OpenCDA

March 25, 2017

Reevaluate the US Secret Service

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 7:15 am

TSD LogoIf the recent penetration of the White House grounds and the theft of a laptop computer with sensitive security and investigative information are an accurate indication of the present security awareness and readiness of the US Secret Service, then once again a major reevaluation of the organization is needed.

First, the protective mission of the Secret Service needs to be restated with renewed emphasis.  “Gunshot mentality” must be culturally replaced with “Secure environment mentality.”  It was supposed to happen after the Warren Commission report, but complacency dies hard.

Second, the present Secret Service Director must be replaced with someone from outside the Secret Service.  In addition to all of the administrative and management knowledge, skills, and abilities taxpayers would expect in a 21st century chief executive law enforcement officer, the new Director must also have a very strong and extensive experiential background in counterintelligence.  The new Director should come with extensive experience from a counterintelligence component inside the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Defense Department (DoD), or Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).   OpenCdA’s preference would be to select a new Director from the DoD.

The two recent incidents linked above and others that preceded them are clear indicators that some of the more sensitive findings of the September 24, 1964, President’s Commission to Report Upon the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy (Warren Commission) were not fully culturally embraced by the US Secret Service.  The various Congressional committees examining the recent performance of the US Secret Service needs to look back at all those findings including those still under the seal of secrecy. (more…)

March 13, 2017

What Standard of ‘Evidence’?

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 12:39 pm

In-Obama-We-Trust-Patch-DownsizeArizona U.S. Senator John McCain is demanding that President Trump either produce evidence or retract the allegation his telecommunications system at the Trump Tower was ‘wiretapped’ by someone at the direction of former President Obama.

There are at least two Congressional committees which will apparently be including Trump’s allegations of wiretaps in broader investigations.

OpenCdA wonders:   By what standard would the sufficiency and validity of any Trump-produced evidence be judged?  What would be acceptable evidence in the eyes of John McCain, Charles Schumer,  and the other Capitol Hill Clowns?

Our opinion is that the standard for evaluating Trump’s comments before and during the investigations needs to be based on the broader requirement for probable cause rather than the narrower federal rules of evidence.

Probable cause amounts to more than a mere suspicion but less than evidence that would justify a conviction.  Would a reasonable man considering the information available conclude that some of Trump’s or his associates’ wire and oral communications may have been lawfully or unlawfully intercepted?

OpenCdA very strongly suspects that in the eyes and small minds of establishment rabidista partisans among the Clowns, no evidence submitted by President Trump will be sufficient to do anything other than give them an opportunity for more face time on the network news and talk shows. (more…)

March 11, 2017

You’re Fired — No, Really!

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 4:20 pm

Preet BhararaIn our OpenCdA post yesterday we expressed hope that President Trump would ask Preet Bharara to remain as the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York.   Bharara was fearless, absolutely unimpressed with a suspect’s political office, social position, connections, or wealth.  He had a remarkable record of successfully prosecuting some of the worst of the worst criminals in New York, including several prominent corrupt state legislators and other officials as well as financiers.

Bharara had met with President-elect Trump in November and had reportedly been told by Trump and Attorney General nominee Sessions he would be asked to stay on as the US Attorney.

After refusing to submit his resignation, Bharara was formally fired today at President Trump’s direction by acting Deputy Attorney General Dana Boente.

Bharara will do just fine on the outside.  In fact, OpenCdA thinks he would make a pretty good federal district court or appeals court judge.   Hopefully that’s what President Trump has in mind for him.

Unfortunately, the real losers are the people in the southern district of New York who had come to trust Bharara and his very capable Assistant US Attorneys to stand up against corrupt public officials, white collar crime predators, and organized crime families.  Bharara’s office was so successful because he attracted high-quality, experienced lawyers to leave often lucrative private practices and enter the public service.

Unlike Main Justice in Fantasyland-on-the-Potomac, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York didn’t have any swamp water that needed to be drained.  We can only hope that whoever President Trump nominates to replace Preet Bharara will be able to continue to attract and retain the best AUSAs.

The capable career prosecutors, the AUSAs, need a strong US Attorney to keep the political hacks off their backs.   Preet Bharara did that very effectively.  We hope that’s not why President Trump fired him.

March 10, 2017

You’re Fired!

