The Trump campaign surveillance and unmasking

Susan_Rice,_official_State_Dept_photo_portrait,_2009It turns out the Trump campaign was under surveillance.  This was reportedly in connection with the surveillance of Russians that our intelligence agencies wanted to keep an eye on.  In the course of that operation, so it is said, various individuals connected to Donald Trump were also recorded.  The protocol, when that happens, is for the names of the individuals recorded but not under investigation to be blacked out from the intelligence reports, their names changed to “Person A,” “Person B,” etc. If there is a need for the investigating authorities to know who these people are, there is a process for “unmasking” them.  (Read what “unmasking” entails.)

It turns out that the Obama administration initiated the unmasking of those names, then widely circulating those reports, thus implicating Trump staffers in a Russian connection that might have been innocent.  (This may explain how the information came out–that is, was leaked–about Michael Flynn’s meeting with the Russian ambassador, something even Democrats routinely have done.)  We now know that Obama advisor Susan Rice initiated the unmasking.  As Andrew McCarthy points out, “the thing to bear in mind is that the White House does not do investigations. Not criminal investigations, not intelligence investigations.”  Only three agencies do those:  the FBI, the CIA, and the NSA.

Understand: There would have been no intelligence need for Susan Rice to ask for identities to be unmasked. If there had been a real need to reveal the identities — an intelligence need based on American interests — the unmasking would have been done by the investigating agencies. The national-security adviser is not an investigator. She is a White House staffer. The president’s staff is a consumer of intelligence, not a generator or collector of it. If Susan Rice was unmasking Americans, it was not to fulfill an intelligence need based on American interests; it was to fulfill a political desire based on Democratic-party interests.

So all of this amounts to using White House power against a political opponent.   [Read more…]

Despite what Obama says, our troops are in combat

When two Navy Seals were killed in Syria, a White House spokesman said, “the relatively small number of U.S. service members that are involved in these operations are not in combat but are in a dangerous place.”  But, as Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) says, our troops in Syria and Iraq are definitely, by any definition, in combat. [Read more…]

Our nuclear deal with Iran

The Obama administration has signed a deal with Iran that would cut the economic sanctions in return for a scale back of its nuclear program.  See the terms after the jump.  Do you think this is a good achievement?  [Read more…]

The Obamacare confession

When I heard about the Obama operative who said that the passage of Obamacare was helped by Americans’ “stupidity,” I assumed it was just a gaffe, with which Republicans could play “gotcha.”  But it turns out, the comment was in the context of a frank explanation in front of a friendly liberal audience at MIT about how the administration got Obamacare through Congress.

And the operative’s other comments are even more damaging to the bill.  A second video supports the opponents’ of the law’s case before the Supreme Court by indicating that the language restricting subsidies to state exchanges was intentional. [Read more…]

The POW exchange debacle

The POW release was orchestrated to be a feel-good moment .  But now the Obama administration is dealing with a major scandal.  Not just because 5 dangerous terrorist leaders were released from Gitmo.  Not just because the president broke the law in not informing Congress.  But mainly because America’s troops are in an uproar about all of this attention being given to an anti-American deserter whose dereliction of duty reportedly cost the lives of six soldiers. [Read more…]

Prisoner exchange and the law

The Obama administration negotiated the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who had been held captive in Afghanistan for nearly five years, in exchange for five senior Taliban leaders being held in Guantanamo.  He was reportedly the last POW being held.  The problem is, the law requires the administration to consult with Congress when releasing prisoners from the Guantanamo prison, which the administration did not do.  Officials from the executive branch acknowledge that they did not follow the law.

UPDATE:  To add another level of controversy, Sgt. Bergdahl was evidently a deserter.

[Read more…]