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Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Need-To-Know Distancing Is Now A Thing In The Intel Community

Need-to-know--what a concept, right? Why should the FBI be routinely receiving Codeword/SIGINT briefings without a demonstrated need to know?

Apparently that's a question that soon-to-be-former Acting DNI Ric Grenell asked himself. That's just one more reason why a clearly panicked Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) is rushing the nomination of previous outcast John Ratcliffe for the DNI post with almost unseemly haste.

Not only did Grenell come up with that question, but he found an answer: there is NO reason for that practice. In fact, it's an elementary violation of sound Intel practice. So, having found an answer to his question, Grenell acted--per Jack Posobiec:

Jack Posobiec
@JackPosobiec
   
BREAKING: New DNI instruction removes FBI from codeword SIGINT briefings and products that contain sources/methods. They have been ordered to return to core LE/CT work.
More: The FBI will no longer receive raw or refined sources and methods COMINT/SIGINT product, only sanitized analyst product.
The orders have already gone out to the relevant IC commands, including INSCOM. Now FBI's access will only be granted on a per-incident basis if matter is not directly related to terrorism or a criminal activity under active investigation.
With the exception of terrorism and criminal matters the FBI is out of the raw intelligence business. 

One reason to enforce need to know rules is to diminish the number of possible leakers. And now we know that the SSCI can act expeditiously when faced with an emergency. Who knows what other questions Grenell has been asking himself?

39 comments:

  1. Here's hoping Rubio is better than Burr, but I'm not holding my breath. If McConnell appointed another senator to replace Burr to maintain the Republican majority on the committee, I have not seen it reported. Initial reports I read stated Burr was only stepping down temporarily.

    DJL

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    1. I don't think he left the Committee--just stepped down as chairman.

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    2. Burr only stepped down temporarily from chairmanship of the SSCI. Just long enough to go through his personal investigation re stock sales. And probably those by his brother-in-law. My guess is that that cell phone was needed for a number of reasons. Date. Time. Calls to broker. Calls to brother-in-law. Maybe others he wanted to inform of what he’d been briefed on.

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    3. I would say that "Date. Time. Calls to broker. Calls to brother-in-law. Maybe others he wanted to inform of what he’d been briefed on" could all be easily obtained via subpoena--and probably were already. I don't do smartphones, so I'm not sure what else they'd be looking for, but a search warrant suggests digging much deeper than ordinary data. Perhaps other types of communications. I'm afraid I'm not totally up to speed on some of that.

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  2. I've been with a DoD intelligence agency for a long time. We've not supposed to spy on US persons. We receive annual (mandatory) training on the topic.

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  3. During my time in the military, Need-To-Know was not a catch-phrase. It was a practice. If you did not have a SIOP clearance, then you did not get access to SIOP documents. Apparently, creating SCI was just a suggestion without any ramifications for sharing with others not read in to a specific program. Just look at the SCI level material that turned up in Clinton's email. And to this day, I don't believe the State Department has conducted a Damage Assessment on the material that was illegally removed and subsequently compromised.

    DJL

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    1. Pompeo is too busy trying to get Trump into new wars to bother with a damage assessment.

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    2. DJL,

      With respect to need-to-know, our SCIF had badge readers and I couldn't get into some places. Even if I have the appropriate clearance and access, I'm not supposed to wander throughout the building and ask "What are you working on"? I have to have that need-to-know.

      After 9/11, there was talk about changing need-to-know to need-to-share, since our agencies failed to prevent the attacks.

      I see pluses and minuses in both methods. A lot depends on the integrity of the holder of classified information.

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    3. With respect to access into a SCIF, the same applied. If you could not enter with your badge but still needed to enter, you picked up a ring down phone to speak with staff in the SCIF who would then allow entry. This would typically apply when being read into programs.

      After witnessing the unbridled contempt for secrecy during the Obama administration, the best approach would be returning to the Need-To-Know concept. At least there would be a smaller number of links in the chain to find the leaker(s).

      DJL

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  4. Nomination just moved out of committee, party line vote.

    Correct - Burr just stepped down.

    An article on Rarvliff’s confirmation with no mention Grennel’s actions that are causing the warp speed confirmation.
    https://www.ajc.com/news/national-govt--politics/committee-approves-ratcliffe-for-dni-sends-full-senate/gEgUarLtlgoZno1RYcotIP/

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    1. It's kind of disappointing.

      Maybe Ratcliffe will be good, but Grennel has been kicking butt and taking names.

      Big shoes to fill, IMHO.

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  5. Ratcliffe nomination has been grudgingly approved in Committee and now goes to full Senate. Anyone but Grenell!!!! They can really move when motivated!

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  6. I wonder how many nanoseconds McConnel will take to schedule a full vote on Radcliffe. Grenell has a limited amount of time left. I'm sure part of the plan was for Grenell to do as many controversial things as he could to both expedite Radcliffe's nomination, and to protect Radcliffe from having to spend political capitol doing them all himself. But I have little doubt that Radcliffe is in the loop on everything.

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    1. Good point about clearing the path and political capital.

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  7. The way the Burr search warrant worked would likely be something like this. Since for a search warrant you need specific probable cause (PC) that evidence actually exists on the phone, they probably first got telephone records via subpoena which then gave them the PC they needed for the phone. As I say, I'm not conversant enough with smart phones to guess what they convinced a judge that they'd probably find on the phone. It's possible that they got informant info re what was on the phone, but that has to be extremely current info.

