How NSA Can Secretly Aid Criminal Cases

From the Archive: Official Washington is thrilled by the choice of ex-FBI Director Mueller as Russia-gate special counsel, hailing him as a straight-shooter, but he cut some legal corners in office, ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern wrote in 2014.

By Ray McGovern (Originally published on June 12, 2014)

Rarely do you get a chance to ask a just-retired FBI director whether he had “any legal qualms” about what, in football, is called “illegal procedure,” but at the Justice Department is called “parallel construction.”

Former FBI Director Robert Mueller.

Government wordsmiths have given us this pleasant euphemism to describe the use of the National Security Agency’s illegal eavesdropping on Americans as an investigative tool to pass on tips to law enforcement agencies which then hide the source of the original suspicion and “construct” a case using “parallel” evidence to prosecute the likes of you and me.

For those interested in “quaint” things like the protections that used to be afforded us by the Fourth and Fifth Amendments to the Constitution, information about this “parallel construction” has been in the public domain, including the “mainstream media,” for at least a year or so.

So, I welcomed the chance to expose this artful practice to still more people with cameras rolling at a large conference on “Ethos & Profession of Intelligence” at Georgetown University on June 11, 2014, during the Q & A after former FBI Director Robert Mueller spoke.

Mueller ducked my question regarding whether he had any “legal qualms” about this “parallel construction” arrangement. He launched into a discursive reply in which he described the various “authorities” enjoyed by the FBI (and the CIA), which left the clear impression not only that he was without qualms but that he considered the practice of concealing the provenance of illegally acquired tip-off information somehow within those professed “authorities.”

Bottom line? Beware, those of you who think you have “nothing to hide” when the NSA scoops up your personal information. You may think that the targets of these searches are just potential “terrorists.” But the FBI, Internal Revenue Service, Drug Enforcement Administration and countless other law enforcement bodies are dipping their cursors into the huge pool of mass surveillance.

And, chances are that if some of your scooped-up data gets shared with law enforcement and the Feds conclude that you’ve violated some law, you’ll never become aware of how they got onto you in the first place. They’ll just find some “parallel” evidence to nail you.

After all, it’s altogether likely for a great majority of us that some dirt can be retrieved with the NSA’s voluminous files an inviting starting point. AT&T, for example, apparently has kept metadata about its customers, as well as all other traffic going through its switches, for the past 27 years.

For those who are Caesar’s-wife pure and whose loved ones also approach perfection, “constructing” a prosecutable case may be more of a challenge. But relax not. If for some reason the government decides to get you if you’ve popped up as somehow an obstacle to “national security” it is not impossible. Even in recent decades, critics of government policies have ended up facing dredged-up, if not trumped-up, criminal charges over some past indiscretion or misdeed.

Learning Curve

It has been my good fortune to sponge up data and wisdom in equal measure from NSA alumni like Bill Binney, Kirk Wiebe, Tom Drake, and Ed Loomis, who in early January 2014 authored “NSA Insiders Reveal What Went Wrong.

President Barack Obama meets with members of his national security team to discuss developments in the Boston bombings investigation, in the Situation Room of the White House on April 19, 2013. Then-FBI Director Robert Mueller is to Obama’s left. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

More recently (on May 31, 2014), Bill and I took part in a panel discussion in New York, so this freshly sponged-up learning still dwelled in my frontal lobe when I was interviewed by RT on June 5, 2014, the anniversary of the first-published disclosure from Edward Snowden.

When asked how “ordinary people” in the U.S. were being affected by the disclosures about bulk collection, I passed along what I had recently learned from Bill and other whistleblowers regarding how law enforcement is masking illegal surveillance to the severe detriment of defendants’ constitutional rights.

Former FBI Division Counsel in Minneapolis Coleen Rowley who, with Jesselyn Radack, Tom Drake and me, visited Snowden in Russia in October 2013 told me of two legal doctrines established many decades ago: the “exclusionary rule” and the rule regarding the “fruit of the poisonous tree.”

