Cold Fury

Harshing your mellow since 9/01

Same old story, same old song and dance

Nothing new under the sun, folks.

Trump hasn’t provided evidence to support these allegations,

He doesn’t have to. Comey, Mueller, and the rest of the Klown Kar Koup posse already did it for him. But Politico gotta Politico, I guess.

but regardless of their veracity, there is precedent for an American intelligence agency spying on a presidential campaign. It happened in the summer of 1964; the target was Republican presidential candidate Barry Goldwater, and the perpetrator was the CIA, not the FBI.

…After (E Howard) Hunt’s revelations were leaked to the press, Sen. Goldwater told Washington Post reporters that during the 1964 campaign, he had come to believe he was being spied on. “I just assumed it was one man or two men assigned at the direction of the President…It never bothered me,” he said. “I guess it should have, but knowing Johnson as I did, I never got upset about it.” Goldwater never suggested that the CIA’s spying had cost him the election.

Even in the heat of the ’64 campaign, as he thought he was being spied on, Goldwater never mentioned his concerns publicly, and even insisted that his aides kept quiet. Going public with the allegations would have distracted attention from his agenda, and absent any proof that surveillance was actually happening, complaints about being spied upon would’ve likely reinforced the common perception that he was paranoid.

It’s a very different course of action than the one President Trump is taking today.

And for that, we can all be thankful.

This story serves as a powerful reminder that our rogue Deep State juggernaut didn’t jump its tracks overnight, and that none of this began with Obama, corrupt tyrant though he was.

Update! The Three Stooges of Spygate. Their laughable incompetence is another thing we can all be thankful for.

Backstory update! Codevilla was part of the group that wrote FISA? Wow. I had no idea.

The events of the past two years have confirmed the objections to FISA I stated in 1978: pre-clearance of wiretaps by a court that operates secretly, ex parte, and that is agnostic on national security matters, is an irresistible temptation to the party in power and its friends in the intelligence agencies to use the law to spy against their political opponents—that is, to do Watergate legally.

FISA was a bad idea, made worse after 9/11 by the addition of Section 702. It is a license to collect and use electronic data on Americans, so long as that collection is claimed to be “incidental” in the collection of data relating to foreigners. Since the claiming is done in secret, and the yearly court review can be finessed, officials’ self-restraint is all that keeps Section 702 itself from being an abuse. Item 17, “about queries,” specifically authorizes the collection of emails and phone calls of “U.S. persons.”

9/11 was certainly bad enough. But looking back, it seems that its aftermath was even worse, at least in terms of the long-term damage done to our rights, our liberty, and any expectation of privacy. Codevilla digs deep and provides some fascinating inside dope with this one, winding up here:

Recall that in 1947 the main objection to establishing the CIA was the widespread fear that, someday, its espionage would be used against Americans. That is why CIA was given no powers of arrest, why its agents would operate only abroad, and only against foreign targets. But from the very first, CIA officials, from the top down, have thought of themselves as entitled to transcend the role of lookouts for the ship of state. They have identified with and built relationships with policymakers, and placed their hands on the wheel as best they could.

The FBI used to be very different. CIA people looked down on the bureau’s “cop mentality.” But, gradually, the top levels of FBI started thinking of themselves as do those up the river: as partners with policymakers, fellow policymakers.

Just as important, a large part of these agencies—certainly the most personally successful one—absorbed and was absorbed by the ethos of the ruling class, the chief item of which is a sense of rightful superiority over the rest of Americans. The sense of entitlement to power, of the right and duty to do whatever it takes to defend it against bad people whom despicable Americans might elect or have elected, followed naturally.

There’s a nugget of truth in every cliche; it’s why they become cliches in the first place. That includes this one: power corrupts. Onwards.

Now the alternatives are all too clear: either those who have taken America across these red lines are punished severely, and with bipartisan approval—in which case we may return to a politically neutral national security establishment. If they are not, the national security apparatus is sure to become the queen in the nation’s political chessboard.

I can’t see that first option happening: if they’re punished at all, it won’t be “severely,” and most certainly won’t be “with bipartisan approval.” Observing the Left’s on-a-dime about-face from neverending horror and outrage over Watergate to their blase disinterest in Obamagate—along with its jaw-slackening switch from deep mistrust and even loathing for the FBI and CIA to reverence for their integrity and trustworthiness—makes that much all too obvious.

So Codevilla’s first alternative is impossible, and the second is unacceptable. My own opinion is that the Obamagate outrage against every last thing the country is supposed to stand for has set wheels in motion that will move us in wholly unexpected directions, winding up with that Great Reckoning I keep yammering on about—a reckoning which could easily turn out to be catastrophic.

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1 thought on “Same old story, same old song and dance

  1. “Even in the heat of the ’64 campaign, as he thought he was being spied on, Goldwater never mentioned his concerns publicly, and even insisted that his aides kept quiet. Going public with the allegations would have distracted attention from his agenda, and absent any proof that surveillance was actually happening, complaints about being spied upon would’ve likely reinforced the common perception that he was paranoid.”

    And for playing the principled conservative, Goldwater got annihilated in the election, thus giving us Johnson’s “Great Society”. Had he actually stood up for himself, he might have lost worse, but not much worse – complete and utter defeat doesn’t have a whole lot of levels beneath it.

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