Tuesday, August 29, 2017

1.  FBI , After being Caught in a Lie, “Reopening” ACLJ FOIA Request on Clinton-Lynch Meeting.  2. & 3. FBI says lack of public interest in Hillary emails justifies withholding documents

This is not a hoax.  You just can't make this stuff up. 

After the FBI was  caught red-handed in a cover-up/lie, AND   was   ordered by a Federal judge to produce documents [which are known to exist], the FBI has elected to continue its practice of circling the wagons, stonewalling and when finally  forced  to produce documents ,redacting incriminating information [using various guises such as security ].[#1]

 In this Hillary Clinton case, the FBI pretext is [according to the FBI’s practice of creating imaginative reasons  to grant itself exceptions to the rules which require the release of documents and then creating their own self-determined criteria for justifying their refusal to release  the requested information] : "lack of public interest”.[32; #3 ]

1.     FBI , After being Caught in a Lie, “Reopening” ACLJ FOIA Request on Clinton-Lynch Meeting

The ACLJ just received a letter from the FBI bureaucracy informing us that it has “reopened” our Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request into the clandestine meeting between former Obama Attorney General Lynch and former President Clinton while the Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI were conducting a criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton.

The FBI’s letter – dated one week after we publicly excoriated the FBI for lying to us when the Comey-led FBI told us last October that it had “no” records responsive to our request – now states that “records potentially responsive to your request may exist.”

It is unbelievable that the FBI bureaucracy still only admits that some documents “may exist.”

We know they exist. As we explained more than a week ago, here are several FBI documents we already know the then Comey-led FBI was hiding from the public:

The documents we received . . . from the Department of Justice include several emails from the FBI to DOJ officials concerning the meeting.  One with the subject line “FLAG” was correspondence between FBI officials (Richard Quinn, FBI Media/Investigative Publicity, and Michael Kortan) and DOJ officials concerning “flag[ing] a story . . . about a casual, unscheduled meeting between former president Bill Clinton and the AG.” The DOJ official instructs the FBI to “let me know if you get any questions about this” and provides “[o]ur talkers [DOJ talking points] on this”. The talking points, however are redacted.

Another email to the FBI contains the subject line “security details coordinate between Loretta Lynch/Bill Clinton?”

On July 1, 2016 – just days before our FOIA request – a DOJ email chain under the subject line, “FBI just called,” indicates that the “FBI . . . is looking for guidance” in responding to media inquiries about news reports that the FBI had prevented the press from taking pictures of the Clinton Lynch meeting. The discussion then went off email to several phone calls (of which we are not able to obtain records). An hour later, Carolyn Pokomy of the Office of the Attorney General stated, “I will let Rybicki know.” Jim Rybicki was the Chief of Staff and Senior Counselor to FBI Director Jim Comey. The information that was to be provided to Rybicki is redacted.

Also of note several of the documents contain redactions that are requested “per FBI.”

What else was the FBI hiding?
We have also posted a timeline and the full documents that we have received, which show evidence of:
Obama Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s secret email alias;
Numerous redactions, including main “talking points,” in circumvention of FOIA;
Comey-led FBI lies on the existence of requested documents;
DOJ-Media collusion;
A White House connection; and
Revelations that Obama-loyalists are now investigating themselves.

2.     FBI Withholding Clinton Emails Over 'Lack of Interest'

The lack of public interest in Hillary Clinton's emails justifies withholding the documents, the FBI said this week, according to a report in The Washington Times.

The bureau rejected an open-records request by Texas attorney Ty Clevenger, with FBI records management section chief David M. Hardy stating in a letter Clevenger had not "sufficiently demonstrated that the public's interest in disclosure outweighs personal privacy interests of the subject."

"It is incumbent upon the requester to provide documentation regarding the public's interest in the operations and activities of the government before records can be processed pursuant to the FOIA," added Harvey.

Clinton was dogged with the email controversy throughout the presidential campaign last year, and to some extent cost her the election. The Democratic nominee set up a private email server during her tenure as secretary of state and was later the subject of an FBI investigation regarding the origin and handling of classified emails on the server.

The FBI concluded Clinton was "extremely careless" in handling her emails but recommended no charges be filed against her.

Clevenger is pushing to have Clinton and her attorneys disbarred over their mishandling of classified information.

"I'm just stunned," Clevenger told the Times of the FBI's response. "This is exactly what I would have expected had Mrs. Clinton won the election, but she didn't. It looks like the Obama administration is still running the FBI."

"How can a story receive national news coverage and not be a matter of public interest? If this is the new standard, then there's no such thing as a public interest exception," he added.

3.     FBI says lack of public interest in Hillary emails justifies withholding documents

By Stephen Dinan - The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Hillary Clinton’s case isn’t interesting enough to the public to justify releasing the FBI’s files on her, the bureau said this week in rejecting an open-records request by a lawyer seeking to have the former secretary of state punished for perjury.

Ty Clevenger has been trying to get Mrs. Clinton and her personal attorneys disbarred for their handling of her official emails during her time as secretary of state. He’s met with resistance among lawyers, and now his request for information from the FBI’s files has been shot down.
“You have not sufficiently demonstrated that the public’s interest in disclosure outweighs personal privacy interests of the subject,” FBI records management section chief David M. Hardy told Mr. Clevenger in a letter Monday.

“It is incumbent upon the requester to provide documentation regarding the public’s interest in the operations and activities of the government before records can be processed pursuant to the FOIA,” Mr. Hardy wrote.

Mrs. Clinton, is the 2016 Democratic presidential nominee, former chief diplomat, former U.S. senator, and former first lady of both the U.S. and Arkansas.

Her use of a secret email account to conduct government business while leading the State Department was front-page news for much of 2015 and 2016, and was so striking that the then-FBI director broke with procedure and made both a public statement and appearances before Congress to talk about the bureau’s probe.

In the end, the FBI didn’t recommend charges against Mrs. Clinton, concluding that while she risked national security, she was too technologically inept to know the dangers she was running, so no case could be made against her.

The FBI says it will only release records from its files if a subject consents, is dead, or is of such public interest that it overrides privacy concerns.

Mr. Clevenger said he thought it would have been clear why Mrs. Clinton’s case was of public interest, but he sent documentation anyway, pointing to a request by members of Congress for an investigation into whether Mrs. Clinton perjured herself in testimony to Capitol Hill.

“I’m just stunned. This is exactly what I would have expected had Mrs. Clinton won the election, but she didn’t. It looks like the Obama administration is still running the FBI,” Mr. Clevenger told The Washington Times.

“How can a story receive national news coverage and not be a matter of public interest? If this is the new standard, then there’s no such thing as a public interest exception,” he said.

The FBI didn’t return a message seeking comment Tuesday on how it balances public interest versus privacy in open-records requests.

Seeking to clear up any confusion over the level of public interest, one person forwarded to The Washington Times a petition started on the White House website to demand release of the documents.

“The assumption made by Mr. Hardy that such a release is not in the public interest is invalid and the FBI should immediately release these documents,” said the petition, started by user “C.S.”

Monday, August 28, 2017

The political lynching of Sebastian Gorka

Michael Rubin  Washington Examiner Aug 27, 2017,

Friday marked Sebastian Gorka's last day at the White House. Democrats, progressives, and even many Republicans cheered. The Federalist published his resignation letter, although anonymous White House officials told the New York Times and Washington Post that he had been fired. The truth might lie in the middle: Chief of Staff John Kelly's reported decision to withdraw Gorka's clearance led Gorka to resign. Alas, few if any reporters were self-aware enough to recognize the cognitive dissonance: How could they have reported for months that Gorka lacked a clearance when, indeed, he had one all along?

Regardless, there was no shortage of criticism about Gorka. These centered on three broad themes:

Gorka was a right-wing extremist with ties to Neo-Nazi groups.

Gorka was not a real terrorism expert.

Gorka appeared on television too much.

Consider them in order:

First, the accusation that Gorka was a sympathizer with violent, fascist, Nazi-sympathizing groups in Hungary began when a left-wing blogger suggested that he wore a Vitezi Rend medal to the inaugural ball and that its display suggested ideological sympathy with neo-Nazis. Gorka responded to the accusation here. That the same blogger had earlier left the Center for American Progress under a cloud after Obama White House officials expressed concern at his and his colleagues' use of anti-Semitic dog whistles in targeting Jewish policymakers, again, was an irony lost on those who seized upon the story uncritically.

