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More Questionable Behavior from Trump, T Admin, DOJ, and R's vs Dems, Press, Justice


Updated at 6:07 p.m. ET

The Senate sought to strengthen some protections for those targeted by government surveillance on Thursday with the passage of an amended bill that now faces an uncertain outlook.

Senators voted 80-16 to reauthorize lapsed provisions of the now-notorious Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and also revise some aspects of how it can be used by the Justice Department and the FBI.

In doing so, however, they passed a version of the legislation different from the one they received from the House, requiring its members to concur with another vote and then for the result to go to President Trump.

Expiring tools revived

Members of Congress wrote expiration dates into surveillance laws so that action would be required to sustain them over time.

When the clock ran out in March on one part of FISA, so did authorities’ ability to use elements including the so-called “business records,” “lone wolf” and “roving wiretap” provisions in counterterrorism or espionage investigations.

The bill passed by the Senate on Thursday would restore those powers, albeit with new restrictions backed by a coalition of civil libertarian Republicans and Democrats.

Leahy invoked the dark legacy of the abuses by President Richard Nixon and said the time had come again for Congress to tackle government surveillance power.

Leahy cited a Justice Department investigation that found problems with a number of FBI requests to the secret FISA court, specifically involving evidence or documentation about the alleged activities of potential targets.

The benefits of this amendment would be significant,” he said. “Responding to the latest inspector general report … we would require that the government turn over all material exculpatory information to the court, and make it available to the amici, too, if one is appointed. That is a basic due process protection available in every public courtroom in America. The FISA court should be no exception.”

Today the Senate has an opportunity to reform our flawed surveillance authorities," he said. "Such opportunities do not come by often and we should not squander it.


@dragonfly9 you’ll appreciate this

Marcy Wheeler has a great explainer piece on this, Flynn was unmasked for several things and even before the Kislyak call. Read :point_down:

Found through this thread👇

(David Bythewood) #205

It would seem that after being accused of punishing Burr but not Loeffler, the Trump regime may be throwing her under the bus as well.

Loeffler Turns Over Coronavirus Stock Sale Docs to Feds

The Daily Beast first reported that Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) and her husband unloaded millions in stock before the market tanked. They have denied wrongdoing.


It is heaps upon heaps of spy v spy…I think.

Now, I feel a bit lame but could you explain what the meaning behind ‘unmasking’ bit is…? @Pet_Proletariat …I need an explainer too!

My thinking - The NSA or perhaps the FBI was listening to various conversations, or learned of calls between people like Flynn, or Biden with a person these agencies are watching - IE, the Flynn/Kislyak call was picked up by NSA/CIA or Five Eyes and then gets reported to NSA is it?

And Yates learned of this call, and that Flynn lied to Pence and therefore Flynn could be targetted by the Russians. FLynn resigned and then charges were brought up.

Then the ‘unmasking’ tells who was on the other end, ie unwitting source and can lead one to figure out who that ‘source’ might be, and dangerous because it reveals some NSA/FBI methodology.

But if you bring this Chief of Staff McDonough and he’s talking to who? Kislyak or was he just being listened to, or somehow monitored?

I am not good at this level sleuthing…and have lost the meaning of it. :slightly_frowning_face:

Ultimately ‘unmasking’ knocks out the NSA/FBI sources and methods, and here is a plan for the Grassley’s, Jim ‘Gym’ Jordan’s to say…see, these guys were up to tricks too? And it becomes a re-eclection ploy to say the FBI could never be trusted.



@dragonfly9 I’m glad you asked, read from AP News below👇


During routine, legal surveillance of foreign targets, names of Americans occasionally come up in conversations. Foreigners could be talking about a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident by name, or a foreigner could be speaking directly to an American. When an American’s name is swept up in surveillance of foreigners, it is called “incidental collection.” In these cases, the name of the American is masked before the intelligence is distributed to administration officials to avoid invading that person’s privacy.

Unless there is a clear intelligence value to knowing the American’s name, it is not revealed in the reports. The intelligence report would refer to the person only as “U.S. Person 1” or U.S. Person 2.” If U.S. officials with proper clearance to review the report want to know the identity, they can ask the agency that collected the information — perhaps the FBI, CIA or National Security Agency — to “unmask” the name.

Unmasking requests are common, according to Michael Morell, former CIA deputy director and host of “Intelligence Matters” podcast.

