Posts Tagged ‘Barack Obama’

Trump slams Obama, demands ‘apology’ over Russia probe

June 26, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File | US President Donald Trump  has hit out in a string of tweets and a televised interview following the publication of a Washington Post account of Barack Obama’s response to intelligence on Russia election meddling

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Donald Trump on Monday demanded an apology over the Russia investigation rocking his presidency, as he kept up a days-long attack on Barack Obama for his handling of intelligence about election meddling by Moscow.In a storm of morning tweets, Trump charged that his predecessor “colluded and obstructed” by failing to act after the CIA informed him Russian President Vladimir Putin personally ordered an operation to help defeat Trump’s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the November vote.

“The real story is that President Obama did NOTHING after being informed in August about Russian meddling,” Trump wrote. “With 4 months looking at Russia under a magnifying glass, they have zero ‘tapes’ of T [Trump] people colluding. There is no collusion & no obstruction. I should be given apology!”

“The reason that President Obama did NOTHING about Russia after being notified by the CIA of meddling is that he expected Clinton would win, and did not want to ‘rock the boat.'”

“He didn’t ‘choke,’ he colluded or obstructed, and it did the Dems and Crooked Hillary no good,” Trump tweeted, alluding to a Washington Post article that laid out the timeline of Obama’s response to the Russian threat.

Trump hit out in a flurry of weekend tweets and a televised interview following the Friday publication of the behind-the-scenes account by the Post.

The paper reported that the previous administration issued four warnings to Moscow — including one Obama delivered directly to Putin — causing Moscow to pull back on possible plans to sabotage US voting operations.

But it said Obama opted to leave countermeasures for later, for fear of being seen as interfering in an election he was confident Clinton would win.

After Trump’s shock victory in November, some Obama administration officials expressed regret at the lack of tougher action.

Some Democrats saw abundant irony in Trump blaming Obama for indecisiveness against a Russian operation he himself has long seemed to play down — including when he fired FBI chief James Comey in May over his handling of allegations of meddling, and possible collusion with Trump’s campaign.

But others have joined in the criticism, including Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, who said at the weekend that Obama’s administration had made a “serious mistake.”

Related:

Ten Years of Russian Cyber Attacks on Other Nations

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/hacking-in-america/timeline-ten-years-russian-cyber-attacks-other-nations-n697111

Donald Trump blames Barack Obama for inaction over Russia’s alleged meddling in 2016 election — “Breach of U.S. National Defense”

June 25, 2017

How could the U.S. have not known of the Russian hacking efforts that hand been going on for years in as many as 40 other countries? How could Obama, after he was warned by CIA, ignore the facts?

Trump’s comments came after a June 23 Washington Post article revealed that Obama had been aware of President Vladimir Putin’s ‘direct involvement’ in the matter.

United States President Donald Trump on Saturday questioned why former President Barack Obama’s administration did not do more to stop the alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election. Trump claimed Obama had known about the accusations well before the November 8 polls and had done nothing.

“Since the Obama administration was told way before the 2016 election that the Russians were meddling, why no action? Focus on them, not T,” the president wrote on Twitter. “[An] Obama administration official said they ‘choked’ when it came to acting on Russian meddling of election. They didn’t want to hurt Hillary?”

Since the Obama Administration was told way before the 2016 Election that the Russians were meddling, why no action? Focus on them, not T!

I cannot imagine that these very fine Republican Senators would allow the American people to suffer a broken ObamaCare any longer!

The president’s comments came after a June 23 article in The Washington Post, which revealed that Obama had learned last August of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “direct involvement” in Mosow’s interference in the election. The article said sources deep within the Russian government had told Obama early last August that Putin was “directly involved in a cyber campaign to disrupt the election, injure Hillary Clinton and aid a Trump victory”.

Obama debated dozens of options to punish Russia but ultimately settled on expelling 35 Russian diplomatic officials and closing two of its compounds, the WaPo article read.

Trump is being investigated for his alleged role in Russian meddling into the US election in November 2016. He has dismissed claims that his campaign associates had colluded with Moscow. Even Russia has repeatedly denied the allegation of orchestrating cyber attacks during the polls.

Earlier, former FBI Director James Comey had stated before the US Senate Intelligence Committee that he was certain he was fired because of the president’s concerns about the Russia investigation.

https://scroll.in/latest/841677/donald-trump-blames-barack-obama-of-inaction-over-russias-alleged-meddling-in-2016-election

See also:

Donald Trump accuses Barack Obama of inaction over Russian involvement in 2016 election

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/06/25/donald-trump-accuses-barack-obama-inaction-russian-involvement/

Related:

Ten Years of Russian Cyber Attacks on Other Nations

http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/hacking-in-america/timeline-ten-years-russian-cyber-attacks-other-nations-n697111

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John Emerson, Washington's man in Berlin, to meet with Guido Westerwelle, German foreign minister, over claims Angela Merkel's phone was tapped by US

Chancellor Merkel called President Obama demanding answers after reports emerged that the US may have been monitoring her phone Photo: YVES HERMAN/REUTERS
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U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power speaks at the Center for American Progress’ 2014 Making Progress Policy Conference in Washington November 19, 2014.  Credit: Reuters/Gary Cameron

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Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama at a joint news conference in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 25.
Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama at a joint news conference in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 25. Photo: Pete Marovich/Bloomberg News
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North Korea says US student’s death a ‘mystery’ — At least to the North Korean government — Otto Warmbier was “a victim of the policy of strategic patience,” N. Korea says

June 23, 2017

Reuters and France 24

© Handout / FAMILY HANDOUT / AFP | This handout photo obtained courtesy of the Warmbier family shows a mourner signing a guest book at Wyoming High School in Wyoming, Ohio, on June 22, 2017, during the funeral for Otto Warmbier.

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-06-23

North Korea said on Friday the death of U.S. university student Otto Warmbier soon after his return home was a mystery and dismissed accusations that he had died because of torture and beating during his captivity as “groundless”.

The North’s foreign ministry spokesman also said in comments carried by the official KCNA agency that Warmbier was “a victim of the policy of strategic patience” of former U.S. President Barack Obama whose government never requested his release.