The story grew when The Forward, a Jewish website and publication with socialist roots, purported to uncover a video affirming Gorka's support for a Hungarian party subsequently accused of anti-Semitism. It subsequently emerged, however, that The Forward spliced the video to omit key portions in which Gorka warned against anti-Semitism or its flirting with anti-Semitic groups.

Here's the key point: While many progressives and opponents of the regime accept with certainty that Gorka is a Nazi, a white nationalist, or an extremist, they have not been able to find a single statement or essay by Gorka or account of his speeches or comments supporting such positions. Given the volume of his previous writing, that should have been a red flag. The Nazi accusation is about as logical as concluding that a picture of Gorka absent his glasses represents a secret endorsement of the Khmer Rouge.

The situation gets worse: Three Democratic senators — Richard Blumenthal, Dick Durban, and Ben Cardin — have seized upon the calumny to suggest the Justice Department consider whether Gorka should have his citizenship revoked.

This sets a dangerous precedent. Politics in Washington are poisonous, with extremists on both sides of debates losing civility and seeking to criminalize policy debate. Donald Trump was guilty of that as a candidate, and Mike Flynn's "lock her up" chants at the Republican National Convention were cringe-worthy, but threats to strip citizenship are a new low. Given the poison of dual loyalty accusations made by anti-Semites against Jews serving in public capacities, it is especially disturbing to hear Jewish-American senators seeming to use similar cards of insufficient loyalty to the United States against political opponents.

Second, what about the idea that Gorka was a non-expert? Long before Trump's surprise rise to the presidency, I had the privilege of hearing Gorka lecture at the Marshall Center in Garmisch, Germany; to the FBI; at the U.S. Marine Corps University; and to U.S. Special Forces at Fort Bragg. To suggest that he was unknown is simply dishonest. Indeed, his lectures tended to receive rave reviews.

Here's what many proponents of the ‘amateur' argument miss: The same charges many critics level at Gorka could just as easily apply to any other counter-terror specialist. Daniel Benjamin, who served as counterterrorism coordinator at the State Department during the Obama administration and worked on counter-terrorism during the Clinton administration at the National Security Council, got his start as a Time Magazine reporter. Francis Townsend, whom Condoleezza Rice picked as her terrorism advisor, got her start as a prosecutor focusing on organized crime.

Many of the academics who criticized Gorka as out of his depth at certain academic conferences would have or have had their theories ridiculed by practitioners such as the FBI and U.S Special Forces as out of touch with reality. There is also a touch of jealousy: Gorka has a New York Times best-selling book; they did not.

Even during the Obama administration, counter-terror practitioners reached out to Gorka. True, Gorka does not speak Arabic. Then again, some of the key go-to academics for those on the Left do not speak Arabic, either. Many CIA and State Department specialists have not mastered the language either. Gorka does have some experience in the Arab world, however, and especially in Egypt, its largest country. True, Gorka's Ph.D. came from a Hungarian university that may have lacked the rigor of the University of Chicago, Princeton, or Harvard but, here's an open secret about Washington, D.C.: Many policymakers pursue British Ph.Ds simply because the programs are short and less rigorous than American programs.

But, was Gorka inexpert? The "terrorism studies" field is young and amorphous. For any academic to try to constrain the bounds of debate will only relegate the field to irrelevancy. But, regardless, the sum of Gorka's experience compares well to those who preceded him, many of whom gained the expertise for which they are known today on the job.

Third, what about the notion that Gorka appeared too often on television and was too bellicose in his defense of the Trump administration? Gorka did appear in the media frequently, but he apparently did so with the permission and support of the president. Trump, for better or worse, has embraced a communications strategy radically different than those before him. The merits of Trump's twitter feed or the bellicosity of his surrogates toward the media has been well-covered.

The difference between Gorka and some other Trump administration officials appearing on television was that, like the policies or hate them, Gorka was effective. That some frequent talking heads criticized Gorka for the frequency of his appearances displayed a lack of self-awareness on their part. Still, it is true that Gorka's presence on television combined with his effectiveness transformed him into a lightning rod for so many opponents of Trump's policies.

It is possible to debate with Gorka with regard to political Islam and the ideological components of terrorism. It is also possible to disagree on the balance the Trump administration (like administrations before it) seeks between security and human rights.

These are the stuff of active policy debate. As for me, I am a "Never Trumper" and unrepentantly so. I continue to question Trump's character and, unlike many others who signed letters condemning Trump during the campaign, I never sought any position in his administration. Such political disagreement with the president, however, should never be a reason to amplify falsehood for the sake of gratuitous personal destruction. When senators seek to strip a loyal American of his citizenship or when celebrities such as Alyssa Milano use their platform to call Gorka an "unrepentant racist and nationalist," they appear to affirm in themselves many of the same personality traits they find most egregious in Trump.

Gorka, agree or disagree with him, was treated unfairly. He has become an example of how fringe bloggers and political hacks can advance falsehoods knowing that partisan blinders will prevent any critical assessment of their charges, no matter how bizarre.

Michael Rubin (@Mrubin1971) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. He is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute and a former Pentagon official.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

 Sebastian Gorka Resigns From Trump Administration

Mollie Hemingway The Federalist

Sebastian Gorka is resigning his post as Deputy Assistant to President Trump, multiple sources familiar with the situation have told The Federalist.

In a blunt resignation letter, the national security and counterterrorism expert expressed dissatisfaction with the current state of the Trump administration. “[G]iven recent events, it is clear to me that forces that do not support the MAGA promise are – for now – ascendant within the White House,” Gorka wrote. “As a result, the best and most effective way I can support you, Mr. President, is from outside the People’s House.”

Gorka’s letter expressed unhappiness with the direction the Trump administration’s foreign policy has taken, as signaled by the president’s recent speech on Afghanistan:

“Regrettably, outside of yourself, the individuals who most embodied and represented the policies that will ‘Make America Great Again,’ have been internally countered, systematically removed, or undermined in recent months. This was made patently obvious as I read the text of your speech on Afghanistan this week…

“The fact that those who drafted and approved the speech removed any mention of Radical Islam or radical Islamic terrorism proves that a crucial element of your presidential campaign has been lost…

“Just as worrying, when discussing our future actions in the region, the speech listed operational objectives without ever defining the strategic victory conditions we are fighting for. This omission should seriously disturb any national security professional, and any American who is unsatisfied with the last 16 years of disastrous policy decisions which have led to thousands of Americans killed and trillions of taxpayer dollars spent in ways that have not brought security or victory.”

During his time in the Trump administration, Gorka focused on issues such as countering the Muslim Brotherhood, the crisis in Qatar, supporting efforts to draft a new long-term national security strategy, and combatting China’s economic warfare. Before coming to the White House, Gorka was the Major General Matthew C. Horner Chair at Marine Corps University and also contributed to Breitbart News.

Gorka’s tenure at the White House was marked by unusually vociferous attacks against him and his family by left-leaning media organizations and the Democratic Party. This includes personal attacks against his wife, mother, and son.

A source close to the White House said of his decision, “This was more or less going to be a done deal when Bannon submitted his resignation. Not because he didn’t have a protector, but because there is no point in having your life ruined every day if you’re not going to get much accomplished.” The same source said that what did change after Bannon left was that anti-Bannon factions began erecting bureaucratic road blocks to undermine Gorka internally.

The Forward has written dozens of attack pieces against Gorka, including several attempting to align him with Nazism. Most recently that publication retracted a story about his son’s schoolwork. Gorka strenuously objected to allegations he had ties to Nazi groups in his family’s home country of Hungary, where he had previously been involved in national politics. Even detractors eventually acknowledged the Nazi accusations were unfair smears.

In his letter, Gorka made clear that he believes in the promise of the Trump presidency despite being concerned about its present direction.

“Your presidency will prove to be one of the most significant events in modern American politics. November the 8th was the result of decades during which the political and media elites felt that they knew better than the people who elect them into office. They do not, and the MAGA platform allowed their voices to be heard,” he wrote, adding, “Millions of people believe in, and have chosen, you and your vision of Making America Great Again. They will help eventually rebalance this temporary reality.”

