The story of those infamous Trump tweets -- the ones which claim that Obama tapped the phones at Trump Tower -- keeps getting stranger. Nearly every mainstream and liberal writer believes that Trump's claim has no basis in reality. Texas congressman Will Hurd -- a former CIA employee -- has advised the president to apologize
This WP story
summarizes the situation:
Meanwhile, Trump will not let go of his claim that former president Barack Obama tapped his phones at Trump Tower during the election, despite no supporting evidence. The president has been offered numerous exit ramps to put this self-created controversy behind him. Instead, he remains stubbornly defiant, perpetuating rather than closing a damaging chapter in his presidency that in the past few days became an international embarrassment.
The story recounts how Trump, in his joint appearance with Angela Merkel, rather cloddishly reminded the world that the NSA under Obama had eavesdropped on her
Allow me to raise two points:
1. Why hasn't
Trump taken any of those exit ramps? If his tweets were based on nothing more than a paranoid fantasy, he should welcome any excuse to change the topic.
2. Trump's implied argument was sound: If the previous administration had spied on Merkel -- and it did -- why wouldn't
Obama seek to learn more about the Russians who were communicating with Team Trump? Personally, I believe that Obama would have been remiss in his duties not
to do so. A presidential candidate with ties to a hostile foreign power is a legitimate national security concern. We are not talking about using the power of the state to conduct partisan oppo research. .
Much of the nation scoffed when Sean Spicer quoted a Fox News "analyst" who suggested that Obama asked Britain's GCHQ (their version of the NSA) to monitor Trump. Northwest Research and Covert Book Report
has published a piece which explores that very suggestion.
Northwest Research notes that John Schindler -- one of those "spooks against Trump" who has attracted so much recent attention -- derides the idea that the United States could ask the Brits to report on an American citizen. Yet for many years, respectable writers -- not Alex Jonesian conspiracy cranks -- have reported that the NSA and GCHQ have a reciprocal agreement. This arrangement (the origins of which trace all the way back the to wartime BRUSA agreement to share codebreaking information) has allowed the Americans to use the UK as a "cut out" in order to sidestep laws against spying on American citizens.
If you research this arrangement, you'll soon find that the writer most commonly cited is John Loftus, formerly of Army intelligence. Loftus deserves a post of his own: His ties to the Israelis are such that I sometimes call him the first Irish-American sayan
. But that's a topic for another time.
If memory serves, Loftus first discussed this NSA/GCHQ agreement in The Secret War Against the Jews
, published in 1994. Even then, his claim wasn't really new, at least not to me. I had read about it in the 1980s, though I can't quite recall where. (A newspaper op ed? Probably.) I don't believe that James Bamford ever offered an explicit discussion of the "You spy on mine and I'll spy on yours" arrangement in The Puzzle Palace
, but he did provide this vivid account
of the close relations between the two spy agencies.
All the way back in 1967, the government censored David Kahn seminal 1967 book The Codebreakers,
the first book to describe "No Such Agency" at any length. The censored passages concerned the very sensitive NSA/GCHQ relationship. Naturally, the censorship only made that material more
A lengthy segment of Loftus' Secret War Against the Jews
appears on this rather quirky (but dense with data) site
, which deserves to be read in full...
Here is how the game is played. The British liaison officer at Fort Meade types the target list of "suspects" into the American computer. The NSA sorts through its wiretaps and gives the British officer the recording of any American citizen he wants.
Since it is technically a British target of surveillance, no American search warrant is necessary. The British officer then simply hands the results over to his American liaison officer.
Of course, the Americans provide the same service to the British in return. All international and domestic telephone calls in Great Britain are run through the NSA's station in the British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) at Menwith Hill, which allows the American liaison officer to spy on any British citizen without a warrant.
According to our sources, this duplicitous, reciprocal arrangement disguises the most massive, and illegal, domestic espionage apparatus in the world. Not even the Soviets could touch the U.K.-U.S. intercept technology.
Through this charade, the intelligence services of each country can claim they are not targeting their own citizens.
Does all of this buttress the claim made by Judge Andrew Napolitano on Fox News? Yes and no. Loftus speaks purely in terms of NSA-GCHQ teamwork; he says nothing about any American president
making a direct request of the British. I can't think of a precedent for such a request. Of course, I am restricted to the published literature, which hardly tells the whole story.
