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The Real Meaning of ‘Sensitive’ Intelligence

Intelligence agencies and senior government officials tend to use a lot of jargon. Laced with acronyms, this language sometimes does not translate very well into journalese when it hits the media.

For example, I experienced a sense of disorientation two weeks ago over the word “sensitive” as used by several senators, Sally Yates, and James Clapper during committee testimony into Russiagate. “Sensitive” has, of course, a number of meanings. But what astonished me was how quickly the media interpreted its use [1] in the hearings to mean that the conversations and emails that apparently were recorded or intercepted involving Trump associates and assorted Russians as “sensitive contacts” meant that they were necessarily inappropriate, dangerous, or even illegal.

When Yates and Clapper were using “sensitive” thirteen times in the 86 page transcript [2] of the Senate hearings, they were referring to the medium rather than the message. They were both acknowledging that the sources of the information were intelligence related, sometimes referred to as “sensitive” by intelligence professionals and government insiders as a shorthand way to describe that they are “need to know” material derived from either classified “methods” or foreign-liaison partners. That does not mean that the information contained is either good or bad or even true or false, but merely a way of expressing that the information must be protected because of where it came from or how it was developed, hence the “sensitivity.”

The word also popped up this week in a Washington Post exclusive report [3] alleging that the president had, in his recent meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, gone too far while also suggesting that the source of a highly classified government program might be inferred from the context of what was actually revealed. The Post describes how

The information Trump relayed had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government, officials said. The partner had not given the United States permission to share the material with Russia, and officials said that Trump’s decision to do so risks cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State.

The Post is unfortunately also providing ISIS with more information than it “needs to know” to make its story more dramatic, further compromising the source. Furthermore, it should be understood that the paper is extremely hostile to Trump, the story is as always based on anonymous sources, and the revelation comes on top of another unverifiable Post article claiming that the Russians might have sought to sneak a recording device [4] into the White House during the visit.

No one is denying that the president discussed ISIS in some detail with Lavrov, but National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, both of whom were present at the meeting, have denied [5] that any sources or methods were revealed while reviewing with the Russians available intelligence. McMaster described the report as “false” and informed the Post [6] that “The president and the foreign minister reviewed common threats from terrorist organizations to include threats to aviation. At no time were any intelligence sources or methods discussed and no military operations were disclosed that were not already known publicly.” Tillerson commented that “the nature of specific threats were (sic) discussed, but they did not discuss sources, methods, or military operations.”

So the question becomes to what extent can an intelligence mechanism be identified from the information that it produces. That is, to a certain extent, a judgement call. The president is able on his own authority [7] to declassify anything, so the legality of his sharing information with Russia cannot be challenged. What is at question is the decision-making by an inexperienced president who may have been showing off to an important foreign visitor by revealing details of intelligence that should have remained secret. The media will no doubt be seeking to magnify the potential damage done while the White House goes into damage control mode.

The media is claiming that the specific discussion with Lavrov that is causing particular concern is related to a so-called Special Access Program [6], or SAP, sometimes referred to as “code word information.” An SAP is an operation that generates intelligence that requires special protection because of where or how it is produced. In this case, the intelligence shared with Lavrov appears to be related to specific ISIS threats, which may include planned operations against civilian aircraft, judging from Trump’s characteristically after-hours tweets defending his behavior, as well as other reporting.

There have also been reports that the White House followed up on its Lavrov meeting with a routine review of what had taken place. Several National Security Council members observed that some of the information shared with the Russians was far too sensitive to disseminate within the U.S. intelligence community. This led to the placing of urgent calls [8] to NSA and CIA to brief them on what had been said.

Based on the recipients of the calls alone, one might surmise that the source of the information would appear to be either a foreign-intelligence service or a technical collection operation, or even both combined. The Post claims that the originator of the intelligence did not clear its sharing with the Russians and raises the possibility that no more information of that type will be provided at all in light of the White House’s apparent carelessness in its use. The New York Times, in its own reporting of the story, initially stated that [9] the information on ISIS did not come from an NSA or CIA operation, and later reported that the source was Israel.