UPDATE: In response to this story, the White House issued a statement that said, “Sebastian Gorka did not resign, but I can confirm he no longer works at the White House.”

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Quo Vadis the Arab Tsunami (a.k.a. "the Arab Spring")?

Ambassador (ret.) Yoram Ettinger, "Second Thought: a US-Israel Initiative"

"Israel Hayom," August 20, 2017, http://bit.ly/2vewFWi

Where is the Arab Middle East heading following the 2010-2017 disintegration of Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen and Sudan; the toppling of several Arab regimes; the estimated toll of 400,000 fatalities and six million refugees, resulting from intra-Arab conflicts; the proliferation of Islamic Sunni terrorism; the unprecedented power-projection surge by Iran's Shiite Ayatollahs; the approaching Sunni and Shiite terrorist machetes to the throat of the House of Saud and all other pro-US Arab regimes; and the intensified squashing of human rights in every Arab country, all ruled by minority-regimes?

The raging Arab Tsunami of the last 6.5 years – referred to by the Western establishment as the Arab Spring – has further destabilized the one-bullet, provisional, Arab regimes, characterized by tenuous policies and uncertain bilateral and multilateral intra-Arab agreements. 

This has added much fuel to the fire – raging since the 7th century – of the inherently unpredictable and intensely complex, non-nation-state, non-democratic Middle East, which has been systematically misperceived by the Western establishment.

Where is the Arab Tsunami heading?  The chaotic intra-Arab roller-coaster may have shifted, temporarily, to a relatively-lower gear, but it is surging on brutally!   

While the US has dealt a severe blow to ISIS terrorists in 2017 – without clipping the wings of Iran's Ayatollahs - it has, therefore, provided a tailwind to Iran's entrenchment in Syria, and increasingly in Lebanon. It has advanced the Ayatollahs' domination of the critical area from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean, which is a prelude to their megalomaniacal vision of denying the US "modern-day-Crusader" regional and global preeminence.

This could be a repeat of the US toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003, when the US elevated Iraq's Shiites to the helm, dumping Iraq's Sunnis, which reinforced the ranks of Sunni terrorism. This paved the way for the Ayatollahs' dominance in Iraq – which intensified anti-US terrorism – and created a clear and present danger for every pro-US Arab regime in the Persian Gulf and beyond.

In 2011, a US-led coalition, toppled Gaddafi's rogue regime in Libya, in spite of the fact that Gaddafi was involved in a ferocious war on Islamic terrorism in Libya and Africa. Moreover, in 2003, Gaddafi transferred his infrastructure of weapons of mass destruction to the US. The toppling of Gaddafi accelerated the disintegration of Libya, transforming the huge country (680,000sqm, three times larger than Texas) into a major safe haven and breeding ground of Islamic terrorism.

While the US military power-projection and posture of deterrence are prerequisites for the western battle against Islamic terrorism – and keeping Islamic terrorism away from the US mainland – a misguided US policy has tolerated the Ayatollahs' imperialism, subversion and terrorism, allowing them to surge on the coattails of the 2015 non-ratified(!) Iran nuclear deal, further destabilizing the Middle East.

For example, tectonic developments simmer below the seemingly stable surface in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.  These developments are generated and bolstered by the 60% Palestinian majority (e.g., the 1951 murder of King Abdullah by a Palestinian, the 1970 civil war, the 1980s Hashemite-Palestinian confrontations); the unpredictable Muslim Brotherhood terrorists; the importation of additional Islamic Sunni terrorist sleeper cells; the historical divisiveness between the Hashemite migrants from the Arabian Peninsula and the indigenous Bedouins; the 1.5MN Syrian refugees; the boiling borders with Iraq and
Syria, which increasingly accommodate the anti-Hashemite Ayatollahs.

A volcanic eruption in Jordan could spillover, swiftly, into neighboring Saudi Arabia and other pro-US Arab countries, which are threatened by the Ayatollahs and home-grown terrorists.  This would impact the life expectancy of the Khalifa regime in Bahrain, as well as the level of violent Muslim Brotherhood opposition to the General Sisi regime in Egypt.

Where is the Middle East heading?  According to Amir Taheri, the veteran Iranian writer, researcher and expert on Islam, the Persian Gulf and the Middle East: "'modernization' is spreading…. I saw a 'modernized' Middle East with armies marching across scorched plains, soldiers and mercenaries cursing in a dozen different languages, the choir of cannons and the choreography of armored cars and tanks. I saw refugees and displace-person camps, barbed wires, watch-towers, loudspeakers spreading the latest version of truth.  There were minefields and grieving mothers, naked children and victims of gas attacks and chemical weapons.  The skies were dotted with warplanes dropping more bombs on Syria and Iraq than on Germany during WWII. The landscape of ruins, reminding one of Berlin, Warsaw and Leningrad in 1945…. This looked like Europe in 1918 or 1945, only magnified many times over thanks to the superior power of destruction we now have…."

Acquaintance with Middle East "modernization" is a prerequisite for a realistic national security policy, devoid of wishful-thinking and oversimplification-driven hopes.

Acquaintance with Middle East "modernization" highlights the critical role of the posture of deterrence – while avoiding appeasement and retreats in the face of temptations and pressure, which triggers more pressure and terrorism – in shaping homeland and national security policies.

Acquaintance with Middle East "modernization" underlines the unique role played by Israel - as long as it controls the high-ground, rather than withdrawing to the pre-1967 sliver along the Mediterranean - in extending the strategic hand of the US in the face of mutual threats.

Acquaintance with Middle East "modernization" clarifies the nature of the primary threats to regional stability and the survival of pro-US Arab regimes – posed by the rogue Ayatollahs and Islamic Sunni terrorism - and the limited regional role played by the Palestinian issue.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Iran Reportedly Building Long-Range Missile Facility in Syria

 Iran is reportedly building a facility in northwestern Syria to manufacture long-range Scud missiles, Israel’s Channel 2 reported on Tuesday.

According to the report, security experts who analyzed photos of the site say the construction indicates that explosives would be stored there. These analysts also compared the facility in Syria to a rocket factory near Tehran, concluding there was a strong resemblance between the sites, indicating Iran’s involvement.

“The facility has one entrance, an administrative section, a production area and a storage wing, while some of the buildings appear to be for manufacturing ammunition. Large dirt mounds to protect the facility are also visible in the images,” the report said.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

A New Report Raises Big Questions About Last Year’s DNC Hack

 Patrick Lawrence THE NATION August 9, 2017


A experts say it wasn’t a hack at all, but a leak—an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system.

It is now a year since the Democratic National Committee’s mail system was compromised—a year since events in the spring and early summer of 2016 were identified as remote hacks and, in short order, attributed to Russians acting in behalf of Donald Trump. A great edifice has been erected during this time. President Trump, members of his family, and numerous people around him stand accused of various corruptions and extensive collusion with Russians. Half a dozen simultaneous investigations proceed into these matters. Last week news broke that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had convened a grand jury, which issued its first subpoenas on August 3. Allegations of treason are common; prominent political figures and many media cultivate a case for impeachment.

The president’s ability to conduct foreign policy, notably but not only with regard to Russia, is now crippled. Forced into a corner and having no choice, Trump just signed legislation imposing severe new sanctions on Russia and European companies working with it on pipeline projects vital to Russia’s energy sector. Striking this close to the core of another nation’s economy is customarily considered an act of war, we must not forget. In retaliation, Moscow has announced that the United States must cut its embassy staff by roughly two-thirds. All sides agree that relations between the United States and Russia are now as fragile as they were during some of the Cold War’s worst moments. To suggest that military conflict between two nuclear powers inches ever closer can no longer be dismissed as hyperbole.

All this was set in motion when the DNC’s mail server was first violated in the spring of 2016 and by subsequent assertions that Russians were behind that “hack” and another such operation, also described as a Russian hack, on July 5. These are the foundation stones of the edifice just outlined. The evolution of public discourse in the year since is worthy of scholarly study: Possibilities became allegations, and these became probabilities. Then the probabilities turned into certainties, and these evolved into what are now taken to be established truths. By my reckoning, it required a few days to a few weeks to advance from each of these stages to the next. This was accomplished via the indefensibly corrupt manipulations of language repeated incessantly in our leading media.

We are urged to accept the word of institutions and senior officials with long records of deception.

