Russian operative CASHED IN with US spy agencies; $100K payday after promises to deliver cyberweapons and TRUMP DIRT

(National SentinelDeep State: A Russian operative managed to bilk U.S. spy agencies out of $100,000 last year over what turned out to be phony promises to deliver cyber weapons and compromising information about President Donald J. Trump.

As reported by The New York Times, the money was delivered to the operative in a suitcase in a hotel room in Berlin in September and was intended to be the first installment of a $1 million payout, according to U.S. officials, the Russian operative and documents reviewed by the paper.

At issue: Theft of secret hacking tools used by the National Security Agency at a time when officials within the NSA were attempting to learn the full extent of what had been stolen.

The Times noted further that the NSA was apparently not interested in the alleged information regarding the president, in part because they didn’t believe it was valid:

Several American intelligence officials said they made clear that they did not want the Trump material from the Russian, who was suspected of having murky ties to Russian intelligence and to Eastern European cybercriminals. He claimed the information would link the president and his associates to Russia. Instead of providing the hacking tools, the Russian produced unverified and possibly fabricated information involving Mr. Trump and others, including bank records, emails and purported Russian intelligence data.

The United States intelligence officials said they cut off the deal because they were wary of being entangled in a Russian operation to create discord inside the American government. They were also fearful of political fallout in Washington if they were seen to be buying scurrilous information on the president.

The Times noted that the NSA worked through an American businessman who is based in Germany in order to provide the agency with cover. Also, the paper noted that the NSA spent months tracking the Russian operative’s “flights to Berlin, his rendezvous with a mistress in Vienna and his trips home to St. Petersburg.”

Also, the paper said the NSA used its official Twitter account on several occasions to send coded messages to the Russian.

The Times noted further:

The episode ended this year with American spies chasing the Russian out of Western Europe, warning him not to return if he valued his freedom, the American businessman said. The Trump material was left with the American, who has secured it in Europe.

The Russian claimed to have access to a staggering collection of secrets that included everything from the computer code for the cyberweapons stolen from the N.S.A. and C.I.A. to what he said was a video of Mr. Trump consorting with prostitutes in a Moscow hotel room in 2013, according to American and European officials and the Russian, who agreed to be interviewed in Germany on the condition of anonymity. There remains no evidence that such a video exists.

The paper noted that U.S. spies became suspicious of the Russian after he expressed an eagerness to sell the “kompromat” — compromising material — because it “raised suspicions among officials that he was part of an operation to feed the information to United States intelligence agencies and pit them against Mr. Trump.”

The Times noted that U.S. spies were far more interested in the hacking tools the Russian operative allegedly possessed:

The cyberweapons had been built to break into the computer networks of Russia, China and other rival powers. Instead, they ended up in the hands of a mysterious group calling itself the Shadow Brokers, which has since provided hackers with tools that infected millions of computers around the world, crippling hospitals, factories and businesses.

Also, U.S. counterintelligence officials believe that Russian spy services are working to exploit what they see as political divisions in the U.S. regarding various scandals involving some FBI and DOJ officials under the previous administration, the Times reported.

“Russian hackers are targeting American voting databases ahead of the midterm election this year, they said, and using bot armies to promote partisan causes on social media,” the Times reported. “The Russians are also particularly eager to cast doubt on the federal and congressional investigations into the Russian meddling, American intelligence officials said.”

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Nunes MISSILE: ‘Clear LINK’ between DEMOCRATS and Russia in 2016 election

(National SentinelRevealed: House Intelligence Committee chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., made waves again on Tuesday after he stated the panel’s ongoing ‘Russian collusion’ investigation has established a “clear link” between Moscow and Democrats.

During an appearance on Fox News, Nunes made it clear that the link was part of a conspiracy to undermine and smear President Donald J. Trump with the assistance of Russian government operatives.

“We have a clear link to Russia — you have a campaign who hired a law firm, who hire Fusion GPS, who hired a foreign agent, who then got information from the Russians on the other campaign,” said Nunes.

“It seems like the counterintelligence investigation should have been opened up against the Hillary campaign when they got ahold of the dossier. But that didn’t happen, either.”

The Intel chairman also said that the FBI never informed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court that the manufactured “Trump dossier” the bureau used to get a surveillance warrant for one-time Trump campaign advisor Carter Page was, in fact, a political opposition research document, not a piece of intelligence.

And he said the bureau also never informed the FISC that the dossier was paid for by the Hillary campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

Nunes also lamented the fact that the establishment media is essentially ignoring the revelations contained in his FISA memo and the further allegations being made against the Obama administration and the former president for their alleged roles in the scandal.

