The Trump Justice Department in 2017 and early 2018 issued subpoenas to Apple to obtain the communications records of at least two Democratic members of the House Intelligence Committee, Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Eric Swalwell (D-CA). According to The New York Times, DOJ prosecutors attempting to determine who leaked classified information to the media about Russiagate suspected the two House Democrats were the culprits, and to prove that, they obtained their communications records as well as those of family members, including minor children.
A DOJ leak investigation aimed at sitting members of Congress is highly unusual. Both the Obama and Trump administrations, in a hunt for leakers, created controversy by obtaining the communications records of journalists, including — in the case of the Obama DOJ — the family members of those journalists. But investigating members of the House Intelligence Committee for leaking crimes — as opposed to corruption or other standard criminal charges — can present different dangers. Neither Congressman was charged with any crimes and the investigation reportedly bore no fruit.
The two House Democrats, among the most fanatical disseminators of baseless Russiagate conspiracies and long known to serve as anonymous sources of leaks to liberal media outlets, reacted with predictable outrage. “This baseless investigation, while now closed, is yet another example of Trump’s corrupt weaponization of justice,” Schiff intoned on Thursday night. As difficult as it is, Swalwell, as he often does, found a way to be even more melodramatic than Schiff: “Like many of the world’s most despicable dictators, former President Trump showed an utter disdain for our democracy and the rule of law.”
Investigating possible crimes — such as leaking classified information — is the job of the Justice Department. To accomplish that, FBI agents and prosecutors often obtain personal communications records about their suspects. But invading the communications records of journalists, as both the Obama and Trump DOJ did, can create serious threats to press freedom and the possibility of abuse and retaliation. The same is true for invading the communications records of members of the legislative branch, particularly ones hostile to the president. An investigation is certainly warranted to determine the propriety of these subpoenas.
But like so many politicians before them, Schiff and Swalwell have zero credibility to object to this targeting. When it comes to ordinary Americans, both have been long-time champions of expanding domestic spying powers and blocking efforts at reform designed to curb abuses of the type they claim took place here.
Rep. Liz Cheney, the now-deposed third in House leadership, lied about her role in the fake Russian bounty tale, Glenn Greenwald reports.
During an interview with Bret Baier, Liz Cheney repeatedly lied about her role in spreading the Russian bounty hoax.
In case you don’t remember, the CIA cooked up that tale. Anonymous sources told the NY Times that Russia was paying Taliban fighters to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan. As Greenwald notes, this was as former President Trump announced his plans to withdraw troops from Afghanistan.
The pro-war crowd, led by Liz, used the story to continue the endless 19 year war.
Last month, the intel community admitted that it had only “low to moderate confidence” that any of this even happened.
On Monday, CNN made clear that this dynamic still drives the corporate media world. The network proudly announced that it had hired Natasha Bertrand away from Politico. In doing so, they added to their stable of former CIA operatives, NSA spies, Pentagon Generals and FBI agents a reporter who has done as much as anyone, if not more so, to advance the scripts of those agencies.
Bertrand’s career began taking off when, while at Business Insider, she abandoned her obsession with Russia’s role in Syria in 2016 in order to monomaniacally fixate on every last conspiracy theory and gossip item that drove the Russiagate fraud during the 2016 campaign and then into the Trump presidency. Each month, Bertrand produced dozens of Russiagate articles for the site that were so unhinged that they made Rachel Maddow look sober, cautious and reliable.
Back in the good old days, when things were more innocent and simple, the psychopathic Central Intelligence Agency had to covertly infiltrate the news media to manipulate the information Americans were consuming about their nation and the world. Nowadays, there is no meaningful separation between the news media and the CIA at all.
Journalist Glenn Greenwald just highlighted an interesting point about the reporting by The New York Times on the so-called “Bountygate” story the outlet broke in June of last year about the Russian government trying to pay Taliban-linked fighters to attack US soldiers in Afghanistan.
“One of the NYT reporters who originally broke the Russia bounty story (originally attributed to unnamed ‘intelligence officials’) say today that it was a CIA claim,” Greenwald tweeted. “So media outlets – again – repeated CIA stories with no questioning: congrats to all.”
Indeed, NYT’s original story made no mention of CIA involvement in the narrative, citing only “officials,” yet this latest article speaks as though it had been informing its readers of the story’s roots in the lying, torturing, drug-running, warmongering Central Intelligence Agency from the very beginning. The author even writes “The New York Times first reported last summer the existence of the C.I.A.’s assessment,” with the hyperlink leading to the initial article which made no mention of the CIA. It wasn’t until later that The New York Times began reporting that the CIA was looking into the Russian bounties allegations at all.
That Russia placed “bounties” on the heads of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan was one of the most-discussed and consequential news stories of 2020. It was also, as it turns out, one of the most baseless — as the intelligence agencies who spread it through their media spokespeople now admit, largely because the tale has fulfilled and outlived its purpose.
The saga began on July 29, 2020, when The New York Times announced that unnamed “American intelligence officials” have concluded that “a Russian military intelligence unit secretly offered bounties to Taliban-linked militants for killing coalition forces in Afghanistan — including targeting American troops.” The paper called it “a significant and provocative escalation” by Russia. Though no evidence was ever presented to support the CIA’s claims — neither in that original story nor in any reporting since — most U.S. media outlets blindly believed it and spent weeks if not longer treating it as proven, highly significant truth. Leading politicians from both parties similarly used this emotional storyline to advance multiple agendas.
