The Great Unmasking
I'm not talking about the unmasking of persons caught up in the Obama administration's illegal surveillance of everyone connected with Trump and his campaign. For that, there's been more than sufficient evidence. If you need more while we wait for the OIG reports, here are some excellent summaries: Sharyl Attkisson's timeline of the events and Mark Steyn's review:
As I think most persons paying attention now realize, the investigation into foreign interference with the 2016 election was created as a cover for domestic interference with the 2016 election. ... Brennan and Clapper and Comey and McCabe. They took tools designed to combat America's foreign enemies and used them against their own citizens and their political opposition. It was an intentional subversion of the electoral process conducted at the highest level by agencies with almost unlimited power. And, if they get away with it, they will do it again, and again and again. That's what Brennan's telling us on Twitter, and Clapper on "The View":
Yeah? So what? Whatcha gonna do about it?
Or, in the pithy words of the creator of "Dilbert," Scott Adams:
Four things to understand about SPYGATE:
1) There was no spy in the Trump campaign.
2) The spying that did NOT happen was totally justified.
3) It would be bad for national security to identify the spy who doesn't exist.
4) His name is Stefan.
I'm talking about a different series of unmaskings: Heroes and Knaves, Allies and Foes, Pundits and Nincompoops, Friends and Enemies of Israel, all unmasked by the genius of President Trump.
Heroes and Knaves
It's appropriate this Memorial Day weekend to salute the retiring NSA director, Admiral Mike Rogers, for courageously standing up against the Obama Administration and the intelligence apparatus, risking all to blow the whistle on the illegal sharing of FISA information on the part of those working to aid Hillary and defeat Trump. A full timeline of his actions is detailed here:
- November 2015-April 2016 – The FBI and DOJ's National Security Division (NSD) uses private contractors to access raw FISA information using "To" and "From" FISA- 702(16) & "About" FISA-702(17) queries.
- March 2016 – NSA Director Rogers becomes aware of improper access to raw FISA data.
- April 2016 – Rogers orders the NSA compliance officer to run a full audit on 702 NSA compliance.
- April 18 2016 – Rogers shuts down FBI/NSD contractor access to the FISA Search System.
- April-September 2016 – Rogers continues his investigation.
- September 26 2016 – DOJ's NSD Head John Carlin files the Government's proposed 2016 Section 702 certifications. The filing does not disclose the FISA Abuses. Carlin is aware of Rogers' compliance review. The 2016 certifications are scheduled for Court approval on October 26, 2016.
- September 27 2016 – Carlin announces he is resigning. Mary McCord will later assume his position.
- October 15, 2016 – Carlin formally leaves the NSD.
- Mid-October 2016 – DNI Clapper submits a recommendation to the White House that Director Rogers be removed from the NSA. Clapper's effort fails.
- October 20 2016 – Rogers is briefed by the NSA compliance officer on the Section 702 NSA compliance audit and "About" query violations.
- October 21 2016 – Rogers shuts down all "About Query" activity. Rogers reports the activity to DOJ and prepares to go before the FISA Court.
- October 21 2016 – DOJ & FBI seek and receive a Title I FISA probable cause order authorizing electronic surveillance on Carter Page from the FISC. At this point, the FISA Court is unaware of the Section 702 violations.
- October 24 2016 – Rogers verbally informs the FISA Court of Section 702(17) violations.
- October 26 2016 – Rogers formally informs the FISA Court of 702(17) violations in writing.
- October 26, 2016 – The FISA Court refuses to formalize the 2016 Section 702 certifications. A complete overhaul of Section 702 processes ensues.
- November 17 2016 (morning) – Rogers travels to meet President-Elect Trump and his Transition Team in Trump Tower. Rogers does not inform DNI James Clapper.
- November 17 2016 (evening) – Trump Transition Team announces they are moving all transition activity to Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey.
The author, Jeff Carlson, is quite obviously correct in his conclusions: "we will never understand what Rogers did for our country," and we would never have known of the spying and FISA violations without him as the intelligence community was caught unaware by the upset presidential race and was working hard to cover up its illegal conduct.
Allies and Foes
This week, I read that a set of parents finally got a court order removing their 30-year-old layabout son from their home. It reminded me of much of Western Europe, which has been living off our generosity in, among other things, defense and pharmaceutical subsidies (we do the work and pay for the high cost of developing new drugs, and they negotiate prices less than we pay for them). As they pamper themselves with ever increasing social welfare schemes, they – doubtless like the lazy son – complain about their benefactors and undercut us for their advantage at every opportunity.
Our closest "ally," the U.K., colluded with the Obama administration to spy on Trump and his campaign. As members of the E.U., the British continue to admit more migrants unable to support themselves, who are happy to climb aboard the generous social welfare wagon. (Doubtless, I suspect, the layabout son invited his friends in to raid his parents' larder and occupy their space.) Oddly enough, as Iran continues to develop weaponry that poses a greater danger to them than it does to us, with the same suicidal short-term thinking, the U.K. resists Trump's demand to stop supplying goods and dealing with that outlaw government.
A real ally in this fight is not the German-dominated E.U., but Saudi Arabia. Europeans thought they could continue to rake in money from deals with Iran to keep their leaky boat from capsizing (while we bore the trade and military costs), regardless of the dangers posed by that rogue state. It fought to keep us from withdrawing from Obama's non-deal with Iran.
This week, they got a surprise.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has ordered that no more government contracts be awarded to German companies, in a sign of continued irritation over Berlin's foreign policy in the Middle East, German magazine Der Spiegel reported on Friday. ...
