Another felonious disclosure.


"Ambassador Sergey Kislyak’s accounts of two conversations with Sessions — then a top foreign policy adviser to Republican candidate Donald Trump — were intercepted by U.S. spy agencies, which monitor the communications of senior Russian officials both in the United States and in Russia. "  Washpost


"A former U.S. official who read the Kislyak reports said that the Russian ambassador reported speaking with Sessions about issues that were central to the campaign, including Trump’s positions on key policy matters of significance to Moscow."  Washpost


The present or former official (or officials) who read these intercepts because of his or her clearance for hyper-sensitive compartmented information and have discussed them with the Washington Post have in IMO committed a felony for which they should be prosecuted.  

I know a lot of you are uninterested in protection of US SIGINT products but IMO that is an altogether irresponsible position.  pl

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144 Responses to Another felonious disclosure.

  1. Jack says:

    Where do you think all this leads? I don’t see any investigations of the leaks and the “US officials” who are leakers of highly classified information.
    Clapper didn’t get prosecuted for perjury. Of course, he was on the Obama team and Holder wasn’t gonna prosecute. But why can’t Sessions get an investigation going? Maybe he has but it’s not public but where is the public counter-offensive, other than Trump’s tweets?
    I suppose this leak is a prelude to Sessions resignation and the appointment of someone who will use this opportunity to go after some of the high ranking members of the Borg.

  2. pl,
    I agree. This constant leaking of classified intelligence reports by those within the system or recently out of the system is illegal or at least in violation of their classified information nondisclosure agreements. Sometimes there are things I’d like to say here or to others, but I can’t and I won’t. I know you can’t and won’t. I guess we’re just a couple of foolish old dinosaurs who just don’t know how the game is played anymore. Well, screw those bastards. They have no honor whatsoever.

  3. sid_finster says:

    To the extent that trump is frustrating the Deep State in its efforts, we can expect such leaks on a daily basis.

  4. Jack says:

    Why should we believe someone who lied under oath in sworn testimony to Congress?
    “Two former top U.S. intelligence officials tore into President Donald Trump on Friday, saying in sometimes personal terms that Trump has shown disrespect for intelligence officials and a distasteful affinity for Russian President Vladimir Putin, and warning he may be endangering U.S. national security.”

  5. ToivoS says:

    I have to consider myself in that group that is not only not interested in protecting US SIGINT but would be happy to see it blown up completely. My interest is selfish. Those technologies that have been developed to protect the US from foreign enemies seemed quite reasonable. However, once those technologies are developed they are then used against the US population. As we have seen over and over again, those forces inside the US bureaucracy that control SIGINT will use those powers against their political enemies. Surely, you must see how that is being used against Trump, of course you do. The example given here is being used against Trump.
    As long as political appointees or electeds control these powers they will be used against their political opponents.

  6. zk says:

    Since one part of the government is actively trying to overthrow an elected president, these things are to be expected.
    All is fair in love and war, they say. These are pretty dangerous times.

  7. Dante Alighieri says:

    Colonel, you are a noble defender of constitutional idealism, but IMO that is unfortunately a lost cause. Hasn’t the leaking game always been part and parcel of the intel business? The interesting questions are cui bono and why now. The current US situation looks a political civil war in which anything goes. Some are suggesting that it was Trump who leaked this.
    BTW, I think it’s really a great country where Dante’s works can be picked up for a few cents in a barber shop!

  8. turcopolier says:

    Dante Alighieri
    I suppose that our present political dilemma looks amusing from Switzerland, the land of secret bank accounts, chocolate, and watches built as toys for the useless rich. “Constitutional idealism?” How dismissive and contemptuous. You Swiss sat on your asses and made money through two world wars while my country went out of its way to fight for “constitutional idealism” in Europe. What would you know of the value of “constitutional idealism?” pl

  9. turcopolier says:

    “these things are to be expected” A political game played by those who were entrusted with these state secrets? OK, then part of the game is to punish those who violated their oaths. pl

  10. BillWade says:

    It seems pretty simple to me, there are laws in place to protect the American people from attack by enemies, both foreign and domestic, when the law is broken. punish the law-breaker(s) to the satisfaction of the American people.

  11. turcopolier says:

    My vision of you is of an immigrant from Scandinavia living the left coast life in the Bay area where the “deplorables” seem a troglodyte race arrived from an HG Well futurist novel of the degeneracy of mankind. You have been commenting here for a long time and seem invincibly ignorant. You actually don’t know much of anything about the usefulness of things like SIGINT in protecting the life you have led. What you focus on s the abuse of power that has occurred since 9/11. There HAS been abuse but you are filled with self righteous nonsense and as TTG says I cannot disabuse you of your ignorance of the utility of such things as SIGINT because to do so would be to violate my oath like the swine from on high who have done so with the press. pl

  12. turcopolier says:

    How do you define “deep state” as the neologism applies to the US? pl

  13. turcopolier says:

    At this moment I would estimate that Trump has a 50% chance of making it through his first term of office. The uniformity of the incessant media agitprop campaign against him may eventually frighten enough Republican members of the House to cause them to sign off on a bill of impeachment. Once such a bill goes to the senate for trial the result is incalculable. That can be seen in the inability of McConnell to control his caucus in the health care fiasco. The media (increasingly including Foxnews line reporters) are convinced that they are a co-equal branch of government and are quite obviously determined to drive Trump from office as evidence of their contribution to blocking what they see as counter-revolution. You can expect to see a continuing series of violations of the law in unauthorized disclosures of state secrets to the agitprop press. These leaks are IMO coming from political figures whether within or without the IC. They must be or have been very high up or they would not have had access to the material. I do not believe that the career work force of the IC is leaking this stuff. Such people are too afraid of prosecution or career ruin to do that. pl

  14. LondonBob says:

    A positive spin on it would be Sessions has very few of his people in, most are tied up in the Senate and haven’t been appointed yet. Also this a big, highly sensitive case, it will take time to build and do it right.
    Pleased to see the odious Powers is now being looked into in regards to the whole spying/unmasking thing.

  15. Marcus says:

    I am for “protection of US SIGINT products” but I am also for protection of Constitutional rights of all Americans.
    It seems these agencies violated the Fourth Amendment rights of nearly every American and then attempted to hide that fact from their duly elected representatives. Violators of their oath to protect SIGNIT products are about our only window into the Constitutional violations of these agencies. Which is the greater evil?

  16. bks says:

    It is widely assumed that Trump released this intelligence himself to get rid of Sessions. If my boss publicly ripped me, I would have quit already.

  17. turcopolier says:

    It is widely assumed by whom, your fellow leftists? you have no proof for that at all. According to the Post former officials gave them this information. Now who would that be? pl

  18. zk says:

    Yes all is fair, but who will do the punishing ?
    When the sides are being chosen, oaths can be a peculiar thing.
    To someone who strongly believes that the current president is a grave threat to the survival of the country, breaking one oath is actually honoring another.
    Is there such a thing as a greater, more important oath ? You have been abroad and experienced war. You have perspective most US citizens don’t.
    To many americans, especially the newer generations, oaths are in the same category as worrying about their facebook page.
    They are not aware how badly this situation can spin out of control. And what the consequences would be.

