Category Archives: FBI

The Kremlin’s Candidate

The U.S. Senate has been told that the Kremlin hacked the DNC and worked with WikiLeaks for the express purpose of helping Donald Trump win the election:

Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, according to U.S. officials. Those officials described the individuals as actors known to the intelligence community and part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton’s chances.

“It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators. “That’s the consensus view.”

While this is the current headline, let me be blunt: this is not news. I wrote about this over the summer, here. I’m just a dumb housewife in Tennessee but even I can read a damn newspaper. When you read that the Russians hacked everyone, but only the DNC’s emails got sent to WikiLeaks, it’s pretty obvious that they were trying to help one team, and it sure wasn’t Hillary’s. As I wrote then:

[…] it’s far more worrisome that Putin is trying to help get Donald Trump elected than that Debbie Wasserman Schultz tried to help elect Hillary Clinton.

But did we have that conversation? Noooo. We had to get all emo over Debbie Wasserman Schultz. That was super-fun. Once again I have to give my thanks to the BernieBrats who allowed themselves to be the useful tools of Putin’s takeover of American democracy. Thanks, heaps! You guys took all the oxygen out of the room with your endless haranguing over shit that didn’t matter. Please eat a bag of dicks while you enjoy Goldman Sachs veteran Gary Cohn running the National Economic Council. {Speeches, arrgle barrgle, Wall Street puppets, arrgle barrgle …. }

Yeah, I’m still bitter and angry and I will be for the rest of my life. C’est la vie. What IS news in this latest development is that the Republican leadership knew about this well before the election and decided to not do anything because they wanted “their guy” to win:

By mid-September, White House officials had decided it was time to take that step, but they worried that doing so unilaterally and without bipartisan congressional backing just weeks before the election would make Obama vulnerable to charges that he was using intelligence for political purposes.

Instead, officials devised a plan to seek bipartisan support from top lawmakers and set up a secret meeting with the Gang of 12 — a group that includes House and Senate leaders, as well as the chairmen and ranking members of both chambers’ committees on intelligence and homeland security.

Obama dispatched Monaco, FBI Director James B. Comey and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson to make the pitch for a “show of solidarity and bipartisan unity” against Russian interference in the election, according to a senior administration official.

Specifically, the White House wanted congressional leaders to sign off on a bipartisan statement urging state and local officials to take federal help in protecting their voting-registration and balloting machines from Russian cyber-intrusions.

James Comey, well now, that’s a familiar name. He knew all of this and released his anti-Clinton letter one week before the election anyway? That’s downright treasonous. But I digress:

According to several officials, McConnell raised doubts about the underlying intelligence and made clear to the administration that he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics.

Some of the Republicans in the briefing also seemed opposed to the idea of going public with such explosive allegations in the final stages of an election, a move that they argued would only rattle public confidence and play into Moscow’s hands.

McConnell’s office did not respond to a request for comment. After the election, Trump chose McConnell’s wife, Elaine Chao, as his nominee for transportation secretary.

Someone remind me, which party’s candidate was characterized as untrustworthy and corrupt? Yet the Senate Majority Leader getting an obvious payback for turning a blind eye to foreign interference in our election doesn’t stink to high heaven? Even a little bit?

You kids today won’t believe this but those of us of a certain age remember a time when the Russians were considered our enemy. Before 9/11 this was a message we heard constantly from Republicans, including (especially) the sainted Ronald Reagan. It was the justification for our nuclear arsenal and the ill-fated “Star Wars” missile defense program. Us Cold War babies remember how the villains in every James Bond film weren’t Muslim terrorists, they were Soviet KGB agents. This was the world I grew up in.

Back in those days, of course, the Russians were Commie pinko Reds. Today’s Russia doesn’t have party bosses and the like; it has an authoritarian oligarch named Vladimir Putin, who has passed laws criminalizing LGBT people and has murdered his political opponents.

So the idea that Sen. Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan would be OK with the Kremlin picking our next president because it would mean “their team” would win (and McConnell’s wife would get a cabinet post) is somewhat shocking. My, how times have changed.

This is Republican patriotism?

Also, as always, let’s ask what would have happened if “Kenyan, Muslim” Obama had done anything close to this. Impeachment, of course.

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Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, CIA, FBI

This Is What Passes For A Scandal?

[UPDATE]:

Hilarious:

There was a commissioner, Douglas Shulman, who was appointed by the Bush/Cheney administration five years ago, and who was in charge when the agency began treating conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status unfairly. It’s unlikely that a Republican deliberately targeted groups on the right for extra scrutiny.

But more to the point, Rubio’s demand is problematic given the fact that Shulman has already resigned, leaving the IRS last November. It’s tough for a guy to fall on his sword after he’s already packed up his stuff and gone home.

So the guy in charge of the IRS when conservative groups say they were unfairly targeted was a Bush appointee, and he’s been gone for six months.

