2:45 PM 12/16/2017 – FBI: American Gestapo

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FBI: American Gestapo – Family Security Matters

10:40 AM 12/16/2017 What is good for the FBI and its employees is not necessarily good for America!
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FBI: American Gestapo

by LAWRENCE SELLIN, PHD

December 16, 2017

Any government agency with law enforcement and surveillance authority that uses those powers for political purposes is the definition of a secret police, no better than the Nazi Gestapo or the Soviet KGB.

There is indeed probable cause to conclude, meaning indictable offenses, that employees of the Department of Justice and/or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), sympathetic to the Democrat Party, used the power of their offices and with the assistance of foreign nationals to influence the 2016 election in favor of Hillary Clinton, first to exonerate her and then obtain information to prevent the election of Donald Trump or to provide a basis for his impeachment should he win.

It is also abundantly clear from the Congressional investigations involving the Department of Justice and the FBI that those institutions of government are protecting themselves at the expense of transparency and accountability to the American people.

In other words, the government employees involved consider the survival of the Deep State more important than the survival of the Constitution. That is the definition of tyranny.

Here is a summary of the apparent sequence of events based on the revelations so far. There may be more damning evidence yet to be disclosed.

–        The Democrats hired Fusion GPS to find dirt on Donald Trump.

–        Fusion GPS hired former British MI6 agent in Moscow, Christopher Steele, to canvass and very likely pay his Russian contacts, some of whom may be present or former members of Russian intelligence, for negative information about Trump.

–        Steele creates the “Trump dossier” and distributes it either directly or indirectly to media outlets and to politicians like Senator John McCain (R-AZ).

–        The FBI obtains the “Trump dossier,” but inexplicably or perhaps intentionally does not check the veracity of any of Steele’s assertions.

–        The FBI uses the “Trump dossier” to apply to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court to obtain warrantless authorization to conduct surveillance on Trump and his associates.

–        It now appears that Christopher Steele might have been, at some point, on the FBI payroll, and, by extension, the Russians.

The use of an un-vetted document from dubious Russian sources as a basis for unwarranted surveillance of American citizens, ultimately for political purposes, renders the entire Mueller investigation a farce and could provide exculpatory evidence to vacate the guilty plea of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. It is a verdict many believe was based on improperly-obtained information as part of an overall effort by politically-motivated federal employees to manipulate the results of the 2016 election.

The conditions that led to the election of Donald Trump as President remain. They bear repeating.

The federal government and the media are, as institutions, hopelessly corrupt and, although we have elections, we no longer have representative government.

There is a Cold Civil War underway in the United States to determine who should control the federal government.

It is not a contest between the Democrat and Republican policies, but a battle between the entrenched power of the bipartisan political establishment, the Deep State, versus the freedom and well-being of the American people. It is a conflict between those who want to adhere to the Constitution and the rule of law and a ruling elite, who wish to continue the practices of political expediency and crony capitalism for the purposes of personal power and profit.

Americans now believe that we are no longer citizens of a republic, but subjects of an elected aristocracy, composed of a self-absorbed and self-perpetuating permanent political class, which serves its own interests and those of its international financiers, not those of the American people.

Three years before the start of the American Civil War, Abraham Lincoln said a government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free – that a house divided against itself cannot stand.

Likewise, a government separated from the people cannot stand.

The American Revolution, a war to free ourselves from foreign tyranny, lasted eight years.

The Second American Revolution, a battle to root out the corruption and despotism of the Deep State will take longer, but equally necessary.

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FBI: American Gestapo – Family Security Matters
 

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FBI: American Gestapo
Family Security Matters
There is indeed probable cause to conclude, meaning indictable offenses, that employees of the Department of Justice and/or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), sympathetic to the Democrat Party, used the power of their offices and with the 
10:40 AM 12/16/2017 What is good for the FBI and its employees is not necessarily good for America!
 

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M.N.: This graph below, from the cited article, is meaningless and misleading, just as the article itself: the overall “ideological orientation” (rated as the “conservative” for the FBI, with the score of about +1,5 on the -2 to +2 scale), in no way can be the predictor or correlate of the behaviors and actions, including … Continue reading“10:40 AM 12/16/2017 – What is good for the FBI and its employees is not necessarily good for America! “

WSJ: There’s Mounting Evidence of 2016 Election Meddling Coming From the FBI – Townhall
 

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Townhall
WSJ: There’s Mounting Evidence of 2016 Election Meddling Coming From the FBI
Townhall
There is something rotten at the Federal Bureau of Investigation. I mean all of this is just absurd. We have two FBI agents texting one another, one of which is having an extramarital affair with the other, cryptically talking about insurance against and more »
President Trump claims the FBI is tainted and its reputation in tatters. This graph shows he’s wrong. – Washington Post
 

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Washington Post
President Trump claims the FBI is tainted and its reputation in tatters. This graph shows he’s wrong.
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Former FBI deputy assistant director Danny Coulson speaks out about allegations of bias within the FBI on ‘The Story.’

Former agent agrees with Trump that FBI is in ‘tatters’
 

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Duration: 06:08

Former FBI official Kevin Brock weighs in on ‘Fox News @ Night.’

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Media Matters for America
Fox’s Lou Dobbs: We have the most corrupt FBI and DOJ in our country’s history investigating Trump
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Louie, some things you might have either missed or simply ignored in your false claim that the “FBI and DOJ are corrupt.” An agent and a lawyer were exchanging text messages which expressed their political opinions – that is not a crime. They are stilland more »
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According to Luke Harding, author of Collusion, Simpson specialized as a journalist on the intersection between organized crime and the Russian state. According to Harding, Steele and Simpson knew the same FBI agents, shared expertise on Russia, and 
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The Latest: Trump slams investigators at ‘disgraceful’ FBI
 

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s visit to the FBI (all times local):

8:50 p.m.

President Donald Trump has unleashed a blistering attack on the FBI’s leadership.

He is denouncing the bureau for its handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, calling it “really disgraceful.”

Trump says “you have a lot of very angry people that are seeing it.”

The president’s broadside appears to reflect his anger over revelations that senior FBI officials exchanged anti-Trump and pro-Clinton text messages while working on last year’s Clinton probe and during special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump associates colluded with Russian officials in the 2016 election.

Trump laced into the bureau as he was departing for its training academy in Virginia, where he lavished praise on graduates of a weeks-long FBI National Academy program for law enforcement leaders from around the country.

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__

3:45 p.m.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is distancing himself from President Donald Trump’s criticism of the FBI. Sessions says he does not share the view that the FBI “is not functioning at a high level all over the country.”

