Who tapped the Trump Tower phones; and other matters. Short shrift as I linger in recovery

Monday, March 6, 2017

We are a nation of assimilated immigrants.

Immigration without assimilation is invasion.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

George Santayana



The cold I thought I was well on the way to recovery from has continued. No drastic symptoms, but a dread of getting up and not much incentive to work. I managed Friday with story conferences and lunch with Larry and St eve – the hard science novel about interstellar colonization under slower that light conditions continues nicely, beautifully in fact – and Saturday we got to the barber shop for me and hair dresser for Roberta. Exhausting, and Sunday more so, with getting to church and then lunch out afterwards; but again rather exhausting. But we managed it, again with not enough energy left to do any real work. But I am coming up for air, and I’m in that stage where I know I’m recovering and surprised at how long it takes.

I learned from friends at church that this isn’t rare, and I’m doing better than they did. The average recovery time for people younger than me has been five weeks; I’m in the third week, and I’ll be over it soon if not soon enough. It does linger. On the plus side, it rained yesterday – we can use the water – and it’s a beautiful day today. And I did have enough energy yesterday to get most of the bills paid, and do other chores.


I have been reluctant to get to work because the “telephone tapping” imbroglio is so thoroughly complex; worse, there’s damned little solid data. Most of what we know comes from leaks whose source is pretty carefully – often legally – hidden, and the only confirmation has to be inferences.

Let me start with an assumption: Mr. Trump may be crazy, but he’s crazy like a fox. He seldom does stupid things, and very little without reason. I didn’t always assume this, but the campaign convinced me: yes, he had luck, but he was always a step ahead of most of the analysts including his own advisors. My assumption is supported because I know for a fact that it is shared by a number of people I know quite well and have for a long time; even when they don’t know what Mr. Trump is doing, they assume he actually has a purpose, and they are usually correct, and have been many times. To assume that President Trump is an emotionally driven maniac unable to control himself has been the unmaking of more than one of his opponents, and is often precisely what he wants them to believe at various stages of an operation; and if one pays close attention it is demonstrably untrue. His address to the Congress with all its emotional appeals and side shows was masterful; it is likely that it will be studied for years by students of political science.

A second assumption is that Mr. Trump employs his own means of testing leaked information. He has said as much, and there is no reason not to believe it.

That said, let us look at the telephoning tapping story.


It all really rests on this claim: that in June, 2016 and possibly earlier, a FISA court received and denied a request to tap Trump Tower phone, in particular that of Donald Trump himself. This was said to be in regard to an investigation of Russian interference in American affairs. The denial was unusual: it was one of about a dozen requests denied out of tens of thousands of such requests granted in its 33 years of existence.

[FISA Court Has Rejected .03 Percent Of All Government Surveillance …


Jun 10, 2013 – FISA Court Has Rejected .03 Percent Of All Government … But the FISC has declined just 11 of the more than 33,900 surveillance requests made by the … about just how much judicial oversight is actually being provided.]

There is no way to confirm or deny much of this, because FISA is, by law, not only very secret, but has to be very careful in allowing intelligence agencies access to American citizen affairs. For one open source on this incident, see the BBC reportage: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38589427 . It’s long, very complicated, and doesn’t tell the full story; and has no confirming sources. It can’t, really, and whatever evidence the warrant request gave would itself be both classified and also protected from publication by law.

Then came the Convention and Mr. Trump became the nominee.

In October, another warrant request was brought to FISA; it is not at all clear who made the application; there are reports that Sally Yates, the Obama holdover who became Acting Attorney General until she was fired for non-cooperation by President Trump, was involved. This warrant application did not name Mr. – then Nominated Candidate – Trump, but it did name some of his immediate associates; this warrant was granted. Once again there is little public evidence to confirm this, and by law there can’t be.

These two warrant applications were leaked, and reported in some news media, but generally were ignored.

On 12 January, 2017, President Obama ordered the NSA to share mush electronically gathered data among the 17 (or more) intelligence agencies; this to include data hitherto denied circulation because it released personal data of American citizens who may have been involved in communications with foreign nationals; such information; by law, is supposed to be destroyed upon. realization that it is not relevant to the purposes stated in the warrant. [The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized. 4th Amendment; for more, look up Writs of Assistance]

This will inevitably increase the probability of leaks, and particularly applies to telephone taps. It was not at the time much noticed, but we may assume it is well known in the White House now.

