Rep. Steve King: ‘Watch for Obama’s fingerprints’ ALL OVER FISA abuse scandal

(National SentinelDeep Statist: Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, said on Saturday that he believes evidence exists that former President Barack Obama had a heavy hand in abuses of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that led to improper spying on President Donald J. Trump’s campaign.

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“Watch closely for Barack Obama’s fingerprints,” King told Breitbart News Radio yesterday. “[Democrats and their allies] will defend Barack Obama at all costs, and they’ll defend Hillary Clinton almost at all costs unless they have to sacrifice her to protect Barack Obama.”

King made his comments against the backdrop of Friday’s release of the scandalous FISA memo, a four-page document prepared by Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee explaining that a surveillance warrant obtained from the FISA court by Obama’s FBI and Justice Department to spy on Trump campaign foreign advisor Carter Page was based on an unsubstantiated political report — the “Trump dossier” — not on actual intelligence.

Nothing in the dossier has been verified, which also troubled the Intelligence Committee. The panel’s chairman, Devin Nunes, R-Calif., said that ranking DOJ and FBI officials did not inform the FISA court the dossier was a political opposition report paid for in part by the Hillary Clinton campaign.

“Look at all of these investigations now,” King continued. “Look closely for Barack Obama’s fingerprints. I’ve just identified some that I think are fingerprints, and I think this trail leads to the Obama presidency, to Barack Obama himself, but it’s going to take some time if we get there, and I’m not certain that the evidence trail necessarily leads there.

“There’s an indication trail that says we need to take a look and find out. But if it’s not Barack Obama, then who is it? Well, it’s Loretta Lynch, for example, and James Comey, and McCabe, and that cast of characters from Sally Yates on down,” he continued.

“I don’t think we’ve ever seen such a long row of very high-level executive branch officials wrapped up in something here that is political partisanship, weaponizing the FBI and DOJ to do opposition research that was stimulated by the presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and [paid for with her] and the DNC’s checkbooks,” King noted.

On Saturday, The National Sentinel’s editor-in-chief, J. D. Heyes, laid out the possible path from the FISA warrant approval process in this scandal to the 44th president.

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White House: ‘Prez DOES NOT have to approve’ release of BOMBSHELL FISA memo

(National SentinelRelease: The White House pushed back on Wednesday against claims that only President Donald J. Trump has the authority to declassify an “explosive” “FISA memo” that reportedly contains extensive abuse of FISA authority within the FBI, deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley told WMAL.

“We don’t have to approve it. They have the right to de-classify the document,” Gidley told Daily Caller editorial director Vince Coglianese and WMAL host, citing “legal minds” consulted by the executive branch.

The memo was written by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and others including Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. The contents of the memo contain classified information that was obtained from the FBI and the Justice Department.

“The document allegedly contains proof that the Obama administration abused its authority to obtain surveillance warrants on members of the 2016 Trump campaign,” The Daily Caller reported.

President Trump can object to the memo’s release, but he doesn’t have to approve it. House rules allow the intelligence panel to declassify it on a majority vote in the public interest.

Several House Republicans have said they want to see it released to the public. Some, including Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, believe its contents are so explosive some people “will go to jail.”

“I believe this will not end just with firings. I believe there are people who will go to jail. I was very persuaded by the evidence,” he said last week.

Fox News contributor Sara Carter, the contents of the memo are so “explosive” that it could lead to the end of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russian collusion probe.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, in discussing the revelations contained in the memo, added: “This should never happen in a country like America.”

Commenting on the memo, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday the White House supports “full transparency, and we believe that that’s at the House Intel Committee to make that decision at this point.”

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Rep. Gaetz over FISA warrant/dossier scandal: ‘I believe people will GO TO JAIL’ (Video)

(National SentinelEpic Scandal: During a Thursday evening appearance on Fox News‘ “Hannity” program, Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., predicted that officials within the Department of Justice and the FBI would not only be fired over alleged ties to a bogus FISA warrant obtained by the Obama administration and used to spy on the Trump campaign.

He and other Republican lawmakers are calling on the House Intelligence Committee to release a reportedly explosive but classified “FISA memo” that members who have read it say it lays out scandalous behavior on the part of the previous administration that goes well beyond Watergate.

The panel quietly voted earlier this week to release the memo to the full House. Members have already pored over the document, which they must do in a secure room due to its Top Secret classification.

On Hannity, Gaetz predicted that the memo’s contents would lead to serious consequences for all involved.

“I believe this will not end just with firings. I believe there are people who will go to jail. I was very persuaded by the evidence,” he said.

According to Fox News contributor Sara Carter, the contents of the memo are so “explosive” that it could lead to the end of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russian collusion probe.

Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, in discussing the revelations contained in the memo, added: “This should never happen in a country like America.”

He said that if a majority of the House Intelligence Committee votes to release the memo, it would then go to the White House for review. If the president gives his approval, then the memo — or parts of it — would be released to the public.

