Tag: Intelligence

Trump Revokes Ex-C.I.A. Director John Brennan’s Security Clearance – The New York Times

For the record, as someone who completely agrees with this critique of Brennan, I am deeply offended that the White House deceitfully used it as an excuse to punish a critic. pic.twitter.com/GhyevzmDy7

— Dan Froomkin (@froomkin) August 15, 2018

Trumps stated justifications for this are valid, but that’s not why he did this

Donald Trump has pulled John Brennan’s Security Clearance.

To be sure, after Brennan spied on a Senate investigation of the CIA, and lied about it, he should have been fired and jailed by Barack Obama, but this is not why his clearance was revoked happened 3 weeks ago (it was revealed today).  This was political retribution.

It’s kind of like seeing your mother-in-law drive off a cliff in your brand new car though, and the same would apply to former DNI James Clapper, who committed perjury before Congress, and former CIA and NSA chief Michael Hayden whose trail of illegal domestic surveillance is legion.

If all of them hat their tickets pulled, it would be a good thing, but not this way:

In a remarkable attack on a political opponent, President Trump on Wednesday revoked the security clearance of John O. Brennan, the C.I.A. director under President Barack Obama, citing what he called Mr. Brennan’s “erratic” behavior.

The White House had threatened last month to strip Mr. Brennan and other Obama administration officials — including Susan E. Rice, the former national security adviser; and James R. Clapper Jr., the former director of national intelligence — of their security clearances. At the time, Ms. Sanders said that Mr. Trump was considering doing it because “they politicized, and in some cases monetized, their public service and security clearances.”

Mr. Trump has questioned the loyalties of national security and law enforcement officials and dismissed some of their findings — particularly the conclusion that Moscow intervened in the 2016 election — as attacks against him.

Mr. Brennan has become a frequent critic of Mr. Trump since the 2016 presidential election, often taking to Twitter to question the president’s ability to serve in the Oval Office.

There is Bad, Really Bad, and ………

It’s Gina Haspel wot done it. Between her torture, her aggressive support of torture, and her oleaginous performance before the Senate Intelligence Committee, it was too much for the WaPo editorial board.

I would note that Fred Hiatt’s merry band of psychopaths, cheered the invasion of Iraq, destroying Libya, the Whitewater investigation, Bush’s purge of US attorneys, privatizing social security, supporting Trump’s border wall even as they called it stupid, privatizing education, and letting Richard Cohen near a typewriter.

I had though that there was no limit to their stupid, but Gina Haspel is just a bridge too far for them:

Gina Haspel, President Trump’s nominee to head the Central Intelligence Agency, faced a clear test when she appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday. After a 33-year career at the agency, she may be, in many respects, the most qualified person ever nominated to the post, as one Republican senator contended. But she has a dark chapter in her past: her supervision of a secret prison in Thailand where al-Qaeda suspects were tortured, and her subsequent involvement in the destruction of videotapes of that shameful episode.

As Sen. Mark R. Warner (Va.), the ranking Democrat on the committee, made clear from the outset, Ms. Haspel needs to clearly repudiate that record. She must confirm that techniques such as waterboarding — now banned by law — were and are unacceptable, and she must make clear that she will never again accept orders to carry out acts that so clearly violate American moral standards, even if they are ordered by the president and certified by administration lawyers as legal.

Ms. Haspel did not meet that test. She volunteered that the CIA would not on her watch engage in enhanced interrogations; she said she supported the “stricter moral standard” the country had adopted after debating the interrogation program. Pressed by Mr. Warner and several other senators, she eventually said she “would not allow CIA to undertake activity that I thought was immoral, even if it was technically legal.” What she would not say was that the torture she oversaw was immoral, or that it should not have been done, or that she regretted her own role in it — which, according to senators, included advocating for the program internally.

That ambiguity matters at a time when the United States is led by a president who has cheered for torture, who lacks respect for the rule of law and who demands absolute loyalty from his aides. Unfortunately, it makes it impossible for us, and others for whom the repudiation of torture is a priority, to support Ms. Haspel’s nomination.

