OpenCDA

February 16, 2018

Really Bad Idea, Scotty! You Too, Little Marco

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 7:53 pm

Chris_Wray_official_photo copyWithin hours of the mass murders on February 14, 2018, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Florida’s knee-jerk Republican Governor Rick Scott and half-cocked Republican US Senator Marco Rubio have demanded that FBI Director Christopher Wray resign.

The FBI has already acknowledged that it failed to properly categorize and forward a good citizen’s potentially critical report called in on January 5 to the FBI about alleged shooter Nikolas Cruz.

Properly, both Director Wray and AG Sessions have ordered an investigation to determine exactly what happened that led to the FBI’s mishandling critical information.  Until that investigation is completed, any adverse actions against any FBI employee including Director Wray are premature.

Wray was installed as the FBI Director on September 28, 2017, exactly 140 days before the Parkland murders.

For two opportunistic political hacks, Florida’s Governor Rick Scott and Senator Marco Rubio, to call for Wray’s resignation over the breakdown of a program put in place long before be became Director is not only unfair but monumentally stupid.  Firing Wray for not having first found and then fixed every FBI problem in his first 140 days on the job is not the way to rehabilitate the FBI.

The damage done to the FBI and DoJ by eight years of Obama and Biden, Holder and Lynch, and Mueller and Comey appears to have originated at the top and flowed downhill.  Their politicizing damage needs to be  assessed by a Presidential Commission, not aggravated by firing Christopher Wray.

Right now, the FBI needs a strong Director.  It may have one in Christopher Wray.  Fire him for political expedience rather than just cause, and the next qualified and competent Director will almost certainly be much harder to find.

Special Counsel Issues Indictment of Russians – 2016 Election Interference

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , , — Bill @ 12:10 pm

svr logo|

On Friday, February 16, 2018, Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office released a federal grand jury indictment naming 13 Russians and 3 Russian companies as defendants.  The indictment alleges the defendants interfered in the 2016 presidential election.

Here is a link to the 37-page indictment issued today.

The indictment itself is a far more reliable and complete information source than the news media for the details of when, how, and by whom the offenses against the United States were allegedly committed.

 

February 13, 2018

Appoint a Presidential Commission

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , , — Bill @ 1:52 pm

Warren Commission Composite NYTWith  American citizens finally becoming more aware of  the scope and gravity of the institutional corruption involved in and around the 2016 election, members of Congress are receiving increasing demands to appoint another Special Counsel.

As I opined in my OpenCdA post on January 12, 2018, entitled So It Never Happens Again …,  merely appointing yet another Special Counsel to look into the allegations of apparent criminal wrongdoing associated with the 2016 national general election would be an incomplete approach.

I don’t dispute there are grounds for such a Special Counsel.  However, I believe the job of rehabilitating corrupted and crippled agencies whose missions are critically important to the national security is too much for a Special Counsel.

Before you conclude I’m overstating the scope of work required for rehabilitation, consider this:

Credible evidence released by diligent House and Senate committees has provided solid reasons to believe that the following government bodies have some involvement either as alleged violators or as victims in the numerous and various statutory and administrative rule violations:

  • Central Intelligence Agency (alleged violator)
  • Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) (victim)
  • Department of Justice (alleged violator)
    • Federal Bureau of Investigation (alleged violator)
  • Department of State (alleged violator)
  • Federal Election Commission (victim)
  • Former President Obama and his Executive Office of the President (alleged violator)
  • Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (victim)
  • Internal Revenue Service (alleged violator)
  • National Security Agency (alleged violator)
  • US Congress (victim)

Very arguably the most important objective of  rehabilitation has to be to restore the public’s confidence in our federal agencies to perform their duties honestly and diligently.  (Lest we forget, the honest and diligent employees of all the alleged violator agencies are ‘the public,’ too.)  Thus far, the Mueller Special Counsel effort has produced  little or nothing to accomplish that objective.

There is another objective that no Special Counsel will have the courage to touch:  An open and frank discussion of the miserable failure of our First Amendment-protected news media to provide timely, accurate, and complete reporting of verified information (not opinion) to We, the People.

That discussion must include but not start with the performance of reporters or editors or news directors.  It must start with media owners’ lack of understanding the importance of timely, accurate, complete news reporting.  Then these owners must be questioned about their lack of commitment to that same reporting.