  19. Blayne says:

    QUOTE: “At this moment I would estimate that Trump has a 50% chance of making it through his first term of office.”
    The establishment has always let it be known that they desired Pence over Trump. Because Pence has the campaign personality of a wet walnut, the establishment were compelled to purposely elevate him on the coat-tails of Trump’s ‘populism’. Israel and the Christian Armageddon folks absolutely adore Pence.
    I suspect that Trump’s presidential days are numbered … before 2018 election cycle. The Republicans are loathe to have Trump front-an’-center for 2018.

  20. Kooshy says:

    Colonel, IMO these guys focus from get go was, is to run the legally elected president of US out of office, in course of their action this plan, they care less what happens to this country or it’s long term security, somehow these salami sliding leakers are assured they will not be prosecuted.

  21. turcopolier says:

    I see that you are someone who has lurked here a long time and now use a different name. Don’t use Marcus. Your argument is sophist BS. The intercepts involved in these leaks are all from foreign intelligence operations. Using the existence of the abusive presidentially ordered internal intercept operations you deny the validity of federal law that protects foreign intelligence operations. You are either incredibly ignorant or incredibly partisan. You should remember that law protects people just like you. pl

  22. turcopolier says:

    The trigger will be that for people like me and my brethren here oaths are absolute. pl

  23. Outrage Beyond says:

    Re: “uniformity of the incessant media agitprop campaign against him”
    This article may be of interest to readers of this site:
    In brief, Thomas Frank cites the unanimity of media groupthink as a reason for the likely failure of their agitprop campaign against him.
    Re: “These leaks are IMO coming from political figures whether within or without the IC. They must be or have been very high up or they would not have had access to the material. I do not believe that the career work force of the IC is leaking this stuff. Such people are too afraid of prosecution or career ruin to do that.”
    As everyone reading this site surely knows, there are two legal systems: one for those who are wealthy and well-connected, another for the peons. One wonders whether Jeff Sessions has the will and the means to pursue prosecutions against such members of the favored class. As a member of that class himself, and someone who appears to have a rather retrograde sensibility, I doubt he has the gumption to go after members of his own club.
    Connect the dots: Sessions just announced that he plans to ramp up civil forfeiture. He’s all about going after the peons.

  24. Tinky says:

    Colonel Lang,
    Please correct me if I am wrong, but hasn’t evidence surfaced relating to the use, at times, of foreign intelligence intercepts in order to circumvent internal intercept restrictions?
    Thank you.

  25. turcopolier says:

    Yes. It has been claimed that GCHQ was asked to find material in its files that could be used against Trump. IMO that would not protect the leakers from the disclosure laws. pl

  26. turcopolier says:

    The IP is in Zurich. Not definitive of a location but indicative. “Leaking” IS NOT “part of the intelligence game.” Leaking is a part of the government game. The intelligence agencies are servants of the state, not the other way around. Governments sometimes decide to de-classify information and release it to the press. They frequently use the intelligence agencies to do that since reporters always assume that they have successfully seduced some intelligence official as a covert source. pl

  27. Sam Peralta says:

    Col. Lang
    Do you believe there is an investigation of the leakers with the intent of collecting evidence for prosecution? If not, why not?
    It would seem obvious who the suspects are, considering how limited the pool of people who would have access to this highly classified intercept information.
    I was always under the impression that any disclosure of the most secret government intelligence information would be met with an automatic arrest and prosecution for espionage. If this is only selectively applied depending on your political connections, then it is only a matter of time before the system breaks down completely.

  28. Sam Peralta says:

    Trump is tweeting today!
    A new INTELLIGENCE LEAK from the Amazon Washington Post, this time against A.G. Jeff Sessions. These illegal leaks, like Comey’s, must stop!
    I too am baffled why the public “counter-offensive” seems to be limited to Trump’s tweets.
    If Clapper and Brennan are prosecuted and convicted they deserve at the very least the same treatment as “Chelsea” while in the hoosegow!

  29. Fred says:

    “Clapper didn’t get prosecuted for perjury.”
    Clapper has not been proscuted for anything. Trump doesn’t need a leak to ask Sessions to resign.

  30. J says:

    Will we ever learn the names of these unknown bastards who are compromising our SIGINT capabilities? They’re bastards when they undermine our National Security.

  31. Eric Newhill says:

    By all means leakers of classified information should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Charge them with everything possible and then strive to make as much as possible stick. Then see to it that the maximum sentence is received for each count on which they are found guilty.
    That said, I don’t really see how this game they’re playing is supposed to work in the long run. An anonymous source is claimed to be in possession of classified information detrimental to Trump and/or a Trump team member. We (the public) can chose to believe whether or not any of this is real. If you hate Trump, you will accept the story as truth. If you like Trump, you will perceive it as at least potentially “fake news”. If you’re on the fence re; Trump, you will still probably require some proof that there is a reality behind the story if it is going to be used as ammunition to impeach or otherwise destroy the administration. Trump can proclaim the story to be fake news and taunt the media or the alleged source to produce evidence.
    Point being, as some point this info and the leaker have to come out from under the rock and into the light of day; at which time they will exposed for prosecution. Or else it can all be written off as fake news.
    And, if the slithering creatures that leak info are permitted to stay under their rocks and fight the admin with unsubstantiated stories and innuendo, then they have the problem that two can play that game. IMO, the departure of Spicer signals that the game is, indeed, about to become two sided. This will begin to resemble a world wrestling federation smack down. We may soon be learning that Mueller has been meeting with the Russians and colluding to destroy the Trump presidency, along with the Clintons and other democrats. We will be learning more about their nefarious business deals. We may learn about how Obama and Clinton sided with Al Qaeda. We will learn about molestations of children. Sky is the limit when sources are anonymous. At that point the original leakers either have to come out and show their hand or shut up. If the former, then they will be prosecuted.

  32. Fred says:

    “Sessions just announced that he plans to ramp up civil forfeiture.”
    The company whose employees have recieved leaked information and which continues in facilitating the spread of this illegal ly obtained information is the Washington Post. That company is owned by Jeff Bezos. What’s stopping Session from seazing those assets?

  33. Eric Newhill says:

    I winced when Trump selected Pence for VP. That was the one major mistake he made. He should have chosen someone at least as reviled by the Borg as he himself is. Perhaps Gingrich.

  34. Eric Newhill says:

    Another thought; Trump can fight back with real evidence as he can declassify anything that is useful and then put it out there against his enemies. The leakers are stuck with a classified status.

  35. Bobo says:

    i can only encourage Trump to reintroduce Public Hangings for the next SOB caught leaking. That will put an end to this crap.
    What most people do not see is that come 2020 the Republican & Democrat parties will be so splintered that Trump will be a shoo-in whether he runs as a Republican or Independent. Yes, he will have some great difficulties in the interim but with all the BS and Bluster going on what is happening or getting done behind the scenes. No question Congress could not pass a bill on the correct way to tie their shoes but we knew that. Illegal immigration is down, Food Stamps are down, ISIS is coming to an end, jobs are up, markets are up and oil is down so something is happening. If you think it’s blind luck I will not disagree with you. The only thing we know for sure is the MSM is in tatters and full of crap.

  36. J says:

    It’s Official: Impeachment Resolution against President Donald J. Trump. H. RES. 438

  37. sid_finster says:

    Good question. Without attempting q legal definition, I would briefly describe it as a largely unelected but mutually promoting group within the foreign policy and intelligence communities within and without the government and promoting a sociopathic vision of American Empire.