Gaetz added that the entire Mueller probe “is a fallacy” that was “built on fiction, a lie.” He noted that not a single Democrat on the Intelligence Committee voted in favor of the memo’s release.

Per Hannity, watch:

Gaetz and others have also said that there is nothing in the memo that would compromise U.S. national security.

Chris Farrell, the director of investigations for government watchdog group Judicial Watch, said the memo was grossly “over classified.” He also said he believes that “corrupt law enforcement officers” within the federal government — including former FBI Director James Comey — should be fired, at a minimum.

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Trey Gowdy RIPS suspected LEAKER Adam Schiff over outrageous claim of Trump-Russia collusion (Video)

(National SentinelHot Under The Collar: On Sunday, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., tore into House Intelligence Committee ranking member Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., during an appearance on Fox News, heavily criticizing the process of the committee’s ongoing probe into suspected “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russia.

In an interview with Maria Bartiromo, Gowdy said that Schiff, who is also under suspicion for leaking details of the committee’s proceedings, has made several unsubstantiated claims regarding the collusion narrative in order to help his bid for the U.S. Senate.

“How long is this going to go on? Because we still haven’t had any evidence of any collusion,” Bartiromo said.

“When is it appropriate for [special counsel] Bob Mueller to come out and say, yes, definitively there’s no collusion here, but what I have uncovered is collusion at the top of the FBI between FBI leadership and Hillary Clinton?” she pressed.

At that, Gowdy ripped Schiff.

“Well Maria some of my Democratic colleagues, namely Adam Schiff, said he had evidence, more than circumstantial evidence of collusion, before the investigation even began so keep that in mind,” Gowdy said.

“The ranking Democrat on the House Intel Committee (Schiff) had evidence of collusion before we interviewed our very first witness!” Gowdy continued.

“Almost 60 Democrats voted to move forward with impeachment. Already!” Gowdy said incredulously.

“Before Bob Mueller’s released a single finding, before the House Intelligence or Senate Intelligence Committees have released a single, solitary finding, almost 60 House Democrats think the president ought to be removed from office and Adam Schiff says he has evidence of collusion,” Gowdy said as Maria Bartiromo shook her her head.

Gowdy went on, pointing out that there are still several witnesses who need to be interviewed to which Bartiromo replied, “That is infuriating”.

“Well, it’s only infuriating if you have high expectations,” Gowdy replied.

The South Carolina Republican then hit Schiff for grandstanding ahead of an expected bid for Sen. Dianne Feinstein amid rumors she may not run for reelection.

Schiff has continued to claim that there is evidence of collusion between President Donald J. Trump’s 2016 campaign and the Russian government, but so far no evidence has been produced to support the allegation despite more than a year’s worth of investigating by the FBI, Justice Department, and several congressional committees.

When he has been pressured to cite the evidence, Schiff falls back on allegations that have already been vetted publicly, critics note.

“You can’t have confidence” in the findings of the ongoing House Intelligence Committee “investigation when the ranking Democrat prejudges it before we’ve interviewed your very first witness,” an exasperated Gowdy said, in reference to Schiff.

Here is the exchange between Bartiromo and Gowdy:

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The big REVEAL: House panel FINALLY gets Fusion GPS’s financial records

(National SentinelTrump Dossier: The opposition research firm that produced the infamous “dossier” on President Donald J. Trump during his campaign has been forced to turn over bank records to a House panel investigating alleged Russian interference in the  2016 election.

Fusion GPS, which commissioned the dossier, had been fighting in court to stop the House Intelligence Committee from getting ahold of the records. The House panel subpoenaed them months ago.

But on Friday a U.S. district judge ordered the documents delivered to the Intelligence Committee, ending a dramatic court battle that began after the panel began seeking them in October.

Judge Richard Leon on Thursday ruled against Fusion GPS, which had asked for a restraining order preventing its financial institution, TD Bank, from being forced to hand over dozens of documents.

Leon, a George W. Bush appointee, rejected the request and ordered the records turned over.

As reported by The Daily Caller:

At issue were records of 70 financial transactions between some of its clients, two media companies and several journalists and researchers it has paid over the past two years.

The court fight appeared to have ended in late October after Perkins Coie, the law firm that represented the Clinton campaign and DNC, outed itself as the client that hired Fusion GPS to produce the dossier.

Fusion hired former British spy Christopher Steele to author the dossier, which claimed that Russia was colluding with the Trump campaign against Democrat Hillary Clinton. It also made a number of salacious claims about Trump as well.

None of the dossier’s most important claims have been verified.

Republicans have also been attempting to find out if the dossier was used by the Obama-era FBI to launched a counterintelligence investigation against Trump and his campaign, which included electronic surveillance.

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Paging Jeff Sessions! Turns out ALL of Comey’s LEAKED memos were CLASSIFIED (Video)

(National SentinelHigh Crimes: Earlier this week Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said in a letter to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein that former FBI Directory James Comey likely illegally leaked at least one classified memo to a friend.

