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Deep State again tries to block dialogue with Russia: Washington Post’s phoney story about Trump’s leak

Washington Post story Trump leaked ‘classified information’ to Lavrov is phoney and a further attempt to prevent a meaningful dialogue between the US and Russia.

Alexander Mercouris

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The Washington Post story about President Trump’s supposed leak of highly classified intelligence information about ISIS to the Russians is a case study of the lengths to which the President’s enemies are prepared to go in order to discredit him and to stop any chance of a rapprochement with Russia.

Briefly, the Washington Post claims that Trump told Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov and the Russians during his recent meeting with them in the Oval Office information about an alleged plot by ISIS to carry out attacks on passenger aircraft using laptops.   The Washington Post describes Trump’s supposed wrongdoing in this way

President Trump revealed highly classified information to the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in a White House meeting last week, according to current and former U.S. officials, who said Trump’s disclosures jeopardized a critical source of intelligence on the Islamic State.

The information the president 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 Trump’s decision to do so endangers cooperation from an ally that has access to the inner workings of the Islamic State. After Trump’s meeting, senior White House officials took steps to contain the damage, placing calls to the CIA and the National Security Agency.

“This is code-word information,” said a U.S. official familiar with the matter, using terminology that refers to one of the highest classification levels used by American spy agencies. Trump “revealed more information to the Russian ambassador than we have shared with our own allies.”…..

One day after dismissing Comey, Trump welcomed Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Ambassador Sergey Kislyak — a key figure in earlier Russia controversies — into the Oval Office. It was during that meeting, officials said, that Trump went off script and began describing details of an Islamic State terrorist threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft…..

For almost anyone in government, discussing such matters with an adversary would be illegal. As president, Trump has broad authority to declassify government secrets, making it unlikely that his disclosures broke the law.

White House officials involved in the meeting said Trump discussed only shared concerns about terrorism.

The existence of an alleged ISIS plot to use laptops to bring down passenger aircraft has been all over the media for months.  That cannot therefore have been the “highly classified information” that President Trump is supposed to have discussed.

It turns out that the “highly classified information” that Trump is supposed to have disclosed is the name of the city where the alleged ISIS plot was discovered.   That supposedly compromised the source of the information, which presumably means the intelligence agency which provided it.

Trump went on to discuss aspects of the threat that the United States learned only through the espionage capabilities of a key partner. He did not reveal the specific intelligence-gathering method, but he described how the Islamic State was pursuing elements of a specific plot and how much harm such an attack could cause under varying circumstances. Most alarmingly, officials said, Trump revealed the city in the Islamic State’s territory where the U.S. intelligence partner detected the threat.

The Post is withholding most plot details, including the name of the city, at the urging of officials who warned that revealing them would jeopardize important intelligence capabilities.

“Everyone knows this stream is very sensitive, and the idea of sharing it at this level of granularity with the Russians is troubling,” said a former senior U.S. counterterrorism official who also worked closely with members of the Trump national security team. He and others spoke on the condition of anonymity, citing the sensitivity of the subject.

The identification of the location was seen as particularly problematic, officials said, because Russia could use that detail to help identify the U.S. ally or intelligence capability involved. Officials said the capability could be useful for other purposes, possibly providing intelligence on Russia’s presence in Syria. Moscow would be keenly interested in identifying that source and perhaps disrupting it……

…..the information wasn’t the United States’ to provide to others. Under the rules of espionage, governments — and even individual agencies — are given significant control over whether and how the information they gather is disseminated, even after it has been shared. Violating that practice undercuts trust considered essential to sharing secrets.

The officials declined to identify the ally but said it has previously voiced frustration with Washington’s inability to safeguard sensitive information related to Iraq and Syria.

“If that partner learned we’d given this to Russia without their knowledge or asking first, that is a blow to that relationship,” the U.S. official said.

There are a number of obvious problems with this story.

