The Ousting Of Trump's National Security Advisor Shows Just How Dangerous 'Lawful' Domestic Surveillance Is

from the we-got-dirt-on-millions-of-Americans dept

Those who thought the domestic surveillance Ed Snowden exposed was perfectly acceptable and lawful are finding it much harder to stomach with Trump in charge. The Lawfare blog, which routinely hosts articles supportive of government surveillance activities, has taken on a new tone over the past few months. The lesson being learned: if a power can only be trusted in certain people's hands, then it really can't be trusted in anyone's. This belated realization is better than none, but one wonders if the drastic change in tone would have followed an election that put Hillary Clinton in the White House.

That's not to say the first month of Trump's presidency has borne any resemblance to a "peaceful transition of power." The federal government isn't just leaking. It's hemorrhaging. Underneath the recent ouster of Mike Flynn, Trump's former National Security Advisor, is something disturbing.

What's disturbing isn't the surveillance -- although in "normal" circumstances it might be. Flynn was dumped because recorded phone calls captured him discussing sanctions with Russian officials. This domestic surveillance isn't unheard of. The fact that this information -- including the content of the calls -- was leaked to the public is more notable.

Calls to foreign officials are fair game for US surveillance efforts. The last-minute removal of restraints on sharing unminimized US persons data/communications by the Obama administration just served to ensure Flynn's calls would end up in the hands of multiple federal agencies. The timing of the loosened restrictions is worth noting though, as Marcy Wheeler does in this post about the Flynn ouster.

Finally, remember that for a great deal of SIGINT, FBI wouldn’t need a warrant. That’s because Obama changed the EO 12333 sharing rules just 4 days after the IC started getting really suspicious about Flynn’s contacts with Russia. That would make five years of intercepts available to FBI without a warrant in any counterintelligence cases, as this one is.

But what Lawfare's Adam Klein is concerned with isn't the sharing of unminimized communications between agencies. As he points out in his post, all of that's perfectly legal. What he's more concerned with is the actions of the intelligence community, which has made all of this public.

[T]his case illustrates why surveillance law treats U.S.-person information with the same healthy fear we associate with nuclear waste and biohazard material—that is, with the vigilance reserved for things that are inherently dangerous if not closely guarded. As Eli Lake wrote this week in Bloomberg View, selective leaking of U.S.-person information “gives the permanent state” (or political appointees entrusted with the information) “the power to destroy reputations from the cloak of anonymity.” Even if not leaked to the press, such information can be misused: J. Edgar Hoover and his subordinates infamously used salacious information gleaned from FBI surveillance of Martin Luther King, Jr., to pressure King to retreat from public life.

That's what's happening and that's a cause for concern. The NSA and others have always had these powers, but we were assured they wouldn't be abused. In this case, the abuse isn't in the collection or dissemination (all of it now "lawful"), but in the use of leaked information to kick out a National Security Advisor.

Trump has made few friends in the intelligence community since he became president, comparing the CIA to Nazis and making comments about unprofessional behavior. The problem for Trump is he's fighting with agencies particularly well-armed to take him down. But that's not what we want from our intelligence agencies. They're not tools of government accountability. They're tools for totalitarianism restrained only by oversight and a rigorous set of rules. (I mean, in theory...) But the IC appears to be ignoring the checks and balances put in place to guard against the destruction of the government's head by its body.

It's one thing to cheer for the public flailing of a President you don't like. It's quite another to cheer on the dangerous, easily-abusable network of domestic surveillance that makes it possible.

So, the issue here is more the leaks than the surveillance. The surveillance has its own problems, but the willingness to leak information damaging to US persons -- even if it prevented someone who possibly shouldn't be a National Security Advisor from keeping his job -- is a disturbing indicator of just how much power these agencies (at least 16 of them) now wield, thanks to information sharing.

The other problem is the hypocritical way Trump and his supporters are dealing with the leaked info. Trump wants an investigation to uncover the source of the leaks. Fair enough (albeit somewhat hypocritical, given his love of Wikileaks...). But the House Oversight Committee and Trump himself have no interest in taking a deeper look into the allegations against Mike Flynn. Nonsensically, House Oversight Committee head Devin Nunes said the recording of the phone calls was itself "disturbing." This is something someone involved in intelligence oversight should already know is a perfectly lawful interception under statutes he helps shape and define.

