Say “uncle” and you’ll get your way, Trump

This is now, quite apparently, what we’ve come down to in the United States.

We all know about Fake News courtesy of Leftist “journalistas.” There is now, courtesy of Leftist judges and attorneys, Fake Law.

I can’t believe I’m reading the article correctly but, sadly, I am indeed. From Breitbart.com:

Neal Katyal at 9th Circuit: If Trump Says ‘Islam Is Peace’ He Can Have a Travel Ban

by Ian Mason

Neal Katyal made oral arguments for maintaining the injunction against President Donald Trump’s executive order banning migrants from certain Muslim-majority countries Monday before the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

“He could say, like President Bush did right after September 11th, ‘The face of Terror is not the true face of Islam, that’s not what Islam is about, Islam is Peace.’ Instead, we get ‘Islam hates us’,” Katyal told the bench, answering Clinton-appointed Judge Richard Paez’s question on what, if anything, Trump could do to make the executive order acceptable.

Really? All President Trump has to do, according to Katyal, is cry “uncle” and all is forgiven? Really?

Katyal, former President Barack Obama’s one-time acting Solicitor General, has taken on the representation of the plaintiffs who stopped the executive order’s implementation in March when a federal court in Hawaii ruled in their favor. The Justice Department has appealed the case to the Ninth Circuit, seeking to vacate that injunction.

Do you believe Katyal will actually relent and back off the lawsuit if President Trump but says the “magic words”?

Me neither.

The most controversial element of Obama-appointed district court Judge Derrick Watson’s ruling was its justification of the injunction based not on the text or effect of the executive order, but on statements President Trump made during the 2016 campaign.

Precisely. Fake Law. Predicated not upon the documents in front of the court, but on mostly everything but.

According to that ruling, speaking about a “Muslim ban” and speaking negatively about the religion’s relationship with the West meant that the plaintiffs had a high enough likelihood of proving a violation of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause to block the order. This is true even though the actual order does not take any action based on people being Muslim because, “[A] reasonable, objective observer—enlightened by the specific historical context, contemporaneous public statements, and specific sequence of events leading to its issuance—would conclude that the Executive Order was issued with a purpose to disfavor a particular religion[.]”

Meaning, again, that the issue was not what was immured on paper but what was said in the ether and not supported by paper. A logical question was then asked.

The argumentation led naturally to the question of what, if anything, could be done to save such a facially neutral order. “Does that mean that the President is forever barred from issuing an executive order along these lines?” Judge Paez asked Katyal. “What does he have to do to issue an executive order that, in your view, might pass constitutional muster?”

What indeed? Twenty-three Hail Marys? Genuflect towards Mecca? Tap a wrist? Provide evidence of stigmata?

Trump might gain more power to issue executive order if he “disavows,” Katyal argued. “One example would be what Judge Hawkins said about disavowing formally the stuff before.”

You can’t make this stuff up. But wait, there’s more. Let’s just excise whatever unappetizing elements actually exist within Islam, shall we?

In addition to suggesting Trump could save his order by telling the country “Islam is peace,” Katyal also recommended removing references, in the text of the order, to the unsavory elements of Islamic society. “It could eliminate the text which refers to honor killings,” he told the court.

Of course. Let’s just eliminate those niggling little female genital mutilation issues, the misogynist issues, the beheading issues, the Borg issues, the bacha bazi issues, the pedophilia of Islam, the internal combustion of Islam.

By the way, who is Neal Katyal? He’s the man who said this about Neil Gorsuch at Gorsuch’s hearing:

He’s also the man with the god-like endless CV. Superbly humble.

Katyal is the recipient of the very highest award given to a civilian by the U.S. Department of Justice, the Edmund Randolph Award, which the Attorney General presented to him in 2011. The Chief Justice of the United States appointed him in 2011 to the Advisory Committee on Federal Appellate Rules, and again in 2014. Additionally, he was named as One of the 40 Most Influential Lawyers of the Last Decade Nationwide by National Law Journal (2010); One of the 90 Greatest Washington Lawyers Over the Last 30 Years by Legal Times (2008); Lawyer of the Year by Lawyers USA (2006); Runner-Up for Lawyer of the Year by National Law Journal (2006); One of the Top 50 Litigators Nationwide 45 Years Old or Younger by American Lawyer (2007); and one of the top 500 lawyers in the country by LawDragon Magazine for each of the last ten years. He also won the National Law Journal’s pro bono award.

And there you have it. The insanity gene.

BZ

 

Not what CNN expected

Or wanted.

Sometimes a plan backfires. Please watch.

