What, do top-security clearances continue for liars and leakers?
It seems that almost daily, the presidency of Donald Trump has brought some previously unexamined issue of government protocol into public focus, and today is no exception.
Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has been questioning the propriety of allowing former government officials to continue benefiting from their top-level security clearances, which, in the manner of Supreme Court appointments, typically and somewhat surprisingly last for life. He said last week he was going to speak to the President specifically about revoking John Brennan’s clearance. The continuing security clearances of former government officials is something we as Americans hadn’t really questioned, but now that the issue has been raised, let the debate begin!
POLL: Would President Trump be right to revoke the top-secret security clearances of those who misuse classified information? VOTE HERE.
Predictably, Trump’s political opponents and the media (but I repeat myself) went immediately into hysterics when White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders –- full disclosure, well...you know –- simply floated the idea that President Trump was “exploring the mechanisms” for revoking the full security clearances enjoyed by the likes of former CIA Director and new media darling John “Trump is a traitor” Brennan; similarly vicious former FBI Director and admitted leaker James “no reasonable prosecutor” Comey; fired deputy FBI Director Andrew “Andy’s office” McCabe (whose office is responding that his clearance has ended); former Director of National Intelligence James “we don’t wittingly collect information” Clapper; former National Security Advisor Susan “Benghazi was caused by a video” Rice; and former CIA Director Gen. Michael “Trump is a threat to the intelligence community” Hayden.
What are these people, now out of government, doing with top-level security clearances?
The President absolutely has the power to take it away, though just for saying he’s looking into it, he’s already being slammed by Democrats with accusations of using a “Nixonian” strategy to punish his political enemies. But in some cases, there’s legitimate reason to do this. It seems to me that if anyone leaves government service under a cloud, specifically for leaking classified information or using it for political purposes, that person should automatically lose his or her access. Period, case closed.
There were two terrifying incidents involving gunmen over the weekend. In Los Angeles, a man allegedly shot his grandmother after she complained of him having too many TVs on, then held dozens of people hostage at a Trader Joe’s supermarket, threatening to kill them all before finally giving up to police. His grandmother will survive, but supermarket employee Melyda Corado was killed. It’s a long, strange and tragic story, and many more details are at this link:
Also, late Sunday night, a mass shooter opened fire in the Greektown neighborhood of Toronto, shooting 14 people before police arrived and killed him. One young woman died, and a nine-year-old girl is in critical condition. At this writing, not much more is known, other than the shooter appears to be mentally disturbed rather than a terrorist. But this is a developing story, so keep an eye on the news for updates throughout the day.
And please keep the victims and their families in your prayers.
"Death to America"
For eight years, Iran’s leaders chanted “Death to America,” threatened the US and Israel, and brutally crushed public uprisings against them, and the Obama Administration responded with looks of measured concern, a sweetheart nuclear deal never approved by the Senate and a literal planeload of cash.
Last week, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani pulled the same tactics with President Trump, threatening to block the Strait of Hormuz, through which Middle Eastern oil is shipped, if Trump escalates sanctions on Iran, and warning that any US hostility to Iran would result in the “mother of all wars." And he learned that there is, indeed, a new sheriff in town. Or more accurately, that there is finally a sheriff in town. Trump responded to him via Twitter with the following message (the ALL-CAPS are the President’s):
“NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!”
Naturally, the response from Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) was to run around in panicked circles and collapse onto their fainting couches. Trump is being blasted for his “angry” tweet, his response has been described as “terror” and “madness,” and some are suggesting that Congress quickly pass a bill preventing Trump from launching a nuclear attack on Iran. Just as Gary Cooper learned in “High Noon,” when everyone else in your town is a coward, you have to face down the bad guys alone.
What Trump did with those tweets is called “his job” as Commander-in-Chief: to protect America against threats both foreign and domestic. That phrase isn’t included in the Presidential Oath, but it is in the oaths of every Congress and service member, so you’d think Congress members would understand what Trump was doing in making it crystal clear that if Iran crosses the United States, it will pay an unimaginable price. They aren’t helping matters by rushing to undercut him and assure Iran that if they’ll tie their own President’s hands to keep him from doing anything to response to Iran’s threats.