Lost in a year that often appeared to veer into our peculiarly American kind of hysteria is the absence of any credible evidence of what happened last year and who was responsible for it. It is tiresome to note, but none has been made available. Instead, we are urged to accept the word of institutions and senior officials with long records of deception. These officials profess “high confidence” in their “assessment” as to what happened in the spring and summer of last year—this standing as their authoritative judgment. Few have noticed since these evasive terms first appeared that an assessment is an opinion, nothing more, and to express high confidence is an upside-down way of admitting the absence of certain knowledge. This is how officials avoid putting their names on the assertions we are so strongly urged to accept—as the record shows many of them have done.

We come now to a moment of great gravity.

There has been a long effort to counter the official narrative we now call “Russiagate.” This effort has so far focused on the key events noted above, leaving numerous others still to be addressed. Until recently, researchers undertaking this work faced critical shortcomings, and these are to be explained. But they have achieved significant new momentum in the past several weeks, and what they have done now yields very consequential fruit. Forensic investigators, intelligence analysts, system designers, program architects, and computer scientists of long experience and strongly credentialed are now producing evidence disproving the official version of key events last year. Their work is intricate and continues at a kinetic pace as we speak. But its certain results so far are two, simply stated, and freighted with implications:

There was no hack of the Democratic National Committee’s system on July 5 last year—not by the Russians, not by anyone else. Hard science now demonstrates it was a leak—a download executed locally with a memory key or a similarly portable data-storage device. In short, it was an inside job by someone with access to the DNC’s system. This casts serious doubt on the initial “hack,” as alleged, that led to the very consequential publication of a large store of documents on WikiLeaks last summer.

Forensic investigations of documents made public two weeks prior to the July 5 leak by the person or entity known as Guccifer 2.0 show that they were fraudulent: Before Guccifer posted them they were adulterated by cutting and pasting them into a blank template that had Russian as its default language. Guccifer took responsibility on June 15 for an intrusion the DNC reported on June 14 and professed to be a WikiLeaks source—claims essential to the official narrative implicating Russia in what was soon cast as an extensive hacking operation. To put the point simply, forensic science now devastates this narrative.
This article is based on an examination of the documents these forensic experts and intelligence analysts have produced, notably the key papers written over the past several weeks, as well as detailed interviews with many of those conducting investigations and now drawing conclusions from them. Before proceeding into this material, several points bear noting.

Current Issue

One, there are many other allegations implicating Russians in the 2016 political process. The work I will now report upon does not purport to prove or disprove any of them. Who delivered documents to WikiLeaks? Who was responsible for the “phishing” operation penetrating John Podesta’s e-mail in March 2016? We do not know the answers to such questions. It is entirely possible, indeed, that the answers we deserve and must demand could turn out to be multiple: One thing happened in one case, another thing in another. The new work done on the mid-June and July 5 events bears upon all else in only one respect. We are now on notice: Given that we now stand face to face with very considerable cases of duplicity, it is imperative that all official accounts of these many events be subject to rigorously skeptical questioning. Do we even know that John Podesta’s e-mail address was in fact “phished”? What evidence of this has been produced? Such rock-bottom questions as these must now be posed in all other cases.

Two, houses built on sand and made of cards are bound to collapse, and there can be no surprise that the one resting atop the “hack theory,” as we can call the prevailing wisdom on the DNC events, appears to be in the process of doing so. Neither is there anything far-fetched in a reversal of the truth of this magnitude. American history is replete with similar cases. The Spanish sank the Maine in Havana harbor in February 1898. Iran’s Mossadegh was a Communist. Guatemala’s Árbenz represented a Communist threat to the United States. Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh was a Soviet puppet. The Sandinistas were Communists. The truth of the Maine, a war and a revolution in between, took a century to find the light of day, whereupon the official story disintegrated. We can do better now. It is an odd sensation to live through one of these episodes, especially one as big as Russiagate. But its place atop a long line of precedents can no longer be disputed.

Forensic investigators, prominent among them people with decades’ experience at high levels in our national-security institutions, have put a body of evidence on a table previously left empty.

Three, regardless of what one may think about the investigations and conclusions I will now outline—and, as noted, these investigations continue—there is a bottom line attaching to them. We can even call it a red line. Under no circumstance can it be acceptable that the relevant authorities—the National Security Agency, the Justice Department (via the Federal Bureau of Investigation), and the Central Intelligence Agency—leave these new findings without reply. Not credibly, in any case. Forensic investigators, prominent among them people with decades’ experience at high levels in these very institutions, have put a body of evidence on a table previously left empty. Silence now, should it ensue, cannot be written down as an admission of duplicity, but it will come very close to one.

It requires no elaboration to apply the above point to the corporate media, which have been flaccidly satisfied with official explanations of the DNC matter from the start.

Qualified experts working independently of one another began to examine the DNC case immediately after the July 2016 events. Prominent among these is a group comprising former intelligence officers, almost all of whom previously occupied senior positions. Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS), founded in 2003, now has 30 members, including a few associates with backgrounds in national-security fields other than intelligence. The chief researchers active on the DNC case are four: William Binney, formerly the NSA’s technical director for world geopolitical and military analysis and designer of many agency programs now in use; Kirk Wiebe, formerly a senior analyst at the NSA’s SIGINT Automation Research Center; Edward Loomis, formerly technical director in the NSA’s Office of Signal Processing; and Ray McGovern, an intelligence analyst for nearly three decades and formerly chief of the CIA’s Soviet Foreign Policy Branch. Most of these men have decades of experience in matters concerning Russian intelligence and the related technologies. This article reflects numerous interviews with all of them conducted in person, via Skype, or by telephone.

The customary VIPS format is an open letter, typically addressed to the president. The group has written three such letters on the DNC incident, all of which were first published by Robert Parry at www.consortiumnews.com. Here is the latest, dated July 24; it blueprints the forensic work this article explores in detail. They have all argued that the hack theory is wrong and that a locally executed leak is the far more likely explanation. In a letter to Barack Obama dated January 17, three days before he left office, the group explained that the NSA’s known programs are fully capable of capturing all electronic transfers of data. “We strongly suggest that you ask NSA for any evidence it may have indicating that the results of Russian hacking were given to WikiLeaks,” the letter said. “If NSA cannot produce such evidence—and quickly—this would probably mean it does not have any.”

The day after Parry published this letter, Obama gave his last press conference as president, at which he delivered one of the great gems among the official statements on the DNC e-mail question. “The conclusions of the intelligence community with respect to the Russian hacking,” the legacy-minded Obama said, “were not conclusive.” There is little to suggest the VIPS letter prompted this remark, but it is typical of the linguistic tap-dancing many officials connected to the case have indulged so as to avoid putting their names on the hack theory and all that derives from it.

Until recently there was a serious hindrance to the VIPS’s work, and I have just suggested it. The group lacked access to positive data. It had no lump of cyber-material to place on its lab table and analyze, because no official agency had provided any.

Donald Rumsfeld famously argued with regard to the WMD question in Iraq, “The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” In essence, Binney and others at VIPS say this logic turns upside down in the DNC case: Based on the knowledge of former officials such as Binney, the group knew that (1) if there was a hack and (2) if Russia was responsible for it, the NSA would have to have evidence of both. Binney and others surmised that the agency and associated institutions were hiding the absence of evidence behind the claim that they had to maintain secrecy to protect NSA programs. “Everything that they say must remain classified is already well-known,” Binney said in an interview. “They’re playing the Wizard of Oz game.”

New findings indicate this is perfectly true, but until recently the VIPS experts could produce only “negative evidence,” as they put it: The absence of evidence supporting the hack theory demonstrates that it cannot be so. That is all VIPS had. They could allege and assert, but they could not conclude: They were stuck demanding evidence they did not have—if only to prove there was none.

Research into the DNC case took a fateful turn in early July, when forensic investigators who had been working independently began to share findings and form loose collaborations.

Research into the DNC case took a fateful turn in early July, when forensic investigators who had been working independently began to share findings and form loose collaborations wherein each could build on the work of others. In this a small, new website called www.disobedientmedia.com proved an important catalyst. Two independent researchers selected it, Snowden-like, as the medium through which to disclose their findings. One of these is known as Forensicator and the other as Adam Carter. On July 9, Adam Carter sent Elizabeth Vos, a co-founder of Disobedient Media, a paper by the Forensicator that split the DNC case open like a coconut.