  38. Bill Herschel says:

    The key word in your post is “Another”.
    This is a RICO case: “The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, commonly referred to as the RICO Act or simply RICO, is a United States federal law that provides for extended criminal penalties and a civil cause of action for acts performed as part of an ongoing criminal organization.”
    The series of leaks is being committed by an ongoing criminal organization, unless one assumes it is a collection of independently acting 25 year old Reality Leah Winner’s, who incidentally is out of business and the precautions against leaking surely have been strengthened.

  39. sid_finster says:

    Because these institutions are so largely captured, the term “Deep State” can refer to the institutions themselves.
    I prefer the term “Deep State” to “Borg” as I believe it more accurate, and it does not require a knowledge of 1980s American TV to understand the idiom.
    How would you define “Borg”?

  40. robt willmann says:

    I happened to turn on the television yesterday evening at the time when on CNN Jake Tapper was trumpeting the “breaking news” from the Washington Post about intercepted conversations of former Russian ambassador Kislyak and former Senator and now Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Because of the subject matter, I watched it, and switched back and forth to the MSNBC channel to check, and it of course was also pushing the same line. Of all the nasty political maneuvering and mudslinging by politicians in Congress and by the media since Trump was elected president, this was to me the most disgraceful and outrageous.
    The one little thing I noticed was that on both CNN and MSNBC, the talking heads they had on were trying to qualify their statements a tiny bit, and the viewer would hear them say “uh, uh” as they were trying not to directly accuse Sessions of a crime.
    I do not need to spend a lot of time pointing out the obvious about the Washington Post’s technique in these types of hit jobs, but the lead paragraph says–
    “Russia’s ambassador to Washington told his superiors in Moscow that he discussed campaign-related matters, including policy issues important to Moscow, with Jeff Sessions during the 2016 presidential race, contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, according to current and former U.S. officials.”
    You can see their selection of words: “he discussed campaign-related matters”; “policy issues”; “important to Moscow”; “with Jeff Sessions”; “during the 2016 presidential race”; “contrary to public assertions”; “the embattled attorney general”.
    Down in the ninth paragraph there is a vague disclaimer–
    “Officials emphasized that the information contradicting Sessions comes from U.S. intelligence on Kislyak’s communications with the Kremlin, and acknowledged that the Russian ambassador could have mischaracterized or exaggerated the nature of his interactions.”
    Notice that even in the disclaimer, the Wash Post continues to peddle accusation as fact, saying, “… the information contradicting Sessions….”
    It is also obvious that this latest disclosure does what has been discussed here before, and is the most egregious problem, which is that if the intercepts came from U.S. surveillance, they tell Russia that their communications of this type can be overheard by the U.S., and if they were encrypted, that the U.S. has broken the code encrypting them.
    President Trump’s criticism of Attorney General Sessions the other day, disclosed by the NY Times, was unnecessary and wrong. The person who stabbed Trump in the back is not Sessions, but Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein (the number two person in the Justice Department). After Sessions recused himself from the so-called Trump-Russia investigation, Rosenstein became the acting attorney general for that investigation. Rather than assigning it to a career Justice Department lawyer whose background shows no partisan direction or other suspect appearance, he appoints Robert Mueller. How it was that he approached Mueller, and what that conversation was like, would be interesting to know.
    Here is Rosenstein’s directive creating the special counsel–
    The overly broad and vague description of what is to be investigated includes: “(i) any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and….”
    After observing who the lawyers are Mueller has hired for the investigation out of all the lawyers available in the U.S., one can see where this may possibly go.
    Mueller himself was chief of the criminal division of the Justice Department around the last two years George H.W. Bush (Bush sr.) was president (1990-1992). From around January to May, 2001, he was the acting Deputy Attorney General, when George W. Bush (Bush jr.) was president. Bush jr. subsequently appointed him FBI director, and Mueller officially became the director on September 4, 2001.
    A paper discussing an FBI director’s appointment and tenure is here–
    Rosenstein likes to use the word “link”. Are there any “links” between Mueller and the Bush family?
    During the CNN segment yesterday (21 July) about Sessions and the Washington Post story, Tapper anticipated that Senator Al Franken will appear on his Sunday morning show. This will likely continue the attack on Sessions.
    The steps are apparent: first, retired Gen. Michael Flynn as National Security Advisor was out; now, the game is on push out Sessions as attorney general; then — whether ousting Sessions is successful or not — will be the ongoing effort to remove Trump as president. The Russian government is the demonized lever to use to get all three of them out.

  41. Haralambos says:

    Since I am not a lawyer, I go to others who are and try to understand the issues, especially regarding impeachment and pardons. This link deals with the first:
    This link deals with the second:
    I hope some will find this useful.

  42. Eric Newhill,
    All this public battling to and fro with leaks and tweets is not the battle. It’s all like duelling packs of howler monkeys bellowing at the top of their lungs and flinging poo at each other. The central fight is what the Mueller investigation is doing in DC and what the New York State AG Schneiderman investigation is doing. All the information revealed in these leaks has been known to Mueller’s team long ago. We won’t know what these investigations will lead to until indictments, if any, are made public or a report is publicly released. Until then we can either join the howler monkeys or go on with our lives and wait.

  43. Mikee says:

    “I am introducing Articles of Impeachment to begin a long process to protect our country from abuse of power, obstruction of justice, and impulsive, ignorant incompetence.”​ -Brad Sherman.
    Preemptive Impeachment?

  44. JoelS says:

    I don’t think the center can hold too much longer. When I saw the aircraft carrier christened today ($12 billion spent and 2 more years of work before it can be used), I thought of inexorable financial reckoning coming. The former chief global strategist for Morgan Stanley, the late Barton Biggs (d. 2012), a giant of the financial world who had a reputation for dead-on accurate predictions, warned in his last book that the complete collapse of the financial world was coming in the near future. Biggs wrote, “[A]ssume the possibility of a breakdown of the civilized infrastructure”. He went on to recommend buying arable land away from dense population centers and to buy guns and ammo.

  45. ToivoS says:

    Some of your characterization here has some some accuracy but your notion of my feelings about the people living in fly-over country is utterly wrong and founded on nothing I have said. My alienation from the so called progressives in the Democratic Party was due largely in part to their attitudes towards the people who elected Trump. I have felt that the Democrats have used identity politics in a way that has divided the working class rather than build any multicultural alliances. In fact, in quiet protest towards those attitudes I ended up voting for Trump if not publicly endorsing him.

  46. steve says:

    With the amount of leaking going on, this reflects poorly upon the competence with which things are being run. There should be a vigorous investigation ongoing and by now some names should be coming out so that the leakers themselves will be scared. Instead, unless there is lot going on behind the scenes we don’t know about, all we see are complaints from this admin about how the leaks are unfair or whatever. Heck, if nothing else just accelerate the nominating process which has been going on so slowly and put your own people in place. Don’t people read Machiavelli anymore?
    Also, I stil dont see the GOP impeaching Trump. They can always drag things out until the next election. McConnell got 48 senators to agree to a remarkably bad health care bill. He would get those same people to oppose impeachment.

  47. ToivoS says:

    I would think that your efforts to define the Borg works as a definition of the Deep State.

  48. dilbert dogbert says:

    I understand Col. Lang’s point of view because in his service leaks kill or endanger the life of the country. That said, the oath of office mentions foreign and domestic enemy’s. The definition of enemy’s is left as an exercise for the oath taker. Some could argue that lying or dissembling to a Senate vetting committee about contacts with, if not an enemy, certainly an opponent highly interested in influencing a presidential election, shades close to “domestic enemy”.