Sessions, speaking Friday at a news conference about the Justice Department’s crime-fighting efforts, said the FBI is “fulfilling a fabulously important role working to fight against violent crime.” But he stopped short of saying whether he agrees with Trump that the reputation of the agency is “in tatters.”

Trump again blasted FBI leadership Friday even as he praised state and local officers.

Sessions says it’s noteworthy that Trump expressed support for law enforcement in a speech at the FBI’s National Academy. The program is for law enforcement leaders from around the country, not FBI agents.

___

11:20 a.m.

President Donald Trump is calling for the death penalty for anyone convicted of killing a police officer.

Trump, while speaking at the FBI National Academy in Virginia on Friday, pledged to support law enforcement officers and condemned those who attack them.

During the presidential campaign, Trump pledged to sign an executive order as president that would demand capital punishment for cop killers.

He has yet to do so.

The president was warmly received by the crowd of local law enforcement officers who cheered his calls for a crackdown on gangs and an end to chain migration.

The president painted a dark picture of a nation under siege by crime, at one moment wondering aloud “What the hell is going on in Chicago?”

The crowd laughed.

___

10:40 a.m.

President Donald Trump is addressing a graduating class of law enforcement officers at the FBI National Academy.

Trump on Friday praised the academy, a 10-week professional course of study for U.S. and international law enforcement officers.

Trump, a frequent FBI critic, promised that as president he will be “more loyal than anyone else could be” to the police.

He honored the graduates for completing the rigorous training, saying the “elite training will help save lives.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray says Trump is the first president to address a graduating class at the FBI training center in Quantico, Virginia since Richard Nixon.

__

9:50 a.m.

President Donald Trump says “it’s a shame what’s happened” with the FBI, calling its handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation “really disgraceful.”

Speaking to reporters as he departs for a speech at the FBI training academy in Quantico, Va., Trump promises that “we’re going to rebuild the FBI.”

Trump alluded to newly revealed edits to former FBI Director James Comey’s 2016 statement on the Clinton probe: “It is very sad when you look at those documents, how they’ve done that is really, really disgraceful, and you have a lot of really angry people who are seeing it.”

Trump reiterated that “there was no collusion” between his campaign and the Russian government, adding the recent revelations prove his claim that the Clinton investigation was “rigged.”

___

7:53 a.m.

The White House says newly-revealed FBI records show there is “extreme bias” against President Donald Trump among senior leadership at the FBI.

Deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley tells Fox News Channel that edits to former FBI Director James Comey’s statement on Hillary Clinton’s private email server and text messages from a top agent critical of Trump are “deeply troubling.”

“There is extreme bias against this president with high-up members of the team there at the FBI who were investigating Hillary Clinton at the time,” Gidley charges, as special counsel Robert Mueller pushes on with a probe of possible Trump campaign ties to Russia. Gidley says Trump maintains confidence in the FBI’s rank-and-file the Justice Department.

Trump is scheduled to attend an FBI National Academy graduation service later Friday.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Trump praises police after blasting ‘sad,’ ‘disgraceful’ FBI
 

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump heaped praise on law enforcement while decrying anti-police sentiment in a speech to FBI academy graduates on Friday not long after he lamented the agency’s “sad” and “disgraceful” state.

In remarks to the FBI National Academy that also touched on immigration and violent crime, Trump called himself a “true friend and loyal champion” of police while noting that members of law enforcement “rarely get the recognition” they deserve.

“We will protect those who protect us,” the president said, adding that those accused of killing police officers “should get the death penalty.”

“Anti-police sentiment is wrong and it’s dangerous, and we will not stand for it,” he said.

Trump to FBI academy grads: I’m a ‘true friend and loyal champion’ to police 0:49

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An hour earlier, speaking to reporters on the White House lawn on his way to talk to graduates of the academy in Quantico, Virginia, Trump said: “It’s a shame what’s happened with the FBI, but we’re going to rebuild the FBI. It’ll be bigger and better than ever.”

Referencing the 90 pages of newly released messages, many critical of the president, between an FBI lawyer and an agent later assigned to special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, Trump called it “sad when you look at those documents and how they’ve done that is really, really disgraceful and you have a lot of very angry people that are seeing it.”

In his speech, the president also made a pitch for cracking down on immigration and stepped up his attacks on the visa lottery system and chain migration, which his administration has called on Congress to end in the wake of recent terror attacks in New York City.

He also painted an inaccurate picture, however, of a system that invites the “worst people,” insinuating that names were put “in a bin” and chosen out at random. (Actually, visa lottery applicants must meet eligibility requirements to enter the program, and applicants are vetted through strict State Department processes.)

“Congratulations, you’re going to the United States!” Trump said. “What a system.”

Promises of an immigration crackdown spurred applause from the law enforcement crowd as Trump went on to issue a new message to members of the MS13 gang Friday. “We will find you, we will arrest you, we will jail you, we will throw you the hell out of the country,” he said.

But the last option was the one preferred by the president, he said, because in jail “we have to take care of them — who the hell wants to take care of them?”

The “jail stuff,” Trump said over laughter from the crowd, “is wonderful, but we have to pay for them right?”

The FBI’s website describes the National Academy as a 10-week “professional course of study for U.S. and international law enforcement managers nominated by their agency heads because of demonstrated leadership qualities.”

Trump tweeted this month that the FBI’s “reputation is in tatters,” prompting FBI staffers — including Trump’s own pick to head the agency after he fired former director James Comey — to defend it against the president’s assertions.

“The FBI that I see is tens of thousands of agents and analysts and staff working their tails off to keep Americans safe from the next terrorist attack, gang violence, child predators, spies from Russia, China, North Korea and Iran,” FBI director Christopher Wray said last week during an appearance before the House Judiciary Committee.

During a passionate, two-minute-long defense, Wray described the FBI as “respected and appreciated by our partners in federal, state, and local law enforcement, in the intelligence community, and by our foreign counterparts in both law enforcement and national security in something like 200 countries around the globe.”

Sessions: DOJ will ‘take seriously’ Trump’s concerns about FBI 2:34

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Later on Friday, in response to questions from reporters, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said he did not agree with Trump’s dim assessment of the FBI.

“Well, I don’t share the view that the FBI is not functioning at a high level,” Sessions said during a press conference announcing new anti-violent crime initiatives. “In my view, the FBI has huge national security requirements, it’s also fulfilling a fabulously important role in helping fight against violent crime, also.”