These were designed to force over-zealous law enforcement officers to adhere to the Constitution by having judges throw out cases derived from improperly obtained evidence. To evade this rule, law enforcement officials who have been on the receiving end of NSA’s wiretap data must conceal what tipped off an investigation.

After the Tip-Off

Among the revelations over the past year was DEA’s definition of “parallel construction” as “the use of normal [read legal] investigative techniques to re-create the information received by DEA’s Special Ops Division” from NSA or other sources that can’t be acknowledged. Some of these sources may be confidential informants whose identities need protecting, but the NSA’s massive database has become a very inviting place to trawl for valuable leads.

Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. (Photo credit: The Guardian)

As Reuters reported in August 2013, “A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.

“Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin – not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.

“The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to ‘recreate’ the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant’s Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don’t know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence – information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.”

So, in this way, the NSA’s warrantless surveillance can result in illegal law enforcement. And the FBI, the DEA and other organs of the deep state have become quite good at it, thank you very much.

Here’s how it works: NSA’s domestic surveillance though supposedly restricted to detecting terrorism gets wind of some potentially illegal activity unrelated to terrorism. So, NSA passes the information on to the relevant law enforcement agency. It could be a vehicle transporting illegal drugs or a transfer of suspicious funds or pretty much anything.

This evidence then sparks an investigation, but the original information can’t be used legally because it was acquired illegally for “national security” purposes. After the tip, “parallel” law enforcement techniques are introduced to collect other evidence and arrest and charge the suspects/defendants.

The arrest is made to appear the splendid result of traditional detective techniques. However, if the court learns of the initial shenanigans, the defendant may be released because her/his constitutional rights were violated.

To avoid that possibility, the government simply perjures itself during the court discovery process by concealing the key role played by the NSA database, exculpatory evidence that could weaken or destroy the government’s case.

Blackmail?

Last week a journalist asked me why I thought Congress’ initial outrage seemingly genuine in some quarters over bulk collection of citizens’ metadata had pretty much dissipated in just a few months. What started out as a strong bill upholding Fourth Amendment principles ended up much weakened with only a few significant restraints remaining against NSA’s flaunting of the Constitution?

Seal of the National Security Agency

Let me be politically incorrect and mention the possibility of blackmail or at least the fear among some politicians that the NSA has collected information on their personal activities that could be transformed into a devastating scandal if leaked at the right moment.

Do not blanch before the likelihood that the NSA has the book on each and every member of Congress, including extramarital affairs and political deal-making. We know that NSA has collected such information on foreign diplomats, including at the United Nations in New York, to influence votes on the Iraq War and other issues important to U.S. “national security.”

We also know how the late FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover used much more rudimentary technology a half century ago to develop dossiers on the personal indiscretions of political and ideological opponents. It makes sense that people with access to the NSA’s modern surveillance tools would be sorely tempted to put these new toys to use in support of their own priorities.

I happened to be with a highly accomplished attorney one not involved in security law when we saw TV reporting that the Solicitor General of the United States had misled the U.S. Supreme Court. My lawyer friend kept shaking his head, with his mouth agape: “Now THAT is not supposed to happen” is all he could muster.

Other than the Supreme Court justices themselves, the Solicitor General is among the most influential members of the legal community. Indeed, the Solicitor General has been called the “tenth justice” as a result of the relationship of mutual trust that tends to develop between the justices and the Solicitor General.

Thus, while it is sad, it is hardly surprising that no one took President Obama’s Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr. to the woodshed. There are seldom penalties in Washington for playing fast and loose with the truth.

Verrilli assured the Court in the “Clapper v. Amnesty International USA” case that defendants would be informed of evidence coming from NSA. The Department of Justice had reviewed his draft testimony and did not tell Verrilli that this was not the truth.

In the case, a majority of the Supreme Court justices decided to wait until a criminal defendant was actually convicted with the admitted use of NSA evidence before ruling on whether this violates the Fourth Amendment and the requirement of court warrants based on “probable cause” before police searches can be conducted.

The result of the Supreme Court’s decision was that the challenge to the constitutionality of NSA’s mass collection was abruptly stopped, and the mass surveillance continued. But Verrilli subsequently found out that his assurances had been false, and there ensued an argument with the Department of Justice, which opposed revealing use of NSA sources in any court.

