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Although many details are still hazy because of secrecy – and further befogged by politics – it appears House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes was informed last week about invasive electronic surveillance of senior U.S. government officials and, in turn, passed that information onto President Trump.

This news presents Trump with an unwelcome but unavoidable choice: confront those who have kept him in the dark about such rogue activities or live fearfully in their shadow. (The latter was the path chosen by President Obama. Will Trump choose the road less traveled?)

What President Trump decides will largely determine the freedom of action he enjoys as president on many key security and other issues. But even more so, his choice may decide whether there is a future for this constitutional republic. Either he can acquiesce to or fight against a Deep State of intelligence officials who have a myriad of ways to spy on politicians (and other citizens) and thus amass derogatory material that can be easily transformed into blackmail.

This crisis (yes, “crisis” is an overused word, but in this highly unusual set of circumstances we believe it is appropriate) came to light mostly by accident after President Trump tweeted on March 4 that his team in New York City’s Trump Towers had been “wiretapped” by President Obama.

Trump reportedly was relying on media reports regarding how conversations of aides, including his ill-starred National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, had been intercepted. Trump’s tweet led to a fresh offensive by Democrats and the mainstream press to disparage Trump’s “ridiculous” claims.

However, this concern about the dragnets that U.S. intelligence (or its foreign partners) can deploy to pick up communications by Trump’s advisers and then “unmask” the names before leaking them to the news media was also highlighted at the Nunes-led House Intelligence Committee hearing on March 20, where Nunes appealed for anyone who had related knowledge to come forward with it.

That apparently happened on the evening of March 21 when Nunes received a call while riding with a staffer. After the call, Nunes switched to another car and went to a secure room at the Old Executive Office Building, next to the White House, where he was shown highly classified information apparently about how the intelligence community picked up communications by Trump’s aides.

The next day, Nunes went to the White House to brief President Trump, who later said he felt “somewhat vindicated” by what Nunes had told him.

The ‘Wiretap’ Red Herring

But the corporate U.S. news media continued to heckle Trump over his use of the word “wiretap” and cite the insistence of FBI Director James Comey and other intelligence officials that President Obama had not issued a wiretap order aimed at Trump.

As those paying rudimentary attention to modern methods of surveillance know, “wiretapping” is passé. But Trump’s use of the word allowed FBI and Department of Justice officials and their counterparts at the National Security Agency to swear on a stack of bibles that the FBI, DOJ, and NSA have been unable to uncover any evidence within their particular institutions of such “wiretapping.”

At the House Intelligence Committee hearing on March 20, FBI Director Comey and NSA Director Michael Rogers firmly denied that their agencies had wiretapped Trump Towers on the orders of President Obama.

So, were Trump and his associates “wiretapped?” Of course not. Wiretapping went out of vogue decades ago, having been rendered obsolete by leaps in surveillance technology.

The real question is: Were Trump and his associates surveilled? Wake up, America. Was no one paying attention to the disclosures from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden in 2013 when he exposed Director of National Intelligence James Clapper as a liar for denying that the NSA engaged in bulk collection of communications inside the United States.

The reality is that EVERYONE, including the President, is surveilled. The technology enabling bulk collection would have made the late demented FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s mouth water.

Allegations about the intelligence community’s abuse of its powers also did not begin with Snowden. For instance, several years earlier, former NSA worker and whistleblower Russell Tice warned about these “special access programs,” citing first-hand knowledge, but his claims were brushed aside as coming from a disgruntled employee with psychological problems. His disclosures were soon forgotten.

Intelligence Community’s Payback

However, earlier this year, there was a stark reminder of how much fear these surveillance capacities have struck in the hearts of senior U.S. government officials. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that President Trump was “being really dumb” to take on the intelligence community, since “They have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you.”

Maddow shied away from asking the logical follow-up: “Senator Schumer, are you actually saying that Trump should be afraid of the CIA?” Perhaps she didn’t want to venture down a path that would raise more troubling questions about the surveillance of the Trump team than on their alleged contacts with the Russians.

Similarly, the U.S. corporate media is now focused on Nunes’s alleged failure to follow protocol by not sharing his information first with Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. Democrats promptly demanded that Nunes recuse himself from the Russia investigation.

On Tuesday morning, reporters for CNN and other news outlets peppered Nunes with similar demands as he walked down a corridor on Capitol Hill, prompting him to suggest that they should be more concerned about what he had learned than the procedures followed.

That’s probably true because to quote Jack Nicholson’s character in “A Few Good Men” in a slightly different context, the mainstream media “cannot handle the truth” – even if it’s a no-brainer.