“I think the bigger problem, challenge here, is that the mainstream media is totally uninterested in this,” he said.

“Can you imagine if the shoe was on the other foot – and Donald Trump or George Bush or Karl Rove had paid for information and then George W Bush’s FBI had opened an investigation into the Obama campaign because they were talking to Russians – which, by the way, really did happen; the Obama campaign was talking to Russians back in 2008 – and open up a counterintelligence investigation using dirt dug up and paid for by RNC and George W. Bush supporters?” the chairman continued.

“This town would be on fire. Every reporter would be following around Karl Rove and George W. Bush all over town – yet it’s crickets from the media,” he noted.

“It’s embarrassing. It’s absolutely embarrassing, I’m almost flabbergasted. Because I thought at least there would be some ounce of credibility left, but there really is none.”

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Russian fighter crosses 5 feet in front of U.S. Navy surveillance plane; the VIDEO will make your stomach TURN (Watch)

(National SentinelUnsafe: The Pentagon has released breathtaking footage of a Russian Su-27 fighter plane that flew dangerously close to a U.S. Navy P-3 Orion surveillance plane flying in international airspace over the Black Sea on Monday.

The Pentagon said that the Russian plane intercepted the American patrol plane flying in international airspace over the Black Sea, CBS News reported. The Russian plane came within five feet of the American plane, causing the Orion crew to fly through jet wash and prematurely end its surveillance mission.

Pentagon spokeswoman Capt. Pamela Kunze said contact between the two aircraft lasted for two and a half hours while the Russian SU-27 jet crossed directly in front of the US plane’s flight path on at least one occasion.

“Unsafe actions‎ increase the risk of miscalculation and midair collisions,” Kunze said, noting that Russia has a right to fly planes in international airspace but “must behave within international standards set to ensure safety and prevent incidents.”

“While the U.S. aircraft was operating under international law, the Russian side was flagrantly violating existing agreements and international law, in this case the 1972 Agreement for the Prevention of Incidents On and Over the High Seas (INCSEA),” the U.S. State Department said of the incident.

“This is but the latest example of Russian military activities disregarding international norms and agreements. We call on Russia to cease these unsafe actions that increase the risk of miscalculation, danger to aircrew on both sides, and midair collisions,” the statement said.

Russia has been stepping up its activities in the Baltic and Black seas, as well as the Arctic and North Atlantic, particularly submarine patrols.

Watch:

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CRIMINAL: Top Hillary Aide Huma Abedin forwarded State Dept. passwords to Yahoo email acct. before it was HACKED by Russians and others

(National SentinelCriminal Negligence: Hillary Clinton’s former top aide at the State Department, Huma Abedin, forwarded government email account passwords to her private unsecured Yahoo account before it was eventually hacked by foreign powers including Russia.

As reported by The Daily Caller‘s Luke Rosiak, an analysis of Abedin’s emails released by the State Department to government watchdog Judicial Watch last week found that Abedin regularly used her personal email provider to conduct sensitive State Department work.

CNN/Money reported in October that all Yahoo email accounts had been hacked in August 2013. Yahoo was also hit by another hack in 2014 believed to be separate from the 2013 hack and thought to have affected 500 million users, the network added.

“This guarantees that an account with high-level correspondence in Clinton’s State Department was impacted by one or more of a series of breaches — at least one of which was perpetrated by a ‘state-sponsored actor,'” Rosiak reported.

U.S. officials later charged Russian intelligence agent Igor Sushchin with hacking the 500 million accounts, he added. The 2014 hack allowed Sushchin and his associated to gain access to accounts in subsequent years — 2015 and 2016 — by using fake cookies.

Sushchin was also employed by Russian investment bank Renaissance Capital, the institution that paid former President Bill Clinton a half-million dollars for a single speech in Moscow in June 2010, when his wife was Obama’s secretary of state.

Abedin, Clinton’s deputy chief of staff at State, regularly forwarded work emails to her personal humamabedin@yahoo.com address, government officials said.

“She would use these accounts if her (State) account was down or if she needed to print an email or document. Abedin further explained that it was difficult to print from the DoS system so she routinely forwarded emails to her non-DoS accounts so she could more easily print,” noted an FBI report.

She sent passwords for her government laptop to her Yahoo account on Aug. 24, 2009, according to an email released by the State Department in September 2017.

Huma sends laptop password to Yahoo / Source: State Department

The Daily Caller noted further:

Long-time Clinton confidante Sid Blumenthal sent Clinton an email in July 2009 with the subject line: “Important. Not for circulation. You only. Sid.” The email began “CONFIDENTIAL… Re: Moscow Summit.” Abedin forwarded the email to her Yahoo address, potentially making it visible to hackers.