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 4:55 pm

AG SessionsAn article in the Los Angeles Times is reporting that Attorney General Jeff Sessions has requested the resignations of the remaining 46 US Attorneys in their respective federal judicial districts.

Of the 93 US Attorneys heading each of the 94 federal judicial districts, 47 of them had already resigned (districts of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands share a USA).  Each US Attorney is a political appointee who serves at the pleasure of the President.

Idaho’s former US Attorney, Wendy Jo Olson, bailed out on February 25, 2017.  Olson joined the Boise law firm of Stoel Rives LLP.

First Assistant US Attorney Rafael Gonzalez Jr. will serve as the interim US Attorney for the District of Idaho until a permanent replacement is nominated by the President and confirmed by the US Senate.

Some of the US Attorneys may be asked by President Trump to remain.  OpenCdA hopes Preet Bharara, US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, will be one who is.   In fact, we think it would be fun to watch some of Idaho’s roaches scramble for cover if Bharara were to seek appointment in the District of Idaho.  The reality is Idaho is likely to get some politically-connected local loser who will recuse himself or herself from any case with even a hint of personal political jeopardy and who will be guided not by the law but by certain key political and business figures here.

March 8, 2017

‘Wiretaps’ – Part 2

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 5:04 pm

In Obama We Trust PatchDid someone in the Obama administration either with or contrary to statutory authority order some form of technical interception to acquire information being passed through or stored on telecommunications systems or equipment in the Trump Tower in New York during the time that now-President Trump was Candidate Trump or Nominee Trump?

That was a mouthful.  That may be why President Trump use some variation of the simpler but much broader term ‘wiretap’ in his March 4 Twitter messages.   Unfortunately, ‘wiretap’ means different things to different people.

‘Wiretap’ was romanticized in the radio dramas and movies of the 30’s and since.   It meant using a simple device such as a telephone lineman’s handset (buttset) or an audio amplifier and headphones attached to a telephone line to listen and maybe record the people talking to each other on the line.  Their conversations were analog, not digitized, and there was almost always only one conversation at a time on each line.

As telecommunications technology evolved to include more than analog communications and to pass data in addition to voice audio, the term ‘wiretap’ became less and less accurate, less precise, to describe an array of wire and non-wire audio and non-audio interceptions, usually nonconsensual.    We’d go so far as to say that in 2017, it has become too imprecise to have much meaning at all in either law or technical surveillance.

OpenCdA wishes that President Trump’s staff (especially Press Secretary Sean Spicer), the Capitol Hill Clowns , and the remarkably inept skews media had directly asked President Trump what he meant when he accused former President Obama of directing a  ‘wiretap’ on his phone lines at the Trump Tower in Manhattan.

Apparently, they didn’t ask or he chose not to explain what he meant.

March 6, 2017

‘Wiretaps’

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 5:17 pm

In Obama We Trust Patch

 

February 16, 2017

White House Press Corpse 02-16-2017

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 12:00 pm

WHPressCorpseMoments after the conclusion of today’s press conference with President Trump,  the official White House photographer snapped this photo of the White House press leaving the north grounds.

February 15, 2017

Please, Stop Calling Them ‘Leaks’

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 8:06 pm

NSA_memorial_wall_fullPresident Trump, like many other people including former President Obama, members of Congress, and the supposedly educated but woefully ignorant skews media, persist in referring to the unauthorized disclosure of national security information as “leaks” or “leaking.”  Using those terms carelessly trivialize a very serious criminal act.

The Memorial Wall at NSA Headquarters identify 176 of our fellow citizens who have died protecting the integrity of signals intelligence or the sources and methods used to gather it so that the rest of us may live our lives comfortably and safely.

OpenCdA urges our three or four readers to read the February 14, 2017, column by Bloomberg View writer Eli Lake.   Mr. Lake titled his column “The Political Assassination of Michael Flynn” .   Please pay particular attention to the last paragraphs beginning at paragraph 7 which reads:

Normally intercepts of U.S. officials and citizens are some of the most tightly held government secrets. This is for good reason. Selectively disclosing details of private conversations monitored by the FBI or NSA gives the permanent state the power to destroy reputations from the cloak of anonymity. This is what police states do.

