When It Comes to Meddling in the US Election, Was it the UK? by Publius Tacitus


I learned a long time ago that when you are close to the truth the opposition, if there is any, springs into action and launches a desperate counter attack. That appears to define what happened in the wake of Fox News suspending Judge Andrew Napolitano for the following claim:

that former US President Barack Obama asked British intelligence agency GCHQ to monitor President Donald Trump. . . .

Andrew Napolitano, a political commentator and former New Jersey judge, said on Tuesday Obama used GCHQ in order to "make sure there were no American fingerprints."

"Three intelligence sources have informed Fox News that President Obama went outside the chain of command – he 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," said Napolitano. "He used GCHQ."

Well, the Brits went absolutely bonkers. GCHQ came as close to having a full blown aneurysm as any bureaucratic entity can. 

"We've made clear to the administration that these claims are ridiculous and they should be ignored and we've received assurances that these allegations will not be repeated," a Downing Street spokesman told reporters.

One of Judge Napolitano's sources apparently was Larry Johnson. However, according to Johnson, the Judge did not accurately report what Johnson had said. According to Mr. Johnson, President Obama did not order anything. Instead, information collected by GCHQ was passed to people in the U.S. intelligence community and then distributed in an unauthorized manner. To deny that GCHQ did not do anything in response to a request from President Obama, but that does not mean that GCHQ (aka General Communication's Headquarters) was passive and doing nothing.

Let me suggest one possible logical explanation. GCHQ, by virtue of being a foreign entity can (and does) easily and routinely collect electronic communications information in the United States. The Brits can do this without having to worry about FISA courts, probable cause, etc. Want proof? Here is the NY Times piece on 17 March 2017 that cites one example:

The conspiracy theorizing also tested what is often called the special relationship between the United States and Britain. American intelligence agencies enjoy a closer collaboration with their British counterparts than any other in the world. GCHQ was the first agency to warn the United States government that Russia was hacking Democratic Party emails during the presidential campaign

Got that? US and UK have a "special relationship" and the GCHQ was THE FIRST (not the second or third) to warn Obama that Russia supposedly was hacking Democrat Party emails.  When did they warn us? Before the discovery of the DNC hack or afterwards? If afterwards, how long? Who received that warning and what steps were taken to take counter measures? Lots of questions.

Here's another one–if the Brits knew that the Russians were hacking the DNC emails then how did they completely miss the Russians passing that info to one Julian Assange, who happens to be holed up in London in the Ecuadorian Embassy?

So why the enormous pushback from the Brits on Fox News? If we were playing Poker I would call that a tell. The Brits, normally implacable, allowed us to see their left eyebrow twitching. Judge Napolitano works for the Murdoch's, who also happen to have significant economic interests in Great Britain. I have heard the the British Government leaned hard on the Murdochs to do something about the Judge. So far, he has been suspended. Remains to be seen if he comes back on air.

To recap, we have the GCHQ routinely collecting on U.S. citizens and sharing that with the United States via NSA.  Let me suggest one additional twist–the Brits decided, with encouragement from people in U.S. intelligence (John Brennan, perhaps? Mike Rogers?) to step up their collection on Donald Trump and associates and then passed that information, unfiltered and unmasked, to their U.S. counterparts. Is that what alarmed Devin Nunes earlier this week?

Let's stretch out a bit further. Is it possible that Britain's version of the CIA, MI-6, also got into the act and helped its former officer, one Mr. Steele, compile and distribute the now infamous dossier?

Why in the world would the Brits do something so risky? I think the answer to that is pretty simple, straight forward and self-evident. Trump’s policy positions on Syria and NATO represented direct threats to British interests. In Syria, Trump expressed a willingness to side with Russia in defeating ISIS and to withdraw the U.S. from the business of nation building. Trump also turned over the apple cart of status quo foreign policy by stating quite plainly that NATO was an anachronism and needed to be given a good, hard look. Anyone want to argue that our British cousins were comfortable with these policy shifts?

Therefore, it is not a train to crazy town to suggest that GCHQ and MI6 would be quite willing to lend a hand in helping take out Trump. Could that will be one of the key revelations coming down the pike in coming weeks. This also helps account for British establishments' consternation of the claims of Judge Napolitano. It also provides a plausible explanation for the tremendous pressure brought on Judge Napolitano who, without fully understanding what he was talking about, identified a the fat, ugly naked man in the room that looked a lot like the Queen (apologies to her Majesty).

Wouldn't that be a shocker–learning that the Government of Great Britain was working hand in glove with U.S. counterparts to sandbag Donald Trump and his Presidency?

Most overlook an obvious but obscure issue–GCHQ has been collecting intelligence on American citizens for years. Especially Americans of Irish descent or those with ties to Irishmen in the Northern Ireland. That was especially true twenty years ago. You do not have to hold Top Secret clearances to understand this fact. The British were collecting intelligence on Americans with names like Moynihan, O'Keefe, Lang and Kelly. Make no mistake about that.

One final point. The dog that did not bark. By that I mean that notwithstanding all of these machinations, no significant intelligence was generated that provided a smoking gun that could have spelled the end of Donald Trump. How do I know that? Only by deduction. If such information had been scooped up you can be assured that it would have found its way immediately to the front pages of the NY Times and the Washington Post. That has not happened. I think he real story is what did the Brits know and when did they know it? I suspect any further investigations into this matter will put a bit of a damper on US/UK relations.

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90 Responses to When It Comes to Meddling in the US Election, Was it the UK? by Publius Tacitus

  1. Eric Newhill says:

    Oustanding analysis! Thank you Publius Tacitus

  2. john Schultz says:

    So do you think Larry Johnson has been silenced from voicing any more opinions on the subject

  3. I don’t know. You should ask him.

  4. Nothing but speculation and supposition based on hearsay and totally absent of relevant facts.

  5. elaine says:

    john, For the past 2 days I’ve been unable to access Larry Johnson’s site,
    noquarterusa.net. I’ve run my search though a couple different engines,
    none will allow me access. Coincidence? Who knows.

  6. AK says:

    On this note, I’m sure some here have noticed that Mr. Johnson’s site is now non-operational. Does anyone on the committee have any knowledge either from Mr. Johnson or other channels as to what has happened?

  7. Jack says:

    Why do you think POTUS is not declassifying all this information? It surely will blow up those in the IC who believe they’ve become the law.

  8. Edward Amame says:

    We NYers are pretty familiar with shady doings in the real estate industry that runs our state politics and those of us familiar with the late great investigative reporter Wayne Barrett of the Village Voice are familiar with Donald Trump’s.
    IMO, most pre-election FBI activity regarding Mr Trump probably centered on possible criminal activity related to his connections to the Russian mob, not all the counter-intel stuff being hinted at. Let’s put it this way: it may have been one thing for a NYC developer/reality show host to have some of these connections, but something else again for the possible GOP nominee for president of the U.S.
    This great story in the American Insider builds on some of the great work Barrett did:
    Pay particular attention to the chapter on “The Case of Bayrock LLC—Felix Sater” and “The Case of Iceland’s FL Group.”

  9. doug says:

    I think that’s been obvious for the last several days. Napolitano kicked the hornet’s nest and I’m sure all the “sources” Napolitano had are being pursued. It’s a given every country spies on every other, friend or foe. The intelligence community would be remiss in their duty if they didn’t. But some things you just don’t talk about. The more interesting question is the “unmasking.” That, it seems to me, was a conscious decision intended to create leaks and should not have happened.

  10. Jack,
    Perhaps POTUS does not want that information seeing the light of day. It could be damaging or embarrassing to POTUS or someone close to him. It’s also possible he is concerned about exposing IC sources and methods, but I think it’s uncharacteristic for him to care about anyone other than himself.

  11. Eric Newhill says:

    The organized crime hypothesis you got from some leftist blog is not an excuse to go around discrediting the lawfully elected POTUS and his appointees. And it certainly is not what the media and Comey/IC are hinting at. So, per usual, a red herring.
    I will also add that many POTUSes have had connections, financially, to organized crime. A lot of party money flows up from those sources. Kennedy in particular comes to mind, but also Nixon and Bill Clinton are prominent in that regard. Hillary Clinton? Who knows, but certainly on the dole from all sorts of international shady characters. One important and obvious direct connection to the mob was the big unions and their campaign contributions.
    Again, you’ve singled out Trump because you are incapable of objectivity. Again, it does not excuse all of the innuendo and other BS aimed at a destruction of the presidency.

