Attorney General Barr stated the obvious–law enforcement and intelligence agencies spied on Donald Trump’s campaign–and touched off an incredible display of stupidity and obtuseness among the Trump haters. Me? I was cheering because Bill Barr confirmed what I said two years ago. Unfortunately, for daring to speak a simple truth in the spring of 2017 I immediately was a target of the hate Trump media mob.
I was attacked for telling the public the truth that foreign intelligence–the British to be precise–were spying on the Trump campaign and passing this info along to US intelligence. But the Brits were not acting unilaterally. There was full cooperation and activity by U.S. intelligence agencies and the FBI. Another word for this is “COLLUSION.”
My speaking out brought about a furious counter attack by the media. People inside the Department of Justice reached out to my business partner and denounced me as a crank and conspiracy theorist. Because of that backlash I took down my blog, NoQuarter, and “retired” from blogging. Thanks to generosity of Colonel Lang, I eventually climbed back onto the blogging saddle.
Let me take you back to the events that unfolded after Donald Trump tweeted on March 4, 2017 that he was being wiretapped by the FBI. The media establishment erupted in laughter and saw this as just one more piece of evidence proving Trump’s mental instability. But I had a different take.
I had learned in December 2016 from friends inside the intelligence community that there was collaboration with the Brits to collect and disseminate intel on persons on the Trump campaign. With Trump’s tweet making news, I was invited by RT (i.e., Russia Today) to come on one of their news programs and discuss the matter that same afternoon.
Worth noting that my appearance on RT made no waves and generated no pushback. That tells you everything you need to know about RT’s alleged influence over public and punditry opinion as an alleged arm of Russian propaganda.
I then shared what I had learned about British intelligence ops to intercept U.S. communications on people affiliated with the Trump campagin with members of VIPS—i.e., Veteran Intelligence Professionals. One of these colleagues shared my analysis without my knowledge with Judge Andrew Napolitano.
Napolitano went on Fox on Monday, March 13, 2017 and declared:
On Monday, Fox News Channel judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano alleged that three intelligence sources had confirmed to him that the Obama administration used GCHQ (Britain’s NSA) to spy on President Trump during the 2016 election so that there would be no paper trail.
“Three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the ‘chain of command’ to conduct the surveillance on Trump,” he said. “Obama didn’t use the NSA, he didn’t use the CIA, he didn’t use the FBI, and he didn’t use the Department of Justice.”
“What happened to the guy who ordered this? Resigned three days after Trump took office,” he added.
The Judge got some key nuances wrong. Obama, to my knowledge, did not ask the Brits/GCHQ to do anything on his behalf. The Brits reportedly initiated collection on their own. The “collection” from those intercepted conversations and emails were shared with the Obama Administration through normal intelligence channels—i.e., principally the NSA. It is important to note that the Brits targeting and collecting on Americans is not illegal. We are foreigners as far as they are concerned. They can collect anything.
The Judge’s comments set off a firestorm. In a matter of hours, Fox News Corporation, responding to pressure from the British Government, took Napolitano off the air. The Independent, a British newspaper, reported as follows:
A legal analyst who claimed British intelligence could have helped spy on Donald Trump during his bid to become US president has been taken off the air.
The Independent understands that Mr Napolitano is not expected to appear on the Fox News Channel anytime in the near future.
I felt sorry for the Judge and knew he was being railroaded. But I did not expect a phone call from him, asking for my help. He called and asked me to help. Prior to the phone call on Thursday, March 16, 2017, I had never spoken to the Judge. We were not even casual acquaintances.
Judge Napolitano, clearly smarting over the public lashing he was receiving, asked if I would be willing to speak to a New York Times reporter, Michael Grynbaum, about the matter. I agreed to do so. That was a mistake.
Here is how Grynbaum reported what I did not say:
Mr. Napolitano also has a taste for conspiracy theories, which led him to Larry C. Johnson, a former intelligence officer best known for spreading a hoax about Michelle Obama. . . .
But Mr. Johnson, who was himself once a Fox News contributor, said in a telephone interview that Mr. Napolitano called him on Friday and requested that he speak to The New York Times. Mr. Johnson said he was one of the sources for Mr. Napolitano’s claim about British intelligence.
Mr. Johnson became infamous in political circles after he spread false rumors in 2008 that Michelle Obama had been videotaped using a slur against Caucasians. In the interview on Friday, Mr. Johnson acknowledged his notoriety, but said that his knowledge of surveillance of Mr. Trump came from sources in the American intelligence community. Mr. Napolitano, he said, heard about his information through an intermediary.
“It sounds like a Frederick Forsyth novel,” Mr. Johnson said.
Grynbaum is a classic example of what is wrong with the journalism today. For starters, he manufactured the “Frederick Forsyth” quote. I said no such thing. Besides fabricating a quote, he refused to address the substance of my information regarding the activities and conduct of British GCHQ. Instead, he went for the “Whitey” smear.
If you are not familiar with that episode, permit me to refresh your memory or create a new one for you. It is a simple story—I allowed myself to be used by Clinton campaign, Sid Blumenthal in particular, to spread a rumor that turned out to be untrue.
