House Intelligence chair Devin Nunes: President Trump may be correct about surveillance

First, from Politico.com:

Nunes claims some Trump transition messages were intercepted

by Austin Wright

The move gave cover to the White House but was rebuked by top Democrats.

House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes declared Wednesday that members of Donald Trump’s transition team, possibly including Trump himself, were under inadvertent surveillance following November’s presidential election.

The White House and Trump’s allies immediately seized on the statement as vindication of the president’s much-maligned claim that former President Barack Obama wiretapped Trump Tower phones — even though Nunes himself said that’s not what his new information shows.

Democrats, meanwhile, cried foul.

Why did the Demorats “cry foul”? Not necessarily because they vehemently disbelieve the information but because Demorat Adam Schiff, the top Dem on the House Intelligence Committee, became butt-hurt due to the order in which persons were notified. In other words, Schiff determined he wasn’t advised soon enough and others, such as President Trump, acquired the information before he did.

Nunes set off the firestorm with a news conference earlier in the day in which he described the surveillance of Trump aides through what’s called “incidental collection,” something he noted was routine and legal. Such collection can occur when a person inside the United State communicates with a foreign target of U.S. surveillance. In such cases, the identities of U.S. citizens are supposed to be shielded — but can be “unmasked” by intelligence officials under certain circumstances.

Nunes, himself a Trump transition member, said a “source” had shown him evidence that members of the Trump transition team had been unmasked — and that their identities had been revealed in U.S. intelligence reports. Nunes had previously raised questions about the unmasking of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, whose communications with Russia’s ambassador were intercepted by the U.S. government and whose identity was leaked to the news media.

Is there a price to be paid for this “unmasking” of American citizens? Oh quite so. From the WashingtonExaminer.com:

Bob Woodward: Obama officials possibly facing criminal charges for unmasking scheme

by Daniel Chaitin

The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward warned on Wednesday that there are people from the Obama administration who could be facing criminal charges for unmasking the names of Trump transition team members from surveillance of foreign officials.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said earlier that he had briefed Trump on new information, unrelated to an investigation into Russian activities, that suggested that several members of Trump’s transition team and perhaps Trump himself had their identities “unmasked” after their communications were intercepted by U.S. intelligence officials.

He said it isn’t Trump’s assertion, without proof, that his predecessor wiretapped Trump Tower that is of concern, but rather that intelligence officials named the Americans being discussed in intercepted communications.

The next logical question should be: who in the American government or intelligence community has the authority or ability to “unmask” a US citizen?

He noted that there are about 20 people in the intelligence community who, for intelligence reasons, can order this “minimization” be removed.

Who specifically may have ordered this? The House Intelligence Committee wants to know.

Nunes and Schiff asked the intelligence community leaders to disclose any “unmasked” identities that were disseminated throughout the intelligence community, law enforcement, or among senior Obama administration officials from June 2016 until January 2017 that relate to Trump or Hillary Clinton and their associates.

An informed source told CNN that if Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak was being surveilled, Flynn’s name should not necessarily have been included on the intelligence report. Rather, “American Citizen 1” or a similar anonymous term should have been used.

“However, as recent news stories, seem to illustrate, individuals talking to the media would appear to have wantonly disregarded these procedures,” Nunes and Schiff wrote. The congressmen also asked the names of individuals or agencies who “requested and/or authorized the unmasking and dissemination” of these identities.

The letter was addressed to Admiral Michael Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency; FBI Director James Comey; and CIA Director Mike Pompeo. The acting Director of National Intelligence Michael Dempsey was also included.

FBI Director James Comey said on Monday in a House hearing that:

Several top officials would have access to the information or could request it. That includes top Obama appointees at the Justice Department, former National Security Adviser Susan Rice, and others. Adm. Mike Rogers, director of the National Security Agency, testified that 20 people in his agency have the authority to “unmask” a U.S. citizen whose identity normally would be disguised.

Speaking of the FBI, Chairman Devin Nunes says that agency is not cooperating with the House’s investigation. From Grabien.com:

NUNES: FBI IS NOT COOPERATING WITH OUR INVESTIGATION INTO TRUMP CAMP SURVEILLANCE

“We don’t actually know yet officially what happened to General Flynn,” Nunes said of how communications from Gen. Flynn’s calls were leaked to the press. “We just know that his name leaked out but we don’t know how it was picked up yet. That was one of the things that we asked for in the March 15th letter, was for the NSA, CIA, and FBI to get us all the unmasking that was done.”

“And I’ll tell you, NSA is being cooperative,” Nunes continued, “but so far the FBI has not told us whether or not they’re going to respond to our March 15th letter, which is now a couple of weeks old.”

Nunes also reported that as of now, he “cannot rule out” President Obama ordering the surveillance. 

Continuing from Politico.com:

During his press briefing, Nunes said he did not know yet whether the Trump transition officials who were “unmasked” were communicating from Trump Tower.

Nunes said he briefed House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on the information on Wednesday morning before heading to the White House to brief the president.

His committee is set to hold a public hearing next Tuesday with members of the Obama administration, including former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan and former acting Attorney General Sally Yates, who was fired by Trump in January after refusing to defend his first travel ban executive order in court.

They are almost certain to face questions on the matter.

FBI Director James Comey appeared before the panel on Monday and confirmed that the FBI launched a counterintelligence investigation in July into Russia’s election meddling, including possible coordination with the Trump campaign.

One primary question: will be ever actually find those responsible for unmasking American citizens?

First you have to ask: do certain government agencies and deep-staters even want to?

BZ

 

CNN’s Trump Derangement Syndrome, Pt. XLIV

Fear not good people, TDS — Trump Derangement Syndrome — is alive and well and, if drinking a carbonated beverage, will still make you spew it out your nose in laughter.