Republican Trey Gowdy suggests deputy FBI director will be ousted soon
 

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Trey GowdyRep. Trey Gowdy. REUTERS/James Lawler Duggan

  • Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy suggested that FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe will be forced out at the top law enforcement agency as soon as next week.
  • Gowdy argued that newly released FBI records reveal political bias against President Donald Trump — and in favor of Hillary Clinton — at the highest levels of the FBI.

Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy, who sits on the House Judiciary Committee, suggested in a Friday interview that FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe will be forced out at the top law enforcement agency as soon as next week.

Gowdy argued that newly released FBI records reveal political bias against President Donald Trump — and in favor of Hillary Clinton — at the highest levels of the FBI. Gowdy said that McCabe will likely be pushed out of the agency as a result of the perceived bias.

“I’ll be a little bit surprised if he’s still an employee of the FBI this time next week,” Gowdy told Fox News of McCabe, adding that he would be “shocked” if McCabe testifies before the House next week.

The Washington Post reported last week that Gowdy settled a $150,000 veteran discrimination and retaliation claim from a former aide, who was fired in 2015 from the House Benghazi committee investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya. The aide alleged that he was wrongfully terminated in part for his unwillingness to engage in what he believed was a partisan investigation into Hillary Clinton’s time as US secretary of state.

Attacks on special counsel Robert Mueller’s team of investigators have escalated sharply in recent weeks, culminating in a partisan haranguing of the FBI director last week over the perceived missteps of his predecessor.

Conservative and far-right media outlets, already skeptical of Mueller’s probe into President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia, grew louder in their calls for FBI Director Chris Wray to either clean house or for Mueller to resign. It came after news that two special counsel investigators at one point exhibited perceived political bias.

Trump again characterized the criminal justice system as “rigged” during a rally in Florida on Friday, echoing comments he made last weekend following former national security Michael Flynn’s guilty plea as part of Mueller’s probe.

President Donald Trump lamented the state of the FBI, the nation’s top law-enforcement agency, shortly before delivering a speech at an FBI graduation ceremony on Friday in Quantico, Virginia.

“It’s a shame what’s happened with the FBI, but we’re going to rebuild the FBI. It’ll be bigger and better than ever,” Trump told reporters before boarding Virginia-bound Marine One on Friday morning.

The president also recently described the country’s top law-enforcement agency as “in tatters,” but a White House spokesman said on Friday that Trump had “full faith and confidence” in the rank-and-file members of the Department of Justice and the FBI.

Also on Friday morning, Hogan Gidley, the White House’s deputy press secretary, said that recently released FBI records showed “extreme bias” against Trump among leadership at the FBI.

Recently disclosed text messages between two FBI agents assigned to the ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with Trump’s campaign included a reference to Trump as an “idiot.” Both agents are no longer involved in the Russia investigation. Other records revealed edits made to soften the statement of James Comey, then the FBI director, concerning the agency’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while she was secretary of state.

Gidley called the records “eye-opening” and “deeply troubling.”

“There is extreme bias against this president with high-up members of the team there at the FBI who were investigating Hillary Clinton at the time,” Gidley told “Fox & Friends” on Friday morning.

Facebook admits it poses mental health risk but says using site more can help – The Guardian
 

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The Guardian
Facebook admits it poses mental health risk but says using site more can help
The Guardian
Facebook has repeatedly been accused of spreading Russian propaganda and fake news, providing a platform and network for white supremacists, enabling hate speech and offensive ads and censoring critics of oppressive governments. The company’s CEO, Mark and more »
Saved Stories – 1. FBI: 8:10 AM 12/15/2017 FBI stands for FOOLS, BUNGLERS, IDIOTS. And how about it?
 

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Saved Stories Saved Stories – None FBI stands for FOOLS, BUNGLERS, IDIOTS. And how about it? 7:12 AM 12/15/2017 After Months Of Withering Criticism, Trump Prepares To Visit FBI NPR Republicans are worried about the integrity of Mueller’s team. That’s overblown. – Washington Post Mueller needs to make a change – Washington Post Justice Department … Continue reading“8:10 AM 12/15/2017 – “FBI” stands for “FOOLS, BUNGLERS, IDIOTS”. And how about it?”

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GOP lawmaker claims FBI purged training documents. Here’s what we found
 

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Did the Barack Obama administration ditch FBI material used to train counterterrorism agents?

At a House committee hearing on worldwide terror threats, Rep. Scott Perry, R-Pa., claimed the former administration purged information that could “allow us to see in totality the threat that faces America.”

“Just curious if you can tell me if the FBI has taken any steps to reverse the previous administration’s purge of training courses and information about Islamism, jihad, Sharia, and the Muslim Brotherhood,” Perry asked FBI director Christopher Wray at the Nov. 30 hearing.

Wray said he was not aware of efforts to purge training material.

“They were purged in the last administration,” Perry told him.

Is that true?

Perry’s office did not respond to our requests for information. We found the FBI did rescind training material during the Obama administration — but it was less than 1 percent of 160,000 pages of training documents that were found to contain information that was factually inaccurate, imprecise or used stereotypes.

The review came after media reports show that training material included claims identifying “mainstream” American Muslims as “likely to be terrorist sympathizers.”

The Arab American Institute said the documents “crudely” depicted Arab Americans and American Muslims “as threatening, irrational, or otherwise abnormal.”

Here’s what we know about the FBI’s review and rescinded documents.

Reports of anti-Muslim training material

Wired in July 2011 reported that part of a January 2009 presentation for new FBI recruits said that Islam “transforms (a) country’s culture into 7th-century Arabian ways.”

Additional Wired reporting in September 2011 found that during a training session at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va., agents were told that “mainstream” American Muslims were “likely to be terrorist sympathizers; that the Prophet Mohammed was a ‘cult leader’; and that the Islamic practice of giving charity is no more than a ‘funding mechanism for combat’.” A chart in the presentation contended that the more “devout” Muslims are, the likelier they are to be violent, Wired reported.

The FBI distanced itself from the messages in the training.

It told Wired that the presentation had a disclaimer saying the views expressed were of the author and “do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. government.” An FBI press release issued a day after Wired’s report said the training segment was presented only one time and quickly discontinued.

At a November 2011 Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., asked then-Attorney General Eric Holder about the training material, presenting among examples a claim that ‘‘the Arabic mind is swayed more by ideas than facts.”

“It is regrettable that that information was, in fact, a part of a training program,” Holder said, adding that there was an ongoing review of training material “to ensure that that kind of misinformation” was not being used, because it could undermine and negatively impact outreach efforts.

