We have listened to the hype for decades. It's a serious matter to apply for a FISA warrant. We're assured abuse is rare. Former President Obama is quoted by The Guardian:
"When it comes to telephone calls, nobody is listening to your telephone calls," ...the program is "fully overseen" by "the [FISA] court, a court specially put together to evaluate classified programs to make sure that the executive branch, or government generally, is not abusing them". -To The Guardian
"What I can say unequivocally is that if you are a US person, the NSA cannot listen to your telephone calls … by law and by rule, and unless they … go to a court, and obtain a warrant, and seek probable cause, the same way it's always been, the same way when we were growing up and we were watching movies, you want to go set up a wiretap, you got to go to a judge, show probable cause." -To Charlie Rose
Also quoted in the same Guardian article in defense of FISA's electronic surveillance of American citizens:
"The NSA 'is not listening to Americans' phone calls. If it did, it is illegal. It is breaking the law.'" -GOP Mike Rogers to CNN
"NSA...surveillance law only 'allows the Government to acquire foreign intelligence information concerning non-U.S.-persons (foreign, non-Americans) located outside the United States.'" -House GOP talking points
"NSA internet surveillance 'is overseen by judges who sit on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court" and is "lawful and controlled'". -The Washington Post's David Ignatius
"Before NSA analysts can invade the content of calls and emails, they 'have to go to a judge to get a warrant to actually look at the content under guidelines set by Congress.'" -The New York Time's Tom Friedman
History proves both political parties, liberal and conservative media can be counted on to defend The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. Unequivocally when doing so benefits their side. As with so many issues and policies made law; it is a very sad state of affairs when common themes, such as national security, are politicized to the extent real issues are forgotten or ignored. America has real enemies: adversarial nations, state sponsors of terrorism, plus rogue terrorists foreign and domestic. But....
Enter a new, dynamically frightening adversary, the truly ominous Republican presidential candidate: Donald J Trump. A different Mike Rogers than mentioned above, perhaps on a whim or true suspicion, "ordered the NSA compliance officer to run a full audit on 702 NSA compliance." The audit began on or just before April 18 2016. Unbeknownst to Rogers at the time. But revealed later, the audit triggered an almost immediate response.
Coincidentally the FBI on April 18 2016, fired numerous private contractors it had secretly hired in November 2015, to "access raw FISA information using “To” and “From” FISA-702(16) & “About” FISA-702(17) queries" for anything they could learn of interest regarding Republican Party hopefuls. The very next day Mary Jacoby, wife of Global GPS's Glenn Simpson, visited the White House. Days later the Hillary Clinton campaign made payments through an attorney to Simpson's Global GPS. In late April or May 2016, Global GPS hired former British spy Richard Steele and shortly thereafter they also hired Russia expert Nellie Ohr, wife of highly placed Deputy Associate Attorney General Bruce Ohr of the DOJ.
Let's take a breather. Sit back and think about this for a moment. For six months, from November 2015 to April 18, 2016, the FBI clandestinely provided freebie raw data on American citizens to Global GPS without permission from a FISA court. We had been repeatedly assured by nearly every politician, intelligence agency, and media outlet such unrestrained spying on American citizens could never, ever happen. Then from late April on, following a wife's visit to President Obama's White House; FBI, DOJ, and Global GPS actors sought means to take legal and political advantage of that same raw data. They devised a vehicle many familiarly, others somewhat reverentially refer to as The Salacious and Unverified Richard Steele Dossier.
Now enter Sidney Blumenthal and Cody Shearer. We recall President Obama did not want Blumenthal anywhere near his State Department after what he experienced during his primary race with Hillary Clinton in 2008. Suspecting Blumenthal was a source of countless made up and real damaging accusations against him, perhaps he was hopeful Blumenthal would be less toxic out of the country, far away in Libya. Well, word is Hillary Clinton was more interested in keeping up with Sid's intelligence cables than in responding to Ambassador Craig Steven's urgent request for more security on September 10 2013.
That and Blumenthal's earlier defense of President Bill Clinton by smearing independent counsel Kenneth Starr during the Senate's almost successful attempt to return him to Hope, Arkansas are quite well known. Less known is Cody Shearer, also a long time Clinton clan collaborator. So. Appropriately so. Suffice it to say Shearer was the Clintons' "Mr. Fixer."
Background regarding Blumenthal and Shearer out of the way, we're talking about them because Senators Chuck Grassley and Lindsey Graham jointly released a memo identifying a new, previously unknown dossier also linked to Richard Steele. Not only was Hillary directly colluding with Russians through the FBI. Hillary's Blumenthal and Shearer team was indirectly colluding with Russians through the State Department.
Why a second dossier? Maybe Obama/Hillary/Comey and company recognized the first Steele dossier they had bamboozled the FISA Court with was a dud. They needed a new fabrication laundered to appear it was also based on foreign intelligence so they could continue to justify to the FISA Court at renewal hearings their penchant for spying on American citizens.
Which is an indication the trio were now running scared, more dependent than ever before on the "insurance policy" in the dreaded event "the forty year old died (lost her presidential bid.)"
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About The Pundit
This retired window washer now provides instruction on the benefits and perils of time travel through focusing an allegorical lens on the present.