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The U.S. Intelligence Community, Flouting Laws, is Increasingly Involving Itself in Domestic Politics

Posted by M. C. on March 26, 2021

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Glenn Greenwald
Then-Vice President Joseph Biden (L) with former Central Intelligence Agency Director Leon Panetta (R) at CIA headquarters in McLean, Virginia. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

A report declassified last Wednesday by the Department of Homeland Security is raising serious concerns about the possibly illegal involvement by the intelligence community in U.S. domestic political affairs.

Entitled “Domestic Violent Extremism Poses Heightened Threat in 2021,” the March 1 Report from the Director of National Intelligence states that it was prepared “in consultation with the Attorney General and Secretary of Homeland Security—and was drafted by the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), with contributions from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).”

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Its primary point is this: “The IC [intelligence community] assesses that domestic violent extremists (DVEs) who are motivated by a range of ideologies and galvanized by recent political and societal events in the United States pose an elevated threat to the Homeland in 2021.” While asserting that “the most lethal” of these threats is posed by “racially or ethnically motivated violent extremists (RMVEs) and militia violent extremists (MVEs),” it makes clear that its target encompasses a wide range of groups from the left (Antifa, animal rights and environmental activists, pro-choice extremists and anarchists: “those who oppose capitalism and all forms of globalization”) to the right (sovereign citizen movements, anti-abortion activists and those deemed motivated by racial or ethnic hatreds).

The U.S. security state apparatus regards the agenda of “domestic violent extremists” as “derived from anti-government or anti-authority sentiment,” which includes “opposition to perceived economic, racial or social hierarchies.” In sum, to the Department of Homeland Security, an “extremist” is anyone who opposes the current prevailing ruling class and system for distributing power. Anyone they believe is prepared to use violence, intimidation or coercion in pursuit of these causes then becomes a “domestic violent extremist,” subject to a vast array of surveillance, monitoring and other forms of legal restrictions:

Department of Homeland Security report, Mar.1, 2021

It goes without saying that violence of any kind — including that which is politically motivated — is a serious crime under U.S. law, and it is the proper role of the U.S. Government to investigate and prevent it. But there are real and important legal and institutional limits on the authority of the intelligence community to involve itself in domestic law enforcement, or other forms of domestic political activity, that seem threatened here, if not outright violated.

In particular, the Report’s acknowledgement that it was compiled by institutions including “the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), with contributions from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA)” has alarmed numerous members of the House Intelligence Committee. On Thursday, all ten minority members of that Committee wrote a previously unreported letter to Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines “to raise serious concerns about the production of this document by the Intelligence Community (IC) and to seek clarification of the facts related to its production.”

Among the issues raised was that the DHS Report was not subject to the standard rigors of an intelligence community finding, yet continually makes sweeping claims that it prefixes with the authoritative phrase “the IC assesses.” The Committee members found this “to be misleading,” adding: we “urge you to clarify which elements in the IC concurred with this judgement and the intelligence basis, if any, for that concurrence.” In other words, Haines claims that these dubious assertions about various threats faced by Americans are the findings of the intelligence community when that is not true: just like the originally false claim widely spread by the media that “all seventeen intelligence agencies” endorsed the 2016 election findings about Russian interference when, in fact, it was only a few which had done so. Haines’ claims have support only from a few agencies as well.

But the more substantive danger is the role played by the CIA and other intelligence agencies in the domestic politics of the U.S., all in the name of fighting “domestic terrorism” (similar dangers were previously created by the Bush and Obama administrations in the name of fighting “international terrorism”). As the committee members’ letter details:

The Intelligence Committee members, citing the fact that the intelligence community is “subject to longstanding prohibitions against domestic activities,” then demanded answers to a series of questions based on this substantive concern:

Involvement of the intelligence community in the domestic activities of U.S. citizens is one of the most dangerous breaches of civil liberties and democratic order the U.S. Government can perpetrate. It was after World War II when the CIA, the NSA and other security state agencies that wield immense and unlimited powers in the dark were created in the name of fighting the Cold War. Legal and institutional prohibitions on wielding that massive machinery against the American public were central to the always-dubious claim that this security behemoth that operates completely in the dark was compatible with democracy. As the ACLU noted, “in its 1947 charter, the CIA was prohibited from spying against Americans, in part because President Truman was afraid that the agency would engage in political abuse.”

