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The Real Ed Snowden Is a Patsy, a Fraud and a Kremlin-Controlled Pawn

Few American defectors to Moscow ever return home—most fade away in a haze of vodka and regret

I’ve closely followed the saga of Edward Snowden from the moment the former CIA and NSA IT contractor grabbed the global limelight with both hands back on June 12, 2013 by appearing in the Chinese media, exposing American government secrets on a scale nobody had ever done before.

I insisted from the outset that Snowden was not the whistleblower he claimed to be, rather an attention-seeking narcissist, and that certainly once he landed in Moscow on June 23, 2013—and quite possibly before—he was in bed with Russian intelligence. Moreover, Snowden’s 1.5 million stolen documents were nearly all about NSA foreign intelligence and Pentagon military matters—not domestic surveillance. In short, the Snowden saga as presented to the public by Ed and his media enablers was a fantasy.

Now, more than three years later, my position—which garnered me criticism and epic amounts of social media trolling—has been vindicated by several sources, including the U.S. Congress. Oliver Stone’s apologia-as-film about Snowden has just opened, to decidedly mixed reviews, and its premiere has been marred by the overdue intrusion of reality on this Moscow fable. Stone has a long history of making “truthy” movies based on Kremlin propaganda, and his latest sticks with that dubious pattern.

I’ve taken the Snowden debacle personally, in no small part because when I worked in NSA counterintelligence, it was obvious that something like Snowden was bound to happen. By ignoring basic security, by outsourcing core missions to greedy defense contractors, by allowing the security clearance process to fall apart—and above all by oversharing sensitive information with people who had no “need to know” as the spies say—NSA and our whole Intelligence Community created the circumstances that made Snowden possible.

Read the rest at The Observer …

This Mass Murder Mystery Has Terrorism, Spies, Palestinians, Stasi and the FBI

The truth behind who really destroyed Swissair Flight 330

“We have smoke on board—I can’t see anything” were the panicked, halting words transmitted from the cockpit of Swissair Flight 330 shortly before it hit the ground. Less than a minute later came the final message from the captain: “We are crashing—goodbye, everybody.” Then the four-engine airliner, a Convair Coronado, came down hard in a forest near Würenlingen, west of Zürich Airport, where the airplane had taken off less than 20 minutes before. There were no survivors.

The crash of Flight 330 on February 21, 1970, which killed 47 people—38 passengers and nine crew—remains the deadliest terrorist attack in Swiss history. Nine minutes after takeoff, shortly after the Coronado passed 14,000 feet on its climb-out from Zürich, a bomb exploded in the rear cargo hold. As the jetliner lost cabin pressure, the flight crew vainly tried to save their aircraft. Their efforts were stymied by smoke which blinded the pilots, dooming them and their passengers.

Although the outlines of the bomb plot were uncovered within weeks of the disaster, nobody was ever arrested for this mass murder. Rumors of a cover-up have circulated from almost the beginning. Now, more than four-and-a-half decades later, new information has come to light which may dramatically alter the story of what really happened to Flight 330.

Swiss media this week is abuzz with revelations from a declassified American intelligence assessment which points the finger at one or more groups who may have assisted the Middle Eastern terrorists who blew up the Swissair jet. The truth about what befell Flight 330 appears to be far more complicated than anyone might have guessed.

Read the rest at The Observer …

We’re Losing the War Against Terrorism

Signals intelligence is the West’s shield against jihadism—and it’s getting dangerously weak

Last weekend we commemorated the 15th anniversary of the Sept 11 attacks on New York and the Pentagon that killed nearly 3,000 Americans and began our generational War on Terrorism. Amid the sad recollections and promises to win this war—the longest in American history—there’s a widespread sense that the struggle isn’t going well.

There’s good reason for that feeling. President Obama’s diffident, pseudo-war against the Islamic State is stalled, with top generals in retirement now admitting that this White House’s efforts against jihadism in its homeland are strategically deluded and militarily hopeless.