The FBI reviewed 160,000 pages of material and eventually removed hundreds of pages from its training. Less than 1 percent of the material reviewed had “factually inaccurate or imprecise information or used stereotypes,” the FBI told Wired in February 2012.

March 2012 letter from Durbin to then-FBI Director Robert Mueller expressed disappointment that the FBI would not produce a written report on the material deemed inappropriate, and that it would not be publicly shared or given to Congress. Durbin’s letter said FBI briefers shared copies of “a handful” of the material with Senate Judiciary Committee staff, but were not allowed to keep the copies.

The FBI did not confirm to PolitiFact if it eliminated such material, but referred us to public source material and 2012 congressional testimony.

At a May 2012 House Judiciary Committee hearing on oversight of the FBI, Mueller said 876 inappropriate training documents had been removed after a review of 160,000 documents and over 1,000 videos, but did not specify what the material said.

Judicial Watch, a conservative group that litigates on public corruption and other issues, said documents it obtained through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit showed that reasons cited for the removal of material included: “Article is highly inflammatory and inaccurately argues the Muslim Brotherhood is a terrorist organization,” and “author seems to conflate ‘Islamic Militancy’ with ‘terrorism’ and needs to define the difference and use it in their analysis.”

“The excised material included references linking the Muslim Brotherhood to terrorism, tying al Qaeda to the 1993 World Trade Center and Khobar Towers bombings, and suggesting that ‘young male immigrants of Middle Eastern appearance … may fit the terrorist profile best’,” Judicial Watch said.

Our ruling

Perry said the Obama administration purged “training courses and information about Islamism, jihad, Sharia, and the Muslim Brotherhood.”

The FBI removed nearly 900 training documents containing information that was inaccurate, imprecise or depicted stereotypes, after a review of 160,000 pages and more than 1,000 videos. The review came after 2011 media reports about training material portraying Muslims stereotypically and prone to violence.

Though the FBI did not publicly disclose the material it rescinded, Judicial Watch said that through a lawsuit for information, it found that removed material included references to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Perry’s statement is partially accurate but leaves out important details or takes things out of context. We rate it Half True.

Scott Perry

Representative

Says the Obama administration purged “training courses and information about Islamism, jihad, Sharia, and the Muslim Brotherhood.”

in a House committee hearing – Thursday, November 30, 2017

Trump says Americans are ‘very, very angry’ at FBI before he pledges his support – Los Angeles Times
 

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Los Angeles Times
Trump says Americans are ‘very, very angry’ at FBI before he pledges his support
Los Angeles Times
A White House spokesman reinforced criticism of the FBI earlier Friday, telling Fox News that the texts are signs the FBI has an extreme bias against Trump. It is troubling, deeply troubling, that the revelations have now come to light that there is 
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Sessions says FBI ‘functioning at a high level’ after Trump criticism
 

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended the FBI’s work Friday hours after President Trump said its reputation was ‘in tatters’.  (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended the FBI Friday, hours after President Donald Trump ripped the bureau’s leadership and suggested that its reputation was “in tatters.”

“I don’t share the view that the FBI is not functioning at a high level all over the country,” said Sessions, who added, “… In my view, the FBI has huge national security requirements but it’s also fulfilling a fabulously important role working to fight against violent crime.”

Sessions also praised Trump for speaking to graduates of a weeks-long FBI National Academy program for law enforcement leaders from around the country, calling it “the first time a president in 47 years has spoken to the FBI[‘s] … graduating police academy class.”

“He made clear that he supports them 100 percent in their activities and that we are going to be a law enforcement administration that helps the law enforcement be successful,” said Sessions.

As Trump departed the White House for the speech in Virginia, he said, “It’s a shame what’s happened with the FBI,” an apparent reference to revelations that senior bureau officials exchanged anti-Trump and pro-Hillary Clinton text messages while working on last year’s Clinton probe and during special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump associates colluded with Russian officials in the 2016 election.

“We’re going to rebuild the FBI, it’ll be bigger and better than ever,” Trump went on, “but it is very sad when you look at those documents, and how they’ve done that is really, really disgraceful, and you have a lot of very angry people that are seeing it.”

Also Friday, White House Deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley told Fox News that edits to former FBI Director James Comey’s statement on Clinton’s private email server and anti-Trump texts from a top agent were “deeply troubling.”

“There is extreme bias against this president with high-up members of the team there at the FBI who were investigating Hillary Clinton at the time,” Gidley charged, as Mueller pushes on with a probe of possible Trump campaign ties to Russia. Gidley says Trump maintains confidence in the FBI’s rank-and-file.

Sessions had previously drawn the wrath of Trump for recusing himself from overseeing Mueller’s investigation over questions about his own contacts with Russia’s ambassador to the U.S.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Court rules against FBI in reporter impersonation document fight
 

mikenova shared this story from Stars and Stripes.

A federal appeals court has sided with reporters in a court fight over documents that began after an FBI agent pretended to be an Associated Press journalist while investigating bomb threats at a Washington state high school.

The Trump-Putin War on American Intelligence Is in Overdrive
 

mikenova shared this story from The XX Committee.

In my last column, I criticized the anti-Trump resistance for its excessive zeal in exposing Russian espionage, observing that counterintelligence work driven by politics and emotion rather than facts and discipline is bound to go wrong. At worst, we run the risk of a new wave of McCarthyism, with meandering witch-hunts for Kremlin agents (most of them imaginary) instead of serious counterspy efforts.

Whats interesting is that the resistance is a movement of the Left and its adherents, with few exceptions, are recent fans of counterespionage. Their interest in Russian spying is driven by Donald Trump and is as intense as it is new. Their enthusiasm for unmasking traitors customarily outpaces their understanding of real-world intelligence operations.

Its difficult to miss that these are the same people who mocked Mitt Romney only five years ago when the Republican nominee for president presciently opined that Russia constituted our main geopolitical foea suggestion that was mocked as old-think by President Barack Obama and his followers.

Moreover, the Left was hardly brimming with anti-Kremlin zeal back in the 1970s and 1980s, when it was mainly the Right, aided by a few stodgy old Democratic Cold Warriors, that signaled the alarm about Soviet espionage and propaganda as a threat to our country and the West. Indeed, for many on the Left, the notion that Moscow was aggressively spying on us was a notion deserving of derision.

How times change. Now the Left is on the enthusiastic hunt for Russian agents, while the Right has transformed itself seemingly overnight from a Romneyian skepticism about the Kremlin to indifference to the threat at best, and at worst a strange and unsettling affection for Vladimir Putin. President Donald Trump is the Republicans biggest Kremlin fan, and his reticence to hear anything bad about Russia extends to any classified White House discussions about Kremlin interference in our 2016 election. As a bombshell new report in the Washington Post explains, the presidents Intelligence Community briefers customarily avoid anything to do with Russia in their daily briefing to the commander-in-chief altogether, lest they upset him by saying something bad about Putin.

