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Saturday, April 27, 2019

Chris Wray: Deep State Tool

Any notion that the Deep State would drop the Russia Hoax, leaving the fomenting of anti-Russian paranoia and hysteria to such disreputable stalkers of the President as Adam Schiff, were laid to rest by Chris Wray. As reported by the NYT, Wray spoke Friday to a predictably Deep State friendly audience at the Council on Foreign Relations in DC, seeking to stoke hysteria in anticipation of the 2020 election:

WASHINGTON — The F.B.I. director warned anew on Friday about Russia’s continued meddling in American elections, calling it a “significant counterintelligence threat.” The bureau has shifted additional agents and analysts to shore up defenses against foreign interference, according to a senior F.B.I. official. 
The Trump administration has come to see that Russia’s influence operations have morphed into a persistent threat. The F.B.I., the intelligence agencies and the Department of Homeland Security have made permanent the task forces they created to confront 2018 midterm election interference, senior American national security officials said. 
“We recognize that our adversaries are going to keep adapting and upping their game,” Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, said Friday in a speech in Washington, citing the presence of Russian intelligence officers in the United States and the Kremlin’s record of malign influence operations.
“So we are very much viewing 2018 as just kind of a dress rehearsal for the big show in 2020,” he said. 
... 
But outside of meetings with Mr. Trump, intelligence officials have continued to raise alarms. Officials including both Mr. Wray and Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, have said Russia has aimed its influence campaigns at undermining faith in American democracy. 
“What has pretty much continued unabated is the use of social media, fake news, propaganda, false personas, etc. to spin us up, pit us against each other, to sow divisiveness and discord, to undermine America’s faith in democracy,” Mr. Wray said on Friday. “That is not just an election-cycle threat. It is pretty much a 365-day-a-year threat.”

Wray is either a fool--if he believes this nonsense about the social media threat posed by Russian based "troll farms"--or a knave--presuming that he actually knows better. More likely he's both. A fool for presuming to possess actual credibility, a knave for undertaking to fool the American people.


There were no reports that Wray expressed any concerns regarding "continuing [USIC] meddling in American elections," their collusion with opposition research projects of political campaigns or seeking assistance from foreign governments (Ukraine), about the role of British intelligence, or the fact that a presidential candidate in the 2016 election for years had for years operated a "charitable foundation" that was patently a pay-to-play money laundering operation for foreign donors--whether private or government sponsored.

To take the first point, where were Wray's assurances that the FBI had cleaned up its own act? Are we supposed to rely on his personal integrity? I'd rather not. The Mueller Dossier has just exposed for anyone who wishes to see the truth to see that Wray's FBI aided and abetted a witchhunt, the aim of which was to depose the elected president of the US. That witchhunt was based on illegitimate predication that AG Bill Barr has openly called into question--echoing under oath the opinions of anyone with knowledge of the matter. I'd like to see Wray embrace the new "Mueller standard" and exonerate himself of collusion in that effort to overturn an election--let him produce any memo, email, personal notes, or other documentation that would reflect his concerns over the continuation of the Mueller inquisition long after all pretense of seeking "collusion" had been exhausted. That's a fair request, given the heavy dedication of FBI resources to the coup attempt. As a former s Associate Deputy Attorney General and Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General he certainly would have the standing to raise the issue. If he were an honest man.

Think about it. If Matt Taibbi's strictures on the role of the press in the Russia Hoax are fair--and they are--then how much more do they apply to inside players in the USIC like Wray?

"You know what was fake news? Most of the Russiagate story. There was no Trump-Russia conspiracy, that thing we just spent three years chasing. The Mueller Report is crystal clear on this. [After it was unceremoniously shut down by Barr] 
"He didn’t just 'fail to establish' evidence of crime. His report is full of incredibly damning passages, like one about Russian officialdom’s efforts to reach the Trump campaign after the election: 'They appeared not to have preexisting contacts and struggled to connect with senior officials around the President-Elect.' 
"Not only was there no 'collusion,' the two camps didn’t even have each others’ phone numbers!"
"Reporters should be furious about being fed these red herrings. They should be outraged at all those people who urged them to publish the Steele report, which might have led to career-imperiling mistakes in print. They should be mad as hell at CIA chief Gina Haspel and the other unnamed officials who told them disclosing the name of already long-ago exposed government informant Stefan Halper would 'risk lives.'"

