• UPDATE: Burying the Lede–the New York Times, Washington Post, and CNN refuse to even mention the Susan Rice story

    Bloomberg’s Eli Lake broke the story that Susan Rice had sought an extraordinarily large number of intel intercepts involving the Trump team, beginning in July, and had succeeded in seeing the real names of US citizens, rather than the normally masked versions.

    Sara Carter and John Solomon continue their excellent reporting on these issues at Circa: White House logs indicate Susan Rice consumed unmasked intel on Trump associates

    Rice’s requests seem to go well beyond an interest in national security issues, but information is still murky and Rice herself is refusing to comment. After her Benghazi performance, she may feel shy about public comments.

    Given the prominence Trump’s allegations that he was spied on and the felonious unmasking of Michael Flynn’s name, the story is obviously an important one.

    Drudge and Fox News lead with it, but one could imagine it is the second, third, or sixth-ranked story of the day, depending on your judgment about the Gorsuch hearings, etc..

    BUT CNN, the New York Times, and the Washington Post do not even mention the story. It should go without saying that NBC News skips the story.

    Silent as Calvin Coolidge getting a haircut.

    Omission, like commission, can be a sign of bias, and, in this case, it is.

    They didn’t just bury the lede. They cremated it and scattered the ashes at sea, at night.

    Two other ZipDialog stories today on this: one focusing on CNN’s bias, the other on Bloomberg’s report on Susan Rice.

    Here’s this evening CNN front page, with the Susan Rice story completely absent. Scroll down for screenshots of the NYT and WaPo.  Let’s hope they do better tomorrow.

    Here’s the NYT:

    And the Washington Post:

     

     

     

  • UPDATE: Who Unmasked Names of American Citizens? Bloomberg News reports Susan Rice repeatedly sought real names that were properly hidden in raw intelligence

    The Trump allegation that he was “wiretapped” is still unproven, but there is increasing evidence that the Obama Administration was using intelligence collected on foreigners to keep tabs on the Trump team.

    In surveilling foreigners, which can be done without court warrants, some US citizens’ names and conversations are inevitably overheard. Since there are no warrants to collect information on these US citizens, these “collaterally-collected” names are supposed to be “masked” (kept secret). Only a small number of senior officials have the authority to find out the names behind those masks.

    We know, too, that one name, Michael Flynn, was not only unmasked but deliberately (and feloniously) leaked to the press, ultimately costing him his job as National Security Adviser.

    Today, the news on this story advanced when Bloomberg’s Eli Lake reported that Susan Rice, Pres. Obama’s National Security Adviser, repeatedly sought names of Trump Associates masked in raw intelligence. That does not prove she leaked the information–someone else may have done so–but it puts her in a difficult spot.

    The pattern of Rice’s requests was discovered in a National Security Council review of the government’s policy on “unmasking” the identities of individuals in the U.S. who are not targets of electronic eavesdropping, but whose communications are collected incidentally. Normally those names are redacted from summaries of monitored conversations and appear in reports as something like “U.S. Person One.” . . .

    One U.S. official familiar with the reports said they contained valuable political information on the Trump transition such as whom the Trump team was meeting, the views of Trump associates on foreign policy matters and plans for the incoming administration.

    Rice did not respond to an email seeking comment on Monday morning. Her role in requesting the identities of Trump transition officials adds an important element to the dueling investigations surrounding the Trump White House since the president’s inauguration. –Eli Lake reporting for Bloomberg.com

    For a summary of this and two other scandals currently being investigated, see my column at Real Clear PoliticsA Quick Guide to the Three-Ring Circus of Scandals

  • A Quick Guide to the Three-Ring Circus of Scandals (op-ed at Real Clear Politics)

    The goal is to distinguish among the 3 overlapping, but distinct, scandals consuming Washington, and to explain what we do know and don’t know about their murky details.
    The focus is on
    1. Russian interference in the 2016 election;
    2. Collusion, if any, between the Kremlin and senior Trump people, before and after the election;
    3. Surveillance, if any, of Trump transition officials by the Obama White House and intelligence agencies, and the internal dissemination of materials not related to national security.
     
    Please feel free to share and comment here, at Facebook, or at Real Clear Politics.
  • ZipDialog for Saturday, April 1: Three Scandals–What Do We Know?

