July 14, 2016

It’s a ‘Bigot List’

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , — Bill @ 9:33 am

Clinton 100OpacityFox News is hyperventilating over what it calls a ‘gag order’ on the FBI agents involved in the Clinton email server investigation.  Some of the FBI employees involved in the investigation were required to sign a ‘Case Briefing Acknowledgement’ form, essentially a non-disclosure form.

This is, in fact, a practice dating back at least to World War II when it was little more than a list of persons who had been granted access to special compartments of extremely sensitive information.  It was first referred to as a ‘Bigot List’.  ‘Bigot’ was reportedly the codeword used to identify one particular compartment.  It has come to refer more broadly to a counterintelligence tool to simply keep track of who had authorized access to particularly sensitive national security information.

In his letter of July 6, 2016, to FBI Director James Comey,  Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley suggests the requirement for FBI employees to sign the acknowledgement form was done to thwart statutorily-permitted whistleblowing to Congress.  No, Chuck, it was intended to protect very sensitive national security information from unauthorized disclosure.   It was intended to remind those given access of their duty to protect that information.  Almost anyone who has been ‘read on’ for authorized access to certain types of sensitive compartmented information has signed a similar form.   That, by the way, almost certainly includes Hillary Clinton during her tenure as Secretary of State.

It is no surprise that some FBI employees were required to sign the acknowledgement.  For us on the outside who care to pay attention, it may partially reveal the reasons the FBI Director recommended to the Attorney General that Clinton not be prosecuted criminally for the various criminal violations that may have been associated with her private email server.

In its investigation of Clinton’s private email server, the FBI is between the dog and the fire hydrant.  It has two distinct roles:  criminal investigation and foreign counterintelligence.  Of the two, the latter affects our national security; the former affects Clinton’s liberty.

On criminal charges relating to the compromise of national security information, it would be horrendously challenging to secure a meaningful criminal conviction of Hillary Clinton without risking further compromise of our national security, including our ability to investigate and counteract future threats against it.

On the other hand,  removing the foreign counterintelligence violations by declining to prosecute them does not automatically preclude using evidence of non-national security crimes (e.g., perjury, bribery, lying to Congress, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, racketeering, wire and mail frauds, etc.) uncovered in the server investigation from being used in subsequent federal criminal prosecutions.  It would, however, make it more difficult for Hillary Clinton and her defense lawyers to use ‘graymail’ to impede her prosecution on federal crimes not requiring sensitive national security information or procedures as evidence.

Hillary Clinton’s continued access to national security information represents an exceptionally grave threat to the national security of the United States.  The threat it poses is in her utter indifference to her responsibilities to safeguard national security information entrusted to her.  It appears she considers national security information to be little more than another token to be exchanged to further her own attainment of political power and personal wealth.     President Obama who nominated her to be his Secretary of State and the 94 US Senators who for their own political purposes voted to confirm her share the responsibility for the damage she has done to the national security.

While many people want the satisfaction of seeing Hillary Clinton indicted, convicted, and imprisoned, the real power to forever prevent her from being able to continue further harm to the national security rests with the voters in November.  The voters can peacefully and lawfully deny her the presidency.  I’d argue that would also be a far more fitting and beneficial punishment for the harm she has done to the national security.

April 18, 2019

04-18-2019: AG Barr’s Press Conference

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 8:30 am

AGWilliamBarrI just finished watching Attorney General William Barr’s press conference in which he officially releases the public version of the Mueller report.

If you didn’t watch the entire press conference that lasted just under 24 minutes, here is a link to it.  The press conferences begins at 18:50.  After his prepared remarks, AG Barr took questions from the skews media.  He left the podium at 42:05.

My observations:

–It’s reassuring to finally have a real Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice, an AG that understands the duties of that department and the potential for abuses by people employed in it.

–Most of the press corps demonstrated by their conduct and many of their questions that they are profoundly ignorant and lacking in sufficient subject matter knowledge to be reporting on the Justice Department.    Though they had not yet seen the redacted public version of the Mueller report, they were clearly underinformed about the special counsel processes and the role of the Attorney General.

–Unlike the members of the skews media, AG Barr listens carefully and has the skill and ability to politely, succinctly, and clearly answer questions and point out the illogic used to frame many of them.

–Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein would rather have been in The Mad Dentist’s chair and having his teeth extracted without painkiller than standing behind AG Barr at the press conference.

As AG Barr promised, the entire redacted version of the Mueller report has been posted on the Department of Justice’s website.

AG Barr also explained that with the exception of 6(e) material, key Congressional Committee chairmen will be allowed to view the otherwise unredacted version of the Mueller report.  I have little doubt that the names of all those allowed to view it will be recorded on a bigot list.

November 21, 2017

And the Answer Is … ‘William Campbell’

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: — Bill @ 8:06 am

AFP_PD7D0OpenCdA readers may remember former FBI Director James Comey’s public statement on July 5, 2016, regarding Hillary Clinton’s criminal culpability for using her illegal and unsecured private email server to handle and unlawfully disclose national security information.

In that statement, Comey said, “Although there is evidence of potential violations of the statutes regarding the handling of classified information, our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case. Prosecutors necessarily weigh a number of factors before bringing charges. There are obvious considerations, like the strength of the evidence, especially regarding intent. Responsible decisions also consider the context of a person’s actions, and how similar situations have been handled in the past.” [emphasis OpenCdA’s]

Why did former FBI Director James Comey say, “… our judgment is that no reasonable prosecutor would bring such a case [prosecute Hillary Clinton for jeopardizing national security with her private email server]”?

Listening to Comey when he made the statement, we immediately picked up on the exact phrases we’ve highlighted.   OpenCdA’s thought upon hearing Comey’s statement was that the FBI may have been running an offensive counterintelligence operation (OFCO) against the Russians.  We alluded to that in our July 14, 2016, OpenCdA post entitled It’s a ‘Bigot List’.

Our suspicions about an FBI OFCO seems to have been confirmed publicly for the first time in The Hill reporter John Solomon’s November 20, 2017, article entitled FBI informant gathered years of evidence on Russian push for US nuclear fuel deals, including Uranium One, memos show. The article identifies the FBI’s confidential source publicly as ‘William Campbell.’

There is additional information in another Solomon article on the same day.  It was entitled Five new revelations in the Russian uranium case.

One question historians will ask is, What did Hillary Clinton know about ‘William Campbell’ and when did she know it?   It is doubtful we will ever know the complete answer.

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.

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