The Times is also reporting that Trump provided to Lavrov “granular” information on the city in Syria where the information was collected that will possibly enable the Russians or ISIS to identify the actual source, with devastating consequences. That projection may be overreach, but the fact is that the latest gaffe from the White House could well damage an important intelligence liaison relationship in the Middle East while reinforcing the widely held impression that Washington does not know how to keep a secret. It will also create the impression that Donald Trump, out of ignorance or hubris, exhibits a certain recklessness in his dealing with classified information, a failing that he once attributed to his presidential opponent Hillary Clinton.

And President Trump has one more thing to think about. No matter what damage comes out of the Lavrov discussion, he has a bigger problem. There are apparently multiple leakers on his National Security Council.

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is executive director of the Council for the National Interest.

This article has been updated to reflect news developments.

30 Comments (Open | Close)

30 Comments To "The Real Meaning of ‘Sensitive’ Intelligence"

#1 Comment By plavi On May 16, 2017 @ 12:04 pm

Trump could literally order the destruction of the Washington Monument as it is blocking his view, and Giraldi would ask why we have a giant sundial that could be attacked by terrorists.

#2 Comment By Jim Bovard On May 16, 2017 @ 12:22 pm

Excellent analysis – thanks for the speedy even-handed take on the latest DC uproar.

#3 Comment By Thymoleontas On May 16, 2017 @ 12:33 pm

“… The latest gaffe from the White House could well damage an important intelligence liaison relationship in the Middle East …”

On the other hand, it also represents closer collaboration with Russia–even if unintended–which is an improvement on the status quo ante and, not to mention, key to ending the conflict in Syria.

#4 Comment By Dies Irae On May 16, 2017 @ 12:38 pm

You have McMaster himself who categorically denies any exposure of sources and methods – he was there in person and witness to the talks – and a cloud of unknown witnesses not present speculating, without reference to McMaster or Tillerson’s testimony, about what might have happened. This is the American Media in a nutshell, the Infinite Circle Jerk.

#5 Comment By MM On May 16, 2017 @ 12:44 pm

Out of my depth, but was Trump working within the framework, maybe a bit outside if the story is true, of the Joint Implementation Group the Obama administration created last year with Russia?

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Also, I recall reading that the prior administration promised Russia ISIS intel. Not sure if that ever happened, but I doubt they’d have made it public or leak anything to the press.

#6 Comment By Brian W On May 16, 2017 @ 12:57 pm

Apr 21, 2017 Ike and McCarthy: Dwight Eisenhower’s Secret Campaign against Joseph McCarthy

Author David A. Nichols reveals how President Dwight D. Eisenhower masterminded the downfall of the anti-Communist demagogue Senator Joseph McCarthy.

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#7 Comment By EliteCommInc On May 16, 2017 @ 12:57 pm

Avoiding the minutia.

I think it should go without saying that intelligence is a sensitive business and protecting those who operate in its murky waters is important to having an effective agency.

Of course the Pres of the US has a duty to do so.

I have not yet read the post article. But I am doubtful that the executive had any intention of putting anyone in harms way. I am equally doubtful that this incident will. If the executive made an error in judgement, I am sure it will be dealt wit in an appropriate manner.

I do wish he’d stop tweeting, though I get why its useful to him.

I am more disturbed how this story got into the press. While, not an ally, I think we should in cooperation with other states. Because the Pres is not familiar with the protocols and language and I doubt any executive has been upon entering office, I have no doubt he may be reacting or overreacting to the overreaction of others.

Here’s a word. We have no business engaging n the overthrow of another government that is no threat to the US or her allies, and that includes Israel. Syria is not. And we should cease and desist getting further entangled in the messes of the previous executive, his Sec of State and those organizations who seem to e playing with the life blood of the US by engaging if unnecessary risks.

Just another brier brushfire of a single tumble weed to add to the others in the hope that setting fires in trashcans will make the current exec. go away or at least engage in a mea culpa and sing more checks in the mess that is the middle east policy objective that remains a dead end.
__________

And if I understand the crumbs given the data provided by the Post, the Times and this article, if one had ill will for the source of said information, they have pretty good idea where to start.

#8 Comment By Cachip On May 16, 2017 @ 1:12 pm

How do you know it wasn’t intended as pure misdirection?

