April 14, 2017

Judge Andrew Napolitano was apparently right about British surveillance on the American election.

He was openly mocked — and suspended from Fox News — but now, it seems, he was right.

104 comments:

AprilApple said...

Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O'Donnell should check themselves into a mental institution.

Russians are under their beds.

Birkel said...

So called Chucks hardest hit.

Matthew Sablan said...

Well, ain't that quaint.

AprilApple said...

Susan Rice is a liar - through and thru.

Curious George said...

You have a Janet Napolitano tag for this Althouse.

Clark said...

Is Judge Napolitano free-riding on the Janet Napolitano tag?

BarrySanders20 said...

People will believe what they want to believe from this new disclosure. Precisionists can claim that 007 was not tapping Trump directly at Obamas request. Don't be so literalists will say Moneypenny was feeding the info Obama/Hillary wanted to try to harm Trump and influence the election. Pussy Galore doesn't know what to think.

jaydub said...

Well, it is the Guardian saying this. I seldom believe anything that commie rag reports, but this report runs counter to their normal political slant so it might be true?

AprilApple said...

Who killed Seth Rich?

and why?

BarrySanders20 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Limited blogger said...

Where in the world is Obama? Couldn't he clear all this up quickly?

Chuck said...

What a crock of shit that linked "story" is. There's been zero evidence that the U.S. "tasked" or "outsourced" any domestic spying to GCHQ, and the notion that Ann Althouse has turned off all if her usual sharp analytical tools and customary good judgment is as mystifying as it is appalling.

Laslo Spatula said...

" Pussy Galore doesn't know what to think."

With a name like Pussy Galore you don't have to think.

I am Laslo.

David Begley said...

Where does he go to get his reputation back?

Did CNN credit him?

This Russia stuff is ridiculous.

Matthew Sablan said...

Honestly, I don't think anyone should be shocked if our allies ARE spying on us. I mean, we spy on them. It's just politics. We're not going all black ops on them or the like, but yeah. We keep a weather eye on what our allies in Europe and other places are doing, and I expect they do the same to us.

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

My favorite comment from the article:

You can see Russia from the New Yahk Slimes building

chickelit said...

FOX News' reputation has taken a hit -- of something.

I wonder if they care?

Mike Sylwester said...

Over the next six months, until summer 2016, a number of western agencies shared further information on contacts between Trump’s inner circle and Russians, sources said.

Did the other agencies stop sharing the information because Trump was nominated by the Republican Party?

Michael K said...

Fox News is now run by Murdoch's sons who are interested in New York cocktail party invitations.

I worry about the same thing infecting Kushner and Ivanka.

Inga said...

Wow, Fox truly twisted this story in knots trying to make it fit the Obama spied on Trump story. What garbage reporting. Didn't Napolitano say that the British were doing direct survellience on Trump and associates? Weren't in truth, the Brits and other countries surveilling Russian intelligence operatives and caught Trump associates on those intercepts?

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/apr/13/british-spies-first-to-spot-trump-team-links-russia

GCHQ first became aware in late 2015 of suspicious “interactions” between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russian agents, a source close to UK intelligence said. This intelligence was passed to the US as part of a routine exchange of information, they added.

It is understood that GCHQ was at no point carrying out a targeted operation against Trump or his team or proactively seeking information. The alleged conversations were picked up by chance as part of routine surveillance of Russian intelligence assets. Over several months, different agencies targeting the same people began to see a pattern of connections that were flagged to intelligence officials in the US."

HoodlumDoodlum said...

The whole "foreigners tried to influence our election!" spin was such obvious horseshit from the beginning that it's almost surprising it's lasted as long as it has. Of COURSE foreigners tried to influence our election--they always do. We try to influence theirs, as well--President Obama himself apparently authorized a good bit of dirty work to try and sway an Israeli election (just as one example).
The Russians tried to influence the election. The Ukrainians tried to influence the election. The British tried to influence the election, etc etc.
The argument they WANT to make is that the Russians helped Trump steal the election--that the Russian influence was successful (where other nations' wasn't) in getting Trump the victory he otherwise would have have gained. They don't have any proof of that, though, so the whole argument is designed in a way to strongly imply something they can't actually say. That's why "hacked the election" is the popular way to describe it--the phrase doesn't really mean everything but it's supposed to make you think it does.

I saw CNN yesterday mentioning the British involvement although the framing was "British intel on Trump associate over Russian contacts" or something like that. I wonder how this story's going to play out, but I'll bet the people who mocked and insulted Napolitano won't have to revisit their comments.

chickelit said...

Who killed Seth Rich?

Vedi Napolitano e poi muori

Left Bank of the Charles said...

Let's recall that Donald Trump interfered in the Brexit vote, as a result of which Prime Minister David Cameron had to step down.

BarrySanders20 said...

The wankers bet on the wrong horse. Trying to score points to cash in after the inevitable Hillary win. Now they get to eat their meat pie and hasty pudding knowing that a guy they tried to shiv and who who holds grudges is president. Well done Brits!

Hari said...

'What difference at this point does it make.'

Inga said...

From the Guardian.

"The European countries that passed on electronic intelligence – known as sigint – included Germany, Estonia and Poland. Australia, a member of the “Five Eyes” spying alliance that also includes the US, UK, Canada and New Zealand, also relayed material, one source said.

Another source suggested the Dutch and the French spy agency, the General Directorate for External Security or DGSE, were contributors.


Instead both US and UK intelligence sources acknowledge that GCHQ played an early, prominent role in kickstarting the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation, which began in late July 2016.

One source called the British eavesdropping agency the “principal whistleblower”.

