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Revisiting the Weiner Laptop Surprise - Ricochet.com

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Revisiting the Weiner Laptop Surprise
Ricochet.com
Weiner was once again accused of sexting with underage females. Police authorities in NYC had seized Anthony Weiner's laptop and his wife, Huma Abedin, HRC's trusted associate, had used that computer many times to print out HRC's emails. HRC ...

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mikenova
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Revisiting the Weiner Laptop Surprise  |  Ricochet

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So, inquiring minds have asked, if Comey and the FBI were so vested in the candidacy of HRC, how do you square that with the Weiner laptop surprise?

Remember, on October 28, 2016, Comey announced the reopening of the Midterm Exam (“MTE” was the FBI’s clever name for the Clinton email/unauthorized server scandal.) Weiner was once again accused of sexting with underage females. Police authorities in NYC had seized Anthony Weiner’s laptop and his wife, Huma Abedin, HRC’s trusted associate, had used that computer many times to print out HRC’s emails. HRC, it seems, liked only paper correspondence. So this laptop was a possible source for the “missing” emails that had otherwise been permanently removed from the Clinton unauthorized server. Comey was officially appraised of the existence this laptop on October 27 and quickly sought a warrant to search it. The MTE investigation band (the usual FBI suspects McCabe, Strzok, Page, et al.) was reluctantly put back together.

But there is more to the story. Assistant FBI Director Andrew McCabe had known of this laptop’s existence at the NYPD and its potential evidentiary value for at least a month and he did nothing. FBI counterintelligence official Peter Strzok and his colleague and mistress Lisa Page mention the Laptop in their emails. It is very possible that a decision had to be made: either seize the laptop and contain the story (“nothing to see here”) or roll the dice and hope that Trump supporters wouldn’t catch on and demand a last-minute reckoning. McCabe’s attempt to let the clock run past election day had likely become too risky a strategy. Comey may well have once again taken the initiative. So he seized the evidence, iced the story and then announced that it was a nothing-burger.

If the purported sordid details about Trump in the Steele dossier are salacious, the Clinton details leaked presumably by NYPD sources (who searched the laptop for evidence of Weiner’s crimes) are just as scandalous. Quite frankly, I would have expected a much more heated and lively reaction by Bill and Hillary upon the reopening of the MTE investigation, but they were strangely reticent. Perhaps they were relieved that they had diffused the bomb, a true November bombshell surprise, but one not initiated by the opposition but an inadvertent suicide vest of their own making? The press, as I remember, was pushing a story depicting Hillary consoling a distraught Huma Abedin, more concerned with a friend than her own campaign. HRC was either supremely confident (she was still in the lead in all the polls) or she knew that the FBI and Justice Department would provide an appropriate backstop.

So, dear reader, I can see how someone might assume that Comey’s re-enlistment of the MTE band with the discovery of the Weiner laptop was a sign of impartiality. But what if it was really a vain attempt at containment, containment of potentially damaging evidence challenging the original email/server scandal exoneration and containment of other sordid and scandalous details pertaining to Clinton foundation fundraising and the Clinton social circle? If it was damage control, it was too little, too late. I doubt it played very much of a role in HRC’s eventual defeat. National news agencies, even Fox, steered clear of the sordid details being leaked in NYC, though they were played hard and often in the tabloids. Nonetheless, Hillary took NY with ease.

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Book excerpt: "Facts and Fears" by James Clapper

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In this excerpt from Chapter 1 of "Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence" (Viking), former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper recounts his family's history in military intelligence (his father served in the Army Security Agency, among other agencies, in duty stations around the world) and how it pointed him in the direction of a life of public service served in the shadows.

Don't miss David Martin's interview with James Clapper on CBS' "Sunday Morning" May 27!