The first is that if any of this is true then the publication of this story in the Washington Post is completely irresponsible and is conceivably a crime itself.

Firstly, the Washington Post grudgingly concedes that Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov hardly reacted to the leaking of the supposedly “highly classified information” Trump is supposed to have leaked to him.

Lavrov’s reaction to the Trump disclosures was muted, officials said, calling for the United States to work more closely with Moscow on fighting terrorism.

That suggests that Lavrov did not see this information as compromising or sensitive, and was unaware of any greater implications concerning it.  In that case it is possible the Russians failed to notice the supposed importance of this information.

If that was indeed the case then the Washington Post and the anonymous officials and former officials who have fed the Washington Post this information have now alerted the Russians for the first time to its importance.

No doubt Russian intelligence is going over the stenographic record of Lavrov’s discussion with Trump made by his interpreters looking for this information even as I write this.  When they find it this is what the Washington Post’s sources say will be the results

The identification of the location was seen as particularly problematic, officials said, because Russia could use that detail to help identify the U.S. ally or intelligence capability involved. Officials said the capability could be useful for other purposes, possibly providing intelligence on Russia’s presence in Syria. Moscow would be keenly interested in identifying that source and perhaps disrupting it.

“Russia could identify our sources or techniques,” the senior U.S. official said.

A former intelligence official who handled high-level intelligence on Russia said that given the clues Trump provided, “I don’t think that it would be that hard [for Russian spy services] to figure this out.”

The damage would however in that case have been done not by Trump but by the Washington Post and by the anonymous officials and former officials who prompted its article.

The second point is the one about the potentially damaging consequences if the “intelligence partner” who supposedly provided this “highly classified information” were ever to find out about the leak.

This is what the anonymous officials and former officials are quoted by the Washington Post as saying about that

The officials declined to identify the ally but said it has previously voiced frustration with Washington’s inability to safeguard sensitive information related to Iraq and Syria.

“If that partner learned we’d given this to Russia without their knowledge or asking first, that is a blow to that relationship,” the U.S. official said.

The “intelligence partner” – presumably a Middle East country – has now learnt about the leak.  It has done so because the Washington Post has published a story about it.

Whether any dire consequences follow is another matter.  If they do then the blame for that lies not with Donald Trump but with the Washington Post and the anonymous officials and former officials who prompted its article.

Is this story however even true?

The essence of the story – that Trump leaked “highly classified information” to Lavrov and the Russians in a way that does harm or potential harm to US national security – has been emphatically denied by Donald Trump’s highly regarded (perhaps over-regarded) National Security Adviser General H.R. McMaster, as well as by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and by other officials

Here is a video of General McMaster commenting on the story.  Here is a transcript of what he said

There’s nothing that the President takes more seriously than the security of the American people. The story that came out tonight, as reported, is false. The President and the [Russian] Foreign Minister [Sergey Lavrov] reviewed a range of common threats to our two counties, including threats to civil aviation.  At no time – at no time – were intelligence sources or methods discussed. And the President did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known. Two other senior officials who were present, including the Secretary of State, remember it being the same way and have said so. Their on-the-record accounts should outweigh those of anonymous sources. And I was in the room. It didn’t happen.”

 

Firstly, since this is a discussion about classified information there were obvious constraints on what General McMaster could say.  He could not go into the detail of the Washington Post’s story without compounding the damage the Washington Post’s publication of the story has quite possibly already done and without breaking the law.

Secondly, General McMaster has nonetheless unequivocally said that “the story as reported is false”.

Thirdly, General McMaster has made the point that he was physically present in the room when the conversation between Trump and Lavrov took place and that – unlike the ‘anonymous sources’ the Washington Post is relying upon – he is speaking publicly and on the record.

In any sane world statements made publicly and on the record should always be given greater credence than statements made secretly and anonymously.  In any matter involving Trump or Russia the reverse is true.  This story is a case in point.

So what is General McMaster denying?