The Guardian has been told the FBI and the CIA were slow to appreciate the extensive nature of contacts between Trump’s team and Moscow ahead of the US election. This was in part due to US law that prohibits US agencies from examining the private communications of American citizens without warrants. “They are trained not to do this,” the source stressed.

“It looks like the [US] agencies were asleep,” the source added. “They [the European agencies] were saying: ‘There are contacts going on between people close to Mr Trump and people we believe are Russian intelligence agents. You should be wary of this.’

“The message was: ‘Watch out. There’s something not right here.’”"

chickelit said...

Left Bank of the Charles said...Let's recall that Donald Trump interfered in the Brexit vote, as a result of which Prime Minister David Cameron had to step down

Let's also recall that Nigel Farage led Brexit and he was an enthusiastic Trump supporter until recently. Do try to keep up.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Inga quoted...It is understood that GCHQ was at no point carrying out a targeted operation against Trump or his team or proactively seeking information. The alleged conversations were picked up by chance as part of routine surveillance of Russian intelligence assets.

"It is understood" is doing a hell of a lot of work in that first sentence, huh? "It has been asserted" is probably more accurate, and once you're taking the (public) word of a spy agency...

I do like the Left's sudden strong respect for coincidence w/r/t government and law enforcement action, though. Aren't they the ones who always talk about how "cops lie" and there aren't any coincidences or actual statistical realities when it comes to questions of bias or racist/sexist/homophobic influence? I mean, if a larger-than-expected percentage of minority drivers get pulled over in a given quarter and lots of those drivers happen to be found in possession of drugs or weapons and are arrested the Left tells me that's instantly proof of racism (possibly of systemic racism), right? The cops got the result they wanted, says the Left, so "it was a coincidence" is not an acceptable explanation--it must be bias. Here, when the question is whether any bias was involved in the surveillance decisions (that led to capturing Trump associate info), "everything's a harmless coincidence!" is suddenly a compelling and convincing explanation.

I can shrug, but I'm not sure what else to do.

tcrosse said...

Let's recall that Donald Trump interfered in the Brexit vote, as a result of which Prime Minister David Cameron had to step down.

No, that was the Russians.

Matthew Sablan said...

"Didn't Napolitano say that the British were doing direct survellience on Trump and associates?"

-- Did he? What quote of his, exactly, are you trying to refute?

AlbertAnonymous said...

Gee. Trump claims Obama's administration used surveillance on him and his people. Media has a collective shit. Obama people flatly deny. Then we find out they DID use surveillance. Media has a collective shit. Obama people claim it's all legal, incidental. Still waiting for the full story.

Judge Napolitano claims British Intelligence used surveillance on Trump and his people and shared it with Obama's admin. Media has a collective shit. British Intelligence flatly deny. Now we find out they DID use surveillance. Media having a collective shit. British Intelligence claiming it's all legal, incidental? Still waiting for the full story.

Seems like a lot of government types and media types working hard to "tamp down" and or flatly deny any such stories.

Fernandinande said...

Napolitano's advertorials:
http://www.unz.com/author/andrew-napolitano/

dreams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
HoodlumDoodlum said...

Inga said...The Guardian has been told the FBI and the CIA were slow to appreciate the extensive nature of contacts between Trump’s team and Moscow ahead of the US election. This was in part due to US law that prohibits US agencies from examining the private communications of American citizens without warrants. “They are trained not to do this,” the source stressed.

Inga, you do realize you're making Trump's case for him, right? He and his people have asserted that the Obama admin got foreign agencies to do spying that the US agencies were prohibited, by law, from doing. Your quote says exactly the same thing. The Obama people have been asserting that they never specifically targeted or looked at Trump people (US citizens) since that's against the law. Your quote quote says exactly the opposite--that foreign spy agencies encouraged the Obama admin people to look at/target Trump people because those foreign agencies believed the Trump people were trouble.

You seem to think that the Trump people ARE dirty, so therefore this targeting is ok. You seem not to realize that by admitting that the targeting happened, in the way the Trump people have been alleging, you're supporting Trump's case. That's true whether the Trump people are actually dirty or not!

I guess that's the new spin: yeah, it happened, but it's ok because Trump people are guilty.

I think the evolution is something like:
1.) It never happened
2.) It might have happened, but only by accident and not in the way Trump's people said
3.) It probably happened, but it was by accident and not unusual
4.) It probably happened and was a little unusual, but Trump's unusual so it's no big deal
5.) Ok, it happened, but still not in the way Trump's people said
6.) Ok, it happened in the way Trump's people said but it was still a coincidence
7.) Yeah, it happened in the way Trump's people said and it wasn't a coincidence, but the Trump people are probably guilty so it was the right thing to do.

What will 8.) be, do you think?!

dreams said...

"Fox News is now run by Murdoch's sons who are interested in New York cocktail party invitations.

I worry about the same thing infecting Kushner and Ivanka."

Yeah, the liberal bubble is a bad thing and apparently most people lack the courage and or the ability to think outside of their liberal bubble. The evidence of that abounds.

mockturtle said...

Hoodlum observes: Of COURSE foreigners tried to influence our election--they always do.

Did China not buy influence by donating 'bigly' to Bill Clinton's campaign? And did it not result in 'Most Favored Nation' status?

DanTheMan said...

Trump should announce that he will be doing the same sort of monitoring of the Dem's in 2020. Since apparently it's not illegal.

dreams said...

"Who killed Seth Rich?

and why?"

Uh, never mind.

John said...

What about the Awan Brothers?

John Henry

dreams said...

Meanwhile, Obama continues to shrink as the Obama wiretapping scandal grows.