General Michael Flynn was asked to resign as President Trump’s national security adviser because the partial transcript of an intercepted telephone conversation between General Flynn and the Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak was provided to persons not authorized to reveal its contents to anyone else.  General Flynn was not even permitted to see the transcript, so he could hardly affirm or refute its accuracy and completeness.

Yet some people who had lawful access to the transcript decided that using the information for political expediency was more important than national security.   Those people who unlawfully revealed partial details of the Flynn-Kislyak conversation for personal and political gain betrayed more than the public trust; they dishonored the memories of all those who have served honorably in service to the United States.

OpenCdA hopes that Attorney General Sessions and his Acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security have already convened a federal grand jury under the authority of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).   This unauthorized release of extremely sensitive national security signals intelligence must be investigated for the purpose of pursuing criminal prosecutions against all violators including elected and appointed officials as well as members of the skews media.

Given the limited distribution of signals intelligence (telecommunications) interceptions permitted by law and the stringent documentation associated with access to each interception (see my July 14, 2016, post “It’s a Bigot List“), we hope that every person who was given unauthorized access will be subpoenaed and compelled to give grand jury testimony under oath.     It will not be a complicated investigation.

Regardless, we hope that from the resignation of General Michael Flynn, arrogant politicians and ignorant skews media members as well as private citizens will better appreciate the importance of safeguarding national security information.

We are not a police state.  Yet.

February 11, 2017

Logan (The Law, Not the Berry)

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 9:51 am

Logan-Berry-1In their latest efforts to undermine and subvert the presidency of Donald Trump, some national skews media are now asserting that after Trump’s election on November 8, 2016, but before his inauguration on January 20, 2017,  his selected National Security Adviser Michael Flynn may have violated the Logan Act.  Bezos’ Bozos at the Washington Post allege that Flynn “…privately discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with that country’s ambassador to the United States during the month before President Trump took office…”.

Here is the Congressional Research Service’s March 11, 2015, report entitled Conducting Foreign Relations Without Authority:  The Logan Act.  It explains what the Logan Act is and how it came to be.

OpenCdA suggests that if the skews media are seriously interested in pursuing allegations that Flynn violated the Logan Act, they need to also investigate with equal enthusiasm the conduct of US Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) in January 2017.

The issue is whether her supposedly spontaneous meeting in Syria with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had been lawfully authorized and had unlawfully interfered in US foreign relations.

The media might want to determine exactly who paid for Representative Gabbard’s trip to Syria.

The media might also want to ask the State Department which passport Representative Gabbard used for the trip.   Did she travel on a diplomatic passport, an official passport, or a regular passport?

As CRS noted in its report, there has never been a criminal prosecution for an alleged violation of the Logan Act.   OpenCdA is pretty sure there won’t be one this time, either.

January 27, 2017

President Trump: Light Years Ahead?

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 9:03 am

iWar coverAfter reading a new non-fiction book iWar:  War and Peace in the Information Age by newspaperman Bill Gertz, OpenCdA wonders if when it comes to information warfare awareness, President Trump and some of his designated appointees aren’t light years ahead of many of the Clinton-Bush-Obama straphangers that are now finding themselves being spun off the Washington merry-go-round.

Trump and his Tweeter machine are driving the national skews media nuts with his conflicting and ambiguous answers to their failing attempts at gotcha questions.  It was a short drive for the rabidista Hillary Clinton worshippers at ABC, CNN, MSNBC,  and of course Bezos’ Bozos at the Washington Past.

Gertz’s book is a remarkably readable account of the information war to which the United States has been subjected since after World War II.   His book astutely shows how several recent US presidents including Ford, Carter, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, and Obama haven’t just been ignorant of information warfare;  some of them were seemingly in denial of its existence.  Reagan may have had the best understanding of what the Soviets were doing with it to undermine our national security.

President Trump not only seems to get it, but he also seems to be using it himself to keep the skews media and our international adversaries confounded.

That’s not to suggest that he doesn’t take the existence and continuing threat of information warfare seriously.  Clearly, he does.  In fact, he may take it more seriously and have a more intuitive understanding of it than any of his predecessors.

Gertz’s book is fascinating reading.   It’s no doubt just coincidental that not long after comp’d copies were delivered to Foggy Bottom, Ft. Fumble, Langley, JB Anacostia-Bolling, and Ft. Meade, Rolaids and Prevacid were added to the GSA procurement schedule.

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