  49. turcopolier says:

    dilbert Dogbert
    The oath we are discussing IS NOT the oath of office. It is the oath one takes when “read on” for highly classified information. More sophism. pl

  50. turcopolier says:

    Toivo S
    You are not paying attention or are a dissembler. The “Borg” is the foreign policy establishment. An American “deep state” if it existed would exist within the government. pl

  51. Greco says:

    Very nicely put.

  52. turcopolier says:

    How many times must I define Borg for you people? It is the foreign policy establishment as Obama called it. This is the collective globalist mind formed in graduate schools over many decades. This collective treasures the idea of the end of history and a brave new world that is essentially one political order and economy under US supervisor. This collective includes the media, academia, some government people, some military people and almost all of the FP intelligentsia. I see no sign as yet that Borgism has come to be the religion of the career government. Therefore there is no Deep State. pl

  53. Stephanie says:

    The article reads “contrary to public assertions by the embattled attorney general, according to current and former U.S. officials.”
    Later in the article:
    “But U.S. officials with regular access to Russian intelligence reports say Kislyak — whose tenure as ambassador to the United States ended recently — has a reputation for accurately relaying details about his interactions with officials in Washington.”
    Sounds very much like the present tense.
    This information is likely not new and there’s no reason for Democratic sources to sit on it; Sessions is about the worst modern AG any liberal, moderate or otherwise, can imagine. Sessions’ boss has openly proclaimed his lack of confidence in and anger at his subordinate in terms which would have induced most honorable people to resign. Alas for Trump, Sessions isn’t that guy. Trump doesn’t want Sessions there and he also doesn’t want to cause another firestorm by firing him since there are other firings that may be coming down the line. The real question is whether the Administration is savvy enough to undermine Sessions in this way, since flaying him publicly obviously didn’t work.

  54. turcopolier says:

    “why would Kislyak misrepresent the meetings to his bosses?” In my experience ambassadors often lie to their bosses to make themselves look good with regard to their local contacts on post. New subject: A “war room” exists, probably within the former Clinton apparat for the purpose of generating daily press crises and timing them to maximum effect. pl

  55. turcopolier says:

    This is press weasel wording. You notice they did not say WHEN these officials had regular access. IMO the “current officials” part is just press trickery to “cover” their sources. pl

  56. Karl Kolchak says:

    I’m more concerned with the precedent this is creating where all future presidents will be facing such leaks from IC officials who disagree with official policy. In their blind hatred of Trump, the leakers are dangerously undermining the republic. If their actions are allowed to stand unpunished, the very idea of American democracy will be dead and buried.

  57. turcopolier says:

    Karl Kolchak
    “from IC officials” The heads of agencies are politicians, not intelligence people no matter what their origin might be. pl

  58. VietnamVet says:

    This is what puzzles me about the Trump Administration. If the White House went after the leakers and white-collar criminals; the globalist coup would be terminated promptly. My guess is that Donald Trump, being an oligarch in good standing, can’t conceive of himself as being a deplorable subject to the rule of law or using the Constitution to neuter his opponents. The intelligence community is leaking because they can. The world in chaos will keep getting worse until corporate executives, plutocrats and their mercenaries are jailed for their crimes. The five men own half of the world’s wealth are plump targets. It is the height of stupidity to dismantle government and society (the law, police and military) that protects them to cut their taxes.

  59. iowa steve says:

    Generally, the First Amendment is considered to protect the right of the press to publish such material, at least since the Pentagon papers/NYTimes Supreme Court ruling of the early 70s. There is a caveat to that jurisprudence in that the publishing entity cannot actively participate in the theft of the information. They can receive it and publish it only. The word “participation” is of course open to interpretation.
    On a related note, an internet joke du jour is since civil forfeiture is based on government allegations rather than conviction, why not hoist Sessions on his own petard and seize his assets based on allegations of perjury? Yes, just a joke.

  60. Greco says:

    The Deep State, as I understand it, is broadly defined as a shadow/secret government. I think we should be more specific and define it as hostile, deeply entrenched bureaucrats and policy makers who serve an agenda independent of the American voter. The term itself I think owes its origins with “Deep Throat,” the alias used by the primary source of the damaging leaks that ultimately took down President Dick Nixon.
    I disagree that the concept of the Borg in itself disqualifies the possiblity of a Deep State, but the concept of the Borg does rationalize much of the thought process that has come to define the establishment.
    With respect to the possibility of a Deep State, there was a group of high level individuals in the State Department that plotted to control the release of records pertaining to the FBI investigation into’s Hillary private email server. They were even described by name as a “Shadow Government.” There was also alledgedly an underhanded effort by the deputy secretary of state, Pat Kennedy, to bribe an FBI investigator by offering a quid pro quo arrangment of some kind.
    I think these considerations in themselves aren’t necessarily proof of a Deep State, but they illustrate that something along the lines of a Deep State could indeed exist in the government.

  61. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Did not the leaking of the US National Intelligence Estimate on Iran help the United States; in as much as it drained the War Party swamp?

  62. turcopolier says:

    The 2007 NIE on Iran had a public summary    The Borg never alllowed that again. Pl

  63. ISL says:

    I caution SST to take a grain of salt with juan cole’s musings.
    On issues of Palestine/Israel he is reasonably neutral, on many of the foreign policy adventures of the Obama administration he tended to forget key information to the point I wondered if he writes under contract. Libya was a case in point.

  64. Stumpy says:

    A former official. The beltway bubble never fails to disappoint.
    A competent agency would keep this type of information under their belt until they had the certainty to confront a US cabinet-level politician with incontrovertible evidence.
    Alternatively, use the recordings to flip the ambassador into our service.
    After a while, bell fatigue sets in and the dogs no longer drool.

  65. turcopolier says:

    It is NSA’s statutory mission to disseminate intercepts directly to the rest of the IC and to designated consumers. It has always been thus. NSA IS not an analytic agency of the IC. You want to change that law? pl

  66. turcopolier says:

    IMO you understand “it” wrong. What I hear from a lot of you is a Deep Ignorance of how the “bureaucracy” as you call it works and its attiude twoward any politically appointed or elected government. have you ever been a “bureaucrat? pl

  67. ISL says:

    Why not? Answer: Dont pick a fight you will lose, bigly.
    How do you think the nationalization (oops forfeiture) on trumped up charges (how all the media will report it) of a fortune 500 company assets will play out. Oh, and lets not forget the first amendment that protects the free speech rights of corporate and private money.
    Amazon likely spends more on legal than DOJ with far better lawyers (best lawyers go for the best money). Add in Bezos $600 million contract with the CIA, knowledge of how many sex toys, negligees not of the size of the wife, etc., each congressman bought on Amazon, etc…. Session aint stupid.
    Anti-trust is how to go after Bezos/Amazon, but definitely not on the Trump agenda.

  68. turcopolier says:

    IMO DJT’s arrogance as a “master of the universe” is the main obstacle to crushing the Borgist plot against him. IMO he can’t believe that he cannot just bulldoze the Borg as he did his adversaries in the Manhattan real estate sewer. pl

  69. J,
    It’s all symbolic at this point. The Republican House is in no mood to even think about impeachment. No matter what the Mueller and Schneiderman investigations come up with, I don’t think a Republican House will ever be in mood for impeachment. Even if they decide Trump is a liability, I think they will determine impeachment will be even more of a liability.

