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  • Paul Sperry claims that the Obama administration tried to hack the election:

    Under congressional questioning Tuesday, Obama’s CIA chief John Brennan said the dossier did not “in any way” factor into the agency’s assessment that Russia interfered in the election. Why not? Because as Obama intel czar James Clapper earlier testified, “We could not corroborate the sourcing.”

    But that didn’t stop Brennan in January from attaching its contents to the official report for the president. He also included the unverified allegations in the briefing he gave Hill Democrats.

    In so doing, Brennan virtually guaranteed that it would be leaked, which it promptly was.

    In short, Brennan politicized raw intelligence. In fact, he politicized the entire CIA.

  • Trump’s State Department quietly lifted the limit on the number of refugees entering the U.S. By next month, more than 1,500 refugees may be entering the U.S. every week. So much for that campaign promise.

  • Allahpundit tries to reason why Jared Kushner wanted to construct a back channel to the Russian government using Russian secure communications equipment, thereby bypassing interception by American intelligence:

    That’s question one, the big one — why did Kushner want to use Russian diplomats’ secure line to Moscow instead of some official means of communication monitored by the U.S. government? And why did he reportedly conceal the extent of his contact with Russian officials? If all of this is no big deal, it’s odd that Jared seems to have been highly allergic to the public finding out about any of it. Imagine the havoc it would have wreaked if he were spotted walking into a Russian diplomatic building during the transition to use their red line to Putin. The whole reason Flynn was dumped, per Sally Yates, was that the Russians could have blackmailed him by using their own recording of him talking sanctions with Kislyak against him. Now here’s Jared wanting to use the Russians’ own line to discuss sensitive matters. What could go wrong?

    Later:

    In the end, though, everything comes back to question one. Why did Kushner try to hide his “back channel” to Moscow from U.S. intelligence? There are two theories kicking around, one suggesting corruption and the other pointing to dunderheadedness. The corruption theory holds that Kushner didn’t really want to discuss Syria with Russia, that that’s just a cover story fed to the Times last night to make this seem less suspicious. What he wanted to talk about was money.

    Later:

    The dunderheadedness theory is more straightforward. Kushner, like his father-in-law, is a total newbie to government and not nearly as bright as he thinks he is. The administration wanted a splashy diplomatic reset with Russia replete with concessions from Moscow on Syria as soon as Trump took office, so they started working on it during the transition. And because they were suspicious of being monitored by Obama’s intelligence team and subjected to damaging leaks — with good reason! — they tried to do things “off the books” as much as possible, even if that meant, um, asking Russian diplomats if they could use their own secure line to Moscow to negotiate. They’re not on the take. They’re just morons who were scrambling blindly for an early foreign policy win.

  • ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack on Coptic Christians in southern Egypt that killed 29 people.

  • The Iraqi army began a push retake the last districts of Mosul held by ISIS.

  • Ramadan started, so it’s high time for terrorist bombings. The Taliban claimed responsibility for a car bomb in Khost, Afghanistan that killed 14 people. Fighting between Afghan security forces and an assortment of militant groups killed 36 people.

  • Turkey issued an arrest warrant for Enes Kanter, who plays center for the Oklahoma City Thunder NBA team. Kanter is a Turkish citizen who holds an American green card, and he openly aligns himself with Fethullah Gulen.

  • The Royal Air Force dispatched two Typhoon fighters to intercept unspecified Russian planes entering British airspace.

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