MaxedOutMama said...

This is all such a mess. Such an awful mess. On the one hand, this cannot be ignored if we want to safeguard our political process.

On the other hand, the prospect of having to fully investigate, disclose, discuss, and eventually amend/censure the individuals in the Obama administration who fostered this, plus the leaks to the press, plus clearly coordinated with the Clinton campaign, is going to be an agonizing procedure. It can't fail to tarnish Obama's record, and that is a political third rail no one wants to touch.

All of these revelations convince me that I was right to fear a Hillary administration as consolidating an extra-legal hold on power through a network of bureaucrats with non-constitutional loyalties. It appears that there are MANY G. Gordon Liddy's burrowed into the DC power hive. Many. They need to go.

This is going to be a painful process. In retrospect, the Obama administration shows a pattern of extra-legal use of administrative power that is scandalous, and it is a pattern and practice. The FEC, the IRS, the BATF, and now the intelligence agencies.

Nixon didn't play in this league. Not even a contender for the juniors. This is far, far more serious.

One would hope that with Trump in the WH, the press would wake up and remember why this is a bad thing. I think they would, but the problem is that they are still unwilling to step on the coattails of the previous president.

Because that's what this is really about, isn't it? We cannot publicize this without tarnishing President Lovely Man, and everyone's afraid to be honest about what happened.

Inga said...

Other countries do not by their laws need to "mask" individual Americans caught on indirect survellience. Thank goodness they alerted the Intel Community in the US. Apparently there was sufficient reason for US investigations to begin. Our ICs were doing their jobs.... finally.

MikeR said...

Too late - that story's been "completely debunked".
I haven't looked, but anyone want to bet on what Glenn Greenwald will say about this? I agree with him on few things, but it's always fun to see him say that the Left needs to give a heartfelt apology to the Right for all the evil things they said the Right was doing, or assumed that they were doing and assumed that they were evil - but are completely okay when it's them.

JPS said...

mockturtle,

"Did China not buy influence by donating 'bigly' to Bill Clinton's campaign? And did it not result in 'Most Favored Nation' status?"

Well, cause and effect can be very difficult to prove....

JPS said...

dreams,

"Obama continues to shrink as the Obama wiretapping scandal grows."

NOTHING is a scandal, until WE SAY it is!

- The media, channeling Bluto

James Pawlak said...

He is also back on FOX.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

mockturtle said...Did China not buy influence by donating 'bigly' to Bill Clinton's campaign? And did it not result in 'Most Favored Nation' status?

Oh absolutely, the obvious parallel to any Rooskie contacts associates of Trump might have had would be the numerous well-documented contacts and exchanges of millions of dollars that occurred between Clinton associates/the various Clinton foundation entities and any number of foreign governments and powers. Millions of dollars, mind you. Trump associates trade a few phone call with some Russians and the Left says that's clear evidence of corruption. Clinton associates make big deals and accept huge "donations" from foreign governments and institutions while those people have business before the US government (with Clinton as SecState) and the Left says "huge coincidence, no relation, doesn't prove anything."

I keep thinking about the "smoking gun" standard. I heard it several times regarding the Obama admin--sure something looked bad, but there was no smoking gun and/or there was no proof of a direct quid pro quo. Over and over again that was the asserted standard. It annoyed the hell out of me, since obviously these people usually designed their deals and their communications to avoid an explicit admission of that type/of a "smoking gun." Of course there's not an email from President Obama to the IRS commissioner saying "break the law by targeting Tea Party groups," but apparently that would have to exist in order for the Media to accept that anything was wrong with what actually happened.
Now, though, that standard doesn't appear to apply. It seems like it's more than the usual Leftist Media bias, too. Suddenly innuendo and "patterns of contact" and whatever other lowest-level-of-evidence crap someone can think of is supposed to be solid proof of wrongdoing.
It's bad enough that journalists have suddenly decided that it's time to do their jobs--that they're actually congratulating themselves for waking up after 8 years of snoozing--but

Michael K said...

Let's recall that Donald Trump interfered in the Brexit vote, as a result of which Prime Minister David Cameron had to step down.

Now, I'm reasonable credulous but you'll have to explain how candidate Trump forced Cameron to step down.

I think it might have had something to do with cluelessness about his own voters but I'm sure you can explain it.

Big Mike said...

I'd be really stunned if the intelligence services of most nations were not spying on both campaigns. Not just GCHQ and not just the Russian FSB, but the Chinese (both Chinas), the Israelis, the Germans, apparently the Poles and Estonians, probably the Dutch and French, and anybody else you can think of. The stakes are too high, and over on the Dumbocrats side at least the level of security awareness was appallingly low. The cover story that Trump associates were accidentally picked up during surveillance of legitimate intelligence targets is not totally implausible, but has more holes than my grandmother's lace curtains.

I see that lefty tool Chuck and lefty tool Inga have their lefty talking points all lined up. Nevertheless the question in front of us is whether the Obama Administration abused the FBI tonconduct espionage against the Trump campaign. The answer appears to be affirmative, but as anyone can see they found nothing. Comey must go. Clapper and Rice must go to jail.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Inga said...Other countries do not by their laws need to "mask" individual Americans caught on indirect survellience. Thank goodness they alerted the Intel Community in the US. Apparently there was sufficient reason for US investigations to begin. Our ICs were doing their jobs.... finally.

A private investigator does not need probable cause nor a warrant to search through someone's house (illegally). The police do.
You're essentially saying it'd be ok for the police to ask a private investigator to go through your neighbor's house (since they don't have a warrant) and see what can be found since the police think the neighbor's up to something but can't legally search, themselves.
You're saying "thank God the police got that private investigator to do what they themselves couldn't legally do, otherwise we wouldn't know this stuff about our neighbor." That's the Left's line, now?

