Surveillance

Intelligence Reports Raise Questions About Obama Administration Surveillance

Featured image At the end of April, the Director of National Intelligence released a report titled Statistical Transparency Report Regarding Use of National Security Authorities. The report, which is mandated by statute, conveys basic data about the intelligence community’s use of the FISA process and other intelligence-gathering techniques. Like most such reports, it raises more questions than it answers. It describes the National Security Agency’s sweeping up of international electronic communications, and »

From Russia with crud

Featured image Whatever happened to the story of Russia’s collusion with the Trump campaign? It shouldn’t be able to survive the reality of Trump’s first 100 days in office. While the investigations continue in Congress and at the FBI, I want to draw attention to a few recent columns I have found of interest. Consistent with Michael Doran’s prediction (via Twitter below), the alleged Trump collusion with Putin looks more farcical every »

Report: Democratic Leakers Have Been Identified

Featured image If this Fox News report is correct, Rep. Devin Nunes is way ahead of the Democrats, and has known since January the identity of the Obama holdovers who illegally leaked the names of Trump associates to the press: The U.S. intelligence official who “unmasked,” or exposed, the names of multiple private citizens affiliated with the Trump team is someone “very well known, very high up, very senior in the intelligence »

Will Smoking Gun Documents Vindicate Trump?

Featured image In the wake of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes’s statements to reporters on Wednesday, the outline of what could become the biggest political scandal of the last 100 years is becoming clear. Obama administration officials, possibly aided by Obama’s January 2017 order expanding access to the NSA’s raw signals intelligence data, are alleged to have misused the NSA’s surveillance capabilities to spy on the incoming Trump administration. The NSA’s »

Breaking News From CNN: We Have No News

Featured image Democratic Party operatives are desperately trying to keep their Russia narrative alive. Thus, this CNN headline: “US Officials: Info suggests Trump associates may have coordinated with Russians.” Sounds like a blockbuster, right? Only the story contains no actual news. The FBI has information that indicates associates of President Donald Trump communicated with suspected Russian operatives to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign, US officials told »

Nunes’s Announcement: Another Take

Featured image I wrote earlier today about House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes’s statement that one or more intelligence agencies “incidentally” collected communications of members of President Trump’s campaign during the Fall of 2016. A reader writes to offer another perspective: I think you need to be a bit more nuanced. I think Nunes is leaving the door open for something like this: The communications were intercepted in the normal course of »

So, Were Trump’s Tweets Right After All?

Featured image Today House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes told reporters that, as has long been rumored and reported, one or more intelligence agencies did collect communications of members of President Trump’s campaign during the Fall of 2016: Members of the intelligence community collected “incidental” communications of the Trump transition team during legal surveillance operations of foreign targets, a top Republican lawmaker said Wednesday afternoon. House Intelligence Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., »

Elliott Abrams on spying on allies

Featured image At NR’s Corner, Elliott Abrams gives his take on the report that the Obama administration spied on the Israeli government. Abrams served for many years as a U.S. foreign policy official and is, of course, a leading pro-Israel advocate. Thus, his is a voice I wanted to hear on this potential scandal. Abrams believes there should be a strong presumption against spying on allies. He also believes that we should »

Report that NSA spying on Israel reached Congress raises abuse of power questions

Featured image Last night, I wrote about a Wall Street Journal report that the NSA spied on Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu and members of his government, and that the spying included intercepting communications with members of Congress. I included in the post the Journal’s brief discussion of the rules that apply to U.S. surveillance that reaches such members. According to the Journal: A 2011 NSA directive said direct communications between foreign intelligence »

FBI Should Come Clean on Surveillance Aircraft

Featured image Here in the Twin Cities, it started when a man described as an aviation buff noticed a small airplane acting oddly. The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported on May 29: Aviation buff John Zimmerman was at a weekly gathering of neighbors Friday night when he noticed something peculiar: a small plane circling a route overhead that didn’t make sense to him. It was dark, so a sightseeing flight didn’t make sense, »

Obama has “full faith” in DCIA who doesn’t know what CIA is up to

Featured image CIA Director John Brennan is under fire from the Senate Intelligence Committee after the CIA admitted that it searched the computer files and read the e-mails of Senate investigators who were probing the agency’s use of harsh interrogation measures on terrorist in the aftermath of 9/11. The fire is well-deserved. Earlier this year, Brennan responded to charges of the misconduct described above by denying them. Now, he admits that the »

Is Obama’s NSA plan a non-starter?

Featured image President Obama’s idea of ending the government’s role in gathering the phone records of Americans is probably unworkable according to various U.S. officials contacted by the Washington Post. Obama’s idea is to transfer control of the NSA’s massive database of phone records to telephone companies or some kind of independent board. But the phone companies do not want this responsibility and, according to the Post, no one has come up »

Obama’s national security cop-out

Featured image A reader with first-hand knowledge about national security and intelligence issues, as well as the Obama administration’s policies relating thereto, has written to me about my two recent posts on NSA surveillance. The essence of my posts is that the Obama administration hand-picked a left-leaning panel to report on surveillance policy because it wanted a highly critical report to use as the basis for cutting back substantially on electronic surveillance. »

Rigged report on NSA paves way for Obama to take a powder

Featured image Yesterday, I suggested that the report on NSA surveillance by the President’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies delivered just what President Obama hoped and expected it would — a document that would pull the rug out from under his own surveillance policies. You don’t appoint a strongly left-leaning panel unless you want such a document. The president’s conduct at his press conference today tends to confirm my assessment. »