“The fact that Warmbier died suddenly in less than a week just after his return to the U.S. in his normal state of health indicators is a mystery to us as well,” the spokesman was quoted by KCNA as saying.

Warmbier, 22, was arrested in the reclusive country while visiting as a tourist. He was sentenced to 15 years of hard labour for trying to steal an item bearing a propaganda slogan from his hotel, North Korea state media said.

He was brought back to the United States last week in a coma with brain damage, in what doctors described as state of “unresponsive wakefulness”, and died on Monday.

His death heightened the conflict between the North and the United States already aggravated by North Korea’s defiant missile launches and two nuclear tests since early last year as part of its effort to build a nuclear-tipped intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) capable of hitting the U.S. mainland.

U.S. President Donald Trump blamed “the brutality of the North Korean regime” for Warmbier’s death and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who had advocated dialogue with the North, said Pyongyang had a “heavy responsibility” in the events leading up to the American’s death.

The North’s spokesman said such accusations are part of a smear campaign to slander the country that had given “medical treatments and care with all sincerity” to a person who was “clearly a criminal”.

U.S. doctors who had travelled to the North last week to evacuate Warmbier had recognized that the North had “provided him with medical treatment and brought him back alive whose heart was nearly stopped,” the unnamed ministry spokesman said.

“Although Warmbier was a criminal who committed a hostile act against the DPRK, we accepted the repeated requests of the present U.S. administration and, in consideration of his bad health, sent him back home on humanitarian grounds,” the spokesman said.

DPRK is short for the North’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The exact cause of Warmbier’s death remains unclear. Officials at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he was treated after his return from the North, declined to provide details, and his family asked the Hamilton County Coroner on Tuesday not to perform an autopsy.

Thousands of friends and family members gathered at Wyoming High School in suburban Cincinnati on Thursday for a memorial service for Warmbier, who graduated from the school as salutatorian in 2013.

The United States has demanded North Korea release three other U.S. citizens it holds in detention: missionary Kim Dong Chul and academics Tony Kim and Kim Hak Song.

Warmbier was freed after the U.S. State Department’s special envoy on North Korea, Joseph Yun, travelled to Pyongyang and demanded the student’s release on humanitarian grounds, capping a flurry of diplomatic contacts, a U.S. official has said.

The North previously released American detainees it had accused and convicted of crimes against the state on the occasion of high-level visits by U.S. officials.

Related:

Obama warned Trump about hiring Flynn — While Investigating Russian Activity, “Flynn’s name kept popping up.”

May 8, 2017

Updated 12:14 PM ET, Mon May 8, 2017

Image result for trump with obama, oval office, photos

Photo Credit JIM WATSON/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Washington (CNN)  Then-President Barack Obama warned President-elect Donald Trump in November against hiring retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as his national security adviser, former Obama administration officials confirmed to CNN.

Obama warned Trump about Flynn during their Oval Office meeting on November 10, days after Trump was elected president.
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Obama’s concerns, which he relayed to Trump, were not related to the firing of Flynn from the Defense Intelligence Agency but rather in the course of the investigation into Russian interference into the 2016 election.
“Flynn’s name kept popping up,” according to a senior Obama administration source.
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Flynn previously served as the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency under Obama until he was reportedly forced out of the post 2014 over internal disagreements over policy and management.
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Trump did not heed Obama’s counsel on Flynn, bringing aboard the former military intelligence officer who supported Trump during his campaign as his national security adviser. Trump fired Flynn 24 days later when news broke of Flynn’s conversations with Russian Ambassador to the US Sergey Kislyak.
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News of the warning comes as former acting Attorney General Sally Yates is set to testify before Congress on Monday about the concerns she expressed to Trump administration officials about Flynn’s contacts with Russian officials, namely with Kislyak.
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Yates, in her role as acting attorney general, warned White House counsel Don McGahn on January 26 that Flynn was lying when he denied — both publicly and privately — that he discussed US sanctions on Russia with Kislyak. It wasn’t until weeks later that Trump asked for Flynn’s resignation, only after news surfaced that Flynn had misled Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with Kislyak.
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trump flynn russia mcenany sot_00001726
Trump: I feel badly for Michael Flynn 01:31
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Yates’ testimony on Monday will be the first time she speaks publicly about her warnings to the White House about Flynn.
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The Senate and House intelligence committees are continuing to investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election, including potential coordination between Russian officials and the Trump campaign or people close to the campaign.
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Congressional investigators have so far homed in on Flynn, Carter Page, a former foreign policy adviser to the Trump campaign, and Roger Stone, who informally advised Trump during his presidential run.
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While Trump asked for Flynn’s resignation, he has not abandoned his former national security adviser altogether.
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Trump on Monday morning sought to get ahead of Yates’ testimony, taking to Twitter to deflect criticism that he or his administration should have kept Flynn out of the top national security post from the outset.
“General Flynn was given the highest security clearance by the Obama administration — but the Fake News seldom likes talking about that,” Trump said in his first missive.
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“Ask Sally Yates, under oath, if she knows how classified information got into the newspapers soon after she explained it to W.H. Counsel,” he tweeted.
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Flynn began advising Trump on national security in early 2016 and soon became a constant presence by Trump’s side as he crisscrossed the country from rally to rally.
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Flynn frequently introduced Trump at his campaign rallies, delivering introductory remarks rife with criticism of the Obama administration’s foreign policy and of Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Flynn often led Trump supporters in chants of “Lock her up!” as he accused her of corruption and negligence in her use of a private email server.
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Trump came to value Flynn not only for his like-minded view of global affairs but for his loyalty throughout the campaign.
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http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/08/politics/obama-trump-michael-flynn/

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Obama Warned Trump About Hiring Flynn, Officials Say

WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama warned Donald J. Trump against hiring Michael T. Flynn to be part of his national security team when Mr. Obama met with his successor in the Oval Office two days after the November election, two former Obama administration officials said on Monday.

Mr. Obama, who had fired Mr. Flynn as the head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told Mr. Trump that he would have profound concerns about Mr. Flynn becoming a top national security aide, said the administration officials, who were briefed on the Oval Office conversation. Mr. Trump later ignored the advice, naming Mr. Flynn to be his national security adviser.