Nevermind, of course, that so far we haven't seen any of this actual dirt and apparently it's not anything that has resulted in any legal action against the Trump people! Nevermind that the intelligence agencies and Left members of intel committees have repeatedly said that they've found no evidence of collusion or illegal activity in the material they've reviewed...somehow you've already decided that Trump's people are guilty and you therefore forgive any actions, legal or not, that might help expose that guilt.

I'm going to point it out again, Inga: you do realize that this is EXACTLY the kind of argument you and you and your pals spent YEARS decrying as evil when members of the GWBush government made it, right? You guys marched up and down talking about how the nation should be ashamed that we're "outsourcing torture" since our intelligence agencies allowed foreign intelligence agencies to detain and interrogate people we captured. You said we let them do the interrogations because they could use techniques we legally couldn't, that they had different laws relating to detention, habeas corpus, etc. Most of your allegations weren't accurate, but your core point was that it's evil and wrong of the US government to purposely circumvent US laws by relying on foreign nations to take actions we can't legally take ourselves.
Now you're cheering that very thing.

jaydub said...

"Other countries do not by their laws need to "mask" individual Americans caught on indirect survellience. Thank goodness they alerted the Intel Community in the US. Apparently there was sufficient reason for US investigations to begin. Our ICs were doing their jobs.... finally."

Of course there was sufficient reason - they needed to stop Trump. But, doesn't this also mean our allies were "hacking the election?" I thought hacking the election was a bad thing?

Matthew Sablan said...

"Apparently there was sufficient reason for US investigations to begin."

-- Actually, it doesn't appear that way, judging by what Nunes and others have said. They've literally found nothing; many of the unmasked conversations were unrelated to foreign intelligence, per the same sources, and the leaked Flynn phone call, when analyzed by intelligence experts, they've claimed (in counter leaks, I assume), that nothing illegal or even unprofessional happened. Had Flynn simply admitted, "Yeah, I talked to the guy. Just like everyone else," he'd still have his job.

So. Tell me. What sufficient reason was there to spy on these people, and if there WAS sufficient reason, what reason was there to unmask people in conversations unrelated to the investigation?

Bushman of the Kohlrabi said...

Trump should announce that he will be doing the same sort of monitoring of the Dem's in 2020. Since apparently it's not illegal.

The reaction would be truly hilarious. Many in the MSM would snap their necks trying to change direction at the speed of sound.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Chuck said...What a crock of shit that linked "story" is. There's been zero evidence that the U.S. "tasked" or "outsourced" any domestic spying to GCHQ, and the notion that Ann Althouse has turned off all if her usual sharp analytical tools and customary good judgment is as mystifying as it is appalling.

Can you elaborate, Chuck? There's zero evidence? There were assertions that any allegations of British involvement were preposterous, and now apparently there's evidence of British involvement. That seems noteworthy.
Kinda like how Rice asserted that she didn't know anything about "unmasking" a few weeks ago and now says she not only knew about unmasking but admits she was involved in lots of it--but that it was not improper. That's news, right?

I mean, let's think for a moment about all the things there's "zero evidence" for, Chuck. There's zero evidence that Trump had any say in Russian actions of any kind. There's zero evidence anyone on Trump's team knew anything about Russian actions/had any inside info on what Russia was doing or was going to do. There's zero evidence that Trump's people made any promises to Russia, made any deals with Russia, or in fact did anything wrong at all with respect to Russia. Right Chuck?
And yet I see these stories every day, Chuck, about Trump & Russia! Are all of those stories also horseshit, Chuck? Maybe you complain about those, too, and I just missed those posts of yours.

exiledonmainstreet said...

"Most of your allegations weren't accurate, but your core point was that it's evil and wrong of the US government to purposely circumvent US laws by relying on foreign nations to take actions we can't legally take ourselves.
Now you're cheering that very thing."

The Left: "It's OK when we do it."

Michael K said...

Inga: you do realize that this is EXACTLY the kind of argument you and you and your pals spent YEARS decrying as evil when members of the GWBush government made it, right?

I doubt that Inga has the brain power (that's polite for IQ) to understand what you say.

They are all about feelins. If it Feeeelz good, do it.

Drago said...

So, to summarize: the combined surveillance of Trump, Trump family members, former Trump campaign staffers, former "not really quite" Trump campaign staffers and anyone who knew anyone from the Trump team for the last 10 years has been surveilled and tracked and monitored for over a year (and up to 18 months) by the combined intelligence services of the US and many of its allies.

And there is ZERO evidence of the very thing that the lefties have been assuming true and screaming at "volume=11" since Oct of 2016.

Well.

Gee, it's almost as if the Obama admin and their many, many, many dem operatives in the Deep State AND the media know that if the facts get out (which they already are!) about this unprecedented domestic spying by obama-ites on the republicans that wouldn't, uh, look too good.

So what's the answer?

Scream about collusion non-stop, selective leaks which repeat innuendo with no facts, scream for an "independent investigation" to bottle up the facts for another 2 to 3 years and muddy the results all to do the following:
1) Hide the domestic spying and the lefts now complete culpability and full participation
2) De-legitimize the Trump admin
3) Present a ready-made excuse to the lunatic lefty base voters as to why they lost the election

And it's all falling apart....as long as the republicans don't get cold feet and let the congressional committees do the investigations.

I'm pretty impressed thus far by how well the republicans held up in the face of withering criticism from the dems/media (but I repeat myself) regarding Gorsuch and thus far by how well the republicans are holding off the dems fake calls for special investigations.

