Links for 5-21-2018

Links for 5-20-2018

Links for 5-19-2018

  • Andrew McCarthy writes on the politicized nature of Department of Justice investigations, specifically the differences between how the Clinton email server investigation was handled and how the Trump/Russia investigation was handled:

    It has now been confirmed that the Trump campaign was subjected to spying tactics under counterintelligence law — FISA surveillance, national-security letters, and covert intelligence operatives who work with the CIA and allied intelligence services. It made no difference, apparently, that there was an ongoing election campaign, which the FBI is supposed to avoid affecting; nor did it matter that the spy targets were American citizens, as to whom there is supposed to be evidence of purposeful, clandestine, criminal activity on behalf of a foreign power before counterintelligence powers are invoked.

    But what was the rationale for using these spying authorities?

    The fons et origo of the counterintelligence investigation was the suspicion — which our intelligence agencies assure us is a fact — that the Democratic National Committee’s server was hacked by covert Russian operatives. Without this cyber-espionage attack, there would be no investigation. But how do we know it really happened? The Obama Justice Department never took custody of the server — no subpoena, no search warrant. The server was thus never subjected to analysis by the FBI’s renowned forensics lab, and its evidentiary integrity was never preserved for courtroom presentation to a jury.

  • The New York Times and The Washington Post have revealed enough (leaked) information to identify the person dispatched by the FBI to wheedle his way into the Trump campaign: Stefan Halper.

  • China landed bombers on its artificial islands in the South China Sea.

Links for 5-18-2018

Links for 5-17-2018

  • The U.S. Senate confirmed Gina Haspel as CIA director on a 54–45 vote.

  • The New York Times published an article describing how the Obama administration’s intelligence agencies spied on Donald Trump’s campaign. Mollie Hemingway offers ten takeaways from the article, including this:

    This is a stunning admission for those Americans worried that federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies might use their powers to surveil, leak against, and target Americans simply for their political views or affiliations. As Sean Davis wrote, “The most amazing aspect about this article is how blasé it is about the fact that the Obama admin was actively spying on four affiliates of a rival political campaign weeks before an election.”

    Andrew McCarthy further emphasizes this:

    But that’s not even the most important of the buried ledes. What the Times story makes explicit, with studious understatement, is that the Obama administration used its counterintelligence powers to investigate the opposition party’s presidential campaign.

    That is, there was no criminal predicate to justify an investigation of any Trump-campaign official. So, the FBI did not open a criminal investigation. Instead, the bureau opened a counterintelligence investigation and hoped that evidence of crimes committed by Trump officials would emerge. But it is an abuse of power to use counterintelligence powers, including spying and electronic surveillance, to conduct what is actually a criminal investigation.

    The timing of the Times article is more interesting — it’s designed to inoculate the public against a forthcoming DOJ Inspector General report.

  • The Associated Press documented mass internment camps in China’s Xinjiang province:

    The internment program aims to rewire the political thinking of detainees, erase their Islamic beliefs and reshape their very identities. The camps have expanded rapidly over the past year, with almost no judicial process or legal paperwork. Detainees who most vigorously criticize the people and things they love are rewarded, and those who refuse to do so are punished with solitary confinement, beatings and food deprivation.

    There are also details of the panopticon that China has constructed in Xinjiang.

Links for 5-16-2018

Links for 5-15-2018