In his letter, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, demanded answers from Rosenstein regarding the handling of memos that Comey wrote following his conversations with President Donald J. Trump, The Daily Caller reported.

The Judiciary chairman said that he and his staff have recently reviewed seven memos Comey wrote following his meetings with the president. Of those, four contained information that was classified as “Secret” or “Confidential.”

It turns out that the fired FBI director may be in more legal trouble than suspected.

Judicial Watch Director of Investigations Chris Farrell appeared with Lou Dobbs on the Fox Business network Thursday evening to discuss Comey’s memos.

He told Dobbs that FBI Chief FOIA Officer has confirmed that all of Comey’s memos were classified at the time they were written and are still classified today.

“We have a sworn declaration from David Hardy who is the Chief FOIA Officer of the FBI that we obtained just in the last few days,” Farrell said.

“And in that sworn declaration Mr. Hardy says that all of Comey’s memos, all of them, were classified at the time they were written and they remain classified,” he added.

Leaking classified information is a federal crime.

Grassley, in his letter, noted that past media reports claimed that Comey gave at least four memos to his friend, Columbia law professor Daniel Richman.

During congressional testimony last year, Comey told a House panel he hoped that leaking the memos would lead to a special counsel appointment aimed at investigating Trump’s campaign. Shortly thereafter, Rosenstein appointed former FBI director and Comey friend Robert Mueller.

A report in July 2017 said that more than half of the memos Comey wrote following his Trump meetings contained classified information.

“This revelation raises the possibility that Comey broke his own agency’s rules and ignored the same security protocol that he publicly criticized Hillary Clinton for in the waning days of the 2016 presidential election,” The Hill reported.

Judicial Watch has been at the forefront of obtaining documents and data from the State Department and Justice Department pertaining to alleged mishandling of classified information by former Obama administration officials including Comey and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Here is Farrell’s interview with Dobbs:

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BOGUS: NYTimes’ Papadopoulos ‘bombshell’ continues to unravel after former DNI Clapper says he knew NOTHING about him

(National SentinelDeep Mistake: Last weekend The New York Times published what it considered a ‘bombshell’ revelation: That George Papadopoulos, a young foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, was the individual who essentially got the “Russian collusion” investigation started, rather than the widely refuted “Trump dossier.”

“During a night of heavy drinking at an upscale London bar in May 2016, George Papadopoulos, a young foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, made a startling revelation to Australia’s top diplomat in Britain: Russia had political dirt on Hillary Clinton,” the paper reported.

The rest of the report, which was lengthy, sought to add to the new narrative that what this minor Trump campaign official allegedly told an Australian diplomat is what triggered the FBI’s counterintelligence investigation into alleged Russian collusion.

Republicans in Congress have long asserted that the FBI used the unsubstantiated Trump dossier to obtain a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant from the secretive FISA court in order to justify launching a counterintelligence investigation against members of President Donald J. Trump’s campaign in 2016.

Further evidence emerged earlier this week suggesting that Republicans are right and not the Times.

President Obama’s Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told CNN Tuesday evening that Papadopoulos was not on his “radar scope” when he left.

“There were other factors that I think were the stimulus for the investigation and the revelation about George Papadopoulos, which was not a name on my radar scope when I left…I think also was another factor,” Clapper said.

The former DNI also made the claim, as some Democrats and Left-leaning media outlets have similarly made in the past, that portions of the Russian dossier have been substantiated.

However, when pressed, Clapper could only recount two instances, neither of which have to do with alleged Russian collusion with the Trump campaign.

He cited Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “animus” towards Hillary Clinton “and the determination of clearly favoring…Trump to win the presidency” as the two examples.

In a tweet, Wall Street Journal columnist Kimberly Strassel noted, “Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (in a Tuesday CNN interview): George Papadopoulos “was not a name on my radar scope when i left.” So head of intelligence had never heard of the dude that the NYT now claims launched the entire Trump-Russia probe?”

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NY Times in full COVER-UP mode to help DEMS save their ‘Trump-Russia collusion’ narrative as House closes in on FBI’s improper use of ‘dossier’

(National SentinelDeep State Corruption: A report over the New Year’s holiday weekend by The New York Times claiming that a once-minor figure in the presidential campaign of President Donald J. Trump is really responsible for the FBI’s counterintelligence probe of Team Trump is getting pushback from a former Justice Dept. prosecutor who says the story sounds like political cover for Democrats.

Andrew McCarthy, writing in National Review Online, said that the paper is attempting to save the “Trump-Russia collusion” narrative with “Collusion 2.0,” “in which it is George Papadopoulos — then a 28-year-old whose idea of résumé enhancement was to feign participation in the Model U.N. — who triggered the FBI’s massive probe by . . . wait for it . . . a night of boozy blather in London.”

The Times initially claimed in an April 2017 piece that former Trump campaign advisor Carter Page triggered the FBI’s counterintelligence probe after a June 2016 visit to Moscow. The FBI reportedly obtained a warrant from the secretive FISA court in order to launch surveillance of the entire Trump campaign a few months before the November 2016 election.