    Topics and articles chosen with care. Linked articles in bold purple

     Single topic today: Explaining the Three Scandals Consuming Washington

    Key Point: There are Three Distinct Scandals (or purported scandals). They overlap but are distinct.

    One reason it is so hard to follow the Washington/FBI/Intel/Congress/Trump administration scandals is that there are

    • So many players,
    • Several separate scandals, and
    • Very little public information. 

    The opposing parties emphasize different scandals

    American citizens should be interested in all three as they unfold.

    1. Russian interference in 2016 election
    2. Team Trump’s Connections to Russians Before and After the Election
    3. Obama White House spying on Team Trump and “unmasking” secret name(s)

    What do we know about each and why does it matter?

    What do we know about each and why does it matter?

    1. Russian interference in 2016 election
      • We know the Kremlin used disinformation and other dirty tricks. We also know they didn’t change the vote count but may have influenced voter opinions.
      • To me, their attack on the integrity of our election is a fundamental attack on our democracy. It ought to be investigated throughly so we can understand what they did, how they did it, and how to counter, deter, and punish in the future.
      • This should be a bipartisan goal, but Republicans have been reticent. Why? Two reasons. First, they think Democrats are using Russian interference as a way of saying “we didn’t lose fair and square.” Republicans think that’s delegitimating their success. Second, they fear the Democrats are trying to link Russian interference to Trump’s team.
    2. Team Trump’s Connections to Russia
      • So far, senior intel officials have testified publicly that there is nothing there.
      • BUT there is an open FBI counter-intelligence investigation into this.
      • The Senate Intel Committee is looking into this and Russian interference (item 1) but the parallel House investigation is stalled over Democrats’ accusations about Chairman Devin Nunes’ partisan connection to Trump
      • We know that Michael Flynn did foreign lobbying for Turkish entities, for which he belatedly registered as a lobbyist
      • Allegations have been made that other Trump team members had business connections to Russian-related entities. Democrats and media outlets have focused on Paul Manafort and Carter Page
    3. Team Obama Spying on Trump Transition
      • We know Trump tweeted about “wiretapping,” an antiquated term
      • It appears that senior Obama officials did receive information about the Trump transition from intel intercepts directed at foreign nationals. Names of US nationals uncovered in such surveillance is supposed to be masked
      • We know that one of the senior Obama appointees unmasked and leaked Michael Flynn’s name; that is a felony
      • We do not yet know who leaked the name
      • We do not know what legitimate reasons, if any, the Obama White House had for circulating information among its officials about internal Trump planning
      • We do not know if the “collateral” information collected on these Trump officials was actually a hidden goal of US spy agencies, tasked by the Obama White House

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  • ZipDialog Roundup for Thursday, March 30

    Topics and articles chosen with care. Linked articles in bold purple

     State Department official arrested; accused of economic spying for China  (Los Angeles Times)

    A longtime State Department employee [Candace Claiborne] was arrested Wednesday and charged with repeatedly lying about her contacts with Chinese businessmen who had plied her with thousands of dollars in cash and gifts to glean inside information about U.S. economic policy, U.S. officials said. . . .

    The case offers a window into Beijing’s efforts to gain an advantage in its economic jockeying with the United States, and how business owners in China often double as agents for state intelligence. –Los Angeles Times

     FBI director Comey wanted to publicly expose Russian spying before the election; Obama White House blocked him  (Newsweek)

    Comey pitched the idea of writing an op-ed about the Russian campaign during a meeting in the White House’s situation room in June or July. . . .

    [The op-ed] would have included much of the same information as the bombshell declassified intelligence report released January 6, which said Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to influence the presidential election, the source said.–Newsweek

     Federal Reserve says the US economy is finally back to normal  (CNN Money). Unemployment is officially under 5% and adding 200k jobs monthly, which the Fed considers full employment for its purposes. This data is why the Fed is gradually raising interest rates, hoping to keep the economy from overheating.

     Attorney General for Mexican state of Nayarit arrested in San Diego on drug trafficking charges  (San Diego Union-Tribune)

    Comment: You hate to see their courts and law enforcement system besmirched.