Mr. Flynn was forced out of that position after it was revealed that he had lied to Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with the Russian ambassador to the United States, amid a continuing investigation into connections between the Russian government and the Trump campaign.

Mr. Obama and Mr. Trump met for the first time in the Oval Office on Nov. 10 in what both men later described as a cordial, 90-minute session in which the outgoing president pledged to do everything he could to support the transition to a new administration.

Mr. Flynn’s name came up during a broader discussion about personnel issues, the former administration officials said. Mr. Obama’s concerns about Mr. Flynn, which were first reported by NBC News, were largely about his management of the D.I.A. and predated the later concerns about his contacts with the Russian ambassador, Sergey I. Kislyak

But one of the former administration officials said that Mr. Obama was also aware of Mr. Flynn’s well-publicized trip in 2015 to Moscow and other contacts with Russia.

The revelation on Monday about Mr. Obama’s warning came hours before Sally Q. Yates, the former acting attorney general, was scheduled to testify in the afternoon in front of a Senate committee that she later raised her own concerns about Mr. Flynn’s Russia contacts with the incoming Trump administration.

Mr. Trump blamed Obama officials on Monday, saying in two Twitter messages that it was his predecessor’s administration that gave Mr. Flynn a security clearance.

Source:https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/08/us/politics/obama-flynn-trump.html?_r=0

Read the rest:

Barack Obama criticised for ‘$400,000 Wall Street speech fee’

April 26, 2017

BBC News

.Obama

Mr Obama made his first public remarks since leaving the White House on Monday. Getty Images

Former US President Barack Obama is being criticised for reportedly agreeing a $400,000 (£310,000) fee for a speech to a Wall Street bank.

The 44th president has accepted an offer to speak at a healthcare conference hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald in September, US media report.

The deal comes less than 100 days after Mr Obama left office.

In 2009, he told CBS: “I did not run for office to be helping out a bunch of fat cat bankers on Wall Street.”

Mr Obama has reportedly agreed to be a keynote speaker at an event hosted by Cantor Fitzgerald LP, an investment bank that lost more than two-thirds of its staff in the attack on the World Trade Center on 11 September 2001.

The fee is nearly twice the $225,000 that Hillary Clinton received for three speeches to Goldman Sachs in 2015.

She was heavily criticised during last year’s presidential campaign for her Wall Street speeches, with activists on both sides of the political spectrum demanding she release the transcripts.

During Mr Obama’s two terms as US president he at times seemed to have strained relations with the financial sector.

He deplored high bonuses paid to bank executives, and said Wall Street shared blame for the 2008 financial crisis.

Some liberals have criticised Mr Obama’s speech decision, with one writer sayingit “will undermine everything he believes in”.

The New York Post, meanwhile, said his speech made him “Wall Street’s newest fat cat”.

twitterImage copyrightTWITTER

Mr Obama appears to be enjoying life after the White House since he left office in January.

On Monday he made his first public remarks about community organising to students at the University of Chicago, where his presidential library is set to be built.

He was pictured kite-surfing in February with Richard Branson off the Virgin tycoon’s private Caribbean island.

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Former US President Barack Obama and British businessman Richard Branson sit on a boat in the British Virgin Islands

Mr Obama went kite-surfing in February with Richard Branson off the Virgin tycoon’s Caribbean island. Reuters

And just this month, he and former First Lady Michelle Obama were pictured aboard music mogul David Geffen’s luxury yacht off French Polynesia.

They were reportedly on holiday with Bruce Springsteen, Tom Hanks and Oprah Winfrey.

Mr Obama also took in a Broadway play in New York City before dining with U2’s Bono.

Two months ago the former president accepted an offer from Penguin Random House for two books to be written separately by him and Michelle.

They are expected to receive $65m for the deal.

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39710529

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Undated handout photo issued by Virgin.com of former President of the United States Barack Obama who learnt to kitesurf on the British Virgin Islands after he finished his second term as President
Undated handout photo issued by Virgin.com of former President of the United States Barack Obama who learnt to kitesurf on the British Virgin Islands after he finished his second term as President CREDIT: JACK BROCKWAY/VIRGIN.COM

Less than 100 days after he left the White House, Mr Obama has reportedly agreed the deal with Cantor Fitzgerald LP, the mid-sized New York-based investment bank.

He will apparently make a speech at the firm’s health care conference in September.

“Is there an irony here because he spoke incessantly about the income gap and is now earning from those same people he criticized? Yes it is,” Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic political consultant, told the New York Post.

“Should we expect it? Yes, we should because all former presidents do this. He went on the attack against Wall Street and now he’s being fed by those same people he called ‘fat cats.’ It’s more hypocritical than ironic.”

Mr Obama spoke publicly for the first time since leaving office on Monday.

“The single most important thing I can do is to help in any way I can to prepare the next generation of leadership to take up the baton and to take their own crack at changing the world,” he told students at the University of Chicago.

There was no response from representatives for Mr Obama to the reports of the $400,000 fee.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/04/25/barack-obama-criticised-400000-wall-street-speech-fee/

Trump administration diplomatic and policy moves on Russia much the same as Obama administration

April 2, 2017

AFP

© AFP/File / by Nicolas REVISE | Two months into his presidency, the Trump administration is taking diplomatic positions akin to those of his predecessor Barack Obama, experts say.
BRUSSELS (AFP) – Before moving to the White House, Donald Trump expressed his admiration for Russian leader Vladimir Putin and predicted that “President Trump would be so much better for US-Russia relations”.

But two months into his presidency, reality has so far proved otherwise — with the Trump administration talking tough and taking diplomatic positions akin to those of his predecessor Barack Obama, experts say.

The “bromance” between Putin and Trump was abruptly adjourned amidst a political storm that continues to rage in Washington over alleged collusion between Trump’s inner circle and the Kremlin during the 2016 election campaign.

Ongoing Russian operations in Ukraine have also forced Trump, who famously touted Putin as being a “stronger leader” than Obama, to moderate his stance.

– ‘Ongoing hostility’ in Ukraine –

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Defence Secretary James Mattis made the White House’s position on Moscow clear with during trips to Europe last week.

Tillerson, who as Exxon chief had maintained close business ties to Moscow, on Friday reaffirmed Washington’s support for Ukraine.