"Saudi Arabia is a significant trade partner for Germany, generating 2017 exports worth 6.6 billion euros ($7.7 billion), according to Germany's statistics office." ...
Bloomberg News had reported in March that government agencies had been told not to renew some non-essential contracts with German firms.
At the time, it cited sources as saying that Deutsche Bank's (DBKGn.DE) mandates in the kingdom were among those at risk, including a potential role in Saudi Aramco's (IPO-ARMO.SE) initial public offering, which could be the largest share sale ever.
Pundits and Nincompoops
Friday's Washington Post led with stories full of unconcealed glee that the Singapore summit with North Korea had been aborted. Of course, that's a problem with print as opposed to online news, because while Trump signaled that the belligerent statement days before had caused him to cancel the June 12 meeting in Singapore, North Korea capitulated, saying it wanted the talks to continue, and they will. The president was following former president Reagan's Reykjavik move, in walking out of what seemed unproductive talks, and North Korea blinked. No more stupid deals just to say we concluded them.
My friend Don Surber, the Sage of West Virginia, poked fun – as we all should – at those nincompoops who have posed for years as foreign policy experts:
"Trump Has No Idea How Diplomatic Deals Work," Foreign Policy magazine declared in a headline on Thursday.
The piece was written by Ilan Goldenberg. The magazine described him as "a senior fellow and director of the Middle East Security program at the Center for a New American Security. Previously, he served as chief of staff to the special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, supporting Secretary of State John Kerry's initiative to conduct peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians." ... Of course Goldenberg was stunned. He should be. He's a creature of habit, and those habits led to the creation of a $370 billion-a-year subsidy – trade deficit – that keeps Communist China afloat.
Goldenberg guessed that Team Trump was in disarray and that President Trump did not do his homework and was ill-prepared for the task. This is projection and fantasy on his part.
"This is the precise opposite of what we saw from former President Barack Obama, who, especially on the Iran nuclear negotiations, was deeply engaged in the details. Some might justifiably argue that at moments this led to micromanagement. But U.S. negotiators usually knew where the president was, and they knew how far they could go and when they needed to ask for more guidance," [Goldenberg wrote.]
The Iran deal involved the United States giving Iran money for terrorists and permission to build nukes. I have yet to see evidence that we received any concession from Iran.
Nor did we receive any concession from Cuba in exchange for ending the embargo and agreeing to turn away Cuban refugees.
Goldenberg continued, to Surber's amusement:
"For an administration that was on the cusp of holding a high-stakes nuclear summit with North Korea, has walked away from the Iran nuclear agreement, and is still trying to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement, there is no indication that Trump and his team have any clue what the 'art of the deal' is about when it comes to international diplomacy."
I agree with Surber that the analysis of this expert leaves much to laugh at. I believe that instead of picking out negotiators from the Ivy League, we ought to scout out and hire the best oriental carpet and car salesmen.
Friends and Enemies of Israel
In the benighted corridors of J Street, most reform synagogues, the Upper West Side of Manhattan, and such enclaves of comfortable left-wing Jews, Obama and his party remain friends of the Jewish state, substantial evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.
In every way possible, Obama did everything in his power to damage Israel and weaken her defenses. The capper was the Iran non-deal.
Michael Oren of The Israel Project explains on CNN:
Rather than blocking Iran's path to nuclear weapons, [the JCPOA] paved it. All of Iran's nuclear facilities, including those intended to make atomic bombs, were retained, along with the bulk of their centrifuges. Iranian scientists, led by veterans of the secret nuclear weapons program, developed centrifuges able to enrich uranium at four times the 2015 rate. And international inspectors were denied entry into Iranian military sites.
These flaws would alone discredit the JCPOA, but the agreement also had expiration dates. Beginning in a mere seven years, the limitations on Iran's nuclear program would be gradually lifted. In a short period, Iran would be able to enrich enough uranium for an entire arsenal of bombs.
But JCPOA's failings did not end there. It ignored Iran's role as the world's largest sponsor of state terror, its complicity in the killings of a half-million Syrians and its threats to destroy the state of Israel. It even overlooked Iranian aggression against Americans. Iran did not need intercontinental missiles to reach Israel – it needed them to hit the United States.
And yet the JCPOA rewarded Iran with many tens of billions of dollars in sanctions relief and international contracts. Iran's quest for regional hegemony went unchecked. Endangered neighboring states considered launching their own nuclear programs, triggering fears of a Middle East arms race.
Justifiably, Israelis opposed the deal and failed to understand why, with Iran's economy in tatters, a better one was not signed. Now, though, the United States is again poised to apply immense pressure on Iran, greatly reducing its ability to mount aggression in the region and abroad. America, again, stands with its Middle East allies, sending an unequivocal message of strength to the world.
I would be remiss if I left out of the unmaskings list those conservatives for whom Trump can do no right. Had you asked Bill Kristol or Mona Charen, David Frum, or Jennifer Rubin, for example, to make a wish list of what they hoped a Republican president would accomplish, there's no doubt in my mind that what he has already achieved would far exceed that list. Their wailings remind me of nothing so much as the scene from The Last Emperor when the eunuchs, expelled from the palace grounds, march out caterwauling and rattling in small pots the desiccated remains of their manhood. As for blacks, while the Democratic Congressional Black Caucus, in lockstep with the "conservative" #NeverTrumps, see nothing but consistent Trump failures, Louis Farrakhan's tweet this week must have set their jaws dropping:
Mr. Trump is destroying every enemy that was an enemy of our rise. Who is the enemy of our rise? Is it the Department of Justice where we get none? Is it Congress where you make a law that favors us and then you turn around and destroy it?
The stars seem to all be in a strange new alignment.