     Dead: The misanthrope who wrote “The Anarchist Cookbook” in the late 1960s. It featured recipes for bombs, gun silencers, and all sorts of weapons. It sold over 2 million copies and 

    is believed to have been used as a source in heinous acts of violence since its publication in 1971, most notably the killings of 12 students and one teacher in 1999 at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. –New York Times

    Comment: Oddly, given his contributions to this world, he died of natural causes.  I have deliberately omitted his name.

     Headline: “This Chicago man saved $1 million by the time he was 30. Here’s how he did it.” (Chicago Tribune)

    Let me explain how he did it:

    1. He made pretty good money, though not fantastic amounts
    2. He didn’t spend very much.

    Honestly, that’s what the article says. And, frankly, it is good advice if you want to accumulate resources and can restrain your consumption.

    Try to make good money and don’t splurge. If your investments get good returns, that helps, too.

    Comment: Works every time.

    But I would add: as you accumulate, give some to worthy charities. Others less fortunate need your help.

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

     

  • ZipDialog Roundup for Tuesday, March 28

    Topics and articles chosen with care. Linked articles in bold purple

     Democrats want Devin Nunes to recuse himself from the Russia inquiry. (New York Times)

    Comment: The attacks on Nunes are a sideshow, featuring displays of faux outrage by Democrats. Nunes will never recuse himself. The game is to discredit him so they can discredit the information he uncovers.

    The big questions–the show in the center ring–are 

    1. Will the FBI find anything between Trump campaign people and the Russians? and
    2. Did the Obama White House or its political appointees at CIA or DNI unmask names and circulate “collateral” material through the White House?  
      • From the leak of Flynn’s name and phone call, it is clear the intelligence agencies picked up “collateral information” on US citizens as the agencies were spying on foreigners. That happens occasionally, but, when it does,
        • The names of US citizens are supposed to be masked and never disclosed to the public; we know Flynn’s name was, and that disclosure is a felony;
        • The collection of “collateral materials on US citizens” is not supposed to be the purpose of the surveillance; to surveil US citizens, you need a warrant and you cannot use CIA and other intel agencies; you must use the FBI.
      • The Republicans are hinting that the White House and the intel agencies it controlled were playing fast and loose with these hard-and-fast rules and legal constraints, which prohibit domestic spying and the use of information for domestic political purposes. If the Obama White House was doing that, its ultimate disclosure would be a very big deal, legally and politically. If Nunes has a whistleblower with information about this, then the Democrats are right to be scared and to try and discredit him in advance. If not, then it is all smoke but no fire.

     Trump moves aggressively to undo Obama-era environmental regulations  (Washington Post)

    President Trump will take the most significant step yet in obliterating his predecessor’s environmental record Tuesday, instructing federal regulators to rewrite key rules curbing U.S. carbon emissions.

    The sweeping executive order also seeks to lift a moratorium on federal coal leasing and remove the requirement that federal officials consider the impact of climate change when making decisions.

    The order sends an unmistakable signal that just as President Barack Obama sought to weave climate considerations into every aspect of the federal government, Trump is hoping to rip that approach out by its roots. –Washington Post

    Comment: Trump sees the issue primarily as “jobs and excessive regulations.” His Democratic opponents see the issue primarily as “climate change”

     Attorney General Sessions threatens to yank DOJ funding from “Sanctuary Cities”  (Philly.com)

    To receive grants from his agency, [Sessions] said, cities will have to certify they are in compliance with a federal law banning local governments from restricting communication with the feds over their residents’ immigration status.

    And cities and states who fail to do so, Sessions said, could see the DOJ withhold grants, bar them from receiving grants in the future, or even “claw back” grants that had already been handed out. –Philly.com

    Comment: Assuming this threat is not blocked by the courts, it will force cities to make very hard political choices. Cities with greatest financial need will likely opt for the money. A few others will try to hold out.

     Canada will legalize recreational pot in 2018, a senior official in Justin Trudeau’s government says  (CBS News)

     

     

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  • Wiretapping Trump Tower: The Allegation is VERY Serious. So Where’s the Evidence?

    The accusation is extremely serious.

    President Trump, by then sitting in the Oval Office, accused his predecessor of authorizing wiretaps on “Trump Tower.”

    Worse yet, he said, the wiretaps were done during the campaign. The clear inference is that the wiretaps were political. A very serious charge, indeed.