#9 Comment By Brian W On May 16, 2017 @ 1:20 pm

January 10, 2014 *500* Years of History Shows that Mass Spying Is Always Aimed at Crushing Dissent

No matter which government conducts mass surveillance, they also do it to crush dissent, and then give a false rationale for why they’re doing it.

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#10 Comment By Johann On May 16, 2017 @ 1:54 pm

Politics is now directly endangering innocent civilians. Because of the leaks and its publication, ISIS for sure now knows that there is an information leak out of their organization. They will now re-compartmentalize and may be successful in breaking that information leak. Innocent airline passenger civilians, American, Russian, or whoever may die as a result. Russia and the US are both fighting ISIS. We are de facto allies in that fight whether some people like it or not. Time to get over it.

#11 Comment By EliteCommInc. On May 16, 2017 @ 2:44 pm

Having read the article,

uhhh, excuse me, but unlike personal secrets. The purpose pf intel is to use to or keep on hand for some-other date. But of that information is related to the security of our interests and certainly a cooperative relationship with Russia is in our interest. Because in the convoluted fight with ISIS/ISIL, Russia is an ally.

What this belies is the mess of the intelligence community. If in fact, the Russians intend to take a source who provided information that was helpful to them, it would be a peculiar twist of strategic action. The response does tell us that we are in some manner in league with ISIS/ISIL or their supporters so deep that there;s a need to protect them, from what is anybody’s guess. Because if the information is accurate, I doubt the Russians are going to about killing the source, but rather improving their airline security.

But if we are in fact attempting to remove Pres Assad, and are in league with ISIS/ISIL in doing so — I get why the advocates of such nonsense might be in a huff. So ISIS/ISISL our one time foe and now our sometimes friend . . .

Good greif . . .

Pres Trump is the least of muy concerns when it coes to security.

Some relevant material on intel:

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But if I were Pres Trump, I might steer clear of Russia for a while to stop feeding the beast.

#12 Comment By Kurt Gayle On May 16, 2017 @ 3:28 pm

Philip, back on July 23, 2014, you explained in “How ISIS Evades the CIA” “the inability of the United States government to anticipate the ISIS offensive that has succeeded in taking control of a large part of Iraq.” You explained why the CIA had to date had no success in infiltrating ISIS.

You continued: “Given U.S. intelligence’s probable limited physical access to any actual terrorist groups operating in Syria or Iraq any direct attempt to penetrate the organization through placing a source inside would be difficult in the extreme. Such efforts would most likely be dependent on the assistance of friendly intelligence services in Turkey or Jordan. Both Turkey and Jordan have reported that terrorists have entered their countries by concealing themselves in the large numbers of refugees that the conflict in Syria has produced, and both are concerned as they understand full well that groups like ISIS will be targeting them next. Some of the infiltrating adherents to radical groups have certainly been identified and detained by the respective intelligence services of those two countries, and undoubtedly efforts have been made to ‘turn’ some of those in custody to send them back into Syria (and more recently Iraq) to report on what is taking place. Depending on what arrangements might have been made to coordinate the operations, the ‘take’ might well be shared with the United States and other friendly governments.”

You then describe the difficulties faced by a Turkish or Jordanian agent trying to infiltrate ISIS: “But seeding is very much hit or miss, as someone who has been out of the loop of his organization might have difficulty working his way back in. He will almost certainly be regarded with some suspicion by his peers and would be searched and watched after his return, meaning that he could not take back with him any sophisticated communications devices no matter how cleverly they are concealed. This would make communicating any information obtained back to one’s case officers in Jordan or Turkey difficult or even impossible.”

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Notwithstanding how “difficult or even impossible” such an operation would be — and using the New York Times as your only source for a lot of otherwise completely unsubstantiated information – and admitting that “this is sheer speculation on my part” – you say that “it is logical to assume that the countries that have provided numerous recruits for ISIS [Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia] would have used that fact as cover to carry out a seeding operation to introduce some of their own agents into the ISIS organization.”

Back to the New York Times as your only source, you say that “the Times is also reporting that Trump provided to Lavrov ‘granular’ information on the city in Syria where the information was collected that will possibly enable the Russians or ISIS to identify the actual source, with devastating consequences.”