But, as McCarthy noted in his column, the change of narrative appears to be linked to ongoing revelations surrounding the now-infamous “Trump dossier,” a piece of opposition research commissioned by a Democrat-leaning firm, Fusion GPS, and paid for in large part by the campaign of Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee.

Republicans in Congress, and in particular House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes of California, increasing believe that the FBI used the dossier as a quasi-intelligence document to obtain the FISA warrant without ever the dossier’s salacious claims of espionage.

“[I]t turns out the Page angle and thus the collusion narrative itself is beset by an Obama-administration scandal: Slowly but surely, it has emerged that the Justice Department and FBI very likely targeted Page because of the Steele dossier, a Clinton-campaign opposition-research screed disguised as intelligence reporting,” McCarthy wrote.

“Increasingly, it appears that the Bureau failed to verify Steele’s allegations before the DOJ used some of them to bolster an application for a spying warrant from the FISA court.”

He’s not the only one who thinks so. House Judiciary Committee member Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, said the same thing last month.

“The easiest way to clear it up is tell us what’s in that application and who took it there,” Jordan said in an interview following the committee’s attempt to get an answer to that question from senior FBI and Justice Department officials.

It is due to the persistence of Nunes and Republicans that the dossier story won’t go away, McCarthy said, prompting the need for Democrats and their allies in the media to craft another version of the Trump-Russia collusion narrative, to deflect attention away from the possible misuse of the document.

McCarthy noted further:

First, we were led to believe the dossier was no big deal because the FBI would surely have corroborated any information before the DOJ fed it to a federal judge in a warrant application. Then, when the Clinton campaign’s role in commissioning the dossier came to light, we were told it was impertinent to ask about what the FBI did, if anything, to corroborate it since this could imperil intelligence methods and sources — and, besides, such questions were just a distraction from the all-important Mueller investigation (which the dossier had a hand in instigating and which, to date, has turned up no evidence of a Trump-Russia conspiracy).

Lately, the story has morphed into this: Well, even if the dossier was used, it was only used a little — there simply must have been lots of other evidence that Trump was in cahoots with Putin. But that’s not going to fly: Putting aside the dearth of collusion evidence after well over a year of aggressive investigation, the dossier is partisan propaganda. If it was not adequately corroborated by the FBI, and if the Justice Department, without disclosing its provenance to the court, nevertheless relied on any part of it in a FISA application, that is a major problem.

The Times assigned a half-dozen top reporters and a researcher to the Page story, the former federal prosecutor noted, which meant the paper gave the story top priority. He noted further that despite the effort the paper put into the story, which allegedly included information gleaned from several insider sources, “the name George Papadopoulos” never appeared in the report about Page.

“It is an explosive problem, this use of the dossier by the Obama Justice Department and the FBI in an application to the FISA court for authority to spy on Trump’s associates. Politically, it suggests that the collusion narrative peddled by Democrats and the media since Trump’s victory in the November election was substantially driven by partisan propaganda,” wrote McCarthy.

He also said there were legal implications for the misuse of the dossier.

“Legally, it raises the distinct possibilities that (a) the FBI did not adequately verify the claims in the dossier before using them in an application to the secret federal court; and (b) the Justice Department of the then-incumbent Democratic administration did not disclose to the court that the dossier was produced by the Democratic presidential campaign for use against the rival Republican candidate,” he wrote.

CNN reported in April 2017 that the FBI did indeed use the dossier to obtain the FISA warrant.

“[N]ow, with the Page foundation of the collusion narrative collapsing, and with the heat on over the Obama administration’s use of the dossier, it is apparently Papadopoulos to the rescue,” McCarthy wrote.

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Paper: Obama administration TWISTED, LEAKED sensitive intelligence for POLITICAL gain; got CIA agents KILLED

(National SentinelDeath Sentence: In a lengthy investigative report for the Washington Times on Thursday, correspondents Guy Taylor and Dan Boylan wrote that President Obama and his administration had a dangerous habit of leaking “sensitive secret intelligence” to the media, and in at least one instance it likely got several CIA agents killed.

Here are some relevant excerpts from the lengthy report:

For years, a clandestine U.S. intelligence team had tracked a man they knew was high in the leadership of al Qaeda — an operative some believed had a hand in plotting the gruesome 2009 suicide attack in Afghanistan that killed seven CIA officers […]

Abdullah al-Shami, it turned out, was an American citizen, and President Obama and his national security advisers were torn over whether the benefits of killing him would outweigh the political and civil liberties backlash that was sure to follow. […]

Suspicion that the Obama White House intentionally leaked the unmasked names has been fueled by what intelligence sources say was the administration track record of other sensitive leaks — which stretched back to the Abdullah al-Shami case in Afghanistan.