Certainly CNN expected a Syrian interviewed on live TV would yield a clear and quick condemnation of President Trump’s recent actions in Syria against Bashir Al-Assad’s chemical attack on his own civilians.

They didn’t get what they expected.

Schadenfreude.

BZ

 

Trump surveilled: update

Her?

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes created a firestorm when he released information earlier last week which tended to confirm that members of Donald Trump’s team had been surveilled and names unmasked for political purposes. Please see my two posts about the event here and here. Sotto voce, I’d care to point out this is the same Devin Nunes who, in May of 2013, revealed, as I wrote here:

Congressman Devin Nunes: the DOJ tapped phones in the House gallery

Fornicalia Congressman Devin Nunes of the 22nd district spoke on the Hugh Hewitt show Wednesday afternoon, and revealed a bombshell: not only did the DOJ tap the phones of reporters, but Nunes indicated the DOJ tapped the telephones of the House of Representatives in the gallery area — where not only reporters use the phones, but various DC politicians.

That said, here is Chairman Nunes’s initial revelation regarding the surveillance of President Trump, made on March 22nd.

This led to various products by Crane and Summit being pounded out of Demorat and American Media Maggot sphincters nationally, initially bent because Chairman Nunes dared to do his job and notify President Trump of his findings before the rest of the committee. This did not sit well with Adam Schiff, Little Chuckie Schumer, Nancy Pelosi et al.

Simultaneously, someone began to actually pay attention to a broadcast made on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” roughly a month ago, which included a revelation so large that it had been hiding in plain sight for some time. Please listen to Evelyn Farkas, a former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense in the Obama Administration, “out” that administration regarding the Trump campaign.

What she said was essentially this: the Obama administration ensured the leakage occurred and then tried to hide both the source of the leak as well as how the information was being shipped to “the hill,” otherwise known as the AMM.

There was only one purpose: political. The obvious intent was to damage the Trump campaign as much as possible and then undermine, minimize and block the president-elect’s ability to conduct the business necessary to assemble his team and move forward.

I can think of no other words than this: a conspiracy.

LifeZette.com writes:

Fmr. FBI Asst. Director: Farkas Exposed ‘Conspiracy Cabal’ on Trump Surveillance

by Brendan Kirby

Law enforcement experts say Obama official must testify on ‘unmasking,’ may have admitted crime

The discussion with MSNBC host Mika Brezinski on March 2 focused on a New York Times story that appeared the day before under the headline, “Obama Administration Rushed to Preserve Intelligence of Russian Hacking.”

The story quoted unnamed former government officials who described efforts to “leave a clear trail of intelligence for government investigators.” The information included evidence passed along by U.S. allies of meetings between Russian officials and Trump’s associates, and communications — intercepted by American intelligence agencies  among Russians — among Russians discussing contacts with Trump officials.

The spice must flow and the evidence must be preserved. Why?

“It was more actually aimed at telling the [Capitol] Hill people, ‘Get as much information as you can and get as much intelligence as you can before President Obama leaves the administration,’ because I had a fear that somehow that information would disappear with the senior people who left,” she said. “So it would be hidden away in the bureaucracy.”

Read this once, and then read it again, more slowly and deliberately.

“The Trump folks, if they found out how we knew what we knew about the staff, the Trump staff’s dealings with Russians, that they would try to compromise these sources and methods, meaning we would no longer have access to that intelligence,” she said. “So I became very worried because not enough was coming out in the open, and I knew that there was more.”

She added, “That’s why you have the leaking. People are worried.”

She knows there’s a leak, the reason for the leak, the means of the leak and its justification. Which led to this little joust between Sean Spicer and a journalista.

Of course, this is nothing more than fetid navel-gazing on the part of the Republicans, right? The people subject to “unmasking” were no more plain civilians than Jello is a food group, right? This has nothing to do with privacy, right? Wrong.

Joseph diGenova, who served as U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia under Ronald Reagan, said Farkas and the former administration officials she referred to should be questioned under oath.

“Ms. Farkas made a major blunder and, in fact … probably confessed to a crime or knowledge of people who committed a crime,” he said. “It was a remarkable interview and amazing it went unnoticed at the time.”

We can only hope; but we know that with all of the Benghazi hearings under Trey Gowdy no one was fired or breathes air behind bars today.

But here are questions that, as per normal, no one — and I mean no one — in the American Media Maggot queue is asking.

James Kallstrom, a former assistant director of the FBI, told LifeZette it is troubling that Farkas even knew about the intelligence reports that she urged officials to spread to congressional staffers.

“How does somebody who’s not even in the administration anymore, who’s in civilian life, have access to this information?” he asked. “What kind of conspiracy cabal is this?”