Can't wait to see what the FBI continues to hide from the congressional committees. Nice to see Grassley, even Graham, and Nunes all over that.

tim maguire said...

It's been public knowledge for at least a decade that the spy services of the different anglosphere nations get around domestic laws by spying on each other and sharing the information.

The denials are a ritual that craven dishonest news mecia selectively "believe" to push their own agendas.

Owen said...

Hoodlum Doodlum: I worry that your curb-stomping of Inga and Chuck will drive them away and deprive us all of future entertainment value. But then I remember how invincibly biased and myopic they are, and I lean back in my seat with my popcorn. Thanks.

grackle said...

He was openly mocked — and suspended from Fox News — but now, it seems, he was right.

I figured this would happen. Why? Because the judge, in all the times I’ve seen him on TV, has been very careful about what he says. It always been factual and based on reality. When Napolitano talks the MSM AND Fox would do well to listen carefully.

About Fox and Trump: Totally anti-Trump but they have to pick their spots carefully or risk alienating half their viewers. That’s why Hannity is still there. They would love to get rid of Hannity but … ratings.

Fox ignored the spying on Mike Flynn in order to claim, as Chris Wallace would intone at every opportunity, that there was no evidence that Obama spied on anyone. That treasured and oft-repeated false meme was blasted apart by the Rice Revelations.

Jack Wayne said...

Is there anyone left in America that thinks Comey has any credibility left? He's as useless as Obama, always finding things out months after they were printed in the papers. The easy arrest of the murderer of Brian Terry is pretty suspicious, isn't it?

Unknown said...

More long overdue nails in the coffins for the democrat media.

Mike Sylwester said...

I suppose that these European intelligence activities involve in the recent conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The conflict was caused largely by the issue of whether Ukaine ever might join the European Union or NATO. Military fighting broke out in 2014.

Two of the countries collecting and sharing intelligence were Poland and Estonia, which border Ukraine and Russia.

In the Ukraine-Russia conflict, Paul Manafort was a person of special interest. Manafort seemed to end his involvement in the conflict in 2015, but because he subsequently went to work for Presidential candidate Donald Trump, Manafort continued to be a person of special interest.

After Manafort was removed from Trump's campaign staff in the summer of 2016, the European intelligence agencies' ended their efforts to collect and share information about him.

glenn said...

Say, you don't suppose all that EURO spying was because they didnt want to meet their comittments to NATO.

wendybar said...

I never had any doubt that he would be vindicated.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Hoodlum,
Shouldn't the "They didn't do an actual wiretap!" be in that list somewhere?

Francisco D said...

The next several months will be interesting, particularly when Trump gets his team fully in place.

I had better stock up on popcorn.

Democrats will be going to jail.

Chuck and Inga's heads will explode.

Life is good!

Inga said...

"I never had any doubt that he would be vindicated."

Except he wasn't. There was no direct surveillance of Trump and associates as Napolitano suggested.

Mike Sylwester said...

The suspicion that Paul Manafort was an agent of the Russian Government was plausible. Manafort was hired to advise Viktor Yanukovych, who had been elected President of Ukraine but was being overthrown because he wanted to improve Ukraine's relationship with Russia.

Manafort had no obvious previous expertise in Ukraine or Russia, so his involvement in this conflict is mysterious. I speculate that his real role was mainly to launder money to enable Ukrainian political leaders to receive asylum and resettle in the West if they abdicated peacefully.

Perhaps -- pure speculation !! -- Manafort was laundering Ukrainian money into Trump's hotel and construction businesses in the West.

If my speculation is correct, then Manafort's activities did not signficantly involve Russia, despite the plausible speculation. In other words, Manafort was not really trying to help Yanukovych and the other pro-Russia Ukrainians to prevail in the conflict. Rather, Manafort was helping them to abdicate and resettle in the West with as much money as possible.

The European countries and the USA basically did want them to abdicate and would be willing to offer them asylum in order to foster a peaceful transition of power.

Anyway, that's my speculation about the circumstances.

Matthew Sablan said...

"Except he wasn't. There was no direct surveillance of Trump and associates as Napolitano suggested."

-- I'll ask again. What is the exact quote you want us to discuss? My understanding was that the argument, from the start, is that the investigation into "Russia" was deliberately manipulated to give them access to Trump people, hence why so much data was collected about Trump's team and unmasked, handed out to a wide distribution, even when it had no foreign intelligence value.

So, what, exactly, did Napolitano say that you want to argue with?

MayBee said...

So releasing some emails from a Hillary staffer is unprecedented interference in a US election, but actual spying and telling the opposing candidate (Hillary) so she can use innuendo in her campaign is not?

Hugh.

MayBee said...

From Surber's article at the link:
GCHQ first became aware in late 2015 of suspicious “interactions” between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russian agents,

I like all the loopholes in that one sentence fragment.

Francisco D said...

Mike Sylwester wrote: Perhaps -- pure speculation !! -- Manafort was laundering Ukrainian money into Trump's hotel and construction businesses in the West. "

Mike, you may have a talent for writing spy thrillers. However, I have a hard time getting over the threshold set by my HS English teacher who asserted that good fiction requires the willing suspension of disbelief.

Let's wait a bit to see what other information comes out.

Mike Sylwester said...

Mike Sylwester at 11:16 AM

Perhaps -- pure speculation !! -- Manafort was laundering Ukrainian money into Trump's hotel and construction businesses in the West. ...

Manafort was not really trying to help Yanukovych and the other pro-Russia Ukrainians to prevail in the conflict. Rather, Manafort was helping them to abdicate and resettle in the West with as much money as possible.


