by baldilocks

After previously denying it, James Clapper admitted that the FBI “might have been” spying on the Trump campaign.

Real Clear Politics:

Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told CNN’s Don Lemon Thursday night that the president’s claim that the Obama administration spied on his campaign is “hyperbole” but if it is true, it is a “good thing.”

“They [the Obama admin’s FBI] may have had someone who was talking to them in the campaign, but, you know, the focus here… is not on the campaign, per se, but what the Russians were doing,” Clapper said.

But if there was an intelligence agent “observing” the Trump campaign’s interactions with Russia, “that’s a good thing because the Russians posed a threat to the very basis of our political system.”

If true? He doesn’t know? Yeah, okay. Clapper was Obama’s DNI.

Yesterday, Sharyl Attkisson pointed out that the corruption in our intelligence agencies long precedes the existence of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

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These intelligence shenanigans aren’t new to anyone who has read Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA.

It has been a number of years since I read it, and, at 702 pages, the hardback version definitely qualifies as a tome. However, I read it, courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library, very rapidly due to great and building amazement. And by amazement, I mean horror.  This entity of the government, allegedly dedicated to our security, is and has always been a failure. Or at least that’s what I thought at the time.

Now that I have become more cynical and more paranoid, it seems to me that the agency, the OSS(the CIA’s World War II incarnation) and all the other investigative arms of the government — including the longer-standing FBI — have been very successful at doing what they were created to do.

The CIA and all of the other intelligence agencies exist to Keep the Gates. Gathering them all under the DNI banner made that easier, or so it seemed.

But their gates aren’t the same gates as our gates. That is certain.

What a waste.

RELATED: The CIA’s Long List of Failures

UPDATE: Confirmed: John Brennan Colluded With Foreign Spies to Defeat Trump

An article in the Guardian last week provides more confirmation that [President Obama’s Director of Central Intelligence] John Brennan was the American progenitor of political espionage aimed at defeating Donald Trump. One side did collude with foreign powers to tip the election — Hillary’s.

Seeking to retain his position as CIA director under Hillary, Brennan teamed up with British spies and Estonian spies to cripple Trump’s candidacy. He used their phony intelligence as a pretext for a multi-agency investigation into Trump, which led the FBI to probe a computer server connected to Trump Tower and gave cover to Susan Rice, among other Hillary supporters, to spy on Trump and his people.(…)

The Guardian story is written in a style designed to flatter its sources (they are cast as high-minded whistleblowers), but the upshot of it is devastating for them, nonetheless, and explains why all the criminal leaks against Trump first originated in the British press. According to the story, Brennan got his anti-Trump tips primarily from British spies but also Estonian spies and others. The story confirms that the seed of the espionage into Trump was planted by Estonia. The BBC’s Paul Wood reported last year that the intelligence agency of an unnamed Baltic State had tipped Brennan off in April 2016 to a conversation purporting to show that the Kremlin was funneling cash into the Trump campaign.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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The CIA has such a lousy record that the country might be better without it.

Let me run through just a few of the examples I know about from years of reporting in the Middle East and the former Soviet Union.

My all-time favorite happened in Lebanon.

DaTech3.jpgThe pro-Iranian group Hezbollah identified numerous CIA operatives by staking out a Pizza Hut in Beirut. How did Hezbollah figure out that the CIA was meeting with double agents and informants at Pizza Hut? The CIA decided to use the code word “pizza” when communicating with agents.

The code literally meant to meet at a pizza joint for pizza! Ten agents had their identity revealed, and numerous other informants were discovered—some of whom were executed. The CIA was left essentially blind in Lebanon for several months, having to pull the agents out, because agents were lazy and uncreative with their tradecraft.

No. 2 on my list? Iran.

The CIA had little idea that Islamists were going to overthrow the Shah of Iran in 1979.  The religious elements of Iran were gaining power, but the CIA viewed religion as a challenge and threat from another time. There was no way a religious movement could overthrow a powerful, secular leader backed by Western powers, right? Just six months before the revolution, the CIA bluntly stated: “Iran is not in a revolutionary or even a pre-revolutionary situation.”

Tell that to the friends and family of the hostages held for more than a year in the U.S. embassy in Tehran!

Even we journalists had a pretty good idea that something was about to hit the fan. It’s not often that journalists realize that something important is about to happen!

No. 3: The Soviet Union

The CIA missed the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet Union two years later. The agency failed to catch Aldrich Ames, an analyst who was an agent for the Soviets. Ames was a drunk and a womanizer who was heavily in debt. When the Soviets offered him $50,000 in exchange for information, he sold out.

For years, the CIA was unable to figure out that Ames was the mole giving away assets. The USSR even planted fake information through another mole to throw the CIA off Ames’ trail.

An estimated 100 people were compromised, including at least 10 Americans.

There are many others. The Bag of Pigs and 9/11 come to mind.

I’m certain there are many fine people in the CIA. But a record like the one I document here should bring some pause about the effectiveness of the agency.

by baldilocks

I’m old enough to remember when it was considered a lunatic conspiracy theory to assert that a government entity would knowingly and intentionally allow drugs to enter the United States and, thereby, allow drug cartels to become filthy rich.

Politico:

In its determination to secure a nuclear deal with Iran, the Obama administration derailed an ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah, even as it was funneling cocaine into the United States, according to a POLITICO investigation.

The campaign, dubbed Project Cassandra, was launched in 2008 after the Drug Enforcement Administration amassed evidence that Hezbollah had transformed itself from a Middle East-focused military and political organization into an international crime syndicate that some investigators believed was collecting $1 billion a year from drug and weapons trafficking, money laundering and other criminal activities.