    Maybe Burr can do a plea deal by offering to spill the beans on the Russia Hoax.

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    1. And bear in mind, PC for a search warrant means you're supposed to have probable cause to believe that you'll find evidence of a crime on that specific phone. This is no perfunctory investigation.

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    2. Hey, but at least he's bipartisan !

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    3. They’d find texts.

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    4. That's probably it. I wasn't sure whether you need the physical phone to recover texts. The answer seems to be: You may not need it, but then again, you may. So, IOW, best to have the physical phone.

      https://www.foxnews.com/tech/are-text-messages-ever-really-deleted-it-depends

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    5. Search of the physical phone could reveal saved text messages sent via non-persistent texting apps -- system deletes the messages once they are retrieved by recipient; thus the only place they may exist would be on sending or receiving phones, and could be recoverable even if user deletes them if the memory space hasn't been overwritten.

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    6. Didn’t they get the Strzok/Page texts from their physical (FBI?) phones? This website talks about what happens with texts in a smartphone.

      First of all, secure the phone and don't turn it on and poke around. Deleted text messages just sit there until they're overwritten. With the growing memory on phones, it's not uncommon to have thousands of text messages. Most phone systems operate on a database, and so the data may still be there marked with a flag that says deleted. A normal user or IT person won't be able to see the deleted messages, but that's where forensic tools are helpful. If you poke around, you may start overwriting important pieces of information.

      https://www.cio.com/article/2378005/byod-think-deleted-text-messages-are-gone-forever-think-again.html

      Continuing education...

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    7. Thanks, EZ and Bebe--continuing education, indeed!

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    8. That’s true for all computers for all deletions.

      - TexasDude

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    9. I wasn't sure whether it might be possible to recover texts from the carrier. The article I linked says only possible that wasy for a few days--at best.

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  8. Gateway Pundit is headlining that Ambassador Grenell just declassified those remaining sections of Susan Rice's 20 Jan, 2017 email about the secret Oval Office meeting. Grenell isn't leaving many stones for Ratcliffe to turn over once he's in the job...

    DJL

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    1. THAT should be interesting.

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    2. There's also recordings of Biden and Kerry talking to Ukraine's old leadership. There's no question but that Biden pressured them to get rid of Shokin. For now it's smoke. Need someone to connect dots--Ukraine is very complicated.

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  9. Susan Rice memo of 5 Jan meeting, with redacted paragraph now unredacted:

    >> https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EYZwa7zXkAAYHSC?format=jpg&name=large <<

    Comey thought Flynn was a security risk because of the "unusual level" of contact he had with Kislyak.

    How's that for "predication" to withhold classified info from the new soon-to-bee National Security Advisor: he talks "too often" to the Russian Ambassador, in the opinion of the Director of the FBI.

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    1. Unbelievable. Delusions of grandeur. Just read the paragraph. Total non sequitur. Plus, it's a setup. The outgoing admin foments a crisis by making unconfirmable allegations of "meddling", then expels dips, and finally says Flynn is talking to them too much because he asks them not to overreact.

      Get a load of the final sentence: "no indication THUS FAR that Flynn has passed classified information to Kislyak"!

      Stupid and dishonest on multiple levels.

      As if WFO hadn't planned to close the Flynn case because no indication he was an agent--AND NEVER WAS ANY INDICATION. And now Comey is saying they're still waiting to see? On what basis?

      And do they really think an experienced guy like Flynn would call Kislyak on the phone to "pass classified information"?

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    2. I'm thinking Comey's most believable defense is to swear John Brennan slipped J. Edgar Hoover's diary into his desk drawer and, not realizing it was a horcrux, had no idea he was under the imperious curse for at least the last decade.
      Tom S.

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    3. Under what basis was this paragraph redacted in the first place?

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    4. I tried to do a few searches to figure that out. I couldn't come up with anything. The only plausible reason would be that it referred to an ongoing investigation, but as I recall the classification stated that it should remain classified past the end of any possible Trump second term.

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  10. Sidney Powell files Writ of Mandamus:

    >> https://sidneypowell.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Petition-filed.pdf <<

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    1. Yes, just reading about that, but have to run.

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  11. It's a classic "double-bind" -- he talks to the Russians too much, might be a security risk (despite there being ZERO evidence.) OTOH< if he didn' tak to the Russian ambassador, you can be sure Comey would have howled that Flynn's failure to talk to Kislayak o the phone was "evidence" that he must be passing messages to the Russkies secretly, and thus must be a Russian agent.

    Heads, they win; tails Flynn loses.

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    1. "Heads, they win; tails Flynn loses."

      That sums it up.

      "passing messages to the Russkies secretly"

      Not like Obama, who did it over a hot mic. No problem there.

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  12. From Powell's filing:

    >> “The function of a Judge...is to ‘call balls and strikes’...This is an umpire who has decided to steal public attention from the players and focus it on himself. He wants to pitch, bat, run bases, and play shortstop. In truth, he is way out in left field” <<

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  13. Lots going on today. Powell also just reported on her twitter feed she applied for a writ of mandamus. Hopefully the appeals court does not waste any time.

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    1. We shall see how much deeper the Swamp is if the appeals court rejects Powell's writ...

      DJL

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