At his evening meeting on March 21 at the Old Executive Office Building, Nunes was likely informed that all telephones, emails, etc. – including his own and Trump’s – are being monitored by what the Soviets used to call “the organs of state security.”

By sharing that information with Trump the next day – rather than consulting with Schiff – Nunes may have sought to avoid the risk that Schiff or someone else would come up with a bureaucratic reason to keep the President in the dark.

A savvy politician, Nunes knew there would be high political cost in doing what he did. Inevitably, he would be called partisan; there would be more appeals to remove him from chairing the committee; and the character assassination of him already well under way – in The Washington Post, for example – might move him to the top of the unpopularity chart, displacing even bête noire Russian President Vladimir Putin.

But this episode was not the first time Nunes has shown some spine in the face of what the Establishment wants ignored. In a move setting this congressman apart from all his colleagues, Nunes had the courage to host an award ceremony for one of his constituents, retired sailor and member of the USS Liberty crew, Terry Halbardier.

On June 8, 1967, by repairing an antennae and thus enabling the USS Liberty to issue an SOS, Halbardier prevented Israeli aircraft and torpedo boats from sinking that Navy intelligence ship and ensuring that there would be no survivors to describe how the Israeli “allies” had strafed and bombed the ship. Still, 34 American seamen died and 171 were wounded.

At the time of the award ceremony in 2009, Nunes said, “The government has kept this quiet I think for too long, and I felt as my constituent, he [Halbardier] needed to get recognized for the services he made to his country.” (Ray McGovern took part in the ceremony in Nunes’s Visalia, California office.)

Now, we suspect that much more may be learned about the special compartmented surveillance program targeted against top U.S. national leaders if Rep. Nunes doesn’t back down and if Trump doesn’t choose the road most traveled – acquiescence to America’s Deep State actors.

William Binney ([email protected]) worked for NSA for 36 years, retiring in 2001 as the technical director of world military and geopolitical analysis and reporting; he created many of the collection systems still used by NSA.

Ray McGovern ([email protected]) was a CIA analyst for 27 years; he briefed the president’s daily brief one-on-one to President Reagan’s most senior national security officials from 1981-85.

(Republished from Counterpunch by permission of author or representative)
 
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  1. One can hope

    • Replies: @Coldwarvet
  2. More on fear of the CIA in Congress, from my blog:

    Aug 3, 2014 – They Really Come After You 

    Startling news this past week was mostly ignored by our corporate media. After denying hard evidence presented by US Senate committee staffers, the head of the CIA finally admitted that his people spied on Congress. No one was arrested, no one fired, no one resigned, and no one outraged. President Obama said nothing. The leader of the Democrats in the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi refused to criticize the CIA because:

    “In the past I have made my statements about the CIA, and they really come after you,” she told a group of reporters, chuckling. “There’s a price to pay.”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/31/pelosi-criticism-cia_n_5638889.html?utm_hp_ref=politics

    Wow! Meek reporters did not demand that she explain further. She is a long-time Congressman and Democratic leader and openly admits that she is afraid of the CIA!

    • Replies: @Tom Welsh
  3. nsa says:

    Imagine the dirt the secret police and snoops had on the gay muzzie kenyan, Bongo….and his trannie husband, Michael.

  4. Realist says:

    “Will Trump Take on the Spooks?”

    He better and he better clean house in the administration. His time is short.

  5. Tom Welsh says:
    @Carlton Meyer

    “She is a long-time Congressman and Democratic leader and openly admits that she is afraid of the CIA!”

    Why wouldn’t she be afraid of the CIA? Just as even senior members of the Communist Party of the USSR were often afraid of the KGB.

    If your reaction is, “But the CIA can hardly be compared to the KGB!”… ask yourself what differences you can articulate.

    Surveils and monitors everyone, all the time… check.
    Murders anyone it pleases… check.
    Maintains a chain of ghastly secret prisons where people are tortured and killed… check.

  6. Agent76 says:

    Dec 12, 2016 Georgia Official Says Homeland Security Tried To Hack Their State’s Voter Database

    While most of the country frets over Russia’s role in the 2016 election, the state of Georgia has come forward saying that they’ve traced an IP from a hack of their voter database right back to the offices of the Department of Homeland Security. Apparently we need to focus on protecting our vote from our own government.

    • Replies: @mikrat
  7. Agent76 says:

    Mar 30, 2017 SHOCK! Russian Hacking Story is Unraveling!