Verrilli apparently prevailed partially, with the government subsequently notifying a few defendants in ongoing terrorism cases that NSA sources were used.

Separation of Powers?

We cannot escape some pretty dismal conclusions here. Not only have the Executive and Legislative branches been corrupted by establishing, funding, hiding and promoting unconstitutional surveillance programs during the “war on terror,” but the Judicial branch has been corrupted, too.

Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, standing up for Pvt. Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning.

The discovery process in criminal cases is now stacked in favor of the government through its devious means for hiding unconstitutional surveillance and using it in ways beyond the narrow declared purpose of thwarting terrorism.

Moreover, federal courts at the district, appeals and Supreme Court levels have allowed the government to evade legal accountability by insisting that plaintiffs must be able to prove what often is not provable, that they were surveilled through highly secretive NSA means. And, if the plaintiffs make too much progress, the government can always get a lawsuit thrown out by invoking “state secrets.”

The Separation of Powers designed by the Constitution’s Framers to prevent excessive accumulation of power by one of the branches has stopped functioning amid the modern concept of “permanent war” and the unwillingness of all but a few hearty souls to challenge the invocation of “national security.” Plus, the corporate-owned U.S. media, with very few exceptions, is fully complicit.

Thus, a massive, intrusive power now looms over every one of us and especially those few brave individuals with inside knowledge who might be inclined to inform the rest of us about the threat. Whistleblowers, like Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden, have faced decades in prison for divulging important secrets to the American people. And so the legal rot continues.

The concept of a “United Stasi of America,” coined by Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, has been given real meaning by the unconstitutional behavior and dereliction of duty on the part of both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations.

Just days after the first published disclosure from Snowden, Ellsberg underscored that the NSA, FBI and CIA now have surveillance capabilities that East Germany’s Stasi secret police could scarcely have imagined.

What, We Worry?

In June 2013, Mathew Schofield of McClatchy conducted an interesting interview of Wolfgang Schmidt, a former lieutenant colonel in the Stasi, in Berlin. With the Snowden revelations beginning to tumble out into the media, Schofield described Schmidt as he pondered the sheer magnitude of domestic spying in the United States.

Schmidt: “You know, for us, this would have been a dream come true.”

Schofield continues: “In those days, his department was limited to tapping 40 phones at a time, he recalled. Decide to spy on a new victim and an old one had to be dropped, because of a lack of equipment. He finds breathtaking the idea that the U.S. government receives daily reports on the cellphone usage of millions of Americans and can monitor the Internet traffic of millions more.”

“So much information, on so many people,” says Schmidt who, at that point, volunteers a stern warning for Schofield and the rest of us:

“It is the height of naivete to think that, once collected, this information won’t be used. This is the nature of secret government organizations. The only way to protect the people’s privacy is not to allow the government to collect their information in the first place.” [emphasis added]

(For those who missed it, “The Lives of Others,” a 2006 film, offers a chilling depiction of the Stasi, a far more capable incarnation of which may soon be coming to your home or neighborhood with assistance of “parallel construction.”)

Take note, those of you who may still feel fearless, those of you with “nothing to hide.”

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, a publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in inner-city Washington. He was an Army officer and CIA analyst for a total of 30 years and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

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39 comments for “How NSA Can Secretly Aid Criminal Cases

  1. mike k
    May 18, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    The Justice department is not what it says it is. Instead it is the department of Injustice. Little Orwellian game they are playing pretending to dispense “justice.” Oh and btw the police are not really there to protect you. They have a whole other agenda in mind. Welcome to 1984 – 2017 style.

    • John wilson
      May 19, 2017 at 3:13 am

      Too right Mike. The outcome of this man’s investigation will depend entirely on who he’s working for. If its Trump then the silly Russia gate nonsense will die a natural death. If he’s a stood pigeon, and he finds in favour of the Establishment, then Trump will be in real trouble. I wonder, Mike, if its concluded that Trump did collude with the Russians to steal the election and that he’s somehow implicated in the release of the Clinton emails, will Clinton have a case in law for a re-run of the election?

