TBR News March 31, 2017

Mar 31 2017

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C. March 31, 2017: “Let us consider the Likudists.

These are members of an ultra-right wing Jewish political party who are fanatically pro-Israel and whose every effort is employed in support, not of the United States but the state of Israel. Under the title of ‘Neo  Cons’ or “New Conservatives” these individuals, many of whom are citizens of Israel, have gained a powerful, controlling grip on not only the White House but the Department of  State.

The Neo Cons are a well-organized group of conservative intellectuals with powerful allies in the CIA that became a driving force pushing the United States to invade Iraq and is also orchestrating growing U.S. militant attitudes towards Assad in Syria and Putin in Russia.

These individuals first emerged in the 1960s when a group of thinkers, most of them Jewish and all passionately anti-Communist, became disillusioned with what they saw as a dangerous radical drift within the Democratic Party to which they then belonged.

Advocating a tough policy of building up the U.S. military and confronting the Soviet Union instead of merely using nuclear deterrence to maintain a balance of power, the movement’s founders gradually shifted to the Republican Party, becoming a dominant voice in the anti-Russian foreign policy of President Ronald Reagan.

In an unholy alliance with American business interests, the Neo Cons are violently anti Putin and would like nothing better than to topple him and bring back a corrupt Russian government that would allow American firms to loot Russia’s natural resources.”

Table of Contents

  • A Cyber-Gulf of Tonkin
  • The Sleazy Origins of Russia-gate
  • Is Putin the ‘Preeminent Statesman’ of Our Times?
  • Trump to attack foreign ‘trade cheats’
  • Here’s how to protect your internet browsing data now that it’s for sale
  • #Vault7: WikiLeaks reveals ‘Marble’ tool could mask CIA hacks with Russian, Chinese, Arabic
  • Brexit and Britain’s delusions of empire
  • Clintons Began Taking White House Property a Year Ago
  • Hillary’s Email Troubles & Whitewater

 A Cyber-Gulf of Tonkin

There was no “Russian hacking” of the 2016 election

March 31, 2017

by Justin Raimondo,


The “cyber-security” firm that everyone is depending on to make the case for Russia’s alleged “hacking” of the 2016 presidential election, CrowdStrike, has just retracted a key component of its analysis – but the “mainstream” media continues to chug along, ignoring any facts that contradict their preferred narrative.

As Voice of America – hardly an instrument of Russian propaganda! – reports:

“U.S. cybersecurity firm CrowdStrike has revised and retracted statements it used to buttress claims of Russian hacking during last year’s American presidential election campaign. The shift followed a VOA report that the company misrepresented data published by an influential British think tank.”

This retraction pulls the rug out from under CrowdStrike’s identification of the hacking group that supposedly broke into the Democratic National Committee’s server. Last year, the company announced that “Fancy Bear” – the name they gave to the hackers – had used identical tools and methods to hack into software used by the Ukrainian military, an act they claimed led to the destruction of 80% of the Ukrainians’ howitzers in their war with rebel forces. Up until that point, CrowdStrike had merely “suspected” that the Russians were behind the DNC hack. However, given the Ukrainian “evidence,” combined with the assumption that the rebels are “Russian-backed,” CrowdStrike head honcho Dmitri Alpervovitch told the Washington Post: “Now we have high confidence it was a unit of the GRU,” i.e. Russian military intelligence.

Their retraction means that “high confidence” has been considerably lowered down to the level of a mere “suspicion.” Forced to backtrack in light of VOA’s definitive takedown, CrowdStrike’s whole case collapses. Despite dubbing the alleged hackers with the nom de guerre of “Fancy Bear” – as in the Russian bear – the evidence that supposedly identifies whoever broke into the DNC servers as GRU agents is virtually nonexistent. And the remaining “evidence” is hardly impressive. As cyber-security expert James Bamford pointed out:

“Last summer, cyber investigators plowing through the thousands of leaked emails from the Democratic National Committee uncovered a clue.

“A user named ‘Феликс Эдмундович’ modified one of the documents using settings in the Russian language. Translated, his name was Felix Edmundovich, a pseudonym referring to Felix Edmundovich Dzerzhinsky, the chief of the Soviet Union’s first secret-police organization, the Cheka.”

So why would the nefarious albeit highly skilled Russians leave this glaring clue – in Cyrillic, no less! — for all to see? Or was this “clue” deliberate misdirection on the part of the real hackers? The latter seems highly likely – not that the geniuses over at CrowdStrike would want to understand this. After all, they were paid by the Democratic National Committee, which used the incident to drum up a narrative that the evil Russians were trying to damage Hillary Clinton and elect Donald Trump. Follow the money, folks – and Alperovitch’s position with the Atlantic Council, an organization that is assiduously trying to launch another cold war with Moscow.

Remember, the FBI never looked at the DNC servers: they depended on CrowdStrike — which has a $150,000 a year no bid contract to perform “security” services for the agency — to analyze the forensic evidence. Shawn Henry, CrowdStrike’s CSO and head of CrowdStrike Services, is a former assistant executive director of the FBI.

Another leg of the Russian conspiracy theory is the “dirty dossier” compiled by “former” MI6 agent Christopher Steele, which alleges that the Kremlin has compromising information on Trump and is blackmailing him to sell his own country down the river. So who was Steele’s main source? He is one Serge Millian, who goes by at least two other names, and who even friends describe as

“[A] big-talking schmoozer than a globe-trotting interlocutor. They say he’s a self-promoter with a knack for getting himself on television … ‘He’s an opportunist. If he sees an opportunity, he would go after it,’ said Tatiana Osipova, who was a neighbor of Millian’s when he lived in Atlanta and who in 2006 helped him found a trade group, the Russian American Chamber of Commerce in the USA.”

And don’t forget: Steele paid his informants, hardly a way to incentive getting truthful intelligence. Millian denies being Steele’s source, and says the allegations in the dossier are without any basis in fact.

So if CrowdStrike’s analysis of the alleged hacking of the DNC is collapsing, why aren’t we reading about it in the “mainstream media”?

Because the media is no longer serving the interests of its readers: it has become the opposition party, intent on discrediting and overthrowing Trump’s presidency. It is, as Trump puts it, “fake news.”