What indeed? Let’s go to Circa.com for this news story.

Obama’s rule changes opened door for NSA intercepts of Americans to reach political hands

by John Solomon and Sara Carter

As his presidency drew to a close, Barack Obama’s top aides routinely reviewed intelligence reports gleaned from the National Security Agency’s incidental intercepts of Americans abroad, taking advantage of rules their boss relaxed starting in 2011 to help the government better fight terrorism, espionage by foreign enemies and hacking threats, Circa has learned. (More on this below.)

Dozens of times in 2016, those intelligence reports identified Americans who were directly intercepted talking to foreign sources or were the subject of conversations between two or more monitored foreign figures. Sometimes the Americans’ names were officially unmasked; other times they were so specifically described in the reports that their identities were readily discernible. Among those cleared to request and consume unmasked NSA-based intelligence reports about U.S. citizens were Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice, his CIA Director John Brennan and then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

I hope you read that quite closely. Who could unmask American names? John Brennan. Loretta Lynch. Susan Rice. Remember that.

Today, the power to unmask an American’s name inside an NSA intercept — once considered a rare event in the intelligence and civil liberty communities — now resides with about 20 different officials inside the NSA alone. The FBI also has the ability to unmask Americans’ names to other intelligence professionals and policymakers.

Stop. That power exists within, to my estimation, roughly all 17 alphabet agencies in the American intelligence community. Because I have not yet done so, I enumerate those agencies now and here:

  1. Office of the Director of National Intelligence 
  2. Central Intelligence Agency 
  3. National Security Agency
  4. Defense Intelligence Agency
  5. Federal Bureau of Investigation
  6. Department of State – Bureau of Intelligence and Research
  7. Department of Homeland Security – Office of Intelligence and Analysis
  8. Drug Enforcement Administration – Office of National Security Intelligence
  9. Department of the Treasury – Office of Intelligence and Analysis
  10. Department of Energy – Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence
  11. National Geospatial Intelligence Agency
  12. National Reconnaissance Office
  13. Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance
  14. Army Military Intelligence
  15. Office of Naval Intelligence
  16. Marine Corps Intelligence
  17. Coast Guard Intelligence

All that’s missing is your local dental board’s intelligence unit. “You sir, slowly put down the amalgam.” Shh. Keep that one under your hat.

The ACLU, an ally of Obama on many issues, issued a statement a few months ago warning that the president’s loosened procedures governing who could request or see unmasked American intercepts by the NSA were “grossly inadequate” and lacked “appropriate safeguards.”

Put on your thinking caps. Ask: why would Obama do this? And why only two weeks from the end of his second term?

Nunes, as well as Trump supporters, will be trying to determine if that access was warranted or a backdoor form of political espionage by an outgoing administration trying to monitor its successor on the world stage.

Any proof Obama aides were using NSA-enriched intelligence reports to monitor his transition on the world stage could embolden the new president. But perhaps the most consequential outcome of the new revelations is that it may impact the NSA’s primary authority to intercept foreigners: Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is up for renewal at the end of the year.

Ah, wait. A touchy subject for the intelligence community. Because who holds the purse-strings? Congress. Circa then nails it with this revelatory paragraph.

For years, the NSA has been required to follow strict rules to protect the accidental intercepts of Americans from being consumed or misused by other government agencies. The rules required a process known as minimization, where the identity and information about an American who was intercepted is redacted or masked with generic references like “American No. 1.”

The number of senior government officials who could approve unmasking had been limited to just a few, like the NSA director himself.

Wait. This conflicts with what we know now.

And in his final days in office, Obama created the largest ever expansion of access to non-minimized NSA intercepts, creating a path for all U.S. intelligence to gain access to unmasked reports by changes encoded in a Reagan-era Executive Order 12333.

The government officials who could request or approve an exception to unmask a U.S. citizen’s identity has grown substantially. The NSA now has 20 executives who can approve the unmasking of American information inside intercepts, and the FBI has similar numbers.

And executives in 16 agencies — not just the FBI, CIA and NSA — have the right to request unmasked information.

Thank you ever so kindly, Barack Hussein Obama. Stellar decision. Smashing. Brilliant.

“This raises serious concerns that agencies that have responsibilities such as prosecuting domestic crimes, regulating our financial policy, and enforcing our immigration laws will now have access to a wealth of personal information that could be misused. Congress needs to take action to regulate and provide oversight over these activities,” ACLU legislative counsel Neema Singh Giuliani warned in January.

Even when an American’s name isn’t included in a report, the NSA’s intercept information could be so specific that it identifies them.

I think you see both the problems and the reasons. CNN insists, however, that Farkas revealed nothing and the GOP has nothing.