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Since then, Truman’s fear has been realized over and over. Some of the worst post-WW2 civil liberties abuses have been the result of breaches by the CIA and other agencies of this prohibition. As the ACLU documents, the CIA in the 1960s was caught infiltrating and manipulating numerous domestic political activist groups. Under the auspices of the War on Terror, entire new bureaucracies (such as the Department of Homeland Security) and new legal regimes (such as the Patriot Act and the FISA Amendments Act) were designed to erode these long-standing limitations by dramatically increasing surveillance powers aimed at U.S. citizens. And by design, the infiltration of these security state agencies in U.S. domestic politics has dramatically escalated.

As the first War on Terror was escalating, The Washington Post — under the headline “CIA Is Expanding Domestic Operations” — reported in October, 2002, that “The Central Intelligence Agency is expanding its domestic presence, placing agents with nearly all of the FBI’s 56 terrorism task forces in U.S. cities.” The Post added that in the name of that War on Terror:

FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III recently described the new arrangement as his answer to MI5, Britain’s internal security service. Unlike the CIA, MI5 is empowered to collect intelligence within Britain and to act to disrupt domestic threats to British national security. “It goes some distance to accomplishing what the MI5 does,” Mueller told a House-Senate intelligence panel last week in describing the new CIA role in the FBI task forces.

In the years following, two NSA whistleblowers — William Binney and Edward Snowden — both cited their horror over the turning of the surveillance machinery against American citizens as the reason for their decision to denounce their agency. One of the aspects that most disturbed me about the Russiagate conspiracy theory from the start was that it was created and disseminated by the CIA and related agencies with the intent, first, to alter the outcome of the 2016 election, and then to undermine the elected president with whom they were at war. Shortly before Trump’s inauguration, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) went on The Rachel Maddow Show to warn — or more accurately: threaten — Trump that the CIA would destroy his presidency if he continued to criticize or otherwise oppose them:https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/505WGUrCp10?rel=0&autoplay=0&showinfo=0

It is encouraging to see Republican members of the House Intelligence Committee starting to express serious concerns over the dangers of intelligence community involvement in domestic politics. That is underscored by their approving citation to the mild mid-1970s reforms of the intelligence community ushered in by the Senate’s Church Committee, once primarily a liberal cause. Indeed, many of the same House Republicans who wrote this important letter to the DNI have in the past supported laws that allow greater involvement of the CIA, NSA and other agencies in activities on U.S. soil — including the Patriot Act.

The head of the Church Committee, Sen. Frank Church (D-ID), made clear in his iconic quote on Meet the Press in 1975 that those reforms were primarily motivated by fears that the U.S. Government would one day turn its vast intelligence powers onto the American people, rendering core civil liberties an illusion:

In the need to develop a capacity to know what potential enemies are doing, the United States government has perfected a technological capability that enables us to monitor the messages that go through the air. (…) We must know, at the same time, that capability at any time could be turned around on the American people, and no American would have any privacy left: such is the capability to monitor everything—telephone conversations, telegrams, it doesn’t matter. There would be no place to hide.

(That quote from Sen. Church was the first one that appeared in my 2014 book on the NSA reporting I did with Edward Snowden, and the title of that book, No Place to Hide, was a nod toward Church’s chilling warning, now come true).

As I have been repeatedly noting over the last two months, the Biden administration, along with leading Democrats such as Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), have been stating explicitly that one of their top priorities is the adoption of new laws designed to import the Bush/Cheney/Obama War on Terror onto U.S. soil for domestic purposes. As recently as February 14, The Washington Post — under the headline: “The agency founded because of 9/11 is shifting to face the threat of domestic terrorism” —noted that Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, is now demanding that homeland security resources be re-directed toward domestic extremists, and “lawmakers of both parties spoke favorably of new legislation to specifically address domestic terrorism.”

Nobody from the Biden administration or Congressional members demanding enactment of Schiff’s proposed new “domestic terrorism” law can identify any activities that are not now criminal that they believe ought to be. Unless it is to permit intelligence agencies to start policing constitutionally protected speech and associational activities among U.S. citizens, why are any new laws needed? Unless it is to empower them to escalate their already-aggressive use of War on Terror tactics against U.S. citizens, what do they want security state agencies to be able to do on U.S. soil that they cannot now do?