I’d say the Teanuts have been played.

—————————————————-
Help me out here, people. Other than massive butthurt and shrill whining, skills which the Tea Party employ with surgical precision, I don’t get what this supposed “scandal” involving the IRS is all about.

Tea Party groups were applying for 501(c)4 status. Political groups can’t be 501(c)4s. They can’t be involved directly in politics, raise money for candidates, launch primary challenges, run for office, etc. But groups calling themselves “Tea Party” and “Patriots” had been in the news for months doing exactly that! So why is it a big deal that the IRS was looking into the activities of groups calling themselves “Tea Party” before granting them non-profit status?

What am I missing here?

Also, many on the left have mentioned the numerous ways the Bush Administration did the same and even worse, without so much as a tear from conservatives or a front page headline from the mainstream media. Remember All Saints Church in Pasadena, California? Following a 2004 anti-war sermon which went viral, the IRS investigated the church for two years and threatened its non-profit status. At the same time, conservative “Patriot pastors” telling their congregations how to vote were ignored.

Remember when the FBI infiltrated anti-war groups as they planned protests ahead of the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis? Probably not — there’s little mention of this in the corporate media.

Or what about this one:

The FBI improperly targeted Greenpeace, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and two antiwar groups in domestic terrorism investigations between 2001 and 2006, the Inspector General of the Department of Justice said in a report released today.

The IG found there was “little or no basis” for the terror investigations, and that they were “unreasonable and inconsistent with FBI policy.”

At least two of the investigations resulted in innocent people being placed on the domestic terror watch list for years, and one resulted in FBI Director Robert Mueller providing Congress with “inaccurate and misleading information,” according to the report.

Remember the Pentagon’s TALON data base, which targeted anti-war Quakers and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell protestors? Doubtful: most people have probably never heard of it. Outside the lefty press, it got little attention on cable and network news.

Remember back in 2003 when the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation took down names of anti-war protestors at an MTSU peace rally? More recently, remember when the FBI targeted Occupy Wall Street?

Imagine the Tea Party hysterics if the FBI put their leaders on the terror watch list. But you don’t see Morning Joe booking the head of PETA to discuss the ways they were targeted; today he did book Newt Gingrich. And the Wall Street Journal is calling this “Nixonian.” Seriously? So you had to wait a little longer for your tax exempt status to clear on account of your politicking. Cry me a damn river, you big babies. Call me when your name is placed on a secret domestic terror watch list.

This is one giant nothingburger, another chance for the Tea Party to whine and call for the fainting couches about how unfair everyone always is to them. Seriously? The media is playing along with this? After ignoring the far worse ways liberal groups have been targeted by different government agencies — including the IRS?

Just further proof that the media is not liberal and its infatuation with all things Tea Party has continued.

You know what I think? I think the news media are desperate for a political scandal. We had so many of them during the Bush years, and then there was Clinton’s blow job and Gennifer Flowers and TravelGate and all the other Clinton-era scandals, phony and otherwise. Obama is just too boring.

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Filed under FBI, Media, taxes, Tea Party

Let’s Talk About ACORN Some More

Please, let’s:

The FBI, alleging a plot to wiretap Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu’s office in downtown New Orleans, arrested four people Monday, including James O’Keefe, a conservative filmmaker whose undercover videos at ACORN field offices severely damaged the advocacy group’s credibility.

FBI Special Agent Steven Rayes alleges that O’Keefe aided and abetted two others, Joseph Basel and Robert Flanagan, who dressed up as employees of a telephone company and attempted to interfere with the office’s telephone system.

A fourth person, Stan Dai, was accused of aiding and abetting Basel and Flanagan. All four were charged with entering fedral property under false pretenses with the intent of committing a felony.

Absofucking hilarious. Did these conservaclowns actually think they could wiretap a Senator’s office and not get busted?

Can’t wait to hear more.

[UPDATE]: There’s more! Already! Just read at MSNBC that Robert Flanagan is the son of William J. Flanagan, the acting U.S. attorney for western Louisiana.

[UPDATE 2]: Memory Hole: 31 House Republicans Supported resolution honoring alleged felon James O’Keefe…

[UPDATE 3]: Some folks are smelling a ratfucker

(Via Wonkette.)

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Filed under ACORN, conservatives, FBI

>We’re All Terrorists

>Alarming is the only way to describe the story of Briana Waters in today’s Salon. Waters is a Berkeley, CA mother and violin teacher who made a documentary on some environmental activists a few years ago. Now she’s a convicted of terrorist, awaiting sentencing for at the most holding a walkie-talkie, and at the least for associating with her documentary subjects.