CIA agents were shocked when their classified drone surveillance against al-Shami suddenly appeared in 2014 reports by The Associated Press and The New York Times, one source told The Times. “There’s no question this guy got wind of the reports,” said the source. “The leak gave him a heads-up, and he suddenly disappeared. We lost our bead on him.” […]

Roughly a year later, there was another attack on Chapman, a key clandestine operations center in Afghanistan, in which seven CIA officers were killed. Some suspected al-Shami played a role in that attack as well.

One source told the paper that he respected Obama’s deferring to civil liberties but not at the risk of American lives.

“I actually appreciate that Obama didn’t like the idea of killing another American without due process. But was leaking this stuff really the right way to handle this?” the source said.

“I mean, come on Mr. President, it’s your finger on the trigger. You’re the one who decides. All we do is aim the gun,” the source noted further.

Al-Shami was later arrested and transported to the U.S. for trial, the Times noted.

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Revealed: Obama ENDED ambitious law enforcement effort against Iran proxy Hezbollah to secure NUKE DEAL

(National SentinelDupe: President Barack Obama sidelined a top-level, aggressive American law enforcement campaign against Iran proxy Hezbollah targeting the militant group’s drug trafficking in order to secure his nuclear deal with Tehran, Politico reported Monday.

The effort was code-named Project Cassandra and was launched in 2008 after the Drug Enforcement Administration collected evidence that Hezbollah had grown from a regional Middle Eastern terrorist and political organization into a global crime syndicate that some U.S. investigators say led to $1 billion annually in drug and weapons trafficking, money laundering and other criminal activities.

The following eight years saw U.S. agents working from a top-secret DEA operations center in Chantilly, Va., where they used wiretaps, undercover ops and informants in order to map out Hezbollah’s global crime networks, with the assistance of 30 additional U.S. and foreign security agencies.

Noted Politico:

They followed cocaine shipments, some from Latin America to West Africa and on to Europe and the Middle East, and others through Venezuela and Mexico to the United States. They tracked the river of dirty cash as it was laundered by, among other tactics, buying American used cars and shipping them to Africa. And with the help of some key cooperating witnesses, the agents traced the conspiracy, they believed, to the innermost circle of Hezbollah and its state sponsors in Iran.

Nevertheless, as Project Cassandra uncovered more of the conspiracy, officials with the Obama administration threw up a growing number of roadblocks that became increasingly difficult, if not impossible, to clear, according to scores of interviews with participants who, in many instances, spoke about the operations for the first time, Politico reported.

The news site also quoted from a review of government documents and court records.

“When Project Cassandra leaders sought approval for some significant investigations, prosecutions, arrests and financial sanctions, officials at the Justice and Treasury departments delayed, hindered or rejected their requests,” the site noted.

For example, the Obama Justice Department refused requests by Project Casandra officials and other authorities to file criminal charges against high-ranking Hezbollah players, including an envoy to Iran.

Others included a Lebanese bank the group used to launder billions in alleged drug profits and a key figure in a U.S.-based cell of the Iranian paramilitary Quds force.

“This was a policy decision, it was a systematic decision,” said David Asher, who helped establish and oversee Project Cassandra as a Defense Department illicit finance analyst. “They serially ripped apart this entire effort that was very well supported and resourced, and it was done from the top down.”

In all, Project Cassandra officials tracked tons of cocaine that entered the U.S. as hundreds of millions of dollars went to a group on the U.S. terrorist watch list that had increasingly wide global reach.

Obama had come into office promising better relations with Iran, having declared on the campaign trail that the Bush administration’s record of animosity and sanctions toward Iran was not successful.

Shortly after he entered office, then-CIA Director John Brennan noted in a policy paper that “the next president has the opportunity to set a new course for relations between the two countries” through not only a direct dialogue, but “greater assimilation of Hezbollah into Lebanon’s political system.”

Noted Politico:

In practice, the administration’s willingness to envision a new role for Hezbollah in the Middle East, combined with its desire for a negotiated settlement to Iran’s nuclear program, translated into a reluctance to move aggressively against the top Hezbollah operatives, according to Project Cassandra members and others.

In the end, the report notes, the administration was more interested in getting its nuclear deal with Iran than it was prosecuting a top military organization that was dumping cocaine into the country, while using the money to strengthen itself in Lebanon and as an Iranian proxy, with Israel the most obvious loser, at least in the short term.

One former senior Obama administration official who was involved in the nuclear deal denied that Project Cassandra operatives were being thwarted purposely by the White House.

The official also suggested to Politico that intelligence operations may have overlapped.

“What if the CIA or the Mossad had an intelligence operation ongoing inside Hezbollah and they were trying to pursue someone . . . against whom we had impeccable [intelligence] collection and the DEA is not going to know that?” the official said. “I get the feeling people who don’t know what’s going on in the broader universe are grasping at straws.”

The official noted further: “The world is a lot more complicated than viewed through the narrow lens of drug trafficking. So you’re not going to let CIA rule the roost, but you’re also certainly not going to let DEA do it either. Your approach to anything as complicated as Hezbollah is going to have to involve the interagency [process], because the State Department has a piece of the pie, the intelligence community does, Treasury does, DoD does.”