The Post‘s editorial page is the 2nd most likely to be contradicted on the facts (a close race that the bat sh%$ insane Wall Street Journal editorial board won), but Gina Haspel is too much for them.

Honestly, I did not think that this was possible.

Gina Haspel Will Fit Right In

You hear about the CIA’s “MK Ultra” program around the fever swamps of conspiracy theorists, but it actually did exist, and it turns out that it was worse than I could have imagined.

The CIA tortured mental patients in the 1960s under this program:

In the 1950s and 60s, a Montreal hospital subjected psychiatric patients to electroshocks, drug-induced sleep and huge doses of LSD. Families are still grappling with the effects

Sarah Anne Johnson had always known the broad strokes of her maternal grandmother’s story. In 1956, Velma Orlikow checked herself into a renowned Canadian psychiatric hospital, the Allan Memorial Institute in Montreal, hoping for help with postpartum depression.

She was in and out of the clinic for three years, but instead of improving, her condition deteriorated – and her personality underwent jarring changes.

More than two decades passed before Johnson and her family had an explanation, and it was much stranger than any of them could imagine: in 1977 it emerged that the CIA had been funding experiments in mind-control brainwashing at the institute as part of a North America-wide project known as MK Ultra.

At the time, the US agency was scrambling to deepen its understanding of brainwashing, after a handful of Americans captured during the Korean war had publicly praised communism and denounced the US.

In 1957, this interest brought the agency north of the border, where a Scottish-born psychiatrist, Ewen Cameron, was trying to discover whether doctors could erase a person’s mind and instill new patterns of behaviour.

Orlikow was one of several hundred patients who became unwitting subjects of these experiments in Montreal in the late 1950s and early 60s.

if you are not truly horrified by this, miy might have a future at Langley.

Not a Surprise

If you are a proud war criminal, it follows that you will aggressively advocate for the coverup as well:

President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the CIA staunchly advocated for the destruction of videotapes showing detainees being tortured and obtained the legal opinions that were used to justify their destruction, a BuzzFeed News review of records and published accounts shows.

That version of Gina Haspel’s role in destroying the tapes contradicts the narrative being pressed by CIA officials that Haspel was only following orders when she helped engineer the tapes’ destruction and that she has served the agency well for 33 years, almost all as a clandestine officer.

The narrative is intended to help build support for Haspel, who in the early 2000s was chief of staff to Jose Rodriguez when he ran the CIA’s National Clandestine Service and authorized the tapes’ destruction. She’s now the CIA’s deputy director.

What Haspel did in the lead-up to that destruction is likely to be a major point of contention as the Senate considers her nomination. At least four senators, including Republican Rand Paul, have said they will oppose her confirmation because of her role with the tapes and in the CIA’s so-called enhanced interrogation program.

“The destruction is a high concern for me,” Sen. Angus King told BuzzFeed News. King, a member of the Senate intelligence committee, said Haspel’s involvement with the tapes concerns him more than her role in harsh interrogations because, while harsh interrogations had been approved, the destruction of the tapes went against senior officials’ wishes.

Those officials included the White House counsel to President George W. Bush, Alberto Gonzales; his successor, Harriet Miers; Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff David Addington; Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte, CIA Director Porter Goss and CIA acting general counsel John Rizzo — whose objections, Rodriguez wrote in a memoir, he was well aware of.

Haspel and Rodriguez “were the staunchest advocates inside the [CIA] building for destroying the tapes,” Rizzo wrote in his 2014 memoir, Company Man: Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA. “On the edges of meetings on other subjects, in the hallways, they would raise the subject almost every week.”

Seriously, Haspel might be the most morally bankrupt individual to be considered to head the CIA since Allen Dulles.

Hell, she might be the most morally bankrupt person to be considered to head a major intelligence organization since Lavrentiy Beria.