  12. johnf says:

    “Judge Napolitano works for the Murdoch’s, who also happen to have significant economic interests in Great Britain. I have heard the the British Government leaned hard on the Murdochs to do something about the Judge.”
    The British Government does indeed at the moment have a very strong hold on Rupert Murdoch. It is to decide whether he is to be allowed full ownership – he is a part owner at the moment – of the Sky TV channels – an even larger broadcaster than the BBC. It owns the immensely profitable rights to broadcast most English Premier League football matches all around the world. It is a goldmine.
    The deal looked as though it was to go through. Then on March 3rd the government’s Culture Secretary announced that the deal was to be put on hold pending further enquiries.

  13. Publius Tacitus,
    I found some info about GCHQ passing intelligence to their U.S counterparts for an earlier response to David Habakkuk on a different thread. This was most of my comment.
    “That info about the Brits tipping off the Yanks about the DNC hack came from a 7 Jan 2017 piece in The Guardian. If the report’s true, it means info from the DNC server was flowing to Moscow in the autumn of 2015 and probably earlier. “The New York Times, citing “two people familiar with the conclusions” of the report, said British intelligence was “among the first” to raise the alarm in autumn 2015 that Moscow had hacked the computer servers of the Democratic National Committee. The UK’s role suggests that the compromise of email exchanges among senior Democrats was spotted when voice intercepts, computer traffic or agents picked up content of the emails flowing towards Moscow.”
    Another report by Paul Wood for BBC Washington addressed an earlier passage of intelligence to the U.S. by a separate intelligence service.
    “This news was given to me by several sources and corroborated by someone I will identify only as a senior member of the US intelligence community.
    Last April, the CIA director was shown intelligence that worried him. It was – allegedly – a tape recording of a conversation about money from the Kremlin going into the US presidential campaign. It was passed to the US by an intelligence agency of one of the Baltic States. The CIA cannot act domestically against American citizens so a joint counter-intelligence task force was created.”
    Passage of this kind of information, especially cybersecurity information, among many intel agencies outside the FIVEY community is widespread and is well covered by bilateral and multilateral agreements.
    Another point you raise concerns the passage of hacked info to Assange in his London embassy before it was published on WikiLeaks and why the GCHQ didn’t intercept it. The info does not have to be in that embassy for Assange to review it. A preferred method would be to view the info sitting on a server in a more secure country. That server could be accessed by an SSH connection or a series of SSH connections. I used this methodology resulting in the NSA reporting on me thinking I was physically located in Europe. WikiLeaks servers were located in Russia at least since before the release of the Podesta emails. Although WikiLeaks tried to obfuscate the Russian location of the servers, I’m sure GCHQ and NSA were aware of that fact.

  14. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Several days ago Col. Lang, in a comment, stated that Larry had taken the site off line for an undefined period. From my recollection of the comment the implication is that it was at Larry’s own initiative but I’m not sure about that.

  15. C L says:

    There is no there – there.
    The starting point to all this is Flynn, Manafort, and others representing foreign interests, but especially Flynn and his work for Turkey. After the failed Turkish coup and Edrogan not being shot out of the sky, all the eyes went through the reams of intel collected looking for why, who and to refute the accusation of western involvement.
    Nunes has walked back all his claims No unmasked names etc…- He was probably handed transcripts of the Trump transition team (he was part of) regarding Flynn and recognized the conversations he participated in.
    The deep state cover-up you are alleging is the usual cover for sources who are too sensitive to divulge.
    HYPOTHETICAL EXAMPLE Lets say one of the intelligence units has a tap(p) on Putin’s phone – would we expect GCHQ to say – ‘We have proof, we heard it from Putin himself cause we got his phone tapped, just like Merkel’s’. END HYPOTHETICAL EXAMPLE. I would expect that intel source to never see the light of day – unless Putin was heard ordering a Nuclear first strike.
    There are occasions when discretion is the better part of spying and letting matters play out is the only course to avoid burning the source.
    As to our President, the pity is he was elected to the wrong government system. He would have been terrific in a parliamentarian system where the President fills the role of temporary monarch/head of state without the annoyance of actual governing.

  16. Edward Amame – an appalling record of crime and looting in the article you have linked to. Worse than that, I’m afraid it’s par for the course and we’re all implicated in it.
    I have a confession to make. I have an account at an eminently respectable bank. Every now and again I see reports on the money laundering and other crimes the bank has been involved in or has facilitated. I don’t change my bank, because the rest are just as bad. If you want to function at all in the modern world you have no choice but to engage with it. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the big companies I’ve dealt with weren’t pretty dubious as well if you looked into them.
    Fortunately for me the courts don’t do guilt by association so I’ve never been charged. I don’t expect to be, nor do my neighbours who are similarly guilty. Unless you live a singularly isolated life you also will be similarly guilty and I’ve no doubt you’ll never be charged either.
    Can you give me example of a case where Donald Trump has been tried and convicted of engaging in or assisting financial crime? If not then guilt by association should no more apply to him than to the rest of us.

  17. raven says:

    He’ll do it all on his own.

  18. Edward Amame says:

    Eric Newhill
    Look who’s calling someone else “incapable of objectivity.”
    It’s not a leftist blog Eric, not that it matters. Anyway, links to the author’s credentials are below. I would recommend that you give the report a read.
    And Wayne Barrett’s links are below too. He wrote the book on Trump in the early 90’s based on his investigative reporting during the 70’s and 80s. Barrett was no partisan either: he went after both Cuomos, Ed Koch and Rudy G. He just hated public corruption.
    The author of the report I linked to (which BTW is extensively researched and footnoted) is James S. Henry. He has been chief economist at McKinsey & Co. and is also a lawyer and investigative journalist. He is an Edward R. Murrow Fellow at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and an INSPIRE Fellow at its Institute for Global Leadership. Henry has written extensively on the problems of tax justice and development finance. Henry is a senior adviser at the Tax Justice Network.
    He is also the author of “The Blood Bankers,” a classic investigation of where the money went that was loaned to key debtor countries in the 1970s-1990s.
    Wayne Barrett

  19. charly says:

    Organized crime is not rich enough for Hillary

  20. Tim B. says:

    The Five-Eyes Program consists of the US, UK, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada all recording and sharing electronic communications among themselves in order to avoid each other countries’ restrictions on domestic spying. The US for years has been paying billions of dollars to the UK to fund their electronic spying. I have little doubt that the NSA records all electronic communications in the US except voice communications. I assume voice is recorded by one or more Five-Eyes countries. I’m sure this is what the Judge was referring to.

  21. Nunes has not walked back anything. He was alarmed by what was given to him. Appropriately so. Can you at least provide a link or evidence to support your contrarian assertions? Thanks

  22. Ghostship says:

    “Here’s another one–if the Brits knew that the Russians were hacking the DNC emails then how did they completely miss the Russians passing that info to one Julian Assange, who happens to be holed up in London in the Ecuadorian Embassy?”
    But Julian Assange has repeatedly stated that the e-mails published by Wikileaks did not come from the Russians but were a leak. So it’s entirely possible that GCHQ detected the Russian hacks but the Russians passed nothing to Wikileaks so there was nothing for GCHQ to detect with respect to Wikileaks.
    As for the monitoring of the Trump associates, that could be accidental. GCHQ could have been monitoring communications between Americans and Russians and produced a report including various Trump associates without knowing they were Trump associates which could have been supplied to the usual address list which would include members of the U.S. IC. Only after Trump was elected, started appointing his transition team and filling the positions he appoints would the information become significant and a political hot potato. Also, it should be remembered that Obama greatly expanded the distribution of intelligence across the U.S. government which might have included GCHQ material.

  23. Do tell? And on what legal basis would someone at NSA or CIA be able to start going through this database trying to match names in the press with names on the file? Please enlighten us.

  24. Mikey says:

    >I have little doubt that the NSA records all electronic communications in the US except voice communications.< 'except voice communication'? Why would voice comms be excluded? It is digitized as is data, the bandwidth is greater, I believe that the only limit to this is storage.

  25. Old Microbiologist says:

    I read recently that Flynn was refused the raw intelligence which is in of itself interesting and he was the head of all of the US intelligence, so perhaps it is the agencies not cooperating with the executive branch? A lot is confusing and I suspect there is some meat here once the worms start crawling out of the can. Comey and Rogers are the key to unravelling this and so far appear hostile. The better question is why hasn’t Trump fired both of them?

