Horrifying. This is the "diversity" the left wants to celebrate. I could care less about someone's skin color, but culture and assimilation matter. That includes those ethnic enclaves within the US that keep their members trapped in a cycle of poverty and violence.
I used to respect EPIC. The irony of a privacy group trying to use FOIA to extract individual income tax records from the IRS is just embarrassing. Presidents releasing their tax records has always been a voluntary thing driven by campaign pressure. Trump chose not to release his records and won anyway. End of story.
Note that after listening to the Trump campaign for roughly 2 years, no one has been charged with a crime. That makes the idea of a legitimate basis for the surveillance something to be viewed with skepticism. The timing is also suspicious, going all the way back to the beginning of the primaries. We don't know if this was initiated by GCHQ (British signals intelligence) or if Obama went to them to ask for it. But we can be pretty sure it was improper, since it continued for that long without charges, and since Susan Rice and GCHQ both flatly denied it before being exposed. Don't forget the head of GCHQ resigned shortly after Trump's election.
It appears that the Trump campaign was dealing with a full court press from the international Deep State trying to sink his candidacy from the very beginning.
Remember, if there was any real substance to any of this, we would have seen either charges or leaks. Instead, we've seen the FBI promising to pay for "50 shades of Trump" erotic fiction and complaints that his transition team talked to foreign ambassadors.
The public has a right to know what happened, whether and how these defendants abused their public office. If people do not like what they hear, well, death threats are obviously out of bounds but it's understandable that people would be angry. Lerner, Paz, and anyone else involved should have to face a public with full knowledge of what happened.
And by the way... if you were a defendant in a case like this, with extensive media attention, and you were concerned that the public would be angry with you even though you did nothing wrong, wouldn't you want them to get the whole story?
Lerner and her colleagues apparently feel that their own testimony would make the public angrier. Why is that?
First, some background. Years ago, a girl claimed she was gang-raped by a fraternity at UVA, blown off by the Dean of the school, and got an article published in Rolling Stone about it. Then the alleged rape was proven to have never occurred, and the evidence suggests the accuser made up the whole thing to make a guy jealous. The reporter who wrote the story, and her publisher, were sued for demation by the fraternity and the Dean. In a story about the publication settling with the Dean, the reporter is quoted as saying:
There's a lot wrong with this story, but the thing I want to comment on here is that the reporter thinks her job is not reporting accurately about true events but rather helping spur change on college campuses.
There's evidence that some of the people involved in the story had political connections and were planning to push legislation related to the story. And the reporter quoted above appears to have had issues with the truth in at least two other articles involving rape.
It appears that the reporter's job title should be propagandist instead. And that's the role that many in the media play, wittingly or unwittingly, due to their personal biases and their desire to "spur change" regardless of the truth.
Islamic society uses mosques to export terror the way that foreign nations use embassies to export their intelligence gathering operations. The traditions of Western civilization regarding religion -- freedom of, peaceful tolerance of -- do not apply to Islam in its violent form. The sooner we recognize that and respond to it, the better off we will be in the end.
The latter link is to Gateway Pundit and I haven't watched the video yet, so there may be some hyperbole involved. And I'm not sure the House CAN file charges for anything except contempt. But then, they did refer the contempt charges to DOJ and nothing was done, so they could well reopen that issue.
The headline was: "Senators question Trump admin's alleged attempt to unmask Twitter account". The content of the article described an attempt by the Trump administration, through the legal process, to obtain the identity of a Twitter user who was claiming to be part of an "alternative" government agency. In other words, this was a legal attempt to identify an individual violating conditions of his employment at a government agency by (among other things) participating in political activity related to his government position.
When attention (and a lawsuit from Twitter) were brought to the matter, the request was dropped. All things considered, this was probably the right call.
But it is a long way from using intelligence agencies to spy on political opponents, which is what the term "unmasking" used in the headline refers to. The use of that incorrect term creates a false equivalence between the Obama administration's political spying and one idiot at DHS who sent a subpoena to Twitter.