Read the rest at The Observer …

Filed under: CounterintelligenceEspionageHistoryUSG

Trump and Putin Are Attack American Intelligence, FBI
 

mikenova shared this story from Observer.

President Donald Trump on the South Lawn of the White House on December 15, 2017. Alex Wong/Getty Images

In my last column, I criticized the anti-Trump “resistance” for its excessive zeal in exposing Russian espionage, observing that counterintelligence work driven by politics and emotion rather than facts and discipline is bound to go wrong. At worst, we run the risk of a new wave of McCarthyism, with meandering witch-hunts for Kremlin agents (most of them imaginary) instead of serious counterspy efforts.

What’s interesting is that the “resistance” is a movement of the Left and its adherents, with few exceptions, are recent fans of counterespionage. Their interest in Russian spying is driven by Donald Trump and is as intense as it is new. Their enthusiasm for unmasking traitors customarily outpaces their understanding of real-world intelligence operations.

It’s difficult to miss that these are the same people who mocked Mitt Romney only five years ago when the Republican nominee for president presciently opined that Russia constituted our main geopolitical foe—a suggestion that was mocked as old-think by President Barack Obama and his followers.

Moreover, the Left was hardly brimming with anti-Kremlin zeal back in the 1970s and 1980s, when it was mainly the Right, aided by a few stodgy old Democratic Cold Warriors, that signaled the alarm about Soviet espionage and propaganda as a threat to our country and the West. Indeed, for many on the Left, the notion that Moscow was aggressively spying on us was a notion deserving of derision.

How times change. Now the Left is on the enthusiastic hunt for Russian agents, while the Right has transformed itself seemingly overnight from a Romneyian skepticism about the Kremlin to indifference to the threat at best, and at worst a strange and unsettling affection for Vladimir Putin. President Donald Trump is the Republicans’ biggest Kremlin fan, and his reticence to hear anything bad about Russia extends to any classified White House discussions about Kremlin interference in our 2016 election. As a bombshell new report in the Washington Post explains, the president’s Intelligence Community briefers customarily avoid anything to do with Russia in their daily briefing to the commander-in-chief altogether, lest they upset him by saying something bad about Putin.

As if that weren’t bad enough, Team Trump has now taken to direct public attacks on our Intelligence Community in a desperate effort to stave off the results of the investigation of the president’s ties to Moscow that’s being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller. President Trump’s lawyers misinformedhim that the Russia investigation would wrap up by the end of 2017, without grave damage to the White House. That was patently false, as demonstrated by recent indictments and plea deals by major members of Team Trump, not to mention the prospect of more indictments soon—perhaps of people even closer to the president.

With his presidency and more on the line, Donald Trump is in the fight of his life, and it’s no coincidence that his media mouthpieces are hurling everything they can at the people who are investigating him—above all Mueller and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Attacks on Mueller are now routine, with torrents of unsubstantiated allegations of his alleged bias against President Trump. According to the Fox News version of reality, Mueller, a Republican, has surrounded himself with partisan Democrats who are out to sink Team Trump, evidence be damned.

A scandal has emerged over private text messages sent last year between Peter Strzok, a top FBI counterintelligence official, and his mistress. These texts showed Strzok to be notably anti-Trump, privately—as, let it be said, were virtually all IC personnel in 2016 who were acquainted with the modus operandi of Russian intelligence, since they understood that Trump’s Kremlin ties were problematic at best—and as a result Mueller removed him from the special counsel investigation.

This event has been turned into a cause célèbre by Trump fans, notwithstanding the administration’s alleged hatred for leaks, with the implication that the FBI is tainted. Indeed, the president’s media allies are portraying our nation’s top law enforcement agency as a rogue outfit and worse. Fox News has led this charge, naturally, and last week Fox stalwart Gregg Jarrett, in an appearance on the vehemently pro-Trump Sean Hannity show, which parrots Kremlin lies, went full tinfoil, in a monologue worthy of Alex Jones:

Mueller has been using the FBI as a political weapon. The FBI has become America’s secret police. Secret surveillance, wiretapping, intimidation, harassment and threats. It’s like the old KGB that comes for you in the dark of night, banging through your door.

Not to be outdone, this week on Fox News, Tom Fitton, the head of Judicial Watch, a right-wing lobbying group, called for the Bureau’s dissolution:

I think the FBI’s been compromised. Forget about shutting down Mr. Mueller. Do we need to shut down the FBI because it was turned into a KGB-type operation by the Obama administration?

Let’s be clear here. Jarrett and Fitton—with no pushback from Fox hosts—publicly compared the FBI to the Soviet secret police, which murdered millions of innocents, ran the GULAG, and served as the enforcer of Red terror for 74 years. The KGB was one of the nastiest, most blood-drenched organizations in human history. It was judge, jury, and executioner for the Bolsheviks. The rational mind has difficulty seeing how the FBI, a law-based police force held to account by Congressional oversight, is “like the KGB” unless facts simply don’t matter anymore.

Apparently, they don’t matter to Team Trump, since their fact-free war on the FBI and more broadly the IC shows no signs of abating. Of course, there’s nothing new about attacking American counterintelligence, seeking to delegitimize it by any means possible. Throughout the last Cold War, Soviet mouthpieces and allies portrayed U.S. efforts to detect and deter Communist espionage as illegitimate, sneaky, and somehow just not right.

Hence, we have countless media depictions, beginning in the 1960s, of Western (especially American) counterintelligence as inherently suspicious, paranoid and malevolent, when not merely risible. Such characterizations served to delegitimize U.S. efforts to stymie Soviet espionage and propaganda, and none can deny they were effective. The chronic American weakness in counterintelligence has many causes, but popular distaste for their work thanks to such scurrilous media depictions is surely a factor.

The Kremlin went further, employing Active Measures on a regular basis to smear American counterintelligence, fabricating evidence such as faked “official” documents to present our counterspies in a dismal light. For decades, the FBI, America’s lead counterintelligence agency, was a special target of KGB disinformation, never more than when it was headed by J. Edgar Hoover, the eccentric yet gifted man who led the Bureau for a half-century until 1972.