And so we are forced to witness the fraud of the House Intelligence Committee conducting hearings, which are predicated on an assumption that has no basis in reality, and has already been debunked. Indeed, Democratic party politicians – and the anti-Trump wing of the GOP, represented by Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham – have invested all their political capital in an obsessive anti-Russian campaign, the goal of which is to make any rapprochement between the United States and Russia impossible.

A fraud is being perpetrated in order to achieve certain geopolitical ends. There is historical precedent for this.

In the summer of 1964, the US media reported that North Vietnamese forces had attacked an American destroyer, the USS Maddox, in international waters off the coast of North Vietnam. On the front page of the Washington Post a headline screamed: “American Planes Hit North Vietnam After Second Attack on Our Destroyers; Move Taken to Halt New Aggression” – except it wasn’t true. There had been no attack: bad weather and inexperienced sonar technicians had mistaken phantom “targets” for North Vietnamese attackers. The Maddox had suffered no damage. The “attack” never occurred.

That didn’t stop Lyndon Baines Johnson from going on national television and citing the “attack” as a pretext for escalating the war, and then going to Congress asking for passage of a resolution authorizing “all necessary action to protect our Armed Forces and to assist nations covered by the SEATO Treaty.” What became known as the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution passed the Senate with only two dissenting votes: the vote was unanimous in the House.

Thus a nation was led down the path of escalating a disastrous war on the strength of a lie.

The Russian “hacking” narrative – which all too many Democrats (and a few Republicans) are calling an “act of war” – is just such a lie. It is a cyber-Gulf of Tonkin “incident,” i.e. a made up story that is being used as a pretext for two purposes: 1) To accuse the Trump administration of “collusion” with the Russians, and 2) to block any effort to short-circuit the developing cold war with Russia and repair relations with Moscow.

The media, which has lost all sense of proportion in their eagerness to topple Trump, is promoting a dangerous lie that could lead directly to a conflict with Russia. Do we have to wait for the truth to be declassified twenty years later, as in the case of the Gulf of Tonkin? Well, no, we don’t – because the phony “Russian hacking” narrative has already been debunked by no less than a source than the Voice of America.

So the truth is already out there. The question is, when will it be acknowledged? It may take a while for the facts to percolate out there – Glenn Garvin, writing in the Miami Herald, is one of the few who have reported the VOA scoop — but the truth will come out. It always does. My fear is that it won’t come out before irreparable damage is done – not only to our relations with Russia, but to the political discourse in this country, which is already being poisoned almost beyond repair.

The Sleazy Origins of Russia-gate

Official Washington’s groupthink is that Russian “disinformation” helped elect Donald Trump, but the evidence is actually much stronger that Russian “dirt” was helping Hillary Clinton

March 29, 2017

by Robert Parry


An irony of the escalating hysteria about the Trump camp’s contacts with Russians is that one presidential campaign in 2016 did exploit political dirt that supposedly came from the Kremlin and other Russian sources. Friends of that political campaign paid for this anonymous hearsay material, shared it with American journalists and urged them to publish it to gain an electoral advantage. But this campaign was not Donald Trump’s; it was Hillary Clinton’s.

And, awareness of this activity doesn’t require you to spin conspiracy theories about what may or may not have been said during some seemingly innocuous conversation. In this case, you have open admissions about how these Russian/Kremlin claims were used.

Indeed, you have the words of Rep. Adam Schiff, the ranking Democratic member of the House Intelligence Committee, in his opening statement at last week’s public hearing on so-called “Russia-gate.” Schiff’s seamless 15-minute narrative of the Trump campaign’s alleged collaboration with Russia followed the script prepared by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele who was hired as an opposition researcher last June to dig up derogatory information on Donald Trump.

Steele, who had worked for Britain’s MI-6 in Russia, said he tapped into ex-colleagues and unnamed sources inside Russia, including leadership figures in the Kremlin, to piece together a series of sensational reports that became the basis of the current congressional and FBI investigations into Trump’s alleged ties to Moscow.

Since he was not able to go to Russia himself, Steele based his reports mostly on multiple hearsay from anonymous Russians who claim to have heard some information from their government contacts before passing it on to Steele’s associates who then gave it to Steele who compiled this mix of rumors and alleged inside dope into “raw” intelligence reports.

Lewd Allegations

Besides the anonymous sourcing and the sources’ financial incentives to dig up dirt, Steele’s reports had numerous other problems, including the inability of a variety of investigators to confirm key elements, such as the salacious claim that several years ago Russian intelligence operatives secretly videotaped Trump having prostitutes urinate on him while he lay in the same bed in Moscow’s Ritz-Carlton used by President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama.

That tantalizing tidbit was included in Steele’s opening report to his new clients, dated June 20, 2016. Apparently, it proved irresistible in whetting the appetite of Clinton’s mysterious benefactors who were financing Steele’s dirt digging and who have kept their identities (and the amounts paid) hidden. Also in that first report were the basic outlines of what has become the scandal that is now threatening the survival of Trump’s embattled presidency.

But Steele’s June report also reflected the telephone-tag aspects of these allegations: “Speaking to a trusted compatriot in June 2016 sources A and B, a senior Russian Foreign Ministry figure and a former top level Russian intelligence officer still active inside the Kremlin respectively, the Russian authorities had been cultivating and supporting US Republican presidential candidate, Donald TRUMP for a least 5 years.

“Source B asserted that the TRUMP operation was both supported and directed by Russian President Vladimir PUTIN. Its aim was to sow discord and disunity both within the US itself, but more especially within the Transatlantic alliance which was viewed as inimical to Russia’s interests. … In terms of specifics, Source A confided that the Kremlin had been feeding TRUMP and his team valuable intelligence on his opponents, including Democratic presidential candidate Hillary CLINTON, for several years. …

“The Kremlin’s cultivation operation on TRUMP also had comprised offering him various lucrative real estate development business deals in Russia, especially in relation to the ongoing 2018 World Cup soccer tournament. However, so far, for reasons unknown, TRUMP had not taken up any of these.”

Besides the anonymous and hearsay quality of the allegations, there are obvious logical problems, especially the point that five years ago, you could have gotten astronomical odds about Trump’s chances to win the U.S. presidency, although perhaps there is more an astrological explanation. Maybe the seemingly logical Putin went to some stargazing soothsayer to see the future.

There also may have been a more mundane reason why Trump’s hotel deal fell through. A source familiar with those negotiations told me that Trump had hoped to get a half interest in the $2 billion project but that Russian-Israeli investor Mikhail Fridman, a founder of Russia’s Alfa Bank, balked because Trump was unwilling to commit a significant investment beyond the branding value of the Trump name.

