I was watching Louise Mensch explain what she said and did not say about the FISA warrant when it struck me. Why did someone leak this information to her? What was the plan? My first thought was that if she had published her article a little earlier it could have rescued the floundering Clinton campaign. Oops!
The Primary Objective Of The FISA Warrant Was To Discredit The Trump Campaign
Over the last couple of days, I heard Mr. Comey and Mr. Clapper deny that the government spied on the Trump campaign. If we take them at their word then why did they allow the FISA warrant to go forward for “possible financial and banking offenses”? Mr. McCarthy found it extremely odd that they would use a FISA warrant for criminal activities. The simplest most straight forward answer is that the FISA warrant request was never expected to collect any useful information. The plan was to leak the FISA warrant request. If it was leaked in the last week of the campaign, it just might be enough to turn the tide for the Clinton campaign. It was a political hail mary pass for the floundering Clinton presidential campaign. Best of all President Obama, Mr. Comey, and Mr. Clapper had plausible deniability. It would have been the perfect plan if Louise had published a little bit earlier.
On Sunday morning Mr. Levin laid out his argument on Fox and Friends that the Obama administration spied on the Trump campaign. The administration maintains that it was looking for inappropriate contacts by the Trump campaign with Russian officials. This domestic spying operation started in January of 2016 and continued through the end of the Obama administration. At least six agencies were involved and there were two applications for FISA warrants. Considering that there are no indictments you have to wonder you have to wonder whether the FISA court was deliberately misled. Twitter is following this story under the hashtag, #ObamaGate, due to a similar abuse of power in Watergate. Mr. McCarthy in the article, FISA and The Trump Team, expressed this concern when he said:
The idea that FISA could be used against political enemies always seemed far-fetched. Now it might not be.
At this time we have to assume the FISA warrant was used by the Administration for political purposes.
Here is the link to Levin’s clip on Fox And Friends, http://video.foxnews.com/v/5348359459001.
For those looking for more information on this subject, “Tapping Trump?” is an excellent summary of the events. The article that broke this story is “EXCLUSIVE: FBI ‘Granted FISA Warrant’ Covering Trump Camp’s Ties To Russia“.
If we are to believe that the Judicial Department and the NSA are bastions of reasonableness, who approved the Trump Tower #wiretap and why? I am hoping that this is fake news but considering the Flynn leak was classified information you have every right to be suspicious. This action has to be at least as stupid as Ms. Clinton having a private email server, the IRS targeting of conservative groups, and Ms. Rice going on five Sunday morning talk shows and saying the YouTube movie caused the Benghazi attack. At some point, you have to start prosecuting to cut down on the stupidity.
The American people want to believe that both political parties and our journalists will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do. Instead they found out that:
- Glenn Thrush is actually a political hack masquerading as a journalist.
- From time to time Donna Brazile gets debates questions in advance and had no ethical problems passing it on to the Clinton campaign.
- The supposedly neutral DNC was actively trying to undermine the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign despite telling everyone they were not doing that.
This loss of innocence was one of the major reasons behind the success of Mr. Trump’s “Drain the Swamp” theme. Although the intelligence community is trying to divert attention from the gross incompetence and ethical shortcomings of the DNC, Mr. Podesta, and those journalists, I feel it is my responsibility as an old IT guy to remind both political parties and journalists that you are the first line of defense in cybersecurity. Gross stupidity can easily defeat the best cybersecurity plan. So here are my tips:
Stop Doing Ethically Stupid Stuff And Writing About It In Emails
It is better to be thought a cheater than to write an email that removes all doubt! As an example the Donna Brazile “From time to time” email could have been written a thousand different ways that would obscure the source while preparing Ms. Clinton for the subject matter. A simple rephrasing of the question would have at least given Ms. Brazile plausible deniability as a cheater. Ms. Clinton’s worst debate answers are far better than the stigma from being caught cheating. Of course, a more ethical person would not have divulged the question to Ms. Clinton. Most of the journalists mentioned in the Wikileaks releases doing ethically stupid stuff probably regret writing about it in an email. The lesson that should have been learned is that embarrassing emails in the wrong hands are very valuable. You have just provided the reason for even more hacking attempts!
Treat All Communication Devices As Non-Secure
Whether you are in the privacy of your home or at Starbucks you should assume that someone is trying to intercept your communications. It could be the NSA, Russian intelligence, or just some script kiddie having fun. If only a small portion of your emails are about yoga and wedding preparations, you really should not have a private email server. Who were the adults in the room advising Ms. Clinton about the security risks associated with the Secretary of State having a private email server? Brian Krebs of KrebsOnSecurity sums it up best.
There are some fairly simple, immutable truths that each of us should keep in mind, truths that apply equally to political parties, organizations and corporations alike:
- If you connect it to the Internet, someone will try to hack it.
- If what you put on the Internet has value, someone will invest time and effort to steal it.
- Even if what is stolen does not have immediate value to the thief, he can easily find buyers for it.
- The price he secures for it will almost certainly be a tiny slice of its true worth to the victim.