It's a dangerous time to be a whistleblower, as the administration appears far more interested in going after leaks it doesn't like than potentially-illegal behavior by its own staff. And it's just as dangerous to be the target of intelligence committee animosity. No more dangerous than it's always been, but in recent days, we've been given a pretty clear picture of how quickly lawful surveillance can ruin a person's life.


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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2017 @ 10:53am

    I find it a bit concerning that the National Security Advisor was unaware of the routine phone surveillance which had he been aware of it ... he would have avoided. These are not our best and brightest.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2017 @ 11:02am

      Re: Awareness

      Perhaps Mr. Flynn was aware of it in the abstract, but believed he was not doing anything untoward and that there would be no reason for it to be used against him. He believed he had nothing to hide from law enforcement, so he thought he had nothing to fear.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2017 @ 11:06am

        Re: Re: Awareness

        I find that a bit concerning

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2017 @ 11:35am

          Re: Re: Re: Awareness

          I find that a bit concerning

          Which part? That Mr. Flynn thought that his actions were above reproach or that he thought that being above reproach would protect him?

          I have not listened/read what was said on the calls, so I do not know if what he said actually is above reproach.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2017 @ 11:50am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Awareness

            No one has, but if there was evidence of actual wrong-doing, there's no doubt that'd be all over the place.

            What we do know is the law was broken when they leaked this info to the public, which makes it logical to investigate.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2017 @ 12:04pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Awareness

              No one has, but if there was evidence of actual wrong-doing, there's no doubt that'd be all over the place.

              Agreed, but there's a gray area between "above political reproach" and actual legal wrongdoing. If he said the word sanctions, or it was said and he should have heard it, some would argue that "sanctions were discussed on the call." While technically true, and that would technically make his later statements to VP Pence false, there is a gulf between the situation that sanctions were mentioned in passing and the situation that sanctions were discussed with any expectation that something would change. I think of it as the difference between "Nice weather we've having today / Yes, it is" and "We would appreciate if you would help us prepare for the incoming flood / I'll try to get some supplies ready." The former is small talk that no one realistically expects to mean much and is easily forgotten. The latter represents a request for action and an offer to take action.

              If Mr. Flynn engaged in the former, he could've easily forgotten the small talk and thought he was speaking truthfully when he told VP Pence that sanctions were not discussed. However, particularly for partisan political purposes, even the former could be (mis)characterized as "He talked about the weather and then later said he never talked about the weather."

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2017 @ 3:26pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Awareness

              "What we do know is the law was broken when they leaked this info "

              Conspicuous in its absence, I assume you are implying that no laws were broken in the making of that call - which is quite wrong.

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 22 Feb 2017 @ 5:25pm

      That's just rude!

      Another possibility is that he was aware of it but figured that as part of the club his communications wouldn't be under surveillance.

      Remember for example Feinstein, who saw absolutely nothing wrong with the public being under the microscope but threw a fit when it turned out that someone was watching her.

      Indiscriminate spying on the public is one thing, but doing that to members of the government, why that's just uncalled for!

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2017 @ 6:36pm

      Re:

      the issue was not telling vp pence. djt authorized call. stop lying td.

      another hit piece against potus.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2017 @ 10:57am

    And that is the problem, everyone is fine with everything as long as it fits in their agenda or their political party dogma.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2017 @ 5:15pm

      Re:

      And that is the problem, everyone is fine with everything as long as it fits in their agenda or their political party dogma.

      I take exception to that. I find the level of surveillance quite objectionable be it from Bush, Obama, Clinton, Trump, or little green men from mars. I do not know anyone of some level of mental competence that doesn't, though I do detect their spoor on line.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2017 @ 7:45pm

        Re: Re:

        Unfortunately you are in the minority, so go back to your insignificance, just like me.

        No one gives a real fuck about liberty or government corruption. Just as the declaration of independence says, people are disposed to suffering injustices while they are sufferable, and wouldn't you just know it that republicans care more about putting innocents in private prisons than fighting asset forfeiture (government THEFT) and democrats care more about getting women free birth control than doing something to free jailed innocents.

