The DOJ/FBI Spying Story Matters Because It's What Happens In Places Like Venezuela

The DOJ/FBI Spying Story Matters Because It's What Happens In Places Like Venezuela

Attorney General Loretta Lynch listens at left as FBI Director James Comey speaks during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, Thursday, March 24, 2016. Seven hackers tied to the Iranian government were charged Thursday in a series of punishing cyberattacks on a small dam outside New York City and on dozens of banks _ intrusions that reached into American infrastructure and disrupted the financial system, U.S. law enforcement officials said. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Did that get your attention?

The traditional, “reputable” news outlets yawn at the prospect of the Obama Administration weaponizing what are supposed to be impartial and independent intelligence agencies to spy on political rivals; or they report on it (because they’re finally forced to thanks to the dogged work of the House Intelligence Committee) but downplay the behavior from spying to investigating for the greater good (or something); or mention it, but only in the context of pointing out how crazy those Republicans are with their conspiracy theories because what’s the big deal, amiright? Politics is a tough game, and toughen up, MAGA heads.

But as Venezuela gears up for its sham election today, it’s worth viewing the “FBI/DOJ was spying on Trump’s campaign” story in relation to that nation’s “democratic” process. With that in mind, here’s why what the Obama administration did (and, let’s face it, the entire Democrat party apparatus) matters: because it’s a pathway to the same thing that Maduro’s doing today.

Here’s a report on Sunday’s election in Venezuela (emphasis mine):

The leaders of the largest of the 20-some parties that make up the opposition coalition claim that electoral conditions are so grossly weighted in Maduro’s favor that voting on Sunday would be pointless.

Most electoral officials are Maduro loyalists who, in past elections, have turned a blind eye to vote tampering and the last-minute relocation of polling places in opposition strongholds.

The government controls most TV and radio stations which transmit a constant stream of of pro-Maduro propaganda. It is also fomenting the notion that the ballot is not secret and that people who vote for the opposition will lose government jobs, public housing, and vital food handouts.

Carlos González, an anti-government activist who heads a Venezuelan business association, says the name on the ballot doesn’t matter: “Jesus Christ could be the candidate and Maduro would still prevail because the system is set up for him to win,” he says.

Does that sound familiar?

If not, here’s Mollie Hemingway at The Federalist deconstructing the New York Times report that came out ahead of the Inspector General’s report (that will ultimately break this thing wide open because presumably speculation will be backed up by documentation) so that a narrative spin could be crafted and sold to the American public.

  • “The story says the FBI was worried that if it came out they were spying on Trump campaign it would “only reinforce his claims that the election was being rigged against him.” It is easy to understand how learning that the FBI was spying on one’s presidential campaign might reinforce claims of election-rigging.”
  • “Now we learn that it wasn’t just Page, but that the government was going after four campaign affiliates including the former campaign manager, the top foreign policy advisor, and a low-level advisor whose drunken claim supposedly launched the investigation into the campaign. The bureau says Trump’s top foreign policy advisor and future national security advisor — a published critic of Russia — was surveiled because he spoke at an event in Russia sponsored by Russia Today, a government-sponsored media outlet.”
  • “The surveillance didn’t just include wiretaps, but also national security letters and at least one government informant to spy on the campaign”

Does it sound familiar now?

And, more to the point, as Larry O’Connor notes in a column for the Washington Times: there’s little doubt the Obama White House knew about the scheme:

After going through these details with National Review’s Andrew McCarthy, a former Assistant US Attorney in the Southern District of New York, I asked him the question that seems to be ignored in the New York Times’ article: Is there any way this kind of counter-intelligence operation would go on without the White House knowing of it or approving it?

No! No. no. Everybody knew about it. The agents’ texts made that clear. The Susan Rice, the memo she wrote, the “CYA” memo she wrote going out the door makes that clear. The White House had to know about this from the start. And look, Larry, it’s the kind of thing… An important thing about counterintelligence… there’s nothing wrong with the president knowing about it. Because, unlike criminal investigations and prosecutions where we don’t want the political people interfering in the four corners of the case,  counterintelligence is done for the president. the purpose of it is to gather intelligence, to gather information to enable the president to carry out his most important constitutional responsibility which is protecting the country from foreign threats to national security.

Running a counter-intelligence operation (not a criminal investigation because, as has been pointed out, you need evidence of illegal activity for that) to infiltrate the campaign of your political opponent to discredit him or ultimately have him impeached, and using the political machine you have at your fingertips because you happen to be sitting in the most powerful seat available within that machine, is the opposite of a how a democratic representative republic functions.

But it does look a lot like how despotic and tyrannical forms of government function. It’s a slippery slope toward one-party rule if you start down that path; a path our media has done a great deal of forging by calling it good.

Thank goodness we caught it in time.

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