By this time Binney and the other technical-side people at VIPS had begun working with a man named Skip Folden. Folden was an IT executive at IBM for 33 years, serving 25 years as the IT program manager in the United States. He has also consulted for Pentagon officials, the FBI, and the Justice Department. Folden is effectively the VIPS group’s liaison to Forensicator, Adam Carter, and other investigators, but neither Folden nor anyone else knows the identity of either Forensicator or Adam Carter. This bears brief explanation.

The Forensicator’s July 9 document indicates he lives in the Pacific Time Zone, which puts him on the West Coast. His notes describing his investigative procedures support this. But little else is known of him. Adam Carter, in turn, is located in England, but the name is a coy pseudonym: It derives from a character in a BBC espionage series called Spooks. It is protocol in this community, Elizabeth Vos told me in a telephone conversation this week, to respect this degree of anonymity. Kirk Wiebe, the former SIGINT analyst at the NSA, thinks Forensicator could be “someone very good with the FBI,” but there is no certainty. Unanimously, however, all the analysts and forensics investigators interviewed for this column say Forensicator’s advanced expertise, evident in the work he has done, is unassailable. They hold a similarly high opinion of Adam Carter’s work.

Forensicator is working with the documents published by Guccifer 2.0, focusing for now on the July 5 intrusion into the DNC server. The contents of Guccifer’s files are known—they were published last September—and are not Forensicator’s concern. His work is with the metadata on those files. These data did not come to him via any clandestine means. Forensicator simply has access to them that others did not have. It is this access that prompts Kirk Wiebe and others to suggest that Forensicator may be someone with exceptional talent and training inside an agency such as the FBI. “Forensicator unlocked and then analyzed what had been the locked files Guccifer supposedly took from the DNC server,” Skip Folden explained in an interview. “To do this he would have to have ‘access privilege,’ meaning a key.”

What has Forensicator proven since he turned his key? How? What has work done atop Forensicator’s findings proven? How?

Forensicator’s first decisive findings, made public on July 9, concerned the volume of the supposedly hacked material and what is called the transfer rate.

Forensicator’s first decisive findings, made public in the paper dated July 9, concerned the volume of the supposedly hacked material and what is called the transfer rate—the time a remote hack would require. The metadata established several facts in this regard with granular precision: On the evening of July 5, 2016, 1,976 megabytes of data were downloaded from the DNC’s server. The operation took 87 seconds. This yields a transfer rate of 22.7 megabytes per second.

These statistics are matters of record and essential to disproving the hack theory. No Internet service provider, such as a hacker would have had to use in mid-2016, was capable of downloading data at this speed. Compounding this contradiction, Guccifer claimed to have run his hack from Romania, which, for numerous reasons technically called delivery overheads, would slow down the speed of a hack even further from maximum achievable speeds.

Time stamps in the metadata indicate the download occurred somewhere on the East Coast of the United States—not Russia, Romania, or anywhere else outside the EDT zone.

What is the maximum achievable speed? Forensicator recently ran a test download of a comparable data volume (and using a server speed not available in 2016) 40 miles from his computer via a server 20 miles away and came up with a speed of 11.8 megabytes per second—half what the DNC operation would need were it a hack. Other investigators have built on this finding. Folden and Edward Loomis say a survey published August 3, 2016, by www.speedtest.net/reports is highly reliable and use it as their thumbnail index. It indicated that the highest average ISP speeds of first-half 2016 were achieved by Xfinity and Cox Communications. These speeds averaged 15.6 megabytes per second and 14.7 megabytes per second, respectively. Peak speeds at higher rates were recorded intermittently but still did not reach the required 22.7 megabytes per second.

“A speed of 22.7 megabytes is simply unobtainable, especially if we are talking about a transoceanic data transfer,” Folden said. “Based on the data we now have, what we’ve been calling a hack is impossible.” Last week Forensicator reported on a speed test he conducted more recently. It tightens the case considerably. “Transfer rates of 23 MB/s (Mega Bytes per second) are not just highly unlikely, but effectively impossible to accomplish when communicating over the Internet at any significant distance,” he wrote. “Further, local copy speeds are measured, demonstrating that 23 MB/s is a typical transfer rate when using a USB–2 flash device (thumb drive).”

Time stamps in the metadata provide further evidence of what happened on July 5. The stamps recording the download indicate that it occurred in the Eastern Daylight Time Zone at approximately 6:45 pm. This confirms that the person entering the DNC system was working somewhere on the East Coast of the United States. In theory the operation could have been conducted from Bangor or Miami or anywhere in between—but not Russia, Romania, or anywhere else outside the EDT zone. Combined with Forensicator’s findings on the transfer rate, the time stamps constitute more evidence that the download was conducted locally, since delivery overheads—conversion of data into packets, addressing, sequencing times, error checks, and the like—degrade all data transfers conducted via the Internet, more or less according to the distance involved.

“It’s clear,” another forensics investigator wrote, “that metadata was deliberately altered and documents were deliberately pasted into a Russianified [W]ord document with Russian language settings and style headings.”

In addition, there is the adulteration of the documents Guccifer 2.0 posted on June 15, when he made his first appearance. This came to light when researchers penetrated what Folden calls Guccifer’s top layer of metadata and analyzed what was in the layers beneath. They found that the first five files Guccifer made public had each been run, via ordinary cut-and-paste, through a single template that effectively immersed them in what could plausibly be cast as Russian fingerprints. They were not: The Russian markings were artificially inserted prior to posting. “It’s clear,” another forensics investigator self-identified as HET, wrote in a report on this question, “that metadata was deliberately altered and documents were deliberately pasted into a Russianified [W]ord document with Russian language settings and style headings.”

To be noted in this connection: The list of the CIA’s cyber-tools WikiLeaks began to release in March and labeled Vault 7 includes one called Marble that is capable of obfuscating the origin of documents in false-flag operations and leaving markings that point to whatever the CIA wants to point to. (The tool can also “de-obfuscate” what it has obfuscated.) It is not known whether this tool was deployed in the Guccifer case, but it is there for such a use.

It is not yet clear whether documents now shown to have been leaked locally on July 5 were tainted to suggest Russian hacking in the same way the June 15 Guccifer release was. This is among several outstanding questions awaiting answers, and the forensic scientists active on the DNC case are now investigating it. In a note Adam Carter sent to Folden and McGovern last week and copied to me, he reconfirmed the corruption of the June 15 documents, while indicating that his initial work on the July 5 documents—of which much more is to be done—had not yet turned up evidence of doctoring.

In the meantime, VIPS has assembled a chronology that imposes a persuasive logic on the complex succession of events just reviewed. It is this:

On June 12 last year, Julian Assange announced that WikiLeaks had and would publish documents pertinent to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
On June 14, CrowdStrike, a cyber-security firm hired by the DNC, announced, without providing evidence, that it had found malware on DNC servers and had evidence that Russians were responsible for planting it.
On June 15, Guccifer 2.0 first appeared, took responsibility for the “hack” reported on June 14 and claimed to be a WikiLeaks source. It then posted the adulterated documents just described.
On July 5, Guccifer again claimed he had remotely hacked DNC servers, and the operation was instantly described as another intrusion attributable to Russia. Virtually no media questioned this account.
It does not require too much thought to read into this sequence. With his June 12 announcement, Assange effectively put the DNC on notice that it had a little time, probably not much, to act preemptively against the imminent publication of damaging documents. Did the DNC quickly conjure Guccifer from thin air to create a cyber-saboteur whose fingers point to Russia? There is no evidence of this one way or the other, but emphatically it is legitimate to pose the question in the context of the VIPS chronology. WikiLeaks began publishing on July 22. By that time, the case alleging Russian interference in the 2016 elections process was taking firm root. In short order Assange would be written down as a “Russian agent.”

By any balanced reckoning, the official case purporting to assign a systematic hacking effort to Russia, the events of mid-June and July 5 last year being the foundation of this case, is shabby to the point taxpayers should ask for their money back. The Intelligence Community Assessment, the supposedly definitive report featuring the “high confidence” dodge, was greeted as farcically flimsy when issued January 6. Ray McGovern calls it a disgrace to the intelligence profession. It is spotlessly free of evidence, front to back, pertaining to any events in which Russia is implicated. James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, admitted in May that “hand-picked” analysts from three agencies (not the 17 previously reported) drafted the ICA. There is a way to understand “hand-picked” that is less obvious than meets the eye: The report was sequestered from rigorous agency-wide reviews. This is the way these people have spoken to us for the past year.