    Story #1: Trump’s Swamp Lets ISPs Sell Your Browsing History

  8. Mattis and McMaster, as long term military commanders, have had a quite intimate working relationship with DIA, NSA and CIA for a number of years. Tillerson as head of Exxon Mobil, with major interests in many parts of the world, has worked with the intelligence community. This administration is wired into the nuts and bolts of the spooks much more solidly than any administration in memory.

    • Replies: @Agent76
    , @Agent76
  9. anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    In the old days the CIA was forbidden to engage in any kind of domestic surveillance. And exactly why do we need a “National Security Agency?” Wasn’t that part of the duties of the FBI?

    This is getting scarier and scarier.

  10. Agent76 says:
    @Roy Lofquist

    You nailed it and this is all *CIA* who operates the whole media as revealed back in the late 1970′s by the Church Committee for those who know history.

    9/23/1975 Tom Charles Huston Church Committee Testimony

    https://www.c-span.org/video/?408953-1/tom-charles-huston-testimony-church-committee

  11. Tom Welsh says:

    Very good point, Eustace! Thanks!

  12. mikrat says:
    @Tom Welsh

    Don’t forget:
    Most of the patriots who claim they’ve had enough and who understand this have gone back to sleep and are more concerned about their next years fantasy football team stats and weather the new GMC PU they just 98% financed will beat the neighbors Ford PU. Check,

    • Replies: @Tom Welsh
  13. mikrat says:
    @Agent76

    “Apparently we need to focus on protecting our vote from our own government. ”

    We have always had to protect Everything from Government. To bad only now are people waking up to that idea.

    • Agree: jacques sheete
  14. @Bill Jones

    Sounds like we have all woken up in an old Star Trek plot: “Mirror Mirror.” In this first series episode, key crew members are accidentally transferred between two mirror-image universes, the friendly Federation of Planets we think we know, and a dark, evil empire where underlings are routinely tortured, and accession to power is usually through assassination. Trump, with his wealth and almost apple pie normalcy, is closer to Jimmy Stewart in DC than Jimmy Hoffa in Chicago, and is proving somewhat clumsy in navigating the plots being launched against him in this strange universe he finds himself transported into. Will he discover the “tantalus device” behind the hidden panel in the Oval Office and “neutralize” the plotters before it’s too late? Will truth and justice prevail, or will he fail spectacularly in his bid to restore our republic, vanquishing the apparatus put into place for Hillary to rule? All this just as the deep state is about to claim the Final Victory. Grab some popcorn. This one’s going to be interesting to watch.

    • LOL: JL
    • Replies: @magoo
    , @cali
  15. annamaria says:

    The PC Rice has been selected as an agnus dei by the CIA/Dem party: “Confirmed: Susan Rice “Unmasked” Trump Team,” http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-04-03/confirmed-susan-rice-unmasked-trump-team

  16. Trump needs to act as if his and our survival depends upon dismantling this monstrosity.

    He’s a fool if he thinks he can harness it, reorganize it, or reform it. He can’t. It will merely wait him out or take him out.

  17. Art says:

    By sharing that information with Trump the next day – rather than consulting with Schiff – Nunes may have sought to avoid the risk that Schiff or someone else would come up with a bureaucratic reason to keep the President in the dark.

    Schiff is a Jew – Nunes did the right thing – if Nunes told Schiff – the Mossad would have been notified with minutes.

    The whole Jew globalist Deep State would have been activated to kill whatever they needed to kill to stop the whole story.

    Peace — Art

    p.s. One wonders how many active Mossad agents are in DC?

  18. Forget Trump. Anyone who would want the job is a complete sap, especially at his age. Power tripping idiots, the bunch of ‘em.

    While I’m glad he beat the hag and made the other morons look as stupid as they are, in the end he’s as clueless and gutless as they would have been.

    Unfortunate but true.

    I wonder how long it’ll take for people to start calling him a conspiracy theorist over this issue. What a circus. Too funny.

    • Replies: @edNels
  19. Agent76 says:
    @Roy Lofquist

    This is another well made and informative piece of work. Apr 4, 2017 The Path to Total Dictatorship: America’s Shadow Government & Its Silent Coup

    Say hello to America’s shadow government: a corporatized, militarized, entrenched bureaucracy that is fully operational and staffed by unelected officials who are, in essence, running the country. This shadow government represents the hidden face of a government that has no respect for the freedom of American citizens.

    • Replies: @Miro23
  20. Magoo says:

    Came to light by accident? LOL not hardly. Trump calculated this tweet and showed his genius– he can move the news cycle more with 140 characters than the msm can do with 10K stories.

  21. magoo says:
    @Coldwarvet

    The tantalus device in this episode is the trove of pedophile blackmail info.