Kiev is battling pro-Moscow rebels in its east and lost Crimea three years ago when Russia annexed it.

Meeting with fellow NATO foreign ministers for the first time, Tillerson employed deliberately strong words, denouncing Moscow’s “ongoing hostility and occupation” in Ukraine.

He said Washington would stick with sanctions against Russia laid out under Obama’s secretary of state, John Kerry, until “Moscow reverses (its) actions” and cedes Crimea.

“American and NATO support for Ukraine remains steadfast”, he said, using a diplomatic line often repeated by Kerry.

In a closed-door NATO luncheon, Tillerson also drew standing applause when he told attendees that Russia could was “no longer trusted” and had to decide “if it wants to engage in the world or be isolated”, according to a US State Department official.

For Jeffrey Rathke at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a former press secretary in Kerry’s State Department, the Trump administration is hewing more closely now to the Obama playbook on Russia.

“I think Tillerson’s (and Mattis’s) strong lines do reflect a pretty high degree of continuity,” he told AFP.

He said the current controversy over Russian interference in the election and ties to the Trump camp made it “extremely difficult” for the White House to change course.

“For now we have inertia that keeps the outline of the Obama policy in place,” he added. “But no one is sure how long that will last.”

– ‘Mucking around’ in elections –

Pentagon chief Mattis also let loose on Moscow during a visit to London on Friday.

He said “Russia’s violations of international law are now a matter of record”, citing both the Crimea annexation and “other aspects of their behaviour in mucking around inside other people’s elections” — without specifically mentioning the US vote.

“The point about Russia is they have to live by international law just like we expect all nations on this planet to do,” Mattis said.

He also rebuffed recent calls by Moscow to step up intelligence and military cooperation with the Trump White House, saying “we are not in a position right now” to do so.

The Kremlin, in response, criticised NATO “slander” against it and said it was “perplexed” by Tillerson’s remarks.

Its confusion is not surprising. Trump not long ago sounded a very different note.

On the campaign trail he said NATO was possibly “obsolete”, and called for better cooperation with Russia, notably in the fight against the Islamic State group in Syria.

On a personal level, the reality TV star and real estate tycoon also lauded Putin as “very smart”, as someone he would “get along very well” with and — in a 2013 tweet — wondered, “Will he become my new best friend?”

But now, in a February 5 interview with Fox News, the president was less effusive, saying of Putin that he “respect(s) him… but that doesn’t mean I’m going to get along with them”.

by Nicolas REVISE

Latest Liberal Talking Point: Trump Guilty of Treason

March 27, 2017

By AARON KLEIN

Breitbart

27 Mar 2017

TEL AVIV – Over the past week, numerous Democratic Party operatives and establishment pundits have used the word “treason” in a seeming attempt to smear President Donald Trump over unproven claims of collusion with Russia during the 2016 presidential campaign.

On Monday, Hillary Clinton’s former campaign manager, Robby Mook, demanded Trump’s campaign aides be “prosecuted for treason” if evidence emerges of coordination with Moscow during the recent presidential campaign.

One day later, on Tuesday, Michael Winship, senior writer for BillMoyers.com, wrote an opinion piece titled, “‘There’s a Smell of Treason in the Air’” Winship is a former senior writing fellow at the progressive advocacy group Demos, which is financed by billionaire George Soros.

Winship’s piece, which was republished at the Huffington Post, argued that last Monday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing that probed alleged ties between the Trump administration and Russia was “proof positive of the absolute need for both a special prosecutor and an independent, bipartisan commission with subpoena power to conduct a full investigation” on the matter.

Last week, this reporter found serious problems with the main anti-Trump charges at the hearing, delivered in opening remarks by Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democrat on a House intelligence committee. The charges included wild conspiracy theories and heavy reliance on a questionable source.

The title of Winship’s article, meanwhile, comes from a quote in the Washington Post last week provided by presidential historian Douglas Brinkley, who told the newspaper, “There’s a smell of treason in the air. Imagine if J. Edgar Hoover or any other FBI director would have testified against a sitting president? It would have been a mindboggling event.”

Winship went on to compare the hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to the Watergate scandal under the Nixon administration:

During Schiff’s questioning on Monday, Comey seemed to nod toward agreeing that Russia’s hacking of the Democratic National Committee was not unlike the 1972 physical break-in at the DNC. You know, the one that precipitated the revelations, resignations and prison convictions of Watergate. Drip, drip, drip…

On Thursday, Nicholas Kristof wrote an oped in the New York Times using the same title as Winship, also citing Brinkley’s quotes to the Washington Post.

Kristof starts off his piece, titled, “‘There’s a Smell of Treason in the Air,’” by citing President Richard Nixon:

The greatest political scandal in American history was not Aaron Burr’s shooting of Alexander Hamilton, and perhaps wasn’t even Watergate. Rather it may have been Richard Nixon’s secret efforts in 1968 to sabotage a U.S. diplomatic effort to end the Vietnam War.

Nixon’s initiative, long rumored but confirmed only a few months ago, was meant to improve his election chances that year. After Nixon won, the war dragged on and cost thousands of additional American and Vietnamese lives; it’s hard to see his behavior as anything but treason.

Like Winship, Kristof tries to link Trump to Nixon in order to make the “treason” argument. “Now the F.B.I. confirms that we have had an investigation underway for eight months into whether another presidential campaign colluded with a foreign power so as to win an election,” Kristof wrote. “To me, that too would amount to treason.”

Kristof relied on his own “intelligence experts” who “mostly (but not entirely) believe” that there is a Trump-Russia connection.

He wrote:

I’ve been speaking to intelligence experts, Americans and foreigners alike, and they mostly (but not entirely) believe there was Trump-Russia cooperation of some kind. But this is uncertain; it’s prudent to note that James Clapper, the intelligence director under Barack Obama, said that as of January he had seen no evidence of collusion but that he favors an investigation to get to the bottom of it.

Kristof claimed he was “told (not by a Democrat!) that there’s a persuasive piece of intelligence on ties between Russia and a member of the Trump team that isn’t yet public.”

Kristof speculated the “most likely scenario for collusion seems fuzzier and less transactional than many Democrats anticipate.”