But just as the fear of international terrorism was constantly inflated to place such questions off limits when it came to the War on Terror, and just as critics of the excesses of the first War on Terror were constantly accused of downplaying the threat of Islamic extremism if not harboring outright sympathy for it, the same tactics are being used now. Anyone raising civil liberties concerns about what is being done in the name of combating “domestic extremism” is vilified as ignoring and even supporting such domestic extremism.

No matter: there are few dangers more acute than the weaponization of these security state instruments against U.S. citizens for political ends. The DNI should provide full, complete and truthful answers to the important questions posed by these Intelligence Committee members, and should do so promptly. The evidence of growing incursions by the intelligence community in U.S. domestic politics is already strong and ample, and further incursions would be both dangerous and illegal.

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The Staggering Collapse of U.S. Intelligence on the Coronavirus | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on March 25, 2020

COVERT SAMPLE COLLECTION

The mission of the NCMI is to serve as the lead activity within the Department of Defense (DoD) “for the production of medical intelligence,” and to prepare and coordinate “integrated, all-source intelligence for the DoD and other government and international organizations on foreign health threats and other medical issues to protect U.S. interests worldwide.”

NCMI has access to the resources of the totality of the intelligence community, including intercepted communications, satellite imagery, and sensitive human intelligence, including covert sample collection.

Did the government blow it again? Is this the plan?

Whatever the answer, we aren’t supposed to know the question.

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-staggering-collapse-of-u-s-intelligence-on-the-coronavirus/

An agency tasked with tracking future bio threats fell down on the job, causing us to wonder what else we don’t know.

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the United States unlike any other event in recent history, proving to be far more disruptive to American society, and far most damaging to the U.S. economy, than even the events of 9/11.

The U.S. response is something President Trump has likened to a “war,” going so far as to label himself a “wartime President,” leading the U.S. against “the toughest enemy” in a struggle in which he vows “total victory.” If the fight against the coronavirus is a war, then the virus clearly took the U.S. government by surprise. “Certainly we didn’t get an early run on it, Trump noted in a press conference on March 17. “It would’ve been helpful if we knew about it earlier.”

It is the job of the U.S. intelligence community to provide senior U.S. government policy makers, including the president, with advance warning about potential crises. The U.S. taxpayer pays a premium for this service; in 2020, the budget for the National Intelligence Program, which includes all programs, projects and activities of the U.S. intelligence community, was $62.8 billion.

Included in this budget is a small, specialized intelligence unit known as the National Center for Medical Intelligence (NCMI), which operates as part of the Defense Intelligence Agency. The mission of the NCMI is to serve as the lead activity within the Department of Defense (DoD) “for the production of medical intelligence,” and to prepare and coordinate “integrated, all-source intelligence for the DoD and other government and international organizations on foreign health threats and other medical issues to protect U.S. interests worldwide.”

For a small agency, the NCMI packs a large punch in terms of the overall impact of its product. For example, in April 2009—two months prior to when the WHO and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially declared the global outbreak of H1N1 influenza a pandemic, NCMI published an intelligence product, known as an “Infectious Disease Risk Assessment,” which predicted that a recent outbreak of the Swine Flu (H1N1) would become a pandemic.

The positive work done by the NCMI in relation to the H1N1 outbreak contributed to the creation of the 2012 “National Strategy for Biosurveillance,” designed to help facilitate a full-time institutionalized process for obtaining timely and accurate insight on current and emerging biological risks. President Obama himself noted the critical role played by “accurate and timely information” during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic that enabled decision makers, including himself, to “develop the effective responses that save lives.

“The sooner we can detect and understand a threat,” Obama wrote in the introduction to the first National Strategy for Biosurveillance, “the faster we can take action to protect the American people.”

Providing this early detection of a threat is the mission of the NCMI. When it comes to diseases like H1N1 and the coronavirus, this task falls under the remit of the NCMI’s Infectious Disease Division, whose baseline requirement, according to a former commanding officer, Air Force Col. (Dr.) Anthony M. Rizzo, “is to understand the risk of every type of [endemic] infectious disease in every country.”

“When we think of the word biosurveillance, we think of the kinds of things that the public health community does—collecting cases, taking cultures, deciding which disease is which,” Rizzo said. “But we in the intelligence community are looking way before that to determine [if there are] threats on the horizon.”

