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February 06, 2018

AP: Congress' Insistence on Conducting Legal Oversight May "Cause" Intelligence Agencies to Stop Providing Congress with the Information They are Legally Required to Provide It With

Shorter Deep State: Lawful Congressional actions to hold us accountable jeopardize national security, by which we mean "our job security," so we're now forced to make ourselves even less accountable, and start breaking the law even more brazenly.

But let's get back to that in a moment.

The idea that The Memo will jeopardize intel agencies complying with Congressional demands for information (which they already routinely illegally refuse) is based on the idea that The Memo allegedly revealed national security secrets.

That's a lie. They made that claim when they were seeking to block the release of The Memo, and then, when it came out and it was seen by all that there was nothing compromising to national security in the memo, they pretended they'd never made that dishonest claim about national security and, get this, the media pretended along with them, and completely memory-holed that dishonest claim.

Derek Hunter makes this point in a column titled, bluntly, Journalism Is Dead.

This week we saw a perfect example of how corrupt journalism has become. There was an opportunity to report the news and journalists and their fellow travelers in the pundit class balked. While that wasn't unusual, what was is how they did it in the lead up to the news, not bothering to wait until they'd seen what they were attempting to discredit. There was an unprecedented attempt to make the release of the FISA memo NOT NEWS before anyone knew what was in it.

Over the past two weeks, Democrats scrambled to "warn" the public that the release of the FISA memo would "damage national security" were it released. Journalists picked up the mantra and ran with it, unquestioningly parroting it in badgering Republicans about why they would support its release considering this charge. There was virtually no discussion as to whether or not this allegation was true or an attempted partisan distraction, it was simply accepted and repeated as if it had been carved into stone tablets by a burning bush and sent directly to the teleprompter in their TV studios.

The memo, of course, was nothing of the sort. There was nothing that was a threat in any way to national security, no remote mention of sources or methods. It was all a Democratic Party lie immediately adopted by journalists. As with past false stories that needed to be retracted or corrected, there was no comeuppance for those who spread the lie to the media, nor the media figures who regurgitated it. It happened, and when it was proven to be a lie, it was memory-holed. (This story on the subject to not even mention it.)

The lying by Democrats in the lead up to the memo's release wasn’t surprising, nor was the complicity of journalists in spreading that lie. What was is how there was virtually no curiosity or interest in the memo and its contents in the days leading to its release from the people whose job it is supposed to be to convey information to the public. All journalists did was attempt to taint it’s release so as to foster disinterest in it in their audience when they could finally see it.

Of course, that charge of dishonesty also applies to the intelligence agencies and the FBI. The FBI originally claimed that the memo exposed national secrets, and then later walked that back to "misleadingly omits material information.

But they'd already injected the lie into the public bloodstream, which Democrats were happy to spread further.

Jonathan Turley also wants to know where all this "national security/sources and methods" information is, and why the FBI and intel agencies claimed it was in the memo when it, now obvious to all, was not.

[M]y greatest concern is what is not in the dossier: classified information "jeopardizing national security." Leaders like Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) declared that the committee had moved beyond "dangerous irresponsibility and disregard for our national security" and "disregarded the warnings of the Justice Department and the FBI."

Now we can read the memo. There is a sharp and alarming disconnect between the descriptions of Pelosi and the House Intelligence Committee’s Ranking Minority Member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and the actual document. It clearly does not contain information that would reveal sources or methods.

The memo reaffirms concerns over the lower standards that apply to FISA applications as well as the misuse of classification authority. Most of this memo references what was already known about the use of the dossier. What was added was testimonial evidence and details to the publicly known information. Yet, the FBI vehemently objected to the release of the memo as threatening "grave" consequences to national security ground.

However, even before the release, the FBI seemed to be objecting to the framing of the facts rather than the disclosure of "sources and methods." The FBI said publicly that it had "grave concerns about material omissions of fact that fundamentally impact the memo's accuracy." That is not an objection to classified material but the fairness of the portrayal. For years, many of us have objected that the intelligence agencies classified material for improper purposes to frame public debate or conceal embarrassing information. Unless there was a material change in this memo, it proved to be an empty "grave" after weeks of overheated hyperbole.

The FBI opposition to declassification of this memo should be a focus of both Congress and the public.

So now we have the intelligence agencies and FBI warning Congress that they may no longer play the game of partial, slow-walked compliance with Congressional subpeonas, but may just cut out the middleman and announce that they are now Sovereign Government Agencies unaccountable to the public and independent of any oversight or direction from the elected branches of government.

Top intelligence and law enforcement officials warn that last week’s release of a congressional memo alleging FBI surveillance abuse could have wide-ranging repercussions: Spy agencies could start sharing less information with Congress, weakening oversight.

Agree to our very stingy idea of what "oversight" is or we will empower ourselves to end constitutional governance as we know it and just declare ourselves oversight-immune.

Lawmakers will try to declassify more intelligence for political gain. Confidential informants will worry about being outed on Capitol Hill.

Christopher Steele was "outed" by his own actions and his own fellow partisans, who wanted to use his supposed "Brand Name" to sell this dodgy dossier.

This "confidential informant" did what few CI's do: He talked to lots of people in the press, under his own name.

Yeah, some "confidential informant."

Remember Starsky and Hutch? Yeah, well, there were zero episodes where their CI "Huggy Bear" did multiple rounds of Press Availabilities with the NYT, CNN, the AP, Mother Jones and fucking Yahoo News.

They guy was basically Lisa Bloom with a British accent.

Press whores don't get to call themselves "confidential informants."


Former CIA Director Mike Hayden worries that the memo’s release will damage congressional oversight and the effectiveness of law enforcement.

"We are chiseling away at processes and institutions on which we currently depend-- and on which we will depend in the future," said Hayden, who has worked for both Democratic and Republican administrations.

Again, the "processes and institutions" he's talking about being weakened are the FBI and intel agencies acting as if they are sovereign entities that answer to no authority but whatever political stooge happens to have been appointed as their boss for 4 or six years.

As far as the public, the Congress, and the President: Fuck them. What do they know? We're the Priesthood of Intelligence. No one gets to contradict us, critique us, or even us orders.

Who knows, maybe that's been their goal all along. Or maybe they were just operating 99% under that mindset and now, peeved by someone challenging their 99% lack of accountability, are threatening to unconstitutionally arrogate to themselves the status of being fourth, fifth, and sixth co-equal branches of government, that are really better than the other three branches, because they're entirely untainted by that "democratic election" and "consent of the governed" and "public accountability" baggage.

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posted by Ace at 03:36 PM

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