        Both parties and groups 'talk' a good game, but when they get into power, the debt usually goes up and pork is so plentiful that the peasants slip and fall prone so often that businesses and the political elite can get a proverbial "quickie" anytime they need from the poor saps.

        And any citizen asking why the elite get to have so much at their expense the ole "class warfare" line is trotted out for a dog and pony show.

        People don't give a shit... they just want theirs and to hell with the rest!

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 23 Feb 2017 @ 5:30am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I wonder how your speech would be received by the many who have endured the abuses associated with standing up to corruption and other crimes perpetrated by government, for example; those at standing rock, occupy, and others too many to list protesting the murders by police.

          But yeah, do continue with your pity party.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2017 @ 11:10am

    On the plus side, Deep State went from a fringe conspiracy to a household term overnight.

    https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?q=deep%20state

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2017 @ 11:11am

    As ever, the main use of surveillance is political attacks on the other-side, and it looks like part of the US government has decided that Trump is on the other side.

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  • identicon
    Thad, 22 Feb 2017 @ 11:13am

    Well put.

    This is an alarming situation, regardless of your politics. In a battle between Trump and the CIA, the loser is the American public.

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  • identicon
    Thad, 22 Feb 2017 @ 11:17am

    J. Edgar Hoover and his subordinates infamously used salacious information gleaned from FBI surveillance of Martin Luther King, Jr., to pressure King to retreat from public life.

    "Retreat from public life" is a hell of a euphemism for suicide.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2017 @ 11:27am

    Power always underestimates the masses right up until it's their neck in the noose.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Baron von Robber, 22 Feb 2017 @ 11:51am

    Drumpflthinskin: "I love WikiLeaks!" [10/10/16]

    Gee, I wonder what changed his mind?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2017 @ 11:55am

      Re:

      Gee, I wonder what changed his mind?

      He hasn't changed. He still likes WikiLeaks. These leaks aren't being done through a well known and respected leaking organization like WikiLeaks, which is why these leaks are bad and leaks published by WikiLeaks are good. ;)

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Andy, 22 Feb 2017 @ 12:22pm

        Re: Re:

        Wikileaks would have released this information if they had someone give it to them. I cannot see how you believe they are any different to the leakers that are just cutting out the middleman.Or should they just have given the information to Wikileaks to release to the public. That then brings up the question of whether Wikileaks supports trump over the truth...????

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Feb 2017 @ 5:34am

        Re: Re:

        "These leaks aren't being done through a well known and respected leaking organization like WikiLeaks"


        Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

        The leaks are real, the news is fake.

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    • icon
      AricTheRed (profile), 22 Feb 2017 @ 1:07pm

      Re:

      Trump never Loved WikiLeaks, he only "Loved" WikiLeaks.

      He was like a high school guy who "Loves" his girlfriend, as long as she puts-out.

      She stopped giving him the sensational poon, he stopped "Loving" her...

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2017 @ 12:10pm

    What happened on the calls? He was telling the Russians not to react much to the sanctions that Obama had imposed, so when Trump took office, it would be easier to get rid of them.

    Is that illegal? I don't think so, but it does infringe on the "one president at a time" tradition.

    Trump doesn't seem to mind going against tradition, as his statements condemning the US refusal to veto the Israel UN wording showed.

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    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 22 Feb 2017 @ 12:44pm

      Re:

      He may have broken the law.
      "The Logan Act (1 Stat. 613, 18 U.S.C. § 953, enacted January 30, 1799) is a United States federal law that details the fine and/or imprisonment of unauthorized citizens who negotiate with foreign governments having a dispute with the United States. It was intended to prevent the undermining of the government's position"
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logan_act

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2017 @ 12:32pm

    Oliver north

    War criminal, drug dealer, terroist, real news contributer

    we are so far past anything that resembles the rule of law and equal treatment none of you must have been paying attention for at least 30 years, if your in the right gang your fine if not your not, gang violence in this context isn't drive by's it's whole countries decimated and millions dead, it's just that it's going to come home to the people that allowed it in the first place, the American people, Karma's a bitch

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2017 @ 1:22pm

    Maybe playing devils advocate here..