That email was deemed by government investigators as too sensitive to release to the public under Freedom of Information Act guidelines, so it was heavily redacted before being turned over to Judicial Watch.

The released copy says “Classified by DAS/ A/GIS, DoS on 10/30/2015 Class: Confidential.” The unredacted portion reads: “I have heard authoritatively from Bill Drozdiak, who is in Berlin…. We should expect that the Germans and Russians will now cut their own separate deals on energy, regional security, etc.”

In March 2009, Clinton forwarded an email to Abedin from Denis McDonough, a foreign policy advisor to Obama’s campaign and later his chief of staff, marked “Ambassadors.” It, too, was heavily redacted before being released to Judicial Watch.

As Abedin continued to use her Yahoo account to conduct sensitive work, media reports noted how poor Yahoo’s email security was. A July 2012 CNN article reported that credentials to 450,000 Yahoo accounts had been posted online. Five days later, Rosiak reported, Abedin forwarded sensitive email to her Yahoo account.

It seems clear that the Justice Department and FBI knew that Abedin and Clinton were essentially trafficking in sensitive materials via unsecured channels, but no charges were ever filed.

Clinton said on Oct. 9, 2016, at the second presidential debate with then-GOP nominee Donald J. Trump, “After a year-long investigation, there is no evidence that anyone hacked the server I was using and there is no evidence that anyone can point to at all, anyone who says otherwise has no basis, that any classified materials ended up in the wrong hands. I take classified materials very seriously and always have.”

But that is not consistent with FBI findings. Abedin’s use of her private Yahoo account fits with the bureau’s assessment that her account, and those of others involved, were indeed compromised.

“We do assess that hostile actors gained access to the private email accounts of individuals with whom Secretary Clinton was in regular contact from her private account,” then-FBI director Jim Comey  said in 2016.

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Top Marine general: ‘There’s a WAR coming’

(National SentinelWW3: The top Marine commander told about 300 personnel in Norway on Thursday that “there’s a war coming,” so their presence in eastern Europe is vital.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Ronald Green, on their annual Christmas tour, visited a Marine contingent at Vaernes Garrison in the Nordic nation and described the strategic role that the small unit is fulfilling.

They also pointed out that a peacetime mission can suddenly change into a combat mission in an instant if circumstances change.

Neller said Marines should be ready for combat at any time, predicting a “big-ass fight” on the horizon.

“I hope I’m wrong, but there’s a war coming,” Neller said. ” … You’re in a fight here, an informational fight, a political fight, by your presence.”

He added that he expects the Pacific region — a veiled reference to North Korea and possibly China — as well as Russia would be the U.S. military’s and the Marine Corps’ primary focus in the coming years.

Green was equally stark.

“Just remember why you’re here,” he said. “They’re watching. Just like you watch them, they watch you. We’ve got 300 Marines up here; we could go from 300 to 3,000 overnight. We could raise the bar.”

Most Norwegians generally support the U.S. presence, but Russia has voiced its opposition frequently, Military.com reported.

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Flynn split from Trump indicates he may be cooperating with Mueller

(National SentinelRussia Probe: In recent days lawyers for Michael Flynn, who was President Donald J. Trump’s first national security advisor, informed White House counselors they could no longer discuss special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia-related probe, an indication that Flynn may be cooperating with Mueller or trying to cut a deal.

Flynn’s attorneys were sharing information with the president’s legal team regarding Mueller’s investigation, who is probing whether anyone around Trump was “colluding” with Russia to harm Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, The New York Times reported.

But now that agreement has ended, according to four sources who leaked to the Times. The paper noted further that the defense lawyers often share information during investigations, but they have to stop doing so when it poses a conflict of interest.

“It is unethical for lawyers to work together when one client is cooperating with prosecutors and another is still under investigation,” the Times noted.

Just because Flynn’s lawyers notified the Trump legal team does not prove beyond a doubt that he is cooperating with Mueller. Sometimes lawyers stop sharing information when they are negotiating with prosecutors, and sometimes those negotiations can fall apart.

“Still, the notification led Mr. Trump’s lawyers to believe that Mr. Flynn — who, along with his son, is seen as having significant criminal exposure — has, at the least, begun discussions with Mr. Mueller about cooperating,” the paper said.

If Flynn cuts a deal with Mueller, it will provide the special prosecutor with an inside look at the Trump transition team and the earliest days of the new administration, which were tumultuous thanks in large part to unauthorized leaking.


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Flynn’s ties to Russia predate the Trump campaign. He sat with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a Russia Today media event in 2015, but he was also the Trump transition team’s point man in dealing with Moscow.

