Election Interference and the Mueller Report

When first writing about the Russia! Russia! Russia! hysteria right after the Presidential election, I made mention of the fact that this wasn’t the first time that foreign powers had interfered with a US election, but in the two plus years since then, there has been barely a mention of that in the media, as if the Russian interference in the 2016 election was some sort of singular event, unprecedented in history.

Nope.

In 2012, both the Obama and Romney campaigns were under continuous cyber assault during election, with the National Republican Congressional Committee hardest hit.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo stated last year that Russians interfered in the 2012 elections as well as previous ones.

In 2008, China hacked the computer systems of both the Obama and McCain campaigns.

The Obama Administration was not exactly gung ho about doing anything to prevent Russian hacking. It rejected an attempt to “create an executive-branch task force to battle Russia’s covert information operations…”  But as I’ve noted, there has been a history of exactly this sort of interference, long before Trump made his live TV request to Russia, “Russia if you’re listening…”

Believe it or not, much of the Russia collusion conspiracy theory rests on this joke.

With that kind of history, one can only wonder why the Obama administration took such a lackadaisical approach to foreign powers “hacking” US elections, and why that’s Trump’s problem?

With the Mueller investigation rumored to be near its close, a healthy reminder is required of a few things I’ve previously mentioned:

No collusion.  As I’ve predicted for the past two years, I’m still sticking by my prediction that the Mueller Investigation will not show any collusion between Trump or the Trump campaign and Russia to “hack” the election.

However I don’t think that Mueller would actually wrap up the investigation unless he felt he had something that he could put in a report that would provide fodder for the original purpose of the investigation: Impeaching Trump. Based on the theory that a 70 plus year old billionaire is bound to have done something, there will probably be some slim reed the Democrats and never-Trumpers can grasp.  It probably wouldn’t be considered anything like an impeachable offense in an earlier age, but we’re still in the midst of hysteria so anything goes.

I would like to think that the Mueller investigation coming to a close would put to bed this nonsense conspiracy theory, but I suspect that the media will seamlessly move to a lot of other brand new phony conspiracy theories.

 

2018 Prediction Wrap Up

It’s been another so-so year in the predictions biz, which puts me way ahead of virtually any cable TV pundit.  So let’s review my predictions shall we?

Financing will be secured for a southern border wall and construction will begin.

I really held out hope that this would come true and it did provide just about the only real end-of-the year news drama, but no,  no cigar and no wall, as I begin to suspect would be the case when I wrote this.

The Mueller investigation will officially wrap up before the fall midterm elections.

This didn’t happen either.  Is it possible that Mueller really thinks there is Russian collusion, and if he just digs deep enough, he’s going to find it?  If so…what an idiot.  In any case, that invalidates my third prediction…

Mueller’s Investigation will not show any collusion between Trump or the Trump campaign and Russia to “hack” the election.  Derp.

Finally, I get one right:  The Republicans will keep control of the Senate after the 2018 elections.  But then…

The Republicans will keep control of the House after the 2018 elections.  So that’s another wrong one, but at least I’m clearer on why I got this wrong.  But as I wrote after the mid-terms, I totally underestimated

The price of Bitcoin will crash in 2018.  On January 1, 2018, the price was $14,560.84, and on December 31st, it was  $3876.60.  That sounds like the bubble burst to me.

At least 3 terrorist attacks in Western Europe with double digit casualties (Injuries and or deaths).  Although I got this one wrong, it’s happy news that I got this wrong.  Western European terrorism has continued to decline, with only 8 deaths from terrorism in Western Europe.

Kim Jong-un will still be the supreme head honcho of North Korea throughout 2018.  This seems ridiculous now but at the beginning of the year all of the “smartest people” thought there was a real possibility that Kim would be overthrown.

US Housing prices will continue to steadily increase throughout the year.  Although the latest data I can find only goes through October, housing continues to show a steady increase.

There will be an infrastructure bill that will pass with some Democratic votes.   Not even close.

So out of 10 predictions, I got 6 of them wrong, giving me a failing grade of 40%.  Not great in my own terms, but still better than Bill Kristol or any cable TV pundit.

 

 

 

FBI Double Down’s on Corruption: Used Leaked Stories to get FISA Warrants

What the…I had just wrote a few days ago how the former FBI Director James Comey lied about reviewing emails having to do with the reopened Clinton email investigation during the final days of the 2016 election. Now in the “hold my beer” department the FBI tries to beat that breach of trust with another.