  70. turcopolier says:

    IMO it is not a question of “the Republican House.” It is a question of the ultimate state of fear on the part of individual members of not being re-elected that is trump’s major danger. In my experience members of congress are worried about only one thing – re-election. pl

  71. DH says:

    What more is needed? Lots of people don’t pay attention to the MSM. He cooly brands WaPo as a corporate entity, defends Sessions, and smacks down wienie Comey. Kind of makes Trump look like a lone gun-slinger…too far?

  72. luxetveritas,
    Judging by your comments on TAO, It doesn’t appear you know your ass from a hole in the ground. I’ve worked with TAO for years. You are wrong on all counts beginning with what TAO stands for and its size and tumbling further down the rabbit hole from there.

  73. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Understood, thanks – the distinctions had escaped me.

  74. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I think that Borg spans multiple countries; most of Western European states, New Zealand, Australia, and even Braxil.

  75. pl,
    You’re right about the centrality of re-election, but I think most Republicans are in fear of being primaried out if they engage in any talk of impeachment. Trump’s base is most powerful at the party primary level.

  76. PeterHug says:

    If that’s where things end up (and I rather expect them to these days, although I certainly will do everything I can to prevent it) arable land, guns, and ammo are all well and good – but what you really need and what has no substitute, is a strong, resilient, and deep network of people around you who care about your welfare, and who you care about in turn.
    Find yourself somewhere you’re happy being, and become part of that community. The rest is a bunch of details. (OK, that’s what you should be doing anyway, if you want to have a happy and fulfilling life.)

  77. turcopolier says:

    Most Republican member is not good enough from Trump’s POV. Trump needs to use the de-classification powers of his office to crush his enemies. pl

  78. ISL says:

    Not sure which comment your response is to, as I am in complete agreement with you.
    I am a firm believer that decision makers, analysts, etc., should have the best information to make the most informed decisions. And that the politicians/generals/etc. should take responsibility for their decision – not blame it on the IC.
    NSA should, and also develop the best technology to do so. That said, I believe that there is too much emphasis on collect it all, and thereby missing the needles in the haystack, SIGINT over HUMINT.
    We entered a brave new world without privacy, 4th amendment or not, and I do not see any way to put the genie back in the bottle (though I see some potential in advances in cryptography). In my earlier comment, I note, that not only the US and other govt’s have big data on American citizens that can be used against legitimate political discourse, companies like Amazon also have this information.
    Where I get very annoyed is where back doors are put in systems, and then stolen or discovered by criminals, appear for sale on the dark web, and our govt doesnt warn US companies of the breach until its on CNN.

  79. Cortes says:

    Are the machinations of the Borg so opaque to the Administration that no easy targets are available for beginning to set some examples “pour encourager les autres” to behave professionally and properly? If this is an excessively naive or stupid question please ignore.

  80. pl,
    A lot depends on what the classified intelligence says. Trump would not want to release any information that doesn’t support his contention that all this Russian election interference stuff is fake news. From my experience, admittedly aging quickly, the intelligence is not going to say what Trump wants it to say.

  81. VietnamVet says:

    Donald Trump has no Harry L. Hopkins or George C. Marshall on staff. His Consiglieri, Michael D. Cohen, is a NY attorney in a corrupt business. Steve Bannon is sidelined. Chief Enforcer Jefferson Sessions is recused, disrespected and maybe fired. Mike Pence is prepping for an elevation. He and his family are alone, facing a coup. They don’t have a chance to come out unscathed unless he can find a way to get the American people to support him. He needs Gettysburg Address level of Tweets or Fireside Chats to connect and actually help the Deplorables or he will be gone.

  82. Lefty says:

    Col, Is Trump’s arrogance why we have not had leakers figuratively strung up from trees on the White House lawn? It seems curious we are half a year in and there have been no leak indictments, nothing much publicly beyond angry tweets. Is that perhaps part of Trump’s frustration with Sessions?
    Learning the foreign contacts of all the candidates would be enlightening, especially if they included the Clinton Global Initiative bribes. Expect Kislyak talked to most of, if not all of, the candidates and their staffs. It was his job, and theirs. Hope we’ve got some at State who are as good at their jobs as he was at his.
    My understanding from news reports is that Rice ordered the unmasking of the Trumpie names. Then Obama lowered the classification level of the reports they were included in. That guaranteed a wide enough distribution they would leak. Pretty neat little trick and within both his and Rice’s authorities.

  83. J says:

    Those members of Congress like the two Dems who came up with the Impeachment Resolution, if they spent their energies on shoring up our nation’s infrastructures (roads, bridges, hospitals, electric grid) instead of wasting time and taxpayer money like they too frequently do with their empty Resolutions, we as a nation would sure be better off.
    IMO every minute they waste, constitutes fraud against our taxpayer dollar which is paying for their shiny Congressional shoes and suits.

  84. Kooshy says:

    Colonel Lang- do you think it’s possible that some in IC community, truly believe that Russians have deeply influenced and changed the course of this last election in favor of DT, and now they want to correct that by forcing DT out of office? In your opinion Is that a possibility? Or they know better?

  85. Kooshy says:

    “war room” exists, probably within the former Clinton apparat”
    Absolutely, the very effective time bomb news leaks is to keep feed the press on daily bases, like you said if DT don’t deal with this head on, eventually they will forced him to resign.

  86. robt willmann says:

    Here are three resources to read about impeachment.
    The first is the 64-page research report from the staff of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee on impeachment, dated 22 February 1974, entitled “Constitutional Grounds for Presidential Impeachment” (a large, scanned in, computer file)–
    Then there is “Impeachment: An Overview of Constitutional Provisions, Procedure, and Practice”, from the Congressional Research Service, 9 December 2010–
    And, “Impeachment and Removal”, also from the Congressional Research Service, 29 October 2015–
    With these three papers, you will know more about the impeachment process than the talking heads on television and radio, and will probably know more than many, if not most, of the members of Congress.

  87. Eric Newhill says:

    Negative. Trump will hurl weaponized truth at the Borg. How many congress critters were supporting al Qaeda elements in Syria? You know the guys that attacked us on 9/11/01. Maybe 9/11 will be a good time to release declassified info about that support; complete with pictures of people jumping from windows rather than burn, Syrian Christians having their heads lopped off.
    Yeah, your howler monkeys in the MSM have poo. How does poo measure up to that?

  88. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg says:

    Seems to me a sign of rot at the top that top officers consider it worth the risk to national security to use their access to intelligence info to promote deep state intrigue. I also wonder how much of this so called leaked intelligence is pure fabrication projected onto the media as part of an ongoing psychological op. Wisner’s Wurlitzer didn’t just close up shop after the Church Committee hearings, or the Judith Miller affair. The WaPo has always happily functioned at the highest level as a conduit for such “leaks”

  89. Fred says:

    Iowa Steve,
    “The publishing entity cannot actively participate in the theft of the information”. That would be a nice defense to pull off. I believe Judith Miller spent spent 3 months in jail protecting Scooter Libbey.

  90. Fred says:

    Very well reasoned comment. This will set a precedent to be used against other senators appointed to cabinet posts. I wonder what the Senate would do if Trump nominated Sessions for the next opening on the Supreme Court?