Viking

When my family left Japan in 1953, en route to Littleton, Massachusetts, my sister and I were parked with my mother's parents in Philadelphia. This was a good deal for me, because my grandparents let me stay up as late as I wanted to watch TV. Television was a great novelty, since we didn't have one in Japan. On Friday nights, the old movies would end about 12:30, and one night I did the 1950s equivalent of channel surfing, which required actually walking up to the set and manually turning the selector dial. There were only four channels, and one night I stopped between channels four and five—I'll never forget this—because I heard voices speaking in a clipped cadence. There was no picture, just voices. I listened for maybe fifteen minutes as they batted words and numbers back and forth in speech patterns bordering on the nonsensical. Finally I figured out that I'd stumbled onto the broadcast frequency of the Philadelphia Police Department dispatcher. I wanted to hear more, but my arm was getting tired, so I went to the kitchen, found some toothpicks, and stuck them in the dial to secure it. That's right, I "hacked" the Philadelphia Police Department, using my grandparents' black-and-white TV set and some toothpicks.

The next night I was prepared with a map of the city of Philadelphia and began plotting the addresses where the police cruisers were dispatched. After a few nighttime surveillance sessions, I figured out where the police district boundaries were, based on which cruisers responded to specific locations. I wrote down anything they said that I didn't understand, and kept listening until I had figured out what all the "10" codes (10-4, 10-5, etc.) were, the system for call signs, and the personal identifiers for lieutenants and above. I got a pack of index cards to keep track of all the facts I was collecting. Soon I was staying up every night to build my "database." About a month later, when my parents came to Philadelphia to retrieve my sister and me, my dad asked, "So what've you been up to this summer?" I showed him my map and my card files, and I gave him a thorough briefing on how police operations worked in the city. I'll never forget the expression on his face as he exclaimed, "My God, I've raised my own replacement!"

One evening in the fall of 2015, when I was the director of national intelligence, I was shooting the breeze with my staff and recounted this story. A few weeks later, my speechwriter put it into the script for a speech I was scheduled to give for a CIA-sponsored event at George Washington University on "The Ethos and the Profession of Intelligence." I hadn't seriously considered it before, but this vignette from my childhood illustrates what we do in the intelligence profession in simple terms. Intelligence involves research, determination, persistence, patience, continuity, drawing inferences in the absence of complete information, and taking advantage of vulnerabilities and what you overhear in others' conversations, no matter how cryptic and jargon-filled they are. Obviously, the Philadelphia Police Department hadn't foreseen that a twelve-year-old kid would listen in on its radio transmissions, let alone map out its operations. I didn't realize it at the time, but that little avocation, more than sixty years ago, started me down the path to service in the intelligence business.

Life can sometimes loop back on itself, and in 2013, when I was the DNI, Annandale High [in Falls Church, Virginia] asked me to be its graduation speaker, fifty-nine years after I first enrolled there. The ceremony fell on June 13, and when I accepted the invitation, I had no idea how difficult that week would be for me. It was two and a half months after damaging mandatory budget cuts went into effect for the Intelligence Community, and I was fighting the Defense Department to keep intelligence professionals from being furloughed. It was three weeks after Edward Snowden had fled to Hong Kong, and stolen documents were leaking out through press outlets, cutting into intelligence capabilities on a daily basis. I thought about canceling, but was glad I didn't. The students were in high spirits, and they also made me laugh when I arrived. Rather than my donning the gown commensurate with my master's degree, the students asked me to wear the same one they were wearing, to indicate that, like them, I had yet to graduate from Annandale High. I was game, and I did.

I took about two minutes of my commencement speech to vent, before talking about the graduating class, their accomplishments, and what lay ahead for them. I closed my speech that night by telling them:

If you take care of yourself, if you have a vision of what you want for the future, if you're kind, and attentive, and responsible, I can pretty much guarantee that you'll live an interesting and successful life. That doesn't necessarily mean you'll reach every goal you set out to achieve. Fifty-nine years ago, I set out to graduate from Annandale High, and I didn't reach that goal. I never got the chance to wear a red Annandale robe and mortarboard until tonight.

And it's okay to fall short of some of your goals. Even if it feels like a disaster at the time, you'll most likely do some pretty cool other things, as long as you do your best to stay on the right path. I'm proud of how things have turned out in my life. And I've never, ever, been bored. Although these days, I'd like a little boredom. Sometimes, by some circuitous route, you eventually reach those goals you thought had long passed you by. So tonight, I get to wear Annandale red. And you know, it feels pretty sweet.

       
Excerpted from "Facts and Fears: Hard Truths from a Life in Intelligence." Copyright © 2018 by James Clapper and Trey Brown. Reprinted by permission of Viking Press. All Rights Reserved.

        
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