Then came the Flynn affair, in which Sally Yates warned then President Obama that General Flynn might be blackmailed because he had said that the sanctions on Russia had not been discussed with the Russian Ambassador in their December telephone conversation, and gave the President evidence from a phone tap showing that the sanctions had been discussed. Of course it would be astonishing if the Russian Ambassador had not brought up the sanctions when talking to the National Security Advisor designate. The full transcript was not released – I do not know whether President Trump has seen it to this day – but the subject was, he was told, talked about. This was considered serious; by some, very serious: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/the-flynn-affair-could-bring-down-trumps-presidency_us_58a33429e4b0cd37efcfed84

Details of Flynn’s conversation with the Russian Ambassador were later leaked to the Washington Post. It is not clear what agency leaked them, but it is a rock solid fact that they were leaked, and that a private citizen’s conversation was recorded by an American agency and those details were leaked to the press.    It was thus very clear that phones were tapped. President Trump then presumably ordered his staff to find out who tapped whom, and who ordered it done; but this is presumption, since I have no evidence, nor do I know what, if anything, they found out.

Finally, Director of Intelligence Clapper has testified that he should be aware of all FISA warrants – he did not say of rejected applications, but of warrants issued – and he is not aware of any concerning Trump Tower, where, according to Newt Gingrich, General Flynn made the intercepted (tapped) telephone calls to the Russian Ambassador.  It is possible but, given the efficiency of the Russian security services, it may be unlikely that the tap was on the Russian Embassy telephone; but that, of course, is possible.  The assumption seems to be that the tap was on a Trump Tower telephone.


Another summary:

One is a report in the BBC from January, which the White House cited as a source. The BBC reported:

Lawyers from the National Security Division in the Department of Justice then drew up an application. They took it to the secret US court that deals with intelligence, the FISA court, named after the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. They wanted permission to intercept the electronic records from two Russian banks.

Their first application, in June, was rejected outright by the judge. They returned with a more narrowly drawn order in July and were rejected again. Finally, before a new judge, the order was granted, on 15 October, three weeks before election day.

Neither Mr. Trump nor his associates are named in the FISA order, which would only cover foreign citizens or foreign entities — in this case the Russian banks. But ultimately, the investigation is looking for transfers of money from Russia to the United States, each one, if proved, a felony offense.

A lawyer — outside the Department of Justice but familiar with the case — told me that three of Mr. Trump’s associates were the subject of the inquiry. “But it’s clear this is about Trump,” he said.

Finally, there was a report in the Guardian, which reported on the supposed June FISA request but could not confirm the October one. (The White House did not cite the Guardian.)

The Guardian has learned that the FBI applied for a warrant from the foreign intelligence surveillance (FISA) court over the summer in order to monitor four members of the Trump team suspected of irregular contacts with Russian officials. The FISA court turned down the application asking FBI counter-intelligence investigators to narrow its focus. According to one report, the FBI was finally granted a warrant in October, but that has not been confirmed, and it is not clear whether any warrant led to a full investigation.


The Breitbart summary, which president Trump almost certainly read, said:


[snip] 1. June 2016: FISA request. The Obama administration files a request with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) to monitor communications involving Donald Trump and several advisers. The request, uncharacteristically, is denied.

2. July: Russia joke. Wikileaks releases emails from the Democratic National Committee that show an effort to prevent Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) from winning the presidential nomination. In a press conference, Donald Trump refers to Hillary Clinton’s own missing emails, joking: “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 e-mails that are missing.” That remark becomes the basis for accusations by Clinton and the media that Trump invited further hacking.

3. October: Podesta emails. In October, Wikileaks releases the emails of Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, rolling out batches every day until the election, creating new mini-scandals. The Clinton campaign blames Trump and the Russians.

4. October: FISA request. The Obama administration submits a new, narrow request to the FISA court, now focused on a computer server in Trump Tower suspected of links to Russian banks. No evidence is found — but the wiretaps continue, ostensibly for national security reasons, Andrew McCarthy at National Review later notes. The Obama administration is now monitoring an opposing presidential campaign using the high-tech surveillance powers of the federal intelligence services.

5. January 2017: Buzzfeed/CNN dossier. Buzzfeed releases, and CNN reports, a supposed intelligence “dossier” compiled by a foreign former spy. It purports to show continuous contact between Russia and the Trump campaign, and says that the Russians have compromising information about Trump. None of the allegations can be verified and some are proven false. Several media outlets claim that they had been aware of the dossier for months and that it had been circulating in Washington.