The Times noted that Flynn is loyal to Trump, but his son, Michael Flynn Jr., is also under scrutiny by Mueller. The younger Flynn served as chief of staff to his father and was involved in a number of financial deals with his father that Mueller is investigating.

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FBI informant in Clinton-Uranium One scandal said to have VIDEO evidence of Russians with briefcases full of bribe money

(National SentinelScandal: An undercover informant for the FBI who worked in the Russian nuclear industry and was made to sign an “illegal” non-disclosure agreement (NDA) by Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch is claiming to have video evidence showing Russian agents with briefcases full of bribe money in relation to the Uranium One scandal.

As reported by iBankCoin.com via Zero Hedge, the informant — revealed by Reuters to be William D. Campbell, is scheduled to testify before Congress next week after the NDA, which carried the threat of prison time if violated, was lifted by the Trump Justice Department.

Earlier, The Hill‘s John Solomon and Circa News‘ Sara Carter noted that Campbell had been deeply embedded in the Russian nuclear industry. While there he was able to gather incriminating evidence of bribery and kickbacks to and by U.S. and Russian actors involved in getting the Uranium One deal approved by the Obama administration.

Campbell, who is currently battling cancer, had earlier been misidentified as a lobbyist. In reality, he is a nuclear industry consultant.

“The Russians were compromising American contractors in the nuclear industry with kickbacks and extortion threats, all of which raised legitimate national security concerns. And none of that evidence got aired before the Obama administration made those decisions,” a person who worked on the case told The Hill, speaking on condition of anonymity for fear of retribution by U.S. or Russian officials.

Meanwhile, Campbell’s attorney, former Reagan Justice Department official Victoria Toensing, previously told Fox Business host Lou Dobbs, “He can tell what all the Russians were talking about during the time that all these bribery payments were made.”

Reports noted earlier that as the Uranium One deal progressed beyond 2009 and into 2013 when it was concluded, tens of millions of dollars flowed into the Clinton Family Foundation.

In addition, Bill Clinton received hefty, outsized payments of $500,000 each for a series of speeches he gave in Moscow.

In an interview with Fox News‘ Sean Hannity, Carter said Campbell has much to tell Congress and the American people.

“He’s very sick and he’s been battling cancer and going chemo. He is in a battle for not only his life, but in a battle against what he perceives as people within the US government that don’t want this story to come out,” she said, as reported by iClickBank.com.

“But there’s so much information that he is willing to share with the public to set the record straight, and believe me we’re gonna get it out there. He is going to have his say. His voice will be heard.

She added that Campbell knew all about the bribery and kickbacks.

“[H]e will be able to lay that all out for everyone, and he will do that for Congress. John and I have been working on this for months and months and months. He came to the [Obama] DOJ with this information,” she said.

Added Solomon: “He is going to be an extraordinary fact witness because he gathered so much information. There are videotapes where the Russians are opening up briefcases full of cash. These are the people we then gave uranium to, that we then gave nuclear fuel contracts to.”

Earlier reported noted that the FBI, then under the direction of Robert Mueller — who is now a special counsel looking into alleged collusion between the campaign of President Donald J. Trump and the Russian government — was aware of Campbell’s evidence.


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However, reports noted that Mueller did not inform appropriate congressional oversight committees about the scandal, nor did anyone else in the Obama Justice Department or White House, allowing the Uranium One deal to move forward and eventually be approved.

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Trump: Former intel chiefs, Comey, ‘political hacks;’ believes Putin

(National SentinelElection 2016: President Donald J. Trump, following a meeting in Vietnam with Russian President Vladimir Putin, said he believed him when the Kremlin leader said his country did not “meddle” in the U.S. presidential election last year.

Also, he added that Obama-era intelligence chiefs, CIA Director John Brennan and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, were “political hacks” who were doing the bidding of President Obama and the Democratic Party when they claimed Russia intervened in the election to help Trump defeat Hillary Clinton. He also lumped fired FBI Director James Comey in with the intel chiefs.

“Every time he sees me he says ‘I didn’t do that’ and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it,” the president said aboard Air Force One. “I think he is very insulted by it, which is not a good thing for our country.

“He says that very strongly, he really seems to be insulted by it and he says he didn’t do it. You can only ask so many times. He said he absolutely did not meddle in our election,” Trump said.

U.S. intelligence agencies have said all along they believe Russia was behind efforts to interfere in the U.S. election last year, but other intelligence experts and Cold War veterans have added that is nothing new for Moscow. They also note that the United States’ intelligence agencies are equally culpable in meddling in the political processes of Russia and other countries over the years.

As for the intel chiefs and Comey, “They’re political hacks,” Trump said.