Yet, one would assume that if the supposedly all-powerful Putin wanted to give a $1 billion or so payoff to his golden boy, Donald Trump, whom Putin just knew would become President in five years, the deal would have happened.

Whetting the Appetite

Despite the dubious quality of Steele’s second- and third-hand information, the June report appears to have won the breathless attention of Team Clinton. And once the bait was taken, Steele continued to produce his conspiracy-laden reports, totaling at least 17 through Dec. 13, 2016.

The reports not only captivated the Clinton political operatives but influenced the assessments of Obama’s appointees in the U.S. intelligence community. In the last weeks of the Obama administration, I was told that the outgoing intelligence chiefs had found no evidence to verify Steele’s claims but nevertheless believed them to be true.

Still, a careful analysis of Steele’s reports would have discovered not only apparent factual inaccuracies, such as putting Trump lawyer Michael Cohen at a meeting with a Russian official in Prague (when Cohen says he’s never been to Prague), but also the sort of broad conspiracy-mongering that the mainstream U.S. news media usually loves to ridicule.

For instance, Steele’s reports pin a range of U.S. political attitudes on Russian manipulation rather than the notion that Americans can reach reasonable conclusions on their own. In one report dated Sept. 14, 2016, Steele claimed that an unnamed senior official in President Vladimir Putin’s Presidential Administration (or PA) explained how Putin used the alleged Russian influence operation to generate opposition to Obama’s Pacific trade deals.

Steele wrote that Putin’s intention was “pushing candidate CLINTON away from President OBAMA’s policies. The best example of this was that both candidates [Clinton and Trump] now openly opposed the draft trade agreements, TPP and TTIP, which were assessed by Moscow as detrimental to Russian interests.”

In other words, the Russians supposedly intervened in the U.S. presidential campaign to turn the leading candidates against Obama’s trade deals. But how credible is that? Are we to believe that American politicians – running the gamut from Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren through former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to President Donald Trump – have all been tricked by the Kremlin to oppose those controversial trade deals, which are also broadly unpopular with the American people who are sick and tired of trade agreements that cost them jobs?

Steele’s investigative dossier suggests that we can’t really think for ourselves. We are all Putin’s puppets.

Greater Skepticism?

Normally, such a ludicrous claim – along with the haziness of the sourcing – would demand greater skepticism about the rest of Steele’s feverish charges, but a curious aspect of the investigations into Russia’s alleged “meddling” in Election 2016 is that neither Steele nor the “oppo research” company, Fusion GPS, that hired him – reportedly with funding from Clinton allies – has been summoned to testify.

Usually, official investigations begin with testimony from the people who are making the allegations, so their credibility and motives can be tested in an adversarial setting. Plus, some baseline information should be established: Who, for instance, paid for the contract? How much was the total and how much went to Steele? How much did Steele then pay his Russian contacts and did they, in turn, pay the alleged Russian insiders for information? Or are we supposed to believe that these “insiders” risked being identified as spies out of a commitment to the truth?

None of these answers would necessarily discredit the information, but they could provide important context as to whether this “oppo” team had a financial motive to sex-up the reports to keep Clinton’s friends coming back for more. Arguably the funders of this “oppo” research should be called to testify as well regarding whether they would have kept ponying up more money if Steele’s reports had concluded that there were no meaningful contacts between Trump’s people and the Russians. Were they seeking the truth or just dirt to help Hillary Clinton win?

Since last November’s election, Steele has ducked public inquiries and Glenn Simpson, the former Wall Street Journal journalist who heads Fusion GPS, has refused to divulge who hired his firm or answer other relevant questions. That means we still don’t know which Clinton friends paid for the dirt and how much money was given to subcontractors like Steele and his Russian associates. (One source told me it may have totaled around $1 million.)

According to various press reports, Fusion GPS first worked for a Republican opponent of Trump’s, but then switched over to the Clinton side after Trump won the Republican race. With Steele generating his reports every few days or every few weeks, people close to Clinton’s campaign saw the Russia allegations as a potential game-changer. They reached out to reporters to persuade them to publish Steele’s allegations even if they could not be verified.

Before the election, a longtime Clinton operative briefed me on aspects of Steele’s investigation, including the “golden shower” allegations, and urged me to at least publish the accusations as a rumor citing the fact that some major news organizations were looking into the charges, an offer that I declined.

In a different setting – when Gov. Bill Clinton was seeking the presidency and Republican “oppo” researchers were pushing various wild and salacious allegations about him – the Clinton team dismissed such claims and the motivations of the people behind them as “cash for trash.”

Following the Storyline

Yet, Schiff’s opening statement at the hearing on March 20 relied heavily on Steele’s narrative and the supposed credibility of the ex-British spy and his anonymous Russian sources, even to the point of naming Americans who presumably joined in a scheme to collaborate with the Russians to help rig the U.S. election, an act that some commenters have compared to treason.

The California Democrat said, “Russian sources tell [Steele] that [Carter] Page [a Trump foreign policy adviser who made a public trip to Russia in early July 2016] also had a secret meeting with Igor Sechin, CEO of Russian gas giant Rosneft. … According to Steele’s Russian sources, Page is offered brokerage fees by Sechin on a deal involving a 19 percent share of the company.”

These “Russian sources” also tell Steele, according to Schiff, that “the Trump campaign is offered documents damaging to Hillary Clinton, which the Russians would publish through an outlet that gives them deniability, like Wikileaks. The hacked documents would be in exchange for a Trump Administration policy that de-emphasizes Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and instead focuses on criticizing NATO countries for not paying their fare share.”

Schiff continued: “Is it a coincidence that the Russian gas company Rosneft sold a 19 percent share after former British Intelligence Officer Steele was told by Russian sources that Carter Page was offered fees on a deal of just that size? Is it a coincidence that Steele’s Russian sources also affirmed that Russia had stolen documents hurtful to Secretary Clinton that it would utilize in exchange for pro-Russian policies that would later come to pass?”

However, is it also not possible that Steele and his profit-making colleagues made their reports conform to details that already were known or that they had reason to believe would occur, in other words, to match up their claims with independently known facts to give them greater credibility? That is a classic way for conmen to establish “credibility” with marks who are either gullible or simply want to believe.