In part the failures of federal agencies have apparently been aided and abetted by the First Amendment-protected news media’s decisions to ignore or under-report those failures.   The media owe We, the People, some answers for their seemingly aiding and abetting alleged crimes that have been committed against all the people of the United States.

If the public’s confidence in the integrity of some critical agencies and their employees is to be restored, we need a Presidential Commission with far more horsepower, moral courage, and integrity than we are likely to ever see from another Special Counsel like Robert Mueller.

February 9, 2018

It’s Called ‘Sanitizing’

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , — Bill @ 8:23 pm

United_States_House_Permanent_Select_Committee_on_IntelligenceToday the President determined that the Democrat response to the Republican HPSCI memo could not be properly declassified and released to the public as written.

The letter from White House Counsel Don McGahn to the HPSCI Chairman Devin Nunes was released today.   The unclassified letter offered the Executive Branch’s assistance to the HPSCI Minority in making revisions which would allow public release of the minority’s memo.

The process of rewording classified information to permit the information to be released to the public is called “sanitizing.”

Sanitizing is a very common practice,  and when done honestly and diligently by knowledgeable, skillful writers, their desired message can be conveyed without revealing sensitive national security information.

Congress Getting Very, Very Warm …

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , — Bill @ 12:30 pm

FISC SealThe House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) and its Chairman Devin Nunes are getting very, very warm when it comes to ‘unmasking’ the apparent corruption and exploitation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) by some Mahogany Row players in the Obama Justice Department (DoJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

On February 7, 2018, Chairman Nunes sent a formal written request, a letter to the Presiding Judge of the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, requesting, “… transcripts of any relevant FISC hearings associated with the initial FISA application or subsequent renewals related to electronic surveillance of Carter Page.”

Clearly, Chairman Nunes and the HPSCI need to see all of the material submitted to the FISC to determine the extent of the representations, if any,  made to the Court in obtaining a FISA warrant and its three renewals to use the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to conduct an unlawful electronic surveillance on US citizen Carter Page.

Beyond that, it is very possible the HPSCI’s examination of these materials may reveal a pattern of deception practiced by officials in both the DoJ and FBI in seeking or securing other FISA warrants against US citizens unlawfully “unmasked” after incidental contact with persons lawfully the targets of FISA interceptions.

(P.S.:  It appears that even Sulzburger’s Slimes at the New York Times can no longer continue to ignore the post mortem stench of the Obama administration.  On February 6, 2018, the New York Times Company submitted a motion to the FISA Court requesting that the Court “… order publicatiion of all of its orders authorizing surveillance of Carter Page, a United States citizen, together with the application materials and renewal application mateerials upon which those orders were issued.”)

February 6, 2018

Update: Prior Redactions to Important Senate Judiciary Committee Memo Revealed

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , — Bill @ 8:18 pm

Senate SealOn Feburary 5, 2018, our OpenCdA post entitled Senate Judiciary Committee Memo Released relating to the Christopher Steele “dossier” contained a link to the highly-redacted Committee memo concerning the “dossier” and its importance to the FBI and DoJ in security a FISA warrant to surveil a US citizen, Carter Page.

Late today, the Department of Justice (DoJ) responded positively to a request from Senators Grassley and Graham to further declassify some of the material redacted in that material.

Here is the further redacted memo released just a few hours ago.

If factually accurate, the current memo’s representations suggest it was the Democratic National Committee and the Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, not Donald J. Trump, who were conspiring with a foreign agent to violate several campaign finance laws to prevent the lawful election of Donald J. Trump.

The memo in conjunction with other evidence strongly suggests that some FBI and DoJ headquarters executives were severely and possibly criminally derelict in performing their official duties pursuant to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court’s authorization to surveil Carter Page, a US citizen.

Please read the further redacted memo and decide for yourselves.

To date, Fox News has been the only major news medium to doggedly resist falling in line with the journalism group think/Clinton love fest so sickeningly broadcast by the formerly important news networks NBC, CBS, ABC, and CNN, and formerly reliable and diligent newspapers including but not limited to the New York Times and the Washington Post.

Whether they knew it or not, these and other news media have promoted the effort to first defeat Donald Trump’s candidacy and then, failing to engineer his election defeat,  to use whatever means necessary to prevent him from performing his official duties and then to remove him from office.