  2. backwardsevolution
    May 18, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    Ray McGovern – excellent piece. Thank you. A few years ago, my young son told me to watch “The Lives of Others”. To please him, I watched it. Wow, was I ever glad I did! What a fantastic movie and, yes, everybody should watch this in order to get a taste of what they’re in for.

    “Official Washington is thrilled by the choice of ex-FBI Director Mueller as Russia-gate special counsel, hailing him as a straight-shooter.”

    When both sides like this guy, we should be worried. A fixer hired by the elite to maintain the status quo. All branches of government have been taken over: executive, legislative, judiciary.

    The people who are happy with the way things are and want to maintain it are in for a very nasty surprise, and they will be in shock – gut-wrenching shock – when they wake up one day to find their freedoms are gone, but by then it will be too late. Once the noose is tightened, it’s beyond hope.

    A civil war could happen before that time, but most certainly some sort of a revolution is the only thing that will return power back to what the Founding Fathers put in place.

    • Brad Owen
      May 18, 2017 at 2:20 pm

      Your quote about “Official Washington” made me think exactly the same thing…a great big “Uh-Oh”.

    • John wilson
      May 19, 2017 at 3:37 am

      Hey there Backwardsrevolution, their freedoms are already gone, its just that they are brainwashed into thinking that America is a free country and that its everyone else who’s under the tyranny of the jackboot. They really believe that the America justice is ultimate and flawless and those unfortunate’s who find themselves on the receiving end of ‘state’ attention, deserve it. The state apparatchik is like a parasite, it never quite devours the whole carcass but leaves enough flesh in tact so it can continue to feed off it indefinitely.

  3. Realist
    May 18, 2017 at 1:28 pm

    So, what kind of maniacal sociopaths get into this line of work, where they think it is their duty to keep digging away at regular folks, invading their privacy, setting them up and even framing them, until they are able to lock up X% of them and claim they’ve carried out god’s will? Are they basically intensively conditioned authoritarians, perhaps by the Jesuits or their evangelical counterparts, who believe that every human being is flawed and therefore deserving of punishment? I don’t get why we can have over 3 million of our citizens in prison, way more than are jailed in China or India with their behemoth populations, and this ilk thinks there needs to be ever more of us put behind bars. Yet, in a stunning discontinuity, war criminals, responsible for the deaths and misery of millions, walk freely amongst us, as unrestrained as the birds of the air and as unaccountable as new-born innocents!

    • backwardsevolution
      May 18, 2017 at 1:54 pm

      Realist – and once the sociopaths gain a little more power, they will lock up people like you or I. We would be considered the intelligentsia, the people who are smart enough to have figured out what is going on, the thinkers. Of course, that’s only if things turn ugly, and we’re not there yet.

      These people are power-hungry, corrupt individuals, people who want something for nothing, certainly people who want to come out on top. They own most of the wealth in the world, and they like it that way. To them, we are riffraff, just a large consumer base who buy their products, expendable when no longer needed.

      The Deep State finally control all branches of government. Unless the people get on side, there will be no draining of the swamp and things will continue to get worse. Open your eyes, people, and look down the road as far as you can imagine. If things don’t look right now, then multiply that by a thousand to glimpse what’s coming.

      Are sociopaths or psychopaths born this way? I don’t know, I think we’re all born with a certain temperament, so that accounts for part of the problem. But I believe it’s what you learn at home (or a lack of one) that forms most of your character. These sociopaths never had anyone who brought them to their knees, who allowed them to feel empathy, grief, remorse. “My son, my son,” the corrupt father proudly says, and he actually admires his son for his lack of conscience.

      • Bill Bodden
        May 18, 2017 at 2:52 pm

        Are sociopaths or psychopaths born this way?

        A check of family histories of some of our leading politicians/warmongers suggests it might be family breeding in some cases.