Also, clever prosecutors in presenting a “circumstantial case” – as Schiff was doing on March 20 – can make innocent coincidences look suspicious. For instance, though Trump’s resistance to escalating tensions with Russia was well known through the primary campaign, Schiff made a big deal out of the fact that Trump’s people opposed a plank in the Republican platform that called for shipping lethal military supplies to Ukraine for the government’s war against ethnic Russian rebels in the east. Schiff presents that as the quo for the quid of the Russians supplying purloined emails from the Democratic National Committee to WikiLeaks (although WikiLeaks denies getting the emails from the Russians).

In his opening statement, Schiff said: “In the middle of July, Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign manager and someone who was long on the payroll of pro-Russian Ukrainian interests, attends the Republican Party convention. Carter Page, back from [a business meeting in] Moscow, also attends the convention.

“According to Steele, it was Manafort who chose Page to serve as a go-between for the Trump campaign and Russian interests. [Russian] Ambassador [Sergey] Kislyak, who presides over a Russian embassy in which diplomatic personnel would later be expelled as likely spies, also attends the Republican Party convention and meets with Carter Page and additional Trump Advisors J.D. Gordon and Walid Phares. It was J.D. Gordon who approved Page’s trip to Moscow.

“Ambassador Kislyak also meets with Trump campaign national security chair and now Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions would later deny meeting with Russian officials during his Senate confirmation hearing. Just prior to the convention, the Republican Party platform is changed, removing a section that supports the provision of ‘lethal defensive weapons’ to Ukraine, an action that would be contrary to Russian interests.

“Manafort categorically denies involvement by the Trump campaign in altering the platform. But the Republican Party delegate who offered the language in support of providing defensive weapons to Ukraine states that it was removed at the insistence of the Trump campaign. Later, J.D. Gordon admits opposing the inclusion of the provision at the time it was being debated and prior to its being removed.”

Problems with the Conspiracy

So, not only is Schiff relying on Steele to provide key links in the conspiracy chain but Schiff ignores the surrounding reality that Trump had long opposed the idea of escalating the confrontation with Russia in Ukraine – as, by the way, did President Obama who resisted pressure to send lethal military hardware to Ukraine.

Plus, Schiff ignores other logical points, including that party platforms are essentially meaningless and that the savvy Putin would not likely take the huge risk of offending the odds-on winner of the presidential race, Hillary Clinton, for something as pointless as a word change in the GOP platform.

There is also the point that if Trump were a true “Manchurian candidate,” he would have taken the more politically popular position of bashing Russia during the campaign and only reverse course after he got into the White House. That’s how the scheme is supposed to work. (And, of course, all embassies including American ones have spies assigned to them, so there is nothing unusual about Ambassador Kislyak presiding at an embassy with spies.)

Other independent-minded journalists have noted various chronological problems with Steele’s narrative, such as Marcy Wheeler at her emptywheel.net Web site.

In other words, there are huge holes in both the evidence and the logic of Schiff’s conspiracy theory. But you wouldn’t know that from watching and reading the fawning commentary about Schiff’s presentation in the mainstream U.S. news media, which has been almost universally hostile to Trump (which is not to say that there aren’t sound reasons to consider the narcissistic, poorly prepared Trump to be unfit to serve as President of the United States).

The journalistic problem is that everyone deserves to get a fair shot from reporters who are supposed to be objective and fair regardless of a person’s popularity or notoriety or what the reporter may personally feel. That standard should apply to everyone, whether you’re a foreign leader despised by the U.S. government or a politician detested for your obnoxious behavior.

There is no professional justification for journalists joining in a TV-and-print lynch mob. We also have seen too often where such wrongheaded attitudes lead, such as to the groupthink that Iraq’s hated dictator Saddam Hussein was hiding WMDs, or in an earlier time to the McCarthyism that destroyed the lives of Americans who were smeared as unpatriotic because of their dissident political views.

So, yes, even Donald Trump deserves not to be railroaded by a mainstream media that wants desperately – along with other powerful forces in Official Washington – to see him run out of town on a rail and will use any pretext to do so, even if it means escalating the risks of a nuclear war with Russia.

And, if mainstream media commentators truly want a thorough and independent investigation, they should be demanding that it start by summoning the people who first made the allegations.

Is Putin the ‘Preeminent Statesman’ of Our Times?

March 31, 2017

by Patrick J. Buchanan,


“If we were to use traditional measures for understanding leaders, which involve the defense of borders and national flourishing, Putin would count as the preeminent statesman of our time.

“On the world stage, who could vie with him?”

So asks Chris Caldwell of the Weekly Standard in a remarkable essay in Hillsdale College’s March issue of its magazine, Imprimis.

What elevates Putin above all other 21st-century leaders?

“When Putin took power in the winter of 1999-2000, his country was defenseless. It was bankrupt. It was being carved up by its new kleptocratic elites, in collusion with its old imperial rivals, the Americans. Putin changed that.

“In the first decade of this century, he did what Kemal Ataturk had done in Turkey in the 1920s. Out of a crumbling empire, he resurrected a national-state, and gave it coherence and purpose. He disciplined his country’s plutocrats. He restored its military strength. And he refused, with ever blunter rhetoric, to accept for Russia a subservient role in an American-run world system drawn up by foreign politicians and business leaders. His voters credit him with having saved his country.”

Putin’s approval rating, after 17 years in power, exceeds that of any rival Western leader. But while his impressive strides toward making Russia great again explain why he is revered at home and in the Russian diaspora, what explains Putin’s appeal in the West, despite a press that is every bit as savage as President Trump’s?

Answer: Putin stands against the Western progressive vision of what mankind’s future ought to be. Years ago, he aligned himself with traditionalists, nationalists and populists of the West, and against what they had come to despise in their own decadent civilization.

What they abhorred, Putin abhorred. He is a God-and-country Russian patriot. He rejects the New World Order established at the Cold War’s end by the United States. Putin puts Russia first.

And in defying the Americans he speaks for those millions of Europeans who wish to restore their national identities and recapture their lost sovereignty from the supranational European Union. Putin also stands against the progressive moral relativism of a Western elite that has cut its Christian roots to embrace secularism and hedonism.

The U.S. establishment loathes Putin because, they say, he is an aggressor, a tyrant, a “killer.” He invaded and occupies Ukraine. His old KGB comrades assassinate journalists, defectors and dissidents.