    I am actually starting to consider if Trump in power could amount to something good. What I mean is that he puts so many things right out there for all to see. Outside of Trumps own words, we also get leaks and lots of insight into the dark world that government has become.
    The best thing to hope for here is that this will be a brute force awakening for many people so wiser choices can be made in the future, instead of the latest decades.
    One can hope, but I fear that the chance is higher that nobody will have learned anything in the end.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      beltorak (profile), 22 Feb 2017 @ 6:18pm

      Re: Maybe playing devils advocate here..

      It will only turn out to be good if the American public, American society, manage to dislodge him and repudiate his vile actions and demeanor afterwards.

      Until then we are still undergoing trials. We might fail.

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  • identicon
    Personanongrata, 22 Feb 2017 @ 1:37pm

    Smoke, Mirrors and Anonymous Whisper Campaigns - Oh My!

    But the House Oversight Committee and Trump himself have no interest in taking a deeper look into the allegations against Mike Flynn.

    And what are the allegations?

    That Flynn was speaking with the Russian ambassador around the time the Obama syndicate was nonsensically levying new sanctions on Russian persons, declaring dozens of other Russians persona non grata, deploying an armored brigade with thousands of soldiers on Russia's door step all the while our NATO allies were rattling their sabres in response to non-existent Russian aggression?

    Flynn was doing his job. If he was not reaching out and speaking with foreign contacts as the Trump syndicate was preparing to take office he would have been negligent in his duties.

    It's a dangerous time to be a whistleblower, as the administration appears far more interested in going after leaks it doesn't like than potentially-illegal behavior by its own staff.

    This has absolutely nothing to do with whistle blowing. It was/is an anonymous political character assassination conducted via a whisper campaign aided and abetted by an all to pliant media looking to hamstring the incoming Trump syndicate in any way possible.

    A whistle blower looks to put the interests of the nation first and foremost and liberates as much factual evidence as possible in order to shine copious amounts of sunlight onto the pitch dark underbelly of government malfeasance thus affording the once was republics citizens the ability to become knowledgeable in matters of national importance that are/were kept secret by criminals hiding behind their position within the US government.

    Anonymous chair polishers (aka officials/authorities) conducting a fact free whisper campaign through their favorite stenographers in the media who then are trusted to transcribe the unsubstantiated leakers tale verbatim do not have the nations best interests at heart as they act to protect the criminals at the expense of the many.

    All that has been disclosed in the media are anonymous chair polishers conducting a whisper campaign supposedly in response to Russian interference in the 2016 presidential circus and how Trump was/is a Russian stooge all based of course on zero evidence just whispers.

    If the content of Flynn's conversation with the Russian ambassador was criminal why didn't the anonymous chair polishers leak the full unadulterated transcripts to their trusty stenographers in the media?

    If there is hard evidence that Trump and members of his inner circle are Russian stooges publicly show the evidence.

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    • identicon
      Thad, 22 Feb 2017 @ 1:55pm

      Re: Smoke, Mirrors and Anonymous Whisper Campaigns - Oh My!

      Flynn was doing his job.

      No he wasn't. Trump hadn't taken office yet.

      If the content of Flynn's conversation with the Russian ambassador was criminal why didn't the anonymous chair polishers leak the full unadulterated transcripts to their trusty stenographers in the media?

      We don't know that yet. Could be that they don't have any evidence of criminal conduct. Could be that they do but that they're waiting for an official investigation. Could be that they do and that they used it as leverage to force his resignation.

      I find it very unlikely that we've heard the last of this story.

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    • icon
      Ron (profile), 22 Feb 2017 @ 1:58pm

      Re: Smoke, Mirrors and Anonymous Whisper Campaigns - Oh My!

      Flynn was not confirmed by the Senate so did not officially have the job and could not officially represent the government of the United States yet. Now if he just called and introduced himself as the incoming National Security Advisor nothing would have come of this, but he started to talk business that he was not authorized to do yet. That is like the CEO hiring the CFO and putting him to work before the board of directors vote to approve the hiring. Yes it would have been rubber stamped but you don't go about doing things out of order.

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      • icon
        Kathy (profile), 22 Feb 2017 @ 3:18pm

        Re: Re: Smoke, Mirrors and Anonymous Whisper Campaigns - Oh My!