Over the next eight years, agents working out of a top-secret DEA facility in Chantilly, Virginia, used wiretaps, undercover operations and informants to map Hezbollah’s illicit networks, with the help of 30 U.S. and foreign security agencies. (…)

[A]s Project Cassandra reached higher into the hierarchy of the conspiracy, Obama administration officials threw an increasingly insurmountable series of roadblocks in its way, according to interviews with dozens of participants who in many cases spoke for the first time about events shrouded in secrecy, and a review of government documents and court records. When Project Cassandra leaders sought approval for some significant investigations, prosecutions, arrests and financial sanctions, officials at the Justice and Treasury departments delayed, hindered or rejected their requests.

The report is very long, but well worth the read.

Among certain circles, it’s assumed that, in the 1980s, government agencies – possibly the CIA and the FBI – sold drugs and weapons to the big city street gangs with the purpose being to weaken and reduce the population of minorities. (Friends who were in 1980s Los Angeles  – my hometown and present location – tell me that South Central was a violent vision of Hell; I was in the USAF at that time. One personal casualty of 1980s LA: my first boyfriend.)

I used to think this was ridiculous.

And, as I think on this further, I wonder if allowing the Hezbollah drug syndicate to operate here was the former president’s method of paying America back for the alleged government ruination of blacks and browns.

“Ruin us and we’ll ruin your whole country.” Tank the economy of the country, fuel an opioid crisis among whites, and voila! Vengeance.

And the Clintons were supposed to keep the party going. No wonder they’re mad.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel tentatively titled Arlen’s Harem, will be done one day soon! Follow her on Twitter and on Gab.ai.

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by baldilocks

Remember Valerie Plame and the outcry which accompanied the “outing” of her name and profession? I do. But now

11 years after former CIA operative Valerie Plame was deliberately exposed by the Bush administration as the US officials tried to apply pressure on her husband [Joseph Wilson], an American diplomat criticizing the US invasion to Iraq; the Obama Administration’s press service unwittingly put the real name of the CIA’s top spy in Afghanistan on the ‘pool report’ distributed to over 6,000 journalists.

(Emphasis, mine; spin, theirs.)

So Plame was “outed” as she trekked through the wilds of Virginia, but this fellow’s identity was revealed while he served in Afghanistan.

I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby went to jail for the fact that Richard Armitage mentioned Plame’s name in public, even Wilson.Plamethough her name and her employer were well-known and the notion that she was a deep-cover operative was laughable. (In case, you thought misread, Libby went to jail for that actions of someone else.) One wonders if Libby—or Armitage–apologized to Plame for imperiling her missions as she traversed that dangerous territory between Langley, Starbucks, Whole Foods and her home.

By the way,  didn’t a CIA station in Afghanistan get blown up by a jihadi in 2010?

And didn’t SEAL Team 6 suffer a helicopter “accident” in Afghanistan after it was disclosed by the Vice President of the United States that this same team executed the raid on Osama bin Laden?

Just wondering.

Also being wondered about: whether someone in this administration be held responsible for putting the Afghanistan operative’s life in real danger.

Okay, I’m not really wondering about that.

Unwittingly? Unwittingly, my backside. This administration’s dummy act has worn thin. Outside of Joseph Biden and a few others, that act is a cover for a more sinister and more deadly mindset.

American efforts in Afghanistan have long been sabotaged. It’s time to come home.

baldilocksJuliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2009; the second edition in 2012. Her new novel, Arlen’s Harem, is due in 2014. Help her fund it and help keep her blog alive!

DaTechGuy March 24 2011:

#3 The partition/administration of Libya. Almost certainly the final result. The west without US leadership doesn’t have the staying power or the willingness to actually win the war or commit the ground troops necessary to do so. Sans such will the end result will be a deal to save face for the west that allows Gaddafi’s family in charge of the east where his tribe lives and the rebels in charge of the west. That allows Gaddafi to claim a victory over the west while the west claims success in its mission even as the east is purged of supporters of the rebellion.

The Washington Post Friday:

U.S. officials are becoming increasingly resigned to the possibility of a protracted stalemate in Libya, with rebels retaining control of the eastern half of the divided country but lacking the muscle to drive Moammar Gaddafi from power.

Makes that whole “not naming a withdrawal date” bit that the Bush administration argued in Iraq and Afghanistan sound a whole lot smarter doesn’t it?

Then again could this be the Sir Humphrey foreign policy in action again?

Sir Richard Wharton: …we should have partitioned the Island

Sir Humphrey: Oh you mean like we did in India, Cyprus and Palestine and Ireland?

Sir Richard Wharton: Yes that was our invariable practice when we gave independence to the colonies, it always worked.

Sir Humphrey: But didn’t partition always lead to civil war? it did in India, Cyprus and Palestine and Ireland?

Sir Richard Wharton: Yes but it kept them busy, instead of fighting other people they confined themselves to fighting each other

I don’t see why I would come to that conclusion after all with only 1000 fighters the rebels aren’t going to hold out without weapons and training and we aren’t providing that, are we?

“He told us that on Thursday night a new shipment of Katyusha rockets had been sent into eastern Libya from Egypt. He didn’t say they were sourced from Egypt, but that was their route through.

“He said these were state-of-the-art, heat-seeking rockets and that they needed to be trained on how to use them, which was one of the things the American and Egyptian special forces were there to do.”

Well if nothing else I guess those Katyushas won’t be fired at Israel. I presume our men are wearing loafers and the CIA uses a different brand of boots.