There is no doubt that President Trump did share with the Russians information about an alleged ISIS plot against passenger aircraft using laptops.   General McMaster says as much, and President Trump has just admitted it.

However as President Trump has correctly said – and as the Washington Post grudgingly admits – as President Trump was fully within his rights to do this.  Here is what Trump himself has tweeted today about all of this

And here is what the Washington Post has said about it

For almost anyone in government, discussing such matters with an adversary would be illegal. As president, Trump has broad authority to declassify government secrets, making it unlikely that his disclosures broke the law.

(bold italics added)

If the fact that Trump shared information with the Russians about an ISIS plot against passenger aircraft using laptops is not disputed, and if his right to do so is not disputed either, it is the interpretation of his doing it given by the Washington Post which McMaster, Tillerson and the other senior administration officials are disputing.  That is what McMaster means when he says that “the story as reported is false”.

When world leaders meet they regularly exchange information with each other.  If they did not do so diplomatic contacts would be devoid of all content and would grind to a stop.

In this case Trump told Lavrov of a supposed plot by ISIS to use laptops against passenger aircraft.  Trump says he did this in order to get Russia’s help in the fight against ISIS.  There is nothing unusual or untoward about this, and nothing unusual about Trump telling the Russians some of the details of the plot.  It beggars belief that Trump doing this was in any way sinister or dangerous or a threat to national security or risks any of the consequences the Washington Post alleges.  Had it done so Trump’s aides who were present at the meeting – General McMaster first and foremost – would have intervened immediately to stop him doing it.  That after all is their job.

A former US intelligence officer Michael Pregent has explained the position clearly

But some former intelligence officials think the repercussions from the Oval Office meeting will be minimal, if any.

“No damage – no sources or methods revealed,” said Michael Pregent, a former intelligence officer now with the Hudson Institute, a Washington think tank.

Pregent, who worked with McMaster in Iraq, said it is unlikely the national security adviser would have allowed the president to cross any lines.

Instead, Pregent sees an opportunity to have turned the Russian visit to the White House to Washington’s advantage.

“Sharing this info with the Russians calls them on their inaction against ISIS in Syria,” he said.

In other words no harm was done and the President and his officials were doing nothing more than engaging in normal diplomacy.

The Washington Post story itself all but admits this.  As I have said, if Trump sharing information with the Russians really did have the potentially serious national security consequences the Washington Post alleges, then the Washington Post and the ‘anonymous current and former officials’ who were its sources for the story have massively and irresponsibly compounded the damage by telling the world about it.  That they did so in fact shows that no harm was done, and that they know it.

Which brings us to the real point of this story.

Ever since Trump met Lavrov in the Oval Office there has been a concerted attempt by the mainstream media and some US politicians to cast the meeting in the most sinister light.

Firstly there was the preposterous story of the Russian photographer.  Now there is the attempt by the Washington Post to spin a standard diplomatic exchange into a dangerous leak.

That is both unwarranted and ridiculous.  It shows the real agenda behind this story: to discredit Trump in any way possible, and to make impossible any meaningful dialogue between the US and Russian governments which might lead to a possible rapprochement between the US and Russia.

Those who give credence to this story or pretend to are either being manipulated or share this agenda.

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“Foreign entity, NOT RUSSIA” hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails (Video)

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx): Hillary Clinton’s cache of 30,000 emails was hacked by foreign actor, and it was not Russia.

Alex Christoforou

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A stunning revelation that hardly anyone in the mainstream media is covering.

Fox News gave Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) the opportunity to explain what was going on during his questioning of Peter Strzok, when the the Texas Congressman stated that a “foreign entity, NOT RUSSIA” hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Aside from this segment on Fox News, this story is not getting any coverage, and we know why. It destroys the entire ‘Russia hacked Hillary’ narrative.

Gohmert states that this evidence is irrefutable and shows that a foreign actor, not connected to Russia in any way, intercepted and distributed Hillary Clinton’s cache of 30,000 emails.