I will speculate some more.

Manafort was not some master-mind advising Yanukovych about Ukrainian politics. Rather, Manafort was helping Yanukovych embezzle money from Ukraine to the West and helping him to receive asylum and resettle in the West in exchange for abdicating peacefully.

Yanukovych's abdication was against Russia's interests. Russia wanted Yanukovych to stay the President of Ukraine to the bitter end. The abdication was rather in Europe's and the USA's interests.

Perhaps much Ukrainian money therefore was laundered into Trump's hotels and construction businesses in the West. Pure speculation !!

I was puzzled when Trump removed Manafort from his election campaign staff. Manafort was doing a great job for Trump.

I speculate that Trump removed Manafort because Trump became informed that Manafort's involvement in massive embezzlement from the Ukrainian Goverment was likely to become exposed.

Mike Sylwester said...

Francisco D at 11:33 AM

... good fiction requires the willing suspension of disbelief ...

Why should anybody believe that the President of Ukraine hired Paul Manafort to advise him about Ukrainian politics?

That's what we all are supposed to believe, but it's absurd.

tim maguire said...

MayBee--21 words. Removing "of" "or" etc. You're left with 15. Of which 7 can fairly be described as "weasel."

That's quite an equivocation percentage.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Francisco D said...Democrats will be going to jail.

Naah, no one's going to jail.
Look, no one went to jail over the IRS scandal, the VA scandals, the Fast & Furious scandal, etc. No one went to jail over the Bush-era torture/rendition scandals. No one went to jail over Hillary's sever.
If you're the right kind of person you can flat out lie to Congress under oath and not get punished, much less go to jail (ask Clapper or Koskinen). Illegal activities related to intelligence and/or national security are even less likely to get prosecuted, both because the "cause" might be sympathetic ("were were protecting the nation!") and because an actual court case would likely compromise real secrets.

I'm not saying people didn't break the law, but no one's going to jail, I'd bet.

mockturtle said...

Grackle observes: About Fox and Trump: Totally anti-Trump but they have to pick their spots carefully or risk alienating half their viewers. That’s why Hannity is still there. They would love to get rid of Hannity but … ratings.

Yes, it was a major blow to Fox when Trump won the GOP nomination. I was watching during the early primary campaign when Ed Rollins said that Trump would never be the Rebublican nominee. Funny how Fox chose to ignore this mis-prognostication.

I used to watch Fox but it seemed very GOPe to me and I seldom tune in any more except to watch press conferences, etc. The only Fox regular I really liked was Harris Faulkner and she's gone.

Drago said...

Inga: "Except he wasn't. There was no direct surveillance of Trump and associates as Napolitano suggested."

LOL

Sure he was surveilled, over a long period of time, with all the information provided to the US services and that info landed on the desks of all the political operatives in the obama White House and sure that stuff was spread around alot and sure it was all leaked to the press just like this, but it wasn't like we were looking at him or anything! "Swearsies!"

Keep running with that one Inga. It's gotta work!

Now, the next fun step after the all the other shoes drop on the unprecedented domestic spying on domestic political opponents by obambi and his minions will be for the lefties to go full "Lawrence O'Donnell" (and trust me, you never want to go FULL Lawrence O'Donnell): The lefties will actually claim that Trump and Putin and all their pals PURPOSELY set up obambi and the Deep State and the media by conspiring to create a false conspiracy!!

We have already reached that point for the far left and, as we have seen time and again, whereever the far left goes the lefty/liberals/"lifelong republicans" are never far behind.

Achilles said...

Inga said...
Other countries do not by their laws need to "mask" individual Americans caught on indirect survellience. Thank goodness they alerted the Intel Community in the US. Apparently there was sufficient reason for US investigations to begin. Our ICs were doing their jobs.... finally.

I wonder if Inga will be interested in what Trump digs up on Hillary and Obama when he uses the power of the state to watch them. After that start going through Warren's and Schumer's lives. Just think how much fun we will have in a police state that targets democrats. Maybe the IRS needs to take a closer look at a bunch of those lib funded get out the vote non-profit programs.

Our IC's will be doing their jobs.... finally. I am sure Inga will have no problems with Trump treating democrats like Obama treated republicans.

tim maguire said...

While I find it as believable as ever that Napolitano is right, and being absolutely certain that the Obama White House spied on Trump and is the source of the illegal leaks, this story is not a vindication, it just advances our knowledge without undermining Napolitano's story.

MayBee said...

tim maguire said...
MayBee--21 words. Removing "of" "or" etc. You're left with 15. Of which 7 can fairly be described as "weasel."

That's quite an equivocation percentage.


Ha! I love this!

Francisco D said...

HoodlumDoodlum wrote: "Naah, no one's going to jail."

Imagine if the Republicans grew balls.

Nah! That require the suspension of too much disbelief.

MayBee said...

Are any of the "suspected" Russian agents the agents Obama sent home in retaliation?

cubanbob said...

Inga said...
Other countries do not by their laws need to "mask" individual Americans caught on indirect survellience. Thank goodness they alerted the Intel Community in the US. Apparently there was sufficient reason for US investigations to begin. Our ICs were doing their jobs.... finally."

Yes, finally the criminal investigations into the Clinton's and the Obama Administration will begin.

Drago said...

Achilles: "I wonder if Inga will be interested in what Trump digs up on Hillary and Obama when he uses the power of the state to watch them"

We will see what we are already seeing: democrats arguing that all the East German tactics used by the obambi-ites was completely justified and appropriate AND we have to change those laws RIGHT NOW to ensure this doesn't happen again! (now that Trump owns the levers of power)

Expect this line of attack to accelerate amongst the media/leftists/"lifelong republicans".

