• 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.

     

  • Federal Judge Sharply Rebukes Mueller Team over Manafort Investigation, saying it looks like they are on a fishing expedition to get Trump and have overstepped their authority

    Judge T. S. Ellis III wasn’t buying the Mueller team’s argument and accused them flatly of lying. According to the Reuters report of pre-trial proceedings (link here):

    A judge sharply questioned whether Special Counsel Robert Mueller overstepped his authority by charging Paul Manafort with crimes unrelated to Russian election interference while also suggesting that the onetime Trump campaign chairman was indicted to coerce his cooperation against the president.

    U.S. District Judge T. S. Ellis III expressed deep skepticism Friday about whether Mueller went too far in signing a bank- and tax-fraud indictment against Manafort. Ellis questioned how Mueller could prosecute financial crimes dating back a decade without charging Manafort for his election activities.

    “I don’t see how this indictment has anything to do with anything the special prosecutor is authorized to investigate,” Ellis said at a hearing on a motion by Manafort to dismiss the case.  –Reuters

    Judge Ellis explicitly said that he thought

    1. The only interest Mueller had in Manafort was to get him to testify about Trump;
    2. An investigation of alleged bank fraud more than a decade old had zero to do with a legitimate investigation into Russian collusion in the 2016;
    3. Mueller’s team had overstepped its legitimate authority and would not tell him the truth about it, so he demanded to read the memo giving them authority in unredacted form (which Mueller’s team does not want to do)

    Ellis ordered that prosecutors give him the full memo within two weeks, saying he’ll determine whether the explanation of why Manafort was under investigation is adequate.

    Mueller’s office took over an investigation of Manafort that had been conducted by prosecutors in the Eastern District of Virginia, where Ellis sits. The judge appeared impatient with Dreeben, who has argued more than 100 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Ellis repeatedly interrupted [Justice Department attorney Michael] Dreeben as he pressed for an explanation of Mueller’s authority.

    “It covers bank fraud in 2005 and 2007?” Ellis said. “Tell me how. How does that have to do with links or coordination with Russia and Trump?”

    “This indictment didn’t arise from your investigation,” Ellis said. “It arose from the pre-existing investigation.” –Reuters

    The judge ended his statement to the prosecutors: “I understand your argument, but it kind of invites, ‘C’mon man.’”

  • 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.

     

  • Judge reopening Flynn plea deal. He wants to know if Mueller’s team withheld evidence

    Here’s the headline (link here)

    How A Plea Reversal From Michael Flynn Could Uncover More Federal Corruption

    Did Robert Mueller’s office withhold other evidence in Michael Flynn’s prosecution, either from the FISA court or from Flynn’s attorneys

    There is reason to believe so.

    It’s from a conservative site, The Federalist, but it is not really an editorial story. It’s news, possibly quite important news, and it has been completely overlooked.

    On Friday, Judge Emmet Sullivan issued an order in United States v. Flynn that, while widely unnoticed, reveals something fascinating: A motion by Michael Flynn to withdraw his guilty plea based on government misconduct is likely in the works.

    Just a week ago, and thus before Sullivan quietly directed Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s team to provide Flynn’s attorneys “any exculpatory evidence. ….

    On November 30, 2017, prosecutors working for Mueller charged former Trump national security advisor Flynn with lying to FBI agents. The following day, Flynn pled guilty before federal judge Rudolph Contreras. Less than a week later — and without explanation — Flynn’s case was reassigned to Judge Emmet G. Sullivan.

    With [the judge’s new] protective order in place, Flynn’s attorneys should start receiving the required disclosures from the special counsel’s office. There is reason to believe these will include some bombshells. –The Federalist

    We now know that the FBI agents who interviewed Flynn believed he told the truth and were overridden by Mueller’s team. We do not know if that information or other exculpatory evidence was revealed to Flynn. We do know that the Mueller prosecution was bankrupting him and involved legal threats to Flynn’s son, which seemed to disappear after the father’s plea. We also know that Flynn failed to register as a foreign agent, as he was legally required to do.

    We also know that the #2 guy on Mueller’s team has been reprimanded previously by a judge for withholding evidence and, separately, was overruled 9-0 by the Supreme Court for his prosecution of the Arthur Andersen accounting company, a prosecution that destroyed the company and cost over 10k jobs.

    FYI: Judge Sullivan is the one who absolutely lacerated the US Attorneys who systematically concealed evidence in their corrupt prosecution of Alaskan Republican Sen. Ted Stevens, causing him to lose the election and swing the US senate. Do not mess with Judge Emmet Sullivan.

  • 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)

     

     

  • True Giving. Two brief stories–and moving lessons–on Christmas Day

    The first is about Gen. James Mattis, now the US Secretary of Defense.

    Unheralded giving like his shows the character of a man.

    The story is told by Gen. Charles Krulak (Ret.), who was then Marine Corps Commandant.

    He remembers Christmas Day 1998 when Mattis, a Brigadier General, quietly stood duty for a young Marine officer so the young man could spend the day with his family.

    Every year, Gen. Krulak and his wife baked countless cookies in the days ahead of Christmas, put them in little packages and, beginning at 0400 on Christmas Day, he would deliver cookies to all the Marine duty posts around Washington.

    Making his final delivery of the day, Gen. Krulak asked the Marine Lance Corporal on duty who the officer of the day was.

    The answer: “Sir, it’s Brigadier General Mattis.”

    Normally, of course, the officer of the day would’ve been a junior officer, not a general officer.

    According to Krulak, he replied to the Corporal, “No, I know who Gen. Mattis is. I mean, who’s the officer of the day?”

    The young Marine gave the same response: “Sir, General Mattis.”

    “I looked around the duty hut. In the back there were two cots: One for the officer of the day and one for the enlisted Marine. I said, ‘OK, who was the officer who slept on that cot last night?’”

    “The Corporal said again, ‘Sir, General Mattis.’”

    No sooner had the question been answered a third time than BG Mattis entered the room.

    Krulak recalls, “So I said to him, ‘Jim, what are you standing the duty for?’ And he said, ‘Sir, I looked at the duty roster for today and there was a young major who had it, who is married with a family. I’m a bachelor and I thought, “Why should the major miss out on the fun of having Christmas with his family?” And so I took the duty for him.’” 

    –NAUS.org (National Assoc. for Uniformed Services)

    The other story is closer to home and involves my late brother, Steve Lipson, and his wife, Mindy.

    Both did what the General did.

    Steve, a member of several volunteer groups, always asked to perform the necessary tasks, such as delivering food to the poor, on Christmas.

    His wife, Mindy, a nurse practitioner for many years at St. Jude’s in Memphis, always signed up to work that day.

    Both are Jewish and knew their Christian colleagues wanted to spend the day with their families. So, they gave the gift of their own time, away from their own family. They knew the day meant far more to their friends.

    We often talk about “religious tolerance” and it is right that we do. It is a hard-won triumph in Western history, worth underscoring.

    Even its minimal definition, forbearance, is a good thing.

    We need far more of it in a world where zealots behead infidels in the name of their religion.

    We need to reiterate those values in our schools and public life.

    Even better is a generous definition, one in which religious tolerance means “genuine respect for others beliefs and for the lives they lead in following them.”

    That generous definition is revealed not only in what we say but in what we do–most of all in how we treat our friends and neighbors everyday.