Iran responded predictably with more threatening bluster via official media channels, but there’s no question that the message Trump sent arrived loud and clear, and not just to Iran’s President and Mullahs but to the Iranian people who have been filling the streets demanding change and looking for signs of support from the US that never came during the Obama years. Despite all the liberals getting the vapors, that might one day be seen as one of the most consequential tweets of all time. Imagine if Twitter had been around in the ‘80s and Reagan had tweeted, “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” Those of us who were around back then recall that a lot of liberals got the vapors over that one, too. They were always screaming that that crazy Reagan was going to start a nuclear war by standing up to the USSR, calling them an “evil empire,” pressing ahead with developing a space-based missile defense system, etc. Instead, he brought down the USSR without firing a shot.
There was a bestselling book in the ‘80s that I keep thinking of every time I see the left repeat the same dumb mistakes with the same unfounded self-assurance. It was called “All I Really Need To Know I Learned in Kindergarten." One thing most of us learned in kindergarten is that bullies are more likely to attack those who appear weak and less likely to attack those who appear strong, and not the other way around. Maybe some of our distinguished members of Congress and the press should go retake kindergarten and learn that lesson before they give any more aid and comfort to America's enemies.
Trey Gowdy speaks his mind
All I can add to what Rep. Trey Gowdy told Brett Baier of Fox News is “Excellent point…and virtually inarguable.”
POLL: Would President Trump be right to revoke the top-secret security clearances of those who misuse classified information? VOTE HERE.
Funny internet memes full of truth
Great blog post on how you can glean more truth about the “Russia-Russia-Russia” hysteria from funny Internet memes than you can from listening to our current crop of alleged serious journalists.
I respectfully disagree
Marta Hernandez at the Victory Girls blog recaps all the foot-in-mouth moments of the Socialist Sensation, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and prays that she will get elected to Congress. Her reasoning: Ocasio-Cortez is so far-left, crazy and uniformed, she won’t get anything done, but she will serve the purpose of illustrating how radical and out-of-step the Democrats have become and make the Republicans look sane and knowledgeable in comparison.
Personally, I have to respectfully disagree. As someone who loves America deeply, I don’t want anyone who promotes socialism in Congress, nor would I wish her on the sane New Yorkers in her district whom I pray are not outnumbered. Besides, remember that a septuagenarian socialist who’s never held a successful private sector job in his life nearly became the Democratic Presidential nominee. When you combine the power of the politicized media and the miseducation of two generations of college students by leftist professors, it’s scary to think how far a completely unqualified but telegenic leftist who wants to fundamentally remake America can go.
If you ask today’s liberals why they are so filled with bloodlust and constantly threatening violence against President Trump (which should be met with federal charges, incidentally) and the people around him (ditto), as illustrated at the link, they will tell you it’s because Trump is uniquely horrible. Why, he’s another Hitler! And if you could go back in time and kill Hitler, wouldn’t that be justifiable?
Here are just three of the many problems with that line of “thinking”: (1.) It’s deeply insulting to the memories of the millions of victims of the Holocaust perpetrated by the man who really was “literally Hitler.” (2.) For years now, they’ve accused every conservative they oppose of being like Hitler. It's the surest way to pinpoint the exact spot at which they're losing the argument. (3.) This isn’t even the first Republican President they’ve fantasized about murdering. Remember a 2007 novel called “The Assassination of George W. Bush: A Love Story,” or the 2006 movie, “Death of a President” (about Bush being killed by a sniper), which won six different film awards?
There’s nothing really unique about the left’s descent into violence and threats to promote ideas that they can’t intellectually persuade Americans to accept. It’s gotten worse not because Trump is uniquely deserving of it, but because locking themselves up into Internet bubbles and echo chambers and talking only to people who agree with them has made leftists even less capable of defending their ideas rationally. Resorting to rage and threats is now all they have.
By the way, they’re not just fantasizing about violence. Here’s a story about an Antifa activist arrested in South Dakota with a “concerning” number of illegal firearms and bomb-making materials. I guess you can’t fight fascism without blowing up people who disagree with you.