  91. turcopolier says:

    With one exception we are talking about officials rather than “officers.” pl

  92. Babak Makkinejad says:

    No, it is the civilizational; a claim to universality that is imbibed from childhood and defining what is normative – in their minds.
    I have seen the analogue of this in Muslim countries; the same claim to universality, the belief in the obsolescence of others, and faith in the eventual triumph of Islam.

  93. turcopolier says:

    You judge him guilty of criminal conspiracy? pl

  94. iowa steve says:

    You are comparing apples and oranges. Judith Miller was held in contempt for refusing to reveal a source not for publishing documents. What I stated is valid and settled law regarding the freedom of the press to publish those documents, not some “nice defense to pull off” gimmick.
    You don’t have to take my word for it (from wiki):
    “New York Times Co. v. United States, 403 U.S. 713 (1971), was a landmark decision by the United States Supreme Court on the First Amendment. The ruling made it possible for The New York Times and The Washington Post newspapers to publish the then-classified Pentagon Papers without risk of government censorship or punishment.”
    However, in recent decades the government has attempted to narrow the scope of what constitutes “the press”, arguing that online bloggers and such are not covered.

  95. turcopolier says:

    I don’t think he understands the mechanisms of the government well enough to take effective action, or as TTG implied perhaps the contents of the intercepts taken as a whole may be incriminating and he fears further illegal releases and therefore does not take effective action. pl

  96. pl,
    I am almost certain there was a Russian effort to interfere in the 2016 national election. I don’t know if that effort was effective. I am suspicious that a few in the Trump campaign may have assisted in that effort wittingly or unwittingly. I have no reason to believe Trump had any part in it.
    I want the Mueller investigation to answer all these questions definitively and release those answers to the public. What the Schneiderman investigation in NY does is Trump’s problem.

  97. turcopolier says:

    “there was a Russian effort to interfere in the 2016 national election. I don’t know if that effort was effective.” Interfere in the sense of influence how people would vote or interfere in the sense of intervening in the voting and tabulating process? I know of no evidence of the latter. pl

  98. Mark Logan says:

    Just spitballing, but it strikes me as plausible the Russians may participate clandestinely in efforts to remove Trump at some point. While he is currently invaluable due to his allowing Mattis and McMaster to peel away the support of the Unicorns and while those two hate Russia in general they are conducting a more coherent policy in the region than the Borg. Pence appear to me to be fully assimilated, but may listen to reason from those two as well. Or so they may risk after they believe the war is won.
    The Russian connections to Trump Inc and Trump have become, ultimately, horribly counter productive. His presence in office is causing the D’s to train themselves to mindlessly hate Russia…and sooner or later he will be gone. It could be said he is the Borg’s greatest weapon. Or so I might believe were I in Putin’s shoes. The recent NYT interview is stunningly naive and in many places incoherent. He still, after months, hasn’t realized he can not run the US government like he ran Trump Inc.. It can be awful when a buffoon is right about anything.
    If this is judged too far off topic or abjectly silly please don’t post. I do not think it at all likely this most recent “leak” came from them.

  99. pl,
    I think it was a pure influence op with no serious effort to change the vote tally. I thought it was quite an elegant operation and used methodologies that will become part of every major election from this day forward. Criminality doesn’t enter into this except for data theft and possible data sharing of voter personal information.

  100. turcopolier says:

    As we both know what you describe has been done many times by the US without any idea that it was a bad thing to do. But then, the angels were on our side. pl

  101. ked says:

    It fits Trump’s MObto throw his lieutenants under the bus. With Sessions, he tried to do it nicely (well, as nice as Trump gets) by telling the world he wouldn’t have chosen him AG if he’d known he’d recuse himself. Letting Mueller into the game is unforgiveable. I doubt many of you know JBS the way I do (as if that matters), but there is nothing more important to his career, his self-image, the meaning of his life than attaining the apex of judicial status… the AG and from there to the USSC. He thought he’d positioned himself perfectly via Trump. But Jeff is a bit pure-of-heart, and even naive in the ways of the Game, particularly as played by an amoral egomaniac. No way Sessions would resign upon being castrated publicly – being AG (& pure) is simply transcendent to him. But Trump has gotta get an AG who will not recuse himself, who will fire Mueller in order to protect the boss, and be the next body to jump in front of the next bus (lotta buses in DC).
    For DT & his inner circle, la familia, what to do … what to do?

  102. pl,
    It’s a shame so many Americans can’t see that. I find it embarrassing to compare Russia’s elegant and bloodless operation to our horrid five billion dollar (and a bag of cookies) effort to overthrow the government in Kiev. All resulting in a broken country run by kleptocratic nazi thugs. So much death and suffering and it’s still going on.

  103. TimmyB says:

    Frankly, I don’t think anyone will learn the truth. I’m reluctant to believe anyone in the US government would disclose to the world that our government was intercepting and decoding Russian diplomatic communications. So there is some chance the story is a lie.
    Assuming the story is true and the Russian ambassador was reporting his conversations honestly, he could have easily said to Sessions something completely innocuous such as “the sanctions are unfair and good luck with the election.” It makes sense to assume the ambassador complained about the Russian sanctions to every US official he met. Wasn’t that his job?

  104. turcopolier says:

    Governor Winthrop’s City on a Hill idea is still with us.
    Yup. We are special. A lot of people don’t see the irony in that given what you said about Kiev., etc. Along the way we arrived at the idea that because the angels are on our side, we can do no wrong.

  105. turcopolier says:

    Timmy B
    Whether you are “reluctant” to believe it or not is not important. That is a problem for you personally. The Russian government knows whether or not it is true. They can easily compare the traffic to what has been leaked and know the truth. Have you heard them deny the truth of the substance of the leaks? pl

  106. Harry says:

    Trump has access to good legal advice. Leaking this info is pretty much the same as sending the kremlin a memo warning them that a confidential encryption protocol has been compromised. Whoever did this is confident of avoiding Libby’s fate.

  107. Eric Newhill says:

    All I am saying is that people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.
    All of these people that are against Trump have a wide variety of skeletons in their closets; everything from shady financial dealings with unsavory foreigners, to sexual fetishes, to associations with domestic criminals. The IC will have enough of it all in their files.
    IMO, aiding and abetting Al Qaeda would be unforgivable in the minds of most Americans.
    Trump should strategically declassify that material which is useful against key enemies and release it to the media (esp Fox news) and begin investigations into some where there would appear to be a legal basis to do so.

  108. Eric Newhill says:

    I think Obama and Clinton are behind this whole show.

  109. Eric Newhill says:

    Why are we so sure that the leaks are coming from current officials?
    Is it possible that Obama and Clinton stashed classified material/product in their secret war room after the election was lost. That they plotted to effect a coup d’état and are not now putting that plan into operation? That they and their agents (who are former staffers, people like Power, Rice, etc) are the leakers?

  110. Eric Newhill says:

    Given your acknowledgement of the normality of election influence operations and your ability to put such an operation into perspective against what the US has done in places like Kiev, I find your desire for Mueller to investigate Trump as somewhat inconsistent and illogical.
    Sure, it makes sense for some quiet professionals to look into how Russia did it, somewhere in the bowels of some secure govt facility and then create internal (and classified) write-up to be discussed by the agency heads and members of the senate intelligence committee.
    But the whole very public investigation into Trump – an investigation you support – is not helpful to the security of the country. It is pure partisan political theater with the possibility of leading to an impeachment; an impeachment that would do far more damage to this country than some lousy little Russian influence op.
    I really don’t understand you sometimes. Sometimes I think you are a Borg agent. You claim to be against Borgism, but then……

  111. sid_finster says:

    I am not sure that it really is civilizational for Americans.
    The average frustrated American mostly wants to live his life and doesn’t really think or understand just how much chaos and suffering his government is causing.