Holland Gets It

Dutch voters have narrowly rejected a law that would give spy agencies the power to carry out mass tapping of Internet traffic delivering a setback to Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s government.

Dubbed the “trawling law” by opponents, the legislation would allow spy agencies to install wire taps targeting an entire geographic region or avenue of communication, store information for up to three years, and share it with allied spy agencies.

With 89 percent of the vote from a referendum counted on Thursday morning, the “no” vote was 48.8 percent, against 47.3 percent “yes.”

The tapping law has already been approved by both houses of parliament. Rutte’s government had backed a “yes” vote, saying the law was needed to make the country safer, and though the referendum was non-binding Rutte has vowed to take the result seriously

It’s the right thing, and I cannot imagine American voters doing the same thing.

Of course, Rutte is under no obligation to do anything about this, so I expect some cosmetic breast beating, and perhaps the creation of a do-nothing commission to study the program, which will allow Holland to spy on its citizens.

Quote of the Day

The problem isn’t simply that these people weren’t prosecuted (though they should have been). It’s that they weren’t even shamed enough to think that maybe the public spotlight wasn’t the best thing for them.

Duncan “Atrios” Black

Atrios is talking about the torturers, like Gina Haspel, who were emboldened by Obama’s refusal to persecute even the worst of them.

Obama’s decision to, “Look forward, not back,” on torture did not put the chapter behind us, because, not only did it not put torture behind us, it Endorsed torture and torturers.

Barack Obama, and his AG at the time, Eric “Place” Holder are not stupid people, and they had to know that a failure to prosecute constituted and endorsement of torture.

The Gray Lady Drops the “T-Word”

The New York Times editorial board has come out against Gina Haspel running the CIA, and called her a torturer.

No euphemisms here:

President Trump has displayed enthusiasm for brutality over the past year. He has told the police to treat suspects roughly, praised President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines for murdering people suspected of drug ties and called for the execution of drug dealers.


Previously, anyone alarmed by Mr. Trump’s cavalier embrace of government-sanctioned cruelty was reassured by his vow to accept the advice of his defense secretary, Jim Mattis, who opposes Torture and promised at his Senate confirmation hearing that he would uphold American and international laws against it.

Now we have reason to be uneasy yet again.

When it comes to Torture, no American officials have been more practiced in those heinous dark arts than the officers and employees of the Central Intelligence Agency who applied it to terrorism suspects after 9/11. Few American officials were so directly involved in that frenzy of abuse, which began under President George W. Bush and was ended by President Barack Obama, as Gina Haspel.


As an undercover C.I.A. officer, Ms. Haspel played a direct role in the agency’s “extraordinary rendition program,” under which suspected militants were remanded to foreign governments and held at secret facilities, where they were Tortured by agency personnel.

Ms. Haspel ran the first detention site in Thailand and oversaw the brutal interrogations of two detainees, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri. Mr. Zubaydah was waterboarded at least 83 times in a single month; his C.I.A. Torturers bashed his head into walls and subjected him to other unspeakable brutalities. This cruelty stopped when investigators decided he had nothing useful to tell them.


The use of Torture and secret foreign prisons — think of the deeply disgraceful events at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq — was a boon to terrorist groups, helping their propaganda and recruitment efforts. Such activities were also an irritant to key allies and even put American forces and personnel at risk of legal liability and being subjected to harsh treatment when they are detained.

Ms. Haspel is reportedly respected by many C.I.A. officers. But she effectively ran an illegal program, and her promotion to such a top administration position, unless she forcefully renounces the use of Torture during her confirmation hearing, would send an undeniable signal to the agency, and the country, that Mr. Trump is indifferent to this brutality, regardless of what Secretary Mattis believes. Members of Congress and public interest groups need to stand up and make clear that, otherwise, the appointment is wrong.

(Emphasis mine)

She, and her defenders, are saying that she was just obeying orders.

That argument did not carry the day in Nuremberg, and they should not carry the day now, and the New York Times agrees.