By failing to diligently pursue the facts objectively, it appears to me the national skews media have collectively participated in deception by omission.  Sadly, both the FBI and the Department of Justice have been complicit in the effort to manage the information the public receives.

It is likely that much more information will be revealed by the Congressional investigations.

It’s Called ‘Lawfare’

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 1:04 pm

LawfareThe Fox News Network is running an online news story today by Fred Lucas.  The story is headlined Democratic AGs swarm Trump administration with lawsuits.

The story is accompanied by a pull quote which reads, “This is not about the rule of law or holding the line to stop the feds from preempting state laws; this is about power.”  The quote is attributed to Scott Will, executive director of the Republican Attorneys General Association.

It has a name, Mr. Will.   It’s called “Lawfare.”  Think of it as weaponizing the rule of law with the sole purpose of  paralyzing and neutralizing a superior opponent.  If you and your cronies in the Republican Attorney General Association  (RAGA) are just figuring out that “The Resistance” to the Trump election and inauguration is using it, you’ve got a lot of catching up to do.  I suggest you read a couple of books.

The first book is Lawfare:  Law as a Weapon of War. It was published in 2016.

The second is Lawfare: The War Against Free Speech: A First Amendment Guide for Reporting in an Age of Islamist Lawfare.  It was published in 2011.

If the RAGA members doubt that its DAGA counterparts like Washington State’s Robert “Sideshow Bob” Ferguson are intentionally using lawfare to bring the Trump administration to a grinding halt, they should find and read David Brock’s online publication “Democracy Matters – Strategic Plan for Action.”  (See OpenCdA post dated August 16, 2017, entitled Understanding the Subversion of the Trump Presidency.)  Lawfare is one of the techniques Brock and his fellow travelers discuss in the Strategic Plan for Action.

February 5, 2018

Senate Judiciary Committee Memo Released

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 5:30 pm

Senate SealIn an apparently undated and heavily redacted declassified memorandum released today,  Senators Charles Grassley and Lindsey Graham of the US Senate Committee on the Judiciary have referred “… Christopher Steele to the Department of Justice for investigation of potential violation(s) of 18 U.S.C. § 1001.”

Steele’s mostly unsubstantiated “dossier,” funded by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton Campaign, apparently played a significant role in the FBI’s obtaining a FISA warrant to wiretap former Trump campaign staffer Carter Page.  (See OpenCdA post dated February 2, 2018, entitled Nunes (HPSCI) Memo Released.)

The referral suggests that the Senate Judiciary Committee believes Steele may have knowingly and willfully (1) falsifie[d], conceal[ed], or cover[ed] up by any trick, scheme, or device a material fact; or (2) ma[de] any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or representation; or (3) ma[de] or use[d] any false writing or document knowing the same to contain any materially false, fictitious, or fraudulent statement or entry in an investigation or review, conducted pursuant to the authority of any committee, subcommittee, commission or office of the Congress, consistent with applicable rules of the House or Senate.

The FBI and DoJ included Steele’s “dossier” or parts of it in their FISA warrant application.  One issue is whether the FBI adequately informed the FISA Court Judge that the “dossier” information included in the FISA warrant application had not been verified by the FBI and was, in fact, created as an opposition research document funded by the Democratic National Committee and the Clinton Campaign.

The memos like today’s and the Nunes’ memo are interesting, however the real meat of the info would come from the FISA warrant  initial and renewal applications  and any supporting documentation attached.  What the affiant represented to the FISA Court and what the affiant should have told the Court but failed to fully disclose or completely withheld are important.

February 2, 2018

Nunes (HPSCI) Memo Released

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 4:30 pm

United_States_House_Permanent_Select_Committee_on_IntelligenceHere is the six-page package (authorization/declassification letter and four-page memorandum) released February 2, 2018,  by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI).  The memorandum’s subject is Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Abuses at the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In reading the memorandum’s header including its classification, we can clearly see the memo was written to and for the HPSCI Majority Members, and it was prepared by the HPSCI Majority Staff.   The Majority and Minority Staffs and Members would already have had access to some and maybe all of the underlying information from which the memo was derived.

Already the FBI and others have criticized the memo’s release, asserting that some information essential to fully understanding the memo has been omitted.  Again, the memo’s intended recipients had access to that information; incidental recipients such as the public may not.