  26. Old Microbiologist says:

    EO – You have Credit Unions in the UK just as we have in the US. They are nonprofit and not as susceptible to greed and corruption. Their services are more or less equal to what commercial banks have. We had long standing accounts at BofA which were closed by them arbitrarily and we received a letter to that effect 1 day before they were to be closed making it very difficult (living as expats in Hungary) to open new accounts in the US. Luckily, being retired military, I was able to take advantage of the military credit union servicing the US bases in Italy, opened an account online and wired out all the money all the same day. What was interesting is BofA refused to disclose and cited uS law that they don’t have to, why they closed our accounts. They were somewhat substantial as we had just sold our houses in the US and all that cash was sitting still in our checking account. We had been 20 year customers with a platinum level of service so it was an interesting problem. Anyway, we now only have foreign accounts and the Credit Union for our social security payments and to maintain a footprint in the US. We have that burden of FATCA to deal with as well so need the ability to move cash around to ensure our foreign accounts never exceed $10K.
    It is ironic as I have been recommending to everyone to close out their accounts with banks and move over to Credit Unions. Without money banks cannot operate and they get most of their cash from regular people who they then abuse. We used to have National Banks in the US which were all non-profit but all are defunct now, in part due to the Keating Savings and Loan scandal (of which McCain was a conspirator yet not convicted). However, my point is there are still options available to bypass the big banks and they are terrified that the people might actually do that.

  27. ToivoS says:

    Larry Johnson is one weird dude. I have been following him since Valery Plame was exposed as a CIA agent by Cheney/Libby. Every time he seems to have a following he turns on them with some new revelation. He pissed me off a few times. But I sort of keep on following him since he does on occasion come up with some interesting stuff that is more or less valid. However, I am very skeptical about this latest revelation — he has in the past backed some really wacky stuff. On the other hand, the fact that PL respects him must be considered a plus.
    He reminds me of that old joke, by some comedian, who refused to join any club that was willing to accept him.

  28. Edward Amame says:

    English Outsider
    Again, to be clear. These are reasons that IMO, the FBI was likely taking a close look at Donald Trump pre-election, not for spy stuff. And again because he was beginning to look like the GOP nominee for pres.
    To answer your question, white collar crime in the U.S. is tough to prosecute. In the case of Trump Soho (one of Trump’s deals that also involved Sater) there was a criminal investigation. Buyers of units there claimed that they’d been defrauded by Trump, his children and others. Trump settled that case and paid back the deposits. The settlement agreement said buyers couldn’t cooperate with the Manhattan DA. Interesting, huh?
    As noted in the report, there is the Kriss lawsuit which may take a few more years to unwind.
    According to Wayne Barrett, Trump could have been jailed based on the fraud financials he used to get loans for Trump Palace in Atlantic City but the amounts involved made him too big to jail.

  29. b says:

    There are two issues – both used for damaging Trump:
    1. Flynn sells out to Israeli(?) interests of gas transport to Turkey (onto Europe). There is evidence for these claims. Part of that is sending (CIA asset) Gülen back to Turkey. CIA (and FBI) “wiretap” Flynn and block that. The wiretaps are circulated to be used against Trump.
    2. The DNC “hack” by “the Russians” which is used to explain the failed Democratic program and campaign. There is no evidence for these claims.
    It is a different interest that is driving that campaign. Having/keeping Russia as “the enemy” is important to the weapon industry, some oil and gas companies and a general NATO concern. Here the Brits are involved.

  30. Cold War Zoomie says:

    “GCHQ was the first agency to warn the United States government that Russia was hacking Democratic Party emails during the presidential campaign.”
    (/i)This does not prove GCHQ collects on US citizens in the USA.
    One plausible explanation is that the hacked DNC server’s exfil traffic from the USA was captured in one of GCHQ’s collection points overseas while in transit to a mutual Russian target. Then the Brits shared this fact with NSA via normal reporting channels since it was a mutual target. NSA would not have known this because: 1) the DNC exfil traffic originated in the USA so NSA did not specifically look for it; 2) the traffic then flowed through a GCHQ collection point overseas rather than a NSA point.
    As for collecting on IRA supporters from the USA, that traffic would have been easily intercepted entering Ireland. Let’s not forget that the IRA was a terrorist organization so the Brits had every right to collect on them.

  31. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Ending italics here?

  32. C L says:

    All Rep. Nunes comments are prefaced with a form of ‘may have been….’
    -The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, R-Calif., does not know “for sure” whether President Donald Trump or members of his transition team were even on the phone calls or other communications now being cited as partial vindication for the president’s wiretapping claims against the Obama administration, according to a spokesperson.
    “He said he’ll have to get all the documents he requested from the [intelligence community] about this before he knows for sure,” a spokesperson for Nunes said Thursday. Nunes was a member of the Trump transition team executive committee.-

  33. turcopolier says:

    I am curious as to where you think the anti-Trump jihad should end. Should it end in removal of the 45th president of the US? Should it end in removal of both Trump and Pence because they were illegitimately elected as agents of a foreign power? pl

  34. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Ghostship left an un-closed italic code in his comment, so at the time I looked at everything else below it was in italics as well. I put the closure code between the words “italics” and “here” in my reply to his comment and, sure enough, that switched the text back to non-italic. I’d put the code in this comment but it either wouldn’t show up and/or do something unpredictable. So I didn’t.

  35. AEL says:

    Recall that the Director of GCHQ resigned a couple days after Trump became President. http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-38723040 For family reasons.

  36. LeaNder says:

    to ensure our foreign accounts never exceed $10K
    considering English Outsider’s for me smearing-by-association response in a nutshell “we are all implicated this” bit of course is interesting. Basically I agree, we are all involved more or less. The point being some more, necessarily, some less.
    But without really wanting to delve to deeply into matters: to what extend did $10 K rule drive software developers creative energy to split money flows up to remain below target splitting it up to flow beneath the legal catch net channels? (kidding) …
    I should return to urgent tasks thus don’t have much time.
    Credit union? How are they related to Cooperative Banking?
    i have to admit that I was quite interested more then a decade ago in a load of documents available freely on the web tracing money flows from Russia to the US. No doubt a multitude of banks close to everywhere seemed to be involved …
    A lot of other things on my mind in this context, some close to home, but I leave it at that.

  37. JohnH says:

    What’s amazing to me is that, of all the things that they could get Trump for, the focus is on Russia! I mean, give me a break. This is Trump we’re talking about. When you think choir boy, Trump is the last person who comes to mind. There has to be rotten stuff everywhere. But it’s Russia 24/7.
    Apparently some types of criminality is more worthy of investigation than others? Is that because associating with Russia is inherently more evil? Or could it be that Trump has the goods on many other highly respected figures…because he dealt with them regularly?
    Russia may be the safest way to attack Trump, because this is where he has the least power to counterattack.

  38. Cvillereader says:

    I agree. I think the reason that the establishment has so visciously attacked Trump, is because they have fear of exposure about something. What that is, I can only speculate.

  39. Bill H says:

    I’m not sure the left/Borg is capable of thinking that far ahead, or coherently at all for that matter. I think they are reacting viscerally to their loss with no thought to the consequences. They want to discredit Trump and give no thought to the impact of discrediting the election in order to do so. I am rather horrified by the whole affair.

  40. C L says:

    There is no removing Trump. The chance of him colluding or any (other legal term they opt for) are zero to non. The man doesn’t do details – he is a figure head that gives cover to underlings to deal with the nitty gritty. When he says ‘I didn’t know’ – he really doesn’t know, his underlings handle it all.
    The anti-trump jihad might manage to remove the more extreme political players/advisers around him while the state apparatus removes the corrupt toadies (Flynn etal.)
    This effort will refocus on rebuilding and powering the other legal levers of government to oppose the more radical agenda items. Look for empowerment of state rights, independent agencies and public policy campaigns, then grass roots election drives of social populists.
    Pres. Trump will veer left to middle ground after the rightwing fantasies have exploded (as AHCA just did). His ‘party’ is splintering b/c their unifying theme of ‘NO’ isn’t a public policy.
    His playbook (the Art of the Deal) is public knowledge and has just been used against him by freedom caucus.
    Others have and will use the playbook to pamper or tailor the pitch to his liking and lead him to their desired result. These pitches only need be broad outlines – he doesn’t do details.
    Look to Mayor Bloomberg’s run in office as an elected Conservative who is actually a middle road liberal democrat. Both men are similar in background, though one is strong on details, the other on persona. Both immersed in judeo-christian liberal values. Trump’s right hand couple (Kushner & Ivanka) have opted to live the social communal life of the orthodox jewish community. These values are extremely social, community good is prioritized over the individual. There is none of the ‘rugged individualism’ of the american west dream.
    Trump has the Persona power to drag the centrist-right NO vote (populist emotional) to bargain with centrist left (populist rational/compassionate) on jobs/wall, tax/distribution etc… for the better good, thus returning the extremist to the extreme.
    Trump has the golden ability to spin the ‘spinners’ and turn right to left and vice versa. He will get there (eventually) for the ‘win’

  41. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Off this particular topic, but I just saw the link to this article in a comment thread at Naked Capitalism. Headline: “Islamic State orders evacuation of Raqqa amid dam collapse fears”

  42. Ghostship says:

    Thankyou for fixing that.

