A Night at the Crying in Our Beer Salon
I couldn't take much more of the news. The miscreants reportedly involved in the illegal surveillance of the Trump campaign were fleeing the FBI; parties in the intelligence agencies were contradicting one another with sloppily conceived alibis. On top of that, the agencies involved looked both more stupid and more partisan than ever. The latest was the New York Times account of how the CIA paid Russians a $100,000 down payment on a million-dollar contract to tar the President (doubtless with disinformation). The viewing of the promised "compromising video" was – get this – in a room in the Russian Embassy in Berlin:
A Russian was trying to sell the alleged Trump kompromat to [U.S.] spies. He even showed off a 15-second clip of a video that he claimed showed Trump in a room with two women. The choice of venue for the viewing: [t]he Russian embassy in Berlin
To be sure, the paper's Matthew Rosenberg offered up an alibi. Sharyl Attkisson tweeted:
Looks like some US intel officials are using the NYT to do some 'splainin' & spinning before this info came out on its own. (Funny the intel sources didn't report this to Trump, Congress or public at the time). https://t.co/Dr5aPdc132— Sharyl Attkisson (@SharylAttkisson) February 10, 2018
Ace of Spades had some fun dissecting the "'splaining and spinning" published by Rosenberg:
Note [that] this story is going to claim [that] the CIA paid to get their own stolen cyber weapons/hacking tools back and this Russian just insisted on offering dirt on Trump they didn't want.
That's absurd. How do you buy back your own cyber tools? You already have the tools; the problem is that other people have them, and paying someone to send you a copy does nothing at all to stop him from selling other copies forever, to who[m]ever he wants.
No, this is about the Trump dirt, and the cyber weapon thing is the cover story. ...
Yeah, you thought you were buying stolen cyber tools, which cannot be bought back (and you already have them), but these guys just kept forcing this faked-up Trump dirt on you.
This cover story is the same as paying a blackmailer to "get back" a compromising photo, even though he still retains the negative and you have no idea how many copies he's already made, or how many people he's already sold them to, or how many additional prints he'll make off the negative.
No, they paid $100,000 (as a down payment for a $1 million payout) to get dirt on Trump before an election, and the "cyber tools" claim is just a cover story, a legend.
At the Intercept, James Risen reported that the officials involved used coded messages from the NSA's Twitter feed to contact the Russian sources. The explanation for these contacts, which began in early 2017 – after the inauguration – until at least December of 2017, was ostensibly to find out what had been stolen and, apparently as a bonus, some dirt (doubtless manufactured) was offered up as a lagniappe. Risen's laughable spin is that the CIA has dropped this because the new director, Mike Pompeo, is "politicized."
He adds, at the end of the report, the kicker: last month in Spain:
The Russian told the American that he had first become aware of Russian efforts targeting U.S. political activities in late 2014 or early 2015, according to the documents reviewed by The Intercept. The Russian stated that he had no knowledge of a "master plan" to cause major disruption to U.S. election activities, but the effort was generally understood as a "green light" from Russian security officials to enlist cyber-related groups in probing and harassing activities directed at U.S. targets.
This is apparently hot news to the left, but as far as the rest of us go, the Russians want to cause chaos politically in the U.S. and have for years. And this time there can be no doubt that the Deep State willingly played handmaiden to their efforts.
As the Daily Caller writes, the Steele dossier's coincidences keep piling up.
In sum: Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson met before and after the Russian lawyer, connected to his client, met with Donald Trump, Jr. in their quickly aborted meeting in Trump Tower. DOJ official Bruce Ohr, whose wife worked for Fusion GPS, met with Simpson and met with Steele before the election and weeks after the election to discuss his work on Trump. Clinton hatchet men Sidney Blumenthal and Cody Shearer passed on the same salacious stuff about Trump that remains unverified in the dossier to Department of State official Jonathan Winer, who gave the information to Steele.
It certainly looks as if the gang was playing an adult version of "telephone," which we used to play in Girl Scouts to show how gossip gets magnified and is unreliable.
And yet both Senator Grassley and Senator Graham on the Senate Judiciary Committee, who have reviewed the evidence, say this piece of unsubstantiated gossip – the Steele dossier – formed the bulk of the FBI's FISA warrant to snoop on the campaign. Recall, if you will, that the FISC had denied an earlier application, an extremely rare occurrence. Moreover, in 2014, it issued a 99-page opinion recounting multiple violations of security and classification rules by the Obama administration. If this doesn't suggest it's past time to strip the FBI of its counterintelligence portfolio, what will do it?
