My recent commentary on John Brennan and the CIA’s likely role in using an “informant” (spy) to infiltrate the Trump campaign sparked a note from newsletter subscriber Jill B. of Texas reminding me of a story that came out last year in POLITICO. Since that time, of course, it has gone to the Land Where Anti-Obama Stories Go To Die, but this remarkable piece exposes in extreme detail the thwarting of the DEA’s “Project Cassandra” during the time surrounding the Iran nuclear deal. These dedicated agents had spent years unlocking the secrets of Hezbollah’s funding as it morphed from a regional paramilitary organization into a sophisticated organized-crime/terrorist power spreading its tentacles across the globe, with much of its muscle concentrated in Latin America.
(Side note to FBI/CIA: THIS is the kind of thing spies should be used for.)
Anyway, perhaps you remember the story; Hezbollah was laundering massive amounts of money through international sales of used cars. The billions of dollars generated by Hezbollah’s commerce in cocaine, IEDs, chemical weapons and other deadly commodities helped to arm jihadis who killed and mangled American soldiers, something to remember if you decide to take a little time over this Memorial Day weekend and read the whole sorry account.
Many agents who spoke for this report said they were sure negotiations for the Iran deal sabotaged their ability to bring the charges they’d labored for years to make stick. Getting that awful deal was more important to the White House than stopping what was growing into a huge international terrorist power. These agents believe –- “will believe to the death,” one source said –- that the case they built was deliberately dismantled because of an interdepartmental turf war over Iran.
Then-CIA Director John Brennan had expressed publicly –- the story quotes him from 2010, when he was Obama’s assistant for homeland security and counterterrorism –- that it was good to build up the Hezbollah “moderates.” Hezbollah moderates; now there’s an oxymoron if ever there was one. Anyone who believes in courting Hezbollah moderates is just a moron, period. But Project Cassandra participants said for this story that “the administration’s willingness to envision a new role for Hezbollah in the Middle East, combined with its desire for a negotiated settlement in Iran’s nuclear program, translated into a reluctance to move aggressively against the top Hezbollah operatives.”
John Brennan refused to comment on anything related to his work at the CIA.
According to one DEA agent working in the Mideast, his operations were shut down repeatedly over political sensitivities. He said that when Iranian negotiators complained about their covert operations against Hezbollah in Lebanon, the White House got the CIA to declare a moratorium. “During the operations, early on, they [the Iranians] said, ‘Listen, we need you to lay off Hezbollah, to tamp down the pressure on them,’ and the Obama administration acquiesced to that request,” he said, adding, “It was a strategic agreement to show good faith toward the Iranians in terms of reaching an agreement. The Obama team really, really, really wanted the deal.”
No wonder John Brennan despises President Trump with such a white-hot hate. Brennan and Obama were working hand-in-hand to appease both Iran and Hezbollah and get that mistake-of-a-deal done at any cost. Trump, thankfully, sees those leaders for what they are and refuses to be a chump. Still, it appears to be too late to revive Project Cassandra, which was hit by the bureaucratic equivalent of a roadside bomb.
Yes, Chief of Staff John Kelly set up a meeting between top intelligence officials and Congressional and Senate leaders, and, yes, it took place on Thursday as planned, and, yes, Democrats got to sit in, but, no, there was no document production. As committee members had feared, they were simply “briefed” verbally in the room without being able to set their eyes on any actual evidence. They’ve been trying to see certain documents relating to “human intelligence” (spying) and the origins of the FBI investigation, but the DOJ just will not let them, even though they have the required security clearance. Talk about stonewalling; this stone wall is higher and less penetrable than any wall we might someday construct at our southern border. Maybe Obama didn’t know how to draw a red line, but the intel community sure does.
Just as President Reagan famously said to Mr. Gorbachev, “tear down this wall,” President Trump needs to make the same demand to the intelligence community about the figurative wall it has built around itself. If those documents –- unredacted –- are to see the light of day in our lifetimes, Congress will just have to start impeachment proceedings against Sessions and Rosenstein. Do it! And Trump may have no choice but to use his authority to declassify the documents. Democrats will scream that he’s interfering with an investigation, but the President is not the one withholding evidence and obstructing justice here –- it’s the DOJ. We can’t trust them; we’ve already seen enough examples of their stonewalling, slow-walking, and massive redacting that turned out not to have been done to safeguard national security but to cover their own tracks. They’re such masters at self-protection in the face of legal challenge, you’d think they’d taken a course taught by Hillary Clinton. Maybe some of them did learn at her feet.