This is F%$#ed Up and Sh%$

The Senate Intelligence Committee has concluded that Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee were behind the leak of private text messages between the Senate panel’s top Democrat and a Russian-connected lawyer, according to two congressional officials briefed on the matter.

Senator Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, the committee’s Republican chairman, and Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat, were so perturbed by the leak that they demanded a rare meeting with Speaker Paul D. Ryan last month to inform him of their findings. They used the meeting with Mr. Ryan to raise broader concerns about the direction of the House Intelligence Committee under its chairman, Representative Devin Nunes of California, the officials said.

To the senators, who are overseeing what is effectively the last bipartisan investigation on Capitol Hill into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election, the leak was a serious breach of protocol and a partisan attack by one intelligence committee against the other.


The messages between Mr. Warner and Adam Waldman, a Washington lawyer, show that the senator tried for weeks to arrange a meeting with Christopher Steele, the former British spy who assembled a dossier of salacious claims about connections between Mr. Trump, his associates and Russia. The Senate committee has had difficulty making contact with Mr. Steele, whom it views as a key witness. And Mr. Waldman, who knew Mr. Steele, presented himself as a willing partner.


Fox News published the texts, which were sent via a secure messaging application, in early February. President Trump and other Republicans loyal to him quickly jumped on the report to try to discredit Mr. Warner, suggesting that the senator was acting surreptitiously to try to talk to Mr. Steele.


Copies of the messages were originally submitted by Mr. Waldman to the Senate committee. In January, one of Mr. Nunes’s staff members requested that copies be shared with the House committee as well, according to a person familiar with the request who was not authorized to talk about it publicly. Days later, the messages were published by Fox News, the person said. Fox’s report said that it had obtained the documents from a Republican source it did not name.

The documents published by Fox News appear to back up the senators’ accusation. Though they were marked “CONFIDENTIAL: Produced to USSSCI on a Confidential Basis,” suggesting that they had come from the Senate panel, known as the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, the person familiar with the congressional requests said that the stamp was misleading and that other markings gave away their actual origin.

Specifically, the copy of the messages shared with the Senate had page numbers, and the one submitted to the House — while preserving the reference to the Senate committee — did not.

A lawyer for Mr. Waldman independently concluded that the House committee had probably shared the document and sent a letter to Mr. Nunes complaining about the leak, according to a person familiar with the letter.

I have my suspicions about who leaked the texts **cough** Nunes **cough**, but regardless of who did, this sort of rat-f%$#ing between the House and Senate is really unprecedented.

Things that Make you go HMMM………

Here’s another thought though:

The Treasury Department is part of the IC. Yet it never has to come testify to talk about the World Wide Threats that things like tax havens create. Why is that?

— emptywheel (@emptywheel) February 12, 2018

(IC=Intelligence Community)

“The fight against global terror is sacrosanct, but the ability of the rich to dodge taxes in offshore accounts is more sacrosanct,” he said paraphrasing Animal Farm.

So Not a Surprise

Donald Trump decided not to release the Democratic answer to the Nunes memo:

Donald Trump is blocking the release of the Democrats’ rebuttal to a Republican memo that accused the FBI of a politically biased investigation into the president’s ties to Russia.

Donald McGahn, the White House counsel, released a letter Friday night arguing that disclosure of the Democrats’ memo would “create especially significant concerns for the national security and law enforcement interests” and claiming that Trump was “inclined to declassify” the document, but could not at this time due to “classified and especially sensitive passages”.

Democrats on the House intelligence committee, which is investigating Russian meddling into the US election, authored the new memo, which they said provided context for a four-page memo authored by Republican Devin Nunes, a close ally of Donald Trump.


The Senate minority leader, Chuck Schumer, condemned the White House’s decision to block the Democratic memo on Friday, saying in a statement: “The President’s double standard when it comes to transparency is appalling. The rationale for releasing the Nunes memo, transparency, vanishes when it could show information that’s harmful to him. Millions of Americans are asking one simple question: what is he hiding?”