Hillary Clinton has promised more of the same failed policies, which show no sign of defeating the Islamic State, the evil ISIS, in anything faster than geologic time. For his part, Donald Trump’s aggressive talk of “crushing” the Islamic State with quick and decisive victories can be safely dismissed as just that—talk. In reality, there is no military option available short of large-scale use of nuclear weapons, which would kill tens of millions of innocents, to annihilate ISIS  in the Middle East.

Even then, inflicting nuclear Armageddon on Iraq and Syria—which is something no American president seeking to avoid war crimes and genocide charges can do—would achieve little in terms of mitigating the threat of jihadism inside the West today. A high percentage of the terror plots that are uncovered across the Western world, from Europe to North America to Australia, involve homegrown jihadists, native-born citizens and residents of Western countries. Even if ISIS disappeared from the Middle East tomorrow, the West would still be facing jihadist plots at home for years to come.

Read the rest at The Observer …

EmailGate and the Mystery of the Missing GAMMA

Hillary Clinton’s ‘unclassified’ email included highly classified NSA information—why didn’t the FBI mention this fact?

Last week’s Federal Bureau of Investigation release of materials relating to their investigation of Hillary Clinton has reignited the political firestorm surrounding EmailGate. How the Democratic nominee mishandled her emails while she was secretary of state is again front-page news, which is bad news for Hillary. Particularly because the FBI’s data dump demonstrates clearly that Clinton is either dumb or dishonest—and perhaps both.

Although Team Clinton has responded in their customary fashion, with lawyerly lies and evasions—nothing was “marked” classified, this is really about over-classification, classification is too complex for anybody to understand anyway—the FBI’s assessment has thoroughly debunked all of them. Hillary’s professed inability to even recognize classified information, thinking the C (for Confidential) meant alphabetical order, will now enter the pantheon of laughable Clinton infamy, alongside her husband’s debating the meaning of “is” while under oath.

The Bureau’s assessment establishes once and for all that there was classified information—and lots of it—on Hillary’s email server and bunches of Blackberries, many of which she lost. In fact, the FBI concluded that roughly 2,000 of her “unclassified” emails included information that was Confidential, the lowest level of classification.

The FBI examined 81 Clinton email chains, determining that they included classified information relating to the CIA, the FBI, the Pentagon, NSA, and the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency or NGA. In other words, Hillary compromised classified materials representing the full range of American espionage: human intelligence or HUMINT from CIA, signals intelligence or SIGINT from NSA, and imagery intelligence or IMINT from NGA.

Read the rest at The Observer …

FBI Data Dump Shows Clinton is Criminal and Clueless

Hillary is either dishonest or dumb — there is no third choice.

Today, on the Friday afternoon before the long Labor Day weekend, the Federal Bureau of Investigation released documents on its investigation of Hillary Clinton and her mishandling of email while she was secretary of state. The Friday afternoon data dump is a venerable Washington cliché, a shady way to bury a story that the bureaucracy doesn’t want covered in depth, but even by Beltway standards this was a shocker.

Nobody expected much from the FBI here, given the Bureau’s recent punting on its formal inquiry into Hillary’s dubious activities with her “unclassified” email of bathroom server infamy. I’ve been covering the EmailGate story for over a year, from the beginning, and I too didn’t expect the FBI to reveal much about what Hillary did that was unwise and perhaps criminal.

To be fair, a good amount of today’s release has been redacted. The original documents were classified at the Secret/Not Releasable to Foreign Nationals level, and to make it Unclassified about a third of the text has been cut out.

Today, on the Friday afternoon before the long Labor Day weekend, the Federal Bureau of Investigation released documents on its investigation of Hillary Clinton and her mishandling of email while she was secretary of state. The Friday afternoon data dump is a venerable Washington cliché, a shady way to bury a story that the bureaucracy doesn’t want covered in depth, but even by Beltway standards this was a shocker.