Better yet (sorry for the poor audio), Farkas takes back her words and than attributes their repetition to — you guessed it — fake news.

I frequently have to remind myself that I inhabit the planet Earth, and not Zephron.

It’s interesting to note that Fred Fleitz, a former CIA officer, said:

He also questioned why so many in Washington regard as “established fact” the conclusion of U.S. security agencies that Russia meddled in the election in order to help Trump and hurt Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. He said he does not think Russia believed Trump could win.

Fleitz pointed to reports that Russian agents tried to hack into the computer systems of both major parties but succeeded only with the Democrats.

“Maybe all they did was exploit the fact that the Democrats left the barn door open,” he said.

Fleitz said the Obama administration did little to counter cyber threats, not just from Russia but from China, as well.

Then, finally, there is this pivotal information.

FOX: Trump Surveilled Before Nomination, Agencies with Info Blocked Nunes for Weeks

by Michelle Moons

A Friday breaking Fox News report on surveillance of President Trump’s team that began before he became the Republican presidential nominee claimed a very senior intelligence official was responsible—as well as for the unmasking of the names of private U.S. citizens.

The report cited sources which also indicated that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) knew of the existence of the information in January, but one or more intelligence agencies blocked him, and there were only two locations where he could view the information that he called “very troubling.”

On Thursday, the New York Times began reporting what they claimed were the identities of two White House officials who were the sources of the information disclosed to Nunes.

Nunes met with sources on White House grounds on the day before he announced to reporters striking news that he had seen new and disturbing information indicating intelligence officials under the Obama administration “unmasked” the names of Trump team members who were incidentally surveilled.

Who might this “very senior intelligence official” be? Mike Cernovich writes:

Susan Rice Requested Unmasking of Incoming Trump Administration Officials

Susan Rice, who served as the National Security Adviser under President Obama, has been identified as the official who requested unmasking of incoming Trump officials, Cernovich Media can exclusively report.

The White House Counsel’s office identified Rice as the person responsible for the unmasking after examining Rice’s document log requests. The reports Rice requested to see are kept under tightly-controlled conditions. Each person must log her name before being granted access to them.

Upon learning of Rice’s actions, H. R. McMaster dispatched his close aide Derek Harvey to Capitol Hill to brief Chairman Nunes.

This reporter has been informed that Maggie Haberman has had this story about Susan Rice for at least 48 hours, and has chosen to sit on it in an effort to protect the reputation of former President Barack Obama.

Who is Maggie Haberman? She is a political correspondent for the New York Times. To whom is Susan Rice married? That would be ABC Executive Producer Ian Cameron, since 1992. He left ABC in 2010. He, of course, kept his links to news and newsrooms. She was Obama’s US Ambassador to the UN and finally his National Security Advisor. She also carried Obama’s heavy water when she went of most every Sunday show possible following the Benghazi attack to claim it occurred because of a video made in the United States when, in fact, Hillary Clinton and others — as well as her daughter, Chelsea Clinton — knew and had information that was not the case at all. She knew that very night.

Here, Susan Rice speaks at length to MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell and both hedges and commits to nothing.

Perfect. But perhaps I should just defer to my fallback experts: Trey Gowdy and Tucker Carlson. Think ”wiretapped” vs “surveilled.”

Please note that at no point did Trey Gowdy — or has anyone trustworthy — denied that the NSA is not Hoovering every bit of digital take available in the US and abroad. If for no other reason than to make it available to certified authorities when requested.

You can’t request it if it isn’t there.

Judge Napolitano — now back on Fox News — weighs in as well.

Don’t forget, the spying of Donald Trump actually began back in 2011. Why would that be? Because Donald Trump was seriously considering running for president in 2012. Trump was causing headaches for Obama because of the birth certificate issue and became involved in opposing Obama’s policies. Trump spoke at CPAC in 2011; that’s called a clue.

The issue was so important to Barack Hussein Obama that he decided to attend the May 1st, 2011 White House Correspondents Dinner where Donald Trump would be in attendance, in lieu of monitoring the assault and capture of Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan the same night by SEAL Team 6 — of course, a singularly-important event. Obama spent most of his speech at that dinner attacking Donald Trump. Jack Posobiec indicates that Obama had, at that time, Donald Trump under surveillance as a private citizen for political purposes only; no security issues were involved.

2011 was a significant year for the Obama administration overall because he was simultaneously spying on Angela Merkel and other world leaders. This is also, 2011, when Obama changed the rules of intercept material by the US government. You see how this all ties together.