Achilles said...

Francisco D said...

Imagine if the Republicans grew balls.

It has nothing to do with balls. The problem is the republicans and democrats are both on the same team.

Balfegor said...

On the whole surveillance issue, this seems like it bolsters Napolitano's claim, but the claim is not proven by this reporting.

My comments would be as follows:

(1) What is legal vs what is illegal is mostly just a distraction. Even if the surveillance was legal (which I am sure a court would do its utmost to find, given that the legal profession hates Trump), that doesn't make it proper, since there's all kinds of things that are legal that are also abuses of power. Legal doesn't mean right.

(2) You don't have to credulously accept every denial that there was "targeting" by intelligence agencies. At least with respect to the US intelligence agencies, such targeting would probably be illegal. What kind of idiots would they be to admit they broke the law to news reporters (of all people!). Furthermore, if there was targeting at all, it was "reverse" targeting. That's a lot fuzzier -- more of a facts and circumstances kind of determination.

(3) What we know from the reporting to date is:

(a) There was surveillance from a number of sources (including NSA, FBI, and GCHQ) that captured communications from people connected with the Trump campaign and transition. That they may not have been "targeted" is irrelevant -- they were swept up.

(b) Some of the NSA-captured communications were "unmasked" to reveal the identities of US persons connected with the Trump campaign. Unmasking was performed at the request of political appointee Susan Rice (is this disputed any more?) but executed by NSA personnel.

(c) The content of those specific communications is not well established -- Nunes says they were totally irrelevant to Russia, other people say otherwise. Mark those contents "indeterminate" for now.

(d) Aside from NSA and and GCHQ surveillance, there was also FBI surveillance actually targeted on at least one Trump adviser.

(e) The Obama administration, as it was leaving, relaxed restrictions on sharing of surveillance data between NSA and domestic agencies (but the connection between this change and any surveillance data collected from Trump associates is unknown and merely speculative).

(f) Information from unmasked communications caught up in the surveillance, and involving Michael Flynn, was illegally leaked to the press by someone with access (not necessarily Susan Rice).

Is that about the size of it?

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Balfegor said...On the whole surveillance issue, this seems like it bolsters Napolitano's claim, but the claim is not proven by this reporting.

Yes, correct.
1.) Absolutely true; it's important to note the weasely fall backs to "not illegal" from "didn't happen" that are popping up now.
2.) Yes, that's what I've been complaining about re: the switch to a standard of "only a clear smoking gun proves anything" that the Media has suddenly adopted (in just these cases).
3. (b) is a key point--it not only goes to motive but is a pretty clear contradiction of the denials (including from Rice herself) that until recently were operative. That does show that the people involved believe they have something to hide, at the very least.
3. (e) is, to me, the lynchpin of the whole scandal--even if I'm supposed to believe that all the collection and coordination activities themselves are routine and nothing untoward, the fact that the Obama admin affirmatively changed those rules exactly at a time when doing so would have (and did) result in leaks/political use of this info...it's hard to honestly conclude that's anything other than evidence of wrongdoing.

Good summary, Balfegor!

Yancey Ward said...

Funny how it just keeps dribbling out- every claim made by Trump and his supporters in the media are, at first, called preposterous, then over time slowly proven to be true. Trump detractors (of which Chuckles and Ingaramus above serve as example) then fall back to a new defensive line time after time.

I wrote this several weeks ago- the Russian story, because it was ramped up after the election, was the clearest tell. Add that to the last minute change Obama made before leaving office about how easily intelligence of this nature could be shared, and it all adds up clearly to the same thing- they never expected Trump to win, and when he did, a full-blown ass-covering operation had to be undertaken.

Why do you think the FBI has been stonewalling Congress?

Michael K said...

"Except he wasn't. There was no direct surveillance of Trump and associates as Napolitano suggested."

Poor Inga. Trump and Manafort and Bannon are living in your head and telling you stories that you think are real.

Someday, you might wake up and think "OMG! He's the president and was actually not bad !"

Although I doubt it. Religious conversion is rare.

johns said...

Balfegor, good summary at 12:11. I would add that whereas the Guardian article alleges numerous times that Trump-connected people were heard to be communicating with "known" or "suspected" Russian agents, the only particulars given in the article relate to employees of Russian banks. There is no allegation of discussions with actual employees of the Russian government, and no evidence that any of the Trump-connected people knew they were speaking with "known" or "suspected" Russian agents. Or that the discussions involved anything dirty.

Mike Sylwester said...

Mike Sylwester at 11:34 AM

Perhaps much Ukrainian money therefore was laundered into Trump's hotels and construction businesses in the West. Pure speculation !!

Until mid-2015, Donald Trump owned the Miss Universe company, a business that perhaps provided many opportunities to launder money internationally.

The beauty-pageant business involves much expenditure for travel, advertising, promotions, artists, costumes, rentals, and so forth. There are many various and unusual accounts for placing and moving cash in practically all currencies.

Probably quite a lot of cash could have been moved out of Ukraine by means of the Miss Universe company.

Mike said...

No, Napolitano is *still* wrong. He said Obama had a foreign intelligence agency survey Trump. This says that foreign intelligence agencies surveying Russia began to find ties to people within the Trump organization and alerted Obama. These are not the same things. Quit pretending they are.

Mike Sylwester said...

Mike Sylwester at 9:00 AM

Over the next six months, until summer 2016, a number of western agencies shared further information on contacts between Trump’s inner circle and Russians, sources said.