Nobody expected much from the FBI here, given the Bureau’s recent punting on its formal inquiry into Hillary’s dubious activities with her “unclassified” email of bathroom server infamy. I’ve been covering the EmailGate story for over a year, from the beginning, and I too didn’t expect the FBI to reveal much about what Hillary did that was unwise and perhaps criminal.

Read the rest at The Observer…

Why Obama Is to Blame for Russia’s SpyWar on America

The Kremlin is attacking our democracy—and our president let it happen

Practically every day we learn more about the Kremlin’s secret espionage offensive against our country. This week, we discovered that hackers linked to Russian intelligence have cracked into several think tanks in Washington, D.C.

This should not surprise. Moscow considers targeted hacking such as this to be legitimate intelligence gathering, and the Kremlin’s interest in behind-scenes goings-on in our nation’s capital is perennially high. Russian intelligence has spied on Washington—our leaders, politicians, and their battalions of think-tank and media hangers-on—for many decades. This is nothing new.

What is new and alarming is how brazen Kremlin spy operations against America have gotten of late. Everybody spies, but it’s usually wise to be somewhat discreet. The SpyWar is a marathon, not a sprint.

Vladimir Putin has decided that he doesn’t care we know what he’s up to. He’s thrown out the usual espionage rulebook and embraced street-fighting. Putin uses his spies to rough up Americans, the Kremlin assassinates its foes almost openly, even in our nation’s capital, while Russian hackers pillage American institutions, private and public, with near-impunity. The Kremlin even seems to be trying to tamper with our elections, which is an alarming development.

Now that Russia has decided to help Donald Trump defeat Hillary Clinton in our election, employing fronts and cut-outs to shape our election to Moscow’s benefit, the Democrats are having a collective freak-out. Team Clinton rails against the Russians and their dirty tricks almost daily now. Senate minority leader Harry Reid has asked the FBI to look into the threat of Russian interference in our elections, while House Democrats want the Bureau to investigate Team Trump’s ties to the Kremlin—and whether anybody in the GOP is mixed up in Putin’s increasingly brazen spy games.

Read the rest at The Observer …

Clinton Gives Too Much Credit to Putin and Trump

It’s a stretch to suggest the Kremlin leader is the godfather of some sort of global KKK

Last week Hillary Clinton accused Donald Trump of being the leader of the Alt-Right movement. But that wasn’t the only important issue she raised in her big speech. She also tied Trump to Vladimir Putin. Clinton termed Russia’s president “the grand godfather of this global brand of extreme nationalism.” Calling the boss in the Kremlin the leader of a worldwide white supremacy movement is a big deal—particularly when the charge is made by the lady who may become our next president in less than five months.

As evidence for this accusation, Hillary noted that Nigel Farage, the British politico who’s thrown his hat in with Trump, appears on Kremlin TV, and that the GOP nominee seems to harbor a serious man-crush on Putin. All this is undeniably true. Moscow’s preference for Trump over Clinton is no secret, and something the Russians no longer bother to hide.

That said, it’s a stretch to suggest Putin is the godfather of some sort of global KKK. The Kremlin boosts far-rightists in many countries, giving them clandestine cash and support—including in the United States. Russian intelligence backs nationalist right-wingers all over the place, especially in Europe, and some of these groups are plausibly placed in the Alt-Right.

It needs to be noted, though, that Putin is ideologically flexible, and Moscow backs leftists abroad, too. In Greece, for instance, the Kremlin has forged ties with both the far-left and the far-right, who share antipathy to NATO, the European Union, and the United States. In many Western countries, Moscow’s ties to leftists are a longstanding Cold War legacy.

Putin’s strategic aim is to harm NATO, the EU, and America’s ties with them. Ideology matters less than a perceived ability to hurt the West and its security structures. Hence the Kremlin’s willingness to get in bed with radicals of almost any ideology as long as they’re eager to play along with what Moscow wants.

Read the rest at The Observer …