Yeah, pretty much, Chuck.

You know that Trump would never release the memo without redacting it into uselessness.

Pass the Popcorn

So, now the House Intelligence Committee has approved the release of the Democratic rebuttal to the Nunes memo, so the ball is in Trump’s court now.

So, Trump can approve the memo, and look like a complete tool, or he can try to suppress the memo, and look like a complete tool, or he can do nothing for a week, and look like a complete tool.

All in all, I am amused:

#ReleaseTheMemo is set to happen again.

Just days after releasing a memo sowing doubt about the integrity of those investigating ties between President Trump and Russia, the House intelligence committee agreed to declassify a Democratic rebuttal.

The original memo—penned by the staff of chairman Devin Nunes and released after fierce objections from both the Justice Department and the FBI—was immediately championed by Trump as a vindication.

But the top Democratic on the panel, Rep. Adam Schiff, claimed after prevailing in a unanimous committee vote on Monday that his document would reveal “many distortions and inaccuracies in the [Republican] memo.”

The vote came hours after Trump taunted Schiff on Twitter. And it was an abrupt reversal for the committee Republicans, all of whom voted against releasing the Democratic document last week—something their Democratic colleagues said was a political stunt to ensure the pro-Trump narrative laid out in the Nunes memo had days to circulate unrebutted. Schiff said Monday night that the Republicans’ transparency rhetoric placed them in an “unsupportable position” to reject the Democratic memo.

Much as with last week’s disclosure of Nunes’ memo, Trump now has five days to object to the release of the Democratic counter-memo. Should he, the full House can vote to override Trump and release it. Asked ahead of the Monday committee vote if the FBI had reservations about the release of the Democratic memo, the bureau declined comment.

This would be perfect, except that we are seeing bunches of alleged civil libertarians defending the surveillance activities of the FBI, CIA, and NSA.

The Nunes Memo

It’s complete crap.

There are a number of what appear to be elementary factual errors, but it’s basically a nothing-burger.

It is also a document that should ever have been classified at any level.

The claims that its release would compromise national security are, and ALWAYS HAS BEEN six pounds of sh%$ in a 5 pound bag.

Everyone involved in this knew this before the release, because the summaries that had been floating about made that quite clear,

The claims of security damage were made because the FBI did not want a criticism of their actions to be made public.

The bottom line is that Devin Nunes peddled a sh%$ sandwich for explicitly partisan political purposes.

There is nothing shocking about this:  This is what politicians, particularly hacks like Nunes do.

The objections, and the hysteria from the US state security apparatus is rather more concerning.  They are, as they frequently have in the past, attempted to short circuit any meaningful oversight by making bogus claims of national security consequences.

What is probably most significant is that this is the first time ever that the House Intelligence Committee has declassified a document unilaterally using Clause 11(g) of Rule X of the House rules.

What this means is that the intelligence apparatus was unable to delay, suppress, or rewrite this document to its liking.

This rule has been in existence since the 1970s, and has never been invoked before, and from this narrow perspective, at least from my perspective as someone who is profoundly suspicious of US intelligence and law enforcement agencies, this is a welcome change.

In fact, it should have happened years ago.

This was Intentional

The NSA, despite being ordered by a judge to preserve records because of a lawsuit, deleted all of the records:

The National Security Agency destroyed surveillance data it pledged to preserve in connection with pending lawsuits and apparently never took some of the steps it told a federal court it had taken to make sure the information wasn’t destroyed, according to recent court filings.

Word of the NSA’s foul-up is emerging just as Congress has extended for six years the legal authority the agency uses for much of its surveillance work conducted through U.S. internet providers and tech firms. President Donald Trump signed that measure into law Friday.

Since 2007, the NSA has been under court orders to preserve data about certain of its surveillance efforts that came under legal attack following disclosures that President George W. Bush ordered warrantless wiretapping of international communications after the 2001 terrorist attacks on the U.S. In addition, the agency has made a series of representations in court over the years about how it is complying with its duties.