The NCMI’s job, Rizzo noted, is predictive in nature—not to explain what is happening, but rather “what we believe is going to happen.” To do this, NCMI has access to the resources of the totality of the intelligence community, including intercepted communications, satellite imagery, and sensitive human intelligence, including covert sample collection.

The coronavirus was clearly part of the NCMI’s remit. And yet its first Infectious Disease Risk Assessment for COVID-19 was issued on January 5, 2020, reporting that 59 people had been taken ill in Wuhan, China. This report was derived not from any sensitive intelligence collection effort or independent biosurveillance activity, but rather from a report issued to the WHO by the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission, dated January 5, 2020.

The next day the CDC warned American citizens to take precautions if traveling to China, followed a day later with the activation of a COVID-19 incident management team within the CDC Emergency Management System. This, however, is not the kind of predictive analysis that U.S. policymakers needed if they were going to get ahead of the coronavirus pandemic. Unlike 2009, when the NCMI provided a full two months heads up about the threat of a Swine Flu pandemic, in 2020 the Trump administration was taking its cues from the WHO, which waited until January 30, 2020 to declare a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The NCMI had been relegated to a mere observer, having failed in its mission to provide timely, predictive analysis of pending epidemiological threats.

Almost everything the NCMI knew about the current situation in Wuhan came from the WHO, which had been working very closely with Chinese authorities from the Chinese Center of Disease Control (CCDC) to determine the origin and nature of the coronavirus outbreak. While a great deal of attention has been paid to the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in the city of Wuhan, which sells live poultry, fish, and several kinds of wild animals to the public, a detailed investigation by the Joint Field Epidemiology Investigation Team, a specialized task force working under the auspices of the Chinese Center for Disease Control (CCDC), found that the COVID-19 epidemic did not originate by animal-to-human transmission in the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market, as originally believed, but rather human-to-human transmission totally unrelated to the operation of the market.

Moreover, by analyzing the characteristic of some 27 genomes of the COVID-19 virus provided by the Chinese and published by the Global Initiative on Sharing All Influenza Data (GSAID), research scientists were able to determine that the “most recent common ancestor” for the coronavirus could be dated back to as early as October 1, 2019.

The importance of this date as it relates to the NCMI is that in mid-October 2019 a delegation of 300 U.S. military athletes arrived in Wuhan to participate in the 2019 Military World games. China has suggested that these personnel might have introduced the coronavirus infection to Wuhan, citing their own research thatsuggests that the virus was introduced into China from elsewhere, and Japanese and Taiwanese studies that point to the U.S. as the likely source of the virus. There is, however, no independent evidence to support these allegations.

The importance of the U.S. military athletes rests in the fact that the NCMI is responsible for conducting threat briefs for all deployments of military personnel world-wide, which meant that a Wuhan-specific Infectious Disease Risk Assessment would have necessarily been prepared in support of this deployment. Infectious Disease Risk Assessments are the bread-and-butter intelligence product produced by the NCMI’s Infectious Disease Division, one in which the totality of the medical intelligence collection and analytical capabilities would be utilized.

The production of a Wuhan-specific Infectious Disease Risk Assessment would have created a window of opportunity for the NCMI to have collected the kind of medical intelligence that could have provided early warning about the existence of the coronavirus. Moreover, these athletes should have been subjected to screening upon return as part of the national biosurveillance program, providing yet another opportunity for early detection of the coronavirus if anyone had been exposed to it during their travel.

The CDC has recently acknowledged, during a hearing of the House Oversight Committee on March 11, that its biosurveillance program has uncovered evidence that Americans who had previously died to what had been originally diagnosed as influenza have, through post-mortem testing, been found to have actually have perished from the coronavirus. Normally, the details obtained from this kind of biosurveillance would be widely shared to better understand the scope and potential spread of the infection, as well as to better pin down the source and timing of the infections.

However, the initial meetings regarding a national-level coronavirus response conducted under the auspices of the Department of Health and Human Services, where intelligence gathered as a result of any such biosurveillance activity would logically be discussed, were all treated as classified events, under orders from the National Security Council. As a result, many people who otherwise would have been present were excluded, and those who did attend these meetings were precluded from discussing what occurred. This lack of transparency on the part of the Trump administration only fuels speculation about the reasons for meetings normally conducted in the open suddenly being classified, as well as precisely what information is being hidden from the public.

