Why the Obama Administration’s “Unmasking” Americans and “Leaking” of Intel Are Acts of Political Warfare & Impetus for a Constitutional Crisis

Two major problems are afoot and must be resolved now; the unmasking and identifying of American’s names and the continued intelligence leaks. Both are criminal felony offenses. In the end, if this is not resolved, it may represent a Constitutional crisis. So what must be done?

 

Let me first clear the table a bit here and make it clear that the narrative about Russia and Trump is pure BS!

As I have been saying all along, the real issue and concern at play is the leaking of classified intelligence information and the unmasking of the name of former National Security Adviser Lt. General Michael Flynn, and perhaps other to follow. Speaking from experience as a career intelligence officer, if the U.S. intelligence community and any of its 17 agencies had any real evidence that Donald Trump and his associates were collaborating with the Russian government, they without a doubt would have certainly requested Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) court warrants to conduct further surveillance and collection to determine if there were potential criminal activity taking place.

This, though, is not the end of the story, there is certainly more. Let’s start with looking deeper at the situation about General Flynn. His phone calls, by the way, more than likely were incidentally collected in routine monitoring of communications of Russian nationals and Russian government officials. This means that while there was likely no warrant to surveil General Flynn’s phone calls, the U.S. government listened in on his calls with Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak because we listen in on all communications imitating from foreign government senior-level officials. By U.S. law, in the case of a phone conversation with a foreign government entity and an American citizen, the American citizen’s name must be “masked” and protected. In the case of General Flynn, those conversations were disseminated widely throughout the intelligence community (which I will explain shortly), then intentionally and deliberately leaked by Obama officials and made public, by the New York Times and the Washington Post. All of which was by design to political smear and attempt to delegitimize both General Flynn and Donald Trump. Anyone who disagrees is delusional, or worse just plain insane.

The original New York Times’ and Washington Post’s stories about the classified transcripts of General Flynn’s calls were without a doubt sourced to at least nine former (Obama) and current national security community officials. That is extremely important to know. Monitored and collected communications, and subsequent transcribed conversations, equally classified of U.S. citizens are some of the most sensitive intelligence information protected by the U.S. government. It is more than obvious in this case that General Flynn’s conversations were widely distributed, again albeit deliberately and intentionally.  Such widespread dissemination and leaking of the content of the phone calls and or meetings that appear related to an ongoing investigation into such ties to Russia, are both intentional and criminal. Doing so and essentially using U.S. Government methods and capabilities to spy on one’s political opposition, is a Federal offense at the highest level. Furthermore, my friends, do so friends is an absolute “abuse of power” at the highest level, equally a Federal offense. The penalty; $100,000 fine and 10-years and prison.

Further analysis and more recent reporting has supported and provided us with additional corroborating information. The New York Times during the first week of March disclosed that the White House in the final days of Obama’s presidency took unusual steps to widely distribute,  within the government, intelligence suggesting ties between Russia and Donald Trump and his associates. The New York Times reported that these officials ordered up intelligence reports and made sure they were at a low enough classification level that many more government officials could read them.

This was done in coordination with and corroboration between the White House, the Justice Department, DoD and the National Security Agency, the CIA and the Director of National Intelligence, by way of an amendment to Executive Order 12333, on January 3, 2017 which allow for more widespread dissemination and availability of highly classified “Raw intelligence,” which in addition allows individual intelligence agencies to analyze and lower the actual classification levels. Bottom line, the change make it easier for the National Security Agency to share raw intercepts of emails and phone calls with the rest of the intelligence community. Before this rule change, such intercepts were scrubbed to black out the names of innocent people who were monitored incidentally. The new procedures were approved by Obama’s Attorney General Loretta Lynch. The Amendment states the following;

E.O. 12333 – Raw SIGINT Availability Procedures

January 3, 2017

On January 3, 2017, the Director of National Intelligence, in coordination with the Secretary of Defense, issued the “Procedures for the Availability or Dissemination of Raw Signals Intelligence Information by the National Security Agency under Section 2.3 of Executive Order 12333” (the “Raw SIGINT Availability Procedures”). The procedures were approved by the Attorney General on January 3, 2017.

The procedures are called for by Section 2.3 of Executive Order (E.O.) 12333, as amended in 2008. The last paragraph of Section 2.3 of E.O. 12333 provides that elements of the Intelligence Community (IC) may disseminate information to a recipient IC element to allow that element to determine whether information “is relevant to its responsibilities and can be retained by it, except that information derived from signals intelligence may only be disseminated or made available to Intelligence Community elements in accordance with procedures established by the Director of National Intelligence] in coordination with the Secretary of Defense and approved by the Attorney General.”