But here’s the bottom line, in my opinion. What started out in the Grand Scheme of Life under the Imperial Obama as an intent to link Trump and his assistants to Mother Russia in order to delegitimize his entire presidency and keep him from conducting the business necessary to enable his goals, Obama and his sniveling jackanapes may have inadvertently laid a path of digital and oral wreckage right back to themselves which could yield depositions, subpoenas, grand juries, indictments and perhaps even criminal prosecutions.

In other words, his little arrangement of mines and minefields may have supremely backfired.

BZ

P.S.

Michael Flynn requesting immunity? Let us not forget that he was chucked under the proverbial political bus just a few minutes ago. He’d be a DC moron not to lawyer up. Let us also not forget how many persons in the Obama Administration requested either immunity or invoked the Fifth Amendment.

First, 5 million illegals were granted immunity under Obama.

Second, how many Obama officials pleaded the Fifth in major cases? Seven?

1. Jeff Neely, the former Pacific Rim regional commissioner for the General Services Administration, pled the fifth on April 16, 2012 when Congress asked him to testify about overly-lavish spending on GSA conferences. He was eventually sentenced to prison for fraud anyway.

2. John Beale, a former official at the EPA, pled the fifth on October 1, 2013 when Congress probed into Beale’s theft of nearly $900,000 worth of salaries and bonuses from his own agency.

3. John Sepulveda, a former VA official, pled the fifth on October 30, 2013 after Congress subpoenaed him to testify as to why the department spent $6 million on conferences in Florida.

4. Diana Rubens and Kimberly Graves, two senior officials in the Department of Veterans Affairs, each pled the fifth before Congress on November 2, 2015 when asked to testify about $400,000 they had allegedly milked out of a VA relocation expense program. They were eventually given back their jobs.

5. Greg Roseman, a deputy director of the IRS, pled the fifth on June 26, 2013, after Congress asked him to testify about why the largest contract in IRS history was awarded to a close friend of his.

6. Patrick Cunningham, chief of the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona, pled the fifth when Congress asked him to testify about Operation Fast and Furious, which trafficked more than 2,000 guns along the U.S.-Mexico border.

7. Lois Lerner, an IRS director in charge of tax-exemptions, pled the fifth numerous times during Congress’ investigation into the IRS’ targeting of conservative groups.

We’re supposed to assume nothing from that.

Right?

 

BZ’s Berserk Bobcat Saloon, “The Aftermath,” Thursday, March 30th, 2017

My thanks to the SHR Media Network for allowing me to broadcast in their studio and over their air twice weekly, Tuesdays and Thursdays, as well as appear on the Sack Heads Radio Show™ each Wednesday evening.

My more pointed thanks to Susan Katz Keating for agreeing to appear in the Saloon and for staying up as late as she did, in consideration of Eastern time after all.

SKK is an investigative journalist and popular blogger specializing in national security. A former Washington Times reporter, she is the author of Prisoners of Hope: Exploiting the POW/MIA Myth in America (Random House), and several books for young readers. A People magazine correspondent, she covers high profile stories, including the Virginia Tech and Ft. Hood shootings, and the SEAL assault on Osama bin Laden. Her work has appeared in Readers Digest, The New York Times, Air&Space, American Legion, VFW, Soldier of Fortune, and other publications. She has been cited in The New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal, Salon, and other publications. She is a founding trustee for the National Museum of Americans in Wartime, and serves on the board of Cooking With the Troops. She briefly was in the U.S. Women’s Army Corps, where she earned her Expert rating on the M-16 rifle. She was editor of the Dixon Tribune newspaper in California. She was a director of the Travis AFB Museum, and served as restoration crew chief on a B-52. She belongs to the Association of Former Intelligence Officers.

She is no stranger to controversy, standing with assurance and courage. SKK is one of a handful of actual journalists left in the nation whose articles I’d take to the bank. Further, she was most certainly a fan/chatroom favorite whom everyone would like to see back at the Saloon as soon as possible.

Thursday night we otherwise discussed:

  • Trump vows to kneecap Republicans over healthcare — is that really a good idea?
  • Happy Stories and Good Times — “is that a pistol in your poop?”
  • BZ vows never to unmask “1 Viewer” as it’s policy in the Saloon;
  • Two Demorats defect over to the “confirm Gorsuch” camp;
  • What is the future for SCOTUS openings and subsequent nominations?
  • Foreign Policy magazine says: Trump’s ISIS plan might be a big winner;
  • Chelsea Clinton vs house plants; she loses;
  • Jury nullification needs to come back to California in re the PP videos;
  • What’s the difference between immigrants and illegal aliens?
  • Washington Post continues to prove it is Fake News;
  • Sean Spicer reveals that President Trump consumes Russian salad dressing;
  • House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes is doing his damned job;
  • I continue to prove that Trey Gowdy rocks;

Listen to “BZ’s Berserk Bobcat Saloon, “The Aftermath,” Thursday, March 30th, 2017″ on Spreaker.