6. January: Obama expands NSA sharing. As Michael Walsh later notes, and as the New York Times reports, the outgoing Obama administration “expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.” The new powers, and reduced protections, could make it easier for intelligence on private citizens to be circulated improperly or leaked.

7. January: Times report. The New York Times reports, on the eve of Inauguration Day, that several agencies — the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Treasury Department are monitoring several associates of the Trump campaign suspected of Russian ties. Other news outlets also report the existence of “a multiagency working group to coordinate investigations across the government,” though it is unclear how they found out, since the investigations would have been secret and involved classified information.

8. February: Mike Flynn scandal. Reports emerge that the FBI intercepted a conversation in 2016 between future National Security Adviser Michael Flynn — then a private citizen — and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. The intercept supposedly was part of routine spying on the ambassador, not monitoring of the Trump campaign. The FBI transcripts reportedly show the two discussing Obama’s newly-imposed sanctions on Russia, though Flynn earlier denied discussing them. Sally Yates, whom Trump would later fire as acting Attorney General for insubordination, is involved in the investigation. In the end, Flynn resigns over having misled Vice President Mike Pence (perhaps inadvertently) about the content of the conversation.

9. February: Times claims extensive Russian contacts. The New York Times cites “four current and former American officials” in reporting that the Trump campaign had “repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials. The Trump campaign denies the claims — and the Times admits that there is “no evidence” of coordination between the campaign and the Russians. The White House and some congressional Republicans begin to raise questions about illegal intelligence leaks.

10. March: the Washington Post targets Jeff Sessions. The Washington Post reports that Attorney General Jeff Sessions had contact twice with the Russian ambassador during the campaign — once at a Heritage Foundation event and once at a meeting in Sessions’s Senate office. The Post suggests that the two meetings contradict Sessions’s testimony at his confirmation hearings that he had no contacts with the Russians, though in context (not presented by the Post) it was clear he meant in his capacity as a campaign surrogate, and that he was responding to claims in the “dossier” of ongoing contacts. The New York Times, in covering the story, adds that the Obama White House “rushed to preserve” intelligence related to alleged Russian links with the Trump campaign. By “preserve” it really means “disseminate”: officials spread evidence throughout other government agencies “to leave a clear trail of intelligence for government investigators” and perhaps the media as well.

In summary: the Obama administration sought, and eventually obtained, authorization to eavesdrop on the Trump campaign; continued monitoring the Trump team even when no evidence of wrongdoing was found; then relaxed the NSA rules to allow evidence to be shared widely within the government, virtually ensuring that the information, including the conversations of private citizens, would be leaked to the media. [snip]


Most of the new media and “fact checking” sites conclude that one or more agencies tapped some phones, but “there is no evidence” that President Obama ordered it done. Perhaps so: given the secrecy we will probably never know. But it is hard to believe that President Obama did not know of a an application to FISA for a warrant to tap Trump Tower phones, even in June when it was not certain that Mr. Trump would be candidate Trump, and it is even more certain that the White House would be informed of FISA applications concerning a major party candidate.

Whether President Trump had more evidence not available to us when he made his ungracious tweets I can’t say. It does appear possible to likely that the Obama Administration might have been using intelligence agencies and leaks as a campaign tool. The community organizer recruited demonstrations have been infuriating and frustrating, but if that is the worst stress President Trump experiences in his Presidency he –  and we – should all thank God Almighty.

And see



cognitive dissonance, persuasion,

Dr. Pournelle,
According to the NR, the Trump+Russians=illegitimate election argument has collapsed: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/445522/russian-election-hacking-fbi-not-investigating-trump-campaign, but I believe the author may have missed the point: The “fact” that a foreign power has intruded into U.S. politics and influenced the system is firmly established in the minds of Democrat party voters. It will come up again in public discussion and in the press, even if the allegations are withdrawn. Scott Adams references the use of what used to be called yellow journalism’s “addiction” to rage in
http://blog.dilbert.com/post/157904840851/dopamine-puppets , which will continue to fuel the fire long after the question has died.
Strange how the comparisons to nazism on the part of either political party fail to notice any apparent reference to Goebbels? IMO, both sides (as well as the Trump side, which is apparently not the official Republican position) have learned quite a lot from the propaganda ministry, as well as Stalin’s Pravda.
With hope for you and Roberta’s continuing recovery,

It wasn’t much of an argument to begin with.