Despite there being no evidence of significant Trump investments in Russia, Kristof then guesses at what it might be – alleged Trump investments in Russia:

The Russians for years had influence over Donald Trump because of their investments with him, and he was by nature inclined to admire Vladimir Putin as a strongman ruler. Meanwhile, Trump had in his orbit a number of people with Moscow ties, including Paul Manafort, who practically bleeds borscht.

The Times’ columnist goes on to channel Winship and also demand the same talking point – a “public and bipartisan investigation by an independent commission.”

On cue, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) warned Friday of a “cloud of treason” hanging over the Trump administration. “The bombshell revelation that US officials have information that suggests Trump associates may have colluded with the Russians means we must pause the entire Trump agenda,” he said.

Lieu called for the “total and complete” shutdown of Trump’s legislative agenda in the wake of the claims.

“We may have an illegitimate President of the United States currently occupying the White House,” Lieu said in a statement. “Congress cannot continue regular order and must stop voting on any Trump-backed agenda item until the FBI completes its Trump-Russia collusion investigation.”

Lieu made similar “treason” comments on Twitter.

Cloud of treason means we must have total shutdown of any @POTUS agenda item. No votes on any item. My stmt https://lieu.house.gov/media-center/press-releases/rep-lieu-statement-report-trump-associates-possible-collusion-russia 

REP. LIEU STATEMENT ON REPORT OF TRUMP ASSOCIATES’ POSSIBLE COLLUSION WITH RUSSIA

Washington – Today, Congressman Ted W. Lieu (D | Los Angeles County) issued the following statement regarding the CNN report that Trump associates possibly colluded with Russia to affect the outcome…

lieu.house.gov

Last week, Lieu also tweeted to Trump: “You truly are an evil man…”

“President” @realDonaldTrump: You truly are an evil man. Your job is to help Americans. Not intentionally try to destroy their lives. https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/845645916732358656 

Writing in the Washington Post on Friday, Jennifer Palmieri, Director of Communications for Clinton’s presidential campaign, also referenced “treason” but from a different angle.

“If Clinton had won with the help of the Russians, the Republicans would have impeachment proceedings underway for treason,” she contended. “No doubt. Instead, dealing with Russia falls nearly solely on Democrats’ shoulders.”

To Palmieri, the case is already closed. She writes that Trump won because of a Russian “plot” as if it were an established fact.

“Now that Trump is president, though, the stakes are higher because the Russian plot succeeded,” Palmieri claims.

Like Winship and Kristof, Palmieri references Watergate to make her point: “The possibility of collusion between Trump’s allies and Russian intelligence is much more serious than Watergate. It is a constitutional crisis. It represents a violation of our republic’s most sacred trust.”

Writing in The Week on Friday, senior correspondent Damon Linker also claims Trump could be guilty of “treason.”

Here is what I can’t understand: FBI Director James Comey testified on Monday that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is under investigation by the FBI over its potential ties to Russia. Let’s be clear about what this might mean: treason.

James Comey. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images (File Photo)

We don’t yet know what the outcome of the investigation will be (though subsequent press reports have certainly underlined the importance of seeing it through to the end). But the very possibility that a sitting president and his circle could end up credibly accused of having advanced the interests of a hostile foreign power and of having colluded with that power in an effort to undermine the campaign of the president’s political opponent should be more than enough to persuade Republican officeholders and pundits to treat the investigation with utmost seriousness — and to distance themselves from the man at the center of the investigation until such time as he is cleared of any wrongdoing.

And like the others, Linker likens the Russia claims to “Watergate” to advance the “treason” narrative.

Finally, there’s the relative gravity of the allegations in the two scandals. The Watergate break-in itself was obviously a crime, but what led to Nixon’s downfall was the cover-up, which implicated the president in multiple acts of obstruction of justice, abuse of power, and contempt of Congress. That would have been more than enough to impeach Nixon, remove him from office, and indict him. Bad? You bet. But far from treason.

The allegations swirling around the Trump campaign are far more serious.

Also on Friday, journalist Carl Bernstein – who is known for breaking the Watergate story in 1972 – slammed Trump as “more treacherous” than Nixon.

Meanwhile, former Bill Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich, who has been working closely with the Soros-financed MoveOn.org, penned a piece published in Newsweek arguing Trump’s Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch “shouldn’t be confirmed until Trump comes clean” about alleged ties to Russia.

Like Lieu’s reference to a “cloud of treason” hanging over the Trump administration, Reich claimed a “true cloud of illegitimacy now hangs over the presidency of Donald Trump.”

Reich’s piece was followed up by a MoveOn.org petition calling for Trump’s agenda to be “shut down” while he is investigated over the Russia claims.

The petition states: “Congress must pause all Trump-related legislation and appointments—starting with a halt to Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch’s confirmation process—until the American people learn the full truth about Trump and Russia.”

In recent days, the hashtag #TrumpTreason has been trending on Twitter.

Prominent users of the hashtag include Trump critic Rosie O’Donnell

This is not the first time this reporter documented the theme of establishment-types parroting similar anti-Trump talking points. In February, a trend emerged in which news media outlets featured articles quoting health care professionals who questioned the billionaire’s mental stability in a seeming bid to delegitimize the president.

Following those reports, some Democratic politicians – and at least one Republican – called for Trump to be subjected to a psychiatric examination to determine whether he was fit for office. Some commentators have even suggested invoking the 25th Amendment of the Constitution, which allows for the commander-in-chief’s removal from office if the “president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office.”

Aaron Klein is Breitbart’s Jerusalem bureau chief and senior investigative reporter. He is a New York Times bestselling author and hosts the popular weekend talk radio program, “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio.” Follow him on Twitter @AaronKleinShow. Follow him on Facebook.

With research by Joshua Klein.

http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2017/03/27/establishment-parrots-latest-talking-point-trump-may-guilty-treason/

FBI investigating ties between Russia and Trump campaign

March 20, 2017

AFP and The Associated Press

© Nicholas Kamm, AFP | FBI Director James Comey (pictured left) and NSA Director Mike Rogers on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. on March 20, 2017

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2017-03-20

FBI Director James Comey confirmed Monday that the bureau is investigating possible links and coordination between Russia and associates of President Donald Trump as part of a probe of Russian interference in last year’s presidential election.