“So you look at it, and then you have Brennan, you have Clapper and you have Comey. Comey’s proven now to be a liar and he’s proven to be a leaker,” he continued. “And you have President Putin very strongly, vehemently says he had nothing to do with that. Now, you are not going to get into an argument, you are going to start talking about Syria and the Ukraine.”

Clapper has also been accused of lying to Congress about NSA domestic spying.

FO-logo-square-regular-2Trump suggested that he would take Putin at his word for diplomatic purposes, at least for now.

He also laid the blame for Obama’s poor relationship with Russia at the feet of Clinton, who as Obama’s secretary of state tried to clumsily “reset” relations with Moscow at the outset of his administration. Trump recounted how Clinton used a large button with “reset” spelled incorrectly in Russian as a prop.

“She hit that reset button, it was a joke. But she tried and she failed,” the president said. “Sometimes you don’t have chemistry with someone you don’t. But [President] Obama did not have the right chemistry and Hilary was in way over her head. Russia could really help us and the Democrats wanted to have a good relationship with Russia but they couldn’t do it because they didn’t have the talent, they didn’t have the chemistry to do it, they didn’t have what it takes.”


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Clinton has said that she was confident Putin tried to help Trump win last year because the Kremlin leader “hates” her.

“There is a time when I think Putin and I, President Putin and I, would have a great relationship and that would be great for both countries,” Trump continued.

“And it would take a lot of danger out of this world. It’s a dangerous time – this isn’t small stuff. This is a very dangerous time. Having a great relationship or even a good relationship with the president of Russia – Hillary tried it, she failed, nobody mentions it.”

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Russian dossier investigators suspect reporters were paid to spread fake collusion narrative

(National SentinelFake News: The role the media played in the spread of a thus-far unsubstantiated narrative that collusion existed between the Trump campaign and Russia is coming under further scrutiny by investigators looking into the infamous Russia dossier.

As noted by The Washington Times, Fusion GPS, which financed the dossier via funds provided by the Democratic Party and the Hillary Clinton campaign, is fighting a House committee chairman in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia as he attempts to find out whether journalists were paid.

Also, the Times reported, a self-described dossier victim wants a federal judge in Florida to order the news web site Buzzfeed, which published the full 35-page dossier, to say who provided it.

The Times:

 

The cases underscore how a Moscow-sourced memorandum created as opposition research against Donald Trump in the presidential campaign last year often dictates the debate about politics and reporters’ rights in Washington.

Rep. Devin Nunes, California Republican and chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, signed a subpoena to force a bank to turn over Fusion’s financial records. He wants to know who paid for the dossier, which was written in a series of 18 memos by former British spy Christopher Steele. He relied almost exclusively on unidentified Kremlin sources.

Steele also reportedly paid those Kremlin sources, further raising suspicions about the information they provided, the most damning of which remains unsubstantiated.

Fusion went to court in a bid to block Nunes, “but the law firm Perkins Coie LLP, whose partner Marc E. Elias is the Clinton’s campaign’s general counsel, intervened,” the Times reported, providing information that the Clinton campaign and the DNC paid for the dossier.

Fusion and Nunes worked out an agreement for the opposition research firm to supply him with additional financial information.

However, now the firm has gone back to court to block Nunes’ subpoena because he is seeking even more data.

Fusion briefed a number of Washington journalists on the contents of the dossier, but executives with the firm said they did not provide Buzzfeed with an actual copy.

The site is being sued by Russian tech firms accused of wrongdoing in the dossier.

In addition, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was known to have possessed a hard copy of the dossier through a set of complex arrangements with Steele. But he has said he also was not the source of providing a copy of it to Buzzfeed, the Times reported.

“I gave it to no one except for the director of the FBI. I don’t know why you’re digging this up now,” McCain told The Daily Caller last month.

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Limbaugh: Mueller’s Russia probe is really just about protecting Democrats

 

(National SentinelRussia Hoax: The investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller is not about establishing that there was “collusion” between the presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump and the Russian government, but rather to hide the involvement of Democrats in massive scandals, Rush Limbaugh contended earlier this week.

In discussing Mueller’s probe, the talk radio giant said at least one of the reasons why Mueller is leading the probe is “to protect anybody and everybody that had anything to do with this Clinton-Obama-Russian uranium deal.”

“In addition to their wanton desire to get rid of Trump, I think that they’re taking advantage of the opportunity to shield and prevent any investigation or knowledge of what really went on, because that uranium thing,” Limbaugh said. “None of it could have happened without the involvement of Obama.”