  43. Larry Kart says:

    Good question.
    IMO removal of Trump and Pence, barring iron-clad evidence of, at this point, more or less unimaginable crimes against the state, etc. on their part, would be a dangerously destabilizing political disaster — and even if there were such evidence, their removal probably still would be a dangerously destabilizing political disaster. I think the only ways to deal with this, if one is on the “other” side, are through the normal electoral process — the mid-term elections and the elections of 2020.
    Further — and no one, I believe, knows how any of this is going to turn out down the road — the current failure to overturn Obamacare more than suggests that the Trump administration and the congressional GOP (not at all one thing in my view) have significant problems when it comes to actually governing. The administration in large part because Trump doesn’t do detail and perhaps doesn’t care to listen to anyone in his inner circle who does make that attempt; the GOP congress because, in addition to the existence of the seemingly unfazed Freedom Caucus, the Obama years pretty much left the whole congressional GOP, from the leadership on down, with only two basic modes/habits of operation — opposing the policies of the man who sat in the White House and posing to one’s constituents.
    After the vote on the American Healthcare Act was pulled, one GOP representative (details if you wish) was asked how the GOP House could have voted almost unanimously against Obamacare as many as nine times under Obama but now couldn’t get their act together. The congressman said that, in addition to the Freedom Caucus factor, it was really quite simple — back then we knew that if we had passed a bill that repealed Obamacare, Obama would vetoed it, but Trump would have signed this one. Does it get any more dysfunctional that that? Of course, do not underestimate the possibility that the anti-Trump forces will prove to be at least as, or even more, dysfunctional in their turn.

  44. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Taking up yet the banner of the Rectification of Names, there is no such thing called “judeo-christian liberal values”.
    None such exists.
    And there is no Jude-Christian Tradition, except perhaps in the minds of a few wishy-washy Protestant Christians.

  45. Answering for CL this nonsense should end with exoneration or removal. Or it could go the way it went with Clinton – years of taxpayer funded independent investigations possibly leading to impeachment for some tangential crime. That worked out pretty well for Clinton. His popularity peaked after being impeached.

  46. WarrenPeese says:

    Or there’s Occam’s Razor. Specifically, Shep Smith and Bret Baier both reported that FoxNews had no information to back up Napolitano’s claim, so they suspended him to protect their credibility, especially in a situation where Spicer was using Napolitano’s unverified assertion in a press conference in order to defend Trump’s baseless tweet. Erik Wemple has a decent take on the dissonance between news and commentary on FoxNews.

  47. Dr.Puck says:

    What’s remarkable is how the Russian contretemps–such as it is–serves as a kind of smokescreen for whatever Trump may be up to in the present moment. Talk about busting norms. We know the POTUS has not structured the usual arrangement with respect to his holdings, and, we don’t know what is the actual arrangement. …if there is any.
    The ironic aspect of all of this is that the norms which underlies transparency and probity with respect to both the appearance and actuality of corruption is: playing by the rules the law sets, rock solid honesty, and, not surrounding yourself with cronies.
    Admittedly, with Trump’s well-known track record this is a universe beyond ‘too much to ask.’ Still, the Russian stuff just obscures the ring of the cash register, somewhere! Oh yeah, Trump was going to drain the swamp of lobbyists and special interests and Wall Street playas.
    (As I’ve mentioned before, tweets that will temporarily sink a stock at open present a double opportunity to hedge at the margin, and, buy at a low. If you have a little warning, you can make a fortune on any Trump tweet aimed to spank a corporation.)

  48. TTG,
    As I have said before, neither the ‘Guardian’ nor the BBC can be regarded as reliable sources.
    Let me go back through the chronology.
    The claims by ‘CrowdStrike’ were first featured in a report in the ‘Washington Post’ on 14 June 2016. This was the day before ‘Guccifer 2.0’ produced the first blog post claiming to have breached the DNC and producing documents.
    According to the ‘WP’ story and the ‘CrowdStrike’ release which followed the ‘Guccifer 2.0’ post, DNC leaders were tipped off to the hack in late April, very shortly after, ‘CrowdStrike’ were brought in, and immediately identified ‘Cosy Bear’ and ‘Fancy Bear’.
    (See https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/russian-government-hackers-penetrated-dnc-stole-opposition-research-on-trump/2016/06/14/cf006cb4-316e-11e6-8ff7-7b6c1998b7a0_story.html ; https://www.crowdstrike.com/blog/bears-midst-intrusion-democratic-national-committee/ .)
    The ‘WP’ report ended by quoting Dmitri Alperovitch:
    ‘Russia has always been a formidable foe in cyberspace, but in the past two years, “there’s been a thousand-fold increase in its espionage campaign against the West,” said Alperovitch, who is also a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. “They feel under siege.”’
    On 6 January 2017, reporting on the declassified intelligence report claiming that Putin personally ‘ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the U.S. presidential election’, the ‘New York Times’ told us:
    ‘Intelligence officials who prepared the classified report on Russian hacking activity have concluded that British intelligence was among the first to raise an alarm that Moscow had hacked into the Democratic National Committee’s computer servers, and alerted their American counterparts, according to two people familiar with the conclusions…
    (See https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/06/us/politics/russia-hack-report.html?smprod=nytcore-iphone&smid=nytcore-iphone-share&_r=0 .)
    According to the ‘NYT’, the British role:
    ‘is a critical part of the timeline, because it suggests that some of the first tipoffs, in fall 2015, came from voice intercepts, computer traffic or human sources outside the United States, as emails and other data from the D.N.C. flowed out of the country.
    ‘“The British picked it up, and we may have had it at about the same time,” said one cyberexpert who has been briefed on the findings. British intelligence – especially the signals intelligence unit, GCHQ – has a major role in tracking Russian activity.’
    The ‘Guardian’ report, to which you refer, by their Washington correspondent, simply picks up the ‘NYT’ report. There was no attempt by the paper to check out the report with its intelligence sources that I can see.
    (See https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/jan/07/russia-us-election-hacking-uk-intelligence .)
    In his testimony to the House Intelligence Committee, was asked when the FBI first notified the DNC of the Hack. He replied ‘I think august of 2015.’
    A question from Representative Will Hurd to Comey and Admiral Rogers as to when the DNC provided access to the technicians from the FBI produced the following exchanges:
    ‘COMEY: Well we never got direct access to the machines themselves. The DNC in the spring of 2016 hired a firm that ultimately shared with us their forensics from their review of the system.
    ‘HURD: Director Rogers, did the NSA ever get access to the DNC hardware?
    ROGERS: The NSA didn’t ask for access. That’s not in our job…
    When Representative Hurd noted that although the FBI – supposedly – notified the DNC early, they were never given access to the machines, this provoked the following exchange:
    ‘COMEY: That’s correct although we got the forensics from the pros that they hired which – again, best practice is always to get access to the machines themselves, but this – my folks tell me was an appropriate substitute.
    ‘HURD: The – at what point did the company and the DNC use – share that forensic information to you?
    ‘COMEY: I don’t remember for sure. I think June. I could be wrong about that.
    ‘ROGERS: The company went public in June of 16, with their conclusions. I would assume it was around that time.
    ‘COMEY: I think it was about the time – I think it was a little bit before the announcement, but I’ll say approximately June.
    ‘HURD: So – so that was – how long after the first notification of – that the FBI did of the DNC?
    ‘COMEY: Ten months.
    ‘HURD: Ten months? So the FBI notified the DNC of the hack and it was not until 10 months later that you had any details about what was actually going on forensically on their network?
    ‘COMEY: That’s correct, assuming I have the dates about right. But it was – it was some months later.
    In March 2016, an advertisement appeared on the site of the ‘NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence’, which is based in Riga, Latvia, for a ‘Digital Forensics Researcher Assistant’.
    (See http://www.stratcomcoe.org/we-are-hiring-digital-forensics-researcher-assistant .)
    The job description read:
    ‘The work of the Digital Forensics Researcher Assistant involves conducting research and monitoring of issues related to the Baltics, Russia, and the wider Eurasia region with a particular focus on misinformation and security questions and translating those findings into engaging and interactive content while also providing overall research and administrative support to the NATO StratCom COE and Atlantic Council’s wider New Information Frontiers Initiative efforts.’
    As to the ‘NATO StratCom COE’, I can only recommend another recent post by Professor Paul Robinson, entitled ‘Weaponising Comedy’, which deals with a recent report from that organisation which claims, among other things, that in Russia’, ‘the entire “official humour industry” … is directly Kremlin-controlled.’
    (See https://irrussianality.wordpress.com/2017/03/16/weaponizing-comedy/ .)
    What ‘Occam’s Razor’ suggests about all this is quite simple. In early to mid-June 2016, people at the DNC realised that information had been leaked – not hacked – and that it was highly compromising.
    They then brought in an organisation ‘CrowdStrike’ which was patently not independent, but part of an ‘information operations’ network. At the same time, ‘Guccifer 2.’ was organised as a rather crude ‘double bluff’ – so he looks as though he is pretending not to be Russian, but leaves obvious clues pointing to Russia, including Dzerzinsky’s initials.
    Meanwhile, the first of the memoranda attributed to Christopher Steele is dated 20 June – and if the dating is authentic, which it may be, it again points to panic. But as those involved could not get their stories co-ordinated, it contradicts the claims by ‘CrowdStrike’.
    Subsequently, GCHQ were brought in, but again, people could not get their story straight. And then Comey f-cks it up again, suggesting that the evidence came in not in autumn but August.
    One really gets rather tired of trying to make some sense of the multiple contradictions in the claims made intelligence people who are patently both corrupt and incompetent. But as ‘Guardian’ and ‘NYT’ journalists are also corrupt and incompetent, someone has to do it.
    Time to take a break with a song:
    (See https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8L6KGuTr9TI .)