It’s all very bizarre, and doesn’t look entirely legit, but it seems the government needed to broaden its definition of “terrorism” so the American public could feel safe to go shopping:

In the wake of 9/11, federal prosecutors had some new legal tools at their disposal. Historically, the crime of terrorism has required civilian deaths. In fact, the State Department defined terrorism as “premeditated politically motivated violence perpetrated against non-combatants.” But the USA Patriot Act created a new category of domestic terrorism, which is defined as an offense “calculated to influence or affect the conduct of government” or “to intimidate or coerce a civilian population.” Under this broad definition, eco-saboteurs become terrorists if their crime seeks to change government policy or action.

Really? Seeking to change government policy is the same as loading a rental truck with explosives and taking down a Federal building full of people?

I guess that makes me a terrorist. I want to change government policy, and when the President and Vice President cavalierly say “so what” to the will of the people, one has to shout a little louder. I don’t advocate violence, but I can see how this kind of loose definition of “terrorism” can be used as a weapon to intimidate non-violent groups. Indeed:

Nonviolent protesters have already felt the heat. Documents obtained in 2005 by the ACLU reveal that the FBI has been surveying animal rights and environmental groups like People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and Greenpeace, sending undercover agents to activist conferences and cultivating inside informants. Some of the documents suggest that the bureau was also attempting to link those groups with the ELF and ALF. The National Lawyers Guild reports that it receives calls regularly from environmental and animal-rights activists all over the country who had been contacted by the FBI after attending political events. “It has a chilling effect on free speech,” says Guild director Boghosian, “and that’s where the real damage to the Constitution is happening.”

Groups that destroy property to make their statement are criminals, don’t get me wrong. But prosecute them for their crimes, not their ideas.

We’re way too quick to scream “terrorists!” these days. Anyone remember when a bunch of luxury homes in Maryland were burned down? I do:

More than 100 firefighters, along with agents from the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, swarmed the Hightowers’ burning paradise. Arson investigators speculated that the culprits were radical environmentalists concerned that the housing development would destroy valuable wetlands.

Yes, environmentalists are always the first ones with the book of matches and canister of gasoline on hand. Or maybe not:

Initially, investigators thought environmentalists who had opposed construction of the subdivision, fearing it would disrupt the ecology of a nearby bog, were behind the fires. Instead, when Mr. Speed was arrested and the identities of the other suspects began to spill out, an entirely different and much more puzzling scenario emerged.

Investigators said two of the suspects made racial comments during their interrogations, leading the authorities to suspect that this might be, in part, a hate crime – many of the families moving into the subdivision are black, and all the suspects are white. But searches have thus far turned up no evidence of racist or white supremacist literature. Revenge is a second possible motive.

Prosecutors said the suspects referred to the incident as Operation Payback, although not all of those accused of taking part have a clear complaint against Hunters Brooke.

Prosecutors said Mr. Speed was upset that his bosses had not been sufficiently sympathetic when his infant son died in April. Mr. Parady was said to be angry that he had been turned down for a job with the company building the subdivision.

So, guess what crime these malcontents were convicted of committing? Was it terrorism? There appears to be a racial component to their motive, after all.

Nope. Guess again!

It was arson. Not terror. Arson.

Funny how that works.

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Filed under FBI, terrorism

>Trouble At Trent Lott’s?

>1 Update Below

Sharon Cobb is reporting the news that the Oxford, Miss., office of Trent Lott’s brother-in law has been raided by the FBI. As she notes, the timing is tres awkward, what with Lott’s just-announced retirement:

Late yesterday afternoon, news broke that Trent Lott’s brother-in-law Richard Scruggs in Oxford, Mississippi had his law office raided by the FBI.

You want to know what they’re looking for? Contracts and documents related to Katrina and State Farm, according to my sources.

Interesting timing on Lott’s retirement, huh?

Very interesting, indeed. I haven’t seen anything about this on CNN, but the AP has a short story up:

Langston told The Associated Press the agents were looking for a document that “might be ancillary to something pertaining to Katrina litigation,” but is not directly involved in any of those cases. He declined to elaborate but said authorities are not likely to find the document at the office.

Scruggs is a high-profile lawyer who has represented policyholders in lawsuits against State Farm Fire and Casualty Co. over Hurricane Katrina damage claims. State Farm is based in Bloomington, Ill.

[…]

In June, U.S. District Judge William Acker in Birmingham, Ala., ruled Scruggs violated a court order to return documents given to him by two sisters who helped State Farm adjust claims on Mississippi’s Gulf Coast after Katrina. The storm struck Aug. 29, 2005.

After U.S. Attorney Alice Martin declined to prosecute Richard Scruggs, Acker appointed special prosecutors for the case.

The AP story didn’t mention Scruggs’ famous brother in law, but his Wikipedia bio does.

Hmm, wonder what’s in that document? Any guesses?

[UPDATE]:

Someone’s been indicted.

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Filed under FBI, Richard Scruggs, Trent Lott