Yet while politics under both czars and commissars has often been a blood sport in Russia, what has Putin done to his domestic enemies to rival what our Arab ally Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has done to the Muslim Brotherhood he overthrew in a military coup in Egypt?

What has Putin done to rival what our NATO ally President Erdogan has done in Turkey, jailing 40,000 people since last July’s coup — or our Philippine ally Rodrigo Duterte, who has presided over the extrajudicial killing of thousands of drug dealers?

Does anyone think President Xi Jinping would have handled mass demonstrations against his regime in Tiananmen Square more gingerly than did President Putin this last week in Moscow?

Much of the hostility toward Putin stems from the fact that he not only defies the West, when standing up for Russia’s interests, he often succeeds in his defiance and goes unpunished and unrepentant.

He not only remains popular in his own country, but has admirers in nations whose political establishments are implacably hostile to him.

In December, one poll found 37 percent of all Republicans had a favorable view of the Russian leader, but only 17 percent were positive on President Barack Obama.

There is another reason Putin is viewed favorably. Millions of ethnonationalists who wish to see their nations secede from the EU see him as an ally. While Putin has openly welcomed many of these movements, America’s elite do not take even a neutral stance.

Putin has read the new century better than his rivals. While the 20th century saw the world divided between a Communist East and a free and democratic West, new and different struggles define the 21st.

The new dividing lines are between social conservatism and self-indulgent secularism, between tribalism and transnationalism, between the nation-state and the New World Order.

On the new dividing lines, Putin is on the side of the insurgents. Those who envision de Gaulle’s Europe of Nations replacing the vision of One Europe, toward which the EU is heading, see Putin as an ally.

So the old question arises: Who owns the future?

In the new struggles of the new century, it is not impossible that Russia — as was America in the Cold War — may be on the winning side. Secessionist parties across Europe already look to Moscow rather than across the Atlantic.

“Putin has become a symbol of national sovereignty in its battle with globalism,” writes Caldwell. “That turns out to be the big battle of our times. As our last election shows, that’s true even here.”

Trump to attack foreign ‘trade cheats’

US President Donald Trump is launching a campaign to pinpoint nations and goods responsible for his country’s huge trade deficit. It’s a protectionist warning shot directed at trade partners like China and Germany.

March 31, 2017


Top administration officials said Donald Trump would issue a pair of executive orders on Friday “aimed at rooting out the causes and culprits” behind the US’ over $500-billion (470-billion-euro) annual trade deficit. Pundits see this as a first move to convert recent tough trade rhetoric into action.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said one of the forthcoming orders would result in analysts going “country by country and product by product” to report back to Trump within 90 days.

He said they would look for evidence of cheating, inappropriate behavior and trade deals “that have not lived up to their promises.” Also under scrutiny would be “currency misalignment and troublesome WTO constraints.”

Getting serious on duties

“Needless to say, the No. 1 source of the deficit is China,” Ross argued, before listing more than a dozen other countries that would potentially be involved, including Germany, Japan and Mexico.

Ross admitted, though, that the presence of a deficit did not necessarily mean that retaliatory or remedial action would be taken.

“It’s a little bit hard to say that someone is an evil-doer, if they’re providing a product we can’t,” he stated. “In some cases, it will simply be that they are better at making the product or can do it far cheaper than we can.”

In a second executive order, Trump is to tell the administration to look at ways the US can better recover trade duties on products that are subsidized by foreign governments or dumped on the US market.

Listing various problem areas, Peter Navarro, a top Trump trade adviser said “this is a big deal – it’s steel, chemicals, agricultural products, machinery – the whole gambit.”

On Thursday, the US Department of Commerce announced that seven foreign producers dumped certain carbon and alloy steel products in the US.

“The determination of dumping, or selling a product below its fair price, applies to imports from Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan,” it said in a statement.

Concerning Germany, irregularities were found with regard to Dillinger Hüttenwerke and the Salzgitter Group, which were accused of dumping prices.

In response to the move, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on Friday urged Brussels to file a complaint at the World Trade Organizaion against the US over planned duties on steel plate imports from five EU member countries.

Gabriel said the US seemed prepared to give US companies “unfair competitive advantage” over European producers, even though this violated international trade legislation.

Here’s how to protect your internet browsing data now that it’s for sale

Congress voted to allow internet service providers to sell your browsing habits to advertisers, but there are a number of options for protecting your history

March 30, 2017

by Olivia Solon

The Guardian

San Francisco-Congress voted this week to allow internet service providers to sell the browsing habits of their customers to advertisers. The move, which critics charge will fundamentally undermine consumer privacy in the US, overturns an Obama-era rule issued last October designed to give people more control over their personal data.

Those rules, drawn up by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), were scheduled to take effect by the end of 2017 and would have forced ISPs to get people’s consent before selling their data to advertisers and others.

Now that they have been scrapped, ISPs such as Comcast, Verizon and AT&T are free to track all your browsing behavior and sell it to advertisers without consent. ISPs have access to literally all of your browsing behavior – they act as a gateway for all of your web visits, clicks, searches, app downloads and video streams. This represents a huge treasure trove of personal data, including health concerns, shopping habits and porn preferences. ISPs want to use this data to deliver personalized advertising.

Fortunately, there are a number of options for protecting your browsing history.

Use a different ISP

Not all ISPs want to harvest their users’ data. In fact, a list of some of the smaller players – including Sonic, Cruzio Internet and Etheric Networks – wrote a letter opposing the repeal of the FCC’s privacy rules. The problem is, most Americans, particularly those in rural areas, have very little choice of broadband provider. Around 80% are stuck with just one or two options, so even if they wanted to change, they couldn’t.

Opt out

Without the privacy rules in place, ISPs can track and sell your browsing data by default, but should offer a way for users to opt out. However, they haven’t always been clear about how and when they’ve been tracking users.

We know that AT&T already tried to use consumer data to inject personalized advertising into their browsing experience and then tried to charge an extra $744 per year to opt out, but the program was killed just before the FCC introduced the new privacy rules. Meanwhile, Verizon attempted to insert undetectable “supercookies” into all of its mobile customers’ traffic, which allowed them to track all their browsing behavior – even if a web user was browsing in incognito mode or clearing their cookies and history. The company was sued for $1.35m by the FCC for not getting customer permission to track them.

AT&T has opt-out options here and Comcast here. Contact your ISP if they don’t have any information on their website.

