• The big point everybody is missing about the FBI/CIA spy from Cambridge University

    It is a sad sign of decline at Cambridge University that their latest spy is working for United States.

    What is this poor world coming to?

    Cambridge spies are supposed to work for the Russians.

    There is tradition to uphold here, folks.

    Can Putin and his minions no longer recruit idealistic socialists who hate their country?

    Must they give up on entirely British universities and rely on Berkeley, Oberlin, and Evergreen State?

    There is a small glimmer of continuity. At least the recruiting agencies were up to no good.

    They were doing their best to infiltrate an American political campaign.

    The story is here, complete with the spy’s name and picture. We know those details thanks entirely to CYA leaks from the DOJ or FBI, trying desperately to get ahead of Congressional investigations and the Horowitz report (the DOJ Inspector General).

    Those details were supposed to be top secret. That the officials charged with keeping the secrets released them to protect themselves is a scandal in its own right.

    On a more serious note: the house that Comey, Clapper, Brennan, and their aides built now looks increasingly like a game of jenga. The wooden blocks are being removed, though the process is moving very, very slowly because of  DOJ and FBI self-protection.

    Did these guys previously work on transparency and document security for Joe Paterno’s athletic department?

    But with each new block removed, the whole structure looks more and more likely to collapse.

     

  • Federal Bureau of . . . Incompetence? Impropriety?

    The FBI, which took custody of Hillary’s server, seems to have “lost the chain of custody.”

    Normally, I assume incompetence, and that’s probably true here. Probably, but not certainly.

    If you want to see how much the public’s trust in the FBI has declined, just ask yourself,

    • Do you absolutely trust their explanation?
    • Do you trust it, given that you can’t trust them with the investigation of that server, its owner, or its chain of custody?”

    Somebody needs to explain.

    Under oath.

    That would include the head of the agency at the time.

    That would be Robert Mueller.

     

  • True: FBI Redacts Names of Superman and Clark Kent to Protect Their Privacy

    Just when you thought the FBI couldn’t embarrass itself any more, they come up with this topper:

    The FBI redacted Clark Kent’s name from the script of a play written by the Church of Scientology in order to protect his privacy.

    The FBI included the script in a batch of records on the [Church of Scientology] they released to journalist Emma Best of MuckRock in response to her 2017 FOIA lawsuit but evidently redacted the name of character Clark Kent under the impression both The Daily Planet and Kent were real.  –Daily Caller (link here)

    Now that Clark can’t find a phone booth to change into his Superman outfit, the FBI has come to his rescue. Wait til they discover the truth about Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny. That could rock the Bureau to its foundations.

    Kudos to Joshua Gill, the Daily Caller, MuckRock, and Emma Best for uncovering this gem.

    Some redactions are reasonable–and necessary–to protect national security, personal privacy, or ongoing criminal investigations.

    Most redactions , however, are simply governmental stupidity (see above and below) or “cover your arse” to protect the country from seeing your previous stupidity.

    SUGGESTION: My strong suggestion to the House Committees that cannot get unredacted documents is that, after they finally get the redactions removed (by threats of subpoenas and impeachment) to release the updated documents highlighting exactly what had been redacted previously and naming the highest official at DOJ responsible for the unnecessary redactions.

    Here is the actual FBI redaction of play mentioning Superman and Clark Kent:

     

     

     

     

  • Bret Baier’s interview with James Comey: Sharper, clearer, faster, better than the others by orders of magnitude

    Baier’s evening newscast is, I think, the best on TV.

    Even if you don’t like the discussion panel for the last 15 minutes (and those who are center-left may not), the hard-news portion is superb.

    Indeed, I think it is easily the best straight-news show in the business. And I, for one, like the back-and-forth on the panel.

    Tonight, Baier’s interview with Comey showed why he stands head-and-shoulders above the rest.

    It was fast, crisp, and tough without being tendentious (except for one moment where Baier reflexively and accurately said Comey had made a factually incorrect statement).

    It was also newsworthy.

    Here it is, in case you missed it.

     

  • House Intelligence Committee now looking at targeting of Trump Campaign by Obama intel agencies, also raisng perjury questions

    Exclusive at Real Clear Investigations: CIA Ex-Director Brennan’s Perjury Peril (link here)

    Here is the heart of Paul Sperry’s report:

    House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes next plans to investigate the role former CIA Director John Brennan and other Obama intelligence officials played in promoting the salacious and unverified Steele dossier on Donald Trump — including whether Brennan perjured himself in public testimony about it.

    In his May 2017 testimony before the intelligence panel, Brennan emphatically denied the dossier factored into the intelligence community’s publicly released conclusion last year that Russia meddled in the 2016 election “to help Trump’s chances of victory.”