And that's just the beginning of it. Wray himself was very much part of the stonewalling. As Sharyl Attkisson reported last year:

In a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray, [Sen. Ron] Johnson accuses the FBI of providing a “slow-walked, inadequate response” to his queries. “Moving forward, I expect more complete and expeditious responses to my oversight requests,” writes Johnson.

He includes some seemingly outrageous examples found among text messages written by FBI agent Peter Strzok to his reported then-lover, FBI attorney Lisa Page. One of them reads, "Currently fighting with Stu for this FISA," where "Stu for this FISA" was redacted in a version turned over to Congress.

“FISA” refers to the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which dictates limited terms under which the FBI can wiretap U.S. citizens. It’s not known who “Stu” is but a man named Stuart Evans is National Security Division deputy assistant attorney general at the Justice Department. And the date of the text coincides with the timeframe in which FBI agents successfully convinced a FISA judge to let them wiretap Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

Other redactions included: "Went well, best we could have expected. Other than L.C.'s quote, 'the White house is running this'” (the initials “L.C.” had been redacted); and "Jesus. More BO leaks in the NYT" ("BO" had been redacted).
... 
According to Johnson, “None of the above redactions are clearly justified” under criteria outlined in Justice Department communications. “The FBI and the Justice Department have not explained the basis for redactions to these text messages, or any other document produced to date.”

Yet Wray has the gall to attribute the threat to our democracy as coming from Russia rather than the USIC:

“What has pretty much continued unabated is the use of social media, fake news, propaganda, false personas, etc. to spin us up, pit us against each other, to sow divisiveness and discord, to undermine America’s faith in democracy,” Mr. Wray said on Friday. “That is not just an election-cycle threat. It is pretty much a 365-day-a-year threat.”

Fake news, spin, leaks--all used to "sow divisiveness and discord, to undermine America’s faith in democracy." Have not the USIC agencies given the American people ample reason to believe that the Deep State is doing all in its power to "undermine America's ... democracy?"

Wray must go. He's simply another tool of the Deep State.

24 comments:

  1. During Wray's Congressional testimony, I got the feeling he was a perfect partner for Sessions. Both thrilled with their positions in their org-charts, and both terrified to rock the boat.

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  2. Regarding your points on Chris Wray: so true, so true. I’ve never for a second seen him any differently from how you describe him here. That said, your post brings to my mind another question I find very important here, which is this: Bill Barr keeps up a pretty good poker face, but I wonder if one "tell" of his is lathering what appears to be undeserved effusive praise over someone.

    He's done as much with Wray and Rosenstein, and I just can't help but wonder if that’s really more like a big, wet mafia kiss. On the other hand, he's also done it for Jessie Liu, but he seems (maybe, anyway) to have somewhat backed that praise up by appointing her chairwoman of the Attorney General's Advisory Committee.

    I realize I'm sort of going in circles here, but I just think that, at a bare minimum, we should not for a moment think that Barr doesn’t have the long knives out for certain people just because he’s slopped a bunch of superlatives all over them.

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    1. Yeah, difficult guy to read at times--especially true re people rather than issues. Personnel moves can be complex and he may not want to feed unrealistic expectations. But I would very much like to see Wray gone.

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  3. The ’Mueller Dossier’ classic, wish I had coined that one.

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    1. To be honest, someone else said it. Giuliani? Whoever came up with it, it's perfect.

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  4. The US Intelligence Community is counting on Republicans to support mindlessly and reflexively this anti-Russia hysteria.

    In previous years, the Republican Party was the Intelligence Community's political patron, while the Democratic Party was the skeptic, critic and even opponent.

    During the past decade, however, the Intelligence Community has switched its own loyalties. Now the Democrat Party is its political patron.