    • Herman
      May 18, 2017 at 2:39 pm

      To Realist, I have recently begun doing research on the Jesuits and your remark about them caught my eye. It is an expression of the deep antipathy toward the Jesuits, not merely among Protestant but far beyond that. The Pope himself banned them two and half centuries ago, Portugal, France, Germany and others threw them out. Many of the participants in liberation theology in Latin America that was condemned by Pope John Paul were Jesuits. The priest that were assassinated in Costa Rica, I think it was were Jesuits. I invite you to peruse the internet and witness the vitriol. My conclusion, although preliminary, is that having so many enemies in high places they must be doing something right.

      • Realist
        May 18, 2017 at 9:15 pm

        You needn’t school me about the Jesuits. I was educated in the Catholic Church through the twelfth grade. It was their dictum of “Give me a child until he is seven and I will give you the man,” a belief and policy to which they freely admit and to which I was referring when I spoke of rigorous conditioning. The Jesuits do many things effectively, but far from everything right. They were famously known as the pope’s army, and charged with conducting much palace intrigue.

  4. backwardsevolution
    May 18, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    The people of the U.S. don’t hold the power, the Deep State does. I remember a blogger years ago saying that all citizens should own guns, if only as a defense against their own government, against tyranny. At the time I thought he was crazy. No longer.

    Do not let them use false flags in order to take your guns away from you. They are trying to change the gun laws, but do not let them take your guns away. You may need them in the not too distant future against your own government.

    To all the progressives out there who are desperately fighting AGAINST draining the swamp, who want to maintain the status quo, think again. You are siding with the Deep State and you don’t even know it. They will use you to further tighten the screws. Don’t be fooled. Your own Congressman who is shouting down change or who is screaming “Russia did it, Russia did it” is probably being blackmailed by the Deep State to say exactly what he’s saying.

    P.S. I don’t like guns, but I have come to appreciate the need to have them.

    • mike k
      May 18, 2017 at 1:57 pm

      When I run scenarios in my mind about how citizen ownership of guns might defeat an oppressive government, it never results in the kind of world I want to live in. Run a couple yourself, and let me know if you find one that delivers a happy ending?

      • backwardsevolution
        May 18, 2017 at 2:08 pm

        mike k – I don’t see a happy ending either way. Passive resistance might work, but when they take out your town leaders in order to set an example, how many are going to continue to resist?

        So don’t own a gun then.

    • Realist
      May 18, 2017 at 2:05 pm

      I’m still a “lefty,” still a progressive who wants Medicare for all, affordable tuitions at state-run universities, tax-supported programs to help feed, cloth, educate and heal the poor, a tax-supported infrastructure that benefits all citizens rather than just a few well-connected ones, programs and tax policies that encourage domestic job growth including affordable transit systems to move those of modest means between work and home (i.e., planes, trains and affordable eco-friendly automobiles), and, most of all, peace on earth wherein all societies are allowed self-determination rather than being micro-managed by the establishment elite of the United States. That said, with the way the tag team of government and corporations have run rough shod over the rights and well-being of most citizens, I have a definite appreciation for the strident defense of all our constitutional liberties that the right, and especially the libertarian strain of conservatism, has striven to uphold.

      That includes the second amendment. Thirty years ago I reasoned that not only conservatives should have access to firearms, but liberals have every right and maybe the same needs for them too. So, I bought a couple of semi-automatic hand guns. In thirty years I have never fired one. At the rate I’m going, I probably never will. They simply reside, loaded but never fired, in their respective drawers, waiting for the days of anarchy that we all hope will never come but seem evermore impending with every passing day.

      The establishment on both sides of the aisle is simply laced with too much hypocrisy, dishonesty and thuggish tendencies to control the rest of us. The few outstanding exceptions to this unfortunate group think include reasonable men from both ends of the ideological spectrum. I respect Ron Paul as much as I do Dennis Kucinich. Probably the Deep State reviles them both with equal disdain. Possibly the only two incumbent politicos that are fit to hold the office of the presidency in modern-day America are Tulsi Gabbard and Rand Paul, again entering the arena from opposite sides of the structure.