Please join me, the Bloviating Zeppelin (on Twitter @BZep and on Gab.ai @BZep), every Tuesday and Thursday night on the SHR Media Network from 11 PM to 1 AM Eastern and 8 PM to 10 PM Pacific, at the Berserk Bobcat Saloon — where the speech is free but the drinks are not.

As ever, thank you so kindly for listening, commenting, and interacting in the chat room or listening via podcast. Thanks also to Mary Brockman’s Biker Mafia in chat. You’ve noticed, Mary, that people mostly don’t sit in your chair any more? They’re learning.

Want to listen to the Berserk Bobcat Saloon podcast archives? Go here.

BZ

 

Comey, Trump, Russia, Gorsuch, hearings, leaks leaks leaks

FBI Director James Comey spoke publicly in DC on Monday in front of the House Intelligence Committee, stating there were in fact investigations occurring with regard to Russia’s meddling in the presidential election and also between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.

It was clear to me, from the outset, that it was politics, politics, politics. Something of which Director Comey has become quite adroit in at least the past year.

The line was drawn in this fashion: Demorats wanted President Trump’s wiretap allegation smashed and derided, whilst Republicans were primarily concerned with the leaking of classified information.

Trey Gowdy begins the interaction with Director Comey and sets the foundation for his line of questioning involving FISA and safeguards.

Please note that Congressman Gowdy specifically utilizes the term “wiretap” to describe the acquisition of communications belonging to an “unnamed US citizen.” Again, Comey outs the Trump investigation but refuses to discuss anything to do with the leaks at all. Do you see my point and my resulting frustration?

I highlight this portion because of its incredible importance. Do you see?

GOWDY: Admiral Rogers said there are 20 people within the NSA that are part of the unmasking process. How many people within the FBI are part of the unmasking process?

COMEY: I don’t know for sure. As I sit here, surely more, given the nature the FBI’s work. We come into contact with U.S. persons a whole lot more than the NSA does because we may be conducting — we only conduct our operations in the United States to collect electronic surveillance — to conduct electronic surveillance, so I don’t — I can find out the exact number, I don’t know it as I sit here.

GOWDY: Well, I think, Director Comey, given the fact that you and I agree this is critical, vital, indispensable, a similar program is coming up for reauthorization this fall with a pretty strong head wind right now. It would be nice to know the universe of people who have the power to unmask a U.S. citizen’s name. Because that might provide something of a roadmap to investigate who might’ve actually disseminated a masked U.S. citizen’s name.

COMEY: Sure. The number is relevant but what I hope the U.S. — the American people realize is the number’s important, but the culture behind it is in fact even more important. The training, the rigor, the discipline. We are obsessive about FISA in the FBI for reasons I hope make sense to this committee but we are — everything that’s FISA has to be labeled in such a way to warn people this is FISA, we treat this in a special way.

So we can get you the number, but I want to assure you the culture of the FBI and the NSA around how we treat U.S. person information is obsessive and I mean that in a good way.

GOWDY: Director Comey, I am not arguing with you and I do agree that culture is important, but if there are 100 people who have the ability to unmask and the knowledge of a previously masked name, then that’s 100 different potential sources of investigation and the smaller the number is, the easier your investigation is.

So the number is relevant. I can see the culture is relevant. NSA, FBI, what other U.S. government agencies have the authority to unmask a U.S. citizen’s name?

COMEY: I think all agencies that collect information pursuant to FISA have what are called standard minimization procedures, which are approved by the FISA court that govern how they will treat U.S. person information. So I know the NSA does, I know the CIA does, obviously the FBI does. I don’t know for sure beyond that.

GOWDY: How about the department of — how about Main Justice?

COMEY: Main Justice, I think does have standard minimization procedures.

GOWDY: All right, so that’s four. The NSA, FBI, CIA, Main Justice. Does the White House have the authority to unmask a U.S. citizen’s name?

COMEY: I think other elements of the government that are consumers of our products can ask the collectors to unmask. The unmasking resides with those who collected the information.

And so if Mike Rogers’s folks collected something and they sent it to me in a report and it says U.S. person number one and it’s important for the FBI to know who that is, our request will go back to them. The White House can make similar requests of the FBI or of NSA but they can’t on their — they don’t own their own collect and so they can’t on their own unmask. I got that about right?

ROGERS: No, that’s correct.