The FBI reportedly found evidence as early as 2009 that Russian operatives were using kickbacks and bribes to compromise some individuals involved in the U.S. nuclear industry — a time when Mueller, coincidentally, was FBI director.

And yet, despite knowing this, the Obama administration approved the sale of Uranium One anyway, which essentially amounted to signing away 20 percent of all strategic U.S. uranium, a huge national security issue.

“In 2010, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sat on a panel made up of administration officials that approved the sale of the Canadian-owned mining company to the Russian nuclear giant Rosatom, thus turning over 20 percent of America’s known uranium reserves to Moscow,” Western Journalism reported.

Money also flowed to Bill and Hillary Clinton. The former president was paid $500,000 for a single speech by a bank aligned with the Kremlin; meanwhile, according to author Peter Schweizer, who wrote the 2015 book “Clinton Cash” explaining details behind the sale, nine shareholders of Uranium One donated a total of $145 million to the Clinton Foundation.

As for Mueller and his investigation, Limbaugh said the reason is simple why he has yet to find any Trump-Russia collusion: “There isn’t any.”

“And believe me, if there were, it have been leaked the day they found it. There isn’t any, and yet they’re still out there looking,” he said.

In fact, he says the “real collusion” likely involves Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, an Obama appointee who named Mueller special counsel, and former FBI Director James Comey, whom Trump fired but who also appears to have decided months in advance he was going to let Hillary Clinton off the hook for her mishandling of classified data on her own private, unsecured email server. Both Comey and Rosenstein were also in the Justice Department during the sale of Uranium One.

“I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if one of the things being done is to cover all of that up with this investigation,” Limbaugh said.

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Air Force set to put nuclear bomb-carrying B-52s on 24-hour alert

(National SentinelCold War II: In a tactic that has not been utilized since the end of the first Cold War, the Pentagon is set to place nuclear weapons-carrying B-52 bombers on 24/7/365 alert, as tensions with North Korea and Russia ramp up.

Gen. David Goldfein, the Air Force chief of staff, discussed preparations for the new order during his six-day tour of the Air Force bases that support the nuclear mission last week.

“This is yet one more step in ensuring that we’re prepared,” Goldfein told Defense One. “I look at it more as not planning for any specific event, but more for the reality of the global situation we find ourselves in and how we ensure we’re prepared going forward.”

No order has been given yet but the Air Force seems to be expecting it.

“The world is a dangerous place and we’ve got folks that are talking openly about the use of nuclear weapons,” he said, adding that as nuclear weapons have spread to other countries, that has substantially changed the global security landscape.

“It’s no longer a bipolar world where it’s just us and the Soviet Union. We’ve got other players out there who have nuclear capability,” he said. “It’s never been more important to make sure that we get this mission right.”

The order could be issued either by Gen. John Hyten, commander of U.S. Strategic Command, which oversees the military’s nuclear forces, or Gen. Lori Robinson, head of U.S. Northern Command, which is responsible for defending North America.

But ultimately, the decision would first be made by the commander-in-chief, President Donald J. Trump.

Meantime, Goldfein has tasked the Air Force with devising new and improved ways to use nuclear-tipped ICBMs, bombers and nuclear cruise missiles in war, CNN reported.

“How do we think about it?” Goldfein asked. “How do we think about deterrence in that environment?”

Then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney issued a directive in September 1991 ordering the 40-odd nuclear-armed B-52s on 24-hour-alert to stand down and have their nuclear weapons removed and stored as the Cold War ended and the Soviet Union was breaking up.

Bombers were on alert at 11 Air Force bases: Barksdale in Louisiana, Griffiss in New York, Wurtsmith in Michigan, Carswell in Texas, Fairchild in Washington, K. I. Sawyer in Michigan, Minot in North Dakota, Dyess in Texas, Ellsworth in South Dakota, Grand Forks in North Dakota and McConnell in Kansas.

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Netanyahu tells Russian defense minister Israel cannot allow Iranian bases in Syria

(National Sentinel) Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu that his country could never permit the Iranian military to have a permanent presence in Syria, and that surely “Tehran knows this.”

In comments to the Russian press regarding the meeting, Netanyahu said it was focused on, “above all, Iran’s attempts to establish military bases in Syria.”

Earlier, he said that the Jewish state “will act to prevent Iran from establishing permanent military bases in Syria for its air, sea and ground forces.”

As the Syrian civil war is winding down, Iran and Iranian proxies like Hezbollah have been working to establish a permanent presence in the war-torn country, both as a strategic move against Israel and to influence the direction of the Syrian government.

Analyst comment: As we have stated in recent Strategic Intelligence Summaries, the most likely next war in the Middle East will involve Israeli and Iranian forces, the latter either directly or via proxies. This confirms our earlier analysis. Stay current on this and other potential conflicts by subscribing today.

