Thursday, March 23, 2017

We're Havin' a Hearin', a Congressional Hearin'

America's latest best 'reality TV show' is now on - coming live from the legislature in Washington DC.  A "bilateral committee" of Washington politicos is looking into the case of the 'fudged' election and whether, or not, all the 'new' President's men had any truck with the 'comintern' in the Kremlin.

I say fudged as opposed to 'probably fudged' or the even more vague 'possibly fudged' election, because one thing EVERYBODY on the committee is sure about is that the Russians  'did something' to affect a US election.  They're trying to find out just what that was and who helped them do it. And PROVE it.  As a side show,  the committee is investigating any links anybody in the Trump administration may have had with the Russians. This because the most recent National Security director was in communication with the Russian ambassador to the US from a holiday home in the West Indies and the phone call was intercepted. He 'lied' about it and was forced to resign.  Since then the hue and cry 'who else' had gone up, followed, shortly,  by 'did Trump know about it?'

And so the pols have gathered.  But what initially looked like a slam dunk for the deprived Hilary is starting to look more like a national fiasco.

Recently  on the hot seat, one James Comey - head honcho of the FBI, who was assisted by some Admiral presently commanding the NSA. What a well-watered dope that lad is.  He led-off his perambulation by informing the panel that, although he had already imparted all his security wisdom to the principals of the body, and normally would not divulge what his agency was doing, he was "empowered" to let them all know that the FBI was investigating the Russian theft of a US election.

He concluded as to how, what he was about, was protecting America and Americans, wrapped himself in bumpff and hooey, then opened the floor to some questions. Some of the questions he was asked touched on other possible investigations - he was very fey about responding to those - pleading his version of 'the fifth' (If I told ya, we'd have ta kill ya, etc.) . But he received at least two 'lobs' that he must have thought he had belted right out of the park. One of those was in regard to Trump's recent charges that Obama had had his phone tapped.  When Comey replied that he 'had no information on that', his pronouncement was received as 'proof' that Obama had done no such thing and Trump was lying, again. The second lob was about Putin stealing the election by leaking stolen email - on that he could state it was true and the FBI was investigating the details. The big dope beside  him indicated that the NSA "had no information about that", because the NSA didn't focus on America but on threats from outside. You can go figure how that statement parlayed itself into  definitive proof that Putin had gerrymandered an election away from Clinton.   Apparently "I don't have any information" is a very meaningful term to US pols and their supersleuths.

He also dropped himself into some difficulty. - or allowed some sharpie to bamboozle him. One Representative - howdy dowdy or something, started to ask him about the intent of the FISA act and the courts in protecting Americans while attacking terror. Comey agreed that there were safeguards in place to protect innocent Americans who might inadvertently show up in investigations that did not really involve them. Their rights were protected by 'masking' their identity even up to the highest offices.  A jail term of 10 years was stipulated for anyone who "feloniously" divulged such information.  Dopey from the FBI even huffed and puffed a little about his desire to offer such protection. He asked his big buddy if the NSA could 'unmask' such  Americans and was told yes but only a handful were so qualified. He admitted there were more FBI employees who could 'unmask' Americans - because they dealt with more Americans (if that makes any sense)  'possibly a hundred',  but Comey didn't know for sure.

Led down a garden path,  Comey admitted there were others who could 'unmask' Americans cited in reports, if they were asked to, by higher authorities.

And then the representative unloaded. He laid out a chain of reports in national newspapers describing how 16 Americans - all members of the Trump transition team - had been 'unmasked' in a variety of materials that were 'gathered' apparently under FISA rules. There was no criminal cause for gathering the information and even less cause for having these citizens 'unmasked'. When asked if the FBI was investigating that crime Comey admitted it was a felony but he fell back on the 'fifth' and would neither admit or deny anything.  This is the start of another House investigation. For somebody leaked information and somebody unmasked as-yet-innocent Americans. And somebody requested their unmasking.

To round-off a bad day for the good guys, one of the co-chairs reported, to the media and President Trump, that he had been given evidence that indicated that "communications" from Trump administration staffers had been "inadvertently gathered" by National Security organizations. Information, the Chairman pointed out, that was available, now, to the officers of National Security organizations but also to politicians who might have been part of the former administration. Information that had been withheld from the sitting President.

The 'reaction' to that news was that, by failing to notify his Democrat co-chair of the finding before notifying the President, he had essentially 'destroyed' the work of the House committee.  Things had been going so well to nail Trump and then ..... kismet.  Trump might have been right about his email being 'tapped' and possibly Obama getting it. Whether Obama ordered that, or not, remains to be seen.

'Inadvertent' seems to have become a positive American character trait.

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