        Flynn's position is not confirmed by the Senate so that doesn't apply.

        I think the equivalent analogy is prospective candidate for position starts negotiating for the company on the strength that sometime soon the about-to-be CEO will become CEO and plans to give him a position that allows him to represent the company.

        Although, it would seem that the National Security Advisor position is not the correct one to be talking to Ambassadors. Seems more like a Sec of State responsibility.

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        • identicon
          Thad, 22 Feb 2017 @ 4:25pm

          Re: Re: Re: Smoke, Mirrors and Anonymous Whisper Campaigns - Oh My!

          I think the equivalent analogy is prospective candidate for position starts negotiating for the company on the strength that sometime soon the about-to-be CEO will become CEO and plans to give him a position that allows him to represent the company.

          That's not really analogous, though, because it doesn't involve intentionally undermining a sitting President's negotiations with a foreign government.

          This is more like Reagan and Bush undermining Carter's negotiations during the Iran Hostage Crisis. (Allegedly. That's never been proven; the evidence is circumstantial.)

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    • identicon
      Baron von Robber, 22 Feb 2017 @ 2:08pm

      Re: Smoke, Mirrors and Anonymous Whisper Campaigns - Oh My!

      Your English is very good. What is the most difficult part of translating Russian to English?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Feb 2017 @ 5:41am

      Re: Smoke, Mirrors and Anonymous Whisper Campaigns - Oh My!

      I think you mis spelled KellyAnne Conway

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  • icon
    Ron (profile), 22 Feb 2017 @ 1:47pm

    Technically

    Technically an embassy is considered under foreign sovereignty. So technically they were listening in on a foreign dignitary on foreign soil that just so happened to get a phone call from an American. I can seen nothing wrong with them listening in. Now if he called his wife and was making dinner plans and they were listening in on that. Now that's a problem.

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  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 22 Feb 2017 @ 2:22pm

    Dangerous?

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  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 22 Feb 2017 @ 2:23pm

    Dangerous?

    Some would be tyrants wouldn't call domestic surveillance dangerous. They would call it useful. And they would cite this very case to demonstrate the usefulness.

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  • identicon
    Châu, 22 Feb 2017 @ 3:48pm

    Two way information

    If people can spy inside intelligence agents and leaders personal lives and their work, can neutralize this. Means pubic people can spy their governments like governments spy them then everything have balance. Because governments force people give them tax money, people have moral right for know everything governments do. Unfortunate most people forget this right and not fight governments when they suppress it.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2017 @ 4:05pm

    Re: followed an election that put Hillary Clinton

    You lost. We all lost. But now your just being silly.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Thad, 22 Feb 2017 @ 4:20pm

      Re: Re: followed an election that put Hillary Clinton

      Did you read the first part of the sentence you're quoting out of context?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Feb 2017 @ 7:02am

        Re: Re: Re: followed an election that put Hillary Clinton

        Nope. Just noting that TD degrades itself with lines like this. It's the same when they use the other guys name for shock and awe. Every time TD uses these persons names, the quality of the post is reduced.

        It isn't about cults of personality. It is about the law. And when Americans fail to consider that, we concede a little of our right to live in a society where law is derived from reason.

        If your talking about "who", chances are your bitching. If your talking about "what" or "how", chances are your arguing. I read TD because it bitches less, and argues more.

        I accept the reduction in signal quality during election season. Hell I contribute to the din. But that is over now. Now it is just tainted meat.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Thad, 23 Feb 2017 @ 7:38am

          Re: Re: Re: Re: followed an election that put Hillary Clinton

          I said:

          Did you read the first part of the sentence you're quoting out of context?

          You responded:

          Nope.

          I could respond to the rest of your gibberish post, but nah, I think we're done here.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2017 @ 4:33pm

    Don't worry, this story goes away as now the liberals are all crying about Trump not waving from the top step of Air Force One.

    Yes, that is actually out there. What a bunch of maroons, who think that words speak louder than actions.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    David, 23 Feb 2017 @ 5:58am

    But wait...

    Were we not also complaining about the NSA/CIA about the unprofessionalism (i.e. probably illegal monitoring)? And how, dare I use the word, Nazi-like that American citizens are under near complete monitoring of their communications?

