Judge Napolitano pulled from Fox News airwaves
The MSM are exultant. They imagine Judge Andrew Napolitano's metaphorical (and distinctive) scalp hanging on a peg somewhere. A taboo has been established and enforced.
John Koblin of the New York Times deadpans:
Andrew Napolitano, the senior legal analyst for Fox News, has been temporarily sidelined following his unproved assertion last week that former President Barack Obama had asked for British assistance in spying on Donald J. Trump, a person briefed on the decision said on Monday.
Mr. Napolitano did not appear on Fox on Monday, even though there were two news events that normally would have called for his services: hearings involving the F.B.I. director James B. Comey, and the Supreme Court nominee Neil M. Gorsuch.
Mr. Comey's hearing touched on Judge Napolitano's allegation – which both President Trump and his press secretary, Sean Spicer, repeated – that British intelligence officers wiretapped Mr. Trump at Mr. Obama's request.
It is not clear how long Mr. Napolitano will be off the air, but his absence from Fox's airwaves on Monday was an indication that the network was not pleased with the unwanted attention focused on his unfounded allegations.
The Los Angeles Times reported Mr. Napolitano's absence on Monday. Fox News declined to comment.
Last week, Mr. Napolitano, a former New Jersey Superior Court judge, reported on the morning show "Fox and Friends" that the Obama administration had asked British intelligence to wiretap Mr. Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign.
You will noticed that the word "unproved" is used. That is different from "unsupported," because actually there is a little bit of support that came from, of all places, CNN:
… a disastrous interview in which the guest, Larry Johnson, confirmed the story that Judge Andrew Napolitano told on air about British intelligence passing along surveillance data involving the Trump administration.
Judge Napolitano's removal from the air, and his apparent silence and lack of public response or defense of his remarks, suggests that the very high stakes are understood by everyone. The suggestion that intelligence services are surreptitiously cooperating to use the data readily available to them via raw NSA surveillance is now taboo. Judge Napolitano has been punished, and his job may be in jeopardy. Because FBI director James Comey said, "We don't have any information that supports those tweets," the conclusion has been reached that the charge is false.
To believe otherwise, one must be open to three possibilities.
One is that Comey didn't go after, and probably lacked the ability to go after, an investigation of what the intelligence agencies did. When he says he doesn't have any information, he leaves open the possibility that it exists but is not in his possession.
A second possibility is that intelligence agencies lie. This does not seem unreasonable, given that the basic nature of the work involves deception. If you don't maintain a culture of deception, you don't have a very good intelligence agency. But lie even to the FBI? Well, James Clapper admitted to lying to Congress.
A third possibility is that rogue members of U.S. and British intelligence, sharing a political agenda, arranged leaks. Well, we already know that in the case of General Flynn, unauthorized activity resulted in the leaking of intelligence data, though it is not clear who leaked it. Yet.
None of the possibilities seems to be completely unrealistic. So I think no definitive conclusion can be reached.
Of course, it is now taboo to discuss this matter. One must be a conspiracy theorist, a right-wing nut, in order to entertain the three possibilities and puzzle at the nature and extent of the Deep State.