Beyond the Cusp

March 23, 2017

Was Andrew Napolitano Correct?

 

Was Andrew Napolitano Correct when on “Fox & Friends” he claimed that British intelligence officials had helped former President Barack Obama spy on Donald Trump? We know one thing, he was definitely wrong to have said so without having run the idea past Fox News’s law department, the “Fox & Friends” show’s writers, any managers related to both the “Fox & Friends” show and those responsible for Judge Napolitano and perhaps anyone else he could have found even to include the people behind each of the three cameras shooting the show and perhaps the microphone grip just for good measure. Apparently he also needed to include our friends, the British, into the mix of the Trump accusation his phones in Trump Tower were tapped by the Obama Administration. Of course any allegation which includes the Russians with the election victory by Donald Trump is perfectly within bounds as with the Russian allegations the target is President Trump and with Judge Napolitano’s British accusation the target is President Obama. The difference is more than obvious, it is also very revealing. In American media, even the presumed conservative darling Fox News, any accusation against President Trump can spread guilt to any target and still be acceptable while accusations against President Obama may not apply guilt to other targets because expressing potential for guilt of President Obama is what was not permissible and thus also the British. But perhaps delving deeper might be an interesting exercise and be quite revealing.

 

Judge Andrew Napolitano

Judge Andrew Napolitano

 

We need to go back to the era of PRISM or before that Echelon as well as whatever the code name was back to the mid-1950’s which was finally revealed to the public in the mid-2000’s and was simply the latest data gathering system used by the National Security Agency (NSA) in coordination with the data collection abilities of the other Anglo-nations, Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand with the United States in order to be capable of collecting, through coordination, the maximized capabilities of their systems. Their coordinating their systems meant that they could prevent duplicating each other’s efforts. In order to guarantee that each nation would still have access to whatever data they needed there was an agreement. The initial agreement was called the UKUSA Agreement, or the United Kingdom – United States of America Agreement. The actual agreement upon full ratification included all the Anglo-nations mentioned above. This agreement also permitted each nation to have total access to the information of the other nations. Now as it was easiest for each member nation to collect complete and total accumulation and compilation of their own population’s data, each nation was assigned with the collection of all electronic communication including phones of all varieties, internet, wireless and any other variety of communication which lent to interception. Obviously ground mail was still safe from this collection processes though e-mail was not and was also collected along with all else.

 

The fact that each nation in the group, the United States, Great Britain, New Zealand, Australia and Canada all have laws which do not permit spying on their own citizens without first having a judge issue a warrant; this made it such a tedious and limiting requirement that each country desired some means of getting around this nasty limitation. Unsurprisingly, leaks revealed that they found just the means by which to collect what was their hearts, and snooping, desires without the needless waste of finding some judge to issue a warrant, even after the The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) and the accompanying FISA Courts where warrants could be granted in complete and total secrecy. But what if your target was somebody who you did not believe that even a FISA Court would issue a warrant? Well, one could always resort to the “old school” method for such situations. The five nations which finally entered the UKUSA Agreement agreed that when any one deemed they required intercepting, read bugging, anyone of their own citizens, something universally illegal under several laws, they would simply request a surveillance report covering the individuals phone numbers, their internet e-mail address and internet entrance and other electronic identifiers using all the direct alpha-numeric identifiers such that no names were ever exchanged. The nation receiving the request would then query all five nations’ data collection systems and compile their report simply listing all communications by the target accounts and thus the individual of interest. This report was then presented to the nation unable to actually collect such information themselves legally without making legal requests at some level. This was the method, as we pointed out, back in the day. Now, all those out there who believe that this method of data acquisition has fallen by the wayside and is no longer accessible, raise your hands. Let’s see, OK George, put your hand down, not funny. So, we all believe that if somebody from the political, law enforcement, foreign intelligence collection group or domestic intelligence group desired to gain such information, they could simply contact somebody they could trust from one of the other nations and have all the information they might desire and all without anybody being all the wiser.

 

So, what is the most important concept behind all of this spy vs. spy scenario? Well, it has to be the part that nobody would be any the wiser. Would it be possible for somebody in the government, say the President, or more likely a subordinate, a trusted subordinate with contacts across a border in say New Zealand or perhaps Canada to gather a compiled report which includes all the communications, or simply phone conversations, from a specific set of alphanumerics representing a person of interest even daily? The obvious answer is an obvious “Yes” and all without anybody in either government actually believing anything untoward had taken place. Are such requests made currently? Probably, though nowhere near in the numbers which were likely back twenty or so years ago. Still, this polite gentlemen’s agreement was put in place for just the reason that listening to then candidate Trump’s phone calls was made to produce. Did President Obama actually order or just request such a report from the British? The truth is it is unlikely but did he actually mention that he was wondering what Trump was up to, very likely. Might an overeager subordinate have then issued such a request hoping to have something interesting he or she could then report to the President? You tell me and if you have a name and proof, that would be appreciated as well. We promise not to use such information, well, not without giving you the credit if you desire such as we would not desire taking the heat alone. What is obvious is that the scenario is not beyond possibility.