  49. ex-PFC Chuck says:

    Sputnik News is now claiming in a headline that the dam has partially collapsed, although in the copy they write only of damage to the hydroelectric plant’s control center. Since the power plant and it’s control center are seldom an integral part of the part of the structure that that holds the water back it may be safe to assume that the latter is still sound. For now.

  50. doug says:

    The days when the data bandwidth of voice was larger than other the other data being transmitted is long gone. Currently, voice bandwidth is quite a small portion and shares the same paths in the major optical trunks.

  51. Edward Amame – thanks for your reply – and for being kind enough not to point out that my argument was morally dubious.
    Probably because my moral sense has been blunted by the stream of English politicians who sell themselves to the highest bidder after the obligatory qualifying period spent messing up the country. And is it true that Mrs Merkel started off with no more than a Lada and a fridge and is now worth many millions of Euros? I don’t know. I’m not sure about the Lada.
    But it was never remarked upon much. Bit of muttering here and there but it wasn’t done to point it out. Then along comes Donald Trump and announces to the entire planet that he bribes politicians because that’s the only way to get building permits.
    2016 was that sort of year. It was the year that talking openly about the verboten came to politics. Sanders and Trump freely talking about the cronies, with a little bit of help from Jimmy Carter as I remember. Common sense on outsourcing – finally. Immigration. Cheap labour. Suddenly millions of people were finding that things they had only been able to talk about in private, or in various ineffectual little cliques, had become mainstream topics. And finding that millions of other people felt the same way on these subjects that they did.
    That’s a lot of genies that aren’t going to go back in the bottle, ever. Thank you, D Trump. He’s not going to be able to do half the things he’s promised – reading the Colonel’s site there seem to be quite a few of his opponents blocking him in various ways – but he’s let some serious daylight into politics. With any luck he might be able to prevent your country falling to bits as well, though I’m not ready to put money on that yet.
    Then it’s announced to us by all who oppose him that he’s a wheeler and dealer. Damn. I never thought of that. I thought all New York developers and builders were plaster saints. I’d no idea the construction industry was bent. I’d never realised that behind all those projects were financial deals that would make even Bernie Madoff open his eyes.
    Mr Amame – the whole lot of them are bent as hell. You know that. I know that. Allow me please the illusion that one of the poachers has turned gamekeeper.

  52. Mikey says:

    The Latest: US claims Tabqa dam is not in danger of bursting

  53. Jack says:

    Thank you David and TTG
    It is clear that there’s more than meets the eye here. The IC and the promoters of the Russians have “influenced” the election on Trump’s behalf don’t have their story all put together. That then has to be compounded by the fact that the NY Times, WaPo, BBC and Guardian among others in the Fourth Estate have a history of carrying water for Borgist interests. And President Trump is not gonna help clarify matters by declassifying all the actual “evidence ” the IC claim they have. Consequently this is another one where conspiracy theories will dominate and fill the echo chamber with whatever angle fits one’s predisposition.
    An important point however is on a broader more strategic perspective. And that is since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the commencement of western hegemony over global affairs, we have had a period where international law, norms and rules of behavior and the use of multi-lateral institutions to foster a rules based framework have been discarded. Instead, great instability has been created by the mindless and senseless use of power just to demonstrate hubris with no advantage obtained. OTOH, forcing Russia & China to create alternatives to challenge western hegemony that is devolving the global framework into chaos and anarchy. What is even more insidious IMO is the growing totalitarianism in the US political and governmental ethos. I don’t know where this leads to but we can’t debate the issues when sophistry and technicalities prevail. How can we discuss the looming issues of immense financial leverage, unsustainable health care cost growth, the massive implications of unfunded liabilities in public pensions, among other hugely contentious issues that require significant pain to bring under control? It seems that we no longer have the will to face up to issues and prefer to bury our heads in the sand.

  54. Edward Amame says:

    That sounds about right. Napolitano’s mortal sin was to preface his so-called scoop with “Fox News is reporting that…” That apparently didn’t go down well with Chris Wallace and the news division.

  55. VietnamVet says:

    Thanks for the post. Although I was accused of being a CIA agent half a century ago by my students, the only contact I ever had with the intelligence community is right here. We, outsiders, need these knowledgeable posts.
    Some things are obvious. Corporate media is going after Donald Trump. General Michael Flynn was removed as National Security Advisor due to a leak of a classified “wiretap” on the Russian Ambassador. A new Cold War has started with Russia. Rex Tillerson stated that US troops would be engaged in a permanent occupation of Iraq. Democrats are out of power due to throwing working Americans under the bus but are blaming Russian hacking instead. The Republicans are split into four or more incompatible ideologies (tribalists, evangelists, know-nothings, corporate toadies and the power-hungry).
    The real question for Americans is how to keep their government functioning long enough to restore a social democracy that works for the people without igniting another civil war.

  56. Mikey says:

    Trump Declassifies highly sensitive intel for political purposes. I can see the Washington Post headline now!

  57. Walrus says:

    @ David Habakkuk,……your theory would explain why the young DNC alleged leaker was murdered; he could have destroyed the Russian hacking meme by confessing to be the source of Wikileaks information.

  58. David Habakkuk,
    Under your premise the DNC discovered their info was leaked in June 2016 and, in less than a month, devised and put in motion a deception plan involving the FBI, CIA, NSA, GCHQ, at least four computer security firms and Lord knows who else. That a deception plan of this intricacy and with this many moving parts would survive this long without a leak or slip up is just inconceivable. I’ve been involved in national deception planning so, unlike Vizzini, I do know that word means what I think it means.
    That doesn’t mean that some of this DNC info was leaked by an insider in addition to the hacking of the DNC, DCCC and the Podesta Gmail account. The account provided by Craig Murray sounds reasonable, but it could also be a piece of deception. As a deception operation, that would be much easier to pull off than the a fake DNC hack story. In either case, I hope that theory is also investigated.
    I don’t find the timeline of the DNC hack and when the DNC, Crowdstrike and FBI discovered it odd at all. The DNC is a private organization. It would be unusual for the FBI to get involved right away. Normally the FBI doesn’t get involved at all with these kinds of hacks even if they want to. It’s always been that way. I offer the following two Wired accounts of two very different hacks as examples of how these investigations happen. You may consider the one about the DNC hack to be a total fiction. I don’t. A third paper by the computer security company F-Secure lays out the digital history of the group known as The Dukes AKA APT29 or CozyBear. This study illustrates the long and detailed history some of these groups have left behind. These histories are key to determining attribution.
    It will be months or longer before we know the truth of the hacks and the Russian info op. That is what I’m interested in finding out, especially the full extent of the info op. I think we need that information before we can determine if there is anything to the purported Trump-Russia connection. And we certainly can’t determine if this info op had any real effect on our election until we understand the operation itself. We may never be able to do that, but at least we can better learn how to counter such things in the future.

  59. Mikey says:

    “i once suggested to him that Huma Abedin was probably a Saudi asset if not part of Saudi Intelligence and he flew off the handle.”
    That’s a very serious charge. Did you have any evidence?