I was an ardent supporter of Hillary in 2007 and 2008. I had previously briefed her in 2007 on the war in Iraq and found her, at least in a one-on-one setting, to be very intelligent and very well informed. But that was then. Her subsequent conduct as the Secretary of State, especially how she mishandled the Benghazi incident, ended any chance that I would ever support her for any role in which the lives of American military, diplomats or intelligence officers are on the line.
After that briefing, I found myself as an unofficial member of the Clinton for President team via my friendship with Sid Blumenthal. I had enormous respect for Sid and his wife. I thought they were good people. The only thing I now know for certain is that they are fiercely loyal to the Clintons.
As the contest between Hillary and Barach Obama heated up, Sid would call me from time to time with suggestions of articles I could write or pieces that could be run on my now defunct blog–NoQuarterUSa.net. I was more than happy to help. I believed then (and have been vindicated by the passage of time) that Barack Obama was just a pretty face with no significant experience and he would be a terrible President.
Then came the fateful phone call from Sid Blumenthal in late May 2008. He told me he had learned of a tape that was circulating in restricted circles that featured Michelle Obama using the derogatory phrase, “whitey.” Armed with that tidbit of gossip I turned to an old friend in the media community and he too confirmed he had heard the same thing (stupidly, I never considered the possibility that Sid was spreading this far and wide and that I was getting blowback).
When I mentioned the possible existence of this tape to a Republican friend of mine and former CIA colleague in California, I was shocked when he said, “I have a friend who has seen and heard the tape. That was enough for me. Based on these two sources, I wrote the story up at NoQuarterUSA.net.
It went viral. But nothing surfaced. I became uneasy. So I went back to Sid and pressed him for more information. He in turn sent me to David Brock of Media Matters. (I had met Brock previously at the Blumenthal home watching election returns in 2006.) Brock told me that the information came from female friend who insisted she had seen and heard the slur by Michelle Obama.
The matter became more confused when the Obama campaign sent out an email to their campaign workers claiming that Michelle said “WHY DID HE” rather than the pejorative, “WHITEY.” That led me to believe there was substance to the Blumenthal/Brock rumor.
Ultimately the story died out. No tape surfaced, but I bore the blame as the “Whitey” guy. With the benefit of hindsight I now understand that I was an unwitting but willing tool in a David Brock dirty trick. No such tape ever surfaced. I can only conclude that the desperation of the Clinton campaign to win was so extreme that they would stoop to use a racist meme to smear Obama.
I regret what I did in writing the story up. But it did not originate with me. It started with David Brock. Which brings me back to the Napolitano affair.
After Grynbaun identified me as one of Judge Napolitano’s sources, it was open season on me. Not one of the media outlets—except for CNN and the Politico—even took the time to reach out to me and ask me to tell my side of the story. Instead, they recirculated talking points from Media Matters.
Here is what I told Brian Stelter during this period:
Talk about Chutzpah. David Brock started the Whitey rumor (I will happily take a polygraph on that point) and then has the audacity to attack me and dismiss my information (via Media Matters) simply because I had passed on rumors where he was the original source:
Media Matters first traced Napolitano’s wiretapping conspiracy back to an interview on the state-sponsored Russian television network RT with the former CIA analyst and discredited conspiracy theorist Larry C. Johnson, who previously promoted false claims that Michelle Obama used a racial slur against Caucasian people.
This was a dark period for me. People I thought I could rely on abandoned me. I was on my own. But not for long. Rescue came via Judge Napolitano and an unlikely source, The Guardian—a left leaning British newspaper. The Judge was brought back on air at Fox on March 29, 2017 and stood his ground:
On Wednesday morning, Napolitano returned to the network, making an appearance on “Fox & Friends.” His first order of business? Doubling down on the claims that got him suspended in the first place. (From the Washington Post, 29 March 2017, Amy Wang).
Two weeks later, on April 13th, The Guardian not only confirmed what I had said about GCHQ (note, in some of my on air interviews I stupidly and mistakenly called the British spy agence GHCQ) but identified other countries as well who were collecting intelligence, i.e., intercepting communications:
Britain’s spy agencies played a crucial role in alerting their counterparts in Washington to contacts between members of Donald Trump’s campaign team and Russian intelligence operatives, the Guardian has been told.
GCHQ first became aware in late 2015 of suspicious “interactions” between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russian agents, a source close to UK intelligence said. This intelligence was passed to the US as part of a routine exchange of information, they added.
Over the next six months, until summer 2016, a number of western agencies shared further information on contacts between Trump’s inner circle and Russians, sources said.
There is a simple bottomline—My information was accurate and reliable. Also, I had the story before anyone else. Journalists and pundits were unwilling to listen.
We know a lot more today then we did in the Spring of 2017. George Papadopoulos was targeted by a MI-6 covert action designed to portray him as a lackey of Russia and promoting Russia to the Trump campaign. Carter Page was spied upon under four separate FISA warrants that were based on the fictitious Steel Dossier. And a CIA “contractor”, Stefan Halper, played the role of an agitator trying to lure Papadopoulos into implicating himself in a Russian plot.
And then we have the unmasking of American citizens. Here is but one example:
Former national security adviser Susan Rice privately told House investigators that she unmasked the identities of senior Trump officials to understand why the crown prince of the United Arab Emirates was in New York late last year, multiple sources told CNN.