Behind the ICA lie other indefensible realities. The FBI has never examined the DNC’s computer servers—an omission that is beyond preposterous. It has instead relied on the reports produced by Crowdstrike, a firm that drips with conflicting interests well beyond the fact that it is in the DNC’s employ. Dmitri Alperovitch, its co-founder and chief technology officer, is on the record as vigorously anti-Russian. He is a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, which suffers the same prejudice. Problems such as this are many.

“We continue to stand by our report,” CrowdStrike said, upon seeing the VIPS blueprint of the investigation. CrowdStrike argues that by July 5 all malware had been removed from the DNC’s computers. But the presence or absence of malware by that time is entirely immaterial, because the event of July 5 is proven to have been a leak and not a hack. Given that malware has nothing to do with leaks, CrowdStrike’s logic appears to be circular.

In effect, the new forensic evidence considered here lands in a vacuum. We now enter a period when an official reply should be forthcoming. What the forensic people are now producing constitutes evidence, however one may view it, and it is the first scientifically derived evidence we have into any of the events in which Russia has been implicated. The investigators deserve a response, the betrayed professionals who formed VIPS as the WMD scandal unfolded in 2003 deserve it, and so do the rest of us. The cost of duplicity has rarely been so high.

I concluded each of the interviews conducted for this column by asking for a degree of confidence in the new findings. These are careful, exacting people as a matter of professional training and standards, and I got careful, exacting replies.

All those interviewed came in between 90 percent and 100 percent certain that the forensics prove out. I have already quoted Skip Folden’s answer: impossible based on the data. “The laws of physics don’t lie,” Ray McGovern volunteered at one point. “It’s QED, theorem demonstrated,” William Binney said in response to my question. “There’s no evidence out there to get me to change my mind.” When I asked Edward Loomis, a 90 percent man, about the 10 percent he held out, he replied, “I’ve looked at the work and it shows there was no Russian hack. But I didn’t do the work. That’s the 10 percent. I’m a scientist.”

Editor’s note: In its chronology, VIPS mistakenly gave the wrong date for CrowdStrike’s announcement of its claim to have found malware on DNC servers. It said June 15, when it should have said June 14. VIPS has acknowledged the error, and we have made the correction.

Editor’s note: After publication, the Democratic National Committee contacted The Nation with a response, writing, “U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded the Russian government hacked the DNC in an attempt to interfere in the election. Any suggestion otherwise is false and is just another conspiracy theory like those pushed by Trump and his administration. It’s unfortunate that The Nation has decided to join the conspiracy theorists to push this narrative.”

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The Nation is the oldest continuously published weekly magazine in the United States, and the most widely read weekly journal of liberal/progressive political and cultural news, opinion, and analysis. In 1995, Katrina vanden Heuvel became editor of The Nation,[19] and in 2005,  publisher.

President Barack Obama said:  In an era of instant, 140-character news cycles and reflexive toeing of the party line, it's incredible to think of the 150-year history of The Nation. It's more than a magazine — it's a crucible of ideas forged in the time of Emancipation, tempered through depression and war and the civil-rights movement, and honed as sharp and relevant as ever in an age of breathtaking technological and economic change. Through it all, The Nation has exhibited that great American tradition of expanding our moral imaginations, stoking vigorous dissent, and simply taking the time to think through our country's challenges anew. If I agreed with everything written in any given issue of the magazine, it would only mean that you are not doing your jobs. But whether it is your commitment to a fair shot for working Americans, or equality for all Americans, it is heartening to know that an American institution dedicated to provocative, reasoned debate and reflection in pursuit of those ideals can continue to thrive.

On January 14, 2016, The Nation endorsed Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders for President. In their reasoning, the editors of The Nation professed that "Bernie Sanders and his supporters are bending the arc of history toward justice. Theirs is an insurgency, a possibility, and a dream that we proudly endorse."[

Friday, August 11, 2017

Lt. General H.R. McMaster

ZOA: National Security Advisor McMaster Opposes Trump’s Anti-Iran, Pro-Israel, Radical-Islamist-Terrorism-Fighting Policies; He Should Be Reassigned to a Position Unrelated to These Vital Issues

PUBLICATION NOTE: The MIL-ED publication review board holds General McMaster in high personal  and  professional regard. However the problems cited with McMaster are very serious and come from very credible sources. Particularly disturbing is a continuing influence/presence of Robert Malley and Ben Rhodes.

This  review is an  alarming ”indictment" of Gen. McMaster that merits  a thorough discussion.[ If any of the points raised are erroneous ,they should be countered with facts, not the facile  rejection “that these accusations come from ‘right wing’ sources.” 

Zionist Organization of America
News Release NEW YORK, AUGUST 9, 2017

Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) National President Morton A. Klein; ZOA Director of Special Projects, Elizabeth Berney, Esq.; and ZOA Director of Center for Mideast Policy, Daniel Mandel, Ph.D. released the following report:

The duties of the National Security Council (NSC) include “coordinat[ing] and direct[ing] the activities of the United States Government relating to combating transnational threats.”  50 U.S.C. § 3021(i).  It is thus alarming that National Security Advisor Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster purged from the NSC those officials who were carrying out President Trump’s policies of combating Iranian and radical Islamist transnational threats, and purged from the NSC those officials who support the U.S.-Israel alliance – an alliance that is vital to America’s ability to combat radical Islamist terrorism.

Instead, General McMaster has appointed officials who are holdovers from the Obama administration, who favor the Iran nuclear deal and are hostile to Israel – officials who are diametrically opposed to President Trump’s policies.  Moreover, new revelations demonstrate that General McMaster’s ideology is antagonistic to the President’s policies on these vital issues.  The ZOA thus urges President Trump to remove General McMaster from his current position and reassign him to another position where he can do no further harm on these critical national security issues.  General McMaster should not maintain a position where he can continue to undermine President Trump’s policies on Iran, Israel and the fight against “radical Islamic terrorism” – a term that General McMaster believes should not even be used.

McMaster Fired Officials Carrying Out President Trump’s Pro-Israel, Anti-Iran Policies That McMaster Opposes

As highly respected journalist and Jerusalem Post senior editor Carolyn Glick pointed out, all the Trump loyalists whom General McMaster purged from the NSC “are pro-Israel and oppose the Iran nuclear deal, positions that Trump holds.”  General McMaster has purged the following officials from the NSC, who were carrying out the president’s policies:

K.T. McFarland: McFarland is a staunch Iran deal opponent, opponent of the Islamist global jihad against western civilization, and a highly respected and experienced pro-Israel national security professional, who served on the NSC during the Nixon, Ford and Reagan administrations.  President Trump’s appointment of McFarland as deputy national security advisor was widely praised.  (See “Trump Assembling Team of Fierce Iran Deal Opponents,” by Adam Kredo, Dec. 5, 2016.)  General McMaster promptly forced out McFarland, who was then nominated to be the U.S. Ambassador to Singapore. (WH Press Release, May 19, 2017.)

Ezra Cohen-Watnick: President Trump’s former NSC appointee, General Michael Flynn, appointed Cohen-Watnick as the NSC’s senior director for intelligence.  Cohen-Watnick was a staunch opponent of the Iran nuclear deal and Islamist terrorism, who “wanted to revamp counter-Iran efforts in the Middle East, and sought to reform the intelligence community to rein in the ‘deep state’ of unaccountable bureaucrats with rogue agendas.”  (“Trump Loyalist Ezra Cohen-Watnick Fired from NSC: McMaster’s Purge of Conservatives Continues,” by Jordan Schachtel, Conservative Review, Aug. 2, 2017.)  Cohen-Watnick also exposed the Obama administration’s eavesdropping on Trump officials.  Foreign policy expert Daniel Greenfield noted that General McMaster fired Cohen-Watnick because “there’s no room for anyone telling the truth about Islamic terrorism at McMaster’s NSC.”  (“McMaster’s NSC Coup Against Trump Purges Critics of Islam and Obama: The National Security Council is Becoming a National Security Threat,” by Daniel Greenfield, Frontpage Mag., Aug. 4, 2017; see also “McMaster Pushes Cohen-Watnick, Iran Hard-Liner, Out at NSC,” by JTA, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 3, 2017.)