However, the NSA told U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey White in a filing on Thursday night and another little-noticed submission last year that the agency did not preserve the content of internet communications intercepted between 2001 and 2007 under the program Bush ordered. To make matters worse, backup tapes that might have mitigated the failure were erased in 2009, 2011 and 2016, the NSA said.

This is a repeated behavior, and it was repeated over and over again, from an organization that throws away nothing, ever.

This was a deliberate action that was conducted to cover up misconduct by the organization. 

The only question is how high in the chain of command that it went.

Should Darth Vader Have Warrantless Spying Powers? With Rebel leaders Adam Schiff and Nancy Pelosi

Cartoonist Matt Bors observes that there is a conflict between opposing Donald Trump, and blithely supporting his ability to spy on US citizens without a warrant.

Somehow, after all the evidence of bad faith by both the US state security apparatus and the Trump Administration, somehow or other, House Minority Leader Pelosi and ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Schiff both voted to continue the warrantless surveillance programs for the us intelligence community.

You just know that this authority will be misused.

Click the link for the full cartoon.

Damn, This is Gangstah!

Senator Dianne Feinstein* just released the transcript of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s interview with Fusion GPS CEO Glenn Simpson unilaterally:

Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, defied her Republican colleagues on Tuesday to unilaterally make public a much-discussed transcript of the committee’s interview with one of the founders of the firm that produced a salacious and unsubstantiated dossier outlining a Russian effort to aid the Trump campaign.

The interview, with Glenn R. Simpson of Fusion GPS, provided few revelatory details about the firm’s findings on the Russian election effort or on President Trump and his campaign. But both the circumstances of its release and the vivid picture it paints of Mr. Simpson’s operation and his chief Russia investigator, Christopher Steele, provided fresh ammunition to both sides of a growing fight over the dossier.

In his testimony, Mr. Simpson sought to portray himself as an astute researcher well versed in the Russian government and that country’s organized crime. And he said Mr. Steele, the former British spy he hired to investigate the campaign’s ties to Russia, had “a Sterling reputation as a person who doesn’t exaggerate, doesn’t make things up, doesn’t sell baloney.”

Mr. Steele believed that his investigation had unearthed “a security issue about whether a presidential candidate was being blackmailed,” Mr. Simpson told the committee.

Mr. Simpson and Peter Fritsch, the firm’s co-founders, had called for the Judiciary Committee to release the transcript in an Op-Ed essay in The New York Times, arguing that it would show that Republicans were unfairly smearing their work. The request inspired a tart back-and-forth with Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the committee’s Republican chairman, but appeared to be going nowhere until Tuesday, when Ms. Feinstein took the side of Fusion.

For Ms. Feinstein and Mr. Grassley, two senior senators who worked closely last summer to initiate a joint Russia investigation, the breach was striking. But it reflects the growing divide between the two parties.


The release of the transcript broke what had more or less been a prevailing rule of secrecy around Congress’s various investigations into Russia’s efforts and the Trump campaign. Though pieces of information from witness interviews in the House and the Senate have leaked to the news media, only two complete transcripts — from House Intelligence Committee interviews with Carter Page and Erik Prince — had been publicly released among hundreds.

In a brief interview, Ms. Feinstein left open the possibility of releasing other transcripts from the committee’s investigation.

(emphasis mine)

Regardless of you opinion of the Steele dossier, and I tend to see it as a sink hole for otherwise-useful time and effort, the fact that Feinstein released the transcript without the agreement of Grassley.

This is far more extreme than simply releasing a minority report.  In fact, it is well nigh unprecedented action, particularly within the context of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

*Full disclosure, my great grandfather, Harry Goldman, and her grandfather, Sam Goldman were brothers, though we have never met, either in person or electronically.

This is Like Military Statecraft 101

As Russian pilots leverage the close quarters of the air campaign in Iraq and Syria to gather crucial intelligence on U.S. operations, one U.S. aircraft in particular could be vulnerable to prying eyes—the stealth F-22 Raptor.