The story appeared — coincidentally or otherwise — just weeks after President Trump announced his plan to withdraw all troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2020. Pro-war members of Congress from both parties and liberal hawks in corporate media spent weeks weaponizing this story to accuse Trump of appeasing Putin by leaving Afghanistan and being too scared to punish the Kremlin. Cable outlets and the op-ed pages of The New York Times and Washington Post endlessly discussed the grave implications of this Russian treachery and debated which severe retaliation was needed. “This is as bad as it gets,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Then-candidate Joe Biden said Trump’s refusal to punish Russia and his casting doubt on the truth of the story was more proof that Trump’s “entire presidency has been a gift to Putin,” while Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) demanded that, in response, the U.S. put Russians and Afghans “in body bags.”
The fake New York Times continues its efforts at disinformation and trying to overthrow the elected government of the USA: Last week Soros-backed „reporter“ Eric Schmitt tried to spark hostility with Russia over alleged “Bounties“ for US soldiers in Afghanistan.
Both the Russians and the Taliban have denied the crackpot claims. On June 29, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the story “a lie” and “absolute BS.” Speaking on Russia24 television channel, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called the story “a Hollywood blockbuster“ that reminded her of the movie “Wag the Dog“, TASS reported. The Taliban are outlawed as a terrorist organization in Russia.
The Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid also rejected the claims by The New York Times: “We strongly reject this allegation. Neither is the Islamic Emirate in need of anyone’s help in determining its objectives,” said Mujahid. “These rumors are being circulated to create hurdles for the departure of American troops, to weaken and confuse advocates of peace in America and to attribute the great heroism and achievements of the Afghans to foreigner circles,” Mujahid said, according to Turkish Anadolu News Agency.
The New York Times story, which did not cite any actual examples of a “Russian bounty” being paid for the deaths of U.S. soldiers and offered little in the way of evidence besides unnamed “officials” and “sources”, was principally written by Eric Schmitt, who has been an employee of George-Soros sponsored Democrat Think Tank „Center for a New American Security“ (CNAS) since 2015. The New York Times did not reveal this affiliation in Schmitt‘s articles. It was not clear how working for a partisan Think Tank complies with NYT journalistic ethics.
CNAS was run by Obama-era Ukraine ambassador Victoria Nuland until 2019, a frequent guest at the Soros-funded Ukraine Media Crisis Center, ground zero for the Russiagate conspiracy. Nuland was closely involved with the Biden crime family’s Ukraine Burisma racket, George Soros’ manipulations in Ukraine and the plunged $5 billion taxpayer dollars into Ukraine as part of the “color revolution” 2014.
CNAS was also one of the prime sources for the hit job on Gen. Mike Flynn 2017. Eric Schmitt had already begun writing about Mike Flynn’s threat to the deep state in Dec. 3, 2016, warning of Flynn’s “desire to usurp what he viewed as Washington’s incompetent and corrupt elite.” Closely coordinating with Rep. Adam Schiff, Schmitt became one of the first reporters to begin the takedown of Gen. Mike Flynn on Feb. 12 with an article headed “Turmoil at the National Security Council, From the Top Down” and Feb. 14 with an article claiming “Trump Was Informed 17 Days Ago That Flynn Had Not Been Truthful on Russia”. Amazingly, Schmitt is still on staff at the “New York Times”.
On Thursday, more than six months after our initial reporting the mainstream media finally caught up with Gateway Pundit and admitted their original reporting was as fake as the Russia pee-pee tapes.
Journalists with the largest and most influential media outlets disseminated an outright and quite significant lie on Tuesday to hundreds of thousands of people, if not millions, on Twitter. While some of them were shamed into acknowledging the falsity of their claim, many refused to, causing it to continue to spread up until this very moment. It is well worth examining how they function because this is how they deceive the public again and again, and it is why public trust in their pronouncements has justifiably plummeted.
The lie they told involved claims of Russian involvement in the procurement of Hunter Biden’s laptop. In the weeks leading up to the 2020 election, The New York Post obtained that laptop and published a series of articles about the Biden family’s business dealings in Ukraine, China and elsewhere. In response, Twitter banned the posting of any links to that reporting and locked The Post out of its Twitter account for close to two weeks, while Facebook, through a long-time Democratic operative, announced that it would algorithmically suppress the reporting.
The excuse used by those social media companies for censoring this reporting was the same invoked by media outlets to justify their refusal to report the contents of these documents: namely, that the materials were “Russian disinformation.” That claim of “Russian disinformation” was concocted by a group of several dozen former CIA officials and other operatives of the intelligence community devoted to defeating Trump. Immediately after The Post published its first story about Hunter Biden’s business dealings in Ukraine that traded on his influence with his father, these career spies and propagandists, led by Obama CIA Director and serial liar John Brennan, published a letter asserting that the appearance of these Biden documents “has all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation.”
News outlets uncritically hyped this claim as fact even though these security state operatives themselves admitted: “We want to emphasize that we do not know if the emails…are genuine or not and that we do not have evidence of Russian involvement — just that our experience makes us deeply suspicious that the Russian government played a significant role in this case.” Even though this claim came from trained liars who, with uncharacteristic candor, acknowledged that they did not “have evidence” for their claim, media outlets uncritically ratified this assertion.