Use a (paid) VPN

A VPN redirects your internet traffic to disguise where your computer, phone or other device is when it makes contact with websites. It also encrypts the information you send across the internet so that it’s unreadable to anyone who wants to intercept that traffic – including ISPs.

This creates a second layer to the problem: what if the VPNs choose to sell your real browsing behavior? Reputable VPNs won’t do this, but you need to be careful about which one you choose. Generally it’s wise to avoid the free ones – if you’re not paying for it, they must be making money out of you somehow. In 2015, free VPN service Hola was revealed to be selling its users idle bandwidth to paying customers, including possible botnets. Cloak and TunnelBear are good options.

Unfortunately VPNs typically slow down your internet speed and prevent you from using some web services, such as Netflix (which is trying to prevent people from accessing content not licensed in their home countries).


Tor creates browser software that prevents people from learning your location or tracking the sites you visit. It does this by bouncing web traffic through “relays” run by thousands of volunteers around the world.

Tor can be a little fiddly to set up and so adds complexity to browsing. It also leads to slower average internet speeds and needs regular updates to ensure the connection is secure. This is not an option for technophobes.


#Vault7: WikiLeaks reveals ‘Marble’ tool could mask CIA hacks with Russian, Chinese, Arabic

March 31, 2017


WikiLeaks’ latest batch of documents, named ‘Marble’, details CIA hacking tactics and how they can hamper forensic investigators from attributing viruses, trojans and hacking attacks to the spy agency . The tool was in use as recently as 2016.

The third release, which contains 676 source code files for the agency’s secret anti-forensics framework, is part of the CIA’s Core Library of malware, according to a statement from WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks said Marble hides fragments of texts that would allow for the author of the malware to be identified, meaning the agency allows another party to be blamed for the hack.

A Marble framework document reveals it supports the ability to “add foreign languages” to malware. “Now comes the fun stuff,” it reads, listing Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi in example code, indicating the potential for the CIA to divert attention to international actors.

It’s “designed to allow for flexible and easy-to-use obfuscation” as “string obfuscation algorithms” often link malware to a specific developer, according to the whistleblowing site.

“This would permit a forensic attribution double game, for example by pretending that the spoken language of the malware creator was not American English, but Chinese, but then showing attempts to conceal the use of Chinese, drawing forensic investigators even more strongly to the wrong conclusion,” WikiLeaks explains, “But there are other possibilities, such as hiding fake error messages.”

The code also contains a ‘deobfuscator’ which allows the CIA text obfuscation to be reversed. “Combined with the revealed obfuscation techniques, a pattern or signature emerges which can assist forensic investigators attribute previous hacking attacks and viruses to the CIA.”

Previous Vault7 releases have referred to the CIA’s ability to mask its hacking fingerprints.

WikiLeaks claims the latest release will allow for thousands of viruses and hacking attacks to be attributed to the CIA.

Brexit and Britain’s delusions of empire

March 31, 2017

by Ishaan Tharoor

The Washington Post

Brexit has begun, and British Prime Minister Theresa May now faces the unenviable task of settling her nation’s divorce from the European Union while also figuring out how to make up for the potentially ruinous costs of the break.

A first step of sorts took place Thursday when May’s government published plans to convert thousands of E.U. laws into British ones — what my colleague Karla Adam describes as “a gigantic ’cut and paste’ job, repatriating 40 years of powers from Brussels to London.” Dubbed the “Great Repeal Bill,” the move is a bid by British leaders to calm the justifiable fears of millions of Britons — and European nationals living in the country — who are worried about Brexit’s effect on their daily lives.

But it’s Brexit supporters who may be in line for a real shock. Even beyond the coming “traumatic” loss of access to the E.U.’s market — as the Economist put it — the promise of a politically resurgent Britain is likely to fall flat.

Much of the rhetoric of the pro-Brexit crowd centers around the reclamation of British “sovereignty” from technocrats in Brussels. But Brexit proponents have also projected a nostalgic vision of Britain once more asserting itself as a dominant player on the world stage. May trumpeted the dawn of a new “Global Britain” earlier this year: a nation shorn of its continental commitments and capable of finding a new accommodation with other parts of the world — especially those it once colonized.

“Outside the E.U., the world is our oyster, and the Commonwealth the pearl within,” the far-right, pro-Brexit United Kingdom Independence Party declared ahead of last year’s referendum. Earlier this month, it emerged that May’s government is seeking to boost trade links to many of the nations of the Commonwealth — particularly in Africa — in a move labeled by some anonymous government officials as “Empire 2.0.”

Brits are hardly alone in harboring delusions of empire — consider, for example, the colonial nostalgia of France’s far-right nationalists or the Ottomania of Turkey’s ruling party. But the fantasy of Britain’s past collides almost farcically against Britain’s present.

Never mind that Britain’s empire was a precursor to the forces of globalization and migration that the Brexiteers so profoundly resent.

Never mind that Brexit will “be a considerable blow to Commonwealth nations that export to Britain,” as the Financial Times reported: “Thirty-two Commonwealth countries, mainly in Africa and the Caribbean, are covered by free-trade agreements with the E.U. These states therefore enjoy duty-free and quota-free access to the E.U. for nearly all their goods. . . . Once the UK is out of the E.U., these countries will end up paying $800m a year in additional duties to access the UK market, according to an analysis by the Commonwealth Secretariat.”

The reality is that many Commonwealth nations simply don’t need Britain. Australian exports to its former colonial ruler amounted to just 1.4 percent of its total outgoing trade. Canada, which shares a huge land border with the United States, will always look south, not east. India, once the jewel in Britain’s imperial crown, has an economy already roughly the same size as Britain’s; Indian moguls now own some of Britain’s most iconic companies.

“In anglophone Africa, the game is already up,” British historian David Olusoga noted in the Guardian. “The motorbikes on the freeways of Accra and Lagos are Chinese, assembled by local mechanics from kits shipped direct from Shandong. West Africa’s new convenience food is Chinese instant noodles, not fish and chips, and the supermarkets that sell them are South African-owned. Many anglophone Africans still have deep emotional, economic and often familial links to Britain, but those with money are now as keen to holiday in Dubai as London.”

“Brexit is rooted in imperial nostalgia and myths of British exceptionalism, coming up as they have — especially since 2008 — against the reality that Britain is no longer a major world power,” British academic Tom Whyman wrote in a withering column. “Those most under the spell of imperial nostalgia have now become the sorcerers themselves, having somehow managed to conjure up a mandate to transform Britain in their image.”