COMEY: Yeah.

GOWDY: I guess what I’m getting at, Director Comey, is you say it’s vital, you say it’s critical, you say it’s indispensable. We both know it’s a threat to the reauthorization of 702 later on this fall. And by the way, it’s also a felony punishable by up to 10 years.

So how would you begin your investigation, assuming for the sake of argument that a U.S. citizen’s name appeared in the Washington Post and the New York Times unlawfully. Where would you begin that investigation?

COMEY: Well, I’m not gonna talk about any particular investigation…

GOWDY: That’s why I said in theory.

COMEY: You would start by figuring out, so who are the suspects? Who touched the information that you’ve concluded ended up unlawfully in the newspaper and start with that universe and then use investigative tools and techniques to see if you can eliminate people, or include people as more serious suspects.

GOWDY: Do you know whether Director Clapper knew the name of the U.S. citizen that appeared in the New York Times and Washington Post?

COMEY: I can’t say in this forum because again, I don’t wanna confirm that there was classified information in the newspaper.

GOWDY: Would he have access to an unmasked name?

COMEY: In — in some circumstances, sure, he was the director of national intelligence. But I’m not talking about the particular.

GOWDY: Would Director Brennan have access to an unmasked U.S. citizen’s name?

COMEY: In some circumstances, yes.

GOWDY: Would National Security Adviser Susan Rice have access to an unmasked U.S. citizen’s name?

COMEY: I think any — yes, in general, and any other national security adviser would, I think, as a matter of their ordinary course of their business.

GOWDY: Would former White House Advisor Ben Rhodes have access to an unmasked U.S. citizen’s name?

COMEY: I don’t know the answer to that.

GOWDY: Would former Attorney General Loretta Lynch have access to an unmasked U.S. citizen’s name? COMEY: In general, yes, as would any attorney general.

GOWDY: So that would also include Acting AG Sally Yates?

COMEY: Same answer.

GOWDY: Did you brief President Obama on — well, I’ll just ask you. Did you brief President Obama on any calls involving Michael Flynn?

COMEY: I’m not gonna get into either that particular case that matter, or any conversations I had with the president. So I can’t answer that.

But wait. I have what I consider to be an obvious question but one I’ve not yet heard people ask. Director Comey stated the investigation has been ongoing since July of 2016. If so, wouldn’t an integral part of such an investigation be surveillance of the Trump campaign and others aligned or linked therein?

Yet Mr Comey says there was no surveillance going on. How can that be? Was the FBI conducting half an investigation? A fraction of an investigation? How otherwise can one explain the information collected regarding General Michael Flynn? How was it gathered? How was it distributed? How did it get leaked and by whom? How does one acquire telephone conversation content — on Michael Flynn or Trump’s conversations with Australia’s PM Turnbull or Mexican President Nieto for example — absent wiretapping or surveillance in the first place?

In the process of conducting said highly important investigations wouldn’t you want to use all the tools at your disposal and, furthermore, collect as much pertinent evidence as possible? Of course you would. The statement makes no sense.

Where was James Comey with regard to Obama’s aides improperly accessing the names of Americans swept up in foreign surveillance or whether they leaked classified documents to the US press? Director Comey could confirm that, well, yes, we’re closely examining President Trump’s Russian “collusion” but otherwise could not confirm there was any sort of investigation on the matters of felonious leaking by government officials (Who else could have done so?) and would not talk about it. Why not? What’s the difference?

Another very important question. By the FBI’s own account and everyone else’s, including the Russians, it was believed with certainty that Hillary Clinton was a shoe-in for the presidency. Why, then, did the Russians magically decide to assist Donald Trump — as James Comey alleges — when people were convinced Trump would lose in a spectacular manner?

It doesn’t make sense. Neither the investigation nor the assumption about the Russians.

Perhaps the biggest question is this: will the leakers be identified and, if so, will they be arrested? Or is it in the best interest of the deep state to obfuscate the matter to the point that the leakers are never found?

Because, trust me, if the leakers are prosecuted and there is federal penitentiary time attached, you’ll hear sphincters slamming shut all around DC and the warm breezes will turn cold. That’s called a chilling effect.

Also quite disturbing is this, from McClatchyDC.com:

FBI’s Russian-influence probe includes a look at far-right news sites

by Peter Stone & Greg Gordon

Federal investigators are examining whether far-right news sites played any role last year in a Russian cyber operation that dramatically widened the reach of news stories — some fictional — that favored Donald Trump’s presidential bid, two people familiar with the inquiry say.

Operatives for Russia appear to have strategically timed the computer commands, known as “bots,” to blitz social media with links to the pro-Trump stories at times when the billionaire businessman was on the defensive in his race against Democrat Hillary Clinton, these sources said.