Do you remember the outrage over Trump’s comments about Islamic Radicalism causing problems “just like in Sweden?” Remember how the Swedish government screamed foul? Their “Integration Minister” claimed there were no problems.

She comes clean: Sweden’s Integration Minister admits lying when she claimed rape rate was “going down”


Sweden is in deep deep denial while it is in the middle of an existential crisis.

This is why we MUST judicially throttle all immigration, particularly illegal immigration.



The cyber war against NK missiles




The Russian ambassador is *not* the rezident.

Anyone who knows anything about espionage – obviously the lügenpresse don’t fall into that category – knows that the idea that the Russian ambassador is the rezident is utter nonsense.

Something else that has gone unmentioned is the obvious contradiction between the proposition that Trump is somehow in thrall to Putin, while at the same time Trump is pushing for a massive remediation and expansion of our military capabilities and hardware, including new nuclear weapons – which have the property of increasing the Russian strategic threat evaluation of the United States.

Indeed, were Trump in thrall to Putin, he would more likely be aping the rhetoric of the Union of Confused Scientists and the (Soviet-inspired, -funded, and -controlled) Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and World Council of Churches.

One may safely assume that retired Podpolkovnik Putin, Pervoye Glavnoye Upravleniye of the Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti is familiar with the activities of those front organizations, and how his former employer directed same.


Roland Dobbins


Giraldi: Did Sessions Do Anything Wrong?



As I believe the entire narrative seeking to portray the Trump victory as some kind of Manchurian-candidate scheme concocted by the Kremlin is complete nonsense, I tend to believe Sessions was answering honestly, after interpreting the question in a certain fashion. His spokesman has described the exchange as: “He was asked during the hearing about communications between Russia and the Trump campaign—not about meetings he took as a senator and a member of the Armed Services Committee.”

. . .

What is particularly disturbing about the attack on Sessions is the hypocrisy evidenced by congressmen like Charles Schumer and Nancy Pelosi, who are demanding that the attorney general resign because they claim he committed perjury. Answering questions in such a way as to avoid saying too much is a fine art in Washington — a skill that both Schumer and Pelosi have themselves also developed — but it does not amount to perjury. Sessions’s answer to Franken is not completely clear, but it is not an out-and-out lie. In that respect the attack on Sessions is like the attack on Flynn, basically a way of getting at and weakening President Donald Trump by opportunistically discrediting his high-level appointments.


Roland Dobbins

I fear the media doesn’t know the territory.


California Releases Cellphone Radiation Exposure Fact Sheet Draft < CBS San Francisco


Thought you might find this interesting:



And your conclusion, Doctor, is?


I can’t stop laughing

I went through my Twitter feed this morning and I saw a tweet that still makes me laugh. I didn’t click on the article yet because I want to savor it. The headline says, “Vietnam Veteran Given Cease and Desist Letter by Senators Office and Ordered not to Contact”!


Only a motivated veteran and his mouth could strike such fear into the heart of a coward! Never in my life have I see a US citizen issued a cease and desist letter, ordering him to stand down from exercising his — if I’m not mistaken — Constitutionally protected right to petition his government for redress of grievances through the system of representative democracy by contacting his elected representatives in the bicameral legislature we call “Congress”, which so far as I can tell is meant to be an antonym of “progress”. And with the way our “Congress” operates, perhaps we can be grateful the Forefathers did not bless us with a “Progress”.

In any case,I just can’t bring myself to click this article yet because I want to spend the rest of the day imagining the horrible and vicious things this man must have said to get a cease and desist letter from a Senator’s office. I just can’t stop laughing.

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Most Respectfully,

Joshua Jordan, KSC

Percussa Resurgo

I haven’t looked either. Let me know.


NEW in Q-MAG.org: huge spike in earth magnetic field recorded in 8th cent. B.C.


More than 2,500 years ago in the ancient Near East, the Earth’s geomagnetic field was going gangbusters. During the late eighth century B.C., a new study finds, the magnetic field that surrounds the planet was temporarily 2.5 times stronger than it is today…


Albert de Grazia

I’d appreciate comment on this; I’m low on time.


The Rise of the Machines


Harvesting coconuts is a dangerous and labor intensive process.  Now there is a robot to do this job:




But think of all the jobs lost!



Freedom is not free. Free men are not equal. Equal men are not free.



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