  60. Mikey says:

    Hi Helen
    I wonder if Navalny has vowed to “Make Russia Great Again”?

  61. Fred says:

    Putin already accomplished that.

  62. Hood Canal Gardner says:

    VietnamVet .. fair enough. This related to your “the real question…” A Sean McGlynn (30 Mar issue) posted his take on Tim Wood’s Mar 2 LBR “Eat Your Spinach” muse-review. He ended his letter with a reference to something called Thucydides Trap. Me to myself “why is this guy digging-up Thucydides?” Maybe:
    The Real Thucydides Trap: Will Red and Blue America Go To War?

  63. Peter AU says:

    I do not agree with US long term occupation of Iraq and Syria. But also I see what is happening against Trump.
    WaPo had an article on casualties of US air strikes on Mosul.
    The quoted NGO was airwars.com. On looking up their site I find airwars.com is sponsored solely by Soros.
    I do think the US is not as concerned about “collateral damage” as it should be, but it is very clear that Soros is turning his propaganda machine away from Russia, and fully focussing it on Trump.

  64. Tim says:

    To the above you can add the odd coincidence of the Chief of GCHQ two days before Mrs Theresa May goes to see Mr Trump.
    This career civil servant at the apex of his career and halfway through his term at GCHQ decides he needs to spend more time with his kids, so he quits.

  65. TTG,
    Unlike you, I have not been involved in deception planning. For my sins, I have got drawn into to trying to make sense of three deception operations, or sets of them.
    The first were those designed to inveigle us into war in Iraq, and then cover up how this was done – in which MI6 played a crucial role.
    The second were the ‘information operations’ in which the late Alexander Litvinenko was a key player, in which both MI6 and also elements in America intelligence were involved up to the hilt, and those that were then practised to cover up how he died.
    (In both cases, these involved flagrant disinformation being put out both on the Western and Russian sides.)
    The third were the ‘information operations’ designed to inveigle us into toppling Assad by staging ‘false flags’ to demonstrate that he had crossed Obama’s ‘red line’, culminating with the Ghouta sarin atrocity, and the subsequent operations designed to cover up what had happened.
    As someone who once operated as a conventional television and current affairs person, using ‘sources’, I was very strongly impressed, when I began to look at the Iraq War ‘information operations’, by how much could be done by amateur journalists practising among other things what one might call ‘discrepancy analysis.’
    This is in the spirit of what Winston Smith does in Orwell’s 1984 – identifying changes in what officials claim by a careful analysis of ‘open source’ material, and working back from that to what they are trying to hide.
    There was a blogger using the name ‘eriposte’ whose abilities to compare and collate different accounts were truly awesome – and inspirational.
    In relation to Ghouta, a virtuoso display of quite how much an analysis of ‘open source’ material can achieve was provided by the ‘crowdsourced’ investigation opened up not long after the incident on on the ‘Who Attacked Ghouta?’ site by one ‘sasa wawa.’
    (See http://whoghouta.blogspot.co.uk/ .)
    Ironically, after what is clearly a systematised version of the material was recycled on a site entitled ‘Rootclaim’, opened up by an Israeli technology entrepreneur called Saar Wilf late last year, that investigation appears in a new light.
    (See https://www.rootclaim.com/claims/who-carried-out-the-chemical-attack-in-ghouta-on-august-21-2013-8394 .)
    A quick ‘open source’ check reveals that Wilf is a former employee of Unit 8200, and – whether or not he is ‘sasa wawa’ – rereading the ‘Who Attacked Ghouta?’ discussion of the 30 August 2013 ‘Government Assessment’ it is clearly the work of an experienced ‘SIGINT’ professional.
    (See http://whoghouta.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/the-us-intelligence-assessment_19.html .)
    One of the things that discussion establishes is that there was clearly a deliberate attempt to fake the ‘SIGINT’ results. In this, Unit 8200 were clearly actively complicit, NSA must have been at the very least passively complicit, as Craig Murray suggested at the time, and there is other evidence that GCHQ were at least passively complicit. So, these people are not to be trusted one iota and also have strong motives to cover things up.
    What ‘Rootclaim’ attempts to practise is ‘Bayesian analysis’. The technicalities are beyond me, but the broad principle of assessing the probability of an hypothesis by an analysis of that of hypotheses on which its truth or falsity is dependent seems helpful.
    That said, it leaves out the fact that changes in the evaluation of one hypothesis can change not simply the answers to others, but the hypotheses one needs to test. (Also, it is an open question how far it is helpful to put one’s evaluation of the plausibility of hypotheses in percentage terms.)
    However, taking a leaf out of the ‘Rootclaim’ book may actually help make clear how astonishing way in which your responses really have blown a large whole in my analytical framework. We are told by the ‘NYT’, ‘Guardian’, and Comey that at some point months before April 2016 – either in autumn 2015 or August – American and British intelligence agencies were aware of attempts by the Russians to hack the DNC.
    Having assumed at least a vestigial degree of competence in these organisations, I would naturally have assigned a high degree of probability to the conclusion that they would have informed the DNC, and ensured that its servers were checked by their own experts.
    Indeed, given that GCHQ, NSA and FBI all supposedly knew, in which case MI6 and the CIA could have been expected to know, in the terms used by ‘Rootclaim’, I think I would have put the probability rather higher than that which that site attaches to Ghouta being a ‘false flag’ – 92.3%.
    If I am to accept what you now tell me, in any analysis involving American and British intelligence services, in any question where their competence is a relevant variable, I have to revise the probability of their knowing what they are doing down to say, 5%. (An exception of course is the DIA.)
    As to the dating, conjecturally, I suggested that the DNC might have discovered that the information had been leaked in early to mid-June 2016.
    However, nothing in my hypothesis depends on this. It would have been possible that they had made the discovery at the time ‘CrowdStrike’ was supposedly called in, in April, and that the ‘information operation’ had taken weeks in the preparation.
    As ‘Walrus’ notes, my hypothesis would provide an explanation of why Seth Rich was murdered, if he was. Unfortunately, I have not had time to look at the evidence about his death, which took place on 10 June. Evidence in affairs of this kind is notoriously difficult to analyse – as the cases of Dr David Kelly and Boris Berezovsky illustrate.
    So I simply do not know where on a scale from say, 10% to 90% the possibility that what Assange has hinted – that Rich was murdered because he leaked information – should be rated on the basis of currently available evidence.
    However, if – purely for the sake of argument – one hypothesises that he was, and worked back over the timescale required to decide he should be assassinated, organise a hitman, work out the details of the operation, etc it could coincide nicely with the timescale required to organise an ‘information operation’ involving ‘CrowdStrike.’
    As to the notion that such an operation survived without a ‘leak or slip up.’ The ‘information operations’ designed to cover-up how Litvinenko died – on both sides – have survived with barely a ‘leak’ from that day to this. The one crucial ‘leak’ of which I am aware has been known to, and deliberately suppressed by, the BBC, the ‘Financial Times’, Sir Robert Owen and his team, among others.
    As to the number of ‘slip ups’ in the Litvinenko mystery, they have been legion, but nobody in the MSM notices. This is of some relevance to current arguments, given that Christopher Steele, who allegedly produced the dossier published by ‘BuzzFeed’, is supposed to have handled the investigation into Litvinenko’s death – although earlier suggestions he was the latter’s ‘case officer’ have been repudiated.
    This may be of some relevance to the fact that, as I pointed out, the dossier directly contradicts the ‘CrowdStrike’ version – and is a mass of contradictions. As I noted, the first memorandum, which contains ‘information’ which looks patently fraudulent, is dated 20 June – which again would tie in with the hypothesis of an ‘information operation’ supposed to be co-ordinated with that of which the ‘CrowdStrike’ dossier was a part.
    Actually however, the second memorandum, which deals with the hacking issue, is dated 26 July – though it claims to refer to conversations in June. It is a puzzling document, because no attempt is made to evaluate the claims made by ‘informants’.
    But, interestingly, they directly contradict ‘CrowdStrike’, saying that the FSB leads and that there has been ‘limited success’ in attacking ‘top foreign targets’. Later memoranda add fresh contradictions, right up to the claims about XBT and Gubarev, in relation to which Steele has been sued.
    Despite all this, we were informed by the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Representative Adam Schiff, that Steele is ‘reportedly held in high regard by U.S. intelligence’.
    Yet another ‘slip up’. As you will doubtless have seen, both the International Institute for Strategic Studies and a range of sources on the Ukrainian government side have repudiated key elements of Alperovitch’s attempt to bolster his case about ‘Fancy Bear’ by suggesting that the Russian military hacked into a Ukrainian artillery app.
    (There is a detailed account in a recent piece on VOA, at http://www.voanews.com/a/crowdstrike-comey-russia-hack-dnc-clinton-trump/3776067.html .)
    As to GCHQ. In a piece just posted on the ‘American Conservative’ site, under the title ‘Russiagate’s Unasked Questions’ – note the title, ‘Unasked’ not ‘Unanswered’ – Philip Giraldi notes that the organisation’s denial did not address the point at issue.
    (See https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-many-questions-not-asked-on-russiagate/ .)
    It read:
    ‘Recent allegations made by media commentator judge Andrew Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct wiretapping against the then president-elect are nonsense. They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored.’
    But Napolitano never suggested that that GCHQ either were asked to conduct wiretapping, or in fact did so. What he suggested was that the organisation has access to material collected by the NSA, so it could be obtained through them, without leaving a trail. This would be a very natural way of minimising the possibility of a ‘leak’.
    As Giraldi also notes, picking up a point originally made by Scott Ritter:
    ‘GCHQ would have had considerable information on Trump and it certainly ought to have enjoyed particularly good access to the phone calls made by Flynn from the Dominican Republic on networks used by Cable and Wire, a British company.’
    Again, however, the denial by GCHQ would not naturally be construed as covering this kind of activity.
    Whether the organisation did not address the matters at issue is the result of intellectual sloppiness, or deliberate evasiveness, I cannot say.
    For my own part, there are not many things about this affair which I feel justified, as yet, in moving up to what one might call the 100% probability category. And indeed, what I would very much like to see is a proper inquiry.
    However, British experience does not make me optimistic, to put it mildly.
    A familiar trick here is to find either the right kind of judge – Lord Hutton or Sir Robert Owen – or the right kind of civil servant – Lord Butler or Sir John Chilcot.
    They can then be expected to apply whatever degree of ‘whitewash’ is judged appropriate to the activities of the government and the intelligence agencies at the time.
    An unfortunate change, which I do not quite understand, is at the time of the Hutton Inquiry, there will still MSM journalists who wanted, as it were, to clean off the whitewash. Today, such willingness is largely conspicuous by its absence. ‘Minitrue’ has been fully absorbed by ‘Miniluv’.