Rich Higgins: Higgins was the NSC’s director of strategic planning, until General McMaster fired him on July 21.  Higgins was an “Iran hawk” (“McMaster Pushes Cohen-Watnick, Iran Hard-Liner, Out at NSC,” cited above),and also had sought to declassify Presidential Study Directive 11 (PSD-11), the secret blueprint of Obama’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood.  Former House Intelligence Committee Chair Pete Hoekstra linked PSD-11 to the rise of ISIS and called for its declassification.  Higgins had stood by Trump during the Khizr Khan attacks. Higgins also wrote a memo warning of the strategic threats from the left’s alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood, Islamic terrorism, Sharia and the Hijrah colonization by Islamic migrants.  As expert Greenfield noted: “Like [Derek] Harvey and Ezra Watnick-Cohen, Higgins had warned of an enemy within.  And paid the price.” (“McMaster’s NSC Coup Against Trump Purges Critics of Islam and Obama,” cited above.)

Adam Lovinger: Carolyn Glick reported:  “In May, Adam Lovinger, a pro-Trump national security strategist on loan from the Pentagon’s office of net assessment was summarily informed that his security clearance was revoked.  He was fired and escorted from the White House like a spy and put on file duty at the Pentagon.  Lovinger is a seasoned strategic analyst who McMaster hated because he supported India over Pakistan, among other things.”  

Journalist Daniel Greenfield noted that: “When Adam Lovinger urged that ‘more attention be given to the threat of Iran and Islamic extremism,’ his security clearance was revoked.”
Steve Bannon: Early in the McMaster era, General McMaster removed Steve Bannon from the NSC’s principals committee.  Bannon is a strong opponent of the Iran deal, and a staunch supporter of Israel.

Derek Harvey:  Former U.S. Army Colonel Harvey – one of the CENTCOM’s most trusted advisors on Iraq, who had also warned of Al Qaeda early on – was eminently qualified to serve as the NSC’s top Middle East advisor in the Trump administration.  Harvey vocally advocated for a tougher policy on Iran and Iran’s proxies.  Harvey also reportedly constructed a comprehensive plan on how to scrap the Iran nuclear deal – a Trump campaign promise that General McMaster apparently opposes.  Harvey also uncovered the holdovers from the Obama administration who were leaking to the press.  Instead of firing the Obama loyalists and leakers, General McMaster fired Harvey.  (See, e.g., “McMaster, On ‘Warpath,’ Purges Key Trump Allies From White House NSC,” by Adam Kredo, Washington Free Beacon, Aug. 3, 2017; and “McMaster’s NSC Coup Against Trump Purges Critics of Islam and Obama,” above; and “McMaster Fires Iran Hawk From NSC: Another Flynn Holdover Has Been Removed,” by Kate Brannen, Foreign Policy, July 27, 2017.)

Tera Dahl: In early July, General McMaster removed NSC’s deputy chief of staff, Tera Dahl.  Dahl is a former columnist for Breitbart News and pro-Israel, who often wrote about efforts to combat terrorism sponsored by Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.  (See, e.g., “Egypt Fights Back as Muslim Brotherhood Escalates Terrorist Activity,” by Tera Dahl, Breitbart News, July 10, 2015; and “Breitbart’s Israel War Correspondent: ‘Goal of Hamas Is Global Caliphate’,” by Tera Dahl, Breitbart News, July 26, 2014.)

 More Firings to Come:  General McMaster reportedly has a list of additional senior Trump allies whom he intends to purge from the NSC, if he is not stopped.  (See, e.g., “McMaster, On ‘Warpath,’ Purges Key Trump Allies From White House NSC: McMaster Has List of Senior Officials He Plans to Fire,” by Adam Kredo, Washington Free Beacon, Aug. 3, 2017.)

McMaster Appointed Replacements to the NSC Who are Pro-Iran, Hostile to Israel Opposing Trump’s Policies
General McMaster’s appointees to the NSC are hostile to Israel, favor the Iran deal, and are weak on, or seek to appease, Islamists.  These include the following:

Kris Bauman:  The ZOA previously objected to General McMaster’s appointment of hostile critic of Israel Kris Bauman to be NSC advisor on Israel-Palestinian matters.  McMaster-appointee Bauman is a protégé of hostile-to-Israel, Iran-deal negotiator John Kerry.  Bauman’s plans for Israel include: Israel’s retreat to indefensible borders; creating a Palestinian-Arab (terrorist) state; sending in U.S. and Palestinian Arab troops to areas currently controlled by Israel; and “engaging” genocidal terrorist organization Hamas.  Bauman also falsely blames and accuses Israel of inciting Palestinian Arab violence and derailing peace.  (See “ZOA Concerned: NSC’s McMaster Appoints Kris Bauman – Hostile Israel Critic,” May 17, 2017.)

Dina Habib-Powell: After General McMaster forced out the highly experienced K.T. McFarland from her role as deputy national security advisor (see above), General McMaster appointed Egyptian-born Dina Habib-Powell to the position – someone without any background in national security.  Habib-Powell has been called Huma Abedin’s “Republican doppelganger,” and she defended Abedin.  (“Hillary’s Mystery Woman: Who Is Huma?,” by Spencer Morgan, The Observer, Apr. 2, 2007.)  Politico noted that Habib-Powell “has strong relationships with senior Democrats including outgoing Obama White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett.”

Journalist Daniel Greenfield also explained that:  “Habib-Powell had attended the Iftar dinner with members of Muslim Brotherhood front groups.  You can see her photographed at the American Task Force of Palestine gala.  The ATFP was originally Israel-basher Rashid Khalidi’s American Committee on Jerusalem. She was there as a presenter at the Middle East Institute after a speech by [Israel-basher] Hanan Ashrawi.  Her achievements under Bush included cultural exchanges with Iran, as well as cash for the Palestinian Authority and for Lebanon after the Hezbollah war with Israel.  While President Trump fights to restrict Muslim immigration, at his side is the woman who had once bragged on CNN, ‘Over 90% of student visas are now issued in under a week, and that is in the Middle East.’  But that is typical of the McMaster revamp of the NSC. It’s populated by swamp creatures who oppose the positions that President Trump ran on. And who are doing everything possible to undermine them.”

Lisa Weissgold (attempted hire):  General McMaster also attempted to hire Lisa Weissgold (to replace Trump loyalist Ezra Cohen-Watnick), but was overruled by President Trump.  Weissgold authored the Obama administration’s infamous Benghazi “talking points” – which falsely blamed a video for triggering the Benghazi attacks, instead of blaming radical Islamist terrorist groups responsible for them.  (See “McMaster Interviewed CIA Operative to Replace Trump NSC Official,” by Michael Warren, Weekly Standard, Mar. 16, 2017; and “McMaster Tried To Bring In CIA Official Who Lied About Benghazi ‘Protest’,” by Daniel Greenfield, Frontpage Mag., Mar. 19, 2017.)

Obama Holdovers: Carolyn Glick reported that General McMaster “allows anti-Israel, pro-Muslim Brotherhood, pro-Iran Obama people like Robert Malley to walk around the NSC and tell people what to do and think.  [McMaster] has left Ben (reporters know nothing about foreign policy and I lied to sell them the Iran deal) Rhodes’ and Valerie Jarrett’s people in place.”

McMaster’s Ideology and Actions Undermine President Trump’s Agenda
Since “personnel is policy,” it speaks volumes that General McMaster purged Trump loyalists from the NSC who were dedicated to the President’s policies on Israel, Iran and combatting radical Islam – and that instead, General McMaster retained or appointed Obama holdovers and their ilk.  General McMaster’s additional actions that warrant his removal from his current position and his reassignment to another include the following:

McMaster Supports the Iran Deal; Refused to Publish Side Deals:  Caroline Glick reported that “McMaster supports the [Iran] deal and refuses to publish the side deals Obama signed with the Iranians and then hid from the public.”  (See Caroline Glick post.)