“Literally hundreds of times a year across multiple administrations. In general, senior officials make the requests when necessary to understand the underlying intelligence. I myself did it several times a month and NSA adjudicates the request. You can’t do your job without it,” he said.

Morell emphasized that unmasking is not the same as declassification. “When a name is unmasked, the underlying intelligence to include the name remains classified so leaking it would be a crime.”


The request is not automatically granted. The person asking has to have a good reason. Typically, the reason is that not knowing the name makes it impossible to fully understand the intelligence provided.

The name is released only if the official requesting it has a need to know and the “identity is necessary to understand foreign intelligence information or assess its importance,” according to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence’s latest report, which includes statistics on unmasking. “Additional approval by a designated NSA official is also required.”

Former NSA Director Mike Rogers has said that only 20 of his employees could approve an unmasking. The names are shared only with the specific official who asked. They are not released publicly. Leaking a name, or any classified information, is illegal.


The number of unmasking requests began being released to the public in response to recommendations in 2014 from the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board.

There were 9,217 unmasking requests in the 12-month period between September 2015 and August 2016, the first period in which numbers are publicly available. The period was during the latter years of the Obama administration.

The number rose during the Trump administration. The 9,529 requests in 2017 grew to 16,721 in 2018 and 10,012 last year.

Unmasking people is confusing but not illegal or even irregular. Incidentally , the Trump Administration holds the record for the most unmasking of Americans caught up in “incidental collections”. Why is it bad now?

I give this MAGA argument :joy::joy::joy::joy::joy:/5
You should laugh at these people.


Because T 'n Co like to recast the story as they like, fulfilling their disruptor status with flying colors.

Thanks @Pet_Proletariat for that thorough analysis of what unmasking is…


The only thing that’s really weird, is the why? Why fight for Flynn? Is he really that short of allies of the Republican Party? Why bring back Flynn? Is it all a story for his base during the pandemic? These fake drummed up right wing conspiracy scandals.

U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10:30 p.m. ET: 1,417,512 — Total deaths: 85,886

He’s not going to find a bigger story than his Performance and federal response during the pandemic and current recession. It’s kitchen table issue time and he’s talking about bringing back the fucking, “lock her up” cheerleader because he’s doing shitty in the polls. It’s bullshit, even for the GOP.


I know…the issues that are so concerning and terribly important to what a President should be thinking about, he gives no credence too. He can NOT a be compassionate and stand up guy now or ever when it comes to this national emergency.

IMHO T is strictly shoring up his ‘team’ - those who were loyal to him - Flynn, Stone…and not leaving any trace behind that there ever was a Russia problem, it was always the Dems who were crazy, Never Trumpers.

We have dealt with this crazy man for this amount of time…and it is a mob king hit of sorts. We are getting those thugs out of jail no matter what. These are my men…
No Russia story…none whatsoever.

T passcodes - Loyalty…blood pact…our little secret.

T will fall on his sword, arse etc to the end. He’s a stubborn freak.

(M A Croft) #211

Of course it is an attempted distraction from the horrific failure that his incompetence has foisted upon America, with his inability to grasp even the fundamentals of what would constitute a coordinated response to a pandemic. He is reacting in the only way he knows how. This latest opinion piece on Vox is well worth the minute read.

Throughout Trump’s presidency, he has consistently treated the investigatory and law enforcement powers of the US government as tools to be deployed for purely political reasons. During the coronavirus crisis, when his presidency is once again in mortal danger, he has stepped on the gas on this kind of abuse of power — the Justice Department has dropped charges against Trump’s former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, who had pleaded guilty, and Trump now seems to be trying to get them to treat Obama like a criminal.

In democracies, presidents are not supposed to use law enforcement agencies as shields for their crooked political allies and swords against their political enemies. The threat that Trump poses to the rule of law, and the basic principles of a free society, has never been clearer.

(David Bythewood) #212

I am borrowing your explanation and that article in part for twitter. Thanks, I was wondering this myself!

(David Bythewood) #213

There is also the fact that they’ve built Flynn up into a martyr for their side, portraying him as wrongfully accused and badly mistreated by the Democrats and the evil Deep State.

So, just like with bringing that murderer Gallagher into the campaign, bringing Michael Flynn back seems like they’re supporting one of their own while thumbing their nose at their enemies.