But having ventured into the far reaches of that line of speculation, you do admit that “that projection may be overreach.” Indeed!

You go on to characterize the events of the White House meeting with the Russians as “the latest gaffe from the White House” – even though there is absolutely no evidence (outside of the unsubstantiated reports of the Washington Post and the New York Times) that anything to do with the meeting was a “gaffe” – and you further speculate that “it could well damage an important intelligence liaison relationship in the Middle East.”

That is, again, pure speculation on your part.

One valuable lesson that you’ve taught TAC readers over the years, Philip: That we need to carefully examine the sources of information – and the sources of dis-information.

#13 Comment By KennethF On May 16, 2017 @ 3:33 pm

Yet again from Giraldi: the problem isn’t that the POTUS is ignorant and incompetent; we should all be more concerned that the Deep State is leaking the proof.

#14 Comment By collin On May 16, 2017 @ 4:12 pm

In general I agree with you, but the media was NEVER concerned about the treatment of sensitive material from HRC!

#15 Comment By charley On May 16, 2017 @ 4:51 pm

I think he needs to cut back on intelligence sharing with Israel. They do just what the hell they want to do with anything.

#16 Comment By Brad Kain On May 16, 2017 @ 5:03 pm

Trump has now essentially confirmed the story from the Post and contradicted the denials from McMaster – he shared specific intelligence to demonstrate his willingness to work with the Russians. Moreover, it seems that Israel was the ally that provided this intelligence. The author and others will defend this, but I can only see this as a reckless and impulsive decision that only causes Russia and our allies to trust the US less.

#17 Comment By Joe the Plutocrat On May 16, 2017 @ 11:07 pm

@elitecomminc writes; I am more disturbed how this story got into the press. While, not an ally, I think we should in cooperation with other states.
Have you considered the possibility, ‘the story got into the press’ via one of the states with whom we are cooperating? (RUSSIA). It has been agreed (even by the 45th POTUS) Russia did interfere with the election. Hmmmm, why would Russia conduct an operation against the US? I don’t know, maybe to create and exploit some sort of strategic or tactical advantage down the road? Do you really think the motive/intent of Russian intelligence ENDED on November 8, 2016? Do you actually believe the “end game” for Russia was to deny Hillary Clinton the Presidency?

#18 Comment By Phil Giraldi On May 17, 2017 @ 8:30 am

As an update to my article, I would note that it is being claimed that Israel was the source for at least part of the information on ISIS that was shared by President Donald Trump with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. Some news accounts are suggesting that an Israeli spy operating inside ISIS is now in danger and it is also being claimed that Israel will now be hesitant to share sensitive information with Washington.

I would be hesitant to take all or any of that at face value. Israel has cultivated reasonably good relations with ISIS as it wants to see continued chaos in Syria. Recently ISIS actually apologized to Israel for a shooting incident near the Golan Heights involving its militants and the Israel Defense Forces while Israel has also taken in and treated wounded rebels in its hospitals.

Israel has truly excellent technical intelligence capabilities but its current ability to place agents inside enemy organizations is not so good. I would challenge the assumption that we are dealing with a human agent and suggest that the alleged intelligence on the possible laptop bombs being described in the media came from a communications intercept, a capability that Israel would regard as highly sensitive. You can be sure that ISIS is making the same assumption and is both looking for a spy and tightening up on its communications protocols.

I would also suggest that the whole story might be a fake concocted by Washington, Israel and the Arab nation that might actually have a spy working inside ISIS. Blaming it on Israel is convenient as it conceals what might actually be going on inside ISIS. And BTW I am not suggesting anything here that ISIS would not have already figured out.

Finally, the suggestion that Israel would cut back on the intelligence it shares with the United States because of the exposure of information is ridiculous. Israel is the junior partner in the intelligence sharing and benefits hugely from the two-way exchange, including its receipt of raw NSA data. That it would jeopardize its continued access to such material is inconceivable.

#19 Comment By EliteCommInc. On May 17, 2017 @ 10:38 am

I as going to hold this response but in light of the new round of liberal machinations, there’s more to come.

——–

Do I think Pres Trump attempted to squash the case against Gen Flynn?

No. I do think he went to bat for his nominee as any loyal supervisor would. And more importantly, anyone would question the necessity of these investigations given the political climate that has existed since the campaigns begun.