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Here’s how NATO could lose a war against Russia quickly

(National SentinelDeterrence: In the decades following the end of the Cold War, NATO nations have dramatically reduced the size and combat power of their respective militaries, especially when it comes to armor.

The age of the tank was said to be over following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1990, but in reality, the opposite is true. Russia fields some 2,800 modern main battle tanks in front-line units with about 12,000 in reserve. In addition, the Red Army fields thousands of towed and self-propelled artillery pieces along with armored fighting vehicles. Most of this combat power is stationed in Russia’s west, opposite NATO alliance nations.

Meanwhile, NATO countries have dramatically reduced their armored forces. Once upon a time during the Cold War, Germany — arguably the nation that perfected tank warfare formations — fielded about 2,100 excellent Leopard 2 MBT’s, but today that fleet has been winnowed to 225. France has reduced its tank fleet to 406, but only slightly more than 200 are stationed with front-line units. Britain, meanwhile, has reduced its tank force from more than 800 during the Cold War to 156, and all of them are stationed with one regiment.

Those figures combined are fewer in number than the 700 or so tanks separatists in Ukraine are reportedly operating.

The U.S. military, meanwhile, possesses some 6,000 Abrams MBTs, but only a small contingent of armor is stationed in Europe. Most American armor is stored in the continental U.S.

These startling numbers make a compelling case for NATO nations to bolster their inventories of front-line MBTs, in order to meet and defeat any Russian push. If sheer numbers aren’t compelling enough, then Russian military strategy should be. The Russian Army has reaffirmed its commitment to tank warfare (which may be one principal reason why many in Congress and the Pentagon have resisted retiring the A-10 Warthog, which was built to blunt massed armor attacks in Europe). It has reformed the multi-division 1st Guards Tank Army (1st GTA), and that unit consists of some 500 to 600 tanks, 600 to 800 infantry fighting vehicles and 300 to 400 artillery pieces.

What’s more, Russian military doctrine emphasizes “preemption, escalation dominance, surprise (suddenness and deception), shock, strike power, and speed of action [which] are classic features of Russian military operations… The entirety of the armed forces and its supporting military system are poised for quick, early action in a crisis, conflict, or war to preempt their opponent’s ability to surprise them.” [source]

NATO armor isn’t up to the task of repelling such an assault.

Why it’s on our radar: Information in this article helps satisfy Priority Intelligence Requirement 1: What are the latest indicators of a NATO-Russia conflict?  Each week in our Strategic Intelligence Summary, we gauge the likelihood and scope of conflict with Russia, China, North Korea, and in the Middle East, and track the latest developments in each region. Subscribe here to Forward Observer, to receive our premium intelligence products prepared by Intelligence and special operations veterans.

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Report: Trump will seek UN approval for naval blockade of North Korea

(National SentinelForeign Policy: Reports over the weekend said that President Donald J. Trump will seek United Nations approval for a partial naval blockade of North Korea, The Guardian reported.

The news site  noted:

A draft United Nations resolution seen by the Observer would also block textile exports and the hiring of North Korean labor by foreign countries. The American delegation has called for the UN security council to debate the draft, in an attempt to force decisive action following last Sunday’s massive nuclear test of a bomb, Pyongyang’s sixth.

The most striking language in the resolution authorizes naval vessels of any UN member state to inspect North Korean ships suspected of carrying banned cargo and to use “all necessary measures to carry out such inspections”. The implications of such a resolution would be far-reaching. Any attempt to board or divert a North Korean vessel could trigger an exchange of fire.

Naval blockades in the past have been viewed as acts of war.

In addition to banning any exports of “crude oil, condensates, refined petroleum products, and natural gas liquids” to North Korea, the draft resolution calls for a prohibition on the import of textiles and an end to the hiring of North Korean nationals, on the grounds that the regime uses the foreign currency earned “to support its prohibited nuclear and ballistic missile programs.”

Russia and China both employ cheap North Korean labor.

The draft resolution also calls for freezing leader Kim Jong-un’s assets abroad, as well as those of other top leaders.

It’s not likely that Russia or China will support such a drastic resolution, especially since both countries have interests in seeing North Korea remain intact. China doesn’t want a flood of refugees to deal with or a U.S. ally on its border; Russia wants to be seen as brokering peace in the region, which will elevate Moscow’s status globally.

“Up to now, the Chinese and the Russians have tried to keep on giving the US just enough to keep Trump playing the UN game,” Richard Gowan, an expert on the UN at the European Council for Foreign Relations, told The Guardian. “The question is what happens with an extraordinarily hard-line resolution and US pressure to do something quickly.”