  112. sid_finster says:

    Sounds like an alternative formulation of my definition of Deep State, although I am not sure that it isn’t the de facto official ideology of the government.

  113. turcopolier says:

    No. The term Deep State denotes a grand and secret conspiracy WITHIN the federal government. “Borg” denotes the WHOLE FPE. pl

  114. turcopolier says:

    Your IP is in Fargo, North Dakota. Perhaps you are really in Vientiane, Laos but as a conceit I will imagine that you live in the environs of the greater Fargo metropolitan area. The way you speak of “the average American” is redolent of the air of superiority with which some immigrants and Laotian intellectuals sometimes speak of “average Americans.” Perhaps you are an immigrant from Manitoba? Actually I think that “average Americans” are quite well clued in as to their interests. That is why they declined to vote for a Borgist candidate. pl

  115. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Likewise for the average Iranian until the day that Khomeini told him that Islam was in danger and the average farmer, the average shop keeper, the average student, the average husband, the average cab driver, the average mealsmith dropped everything they were doing and joined the war against Iraq.

  116. Babak Makkinejad says:

    I agree with what you have written.

  117. Colonel,
    Re-reading your article I don’t think it’s so much that most are uninterested in the protection of US SIGINT products. It’s that we now accept it’s becoming the norm to see such considerations, or considerations of security generally, being less stringently observed than they were when politics is involved. I recall also that there were leaks relating to the Manchester bombing that wouldn’t have been expected a few years ago. Different level, same problem.
    A year or so ago, over here, the Christoper Steele episode seemed unusual. How is it that an ex UK intelligence officer’s allowed to fumble around in the middle of a US election campaign? The automatic response then was that it had either been misreported or that something had gone wrong that would be put right. It became clear that it hadn’t been misreported and there was little to show that it had been put right. So now the response is just to accept that such breaches happen and are condoned.
    So also one can now read, as one does above “It has been claimed that GCHQ was asked to find material in its files that could be used against Trump” and while that would have been shocking a while back it looks routine now.
    None of this is therefore unusual any more. It’s still alarming. What if someone, on either side of the Atlantic, were to release information relating to the security of Armed Forces serving abroad in order to score or to help score a partisan political point?
    Might I ask, is this is a temporary phase, with political appointees at present being careless of such considerations as they pursue their various agendas, or does it indicate a slackening of security relating to defence matters generally?

  118. Eric Newhill,
    The new level of influence ops in politics is not normal. It is the new normal. And I think the more the public knows about this, the better prepared it will be to resist the new normal. Just like I’m glad the public is now aware of the IC and LE use of mass surveillance, even though it was the result of an illegal leak of classified information. For these things that affect our privacy and the integrity of our vote, sunshine is the best disinfectant. That’s why I support the Mueller investigation and want the results released and discussed publicly. It will do us no good if it is kept classified and secret.
    If all this leads to impeachment, so be it. That is a Constitutional procedure, not a coup. I think that is damned near an impossibility as long as the Republicans control Congress. Even if the investigation discovers Trump knew of the full extent of the Russian IO or even aided the Russian effort, I don’t see impeachment happening in a Republican Congress. I see absolutely no evidence and doubt we will discover any evidence that Trump personally knew of, went along with or aided the Russians. I don’t see that in his nature. Whether a few around him did so is another question. I have to ask you the same question Colonel Lang asked me. “You judge him [Trump] guilty of criminal conspiracy? Without that, what basis is there for impeachment?

  119. Babak Makkinejad says:

    You are positing that Impeachment is some sort of neutral judicial process. It has not ben so in the United States and in my opinion.
    Twice a US President has been impeached; one was Johnson because he resisted US Congress attempts at inflicting revenge on the former CSA (The Reconstruction)- trying to implement the sort of Peace that Lincoln would and the other in case of Clinton – whom they hated to the edge of insensibility.
    In the case of Jackson and Reagan – one of whom was not upholding the Law which he had sworn to uphold and the other was breaking the Law – US Congress did exactly nothing; in effect endorsing lawlessness.
    US Congress successfully drove Nixon out of office because he was obstructing Justice – not because he had broken the Law – in order to protect his own people (exhibiting loyalty). And he resigned due to his loyalty to the Republican Party.
    “High Crime and Misdemeanor” means whatever a sitting US Congress decides it means – it has no basis in any US Statutes as far as I know.

  120. Eric Newhill says:

    I do not judge Trump guilty. There is no evidence.
    My primary objection to the Mueller investigation is that it is linked to getting Trump for collusion. I would support if it was merely to understand what, if anything, the Russians did.

  121. Eric Newhill,
    An impartial investigation cannot stay away from the collusion question. Unfortunately the collusion angle is attracting all the attention while the tedious details of a meticulous IO just doesn’t sound that exciting. Also from I’ve read the collusion question is more aimed at others around Trump rather than Trump himself. For once, he ought to not insist that he be the center of attention. As I said at the beginning, the collusion accusations and denials are coming from competing bands of howler monkeys. Mueller hasn’t said a thing… yet.

  122. Babak,
    You’re right. Impeachment is not a neutral judicial process, but it is a Constitutional process and I still have faith in that Constitution.

  123. dilbert dogbert says:

    I wandered around Google and found an oath attributed to NSA. Yup, Keep your mouth shut forever. I wonder though about “Chain of Custody” in this case. Do you think the FBI has the capability and resources to track the chain of custody on this document/information?

  124. Chris Chuba says:

    From the article

    “including Trump’s positions on key policy matters of significance to Moscow”

    I bet that this is the extent of the ‘campaign related matters’. In other words, Kislyak discussed substantive issues that related to Russia and the goons who leaked the information are stretching to call it ‘campaign related’. This reminds me of the leak that said that the IC confirmed ‘parts of the dossier’ which was another half truth meant to make associations to the more salacious portions without actually saying so.
    This is what makes the Information War so dangerous. It becomes a mission in and of itself where other things like Intelligence gathering is sacrificed.
    The other casualty of the Information War is that eventually we will lose all of our credibility and it will be very hard to get it back. I noticed that NO ONE believed our FBI assessment that it was the Russians who hacked Al Jazeera and planted the fake story that started the Qatar crisis (except the U.S. MSM).

  125. Fred says:

    Iowa Steve,
    Please, the Washington post has no reporters or editors who might actually know the source of the leaks?

  126. Fred says:

    Antitrust laws should be enforced and not just in regards to amazon. BTW The wapo was bought by an LLC not Amazon. I dont hnow what the ownership relationship is now.

  127. optimax says:

    The Russian/Trump team leaks are coming out in dribbles. Either it’s an enlarged prostate or it is a centrally organized effort involving a group of individuals intent on mucking up Trumps ability to succeed in his agenda for rapproachment with Russia and strengthen the Democrats at the midterm. Even the number of Ruskies meeting the Kush has been gradually increased though the number to the leaker has always been known. Much of it is innuendo, hearsay and disinformation. The timing is meant for maximum impact. I’m not an expert but this sounds like what TTG calls reflexive control.
    There wasn’t this media coverage or congressional concern after the 2004 and 2008 presidential elections even though there were questions of internal vote manipulation: back doors on Diebold machines, ballot stuffing and not enough voting stations in Democratic precincts.