  66. LondonBob says:

    Certainly not my area of expertise but the author seems to have a good idea of what they are talking about.
    The DNC hack story could be even thinner than is thought. Impressive how this entire story has been constructed on little to no facts, an impressive display as to how the media, with a little of the right encouragement, can create a story out of thin air. The big lie in technique in action.

  67. helenk3 says:

    former CIA agent admits Trump wiretapping likely true.
    it used to be that if you said the government was watching you and listening to you, people said you were nuts and wearing a tin foil hat. Now it seems as if it is true. Does anyone know just how wide spread the listening is? Should the average citizen now start using some kind of code to communicate?
    Isn’t it sad how the actions of some government agencies make the public lose faith in all of the government?

  68. Lefty says:

    When my kids were little and did that kind of thing we called it a tantrum. Fortunately they did not have a nationwide echo chamber to reinforce their behavior.
    My brother in law has advocated a Constitutional amendment and a new election because his candidate lost. THE RUSSIANS you know. When I volunteered that he was pretty far out in the ozone, SWMBO “suggested” I shouldn’t talk to him anymore. I agreed.
    Third in the line of succession is Orrin Hatch. That would just fix everything up hunky dory, or not.

  69. helenk3 says:

    I was not sure my post would show. It seems to take a while.

  70. confusedponderer says:

    re “1. … Part of that is sending (CIA asset) Gülen back to Turkey”
    If that happened, Gülen would immadiately be arrested, mistreated in jail, had to face a clownery trial in a pro-Erdogan court and perhaps end up as the first executed guy in Turkey in late times.
    When Erdogan blathers about reintroducing death penalty for nothing or everything he means just that. He routinely blathers about wanting death penalty again asap …
    That is, he blathers that only whenever he doesn’t accuse Netherlands and Germany of being nazis for impertinently daring to disagree with him, and even worse, for impertinently daring to say so aloud … just like good turkish media they rather should applause Erdogan.
    Perhaps Erdogan just simply doesn’t care about becoming a EU member anymore, playing the ball to the Turkish people, to the extent their views still play a sort of a matter. Some sorry reality in Ankara:
    Erdogan said on Saturday that Turkey may hold a second referendum on whether to continue with European Union accession.
    What a brilliant idea! The not (yet?) closed, utterly uncritical, utterly incorruptable and utterly reliable Turkish media will make sure turks know precisely what Erogan wants them to believe.
    If Erdogan goes on like he blathers, or does – after arresting 160.000, building new jails and closing 150 tv studions and newspapers … then he and turkey will pay an unpleasant price: For starters, turkey currently faces a significant loss in income from tourists who prefer to go elsewhere. If Erdogan keeps at it, it’ll become worse.
    My brother is a journalist, and once he was sent to a journalist journey to turkey. He meant that they were controlled and watched all the time by turkish cops and state folks, to make sure these reporters c/wouldn’t speak with ‘wrong persons’ (i.e. critical persons). Folks they were supposed to talk to had been prepared and were … reliable. Being left alone or going somewhere alone was impossible. Speaks for itself.
    And yet these clowns in turke brazenly dare to speak of ‘right to free speech’ for their pro-Erdogan propagandists sent to Netherlands or Germany (and demand that everyone else shuts up) – it’s hard to top that cynicism and impertinence…
    That Erdogan sent the turkish army to syria and north iraq, after by and large firing or arresting what it had as competent officers, also speaks for itself.
    I saw pictures from north Iraq, with an unarmoured turkish cross country vehicle, with a load of soldiers on its back. As if playing a sniper target, amongst the troops there was an NBC recce dude, in protection suit, with a gas mask in face and some detecting device in his hands.
    I was an NBC recce troop leader in the army at the time the US removed their C weapons from germany. I had a quasi suicidist trooper flirting with disaster. Among his follies was that he liked to remove the filter from his gas mask … because it made breathing … easier. That cunning move also made sure he was puking like a rex when tested with tear gas in a test shelter. He was surprised about that, which strongly suggests that didn’t quite get what gas or a gas mask was about.
    Anyway, we were teached that reconaissance folks CAMOUFLAGE AND HIDE, that they PREFER ARMOUR where they can have it, that C stuff is ALWAYS vicious and brutal (our suicide trooper believed there was good (= makes you happy) gas (US, UK, France, West Germany) and evil (= makes you sick) gas (Rusia, DDR etc pp) etc. pp.
    So, what to do when the turkish recce dude finds C stuff – will they piss it away? And, short of left competent officers, who’s leading the troops in combat? Some preacher? Erdogan himself? … good grief, or rather, “So sad …”

  71. helenk3 says:

    cyber attacks on our Federal Bank by North Korea? talking about it on Fox now. took money from one country. Makes our banking system look unsafe.
    anybody know any thing about this?

  72. pmr9 says:

    Wikileaks states that the emails it released on 22 July 2016 https://wikileaks.org/dnc-emails/ cover the period from January 2015 to 25 May 2016. I think we can assume that they took their mail server offline or secured it as soon as they discovered that it was compromised by a hack or an insider leak.