This lunatic seems to be planning to go out in a blaze of infamy. He allegedly sent a threatening note to Trump that also contained threats against churches and organized religion. Hopefully he will be caught before he can carry out whatever he's planning.
FBI obtained FISA warrant on Trump ex-aide Carter Page
So it sounds like one person very loosely associated with the Trump campaign used his free speech rights in a manner the government decided it did not like after deciding that the Russians were going to be blamed for Hillary losing the election, and that was enough to obtain a wiretap on a US citizen that "incidentally" swept up intelligence information on a candidate for President which was then "unmasked" and carefully correlated for the perusal of the sitting President's staff, who then leaked it to the press.
This stinks to high heaven, even if Page actually is a Russian agent. So far, he hasn't been charged with that. Or anything else.
Judicial Watch sues ATF for info on proposed AR-15 ammunition ban
We'll be digging into dusty paperwork to find out exactly what happened during Obama's pen and phone period for quite a while, I suspect. But Judicial Watch usually gets results eventually. They recently obtained another batch of IRS documents related to the targeting scandel; it looks like this batch of documents is mostly training manuals, but the IRS guarded them jealously and the timeline of changes to the training materials may be instructive.
This is concerning to me. Moving audits to an "in-house team" usually means a whitewash. That said, the commission was about to end its term anyway, and Sessions is merely choosing not to renew it.
Forensics needs to be about getting accurate results, not merely convicting whoever happens to be on trial, and we've seen quite a few real problems come to light with how the FBI labs have handled evidence lately.
I've done my bit to fight against the absurd claims that the Obama administration using intelligence agencies to identify and spy on Trump transition team members isn't "wiretapping", but there's a lot more here. Read the whole thing.
UPDATE: Twitchy has indications that the alleged attacker was charged with violent crimes on multiple occasions, but the charges were dismissed both times, and the LA Times describes him as a "pastor with a military background". His name appears American, and he is black rather than middle-eastern. However, his "military background" was denied by the Navy who said there was no record of anyone with his name serving in that branch, and the description of him as a "pastor" comes from a Muslim:
"Pastor" would normally imply a Christian religion, but that part is not in quotes, and he's being defended by a Muslim. The odds the attacker in this case was actually a Muslim seem high, but it's far from definitive. That said, attacking your estranged wife and others in the process of committing suicide is not generally considered politically motivated terrorism.
There are a number of interesting dates that have been tossed around on this topic. One of them is that the surveillance/unmasking of Trump begin before he was the Republican nominee, roughly a year before the 2016 elections. That raises the question of whether other candidates in both party primaries were also targeted. I suspect they were. I don't see why Trump would be unique, and the Democrats certainly pulled out all the stops to force a Hillary nomination rather than a Bernie nomination.
But there has been another interesting date tossed around relating to when some of the rules for dissemination of the unmasked identities were changed. That date -- so far just a year -- is 2011. Why is 2011 significant?
Well, it's the year the Republicans formally took control of the House (after the 2010 elections). It's the year the IRS targeting began. It's the year before Obama's run for re-election.
The tricky part is that I've seen two dates for this rule change, one in 2011, one much more recently (after Trump won). I think this means there were actually two different rule changes, since we don't know the details of either one. Or possibly the 2011 rule change reference was a mistake.
But if, in fact, there was such a rule change regarding surveillance of US targets ("incidental" or not) then it is very suggestive about what Obama was doing during the 2012 election as well as the 2016 one.
I hope we still have records going back that far for the investigation.
The FBI had been investigating Trump's alleged Russian connections since July, you say? Interesting. Other sources indicate that the Obama Administration's spying on Trump goes back to around November of 2015, quite a ways before July of 2016.
Note: I can't find the link I saw the earlier date in, but it was referencing Rice's unmasking efforts and indicated surveillance began a year before the election and before Trump became his party's nominee.