Other former Obama officials who were not part of Cassandra, however, say there was indeed a concerted effort to tamp down efforts to go after key Hezbollah figures.

Katherine Bauer, in little-noticed written testimony presented last February to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said that “under the Obama administration … these [Hezbollah-related] investigations were tamped down for fear of rocking the boat with Iran and jeopardizing the nuclear deal.”

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WHISTLEBLOWERS: Obama’s FBI used NSA surveillance as ‘back door’ to SPY on Americans

(National SentinelSpies Like Us: Several former U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials familiar with the program say that the FBI regularly used NSA surveillance to gain warrantless “backdoor” access to Americans’ communications.

Investigative reporter Sara Carter notes on her website that the whistleblowers, who have recently disclosed the program’s process to congressional oversight committees, noted that concern over the warrantless surveillance increased when it was revealed earlier this year that Obama administration officials had accessed and unmasked the communications of Team Trump members, allegedly without any real justification.

One of them was Trump’s first national security advisor, Michael Flynn, who recently agreed to plead guilty in federal court for lying to FBI agents about his contacts with Russian officials. None of those contacts, reports later noted, were improper, so it isn’t clear why Flynn felt the need to conceal them.

Carter wrote:

The process, known as ‘reverse targeting,’ occurs when intelligence and law enforcement officials use a foreign person as a legal pretense for their intended target, an American citizen, the officials stated. The program, as it exists, failed to prevent terror attacks and in many cases made incorrect connections between a foreign target and an innocent American, they stated.

The officials said the program was set up after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, but that it has not resulted in preventing any future threats. Rather, they said, it infringes on Fourth Amendment privacy protects and was ripe for political abuse.

 

“The program can be misused by anyone with access to it,” a former Intelligence official with knowledge of the program told Carter. “There needs to be an extensive investigation of all the Americans connected to President Trump and the campaign who were unmasked in connection with the 2016 election.”

Carter noted further:

The former intelligence source said the extent of abuses under the surveillance program has been debated both publicly and privately throughout the Bush and Obama administrations, both which promised to revamp the covert program and stop warrantless surveillance of Americans. It didn’t happen.

The program was first disclosed in a New York Times article from 2005 , and was later outed by its codename Stellar Wind when whistleblower, now fugitive, Edward Snowden released thousands of classified government documents showing the extensive Internet and phone surveillance of American’s by the NSA, according to reports. Since 2001, various legal authorities were put in place to justify the access to communications and giving the appearance that the practice of warrantless surveillance was strictly regulated.

Added another intelligence official aware of the program: “The warrantless surveillance program had the appearance of being shut down following the 2005 New York Times article that exposed it. However, a few weeks later, the FISC (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court) approved what is known as bulk FISA collection. This FISA authority allowed for the targeting of domestic numbers believed to be tainted.”

Members of Congress are preparing to vote on whether to reauthorize Section 701 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), which will expire at year’s end. Critics of the section noted that in the course of U.S. intelligence agencies putting legitimate foreign targets under surveillance, Americans’ communications are often swept up as well.

Most often, their identities are hidden in final intelligence products and reports. But in rare instances, administration officials and intelligence agencies can request that Americans’ names be “unmasked,” which is what happened to Flynn.

As Carter and her intelligence sources noted, the process can be politicized, which appears to have been the case involving Team Trump members last year.

NSA whistleblower William Binney, who spent close to 40 years working on Signals Intelligence operations, told Carter the heart of abuse lies with Executive Order 12333, which was issued in 1981 by President Ronald Reagan.

Specifically, he said, section 2.3 paragraph C allows for the collection of all Internet and phone communications.

Binney left the NSA in 2001, after learning how intrusive and unconstitutional the program had become.

An FBI unit managing the program was known as “Team 10.” The expert analysts were based in a special division inside the NSA which was known as “Homeland” and located at Fort Meade, Md.

“The program is not inherently bad or corrupt,” an intelligence official, with knowledge of the program, told Carter. “It needs a major tweak, a restructuring of processes and authorities. If left unchallenged and unchecked, rampant abuse will continue and increase as we have seen for some time.”

During testimony before Congress before he was fired by Trump, then-FBI Director James Comey told lawmakers that any warrantless data access by the bureau was “lawfully collected, carefully overseen and checked.”

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Obama intel inspector general threatened over Clinton emails; DNI Clapper helped cover it up

(National SentinelClinton Scandals: The former intelligence community inspector general during the Obama administration said he his livelihood was threatened by the campaign of Hillary Clinton after he discovered “top secret” emails had passed through the former secretary of state’s unauthorized, unsecured private email server.

In a Monday night interview with Fox News national security correspondent Kathrine Herridge, Charles McCullough III said, “There was personal blowback. Personal blowback to me, to my family, to my office.”

McCullough said that then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was given a briefing on the findings, but in turn he was told to keep the top intelligence official out of the matter and threatened by superiors.