  128. LondonBob says:

    Richard Baris sees the polling industry is still churning out fake polls on Trump’s approval levels, they haven’t adjusted their methodology at all. The DC GOP remain Trump’s biggest problem, they really don’t get it and how that plays out in 2018 will be interesting, they, not Trump, are the drag at the polling station. The US economy is in a soft patch at the moment but looks strong for 2018. Trump will need to harm his internal GOP rivals whilst strengthening his own. Nice that McCain is out of the picture, have read that Flake looks very vulnerable in the primary. I guess try to primary one or two and campaign to personally bring a few candidates over the line. On the plus side I do get the impression Trump has realised his enemies can never be placated and will now fight.

  129. LondonBob says:

    Sessions can unrecuse himself if Mueller veers away from his remit. I believe Trump can fire Mueller any time if he so wishes, if needs be using the obvious conflict of interest he has. Best to frame that first by hinting you might fire corrupt Mueller, conflicts of interest etc. first, and also if Mueller wanders off reservation then you would be more justified in firing him. Maybe so far Mueller is doing a fair job, no matter how questionable and bizarre Rosentein’s decision to appoint a special counselor was.

  130. Eric Newhill says:

    You’re allowing TTG – and by extension, the Borg – to frame the agenda. That is the mistake that Trump has been making too.
    Some possible little Russian influence? Who cares? We have many politicians – Clintons among them – directly taking money from any number of foreign governments (including Russians) and then actually doing the bidding of the foreigners. Ok? That money they take is also used to influence elections.
    The tunnel vision on the Russian influence is deliberately set up by Trump’s enemies. They are expecting everyone to get so caught up in it that they can’t see the forest for the artificial tree that has been placed in front of them.
    There are many unsavory things in the forest. Much more in the world than Russia. Trump needs to use his declassification powers to start looking at other (non-Russian) trees. Make an example out of a few enemies. The rest will find Jesus immediately.
    When Col Lang and I suggested this approach, TTG tried to bring it right back to Russia; saying maybe the intel on Russia wouldn’t be favorable to Trump. See the trick?

  131. optimax says:

    I should add that I think more intelligence information besides the Steele Dossier was spread among the WH Obama/Clinton operatives. That makes it harder to pinpoint the leaker but because the information is spaced in a timely manner, it points to a controlling authority.

  132. A.I.Schmelzer says:

    My understanding of the game rules for internal Russian power plays is that leaking real Russian secrets (and this was a sources and methods leak) is disqualifying, and that the leakers factions will be punished severely and swiftly.
    And I mean, being able to read Russian diplomatic cables to Smolenski Ploschad would be a pretty major thing to have, and thus a huge thing to burn.
    Adding yet another scandal to Trump simply is not a good reason to burn such an asset, even for a thorough never Trumper.
    Btw. is it possible that Kisylaks ciphers actually werent intercepted and that the US IC is trying to lead the Russians on a wild goose chase hunting to vulnerabilities in their encryption systems which actually do not exist?

  133. turcopolier says:

    This is obviously NOT a leak within the Russian system. The only way the leakers to the NY Times could have obtained the content of Kizliak’s communications home is by a successful NSA intercept and de-cryptian of Russian diplomatic communications. The Russian government know that and they know what their communications traffic was and wasn’t. Therefor there is no way that they do not know of the success of the intercept. That being the case they will have been busy changing their systems. pl

  134. pl,
    A lot of these intercepts may not require the breaking of encryption. It could be exploiting SS7 flaws that have been around all phone systems for years. These flaws have also been exploited for years. This is how Nuland’s “F the EU” conversation was recorded. It’s possible, though not in all cases, that a conversation could be recorded before it enters the encryption system or app. Or if one has his smart phone in his pocket when talking in a meeting or over an encrypted system, recording of the conversation is quite possible.

  135. turcopolier says:

    A Russian ambassador in DC would be told not to use a cell phone to call home with content like this. The fabled FSB people n the embassy, true to their KGB heritage would have done that. I would bet a month’s pay that these intercepts were on encrypted embassy resident systems. I realize that you only raised the POSSIBILITY that he was on a commercial cell phone. Would Russian intelligence have been on commercial cell phones in the earlier citations of intercepts? pl

  136. Eric Newhill says:

    Is it a possibility that the WaPo is exaggerating the content of the intercept? If so, perhaps the communication was so banal that it actually was over a cell phone.
    Is another reasonable possibility that the WaPo or the alleged leaker is simply lying and there is no such intercepted communication?

  137. turcopolier says:

    Eric Newhill
    You all miss the point. The Russian government knows whether or not these communications intercepts which supposedly included not only Russian diplomatic communications but other Russian government communications actually occurred. With the assertion having been made in the press, there will have been damage assessment investigations. I participated in many, including the one on Pollard. Has the Russian government denied there having been such intercepts? pl

  138. Sam Peralta says:

    Col. Lang
    Why aren’t Brennan and Clapper not arrested for espionage?
    In your experience, if anyone else had informed the “enemy”, at least as Clapper claims Russia to be, that we had successfully intercepted and decrypted their secure communications, what would have been the reaction of the AG & counter-intelligence law enforcement?

  139. turcopolier says:

    Sam Peralta
    Contrary to what you might expect, the decision to proceed to prosecution is often political. IMO someone in the Justice Department or in Mueller’s team has been dragging his feet on this. Politically appointed holdovers? I don’r know. pl

  140. pl,
    SS7 predates cell phones. It’s used on all publicly switched networks such as the lines used by STU-III phones. Once the signals are encrypted, they’re pretty solid. I just don’t know if the signal from the caller’s mouth to the handset to the encryption chips is as secure. The fault lies in the hardware and software rather than in the encryption algorithm. OTOH if you’re on a secure STU-III call, carrying your cellphone in your pocket defeats the whole effort. In that case, the fault lies in the careless nut holding the handset.

  141. turcopolier says:

    So you can imagine a scenario in which Kizliak or the Russian spooks were sitting at the Russian equivalent of a STU-III (presume there are newer ones now) with a cell phone in their pocket while talking. pl

  142. Eric Newhill says:

    I understand that the Russians will be doing damage assessments based on what was said in the US press.
    I was thinking more along the lines that the WaPo is lying or greatly exaggerating. The Russians assess that no secure transmissions were compromised. Nothing to worry about.
    Would they really then come out and make a statement that the WaPo story is false? If they did, would we even hear about it?
    If they did, wouldn’t that smack of more Putin support of Trump?
    Seems to me that Trump should be down at the NSA ordering these intercepts to be produced so that he can see them (assuming they really exist). If they don’t, blast the WaPo for fake news. If they do, drag all those who had access in front of an inquiry and find out who needs to be hung.
    I’m sure I’m missing something important here because this just seems pretty darn simple and I’m amazed it is being done – or is it?

  143. pl,
    I’m sure doing that is as much against their policies as it is against ours. However, I could see an ambassador getting sloppy before any young SVR officer. My real concern is the effectiveness of a digital phone, even a STU-III or equivalent, over lines that still rely on SS7. After years of working with this stuff and the techno-spooks, I don’t trust a single damned piece of digital technology.

  144. Eric Newhill says:

    I am slow on the uptake. I see what you are saying.
    The US is doing damage assessment too.

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