It is my understanding that the HPSCI Minority Staff may have prepared its own version of this memo as a counterpoint to the memo linked above.

I hope that after being sanitized using the same standards as were used to sanitize the memo linked above, the HPSCI Minority Staff’s own memo will be timely released to the public as well.

As for the efforts to devalue and discredit the memo by pointing out the obvious absence of the underlying information necessary to more fully understand the memo, the remedy is obvious:  Sanitize all the information and release it to the public.  Shine more light, not less, on the alleged abuses of the FISA by the DoJ and FBI.  This proposed massive public release of sanitized information is very unlikely to happen.

Then again …

According to this Judicial Watch press release issued February 2, 2018, “Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Justice Department for FBI documents regarding the FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) warrant application submitted to – and responses from – the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court related to alleged collusion between Russia and Trump campaign associates (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:18-cv-00245)).”

Even prior to the memo’s release today, there have been Congressmen calling for yet another special counsel to look into the FBI’s conduct in the Clinton email server and Uranium One investigation.  That, however, is already under investigation by the DoJ’s Inspector General, and his report is expected sometime in March 2018.

I believe it would be wise for everyone to calm down and wait for the DoJ OIG’s report.  It may answer many relevant questions factually rather than speculatively.

In any case and as suggested in my January 10, 2018, OpenCdA post entitled So It Never Happens Again …, I believe that an independent commission similar to the Warren Commission would be a better alternative to yet another politicized special counsel.  Both the FBI and the DoJ have longstanding internal problems at the executive level (Mahogany Row).   Particularly at Main Justice, these problems extend beyond the current allegations of FISA abuses.

Even if FBI Director Wray and Attorney General Sessions have the political will and the horsepower necessary to pump the septic sludge out of their own tanks, they would benefit from a little more help in shining light into the tanks and exorcising the most stubborn stuff.  A Warren Commission-like effort could help wall them off from interference by executive, legislative, and judicial partisan politics.

January 10, 2018

So It Never Happens Again …

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 3:46 pm

Warren Commission Composite NYTGovernment agencies can become complacent and sloppy.  Sometimes the complacency and sloppiness leads to corruption or worse, someone gets hurt or killed.  Though the agency heads may change from time to time as political administrations change, the agency head’s immediate subordinates often remain.  Often those immediate subordinates have titles such as Deputy this or Associate that.   Complacency, sloppiness, corruption, and criminal conduct occur further down among agency employees because it is being tolerated and sometimes directed by the inhabitants of an agency’s Mahogany Row.  Institutional complacency and sloppiness oozes down from the top.

In spite of my using an image of the front page headline from the September 28, 1964, New York Times, this OpenCdA post is not about revamping the US Secret Service.    The photo referring to President Kennedy’s murder and the resulting Warren Commission was used to emphasize the importance of federal agencies’ operations being subjected to regular critical Congressional oversight and then making appropriate corrections before official rebuke becomes necessary.

The Warren Commission examination of the US Secret Service after President Kennedy’s murder was necessary.  The changes the Commission made were long overdue and were far more expansive than the public, unclassified version of the Warren Commission Report reflected.

Having watched carefully the pre- and now  post-2016 election circus back in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac,  I believe top-down, Warren Commission-like examinations of both the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the US Department of Justice (DoJ) are also critically necessary and need  to begin soon.  There appears to have been DoJ and FBI malfeasance, criminal conduct, and the abuses of investigative authority including misleading and possibly outright lying to the FISA Court to obtain FISA Court warrants to surveil persons associated with the Trump Campaign and possibly candidate, nominee, and now-President Trump himself.

Sensitive information selectively leaked from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation and public information found in recent Congressional hearings strongly suggest that before and after November 8, 2016,  some headquarters executive and supervisory level  officials of both the FBI and DoJ apparently looked into the funhouse mirrors adorning their Mahogany Row office walls.    Apparently they saw a messianic face  looking back at them.  Perhaps believing the image they saw in their mirrors to be above the laws of the United States,  they may have concluded they had been divinely anointed to undo President Donald J. Trump’s election, in their minds an unthinkable wrong committed by “deplorable” voters on November 8, 2016.

If the DoJ and FBI abused intelligence assets and statutory authority, the abuses represent a grave threat to the national security.   They completely undermine the trust and confidence the citizens of the United States must have in these agencies. (more…)

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