Purpose and Scope

The purpose of the procedures is to enable IC elements to conduct their national security missions more effectively by providing them with access to unevaluated or unminimize  (i.e., “raw”) signals intelligence (SIGINT) collected by the NSA, subject to appropriate privacy protections for information about U.S. persons. This access will enable IC elements to bring their own analytic expertise to reviewing that information and to use that information in support of their own missions. The procedures provide an important mechanism for enhancing information sharing, integration, and collaboration in the IC.

One of the most outlandish reports by the New York Times indicates that the Obama effort and initiative directed against Donald Trump and Russia unsubstantiated collusion was aimed at preserving intelligence and protecting sources, fearing the new Trump administration would try to bury the reports once it came into power. Needless to say, any so-called evidence the Democrats and the left to try to push such false-narratives are truly as sign of their desperation and delusional approach. Hence, mis-remembering meetings and over-the-top praise of the Russian president are not evidence of collusion with a foreign power’s intelligence operations or its government officials. What’s more, on substantive policy, thus far the Trump administration has not lifted sanctions on Russia or pulled out of NATO, as the political left and the mainstream media would have the public believe. Indeed, Mr. Trump has mused about withdrawing from the nuclear arms control treaty negotiated by Hillary Clinton’s State Department under the guise of the Obama administration in its first term during its own miscalculated reset with Russia, which cost America dearly.

Such a narrative and political explanations by the former Obama administration, the Democrats in both Houses of Congress, even those on the intelligence committee, are further examples of how extremely far-fetched and are further indications of how out of touch and corrupt the Obama administration was and politically biased the Democrat Party and its members are. Meanwhile, the Trump administration will continue to faces a barrage of sensitive leaks from anonymous political appointees Obama administration holdovers, falsely suggesting many in his administration and in government are disloyal to the new commander-in-chief.

So far, the FBI Director James Comey has told the House and Senate intelligence committees as well as senior White House staff that it has yet to turn up evidence of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russians on their hacking and influence campaign against the 2016 elections. At the same time, officials indicate that the FBI has not yet closed this investigation. That determination will likely will be briefed and discussed with the Trump Justice Department leadership. It is important to understand that the longer the investigation pertaining to so-called Trump Campaign and Russian collusion continues, the longer this contrived notion of a scandal will remain over the Trump administration. The real effort, again needs to focus on the breach and leaks of classified information which together present extremely grave national security implications and danger to national security operations and capabilities.

It is also significant here that according to the last Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, there was no Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrant to monitor the Donald Trump himself or his campaign and its associates. Surely, if the U.S. intelligence agencies had again, any real evidence that Donald Trump’s associates were collaborating with Russian spies, they would have certainly gone to the FISA court to request FISA warrants in order to conduct further surveillance and collection.

Nonetheless, there is much we don’t know. It’s possible that the damning leaks pertaining to Trump associates including General Flynn, Attorney General Sessions, former campaign manager Paul Manafort, former part-time political adviser Roger Stone and former Russia adviser Carter Page are the tip of the iceberg. To date, “there is no there, there.” If there were, last spring and summer, that would have been justification for the intelligence community and the Justice Department to again request FISA warrants, and they didn’t, according to the FBI Director. In fact had they, the Trump presidential campaign bid would have more than likely been over by September, if not before. For that matter, perhaps these leaks may be nothing more than rumor and innuendo.

If it’s the latter, then the Obama administration officials who increased the dissemination and spread out the intelligence on Trump and Russia, and those who leaked it, were prejudicing the FBI’s investigation before it finishes. That in itself is a textbook example of “political warfare.”

So where do we go from here? Again, the focus must be on the ‘two major’ problems areas I addressed in my subtitle; the unmasking and identifying of American’s names and the continued intelligence leaks. As noted, both are criminal felony offenses.

Here’s the crisis. The intelligence community has become a gushing pipeline of highly classified and sensitive information for the mainstream media, to which it has clamored with excitement in receipt of that information. President Trump’s firing of Flynn merely sets the media’s salivary glands working overtime, and the intelligence community leaking ever more steadily.

However, when those with trusted access to highly classified and sensitive intelligence information, with a political agenda and intentions begin to purposefully undermine an elected government without any evidence of criminal wrongdoing, we’ve got a serious crisis in government on our hands.

The question is; who watches the watchmen? Certainly for President Trump to start an internal investigation into leaks, tearing apart the intelligence apparatus, would be a disaster for America and our security.

At this point, the answer lies with Congress and the U.S. House of Representatives                             to establish a Permanent Select Committee to investigate and stop the leaks                                      and disclose who revealed the information to the media.

The active investigation really needs to address and answer three primary questions, in-depth:

1.)  How was the transcript of General Flynn’s phone conversation with the Russian Ambassador obtained? What were the capabilities and methods used? Similarly, the same for Attorney General Jeff Sessions who had conversations with the same Russian Ambassador, in the course of his transition responsibilities during the Presidential transition period from November 9th, 2016 to January 20th, 2017.