    There are three possibilities, and maybe a fourth:

    1. Legitimate reasons for the wiretap that passed muster with a federal judge
    2. Political skullduggery by Obama, a very risky and likely illegal act
    3. A false charge by Pres. Trump, an incendiary accusation, made without any basis.

    There are other possibilities, too. For example,

    • A foreign power or private party could have engaged in surveillance and masked itself as a US agency (or perhaps simply been mistaken for one).

    It is even possible that you US and friendly foreign powers surveil each others’ citizens and exchange information about them to avoid legal restrictions on surveilling their own citizens.

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

    The problem here simple:

    If true, the charge that President Obama ordered this surveillance is a very damaging one since it goes to the heart of our free and fair elections.

    If untrue, then making the charge is damaging to Pres. Trump, whose words ought to carry weight. If the charges are reckless, they damage his reputation–and ours as a country.

    Now’s the time to show some evidence or show some humility and retract.

    That is what Sen. John McCain said, and he is right.

    Instead, Press Secretary Sean Spicer is saying:

    • “Wiretapping” didn’t mean exactly that; it meant any type of surveillance
    • “Pres. Obama” didn’t the President himself; it meant his administration

    CNN’s report on today’s Spicer Press Briefer, where he made these comments, is here.

    Comment: I read Spicer’s comment as

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

    Comment #2: Lest the Democrats feel too smug about all this.

    They have been suggesting for months that they lost the election because of the Russians.

    US spy agencies have said that Russians engaged in disinformation, but there is zero evidence they affected the outcome, and the Democrats have presented none.

  • ZipDialog Roundup for Saturday, March 11

    Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
    Linked articles in bold purple

    ◆ Comment: The Trump presidency will be in deep trouble if it cannot pass a repeal-and-replace bill.

    Right now, the White House and Congressional leadership face real problems from the right in House (which doesn’t want to keep Obamacare’s big subsidies to the poor, locking in an entitlement) and centrist Republicans in the Senate (who fear they cannot be reelected in moderate states if they repeal these subsidies). Think: small fairway with a water hazard on the right and thick bushes on the left.

    The House Freedom Caucus expresses principled opposition to entitlement expansion. Basically, they want repeal without replace. The members are all in safe districts that Trump won, so the members may be reluctant to oppose a president popular among their voters. It’s hard to know if these members can be pressured by Speaker Ryan and the White House to sell out their principles.

    The moderate Senators are harder to pressure because they fear a wrong vote could cost them their seats. In the past, they could be coaxed by side-payments. That’s what Pres. Obama did with the “Cornhusker Kickback” and “Louisiana Purchase.” Those backfired and they won’t work this time.

    This is sausage-making at its bloodiest. It’s not even clear the pig is dead yet.

     Michael Flynn, former NSC adviser, was paid to represent Turkish interests during the Trump campaign  (New York Times)

    Comment: Although Turkey is a NATO member and the lobbying work was not illegal, it is stunning that he did not register as a “foreign agent” contemporaneously (he is only doing so now) and that the Trump vetting team didn’t catch this advance. He can’t say he forgot. The check was for $500k. It is a very good thing he’s already gone. 

     Top Democrats’ tech aide, now under criminal investigation, had access to their private emails, including DNC emails  The details are here. (Daily Caller)

    Imran Awan — the lead suspect in a criminal probe into breaches of House of Representatives information security systems — possessed the password to an iPad used by then-Democratic National Committee Chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz when DNC emails were given to WikiLeaks. . . .

    The FBI requested access to the DNC’s server to find out who was responsible, but the DNC refused, FBI Director James Comey said, according to The Hill.

    Politico reported that New York Rep. Gregory “Meeks and, to a larger extent, Wasserman Schultz, are said to have a friendly personal relationship with Awan and his wife, according to multiple sources.”

    House authorities set their sights on the Awans while investigating the existence of a secret server that was funneling congressional data off-site.

    They also suspect Imran of stealing money and equipment. –Daily Caller

     Good News on Free Speech: Univ. of Chicago proposes ‘free speech deans’ to prevent disruptive conduct (Campus Reform)

    The University of Chicago could soon implement new policies that would severely limit “those engaged in disruptive conduct” from preventing “others from speaking or being heard.”