True to form, right after the meeting, Rep. Adam “Shifty” Schiff rushed to the cameras (leaving a slime trail) and said, “Nothing we heard today has changed our view, that there is nothing to support any allegation that the FBI, or any intelligence agency, placed a spy in the Trump campaign or otherwise failed to follow appropriate procedures and protocols.
Well, of course there isn’t! The Congressional committees are getting only what the DOJ chooses to tell them. Schiff and the rest are also using semantics to claim the word “spy” means something other than what we all know a spy to be. Also, what, pray tell, is meant by “appropriate”? That weasel word can provide cover for a multitude of what we would consider sins. Another weasel word in this context is “in”; no, we don’t have evidence (so far) of FBI spies “in” Trump’s campaign headquarters, but there definitely were spies “around” campaign staffers in remote locations. Oh, and even the word “placed”; maybe the spy already happened to be where they needed one, or some outside helper did the actual placing.
See, when you’re dealing with weasels, you have to get inside the mind of one. Remember when we had to parse every word uttered by then-President Bill Clinton? Those were the days.
Former CIA chief and noted liar James Clapper was one who objected to Trump’s use of the indelicate word “spy.” “I took aversion to the word spy,” the former head of our chief spying agency said on Thursday. “It was the most benign version of information gathering. The important thing is the whole reason the FBI was doing this was concern over what the Russians were doing to infiltrate the campaign, not spying on the campaign.” James Clapper taking aversion to the word “spy” is like chef Jacques Pepin taking aversion to the word “food.”
Besides, I don’t see anything benign about what the government was and is doing to associates of the Trump campaign. And, as many are now pointing out, if Clapper and Comey were so concerned about Russians trying to infiltrate, whey didn’t they “information-gather” (spy) on Hillary’s campaign as well, and why didn’t they brief Trump? Significantly, they discussed warning him but decided not to.
Lastly, Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) expressed outrage that John Kelly and President Trump’s lawyer Emmet Flood were in this meeting, when they actually weren’t. They just stopped by before the meeting to pass along brief remarks from the President about his desire for transparency. This took about 90 seconds, and then they left. The President’s outstanding press secretary has since issued a statement making this clear.
It seems Kelly and Flood needn’t have bothered stopping by. The remarks about transparency didn’t take.
If Democrats are still casting around for a winning platform this November, why not take this idea from former New York City Mayor and liberal billionaire, Mike Bloomberg: “Tax the poor!”
Click to see Bloomberg explain that it’s good to tax the poor because taxes are especially punishing to them, and that’s how the benevolent government can force them to do things for their own good, like stop drinking sodas or being employed in coal mines. Thanks, Mike!
We might need to modify one of the “three biggest lies of all time” to read, “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you…or else, peasant!”
You might have heard that a federal judge ruled it unconstitutional for President Trump to block trolls from his Twitter account. It might seem like judicial activist overreach on first glance, but the judge had a solid legal reason for the ruling.
The Twitter account had been Trump’s personal account before he ran, but after he became President, some of the functions of it were taken over by White House staff, which would arguably make it a “public forum” under which the First Amendment right to free speech applies. In other words, all readers would have the right to post there. Trump could mute them so he wouldn’t have to read what they post, but he couldn’t block them so others couldn’t see it (even though, trust me, he must get some stuff nobody in his right mind or with a sense of decency would want to see.)
Trump’s attorneys are considering an appeal, but it’s not likely to succeed. Part of being on social media is accepting that trolls will be trolls and ignoring them. If his attorneys really want to keep busy, though, might I humbly suggest that they take up the left’s crusade that Trump’s page is a public forum where differing political views can’t be censored and extend that idea to all social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, which have become notorious for censoring conservative political views.
As far as I’m concerned, let the left, the right and everyone in between post their thoughts freely on the Internet, debate issues without some algorithm monitoring and censoring certain views, and see whose ideas prove most persuasive. I even have a suggested name for this new social media open forum: “The Free Marketplace of Ideas.” I know it’s not as catchy as “Snapchat,” but I like it.