- Organizations and individuals unwilling to spend a small fraction of what those assets are worth to secure them against cybercrooks can expect to eventually be relieved of said assets.
Once again I find myself fact checking the main stream media. When I read the USA Today article, Black Belt voter fraud case in Alabama shaped Senator Jeff Sessions’ career, I was surprised to find out that the prosecutors alleged that three people altered ballots for a 1984 primary election. One group of Democrats were defrauding another group of Democrats. This reminds me of the tactics used by Clinton supporters against Mr. Sanders. There was merit to the case since the defendants admitted that they altered the ballots but only under directions of the voter. Despite this admission the Democrats allege that this case was brought primarily to suppress black voter turnout. Allegations of voter fraud continue to dog at least one of the counties in the Black Belt, Perry county. In 2008 the New York Times reported new allegations of voter fraud. In 2012 tuscaloosanews.com reported a scandal involving a town in Perry county. According to the 2010 census this town had approximately 1,140 people older than 18 and yet it had 2,587 registered voters. If we admit that there were questionable voting practices in the Black Belt, what does this say about Mr. Sessions record as attorney general?
What Does Voter Suppression Mean In A Safe Democratic District?
In the most recent House election for Alabama’s 7th district which encompasses most of the Black Belt, Terri Sewell, won the election with 98.4% of the vote. You have to go all the way back to 1967 to find a Republican winning this district. None of the general elections were close. Obviously Mr. Sessions and the Republicans had nothing to gain from voter suppression. Republicans had almost no chance of winning any political office in the Black Belt. The Black Belt was and still is a safe Democratic district. The real political battle is over who would win the Democratic primary. So the only person who had a motive to report voter fraud was the person who lost the Democratic primary. In an ironic twist the Democrats are mad at Mr. Sessions because he respected the right of that person to have a fair election.
There was a kerfuffle at the University of Virginia when President Teresa Sullivan sent an email urging students to “remember their own responsibility in the world” following President-elect Donald Trump’s victory over Hillary Clinton.
“By coincidence, on this exact day 191 years ago — November 9, 1825, in the first year of classes at U.Va. — Thomas Jefferson wrote to a friend that University of Virginia students ‘are not of ordinary significance only: they are exactly the persons who are to succeed to the government of our country, and to rule its future enmities, its friendships and fortunes,’” she wrote. “I encourage today’s U.Va. students to embrace that responsibility.”
Instead of embracing this noble challenge 469 faculty and students chose to complain about Thomas Jefferson. They argued that the author of the Declaration of Independence, former President, and founder of the university was a bad choice for a “moral compass” because he “owned hundreds of slaves”. Instead they chose to bite the hand of someone trying to help them. Although the history surrounding Thomas Jefferson and slavery is interesting, it was not relevant to Ms. Sullivan’s point. When the words, slavery, racism, and Hitler, pop up in a discussion, the intelligent part of the discussion is over. Unfortunately the faculty and students resorted to using the same shame game strategy Ms. Clinton used unsuccessfully against Trump supporters. If the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. The shame game is a trap for those who are unwilling to engage in intelligent discourse.
Most nights my wife and I go to bed early. Last Tuesday was no exception for me. On my way to the bedroom my wife said she was going to stay up a little longer. She wanted to see how Mr. Trump did in Florida. So I went to bed. At about 11 pm I woke from a deep sleep to hear the television still going. My first thought was that my wife had fallen asleep in front of the television. So I got up and stumbled out to the living room. I was surprised to find her wide awake. She turned to me and whispered, “He is winning.” I mumbled something and headed back to the bedroom. My head was not on my pillow for more than 5 seconds before my eyes snapped open and my mind went into overdrive. What did she mean he is winning? The election should have been called by now. Could the impossible be happening? I grabbed a blanket and went back to the living room. Over the next couple of hours I watched Trump victory unfold. The impossible had happened. For the first time in eight years someone who listened to the people got elected.
Historians will inevitably look at President Obama’s legacy through the prism of his successor. As President Obama once said, “Elections have consequences!”
Make America Great Again
Back in September I wrote a post in which I wondered why the IRS had not pulled the 501(c)(3) non-profit classification from the Clinton Foundation. In the video Charles Ortel makes a persuasive argument that the Clinton Foundation Is The ‘Largest Unprosecuted Charity Fraud Ever’ [VIDEO]. You can follow his progress at his web site, http://charlesortel.com/. On October 26 Wikileaks released Doug Band’s email describing “Bill Clinton Inc“. At some point the FTC and FBI might want to distance themselves from the culture of corruption and pursue a fraud case against the Clinton Foundation.
Charles Ortel discussing that the Clinton Foundation is largest charity fraud
I did not watch this debate. Using the transcript from the Washington Post and I broke it into three documents, clinton.txt, trump.txt, and wallace.txt. After cleaning up the data for text mining I came up with these word clouds. Here are the word clouds:
- The dominant words were “clinton” and “trump”.
- The words, “economy” and “jobs” did not appear in any cloud.
- The words, “people” and “country”, were important words for both candidates.
Word Cloud For Clinton, Trump, and Wallace
Word Cloud For Clinton
Word Cloud For Trump