      • backwardsevolution
        May 18, 2017 at 2:14 pm

        Realist – well said! I agree, and want the same things too. Yes, there are good men and women on both sides, but they are few and far between. All have faced character assassination.

      • Skip Scott
        May 18, 2017 at 2:29 pm

        Realist-

        You should take a gun safety course, and get out to a range once a year or so. Handguns are not as simple as they seem. There are a lot of accidents. I also own a semi-auto pistol, a WWII relic my father gave me. I had to become small arms qualified for the last six years of my career. I still go out and shoot a couple clips worth once a year or so. Also, it only takes a second to put one in the chamber and take a safety off. I wouldn’t leave it loaded.

    • Skip Scott
      May 18, 2017 at 2:21 pm

      Hi b.e.-

      I wish just having a gun afforded protection. Against a burglar, yeah, but against these guys, not a chance. It won’t be long before the police are using drones and missiles inside the US. They’ll be able to kill you without leaving the police station.

      • backwardsevolution
        May 18, 2017 at 2:33 pm

        Skip Scott – I agree, but keeping your guns can’t hurt. The only hope is that the police stand down, they don’t act against their fellow citizens. This has happened before and it can happen again.

    • Bill Bodden
      May 18, 2017 at 3:05 pm

      I remember a blogger years ago saying that all citizens should own guns, if only as a defense against their own government, against tyranny. At the time I thought he was crazy. No longer.

      This argument about a defense against tyranny to justify gun ownership doesn’t hold up. The government has been on a path towards tyranny for decades without these patriots showing up. Some of them will make a show at events such as the Bundy ranch in Nevada and Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon but never anywhere near the NSA or FBI headquarters or Langley in Virginia or the U.S. capitol.

      Anyone contemplating joining one of these militias in a march on Washington should look back over their shoulders after a few miles where they will probably find no one joining their parade.

      I agree with mike k on this topic. Consider the French Revolution that led to a reign of terror.

      • backwardsevolution
        May 18, 2017 at 8:59 pm

        Bill – I remember helping with homework a few years ago and learning about the French Revolution. I found it interesting that, although the poor people were starving, they weren’t the ones who started the revolution. It was the merchant class, the bankers, etc. These guys were the agitators, they got everybody stirred up, and then the poor people joined in. Kind of like today where the MSM are stirring up the people in order to get what they want.

        Back in those days they took out the king and his court in order to gain control. Today they are creating lies in order to take out the President and the Constitution.

        In other words, the sh*t disturbers use the uneducated, poor people in order to overthrow a leader.

  5. Desert Dave
    May 18, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    Ray wrote “Do not blanch before the likelihood that the NSA has the book on each and every member of Congress, including extramarital affairs and political deal-making…”

    Prescient , yes? Now we know it applies to presidents too, and has been amplified since Obama (in the his waning days activated sharing from NSA to the rest of the alphabet soup. Hence the current drip-drip-drip of anonymous leaks.

  6. backwardsevolution
    May 18, 2017 at 2:01 pm

    Orwell’s “Animal Farm” (some animals are more equal than others) and “1984” are playing out. Who would have thought?

  7. mike k
    May 18, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    backwards evolution, I agree with almost all you have shared. But I just can’t come up with a solution that seems likely to work, or in truth to have any chance at all for delivering us from our mess. I can think of courses that would work if people would follow them, but there’s the rub – people are unwilling to do the difficult work, and make the real sacrifices to make real deep solutions happen. Without that awakeness to the realities of our situation, and the moral determination to do whatever is necessary to change our disastrous course – nothing truly effective will occur.

    • backwardsevolution
      May 18, 2017 at 2:20 pm

      mike k – I understand what you’re saying, believe me. I don’t think people wake up until they have to (just as I don’t think fish initially came out of the water until they were forced to). At least this has been true in my own personal life. When you are forced to wake up, pulled up by the hair, in turmoil, this is when the good things happen. You almost don’t see what’s right until you’ve been forced to feel what’s wrong, until you’ve felt some pain. This is what makes for strong character and morals that come from within, from your soul, not from some book, a parent or a preacher.