  22. cali says:
    @Coldwarvet

    Great comment!
    So far DT appears to be always one step ahead not only of the Deep State but also the ‘enemies’ within his own party!
    The panic by the Deep State being unsuccessful in getting their candidate into the white house causes them to be very sloppy indeed. The DT voters/supporters are also wide awake keeping an eye on the machinations of the propaganda media. The Deep State is trying to punish us for our support of DT and one hopes that NO false flag is being planned and carried out this time as a means for them to move along with their agenda.

    • Replies: @Coldwarvet
  23. @cali

    Yes, indeed. Agree x 1000%

  24. edNels says:
    @jacques sheete

    you said it right here!

    Forget Trump. Anyone who would want the job is a complete sap, especially at his age. Power tripping idiots, the bunch of ‘em.

    While I’m glad he beat the hag and made the other morons look as stupid as they are, in the end he’s as clueless and gutless as they would have been.

    But Trump did what BO showed him how to do: Bait and Switch! He folded on his promises. He sends a loud signal: that he doesn’t have integrity at heart. Especially with stock Neo____ cabinet/ judicial/ etc. picks, and walk away from specific points of his campaign promise bag, and highly visible fade away from supporting his seeming good appointment of Gen. Flynn. That was a dumb move.

    Sending a signal is what presidents do! As well what is expected of celebrity, it was explained in the movie ”Roller Ball”, when the hero kept on winning too long, and the owners didn’t want that. It was a success symbol. Wrong signal to the Peanut Gallery.

    As far as the Democrat phenomena of witch hunts, bad losers, etc. more symbols to completely confuse and pollute the masses, what little is left of their little TV addled selves.

  25. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    If Trump interferes with the shadow government, he will be killed.

  26. You’re 100% right. Trump had better take on the spooks and clean house in every one of the 17 Intelligence agencies, starting with the FBI. Fire the incompetent, corrupt FBI Director James Comey yesterday. That idiot has no experience, and Obama was stupid enough to appoint him.

  27. GJ says:

    Let us not forget about the Fukushima ongoing disaster which will render all of this craziness dead. Or dieing of cancer …. radiation does not fade away but accumulates and becomes stronger each day we ignore it. Too bad the previous administration was part of the cover-up and don’t forget — Russia makes over 85% of our nuclear reactor fuel. If we go to war with Russia or China, bad things are going to happen when one in five reactors begin to attempt cold shut-down for lack of fuel…..

    • Replies: @dc.sunsets
  28. @GJ

    NRDC used to have a great map of the USA’s reactors showing what would happen around each of them if they experienced the same kind of failure as Fukushima.

    People keep yapping about EMP weapons, a solar flare, etc., and I sit and wonder how much of the eastern half of North America becomes too toxic for habitation for….many centuries, as every GE reactor and every spent fuel pool eventually cooks off in the absence of electric power.

    The short-sightedness of the last 50 years is absolutely breathtaking. I attribute it to a social mood mania (under the socionomic hypothesis) but no matter what caused it, the number of calamities now piled up and waiting to pop out spans every aspect of human endeavor.

    The next one hundred or possibly one thousand years could be very tough sledding.

  29. Miro23 says:
    @Agent76

    I can’t disagree with this video. The US is in the last stages of construction of Totalitarianism.

    Like Whitehead says, it just needs the activation of the COG (Continuity Of Government) framework in response to a National Emergency of some type, for full activation and the mass arrest of dissidents (“Deporables”) or worse.

    In my opinion 9/11 was a failed attempt to launch COG but they’ll try again.

    An interesting aspect of the video is the call for the US public to “Fight for Freedom” which isn’t going to happen.

    The way these situations seem to resolve is through economic meltdown, military failures and eventually anarchy weakening and destroying the state structure. The point here is that the Deep State only has power through the government structure and if this structure disappears their “levers” no longer work.

    The Weimar (Special Interest) government discovered this after the hyperinflation and the collapse of the German middle class and the radicalization of a public with nothing left to lose. The weak and decadent Czarist autocracy discovered it after WW1 military defeat and the defection of their troops to Bolshevik insurgents, as did classic corrupt Ancient Rome in its last days, with inflation, barbarian invasions, social collapse and general chaos.

    When the structure of society goes, so does the deep state, with all its Special Relationships.

    For example the complete destruction of Germany and Japan in WW2 swept away the existing (complex) power structures, with both countries growing fresh new and successful Democracies out of the ruins.

    The perverse conclusion is that the US probably has to reach a zero point before it can recover.

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