As revealed by KGB archives after the Cold War, Soviet spies targeted Hoover for public harassment, and it worked. To this day, some Americans whisper sordid allegations about Hoover’s personal life: for instance, that he was secretly a flamboyant homosexual, even attending parties wearing a dress with a feather boa like an “old flapper.” Few know that these stories were ginned up by KGB disinformation specialists in Moscow and have no basis in fact. Combined with Kremlin lies that alleged the FBI was secretly behind everything from right-wing domestic terrorism to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy—the latter was another spectacularly successful Chekist Active Measure—this dirty campaign did enduring damage to the public reputation of the Bureau and its leadership.

These lies were parroted by too many Americans, mainly on the Left, until they became cosmically true due to constant repetition. They live on today despite their thorough debunking. Something similar is happening now on the Right. To protect Donald Trump from the Russia investigation, which the president has repeatedly insisted is a “hoax” and “fake news,” his defenders are spinning their own hoaxes and fake news in a sordid fashion, taking aim at core institutions of our Republic.

Since the inauguration, the Trump White House has howled gigantic curses at the alleged “deep state,”another figment of the fervent imagination of the InfoWars and Fox News set, and they’ve now taken direct aim at the FBI. The Bureau will survive this unpleasant episode, but its reputation is being damaged by allies of their boss, our president, who are acting in concert with the FBI’s old enemies in Moscow. Why the Russians seek to dismantle American counterintelligence, their main enemy in the SpyWar, is no mystery. Why our president does, however, is a deeply troubling question that gets at the heart of the rot in Washington right now.

John Schindler is a security expert and former National Security Agency analyst and counterintelligence officer. A specialist in espionage and terrorism, he’s also been a Navy officer and a War College professor. He’s published four books and is on Twitter at @20committee. 

The Trump-Putin War on American Intelligence Is in Overdrive

Collusion Doesnt Have to be Criminal to be an Ongoing Threat
 

mikenova shared this story from Just Security.

During the hearing with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Wednesday, some members of the House Judiciary Committee did not try to conceal their attempt to discredit and derail Special Counsel Robert Muellers investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia during the 2016 election. The way that the Russia investigation has been framed has made it easy for them to do that: Its legitimacy appears to rest on finding a smoking gun of criminality a simple yes or no on whether any of the cast of characters in this saga commited a serious federal offence.

But making this merely about the bright line between illegality (criminality) and legality means that most Americans are missing what is right under our noses. To wit, there is no question that Russia made multiple, unprecedented attempts to penetrate a U.S. presidential campaign, that its approaches were not rebuffed, and that its contacts were sensitive enough that everyone, to a person, has concealed them. These facts might never be adjudicated inside a courtroom they may not even be illegal but they present a clear and present national security threat that we cannot ignore. We write here to broaden the public understanding of that security threat, and to underscore why the principal part of Muellers investigationwhich is a counterintelligence probe not a criminal oneis performing a vital role for our country.

Assets: Tools In A Toolbox

Russias intelligence services, like any intelligence service worth its salt, aims to recruit a variety of assets (a.k.a. sources). Assets are a spys version of a toolbox. Different intelligence operations require different tools, so spies target a wide range of potential assets who vary according to their skills, access, and how they can be utilized. How witting they are of their role and how much control the foreign intelligence service (FIS) has over them will often depend on how far the asset will have to go to serve the FISs purpose.

Its useful to think of recruitment the process of getting an asset to work on behalf of an intelligence service in dating terms. Lets say a guy spots a girl hed be interested in dating. The first thing he does is assess if she might be interested in dating him, too. To save himself potential embarrassment, he might send a friend over to the girl first, to see how she feels. If she shows interest, then the guy will officially ask her out. Of course, he doesnt propose marriage on the first date: there is a period of courtship. It might be slow, it might be fast, but if all goes well and its a good match, the marriage proposal is the ultimate step. When it happens, it probably wont come as a surprise; in fact, in the spy context, it might not have to be stated out loud at all.

In the world of espionage, the dating ritual might look something like this: An intelligence officer (IO) spots a target of interest, likely based on their access to information or resources of value. To assess that persons willingness to cooperate, the IO gives the target a task to test their reaction. Usually this will be something easy, but slightly unethical like, say, asking a political candidates team to meet with people who offer (potentially stolen) dirt on the opposing candidate. As protection, the IO might send someone else on his behalf, known as a cutout, to set up this type of meeting this ensures plausible deniability in the event that the meeting goes south. But if the target performs the task as desired, they have shown a willingness to cross the line, even if they havent done so yet. (And even if nothing of value is handed over in that initial meeting.)

From there, the IO has a hook to meet with the target again, and then again. Each time, the IO will slowly ask for more, ratcheting up the risk each time but always offering enough of an incentive to make it worthwhile for the target to accept. As the tasks requested of the target become dicier, the IO will begin taking the relationship underground. By the time the IO asks the target to do something clearly illegal, not only has the relationship become clandestine, but the IO has collected a whole string of compromising actions the target has performed along the way but probably shouldnt have and now the IO has leverage over the target.

In short, the key to recruitment is time and subtlety. An intelligence officer doesnt make a target compromise himself in one fell swoop.  Rather, it happens incrimentally  with each small act that crosses the line giving the intelligence officer a bit more control. Before the target knows it, the IO has made the target into an asset.

A Russian Courtship

From an intelligence standpoint, the numerous Russian approaches to the Trump campaign look like a textbook recruitment effort. Campaign officials were an attractive target for Russian intelligence, of course. They provided a chance to catapult Russian influence into the Oval Office, and to obtain the Holy Grail: to manipulate a sitting presidential administration to act in a way that is favorable to Russia. (And even if their candidate did not make it into the White House, they would have a grip on him and some of his most powerful associates for years to come.)

But this ambitious goal would not have been foreseeable at the beginning of Russias operation. After all, Trump and many of his associates were already on Russias radar screen well before he was running for president. This isnt because Russian intelligence services are geniuses who maneuvered a grand scheme into place. Rather, it is because Russias intelligence services, like all intelligence services, are always on the lookout for new assets to add to their toolbox that could be useful in the future. An obvious target would be a wealthy business person interested in working on projects in Russia, or places like Ukraine, or benefiting from Russian investments. By the time a pie-in-the-sky opportunity like a presidential election came along, much of the groundwork for further outreach would already be in place.