First, let’s look at the story from an — ahem — MSM viewpoint, as Philly.com writes:

CNN host Fareed Zakaria gets profane in uncensored Trump discussion

by Rob Tornoe

Late Friday night, CNN host Fareed Zakaria had some complaints about President Trump that revolved around one word in particular.

My. What might that be?

Appearing beside host Don Lemon on CNN Tonight in a discussion about the president’s unsubstantiated claims that President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower during the election, a frustrated Zakaria said Trump is “indifferent” to the truth before launching into a profanity-laced comment about the commander-in-chief.

Ah, the buttery goodness of the informed, cogent, rational, level-headed, sensitive, well-grounded cadre of Leftists.

After all, everyone knows emesis of that nature advances the argument of mainstream media outlets.

Right?

BZ

 

Let’s listen to Canada’s Leftist PM Justin Trudeau

This is simply too good to pass up.

Then there is this lengthier compilation.

So Leftists, Demorats, anarchists, progressives and the like think President Donald Trump is daft and embraces “too many Russians”?

Shelby Steele (author, columnist, film-maker, Senior Fellow at Stanford University’s Hoover Institution) explains wonderfully the Leftist mindset:

Tell you what, Canada. You keep Trudeau. We’ll keep Trump.

BZ

 

Hawaiian federal judge puts Trump’s travel ban on hold

With loving and enthused huzzahs from everyone on the Leftist bank.

From SacBee.com:

The Latest: Judge in Hawaii puts Trump’s travel ban on hold

by the Associated Press

U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson issued his ruling Wednesday after hearing arguments on Hawaii’s request for a temporary restraining order involving the ban.

His ruling prevents the executive order from going into effect Thursday.

More than half a dozen states are trying to stop the ban, and federal courts in Maryland, Washington state and Hawaii heard arguments Wednesday about whether it should be put into practice.

Hawaii argued that the ban discriminates on the basis of nationality and would prevent Hawaii residents from receiving visits from relatives in the six mostly Muslim countries covered by the ban.

The state also says the ban would harm its tourism industry and the ability to recruit foreign students and workers.

Roughly the same argument as before. Judges don’t seem to understand the law, as federal Judge Derrick Watson may be educated but fails to grasp the immediacy and plain text of 8 USC 1182, as well as Fiallo v. Bell, 430 U.S. 787. He also takes not into consideration the actions of Mr Obama in 2011 and 2015, as well as the immigration drought between roughly 1921/1924 to 1965.

8 USC 1182 states:

(f) Suspension of entry or imposition of restrictions by President

Whenever the President finds that the entry of any aliens or of any class of aliens into the United States would be detrimental to the interests of the United States, he may by proclamation, and for such period as he shall deem necessary, suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants, or impose on the entry of aliens any restrictions he may deem to be appropriate. Whenever the Attorney General finds that a commercial airline has failed to comply with regulations of the Attorney General relating to requirements of airlines for the detection of fraudulent documents used by passengers traveling to the United States (including the training of personnel in such detection), the Attorney General may suspend the entry of some or all aliens transported to the United States by such airline.

4:45 p.m.

A Justice Department attorney is arguing that there’s no need for a judge in Hawaii to issue an emergency restraining order against the revised travel ban issued by President Donald Trump.

Jeffrey Wall of the Office of the Solicitor General said during a hearing Wednesday that plaintiffs have said little about harm from the ban that was not speculative.

He said Hawaii is making generalized allegations.

Wall said if the judge is inclined to issue an injunction, it shouldn’t be nationwide and should be tailored to the claims raised by Hawaii.

There, of course, will be more.

BZ

 

Wisconsin judge interferes with 2nd Trump travel stay

But not nearly to the extent that did Judge Robart in Washington state, and with a fraction of the prior focus on President Trump’s second travel stay, Executive Order 13769 (Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States).

From Politico.com:

Revised Trump travel ban suffers first legal blow

by Josh Gerstein

Federal judge in Wisconsin blocks impact on Syrian family as other courts mull broader relief.

President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban executive order suffered its first legal setback Friday as a federal judge blocked the directive’s potential impact on the family of a Syrian refugee living in Wisconsin.

Madison-based U.S. District Court Judge William Conley issued a temporary retraining order at the request of the Syrian man, who is referred to as “John Doe” in court filings. The judge, an appointee of former President Barack Obama, said Trump’s new executive order cannot be used to delay the man’s effort to bring his wife and 3-year-old daughter from the wartorn country to the U.S., but is limited to the individuals involved in the case.

As you can see the effect is limited in scope and quite pointedly focuses on one Syrian man’s family.

Do not doubt, however, that every Leftist and sympathetic federal judge aren’t in deep talks at this very moment in an attempt to craft the perfect eliminatory argument.

The major differences between the first and second Trump EO:

  • Iraq is no longer included as a banned country as it will provide extra vetting;
  • Iran, Syria, Sudan, Yemen, Libya and Somalia are still included in the travel stay;
  • Green Card holders may enter even if from the above listed countries;

Other differences include:

President Trump signed a new travel ban Monday that administration officials said they hope will end legal challenges over the matter by imposing a 90-day ban on the issuance of new visas for citizens of six majority-Muslim nations.

In addition, the nation’s refu­gee program will be suspended for 120 days, and the United States will not accept more than 50,000 refugees in a year, down from the 110,000 cap set by the Obama administration.

One the most significant unmentioned differences? The absence of national protests. Do we see a tiny crack in the Leftist/anarchist armor?

Judge Napolitano weighs in on President Trump’s second Executive Order:

Surely there will be more to come.

BZ