_____________

“Have you considered the possibility, ‘the story got into the press’ via one of the states with whom we are cooperating? (RUSSIA). It has been agreed (even by the 45th POTUS) Russia did interfere with the election.”

Laughing.

I have no doubt that the Russians might be engaged in the same tactics as the US has conducted regarding the sovereignty and internal dynamics within the US. Though I suspect given our open society (well formerly – kidding) that its less espionage and more more political chit chat. That they don’t have to much in the way of breaking the law. Apparently, it has been customary for foreigners desiring some special attention for some cause to merely waltz into any congressional office they so choose. As to positioning via politics, seems rather common place among nations. And every election cycle, I have no doubt that different foreign leaderships desire that some candidate be elected in some country somewhere because they would deal with this person or that agenda. . Most states however, don’t engage in open and direct involvement such as killing their leaders, muchless gloat about it. Sec Clinton has been involved in no involved in and supported no less than four such scenarios. Four outright violations of sovereignty to not merely to influence an election, but topple entire government and thereby at varying levels destroy societies.

I also don’t doubt that there are many nations beyond including Russia who engage in foreign surveillance – standard practice among nation states. One of the worst such cases, Israel’s. And she did so with devastating effect.

What I think older states realize is tat their is no endgame. There are situation environments in which inside information and influence is a constant. In the case of Sec Clinton, the Russians didn’t need to do much. Democrats, her tenure in politics and foundation work and her own history as a lawyer made the case against her.

Now for the question at hand. did Russia engage Mr. Trump in a conspiratorial effort to rig, or in any manner illegally influence the election? If so there has yet to be presented any evidence. And should said evidence come to light, would whatever be illegal. Before the elections in France there were several articles on this sight. In those articles there was some editorializing about the elections. As I understand it, those authors even gave hint of ho they preferred. Certainly that was the case for some of the commenters. We have millions of foreigners here here who expressed their hopes for Sec Clinton. They attended rallies, and whatnot. Clearly there was some desire on their part to influence our election. Unless they voted or donated some money to the cause. I am hard pressed to ferret a case of election tampering. I don’t think there any evidence that the Russians even attended a campaign rally for any candidate.

I am always interested in what those in power have to say, and more importantly the data set that supports the claim. Given the vents after 9/11 every citizen should now expect more than a “trust me” pledge. They should expect to see the data that supports it. Now given what constitutes data in the last twenty years or so — one should exercise caution. The entire structure for veracity in argument has been warped. If I accuse, and display the correct emotion, it seems that alone is enough. It’s born from the halls of, “If I feel it it must be true,” clam, which has crowded out a good deal of reason. It’s entirely possible for one’s emotions to belie truth, but it is increasingly becoming the substitute for truth.

As I recall the first response by the previous executive, was to laugh/scoff at the idea of a Russian conspiracy. But it didn’t take long for him to be besieged by Sec Clinton advocates and others whose agenda was to get her elected and or ensure we continue an aggressive posture against Russia to remind him, who was really calling the shots, he changed hos tune in very short order.

The evidence as ever so attractive AG Yates will tell you, is classified. We have evidence, but its a secret. As someone opposed to nearly anything smelling of a secret trial and secret evidence, , such responses just carry no weight. But I suspect there is no evidence. This reminds of me police reports that include questioning witnesses about the “rightness or wrongness of said act. A snowjob to cover up their own misbehavior and to influence the witness pool. Both ethical and legal no no’s.

I love the story about how Gen Flynn, might have been blackmailed. The argument was we told the WH because we thought they should know tat the Russians might have been blackmailed by his lie.

How in the world would the Russians know that that Gen Flynn gave a different story to VP Pence than what actually occurred? That is the only way such an incident could have occurred. They would have to have known the content of the conversation. And if that is accurate, the larger more serious issue is how have they compromised our security so deeply that they are eves dropping on said conversations. The Russians didn’t build the US government buildings. In fact, I would be curious how you would know the contents of that conversation. All of this begs a deeper problem.

Are the Russians and our intelligence agencies eavesdropping on WH conversations?