The sad fact is, it will rally some of Trump’s base. The fact that MAGAs perceive Trump as “sticking it to their enemies” is one of the things they love most about him. It drives them irrationally wild, even to the point of ignoring when his actions harm them as well.


Thanks for that further explanation - or recognition that all of it is just ‘stoking the fire.’
Irrational yes as well as dangerous.
Wow…what a predicament as to how low can you go.

(David Bythewood) #215

That said, I would bet he still has some stock of some sort.

(David Bythewood) #216


Never ending with the grifting…:exploding_head:

The Secret Service this week signed a $179,000 contract to rent golf carts and other vehicles this summer in Bedminster, N.J., according to federal spending records — a rental that in past years was made in advance of President Trump’s visits to his golf club there.

The golf carts are being rented from a private vendor, New York-based Associates Golf Car Service, which has supplied similar equipment to the Secret Service in Bedminster every year of Trump’s presidency.

The rental deal was signed Monday, went into effect Tuesday and lasts until Oct. 31, according to records posted online in a public database of federal spending.

(David Bythewood) #218

Unmasking Trump and Grenell’s Weaponization of the Intelligence Community

(David Bythewood) #219

Obama, Biden not targeted in U.S. review of Russia probe, Barr says

Barr says he does not expect Obama or Biden will be investigated by prosecutor reviewing 2016 Russia probe

(David Bythewood) #220

Trump’s purge just got much more corrupt. Here’s what’s coming next.

Remember, Trump vetoed congress’ attempt to stop him from pursuing this deal last year:


Bill Barr and FBI’s Chris Wray admit to the fact a Saudi Air Force trainee, with ties to Al Quaeda had gotten onto a military base in Pensacola and subsequently shot and killed 3 military there. They’d like to pin it on Apple because of encryption issues.

The Saudi Air Force trainee who carried out a deadly attack on a military base in Pensacola, Fla., was working with al Qaeda operatives as far back as 2015, the FBI announced on Monday.

The bureau discovered the link between the terrorist group and Mohammed Alshamrani, a member of the Royal Saudi Air Force who killed three U.S. sailors and wounded several others on Dec. 6, after they broke the encryption on Alshamrani’s iPhones, Attorney General William Barr said. He lashed out at Apple for denying the government’s request to unlock the phones, which delayed the investigation by months, said Barr.

The evidence found on Alshamrani’s phone showed that he had “significant” ties to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, before he even arrived in the United States, U.S. officials said. Alshamrani was radicalized not while in the United States for training, but at least as far back as 2015, and he had been in touch with “dangerous” AQAP operatives ever since, FBI Director Christopher Wray told reporters.

The evidence “shows that the Pensacola attack was actually the brutal culmination of years of planning and preparation by a longtime AQAP associate,” said Wray.

Wray stopped short of saying al Qaeda directed the attack, but noted that Alshamrani had been coordinating with the group. He shared “plans and tactics,” including making pocket videos of his classroom building, said Wray.

“Apple has made a business and marketing decision to design its phones in a way that only the user can unlock the contents no matter what the circumstances,” said Barr. "In cases like this where the user is a terrorist or in other cases where the user is a violent criminal, a human trafficker, a child predator, Apple’s decision has dangerous consequences to public safety and the national security and is in my judgment unacceptable."

In this Jan. 29, 2016 file photo shows the entrance to the Naval Air Base Station in Pensacola, Fla. The FBI has found a link between the gunman in a deadly attack at a military base last December and an al-Qaida operative. That’s according to a U.S. official who spoke to The Associated Press on Monday.

The gunman who killed three U.S. sailors at a military base in Florida last year repeatedly communicated with al-Qaida operatives about planning in the months leading up to the attack, U.S. officials said Monday, as they lashed out at Apple for failing to help them open the shooter’s phones so they could access key evidence.

Law enforcement officials discovered contacts between Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani and operatives of al-Qaida after FBI technicians succeeded on their own in breaking into two cellphones that had previously been locked and that the shooter, a Saudi Air Force officer, had tried to destroy before he was killed by law enforcement.

“We now have a clearer understanding of Alshamrani’s associations and activities in the years, months and days leading up to his attack,” Attorney General William Barr said at a news conference in which he sharply chastised Apple for not helping unlock the phones.

(David Bythewood) #222

Mike Pompeo’s scandals big and small erode his dwindling credibility

Watchdog group issues ‘urgent’ request for Pompeo records after IG firing