At the Washington Free Beacon, Bill Gertz details some of the known counterintelligence failures of the FBI:
For example, in the early 2000s it was revealed the FBI had been fooled for years and supplied false intelligence on China that was sent to the highest levels of the government by one of its recruited agents, Katrina Leung. Leung was found to be a double agent working for Chinese intelligence who compromised numerous FBI operations and sources. Her FBI handler, Agent J.J. Smith, also violated fundamental procedures by having an affair with Leung, and by denigrating other legitimate Chinese sources in favor of mainly relying on bogus intelligence provided by Leung.
FBI counterintelligence agent Peter Strzok, who was a key agent in both the Clinton email probe and the special counsel investigation led by former FBI [d]irector Robert Mueller, was involved in an affair with FBI lawyer Lisa Page, which led to his dismissal from the Mueller probe.
That romantic relationship also violated FBI rules because the relationship made Strzok vulnerable to blackmail.
Some 50,000 text messages between Strzok and Page reveal [that] the couple spent a lot of their time exchanging messages, many of which were critical of Trump and indicated support during the presidential campaign for Clinton.
A more serious FBI counterspy failure was the espionage investigation into CIA counterintelligence official Brian Kelley.
From 1998 to 2001, FBI agents were convinced [that] Kelley was operating as a Russian intelligence mole inside the CIA.
Kelley, who died in 2011, was suspended from his CIA post during the lengthy probe and hounded by FBI counterintelligence agents who refused to believe his assertions of innocence. Kelley said in an interview over 10 years ago that bureau agents went so far as to contact his ailing mother in a nursing home to tell her their son was a traitor, in a bid to force him to confess.
The probe lasted until a Russian intelligence defector sold the FBI a tape recording of the real mole, who would later be convicted for being the spy turncoat FBI [a]gent Robert Hanssen.
I was driven to drink by imbeciles who think we are. So I headed off for a couple of margaritas at the local watering hole, the Crying in Our Beer Salon.
My spirits were immediately lifted, even before my Mucho Grande drink arrived, as the place was packed with political ad-writers who were down at their heels.
"No one's going to hire us," they cried. "Our clients say the ads write themselves."
"I had a beautiful campaign ad series ready to go in for Republican candidates. My clients showed me videos of Biden saying the party wants 'unrelenting immigration, non-stop. Whites will be an absolute minority in America – that's the source of our strength' and Nancy Pelosi offering up her grandson. ... 'I'm reminded of my own grandson. And when he had his sixth birthday ... and this was a proud day for me, because when my grandson blew out the candles on his cake, they said, Did you make a wish?
'He said yes, he made a wish. What is your wish? "I wish I had brown skin and brown eyes like Antonio."'
What could I possibly provide more damaging than the admission that the party wants to erase or vastly diminish the power of white Americans from the political scene by allowing open borders to change the composition of the electorate and the American culture?"
Another piped up. "I was aiming for a contract to write ads for the campaign in Virginia against the Democrat frontrunner for governor, Roger Dean Huffstetler, a carpetbagger from California. And then that was blown away when he suddenly started speaking in a pretend Virginia accent in an ad called "Best I Can." My client said, 'Forget it. There's already a YouTube of him speaking in his real voice and his pretend one."
"Speaking of Virginia," another piped up, "there's Senator Mark Warner, who was so critical of Donald Trump, Jr. meeting in Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer (who, it turns out, was connected to the odious Fusion GPS folks), ostensibly to get dirt on Hillary.
"Now it now turns out he met with Russians to get dirt on Trump, taking care not to 'leave a paper trail' of their meet-up."
A third guy, deep in his cups, was actually sobbing. "I had dozens of DREAMers lined up. A beautiful campaign – how they were all just waiting to become brain surgeons as soon as they got their GEDs (high school equivalency certificates) when people started coming up with these videos of the very Democrats pushing for amnesty earlier decrying open borders."
"You think my clients' opponents haven't found these?"
"My clients are from Illinois," another ad-writer said. "A committee there wants to borrow more than $107 billion by issuing bonds to invest and help pay down the state's $120-billion unfunded pension liability. They want me to write up ads for the bonds. I suppose they'll offer above-market interest rates. It sounds to me like borrowing from a loan shark to pay off a credit card debt."
I looked up from my drink and asked, "Why would the taxpayers of Illinois want to go deeper into debt and issue the biggest bond offering in history? Who'd believe they could ever pay this off? That state already has the largest unfunded liability of any state in the nation and a credit rating just above junk status."
And then I left. I can only take so much craziness even with a Mucho Grande margarita to lessen the pain.