  73. pmr9,
    Thanks for that.
    Assuming that the claim is born out by the e-mails – which seems to me likely, but I have not checked – a number of things would follow.
    The original 14 June ‘Washington Post’ report, which first brought ‘CrowdStrike’ into the picture, contained the following paragraph:
    ‘Some of the hackers had access to the DNC network for about a year, but all were expelled over the past weekend in a major computer cleanup campaign, the committee officials and experts said.’
    (See https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/russian-government-hackers-penetrated-dnc-stole-opposition-research-on-trump/2016/06/14/cf006cb4-316e-11e6-8ff7-7b6c1998b7a0_story.html?utm_term=.b8516315637a .)
    In any case, this never made much sense. If ‘CrowdStrike’ had immediately identified ‘Fancy Bear’ in late April, one would have expected that the ‘cleanup campaign’ would have started there – and not have been delayed until the weekend of 11-12 June. Moreover, ‘about a year’ would not take us back to January 2015.
    And further, if I recall right, TTG told me that there it is not possible to be reliably sure that all intruders have been expelled – in which case, the ‘committee officials and experts’ must either been incompetent or lying (if not both.)
    On top of this, the final memorandum – supposedly from Christopher Steele – whose claims about Gubarev and XBT provoked the lawsuit, specifically claimed that they went on happily hacking throughout this period.
    Obviously, if that is the case, then ‘CrowdStrike’ would need not simply to be mendacious but utterly incompetent. Anyone who looked to them to provide internet security would be liable to come very badly unstuck. (Their share price, if they have one, should be close to zero.)
    Perhaps there will be a court case, in which Christopher Steele will have to come out of the shadows and testify, and there will be an honest judge (not Sir Robert Owen) and competent counsel asking questions which might cause problems for MI6 (not Robin Tam QC and Hugh Davies QC.) And perhaps they will call Alperovitch as a witness.
    If the exfiltration of material – by whatever means – stopped in late May, that could generate a timeline that worked quite well.
    Assuming that Seth Rich was identified as the source of the leaks at or around that date, there would have been enough time to organise his assassination.
    Moreover, there would have been enough time to involve ‘CrowdStrike’ and other similar companies in producing disinformation to back up the ‘cover-up’ story.
    And here, a piece which is clearly relevant is by Andrew Levine, sometime of ‘The Exile’, entitled ‘From Russia, with Panic’.
    (See https://thebaffler.com/salvos/from-russia-with-panic-levine .)
    It relates how claims about Russian cyberattacks were used in an attempt to validate the – as it turned out, completely false – argument that Russian initiated the 2008 Georgian War.
    And it appears that, in his younger years, Dmitri Alperovitch was a ‘bit part player’ in these ‘information operations’.
    None of this enables to push any hypotheses right up close to the 100% proven position, and indeed it is eminently possible that the murder of Rich was nothing to do with the DNC leaks. (Claims that David Kelly was murdered now have come down to something close to a 5% probability, it seems.)
    But one really needs a serious argument, and there is not much point in attempting to have one with people who regard the ‘Guardian’, or GCHQ, as reliable sources, after all that has happened over the past years.

  74. DianaLC says:

    11214 Quivas Loop

  75. DianaLC says:

    I have wondered something for some time in regard to this entire “Russia hacked the electon” narrative. Now I am reminded that I’ve never read an explanation, and it might also have a connection the possible GCHQ link,given Assange’s current location.
    Back in January Assange offered to come to the U.S. if Chelsea Manning was pardoned. I know that Snowden was also interested in Manning’s pardon. So, three leakers are involved here.
    I could not figure out Assange’s agenda with that suggestion. Perhaps he was just very concerned about Manning’s mental health. And then nothing else was mentioned. Was he willing to give out detailed information to help Chelsea Manning get treatment for her suicidal tendencies? Is that the only reason he could have for his offer? Or did it have something to do with exchanging information in regard to this “hacking” story also?
    Obviously I am guessing. It just seemed strange to me coming at that time.

  76. My question comes late to this subject. Back in January, Assange offered to come to the U.S. if Chelsea Manning was pardoned. I know that Snowden was also interested in Manning’s pardon. But I’ve heard nothing else in regard to Assange’s offer.
    Did it simply fall flat and get no response? Was his motive simply to ease Manning’s mental state?
    Or, because of the timing in regard to all that “Russian hacked the election” narrative, was he also hinting that he might talk?
    The timing of his offer seemed very strange.

  77. Thomas says:

    “… but it is very clear that Soros is turning his propaganda machine away from Russia, and fully focussing it on Trump.”
    No, he is going after one and all, as he should be, because when the lid blows off he is going to covered up to his eyeballs.

  78. And now everyone knows why I could never serve in intelligence organizations.

  79. Thomas says:

    “And now everyone knows why I could never serve in intelligence organizations.”
    Well, being Crazy could have got you in during the past sixteen years, but the door is closing on that.
    In answer to your question it was bit part in this overall power play, with the key goal being to keep the Neo Cold War Redux alive so that things like the Syrian state surviving, Jihadis dying, and other nefarious acts seeing the light would not come to past. And maintaining positions and places in the Exceptional Empire court matters to these people with severe pathological issues too.
    Stay tuned, more to come.

  80. Mikey says:

    Marketwatch: “Consumer confidence soars in March to best reading in 16 years”

  81. Small correction.
    It should have been Yasha Levine, not Andrew.
    Yesterday, he produced a ‘tweet’ which reads:
    ‘CrowdStrike, the huckster cyber company blaming Russia for hacking America, is basically a privatized NATO cyber arm https://www.ncia.nato.int/NewsRoom/Pages/170323_nitec17.aspx … ‘
    (See https://twitter.com/yashalevine/status/846691599992176640 .)
    The link is to a release by the ‘NATO Communications and Information Agency’ about their annual conference, to be held in April, whose title this year is “Sharpening NATO’s Technological Edge: Adaptive Partnerships and the Innovative Power of Alliance Industry.”
    Among the ‘cybersecurity and telecommunications industry leaders’ addressing the conference will be Alperovitch. His contribution to the release reads as follows:
    ‘“For the last 30 years, Western governments have focused a great deal of attention on the potential kinetic impacts posed by cyber-attacks,” said CrowdStrike Co-founder and CTO Dmitri Alperovitch. “Our adversaries, however, have learned to appreciate cyber as an information warfare domain first and foremost. Now that we have witnessed how democracy itself can be attacked through cyber-enabled leaks and propaganda, it is more imperative than ever for NATO to develop a strategy for leveraging both public and private resources to raise preparedness in combatting these threats.”’
    This is the familiar oleaginous ‘butter-wouldn’t-melt-in-my-mouth’ tone which has become characteristic of Western ‘information operations’.
    So Alperovitch’s remarks further reinforce the questions which have been buildin up about the conventional ‘narrative’ on the DNC hacks. That organisation brings in a supposedly ‘independent’ expert, who however turns out on closer inspection to be part of NATO networks heavily invested in ‘StratCom’, as is evident from the clearly close links between the ‘Atlantic Council’ and the ‘NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence.’
    Rather than have either own experts look at the DNC servers, the FBI and the NSA are happy to accept this expert’s analysis on trust.
    Jesting apart, it seems to me highly unlikely that simple incompetence provides a plausible explanation for this extraordinary behaviour.
    A more plausible hypothesis is that both the FBI and the NSA were aware that actual test results carried out by competent and independent experts on the DNC servers would not support the ‘narrative’. With their own people, there would have been a real possibility that the truth might leak out. (It is also possible of course, that a proper investigation was carried out, and the results suppressed.)
    Accordingly, their own realistic course of action was to rely on a ‘huckster cyber company’ which was intimately involved with official Western ‘information operations’ networks.
    Another obvious hypothesis is that all the claims by the FBI, NSA and GCHQ that they had identified Russian penetration of the DNC in either autumn or August 2015 are BS. It seems likely that the existence of a serious exfiltration of information from the DNC was not identified until May 2016 – not April, as claimed by in the ‘narrative’ put out by ‘CrowdStrike’ and others.
    I am still wondering what percentage probability to put on these various hypotheses – if one wanted to follow the ‘Rootclaim’ example. It seems to me that, while it should be significantly less than 100%, it should be quite high.

  82. Eric Newhill says:

    A revelation released on Morning Joe by Evelyn Farkas that the Obama admin sought intel on Trump:

  83. turcopolier says:

    Publius tells me he is writing a piece on Dr. Farkas’ embarrassing admissions on MJ this morning. I must force myself to go back to watching that circus. pl

  84. Valissa says:

    Thanks, David, for putting all the pieces together so lucidly in this and other recent comments on the “hack.”
    Given all the information operations likely in play it has become clear that the heads of the various IC agencies cannot be trusted to speak the truth to the public about these investigations. Given that, and the intense polarization, I do not see how any congressional investigations into these matters would clear anything up. These people are not interested in attempting to get at the truth, they are too driven by their ambitions, egos and tribal loyalties.

  85. dorothy108 says:

    I know this whole ‘circus’ must be so tedious for you, but you, and the fine members of your committee are just about the only source of unbiased truth left out there. Your insights are appreciated and revered. I cannot thank you, enough for your continued service.

  86. Pundita says:

    This American-British spy tale has taken on the earmarks of a Shaggy Dog joke that the American author James Dickey (“Deliverance”) was good at acting out. It was the one about the man who was told that the right cuff on his jacket was a little longer than the left cuff. So he drew his right hand a little into the jacket sleeve to even out the appearance of the cuffs.
    Then someone pointed out that the left cuff on his jacket looked a little longer than the right cuff. So he drew his left hand a little into the jacket sleeve to even out the sleeves. But then someone told him the right cuff looked longer than the left cuff.
    It went on and on like that until Dickey’s arms were completely out of the jacket with the empty sleeves flopping around.

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