We frequently hear people say they have nothing to hide—-so surrendering privacy and constitutional rights to the Surveillance State may not be such a big deal if it helps catch a terrorist or two. But with each passing day in the RussiaGate drama we are learning that this superficial exoneration is dangerously beside the point.
We are referring here to the unrelenting witch hunt that has been unleashed by Imperial Washington against the legitimately elected President of the United States, Donald J. Trump. This campaign of lies, leaks and Russophobia is the handiwork of Obama’s top national security advisors, who blatantly misused Washington’s surveillance apparatus to discredit Trump and to effectively nullify America’s democratic process.
That is, constitutional protections and liberties were systematically breached, but not simply to intimidate, hush or lock up citizens one by one as per the standard totalitarian modus operandi. Instead, what has happened is that the entire public debate has been hijacked by the shadowy forces of the Deep State and their partisan and media collaborators.
The enabling culprits are Obama’s last CIA director, John Brennan, his national security advisor Susan Rice and UN Ambassador Samantha Power. There is now mounting evidence that it was they who illegally “unmasked” NSA intercepts from Trump Tower; they who confected the Russian meddling narrative from behind the protective moat of classified intelligence; and they who orchestrated a systematic campaign of leaks and phony intelligence reports during the presidential transition—-all designed to delegitimize Trump before he even took the oath of office.
So all three of them should be —-that’s for sure. But the more urgent solution would be to all the innuendo, surmises, assessments, half-truths and boilerplate intelligence chatter on which the entire false narrative about Russian meddling and collusion is based.
Stated differently, without the nation’s massive intelligence apparatus and absurd system of secrecy and classified information to hide behind, the RussiaGate witch hunt would have never gotten off the ground.
In truth, as we will essay below, there is no there, there. So what this new chapter in McCarthyite hysteria actually demonstrates is that the Imperial City’s far-flung, 17-agency, $75 billion Intelligence Behemoth is a plenary threat not just to individual liberty, but to the very constitutional democracy on which the latter depends.
To appreciate the severity of the threat, it is necessary to recognize that the post-9/11 Deep State has lowered a double whammy on our system. That is, it unconstitutionally collects the entirety of all internet based communications of America’s 325 million citizen, while at the same time it has effectively disenfranchised 98% of the 535 members of the House and Senate who have been elected to represent them.
Accordingly, behind the Surveillance State’s vast wall of secrecy and so-called “classified” information, there operates a Dark Government that is unaccountable to the public and largely unconstrained by normal constitutional limits, which the Patriot Act and secret FISA courts have more or less suspended.
In the realm of this Dark Government, the heart of American democracy—-the US Congress—has been completely usurped. Almost everything behind the secrecy wall is off limits to the rank and file. Only a handful of intelligence committee members and the House and Senate leadership gets sworn into the classified intelligence.
Yet just consider the hideous asymmetry of this arrangement. The so-called “Gang of Eight,” comprising the heads of the intelligence oversight committees and their respective party leadership, gets orally briefed in a secure “vault”, where they can’t take notes or carry-out any documents.
Moreover, this select handful of legislators consists of the incessantly mobilized and frazzled potentates of Capitol Hill who are always knee-deep in a thousand other distractions—-including a heavy quotient of politicking, fund-raising, and campaign trail excursions.
On the inside of the Surveillance State wall, by contrast, there are 600,000 employees or contractors with “top secret” security clearances alone; and more than 4 million total operatives who spend night and days feasting on the $75 billion Intelligence Community (IC) budget and carrying out projects and missions designed to justify their existence and keep the budgetary gravy train flowing.
For example, in the National Security Agency (NSA) there is a subsidiary entity called TAO (Targeted Access Operations) with a budget of several billions and more than 1,000 employees. The latter predominately consist of high-powered civilian and military hackers, computer geeks, intelligence analysts, targeting specialists, computer hardware and software designers and electrical engineers—-whose job it is to do exactly what Russia is being accused of.
Namely, to hack and electronically infiltrate the communications and operations of nearly every government on the planet, and most especially those of IC designated enemies and adversaries such as Russia and Iran.Indeed, TAOs motto says it all:
In any given 24-hour day, the TAO hacks and deposits more disinformation and malware into its targeted foreign networks than all the low level Russian probes that were intercepted by NSA during the entire Presidential campaign.
In other words, Washington is the mother of all hackers and cyber-warfare operations, and what Russia and other nations do is only a small potatoes version of the same. Yet the overwhelming share of these digital cloak and dagger operation by all sides is a huge waste of national resources; and most especially it is of no value at all to the safety of the American people.
That because Russia, China and Iran—-the principal targets of the IC’s massive surveillance and cyber warfare activities—are no threats whatsoever to America’s security.
Iran has zero military capacity to attack the American homeland, and the claim that it is the leading sponsor of terrorism is pure bunkum. That hoary claim has been concocted by the Washington neocons and the Netanyahu political machine—both of which need demonized enemies in order to nurture the public fears on which their power is based.
Likewise, Russia has one 40-year old smoke-belching aircraft carry and a fleet of rowboats—–neither of which are capable of launching an assault on the New Jersey shores. True, it does have about 1,00o nuclear warheads; but where is the evidence that cool-hand Vlad is contemplating national suicide by using them against the US or Europe?