The air war against the Islamic State has provided a “treasure trove” of information on U.S. operations and tactics for Russia and other adversaries, said Lt. Gen. VeraLinn Jamieson, U.S. Air Force deputy chief of staff for intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR), during a Jan. 4 event on Capitol Hill. After more than two years of flying in close proximity with U.S. aircraft in the skies over Syria, Moscow has gained “invaluable insights” about U.S. aircraft and tactics, she stressed.

“Our adversaries are watching us, they are learning from us, and the skies over Iraq and specifically Syria have really just been a treasure trove for them to see how we operate,” Jamieson said.

Although Jamieson did not mention specific aircraft types, it is a fact that the campaign provided Russia its first opportunity to see U.S. fifth-generation aircraft in action. The F-22 made its combat debut in the opening strikes on the Islamic State in Syria in 2014.

No one forced the US Air Force to show off their bling in Syria, where the need for an aircraft like the F-22 is nearly non-existent.

The fact that the Russians are there, with antennas recording everything that they can, was completely foreseeable.

Yeah, This is Concerning

It appears that the Executive Director of Intelligence Community Whistleblowing and Source Protection has been removed from his post with the intent of termination.

This is THE guy in the intelligence establishment responsible for protecting whistle blowers:

The chairman of the the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is demanding to know why an employee in charge of whistleblower outreach was removed from his workplace “pending a tribunal.”

“I just learned that Dan Meyer, the Executive Director of Intelligence Community Whistleblowing and Source Protection, was placed on administrative leave and escorted out of his offices pending a tribunal before senior executives to consider his proposed termination,” wrote Sen. Chuck Grassley, a Republican from Iowa, in a letter sent November 29 to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and Wayne Stone, the acting director of Office of the Inspector General of the Intelligence Community.

The intelligence community inspector general is tasked with conducting audits across the intelligence agencies and independently responding to whistleblower retaliation complaints.

The watchdog office has been involved in independent reviews of the Boston Marathon bombing, as well as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server.

It has also recently been embroiled in a turf war fraught with competing personalities and visions on how to provide resources for potential whistleblowers, as reported in an investigation by Foreign Policy. Dan Meyer, the man in charge of outreach to whistleblowers, had his duties and privileges revoked, and now he has been kicked out of his office pending an investigation.

It appears that the conflict started at around the time when Meyer wanted to inform contractors of their whistleblower rights.

Considering the rather checkered history of government contractors, particularly in the context of state security, my guess is that this is connected to this effort.

As Atrios Would Say, “Time for a Blogger Ethics Panel”

It appears that LA Times senior security reporter in Washington DC, made a habit of taking direction from the CIA on the content of his stories:

A prominent national security reporter for the Los Angeles Times routinely submitted drafts and detailed summaries of his stories to CIA press handlers prior to publication, according to documents obtained by The Intercept.

Email exchanges between CIA public affairs officers and Ken Dilanian, now an Associated Press intelligence reporter who previously covered the CIA for the Times, show that Dilanian enjoyed a closely collaborative relationship with the agency, explicitly promising positive news coverage and sometimes sending the press office entire story drafts for review prior to publication. In at least one instance, the CIA’s reaction appears to have led to significant changes in the story that was eventually published in the Times.

“I’m working on a story about congressional oversight of drone strikes that can present a good opportunity for you guys,” Dilanian wrote in one email to a CIA press officer, explaining that what he intended to report would be “reassuring to the public” about CIA drone strikes. In another, after a series of back-and-forth emails about a pending story on CIA operations in Yemen, he sent a full draft of an unpublished report along with the subject line, “does this look better?” In another, he directly asks the flack: “You wouldn’t put out disinformation on this, would you?”