    A recently-released faculty committee report also suggests establishing “free speech deans-on-call” trained to “deal with disruptive conduct” in order to ensure students are not prevented from expressing themselves on campus. –Anthony Gockowski at Campus Reform

     

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  • ZipDialog Roundup for Thursday, March 9

    Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
    Linked articles in bold purple

     “Economy is emerging as the untold story of Trump’s first 100 days” and much of it is about the prospect of cutting red tape (NY Sun)

    By every measure, the United States has been sinking into economic mediocrity over the last decade because of excessive regulation.

    When President Obama took office in 2009, the United States ranked third among all nations as a place to do business. Since then it has plummeted to eighth, according to the World Bank. Why? Eight years ago, it took 40 days to get a construction permit in the United States. Today, it’s double that.

    Regulatory overkill started long before Mr. Obama. But Mr. Donohue calls the last eight years a “regulatory onslaught that loaded unprecedented burdens on business and the economy.”

    The Heritage Foundation, which grades nations on economic freedom, now puts the United States 17th in the world, our lowest-ever ranking. That’s below Chile, and former Soviet states like Estonia, Lithuania and Georgia. –Betsy McCaughey in New York Sun

    Virtually the same story appears in Forbes, quoting top hedge-fund manager David Tepper on the growth impact of deregulation (Forbes)

     “FBI prepares for new hunt for WikiLeaks’ source” It is a very big deal (Washington Post)

    The FBI has begun preparing for a major mole hunt to determine how anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks got an alleged arsenal of hacking tools the CIA has used to spy on espionage targets, according to people familiar with the matter.

    The leak rattled government and technology industry officials, who spent Tuesday scrambling to determine the accuracy and scope of the thousands of documents released by the group. They were also trying to assess the damage the revelations may cause, and what damage may come from future releases promised by WikiLeaks, these people said. –Washington Post

    The Wall Street Journal says the focus will be on CIA contractors

     The depths of depravity: ISIS terrorists, dressed as doctors, attack a major hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, killing 30 or more (CNN)

     Cloud computing services: Can Google complete with Amazon and Microsoft? They’ve spent $30 billion trying and they are “making some undeniable progress,” according to Business Insider.

     Uber gets permit to test autonomous cars in California, one of 20 companies now testing there. Uber is also testing self-driving vehicles in Pittsburgh. (PC World)

     

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  • ZipDialog’s Roundup of News Beyond the Front Page . . Wednesday, February 15

    Hand-picked and farm-fresh–
    Linked articles in bold purple

     Today’s ZipDialog Roundup is entirely devoted to the serious ramifications of the Michael Flynn dismissal

     There are two overriding issues:

    1. Who will replace Flynn as National Security Adviser?
    2. Who leaked highly-classified signals intelligence on Flynn to the Washington Post? (Who is behind it and why?)

     Possible successors: David Petraeus and two others top the rumors  (USA Today) The top name among insiders is Robert Harward, a former deputy to Sec. of Defense Mattis. Another is retired general and former deputy to Flynn, Keith Kellogg. He is acting NSC Adviser now and has close ties to Trump. Then there is the truly formidable military strategist, David Petraeus.

    Comment on Petraeus: Professionals consider David Petraeus the most successful battlefield general since World War II.  He achieved that not only by his field command but by completely revamping US military doctrine to meet the challenges of asymmetric warfare in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. He is a serious strategist who knows all the top players in Washington and around the world.

    Gen. Petraeus comes with two problems, though. One is obvious. One is not. The obvious one is his criminal record, a misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified intelligence. That should not stop him from being appointed since he is the most qualified candidate, by far, and the job does not require Senate confirmation. Still, appointing him after his legal troubles would give the Democrats another target to shoot at and allow them to say that Republicans were being hypocritical when the criticized Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified documents. The Trump administration might want to avoid that incoming fire.

    What could easily sink Petraeus, though, is not his weakness but his strength: he can and will stand up to the President (a crucial job in any White House) and stand up to the Secretary of Defense, intelligence officials, Sec. of State, Steve Bannon, and anybody else with turf to protect.

    If you think these power players want another big-time player down the hall from the President, you must be returning from a Grateful Dead concert with high-powered brownies.  Do you think, just maybe, the folks at the Pentagon would prefer the boss’s old deputy? Yes, indeed.