  8. Bill Bodden
    May 18, 2017 at 2:38 pm

    Let me be politically incorrect and mention the possibility of blackmail or at least the fear among some politicians that the NSA has collected information on their personal activities that could be transformed into a devastating scandal if leaked at the right moment.

    What could they have done that is more shameful than endorsing Israeli slaughters of innocent men, women, and children in Gaza during operations cast lead and protective edge or vote for the war on Iraq or starving hundreds of thousands of Yemenis? Of course, that scenario refers to a civilized society but not in our present upside-down world. It might be okay to vote for some illegal and immoral act of aggression that would result in the deaths of hundreds or thousands of people, but don’t get caught in some sexual affair with someone other than a spouse..

    • Joe Tedesky
      May 18, 2017 at 3:27 pm

      Does Ray McGovern’s essay make you wonder to how much of this NSA collected personal data is shared with our intelligence ally Israel? How many congressional standing ovations did Bibi get?

      • Bill Bodden
        May 18, 2017 at 4:20 pm

        How many congressional standing ovations did Bibi get?

        29

        Does Ray McGovern’s essay make you wonder to how much of this NSA collected personal data is shared with our intelligence ally Israel?

        I’ve read of visitors arriving in Israel and being turned around to the next outgoing flight because the airport Gestapo had files on them making the visitors unwelcome.

  9. Bill Bodden
    May 18, 2017 at 2:42 pm

    We also know how the late FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover used much more rudimentary technology a half century ago to develop dossiers on the personal indiscretions of political and ideological opponents.

    When Hoover’s name is removed from the FBI headquarters building then I might believe the FBI has cleaned up its act. Until then ….

  10. Joe Tedesky
    May 18, 2017 at 3:16 pm

    Here’s what I wish, I wish that every American who will hear about the Trump whatever it is today could hear what Ray McGovern today has explained to us. Bravo to the alternative media that exist in our internet environment as it stands, but let’s face it the alternative news is a David up against an overfed ugly lying Goliath when it comes to informing the masses. I’m not complaining that there is a alternative media, but I am complaining to how the MSM has literally shut out the objective views of anyone who is not on board with their narrative themes, and with this corporate information source we Americans suffer.

    What I will be waiting for, is the day the cameras are on Robert Mueller as he heads into the White House to meet with President Trump. It will be a grand day for cable news network media pundits, as they speculate all day and into the night, and from here to eternity to what Mueller’s visit with Trump really means. We Americans will go about our business doing what we do, until that evening when Trump does his impression of Richard Nixon delivering his resignation talk to the nation. Before sunrise the next day we will then have a swearing in a President Micheal Pence, and that will be the end of the Donald Trump presidency.

    SNL will need to repeat reruns, until they find another politico to take Trump’s place, as this will be a stretch to come up with anything creative enough to replace the antics of Trump with. The late night talk show hosts will be the other party you hear crying alongside the SNL cast…oh and Bill Maher may will need to hire new writers as well.

    The aftermath will be filled with a flood of media people writing books, and how they (the author) did a Woodward & Bernstein, and saved the country from the fascist Trump & Bannon regime that overtook our nation for a short time, as this will go down as America’s lowest point in it’s 241 year old history. Without a responsible press to rival any of these claims this salvation will be taught to our grandchildren, and maybe even our great grandchildren, as a shinning moment in American history as forever we stand as one nation under God.

  11. Skip Scott
    May 18, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    Joe-

    I’d say your prediction is pretty much spot-on. God help us, but that’s the narrative that will wind up in public school text books.

    • Joe Tedesky
      May 18, 2017 at 5:00 pm

      Ah Skip no big deal our grandchildren will just turnout to be as stupid as we have become. Yeah, this is sad and I said what I said with sarcasm, but so much for handing our children a better world than we had. At least we had cool music. Btw I’ve turned on a couple more people to Greg Brown…at least that is a good thing to spread around.

      • Skip Scott
        May 18, 2017 at 5:54 pm

        Well Joe, I’m 61 yrs old, and every time I look back, I think it’s only recently that I’ve become aware. Obviously, I see now, It’s a continuous process. Who’da thunk it!