When not articulating wistful aspirations of empire, Brexit’s champions appeal to that other bulwark of British patriotism: the legacy of Winston Churchill and his generation’s defeat of the Nazis. When questioned in January about whether Britain could manage the chaos of a divorce with Europe, Brexit secretary David Davis harrumphed: “Our civil service can cope with World War Two, they can easily cope with this.”

The coming months will test the bravado and bluster of figures like Davis. Britain’s memories of past triumphs and world-spanning power may make for easy political rhetoric, but they don’t stand up to the actual history. Many have now noted how little Britain’s real imperial legacy — one of conquest and abuse, coercion and exploitation — is actually remembered.

“For a Martian historian, the most interesting thing about modern British history would surely be that the country built a massive global empire,” wrote columnist Gideon Rachman. “But for the Brits themselves, shaping a national story that centers around the war against the Nazis — rather than the empire — makes psychological sense. It has allowed Britain to nurture a national self-image as champions of freedom and plucky underdogs . . . rather than imperialist oppressors.”

Recognizing that history, Rachman suggested, would be a good start if “May truly wants to forge a future for a ‘global Britain.’ ”

Clintons Began Taking White House Property a Year Ago

February 10, 2001

Washington Post

WASHINGTON — President Clinton and his wife started shipping White House furniture to the Clintons’ newly purchased home in New York more than a year ago, despite questions at the time by the White House chief usher about whether they were entitled to remove the items.

The day before the items were shipped out, chief usher Gary Walters said he questioned whether the Clintons should be taking the furnishings because he believed they were government property donated as part of a White House redecoration project in 1993, during Clinton’s first year in office.

But Walters was told by the White House counsel’s office that the items he asked about–which included an iron-and-glass coffee table, a painted TV armoire, a custom wood gaming table and a wicker table with wood top–were “personal gifts received by the Clintons prior to President Clinton assuming office.”

Personal property brought to the White House by an incoming president does not have to be disclosed on financial reports. As a result of the counsel’s determination, the furnishings were sent on to the Clinton’s new home in Chappaqua, N.Y.

However, government records show that the gifts that concerned Walters did not arrive at the White House until after the Clintons moved in. At least one of these items, a Ficks-Reed wicker table, was logged in at the White House on Feb. 8, 1993. The widow of the manufacturer, Joy Ficks, said last week that it was meant for the White House, not the Clintons.

This week, the Clintons returned the four items to the White House, along with other furnishings, after questions were raised about whether they actually belonged to the Clintons. All the furnishings had been designated official White House property by the Park Service in 1993.

Julia Payne, a spokeswoman for the former president, said the Clintons wanted to be “over cautious” in light of the concerns that had been raised. Despite the questions posed by Walters, Payne said the Clintons or their interior decorator acquired the four items in Little Rock, Ark., before they came to Washington.

Kaki Hockersmith, the interior decorator, did not return repeated calls this week seeking comment.

The Clintons came under strong criticism after disclosing that they were taking with them $190,000 in gifts received over the last eight years. GOP lawmakers and others criticized Hillary Rodham Clinton in particular for accepting many presents just before she joined the Senate and became covered by strict ethics rules that prohibit accepting gifts worth more than $50.

Bowing to such criticism, the Clintons decided Feb. 2 to pay for $86,000 worth of gifts given them in 2000. This week, they agreed to return another set of gifts, including the four items questioned by Walters, and $28,500 more in furnishings identified by the Washington Post this week as having been legally designated as White House property by the National Park Service.

Walters said he accepted the determination of the counsel’s office that the gifts were personal Clinton property without a fuss. “I’m not a lawyer. I didn’t feel I was in a position to argue with the counsel’s office.” He said he’d been troubled all along by the lack of donor letters.

Payne said, “No item, nothing, was removed without the approval of the usher’s and curator’s office.”

Walters blamed himself for not raising questions when the rest of the furnishings were taken from the White House last month. He said an aide to Sen. Clinton had told him these too were “the Clintons’ personal property.”

“I should have asked for more specifics on these items,” he said. “I shoulder the blame for not saying, ‘Hey, wait a minute.’ ”

Hillary’s Email Troubles & Whitewater

February 9, 2016

Judicial Watch

Hillary Clinton may or may not be indicted in the State Department emails scandal, but one thing is certain: she’s been to this dance before, facing possible criminal charges. Mrs. Clinton “may have been involved in a crime in 1986,” according to never-before-seen portions of an Office of Independent Counsel (OIC) memorandum in the Whitewater affair obtained by Judicial Watch.

The newly obtained document is an unredacted copy of a highly detailed April 10, 1998 OIC memo prepared for a key meeting to discuss the indictment of Mrs. Clinton. It is titled “Hillary Rodham Clinton: Summary of Evidence and Suggested Reading.”

In January, Judicial Watch published a redacted version of the memo obtained from the National Archives and Records Administration under the Freedom of Information Act.

Today, the new, unredacted version of the memo—reported exclusively by Breitbart—fills in important blanks in the criminal case against Mrs. Clinton.

The entire text of the memo can now be pieced together from the redacted version released by the National Archives and the new, unredacted version, reported here for the first time.

The broad contours of the Whitewater case against Mrs. Clinton are well known. With Governor Bill Clinton running Arkansas, Mrs. Clinton leveraged her work at the Rose Law Firm into a series of transactions on behalf of a corrupt financial institution, Madison Guaranty Savings & Loan, run by a longtime Clinton crony, James McDougal. Among the transactions was a document drafted by Mrs. Clinton to conceal a series of fraudulent loans that were used to deceive federal bank examiners.

The fraudulent loans were part of a land deal known as Castle Grande. Mrs. Clinton, along with her Rose Law Firm partner Webster Hubbell—later given a high-ranking post at the Justice Department by President Clinton—handled the Madison Guaranty accounts for law firm. Hubbell’s father-in-law, Seth Ward, also played a key role in the Madison accounts.

In the mid-1980s, federal bank regulators started taking a close look at Madison Guaranty and concluded that Castle Grande was a sham, a crime, and part of a pyramid scheme to enrich insiders and hide the S&L’s disintegrating finances. According to the newly obtained document, “Hillary Clinton and Hubbell concealed their involvement in Castle Grande.”