In other words, the FBI under Comey is investigating “fake news.” What is fake news?

The bots’ end products were largely millions of Twitter and Facebook posts carrying links to stories on conservative internet sites such as Breitbart News and InfoWars, as well as on the Kremlin-backed RT News and Sputnik News, the sources said. Some of the stories were false or mixed fact and fiction, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the bot attacks are part of an FBI-led investigation into a multifaceted Russian operation to influence last year’s elections.

For every individual arguing that InfoWars or Breitbart is fake news, I can provide a great deal of documentation indicating, over numerous years, that what people term the mainstream media such as ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and many others are equally or more fake than those two named above, and have been specifically colluding with the Democrats and Leftist-themed ideologues for a lengthy period of time.

The FBI investigating “fake news” is indeed disturbing. It is no less true now than any time prior that one must be an enlightened consumer of news and, as an adult, know enough about your country, your surroundings and your world in order to make the best informed decision regarding the portrayal of information to you by various news organizations. In other words, it blows to be stupid and there are penalties for being so, though we know that a “sucker is born every minute.”

Perhaps we should ask what there was to learn from the hearing today with FBI Director James Comey. I conclude below with the real lesson to be intuited from the hearing, but in terms of hard facts we discovered there are, well, no real hard facts. There is still no evidence that Russia hacked the election or somehow influenced the presidential election despite what the American Media Maggots emphatically say. There is still no evidence that Russia colluded with the Trump campaign or his staffers. We learned that James Comey is rather selective in terms of the political topics he’s willing to address.

We learned that no evidence was provided that indicated Obama wiretapped Trump. But if that were true, then why has Fox News summarily fired Judge Napolitano for saying this?

Why indeed.

House Intel Chair Devin Nunes weighed in, and he wasn’t terribly happy.

Then there was this little-publicized questioning of Director Comey by NY newbie freshman Rep. Elise Stefanik, who zeroes in on Comey immediately.

Did you notice Director Comey was a bit nonplussed at her direct first question? I did. She has taken Comey aback. He did not anticipate such pointed and informed questions from a neophyte. When Comey said he didn’t have a DNI, that was bullshit. He did. It was James Clapper. The lying James Clapper. The lying under oath James Clapper. You know. That guy.

Did you also hear James Comey admit to Rep. Stefanik that, along with the Demorats and DNC, the Republicans were tapped as well? He stated so. But what was the difference between the GOP being tapped and the DNC being tapped? That’s right. The lack of corruption in the content of the emails and information.

But let me say this. Elise Stefanik has a great career ahead of her because she appears fearless, resolute, and unimpressed by dark, carved wood. You get my drift. “When did you notify the White House?” Boom. Done. Owned.

Let us transition.

“I am a faithful servant to the Constitution.” So said Judge Neal Gorsuch in his opening statement with regard to his SCOTUS nomination, on Monday. The actual flames and grilling begin Tuesday morning at 9:30. First, here’s the Demorat take on Gorsuch, from CBS.

Then there are the actual words of Judge Gorsuch himself as he makes his opening statement.

Bottom line regarding Neil Gorsuch? He will be confirmed. I also predict the Demorats will not choose to use their filibuster against him. You’re dealing with an individual who

  • Presided over 2,750 case on the 10th Circuit;
  • Wrote 175 majority opinions;
  • Wrote 65 concurrences or dissents;
  • Had 72 in-person meetings with US Senators

Charles Krauthammer may have jinxed things when, on Monday, he said: “Too stupid. Even the Democrats won’t do it.”

But never minimize the ability of Demorats and Leftists to see racists and sexists everywhere. Joe Dinkin, National Communications Director for the Working Families Party (yes, that is a party) states that Neil Gorsuch is a white supremacist and nationalist because Gorsuch hasn’t overtly and publicly disavowed President Trump’s travel ban. It’s a Muslim ban, you see. So Gorsuch wears a white robe and a pointy hat. Insanity.

In conclusion, do not doubt that there is a message to be acquired from Comey’s hearing today, and the message to President Trump as well as his advisors, staff and assistants comes from not just Director James Comey, the Demorats and a portion of the GOP, but much of the embedded deep state as well.

The message is: back off. Leave the DC swamp as it is. Undrained. The creatures prefer it unmolested. If you fail to heed our warning, we’ll destroy you at all costs and by any means necessary.

If you were President Trump you’d have to be asking yourself: whom can you trust?

That potential pool is dwindling by the day.

BZ

P.S.

You should now be asking yourself: is FBI Director James Comey the source of the leaks?