 The Washington Free Beacon reported that “McMaster . . . ha[s] aggressively urged maintaining [the Iran deal].  ‘That’s why they took [Derek] Harvey out,’ explained one source, . . . [Harvey] is said to have constructed a comprehensive plan on how to scrap the nuclear deal.  Another source described the Trump administration’s Iran policy as ‘completely gutted’ in the aftermath of [McMaster’s] firings.”  (“McMaster, On ‘Warpath,’ Purges Key Trump Allies From White House NSC,” by Adam Kredo, Washington Free Beacon, Aug. 3, 2017.)

McMaster Wrongly Pushed to Recertify the Iran Nuclear Deal; Refused to Acknowledge Iran’s Violations:  General McMaster reportedly pushed for recertification of the Iran deal.  He evaded a reporter’s questions about Iran’s actual violations of the deal.  Instead, General McMaster misleadingly stated that Iran was violating the “spirit” of the agreement.  This ignored the facts and enabled the recertification of the Iran deal, and continued unwarranted sanctions relief to Iran.  (“McMaster Outlines Hillary Clinton–Like Approach to Certification of Iran Nuclear Deal,” by Fred Fleitz, National Review, July 17, 2017.)

McMaster Opposes Calling Out Radical Islamist Terrorism:  Iran scholar Dr. Michael Ledeen noted that “McMaster has instructed his staff to avoid using the phrase ‘radical Islamic terrorism,’ and tried to remove it from the president’s recent speech in Warsaw, Poland (Trump put it back in). According to a recent rumor, the NSC declined to schedule a talk on radical Islamic terrorism by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, one of the country’s most respected authorities, reportedly because one of McMaster’s appointees, Mustafa Javed Ali, accused her of ‘Islamophobia.’”  (“The McMaster Turmoil,” by Michael Ledeen, PJ Media, Aug. 6, 2017.)

McMaster’s Presumptuous Attempt at Anti-Israel, Pro-Palestinian Regime Policy-Making:  ZOA previously expressed concern when, at a May 12, 2017 White House press conference, General McMaster stepped to the podium and presumptuously attempted to supplant President Trump’s pro-Israel policy.  General McMaster proclaimed that President Trump would call for “Palestinian self-determination” during the President’s upcoming Israel visit, when this clearly conflicted with the President’s policy.  General McMaster also said nothing about the fact that President Trump would be demanding that Palestinian Authority (PA) leaders end their horrendous “pay to slay” payments incentivizing Palestinian Arab terrorists to murder Jews. (See “ZOA Urges Trump: Don’t Promote McMaster’s Call for ‘Palestinian Self-Determination’: Calling for ‘Palestinian Self-Determination’ Damages Peace; Prejudices Negotiations; Encourages Abbas That He Can Get His Demands Met While Continuing to Teach Hatred and Paying Terrorists to Murder Jews,” May 19, 2017.)

McMaster Refused to Acknowledge the Western Wall is in Israel:  At the same May 12, 2017 press conference, General McMaster refused to say whether the Western Wall is in Israel.  (“McMaster’s Western Wall Evasion: McMaster’s Ideological Differences With Trump Became Apparent From The Minute He Accepted The Offer To Replace Gen. Michael Flynn In The Role Of National Security Adviser,” by Ruthie Blum, May 21, 2017.)

McMaster Pressured Trump Not to Visit the Western Wall:  General McMaster is apparently bent on undermining President Trump’s policies of recognizing the Jewish people’s historic connection to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem, and of promoting the U.S.-Israel alliance.  It was recently shockingly revealed that General McMaster pressured President Trump not to visit Judaism’s holy site, the Western Wall, and that he insisted that neither Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu nor any other Israeli official could accompany President Trump on his visit – an insult to our ally Israel.  (See Caroline Glick post.)  As Caroline Glick noted, General McMaster “pressured Trump to cancel his visit to the Wall and only visit the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial — ala the Islamists who insist that the only reason Israel exists is European guilt over the Holocaust.”  (See Caroline Glick post.)

McMaster’s Overall Arabist Views and Hostility to Israel:  As Ms. Glick also reported: “McMaster . . . is deeply hostile to Israel and to Trump.  According to senior officials aware of his behavior, he constantly refers to Israel as the occupying power and insists falsely and constantly that a country named Palestine existed where Israel is located until 1948 when it was destroyed by the Jews.”  (Caroline Glick post; see also “Official: McMaster Calls Israel ‘Illegitimate,’ ‘Occupying Power’: Embattled NSC Chief Holds Anti-Trump Positions On Israel,” by Jordan Schachtel, Conservative Review, Aug. 3, 2017.) Daniel Horowitz, Senior Editor, Conservative Review, stated on Frank Gaffney’s radio show (Aug 3):  “From his time at CENTCOMM, McMaster has developed the full Arabist world-view, that Israel’s an enemy; he’s as anti-Israel as anyone in the Obama administration; he’s pro-Iran-deal; he wants to get all of our troops involved in every Islamic civil war.  Literally, if you would check the boxes on Trump’s campaign promises, he’s on the opposite side of every one of them…

McMaster Served as a Consulting Senior Fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, which is partially financed by outspoken anti-Zionist George Soros and by multinational corporate firms doing billions of dollars of business in Iran. Bahrain has provided one quarter ($32.5 million) of  their budget over the years. It is also partially financed by outspoken anti-Zionist George Soros and by multinational corporate firms doing billions of dollars of business in Iran. They include Airbus, Total SA, BP International Limited, Shell International LTD.

McMaster Shut Down Joint U.S.-Israel Counterterror, Anti-Hezbollah Effort: As the Conservative Review reported, General McMaster “expressed great reluctance to work with Israel on counterterror efforts, as he shut down a joint U.S.-Israel project to counter the terrorist group Hezbollah’s efforts to expand Iran’s worldwide influence.  The project was led by the now-former NSC Middle East director Derek Harvey [whom McMaster fired].”  (See Jordan Schachtel’s article in the Conservative Review, above.)  We cannot afford to have a NSC head who shuts down joint U.S.-Israel counter-terror efforts against Iran that are so vital to our security.

McMaster Opposed Israel Counterterror Efforts:  A senior defense official told the Conservative Review that General McMaster viewed Israel’s reasonable security measures (the installation of metal detectors after armed Palestinian Arab terrorists murdered two Israeli police officers on the Temple Mount) as “just another excuse by the Israelis to repress the Arabs.” (See Schachtel’s article, above.)

McMaster Gave Susan Rice Access to Classified Information:  General McMaster wrote an official letter that gave President Obama’s national security adviser Susan Rice unfettered, continuing access to classified information and that waived her “need-to-know” requirement. (“A Letter From H.R. McMaster Said Susan Rice Will Keep Her Top-Secret Security Clearance,” by Sara A. Carter, Circa, Aug. 3, 2017.)  Rice was deeply involved in many of the Obama administration’s policies that are inimical to President Trump’s positions, and in the unmasking of Trump campaign officials.  Although such letters are generally pro forma for former administration security officials, the letter appears to make little sense in Rice’s case.

ZOA National President Morton A. Klein said, “We are deeply concerned about General McMaster’s actions in his role as the Trump administration’s top national security adviser.
“We find it hard to understand how someone who clearly has animus toward Israel, who supports the disastrous Iran nuclear deal, who opposes calling out radical Islamist terrorists, who fires Trump loyalists and supporters of Israel and opponents of Iran, who hires those opposed to President Trump’s policies especially on Israel and Iran, who refused to acknowledge that the Western Wall is in Israel, who opposes Israeli counterterrorism measures, and who shuts down joint U.S. counterterrorism programs that are of enormous value to U.S. security, can faithfully serve President Trump as top national security advisor.  President Trump made it crystal clear, both before and since his election, that supporting Israel and the U.S.-Israel alliance, abrogating or at least vigorously enforcing the Iran deal while calling out and sanctioning Iran’s violations, confronting radical Islamist terrorism, and draining the Washington swamp, were key, distinguishing policies of his administration.

“General McMaster’s record during these past few months can only lead to the conclusion that McMaster is opposed to President Trump’s basic policy positions on Israel, Iran, and Islamist terror.  General McMaster is not the appropriate person to serve the Trump White House as top national security adviser. The ZOA strongly recommends that General McMaster be reassigned to a different role in this administration, unrelated to these critical issues.”

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