Dilanian’s emails were included in hundreds of pages of documents that the CIA turned over in response to two FOIA requests seeking records on the agency’s interactions with reporters. They include email exchanges with reporters for the Associated Press, Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and other outlets. In addition to Dilanian’s deferential relationship with the CIA’s press handlers, the documents show that the agency regularly invites journalists to its McLean, Va., headquarters for briefings and other events. Reporters who have addressed the CIA include the Washington Post‘s David Ignatius, the former ombudsmen for the New York Times, NPR, and Washington Post, and Fox News’ Brett Baier, Juan Williams, and Catherine Herridge.

Dilanian left the Times to join the AP last May, and the emails released by the CIA only cover a few months of his tenure at the Times. They show that in June 2012, shortly after 26 members of congress wrote a letter to President Obama saying they were “deeply concerned” about the drone program, Dilanian approached the agency about story that he pitched as “a good opportunity” for the government.

It appears that the AP has conducted a review and called it all hunky-dory.

Of course, Google and Facebook are doing their level best to ensure that this sort of corrupt incestuous “journalism” is never challenged, by filtering out alternate views as, “Fake News.”

What a Surprise………

America’s state security apparatus is using the classification review process to suppress a book that details torture at Guantanamo Bay:

A former NCIS investigator who worked at the wartime prison during the Bush administration has written a book, “Unjustifiable Means.” Now his civil liberties lawyers are asking a bipartisan group of senators for help getting the Pentagon to clear it for publication.

Retired 27-year career federal worker Mark Fallon’s manuscript “has been held up for more than seven months in ‘pre-publication review,’ and we are increasingly concerned that some in the government are committed to suppressing Mr. Fallon’s account,” the lawyers write six senators. They include Republican John McCain, the former Vietnam War prisoner, and Democrat Dianne Feinstein, who chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee when it drew up the so-called Torture Report on the Bush administration’s secret CIA prison network.

The lawyers’ letter describes what might be troubling Defense Department officials about the book:

“ ‘Unjustifiable Means’ concerns the Bush administration’s policies authorizing the cruel treatment and torture of detainees. It is an insider’s account of the moral and strategic costs of those policies and the many ways that honorable Americans working in government protested and resisted them.”

Between 2002 and 2004 Fallon was Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Defense’s Criminal Investigation Task Force, and was responsible for some interrogations and evaluating intelligence with an eye toward prosecution by military commission. He has been outspokenly critical of decision making during that period, telling the Miami Herald last year that some captives were brought to Guantánamo based on “the sketchiest bit of intelligence with nothing to corroborate.”

The did the same thing with Valerie Plame’s book.

This sh%$ is getting really old.

There are Fewer Dead Blodies at a Jessica Fletcher Dinner Party

Another day, another batsh%$ insane Trump staffer gone: (2 actually)

National security adviser H.R. McMaster on Wednesday removed Ezra Cohen-Watnick, his senior intelligence director, from his position in the White House more than four months after he initially tried to get him out of the job.

In March, McMaster told the 30-year-old former Defense Intelligence Agency official that he was being moved to another position. But Cohen-Watnick, who worked on the Trump transition team and is close to Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, appealed to Kushner and Stephen K. Bannon, Trump’s chief White House strategist. Bannon and Kushner spoke with Trump, and Cohen-Watnick was kept in place.

McMaster’s removal of Cohen-Watnick suggests that his influence in the White House and control over his personnel might be on the rise because of the arrival of new White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, a retired Marine general.


The statement said that Cohen-Watnick would take on another position in the administration. His dismissal follows the removal last week of retired Army Col. Derek Harvey, an influential voice on Iran, Syria and counterterrorism policy.

Harvey and Cohen-Watnick were known in the White House for their hawkish views on Iran and were regular allies in White House debates on counterterrorism, Middle East policy and Iran policy, U.S. officials said. Cohen-Watnick and Harvey were hired by McMaster’s ousted predecessor, Michael Flynn.

There probably is a Game of Thrones metaphor in all this, but I really have no urge at all to watch that show, so I’ll stick with bad 1990s television.