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Daily Tech News 22 May 2023 | Main | Mid-Morning Art Thread
May 22, 2023

The Morning Report — 5/22/23

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Good morning, kids. With the release of the Durham Report, about the only thing good you can say that came out of it was the confirmation that the FBI is top to bottom , inside and out a completely corrupt organization. Check that. To call it corrupt is to presuppose that at one point, it was not. Barring (no pun) the purely clinical or scientific functions of things like its crime lab, I submit to you that it functions as a political dirty tricks squad that uses the cover of law enforcement to persecute the enemies of the State. And I don't mean what was the United States of America as founded since the FBI and those who use it are anathema to the laws, traditions and heritage of that erstwhile nation. While it's debatable perhaps as to whether or not it was like this at the beginning under Hoover, there is no question that that is how it functions today and has functioned for years or perhaps decades.

What Durham delivered was for all intents and purposes an indictment of high crimes and misdemeanors committed by the highest echelons of the FBI and at the behest of or with the approval of individuals such as Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama – while lacking anything even remotely recommending prosecution. The only thing was a vague, anodyne bullshit promise that steps are or will be taken to correct the mistakes that were made.

As has been discussed here and on the latest episode of the podcast John Durham is a company man. He and so many others are there to protect the integrity of the institution, regardless of what that institution and the people running it or even the underlings merely following orders have done. He does this because he's a part of it and either does not see or more likely refuses to see it and his colleagues for what they are and what they are guilty of. Because of this, and for not throwing the book at the parties in question, that makes him an accessory to the crimes after the fact, IMHO. Of course, going against the family, so to speak, can be rather harmful or fatal to one's continued existence. But, the damage is done, regardless of Durham's motives, so it's yet another "no reasonable prosecutor" hose job.

So with that preamble, Jim Jordan was on the idiot box yesterday and had this to say:

Jordan appeared on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures” to speak with host Maria Bartiromo about his plans for the FBI as Chair of the House Judiciary Committee and Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government.

“What are you going to do about it? We just spoke with Kevin McCarthy about his call with Christopher Wray. It is what is is: Wray is still running the FBI. You’ve said you want to use the appropriations process to fix this. How will that fix things?” Bartiromo asked.

“Well, in the end, money always gets people’s attention. And so, what we’re going to have to do is say, ‘Hey, FBI, you can’t use federal tax dollars, you can’t use the American tax dollars for this kind of activity.’ We got to limit how they spend the money,” Jordan replied.

“So we have to use the appropriations [process]. That’s the power that the Founders wanted the legislative branch — and in particular the House, where, constitutionally, every spending bill, every tax bill, has to originate in the House — they wanted that body, which stands for election every two years, to be the body closest to the people deciding how we spend the money. So we have to exercise our authority, the power of the purse, to limit what the federal government, what the FBI and Justice Department, are doing to the American people,” Jordan continued.

Meh, to me this is pissing in the wind on so many levels. Do you think the Junta and their allies in the Democrat Party are really going to allow withholding of even a penny to what is their Gestapo/Stasi dirty tricks and strong-arming squad? Jordan doing this is almost as kabuki-bukkake theatrical as the Durham Report itself. But, here we are, operating as if it's business as usual when it's so obviously not.

The only thing that's going to cut the mustard is the dismantling of the FBI, while persevering its benign functions such as criminal databases and the crime lab (and the question remains of who and what constitutes a criminal these days), and the prosecution of everyone involved in political thuggery. Of course, crucial as the FBI is in this, so too is its parent organization the DOJ. And the CIA. And the DOD and in point of fact every single bureaucracy in Washington DC that engaged in the insubordination against the Trump administration, as well as working to stymie and subvert our freedoms with every single unconstitutional rule and regulation it issues. But I digress.

Washington DC and the tyrants and crooks that are a part of it are never going to police themselves. Mostly because they are the sworn enemies of the document and system they swore to preserve, protect and defend. Beyond the Durham Report of the sabotaging of Trump and the covering up of Hillary's actual near- or possibly-treasonous crimes with the e-mail servers, the FBI has been doing perhaps even more frightening things to us.

Like the casino-gambling scene in “Casablanca,” the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court is “shocked, shocked” the Federal Bureau of Investigation continues to ravage the privacy of vast numbers of Americans.

For each American the FISA court permitted the FBI to target, the bureau illicitly surveilled almost 1,000 additional Americans. The court’s just-revealed ruling signals the FBI presumed any American suspected of supporting the Jan. 6, 2021, protests forfeited his constitutional rights.

FISA was enacted in 1978 to curb the rampant illegal political spying exposed during the Nixon administration. After the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration decided the president was entitled to order the National Security Agency to vacuum up Americans’ and foreigners’ emails and other data without a warrant. Federal judges disagreed, and the result was a 2008 FISA reform that authorized the feds to continue commandeering vast amounts of data.