The sheer number of Russias attempted contacts with the highest level of a U.S. presidential campaign and then transition team is mind-boggling. They employed Ambassador Sergei Kislyak to engage members of Trumps team, like Jeff Sessions, Michael Flynn, and Jared Kushner. They put the head of a Kremlin-linked bank under U.S. sanctions in front of Kushner. They used Trump business partners to arrange a meeting between a Russian lawyer and others (including with ties to Russian intelligence) with Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Kushner. They used the National Rifle Association to get another Russian banker close to Putin, Alexander Torshin, in front of Trump Jr. They approached George Papadopolous through a Russian professor in an effort to set up a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin (and who also gave information that the Kremlin had dirt on Clinton). They got Carter Page to provide one of their intelligence officers with industry documents and invited him to Moscow and elsewhere for meetings. They used Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska to keep pressure on Manafort, who was already being paid by Russian intelligence. They partnered with WikiLeaks which contacted Trump Jr. They feted Mike Flynn at a gala for Russia Today and paid him.

And those are only the contacts we know about; U.S. and European intelligence communities probably know about others. But this list is enough to show that the Russian effort to influence the Trump team involved multiple players, some covert and some less so. The Russians might not have directly orchestrated all of the approaches in some cases, they may have simply exploited existing relationships but all of the contacts were useful to them and would have most likely been reported back to the Kremlin in some form.

The context of the approaches also reveals that Russian intelligence agencies were working along multiple fronts. We can imagine cyber thieves collecting DNC e-mails, a domestic counterintelligence service providing potential dirt on and assessments of Trump surrogates escapades in Moscow, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs leveraging unwitting but pliable contacts, and the SVRRussias external intelligence agency, akin to the CIArecruiting potential agents-of-influence in and around the campaign itself. Each avenue provided an angle that Russian intelligence could exploit as needed.

The Pattern of Deception

By accepting certain meetings, members of the Trump team communicated that they were indeed interested in having a relationship. They welcomed the prospect of receiving stolen material on their opponent, and even sought it out. Nevertheless, to date, there is no indication that Russias efforts proceeded beyond the initial stages. Its possible, then, that Russias efforts to infiltrate the Trump campaign went nowhere.

Heres where the deception on the part of Trump and his team is telling. Trump and his crew never, not once, considered reporting Russian approaches to their campaign, even after law enforcement and intelligence officials made it public that Russia had attempted to interfere with the election. Rather, at every turn, they encouraged unethical behavior and misled the American people, Congress, and even the FBI, claiming repeatedly they had nothing to do with Russia or Russians even as evidence continues to surface that reveals otherwise.

Further, since taking office, the Trump administration has strenuously resisted taking any action against Russia for its attack on our democratic process. In fact, the President continues to call the intelligence communitys assessment a hoax and has taken no meaningful steps to protect against further interference in the future. President Trump even went as far as trying to return Russias spy compounds which were confiscated by the Obama administration as a part of its sanctions. Even after Congress passed a bill reinforcing sanctions against Russia this past August, the Trump administration has yet to enforce them.

This inexplicable policy position, combined with the administrations pattern of deception, suggests two explanations (which are not mutually exclusive): The first is that Russias relationship with at least some members of the campaign did proceed, and involved ethically or legally questionable activities that the campaign needs to conceal. Second, it may be that members of the Trump campaign have engaged in problematic activities known to Russia related or unrelated to the election itself which Russia now holds as a sword of Damocles over them. Either way, it strongly suggests that Russia could have leverage over those who are now in charge of protecting the United States, rendering them unable to act solely in the interest of our country.

Is Collusion a Crime?

Most of the things intelligence officers and assets doparticularly during the process of recruiting someonearent necessarily illegal. In the context of the Russia investigation, First Amendment concerns and the powers afforded to the office of the President make it especially difficult to pin down a crime. For instance, frequently meeting a known intelligence officer, while certainly unwise, is not itself a crime. Neither is it clear that listening to what information a foreigner may have to offer a campaign crosses the tripwire of campaign finance laws. And given the presidents almost unfettered discretion in the area of foreign affairs, disputing his decision to remove or not enforce sanctions wanders into a constitutional thicket.

This isnt to say that Mueller wont find evidence of criminal acts in his investigation. Based on the indictments and plea deals weve seen so far, its clear that at least some of the people associated with the Trump campaign have committed crimes. But the U.S. criminal code is narrow: It encompasses specific activities like computer hacking, or money laundering, or lying to federal agents. Mueller will also proceed cautiously, only bringing charges where both the law and evidence are extraordinarily clear. What becomes public through the criminal justice system, then, will only be a sliver of what actually took place between Russia and the Trump campaign behind the scenes.

The only crime that might reveal a larger effort is conspiracy, which is an agreement among two or more people to commit a crime. But its unlikely that there would be evidence of an explicit quid pro quo in the intelligence world. This is because intelligence operations are compartmentalizedthat is, each asset only knows their own role, but not necessarily to what extent others might be involved so no one asset would understand or know the full breadth of an entire operation. And since the recruitment process typically happens with a wink and a nod, rather with a brute insistence on favors, the trail of evidence needed to prove conspiracy (as well as an underlying crime) may be sparse.

But the truth is that collusion with the Kremlin doesnt have to be criminal to be dangerous. If the Trump campaign received offers of assistance from Russia, and they did nothing to discourage that help (or even encouraged it), they are indebted to a foreign adversary whose national interests are opposed to those of the United States. You can be sure that at some point, Putin will come to collect, if he has not done so already and when it comes to protecting our democracy the administration will be a puppet of a foreign adversary, not our countrys first line of defense. While the potential criminal aspects of this case need to be investigated, we need to take a good look at what we already know. The national security threat is staring us right in the face.

(Photo Credit: BPA via Getty Images)
2:13 PM 12/15/2017 President Donald Trump said that there was tremendous anger over the FBIs disgraceful behavior
 

mikenova shared this story from FBI News Review.

M.N.: And this is absolutely correct and the truth, regardless of his own problems. But it is more than that: the FBI’s behavior is not just “disgraceful”, it is plainly and overtly CRIMINAL in many instances, about which we simply do not know or do not know enough, and in various areas. We do have to … Continue reading“2:13 PM 12/15/2017 – President Donald Trump said that there was tremendous anger over the FBI’s disgraceful behavior”

Anger grows as Puerto Rico misses power restoration deadline
 

mikenova shared this story from Stars and Stripes.

Nine of Puerto Rico’s 78 municipalities remain entirely without power, and thousands of businesses have closed. The lack of electricity and other ongoing problems have sparked an exodus to the U.S. mainland, with more than 130,000 Puerto Ricans fleeing the island.

Today’s Headlines and Commentary
 

mikenova shared this story from Lawfare – Hard National Security Choices.

President Donald Trump said that there was tremendous anger over the FBIs disgraceful behavior, criticizing the Bureau just before he appeared at its training facility in Quantico, Virginia, to praise the nations police officers the Washington Post. Its a shame what happened to the FBI Trump told reporters as he prepared to depart for a ceremony at the FBIs National Academy, where more than 200 law enforcement officers graduated from a training program..