 

What must be added to this entire scenario is that the new NSA data collection systems currently are capable of collecting every single last piece of electronic data from the United States plus probably Europe and a select dozen additional nations just for fun without taxing their systems which are tied into world-wide communications networks at their sources. Further, when gathering data using the numerical address the actual target remains unidentified in almost every situation as numerical identifiers can be used which disguise the actual target from those collecting the data. Thus, simply using such identifiers one can draw up all the information from any identifier for any period simply by entering a query into the huge data storage complex outside Reno, Nevada. This could even be done directly out of virtually any office of a Congressperson and nothing untoward would ever be suspected. From the White House, well, that might raise some suspicions, but from any agency which is assigned to gather information, nobody would ever suspect anything. Even those who are responsible for guarding that all data acquisition is done all legal and above boards have so much to review that it is very possible that many requests get through never being reviewed as review is probably reserved for such demands made by courts and other persons having a purpose to request such reviews. This means that even had Trump had his file accessed, nobody is likely to have been the wiser and it is entirely possible that the old UKUSA Agreement system of scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours could have been used to make tracing all the more difficult. Whatever the actual situation, Judge Napolitano was hired to give commentary, his best assessments and legal advice. His commentary if presented as fact might have been a bit overly pretentious, but was not entirely out of line. If he presented it as theory, then it was within the assigned duties of a commentator. Whatever the situation proves forth, should the Judge need a part-time, non-paying position, we can always use another commentator here at BTC whose views might be appreciated by our readers and who would add to our broad views of what is, what may be and what we wish would be.

 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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August 9, 2015

Debate One of the United States Presidential Elections, the Republican

 

The initial debate for the Presidency of the United States was supposed to present the Republican candidates. This was accomplished by Fox News but not if all you watched was the prime time debate with The Donald, The Bush, and the other eight candidates. Wait, you exclaim, aren’t there seventeen candidates? True, but for the other seven, the second tier candidates determined from the average of five polls taken up to about a month ago were put on before prime time and scheduled so their debate would not bore anybody with their skills. That was unless you were former Ohio Governor John Kasich who was thrust onto the stage with the other first tier candidates without having even been listed in the five polls as nobody even realized he would run. Fair or not, he waited until the Friday a week before the first debates to declare he was in, but the debate was being held in Ohio; so out with Texas’s former governor Rick Perry and in with the man from Ohio as one must respect the location over the locution. So, for those who were expecting to see how Rick Perry might compare with Huckabee, Christie, Paul (Rand, not Ron), Rubio, Carson, Walker, Cruz, The Donald, The Bush and by location over locution as he had hardly said anything other than I’m running and I’m the hometown boy, gotta love me, Kasich; you were out of luck as he was on with the presumed also-rans who were on before you got home from work as why would anybody care about the underdog seven. I am aware that you can and will hear all about the first tier candidate debate and I can give you my synopsis in a couple of sentences with a lot of comas or whatever follows in my brief and somewhat unique views. The vicious and venomous questioning, especially by Megan Kelly, focused on The Donald from the opening question where the ten were challenged to declare by not raising their hands that they were not going to run as an independent if they were not the Republican candidate. Everybody who has an ounce of sense or had paid even a modicum of attention already knew The Donald had stated such might be an alternative if he felt he had been cheated from a fair and even shot at the Republican candidacy. Well, congratulations Fox, you took the first step in making sure that The Donald has solid proof he was treated very differently and cheaply with targeting to make him look as bad as humanly possible. They also ignored Ben Carson for most of the debate and the questions were relatively sophomoric and too much time was spent to show the erudite and beautiful people of Fox and less so the Candidates. So the main debate mostly proved that The Donald will apparently be targeted with every possible cheap shot even to include every potentially embarrassing moment or every demeaning comment, especially if they were made towards a woman, or bankruptcy of one of his many firms which failed and declared in efforts to make The Donald look like some monster from the political black lagoon. The rest of the main debate did little to enlighten and was to me a disappointment, especially after witnessing the first half of the debates which was conducted in a more casual and far less acidic or vindictive manner and by being so more informative. There was no pitting of one candidate against another to maximize animus between the candidates and just simple questions which did not always require or receive simple answers. So, on to the so-called junior varsity.

 
 

Republican Debate #1 The Donald, Bush, Kasich, Huckabee, Christie, Paul, Rubio, Carson, Walker, Cruz, Perry, Carly Fiorina, Pataki, Jindal, Gilmore, Graham, Santorum

Republican Debate #1
The Donald, Bush, Kasich, Huckabee, Christie, Paul, Rubio, Carson, Walker, Cruz, Perry, Carly Fiorina, Pataki, Jindal, Gilmore, Graham, Santorum

 
 