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Via Zerohedge

As we sift through the ashes of Thursday’s dumpster-fire Congressional hearing with still employed FBI agent Peter Strzok, Luke Rosiak of the Daily Caller plucked out a key exchange between Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) and Strzok which revealed a yet-unknown bombshell about the Clinton email case.

Nearly all of Hillary Clinton’s emails on her homebrew server went to a foreign entity that isn’t Russia. When this was discovered by the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG), IG Chuck McCullough sent his investigator Frank Ruckner and an attorney to notify Strzok along with three other people about the “anomaly.”

Four separate attempts were also made to notify DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz to brief him on the massive security breach, however Horowitz “never returned the call.” Recall that Horowitz concluded last month that despite Strzok’s extreme bias towards Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump – none of it translated to Strzok’s work at the FBI.

In other words; Strzok, while investigating Clinton’s email server, completely ignored the fact that most of Clinton’s emails were sent to a foreign entity – while IG Horowitz simply didn’t want to know about it.

Daily Caller reports…

The Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) found an “anomaly on Hillary Clinton’s emails going through their private server, and when they had done the forensic analysis, they found that her emails, every single one except four, over 30,000, were going to an address that was not on the distribution list,” Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas said during a hearing with FBI official Peter Strzok.

Gohmert continued..

“It was going to an unauthorized source that was a foreign entity unrelated to Russia.”

Strzok admitted to meeting with Ruckner but said he couldn’t remember the “specific” content of their discussion.

“The forensic examination was done by the ICIG and they can document that,” Gohmert said, “but you were given that information and you did nothing with it.”

According to Zerohedge “Mr. Horowitz got a call four times from someone wanting to brief him about this, and he never returned the call,” Gohmert said – and Horowitz wouldn’t return the call.

And while Peter Strzok couldn’t remember the specifics of his meeting with the IG about the giant “foreign entity” bombshell, he texted this to his mistress Lisa Page when the IG discovered the “(C)” classification on several of Clinton’s emails – something the FBI overlooked:

“Holy cow … if the FBI missed this, what else was missed? … Remind me to tell you to flag for Andy [redacted] emails we (actually ICIG) found that have portion marks (C) on a couple of paras. DoJ was Very Concerned about this.”

Via Zerohedge

In November of 2017, IG McCullough – an Obama appointee – revealed to Fox News that he received pushback when he tried to tell former DNI James Clapper about the foreign entity which had Clinton’s emails and other anomalies.

Instead of being embraced for trying to expose an illegal act, seven senators including Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca) wrote a letter accusing him of politicizing the issue.

“It’s absolutely irrelevant whether something is marked classified, it is the character of the information,” he said. Fox News reports…

McCullough said that from that point forward, he received only criticism and an “adversarial posture” from Congress when he tried to rectify the situation.

“I expected to be embraced and protected,” he said, adding that a Hill staffer “chided” him for failing to consider the “political consequences” of the information he was blowing the whistle on.

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Donald Trump plays good cop and bad cop with a weak Theresa May (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 55.

Alex Christoforou

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US President Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK was momentous, not for its substance, but rather for its sheer entertainment value.

Trump started his trip to the United Kingdom blasting Theresa May for her inability to negotiate a proper Brexit deal with the EU.  Trump ended his visit holding hands with the UK Prime Minister during a press conference where the most ‘special relationship’ between the two allies was once again reaffirmed.

Protests saw giant Trump “baby balloons” fly over London’s city center, as Trump played was his own good cop and bad cop to the UK PM, outside London at the Chequers…often times leaving May’s head spinning.

Even as Trump has left London, he remains front and center in the mind of Theresa May, who has now stated that Trump advised her to “sue” the European Union to resolve the tense negotiations over Brexit.

Trump had mentioned to reporters on Friday at a joint press conference with Theresa May that he had given the British leader a suggestion that she found too “brutal.”