As Herridge reported further, McCollough sent a letter to Congress in January 2016 informing members that emails “beyond top secret” had passed through Clinton’s private email server.

“All of a sudden, I was being told I was a shill for the right,” he said. “I was told, ‘Be careful, you’re losing your credibility.'”

Fox News reported:

[T]he former inspector general, with responsibility for the 17 intelligence agencies, said the executive who recommended him to the Obama administration for the job – then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper – was also disturbed by the independent Clinton email findings.

“[Clapper] said, ‘This is extremely reckless.’ And he mentioned something about — the campaign … will have heartburn about that,” McCullough said.

He said Clapper’s Clinton email comments came during an in-person meeting about a year before the presidential election – in late December 2015 or early 2016. “[Clapper] was as off-put as the rest of us were.”

After the Clapper meeting, McCullough said his team was marginalized. “I was told by senior officials to keep [Clapper] out of it,” he said, while acknowledging he tried to keep his boss in the loop.

Herridge: Was there an effort to deliberately mislead the public about Clinton’s classified emails?”

McCullough: “Absolutely.”

Asked what would have happened to him if he had done what Clinton did, the former inspector general replied, “I’d be sitting in [Fort] Leavenworth [federal penitentiary] right now.”

As The Gateway Pundit noted, despite the fact that investigators including McCollough had concrete evidence that Clinton had violated numerous statutes governing the mishandling of classified materials, there was a coordinated effort to keep Clapper out of the continuing investigation.

“The former CIA director could have helped get the FBI’s house in order by briefing bureau officials on the seriousness of the evidence — but instead, did nothing,” the site reported.

“Clapper’s silence on the evidence he was presented more than suggests he is complicit in covering up Clinton’s wrongdoings.”

The news of Clapper’s alleged malfeasance follows an earlier claim by Rep. Matt Gaetz, F-Fla., that lawmakers have evidence the FBI under then-Director James Comey botched the investigation into Clinton’s mishandling of classified emails.

“We now have evidence that the FBI’s investigation of Hillary Clinton did not follow normal and standard procedures,” he told Fox News.

FO-300x250-1“The current deputy director of the FBI Andrew McCabe sent emails just weeks before the presidential election saying that the Hillary Clinton investigation would be special — that it would be handled by a small team at headquarters, that it would be given special status,” he added.

Continuing, Gaetz said, “Combine that with the fact that Attorney General Loretta Lynch told the James Comey to call this ‘a matter’ and not an investigation. That she met with Bill Clinton on the tarmac and that James Comey himself has admitted in testimony that he drafted the exoneration statement of Hillary Clinton before even interviewing her or other key witnesses.

“We seem to have a departure from the normal application of the law. And we will be calling for a full review by the Judiciary Committee of the processes and procedures that potentially gave Hillary Clinton a different process and a different standard of justice than would be applied to any other American,” he added.

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Botched Russia meddling analysis makes U.S. intel agencies appear politically motivated

(National SentinelFaulty Assessment: Just two weeks before President-elect Donald J. Trump took office, President Obama’s intelligence heads made public a unanimous analysis that Russian operatives, under orders from President Vladimir Putin, staged an influence campaign in order to help Trump win the 2016 election.

As the Washington Times reported, it was a significant event: The CIA, NSA, and FBI were all challenging the legitimacy of a presidential election.

While the charges at the time seemed persuasive and sharp, some 10 months later they are unraveling, which is raising questions about the legitimacy of the initial assessment and whether it was politically motivated to undermine the incoming commander-in-chief.

“It left me scratching my head,” said one intelligence source with personal access to former Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper and former CIA Director John O. Brennan, two of the men who had signed off on the assessment.

Both men have since publicly criticized Trump, which in and of itself is nearly unprecedented.

What’s more, the Times reported:

The 15-page document presented to the president-elect at Trump Tower in Manhattan was mostly filler — a republication of a years-old CIA analysis of the Kremlin’s global television network Russia Today. A mere five pages were dedicated to [the] charge that Moscow blended cyberhacking with state-backed propaganda and social media trolls to defeat Mr. Trump’s Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

There was no supporting documentation of how America’s top spies arrived at the brazen conclusion that Russians had “gained access to” and “exfiltrated large volumes of data” from Democratic National Committee computers, an explosive claim that sent shock waves across the U.S. political and intelligence landscapes.

And yet, because of the source of the report, those five pages have cast a pall over Trump’s presidency ever since, hurting his credibility abroad and forming the backdrop for five separate congressional and special counsel investigations.

This, despite the fact that the document’s singular conclusion — Russian collusion with Team Trump — looks less and less believable by the day.

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And now, members of both parties say that the Russian efforts to undermine the November election were neither new nor aimed at electing Trump, but merely to ‘undermine’ American democratic processes.

The Times said in interviews with scores of former U.S. national security, intelligence community vets at the highest levels as well as foreign diplomats who all thought the initial assessment was devoid of much detail.

