it can lead back into the server.
    Now, to get ugly about it for a moment, suppose one wanted to destabilize or neutralize a government official. Say that this official’s family has a summer cabin in the mountains. Say there is a familiar gas station on the route. Suppose the official got an envelope in the mail with a group of photos of his/ her daughter pumping gas. She and her boyfriend on the way to the cabin. A deserted place. Say, there is a photo of them out on the porch. How were they followed? There could be four or five infected telephones in that family reporting back everything that the family does. The official would go nuts. And then, later, when all the phones have been collected, analyzed and destroyed, and the desperation seems to subside, suppose it turns out they forgot a few–say the drycleaner’s. Reinfection, yes? And who could be sure that it was the phones that led to the family member being followed in the first place?
    Am I right about this?
    Organized crime does this kind of thing routinely, sending phtos as threats. Prisons red-flag the telephone numbers of prison guards and collate them with the sundry numbers that have to cleared through with the prison for outsiders (in Virginia, at least), usually family members, to be able to contact the prisoner, or allow the prisoner to call out. I can cite a specific case on that where the guard, a woman, was fired instantly. The call had come to her from Death Row.
    But to get out of this worrisome realm of speculation. I just discovered that the well- known blogger (and author) of “Schneier on Security” had an article, “Government Policy on Cell Phone Interception Technology” in 2014, that refers the blog reader on to a paper that had just come out then in the Harvard Journal of Law and Technology– Volume 28, Number 1, Fall of 2014. The title of the article is: “YOUR SECRET STINGRAY’S [StingRay] NO SECRET ANYMORE: THE VANISHING GOVERNMENT MONOPOLY OVER CELL PHONE SURVEILLANCE AND ITS IMPACT ON NATIONAL SECURITY AND CONSUMER POLICY. The article is written by Stephanie K. Pell and Christopher Soghoian. It is some seventy-five pages long and it is really good! I have printed out and read most of it. I heartily recommend this article as a fast, basic foundation for what is going on in the rapidly -changing world of cell phone technology and the controlling law. And big things are happening! It is even good for a few grins… The footnotes are terrific if you have the time.
    What the authors have done in the footnotes is to put a spotlight on a number of surprising news articles about signals intelligence events that one might easily have missed. As for example, that the FBI had in that time-frame of 2014 quietly removed transmitters from cell phone towers in Washington; transmitters that directly sent all information which these towers handled right into certain embassies! So how were these transmitters put up there on these towers? By uniformed men in broad daylight?
    Or that by using sophisticated anti-surveillance equipment “tell-tale signs of ISMI catchers in eighteen locations in the Washington D.C. area, including near the White House, Congress, and several foreign embassies” had been identified. But was anyone caught positioning these ISMI catchers? And all that they could come up with were “tell-tale signs”?
    Or the Obama statement: “BlackBerries and iPhones are not allowed in the White House Situation Room.” So Hillary and her staff didn’t know that? Weren’t a little bit AFRAID, learning this, of this BlackBerry and iPhone? (Which sometimes, the iPhone, that is, seem to go off all on their very own volition? And the iPhone again, in the opinion of hackers like Chris Paget and his team, is something that is drawn to a hacker’s spoofer like a moth to a flame?)
    Recently, it was remarked here that Hillary’s server would have received encypted e-mail, which could be considered to be a mitigator. Which meant there was some sort of industry-provided, routine, default security in her half-assed arrangment. The Harvard article inadvertently raises some questions about this some-sort-of-default encryption. From page 52 of the Harvard article: “Even though the cryptography community considered A5/2 broken in 1999, the cellular industry did not phase out its use until 2007, and then only because new research demonstrated that the methods used to attack A5/2 could be used to attack the security of Western A5/1 networks as well. Today, the A5/1 algorithm, created in 1988 [!] and thoroughly broken a decade ago, [as of 2014] remains the most widely deployed cellular encryption algorithm in the world. [!] Indeed, wireless carriers AT&T and T-Mobile still use the A5/1 algorithm for their older “2G” networks in the United States.”
    Pell and Soghhoian go into good detail warning about a surprising and disturbing basic fact of cell phones: “generally, there is no easy way for consumers to determine when their calls are unencrypted or only protected with weak encryption algorithms.” There is no law that mandates a high standard of encryption; or any standard at all. [?]
    Further: “Passive interception technology that once cost tens of thousands of dollars can now be built at home for as little as $15. Similarly, whereas cellular interception was once a black art practiced by those in the intelligence community, today, professors assign the task of decrypting cellular communications to their computer science students.”
    The Pell and Soghoian article is one of the best things I have seen recently about computer security and how, say, the Fourth Amendment is affected–StingRay, the police favorite, is very intrusive– and it is fun to read. I recommend it.

  59. Judge Lambreth was sickened by his knowledge of government tricks in degending itself in civil litigation.

  60. Thanks P.L. and I stand corrected! The work around of course below the President is who exactly is the “appointing official”? Is the President an official? Not sure!
    Technically all federal officers require Senate confirmation but of course its the Electoral College that elects the President.

  61. Noting that 5 USC Section 3110 not a criminal statute and OPM could issue regs. Not certain if that done but the WH has long argued in litigation [e.g. FOIA] that it is NOT a federal agency and not subject to any federal agency regulation.

  62. Thanks very much for your comment!

  63. 3 USC Section 3110 extraxt:
    a) For the purpose of this section—
    (1) “agency” means—
    (A) an Executive agency;
    (B) an office, agency, or other establishment in the legislative branch;
    (C) an office, agency, or other establishment in the judicial branch; and
    (D) the government of the District of Columbia;
    (2) “public official” means an officer (including the President and a Member of Congress), a member of the uniformed service, an employee and any other individual, in whom is vested the authority by law, rule, or regulation, or to whom the authority has been delegated, to appoint, employ, promote, or advance individuals, or to recommend individuals for appointment, employment, promotion, or advancement in connection with employment in an agency; and
    (3) “relative” means, with respect to a public official, an individual who is related to the public official as father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, first cousin, nephew, niece, husband, wife, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, or half sister.

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