The second seven was presumably to be led by the recently demoted Rick Perry included in the order given by the CNN recap so the order is not mine, Carly Fiorina, George Pataki, Bobby Jindal, Jim Gilmore, Lindsey Graham and Rick Santorum. Some of these candidates gave exactly what those who follow politics fully expected and there were a few presumed surprises. Rick Perry was sporting his new ‘Geek’ eyeglasses which have been critiqued as improving his appearance giving him an intellectual appearance and making him look so much more serious. I might disagree on the better look but if he is going for a more Geek Squad look may I advise having a pocket protector, driving a black and white two tone VW bug (the new variety) and maybe on occasion to show his fighting spirit some white tape on the bridge of his new black rimmed glasses. Other than the new look, his performance was better but not the most polished of the candidates with uncomfortable pauses which perhaps some might call intellectual pauses while others might call them fumbling for how to phrase his answer half-way through his response. Much of his performance was quite adequate but not stellar or overly exciting. His debate performance did provide competence and we did not have anywhere near his listing the three departments he would terminate immediately after he walked into the Oval Office, the Department of Education and unlike Governor Perry I cannot even remember the other two, he only missed one but my excuse is it is four years later. In all honesty, he would have fit comfortably in the later debate but may end up being better served for being with the smaller field and getting more response time and higher quality questions without the gotchas.

 
 

Next up, Rick Santorum, a known entity, was questioned pointedly as to whether he thought that he had had his time and perhaps he should retire from the field instead of running again. His answer was equally pointed pointing out that despite many media and other forces made his candidacy an uphill struggle not mentioning the fact that the win they had referred to in Iowa as a win was carried in the media asking what he was going to prove after losing Iowa when in reality it was announced a month later after the actual counting was completed that he had won Iowa at which point such coverage of who won Iowa was relegated to yesterday’s news after a brief mention of the actual count. Rick Santorum was upbeat and positive and showed his usual casual manner which has charmed people and showed his warm nature combined with a down to earth common sense which also makes people feel comfortable and relating to him especially when meeting him personally.

 
 

Bobby Jindal was excellent and shone brightly. He answered the questions posed him knowledgably and with an erudite vocabulary which might even pass muster with Bill O’Reilly. I have high hopes that Bobby Jindal will be in the top tier for the next debate and hope he is still around for March 1, aka Super Tuesday. Should he continue his level of performance, then he should be pretty much guaranteed to not only make it to Super Tuesday but potentially well beyond. I was pleasantly impressed with Bobby Jindal.

 
 

We can cover Jim Gilmore, former Governor of Virginia, and Lindsey Graham, Senior Senator of South Carolina, together as both were adequate and bland and unimpressive. Lindsey Graham would have been far more impressive if he did not have a long history which explained why he has worked so well with Democrats in the Senate, he often could almost be caucusing with them and sometimes his cooperation to go along to get along attitude makes him a dangerous candidate as the Republican base will largely stay home should he be the Republican candidate. Jim Gilmore was simply without spirit or excitement and a perfectly calm and overly responsible candor which will likely not grab the attention of voters but the early primaries will determine that for both men.

 
 

George Pataki, former Governor of New York, was even headed whose seeming biggest claims were to have lowered crime and turned around the state of New York and having been Governor of New York during the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the Twin Towers, the Pentagon and a fourth jet which was brought down by the passengers preventing it from reaching its target somewhere in Washington D.C. The problem is that in a debate should he make those same claims any Democrat opponent would accuse him of claiming the gains which actually were almost exclusively due to improvements made in New York City by Mayor Rudy Giuliani and that would be the talk of the town for the rest of the campaign and the media would sink him over accusations he was attempting to mislead people over his accomplishments.

 
 

Lastly, Carly Fiorina who is the former CEO of Hewlett Packard. I will freely admit that I had extremely high expectations of Carly Fiorina even before the debates. From the majority of reports of her appearances she had wowed audiences wherever she appeared. She was said to be informative, well briefed, real and most of all comfortable before the people and gracious with her time when answering questions. Her weakness was her unknown political status as she has never held political elected office and was chosen for the position of CEO of Hewlett Packard which is not exactly an elected position but one where an election of sorts is taken to select one for such a position. Some of my readers had also alerted me to keep her in mind, so that had whetted my appetite even more. I must say I was satisfied and then some. She answered as if she had been in politics all her life with a calm assurance and steady calm tones of a polished professional, but then she was a professional with plenty of speaking engagements. Her story of her experience and how she eventually gained the position of CEO at Hewlett Packard where she has told she started as a secretary at a at a nine person real estate firm and worked her way from there into the CEO spot, something extraordinary and unbelievably impressive. I would be very happy for the last two standing to be Carly Fiorina and Bobby Jindal and believe a final debate between just these two would be able to raise money for the eventual winner’s campaign by selling tickets and having it as a pay per view on cable TV and also on the internet. When it comes to trading barbs with Hillary Clinton I have a feeling that Carly Fiorina would almost relish the opportunity. If she does not make it to the top of the ticket, maybe after Biden or Sanders or whoever defeats Hillary and has Clinton as their running mate, that would be sufficient reason for the Republican candidate to have Carly Fiorina as their running-mate if only for the setup of the woman on woman debate of the century.

 

 

 
 

Is it too much to ask that we have a Fiorina-Jindal ticket in either order, please?

 
 

Beyond the Cusp

 

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