“I actually called them both the day after it came out and asked, ‘Why was it so thin?’” said the source close to Clapper and Brennan. “The answer I got was simple: There was a serious counterintelligence operation going on.”

The Times noted, “U.S. spies were neck-deep in an elaborate counterintelligence operation, and they didn’t want to jeopardize it by revealing too many details, according to various officials inside and outside the intelligence community.”

Trump did not see it that way; he believed that the Obama intelligence apparatus had been politicized and, as we have learned since, it likely was, just like Obama’s Justice Department.

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Other intelligence vets agree:

Fred Fleitz, a 19-year CIA veteran who served as a chief of staff for John R. Bolton during the George W. Bush administration, first laid out the argument in a Fox News op-ed the day after the assessment was made public.

The entire purpose of the report was apparently “to undermine the legitimacy of Trump’s election,” Mr. Fleitz wrote on Jan. 7. He called the assessment “rigged for political purposes” and lamented that it contained “serious accusations of Russian interference” but “did not back them up with evidence.”

At least one Russian envoy interviewed by the Times agreed. “I believe it was a total fraud and it was very badly concocted, to say the least,” he said. “It was clearly done to divert attention away from all the infighting and backstabbing that was going on inside the Democratic Party. It was also a perfect move to place the blame on someone else — a foreign power — for Hillary’s defeat.”

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Comey eased language in Clinton memo even AFTER the CIA called them ‘problematic’

(National SentinelScandal: Agents with the CIA described emails that were discovered on then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s private server as “problematic” and damaging to the intelligence agence, according reviews of interviews these officials gave to the FBI in May and June of 2016.

The timing is important because those briefings fell within a 39-day window in which top FBI officials, who included then-Director James Comey, edited language in a memo that fed into a statement he gave to the media following the conclusion of the bureau’s criminal investigation of Clinton’s handling of classified email.

As The Daily Caller notes:

 

A May 2, 2016 memo sent by Comey to three top bureau officials referred to Clinton’s use of a private email server to send and receive classified information as “grossly negligent.”

But according to Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, the memo was changed on or around June 10 to refer to Clinton’s actions as merely “extremely careless.”

The distinction between “grossly negligent” and “extremely careless” is significant because the former is considered a federal crime while the latter term has no legal weight.

This week Grassley sent a letter to current FBI Director Christopher Wray requesting information regarding edits to the draft memo. The Iowa Republican wants to know why top FBI officials appeared to clear Clinton of any wrongdoing a full month before the investigation was wrapped up.

The Daily Caller:

A review of summaries of 19 FBI interviews conducted during the 39 day window between May 2 and June 10, 2016 shows little in the way of new information that would seem to justify exonerating Clinton, a former secretary of state. And in three interviews during that period, CIA officials described emails found on Clinton’s server as “problematic” and damaging to the agency.

Comey sent his initial draft to FBI general counsel James Baker, chief of staff James Rybicki, and deputy director Andrew McCabe, The Hill reported earlier this week.

In his intial memo, Comey wrote that “there is evidence to support a conclusion that Secretary Clinton, and others, used the private email server in a manner that was grossly negligent with respect to the handling of classified material.”

Yet when he gave his July 5 press briefing, Comey downplayed the finding, saying,  “[A]lthough we did not find clear evidence that Secretary Clinton or her colleagues intended to violate laws governing the handling of classified information, there is evidence that they were extremely careless in their handling of very sensitive, highly classified information.”

He added that “no reasonable prosecutor” in the Justice Department would have brought a case against Clinton, though critics of his finding say that decision is not up to the FBI director to decide.

Furthermore, Comey critics note that other Americans have been prosecuted under national security statutes for far less than what Clinton did.

The FBI conducted at least 19 interviews betweeen May and June 2016. During a June 10 interview, one CIA official presented a number of emails apparently taken from Clinton’s server. The official said that they were not bothered by two of the emails presented by FBI agents.

The official said that the agency was not bothered by two of the emails presented by FBI agents, but a third email was described as “problematic.”

In a May interview, another CIA official said that the State Department was “not very careful” in sending emails to Clinton via unsecured channels, which “hurt” the agency.

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Nunes: ‘DoJ needs to investigate Deep State leaks’

(National SentinelDeep State: The head of the House Intelligence Committee said Monday that the Trump Department of Justice ought to be doing more to investigate who is leaking details of confidential investigations to the press.

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., told Laura Ingraham during her debut program on Fox News that DoJ should “do it’s job” and find out who in the intelligence community is responsible for illegally passing information regarding various investigations to the media.

Nunes also said that that his committee would “be bringing back a lot of people” to question, including, potentially, Obama administration officials.

But he was adamant that the Justice Department needed to be more proactive and “do their job and begin to investigate” the myriad of leaks.

“Deep state is leaking. They’re leaking to make you look bad. Are you going to bring back Susan Rice and others to testify? Samantha Power, bringing them back?” Ingraham asked.

“Unfortunately, we are bringing back a lot of the people, or the DOJ could do their job and begin to investigate,” he said.

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