Which of course brings us back to that fateful tweet, about the surveillance of Mr Trump as candidate, or prior and perhaps even now as Pres. Has the anti-Trump camp so deluded by fears of destruction that they would engage in wiring the WH out of a sense of duty to save US democracy from the Mr Trump. This rabbit hole of speculation knows no end.

#20 Comment By Tony F. On May 17, 2017 @ 11:05 am

I am not a fan of Trump, but globally coordinated attacks on him make me very skeptical.

#21 Comment By David Pascual On May 17, 2017 @ 11:36 am

The story seems to be that Israel, who is helping ISIS in Syria, heard about a new plot from its friends to blow up civilian airplanes and shared this information with its ally, the US, upon the condition that it not share this secret with anyone else. An irresponsible President Trump then went and shared this information against the wishes of his ally, and moreover, shared it with Russia, an enemy of the US.

The situation seems bad indeed, but I would propose a solution. Have the CIA develop a new and improved method of blowing up civilian aircraft and hand it over to the Israelis so they can pass it over to ISIS.

#22 Comment By Joe the Plutocrat On May 17, 2017 @ 11:57 am

How in the world would the Russians know that that Gen Flynn gave a different story to VP Pence than what actually occurred?
Really? No rabbit hole or Oval Office surveillance needed. If I am not mistaken, AG Yates did not allege Flynn had been blackmailed, but rather, after hearing Pence’s narrative (on the weekend talk show circuit), contacted the White House (as was her sworn duty) to inform the POTUS/Executive Branch, Pence’s story was not in line with the recorded (in December 2016) conversations between Flynn and the Russian Ambassador. And as such, Flynn was a candidate to (possibly) be blackmailed by the Russians. This may or may not be a part of the ongoing ‘counter-intelligence’ efforts (investigation) concerning Russia’s efforts to influence/disrupt the 2016 election. As you accurately note, this type of stuff is pretty much ‘business as usual’ in terms of US-Russia relations, just as Yates’s warning/report to the White House was “business as usual between Department of Justice and White House. The fact the POTUS may have asked the FBI Director or ‘lay off’ investigating Flynn, or the fact the POTUS has repeatedly Tweeted about the necessity/value of an investigation which began 6 months before he took the Oath of Office doing more to validate the calls for the investigation. All of the ‘fake news’ and ‘deep state’ stuff makes for good copy on Brietbart, Fox News, and even TAC. While it’s try there has been more smoke than fire, the White House/Executive Branch (via Tweets, contradictions, and fourth grade lunchroom logic) seems to be producing most of the smoke.
Not laughing.

#23 Comment By Chris Chuba On May 17, 2017 @ 1:37 pm

Contrary to the MSM I considered McMaster’s denial very strong since he said, ‘methods and sources’ were not disclosed. What did the MSM want him to say, ‘Trump didn’t tell the Russians about the spy in Raqqa’. McMaster’s denial would then confirm that this was HUMINT and confirm all aspects of the Post’s article.

To some extent, Trump/McMaster are getting Karmic payback for the Information War that they are doing against Syria with Khan Shaykhun and this ridiculous story about crematoriums. I have a gut feeling that someone in the Intel community actually leaked extra info just to torpedo Trump. This would be unforgivable.

#24 Comment By Aegis On May 17, 2017 @ 4:41 pm

A succinct summation of the facts and an excellent analysis author.

#25 Comment By EliteCommInc. On May 17, 2017 @ 4:47 pm

“Really? No rabbit hole or Oval Office surveillance needed. If I am not mistaken, AG Yates did not allege Flynn had been blackmailed, but rather, after hearing Pence’s narrative (on the weekend talk show circuit), contacted the White House (as was her sworn duty) to inform the POTUS/Executive Branch, Pence’s story was not in line with the recorded (in December 2016) conversations between Flynn and the Russian Ambassador.”

Laughing,

as your narrative would relate, as you account it, just to play along.

that cat would be out of the bag. uhh, no.

I did not say she made a case for blackmail. Her position was for the potential. Which begs the previous question. These are conversations going on in the WH or some other government office. In other words, it’s all in-house.

But that investigation of Sec Clinton, was premised on data in which she clearly had engaged in behavior that was illegal. The finding in very short order was she has but we are not going to prosecute.