    The US Intelligence Community has been framing advisers of the Republican Party's leader as witting agents of Russian Intelligence in order to justify FISA warrants against that leader's campaign staff and personal sphere.

    Republicans are supposed to tolerate this abuse because of scare-stories blaming Russia.

    Let the US Intelligence Community enjoy the Democrat Party's political patronage for the next decade too. Let the US Intelligence Community peddle its scare-stories about Russia to Democrats.

    Meanwhile, Republicans should respond to those scare-stories with healthy skepticism and critical thinking.

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    1. I agree, Mike. I think it's high time to make a well thought out demand that the USIC stop scare mongering and provide proof. I understand the fear of distracting from the illegalities, but I think it can be done. Hold their feet to the fire.

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    2. https://twitter.com/LeeSmithDC/status/1121819395746091008:

      Re: "I’m also concerned the idea the dossier is a Russian disinfo op is gaining credibility. A smart friend pointed out that Ignatius created that escape hatch 2 years ago in his Logan Act piece."

      https://twitter.com/paulsperry_/status/1122259001482391553

      "Hearing that FBI & DOJ officials in hot water over #SpyGate are preparing to use defense that nat'l security interests justified bending investigative & surveillance laws & rules & that in targeting Trump they acted out of patriotic duty & not any bias to undercut him politically"

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    3. This is Sundance's worry- overblown in opinion- but his worry. The problem is that if there really are cooperators in the investigation, such a claim won't be sustainable. If there are none who are cooperating, then it won't matter anyway- they will get away with it entirely.

      I think there is sure to be a long and deep paper trail out there, and if Barr is really serious about this stuff, he will find it and expose it.

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    4. "I think there is sure to be a long and deep paper trail out there ..."

      Yes. That's the nature of bureaucratic crime generally. Not necessarily crime by bureaucrats, but once you start manipulating the bureaucracy for criminal purposes there's virtually certain to be that lengthy paper trail. Which is why I've emphasized the importants of understanding the guidelines, etc. It's the sea that bureaucratic fish swim in.

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  5. If you were a conspirator in a failed coup attempt against a sitting president, my guess is that you would view your legal exposure as being extremely serious. As such, you would likely be inclined to do or say almost anything in order to lessen or eliminate this exposure. Desperate people will behave desperately. This is to be expected.

    The flip side of the coin is the legal establishment's interest in preserving the rule of law. If they allow the coup culprits to skate on their seditious crimes by using a BS faux justification for their actions, then Barr will be setting the stage for the next coup, which may escalate beyond soft coup legal shenanigans. Barr needs to send a message to the Deep State honchos, or it only gets much worse moving forward.

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    1. On the encouraging side is this tweet from Paul Sperry:

      Paul Sperry‏

      @paulsperry_

      DEVELOPING: Obama CIA under scrutiny for possible illegal DOMESTIC SPYING during the 2016 campaign, as former top intelligence official said to be cooperating with Barr review

      6:50 PM - 26 Apr 2019

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  6. Thumbs up for this entry. I wouldn't trust Wray as far as I can throw him.

    I tend to repeat myself on this blog and here goes. I think that the President came into this job giving the benefit of the doubt that many of those who initially advised him had the best interest of the country, and his administration, at heart.

    He has been burned as is "woke." His version 2.0 and version 3.0 picks are better than his version 1.0 picks. When we picked Wray, he was still trusting the wrong men.

    Now he has a cadre of advisers that are worthy of his trust such as Mike Pompeo, Bill Barr and Mick Mulvaney.

    The man has hit his stride. Just think of a 2nd term, especially if the R's hold the Senate and take back the House. Not that I'm fooled just because a man has an R behind his name.

    I'm hoping the voters will elect a new breed of Republican. Those who are committed to serving, rather than milking the country for selfish gain.

    Hey, a man can dream, right?

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    1. I think Trump has had a real wakeup call re the depth of opposition among Republicans--he was too prone to think they'd join the team at first. OTOH, I also think he is still having to trim his sails a bit to keep their support. One example is not calling out the hoax aspect of supposed Russian "meddling". I'm quite sure he'd like to do that--as has recently reported in the NYT--but is being advised not to.