Then came Johnson.
Napolitano's main source has been known for a few days -- and every time I see the name of that source, I grimace: Former CIA man Larry Johnson
As longtime readers know, I've had my own run-ins with this creep. Throughout 2007 and 2008, he posed as a left-leaning supporter of Hillary Clinton, and he seemed to have impressive credentials as a progressive. He wrote regularly for Daily Kos, he advised (I am told) General Wesley Clark, and he befriended Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame/Wilson, the targets of Dick Cheney's scurrilous attack.
(I don't know if the Wilsons remain on friendly terms with Johnson. If so, we must rethink the Plame affair.)
Johnson glommed onto the PUMA movement, pretending to be Hillary's bravest defender. I confess that -- for a while -- he suckered me into accepting his "No Quarter" blog at face value. The best PUMA writers (Riverdaughter and Dakinkat led the movement) were brighter than I, and treated him with greater caution. Que je suis bête!
I didn't understand at the time that the PUMA movement really was infiltrated -- not
-- by Republican ratfuckers.
You'll get a very skewed version of this history from Daily Kos and Democratic Underground. The regular readers of those sites have yet to come to grips with how thoroughly they themselves fell under the sway of an online smear/troll operation. I believe that this operation was headed by David Axelrod, a far more devious individual than most comprehend. (That belief comes backed by evidence
Kos 2008 was every bit as monstrous as 4chan or Brietbart: The great "progressive" network became an insane asylum filled with raving, psychotic Clinton-haters. No, I am not exaggerating: See here
. Moulitsas never apologized for publishing actual, serious death threats against Hillary Clinton.
Don't get me started on 2008! I will never get over it, I'll always be ready to re-fight those battles, and I refuse to let Kossack revisionists minimize the evils they committed. I remain quite proud of my part in that political battle...
for the brief period when I was fooled by Larry fucking Johnson. To whom we now return.
In those days, I made a daily stop at Johnson's blog for the same reason I now take a daily gander at Louise Mensch's twitter feed: Johnson had "connections" and he always seemed to be the firstest with the mostest. You want to know the real reason why I'm now wary of Mensch? Why I'm very
wary of John Schindler? Why I'm incredibly
wary of "The Jester"? The answer is simple: Larry fucking Johnson
, the original spook-who-told-Clinton-supporters-what-they-wanted-to-hear.
Once a snake in the grass bites your ankle, you don't wander into the meadow without first donning a pair of calf-high boots.
Evidence of the man's inherent snakiness soon became difficult to ignore. Most of Johnson's compatriots were wretched right-wingers like the vile "Texas Darlin," and the ultra-mega-hyper-vile Pamela Geller. He stopped offering a left-wing critique of Obama and began parroting reactionary propaganda.
Most egregiously, he spread the smear that Michelle Obama had used the insulting term "whitey" in a speech. At one point, Johnson had pinpointed a specific
speech. I spent quite a few hours tracking down someone who was in that room on that day -- and when I finally did, Johnson stood revealed as a liar.
Even then, I foolishly gave Johnson the benefit of the doubt: Maybe he was simply misinformed
. But then he discovered birtherism.
As few now recall, Johnson was the first to push the "birth certificate" conspiracy theory in a public way
, although the meme had apparently received some behind-the-scenes circulation for months beforehand. I played no small role
the bullshit analysis published on Johnson's site
Afterward, no amount of vegetation could disguise that man's serpentine nature
Johnson eventually dropped the pretenses. He became a rabid Hillary-hater, a maniacal Trump advocate, and a welcome talking head on both Fox and RT. The former rattler-in-the-weeds had ascended to his Nāga
All of which brings us back to the Obama-bugged-Trump claim, and Johnson's important role in the spreading of that meme. The current progressive-approved narrative is threefold: 1) Johnson is a crank, 2) Napolitano was an idiot to believe a crank like Johnson, and 3) Team Trump was foolish to take Napolitano seriously.
I don't buy into that narrative. Why? Because I know Larry fucking Johnson of old. The bite wound on my ankle still aches on cold days.
Johnson is no mere crank. He's an operative.
Something is up.