2.)  Who had access to the more than likely NSA generated transcribed transcripts spread across the intelligence community, as a result of the Obama and Lynch amended EO 12333 (signed on January 3, 2017) in order to expand access across the intelligence community to highly classified foreign intelligence. How it was it authorized, and what sources and methods were used to generate the surveillance and collection? Who, what, where, why and how was the highly classified intelligence information subsequently leaked to the mainstream media and the Democrat Party. Prove the passing of such information was not for obvious political reasons and purposes. Were those that leaked the information doing so, permanent, non-political members of the Intelligence Community? Were they more than likely partisan political appointees loyal to the Obama administration, and or political appointee holdovers of the Obama administration? This is valid question, since the leaks started prior to the Trump administration began on January 20, 2017, and appear to continue to this day.

3.)  It is extremely important to determine and identify those who were behind the unmasking of Lt General Flynn’s name from the highly classified intelligence transcripts that were derived from U.S. Government. How was this information generated?

– Was it via authorized surveillance and collection from his phone call(s) with the Russian Ambassador?

– How and why were Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ conversations and meetings with the Russian Ambassador collected, and who subsequently leaked the transcripts to the mainstream media and the Democrat Party?

In both, cases, under the law, it is a Federal crime to unmask and reveal the identity of any American accessed by intelligence surveillance and collection. In addition, we still don’t know how many other people in various capacities who were conducting official business with foreign diplomats had their names unmasked and provided to unauthorized third parties (the media, political hacks, or other nefarious people).

Further, there are the Presidential phone calls between President Trump and the Presidents of Australia and Mexico, which contents of those discussions were leaked. Again, from experience, I know exactly how these occurred and the multiple ways how such leaks were conducted. Nevertheless, all are equally damaging and as well Federal felony offenses.

Unfortunately, for the Obama administration, revealing the answers to each of these concerns individually or together would constitute Federal felony criminal acts under the Espionage Act. In turn, this would then generate new questions, thus bringing us back to the bigger question; who directed and authorized the “collection” of phone of conversations of all those who have been caught up in this. The key word being ignored is the word “collection” … not wiretaps. And most importantly focus on the term “SURVEILLANCE” which in itself creates problems because of the unauthorized dissemination and subsequent leaks.

Finally, one other important question, which I have not alluded to previously, and to which I intentionally saved for this point in this article. That question is actually the most obvious, and it is this:

If FBI Director Comey, the Direct of National Intelligence James Clapper, and other senior officials can claim the investigation to date shows there is no evidence of collusion by Donald Trump, his campaign or his associates, and there was no electronic surveillance of them, then where is the evidence to justify that fact?

With regard to the establishment to a U.S. House of Representatives Permeant Select Committee, pay close attention to Congressman Trey Gowdy. As a result of his in-depth questions of FBI Director Comey on March 20th, indications are he may very well be the member establishing a Congressional investigation into the leaks of highly classified intelligence and revelation of American’s names. Again, the leaks of the intelligence information in question are a Federal criminal act carrying Federal felony charges under the Espionage Act, along with other Federal statutes that govern the leaking of classified information, failure to safeguard classified intelligence information, and to providing unauthorized access to the same – all stipulate both prison and heavy financial fines.  Essentially, this is jail time and there should be multiple charges pending, in lieu the suspects being identified and charged. This is a must investigation, and to not do so is extremely dangerous because the leaking will continue, causing extreme damage to our national security which can never be recouped.

There are numerous former Obama administration senior intelligence community officials and likely political appointee holdovers loyal to Obama that can be called to testify. Unfortunately for them, the likelihood of being charged on the basis of criminal intent and or acts are high, under the law. Further, there is a potential Constitutional crisis in the making, and it’s taking place within the intelligence community, particularly if nothing is done to stop the leaking and unauthorized disclosures of the nation’s closest secrets are not brought under control and safeguarded, and those who are guilty of such crimes are brought to justice under the law. In the end, again if this is not resolved, and a looming Constitutional crisis averted, we may be slowly relegated to a nation of perpetual political anarchy, all in the name of political warfare.

 

 

Jim Waurishuk is a retired USAF Colonel, serving nearly 30-years as a career senior intelligence and political-military affairs officer with expertise in strategic intelligence, international strategic studies and policy, and asymmetric warfare. He served combat and combat-support tours in Grenada, Panama, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as on numerous special operations and intelligence contingencies in Central America, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. He served as a special mission intelligence officer assigned to Joint Special Operations units and the CIA’s Asymmetric Warfare Task Force, as Deputy Director for Intelligence for U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) during the peak years of the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the War on Terrorism. He is a former White House National Security Council staffer and former Distinguished Senior Fellow with the Atlantic Council, Washington, D.C.
Colonel Waurishuk currently serves as State Committeeman for the Hillsborough County, FL Republican Party .

Be the first to comment

Please check your e-mail for a link to activate your account.