    Brennan also swore that he did not know who commissioned the anti-Trump research document, even though senior national security and counterintelligence officials at the Justice Department and FBI knew the previous year that the dossier was funded by the Hillary Clinton campaign.

    Last week, Nunes (R-Calif.) released a declassified memo exposing surveillance “abuses” by the Obama DOJ and FBI in their investigation of Trump’s ties to Russia. It said the agencies relied heavily on the uncorroborated dossier to take out a warrant to secretly surveil a Trump adviser in the heat of the 2016 presidential election, even though they were aware the underlying “intelligence” supporting the wiretap order was political opposition research funded by Clinton allies — a material fact they concealed from FISA court judges in four separate applications. –Paul Sperry at Real Clear Investigations

     

  • The Stench at Obama’s DOJ and FBI. My latest at Real Clear Politics.

    My latest at Real Clear Politics (link here)
    Here’s a synopsis:

    The Stench at Obama’s DOJ and FBI

    January 24, 2018

    The investigation by Special Counsel Robert Mueller is not the only major investigation in progress.

    There are now three major Congressional probes of the Obama-era FBI, Department of Justice, and intelligence agencies. They are slowly peeling away layers of political bias, unequal application of the law, and, perhaps even felonies by senior officials who may have leaked classified documents, obstructed justice, and violated Fourth Amendment guarantees against unreasonable search and seizure.

    These Congressional probes are not mere diversions, as Democrats charge. They have serious, legitimate intentions and raise troubling questions.

    • Why did former FBI Director James Comey and his team pre-judge and soft-soap the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s unsecured private server and her classified emails?
    • Why did they decide to clear her before completing key interviews with Mrs. Clinton and her aides?
    • Why did DOJ grant immunity so freely to obtain evidence that could have been easily subpoenaed by a grand jury?
    • Why did the government itself then destroy that evidence, so no one could do a real investigation later?
    • For that matter, why didn’t they convene a grand jury in the first place, as Mueller did almost immediately?
    • What involvement did the FBI counter-intelligence division have with the FusionGPS, Christopher Steele “Russian dossier,” financed by the Clinton campaign?
    • Was the dossier used, in part, to obtain a warrant to spy on Trump associates and, if so, was the FISA court completely informed about the dossier’s financing, provenance, and lack of verification?
    • And what the hell happened to months of text messages among key anti-Trump investigators at the FBI and DOJ?

    VERY important questions. The public deserves answers.

    That’s why these investigations are at least as important as Mueller’s, and for the same reason. They are both about honest elections and the rule of law, applied equally to insiders and outsiders, Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.

    It’s about whether our most powerful government agencies are worthy of our trust. If we have lost sight of those values, we’ve lost our Constitutional bearings.

    The complete op-ed is here (link)

     

     

  • FBI Search Dog On the Prowl and Pointing Toward . . .

    The Chicago Tribune‘s wonderful editorial cartoonist, Scott Stantis, has often penned negative drawings about Pres. Trump.

    He has not been especially critical of the Trump investigations… until now.

    His balanced stance makes his devastating take on the FBI’s unraveling mess all the more meaningful.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/stantis/

  • ZipDialog Roundup for Wednesday, October 25

    Articles chosen with care. Your comments welcomed.
    Linked articles in bold purple

    ◆ There are three stories today about Russia’s involvement in US politics, and all three are bad for the Democrats

    How big the stories become–how serious the resulting scandals–depends on additional investigation and investigative reporting.

     Story #1: That scandalous, largely-discredited “Russian Dossier,” which led to the federal investigations of the Trump Campaign, was financed by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary’s Campaign 

    The Washington Post broke the story (link here) They report that the Clinton campaign, using a Washington lawyer as a cutout, retained Fusion GPS to do the dirty work. Fusion GPS has fought strenuously to prevent any disclosure of who paid them and invoked their 5th amendment privilege against self-incrimination to avoid testifying before Congress.

    The Clinton campaign, like others, used a lawyer to hire these contractors so their communications would be protected by attorney-client privilege.

    The Clinton people have never acknowledged a connection to Fusion GPS or the dossier.

     Story #2: Mueller’s Russia Probe turns toward key Democratic insiders

    Paul Manafort is also a major target but, according to reports, this top Republican operative worked closely with the Podesta Group, closely aligned with the Clintons.

    The news is here:

    A thus-far-reliable source who used to be involved with Clinton allies John and Tony Podesta told Tucker Carlson that press reports appearing to implicate President Trump in Russian collusion are exaggerated.

    The source, who Carlson said he would not yet name, said he worked for the brothers’ Podesta Group and was privy to some information from Robert Mueller’s special investigation.

    While media reports describe former “Black, Manafort & Stone” principal Paul Manafort as Trump’s main tie to the investigation, the source said it is Manafort’s role as a liaison between Russia and the Podesta Group that is drawing the scrutiny.