For those who can’t get enough of me (and I'm sure you can't): Here’s a round-up of some of my recent media appearances, talking about President Trump, tariffs and trade wars and other topics.
Blacked-out document dump of FISA applications confirms suspicions
Before discussing the significance of the “document dump” of 412 heavily redacted pages concerning the FISA applications for warrants to spy on Carter Page, it’s important to talk about something else revealed over the weekend that actually confirms suspicions of high-level collusion with a Russian agent.
Unbelievably, Maria Butina, the 29-year-old woman who was just indicted on charges of conspiracy and acting as an agent of the Russian Federation without notifying our government, was able to get meetings with both the vice president of the Fed and with the undersecretary for international affairs at the U.S. Treasury.
According to Reuters, the meetings were set up by the Center for the National Interest, a pro-Russia foreign policy think tank. By “National,” we assume that means RUSSIAN.
Butina was traveling with Alexander Torshin, who was then serving as the deputy governor for the Russian Central Bank and is reputed to be close to Russian President Vladimir Putin. Torshin met separately with the same two American officials. According to the Center for National Interest, the purpose of the meetings was to bring together “leading figures from the financial institutions of the United States and Russia.” Such vagueness should arouse even more suspicion.
This looks bad –- we’ve discovered that Russian operatives have infiltrated our government and met with top-level financial officials. It confirms what the Democrats have been talking about: Russians are infiltrating the highest levels of American government! How did this happen? Collusion! Treason! Get a rope!
Oh, wait, never mind. This was in 2015, during the Obama administration.
Now, on to the Carter Page documents, which include the October 2016 FISA application to surveil him as well as the three renewal applications, each covering three months. Finally released in response to lawsuits filed by Judicial Watch and other media organizations, these pages are so blacked out with Magic Marker –- page after page covered with thick black lines –- that it’s easy to imagine an entire building full of DOJ officials (the Ministry of Truth?) being overcome by the fumes. (I joke, but maybe they really are using Magic Marker, because breathing that much Magic Marker causes the kind of brain damage that would explain a lot.) Even so, we’re able to glean some information about the process used by Obama’s Department of Justice to obtain a warrant to spy on Trump’s former campaign advisor for national security. It’s suddenly clear why the FBI and DOJ have been stonewalling on this for so long.
The application accuses Page of knowingly engaging in “clandestine intelligence activities...for or on behalf of a foreign power, which activities involve or are about to involve a violation of the criminal statutes of the United States.” Yet even after a solid year of surveillance, Carter Page has been charged with exactly nothing.
Instead of straight-out informing the FISA court about the political origins of the Steele “dossier” –- as they were legally bound to do, according to nonpartisan legal expert Alan Dershowitz –- they chose words that sounded purely speculative. The FBI knew perfectly well that the funding for this came from Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the DNC, through their law firm and Glenn Simpson at Fusion GPS, to pay for unverified gossip from a British ex-spy. The application omits their knowledge.
It does reference other sources besides the dossier, but these are just anti-Trump stories in partisan press and references to “speculation in U.S. media.” So, yes, the dossier was really the only “meat” offered the FISA court. Rancid meat.
The officials who signed off on this junk were none other than James Comey and Sally Yates. And who put this poor excuse for an application together? Well, we don’t know because the name is STILL REDACTED.
John Hinderaker goes on to show that the AP outright lied in their story about this.
Tom Fitton of Judicial Watch described the mass of material as “a self-licking ice cream cone.” It’s a closed system, to be sure, designed in part for its own self-perpetuation but with much more expansive goals, including the removal of a sitting President. Here’s a great piece by Roger Kimball that puts the pieces together much as we have been doing over the past months.
It’s hard to figure the rationale for what is and isn’t blacked out in this material, because even the relatively small portion that we can read is shameful. Catherine Herridge of FOX News is reporting that the 13 Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee, led by Devin Nunes, have sent a letter to President Trump asking him to declassify all other parts of it that wouldn’t endanger sources and methods. (Please, Mr. President, DO IT!)
As for Carter Page, he told FOX News, “I’m having trouble finding any small bit of this document that rises above complete ignorance and/or insanity.” Three words for Carter: “So are we!”