    Perhaps Trump isn't as far off the mark as some think. And this is the kind of shake up we really need as a free society.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Thad, 23 Feb 2017 @ 7:42am

      Re: But wait...

      Were we not also complaining about the NSA/CIA about the unprofessionalism (i.e. probably illegal monitoring)? And how, dare I use the word, Nazi-like that American citizens are under near complete monitoring of their communications?

      There is a qualitative difference between bulk surveillance and targeted surveillance.

      Collecting call metadata from everyone in America is not remotely the same thing as monitoring calls to foreign governments.

      Perhaps Trump isn't as far off the mark as some think.

      Trump isn't objecting to surveillance. He's objecting to government officials talking to the press.

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  • icon
    ArkieGuy (profile), 23 Feb 2017 @ 6:41am

    The shoe is on the other foot....

    During the election amid the Clinton e-mail scandal, the WikiLeaks information was used to browbeat anyone that wasn't pro Trump. I remember quotes like "don't hide behind the fact the information was leaked, respond to what it says". Basically, people were told that how the information got out didn't matter, it was the information itself that was important (the message, not the messenger).

    Now that the shoe is on the other foot, the same people are saying "you shouldn't hold him responsible for lying, no one was supposed to find out it was a lie, so it's ok".

    In my simple mind, it shouldn't work that way.....

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    • identicon
      Thad, 23 Feb 2017 @ 8:05am

      Re: The shoe is on the other foot....

      Indeed.

      As I've been saying all along, the content of the leaks, the source of the leaks, and the motives of the leakers are all important. There's no contradiction there; they're not mutually exclusive.

      You can absolutely believe that the Clinton leaks show ethical violations and bad judgement within the Clinton campaign and that they were leaked by Russians, sponsored by the Russian state, in an attempt to tip the election toward Trump. There is no contradiction there (and neither does this necessarily imply that the attempt was successful and that Trump wouldn't have won otherwise).

      You can absolutely believe that the Flynn leaks reveal unethical and possibly illegal behavior on Flynn's part, and that they imply deeper collaboration between Trump and Russia, while also believing that the CIA is deliberately and selectively leaking information that is targeted to damage a sitting President, and that this is deeply unsettling. There's no contradiction there, either.

      It's not an either-or thing. You don't have to pick a side between Clinton and Trump, Clinton and the Russian government, Trump and the CIA, etc. It's entirely possible to believe that all of them are acting in their own interest and against the interests of the American people.

      The enemy of your enemy is not your friend.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 23 Feb 2017 @ 12:45pm

        Re: Re: The shoe is on the other foot....

        Flynn was gone because he misled his superiors about his contact with Russians (or so the story goes.) I am pretty sure that if he had done something actually illegal, that would have been part of the story. Why wouldn't it have been? To tell you the truth, I doubt that anyone really cares all that much about Flynn, most probably don't know who he is, what his background is or anything else. This was a pure political move with the aim of making Trump look bad.

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        • identicon
          Thad, 24 Feb 2017 @ 9:09am

          Re: Re: Re: The shoe is on the other foot....

          I am pretty sure that if he had done something actually illegal, that would have been part of the story. Why wouldn't it have been?

          Because determining whether or not a thing is illegal takes time, and the story isn't over yet. We've already been hearing about Trump's connections to Russia for months; the story hasn't gone away, it's intensified. Maybe this is the point where it peters out, but I'm guessing that's not the case.

          There have been accusations that Flynn lied to the FBI. There have been no charges to that effect. There may be such charges in the future.

          All that said, is "well, he hasn't been charged with anything" really where you draw the line for ethical behavior? If so, did you hold Hillary Clinton to that same standard when she was accused of unethical behavior but never charged with anything?

          To tell you the truth, I doubt that anyone really cares all that much about Flynn, most probably don't know who he is, what his background is or anything else.

          The same is true of Scooter Libby. What's your point?

          This was a pure political move with the aim of making Trump look bad.

          Perhaps.

          I think the reason Trump looks bad (well, one of them) is that people have a lot of legitimate questions about his ties to Russia and to Putin that he has not answered to their satisfaction.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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