But under Section 702 of that law, the FBI was permitted to conduct warrantless searches of that stash for Americans’ data only to seek foreign intelligence information or evidence of crime. The heavily redacted 2022 opinion finally released Friday revealed the FBI conducted 278,000 improper searches of Americans in 2020 and early 2021. Incredibly, the bureau conducted roughly 3.4 million warrantless searches of Americans in 2021 via Section 702.

The day before, Thursday, an FBI whistleblower revealed in congressional testimony that FBI headquarters pressured agents to treat anyone who attended the Jan. 6 protests as a criminal suspect. The FISA court opinion reveals the FBI wrongfully cast a far broader net. Roughly 2,000 pro-Trump protesters (including an unknown number of undercover agents and informants) entered the Capitol that day.

But an FBI analyst exploited FISA to unjustifiably conduct searches on 23,132 Americans citizens “to find evidence of possible foreign influence, although the analyst conducting the queries had no indications of foreign influence,” according to FISA Chief Judge Rudolph Contreras. The court ruling did not disclose the standards (if any) the FBI used for its warrantless Jan. 6 searches. Did Twitter retweets suffice?

It gets worse. The FBI exploited FISA to target 19,000 donors to the campaign of an unnamed candidate who challenged an incumbent member of Congress. An FBI analyst justified the warrantless searches by claiming “the campaign was a target of foreign influence,” but even the Justice Department concluded almost all those searches violated FISA rules. (In March, Rep. Darin LaHood (R-Ill.) revealed he had been wrongly targeted by the FBI in numerous FISA 702 searches — but he wasn’t the challenger mentioned here.)

The FBI also conducted secret searches of the emails and other data of 133 people arrested during the 2020 protests after George Floyd’s killing. And the bureau conducted 656 warrantless searches to see if it could find any derogatory information on people it planned to use as informants. The FBI also routinely conducted warrantless searches on “individuals listed in police homicide reports, including victims, next-of-kin, witnesses, and suspects.”

Even the Justice Department complained those searches were improper. This is only the latest in a long series of FBI FISA scandals. In April 2021, the FISA court reported the FBI conducted warrantless searches of the data trove for “domestic terrorism,” “public corruption and bribery,” “health care fraud” and other targets — including people who notified the FBI of crimes and even repairmen entering FBI offices.

If you sought to report a crime to the FBI, an FBI agent may have illegally surveilled your email. Even if you merely volunteered for the FBI “Citizens Academy” program, the FBI may have illegally tracked all your online activity. The FISA court treats the FBI like New York City judges treat serial shoplifters.

Going back more than 20 years, FISA court rulings have complained of FBI agents lying to the court and abusing the law. As long as the FBI periodically promises to repent, the FISA court entitles it to continue decimating the Fourth Amendment. Federal intelligence agencies refuse to even estimate how many Americans’ private data have been rounded up in government databases.

There is no reason to presume the feds have disclosed all their FISA wrongdoing. Prior to Edward Snowden’s leaks, the feds probably admitted fewer than 1% of federal surveillance abuses. Section 702 will expire this year unless Congress reauthorizes the provision. But the FBI’s perpetual crime wave has created a hornet’s nest on Capitol Hill. Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) asked: “How much longer must we watch the FBI brazenly spy on Americans before we strip it of its unchecked authority?” Rep. Mike Garcia (R-Calif.) declared, “We need a pound of flesh. We need to know someone has been fired.” Even Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-Manhattan), the House Judiciary Committee’s ranking Democrat, opposes reauthorizing Section 702 without fundamental reforms.

Perhaps FISA should be renamed the “Trust Me, Chumps!” Surveillance Act. The FISA court has perpetually dismally failed to defend Americans’ constitutional rights. Washington must finally admit that there is no secret “doing God’s work” clause in the Constitution that entitles FBI agents to trample Americans’ privacy and liberty.

Forgetting for a moment the absolute unchecked abuse of FISA, this is not merely the act of a handful of people. We are now talking about scores if not hundreds of FBI employees at all levels that are going to have to be involved in the surveillance of perhaps 10 times as many citizens – citizens whose sole crime is being a potential enemy of the regime in power. Tell me again, Jim Jordan, what whatever funds you intend from withholding from the FBI, if you can even succeed in getting that done (which I don't think you can), is going to do anything to solve this, which is the absolute moral and ethical bankruptcy of the institution and the fear of those in the lower ranks who go along to get along. And that doesn't let them off the hook either.

I lamented that it wasn't long before we were going to have a DOMESTIC Intelligence Surveillance Act, but FISA is the Shimmer Floor Polish of Gestapo tactics (it's a floor wax and a dessert topping!) It's a domestic spying agency AND a phony pretext for national security!

Not to worry, though. Roku-Paramount's new FBI True series , to paraphrase Kipling, will let us sleep peaceably in your bed at night "only because rough men stand ready to do violence on [our] behalf.”

Or allow violence to be done to them so the FBI doesn't have to get its hands dirty.


NOTE: The opinions expressed in the links may or may not reflect my own. I include them because of their relevance to the discussion of a particular issue.

ALSO: The Morning Report is cross-posted at CutJibNewsletter.com if you want to continue the conversation all day.

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