    A final point about the NSC adviser’s job: There are really two ways to serve as NSC adviser: Traffic Cop or Strategist. (The third, played by Ben Rhodes as Obama’s No. 2 at NSC, is Toady, constantly saying, “Yes, Mr. President, that is the most brilliant idea I’ve ever heard. Please tell me more.” In his case, I used the term No. 2 advisedly.) Kellogg and Harward would probably serve as traffic cop, assembling the recommendations from the principals, such as Mattis and Tillerson, and presenting them fairly to the president for a decision. Petraeus would play more the strategist’s role, as did Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski. (That might give the administration one strategist too many since Mattis himself is a very thoughtful, experienced one.)

     Who leaked this highly-classified information and Why? Those are the most important unknowns in this mess so far.

    Mike Flynn’s phone call to Russia’s Ambassador to the US, Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, was captured by US signals intelligence, presumably the FBI since it was on US soil. Information about such intercepts is highly classified. So, how come we know so much about this private phone call? That is the single most important question in this episode. Someone saw this secret information and leaked it to the Washington Post, just as the FBI leaked confidential information about the Hillary Clinton investigation.

    That “someone” could be in the intel agencies, or it could be an Obama holdover at Justice or State. It could be someone who desperately wants to kill the Trump administration in the crib. Or it could be someone who wants to change US policy toward Russia and thought Flynn was far too close to the Kremlin. Or it could be someone with a more limited goal, simply getting rid of Flynn, an experienced (but controversial) military-intelligence officer who vocally criticized US intelligence analysis for being politicized under Obama. It is no secret the Obama people had the long knives out for him. I suspect it is a cabal of Obama loyalists collaborating with unhappy careerists in the intel agencies and DOJ.

    The Flynn leaks did not stop with one still-anonymous disclosure of the phone call. Multiple people have confirmed the leaked information. All of them must have had high-level security clearances and access to this information.

     My hunch is this:

    The Flynn phone came while the Obama administration was still in office. Transcripts of the call circulated at the time to national security officials in the Obama White House, the Department of Justice, and probably John Kerry’s State Department. We know that senior DOJ officials were involved because one of them, an Obama holdover, told Trump aides about it after he became president. That DOJ official was Sally Yates, the same person who refused to defend Trump’s travel ban and was fired. She was the one who “warned” the Trump White House that Flynn could blackmailed by the Russians, according to reports.

    ⇒ If you want to know how costly it is to be a newcomer in Washington, look no further than the Trump newcomers asking Sally Yates to stay until Jeff Sessions was confirmed as Attorney General. She was already known to be a Trump adversary; keeping her on at DOJ was a serious error, one that no experienced pol would make. If you want to know what the Democrats accomplished by holding up Sessions confirmation, again, look at Ms. Yates. The Democrats actually retained political control over all agencies without a confirmed Trump nominee. Even when the Trump people arrive, they will find Obama loyalists and Trump adversaries in place throughout their bureaucracies. Expect trouble from them for years to come.

    Returning to the Flynn phone intercept . . . here is what Eli Lake reports at Bloomberg:

    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.  –Eli Lake at Bloomberg

    These leaks are serious felonies and deeply damaging to US security. They should be rooted out and people should be indicted. So should any careerists who leaked the content of Pres. Trump’s phone calls to other countries’ leaders.  They may not like the President. They may not like Mike Flynn. It doesn’t matter. Their leaks are damaging our country for their own political purposes.

     To learn more about these issues (links for each article): 

    Multiple sources closely involved in the situation pointed to a larger, more secretive campaign aimed at discrediting Flynn and undermining the Trump White House.

    “It’s undeniable that the campaign to discredit Flynn was well underway before Inauguration Day, with a very troublesome and politicized series of leaks designed to undermine him,” said one veteran national security adviser with close ties to the White House team. “This pattern reminds me of the lead up to the Iran deal, and probably features the same cast of characters.” –Washington Free Beacon

    Comment: These shady dealings–and the permanent bureaucracies’ obvious loathing of Trump–is feeding paranoia about a “deep state” that governs America instead of its elected officials. Feeding that paranoia and, worse, proving it true, could be the deepest damage of all.

    ]♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

    zd-hat-tip-facing-inward-100px-w-margin♥ Hat Tip for helpful suggestions:
    ◆ Tom Elia
     for the Free Beacon story on Obama officials’ role in this takedown