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  7. Mr. wauck,

    In an interesting Twitter thread, Ramses Goat posits that the recent eccentric posts by James Comey, such as "So many questions", are steganography. I had never heard of this term so I studied. Apparently it is a means of transmitting covert information in the open. Any recipient would be an encrypted key.

    I think that the idea is plausible. But I can't say anything with any kind of authority. You may be interested in checking it out.

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    1. Joe, sorry it's taken me some time to publish your comment--I've been out.

      I don't think that's a plausible idea. For that to work I believe the original file containing the hidden file (that's how steganography works) would need to be sent directly to the recipient--say as an email attachment. To make the file available on the internet in a tweet would, in my understanding, make the message available to the whole world.

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  8. Thank you for your opinion. It is a fascinating theory, but if it is probably not true, then I don't want to be entertaining the idea in my mind.

    One of the reasons that I rely on you is because so many things that I read border on being conspiracy theories. We have enough fake news without me falling for it or passing it on to others.

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    1. Not a problem. I never encountered steganography in a work context myself, but it's a technique that's been around for a fairly long time. I can't claim expertise, although I did once toy with the idea of trying it out just to do it, but I don't think this is how it would be used.

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    2. The classic example is the BBC broadcasting general instructions to resistance groups across Europe during WWII. Phrases were often non-sense clich├ęs, quotations, and rhyme, unless you had a discrete key that had been delivered previously to each group.

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    3. But that's not what steganography is. My point is that broadcasting, say, an image file on the internet that contains an embedded message in a hidden text file is self defeating, because you're providing access to the message inquisitive minds for examination. Here's a brief explanation of the way it's used nowadays and the way most people understand it:

      https://searchsecurity.techtarget.com/definition/steganography

      In modern digital steganography, data is first encrypted or obfuscated in some other way and then inserted, using a special algorithm, into data that is part of a particular file format such as a JPEG image, audio or video file. The secret message can be embedded into ordinary data files in many different ways. One technique is to hide data in bits that represent the same color pixels repeated in a row in an image file. By applying the encrypted data to this redundant data in some inconspicuous way, the result will be an image file that appears identical to the original image but that has "noise" patterns of regular, unencrypted data.

      ...

      While there are many different uses of steganography, including embedding sensitive information into file types, one of the most common techniques is to embed a text file into an image file. When this is done, anyone viewing the image file should not be able to see a difference between the original image file and the encrypted file; this is accomplished by storing the message with less significant bites in the data file. This process can be completed manually or with the use of a steganography tool.

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  9. If you have time and interest, there is a good video found on Jeff Carlson's Twitter page about President Trump. James Clapper, Philip Mudd, Mike Hayden and ADM Rogers are part of a discussion narrated by Nicole Wallace.

    Other than ADM Rogers, these people are so full of themselves it's sickening. Hayden, Wallace and Clapper are Trump Haters. Mudd is about 50% of a Trump Hater but can still be somewhat objective.

    ADM Rogers refuses to be drawn into attempts to slam the President and compare him less favorably to Obama.

    These are limousine liberals who are too cocky in their assessment of the nation and think that if their judgement justifies it, they can disregard the Constitution.

    Wallace does everything that she can to make ADM Rogers criticize the President. She does this multiple times.

    Only ADM Rogers seems to understand what it is to be a public servant.

    I'm not sure which of these characters in the most disgusting, Wallace, Hayden or Clapper.

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    1. Without having watched it yet, I'm inclined to go ahead and cast my vote for Hayden. :-)

      I just did a post re steganography.

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  10. I'm multitasking and listening to Wallace, Hayden, et al while I'm reading your steganography post. Wallace makes me so annoyed. She is upset that DJT ignores the IC and goes with his instincts. As if our IC and ruling class are wise beyond reproach.

    Hello, these are the same people who gave us the Iraq fiasco and put our country 20 trillion in debt. Maybe a different approach is warranted.

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