The extraordinary revelation came at the outset of Comey’s opening statement in a congressional hearing examining Russian meddling and possible connections between Moscow and Trump‘s campaign. He acknowledged that the FBI does not ordinarily discuss ongoing investigations, but said he’d been authorized to do so given the extreme public interest in this case.

“This work is very complex, and there is no way for me to give you a timetable for when it will be done,” Comey told the House Intelligence Committee.

Earlier in the hearing, the chairman of the committee contradicted an assertion from Trump by saying that there had been no wiretap of Trump Tower. But Rep. Devin Nunes, a California Republican whose committee is one of several investigating, said that other forms of surveillance of Trump and his associates have not been ruled out.

Comey was testifying at Monday’s hearing along with National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers.

Trump, who recently accused President Barack Obama of wiretapping his New York skyscraper during the campaign, took to Twitter before the hearing began, accusing Democrats of making up allegations about his campaign associates’ contact with Russia during the election. He said Congress and the FBI should be going after media leaks and maybe even Hillary Clinton instead.

“The real story that Congress, the FBI and others should be looking into is the leaking of Classified information. Must find leaker now!” Trump tweeted early Monday as news coverage on the Russia allegations dominated the morning’s cable news.

Trump also suggested, without evidence, that Clinton’s campaign was in contact with Russia and had possibly thwarted a federal investigation. U.S. intelligence officials have not publicly raised the possibility of contacts between the Clintons and Moscow. Officials investigating the matter have said they believe Moscow had hacked into Democrats’ computers in a bid to help Trump’s election bid.

The real story that Congress, the FBI and all others should be looking into is the leaking of Classified information. Must find leaker now!

Monday’s hearing, one of several by congressional panels probing allegations of Russian meddling, could allow for the greatest public accounting to date of investigations that have shadowed the Trump administration in its first two months.

The top two lawmakers on the committee said Sunday that documents the Justice Department and FBI delivered late last week offered no evidence that the Obama administration had wiretapped Trump Tower, the president’s New York City headquarters. But the panel’s ranking Democrat said the material offered circumstantial evidence that American citizens colluded with Russians in Moscow’s efforts to interfere in the presidential election.

“There was circumstantial evidence of collusion; there is direct evidence, I think, of deception,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” ”There’s certainly enough for us to conduct an investigation.”

The Democrats made up and pushed the Russian story as an excuse for running a terrible campaign. Big advantage in Electoral College & lost!

Nunes said: “For the first time the American people, and all the political parties now, are paying attention to the threat that Russia poses.”

“We know that the Russians were trying to get involved in our campaign, like they have for many decades. They’re also trying to get involved in campaigns around the globe and over in Europe,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”

The Senate Intelligence Committee has scheduled a similar hearing for later in the month.

It is not clear how much new information will emerge Monday, and the hearing’s open setting unquestionably puts Comey in a difficult situation if he’s asked to discuss an ongoing investigation tied to the campaign of the president.

At a hearing in January, Comey refused to confirm or deny the existence of any investigation exploring possible connections between Trump associates and Russia, consistent with the FBI’s longstanding policy of not publicly discussing its work. His appearances on Capitol Hill since then have occurred in classified settings, often with small groups of lawmakers, and he has made no public statements connected to the Trump campaign or Russia.

Any lack of detail from Comey on Monday would likely be contrasted with public comments he made last year when closing out an investigation into Clinton’s email practices and then, shortly before Election Day, announcing that the probe would be revived following the discovery of additional emails.

(AP)

Related:

FBI Director Comey: Justice Dept. has no information that supports President Trump’s tweets alleging he was wiretapped by Obama

March 20, 2017

James Comey. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images (File Photo)

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The Washington Post
March 20 at 11:27 AM
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FBI Director James B. Comey acknowledged on Monday the existence of a counterintelligence investigation into the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election, and said that probe extends to the nature of any links between Trump campaign associates and the Russian government.
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Testifying before the House Intelligence Committee, Comey said the investigation is also exploring whether there was any coordination between the campaign and the Kremlin, and “whether any crimes were committed.”
.The acknowledgment was an unusual move, given that the FBI’s practice is not to confirm the existence of ongoing investigations. “But in unusual circumstances, where it is in the public interest,” Comey said, “it may be appropriate to do so.”

Comey said he had been authorized by the Justice Department to confirm the wide-ranging probe’s existence.

He spoke at the first intelligence committee public hearing on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election, along with National Security Agency head Michael S. Rogers.

Comey: No information to support Trump’s wiretapping tweets

FBI Director James B. Comey said at a House Intelligence Committee hearing that he has no information that Trump Tower was wiretapped by former president Barack Obama. (Reuters)

The hearing comes amid the controversy fired up by President Trump two weeks ago when he tweeted, without providing evidence, that President Barack Obama ordered his phones tapped at Trump Tower.

Comey says there is “no information’’ that supports Trump’s claims that his predecessor Barack Obama ordered surveillance of Trump Tower during the election campaign.

“I have no information that supports those tweets,’’ said Comey. “We have looked carefully inside the FBI,’’ and agents found nothing to support those claims, he said. He added the Justice Department had asked him to also tell the committee that that agency has no such information, either.

Under questioning from the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif,), Comey said no president could order such surveillance.

Committee chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said in his opening statement, “The fact that Russia hacked U.S. election-related databases comes as no shock to this committee. We have been closely monitoring Russia’s aggressions for years…However, while the indications of Russian measures targeting the U.S. presidential election are deeply troubling, one benefit is already clear – it has focused wide attention on the pressing threats posed by the Russian autocrat. In recent years, Committee members have issued repeated and forceful pleas for stronger action against Russian belligerence. But the Obama administration was committed to the notion, against all evidence, that we could ‘reset’ relations with Putin, and it routinely ignored our warnings.”

Nunes said he hoped the hearing would focus on several key questions, including what actions Russia undertook against the United States during the 2016 election and did anyone from a political campaign conspire in these activities? He also wants to know if the communications of any campaign officials or associates were subject to any improper surveillance.

“Let me be clear,” he said. “We know there was not a wiretap on Trump Tower. However, it’s still possible that other surveillance activities were used against President Trump and his associates.”