“An FBI intelligence analyst admitted to House committees last week that bureau officials were known to leak information to the press and then use the resulting articles to help obtain surveillance warrants, according to a source with knowledge of his testimony.

Jonathan Moffa, who worked with controversial former FBI officials Peter Strzok and Lisa Page, testified last Friday behind closed doors before the House Judiciary Committee and House Oversight Committee.

The source with knowledge of his statements confirmed to Fox News that Moffa said FBI personnel would use media reports based on information they leaked to justify applications for Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants.

The source told Fox News that Moffa acknowledged this “had been a practice in the past.””

So I feel vindicated in my belief that the FBI needs to be broken apart and demolished.  A free society cannot have this sort of routine lawlessness from their chief law enforcement agency.  Or we can choose not be a free society.

Reuter’s Fake News on the Mueller Indictment

In a busy news week (but aren’t they all these days?) I can barely keep up to read what’s going on, never mind look more deeply into an issue and analyze it.  However, certain things stick out.  And with the latest Mueller indictment of 12 Russian GRU Cyber warriors, a couple of things stuck out.

The Reuters headline to the story, “U.S. indictments show technical evidence for Russian hacking accusations,” was eye popping because I’m not familiar with indictments actually containing evidence, but it wasn’t just a headline blurb that some editor pasted on someone else’s story, it was in the body of the story too:

“SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – U.S. indictments against a dozen Russian intelligence officers on Friday provided detailed technical evidence to back up allegations of Russian hacking and leaking of information to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”

The indictment tells a compelling and detailed story, but no evidence.  But such is the strength of Reuter’s reputation that I had a weekend long online argument about whether the indictment consists of “evidence” or not.  But the story in the indictment is good that I didn’t believe that Mueller’s team could have gotten this information.  It had to come from US intelligence sources.  If there is any “evidence’ it resides there, as the article seemed to admit further down:

“Some researchers said the indictment might have depended on U.S. signals intelligence, the fruits of which are rarely revealed, because it quotes electronic messages sent to an unidentified organization presumed to be London-based WikiLeaks.”

Signals Intelligence from the NSA or some other agency makes more sense, but how in the world would that end up in a Justice Department Independent Counsel indictment?  Was it declassified?  Where did it come from?

Well according to Devin Nunes, the chairman of the House select committee on intelligence, in a Daily Caller article:

“…an Intelligence Committee report released to the public on April 27 contained “almost everything” laid out in Mueller’s indictment, which was handed down Friday.

The indictment accuses military intelligence officers with Russia’s GRU of hacking into the DNC and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton campaign’s computer networks and releasing stolen documents through the fake online personas, Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks.

Nunes said in an interview on “Fox Sunday Futures” that much of the information was included in Chapter 2 of the House Intelligence Committee’s report, but it was heavily redacted in response to requests from the Department of Justice and intelligence community.”

Hmm.

“Nunes said that the committee’s investigators have had information on the Russian spies for over a year. The committee began investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential campaign back in January 2017. Committee Republicans ended their investigation on March 12, saying that they found no evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government.

Nunes said that if the information in the Intelligence Committee’s report had been declassified, “the American people would have known we basically wrote the indictment for Mueller.””

So Nunes is claiming that virtually the entire indictment was lifted from the classified portion of his committee’s report.  A couple of questions come to mind.

Did Mueller get those portions of the report declassified so he could include it on his indictment?

If so, why couldn’t the House Intelligence Committee release these portions of their report?

If Mueller didn’t get the story of the indictment from the House report, where did he get it from?  An intelligence community leak?

If this information wasn’t declassified, didn’t someone or multiple someone’s release that information illegally?

In any case, whether the release was legal or not, it seems the only place this could have come from was the intelligence community, meaning the actual evidence, sources and methods and classified reports, would NEVER be used in an open court.  There is no way to actually prosecute these 12 Russians, even if you get them in the United States and standing before a judge.

It’s Concord Management all over again.

So this is not only fake news, it’s a fake indictment as well.  It’s a good thing that I no longer concentrate on every detail of these investigations in the same way I used to do.  It seems every time I do, I discover I’ve wasted my time on fake news and fake investigations.