Asked Sunday on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show what that suggestion was, May: “He told me I should sue the EU. Not go into negotiation, sue them.” May added…

“What the president also said at that press conference was `Don’t walk away. Don’t walk away from the negotiations. Then you’re stuck.”‘

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris summarize what was a state visit like no other, as Trump trolled the UK PM from beginning to end, and left London knowing that he got the better of a weakened British Prime Minister, who may not survive in office past next week.

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Via CNBC

It wasn’t exactly clear what Trump meant. The revelation came after explosive and undiplomatic remarks Trump made this week about May’s leadership — especially her handling of the Brexit negotiations — as he made his first official visit to Britain.

In an interview with The Sun newspaper published Thursday — just as May was hosting Trump at a lavish black-tie dinner — Trump said the British leader’s approach likely “killed” chances of a free-trade deal with the United States. He said he had told May how to conduct Brexit negotiations, “but she didn’t listen to me.”

He also praised May’s rival, Boris Johnson, who quit last week as foreign secretary to protest May’s Brexit plans. Trump claimed Johnson would make a “great prime minister.”

The comments shocked many in Britain — even May’s opponents — and threatened to undermine May’s already fragile hold on power. Her Conservative government is deeply split between supporters of a clean break with the EU and those who want to keep close ties with the bloc, Britain’s biggest trading partner.

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Deep State poster boy Peter Strzok gives bizarre testimony that goes viral (Video)

The face of the Deep State.

Alex Christoforou

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If you were not convinced that the Deep State exists, then look no further than Peter Strzok’s bizarre, yet revealing, congressional testimony, showcasing the arrogance and smugness of a powerful FBI agent who worked diligently to push a fake Trump-Russia narrative onto the American public.

Via Zerohedge

While Peter Strzok’s marathon Congressional testimony was full of bickering, chaos and drama – mostly between members of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees – a clip of the disgraced FBI agent’s seemingly giddy reaction after answering a question is creeping people out.

Some have suggested that Strzok’s reaction was “Duper’s delight” – a hidden smirk that slips out at an inappropriate moment when a liar celebrates a successful manipulation.

Watching Peter Strzok, its hard, if not impossible to believe that this man is not a psychopath, who hated Trump so much that he was willing to forward a collusion story that has cost American taxpayers millions, and torn American society apart.

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The video clip even had Donald Trump Jr retweeting it, as he labeled Strzok “the creepiest person in America.”

Via RT

One particular moment from Peter Strzok’s raucous congressional hearing left Twitter users confounded and disturbed, even prompting Donald Trump Jr to label the FBI agent “the creepiest person in America.”

Strzok faced the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees on Thursday to answer questions about his conduct during the 2016 investigations into Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

The lengthy hearing quickly descended into a partisan shouting match, as Republicans and Democrats interrupted each other’s questions, heckling or applauding Strzok.

Strzok’s peculiar reaction to one question caught the eye of viewers and many took to Twitter to confirm that their eyes weren’t deceiving them.

Strzok’s facial expressions were also noticed by the congressmen in the room and prompted one of the most dramatic moments of the hearing when Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) accused Strzok of outright lying.

“I can’t help but wonder when I see you looking there with a little smirk; how many times did you look so innocent into your wife’s eyes and lie to her about Lisa Page,” Gohmert told Strzok, referring to the agent’s extramarital affair with his former colleague Lisa Page, with whom he exchanged anti-Trump text messages. Gohmert’s comment sparked vociferous objections from Democrats.

The hearing evoked a significant reaction, with many describing it as a farce. Former New York mayor and current attorney to US President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, labelled it a “disgrace” and said it “taints the entire Mueller witch hunt.”

“President Trump is being investigated by people who possess pathological hatred for him. All the results of the investigation are ‘fruit of the poison tree’ and should be dismissed,” he added.

Democrats seemed to agree with that sentiment, as California Congressman Ted Lieu said it was “a stupid and ridiculous hearing.”

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