The sufficiency and efficacy of the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic remains to be seen. As President Trump noted on March 17, however, it would have been helpful to have had advance warning. That was the job of the NCMI, and they failed. This failure may have been a result of complacency, incompetence, or just a byproduct of circumstance. Regardless of the reason, the NCMI needs to learn from this experience, and reexamine the totality of the intelligence cycle—the direction, collection, analysis and feedback loop—associated with its failure to adequately predict the coronavirus pandemic. This reexamination should ensure that the U.S. will not be caught flat-footed the next time around, because there will be a next time around.

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Confirmed: Obama knew about, and was DIRECTING, the “Spygate” coup attempt against Trump from the very beginning – NaturalNews.com

Posted by M. C. on August 26, 2019

Earlier this week during an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Andrew McCarthy, attorney and former federal prosecutor who specialized in national security cases, said “counterintelligence operations” which is what Spygate was, at its core, are “done for the president.”

There is a reason it is called the swamp and EVERYONE is in the muck.

https://www.naturalnews.com/2019-08-23-obama-knew-about-and-was-directing-spygate-coup-attempt-against-trump.html

Confirmed: Obama knew about, and was DIRECTING, the “Spygate” coup attempt against Trump from the very beginning

Image: Confirmed: Obama knew about, and was DIRECTING, the “Spygate” coup attempt against Trump from the very beginning

(Natural News) For nearly two years as information about the coup attempt against President Donald Trump known as “Spygate” dripped out, observers long suspected that an operation of this scope – involving the Justice Department, the FBI, U.S. and foreign intelligence assets – had to have come from the very top.

That is, former President Obama, who was in the Oval Office when Spygate was hatched and began as the 2016 presidential election cycle kicked off, had to have not only known about it but approved it.

Now, the speculation is over: Of course, he did.

Earlier this week during an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, Andrew McCarthy, attorney and former federal prosecutor who specialized in national security cases, said “counterintelligence operations” which is what Spygate was, at its core, are “done for the president.”

That means, as The Gateway Pundit notes, they are executed specifically to inform the commander-in-chief.

“What I’m saying is not that the president sits there and directs that there be counter-intelligence investigations. What I’m saying is that unlike criminal investigations, counter intelligence investigations are done for the president,” McCarthy said.

“The only reason to do them is for the president with the information he needs to protect the United States from foreign threats. They’re not like criminal investigations in that regard. So, in principle, the information is for the president. And here we know at various junctures we have actual factual information that this investigation was well known to President Obama,” he added.

Hannity asked if the president knew about the investigation from the outset, wouldn’t he have been updated on its progress?

“Sean, if things were working properly the president should have been alerted about it and informed. It was a very important investigation,” McCarthy added.

“If they actually believed what they were telling the court that it was a possibility that Donald Trump was actually a plant of the Kremlin, it would have been derelict on their part not to keep the president informed,” he added. (Related: What did Obama know about Trump collusion hoax and when did he know it? Everything, and from the beginning.)

Assumptions have been confirmed

This isn’t the first crumb of evidence indicating that Obama was in on Spygate from the outset. In fact, previous information indicates that Obama actually orchestrated the coup attempt.

As The National Sentinel reported in May 2018, former Bush White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said during a Fox News interview that there was no way Obama would not have been kept in the loop.

Investigative reporter Paul Sperry tweeted the information: “BREAKING: Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer said “I guarantee the answer is yes” to whether Obama knew Halper & others were deployed to spy on Trump campaign. Fleischer explained that no FBI director would put informants inside a presidential campaign w/o the prez authorizing it.”

Earlier that same week, President Trump pretty much said the same thing – and he should know, since he now occupies the Oval Office.

“Would he know? I would certainly hope not. But I think it’s going to be pretty obvious after awhile,” POTUS teased in response to a question from a reporter.

There’s more.

As The National Sentinel noted further, then-FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok, in a text to his lover, then-FBI lawyer Lisa Page, discussed the preparation of talking points for then-FBI Director James Comey to give to President Obama. Page said it was important to do so because “potus wants to know everything we’re doing.”

Also, since the spying against Team Trump was set up as a counterintelligence operation, Obama would have been updated regularly via the President’s Daily Intelligence Brief.

It’s one thing to have assumed that former President Obama was in on the Spygate scandal from the outset. But it’s another to now have had that assumption verified and confirmed.

The question is, will he ever be held accountable for his role?

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Bookworm Beat 5/23/2018 -- the #Spygate edition and open ...

 

 

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