Finally, Nunes said he is focused on leaks of classified information to the media. “We aim to determine who has leaked or facilitated leaks of classified information so these individuals can be brought to justice,” he said.

In his opening statement, Schiff said, “We will never know whether the Russian intervention was determinative in such a close election. Indeed it is unknowable in a campaign in which so many small changes could have dictated a different result. More importantly, and for the purposes of our investigation, it simply does not matter. What does matter is this: the Russians successfully meddled in our democracy, and our intelligence agencies have concluded that they will do so again.”

He added: “Most important, we do not yet know whether the Russians had the help of U.S. citizens, including people associated with the Trump campaign. Many of Trump’s campaign personnel, including the president himself, have ties to Russia and Russian interests. This is, of course, no crime. On the other hand, if the Trump campaign, or anybody associated with it, aided or abetted the Russians, it would not only be a serious crime, it would also represent one of the most shocking betrayals of our democracy in history.”

Just hours before the start of the hearing, Trump posted a series of tweets claiming Democrats “made up” the allegations of Russian contacts in an attempt to discredit the GOP during the presidential campaign. Trump also urged federal investigators to shift their focus to probe disclosures of classified material.

“The real story that Congress, the FBI and all others should be looking into is the leaking of Classified information,” Trump wrote early Monday. “Must find leaker now!”

Republican members pressed hard on the subject of leaks to the media that resulted in news stories about contacts between Russian officials and the Trump campaign or administration officials. Nunes sought an admission from the officials that the leaks were illegal under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court act, the law that governs foreign intelligence-gathering on U.S. soil or of U.S. persons overseas.

“Yes,” Comey answered. “In addition to being a breach of our trust with the FISA court.”

One story in particular that apparently upset the Republicans was a Feb. 9 story by The Washington Post reporting that Trump’s national security advisor, Michael Flynn, discussed the subject of sanctions with the Russian ambassador, Sergey Kislyak, in the month before Trump took office. The Post reported that the discussions were monitored under routine, court-approved monitoring of Kislyak’s calls.

Rep. Tom Rooney (R-Fla.) pressed Rogers to clarify under what circumstances it would be legitimate for Americans caught on tape speaking with people under surveillance to have their identities disclosed publicly, and whether leaking those identities would “hurt or help” intelligence collection.

“Hurt,” Rogers noted.

Rogers stressed that the identities of U.S. persons picked up through “incidental collection” – that being the way intelligence officials picked up on Flynn’s phone calls with Kislyak – are disclosed only on a “valid, need to know” basis, and usually only when there is a criminal activity or potential threat to the United States at play.

Rogers added that there are a total of 20 people in the NSA he has delegated to make decisions about when someone’s identity can be unmasked.

The FBI probe combines an investigation into hacking operations by Russian spy agencies with efforts to understand how the Kremlin sought to manipulate public opinion and influence the election’s outcome.

In January, the intelligence community released a report concluding that Russian President Vladi­mir Putin wanted to not only undermine the legitimacy of the election process but also harm the campaign of Hillary Clinton and boost Trump’s chances of winning.

Hackers working for Russian spy agencies penetrated the computers of the Democratic National Committee in 2015 and 2016 as well as the email accounts of Democratic officials, intelligence official said in the report. The material was relayed to WikiLeaks, the officials said, and the anti-secrecy group began a series of damaging email releases just before the Democratic National Convention that continued through the fall.

On Friday, the Justice Department delivered documents to the committee in response to a request for copies of intelligence and criminal wiretap orders and applications. Nunes, speaking Sunday, said the material provided “no evidence of collusion” to sway the election toward Trump and repeated previous statements that there is no credible proof of any active coordination.

But Schiff, also speaking Sunday, said there was “circumstantial evidence of collusion” at the outset of the congressional investigations into purported Russian election meddling, as well as “direct evidence” that Trump campaign figures sought to deceive the public about their interactions with Russian figures.

The concerns about Moscow’s meddling are also being felt in Europe, where France and Germany hold elections this year. “Our allies,” Schiff said, “are facing the same Russian onslaught.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/fbi-director-to-testify-on-russian-interference-in-the-presidential-election/2017/03/20/cdea86ca-0ce2-11e7-9d5a-a83e627dc120_story.html?utm_term=.2b44421224ec

*******************************

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON – FBI Director James Comey confirmed Monday that the bureau is investigating possible links and coordination between Russia and associates of President Donald Trump as part of a broader probe of Russian interference in last year’s presidential election.

The extraordinary revelation came at the outset of Comey’s opening statement in a congressional hearing examining Russian meddling and possible connections between Moscow and Trump’s campaign. He acknowledged that the FBI does not ordinarily discuss ongoing investigations, but said he’d been authorized to do so given the extreme public interest in this case.

“This work is very complex, and there is no way for me to give you a timetable for when it will be done,” Comey told the House Intelligence Committee.

Earlier in the hearing, the chairman of the committee contradicted an assertion from Trump by saying that there had been no wiretap of Trump Tower. But Rep. Devin Nunes, a California Republican whose committee is one of several investigating, said that other forms of surveillance of Trump and his associates have not been ruled out.

Comey was testifying at Monday’s hearing along with National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers.

Trump, who recently accused President Barack Obama of wiretapping his New York skyscraper during the campaign, took to Twitter before the hearing began, accusing Democrats of making up allegations about his campaign associates’ contact with Russia during the election. He said Congress and the FBI should be going after media leaks and maybe even Hillary Clinton instead.

“The real story that Congress, the FBI and others should be looking into is the leaking of Classified information. Must find leaker now!” Trump tweeted early Monday as news coverage on the Russia allegations dominated the morning’s cable news.

Trump also suggested, without evidence, that Clinton’s campaign was in contact with Russia and had possibly thwarted a federal investigation. U.S. intelligence officials have not publicly raised the possibility of contacts between the Clintons and Moscow. Officials investigating the matter have said they believe Moscow had hacked into Democrats’ computers in a bid to help Trump’s election bid.

Monday’s hearing, one of several by congressional panels probing allegations of Russian meddling, could allow for the greatest public accounting to date of investigations that have shadowed the Trump administration in its first two months.