No. It was not business as usual. There was no reason to reveal a pri9vate conversation that contained no illegal activity or security threat to the US. Uhh, Gen Flynn was not a candidate, save for a post with the admin. I might this if the report included every member of government who went in and out of the embassy and their subsequent conversations. But your comment only supports the kind of crazed paranoia that is going on about the Russians.

I am laughing. The Russian conspiracists have their the tiger by the tail. The only problem is the tiger is themselves and its their tail. Sure we should partner with Russia where it suits our interests and keep our eyes and ears open.

But the intel failure rests with us. And in this case with Sec Clinton and the democrats and those republicans who supporter her bid for the WH who would rather see the country float into Mexico rather than abide the current executive in the WH.

_____________________

“The story seems to be that Israel, who is helping ISIS in Syria, heard about a new plot from its friends to blow up civilian airplanes and shared this information with its ally, the US, upon the condition that it not share this secret with anyone else.”

Hence the convoluted mess created before Pres Trump entered the WH. There was no secret about where Mr Trump stood on Syria regime change prior to the election. I will tell you this,

if I opposed regime change and the ally in the fight against ISIS/ISIL was being undermined by the same, I would pick up the phone to make it clear under no terms will the US be aiding known terrorists in any capacity. Further, there’s a good chance I might very well say to that ally,

“Hey we got wind of a terrorist scheme to use laptops to blow up planes.”

As for Israeli, more damage has been done to the US as the result of Israeli spying than most of what Russia could accomplish in fifty years. Israel,the interventionists trump card. Fortunately for the intel services involved in the strategically unwise behavior in the region, the executive has a soft spot for Israel beyond rational strategic positioning requires. And that is how he may be convincing himself that regime is the goal — because Israel says so. Snore. And old card and an old game. He’s not the first to be hoodwinked in this manner.

I won’t defend not having a backbone in this regard. I am not a steady dieter of the sources you reference, so I have no comment. But conspiracies are definitely the favorite meal of the NYT, WP, Foreign Affairs, the WSJ . . . CNN, MSNBC, ABC, CBS,NBC . . . and an endless cadre of sources whose mission it is to save democracy and will do whatever it takes to do so.

AG Yates warning is devoid one simple matter — evidentiary support. Which means of course, it’s top secret. A case with no evidence or evidence tainted in multiple ways or damaged evidence, or tied together with voodoo strings — is not evidence.

Note: my opposition to SG yate’s position has been stated before. It is not for any other reason. So I must rest where I came in.

Whether said testimony is in secret ort public it should be supported by evidence.

Turf wars continued . . .

#26 Comment By EliteCommInc. On May 17, 2017 @ 5:03 pm

Sidenote:

I am not impressed with much of our choice to running around killing terrorists occupying territory that is not the domain of the US.

So my comments should not be interpreted for supporting the gambit as it is has been proffered.

#27 Comment By Hibernian On May 17, 2017 @ 5:59 pm

@ Tony F:

Right on!

#28 Comment By FreeOregon On May 17, 2017 @ 6:34 pm

Secrecy, the life blood of the Deep State Bureaucracy.

#29 Comment By Fran Macadam On May 17, 2017 @ 7:53 pm

As if Israel would ever stop providing intelligence that it thought could benefit itself. Perhaps someone doesn’t want ISIS actually neutralized. Russia was more effective against ISIS in one month than we were in two years. If information against ISIS was given to Russia, that might jeopardize using ISIS as a cat’s paw to sow chaos where our neocons want it sown.

#30 Comment By Iowa Scribe On May 22, 2017 @ 12:23 am

The appointment of Joe Lieberman, aka “the Senator from Israel”, as Director of the FBI would be a disaster for U.S. law enforcement and counter-intelligence efforts. It is difficult to imagine a more overtly political appointment or a more counter-productive choice to head the FBI. Lieberman distinguished himself in no small measure by turning a blind eye to and preventing investigations of waste, fraud, and abuse as chairman of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs (2001-2003) and the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (2007-2013), the Senate’s chief investigative and oversight committee and the only Senate committee with a chair who can issue subpoenas on his own authority without a committee vote. But then, perhaps Lieberman’s history of forestalling investigations is precisely what Donald Trump finds so appealing.

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