OIC prosecutors turned over every rock in Clintons’ financial world and drafted several possible indictments of Clinton and Hubbell. Last year, Judicial Watch disclosed that the National Archives holds versions of the draft indictments, but has refused to produce them in response to Freedom of Information Act requests, citing concerns for Mrs. Clinton’s privacy. Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton denounced the move as “a political decision to protect [Clinton’s] candidacy” and vowed to press on in court.

The new, unredacted version of the OIC memo spells out the criminal case against Mrs. Clinton:

Here is how we would characterize this case in the legal terms of an indictment: “The object of the conspiracy was to conceal, by unlawful means, the true facts relating to HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON’s and WEBSTER LEE HUBBELL’s relationship with Seth Ward, Madison Guaranty Savings and Loan and Madison Financial Corporation. By concealing these facts HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON and WEBSTER LEE HUBBELL would avoid and evade potential criminal and civil liability, fraudulently secure additional income for the Rose Law Firm and safeguard the political campaigns of William Jefferson Clinton.” What this means in practice is that Hillary Clinton and Hubbell may have been involved in a crime in 1986. When they realized their potential criminal, civil and political exposure, they concealed their activities, repeatedly and with great effect. The case would be the story of how that happened.

The crime? Castle Grande “cross loans,” and an “option agreement” drafted by Mrs. Clinton, were used to deceive federal bank examiners.

The Clinton campaign did not reply to requests for a response to the charges. Mr. Hubbell declined to comment.

The newly revealed document fills in some of the blanks relating to prosecution theories of criminal conduct by Mrs. Clinton, Hubbell, and a third Rose Firm partner, Vincent Foster. The document notes that the partners were “concealing conduct bearing on possible civil and criminal liability.”

As Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign gained speed, media pressure on Mrs. Clinton increased. Reporters started asking questions about Madison Guaranty. The S&L had imploded in the 1980s and was the subject of several civil and criminal cases. The Rose Law Firm partners—Clinton, Hubbell and Foster—were well aware of the campaign’s vulnerability on the Madison issue.

“Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton were business partners of the owner of a failed S&L,” notes the National Archives version of the OIC memo. “[I]t was alleged McDougal had hired Hillary Clinton to represent him before state agencies that reported to her husband as a way of indirectly wielding influence over the decisions being made….the campaign and Hillary Clinton personally provided the public with inaccurate information regarding: how [Madison] came to retain the [Rose Law Firm] and the extent and nature of Hillary Clinton’s work before state agencies—inaccurate stories that Hillary Clinton and Hubbell were ‘stuck with’ as official investigations began.”

Federal investigations—prompted by news reports and the Clintons’ often evasive, incomplete responses to questions—soon began. The Resolution Trust Corp., the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., Congress, and the OIC all questioned Mrs. Clinton under oath.

Many records were missing. Following the campaign, notes the National Archives version of the memo, “Hubbell and Vince Foster removed all remaining [Rose] records relating to the [firm’s] and Hillary Clinton’s work for [Madison] from the law firm. In various parcels those records were sent to Washington, D.C.”

Undisclosed until today is a censored line from that version of the memo: Rose attorneys, it says, “liken the removal of these firm records to theft.”

The National Archives version of the memo notes: “Two copies of the most significant of these records, Hillary Clinton’s billing records for the work she did for [Madison] are known to exist—one set was discovered in a brief case in Vince Foster’s attic in July 1997; the other set was discovered in the [White House] Book Room adjacent to Hillary Clinton’s office in August 1995 and publicly released in January 1996.”

The 1996 news of the discovery of a set of billing records in the White House set off a furor. The documents had been under subpoena for two years. Mrs. Clinton was summoned to a grand jury to explain.

Why were the billing records so important? Mrs. Clinton by that time had made numerous sworn statements to federal investigators and Congress. If the statements were false, that was a crime. The billing records might prove whether Mrs. Clinton was telling the truth or lying.

And if Mrs. Clinton was hiding documents under subpoena—a charge she denied, saying she had no knowledge of how the billing records got to the White House—then she might be guilty of obstruction of justice.

The OIC believed that Mrs. Clinton knew precisely where the records were and had reviewed them during the presidential campaign. According to the National Archives version of the memo: “The evidence supports the conclusion that Hillary Clinton reviewed the billing records in detail in February-March 1992, and that she retained a copy of the records for reference and use during 1992-1995.”

Undisclosed until today—that is, censored from the National Archives version of the memo—is the prosecutors’ conclusion about what this would mean to a jury: “a reasonable jury is likely to conclude that her statements to investigators during 1994-1996 were inaccurate and misleading [and] were made with the knowledge of their falsity. Hillary Clinton, Hubbell and Vince Foster’s concealment and destruction of the relevant records is substantial corroborative evidence of their consciousness of guilt.”

The National Archives version of the memo continues: “What, then, are the crimes under consideration? Between January 1994 and February 1996 both Hillary Clinton and Hubbell made numerous sworn statements to the RTC, the FDIC, the Senate and the House of Representatives, and to OIC. Each of these reflected and embodied materially inaccurate stories relating to: how [the Rose Law Firm] came to be retained by [Madison Guaranty]; Hillary Clinton’s role in the [Castle Grande] venture; Hillary Clinton’s role in representing [Madison] before state agencies; Hubbell’s representations to the RTC and FDIC regarding Hillary Clinton’s role in the [Castle Grande] venture; and the removal of records from [the Rose firm]. The question, generally, is not whether the statements are inaccurate, but whether they are willfully so.”

Sound familiar? As in Whitewater, Mrs. Clinton now faces questions about missing records—the thousands of emails supposedly deleted forever from her computer.

As in Whitewater, a series of shifting explanations seem to dig her deeper into a hole.

As in Whitewater, she works behind a phalanx of lawyers well-schooled in Clinton damage control—indeed some of the very same lawyers who steered her through the OIC investigation.

In the end, Mrs. Clinton defeated the OIC. Prosecutors decided not to seek an indictment from a grand jury, concluding that they could not win the largely circumstantial case against such a popular, high-profile defendant.

Also looming large in the OIC’s thinking: Monica Lewinsky. The Lewinsky investigation was hurtling along a separate track. Prosecutors were convinced they had overwhelming evidence that President Clinton had committed perjury and obstruction of justice in the Lewinsky case.

The case against Mrs. Clinton was abandoned and the full focus of the OIC turned to Lewinsky.

As one prosecutor later remarked, “Monica saved Hillary.”











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