If anybody blinks first, it would be the Chinese, he said, though he added that Russia would not want to be seen as vetoing the U.S. proposal on its own. Both China and Russia have veto power at the UN Security Council, as one of five permanent members.

“All sides want to keep this in the council. And, for all the talk, the US doesn’t actually want a war here,” Gowan said. “At some point, they are going to have to compromise or walk away from the UN.”

If the UN effort fails, the Trump administration says it has a Plan B — cutting off all trade with any nation that continues to do business with North Korea. That would include China, which relies heavily on the U.S. market for much of its economic growth.

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U.S. inching towards war in North Korea with supersonic nuke-capable bomber drills; China and Russia flex muscle

(National SentinelKorea: The United States Air Force sent two nuclear-capable B-1 bombers over the Korean peninsula on Sunday in a show of force following yet another test-launch of an ICBM by North Korea experts say has the distance to strike the U.S. heartland.

As reported by the UK’s The Sun, the U.S. bombers were escorted by a pair of South Korean F-15K fighter planes “as they performed a low-pass over an air base near the South Korean capital of Seoul before returning to the Andersen Air Force Base in Guam.” The site noted further:

The US Air Force said the mission was a response to consecutive ICBM tests by Kim this month.

Analysts say flight data from the second test conducted Friday night showed that a broader part of mainland America, including Los Angeles and Chicago, is now in range of 

Pyongyang’s weapons.

“North Korea remains the most urgent threat to regional stability,” said Gen. Terrence J. O’Shaughnessy, Pacific Air Forces commander.

“Diplomacy remains the lead. However, we have a responsibility to our allies and our nation to showcase our unwavering commitment while planning for the worst-case scenario,” he said, adding ominously: “If called upon, we are ready to respond with rapid, lethal, and overwhelming force at a time and place of our choosing.”

Despite being warned continually against further ICBM and nuclear development by President Donald J. Trump, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has defied those warnings, pushing ahead with an accelerated testing schedule. U.S. analysts now believe that Pyongyang will be able to field a nuclear-capable ICBM that puts nearly all of the United States in range within a year, far faster than previous estimates.

In a series of tweets Sunday, Trump expressed frustration with China over its continued indifference to North Korea’s testing, claiming that Beijing could step in at any time to rein in its belligerent neighbor:

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/891440474132795392

https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/891442016294494209

“I am very disappointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!”

Trump has repeatedly vowed to “take all steps necessary” to prevent North Korea from developing nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them.

As for the Chinese, Beijing unveiled some of its own military might in a massive parade celebrating the 90th anniversary of the formation of the People’s Liberation Army — attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping, who was wearing a military field uniform. Again, The Sun:

China launched an awesome show of its military might – just hours after warning Donald Trump about his involvement in North Korea.

Tens of thousands of Chinese troops marched alongside tanks and nuclear weapons as stealth fighters and attack helicopters roared overhead.

“Always listen to and follow the party’s orders. And march to wherever the party points to,” Xi told the assembled troops.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also attended a major military parade intended to showcase Russian naval might. As reported by Agence France Presse:

President Vladimir Putin on Sunday oversaw a pomp-filled display of Russia’s naval might as the Kremlin paraded its sea power from the Baltic Sea to the shores of Syria.

Some 50 warships and submarines were on show along the Neva River and in the Gulf of Finland off the country’s second city of Saint Petersburg after Putin ordered the navy to hold its first ever parade on such a grand scale.

“Today much is being done to develop and modernize the navy,” Putin told assembled military personnel after inspecting the assembled fleet from his cutter.

“The navy is not only dealing with its traditional tasks but also responding with merit to new challenges, making a significant contribution to the fight against terrorism and piracy,” he added.

It was the first time Moscow also showed off its naval hardware at its Syrian base of Tartus in the eastern Mediterranean, where Russian ships have played a prominent role backing up a bombing campaign in support of leader Bashar al-Assad, AFP noted.

As we have reported, both Beijing and Moscow have been moving forces to areas near their shared border with North Korea, most likely in anticipation of U.S. military strikes against North Korean nuclear and chemical weapons storage sites and infrastructure.

North Korea’s conventional weapons arsenal is no match for the U.S. military; air and sea power alone would devastate much of Pyongyang’s military infrastructure in a first strike, which would likely involve stealth bombers and showers of Tomahawk cruise missiles.

That said, both great powers in the neighborhood appear to be sending a message of their own to Washington: While military action in North Korea may be a foregone conclusion, there are red lines that the U.S. and South Korean militaries cannot cross if this cold war with Pyongyang turns hot.

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