        I’ve determined that there are basically 3 types of people:
        1. The smart ones: they learn from other peoples mistakes.
        2. Most of us: We learn from our own mistakes.
        3. The ones that never learn. (they’re most likely to be politicians or own corporations.)

        • Joe Tedesky
          May 18, 2017 at 11:03 pm

          Right, and I belong to group #2….in fact I have a Black Belt in it.

  12. mike k
    May 18, 2017 at 4:50 pm

    The spooks are proving with Trump that they have way more than eight ways of killing a man, without laying a finger on him.

  13. mike k
    May 18, 2017 at 4:52 pm

    All that will be left of Trump will be a hollow eyed zombie of his former self.

  14. akech
    May 18, 2017 at 5:23 pm

    Donald Trump is coming under complete siege because of the following events:

    (a) Jeff Session, Trump’s chosen Attorney General was disarmed when Jeff Session, who was accused of having contacts with Russia, had to recuse himself from any investigation involving Trump being the Russian puppet!

    (b) The deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was confirmed by 94-6 votes; he is in charge of appointing special prosecutor to investigate the Russian investigation; He then appoints Robert Mueller, a close friend of James Comey and a member of the Deep State that is hell bent on dislodging Donald Trump from the presidency!

    (c)
    Mr Rosenstein recently came under fire from the Democrats and MSM for throwing James Comey under the bus:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/05/11/schumer-to-rod-rosenstein-your-reputation-is-at-risk-is-it-true-you-threatened-to-quit/?utm_term=.2e69e7b0a485

    While listening to what they are saying, match what they are saying with what they are doing in order to understand where they are taking the whole nation! And they want they want American public to be in sink with them!

  15. Max
    May 19, 2017 at 3:18 am

    “In an era when everything can be surveiled, all we have left is politeness.”

    Major Napier, “Hackworth’s situation develops new complications”

    The Pittsburgh car wash plan fell apart. They have more dirt in Washington, so the car wash is going there. The crows are scared by the cats not the scarecrows.

  16. Mike
    May 20, 2017 at 11:04 pm

    Colonel Conrad E. Reynolds ret U.S. Army. Independent defense contractor. Has been using NSA technology in Arkansas for years. Searcy, Ar police dept. White County sheriffs dept. Arkansas state police and others. An unimaginable amount of nuclear security related information was stolen from the NRC\DOE and leaked to a large number of officers from these depts. as well as civilians through the illegal use of NSA technology. Director Comey was wrongfully terminated from the FBI for refusing to call off their investigation into Gen. Mike Flynn’s close personal ties to Col. Reynolds, the illegal espionage activity and the Trump campign. It never involved Russian meddling in the election. It was blackmail between the DOD, corrupt law enforcement, and key political officials all of whom continue to share the illegal use of advanced NSA technology…

  17. May 21, 2017 at 2:24 am

    The Gaping Holes of Russia-gate May 20, 2017
    Between Russia-gate and President Trump’s potential impeachment, Washington is blending the thrill of McCarthyism and the excitement of Watergate, as ex-U.S. intelligence officials Ray McGovern and William Binney explain.
    By Ray McGovern and William Binney
    https://consortiumnews.com/2017/05/20/the-gaping-holes-of-russia-gate/
    How NSA Can Secretly Aid Criminal Cases
    May 18, 2017

    From the Archive: Official Washington is thrilled by the choice of ex-FBI Director Mueller as Russia-gate special counsel, hailing him as a straight-shooter, but he cut some legal corners in office, ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern wrote in 2014.
    By Ray McGovern (Originally published on June 12, 2014)
    https://consortiumnews.com/2017/05/18/how-nsa-can-secretly-aid-criminal-cases-2/

    Although Ray McGovern and William Binney have not stated this can we assume:
    Putting these 2 stories together can we say that the evidence that Russia hacked the Dems was obtained illegally through mass surveillance using NSA wiretaps, then they got Crowdstrike to verify the illegally obtained evidence and that is why the evidence is not conclusive, but they insist it is because they do not want to divulge the source.

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