In an annual press conference on Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin praised President Trumps job performance, saying Washington was consumed by spy mania and that the Russian investigation was invented by people who are in opposition to Trump to characterize his work as illegitimate. The Wall Street Journal  that Putin spoke favorably about the U.S. economy, attributing rising stock exchange numbers to Trump. The Russian president also questioned the investigation of contacts between former national security adviser Michael Flynn and the former Russian ambassador to the United States, Sergey Kislyak, saying it was a world wide practice for diplomatic teams to understand what people will do if they come into power and how to react to it. Putin also dismissed his domestic competitors in the Russian presidential election. POLITICO  that Trump called Putin to thank him for his remarks on the U.S. economy, and to discuss how they can resolve the issue of North Koreas nuclear program. The two leaders spoke for 10 minutes with no one listening in, including national security adviser H.R. McMaster.

President Trump suggested this morning that he has not dismissed the idea of pardoning former national security adviser Michael Flynn after he pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI earlier this month CNN. Speaking to reporters on the South Lawn of the White House this morning, Trump said he was not ready to talk about pardons, saying well see what happens, lets see. Trump instead focused attention on the Department of Justice and the FBI, saying that people were very, very angry about what is happening at the two agencies. His lawyer for the Russia investigation, Ty Cobb, told CNN after Trumps remarks that the president is not considering pardoning Flynn.

Senate Republicans are attempting to shield special counsel Robert Mueller from mounting GOP fury about purported  evidence that his team was biased against Trumpthe Post. As House Republicans demand a special counsel to investigate Robert Mueller in the face of newly-released anti-Trump, pro-Hillary Clinton text messages between FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI attorney Lisa Page, Senate Republicans have come to Muellers aid. Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) are among those defending Mueller, saying that the FBI officials conduct does not impinge on Muellers integrity in investigating Russian interference into the 2016 presidential election.

Robert Mueller has requested employee emails from Cambridge Analytica, a data firm that worked for President Trumps campaign to the Journal. The request sought the emails of all employees who had worked on the Trump campaign and was made before the media reported in October that Cambridge CEO Alexander Nix had contacted Wikileaks co-founder Julian Assange during the 2016 presidential election. The ties between Cambridge Analytica and Wikileaks are also of interest to the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, according to that committees ranking member, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.).

Foreign Policy  the secret history of the Russian consulate in San Francisco, detailing its busy activity.

In a continuing feud between the State Department and the White House, a White House official said that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has not learned his lesson from the last time, after Tillerson recently offered to start diplomatic talks with North Korea over its nuclear program the Post. The official also stated that our allies know at this point hes not really speaking for the administration and that he cannot stay in the job for much longer. White House spokesman Raj Shah rebutted this assertion, saying Trump is pleased with his national security team, which includes Secretary Tillerson.

National security adviser H.R. McMaster is under fire from critics who say the three star general is hurting efforts to recruit members to the Presidents Intelligence Advisory Board, Foreign Policy . Oracle Corporation executive Safra Catz and tech magnate Peter Thiel have both reportedly turned down jobs leading the advisory board in part over concerns about McMaster, although others dispute that account. This latest charge is just the latest in an ongoing feud between factions on the National Security Council.

A new U.S. Army study of U.S. participation in the battle for Mosul, code-named Eagle Strike, details that difficulties in sharing imagery contributed to different understandings what was going on during hostilities the Journal. Explaining that a common operational and intelligence picture is critical, the report also raised concerns about the militarys response to the ISIS drone threat, the use of private contractors, training for urban warfare, and the means by which American forces communicated with Mosuls trapped residents. The report will be used in making training decisions, helping to inform the approach to future conflicts, according to Center for Army Lessons Learned Director Col. Mike Pappal.

The Post  that ISIS used rockets supplied by the United States, some of which appear to have been provided to Syrian rebels battling President Bashar al-Assad. The revelation is part of a report by Conflict Armament Research, a weapons-tracking group based in Britain that has documented more than 40,000 firearms and munitions across Iraq and Syria stemming from field investigations.

Sen. Todd Young (R-In.) is holding up the confirmation of Trumps nominee to be the State Departments top legal counsel, Jennifer Newstead, in an effort to persuade the Trump administration to pressure Saudi Arabia to end its stranglehold on aid to Yemen Foreign Policy. The now nearly three-year-old conflict in Yemen has been largely overlooked by the U.S. government, despite U.S. supplies of bombs and fuel to the Saudis. International aid organizations said the senators efforts were responsible for the White Houses nudge last month to Saudi Arabia to lift a blockage on U.N. flights and shipments to Yemen.

The Military Times  that new satellite imagery shows that this year, China has built infrastructure covering 72 acres in the Spratly and Paracel islands to equip its larger outposts as air and naval bases. The islands, part of disputed territory in the South China Sea, have long been a source of tension between the United States and China, but those tensions have eased in the past year. The activity comes as China joins negotiations with southeast Asian nations to agree on a code of conduct for the South China Sea.

Jessica Trisko Darden of the Post  how far Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will go to stop terrorism in light of his recent extension of martial law for a second time in his home province of Mindanao, where militants associated with the Islamic State have made a stronghold.

Britains Chief of Defense Staff Air Chief Marshal Stuart Peach warned that Britain and its NATO allies must defend deep-sea cables against potentially disastrous attacks by the Russian navy, Reuters . The vulnerability of the cables, which carry 95 percent of the worlds daily communications and over $10 trillion in daily transactions, are a new risk to our way of life, according to Peach.

 

ICYMI: Yesterday on Lawfare

Philip Carter  how changing norms surrounding civilian-military relations as a result of the Trump administration may apply in the future.

Benjamin Wittes  his thoughts about Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosensteins testimony before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

Chris Mirasola  the proceedings of the military commission trying commission for the week of Dec. 4.

Paul Rosenzweig  an amicus brief he filed in the Microsoft warrant case.

Stewart Baker  this weeks Cyberlaw Podcast: Did AlphaGo Launch an Arms Race with China?

Matthew Kahn  British barrister David Andersons independent assessment of British counterterrorism intelligence.

Baker  a reasonable explanation of the meaning behind the insurance policy text by FBI agent Peter Strzok.

 

Email the Roundup Team noteworthy law and security-related articles to include, and follow us on Twitter and  for additional commentary on these issues.  to receive Lawfare in your inbox. Visit our  to learn about upcoming national security events, and check out relevant job openings on our .


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