Did the other agencies stop sharing the information because Trump was nominated by the Republican Party?


I was a USAF Intelligence officer for 14 years, and I think that this "sharing" ended in the summer of 2016 because the US Intelligence Community (IC) canceled all its intelligence requirements about Paul Manafort et al.

The IC issues "intelligence requirements" to intelligence collectors -- which would include allied intelligence agencies. The collectors respond to the requirements by producing intelligence reports.

As a specific example, the CIA might have issued an intelligence requirement for details about Paul Manafort relationship to the political leadership of Ukraine. This intelligence requirement would be distributed within the CIA itself and also to other US intelligence agencies (e.g. USAF Intelligence) and also somewhat to allied agencies (e.g. the UK, Poland, Estonia).

In theory, when the requirement is canceled, all the agencies stop collecting and reporting for the requirement. Therefore if all the European agencies stopped reporting about Manafort in the summer of 2016, then perhaps the reason was that the requirement was canceled.

Perhaps there was a requirement about Manafort and it was canceled in the summer of 2016 because

* Manafort became Trump's campaign manager, so collection became improper

or

* Manafort was fired by Trump, and so Manafort became irrelevant.

-----

If -- as I speculated above -- Manafort was helping to prepare the abdication of the Ukrainian political leadership, then his activities might be a can of worms that the US Government does not want to open publicly.

Keep in mind that Yanukovych had been elected legitimately, but the Obama Administration was encouraging and helping the protesters in Kiev who were trying to overthrow him because he was pro-Russian.

Manafort's involvement might be embarrassing to the Obama Administration if all the details were exposed. Perhaps Manafort represented Yanukovych in secret negotiations to provide political asylum and compensation in exchange for abdicating voluntarily.

To the extent that the Obama Administration was trying to overthrow the legitimately elected Ukrainian President because he was pro-Russian, the US Democrats have poor grounds to complain that Russia might have interfered in US elections.

Balfegor said...

Re: Mike:

No, Napolitano is *still* wrong. He said Obama had a foreign intelligence agency survey Trump. This says that foreign intelligence agencies surveying Russia began to find ties to people within the Trump organization and alerted Obama. These are not the same things. Quit pretending they are.

When GCHQ's position shifts from this:

The spokesperson added in a statement: “Recent allegations made by media commentator judge Andrew Napolitano about GCHQ being asked to conduct ‘wiretapping’ against the then president-elect are nonsense. They are utterly ridiculous and should be ignored.”

To this:

Instead both US and UK intelligence sources acknowledge that GCHQ played an early, prominent role in kickstarting the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation, which began in late July 2016.

Napolitano isn't actually losing ground here. They've gone from "utterly ridiculous!!!1" to "Look, Obama didn't ask us to target them: we told the Americans they should be targeting them. Based on information we happened to collect incidentally and piece together."

Yes, the statements from GCHQ are logically consistent, but that up-front denial is, ah, misleading by omission, no? Someone there obviously knew exactly what he was talking about. And the cagey way they're now positioning this leaves me suspicious that in another month or so, we're going to get another slice of the salami.

hombre said...

Inga: "Thank goodness they alerted the Intel Community in the US. Apparently there was sufficient reason for US investigations to begin. Our ICs were doing their jobs.... finally."

Yes. There was so much at stake. No criminal conduct or espionage, mind you, but the leftmedia and the Democrats were badly in need of calumnious material with which to defame Trump and Co. and distract from the criminal conduct of prominent Democrats. After all, what else do they have?

So much Dem corruption. Stupid, amoral Inga.

Drago said...

Balfegor: "And the cagey way they're now positioning this leaves me suspicious that in another month or so, we're going to get another slice of the salami."

Not to worry. The number of lefty/media/"lifelong republican" limited modified fallback positions is infinite.

Bruce said...

Yes, the statements from GCHQ are logically consistent, but that up-front denial is, ah, misleading by omission, no? Someone there obviously knew exactly what he was talking about. And the cagey way they're now positioning this leaves me suspicious that in another month or so, we're going to get another slice of the salami.

I remember pointing out in the comments here, on GCHQ's original response to the allegations, that they didn't actually deny anything. Another case of using weasel words.

"It is ridiculous". "It should be ignored". "We want an apology".

Notably missing from GCHQ's statement: "We didn't do that".

hombre said...

Flash: Leftmedia discovers that Russian Ambassador to US is an agent of Russia, AKA a "Russian agent." Lol.

Yancey Ward said...

Bruce,

Yes. You saw the same thing from Obama's staff the weekend Trump made his tweet- no outright denials, just non-denial denials.

tim in vermont said...

I called this one at the time.

tim in vermont said...

Funny how Chuck is narrowing the scope of the claim, same as he is denying that using optical taps to Hoover up data from a network pipe is "wiretapping."

Sorry Chuck, I did not mean to imply that a network probe is actually a vacuum cleaner, nor that a network link is actually a piece of plumbing.

iowan2 said...

The Senate and House committees need to demand all the intel generated on Clinton's wife's Campaign. The Clinton Crime syndicate, and Clinton's wife herself had ample communications with Russia operatives (any person with a Russian address). The absence of any such evidence is proof that President Trump, his associates, and campaign, were singled out for surveillance.

Then, can we all admit NSA already has all the communications of all of these people??? We all know everything we do is captured. The raw data exists.

We can all agree on that.

Now we get to the intell community seeking out names and generated intel reports. That is what happened. The Chucks of the world inane parsing of terms only reinforces that they know what happened is unacceptable in a free political system.

Right know President Trump has access to all of Obama's communications while in exile on his island. He should start leaking tidbits of those conversations... (its all legal)