The top two lawmakers on the committee said Sunday that documents the Justice Department and FBI delivered late last week offered no evidence that the Obama administration had wiretapped Trump Tower, the president’s New York City headquarters. But the panel’s ranking Democrat said the material offered circumstantial evidence that American citizens colluded with Russians in Moscow’s efforts to interfere in the presidential election.

“There was circumstantial evidence of collusion; there is direct evidence, I think, of deception,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” `’There’s certainly enough for us to conduct an investigation.”

Nunes said: “For the first time the American people, and all the political parties now, are paying attention to the threat that Russia poses.”

“We know that the Russians were trying to get involved in our campaign, like they have for many decades. They’re also trying to get involved in campaigns around the globe and over in Europe,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”

The Senate Intelligence Committee has scheduled a similar hearing for later in the month.

It is not clear how much new information will emerge Monday, and the hearing’s open setting unquestionably puts Comey in a difficult situation if he’s asked to discuss an ongoing investigation tied to the campaign of the president.

At a hearing in January, Comey refused to confirm or deny the existence of any investigation exploring possible connections between Trump associates and Russia, consistent with the FBI’s longstanding policy of not publicly discussing its work. His appearances on Capitol Hill since then have occurred in classified settings, often with small groups of lawmakers, and he has made no public statements connected to the Trump campaign or Russia.

Any lack of detail from Comey on Monday would likely be contrasted with public comments he made last year when closing out an investigation into Clinton’s email practices and then, shortly before Election Day, announcing that the probe would be revived following the discovery of additional emails.


PUBLISHED: MARCH 20, 2017, 8:01 A.M. 

Claims GCHQ wiretapped Trump ‘nonsense’ — U.S. National Security Agency source says

March 18, 2017

BBC News

People sit at computers in the 24 hour Operations Room inside GCHQ, Cheltenham on 17 November, 2015.
GCHQ, a British intelligence agency, wholly denies it helped wiretap Donald Trump

The claim that GCHQ carried out surveillance on Donald Trump during the election campaign is “arrant nonsense”, Rick Ledgett, the number two at the US National Security Agency (NSA) has told the BBC in an exclusive interview.

A commentator on Fox News had claimed that GCHQ had carried out the activity on America’s behalf, but Mr Ledgett said the claim showed “a complete lack of understanding in how the relationship works”.

Each side, he said, was prohibited from asking the other partner to carry out acts that they were prohibited from doing.

He also said the huge risks to the UK in carrying out such an act would completely outweigh any benefits.

“Of course they wouldn’t do it. It would be epically stupid,” he told me.

GCHQ had also dismissed the allegation as nonsense.

Mr Ledgett’s comments came in a wide-ranging – and long-scheduled – interview in his office at NSA headquarters at Fort Meade. He acknowledged that these were unusual times when it came to the political maelstrom surrounding America’s intelligence agencies and their relationship with the new administration.

“Our job in the intelligence community is to be apolitical. Our job is to speak truth to power,” he emphasised.

The origins of much of the tension lie in the assessment by the US intelligence community that Russia interfered in the presidential election, and the subsequent reaction from Donald Trump.

Mr Ledgett said the evidence of Russian involvement was “extraordinarily strong” and “irrefutable” and that the NSA had played a key role in establishing the case.

Mr Ledgett said he was “dead solid 100% confident” that the Russian state was behind the attempts – although he said it was not for the intelligence community to evaluate the actual impact of those attempts on the vote itself.

Russian President Vladimir Putin pictured on 16 March, 2017.
President Vladimir Putin insists that Russia did not interfere in the US election. AP photo

There has been speculation that Russia will interfere in upcoming European elections, but the NSA deputy director said it was hard for him to talk about any evidence supporting that.

There has been a shift towards more aggressive action in cyberspace in recent years – from Russia but also other states – with some commentators claiming that “cyber war” is breaking out.

Low-intensity conflict rather than war is a better description, Mr Ledgett said.

“Cyber war is going to look very different – you are going to see massive failures of key infrastructure systems in the countries that are being targeted in a way we have not seen yet.”

The problems in attributing attacks and the lower barriers for entry mean that this trend may well continue, though.

The US last week indicted a group of Russian hackers as part of a broader strategy of trying to develop layered deterrence. Chinese and Iranian hackers have been indicted in the past.

“Our assessment is that it does cause actors to pause,” Mr Ledgett said, while acknowledging it did not provide absolute deterrence.

The spread of internet-connected devices in the home is another concern.

“It’s a truism that the more things you connect to a network, the more vulnerabilities you introduce,” Mr Ledgett argued, adding that he did not have what are called “Internet of Things” devices in his own home.

Last week there were claims that the CIA – along with Britain’s MI5 – had found vulnerabilities in some “smart” TV sets which allowed them to be turned into bugging devices.

CIA logo
It has been claimed that the CIA devised a spyware attack for Samsung TVs. Getty Images

Mr Ledgett emphasised that the mission of the NSA was to focus on foreign intelligence and not domestic.

He said that 90% of vulnerabilities in systems that the NSA spotted were reported to companies so they could fix them. And any vulnerabilities that the agency sought to leave in place to exploit for intelligence gathering needed to be approved by other government agencies.

“There’s a fringe narrative out there that the US and UK and all these other governments are willy-nilly just exploiting every vulnerability in every device they can in order to gather information into a big pile and then root through it for interesting things. That’s not what we do at all.”

He acknowledged that the debate around the NSA’s power was healthy, but said the way it came about was bad, referring to the Edward Snowden revelations.

He said that while he would not point to specific terrorist attacks or deaths as a result of disclosures, the NSA had seen one thousand “entities” (such as terrorist groups or foreign military units) which had tried to change behaviour to avoid surveillance.

An aerial view shows the National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters in Ft. Meade, Maryland, US on 29 January, 2010.
Mr Ledgett spoke to the BBC at the NSA’s headquarters in Fort Meade. Reuters photo

Mr Ledgett is due to step down in the coming months after a 40-year career in national security. Twenty-nine of those years were spent at the NSA, where he ended up as its most senior civilian.

He acknowledged that the current environment – with the intelligence agencies drawn into political debate – was unprecedented.

“It is an uncomfortable place to be,” he said. “Intelligence needs to not be politicised to be at its best.”

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39312176

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