    The “vehicle” Manafort worked for was what Carlson called a “sham” company with a headquarters listed in Belgium but whose contact information was linked to Kiev, the Ukrainian capital. –Fox News

    Comment: National news media have not reported this news.

    Story #3: Russian bribery, money-laundering, speaker fees to Bill Clinton, and over $100 million to the Clinton Foundation while Hillary was Sec. of State and the Russians were federal approval to buy US uranium assets 

    Actually House Republicans announced two new investigations (link here):

    In the first of two back-to-back announcements, the top Republicans on the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees said they would formally examine the Obama Justice Department’s investigation of Mrs. Clinton’s emails. Less than an hour later, Republicans from the Intelligence and Oversight Committees said they were opening a separate inquiry into the administration’s approval of a 2010 agreement that left a Russian-backed company in control of much of the United States’ uranium. –New York Times

    Comment: The NYT story downplays the significance and suggests it is all simply partisan squabbling about a now-departed administration.

    I think they underestimate the possible ramifications of both investigations.

    The Uranium One deal is a particularly thorny issue for the Clintons and the Obama Administration because Obama’s FBI and DOJ knew of Russian bribery and other criminal activity before the deal was approved. Congress was not informed, as it should have been. Their objections might have blocked the deal. The public was kept completely in the dark. Mueller was head of the FBI at this time. One of the Russians reportedly involved in this illegal activity was given a US visa twice during this period by Hillary’s State Department. One major question is whether Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has recused himself from these Russia issues, will appoint a Special Counsel to investigate this and perhaps the Clinton emails, where then FBI-director Comey wrote a memo clearing Hillary long before key witnesses had been interviewed.

    The most important implication: The FBI (under Mueller) looks to be deeply compromised.

    Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) will not run for re-election. He and Sen. Bob Corker (D-TN), who is also retiring, lacerated Pres. Trump in speeches, interviews, and social media. Their rebukes are reported here (Reuters)

    Flake’s attack was on Trump’s conduct and dishonesty. Flake’s actual voting record is very supportive of Trump legislation.

    Flake, who has very high disapproval numbers in his home state, was likely to lose his primary contest.

    The local Arizona paper features this headline: Flake’s retirement opens floodgates to potential GOP candidates (Tucson.com)

    All those candidates are pro-Trump, but some are from more traditional elements of the party, others from the Bannon wing.

    The paper also notes that a divisive primary and an open seat gives the Democrats a chance to win for the first time in years.

    China’s Xi reveals Communist Party leadership, buttresses his own position and refuses to name a successor (BBC)

    All seven members of the Party’s Standing Committee were in their 60s. Rising stars in their 50s were not included.

    Comment: The absence of an heir-apparent, Xi’s cult of personality, and his name’s inclusion in the party constitution all raise speculation he might eventually seek a third-term, which had been ruled out after Mao’s death.

    Today in campus lunacy: Univ of Illinois education prof attacks difficult mathematics courses as evidence of white privilege (Campus Reform)

    “On many levels, mathematics itself operates as Whiteness. Who gets credit for doing and developing mathematics, who is capable in mathematics, and who is seen as part of the mathematical community is generally viewed as White,” [Prof. Rochelle] Gutiérrez argued [in a book aimed at K-12 math teachers].

    Truly, you cannot make this up. Here’s what the professor writes:

    If one is not viewed as mathematical, there will always be a sense of inferiority that can be summoned,” she says, adding that there are so many minorities who “have experienced microaggressions from participating in math classrooms… [where people are] judged by whether they can reason abstractly.”

    To fight this, Gutiérrez encourages aspiring math teachers to develop a sense of “political conocimiento,” a Spanish phrase for “political knowledge for teaching.”

    Comment #1: Please note, Prof. Gutiérrez thinks it is rank racism to judge people in a math class on whether they can reason abstractly. In fact, math is abstract reasoning.

    Comment #2: Why, Professor, does all this whiteness and white privilege in math not seem to hold back Asians and Asian-Americans in US math classes?  This is not a trivial issue or mere debating point. Note, too, that many of the Asian-American students come from lower-income families. Hmmmm.

    Comment #3: Gutiérrez is a professor of education, where this kind of political blather, masquerading as scholarship, is commonplace. Poor scholarship and political propaganda are major problems in Ed Schools across the country. So is the soft curriculum, which leads to adverse selection (namely, compared to other students, those who major in education consistently have some of the lowest SATs and lowest GPAs outside their majors).

    I remember all the justified complaints by feminists when a Barbie doll said, “Math is hard.” They said, rightly, that the comments were demeaning to women and sending the wrong message to girls. Sorry to see Prof. Gutiérrez sending the same message to minorities and dressing up in the costume of social justice.

     

    ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

    Hat Tip to

    ◆ Tom Elia for the math-is-whiteness story