The purported Chinese threat is even more ludicrous. Notwithstanding the fertile imaginations of the Deep State fear-mongers who believe the South China Sea is actually an American Lake, the Red Suzerains of Beijing know fully well that without the continuous custom of Wal-Mart and Amazon warehouses, the Red Ponzi would collapse in a heartbeat. And that they would be hung by angry mobs from the CCTV (China Central Television) Tower shortly thereafter.
In fact, we don’t need the $75 billion Surveillance State to deal with the Taliban, the jihadist warlords of Somalia or any of the warring Sunni vs. Shiite (Houthis) parties of Yemen, either. They do not threaten America’s security in the slightest.
Nor did the government of Khadafy in Libya after he turned in his nukes. Likewise, the Assad regime has never, ever threatened to harm America—-despite the non-stop vilification from Washington.
At most, Washington needs modest local and theatre level capacity to monitor the fading remnants of the Islamic State—-a temporary scourge in the mostly the impoverished Sunni villages of the Upper Euphrates, which would not even exist in the first place had it not been fostered and armed with the weapons the US Army left behind in the fiasco of Iraq.
So consider the contrafactual. In the absence of a vast Warfare State apparatus and associated Surveillance State wall of secrecy what would RussiaGate amount to?
The answer is straight-forward: It was nothing more than a politically motivated plot orchestrated by former CIA director Brennan to undermine the Presidential campaign of a rambunctious outsider. That is, the Donald was unschooled in the groupthink of the Imperial City and had enough common sense to realize that Putin is not our enemy, that NATO is obsolete, that regime change has been a fiasco and that foreign policy should be based on homeland security first, not the perpetuation of an American Empire abroad.
Those inchoate impulses were the Donald’s original sin, and it was unverified and self-serving “intelligence” from the Latvian security service—-of all things—- that provided the pretext for Brennan to launch the Deep State’s own version of jihad against Trump.
What this dubious intelligence did was to finger Vlad Putin himself and that was crucial. It permitted Brennan to puff-up the evidence of run-of-the-mill cyber intrusions by the Russian security services—-or even unconnected Russian hackers and profiteers— into a sweeping but phony narrative about an attack on American democracy with Putin at the very center.
As Scott Ritter—- the weapons expert who blew the whistle on the IC’s trumped up claims about Saddam’s WMDs—-succinctly explained in a recent article, Brennan proceeded to turn a dubious molehill into a vertiable mountain:
Here’s the thing. Vlad didn’t do it. The only interference in the electoral process that he has been associated with is with respect to what Imperial Washington did next door while he was basking in glory at the Sochi Olympics in February 2014.
To wit, the violent coup on the streets of Kiev was organized by agents and organs of the US government; overthrew a constitutionally elected President who had decided to make an economic and security deal with Russia rather than Europe and NATO in keeping with Ukraine’s economic propinquity to the former and its 700- years of history as an integral part of Greater Russia; and which imposed a new government, hand-picked by the Obama State Department, which was dominated by Ukrainian nationalists and neo-Nazis who were demonstrably hostile to the Russian speaking populations of Crimea and the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.
Stated differently, Imperial Washington is the world champion meddler in other peoples’ politics and elections. Since the CIA sponsored coup against the Mosaddegh government in Iran in 1953, it has sponsored more than ranging from election bag money to military coups.
By contrast, the putative Russian attack on American democracy consists of three specific accusations—all of which are readily refutable.
In the first place, Podesta’s password was “password” and could have been hacked by any fat guy, or not, on any computer plugged into the worldwide web anywhere.
Moreover, Julian Assange of Wikileaks, who makes a living disclosing the truth, not propagating lies as does the IC, says it did not come from Russian state agents; and that it was in fact leaked, not hacked, by disgruntled Democrat insiders.
In any event, if it had actually been hacked by either Russian agents or the proverbial fat guy, there would be a digital imprint stored in NSA’s vast server farms. The fact that it hasn’t leaked amidst all the rest of the anti-Russian innuendo and intelligence hearsay proves beyond much doubt that no such record exists and no such Russian intrusion ever happened.
As for the DNC emails, the smoking gun there still smolders in plain sight. The FBI apparently never even took custody of the DNC computer—–farming out the job to an outfit named Crowdstrike. Alas, the latter is a DNC contractor and wannabe silicon valley IPO run by some fanatical Russian ex-pats looking for fame and fortune. It’s no wonder they didn’t want the FBI second guessing their conclusions.
Finally, there is the Latvian “intelligence” morsel about Putin’s personal direction of the election meddling campaign. If the Donald had any common sense he would declassify said report forthwith.
But never mind. It surely doesn’t exist anyway—-or it too would have leaked long ago.
And that’s all she wrote. The rest is pure spin leaked by Trump’s enemies in the Deep State and canonized by its collaborators in the main stream media.
Unfortunately, the Donald doesn’t seem to recognize that he is actually President. If he did, he would have the Justice Department launch a prosecution against the faithless officials—-Brennan, Rice and Power—-who concocted the whole RussiaGate defamation in the first place.
Former Congressman David A. Stockman was Reagan's OMB director, which he wrote about in his best-selling book, The Triumph of Politics. His latest book is The Great Deformation: The Corruption of Capitalism in America. He's the editor and publisher of the new David Stockman's Contra Corner. He was an original partner in the Blackstone Group, and reads LRC the first thing every morning.
Copyright © 2017 David Stockman
Previous article by David Stockman: The Shaky Empire